Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Presidents' Day!

How do you celebrate Presidents' Day? It's easy to be cynical about past leaders, all being pasty white dudes, most of them a who-bit blood thirsty. But I love them! I don't know why, but something about the presidents fills me with glee. I used to make everyone at the College Light Opera try and help me remember all of them in order, but mostly they just called me a nerd and ignored me. It's upseting how often history turns into party trivia, but at least if it's trivia, some one will remember. And I don't feel so bad about doing it to the Presidents, because as soon as they're elected they become the answer to a trivia question. So I decided to celebrate this fine Presidents' Day by writing something about each of our chiefs!

George Washington, 1789-1797 Revolutionary war leader, red head and general hottie, he could have been king if he hadn’t been such a polite modest dude. He would be horrified if he knew there were naked statues of him.

John Adams, 1797-1801 As he once sang to Thomas Jefferson in the musical 1776, he was obnoxious and disliked. But he was married to Abigail, total babe and advocate for women’s rights.

Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809 Another red headed hottie, he was really smart, made a funky house in Virginia, played the violin and liked to have sex with slaves.

James Madison, 1809-1817 He declared war on the British in 1812, which was the beginning of the War of 1812, which accomplished nothing but making the year 1812 less boring.

James Monroe, 1817-1825 Made up a doctrine. You've probably heard it.

John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829 This is what it says about him on the Internet Public Library: “President Adams regularly swam nude in the Potomac River. Anne Royall, the first American professional journalist, knew of Adams’ 5 A.M. swims. After being refused interviews with the president time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes and sat on them until she had her interview. Before this, no female had interviewed a president.” I don’t know what “first American professional journalist” means, but Anne Royall rocks.

Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837 Killed lots and lots of Indians and got away with it.

Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841 My high school history textbook referred to him as “the little magician.” I have no idea why.

William Henry Harrison, 1841 He caught a cold while delivering his inaugural address and then died a month later because medicine in the 1840s consisted of whiskey and a hacksaw.

John Tyler, 1841-1845 Became president because Harrison popped his clogs, and then proceeded to do nothing that would ever appear on an AP history exam.

James Knox Polk, 1845-1849 Bullied (or “polked”) Mexico into giving the U.S. lots of land.

Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850 His super cool nickname was “Old Rough and Ready.” My imagination kinda goes to extremes with that one. He also died in office because of the whiskey-and-hacksaw medicinal practices of the times.

Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853 Well, I have no idea, but he sure has lots of Ls in his name.

Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857 Again, according to the Internet public library, the Democrat’s campaign slogan was: "We Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852." Politics were way puny back then!

James Buchanan, 1857-1861 He was the only president never to marry. My boss at the College Light Opera was convinced he was gay. I think he just had no lips and did nothing about the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865 An unconventional hottie, he was the tallest president. Possibly bi polar, probably not bi sexual, he kept our country from becoming bisected. He held séances at the White House, enjoyed the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and died from being shot in the head.

Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869 No body liked him.

Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1869-1877 He rocked the Civil War, but sucked at being president.

Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 1877-1881 Ah, the presidency of Rutherford Hayes. I shall always remember him as being the president we got to in June, right as school was letting out. But I do know he had an impressive beard.

James Abram Garfield, 1881 I think some one named a cat after him. Then he got shot.

Chester Alan Arthur, 1881-1885 Famous for being the hardest president to remember.

Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889 Okay, Cleveland? Really? Who knows?

Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893 Don’t worry, he won’t be on the AP exam. Wikipedia says he had electricity installed in the white house, but was afraid to touch the light switches.

Grover Cleveland, 1893-1897 Oh! Now I remember! Cleveland was the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms!

William McKinley, 1897-1901 My high school textbook thought he was pretty cool, but Howard Zinn thinks he’s a douchebag. In any event, he was shot by an anarchist who would have enjoyed A People’s History of the United States.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909 Despite looking kind of dweeby, he led the charge up San Juan Hill in one of those wars where we stole other peoples land. He liked bears and carried a big stick.

William Howard Taft, 1909-1913 I don’t think he got stuck in the bathtub, because he looks quite trim in this video!

Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921 President during World War I. He could have been really cool, if he hadn’t been a racist and basically set Europe up for WWII. So I guess he wasn’t cool. He had a hot young wife, though, who ran the country after he had a nervous break down during his 2nd term.

Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1921-1923 Even though this was during Prohibition; he liked drink, burlesque shows, extramarital affairs and poker.

Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929 Didn’t do much. But he called it “laissez-faire” and people thought that made it okay.

Herbert Clark Hoover, 1929-1933 The economy went to shit while he was president. People started calling newspapers Hoover Blankets. But he redeemed himself with vacuums.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933-1945 A hottie in a wheel chair, he fixed the economy with some socialism and some WWII. Not letting the wheel chair thing stop his mojo, he had an awesome wife and was making it with his mistress when he bit it.

Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953 He decided to drop the atomic bomb. That sucked. He tried his best to be cool, but it didn’t really work out for him.

Dwight David Eisenhower 1953-1961 Because it was the 50s, and he was a general, he didn’t really know how to party.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961-1963 “Polked” both Jackie O. and Marilyn Monroe. Threw such awesome parties that Vanity Fair is still writing about them. Then he was shot in the neck.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969 Again, a president that tried really hard to be cool with some civil rights and some health care for people who were tired of whiskey and saws, but was thwarted by this thing called Vietnam.

Richard Milhous Nixon, 1969-1974 He didn’t even try to be cool.

Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977 What? I don’t even remember him! Where did he come from? Must be a fluke. I bet Howard Zinn hates him though.

James Earl Carter, Jr., 1977-1981 A pretty righteous liberal dude, but all I can remember about him is that story that he was once attacked by a swimming rabbit while he was canoeing. I wonder if that’s true. (AUGH!It's totally true!Swamp rabbit!)

Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981-1989 Despite being completly flakey, many Republicans have alters to him in their homes.

George Herbert Walker Bush, 1989-1993 Whoo! My parents thought he was bad! They didn’t even know what was coming!

William Jefferson Clinton, 1993-2001 Another thwarted presidential attempt to be cool. But I heard a really good limerick! Okay:
There once was a girl named Lewinsky
Who played beautiful flute like Stravinsky
But it was "Hail to the Chief"
On a flute made of beef
That stole the front page from Kaczynski!

George Walker Bush, 2001-2008 Sheesh, what a way to start the millennium! And then we re-elected him! He makes the whiskey and hacksaw approach seem like a good option.

Did I miss anything? Or make any mistakes? Any more fun President facts? Have a Happy and Safe President’s Day!


Wild Threads said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that. It must have taken a lot of work.

Here are my favorite and least favorite pre-1950 presidents (pre-1950 because any reactions to more recent politics are too emotional):
Worst: James Monroe. Screw the doctrine, it's damaged Latin America and given US foreign policy a god complex.

Runner up: Harry Truman. I'll admit it was a tough decision, but there's no excuse for dropping the bomb.

Best: Woodrow Wilson. It may have been created after his death, but he dreamed up the UN. We have him to thank for international cooperation, which I think will become increasingly prevalent.

Runner-up: FDR. The New Deal rocks. Not only did it stimulate the economy, but it created a common sense of purpose and will to move the country forward. There's no way he could have known that entitlement programs would create a monster, or that the Keynesian policies embodied in the New Deal would be bastardized by post-Reagan presidents' notion that the national debt is no biggie.

Anonymous said...

So cool! However, please don't forget that Carter had to deal not only with savage, assassinatin' bunnies, but also the Ayatollah, who conveniently held 300 or so Americans hostage just until Reagan took office, totally eviscerating any good that Carter could have accomoplished. All right, so maybe Carter didn't accomplish much except to give Habitat for Humanity a big boost, but he was such a NICE guy.

Gerald Ford, by the way, thrust on the stage by the sudden departure of Tricky Dick Nixon, was famous for being a klutz, and was immortalized for that by Chevy Chase falling down a lot on Saturday Night Live. He is, of course, also infamous for pardoning Tricky Dick. -Slim

Nora said...

First of all... why was that whole Carter v. Swamp Bunny incident never mentioned on the West Wing? It could have been, like, it's own episode!

Second... Woodrow Wilson was also responsible for signing into legislation my very favorite amendment, women's suffrage, although from the sound of it, his hot wife might have just had a crush on Alice Paul. I mean, who wouldn't? She was a total hottie.

And Third... thank you for making my Presidents' Day that much more festive. :0)!!!!

Anonymous said...

Alllso... James Madison, or "Little Jemmy" or "His Little Majesty", was the shortest president ever, at 5'4" (wikipedia), which was probably also somewhat diverting during the boring 18-teens. :)

Anonymous said...

I loooove George Washington!!!! He and I will be united in the afterlife.....