Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Everybody Hates Mays

Poor Mays Gilliam. He just can't catch a break. First, there was all of that nonsense he had to go through in the beginning of the movie. He lost his girlfriend, his job and his car all in a few scenes. True, that luck turned around long enough for him to be elected president, but at what cost?

The movie about his presidency, Head of State, wasn't all that great (31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and his election into office meant that he would be drafted into the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena™, which hasn't gone so well either. We're not sure if he got a crappy draw or if our readers think he would make a crappy combatant.

In the 1st Round, he barely got by James Madison, beating the pint-sized president by only one vote. That only meant that he would go on to meet Teddy Roosevelt in the 2nd Round.

Just for reference, Roosevelt has yet to get a single vote cast against him, in this (as of Wednesday morning) or in his previous fight. So, I suppose we can just chalk this up to standard Mays Gilliam luck.

The saddest part is that his own TV dad (sort of) is around to see him lose.

As we've discussed before, Terry Crews played the president in Idiocracy. He also played the father in the '00s sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris. The show was supposedly a look back at Chris Rock's childhood growing up in Bed-Stuy in the early '80s.

Yes, we know that technically, there's a difference between Rock's character in the Head of State and the protagonist in Everybody Hates Chris. One grew up in D.C. and the other in Brooklyn. Also, they have different names. However, both are narrated by Rock in quite the same style. In fact, watching Head of State kind of feels like watching an exaggerated version of what would happen if Rock ran for president.

So for the sake of argument, let's just say they're basically the same person.

I guess this whole theory goes to crap when we try to argue that Julius, the father from Everybody Hates Chris, is the same guy as the 26th-century president in Idiocracy.

Whatever, we're sticking to it.

We understand it's the will of the electorate, but it must be hard for Chris Rock's TV-dad to see his son die.

Will you survive, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho? Will you? I suppose we can find out next month when he's set to fight in the 2nd Round.

In the meantime, feel free to pile on some more hate onto Mays Gilliam in this week's fight.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Roosevelt vs. Gilliam

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

Arena experience: T.R. pitched this tournament's first no-hitter when his first round opponent, Baxter Harris, failed to garner a single vote.

PROS: We'd remind you that Roosevelt once got shot before he was going to give a speech, and he stuck around to finish said speech. He pretty much traveled the world and the seven seas, only instead of looking for someone, he was looking for ass to kick. And oh yes, he kicked it.

CONS: For such an avid rouser of rabble, T.R. was shockingly unhealthy as a child, and his later vigor may have been something of a façade plastered over an unstable core. He was also a man who could put on a hell of a pout as in: "my first wife died, and it screwed me up so badly I never mentioned her again, ever." Damn, T.R. Damn.

Mays Gilliam
Portrayed in the movie Head of State by Chris Rock
Age: Rock was 42 when the movie was released

Arena Experience: Gilliam squeaked by against James Madison in the 1st Round, earning 53.3% of the vote.

PROS: Gilliam is a man of his word, fighting for the people and working hard doing so. Even when the chips are down -- and we'll get to that in a moment -- he still keeps his head down and gets things done, not resting until he's finished.

CONS: It's almost breath-taking how awful his luck is. You would think so much crap wouldn't hit one person in such a small amount of space, but life really rips the rug out from Gilliam. If even a fraction of this happens in the Arena, he's a goner.

The Fight
Doug: When we first met Mays Gilliam, life was kicking his ass. He not only overcame these obstacles, but he became President of the United States. True, people watching Head of State knew this was going to happen, because anyone seeing the movie knew going in that this was the movie where Chris Rock became president. But no one in Gilliam's universe saw this coming. No one! Gilliam has been known to surprise the public.

Is he expected to get past Theodore Roosevelt? Meh, probably not. Gilliam doesn't really let things like that stop him, though.

Tony: Here's how this is going to go. Roosevelt is going to enter the ring, and he is going to lament the fact that he does not have possession of his celebrated "Big Stick." Upon seeing Mays Gilliam, Roosevelt is going to think, "my, that fellow's leg would make for the perfect stick! Bully!"

Roosevelt is going to separate Gilliam's leg from his body, and he's going to temper his prize by beating it against Gilliam's twitching corpse. Then, he's going to speak softly until the third round, when the cycle of violence begins anew.

Doug: Yes, Roosevelt was the avid hunter and he likely had enough kills to keep a few taxidermists in business for quite some time, but that wasn't with his bare hands. While the picture you paint would make an amusing story, he doesn't really have a history of dismemberment -- animals or humans. I mean, do you really think he's capable of tearing a leg off of a living human without any tools? Doesn't that sound like a tad much?

I mean, Roosevelt can certainly waste his time trying. But while he's doing that, Gilliam's getting some pretty solid shots in.

Tony: Yes, Roosevelt has little experience taking a human being apart, but I'm guessing his time as a hunter has given him valuable experience in how one can field-dress something. Meanwhile, Gilliam is something of a spindly character, so I don't think the far more robust Roosevelt will have much trouble dismantling his opponent. And as for this "oh, Gilliam will get in a few shots business, well, I'm not buying it. Will any of his "shots" have the affect of an honest-to-goodness gunshot? Because we already know getting shot in the chest barely slows Roosevelt down. Gilliam's going to have all the impact of a mosquito, and probably won't even be half as annoying from an "itch" perspective.

Doug: While I can't counter the sheer badassery of Roosevelt getting shot and going on to make his speech, it should be noted that luck played a major part in that whole incident. It was complete luck that the bullet hit his steel eyeglass case AND a copy of the 50-page speech he was about to give before entering his body. Had the bullet not been slowed down, it would have been a different situation.

Tony: Hey, listen, the bullet clearly knew its place. And its place was to not kill Teddy Roosevelt.

Doug: Anyway, if we're going to base the outcome of this fight based on the astronomically improbable events of one day, then this is anybody's game.

So I guess we can say that Gilliam is going to give everything he's got for this fight; come what Mays

Tony: Oh, please. Even if he ROSE to the occasion, he'd still need a might powerful RUSE to get past Roosevelt.

The Chief: Yeesh. Yeah, I'm going to stop you two before this gets any worse. Ladies and gentlemen of the commentariat, voting is now open! Leave your Roosevelt vs. Gilliam comments below, and vote to send one of these two to the third round. Voting closes at 9am, Mountain time, on Friday. We'll be back here on Wednesday with more weirdness.

Roosevelt vs. Gilliam

Friday, November 25, 2011

"In Case You Were Wondering, 'Boy, the Great Society, I Don't Know,' Is When I Decided to Kick Your Ass"

Jed Bartlet wasn't born wanting to do this.
But, you know, sometimes you find yourself in an Arena, forced to fight other presidents to the death. Bartlet did what he had to do; he got rid of LBJ.
Bartlet vs. Johnson
Josiah "Jed" Bartlet      81 (81.0%)
Lyndon B. Johnson 19 (19.0%)
Once again, Bartlet supporters came out in support of the West Wing president. Most of those votes showed up on Monday, and after the initial surge, votes for LBJ came in at a nearly 1:1 ratio to the Bartlet votes. Unfortunately, for LBJ, Bartlet was up 60 votes by then. To top it off, we happened to get an even 100 votes this week, which made figuring out the percentages pretty easy.

While the votes were overwhelmingly in favor for Bartlet, the commentariat was split down the middle.
And we have to say that the pro-LBJ comment had a bit more... we hesitate to use the word "flavor," but something like that. There was also a slight concern that if Miss Litella's comment wasn't chosen this week, she'd just call us a bitch under her breath.

Bartlet is scheduled to return to the Arena Jan. 30 when he takes on Franklin Pierce in the Round of 16. Be sure to check in with us next week when Theodore Roosevelt meets Chris Rock's Mays Gilliam from Head of State.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thanksgiving Message

From all of us at the Offices of Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
The Chief's hand was apparently too big, so part of the turkey got cut off.
If Jed Bartlet doesn't get you into the holiday spirit, we don't know what will.

At the risk of seeming biased, we don't have any entertaining video clips of LBJ that are Thanksgiving-related. While it wouldn't surprise us to hear that Johnson once challenged a turkey by whipping out his Lyndon B. at it and waved it around, there isn't any video of it. Nor would we feel that it would properly capture the good feelings we're trying to convey on this festive holiday. So instead, we're going to have to go with another clip of Bartlet on Thanksgiving.

If you haven't already taken part in the American tradition of voting in contests where presidents wail on each other, get over to this week's fight and do so before the food coma and Black Friday shopping fatigue sets in.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bartlet vs. Johnson

Josiah "Jed" Bartlet
Portrayed by Martin Sheen in The West Wing
Age: Sheen was 58 when the show premiered, and 66 when the show, along with his fictional presidency, concluded.

Arena Experience: Bartlet met John Tyler in the first round, and the results? Weren't pretty. Bartlet steamrolled his way into Round 2, picking up 88.7% of the vote.

PROS: Bartlet has a Nobel Prize (for Economics!) on his résumé, which isn't too shabby. And he probably knows more about the Bible than any five evangelicals combined. And while we're usually loathe to go meta around here, Bartlet has quite the following on Twitter, and when he's involved in online polls, those guys tend to show up in droves.

CONS: Bartlet is often accused (and rightly so) of being too arrogant for his own shoes, and getting overconfident in the Arena is usually bad times. ALSO, there's the little thing that Bartlet has MS, which he hid from the public, and even his own staff, when he first ran for president. So depending on when Bartlet gets dumped into the Arena, he might be unable to move, or he would only be able to walk using braces and crutches. Could be a problem.

Lyndon B. Johnson
36th President of the United States
Served: 1963-1969
Ages during term: 55-60

Arena Experience: LBJ met Chester A. Arthur in the 1st Round and gave him a sound beating, winning with 80.6% of the vote.

PROS: If someone disagreed with Johnson, they got "The Treatment." It's when he literally got into someone's face spouting accusations, cajolery and mimicry until his opponents were stunned into submission. He used this technique to push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He wasn't all talk, either. He "stared down" the Soviet Union during the Six Day War and ramped up our military involvement in the Vietnam War.

CONS: LBJ's heart wasn't really in the best condition. He had suffered a heart attack while he was in the Senate. Though he gave up smoking in an effort to improve his health, he did have to worry about heart disease. His military record was also... interesting, to say the least. He was awarded a Silver Star, despite the fact that he never saw combat. There was one instance where he said he came under enemy fire, but everyone else on the plane he was on said they turned around due to mechanical problems. Fishy.

The Fight
Doug: I have a feeling that this vote isn't going to come down to who is the ornery, intimidating Southerner with a further reach and who sometimes suffers bouts of temporary paralysis. It's going to come down to who was in the popular television show and who was not.

If only LBJ got himself a Rachel hairdo. If only he was the one who shot C. Montgomery Burns. If only he ended one of his presidential addresses with the catchphrase "DYN-O-MITE," then maybe, the angry guy who escalated the Vietnam War and stood at 6'4" would have a chance against the 5'7" bookworm.
If he were a teenage president and not a teenage doctor,
he could have easily cleaned up.

Granted, Bartlet once earned the Nobel Prize for Fistfighting, so that gives him a strong advant -- I'm sorry, I read that wrong. He has the Nobel Prize for Economics.

Never mind.

Tony: Thing is, it's not like Bartlet hasn't waded through the remains of opponent after opponent. Every time someone steps to him, they're smacked down. Yeah, I'm being metaphorical, as Bartlet didn't physically defeat his Republican opponents in the 1998 and 2002 elections, but still, he's not afraid to bring the heat when it's necessary. Just ask the Qumari Defense Minister.

Johnson may have been intimidating in person, but that'll only get you so far. For example, he couldn't intimidate the country into thinking the Vietnam war was still a good idea in 1968. And since he couldn't do that, he quit. He's a quitter.

Bartlet's not the type of guy who would give in to a bully. Johnson's going to bluster his away around the Arena, turn around, and realize he's not making any headway. Then, he's going to pout his way into a second round loss.

Doug: It's not like the Vietnam War was the first thing he tried to push for and it failed so he gave up. He didn't give up on the idea that maybe blacks and whites should be able to use the same water fountains and attend the same public schools. Sadly, for our disgustingly ugly history, that was a much tougher fight than it should have been. It was risky, too. He knew that when he signed it, he was losing the South. He did it anyway, and he easily took the Election of 1964.
He didn't really need the South, anyway.

I'm not questioning Bartlet's tenacity. Clearly, he has plenty of it. And he may not crumble to LBJ's bullying as easily as LBJ is used to. Truth is, anyone who would make it a habit to bully someone into seeing things his way has got to be a mean old bastard. So when the normal stuff doesn't work, LBJ is going to pick Bartlet up by the ears like he was one of his beagles.
It almost looks like he's going to make Him dance.

Tony: Oh, he won't do anything of the sort. We already know what happens when LBJ can't bully his way into something; he goes into Sulk Central. And the pool of people unable to be bullied by LBJ is surprisingly large, as this is a guy who couldn't talk himself past a group of peeved housewives! Okay, granted what I'm talking about comes from The Right Stuff, which means it was when he was Vice President, and granted, The Right Stuff wasn't exactly a documentary, but it was based on real events, so I'm pretty sure it's legit. Okay, it was based on a book that was based on real events. WHATEVER.

Meanwhile, Bartlet is just waiting to pounce on some overconfident Texan. He's never seen an opponent he doesn't know how to handle (I could watch that clip of him taking down the puissant Dr. Laura stand in on a loop for a full week), and LBJ is going to find that out the hard way.

Doug: Yes, but this isn't a contest to see who can talk their way past a group of housewives or a fake Dr. Laura. We're trying to see who could pummel the other person into oblivion. While both guys have enough fire in them to get pumped up for a good fight, only LBJ has the physical might to back it up.

Despite his character's portrayal in the thing based on the thing based on real events, we're going to see that LBJ does, in fact, have the right stuff. (I'd link to the NKOTB video, but no one wants that.)

Tony: Ah, but the Arena isn't simply a matter of physical prowess. You need to be smart in able to concoct a winning strategy, and to react to overcome any obstacles that get thrown in your way. You've got to have the resolve to plow through adversity. And, most importantly, you've got to have… Faith.

Ha! No, just kidding. You have to have the power to motivate your voting base. And Bartlet?

Yeah, he's got that.

The Chief: Indeed. The polls are now open! They will close Friday morning at 9am, Mountain time. Between now and then, you should vote, and then explain why you voted for your combatant of choice via a comment. We'll be back on Wednesday with more general tomfoolery.

Bartlet vs. Johnson

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fierce Like Pierce

Drinks are on Pierce!
Though, we should warn you, he probably has a head-start on you, and he may not even know why he's celebrating.
Pierce vs. Ford
Franklin Pierce       10 (55.6%)
Gerald Ford   8  (44.4%)
Both guys had good looks, military backgrounds and less than great presidencies. It's no surprise that the results were as close as they were. It's not as if Ford had nothing going for him.
Ford may have practiced his punches on Homer (we're assuming that was in a deleted scene), but he was still a better neighbor than George H.W. Bush.

This marks the second week in a row where Chancellor of the Exchequer gave us the Comment of the Week, despite the comment's support of the loser.

Franklin Pierce moves up to the Round of 16, and is scheduled to fight again Jan. 30. Join us next week when Josiah "Jed" Bartlet of The West Wing faces off Lyndon B. Johnson.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We're Hail to the Chief to the Death, and You're Not

Just 8 miles north of the dysfunctional swamp that is Washington, D.C. lies the Maryland suburb of Chevy Chase. That's not really important to anything, except to say that we're going to be talking about Chevy Chase, the actor, and I couldn't come up with a snappier way of opening this post. Ta da!

Chevy Chase, the actor, was one of the original cast members on Saturday Night Live. This was back in 1975, when the president was none other than one of this week's combatants: Gerald Ford. The task of impersonating Ford fell to Chevy Chase. How'd that go?

This, obviously, was an impersonation in the vein of "not really trying to impersonate the subject." Hell, the show even calls him out on this:
If the impression could be summed up in one word, that word would probably be "bumbling." But, was Ford someone who was known for bumbling around?
Oh. Yup.

(Brief side note: in the Hulu clip above, Chevy Chase performs a lot of physical comedy, but the thing that draws the biggest laugh is when he bashes his head on the desk. There's one other clip of Chase as Ford on Hulu, and it features a similar gag that also gets a big laugh. It seems like it should be a specific reference to something, but I have no idea what. I asked my Dad, who has the advantage of having been alive during the Ford Administration, and he had no idea. What the hell?)

Anyway, Ford was voted out of office in 1976. And Chevy Chase? Well, his contract with SNL had only been for one year, as opposed to the rest of the cast, who were signed on for a full five years. This turned out to be a good deal for Chase, as he had become the show's first big breakout star. Yes, bigger than John Belushi, bigger than Dan Akroyd, bigger than Gilda Ratner. Of course, the show didn't miss a beat, calling in some guy from Chicago named Bill Murray. You've probably heard of him. Ford's replacement, meanwhile, was Jimmy Carter. Advantage: SNL.

Whereas Ford somewhat sank into obscurity after 1976, Chevy Chase did not. Chase did return a few times during SNL's second season (even taking a pratfall at one point that gave him a bruised testicle), but had largely moved onto film, busting out classics like Caddyshack, the National Lampoon series, Fletch, and ¡Three Amigos! However, I would argue that the clear high point of his career came in 1986:
Dude co-starred in a Paul Simon music video. Screw any other career accolades, that's the best thing ever, right there.

Chase's career stalled out in the 1990s, making a series of flop movies before moving back to television for The Chevy Chase Show, a late-night talk show that lasted all of six weeks in the fall 1993. It's at this point, probably, that Chevy's personality came back to bite him, as he had spent a majority of his time in the spotlight acting like a real horse's ass. How bad was he? Pick up a copy of Live From New York and thumb through it a bit; people have stories. Actually, you should read that book anyways; it's pretty awesome. Anyway, point is, Chase received a Friars' Club roast in 2002 that was so vicious, it only aired once (fortunately, YouTube is a thing).

By the end of the aughts, Chevy Chase was ripe for a comeback. And in 2009, the comeback finally came, when he got a role in a new NBC sitcom, called Community. His character? Pierce Hawthorne.

Wait. Pierce? Yes, that's right. Chevy Chase has played a Ford, and a Pierce, making him the ultimate manifestation of this week's fight. Whoever wins, Chevy Chase wins. And maybe Bill Murray wins, too, because it means a version of Chase is dead.

What? The two of them didn't get along, is what I'm saying. In fact, the two got into a fistfight just moments before an episode Chase hosted went on the air.

Okay, everyone get back out there and vote on this week's fight! You'll be streets ahead.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pierce vs. Ford

Franklin Pierce
14th President of the United States
Served: 1853-1857
Ages served: 48-52

Arena Experience: Pierce was neck-and-neck with John Quincy Adams in the 1st Round, but pulled ahead in the final day of voting, finishing with 64.7% of the vote.

PROS: Pierce has fighting experience; he fought in the Mexican-American War, and even stormed Mexico City. Plus, he was a drinker. You shouldn't fight a drunk guy. They can't really feel pain, so they're not going to stop handing out the pummelings. They're in for a hell of a hangover. But hey, that's tomorrow.

CONS: Pierce was deliberate in seeing his ideas through, even if they were terrible ideas. He signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which essentially led to people killing each other over whether or not Kansas should be a slave state. And though his handsome face probably served him well in life, it could serve as a bull's eye in the Arena.

Gerald Ford
38th President of the United States
Served: 1974-1977
Ages in office: 62-65

Arena Experience: Ford drew a first-round match against John Adams, and blew the Founding Father away with 63.2% of the vote.

PROS: Ford was an athletic specimen throughout his life, and proved himself to be hard to kill, dodging both typhoons in the Pacific during WWII, and multiple assassination attempts during his presidency. He also lived to the ripe old age of 93, which... daaaayum.

CONS: Few presidents manage to destroy their presidencies within weeks of taking the job, but that's exactly what Ford did when he pardoned Nixon. Ford also had a tendency to shoot his mouth off, leading many to realize that he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. Stupid decisions + general stupidity = bad times in the Arena.

The Fight
Tony: Ford! He may not be that bright, but he's a wrecking ball with an unstoppable thirst for blood. Ford! He's dodged bullets and typhoons. Ford! He pardoned Nixon. Okay, that last one was a bit of an oopsie. Moving on...
The point I'm trying to make is that it's going to take more than your average Arena brawler to take down Gerald Ford. Franklin Pierce? He's just a drunk with a pretty face. Meh! Ford is gonna break Pierce in two, and he's probably not going to break a sweat, doing it.

Doug: Pierce kicked some serious ass during the Mexican-American War. If you live in the Southwest (and you do) he helped make sure the site of your future home would be under an American flag. That drunk guy with a pretty face should not be underestimated.

And when Pierce is done in the Arena and he's through cleaning the Ford parts off of himself, he's going to celebrate. And that's not a party you're going to want to miss.

Tony: Have I mentioned that Ford lived until he was 93? 93! And this wasn't exactly a tranquil 93 years. Ford survived the universe throwing all sorts of crazy shit at him, but you know what? The universe knew Ford could handle it. And whaddaya know, he did.
Pierce has never faced an opponent quite like Ford. He's going to bounce attacks off Ford's rugged torso, and he's going to go into a funk when those attacks don't slow Ford down. When he gets into a funk, he's gonna want a drink, but he won't have access to anything in the Arena. He's going to fall into despair, and Ford's gonna crush him.

Doug: Yes, I understand that he was athletic, but he was also a bit of a stumblebum. Maybe not to the degree as portrayed in Saturday Night Live, but still. It seems that all Pierce has to do is wait for Ford to make some major mistake and pounce.

Pierce knows that the sooner he gets rid of Ford, the sooner he can get out of the Arena and have a drink.

Tony: You know how on Futurama, Bender starts falling apart when he's not drinking? Pierce is going to have the same problem. When alcoholics stop drinking their body gets flooded with toxins. Seems like that could possibly hinder someone, doesn't it? So, Pierce is obviously going to be operating at less-than-peak capacity, meaning that Ford's got some leeway to play with. Not that Ford, the presidential tank, needs leeway, mind, but he'll certainly take it if it's offered.

Doug: How long are we expecting this fight to go on? Days? Because it's not going to last for days. I mean, if they're in the Arena long enough for any of those problems mentioned to hit Pierce, they would have dropped from starvation and dehydration first.

No, Pierce will have alcohol myopia on his side. Normally, this isn't an advantage. Alcohol myopia is what tells someone having unprotected sex with a stranger isn't all that bad of an idea, and that getting in a car and driving somewhere will probably end fine. It's shortsightedness, completely ignoring any long-term effects.

But it also makes someone hyper-focused on a single task. It puts people in "the zone." If Pierce had to duck swinging axes and fireballs like in a Super Mario Bros. game while fighting Ford, I'd say that it may not end well for Pierce. But Pierce only has one thing to worry about: Gerald Ford. Pierce is going to be hyper-focused on him. He doesn't have to worry about long-term effects. The task at hand is getting out of the Arena alive and toasting to how worthy of an opponent Ford was.

The Chief: Last week, there was mention of a grand piano being suspended by a rope that could be dropped on someone. This week, it's swinging axes and fireballs. I should really be writing this stuff down for next time around.

As always, polls close Friday, 9am Mountain time. Vote! Comment! Take part in democracy!

Pierce vs. Ford

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Round of 16 We Can Believe In

No one bothered to tell Barack Obama that Thomas "Tug" Benson was indestructible.
And now he's on his way to the next round.

Benson vs. Obama
Thomas "Tug" Benson        4  (23.5%)
Barack Obama 13 (76.5%)

Benson's a tough guy. He took a break from his rigorous re-election campaign to take part in a secret military operation at the age of 80. Our Comment of the Week, though on the losing side, didn't think that Benson's power should be underestimated.
Mandelbaum ain't the #1 Dad anymore.

We should also call attention to Doug's claim that Obama has never been involved in a lightsaber duel. Librahawk set the record straight.
Tony was later quoted as saying "Holy shit! That's fantastic!" We have no clue if he was referring to Obama wielding a lightsaber against a fencer or if he was reacting to Doug being proven wrong. It's probably a little of both.

Obama will return to the Arena for his Round of 16 fight against 24's David Palmer, which is scheduled Jan. 23. Join us next week, when Franklin Pierce meets Gerald Ford.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How Not To Build a Presidential Resume

In the '70s, there was a sketch on Saturday Night Live titled "¡¿Quien Es Mas Macho?!"
It was a Mexican game show that asked contestants to compare two actors to see who is more macho. It played like an elementary Spanish lesson with Bill Murray's game show host asking Ricky Nelson's contestant "Es la biblioteca macho?"

In the course of the sketch, we learn that Lloyd Bridges is, in fact, more macho that Hawaii Five-O's Jack Lord.
Lloyd Bridges? Macho?

Well, yeah. In 1979, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner were yet to be exposed to this Lloyd Bridges:
However, it was the Lloyd Bridges we grew up knowing. We knew nothing of Sea Hunt.
In Sea Hunt, Bridges played Mike Nelson, a freelance scuba diver who was pretty much an underwater badass.

There's Nelson not taking any aqua-guff from some sea-punk played by Jack Nicholson.

We thought it would be interesting to include a Bridges-Nicholson scene, as they would each later go on to become fictional U.S. Presidents to be featured here. Though this is a dramatic scene, both went on to play comedic presidents. We could also add Bridges' co-star in Airplane!, Leslie Nielsen, to this list. In Forbidden Planet, he took on the macho task of battling invisible monsters.

So, it doesn't really matter how macho you or your character, you could still go on to play a ridiculously slapsticky president.

What happens if you play a silly character and go on to become president?

No comment.

Be sure to vote in this week's fight between former Investigador Submarino, Thomas "Tug" Benson and Barack Obama.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Benson vs. Obama

First things first:

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

Now, down to business.

Thomas "Tug" Benson
Fictional president in Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)
Portrayed by Lloyd Bridges
Age: Bridges was 80 when the film was released

Arena Experience: Benson defeated Woodrow Wilson in the 1st Round with 57.9% of the vote. Wilson had as much luck with Benson as he had convincing the U.S. to join the League of Nations.

PROS: The guy is pretty indestructible. Just looking at his duel with Saddam Hussein, he fell into a lit fireplace and took an iron rod to the face. It didn't seem to hurt him at all. Speaking of his fight with Hussein, he's pretty fearless. Why else would a guy with a multizillion-dollar military complex at his disposal insist on taking care of Hussein himself? Because he's brave and it's not like you can hurt the guy.

CONS: Benson is old. He's the oldest remaining combatant in the pool by at least a decade. Also, his mental faculties are slipping. It has gotten so bad that he once confused his wife for some saboteur. And while it seems like he can't be injured, he's actually been through a lot. It seems like he's being kept alive with modern science and luck. Stepping into the Arena would probably only tempt the fates.

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

Arena Experience: President Obama blew up Andrew Johnson in the first round, steamrolling his way to 90% of the vote.

PROS: Obama is well-versed in defying the odds, given that in 2006, he was an obscure senator from Illinois, whom very few people had ever heard of. He's also young, and more athletically-inclined than most American presidents, especially recent ones, so he's not going to tire in the Arena.

CONS: Could be accused of thinking a bit too much. Also, he has perhaps lacked the ability to get angry, and you really need a good head of rage to win in the Arena.

The Fight
Doug: Obama may not show his anger, but he's definitely going to get frustrated with being in the ring with someone nearly twice his age, hitting him with everything he's got, and being completely unable to cause any kind of injury to Benson.

Tony: Funny you should bring up Obama's anger. Since we wrote that initial post, and came up with Obama's official cons... he's been getting angry. Granted, I'd get angry too if my every effort to improve America's economy was smacked down by a Congress whose only mission seems to be to sabotage said economy in order to ensure my defeat in an upcoming election. Still, it's clear that one of Obama's cons has disappeared, which is bad news for Benson.

Doug: Details are minimal, but Benson told a story about once taking a torpedo in the abdomen while in the North Atlantic. The way that's worded, it doesn't make it sound like he was in a sub that got hit with a torpedo and suffered an injury to the abdomen in the process. No, he was out there in the North Atlantic, probably protected with nothing but scuba gear, when he caught a torpedo to the abdomen.
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit being awesome."
That would kill most people. Benson just puts it on his laundry list of mishaps he survived, like taking a bullet in Corregidor and falling out of a plane.

Tony: Benson clearly hails from a universe where beings can withstand cartoonish levels of injury. When's he's transported to the Arena, he's leaving that cartoon safety behind, trading it for a world of pain. He can't rely on the same sort of resiliency when Obama is caving in his skull.

Doug: Benson also hails from a universe where he's not afraid to get his hands dirty with some good, old-fashioned mop-the-floor-with-you-edness. Not you personally; the general "you."

Tony: Well, I should hope; I make a terrible mop. I'm more of a rake.
Maybe not Groundskeeper Willie's rake, but a guy can dream.
Doug: Case in point, when he stormed Saddam Hussein's palace. When he got there, a Navy pilot in his 20s was already engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Hussein. What did Benson do? Let the young Topper Harley finish the foe? No. Join in the fight, giving the Stars and Stripes a 2-to-1 advantage? Nope. Instead, he told the guy one-third his age to scram so that he could take care of Hussein himself.

Tony: Oh, so what you're saying is, Benson is so filled with bloodlust, he's prone to making poor choices? Interesting. I mean, we know he did fine anyway, but either of his other two choices at that time had better chances of winning than the one-on-one fight Benson chose. Meanwhile, his opponent knows how to think things, through, is in better shape, and by now, he's probably pissed beyond words. Nice knowing you, Benson!

Doug: No, I'm not saying that. I'm not saying that at all. It was such a good decision that Topper Harley knew he didn't even stick around on the off-chance that Benson would need his help. There wasn't a doubt that Benson would win that fight. Maybe his skills have already been proven?

Obama's skills? I mean, on paper, he looks like he would do well. He's a young guy in good shape. We've never actually seen him fight, though.
Number of Benson lightsaber duels > Number of Obama lightsaber duels.
On the other hand:
Number of Obama lightsaber duels = Number of lightsaber duels Yoda should have been involved in.
And yes, I understand that since Obama took office, those pirates were killed, as well as bin Laden and countless al-Qaeda leaders. But Obama didn't do that personally.

Benson personally dropped a piano on Hussein.

Tony: That actually makes the plan sound worse. Who the hell was in charge of this Mickey Mouse operation? Oh, Benson, right. So, I guess that makes sense. Lousy decisions just beget lousy decisions with this guy, I guess.

And see, this piano thing-- that's what I'm talking about. When Benson zones into this universe, he's not going to be able to move a piano, let along drop one on an opponent. It's a bit of a moot point, of course, given that there are no pianos in the Arena, but the point still stands-- after this fight, the only job Benson will be hireable for? Will be a corpse.

The Chief: Next time around, we're going to install a dangling grand piano from the rafters. That should make things more interesting. But for now, no pianos.

It's Election Day this week, so get in the voting spirit and vote here! Voting here is better because you don't have to put on pants to vote here. Try doing that at your local polling place.

Polls close at 9am on Friday, Mountain Standard Time. Speaking of which, we hope you remembered to turn your clocks back an hour. If not, you've probably been showing up to everything an hour early.

Benson vs. Obama

Friday, November 4, 2011

Does Wheelchair Basketball have a Final Four?

David Palmer didn't need the help of Jack Bauer (or Larry Bird).
He was able to take care of the guy confined to a wheelchair all by himself. Barely, but that's besides the point.

Roosevelt vs. Palmer
Franklin D. Roosevelt     11 (47.8%)
David Palmer12 (52.2%)

Once again, FDR brought in an unusually high number of votes, given his inability to walk. But we didn't get a single comment explaining why. Some of Palmer's backers spoke up.
"Assinine," indeed. Plus, who doesn't like a good Karate Kid reference? But this brings up a good point: people voting against FDR aren't voting against his presidency. FDR's was mostly great. Maybe we could have done without him turning away Jews trying to escape the Holocaust, or interring the Japanese -- point of note, Mr. Miyagi's wife died in an interment camp -- but he helped beat the Great Depression and the Nazis. That being said, he probably wouldn't do so well in a physical fight.

Palmer will go on to the Round of 16, scheduled Jan. 23.
Next week, Thomas "Tug" Benson from Hot Shots! Part Deux will be facing Barack Obama.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Palmer and the Sycamores

According to The Internet (sure, that's a viable source) a reference is made in 24 to the 1979 NCAA Final Four, and how David Palmer scored the game-winning basket against DePaul. Sure enough, DePaul University was in the Final Four that year and they lost to the Indiana State Sycamores, 76-74. That means that not only did Palmer go to Indiana State, but he was also a teammate of Larry Bird.

Clearly, the credit can't go to Palmer, because he was a fictional character. Dennis Haysbert, though offered athletic scholarships, was pursuing a career in acting at the time. Just months before his character's heroics on the court, Haysbert made a guest appearance on the show The White Shadow, playing "Basketball Player." That's funny, because The White Shadow was about a retired NBA player who coaches an inner-city high school basketball team. You'd imagine there would be many basketball players cast in the show.

So, it wasn't Palmer and it wasn't Haysbert. Who did score the winning basket?

According to this highlight reel, Bob Heaton.

Though Bird led the team, Heaton, now a member of the Indiana State House of Representatives, was good for those pressure moments. Earlier that season, Heaton successfully launched a 50-foot shot during the final seconds of a game against New Mexico State that forced an overtime and helped preserve the Sycamores' undefeated record. He also scored a last-second basket against Arkansas in the regional finals, which gave Indiana State its Final Four spot.

After beating DePaul in the Final Four, the Sycamores went on to face Michigan State in the NCAA Finals.

There are a few important things about the Indiana State-Michigan State game. First and foremost, it remains the highest-rated college basketball game in history. Not only was Larry Bird getting a lot of attention, but so was Michigan State's stand-out, Magic Johnson.
Magic, working his... well, magic.
We're going to take this opportunity to point out Bob Heaton (#30).
This was the first time Bird and Magic played against each other. Bird's rivalry with Magic throughout the '80s would help revive the NBA, which had been suffering from low attendance and television interest.

I guess another important thing to know about the game is that Michigan State ended up winning, 75-64. Maybe Indiana State could have used Palmer's help after all.

If you haven't already, drop by on this week's fight between Palmer and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and be sure to vote.