A Stint in Las Vegas

Ronald ReaganLike other movie actors, Ronald Reagan saw his acting career begin to slump in the ’50s.  Fewer and fewer movie roles were coming his way, and many actors were turning to television.  Although a critic of television, Reagan was to follow this route, too.  But first, in 1954 he took a gig as a Las Vegas stand-up comic for a few weeks.  He also was a Master of Ceremonies, announcing a singing quartet, “The Continentals.”  Later that same year Reagan got a break. He landed a job as host of a weekly TV drama series, GE Electric Theater. The former movie actor joined the ranks of TV performers.  Unpredictably, his position with General Electric was to lead him into politics.

Part of his responsibility was to tour the United States as a pubic relations representative for GE, seeking out workers’ opinions. In making celebrity appearances at GE plants  he received a “political education.” During this time he switched his views from liberal to conservative and began speaking out against government regulation and wasteful spending. As it turned out, the job he probably would not have accepted if his acting career had still been on track proved to be an excellent training ground for this future role as president.

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” — Ronald Reagan






“It was hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing and nostrils flared and making straight for the president.”

April 20, 1979. PLAINS, GEORGIA. President Jimmy Carter was fishing alone in his boat when according to Carter, a rabbit “jumped in the water and swam toward my boat!” According to Press Secretary Jody Powell, the rabbit was: “Not one of your cutesy Easter Bunny-type rabbits, but one of those big splay-footed things that we called swamp rabbits when I was growing up. The animal was clearly in distress, or perhaps berserk. The President confessed to having little experience with enraged rabbits. He was unable to reach a definite conclusion about its state of mind. What was obvious, however, was that this large, wet animal, making strange hissing noises and gnashing its teeth, was intent upon climbing into the Presidential boat.”

Rabbit Jimmy CarterAs Dr. Michael Lorenzen observed in the American Presidents Blog: “The Secret Service having been caught flat-footed — I’ll grant you an amphibious rabbit assault is a tough thing to defend against — the president did what he could to protect himself. Initially it was reported that he had hit the rabbit with  paddle. Realizing that this would not play well with the  Rabbit Lovers Guild, Carter later clarified that he had merely splashed water at the rabbit, which then ran swam off toward shore. A White House photographer, ever alert to history’s pivotal moments, snapped a picture of the encounter for posterity.” (See above.)

Jimt CarterRABIAT WTORYAt first the White House refused to release the photo, so  The Washington Post carried the story on the front page with  cartoon parody of  the poster for Jaws labeled “PAWS” as its illustration.  When his staff refused to believe his story, however, Carter had the photograph blown up.  ( Carter seems destined to have his strange encounters challenged by critics. While Governor of Georgia he reported seeing an Unidentified Flying Object and filed a report on it with the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City.  Nevertheless, there were those who expressed skepticism about the sighting.)

 Lots more intriguing Presidential trivia in: THE PRESIDENT DID WHAT?
Available in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats.

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Recipe: President Reagan’s Favorite Mac ‘N Cheese

Reagan maccheesePSPM


President Reagan’s 2nd Favorite Food

President Reagan’s passion for jellybeans is legendary.  It began in 1966 when he was running for Reagan CL jelly beansGovernor of California as part of his successful attempt to give up cigarette smoking.  As president, Reagan placed a standing order of 720 bags per month (306,070 beans), to be distributed among the White House, Capitol Hill and other federal buildings. He often presented visitors with a custom-designed jelly bean jar, made for Reagan by “Goelitz  Mini Jelly Beans,” manufacturer of “Jelly Belly,” Reagan’s favorite. He is shown here presenting a jar of red, white, and blue jellybeans to president-elect Bill Clinton.

Reagan’s 2nd favorite food (and undoubtedly favorite entrée) was Macaroni and Cheese.  Here is his favorite Mac ‘N Cheese recipe, contributed by Nancy Regan to : N* COOKBOOK of Sporting Tastes, Second Edition. © 1984 , Naval Academy Memorial Fund.

(This is my favorite cookbook. It is available from the Naval Academy Gift Shop, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD  21401.)

President Reagan’s Favorite Macaroni & Cheese

1/2 lb. macaroni
1 tsp. butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
3 cups grated sharp cheese
1 cup milk

Boil macaroni until tender and drain thoroughly. Stir in butter and egg. Mix mustard and salt with 1 tbs. hot water and add to milk. Add cheese, leaving enough to sprinkle on top. Pour into a buttered casserole, add milk, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes until the custard is set and the top is crusty.




Reagans at homePSPM





“I Murdered My Grandmother This Morning” — F.D.R.

Are You Really Listening?

The following story is told of president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at White House receptions and was tired of the small talk and flattering comments he received from White House guests.


Roosevelt decided that the guests were never really listening to what  he was saying. One day at a reception he decided to try a little experiment. As each guest arrived and shook the president’s hand he smiled politely and said pleasantly, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

As Roosevelt had anticipated, the guests responded with such comments as, “Marvelous!” “Keep up the good work!” “We are proud of you!” God bless you, sir!”

It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his guest actually listened to what Roosevelt was saying. The ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

Source unknown. This story appears in many sites that provide illustrations for sermons. Is it true or was it invented to illustrate a point, like the story  of George Washington and the cherry tree told by Parson Weems?