Happy Birthday President Lincoln! Now to the tie this to marketing research… And I can even tie in JFK, which is fine by me being a Boston boy where a “Jack” (picture of Kennedy like above) was proudly hung in every one of my childhood friend’s home, and of course Paul’s Barbershop located on the corner, where we all had our hair cut monthly (or the Sisters of St. Peter would pinch the lobes of our ears until they turned a hue of ruby red) and learned to swear from Paul.

As a researcher it’s been taught and engrained in me to be wary of the spurious relationship between two variables in data when reporting findings and developing subsequent strategy. In other words, I have to watch so not to infer that just because two variables appear to have a causal relationship (i.e.., because of variable ‘a’, variable ‘b’ will…). Often times, the relationship is due to outside forces beyond variable ‘a’ or ‘b’, i.e., a “lurking variable” that either mediates (some phenomena between the two) or moderate (some phenomena that affects the direction or strength between the two) their relationship.

The following example, as outlined on http://thebiglad.com/Crazy-Facts, is perhaps one of the better cases of which I’m aware. As follows:

 Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.

John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.

John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy.

Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.

Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.


Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.

Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.


Both assassins were known by their three names.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.

Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both names are composed of fifteen letters.


Lincoln was shot at the theater named ‘Ford.’

Kennedy was shot in a car called a ‘Lincoln’ made by Ford.


Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse.

Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.


Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials!


A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland.
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.