Ursula Goodenough, Atticus Edmunds, and Remembering Signe Toly Anderson – it’s Funny Names in the News Volume 117.

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday! Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend, weekend!

For everyone who now has that Rebecca Black song stuck in your head, you’re welcome. Or maybe I’m sorry. Depends on your opinion of the song. It got lampooned far more than necessary, and was pretty catchy.

Anyway, apologies. Is there anyone out there named Paula Geez? Or Paula Gees? Or Paul Ogees? That name is made for the BoFN.

Pictured: Signe Toly Anderson, RIP. Not pictured: a White Rabbit, or an Airplane, or a Starship, or any other thematic flourishes.

Pictured: Signe Toly Anderson, RIP.
Not pictured: a White Rabbit, or an Airplane, or a Starship, or any other thematic flourishes.

We’ll launch right into this week’s FNITN with a solemn update from the music world. Signe Toly Anderson, one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane, passed away two weeks ago in Beaverton, Oregon. In a bizarrely coincidental occurrence, she died on January 28, at the age of 74 – the exact same day and age as Jefferson Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner. They had a lot in common, but Signe’s name was vastly superior.

We move from solemn news to extraordinarily uplifting news, that shines a bright light on the human condition. Atticus Edmunds is an 8-year-old boy with a fantastic name who has been confined to a wheelchair due to low-tone cerebral palsy. Atticus loves a good thrill, and a video of his dad and him having fun in a skate park has gone viral. He’s definitely done more cool stuff than I’ve ever done at a skate park. I just fell, a lot. Atticus also has gained his fair share of followers on social media due to his singing covers of Katy Perry songs. What a champ! The story is also helping raise awareness about cerebral palsy, and hopefully CP research can get a boost too…


Ursula Goodenough chillin' with her daughter and Harry Belafonte. That's gooder than good!

Ursula Goodenough chillin’ with her daughter and Harry Belafonte. That’s gooder than good!

Continuing with our theme of “All The Funny Named News That’s Good Enough,” we’ve found the perfect academic for us. A colleague informed me of a superbly-named researcher from Washington University in St. Louis, Ursula Goodenough. Ursula has proven to be more than good enough. Just being a researcher at the esteemed Wash U is pretty fantastic, but she’s done remarkable work on eukaryotic algae. How do we know it’s remarkable? Well, I’m making remarks about it.

Also, she has an impressive CV, has done plenty of work on Religious Naturalism, and her 10.8 ResearchGate Impact Factor and 100+ citations are way way way better than my humble 3.93 and 5 citations. If that makes Ursula “goodenough” then you can call me Dave “smallfishnotreadyforprimetime.” Actually, please do call me that!  C’mon anesthesiology manuscript! Let’s get accepted and get rollin’! Let’s see if we can break into the double digits of citations :) I’ll still be a small fish, but maybe I can stop being a tadpole and morph into a frog. Or at least a respectable minnow!

In cool tech news, the indispensable Fannie “Banannie” Cranium brings us some cool updates from the Codex Hackathon. The Codex Hackathon was sponsored by Automattic, the makers of WordPress. Their work is already fantastic and has accounted for all of WordPress, including the 600+ posts and 252,000 reads on this here blog, but wait… there’s more!

Fannie’s favorite names from the Codex Hackathon include: “Kjell Reigstad, Mel Choyce, Kelly Dwan and Kat Hagan, who bring us reading, writing, and Automattic.:)”

And it doesn’t get much better than that! Thanks for joining us for this hacky, researchy filled-to-the-brim edition of Funny Names in the News. Enjoy your weekends, happy Presidents Day on Monday, and we’ll catch you on the flip side. Or in Atticus Edmund’s case, the acrobatic kick-flip side!

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Grover “Ugly Honest” Cleveland

What happens when Sesame Street meets Betty White? You get, Grover Cleveland. One tough cookie.

Grover Cleveland

Source: Wikipedia

Stephen Grover Cleveland, mentioned twice on this esteemed blog, here and here, a native son of New York. He served as Governor of New York, Mayor of Buffalo, and while serving as assistant district attorney and again while serving as sheriff of Erie County he earned the nickname “Ugly Honest.” That’s kind of eerie if you ask me.

His vice president, Adlai Stevenson I, a great name worth repeating with his son, Adlai Stevenson II, congressman.

Cleveland was considered one of the hardest working presidents, completing his own paperwork, regularly working past midnight—often later, and battling the Senate as he worked to clean house in Washington. And he succeeded with the support of the people.

He asserted the earliest form of what we now call “executive privilege.”

Like the twice baked potato—resting in the middle, he is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. First elected in 1885—22nd president, then again in 1893—24th president. Of his five children only his daughter, Ruth, was born in the White House. Since I couldn’t find reference of any other children being born there, I suspect she was the only baby Ruth swimming in a bath tub in the White House.

Two months after his second inauguration, the stock market crashed sending the country into the worse depression up to that time.  While in the midst of the crash, Cleveland was diagnosed with a malignant carcinoma in his mouth.

His advisors, concerned news of his health might cause deeper financial panic, announced he set off on his summer vacation in New York.

Under the veil of extreme secrecy he was whisked away on a friend’s yacht on the East River where a team of five physicians and a dentist tied him to the mast of the yacht, sedated him with ether and nitrous oxide, removed his upper jaw and part of his upper palate, then successfully removed the carcinoma—in a forty-one minute operation. In a subsequent surgery he was fitted with a rubber jaw and plate. He spent the summer learning how to talk again. That’s one tough cookie.

Cleveland died in 1908. The extreme secrecy of the operation prevented the incident becoming public knowledge until 1917.

Cleveland’s wife, Francis “Frank” Folsom Cleveland, started out as his ward after her father died. He watched her grow up, then proposed to her in a letter when she was away at college. She was 21, he was 49 and a sitting President. Did I mention they had five kids?

What happened to Frank Cleveland after Grover died? She married a Princeton professor five years after Grover’s death and lived happily into her eighties.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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Touchdown! The Greatest Super Bowl Winner Names

The glory. The adulation. The Budweiser®. These are just some of the great perks of winning the Super Bowl, like the Denver Broncos did in yesterday’s championship game.

Winners’ names live forever as the top football achievers of their time. And for us – those names are glorious.

Here are some of the funnest, most unusual and most delightful names of Super Bowl winning players.


A name that is the perfect mixture of European sophistication and Southern shrimp trawling, Bubba Paris got that splendid name etched into legend by winning three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s.


This 1970 champion with the Chiefs has the kind of awesome name you’d expect to find mining for gold in westerns. Instead, you’ll find his name in the hall of fame.


Rare profile of Bubba Paris.


The tasty sounding Mr. Pickel not only won the Super Bowl in his rookie season with the Raiders, he also starred in four episodes of Home Improvement after retiring from the game. That’s the kind of versatility champs are made of.


Baschnagel technically didn’t play for the Bears during their ’85 championship year due to injury, but received a ring anyway as a key member of the squad. I am not sure if he participated in the Super Bowl Shuffle, which may have been an even greater achievement than the sporting championship itself.


2007 champions New York Giants featured these next two splendidly named players. Madison “Mad Dog” Hedgecock earns a spot on the list with a name that rolls of the tongue as smoothly as a freshly opened can of Budweiser®. 


Star of the show Wilson, whose brother Wilson appeared in the Tom Hanks film Cast Away.


Getting his unusual first name after his uncle, you could be forgiven for thinking Plaxico Burress was the name of an aluminum processing company rather than a football player. You would of course be wrong, but I wouldn’t hold it against you. Look – it’s an unusual name is what I’m getting after here.


It’s hard to get more generically awesome than Johnny Sample. His cousing James Person comes close, but there’s a poetic pleasure in the name of this three-time champion.


“Easy Sweezy!”, as no one probably said after Seattle’s triumph in the 2014 Super Bowl. I could see him endorsing a whole line of products after retiring from the game. Sweezy Fabrezey! Cheesey Sweezy Dip! Sweezy’s Keysies Locksmithing for Kids! The possibilities are endless.


We conclude our list with this pretty badass name. The imposing sounding Mr. Hightower won last year’s championship game with the New England Patriots, his balls remaining undeflated in the run to the trophy. Thinking of messing with Hightower? Dont’a!


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Happy Groundhog Day from Punxsutawney Phil

How many of you have gained all of your knowledge about the big holiday Hoo-ha today from the movie?

You know, Groundhog Day, the Lay’s Potato Chip of a flick starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell from 1993 that you couldn’t help but watch over and over again?

Yeah, that movie. (From IMDb.com)

Yeah, that movie. (From IMDb.com)

Of course sometimes Hollywood (loosely) bases its best work on fact, and the late, great Harold Ramis was no different as he co-wrote and directed this comedy that became legend.

And so on this Feb. 2 here on The Blog of Funny Names I offer you the hard truth about Groundhog Day.

Thank you very much, WikiPedia and history.com for your thoroughness about this day in American history.

It all started in 1887 at a place called Gobbler’s Knob in Punxatawney, Pa. That’s where local newspaper editor Clymer H. Freas, a member of the Punxatawney Groundhog Club, decided that the furry groundhog they all called Phil was America’s true weather-predicting furry.

And if that’s not enough to earn a spot in the BoFN, I’m crawling back into bed for the rest of winter.

The legend we all repeat again and again says that if Phil sees his shadow, he’ll scurry back into his hole, and we’ll face six more weeks of winter. But if it’s cloudy, out he’ll come to cavort, and we’ll be in for an early spring.

It’s all based on science instead of shadowy smoke and mirrors, of course. Groundhogs — or hedgehogs, if you prefer — hibernate for the winter months, and come out for spring.

The folks of Punxatawney continue the Feb. 2 tradition. (From WikiPedia.com)

The folks of Punxatawney continue the Feb. 2 tradition. (From WikiPedia.com)

In any case, Happy Groundhog Day. I’m rooting for a cloudy day over there in Gobbler’s Knob and an early spring over here in Syracuse, N.Y.

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Funny Names in the News vol. 116 with Rainy Dingle and Tasty Lasagna

Happy Friday! It’s time again to go over the newspapers again and dig out the week’s very best names.

First, we pop over to Italy, where a big soccer match between Inter Milan and Carpi had a dramatic ending. Inter was 1-0 ahead in the last minute, when Carpi’s tasty striker Kevin Lasagna decided the time was ripe for an equalizer. WorldSoccer.com headlined the event “Inter choke on Lasagna”, which is pretty good.

Italy's top scorer, earlier.

Italy’s top scorer, earlier.

In country music news this week, fans of Brantley Gilbert are going to have to wait just a bit longer for his new album. I don’t think I’ve yet heard one of his tunes, but I like the sound of the name. Always good to see a rare “last name as first name, and first name as last name” combo.

In icier sports, the NHL All Star Game is taking place this weekend at the birthplace of hockey – Nashville, Tennessee. The roster for the event includes Blog of Funny Names favorites Dustin Byfuglien and Devan “the Dube” Dubnyk. Unfortunately most of our favorite names did not make it this time around, but there’s always next year, Clayton Stoner!

Less funnily named, but delighting the crowd at the game are also the winner of the fan vote, and probably the league’s worst player John Scott, half-bear half-man hybrid Brent Burns, seen here playing with a baby penguin, and our newest friend, the Russian sniper Evgeny Kuznetsov, who played his way into our hearts with this quote about his daily routine :

“I just want to play hockey, come home. Watch the Family Feud, go to bed. Wake up, play hockey again.”

That’s my kind of routine.

Brent Burns has the best hair in the world.

Back to soccer, where England’s Sunderland AFC celebrated their youth academy graduates this week, including one Jonjo Dickman. Young Dickman only played for the club once before moving onto other teams, but he is fondly remembered on their website at least.


Meanwhile in Ireland, bad weather is making the news. Very high winds caused huge waves to hit shore in the Dingle Peninsula, which for obvious reasons is our very favorite peninsula. You can see some of the footage of very angry water here.

Thanks for reading, this has been this week’s update on Funny Names in the News! Check back next week for more fun business!

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