Maru, The Cat, and The Guinness World Record

Greetings Funny Names Fans!

Have you ever noticed that cat videos pervade the internet?

Back in 2015, shortly after Leonard Nimoy passed, my better half and I discovered Maru, the cat, while eating sushi in a restaurant called Sushi Maru. Ah, the magic of smart phones and google combined to introduce us to the meaning of Maru.

Maru, a Scottish Fold—straight ear variety—entertains nearly half a million followers on YouTube. His channel is named Mugumogu, and is the 7th most subscribed YouTube Channel in Japan.

In 2017 he was awarded the Guinness World Record for the Most Watched Animal on YouTube. A record he broke in 2016. Don’t take my word for it, here’s the video, you can watch for yourself.

He is certainly is the emperor of the box, and a swinging cat to boot.

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.

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More Nordic Jazz Percussionists: G

I won’t blame you if you didn’t notice the transformation, but I used to be the BoFNite that believed in “Funny Name Scarcity.”

Yeah, that was me.

Now I’m the guy who plows through piles of funny names like they were haystacks in a madcap Dukes of Hazzard style police chase. This means that King Dave was right when he told me way back,

“Look around you! These names are not really so rare!
They are here! They are there! There are names everywhere!
You see, Diddy, funny names DO grow on trees
And on bushes and twigs and from pods of green peas.”

You called this one, KD.

But I need to make some further adjustments. Between hoarding funny names like the last drops of water in Death Valley, and whitewater rafting through funny name cascades, there must be some happy medium, right? Why not slow down and enjoy the ride?

To that end, our whitewater rafting comes to an end, and henceforth we float down the big, wide, lazy river of Norwegian jazz names. We’re on percussionists now, and this bend of the river gets us through G.

Relax. Kick off them flip flops. Chew that blade of grass. Adjust the the brim of your straw hat. Let your hand dangle in the sworling waters. Ready, set, drift!

Let us contemplate G. We’ve got a respectable showing here, with Håkon Gebhardt (born 1969), Jan Martin Gismervik (1988), and Sverre Gjørvad (1966).

I discovered there’s a severe deficit of musical T’Oobs for Sverre–no videos at all, in fact. I did find some music for Jan Martin, though it’s a little too outside (to use a hep jazz term), even by avant guard Norwegian standards. This is the closest to a danceable set I could get:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKmLeAAfk_8
Gismervik gits down and boogies here with Natali Garner (another “G”!) on vocals and Fredrik Rasten on giitar. Party hardy! Yea!

The next vid features Håkon and associates, and also provides another window into the the no-boundaries stylings of Norwegian jazz.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpeZMEieU9s
“Motorpsycho.” I’m tempted to call it acid jazz, which is actually a thing, though I probably misidentified it here.

The personnel for “Motorpsycho” (Qu’est-ce que c’est!) also confirms King Dave’s conclusions on Funny Name Superfluity (FNS). We got Bent Sæther gettin’ bent on vocals and bass, Hans Magnus Ryan gettin’ some magnuficent action goin’ on the giiitar, our very own Håkon Gebhardt hackin’ away on that drum kit, Baard Slagsvold doin’ some baarda**ed tinklin’ on the keys, Mathias Eick givin’ us a mongo eareik on trumpet and backing vocals, Lars Horntveth holdin’ down the horn section on sax and bass clarinet (with some back vocals thrown in), and Jørgen Munkeby monkeyin’ around on some clarinet and more back vocals.

That rounds it up for “G” except to say, GEE! Maybe it’s time to do some GOOD for Dave and GIVE GENEROUSLY, GUYS!!!!

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Celebrity Birthdays on July 24th, A Short List

Welcome back funny names fans. After last week’s Norwegian Drummers taking over the air waves of Jazz, I thought this week we should go a completely different direction.

Celebrities with birthdays on July 24th: Happy birthday to you!

Jennifer Lopez (Pop Singer)
Tanner Braunhardt (YouTube Star)
Saffron Barker (YouTube Star)
Skylander Girl (YouTube Star)
Bindi Irwin (TV Show Host)
Amelia Earhart. 1897 to 1939 (Pilot)

Wait Amelia Earhart!?! How on earth have we at the BoFN missed Amelia Earhart, someone whose last name looks like “ear ♥” but is pronounced more like “air heart.” Her name is the epitome of Nominative Determinism. By her very name, Earhart was destined to fly and and loved doing it.

Amelia Earhart standing under the nose of her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. Photo courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute.

She was first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic. She received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross for this feat. She set many other records—including the first “Airster to reach an altitude of 14,000 feet (4,300 meters)”. She was the 17th woman to receive her pilot’s license. She wrote best-selling books about her flying experience, lectured around the country and was a key player in the forming the the 99’s—an organization for female pilots still in existence today.

We would be remiss not to mention that she married her publisher, George P. Putnam of Putnam Press.

She took a post at Cosmopolitan magazine where she turned her column into a campaign for greater public acceptance of flying, especially promoting the role of women in the field. She even received celebrity endorsements to finance her flying.

But she didn’t stop there, oh no. She was a visiting faculty member at Purdue University where she became an advisor to aeronautical engineering and a career counselor for the female students.

She donated $1,500 to Commander Richard Byrd’s South Pole expedition.

It was her solo journey around the world that captured the world’s attention and cemented her celebrity.

Her career ended when she disappeared on July 2nd, 1937, at the age of 39—22 days before her birthday. She disappeared somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, between Lae, Papua New Guinea, and Howland Island.

She was declared dead in absentia on January 5, 1939 at the age of 41.

Amelia Earhart, if you were alive today, you’d be 121-years-old and watching SpaceX launches on TV. Happy birthday to you.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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.

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Nordic Masters of Jazz Drums A-F

For everything there is a season. A time to fight. A fight for tactical retreat. A time to rally and re-engage.

And a time to wave the white flag.

That’s where we are now, with funny names, and jazz. And Norwegians. And drums.

See, I’m not even going to try this time, is what I’m saying. I’m just giving it all straight to the Norsemen. Or, as the case may be, Nørsèwômên.

Håppy, güys?

Let’s just get this over with, Økåy?

A is for Knut Aalefjær, a drummer, percussionist and composer born in 1974, just before I entered high school and got into my “jazz phase.” I’m sure Kerbey can do something with that name, but my mind’s a blank.

Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome. Which is kinda knutty because Stockholm isn’t even in Norway. (I guess it’s Oslo day for wordplay.)

B is for Stein Inge Brækhus (born 1967), Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (b. 1981) and Øyvind Brandtsegg (b. 1971), who confirm my suspicion that most Norwegian jazz musicians (and there are a LOT of them) tend to have been born in the 70s or 80s. Someday, someone is going to have to explain the background of this Norwegian jazz renaissance to me. But, another story for another day.

C is for Jon Ivar Christensen (b. 1943) and Svein “Chrico” Christiansen (b. 1941), an older generation of jazzmen, with similar last names. Neither one is particularly outstanding on the Funny Name Index (FNI), but both are major figures in the International and Norwegian jazz scenes, respectively. Jon Christensen is at least on my top twenty list of jazz drummers for his layered, complex, understated drumming style. It first caught my attention on Ralph Towner’s Solstice album (1974).

Where were we? Oh, yeah.

D is for Børre Dalhaug (b. 1974), another name where you have to wonder, “What’s Kerb gonna do with this one?” And, “No, seriously. Come on! What is it about the 70s and 80s and Norwegian jazz births?”

The other thing about D is that it also has some competition from the Scandinavian sounding Buddy Deppenschmidt (b. 1936) of the U.S.A. and Benjamin “Buzzy” Drootin (1920-2000), also of the U.S.A. but born in the Ukraine. Plus, there’s Jack DeJohnette (b. 1942), whose name may not be outstanding sounding on the FNI, but hey, he’s one of my all time favorite drummers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3cmjyVTHW0
(I’d give something to get this album on CD. Used to have it on vinyl.)

What’s up next? Right, E.

E is for Torstein Ellingsen (b. 1966) who no doubt played some Duke Ellington standards, and beats out the more placidly named Kenneth Ekornes (b. 1974). He has two other things going for him: 1) If his first and last names were reversed I wouldn’t even notice. 2) His photo is a great testament to brush sticks. Cheers, Torstein.

Also, we can’t pass E by without a shout out to Peter Erskine (b. 1954). ‘Sup, Peter? Like your work, dude.

Norwegians are probably mad that I post about their jazz musicians but don’t embed enough of their music. They’ll be even madder when I announce our pick for F, Jon Fält (b. 1979) who’s actualy from Sweden. But it’s just next to Norway, so you can’t Fält me too much for that, right?

Now, speaking of drums, we want to drum up more support for our man, Dave. Please click on the link below.

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133 Days Lost at Sea on a Wooden Raft, the Poon Lim Story

November 23, 1942, 750 miles off the Amazon coast of Brazil: British armed merchant ship SS Benlomond traveled without convoy from Cape Town, South Africa, en route to Paramaribo, Suriname, six days from her destination. Accounts vary on the crew numbering around 55, including 25-year-old Chinese sailor, Second Stewart Poon Lim.

Poon Lim Photo by Richard Arthur Norton

German U-Boat U-172 intercepted the SS Benlomond at 11:45 a.m. firing two torpedoes. They struck the engine room and the Benlomond took on water. As the ship sank, Poon grabbed a life jacket. He and five of his crew mates—from the gun crew—abandoned ship moments before the boilers exploded. Within two minutes, the SS Benlomond disappeared into the ocean with the rest of the crew.

Poon lost sight of his five crew mates and their raft—carried away by the current. After two hours in the water, he spotted an 8’ square wooden raft and swam to it. The raft contained several tins of biscuits, a 40-liter jug of fresh water, some chocolate, a bag of sugar lumps, two smoke pots, some flares and a flashlight.

He rationed out the rafts supplies for 30-days. When his supplies ran low, he resorted to fishing, catching birds and catching rain water with the canvas cover of the lift jacket. He crafted a fish hook from a wire in the flashlight. He used hemp rope to make the fishing line and he dug a nail out of the raft to make a hook for larger fish. Then he made a knife from one of the biscuit tins, which he used to gut fish.

Because he gutted the fish on his raft and hung them to dry, sharks were attracted to the blood. He used his larger hook to bring a small shark into his boat. After quite a struggle he bludgeoned the shark with his water jug, partially filled with sea water.

To keep his physical strength up, he would swim in the water twice a day whenever sharks weren’t around. Occasionally the sharks would knock his raft around looking for a free meal.

Several ships passed him, but none stopped. He assumed they wouldn’t rescue him because he was Asian or because German U-boats would put out “survivors” as bait for other ships to stop where they were easy targets for sinking.

American airmen spotted him in the water and dropped a buoy near his location for rescue. A storm blew in and moved him miles away from the buoy.

Recreation of Poon Lim’s raft commissioned by the U.S. Navy. Poon Lim pictured.

On April 5, 1943, about ten miles from the coast of Brazil, a fisherman picked up Poon. He was starving and had lost 20 pounds. They fed him from their supplies and 3 days later landed at Belem, Brazil. He was able to walk off the boat under his own power. He spent four weeks in the hospital before the British consul arranged his passage to Great Britain. He was the only survivor.

So impressed with his accomplishment, King George VI awarded him the British Empire Medal and the Royal Navy incorporated his survival techniques into their manuals.

After the war, he wanted to emigrate to the U.S. He was initially denied entry because the Chinese emigration quota had been met for the year. Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington State, so impressed with his survival, wrote special legislation allowing Poon Lim entry.

To this day he still holds the record for the longest time a lone person survived adrift on a life raft. When told, he replied, “I hope no one will ever have to break that record.”

He passed in January 1991, a resident of New York, New York.

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.

Update: Dave is now entering his fourth year of medical school and recently regained his drivers license. Way to go, Dave!

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