Car Brains

Say what? Well, please read this link.

This is a very nice article by a 2 time Pulitzer Prize winner who is walking from Africa to South America. He has a very nice perspective and it is different from most Americans.

BTW, if you have trouble because of the New York Times limit of 10 articles a month. (Then they tell you that you have to subscribe.)

Fear not, for me, switching from my normal Firefox browser to Internet Explorer, seems to get me 10 more in IE. Your mileage may vary.

One of the topics he discusses is how people in cultures that rely heavily upon the automobile, often have a lot of trouble even relating to the universe of someone walking. And not only that they tell you how to get somewhere, by which freeway exit to take. For example when he took a shortcut between highways, a man with a car, really could not grasp why he did not follow the highway, even though it was much further. It was the highway.

Similarly, in the late 70s and early 80s, when we passed through Southern California on the first and second trip, we got the distinct impression that when we were talking to a Californian that we did not know, and they realize that we did not own a car, and were either walking or taking the bus somewhere, they immediately had the strong feeling that we were defective. There was clearly something seriously wrong with this, otherwise we would own at least one automobile.

I think in the United Kingdom, it is common to refer to train spotters, which has an implication of strange people. In the small town in Canada that our friend Olga grew up in, the label was, ‘the bachelor’s.’ Any male, over the age of 25 that wasn’t married, tended to be conspicuously flawed. A ‘special person.’

Similarly, in Florida, I needed to phone my broker. I was in the public library and so I asked the reference librarian where was the nearest payphone. Hopefully without any irony, and perhaps without any thought whatsoever, she said “We had them taken out. We don’t like the kind of people that use them.”

This was in 2000, long before all the payphones evaporated because everyone has a cell phone. What I hope she met was, that drug dealers at that time, were using pagers, and then calling the numbers from random payphones to make it harder for them to be wiretapped. Much like in the TV series, The Wire, which was set in Baltimore.

Thanks to Denise & Rodger for the tip about the man walking and telling us about it. BTW, Deniz is the Turkish word for sea and pronounce almost just like Denise. Erik is the Turkish word for plum. The fruit. Not gays, but like a prune before it is dried.

Elma is Turkish for apple. Linda is Spanish for pretty. Lisa is Spanish for smooth. Dolores is Spanish for pains. Sorry Dolores. Erken, Janet’s family’s unusual last name is the Turkish word for early, and I suspect that is where it came from. Until about 1930 Turks did not use a family name, what we call a last name. So, a Turk, in 1880, moving to Germany, for example, might invent a name to use.

Names are varied. Many Spanish-related cultures have the mother’s maiden name as the last name when listing the full name. The following is a sample of the text at:

“For example, if a man named Eduardo Fernández Garrido marries a woman named María Dolores Martínez Ruiz and have a child named José, there are several legal options, but their child would most usually be known as José Fernández Martínez.

“Each surname can also be composite, the parts usually linked by the conjunction y or e (and), by the preposition de (of) or by a hyphen. For example, a person’s name might be Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias, consisting of a forename (Juan Pablo), a paternal surname (Fernández de Calderón) and a maternal surname (García-Iglesias).

“Forms of address

“A man named José Antonio Gómez Iglesias would normally be addressed as Señor Gómez instead of Señor Iglesias, because Gómez is his first surname. Furthermore, Mr. Gómez might be informally addressed as (1) José Antonio, (2) José, (3) Pepe (nickname for José), (4) Antonio (Anthony), or (5) Toño (nickname for Antonio). Very formally, he could be addressed as don José Antonio or don José.”

The American systems confuses many of them as much as theirs confuses us.

The common Mexican name Jesus has a diminutive of Chu-chu. Sounds like choo choo as in a child talking about a train. The Hawaiian name Keoki is translated as George. Huh??

Actually very few Hawaiian names seem to be cognates.

Eastern Cultures often put the family name first, and so on. British and some other cultures have more than three names. Like the author W. E. B. Griffin (born William Edmund Butterworth III on November 10, 1929) is a writer of military and detective fiction.I guess that would be two ‘middle’ names? Or is it three forenames. Not 3, 4 names. I have know female Americans that had no middle name, so that when “Jane Doe” married John Brown, she could become Jane Doe Brown.

And in the military, many men with no middle initial, became John NMI Brown. Or, some were arbitrarily ‘given’ a middle initial at sign in. This sometimes caused them to make up a middle name when later, someone DEMANDED to know what their initial stood for.

And, I know several people who have only initials, like AC or GB as their ‘first name’. It does not stand for anything. They were named after someone who used those initials. And I know people who’s actual name is the diminutive of a more common name. The birth certificate says: Mickey, NOT not Michael or Michaela (a usually female name.) And I have known females named David or Edward. That must drive them crazy at times. I recall that Edward got assigned to the boy’s dorm in college. She is gorgeous and the boys were REALLY excited. But, she got her assignment corrected. By now, you are thinking of the many amazing names you have run across. A boy named Sue, and so on.

Su, pronounced Sue, is Turkish for water.

Humans are very interesting,



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