Thursday, February 25, 2010

Around Town: You say tocayo, I say Oh-my-oh

There is a special word in Spanish, when two people have the same name. The word is tocayo. It does not mean namesake, which implies that one person is named for the other. It merely means that two people share the same name.

Search engines have elevated this awareness to an art form. The highest and best use of the Internet is obviously not Star Trek or romance, but Google-stalking oneself and one’s friends.

Case in point: Joe Puglia. Joe is a prince among men and clearly does not deserve my attention. He is a Vietnam hero, served in the Marine Corps and, to my knowledge, does not play the violin. When I ran his name, I found this:

Since giving his first solo performance with orchestra at age 12, violinist Joseph Puglia has been increasingly in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. His virtuoso playing and musical sincerity have led him to performances in major concert halls in the US and Europe, and moved cellist Anner Bylsma to say of his playing, “Joey Puglia is the best.”

Note to Anner Bylsma: we agree. Joe Puglia is the best. advertisement

But then, there’s our fair editrix, Carol Cormaci, who claims not to remember the ’60s. The briefest of online searching should clear up her failure of recollection:

Her name appears in the 305-page United Nations report, entitled, “Actes du 3emme Symposium Mediterraneen sur la Vegetation Marine,” aka “Proceedings of the 3rd Mediterranean Symposium on Marine Vegetation” in the following ’60s context: “ since the sixties, an increasing number of papers show their ongoing loss Cormaci et al. (1982) showed that the Atlantic flora element ”

Some of us share our names with actors. It’s hard not to feel empathy for Melvin Robert Gibson, Jr., of Nashville, who was arrested for possession of two pounds of marijuana during a “loud muffler traffic stop” in Nashville. He was obviously traumatized by the actions of his more-famous namesake, which is probably a defense in his state, not ours.

It’s not just Mel Gibson, Carol Cormaci and Joe Puglia who have tocayos. I have one too. I am proud have the same name as the bicultural American-Mexican writer, Anita Brenner, author of “Idols Behind Altars,” a friend and cultural fellow-traveler of artists such as such as David Alfero Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and members of the “Revolutionary Syndicate of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors” who consciously found their roots in the mystical realism and social orientation of the Aztecs and Mayans.

The other Anita Brenner loved her adopted country and her books are among the best cultural histories of Mexico. My only concern, now that Google has revealed this, are some photographs that she posed for in the 1930s.

To be continued.

La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California

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