Saturday, July 28, 2007

"I don't remember that I was ever President."

There's maybe never been a U.S. President who hated being President more than William Taft. His life-long goal was to be a Supreme Court Justice instead--his wife was the source of the Taft family's Presidential ambition.

Taft's presidency was fairly lackluster, and he remains the only President to ever come in 3rd in a national reelection (after Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, who was running as the Bull Moose 3rd party candidate).

Today he's mostly known as "the fat President". Yes, it's true that he often got stuck in his bathtub, and had an oversized one installed in the White House (it was removed years later). Though within a year of leaving office Taft lost approximately 80 lbs.

I'm not what you'd call a fan of the guy, I really just felt like drawing him (rather than, say, Chester A. Arthur). I suppose I admire the way he ended up, though, as a Supreme Court Justice at last--Chief Justice, actually. Good for Taft.

Not Taft-related: I walked into a gas station this week and saw this ad--

Now, my favorite opening line of any book ever is from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451--"It was a pleasure to burn." I have no idea how this particular ad slogan was created, but if they lifted it from that line, well, I have to have some kind of respect for that. Even if they're using it in such an outright evil manner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"...that college life..."

Let me say no danger and no hardship ever makes me wish to get back to that college life again."

--Joshua Chamberlain

Me circa 1995:

Monday, July 9, 2007

"This is not a normal thing I am doing right now."

Briefly, I'm too much of a tennis geek to not mention Roger Federer's 5th Wimbledon championship in a row.

Federer's won 11 Grand Slam championships, and is now just three away from tying Pete Sampras' record (Federer's 26 years old--which is 'middle age' in pro tennis years--but, barring injury, will certainly overtake Sampras).

Consider this: Federer has won 10 of his 11 majors in the last four years. That means he's won 10 of the last 15 majors total. Which is insane.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"There, I guess King George will be able to read that."

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to
God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

--John Adams, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3rd, 1776

Adams was off by two days, of course. But the actual vote for independence from Great Britain was held on the 2nd...the vote for adoption and release of the Declaration of Independence was held on the 4th (near midnight). The 4th is celebrated mainly because that's the date on the Declaration.

Fun Fact #1: Vicksburg, Mississippi didn't celebrate the 4th of July for 78 years (1863--1941) because the Siege of Vicksburg ended in a Union victory on July 4th, 1863.

Fun Fact #2: Calvin Coolidge is the only U.S. President to be born on July 4th (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both famously died on July 4th, 1826; James Monroe died on July 4th, 1831).