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Arise, Sir Loin of Beef!
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 02/12/2018

Jail cells The following is an installment in "Icebreakers 101: Hello, My Name is Problem", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.

Like an old chest, memories from childhood are stored away. Sometimes, there is something that opens that chest and tells you to look inside. This happened to me. While reading about Scottish royalty, an odd cartoon came to mind. I had not thought of that for years, yet now the tendrils of my mind were tickled. That odd occurrence bought the notion for this strange, word play icebreaker.

Many decades ago, Warner Brothers produced dozens of cartoons that played in theatres along with their motion pictures. The most famous character in their animated stable is Bugs Bunny, the rabbit with a Brooklyn accent was easy-going until harassed into action. In one episode, the Sheriff of Nottingham pushed our hero around and went just a bit too far. Predictably, the antagonist received a not-so-gentle treatment.

Always the master of masquerade, Bugs tricked the Sheriff into thinking he was the King of England. Raising the scepter, Bugs knighted the unsuspecting villain, inflicting many knots on the noggin. He used a funny phrase with each bludgeoning: “Arise, Duke of Ellington!” (smash); “Arise, Sir Loin of Beef!” (smash), etc. His impeccable accent during that ruse (as portrayed by voice genius Mel Blank) was that of a British Aristocrat.

Facilitators who want an unusual way to start a module on monikers can explain this or, better still, show the clip. It is easy to find on YouTube. It is best, of course, for the clip to be previewed for obscenity or other post-market alterations that may have been added by a zealotic fan.
  1. Break the class into teams
  2. Give a dictionary to each team
  3. Have each team make five joke royalty titles like this: Sir _______ of _______.
Some examples are:
Sirloin of beef
Cirrhosis of the liver
Certificate of Authenticity

The dictionary will help students create these joke names. You could also use word play on count, baron, baroness, duchess, lady or duke.

After the students have reported out, have the class answer the questions below. Be sure to have a scribe place the answers on the board for consideration.
  1. What self-imposed titles do some prisoners adopt?
  2. What monikers have you heard in the prisoner population?
  3. What is the reason for nicknames for prisoners?
  4. How does prisoner slang relate to this?
  5. Is there danger in not maintaining a prisoner moniker database?
  6. Do certain groups appear to use monikers more than others?
  7. How do we discover the monikers?
To some, a cartoon is not a good teaching tool. I disagree. I believe that this odd blast form the past in animated form allows participants to relax a bit and flex their minds in a strange, yet important way. Even if the method is odd, the subject is important. Staff and the public benefit with enhanced safety when we compile and study prisoner monikers.

Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014” and "Operation Icebreakers: Shooting for Excellence" among others. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


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