Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Award of the Day : One of the myriad convenience stores near my apartment has their prices adjusted so that it’s really, really hard to get anything but quarters in change. Thank you!

For instance, a soda costs $1.15 -- $1.25 with tax. A candy bar, “tax-exempt grocery,” because apparently it’s food, is $.75, not $.69 or $.79

They don’t even seem to have taken the opportunity to “round up;” all the prices are right in the range.

It’s a refreshing change to be able to smack down a couple of singles and go.

Pet Peeve of the Day : Nationality abbreviations.

In international sporting events, like cycling or grand prix racing, it’s the standard to give the name of the competitor, his nationality, and the trade team or sponsor he competes with, plus, in racing, the race number and the position and time he finished, for instance :

2nd , No.5 Schumacher, Michael (GER), Ferrari, +13.9 sec.

The problem is, there seems to be no consistency with the abbreviation for the nationality. It’s easy on television – they just spit out tiny, almost incomprehensible pictures of the country’s flag. But in print, English articles, sometimes we’ve got Oscar Freire, (SPA), Rabbobank. Yeah, he’s a Spaniard. Sometimes it’s (ESP), when the article feels like using the native language of all the countries. Switzerland can be (SWI) or (SUI), and T-mobile’s cycling team has Frantisek Rabon, (RTC.) Anybody?

Worst of all is what some American publications lately have adopted. Some countries apparently only get one letter. HUSHOVD, Thor (N), Credit Agricole. N? What’s that supposed to mean? Nigeria? Nepal? Nemtarkanders-unders-gunderson? (He’s Norwegian.) Germany is just G, Italy an I.

The United States? Still USA.

One final interesting quirk: Most of the world, I’m told, prefers to call the land of the stars and stripes the United States, as opposed to just "America." Something about there being other Americas too. It’s Los Estados Unidos in Spanish-speaking countries, and Les Etats-Unis in ones that speak French.

In England? It’s called America.

Of course, I can’t keep straight whether a bloke from Leeds is from England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom.

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