austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

You know your car with which I was impressed

It's amazing how much trivia can be dug up about a person once he's safely dead. For example, today I learned (although I haven't been able to find documentation on it) that Gerald Ford was the only US president to have worked for the National Park Service. And as I'm in the New York City television area I've seen more that New York Daily News headline about dropping dead than I really want.

Most intriguing, and repeated over and over through the day, was the mention that Ford didn't want to be President or Vice-president, and that he had never seriously dreamed about becoming President. But he had dreamed about someday becoming the Speaker of the House of Representatives. That's a peculiar thing to dream about. It's a job at least as hard to get as prime minister in a parliamentary government -- you have to win a public election, and you have to be lucky enough that your party has the majority or at least a plurality at the time, and then you have to win an election among your peers -- but without the advantages of getting to have state dinners or chat with the Queen on a regular basis. Granted you get to be more publicly quirky as House Speaker than you do as President, at least until you're forced to resign due to a probe into your corruption, and heck, Linus van Pelt wanted to be the 43rd person on the Moon, but it's still an odd ambition.

I wonder if there are people who dream about becoming President pro tempore of the Senate.

Late last night I had need to call Singapore, and got that irritating boo-doo-dee noise used to assure people who dialed the phone and then ran away briskly that they didn't get the number they wanted. Since I pulled the phone away from my head I assumed I'd dialed the number wrong and gave it a couple more tries before I actually heard the message: all circuits in that country are busy. This wasn't one I was expecting to ever hear, what with, you know, the Internet and satellite communication and all, but then I realized yeah, with the earthquake off Taiwan available infrastructure might be a bit limited right now. That would also explain the problem with Internet connections to Singapore addresses (including my e-mail there) last night. Happily my e-mail returned and I could work through that, more or less.

Trivia: Mercator's map projection sold 41 copies by December 1569, the first year of its publishing. Source: Mercator, Nicholas Crane.

Currently Reading: Napoleon's Buttons: How Seventeen Molecules Changed History, Jay Burreson, Penny Le Couteur.


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