CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

19 Presidential Jokes for Presidential Joke Day

Original image
Getty Images

We often think of American presidents as butts of jokes, the muses for mockery, and the subjects of satire. But every once in a while, our commanders-in-chief (or their speechwriters) come up with a few witty wisecracks of their own. Saturday is Presidential Joke Day – a holiday to commemorate the fact that presidents sometimes have a sense of humor.

http://youtu.be/wgSSRE27GQ0

The holiday began in 1984, when Ronald Reagan made a joke during a sound check for a radio broadcast. "My fellow Americans,” he said, "I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

Reagan was not aware, however, that his feed was live. And unfortunately, not everyone got the joke. Soviet officials got word of the broadcast and put the military on high alert.

Once the threat of nuclear war had abated, Americans found the situation hilarious, and decided to memorialize Reagan’s famous quip by instituting National Presidential Joke Day on August 11th. To get you geared up to celebrate this holiday properly, we’re saluting these presidential knee-slappers.

Ronald Reagan

"I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself."
*
"I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency -- even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting."
*
"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
*
"Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his."

*
"I hope you're all Republicans." —Speaking to surgeons as he entered the operating room following a 1981 assassination attempt

George W. Bush

"These stories about my intellectual capacity really get under my skin. You know, for a while I even thought my staff believed it. There on my schedule first thing every morning it said, 'Intelligence Briefing.'"
*
''Thank you for your email. This Internet of yours is a wonderful invention.'' —To Al Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign
*
“We’re studying safe levels for arsenic in drinking water. To base our decision on sound science, the scientists told us we needed to test the water glasses of about 3,000 people. Thank you for participating.” —At the 2001 Radio-Television Correspondents’ Association dinner
*
''The candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions -- for tax cuts and against them, for NAFTA and against NAFTA, for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act, in favor of liberating Iraq and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts.'' —During the 2004 campaign against John Kerry

Barack Obama

Getty Images

''If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness, it's possible that I'm a little too awesome.''
*
”There are few things in life harder to find and more important to keep than love. Well, love and a birth certificate.”
*
''Many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father. What you may not know is Barack is actually Swahili for 'That One.' And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for president.”

And More!

''Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.'' —Lyndon Johnson
*
“I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy: Dear Jack, Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide.” —John F. Kennedy, addressing complaints that his father’s money was buying the primary for him.
*
''My esteem in this country has gone up substantially. It is very nice now when people wave at me, they use all their fingers.” —Jimmy Carter
*
"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'present' or 'not guilty.'" —Teddy Roosevelt
*
''In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.'' —John Adams
*
"Being president is like running a cemetery: you've got a lot of people under you and nobody's listening." —Bill Clinton
*
“If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?” —Abraham Lincoln

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
Original image
iStock

While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
Original image
iStock

Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios