In the world of biological impossibility, Harry S. Truman would be 124 years old today. He was also the first -- and remains the only -- president from the great state of Missouri. In celebration, some government offices, like the DMV, have shut down for the day.
Besides, Harry Truman was pretty damn cool.
For a complete catalogue of his coolness, read David McCullough's Truman, probably the definitive work on the man. (Imagine how much headway we could make if all Missourians had the day off.) Despite its 900 pages, it's a terrific read, but since it weighs in at about five pounds, those of you with weaker arms can check out the highlights here, at the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.
Truman's withering putdown of a U.S. Army officer who volunteered to procure him some female companionship during the Potsdam Conference in 1945: "Listen, son, I married my sweetheart. She doesn't run around on me and I don't run around on her and I want that understood. Don't ever mention that kind of stuff to me again."
Truman's claim that, had he persisted with his piano lessons, he would have ended up as a piano player in a whorehouse.
The guiding principle: "The buck stops here."