From the minds behind several of Seattle’s funniest sketch comedy groups comes a bi-monthly topical sketch comedy show, SPECIFIC NORTHWEST. Featuring rotating members from the sketch comedy groups “Day Job”, “Drop The Root Beer and Run”, “Liz and Joel”, “Part Plant” and “Princess”. Every other month, the cast combines to satirize local news events as well as ongoing northwest attitudes and perceptions.
Yes, it’s that time of year where one day is focused on gratitude and is immediately followed by 30ish straight days of prioritizing whatever the exact opposite of gratitude is. Such a word to describe it once existed but it was sold as a doorbuster deal on Black Friday 1997.
Prior to that blessed year, Thanksgiving and the month that followed was a time of peace. A period in which one reflected on the achievements already gained in life, the material possessions owned and the far more important love each person had in genuine relationships with family and friends.
The internet, not to be outdone, was like “Yo, listen to the sound of a mouse clicking.” It was fast, it was simple and most astonishingly, things came to your house from this utilization of digits atop a technological rodent.
Again, the public was not swayed. Ordering things from home was cool. The mouse clicking was enticing. But overall, people were grateful for lives being led with purpose, delighting in what they had, unconcerned with what they had not.
The public froze. Purple was the color of greed (Americans were mixing up the colors of The Incredible Hulk, green and purple, and assigning the wrong value to that distant cousin of pink. However, the internet hid this fact from them. Clever internet).
There was Brown Sunday (focused on Cleveland Browns clearance merchandise after another non-playoff season), Taco Tuesday (no one ever knew what was meant by this vague title), Weekend Wednesday (all the parking headaches, packed stores and stressful sold out merchandise normally spread out over two days crammed into one), Thursday Thursday (mis-printed calendars 75% off. Or 57%. No one was sure if there was an error on the discount as well) and Saturday (the public couldn’t be tasked with coming up with a 7th thing, okay?)
To find out, buy my new book “Here Now Some History – #16” available at all fine retailers this holiday season.
Americans are used to celebrating many holidays during the month of November. Thanksgiving, Black Friday…and those are just two of the two special occasions that bring families together (and in the case of Black Friday, tear humanity apart). But what about Thanksgiving Eve? How did this also unique snowflake of a pre-holiday day come to be?
It all started with the pilgrims. Arriving in what later became known as America, at the time simply known as “Not America,” these Englishmen in New York settled here in the pre-historic year of 1995.
Their trusted leader was a man named Jed Teacastle. He was given the rank of captain because as the tallest, he was deemed the most trusted, competent and high reaching. That last part was not a metaphor for his ambition. It cannot be stressed enough. Mr. Teacastle was really, really tall.
His second in command was a short, short, short, short, short, short, short, short, short, shorty short short, short man named Shorty Tinycastle. His name was not predestined. He changed it legally for the obvious reason that he liked the name Shorty. He was of medium height but compared to Jed, he appeared really short. Short, short, short, short, short, short, short, short, short, shorty short short, short.
Shorty proposed that since Thanksgiving was for giving thanks, perhaps Thanksgiving Eve could have the opposite effect. It could be a day for being unthankful for the good things in life. Jed’s ears were far too high up to hear the comparatively low audibility of Shorty’s suggestion. It was thus dismissed.
Tinycastle then presented Teacastle with another idea. “What if we used this Eve to get ready for Christmas?” Shorty proposed. Jed, stooped over out of politeness, responded “Actually, that’s Christmas Eve.”
Jed was nearly at his wit’s end (which is impressive considering the location of the end of his wit based upon his massively tall height). “Shorty, Christmas Eve is a special, magical night. There have even been whole 2015 movies made about it (The Night Before, in theaters now!). Any other Eve just pales in comparison.
“Jed! You brilliant son of a very nice woman. That’s it. Thanksgiving Eve will stand for being not Christmas Eve. Thanksgiving Eve is just another day on the calendar. Workers will still works. Stores will remain open. New episodes of TV shows will air. It’ll be like any other day. Except with the word Eve in it. This is truly a-”
Jed smiled. And nodded. He hadn’t heard that last part from Shorty on account of the height difference again. But once more, the tall are unfailingly polite. Just another reason the tall are so great. And employable.
With the 2016 election less than a year away and debates in full swing with both parties, a big focus of the season has been on quality. Quality of moderators, quality of candidates and quality of questions asked. While we’ll look at the other two in the weeks ahead, this week we take a look back at the best rejected debate questions in Presidential election history.
Worth noting, all of these dismissed questions were originally posted on Twitter in the year of their respective debate. Since it’s creation in 1191, Twitter has been a huge influence on American politics (America being founded in the patriotic year of 444). Here Now Some…blah blah blah. There’s been 14 of these. You know how it goes.
2000: “Two part question. First, if you had to choose between the popular vote and the electoral college, which would you choose? Secondly, less of a question and more of an apology for the first part because as we all know, you can only win both. Apologies for the mistaken hypothetical conclusion.”
1988: “If I told you right now that you could win this election but if you do, you’ll be a one term President, would you take that deal in this moment?” (the question was later found to have been asked backstage.)
1868: “How does it feel to know that one day there will be an invention called ‘film’ and a filmmaker named ‘Steven Spielberg’ will make a moving picture of your life starring the most renowned actor of his time ‘Daniel Day Lewis’ and if that weren’t enough-oh. Oh. Oh my gosh. Neither one of you are President Lincoln. I’m so sorry.”
1812: “DeWitt Clinton, why do you think a Clinton could ever be President?” (The second part of the question added “No one whose ballot line reads (D) Clinton could *ever* be leader of this great nation!”)
1796 saw the advent of time limits to the candidates’ speaking time. The Presidential hopefuls were limited to 89 minutes to speak, 59 minutes for rebuttal, and 30 seconds for the transcription to catch up. There is no recorded history of this debate.
1812 was notable for the first “prop” based debate. Each candidate was given a Monkey’s Paw to make one wish. Every politician was granted their desires. Ultimately though, it was totally worth it. (The twisty “at great cost” nature of a Monkey’s Paw being proven to be a work of fiction)
The rules got needlessly complicated at the turn of the century in the year 1900. Each candidate was allowed an opening statement, given three direct questions to answer, and then one closing statement to sell their attributes as a candidate. Ridiculous.
Fortunately, 1904 saw a simplification of the rules. Each candidate was allowed a max of 200 sentences. Unless they went over 200. Then it was okay too. No word was allowed to utilize the letter “D” during Republican debates or the letter “R” during Democrat debates. If a person used a forbidden letter in a word, they were forced to write an apology letter (three paragraphs minimum) in long hand cursive. The debate would pause while the writing occurred. During these pauses, the non-offending candidate could make five wild accusations of each opponent but as a rule, 3 them had to be true, one had to be false, and one had to have a kernel of truth. Anything over a kernel triggered a “cut off your tongue” penalty but a candidate could forego this punishment by eating a bowl of popcorn (over-salted) as a nod to the kernel metaphor. A politician could wear one tie as long as it contained the colors of the flag, two fabrics, and no gluten. Height was measured before the debates in the name of medical science (doctors were really not on the right track to curing Polio at that point) and finally, each candidate was given the option to travel into the future by three minutes but only if they promised not to change anything. There’s no telling if they lived up to it. See? Much simpler.
The movie “Steve Jobs” is dominating the award season chatter and doing whatever the opposite of dominating is when it comes to the box office. Having just seen it, I can confirm it is an audacious, ambitious and adventurous tale of an epic professional life told in whatever the opposite of epic is in terms of scale.
The film is basically three scenes, each one taking place just before the launch of an important professional milestone in Jobs’ life. It is a bold movie making strategy and in my opinion, iT iS a complete sUccess.
The story framing device is interesting because it crystallizes Jobs’ life in succinct fashion. For a weekly column about history, it got me thinking about how other historical figures lives could be simplified to just three scenes.
Yeah, that’s right Eve, I love being naked. Oh wait, I’m sorry. Loved being naked because now thanks to you, I’m ashamed of my nudity and have to go buy a robe. Yeah, you heard me. Buy a robe. You created capitalism.
Bethsaida was the site where Jesus has just performed the miracle known as “The Feeding Of the 5000” wherein he multiplied two fish and five loaves of bread to feed the poor and hungry. Here now, a look at how the rest of the story played out…
Listen to me for I bring you good news! I am Peter, disciple of Jesus Christ. For the 5000 of you are hungry, your Lord shall feed you. He has multiplied two fish and five loaves of bread in such a way that all can be fed!
Last week, Here Now Some History looked back at the Presidential election of 1916. Specifically, the 21 Republican candidates. Even more specifically, the 21 Republican candidates with the explicit purpose of determining which one should be transported via time machine to the year 2016 to run on the Republican ticket in order to become President of the United States.
Had anyone read the article, there would have been an outcry that the year 1916 is too far in the past to be relevant. That 21 candidate summaries was far too many to keep the attention of a 2015 reader. That, the concept of time travel is too mundane and realistic to devote an entire article to.
#3 – Annette Abbott Adams. Based on the name, may actually be a fictional Aaron Sorkin character. (see: Sam Seaborn, Sally Sasser, Gordon Gage, Harriet Hayes, Simon Stiles, Wilson White, possibly Champ Clark, Matthew Markinson, Susan Sloan, MacKenzie McHale, Sloan Sabbith, Leona Lansing, Lisa Lambert and Jennifer “Jenna” Johnson). He’s won an Oscar. New leading candidate.
#2- William Gibbs McAdoo. With a name that incredible, I believe we have to logically assume immortality for Mr. McAdoo. The leading candidate at this point. Plus, since he is still alive, we would not have to worry about building a time machine. That is simply being fiscally responsible. Inspiring choice.
#1 – Furnifold M. Simmons. I’ve heard of the name William. I’ve heard of the name Gibbs. I’ve uttered the phrase McAdoo when having stubbed my toe. But Furnifold? A trailblazer and visionary of linguistics and thus, America. New leader. Sadly, we will once again have to concern ourselves with building a time machine.
With so many great choices (FIVE!), I think we have to Frankenstein this one and hack and stitch our way to the Democratic candidate. Fortunately, time travel is so bizarre, dangerous and unpredictable, they will probably be cut to pieces during the process anyway so that takes care of about half the issue.
So there you have it folks. Combining last week and this week, your 2016 Presidential election will come down to Robin Williams dressed as Theodore Roosevelt against The disassembled then reassembled parts of five 1920 Democratic Presidential candidates.
As the Republican field continues to whittle down after the recent departures of Rick Perry and Scott Walker, it’s enough to make one look back 100 years when 21 Republicans vied for the candidacy that ultimately lost to the incumbent President Woodrow Wilson.
“What if there were a time machine? And if there were such a machine of time, what if it worked? And if this working, time bending, piece of equipment existed, which 1916 Republican Presidential hopeful would best be suited to be transported to 2016 to become elected the 45th President of these United States of America?”
It’s a vague notion to be fair. And I concede it’s not a thought unique to myself, as I believe most obsess over this scenario daily. But it remains a mental haunting nonetheless. So, here now some 1916 Republican Candidates For President To Determine Who Would Make the Best 2016 Republican Candidate If They Were Transported 100 Years Into Their Future, Our Present, Via A Working Time Machine.
Samuel W. McCall: A member of Congress and the future (at the time) Governor of Massachusetts. However, Mitt Romney was also the Governor of Massachusetts. If the Romney comparison holds true, that means Mr. McCall looks electable. Mr. McCall sounds electable. But Mr. Romney is devastatingly unelectable. Er, Mr. McCall is devastatingly…you get the gist.
Warren G. Harding: Elected President Of The United States in 1920. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on The Constitution and term limits… So, flagrantly disregarding that he proved to be 100% electable, I must ignorantly declare him unelectable.
John Wanamaker: Former U.S. Postmaster General. During World War I, pitched that the U.S. buy Belgium from Germany. Which is a bold, bold move. But this is 2016. Bold moves are reserved only for Dancing With The Stars. And even then, it’s “Network TV Bold”, not “Cable Bold.” Unelectable.
William Howard Taft: President who was defeated by Woodrow Wilson. This would be the political version of NBC’s The Tonight Show, 2009-2010 period. With Jimmy Fallon as Jimmy Fallon. Because his boyish and youthful enthusiasm is timeless. What I’m saying is, nobody has disproven that Jimmy Fallon is an ageless, Paul Ruddian, vampire. Unelectable.
(Addendum! Mr. LaFollette’s nickname was “Fighting Bob!” 11 characters only. Electable? Oops, already taken by some guy in Delaware with 2 followers and no profile picture. #StillUnelectable #StillBlessed)
Henry Ford: The Donald Trump, the Ben Carson, the Carly Fiorina of 1916. I repeat, the Donald Trump, the Ben Carson, the Carly Fiorina of 1916. 1915, seems electable. 1916, proves unelectable. 2016…1916.
Charles W. Fairbanks: Vice President under Theodore Roosevelt. Having seen four seasons of “Veep”, I question whether a Vice President is qualified to serve as President. Call it the Seinfeld Curse. Unelectable.
Elihu Root: Go find a picture of Elihu Root. Right now! Don’t you dare tell me that’s anything less than a time traveling Martin Freeman in (poor) disguise. Sorcery and witchcraft will only lead one towards a path of…unelectable!
So with 20 candidates down, this brings us back to Theodore Roosevelt. Sure, he has already been President. Sure, that last sentence. But, and this is key, he was portrayed by Robin Williams in the Night at the Museum movies. Say what you will, Robin Williams is and will always be a treasure. Yes, even “RV” Robin Williams (thanks to multiple cable rewatches). Point being, the best Republican candidate from 1916 to bring to 2016 to run for President is Robin Williams.