Thursday, April 30, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: The Final Four

They hail from all corners of the United States; from Idaho, Florida, New York, and Connecticut. They are two men and two women, all between the ages of 18 and 29, all members of a young generation filled marvelous names. Three of them made the news because of their arrest records, while the fourth found himself in the public eye after a local Chinese food delivery man was brutally murdered.

On their own, they are Cherries Waffles Tennis, Lancelot Supersad Jr., Infinite Grover, and Amanda Miranda Panda. Together, they are the 2015 Name of the Year Final Four.

The road has not been easy. In the first four rounds, our surviving naminees have battled Bosses, tussled with Muskoxen, endured Ennemas, and taken a Licking or two along the way. But every time these onomastic titans get knocked down, they pop right back up.

Unfortunately, the cruelest part of our tournament--and any other, for that matter--is that only one contender can ultimately claim our coveted title. Ms. Tennis, Mr. Supersad, Mr. Grover, and Ms. Panda all deserve the title of Name of the Year. They're all capable of coexisting in our hall of heroes alongside revered names like Bulltron, Sithole, Dragonwagon, and Chrotchtangle, but only one will actually achieve that highest honor.

Who will it be? Will Cherries Waffles Tennis complete her personal Grand Slam? Will Lancelot Supersad, Jr. find his Holy Grail? Will Infinite Grover discover that he, all along, was the monster at the end of this tournament? Or will Amanda Miranda Panda survive the churning tempest that is Name of the Year? You have the power to decide. Vote below, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter for updates about the impending final.


Cherries Waffles Tennis, who sliced Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa vs. Lancelot Supersad, Jr., who slayed the dragon that was Dr. Electron Kebebew.

Infinite Grover who turned into Super Grover against Handsome Monica, vs. Amanda Miranda Panda, who served as the Kryptonite to Miraculous Powers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: The Elite Eight

Our slow, steady march to the 2015 Name of the Year is now just three voting sessions from its conclusion. The Elite Eight is today, the Final Four will arrive later this week, and the Championship Match will follow a few days after that.

It's been a long, strange journey. On one side of the bracket, chalk has ruled nearly every matchup. The only naminee left in the Bulltron and Sithole Regionals who is not a one or two seed is Lancelot Supersad, Jr., who, based on his average margin of victory, may have more momentum than any other name in the tournament. Arthurian legends say he is a three-seed with the strength of five to ten one-seeds. Only Tennis, Pizzaballa, and Kebebew stand between him and the final.

Meanwhile, in the Dragonwagon and Chrotchtangle Regionals, the results have been far more chaotic. Beyond two-seed Amanda Miranda Panda, the other remaining right-side contenders are a seven-seed and two eights. While Infinite Grover and Miraculous Powers both completed their upsets with aplomb, the matchup between Handsome Monica and Dr. Wallop Promthong was considerably closer. It came down to a margin of fewer than five votes, making it among the closest battles in NOTY history.

In the end, it was the catcher who prevailed. Dr. Promthong will end up as another close-but-no-cigar entrant from our bracket's Thai contingent. In 2013, Pornsak Pongthong fell just short when he lost in a closely contested final; two years later, Dr. Promthong set out for revenge, but barring a strong showing in the High Committee vote, the agricultural scientist from Thanyaburi will become a NOTY footnote. But the Thai are resilient naminees, and they will return for more deep runs in the future. Somewhere in Southeast Asia, Patcharaporn Swangthong may be wondering if her turn is next.

There I go again, babbling on about the future. There are clear and present matchups to be decided, and it's up to you to decide. Vote, so that our field may be reduced to its hallowed Final Four.


#1 Cherries Waffles Tennis, who smashed #4 Forrestina Calf Boss-Ribs, vs. #2 Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who tossed #3 Understanding Bush.


#1 Dr. Electron Kebebew, who splattered #12 Flavious Coffee, vs. #3 Lancelot Supersad, Jr., who said a melancholy goodbye to #2 Jazznique St. Junious.


#8 Handsome Monica, who was tied with #5 Dr. Wallop Promthong just seconds before the polls closed, vs. #7 Infinite Grover, who recurred endlessly against #6 Sherry Pennyjelly.


#2 Amanda Miranda Panda, who deafened #3 Beethoven Bong, vs. #8 Miraculous Powers, who continued his miracle run by topping #4 Malvina Complainville.

Follow us on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Dragonwagon and Chrotchtangle Regionals, Sweet 16

After halving the Bulltron and Sithole Regionals last week, we've returned with the Dragonwagon and Chrotchtangle portions of Sweet Sixteen, The Delectable Dieciséis, The Sexy Sechzehn, and the, um, Shining шестнадцать. We're at the point where boys become men, men become legends, and legends are accepted to Harvard Business School without any outside help.

For those of us who aren’t yet legends, Malvina Miller Complainville can help. The Chrotchtangle Regional's four-seed--who sent Alexcion to the Void and gave Ms. Hughey more than a run for her Queeniemoney--coaches applicants through the grueling admissions processes for the world’s top business schools. As the former Assistant Director of Career Services at Harvard Business School, Ms. Complainville provided hundreds of hours of one-on-one coaching to HBS students and acted as an MVP for those MBA’s.

In a recent article for Fortune Magazine, Ms. Complainville shared some words of advice for business school applicants. Let’s see how her ten tips for MBA success can help naminees claim our coveted title:

#1. Preparation is essential: You can’t just expect to show up at the Name of the Year and improvise your way to the top. Think about what you’ll need to know: which challengers present an immediate threat? How can you spin your onomastic weaknesses into onomastic strengths? Is your audience going to appreciate names that capitalize on potty humor or high-brow allusions? Taking these factors into account can give you the confidence you need to smoke the competition.

#2. Practice makes perfect: Say it once, say it twice, say it one hundred times. Remembering your own name is one of the easiest things you can do to stay competitive during the difficult race ahead.

#3. Tune in and listen: You may try to anticipate how voting will go, but be careful! By listening to the voices of your voters and taking their opinions to heart, you will find your self not only better embracing the spirit of the tournament, but maybe even having a little fun along the way.

#4. Strike the right tone: Name of the Year is serious business. Pennyjelly, Promthong, and Powers didn’t come here to mess around, and neither should you. Sometimes having fun means keeping a straight face and giving this bracket the respect it deserves.

#5. Expect the unexpected: Boom, here’s a picture of a dog delivering pizza:

Didn’t see that coming, did you? Anything can happen here, so remember to stay on your toes.

#6. Keep to the point: Remember, the name of the names. No matter how great your backstory, only your moniker will keep you advancing week after week.

#7. Open windows of conversation: Find ways to mention Name of the Year in daily conversation. For example, tell friends and family to follow the tournament on Twitter. Or to follow along on Twitter. Perhaps you might also suggest that they follow the tournament on Twitter.

#8. Ask intelligent questions: Is our adversarial legal system–in which an attorney dwells just on the facts that support the side by which he or she is paid–the system likeliest to achieve justice? Would all major religions identify essentially the same state of mind as the highest spiritual level human beings attain? What is time? Also, questions about other names in the tournament are good too.

#9. Plan your time: With new opportunities to vote on names every week, you don’t want to burn out too fast. Take your time, pace yourself, and settle in for the long haul.

#10. Don’t forget the basics: Everyone has their own reasons for loving a name, so don’t let anyone else tell you how to vote. At the end of the day, we’re all here for the same reason. So get out there, have some fun, and take that crown!


#9 Handsome Monica, who sizzled #1 Littice Bacon-Blood, vs. #5 Dr. Wallop Promthong, who danced past #4 Dwellie Striggles.

#6 Sherry Pennyjelly, who played the leading role over #3 Cameo Crispi, vs. #7 Infinite Grover, who showed limitless potential against #2 Genghis Muskox.


#8 Miraculous Powers, who, uh, miraculously powered past #1 Mussolini Africano, vs. #4 Malvina Complainville, who cashed out #5 Queeniemoney Hughey.

#3 Beethoven Bong, who lit up #6 Dr. Data Longjohn, vs. #2 Amanda Miranda Panda, who showed rhyme and reason in her defeat of #7 Tunis van Peenen.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Bulltron and Sithole Regionals, Sweet 16

While discussing Name of the Year with friends who are not (yet) NOTY enthusiasts, we often encounter the same questions: "Are these people real? Do you think they care?" And, with a smirk, "have you read that Freakonomics chapter on naming?"

In 2005, two men boringly named Steven and Stephen, an economist and journalist respectively, published a book that made social science research captivating and contrarian. Freakonomics forever altered how many BA-toting Americans understand drug dealers’ salaries, pay-what-you-want products, deceitful sumo wrestlers, and the utmost importance of names. With millions of copies sold, the book begat a blog that begat a brand, and Freakonomics’ insights became conventional unconventional wisdom among the type of people who read the New Yorker. 

(N.B. The Freakonomics folks are long time NOTY fans.)

The book’s final chapter, which covers how names change life trajectories and opportunities, centered around an anecdote of two brothers - Winner Lane and Loser Lane. Loser found a life of repeated success: scholarships for private high school and college opened the door for him to become a sergeant in the NYPD. Ironically, his older brother Winner has spent most of his adult life cycling in and out of incarceration. 

What, then, is predestined by a name like Lancelot Supersad Jr? On a midsummer night in 2014, Sir Lancelot (and, we can only assume, his companion Sir Robin The Not-Quite-So-Sad-as-Sir-Lancelot) held up a third-rate motel in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Soon after his arrest, blogger after blogger posted about the synergy between his last name, life situation, and stiff lower lip in his mugshot. 

Due to his incarceration, we cannot contact Mr. Supersad to gauge his feelings about how his name fits into Freakonomics’ model. In addition, our attempts to find information about his father, Lancelot Sr., have been made doubly hard by the hullabaloo surrounding Lancelot Jr.'s arrest. 

Luckily, this father and son are not the world’s only true Supersads. NOTY 2011 saw the unprecedented run of Rochester medical illustrator and Sithole 15-seed Yolanda Supersad. Her relation to the Lancelots remains unclear, but she captivated voters with a stirring run to the Elite Eight. Elsewhere, rags-to-riches New York cabbie Rostant Supersad remains happy despite many a dumb joke from riders. He and his wife have gone from impoverished immigrants to Lexus-driving Long Island landowners. 

Will Lancelot Supersad Jr. follow Yolanda’s path to the Elite Eight? Or will he be the Winner to her Loser? While we cannot change his life path, you can chose his future place in the pantheon of names (and decide the rest of the Bulltron and Sithole Sweet 16 matchups) below:


#1 Cherries Waffles Tennis, who aced #8 Pleasant Crump, vs. #4 Forrestina Calf Boss Ribs, who leapfrogged #12 Kermit Carolina

#3 Understanding Bush, who needed no recount against #6 I Made Mangku Pastika, vs. #2 Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who excommunicated #7 Swindly Lint.


#1 Dr. Electron Kebebew, who scoped #9 Manmeet Colon, vs. #12 Flavious Coffee, who ground up #13 Joko Widodo.

#3 Lancelot Supersad, Jr., who hath slain #6 Dallas Ennema, vs. #2 Jazznique St. Junious, who bopped #7 Baba Blumkin.

Vote, Pray, Follow.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Dragonwagon and Chrotchtangle Regionals, Round Two

Saying goodbye can be so difficult. 

In both the Chrotchtangle and Dragonwagon Regionals, we have bid adieu to many wondrous oddities. But it is upon the discarded husks of Hackwelders and Henchmen that we seek our acme -- the Name of the Year. [roll credits]. Our closest matchup came from Odd Hackwelder's face-off against Dwellie Striggles, where Mr. Striggles wriggled out of the jaws of defeat by a mere five votes. That's the tightest race we've seen so far this year, and we can only expect things to get more heated as we race to the top.

Reviewing the carnage from the initial round of voting, fifteen of our sixteen favorites from across these two regionals beat their underdog challengers en route to round two. It was only poor Jeravicious Raven who didn't quite have the bite to surmount his opponent, Handsome Monica. But we're not surprised, because Handsome Enrique Ray Monica is no stranger to obstacles.

Coming in this year as a catcher for the Arizona Wildcats, Mr. Monica is aware that his determination will go a long way. "...In order to find playing time, I need to learn how to push myself", he vowed. Wildcats Coach Andy Lopez also refuses to let Monica's wonderful, strong name become a distraction. Although Lopez calls most of his players by their last names, he eschews the practice for Mr. Monica because "'Monica' is a woman's name." Instead, Lopez has drawn from the deep well of hyper-masculine replacement monikers and chosen..."Kiki" as his nickname of choice.

Was Handsome always Handsome though? Well, as it turns out, no. Handsome Monica was born in Mandeville, Lousiana as Donald Ray Monica. But early on his mom decided she "didn't like" Donald Ray and began only calling her little cherub what she saw: Handsome. At age 13, when young Handsome was informed that no nicknames were allowed his new private school, there was only one recourse: change the name.  

And while he is proud of his unique name, part of being a smart competitor is picking your battles. Mr. Monica admits to ordering takeout at his local Chinese food place as "John", just to keep the process simple.  

Handsome may be a dashing young man, but he has quite the battle ahead of him, as he faces off against the Dragonwagon regional's top dog, one-seed Littice Bacon-Blood. Will our Handsome darling be able to stave off Lattice's porcine, sanguine machine? Will an Infinite supply of Grovers be enough to take down the gargantuan Genghis Muskox? Will Beethoven Bong be able to smoke the calculating terror, Dr. Data Longjohn? And will Malvina Complainville give a certain Hughey a run for her Queeniemoney? The decision, dear reader, is yours and yours alone to make. Vote below today! 


#1 Littice Bacon-Blood, who fried #16 Win Thin, vs. #9 Handsome Monica, who said "nevermore" to #8 Jeravicious Raven.

#5 Dr. Wallop Promthong, who walloped #12 Psalm Wooching, vs. #4 Dwellie Striggles, who hacked through #13 Odd Hackwelder.

#6 Sherry Pennyjelly, whose parade of nouns stopped #11 Apollo Jolly, vs. #3 Cameo Crispi, who burned #14 Gladstone Dainty.

#7 Infinite Grover, who was super against #10 Kapri Bibbs, vs. #2 Genghis Muskox, who unleashed his horde upon #15 Joe Henchman


#1 Mussolini Africa, who conquered #16 Lyric Generals, vs. #8 Miraculous Powers, who melted down #9 Silver Bronzo.

#5 Queeniemoney Hughey, who sang "We are the Champions" against #12 Q Drennan, vs. #4 Malvina Complainville, who lodged a victory against #13 Alexcion Void.

#6 Dr. Data Longjohn, who pantsed #11 Shyanthony Synigal, vs. #3 Beethoven Bong, who inhaled #14 Zeke Faux.

#7 Tunis van Peenen, who slaughtered #10 Rocky Porco, vs. #2 Amanda Miranda Panda, who ate shoots and leaves against #15 Shanda Licking.

Debate. Vote. Tweet.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Bulltron and Sithole Regionals, Round Two

The most prestigious springtime tournament has concluded, but our bracket has much more Madness ahead of it. We're in our second round, and by this time next week, we'll have cut our field in half once again.

Today, we take on the Bulltron and Sithole Regionals, where 16 intriguing names remain. Top contenders like Cherries Waffles Tennis, Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and Dr. Electron Kebebew are still in the running. If you missed out on their stories, we spotlighted all three in round one. Today, I'd like to look at another man who seems poised for a deep run: The Bulltron Regional's six-seed, I Made Mangku Pastika.

Mr. Pastika is not just the only complete sentence in our field; he's also one the most important people vying for the 2015 NOTY crown. The 63-year-old Indonesian is the Governor of Bali, a position he has held since 2008. As Governor, he has delivered rousing speeches, encouraged his citizens to kill rabid dogs, and, according to one panegyric blog post, served as "a man of the people."

But we're not here to talk about Mr. Pastika's gubernatorial accomplishments. We're here to talk about his name, and oh, what a name it is. To English speakers, it is a four-part journey that looks as if it belongs on a t-shirt. In its native tongue, though, it is hardly unusual, and it demonstrates several naming conventions common to Balinese culture.

"I Made" is a routine beginning on Bali. There are likely thousands of citizens whose names start with this seemingly DIY construction. The "I" identifies its bearer as a man, while "Made" (along with the names Kadek, Nengah, and Ngurah) signifies a second child. Other parts of the Balinese name refer to the bearer's caste membership, but as Mr. Pastika is part of the Sudra caste, his four-part handle includes no other special classifiers. Instead, its other two parts are more unique to him; as with many other Indonesian cultures, the Balinese people do not pass family names down to their children.

Even without a specific finisher to bind families together, Balinese names do a wonderful job of serving as both taxonomies and identifiers. And as far as our tournament is concerned, these names often lead to some entertaining combinations. Mr. Pastika's wife is named Ni Made Ayu Putri. Their child is Putu Pasek Sandoz Prawirotam.

Now that we know Mr. Pastika's name is fairly routine in his home country, how do we proceed? Some voters may choose to punish the Balinese Governor, but we think of NOTY as a multicultural celebration. When certain conventions get lost in translation, a perfectly normal name in one half of the world can provide utmost amusement in the other.

Will I Made Mangku Pastika get to the Sweet Sixteen? Understanding Bush, who almost carries a complete sentence name of his own, stands in the way. That matchup, and 7 others, are below. Vote. Updates, as always, will be provided on Twitter.


#1 Cherries Waffles Tennis, who hit a forehand winner past #16 Dent McSkimming, vs. #8 Pleasant Crump, who beat #9 Sunshine Crump in the Battle of the Crumps.

#12 Kermit Carolina, who KO'd #5 Omar Hurricane, vs. #4 Forrestina Calf Boss Ribs, who took down #13 Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick like a boss.

#6 I Made Mangku Pastika, who rejected #11 Andromeda Dunker, vs. #3 Understanding Bush, who dropped weapons of mass destruction on #14 Blundy Vildor.

#7 Swindly Lint, who sent #10 Tacko Fall tumbling out of the tournament, vs. #2 Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who had a divine showing against #15 Lourawls Nairn, Jr. Sorry, Tum Tum.


#1 Dr. Electron Kebebew, who atomized #16 Hunter Jumper, vs. #9 Manmeet Colon, who jammed up #8 Dr. Jocko Zifferblatt.

#12 Flavious Coffee, who squeaked past #5 Erhard Thumfart by a mere ten votes, leads a battle of upset winners against #13 Joko Widodo, the vanquisher of #4 Chito Schnupp.

#6 Dallas Ennema, who smoked #11 Bol Bol, vs. #3 Lancelot Supersad, Jr., who vanquished #14 LaAdrian Waddle.

#7 Baba Blumkin, who unleashed his killer B's on #10 Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, vs. #2 Jazznique St. Junious, who got jazzy on #15 Fellony Silas.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 Name of the Year: Chrotchtangle Regional, Round One

This year's Chrotchtangle Regional is a marvelous, multisyllabic mess and we could not be more proud to introduce you to our colorful nominees. 

Despite the chaos of the selection process, we developed strong fascist nation fascination with the man who would ultimately lead our last set of fine names. When we think about one-seed Mussolini Africano, an LA-area physician, our imaginations run wild about how such a beautiful, multi-continental nominal construction came to be. 

And while some names we yearn to know more about, for others we know almost too much. Barrel-chested ten-seed Rocky Porco loves working outside and driving his bumble bee yellow Harley, or so touts the Employee Spotlight of the City of Salida, Colorado Facebook page. There Rocky graciously shares a bit of his limelight with a mysteriously vague anecdote about a fun time with his friend Kevin:

Funny story: Rocky remembers a time when working with Kevin Nelson in a ditch, and the water was up to Kevin's neck. Kevin was trying to get up the ladder, but there was no bottom rung and Kevin couldn't get out...neither could remember how the story ended but we do know Kevin got out--he is still alive and well and still works for the City of Salida! 

You go Rocky!

Now, our name would not be Name of the Year without a bevy of strong contenders from the realm of sports. Fifth seed Q Drennan (yes, just Q) is a former MI6 gadgeteer turned freshman wide receiver at The University of New Mexico. One pairing over from Q is Claflin University player and 13-seed Alexicon Void, who will surely leave you with a loss for words if these young athletes come head-to-head in Round 2.

Our third Chrotchtangle nominee worth noting from the world of sports is eight-seed Miraculous Powers, another rising high school footballer. Interestingly enough, it turns out that Powers has actually lived up to his lofty name. While he was in utero, Powers' mother Lowanda was in a severe car accident that left her life on the line. In the hospital, Lowanda's family was told that the likelihood of both mother and son making it was grim. But when they both made a full recovery a few days later, Lowanda deemed only one name fitting for her miracle kid.

Last but certainly not least, the NOTY phones have been off the hook with hubbub about our two-seed Amanda Miranda Panda. In real life, she has hit some hard times after being read her Amanda Miranda Rights and subsequently charged with three counts of burglary in Boise, Idaho last December. But to us, she can be still be crowned a real winner. If not a winner, then at least a shining example of the awesome power a parent can wield with merely a pen and a blank line on a birth certificate.

Will one of these contenders carry the covetous Chrotchtangle name to the winner's circle? Vote below!

#1 Mussolini Africano, SoCal physician, vs. #16 Lyric Generals, a young Philadelphia-area cheerleader.

#8 Miraculous Powers, football player, vs. #9 Silver Bronzo, Auburn University philosophy instructor.

#5 Queeniemoney Hughey of Chicago vs. #12 Q Drennan of the New Mexico Lobos.

#4 Malvina Complainville, former Harvard Business School employee, vs. #13 Alexcion Void, high school basketball player.

#6 Dr. Data Longjohn, Long Island internist, vs. #11 Shyanthony Synigal, track and field athlete.

#3 Beethoven Bong, video editor at CUNY, vs. #14 Zeke Faux, Bloomberg reporter.

#7 Tunis van Peenen, owner of Van Peenen's Dairy, vs. #10 Rocky Porco of Salida, CO.

#2 Amanda Miranda Panda of Boise vs. #15 Shanda Licking, Hospitality Director at the Dismal River Golf Club

Happy voting. Twitter plug.