When it rains, it pours. This adage applies to both weather and viral photos of former U.S. presidents.
During Friday’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C., former U.S. President (and Texas Gov.) George W. Bush stole the show from President Donald Trump for a brief, befuddled moment. It seems Bush got himself tangled in his rain poncho as he sat in the audience.
If this year’s top dog names from Austin and the rest of the country are are any indication, it looks like the news and pop culture events of 2016 have spread to the monikers we give our pets.
According to Rover.com, a blog that compiles data on dog breeds, dog names and other pet stories, Americans liked to name their pets in 2016 after politicians, pop culture figures, fictional characters, alcoholic drinks and Pokemon.
As for the city of Austin, the top dog name for males was Max, while the top female name was Bella. But other, more Austin-centric names were on the rise, like Brisket, Pickle and Taco, which saw a 13 percent uptick in 2016.
And as Austin’s tech industry grows, so does the number of technically-named pooches in the city: Names like Mac, Pixel and Tesla were up 3 percent. So-called “hipster” names like Mason, Bowtie, Brewery (seriously?) and Sushi were reportedly on the rise, though there were no numbers available to back that up. Surprisingly, “Willie” and “Nelson” weren’t anywhere in the Austin rankings.
But the more fascinating data comes from Rover’s compilation of national trending dog names, which mirrored America’s pop culture fascinations and political hopes during 2016.
Bella and Max won nationally, as they did in Austin, but dogs named for video game and fantasy TV characters were especially popular among the nation in general and Millennials in specific.
Pet names from “Pokemon Go” (Haunter, Skitty, Bayleaf), “Harry Potter” (Luna, Harry, Dobby) and “Game of Thrones” (Arya, Snow, Khaleesi) saw high increases among pet owners. Netflix’s summer smash “Stranger Things” also found some representation, with names like “Eleven” and “Barb” rising nearly 12 percent (what, no love for Dustin?). “The X-Files” fans also dubbed their pets with higher rates than usual (names like Mulder and Scully were up 10 percent).
Dogs named for powerful women also rose 13 percent this year, where America saw its first major-party female nominee. The biggest increase in that category? Dogs named for Eleanor Roosevelt, rising at a rate of 42 percent. Meanwhile, dogs named for Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump also saw an increase.
Perhaps the most telling way dog names acted as a mirror to America in 2016 was in the “Dogs Named For Food” category. Junk-food-themed names like Taffy, Twix and Milano rose 2 percent, as did booze-themed names like Brandy, Guinness and Whiskey. And dogs named for health foods decreased 17 percent.
Lastly, the infographic from Rover said animal names like Bear, Moose and Tiger grew 8 percent from last year.
The report examines names that were input into Rover.com’s dog name database throughout 2016. Take a look at the full report here.
I’ve had time to soak up the glamour. I’ve meditated on the ermine-clad government intrigue and its applications to our current political climate. My main takeaways from Netflix’s addictive period drama “The Crown” are as follows:
Fog will kill you.
Queen Elizabeth’s family, if I am to put stock in Matt Smith’s cad-tastic performance as the Duke of Edinburgh in particular, are a bunch of self-centered, toxic emotion-tornadoes.
Austin needs its own royal family.
This last point might be an unpopular one. But consider: Austin is already a politically and culturally isolated enclave in Texas, a state that often romanticizes the idea of its own sovereignty. Queen Elizabeth has stopped by our fair burg before (former Gov. Ann Richards looked completely at home next to the monarch). In an ever-changing city, we need some some comforting stability. Also, I am definitely joking.
However, with Belgium’s Princess Astrid visiting Austin this week, the Statesman webdesk wondered: If Austin had a royal family, who would wear the crowns? We stayed away from political figures, mind you. Here are our picks, with complete disregard for primogeniture and the definition of the word “family.”
His Majesty King Willie
Prince William will eventually inherit the British throne, but we’ve already got a Willie on our throne. Could there be anyone else at the head of this royal family? Defender of the weird, emperor of the outlaws. He’s already got his own statue. Trigger is his sceptre, his hat is his crown. God save the king.
The Austin billionaire, who is the founder of the John Paul Mitchell Systems hair-care empire and the Patrón tequila brand, certainly brings a royal purse. And up until recently, he owned a ranch full of exotic animals, which is aggressively imperial.
Princess Quita of Culpepper
Part of any royal’s responsibility is to capture the hearts and minds of the people, in part as a function of ceremonial public appearances. KVUE’s Quita Culpepper, a veteran of Austin’s news world, more than fits the bill. Plus, she’s got the whole “comfort in times of tribulation” thing down pat.
Aaron, Duke of Franklin
Lest we forget that food is as important to Austin as duty is to the British crown. Aaron Franklin is the defender of our faith in smoked meat.
Kendra, Duchess of Hexagonal Jewelry
What says royalty more than crown jewels? And who says turquoise can’t be a crown jewel? Any ruling class needs a little glitz. Best part: Austin jewelry magnate Kendra Scott brings her own baubles.
One of the most prestigious kingdoms in the Austin realm, UT’s sports programs are some of our most prized institutions. Who better to reign over the burnt orange isle than Olympic champion, Texas alumna, entrepreneur and TV star Sanya Richards-Ross?