Question on George Washington’s Birthday: Would He Be a Good Candidate Today?

Happy birthday, George!
Happy birthday, George!

There’s nothing like celebrating February 22, George Washington’s birthday, during a presidential campaign year. Mount Vernon, the historical site comprising George Washington’s home and plantation (oh, and the home of 300+ people legally owned by him and his wife, Martha), has been having fun this election cycle, with a tongue-in-cheek “George Washington for President” website, including videos with an actor playing our first chief executive spliced into primary debates and plenty of campaign gear for sale (among my favorites are the ones that mimic the Clinton logo, and poke at Jeb! (though now, of course, he’s dropped out), and parody Trump hats). Which begs the question: our first president, certainly one of its greatest, was elected unanimously twice. What sort of candidate would he be were he really to run in 2016? Read more

Best Super Bowl Commercial: American Revolution Turbotax, of course

 Tonight’s American Revolution surprise: a witty Turbotax commercial , complete with background music from a fellow whose name I once heard historian John Morton Blum pronounce in a lecture as “Bobby Die-lin” (I don’t think Blum was a big fan). Sure, what the colonists were protesting was lower taxes, more stringently enforced, but hey, it was a great spot.  My favorite moment: Washington reversing course, mid-Delaware.  What’s yours?

Friday funnies: 20 something betters

In the midst of lots of grading, one interesting thing to see is how many ways students express similar thoughts, which, depending on the question, are sometimes all the variations on a given theme.  In light of that, I thought it might be a nice walk down memory lane to see twenty nose jokes, all in one scene.  Here it is, Steve Martin in Roxanne, the 1987 modern screen adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Buzzed on Research

Yards Thomas Jefferson's Tavern AleResearch can be boring, draining, sometimes physically or emotionally exhausting.  For previous projects, I’ve logged weeks worth of time doing data entry, and have had students  who have dealt with such topics as rape and infanticide, and the appearance of cannibalism (soon to be published with NYU Press!).  Every once in a while, though, research can become a delightful adventure in ways one would not expect no more so than on a steamy afternoon in Philadelphia in 2011, much like the ones during the summer of ’76. Read more