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Updated: 03/03/05

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Thursday, 03 March, 2005

Poor Mom - again. After her doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon, she called to say that she does have an enlarged gallbladder. She spoke with Gary who was shocked to hear that she wouldn't even get an ultrasound until next Wednesday.

"Where do you live, California or Canada?"

At least they put her on Vicodin, which will hopefully keep the pain at bay. If it gets too bad, she'll go to the emergency room. I suggested that she could jolly it along for the next 70 days and Gary could use his "Home Lap-Chole Kit" when she and the Uber Moms arrive.

[Err, or not.]

Update: The Vicodin is not working. She's going to call the imaging center and try to beg her way in. Or go to the emergency room. But in the meantime, she sent me a beautiful pink pashmina scarf - for Valentine's Day.

[My friends were right: I have the best Mom.]

As if there weren't enough reasons to hate Chuck E. Cheese, a man was tasered for loading up his plate at the salad bar in Aurora, CO this past weekend. Now, granted, he apparently didn't pay for the salad bar, but still - tasered? And in front of his two kids. Twice. I'm sure the guy was a jerk and was not being cooperative, but the term "excessive" comes to mind.

Connecticut Yankee points out the important life lessons to be gained from this incident:

* Stay in school and you probably won't end up as a Chuck E. Cheese manager
* Abstinence is the only way to ensure you will never have to go to Chuck E. Cheese
* Even if it is Chuck E. Cheese, if they have guns and Tasers, they are probably real cops
* The preceeding point should be confirmed after the first Taser shock drops you to the ground

[Note to self.]

Well in a rather convoluted manner, I started wondering about airport codes today. You know, the three-letters that designate which airport lost your luggage. Convoluted since I went from Instapundit's link to the Carnival of the Vanities' story about "debunking the debunkers" speculating on Snopes.com's possible political biases to a site the outlines the history of Chicago's O'Hare airport and why the three-letter designation for O'Hare is ORD.

Why, you ask? [OK, so you didn't ask but who's the editor here anyway?]

A far-sighted City Council saw the potential for air travel and decided a second major facility would be needed. They bought Orchard Field from the US government together with another 7,000 acres next door. That was in 1946. Three years later $2.4 million was spent on acquiring more land and Orchard Field was re-named O'Hare in honor of that young war hero.

There is still one reminder of that distant past when young men who fought America's battles in the skies knew it as Orchard Field. O'Hare's airport code used on tickets and baggage tags is ORD. A sense of history still has a place among all Chicago's achievements.

There is yet another site that provides details on some of the other oddities in the "location identifier" codes. Here are some of the ones that I found interesting:

* The National Weather Service did tabulate data from cities around the country using a two-letter identification system. Early airlines simply copied this system, but as airline service exploded in the 1930's, towns without weather station codes needed identification. A bureaucrat had a brainstorm, and the three-letter system was born, giving a seemingly endless 17,576 different combinations. To ease the transition, existing airports placed an X after the weather station code. The Los Angeles tag became LAX.
* The historic sand dune in Kitty Hawk, the U.S. National Parks Service maintains a tiny airstrip called FFA - First Flight Airport.
* CMH is Columbus Municipal Hangar [a personal favorite of mine]
*Some special interest groups successfully lobbied the government to obtain their own special letters:
---- The Navy saved all the new 'N' codes.
---- The Federal Communications Committee set aside the 'W' and 'K' codes for radio stations east and west of the Mississippi respectively.
---- 'Q' was designated for international telecommunications.
---- 'Z' was reserved for special uses [very mysterious].

The lack of N, K and W has made for some confusing codes. Places like Norfolk (ORF) and Newark (EWR) just ignored the beginning N. WILMington, NC and KEYWest, FL follow the same pattern

Lacking both 'W' and 'N' Washington National [now Reagan National] has a code of DCA for District of Columbia Airport. The newer Dulles airport just outside D.C. was DIA (from Dulles International Airport); however, the DIA and DCA were easy to confuse, especially when hastily written in chalk on a baggage cart, scribbled on a tag or a handwritten air traffic control strip, so we are stuck with the backwards IAD.

In addition to the reserved letters above, the Canadians made off with all the remaining 'Y' codes. That said, I still have no idea why Windsor, Ontario is YQG or Toronto is YYZ. Maybe it's French.

Why is any of this interesting to me? I don't know - maybe because I'm flying from PHL to LHR to JFK (formerly IDL) to BDA to PHL next week.

[On BA, VS, AA and US, no less!]

Quote du jour:

"Anticipating that most poetry will be worse than carrying heavy luggage through O'Hare Airport, the public, to its loss, reads very little of it."

-- Russell Baker (1925 - ____) US journalist, author, humorist

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