Friday, April 13, 2012

Hail to the Chief... to the Death Champion

In December 2010, we discussed some debate taking place somewhere in the ever-reaching expanses of the Internet about which U.S. President would do best in a free-for-all brawl. Days later, we decided to take it upon ourselves to figure this out once and for all and open this question up to the people. Only instead of a free-for-all, they would be organized into a bracket. And since there had been 43 presidents (44, if you count Cleveland twice), which was too many for 32, but not enough for 64... so fictional presidents were added.

We decided to "inaugurate" the blog on January 20, 2011, with the first fight starting Jan. 24. With one fight a week for 64 weeks (because they'd be curious about who would get 3rd place), we would get their answer on the seemingly distant date of April 13, 2012.

Well, now it's April 13, 2012.
And we here at the HttCttD Offices can't help but be overcome with a general anticlimatic feeling.

Jackson vs. Obama
Andrew Jackson     21 (39.2%)
Barack Obama     37 (61.8%)

Despite the odd feeling that comes with something we devoted a lot of time to is finally being over, we have to admit that we're surprised by the outcome. Neither of us thought Obama had a chance to get past the Quarterfinals, but as we noted before, it probably would have been boring if things turned out exactly as we had planned.

So no, you can't win with us.

It wasn't even close, either. Obama grabbed onto that lead Monday morning and never let go. Jackson may have tightened the gap a bit at some point, but not enough for it to count for anything.

The commentariat was decidedly pro-Obama as well.
We really can't argue with that kind of logic. Jackson may have been just filled the brim with blind fury, but once that fire went out, there was the young Obama who works out every day, waiting to counter-attack.

And in the end, there will be people in third world nations wearing this shirt:

And Doug is unsure how long he'll have the Big Effin' White Board (BEWB) hanging on his wall:
The new apartment gets nowhere near the same amount of natural light as last year's.
Now that the BEWB is complete, what now for the boys of HttCttD?
Oooh. A Doug vs. Tony fight? Give the fight promoters a taste of their own medicine and whisk them away to the Arena to entertain the presidents and the masses alike. How would they like that?

Doug: I wouldn't like that at all. I'm not, what they call, a fighter. Against Tony? I don't know. I grew up with a brother who was seven years older, and one thing I learned is how to defend myself against someone bigger. Tony's not bigger than me, but I seem to remember him saying he has a black belt in something, though I can't remember what. Also that was a while ago, so it may have turned into a gray belt at this point (HEY-O!).

All that being said, a good general gambling tip is never to bet on me to win a physical fight.

Tony: Well, I think it's pretty obvious that Doug would start such a fight out with some form of nut shot. So, I would have to counter that, somehow. Other than that? Eh... well, Doug's got some lank going for him, so he might have an advantage on reach, but... oh, right. My black belt. In Tae Kwon-Do, thankyouverymuch. Yeah, I'm not afraid to say that I'm pretty sure I could take Doug in a fight.

The Chief: Since we're closing up shop, we thought we'd award the Comment of the Entire Blog Award. For this one, we have to go back a little over a year to the Clash of the Clevelands. In the Wednesday post that week, we compared the numbers 22 and 24. Apparently, the video for Jem's 24 led Tony J to some sort of Internet trap. While his mind seemed to have taken him to some weird places, he did emerge with the that week's winner AND the Comment of the Entire Blog.
How did a comment that didn't win Comment of the Week end up winning Comment of the Entire Blog? Well, that's like asking how the St. Louis Cardinals managed to win the World Series without winning their division: Shut up. That's how.

So now that we're done, what did the HttCttD. Do our main staffers have any final thoughts?

Doug: Well, that was fun, though frustrating at times. I'm glad we were able to "edutain," assuming we actually were able to educate and entertain people out there.

Given the outcome some of these weeks, I'd have to say that it's a bit ironic that a forum where people voted for presidents almost made me question the tenet of democracy that allows just anyone to vote.

I'm also especially glad that no still-living presidents died in the past 15 month. It would have been especially bad if they died during the week they were fighting. I could just imagine some 24-hour news channel (which one would depend on which party the president was) picking up the story and speculating that we had anything to do with it. Although that probably would have led to more hits, which wouldn't have been terrible.

Tony: Yeah, to be honest, I kept waiting for a call from the Secret Service, to the tune of "WTF is this, then?" Thankfully, we stayed under the radar enough that that didn't happen, even though we picked up some Obama campaign staffers as Twitter followers. Also, some of the people who RT'd us had followers all over Washington. So, we got a little bit lucky, is what I'm saying.

Also: for the record? The fact that Marshall lost in the first round is, and forever will be, bullshit. I mean, FDR beating anyone is bullshit, but... I digress.

It was a hell of a ride, and despite our readers occasionally having strange opinions, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Except for the Marshall thing.

The Chief: Thanks again for reading. Join us next week when Vice President John Nance Garner takes on Vice President Selena Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the upcoming HBO series Veep, as we explore which vice president would make the ultimate fighter.

No, we're kidding. That's not happening.

For those of you wondering what Doug and Tony will be up to, well, they're probably the first to tell you that they're not sure, yet. But no matter what happens, they will probably pimp it on the HttCttD twitter feed, not to mention their own twitter feeds, so check those out if you're desperate for more of their ridiculous.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Revenge of the Bureau of Statistical Overinformation

To paraphrase the song by LMFAO (feat. Lil Jon):


Come to think of it, a song parody where they sing about statistics instead of getting drunk should exist. Maybe we'll put that on our things to do after we've finished this blog. But for now, we have a much nerdier task at hand. How nerdy?

Screenshots of extensive spreadsheets nerdy.
Click to embiggen.
We needed an easy-to-read guide of all of our past fights. Need to know the exact percentage of the votes Harry S Truman earned in his 2nd Round battle against Calvin Coolidge? Want to know how many votes John Quincy Adams got against Franklin Pierce? Curious about who got the highest percentage in the Round of 16?

Our question to you would be, "Why would you want to know any of that?" But we're not here to judge. We're here to make your life simpler.

Oh, but what if you're curious about the overall performance of an individual fighter? Sure, James Monroe was out in the 2nd Round, which means that he won one and lost one, but did he end up with more votes for him or against him?

We've got you covered:
Click to see just how much a statistical outlier like Jed Bartlet screwed up the numbers.
Of course, these numbers are as of last Friday and do not include this week's fight, but we thought we'd share anyway.

Onto the other things that we've looked at in the past.

Younger vs. Older
One would think that the younger combatant would be in better shape, and would therefore win more times than not. Well, congratulations on being wrong. The older fighter had won 58.6% of the time.
The older Grover Cleveland defeated his younger self, so there you go.
There were a few fights that we weren't able to count. For example, fights with Kang, the alien of indeterminable age, weren't counted.

Based on this fact alone, who would be more likely to win the championship: Andrew Jackson was inaugurated at 62 and left the White House at 70, while Barack Obama will be turning 50 this summer.

The Very Model of a Modern Commander-in-Chief
The president that served later won 59.6% of the time.

This should come as no surprise to anyone watching Obama marching his way to the Finals. Of course, there are presidents who have served even later than him. Nixon's Head and Dwayne E.M.D.H. Camacho served in the 31st and 26th century, respectively, yet they didn't last very long.

At the same time, we have George Washington. He was the earliest president in the bracket and he managed to get all the way up to the Semifinals.
He's also the only one to have lost twice, so there's that.
Based on this fact alone, who would be more likely to win the championship: Do we really need to answer this? Okay, fine. Obama.

Taller vs. Shorter
Tall guys have the reach, which helps explain how they won 61.9% of the time. That being said, the two tallest real presidents (Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, who stood at 6'4") both lost to people at least six inches shorter.

Based on this fact alone, who would be more likely to win the championship: Tie. They're actually both 6'1".

Tony vs. Doug
There are two ways at looking at this one, but in both ways, Tony won.

Before we started the 1st Round, we decided who would take who. That person would argue for that combatant for later rounds as well, unless both fighters had been argued for by the same guy. Doug put less thought into the "long game" and chose people he'd think would be more fun to argue for. As a result, he chose the Mike Bradys, Chester A. Arthurs and the Julia Manfields.

Tony was smarter in snatching up three of the four No. 1 seeds. As a result, Doug's combatants got knocked out pretty early on. Only one of his originals made it to the Quarterfinals, and that was Thomas J. Whitmore. After than, he was dependent on Tony's scraps.

That being said, Tony "gave" Doug Obama three times, and that hasn't really been working out for Tony.

But even then, Tony obliterated Doug in this one.

Who Had Better Picks?
As mentioned recently, Tony and Doug each filled out their own brackets of how they thought things were going to turn out. Going into the Semifinals, Tony had a 70-67 lead. However, Tony went 0 for 2 in the semis, while Doug correctly put Jackson in the Finals, meaning regardless of what happens this week, Doug eked out a win with this one.

Fictional vs. Real
Obviously, there are no fictional presidents remaining. It's worth noting that in total, fictional presidents have won 18 fights. We should also mention that Obama has had to clean more fictional presidents off the bottom of his shoes than anyone else. He defeated Thomas "Tug" Benson from the Hot Shots franchise, David Palmer from 24 and Jed Bartlet from The West Wing.

Political Party
In the past, we've made pie charts showing the political affiliation of the remaining fighters. We're not going going to do that here because it would just be a blue circle as both Jackson and Obama are Democrats.

Well, okay, they're only both Democrats in the strictest sense of the word. How pissed off do you think Jackson -- the first Democratic president -- would be knowing that not only there we had a black president, but that he was in the same party he helped originate? We wouldn't volunteer to be present for one of Jackson's fits of rage, but the "we have a black Democratic president?!" outburst would probably be one worth watching.

Well, at this point, we've looked at the numbers. The only thing left for you, the reader, to do is to vote, comment in this week's fight and wait for this week's results.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jackson vs. Obama

Of course by this point, you should have figured out that:

We here at Hail to the Chief... to the Death intend that this blog be for entertainment
and wise-ass only purposes. We do not condone, nor do we encourage, violence
against any president: former or current, living or dead, real or fictional.

Andrew Jackson
7th President of the United States
Served: 1829-1837
Ages during term: 62-70

Arena Experience
1st Round: 86.8% of 38 votes against William Howard Taft
2nd Round: 94.7% of 19 votes against James Dale
3rd Round: 57.5% of 40 votes against Dwight D. Eisenhower
4th Round: 69% of 29 votes against Thomas Whitmore
5th Round: 54% of 50 votes against George Washington

PROS: At this point, Jackson has to be recognized as the Ultimate Presidential Survivor. His early life was filled with war, famine, disease, imprisonment, and all manner of nastiness, and he survived. His adulthood was filled with more war, more disease, and added in some assassination attempts and duels, to boot. And still, he survived to become a juggernaut in the Arena. Add to that the fact that he was, to put it mildly, an ornery old cuss, and you have a man one bout away from being hailed as the Ultimate Commander in Chief.

CONS: Jackson was 62 when he made it to the presidency. That's kinda old! And again, he lived a hard life, so while he may have been 62, his Real Age was probably already into his 80s. That's not something you should discount so easily, especially when he's facing a relatively young, fit opponent.

Barack Obama
44th President of the United States
Serving: 2009-Present
Age in office: 47-49

Arena Experience:
1st Round: 90.5% of 21 votes against Andrew Johnson
2nd Round: 76.5% of 17 votes against Thomas "Tug" Benson
3rd Round: 76.2% of 21 votes against David Palmer
4th Round: 53.9% of 701 votes against Josiah "Jed" Bartlet
5th Round: 55.1% of 69 votes against Theodore Roosevelt

PROS: Obama is a young guy who is in fantastic shape. He's athletic and although he doesn't have much mass to him, he's wiry. One probably doesn't think of "ultimate fighter" when one thinks of Obama, but someone recently has reminded us that he was a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago, which means, at the very least, he commanded a bunch of respect with the toughies.

CONS: We'd like to assume that he commanded respect by literally knocking heads together, but that's not likely. If FOX News was making a big deal about the fact that Obama hugged a "radical" law professor over 20 years ago, we'd be hearing about the time he beat up some neighborhood punks. The truth of the matter is that nothing has seemed to get Obama's ire up. Given his opponent this time around, rage-level may play a key role in this fight.

Pre-Game Analysis
Tony: If there's been one thing propelling Jackson through the rounds of this tournament, it's probably been spite. Spite and fury. Wait, that's two things. If there's been two things propelling Jackson through the rounds of this tournament, they've probably been spite and fury. Yeah. What's impressive about that is that Jackson has come this far with a big target on his back. He was the title fighter of the Jackson Bracket, after all, and that number one seed comes with expectations. Jackson never caved to the pressure. He rode his badassery all the way to this final confrontation.

And now? Now, he smells blood. He's carved through all manner of presidential fodder on his way here, up to and including the Father of our Freaking Country. Now, he faces a guy who can't get mad? Please. All you have to do to get Jackson mad is flash a $20-bill at him. "That portrait of me is abhorrent!" Jackson says, when confronted with such a denomination. "Also, what is this Federal Reserve nonsense?" And in a flurry of fists, the poor sap showing Jackson the bill is reduced to a fine red mist.

So yeah, you think Jackson is vulnerable here? I wouldn't bet on it.

Doug: Both of these guys are slim dudes, both standing at 6'1". That's probably the only thing these two have in common. Obama's cool, calm and collected while Jackson was so filled with rage that I'd imagine bile occasionally just shot out of his pores. Say what you will about cool vs. angry, both landed them into the Championship.

Obama's the Cinderella story here. He was destined to go far in this tournament, but the last few rounds have been rather surprising. After beating the indestructible guy who fell out of an airplane in his 80s and the guy who survived two out of three assassination attempts, he went on to defeat the guy who averaged receiving 233 votes per fight and then sent Theodore Roosevelt packing. You may be saying, "Yeah, but this is Andrew Jackson." Let me remind you: Teddy Roosevelt!

If anyone could silence Old Hickory, it's going to be someone much younger and in much better shape. With the exception of Thomas Whitmore, Jackson hasn't really encountered that in the Arena. Obama could be the guy to finish Jackson off.

The Chief: And with that, let us begin our final fight. Who is the ultimate winner in Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH's Presidential Gladiatorial Arena? Let us know who you think would win this week's fight. Vote and leave a comment. Polls close 9am Mountain Time on Friday.

Jackson vs. Obama

Friday, April 6, 2012

Roosevelt Earns His Medal

Our voters gave Theodore Roosevelt the bronze treatment.
Rising from his Semifinal defeat, he struck back to take third place.

Washington vs. Roosevelt
George Washington13 (44.8%)
Theodore Roosevelt     16 (55.2%)

I guess this makes George Washington the only combatant to lose twice. Wow, voters. Why do you hate America? (NOTE: Don't feel bad, I could have said that about most of these guys in the bracket and you possibly would have felt a little guilty... unless you actually did hate America.)

Of course, it seemed that some voters automatically gave it to Roosevelt because they couldn't believe that he lost to Obama in the Semifinals.
A thanks to Brett who, in the same comment, poked a few holes in our reality AND answered his own question.

We suppose another question would be how we managed to off still-living presidents without anyone finding out. That being said, we're really glad that no one has misconstrued this blog as us wanting to off still-living presidents. We've made it abundantly clear, but people have a tendency to be idiotic.

Speaking of still-living president, our current president, Barack Obama, remains very much alive in the HttCttD universe and will be fighting the very much dead since 1845 (but still alive in the Arena) Andrew Jackson next week.

Jackson and Obama will fight in hopes of being crowned Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH Champion!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Our Fifth Beatle (Except There's Two of Us. So Third Beatle, But That Implies George)

As much as we make references to the HttCttD Offices and its staff, this whole thing has been cobbled together by two guys who, combined, used their interests in writing, history and general tomfoolery, decided to see what would happen if the presidents were entered into a tournament of death.
Yep, those are the guys.
As much as we'd like to pat ourselves on the back for being the greatest American heroes to ever walk the planet (a conclusion we'd reach using specious reasoning and nonsensical logic) we'd actually prefer to acknowledge someone who you don't get to hear from, except for when he leaves a comment. He's our artist, Tim.
When Tony and I were first fleshing out the specifics of the greatest idea of the 21st century (again, specious reasoning and nonsensical logic), we knew we'd be able to handle working together. We've worked together on a few projects in the past, and petulant name-calling aside (usually by me), things have gotten done. We do, however, have our weak points. One of which is lack of artistic ability.

I can speak for myself when I say that I have no talent for drawing, nor do I know how to make things look pleasing to the eye. I can't really speak for Tony, but the fact that I can't think of any instance where I've seen him attempt to draw something leads me to the conclusion that he either can't or he just won't. He was the one who put together the blog's main artwork, and I'd say that came out looking pretty cool.
Scrolling up is for suckers.
I had an idea for the blog's logo, but no way of creating it. That's when I asked my friend Tim.

I've known Tim since I was in high school. I've asked him to design a number of things over the years, most of them had to do with half-baked ideas that I never got off the ground. I even got his artwork permanently etched into my skin.
According to astrology: The Pisces will offer admission to the gun show, even if you are without a ticket.
They're THAT kind!
So when I had my idea for our logo, I turned to Tim for help, who was happy to help out.
Although he always said he was happy to help out, I always felt like I was bugging him, so I didn't want to feel like I was taking advantage of him and his time. When it came time to produce actual blog posts, I took it upon myself to create the artwork that topped the individual Monday posts.
I was proud of myself for finding a picture of William H. Taft where it looked like he was throwing a punch (he's actually throwing a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game). Other than that, it's pretty, umm, boring. A few weeks later, with Tony's help, we jazzed things up a bit.
Though it added about 15% more zing to the original model, was still an underwhelming amount of zing. But, what else could we do?

A month later, we were working up to the first fight we were actually looking forward to. Grover Cleveland (22) vs. Grover Cleveland (24), or "Clash of the Clevelands." Since this was a more exciting match (to us, anyway) I thought I'd ask Tim for help. I asked him if he'd be able to make this:
any more exciting.

Literally less than a half-hour later, he came back with this:
with a humble "How does this look?"

Tony's reaction was, "Holy shit! That's wonderful!" I agreed, possibly using other profanity. I decided since it didn't seem to take Tim that long to create this, to ask him if he wouldn't mind doing this for us every week. That afternoon, he sent me a bunch of others and he's been a part of the HttCttD family ever since.
So thanks again to Tim for giving us the artistic edge we had been sorely missing.

Creating presidential tourney of death-themed artwork isn't Tim's real passion. If you're interested in seeing some of his other artwork, you can see his stuff here. He's also quite good with the three-dimensional stuff as well. Feel free to check out Timbo's Creations.

As for this blog, we still have a week and a half of top-notch Chief Executive Fisticuffs left. This week, we're seeing who will be awarded the HttCttD Bronze, leading up to the exciting conclusion next week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Washington vs. Roosevelt

George Washington
1st President of the United States
Served: 1789-1797
Age during term: 57-65

Arena Experience
1st Round:  92.5% of 40 votes against Mike Brady
2nd Round: 93.7% of 16 votes against Grover Cleveland (24)
3rd Round: 95.24% of 21 votes against Martin Van Buren
4th Round: 67.86% of 28 votes against Jack Ryan
5th Round: 46% of 50 votes against Andrew Jackson

PROS: He's a really tall fighter who commanded an underfed army against a superpower. Then came out of retirement to help whip up the Constitution and to become the nation's first president. The dude doesn't know when to quit, so he doesn't.

CONS: His military record wasn't as amazing as we'd like to think.

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
26th President of the United States
Served: 1901-1909
Ages during term: 42-50

Arena Experience
1st Round: 100% of 19 votes against Baxter Harris
2nd Round: 100% of 21 votes against Mays Gilliam
3rd Round: 73% of 37 votes against Abraham Lincoln
4th Round: 88.6% of 44 votes against John F. Kennedy
5th Round: 44.9% of 69 votes against Barack Obama

PROS: A spectacular physical and mental specimen, Theodore Roosevelt is the epitome of badassery. Or, well... he should be. And now, you know he's pissed.

CONS: Had a tendency to sulk like you wouldn't believe, and given that he lost last week, he might be in one of those sulks for this contest.

Pre-game Analysis
Doug: Washington came pretty close to winning his last fight, but it wasn't his first lost battle. As mentioned earlier, he had been defeated a few times during the Revolutionary War. The guy knows how to get back up, dust himself off, and get back fighting. If he wasn't able to do that, we'd have Elizabeth II on all of our money today.

If Washington can strike back and get Cornwallis and the British Empire to surrender, he could take care of Teddy Roosevelt. It won't be pretty, but he'll get the job done.

Tony: Oh, Teddy. Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. How did you end up here? You were the chosen one! By me, anyway. I probably wasn't the only one, though. Sigh.

Look, TR is a man who can overcome all manner of obstacles. For example, he spent the first ten or so years of his life in a constant battle with his own body. He eventually won that battle, and went on to become the rootin'-tootin' presidential berserker we know and love. My point here is, he's not going to let his defeat in the last match slow him down. No, instead he's going to give George Washington the full Big Stick treatment*, then when he steps onto the third place podium at the HttCttD awards banquet**, he's going to turn to the man standing next to him, and start throwing haymakers. It isn't going to be pretty, but it's going to be damn amusing.

The Chief: Well, there you have it folks. Come Friday, one of these two will have done something that only one other Arena combatant can claim: win in his final match. But which one? We'll find out...

*- Not a sexual euphemism. I think.
**- I may have just made this event up.

Washington vs. Roosevelt

Friday, March 30, 2012

Obamacare Sends Roosevelt to the Death Panel

We have to admit that we thought Teddy Roosevelt was a shoe-in for the HttCttD Championship. Even as late as early this week.
But Barack Obama closed the gap midweek and pulled ahead in the final day of voting, earning him a spot for the final match.
Obama vs. Roosevelt
Barack Obama38 (55.1%)
Theodore Roosevelt     31 (44.9%)

Obama is the second fighter to get double-digit votes against Roosevelt, which leads us to believe that Teddy's weakness could be politicians from Illinois.

As we stated, we thought Roosevelt was going to the end. In the past two weeks, we've revealed our personal picks for the entire tournament, and Roosevelt was the one thing we could agree on in the finals.

Are we surprised that he didn't make it after all? Of course.

Are we upset? Well, that sound you hear is Tony rocking back in forth in the corner, curled up in the fetal position as both of his finalists have gone down. But hey, if we had gone through all of this trouble of maintaining this blog for 62 weeks only to have things turn out exactly as we had planned, that would have been kind of boring. So it's kind of nice that we're getting a surprising finale.

That being said, we're still glad it's not Bartlet.
That's something we didn't even consider. Teddy may have been rugged, but he was a fancy pants born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Obama came from the South Side. He looks cool calm and collected, but maybe he's probably got some inner-agitation just waiting to get out. He could step into the Arena, see Roosevelt on the other end and bust out his best Tim Meadows from Mean Girls.
"Hell, no! I did not leave the South Side for this!"
The rest would be HttCttD history!

Obama will meet Andrew Jackson for the HttCttD Championship April 9. Join us next week when Roosevelt takes on George Washington for the battle for 3rd Place.