5th Annual Poll: Funniest Names In The 2017 NFL Draft

“They certainly give very strange names to diseases.”–Plato

These guys are all destined for something. Bacon, maybe?

Obviously, they didn’t have football in Plato’s day.  Maybe they had a funniest name in the ancient Olympics contest.  Of course, most of those names look funny to us today.

But why discuss the past when we have the funny names of the present?  It’s that time again–the time to honor (and ridicule) the funniest names in the 2017 NFL draft.  This year provides and interesting mix and a veritable embarrassment of riches–there are so many unusual and even bizarre first names, alone, we could almost conduct a separate poll for that.  Consider:  Praise, Amba, Salamo, Jehu, Cethan, JuJu, Budda, Takkarist, Taco, Cordrea, Tanoh, Phazan,  Amara, Fadol, Torrodney, Psalm, Pita and on and on and on.   Yes, there’s a Taco and a Pita.  I’m Hungry already.

As for last names, there are several that can only be described as a threat to your oral health if you try to pronounce them.  To simplify things–if that is even possible–I’ve also gone for alliteration, mellifluousness or straight out style points in choosing the finalists.  But write in votes are allowed and encouranged.  Jaquiski Tartt won on a write-in two years ago.  It was that double “t” that did it.   As per tradition, I’ll also tell what I think the name sounds like, if it didn’t belong to a football player.

Jake Butt, TE, Michigan–Talk about nominative determinism: a tight end named Butt.  Maybe you can make this stuff up; I sure can’t.  He was headed towards a first round selection until he tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl.  That’s OK, his butt is still intact.  He’ll probably go in the third round or so.  What I think his name sounds like: a longshoreman.

Cordrea Tankersly, CB, Clemson–Tankersly certainly scores low on the nominative determinism scale.   With a name like that, he should have been an offensive tackle.  That’s OK, he makes up for it by having one of the more mellifluous names in this year’s draft.  It kind of rolls off the tongue.  Hopefully the wide receivers won’t roll off his coverage.  What I think his name sounds like: a guy doing 7-10 years at Leavenworth.  

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan–OK, so Taco is obviously a nickname.  His real name is Vidaunte, which is unusual but not nearly as poetic. Using a nickname certainly didn’t stop Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix from winning our 2014 poll.  So let’s go with Taco.  What I think his name sounds like: a cartoon spokesperson for the South of The Border restaurant chain.

Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova–You might have to visit your dentist if you try to pronounce this guy’s name.   As he is 6’7″ 290lbs., you’ll be lucky if you have any teeth left if you piss him off.  According to the NFL draft pronunciation guide it’s  taw-no  pass-N-yo. No nominative determinism here.  With that pronunciation, he should either be a quarterback or an Indy car driver.   What I think his name sounds like:  somebody I’d be better off staying away from.

A non-football future for Cooper Kupp?

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington–Proving that players from smaller schools can also hit the big time, in football and in funny names.  He also wins the nod for the best alliterative name this year.   What I think his name sounds like: a Texas ranger (the lawmen, not the baseball team).

Praise Martin-Oguike, LB, Temple–He’s is a long shot to get picked in the draft; it’s  more likely he’ll be signed as an undrafted free agent.  But I always like to include at least on double-barreled surname each year, and his is the best of the current crop.  And as for Praise , it has to be the most narcissistic moniker for an athlete since minor league baseball player Wonderful Terrific Monds.  What I think his name sounds like: a Baptist minister.

Honorable mention goes to all of the following–and you can write in any of them:  Budda Baker, Channing Stribling, Tau Lotulelai (Star’s brother), Leo Koloamanangi, Phazahn Odom, Obi Melinfanwu, Amba Etta-Tawo,  JuJu Schuster-Smith, Takkarist McKinley, Pita Taumoepenu and just about anyone and anything else you can spell or attempt to pronounce.  Vote as often as you like.  The polls close at noon EDT, Monday, May 1.

UPDATE, 8:51 AM,EDT, Friday, April 28. 

Upon discovery that the O.J. in O.J. Howard (Alabama, TE) stands for O’Terrius Jabari, a late write-in campaign has been launched.  Just use OJ Howard in the write-in blank, lest your fingers cramp from typing the whole name.  What I think the name sounds like?  How about and Irish wookie in Star Wars XIV? Suggestions?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Biz Stone, Behind Twitter and More

Greetings Funny Names Fans. It time to get to business with this week’s post.

People who through stones shouldn’t live in a glass house, but a person named Biz Stone should work in high tech.

Biz Stone.
Photo courtesy of Juan Fernandez

You might not recognize him by his humble given name, Christopher Isaac Stone, but he is the co-founder and the patent holder of Twitter.

His parents brought him into this world in the year 1974 and by 1999 he created his first startup, Xanga.

Biz attended, but did not graduate from, Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts. I would say he was following the educational path of Bill Gates and we’re happy he did.

He went on to become a member of the Google Blogger team from 2003 to 2005. But that was not enough to keep Biz busy.

Besides Twitter, he helped co-found Obvious, Medium, and Jelly—which was acquired by Pinterest earlier this year.

But that’s just not enough for this man, he is also an angel investor and advisor in the startup community having backed companies like Square and Pinterest.

But he didn’t let that stop him from making his directorial debut working on a project along with Ron Howard and Cannon USA in the making of a short film called, “Evermore”.

So far Biz published three books, and multiple articles and op-ed pieces for Medium as well as print publications like The Atlantic and The Times of London.

He and his wife, Livia, founded and operate the Biz and Livia Stone Foundation. It supports conservation and education in the state of California.

I would definitely say, Biz Stone has been quite busy.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom






Posted in Funny names in blogging | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Benay Venuta Needs No Latuda

Happy springtime, dear readers, and welcome back to the Blog of Funny Names! The glammed-up starlet in the 1930s Jean Harlowesque pose above is none other than Benay Venuta, our funny focus for the day. Thankfully, she was not “bland” like the recipient of this hairfingering headshot. Au contraire!

Born in San Francisco on January 27, 1911, little Benvenuta Rose Crooke grew up in California. We can assume her Swiss-Italian mother gave her the name Benvenuta, as benvenuto means “welcome” in Italian. Personally, it’s not so odd, as my great-grandfather was named Bienvenido (“welcome” in Spanish). Evidently, babies are welcome entities.

Venuta graduated from Hollywood High School and attended finishing school in Geneva. There she studied long enough to learn both French and Italian but subsequently dropped out (thereby not finishing Finishing School) and moved to London to work as a dancer. She returned to the States in 1928, continuing to pursue show business, and made her stage debut in The Big Parade.

“My father was dead, and I had to go to work,” she said in a 1935 interview. “You know the rest — nightclubs, radio, hoofing…”

Venuta explained how she changed her first name to enter show business (who can blame her for not wanting to go through life as Miss Crooke?) She “just added an ‘ay’ to Ben and the rest I guess you can figure.”

Benvenuta became Benay Venuta.

Her big break happened when she replaced the Big Vibrato, Ethel Merman, in Cole Porter’s hit Anything Goes in 1935. She not only gained great success, but a lifelong friend in Merman. Venuta followed up with equally flashy roles in more Broadway musicals through the next three decades, as well as roles in several B movies of the 40s and 50s, including Call Me Mister (1951) in which she joined stars Betty Grable and Danny Thomas in the song “Love Is Back in Business.”

In 1958, Venuta was cast as private eye Bertha Cool in a television pilot for a series to be called Cool and Lam, but it was not picked up. In 1966, she performed in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun with pal Merman at Lincoln Center. In the 80s, she played Jean Smart’s mother-in-law Ellen Stillfield in the sitcom Designing Women.

Married and divorced three times, Venuta’s othere creative outlets included painting and sculptures. During the 1970’s, her Plexiglas sculptures were sold at Bonwit Teller in Manhattan for $150 to $1,500.

Suffering from lung cancer, Venuta died at her home in Manhattan on September 1, 1995, at age 84. She will be remembered for her larger than life performances.

jacksonupperco.com (from “That Girl”)

Posted in funny names in movies, humor | Tagged | 9 Comments

To Be Batman or Not to Be

Greetings funny names fans! For those of you who’ve been around for a while, you know I have a penchant for comics and their authors. I spent a wonderful weekend with my better half at the Emerald City Comic Con. Which is where I ran into this fine fellow, who also was one of the event speakers.

Batman and Friend ECCC 2017.png

“I am Batman.”

Or is he?

While doing some research for something else—okay, I was watching the “Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries” and didn’t know the exact location of Melbourne on the Australian continent—I discovered Batman’s pivotal role in the founding of Melbourne; Australia’s movie capital and most populous city.

Meet John Batman, Australian colonialist, born in Paramatta, Australia, (now part of Sydney) in 1801. He earned a controversial place in Australian history.

John Batman.png

John Batman.

Batman moved from Sydney to Tasmania and participated in a program to remove the indigenous population. The British government granted him lands for his successful removal of the aboriginals using aboriginals he knew from the Australian mainland. He could not cultivate the land but it was suitable for cattle grazing.

In hopes of getting more land, he lead an expedition out of Tasmania to the southern part of the colony of Victoria up the Yarra River.

Batman created a treaty with the Kulin peoples, the aboriginals native to central Victoria, for the land. He exchanged blankets, axes, knives, scissors, mirrors, handkerchiefs, flour and six shirts for the property. He named the settlement “Batmania”. To this day the treaty he negotiated is still a matter of historical debate.

The Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke, claimed the treaty invalid and seized Batmania for the crown. He renamed it for the British Prime Minister of the time, William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne. It was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria, a close friend of the Viscount’s.

Batman was diagnosed with syphilis in 1833.

By 1835, Batman amassed more than 7,000 acres and cattle and buildings and a large number of hands to work the property.

Batman built a house in Melbourne in 1836 to house his wife, convict Elizabeth Callaghan (she passed a bad check and was shipped to the penal colony of New South Wales—in lieu of a death sentence—and she wound up in the stocks several times then she met Batman in Tasmania), and their 8 children. His wife left him. He was cared for by local aboriginals until he died.

When he died in 1839 at the age of 38, Mrs. Batman found out he left her £5. She contested the will unsuccessfully.

To be Batman or not to be.

Elizabeth married her husband’s former clerk, William Willoughby, shortly after Batman’s death.

The wife formerly know as Batman died in a bar room brawl 14-years later.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom



Posted in Funny names in History | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Ransom Riggs Author of the Peculiar

A peculiar thing occurred on Monday and derailed my regularly scheduled post. I received a peculiar gift—a Santa hat skewered by a salmon—for Christmas and stuck on the top shelf of the closet. It fell on my head yesterday morning while searching for my winter hat.

Who doesn't wear a salmon skewered hat while making chili?

Who doesn’t wear a salmon skewered hat while making chili?

How could I say no? Today’s post is brought to you by my peculiar Christmas hat.

Meet Ransom Riggs, YA (young adult) author and creator of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Peculiar indeed.

Could you ask for a more fabulous name? Peculiar, I couldn't either.

Could you ask for a more fabulous name? Peculiar, I couldn’t either.

He and his wonderfully named, talented wife, and bestselling YA author, Taherah Mafi, live in Santa Monica, California, and finish each others sentences. There must be something wonderfully peculiar in the air in Santa Monica.

Mr. Riggs started his journey collecting old photographs, taking photographs, making home movies with his friends, and writing stories. Time marched, he honed his pen daily at Mentalfloss.com. Time well spent as it landed him the opportunity to write “The Sherlock Holmes Handbook.”

Fast forward to Tim Burton turning his peculiar book into a wonderfully peculiar movie, which he can tell you about it himself:

My peculiar recommendation for the day, let’s head out with the Bangles and “Walk like an Egyptian”.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

 *  *  *

Photo Credit: Salmon Skewered Hat, Daniel Perkins

Photo Credit: Ransom Riggs, thesupermat






Posted in Funny Author Names | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments