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Athletes Are Finally Getting Accent Marks On Their Jerseys

When baseball commentator Carlos Peña was beginning his career in the minor leagues, the back of his jersey read Pena, which means "pity" or "pain" instead of "rock," as it does with the tilde over the 'n.' In a recent article on a new campaign to get accent marks on baseball jerseys, Peña told The New York Times that he used to put a piece of athletic tape over the 'n' in a makeshift tilde. When he hit the majors, he got the tilde on his jersey as did some other players, but getting the proper diacritics on a name has until now only happened when a player makes a special request to the team. 

This May, the MLB sent out a memo asking that teams start asking players whether they want accent marks on their jerseys, rather than waiting for the players to initiate special requests on their own. It’s part of what has become known as the #PonleAcento campaign, after LA Dodger Adrián González got his accent mark after 16 years in the major leagues and encouraged teammate Enrique Hernández to do the same.

Issues for diacritics on jerseys are not limited to baseball—or Spanish language orthography. In hockey, Daniel Brière became the first Montréal Canadiens team member to get an accent mark on his jersey when he was recruited in 2013. In basketball, the Brazilian player Nenê wears the circumflex over his name, and Slovenian Goran Dragić got the mark over the 'c' on his jersey. In football, wide receiver Pierre Garçon has had the cedilla under his name since he began his career, and in May, the NFL granted German wide receiver Moritz Böhringer permission to use the umlaut.

Modern typography (and tailoring) makes the inclusion of diacritics on jerseys easy. They are small marks that can make a big difference: to pronunciation, to meaning, and—most importantly—to the athletes who want to make a name for themselves with the name they prefer.

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Here's the Right Way to Pronounce Kitchenware Brand Le Creuset

If you were never quite sure how to pronounce the name of beloved French kitchenware brand Le Creuset, don't fret: For the longest time, southern chef, author, and PBS personality Vivian Howard wasn't sure either.

In this video from Le Creuset, shared by Food & Wine, Howard prepares to sear some meat in her bright orange Le Creuset pot and explains, "For the longest time I had such a crush on them but I could never verbalize it because I didn’t know how to say it and I was so afraid of sounding like a big old redneck." Listen closely as she demonstrates the official, Le Creuset-endorsed pronunciation at 0:51.

Le Creuset is known for its colorful, cast-iron cookware, which is revered by pro chefs and home cooks everywhere. The company first introduced their durable pots to the world in 1925. Especially popular are their Dutch ovens, which are thick cast-iron pots that have been around since the 18th century and are used for slow-cooking dishes like roasts, stews, and casseroles.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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