Monday, October 19, 2009


At about 9:30 this evening I was approached by three young lads, sporting yarmulkas and fringes, who asked for a few minutes of my time.
They were from Chanoch Lana'ar and wanted to take a video of me.
Well, I've heard that one before!
But it was true, they produced a camera, and informed me of their purely innocent and curiosity-driven desire to interview me on camera about American History. (You know, just random people on the street. I had noticed, though, that they had let a few people walk by before stopping me. Perhaps they wanted somebody who wouldn't pose a security risk, if you know what I mean.)
I immediately thought of all the videos I've seen of idiots who don't know jack about Abe (as in Lincoln...).
They assured me that it wouldn't be posted anywhere, and if I didn't like the video afterward, they could erase it.
Fair enough, I exclaimed. Let the games begin!
  1. What year did the American Revolution start? I first was a little hesitant, thinking about 1776 for a second, but quickly remembered that it was 1775. Phew! (1776 was when they wrote the Declaration! Duh!)
  2. Who was the first president? Washington, I told them, without batting an eye.
  3. Who was the president before Clinton? Bush Senior!
  4. What years were the Civil War? This was my embarrassing moment. I told them it ended in 1861. In fact, that's when it started!
  5. Name the first three presidents: I quickly told them Washington and Adams, but I was stuck on the third. I kept thinking, "Madison? No, there was somebody before...maybe Jefferson? No..." But it was in fact Jefferson. Oh well. (Madison came fourth.)
  6. Finally they asked me: Who burnt down the White House? The British, of course, in the War of 1812!
To this last answer, despite all my confidence, they told me I was wrong.
I know, right!!!????
They said it was the Canadians!
I know, right!!!???
They said that Canadian colonies or something or other had helped the British fight the war, and it was them who actually burnt down the White House.
Well. Which army was it, though, my friends? Obviously the British!!! So I think I should have gotten that one right.

Okay, I just did a little research. ('Research' normally means Google, Wiki, and ChaCha, by the way) Most say that it was the British who burnt the White House. The Royal Navy had stopped in Halifax first, and picked up more men and supplies, but any fighting between Canadians and us was done on the border between our countries.
But remember, that Canada only became a country in 1867! So of course it couldn't have been Canada!

I rest my case.

Back to the story: I think they were a little disappointed with my interview, but they thanked me for it, and I let them keep the footage.