Monday, 19 February 2007

The third Monday in February

If any freeborn Englishmen (or, for that matter, Scotswomen) need an excuse for a party and want to join their American friends in celebrating Presidents Day today I can reassure them that there is no apostrophe, or if there is it comes after the “s”; therefore, marking the occasion in no way constitutes an act of homage to the present incumbent, or endorsement of what for want of a better word we may call his policies.

In fact this is all about a much more distinguished George, as Wikipedia explains here. Of course, he was no friend to us, but surely it is time to let bygones be bygones and forgive him for forcing us out of Boston, while remembering with pride that, the same year, we defeated and nearly captured him in New York City.

So if you have friends from the freed colonies there need be no embarrassment in having a joint celebration: just get in a crate of Jim Beam Black Label and tell them we no longer bear malice.

Jim Beam is of course a top Bourbon whiskey and this enables me to repeat a classic story which is best appreciated by those who know about European aristocracy:
The scene is a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. An American matron is clearly having a problem at the bar, and is approached by a distinguished silver-haired gentleman whose chest is covered with insignia. He asks if he can help her.
“Yeah, I wanna Bourbon.”
The old gentleman gives a courtly bow: “Would a Habsburg do?”

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