Tom’s Unabridged Version of History

Judge not, that ye be not judged.                       — Mathew, chapter 7 verse 1

 I am waist-deep in my four-month stint as a teacher of U.S. History at a local high school.  The work is challenging, exciting, and exhausting.  Evaluating student performance is a daunting task.  An amusing side effect of the job is that I now continually think in questions.  Whether clumsily attempting to be Socratic, or merely hoping to probe what my students know my students, I am continually offering options of which at least one is absurd.  In this case they all are.  This is an abridged version of the history that runs through my brain and is never uttered to my students because, with my luck, it would be all that they remember.

 The Great Wall of China is

  1. now offering take-out service
  2. plastered with advertisements for “The Gap” and J. Crew
  3. 447 feet to dead center
  4. merely a metaphor for Paul Simon’s neurotic musings about relationships

Ferdinand de Lesseps is

  1. a useful alias when traveling incognito
  2. not to be confused with Fernando Llamas
  3. likely to stir a vague connection to a bull with those over forty
  4. chairman of your high school reunion and coincidentally an Allstate representative

Aaron Burr

  1. is also known as “Ironsides”
  2. has had Minnesota vanity  plates since before cars
  3. was the first vice president to play with firearms
  4. played physician Thad Wheatley on the long-running soap “Not Quite Right”

 Washington Irving  

  1. is a power forward accounting major at Michigan State  
  2. was traded by the Chicago Bulls for Gunnar Myrdalc.        
  3. sued to keep a Baltimore suburb from naming a housing development after his best known works
  4. is very dyslexic     
  5. has nothing on David Lloyd George

The Treaty of Ghent (1814)

  1. featured a ban on the usage of silent letters in future agreements
  2. called for unlimited barbeque sauce with any entrée $14.95 or more
  3. was costly to the Hapsburgs, who had agreed to host the signing and were forced to forfeit their down payment on a hall
  4. was a ruse initiated by Josephine to throw Napoleon a surprise birthday party                                                                                

Which name does not belong with the others?

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Kublai Khan
  5. George W. Bush
  6. 4 and 5 but mostly 5

This landmark Supreme Court decision established the precedent of judicial review

  1. Marbury v. Madison (1803)     
  2. Paper v. Plastic (1957) 
  3. Ostrogoths v. Visigoths (372)   
  4. E. Post v. M. Manners (1990)

Winfrey v. J. Franzen (2000)“Jacksonian Democracy” is associated with which figure?

  1. Jesse Jackson
  2. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson 
  3.   “Action” Jackson
  4. Jackson Pollock
  5. Janet Jackson


Tom H. Cook waxes nostalgic for fall in Minnesota.  Just like forty years ago, he doesn’t have a date for the big homecoming game.   











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