Letters: The Myth Of The Chevy Nova

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on last week's show topics including the pros and cons of living in Detroit, and the bike ride of your life. He also corrects the popular myth that the Chevy Nova failed to sell well in Mexico because, in Spanish, the name means "no go."

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NEAL CONAN, host: It's Wednesday and time to read from your comments.

Our conversation with Jonathan Turley about President Obama's record on civil liberties generated this respond from John Mack(ph). I've been voting in presidential elections since 1984. Only on two occasions have I picked winners, 1988 and 2008. I was a strong and vocal supporter of President Obama into the first year into the first year of his administration on the basis of personal liberty. I can't think of another time when I felt so deeply disappointed in our chief executive. He concluded: My political support for Barack Obama is completely withdrawn.

Our discussion about Detroit and whether that city is experiencing a revival sparked a lot of debate about the pros and cons of the Motor City. Kerry Carlson(ph) from Elk Rapids, Michigan, sent this email: I worked in radio in Detroit and lived there most of my life. I nearly cried when I first saw the Chrysler 300 ad on TV. It gave me a lump in my throat. The city is on the move, but it will take good planning to build it right just like the cars the Motor City is turning out today.

Teresa(ph) Butler disagreed. I moved from Detroit to a surrounding suburb five years ago due to the poor conditions in the city, including crime, a poor school system, high insurance and tax rates. Those reasons have not changed and will prevent people from moving back to the city. I'm so glad I left.

Many of you enjoyed reminiscing about the ride of your life during our discussion with Bill Strickland of Bicycling magazine. Tim Devaney(ph) wrote: In the summer of 2005, I left in the early morning from Williamstown, Massachusetts and cycled through the lovely Berkshires, took a dip in the quarry near Bish Bash Falls, rode the rail trail down through Millerton to Wassaic, where I pick the train to New York City. A lovely ride of about 80 miles and a great way to get home.

Finally, in our discussion with John Colapinto last week about brand names, we bought pointed to the Chevy Nova as an example of poor branding, repeating the alleged problem in Spanish. Nova means no go. Well, after a flurry of tweets, we check the website snopes.com, and we apologize to the Chevy Nova, and all its former and current owners. The story is an urban legend. In Spanish, nova means the same as it does in English. You need to insert a space to get to no va, and evidently people didn't. The Nova sold very well in both Mexico and Venezuela.

If you have a correction, comment or questions for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please, let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. And if you're on Twitter, you can follow us there @totn, or you can follow me, @nealconan, all one word.

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