Coals to Newcastle and Ice Cream to Eskimos Department...

GALLIMAUFRY

September 19, 1992

Coals to Newcastle and Ice Cream to Eskimos Department: Taco Bell, a U.S. fast-food chain owned by Pepsico, has just opened its first outlets in Mexico City, of all places.

The tacos are selling pretty well, chiefly because Pepsico has abandoned the closed, crispy, yellow-cheese concoction it peddles on the U.S. market in favor of more traditional open tacos, Mexican style.

But the big surprise is the burrito. This dish is popular and calorie-rich in northern Mexico and in gringo-land above the Rio Grande, where it is a staple of Tex-Mex fare. But it is hardly known in central and southern Mexico.

So to sidle up to a Taco Bell cart newly installed in one of Pepsico's Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets South of the Border or to a Taco Bell sidewalk kiosk in Mexico City is kind of glamorous for munchers dreaming of California and Hollywood and everything Yanqui.

In the spirit of the North American Free Trade Agreement, what's sauce for the geese is obviously sauce for the gander. Mexican entrepreneurs have started an American-style hamburger chain appropriately named Burger Boy. If Taco Bell can make it down south, why not Burger Boy up north?

* * *

THE Republicans may have put God in their platform, but recent primary results in Nevada suggest that the Almighty is not such a sure electoral bet -- at least in a state known for some of the world's most famous casinos. In Nevada's Democratic Senate primary, a candidate listed as "Almighty God" received only 2 percent of the vote -- 2 percentage points less than "None of the Above."

* * *

THE NAME Sutcliffe is uncommonly come by, in the history of statecraft, merchandising and baseball. Richard L. Sutcliffe stands tall in 1992 Baltimore, with or without his unequaled elevation and his leading-Oriole-pitcher statistics.

Yet there was, it seems, an earlier Sutcliffe in Baltimore uniform. Edward E. Sutcliffe, too, was a six-plus-footer, in his 30s and from the Middle West; a catcher, though. We already had a catcher, named Wilbert Robinson, so, that single year, Ed played first base.

This went on, curiously, in 1892.

* * *

FROM THE schedule for the fall conference of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, to be held next month in Ocean City:

"Friday, October 2, 1992 . . . 5:30-6:30 p.m. Coctails."

Granted, even the best of us mess up our spelling now and then. But why does it seem so much worse when teachers make such mistakes?

"Coctails" indeed. Why, it's enough to drive a person to drin.

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