Had forgot about that - it does the trick and beautifully!
Here's the result -
when substr(chr1,length(chr1),1) between '0' and '9' then 1
The CASE construct determines the sign.
The LOR forces the final character to a positive number.
So it's the sign times the absolute value - which would not be
usable here, I suppose.
BTW, I'll be in Rochester mid-November - maybe can get together.