Ransom Eli Olds, Inventor, Automater: Darn, Did I Give That One Away?

Some names speak greatness. Ransom Eli Olds is a doozy. Let’s take stock here. His father, Pliny Fiske Olds married Sarah Whipple and great things happened.

In 1889 Ransom married Metta Ursula Woodard. Off to a rolling start.

By 1894 Ransom claims to have built his first steam car and in 1896 he followed up with his first gasoline powered automobile.

Olds Pirate Racing Car driven by the man himself on a Florida beach. He could have said,  "Avast there matey. Get out of me way or I'll run ye over."

Olds Pirate Racing Car driven by the man himself on a Florida beach. He could have said, “Avast there matey. Get out of me way or I’ll run ye over.” But he didn’t. He left them in his dust.

Ransom invented the modern day assembly line. I know, I thought that was a Ford invention, too. Ford borrowed the idea.

Watch out trivia night people, we’re just warming up.

He formed the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan in 1897. Needing an infusion of cash, the company was purchased by lumber magnate, Samuel L. Smith, love that alliteration and balance. It rolls off the tongue. Smith became President. He renamed the company Olds Motor Works and Ransom Olds became Vice President.

By 1901, Olds built eleven prototype vehicles, which included models with electricity, gas and steam. He was the only American automotive pioneer to manufacture and sell at least one of each power type.

On March 9, 1901, the factory burned. The only model saved from the fire, the Curved Dash runabout. Later that year Olds pushed hard to sell the Dash Curve at the second annual New York Automobile Show. He dropped the jaws of the other attendees when he haggled with an auto dealer who wanted to buy 500 cars, and unimpressed, he replied, “I would like to see you make this order for a thousand cars.”

While they settled for 750, Olds is remembered for his audacity. The Dash Curve became the first low-priced, mass-produced American automobile. Yep, I thought that was Ford, too.

But wait there’s more, because cash could be an issue, in 1906 he organized two banks, Lansing National Bank and Michigan National Bank.

Ransom Olds

Ransom Olds, seriously.

Fred Smith vs. Ransom Olds:

When Sam Smith’s son, Fred, came into the business. Fred’s recurrent clashes with Olds caused Fred to remove Olds from the company.

So Ransom took his initials and ideas and formed REO Motor Car Company. Leading to the creation of the REO Speed Wagon. A vehicle, which inspired a band to take it’s name.

In the meantime, Ransom built a mansion. In the house he installed a technical innovation: a turntable, so he would never have to drive his car in reverse from the garage.

Not satisfied with just inventing cars, in 1913 he purchased over 37,000 acre of land in the northern part of Tampa Bay in Florida. He developed the land, which is now the city of Oldsmar.

He also financed the building of the Olds Tower, completed in 1931. It remains the tallest building in Lansing but renamed the Boji Tower.

Never fear funny names fans, times have changed, but funny names remained.

General Motors purchased the Olds Motor Company from the Smith family in 1908 and manufactured Oldsmobiles until the lines retirement in 2004. That’s 96-years “Olds”.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

Funny Names in the News 106, with Kristaps Porzingis, Panda’s Friend, Santa, and the New York Knickerbockers

Yo yo yo, it’s time for a Fabulous Friday Funny Names in the News – now celebrating its 106th edition!

Is it summer already… I guess it is… and you know what that means!

Right?

Right??

Kristaps will have his hands full as he adapts to a new "five players and one basketball" format here in America.

Kristaps will have his hands full as he adapts to a new “five players and one basketball” format here in America.

Yes, it means the NBA draft has rolled around (obviously!), and all sorts of tall dudes will find out where they’ll be spending the next couple of years.

Our favorite draftee this year is probably Kristaps Porzingis, the 6’11” Latvian forward who was drafted fourth overall by the New York Knicks!

New York’s famously harsh fans (yes, Mark and Mark, I’m looking at you!) will be expecting big things from the big guy, and let’s hope he delivers! The Knicks need a good break these days… it’s been a rough few years for the Knickerbockers. Now that I think of it, the New York Knickerbockers probably have the best name in pro basketball, so they’re due for something awesome.

Panda Friend is soon to be one of the hottest selling jerseys. (Panda not included)

Panda Friend is soon to be one of the hottest selling jerseys. (Panda not included)

In other basketball news, the always, um, interesting, Metta World Peace has changed his name to Panda’s Friend for his tenure in the Chinese Basketball League. It seems like the guy’s name is dependent on his location. He started out as plain ol’ Ron Artest playing for teams in America’s heartland like Chicago, Indiana and Houston, and then went all hippie as Metta World Peace on his move to Los Angeles. Now in China, he’s Panda Friend, and all we can hope for is that he keeps playing for different teams so we get more funny names fodder.

Moving from Panda interest news to Human Interest news, University of Cincinnati president Santa Ono has wowed us all with his generosity – taking a $200,000 bonus and donating it to charity. How awesome is that?!? (The answer is “Super Awesome!” or “Mondo Awesome!” or “Oodles of Awesome!” just for the record). What a great guy… it’s like a bunch of

It's hard to imagine someone making the name "Santa" even better, but Santa Ono may have done it!

It’s hard to imagine someone making our association with the name “Santa” even better, but Santa Ono may have done it!

charities just got a gift from, well, Santa. The only qualm we have is that Santa’s chosen charity didn’t involve my med school debts, but we still admire the incredible gesture!

According to the British “Mirror” website, in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, a magic “suicide bridge” has led 600 dogs to jump to their death. A very scientific poll asks readers what they think is causing the behavior, and “Ghosts” is the clear frontrunner. Sounds legit. I may need Arto to fill me in on the legitimacy of the Mirror. Its stories are intriguing.

In “Names That Aren’t Funny, but News That Is” we have 58-year-old grandmother Stephanie Arnott from England, who claims that her “beauty” causes men to weep and crash their cars. Whaddya think? This mirror article has some pics. We’d post them, but we don’t want you crying and crashing your head into your computer screen. Safety first here at BoFN. Safety (and panda friendship) always come first!

That’s it for this week’s Funny Names in the News 106. Until next week, may your beauty not cause too much vehicular damage, and may you find a generous benefactor, or at least a Panda Friend. Enjoy your Fridays, folks!

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Ad & Plinky Toepperwein

They’re Pinky and the Brain

Yes, Pinky and the Brain

One is a genius, the other’s insane.

Such go the lyrics of the 1990s animated series Pinky and the Brain, about two cage-sharing laboratory mice. Today’s funny-named couple are not mice indeed, but they could be deemed Plinky and the Brawn. Yep, that there is Plinky–the one in the skirt–and you know who the Brawn is. And I don’t mean LeBron.

Actually, the Brawn was a Texan named Adolph (before Adolf oozed of evil connotations) Toepperwein (before Tupperware oozed of delightful connotations), a rifle-doting trick shooter who toured the vaudeville circuit at the turn of the century (not this one; the one before). On a visit to a Winchester Repeating Arms Company, he met an employee named Elizabeth Servaty. He said, “Hey, nineteen” (her age at the time) and fell immediately in love with her.

In 1903, Ad took her to be his wife, despite the fact that she was a Connecticut native, and put a ring on it. Fortunately, his ancient 34-year-old fingers were yet nimble enough to teach her how to fire a gun for the first time in her young life. With a .22, she shot at tin cans, and after several tries, she nailed it. But that’s not what she said.

Rather, she said, “I plinked it.”

At least, that’s what http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com says. And they should know; they have this cool pic of her shooting one-inch chalk pieces from between Ad’s fingers.

TOEPPERWEIN_20015-225x300

Never again did a soul call her Elizabeth. Thereafter, she became Plinky. And nobody messed with her because she had a Winchester and she knew how to use it. And a pistol. And a shotgun. In fact, she became the first dame to break 100 straight targets at trapshooting. But she also shot marbles, apples, oranges, and eggs. And two-timing adulterous philanderers, should it come to that.

Ad and Plinky spent the next 40 years touring as a husband and wife trick-shooting team before the country was divided over gun control.

toepperweins

To entertain the audience, they shot while standing on their heads, and then while lying on their backs. She once scored 497 out of a possible 500 with a .38 Colt at 25 yards, closely approximating military timed fire.  Even Annie Oakley gave her big ups, telling Plinky she was “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen.” And if that’s not props, I don’t know what is.

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‘The Fabulous Moolah’ Carries a Wicked Dropkick, Doesn’t It?

Back in the day, the queens of the squared circle, oh, they were something, I tell you.

When I was staring in fascination at black-and-white, rabbit-ear earned action of Wrestling I Just Knew Was Real, the best of the women wrestlers was The Fabulous Moolah.

Oh, what a great and funny name for a woman who was born as Mary Lillian Ellison on July 22, 1923, in a South Carolina country town by the name of Tookiedoo.

As her story goes, Mary Lillian’s dad yearned for a night in the city, so he took his 10-year-old daughter with him to the state capital of Columbia, where they took in a wrestling match.

The kid took to it.

According to http://prowrestling.wikia.com/wiki/The_Fabulous_Moolah, she began working for promoter Billy Wolfe and his wife Mildred Burke in 1956. Mildred was a wrestler herself, as well as a trainer, and she took Mary Lillian under her wing.

But another promoter knew there needed to be a change.

According to her obituary in The New York Times after she died at the age of 84, a man by the name of Jack Pfeffer asked her what drew her to wrestling.

Winning a title in the day.  (Photo from www.wrestlingclassics.com)

Winning a title in the day. (Photo from wrestlingclassics.com)

Wrote Times reporter Richard Goldstein:

“He asked her why she was wrestling, and, as she recalled: ‘Annoyed, I blurted out: ‘For the money. I want to wrestle for the moolah.’

“First, she apprenticed as a valet for Nature Boy Buddy Rogers; she was billed as Slave Girl Moolah and clad in a leopard-skin outfit. Soon, she was wrestling as the Fabulous Moolah, and she won the championship belt in 1956.”

Regaining her title 40 years later. (Photo from onlineworldofwrestling.com)

Regaining her title 40 years later. (Photo from onlineworldofwrestling.com)

So began a ring career that lasted, incredibly enough, into 1999. That’s when WWE brought her back, and, in Cleveland, she pinned opponent Ivory and won back the belt at the age of 76.

Her fame really was wide. In 1983 she sold the rights to her Women’s World Championships to Vince McMahon and his WWF, and appeared exclusively for his popular organization. She was part of a popular rock ‘n’ roll feud that included Cyndi Lauper and Captain Lou Albano.

In 1994 she was the first woman wrestler to be inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame.

She co-wrote a biography about her career, “The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle” with Larry Platt in 2002.

In 2004, her story was part of Ruth Leitman documentary “Lipstick & Dynamite,” which was a history of women’s pro wrestling.

The Fabulous Moolah stood only 5-foot-4, but her flying drop-kick sure looked huge to a little kid watching on black-and-white TV in the 1960s.

Here’s the link to The Fabulous Moolah’s obituary in the New York Times.

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Funny Names in the News – Now With Corporate Sponsors and a U.S. Open Update

Our resident sports expert Mark has informed me that the U.S. Open golf tournament is under way again. The Open, described by Wikipedia as being notable for its “pinched fairways” and “undulating greens” (golf seems to invite some poetry in its description), features some golfers with brilliant names. Among them, the following :

  • Cody Gribble
  • Joost Luiten
  • Ollie Schniederjans

I’m delighted to tell you only one of these people is not American, but I’ll leave it to you to guess which.

Cody Gribble in a Bunker

Cody Gribble, future inventor of Gribble’s Breakfast Gribble. We hope.

Meanwhile on the basketball court, the Golden State Warriors won their first championship since 1975 in a six game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers this week, and I think no small part was played by the impressive collection of well named players on the roster. My personal favorites include Festus EzeliJames Michael McAdooAndrew BogutMarreese Speights, and Ognjen Kuzmić .

Our congratulations to the whole group.

Meanwhile in Europe, various leaders are still bickering with Greece about how they should pay back their astronomical debts that everyone knows they will never in a million years be able to pay back. Germany is suggesting annual payments of 500 million gyro sandwiches, while the Greeks are refusing to budge and only offering thirty six servings of souvlaki. It’s a real pickle. Among those negotiating for extra feta cheese in the payments is Dutch Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

Meanwhile in Georgia (the country, not the home state of Ollie Schniederjans), massive flooding caused many zoo animals to escape the Tbilisi Zoo, among them an enterprising penguin who made it all the way to the Azerbaijani border 40 miles away. The penguin was spotted at the border but slipped away from its pursuers to find a better life in Azerbaijan. There’s no funny name in this story, but since news reports didn’t give a name for the penguin I’ll name it Rufus A. Dinklefuss to qualify for this blog. Hey, it’s allowed by our standards. I don’t make the rules here.*

Baddie's kind of a badass. This message brought to you by Chipotle.

Baddie’s kind of a badass. This message brought to you by Chipotle.

And to wrap it all up, we go to the “most consistently captivating woman in her 80’s on social media“, Baddie Winkle of Knoxville, Tennessee. She’s been delighting Instagram users since her first image in 2014 in which she wore “a tie-dyed Grateful Dead bears T-shirt, jorts, and high socks covered with pink marijuana leaves.” We can see why the kids might find that interesting.

*Yes I do.
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