“My work is destroyed almost as soon as it’s printed. One day it’s being read; the next day someone’s wrapping fish in it.”–Al Capp
Joe Btfsplk was an infamous character in the long running comic strip L’il Abner, by the late cartoonist, Al Capp (1909-1979). Known as “the world’s worst jinx”, Btfsplk walked around with a cloud over his head, 24/7. Poor Joe was generally relegated to a life as a loner, as nobody would get near him due to his penchant for wreaking disaster on anyone and anything who ever got close. His only other claim to fame? His image was briefly licensed for a series of animated TV commercials–by Head and Shoulders!
As hard as his name is to spell, it’s not so difficult to pronounce, once you know the trick. Capp would apparently demonstrate it thusly at his public lectures: he parsed his lips, stuck out his tongue, and blew out air. In other words, a raspberry as this little tyke demonstrates.
Not surprisingly, it was a baseball name Evan P. Rutckyj, that dislodged this bit of decaying ephemera from my rotting neuronal archives. Rutckyj is a Canadian born pitcher buried in the low minors in the New York Yankees farm system. The name is pronounced ROOT-ski. This silent final J is a bit of a letdown. Six consecutive vowels ought to all be pronounced. If he ever makes to the Bronx Bombers, though, he’s sure to get a dose of what that little fella in the video above is dishing out. This in turn, led me to think of other vowel challenged names, including former MLB players Eli Grba and Kent Hrbek. All this led me, further, to the recall of one of the funniest stories ever to appear in The Onion, Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia. Got any favorite vowel challenged names? Or a preferred alternative pronunciation for Rutckyj? Let us know in the comments section. And be sure to avoid Joe Btfsplk.
You can read my own brand of insanity on The Millennium Conjectures. Or you can just pretend you never heard of me.