Bowlers love nicknames.
Bowlers love nicknames.

These nicknames will bowl you over

If there is anything "more Milwaukee" than bowling, I'm not sure what it might be.

Nicknames have been a part of the American pro bowler's tour for years; and very much a part of the local bowling scene as well. "Browneout," let me introduce you to "The Tornado in a Miniskirt."

On the pro-bowling circuit, there was "Wrongfoot" Loui Campi, the only right-handed star of his day, to finish his approach on his right foot. And remember Carmen Salvino, nicknamed "The Spook?" He liked his nickname so much he had a stamp created that said "The Spook Was Here," a reference to the irreverent WWII slogan "Kilroy Was Here."

Then there was the great Earl Anthony. Remember his nickname? "The Doomsday Striking Machine" because he so consistently rolled strikes it spelled doom for many of his opponents.

Or what about Don Carter, nicknamed "Bosco?" He was called that because there was a chocolate beverage of the same name that was his favorite drink. That might be all well and good, but his wife, Paula Carter, was the real show-stopper. She wasn't called "The Tornado in a Miniskirt" for nothin'.

But what about the local Milwaukee metro area bowling scene? Is it replete with nicknames? You bet it is. And finding them was as easy as rolling a gutter ball on an open lane.

This past Wednesday night, I spent 15 minutes at the Circle B bowl in Grafton, and stumbled upon a group of 20-something locals, who bowl every Wednesday night. With technology's ability to post your bowling nickname above your lane for all the world to see, it was a quick strike.

I asked local Chris Dyer how he and his buddies came up with their nicknames that night for bowling.

"Every night before we start to bowl, we pick a theme, like movies: Star Wars, Lion King or a TV show like King of the Hill. Tonight we chose South Park characters."

So the nicknames for Chris and the boys Wednesday night were "Cartman," "Token," "Stan" and "Randy." Makes sense. Good clean fun.

But what about the girls at the lane next door? The…

It's patriotic to have a nickname, perhaps.
It's patriotic to have a nickname, perhaps.

From "Honest Abe" to "Tricky Dick," presidents have nicknames, too

Nicknames in presidential politics? Nothing new, nothing sacred. And no one's immune.

As a political science major, I have very little interest in politics these days. They have simply become an anathema to me.

But the trigger for this blog was The Washington Times story this week about the nicknames surrounding President Obama's Heartland Bus tour. We've all heard them by now: Rolling Blunder, Running on Empty, America Under the Wheels, etc.

How quickly nicknames become part of the political landscape, even when they are targeted at inanimate objects. But before you get all wrapped around the axle for fear of me making some kind of political statement about the current administration, "let me be perfectly clear," that is not my intention. I simply think the article was a good medium for a quick trip down American presidential nickname lane, as once again, nicknames took center stage this week, this time in the political media.

Nicknames not an important part of presidential history and politics? Think again.

Nicknames go back as far as the Founding Fathers. Good old George Washington was known as "The Father of His Country." And there was the infamous "Old Sink or Swim" John Adams. That nickname was given to him for his famous sink or swim speech. And for all the right reasons, Abe Lincoln was nicknamed "Honest Abe."

Andrew Jackson was nicknamed "Old Hickory" by his soldiers for being as tough as old hickory wood. And James Madison was nicknamed "His Little Majesty" because at a towering 5 feet 4 inches, he was the shortest President ever. Or how about William Henry Harrison, nicknamed "Old Tippecanoe"? This nickname was used in the 1840 presidential election in a campaign song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too."

Then there was "Ten-Cent Jimmie." The nickname given to then president James Buchanan, who during the election of 1856 claimed during the campaign that 10 cents a day was enough money for the average working man to live on.

Or how about the newspapers dur…

A.A. Solomon became Pablo Solomon.
A.A. Solomon became Pablo Solomon. (Photo: Beverly Solomon)

Change your nickname, change your life


This story is a great example of the power of naming and nicknames. It was submitted to me by a now very famous artist, who lives outside of Austin, Tex. The story is told in his own words.

"We have all heard the 'rose by any other name." However, when it comes to branding, that does not always hold true. Let me share my own experience as an artist promoting my brand name. For many years I struggled as an artist. Like many artists, I thought that struggle equaled art.

Then I married my wife, Beverly. She had been a model and then in sales and marketing for Diane von Furstenberg, Revlon and Ralph Lauren. She shared a view of creativity and success that opened my eyes to the simple reality that art is a business.

In fact, she reminded me that Andy Warhol once said that success in business is the greatest art. She also opened my eyes to another simple truth that many artists deny – great art does not bring great prices – art by well known artists does.

Beverly also took me to visit a dear friend of hers, whom she met while working for a French cosmetic company decades ago. Marilyn by this time had gone on to pursue her dream of photography and was specializing in wonderful photos of the French countryside and villages that she so loved. She and Beverly decided that I needed a makeover. So they pierced my ear, got me "artist" clothes and even worked on my posture.

Marilyn then suggested that I change my "brand" name to my nickname "Pablo." What a difference a name made! In the past, I had used my legal name, A. A. Solomon, as my art name. Unfortunately, no one remembered it. And if they did, they associated it with stock broker or scientist.

But as soon as we went with the nickname 'pablo solomon' brand (yes all small letters), things immediately turned around. I did more sales and got more attention in a few years than I had in the past three decades as an artist. People around the world immediately associated 'pablo solomon' with art. Also because both 'pablo' and 's…

Some nicknames are a swing and a miss.
Some nicknames are a swing and a miss.

Baseball players score highly in nickname department

When it comes to the topic of nicknames, political correctness evaporates as quickly as a drop of Miller beer on a hot sidewalk. And there's quite a bit of local and national buzz these days about the current "Brew Crew" and its cast of characters, including The Hebrew Hammer, The Ax Man and a whole host of others. The 2011 Brewer team is quickly becoming well-known for their nicknames. It's beginning to feel a bit like a throwback to the days of Harvey's Wallbangers almost 30 years ago.

Nyjer Morgan occasionally refers to himself as Tony Plush, which he states is his "name on the field" or his "gentleman's name." That is so not legit, for my money. Nicknames, by definition, need to be earned, not given to yourself. Is an alter ego a nickname? Nyjer says it's just an alter ego that started when he was a kid, and was simply a nickname used among his childhood friends.

Recently, Morgan also said he saw the pitch on the way, and just "tickled it into the outfield" using his "Plushdamentals." Huh?

So today, I'm offering one of my own nickname for Nyjer. "NyMo the Dynamo." In the above context, perhaps not too far off. With this guy, is it alter ego, or altered states?

And what about some of the other current Brewers nicknames?

As we all know, Ryan Braun is aptly nicknamed "The Hebrew Hammer." That one is unlikely to escape him anytime soon. And I gotta believe the original "Hammerin Hank" is OK with it, too.

And John Axford? Also known as "The Ax Man." When he retires, I can see him standing in front of an army tent, for a Civil War re-enactment.

So how do some of these current Brewer nicknames stack up against some of the show stoppers from the past? For some of the younger Brewer fans, here's a trip down the foul line, and some Brewer nicknames from a bye-gone era.

The top 10, for my money:

Turnblow – Derrick Turnbow

Hammerin Hank – Hank Aaron

Downtown Ollie Brown

The Kid – Robin Yount

The Ignitor – Paul Molitor

Gumby – Jim Gantner

Boomber – G…