Gutzon Borglum meets Mount Rushmore

Welcome back funny names fans!

We interrupt this post for an announcement . . . I am busting to tell you about some good news. I received word over the weekend that my book proposal for dementia home care was accepted.

*Fannie does a happy dance and blows a party horn.*

Thanks for taking the time to celebrate with me.

Now back to our regularly scheduled post.

Gutzon Borglum may look glum, but he had an exceptional mustache.

John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum commonly known as Gutzon Borglum, was an artist and sculptor with a pretty darn good name.

He was born on March 25, 1867 the son of Danish immigrants, His Mormon father, Jens Moller Haugaard Borglum, in a polygamist marriage to his mother, Christina Mikkelsen Borglum. Christina’s sister, Ida, was Jens first wife. They lived in Idaho where polygamy was legal at the time. Do you imagine there may have been some friction in the family?

Jens decide to leave Mormonism and moved the family to Omaha, Nebraska, where polygamy was illegal and highly frowned on. So Jens divorced Ida, stayed with Christina, and took Ida’s two kids as well as Gutzon and his brother, Solon.

Jens got a degree in medicine, then moved the family to Freemont, Nebraska, where Jens establish his practice. Gutzon remained there until 1882 when his father enrolled him in St. Mary’s College in Kansas.

Gutzon only lasted a short time at St. Mary’s. He dropped out. He found himself back in Nebraska, because he was not in Kansas anymore, and apprenticed himself to a machine shop where he worked his way through Creighton Preparatory School. From there he pursued his artistic interest at a myriad of schools, Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, Académie Julian, École des Beaux-Arts and California School of Design. His talent grew and his reputation emerged for being a domineering, perfectionist and authoritarian.

In the midst of all this he romanced and married one of his art instructors, Elizabeth Janes Putnam—19 years his senior. They spent the next ten years traveling Europe studying art and exhibiting their craft. They returned to the U.S. and purchased a home in California. Because of a bad economy in California, they returned to Europe. Due to some marital issues, Elizabeth left Europe and moved back to their home in California. They divorced in 1908.

Gutzon then married Mary Montgomery Williams Borglum in 1916. It must have gone well because they sired three children together.

After several successes as a sculptor, Gutzon was tapped to work on the Mount Rushmore project in 1927. Perhaps perfectionism was the key to his getting the job. The original plan for the monument was for Washington and Jefferson. The first attempt at Jefferson’s face blew up only two years into the project. I suspect dynamite may have played a role. Dynamite was also used to removed rock from underneath Washington’s epic brow. The project soon expanded, not to be confused with exploded, to include Lincoln and Roosevelt.

For the first seven years, Ivan Houser was Gutzon’s assistant sculptor. Houser moved on to pursue his own artistic endeavors without Gutzon. Gutzon’s son, Lincoln, stepped up to the post in 1934 and helped his father with the project until Gutzon’s death in 1941. Lincoln finished the last of the work his father had directed prior to passing then left the rest of the project incomplete.

So the next time you visit Mount Rushmore thank Gutzon because of an idea that was spawn and on the mountain was drawn to create the faces that glisten white at dawn because of his artistic use of dynamite brawn.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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Please consider donating to our founder, Dave, and his fight against a cancerous brain tumor, all while he goes to medical school to learn to fight the very thing he is battling.

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Milano Collection AT: Pepperidge Farm Remembers

That open palm belongs to Japanese wrestler Akihito Sawafuji (aka Akihito Terui), better known by his ring name Milano Collection A.T. Today the Blog of Funny Name salutes him!

For many of us, “Milano” reminds us of an indulgent dessert cookie. Do you remember? Pepperidge Farm sure does. They make the chocolatey goodness (otherwise known as “Monacos” in Canada because socialism). Now that’s what I call a real Milano Collection.

But not in Japan, my friends. In Japan, a Milano Collection is a wrestler. Debuting at the turn of the century, Milano Collection A.T. soon adopted the shtick of an Italian fashion aficionado and supermodel, wearing lavish coats, which he would then discard. Supermodel, work!

Those Italian wristbands, though.

In another case of nominative determinism, the Fuji (while a mountain or a camera film to you) in Sawafuji’s name means “man of status.” And that he was. Why else would he be known for walking into the ring with an invisible dog named Mikeru? Yes, friends, he walked a fake dog while he fake fought, and soon became the ace of Toryumon’s T2P class.

In February of 2005 (as part of Team Toryumon X), he defeated Beef Wellington & The Bear at CHIKARA Tag World Grand Prix ’05. Milanos, Beef Wellington, and Bears–oh, my! Are you hungry yet? Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Hopefully not undercooked bear meat, which can cause trichinosis and subsequently stop a wrestling career in its tracks. Spare the bear.

In mid-2006, Sawafuji crossed the sea to the home of the Alamo to begin training at the Texas Wrestling Academy in San Antonio under Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Ru-dy! Ru-dy! During his tenure in the TWA, he held the Television Championship (a title defended in 15 minute matches that came with a schmancy gold belt) for eight months solid. While in the States, he wrestled for other American federations, including East Coast Wrestling Association, Ring of Honor, NWA Anarchy, Chikara and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The next year, Sawafuji said sayonara to the States and and returned to Japan to work for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), as a part of the R.I.S.E. faction. He achieved great victory that year, winning New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament, defeating Wataru Inoue in the final. 

In 2008, he took part in the World X Cup as part of Team Japan, winning his first and only singles match for Total Nonstop Action against Curry Man, aka the Fallen Angel.

However, fortune stopped smiling on him when fellow Japanese wrestler, Gedo, clocked him upside the head with an excessively strong thrust kick to the eye. Following failed eye surgeries, Sawafuji was diagnosed with inferior oblique muscle palsy and retired on January 18, 2010.

But he wouldn’t remain out of the spotlight. Sawafuji soon began work with New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a color commentator, explaining the difference between chartreuse and lime green to the ignorant masses. Actually, a color commentator is a sports commentator who provides expert analysis and background information, such as statistics, strategy, and injury reports. Who knew? He maintains the position to this day.


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Norwegian Jazz Drummers from Hamre to Hulbækmo

We continue our alphabetical exploration of the Norwegian jazz scene, which started by chance but continues with plodding, mind-numbing deliberateness.

But if you’re just joining us, don’t fall asleep just yet! We are on percussionists and the letter H, which turns out to be an embarrassment of riches: a whole lot of drummers, and a whole lot of T’Oobs for audio support!

Our first two subjects are drummers named “Ole,” Ole Hamre (born 1959) and Ole Jacob Hansen (born 1940). “Ole” could refer to their relatively advanced age, to bullfighting, to rousing soccer cheers, or maybe something completely different. Post your suggestions below, but let’s move on to T’Oob support.

On our first T’Oob, Ole Hamre lays down the beat for the Norwegian folk songs “Fanteladda” and “Vesle Kari Rud,” on Norwegian TV in 1998. I have to assume black and white is for retro effect since color was available in 1998 (as far as I remember).

Ole plays with Gabriel Fliflet on vocals and accordeon (the anachronestic spelleng is deliberete). The gents are assisted by their Danish pal Peter Bastian operating the accordeon’s wah-wah pedal.

Next, Ole Jacob Hansen (born 1940) goes full classic jazz standard with “Body and Soul,” supporting the immortal Coleman Hawkins on sax, Einar Iversen on piano, and Jarle Krogstad on bass.

Moving on but staying in the hard bop tradition, Trond Sverre Hansen (born 1964) offers fine ensemble work here in Alf Kjellman’s “Central European Time,” from his album Feather, But No Wings (2008). Alf is on Sax, Konrad Kaspersen on bass, Trond on drums, Kurt Samuelsen on piano, and Øystein Blix on trombone.

Jakop Janssønn Hauan (born 1986) drums with the group Ánnásuolo as they perform “Duoddariinnai Ija Bealit“a jazz inflected version of the Scandinavia folk music known as Sami, with Marianne Pentha (vocals), John-Kåre Hansen (guitar), Eirik Fjelde (keyboard), and Svein Schultz (bass).

Pressing up against the Official BoFN Word Limit(TM), we offer the rest of our artists with minimal commentary. Tor Haugerud (born 1962) drums with Tone Åse (vocals), Ståle Storløkken (synths), and Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan (guitars).

Pål Hausken (1980) puts down the rhythm for “Impatience” by Randi Tytingvåg, with Tytingvåg on vocals, and Ivar Grydeland and Jo Berger Myrhe playing various guitars, banjo, keyboards and syntehsizer.

Per Hillestad (born 1959) rolls and thunders through a drum solo.

Wetle Holte (born 1973) throws down the beat for Weaving on “Golden Child,” with Kirsti Huke (vocals, omnichord), Gunnar Halle (trumpet and synth), and Erik Nylander (also on drums).

Martin Horntveth (born 1977) drums it up for Jaga Jazzist on “Oban” from the album Starfire (2015). Martin co-leads the band with his brother Lars.

Hans Hulbækmo (1989) offers percussive stylings for Hanna Paulsberg Concept on “Catalan Boy” from the album Eastern Smiles (2015), with Hanna (sax, composition), Oscar Grönberg (piano) and Trygve Fiske (bass).

Available on Odin Records here.

As we wrap up this Norse selection, we give a drum roll to Dave and urge you to help him out. Please visit the link below.


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Maru, The Cat, and The Guinness World Record

Greetings Funny Names Fans!

Have you ever noticed that cat videos pervade the internet?

Back in 2015, shortly after Leonard Nimoy passed, my better half and I discovered Maru, the cat, while eating sushi in a restaurant called Sushi Maru. Ah, the magic of smart phones and google combined to introduce us to the meaning of Maru.

Maru, a Scottish Fold—straight ear variety—entertains nearly half a million followers on YouTube. His channel is named Mugumogu, and is the 7th most subscribed YouTube Channel in Japan.

In 2017 he was awarded the Guinness World Record for the Most Watched Animal on YouTube. A record he broke in 2016. Don’t take my word for it, here’s the video, you can watch for yourself.

He is certainly is the emperor of the box, and a swinging cat to boot.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

  *  *  *

Please consider donating to our founder, Dave, and his fight against a cancerous brain tumor, all while he goes to medical school to learn to fight the very thing he is battling.

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More Nordic Jazz Percussionists: G

I won’t blame you if you didn’t notice the transformation, but I used to be the BoFNite that believed in “Funny Name Scarcity.”

Yeah, that was me.

Now I’m the guy who plows through piles of funny names like they were haystacks in a madcap Dukes of Hazzard style police chase. This means that King Dave was right when he told me way back,

“Look around you! These names are not really so rare!
They are here! They are there! There are names everywhere!
You see, Diddy, funny names DO grow on trees
And on bushes and twigs and from pods of green peas.”

You called this one, KD.

But I need to make some further adjustments. Between hoarding funny names like the last drops of water in Death Valley, and whitewater rafting through funny name cascades, there must be some happy medium, right? Why not slow down and enjoy the ride?

To that end, our whitewater rafting comes to an end, and henceforth we float down the big, wide, lazy river of Norwegian jazz names. We’re on percussionists now, and this bend of the river gets us through G.

Relax. Kick off them flip flops. Chew that blade of grass. Adjust the the brim of your straw hat. Let your hand dangle in the sworling waters. Ready, set, drift!

Let us contemplate G. We’ve got a respectable showing here, with Håkon Gebhardt (born 1969), Jan Martin Gismervik (1988), and Sverre Gjørvad (1966).

I discovered there’s a severe deficit of musical T’Oobs for Sverre–no videos at all, in fact. I did find some music for Jan Martin, though it’s a little too outside (to use a hep jazz term), even by avant guard Norwegian standards. This is the closest to a danceable set I could get:

Gismervik gits down and boogies here with Natali Garner (another “G”!) on vocals and Fredrik Rasten on giitar. Party hardy! Yea!

The next vid features Håkon and associates, and also provides another window into the the no-boundaries stylings of Norwegian jazz.

“Motorpsycho.” I’m tempted to call it acid jazz, which is actually a thing, though I probably misidentified it here.

The personnel for “Motorpsycho” (Qu’est-ce que c’est!) also confirms King Dave’s conclusions on Funny Name Superfluity (FNS). We got Bent Sæther gettin’ bent on vocals and bass, Hans Magnus Ryan gettin’ some magnuficent action goin’ on the giiitar, our very own Håkon Gebhardt hackin’ away on that drum kit, Baard Slagsvold doin’ some baarda**ed tinklin’ on the keys, Mathias Eick givin’ us a mongo eareik on trumpet and backing vocals, Lars Horntveth holdin’ down the horn section on sax and bass clarinet (with some back vocals thrown in), and Jørgen Munkeby monkeyin’ around on some clarinet and more back vocals.

That rounds it up for “G” except to say, GEE! Maybe it’s time to do some GOOD for Dave and GIVE GENEROUSLY, GUYS!!!!

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