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Lincoln's Lips

In 1972, a patriotic businessman (W. M. Riesk) from Salt Lake City commissioned a complex working model of Abraham Lincoln with some 2,000 computerized components. Among its moving parts were artificial lungs, a heart, and a lifelike mouth from which many of Lincoln's speeches (pre-recorded by the Hollywood actor Royal Dano) appeared to emanate.

At the start of a four-year, coast-to-coast tour of shopping malls and other popular venues, the statue was erected in Seattle's Northgate Centre, where a large crowd gathered, expecting to hear one of Lincoln's legendary speeches (from a political debate with Stephen Douglas) beginning, "What is it that we hold most dear amongst us? Our own liberty and prosperity..." Unfortunately, each of the computer's thirty-one channels was jammed by signals from a local radio station and what issued from Lincoln's lips was a creation, rather, of the Rolling Stones:

I wanna tell ya I can hardly speak!
I wanna get off, mamma!
I can hardly feel the pain no more...
I wanna get my rocks!

[Despite the efforts of an electrician, the statue continued its national tour in silence.]

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