Ok, thanks for your commentary "kreativjustin".
I am referring to html codes (which is what they are most commonly referred too). Some people do refer to them as ascii codes -- so you are correct...we're talking about the same thing.
As for my post, the spirit behind my question was this -- "I am curious how WordPress handles embedded html codes inside the posts during database upgrades and conversions."
I have been using them often so I know what they look like when the page renders in the browser.
I am just wondering how WordPress handles them when an upgrade/update occurs and the tables get altered. I found strange things happening as I stepped through 8 upgrades over the past couple weeks (from 2.1.1 to 3.1) and was thinking that the backend upgrade wasn't translating the html codes correctly for me.
I just spent a ton of hours cleaning them up so I am very hesitant to now go to version 3.1.1 (yes, I know to backup my db).
Again thanks for helping out.