Sithole, ZANU, and Zimbabwe

In February, we profiled interesting world leaders, including Canaan Sodindo Banana, former president of Zimbabwe. So it should come as no surprise that the deliciously fun-sounding Zimbabwe should offer up another funny-named leader. Today we spotlight Ndabaningi Sithole (pronounced nda-va-nin-gee sitt-o-le), who in 1963 founded the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), a militant organization that opposed the Rhodesian government.

It is because of people like him that Rhodesia no longer exists and is now known as Zimbabwe. It’s kind of like that old They Might Be Giants’ song Istanbul (not Constantinople).

Ndabaningi Sithole was born on July 21, 1920, in the rural area of Nyamanandhlovu. He was raised in a pagan household and spent his childhood in an isolated tribal environment. According to, he was seven years old before he first saw a white person. At the age of 15, he defied his father and ran away to enter the Dadaya Mission school, where he excelled. He acquired the National Junior Certificate and then returned to the Dadaya Mission as a teacher, and later became a Methodist minister.

If Sithole rings a bell, you may be thinking of Good Enough Sithole, a crazy Orlando Pirates fan with beaded Rick James hair. It’s not him.

And PLEASE DO NOT confuse today’s leader with another famous Sithole, the South African serial killer, Moses Sithole, who committed the “ABC Murders”, so named because they began in Atteridgeville, continued in Boksburg and finished in Cleveland. Sparing you the grisly details, this Sithole was given a total effective sentence of 2,410 years. What the what? The judge ordered that Sithole be required to serve at least 930 years before being eligible for parole. So good luck with that.

Back on track with Ndabingini, who in 1957 completed African Nationalism, a book about grievances in the white supremacist system of Southern Rhodesia. In 1959, he was elected president of the African Teachers’ Association. The next year, he joined the the National Democratic party (NDP) and rose to the position of treasurer.

Then things got complicated. In 1964 Sithole, among others, was placed by the government in a remote detention camp and ZANU was banned altogether. He remained in detention for five years. In Feb of 1969, he was sentenced to six years of imprisonment for his role in a plot to assassinate Ian Smith, prime minister of the illegal Rhodesian regime. Sithole insisted he had been framed and declared, “I wish publicly to dissociate my name in thought, word and deed from any subversive activities, from any terrorist activities, and from any form of violence.”

After his release from prison in 1974, Sithole lived in exile in Zambia. In 1976 he served as a member of the Transitional Executive Council to prepare for the transfer of power to the black majority in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. In 1980, his long-time rival Robert Mugabe became prime minister of Zimbabwe. Canaan Banana served as president from ’80 to ’87, until Mugabe took over. At the age of 91, Mugabe is STILL the current president of Zimbabwe. Sithole passed away in 2000.

And while Rhodesia may not exist, Rhodesian Ridgebacks still do.

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So You’re Interested in Blogs with Funny Names, Right?

I come here today to write on The Blog of Funny Names about blogs with funny names.

Somebody had to do it.

Of course, the invitation always goes out to the whole World Wide Web to read every expertly crafted word, sentence, paragraph.

In reality, though, because we’re hosted on this behemoth platform WordPress, most of you who visit and comment also are attached in some way, shape or form to said MashUp. Therefore, when I mention your name I’ve deemed funny to me here on in, I’ll include the link. You’ll be pinged. I hope you’ve come by to visit with a smile and a good sense of humor. Feel free to go back in the archives to check out our past work. Click follow and enjoy our cast of writers from here on out, please and thank you. Our net is wide, and it’s all done with at most raised eyebrows but never evil intentions.



I am going to start at the top. And on WordPress, that would be the blog titled Matt Not-On-WordPress. Huh, you say? This would be the work of Matt Mullenweg. The name should be familiar to all who blog here. Think back to when you first signed up and were quite clueless to how and what and why and did I mention how? And the prompters pointed out one blogger right off the bat so you wouldn’t feel lonely? A polite person who would follow you back so you’d have a start on a circle of friends? That one-click-away blogger was Mullenweg. He’s the founder of WordPress. Which makes the name of his blog quite funny, you know? It is because so much to do with the organization goes by the name Automattic, yes, with two Ts? In any case, Matt travels around our great big world and takes a lot of nice photographs. I still follow him. When I click like on his pictures, I mean it. I’ve even left genuine comments of affection. Still when I replied to an Automattic careers-page job listing for Happiness Engineer — funny job title, that — with a resume and cover letter addressed to Matt, another Happiness Engineer sent me a polite no thank you with Automattic suggestions.

But I digress.

Have you ever had the inkling to change the look of your blog? OK, some of you may change themes as often as you change tablecloths (Kerbey) while others may put thoughts of your theme in the closet with that one old red plaid spread Aunt Maria thought looked good at the corner pizza place.

WordPress has many, many choices if the mood strikes you.

What names!

We have zeeNoble. WooDizian. SuevaFree. Those may be named for the designers, I guess.

RubberSoul for Beatles fans. Baskerville for hounds. ZeroGravity for space cadets.

Me? I’ve been tinkering with Expound for a good while now on And that I do, every dang day.

Let’s get to blog names. I know you’ve worked hard to pick yours, deliberated long hours, agonized over the perfect title to draw readers into what you’ve got to share with the world. Clever. Appropriate. Catchy.


I offer, from those I follow:

Everybody deserves to let off a little steam.



LR, as I’ve come to call her, decided to name her blog Lilrant. The fact that she’s 5-foot-2 and ready to opine about everything about her life in India made it a wise choice. When LR wants to be funny, she’s very. But when she takes on serious issues, she carries an edge and insight that both stand tall.

There is segment of folks floating around WordPress who like to write but have no blogs for some reason or another. (Hello, Paul Curran!)

Many of them hang out at Gibber Jabberin. That’s the finely named blog where Gibber throws up a question volunteered by her readership for a lively give-and-take of comments, a conversation of pith, if you will.

Frequent contributors are Julie No Blog, Dana No Blog and the aforementioned King of No Blogs, Paul.



So List of X decided to do something about that. He started Julie No Blog Has a Blog so Julie No Blog would have a place to blog. Genius, I think. Gibber is a co-host, and she said all No Blogs are welcome to write on this new blog. List of X replied that some 7 million people don’t have blogs. Great stat, List of X! I hoped that all of them would someday blog on Julie No Blog.

So far, Paul Curran has written a terrific three-parter. There’s nothing posted by Julie, though.

Marissa Bergen started her own blog to showcase her poetry. She calls it Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth, and the sub-kick is Rock and Roll Supermom.

This is not run-of-the-mill verse, people, as this LA woman combines what she learned playing hard rock in a band with her sister while growing up in the Big Apple with knowledge gained raising kids who play in heavy metal bands now to create poems that’ll make you bang your head. OK, some can be sweet, too, because I think my friend Marissa indeed is a supermom.



On Evil Squirrel’s Nest, Bill draws a cartoon with many furry animals as his heroes and villains. He posts Saturday squirrel-of-the-week photos. So the name is quite appropriate. But the blog is much more than that.

His current Monday series rates his all-time favorite cover songs, picked with an ironic eye.

It will stretch through the summer. But that pales in comparison to the yearlong — OK, not quite, but almost — epic that chronicled his appearance a decade ago on the network game show “So You Want to Be a Millionaire.” It was a weekly classic that had me clicking in faithfully.



Scott is one hell of a dad. He proves it time and again on Snoozing on the Sofa. Hey, the tagline Fatherhood’s Finest Hour ain’t too shabby either.

Life’s quite interesting as this guy in his 40s and his lovely wife raise their three sons, from a little one to an elementary-school kid. His sense of humor never flags as he tackles their youthful enthusiasm the only ways he knows how … with pointers and plenty of support from his wise wife, that is.

You know I expect you to add links to more blogs with funny names, right?

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Waka/Jawaka, Zoot Allures! and Sheik Yerbouti: Toward a Neo Pre Post-Critical Para(dig)m in Named “Humoro(us)ness”

Guest contribution by Wendelyn Dufeaux (PhD), Professor of Arts and Humanities at
DaveArto Institute for Advanced Cultural Studies, Boffen University

To interrogate Funny Name “Theory”, as Camarilla Brilo has in Named Funniness: De-Colonizing Humoric Nominalism, is to disclose its underlying hegemonic impulse. Or, as Brilo herself puts it (11), Funny Name theory is

. . . an Empirico-centric, (“New”)tonian, logocentric, hetero-normative colonization of a tangled, messy, subversive reality that must be tamed, disciplined, brought into submission. Identity and nomenclature are subsumed within the reassuring confines of “Funny Nameology” in the process of which the so-called “humorously named” are hunted, tagged, displayed like mummified quarry, and finally mocked–all to the purpose of undergirding and fortifying its Phallocentric, Androcentric frame of ref(error)ence . . .

Brilo further observes that “the hunter/quarry relation and empirical investigator/scientific subject relation work to establish mutually re-inforcing hegemonic antipodes of oppression” (13).



One might expect that Frank (!) Zappa‘s life and oevre, presenting as they do a sprawling ooze of humoric named-ness (cf. “I Am the Slime”), might resist the long and stifling reach of Funny Name Theory. Yet far from escaping the hunter/prey snare, Zappa has provided a “target rich” environment for humorous name exploitation. Two “sub-genres” of Zappa name-humoric treatment have already begun to emerge so far in Funny Name (Stud)ies: the names of “real” “people” associated with Zappa (e.g. Don Van Vliet, also known as Captain Beefheart), and the names of “fictional” “people” (i.e. Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus and the larger assemblage of dramatis personae in The Grand Wazoo).

Zoot Allures!

Zoot Allures!

Yet, as the last name suggests, there remains one vast yet still neglected area of Zappa’s work that has been relatively unexplored, unexploited, unoccupied and un-(colon)ized within the hegemonic, predatory and arguably cis-gendered frame of reference imposed by F(un)ny Name “Theory.” We refer of course to Zappa’s song and album titles, which in the present study we shall preemptively explore as a means of intellectual resistance against nomino-centrism and culturo-intellectual annexation represented by the F(un)ny N(am)e The(or)y.

Sheik Yerbouti

Sheik Yerbouti

We shall argue (again preemptively) that Waka/Jawaka (1972), with its Lewis Carroll-inflected linguistic dadaism and undeniably onomatopoeiaic overtones, that Zoot Allures! (1976), with its subversive bi-lingual word play (“Zut alors!”) evoking both surprise and early twentieth century nostalgia (c.f. the “zoot suit”) paradoxically entwined with an implicitly erotic subtext (“Allures”), and above all that Sheik Yerbouti (1979), with its juxtaposing of the Middle Eastern “other” against the socio-historical framework of late 70s disco culture–that these al(bum) titles, far from offering an exploitative “harvest” for nominative humor theoretization work rather to problematize any such attempt at wringing meaning via the victimizing, strangling grasp of humor-nominative “theoretizationalism,” a neologism we adopt here to re(present) both the privileging of the episto-hegemaniacal hermeneutic and the proto-victimization of incipient name humor(ist) text-ploitation. We shall expostulate further upon the . . .

To read further please subscribe to Diarrhetoric Quarterly. Make all checks, money orders or massive digital transfers payable to Y. D. Duffy or send unmarked bills to the same.

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Milana Vayntrub–who?

“Apparently, we love our cell phones but hate everyone else’s”-Joe Bob Briggs

Milana Vayntrub, AKA Lily Adams

Milana Vayntrub, AKA Lily Adams

Milana Aleksandrovna Vayntrub (b. March 8, 1987,  Tashkent, Uzbekistan) is an American actress whom you may not have heard of,  but you have probably seen.   She plays the somewhat smug and condescending sales person, Lily Adams, in those maddeningly ubiquitous AT&T Wireless commercials.  She’s cute as a button, but there is something about the character’s attitude that just makes you want to reach into the screen and smack her.   If you live under a rock and don’t have a TV, here is an example featuring Vayntrub with media mogul and NBA Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban.



An even better example is the one linked here, with ex-NBA player Grant Hill.  Somebody high up in AT&T marketing must be getting great seats to the NBA finals.

Anyway,  she may be a funny named actress, from a funny named place,  but her acting career is certainly more mainstream when it comes to television monikers, and Lily Adams isn’t the only example.   Her family emigrated to the U.S. from Uzbekistan when she was three years old.  By the age of five she made her professional debut in a Barbie commercial.  It seemed her parents put her up to it because they needed the money.  It’s true American success story.   And Barbie and Lily make perfect sense for somebody whose middle name is Aleksandrovna.

The rest of her acting career has been mostly in short comedy films (they still make those?) and online-only releases.  But with obvious talent, and this kind of exposure, a breakout TV or movie roll can’t be far behind.    Is there a Horsey Awards nomination in her future for funny-named entertainer of the year?   I can’t yet say, but don’t ask Lily Adams unless you’re OK with a smug response.

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Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods, and Sparkle Lee Headline a Punchy Funny Names in The News 104

Get on your Sparklehorses, folks! It’s another star-studded edition of Funny Names in the News… now completing its second year (104 weeks means 2 years, right? Right?!?)

First off, we’re going to lead with some funny names, but not so funny news from the world of sports.

Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods and Lindsey Vonn, in the rough. Original art by the BoFN's very own Dave!

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods and Lindsey Vonn, in the rough. Original artistic modifications by the BoFN’s very own Dave!

Golfer Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (yes, his real name is Eldrick Tont Woods) is in back on the singles scene again after a recent breakup with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn … but for unclear reasons. Some sensationalistic wack-job piece said that Woods cheated, then the bastion of good journalism, People Magazine had reports from multiple sources that he didn’t, but rather that they simply grew apart, as many couples are Tont wont to do! Then Fox stepped in and helped resolve the matter by asking “Did Tiger Woods cheat?” and followed it with the shortest news article I’ve ever seen.

We don’t take sides here on the BoFN. All we know is that the guy can golf and helped break down a lot of the sport’s barriers, and we wish the parties a peaceful and smooth resolution to this.

Meanwhile, we’re having a bit of a crisis here at BoFN headquarters, as we’re trying to figure out how to fit some subtle PG-13 innuendos into a discussion about golf – there’s really no middle ground… they’re either nonexistent or extremely suggestive. Why can’t all sports be as cool as boxing (now everyone knows who’s writing this post), where they have phrases like “knockout” and “kissing the canvas.” Meanwhile, golf has terms like “ball”, “wood”, “shaft”, “hole in one”. I never thought I’d say this, but I wish golf were as gentlemanly as boxing!

So let’s just say we wish Eldrick Tont and Lindsey Caroline the best in this trying time.

Meanwhile, there is some good Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods news out there (I just love saying his full name)… former stutterer Woods sent a really nice letter to a stuttering child recently, and it reached the pages of Golf Digest. Check it out… pretty cool stuff!

Meanwhile, in Houston, there’s a new sheriff in town! Constable Ron Hickman was sworn in as the new Harris County Sheriff! He looks tough, I wouldn’t mess with the guy! Kids, stay on the right side of the law….

Ras-I Alujah Bramble, nee Abuja Bramble, nee Livingstone Bramble

You won’t believe how far back in the archives I had to go to find this pic of Ras-I Alujah (nee Abuja, nee Livingstone) Bramble. But it was all worth it!

In the very popular Nigerian political news category, we have heard reports that the Nigerian Democratic Party’s chairman Norbert Mao has been taken to the hospital. Hopefully Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan‘s good luck can give him a speedy recovery.

In other news, Nigeria’s capital recently changed from Lagos to Abuja, which reminds us of one of our favorite early BoFN posts… Ras-I Alujah (Abuja, Livingstone) Bramble … take a gander at that one if you’re feeling nostalgic.

Sparkle Lee is not to be messed with!

Sparkle Lee is not to be messed with!

Lastly, in super cool boxing news, the esteemed Sparkle Lee is set to be enshrined in the Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame.

She will become the first ref inducted, and they couldn’t have chosen a better one. Sparkle is a former cop who turned boxing referee, and has found respect and tremendous success as a referee in both women’s and men’s matches. I most recently saw Sparkle Lee ref the Sergey Kovalev vs. Blake Caparello title bout, and those two 190-lb men clearly knew who was calling the shots! A huge congratulations to Sparkle!

Happy Friday everybody, and may your weeks be as successful as Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods was in 2000. I just love saying that name!


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