Which Is It?

This is a thing on Facebook, but I’ll do it here. I’ll list five famous people whom I’ve been within a few feet of, but one of them is a lie:

Mitt Romney

Buzz Aldrin

Fred Smith

Newt Gingrich

Bill Nelson

[Evening update]

All right, since everyone is guessing Mittens, I’ll start the slow process of elimination. I met him at the Conservative Summit in DC right after the disastrous 2006 election. I tried to talk to him briefly about space and advising him on it, but (as he later demonstrated), he didn’t give a rat’s patoot.

Monday-afternoon update]

OK, I’ve had enough guesses. I’ve known Buzz for decades; he used to call me in the middle of the night. I had lunch with Fred Smith at the Atheneum at Caltech in the 90s, when we were pitching him for funding for supersonic research. I talked to Newt for a while at a reception at the State Department a year ago. I’ve never been in physical proximity to Bill Nelson, or communicated with him.

18 thoughts on “Which Is It?”

  1. You’re from Michigan, so I assume you could have been close to Fred “Sonic” Smith, guitarist and songwriter for the seminal Detroit proto-punk band the MC5. So…Mitt Romney 🙂

    1. Wrong Fred Smith. I was referring to the founder and CEO of Fedex. 🙂

      I did have a friend with an apartment down the hall from Grand Funk Railroad, though. I also ran into Bob Segar once at the music store on State Street in Ann Arbor where he bought his guitars.

  2. A few years back, you mentioned meeting Buzz Aldrin, so I’m assuming he’s not the lie.

    You’re exceedingly well-connected in aerospace, and went to a lot of conferences, so I’m going to guess that you’ve met anyone listed who is connected to that field (including, sort of, Fred Smith).

    That leaves Gingrich and Romney. Gingrich has an interest in space, so I’m going to rule him out.

    That leaves Romney as my guess as the one you have not met.

  3. Romney, although I would wonder why you listed him first.

    I have met all of the following:
    – George Bush Sr
    – Oprah Winfrey
    – Buzz Aldrin
    – Jim Bridenstine
    – Jack Schmidt
    – Scott Pace

    George Bush if driving by is a few feet. Oprah was while I was walking on the sidewalk from an exam to a reception — quite the surprise!

    1. On your list, I haven’t met Winfrey (and have no desire to do so) or George H. W. Bush (and that is no longer possible, and I don’t regret it not happening). And it’s Jack Schmitt…

      As for list order, there is no way to order them that would make people not think it’s a clue. It was random.

      1. Actually I met all of them. I met Jack Schmitt at a LEAG meeting in Baltimore about four years back. I have the greatest respect for him. Although elderly, he’s not diminished a bit. He actively (and appropriately) participated in the Q&As as an audience member. At the end of the morning I was the last in line to speak with him and he asked if I knew of a good place to eat. I suggested a Thai restaurant and so I had 45 minutes directly across the table able to ask any question I wished of someone who walked on the moon. Funniest memory is that he stated that they had to take potassium tablets but it caused diarrhea on the way back.

  4. Okay, so, you’ve met Mr. Pierre Delecto (Romney).


    Fred Smith is the least well known name on your list, so that’s my new guess.

  5. Going for the space dark horse Bill Nelson , he doesn’t hang out with the exact same crowds Rand does or attend the same parties.

  6. I’m not sure there’s anyone in aerospace who _hasn’t_ met Buzz, so he’s certainly not the ringer…

  7. Rand, I could use the same 5 as you and the FedEx guy would be my lie. I’ve shaken hands with Aldrin and Gigrich, and made Gingrich laugh. I shook his hand and said, “Nice hair, Congressman!” He looked at my own full head of white hair and snickered. Nowadays, he’d just think I was jealous (he’s still got hair, mine’s gone). On the other hand, Margaret Chase Smith once yelled at me to get out of her way…

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