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ftp fails first time when using apt-get

this is not an urgent problem, just a minor irritation. But I'd like to know
what causes it.

When I do apt-get install for a new package (as root), apt goes to the ftp
server ... and hangs on address (DNS lookup problem?). I then have to
quit, do "ftp ftp.debian.nl.org" (or whatver it is) log in and logout (as either
normal user or root) without doing anything ... after this apt will connect and
install without any problems.

Anyone have any idea what is goin on and how I fix it? I guess I have a config
problem somewhere, but no idea where.

I seem to have DNS related oddities in my system (eg can ping various sites by
domain name but ssh needs ip address), this may be related. If so I'd be very
happy to fix them.

(This is 2.4.27 kernel sarge - it's been like this since day 1)

thanks as ever to the techy community out there for the help and free goodies

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