Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

It seems weird to wish George Washington a Happy Birthday when it's not his birthday. Yes, we're a week late, but we have our reasons. First of all, Washington wasn't up last week. Secondly, we've decided to take it upon ourselves to over-correct for the fact that Washington's Birthday -- the federal holiday -- always falls before George Washington's birthday -- the day. And, although today is notable as being Leap Day, we've already spent time discussing how circumstances of our calendar screwed John Adams out of one day in office.

First, let's get one thing straight. The day we know as Presidents Day is officially known as Washington's Birthday and it actually has nothing to do with Lincoln's Birthday, which is Feb. 12. Lincoln's Birthday is marked in some states, but was never a federal holiday. If you've ever seen the 1942 film Holiday Inn, you know that it's okay to spend Lincoln's Birthday in blackface.
Ladies and gentlemen, Bing Crosby.
By an 1885 Act of Congress, all federal offices in the nation would be closed to mark Washington's Birthday. It was celebrated on Feb. 22, his actual birthday, until the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971, which declared that certain holidays (ex: Columbus Day, Memorial Day and Washington's Birthday) would be observed on a Monday to give people three-day weekends.

However, for reasons that the Internet cannot explain, Congress dubbed Washington's Birthday to be the third Monday in February. That meant that it would always fall somewhere between Feb. 15 and Feb. 21, thereby ensuring that we would never celebrate Washington's Birthday on Washington's actual birthday.

But really, we shouldn't get bent out of shape that we celebrate Washington's birthday a week early. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec. 25. No one knows when he was born. There seem to be varying accounts about his birthday and while they can't agree on what day he was born, the one thing they all can agree on is the fact that it not late December.

By the way, we can pinpoint the exact date Julius Caesar was assassinated (March 15, 44 BCE) and the Great Fire of Rome (July 19, 64 CE), but no one present for Christ's birth said, "Hey, if what everyone is saying is true and this baby was born of a virgin and is the son of God, one of us should probably jot this date down somewhere in case it becomes important"? In fact, we're not even able to ballpark it down to a range of a few years.

We digress.

Point being, though we don't celebrate Washington's birthday when we should, Washington should be thankful we're only off by a week and not by several months... except for in the State of New Mexico.
This week, George Washington is in the Arena with Jack Ryan, who is also celebrating A Very Merry Unbirthday* today. Both Unbirthday Boys need your votes and your comments.

* We actually don't know Jack Ryan's birthday, but we do know that he was born in 1950. Since that wasn't a leap year, we know this his birthday is NOT Feb. 29. BOOM! Calendar logic.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Washington vs. Ryan

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

Arena Experience
1st Round: 92.5% of 40 votes against Mike Brady
2nd Round: 93.75% of 16 votes against Grover Cleveland
3rd Round: 95% of 21 votes against Martin Van Buren

PROS: Is one helluva guy. You know, the kind who can wrestle/box you into submission, or also outmaneuver the vastly superior forces of his opponent into submission. Either one.

CONS: Doesn't have a spotless record, militaristically-speaking.

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

Arena Experience
1st Round: 76.47% of 34 votes against Millard Fillmore
2nd Round: 75% of 20 votes against Tom Beck
3rd Round: 53.33% of 45 votes against Harry S Truman

PROS: Let's review how he became president. After a lifetime of being plain old awesome, "they" decided to make Ryan the vice president -- very similar to how Theodore Roosevelt got the gig. The night he was "veeped" (that's a word, right?), a jet crashed into the Capitol, killing lots of people including the president, but excluding Ryan.

CONS: He's a daredevil who has a habit of biting off more than he can chew, and we're not just saying that because he was once portrayed by Ben Affleck who once portrayed Daredevil. True, he has had a long history of prevailing, but his luck is bound to run out eventually.

Pre-Fight Analysis
Tony: If this were a battle of name recognition, then hey, it'd probably be no contest. My informal polling tells me that 117% of people have heard of George Washington. Jack Ryan? Eh, slightly less than that. However! This is a fight to the death, a no-holds-barred contest of physical prowess and mental fortitude. In that light, this contest becomes a little harder to call.

Both of these guys have impressive credentials: Ryan as a world-saving CIA analyst, Washington as the Father of the United States. Again, those don't seem equal, but I encourage our voters to look a little deeper at this one. To explore the Arena space, if you will. If they do, I think they'll be impressed at how close this match should be.

And then, they'll vote for Washington, because: seriously.

Doug: This is a fight between two people who got shit done. It may not have looked pretty at times, but in the end, the fat King George stopped pushing us around / the world wasn't obliterated.

That being said, I think the only thing that may ruin things for Ryan would be the fact that things weren't constantly exploding around him. The lack of explosions could probably just distract him. It's going to take him a while to get used to the fact that there's only one person after him at a time, and that he has no other risks to watch out for. Once he gets a handle on that, he could probably take Washington down.

One more thing before I go. Imagine how awesome the painting Ryan Crossing the Delaware would be.

Oh, yes. Oh... oh... yes.
This seems kind of boring in comparison, doesn't it?
The Chief: Vote! Comment! Only one of these men will make it to the Rushmore Four.

Washington vs. Ryan

Friday, February 24, 2012

Arena Declared Independent From Whitmore

Andrew Jackson proved that he isn't just the king of vetoes.
He also commanded enough power to be crowned Jackson Bracket Champion.

Jackson vs. Whitmore
Andrew Jackson       20 (69.0%)
Thomas J. Whitmore      9  (31.0%)

Thomas Whitmore was able to handle a Civil War vet, one of our forefathers, and an alien, but Jackson proved to be too difficult of a job for him. Many seemed to believe that this week would be a cakewalk for Jackson after his close Round of 16 match against Dwight D. Eisenhower. Some even seemed to imply that Whitmore got this far with some luck of bracket placement and early upsets.
If only Lone Star and his Schwartz were around to give Whitmore a hand. That would have been an interesting fight.

Jackson moves on to the Rushmore Four and is scheduled to fight again March 19. Join us next week when George Washington takes on Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How To Fight William Howard Taft

Just last Friday, released an article written by Daniel O'Brien that was right up our alley; How To Fight Andrew Jackson: The Deadliest President Ever. As an added bonus, the article's release date was just days before Jackson was scheduled to appear in the Arena for his quarterfinal match against Thomas J. Whitmore.

"How perfect," said the devils sitting on the shoulders of every HttCttD staffer, "we don't have to write a Wednesday post. We could just direct people to that timely article, call it a day and have a rip-roaringly drunk Ash Wednesday." But then the angels on everyone's shoulder told us that not only should we not phone in a Wednesday Feature like that. Also that getting plastered on Ash Wednesday kind of defeats the purpose of Ash Wednesday, not that that should stop us from inebriatory activities. Also, not that we really know what Ash Wednesday is all about, either.

We figured since we're coming to the end of our run, we should take things full-circle and look at the beginning. Since the Cracked article looked into how to fight Andrew Jackson, why not look at Jackson's first Arena opponent, which is why we present to you:

How To Fight William Howard Taft: The Big Chief
What the Jackson article assumes is that you've traveled to Jackson's time, and he's pissed off at you. It's a pretty simple scenario to imagine. Jackson got angry at a lot of people. If you were unfortunate enough to be one of those people, there would be no way off of his shit list. Even death wouldn't discount the possibility that Jackson would go out of his way to piss on your grave on a semi-regular basis.

Taft is a different story. The guy had no temper. He was fair-minded, almost to a fault. It has been said that when it came time to make an executive decision as president, he got so bogged down with seeing the issue from every side imaginable, and that was the sort of thing that made a better judge than a president. Good thing he later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Hail to the Chief... Justice.
So if you were to jump in your time machine -- be it a flying DeLorean or a phone booth (British or American, either one, really) -- and land in 1909 right on Taft's dog, he'd probably be upset and disappointed, but would also be understanding. It's not like you killed the dog on purpose. There's no way you could have known that Caruso would be at that location in space at that exact time.

Wait, Taft's dog's name was Caruso? In that case, there's something we need to do.
Yes, Rules of the Internet state we're required to beat this dead horse.
We could be giving Taft too much credit. We're ignoring the fact that you essentially materialized out of nowhere and flattened his dog. Initially, he's probably be freaked out, but if you were able to do some sort of Vulcan mind meld to let him explain the circumstances, then he'd probably be understanding.

But whatever. For some reason, you've angered Taft. Now what?

Well, despite his poor performance in the Arena -- 13.2% in the 1st Round, but let us remind you that that was against Andrew Jackson -- he still has quite a bit going for him. He was a big guy. Legend has it that when he sat around the White House, he sat around the White House. Wait, I just got that joke. Okay, he didn't literally sit around the White House, but most presidential trivia novices know that Taft was the one who got stuck in his bathtub.

Point is that he could use his weight against you. And to paraphrase the Southern rock group ZZ Top, "he's got weight, and he knows how to use it." Back in his Yale days, he was the intramural heavyweight wrestling champion. Granted, that was years ago, and it's not like he went intercollegiate with it, but it's something. He's a 300-pound dude who knows how to take a guy down, if need be. That sounds like it could be quite the challenge.

One would have a better chance against Taft than Jackson, but a fight against Taft could get a bit hairy.

Our suggestion is not to piss Taft off. Since it seems that one would really have to go an extra mile to draw ire from him, it really worries me that you would go through all that trouble. You've perfect time travel and your first order of business is to taunt Taft into fighting you? Why don't you use that all of that energy to warn everyone about Hitler, instead?

If you absolutely do want to time travel and hang out with Taft, you should just hang out with the guy and take in a good game of baseball. He loved baseball. Just don't credit him with inventing the 7th inning stretch, because that wasn't him.
He did start the American tradition of the ceremonial first pitch.
In fact, if you're to time travel at all, be sure you know your history. You may be quizzed on something important.

We're glad this week's O'Brien's article influenced our Wednesday Feature. This post would have been drastically different if the article was released a week later and if Jackson had landed on J-WOWW's P.I.L.F. list.

Okay, we should stop worrying ourselves with what to do if you were in a fight with Taft and get back to the subject at hand: What Jackson and Whitmore would do in a fight against each other.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jackson vs. Whitmore

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

Arena Experience
1st Round: 86.8% of 38 votes against William Howard Taft
2nd Round: 94.7% of 19 votes against James Dale
3rd Round: 57.5% of 40 votes against Dwight D. Eisenhower

PROS: Jackson comes into the Arena as a veteran of both wars, and assassination attempts. He's the ultimate survivor.

CONS: By the time he gained the presidency, Jackson was somewhat removed from his fighting peak. Could be a problem. Granted, it hasn't been so far, but you never know.

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
1st Round: 64.6% of 113 votes against James Garfield
2nd Round: 69.2% of 26 votes against Thomas Jefferson
Round of 16: 73.9% of 23 votes against Kang from The Simpsons

PROS: Whitmore's a young guy and a fighter pilot flew in Desert Storm. When the aliens came to destroy Earth, instead of hiding in some underground bunker, hoping things would shake out with mankind on top, Whitmore suited up and lead the charge against the aliens. And we won! So he's fearless and he gets the job done.

CONS: Before entering the Arena, we know of one fist fight that Whitmore was involved with. It was with David Levinson (played by Jeff Goldblum), who survived the fight without any visible scars or loss of limbs. Granted, that was outside of the Arena, so he was bound by local statutes banning aggravated assault and the like. Still, the fact that Levinson didn't flinch being in Whitmore's presence means that he didn't get much of a fight.

Pre-game Analysis
Doug: Whitmore has a few things going for him here.

1) Age: He's about a quarter-century younger than Jackson.
2) His chest cavity is not full of bullets that rattle around like a bag of marbles, unlike Jackson
We're not saying Jackson was the real-life inspiration for "Operation," but... you never know.
I'd have to say that that last one is a half-blessing, half-curse. Having multiple bullets lodged in one's body doesn't sound all that good for the health. However, if the bullets haven't stopped Jackson yet, what will? Probably not Whitmore.

Tony: True enough, Jackson's age is the real wildcard in the equation that is this fight... or at least, it would be if Jackson wasn't an inhuman rage machine that ran on pure bile. Now, okay, it's possible that Jackson was, in fact, a regular-ish person just like the rest of us, but having looked at Jackson's c.v., I'm, not convinced. I mean, the man survived war, famine, disease, war, poverty, war, duels, war, assassination attempts, war, and being alive in the 1800s.
"Suck it, haters."
I understand that Whitmore's got "surviving aliens" going for him, which is nice, but I don't think he's going to stand much of a chance against Ol' Hickory.

The Chief: Well, it's time for the readers to decide! Who will prevail in our first quarterfinal matchup, Andrew Jackson, or Thomas Whitmore? Vote now!

Jackson vs. Whitmore

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ask Not What the Arena Could Do for You

... ask what you could do in the Arena.
If you're JFK, the answer to that is to just keep winning.

Bush vs. Kennedy
George H.W. Bush     14 (46.7%)
John F. Kennedy16 (53.3%)

It was neck-and-neck all week, with Bush leading for the majority of the time. But when the buzzer went off, it was JFK in front. It would have been to Bush's advantage to push it a bit further. A tie would have given him the automatic win, as the commentariat was 2-to-1 for Bush for a variety of reasons.

This isn't the first time Bugs Bunny was used as a model for a Bush in the Arena. However, both instances led to a Bush loss. And no, of course it's not too soon to start cracking jokes about JFK's interns.

JFK moves on to the quarterfinals, where he will face Theodore Roosevelt March 12.
And with that, we're done with the Round of 16. With the quarterfinals kicking off next week, only eight combatants remain. Shit is, indeed, about to get real (assuming it hasn't already, which some could argue it has). Next week, our first quarterfinal match will be Andrew Jackson against Thomas J. Whitmore of Independence Day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Even though the JFK assassination was almost 50 years ago, it's still unclear how it all went down. The Onion did a great story on it in its Our Dumb Century book.
At first, it was decided that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, shot Kennedy. However, there were some inconsistencies with that story, and it seemed to be a conspiracy. When several groups launched their own investigation, but that only uncovered more inconsistencies.

In the '70s, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations came to an inconclusive conclusion. They pretty much said "Yep, it was a probably was a conspiracy. But we don't know who was involved. We don't think the Soviets or the CIA were involved. Okay, we're getting lunch, now. Great job, guys!"

Let's take a step back for a second. Yes, there were so many assassinations that the U.S. House of Representatives launched a committee to investigate them. But conspiracy theories don't die just because a House Committee kills it.

Did the CIA kill Kennedy? George H.W. Bush was at one point the Director of the CIA, did he kill Kennedy?

According to the Internet, YES!

Of course, everyone on the Internet is full of accurate information.
When you first read this, it sounds like someone who has no idea what they're talking about. Bush was director over a decade after the JFK assassination, which took place in Dallas, not Houston.

But then after you give it a little more thought, you realize that it's a riddle. Guess who was director of the CIA when JFK was assassinated in Houston.

Answer: No one.

Guess how Gary Trudeau portrayed George H.W. Bush in the comic Doonesbury.

As invisible!

So JFK's shooter was "invisible," which could be a cryptic way of saying it was "no one." The same "no one" as whomever was the Director of the CIA when JFK was assassinated in Houston.

What's that Internet? You have more?
It looks like a shadowy figure standing outside of the Texas Book Depository. He's circled and labeled "GHWB?"

So that solves it. George H.W. Bush may or may not have been involved with the JFK assassination.

You guys should be lucky that Zachary Taylor and James Buchanan didn't meet each other in the Arena, because us answering the "Did Buchanan kill Taylor?" is even crazier! (The Internet gives no clues, so we'd be forced to make shit up.)

Regardless of what really happened in Dallas that day, the fight in the Arena between Bush and Kennedy rages on.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bush vs. Kennedy

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.

George H.W. Bush
41st President of the United States
Years Served: 1989-1993
Ages during term: 64-68

Arena Experience: Bush has been in the Arena twice and both times, he had beaten a Harrison with two-thirds of the vote. In the 1st Round, he beat Benjamin Harrison. In the 2nd Round, he met up with Benji's grandfather, William Henry Harrison.

PROS: Enlisted into the Navy shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and soon became the youngest naval airman in the history of the force. He was no schlub, either. He earned a few honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. Later, he became the Director of the CIA. I may not have a proper grasp of the CIA, but I'd imagine being in the CIA means he knows how to kill s guy quickly and quietly.

CONS: Despite his military service, Bush had a hard time shaking a preppy image that came from graduating from the Phillips Academy and Yale University. As president, he also had a hard time identifying some dangers. He underestimated the problem with the economy and it eventually cost him the Election of 1992.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
35th President of the United States
Served: 1961-1963
Ages during term: 44-46

Arena experience: JFK's road to the round of 16 was paved with the blood of fictional presidents. By which we mean, he took down Dave Kovic from Dave with 73.3% of the vote, and then squeaked by Dwayne (interminable series of middle initials) Camacho with 56%.

PROS: Kennedy was a WWII hero who pulled off a series of daring exploits in order to save the lives of his crew (and himself) after his boat was demolished in the South Pacific. He also won a Pulitzer for his post-war academic work, and showed himself to be fairly cool under pressure during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which thanks to said coolness, did not result in the world being reduced to a radioactive cinder.

CONS: Kennedy's body was in horrible shape by the time he made it to the Presidency, and had in fact been in poor shape for a while (the only reason he was in the Navy was because the Army took one look and said "thanks, but no thanks."). Also, Kennedy got a lot of mileage in life out of the connections he inherited from being rich as balls, so there's that. 

Pre-Fight Analysis
Doug: I'm putting all of my money on the WWII-vet born from a rich New England family.

No, really folks. I want the voters to take a step back and not get drawn into the glitz and glamour of JFK. Yes, Camelot is way more interesting than Kennebunkport. Jackie Kennedy was graceful, elegant, and beautiful while Barbara Bush, ehh, less so. JFK had oodles of affairs, some still surfacing fifty years later. Bush... well, we'd rather not think about that.
Regardless,  we're still going to put images in your head.
This isn't a contest to see who banged hotter babes. The blog isn't called Tail to the Chief... to the Death. The truth is that, even though Bush is two decades older, he's in way better shape the JFK.

Plus which, according to some of the conspiracy theories, the CIA assassinated JFK. So doesn't that kind of mean that Bush had already won this one?

Tony: JFK comes into this matchup in an interesting state. His body is like someone crossed the Millenium Falcon with the starship Enterprise*; looks great on the outside, but everything inside is being held together by various ramshackle methods of dubious quality. And yes, I just mixed franchises on everyone. Deal.
The Enterprise would win, by the by.
On the other hand, JFK dispatched a rather strong opponent in the last round, meaning that he's going to have a chance in every matchup he's thrown into. While it's impressive that Bush made it to this round of the tournament, he doesn't really have a signature win to his credit. He's defeated a couple of Harrisons, and that's it. Eh, I dunno. I could say I'm impressed, but it would be that condescending sort of impressed you get when old people do normal things. Not that surviving in the Arena is normal, per se... but I digress.

I think this one's close, but JFK comes out on top.

*-for this analogy, I will only accept the TOS and TNG versions of the Enterprise; don't even try to bring that prequel bullshit in here

Bush vs. Kennedy

Friday, February 10, 2012

In Which a Bull-Moose Defeats an Elephant

A hearty "Bully!" echoes the halls of the Presidential Gladiatorial Arena.
No shutout, no confetti.
Much like how he led his Rough Riders to victory at San Juan Hill (oh, and also Kettle Hill), Theodore Roosevelt charges through to the quarterfinals

Roosevelt vs. Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt     27 (73.0%)
Abraham Lincoln    10 (27.0%)

Abraham Lincoln became the first fighter to get votes against Roosevelt, thus ending Teddy's perfect streak. And though the vote looked decidedly pro-Roosevelt, the commentariat was more evenly split.
This is something we hadn't considered. What if Roosevelt had a rough "get blinded in an eye while boxing" streak? It had happened once, it could have happened again. And with Lincoln's reach, he could have been the guy to do it. The voters didn't think so, though.

Roosevelt's quarterfinal match is scheduled for March 12. Join us next week for our final Round of 16 fight, George H.W. Bush vs. John F. Kennedy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An Abe of All Trades

Abraham Lincoln, somehow, keeps getting cooler.
In life, he barely got by on the Cool-O-Meter (assuming that's a real thing). He clawed his way out of the life of the poor farmer to become a successful lawyer. He managed to get elected to the House of Representatives for one term. After that, it was a parade of lost elections. A senate seat, the vice presidency, there wasn't an election Lincoln couldn't lose.

By some luck, Lincoln won the Presidential Election in 1860, but only because the Democratic Party split their votes and entered two candidates. And when he did win, seven states couldn't even bear with the idea of Lincoln being president and ended up seceding from the Union before he could even take office (another four would eventually follow officially). Yes, he won re-election, but none of the states that hated him had a say in that vote because they were not part of the country at the time.

Lincoln received death threats and even survived an assassination attempt in which a man shot his hat off of his head. Some even rejoiced when John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln.

Since then, the Lincoln-hate as subsided and he's been considered one of the best presidents in our history. Partly because he freed the slaves (although, technically, not really), but also because he saw to his goal of preserving the Union. We put him on our money and we put him on Mount Rushmore.

His street cred keeps increasing, well-beyond larger-than-life proportions. That probably started in 1989, when two time travelers abducted Lincoln for a history project. Lincoln, either being a good sport or suffering Stockholm Syndrome, turned out to be the perfect way to top off the high school students' presentation. We have no idea how he grasped the modern vernacular so easily and was able turn phrases like "Be excellent to each other" and "party on, dudes," nor is it clear why the electrically-powered lights aren't freaking him the hell out. But hey, he's Lincoln.

In the 21st century, we Americans were given the question, "What if Lincoln also hunted vampires?" Well, actually, the initial question was "What if we added zombies to Pride and Prejudice?" The result was Pride & Prejudice and Zombies, a novel which became something of a cult hit, which told the world that writing glorified mashup fan fiction could earn you big bucks. Well, some bucks, at least. A wave of glorified mashup fan fiction followed, eventually resulting in the question "What if Lincoln also hunted vampires?" This, in turn, led to the novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which has somehow emerged from the scrum of glorified mashup fan fiction to become the first such novel to be made into a movie.

Glorified mashup fan fiction aside, the idea of Lincoln as a vampire hunter is just ridiculous enough for this blog to endorse. But we have to ask-- what else about Lincoln do we not know? Did he have other powers? While nothing concrete has come to light, there is an interesting evidence that there may be some zombie killing in there as well. Don't believe us?
Are we supposed to just ignore the fact that a show about killing zombies starring an A. Lincoln will be returning on Abraham Lincoln's birthday?

Yeah, we didn't think so.

Meanwhile, a more sedate-- some might say more "truthy" Lincoln movie is in the works. It stars Daniel Day Lewis, a guy who, while he doesn't really make a lot of movies, per se, tends to kick ass in the roles he does take. But, does he look like Abe Lincoln? Survey says... yes.

The film, tentatively titled Lincoln, also stars Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Hal Holbrook, and James Spader. Oh, and it's directed by some guy named Steven Spielberg. I guess you could say ol' Abe is finding himself a little... popular.

Zombie-killing, vampire-hunting and history presenting aside, we here at HttCttD are only interested in one thing -- Abraham Lincoln: Presidential Gladiatorial Arena Combatant.

The fight between Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln rages on until Friday morning, and if you haven't voted yet, please do so. And, or course, be excellent to each other.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Roosevelt vs. Lincoln

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

Arena Experience: Probably has the most impressive Arena résumé to date. Having pitched shutouts against both of his previous opponents. He shut out Baxter Harris, then went on to blank Mays Gilliam. Solid.

PROS: Is Teddy Roosevelt, American Badass. Oh, you want more? Fine. Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman for most of his life. And when we say "outdoorsman," we mean it-- hunting, mountaineering, general expeditioneering, he did it all. Also, during his attempt to run for a third term in office, Roosevelt was shot before delivering a speech. He stayed to finish said speech, and only went to the hospital afterwards. BAD. ASS.

CONS: Teddy's vigor was a way of making up for being hella sick as a child. Could that come back and bite him in the ass? Possibly. Also, Teddy was a man who could fall into a serious funk. Relevant? Eh, maybe.

Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States
Served: 1861-1865
Ages Served: 52-56

Arena Experience: Lincoln met with Zachary Taylor in the 1st Round and finished him off with 84.5% of the vote. Moving on to the 2nd Round, he met his own general and close friend, Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln earned 62.5% of the vote, getting him a ticket to the Round of 16.

PROS: As a boy, Lincoln figured out that the only way out of a life of the poor farmer was some fancy book learnin'. Since he couldn't afford an education, he taught himself. From there, he hoisted himself out of a life of having to survive horse kicks to the head and milk poisoning and into the life of being a lawyer. So, while he's a hard enough worker to pull himself out of a life of manual labor, he's still tough enough to survive milk poisoning and a kick to the head from a horse.

CONS: Lincoln was kind of a one-man failure parade for most of his life. Oh sure, in the beginning of his law career, he quickly became well-respected, and in the last five years of his life, he pulled off an unlikely presidential election win and had a presidency that is still regarded as one of the best in our history. But between that was a series of failed businesses and lost elections. Also, there's evidence that he may have been depressed, even suicidal.

Pre-Game Analysis
Doug: Wow! Talk about an unlucky draw for Lincoln. War hero in the 1st Round. In the 2nd Round? Another war hero. So, he's done with war heroes, right? No. In the Round of 16, he has to face the guy who resigned his cushy job serving under a Cabinet member to become a war hero.

I'm pretty sure if it was a 9-year-old Lincoln facing off against a 9-year-old Roosevelt, Lincoln would mop the floor with the rich asthmatic city boy. However, this is President Roosevelt against President Lincoln.
These two have spent the last several decades just staring at each other.
I'm glad Roosevelt is finally matched up with someone worth fighting. Lincoln's tough, but I don't know if he's tough in a "would be able to handle Roosevelt" sort of way. I can say, with great confidence, that this will be Roosevelt's closest match yet. That's like saying the Madonna Super Bowl Halftime Show was going to be better than the Black Eyed Peas', but not as good as Springsteen's. That's a wide, attainable range.

Tony: Yeah, Lincoln's going to be doing well for himself if he even convinces anyone to vote for him. But as for beating Roosevelt? I'm just not seeing it. Which isn't to say that Roosevelt should be overlooking the ol' Union Splitter, but let's list some facts: TR was a war hero. Lincoln was not. TR was a Nobel laureate. Lincoln? Not so much. TR had the blood of long forgotten gods coursing through his veins. Lincoln? Just had the red stuff.

Okay, so I may have made that last bit up. But then, there's this:
Yes. Oh, yes. Source
I think someone tipped us off to this last time TR was around, but I can't find said tip, so... thanks, anonymous Internet person! And if you need any more proof of TR being amazing, Kate Beaton has your back.

Bottom line? TR may be tested here, but he's gonna sail into the next round.

The Chief: Well, readers... now, it's up to you. Or down to you. One of those, certainly. Whatever, the point is, it's voting time. You know what to do!

Roosevelt vs. Lincoln

Friday, February 3, 2012

There's Nothing Left But To Get Drunk

Yep, another win for Jed Bartlet. We hope he's not getting too big for his britches and making cocky moves like lighting up a cigarette in the National Cathedral.
Oh... well, I'm sure he's got the votes to back that sort of thing up.

Pierce vs. Bartlet
Franklin Pierce       21 (11.3%)
Josiah "Jed" Bartlet     165 (88.7%)

Another Bartlet week and another explosion of votes the first few hours followed by the normal trickle of votes the rest of the week.
Almost 300 hits in just one hour and over 700 hits on Monday. To put that in perspective, we had over 3,000 hits for the entire month of January.
Our readers bring up one of the main schisms we've encountered thus far, namely, how upset should we be when our silly blog yields a silly result? I mean, let's face it: this blog is silly. It's a presidential death tournament where the vast majority of the contenders are either already dead, or completely fictional. That's patently ridiculous. Yet, we here at the HttCttD home office take it rather seriously, and normally everything's fine, but then a Bartlet week rolls around, and things go plaid.

It's not that we dislike Bartlet (quite the opposite). In fact, Bartlet could have possibly made it to the quarterfinals, even without his droves of supporters who come by only when Bartlet's around -- though some of us believe LBJ would have presented quite the challenge. It's the fact that votes spike on his weeks and the fact that he's gotten 80-90 percent each time. Seems fishy, guys.

Hey, maybe we're wrong. Maybe we've picked up some fans as a result of people checking us out this week. If so, great! Welcome!

But, sadly, we most likely won't see a majority of these voters (most of which aren't even reading this because there's no way to vote for Bartlet in a Friday post) until next time.

Bartlet will return March 5 when he meets Barack Obama in the quarterfinal match. Wait, Obama vs. Bartlet? Liberals, your reckoning has come! Er, ahem. Next week, Theodore Roosevelt takes on Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pre-Game Analysis, Only It's Wednesday

The Chief: Good afternoon, loyal readers. It has come to our attention that some of you feel as if we did not handle this week's fight properly when we allowed Doug and Tony to literally throw their arms up in the air and say, "It doesn't matter what we say, you're going to vote for Bartlet anyway." We should have realized that you, the loyal reader, don't want to hear them bitch about how life is unfair. You just want to hear them discuss presidential fighting. You guys got cheated, and that's not right. To make it up to you, we got Doug and Tony and we forced them to take this fight seriously.

Doug: This is nonsense, what do you want from me?

The Chief: We want you to actually weigh in on who you think would win this fight.

Doug: Roosevelt-Lincoln? We're not doing that yet. That's next week.

The Chief: No, not Roosevelt-Lincoln. I'm talking about Pierce-Bartlet.

Doug: I already did.

The Chief: No, you went on a tirade about how no one cares what you think and you accused the voters of not actually reading the post, and you implied that most of this week's voters only show up when Bartlet is up.

Doug: Nonsense. We always get 160+ votes in our first 24 hours of voting.

The Chief: What I want you to do is to actually give us your thoughts on how a fight between Pierce and Bartlet would go down.

Doug: Well, let's see. Franklin Pierce is a good decade younger. He has military experience, as opposed to Bartlet, who has none. Bartlet has multiple sclerosis which has left him temporarily paralyzed.

The Chief: You're saying Pierce has the upper-hand?

Doug: No, I'm not finished. On the other hand Pierce was a lousy president. And he's pretty forgettable. No one knows who he is or when he served except for history nerds like myself. I mean, look at how many Twitter followers he has:
He has 230. Somewhat impressive, I guess.

Bartlet, on the other hand, was on a popular TV show that has won a lot of Emmy's. Look at how many Twitter followers he has.
Whoa! That's over 100x Pierce's followers!

The Chief: But we're trying to see who would win a physical fight, not who is more popular.

Doug: But he's smart, and really good at debating.

The Chief: Does he have any experience fighting? Was he in the military? Was he even an athlete?

Doug: I don't think so.

The Chief: What about his MS? You said that sometimes he could become paralyzed. Do you think that would make him a good fighter?

Doug: I don't know. I guess we should ask his Twitter followers.

The Chief: Okay, you know who has even more followers than Bartlet?

Doug: Whoa! Over 100,000 followers? Good thing he's British not eligible for the presidency because that dude would clean up in the Arena!

The Chief: Okay, I think I've had enough of your sarcasm. Let's move on to Tony.

Doug: You're sick of my sarcasm, so you're going to move on to Tony?

Tony: Gee, thanks.

The Chief: Oy.

Tony: Look, you want to talk about Bartlet? Fine, we'll talk about Bartlet.

The Chief: Doug seems to think his M.S. would be an issue.

Tony: Oh, he would think that, wouldn't he? The fact is, Bartlet was in remarkably good health for most of his eight years in office. He suffered, what, three M.S.-related attacks in all that time? And it's not like those attacks knocked him on his ass for weeks on end. You slide Bartlet into the Arena on any random day of his presidency, and you've got great odds that the fighter you're going to get is going to be, relative to the Arena, at least, rather robust.
"Relative to the Arena" being the key term, here.

The Chief: Okay, but Bartlet doesn't have any military experience.

Tony: Well, that's true. But you've gotta admit, the man's got stones. The kind of stones that lead him to cursing out God in Latin in the middle of the National Cathedral. That's some serious stones. I mean, it takes stones to curse out God in any language at any place, but that's just a triple whammy of cojones, right there.

The Chief: Right, but again... no military experience.

Tony: Cojones is Spanish for balls.

The Chief: I know. Hey, did you know you're supposed to italicize words when they're from other languages?

Tony: Every word in English is from another language, so nyeh.
Damn right.
The Chief: Military experience.

Tony: Okay, confession time: I don't give a rip about what a hot damn general Pierce was. Why? Because of the raging drunkenness. Pierce's raging drunkenness, that is.

The Chief: Okay, here we go.

Tony: I'm just saying, you've got a much better chance at pulling out a pickled Pierce than you have banking a bedridden Bartlet.

The Chief: ...

Tony: Sorry.

The Chief: No, you're not. However, aren't you forgetting the affect Pierce's alcoholism would have on Bartlet?

Tony: Eh?

The Chief: Bartlet's Chief of Staff is this guy:
Tony: Bartlet keeps Leo around because a) Leo is awesome, and b) they're old friends. Neither description applies to Pierce. Bartlet is going to unload a whole heaping helping of Catholic badassery on Pierce, and frankly, Pierce is going to be lucky if there's enough of him left to bury after it.

The Chief: Well, there you have it, folks. An occasionally honest pre-game analysis delivered in the middle of the game. How... splendid.

Vote here if you haven't already. Polls close Friday at 9am MST.