Baldassare Longhena: Going For Baroque

Without my readers (not YOU GUYS–my specs), the blurry name above suggests bad-a$$ longhorns, the mascot of my alma mater. But using my prescription readers, I can sound it out as it should be. Bal-das-SA-reh. Say it with your fingers pinched together like an Italian (but say “eye-talian” because it’s more fun). Today, we learn about the funny-named Venetian architect, Baldassare Longhena.

Bald bottoms aside, Baldassare is actually Italian for Balthazar. And Longhena certainly wasn’t the first famous Balthazar. Despite the fact that the Gospel of Matthew nowhere names the Magi (or even says there were three), tradition suggests that “we three kings of Orient are” answered to Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. The latter is referred to as the King of Arabia and the one who offered the ever-questionable myrrh, a resin which most of us have lived our lives without. Here he is depicted mid-offer. 

The Adoration of the Three Kings by Girolamo de Santacroce

But wait! Balthazar isn’t just a magi; it’s also a crazy large wine bottle, equivalent to that of 16 ordinary wine bottles.

Thass alotta wine!

But let’s get down to brass tacks. Baldassare Longhena was an Italian architect born at the turn of the 17th century. Now I know what you’re thinking: Mike Brady is the only architect worth posting about. Look at him getting his blueprint on.

And maybe you’re thinking, “What could compare to the beauty and complexity of his Shop N Go?”

I don’t know. Maybe the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute?

wikipedia

Impressive, no? The Longhena-designed basilica began construction in 1631 as a way of saying thank you to the Virgin Mary (the one whose son received myrrh from the other Balthazar) for delivering Venice from the clutches of the plague (aka the Black Death). Beginning in the summer of 1630, the plague made its way through the city, wiping out nearly a third of the population within a year. The Republic of Venice decided to erect and dedicate the elegant domed church as a votive offering for deliverance and to gain protection from the Virgin.

As a master of Baroque architecture, Longhena combined the extravagant and the ornate. And he did not stop with just one church. Nay, he designed the Chiesa dell’Ospedaletto and Santa Maria di Nazareth, as well as the Chioggia Cathedral. Between 1641 and 1680, he designed a new library, the grand staircase, the monastery facade, the novitiate (where the novices lived), the infirmary, and the guest quarters of the San Giorgio Maggiore monastery, shown below.

If you’d like to visit, you can book a room there. Upon the advice of http://www.theguardian.com,

“As you leave Santa Lucia station, take vaporetto number 2 down the Grand Canal to San Giorgio. On arrival, you ring a buzzer, marked Monaci Benedittine (Benedictine monks), on the heavy door to the right of the white church. There’s no checking in; you will simply be led up some worn stone steps to your quiet room.” Plus, they serve croissants at breakfast!

Though Longhena passed in 1682, his legacy remains in the arches and domes of the beautiful Venice skyline. Long live Longhena!

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Oy Vey, Van Der Oye

Hola and bienvenidos, readers of this funny-named blog. We shall not let you down with today’s multisyllabic offering. While logic and reasoning would lead me to call this bearded paleskin a Netherlander, as he springs from Voorst, Gelderland, Netherlands, I must use the more accurate term of Dutch.

wikipedia

Today we celebrate the Dutch politician, Willem Anne Assueer Jacob Schimmelpenninck van der Oye. For most of us, the only Willem with which we are familiar is actor Willem Dafoe, not to be confused with Willem DaFriend. While this is completely irrelevant, I do feel I must share with you the name of Dafoe’s spouse, Giada Colagrande, before we proceed on the Dutch front, simply because this blog demands it. It brings to mind an image of Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis holding a Super Big Gulp of Coke. While Giada would not be caught dead in a 7-11, she also evidently does not drink soda either. Only wine. Cheers to that!

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Enough already with the décolletage-baring Italian; back to the Dutchman. A Dutchman who was born a man and identified as a man. So why was his middle name Anne? Ik weet het niet. Who can say? As if that weren’t unfortunate enough, his second middle name was Assueer. As you can imagine, it’s quite uncommon for obvious reasons. Jacob we’ve got covered. And then we move on to that huge chunk of surname, Schimmelpenninck van der Oye.

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But don’t cry for Willem, Argentina. I doubt he was ever mocked. As the son of a conservative minister and governor, he was born into nobility. Per Forebears, the surname means white horse penny (not to be confused with White Horse, Pennslyvania). More like white horse dollah dollah bill, y’all.

So anyway, WAAJSVDO was admitted to the Hogeschool Utrecht from 1852 to 1858, where he studied law. Here’s an image of the modern day Hogeschool Utrecht. Isn’t it fun? It looks like smooshed up Legos.

By Ted van de Weteringe from Utrecht, Netherlands

With degree in hand, he moved to The Hague (a city) to work in law from 1858 till 1862. During the late 60s, he ran for the senate as second candidate, but was beaten by the liberals.

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But don’t worry; he was neither jobless nor homeless. He lived in his ancestral home with wife Jacoba Christina van Pallandt, whom he married in 1870. While he fathered no children, he was made a knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion in July of 1874. So that’s something. From 1876 to 1877, he served as a member of the senate of the Netherlands, representing the province of Gelderland. From 1879 to 1880, he was a member of the States-Provincial of Gelderland. Then he went back to the senate of the Netherlands again from 1880 to 1889. During his last year in the senate, he got to be president. Woot!

As if that weren’t enough, he was made an honorary chamberlain of King William III of the Netherlands from 1868 till his death. While his cause of death was not recorded, we do know that he passed on a Saturday. And like John Ritter and Michael Landon, he gave up the ghost at age 54. Life expectancy, at best, was 44 at the time, so good for him! And thank you for visiting The Blog Of Funny Names!

 

 

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John Hinerwadel and Syracuse Salt Potato Revisited

Welcome back funny names fans! Summer has just bloomed in full and I thought a summer classic post would be in order. And to tell on myself, I had to get a deadline extension for my dementia home care book because I couldn’t juggle all my hot potatoes. So without further ado . . .

Today’s post is brought to you by the words eponymous and synonymous. And not just because they sound good together.

A little history first. The majority of the salt used in the United States before the 19th century came from Syracuse, New York—dubbed “the Salt City.”

Between 1845 and 1852, during the Irish Potato Famine, an estimated one million Irish died from famine. One million more emigrated from Ireland to other parts of the world. Many of them passed through New York looking for work.

If you were a miner arriving in New York where’s the closest place you’d look for work?

Which leads us to an enterprising restauranteur, John Hinerwadel, owner of the eponymous Syracuse clambake company. He noticed the local Irish salt workers boiling their lunch—potatoes with skins on—in large vats of salt water.

In 1914, Mr. Hinerwadel added salt potatoes to his menu. With their rapid rise in popularity, Mr. Hinerwadel sold salt potato kits, which included five pounds of small white potatoes and 12 ounces of salt, so the DIY’ers could make ‘em at home.

The bags of potatoes with the red and yellow sun are still sold in Syracuse today. Sorry folks they’re not available for sale online.

The Hinerwadel family has sold millions of bags of salt potatoes, and unlike McDonalds’ they’re still counting. Making Hinerwadel’s Famous Original Salt Potatoes synonymous with Syracuse.

A link to Hinerwadels website. Because there are no images of Mr. Hinerwadel online.

A link to Hinerwadel’s website. Because there are no images of the esteemed Mr. Hinerwadel available.

Speaking of Syracuse and Hinerwadel’s, let’s turn it over to our own BoFN’s Syracuse man-on-the-street reporter, Mark Bialczak.

Mark: “Having moved to Syracuse in 1983, I soon was introduced to the teeny-tiny potato dusted with salt and doused in melted butter. Genius! I’ve never figured out how they get the potatoes to stop growing at such a tender young age, but who am I to quibble. As far as I was concerned they were a poor man’s lobster tail. I’m known to dip the rest of the picnic in the drawn butter, as well. Burger … perfect for the corn on the cob, you know?

Not only that, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a number of clambakes at Hinerwadel’s, the joint run by the family. Their food spreads are legendary. Barbecued meats, fixin’s, clams, shrimp, salt potatoes, salt potatoes, salt potatoes, beer, beer, beer. Ahhhhhhhh. Some company or charity is throwing a clambake there every weekend day from May to September.”

Thank you, Mark!

Well folks, you heard it here first.

If I’m ever in central New York, I’ll visit Hinerwadel’s. I’m positive when I finish eating, my hiner will waddle. Mmmmmm.

Tracy — Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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Klippity Klopp-Klopp

Happy almost summer, fellow bloggers! Today’s funny-named fella may look familiar. If older George McFly and the actor who played him in BTTF, Crispin Glover (himself oddly-named), had a baby, it would be Jurgen Klopp. See what I mean?

Spitting.

Image.

So who is Jurgen Klopp? Well, since he’s German, folks over there pronounce it Yurgen. He’s a former “football” player who now manages club Liverpool in the Premier League. Of course, it’s not really football as we know it; it’s soccer. But y’all know how they do over there. I suppose if he resides in Liverpool, he’s a bonafide Liverpudlian (so fun to say, while bringing to mind images of puddle-hopping and rainy UK days). But did you know they’re also called “Scousers,” a reference to “scouse” or stew? Who cares about Jurgen when I can show you pics of scouse? Mmm!

Doesn’t that look filling? There’s even a Global Scouse Day each year on February 28th, with over 150 Liverpool restaurants dishing it out. I bet Jurgen has had his fair share of scouse. Y’all, I can’t stop thinking of Jergen’s lotion as I type this post. I mean…

Focus, Kerbey, focus! Okay, so sporty Jurgen’s father, Norbert, a former goalkeeper, introduced his son to soccer as a lad. Per The Guardian, the younger Klopp revealed, “When they were handing out our A-Level certificates, my headmaster said to me, ‘I hope it works out with football, otherwise it’s not looking too good for you.'” Alas and alack! That’s not nice. But it did, in fact, look good for him.

After both amateur and professional careers kicking a ball around for money, he decided he’d rather boss the players around than be one: “I had fourth-division feet and a first-division head.” Nice work if you can get it. However, Klopp failed to mind his manners and said mean words to the ref during a March 2014 Bundesliga match against Borussia Mönchengladbach (you’re not even gonna try to pronounce that one) and wound up paying a fine of €10,000 (approximately $11,205 and considerably more than I made last year). Aren’t you glad you don’t get fined for saying mean words?

And I’m certainly not being mean when I bring your attention to our man of honor’s surname, Klopp, meaning clapper or hammer. It reminds me of the sounds of Budweiser horse hooves hitting an icy winter’s pavement. Klopp, klopp, klopp. Mmm, beer.

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Evidently, Klopp likes beer as well because he met his current wife, Ulla Sandrock (not to be confused with Sandra Bullock) at an Oktoberfest pub. Prost!

As a professional manager, Klopp is a proponent of gegenpressing, a tactic in which a soccer team, after losing possession of the ball, immediately tries to win back possession, rather than falling back to regroup. I don’t care a farthing about any of that jazz, but I do like the word gegenpressing. The Germans really have the monopoly on fun phrases. Most of us know about schadenfreude, finding joy in another person’s pain, but do you know of kummerspeck?

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Or what about your inner pig-dog, the voice in your head that tells you to sit on the couch and watch “American Ninja Warrior” instead of actually doing push-ups? Your pig-dog tells you to hit the snooze button, to order another pint at the pub. Your inner pig-dog is your weaker self, but mercy, it’s cute as a button.

chatterbug

Well, we can safely assume that Jurgen Klopp has been rebuking his inner pig-dog. Not only does he manage his team, but he also gets that bread by doing endorsements. Heard of the banking group Volksbanken-Raiffeisenbanken? Me neither. Man, do Germans love to end their words with N’s. Am I right or Amarillo?

He has also shared his famous face in German anti-racism campaigns (which is a good direction for Germany), whose slogan is “Respekt! Kein Platz für Rassismus” (“Respect! No room for racism”). I think we can all agree on that.

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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce

Ambrose Bierce, a man of mystery, controversy, and wearer of a fabulous mustache.

Some names simply scream nominative determinism. Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce has such a name. A descendant of the Mayflower through his mother, Laura Sherwood Bierce. With a dad named Marcus Aurelius Bierce, you just know things are going to happen. Ambrose was the tenth of thirteen children. All of their names started with the letter A. We know what vowel his dad would have purchased if he’d been a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune.

Back to Ambrose. He left home at the age of 15 to become a printer’s devil. A fancy name for performing all the menial tasks of printing a newspaper. Three years later he enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer boy in the American Civil War. Over the next four years he rose through the ranks to brevet major. Twice wounded, he fought at the Battle of Shiloh. The terror of that experience became the material of several of his short stories and a memoir.

His short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is credited as one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature. I have a short story anthology on my bookshelf. I checked, it’s in there. Bierce realistically wrote about the awful things he witnessed during the war. He also perfected the twist ending.

During his lifetime he was better known as one of the most influential journalist in the U.S. He worked for William Randolph Hearst. Created controversy. Cost Hearst his run for the U.S. Presidency, but Bierce was never fired for his writings.

But it is his foray into fiction for which he was accorded the moniker of the pioneer of the psychological horror story. His stories are ranked alongside H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. His war stories influenced Ernest Hemingway and Stephen Crane among others. His poetry is even making a comeback.

But it was his disappearance in 1914 at the age of 71 which flummoxed historians. Some say he traveled to Mexico and followed the exploits of Poncho Villa, where he was allegedly executed in a graveyard in Chihauhau, Mexico. Others declare that he couldn’t have gone to Mexico because of his outspoken views against Villa. Still others guess he passed by his own hand.

The last line of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, “Payton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek Bridge.” Perhaps it was his love of twist endings.

Whatever the truth, Bierce was never seen again, but his legacy continues.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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