Monday, January 30, 2012

Pierce vs. Bartlet

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

Arena Experience: Pierce got rid of John Quincy Adams in the 1st Round with 64.7% of the vote. When he returned to the Arena, Pierce sent Gerald Ford home, earning 55.6% of the vote.

PROS: Pierce is battle-hardened and he keeps loose with lots and lots of alcohol. The result, someone with the fearlessness to march into Mexico City who is probably numb enough to not realize someone is hitting him until the next day. That's a deadly combination.

CONS: He didn't have much in they ways of good ideas. Oh sure, the Kansas-Nebraska Act sounded like a good idea on paper, but it ended up ripping open the already festering wound that was the tensions between the states. Let's hope he keeps his bad ideas to a minimum in the Arena.

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: Met John Tyler in the first round, and flattened His Accidency with 88% of the vote. Then faced LBJ in the second round, and did only marginally worse, with 81% of the vote.

PROS: Bartlet may have the most impressive résumé, intellect-wise, out of everyone this side of Thomas Jefferson, and his knowledge base covers quite a lot of terrain. Also, he's got quite the support base online.

CONS: Can be arrogant and overconfident at times, which we keep insisting is dangerous despite the results of Bartlet's arena encounters thus far. Also has M.S. According to Wikipedia, a person with MS can suffer almost any neurological symptom or sign, including changes in sensation such as loss of sensitivity or tingling, pricking or numbness, muscle weakness, or difficulty in moving; difficulties with coordination and balance; problems in speech or swallowing, visual problems, fatigue, or chronic pain, and bladder and bowel difficulties." And that strikes us as bad, you know?

Pre-game Analysis
Doug: I could put a lot of thought into how I believe an actual fight between these two people would actually go down, but I have a feeling a vast majority of the people voting this week won’t even read it. Scroll down, click on Bartlet, see ya at the next round, bye! What makes me say that?

Bartlet has earned a total of 167 votes in his first two fights, which is far more than any other combatant in the entire tournament. Granted, it’s not comments that get people to the next round, it’s votes. But comments let us know that people are actually reading what we have to say and coming up with their own thoughts. If people were actually putting thought into voting for Bartlet, I’d imagine we’d have a lot more comments for him. Yet, we’ve only had two. So either people aren’t reading, or they don’t have their own thoughts.

As it stands now, Bartlet has amassed fewer total comments than multiple fighters who lost in the 1st Round. One of those guys doesn’t even have a name. He has no name, but he got more comments with his eight votes than Bartlet got with his 167 votes.

I realize my explanation as to why I didn’t bother going into who I think would win this thing is longer than what would have been my explanation of who I think would win this thing. It probably doesn’t matter, because you’re most likely scrolling past all of this anyway.

Tony: I can't necessarily disagree with anything you're talking about, there. If only there was some way of grabbing the attention of the people who are merely scrolling through this thing? Hmmm...





Okay, that got the message across? I hope so!

The Chief: ...

Tony: What?

The Chief: I don't even know what to do with the two of you.

Doug: Hey, don't lump me in with him! I didn't fill the post up by hitting Return!

The Chief: Did you try and stop him?

Doug: We're in different states!

Tony: Besides, him? Stop me? Pfft.

The Chief: Okay, shut up, both of you! Readers, as always, you have until 9am MST on Friday to cast your votes. We'll be back on Wednesday; hopefully these two [redacted]s will be better behaved then.

Pierce vs. Bartlet

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jack Bauer Drops the Ball

Even though he had a somewhat important speech to give this week, Barack Obama wasn't too distracted to handle the hazards of the Arena.
Obama made David Palmer's HttCttD dreams go up in smoke, much like one of those houses that burned down as a result of people trying to deep-fry their turkeys. (NOTE: We'll never understand why people feel it's necessary to take a camcorder to their televisions so that they could upload an insurance commercial and put it on YouTube, but I guess it came in handy for us in that previous sentence.)

Palmer vs. Obama
David Palmer       5  (23.8%)
Barack Obama 16 (76.2%)

It just occurred to us that the same insurance company that has President Palmer also has Liz Lemon's ex-boyfriend, Dennis Duffy, playing "Mayhem." The fact that these companies are able to throw so much away on advertising makes us believe that they could actually be spending that money on its customers instead. It's insurance. If people out there are switching companies because a CGI lizard told them to, then they deserve nothing. Stop throwing your money away.

Wait, who put that soap box there?

On Wednesday, we pointed out that both Palmer and Obama were/are the 44th President in their respective universes. We did forget to point out something else they have in common.
They're both quite handsome, aren't they? This was probably our handsomest matchup yet. Though, we imagine neither of them would look quite as good after a fight.

Obama is scheduled to appear for his quarterfinal match March 5. Join us next week when Franklin Pierce takes on Josiah "Jed" Bartlet of The West Wing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Noted Connection

Usually for the Wednesday feature, we like to write about something related to one of the combatants for that week. Some weeks, we get lucky and we're able to connect both combatants somehow. Last week, since Truman ushered in the Atomic age and Jack Ryan survived a nuclear blast, we looked at the use of nuclear weapons in movies. Early last year when James Dale from Mars Attacks fought Warren G. Harding, we took a look at the women in their lives who were possibly behind their suspicious deaths.

This week, there's one similarity between 24's David Palmer and Barack Obama this is pretty obvious.
And they actually share it with at least one other person mentioned prominently in our blog.
Both Palmer and Obama are the 44th President of the United States in their respective universes.

First, the point about Obama is easy to prove. He's the 44th President. There's really no other way to get around this fact. His predecessor was #43. The guy before him was #42. He's #44. It's that simple.

And don't talk to us about how George Washington wasn't the first President of the United States. We've already explained just how much of an idiotic claim that is.

Palmer's ordinal spot in the White House requires a bit more of an explanation. In the 24 universe, Bill Clinton left office in 2001, just like he did in real life. However, in 24, Clinton wasn't replaced by George W. Bush. Instead, Harry Barnes came after Clinton. And unlike in real life, that four-year period seemed relatively peaceful and without any major horrific incidents.

Barnes lost his re-election bid to David Palmer, which made him the 44th President; just like Obama.

But who else in our blog shares this similarity?
Fun fact: The first son was played by movie director Jason Reitman.
Ben Kingsley's Gary Nance was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in the 1993 film Dave. That means that his predecessor, William Harrison Mitchell, was the 44th President.
Trust us, he's the one on the left.
But we don't know if Mitchell would necessarily count as an Arena combatant, since his stand-in, Dave Kovic, actually did the fighting (and losing) on his behalf.

So, that's one thing Palmer and Obama have in common.

What? Was there another similarity that we're missing?

If you haven't voted in this week's Fight of the Forty-Fours, then vote and comment. Time is running out!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Palmer vs. Obama

::clears throat and breaks out the "reading the fine print" voice::

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.

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 met up with William McKinley in the 1st Round and just got by with 54.2% of the vote. In the 2nd Round, faced Franklin D. Roosevelt with even closer results, finishing with 52.2%.

Pros: Palmer has survived two assassination attempts, one of which he bounced back and was able to win the presidential election. He just rolls with whatever you serve up and he gets by no problem.

Cons: A lot of Palmer's successes, both politically and survivability, have a lot to do with Jack Bauer's help. Bauer won't be here in the Arena. It's just Palmer on his own.

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

Arena Experience: Faced Andrew Johnson in the first round, and won a resounding 90.5% of the vote. Fought fictional Tug Benson in the second round, and didn't do quite as well, winning with 76.5%.

Pros: Obama is an expert at defying long odds and proving his doubters wrong. He's also one of the most fit entrants in the entire bracket. Also, remember this? We had kind of forgotten about it, but it's still awesome:


Cons: Could possibly be accused of being a bit too thoughtful. Ability to get really, truly angry has been called into question; given that he hasn't broken the thumbs of everyone in Congress by now, this might be a valid point.

Pre-Game Analysis
Tony: The question here is not, "who will win" but rather, "how many pieces will Obama break Palmer into?" Will he merely snap Palmer in half, or will the rage that's been building up over all the bullshit he's had to face lead to some kind of psychotic break, leaving nothing left in the end but tiny pieces of Palmer jerky? I mean, really... Palmer can't be anywhere as tough as Tug Benson was, and Obama carved through him like... like.. oh, geez, I had something for this. Like a boss? Meanwhile, Palmer only got 52.2% of the vote against Captain Polio FDR. This fight will only be close when viewed through some grander perspective, like sitting at the center of the galaxy and saying that Pluto is relatively close to the Sun.

Doug: Well, from his brushes with death in the 24 universe to the ones he has had in the Arena, Palmer has managed to barely scrape by each and every time. Well, except for that time the sniper shot him in the neck. He does have that going for him. However, he's going up against Obama here. Obama is incredibly popular with our readers. Only four combatants have received over 90% of the vote at least once: George Washington (3 times), Theodore Roosevelt (twice), Andrew Jackson (once) and Obama. He's in this category tied with Andrew freakin' Jackson! As much as I enjoy close matches like last week's, I don't see it happening this week.

Yeah Palmer, good luck with that.

The Chief: Pfft! If Obama's so great, why couldn't he sing more than one line of that Al Green song? Polls close Friday 9am Mountain Standard Time.

Palmer vs. Obama

Friday, January 20, 2012

Truman Defeats Ryan

FOR THE RECORD: A headline in Friday's post incorrectly identified Harry S Truman as the victor in this week's fight. The headline should have named Jack Ryan as the winner.
We regret the error. It must be something about Truman that inspires wildly inaccurate headlines. To our defense, there was a lot more at stake when the Chicago Tribune made a similar error on the cover of its November 3, 1948 issue.
Truman vs. Ryan
Harry S Truman        21 (46.7%)
Jack Ryan   24 (53.3%)

We knew going in that this was going to be a close one. Truman led for most of the week, but Ryan turned things around and surged ahead in the last day of voting. This was one of our closest matches so far made more interesting by the fact that it marked the first time since the 1st Round where both fighters got more than 20 votes.

Though Ryan barely got more votes, Truman clearly dominated with the commentariat.
We'd like to thank DEisenhower34 for yet another insightful account of the history the textbook people are afraid to tell us. We had no idea that this was the reason behind that policy, nor were we aware of the basis of Samuel Jackson's persona. So educational!

We'd also like to pause for a moment to point out that the HttCttD blog was inaugurated a year ago today. Fifty-two eliminations, 263 comments, and 1,409 votes later and the real excitement hasn't even begun yet. Thanks to everyone for adding to our fun.

Ryan will go on and face George Washington in the Washington Bracket Finals, scheduled for Feb. 27.
Join us next week when David Palmer from 24 takes on Barack Obama.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Nuclear Option

The Nuclear Age began during Harry S Truman's administration with the Trinity Test in New Mexico and the dropping of the bomb in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki end World War II. It also played a key role in Jack Ryan's life, but we'll get to that in a moment.

After the war, the Soviets developed a bomb of their own. Both sides did numerous nuclear tests. They even went so far as to build fake suburban neighborhoods to see what effects a nuclear blast would have on the Levittowns and whatever the Soviet version of Levittown was.

*sigh* In some weird way, we're willing to accept the part about him surviving the blast by hiding in the lead-lined fridge. But the fridge being the only piece of debris to be thrown to safety? No! Oh Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skulls, only you could make Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom look okay in comparison.

Even more idiotic than that scene are the notations that were added to the video after it was uploaded. If you're ever feeling that humanity isn't pathetic, go to YouTube and watch a quote bubble appear over Indy's face that says, "I Am Gay" in the "Indiana Jones IV, Bomb scene LOL" video.

Seriously, humanity. Knock that shit off.

Thankfully, the bomb hasn't actually been used in an attack since World War II. But that still doesn't keep filmmakers from having us bomb ourselves to smithereens.

As visual special effects improved, so did nuclear war movie magic. The nuclear attack scene in the 1983 made-for-television movie The Day After is pretty amusing. It borrows heavily from declassified film of nuclear tests, but also uses the latest in effects, which are kind of laughable now.
You just become an X-ray, so there's no reason
to panic or not carry on with your wedding as if nothing is happening.
Filmmakers didn't really unlock the secret of a good movie nuclear explosion until 1991 with Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
According to Sarah Connor, "anybody not wearing 2 million sunblock
[on August 29, 1997] is going to have a real bad day."
And that brings us to Jack Ryan.

This week, he's fighting the man who ushered in the Atomic Age.

As someone who has personally survived a nuclear attack (in The Sum of All Fears) via magical helicopter, will he have a bone to pick with Truman? Or will Ryan just be good-natured about it and serenade him with The Gap Band?

I'd say either way, we win.

If you haven't already, go to this week's Harry S Truman vs. Jack Ryan fight. Hit the red button (okay, it's not really red) to place your vote and drop a bomb on the comments section. Wait, what we mean by that is leave one respectful comment in our comment section. Please don't actually comment bomb us.

Oh, and not that you haven't already been bombarded with this plea from other people, but please contact your respective representatives and senators and tell them how ridiculous this SOPA/PIPA nonsense really is. Ideally, they'll listen to you and not the multibillion-dollar organizations that line their pockets.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Truman vs. Ryan

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

Arena Experience: Ran up against James K. Polk in round one, and came away with 70% of the vote. Round 2 saw him going up against Calvin Coolidge, and he did even better, gaining 76.9%.

Pros: Truman's ill-tempered, quick thinking, and tough as nails. And, at the risk of sounding simplistic and repetitive, there was also the whole Atomic bomb thing, so... yeah.

Cons: Owes a bit too much to powerful political friends. Also has a history of making decisions without thinking too hard about them; could be bad news.

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, mid forties?

Arena Experience: Ryan has been a pretty consistent fighter, getting about three-fourths of the vote each time. He sent the 13th president, Millard Fillmore, out of the Arena on a match that ended on a Friday the 13th with 76.5% in the 1st Round. In the 2nd Round, he met up with Tom Beck from Deep Impact and got a solid 75%.

Pros: I don't know where to start. He's Jack Ryan. He was a CIA intelligence analyst who later became a field agent. From there, he was able to pull off some ridiculous shit, putting his life in danger all in the name of preventing World War III. Seriously, check out some of the stuff he's done. That list takes you up to the part when he survived being in the Capitol when a 747 crashed into it. So on top of putting himself out there, the guy has remarkable survivability.

Cons: He's a daredevil and has a habit of getting in over his head. While he always manages to find his way out of trouble, he does have a habit of depending on luck to get him out of the bigger jams. That's good an all, but luck has a tendency to run out at inopportune times.

Pre-game Analysis
Doug: It's would be fair to say that his his laundry list of amazing badassery reads like something out of a spy thriller novel turned action movie. If I wanted to split hairs and be more accurate, I'd say it reads like a series of spy thriller novels turned action movies, because that's exactly what's going on here. Jack Ryan's such a badass that they got the guy who plays Han Solo and Indiana Jones to play him in half of the movies. Add that with the fact that he's about two decades younger than Truman, and the conclusion I come up with is that Ryan should win this.

Yeah, Truman wasn't one to be messed with during World War I. But that was 30 years before he took office. Sure, maybe there's muscle memory for that sort of thing that would awaken when Truman enters the Arena. But Ryan's still in the same shape. Don't forget that Ryan's first act as president -- even before he took the presidential oath -- was surviving the burning wreckage caused by a plane crashing into the Capitol. Fighting and surviving are all Ryan knows at this point.

Tony: I'm not gonna lie to you-- I have no idea who's going to win this one. Neither of these two has been challenged thus far in their Arena adventures, meaning that they're both strong fighters in terms of this little bit of ridiculousness we've got set up, here. Now, we've got the HttCttD version of the Unstoppable Force vs. the Immovable Object.

Does Ryan have the edge here? You could say that, I guess. But on the other hand, Truman didn't take shit from anyone, and had the whole "buck stops here" thing going on. Also, Truman dropped the effing bomb, whereas Ryan always was always running around trying to stop those things from going off. I think this is gonna be close, but I think Truman has the edge.

Truman vs. Ryan

Friday, January 13, 2012

More Like Van Busted, Amirite?

Martin Van Buren fell victim to the checks and balances system.
He somehow scored an upset into the Round of 16, and as a result, had to go up against George Washington.

Washington vs. Van Buren

George Washington        20 (95.2%)
Martin Van Buren    1   (4.8%)

As the 1840 campaign song says "Van is a used-up man." Though say what you will about Little Van, even though he wasn't able to break 5%, he did outlive both Tippecanoe and Tyler too.

And certain props could be given to Mike Brady, Washington's 1st Round foe. That live-action proto-Flanders (sans muscles) was able to get a higher percentage of votes than any of Washington's foes. True, that was only 7.5%, but it's still somewhat impressive.

Though Washington does get the occasional dissenting voter -- 5 total so far -- the commentariat has been solid for him.
At the risk of overplaying Brad Neely's masterpiece... wait, there's no real way to end that sentence. We appreciate any excuse to watch this video again, and the comment doesn't downplay the real danger of his next foe. He's coming. He's coming. He's coming. We just hope that in the meantime, he doesn't see his future opponent's wife at a party and that that party doesn't have a jar of acid lying around.

Washington makes it to the next round, which is scheduled for Feb. 27, where he defends the bracket named after him. He face the winner of next week's fight, which will kick off next week as Harry S Truman faces Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Return of the Office of Statistical Information

Crunching numbers is fun; at least that's our opinion. One of the reasons why new rounds are fun to us is because we could look back at the previous round and pretend that there are important statistical trends to be found, even though we know there probably aren't any.

In the 1st Round, 10 out of the 19 fictional presidents moved on to the next round. Though it would probably be more interesting if the success rate of our fictional presidents varied wildly in the 2nd Round, that's actually not the case at all. Exactly half of the 10 moved on to the Round of 16.
"Suck it, James Dale and Mays Gilliam!"
In the 1st Round, the elder combatant won 60% of the time, which struck us as odd. One would think the fighter with youth on his side would be in better physical condition and less likely to have some horrible disease.
Like Addison's Disease.
Not that that has anything to do with age.
In eight of the fights, the older fighter beat his younger foe. Eight out of 16, so that's an even 50%, right? No, not quite. Kang gets an asterisk. Since we have no idea how old he is, his fight doesn't count.

That gives the elder fighters 53.3% of the wins. Not very impressive, but still unexpected.
While the older fighter won slightly more times, the oldest fighter, Thomas "Tug" Benson, is knocked out.
In the 1st Round, the taller fighter won 82.1% of the time. That makes sense. Taller people have better reach, which comes in handy with the punching and the kicking. In the 2nd Round? The shorter fighter won 56.25% of the time.
"A 6'4" LBJ would lose to someone nine inches shorter? Totally reasonable."
-- You, the voters
Actually, everything we calculated for the 1st Round turned out with monumentally boring results in the 2nd Round. Earlier presidents had the same 9 to 7 advantage as shorter presidents. Things were pretty much close to 50-50.

Even the party breakdown numbers are underwhelmingly uninteresting. Here we have the breakdown of combatants going into the 2nd Round:

Democrat    13    40.63%
Democrat-Republican    2    6.25%
Republican    8    25.00%
Unaffiliated    1    3.13%
Unknown    7    21.88%
Whig    1    3.13%

Democrat    8    50.00%
Democrat-Republican    0    0.00%
Republican    4    25.00%
Unaffiliated    1    6.25%
Unknown    3    18.75%
Whig    0    0.00%

The Democrats were able to take up space occupied by the vanishing Democrat-Republicans and the single Whig, while the Republicans held on to their quarter of the pie.

But how did we do? Last time, Tony had a pretty strongish advantage of winning over Doug 62.5% of the time. How about in the 2nd Round?
Tony had the upper-hand again, but this time, it was 9 to 7. What is it with the 9 to 7? It's a win, but it's a pretty close win. Actually, Tony really had a 9 to 6 win over Doug.
Doug really can't take full credit for Eisenhower's win over Clinton since Tony's the one who guided Eisenhower to his 1st Round victory.

Wow, who knew analyzing numbers could be so anticlimactic? Maybe because there's an inverse relation between the excitement in the Arena and the excitement of pie charts relating to what's going on in the Arena. Now that we're deep in the Round of 16, strong opponents are facing each other. No one wants charts, they want to presidents beating each other.

Speaking of presidential fisticuffs, you should probably mosey on over here for this week's fight between George Washington and Martin Van Buren.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Washington vs. Van Buren

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

Arena Experience: Stomped Mike Brady's face to smithereens in the first round. Gave Grover Cleveland what-for in the second round. Neither match was particularly close, with Washington winning 90+% of the vote in both rounds.

PROS: Is George Effing Washington. More specifically, the Champ what Chopped the Cherry Tree has a keen tactical military mind, and is a fine physical specimen, to boot.

CONS: Didn't win every single battle ever, I guess?

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

Arena Experience: Van Buren met Nixon's Head from Futurama in the 1st Round and walked away with 61.9% of the vote. Next, he was able to beat Ronald Reagan with 68.8% of the vote in the 2nd Round.

PROS: He was nicknamed the Little Magician because of his ability for political machinations, which eventually got him into Andrew Jackson's good graces, and into White House. And according to an episode of Seinfeld, there's a street gang named after Van Buren that still terrorizes Manhattan.

CONS: Only part of the nickname "Little Magician" was literally true, and it's not the part that could serve him well in the Arena. Also, another reason why he was paired with Jackson on the 1832 Democratic nominee was because he was about as opposite of Jackson one could get while still remaining a Democrat, which means he was the opposite of a bad ass.

Pre-game Analysis
Doug: I would say it's quite the miracle that Van Buren even made it this far. He's lucky that he was paired up with a severed head in the 1st Round. As for him beating Reagan? That's all part of the leftist slant the our voters tend to take. Personally, I thought Reagan could have had it.

And now Van Buren's luck has ran out in the worst way. He's up against George Washington.

I could point out that in the fictional universe of Seinfeld, the Van Buren Boys have taken over New York, a city Washington was forced to retreat from during the Revolutionary War as general. If the Van Buren Boys have such an easy time keeping hold of New York, why couldn't Washington? I'm kind of grasping at straws at this point.

Let's hope Van Buren has a major trick up his sleeve.

Tony: Lemme just say this: you've gotta be some kinda badass to warrant a memorial like this:
Look at that thing. I mean, look at it. Now ask yourself, "is there a Martin Van Buren monument anywhere?" And the answer is, there's this:
Oh. Huh. That's... something, I guess. It's, uh... okay, but it's no:

*drops mic*

The Chief: Of course, the monument leaves itself open for juvenile jokesters
But Washington probably doesn't let stuff like that get him down.

Polls close Friday at 9am.

Washington vs. Van Buren

Friday, January 6, 2012

Go Back to Rigel VII

Thomas J. Whitmore sent that space dirtbag back where he came from.
And judging from this photo we found from Whitmore's seedy past, he clawed his way out of living the life of a space dirtbag. So really, it was like he conquered his past demons or something.

Kang vs. Whitmore
Kang    6  (26.1%)
Thomas J. Whitmore        17 (73.9%)

Including Kang in this tournament was a fun little joke for us. While he was elected president under false pretenses which all took place in a single vignette of a non-canon episode that aired over 15 years ago, that was enough to earn a him spot in the Arena. It seemed as though he was unstoppable. This may be hard to believe, but the fact that Kang ended up in the same half of the bracket as alien-killer Thomas J. Whitmore was a complete coincidence. Either way, we're glad these two had an opportunity to meet up.

With DEisenhower34 no longer needing to prepare for future fights, he now has enough free time to return to our commentariat, which is great news for anyone who likes great comments.
Oh, how we'd love to see photos from that summit. It's great to have you back, sir. And thank you for not referencing While You Were Sleeping.

We're scheduled to see Whitmore again Feb. 20 when he faces Andrew Jackson for the Jackson Bracket Championship (which is a fancy way of saying "quarterfinals"). Next week, George Washington will meet Martin Van Buren.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Is Earth Really Worth It?

As humans, we have yet to step foot on another planet, nor have we discovered extraterrestrial lifeforms, intelligent or not. This is something that the beings from the planet Rigel VII have over us, as is noted in several "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of The Simpsons. But the real question is: are the constant visits to the planet Earth worth the hassle of schlepping across the galaxy?

We suppose we won't know unless we take an exhaustive look at some past visits of Kang (and others, but for our purposes, we'll limit the mentions to Kang... no offense, Kodos).

Treehouse of Horror
Kang picked up the Simpson Family and promised to take them to his home planet, where there would be received for a great feast. Lisa, who was already suspicious, found what she thought was a copy of How To Cook Humans, and exposed Kang for trying to eat her and her family. It was pointed out that the book was actually How To Cook for Forty Humans, and the Rigelians, hurt by Lisa's accusations, returned the family to their home.
If there's that much grime on the cover of a book kept in the kitchen,
that probably means the kitchen is pretty unsanitary as well.

Is cooking for a specific number of specific beings from a specific planet that much of a popular subject enough to warrant the publishing of a book? Apparently, because they bought a copy.

Was the trip successful? Ehh, not at first. But we imagine it would have been easy for Kang to find another family of five on Earth. Plus 35 more people?

Treehouse of Horror II
After Lisa wished for world peace, Kang swooped down to Earth for an invasion. With all weapons abolished, it was pretty easy to take over. That is, until, Moe got the idea to chase after the invaders with a board with a nail in it. Kang left the planet in haste.

Was the trip successful? No. A much-inferior species ran them off the planet with a simple weapon. Though, Kang also reasoned that humans will eventually create a board with a nail in it so large that it will destroy all mankind. There's potential for another invasion in the long run, but we're still going to give Kang an "loss" here.

Treehouse of Horror III
While trying to bring their dead cat back from the beyond, Bart and Lisa accidentally caused a zombie invasion. Kang never touched down onto Earth, but he watched the zombies from afar. He reasoned that mankind will be destroyed by the zombies, making their own invasion easier.
With or without dancing.

Was the trip successful? No. Bart eventually figured out how to send the zombies back to their graves, which means there was no alien invasion after all.

Treehouse of Horror IV
In yet another take off of a Twilight Zone episode, Bart noticed a gremlin on the side of the school bus. No one else believed him that the gremlin was destroying the bus.
That sort of thing only happens to William Shatner.
Or John Lithgow.

Kang, again from afar, laughed at the puny humans for believing in fictional creatures.

Was the trip successful? It didn't seem like Kang was there for an invasion. Maybe it was a reconnaissance mission? Either way, his laughing was cut short when he realized a space gremlin was tearing apart his ship, so that's a no.

Treehouse of Horror V
While fixing the family's toaster, Homer accidentally figured out a way to temporarily travel back to prehistoric time. However, in doing so, he created a series of horrific alternate timelines.

Kang watched from space and commented that humans are incapable of handling time travel. He laughed until Homer unintentionally created a timeline where Kang is transformed into Sherman from the Mr. Peabody and Sherman cartoons. Kodos told Kang to shut up in Mr. Peabody's signature "Quiet, you."

Was the trip successful? No. Once again, Kang's laughing at how primitive is mankind was cut short. This time, he was transformed into a human, which must have really irked Kang. Not just any human, but a boy who gets bossed around by a talking dog whose history lessons are nothing more than a long and complex set-up for a spectacularly groanworthy pun.

Treehouse of Horror VI
Kang and Kodos were on Earth, preparing for an invasion of their own. Part of their plan was to land on Earth and to hitchhike to "Earth Capital" while posing as a newlywed couple.
Their plan was spectacularly flawed, but it could have been worse.

Was the trip successful? We imagine not. Not only did they fail to disguise themselves in any way, but they were seeking a ride to a city that didn't exist. We're sure that raised a few red flags and that they were either killed or were sent running away.

Maybe, if they had done some intel beforehand, they would have learned that there wasn't an "Earth Capital." And maybe they shouldn't have depended on hitchhiking. C'mon guys, you can fly to another planet, but you can't land in a major world capital?

Treehouse of Horror VII
Kang and Kodos kidnap presidential nominees Bill Clinton and Bob Dole and pose as them, leaving American voters virtually no option other than voting for one of them.
We're going to make you feel old in 3... 2... 1...
Some people who will be voting for the first time in 2012 were born after Ross Perot's first presidential run.

After one of them wins the election, they enslave humanity.

Was the trip successful? Absolutely! Not only was it a diabolical plan that actually worked, the outcome resulted in Kang earning a spot in this tournament, where he was given the opportunity to beat up the Father of the U.S. Constitution -- the document that created the office of President of the United States.

Treehouse of Horror VIII
Kang's ship was hovering around Earth when it nearly collided with a neutron missile on its way to destroying Springfield. When Kang reported it to his home planet's ground control, they laughed at him, not believing his claim.

Was the trip successful? No. While he wasn't accidentally vaporized by a bomb intended for Springfield, no one believed what had happened to him. Even if France's attack did result in worldwide nuclear war (which it didn't seem to) and Kang decided to seize the opportunity and take over a destroyed Earth, it seems as if he didn't have the support of his planet. 

Treehouse of Horror IX
We learn that Homer isn't Maggie's father, Kang is. Maggie summoned her real dad and Kang returned to collect his child. Homer was unwilling to give up Maggie so easily, so they decided to settle this conflict on The Jerry Springer Show. While on the show, Kang vaporized Springer and the entire audience. He then set off to Washington to kill all of our leaders.

Was the trip successful? Probably? The story ends there, so we don't find out how Kang's trip to Washington shakes out. We guess that while he may not have been able to kill every single one of our leaders in Washington, there's really nothing stopping him from heading back to Springfield to collect Maggie. We don't know if he actually does this, but we're going to give him the win anyway for racking up such an impressive body count during his appearance on Springer's show.
Actually, this might be a win for humanity.

Treehouse of Horror X
Kang served as a co-host to the "Treehouse of Horror X," which included making lame jokes about "warming up the audience" with a blow torch. While we hear laughing, we don't see the audience laughing, which means the production was relying heavily on a laugh track.

Was the trip successful? Hard to tell. It didn't seem like Kang was there for an invasion. And hosting a gala event, even if it is a failure, is still an impressive honor. Say what you will about David Letterman's "Uma, Oprah, Uma" joke, Letterman can still boast that he made it while hosting the Academy Awards. That's not something a lot of people can claim.

So, we'll count it as a win.

Treehouse of Horror XI
Kang was upset by the fact he was left out of this year's "Treehouse of Horror" episode, when he received an offer to appear in an Old Navy commercial.

Was the trip successful? Given how annoying the Old Navy commercials of this period were, I'd say the new direction in marketing would have made Old Navy commercials bearable. So that's a possible win.

Treehouse of Horror XII
Kang attended a wedding between a gypsy and a leprechaun. He was kind of annoyed to be there as he didn't know anyone there except for Kodos, who said she "always secrete[s] ocular fluids at weddings."

Was the trip successful? It depends. How was the food? Was there an open bar? The wedding could have turned out pretty fun. Even if not, it's a wedding between a gypsy and a leprechaun. How many people can say they've witnessed that? This could have turned out to be a win.

We could go on, but at this point, we're well past the show's peak. By a quick tallying of his first 12 appearances, it seems that Kang's trips to Earth are half-failures and half-victorious (kind of, in some cases).

It looks like his appearance in the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena against Independence Day's Thomas J. Whitmore this week may be the tiebreaker to decide if his trips to Earth are worth his trouble or not. Best of all, you have a say. If you haven't already, vote and comment in this week's fight.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kang vs. Whitmore

Elected President of the United States in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII
Voiced by Harry Shearer
Age: Who knows?

Arena Experience: Drew James Buchanan in the first round, and pounded the Earthling into submission with 86.7% of the vote. In the second round, he faced James Monroe, and had a tougher go of it, squeaking by with 55%. On the plus side, that last link goes to one of our better post titles, so.

Pros: Possesses more limbs than the average human, and has long studied the human condition. So that's a physical and a mental advantage, thankyouverymuch.

Cons: Ability to handle Arena conditions has remained an open question (though he's survived two matches thus far). Also, and this cannot be stressed hard enough, was once chased off Earth by a freaking board with a nail in it.
To Kang's defense, it was waved menacingly.

Thomas J. Whitmore
Fictional President of the United States played by Bill Pullman
Served: In the film Independence Day (1996)
Age during term: Pullman was 42 when the movie was released

Arena Experience: Whitmore's 1st Round win against James Garfield drew a record 113 votes, and he emerged with 64.6% of the vote. In the 2nd Round, Whitmore defeated Thomas Jefferson with 69.2% of the vote.

Pros: As if his fighter jet heroics during Operation Desert Storm weren't enough, Whitmore helped save humanity when he led a squadron against an alien invasion. Also, he's a young guy and he seems to be in good shape. He's up for a fight, and he seems like he could do a decent job in one.

Cons: Whitmore was once in a fight with the super nerdy David Levinson (played by Jeff Goldblum). There seemed to be no clear winner in that donnybrook. If Whitmore can't beat Levinson in a fight, what good would he be in an Arena?
It's not as if Capt. Steven Hiller had his back.
Also, we hesitate to use annoying keyboard shortcuts, but wtf is up with this pose?
Also, for reasons that aren't clear, he gets little respect from Americans. Though, I imagine that changed after the whole alien thing.

Pre-game Analysis

Doug: Yes, he was involved in a fight with some communications geek and didn't completely obliterate him. It's probably not fair to use to measure Whitmore's fighting abilities. That was some scuffle among acquaintances, not some free-for-all to the death. Outside of the Arena, Whitmore had to worry about consequences of pummeling Levinson. He could have been arrested. It could have ruined his political career. I'm guessing Whitmore held back.

Then there's the fact that his approval rating was in the shitter at the beginning of the movie. Maybe he was a lousy president. Who knows? Whatever the case may be, you can say what you will about him, there's one fact that you can't take away from him:

He kills aliens. In fact, it's the one thing we know he's good at.
The movie kind of glosses over the cataclysm caused by having dozens of massive ships like this hit the ground,
but that's not important. What's important is that Whitmore kills aliens.

Normally, this wouldn't be an issue. This time, however, he's getting ready to fight Kang, who has been an unstoppable force. But the freight train that is Kang has just rolled into Whitmore's comfort zone.

Tony: Yeah, but seriously. Whitmore's had trouble with opponents who are smaller and weaker than he is, and now he's going up against someone who is decidedly larger and stronger.
According to the Internet, Bill Pullman has two to four inches on Homer Simpson,
which still puts Whitmore as a disadvantage against Kang.

Whatcha gonna do now, Whitmore? Oh, right. Lose.

Because let's look at Kang. He's big, strong, and can grab hold of all Whitmore's limbs and still have limbs left over to tentacle-punch Whitmore in the face. He knows every trick that Earth's puny weaklings can come up with, and he knows how to top them all. Well, maybe not "all," but decidedly "most." The board-nail incident was embarrassing, but neither implement will be around in the Arena. Big advantage: Kang. Really, I think the only regret Kang is going to have after this match is that "Eagle one, Fox two" can't be turned into an easy burn line after Whitmore's death rattle.

Kang vs. Whitmore