Sports figures and nicknames are almost synonymous.
Sports figures and nicknames are almost synonymous.

Vote for your favorite Packers nickname

As the "Pack Attack" and the "Monsters of the Midway" went at it again this weekend in Chi Town, it got me thinking about all the great nicknames between these two teams throughout the decades.

The Bear/Packer rivalry is the oldest in the NFL, and I have been fortunate to see this great rivalry game at least six times, both in Chicago and at Lambeau. It never gets old.

Sure the Bears have some classic nicknames of their own; "Iron Mike" and "Sweetness," "The Fridge" and "Papa Bear" Halas, but in the end, the list of Packer nicknames leaves the Bears nicknames with nowhere to hibernate.

For the younger readers of this blog, some of these Packers nicknames are older than your Aunt Ethel, but every bit as endearing. Others are very much a part of the modern era.

Vote for your favorite nickname at the bottom of this page. While this list is by no means exhaustive, I think it is a fair sampling, and some of the better and more memorable nicknames throughout the franchise history are spot on, and well-earned.

In a few weeks, I will share the winning nickname in another blog, and if they are still alive, I will do my best to interview the player, and at worst, dig deeper into the history of their particular nickname.

A simple hat and a nickname changed everything for one woman.
A simple hat and a nickname changed everything for one woman.

"Fifi the Hat Lady:" a new nickname for an old lover of hats

Of the hundreds of nickname stories I've been blessed to hear over the past three years, this one, involving the 1938 Wisconsin State Fair and a woman who would become known as "Fifi the Hat Lady" is still my favorite, bar none. It leaves every other nickname story in the shade, which is where Marion's mother would have always kept her all summer, if she could.

Back in the early '30s, in Milwaukee, Marion recounts, "My mom didn't want me to get the nickname 'freckles.'

This little girl had "flaming red hair," and every second in the sun made the freckles multiply like crazy.

In the past, many state fairs had "freckles" contests, believe it or not. Kind of a lost art, as it were, in this day and age of political correctness. As "luck" would have it, Marion had two older brothers who took her to the fair that year, back in 1938. When the boys heard over the Fairgrounds loudspeaker that there was a stage holding a "freckles" contest, it was a no brainer. And, as Marion would later say, "I knew if I was in it, I knew I would win it."

A rapper well ahead of her time. Needless to say, this adorable little 7 or 8 year old girl walked away with the contest. She also walked away with a level of freckled humiliation that would haunt her for years to come.

As a huge lover of irony in life, this story still tickles me pink. Her mom was insistent about making Marion wear hats, to keep her cheeky little freckled face out of the sun. As irony would have it, the little freckled face girl fell in love with hats. The rest, as they say, is history. But little did Marion know, that her intersection with life-changing fate, all due to hats, would not occur for years to come.

As Marion's life unfolded, she had the opportunity to travel the world. And wherever she went, she collected hats. From Thailand, London, Paris, you name it, she grabbed one. For most women it's shoes. For Marion, it was hats.

Fast forward to the late '90s. Marion was now about 70 years old. Plenty of kids, gr…

Harley Davidson: a goldmine of nicknames.
Harley Davidson: a goldmine of nicknames.

Nicknames are synonymous with Harley culture

Nicknames in Harley Davidson History: "Flying Freddie," "Willie the Wino" and "The Georgia Peaches."

Nicknames are as much a part of the history of Harley Davidson as "Willy G" himself. And Harley riders today are replete with them. At the HD Museum in Milwaukee, there is an exhibit display that states, "Here are ... patches and pins featuring nicknames and logos, linking each club to its unique hometown characteristics." My recent tour of the museum revealed the following nicknames.

For those of you who enjoy the old hill-climbing races during the 1920's, there was the indefatigable George "Flash" Flauders. Not a lot of guesswork in his nickname, and he likely earned that label for all the right reasons.

Then there were "The Georgia Peaches," a nickname that sounds more like a set of twins serving food at an Atlanta Hooters. In 1927, two women, Vivian Bales & Josephine Johnson, rode Harley motorcycles 300 miles from Albany, Georgia to St. Petersburg, Florida. Vivian was 18. And the newspapers all across the country nicknamed Vivian "The Enthusiast Girl." In 1926 she purchased a Model B single, her first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. As legend has it, Bales taught herself to ride. Later on, Bales decided to trade her Single for a 1929 45 Twin D model, which she frequently described as a "real honey." She was only 5 feet 2 inches and 95 pounds, and she unable to kick-start the bike on her own. The first 98 pound weakling? Hardly. No electric start back in the day.

And what about the truly legendary Leslie "Red" Parkhurst. According to the Parkhurst Family web page:

"At 6 feet four inches, Leslie "Red" Parkhurst was a lanky youth who won his first motorcycle race at the tender age of 13. His nickname derived from his thick mane of hair. He seemed unafraid of the possible consequences to motorcycle racing and was suited to the times, in the same way that Theodore Roosevelt was to the White House of that age."

Makes sense; no biggie. But it ge…

Row, row, row your boat. But give it a nickname first.
Row, row, row your boat. But give it a nickname first.

Nicknames that just might float your boat

I've always been fascinated by boat names. And the Milwaukee lakefront is literally full of them. Water-based nicknames in a way. So, how does a boat get named? Why have they historically been more feminine named? And what about "up north" lake boats, or Great Lakes boats, as opposed to ocean worthy? Is that a different nomenclature?

The trigger is both my fascination with naming in general, and having spent three summers in the Jervis Inlet in British Columbia, one of the true boat Mecca's in the world.

I have found out that the process of naming a boat can be emotional, gut-wrenching, time-consuming, family-splitting and downright painful. It can also happen very quickly, and be a source of great joy and bring a family or strangers together for a lifetime. But simple? Not really. I recently spoke to a guy who owned a boat for three years and never named it.

A key component of this boat-naming process is to make sure you only name your boat during the time of ownership transition, but never after. Once you name your boat, you stick with it, until death do you part.

The Milwaukee Yacht Club began in 1871. And the current MYC Commodore Ed Purcell was kind enough to allow me to take a water based tour of the docks, to capture some boat names I found intriguing. Some of these names included: Busted Flush, Sir Vey, Aqua Pella, Loofah, Dock Holiday, Pain Killer, Sail la Vie, Whatever, Gray Matter, Once in A blue Moose, Bottom's Up, Wet Dream, and of course everyone's favorite: Honey, Does This Boat Make My Butt look Big? (Why frankly, yes it does).

How could you not want to know where some of these names came from?

Don, the owner and skipper of the power boat "Sir Vey," told me that he named his boat this for essentially two reasons. First, there was a "trend" at the time to give boats feminine names. So instead of "Miss," the thought of something named "Sir" would make it more memorable. Second, he owns a "survey" landscaping company. T…

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