(see also PRECISE)
Alexander Woollcott: In matters of speech, it's not elegance that interest me but
exactness. Precision. Surgical precision. Let me give an illustration--in the pattern of
the old story about Noah Webster, the man who wrote the dictionary. Of him it used to be
told that his wife once caught him in the pantry in the act of kissing the cook.
"Why, Mr. Webster," she said, "I'm surprised." "No, my
dear," he replied. "I'm surprised' you're amazed."
On Jan 25, 1990, Avianca Flight 52 from Colombia crashed just 15 miles short of New
York's Kennedy International Airport, killing 73 passengers. Reason: The plane just ran
out of gas. Under international regulations, an airliner must carry enough fuel to reach
its destination as well as its assigned alternate, plus enough extra to handle at least 45
minutes of delays. Due to low fuel condition, the Avianca pilots had requested
"priority" (not "emergency") landing. Because the exact word
"emergency" was not used, and due to heavy traffic and bad weather conditions,
the ill-fated plane was placed on a holding pattern...until it simply ran out of gas.