Saturday, January 23, 2010

Zachary Taylor and the Goblet of Milk & Cherries

Zachary Taylor was the only U.S. president to have lived in the state of Louisiana. While the average American citizen probably has no idea about who he was, it is interesting to note that this will not affect their lives at all. Why is this? Well, Zachary Taylor is one of the most uninteresting people to sit in the Oval Office. He was the twelth president of the United States, and no one cares. I find all of this to be tremendously hilarious. In an attempt to make him at least a little bit entertaining to the layperson, I will briefly go over a few amusing facets of his presidential life.

Taylor's pre-presidential life is where most of his appeal comes from. He served in the Army for forty years, and rose to be a prominent general. He even earned the nickname "Old Rough and Ready" during the Seminole Indian War, which clearly denotes youthful vigor, fun-loving personality, and laid-back attitude. Taylor was quite possibly the most important American field commander in the Mexican-American War. In fact, President James K. Polk removed him from the field because he was way too successful and newspapers hyped him a possible future president. However, since that is already interesting, I will completely avoid talking about the details.

Taylor was the least political president in our nation's history. His personal political beliefs basically amounted to "I do not know, nor do I really care." Taylor had not held public office of any kind before becoming president. He was essentially just a 'War Hero' figurehead for the Whig Party that payed off during the 1848 election. He had no idea that he had been elected for several days. Walking to the local post office to find out if he had won was something he procrastinated over for a few days. I guess there were more important things going on in his life that were more of a priority than holding the highest office in the country.

Pictured: An arguably fun guy who may or may not have had a sense of humor.

Being a wealthy Southerner, Old Rough and Ready owned over one hundred slaves. However, this did not prevent him from opposing slavery expansion into new states. How did this happen? A slim majority of the Whig Party opposed slavery, and Taylor just went along with what they requested of him.

Zachary Taylor's personal cavalry horse was named Old Whitey. (Racism!) When Taylor became president, the horse lived and grazed on the White House lawn, becoming a popular tourist attraction. You know that you really need to improve your public image when your elderly horse, who routinely defecates in front of one of the most prestigious buildings in the world, is way more popular than you are.

Zachary's wife, Margaret Taylor, was something of a shut-in and spent most of her time as First Lady alone in her quarters. While she fervently supported her husband's military career, she absolutely hated the fact that her husband was the president and actively objected to his political endeavors.

Probably the single most interesting thing about Zachary Taylor's presidency is its abrupt end. Taylor's mortal demise remains the most ridiculous presidential death of all time. While at an Independence Day soirée, he consumed a bit too many cherries and a bit too much milk. This made him ill and he developed gastroenteritis. He died halfway through his first term, making way for the second-least interesting president, Millard Fillmore.

Pictured: DEATH.

I hope that reading these facts has been an enlightening foray into the dull life of America's most mundane leader. As for myself, I believe that I have successfully divulged some of the truly useless information on esoteric subjects that I have acquired over the years, which is gratifying on a personal level. I sincerely hope that none of the information presented here is of any use to anyone.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I keep the important things to myself

It is just past midnight, officially making it January 11, 2010. I am wearing ugly flannel pants and an old sweater to sleep in because this house is colder than Len Snart. I've been tending a fire all night and I accidentally burned the base of one of my fingers. This unusually cold weather is a welcome change to the seventy degree weather that hovered around Christmas. (I am actually wearing scarves right now.) I've done nothing of worth all weekend and now I'm just awake listening to Castevet, whose debut release, Summer Fences, may be one of my favorite albums of the past year.

This is a scarf.

I do not really have anything to say, but I thought I should update this blog at least once every so often. I will say this though: I watched the Robert Zemeckis-directed Beowulf film the other day and it is the first time in my life that I have fallen asleep during a movie viewing. I wasn't particularly tired and it wasn't particularly boring, but it was so calm and slow that I'm surprised people actually went to see it in theater, but then I remembered it was advertised as a fierce action movie and not a poetic labor-of-love project. I'm not going to write a movie review on it, but I did enjoy the liberties that one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, took with the screenplay in transforming the classic poem into a narrative that is more coherent and modern. Still, that didn't save the movie from being an absolute snail.

That's all I have until I decide to update this thing again or actually remember to write down my thoughts on things, as they are more important and interesting than the thoughts of anyone else in the world.