Grumblings, rumblings and fumblings (the latter mine) about some recent columns:
My criticism of an incident in which a New York Cosmos soccer player was listed in a program as being Armenian rather than Iranian has drawn a great deal of flak.
"Your article . . . exposes you as one who is insensitive and ignorant of the situation in Iran," writes Aram P. Kalaydjian of Fairfax.
"If Andranik Eskandarian is ashamed of his country of birth -- and who can blame him? -- then who are you to tell him he can't use the euphemism 'Armenian?'" asks Charles Hausheer of Rockville.
A clarification: Eskandarian can call himself anything he likes. My beef was and is with the Cosmos, who listed Eskandarian as Armenian not on the basis of world history but on the basis of bucks.
This isn't my guess, either. The team's public relations man admitted that listing Eskandarian as Iranian might have run the risk of violence from fans who were upset about the holding of the American hostages. That in turn might have held ticket sales down, he said. I find such logic cynical, and damn-worthy, quite apart from Eskandarian's wishes or motives.
An earlier column item about joggers who don't carry identification brought forth a nice offer from Elinor S. Priesman of Creative Management Inc. in Fairfax.
She sells jogger dog tags for $3.50 apiece, and she says she'll donate 50 cents from each sale to Children's Hospital -- making the purchase worthy in two ways. CMI's phone: 591-4264.
If you'd rather have a free jogger's adhesive badge, which bears name, address and basic medical history, Suburban Hospital's Auxiliary provides them. That number: 530-3092.
As for evidence of the effectiveness of jogger IDs, let's listen to Cathy Smith of Great Falls, Va.
"I have a (12-year-old) son who rides his bike all over the place," Cathy writes. "About a year ago, I really got concerned because he never had any identification so I got him a stainless steel dog tag.
"Last week, while riding his bike in McLean, he had an accident. Because of the dog tag, the rescue squad was able to contact me. Once they got him to the hospital, again because of the tag, they had enough information to find his records."
Convinced, joggers and parents? If you're not, you should be.
Meanwhile, Mary S. Scanlan of Northwest is convinced that I'm ready for the Great Grammatical Garbage Heap in the Sky.
She can't understand how I could have castigated a local TV announcer for mispronouncing "extraordinary" when two pronunciations are listed in her dictionary -- including the one I labeled "wrong."
My defense: dictionaries list pronunciations that have butted their way into popular usage, whether the editors agree that the new usages are "correct" or not. That's why "coo de grah" is listed in some dictionaries as an acceptable way to pronounce "coup de grace," for example, even though you and I know in our bones that "grah" is hopelessly "wrong" and "grahss" is uniquely "right."
Dictionary editors are only trying to protect themselves. Still, they tip their own preferences by listing one pronunciation first and the other, usually the "wrong" one, second. As a result, it shouldn't shock either of us to find "extra ordinary" listed as a legitimate way to pronounce "extraordinary." Just be sure you note that "extra ordinary" is listed as the "second" pronunciation.
Finally, let me explain to Karl Watson of Fairfax why I can't stand the way TV weathermen give tomorrow's forecast for Boise before they give Washington's.
Karl argues that since so many Washingtonians are from somewhere else, they retain an interest in what the weather's doing Back There. I have two responses.
First, if you're familiar with Boise, you probably already know what the weather's like there at this time of year. Do you really care whether it's going to be 87 degrees, rather than 84?
Second, even if local TV audiences weren't born here, they live here now, and they'll wake up here tomorrow. Doesn't your news judgment therefore tell you that Washington's weather should be reported first? Mine does.