Humpy Koneru–Qxe4 mate!

“Women, by their nature, are not exceptional chess players.”–Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion

” We want more women players to take up chess.”–Viswanathan Anand, more recent former world chess champion

“I get more upset when I lose at Monopoly.”–Magnus Carlsen, current world chess champion.

Whoo boy.  With a name like Humpy, who cares what she does?  Well, maybe her countryman, Viswanathan Anand, cares.  And maybe her naysayer, Gary Kasparov, is embarrassed.

You see, Humpy Koneru is currently the second highest rated female chess player in the world, and held the record–for a time– as  the youngest woman ever to attain grandmaster designation.  Here at TBOFN, we just love awesome competitors with even more awesome names.  I’ll get to the origin of that name in a bit, but just a  little more of her chess accomplishments first.

Born in India in 1987,  she achieved grandmaster status in 2002 at the age of 15 years, one month, 27 days, surpassing the record of the legendary Judit Polgar by some three months.  To give you an idea how impressive Polgar’s record was when she set it in 1991, at the time it was the record for the youngest ever by any person, male or female,  beating the previous mark set by one Bobby Fischer in the 1960’s.  Maybe you’ve hard of him? (The current male record holder, by the way, Sergey Karjakin,  attained the title at age 12 years and 7 months.  I think he started playing in utero.)

Humpy

Anyway, Humpy’s female grandmaster record has since been surpassed, but she is still rated on the edge of the top 100 players in the world, and she still has the best name in the game.  Interstingly enough, her name was originally Hampi, but her father changed it to Humpy, apparently because he thought that sounded Russian.  How that sounds Russian and why he desired that for her is anybody’s guess.  Anyway, by any name, I would not care to run into her across a chess board.

I leave you, though, with my favorite chess quote of all time.  It’s from another former world champion, Boris Spassky.

He was asked, “which do you prefer, sex or chess?’

He replied: “it depends on the position.”

 

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How do you get to Zsa Zsa Gabor from Gabor Szabo?

The short answer is, by rearranging letter magnets on the fridge.

The longer answer is more complicated. It involves magical Al Gh’er Rh’ythms of Yoot T’Ooob, whose mysterious workings summon up an almost forgotten album of a Hungary-born guitarist.

And considering that was 1968, dang, the album holds up amazingly well. Using Gabor’s name as a search term subsequently unleashed a prodigious number of additional albums on the T’Oobs, all of them spectacularly good–at least if you like extended, atmospheric, understated, contemplative, crossover stuff, inflected with funk, and anticipating all that 70s fusion that we (?) know and love so well.

Carlos Santana has praised Gabor as a seminal influence, and you can definitely hear “Black Magic Woman” and “Soul Sacrifice” waiting to be born in Gabor’s “Gypsy Queen”:

Santana pays tribute to Gabor in his song “Mr. Szabo”:

Now, to get from Gabor Szabo to Zsa Zsa Gabor was an elementary matter for one such as myself. Elementary in the sense of me having tragically arrested development and a sixth grade sense of humor.

“Gabor Szabo? Any relation to Zsa Zsa Gabor??? Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck.”

To answer the question, no, there is no relation. But you can see how I connected the dots. That, and residual memories of Green Acres.

Wait, that was Eva Gabor. Darnit! I could never keep those Gabor sisters straight. (The third sister, Magda Gabor, was less famous and hence constitutes less risk for misidentification.)

Zsa Zsa was born Sári (shah-ree) Gábor of Jewish parents in Hungary. As she explained in this delightful interview with Steve Allen, the Zsa Zsa name she adopted is complete nonsense.

Zsa Zsa may have meant nothing to her but it means a lot to us here at BoFN.

Zsa Zsa was of course a dazzling beauty, as well as a brilliant comedienne, like her sister Eva, with perfect comic delivery. Zsa Zsa chewed her way through eight husbands and lived to die just a bit shy of 100. She passed on surprisingly recently–2016.

Meanwhile, the musical visionary Gábor István Szabó came into our world in Hungary in 1936, the same year Zsa Zsa won the Miss Hungary contest. He died much earlier, and did not live even half as long. This might explain his compulsion to get so many albums out.

With so many more years, so much more fame, and so much beauty, you’d think Zsa Zsa would forever outshine Gabor the guitarist, but it’s not necessarily so. The T’oobs have a way of balancing out legacies, and while searching for Zsa Zsa will give you mostly tidbits of Hollywood trivia, for Mr. Szabo it yields dense results that represent his musical vision pretty darn comprehensively. Cosmic justice for a musical visionary, you might say.

Speaking of guitars, there is another guitarist cum boxer cum MCAT tutoring Youtuber cum brain specialist cum blogger cum founder of BoFN: none other than our our man, Dave. Pluck the link below and offer a helping hand to the King:

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Norwegian Jazz Drummers from I to J

Even those here who were actually paying attention to my “Norwegian jazz name” thing (and probably just to be nice) have probably forgotten all about it. It’s like remembering what you had for breakfast a year ago.

I won’t blame you for not remembering what was not needful, and for those of you coming up on to this for the first time, I won’t hold it against you that you’ll forget it 20 minutes later.

Heck, I couldn’t even remember where I finished off last time myself!

That’s why I used BoFN’s super deluxe customized search engine over on the right side and refreshed my memory. It seems we were on Norwegian jazz drummers, and had gotten to the letter H.

And for the record, the results were nothing to sniff at!

Norwegian jazz genius is something anthropologists will be struggling to explain for a very long time, I suspect.

Now we can progress–and I’m using a very liberal interpretation of the word “progress”–to the next items along that well travelled sequential chain of symbols (or should I say “cymbals”? arf arf) we know as the English alphabet.

Which brings us to a surprisingly sparse (for Norway) showing for “I”. Just one drummer, to be precise, by the name of Terje Isungset.

Terje is a drummer and composer who works not just with jazz but with Scandinavian and indigenous traditional music. But what will probably strike you most (arf, arf, arf) is that Terje makes and plays ice percussion.

We like to joke around here at BoFN but no joke, I think Terje’s composition and performance here is quite beautiful:

I’d like to give you the names of the other players and singers but they are not listed. The performance is at the Grieg Concert Hall, and I think I can safely say that ole Edvard would be proud of his native son.

That’s a great “ice sung set” with Terje Isungset.

Like I said, we do like to joke around–and I’m using a very liberal interpretation of the word “joke”–here at BoFN.

Where was I? Oh, I. No, I don’t mean me, I mean I. I was at I.

Now before reading on, and remembering this is Norway we’re talking about, what do you think the results will be for “J”?

Well, you were right and wrong. Yes, there are a lot of drummers, but no, the names are not (how can I put this delicately?) funny. There’s a Jakobsen, a Jennsen, and a whole mess o’ Johansens. They may be brilliantly talented, but we’re not going to stop and find out, because this is not called The Blog of Exactly the Kind of Names You’d Expect.

Which brings us to “K.” We got some good stuff there, but we’re not going to move on to it just yet. Why? Because we are approaching BoFN’s designated word limit.

But that leaves me with enough remaining verbiage to “drum” up some support for our dear co-founder Dave. Thump that link:

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8th Annual Poll: Funniest Names in The NFL Draft

This post appears concurrently on The Millennium Conjectures

“I want to own an NFL franchise. I understand the business of football.”-Jon Bon Jovi

I honestly have no idea if Jon Bon Jovi understands the business of football.  But with a name like his, he should certainly understand this piece of NFL business.  Yes,  it’s that time of the year again–the 8th annual poll of the funniest names in the NFL draft.  Presented this year with a little extra voting time because, hey, what else is there to do besides stream endless 60s sitcom reruns during this social lockdown?  So vote early, vote often, and yuck it up for these great names–just make sure you’re laughing at least six feet away from the next guy.  I guarantee these monikers will all be crowd pleasers.  [And of course, this feature wouldn’t be complete without my postulation of what these names might be, if they didn’t belong to football players]

Oh, and if you run out of reruns to watch, here are the links to the past 7 iterations of this hallowed annual tradition.

Est your heart out, Sir Galahad

Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa–A rather royal European sounding name for a born and bred hawkeye.  He’s super athletic, and though he may not win this poll, he could be the highest drafted player in this group.  He’s a first rounder for sure.  At 6’5″, 322 lbs., who’s going stand in his way? What I think his name sounds like: A minor knight of the round table.

Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn–Do we see a pattern here?  This draft is loaded with talent at offensive tackle prospects, so it’s fitting we have two in our prime list of candidates.  And believe me, this is one offensive tackle you don’t want to offend.  He’s stands 6′ 7″, 305 lbs.  What I think his name sounds like: a potty training phrase for the future king of the Maoris.

Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State–Ah, I just love those double-barrelled names. And compared to those first two guys, he’s a svelt 265 lbs.  That’s a good thing.  If he was the size of Tristan or Prince, he’d hardly fit into Penn State.  Oh, and he has a sister named Qeturah.  What I think his name sounds like: The great-great-great-great-great-great-great-greant-great grandson of Ghengis Khan.

CeeDee’s cousin?

CeeDee Lamb, WR, WR, Oklahoma–This name does not so much sound funny as it looks funny.  Hearing it, you would expect it to be spelled C.D., not CeeDee.  Maybe his parents were phonetically challenged.  What I think his name sounds like: a cartoon wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Leki Fotu, DT, Utah– This draft is heavy with linemen–pun maybe intended.  At 335 pounds he’s the biggest of this bunch.  And at just 8 letters for given and family name, it’s the shortest tag since Jake Butt won the title a few years ago.  A small name name for a big man.  What I think his name sounds like: a character from norse mythology.

As usual, there’s a gang of honorable mentions eligible for write-ins.  They include, but are not limited to, Tua Tagolaivoa,  Quintes Cephus, Jabari, Zuniga, Justin Strnad (no, that last name is not a typo), Bravvion Roy, Tremayne Anchrum, and if you think they might make a good offensive tackle, any Sumo wrestler whose name you can spell.  You can vote as many times as you like.   Voting closes at noon, EDT, Monday April 27.

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PPAP with a PSA, from Pikotaro

The Blog of Funny Names has been no stranger to the musical stylings of Pikotaro, whose inspired nonsense once swept the world as a viral sensation. Pikotaro returns now with some helpful guidance in these difficult times, and with a message of hope for all humanity.

Thanks, Pikotaro!

Posted in funny names in comedy, funny names in music, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 5 Comments