Blixa Bargeld Just Needs To Be Held

Hello, dear readers of Funny Names! Today we learn about an odd fellow indeed. On this very day in 1959 (the same year that the US would grant statehood to both Alaska and Hawaii and then ne’er again add a star to our unfurled Stars and Stripes), little future-musician Blixa Bargeld was being birthed across the ocean. Presumably he looked as all infants do, squishy and diminutive, but then he grew up and made some questionable life choices. See below.



It’s like a goth/punk Edward Scissorhands stapled his head to a mirror during a rebarbative hallucination. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

This precious child was initially born with the perfectly good name of Christian Emmerich. Growing up in West Berlin, his first album was Pink Floyd, but he was later influenced by German rock (Krautrock) acts Kraftwerk, Neu! and Can. When he left home in the late 70s to pursue music, he decided to create a stage name to go with his new persona.

After some thought, he decided upon Blixa, a German brand of blue felt pen, and Bargeld, which is German for cash.

Let me get this straight. The name he chose was: pen + cash.

That’s like if I changed my name to Sharpie Benjamins. Of course, they don’t have Benjamins in Germany, where he was born–because Ben Franklin isn’t on their $100 bill. But did you know the word “dollar” comes from German word “Taler”? Per, taler is short for Joachimstaler, the German name for a town where coins called “Taler” were first minted at around year 1500. 

Taler, taler, bill, y’all. Listen to me, gettin’ all hip-hop up in here.

But Blixa Bargeld was anything but hip-hop. In 1980, he founded his own group Einstürzende Neubauten, which as we all know means “collapsing new buildings.” Isn’t that fun? Sounds like a structural issue.

Notable Australian musician Nick Cave of  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was touring in Amsterdam when he had the (mis)fortune of seeing Bargeld’s band on TV. Per wikipedia, Cave described the music as “mournful,” Bargeld as looking “destroyed,” and his screams as “a sound you would expect to hear from strangled cats or dying children.” They later met in a bar (where Bargeld pretended not to know English despite that he full-well did), and eventually Cave invited him to join his band as a guitarist (at which Bargeld was skilled) and as a backing vocalist (perhaps he liked strangled cats?).

In an online interview, Cave said, “He’s a creation of some sort where you can’t even imagine that he could have parents. You can’t even imagine what coupling of normal people could create that thing.” Mercy!

Despite his eccentricities, he has continued his career in music–with wonderfully-named folks such as sound engineer Boris Wilsdorf, collaborator Alva Noto, and Italian composer Teho Teardo.

Age has not diminished his ability to focus on the mournful and depressing; in November 2014, the album, Lament, was released. It was described as a “concept album based on a live performance and installation commissioned by the Flemish city of Diksmuide, Belgium to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War in 1914.” Festive! And on that note, this is Sharpie Benjamins, signing off.

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Welcome to the Funny Names Blog!

Greetings funny names fans! Since Dave is under the weather, I couldn’t let this moment go by without sharing with you that the BoFN has turned five. Here is the first ever post on the BoFN, by none other than our esteemed colleague, Arto.

So let’s celebrate like a Muppet! Happy anniversary to you our fans!

The Blog of Funny Names

Welcome! We’re so glad you’ve stumbled onto the blog.

What is the Funny Names Blog?

Well, to a point it is fairly self-explanatory. We are not a physics blog after the Nobel Prize here. We are here to introduce you to the vast expanses of people with funny names.

There is a bit more to it than that. We won’t be featuring your uncle Reginald here (fine man that he is). The purpose of our blog is to highlight people with unusual, entertaining, peculiar, occasionally unpronounceable, and certainly out of the ordinary names, who have nonetheless, or perhaps because of it, accomplished great things in life. We are not here to make fun of anyone, but to bring some fun into this world with words and names.

Let’s face it, if you one day met a person named Dick Assman, you would probably smile too.

This is a humble undertaking…

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Íslensku Jólasveinarnir, The Icelandic Yule Lads

Halló funny names fans. Happy New Year!

Today’s post, Icelandic lore. Every evening during the two weeks before Christmas one of the Yule Lads, also know as Iceland’s 13 Santas, come down from the mountains surrounding Dimmuborgir and cause trouble around the homes and farms in Iceland so their mother, Grýla—a troll, can eat the naughty children. The lads hang out for two weeks, then head for home one at a time during the two weeks after Christmas.

Starting 13 days before Christmas, the children of Iceland leave a shoe in the window each night. If the children are good, the Lads will leave them a treat, if they’ve been bad, they will leave a raw potato in their shoe. Beats a lump of coal.

Pronunciation guide video:

The lads in order of appearance:

Stekkjastaur also known as Sheep-Cote Clod. He harangues sheep, trying to drink their milk directly from the source. He lost his legs in an accident. Now he clods around using peg-legs. His new legs are stiff, so the sheep seem to be safe. Unless he takes up Yoga.

Giljagaur a.k.a. Gully Gawk. Like his brother, he has a milk fixation. He hides in gullies, watching for the moment he can steal milk from the cow shed.

Stúfur a.k.a. Stubby is the shortest of his family. Did I mention he has 71 or more siblings? His mom, must be very busy on Mother’s Day. Back to Stubby, he swipes pans to eat any left over crusties. Move over garbage disposal and dishwasher, Stubby’s in town.

Þvörusleikir a.k.a. Spoon Licker, gets his kicks when he licks a Þvörur. It’s a long-handled wooden spoon used to stir food. He’s pretty much suffering from malnutrition these days.

Askasleikir a.k.a. Bowl Licker. He’s doing better than his brother, Spoon Licker. He hides under beds waiting for bowls of food to be put on the floor. It used to be left overs in an askur, a lidded bowl. I’ll bet nowadays he checks to see which house has the most pets. It chow time.

Hurðaskellir a.k.a. Door Slammer. A Sagittarius, his hobbies include losing his temper and slamming doors while people sleep. Okay, I made that up about being a Sagittarius.

Skyrgámur a.k.a. Skyr Gobbler. Skyr is the Icelandic equivalent to yogurt. This lad is especially enchanted by the current Skyr novelty products showing up on the market these days, including drinkable Skyr. Also a member of the clean plate club and firm believer in stretchy pants.

Bjúgnakrækir a.k.a. Sausage Swiper. This nimble lad hides in rafters waiting for opportunities to steal sausage. In days of yore, homemade sausages were hung from the rafters to smoke. That doesn’t happen anymore. However, with the introduction of the pepperoni pizza, this lad’s waistline expanded into new territory.

Gluggagægir a.k.a. Window Peeper, a voyeur of epic proportions, peeps through windows looking for intriguing toys to steal. Wonder what he thinks of Exploding Kittens?

Gáttaþefur a.k.a. Doorway Sniffer. Uses his unusually large nose better than the Big Bad Wolf. Bakeries beware, this lad will eat you out of business. Casually standing by the door sniffing out the best treats—cake, lacebread, anything he can steal.  Doorway Sniffer runs on Dunkin.

Ketkrókur a.k.a. Meat Hook. In the old days he’d lower his hook down a chimney and pull up a smoking leg of lamb. Now he tries to steal any meat he can find. Where’s the beef?

Kertasníkir a.k.a. Candle Stealer. Before the modern era, candles were made from animal fat, not tallow like today. He would stalk unsuspecting children walking outside in the dark, steal their candles, and gobble them down—the candles not the children. I wonder if he now checks the candle labels for Transfats?

Takk fyrir (thank you) copy and paste for making the Icelandic names in this post possible. Takk fyrir Iceland for having such wonderfully named Lads.

Skál! (Cheers!)

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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Hedda Hopper, Gossip Columnist, Wearer of Hats

Some people are born with fabulous names and then a sidestep of fate takes it a twist further.

The artist formerly known as Furry.

Hedda Hopper. The artist formerly known as Furry.

Elda Furry was born in 1885 in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. She left home for the Big Apple at an early age in hopes of becoming an actress. Her attempts caused Florenz Zeigfeld (Zeigfeld Follies) to call her a “clumsy cow”. Not the recognition she hoped for.

A few years later she joined matinee idol DeWolf Hopper’s theater company. It was a pivotal move. She remained in the chorus and as an understudy until she realized it was not acting. She wanted to act.

She convinced Edgar Selwyn to cast her in the lead role of his play The Country Boy. The show toured for 35 weeks. She was on her way.

Remember what I said about the twist further? In 1913, Elda became the fifth wife of DeWolf Hopper. It’s worth noting the previous four wives were named Ella, Ida, Edna and Nella. Hmmmm. Calling her by the name of a previous wife caused a bit of friction. So Elda Hopper took it upon herself to get some advice on a new name. She paid a numerologist the whopping sum of $10 (in today’s adjusted dollars that’s $244) to give her a new name. The answer: Hedda.

Hedda Hopper was born and two years later so was her son, William DeWolf Hopper, Jr., better known as Paul Drake from Perry Mason. Then she divorced DeWolf because he was in someone else’s hen house.

Hedda appeared in over 120 movies during the next 23 years of her life. When her movie career dimmed, she looked for another avenue for income. In 1937 she hit the jackpot. She embarked on a career doing something she loved—gossip. Her gossip column, named Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood launched in the Los Angeles times on Valentine’s Day in 1938. Over time she garnered somewhere near 30 million readers.

The coin rolled in.

She christened her new Beverly Hills home, “The House That Fear Built”. Over time, she built a rivalry with gossip columnist and former friend, Louella Parsons, for the title of “Queen of Hollywood”. She, like her new name, became the “Hedda” Hollywood Gossip Columnists.

Hopper became know for her love of hats. Even making the cover of Time Magazine sporting one.

Her columns caused quite a stink among the Hollywood elite. She could wipe a career of the map with a swish of her pen.

After she published a blind item (a column listing details, but not names) detailing the Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn relationship, Tracy confronted Hopper at a night club in Hollywood and kicked her in the rump.

It was the skunk Joan Bennett (best know today for playing Elizabeth Collins Stoddard on TV’s Dark Shadows) sent Hopper for Valentine’s Day that takes the cake. Known as the $435 Valentine. $35 for the skunk carrying the note which read, “Won’t you be my Valentine? Nobody else will. I stink and so do you.”

Hopper then wrote a column about the incident where she named the skunk, Joan. She gave the skunk to James Mason and his wife since they made the first bid for the “pet”.

Once English actress, Merle Oberon, asked Hopper why she wrote such horrid things. Hedda patted her on the arm and said with a smile, “Bitchery, dear, sheer bitchery.”

So there you have it folks, fur, sins, and ruffled feathers. Hedda would be proud.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom.





Posted in funny names in movies | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Goodhearted Laughter

Mwa ha ha ha ha. Bwa ha ha ha. Heh heh heh heh heh. Ho ho ho. Tee hee hee. Ha ha ha ha ha. Snort. *Fannie wipes a tear from her eye.*

Greetings funny names fans. In these times of change, sometimes a good belly laugh is required. You’ve heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine.”  Tee hee.

Our next guest believed whole heartedly laughter was the best medicine. Laughter therapist, Dr. Annette Goodheart (1935-2011) started out life an as artist with a paint brush. She reframed her solitary painter’s life and found more benefits in the art of therapy.

She worked in the field of laughter therapy for eight years before she met fabulously named author, Norman Cousins, who wrote the book, Anatomy of an Illness, As Perceived by the Patient, about his healing from a terminal illness through laughter.

The laughter caught on, Goodheart approached the University of California about a workshop on laughter—laughter ensued. Her work spread to other universities who wanted her to conduct workshops for their hospitals, churches, clubs, welfare departments, etc., teaching the healing power of playful laughter.

The Surgeon General’s warning for laughter could read, “Warning, laughter produces chemicals known to the State of California to be cathartic and make you feel better. Other states of mind may follow.” Hee, hee, hee.

Dr. Goodheart’s Cathartic (laughter) Therapy involved four steps according to an article posted on Laughter Online University paraphrased here:

  1. Get in touch with your feelings.
  2. Release those feelings through catharsis (laughter).
  3. Rethink the situation or experience associated with those feelings, because it’s now become possible through the chemical re-balancing of your body to allow you to think more clearly.
  4. Take whatever sensible action is appropriate.

If you want to read the full article click here.

Here is Dr. Goodheart at work.

Your mission today: laugh. Heh, heh, heh.

Life is better when you’re laughing. It’s contagious, spread it around. Bwa ha ha. Snort.

Would someone please pass a tissue?

   *  *  *

Thank you to blogger, Aplscruf, for submitting today’s guest.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

Posted in funny names in art, funny names in science | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments