Road Signs – A rose by any other name…


By Mike Sokol 
OK, I’m not really a Shakespeare scholar, and I’ve never even acted in one of the Bard’s plays (although I did play Jud Fry in “Oklahoma” back in high school and remember all the words to “Surrey With a Fringe On Top”). But I know a good story when I hear one, and “Romeo and Juliet” certainly qualifies.

What I really like best about Will (Shakespeare) are the great quotes that still seem relevant today. I mean, how can you not like, “To be, or not to be, that is the question….” Or how about, “All that glitters is not gold”?

But today we’re going to talk about names, specifically my name, and the quote “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet….” Basically it means that names are meaningless, and the true value (sweetness) of something is internal, not based on an external name we hang on it.

Road Signs – A rose by any other name...Unless, of course, the name is Sokol. That’s right … today’s column is all about me. Well, not exactly me, just my name. And not really the name itself, but rather the really cool things that have been named Sokol. You see, a few years ago I found out that my somewhat unusual name here in the USA is actually a very common name in Eastern Europe and Russia. In fact, it means falcon or bird of prey in many European languages. So what do you do with a name that means falcon? Well, you slap it on every device that flies high and fast.

Road Signs – A rose by any other name...Enter the Sokol Cosmonaut space suit. That’s right … every Russian Cosmonaut who has flown into space has done so in a Sokol Space Suit. Pretty cool! You’re welcome.

Road Signs – A rose by any other name...And how about the Sokol A400 Flying Car (that never got off the ground). One would think that something named for the falcon would fly really high and fast. However, I don’t think one was ever built, let alone tested. They were selling Sokol A400 Flying Car t-shirts for a while, and I bought some for my kids just so they could taunt their classmates with the idea that their dad (me) was someday going to pick them up from school in a real flying car. Didn’t happen, but not for lack of trying on my part. After all, I’m sure the $20 I sent the company for two t-shirts went straight to their R&D department.

However, I’ve saved the best for last. And this one really does exist – The SOKOL™ Parachute Training Simulator.

Road Signs – A rose by any other name...That’s right, if you plan to jump out of a military airplane into a combat situation, you probably want to practice it a bit first. So, the SOKOL™ Parachute Training Simulator was built. And baby, it’s really cool. Here’s a video to prove it.

Just like a flight simulator for airplanes, they strap you into a parachute harness and outfit you with virtual reality glasses. Then you get to practice what it’s like to jump out of the hold of a military aircraft and guide your parasail to a safe landing in whatever kind of situation they can imagine.

Now, I was never in the military and I have NO desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but I would certainly give the SOKOL Parachute Training Simulator a go if there was the opportunity. And no, I really don’t believe this works any better simply because it shares my name (the falcon). But I think that even Will would be impressed with someone naming a virtual flight simulator that lets you pretend to fly like a bird, after an actual bird.

Road Signs – A rose by any other name...


Email me at mike (at) with your questions.

Road Signs – A rose by any other name...

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.


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Thanks for the meter lesson.

Elaine Ashton

GREAT article … loved all the back story … might have to educate myself by reading ALL of your articles instead of thinking my husband will educate himself. He fancies himself an “electrician” …