In the President's Secret Service

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My sister has requested/demanded that I share with my dear readers more about my reading habits. I am supposed to paint the picture of what it's like when I'm reading. And when I'm done, I want to hear all about your reading habits dear readers, because I'm fascinated by the subject.

I spend the day alternating between the different rooms of the house, because it keeps the day from becoming monotonous. And, in the interest of complete honesty I will admit that there have been days when I've read the book in the living room while watching TV. That generally happens when I'm reading a really boring book that I can't seem to motivate myself to finish. And since Alissa requested that I share with you my reading related snacking habits (feel free to skip this next part if you find that information as boring as I do), I frequently like to pretend like I'm in the book Farmer Boy, which results in snacks of homemade popcorn and apples (I love that chapter of the book - in fact, I'm going to read it again when I'm done writing this blog entry.)

I usually don't read the book straight through because when I try to do that I end up getting so burned out by the end that I end up hating the book, no matter how much I liked it in the beginning. So instead I read a little bit, then work, then waste time doing pointless stuff that serves no real purpose before getting back to reading again.

Today's book, "Secret Service agents, acting as human surveillance cameras, observe everything that goes on behind the scenes in the president's inner circle. Kessler reveals what they have seen, providing startling, previously untold stories about the presidents, as well as about their families, Cabinet officers, and White House aides."

I found today's book fascinating. It has received a lot of criticism for being "too gossipy," but I think that was precisely what made it so fun and interesting. What's the point of reading a book that doesn't reveal anything? It would be like sitting next to someone at a party who spends the whole night saying, "I know some great secrets about everyone at the next table, but I'm not going to tell you a thing." I'd rather sit next to the person who dishes the dirt freely.

Fun facts:

  • The American people don't catch on quickly (well, sometimes the truth hurts) - Early presidents were provided with very little protection, and the assassinations of Lincoln (who was shot while his one bodyguard was out getting drunk), Garfield (was unguarded at the time of his assassination), McKinley (who was guarded, but not heavily) did nothing to assuage the American people that perhaps we should get our crap together and actually start protecting our presidents.

  • The White House was originally supposed to be 5 times bigger than the structure that was actually build. But Thomas Jefferson decided to ruin all the fun and insist that the White House should perhaps be a bit smaller, and less like a palace. What a kill-joy.

  • Nixon was lazy (why beat around the bush) - when he would go fishing on his friend's island, he would sit in a swivel chair and hold the fishing pole. He would then make his friend's staff bait the hook and throw the hook out. Then when he would catch a fish (if you could even call what he was doing "catching a fish") he would make the staff reel in the fish, take the fish off the hook, and handle the fish. What a go-getter. I hope having to hold on to his own fishing pole wasn't too big of a strain for him, because it sounds positively exhausting. On a side note: I need to find a friend who has an island, if for no other reason than so I can casually toss out sentences like, "I was visiting my friend's island when. . .

  • Jenna and Barbara Bush were both in desperate need of a visit from SuperNanny followed by a long time-out. - From what I gather from this book they were both total brats, even long past the age when it's cute to be a brat (okay, so it's never cute to be a brat, but it's slightly cuter to see a two-year old throw a temper tantrum than a 20 year old.) They threw frequent temper tantrums about the secret service following them (mostly Jenna did that) and refused to tell their secret service people where they were going, and occasionally ran red lights in order to avoid them (safety first!) I think Jenna and Barbara had the wrong attitude about this whole thing - they should have embraced the secret service thing by pretending to be movie stars from the 40s who needed bodyguards because they were just sooooo popular. But, some people just have no imagination. But the biggest Presidential brat was Amy Carter (I'm very disappointed in you Jimmy and Rosalyn - I had higher expectations of you than that.) George and Laura, well I always assumed they were crappy parents anyway, so I'm not really shocked where they're concerned. Apparently Amy was quite the little Nellie Olsen - but without the curls and the bow (and really, if you're kids going to be a brat, I really think they need curls and a bow - it's just not right otherwise.)