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Woodworking: Practically anything is fair game for someone's collection

People collect the craziest things. And I'm not talking about gold-plated buffalo nickels from the Franklin Mint.

For instance, my wife's Aunt Verna collected and categorized thousands of different napkins from weddings, funerals, night clubs, restaurants, you name it, until the day she died.

Another acquaintance, we'll call him Dick, collected tokens from pre-prohibition saloons, those little wooden coins that entitled you to a free beer or drink of your choice.

Dick had thousands of them.

When I told him I grew up in Whitehall, he immediately came up with four tokens from different saloons in town.

Jan, who grilled burgers and drew taps at Pigeon Falls's iconic Dew Drop Inn, collected salt-and-pepper shakers.

Back then I wrote a column for Grit, the national family paper. I mentioned Jan's hobby and she was inundated with 300 more shakers from all over the U.S.

I also wrote about a woman in south Minneapolis who collected what I called "pigobilia."

Her home was filled with pig doorstoppers, pig cookie jars, and, yes, pig salt shakers.

How to write about this?

I wrote the story in Pig Latin, the only time in the history of the Star Tribune in which a story was published in a "foreign" language, or, if you will, an oreign-fay, anguage-lay.

One of the most interesting collections I've ever run across was made by a Star Tribune colleague, Mike Smith, a long-time copy editor at the newspaper.

He collected names of people.

Real names, not ones like the Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe, made popular by Click and Clack, the Cambridge, Mass., garage owners who appear on PBS.

No, Mike, from his vantage point at the copy desk got to see lots of funny names that were real, were in the news. Here's a sampling of Mike's handiwork:

How about Guts Ishimatsu, a former WBC lightweight champion.

Or the late Sir Dingle Foot, who once served as Great Britain's Solicitor General.

Or U.S. district judge, Barefoot Sanders.

Two of my favorite tongue twisters had always been senators Bourke Hickenlooper and Leverett Saltonstall until 1979 when Mike ran across a real winner on the Associated Press wire: Cantwell F. Muckenfuss III.

Muckenfuss falls into Mike's category III, in which the name is appropriate for the bearer's occupation. Muckenfuss tops the category because he served as senior deputy controller of the currency.

A few more:

Jaime Cardinal Sin hit the jackpot when he was named Archbishop of Manila.

And a man named David Dull at one time edited a publication called "Editor's Guide to the United Nations," a book you probably never saw on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Years back three women who work as genealogists out East wrote Mike and me to nominate their favorite, a New Englander named Preserved Fish. (He might very well have some Viking blood in him.)

In the 1960s I went to college in Bowling Green, Ohio, and was amused to find that the town's Lutheran minister's name was Loyal Bishop and the campus religious adviser's name was the Rev. Will Power.

As a student there, struggling with linguistics, I was very pleased to find out that one of the world's most famous linguists was none other than George Phillip Krapp.

I haven't seen Mike Smith in years, but when I do I want him to begin a new category.

For some time I've been wondering where current pro athletes come up with their names, which just don't sound right.

Whatever happened to names like Bronko Nagurski? Or Leo Nomellini?

The new jocks have overly fancy names.

Take the Viking's quarterback, Christian Ponder, who sounds like a character out John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress."

Or Packer place kicker Mason Crosby, a moniker with a bearer more likely to glide out if the drawing room at Twelve Oaks after a tete-a-tete with Scarlett O'Hara.

Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554.