Monday, October 31, 2011

Roosevelt vs. Palmer

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
32nd President of the United States
Served from 1933-1945
Age during term: 51-63

Arena Experience: FDR faced off against presidential terrorist dispatcher James Marshall in the first round... and won, making it easily the biggest upset this tournament is going to have.

PROS: FDR served the longest term of any President ever-- and unless that 22nd Amendment gets repealed, he'll never lose that record. The point is, he's incredibly durable, especially given that his presidency wasn't exactly low-stress. FDR also showed a lot of creativity coming up with economic plans to get the country out of the Depression; that outside-the-box thinking clearly worked out for him in the first round.

CONS: Really, we can't emphasize this enough, but the dude could not effing walk. He could fake it, kind of, for brief periods, but let's not try and make that more than it was. Also, his health in general was fairly poor for a good chunk of his presidency... which led to him dying while said presidency was still a going concern.

David Palmer
Fictional president in the TV series 24 (2001-2006)
Portrayed by Dennis Haysbert
Age: Haysbert was 48-49 when his presidential episodes aired

Arena Experience: Palmer edged by William McKinley in the first round with 54.2% of the vote. Not bad, considering McKinley was a Civil War veteran.

PROS: Palmer survived two out of three assassination attempts (which ain't bad). The third one was by sniper rifle bullet, which isn't an issue here in the Arena. When Jack Bauer went off the radar to mourn his wife, Palmer was the only one who could get him back. Anyone who could get Bauer out of his Thoreau phase is obviously a force to be reckoned with.

CONS: We should make it clear that Bauer will not be helping Palmer. It's against the rules. Let's just hope Palmer hasn't grown dependent on him. There's also the question of when in Palmer's term this fight is taking place. If it's after assassination attempt #2, Palmer may still be feeling the effects of whatever virus that Mandy chick got him sick with.

The Fight
Doug: I haven't seen Bad Teacher, but there's a part that was shown in the trailers that I think is pretty relevant.

I'm to understand that Jason Segal plays a gym teacher.
How does the How I Met Your Mother universe deal with the fact that there's a
movie star that looks exactly like Marshall Eriksen?
He and a student are having an argument over who the better basketball player is: Michael Jordan or LeBron James. The student is saying that LeBron is a better rebounder and passer. Segal's character dismissively says, "Call me when LeBron has six championships." The kid retorts, "That's you're only argument?" Segal's character responds with, "THAT'S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED!"

The only argument I need? FDR is in a wheelchair. On top of barely being able to walk on his own for very long, his health is in the crapper.

I have yet to hear an argument even close to semi-sane as to how FDR would able to beat James "Get off my plane!" Marshall. Maybe Palmer never personally kicked terrorists out of a plane (LITERALLY!), but he did spend a great deal more of his time as president NOT in a wheelchair than FDR did. That's saying something, because Palmer actually was in a wheelchair for a bit.

Tony: Interesting how you open with something that essentially destroys your case. FDR killed James Marshall! THAT'S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED!

Look, some things in life will never be explained. Like, say, what happened to D.B. Cooper, or who put the "bomp" in the "bomp shoo bomp shoo bomp." FDR's victory over Marshall falls in this category. Perhaps our readers mistook FDR for some manner of cyborg, part man, part machine... all murder! Maybe Marshall's intimidating visage disoriented readers into voting the wrong way.

But, maybe... just maybe... our readers have realized that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was more than enough of a badass to hold his own against Marshall. Maybe they saw the man who pulled America back from the brink, and led the charge against tyranny. Maybe they were just screwing with us. Wait! Strike that last one.

The point is, FDR is here, and Marshall's not. You want to claim Roosevelt's not dangerous? Do so at your own peril.

Doug: My point is that there's a wild card here that, regardless of what turn our debate takes, we cannot control or foresee one aspect: the voters. In FDR's last fight, the voters decided that a paralyzed man without his wheelchair could defeat a Harrison Ford character in a fight. It's a problem that comes up in democracy every so often and that problem is that -- and I'm saying this with all due respect to the voters -- sometimes the voters are wrong.

Maybe they were mistaken about the question. Like, for that week, they thought we were asking who is most likely to sing Tomorrow with a former orphan and the plutocrat who adopted her?
Pictured: FDR, in a wheelchair. I feel I should remind
everyone of the fact that FDR was in a wheelchair.
Or maybe voters did it just to shake things up, and they wanted to see a top-seeder fall in the first round, but they respected the real presidents too much to vote them out. Or maybe they did it out of spite.

Whatever the story is, the voters were wrong. It wasn't not the only time, and it will probably happen again (this week or not). This is why I'm trying to make this as easy as possible: FDR's health was in terrible condition towards the end. In addition to that, he couldn't walk on his own. THIS IS THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED.

Tony: Actually, I'm going to say you need more arguments. Because you know what I'm not hearing a lot of? Evidence that Palmer can fight worth a damn. I mean, all he did as President was sit back and let CTU handle things (and by "CTU," I of course mean "Jack Bauer"). What the hell kind of a fighting style is that? A losing one, is what. And did it stop Palmer from getting himself killed? Nope! Granted, I never watched 24, so my perceptions might be a bit off, but still.

FDR is a world-class thinker, just the sort of guy who will be able to figure out a way to defeat a more able-bodied man in the Arena. He's got this.

Doug: No, Palmer hasn't seemed to have actually fought anyone, but he has a history of athleticism. He scored the game-winning basket in a Final Four game.
Though, some credit for the Sycamores' success could be Larry Bird.
Also, worth noting: Palmer can walk.

Though Palmer was killed after his term was up, I can't really buy the presupposition that Palmer isn't a fighter because he can't take a bullet to the throat. Seriously, it's a bullet to the throat. Those are difficult to survive. Are you suggesting FDR could survive that? Are you suggesting "bullet to the throat" is a legal attack in the Arena? I'm going to say "no" to both, so that pretty much means that Palmer's weakness towards bullets to the throat is not really a liability in this case.

Hey, I'm sure FDR could think of a good plan of defeating someone in the Arena. Being able to actually carry said plan out is a completely different story. Since FDR is barely able to stand up on his own, I'm kind of curious how he'd be able to defeat a former athlete in hand-to-hand combat.

I really hate to harp on this wheelchair thing, but it kind of is a big deal that's impossible to get around. It's almost as if IT'S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED.

Tony: I mean, athleticism is cool and all, but that doesn't mean it can win someone a fight. Gymnasts are pretty freaking athletic, but I'm pretty sure I could take one in a fight. Well, unless we're talking about the guy from Gymkata. But I'm fairly sure he's the exception to the rule.
Anyone who disagrees will get a pommel horse-assisted kick to the face.
Palmer was taken down by a bullet to the throat? Tough way to go. Of course, such shootings aren't necessarily lethal-- just ask George Orwell, who was shot in the throat during the Spanish Civil War. Seems that Palmer's a weaker specimen, I suppose. I'll give you that it's unlikely that Palmer will be shot in the Arena itself, but Palmer had better hope FDR never figures out his weakness.

The Chief: Voting closes Friday at 9am MDT. We hope everyone's Halloween is SPOOKTACULAR. We also hope the rest of your week is less so.

Roosevelt vs. Palmer

Friday, October 28, 2011

Avoiding Clear and Present Danger

Jack Ryan showed Deep Impact's Tom Beck who is un perdador.
That's such a shame, because they appear to be getting along okay in this photo.

Beck vs. Ryan
Tom Beck  5  (25%)
Jack Ryan      15 (75%)

Tom Beck may be a good person to have around in times of global disaster, but when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, Jack Ryan's the guy you may want to put your money on (not that we condone gambling).

On the subject of a mini-debate raised on Monday's post, while we're wholly unqualified to forecast the outcomes of two nonpresidents fighting, we believe a fight between singer-songwriter Beck and Jake Ryan of 16 Candles would also most likely lead to a Ryan victory.

Jack Ryan moves on and will face Harry S Truman in the Round of 16 in a fight scheduled Jan. 16.
Join us next week when Franklin D. Roosevelt faces David Palmer from the TV series 24.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

... Now What?

The film Deep Impact ends on a bit of a hopeful high note. President Tom Beck assures the public that  life will go on. It's all very inspiring, and then the movie pulls out to show what is left of the U.S. Capitol.

Actually, it's probably not fair to say that this is what's left of the Capitol. This is what's left of the Capitol, plus they've been rebuilding it, so it was probably in even worse condition than this.

Washington D.C. is completely mobbed with people to see the president speak first hand, though we can't help but wonder how everyone got there. The city was pretty much wiped out. Everyone who happened to be in D.C. when the asteroid hit, as well as anyone else who happened to be within about 500 miles of the Atlantic Ocean was washed away.

How did they all get there? The megatsunami must have done some damage to the roadways and train tracks. Okay, maybe they flew. Where are they staying? Clearly, there are no hotels for them.

Maybe this cataclysm makes way for the 21st century answer to the Hooverville.
So... Beckville?
Anyway, nitpicking the final scene aside. What will happens to the U.S. as it recovers from this disaster? According to Beck's speech, water from the Atlantic made it as far West as the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.
So, let's say roughly to the blue line. We should probably add the Gulf Coast as well, but we should exclude the Appalachians, because people appeared to have survived up there. Everyone in that area has been lost, except for people who got out of the danger zone in time and for the one million people who were lucky enough to get a spot in the limestone caves in Colorado. We'd have to imagine that the infrastructure of this part of the country is, for the most part, wiped out. Maybe some stretches of road survived. Parts of power plants may still be standing. The place will be a mess, and we'll be pretty much left starting from scratch.

Now what happens?

Tony: America is so, sooooo screwed. I mean, did the asteroid wipe out China? Russia? India? No, no it did not.

Doug: Yeah, I guess the only ones who really have our backs (usually, anyway) are just on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. They're pretty much inundated with their own problems to be bailing us out (puns totally and completely intended).

Tony: Also, consider that the Atlantic is probably now a massive garbage pond. Certainly that wouldn't have dire consequences!

Doug: Right. All of those buildings that should be around the U.S. Capitol, but aren't went somewhere, and there's a good chance most of it went back into the ocean. Okay, so the Washington Monument is now in the ocean, so what? We'll build a new one, bigger and better.

Tony: And that's not the half of it. Quick-- how many nuclear power plants are within range of the tsunami wave?

A few, it turns out.
Tony: Think back to the post-earthquake tsunami in Japan. First of all, the tsunami didn't really damage the Fukushima reactors, per se, but it did knock a lot of systems off-line, leading to a series of meltdowns. The damage in the area is going to take hundreds, maybe thousands, of years to clean up, and there's still a 20-km restriction zone around the plant itself. So, now look at that map again. The Deep Impact tsunami is going to obliterate several dozen nuclear facilities, and given the circumstances, I doubt many of those plants are going to store their plutonium somewhere safe until after the dust settles. So, when the wave hits, it's going to get ugly, fast.

Doug: And, researchers have found debris from the Japan tsunami in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Tony: Exactly. So when you put it all together...

Doug: You've got a shit ton of radioactive water and debris floating around in the Atlantic. Or, think about the hazardous material that didn't quite make it back to the ocean. There's a possibility that a good portion of the land is dealing with unimaginable pollution issues.

What the hell is Beck doing in D.C.? He shouldn't be there, and he certainly shouldn't be encouraging people to travel there in droves to see him. Denver should be made the temporary capital — assuming that's a constitutional move — before we figure out if people should even be stepping foot on the East Coast.
"Those clowns in Denver don't know what the hell they're doing!"
Tony: And ocean currents are going to carry all of that pollution alllll over the globe. So even though I said before China wasn't hit by the tsunami? Well, they're still going to feel the effects, as will Europe, Africa, South America... and that doesn't consider the weather. Wait until a hurricane plows through all that junk.

Doug: Jeez.

Tony: So, thanks for the happy ending there, Deep Impact, but I'm calling bullshit.

The Chief: Well speculated, gentlemen. Readers! There's still a fight to attend to! Vote on Beck vs. Ryan, leave some juicy comments, and we'll be back on Friday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beck vs. Ryan

Tom Beck
Played by Morgan Freeman in the film Deep Impact
Age: Freeman was 60 when the movie was filmed

Arena Experience: Beck had Richard Nixon (the real one, not just his head) to kick around in the First Round, and finished with 56.5% of the vote. Maybe that doesn't sound impressive, but you'd have to imagine that Nixon found some way to cheat.

PROS: Beck never loses his cool. Comet heading for Earth? Yeah, that sucks, but "life will go on." Comet washed away everything East of the Appalachians? "Life will go on." A quick tip for anyone looking to defeat Beck in the Arena: don't try to play the mental game with him, because it's not going to work.

CONS: Beck is kind of a bigmouth. He spilled the beans about the planet's impending doom to a reporter. Thankfully, the reporter was nice enough to sit on the biggest story in the history of reporting. Otherwise, he'd have to find a way to calm a nationwide panic (Not everyone is a collected as Beck). Maybe he could keep quiet on his fighting strategy, but who knows?

Jack Ryan
Served as President in the Tom Clancy novels Debt of Honor, Executive Orders, and The Bear and the Dragon
Age: Indeterminate. Wikipedia gives an birthdate in 1950, and Debt of Honor is implied to take place sometime around 1995-96. So, yeah, something like that.

Arena Experience: The 2-seed in the original Washington bracket, Ryan faced Millard Fillmore in the first round, and came away with 76.5% of the vote.

PROS: Had a rather spectacular pre-presidential resumé as a CIA intelligence analyst turned occasional field agent. Seriously, go back to Ryan's first fight and read the list of shit he pulled off. He's smart, capable, resilient, and most importantly, he survives a lot of things that would easily kill lesser men.

CONS: On the other hand, Ryan is a bit of a daredevil who should never have been put in the field to begin with. As such, he gets by on luck a lot of the time, and that's maybe not the best thing to rely on. He also has a tendency to get in over his head — arguably, that's how he became president to begin with.

The Fight
Tony: Look, we all know Beck is a pretty cool guy. I mean, even being a born and raised Scientologist. Odelay and Guero are great albums, and even his more recent stuff, like The Information or Modern Guilt have some good songs on them. And he put some great work into the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack. So, really, I don't want it to seem like I'm dumping on this guy unnecessarily. But, he just doesn't have the combat experience to stand a change against someone like Jack Ryan.
Doug: Well, what does Jake Ryan really have going for him? I mean, yeah, he's super dreamy. Speak to any heterosexual woman who was under 25 when Sixteen Candles came out, and they will most likely say that they would do him, no questions asked. I think it's such a foregone conclusion that their boyfriends/husbands wouldn't even consider it cheating — some may even be jealous that they didn't get to watch. The guy has it all. But is he a fighter? No.
He was barely able to take care of the walking, talking Asian stereotype in an off-screen scuffle.
He let his girlfriend walk all over him. She made him throw these raging parties at his house whenever his parents were out of town. His house was wrecked every time, yet he never stood up to himself. When the crazy chick got drunk and slept with the freshman geek, only then did he feel like he could get away scot-free.

How is someone like that going to handle a fight against Beck, who — wait...

Tony: Wait, what happened here? Weren't we squaring multi-platinum selling recording artist Beck against Tom Clancy protagonist Jack Ryan? I mean, it seemed like an odd matchup, but whatever, man, I'll put Ryan against anyone.

Doug: See, and I thought we were talking about Jake Ryan. I'd imagine his charisma would win him a presidential election, years after he and Samantha Baker break up. I don't know, I figured maybe there was a Sixteen Candles sequel that was made years later that no one saw.

Tony: I implore you not to give Hollywood ideas.

Doug: Actually no, that could work. It could come in 2016. Not only would the year end in 16, but it would also be 32 (or 16 times 2) years after the original. Samantha could have a kid of her own who is turning 16. Ooh, I have a better idea. She has a son who is trying to cheer up a girl having a shitty 16th birthday, and that could be the daughter of Anthony Michael Hall's character. And Jake is president for some reason.
FACT: President Ryan once gave car keys to a drunken teen who had no driver's license.

Worse movies have been made. If the cast of American Pie could come back to celebrate their 13-year high school reunion (because that's what it would be, people), then my awful piece of crap idea for a Sixteen Candles sequel, sadly, could be greenlit.

Tony: Just... please don't tell me you already have a screenplay for this abomination...

Doug: No, I'm having some difficulties with the script (it sucks), but I don't think I should let that stop me. I mean they remade Footloose, didn't they?

So we're talking about Jack Ryan? Oh, that actually makes more sense.

Isn't Jack Ryan a bit over-prepared for this? I feel like the moment he enters the ring, he's going to be keeping an eye out for terrorists ready to swarm the Arena or for some normal looking spectator who may be a trained assassin. He's going to be so worried about the possibilities outside of the ring that he won't even be paying attention to Tom Beck and his fists: Wolf & Biederman.
You don't want to be around when Biederman connects.
Tony: Over-prepared? I don't think you can be over-prepared for the Arena. But if "over-prepared," you mean, "has infinitely more experience in close combat with people who want to kill him," then yes, he certainly is over-prepared. I mean, seriously, he's killed scores of terrorists personally, he's averted world wars, he's stared down a would-be assassin in the Oval Office itself.

Meanwhile, Tom Beck has... gotten lucky saving Earth, I guess? He certainly hasn't fought anyone, aside from Nixon, and that wasn't exactly an overwhelming victory. Meanwhile, Ryan is younger, healthier, and ass-kickinger. This isn't going to be close.

Doug: I was just making the point that sometimes Ryan's threats come from a surprising source. If he enters the ring and sees Beck, would he actually be concentrating on beating Beck up or would he be worrying about some unforeseen threats? Because Beck has one thing on his mind: getting rid of Ryan. Ryan's mind, on the other hand, may be drifting between Beck and places to hide in case a plane is flown into the Presidential Gladitorial Arena.

You'd have to imagine with all that has been through, Ryan must be psychologically exhausted at this point. He's about ready to crack.

Tony: And looking for Ryan to break is a fool's game. Maybe if he had "broken" after his wife and daughter were attacked by terrorists, you'd have a point, but no, that only hardened his resolve and caused him to accept a CIA post he had previously turned down.

No, in this fight's Beck is going to be... a lost cause.

Doug: Just because we haven't seen Beck fighting terrorists all by himself, it doesn't mean he's unable to. He's got resolve dripping out if his ears. Life will go on for him as Ryan learns that the deep impact from Beck is where it's at.

The Chief: As curious as I am about how a Beck/Jake Ryan would go, we are bound by our duty to not put that up for consideration.

Be sure your voice is heard in this week's fight between Tom Beck and Jack Ryan. Voting closes Friday, 9am MDT.

Beck vs. Ryan

Friday, October 21, 2011

Harry Gives 'em Hell

Harry S Truman has made sure that Silent Cal stops here.
Not only did Truman survive this week's fight with Coolidge, but he also survived the supposed end of the world. By the way, we'd like to wish our Harold Camping followers a happy and safe voyage to heaven on this supposed Judgment Day.

Truman vs. Coolidge
Harry S Truman     20 (76.9%)
Calvin Coolidge 6  (23.1%)

We'd have to say, Coolidge really didn't have much going for him in this fight, and the commentariat pretty much agreed.

It's almost fitting that this week's COTW should go to CotE:
After doing some light Internet research, we found out that this is apparently very true.
It actually makes for quite the entrance.
Suck it, Hail to the Chief!
At least, that's what the episode of Futurama titled Roswell That Ends Well says.

Although, while we at HttCttD are completely willing to buy into the idea that a former U.S. President used to be transported in crates of rations, we would be remiss if we did not clear up a misconception about the great State of New Mexico — the state whose fertile bosom was the birthplace of Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH.

There aren't any military bases near Roswell, at least not within a 2-hour drive. The atomic bomb testing site — the Trinity Site — is also about just as far from Roswell; not that that matters, because there were no atomic weapons tested during the entire year of 1947.

But all of that is fine, because A) Futurama is made by math and science nerds, not history nerds and B) some artistic license can be taken, especially if it's to create a universe where Fry is his own grandfather.
That last bit should have come with a spoiler alert, by the way.
Truman moves on to the Round of 16 and is scheduled to fight Jan. 16. Join us next week when Deep Impact's Tom Beck is set to face Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Bottom 25%

Hey, you know what we thought would be fun? Taking the results of the 1st Round and figure out the would-be rankings of the lower half?

If you're surprised that we would find that fun, then you clearly haven't been reading the blog for the past nine months.

We could have done this the easy way, by just listing each combatant in order based on how much of the minority vote they received and be done with it, but that didn't seem complicated enough. There's also a lack of wild card element to that, which is less exciting.

No instead, we created a series of losers' brackets where one's performance would be based solely on the percentage of votes they received in their only appearance. It's not a perfect system, and it's bound to screw some people over while wrongfully elevating others. It's almost as if the BCS computer took time out of its busy day and did some volunteer work at the HttCttD Offices.

So, let's take a look at the bottom of the barrel. The ones who, using this ranking, would be ranked in the lowest 25%.

64) Baxter Harris — 0.00%
63) Mike Brady — 7.50%
62) Andrew Johnson — 9.52%
61) William H. Taft — 13.16%

These guys are the lowest of each bracket, with Harris — unable to receive a single vote — at the dreaded #64 spot.

60) John Tyler — 11.34%
59) James Buchanan — 13.33%
58) Zachary Taylor — 15.38%
57) Millard Fillmore — 23.53%

Now, we guess in a perfect world, Taft would be up a notch, but that's just the way things turned out. Really though, who cares if #60 and #61?

56) Jimmy Carter — 20.00%
55) Dave Kovic — 26.67%
54) Julia Mansfield — 23.81%
53) John Quincy Adams — 35.29%

52) Benjamin Harrison — 33.33%
51) James A. Garfield — 35.40%
50) Nixon's Head — 38.10%
49) James Marshall — 41.46%

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Marshall, who literally kicked terrorists off a plane couldn't even get out of the bottom 25%. He was the top seed in his own bracket and lost in his first fight. In these hypothetical fights, Marshall would be up against William McKinley, who got 45.83% of the vote. Starting off with two losses gets you straight to the bottom quarter. Dems the breaks.

We'll take a look at the 25-50% crowd later. In the meantime, mosey on to this week's fight between Harry S Truman and Calvin Coolidge.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Truman vs. Coolidge

Harry S Truman
33rd President of the United States
Served: 1945-1953
Age during term: 60-68

Arena Experience: Faced off against James K. Polk in the first round, and walked away from that match with 70.2% of the vote, so suck it, Polk!

Pros: Truman was an ornery old cuss, with quick enough thinking that he was able to bluff his way past an eye exam and enlist in World War I. He was also, and there's no other way to put this, hella-cold-blooded, what with wanting to kill Every German Ever during WWI, and then ending WWII with atomic bombs. To sum up, tough, smart, and cold-blooded. Makes for a solid Arena fighter, no?

Cons: Truman's political success owed a bit too much to powerful friends (read: political operative and Masons), who chose what positions he would run for. He also had a knack for making certain decisions rather impulsively, which as a rule, is not the best thing to do when locked in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™.

Calvin Coolidge
30th President of the United States
Served 1923-1929
Age during term: 51-56

Arena Experience: Coolidge proved that silent could be deadly when he beat Julia Mansfield from the short-lived '80s sitcom Hail to the Chief with 76.2% of the vote. He probably got strong support from voters who saw Hail to the Chief and wanted to exact revenge.

PROS: Silent Cal was a man of a few words. Instead of flapping his gums with rhetoric, he's probably just thinking of ways to tear his opponents apart with his bare hands. Don't think a guy with no military experience could do that? Coolidge passed the bar without attending law school, so he knows how to get by with little experience.

CONS: The guy who pushed his lassiez-faire agenda — possibly worsening the Great Depression for us — may take that "do nothing" attitude to the Arena, as if the invisible hand of capitalism will help him in the Arena. He also kind of lost his push when he tragically lost his son. He may be looking for a reunion in the afterlife.

The Fight
Doug: I'm going to keep my first round of debate brief, as I believe this argument is, without a doubt, the best argument for anything mankind has ever made for anything. I find it is simple, straight to the point and smart without coming off as too condescending.
This is a slight alteration from the original, which featured an over-imaginative and intelligent, yet underachieving, first-grade boy urinating on a brand logo of inferior quality. I have seen this many times, usually on the rear windshields of trucks of, I'm can only assume, fans of the newspaper comic featuring the boy which hasn't printed in almost 15 years. I cropped head of the 30th President of the United States over the head of the delightful scamp because they both share the same first name: Calvin.

Simply put, as the image illustrates, Coolidge pees on Truman.

Your move.

Tony: Interesting premise. Flawed, but interesting. No, to really get to the meat of this argument, we have to dig into the names themselves. So: Coolidge. Cool Lidge? Is this some sort of endorsement of Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Brad Lidge? Dude was hurt this season, and only pitched 19 1/3 innings. I don't see how that's supposed to help Coolidge, at all.
Truman, on the other hand… I mean, just look at it. True Man. True Man! Your pathetic little closer is going up against a powerhouse of masculinity. That's no contest. It's so little of a contest that the light from "contests" will not reach Coolidge vs. Truman for 10,000 years.

And we can take this further! What was Coolidge's middle initial? No one knows, or cares, because he sucked. What about Truman? His middle initial was S! What did it stand for? Nothing! That's right, this True Man has a boundless void of nihilism right in the middle of his name! Say what you will about Truman, man, but at least it's an ethos.

In short, the only thing Coolidge will be pissing, is his own pants.

Doug: Yeah, Truman is a true man. And like all true men, he's mortal. His road will end, and Coolidge will see to that. As for Lidge, yeah, I guess he had a crummy year. Too bad he's not the type of player who's known for his comebacks. Oh wait, he has actually won an award for called the National League Comeback Player of the Year in 2008. You know, the same year he threw the final pitch of the World Series. So, I suppose Lidge isn't all that bad of a guy to support when you look at the big picture. And thank you for forcing me to recount the glories of one of my least favorite teams in Major League Baseball.

And Calvin Coolidge's middle name? It's Calvin. He was born John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. He was so into his middle name that he decided to just drop his first name. Coolidge is going to show that the 'S' in Harry S Truman really stands for.

And that is why my argument of showing Coolidge peeing on Truman is not, as you say, flawed.

Tony: I'm not sure playing the "mortal" card helps you, as ol' Cal there is also mortal, and thus open to his mortality being abruptly pierced within the Arena. As for Lidge, it's also good he doesn't have a history of screwing up on big stages, leading to years drifting in the wilderness.

Hey look! It's George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

Anyway, about this fight. History shows that the only thing that can stop Truman's rampages is some form of authority figure. If Truman had been in charge during World War I, Germany would probably still be a smoking cinder. Does he have anyone reining him in when he faces Coolidge? Nope. Truman FTW.

Doug: Interesting.

You're still on the Brad Lidge thing? I was willing to play along for the sake of being a good sport, but c'mon. Someone reading this could get the impression that you're tying Coolidge's fighting ability to the pitching ability of someone born decades later because you're grasping for straws.

Truman was a blustery windbag who made references about cutting off Dutch kids' hands and feet (which still makes no sense to me). He's a big talker. And yes, I realize this is the man who ordered the dropping of two atomic bombs on civilians, but he doesn't have the bomb or thousands of miles of distance in the Arena like he did in '45.

You know how they say "you have to watch out for the quiet ones"? Coolidge is as quiet as they get. And the 'S' will stand for "slain."

Tony: Lidge, like Coolidge before him, is and was a man destined to fail. Even though each obtained brief moments of glory, such as winning the Presidency or closing out the World Series, their overwhelming legacies are, well, disappointing.

And I'm not going to apologize for Truman's bloodlust! This is a presidential death blog-- bloodlust is part of the game, and Truman played that game like Garry Kasparov plays chess. Game, set, and match!

Coolidge, meanwhile, probably thinks he can just get by on his two biggest skills, shutting up, and ignoring things. Sadly, for him, ignorance is going to be... bliss. For Truman. Because he's going to roll over Silent Cal.

The Chief: Classy as always, boys. It's votin' time! Make sure your voices are heard! Polls close 9am MDT on Friday.

Truman vs. Coolidge

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reagan Gets Martin Van BURNED!

They call Martin Van Buren "Old Kinderhook," but Ronald Reagan learned this week that there's nothing kind about his right hook.
And this original Van Buren Boy earned a trip to the Round of 16.

Reagan vs. Van Buren
Ronald Reagan  5 (31.25%)
Martin Van Buren     11 (68.75%)

The voting was pretty neck and neck in the first couple of days. By midweek, Van Buren pulled ahead and left Reagan in the dust. However, neither combatant should be hard on themselves or their performance. If you combine the percentages in the above pie chart, it turns out that they gave 100.1%, collectively, which is pretty impressive.

There were a few theories floating around about how Van Buren could best someone much bigger and tougher than him. One of the commentariat found an answer in television.
Amen to that! If Seinfeld tells us New York has a street gang as mean as Van Buren himself, then New York has a street gang as mean as Van Buren himself. I just hope its members don't terrorize anyone who voted against Number 8.

Van Buren will meet George Washington in a Round of 16 bout scheduled Jan. 9.
Join us next week when Harry S Truman will face Calvin Coolidge.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Thanksgiving Treat

In the United States, some of us celebrate the second Monday in October by speaking out against the acts of genocide Christopher Columbus is responsible for while enjoying a day off from work. People more conscious of their Netflix DVD situation prepare for the holiday by making sure their DVD arrives the Saturday before the holiday. Otherwise, they would have to wait until Tuesday, which would be absolutely horrible to them, though nowhere near genocide.

Up north, our Canadian friends celebrate Thanksgiving which, like here, includes a big meal and watching football. This gives them nothing to do on the fourth Thursday in November. Might we suggest Cabot Day?
He looks like he could probably be genocidal as well.

The HttCttD Staff, though dedicated workers, are not ones to squander an excuse for a large meal — regardless of how decidedly un-American it may be. The Chief allowed staffers to eat a big Thanksgiving dinner while catching some Canadian Football League action, as long as they did something which "embodied the spirit of Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH" while "loafing, Canadian-style," as he put it. He wasn't very specific as to what he meant, but the staffers figured out a fun Canada-centric activity:
Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH: Maple Leaf Forever Edition
(Does the PM have a song? We don't even know.)
Same rules applied; just with staffers voting for the Prime Ministers of Canada. Instead of four brackets of 16, this had three brackets of eight. Each PM is only entered once, regardless of whether or not they "pulled a Grover Cleveland," which actually happened a few times in Canada. Because really, how many times do we want William Lyon Mackenzie King in this thing, am I right?
Three separate occasions.
For the sake of brevity, we'll share the outcome of only one of the brackets. Otherwise, we'll be here all day.
The Pearson Bracket
1st Round
John Macdonald vs. Charles Tupper — Both were instrumental in creating the Canadian Confederation. Tupper was the oldest PM to ever serve, so he probably wouldn't put up much of a fight.
Serving at the age of 74, that puts him in "Reagan territory."
Louis St. Laurent vs. Arthur Meighen — Staffers couldn't resist Uncle Louis, man of the people. No contest.

Paul Martin vs. Joe Clark — Clark is the youngest in the pool, but he squeezed in a win against the people who just voted for Martin because he was so recent.

Lester "Mike" Pearson vs. Clark McDonald from the 1995 film Canadian Bacon, portrayed by Wallace Shawn — No one remembered Canadian Bacon, so everyone just imagined Vizzini in the ring. That didn't turn out so hot for him.
It also tanked in the box office.

2nd Round
Macdonald vs. St. Laurent — Macdonald-backers were quick to point out that he was the Father of the Confederacy. The St. Laurent party clarified that there were actually multiple Fathers of the Confederacy. And that just because he was the first PM, that doesn't make him the George Washington of Canada. St. Laurent narrowly won.

Pearson vs. Clark — Clark may be young, but Pearson was an athlete and a war hero. Also, Canada's largest city's airport is named after him AND he held office in the 1960s. He's like Canada's JFK, only in better physical condition. Pearson won.

Pearson Bracket Final
St. Laurent vs. Pearson — Pearson was given the nickname "Mike" because Lester wasn't a name fit for a fighter pilot. The original nickname that was thought of — though more accurate — gave children nightmares. That's just how badass he is. Pearson easily won. Staffers blast Rush in celebration.
Maybe next time, Uncle Louis
The Final Three Since we were left with three combatants instead of four, a simple tournament could not conclude this contest of ultimate Canadian superiority. Someone suggested that maybe that was for the best. The reasoning was that unlike American history, which started with a bang, Canadian history didn't. We scraped together a ragtag army to fight a war of independence against a major superpower. Even our nerdy types (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, etc.) risked a public hanging. Canada, on the other hand, had a more gradual separation from Mother England. After 144 years of independence, their reigning monarch is still on their money.
Talk about apron strings.

So, we thought it was fitting to do this "the Canadian way," which meant setting up a large panel to discuss who would win. It was down to:

Pearson, whose success we already followed.

Pierre Trudeau, who beat out Wilfrid Laurier in that bracket's finals. Trudeau's supporters have come up with the rallying cry of "Just watch me... kick your ass!"
"My message to the Front de libération du Québec?
'Hey FLQ, Fah-Q!'"

John Diefenbaker, who defeated William Lyon Mackenzie King in that bracket's finals. One of Diefenbaker's nicknames was "The Chief," so he seemed like the obvious choice. Plus, his willingness to stand up to JFK shows he could probably be a spirited fighter in the Arena.
We'd say "Hail to the Dief," but that would probably piss him off.

While a discussion like this would work well in Canada, Americans are a bit more bloodthirsty with a need for definitive answers. Plus, we tend to get distracted with other things.

"Wait, a football team could finish a game with only one point? How does that happen?"

By that point, staffers were tired from the big meal and getting bored with the whole Canada thing. We thought it would be fitting — given that Canadian history seems to be one anticlimactic story after another — that three winners would be crowned.

If there could be 36 "original Fathers of the Confederation," then there could be three winners in this thing, right?

Meanwhile, back in the States, the fight between Ronald Reagan and Martin Van Buren rages on. Vote, because unlike our failed Canadian experiment, there will only be one winner.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Reagan vs. Van Buren

Ronald Reagan
40th President of the United States
Served: 1981-1989
Age in Office: 69-77

Arena Experience: Reagan faced Rutherford B. Hayes in the first round, and squeaked by with 54.9% of the vote.

Pros: Reagan's a legitimate tough guy (his Secret Service code name was "Rawhide"!), which helped him become the first President to survive an assassination attempt (well, an attempt in which he was actually shot). He knows how to hang in and battle through adversity, and if all else fails, he can probably act his way to a victory, somehow.

Cons: On the other hand, Reagan's kinda old, meaning that lots of the talk of his toughness comes with the qualifier "...for his age." He's also shown a certain single-mindedness in his thinking, which historically has gotten him into trouble.

Martin Van Buren
8th President of the United States
Served: 1837-1841
Ages in Office: 54-58

Arena Experience: Van Buren defeated 31st century president Nixon's Head from the Futurama universe with 61.9% of the vote in the First Round. Nixon's head was given help from the headless body of Spiro Agnew. Don't ask us how that works.

PROS: According to Kramer from Seinfeld, a street gang that terrorizes New York is named after Van Buren and is apparently "as mean as" the man himself. Van Buren was dead for 135 years when this episode aired, yet he was still able to instill a fear in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers. While he was living, the weird looking little muttonchopped man with a thick Dutch accent still managed to win over voters. A lot of this has to do with the fact that he won his way into Andrew Jackson's inner-sanctum. No doubt, it was a matter of moments after being crowned the victor in the First Round was he cooking up a scheme to secure another win.

CONS: He was actually the opposite of Andrew Jackson, which is why Jackson sought Van Buren as a running mate in 1832. Jackson's bluster was balanced by Van Buren's political eggheadery. When taking office in 1837, Van Buren pulled a 180 on Jackson's policies and called for peace where ever he could. Instead of annexing Texas, Van thought it would be better to ease tensions among the states. When a border dispute erupted with Britain, Marty solved things without a single bullet being fired. Impressive, admirable even. Is this a good background for someone entering the Arena?

The Fight
Tony: Here's the story about Ronald Reagan-- he's a tough old man who's seen it all, who's faced down death and Communism, and come out smiling on the other side. Is his age a problem? Well, it wasn't when he faced off against Hayes, so I don't think he's going to be fazed by the Dutch aberration that is Martin Van Buren. After all, Van Buren's rise is mostly due to luck-- he lucked into riding Jackson's coattails, and then he got lucky when his first round opponent was a disembodied head from the future (well, and Agnew, but whatever). Now, Van Buren has drawn Reagan. Luck time… is over. 

Doug: Okay, I'll let you incorrectly give Reagan credit for destroying Communism for now. Age wasn't a problem when he faced off against Hayes? He won in the end, yes, but with less than 55%. Even you said in this very post that he "squeaked by." Who's to say he's going to have an easy fight this time around?
Though, our voters do like to skew old.
Van Buren's rise was mostly due to scheming and planning. He made sure that he never fell out of Jackson's favor, and he didn't. He made a plan and he stuck with it and years later, he was president. He was probably cooking up a scheme on a 2nd Round win since the moment he was crowned as the victor over Nixon's Head.

Tony: Oh, what, like something else took down Communism? The Pope, maybe? Or the simple weight of a doomed economic model crushing the apparatus that gave that model power? Please. If you want to blow up Communism, look no farther than Reagan, baby!

As for this age question, look, if the voters say its not a problem, then its not a problem. And by having Reagan triumph over Hayes, I'm fairly certain they said it's not a problem. Anyway, Van Buren is/was the same age(s) as Hayes during their respective presidencies, so the age factor is, again, moot. Meanwhile, let's talk reach. Van Buren stood at a puny 5' 6". Reagan, on the other hand, wades in at 6' 1". That's a considerable advantage for the Gipper.

And as for scheming-- you know who else was a fan of scheming? Why none other than Ronald Reagan! He spent a long time scheming his way towards the presidency, after all, even scheming against members of his own party! Dude knows how to put a plan together. You add it all up, and Van Buren has zero advantages in this fight.

Doug: Right. Communism is dead and it's all Reagan's doing. All he had to do was tell Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Today, you can't find Communism anywhere. Except for 90 miles south of Key West. And the most populated country in the world, to whom we owe over $1 trillion. And a bunch of other places. Oh and Vladimir Putin has started talking about forming a Eurasian Union, which I'm sure won't be a Soviet Union II or anything.

Reagan's got reach, but The Little Magician is spry. Luke Skywalker was at a severe height disadvantage in the rancor pit in Return of the Jedi.
Props to Van Buren if he tries to prop Reagan's jaw open with a bone.

Now imagine the rancor is smaller and much, much older. And yes, we should look at the age issue. Let me remind you that a slight majority thought age wasn't enough of an issue. Who knows what the story is this time around?

Tony: Oh, right. China's so very Communist. Which explains why American companies are flocking there in droves. As for the Eurasian Union… okay, that's trouble. But is it Communist trouble, or good old-fashioned dictatorship trouble? I'd attempt to answer this question, but I don't hold any graduate degrees, so never mind.

Now, first of all, I think we can all agree it's a bit ridiculous for you to compare Martin Van Buren to Luke Skywalker. But, okay, let's look at the rancor pit situation. You know who was also at a severe height disadvantage there? The dancer who was plunged in there prior to Luke. How did that work out? Obviously, Luke had the Force in his back pocket, which is good, because otherwise, he would have been toast. Now, let's apply this logic to the Van Buren/Reagan fight. Can Van Buren manipulate the Force? No. Also, is his opponent as lumbering and stupid as the rancor? I'm thinking not. So, yes, I think Reagan's physical advantages are going to remain important, thank you very much.

Doug: I think comparing Van Buren to Luke Skywalker is no more ridiculous than claiming that Reagan ended Communism.

The difference between Van Buren and the green slave dancer is that the green slave dancer is prone to panicking. Well, that's one difference, another difference is that the Van Buren presidency wasn't marked with any nip slips.

Tony: ...that we know of.

Doug: If Van Buren had fallen into that pit, he would have plotted his way out of that place. Maybe Van Buren doesn't have the Force, like Skywalker does, but he certainly has something. He's the kind of person Andrew Jackson cleans off his boots with a stick, but he freakin' made him his running mate and gave him his personal seal of approval for in the 1836 election. It's not lifting an X-wing out of a Dagobah swamp, but that's pretty freakin' impressive.

Reagan's power comes in the form of ignoring AIDS and causing our debt to skyrocket. Plus, he got his ass beat by a decrepit Konstantin Chernenko in a Frankie Goes to Hollywood music video. Do you think the founder of the Van Buren Boys, the meanest street gang in New York, is going to be beat by that guy?
George is getting upset.
And then he's getting beaten, Van Buren-style.

Tony: Really? Because one involves historical fact, whereas the other involves midichlorians. Midichlorians, Doug.

The only thing Van Buren has when he falls into the rancor pit is a life span of approximately 90 seconds. 

And I'll have you know that this is at least the second time you've tried to bolster an argument by citing Frankie goes to Hollywood. Which means I'm going to have to suggest that you… relax.

Doug: Reagan had as much to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union as midichlorians did.
"Hold still. I need to test your ability to topple governments."

What happened was that the Soviet Union finally got a progressive thinker who took a look around and said, "Holy shit, this system is messed up. Also, we should start giving our people more freedom." And once the people got more freedom, they spoke up and said, "Holy shit, this system is messed up," and eventually, the government toppled. Reagan just happened to be in the right place at the right time to get the credit. That's called luck.
In all fairness, it's easier to just know Gorbachev as "that guy with the thing on his head"
and handing all the credit to Reagan than it is to actually read up on what actually happened.
Van Buren doesn't need a high midichlorian count to break Reagan's luck streak. Reagan's going to exhaust all of his resources developing a way to defend himself against Van Buren despite the fact that he knows it will never work. You know, kind of like the Star Wars missile defense program.

The Chief: Why don't we throw this to the voters before this gets any more ridiculous? Readers: you know what to do. Vote, comment, and we'll see what's what on Friday.

Reagan vs. Van Buren

Friday, October 7, 2011

American Cincinnatus Cleaves Cleveland

The five-star general gave Grover Cleveland a five-star beatdown.
Actually, he did slightly better against Cleveland than he did against Mike Brady, which means he's just warming up.

Washington vs. Cleveland

George Washington 15 (93.75%)
Grover Cleveland (24)        1 (6.25%)

So, maybe Cleveland isn't that great of a fighter when he isn't against himself. We can't really say that surprises anyone in the HttCttD offices.

The HttCttD fact checkers couldn't find an instance of George Washington being in a duel. In fact, he appeared to discourage the practice. However, who are we to quash the imaginations of our readers fed by something they may or may not have learned in school several years ago?

George Washington moves on to the Round of 16 and is scheduled to make his next Arena appearance Jan. 9. Next week, Ronald Reagan takes on Martin Van Buren. See you then!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WSH vs. CLE — Clash of the Half-Pints

We feel that we at Hail to the Chief... to the Death are doing the public a service, and that this is especially apparent with this week's fight.

This week, we are bringing you a meeting between Washington and Cleveland. When, in professional sports, has their been a Washington-Cleveland matchup with such high stakes? Never! Well, not quite never, but we'll get to that.

The professional sports teams of Cleveland haven't had too much success in their respective leagues' post-seasons. The word "curse" gets dropped pretty regularly when referring Cleveland teams. Of course, Cleveland is an easy target to begin with.

Washington's teams have done better, enough that people aren't quite ready to attribute any misfortune to superstition.

Given these cities' somewhat infrequent trips to the post-season, it's very unlikely either of these cities would meet each other. So again, we'd like to point out that we're doing you a service. And since we're service-minded, we'll break this down by sport.

The Washington Redskins have made five Super Bowl appearances and have won three, which is actually quite impressive and is probably why no one says Washington is cursed.
And they've gotten off to a 3-1 start this season. So, let's see what they do with that.

The Cleveland Browns, on the other hand, have never made a trip to the Super Bowl, which makes meeting someone in the Super Bowl extremely difficult.

The Cleveland Indians haven't won a World Series since 1948.

That sounds bad until you realize that Washington hasn't won a World Series since 1924. Of course, that comes with some caveats. Washington's current team, the Nationals, moved to D.C. from Montreal in 2005. Prior to that, the Washington Senators were in town from 1961-1971 before vamoosing to Texas. And prior to that, the original Washington Senators played American League baseball from 1901-1960. It was this original Senators franchise that won the city's only World Series title in 1924. Also, apparently they were sometimes known as the Nationals, funnily enough.
Either that, or we're being punk'd by the Internet
However, the Senators, the second Senators, and the Indians were all in the same league, and never faced one another in the playoffs. In fact, it was only possible for them to do so from 1969-71, the brief window between the installation of the American League Championship Series, and the Senators' move to Texas. Nowadays, the only way for the two clubs to meet would be in the World Series, as the Nationals are a National League club. Will either team contend soon? Well, the Nationals finished in third-place in their division this year, and the Indians... well, the Indians finished second in their division, but they lost more games than they won.

But, we digress. It boils down to this: three teams, two names and only one title. And they never met Cleveland in the post-season, nor were they ever in contention for the American League pennant.

Moving on...

Cleveland doesn't currently have a professional hockey team, but they did have the Cleveland Barons for two seasons, staring in 1976.
In 1978, the Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars. The North Stars later moved to Texas to become the Dallas Stars. So, the Barons kind of got to do what both of baseball's Washington Senators got to do — move to Minnesota and Texas.

Needless to say, the Barons didn't make it to the playoffs. At this same time, the Washington Capitals were still a few years from their first playoffs appearance at that point.

First off, the now-defunct Cleveland Rockers never faced the Washington Mystics in the WNBA playoffs.
They, apparently, didn't rock very well.

Okay, actually Cleveland and Washington have met in the NBA playoffs five times. Twice in the '70s, when Washington's team was known as the Bullets (in the '90s, they decided maybe they shouldn't call attention to Washington's crime rate, so they changed their name to the Wizards).
The Wizards then became synonymous with this, which isn't nearly as cool as you might think.
The Wizards met up with the Cleveland Cavaliers three consecutive seasons in the mid-'00s, and lost each time in the First Round. Of course, is that really impressive? After all, the NBA playoffs involve more than half of the league's teams. In fact, the Wizards had a .500 record in 2007 and still made the playoffs.

You might be saying, "But that was a Round of 16, George and Grover are fighting in a Round of 32. How are the stakes higher for you guys?"

Because ours involves presidents and not overpaid athletes. Also, why do you hate America?

We suppose the most important Cavaliers-Bullets matchup would be the first time they met in the playoffs in 1976. The winner of that series (the Cavs) went on to the Conference Finals, where they were promptly felled by the Boston Celtics (who wound up winning the championship).

Okay, Washington and Cleveland's NBA teams had an important matchup in 1976. All 1976 does is remind us about the American Bicentennial, and what's more important (to Americans, anyway) than America? By transitive property, American presidents are also more important.

So, we stand by our claim that this week's Washington-Cleveland matchup is more important than any in history. Be sure to vote in this historic meeting.

Oh, hey. Something else Washington and Cleveland sports teams have in common: racially insensitive mascots.
Still not as bad as the Atlanta Braves' Chief Noc-A-Homa, but there wasn't a president named Atlanta,
so there's no need to get into that.