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Barack Obama Celebrates His 53rd Birthday



Happy Birthday Barack Obama. Today, our nation’s President is celebrating his 53rd birthday.

According to reports, Obama spent a relaxing day on the golf course on Saturday before heading out to for a retreat in the Catoctin Mountains. According to the Associated Press, the 53-year-old hit a round of golf at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland with childhood friends Mike Ramos, Bobby Titcomb and Greg Orme. The President returned to the White House from his weekend away on Sunday afternoon to prepare for a busy Monday.

Today might be Obama’s big day, but he will be spending most of his birthday in and out of meetings. According to reports, Obama will sit down with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to discuss our nation’s economy.

As for gifts, what exactly do you give a man who has everything? In honor of the Obama’s birthday, The Washington Post has broken down and reviewed every one of the 274 gifts given to the president between 2009 and 2012 by foreign countries and their leaders.

The Best Five:

1. A five-inch Aztec calendar in silver, given by Mexico in 2012.
Mexico is very good at giving gifts, as it turns out. Why did this particular gift earn top marks? Because: 1. Aztec calendars are cool. 2. A five-inch silver piece is not chintzy. 3. They gave this in 2012, when the world was at peak end-of-the-world mania. This gift was on-trend. Nicely done, Mexico.

2. A Maori club, given by New Zealand in 2011.
The full description: “11.5″ x 4″ traditional Maori weapon with a short broad-bladed club, made of the sacred greenstone.” Which sounds cool. Now, go look at it. We rest our case.

3. A ping-pong table, given by the UK in 2012.
The United Kingdom’s gifts were a bit scattered, but the ping-pong table is a winner. You can see it here, as part of an article complaining that it was made in China. The Obamas didn’t set the thing up in the White House, it seems, but it should have. The White House could use a more chill vibe.


4. Four bottles of tequila and a silver ark in a trunk, from Mexico in 2009.
Four bottles of tequila. That is a good gift. If you’re curious what happened to the booze, the State Department offers a hint: “Perishable Items Handled Pursuant to U.S. Secret Service Policy.” Presumably meaning like this.

5. A stainless steel watch, a brooch, and a ceramic dog bowl from the Czech Republic in 2009.
The Czech Republic got a gift for Bo. It wasn’t the only country to do so, but that is adorable.

For more on the 274 gifts, click here.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Robert Bruner

    August 4, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    I think I just threw up in my mouth. 🙁

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Exclusive: The Bullet Scars That Will Forever Haunt Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Son, Etienne Maurice



Sheryl Lee Ralph shared a graphic photo on Instagram earlier this week of her son, Etienne Maurice, laying in a hospital bed bandaged up from bullet wounds. The purpose of the image was to be yet another voice calling to end gun violence.

On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of class to protest against gun violence, something that hit home for Ralph four years ago. “This mother wants #gunreform now! #guncontrol now,” she wrote.

It was during a night out in West Philadelphia that Ralph’s then 22-year-old child was robbed at gunpoint and shot three times; twice in the leg and one which grazed his forehead.

So as Ralph joined Wednesday’s national conversation about gun laws, HipHollywood talked exclusively with Etienne who shared exactly what went down the night a gun could have taken his life for good.

“I was shot four years ago, November 9 … I was black out drunk. The next thing I know I remember I woke up in the hospital, doctor said I had two bullet holes in my leg and a grazed bullet hole above my eyebrow.”

Maurice, who was robbed for his iPhone and his wallet, went on to tell us that this is something that he is reminded of constantly. “Having been shot is something that I carry with me every day. I still have numbness at the bottom of my leg from the nerve damage.”

And while he will always remember how he felt knowing his life almost ended, Etienne had a hard time fathoming how his famous mother felt. “We had the conversation about it last week and she said she peed on herself,” he told us.

For Maurice, he’s proud to see young children use their voices to make change. “There’s so many angles where we can talk about gun violence and how it’s effecting different communities,” he said. “Gun reform needs to take place now.”

Since that night, he hasn’t picked up a drink and has been now sober for four years. As for the suspects, a father-son duo, they are behind bars for attempted man slaughter.

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