Monday, January 31, 2011

Dale vs. Harding

James Dale
Fictional President of the United States played by Jack Nicholson
Served: In the film Mars Attacks! (1996)
Age during term: Nicholson was 59 at the movie's release

PROS: No fear — When face-to-face with a laser gun-toting alien in his bedroom, Dale springs into action. He jumped over his bed and tackled the alien to the ground. This was a short scuffle because the alien overpowered him and pointed the gun to his head. Had there been no gun, I imagine Dale would have kept fighting.

To what degree of effectiveness would he have kept fighting? We'll never know. Point is, Dale saw the opportunity and he took it. That would serve him well in a fight.

Unflappability — Even after the aliens vaporized both houses of Congress, Dale is as cool as a cucumber and uses the opportunity to paraphrase Meatloaf. He says "I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them and that ain't bad."

He won't let anger blur his judgment in the ring, which would serve him well. Speaking of judgment...

CONS: Complete lack of judgment — What we see of Dale's presidency is a veritable parade of poor decision making. When thousands of alien warships surround the planet, the only person in the room he doesn't listen to is the general who calls for building up the defenses and taking it down to Defcon 4.

Instead, he heeds the advice of his idiot press secretary, the a professor who is clearly talking out of his ass and a seemingly peacenik lieutenant general.

At ease, Gen. Facepalm

If he can't make the right decision during an alien invasion, what chance does he have in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™?

Too trusting — Aliens land and vaporize everyone they can. They apologize and say they want to address Congress. They vaporize Congress. An alien sneaks its way into the White House and tries to kill the president and first lady while they were sleeping. Aliens invade the White House a little later and successfully kill the first lady, followed by his top general.

Even after all that, he still wants to work things out. I feel like this wouldn't make for a very good fighter. It kind of makes you glad that the alien kills him after Dale's speech about getting along.

Warren G. Harding
29th President of the United States
Served: 1921-1923
Age during term: 55-57

PROS: Self-reliance — Harding got his start when he and a few friends scraped together a cool $300 to buy a local paper, the Marion Daily Star. A few years later, Harding became full-owner, and in less than a decade, held the most popular newspaper in Marion county. Did we mention he was in his early twenties at that time? Yeah, kid was good. Oh, and when he sold that newspaper in 1923? It went for $550,000. That's a return on investment.

Temper — if you're going to be competing in a no-holds barred fight to the death, you're gonna want a little anger in your blood. And boy, Harding had it. Before Harding ever got into politics, rumors had been floating around that somewhere a few generations back in his family tree, he had an African-American ancestor. Since this was a time when America was even more racially dumb-assed than it is now, that meant that one single drop of African-American blood would have made Harding... African-American.
It was basically the late-19th century equivalent of "since
you have a funny last name, we're going to
accuse you of being a Kenyan Muslim," only a
thousand times worse and with even less proof.

When Harding's Daily Star was warring with the other Marion county papers, the rumermongering over his heritage got so bad that Harding and his father both engaged the competing Marion Independent in quite the spirited debate. Only by "spirited debate" we mean "they demanded a retraction. At shotgun-point." What we're saying is, Harding had a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

CONS: Extremely poor health/judgement — While the aforementioned newspaper squabbles were angering up Harding's blood, they were also seriously fraying his nerves. Things got so bad for the future president that, at the age of 24, he checked himself into a sanitarium for "nervous fatigue." He made five return visits over the next fourteen years. So, really, he was never a well man. Just the qualities you want in United States President!

By the time of his presidency, Harding's physical health was starting to go, and by 1923, Harding was clearly ill, though medical science at the time could not quite figure out the cause. Hint: he complained of pains spreading from his chest and shooting down his arm. What would be the most logical course of action? Why, to embark on a cross-country trip to reconnect with the electorate! While this plan had the benefit of getting him out of Washington in the summer, it still meant traveling slowly across a continent by train. Before air conditioning had been invented. So, while on the plus side, Harding was able to become the first president to visit Alaska (and by extension, we assume, the first to see Russia), the trip took so much of a toll on him that he died in California during the return leg of the journey.

Corruption — Harding managed to have one of the most scandal-plagued administrations in U.S. history... and given that he only served 2.5 years, that's saying something. Of course, said scandals should not have been too surprising, as much of Harding's career was built around the quid pro quo of the Ohio State Republican machine. This led to Harding delegating many positions to his "friends" from back home, which led to the inevitable series of scandals. And what does this have to do with fighting? Well, if your entire career is based on boss systems and patronage, and you suddenly find yourself dumped into the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ without any of that support to fall back on, you might run into problems.

The Fight

Doug: Thank goodness. After last week's slaughter, this week we have ourselves quite a fight. Unfortunately, we know very little about James Dale other than his final days in office. And maybe that wouldn't be the best way of judging his character. It was kind of a stressful time, what, with the full-scale alien invasion and all.

Tony: But does the brief window we get into Dale's soul tell us more than you're imagining? After all, we get to see how he handles a crisis (that is, not well), and I can think of fewer crises more daunting (at least on a personal level) than being dumped into an unarmed fight to the death against a single opponent.

Doug: All that being said, despite the sudden turn his presidency takes, Dale seems to remain calm for the most part, which is a pretty good sign that he rarely lost his temper prior to this. Granted, this led to him being so calm and cool that he didn't realize he was in danger, which eventually led to his death.

On the other hand, Harding spent his life so full of fury that he turned his heart into a ticking time-bomb. So there's a chance that Harding's heart could turn on him before he has a chance to really do any damage to Dale.

Also, Dale seems to be too trusting. All Harding would have to do is call for a truce and use the handshake as an opportunity to get in a really good sucker punch. However, I can't see Harding doing that. He comes at you and you know it. I don't think Harding is even capable of making a blatantly insincere attempt at pretending to offer an olive branch. Dale wouldn't fall for Harding's tricks because Harding doesn't have any tricks.

Tony: So, interesting thing about Harding: sure, he had his temper-tantrum moments, but in his political life, he was known to be extraordinarily affable. This is how he wound up a presidential candidate in 1920; he was so nice that he made a good compromise candidate for the Republican party. So would he really be walking around as a ticking rage bomb?

Tricks? Need I remind you that Harding was a product of turn-of-the-century political machining? You know, with boss systems, nepotism, and the like? Harding had ALL the tricks, my friend. All of them.

Dale might have a somewhat badass pedigree, but Harding's got the upper hand.

Doug: I should clarify when I say "tricks." Clearly, Harding had tricks. The slippery bastard was full of them and everyone knew that. That's why people liked him. It was either be nice to him and end up with a cushy job or get a shotgun pointed to your face. The choice was clear and there seemed to be no betrayal of trust or back-stabbing here. Well, maybe not right away. That's what I meant about "tricks," he seems to be very up front about his ... Hardingness.

My point was, Dale's in the arena against Harding, he knows why they're there. He won't try to reach an agreement. Kind of like when he was faced with an alien in a pretty dress standing at the foot of his bed shooting at him and his wife. In that situation, Dale went into attack mode, and that's the Dale we'd see in the arena. And the Harding we will see in the arena will most likely have the blood type of B+, as in positively boiling. (I know people's blood types don't change. I was making a stupid little joke)

Tony: I dunno about this "up front about his Hardingness" business, and that's without consulting a dictionary about the use of the word "Hardingness." It seems to me you're trying to say he was all about being tricksy, but really he wasn't. Well, which one? Which, I say?

Dale's ability to quickly take the offensive — at least in a personal combat sense — is going to be a plus for him, I acknowledge. But where are the tactics? As you yourself point out, Dale was not able to overcome the deployment of higher ordinance against him. Wouldn't that be the first thing you'd want to resolve? Weak tactics.

And as for positively boiling, well... I'm just kind of sad for you, now.

Doug: I thought I clarified this. Yes, he used tricks. That's all he had. However, he seemed pretty upfront with what he was up to, so he wouldn't necessarily catch Dale off-guard. That was the point I was trying to make there.

All things being equal, I think a lot of presidents in this pool wouldn't survive a full-on alien invasion (we'll get into James Whitmore in a few weeks), but I'm pretty sure that Dale could survive a circa 1923 train journey to Alaska and back. Granted, that's a lot of speculation, but lots of people survived train rides back then. That was the appeal of trains, lower body count than the Oregon Trail. Harding, however, couldn't survive a cross-country trip. How well would his body respond to the arena?

And I think you're just upset that you didn't come up with the positively boiling thing yourself.

Tony: Fair point about Dale's health. He was almost definitely made of sturdier stuff than Harding. Despite that, I can think of two points in Harding's favor — one, his health did not seriously decline until a good two years into his presidency. If we take him into the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ at the start of his term, he will probably do much better. Two, his health declined over a rather long period of time. I don't see his match vs. Dale being more than a half-hour affair, if that. I think he could hold it together over the short term, and emerge victorious.

I would disparage your blood joke some more, but I wouldn't want to B-.

Doug: Harding's health didn't decline until two years into his presidency? Well, no, it didn't. When you check yourself into a sanitarium for "nervous fatigue" SIX TIMES before the age of 40, you already have a few toes in the grave at the very least. The only place to go from there is something that Miracle Max would define as "mostly dead."

Tony: I dunno, I mean, if Harding's opponents couldn't beat him, those tactics must've been pretty shrewd. Even if Dale knows what's coming, can he stop it?

THE CHIEF descends from on high

Tony & Doug: The Chief!

The Chief: Ugh, your bickering is harder to take than usual. I think you two are arguing the same point. The real question here is what will give way first, Dale's inability to fight or Harding's health? That's pretty much the heart of the debate and you're not going to take this debate any further. Just throw it to the readers to vote.

Oh, and you really shouldn't write defamatory statements about someone's blood type. That just seems like a bad idea. From a legal standpoint, that could be considered — well, I almost said "blood libel," but clearly, no one in their right minds should ever use that term in the 21st century. Just be careful in the future.

Polls will be open until Friday 9 a.m. Mountain Time. Winner will be announced noon.

Dale vs. Harding

NOTE: We apologize for color scheme Blogger has chosen for the little Poll Gadget directly above. If you're having trouble reading it, click and drag over the names and they should become easier to read.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Charles Dickinson's Ending

Charles Dickinson was an attorney who killed over 300 people in duels. His long career was ended with a duel against Andrew Jackson in 1806.

Over 300 pounds of William H. Taft would later learn the same defeat in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™.

Andrew Jackson vs. William H. Taft

Andrew Jackson
33 (86.8%)
William H. Taft
5 (13.2%)

The gap was as wide as Taft himself.

So, this resounding win spilled over into all three of the comments left in the post. We would have to credit mala for bringing us the best one.

I actually misread it as "badasses" too, which gives a lot of weight to this argument.

As for the other comments; of course we're going to make Jackson fight in the early rounds. It makes for good Cinderella stories. They make Kansas play in early rounds of the NCAA tournament and look what happened last year. They lost in the 2nd Round.

A dream is a wish your heart makes, people.

Has this orphan turned-princess taught you NOTHING?!

Judging from what a reader told me, I'm guessing that Taft got some votes because people just couldn't say no to the big teddy bear. Or they couldn't bring themselves to vote for the guy responsible for the Trail of Tears.

Jackson's 2nd Round fight is scheduled to take place Sept. 5.
The next fight up is James Dale of Mars Attacks! vs. Warren G. Harding.

See you Monday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Get Tafted!

Last Christmas, one of the best gifts I got was a shirt that had William H. Taft's face on it and reads "I've been Tafted!" It's a bit of an inside joke. A few months ago, my friends came up with the idea of substituting profanities the word "Taft." (ex: "Get the Taft out of here.")

On a whim, a friend looked up "Tafted" in Urban Dictionary — a seemingly unmoderated site where contributors define slang terms. She found that not only was it in there, it's a somewhat intelligent definition, too, which is odd for that site.

I am in full support of this definition.


He served as the head of the executive and judicial branches, but never served in the legislative branch. Robert Taft was senator for 14 years, but Robert's dad, William, was never in Congress or even in any state legislature.

It's a shame, really. Because had he served in all three branches in government, his name would be the perfect for getting screwed over in three different ways.

And really, by Urban Dictionary standards, this is a pretty intelligent entry. For starters, it references a former president — one who 1) hasn't served in the past 30 years and thereby isn't in the collective consciousness of your average Urban Dictionary contributor and 2) isn't Washington or Lincoln.

So what if it's not accurate? This person tried to write a good entry named after a lesser-known president.

I'm going to try my hand at this:

Taylorv. to exhume someone's remains long after they died because someone has a theory that there was foul play in that person's death, only to find out that that theory is most likely wrong. Named after the 1991 exhumation of Zachary Taylor.

In Jesus Is Magic, Sarah Silverman jokes about Tayloring her nana.

Arthursn. — a set of sweet muttonchops. Named after Chester A. Arthur's interesting facial hair.

I really dig the Arthurs you have growing in, but you're an ironic T-shirt and a fixed-gear bike away from me really hating you.

Pierce Promisen. — a proclamation to get drunk. Named after Franklin Pierce's reported quip after leaving office in 1857: "There's nothing left to do but get drunk."

I realize it's only 11 a.m., but I'm having a rough day, so I'm putting in my Pierce Promise.

McKinley Journeyadj. — a trip or vacation, usually to Buffalo, N.Y., that ends horribly.

How was your time off?
Oh, it was terrible. They lost our luggage and we missed our connecting flight. It was an utter McKinley Journey.

Interestingly enough, while searching for real Urban Dictionary entries that involve presidents, I came across the term "Fillmore Fudgepop." The definition itself is upsettingly disgusting and involves freezing feces to be later be used as a sexual aide. However, I mention it here because the contributor threw in "Named after the thirteenth president, Millard Fillmore, member of the whig party," into the definition.

There's no explanation as to why that would be named after Fillmore, but I mention it here because the guy — I can only assume it was a male — made sure to include it in the definition.

As far as I know, Millard Fillmore never engaged in this behavior. It's possible I was out sick that day Fillmore was covered in my Sexual Kinks of the American Presidency class.

The poll for the Jackson vs. Taft fight is still open and will be until Friday morning. If you haven't already, go to the previous post and vote.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jackson vs. Taft

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

PROS: Toughness — Jackson earned the nickname "Old Hickory" (or "Ol' Hickory," depending on your personal level of ole timey-ness) during a long military career that spanned from the American Revolution, to the War of 1812, to various anti-Native American campaigns which are slightly less-popular in the textbooks these days. He carried this toughness into his political career, where he endured highly personal attacks during his run for the presidency, and battled dissent within his own Cabinet once in office. Add to that, Jackson was the first president to come under physical attack while in office, and the first to have an assassination attempt against him. Speaking of...

Providence — Jackson somehow managed to survive a frontier childhood filled with disease, war, and an interrment in a POW camp. Add to that the fact that he survived his ensuing military career intact. Then add to that what happened on January 30, 1835, when Jackson crossed paths with Richard Lawrence. Their meeting was somewhat strained, given that when Lawrence spotted Jackson, he drew a pistol and fired at the president. That pistol jammed. Lawrence, thinking ahead for someone who would later spend the rest of his days in a sanitarium, pulled a second pistol and fired. That pistol also jammed. Legend has it that Jackson proceeded to beat the crap out of Lawrence with his cane. We should choose to believe this legend, lest Old Hickory come after us from the grave. Anyway, after the incident, multiple tests were performed on the pistols to see why they failed; however, they never failed again. So what we're trying to say is, Jackson was one lucky son of a bitch.

CONS: Age? We're kind of reaching here. If we say that Jackson's presidential fitness peak occurred early in his term, he would be 62 years old for this bout, a full decade older than his adversary. Sure, he was more experienced at ass-kicking, but he was also more experienced at becoming old and frail.

Also, I guess we could point out that combatants in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ are not allowed weapons, so that cane of Jackson's won't be making an appearance. So, there's that.

William H. Taft
27th President of the United States
Served: 1909-1913
Ages during term: 51-55

PROS: His weight — Taft was the heaviest president to serve. He stood at 6'2" and weighed over 300 pounds. If we don't point out the fact that the White House needed to be fitted with a special bathtub to accommodate him, someone would be sure to do so in the comments section. Point being, he could use his weight as an asset; whether it's packing a mighty punch or just crushing a foe.

Job Diversity — Taft is the only president to later become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Before his presidency, he served as the Provisional Governor of Cuba, Civil Governor of the Philippines and Solicitor General among other things. If there were a post that required kicking butt, he'd probably try it for a bit, just to get his beak wet.

CONS: His weight — While his weight could probably give him some needed power, it would probably make him much slower. It also gave him a bevy of health concerns.

If we were to base all we know about hand-to-hand combat on Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, we would be able to compare Taft to King Hippo.

The guy was from the South Pacific, yet inexplicably white. (That has nothing to do with Taft, it's just worth noting.) He had 18 wins and they were all by KO. However, once you got him down, he stayed down. If you knew his weakness, you could beat him in about a minute.

The Election of 1912 — He became the only sitting president to come in third in a re-election bid. Pretty embarrassing to finish behind a third-party candidate, even if that candidate is Theodore Roosevelt. Luckily for him, coming in third will be an impossibility here.

Also, I guess we could point out that combatants in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™ are not allowed armor, so that White House bath tub of Taft's won't be making an appearance. So, there's that.

The Fight

Doug: I'd have to say a surprising number of people I've spoken to think that Taft can beat Jackson and that it's just a matter of Taft crushing Jackson under his massive body. If Taft is going to win this one, that's going to be his key to the second round.

Tony: Yeah, I don't know. Jackson was an ornery old bastard. You've got to figure there's no way someone with any sense of military tactics falls for the ol' "Stand here and wait for me to fall on top of you" trick. That said, I can see Taft's girth being a big advantage. How are you going to land any decisive blows through all that?

Doug: I want to say there was a movie or a TV show where a fat guy get punched, but the attacker's fist got stuck in the guy's gut. I don't know if this is ringing a bell with you.

Tony: Yeah, I imagine that's been done several times. Seems like it could be a good Looney Tunes bit?

Doug: While I question how likely something like this would happen in reality, it's pretty funny to imagine Taft getting a good few head shots in while Jackson tries to free his fist from between Taft's rolls of fat.

Tony: I tried searching for "gut punch fist stuck" on YouTube and got a bunch of people punching themselves in the stomach, which is... interesting but not useful.

Doug: Anyway, I also imagine this would only anger Jackson further, and history does not look to kindly on people who have pissed off Jackson.

Tony: You make a good point. The guy spent his entire life being pissed of at the British. While he was a prisoner of the British during the Revolutionary War (he was, mind you, a child at this point), an officer tried to make Jackson shine his boots. Jackson refused, and the officer slapped the future president around a bit, leaving scars that would last him his entire life. And as if that wasn't enough, his brother died in that same prison camp. And, oh yes, his mother died of cholera after trying to nurse other prisoners of war. So, yeah, it's safe to say that when Jackson finally got to face the British at the Battle of New Orleans, it was personal. And whaddaya know, Jackson delivered an Agincourt-level beatdown on the Crown.

Doug: Nice wall of text, there.

Tony: Point is, I don't think Taft could compete with Jackson if President $20 ever worked up a full head of steam.

Doug: On the other side of the temper coin is Taft, who seemed to be a pretty affable guy who reportedly had an infectious laugh. What could possibly boil Taft's blood? The guy was a huge baseball fan and called it a "clean, straight game." Those aren't the words of someone looking for a fight. Not like Duely McDuel-So-Much, aka Andrew Jackson, who would challenge you to a duel just for saying his wife's name in a less-than-glowing tone.

Tony: I don't know that Jackson got into too many duels, though. I mean, things were wild out there in the rough and tumble Tennessee frontier-- that's how he got a bigamist wife. But full on duels? Actually I don't think it matters. Even if he wasn't big on duels, I'm sure he could beat Taft like a kettle drum.

THE CHIEF descends from on high.

Tony & Doug: The Chief!

The Chief: Hello, boys! Just wanted to let you know that, according to our more advanced research, Jackson may have been in as many as thirteen duels in his life, and was said to sound like a bag of marbles due to all the bullets lodged in him.

Tony: Oh. Balls.

The Chief: Just wanted to clear that up before this post goes live! We wouldn't want a serious error like that making it through, would we?

Tony: No.

Doug: That would be awful.

The Chief: Too right! Well, back to headquarters I go!

THE CHIEF ascends.

Doug: Well, then. All I know is, duels had fallen out of fashion by the time Taft was around. Even then, Taft wasn't one to get furious over things. Even his political rivalry with one-time mentor Theodore Roosevelt was pretty non-Jacksonian.

That being said, I offer this thought-provoking video:

Tony: That video actually helps me prove it, because even though the guy taking the punch was somewhat portly, the punch still knocked him back a bit. I figure Jackson works the body for a while, then starts taking head shots.

Doug: Sounds like it's time we let our readers decide!

Polls will be open until Friday 9 a.m. Mountain Time. Winner will be announced noon.

Jackson vs. Taft

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Bracket

Our look at the brackets rolls on with the Roosevelt Bracket! Ol' Teddy has 15 stalwart challengers lined up to face him, so without further ado, let's see what he's up against!

Oh man, so much exciting stuff here. Roosevelt's Bracket has a fictional:non-fictional ratio of 5:11. Though outnumbered, the fictional presidents are a varied and colorful bunch, perhaps none more so than the one, the only, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho. He may not know how to irrigate crops, but he does know how to deliver a good kick to the balls. Could be a crucial skill.

Looking down the bracket, we'd be remiss to point out the not-at-all-yet-totally-intentional double Harrison/Bush pairings. Yes, if the fates allow, the second round will see a Bush/Bush or Harrison/Harrison showdown, which would be fantastic. While that's not to say that a third Harrison/Bush matchup wouldn't be exciting, though it would be sort of a Yankees/Marlins-in-2003-style letdown.

Another intriguing first-round matchup? Dave Kovic vs. JFK! Kovic's case is an interesting one, as he was only ever given the keys to the presidency because he looked like the current, sadly-comatose President William Harrison (!) Mitchell. His verve and enthusiasm will be well-matched against one of the youngest presidents in American history (JFK). And do you know who was the youngest president of America? Why, Teddy Roosevelt, of course!

The Roosevelt Bracket is scheduled to kick off July 11. Yeah, it would have been neater if it could have started a week earlier, July 4. That's the way the calendar falls.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Get Off My Bracket!

Moving on to what is arguably the roughest, toughest bracket of them all... the Marshall Bracket!

Between these 16, they share five assassination attempts (two successful), one terrorist plot, one impeachment AND one light saber duel between them. Assassination aside, I'm not even counting everything else David Palmer of 24 goes through. That guy's term was NUTS! Three of these guys succeeded presidents who died while in office, so their proximity to death kind of gives them some street cred by association.

Back to Palmer; early on in Marshall Bracket action, he faces other assassinated president, William McKinley. Don't think too hard about the logistics of two assassinated presidents, one of which is fictional, engaging in a fist fight. Just know that it will be quite the showdown.

Jumping down to the bottom of the bracket are two successors to assassinated presidents. Johnson may have been able to eventually win an election, but that won't necessarily help him against Chester A. Arthur and his Muttonchops of Doom.

Other contenders to look out for:
Tug Benson, The Admirable Admiral who is president in Hot Shots! Part Deux. He's old, he's clueless, but his Mr. Magoo-like indestructibility may serve him well in this pool.

Barack Obama, our current president.
Again, we here at "Hail to the Chief... to the Death" intend that this blog be for 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.
That being said, the man's in good shape and could probably stick around for a while.

Josiah Bartlet had a pretty eventful presidency — though nowhere near Palmer's — all the more to make him more fierce against his first opponent, His Accidency, John Tyler.

But, I'd have to say the HttC...ttD Staff is keeping an eye on whether or not father-son duo of John Adams and John Quincy Adams could dispose of their foes in the first round in order to face each other in the second.

Marshall Bracket action kicks off on May 16. Birth date of Vice President Levi P. Morton, who served under President Benjamin Harrison, who is not in this bracket, so I don't know why we're bringing it up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Father of His Bracket

Friends, Romans, countrymen, et al. The HttCttD Staff is proud to introduce... the Washington Bracket!

This bracket's participants can boast the longest time span of service. It ranges from George Washington, who was sworn in in 1789, to Nixon's Head, who will take office in the early 31st century. While we're on the subject of Nixon's Head, it should be noted that he is the only entrant that has no affiliation with the title President of the United States. His title is actually the President of Earth. He's also the wild card of the bracket, since he's pretty much a head in a jar. Who knows if and how he will make that work for him?

Another point of interest:

Grover Cleveland vs. Non-Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland2 (12.5%)
Non-Grover Cleveland14 (87.5%)

We'd be lying if we said we weren't looking forward to the first round matchup of Grover Cleveland (22) vs. Grover Cleveland (24). That fight is going to be a massive throwdown for the ages and in the end, only one Grover Cleveland will be left standing. That Grover Cleveland has the misfortune of likely meeting George Washington — fresh off his fight with mild-mannered architect, Mike Brady — in the second round. Washington is expected to kick as much butt in this pool as he did in history.

How will the guy that ended Reconstruction hold up against the guy who called for the destruction of the Berlin Wall? Silent Cal can keep it cool, but can he hit a woman? Will Polk defeat Truman, or will that be just another erroneous headline from the Chicago Daily Tribune?

Will Nixon be able to dominate long enough to eventually face his own head? Not if Deep Impact's Tom Beck and Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan has anything to say about it and I can't imagine they would go down without a fight.

Beloved readers, if you can get past the fierce winter, then you will be rewarded with the Washington Bracket — scheduled to kick off during the equinox on March 21.

The Washington Bracket: this time, it's Vernal!

You Must Pay the Price if You Wish to Secure the Bracket

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, presidential combat enthusiasts of all shapes, sizes, and creeds, I give you... the Jackson Bracket!

Lots of interesting stuff in here. Let's break it down:

Fictional vs. Non-Fictional

Fictional5 (31.25%)
Non-Fictional10 (62.5%)
David Rice Atchison1 (6.25%)

As we can see, the fictional presidents, strictly on numerical terms, might have a hard time coming out of the bracket. And that's without David Rice Atchison giving the non-fictional presidents an even bigger edge; we can all agree that DRA is in a class all his own.

Now, what about presidential eras? Well, of those non-fictional presidents in the bracket, the breakdown is:

Non-Fictional Era Breakdown

19th Century5 (50%)
20th Century5 (50%)

Well, at least the math was easy this time around.

As for individual battles, I've gotta say, the most tantalizing might be the Clinton vs. Carter matchup, or as one might put it: the Battle of the Late 20th Century Southern Democrats. The Internet Boom vs. The National Malaise! Terhan vs. Waco! Impeachment vs. Swamp Rabbit! Yes, my friends, this is the sort of matchup we're salivating over here at the HttCttD offices.

But that's not all! This bracket features a few intriguing wild cards! There's the aforementioned Atchinson, whose story I'm sure everyone is already familiar with. For you non-history geeks and nerds out there, Atchinson is a constitutional anomaly who took the oath in lieu of Zachary Taylor whose inauguration fell on a Sunday and didn't want his inauguration interfere with his day of worship. Though he never considered himself president for a day, we here in the HttCttD Staff think it's good enough to make the pool.

There's also Billy Bob Thorton's oily president from Love Actually. Could he, even without a name, take out a Founding Father? And how will Kang, the only non-human entrant in the entire field, fare?

Looking ahead, an intriguing Sweet 16 matchup looms in Jackson vs. Eisenhower... provided, of course, that Old Hickory and Ike both make it that far. And Independence Day's Thomas Whitmore lurks towards the bottom of the bracket, looking to Eagle-One, Fox-Two his opponents into submission. Don't sleep on a guy who survived a dogfight with aliens, is what I'm saying.

This, the Jackson Bracket, will be the first one tackled when Hail to the Chief... to the Death! kicks off this coming Monday. We hope you're all suitably prepared!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Welcome to Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH, the blog that pits presidents — past, present and fictional — against each other until one is left standing.

You've read the description, you've seen the bracket. Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty:
  • You, the readers, will choose the winners. The president with the most votes moves to the next round.
    • We'd develop a needlessly complex system of counting votes, in the spirit of the Electoral College, but we've got better things to do than to invent such ridiculousness. Plus, we'd find by not pandering for votes in swing states, it will cut the number of trips to Ohio we take.

  • Each Monday morning at 9 a.m. Mountain Time, a post will announce a fight and the poll will open. Voting will close that Friday at 9 a.m. and a winner will be announced at noon.
  • One vote per reader, please. If you get crafty and vote multiple times, then you're just sad. If you invent a computer program to stuff the ballot box, you're even sadder. Trolls will be considered the saddest. We ask everyone to consider the following.

  • This is coming from two guys who are spending their free time running a blog that imagines presidents having fake fights, which is admittedly moderately sad to begin with.

  • We encourage voters to give explanations as to why they're voting. Thought-provoking, outrageous, whatever led you to your decision. Best answers will be shared.

  • These hypothetical fights take place while the presidents were in office, not while they were at their physical peak.

  • These fights will be of a "two man enter, one man leave" nature, only we will go a bit beyond the Thunderdome. There will be no weapons, nor will any participant be wearing any armor. It will be more like Fight Club, only people are allowed to talk about it.
(n.b.- We here at "Hail to the Chief... to the Death" intend that this blog be for 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. If you yourself harbor violent thoughts against any president in our bracket, please calm down, breathe into a bag for a little while, then drive yourself to the nearest FBI office and turn yourself in, because... seriously.)
  • Last but not least, it being the 21st century and all, we have concocted various ways of following us using the social medium of your choice (provided that choice is either Twitter or Facebook). You can see our Twitter widget there to the right-- you can follow said Twitter to be updated every time we post! Or, you can Like our Facebook page, which pretty much gives you the same thing. Either way, enjoy!