Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tune in for Mnemonics

All presidents of the US in a grid of portraits
At some points in my life, I've been able to list all of the presidents of the United States in order. (I still can for the most part, but I tend to get a bit lost in the 1830s-1850s and 1870s-1880s.)

I just found out about a new tool to help me out with that: Jonathan Coulton's song The Presidents. Here's a sample:

Andrew Johnson just survived impeachment.
General Grant enjoyed a drink or two.
Rutherford B. Hayes ended reconstruction.
Garfield was assassinated in 1882.
Hayes, yeah, that's the one I always forget. And that earlier spate from Harrison through Pierce, I can't  make that stick in my head. Maybe Coulton's song will help me.

Don't get me started singing the song with the states in alphabetical order. Hey, did you know that was written by Ray Charles?


Emily Lauer said...

I learned them in chronological order to the tune of Yankee Doodle when I was in seventh grade and have known them ever since. It's basically my only party trick.

To get you started:
Washington Adams Jefferson Madison,
Monroe Adams Jackson.
Van Buren Harrison Tyler Polk,
Taylor Fillmore Pierce.

Ha-ayes needs to be pronounced with two syllables and you need to say "Taft AND Wilson." As I learned it, it ends with Clinton.

Daughter Number Three said...

I haven't heard of that one, Emily. I keep wishing the Pierce line rhymed with Jackson.

Matthew J. Perry said...

Nice mneumonic, but it contains an error. James Garfield was assassinated in 1881

Daughter Number Three said...

Good point, Matthew. You might want to let Jonathan Coulton know.