Funny Names in the News 118, and Remembering Merle Haggard

Good morning y’all!

It’s Dave here, rising early to make a triumphant, stumbling, bumbling, fumbling (wow, there are so many good words that end with -umbling) return for a star-studded edition of

Funny Names in the News 

Susannah Mushatt Jones, on her 113th birthday, looking cooler than I've ever looked. Ever.

Susannah Mushatt Jones, on her 113th birthday, looking cooler than I’ve ever looked. Ever.

now in its 118th edition, which makes it older (kind of) than the world’s oldest person, who is none other than Ms. Susannah Mushatt Jones, of Brooklyn by way of Alabama. At 116 (going on 117) is now the last remaining person who was verifiably born in the 1800’s.

She owes her longevity to the fact that she’s never partied, smoked, worn makeup, or dyed her hair. That and for breakfast she always eats bacon, scrambled eggs, and grits – and eats bacon throughout the day. Sounds grand to me.

I’ve decided to become a temporary teetotaler (funny word for non-drinker) until finishing an important test in May, and I’d be glad to keep it up if that means 89 more years and a chance to eat bacon all the time. Mmmm…. bacon.

So today I woke up at 5:30 am, for idiopathic reasons. Idiopathic – that’s the fancy medical word for “an illness we don’t know the meaning of.” Or as an old doc once told me: it comes from the Latin – pathologia for disease, and idio for “the doctor’s an idiot and can’t figure out where the disease came from.” But I’ll take it – a chance to do 100 jumps with my newfangled weighted jump rope before the sun comes up. I’m sure weighted jump ropes are actually pretty old-fangled, but they’re newfangled to me! It has a 1lb weight in each of the handles, and whew… that makes a difference.

Nonito Donaire, at 30, looking younger and cooler than I've looked...ever...

Nonito Donaire, at 30, looking younger and cooler than I’ve looked…ever…

What was I here for? Oh yeah, to tell y’all about the fact that BoFN favorite and all-around nice guy Nonito Donaire has the rare chance to be the less funny-named guy in the ring when he faces off against Zsolt Bedak in Cebu CityPhilippines two weeks from now.

The last time that happened to Nonito was probably when he faced off with the curiously Spanishy-Frenchly named (and all-around cool pants guy) Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba, who in 2013 handed Donaire his first loss in twelve years, and still remains undefeated.

Guillermo Rigondeaux, wearing Captain America-ish pants... which I would do to if I defected from Cuba to become a pro boxer in America! Defecting from Cuba... is that even a thing anymore?

Guillermo Rigondeaux, wearing Captain America-ish pants… which I would do to if I defected from Cuba to become a pro boxer in America! Defecting from Cuba… is that even a thing anymore?

Rigondeaux also happens to be a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, as well as being a top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Another example of the Kermit Can Kill Conjecture…. maybe so.

In thrilling pathology news (and not idiopathic because we know what causes it), I recently learned of a Sister Mary Joseph Nodulewhich is by far the best nodule name I’ve encountered. It’s a palpable nodule bulging into the umbilicus, due to metastasis from a pelvic or abdominal cancer. No photos of that one, sadly.

 

And finally, in some “fond memories” news, we are sad to announce the death of Merle Haggard on Wednesday, on his 79th birthday. Merle Ronald Haggard is one of those funny names like Elvis Presley or Laurence Fishburne that flies under the radar because you’ve heard it so much, but is a truly fantastic name.

Merle was also a fantastic guy, and leaves us with many timeless classics. Merle was the kind of guy who liked “holdin’ hands, and pitchin’ woo” (from Okie from Muskogee, and wow… Muskogee, Oklahoma is a superb place name), and for a guy from California (born and raised in the Bakersfield area) he sang about the heartland of America as well as anyone. Let’s end this with a favorite Merle lyric, and a favorite anecdote.

I read about some squirrely guy,
Who claims, he just don’t believe in fightin’.
An’ I wonder just how long,
The rest of us can count on bein’ free.
They love our milk an’ honey,
But they preach about some other way of livin’.
When they’re runnin’ down my country, hoss,
They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me. – Merle Haggard, “The Fightin’ Side of Me”

and the anecdote: Johnny Cash and Merle were performing together one night, and Johnny mentioned his show at San Quentin prison in 1958. Merle said “That was a great show.”

Johnny replied “I don’t remember you being in my band that night, Merle.”

Merle – always a hard-living kinda guy – replied “I was in the audience.”

And it was true. 20-year-old inmate  Merle Haggard heard Johnny play at San Quentin, and credits that concert for setting him on the path toward playing country music, and becoming a country legend.

Thank you, Merle Ronald Haggard, for all the memories, and reminding us what it’s like to bleed red, white and blue.

Thanks, Merle

Thanks, Merle

Susannah Mushatt Jones has shown us how to add years to our lives (no smoking, partying, makeup or hair dye, plus bacon, eggs, grits, and more bacon), and Merle continues to show us how to add life to our years. Happy Friday, folks! This boy’s got Ramblin’ Fever! (the kind that can’t be measured by degrees).

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About Dave

Based out of San Diego, California. Co-founder of the Blog of Funny Names. funnynamesblog.wordpress.com
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36 Responses to Funny Names in the News 118, and Remembering Merle Haggard

  1. markbialczak says:

    Oh, yes, King Dave, I also bow today in memory of Mr. Merle Haggard, a true American original. And so I offer our BoFN readers this one, delivered in the 1970s by a fun little band by the name of Pure Prairie League.

    • Dave says:

      This is reminding me how much I’ve missed country music. I had such a country phase (and kind of got Arto into it) back in 2009-2011 – particularly Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson. I think I’m starting another one, and I like this Pure Prairie League song a lot!

      • Dave says:

        Oh, and Conway Twitty! He got his stage name from a freeway sign, pointing toward Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas.

        … and Ernest Tubb, especially his duets with Loretta.

      • markbialczak says:

        Good job, liking all sorts of music, Dave. I listen to rock, pop, country, jazz, blues. There’s great sounds everywhere. Hey, one note about Pure Prairie League, if you investigate further. It’s the band in which Vince Gill got his start, for a couple of years, though after the band’s more popular songs, including bar-room sing-along cult classic “Aimee,” which featured the voice of Craig Fuller.

        • Dave says:

          Sounds like I’ll have to dig up some more Vince Gill, and a bit of Pure Prairie League too…in fact, listening to Amie right now.

        • Dave says:

          Wow…. I agree with you about the bar-room-sing-along nature of it. Still gonna be hard to surpass “Piano Man” as a karaoke song of choice (or “Lovely Day”… which Arto and I have sung together on stage in front of drunk people. Obviously we were totally sober at the time 🙂

          • markbialczak says:

            Piano Man is a tough karaoke sing for me, Dave. It’s too dang long! Same with my favorite Springsteen songs. My go-to is “Mack the Knife.” In front of drunk people, hell, yes. Not sober if I can help it, either. 🙂

        • wdydfae says:

          Great song, Markmeister! Some of my less dreadful karaoke routines are “Born to Be Wild,” “Rawhide,” “Alison” (Elvis Costello), “Purple Rain,” “My Way,” “The Girl from Ipanema.” I got through Eminem’s “Stan” and “My Name is Slim Shady” but choked on “Lose Yourself” and “Without Me.” One way to appreciate Eminem’s talent is to try to do one of his numbers on karaoke.

          • markbialczak says:

            You have some karaoke range, Diddy! I stick to singing on our cruises or vacations. I did not want to be the music writer for the big daily singing in his hometown, the critic open for criticism for his voice, if you know what I mean. Now I guess it wouldn’t matter! My last time out, they did not have the song I wanted, “Bring It on Home,” by Sam Cooke. So I grabbed the mike anyway, went to the stage, and sang the first verse a capella. (That’s all I could remember without screen prompts, couple beers and all.) I jammed the mike back into the stand and soaked up the applause for my bravery. 🙂

          • wdydfae says:

            Bravo from me too!

            If you heard me singing those ditties you might be more reserved in your praise. But I can do the gravelly voice with “get yer motor runnin’ . . .”

          • markbialczak says:

            I bet you were born to be wild, Diddy, you true nature’s child, you.

          • markbialczak says:

            And you have great taste and range, my friend!

    • wdydfae says:

      Man, who’s that steel guitar player? Boss.

  2. Rob says:

    Yeah Merle! And Susannah! Susannah rules. Fortunately she’s just a tad too young to remember that historically horrendous turn of the century Cleveland Spiders team. Because she totally seems like a baseball fan. At least if they’re serving bacon at the ballpark.

    And a big hand to Dave for skipping rope and writing blog posts! I am too lazy to do either.

    • Dave says:

      Thanks bro! And I love your priorities – a lady is 116 and you wonder if she remembers the horrific Cleveland Spiders team. This is why we’re family!

  3. kerbey says:

    Great post full of facts. Now as far as no make-up and no drinking and no hair dying? Guess I’ll be lucky to make it to 50, if that’s the key to longevity. I’ve dyed my hair nearly every month since 1987. It looks like her aide/great-great grandchild is trying to pat her down, but I guess by 117, her actual boobs would be in her lap, so no harm/no foul.

    I did actually see Merle in concert in the 90s but I hardly remember one thing about it. Isn’t that terrible? Maybe some idiopathic reason. I know it was at Stubb’s BBQ and it was hard to see the stage around a dang tree. BTW, in the 80s, there were always these Merle Norman make-up ads in magazines, and I couldn’t figure out how both a cosmetics developer and a gritty country singer could share the same name.

    As far as Guillermo Rigondeaux, I guess the half-Cuban in me has to like that name. In fact my maiden Cuban name sounded French itself, so that must be a thing. My grandparents left on a Pan-Am flight wearing hats and gloves, but I think the only defecting done now is done on rafts in shark-infested waters. Surely with policy change and hopefully the death of Castro, the people will be free to leave the island and come box and play baseball here all they like. We had a relative who visited and was amazed that we had an entire AISLE of cereal from which to choose. That’s the American way–red, white, and blue. Right, Merle?

    • Dave says:

      Haha, no harm no foul indeed. Thanks for making me not the only person to have that thought!

      I am only a little bit miffed that you got to see Merle at a place called Stubb’s BBQ and don’t remember it. Seems like the kind of event that would make my week. Or my life. Yeah, it’d definitely make my life. Merle is awesome! I know nothing of this Merle Norman thing, so luckily to me, Merle means only one thing.

      Yes, I think Cuban defecting just won’t be the cool thing to do anymore. Hopefully we can welcome some of their talented amateurs with open arms and bulk up our Olympic team. The women are strong this year, but the men haven’t been quite as promising since 2004, when Andre Ward won the gold. He was also in the movie Creed.

      Merle agrees wholeheartedly. I just know it. There’s a part of Merle in all of us. Or at least in all of the cool people…

    • wdydfae says:

      “It looks like her aide/great-great grandchild is trying to pat her down, but I guess by 117, her actual boobs would be in her lap, so no harm/no foul.”

      You do sure know how to drop those striking visuals on us, Kerb. Can. Not. Unsee.

      But I did not visualize a Cuban history! That’s kind of cool! I was thinking you were like one of those babes on Hee Haw.

      • wdydfae says:

        Or actually more like Dukes of Hazzard.

        • kerbey says:

          But Daisy always wore panty hose with her Daisy Duke shorts. Always gave such an odd sheen to her long legs.

          • Dave says:

            You know, I had to Google Daisy Duke bc the sad thing about my generation is that Jessica Simpson is our enduring image of Daisy Duke. But Catherine Bach did it so much better, and looking at those pics gave me a sense of nostalgia and longing for yesteryear. OK, I’ll definitely be watching some Dukes of Hazzard next month.

          • kerbey says:

            LOL When I was in 4th grade, I have a memory of taking a picture of my poster of the Duke boys with their General Lee (the car) and took that pic to school to show people I had met them. #SadAndPossiblyTrue

      • kerbey says:

        Oh, I would like to be like one of those Hee Haw babes!

        • Dave says:

          I had to look up Hee Haw, but darn-tootin’ that looks like a heck of a time! Why can’t trivia like that show up on board exams? That should matter, right? Being able to bond with patients over classic TV programs? If I could connect with people over Hee Haw, then surely they’d be more willing to share important info with me that would help in diagnosis, right?

          Oh well… a man can dream. And can also appreciate learning the phrase “corn pone humor” via a Wikipedia article today.

          • kerbey says:

            It was a pretty corny show. Edu-macated folks didn’t watch it much. I remember Roy Clark could pick a banjo, though. And he’d tell lame jokes w/ Buck Owens, who sang “Tiger By The Tail.” Buck’s from Cali, I know that. The Bakersfield sound.

          • Dave says:

            I really need to watch some episodes like that. I hope Arto’s here and paying attention, and we can watch some of that ol’ Country TV once I move into my new place after Step 1!

          • wdydfae says:

            I still remember some Hee Haw jokes.

            “Doctor, can you cure my itch by Saturday?”

            “Well, I aint makin’ no rash promises.”

            Plinka strum!

    • In our small town, we till have a Merle Norman salon. So the fact you tied Merle Haggard and Merle Norman “hit home” for me.

      As to the boxing match itself, no matter who wins funny names enthusiast win by a knock out. 🙂

  4. ksbeth says:

    yes, goodbye to merle. i love his johnny cash story. and i think it is a prerequisite to getting into the ring, to have a unique name. maybe that’s why they fight, to defend their names.

  5. wdydfae says:


    “. . . Dave is ready not only to rumble but to grumble and mumble as he steps into the ring and delivers a knockout FNitN . . .”
    “. . . Dave is anything but haggard as he ranges over everything from supercentenarians, to bantamweight champs, to palpable metastatic nodules, to our late lamented Nashville icon . . .”
    “. . . Dave overcomes chronic fatigue and surprise idiopathic set-backs to pay tribute to a dear departed country music legend . . .”

  6. Great FNitN Dave. Good luck with the weighted ropes. Perhaps it will keep you from a rope-a-dope.

  7. Pingback: Longevity, Romance, and Boaty McBoatface in Funny Names in the News 120 | The Blog of Funny Names

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