Here's a story to send to Mark Patinkin.
For those not living in Rhode Island, Mr. Patinkin is a Providence Journal columnist who has written some tongue-in-cheek books about Rhode Island that allude to, among other things, the lack of awareness of the general US/world population regarding RI's status as a STATE (rather than, say, as a part of New York or Massachusetts).
I had never experienced this until today. I bought a Cingular pay-as-you-go phone this afternoon, and when I went to their website to activate it, I discovered that Rhode Island isn't listed as a state in their drop-down menu! I had to enter my city as "Providence Rhode Island" and pick Massachusetts as my state before the system would let me continue. What gives??