August 18, 2010


Sam Smith - When I was a boy, my father taught me the presidents of United States in order by use of the first letters of words in a series of nonsensical sentences that were hard to forget:

Washington and Jefferson made money and jack.
Van Buren had ten pennies to finish practically bankrupt.
Little John got hayfever going around Cleveland hoping Cleveland might raise true wealth. 
Harding caught horses running true east. . .

That got you as far as Eisenhower and I never forgot it. I even got extra credit on a high school test as a result, even though I put "Money" where "Monroe" should have been.

Similarly, I can still remember my college dorm room telephone number - Elibero.

So this morning, I decided to apply these principles to something that has been troubling me, namely that I was not doing a good job of keeping Middle Eastern countries geographically straight in my mind.  Here's my solution:

TIAPI - Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, from left to right wit a slight downward tilt

SIJSOY - Sryia, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yeman, more or less top to bottom under Turkey.

SLIJ - Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, top to bottom.

I'm still working on Palestine and any improvements are welcomed.

Silly as it may seem, just memorize those three words and their mnemonic connections and you've just installed a whole map in your brain.