Monthly Archives: February 2019

Presidents’ Day?

When I was in grade school (that’s 1st – 8th grade for those born after 1970) we celebrated Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12th, which oddly enough was the day Lincoln was born. We also celebrated Washington’s Birthday on February 22nd. As I recall, we were off school both days because of the significance of these two men to our nation.

George Washington fought as a Colonial British Subject in the French and Indian War, which trained him to lead the Continental Army in America’s Revolution. After the war, he appeared before the Continental Congress and returned his commissioning papers, publicly relinquishing his powers after he believed his work was done. King George III at first did not believe that anyone would willing give up such power; when convinced of it King George remarked something akin to “If he did that, he is the greatest man in the world.”

Washington was the only president elected unanimously by the Electoral College, served two terms and declined a third as well as the suggestion that he be elected for life.

Lincoln did not have Washington’s military genius; he served in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War. Legend has it that he mustered into the militia as a captain and out as a private. Nevertheless, he ably served as Commander-in-Chief during the Civil War, ultimately resulting in the abolition of slavery throughout the United States. His son, Robert Todd Lincoln convinced his father’s two clerks, who were privy to all his communications, to write the history to ensure that it be clear that the war was about slavery. He believed that an emerging alternative narrative–that the conflict was about state’s rights–be debunked.

Washington’s Birthday was a federal holiday; Lincoln’s Birthday was not, but some states (Kentucky. Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and New York) celebrated it. In the 1980s–when it became the trend for everybody on the team to get a trophy–we began to hear the holiday referred to as “Presidents’ Day.”

According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, the third Monday in February is celebrated as Washington’s Birthday and is a federal holiday. There is no “Presidents’ Day.”

History is fascinating, if you’re willing to take time to learn it.

Emboldened by the News

Back in the day, one read the daily newspaper to find out about important events around the world, across the country, and in one’s local community. By the 1960’s, the source for news had shifted to the television, primarily because of its coverage of the war in Vietnam. However, newspaper readership was not eviscerated by television. Today, of course, if it’s on the Internet it has to be true and if it’s not on the Internet, well, it virtually doesn’t exist. If it’s on Twitter or Facebook (apparently depending on your age), you can take it to the bank.

Today, I learned the following from a well-known Internet source. (I almost called it “reputable” but I just couldn’t do it):

Katy Perry designs shoes.

Military “Meals Ready-to-Eat” known as MREs have a label which includes a silhouette that reminds people of President Trump.

Hong Kong is being overrun by wild boars.

American tourists do at least 20 things that the world hates.

Thanks to some tiny Pacific Ocean islands, The USA does not have the most obese children in the world.

I could go on, but armed with this knowledge, be assured that I’m much better prepared to face the world.

Superbowl Weekend

As anyone who has read my blog for very long knows that I am the antithesis of a sports fan, so all the hype about the Superbowl doesn’t excite me.

Instead, here are my (naturally) sarcastic comments:

1. Football is a truly American sport. The rest of the world plays a totally different kind of football, which we call soccer. Americans view OUR football to be infinitely superior to that other game.

2. In American football, the players are active for about 30 seconds, then everything stops. If there is a switch between offense and defense the entire team is traded out. If the football is going to be kicked, some of the team is traded out. In soccer, players play for 45 minutes, take a short break, then play for another 45 minutes. Individual players may be exchanged from time to time.

3. In American football, there are automatic timeouts after certain plays and each team has three timeouts per half that can be used at the team’s discretion. In soccer, the only timeouts occur after a serious injury.

4. In American football, players wear equipment roughly equivalent to the body armor used in Operation Desert Storm/Shield. In soccer, the players are protected by shin guards.

5. In spite of all the protective gear, American football players have a high incidence of traumatic brain injury.

6. Tickets for either type of football are expensive; Superbowl tickets are reported to average $4,000 each–and those are the cheap seats.

7. And, finally, as a good old American game, the Superbowl will be played in a stadium with the name of a good old American company–Mercedes Benz.