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6th Annual Poll: Funniest Names In The NFL Draft

  This post appears concurrently on The Blog of Funny Names.  I also blog and podcast on futurist topics at Seeking Delphi.™ 

“My weird name has haunted me all my life.”–Peaches Geldof

Sadly, Peaches didn’t live long enough to be haunted all that long.  The only thing that will haunt the names we honor herein, though, is how to spend the bonus checks they get when they sign NFL contracts.

So here we go–the sixth annual Funniest Names in the NFL Draft Poll.  Wow.  Sixth? Already?   If time flies when you are having fun, it flies even faster when you are making fun…of funny names.

Let’s kick it off with a review of the five previous winners and how their fortunes have fared since being drafted.

Poll #1, 2013–Barkevious Mingo. Outside Linebacker, LSU.  Mingo was the number six overall pick in the draft that year, but has never lived up to the hype of a first rounder.  If that fate wasn’t obvious when he was picked by Cleveleand, you haven’t been following the NFL lately.

Poll #2 2014–Ha-Sean Treshon “Ha-Ha” Clinton-Dix, Free Safety, Alabama. Picked 21st overall in that year’s first round by the Green  Bay Packers, he’s had a solid if unspectacular pro career to date.  He does have the distinction of beating out the best ever also-ran in this poll–Jadaveon Clowney.  Clowney was the number one overall pick by Houston that year.  With a Ha-Ha and a Clown, 2014 was the deepest draft in funny name annals.  However, Ha-Ha’s biggest claim to funny name fame is his cameo appearance in Key and Peele’s East-West Bowl, Pro Edition.

Poll #3–2015–Jaquiski Tartt, Safety, Samford. Tartt was the first, and so far, only player to win this poll on a write-in.  He was also the highest drafted player ever to go to Samford, going to San Francisco in the second round.  I think that final “tt” is what clinched it for him.

Poll #4-2106–Halapoulivaati Vaiti, Offensive Tackle, TCU.  Can’t say much, my computer is out of letters.  At least fourteen fans were hospitalized and treated for tongue cramp when they attempted to pronounce his name after his fifth round drafting by Philadelphia.

Poll #5–2017–Jake Butt, Tight End, Michigan. Wow, a tight end named Butt.  He was headed towards possible first round selection until he tore his ACL in the 2016 Orange Bowl.  He fell to the fifth round–selected by Denver–but sat out the entire 2017 season with the injury.  At least his butt is still in tact.

With that, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to start our engines and get to the 2018 nominees.  As usual, I’ll  regale you with my warped opinions on what the names sound like they might be, if they weren’t football players.

Vita Vea–Best name? Maybe. Best hair–definitely!

Tevita “Vita” Tuliakiono Tuipuloto Mosese Va’hae Faletau Vea, Defensive Tackle, Washington. A big name for a big (346 pound) man.  Do not attempt to pronounce this entire name unless in the presence of an external oxygen supply and paramedics.  The question is not whether this is the longest name in NFL history, but the longest in world hostory.  What I think his name sounds like: The entire Hawaiian language dictionary.

Equanimeous St. Brown, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame.  I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, but obviously, his parents did. What I think his name sounds like: the 14th editor of the Oxford Unabridged English Dictionary.

Josey Jewel, Linebacker Iowa.  Unfortunately, there are no really good double-barrelled names in this year’s draft, but there are three great candidates for best alliterative name.  Jewel is one of them. What I think his name sounds like: A Vegas pole dancer.

Folorunso Fatukasi, Defensive Tackle, UCONN.  UConn, of course, is much better known for basketball–especially women’s–than football.  And hey, my wife and daughter are both alums.  This guy throws his hat in the ring for the best alliterative name.  What I think his name sounds like: the governor of Okinawa.

Key’vantanie “Keke” Coutee, Wide Receiver, Texas Tech.  Sorry Josey and Foloro…Flor… oh, whatever your name is–Keke is my personal pick for best alliterative name in this year’s pack.  What I think his name sounds like: see Josey Jewell.

There are plenty of honorable mentions, all eligible to be written in.  But hey, you can write in your kid if he plays Pop Warner, or even your mother-in-law, if her corner blitz flattens  you.  So don’t forget to consider Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Breeland Speaks, Hercules Mata’afa, Dane Cruishank, Chuckwuma Okorafor or just about anybody whose name tickles your funny bone.

 Vote early and vote often.  The draft kicks off this Thursday evening, April 26.  Voting ends noon, EDT, Monday April 29.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cosmic Quote #99

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”–Hunter S. Thompson

And when their names get weird–or funny–they go in the first round of the NFL draft.  Just ask Barkevious Mingo, Jadeveon Clowney, and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.  They were all first rounders, and all top performers in the annual poll of funniest names in the NFL draft.  Oh, yeah. Don’t forget: the 6th annual edition of that venerated tradition will appear on Monday of next week. Same time, same channel.

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Mark’s Neologisms #8

“Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.”–Homer

Ah, my dear Homer, a good sentiment.  But what if those empty words are absurdly hysterical?  It will take more than a dead Greek poet to stop me.

Everything is being done with Artificial Intelligence these days, some of it profound, some of it scary, and some of it downright ridiculous.  You’d know this if  you followed my Seeking Delphi™ podcasts and blog.  AI is being used  for early disease diagnosis, protection of the power grid, and facial recognition to catch criminals and secure our cell phones.  But it’s also being used for some pretty silly things, too.  How about a sex robot that tells jokes, or a robodog that sniffs your feet and passes out if they stink?

This brings me to the latest effort in the Mark’s Neologisms series.  I didn’t invent the terms below.  An AI program devised by Colorado researcher Janelle Shane was programmed to create convincing sounding disease names.  The results were, well, both hilarious and alarming.  But here’s the thing–it only created the names.  So in the great tradition of my sicko mind, here are some of my favorites from the list, with the actual definition of the malady added by yours truly.

Sexursoma Ear–The Latin name for hickey of the ear.

Joint Pseudomalabia–Inflammation of a prosthetic joint

Ear Poop–A side effect gotten from listening to political speeches.

Teenagerna Vain Syndrome–Well, that’s obvious.

Catdullitis–An affliction that causes pet owners to prefer dogs.

Ankle Bladders–Caused by severe gout

Seal Breath–Not fatal if you  have it, but possibly fatal if the person next to you has it.

Testicle Behavior–A mythical condition never afflicting heterosexual males.

Eye Stools–A pandemic caused by televising  political debates.

Hoot Injury–A bruise or contusion obtained when bumped into by a Hooters waitress.

Vertical Hemoglobin Fever–What most residents of Colorado, Alaska, Washington DC and other locales suffer from since the legalization of pot.

Cold Glock Allergy–An aversion to being held at point blank range.

Some of the names were so ridiculous I couldn’t begin to define them.  A few of the most bizarre are listed below. See if you can come up with something for any of the following.

Mardial Denection 

Gumpetic Surpical Escesion

 Vertical Pasocapheration Syndrome 

Helritis and Flatelet’s Ear

Milk Tomosis     Black Bote Headache     Excessive Woot Sweating 

Stumm Complication     8 Poop     Herpangitis

Wamble Submoration      Osteomaroxism     

 Bacterial Fladular Syndrome              Asteophyterdimentricular Aneurism       

 If nothing else, these are sure to make The Blog of Funny Names     

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5th Annual Poll: Funniest Names in The 2017 NFL Draft

Note, this post occurs concurrently on The Blog of Funny Names.   I also blog and podcast on futurist topics at Seeking Delphi.

Voting is closed.  Jake Butt is the official winner of the 2017 Funniest Names In The NFL Draft Poll.

“They certainly give very strange names to diseases.”–Plato

These guys are all destined for something. Bacon, maybe?

Obviously, they didn’t have football in Plato’s day.  Maybe they had a funniest name in the ancient Olympics contest.  Of course, most of those names look funny to us today.

But why discuss the past when we have the funny names of the present?  It’s that time again–the time to honor (and ridicule) the funniest names in the 2017 NFL draft.  This year provides an interesting mix and a veritable embarrassment of riches–there are so many unusual and even bizarre first names, alone, we could almost conduct a separate poll for that.  Consider:  Praise, Amba, Salamo, Jehu, Cethan, JuJu, Budda, Takkarist, Taco, Cordrea, Tanoh, Phazan,  Amara, Fadol, Torrodney, Psalm, Pita and on and on and on.   Yes, there’s a Taco and a Pita.  I’m hungry already.

As for last names, there are several that can only be described as a threat to your oral health if you try to pronounce them.  To simplify things–if that is even possible–I’ve also gone for alliteration, mellifluousness or straight out style points in choosing the finalists.  But write in votes are allowed and encouranged.  Jaquiski Tartt won on a write-in two years ago.  It was that double “t” that did it.   As per tradition, I’ll also tell what I think the name sounds like, if it didn’t belong to a football player.

 

 

Jake Butt, TE, Michigan–Talk about nominative determinism: a tight end named Butt.  Maybe you can make this stuff up; I sure can’t.  He was headed towards a first round selection until he tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl.  That’s OK, his butt is still intact.  He’ll probably go in the third round or so.  What I think his name sounds like: a longshoreman.

Cordrea Tankersly, CB, Clemson–Tankersly certainly scores low on the nominative determinism scale.   With a name like that, he should have been an offensive tackle.  That’s OK, he makes up for it by having one of the more mellifluous names in this year’s draft.  It kind of rolls off the tongue.  Hopefully the wide receivers won’t roll off his coverage.  What I think his name sounds like: a hog farmer from Kansas.

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan–OK, so Taco is obviously a nickname.  His real name is Vidaunte, which is unusual but not nearly as poetic. Using a nickname certainly didn’t stop Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix from winning our 2014 poll.  So let’s go with Taco.  What I think his name sounds like: a cartoon spokesperson for the South of The Border restaurant chain.

Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova–You might have to visit your dentist if you try to pronounce this guy’s name.   As he is 6’7″ 290lbs., you’ll be lucky if you have any teeth left if you piss him off.  According to the NFL draft pronunciation guide it’s  taw-no  pass-N-yo. No nominative determinism here.  With that pronunciation, he should either be a quarterback or an Indy car driver.   What I think his name sounds like:  a character in a Voltaire play.

A non-football future for Cooper Kupp?

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington–Proving that players from smaller schools can also hit the big time, in football and in funny names.  He also wins the nod for the best alliterative name this year.   What I think his name sounds like: a Texas ranger (the lawmen, not the baseball team).

Praise Martin-Oguike, LB, Temple–He’s a long shot to get picked in the draft; it’s  more likely he’ll be signed as an undrafted free agent.  But I always like to include at least one double-barreled surname each year, and his is the best of the current crop.  And as for Praise , it has to be the most narcissistic moniker for an athlete since minor league baseball player Wonderful Terrific Monds.  What I think his name sounds like: a Baptist minister.

Honorable mention goes to all of the following–and you can write in any of them:  Budda Baker, Channing Stribling, Tau Lotulelai (Star’s brother), Leo Koloamanangi, Phazahn Odom, Obi Melinfanwu, Amba Etta-Tawo,  JuJu Schuster-Smith, Takkarist McKinley, Pita Taumoepenu and just about anyone and anything else you can spell or attempt to pronounce.  Vote as often as you like.  The polls close at noon EDT, Monday, May 1.

UPDATE, 8:51 AM,EDT, Friday, April 28. 

Upon discovery that the O.J. in O.J. Howard (Alabama, TE) stands for O’Terrius Jabari, a late write-in campaign has been launched.  Just use OJ Howard in the write-in blank, lest your fingers cramp from typing the whole name.  What I think the name sounds like?  How about an Irish wookie in Star Wars XIV.

UPDATE 9:57 AM, EDT, Saturday, April 29.

O’Terrius Jabari Howard has been added as a voting option.

 

 

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Taylor Harry Fritz–er, or is it Fritz Harry Taylor?

Note:  This post previously appeared on The Blog of Funny Names

“Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.”–Vitas Gerulaitis when he finally beat Jimmy Connors after losing to him 16 straight times.

Here at The Blog of Funny Names, we’ve always had a fascination with people who have two last names.  Outerbridge Horsey is the classic.  Then of course, there are those that have  two first names–like the eponymous Tommy John.

Taylor Harry Fritz.

Taylor Harry Fritz.

But seldom have we come across somebody whose name appears to be backwards.  But that would seem to be the case with rising 18-year-old American tennis star, Taylor Harry Fritz. If his name was Fritz Harry Taylor, we wouldn’t consider feting  him in these hallowed pages.  Or Harry Fritz Taylor, or even Harry Taylor Fritz.  It’s as if the names were picked out of a hat to come in that order.

But that aside, the tennis world is not laughing; especially the American tennis world.  No American man has won a major tennis tournament since Andy Roddick won the US Open in 2003.  No American man has even made the quarter finals of a major since Roddick, Mardy Fish (a great funny name as well) and John Isner all did it in 2011.  There is currently no American man ranked higher than #17 in the world (Isner)

However you order his names, Taylor Fritz may just be the guy to change all that.  He won the 2015 junior boys title at the US Open and finished the year as the top ranked junior in the world.   And after turning pro in 2016?  He won his first ATP tour title, qualified for the Australian Open, and has jumped to #65 in the world from a ranking in the 600’s in just a few months.  He is the youngest player currently in the top 100.  Last week at a tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, he got a real taste of the big time,  meeting all–time great Roger Federer in the second round.   He lost, but gave Federer a run for his money at 4-6, 7-5, 4-6.  I don’t know if Federer will be around long enough for Fritz to play him 17 times,  but I’d bet he won’t need that many to beat him.  And that goes no matter what order you say his names in.

As for me, if you’re tired of this blog,  you can go to my new, second blog, Seeking Delphi, and mock me there.

Cheers,

El Marko

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4th annual poll: Funniest Names in the 2016 NFL Draft

This is the 2016 poll.  For the 2017 Funniest Names In The NFL Draft Poll, go HERE

 

“If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead”–Erma Bombeck”

“Rats, suspended again,” said Tom, deflated.**

**If you’re too young to remember Tom Swifties, check out the history here.

It’s that magical time of the year, the flowers are blooming, the weather is warming, and we at BoFN are guffawing at the this year’s crop of outrageous monikers in the annual NFL draft.  So move over, deflategate, there is far more important news on the NFL front.  It’s time for our 4th annual poll of the funniest names in the NFL draft.  The big event starts tomorrow evening, so there’s no time to lose.

Let’s start with a bit of nostalgia as we review the past winners.

2013–Barkevious Mingo–An outside linebacker out of LSU,  Mingo was  a runaway winner of our first poll, and a first round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns.  So far his NFL performance has been less than stellar, but hey, it’s Cleveland.  We at BoFN names just wish his brother Hughtevious would also get drafted.

HaHa

HaHa

2014–Ha’Sean “HaHa” Clinton-Dix–Another first round choice–I just love how thebest names go near the top of the draft.  Do you think the NFL scouts read this blog?  Clinton-Dix has had a solid, if not spectacular first two years at safety with the Green Bay Packers.  He won a close battle for funniest names with Jadaveon Clowney.  When you have a clown and a haha in the same year, you know you have a bumper crop.

2015–Jaquiski Tartt–Tartt came out of nowhere–in more ways than one–to win last year’s vote.  He was the highest player ever drafted out of Samford (you mean there were others?) and won the poll on a write-in vote.  That second t in his name really put an exclamation point on it.  By the way, this safety got his first ever NFL interception in week 14 last year off of Johnny Manziel.  I hope he kept the ball, as Manziel is not likely to be throwing any more.

OK, enough of the red carpet preliminaries.  Let’s get down to brass tacks.  Here are this year’s nominees, including, as always, my take on what their names sound like if they weren’t football players.

Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss–Offensive line is a boring position, at least in the eyes of the casual fan.  But this year’s funny names are just teaming with these behemoths.  Tunsil is one of the early favorites in the poll, and also a likely top 10 first round pick. What I think his name sounds like: The sheriff of Tucson, Arizona c. 1879.

Eli Apple,CB, Ohio State–Formerly known as Eli Woodard, and we just had to have a “formerly known as” in honor of the late musician formerly known as “the artist formerly known as Prince.”  Apple made some less than happy news when he complained to the NFL back in March that an Atlanta assistant coach asked him if he was gay.  Maybe it was that “formerly known as” that threw the guy off?   What I think his name sounds like: Prince’s former road manager.

Halapoulivaati Vitai–Wow.  I mean, wow.  Say this name five times fast and you might hyperventilate and pass out.  That’s even if you can say it right once.  For the record, it’s pronounced hal-lah-poo-li-VAH-tee  VIE-tie.  It’s no surprise he is used to hearing it wrong: “It happens every day,” says offensive tackle from the TCU Horned Frogs, “even I mess up my name.”  You read that right, a guy who can’t even pronounce his own name who played for the college with the funniest team nickname in the entire NCAA.  This guy is a force to be reckoned with.   His parents have funny names, too. Takilivi and Shirley.  (Shirley! Really!?)  What I think his name sounds like: um…er…any suggestions? I can hardly hear it, let alone pronounce it.

Leonte Caroo–WR, Rutgers.  We had to get a player in there from the offense side of the ball.  But a player from New Jersey?  I’m not so sure.  Seeing as it’s the state that gave us both Bruce Springsteen and Chris Christie, this guy could go either way. What I think his name sounds like: An animal character in The Jungle Book.

Cody Whitehair–OG Kansas State.  Another offensive lineman, and at 6’4″, 310lbs, he won’t need his white hair to ward off opposing defensive ends. What I think his name sounds like: chief of the Iroquois nation.

Briean Boddy-Calhoun–a running back who played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, he comes from only the second funniest college team name, but he definitely has the best hyphenated name in the draft since Blidi Wreh-Wilson in 2013. What I think his name sounds like: a Victoria’s Secret model.

As usual there are plenty of write-in candidates, including, but not limited to, Charone Peake, Germain Ifidi, Bronson Kafusi, Pharoh Cooper, Fhan Cooper, Rees Odhiambo and Romeo Okwara.  The rules are simple. The voting starts now.  Vote as often as you like, and though the draft ends Saturday, we’ll keep this open through noon Monday.  Look for results in the next Funny Names in the News, which might even be next Friday.

[Note: Be sure to check out my futurist blog and podcast at Seeking Delphi.]

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Time Out: 3rd Annual Funniest Name in the NFL Draft Poll

Note: This post runs concurrently on The Blog of Funny Names

“Baseball players are smarter than football players.  How often have you seen a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?”–Jim Boutan

I don’t know if baseball players are smarter than football players.  But I do know that, in recent years, football players certainly have had a leg up on baseball players in one respect: funny names.  One need only look at the previous two editions of Funniest Name in the NFL Draft to realize this.  Not only were the 2013 poll winner Barkevious Mingo, 2014 poll winner Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and 2014 runner-up Jadaveon Clowney over the top  funnynames,  but all three of them were high first round picks.  Clowney was actually last year’s overall number one.

But this brings us to a dilemma.  It is well known that, in any professional sport, some years produce deep draft crops, some not so much so.  I don’t know about athletic talent, but this year’s funny name draft class is just not as over-the-top all-star as the past two years.  And the likely first round is totally devoid of candidates.  That said, the field is wide open and full of lower round candidates whose names look like an explosion in a Lithuanian newsprint factory.  Be careful pronouncing some of these,  your tongue and lips might cramp.

Without further ado, here are this year’s nominees, peppered with quotes that prove that Yogi Berra has nothing on the pundits of pigskin.

Jay Ajayi--his hair is longer than his name, and more symmetrical!

Jay Ajayi–his hair is longer than his name, and more symmetrical!

Jay Ajayi, RB, Oregon State–He was overshadowed by the potent offense of cross state rival Oregon, known for the passing and scrambling of QB Marcus Mariota–but Ajayi is one of the top running backs in this year’s field and a likely second round pick.  Note that if you drop the vowels at the beginning and end of his last name, he could give perennial Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness also-ran Jose Jose a run for his money as best repetitive name in sports.  Anyway, I don’t know if he’ll win the funny name poll, but he has the funniest hair, hands down.  Likely draft position: 2nd round.

“Nobody in football should be called a genius.  A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”–Joe Theismann

Obum Gwacham, Defenseive End, Oregon State–What’s worse than being a running back on a team overshadowed by a cross-state prolific passing-based offense?  Being a defender on that team.  But while Gwachum will likely go in the late rounds of this year’s draft, he’s my early even money favorite to win the funny named poll.  He was born in Nigeria, and considering he’s not the only one of his countrymen in the running, maybe there was an explosion in a Nigerian Scrabble® factory.  By the way, his name, in the native tongue, means “son of god.” If he can walk on wet Astroturf, I wouldn’t bet against him.  Likely draft position: round 6 or 7.

“People say I’ll be drafted in the first round–maybe higher.”–Craig Heyward

Jim Otto--the original double 0

Jim Otto–the original double 0

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Defensive End, UCLA–The second of three Nigerians in the field, I don’t recommend trying to say  this name too quickly.  You could hyperventilate and pass out.  Hey, I just nominate them, I don’t pronounce them.   I pity the TV commentators who will have to do so.  Maybe they will just call him “O O” and they could even give him a double zero Jersey number, like Jim Otto.  Likely draft position: 2nd round.

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 “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.”–George Rogers

Huh-RO-niss!!

Huh-RO-niss!!

Hroniss Grasu–Center, Oregon–First things first. That’s  three candidates so far from Oregon, and all of the first four from the Pac-12.  Grasu might be a center, but the country is clearly off-center in funny-named players this year.  For geographical origin diversity, Grasu is of Romanian decent.  His parents emigrated from Romania to Los Angeles in 1982 and opened Greco’s Roman Pizza on Hollywood Boulevard, which is still in business today.  Romanian New York pizza?  Only in L.A.  Likely draft position: round 3.

“I have two secret weapons: my legs, my arms and my brain.”–Michael Vick

Ali Marpet–Center, Hobart College–While we’re going for geographical diversity, let’s also throw in ethnic and academic variety as well.  As an economics major at Division III Hobart, Marpet seemed more likely headed to Wall Street than the NFL.  Then the scouts noticed him and the rest, as they say, will soon be history.  Marpet was named to the Jewish Sports Review’s 2013 All-America Team.  Likely draft position: 2nd or 3rd round.

“If defensive linemen’s I.Q.’s were five points lower, they’d be geraniums.”–Russ Francis

Xzavier Dickson–Outside Linebacker, Alabama–It’s hard not to include any Xaviers in any funny name accounting.   Dickson is borderline to even be picked in the draft at all this year, but hey, we had two Xavier’s in last year’s poll–I just had to continue the tradition.  But that spelling: Xzavier!!?   No, that’s not a typo–well, not here, but  maybe on his birth certificate.  I just couldn’t resist including this one–though maybe he’s more suited for The Blog of Oddly Spelled Names.   Likely draft posit: Round 7, or undrafted free agent.

That does it for the ballot nominees.  Among the also-rans eligible for write-in are Jaquishi Tartt, SS, Samford; Jeremiah Poutasi, OG, Utah; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon (another Oregon player of Nigerian descent!); Deiontrez Mount, OLB, Louisville; and Kaleb Eulls, DT, Mississippi State.

Perhaps it’s not as rich a crowd as in the previous two years, but they are still worthy of note.   The draft begins tomorrow night, but our voting opens now.  The balloting closes at noon EDT, one week from today–results will be reported in next weeks Funny Names in the News.  Vote as often as you like, but don’t forget the words of Joseph Stalin: “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”   Mwah-ha-ha.

 

 

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Time Out: Groucho Marx and the Funniest Film Character Names

Note: this post appeared recently under a different title on The Blog of Funny Names

“Those are my principles.  If you don’t like them, I have others.”–Groucho Marx

The inimitable Groucho

The Inimitable Groucho

Julius HenryGrouchoMarx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was not only one of the funniest men to ever live, he also played some of the funniest named characters in American movie history.  It’s also notable (at least to me) that he is the “ridiculous” part of the inspiration in the name of this blog (The Millennium Conjectures: A blog of the Ridiculous and Sublime).  And by the way,  the “sublime” half of the inspiration is one Mohandas K. Gandhi (October 2, 1869-January 30, 1948).  The point?  Well, take a close look and you will see one similarity.   They share the same birthday, October 2,  which just happens to be my birthday–if many years later.

But I digress.  While Groucho’s name may only be somewhat funny, many of the character names he played in a slew of classic Marx Brothers movies were over the top funny.  Here are just a few of them,  in chronological order.

Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Horsefeathers, 1932)

” I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you arrived. “–Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers.

While Groucho’s first truly iconic role was that of  Captain Jeffrey Spaulding in 1930’s Animal Crackers, Wagstaff was his first funny-named character.  But believe me, in that department he was just getting started.

Rufus  T. Firefly (Duck Soup, 1933)

“Go, and never darken my towels again.”–Groucho Marx in Duck Soup.

While originally opening to mixed reviews, perhaps due to its then already dated World War I era political satire,  Duck Soup has since become regarded as a classic and comedic masterpiece and was named to the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 films of the 20th century.  One critic said “love the comedy and ignore the plot.”  No kidding.  Caring about the plot of a Marx Brothers movie is like caring about the frame on a Picasso.

Otis P. Driftwood (A Night at the Opera, 1935)

“And now, on with the opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.”–Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera

Another classic which was also named to AFI’s top 100 American Films of the 20th century.  It just happens to also include what I consider the funniest scene of slapstick comedy ever made. (See below).

I’d laugh even harder, but the last cruise I went on, my own cabin was about that size.

 

Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush (A Day at the Races, 1937)

“I have a confession to make.  I’m a horse doctor.  But marry me and I’ll never look at another horse.”–Groucho Marx in A Day at the Races

As suggested by the quote above, Groucho plays a veterinarian of dubious skills in this flick.  I always think of the character name as being Dr. Quackenbush.  And as my wife happens to be a veterinarian, I laugh doubly hard.  Hey, if I can laugh at myself,  I can laugh at my wife, too.

J. Cheever Loophole (At the Circus. 1939)

 “I bet your father spent the first year of your life throwing rocks at the stork.”  Groucho Marx in At the Circus

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that, with that name, Groucho’s character in this one was a lawyer.  It wasn’t the best of the Marx Brothers’ movies, but produced one of the most iconic musical numbers from their oeuvre, Lydia the Tattooed Lady.

That’s just a sampling,  but if you don’t like these, well, he has others!

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Time Out: The Amazing Oliphant Chuckerbutty

Note: This post appeared yesterday, under a different title, on The Blog of Funny Names

“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”–Winston Churchill

In the beginning, there was Outerbridge Horsey.  And Outerbridge Horsey begat Outerbridge Horsey, Jr., who begat Outerbridge Horsey III, who begat Outerbridge Horsey IV and so on through Outerbridge Horsey VII, who still lives today.   And collectively, The Horseys begat the blog of Funny Names which became the bible of funny names.

Now, unto us a king is given.  Behold a new dawn and a New Testament of funny names.

I give you, Oliphant Chuckerbutty.  Or in full, Soorjo Alexander William Langobard Oliphant Chuckerbutty.   (note: he apparently also was known at times as Wilson Oliphant, but why he would ever go by anything other than Oliphant Chuckerbutty is beyond me.).

No, not that Oliphant.

No, not that Oliphant.

The esteemed Mr. Chuckerbutty (1884-1960) was a church and cinema organist, as well as composer of organ music.   He lived most of his life in India. He was best known for, well, not much other than an awesome name.  He did write a brief treatise for young aspiring cinema organists and a single one of his compositions has survived in the classical organist repertory.   Unfortunately for his legacy, there has been no call for cinema organists since the invention of talkies in the late 1920’s.  And here’s an interesting puzzle:  if the World Wide Web has only existed since the 1980’s,  how is it that his ancient document entitled To be or not to be–A Cinema Organist is available on line (here)?  Would anyone in his right mind actually publish this relic today?  No.  Aliens definitely walk among us; they built the internet hundreds of years ago and hid it from us until this exposee on The Blog of Funny Names.  

There’s not much else to tell about Mr. Chuckerbutty.  His grandfather was a journalist named William Oliphant–which might lead one to speculate that he was a relative of the political cartoonist Pat Oliphant.   It might; I have no idea.  Or maybe he was the inspiration for Tolkien’s oliphants.  I suspect that would actually be the organist in  the You Tube video below.

Postscript:  One of the comments on The Blog of Funny Names made reference to an online picture of Oliphant Chuckerbutty in a bow tie.   I looked up that picture and was astonished to see that he is was a near dead ringer for the notorious Arnold Rothstein.  As their supposed birth dates are within two years of each other, I’m wondering:  brothers separated at birth?  Or maybe Rothstein didn’t die from gunshot wounds in that NYC hotel in 1928.  Maybe he moved to London and became Oliphant Chuckerbutty.  What do you think?

Oliphant Rothstein?

Oliphant Rothstein?

Arnold Chuckerbutt?

Arnold Chuckerbutty?

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Ova, Ova, Ova: Funny names in the 2014 U.S. Open

As luck would have it, my second annual sojourn to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships just happens to fall on the same day as my monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names.  This post appears there simultaneously; don’t say I didn’t warn you.

“It’s true I always try to be as seductive as possible, but I wouldn’t be here if I couldn’t play tennis.”–Anna Kournikova

Kournakova.  Yes, she also plays tennis.

Kournakova. Yes, she also plays tennis.

Rybarikova…Rodionova…Cepelova…Strycova…Pronkova…to the uninitiated these names may sound like they came straight from the roster of the Moscow Ballet.   In fact, they are just a handful of the 21 players whose last names end in “ova” in the Women’s singles main draw at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships now into the second week of play.   It seems that eastern European women would rather play tennis than dance–and why not? There is certainly more money in hitting those little yellow balls around.

So what about the men?  C’mon, now, you know better.  Men don’t have ova.   No, really.  There is not a single “ova” name in the men’s singles draw.    So where are all the Eastern European men whose surnames end in “ova?”  Hmm.  Maybe we should check the roster of the Moscow Ballet.

On the subject of the above quoted Anna Kournikova, it should be noted that the reigning USTA junior girls champion,  15-year-old American CiCi Bellis became the youngest woman to win a main draw singles match at the US Open since Kournakova in 1996.     And whom did Bellis beat?  Why Dominka Cibulkova, of course.

As for those of the “Y” chromosome persuasion, it seems the Eastern Europeans also contribute, with notable names including Czechs Blaz Kavil and Jiri Vesely and Slavakian Luckas Lacko.  All three were all somewhat lacko, though, and got knocked out in the early rounds, as did  Fecundo Bagnis, who just might be Bilbo Baggins’s Argentinian cousin.

Batten down the hatches, there's a Tornado coming.

Batten down the hatches, there’s a Tornado coming.

In the juniors,  the best name is a holdover from last year’s girl’s finals.  That would be Tornado Black.  What makes her name even more awesome is that her younger sister, Hurricane Black,  should be along to join her in a couple of years.  Who could ever hope to beat a doubles team named Tornado and Hurricane?

We can’t leave out the boy’s junior draw, where promising up and coming names winning first round matches included Korean Duckhee Lee and Americans Usue Maitane Arconada and Taylor Harry Fritz.  That last one is worthy of some discussion.  We’ve at times made comments about people who have two first names (like the eponymous Tommy John) and two last names (think Harrison Ford).  But in this case, we are looking at last name first and first name last.  Or for that matter,  maybe it’s inside out.  Taylor Harry Fritz?   Harry Fritz Taylor?  Fritz Taylor Harry?   No matter, as long as he wins.

I’ll actually be at the Open today…I’ll report in through the comments if I see any other newsworthy names anywhere else.   Anywhere.   Chair umpires, beer vendors, washroom attendants.  Don’t ever assume that I have a life.

Cheers 🙂

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