Give Thanks for Dorcas Reilly, An American Inventor

What are the things you associate with Thanksgiving dinner? Turkey, stuffing, salads, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole? What would Thanksgiving dinner be without green beans, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and fried onions?

According to Campbell’s an estimated 20 million-plus American households will be serving it this year.

Did you ever wonder who created such culinary comfort food? Clearly someone so well named she ended up here on the Blog of Funny Names.

Dorcas Reilly worked as a supervisor of Campbell’s home economics department. A photo of her is not available in the public domain, but you can see her here.

When a call came from the Associated Press back in 1955 asking, “What’s a good recipe for a vegetable side dish that features common pantry products?” The only restrictions: it needed to have green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Apparently in 1955 almost every household had those two items in their kitchen.

Look out home economists, Dorcas Reilly and her team delivered. The group tested and graded each recipe variation until one received a perfect score. In November of that year, “the Green Bean Bake” was born. Just in time for, you guessed it, Thanksgiving.

In 1960 Campbell’s printed the recipe on the labels of its cream of mushroom soup. The recipe hit new heights of popularity and 60 years later it is still going strong, becoming an iconic comfort food. Hmm hmm good.

We’re lucky that Reilly was a culinary trailblazer in an era where women were usually sidelined in corporate America. She was the first person in her family to attend college earning a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Drexel Institute of Technology, better known today as Drexel University. She graduated in 1947.

In 1949 she joined Campbell’s as one of two full time employees of the home economics department developing recipes. When the economy began to boom in the 1950’s the country developed an appetite for easy-to-make meals that were delicious and most of all cheap. Reilly hit the spot with tuna noodle casserole, tomato soup cake and a Sloppy Joe recipe made with tomato soup.

She always credited her team with their successes. But the green bean casserole, according to Campbell’s, constitutes 40 percent of its cream of mushroom soup sales using Reilly’s recipe.

Reilly’s recipe hit new heights in 2002, when Campbell’s donated her original hand-written recipe card to the National Inventors Hall of Fame—securing her recipe and her place in food history. It resides in the same place as Edison’s lightbulb and phonograph, and Enrico Fermi’s first controlled nuclear reactor. Now that’s some street cred.

Dorcas Reilly passed away on October 15, 2018 at the age of 92 from Alzheimer’s Disease.

So when you dive into that dish of green bean casserole, raise a glass for Dorcas.

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 transitions from medical school to his residency to learn to fight the very thing he is battling.

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Freddie Perren and Boogie Fever

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American songwriter Frederick James “Freddie” Perren produced records, arranged music and was an orchestra conductor. He graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with future Capital Records executive Larkin Arnold.

He started his career with Barry Gordy over at Motown in 1969 co-writing hit songs for The Jacoson 5 like I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, and Mama’s Pearl among others. With the birth of Disco in the 70’s, He shifted into the Disco arena and produced hits like Do it Baby and Love Machine for The Miracles.

In 1976 Perren reunited with his friend, Larkin Arnold, Vice President, over at Capital Records. In the next two years Perren helped The Sylvers achieve success producing their first two Capitol Albums. They had two Gold singles with Hotline and then Boogie Fever which reached number one on the Billboard Top 100 and Hot Soul Singles.

By 1976 he created his own production company, MVP Productions. He represented Peaches & Herb and scored a deal with Polydor Records. He produced Shake Your Groove Thing and their number one hit Reunited.

He was rolling high by 1980 when he won the first Grammy for Best Disco Recording for Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. Gaynor’s version sold four million copies in the U.S. and went number one in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Then Disco hit the wall. With a super saturated market “The Disco Sucks” movement gained traction and the Grammys removed the Disco category in 1981, making Perren the only person to receive a Disco Grammy for best recording.

Perren made it back in the mid-80’s with the advent of boy bands when Boyz II Men took his song It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday to the number two spot on the top 100 on the Hot R&B Singles Chart.

He is no longer with us, but his Boogie Fever still sings.

This Halloween tombstone is dedicated to the rise and fall of Disco.

Yes, Fannie is a Halloween fanatic.

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 transitions from medical school to his residency to learn to fight the very thing he is battling.

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Greeks of Amherst: A Handful of Jazzfolk

Downbeat. The Pantheon. Animal House. Amherst. Doogie Howzer. What do these things have in common?

Well, they’re all connected to that thing where I trawl Wikipedia to collect names of jazzmen and jazzwomen and put up another kooky post.

Jazz. That’s how we get to Downbeat, the definitive jazz journal.

Now, usually my jazz trawling has focussed on some innocent, unsuspecting country (cough, cough, like Norway, cough, cough) where the names sound perfectly normal to its citizens, but not the rest of us . . . globally challenged folk.

But since Norway has more jazzpeople than I can shake a brush stick at, this time I turn for respite to . . . Greece! Hence, the pantheon.

“Greek” also connotes college fraternities, hence Animal House, that famously raunchy comedy about college fraternities.

Why Amherst? you ask.

To get from Animal House to Amherst is a a stretch. Why not any college? Why not Faber college, where the motto is “Knowledge is Good.”

It’s because it turns out that “Amherst” matches the alphabetical array of our jazz subjects, whose last names in alphabetical order spell out A-M-R-S-T. That’s only one “he” shy of Amherst, that august arena of learning.

We’ll get to Doogie Howzer later, but first, our handful of Greek jazzers. They stretch the definition of “jazz” thinner than I’m comfortable with, but we’ll give them all a hearing.

“A” is for Thomai Apergi (Θωμαή Απέργη).

Thomai is an attractive lady, no question, but this is not my style. (And this is about the “jazziest” one of hers I could dig up.) Judge for yourself. I get an Amy Winehouse vibe in her other videos, but with much less soul and grit. Maybe it’s just as well for Thomai, because Amy definitely paid a price for it.

“M” is for Maria Markesini

OK, that’s more like it. Though, to be honest, I usually like my jazz vocals more understated. I can’t find out who the pianist is. A T’Oob commenter elsewhere identifies him as Doogie Howzer. Should I believe it?

“R” is for Christos Rafalides. OK, we’re getting much warmer here in terms of my jazz preferability:

Christos Rafalides, on vibes, does “Serendipity” with Manhattan Vibes. (Just coincidence?) Sergio Salvatore (piano), Petros Klampanis (bass), Ludwig Afonso (drums).

“S” is for Hrysoula Stefanaki. Notice how the names are improving. How about the music?

“Tango Notturno,” arranged by David Nachmias, who may also be on piano (other musicians unknown). This one works for me, maybe because it’s not trying to be “jazz.”

“T” is for Vassilis Tsabropoulos. The best name yet, but I don’t know where to put Vassilis–a renowned pianist, composer, and conductor–on the jazz spectrum. Notwithstanding, this is a nice place to wind up our musical journey.

Nektaria Karantzi does vocals in this contemplative piece “You Are with Me,” from the album Eleison (2016), here at Amazon. The song is Psalm 23 sung in ancient Greek.

Speaking of Doogie Howzer, please help our resident medical wunderkind, Dave! Click the link below.

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Gutzon Borglum meets Mount Rushmore

Welcome back funny names fans!

We interrupt this post for an announcement . . . I am busting to tell you about some good news. I received word over the weekend that my book proposal for dementia home care was accepted.

*Fannie does a happy dance and blows a party horn.*

Thanks for taking the time to celebrate with me.

Now back to our regularly scheduled post.

Gutzon Borglum may look glum, but he had an exceptional mustache.

John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum commonly known as Gutzon Borglum, was an artist and sculptor with a pretty darn good name.

He was born on March 25, 1867 the son of Danish immigrants, His Mormon father, Jens Moller Haugaard Borglum, in a polygamist marriage to his mother, Christina Mikkelsen Borglum. Christina’s sister, Ida, was Jens first wife. They lived in Idaho where polygamy was legal at the time. Do you imagine there may have been some friction in the family?

Jens decide to leave Mormonism and moved the family to Omaha, Nebraska, where polygamy was illegal and highly frowned on. So Jens divorced Ida, stayed with Christina, and took Ida’s two kids as well as Gutzon and his brother, Solon.

Jens got a degree in medicine, then moved the family to Freemont, Nebraska, where Jens establish his practice. Gutzon remained there until 1882 when his father enrolled him in St. Mary’s College in Kansas.

Gutzon only lasted a short time at St. Mary’s. He dropped out. He found himself back in Nebraska, because he was not in Kansas anymore, and apprenticed himself to a machine shop where he worked his way through Creighton Preparatory School. From there he pursued his artistic interest at a myriad of schools, Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, Académie Julian, École des Beaux-Arts and California School of Design. His talent grew and his reputation emerged for being a domineering, perfectionist and authoritarian.

In the midst of all this he romanced and married one of his art instructors, Elizabeth Janes Putnam—19 years his senior. They spent the next ten years traveling Europe studying art and exhibiting their craft. They returned to the U.S. and purchased a home in California. Because of a bad economy in California, they returned to Europe. Due to some marital issues, Elizabeth left Europe and moved back to their home in California. They divorced in 1908.

Gutzon then married Mary Montgomery Williams Borglum in 1916. It must have gone well because they sired three children together.

After several successes as a sculptor, Gutzon was tapped to work on the Mount Rushmore project in 1927. Perhaps perfectionism was the key to his getting the job. The original plan for the monument was for Washington and Jefferson. The first attempt at Jefferson’s face blew up only two years into the project. I suspect dynamite may have played a role. Dynamite was also used to removed rock from underneath Washington’s epic brow. The project soon expanded, not to be confused with exploded, to include Lincoln and Roosevelt.

For the first seven years, Ivan Houser was Gutzon’s assistant sculptor. Houser moved on to pursue his own artistic endeavors without Gutzon. Gutzon’s son, Lincoln, stepped up to the post in 1934 and helped his father with the project until Gutzon’s death in 1941. Lincoln finished the last of the work his father had directed prior to passing then left the rest of the project incomplete.

So the next time you visit Mount Rushmore thank Gutzon because of an idea that was spawn and on the mountain was drawn to create the faces that glisten white at dawn because of his artistic use of dynamite brawn.

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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Milano Collection AT: Pepperidge Farm Remembers

That open palm belongs to Japanese wrestler Akihito Sawafuji (aka Akihito Terui), better known by his ring name Milano Collection A.T. Today the Blog of Funny Name salutes him!

For many of us, “Milano” reminds us of an indulgent dessert cookie. Do you remember? Pepperidge Farm sure does. They make the chocolatey goodness (otherwise known as “Monacos” in Canada because socialism). Now that’s what I call a real Milano Collection.

But not in Japan, my friends. In Japan, a Milano Collection is a wrestler. Debuting at the turn of the century, Milano Collection A.T. soon adopted the shtick of an Italian fashion aficionado and supermodel, wearing lavish coats, which he would then discard. Supermodel, work!

Those Italian wristbands, though.

In another case of nominative determinism, the Fuji (while a mountain or a camera film to you) in Sawafuji’s name means “man of status.” And that he was. Why else would he be known for walking into the ring with an invisible dog named Mikeru? Yes, friends, he walked a fake dog while he fake fought, and soon became the ace of Toryumon’s T2P class.

In February of 2005 (as part of Team Toryumon X), he defeated Beef Wellington & The Bear at CHIKARA Tag World Grand Prix ’05. Milanos, Beef Wellington, and Bears–oh, my! Are you hungry yet? Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Hopefully not undercooked bear meat, which can cause trichinosis and subsequently stop a wrestling career in its tracks. Spare the bear.

In mid-2006, Sawafuji crossed the sea to the home of the Alamo to begin training at the Texas Wrestling Academy in San Antonio under Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Ru-dy! Ru-dy! During his tenure in the TWA, he held the Television Championship (a title defended in 15 minute matches that came with a schmancy gold belt) for eight months solid. While in the States, he wrestled for other American federations, including East Coast Wrestling Association, Ring of Honor, NWA Anarchy, Chikara and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The next year, Sawafuji said sayonara to the States and and returned to Japan to work for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), as a part of the R.I.S.E. faction. He achieved great victory that year, winning New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament, defeating Wataru Inoue in the final. 

In 2008, he took part in the World X Cup as part of Team Japan, winning his first and only singles match for Total Nonstop Action against Curry Man, aka the Fallen Angel.

However, fortune stopped smiling on him when fellow Japanese wrestler, Gedo, clocked him upside the head with an excessively strong thrust kick to the eye. Following failed eye surgeries, Sawafuji was diagnosed with inferior oblique muscle palsy and retired on January 18, 2010.

But he wouldn’t remain out of the spotlight. Sawafuji soon began work with New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a color commentator, explaining the difference between chartreuse and lime green to the ignorant masses. Actually, a color commentator is a sports commentator who provides expert analysis and background information, such as statistics, strategy, and injury reports. Who knew? He maintains the position to this day.


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