It's not the most earth-cleaving news, but it peeved frequent fliers. Airport parking rates have been cleared for takeoff. Two bucks more per day, kicking in Jan. 1.

You wonder why, exactly. It's built already. It's just sitting there. You could understand if they cited high fuel costs, but only if the ramp drove to your house and picked you up. Then again, the airport is a strange principality, where prices are spectacularly skewed; just try to buy some candy for a dollar. The clerk will nod, take your money, get out a knife and carve off three micrometers from a circus peanut. When they tell you the price of your burrito, you expect it will come wrapped in the original Magna Carta.

Raising prices is preferable to repainting all the parking spots so they could fit in a few more cars. As it stands now, it's easy to exit your car by the doors -- if you convert yourself to gaseous form. Otherwise you have to exit by the hatchback. Seriously: I've seen people crawl out the back of big vehicles, looking like people emerging from a "Hogan's Heroes" tunnel.

The only possible explanation concerns the nice disembodied lady who tells you that you're parked in the Green Ramp. There's her salary, and the cost of the staff that sits around in case they change the ramp colors and the script must be changed. This just in: You are now in the Aquamarine Ramp.

I don't know why she speaks with a plummy English accent; it seems a rather obvious attempt to make travelers think we're not a bunch of ya-sure-you-betcha yokels, but it's pretentious and false. We'd rather hear "Say there, mister, you're in the Green Ramp, don't you know." But it would cost money to send her to a vocal coach. Never mind.

Anyway, that's probably the last increase for a while. Until they install coin-operated doors to the ramp. Fifty-cent discount if you use your credit card! • 612-673-7858 More daily at