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A SELECT GROUP OF GENTLEMEN

On a holiday named after the first U.S. president, let's give face time to all 44.

Psst. Want to know the real reason you're not getting mail today? It's not Presidents Day. There is no such federal holiday.

Back during the Nixon administration, public servants in Washington decided celebrating George Washington's birthday (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln's birthday (Feb. 12) was just too much celebrating. So they split the difference and moved the combined holiday to the third Monday in February and called it ... Washington's Birthday.

Despite that, car salespeople, mattress stores and a lot of other people call it Presidents Day. But you never see Millard Fillmore (president No. 13) in sofa commercials. Chester A. Arthur (No. 21) pitching a new cell phone plan? Not likely. It's always stovepipe hats and white wigs, Lincoln and Washington, Washington and Lincoln.

It hardly seems fair that the other 42 presidents don't get face time. So on this, what many people consider their day, here are some tidbits about some of our other presidents:

Both Thomas Jefferson (3) and John Adams (2) died 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted - July 4, 1826. James Monroe (5) also died on the Fourth of July, but in 1831.

In 1820, James Monroe (5) ran for his second term - with no opposition. The time is referred to as the "Era of Good Feeling."

John Quincy Adams (6), who enjoyed a nice skinny-dip in the Potomac for exercise, held the presidency for one term, but later spent 17 years in the House of Representatives, and died in the capital. He had a stroke right at his desk.

Andrew Jackson (7) was the first president born in a log cabin, either in North Carolina or South Carolina, no one is sure. Speaking of unclear, Jackson's wife may or may not have been divorced from her previous husband when she married Jackson. Jackson, by the way, served briefly as provisional governor of Florida.

At the end of his second year at Bowdoin College, Franklin Pierce (14) had the lowest marks of anyone in his class.

Andrew Johnson (17), a tailor by trade, learned how to write and perform arithmetic from his wife.

Ulysses S. Grant (18) was born Hiram Ulysses Grant. But a congressman mis-wrote his name on the nomination form for West Point, (where Grant graduated 21st out of a class of 39) and Grant was fine with the change. (He didn't like his initials - H.U.G.)

Rutherford B. Hayes (19) got the job by all of one vote in the Electoral College.

James A. Garfield (20) could write Greek with one hand while simultaneously writing in Latin with the other. Shortly into his presidency, he was shot at a train station. Alexander Graham Bell built a sort of metal detector to locate the bullet, but it was unsuccessful.

William Howard Taft (27) never liked being president, but warmed to his later career on the U.S. Supreme Court as chief justice.

At West Point, Dwight Eisenhower (34) graduated 61st out of a class of 164.

In his youth, Richard Nixon (37) worked picking beans and as a barker at an amusement park.

Gerald Ford (38) was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. He later took his adoptive father's name. At the University of Michigan, he played center on the football team.

Jimmy Carter (39), a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, was part of a select group of officers who took part in the development of nuclear-powered submarines.

Poor eyesight kept Ronald Reagan (40) from serving overseas during World War II.

* * *

1. George Washington

2. John Adams

3. Thomas Jefferson

4. James Madison

5. James Monroe

6. John Quincy Adams

7. Andrew Jackson

8. Martin Van Buren

9. William Henry Harrison

10. John Tyler

11. James K. Polk

12. Zachary Taylor

13. Millard Fillmore

14. Franklin Pierce

15. James Buchanan

16. Abraham Lincoln

17. Andrew Johnson

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

21. Chester A. Arthur

23. Benjamin Harrison

25. William McKinley

27. William Howard Taft

29. Warren Harding

18. Ulysses S. Grant

20. James A. Garfield

22. Grover Cleveland

24. Grover Cleveland

26. Theodore Roosevelt

28. Woodrow Wilson

30. Calvin Coolidge

31. Herbert Hoover

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

33. Harry S. Truman

34. Dwight Eisenhower

35. John F. Kennedy

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

37. Richard Nixon

38. Gerald Ford

39. Jimmy Carter

40. Ronald Reagan

41. George H.W. Bush

42. Bill Clinton

43. George W. Bush

44. Barack Obama

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