Columns

2010.03.31 What's in a name?

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

It’s not nice to make fun of a person’s name. After all, it’s what they were given,  it’s a part of them, it’s very personal. I should add, however, that it’s a lot of fun to make fun of names.

Maybe I can write this without actually making fun of a name; just point out its wonderfulness.

When I need a laugh I get out my wife’s monstrous high school yearbook from New York City and read the names. Just amazing, and that was from the 1970s. They’re so tame compared to what’s out there today.

I learned this week there’s a battle underway leading to the Final Four and the eventual champion: the 2010 Name of the Year. It takes place on this website: http://nameoftheyear.blogspot.com/.

The latest posting on the NOTY website discusses the fate of LaceDarius Dunn, a member of the Baylor Bears basketball team. His name was nominated in 2008, but failed to make the cut. As a consolation, LaceDarius continues to do well in basketball.

NOTY collects nominations through the year and then sets up the bracket. Readers vote on which names should advance.

The four regional sites are named in honor of past winners: Doby Chrotchtangle, Crescent Dragonwagon, Godfrey Sithole and Assumption Bulltron (Name of the Decade for the 1990s).

With LaceDarius and the Baylor team in the spotlight these days, I wondered if the Bears have any other interesting names, and they do indeed.

There’s Dragan Sekelja, although his name is probably nothing out of the ordinary in his native Croatia. There’s also Tweety Carter, but Tweety isn’t his real name. That was a nickname given by his grandmother. His real name is Demond and the Baylor website says it’s pronounced DEE-mond.

There’s more. Baylor also has Given Crump, Quincy Acy and Udoh Ekpe. All fine nomenclature. Two team members are majoring in Health, Human Performance & Recreation, which probably translates as Basketball. Two others are studying Speech Communication which might mean Post-Game Interviews. Five have no major, but that’s understandable since the team is very young. The subject of college athletics is a topic for another day.

The writers of Name of the Year thought the pinnacle had been reached in the early 1990s when they received a sworn affidavit for the name Assumption Bulltron, but then another year brought names such as Nimrod Weiselfish, Tanqueray Beavers, Vanilla Dong and Destiny Frankenstein.

This year they winnowed nominations down to the “most worthy” and reported this:

“That 278 names turned out to be ‘most worthy’ is at once a spine-tingling testament to the onomastic smorgasbord of the human race and a daunting freaking challenge. The NCAA thinks it has reason to expand to 96? We could go 256 in a heartbeat.”

In the Bulltron Regional, Nohjay Nimpson was seeded number one, ahead of X’Zavier Bloodsaw, Hannukkah Wallace, Jesus Leonardo, Dirk Kool, Stalin Felipe and Hitler Makofane. Yes, they had Hitler and Stalin compete in the first round. How could they not?

Rich Tanguy went against Courvoisier Riley in that regional.

Over in the Sithole, God’s Power Offor took the top seed and was up against #16 Peachy Trader. No contest, right?

Other match-ups were much, much tougher. How about Dick Smallberries, Jr., and Chinook Bacon, or Coke Wisdom O’Neal vs. Typhoon Nurse? That bracket also includes Banana Yaya, Napoleon Einstein, Shamiracle Johnson and others.

At Dragonwagon, Spontaneous Gordon leads the way #1. She crashed her car into a school bus in Delaware. There’s some tough competition, such as Can Du, Selathious Bobo, Starzanne Stipes, Gregor Schwinghammer, Jr., King Jamell Modest and Pizza Ashby.

Finally, in the Chrotchtangle Regional, the seeding committee put Just-In’Love Smith as #1, Wave Ryder at #2 and Pencilman Jeffries in the #3 spot. All good choices, and some tough competition for Dr. Festus Dada, Flavius Killebrew, Mister Cobble, Bambang Parmanto and Furious Bradley.

Voting continues for several weeks, if you want to help choose the person to take over from last year’s impressive winner, Barvkevious Mingo.

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