Thursday, February 09, 2006

Talked to Death

Today is the birthday of our ninth president, William Henry Harrison, who is perhaps best known for 2 things: 1) giving the longest inaugural address and 2) having the shortest stint as prez, a mere month. Turns out he caught a cold that blustery day he gave the too-long speech, as he refused to wear a coat, and then the cold led to pneumonia and that led to him being the first dead duck president, eager to be merely lame.

What can we learn from Old Tippecanoe? (BTW, that’s not a sly reference to where he and his wife Anna Tuthill Symmes—who he didn’t call Tithull, even when joking—conceived their ten children, one of whom was father to Benjamin Harrison, another U.S. President, and another who was grandfather to George Harrison, no, not the Beatle, but that other musician famous for the song “While My Tippecanoe Gently Leaks.”)

That your mom was right—put your coat on, it’s cold out. That even an Old Tippecanoe can get pneumonia (keep reading that one, you’ll get it). That it’s probably lousy karma to run off Native Americans from their land, kill Tecumseh, and support slavery. (Of course, if karma really worked, George Bush would be pumping gas in Crawford, TX and not blowing hot air in the White House.) And that it’s just silly to call your political party the Whigs, although calling them Whigs and Novelties might be cool.


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