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Cosmic Quote #78

“Don’t let the same dog bite you twice.”–Chuck Berry

Unfortunately, the Grim Reaper has bitten us multiple times in the past year.  So many of my heroes gone.  Yogi Berra.  Alvin Toffler.  Arnold Palmer.   And now, one of the indisputable greats of original American Music.  I’d let that dog bite me three times if it would bring all these icons back.

 

If the future of the human race concerns you, be sure to check out my other blog–and podcast to go with it–at www.seekingdelphi.com.

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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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Time Out: Second Annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards for the Funniest Names on the Planet

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

“Awards do not pay the mortgage.”–Kevin Chamberlin

I’m taking a poll.  All those who don’t agree with the above quote, send me $100.  Let’s prove it wrong.

Now, let’s get down to business.  2014 may be over, but the awards season for its achievements is just beginning.  Not to be outdone, let’s be the first to throw out meaningless accolades in the new year, with the second annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards, honoring the best of the past year’s funny names previously covered in these pages.  Yes, we do consider it an honor.  By the way, due to numerous complaints from readers, we have dropped last year’s requirement that you be wearing a tuxedo or evening gown when you read this post.  But please, no tank tops or bare feet;  and if you do chose formal attire, wearing both a tuxedo and an evening gown at the same time would be awesome!

It’s going to be tough to outdo last year’s winners.  How do you top the likes of 2013 Funny-Named Athlete of the YearBarkevious Mingo  and 2013 Funny Name in the News of the YearJanice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele?  The latter  should also win a special achievement award as the longest name ever presented herein–or maybe anywhere else for that matter.   Anyway, we may not be able to top them, but let’s give it a go.

Two of these will be awarded to Englebert Humperdinck.  Sadly, this won't make a whole horse.

Two of these will be awarded for Englebert Humperdinck. Sadly, this still doesn’t make a whole horse.

We’ll start with a bit of nostalgia and bestow the 2014 Funny-named Entertainer of the Year on Engelbert Humperdinck.  Both of them!  The cheesy 1960’s and 70’s British pop singer and the not-quite-as-cheesy 19th century German opera composer.   British Englebert had a number of top 40 hits back in the day, the first and biggest of which, Release Me, peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1967.  German Englebert composed any number of forgotten hodge-podges, but had one smashing success, Hänsel und Gretel, which premiered in 1893 under the baton of one Richard Strauss.  It has held down the #1 spot on the Fairy Tale-Themed Opera hit parade for most of the 120+ years since.  Oh, he also had a cheesy pop singer copy his name.  Our correspondent Kerbey originally profiled the British Engelbert back in April of last year, and included a shout out to the late German composer.

Next up is the 2014 Funny Named Athlete of the Year award, and the field of nominees is a crowded one.  With the likes of World Series MVP and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Madison Bumgarner, Funniest Names in the NFL Draft poll runner-up Jadaveon Clowney,  Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness runner-up Joey Pankake,  and probable NFL Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year Odell Beckham, Jr. all in the running, it’s going to be hard to pick a winner.   But since we have to,  the envelope please!

And the winner is….none of the above, because there is just no way we can deny our readers’ wishes.  The winner is the 2014 Funniest Name in the NFL Draft poll champion Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.   He was not chosen as early in the NFL draft as Clowney and did not have as great a rookie year as Beckham, Jr.  But he sure led the league in bad jokes on his name.

Next, we move on to Funny-Named Politician of the Year. I was very tempted to delve into the realm of nostalgia again, and award posthumous trophies to two classics I profiled back in July:  Harry Baals and Wankard Pooser.  But those names are in such an elite class of their own, it seems almost unfair to award them Horseys.   So instead, we’ll actually name this award after them, and give the 2014 Wankard–Baals Award for the funniest name in politics to one Zephyr Rains Teachout.   Profiled by Arto back in September, Ms. Teachout had the audacity to challenge the unfunny-named, but very powerful Andrew Cuomo, for the New York Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  She lost; but she won our hearts.  Being that she is a professor of constitutional law–a teacher!–at the Vermont School of Law, we need to create another new honor for actually being her name.   Let’s call it the Major Major Major Major Aptly-Named Award.   Too bad she doesn’t look like Henry Fonda;  the image below could have been her campaign poster.

He's not Major Major Major Major, but he sure looks like him.

He’s not Major Major Major Major, but he sure looks like him.

Moving on to the 2014 Funniest Name in the News Award, we have a dilemma.  Nothing could possibly top the aforementioned 2013 winner, Janice K.  We have limited storage space on WordPress, so we can only spell out her name so many times, even though the abbreviation makes her appear to be the sister of  Joseph K., from Kafka’s The Trial.   And again, space limitations prevent us from naming the award after her.  So let’s be brief.  The winner this year is pop singer Iggy Azalea, for repeated news mentions mainly due to legal problems and for having a name that sounds more like a coniferous evergreen than an actual person.  She was first covered here in a Funny Names in the News post in August.  Hopefully this will be her last mention.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for–well, I’ve been waiting for it because my hands are cramping up from all this typing–the ultimate award, The 2014 Funny-Named Person of the Year.

May we have a drum roll please.  Ratattattat

And now a trumpet fanfare.  Tarantara

And finally, one stupendous, ear-splitting volley of flatulence!  Pffffffffffttttttttttttt!

And if that introduction did not clue you in to the identity of the winner, you clearly have not been reading this blog very closely.   Because, yes, our winner is the man who famously described his own name as sounding like “a fart in a bathtub,”  the irrepressible British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.  He’s been nominated for both an Emmy as best actor for his portrayal of the title character in the BBC  TV series Sherlock, and for a Golden Globe as best actor for his portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.  He’ll almost certainly get an Oscar nomination for the latter role, as well.  But he doesn’t have to wait to actually win an award.  He’s got one now.  So let’s give him a big round of applause and drown out all that flatulence.  Or at least the sound of it.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Funny-Named Person of the Year.  Only his name is flatulent.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Funny-Named Person of the Year. Only his name is flatulent.

Check out the insanity on my own blog here,  and have a happy and prosperous 2015

Cheers,

 

 

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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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Time Out: Remembering Dave Brubek

“I like to play  dangerously… where you’re going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven’t created before.”–Dave Brubek

(Note:  The title of this post provides an apt, if inadvertent double entendre.  I have used the title preface “Time Out” for posts that don’t readily fit into my existing threads.  “Time Out” also just happens to be the title of The Dave Brubek Quartet’s signature album.  It was issued in 1959 and became the first million selling jazz album ever.  It is one of the greatest classics of the genre).

Brubek on the cover of Time, November 1954.  NO! I do not remember it, I was four years old.

Brubek on the cover of Time, November, 1954.

I never met the man, yet somehow I knew him.     In one of the choral groups I sang with in high school we performed a Brubek composition (yes he wrote choral music, too).   Our director actually tried to get Brubek, who lived in a neighboring town,  to make a guest appearance to conduct the piece at our concert.  He was unavailable.  I never gave it much thought then, though Brubek’s Greatest Hits was the first jazz album I owned–and in fact the only jazz in my collection until I was in my forties.  I did not see him perform live until I was in my 50’s and he in his 80’s.

Below are two videos, courtesy of the Litchfield Jazz Festival, where I saw Dave Brubek perform twice.  The first video is a promotional piece that begins with Brubek performing in the 2005 festival.   In the shot of the audience applause that follows the visual of Brubek you’ll see two audience members stand up near the back.  I’m pretty sure the partially obscured one farthest back is me.  In the second video, taped at the 2008 festival, NPR interviews Brubek and Paquito D’Rivera.  There was no seating in this tent.  I was standing in the front row, about fifteen feet from Brubek during the entire interview.  I witnessed history that day.

Dave Brubek was an icon, a living legend.  He was not just a great artist, he was one of the great ambassadors for the arts.  He died yesterday, one day short of his 92nd birthday, in the same hospital where my wife was born.  So near, and yet so far away.

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Timeout: The Good, The Bad, and The Ridiculous

“Ukuleles are like your children. The first one, you obsess and protect. By the fourth one, you let them eat high-fructose corn syrup and run with power tools.” — The Interwebs

So what do you suppose we should say about a universe that contains something called The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain–with seven ukes?!   Here is a little ditty–with copious apologies to Ennio Morricone–that is particularly dear in the hearts of me and my poker buddies.  I won’t explain why, because that in itself is beyond ridiculous.  But this should tide you over until the next sublime post, which is still incubating.

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