turn off exponential notation in pylab plots

User to user question:
What is the *simplest* way when using pylab to turn off
exponential notation in the ticks?

Right now I do:
f1ax = gca()
f1ax.xaxis.set_major_formatter( P.FormatStrFormatter("%i") )
which works pretty well although I do not get nice commas
(e.g., 10,000 vs 10000).

Is it wrong to think that this might be nicely controlled by
a kwarg to xticks?

Thank you,
Alan Isaac

PS ticker.py uses x1e instead of ×1e. Is that effort to
stick with ASCII important?