Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Dragonwagon Regional, Round One

We're moving on without laggin', so it's time for the Dragonwagon. In the third of our four regionals, top-seeded Littice Bacon-Blood, a self-described “Eternal Optimist,” faces a field of worthy competition from across the onomastic spectrum. Whether it’s hometown hero Handsome Monica or “Eternal Pessimist” Odd Hackwelder, one thing is clear: seeds two through 16 are out for (Bacon-)Blood.

In order for Mrs. Bacon-Blood to rise to the top, though, she will need to overcome more than just the Dwellie Striggles of life. The veteran journalist, who has reported in the New Orleans area for more than 20 years, will first need to topple Win Thin, a senior currency strategist and just all-around super smart-sounding dude. Mr. Thin’s unorthodox combination of low seed and high intellect could very well make him the ideal underdog to upset Mrs. Bacon-Blood's path toward the NOTY crown.

The most interesting backstory in the regional belongs to three-seed Cameo Crispi, who was arrested on felony charges after attempting to burn down her ex-boyfriend’s house with nothing more than a pound of bacon. Crispy, indeed! That kind of determination will assist the alliterative arsonist in our competition. Ms. Crispi faces off against 14-seed Gladstone Dainty, the Guyana-born president of the USA Cricket Association and also--according to Gawker’s beer blog for sad dads--an accountant in Hyattsville, MD. Crispi vs. Dainty? Truly a matchup of Ways I’d Prefer You Didn’t Prepare My Steak.

Further down the bracket, we find 15-seed Joe Henchman, whom many readers believe to be underrated. It's true that Mr. Henchman follows in the footsteps of short, punchy, all-American naminees like Joe Shortsleeve (2011), Rich Tanguy (2010), and Jonny Kool (2009). While those men all carried higher seeds than 15, we couldn't resist setting up a scenario in which a Henchman is most likely to get offed early on. It may not work out that way, since Mr. Henchman and his fans seem to have a lot to say. He's building a strong NOTY resume to match his impressive work as the Vice President of Operations at the Tax Foundation, where he is “among four people who ‘will likely dominate the field in the next 10 years.’”He has authored over 75 major studies on tax policy, presumably without the help of even one of these guys.

So who is it going to be? Buckle up and hold on tight, because it’s time to vote for the first round of the Dragonwagon Regional:


#1 Littice Bacon-Blood, veteran New Orleans journalist, vs. #16 Win Thin, international economist.

#8 Jeravicious Raven, owner of the Ravens Room Restaurant in Wichita, vs. #9 Handsome Monica, catcher for the Arizona Wildcats.

#5 Dr. Wallop Promthong, assistant professor of Agricultural Technology at the Rajamangala University of Technology, vs. #12 Psalm Wooching, outside linebacker for the Washington Huskies.

#4 Dwellie Striggles, a defensive back for the Buffalo Bulls, vs. #13 Odd Hackwelder, inventor of “a colorful & exciting playing card system with a growing collection of unique and challenging games.”

#6 Sherry Pennyjelly, secretary of the definitely-not-evil-sounding Information Technology Agency, vs. #11 Apollo Jolly, who crashed his friend's car.

#3 Cameo Crispi, pork-wielding arsonist, vs. #14 Gladstone Dainty, cricketer and CPA.

#7 Infinite Grover, resident of a building where a Chinese food delivery man was murdered, vs. #10 Kapri Bibbs, NFL hopeful with a “gregarious nature.”

#2 Genghis Muskox, a free-spirited Alaska man (RIP), vs. #15 Joe Henchman, tax policy expert.

Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Sithole Regional, Round One

We need to talk about Dr. Electron Kebebew.

Our fascination with the atomically-named doc began when a reader sent us a simple e-mail message: “Electron Kebebew. I let this guy cut me open.”

We discovered this was no joke: After years of surgical training, Dr. Kebebew now leads the NIH program in Endocrine Oncology and has quite possibly saved the life of at least one NOTY fan. Thanks to his atomic first name and his onomatopoeic surname that sounds like someone firing a phaser, Dr. K is the perfect candidate to follow in Dr. Loki Skylizard and Dr. Suparman Marzuki’s footsteps as the latest #1 seed bolstered by his PhD.

Dr. Kebebew entered the world with a Big Bang. His father, an Ethiopean electrical engineer, worried that his children would not follow in his footsteps as people of science. To make their career paths clear from birth, he named them after subatomic particles (or, for any physicist fans, strings simultaneously vibrating in 11 dimensions): Proton, Neutron, Deutron, Electron, and Electron’s anti-matter doppelgänger, Positron. If the Kebebew family had included any more children, we can only assume they would've been named Lepton, Hadron, and Quark.

While many NOTY nominees may have faced years of torment at the hands of schoolchildren before assuming their places in our celebratory tournament, Electron has repelled negativity and embraced his identity. In a 2007 interview, he said "When you have a name like Electron, people notice you, and they have expectations of you…But by and large, as I think back on my life, my name has been a positive influence."

People also notice you if, like Dr. Electron, you are pulling down serious cash. In 2011, a report by the questionably named WikiORGCharts published the 1000 highest paid US government salaries. After President Obama, the highest paid civil servant in the land was none other than Dr. Electron Kebebew. The news swept through trade publications, the Big Government Hatin’, Freedom Loving Patriot Press  and even made it’ way to the road-raging id of the internet, bodybuilding forums. Only down at the depths of the forums did anyone seem to take notice that, on top of being a physician, our highest paid non-elected official has a name worthy of the Hall of Name.

Will Electron complete a run through our field of 64? His journey, along with 15 others, begins today. Vote below, and stay in touch on Twitter.

#1 Dr. Electron Kebebew, NIH oncologist, vs. #16 Hunter Jumper, former MLS player.

#8 Dr. Jocko Zifferblatt, frostbite expert, vs. #9 Manmeet Colon, a detective in New Haven.

#5 Erhard Thumfart, whose wife sued the city of New Orleans, vs. #12 Flavious Coffee of Zimbabwe.

#4 Chito Schnupp, an executive at American Pacific Mortgage, vs. #13 Joko Widodo, the current President of Indonesia.

#6 Dallas Ennema, basketball player for the University of Albany, vs. #11 Bol Bol, the son of NBA legend Manute Bol.

#3 Lancelot Supersad Jr., whose mugshot made its way around the Internet, vs. #14 LaAdrian Waddle, offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions.

#7 Baba Blumkin, owner of a "high-end pawn shop," vs. #10 Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, footballer for Cardiff City in the UK.

#2 Jazznique St. Junious, employee at a Wisconsin fast food restaurant, vs. #15 Fellony Silas, who, yes, was accused of a felony.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Bulltron Regional, Round One

We begin, as always, in the Bulltron, where this year's top seeds come from disparate backgrounds. The top contender, Cherries Waffles Tennis, is a young woman from Florida. The two-seed, Fra Pierbattista Pizzaballa, is a high-ranking member of the Franciscan order. It's Catholics vs. Convicts part two.

Cherries was arrested in 2014 for "allegedly making fraudulent purchases at surf shops in Jupiter, Florida," according to The Huffington Post. Her plural noun-heavy handle is hard to believe, which will lead many skeptics to wonder if Cherries Waffles Tennis is indeed her birth name. We think so. At the time of her arrest, Cherries was 19, just one year above the minimum age at which Americans can apply for a name change. If Cherries did adopt her unique moniker under her own volition, she did not waste any time, and if that is the case, we can only assume she told the judge the first three words that popped into her head, just to get the process over with as quickly as possible.

Father Pizzaballa, on the other hand, is one of several Italian Pizzaballas. As the Custodian of the Holy Land, he is the Franciscan order's primary representative in the Middle East. Among other duties, he is responsible for supporting Christian residents within the Holy Land and overseeing the many Christian shrines in the area. If you need further evidence of the power of Father Pizzaballa's position, consider his boss: Pope Francis himself.

These two figures, separated by more than just an ocean, will surely never meet in person. In the Bulltron, though, they are gearing up for a monster showdown. In this way, NOTY is the great equalizer. It does not matter if you are an alleged criminal or an esteemed man of God. In the Arena of Name, all are welcome.

That statement also applies to the other 14 names in the Bulltron, and both Cherries and Father Pizzaballa will be tested right from the opening bell. It's up to you to decide: Will chalk rain supreme, leading to a much-hyped culinary matchup in the Elite Eight? Or will upsets derail our precious seeding? The first eight matchups of the 2015 Name of the Year tournament await your votes.


#1 Cherries Waffles Tennis, aforementioned Florida woman, vs. #16 Dent McSkimming, the only American sportswriter to attend the 1950 World Cup.

#8 Pleasant Crump, the last verified veteran of the American Civil War, vs. #9 Sunshine Crump, an Arkansas reporter who resigned after conflict with the local police chief.

#5 Omar Hurricane, a physicist who researches nuclear fusion, vs. #12 Kermit Carolina, a high school principal in Connecticut.

#4 Forrestina Calf Boss Ribs, a Montana politician who goes by "Frosty," vs. #13 Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dicka singer, a TED talker, and the recipient of a double lung transplant.

#6 I Made Mangku Pastikathe Governor of Bali, vs. #11 Andromeda Dunker, voiceover narrator for House Hunters.

#3 Understanding Bush, of Brooklyn, vs. #14 Blundy Vildora football player who went to MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas.

#7 Swindly Lint, a baseball player, vs. #10 Tacko Fall, a 7'6" high school basketball standout.

#2 Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodian of the Holy Land, vs. #15 Lourawls Nairn, Jr., a Michigan State basketball player who goes by the nickname "Tum Tum."

Vote, share, and follow us on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Presenting the 2015 Name of the Year Bracket: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Fantastic names are going mainstream. Writers for SB NationInside Lacrosse, and other publications have applied our concept—now 33 years old, in the prime of its life—to their specific beats. Key and Peele shared our love of D'Brickashaw Ferguson (a NOTY nominee in 2006) and Frostee Rucker (2013) with millions of YouTube viewers. Heck, even the NFL's official media outlet devoted some pixels to the wonders of Equanimeous St. Brown (2014). For those of us who peddle names, these are exciting times.

This is the perfect environment for a new Name of the Year bracket, and sure enough, we're back. Yes, as in previous years, we're arriving fashionably late to the party, but NOTY is built on tradition, and at this point, our deference toward the usual rigid schedule of novelty March Madness brackets is part of who we are. We may have failed to arrive in time for Georgetown's yearly spinout, but we're here, and we've come bearing gifts.

That's what this year's bracket feels like: a gift. Finding 64 fresh, exciting new names always seems an impossible task at first, but thanks in large part to your email submissions, we have again (back pat) managed to assemble a tremendous slate. A man with Miraculous Powers will battle a nemesis made of Silver Bronzo. Dr. Jocko Zifferblatt will inspect a Manmeet Colon. A Raven will rap on the chamber door of a man named Handsome Monica. Crump will do battle with Crump. And those are just the 8-9 matchups.

Indeed, NOTY is the gift that keeps on giving. As long as parents continue to bless their children with names like Electron, Mussolini, and Jazznique, our field will remain strong enough to keep up with the accelerating recognition of onomastic pursuits.

You are invited to join us as we embark on our annual paean to wonderful names. Voting will commence shortly, so pull on your Dr. Data Longjohns, don your Kapri Bibbs, and pick the Swindly Lint out of your bellybutton, because it's time to begin weighing the relative merits of Omar Hurricane and Kermit Carolina, of Forrestina Calf Boss-Ribs and Charity Sunshine Tilleman-Dick, and of the 30 other matching pairs who will constitute our first round.

We'll begin, as always, with the Bulltron Regional before moving onto the Sithole, the Dragonwagon, and the Chrotchtangle. How long will it take? However long it needs to take. 

So print out a bracket, spread the word (we’ll be Tweeting @NOTYtourney), and return here regularly to vote on the round-by-round matchups. Without further ado, here is your 2015 Name of the Year bracket:

Click here for a larger version.