William F. Buckley Jr. by Ron Galella/WireImage.com William F. Buckley Jr. by Ron Galella/WireImage.com

Here are five things I learned about conservative essayist and commentator William F. Buckley Jr. by reading Douglas Martin's excellent obituary in the New York Times:

1) The definitions of the words sesquipedalian (characterized by the use of long words) and pleonastic (the use of more words than is necessary).

2) He once seriously suggested that HIV-positive people be tattooed on their forearms (to prevent intravenous transmission of the disease) and buttocks (to prevent the victimization of homosexuals).

3) Although he was born in Manhattan, his first language was Spanish, as his father worked in Mexico, making his fortune in oil wells there.

4) An early issue of his magazine the National Review supported segregationists, who believed that African-Americans didn't deserve the right to vote. He later shifted his position to say that he thought both uneducated whites and blacks should be prevented from voting.

5) His political commentary TV show Firing Line, which ran first on WOR and then on PBS from 1966-1999, holds the record for the longest-running show with the same host, beating out Johnny Carson by three years. - Mickey O'Connor