Colin Ferguson: the one where we (almost) didn’t talk food

Hello, Blog of Funny Names fans and welcome to this month’s Funny Names in Food post. It’s time to come clean: It’s getting harder to find funny food names. Despite what King Dave says, there just aren’t that many funny names (of interest, anyway) in the food world. The entertainment industry? Oh man, they’re all over. And sports? Pshaw–everywhere (especially boxing, right Dave?). Our music expert, Diddy, has found numerous funnily named individuals on Yoot Oob. (He came to BoFN because of his obsession with Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu–how can I top that?)

So. I almost pulled an amb and went on about an actor (!) in a new-found TV favorite. Sci fi fans have known about Eureka for ages as it went off-air only a few years ago. But I just recently stumbled upon it and have gone head-over-in-heels crazy in love with the show. A bit Dr. Who, it’s based more on reality (read: no aliens) and is full of suspense, romance, laughs, great special effects, twisty-turny jaw-dropping storylines, and beautiful people.

looking good, Sheriff Carter

looking good, Sheriff Carter

Hunky Sheriff Jack Carter, played by Colin Ferguson, struck me as a potential funny names candidate, so I ALMOST told you that he’s a Canadian-born actor. I almost shared that he grew up in Montreal, Hong Kong, England, and Connecticut and has Canadian, British, and American citizenship. Perhaps I might have noted that his time in Montreal gave him a good handle on that French language, so our Mr. Ferguson is bilingual. Just shy of six feet, he totally qualifies as that “tall drink of water” women tend to swoon over. (Though happily married, I still swoon over Mr. Ferguson myself.)

from Hubba. Hubba.

from Hubba. Hubba.

Had I decided to venture outside of my food world here, I’d have mentioned that Mr. Ferguson was once a member of the Montreal improv group, On the Spot. His professional acting roles include appearing in films alongside Christina Ricci, Lisa Kudrow, and Lyle Lovett (The Opposite of Sex) and Diane Keaton (Because I Said So). (Though I wasn’t so keen on checking out his appearance in Lake Placid 3–eek!) He also had that lead in Eureka and was guest presenter for sci-fi news show HypaSpace. (Had I told you this last bit, though, I wouldn’t have known of what I spoke as outside of Dr. Who and Eureka, I don’t know sci fi.)

In what seems a strange–albeit extremely profitable–move, Mr. Ferguson was chosen as the latest (and decidedly hottest) Maytag repairman. He’s actually quite entertaining in these commercials (watch them here–seriously, do) and I’m thrilled to have finally found a food connection for Mr. Ferguson. (Maytag=refrigerators=food. Yes?) This means I do not have to scrap all that I’ve written and hunt down that increasingly elusive funny name in food. My work here is done–phew! Enjoy Mr. Ferguson and I’m off to start hunting down next month’s name.


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Tippi Hedren

Astute, long-time readers of this blog may know that I have taken a liking to the show Cougar Town, which sounds about as far from the viewing habits of a 20-something male as possible.

Or does it… I still can’t figure out if young guys are supposed to be really attracted to cougars or a bit put off? How does this cougar thing work? Is the idea that cougars act and dress younger and work their magic through deception, or is the idea of a “forbidden fruit” what makes them so alluring to young males?

That last sentence makes me feel like Chandler Bing saying “If I were a guy…

Actors really had to earn their stripes back in the day!

Actors really had to earn their stripes back in the day!

But that’s me straying from my show of choice today, which is the delightful Cougar Town, created and written by the great Bill Lawrence (of Scrubs fame), and starring some of my favorite actors including Christa Miller, Courteney Cox, Busy Philipps, and Bob Clenendin (with cameos by Sarah Chalke and some of my favorite Scrubs actors).

A while back, I was watching the awesome Season 4 finale of Cougar Town, Jules’ father Chick wanted nothing more than to share a dance with a legendary screen starlet, Tippi Hedren.

Tippi Hedren. Tippi!

Though it’s not Nathalie Kay Hedren’s real name, it is the one she has used her entire life, ever since her Scandinavian father gave her the nickname “Tippi” because he thought her birth name was too long for a baby. A guy from the land of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson thinking the name “Nathalie” was too long? To each one’s own, I suppose.

Tippi with a very trippi towel! And don't you fondly remember the days when Stuart Symington was a major Democratic Candidate?

Tippi with a very trippi towel! And don’t you fondly remember the days when Stuart Symington was a major Democratic Candidate?

In any case, Tippi went on to have a successful modeling career throughout the 50′s and 60′s, including an appearance on the cover of Life magazine.

Later on, while watching her ad for the diet drink Sego,  was “caught by the jaunty throw of her head and white hair” and paid $25,000 for her to do a screen test.

Later on, after jumping through some weird Hitchcock hoops (like making her surround her name with single quotes), Alf cast ‘Tippi’ in the title role of The Birds, and her career took off. The performance earned Tippi her only Golden Globe in the first credited role of her career, and she went on to star in films such as Marnie and A Countess from Hong Kong, and appear in movies for another 50 years, with such films as I Heart Huckabees and Citizen Ruth.

A youthful 84, Tippi still acts today, and her performances in Raising Hope and Cougar Town brought her the attention and admiration of a young funny names lover and newly-enshrined Tippi enthusiast.

Tippi today, still rockin'

Tippi today, still rockin’

When not gazing at her star on the Walk of Fame, Tippi remains involved in Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre wildlife settlement she founded in the early 80′s.

And, according to NPR, Tippi was also instrumental in helping spread the influence of Vietnamese-American nail salons in the United States. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it! As an international relief coordinator for Food for the Hungry, some Vietnamese women took a liking to Tippi’s long, shiny nails, and she invited them to meet a stylist friend of hers, which helped launch the careers of some prominent manicurists, including Thuan Le.

Le later recounted:

“[Hedren] said, ‘I trained you to become a very special manicurist, not just plain manicurist … because you make more money.’ “

Not too shabby, tabby!

Tippi making Chick swoon on Cougar Town! Go Tippi!

Tippi making Chick swoon on Cougar Town! Go Tippi!


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Fit Females, Fancy Fros, and Funny Names In The News #89

“Zoinks! Egad! Jeepers!” he proclaimed, upon remembering at 1:00am that Funny Names in the News was set for press a mere hours from now. “Better get movin’!” he resolutely decreed.

This week, I (Dave) had collected no fewer than thirteen FNITN updates, to go with two others from our intrepid correspondents, so I’ll see how many I can get to this week, and then pass the rest on to Arto to pinch hit with next week.

Eka Darville, whose name is so awesome it makes his cool hair seem unremarkable

Eka Darville, whose name is so awesome it makes his cool hair seem unremarkable

Batting in the leadoff position, the Ever Ebullient Amb!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) brings us an update from one of her “Favorite Television Shows [I've] Never Heard Of” series, which is frankly a list so large I think it would overwhelm Santa Claus. Apparently, Eka Darville’s character got killed off on The Originals a couple of weeks ago. Now before you exclaim “Oh no! Someone was killed!!” let Amb console you with these words of wisdom:

“This isn’t really FNITN-worthy, since characters get killed off on The Originals more often than I swoon over Imaginary Boyfriends … but the Emmy nominations were just announced, and The Originals is nominated for Hairstyling for a Multi Camera series, and the fact that this is an actual Emmy Category that actually exists makes me so very happy. xo amb”

To that I say: Dearest Amb, thanks for easing our minds… but anything involving Eka Darville is FNITN worthy! I also am super glad that this Emmy Category exists. I can store that one in the vault for our future “Funny Named Award Show Categories” feature, which is bound to be a crackerjack feature that’ll get the kidz talking!

Next we turn to Nominative Determinism in Local News expert Arto, who tells us Marijuana farmer Freddie Alexander Smoke III had been arrested on suspicion of recklessly causing a fire. A guy named “Smoke” who works with weed should be happy enough, but apparently the man had larger ambitions for making his name an even more apt descriptor. We hope the fire’s containment is rapid and justice is swift.

Now… where did I put my priorities… Oh, that’s right, I found them! Boxing! Boxing boxing boxing…sort of…

She used to box as "Hottie" Holly Holm. And she can kill you with her fists.

She used to box as “Hottie” Holly Holm, and then presumably punched guys who looked at her.

Former Women’s boxing champ-turned-mixed martial artist Holly Holm announced she has been signed to UFC!! It’s huge for the women’s division, possibly setting up a showdown with Ronda Rousey.

But that’s not all – in her official announcement on her Facebook page, Holm said she was indebted to her coach Mike Winkeljohn, her former promoter Lenny Fresquez, and the Legacy team including Mick Maynard. That’s a star-studded cast of awesome names right there!

We move on to another insanely fit female. In “Things Crazy People Do” news (also the topic of Wednesday’s post), former gymnast Kacy Catanzaro became the first woman ever to beat the American Ninja Warrior course. Watch it… it’s awesome! The Towson University alum brought national attention to her school, which led to people’s delightful realization that Maravene S. Loeschke is the current President of the university. Go Kacy and the Towson Tigers!

Maazel tov, music man, and may you find symphonies in heaven

Maazel tov, music man, and may you find symphonies in heaven

From triumph to tragedy, we are sad to announce the deaths of two very different people this week. Former Golden Gloves champion boxer Cashmere Rip DeWayne Jackson passed away after a fender bender led to a series of events that caused her death.

And in the arts, America lost a legendary symphony conductor, Lorin Maazel, who died in his home at age 84. Described as “Intense and Enigmatic,” the former child prodigy went on to become conductor of the country’s most prestigious orchestras.

Back to boxing, where touted prospect Cletus Seldin (who is surprisingly a Russian New York Jew and not a redneck), is primed to make his epic ESPN debut. I can never root against a guy named Cletus!

That’s 700 words, so we’ll save the rest for Arto in FNITN 90. Until next week, may you wonder if a webpage is in fact a thing ducks walk on! (1:20 of this AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING video will help you understand)

An early webpage prototype. Seriously, watch that video at 1:20!!

An early webpage prototype. Seriously, watch the 1:20 mark of this video!!

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Akbar Gbaja-Biamila: Big Man, Come Save Me

Every Monday evening, my family is glued to the TV, watching NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. We watch as finalists compete in their regions to move on to the national finals in Las Vegas, where they face a four-stage course modeled after the famed Mt. Midoriyama in Japan. Yes, it would make sense to drink a Midori Sour while watching.

Alongside Matt Iseman as host is former NFL player Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, with a name so exciting, it deserves the spotlight for today’s post.

Adding his middle names only makes it better: Akbar Oluwakemi-Idowu Gbajabiamila.

  • Akbar is Arabic and means “great.” This Akbar is not to be confused with Akbar and Jeff, from Matt Groening’s Life in Hell comic strip.
  • Oluwakemi means “God blessed me.”
  • Idowu means “born after twins.”  His older brother Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, a twin, is the Green Bay Packers all-time sacks leader. Lucky for him, they fit the name on his jersey.
  • And lastly, their last name, Gbaja-Biamila means “big man come save me,” which comes from their paternal great-great-grandfather, who stood seven feet tall and was the village moderator in the Nigerian village in which he lived.

Born to parents Mustapha and Bolatito, the 6’6″ (1.98 m) Biamila lives up to his name as a big man, which helped him excel at basketball until making the move to football during his senior year of high school in Los Angeles, California.

But football and Ninja Warriors are not the only thing dear to him. His broadcasting work, along with other speaking engagements, provides the platform for him to assist children through the Asomugha Foundation, which emphasizes education as the means for power and growth in disadvantaged youth. He also serves on the foundation’s board of members, under the direction of Nnamdi Asomugha, a former defensive back in the NFL, playing eleven seasons before retiring as an Oakland Raider.

Outside of his work with the Asomugha Foundation, Gbaja-Biamila’s passion is speaking about financial literacy. He has spent many hours working with impoverished youth in San Diego, speaking to them about the value of investing and understanding the financial system, as well as helping with reading and math programs. I am reminded of the quote: To whom much has been given, much shall be required. Gbaja-Biamila certainly knows how to give back. I guess when your very name identifies as you as a big man who comes to save people, you have to follow suit.

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Napoleon Hill, A Pioneer for Personal Success

Recently on my own blog, I mentioned inspiration comes from the strangest places. I referred to the following quote:

“There are many things in life that you cannot control, but you can always control your attitude toward them. Defeat is never permanent unless you allow it to be so. When you have a positive attitude, you will recognize failure for the impostor that it is and realize that it is really a learning experience, a valuable lesson that will help you succeed with the next attempt.

Ask yourself: What could I have done differently that would have altered the outcome? What can I do in the future to minimize problems and mistakes? What did I learn from this experience that I can put to good use next time? If you approach obstacles and setbacks with a positive attitude, you will be surprised how quickly you can turn defeat into victory.” ~ Napoleon Hill

At 5'6" tall, he never met his Waterloo.

Napoleon Hill. At 5’6″ tall, he never met his Waterloo.

Napoleon Hill was born in Appalachia, in Pound, Wise County, Virginia, October 26, 1883. His mother died when he was nine. His father remarried. The new Mrs. Hill possessed no interest in poverty. She took over the family farm and store, sent her husband to school to become a dentist at the age of 40, and turned up the heat on young Napoleon forging in him a sturdy back bone. He thanked her in his first book.

By age 13, Hill started his writing career as a “mountain reporter” for the local newspapers of Wise County.

He used those earnings to enter law school, however, he soon withdrew for lack of earnings. He returned to journalism. His big break came in 1908, at the age of 25, when he was assigned a commission to write a series of success stories about the foremost business leaders of the time.

His first interview, Andrew Carnegie. After three days of interviews with the steel baron, Carnegie challenged Hill.  Would he be interested in compiling the practices and beliefs of the current business giants into a coherent philosophy without any payment?

Carnegie pulled out his pocket watch. Carnegie planned on giving Hill sixty seconds to decide. Hill took twenty-nine seconds to answer. That decision changed the course of Hill’s life.

Five hundred interviews later, he distilled those philosophies into “The Magic Ladder to Success”—published with Carnegie’s help at the outset of the Great Depression. The book sales went the way of Wall Street in 1929.

Not discouraged by the lack of sales of his first book, he followed his own advice “What the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” He worked for seven years and tantalized readers with his secrets for achievement in his next volume. His publisher wanted to change the name of the book to “Use Your Noodle to Earn More Boodle!” Glad the K.I.S.S. philosophy won out . . . “Think and Grow Rich”—remains a perennial best seller to this day. That’s Pound Wise if you ask me.

No stranger to adversity, his businesses went bankrupt, he made and lost fortunes, he married several times, and was falsely accused of fraud and imprisoned. His son, Blair, was born without ears. By the time he reached his fifties, he experienced his first decade without a major adversity. Hill’s life was filled with those it seems to be bad, yet turned out to be good stories—lending more power to what he practiced and preached.

He passed in 1970 at the age of 87.

Tracy — Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom


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