Panda Diplomacy

By Kaleena Fraga

In 1972, President Nixon made history by visiting China, the first sitting president to do so.

During the visit, he and his wife, Pat, had the opportunity to see some Chinese pandas. Later, eating dinner with Zhou En-Lai, Pat noticed a cigarette box with pandas on the front.

“Aren’t those cute?” she said. “I love them.”

Zhou looked at the cigarette box and nodded. “I’ll get you some,” he said.

“Cigarettes?” Pat responded.

“Pandas!”

Sure enough, China sent a pair of pandas to the United States, causing Pat Nixon to quip that “Panda-monium” had struck Washington D.C.

(Thanks to https://www.nixonfoundation.org and John A. Farrell’s Richard Nixon: A Life for this tidbit)

Any Last Words?

By Kaleena Fraga

Thursday Trivia: 

Perhaps the most famous presidential last words are those of John Adams, who purportedly called out on his death bed: “Thomas Jefferson survives!” Adams did not know that his fellow Founding Father had, in fact, succumbed earlier in the day. Even eerier, both men died on July 4th.

James Madison seemed to fear less for the Republic, and to leave the world in a calmer state than Adams. Surrounded by his family, one of Madison’s nieces remarked that he looked as if he was in pain. Madison remarked that it was “…nothing more than a change in mind, my dear,” before leaving the American experiment for good.

Chester A. Arthur (our star from yesterday’s #otd) wins the “womp womp” prize for his (purportedly) last phrase. According to a friend he said: “Life is not worth living.”

And perhaps the cheeriest last words were uttered by John Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams, who had a stroke in the House of Representatives where he served. He died in the Speaker’s Office, but not before uttering: “This is the last of Earth. I am content.”

 

Nixon Played How Many Instruments?

By Kaleena Fraga

Tuesday Trivia: 

Richard Nixon is known for a lot of things. Ask anyone his name and the first thing most people will mention is Watergate. Nixon was also well known for playing the piano, but his musical prowess goes beyond the keys. Nixon played five instruments in total:

Piano

Clarinet

Violin

Accordian

&  Saxophone (take that Bill Clinton!)