Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fifty Things You Might Not Know About Barack Obama

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Leave it to a London newspaper, The Telegraph to come up with 50 cool facts about Barack Obama:

by Jon Swaine

• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

• He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at basketball

• His name means "one who is blessed" in Swahili

• His favourite meal is wife Michelle's shrimp linguini

• He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father

• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed

• He has read every Harry Potter book

• He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali

• He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can't stand ice cream

• His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars

• He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while living in Indonesia

• He can speak Spanish

• While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead

• His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea

• He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president – he didn't

• He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia

• He can bench press an impressive 200lbs

• He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name

• His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

• He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his half-sister's fiancĂ©, but left when a stripper arrived

• His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy

• He and Michelle made $4.2 million (£2.7 million) last year, with much coming from sales of his books

• His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

• He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck

• He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.

• His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees

• He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date

• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker

• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol

• He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician

• As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine

• His daughters' ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)

• He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside

• He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal

• His house in Chicago has four fire places

• Daughter Malia's godmother is Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita

• He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry

• He uses an Apple Mac laptop

• He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling Chrysler 300

• He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits

• He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes

• He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21 (£13)

• His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire

• He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service handlers

• He was nicknamed "Bar" by his late grandmother

• He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds

• His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso

• His speciality as a cook is chilli

• He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were "street urchins"

• He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life

• His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government

4 comments:

PatricktheRogue said...

I didn't know most of these things, and was pleased to learn them. It was just yesterday when I used the phrase "the President" at work and was referring to President Obama for the first time. I stopped and looked at everybody, and kept going, "yeah, the President..." It was a genuinely nice feeling.
This list (especially the President's desire to be an architect) also reminded me of something I did not know about my own father. I never knew what he dreamed of being when he was young. He was so successful I always assumed that he was doing what he had planned to do. I was wrong. I am glad I thought to ask him, probably just a year before he died, what he had wanted to be when he was young. He said he had always wanted to be a Navy ship captain. He had been a psychologist, first in the Army, then in a school district, and eventually became the principal of a high school for special needs kids. He was a good man and highly revered in San Antonio. I had never dreamed he wanted to captain a ship. I found out he had to abandon his dream when the Navy would not take him because his eyesight was too bad. The Army's standards for eyesight were lower. I don't know why, but finding this out about my dad really surprised me and made me look at him in a whole new way. It did explain why he knew so much about ships though.

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Hey PatricktheRogue,
I'm so glad that you were able to learn more about your father before his passing. That's a real gift for you.
I didn't know that the President could speak Spanish. I was impressed with that info.
I've heard that he plays Poker -- a game that I've been wanting to learn for quite some time. Now I'm motivated to find someone to teach me.
Peace!
Alicia

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind seeing the sculpture of the hand holding the egg. I just invisioned it as I was reading the list and the meaning is so apropriate.

MaDear

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Madear,
That sculpture does sound intriguing. I bet I could find a picture of it. I'll keep you posted!
Alicia