argh! my mom was out buying marigolds when USPS tried to deliver my present Saturday — so mother's day isn't officially over yet. they just found the "we tried to deliver" notice today, so i don't know when she'll get the package. until then, the Honorable Mr. Marigold, one of America's Funniest Politicians:
"I am a man of fixed and unbending principles," Dirksen once remarked, "the first of which is to be flexible at all times." As Senate Minority Leader during the late 50's and 1960's, Dirksen used humor as the glue to keep the Senate functioning and steer landmark legislation through the Congress. A theatrical orator, dubbed the "Wizard of Ooze" and "Oleagineous Ev," Dirksen entertained the Senate with clever quips ("A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money") and flowery, ornate speeches. Yet, he was funny like a fox as his jesting often masked true intentions. In 1965,the Senate became tied up in a heated debate over the national flower. Realizing it was an issue with the potential to split and divert the Senate's attention -- as well as an opportunity to gently parody the ceremonial aspects of the job -- Dirksen took up the cause of the Marigold. In impassioned grandiloquent discourses, he waxed about the flower's qualifications, noting that the Marigold not only "beguiles the senses and ennobles the spirit of man," but is inexpensive, easy to grow, cheerful, and will not be nibbled upon by rabbits. His efforts helped forestall the momentous decision (until two decades later when Ronald Reagan signed legislation making the Rose the national flower). In the meanwhile, later that year, the Senate passed the Voting Rights Act.