Wednesday, April 4, 2018

2018 Name of the Year: Dragonwagon Regional, Round One

Three days into the 2018 Name of the Year tournament, excitement is at an all time high. Thousands of voters are punching their Bulltron and Fruithandler ballots (thank you!), analytical individuals are sharing their bracket breakdowns, and new fans are flocking to our Twitter feed for updates.

Despite all this hubbub, few have displayed more passion for our endeavor than the employees of Smith & Jones, a marketing agency specializing in healthcare. The Smith & Jones team has caught NOTY fever, a condition that, unfortunately, is not covered by their clients. The evidence of their affliction is the giant, hand-drawn NOTY bracket that stretches across one of the blackboards in their office.

Despite the medium they’ve chosen for their display, Smith & Jones employees aren’t required to fill their brackets with chalk, and indeed, many of the company’s workers have shied away from the top-line seeds. According to Dave Mercier, who posted the blackboard bracket on Twitter, Bulltron six-seed Tuna Altuna, Fruithandler four-seed Corky BoozĂ©, and Dragonwagon four-seed Chardonnay Beaver have emerged as trendy choices in the Smith & Jones NOTY pool.

How did this amazing effort come to be? Mercier chalks it up to an old NOTY favorite:

We became aware of the NOTY bracket last year while doing research on a potential client. Our contact had provided some previous brand materials and one of the ad samples mentioned Dr. Loki Skylizard. He was no longer with the hospital but obviously we had to Google that name to see what the deal was. That led us to the 2014 bracket, reviewing the incredible names on other brackets, and the promise that we'd be involved in 2018 (We had just missed 2017 and Kobe Buffalomeat).

Dr. Skylizard, a one-seed in 2014, touted an amazing backstory that has become ingrained in Name of the Year lore. Who, then, in this year’s Dragonwagon Regional possesses a personal history of similarly epic proportions?

Allow me to introduce you to the Dragonwagon’s 11-seed, Forbes Thor Kiddoo.

For nearly two decades, visitors to San Francisco’s Pier 39 who gazed upon the Pacific were treated to an unusual sight: A copse of palm trees and a white tower jutting into the sky just offshore. A row of gold letters on the structure’s face revealed its name: Forbes Island, named after its owner Forbes Thor Kiddoo, a legendary eccentric in a town filled with them.

Kiddoo began building Forbes Island in 1975, using a 700-ton barge as his bedrock. By the time of its maiden voyage in 1980, its amenities included, “more than a dozen palm trees, white sand from Carmel and even a waterfall that streamed into a hot tub,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “There were also 11 velvet-clad bedrooms, a grand piano and a 1,500-bottle cellar.”

For the next 19 years, Kiddoo sailed his barge-house around the Bay Area. He envisioned his floating residence as the first of what would be a series of “Nautilus Islands” that would bring luxury living to the seas. The authorities had other ideas. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission repeatedly forced Kiddoo to move his barge and eventually expelled him from the inlet entirely, stating that Forbes Island was “obstructing navigation.”

In 1999, Kiddoo found the perfect home for his over-the-top residence. At Pier 39, Forbes Island lived next to several tourist attractions in the shadow of Alcatraz Island, operating as a floating restaurant. One time, someone spotted Sean Connery dining there, though upon further investigation, the patron was revealed to be a mere Sean Connery impersonator.

Forbes Island and Pier 39 coexisted peacefully, but in 2017, the 79-year-old Kiddoo announced his plan to sell his barge. He understood that completing the sale would be a difficult task. “It’s going to be a lot for someone to take on because there are so many moving parts,” he said at the time.

If Kiddoo is still searching for a buyer, perhaps some publicity from our tournament can help him, but is his name strong enough for a deep run? It was given to him by  his similarly-eccentric mother, who named her children Forbes, Vanatta, Torsten, and Nanette, according to a 1987 People Magazine profile of the legendary seaman.

Forbes Thor Kiddoo is undoubtedly a great name, but in the first round, it’s up against an equally-impressive moniker, that of PR and publishing executive Crystal Patriarche. Will Forbes smash the Patriarche, or will Crystal sink her barge-dwelling opponent? You can decide the answer to that question, and seven others, below.


#1 La Royce Lobster-Gaines, Missouri teacher, vs. #16 Christine Plentyhoops, regional vice president at Primerica

#8 Darthvader Williamson, surgical technician, vs. #9 Delicious Peters, deceased Louisianan

#5 Lola Honeybone, PR agent, vs. #12 Chosen Roach, arrested in the Baton Rogue area

#4 Chardonnay Beaver, Seattle-area high schooler, vs. #13 Maverick Buffo, recent draftee of the Toronto Blue Jays

#6 Crystal Patriarche vs. #11 Forbes Thor Kiddoo

#3 Quindarious Gooch, arrested in connection with a drug investigation, vs. #14 Mike Diaper, Executive Director of Sport England

#7 Candida Seasock, mentor of tech companies, vs. #10 Adele Gorrilla, former CIO of Denison University

#2 Ceejhay French-Love, Arizona Wildcats tight end, vs. #15 Yo'Heinz Tyler, wide receiver from Louisiana