Why did so many celebrities change their names?

Like wondering about where so many catch phrases came from which led to the writing of my best-selling book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions, I wondered for a long time why so many stars in entertainment and sports take stage names and authors often take pen names. So…o…o…o I started my search for those who had and found that there had been countless cases over the past 200 years. I couldn’t use them all, so I selected 200 which I felt had interesting stories to tell. Some of them I have personal, family, friend or business connections to.

I found that at least 20 featured entertainers who took stage names were from Jewish immigrant families. Many were impoverished; some were abused; several were forced to work as young children to help pay family bills. Many were from broken homes, and some never knew their biological fathers, often being placed in foster care. One worked as a prostitute, one a bootlegger; another was a drug dealer. Several were jailed. One was expelled from school and many were dropouts. How did these broken individuals climb to the top of their professions? It took dogged determination and encouragement, and likely, a new name.

The book  will be out very soon. In this pictorial book of trivia, one unique feature is that I include popular actors, singers, dancers, authors, sports figures, magicians, entrepreneurs, broadcasters, models and others who longed to create a public persona which he or she felt was worthy of his or her audience, revealing the circumstances and reasons behind the changes and how they built the public perceptions which took them up the ladder of success. I have been very selective in order to provide a variety of intriguing personalities and stories of overcoming adversity.

It’s called 200 Celebrities Who Changed Their Names and How They Found Success. I’ll let you know when it is available. Meanwhile, visit stclairpublications.com for a lot of great books by many good authors.

Love is the Key to Survival

My father was a democrat and my mother was a republican. I have lived in both the North and the South. I have friends who are liberal and friends who are conservative. I am neither a Socialist nor a Nazi; neither an extreme left winger or extreme right winger. Does this mean I am apolitical or that I have no religious beliefs? Certainly not. I hold all truth to be in high value. But I am open minded and fair, and hate and dissention will never bring America or the world, together. I don’t think we have to fight each other to bring peace. But I believe that we can co-exist by being civil and showing love and compassion to all persons of all faiths, religions and political convictions. I am a follower of Christ, but don’t agree with all who call themselves Christian. A big problem in any society is extremists who attempt to force their ideas on others. Lives speak volumes. Loving all humanity and all creatures and even our earth which gives new life each year is the key. What part of LOVE ONE ANOTHER do we not understand? So let us pray for peace, not only in our world, but in the hearts of men. The actual declaration by the messengers (angels) declared in the biblical account at the birth of Jesus was, “Peace on earth to men of good will.” Let’s be men and women of good will so long as this age continues, which will usher us into a better life now and forever.

Ron Cunningham: A Tribute to a Great American

This past Thursday I was taken aback and very saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend, Ron Cunningham. Since I met him at a Scottish event in April, 2009, we have been very close. Right away, before even getting to know me Ron purchased one of my books and told me a little about his harrowing experiences as a small town sheriff in the late 1970s and how a contract out on his life brought in experts with the FBI, TBI and US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Information gathered in the FBI sting further incriminated the past Tennessee Governor, already under investigation, and got the present governor involved in the process. Right on the heels of the Buford Pusser saga which was made into the major motion picture, Walking Tall, he was sought after by the press and Hollywood wanting rights. He denied all at the time. Ron felt that the time had come and the story should be told. He came to my home and we made an agreement to co-write his story. The initial book, Conspiracy in the Town That TIme Forgot  was my first book to be heralded as an Amazon Hot New Release when it came out in October that year. He and I traveled around the region and even out of state on book signings. Two were at campuses of Motlow State Community College, which carried it in their bookstores and libraries and recommended it to Criminal Justice students. It was carried in several regional bookstores and other places of business, even some in other states. He and I co-wrote two more books and have spent a great deal of time together, During most of this time he was serving as Captain over investigations for the city of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Ron has treated me like a brother, having me take part in several family events.


Due to the fact that his wife, Linda, was in Guatemala at the time of his passing, services have been put off until next weekend. I salute Ron, and his wife and three daughters have lost a great example of American fortitude and courage. He will be dearly missed by so many that I cannot begin to say. Our books are still available at stclairpublications.com and on Amazon and other bookseller websites around the world.

Upon what should our minds dwell?

I have written easy-going metric poetry since my youth. I was influenced by such people as Lewis Carroll and Nathaniel Hawthorn, though I enjoyed the likes of Poe. I just wrote a poem which I wanted to share. Sometimes I think we get so serious about life that we don’t enjoy the good things.


I realize our turtles are rightly tortoises,

I know that our rabbits are hares.

It’s true that our blackbirds are starlings,

But Darling, I don’t really care.


I know that today was tomorrow yesterday,

And that we will never move to there—

The future is a mist we all must wander through,

But frankly my dear, I don’t care.


It is only for Love that we should live our lives,

Some days are murky; others fair.

As for the trifling angst of pampering everyone,

Frankly I have learned not to care.

6-24-15, 7-8-15

For more such verses look up my books, Reflections on LIfe and I Walked My Dog This Morning. They’re both on Amazon.


Another Comic Strip Salutes a Proverb

As many of you know, I love reading the “intelligence page” (another cliche) of our local paper. Now that we’ve been subscribing for the past several months, I even glance at the small ones on the puzzle page. This morning The Born Loser, one of my favorite strips, had Thornapple saying to his wife, “They say an apple a day keeps the doctor a day, right?” Then he says, “So, what would happen if I ate two apples a day?”

His wife’s expression remained nonchalant as she replied, “You’d get diarrhea.”

The origin of this well-known proverb is found in Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions on page 25:

 apple a day keeps the doctor away, An

Reference to this was initially found in a Welsh folk proverb.”Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from eating his bread.” The phrase was first coined as we know it in the U.S. in 1913 by Elizabeth Wright in Rustic Speech and Folk-lore

“Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, An’ you’ll make the doctor beg his bread; or as the more popular version runs: An apple a day Keeps the doctor away.” 

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