Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 Name of the Year: Dragonwagon and Chrotchtangle Regionals, Round Two

As the NCAA’s March Madness moves to the Final Four, our competition heads to the right half of the bracket to weed our competition down to 16. The Dragonwagon regional featured a mix of chalk and upsets: One-seed and Hawaii softballer Chardonnay Pantastico struck out Chance Comanche, two-seed Sultan McDoom smote Bastiaan Slabbers, and six-seed Andy Brandy Casagrande IV razed Brickman House while ten-seed Fiery Cushman, 12-seed Demon Clowney, 13-seed Christian Joo, and 14-seed Dougal Spork played Cinderellas to opponents not worthy of being named.

The Chrotchtangle regional saw two of the closest matchups of the first round. Seven-seed Le'Genius Wisdom Williams robbed Dutch gallerist Taco Dibbits by a mere 37 votes and four Headman Dadzie fans propelled him past Jeffrosenberg Tan. Even one-seed and high committee favorite Quindarious Monday slipped by Bobbie Bobango by just 200 votes. Down the bracket, Dallas Creamer churned past Free Balboa, Bird Lovegod avoided Teena Touch, Aphrodite Bodycomb disturbed Harmony Excellent, and Eliza Fox Teats found herself beat by Boats Botes against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Vote early, vote often, or your favorite may lose their shot at the Hall of Name.

As members of the high committee, such upsets and close matchups validate the hours that go into scouring the world, pouring through your suggestions, verifying names, and ultimately constructing a bracket. Each year, hundreds of names that make us cackle, cry, and cringe cannot make the cut. Some fall because we cannot find verification, others turn out to be nicknames or name changes, and a few others lack that certain je ne se quois.

In choosing among the worthy names, we face myriad ethical dilemmas. Should we include the name of a recently murdered baby? No. What about someone who has publicly written about having been teased for the name? Many of our names come from police reports. In 2015 three of the Final Four held arrest records and the fourth, Infinite Grover, witnessed a crime. Are we doing wrong by bringing attention to their lowest moments? And can we, in good faith, appreciate a name that fills us with joy but is unremarkable within its own community?

No NOTY contestant in recent history has been more qualified to help us ponder these quandaries than Dragonwagon 10-seed Fiery Cushman. Perched in his office in Harvard's William James Hall, Cushman, a moral psychologist, studies why and how people decide what’s right and what’s wrong. With fake guns, machine learning, and every permutation of the trolley problem possible, Cushman tries to understand our innate moral drive.

Outside the lab, he's a wildly popular professor whose students describe every lecture like a TED talk. "Call me Fiery," he implores them the first lecture of the year, as they begin a 300 person hunt for the white whale of morality. While his casual attitude and his metaphoric moniker that smells of marijuana may make many mistakenly muse about a hippy upbringing, Fiery was forged from the bluest of blood: a Times political journalist and professor as parents and an education from Harvard, Harvard, and Harvard.

After robbing Cash Masters, Fiery has sights set on a new prestigious prize for his CV: Name of the Year 2017. First, he will need to summon up the hottest of conflagrations to avoid being extinguished by Dragonwagon two-seed Sultan McDoom. Vote in that matchup and the rest of the Chrotchtangle and Dragonwagon Regionals below and follow along on Twitter.


#1 Chardonnay Pantastico vs. #8 Windy Swetman III

#12 Demon Clowney vs. #13 Christian Joo

#6 Andy Brandy Casagrande IV vs. #14 Dougal Spork

#2 Sultan McDoom vs. #10 Fiery Cushman


#1 Quindarious Monday vs. #9 Mythzard Thelisma

#4 Dallas Creamer vs. #12 Headman Dadzie

#11 Bird Lovegod vs. #14 Boats Botes

#2 Aphrodite Bodycomb vs. #7 Le’Genius Wisdom Williams

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 Name of the Year: Bulltron and Sithole Regionals, Round Two

Here at Name of the Year, we love unusual names and the people who carry them, but the life experiences of our naminees are far from universally positive. Over the years, we’ve heard from a handful of the contenders we have included in our brackets, and several of them have told us of the mockery they endured when they were kids.
As someone with a fairly ordinary handle, I’ve rarely been teased because of my name, and while I’m fortunate to have avoided those encounters, I’m also left to wonder if I missed an opportunity to build character. Can the burden of carrying a strange title foster strength? That’s the question we’re asking today at Name of the Year, and to proffer an answer, we’re going to look at the example of the Sithole Regional’s 11-seed, Bumper Pool.
Mr. Pool is a junior at Lovejoy High School in Texas, and after he graduates in 2018, he has committed to play football at the University of Arkansas. In his young career, he has already become a force to be reckoned with at the inside linebacker position. ESPN has listed him as one of the top 300 recruits nationwide in the class of 2018, and he received offers from a dozen top football schools before ultimately choose to play for the Razorbacks.
How has Mr. Pool gotten so good so fast? Some observers wonder if his name has factored into his blitz toward greatness. “A young man has to be tough to play inside linebacker,” wrote Greg Poole of Bulldawg Illustrated. “With a name like Bumper Pool one might have plenty of opportunities to toughen up in elementary school, right?”
Mr. Pool’s dad would certainly agree with the assertion that the name he chose for his son has given Bumper strength, since he knew from day one his son would have a talent for sports. “"I always said if I had a son, his first name would be Bumper," Jeff Pool told Bleacher Report back in 2015. "It kind of fit as a football name, and when his grandparents were OK with that, I knew we had something." The elder Pool claims to have decided on the name Bumper after receiving a vision in high school. One is left to wonder whether that vision occurred in a smoky billiards hall or a bustling lounge.
In the same Bleacher Report article, Bumper echoed his father by referring to his handle as a “football name.” At the same time, his other quotes may strike down our theory that he navigated onomastic strife and emerged as a bigger man. “The people I'm around, they don't ask anymore,” he said. “I know a lot of my friends, when they first met me, will tell their parents, 'I met a kid named Bumper.'"
Whether the Bumper moniker was ever a source of pain for the younger Pool, or if it has merely served as the “conversation starter” he claims it to be, his talents on the gridiron have ensured he won’t only be remembered for his name. Will a NOTY title be part of his legacy? As he has to face off against powerhouse three-seed Faraj Fartass in today’s round of 32, we’re giving him an “outlook not so good” for now. Win or lose, we expect Mr. Pool to continue wear his name proudly as he racks up accomplishments on and off the field.
Vote below, and remember to follow us on Twitter.
#1 Kobe Buffalomeat vs. #9 Cherish Bloodgood

#5 Clapperton Mavhunga vs. #13 Melanie Gubbels Bupp

#6 YourMajesty Lumpkins vs. #14 Guy Hands

#2 Bonjovi Hardeman vs. #7 H. King Buttermore

#1 Marmaduke Trebilcock vs. #9 Subu Dubey

#4 Dick Posthumus vs. #5 Hella Jongerius

#3 Faraj Fartass vs. #11 Bumper Pool

#2 Fortunate Sithole vs. #10 Tugg Snowbarger

Friday, March 24, 2017

2017 Name of the Year: Chrotchtangle Regional, Round One

Many believe that humor is no more complex than the subversion of expectations. One expects a chicken to have a reason for crossing the road, or for Abbott to understand that the first baseman’s name is “Who.” And while many names in the Chrotchtangle Regional are entertaining for their repetition (14-seed Botes Boats) or their lyricism (two-seed Aphrodite Bodycomb), it’s worth stepping back for a moment to appreciate the delicious subversion expressed by the region’s ten-seed, Taco Dibbits.

Mr. Dibbits is a rice scoop of intellectualism wrapped in a tortilla of culinary delight. While his name summons the smell of sizzling meats and vegetables, he has in fact worked tirelessly at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to improve its collection and bring masterpieces to the masses. In the last few years, he has acquired pieces such as Adriaen de Vries’ Bacchant and Rembrandt’s Marten en Oopjen for the Rijksmuseum’s collection, prompting the question, do the museum patrons know the name of the man making their experience possible? Should “Art Presented by Taco” labels adorn the works?

We don’t think the humor is lost on Mr. Dibbits. After all, he’s someone who knows how to have a good time. “The fun part of being a Director of Collections,” he said in an interview with 10 Minutes With, “is impossible to say because I think it’s all fun.” It’s that passion that earned him a promotion to the General Director of the Rijksmuseum in May 2016. His love for art and high culture seeps through every interview he gives, every article he pens.

And therein lies the subversion: while a name like Taco Dibbits may conjure a popular street foodstuff or a late-night drive-thru craving, Mr. Dibbits is the high class. He is suited, coiffed, and well-spoken. He’s been featured in the New York Times and curated multiple art documentaries. Will the juxtaposition tickle NOTY voters? Or will Mr. Dibbits find himself lamenting an early exit, consoling himself among the works of geniuses past?

Working against Mr. Dibbits is the strength of the Chrotchtangle Regional. He must overcome the smarts of seven-seed Le’Genius Wisdom Williams and other quality monikers such as the rhythmic 16-seed Bobbie Bobango or the majestic duo of eight-seed Edzard Overbeek and nine-seed Mythzard Thelisma. And of course, there’s always the chance that voters could come down with a case of the Mondays and propel one-seed Quindarious Monday to victory. Additionally, Mr. Dibbits may be entering the tournament at an inopportune time, as Taco fatigue could be setting in. It was only last year that Taco Pope, an American rugby player, won his regional and reached the Final Four.

Bearing all that in mind, it is time to vote in the 2017 NOTY Chrotchtangle Regional. Can Taco Dibbits’s love for art save him? That is in your hands, dear voters. Share your opinion below, and remember to follow us on Twitter.


#1 Qundarious Monday, high school football player, vs. #16 Bobbie Bobango of Laramie, Wyoming.

#8 Edzard Overbeek, CEO of HERE, a location cloud company, vs. #9 Mythzard Thelisma, financial manager for the Christianville Haiti campus and the Haiti Goat Project

#5 Jeffrosenberg Tan, Indonesian investment banker, vs. #12 Headman Dadzie, defender for the Western Strikers SC
#4 Dallas Creamer, lacrosse player for Stevens Institute of Technology, vs. #13 Free Balbona of Miami Gardens, Florida

#6 Teena Touch, PR and social media guru, vs. #11 Bird Lovegod, editor of The Fintech Times and co-founder of Disrupts Media

#3 Eliza Fox Teats, 19th Century Methodist church builder, vs. #14 Boats Botes, Gold One group asset protection and security manager

#7 Le’Genius Wisdom Williams of St. Petersburg, Florida, vs. #10 Taco Dibbits, General direction of Rijksmuseum

#2 Aphrodite Bodycomb, MSM, MBA, vs. #15 Harmony Excellent, Senior Development Manager of the American Gastroenterologist Association

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017 Name of the Year: Dragonwagon Regional, Round One

2017 marks the 30th iterations of two beloved annual traditions: our own humble tournament and Shark Week. As we ascended from the filth of a college dorm room to become the World's Preeminent Tournament of Names, our brethren running Shark Week took an idea and created what Stephen Colbert called the Second Holiest Week of the Year.

Shark Week hatched in a smoky Manhattan bar, where a group of Discovery executives boozed and blustered until someone hit upon the perfect intersection of education and entertainment. The lineup was tame at first, filled with documentaries about diving cages and shark behavior. Each year, however, improving camera technology and better understanding of sharks lead to shots that had been impossible the year before. The series developed widespread cultural awareness as well as a small, fervent following that grew by the year.

Shark Week’s popularity took off in the late aughts thanks in part to another TV program. On a 
2006 episode of 30 Rock, Tracy Morgan's character advised a colleague to "live every week like it’s Shark Week," a line that more than a decade later decorates dating profiles nationwide.

Few people can say with more certainty that they live up to Morgan's rejoinder than the man we are here today to celebrate: Dragonwagon Regional six-seed Andy Brandy Casagrande IV. ABC4 is one of the camera people who makes it possible to see sharks shred seals in HD. He is no ordinary cameraperson; he has won an Emmy for Outstanding Nature Cinematography and Popular Mechanics called him "the gutsiest shark photographer ever".

Growing up in small town Western Pennsylvania, Andy dreamed of the deep sea. He first went to Florida International University to study marine biology but found himself discouraged by grad students studying small sea creatures. He transferred to Pitt, took a semester on a cruise ship, and several years later found himself with a degree of psychology, an unfulfilling job in tech, and a longing for the sea.

Frustrated sitting at a desk, Casagrande bet the house on a future as a videographer. To prove his skill in the sea, he wrote "The Great White Shark Song" and took footage of himself swimming cageless with a guitar and great whites. After he sent that clip to nature film producers worldwide, a Cape Town-based crew gave him a three-month internship solely on his enthusiasm for sharks.

A decade and a half later, his purview extends across the animal kingdom in his work for NatGeo, Discovery, and the BBC. Still, sharks remain his one true love. Casagrande is famous for hacking together new rigs to get inventive shots, such as a pair of tongs and a GoPro that attach to a dorsal fin to show a shark’s eye view of the sea, or foam seal dummies that capture the moments immediately before mauling. "Basically," he told Popular Mechanics, "I go to the plumbing department, or I go to a sporting goods store or Walmart, and I gather materials."

With a life out of a movie and a name the high committee cannot decide how to pronounce (Andy, if you have guidance on ca-sa-gran-day vs. ca-sa-gran-dee vs. ca-sa-grand, hit us up at, he's a dark horse to outperform his seed. If he is to join other rhyming greats like 2015's Amanda Miranda Panda in the Hall of Name, he will first have to get past lacrosse player and potential Commodores lover Brickman House. Vote on that matchup and the rest of the Dragonwagon region below and don't forget to follow us on Twitter.


#1 Chardonnay Pantastico, softballer for the University of Hawaii, vs. #16 Chance Comanche, Arizona Wildcats basketball player

#8 Windy Swetman III, Mississippi politician vs. #9 Sky Hyatt, VCU lacrosse player

#5 Luiji Vilain, incoming University of Michigan defensive end, vs. #12. Demon Clowney, South Carolina defensive end and Jadeveon Clowney’s cousin

#4 Kitty Chiller, Australian who complained about conditions at Rio’s Olympic village, vs. #13 Christian Joo, musician  

#6 Andy Brandy Casagrande IV vs. #11 Brickman House

#3 Chito Peppler, DC foodie, vs. #14 Dougal Spork, businessman

#7 Cash Masters, Milwaukee manufacturing maestro, vs. #10 Fiery Cushman, Harvard moral psychologist

#2 Sultan McDoom, Dallas based product engineer, vs. #15 Bastiaan Slabbers, photojournalist