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You’ve probably been wondering how many of the presidents have been left-handed. Or– if you are a more interesting* you have probably been wondering about the astrological signs of national leaders. Before I began the data collection and analysis, I gathered some preliminary hypotheses from co-workers. Most people with opinions on the matter** were pretty sure that a the highest percentage of presidents were probably fire signs. Charismatic, intelligent, and manipulative, these people managed to convince nearly everyone else in the store that this “made sense.” But, no one ventured a different guess.


Fire, Water, Earth, Air

&: indicates this person was never elected president

&+: indicates this person initially became president through promotion but then was elected for another term

U.S. Presidents in chronological order:

George Washington (Feb 22, 1732): Pisces

John Adams (Oct 30, 1735): Scorpio

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743): Aries

James Madison (March 16, 1751): Pisces

James Monroe (April 28, 1758): Taurus

John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767): Cancer

Andrew Jackson (Mar 15, 1767): Pisces

Martin VanBuren (Dec 5, 1782): Sagittarius

William Henry Harrison (Feb 9, 1773): Aquarius

John Tyler (March 28, 1790): Aries &

James Polk (Nov 2, 1795): Scorpio

Zachary Taylor (Nov 24, 1784): Sagittarius

Millard Fillmore (Jan 7, 1800): Capricorn &

Franklin Pierce (Nov 23, 1804): Sagittarius

James Buchanan (April 23, 1791): Taurus

Abraham Lincoln (Feb 12, 1809): Pisces

Andrew Johnson (Dec 29, 1808): Capricorn &

Ulysses S. Grant (April 27, 1822): Taurus

Rutherford B. Hayes (Oct 4, 1822): Libra

James Garfield (Nov 19, 1831): Scorpio

Chester A. Arthur (Oct 5, 1829): Libra &

Benjamin Harrison (Aug 20, 1833): Leo

Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837): Pisces

William McKinley (Jan 29, 1843): Aquarius

Theodore Roosevelt (Oct 27, 1858): Scorpio &+

William Taft (Sept 15, 1857): Virgo

Woodrow Wilson (Dec 28, 1856): Capricorn

Warren G. Harding (Nov 2, 1865): Scorpio

Calvin Coolidge (July 4, 1872): Cancer &+

Herbert Hoover (Aug 10, 1874): Leo

FDR (Jan 30, 1882): Aquarius

Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884): Taurus &+

Dwight D. Eisenhower (Oct 14, 1896): Libra

JFK (May 29, 1917): Gemini

Lyndon B. Johnson (Aug 27, 1908): Virgo &+

Richard Nixon (Jan 9, 1913): Capricorn

Gerald Ford (July 14, 1913): Cancer &

Jimmy Carter (Oct 1, 1924): Libra

Ronald Reagan (Feb 6, 1911): Aquarius

George G. W. Bush (June 12, 1924): Gemini

William Clinton (Aug 19, 1946): Leo

George W. Bush (July 6, 1946): Cancer

Barack Obama (Aug 4, 1961): Leo

Some information in lists:

Fire signs (9 )

Aries (2): Tyler, Jefferson

Leo (4): Hoover, Clinton, Obama, Harrison

Sagittarius (3): vanBuren, Taylor, Pierce

Earth (8 )

Taurus (4): Grant, Buchanan, Truman, Monroe

Virgo (2): LBJ, Taft

Capricorn (4): Nixon, Fillmore, Johnson, Wilson

Water (15)

Scorpio (6, highest occurrence): John Adams, Garfield, Polk, Cleveland, T.Roosevelt, Harding

Cancer (4): JQ Adams, Coolidge, Ford,  W. Bush

Pisces (5): Cleveland, Washington, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln

Air (9)

Gemini (2): George Bush, JFK

Libra (3): Hayes, Arthur, Carter

Aquarius (4): Harrison, McKinley, FDR, Reagan

Top two signs represented: Scorpio (6), Pisces (5)

Signs least represented : Aries (2 presidents , only 1 elected), Gemini (2), Virgo (2)

Element most represented: Water (15)

Element least represented:  Earth (8)

I have been  promised some cool graphs. So stay tuned….

*right and normatively-handed person.

** fire signs


An excerpt from Mary Otis’ short story, “Stones:”

In a rush, Allison relates the afternoon’s events at the library, and her abridgement makes the story sound like the review of a wacky puppet show. She is hurrying to get to the climax, the moment in the story that confirms there’s something inherently wrong with the way she conducts herself in life.

“How coud I have thrown a rock at a child?”

“Oh, kids have nine lives,” says Rae. “Take it from me.” She has little bits of orange yarn woven through the two long braids she wears. For all her Earth Mother demeanor, there’s something about the way she squints and cocks her head toward Allison that makes her come off like a crooked heath-food store owner.

“But maybe I’m a lot angrier than I thought I was,” Allison says. “Although I don’t think I want to hurt anyone.” She trues to recall the professional term for this problem, but can only come up with “Sneaky Rage.”

Excerpted from my own final paper. The following:

I understand the structural similarities of her work with the logic in the Buddhist theology and I do appreciate the deconstructive approach to referentiality as one integral to Buddhist philosophy. But, I still have serious reservations. I am not totally certain whether Professor Gyatso meant it in earnest when she said she wanted to shake Judith Butler and tell her she is a Buddhist*….

*I am questioning whether Professor Gyatso actually thinks Judith Butler’s work is Buddhist and not whether or not she should be shaking eminent members of the intellectual community. Judith Butler’s hair is floppy enough that I think it would delight bystanders to no end to see her shaken by Professor Gyatso. In summary, I would say that I am pro-shake and anti-Judith-is-a-Buddhist and apparently completely resistant to the plea to end long, unnecessary footnotes.

Quiz. On a scale of “1” to “definitely not,” how appropriate is it that the one-word author blurb on this edition of The Slave Ship is, “Masterly.”

During rush hour the electronic turnstiles stay open almost all the time. I am learning to walk through them promptly instead of waiting for them to swing shut and sense me, distinctly, approaching. They do warn you. Opened, they read “Keep Hands” in black Helvetica, printed vertically down yellow tape.

Full circle is the moment in your life when everything seems briefly too poetic to be reality. Most of the time people use the expression in a way that connotes helplessness and regret. Life has come full circle and, in the interest of poetry, is briefly out of our hands.

It never stays full circle for long.

I have been reading Mary Otis’ short stories because Lorrie Moore called them “funny, brave, and amazing”, right on the cover. They are not as good as Lorrie Moore’s stories but I think they work pretty well as meditations from that point of full circle. I am having a problem because in the last few pages of each story, Otis’ characters tacitly realize the sad and boring poetry of their lives and them promptly walk off the set. This recurring resolution device is cathartic, dear, and completely unrealistic. Funny, brave, and amazing.

I was talking to my barista who is failing to break up with a girl right now. Actually she is perpetually failing to break up with a girl. They weren’t seeing each other for a while and then they weren’t seeing each other very often and it seemed that a fade-out was in order. But then she realized that the girl had understood them to be together the whole time and the break-up would warrant a more hands-on approach. She doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it because it’s not a big deal. Really, she tells me, the girl probably won’t care very much.

Which always seems like the hardest to me, leaving the people who don’t care at all.

I mean, do I really believe I will be sliced in half if I don’t wait for the turnstile to fully close and then fully reopen? I’d like to keep hands but where is my head?

Six months ago (and a couple of days) J and I broke up. We had a lot of fights because the November before we broke up, she told me that if our relationship ended her chief affect would be disappointment. I am only now starting to be able to write again. But this story– the one about J– is not what I mean by full-circle.

Other people are back– and the kicker is that they never physically lived here. They’ve actually appeared because apparently Freud was doin’ it wrong before. I can’t say anymore because it would be just like them to be reading my blog. And it would be just like them for me to believe they were secretly reading my blog. That’s what I mean by full circle.

A week ago I had a nightmare which seems to need little explanation: I set up a window display full of JL’s favorite things. When he reached in a bear trap sliced off his hands. Instead of taking him to the hospital I let my father handle it and my father let him die. We disposed of the remains. Then I looked at pictures of JL and his sister, happy, in front of their boat and thought about how my selfishness had killed him. Because I was too lazy, he had to die. And there were so many people who loved him and were now mourning. I wanted to turn myself in, to resuscitate him and give him back.

I think, in murder, full-circle only happens in the movies. I can’t be sure since I don’t have all that much first hand experience with it.

I only just realized how many of the stories  in the book are about children. For some reason I remember them as being about adults.