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My Thoughts On A Theoretical Presidential Knife Fight

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Some ideas are good.

Some ideas are bad.

And some ideas are completely genius.

I found one of those tonight thanks to my friend Joe Shaw. He posted a blog post link on his Facebook page. The blog was written by Geoff Micks who I think calls his blog faceintheblue. The link to the blog post is RIGHT HERE CLICK ON THIS NOW and you all should go read the blog, in its entirety, from start to finish and then share it. Don’t want to read the blog–check out this video below, but I warn you, the blog post is gold. Pure. Gold.

Apparently this has been around for a while. There is even a card game. How is it I am just now discovering this over the Christmas holiday?

Here is the premise: All forty five U.S. Presidents are locked in a Thunderdome or Roman Coliseum type arena and must fight with a knife to the death. Who walks out? In the end, there can be only one.

I want to see this made into a movie. Of course we’d have to enlarge it to a Hunger Games type competition, or maybe it is the theme for a one-off Fantasy Island feature film.

Who do you got? Here is some of my thoughts.


The Favorites

The first reaction is to start picking up military folks for favorites. The problem is, before Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump, all presidents had military experience of some sort. That being said, some stand out, and that makes this a bit easier.

  1. George Washington–He was a ruthless warrior who executed a plan for survival with brutal efficiency and without mercy.
  2. Andrew Jackson–the writer of the article rightly said he’d have the highest kill count. He loved killing people, and his first victim would be Barack Obama, because Jackson was as big a racist white supremacist as you could imagine.
  3. Teddy Roosevelt–he would use his cousin in an alliance, and then shove FDR’s cigarette holder down his throat with one hand while sticking his knife into Polk’s kidneys.
  4. Abraham Lincoln–Lincoln would last a while, but his great weakness is that at some point he’d stand up and ask if people couldn’t put down their knives and appeal to their better angels. That is the moment LBJ would stab him in he back.
  5. George W. Bush (43)–I know you might not think this likely, but 43 has Jedi reflexes when it comes to dodging things, like a shoe thrown at him by an Iraqi reporter. He also runs, so, like the movie Zombieland, cardio is gonna be big in this.

 

The First Outs

Most of the presidents from the 19th and early 20th century were overweight and slothful. All of those, most of this people whose names you don’t know, would be gone quickly, like Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Chester A. Arthur. Aside from this group en masse, there are some notable names who will fall quickly.

  1. Barack Obama would be gone before the first minute. Whatever else you might think of him, and this is not a political statement, but he wasn’t rugged by any means. And I think it would be Andrew Jackson who kills him.
  2. Richard Nixon, and it would be Gerald Ford who did it because he’d be looking for the slimy fellow.
  3. Woodrow Wilson, like Obama, was far too academic to survive this environment.
  4. Trump would be gone very quickly.
  5. Thomas Jefferson’s brilliance and poetics would not be much use here, plus John Adams would be looking for him.
  6. U.S. Grant would go quickly because one must be sober to fight. Usually.

 

Alliances

There would be alliances, of course, that form to get through the initial melee.

  1. The Bush boys would ally, and they might drag Reagan in too. It is not hard to imagine George Washington finding a natural affinity here, as well.
  2. The two Roosevelts would do well together. They would probably have LBJ on their team.
  3. The two Adam’s boys would team up. I think they might draft Eisenhower into their lot.

 

Underdogs

I don’t figure these people to do particularly great, but they might have a fighting chance.

  1. Franklin Pearce–He was very tough man.
  2. Jimmy Carter–Read the original blog post on this. Just read it and tell me you don’t think he’d be capable of hanging in there. Plus, Carter was a Southern Baptist, which means he is filled with Klingon guile.
  3. John Kennedy–his health was famously awful, and his moral character was almost non-existent, but there was a gritty toughness to him. The man who didn’t blink at the thought of WWIII over Cuba and Berlin probably has a good chance of walking over the dead bodies of Bill Clinton, Millard Fillmore, and Calvin Coolidge.
  4. Andrew Johnson–not Jackson and not Lyndon, but Andrew Johnson. This child of the South who could never fill Lincoln’s shoes might have enough pent up frustration to go a while.

 

And the Winner Is?

I think it comes down to George W. Bush (43) and Andrew Jackson. In the end, Jackson will be wild-eyed and crazed, but spent. Bush’s extended cardio regiment and zen-like connection to paint brushes, not to mention that Dick Cheney’s voice is in his head, will be the difference.

Predictions for 2018

I am no prophet. I have a hard time predicting what Mrs. Greenbean will want for dinner, much less long term trends. This deficiency doesn’t keep me from trying, though. I just went and looked at 2017’s predictions, and I was almost 50% accurate–and I completely nailed the entertainment predictions, particularly the decline in football ratings. Sadly, 2016 saw me only get 20%, and 30% in 2015, and even more dismal in 2014 with only one prediction really happening. However, in that year, I predicted a Facebook scandal–which actually happened in 2017. Maybe I was just early?

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I try to mix up the predictions in various areas of life–entertainment, politics, business, science, religion, and faith so I’m all over the place. Anyway, here goes my predictions for 2018.

10. The Houston Astros will repeat as World Series Champions.

9. A White-Supremacist will do something so horrible it will make Charlottesville look pale and insignificant.

8. Some big secret will be revealed at NASA—not like aliens or anything, but it will be something like we’ve already been to Mars in a covert plan, or the Columbia space shuttle explosion wasn’t an accident. Something scandalous or controversial.

7. The implementation of new internet regulations (net neutrality) will be a shot in the arm to traditional cable and television corporations, temporarily stabilizing a dying industry.

6.  The Republicans will lose heavily to Democrats in the 2018 elections, losing at least one chamber of congress.

5. Subscriptions to self-driving car services will be big Christmas presents.

4. Theresa May will be booted out as British leader in the midst of an ugly undoing of the Brexit vote.

3. The economy will continue to cook under conservative policies.

2. Two or three major mega-churches will close their doors, beginning the coming wave of emphasis upon small, neighborhood, community churches.

1. Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election will not produce any incriminating evidence against President Trump, and then POTUS will pardon everyone who received indictments, particularly Michael Flynn.

 

BONUS PREDICTIONS–This year will be an unseasonably cold winter and spring, POTUS will drop an F-Bomb in major speech (State of the Union?), Eli Manning will be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears, and Wal-Mart will be bought by Amazon.

Coming into work this morning I heard on NPR about a “March Madness” bracket for choosing the top political stories of 2017.

Obviously, I was interested–two things I really enjoy. The whole thing is on twitter at the account of the NPR political guy @DomenicoNPR (click here for a link to the NPR page)  .

I had wayyyyyy too much fun playing with this. There were so many stories, and all of them were important. I was careful to make selections which emphasized the immediate political impact of 2017, and not the long-term policy impact. An example of this thinking is the appointment and seating of Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice. I think this will have huge implications for the future, but politically, right now, it is not that earth shattering. Yet.

I was also careful to not let my personal opinion sway the pick. I was only thinking about the political impact of the issue. An example of this is I have Doug Jones win in Alabama higher than net neutrality, yet in my personal opinion net neutrality and the travesty that has happened by giving the internet corporations free reign to control access is a much bigger deal. Yet, it is not that politically hot except to a few well-informed special interest folks.

My Final Four has two number one seeds, Trump’s Inauguration and Sexual Harassment along with two number two seeds, Charlottesville and the Tax Overhaul. The Finals are Sexual Harassment and Charlottesville, with Sexual Harassment winning it in a buzzer beater.

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In Memoriam: My Dad

My father would have loved his funeral.

The service was about twenty five minutes–a simple graveside. All of his living children were there, as were all his living siblings. Many friends and family from his present and his past were there. When the service was over, we all stood around for over an hour talking, laughing, telling stories. Dad would have told the most stories, done the most laughing, and enjoyed the talking.

He would have loved three specific things about his funeral.

  1. He would have loved that it had rained the night before, and we were basically standing in a big bog of East Texas red dirt.
  2. He would have really loved the picture my sister chose for the program handout. It was perfect. I love that it was from when he was in his mid forties–about halfway through life. (Editors Note: That is the present age of Greenbean right now, and he
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    This was him on a trip in Colorado, circa 1974. 

    looks nowhere near as cool and awesome as his father did at that age.)

  3. He would have loved that we buried him in Nacogdoches. Most of the stories I heard about took place there in that area north of Nacogdoches—Timpson, Tenaha, Appleby, Garrison, and Pisgah (which the Greenings all pronounce Piss-Key).

I would not be who I am were it not for him. This is true of all of us–for good of or for bad our parents are an important part of our formations. Jack Greening was not a complicated human being, nor was he perfect. But he was smart, and he lived life by a kind of ethical code that, at its baseline, could be summed up in two ideas.

  1. The only true virtue is hard work.
  2. Leave well enough alone.

I could go one and on about his methodology. One example will do.

Me: Dad, how tight should I tighten this bolt?

Dad: As tight as it will go.

Me: Okay.

Dad: And then one more half-turn for good measure.

There was almost nothing he could’t do. He left school at 9th grade to work and help with the family after his mother died, nevertheless, my father could do complex mathematical calculations in his head as fast as any machine or computer. Seriously. I’ve seen him do it. He only had two fingers on his right hand, yet his penmanship was elegant and beautiful, like a scribe of ancient lore. He was a hard man, but little children melted his heart. He could make you smile and laugh one moment, and the next infuriate you to the boiling point.

Five fun facts about my father:

  1. He saw a UFO in Arkansas once. This experience later led him to murder a mylar Smurfette ballon that landed in his pea patch, thinking it was an invader.
  2. He could call owls from a large distance, and converse with them.
  3. To avoid paying an electrician, he rigged a system of extension cords in our home to provide power from one side to the other. This system lasted over two years.
  4. In the forty-five years of my lifetime, I’ve never known him to change the oil in a car or truck. He just runs them until they die. This is why we never had reliable transportation.
  5. When he was a long-haul truck driver, and I was a very little boy, he would always buy me a Moon Pie and RC Cola in the lounge when we’d go pick him up from a long trip.

There is one thing, though, that is special and unique to me. Of all his other children, and all his other relationships, there is this one thing. Jack Greening is not my biological father. he met my mother when I was two months old. They married a week before my one year birthday. I was raised in his home as a young child, but I was not his son.

That changed when I was twelve yeas old, and had reached a sort of legal moment when I could make a choice. I chose to be his son, and he chose to be my father, and he adopted me, thus I became his son, his only son. He chose me knowing full well who I was, where I came from, all my baggage, and the quirks and peculiarities about me as a human being. He chose to be my dad. He didn’t have to, and no one would have thought anything untoward about it if he hadn’t. But he did. All the years growing up, before the adoption and after it, he never treated me as other or different. He treated me exactly as he would have treated any son.

I tell you honestly this experience has always shaped my understanding of the biblical usage of adoption–that we are adopted children of God. Jesus is the firstborn, but we, through faith in him, choose to have God as our special father, and he likewise chooses to have us as his children.

I tried to explain this to my father one day. He didn’t quite understand it, but not because he was stupid, but because he couldn’t perceive that it could be any other way. I’ve often hung my hat on this, for my father was not a spiritual man, but maybe he was able to intuit some of the things of God in a way differently than the rest of us. Maybe that was the farmer in him. Folks who work the dirt tend to view the universe differently than other people.

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Dad’s living siblings–from left to right: Aunt Marguerite, Uncle Homer, Uncle Chuck, Uncle Donald, Aunt Mary. He was preceded in death by his brothers Bobby, Gary, and sister Sadie.
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This is me and my three living sisters: from left to right–Paula, Becky, and Jill. Our older sister Reecie died in 2011. 
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These are the cousins on the Greening side
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Some of the grandchildren–The girls are my daughters, Phoebe and Belle