Make him laugh
When Will Rogers was being taken to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge, he was cautioned not to try to be funny because the President had no sense of humor. The undaunted Rogers bet that he could have Coolidge laughing within 20 seconds. When the formal introduction was made, "Mr. President, may I introduce my friend, Mr. Will Rogers," Rogers held out his hand with a questioning look and said, "Pardon me, I didn't quite get the name." Coolidge roared with laughter, and Rogers won the wager. more...
President Truman and his economists
Tired of conflicting views from economists, Harry expressed his frustration and joked, "All my economists say, 'on one hand...on the other.' Give me a one-handed economist!" more...
Mark Twain's pious remark
Once a notoriously tough businessman told Mark Twain, "Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top." Disgusted, Twain replied, "I have a better idea. You could stay at home in Boston and keep them."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and tedious small talk
Roosevelt was often bored by the tedious small talk that was required of him at social functions. He often felt as if those with whom he conversed were seldom paying attention to what was said. To prove his point, sometimes Roosevelt would begin a conversation by saying, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." Often these words were met with polite approval. On one occasion, however, an attentive listener gave the witty reply, "I'm sure she had it coming to her." more...
Lincoln on the use of words in historic speeches
Government Printer Defrees, when one of the President's messages was being printed, was a good deal disturbed by the use of the term "sugar- coated," and finally went to Mr. Lincoln about it.
Their relations to each other being of the most intimate character, he told the President frankly that he ought to remember that a message to Congress was a different affair from a speech at a mass meeting in Illinois; that the messages became a part of history, and should be written accordingly.
"What is the matter now?" inquired themore...
Ben Wade's Wit
Old Ben Wade was traveling over the Union Pacific railroad, through Cheyenne and Laramie. Sitting down by Juto Daniels, who ran a ranch at Laramie, old Ben remarked:
"This is a very bad country�a God-forsaken country, Mr. Daniels."
"You are mistaken, Senator," said Jules. " This is a very good country. All it lacks is water and good society."
"Yes, that's all hell lacks," growled old Ben. more...
John Adams on being a Vice President
John Adams, while serving as the Vice President:
"... My country has in its wisdom contrived
for me the most insignificant office
that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination
conceived. And as I can do neither good nor
evil, I must be borne away by others, and meet the
common fate. "
From The Life of John Adams by Charles Francis Adams, John Quincy Adams more...
Example for the entire army
WISHED THE ARMY CHARGED LIKE THAT.
A prominent volunteer officer who, early in the War, was on duty in Washington and often carried reports to Secretary Stanton at the War Department, told a characteristic story on President Lincoln. Said he : "I was with several other young officers, also carrying reports to the War Department, and one morning we were late. In this instance we were in a desperate hurry to deliver the papers, in order to be able to catch the train returning to camp.
"On the winding, dark staircase of the old War Department, which many will remember, it was our misfortune, while taking about three stairs at a time, to run a certain head like a catapult into the body of the President,striking him in the region of the right lower vest pocket. "
USA vs. Canada -- a Frenchman's Joke
The French ambassador to Washington, Jean Jusserand, was once discussing matters of European foreign politics with Theodore Roosevelt's wife. "Why don't you learn from the United States and Canada?" the First Lady responded. "We have a three-thousand-mile unfortified peaceful frontier. You people arm yourselves to the teeth." "Ah, madame," Jusserand sighed. "Perhaps we could exchange neighbors." more...
An Old Indian
AN AGED INDIAN.
The French, in the year 1696, attacked the Iroquois Indians in Canada, whom they surprised and dispersed. An illustrious warrior of that nation, who was more than a hundred years old, disdaining to fly, or unable to do it, was taken prisoner, and abandoned to the savages attached to the French force, who, following their barbarous customs, made him suffer the most horrible torments. The old man never suffered a sigh to escape him, but boldly reproached more...
Benjamin Franklin takes a King
While in France, Benjamin Franklin often played chess with an elderly duchess. Once, after he put her king in check and taking it, she reprimanded him by saying, "We do not take kings so". "We do in America", Franklin responded matter-of-factly. more...
Henry Ford's Engineer
A visitor at a Ford factory in Dearborn, Michigan had the good fortune of encountering Henry Ford himself, who, demonstrating a newly finished automobile, proudly stated that there were "exactly forty-seven hundred and nineteen parts in that model."
Impressed by Ford's exhaustive wealth of knowledge, the visitor located a company engineer and asked the man for confirmation: Were there in fact exactly forty-seven hundred and nineteen parts in that model?
The engineer shrugged his shoulders. "I certainly don't know," he replied. "I can't think of a more useless piece of information!" more...
A Small Step for Neil Armstrong
Once, while having lunch with photographer Yousuf Karsh and his wife, Armstrong inquired about the many countries the couple had visited. Surprised, Mrs, Karsh replied, "But Mr. Armstrong, you've walked on the moon. We want to hear about your travels."
"But that's the only place I've ever been", responded Armstrong apologetically.
President Coolidge was a dictator?
While on a private tour of the home of poet Emily Dickinson in Amherst, MA, President Coolidge made a keen observation. When shown a prized, handwritten collection of her most famous poems, he studied them and remarked, "Wrote with a pen, eh? I dictate." more...
President George Washington on the proposed size of the army
An incident is related as having occurred while he was in the Convention for forming the Constitution, which was probably suggested by his experience during the war. A member proposed to introduce a clause into the constitution, limiting a standing army to five thousand men. Washington observed, that he should have no objection to such a clause, if it were so amended as to provide, that no enemy should presume to invade the United States with more than three thousand.
From The Museum of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art by Robert Walsh, Eliakim Littell, John Jay more...
George Washington at the fireplace
As he (George Washington) sat at table after dinner the fire behind him was too large and hot; he complained and said he must remove; a gentleman observed that it behooved a general to stand fire; Washington said, it did not look well for a general to receive fire from behind. more...