While you’re waiting anxiously on those Inauguration Day parades (complete with the Joe Biden balloons, if we’re lucky), here are some useless Inauguration Day facts to make you smarter:
- George Washington’s second inaugural address was the shortest in history, clocking in at 135 words long (of all his pre-presidency careers, one was not a Southern Baptist preacher).
- Ronald Reagan was the first president to take his oath on the West Front of the US Capitol. Prior to that, oaths had been taken on the east side, in Philadelphia, even in New York City (probably at the original Ray’s Pizza).
- In a cost-cutting measure, this year’s inaugural budget is only $1.237 million, down from $1.24 million in 2009 (the extra $.01 million was spent on Aretha’s hat).
- John Q. Adams did not use a Bible for his oath, but a book of law that contained the constitution (I guess he forgot about Leviticus).
- William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural speech in history (8,445 words) in March. In a snowstorm. For two hours. Without a coat. (He died 31 days later. His last words were reportedly, “You were right, dear.”)
- A total of 147 horses will participate in today’s parade (which comes as a total shock to Obama the debater, who didn’t know we had that many).
- During JFK’s inauguration, the podium caught fire while Cardinal Richard Cushing was delivering the invocation (thus proving that God is not a Catholic).
- If you donated $50,000 to the 2013 inaugural fund, you were awarded with a photo session with the President & Mrs. Obama and Vice President and Dr. Biden (for 60 grand they’d lock crazy Uncle Joe in a closet).
- In 1865, VP Andrew Johnson had one too many glasses of whiskey before he took the podium, and was obviously drunk (several members of Congress were so inspired, they started drinking and haven’t stopped since).
- Ben’s Chili Bowl, a famous DC landmark, prepared 1,000 gallons of chili in advance of today’s event (insert your own politicians-are-already-full-of-gas joke here).