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Name Game 2013 

What's in a name? More appropriate, inappropriate and downright illegal behavior


It’s been another banner year for wordsmiths (read: geeks) such as myself who keep a vigilant eye out for aptronyms — that is, names that align with their bearers’ professions, pursuits or extracurricular activities. Listing them in our end-of-year issue has been a Seven Days tradition since 2007.

Admittedly, few years can measure up to 2011. That was the year when Anthony Weiner, a previously respected Democratic congressman from New York City’s ninth congressional district, sexted selfies of his crotch to women who weren’t his wife. He emerged again in 2013 in another failed bid to become New York City’s mayor, proving once again that a Weiner is a gift that keeps on giving — especially to political cartoonists and late-night comedians.

Among the aptronyms we discovered this year were Jeff Drew, a New Mexico-based freelance illustrator who’s produced work for Seven Days (including the cover of this issue); and Randall Drew (no relation), a cartoonist from White River Junction. I also found John Woolley, producer of “Shaun the Sheep,” a children’s animated claymation series from the UK; and Greg Beets, a music reviewer for the Austin Chronicle. (With aptronyms, spelling is less important than pronunciation.)

Some anti-aptronyms — or names that seem ironic owing to their owner’s circumstances — made the list, as well. They include Alexandra Parks, a New Haven woman who, on March 18, was allegedly spotted by a Vermont State Police sergeant nodding off behind the wheel while her vehicle was still rolling. Parks was later cited for driving under the influence of drugs, felony possession of controlled substances and reckless endangerment, as her child was in the backseat and her car was rolling toward a moving train.

In the same vein, in April, a Vermont trooper stopped Frank Liberty for driving 93 mph in a posted 50 mph zone on Route 116 in Starksboro. That day, Liberty was cited for speeding and reckless driving and lost his freedom. And on October 28, Daisy Cowit drove into a herd of cows in Mount Hope, N.Y.

In years past, I’ve also noted place names that weren’t aptronyms but seem apropos given the circumstances, such as the town of Winner, S.D., where a $232 million winning Powerball ticket was purchased. This year’s ironic place name award goes to the Flintlock Ridge Office Center, which is home to the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown, Conn. You can’t make this stuff up.

Here are the rest of the aptronyms we compiled in 2013:

Carl Coker: a 37-year-old Island Pond man who was sentenced to 100 months in prison for conspiracy to manufacture five grams or more of methamphetamine.

Fearn Lickfield: teacher, administrator, writer and director of the Green Mountain Druid Order and Training and “priestess of Gaia.”

Alden Booth: owner of the People’s Pint bar and grill in Greenfield, Mass.

Sue Church: minister at the Congregational Church of Christ in East Braintree.

Bill Piper: Drug Policy Alliance media contact on a press release titled “Poll: Three Out of Four Washington, D.C. Voters Want to Remove Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession Under District Law.”

Angela Overy: author of the book Sex in Your Garden.

Tim Camisa: owner of the Vermont Organics T-shirt shops in Burlington and South Burlington. (Camisa means “shirt” in Spanish.)

Andy Fish: lab evaluation and training specialist at the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s wastewater management division.

Rob Drain: U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in the southern district of New York.

Beth Champagne: Vermont bottle-bill proponent.

Bryn Oakleaf: Vermont environmental analyst.

Patti Cook: Burlington teacher and culinary educator.

Sid Hammer: 20-year-old student at the University of Vermont who was arrested for possession of ecstasy, oxycodone and LSD. (“Sid” is a street name for LSD.)

Trent Boozer: publisher of Recovery Campus, a magazine about substance-abuse recovery on college campuses.

Mike Beaver: FBI agent who headed Operation Stormy Nights, an undercover sting operation to rescue teenage girls being prostituted at truck stops.

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About The Author

Ken Picard

Ken Picard

Ken Picard has been a Seven Days staff writer since 2002. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Vermont Press Association's 2005 Mavis Doyle award, a general excellence prize for reporters.


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