The 10 Most Interesting Things On John Boehner’s Desk

Desert Gardens, Scented Candles and Unusual Histories. (UPDATED with herding cats cartoon)

1.

Nice view, Mr. Speaker. All the photos below are taken from this image, dated last August.

2. Illegitimi Non Carborundum Plaque

The latin aphorism means “don’t let the bastards grind you down.” While the language is ancient, the phrase is not. It originated during World War II.

3. A Supply of Tissues (One in Use)

For drying the Speaker’s often copious tears.

4. Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King

This is a short history of a beer-making German-American neighborhood in Cincinnati that’s just outside Boehner’s district (which mostly lies west of Cincinnatti).

It’s actually a more controversial reading choice than you might think; as one Amazon reviewer describes the central narrative: “There were nativist forces at work to undermine German society and its beer-soaked culture. Morgan writes, ‘Before gay marriage, abortion rights, civil rights or the Vietnam War, beer became the focal point of a much broader social debate.’ That was temperance, the social reform movement that gave us Prohibition.”

5. A Tiny Desert Garden in a Snifter Glass

This wouldn’t be out of place on Etsy.

6. Goodbye Gordon Gekko

This book is subtitled “How to Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul.” Author Anthony Scaramucci — a major Republican donor — appears to be a favorite of the Speaker’s: his Little Book of Hedge Funds is standing right next door.

7. A Combined Salt and Pepper Grinder

I had not figured the Speaker for the sort of man who eats lunch or dinner at his desk, but this evidence suggests otherwise.

8. Restoring the Republic

A member of the Speaker’s caucus, Devin Nunes of the California 22nd, penned this slim, combative volume in 2010. According to the book’s Amazon description: “Born and raised in the breadbasket of California, thirty-six-year-old Nunes has seen firsthand how the convergence of big government, big business, and the radical Left has wreaked havoc on entire communities, turning the once-thriving farmland of the San Joaquin Valley into a blighted desert reminiscent of the Dust Bowl.”

9. Scented Candle

It looks like the Speaker has burned almost entirely through this jar; it might be time to head back down to Michael’s.

10. At the Edge of the Precipice: Henry Clay and the Compromise That Saved the Union

A poignant choice for the Speaker’s desk, this history by University of Chicago professor Robert Remini celebrates the Compromise of 1850 forged by Henry Clay (a former Speaker who was then a Senator from Kentucky).

Remini argues that “Clay’s victory in 1850 ultimately saved the Union by giving the North an extra decade to industrialize and prepare” for the Civil War.

11. UPDATE: Partially-Obscured Framed Herding Cats Cartoon

This Paul Noth cartoon originally appeared in the New Yorker on March 21, 2011. The caption reads “The kid’s good.”

(h/t Derek Conrad)

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