20 July 2009
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
17 May 2008. Is UMBC in Baltimore? Catonsville? Linthicum? BWI Airport? Maybe they're not so sure either, and decided to represent the entire county (but not the city, heavens no). Their logo will surely be getting an update soon like their fellow suburban rival, Towson. But until then, let's enjoy the hopelessly low-rent design of the slack-jawed water dog.
Dogpile Bingo is a popular game at Maryland county fairs. A well fed mutt is placed in an enclosure with numbered squares on the ground. Whoever holds the number where the dog, um, makes a deposit is the winner.
Lady Baltimore now found herself penned in, disoriented by human shouting. After fifteen minutes, the noise died down and it was apparent that nobody was going to let her out anytime soon. She squatted in a corner and decided the winner by process of elimination.
The losers chided her, "Bad dog!"
UMBC was holding its spring commencement. As it was the State of Maryland's 400th anniversary, a number of dignitaries were in attendance, including the Queen of England and her Welsh Corgi, Pudgemuffin. When the class valedictorian walked on stage to deliver his send-off speech, he brought up with him Rusty, the school's hearty mascot. Being a chubby checker, a star stalker, and an unneutered dog, Rusty could not help himself. He wrangled his way out of his leash and sprang into action.
The faculty gasped. The students howled. The valedictorian cheered him on, apparently unaware of the podium microphone.
"Yeah Rusty, way to hump that fat bitch! More cushion for the pushin'!"
The valedictorian was quickly escorted off stage and the university president moved to the conferring of bachelor's degrees.
"Bad Dog!" read the next day's headlines.
Lord Linthicum, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Security Officer in the Maryland Aviation Administration, galloped out to runway 13 carrying a high-powered orange light wand and wearing a headset.
Flight 8910 from Port St. Lucie, Florida, had lost radio contact and experienced instrument failure. In addition to this bad luck, a summer storm obscured all views and a lightning strike took out the airport's landing lights. The vicinity of Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport was cleared for the wayward craft. The pilot had been circling the runways, waiting for the storm to clear. Fuel was running low now. They had to land. Lord Linthicum was on the job. He was specifically trained for this emergency. Not only that, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers thrive in harsh wet weather.
"Tell me again why a dog is doing this?" asked one of the air traffic controllers.
"His years of training are perfect for this situation. Besides, do you want to go out in this weather? Didn't think so." The airport's head of emergency services turned back to the window. He keyed the mic.
"Block out the negativity, Lord Linthicum. I know you can do this. You've done this every week for the past four and a half years."
The tower watched the night vision runway feed. Lord Linthicum, a ghostly white on screen, stalled. He continued to stand still.
"Lord Linthicum, what are you doing? Runway 30, not 13! 13 is too short for a jumbo! Runway zero three zero, repeat runway zero three zero."
Lord Linthicum woofed in acknowledgment. He turned tail and sped off for 030. It was too late. The pilot has caught sight of the light wand and had begun to descend. At the last second before touchdown, the light made a U turn and disappeared out of view.
"What the...?" said the pilot.
The landing gear made contact with asphalt. The plane shuddered and slowed to driving speed. As it turned to taxi back to the terminal, the front end collapsed down. A massive thunk of cargo shifting interrupted the passengers' applause. A couple of wusses screamed. Some small bottles of vodka rolled out of first class. The plane stayed intact but was immobile.
"Jim, I think we're stuck in the mud." the pilot said to his copilot.
Back in the tower, the head of emergency services threw down his clipboard. He radioed, "Bad dog!"
No injuries were reported; one hundred forty seven were inconvenienced.