Sick presidents

If I’d been running Homeland Security yesterday I’d have arrested every grubby fruit vendor I could find. To my knowledge no US president has ever been shot or blown up on July 4th but, as Doctor Zebra notes,

July 4, 1850 was a hot day in Washington, DC. [Zachary] Taylor attended Independence Day ceremonies at the Washington Monument, and ate some ice-chilled cherries. Alas, the ice was tainted with typhoid.

Other revelations on this highly entertaining site include HL Mencken’s take on Warren Harding’s English:

It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of a dark abysm… of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.

My hunch is that if George W Bush has got less coherent in the past ten years it has less to do with a change in presentation, deliberate or not, than with his (allegedly) having hair in his ears. Have you ever tried to talk sense with a cat sleeping on your head?

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