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Posts Tagged ‘President Grover Cleveland’

It’s a Friday night, it’s hot like a furnace, and it’s a 4th of July weekend.  I highly doubt many of you are sitting by your computer wondering what Joel is going to write on July’s first day.  And that’s fine, because I’m not wondering, either.  I know what I’m going to write, and I know it’s going to be pretty quick.

Back in May, I visited the dentist…oh, yay, I’m writing about the dentist on a holiday weekend.  You’re probably thrilled if you’re not reading.

Normally the visit involves 45 minutes of torture, where I get to watch TV with my mouth ajar.  The assistant, who came in earlier and put her broom and pointy hat in the corner, is now mumbling things like, “My husband never makes the bed…my kids never pick up their toys…my husband…”.  The worst thing is she has those really sharp things in her hands and she punctuates each “never” and each “always” with a scrape across my teeth.  Nurse Ratchet then finishes with a smile and says, “You should floss more.”  I want to say, “You should take an anger management course”, but that slight smell of sulfur and brimstone in the air tells me it’s probably best to keep my mouth shut.  Besides, it’s not like I’ll be in any condition to speak for at least another hour.

But this time, I got Nurse Relief instead.  She was awesome.  My appointment wasn’t all that bad, though I’ll never say I enjoyed it.  It was tolerable.  Maybe it had something to do with flossing, that new hobby I picked up and began doing religiously in January.  But I think it was also because Ms. Relief didn’t have a devil-spawn above her manipulating the strings.

Going good so far?…yeah, I didn’t think so.

So way back in 1893, President Grover Cleveland went to the dentist.  I’m pretty sure he hated it, too, because they found cancer in his mouth.  Three weeks later, on July 1, 1893, the President “went on vacation”.  CNN and FoxNews (or whoever ran the show back then) probably showed pictures of the yacht right there off Long Island.  Of course, the vacation was just a ploy to keep people from worrying too much.  Even his wife (who was pregnant at the time) didn’t know.

The President was on the boat…but so was a surgeon.  And on this day in history, the surgeon removed the cancer from the President’s mouth.  Of course, the operation (done through his mouth to avoid all the cutting) involved removing some of his jaw and palate, which left his face somewhat disfigured.  So the news folks were fed a line about the President having a couple of rotten teeth removed, which they apparently bought.  Eventually, the President was fitted with an insert-thingy (I’m a computer guy, not a doctor) that made him look normal.

Now had I been a news reporter, I would have been suspicious right away.  Oral surgery is a delicate procedure…at least it better be when it’s done on my mouth.  So who does tricky dentistry-type things on a boat that’s rocking in the water?  I guess Nurse Ratchet was his surgeon, too.

I bet this is the where the phrase “Don’t rock the boat” got it’s start.  And it’s probably why we see the right side of President Cleveland’s face on the $1000 bill.

Recommended Reading:  The President is a Sick Man – Hot off the presses!

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I know I need to go, but I never look forward to it.  In fact, the only thing that gets me there is scheduling the next trip at the end of the current visit.  Twice a year, every year, I make the trip downtown.  I usually go first thing in the morning, and I try to get there 15 or 20 minutes early, just in case I can get started ahead of time.  Know what I’m referring to?

Of course you do…you probably hate it like I do.  A visit to the dentist’s office.

Actually, my dentist is a super-nice guy…which, now that I think about it, probably isn’t a huge compliment.  I think they have to be nice guys, because attitude and demeanor may be the only things most people like about the dentist.  You lay in a chair with your mouth wide open while an assistant (usually named Nurse Ratchet) vents her anger at her husband and children on your gumline.  There are sharp instruments and drills and something called a Water Cavitron (I might have gotten that wrong because Ms. Ratchet’s voice was overwhelmed by the screams from the next room).  Supposedly, it uses water to remove tarter deposits, but it’s real job is to cause mind-numbing pain.

And if you ever have a cavity?!?  There’s another whole plate of torture tools that get used.  A giant needle of novocaine that looks way too large for my mouth.  Then there are more drills.  Some kind of cement-type stuff…ok, it’s enough.  Fortunately, I’ve only had to experience these “special” implements on a couple of occasions.

Let’s be honest, we get checkups at the dentist for one reason only.  The alternative (not going at all) is that much worse.

Imagine if you were visiting the dentist around the turn of the century.  Not the 21st century…the 20th century.  Back when dental technology was in the relative Stone Age.  Novocaine?…probably a double-shot of alcohol or a rock to the head.  Instruments were probably more like chisels.  That’s what President Grover Cleveland faced on June 13, 1893.  It was on this day that the President noticed that the roof of his mouth was sore.  Like you and I, the first six-letter word he thought of was “cavity.”  So he visited the White House doctor, probably dreading an upcoming visit to Nurse Ratchet followed by “the implements”.

What they would end up finding was another six-letter word…a much more sobering word…”cancer.”  Grover Cleveland would eventually be diagosed with a form of carcinoma and, in less than three weeks, would have part of his jaw removed and replaced with an implant.

And the details surrounding the President’s surgery are probably worthy of investigation, so maybe we’ll pry into that in a couple weeks.

Recommended Reading: Presidents – All You Need to Know

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On June 2, 1886, 49-year-old Stephen Cleveland got married.  It’s not a big surprise, because lots of people get married at some point in their lives and, as you all know, June is the month when most weddings take place.  So why waste Today’s History Lesson on a such a “common little miracle”?

Well, Stephen Cleveland didn’t actually use his first name, but his middle name…Grover.  And when Grover Cleveland tied the knot on this day way back then, he just happened to be the President of the United States.  And he’s the only President (so far) to have been married in the actual White House.  And his wife, Frances Folsom, became (and still is) the youngest First Lady in our nation’s history, taking her position at just 21 years old.

And I think those things make it worthy of at least a little press…so there!

Recommended Reading: Presidents – All You Need to Know

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President George Washington was presented with a bill concerning how representatives would be apportioned among the states.  When he rejected the bill on April 5, 1792, he was casting the first Presidential veto in the county’s brief history.

It would certainly not be the last.

In the 217 years since Washington’s first veto, the 42 subsequent Presidents have exercised their veto power on more than 2,500 occasions.  Most Commanders-In-Chief have used the veto power.  In fact, only 7 Presidents have not.  The last President to veto the veto?  James Garfield…of course, he only served 6 months of his term, so he didn’t get much of a chance.  Current President Barack Obama has also yet to veto any legislation, but he’s only a couple months into his 1st term, so there’s still plenty of time.

U.S. Presidents have two ways to veto a bill.  The first is to explicitly return the bill to Congress, which is the most common method and has been used in about 1,500 cases.

The President also has the option to neither sign the bill nor return it to Congress.  After ten days, the bill automatically becomes law.  But (and pay attention here), Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution states that if the Congressional session ends before the ten days has elapsed and the President does nothing with the bill, it is vetoed.

Called the “pocket veto” (the President effectively puts the bill in his pocket and ignores it), this veto is more powerful because it effectively kills the possibility of a Congressional override (the bill is in the President’s pocket).  There is some ambiguity concerning pocket vetoes, and they’ve been challenged in the past.  They’ve been exercised by various Presidents more than 1,000 times.

Remember Schoolhouse Rock?  Well, I do, and the famous “I’m Just a Bill” clip from Saturday mornings should give you low-down on bills becoming law and the whole veto process.

Some interesting facts about vetoes:

  • The President with the most vetoes?  Franklin Roosevelt (635 of them in his 3+ terms).
  • Among 2-term Presidents, Grover Cleveland exercised veto power 414 times.  A strong opponent of earmarks, he rejected spending bills left and right.  And only two of his vetoes were overridden.
  • President Roosevelt exercised 263 pocket vetoes.
  • Presidents that did not use their veto power:  Adams I, Jefferson, Adams II, Harrison, Taylor, Fillmore, and Garfield.

Recommended Reading:  Presidents – All You Need to Know – An outstanding compilation of facts about the first 43 Presidents.

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