Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents’ Day, 2015

Going way back to when it was Washington’s Birthday, I’ve enjoyed Presidents’ Day.

As a kid, it meant a day – and the rest of the week – off from school. In honor of George W (which back in the day meant George Washington), my mother usually bought cherry vanilla ice cream and/or put maraschino cherries on the frosting on the cake. Gotta love a president who brings us cherry vanilla ice cream and/or maraschino cherries.

Another reason to love Presidents’ Day?

Given New England winters – especially this year – the latter part of February is a good time for a break.

Plus it’s a nothing doing, do nothing sort of holiday. No shopping. No decorating. No special foods (that is, if you don’t make a cake and put maraschino cherries on the frosting).

So, as holiday’s go: it’s all good.

Unfortunately, Presidents’ Day also means having to listen to all the annoying car and furniture ads. (While I’m writing this, I just heard a blaring ad for Worcester’s own Rothman’s Furniture, and another one for some car dealer. (Much as I don’t like the idea of regional differences dying out, I wouldn’t mind if local car dealer ads “starring” the owners were a casualty of the homogenization of the US of A. For whatever reason, I find the car ads even more obnoxious than the owner-starring furniture ads, with the exception of the incredibly heinous ads for Bob’s Discount Furniture, which tops (bottoms?) them all.  But I don’t know if those count, because in some/most of them Bob’s a cartoon.)

This year’s annoying car ad award goes to whatever the outfit is that has the kids chanting the names of the presidents. Fortunately, they don’t get all that far before the info on the no-money-down, cash-back car deal of the century sets in.

What listening to those obnoxious children – don’t ask me how I know they’re obnoxious: I just do - did get me to do was see if I could actually name all the presidents.

I only gave myself a couple of minutes, and did pretty well.

Oh, I never get all of them in the right order. I lose track of those Taylors and Tylers, and which Harrison goes where. But I’m good up until Jackson. Pick up a few when we get to Lincoln and  his successors. And I have clear sailing from McKinley on.

But I did almost all of the names in there, and even placed them in the right tranche.

I missed Van Buren and Buchanan on my scoot through, but I think if I’d let it rest for a few, I’d have gotten at least one of ‘em.

Don’t ask me what I can tell you about any of those presidents between Jackson and Lincoln, and between Grant and McKinley. Unless he was assassinated. (Garfield.)

As for the rest of them, I may not know a lot but I know some. (And I even know a bit of some of those guys in the middle.)

George Washington? Cherry tree!

John Adams? Abigail!

Thomas Jefferson? Sally Hemings!

James Madison? Federalist Papers!

James Monroe? The Doctrine!

John Q. Adams? Son of John and Abigail!

Andrew Jackson? Battle of New Orleans!

Franklin Pierce? New Hampshire!

Abraham Lincoln! “Four score and seven years ago…”

Andrew Johnson? Impeached!

Grant? Just who is buried in Grant’s tomb?

Grover Cleveland? Double dipper!

William McKinley? Bad idea to go to Buffalo.

TR? San Juan Hill!

William Howard Taft? Morbid obesity!

Woodrow Wilson? League of Nations, Princeton, stroke!

Warren Harding? Teapot Dome! Poker!

Calvin Coolidge? Keep Cool with Coolidge! Plus a son who died from a bad blister he acquired while playing tennis.

FDR? “The only thing we have to fear…”

Truman! Piano-playing daughter.

Eisenhower! Military-industrial complex.

JFK? Camelot!

LBJ? Medicare! (Thanks, Lyndon. It almost makes up for Tonkin Gulf…)

Richard Nixon? Bebe Rebozo!

Gerald Ford? Michigan football!

Jimmy Carter? Attacked by a rabbit!

Ronald Reagan? Bedtime for Bonzo!

George H.W. Bush? Poppy!

Bill Clinton? Devil in a blue dress…

George W. Bush? Choked on a pretzel!

Barack Obama? Muslim, native of Kenya, all his fault!

Presidents are fun and easy!

It’s Presidents’ Day! Let’s play!

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