IT’S HERE. IT’S FINALLY HERE. The OVAL HOTNESS 2014 FINAL FOUR is finally upon us! And this first match, y’all … Frankly, I’m terrified. We’ve got Teddy facing the one other Prez who can really knock him off his bedazzled pedestal. ONE of the two gentlemen below is going to the CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND. It’s time to vote! We’ve got a different writer vouching for each contender, so READ UP and stretch your voting muscles. ONWARD, HO!
(1) THEODORE ROOSEVELT vs. (3) ULYSSES S. GRANT
Guys, no lie: I was sort of dreading this week’s writing. Not because I had lost interest in our competitors. QUITE THE OPPOSITE! I was struggling with a new angle to take on our dear Teddy. Teddy and I have been together this whole tournament. I’ve learned so much about him that I’ve developed some pretty intense feelings about him, not unlike fellow OH Writers Kristin (with Woodrow) and Alicia (with Uly). I feel like Teddy and I are super close. Sure, he’s been dead for almost 100 years and had two wives and multiple kids and there was never any chance for me BUT I STILL HOLD ON! I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP!! LIKE DIDO!!!!!!! Y’all remember Dido? Anyway. So I struggled with this week. And then I remembered that my roommate had taken an American Presidency course last semester, so I commandeered her textbooks FOR RESEARCH. And I have some delightful little tiddly-bits for you, dear readers.
Apparently, our Teddy was “a human whirlwind.” Trust me, it says so IN A TEXTBOOK. Teddy was excitable and LOUD and DID NOT live up to his “speak softly and carry a big stick” motto. Friends recalled him carrying a big stick (ehehehehehe) (no, literally – he swung clubs around like a mad man), but they didn’t remember him walking softly or even slowly. He MARCHED. He marched around like a child who knew everyone was watching him, and he absolutely reveled in the attention. One of his sons (the book doesn’t tell me who said it, but I HOPE IT WAS KERMIT) said, “Father must be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.” Teddy commanded literally every room he was in and demanded to be the center of attention.
A British diplomat, getting ready to introduce Teddy to a friend, said, “You must remember that the President is about six.” William Howard Taft, who at the time was TR’s Secretary of State but would go on to become our 27th POTUS, once congratulated Ol’ Teddy on his 46th birthday by saying, on behalf of THE CABINET, “You have made a very good start in life, and your friends have great hopes for you when you grow up.” WHEN YOU GROW UP. Guys, we once had a giant man-child as our President. What a time to be alive!!!
Now, let’s pause for a minute to bask in THIS PHOTO:
LOOK AT HOW HAPPY HE IS TO BE ON A HORSE IN FRONT OF A TRAIN. The two other guys in the picture are on horses, but NEITHER OF THEM LOOKS AS HAPPY AS TEDDY. Maybe because TR also has a sweet bowler hat on? Who knows. The caption, however, makes it even better:
"If any other president enjoyed being president as much as Teddy Roosevelt did, none displayed this pleasure so openly. When Iron Age Magazine, a trade journal, reported that he was constantly drunk, Roosevelt sued for libel and won. In fact, he drank very little. He certainly did not need alcohol to shed his inhibitions."
I honestly feel like Ol’ TR would fit right in at OH headquarters. I mean, yes, OH HQ is located literally ALL OVER THE COUNTRY because everyone on the staff is fairly spread out. So I guess I mean that more in the sense of “Teddy would fit in well with this circle of friends” because we, too, rarely need alcohol to lower our inhibitions. So, guys, let’s make a pact to raise TR from the dead and hang out with him. Or maybe we can invent time travel. Time travel is probably more realistic, right? Less chance of us inciting the zombie apocalypse? Cool? Cool.
FIRST. Standing ovation for the writing that has brought the well-deserving Ulysses Grant this far in the tourney and made a Uly out of him. Alicia, I salute you, I kiss you, and I am ridiculously invested in the continued success of our Uly in the Sky With Diamonds. (Also I ship you and Grant’s tomb.)
Y’all, I have read legit biographies on this one – like whole books, the paper-filled kind, back when I was a teen (in the dim dark days without Kindles). And I have been a Grant girl pretty much since I learned he was a talented man afflicted with addiction and terrible business sense. (I definitely have a type.) As covered previously, Uly was given the middle initial S at West Point and he accepted it with a shrug (if even that) and went about his life as USG. BUT. Did you know, Ulysses was actually his middle name – his honest-to-birth-cert FIRST NAME was … (Barney Stinson says wait for it) … HIRAM.
Let it sink in. Yes, we could have had a president HIRAM. Hiram Grant? Sounds like the opposite of a Trump firing order. (Get it? HIRE ‘EM, GRANT! God, I should stretch first if I’m going to reach like this.) Ulysses S. Grant sounds way the très cooler, so on that score West Point totally did him and all of us a solid.
But let it sink in further. (That’s what she said?) Hiram Ulysses Grant.
Guys. GUYS. HIS REAL INITIALS SPELLED HUG.
*sees a picture of young HUG*
SOMEONE BRING SOME SMELLING SALTS. Let’s try a dose of art, shall we?
Since you have, I hope, committed the previous OH prose about Uly to memory, you will recall that our Bearded Dreamboat of Love (copyright pending) preferred painting to soldier studies at the old WP. Which led yours truly on a Google search for PAINTINGS BY ULYSSES GRANT. Hell yes, I probably did search in caps lock.
The paintings are real. They are a thing. GO HERE AND LOOK AT THEM.
There’s one he kept for a long time then eventually gave to a military/card-playing buddy. I can just imagine the scene. I’m sure he was all like, “Hey brah, want this painting I made?” and the dude was like, “Ch’ya!” And then they took another puff of their cigars and Uly was like, “Righteous.”
And if you think that sounds sweet, there’s also a painting he gave to his HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART. I mean, what the literal hell, universe. Sensitive boy with excellent hair and gray-eyes-in-the-OH-canon (blue eyes IRL) is all artsy in high school and gives his gf one of his paintings? So basically what you’re telling me is that Uly was a football uniform and a Texas adolescence away from being Matty Saracen?
Look, he was so hot even he needed to feel himself up:
I mean, DAYUUM, son.
Also, listen guys: what in the what-what IS this photograph?
Is this a photo-shoot for their debut psychedelic folk album? Or is this actually just how the Grant fam used to chillax for real? Julia all Queen Elizabeth profilin’ in the doorway, third son Jesse ROOT (his middle name was totally ROOT, I WILL NEVER STOP YELLING THAT) leaning all casual-sauce in an outfit that DOES. NOT. QUIT. Meanwhile, is Uly on a GD mahogany throne?! I BELIEVE WE HAVE OUR ANSWER.
Could I tell you more about his presidency? Absolutely. Could I show you more photos? DON’T … TEMPT ME, FRODO. But all I want to tell you now is that when Grant died, a poet named Eugene Field wrote a poem for Grant’s daughter, Nellie, that was basically all about how her father didn’t care about war or death because he loved his daughter so much so even poets saw the softer side of Sears I mean Grant and ARE YOU CRYING NO GOOD ME NEITHER LET’S ROCK OURSELVES GENTLY AND GO ON.
Actually, I can’t. This man. Our webmistress/~*Woodrow*~ fan and I decided recently that there should be knickers with Grant’s face emblazoned on them. And what should these undies be called?
HUG the vote, guys! ULY IS FOR LOVERS!!!
All Round Five polls are open until 11:59pm CST on FRIDAY, APRIL 11th. Vote! Tell your friends! Tell your neighbors!