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Time Out: Conrad Cornelius O’Donald O’Dell and the Funniest Names in Children’s Literature

“Said Conrad Cornelius O’Donald O’Dell, my very young friend who is learning to spell…”–Dr. Seuss (On Beyond Zebra)

This post appears today on The Blog of Funny Names

on beyond zebraIt has been previously reported in these pages that this author’s interest in funny names began way back in middle school in the mid 1960’s with the creation of a list of the 50 wackiest names in baseball history.

This report was wrong.   It’s true that my best friend of that era and I did create such a list.   But my seminal interest in funny names lore predated even that,  going way back to elementary school in the late 1950’s.  My favorite book at that age, you see, was an amazing tome by one Theodore Seuss Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss.

I have often said that while others are encouraged to think outside the box, I have often found it downright difficult to think inside the box, and I’m pretty sure this habit started with the Seuss classic, On Beyond Zebra.   And while an earlier post on this blog chronicled Charles Dickens as the greatest master of funny names in English Literature,  Dr. Seuss deserves similar recognition in the milieu of children’s literature.

I could go on and on regarding any number of Seussian monikers, like Gertrude McFuzz, Ziggy Zozzfozzel or Gerald McBoing-Boing.  But one book stands alone–On Beyond Zebra–as the absolute gold standard of funny names in children’s literature.  In fact, it contained names so outre he invented new letters of the alphabet with which to spell them.

In all 20 new creatures made this alphabet quorum, from YUZZ-A-MA-TUZZ to HIGH GARGEL-ORUM.
For the most part they seemed and sounded quite dumbus, like FLUM is for FLUMMEL and WUM is for WUMBUS.
What is my favorite?  It’s darned hard to picker,  from SNEE is for SNEEDLE to GLICK is for GLIKKER.
And as sure and as shootin’ as I am a libra, my favorite kids book is still ON BEYOND ZEBRA.
 
We often referred to out two schipperkes (dogs) as Thing A and Thing B.  They were almost as raucous as these guys.

We often referred to our two schipperkes (dogs) as Thing A and Thing B. They were almost as raucous as these guys.

And that, my friends, is how it is done.  So come back real soon if you want some real fun.  😀

END NOTE:  A few years ago there were so many hurricanes that the National Hurricane Center ran out of standard western alphabet letters to name them after, and had to go to Greek letters to designate the overflow.  I actually emailed WCBS-New York News Radio 880 weatherman Craig Allen and suggested they use the Seuss letters instead.   To my amazement, he took my tongue-in-cheek suggestion seriously and emailed back that I should send the suggestion to the Hurricane Center.  I shot back that it was intended as a joke, and he should feel free to use it.   I don’t know if he ever did,  but a few days later Stephen Colbert made this very suggestion on the first Colbert Report.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but those New York media types travel in the same circles, so you never know!

 
 
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Funny Names Thursday : A Special Investigative Report

Being vain, I don’t usually reblog anything that is not by me or about me. But in this case, I’m making an exception. Brilliant investigative reporting here by my fellow Blog of Funny Names correspondent, Arto.

The Blog of Funny Names

And now for something completely different. Here is a special report filed by our European Field Agent Portnoy Macademia. Enjoy.

In a nondescript office building in central Lausanne, Switzerland, there is a global registry of unusual names. A man named Herland Howitzer is the curator, sole customer service representative and by unfortunate necessity, janitor. He is essentially the registry embodied, the only employee aside from a nice old woman from Missouri by the name of Janet who has the job of sitting at a desk, holding open a very large book and smiling nicely to you when you ask about this or that name, before ringing a small bell that brings Herland over to actually talk to you.

The reasons behind the Registry’s founding remain shrouded in mystery. Herland has worked here “more than several decades”, he tells me, and so did the curator/janitor before him. He has a…

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2013 Funny Names In Review: Introducing the Horsey Awards!

Another guest post on the Blog of Funny Names. Check out the first annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards!

The Blog of Funny Names

“I don’t deserve this award.  But then I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that, either.”–Jack Benny

Oscars…Emmys…Tonys…Pulitzers…who cares?  There is a new accolade that every up-and-coming celebrity can now aspire to, over and above anything else out there.

Welcome to the first annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards, given to the best of the funny names honored herein during the previous 12-months.  Yes, not to be outdone by the actors, journalists, broadcasters and pig farmers of the world, we can be just as self serving as any of them.  Here are the inaugural winners of the Horseys; they are  sure to be the envy of the galaxy, if not the entire universe.  (Note: if you don’t know who Outerbridge Horsey is, you haven’t been paying attention to this blog.  Shame on you.)

To imbue a Hollywood-like aura to this affair (and please be wearing a tuxedo or evening gown…

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Time Out: Moniker Madness

“Who’s on first.”–Bud Abbott

Note: If you have never seen Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” routine, one can only draw one of three possible conclusions.  You’re from a country that does not play baseball, you can’t speak English, or you’ve been living under a rock your entire life.  Maybe all three.  For your benefit (and I assume you speak English if you’re reading this blog) and for anyone who needs a refresher, the video link to that classic appears at the end of this article.

Hu's on FirstStorm Throne…Rougned Odor…Sicnarf Loopstok…these are only three of the 75 names entered in minor league baseball’s seventh annual Moniker Madness competition, to chose the best name (read: most ridiculous) in the game.  The contest began Monday and will run through  August 29.  You can see the whole list, and vote for your favorites, here.

No purging of my hopelessly cluttered mind would be complete without a discussion of baseball names.  Or–more specifically–funny baseball names.  Abbott and Costello famously lampooned funny baseball names as far back as the early 1930’s.  Back in middle school in the 1960’s, my best friend and I cataloged a list of what we called the 50 wackiest names in (up to then) Baseball history.  The list included such beauts as Clyde Kluttz, Van Lingle Mungo, Orval Overall and Christian Frederick Albert John Henry David Betzel.   More recently, I have profiled some of these guys as a guest correspondent on The Blog of Funny NamesBut let’s get back to Moniker Madness.

Sicnarf Loopstok?  Really?  Is that a name or the result of an explosion in an Alpha Bits factory?  Yes, it is real, and Loopstok is currently leading on the list of this year’s nominees.  Some of my personal favorites on this year’s list, besides Loopstok, include Jose Jose, Storm Throne and the aforementioned Mr. Odor.  (What were his parents thinking?  Can you imagine the schoolyard taunts when he was a kid?).

Here’s a fun little game to play with these names.  If one saw the name, and didn’t know it was of a professional ballplayer, who might you take them for instead?  Here’s a few of my suggestions from this year’s MM list:

Duke Von Schamman–Baron von Richthofen’s younger step-brother.

Sicnarf Loopstok–the prime minister of Croatia.  (Oops, turns out he is from Aruba, so how about the governor of Aruba?)

Storm Throne–a female porn star

Damien Magnifico–goalie for the Brazilian World Cup soccer team.

Jett Bandy–see Storm Throne

Sammie Star–see Storm Throne and Jett Bandy

Zech Zinicola–councilman from the third ward, Bayone, NJ

Delta Cleary, Jr.–a used car dealer with annoying TV and radio ads

Jose Jose–a character from a Saturday Night Live or other TV show sketch.  (Can’t you just hear Bill Dana** saying “my name, Jose Jose?”)

Mookie Betts–a professional gambler

Rougned Odor–maybe a…or…er…help me out, I have no idea here.  (It’s pronounced roog-ned oh-dor, accents on the first syllables)

The full current leader board can be found on the MiLB.com site.   If you can come up with additions to the list above, please share them with us.

Have a great day, and don’t even think of naming any of your kids after these guys.  😀

**Like me, Bill Dana is an Emerson College grad.  He went there centuries before I did, though. 😛

Signature    @MarkSackler

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Wonderful Terrific Monds III and Moniker Madness

Another guest post on The Blog of Funny Names.

The Blog of Funny Names

Can’t anyone here play this game?”–Casey Stengel

Question:  What do Roughned Odor, Zealous Wheeler, Caleb Bushyhead, Michael Goodnight and Tuffy Gosewisch have in common?

Answer:  They are just five of the 63 also-rans in the 2012 Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness, behind the eventual winner, Rock Shoulders.   Shoulders joined previous winners Seth Schwindenhammer, Rowdy Hardy, Dusty Napoleon, Will Startup and Houston Summers in winning the annual Wonderful Terrific Monds III award for the most awesome name in all of organized minor league baseball.

Wonderful Terrific Monds III??!!  Yes, that’s a real name, of a real baseball player, who spent the years 1993-1999 in the minor leagues, mostly in the Atlanta Braves organization.   It seems his great grandfather had a slew of girls, and when he finally had a son, he thought it was Wonderful and Terrific and named him such.   Like the Outerbridge Horsey legacy, the name has been…

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Charles Dickens and the Funniest Names in Fiction

My monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names….

The Blog of Funny Names

Charles John Huffman Dickens (1812-1870), as any literate speaker of the Queen’s English knows, was one of the greatest writers in the history of Western Civilization.   No, his name was not funny, and not even eponymous.  The origin of the term dickens as a mild oath or euphemism apparently dates to more than two centuries before his birth.  But what the illustrious Mr. Dickens  was, and to this day remains, is the godfather of funny names in fiction.  His most famous character is the archetypal funny-named character, Ebeneezer Scrooge, who most certainly is eponymous.   Dicitionary.com defines a scrooge as a skinflint or miserly curmudgeon.  And while the use of the word generically to describe any Scrooge-like individual does not appear to have emerged until the late 1930’s, it clearly developed from Scrooge and A Christmas Carol.

But Scrooge is just the start.  The list of funny names…

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Xavier Cugat and Charo

As a fitting follow up to the Funniest Names in the NFL, here is my latest guest post on The Blog of Funny Names.

The Blog of Funny Names

How’s this for a couple: Francesc d’Asis Xavier Cugat Mingall de Bru i Deulofeu (1 January 1900 – 27 October 1990) and Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza (born January 15, 1945)?

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.  As you might surmise, there is a story as to how they became a couple and how they came to be featured on this blog.

Let’s start with the latter (and shorter) story first.  In perusing the NFL draft’s funniest names, I noticed that not only were there two guys named Cornelius up for grabs, there were also two named Xavier.  As Xavier seemed to be nearly as good a candidate for funny names fodder as Cornelius, the search was on for a funny-named Xavier in other walks of life.    Seek and ye shall find.  Buried deep in the archives of my decaying neurons was a blurry vision from an Ed…

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Funny Names in the NFL Draft 2013

Here is my newest opus on The Blog of Funny Names. My apologies to those of you who are not North American sports fans. You have my permission to skip this one–and miss all the fun.

The Blog of Funny Names

I am about to commit the ultimate heresy as a 50-year keeper and chronicler of baseball funny names.

This post is about funny names in football,  which I admit concede nothing to baseball in this post-post-modern era. One has simply to look at just a few of the names in the recent history of the game to get the drift.  Plaxico Burress. Osi Umenyiora. Mathias Kiwanuka. Santana MossD’Brickashaw Ferguson.  And this list is only a partial accounting of the unusual and funny names that have passed through just one NFL city–New York–over the past decade.

The NFL draft begins tomorrow evening.  We would be remiss in not giving it its due.  Further, we will involve you, the reader in a stirring competition: a poll to pick the funniest name in the 2013 NFL draft.  So without further banter, here are the nominees for Funniest…

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Here’s another monthly guest post of mine from The Blog of Funny Names. The name is funny, but the story is not. I guess I get serious–or at least less flippant–when the baseball season approaches.

The Blog of Funny Names

What a mouthful.  Named for six uncles and nicknamed for the family St. Bernard dog that followed him around as a child,  Christian Frederick Albert John Henry David “Bruno” Betzel (1894-1965) was a dead ball era baseball player whose brief career as an infielder with the St. Louis Cardinals spanned the years 1914 through 1918.  Betzel made the majors at the tender of age of 19 and was through by 24.  Normally, a player prodigious enough to make the show as a teenager has a long, even Hall of Fame caliber career.  Robin Yount was the starting shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers at 18.  Al Kaline jumped straight from high school to the Detroit Tigers, also at the ripe age of 18.  I have been unable to find any story recounting why Betzel was washed up so young.   At any rate, his name was truly longer than his career, and…

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https://millenniumconjectures.com/2013/03/12/1964/

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Guest Post Reblog #2

I’m back from the Iberian peninsula just in time to reblog my second monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names. Appropriately enough, it’s a place name and not a person.

In other news, my thanks to Sue of Dreamshadow59 for nominating me for the very inspiring blogger award. I do appreciate the nominations (this my 8th I think) but I don’t participate–meaning I don’t jump through the required hoops among which require nominating so many other bloggers, so that it spreads like a rhinovirus through the blogosphere.    http://dreamshadow59.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

Now, if I can find my office under all this snow, back to real life.

The Blog of Funny Names

Truth or Consequences, NM,is indeed one of the odd names in American Geography.  The story of the name’s origin is odder still.  I thought I had it nailed back in the early 70’s, long before the founders of this blog were even born.  I drove through Truth or Consequences on a cross country trip.  As I passed beyond the city limits heading north towards Albequerque, I saw a huge sign on the interstate proclaiming “NEXT SERVICES 100 MILES.”  Aha!  That has to be it, I thought, as I looked down at my dashboard. My gas gauge had better be telling me the truth, or I would pay the consequences!

Wrong.   Well, sort of right; my observation about being screwed if my gas gauge was inaccurate probably was true.  But  the true story of how the former Hot Springs, NM changed its name is more unlikely than that. It…

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