Certain letterz of the English alphabetz are just "kewler" than others. As such, many peoplez will intentionalli mizzpel wordz by xubztituting these letterz, in the hopez that this will draw moar attentshun from young peoplez and make the rezult look moar youth-oriented.
Whether this actually works on the youth crowd is debatable; this is a pop-culture phenomenon that comes and goes like many other fads, sometimes losing its appeal almost immediately out of the gate.
Although, when it is used, it is often Played for Laughs to point out marketing groups that fail to understand an audience or, more often, weak attempts to seem hip to the younger generation.
The most common substitutions are:
Note that this is often used to give characters that "medieval", "germanic", or "Soviet Russia" tinge. In actual German, however, spelling things with "C" instead of K (or Z, often seen in circuses spelling themselves "Circus" instead of the dictionary's "Zirkus") would have the exact same effect, or make words look old-fashioned (because they were written with C in former times).
The reversal, substituting "C" instead of "K," is also very common in the Hip Hop community.
Substituting "ck" for hard "c", especially at ends of words, also has a Phantasy Spelling flavor.
"X" substituted for "Ex," especially in the word "Extreme," or just slapped onto a name for no apparent reason.
Also, "ix" substituted for "ics" or "icks" at the end of a word.
"Y" instead of "I" in the middle of a word.
"I" instead of "Y" at the end of a word.
"Z" instead of "S" at the end of a plural word.
"A" substituted for "er" or "or" at the end of a word.
Interestingly, this trope tends to favor letters constructed primarily from hard straight lines and sharp angles — "X," "K," "Z," so on. These letters are also worth many points in English-language Scrabble, though examples of this trope would probably not be considered legal words.
This can also extend to acronyms/abbreviations/initializations to make them more memorable, even if the chosen letter isn't, technically, the one in the original word. "Extensible Markup Language," for example, is easier to remember by its initialization of "XML" than "EML".
"Leet speak" (or "1337") can be considered this trope played to extremes, where almost every normal letter is replaced by some form of "extreme" counterpart, which to those unfamiliar with the meme can vary anywhere from "slightly different" to "utterly unreadable," depending on how "hardcore" the user wishes to appear; it's believed that leet originated from the crackingnote "Hacker" is a case of You Keep Using That Word community, which may explain why it's never spread beyond circles of computer geeks (and online gamers).
"Text speak," originating in IM and a popular shorthand for use with mobile phones, is similar to "1337," though the hardcore consider it a different language.
One possible justification for Xtreme Kool Letterz in Real Life is that, at least in the United States, "common words" cannot be trademarked as-is, but deliberate misspellings can.
The overall trope is Older than Television, and possibly Older Than Radio, with deliberate misspellings being used for humor at least since the Victorian era. (And back then, of course, semiliteracy was such a problem that many otherwise articulate people unintentionally misspelled words, making this trope not only comical but also satirical.)
Xtreme Kool Letterz shows up around this wiki as well, with titles such as Friends of Really Kool Sobriquet, and yes, this article.
Early advertising example: A 1950s print ad for Heinz baked beans included the caption, "Beanz Buildz Kidz!" And that wasn't even their main slogan... it was "Beanz Meanz Heinz".note That was probably unintentional in terms of Xtremeness, seeing as how the brand name is, of course, Heinz, and the ad was just a play on it, not on Sup4 Kule L3tt4rz.
The soda MDX, which stands for Mountain Dew Xtreme.
Bratz (doll lines, animated series, DVDs) TOTALLY qualifies. Not just with the name, but the name of every single doll line they have. Doll names with a short I also have a double II for no apparent reason. Once they got to stringing together names like "Bratz Babyz Ponyz," you get to wondering how much longer until they trademarked the letter z and we'd all have to start paying them to be able to use it.
One Bratz book is actually named Xtreme Kool.
Sprint's new WiMax service will be called "XOHM" (pronounced Zoam). ''"It's an invented term that went through extensive market research and tested well with consumer and business audiences," said Sprint's John Polivka. "There is a certain 'cool factor' with the X in it..." (source)
Sheetz convenience stores have a fast food counter that sells "Bagelz" and "Wrapz".
Intel's Xeon processors — oddly enough, not really targeted at the "extreme" gaming crowd.
The Kia Forte is available as a four door sedan, or as a two door Koup.
There are "freeline skates" with the brand name Xliders as well as a pumped-up Razor scooter called a Xootr.
As of 2008, the packaging and advertising for Goldfish snack crackers features four anthropomorphic crackers as mascots. One of these cracker characters is named Xtreme.
According to Wikipedia, Kool-Aid (originally Kool-Ade) was first sold in 1927, and Kool cigarettes were first sold in 1933.
The banners on this page right now, which, many thanks to Ads by Google, are currently "XTREME Ringtones," "Xtreme Machine Wheels" and "Xtreme Diesel Performance."
Many things marketed to kids seem to use this trope, probably in an attempt to make their product seem "cooler".
Kidz Bop probably falls under this category
There used to be a cider called "Xider". It may intend to evoke an American pronunciation of "exciter," but everyone around Sweden just said "kseeder". Then regulations changed and the stuff could no longer be legally referred to as a cider, so they changed the name to "Xide," whatever that's supposed to mean.
Trix, and Kix.
The next big global compact sedan from General Motors is sold in Europe, and will be sold in the U.S., as the Chevrolet Cruze.
Officially, the name of Elon Musk's private spaceflight company is Space Exploration Technologies, but they use "SpaceX" because it just sounds cooler.
Even fairly mundane things like public transport follow this trope. The transport manufacturer Bombardier is particularly fond.
They have the "Flexity" tram and the "CX-100" people mover as two examples. Just to really make sure they keep this trope, most of their vehicles run on FLEXX bogies (or trucks). The fact one version is the FLEXX Eco is a trope in itself, as these days it's cool to be "eco".
Also from Bombardier, the TRAXX locomotive. "Stands for Transnational Railway Applications with eXtreme fleXibility." TRAEF would not have sounded anything like as good.
UNIX got its name when Unics became a Nonindicative Name by no longer being a uniplexing (i.e. one thing at a time) system.
Although it wasn't named this way for kewlness, Cheez Whiz definitely fits the spelling pattern.
The official English translation of the Bokurano manga explains the name "Zearth" by invoking this trope (justified, in that it's a bunch of kids piloting the robot). It is worth noting that the real reason for the name Zearth is that it's the Japanese pronunciation of "The Earth" rendered back into English (well, it's close to it anyway). On the one hand, even in a direct translation, the kids did go with "Zearth" instead of "The Earth" because it sounded cooler. On the other, has anyone ever actually said "the z makes it more extreme!" with a straight face? In the world ofBokurano they might.
Invoked with the Xyz monsters introduced in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL and the card sets. It's pronounced "ik-seez" and is a reference to spacial coordinatesnote three dimensions: its place on the mat, and the cards under it. Humorously, up to the point of their announcement in the TCG, fansubbers of the show never caught that meaning, assuming it was "Exceed" because it was the closest-sounding actual word.
Magic: The Gathering's Phyrexia, with names like Gix, Xantcha, and Skithiryx. As Tom LaPille puts it, "Are you more intimidated by the thought of the dread reign of Firecsia or Phyrexia?"
X-Treme X-Men. Generally considered a really silly title, one online reviewer referred to the first three issues as That Claremont Book. Ironically, when, after 46 issues, the book was canceled and the writer moved the characters to Uncanny X-Men, the team was renamed "X-Treme Sanctions Executive."
"Storm claims it was an inside joke, and blames Gambit. Gambit blames Rogue. I blame society." — Cable, X-Men: Future History - The Messiah War Sourcebook.
Arguably, the X-Men themselves. In the first issue, Professor Xavier notes that it stands for "X-tra power!" Fortunately, it's been retconned to stand for both Xavier's name and the X Factor, the unknown genetic factor that gives mutants their powers.
And then there's Professor Xavier's name:
There's all the adaptations that pronounce it "Professor Ex-avier," just to make it clear to stupid viewers that there's an X in his name. "Xavier" is an archaic Spanish spelling of "Javier," so it should be "khavi-air" (or "zavvy-ay", in French), people. ("Ex-avier" is a common (mis)pronunciation of "Xavier" in Real Life, though).
The Spanish dubs fortunately make a point of pronouncing his name "Khavi-air".
There is a comic where Xavier admits that technically it isn't pronounced like that — he just prefers it.
And the X-Men spin-off book X-Force once had a character called Adam-X, the X-Treme. Ah, the '90s. Thankfully, "the X-Treme" part rarely appeared outside of cover announcements of his guest appearances.
Before Adam-X, there was Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik.
Although magik, pronounced with a long 'a' and a hard 'g', is an actual word in Russian; it means "magician". The question is if Chris Claremont knew that when he gave the Siberian mutant that name.
Even earlier, there was Alex Summers, aka Havok.
Played with in two spin-off titles launched by Chris Claremont, Excalibur and Ge Next. In both cases the "X" was the biggest letter in the cover logo.
Averted in the first arc in Grant Morrison's New X-Men run, which was titled "E is for Extinction." Let's just say that another writer might have emphasized a different letter of that word. Except that the "X-tinction" title had already been used multiple times throughout the history of the team. He probably just wasn't allowed to use it again.
When the second incarnation of the X-Force was threatened with legal action over their name, leader the Orphan simply changes it — to "X-Statix". He says it came to him in a dream and he doesn't really know what it's supposed to mean.
This was a subject of a Take That moment in an issue of Blood Syndicate. A Reality Warper villain briefly caused the team to transform into parodies of the X-Men and X-Force, and as such, everyone now had ridiculously misspelled names. Brickhouse became "Brique," DMZ became "Mister Ree," Flashback became "Regrette," Kwai became "Kwiklash," and so on.
In the second issue of Hyperkind, one of the newly empowered Hyperkind decides to adopt "Logic" as his Code Name. Another member (the resident comic nerd of the team) stops him, telling him to call himself "Logix" because, "That's how it's done!" Said comic nerd then decides to call himself Amokk, for the same reason.
In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, Mina delivers a Take That to the producers of the League of Extraordinary Gentleman movie when she identifies a rocket as being American because "who else would think that "extra" starts with an "X"?" The League movie was often referred to as LXG.
This trope was popular in comics during The Nineties and the Speculator Boom when comic creators were looking to make a quick buck off of original characters. The reasoning for using Xtreme Kool Letterz at this time was likely done to help insure that whatever name a creator came up with for their Nineties Anti-Hero could be trademark/copywrited. You can't retain the rights to "Strike", but you can retain the rights to "Stryke".
Although Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (the creator of "Kirby Krackle") also indulged in this, e. g. with names like Klaw, Kalibak and Apokolips (this last one replacing a 'y' with an 'i'). Other Marvel examples from the 1970s and 1980s include Deathlok the Demolisher, Drax the Destroyer, Karisma, Mahkizmo, Nekra, Terrax the Tamer and Terrex. Also, Frank Miller called Daredevil's first love Elektra, while "Electra" is the more common spelling in English; however it was justified by making her Greek.
There was a short lived company in (of course) The Nineties making creator-owned sci-fi comics under the banner of Tekno Comix.
From the silent movies, the Keystone Kops were the inspiration for many later examples. Although at this time, K's weren't meaning "cool," but rather "funny," as in "ha ha, those guys can't spell correctly."
Zardoz has some curious spelling like this, but it seems to be meant more as Futuristic Fonetiks ("applz" for "apples"). Not to mention the revelation that it's actually The Wizard of Oz.
American Dreamz parodies this. The title is the name of the show-within-a-show, an American Idolknockoff with a contestant played by Mandy Moore, who at one point sings a ridiculously vapid ballad with the chorus, "American Dreamz... dreamz... with a Z."
In Each to His Own, Olivia DeHavilland's character makes her fortune as selling "Lady Vyvyan" cosmetics. As her lowlife partner remarks "Classy, hunh?"
In Soul Music, an all-troll Music With Rocks In It band want to call themselves simply "Trolls" they're told, "But you've got to spell it with a Z. Trollz." Funnily enough, on a non-Discworld note, when the Trolls doll line was revived for the 21st century (along with an animated series), the powers that be did just that.
Dr. Hix in Unseen Academicals, head of the Department of Postmortem Communications, is really named Hicks, but with his black robe and skull ring he "would have been mad, or let us say even madder, to pass up a chance to have an X in his name." (This actually goes along with a change in his character; he appears first in Making Money but there is more sheepish and actually cares about the rules, and is still spelled Dr. Hicks. Apparently his Card-Carrying Villain, by university statute, personality came with the placement of an X in his name.)
And of course, there's the whole continent called XXXX. But pronounced "Fourecks" (and named after a Real Life brand of Australian lager).
The Matthew Martin series by Paula Danziger features a character who spells her name "Jil!" because she got bored with "Jill."
Another children's book has a character named Susan who changes her name to, well, the title says it all: My Name is Sus5an Smith. The 5 is Silent.
Several names in The Wheel of Time are actually perfectly ordinary names that have been grossly misspelled. Examples include "Elayne" (Elaine), "Padraig" (Patrick), "Birgitte" (Bridget), and "Logain" (Logan).
Well, to be fair, Padraig is a legitimate Irish variation of Patrick in its own right and Birgitte is a legitimate Scandinavian variant of Bridget. It should be noted that in the Norwegian translation of The Wheel of Time, Birgitte's name is translated to the more exotic sounding Bergithe, as Birgitte is quite an usual name in Norway.
Oryx and Crake pictures a future where hyper-rich corporations call themselves things like HelthWyzer and RejooveNation with a straight face. It's never explained, but one gets the feeling they have been forced to come up with these "creative" spellings because all the normal ones had been trademarked. Unless they actually thought it sounded cool.
Species in Peter David's Hidden Earth Chronicles include Mandraques, Firedraques and draqons.
Rob Grant's Fat had a pop group parodying Girls Aloud by the name of "Gurlz Banned".
One Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel has a character being dubbed "code-boy" by another because he spends a lot of time doing computer programming. You know, writing code. He loses his real name and ends up known as Kode, likely because of this trope.
In The Edge Chronicles, the academics of Sanctaphrax want to seem educated, and all the Leaguesmen want to sound like them. The result is a lot of polysyllabic names.
Invoked in Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder." The bizarre spelling on the time-travel safari sign is the first clue the characters have that killing a butterfly in the past dramatically changed the future.
All in the Family: The episode "Archie and the KKK" ï¿½ the Kweens Kouncil of Krusaders organization that Archie considers joining goes only by this name ... but it becomes very obvious to Archie, once the group announces its plans to burn a cross on Mike's lawn (for writing an editorial with whom the group's members took issue), that this group is actually the Klu Klux Klan going by an alias.
A late episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch involved Sabrina, Roxie and Morgan forming a girl group called "Girlz." During their first audition, they think they can easily beat the guy who went on before them because they have a Z in their name; however, his name turns out to be Zeke.
Parodied in episode "Wormhole X-Treme," with the eponymous Show Within a Show. One character comments that he "wanted to call it Going to Other Planets, but the network said that shows with 'X' in the name get better ratings."
Of course, the titles of all Stargate series do the same thing, replacing the second "A" in "Stargate" with the gate symbol for Earth. Not mandatory, thankfully. Which, incidentally, is just an uppercase lambda with a krouï¿½ek on top of it. A rather strange blend of a greek letter with a Scandinavian diacritic (Å). It is described in-show as representing the sun rising above the Great Pyramid of Gizah.
However it was more likely a fluke that the symbol looks like a combination of those, even though it is "sort of" a letter in the cannon, as it did only "become" a letter in a much later episode where we find out the Ancients DID apply sounds to Stargate symbols anyway.
Johnny Xtreme, one of the most recurrent non-intern (nor host, obviously) characters in X-play. He was pretty much the Anthropomorphic Personification of "extremeness." He even tattooed Xs onto his arms and cut his beard in X shape. Given the tone of the show, it is pretty certain that Adam or Morgan must have pointed out the fact that there was an "X" on their show's name for no real reason.
In reality, the show started out as "Extended Play" and received a retitle when it was relaunched, reducing "Extended" to "X". XP was floated as a title before the producers realized people would be confused that it was a tech show about Windows XP.
During a review of Mortal Kombat, Adam and Morgan commented on the title, saying "everything is cooler when spelled with a K."
The French series Kaamelott, parodying the Arthurian legends. A lone stylized "K" is also used prominently during the credits and even on fictitious heraldry. The author justifies this as being close to an ancient variant of spelling for "Camelot"; hence, here the effect aimed at isn't to look "cool" but "antiquated".
The shameless cable network Disney XD, which outright tells you they're both extreme and 'wit it', as the XD part is an "extreme!" emoticon denoting extreme happiness.
Variant: On Top Gear, their homebuilt electric car (the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust) was named with a lowercase "i" because it was the Xtreme Kool Letter for the eco-friendly set.
Ed Helms filed a report on The Daily Show about an insurance made especially for teenagers and concluded with a fake ad that said it even covers you if you break your coccyx while skating — spelled kokkyx.
Kamen Rider Double's Super Mode is literally called CycloneJokerXtreme. This is primarily because the show's Transformation Trinket relies upon USB flash drive-like devices, each with a logo consisting of a stylized version first letter of its name that also represents its power (for example, a volcano shaped like an "M" for "Magma").
On Big Time Rush, when James briefly joins Hawk Records, they change his name to Jamez. And as can be seen from the posters in their studio, all of their other artists have a 'Z' in their name too.
The Lonely Island songs Just 2 Guyz, We Like Sportz and We'll Kill U.
Megadeth is suppose to be spelled without a second "A".
Kool & the Gang.
During Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty" phase, she was usually referred to as "Xtina", because "X" is used as an abbreviation for "Christ" (as in "Xmas") for reasons dating back to Greek times — in Greek, the name started with the letter chi, which looks like an X.
Her 'Love Me 4 Me' uses extremely cool letters.
Xzibit, or as he likes to say, "X to the Z Xzibit." Hell, one of his most famous songs is "X"!
French example: la Tecktonik. Xtreme Kool Letterz (in particular the use of "ck") is also very popular amongst its practitioners around the world, either for individual aliases or group names.
The entire genre of jazz may owe its name to this. The name is derived from the Cajun patois word jass (referring to "strenuous activity" in general, and one activity in particular), and reputedly, it started being spelled with the double-z not only because "jazz" looked cooler, but more mundanely, at least in part because jokers kept stealing the letter J from the billboards.
Katy Perry has quite a few, "Hot N Cold", "Ur So Gay", and "California Gurls".
The US Power Metal band Kamelot. (And no, the Arthurian Camelot is usually spelled with a C in German.)
Dethklok and to a lesser extent their "kvlt" spelling Dëthkløk.
Primal Scream's seventh album is a bit... conflicted about this. Its title is spelled XTRMNTR on the mostly vowelless album cover, but then again the band's name is similarly written "PRML SCRM" there, and Exterminator is written in some other places.
Def Leppard, whose name is misspelled to make them sound less punk.
Led Zeppelin. Because their manager thought dropping the 'a' from Lead would help to prevent "thick Americans" from pronouncing it "leed". Famously produced an album with a 'title' that could not be vocalised or spelled at all, only four symbols, which veers beyond this trope through Lucky Charms Title to The Unpronounceable.
Boyz II Men.
For Synth musicians, most are familiar with these days with Yamaha XG Lite (that XG stands for Yamaha's proprietary eXtension to General MIDI, of course).
Beatallica follows/parodies it. Their lyrics are transcripted with gratuitous "Z" everywhere, and the band members are The Beatles + Metallica mashups written with Xtreme Kool Letterz (Jaymz Lennfield, Grg Hammetson, Kliff McBurtney, Ringo Larz).
Prince abuses this a lot in his song titles (2 and U used wherever possible), combined with Lucky Charms Title (an eye-symbol for I), and he even writes his lyrics and liner notes in Xtreme Kool Letterz. Famously swapped his own name for a symbol that transcended this trope altogether.
Klymaxx, an all-female band best known for the soft rock single "I Miss You".
An awful lot of songs by 2Pac. 2pac himself was also an example, though rather than "to," it replaces "tu" (his real name was Tupac).
Stewart Copeland, ex- The Police drummer, in the first 2 years of band's existence, released some solo material under the name "Klark Kent." One of the songs was titled "Too Kool To Kalypso." On top of that, a CD compilation of Klark Kent material, released in 1995 was named "Kollected Works." And to top that all, his private little recording label is called "Kryptone Records."
One of Linkin Park's remix albums, Reanimation, has almost all of its song's names written this way. And, of course, Linkin Park itself. They originally set out to call themselves Lincoln Park, but they went for the misspelled version because it made it easier to acquire a .com domain name.
Then there's the American New Wave/synthpop band Ebn Ozn, whose band name was taken from each of the main band members' last names, Ned Liben (EBN) and Robert Rosen (OZN).
There's also a Scottish post-punk band named Fingerprintz who wrote and recorded songs such as "Wet Job" and "Bulletproof Heart" before basically rebooting and renaming themselves into the more familiar The Silencers.
There's also a British jazz-funk band named Freeez that had a minor hit with a song called "Southern Freeez." Curiously, like EBN OZN above, they too had their most major hit with a song titled "AEIOU," though EBN OZN's song featured spoken word lyrics and Freeez's featured falsetto vocals.
And there's a pop/rock band that existed in the 1960s and '70s called Jaggerz, best known for their song "The Rapper."
Classic rock band Slade has this in spades: "Cum On Feel The Noize" being one of the more harmless (and well-known) examples; then there are "Cuz I Luv You," "Look Wot You Done," "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me," "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," "Gudbuy T'Jane" ... And I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the list, there are some misspellings I missed.
Blaqk Audio. It's either to pronounce it as "Black" or else it sounds like "blak-k" and "Blak-k Audio" just sounds dumb.
One of the song intros in Tom Lehrer's live performances mentions an eccentric who changed his name to Hen3ry with a silent 3.
Split Enz, although they chose that spelling as a nod to their home country of New Zealand, not just because it looked cool. Also, before changing the spelling, they actually released a few early singles as Split Ends.
For a long time KMFDM gave every one of their albums a five-letter title, which led to album names like "Xtort" and "Attak."
"DGTal Blood" by Helalyn Flowers. "Digital" pronounced with an Italian accent.
Covenant's Ritual Noise single has a B-side titled "Xrds"(pronounced Crossroads).
Power Pop group The Superfriendz. They probably went with that spelling to avoid confusion with Superfriends.
Epic Records has a division dedicated to film soundtracks called Epic Soundtrax. They initially wanted to go with the proper spelling, but were sued by musician Epic Soundtracks, who had laid claim to his Stage Name first.
Country music duo Bomshel.
There's a bluegrass group called Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out. Yes, you read that right, a bluegrass group.
Big & Rich released a song called "Party Like Cowboyz" in early 2013.
The Kovenant, who were originally named Covenant until a lawsuit from the EBM band of the same name; they also had to spell their name with a K to avoid conflict with another metal group named The Covenant.
Scottish synthpop trio CHVRCHES. Although their name is pronounced "Churches," they replaced the "u" with a "v" because they wanted to show up more easily on Google Suggest.
Rapper Spaceghostpurrp and his hip hop collective Raider Klan have invented the "Raider hieroglyphics," which replaces all A's with V's all other vowels with X's (for example, "Spaceghostpurrp" becomes "SPVCXGHXZTPXRRP" and "Raider Klan" becomes "RVXDXR KLVN").
Ferry Corsten's WKND(Weekend) album.
The KLF may stand for "Kopyright Liberation Front" or even "Kopyrite Liberation Front"; the latter would have 23 letters.
One of her YouTube accounts, which she opened after she had trouble posting videos on her own website, was (with some irony) called "MC For Realzzz".
When making The Miley And Mandy Show, she nicknamed herself and her dancer friend/co-host Mandy Jiroux "Milez" and "Manderz" in many episodes.
Krazy Kat is one of the very first examples. She had bit parts in George Herriman's assorted Sunday comics as early as 1903, was called "Kat" by 1909, and "Krazy Kat" by 1910. By the time she got her standalone strip in 1913, she'd developed her personal dialect, a mixture of Spanish and Yiddish accents with Ks everywhere.
Parodied in a FoxTrot strip. Jason buys a gory video game called Mortal Karnage that his mother dislikes, and she lectures him on how inappropriate it is: "You're too young for this sort of thing. I mean, look at what it teaches: that human disembowelment is entertainment...that "winners" decapitate their enemies...that carnage is spelled with a 'K'..." When he says "I know carnage isn't spelled with a 'K'.", she replies, "The sad part is, that's the least of my concerns." Even funnier when you realize that at the time, his mother was a newspaper columnist.
Microsoft Windows NT 5.1, also known as XP, which is supposed to be short for eXPerience.
Applications written for the Linux "KDE" desktop environment tend to be named with K's replacing hard C's (Konqueror, Konsole). Sometimes the "K" usage is a tad bit more... nonsensical, as with the name of the bundled golf game, Kolf. (Admittedly, Kgolf would've looked stupid.)
Though KDE is a project that started on Germany, and several of those words are valid German words (like Konsole).
Originally KDE was supposed to stand for Kool Desktop Environment (currently it's simply K Desktop Environment; the K no longer stands for anything), with the Xtreme Kool Letterz spelling of "cool" being chosen for a good reason, in that the commercial Common Desktop Environment (which is a proprietary (i.e. not open-source) program with more restrictive terms than KDE) already claimed the name CDE, so KDE was chosen instead to avoid lawsuits from the owners of CDE. Plus, well, "kool" is better than "common." (Eventually KDE and its rivals GNOME and Xfce went on to replace CDE on Linux and some other Unix-like systems.)
The aforementioned desktop environments are all based on a certain common GUI system. This system is named... X. Just like that.
It's part of a pattern. It was the successor to the W GUI system, which was used by the V operating system. No Y yet.
W, as in "windowed". X, being the letter after W, was a perfectly legitimate name for W's successor.
And then there's POSIX. It stands for Portable Operating System Interface. Where does the X come from? It looks cool.
Probably from UNIX which is 'successor' of Multics (Multi-/Uni-) with an Xtreme Kool Letter at the end.
Ken Thompson's original version of the OS, written in Assembly, was called UNICS, a pun on MULTICS. Dennis Ritchie's C rewrite saw the name change to Unix.
An interesting case is the music player Amarok, which was originally spelled amaroK until it was decided that looked stupid. "Amarok" is the name of a real Inuit deity, however.
There was the Newgrounds troll group the "Kitty Krew." This sometimes lead to some unfortunate acronyms with some anti-KK groups, such as the "Kitty Krew Killers."
Cirqus Voltaire has the unusual replacement of the second C in circus with a Q.
The Hardy Boyz, and their perennial rivals The Dudley Boyz, in WWE.
The Hardy's stable with Lita was also referred to as Team Xtreme
Spotlighted in a promo by Edge and Christian, the rivals of both teams, when mentioning "The Hardyz, and the Dudleyz, both of whom inexplicably spell their names with Z's"
Edge and Christian once brought out two senior citizens dressed as the Hardys to mock them, claiming that they were the Hardy Boyz from the future. Christian asked them if, in the future, people still spell things with Z's instead of S's.
There's NXT. Doesn't stand for anything, that's just the "xtreme kool" way of spelling "next", since the program is the "next" generation of WWE.
After many years of identifying WrestleMania events with Roman numerals, #17 was officially X-Seven ï¿½ pronounced "ecks-seven". And the next year saw X8, "ecks-eight". From #19 (XIX) onwards, all-Roman numbers have been back in vogue.
ECW's Rhino was renamed Rhyno when he went to WWF. That wasn't about being "Xtreme" though, that was so WWF/E could establish a trademark, hence why he went back to being Rhino after they canned his ass.
ECW itself was an xception to the rulez, so to speak, by correctly using an E for Extreme. (Other wrestling promotions such as XPW, as noted above, are not so grammatically-minded.) It was founded in 1992, though: you can bet that 10 or so years later there would have been an X in there for sure ï¿½ their late-period pay-per-view Anarchy Rulz submitted to this trope, for instance. They also started out as Eastern Championship Wrestling.
Adam And Joe introduced a series of Song Wars Classics, which they insisted was spelt Song Wars Kqllasixcq (with a silent X).
Univision uses the "La Kalle" brand for many of its music stations in the U.S.
"Kool" is also a common radio brand, used primarily on oldies stations.
Many minor league sports teams use Xtreme Kool Letterz in their names, especially indoor football teams. A few examples: Kissimmee Kreatures, Nashville Kats, Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, Kalamazoo Xplosion, Lehigh Valley Outlawz, Kansas Koyotes, Memphis Xplorers. Baseball has the Orem Owlz, the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, and many varieties of "Sox".
The Orem Owlz are one of the final examples of a period of history in the state of Utah when this trope got out of hand. After people started making the connection that the three main sports teams in the state all had a double Z (The Jazz, the Grizzlies and The Buzz) people decided every team in Utah needed to follow suit. This lead to such team names as The Freezze, the Starzz, the Blitzz and the Owlz. Even The Buzz was changed to The Stingerzz for a while. This fad has since been proven to be stupid and doesn't show up with new teams.
Bearkats seems to be the preferred spelling for Texas high schools using that mascot, probably inspired by the Sam Houston State University Bearkats, who adopted that name in 1923.
Subversion: The Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox baseball teams didn't get their names because they looked cooler than "Red Stockings" or "White Stockings" (their original names), but because it was easier for the newspapers to print "Sox" than "Stockings." Eventually, the names stuck.
Quebec City's minor league basketball team is known as the "Kebs," short for "Kebekwa" — a phonetic spelling of Québécois, but rather ironically in English phonetics.
ESPN's Summer and Winter X-Games, originally the "Extreme Games".
Da Orkz'Funetik Aksent is spelled with these in Warhammer 40,000, to say nothing of their species name. So are the names of lots of daemons. (Although the daemons often look like they've been spelt by randomly punching a keyboard).
Waste World RPG presents some kool spelling variationz like "skavengers," "drakonium," "konvoys," "kimera" and the like.
Many games, including Dungeons & Dragons from 3rd edition forward, gave in and abbreviated "experience points" as "XP". This carries over to computer games, too.
The Mortal Kombat series takes this to an extreme. Every word which starts with a hard C (with some of the exceptions being Johnny Cage, the male Chameleon, and the live action series Mortal Kombat: Conquest) is spelt with a K. Worse still, those are apparently the proper spellings of those words in the MK universe. Damn.
According to pinball designer Steve Ritchie (who voices Shao Khan), he came up with "Kombat" specifically because of this trope.
Steve Ritchie: "I made up that name and gave it to Ed Boone. They had 'Mortal' on the white board. I added the word 'Kombat'... because it was cool."
Gruntz is a puzzle game where plurals end in Z instead of S in the help file and in-game text. There are a few missed instances, however.
In the Jak and Daxter videogame series, the police Mooks are called the Krimzon Guard, despite the fact that the elites are dressed in yellow armor. (To be fair, the normal Krimzon Guard do dress in red.)
Every single member of Organization XIII has an X in his or her name. What's more, their names are anagrams on their real names with an X thrown in for Theme Naming. 'Roxas' is also a real name (both place and person — it's mostly popular in the Philippines), which helped to shade the obvious anagram that would ruin the Tomato in the Mirror. The more you know! Axel and Xion are real names as well, and the three make up the most sympathetic members of the Org.
Subversion in the above rules, as normally the foreign letters aren't pronounced any different, but here χ-blade was not pronounced as X-blade but as "chi" blade (which actually sounds more like keyblade, so it fits).
HeadGames made a series of extreme sports games, including eXtreme PaintBrawl, eXtreme Watersports, and eXtreme Bull Riding.
The unofficial abbreviation usually used for the PlayStation (until the PlayStation 2 came out, at least) was "PSX." This is because the console's codename during development was the "PlayStation Experimental." Made much worse by the fact that Sony actually released a separate console called the PSX (only in Japan, of course) which incorporated a video, photo, and music player with DVR support, along with the capability of playing PS/PS2 games.
The XBand service used a primitive modem cartridge for the SNES/Genesis to connect to players (as if on a BBS) through a now-defunct service. The company that made it went on to create a Windows-based MPlayer service, which also eventually shut down. What made it even more Xtreme was the A in the logo was upside-down. Wait for it... XB∀ND!
The Shutokou Battle series of street racing games is known as Tokyo Xtreme Racer in North America.
There's a game in the Grandia series which is outside the main game 'continuity' (though none of the numbered games are related in any way). It's called... Grandia Xtreme! What's so Xtreme about it? It's primarily focused around Level Grinding.
The Spiritual Successor to Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Apparently, "XD" stands for "eXtra Dimension." The pronounciation is actually supposed to be "Excess," but really, no one says that.
The trend started with PF Magic's original development of the Petz, Babyz, and Oddballz games. PF Magic was also responsible for Ballz.
Telenet Japan's Action RPG series Exile was originally called XZR in Japan. They are pronounced the same if you torture the phonetics enough.
The Big Bad in Final Fantasy VIII replaces every c with a k. Although the Big Bad isn't really that cool or extreme in the relative sense. That didn't stop her theme music from being called "The Extreme".
A lot of Rare Ware's early games for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. Jetpac, Tranz Am, Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde, Blackwyche and Dragon Skulle, oh my.
Jaleco's Karnaaj Rally is a rather confusing variation. After a quick analyzation you've probably come to the realization that it's "Carnage Rally". It seems they changed "C" to "K", which is common ever since Mortal Kombat. They added an extra "A" and changed the last two letters to "J".
For April Fools' Day, they make an intro for HSR Xeriouxly Forxe. Homestar... er, "H. Star" pronounces this with each X as a "KS" sound, rexulting in him getting xcolded by "S. Bad," who replaxes all hix xibilant conxonantx with pronounxed X's.
Khaos Komix. It fit the original comic a bit better than the current incarnation.
xkcd: The apparent acronym has no particular meaning, but hits a few kool letterz. According to the author: "It's just a word with no phonetic pronunciation — a treasured and carefully-guarded point in the space of four-character strings."
Xykon: ... and my name is Xykon. Right-Eye: Um, yes, OK, great and powerful sorcerer Zykon— Xykon: No, no, no! With an X, not a Z! Z's are for pussies.
A.I. in Schlock Mercenary sometimes use numbers to substitute for letters, and even whole syllables, in their names; for example, "5er0" (pronounced "Ver-None," with 5 substituting for its Roman equivalent, V) instead of Vernon.
Last Res0rt has it right in the title, though Word of God justifies it on the basis of having a hard time securing a domain name in the "correct" spelling.
Presumably, the reason SWAT Kats isn't titled SWAT Cats is because of this trope. The fact that the subtitle is "The Radical Squadron" seems to support that (as does the whole series' tone).
Following the "Keystone Kops" example above, an episode of The Simpsons has Krusty the Clown (which is an example right there) hosting "Krusty's Komedy Klassic" at the Apollo Theater. He really shouldn't have put the acronym on stage in big white letters in front of that many black people...
Krusty: Hey, hey! It's great to be back at the Apollo Theater, and... (notices the three white K's behind him onstage)KKK?That's not good!
Also related to the above example, SpongeBob SquarePants's principle restaurant is titled the Krusty Krab.
Another early example of this trope being applied deliberately: Dragon Flyz (from 1996).
"Sonic Sez" from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Of note, though, is the fact that "Sez" was written by Tails in each case, and when Sonic appeared, he would correct it to "Says".
"Sez" was also used on newspaper headlines decades before AoStH came about.
In Batman Beyond's future, the streets of Gotham City are plagued by a gang called the "Jokerz." Bruce is not impressed.
Code Lyoko does this with the monsters: Kankrelat (from French "cancrelat"), Blok, Krabe, Kongre, Rekin, Kalamar, Kolossus... Justified in-story with Odd doing most of the naming, and that's just the kind of thing he'd do. On the same note: "Lazer Arrow!"
Bender: Blackmail is such an ugly word. I prefer "extortion." The "x" makes it sound cool.
Though it's not really in the cartoons themselves, these fan-made profiles for Simba and Timon & Pumbaa spell The Lion King's villain's name as "Skar", despite it being spelled as "Scar" everywhere else.
Ellipsanime's Xcalibur drops the E from the name of a certain legendary sword to supposedly sound cool.
Wakfu makes largely use of Sdrawkcab Name, but sometimes combines it with this for some names, like "Rubilax" ([Exc]alibur again), "Kabrok" ("corbac", French slang for raven), "Sybannak" (Cannabis)...
Avatar: The Last Airbender subtly manages to slip this in. Everyone in the fire nation's royal family has the letter Z in their name (Zuko, Azula, Ozai, Sozin), and many characters from the Water Tribes have names featuring K (Katara, Sokka, Hakoda, Pakku, Kana, Kya). Iroh and Ursa are the odd ones out for the former example.
Its sequel, The Legend of Korra, continues the latter tradition, as all but one named waterbender have K's in their name (Korra, Tarrlok, Yakone, and Noatak do, and Tahno doesn't (it may be justified as he is the only one who wasn't stated to be born in either water tribe and may be a city native)).
Two episodes of Jimmy Two-Shoes: "No Rulez Rules Jimmy" and "Team X-treme Team."
The Problem Solverz and many of its episode titles. Interestingly, "Zoo Cops" is an exception to this. And bizarrely enough, Problem Solvers is actually spelled correctly in the pilot (just not in the title).
Cubix. Standard robots will have 'ix' on the end of their names, while Doctor K's creations always have a name beginning with K. Kolossal, Krab, Katastrophe, Klobber, Kannon, the Kulminator...
American English favors using a Z, instead of an S that sounds like a Z, in various words, including "recognize" and "analyze." This follows the general trend for American English to favor more symplified and phonetic spellings even when it messes with the etymology.
America's Best Dance Crew is a particularly egregious example of this. Almost every crew have "kool letterz" their name, but as an example three crews have the word "crew" in their name. Here are the ways they spell that otherwise simple word: "Cru," "Kru," and "Cr3w."
For the same thing with a different cause, see certain groups within the Womyn's Movement.
Many of the baby names discussed at this page suffer from this. "Mackenzie" not unique and special enough? How about Makenzy? Mykynzy? Mkynzptlk.? Mxyzptlk?
When parents name their children with Xtreme Kool Letterz:
Common both in Brazil and in Hispanic countries around the Caribbean: many mothers (specially from poor families) like to put fancy, Xtremely Kool names on their children. From simply replacing 'c' with 'k' to entire contraptions with loads and loads of 'k', 'w', 'y', 'll' etc...
The tendency in Hispanic countries to uses names with a 'Y' somewhere, usually substituting 'J' if at the beginning of the name, and 'I' or the 'LL' sound if in the middle or at the end. The fad was so bad in Caribbean countries in general that Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez named her blog "Generación Y (Generation Y)", not only as a pun on "Generation X", but to point out the whole generation of people born from The Seventies to The Nineties saddled which such kind of names.
This is also common as hell in Black America. Those "Stereotypical Ghetto Names" are that way because it's popular. "Shaniqua" and "Keyshana" etc etc. link
Filipino families today are guilty of naming their children with such names as Krizalyn and Johndex. And their names are written on their birth certificates. Their excuse is that the old Filipino names [taken from Spanish names] are a tad boring and the recent American names are quite becoming cliche, so they decided that it would be cool if they add an extra letter and change some letter.
The AHEM military contracting company formerly known as Blackwater has changed their name to Xe. One could say that these days, Blackwater's name is mud.... So they changed it. Plus, there is the irony of them changing their name to the chemical symbol of an almost inert gas. Rachel Maddow quickly took to pronouncing it "she."
There is a cable TV channel in Brazil (Telecine) that once a week broadcasts movies subtitled with internet slang and Xtreme Kool Letterz.
A possible etymology for "OK" is that it was an Xtreme Kool Letterz version for "All Correct": "Oll Korrect".
More likely it was shorthand for Zero Killed.
There was a short-lived fad for these abbreviations around 1840, such as "KG" = "(K)no Go". OK seems to be the only one that caught on and lasted, at least partly because of its association with Martin Van Buren—his campaign actively linked the abbreviation with his nickname, "Old Kinderhook" (Kinderhook being his hometown in Upstate New York).
The Ku Klux Klan is clearly an example of this, and they have a potential to ruin an otherwise appealing use of Xtreme Kool Letterz when someone notices that the initials are KKK. Sometimes in comedy, as with Krusty's Komedy Klassic in The Simpsons or the Kappa Kappa Kappa sorority on MADtv, this unfortunate set of initials will be played for laughs. Remember, though, that Hitler Ate Sugar and this trope is still not a bad thing even though a group of equally repulsive racists has taken a liking to the use of Xtreme Kool Letterz.
In the 20s, a Klansman could meet at a Klavern to have a Klonversation with the local Kleagle. Don't know the rules? Don't worry, they're all laid out in the Kloran. (Apparently, the Klan had the same naming conventions as the Donkey Kong Country series.)
There's an urban legend that "Ku Klux" approximates the sound of a shotgun being cocked. Another idea was that "Ku Klux" is a bastardization of kuklos, Greek for "ring" or "circle". The Kuklos Adelphon was basically the KKK before it was the KKK. Rumor has it that "klan" was added to the end, because the founders of the KKK were Scots-Irish.
There are various theories (some with more credibility than others) about the origin of the name, but no one knows the true story. All of them, however, contain a tacit admission of "it was mostly done that way because it looked cool." Whatever the reason, it gave an unhelpfully tongue-twisting name that many people erroneously or accidentally render as Klu Klux Klan.
For trademark purposes, the Sci-Fi channel changed its name to "Syfy", which is Polish for "acne." Parts of the sci-fi fanbase has decided it is short for syphilis. (No doubt you saw the subtle irony in the Polish translation.)
Using katakana in places where hiragana or kanji is normally used is something of an equivalent of Xtreme Kool Letterz. For example, オ早ウゴザイマス is considered more Xtreme than お早うございます. This is Older Than They Think: in medieval Japan, hiragana was considered an effeminate script, and many male writers used katakana instead. (Usually, when a character's lines are written in katakana, it's done to indicate that the character is speaking in a thick foreign accent or with No Indoor Voice. Katakana is normally used for loanwords originating in non-Japanese countries, especially English.)
There's also the inverse, writing foreign words in hiragana instead of katakana (example: "start" as "すた〜と" instead of "スタート").
Currently, it is considered 'kewl' to render foreign-originating words in Kanji for phonetic value ("Ateji", it's called; Touhou uses a lot of these, incidentally).
Using the archaic katakana wi (ヰ), wo (ヲ) and we (ヱ) as substitutes for i (イ), o (オ) and e (エ), which are pronounced exactly the same, in words such as "otaku". The 1946 reform of the Japanese language eliminated the use of wo within words, and abolished we and wi entirely.
The research paper database arXiv (the X is a Greek chi). Its pronounced "archive."
Aleister Crowley popularized the "Magick" spelling for magic in the modern western world. Now, there are people who spell it "majyyk."note Fun fact: dropping needless 'k's at the end of words like "magick," "musick" and "publick" was one specific goal of folks like Noah Webster.
All X-perimental aircrafts by the USAF, from the Bell X-1 to the Boeing X-53 are called X-planes.
The Old English/Old Norse letter thorn (Þ / þ) has been used in place of a p in the "tongue sticking out" emoticon. Conversely the ð in Skaði (pronounced like the th in thus) has been turned into a d among astronomers.
In the UK at least, it is common to give limited-stop bus routes a number with an "X" prefix for Express, although this goes back many years. Of cource whilst giving a bus route an "X" prefix doesn't make it sound cooler (try as they do, making buses "cool" is very hard), it does make it sound faster. It is not uncommon to find "X" routes that are far from express.
Kamaz. It is actually an abbreviation, standing for Kamsky Avtomobilny Zavod, or "Kama Automobile Plant" (Kama is the name of a river).
The '50s and early '60s hot rod culture favored the term "kustom", particularly in George Barris' Kustom Kars (Barris is famous for many awesome TV Kars, including The Munsters' family koach, the Monkee-Mobile, the General Lee and the Batmobile).
In 11 markets, Comcast has changed the name of its "Triple Play" service to Xfinity, probably under the belief that it is "contemporary." Furthering this delusion, they have covered the site with Klavika (a sans-serif typeface with squarish curves that has become a go-to "web 2.0" face). Their mobile internet service, meanwhile, is the predictably "kewl" Internet 2go.
The Monster Raving Loony Party has purposely misspelled "Education" in their suggestions (2) page for their manifesto.
Toys "Я" Us. In this case, it owes more to the idea that kids sometimes write letters backwards when they're very young and just learning to write.
Native Instruments seem not to be able to decide between Xtreme Kool Letterz and Gratuitous German. Product names like Reaktor or Kontakt fall into both categories, Komplete falls only into the former, and Maschine falls only into the latter.
Roland's top workstation generations of the 21st century have been named Fantom. The true reason, however, is that they weren't allowed to use Phantom.
The Oberheim Xpander synthesizer.
Wichita Falls, Texas has a mall called Sikes Senter.
The computer hardware manufacturer Asus has a range of "Xtreme Design" motherboards.
"Tyre". Sure, it's the legitimate British and Commonwealth spelling of the word (for "the rubber thing you put on a wheel" — as distinct from "to weary", which remains tire), but it sure rubs off this way to North Americans.
Ditto for "kerb" and "gaol".
An Android OS Twitter Client was renamed Twidroyd from Twidroid after being bought by Idealab's Tweet Up. The reasoning for this is that Lucas Films owns the trademark for the word Droid, nevermind the other bamillion apps with Droid in the name that aren't being sued right now.
In U.S. Air Force Civil Engineering units, pavement and heavy equipment operators are also known as "Dirt Boyz."
In the Philippines, there is a language called jejemon which follows the rules of this trope. And yes, the Filipino grammar nazis hate them.
Raven-Symoné. The accent serves no obvious purpose, since it's pronounced "Raven-Simone".
Phreaking, a now-discredited trope. (When was the last time you saw a phone booth?) Also, fone cards.
Coca-Cola had Coke Blak, with the a having what was supposed to be a breve but looked more like a tilde. It was a mixture of Coke and coffee.
Many Christian youth-oriented church groups have been doing variants on this since the late 80's and like most, it's questionable if there's any payoff for doing it.
The Cité Internationale Universitaire in Paris, which houses international students at the various Paris learning institutions, has a lot of fun with foreign letters on its signs, such as this◊ or this◊. They don't even stay consistent throughout.
There's an office building in the St. Louis suburbs called Cequel III.
Xian and Xmas are common abbreviations for Christian and Christmas. The X abbreviation is taken from the Greek letter X or Chi, the initial of Christ.
The names kids choose for themselves on Xbox Live. Hell, even the name Xbox itself.
The now defunct Burger Chef chain, which was sold to Hardee's, had sandwiches named the Super Shef and the Top Shef (a burger with cheese and bacon).
As mentioned above in Sportz, there was a ZZ naming fad in Utah in the 1990s. Another surviving artifact of that era is one Salt Lake City suburb's community festival: Taylorsville Dayzz.
Sheetz a Mid-Atlantic convenience store chain replaces the plural S with a Z for many of their menu items EX: Saladz & Wrapz. As well as including the letters SH. EX: Shmuffin or Shwings.
A once-popular fad that might have receded by now was making cubes ("squares") out of flavored gelatin. When Knox-brand gelatin was used, the cubes were affectionately called "Knox blox."
Some Blood and Crip sets change spellings of words to fit their gang mentality. Bloods will replace "C" with "CK" meaning Crip Killer wherever applicable (or replace it with a B, as in the phrase "bickin back being bool.") Alternatively, Crips will replace any "CK" with a "C", and would write "kick back" as "kicc bacc."
Tastee-Freez, an American ice cream chain.
Also Karmelkorn, a mall-based popcorn vendor. Once popular in malls through the 1970s, it's now down to about 25 locations, almost all of which are co-branded with Dairy Queen and/or Orange Julius.
Donut vendor Krispy Kreme.
The Spanish language has the "hoygan" 'dialect' for those people who don't give a flying rat's ass about spelling. The rules involve adding or removing random "h"'s anywhere (since it's a silent letter, you can put as many as you want and not notice a thing in the final pronunciation!), and switching "b" and "v" around (same pronunciation), "y" and "i" or "y" and "ll" (depending on the sound); "qu", "c" and "k"; "g" and "j"; and "z", "c" and "s" as much as you want. And, of course, no accents whatsoever. So "Hoy es un buen día" would become "oi ez un vuen dya". Enjoy the eyebleed.
Philadelphia snack cake company "Tastykake."
The Great Northern Railway Klondyke-class locomotive of 1897 , named for the Klondike gold rush that happened that same year. Both spellings had equal currency on the GNR.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA), an American campground franchise.
The word "laser" is often misspelled "lazer" despite being an acronym.note Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
Futurama writer/producer David X. Cohen, whose middle name is actually Samuel. There was already a writer credited as David S. Cohen in the Writers Guild of America and members are not allowed to have the same name, so he changed his middle initial to X because it "sounded sci-fi-ish" and he thought it would make him "the David Cohen people would remember".