Sideswipe: January 12: If you’re happy and you know it…

Benefits of an outgoing president

The Former Presidents Act, which was passed in 1958, after Harry Truman struggled to support himself after leaving the White House. Truman turned down a slew of cushy job offers, explaining that, “I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialise on the prestige and dignity of the office of the Presidency.”The act allowed ex-presidents to benefits following their presidency, including a lifetime annual pension of around $200,000, lifelong Secret Service protection for themselves, their spouses, and their children under 16 and free travel for work and free post. Nixon’s decision to resign the office of the presidency was probably a smart decision, financially speaking, as the Act indicates that a president who is forced out of office via impeachment would not be entitled to these post-presidency benefits. But because Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, the Department of Justice ruled that Nixon should be eligible to receive the same financial benefits of his fellow former presidents. (Via Mental Floss)

Brutal haircut for Richmond Road trees

A Grey Lynn reader writes: “We came back from holiday to find the trees on the berms had been trimmed in a rather ‘unusual’ way.   As you will see in the photos, the trees have not been cut to help them grow better, or to look better, nor as a way to reduce their size.  The tree trimmers, when questioned by our neighbours, said they were only instructed to trim away from the power lines and ‘were not allowed to do anything more’, despite being asked.  The photos attest to how ridiculous and unsightly the trees look, a view repeated along the length of the road.

Strange world

1. In 2008, residents of Lesbos petitioned a Greek court to ban the use of the term “lesbian” to refer to gay women, arguing that lesbians were appropriating their identity. They did not win the case.
2. Leonardo Da Vinci’s half-brother tried to recreate him by sleeping with a peasant woman from the same village as Leonardo’s mother, and engineering the life of the resulting baby to mirror Leonardo’s.
3. In 2014, the most Googled “recipe” in Ukraine was for Molotov cocktails.
4. In 1954, Ernest Hemingway survived two plane crashes in two days. After the second crash, the writer was presumed dead, but walked out of the jungle the next day, still holding a bottle of gin.

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