- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Weird presidential novelties
Question of the Day
It's one thing to read about Monicagate. It's quite another to see the sex scandal that rocked the leader of the free world depicted on a novelty T-shirt.
As part of his class on the American presidency, Villanova University political science professor David Barrett hands out presidential souvenirs - the odder, the better. "The pieces represent a certain time and say something - a lot of times something amusing - about a particular president," Mr. Barrett said.
Here are some of his favorites:
Washington beer can
Item: A 1970s bicentennial tribute to our first commander in chief, courtesy of an aluminum suds container - because sometimes a giant obelisk, the name of the capital city and your mug on the $1 bill just aren't enough.
Fun fact: Text on the can reads, "I cannot tell a lie." "Of course, George Washington never really said that," Mr. Barrett said.
FDR match case
Item: A matchbook with a drawing of a sailboat; the drawing contains the letters "f-d-r."
Fun fact: The New Deal champion loved to smoke, sail and - who knew? - draw. "This was for use in FDR's home," Mr. Barrett said. "Friends could have them. Something like this reminds students that presidents are people, too. They can have talent."
JFK trading cards
Item: Think baseball cards - only with smiling sluggers and copious statistics replaced by Lee Harvey Oswald, J. Edgar Hoover, mafia leaders and everything else remotely linked to John F. Kennedy's death.
Fun fact: Each card contains text that adds up to a wide-ranging conspiracy theory. "The text is very historically unreliable," Mr. Barrett said.
Right. That's what they want you to believe.
Bill Clinton T-shirt
Item: A T-shirt created by a Mexican restaurant in Texas. It features a caricature of Mr. Clinton with a caption that reads, "I did not have Tex-Mex with that woman."
Fun fact: "For my current students, Clinton is the first president that they can remember," Mr. Barrett said. "So I actually have to explain to them what the joke means."
Great - now we feel old.
Item: A commemorative plate featuring Lyndon B. Johnson and short text references to issues of his era, including the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the war on poverty.
Fun fact: Mr. Barrett seldom brings this item to class. The reason? "I put this one up on the wall in my bathroom, because LBJ would conduct business anywhere," he said. "Including, famously, in the White House bathroom."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
- Taking to Twitter: Everybody's Oscar night in 140 characters
- Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin cry foul at WWE Tea Party stereotypes
- Oscar Pistorius and the 'roid rage' defense: It's no Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card
- Spatial media: Astronaut Chris Hadfield live chats from 220 miles above earth
- Hero-worship for a cold-blooded killer: The cult of Christopher Dorner
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized War College master's thesis: report
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- Hezbollah warring in Syria could join fight against Israel
- Family removed from Southwest flight over tweet about rude agent, dad says
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- CANNON: With Russia, different airline crash, same results
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq