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Jerry Davich: What’s your initial thought to Presidents Day?

Actor Ed Asner is scheduled portray FranklDelano Roosevelt an upcoming one-man show Gary. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Actor Ed Asner is scheduled to portray Franklin Delano Roosevelt in an upcoming one-man show in Gary. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 18, 2013 6:24AM



Think quick: What’s your first, knee-jerk thought on “Presidents Day”?

Is it to reflect on the historical importance of key U.S. presidents? Is it a possible day off at work? Or is it, as I suspect, about Presidents Day SALES?

You name it and it’s on sale the third Monday of February — cars, clothes, furniture, games, music, and on it goes.

Once upon a time, businesses would close on this day. Not any longer.

The philosophy now is, let’s make as much money as possible from this day and from the iconic images of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. How American is that? Very much so, I say. Nothing screams freedom like a free-market sale in this consumer-driven country.

But, as a tip of my cap to our founding father, as well as to one of our nation’s greatest leaders and the remaining U.S. presidents, I offer a few trivia questions.

Even if it makes you pause for a couple of minutes to contemplate the answers, you can tell yourself you performed your patriotic duty. (And you can quiz your bored co-workers.) The answers are listed at the end of this column to give you a fighting chance without an easy opportunity to peek ahead.

1) Who was the oldest president elected into office? And the youngest?

2) Who was the shortest president? And the tallest?

3) William Taft started the tradition of the presidential “first pitch” of baseball season, on April 4, 1910. Since his first pitch, every president but one has opened at least one baseball season during their tenure. Who was the lone exception?

4) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were all avid collectors and players of what children’s game?

5) Which president customarily took a nude, early-morning swim in the Potomac River?

6) Who was the first president to visit all 50 states?

7) What state is the birthplace of the most presidents (eight)?

8) Which president was the first born as a U.S. citizen?

9) Which president set a record for the most trips abroad? (Hint: Not with a broad, but abroad.)

10) What Sudan city hails as the factual birthplace of President Barack Obama?

If you answered every question correctly, please let me know.

Sale, today only!

For those of you who don’t care about U.S. presidents, their history or related trivia, here’s a handy website for the best Presidents Day deals and sales: http://dealspl.us/presidents_day_sale_128721

History, schmistory, right?

FDR on stage

Award-winning actor Ed Asner will be visiting this region on March 12 to appear in a one-man, 90-minute show called “FDR.”

The show will take place at the renovated Marquette Park Pavilion in the Miller section of Gary, beginning at 7 p.m. The performance is sponsored by the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District and Mas Media 7, and sponsorship packages are available for special VIP perks.

Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door, but seating is limited to 400. To purchase tickets, visit www.EventBrite.com or call Ayers Realty at 938-1188.

Can’t ‘top’ this

This month’s “Small Business Shout-Out” goes to Topperz eatery, 6652 U.S. 6 in Portage, a place I’ve been meaning to try for a couple of years.

I did, finally, on Valentine’s Day evening, dining on a tasty five-course meal, complete with offered champagne toast and red velvet cake dessert.

For more info on its daily menu items — homemade soup, fresh paninis, vegetarian dishes and more — visit www.facebook.com/topperzportage or call 763-9674.

And the answer is ...

1) The oldest president ever elected was Ronald Reagan, at age 69. The youngest was John F. Kennedy, at age 43.

2) The shortest president was James Madison, who stood 5 feet 4 inches tall (and weighed less than 100 pounds). The tallest was Lincoln, who stood 6 feet 4 inches tall.

3) Jimmy Carter.

4) Marbles.

5) John Quincy Adams.

6) Richard Nixon.

7) Virginia (31 states have never claimed a native son as president).

8) Martin Van Buren, who was delivered on Dec. 5, 1782, making him the first president born after the Declaration of Independence was signed.

9) Bill Clinton set a record for the most trips abroad, at 133.

10) Just kidding on this one. But I’ll bet a few Obama-critic “birthers” couldn’t get to the end of this column quick enough.

Find more of Jerry’s writings on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and jerrydavich.wordpress.com.



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