1. Which president so profoundly believed in astrology that his entire schedule was planned according to astrology charts?
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Ronald Reagan
- Richard Nixon
- Bill Clinton
Both Ronald Reagan (No. 40) and his wife, Nancy, were believers. After Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981, the two leaned more heavily on the practice. So heavily, in fact, that Reagan's entire schedule was planned according to his astrology charts, including the takeoff and landing times of Air Force One, the presidential airplane.
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2. Every morning, what did President Calvin Coolidge (No. 30) have rubbed all over his head while he enjoyed breakfast in bed?
- Petroleum jelly
- Coconut oil
- Pickle relish
- Olive oil
Calvin Coolidge enjoyed having petroleum jelly rubbed all over his head every morning, while he enjoyed his breakfast in bed, believing that it was good for his health.
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3. True or false: Some of Benjamin Franklin's changes to the English alphabet are still used today.
False. He published his new phonetic alphabet in 1779, as well as some letters written in the new mode, but it never caught on. In theory, it was a great idea. Franklin removed six letters from the alphabet that we already knew (c, j, q, w, x and y), as he found them redundant. For example, the letter k could handle the hard c sound, and the letter s could supply the soft c sound, so c got the boot. Franklin also added six more characters (two vowels and four consonants) to add clarity in pronunciation of specific sounds. For example, he made a new consonant to describe the "ng" sound at the end of, say, running or reaping.
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4. True or false: One of Benjamin Franklin's lesser-known inventions was the flexible catheter tube, made for his brother who suffered from kidney stones.
True. As an inventor, Franklin created many much-needed items that we still use today. Bifocals are a popular invention of his, as is the lightning rod. He also invented things you wouldn't normally associate with him, including swimming flippers (for the hands), flexible catheters and an odometer.
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5. For what purpose did Thomas Jefferson continually breed and raise geese?
- Fresh eggs and poultry
- Foraging on grass, geese are great 'ecological lawn mowers'
- A steady supply of quills
- To serve as guard animals, as he had a fear of dogs
Thomas Jefferson was said to be such a fan of quill pens that he kept white geese at Monticello for the purpose of supplying feathers for his quills. He wrote something like 20,000 letters during his lifetime, so it makes sense that he'd want a flock of geese around to provide him with plenty of writing instruments.
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6. Within 24 hours of assuming presidency, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, what did President Lyndon B. Johnson order to be done in the White House?
- All animals to be removed
- Phones to be installed everywhere
- All windows to be blocked out with blinds
- The entire building to be wheelchair accessible
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office on Nov. 22, 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Within 24 hours, President Johnson ordered a dramatic increase in the number of telephones in the White House communications system.
Johnson had phones installed absolutely everywhere — beneath dining tables, coffee tables and end tables, in bathrooms and on window sills, according to Johnson aide James Jones' oral history for the LBJ Presidential Library. Johnson basically built a wired mobile phone network, using phones as call-relay points, so he would never have to end a call. The White House was already wheelchair accessible by that point, which was put into place by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
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