From Fiste to Bombeck, the Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank

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Imagine if you will, entering the world just before the Great Depression. Arriving in Ohio to a working-class family and starting school a year early because you could. Erma Fiste did just that.

Writing humorous columns in junior high and working her way through college, her English professor, Brother Tom Price, said the three magic words which would ignite her career, “You can write.”

She married Bill Bombeck and moved into a house in a suburban development down the street from a young Phil Donahue. Erma Bombeck spent ten years as a stay-at-home mom before her writing career took off with a column titled “At Wit’s End.” Three weeks after she started her column it became nationally syndicated in 36 newspapers.

Her columns were bundled into a book with the same title. Eventually 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada carried her three weekly columns.

She birthed several best sellers with names like, “The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank,” “Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession,” “Just Wait Until You Have Children of Your Own,” and “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries—What am I Doing in the Pits?”

At the height of her career in the 1980’s she was a twice-weekly guest on Good Morning America and belonged to the American Academy of Humor Columnists. She earned anywhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000,000 per year. How many authors can say that today?

From Fiste to Bombeck, her humor punched us in the funny bone while we exploded with laughter.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom


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Posted in Funny Names in Books, funny names in comedy | 9 Comments

Dave and Arto in the Comment Sections: Let’s Guess!!!

It was fun playing “Is It Dave or Is It Arto” with the FNitN pickings last time. Now we dive–or should I say a Daive?–into the comment sections of yore, to relive some luminous moments when either one or the other of those two guys dropped in to offer their inimitable wit and banter.

Which guy was it? That’s for you to guess! Have at it–or should I say have Artoit.

Answers are below, and HEY, no peeking!

Number 1:

All of these names are exquisite once again! Football never disappoints (unless you’re from Cleveland…or San Diego).

Wikipedia says Mr. St. Brown’s full name is Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown, which I think is about the most majestic name imaginable. It’s got that OED word to start, a kind of private-schoole-douchey kid sounding middle name, the name of the Egyptian ruler that was the bad guy in the Mummy, AND a J that stands for nothing. This is like the perfect name, collected of parts of other great names. He’s got my vote.

Number 2:

Wow, I can’t believe Wonderful Terrific Monds III actually exists! I’ve been a fan of that name for years.

I should also add that I’m so proud that baseball acknowledges and appreciates its funny names. There are so many good ones, and only a fantastic sport would recognize that.

Number 3:

Go Gants! That’s great. Goes to show you there’s joy in typos sometimes.


Guitar interlude for Dave.

Yngwie Malmsteen, “Sun’s Up Top’s Down.”


Number 4:

If only the south had won the war, the krumping trend would have caught on years ago, and would be referred to by its proper name: crumping. Darn Jayhawkers! (Narrowly beats out Redlegs as my favorite derogatory term for Union soldiers).

Number 5:

Clopton Havers : people who have cloptons? Hmmm.

I never knew we had shrink wrap in our bones. I may need to see a shrink to talk about that. Maybe make a rap.

That canal from Oklahome looks like there may be some Haversian crop circles going on. Aliens, aliens everywhere…

Number 6:

Ah, the Diamond! I wonder if he’s much of a golfer. If he shoots off the lane a bit he’ll be a Diamond in the rough.

Rough joke there.

Akeeba, what a name. He should write a song about that. A nice ballad, perhaps.

Number 7:

King Ding Ding! I gotta start using that one.

1) Arto, commenting on Mark’s “6th Annual Poll: Funniest Names In The 2018 NFL Draft”
2) Dave, commenting on Mark’s “Wonderful Terrific Monds III and Moniker Madness”
3) Arto responding in the comments of his own “Guppy Troup”
4) Dave, commenting on Arto’s “Pleasant Riggs Crump”
5) Arto, commenting on Dave’s “Clopton Havers, Bone Master
6) Arto again, commenting on Mark Bialczak’s “Without Akeeba and Rose, We Wouldn’t Have Neil Leslie Diamond’s Touching Story
7) Arto yet again, commenting on Rob’s “Rave for Dave, Fri-Dayve Edition

Speaking of Dave Raves, please visit Dave’s GoFundMe at the link below, and help out the Boss!

Posted in humor, humour | Tagged | 5 Comments

Ferris Wheel In The Sky Keeps On Turning

Ready yourselves because today’s funny/interesting/curious name isn’t chock full of vowels or silly sounds or alliteration. ‘Tis true. But it will honor today’s birthday boy (no, not John Travolta), the guy on the one dollar bill. So buckle up, because we’re about to go on a wonderfully spherical ride.

The dapper Dan above is George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., an American engineer and inventor, not to be confused with the other famous Ferris–Bueller, the sick-faking high school slacker in the 1986 film. As you can probably surmise, this Ferris is best known for creating the original Ferris Wheel for the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition, aka the World’s Fair, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the New World in 1492. We all know that rhyme, don’t we?

Though he appears to be named after our first president, he was actually the junior to dad, George Washington Gale Ferris, Sr, a minister. The Senior Ferris founded Galesburg, Illinois. And isn’t that odd, considering Gale wasn’t even his last name? Gale is an uncommon male name. Remember Gale Gordon from The Lucy Show eons ago? I can tell you it’s not hitting the Top 100 Baby Names for 2019. But props for getting a city named after himself. Senior also founded Knox College, site of one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. So, in more than one way, he was a founding father. And isn’t that nominative determinism in the best way possible?

Founding cities and colleges like a boss.

GW, Sr per Pinterest

What’s odd is that Junior had a brother 16 years his senior, named Frederick. Usually, it’s the firstborn son that holds the Junior title to the Senior. Nonetheless, he carried the name all his 39 years, in the same manner as did George Washington Carver, another inventor himself. Y’all remember how he promoted alternative crops like peanuts? You might not know he was kidnapped at a week old, though, but that’s a whole nother story.

Now back to Ferris! He proposed an awesome wheel that would “Out-Eiffel Eiffel” for the fair. And while the planners understandably feared his design might spill souls out all over the ground, he engineered and constructed a mighty fine wheel. It held 36 cars, each accommodating up to 60 people, giving a total capacity of 2,160. How is that even possible? When I rode the SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach, it only had 42 “gondolas.” No way it could hold 2000 folks. But this first Ferris Wheel did the unthinkable for 50 cents a person. By the time it was demolished in 1906, it had carried 2.5 million passengers!

And lest you think GW’s no longer walk amonst us, per, there are currently 926 people in the U.S. named George Washington. Have you ever met one?

Sadly, the legit George Washington never had children of his own, serving as stepfather instead. So there are no George Washington, Juniors in that regard. But his image lives on in both currency and silly internet humor.

Well, that’s it for today, folks! Enjoy your President’s Day!



Posted in humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Ro Lady Lala Mara, First Lady of Fiji

Warmest winter greetings to you, BOFN readers! Today’s interesting name offers a plethora o’ vowels, reminiscent of a Hawaiian-themed Bing Crosby Christmas song. Join me as we shine a light Ro Lady Lala Mara, the wife of modern Fiji’s founding father, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. Ratu means Chief, and Ro was the title she was given. Below is Castaway Island in Fiji. Isn’t it lovely?

While her husband was born with the amazing name of Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai Uluilakeba (which contains all the vowels save O), his wife’s name contained all of them except E. I advise some vocal warm-ups before attempting to say it: Litia Cakobau Lalabalavu Katoafutoga Tuisawau. That wouldn’t fit on a drivers license.

It’s a lot to take in. They are equally amazing names, no? However, in this era of #metoo and diversity, one is forced to choose the XX chromosomes to celebrate. And really, Lala Mara sounds like the first syllables a baby speaks. Infant gibberish. Lala Mara, Mama. Can you hear it? No disrespect, of course, to the Ro Lady.

Lala Mara had a reputation of wielding considerable influence on her husband. She was not playing. And she had plenty of time to assert that influence during many years of political power. Her husband served as Chief Minister of Fiji from 1967 to 1970, when Fiji gained its independence from the United Kingdom, then became the first Prime Minister from 1970 to 1992, and finally filled the role of president from 1993 to 2000. She herself was a Fijian chief, often representing Fiji abroad, and was active in the Great Council of Chiefs.

So it should come as no surprise that when a coup d’état deposed her hubs from his presidency, she had his back, pointing fingers at accusers. At the Great Council of Chiefs, she accused these “false prophets” of inciting racial strife and greed. They soon retired to his native island of Lakeba. Theirs was considered a dynastic marriage, as it united two powerful feudal families, and it stood the test of time, lasting 54 years, until Ratu Mara’s death in April of 2004.

During the grieving process, her son-in-law, Ratu Epeli (not to be confused with Epilady) Ganilau, was asked to step down as chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs. This unfortunate turn of events was thought to precipitate her own fatal heart attack, announced just three months after her husband’s passing. A one-year period of mourning ensued. RIP, Litia Cakobau Lalabalavu Katoafutoga Tuisawau.

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Chicken Alaska, Doesn’t that Sound Delicious? Anniversary Edition

Greetings Funny Names Fans! Today I’m celebrating a milestone—six years of contributing to this wonderful blog. So what better way to celebrate than revisiting my first post on the BoFN. Without further ado, take it away Fannie of six yester-years ago.

Chicken, Alaska, not to be confused with Baked Alaska, is a town of no large proportions and a delicious name.

There may be other cities in the US in which Chicken appears in their name, but none so elevated as Chicken, Alaska, located just north of the 64th parallel at 1,621 feet. Sandwiched between the the towns of Eagle and Tok (pronounced Tōk). I’m making no judgement here but the brownies may be delicious. Settled in the late 1800’s by gold seeking miners near the south fork of the 40-Mile River before the Klondike Gold Rush.

With a scarcity of food back then they took up eating the ample Ptarmigan, Alaska’s state bird, which looks something like a chicken. Not to be confused with the Pukeko of New Zealand, which also starts with a “P” and looks something like a chicken but I digress.

In the beginning residents wanted to name the town Ptarmigan but couldn’t agree on the spelling. Nor did they want the name of their fair town to be an embarrassment. So when they incorporated in 1902, they choose the name Chicken. They’ve made the most of it ever since.

Depending on who you ask, there may be between 6 and 37 year round residents. There’s no electricity (except by generator), no phones, no internet (they have a website but it’s managed outside of Chicken) and no central plumbing. I’ve used their public outhouse, the Chicken Poop. In the local vernacular, it’s a “four holer” and you don’t have to cross the road to use it.

Now this is the ultimate in marketing.

Now this is the ultimate in marketing.

The main street boasts The Chicken Post Office, Chicken Liquor Store, Chicken Saloon, Chicken Mercantile Emporium, (where I purchased a copy of Outhouses of Alaska, a must read for any outhouse user), and Chicken Creek Cafe, which I probably should have mentioned before the outhouse. They keep the mascot chickens between the cafe and saloon. However, there was no sign explaining which came first. . .

Some things you just have to see for yourself.

Some things you just have to see for yourself.

The colorful ceiling of the saloon is lined with burned undies and baseball caps. In questioning the bar tender, he demonstrated this feat with a small home made cannon and a fellow traveler’s cap. After stomping on the flaming cap, he attached it to the ceiling. I’m sure they’ve run out of room by now. (Update: They did remove all of the caps and underwear, not sure if they’ve started over again.)

To get the cluck to Chicken try traveling on the gravel paved Turner Highway, pot holes included for your driving pleasure. Then there’s the Chicken Airstrip, if you prefer to travel where Chickens don’t fly. I doubt they call it the Chicken Strip.

There may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there's only two ways to get to Chicken.

There may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there’s only two ways to get to Chicken.

For some fun reading, check out the Chicken Alaska Not So Frequently Asked Questions. It’s a hoot or is that a cluck?

Many thanks to Dave, Rob and Arto for inviting me to join the world of funny name appreciation.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom.

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Please consider donating to our founder, Dave, and his fight against a cancerous brain tumor, all while he goes to medical school to learn to fight the very thing he is battling.

Posted in funny place names, humor | 7 Comments