Funny Names In The News 79, Where We Claw for Toys and Mourn for Peaches

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin’ down the blogging trail, bringing you another F-N-I-T-N.

Bringin’ every girl and boy, lots of nomenclature joy.

Hippity hop, Funny Names In The News!

I think this guy should be our unofficial mascot!

I think this guy should be our unofficial mascot!


No humans were harmed in the taking of this picture.

No humans were harmed in the taking of this picture. Can’t say the same for toys or pocketbooks.

On that youthful note, let’s start off this week’s FNITN with a precocious youngster and his quest to achieve the unachievable: get a toy out of one of those silly claw machines. Turns out an unnamed tot from Lincoln, Nebraska climbed into a claw machine, achieving every young person’s dream, but at the same time getting stuck in the machine. If even an enterprising young human can’t get out of those things, how the heck do we expect a hackneyed claw and a plush treasure to do so?!?

Now, our Awesome Infant Correspondent Dave found this one, but without a name provided, we’ll just have to assume that the child had a spectacular name, in a case of early onset Nominative Determinism.

Of course, a blank slate is a true artist’s canvas, so perhaps it’s our job to anoint the youngster with a name befitting his snazziness. I propose Eustace Aloysius Crabamuffin – what say you? Do you have a better name for him? Sound off in the comments!
That intro about new lives was set up to prime you for the saddest funny-named story in the news this week – the death of our beloved Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof (whose protesting was covered in detail by Mark “The Lark” Sackler. No information is provided on the cause of death, which was classified as “unexplained and sudden”, and Peaches will be missed by many.

Exclaimed her father Bob Geldof:

“We are beyond pain. She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us. We loved her and will cherish her forever.” – Bob Geldof, father of Peaches Honeyblossom

The legendary "oops" politician face.

The legendary “oops” politician face.

From the saddening to the slightly-more-maddening, Philandering Politico Correspondent Dave brings us news that another “moral majority” congressman from Louisiana was caught canoodling with a staffer. Sometimes it seems like those guys are the most likely to be up to something fishy. The most recent addition to the pantheon of “Family Values turned Family Upheaval” politicos is Louisiana’s Vance McAllister, whose only saving grace is that he chose a mistress with a positively delightful name: Melissa Peacock.

In news that may apply to some of us more than others (but luckily none of us too much), our Bio-ish Correspondent Dave notes that a panel of experts are saying biomedical research in its current form is heading for a meltdown. That’s grim news, but let our spirits be uplifted by the fact that the authors of the report include Bruce Alberts, Marc Kirschner, Shirley Tilghman, and Harold Varmus.  In those names, we trust!

Lastly – and speaking of trust – Aquatic (and Only A Little Psychotic) Correspondent Dave drops the impressive news that a lady named Ocean Ramsey has been swimming with sharks. They call her “The Shark Whisperer”, and after viewing this lovely, remarkable footage, it’s hard to disagree!


What a week! Rabbits to claws to Peaches to Congress to biomedicine to sharks! That’ll do it for Funny Names in the News 79! Enjoy yo’ Fridaysss!



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Frankenstein, Missouri

In the velvet darkness of the blackest night
Burning bright, there’s a guiding star
No matter what or who you are.

There’s a light over at Frankenstein, MO
There’s a light–betcha didn’t even know
There’s a light, light in the darkness of everybody’s life.

(Lyrics mutilated with apologies to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.)

Yes, Frankenstein has had a long and storied history since Mary Shelley, at the tender age of 18 nearly 200 years ago, set out to write the spine-chilling novel that would launch not only the science fiction genre but also that humongous sub-genre of Franken horror we all know and love so well.

Dating back not quite so far but still pretty darn far is the sleepy little town of Frankenstein, Missouri. It received the name Frankenstein in 1889, probably after Gottfried Franken, a major donor of land, but the town had actually been established about a quarter century earlier as a parish of German Catholics.

A whole lot of Frankenstein happened to the world between then and now, whilst this tiny hamlet continued more or less unperturbed as a quiet, hardworking, tight knit farm community. But a convergence took place in 1999 when the town was . . .

invaded by 25 skydiving Peter Boyle-style Frankenstein monsters in honor of the 25th anniversary of Mel Brooks’ movie, Young Frankenstein.

As they leaped from the plane they yelled, “Putting on the Ritz” and landed in the Frankenstein Community Ball Field.

The monsters handed out Young Frankenstein DVDs and the “mayor” re-dubbed the town Young Frankenstein.

The re-dubbing must have been very temporary as it is denied by more knowledgable area residents, and may be an urban legend.

As you might guess, Halloween season has a special claim on this town, and more than a few people visit it, in any season, to get trophy pics like this.


But one chapter of our story remains unwritten: a kickstarter movie project called Frankenstein, Missouri, under production by the independent filmaking group Moonhunt. The film’s ominous tag line “It Exists” refers to more than just the town . . .

Pets are disappearing from backyards in Frankenstein, MO, and people want to know who the culprit is. Could it be Momo, the infamous Missouri Monster, hungry for a midnight snack? Or could it be the result of a murderous cult’s animal sacrifices? Two young filmmakers set out to solve the mystery in an attempt to exploit the town for their own gain. But when they uncover the truth, they get far more than they bargained for.

Or let the trailer speak for itself:

Naturally, we’ll let the last word go back to The Rocky Horror Show.

Puttin' on the Lipz

Puttin’ on the Lipz

The darkness must go down the river of nights dreaming
Flow morphia slow, let the sun and light come streaming
Into my life, into my life.

There’s a light over at Frankenstein, MO
There’s a light–aren’t you glad I told you so?
There’s a light, a light in the darkness of everybody’s life.

Eric Djemba-Djemba

Eric Djemba-Djemba has the sort of rhythmically hypnotic name that casts all that come across it under its spell and requires them to record a few salsa dance tracks in its honor. I can back this up with a reference to this fine musical group that seems to have been named after today’s hero.

The great Eric Djemba-Djemba is a famed athlete in the great sport of football, as it is known in England, or fußball as it is known in Germany, or soccer as it is known in some other places. Mr Djemba-Djemba became a bit of a legendary figure in the sport when purchased as a young man by the master manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 2003. Ferguson figured he would eventually be the successor to the team’s feisty leader Roy Keane. Instead, Sir Alex ended up even more red-faced than usual as the newcomer turned out to be a bit of a dud. Djemba-Djemba is better remembered for his great name, his playboyesque lifestyle, and one pretty decent goal against Leeds.

Sir Alex, presumably telling someone to go over there instead of that place they were mistakenly standing.

Sir Alex, presumably telling someone to go over there instead of that place they were mistakenly standing.

He was soon sold to the very regal sounding team of  Aston Villa, where he played only once before moving on yet again. Since then he’s bounced around in various leagues from Denmark to Qatar to Israel to Serbia, eventually landing in Scotland where he currently wears number 99 for St. Mirren F.C.

I now unofficially dedicate today as Eric Djemba-Djemba Day here at the Blog of Funny Names, and suggest you all do a light jig in his hono(u)r.

Fancy digs.

Fancy digs.



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Constance Frances Marie Ockleman

Today’s post is dedicated to my friend and fellow BoFN contributor Fannie Cranium, who has given up television. (I know. I know. It’s been days since I heard the news, and I still don’t understand it). Anyway, in honour of Fannie’s new resolve to live life the old-fashioned way, we’re going vintage today, kittens.

Thanks to for the fabulous photo

Thanks to for the fabulous photo

That gorgeous head of hair belongs to Constance Frances Marie Ockleman, better known as 1940s stage and screen icon Ms. Veronica Lake. As always, click the picture for all of her details. Speaking as your resident pocket-sized blogger, however, I have to say that this particular little detail (ha!) is my favourite:

She became known for onscreen pairings with actor Alan Ladd. At first, the couple was teamed together merely out of physical necessity: Ladd was just 5 feet 5 inches tall and the only actress then on the Paramount lot short enough to pair with him was Lake, who stood just 4 feet 11 12 inches .


love amb

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Play Ball! More Great Baseball Nicknames

“I learn to run fast stealing chickens.”–Minnie Minoso

“What’s in a name?”–William Shakespeare

As Major League Baseball kicks off it’s 139th season–the third baseball season for The Blog of Funny Names–what better way to celebrate than another look at some of the sport’s memorable nicknames?  (OK, I can think of a better way to celebrate, but i can’t print that on a family blog.).    In roughly chronological order  here are some of my favorites, along with nickname origins and career low lights.

Pickles Dillhoefer

Pickles Dillhoefer

Billy “Pickles” Dillhoefer– William Martin “Pickles” Dillhoefer  (1893-1922)  was an undistinguished major league catcher from 1917-1921.  Dillhoefer died tragically in 1922, at  age 28,  from typhoid fever contracted shortly after his honeymoon.  His nickname is a play on dill pickles.

Suitcase Simpson–Harry Leon “Suitcase” Simpson (1929-1975) was an African-American outfielder who played for five different Major League teams from 1951-1959.  His nickname has been mistakenly attributed to the fact that he was traded several times–at one point from the Kansas City A’s to the New York Yankees and then back to Kansas City.   While five different teams certainly was a lot in the pre-free agency era, the nickname comes from the Toonerville Trolley  comic strip character of the same name and it predated his franchise hopping.  It is also worth noting that playing for five different franchises in today’s game is barely average.  The current record for most different MLB franchises played for is 13, held by Octavio Dotel–a handle worth noting even sans nickname.

Minnie Minoso–Saturnino Orestes Armas “Minnie” Miñoso Arrieta, A.K.A. “The Cuban Comet”  (b. Havan, Cuba, November 29, 1925) is a former professional baseball player who appeared in the Negro leagues, MLB, Mexican League and independent professional leagues.  A 9-time MLB all-star and 3-time Gold Glove winner, Minoso is best remembered for playing professional ball in more decades (seven!) than any player in history, and for being the first Cuban and first black Latino to play major league ball.  Subsequent black Latinos, including Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente,  regarded Minoso as their Jackie Robinson.   But Minoso is included here not for these tidbits, nor for his not so unusual nicknames, but for an obscure part of his back story that sets up perfectly for the Mookie Wilson story below.   You see, Minoso may be the only professional baseball player ever to get hit by a pitch and hit a home run in the same at bat!  It seems that Minoso was in the habit of diving into pitches–a habit that, to this day, leaves him in the top ten on the all-time  MLB career hit-by-pitch list.  But a little enforced rule requires that a batter, in order to be awarded first base when struck by a pitch, must make an effort to avoid being hit.  On one occasion, in the minor leagues,  a stubborn umpire cited this rule and refused to award Minoso first base after being hit.  He proceeded to homer on the next pitch.

Mookie Wilson–Willaim Hayward  “Mookie” Wilson (b. 1956) was a fine Major League outfielder and coach for many years.  His nickname comes from his early childhood mis-pronunciation of “milk.”   However, he is primarily remembered for the single most famous at bat in World Series history.   Appropriately for this article, it was almost the exact antithesis of the Minnie Minoso incident described above.  His avoidance of being struck by a wild pitch, followed by hitting a slow trickler  that got through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner,  capped off an unlikely game-winning rally for the New York Mets in game six of the 1986 series.  (See video highlights below).

Chili Davis–Charles Theodore “Chili” Davis (b. 1960) is a former major league first baseman and designated hitter who now coaches for the Oakland Athletics.  He was a three time all-star and played on three World Series championship teams (Minnesota Twins, 1991;  New York Yankees 1998, 1999).  His nickname stems from a childhood incident, when his father gave his hair a bad “bowl cut.”  The neighborhood children said it looked like somebody put a chili bowl on his head and cut around it, and the name Chili stuck.

boof Boof Bonser– Born John Paul Bonser (October 14, 1981), he is a former major league pitcher with the Twins, A’s and Red Sox.  His mother nicknamed him “Boof” as an infant.  He is unique among today’s honorees in that  Boof is now his real name.  He changed it legally in 2001.   In keeping with 1990′s “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy, he never asked his mother why she named him that, and asserts he does not want to know.  He was a contestant multiple times in Minor League Baseball’s annual Moniker Madness competition.  How he never won is beyond me.    I saw him pitch in person for the Twins AA minor league affiliate in New Britain, CT in 2004.

For more baseball and other madness visit me on my own blog.  Happy spring, and PLAY BALL!



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