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Happy Birthday George Boole, James K. Polk and Marie Antoinette

November 2, 2016



So many birthdays.  Such cakes (“let them eat cakes”).  So many candles.

I know far too many mathematicians to dare to say anything about George Boole, born today in 1815.

It’s also the 221st birthday of James J. Polk, whose achievements have been so deftly summarised by They Might Be Giants – past masters of the important art of being able to combine melody with dense, well-researched factual detail.

Seek out this song and you’ll be singing it all day

In 1844, the Democrats were split

The three nominees for the presidential candidate

Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist

James Buchanan, a moderate

Lewis Cass, a general and expansionist

From Nashville came a dark horse riding up

He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

Austere, severe, he held few people dear

His oratory filled his foes with fear

The factions soon agreed

He’s just…

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