Carew Papritz, Cowboy Author

There comes a time in every funny names aficionado’s life when you come across a person so well named, so compelling named you need to talk about it. This is one of those times.

I’m sitting in the Writer’s Cafe at a writer’s conference doing the “writerly-thing”—figuring out what session I’m attending next. Halfway down the the page, a session called “How Do I sell a Million Books and Never Leave the Author’s Cave?”

Score, I’m all over it.

Then I see the presenter’s name.

Meet Carew (pronounced cah-roo´) Papritz author of “The Legacy Letters” and a bona fide cowboy to boot. He’s no Alfalfa Desperado.

Carew introduced himself as a renaissance man in an age that lauds specialist. Wearing a cowboy hat, vest, large belt buckle on his blue jeans and cowboy boots, he spoke to our writerly souls—addressing a group of writers, an audience separated by large amounts of space like sage brush on the rolling prairie. Those of us hiding in the cave. Those of us creating our novels. Those of us rarely seeing the light of day. And he explained how to sell it—the stories, all while being an introvert. (Except I’m not an introvert).

Larger than life cowboy author, Carew Papritz. Okay maybe it's because I'm not that tall.

Larger-than-life cowboy author, Carew Papritz. Okay maybe it’s because I’m not that tall.

He published his first book at age 21, an editorial cartoon anthology. By 23, he published his second cartoon anthology. Both became best sellers. Then his writing career took a hiatus.

He spent time traveling the world, worked in Hollywood, escaped Hollywood, traveled to his grandfather’s remote ranch in southern Arizona, embarking on his career as a cowboy.

While sitting on the back of a pick-up truck on the open range, he composed the story that would become The Legacy Letters.

As with all twists of fate, a friend of his couldn’t guide a tourist-filled trail ride, so he subbed in . . . wrangling his future bride.

His charismatic persona created opportunities for him. A book signing with the Naked Cowboy singing in Time Square. A book signing and interview on top of a volcano: Mt. St. Helens in Washington State. And the first ever book signing on horse back—the horse he married his wife on.

But that’s not all. In an era where 80 percent of all books bought in this country are romance novels purchased by women, he was invited to speak at the Romance Writer’s of America conference in New Jersey.

A cowboy set loose among hundreds of romance writers? Put on your spurs ladies you’re in for the ride of your life.

Dozens of ladies enjoyed his roping exploits. I want to read some of the scenes that moment inspired. ;)

See you on the dusty trail, buckaroos.

Tracy — Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

P.S. To the members of the Horsey Award Committee. Can we add a category for “Best Named Cowboy” this year? Not that I’m hinting or anything. :D

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Where’s the Money, Lebowski? Let These Funny Named Economists Tell Us

There’s lots of talk in the news about economic matters these days. There’s the Greek crisis, which in my personal life is the term for the disappointingly short weekend hours of my local gyro place. There’s always “the economy, stupid” when elections come around.

So we at the Blog of Funny Names wanted to get in on some of that sexy economy talk.

Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about economics, especially not how the local donut shop stays open while selling their pastries at 25c a piece. What we do know is funny, strange, and amusing names, and we’ve scoured through every economics textbook written in the last four hundred years to find the best names of the field for this article*.

Ludwig Bamberger

Bamberger was a notable figure in the German economic circles of the mid and late 1800s, co-founding Deustche Bank and acting as the leading financial and economic authority in the country. He is also the origin of the term “wigging out”,  referring to him always losing it when the quarterly projections came in “totally out of wack”, as economist like to say.*

Beardo Bill

Bamberger should get some credit for pointing the German banking system to the direction where they eventually decided to put this dude on their 1000 mark bill.

Orley Ashenfelter

This San Francisco born economist is currently a professor at Princeton University, and a winner of the presumably prestigious Jacob Mincer award. In a potentially wise career move, he has also recently become the President of the American Association of Wine Economists and editor of the Journal of Wine Economics. I too, recall studying wine economics in university by comparing the alcohol content and price of various bottles most Friday nights for the most potency for your buck.** It’s a noble life.

Price V. Fishback

Mr. Price Van Meter Fishback clearly has the best name in the business, but he’s also a very influential economic historian. His contributions to cliometrics have been widely praised by the Cliometric Society. Cliometrics, in case you’re wondering, is just a cryptic way of saying “the study of history of economics”. It does sound much more interesting than cliometrics, doesn’t it? It’s like calling Iowan corn price index research redenbachmetrics.

Norton Garfinkle

Norton Garfinkle, in addition to his work in economics, seems to have had an extraordinarily successful career founding and working with companies that have the most generic names imaginable, and then selling them to other giant generically named companies.

For instance, his Advanced Retail Marketing Corporation was sold to News Corporation in 1996. He also founded or served as chairman of Brand Rating Research CorporationElectronic Retailing Systems, and Oral Research Laboratories. Hey, can’t knock it when it works. I’m off to work on my Silicon Valley startup, Computer Internet System Company Incorporated.

A farmhouse in Alberta, earlier.

A farmhouse in Alberta, earlier.

Myrna Wooders

This economist from rural Alberta, Canada has a very entertaining Wikipedia page. For instance, it says that Ms. Wooders, who teaches economics at Vanderbilt University, currently lives “in Nashville, Tennessee, with her plants”. We do not learn more about these plants, but let’s hope there are some money trees in there. We also learn that she’s made great contributions to game theory, public economic theory and network theory. However, we learn more about her efforts shoveling snow on her Alberta farm at age 9 than any of those topics. I for one appreciate the thorough biography.

This concludes our economist roundup, stay tuned for more grand names coming up!

*This may or may not be true.
**This is definitely true.
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T.J. Oshie and Libby Lu, his biggest (and tiniest) hockey super-fan

TJ Oshie... that's one kind-looking guy, but you'll like him more and more as the story develops...

TJ Oshie… that’s one kind-looking guy, but you’ll like him more and more as the story develops…

(Edit: WordPress tells me this is my 200th post on the Blog of Funny Names. Not too shabby!)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Funny Names in the News segment for the most adorable news story… ever?

Once upon a time there was a St. Louis Blues team, with a lot of gritty, tough, workmanlike stars. They had the hard-hitting, trusty captain Dave Backes, and the dreamy Swedish star Patrik Berglund (don’t tell Arto I said such nice things about a Swede), and well-regarded-Olympian-yet-somehow-still-not-an-All-Star assistant captain T.J. Oshie.

We’ll ignore that “T.J.” stands for Timothy Leif, and instead focus on the awesomeness of the right winger, who was a first round draft pick of the Blues back in 2005. T.J. became a fan favorite and a major contributor to the team, to the point where he was selected for the U.S. National Hockey team, and became a shootout specialist for the squad, which ended up getting 4th place, losing to a team from some country named Finland in the bronze medal game. Finland… never heard of them. Maybe Arto can help fill me in.

Well, eventually all great things must come to an end, and Timothy Leif “T.J.” Oshie was traded on July 2nd to the Washington Capitals for former Stanley Cup champion Troy Brouwer, the hilariously-spelled prospect Pheonix Copley, and a third-round draft pick in 2016. Seriously – three talented folks were necessary for the Blues to give up their assistant captain T.J. Oshie.

It hit all Blues fans pretty hard – even me, despite the fact that I was only a Blues fan because Arto told me that I should like the team due to Backes and Oshie. But nobody was hit harder than St. Louis Blues super-fan Libby Lu – a 5-year-old who lived and breathed all things Blues and Oshie. In one of the most adorable videos of… ever… her mother caught Libby’s reaction to the TJ Oshie trade. Prepare yourself for some overwhelming adorableness!

Libby Lu has her priorities straight – she’s a Blues fan first, and a TJ Oshie fan second – and bleeds true Blue. This is the type of fan all teams want to find.

The reaction made Libby an instant celebrity and – while wearing an adorable set of American flags in her hair – she got a guest spot on SportsCenter, which is something so many of us aspire to. The host asked her some probing questions, and the highlights are listed here:

1:20 Why is TJ Oshie your favorite player (“Because he gets in hockey fights!”)

4:02 TJ Oshie shows up

4:30 she asks T.J. Oshie her most burning question… “Do you have a swimming pool?”

4:50 “Do you have a diving board on it?”

That's one happy kiddo! And who can blame her!

Libby Lu! That’s one happy kiddo! And who can blame her!

Ultimately, all is well that ends well. Libby Lu, who was heartbroken when TJ Oshie was traded, got the chance to talk to her favorite player, and he compensated her with some pretty amazing goodies… Libby got a #77 Jersey of Oshie’s as soon as he chose his number on his new team.

The bottom line is that, although Libby Lu had to experience some tough times, it seems like everybody wins! Libby Lu got to talk to her sporting hero (I’m still waiting for Gary Payton to give me a phone call), and got some amazing swag to go with it. Oshie gets a chance to help out a new team, with some very grateful fans, and the Blues get some new life and quality prospects. But most importantly, we all get to appreciate the greatness of Libby Lu – one of the greatest sports fans ever!

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Moxley Sorrel & His Military Moxie



With the removal of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s State House grounds, the subject of the Civil War and the Confederacy has recently been in the news. No matter where you side on the issue, there’s no denying that the Confederate army was chock full of funny names, from Jubal Early to Bushrod Johnson to Vestal Coffin. Fabulous!

But today’s funny-named fellow of note is Moxley Sorrel, Brigadier-General in the “Provisional Army of the Confederate States,” aka The South. Born to one of Savannah’s wealthiest businessman and a mother from the famous Virginia Moxleys, Gilbert Moxley Sorrel was destined to shine. His childhood home was called the Sorrel Weed House (not a drug den). In fact, I do declare that it is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the entire United States. And to be clear–sorrel is a perennial herb. The tart, lemony flavor can be used for salads, soups, and sauces.


In 1861, the 23-year-old Sorrel left his job as a bank clerk and entered the Confederate Army as a private, reporting to Brigadier-General James Longstreet (yes, they were both ultimately B.G.’s, not to be confused with Bee Gees). Longstreet wrote that the young Sorrel “came into the battle as gaily as a beau, and seemed to receive orders which threw him into more exposed positions with particular delight.” Indeed, he rather fancied getting his war on. Later that year, he made captain, and was promoted to major the following year.


By 1864, big-bam-boom, he became a B.G. Wounded in two battles, Sorrel survived the War Between The States with the reputation as one of the best staff officers in the Confederacy. 

But his talents as a writer rivaled his talents on the battlefield. Sorrel wrote Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer, published posthumously in 1905, full of wonderful characterizations of fellow officers.

Of the night he met Ulysses S. Grant (originally Hiram Ulysses Grant), the 18th President of the United States (and the dude on your $50 bill), he wrote:

Grant was in excellent form, looked well and talked well; his glass was not touched. Fresh from his tour around the world he had much to say. He had been deeply interested in Japan and talked incisively of that wonderful country, really a monologue of a full hour, the table intent and absorbed in the fresh observations that fell from him. Then it became time for his departure to meet a public appointment, and we rose to bow him out. Resuming our seats and attention to the old Madeiras, we agreed that for a silent man Grant was about the most interesting one we had recently found.

By the way, the “old Madeiras” was a fine wine. For more than 150 years, no other wine rivaled it in the eyes of connoisseurs. Every public event—from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to George Washington’s Inauguration—was toasted with a glass of Madeira (per


Sorrel died in the summer of 1901, but the Sorrel Weed House is still open for public tours, should you so desire.

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Lake Street Dive, I’d like you to meet Fred and Wilma Flintstone

I spent a great hour Saturday smiling at the band Lake Street Dive.

Not because of a funny name, though it might qualify as somewhat of a head-scratcher for this young foursome out of Boston. Let drummer Michael Calabrese explain it on the band site bio page. “We are named in homage to dive bar bands,” he says. “We are, have been, and always will be a dive bar band. Whether we’re playing for 10 people or 10,000 we want them to have that feeling.”

At the M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest it was closer to 10,000. And as I watched lead singer Rachael Price (funny spelling), trumpeter/guitarist Mike “McDuck” Olson (funny nickname), upright bass player Bridget Kearney (funny instrument) and Calabrese play a bunch of great songs, something else somewhat humorous did strike me.

I hope they and their many fans, of which I am now proudly one, take this as a compliment. Because this following foursome is one of my all-time favorites.

Wilma, Fred, Barney and Betty, with Dino, Pebbles and Bam-Bam. (From

Wilma, Fred, Barney and Betty, with Dino, Pebbles and Bam-Bam. (From

Meet the Flintstones.

So today we become here the Blog of Funny Resemblances. Doppelgangers, if you will.

It first hit me while I was watching Calabrese play barefoot on his drum kit.

Michael Calabrese rocks the drums like Fred hit the rock pile.

Michael Calabrese rocks the drums like Fred hit the rock pile.

Does he not remind you of Fred Flintstone?

After whispering that fact to my dear wife Karen next to me, she pointed to the versatile Olson.


Mike “McDuck” Olson. OK, McDuck is kind of funny, Barney.

Does he not bring to mind Barney Rubble, she asked me?

OK, we reasoned together, heads close in conspiracy.

Rachael commands attention like a good Wilma.

Rachael commands attention like a good Wilma.

Prie as Wilma Flintstone may be kind of a stretch without the red hair, but she most certainly had her star power.

Bridget meets Betty.

Bridget meets Betty.

And Kearney can without a doubt carry Betty Rubble’s role any day of the week.

I had the courage to repeat my Fred Flintstone moment to my longtime friend Dave and his girlfriend Sue to the left of us, and they indeed agreed.

A group shot for best comparison.

A group shot for best comparison.

Everybody sing:

Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They’re the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They’re a page right out of history.

Let’s ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.

When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
We’ll have a gay old time.


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