Out of Commission…for today

Well it turns out that some fella has a biostats and medical informatics exam this morning, and had to shirk his writing duties on Friday AND today.

Monorail Cat

So there’s a cat for you. I promise I’ll get my act together soon, and in the meantime, I’ll leave you with that cat, as well as a pic of Miles Davis hitting the speedbag.

Miles Davis hitting the speedbag!

Miles Davis hitting the speedbag!

And I’ll go find a funny pic from the archives for you, out of penance.

Here we go… it’s a random pic of Alison Brie (from Community… of the greatest sitcoms of all time) hugging a random green monkey thing.

Like green monster monkeys that are just looking for someone to hug!

Like green monster monkeys that are just looking for someone to hug!

We might as well add the first pic in the blog’s history…. Outerbridge Horsey VII, chillin’ with his homedogs.

Outerbridge Horsey VII, posing with animals

Outerbridge Horsey VII, posing with animals

OK fine, and a pickle!

Oh look, a dancing pickle!

Oh look, a dancing pickle!

I’ll get my act in gear soon folks, I promise promise promise! Let’s hope this week gets off to a good start…. for all of us!

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Sparkly Shoes, Twinkletoes and Blimps, Plus People Who Watch Other People Eat Hot Dogs in FNITN 112

Hello all! I have returned from a vacation back to the keyboard and ready to enjoy all the funny names I can rest my eyes upon (not that I took my eyes off funny names on my trip). Let’s get right to it!

We got a special treat right off the bat here, with our Baseball guru Rob having sent in this lovely link to awesome Baseball nicknames from the 1940s. The list includes everyone’s favorite, Twinkletoes Selkirk, among some other doozies. My personal favorite may well be Blimp Hayes, who was presumably so named because he was thought to the be the future of transportation.

Google suggests these are Twinkletoes, and why not.

Google suggests these are Twinkletoes, and why not.

Not to forget Rabbit McNair, Dizzy Trout, Stormy Weather Weatherly, Bob Suitcase Seeds, and Cookie Lavagetto, among the dozens of amazing ball-smashers on that list.  Thanks Rob!

Meanwhile, our man Dave has been reading his gossip rags at the barbershop again, and with that brings us the news that Joey Chestnutt and Neslie Ricasa, who were engaged to be married, are now no longer engaged.  Joey is of course the world’s #2 ranked hot dog eater, which brings to mind the question – who is ranking hot dog eaters out there? If you know this clearly passionate hot dog eating watcher, please write in. We’re very curious.

Meanwhile in personal experience land, we recently got to ride on the Councilman Hyman Pill memorial escalator coming out of public transport in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it was a very pleasant (if vaguely urine smelling) experience. Mostly pleasant because that’s quite an amazing name, and because a subway escalator is an even more amazing thing to have memorialized in your honor.

Pleasingly, I found this LIFE Magazine snippet showing Mr. Pill at work from 1948. Fantastic stuff.

I have to try this egg trick to enliven any dull proceedings.

I have to try this egg trick to enliven any dull proceedings. (click to make the image larger)



And we wrap up with a tale of good coffee from Dave, our brave Michigan local news observer.

He tells us of Dianne Hoffmeyer, who did something awesome – buying Tim Hortons orders for 2 people who insulted her weight while standing in line at the coffee shop.

Happy weekend, everyone! Enjoy your Timbits out there!

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Sweet Poppa Pigmeat

Pigmeat Markham - World's Greatest ClownWhen you read “pigmeat,” you probably think of bacon–the breakfast meat or Kevin. But today’s funny name is no strip nor link nor patty; today we discover comedian, singer, actor, and dancer Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham (April 18, 1904 – December 13, 1981). And yes, there is “ham” in his last name. Can you ever have too much pork?

Born in North Carolina (a state famous for pulled pork), his nickname came from a stage routine, in which he declared himself to be “Sweet Poppa Pigmeat.”

Incidentally, if you were wondering what his Bacon number was (the degrees of separation from his movie career to Kevin Bacon’s), it’s 3.

Pigmeat began his career in traveling music and burlesque shows, running away from home at the age of just 14. He took up with a white showman referred to as “Mr. Booker” who “came over to us before the show with a can of Stein’s burnt-cork and showed us how to put it on in front of the mirror.” After working in a “gully” (girly) show, he toured across the South with carnivals and medicine shows. 

According to Last Man in Blackface: The World of Pigmeat Markham by Kliph Nesteroff:

Pigmeat adopted a variety of monikers, including David Markham, Dewey Markham, Dewey Alamo, Black Rock or Rock Markham. “Pigmeat,” it has been said, was slang for “young stuff” – as in “jail bait.” He settled on the handle after performing in Gonzelle White’s Traveling Show. The name Pigmeat was…the name of a character in one of the comic skits. Markham took it with him when he left; and he took it into the big time.

The “big time” included becoming one of The Apollo’s most frequent performers. In the 1940s, he started making film appearances.

In the 1950’s, Pigmeat performed his “Heyeah (here) come da judge” signature routine on Ed Sullivan’s show. Mocking the formal courtroom atmosphere, Pigmeat would sit at a judge’s bench (in a black graduation cap-and-gown), and pass down “judgments” on criminals. Frustrated with the accused, he would often lean over the bench and smack them with an inflated bladder-balloon.


I know. That sounds super crazy.

“It’s a real bladder,” Pigmeat explained. “Someone at a slaughterhouse picks them up for me. I tried many things, but this is the only thing that gives me that real good sound when it crashes on someone’s head.”

Pigmeat’s daughter Kathy admitted, “He would bring several bladders home, soak them in water overnight, grease them up with Vaseline. [He] had a pump contraption that inflated the prepared bladder.” (http://blog.wfmu.org/).


Pigmeat’s most famous routine was “discovered” by the general public after Sammy Davis, Jr. performed it as a guest on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In television show. Soon his routine’s entry line become a catchphrase on the show, as did his phrase “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.” Ironically, most white audiences had been unfamiliar with Pigmeat until then, as he had almost exclusively performed on the “chitlin’ circuit” of vaudeville, theatres, and night clubs. Chitlins=pig intestines=more pork. My apologies to any vegetarians.

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Benjamin Disraeli, an Unlikely Love Story

Let’s distract ourselves then with a story about a widow. The year is 1838 in London, England. Mary Anne Lewis, a plain woman, who often scandalized people with her uninhibited comments, ditsy remarks, outlandish furniture, and bizarre clothing choices.

Her husband, Wyndham Lewis, a member of the House of Commons, died when she was 45. He left her a small fortune and a large home in London, making her attractive to fortune hunters.

In steps Benjamin Disraeli, in his late 30’s, and in need of an infusion of cash to grease his political ambitions after his benefactor, Wyndham Lewis died.

Ambitious politician and romance writer.

Benjamin Disraeli, ambitious politician and romance writer.

When Disraeli first approached Mary Anne, he was unimpressed by anything but her fortune. She was twelve years his senior, by that time in her early 50’s. But something about his manner caught her attention.

When he asked her to marry him, she knew he didn’t love her. And asked they wait one year so she could gauge his character and disposition.  She was far more shrewd than anyone credited her. At the end of the year she agreed to marry him.

In answer to some lady's pale complexion, "I wish you could see my Dizzy in his bath!"

Mary Anne Disraeli in answer to a comment on some lady’s pale complexion, “I wish you could see my Dizzy in his bath!”

While she may not have known which came first, “the Greeks or the Romans,” she understood the most important thing in marriage—the art of handling men.

Mary Anne adored her husband. Her frivolous patter when he came home at night helped him to relax, and in turn, home became his haven. She helped him edit the books he wrote—some were romance novels, listened to his daily news from parliament, became his helpmate, confidant, advisor.

Whatever he undertook, Mary Anne did not believe he could fail.

With the decay of the Ottoman Empire and the incursion by the Russians and other countries to take over the region, Disraeli arranged for Britain to purchase a portion of the Suez Canal Company in Ottoman-controlled Egypt. When he made terms favorable to England at the Congress of Berlin to maintain peace in the Balkans, Russia’s political power weakened—the move made Disraeli a top statesman in Europe.

He rose from the House of Commons to Prime Minister of England during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria, one of Disraeli’s close friends, wanted to ennoble him. He did not want to leave the House of Commons, so Mary Anne was raised to the Viscountess of Beaconsfield. (Hmm, fields of bacon, oh wait that’s beacons.) After her passing, he accepted the title, which was retired upon his death. At least we still have beacons.

Disraeli was Mary Anne’s staunchest supporter. No one dared insult her within his hearing because he would defend her passionately.

He used to joke with his wife saying he had only married her for her money. To which Mary Anne would always reply, “But if you had to do it again, you’d do it for love.”

They were happily married thirty years until the time of her death. I’m sure the romance novels probably helped.

In the words of author Leland Foster Wood, “Success in marriage is much more than a matter of finding the right person; it is also a matter of being the right person.”

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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Welcome to the Bowling Season, Everybody, Now!

Yes, I’m among the throng who got back to the lanes last week. A card-carrying member of the USBC, for which I pulled an extra $20 out of my pocket for the honor. And, yes, I do consider this a sport. Not the way I perform it, perhaps, with my average that ended at 163, near the bottom of my 12-team league last year. Also, I do not own a button-down bowling shirt of the kind you see if you’ve stopped on a bowling tournament on TV.

Tastes best from a brown bottle, said Chris Schenkel.  (Photo from Wiki page)

Tastes best from a brown bottle, said Chris Schenkel. (Photo from Wiki page)

Which I did every week as a kid, with my parents, watching guys named Earl Anthony and Johnny Petraglia and Dick Weber rolling strike after strike. No, those aren’t funny names. The announcer on ABC, though, was Chris Schenkel, and he also used to make a commercial that merely supported “the great taste of beer in a bottle,” which aired on every tournament, which until I turned, oh, 16, I found pretty funny.

My search took me to bowl.com and its list of the members of the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame.

Click on any gallery photo for a description.

Yes, found the names of Weber, Petraglia and Anthony on the list for “superior performance.” Weber was inducted in 1970, because he won tournaments, amazingly, in six decades. His son, Pete, is also in the Hall of Fame. Petraglia, a native of Brooklyn — no wonder my Brooklyn-born pops loved him so — won his first tournament in 1967, but didn’t get into the Hall until 2009. Anthony, a hard-cranking lefty who started with a buzz cut, was voted the top bowler of the 1970s, and was inducted in 1986. In 2008, he was voted “the Greatest Player in PBA History.”

Of course my eyes wandered down the list. Much further down. To the “pioneer” category. I pictured hardy sorts that had to run down the alley and re-set their own pins, you know? Lug the ball back uphill, in the snow.

That’s where I found two names that forced me to click upon them.

Hello, Rokuro “Fuzzy” Shimada and Rev. Charles Carow.

I loved the thought of a Japanese pioneer who went by Fuzzy. A natural. And a bowler who perhaps was helped by divine intervention.

What I found was bowling in the USA’s dirty little secret.

Get this. There was, in the 1900s, a nasty rule in the ranks of the governing body of the sport, the American Bowling Congress. The top of the sport was bigoted. Just like the more publicized cases of baseball and golf.

And these two guys helped get that changed.

The biography for Shimada says: “A strong bowler who was barred from ABC membership because of the Caucasian-Only rule, Shimada was instrumental in promoting the sport to Japanese-Americans. He shared his knowledge as an instructor and promoter throughout California and helped organize the National Japanese-American tournament where he won 13 titles in 43 years of participation. He has five top 10 ABC Tournament finishes and three times won the Northern California BPAA match-play crowns.”

I bow to the tenacity and talent of Fuzzy.

Of the good Reverend: “Father Carow was heavily involved in conducting a bowling program for the Catholic Youth Organization in the New York City area. He became a New York City Bowling Association Director and later an ABC Convention delegate who pleaded with ABC to open its membership to minorities in the late 1940s. The Caucasian-Only rule was changed in 1950.”

Praise be, Father Carow.

Sixty guys in my league, of many ethnicities. Hooray, bowling season.

Here’s the link for bowl.com, the source all photos except for Schenkel.

Here’s the link for Chris Schenkel’s wiki page, the source for his photo.

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