November 18, 2003

Guest Writer

Here is another contribution to my web log from writer Jon Blackwell.
My long-ago colleague Carl Strock, a columnist for the Schenectady Gazette, used to write a column that would occasionally list people with Dickensian just-perfect names. Sadly I cannot remember any of them ... but in the last week I ran across two amazing and perfect specimens from history.

Brief pause while I wow you with them...

The architect of the present-day Catalan Parliament building in Spain was a Dutch engineer who orginally built it as an arsenal. His name was Prosper Verboom.

A leading merchant of 19th century New York rose to great wealth from a humble career as a whaling captain. His name was Preserved Fish.

I'm not making that one up. Incidentally, he is buried at Marble Hill Cemetery on East 2nd Street, around the corner from my former venue as a bar trivia host at Dempsey's Pub on 2nd Avenue. Former President James Monroe was also once buried there, but sadly was disinterred and his earthly remains moved to his home state of Virginia, and the reason I know this is because I was a bar trivia host.

Sadly, I used to keep a mental record of people I'd met with bizarrely appropriate names, but can only remember one of them right now. He too was someone I talked to in my days as a reporter for the Schenectady Gazette. He was the chief lobbyist for the New York State Beverage Association, and his name was Jim Popp.

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