Twinsies week! Funny Names in the News ~102, with Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and his brother Skippy!

Has anyone else noticed an interesting trend this week on the good ol’ Blog of Funny Names?

First, Mark posts about two birthday buddies of his, then Kerbey follows it up with a list of people sharing an Earth day birthday (yay for rhyming!) including the venerable Iggy Pop.

Now it’s my turn… to take this theme and see how far I can run with it before immunology wrests my hands away from the keyboard (or at least away from the BoFN).

Not too shabby, tabby!

Not too shabby, tabby!

We start off with Niamh Gearney, who undertook a massive online search to find her doppelganger, and she successfully found it in Karen Branigan, who shares almost all of Niamh’s traits except for the amazingly awesome and unique name. Sounds like a fun search! I wonder who my doppelganger is?!? Back in my welterweight days, peeps used to say I looked like a Smallville-era Tom Welling.

Moving on to business and politics, I think you’ve gotta consider Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and Cisco CTO Padmarsree Warrior “twinsies” because they both have impressive names that seem well-equipped to their chosen fields. A politician named Goodluck, and a businessman named Warrior? Seems like nominative determinism to me! It appears President Jonathan (whose wife is named Patience Jonathan) will be handing over the presidency in late May, and Padmarsree Warrior made the news for his habit of spending 24 hours away from technology each weekend. Is that what being a “weekend Warrior” means? I’ve been doing it wrong all these years!

In Arts and Culture news, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and his brother Skippy Kamakawiwo’ole aren’t exactly twinsies, but they are related, and the late “Somewhere over the Rainbow” singer was recently profiled by NPR for being the voice of Hawai’i. 

In more brother-y news, it recently emerged that Matt Lachappa, who had an on-field heart attack while warming up for a minor league game 20 years ago and ended up wheelchair-bound, has been continuously signed to a minor league contract for 20 years by the San Diego Padres every year so he can get health insurance. This news was confirmed by none other than Matt’s brother, Eagle Lachappa!

Lastly, in boxing-related twinsie news (not really twinsies, but they’re both boxing-related), photographer Johnny Joo recently unveiled photos of Mike Tyson’s old abandoned mansion – pretty spooky stuff! And this reminded me (somehow… don’t ask why!) of Carmen “The Upstate Onion Farmer” Basilio, a boxing legend who fought in 5 consecutive Ring Magazine fights of the year. Carmen passed away in 2012, but lives in our memories due to his tremendous fighting spirit and incredible nickname!

But both Iron Mike and The Upstate Onion Farmer would be blown away by the impressive work of 8-year-old Evnik Saadvakaas and her amazing combo punching!

I wouldn’t want to fight with her! (and for those who weren’t paying attention, there’s a link to a video of me sparring located in this post)

That’s it for this week’s Funny Names in the News! Join us next week – same funny time, same funny channel! Enjoy your weekends!

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Birthday Bang-Up: From Iggy To Oaxaca

You may have read that yesterday was long-reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II’s 89th birthday. But it was also a day of birth for much funnier-named folk than Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Yep, that’s her regal name. It’s not quite as interesting as singer Iggy Pop (not to be confused with Iggy Azalea, whom we profiled less than a year ago), who turned the big 6-8, enjoying his Medicare benefits while sitting topless on a couch. Does he even own shirts? And nope, Iggy wasn’t his real name. He was born James Newell Osterberg, Jr. 

Who else ate cake yesterday? Little Jason Duggar turned 15, surrounded by many of his 18 brothers and sisters. Peace out, Jason.

Jason, the one who fell 12 feet into an orchestra pit and broke his leg, carries a rather normal name. However, let us recall that ALL of his siblings have J names:

Joshua, twins Jana and John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie. And that, my friends, is NOT normal at all.

Yesterday was also the birthday of actor and musician, Jencarlos Canela, whose name sounds like two names squished together. Jencarlos was the protagonist Ángel Salvador in the telenovela Más Sabe el Diablomore than the devil knows?

Everybody’s favorite Croatian pop singer, Severina Vučković (here, let me help you; it’s pronounced sɛʋɛrǐːna ʋût͡ʃkɔʋit͡ɕ) turned 43. Her latest album, released in 2012, was called Dobrodosao u klub, which means “welcome to the club” and was probably about getting old and joining the 40s club.

Those of you in the over-40s club may remember Anthony Quinn, who would have turned 100 yesterday, had he not died at age 86. He was born in Chihuahua (yes, like the dog) as Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca. And Oaxaca, as we all know, is one of the 31 states which makes up the 32 federative entities of Mexico, best known for its indigenous peoples, including Zapotecs and the Mixtecs. But you knew that.

Honorable mention of funnier foreign-named but less widely-known folks born on April 21st include:

  • Wladyslaw Rzepko and Vojtech Rihovsky, composers (both now decomposing)
  • Hippolyte Taine, French philosopher/historian
  • Gijsbert van Hall, banker/mayor of Amsterdam (1957-67)
  • Feike P. Asma, Dutch organist
  • Choh Hao Li, bio-chemist professor who isolated growth hormones, Dave
  • Souleymane Cisse, director (Waati, Yeelen, Finye, Baara)
  • Aleksandr Ivanovich Laveykin and Sergei Viktorovich Zalyotin, Russian cosmonauts

Well, that about wraps it up this Earth Day. Throw your trash away and recycle plastic bottles. And if you have 19 children, please don’t give them all J names.

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Groucho Marx: A funny man with a funny name, playing characters with even funnier names.

“Those are my principles.  If you don’t like them, I have others.”–Groucho Marx

The inimitable Groucho

The Inimitable Groucho

Julius HenryGrouchoMarx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was not only one of the funniest men to ever live, he also played some of the funniest named characters in American movie history.  It’s also notable (at least to me) that he is the “ridiculous” part of the inspiration for the name of my personal blog (The Millennium Conjectures: A blog of the Ridiculous and Sublime).  And by the way,  the “sublime” half of the inspiration is one Mohandas K. Gandhi (October 2, 1869-January 30, 1948).  The point?  Well, take a close look and you will see one similarity.   They share the same birthday, October 2,  which just happens to be my birthday–if many years later.

But I digress.  While Groucho’s name may only be somewhat funny, many of the character names he played in a slew of classic Marx Brothers movies were over the top funny.  Here are just a few of them,  in chronological order.

Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Horsefeathers, 1932)

” I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you arrived. “–Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers.

While Groucho’s first truly iconic role was that of  Captain Jeffrey Spaulding in 1930’s Animal Crackers, Wagstaff was his first funny-named character.  But believe me, in that department he was just getting started.

Rufus  T. Firefly (Duck Soup, 1933)

“Go, and never darken my towels again.”–Groucho Marx in Duck Soup.

While originally opening to mixed reviews, perhaps due to its then already dated World War I era political satire,  Duck Soup has since become regarded as a classic and comedic masterpiece and was named to the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 films of the 20th century.  One critic said “love the comedy and ignore the plot.”  No kidding.  Caring about the plot of a Marx Brothers movie is like caring about the frame on a Picasso.

Otis P. Driftwood (A Night at the Opera, 1935)

“And now, on with the opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.”–Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera

Another classic which was also named to AFI’s top 100 American Films of the 20th century.  It just happens to also include what I consider the funniest scene of slapstick comedy ever made. (See below).

I’d laugh even harder, but the last cruise I went on, my own cabin was about that size.


Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush (A Day at the Races, 1937)

“I have a confession to make.  I’m a horse doctor.  But marry me and I’ll never look at another horse.”–Groucho Marx in A Day at the Races

As suggested by the quote above, Grouch plays a veterinarian of dubious skills in this flick.  I always think of the character name as being Dr. Quackenbush.  And as my wife happens to be a veterinarian, I laugh doubly hard.  Hey, if I can laugh at myself,  I can laugh at my wife, too.

J. Cheever Loophole (At the Circus. 1939)

 “I bet your father spent the first year of your life throwing rocks at the stork.”  Groucho Marx in At the Circus

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that, with that name, Groucho’s character in this one was a lawyer.  It wasn’t the best of the Marx Brothers’ movies, but produced one of the most iconic musical numbers from their oeuvre, Lydia the Tattooed Lady.

That’s just a sampling,  but if you don’t like these, well, he has others!

Visit my insane blog, The Millennium Conjectures.






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Baseball Season Is Here and It’s Brought Funny Baseball Names Along!

Hey ho, baseball season is back, and with it comes perhaps our favorite thing. Baseball names!

I myself attended by annual-ish baseball game this week in the shape of a Padres-D-Backs game (something unfortunate about the D-Backs being called D-Backs. No self given nickname has ever sounded quite so much like an insult). Padres took the game with an 8th inning whopper by Justin Upton (stadium scoreboard fun fact : he has a brother named Melvin).

So I got to thinking, as I munched on my $9 hot dog and slurped my $12 beer. To make this really worth it, I need to write about it on the blog, and so I lurched into the funnest kind of research. Funny Names Research. FNR is an up-and-coming field in the sciences, sure to be recognized soon with a Horsey Prize in achievement in amusement. Check your local library for the latest.

Hot dog filled and stuffed with cash.

It’s expensive out there.

Without further ado (which I think was a Shakespearean term for “filler”), we move on to the meat of the matter. The funniest names in baseball in 2015!

From the Boston Red Sox

  • Mookie Betts
  • Zeke Spruil

If I had a baseball themed deli, these two would be my top selling sandwiches.

From the New York Yankees

  • Didi Gregorius

I don’t know if Didi has a nickname, but I think he should start going by Glorious Gregorious. Gregarious Gregorious is also an option, but might trip up the broadcasters.

From the Tampa Bay Rays

  • Brad Boxberger

One of the great family names of Tampa, his father and his father before him all berged boxes for a living.

With the Toronto Blue Jays

  • R.A. Dickey
    – A bonus fact about Mr. Dickey. According to the New York Times, he gives his bats (the kinds you hit the ball with, not nocturnal bloodsuckers) some strange names. The two best ones he     calls Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver and Hrunting. So next time you watch the Blue Jays, keep an eye out for the man bunting with the hrunting.

From the Detroit Tigers

  • Buck Farmer

    funny name for a baseball bat

    R.A. Dickey wielding his goblin cleaver.

With the Kansas City Royals

  • Cheslor Cuthbert

From the Oakland A’s

  • Coco Crisp
  • Billy Butler

The Butler will bring your Coco Crisps to get the day started right, of course.

There’s just not enough names like Billy Butler in the world.

From the Seattle Mariners, your future plush toy sales representative

  • Charlie Furbush

From funny name champs, the Texas Rangers

  • Rougned Odor
  • Shin-Soo Choo
  • Prince Fielder
  • Tanner Scheppers

Funny name collector runner up, the Cincinnati Reds

  • Burke Badenhop
  • Skip Schumaker
  • Homer Bailey

Now those sound like some baseball players.

From the San Diego Padres

  • Cory Spangenberg
  • Kevin Quackenbush
Cory Spangenberg immortalized into cardboard. At least until the cardboard breaks down into dirt. What's the lifetime of cardboard anyway? Can you really be immortalized in something that's temporary? Isn't everything temporary? Whoa. #DeepCaptionMusings

Cory Spangenberg immortalized into card form. At least until the card paper breaks down into dirt. What’s the lifetime of this kind of paper anyway? Can you really be immortalized in something that’s temporary? Isn’t everything temporary? Whoa. #DeepCaptionMusings

Representing the San Francisco Giants

  • Madison Bumgarner
  • Buster Posey

And finally, some of the finest names in MLB :

  • Scooter Gennett – Milwaukee
  • Antonio Bastardo – Pittsburgh
  • Xavier Scruggs – St. Louis
  • Tuffy Gosewisch – Arizona

And that’s that for this roundup. Enjoy the games this season!

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Wow! America turns 45, Matt Dumba wears 55, a Windell Send-Off and a Dikembe Mutombo Hall of Fame Celebration – It’s Funny Names in the News 101!

Happy Friday, one and all! I hope your days are all off to a delightful start. Dave-o here! Back from a wild bachelor party weekend in Cabo San Lucas, and ready to hit y’all with a blast of Funny Names In The News fun!

So much Funny Names in the News this week (partly due to us dedicating a special edition to our 100th FNITN recently!) that I’m going to have to do this in “bullet point and snarky remark” form!

Is someone allowed to be a smartass and a Dumba55 at the same time?

Is someone allowed to be a smartass and a Dumba55 at the same time?

We start off with a delightful piece of hockey news brought to you by stick-waving correspondent Arto(wizard), who informs us that Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild (Hi Liz!!!!!!) wears jersey number 55, so his jersey says Dumba55! Sounds like a smart choice to me!

From the ice rink to another use for arenas – megachurches – minister Creflo Augustus Dollar, known to many as a successful prosperity minister, got some PR recently for requesting a $60 million jet from his congregants. It also drew some pushback from taxpayer advocates! Some people say an abuse of power and tax-exempt status… I say NOMINATIVE DETERMINISM! (Even if people say Creflo “Dollar” isn’t pronounced like the currency).

In news about bands named after countries, but that aren’t country bands, an unknown BoFN correspondent  (I did some digging and found it was our favorite fiery Finn, Arto!)  informs us that Dewey Bunnell was one of the founders of the band America (remember “Horse with No Name” and “I Need You”?). The interesting news is that America turns 45 this year. That’s some serious longevity!!

We miss you Windell! Hope you're living the High Life up in Heaven!

We miss you Windell! Hope you’re living the High Life up in Heaven!

Moving from civics to anatomy class, newscaster Natarsha Belling caused quite a stir recently with her oddly-shaped neckline. It’s actually not all that odd… a common shape, just not so common for a neckline. I’ll leave it to y’all to snicker about the outfit’s unusual feature.

On to some sadder news… BoFN favorite Windell Middlebrooks, whom we profiled back in the day, passed away at age 36 a few weeks ago. You may remember him as the Miller High Life guy, or from his appearances in various TV shows like Scrubs, Cougar Town, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Parks and Recreation, or many others. He’s been in a lot of shows, and will be greatly missed, but the High Life lives on!

Dikembe agrees and says No No No, that's not how to end a FNITN!

Dikembe Mutombo agrees and says No No No, that’s not how to end a FNITN!

Windell wouldn’t want us to end this post on a somber note, and neither does our person, so we bring you some celebratory news featuring another BoFN mainstay. Dikembe Mutombo Mplondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (known to the uninitiated as simply Dikembe Mutombo), was recently announced as an inductee into the basketball Hall of Fame! Dikembe decided to take a break from saving the world – seriously, that was such a ridiculously fun little web-based game from the time when weird people thought the world would end in 2012 – and join WNBA legend Lisa Leslie and another 9 folks in the Naismith Hall. Congrats Dikembe!

That just about does it for this week’s FNITN – join us next week when we cover all sorts of other Funny Names in the News that got squeezed out of this jam-packed edition!

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