Tales from the Trail

Presidential choices: Avatar and “resisting pie”

President Barack Obama’s favorite movie is the blockbuster “Avatar” and he also likes “Away We Go.” USA/

And while first lady Michelle Obama is able to keep her iPod current with music from Grammy nominee Ledisi, the president has found it difficult to keep his selections updated.

“My iPod is kind of stuck. I just haven’t had time to sit down at a computer,” Barack Obama says in an interview with People magazine about the First Couple’s first year that will appear in the Jan. 25 issue.

“And there’s nobody that can do that for you, sir?” the magazine asked.

To which Obama replied that he could ask his aide Reggie Love to update his iPod tunes, but that request would come with another set of issues.

Hoop Dreams: Obama puts on full-court press at White House

Forget about Afghanistan, healthcare and the economy. President Barack Obama took time out on Thursday to indulge in his favorite sport as he hosted cabinet members and lawmakers for a round of pickup games on the White House basketball court.

OBAMA/It was the biggest day of hoop dreams at the White House since Obama took office, and reporters disappointed at being kept away went one-on-one with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs before the opening tip-off.

As for why were journalists being barred: “To protect the privacy and the statistics of any of those involved,” he quipped at his daily briefing.

After the big speech, pyramids!

CAIRO – After the pressure of his big speech to the Islamic world had ended on Thursday, President Barack Obama got down to the serious business of all Egyptian travelers — visiting pyramids.
 
OBAMA/EGYPTSwapping his speech suit for beige chinos and a navy blue polo shirt, Obama helicoptered to the hot and dusty site of the Khufu pyramid with advisers David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and body man Reggie Love.
 
“This thing is huge,” he said standing at the base of the pyramid and urging Love to come for a closer look.
 
The pyramid is estimated to weigh 6 million tons and originally stood about 480 feet high.
 
“Hear that guys?” Obama shouted to reporters. “No evidence aliens actually built this.” 
 
The president avoided the temptation of riding a camel but watched as Emanuel, Jarrett and Love mounted the seated beasts and were  then lifted high in the air as the animals stood.
 
“I just want you guys to know,” he told accompanying reporters, “if you weren’t here, I’d get on a camel. I don’t want to give you guys the satisfaction.”
 
Obama toured the nearby sphinx with Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretOBAMA/EGYPTary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and pronounced it as awe inspiring.
 
And he visited the Solar Boat, a 130-foot vessel found buried near the pyramids.
 
At one point the president entered a subterranean tomb and called attention to one of the hieroglyphs with a round face and big ears.
 
“Hey, that looks like me,” a member of the group quoted him as saying. “Look at those ears.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credits: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama at sphinx; Obama in front of pyramid with Hawass)