August 4 - Happy Birthday, Barack Obama

Posted on August 4, 2017

Over the years, I have highlighted a lot of different U.S. Presidents on their birthdays. As presidents, all of them have at least somewhat spotty records - everyone makes mistakes, and even the folks who had failings and scandals in their presidencies still had some accomplishments and/or ideas that were praiseworthy.

I have to admit that I don't have the emotional ties to any of them that I have for today's famous birthday, Barack Obama. Like all the other presidents before him, President Obama had his faults and made mistakes. But there was something so classy, so intelligent, so good humored, so humble, even, about "No Drama Obama"!

He is, so far, my favorite president. Yes, I admit that he wasn't as effective or influential as some - FDR, Washington, Lincoln come to mind! Of course, Obama did not preside over the kind of dramatic wars that the top-rated presidents did. 

And another big-time "of course": Obama was saddled with a lot of obstruction that seemed at the time - and also now, in retrospect - to be racist in nature rather than based on principles. In other words, a lot of the public, a substantial portion of the media, and about half of Congress was unendingly critical of everything Obama did and said, even if Republicans did and said and supported that exact same thing before Obama "tainted" it (in their minds).

Actually, it was Obama's handling of the obstruction that made me admire him all the more. He and his family showed so much grace under the microscope, despite the absurd nature of the criticisms leveled against them.

Since Obama is such a current figure of interest, you probably know a lot about him. But...did you know...?

* He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his book Dreams From My Father.

* He's read all the Harry Potter books and collects comic books (Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian).

* Apparently (from what I could find) Obama finally kicked the smoking habit. He had a difficult time quitting, made several promises to loved ones, and "fell off the wagon" a few times.

* You probably know that Obama spent a few years of his childhood in Indonesia - but did you know that he had a pet ape named Tata while there? His Indonesian stepfather bred crocodiles, and the family also had a pet turtle.

* While in Indonesia, he ate roasted grasshopper and snake and dog meat - because he was a little kid, and that was what he was served. 

* When he was a teenager, he worked in a Baskin-Robbin ice cream shop. Now he doesn't like ice cream - maybe he got sick of it?

* These days, his favorite meal is his wife's shrimp linguini, his favorite thing to cook is chili, and his favorite snack is chocolate-peanut protein bars.

* If he weren't a politician, Obama would have liked to have been an architect.

And here are a few Obama photos (taken by Pete Souza) that I especially like:

"I want to know if my hair is just like yours." - little boy


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