Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Long line to the Presidency

"Don't any of you realize that there's only one life between that madman and the Presidency?!" -Mark Hanna (speaking about Theodore Roosevelt.)

The cabinet is made up of 16 positions that are considered advisers to the president. Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the president the power to appoint the members of his cabinet, so long as they are approved by Congress. Without further ado, the cabinet positions (in order of succession to the presidency) are...

1. Vice President
Current: Joe "Gaff-machine" Biden

2. Secretary of State
Current: Hilary "Stone Cold Crazy" Clinton

3. Department of the Treasury
Current: Timothy "Blue Steel" Geithner

4. Department of Defense
Current: Robert M. Gates

5. Department of Justice
Current: Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr

6. Department of the Interior (note: not in charge of interior decoration)
Current: Kenneth Salazar

7. Department of Agriculture
Current: Thomas "the Pooh" Vilsack

8. Secretary of Commerce
Current: Gary Locke

9. Department of Labor
Current: Hilda Solis

10. Department of Heath and Human Services
Current: Kathleen "The Ice Queen" Sebelius

11. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Current: Shaun "Party Animal" Donovan

12. Department of Transportation
Current: Ray "Grandpa Munster" LaHood

13. Department of Energy
Current: Steven Chu

14. Department of Education
Current: Arne "Gee Whiz" Duncan

15. Department of Veteran Affairs
Current: Eric Shinseki

16. Department of Homeland Security
Current: Janet Napolitano

Wow. Here's hoping that we don't lose everyone up to Thomas Vilsack. If history is any indication, the line would only go as far as vice-president.

These nine vice presidents have taken over for their bosses due to death or resignation. The line of succession has never gone further than vice president.

1. John Tyler (1841) (William Henry Harrison died after 30 days)
2. Millard Fillmore (1850) (Zachery Taylor kicked the bucket)
3. Andrew Johnson (1865) (Lincoln assassinated by a coward)
4. Chester A. Arthur (1881) (Garfield killed by doctors more than his assassin)
5. Theodore Roosevelt (1901) (McKinley assassinated)
6. Calvin Coolidge (1923) (Harding bought the farm)
7. Harry S. Truman (1945) (FDR had an aneurism)
8. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963) (Kennedy assassinated by hillbilly)
9. Gerald Ford (1974) (Nixon resigned)

*All information from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: History's Lists and whitehouse.gov.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Even More Historical Last Words!

"This is a hell of a way to die."
-George S. Patton (he had just been in a bad car accident.)

"Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more."
-Pablo Picasso

"Lord help my poor soul."
-Edgar Allen Poe

"I have not told half of what I saw."
-Marco Polo

"Okay, I won't."
-Elvis Presley (Those were his last words to fiancée Ginger Alden. She had told him, when he was on the way to the bathroom, "Don't fall asleep in there.")

"Now I will show you how an Italian dies!"
-Fabrizio Quattrocchi (Italian security officer taken hostage in Iraq early in the Iraq War. When his captors came to execute him he rose from his knees, refused to kneel back down, and said these words.)

"Forward! For God's sake, forward!"
-John Reynolds (Union General at Gettysburg seconds before he was shot by a Confederate sharpshooter.)

"Yes...A bullet-proof vest."
-James W. Rodgers (Asked if he has any last requests before facing a firing squad.)

"I have a terrific headache."
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt (he died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage.)

"Please put out the light."
-Theodore Roosevelt

"We are the first victims of American fascism!"
-Ethel Rosenberg (referring to her and her husband, Julius, who were both the first people executed in the U.S. for treason. They had supposedly passed on information about the atomic bomb to the U.S.S.R.)

"I'd like to be in hell in time for dinner."
-Edward H. Ruloff ( convicted serial killer and last person to be executed by hanging in the State of New York.)

"I'm going over the valley."
-Babe Ruth

"Put out the bloody cigarette!"
-Saki ( Spoken to a fellow officer while in a trench during WWI, for fear the smoke would give away their positions; he was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark."

"Roger, go at throttle-up."
-Francis Richard "Dick" Scobee (These were his last recorded words before the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing him and six other astronauts.)

"For God's sake look after our people."
-Robert Falcon Scott (These were the last words he wrote in his diary, before he froze to death.)

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard."
-George Bernard Shaw

"But the peasants...how do the peasants die?"
-Leo Tolstoy

"I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have."
-Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Historical Last Words!

"You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper."
-Robert Alton Harris (career criminal and murderer who was referencing Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey before being sent to the gas chamber.)

"Love one another."
-George Harrison (spoken to his family on his death bed while dying of cancer in 2001.)

"Gentlemen, I bid you farewell…"
-Wallace Hartley (spoken to his fellow band mates aboard the sinking Titanic. Note: One survivor who clambered aboard Collapsible A distinctly heard Hartley say these words before he and the band were swept off the deck by the sea.)

"I know that I am going where Lucy is."
-Rutherford B. Hayes (speaking of his late wife.)

"God will forgive me. It is his profession."
-Heinrich Heine

"All is lost! Monks, Monks, Monks! So, now all is gone - Empire, Body, and Soul!"
-Henry VIII

"Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub."
-Conrad Hilton (when asked if he had any last words of wisdom.)

"Cold Harbor. June 3rd. I am dead."
-This note was found on a Union soldier, pinned to the inside of his jacket. Many Union soldiers placed final notes inside their jackets prior to leaving their entrenchments in the suicidal attack at the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 3rd, 1864.

"I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark."
-Thomas Hobbes

"Surprise me."
-Bob Hope (when asked by his wife where he wanted to be buried.)

"Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees. "
-General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (Jackson, a confederate general during the Civil War, was shot by his own men and later died of pneumonia in his weakened state. This quote is a personal favorite of mine.)

"I am dying. Please...bring me a toothpick."
-Alfred Jarry (Jarry was an absurdist writer.)

"Is it the Fourth?" [Doctor Robley Dunglison: "It soon will be."] "I resign my spirit to God, my daughter to my country."
-Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson and his old enemy and later friend John Adams died a few hours apart from each other on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.)

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"
-Joan of Arc

"Don't worry...it's not loaded."
-Terry Kath (musician in the band Chicago. He didn't know there was a bullet in the chamber, and put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.)

"Is everyone else all right?"
-Robert Kennedy (whispered to his wife after he had been shot.)

"I wish I was skiing." [Nurse: "Oh, Mr. Laurel, do you ski?"] "No, but I'd rather be skiing than doing what I'm doing."
-Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame.)

"They won't think anything about it."
-Abraham Lincoln (to Mary Lincoln when she asked what the audience would think of two old people holding hands.)

"I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!"
-Chris McCandless (subject of the book and movie, Into the Wild)

"We are holding our own."
-Ernest M. McSorley (captain of the ill-fated Great Lakes freighter, Edmund Fitzgerald.)

"Die, my dear? Why, that's the last thing I'll do!"
-Groucho Marx

"The taste of death is upon my lips…I feel something, that is not of this earth."

"Aw, no one's gonna shoot at me."
-Lee Harvey Oswald

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

Time again to skip out on doing anything creative for your dad and just give him a gift card to the local hardware store! Seriously though, that's all we sold at my place of employment today: gift cards. Father's Day is by no means as popular as Mother's Day. It is also far less commercialized. No need to buy your dad flowers or get an expensive card covered with beautiful artwork. All dad's want is a little recognition. Maybe a kind word, or a free meal at Cracker Barrel. Why Cracker Barrel? I'm pretty sure all fathers love that place. It's a requirement once you have kids. The best thing you can do? Just spend some time with him. He helped (?) raise you and just wants to spend some time with you, whether it be playing a game or just sitting in the family room watching the History Channel. Dads are far more easy to please than moms. You have to put a bit more effort in for moms. That day is over with though...for now. How did Father's Day come about though?

Father's Day basically came around the same time as Mother's Day. It's first celebration can perhaps be traced back to Fairmont, WV in 1908. It was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongh Mining disaster that took place a few months beforehand. The celebration was overshadowed by other events in the city and it wasn't celebrated again. Bummer. Enter Sonora Dodd, who basically stole all of Clayton's thunder. She created her own independent celebration of fathers and eventually a bill was presented to congress to make the holiday officially recognized. President Wilson even went to Spokane, where Dodd was from, and spoke at the Father's Day celebration there, hoping to make it official. Congress was hesitant. They didn't want the holiday to become commercialized like Mother's Day. Coolidge also supported the holiday, but stopped short of asking Congress. It was President Johnson who finally proclaimed Father's Day on the third Sunday of June. It would take another six years for it to be signed into law and made into an official national holiday however, being signed by President Nixon. Geez, even no-brainer bills take forever to be turned into laws.

Since Father's Day is not terribly commercialized, there has not been major call to destroy the whole thing like with Mother's Day's creator. It is more for getting a simple gift like a tie or book for your old man and to show him that you appreciate him. So take some time out for your dad and have a good Father's Day! Especially if you are a dad yourself.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Historical Last Words

"Thomas Jefferson"
-John Adams

"To the strongest!"
-Alexander the Great

"Don't ask me how I am! I understand nothing more!"
-Hans Christian Anderson

"Let me die in the old uniform in which I fought my battles for freedom, May God forgive me for putting on another."
-Benedict Arnold (I guess he had a little remorse for his betrayal.)

"I want nothing but death."
-Jane Austen

"Now I can cross the Shifting Sands."
-L. Frank Baum (Referring to the impassable sands surrounding the land of Oz.)

"Just don't leave me alone."
-John Belushi

"Who is it? Who is it?"
-Billie the Kid

"I never should have switched from scotch to martinis."
-Humphrey Bogart

"France, army, Josephine."
-Napoleon Bonaparte

"Tell mother, tell mother, I died for my country...(looks at hands) useless...useless."
-John Wilkes Booth

"I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think vainly, flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done."
-John Brown (before being hung for his attack on Harper's Ferry)

"Whatever the result may be, I shall carry to my grave the consciousness that at least I meant well for my country."
-James Buchanan

"All compound things are subject to breaking up. Strive on with mindfulness."
-Siddhartha Gautama Buddha

"The play is over! Applaud!"
-Augustus Caesar

"I think I'll sleep now."
-George Washington Carver

"I'm so bored with it all."
-Winston Churchill

"...it's better to burn out than fade away."
-Kurt Cobain

"More weight."
-Giles Corey (while being crushed during the Salem witch trials because he would not answer the court.)

"Lady, you shot me!"
-Sam Cooke

"Hurrah Boys! Let's get these last few reds then head on back to camp. Hurrah!"
-George Custer

"I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people, the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime."
-Leon Czolgosz (assassin of William McKinley)

"It is nothing...it is nothing..."
-Archduke Franz Ferdinand (whispered to Count Harrach after being shot by Gavrilo Princip)

"I love you."
-Sean Flannagan (spoken to his executioner. Died by lethal injection in 1989.)

"I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
-Errol Flynn

"A dying man can do nothing easily."
-Benjamin Franklin (when told by his daughter that he may be able to breath easily if he laid on his side.)

"Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? 'French Fries'!"
-James French (said to reporters before he was sent to the electric chair.)

"Hero! A real hero!"
-Genghis Khan

"I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."
-Che Guevara

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
-Nathan Hale (American spy, hanged in 1776. Alleged quote.)

"This is a mortal wound, doctor."
-Alexander Hamilton (after being shot by Aaron Burr)