Why is there a picture of a cardinal next to my name?

The name “Karolek”, like most names that end in “ek” is of Bohemian origin. Webster’s lists two definitions for the word “Bohemian”:

Bohemian (1):
A native or inhabitant of Bohemia. For more information on Bohemia, click here.
Bohemian (2):
A person (often a writer or artist) living an unconventional life, usually in a colony with others, e.g., “vagabond”, “wanderer”, “gypsy”.

While I don’t claim to conform to any particular paradigm of “conventional life”, it is the first definition that I rely on to give meaning to our name. The traditional pronunciation of our name consists of three syllables:

ka – RO – lek

with the accent on the middle syllable. Looking to the roots of the Slavic languages yeilds the clues necessary to derive my interpretation:

root of a word that means “bird”.
root of a word that means “red” (e.g., “rot” in German).
a word that means “like” or “having the characteristics of”.

Thus, “having the characteristics of a red bird” allows me to derive the connection between “Karolek” and “cardinal”. It should be noted, however, that I am not a student (much less expert) of these matters and my interpretation could be full of something. If you, the expert reader, disagree with me, please spare me the details since I’ve enjoyed this interpretation.

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