Home is where you know the call letters

Terri and I have been talking recently about where “home” is. When we go to Pennsylvania to visit my parents, I say “I’m going to visit my parents” or “I’m going to The Farm” but to me, home has not really been there since I was 18.

That said, I have lived in Somerville or Cambridge for almost 12 years now, and I still have no idea what the local TV network affiliates are. I know there is a channel 7, and I think it might be Fox. I know there is a WBZ and I think it is CBS, but I don’t know what its number is. I know there are 3 variants of WGBH and that is PBS. All I really know for sure is that on RCN in Somerville, the Red Sox are on NESN which is channel 30, and Turner Classic Movies is channel 62.

But I can still name the ones I grew up with in Pittsburgh: 2 is KDKA, a CBS affiliate (one of the few if not the only “K” stations east of the Mississippi). 4 is WTAE, an ABC affiliate. 11 is WPXI, NBC (and it used to be WIIC which I was reminded of when we were at Nora and Jim’s the other week: they had a Pittsburgh Steelers WIIC mug!). And 13 is WQED, the oldest public TV station in the US.

That said, Somerville definitely feels more like home to me than Pittsburgh, but it’s weird to have lived here so long without being able to name a single network affiliate.

Edie LOLcat contest

We have two winners: John had the idea first, but Helmecki the Elder actually used appropriate LOLcat syntax.

I haz blockd ur pop-ups

Runner up: Marco’s simple “My space”.

Helmecki: email me your address at ezraball at gmail to claim your peanuts.

Berlin’s Templehof airport

And here’s one more NYT story worth noting, about Berlin’s Templehof airport.

The article notes the airport’s “magical” qualities; it definitely has an aura about it, but I’d say more eerie or uncanny. Definitely an unusual sense to have in an airport, which you expect to be more sterile, modern, and bland than a hospital.

Back in January we passed through Templehof on our way from Berlin to Nice, via Brussels on some weird Belgian airline. It was one of the only airlines running from that airport. We arrived for our 5pm flight at around 3pm, and it really seemed that the only other people in the airport were also there for that one flight. It was so eerily empty, it seemed photo-worthy:

Tempelhof, the quitest, smallest airport ever

The airport bar was called “The Airlift” commemorating that this was the West Berlin airport used for the Berlin Airlift.

Much of Templehof’s infrastructure was built up by the Americans for the airlift. The NYT article posits that this historic association links the city’s feelings toward the airport to the city’s feelings toward America. Which are on an individual level more complicated than what you’d guess from just reading the papers. I remember our cab driver on the way to the airport was very chatty and wanted to practice his English (which I don’t think anybody has ever explicity said to me before). Turned out, his sister married an American soldier and moved to Erie, PA (which is just about an hour or so away from where my sister Abby lives). He was also a big fan of country music, and played in a band that played James Taylor and Garth Brooks covers in bars.

Best obituary ever

This is possibly the most fun I’ve ever had reading an obituary. This guy sounds like possibly the most glorious fuckup who ever lived, and the NYT obituarist seems barely able to contain his tone of gleeful derision.

Huntington Hartford, who inherited a fortune from the A. & P. grocery business and lost most of it chasing his dreams as an entrepreneur, arts patron and man of leisure, died Monday at his home in Lyford Cay in the Bahamas. He was 97.

There were some major failures:

…he set about developing a resort with the construction of the Ocean Club and other amenities. Advisers persuaded him to stop short of exotic attractions like chariot races, but, overextended and unable to get a gambling license, he wound up losing an estimated $25 million to $30 million.

There were many lesser ventures that either bombed or fizzled, among them an automated parking garage in Manhattan, a handwriting institute, a modeling agency and his own disastrous stage adaptation of “Jane Eyre.” He inherited an estimated $90 million and lost an estimated $80 million of it.

But no task seems too varied or small for this guy to fail:

In 1940, Mr. Hartford tried being a reporter for the New York newspaper PM, after putting up $100,000 to help get the paper started. If nothing else, the experience produced one of the all-time great excuses for missing deadline: he once sailed his yacht to cover an assignment on Long Island, and upon returning to the city could find no place to tie up and come ashore with the story.

With the start of World War II, he donated the yacht to the Coast Guard. In return he was given the command of a modest supply ship in the Pacific. He ran it aground twice — once, he said later, because his navigational charts were out of date, the other time because “I mistook feet for fathoms.”

And he also did not fare quite so well in love. Here’s how things ended with wife #4:

In 1974 Mr. Hartford married Elaine Kay, a former hairdresser more than 40 years his junior. They, too, were divorced, in 1981, but continued to live together in Mr. Hartford’s 20-room duplex apartment at 1 Beekman Place in Manhattan. In 1984, Ms. Kay and a friend were arrested and charged with tying up a teenage secretary to Mr. Hartford and shaving her head. The directors of the building voted for eviction.