Monday, January 15, 2018

So many Watsons!

Hearing a tax commercial today that mentioned IBM's Watson question answering computer system this morning, I had to check to see just which Watson it was named after. Unlike "Sherlock," Watson is a little more common, and, indeed, this Watson was named after IBM's first CEO, Thomas J. Watson.

Apparently, in the upper echelons of IBM, John H. Watson is not the first man who comes to mind when the name "Watson" comes up. But, to be fair, if an IBM guy says "Tom Watson" to someone else, that person might think of golfer Tom Watson. And one golfer saying "Watson" to another golfer could find the second golfer thinking of Bubba Watson.

That Watson actress whose name begins with "E?" Could be Emily or Emma.

The famous fictional Watson with a cult following? Oh, yes, Mary Jane Watson, Spiderman's longest love interest.

And towns named after a Watson? At least a dozen. If you start in New York, you can wander a whole series of contiguous states that have a town named Watson. West Virginia to Ohio to Indiana to Illinois to Missouri, and once in Missouri, you can head North to Iowa and Minnesota, South to Arkansas, Southwest to Oklahoma  . . . only New York and Alabama don't connect to that chain, making you wonder what a Watson did to offend Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

It's interesting to note also that while there are a lot of well-known folks named Holmes, as with Watson, nobody seems to want to name their town "Holmes." Which seems right somehow, as Watson has always seemed a more comfortable fellow to live with than Holmes.

The "Watson" and "Holmes" that Sherlockians like best, of course. Their qualities don't really wind up in all those others of those surnames. But that doesn't mean we wouldn't still like to see Katie Holmes and Emily Watson attempt to solve a mystery or two . . . .

1 comment:

  1. "My home is Holmes" sounds as if the speaker were bragging that he had a summer house and a ski lodge, too. Could that explain the lack of towns with that name? -- Esmerelda