Richard Smith, a 41-year-old care worker in Carlisle, England, did not think his name did justice to the exciting person that he actually was, so he changed his name by deed poll. The new name he chose was Stormhammer Deathclaw Firebrand.
As you can determine by Googling it, a name like that does tend to trigger the start of your 15 minutes of fame. The word combination Stormhammer + Deathclaw + Firebrand gets more than 12,800 hits already. In fact if you do a fixed phrase search using the quoted sequence "Stormhammer Deathclaw Firebrand" for your search you get 38,600 hits… which is of course impossible. The number of web pages containing Stormhammer somewhere that also contain Deathclaw somewhere, and furthermore contain Firebrand somewhere, has to be equal to or greater than the number in which the sequence Stormhammer Deathclaw Firebrand occurs. Something deeply weird is going on with the way Google estimates numbers of pages (speculations about this have appeared before on Language Log and elsewhere). But one might expect weird things to go on in a world where someone called Richard Smith would rename himself Stormhammer D. Firebrand.
Anyway, if you are reading about Mr Firebrand for the first time here on Language Log, you are one of the slower-witted news junkies on your block, because they are all passing it round on the topical and fashionable blogs — not only Fark.com but also the ones designed for humans.
In the news reports I've had time to look at there was no mention of any spouse who will be legally converted to Mrs. S. D. Firebrand by this renomenclaturization, nor of any boyfriend or girlfriend's opinion; so Stormhammer may be a single guy. Which means he may be out there in a bar tonight trying to pick up sexual partners, and giving prospectives his new name. Lots of luck with that, S. D., but if people seem to be edging down the bar or pretending to have spotted an acquaintance the other side of the room, keep in mind that you could have just said "Richard Smith" and bought them a drink. A single guy has to have a name that suggests reasonableness and normalness, not merely one that impresses itself on the memory.
This does not hold for blogs, though. Language Log will not ask you if you would like to take in a movie and maybe have a late supper or a nightcap, because Language Log is not trying to date you. (As individuals we might take you to lunch — you seem like a very interesting person — but that is not a corporate policy.) So we can be weird. We are in fact thinking of renaming Language Log Blastmonkey's Degobbinated Caterwaul in a few weeks. I hope that meets with your approval. If you have a better blog name for us, please offer it below in the comments area. All names submitted become the property of Language Log. Or Blastmonkey's Degobbinated Caterwaul as the case may be. Thank you.