[EDIT: Fixed Rip's name, and the word is "transcribed", not "transliterated"]
So, first things first. I had a dumb AIM conversation with Rip Tatermen this morning. Nothing else to say about that, really. He was just dreading that that was going to be the high point of my day today and that I would post about it on my blog. Ensuring, of course, that I would in fact do so. Also, he suggested that everyone should call him a "fuckwad". That seems crude and not like something that I (or any of my friends) would do, but it was his idea.
So, this is a silly thing to get worked up about, but I just thought it was so cool. I assume y'all are familiar with the Seven Up logo. So, in Arabic, Seven Up is transcribed "سغن اب", and can't be spelled "7Up", as is in the logo (the actual translation would be "٧ متابعة"). To get around this, and keep the same design, they reworked the logo as at right, making the standard 7Up shape with the transcribed letters (look at the larger picture if it's not clear). It's brilliant! Keeping the seven shape (although that's obviously not what a 7 looks like in Arabic) and everything. As an aside, Pepsi products seem to be the only products that get past the US embargo on Sudan (did you know we had one? I didn't), since they're "food or drink" products. No McDonalds, although there is a restaurant called "Lucky Meal" that uses the golden arches.
Other minor note. We walked around bookstores earlier today, and I came across a book written by "غبرييل غرسيه مركز" (or something like that -- I don't remember exactly). I started reading it out in my head (I often find myself sounding out Arabic aloud when I read it, which makes me feel somewhat unjustifiably silly), and realized that it was "Gabriel Garcia Marquez", and the book was "100 Years of Solitude" (OK, so my sister translated the second part for me). I thought it was nifty; it was not a book I would have expected to see there. And that's that.