Guardian: Hurricane Norbert batters Baja California and heads north-west

Do you think they're starting to scrape the barrel when it comes to hurricane names? Norbert: what sort of name is that for any tropical cyclone worth its salt? I mean, it's not even a real name. Have you ever met anyone named Norbert? Me neither.

Apparently, Norbert means ‘famous in the North’. Not in this bloody North he's not. Up here, I guarantee, you won't hear tales of the legendary Norbert, who famously did something famous for which he is now remembered throughout the region. In fact, I can honestly say, I have never even heard of anyone named Norbert, let alone actually met someone with that unfortunate monicker. It's a made-up name. It's a joke name. In fact, I've just consulted the Famous People Named Norbert web page and it only lists five men, all but one of whom are dead, and absolutely none of whom you will have heard of. Not even Norbert Leo Butz, the ‘#1 person named Norbert’, who famously graduated from Webster University and the University of Alabama before beginning his career as a Broadway performer, and who then went on to appear on such television shows as The Deep End, Law & Order: SVU, The Good Wife, and Smash.

Do you think that Norbert Leo Butz, in an attempt perhaps to turn the inevitable topic of conversation away from his surname, tries to impress strangers with the fact that, according to the Famous People Named Norbert website, he's the #1 person named Norbert in the whole world? I suppose it's a claim to fame of sorts. But, as with the hurricane names, it smacks of barrel-scraping.

I mean, just imagine if your house got flattened, and you had to explain that you had been made homeless by Hurricane Norbert. Where's the dignity in that? People would just piss themselves laughing, or think you'd made it up.

No, enough is enough! You can't have a hurricane named Norbert. Whatever next? Hurricane Robin? Hurricane Keith (no offence)? Actually, no, it turns out these things are planned in advance. The next Eastern North Pacific hurricanes of the 2014 season, if there are any, will be named (I'm not making this up): Odile, then Polo, then Rachel, then Simon, then Trudy, then Vance, then Winnie, then Xavier, then Yolanda, then Zeke.

Actually, perhaps Norbert isn't such a damn stupid name for a hurricane after all.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. Ah, yes, Nobby Stiles. That Famous People Named Norbert website missed a trick there. (I have to say, I thought he was called Nobby for a different reason entirely.)

  2. Norbert may be a bit pathetic but you have to admit Xavier is killer name for a hurricane!

    If my house was going to be flattened, I'd want it to be by hurricane Xavier.

  3. I had a friend called norbert obermanns. He wrote a book called the zappalog. Everybody called him nobbi. When there was speculation as to the name of Prince william's new son a friend suggested Colin. A bit monty python that methinks!

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