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Week #10: Presidents

1 Mar

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The A-Team

1 Mar

Normally I prefer things that are obscure. Music, movies, art… mostly music. I’m the guy who’s always heard of the bands you haven’t—or who, at the very least, heard of them waaayy before you did.

But as it turns out, my knowledge of world affairs/history/presidents is somewhat limited. I’m about as qualified to talk about government leaders as James Franco was to host the Oscars.

So this time around I’m going mainstream. Top40 style. Billboard chart toppers. I’m picking the Lady Gagas and Justin Biebers of presidents.

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Let’s start with my boy GW.

There are several things that come to mind when I think of George Washington…

First, there’s this video:

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In my inaugural year as a YouTuber, that video was my absolute jam. I’d like to think my sense of humor has progressed since senior year of high school, but I’m not sure it has. If you’ve never seen it, we probably shouldn’t be friends.

Second, did George Washington really have wooden teeth? And, if so, do you think his mistresses ever got splinters in their tongues from making out with him? Wood hardly seems like the best option for dentures. Then again, maybe Washington was just trying to pimp out his grill, like Kanye.

Wood teeth : 1770  ::  Diamond teeth : 2010

Third, I don’t understand George Washington’s motive in chopping down the cherry tree. Like, was he not tall enough to reach the cherries with the tree erect? Was he just an all-around dendrophobe? Or was he simply trying to be a bad kid?

“Yeah, that’s right Pops. I chop dat shit down. How you like me now?”
– GW

Adults like to view this story as a morality tale, a way to teach children that you should tell the truth if you do something wrong. I guess that’s one way to look at it. My interpretation? “If you’re gonna do bad things, dream bigger.” (You can do better than a cherry tree.)

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Moving on, we have… Abraham Lincoln.

I bet old Abe had rancid pubes.

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Next, I’d like to take a moment to honor the great, almighty….
President Theodore Fucking Roosevelt.

Big Teddy, aka T-DOGG, was all that is man. He was a walking, talking, breathing slab of testosterone. He is the basis against which all individuals with a Y chromosome must forever measure their worth.

His hobbies included…
– Eating meat
– Skinning animals with his bare hands
– Spitting very long distances
– Cleaning his teeth with a knife / washing his face with steel wool
– Crushing uncrushable objects under his boots
– Belching without saying “Excuse me”
– Punching cement
– Thinking about bulls and moose at the same time
– Grunting
– Killing elephants

"Oh this? Yeah, it's dead. I did that."

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PAUSE:

I’d like to take a moment now to get serious.
What I’m about to say is 100% true.

Teddy was once shot, in the chest, in an assassination attempt. The bullet was slowed by two items had in his breast pocket: a metal glasses case and a 50-page speech. Upon being shot, Teddy said, “Quiet. I’ve been shot.” He then proceeded to deliver his speech with the bullet still lodged inside him. It lasted 80 minutes. He ignored the fact that his shirt was becoming increasingly soaked in blood, or that the had a hole in his chest. Instead, he held up the bullet-punctured speech and declared, “It takes more than one bullet to bring down a bull moose.”

Yes, that really happened.

UN-PAUSE:
Seriousness no longer in effect.

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Lyndon B. Johnson

I know. LBJ isn’t normally considered “A-List.” But let’s give credit where credit is due. That dude knew how to order a pair of pants.

http://whitehousetapes.net/clips/1964_0809_lbj_haggar/

(If you haven’t heard that, you need to make it a priority. Nothing I’m about to say is more worthy of your time than that recording.)

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Benjamin Franklin was not a President. But I dare you to show me a bigger baller in the history of the human race.


You can’t do it.

Ben was many things, most notably an inventor and someone who got a lot of ass. Naturally, he combined these two skills, and many of his innovations occurred in the bedroom. He patented at least five sex positions, including reverse cow girl and something he called “the electric kite.”

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I guess that’s all the time we have for today folks. Thanks for tuning in.

Cakes

Edit: Against my better judgment, I did some research. Wikipedia has confirmed everything I said about Franklin. But apparently George Washington’s teeth were never made out of wood; they were carved from hippopotamus and elephant ivory.

This is disappointing.

It is, however, fun to intentionally misread that information and imagine President Washington with the mouth of a hippopotamus.

Crossing The Delaware

The Least Cool Presidents

1 Mar

Certain professions should automatically make you cool: NFL offensive lineman, rock band drummer (as opposed to Rock Band(TM) drummer, which is not nearly as awesome), paradise island caretaker, President of the United States. As a leader of the free world, capable of exercising nearly unlimited power, you should be chiller than William “The Fridge” Perry. It’s that simple. You need to actively sabotage yourself to fall out of coolness. But some men have outdone themselves and managed to remove the cool label associated with President. This is a tribute to dweebs of this variety.

The Fridge doesn’t need a presidential title to be cool. But that doesn't mean I wouldn’t vote for him. I would. And I hope his health improves soon. Seriously, best of luck to a great man.

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Millard Fillmore

You want to sympathize with the guy because his parents hated him and gave him such a gosh darned horrible name. But then he has to go and be a terrible person. Millard Fillmore was Vice President to Zachary Taylor – a man who died from eating moldy cherries and spoiled milk.

And yet, Fillmore somehow achieved an even greater level of shittiness than his predecessor. When he ascended the Presidency, the entire cabinet quit. It was like that scene from Rudy where all the players refuse to play unless Rudy suits up, except it featured less hobbits and more genuinely upset abolitionists. Then he reinforced prejudice – and extended legalized racism and inhumanity for more than a decade – throughout the nation with the Compromise of 1850, which included, among other things, the Fugitive Slave Act.

On a lighter note, you know you’ve got it bad when there’s a mediocre funny (singular of funnies) solely created on a slight alteration to your name. That is your legacy. A comic entirely conceived on a word play of your name. About ducks.

I’d rather be forced to watch Howard the Duck have sex than ever have to read another Mallard Fillmore.

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Andrew Jackson

The most overrated president ever, Jackson was a tool who was awesome in theory. In high school, you pretended to be this guy’s friend since he was willing to throw parties. He was the same guy you could convince to do about anything to fit in. All he supposedly wanted to do was hang out with his bros (The Spoils System) and go on adventures (Western Expansion).

But in reality, he was such a douche. He was responsible for the Indian Removal and the perpetuation of slavery – probably since his “friends” wanted to see if he would do it. He vetoed more than his six predecessors combined – which is like telling people at his party not to bring food in the pool or touch any of the portraits. But above all was his insistence on leaving behind a Broadway show that fails both as historical comedy and indie musical. What a goddamn poser.
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The Adams Family

I’ll spare you the “duh, duh, duh, duh” joke. That family has two D’s – kinda like Pamela Anderson. Alright, that was horrible and unoriginal.

Moving on. John Adams and his son John Quincy both failed as incumbents. They were the only two Presidents in the first seven not to serve two terms. Getting elected president back in the day was so easy. There were only like nine people who were eligible to vote, after you removed all women, minorities and poor people, and yet they still couldn’t get elected. Nerds.

I know I googled “John Quincy Adams”, but this picture looks eerily like a young John McCain, who may very well have been alive during the period.

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Bill Clinton

Just kidding. Billiam is a straight-up baller.
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William Henry Harrison

Who dies of pneumonia from being incredibly long-winded during an inauguration speech? That guy.

My boy Will definitely cut his own hair and apparently lacked a mirror.

If you ever do become president, do me a favor and hire Sinbad as a bodyguard. This immediately makes you cooler than these above fools.

Hope you happily celebrated the good prezes,

Adonal

The Other Guys

1 Mar

The Animaniacs can tell you in three minutes everything you need to know about the Presidents. But (with immense respect to Wakko, Yakko, and Dot) they’ve skipped the story’s compelling half.

The winners’ tale is old hat. I’m here to spin the yarn of the losers.

You’ve heard of Aaron Burr (1800), who won a duel but lost an election. You know Bob Dole (1996) and John McCain (2008). You might’ve even seen a headline that made Thomas Dewey (1944, 1948) actually think he was a winner. He wasn’t.

Ever heard of a Copy Editor?

Two losers, Al Gore (2000) and Samuel Tilden (1876), even won the popular vote. But if Sweet Valley High taught me anything, you have to be popular where it counts to be a real winner.

I’d write the book on the losers if I could, but Stephanie Meyer beat me to it. So I’ll instead present my three favorite failures.
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1940 – Wendell Willkie

Wendell L. Willkie is more than just a starter on history’s all-name team. He’s also the contender who came closest to upsetting the undefeated, undisputed four-time heavyweight champion of the free world – Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Sure Willkie lost the popular vote in 1940 by an even 10%. But we’re talking about FDR here. Even from a wheelchair, that guy makes Secretariat look like the dead horse from The Godfather.

This prophetic banner was my best ever eBay purchase.

For the twelve years Franklin Roosevelt held office, the Republicans assumed the role of the Washington Generals. They sat idly by as the Harlem GlobeDemocrats drew up “The New Deal” and “D-Day,” flashy trick plays with which they saved humanity.

Wendell Willkie’s campaign was something like the one time in the Roosevelt Era that the GOP even bothered to show up to the polls. And yeah, if you look at the returns, it was an undeniable catastrophe. But, like this missed dunk and that haircut, it was a glorious catastrophe.

Before he had a chance to lose again, Willkie died on October 8, 1944. As if to account for the misery he would miss, fate dealt him an estimated twenty heart attacks in that final weekend. Wow.
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1896, 1900, 1908 – William Jennings Bryan

All apologies to the peacock and its family of poor-performing networks, but William Jennings Bryan is the biggest loser there was or will ever be.

Bryan lost elections like Bo Peep lost sheep. When it comes to failure, he’s number one with a ballot. He’s banned in California for fear he’d trigger landslides. He puts the suffer in suffrage. He’s bold. He’s bald. And he’s just plain bad. He is William Jennings Bryan.

Later in life, the thrice-failed Democratic candidate was biblical creationism’s “champion” in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. There is no stronger evidence in favor of evolution than that William Jennings Bryan opposed it.

This man is descended from an ape.

Literally five days after the Scopes Trial wrapped, Bryan punched a one-way ticket to meet his maker. Among the scores of cards and flowers at his gravesite was a handwritten note reading simply:

Try calling Buddhism an inferior religion now, bitch.
Deepest condolences,
-Karma

1928 – Al Smith

FDR referred to Al Smith as “The Happy Warrior of the Political Battlefield.” How boss is that nickname? He lived up to it too.

Al Smith represents a remarkable beacon of positive change in American politics. He was pro-labor and a genuine reformer who believed in civil liberties and sought the repeal of Prohibition. He was one of the first to reach out and listen to women voters, and he sympathized with immigrants and the working class. In other words, Al Smith got it.

Sadly his Catholicism rendered him unelectable. That generation’s bigots feared he’d defer to the Pope over the Constitution. And so Americans exercised their great gift for paranoia and elected Herbert Hoover instead. CRASH!

Al Smith and Babe Ruth participate in the Johns-Manville Asbestos Pro-Am

Despite his defeat, Smith’s candidacy made Democrats of demographics that weren’t previously. Catholics, women, immigrants, minorities, city folk, and the working class went to the polls in droves behind Al Smith. And so began the modern Democratic Party.

A heart attack claimed the Happy Warrior in October 1944, just four days before Wendell Willkie passed. It was a rough week for the also-rans.
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I sing the body electoral.

In the spirit of the Animaniacs, here’s a short audiovisual guide to the men who nearly, but never were elected President. Take a look. Would you have voted for any of these losers?

-David

Vote On Your Favorite Entry

1 Mar

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Thanks for reading.

Next week’s prompt: Guilty Pleasures.