Uncle Garabed’s Notebook (Aug. 8, 2015)

French Proverb

One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.


Life’s Lesson

The oldest, shortest words—“yes” and “no”—are those which require the most thought.


… Pythagoras


So They Say

A man accused of illegally selling alcohol during the Prohibition era had to be acquitted after the jury drank the evidence.



A pessimist is a fellow who lives with an optimist.


Historical Fiction

Mordure, son of the emperor of Germany, was guilty of illicit love with the mother of Sir Bevis of Southampton, who murdered her husband and then married Sir Mordure. Sir Bevis, when a mere lad, reproved his mother for the murder of his father, and she employed Saber to kill him; but the murder was not committed, and young Bevis was brought up as a shepherd. One day, entering the hall where Mordure sat with his bride, Bevis struck at him with his axe. Mordure slipped aside, and the chair was “split to shivers.” Bevis was then sold to an Armenian, and was presented to the king, who knighted him and gave him his daughter Josian in marriage.


… Drayton; Polyolbion (1612)


Silly Question, Sillier Answer

Edo: Where are happiness and contentment always to be found?

Bedo: I’ll bite. Where?

Edo: In the dictionary.


What’s in a Name?

Katibian: Turkish in derivation, identified as a trade or calling, katib is defined as clerk, secretary.

CK Garabed

CK Garabed

Weekly Columnist
C.K. Garabed (a.k.a. Charles Kasbarian) has been active in the Armenian Church and Armenian community organizations all his life. As a writer and editor, he has been a keen observer of, and outspoken commentator on, political and social matters affecting Armenian Americans. He has been a regular contributor to the Armenian Reporter and the AGBU Literary Quarterly, “ARARAT.” For the last 30 years, Garabed has been a regular contributor to the Armenian Weekly. He produces a weekly column called “Uncle Garabed's Notebook,” in which he presents an assortment of tales, anecdotes, poems, riddles, and trivia; for the past 10 years, each column has contained a deconstruction of an Armenian surname. He believes his greatest accomplishment in life, and his contribution to the Armenian nation, has been the espousing of Aghavni, and the begetting of Antranig and Lucine.
CK Garabed

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  1. Dear Uncle Garabed.
    All you write is interesting to me and I almost always enjoy reading them.
    I just wanted to make one single point and invite your attention to the part named “what is in a name or origin of some Armenian names”. Please not that most if not all names that you say have Turkish roots is not correct since all those Turkish words have Arabic roots themselves. I think this IS an important issue, since non-Armenian readers(although maybe a few) would think that most Armenians are of Turkic origin which is totally wrong. May be(or better to say for sure) turks during the last five or six hundred years of appearance in our region, being quite primitive and lacking a complete language, have borrowed most of their words from Arabic and have imposed all those words (by force) as names to those people whom they conquered by sword and violence.
    Therefor it is correct to say that those names have Arabic origin and NOT Turkic.
    With My Best Regards
    Vahe’ Martyrosyan-Iran

  2. To continue the above mentioned comment and just want to give an example.
    Let’s take that ‘katib’ that you interpreted in your above article. This word is Arabic and is derived from the root word ‘kataba’ ‘کتب’ which means ‘to write’ there are many derivatives from this root. One of them is ‘ketabکتاب’ which means ‘book’ or ‘something written’, one other is ‘kateb’ کاتب which means ‘one who writs’ or ‘writer’. Of course turks have changed the pronunciation to ‘katib’ and the meaning to ‘clerk’.

  3. Dear Vahe:
    Your point is valid. Ottoman Turkish, from which many Armenian names are derived, drew very heavily on Arabic and Persian. The late Lt. Col. Harry Sachaklian, who served in the U.S. Air Force , and was stationed in Turkey for a good many years, told me that the true Turkish terms are mainly military ones, and that the rest are all borrowed.
    I chose the Turkish definition because I felt that our ancestors were influenced by their immediate surroundings, which was Turkic.

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