Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2016 Name of the Year: Crotchtangle Regional, Round 1

What will your legacy be? When all is done and the dust has settled, what small part of you will continue to live on? Some leave legacies that affect the lives of millions. Others have no choice but to accept the legacy thrust upon them. And then there are those who leave a profound and lasting legacy entirely by accident.

Here at Name of the Year, we have a deep respect for names of years past and for the legacies those names begat. Whether it’s last year’s Lancelot Supersad, Jr., following in the footsteps of Yolanda Supersad before him, or the tournament’s rich history of Tacos, tradition can be important. It’s why year after year we see names in the tournament that pay respect to those who came before them. And it’s why this year, we’re proud to add another legacy name to the list: the Crotchtangle Regional’s Dr. Jorja Pound Turnipseed.

It’s been over thirty years since we last saw a Turnipseed fighting for the Name of the Year title. The year was 1985. The Turnipseed was Delano, then an All-City football player from outside Philadelphia and now an inspiration to those suffering spinal cord injuries. Though he was ultimately bested by the unforgettable Godfrey Sithole, Turnipseed’s marvelous moniker earned him a permanent spot in the Hall of Names.

So here we find ourselves, the 13-seed Jorja Pound Turnipseed matched up against the four-seed Jasmine Squirrel. And it’s only fitting that Dr. Turnipseed enters the tournament as a legacy name, considering the legacy that she herself stands to leave behind. As Professor Emerita at Mississippi State University and longtime Executive Director of VSA Arts of Mississippi, Dr. Turnipseed has worked tirelessly to create learning opportunities through the arts for people with disabilities.  She was also recognized as an "Outstanding Mississippi Woman 1988-1989" and received the "Outstanding Professional Woman in Service Award" in 1981.

But could Dr. Turnipseed be at the center of the first-ever Name of the Year conspiracy theory? Consider this: in her 1993-1994 run for the Mississippi state senate, Dr. Turnipseed received funding from an anonymous “Funeral Home Director,” perhaps the same funeral home director who took home a staggering 93% of the votes in last week’s Sithole Regional. Are Jorja Pound Turnipseed and Dick Tips working in cahoots to hijack this year’s championship? Stay tuned on Twitter at @NOTYTourney to find out, and in the meantime, cast your votes below!


#1 Shuntavyious Primes-Willes, 15-year-old murder suspect, vs. Billie-Jo Skeleton, Class of '89

#8 Tre' McKitty, high school recruit, vs. #9 Narelle Coneybeare, Australian finance director

#5 Divine Deablo, soon-to-be Virginia Tech wide receiver, vs. #12 Showander Descarte, New Jersey swatting suspect

#4 Jasmine Squirrel, Freddie Gray's highschool classmate, vs. #13 Jorja Pound Turnipseed

#6 Muna Tuna, pharmaceutical consultant, vs. #11 Langstaff Dickerson, directionally-challenged assailant

#3 Sweet Orefice, Sarah Lawrence College administrative staff, vs. #14 Peola Smith-Smith, President of National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women's Clubs

#7 Kurtulus Kalican, charged in the killing of his ex-wife's boyfriend, vs. #10 Mighty Fine, director at American Public Health Association

#2 Bevis Mugabi, Southhampton FC defender, vs. #15 Genesis Lucero, Stanford lacrosse midfielder

Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Name of the Year: Dragonwagon Regional, Round One

This season's Name Of The Year contest kicks off as the repercussions of an uneven economic recovery have been laid bare. Members of Middle America's working class have rarely had it worse. Pensions are running out of money, drug abuse is rampant, and jobs in the trades are disappearing. For most, that'd be excuse enough to turn up the volume on the West Wing DVD and crawl under the Packers fleece blanket, remembering better times. 

Not so for one contestant in the Dragonwagon Regional: Rusty Justice, a canary in the coal mine who has been reborn as a new-economy phoenix. The blue collar hero shrugged off smug, coastal doubters and swapped work in Kentucky's shuttering coal mines -- long the best employment opportunity in poverty-stricken Appalachia -- for computer coding.

Rusty's rise was not a given. Before he began compressing coal into diamonds, he was, as anyone would be, terrified to see his livelihood disappear. "I am as afraid of my government as I have ever been," Rusty told Chattanooga's Times Free Press in 2011. "The policies being enacted by my government is going to destroy the economy of my part of the state."

But Rusty separated himself from the rest of us in the shivering, huddling masses by acting decisively as the world collapsed around him. “We pondered on it, prayed over it,” he said. “We need to do something.” His company, BitSource, found itself fielding 900 job applications when it was looking for 50. He was providing hope where there'd been none.

Rusty's story stands in stark contrast to the current chapter in American history, where others have allowed fear and anger to swell into xenophobia and nationalism. He's found steely resolve under industrial decay. He's created an opportunity earned by the hard work of Kentucky's miners.

As in his personal crusade, Rusty's path forward in the NOTY contest is not clear. As the region's 13th seed, he's up against Miramar, Florida's Dr. Shark Bird in the first round. Surviving that fight will pit him against either the Kalkaska Rhinos' Daystar Smallboy or Lt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in the Florida Keys. These are all tough contenders.

Rusty, though, has always had faith. This is a year to return the favor, and have faith in Rusty Justice.

#1 Joylord Gumbie, Zimbabwean wicketkeeper, vs. #16 Census Johnston, club rugby prop 

#8 JoJo Victory, mother of injured middle school football player, vs. #9 Taco Pope, Planning & Opportunity Director for Nassau County
#5 Daystar Smallboy, forward for the Kalkaska Rhinos, vs. #12 Lt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff, head of the communications division at Monroe County Sheriff's Office

#4 Dr. Shark Bird, family practitioner in Miramar, FL, vs. #13 Rusty Justice, miner-turned-coder

#6 Howdy Goudey, window & envelope materials engineer at Berkeley Lab, vs. #11 Zeus Preckwinkle, retiring math & science teacher at Ancona School

#3 Dicaprio Bootle, blazing fast Nebraska recruit, vs. #14 Cinderela Guevara, Presidio County judge who declared Justice Scalia dead of "natural causes"

#7 Ransom Barefoot, ex-boyfriend to the mother of a missing child, vs. #10 IV Seacat, Texas Tech walk-on

#2 Inta Mulch, top female bowler, vs. #15 Lil'Jordan Humphrey, widely-recruited running back

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 Name of the Year: Sithole Regional, Round 1

Emzy Veazy III discusses his background Wednesday morning at the Little Nell Hotel.

As we continue our quest to ascribe the alias of the annum, we move to the Sithole regional, where we find an ebullient epistolary entity who exasperates editorial boards.

Holed up in Aspen, Colorado's Pitkin County Library, Emzy reads newspapers voraciously and responds to their editors, often with outrage. With a mix of sanctimony and acrimony, he attacks the small town politics of Aspen, Colorado and Burbank, California, his two home towns. The Aspen Times runs rants from Emzy so often that readers regularly contact the paper’s leadership asking to cease printing his thoughts. Emzy also finds time to scribble screeds to local papers about school closing in New York City and town governance structures in Idaho.

Between his notes telling people to get off his lawn and better adhere to flag code, Veazy sends compositions that perhaps can be best classified as “Old Man Yells at Clouds”. USA Today ran a letter from him affirming the existence of sexually attractive women working in Hollywood. During the 2011 US military operations against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, MZVZIII wrote this letter to the Times of Malta to express, uh, well, it’s not really clear. Perhaps not to be outdone, this past summer Emzy wrote a letter to the New Haven Register just to let the people of Connecticut know that he saw their Governor from a distance. 

The epistolary Emzy faces off in the first round against Israel tech CEO Oozi Cats. Can the long lost art of the letter overcome a man whose name sounds as if it was dreamed up by an Internet-loving gamer? If Veazy goes goodbye, we at the High Committee fully expect a letter of disdain to hit our email account post haste. In the meantime, cast your votes below, and stay tuned to Twitter for updates.


#1 Pope McCorkle III, Duke University professor, vs. #16 Kiwi Comizio, Yale University lacrosse player.

#8 Oozi Cats vs. #9 Emzy Veazy III.

#5 Dr. Kim Nazi, sociology PhD, vs. #12 Saint Schwing, football player.

#4 Snookie Catholique, Canadian public official, vs. #13 Boy Waterman, Dutch goalie.

#6 Cosmo Bjorkenheim, bookstore owner, vs. #11 Misty Mints, police spokeswoman.

#3 Scholastique Koolimo of Maryland, vs. #14 Zulaika Mook, public official in Curaçao.

#7 Dick Tips, funeral home owner, vs. #10 Amethyst Valentino, karaoke host.

#2 Attila Freska, business professor, vs. #15 Rigoberto Urán Urán, Colombian cyclist.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

2016 Name of the Year: Bulltron Regional, Round One


Our annual voting process begins in the Bulltron Regional, where the two-seed is carrying on an important and unusual baseball tradition. Cleveland Indians farmhand Sicnarf Loopstok is one of the few players in sporting history whose first name is his father’s first name (Francis) spelled backwards.

As many baseball fans -- particularly those from New England -- will remember, the most famous dad’s-first-name-spelled-backwards player of all-time is Nomar Garciaparra, former Red Sox shortstop and son of Ramon. Thanks to the dropped r’s of the Boston accent, the first name ‘Nomah’ took on a memetic quality all its own, and while Garciaparra was only able to muster eight votes in his first and only appearance on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, his moniker has been enshrined in a rare club, of which Sicnarf is also a member.

Sicnarf’s first name, like Nomar’s, has attracted a fair bit of attention, even though the 22-year-old catcher (who was born in Aruba) still has not progressed beyond the single-A level of the Indians’ farm system. In 2013, he won Minor Leage Baseball’s ‘Moniker Madness’ tournament, beating out a strong field that included Stryker Trahan, Forrest Snow, and Jose Jose. At the time, he expressed nothing but love for the father who named him. "I thought, this is a great thing," he said. "My family noticed and they supported and voted for me -- they were great."

By coming out on top in Moniker Madness, Sicnarf has won the Name of the Year version of a conference tournament, and while it may have taken us a couple years to notice him, we’re finally doing our duty and punching his ticket to the Big Dance. Here, he’ll be up against much stiffer competition than in his previous onomastic contest. His first-round opponent, 15-seed Chizu Shimizu Buckalew, is a San Diego resident with a three-pronged rhyming attack and an upwelling of support on the Internet. Given the imperfect nature of NOTY seeding, it is entirely possible for Chizu to pull off the upset. If that were to happen, it would be an unfortunate result for Sicnarf, but even the best baseball players strike out from time to time. Plus, as he is hoping to one day play professional sports in Cleveland, he should probably get used to the taste of defeat.
Will Sicnarf hold off his challenger? Or will Chizu pull off the upset? You can decide the answer, as well as the results of seven other match-ups, by voting below. And as always, be sure to follow along on Twitter for updates.


#1 Tillmann Buttersack, German scientist, vs. #16 Jango Glackin, incoming Northwestern linebacker.

#8 True Sweetster, swimming prospect, vs. #9 Jasmine Albuquerque-Croissant, artist.

#5 Duffy McSwiggin, talent agent, vs. #12 Burm Snart, septuagenarian table tennis player.

#4 Brodarius Hamm, four-star football recruit, vs. #13 Ka’Jandre Domino, Grambling State wide receiver.

#6 Onno Hoes, former Maastricht mayor ousted by a sex scandal, vs. Jaquiski Tartt, San Francisco 49ers strong safety.

#3 Charol Shakeshaft, sexual abuse researcher, vs. #14 Tchaikovsky Cantalicio, incoming Buffalo University wide receiver.

#7 Jerusalem Monday, New Zealand man, vs. #10 Furious Carney of Cincinnati.

#2 Sicnarf Loopstok vs. #15 Chizu Shimizu Buckalew

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Presenting the 2016 Name of the Year Bracket

Presenting The 2016 Name Of The Year Bracket
These are exciting times for Name of the Year. Since we spoke to you last, several of our past winners have found themselves back in the headlines. Steele Sidebottom, the People’s Choice in the 2010 contest, recently inked a five-year contract extension with the Australian Football League’s Collingwood Magpies. Hector “Macho” Camacho, the first ever NOTY winner (and, let’s be honest, a minnow compared to today’s contenders), earned a posthumous induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame. Most significantly, 2001 champ Tokyo Sexwale tossed in his legendary name for FIFA’s presidential race, though he later withdrew it. “It’s your problem now,” he said of soccer’s famously corrupt governing body.

Sexwale’s waves in the FIFA race prompted many readers to send in his name as a potential 2016 naminee, but as many of you know, he is ineligible; once a name has been considered for our tournament, it can never be included in a future bracket. This is a crucial rule that promotes a diverse and fresh selection, but it’s also a tragedy. Every celebration of a Name of the Year champion requires 63 eulogies for those who didn’t quite complete the journey, and unlike Mr. Sidebottom, Mr. Camacho, and Mr. Sexwale, the majority of those bygone naminees are unlikely to make splashy headlines in the future.

For the 64 people who have made our 2016 field, a share of glory is up for grabs. Some of them, such as four-star college football recruit and Bulltron Regional four-seed Brodarious Hamm, are likely to garner more attention in the future. Others, such as mid-80s competitive bowler and Dragonwagon Regional two-seed Inta Mulch, may never show up in newsprint ever again.

When weighing names like Mr. Hamm’s or Ms. Mulch’s against those of their opponents, however, past, present, and future accomplishments play only a small role, if any. What matters more is the look of each name’s particular arrangement; its sound (we suggest our readers say all these names out loud before passing judgement); its rhythm, cadence, and meter; the power of the whole created by its two (or more) parts; and a host of other technical factors that can improve the quality of a name without the merits of the individual attached to it ever coming into play.
This is my absolute favorite quality of our yearly endeavor. The people in our field hail from all walks of life, united by the spectacular names to which they have been legally bound. No matter their stories, no matter the direction in which their lives will later head, they are all welcome here.

Voting will commence shortly. Will your intentions be True Sweetster? Will your vote be cast with Rusty Justice in mind? Will your favorite name achieve JoJo Victory? Or will you find yourself playing Jerusalem Monday morning quarterback? It’s going to be a fun year. Hit us up on Twitter if you’d like to follow along.