Thursday, January 17, 2013

Casting the Presidents

Recently, on my Facebook page, I mentioned that I'm OK with Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Bill Murray as FDR (I commend the casting director for their imagination on that one. Here are my picks for other presidents:

George Washington: Liam Neeson - Based on his experience fighting the British in "Rob Roy" and "Michael Collins," he needs to play either Washington or Gandhi to fill out the trilogy. He's definitely tall enough to play Washington.

John Quincy Adams: Anthony Hopkins - he already nailed it in "Amistad."

Andrew Jackson: I have to go with Billy Bob Thornton. He's got that crazy energy that you need to play Jackson. Maybe Christopher Walken?

Franklin Pierce: Keanu Reeves - Worst President in History - Worst Actor in History. Actually, it depends on the movie. I think if Pierce is a walk-on role, definitely Keanu. If he's the main character, I think I'd go with my brother's suggestion on Johnny Depp.

James Buchanan: Derek Jacobi - I originally thought Nathan Lane, but I think I'd rather see Sir Derek in the role. Maybe cast Nathan Lane as Senator King.

Chester Alan Arthur: I would go with John Goodman. The hard part is deciding which president Goodman should play. He'd work well for Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Cleveland, Taft, and LBJ. Arthur is one of my favorite presidents, and I'd love to see John Goodman in the role.

Bill Clinton: Only Travolta can play Clinton. See "Primary Colors."

Well, that's a start. We still have plenty of presidents to cast. I'll post updates if I come up with any more obvious matches.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Much to Discuss - Where to Start?

First, I must say it has been a very long time since my last post about a genuine Dead President Event. This is not because of a lack of activity, (well, until this year, anyway) but more because I, well...I couldn't remember my userid/password combination. See I used to have Verizon as my DSL provider, but a couple of years ago they were bought out by Fairpoint Communications...
Long story short: I couldn't remember how to log in.

Anyway, since then we have made a couple of trips. I apparently still need to post about the Adams Family trip, the trip to visit James Buchanan's Fabulous Mansion, and the 2010 trip to New York to see Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt.

This year has been pretty slow as far as the Deceased Chief Execs go. I've been saving up my vacation time for a non-Dead President trip (not an Undead President trip, or even a Living President trip - although both of those would be cool), and my sister's big trip this year was to Australia, where no one interesting at all is buried.

So now that I can get back in to this blog, I'll have to put up the pictures and a little bit of the story of the most recent Dead President trips. I don't think we'll have any new ones for 2011, but who knows about 2012!

Friday, September 30, 2011


At long last, I have recovered my password! Hurray!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

DeathMarch Resumes

The Presidential DeathMarch will resume next month. Meanwhile, it's been a long time since our Great Adams Family Expedition, our biggest DeathMarch event so far!

In fact, it's been so long, I'm going to do it mostly as a photoessay. More to come...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Hyde Park Expedition

Please note: I wrote this a few months ago, but I’ve been waiting to post it until I could run it by someone else, and maybe cut it down a bit. I mentioned this to my brother, and he said, “You’re caring too much. Have you read any blogs?” So here it is, relatively uncut.

So Hyde Park. This was an unusual DeathMarch because we were only visiting one dead president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also, we’ve never had to reschedule a Deathmarch so many times.
Roosevelt merits his own trip, though. He has a unique place in history as the only person elected to four terms as president. He was the first disabled president (at least as far as I know. I just read a book about Andrew Jackson, who had a bullet in his chest that would occasionally cause him to cough up blood for days on end, and could have killed him any number of times. Also, one of his political opponents, a guy named Crawford (Most of Jackson’s political opponents had names starting in C: Crawford, Clay, Calhoun…) was almost elected president despite being paralyzed and mute due to a massive stroke). Maybe we can call him the first president with a physical disability - history will have to decide about mental disabilities. Alice was interested that FDR was president when all of her grandparents were born, but given that he was the only president in history to be elected to more than two terms (he was elected to four, but died before completing his fourth term), if you were born in the 20th century, you were more likely to be born under Roosevelt’s administration than any other.
I set off from Gorham early in the morning (I don’t remember just how early it was, but believe me, I’m usually not up at that hour on a Sunday). I got to Exeter about an hour and a half later, and after meeting Alice’s new budgie (who was temporarily living in the bathroom to keep it safe from their cats) we got in Barbara’s car and headed off for Hyde Park.

Technically, it was my turn to drive on this trip, and for the reason why I didn’t drive, I‘ll take a moment to whine:
I wasn’t at my best that day. I had a cold (still do), and just didn’t feel great. So I was quieter than usual. Also, there had been a crack in the windshield of my Honda, which the day before had very suddenly snapped all the way across, from one side to the other. I’ve never had a windshield break on me before, so I was not at all sure how big of a problem this was, or how much of it the insurance would pay for, or if I would get pulled over for the clear safety violation. I was worried. I kind of feel bad for Barbara and Alice, because I wasn’t the best company.

OK, so enough of that.
As with the Kinderhook/Albany expedition, we took 495 to the Mass Pike. When I used to drive from Maine to Smith College years ago to visit Sarah, I used to take a shortcut through Worcester, but I didn’t precisely remember the way, and Barbara was driving, and I didn’t feel great. The Mass Pike is a surprisingly long road, given how small Massachusetts is. It seems to run at least two Mass Lengths. Now, two Mass lengths is known as a chusett. If you get a bunch of chusetts and bundle them together, they form into a sticky blob, or mass of chusetts. Hence the name. Most people don’t know that. We listened to the soundtrack for Seussical the Musical at least once along the way
The Mass Pike eventually passes into New York, and links up with the Taconic Parkway. We’d been warned by our cousins in Poughkeepsie that we didn’t want to take the Taconic because it has no shoulder and you have deer jumping out at you from behind every corner. We didn’t see any deer, but we did see some turkeys and a couple of dogs. None of them jumped out at us, but they were right about the shoulder.
Just before the exit to Rhinebeck (home of Rhinebeck Field) we saw a sign to the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Landmark and Library directing us to the Rhinebeck exit. So we thought “Hey, great, it’s not the directions we found on the web, but how much better can you get than a sign sending us exactly where we want to go?” So we took the Rhinebeck exit. Rhinebeck, of course, is the home of Rhinebeck Field, and I must admit I was hoping to see a Fokker DVII fly overhead, but no luck.
The sign, it turns out, was placed by the Greater Rhinebeck Chamber of Commerce to redirect people from the clear, direct, fast, and simple route through a slow, meandering route through Scenic Downtown Rhinebeck. It seems like a nice enough town, we quickly realized we had been misdirected on a long-cut, and couldn’t really figure out what about Rhinebeck is deserving of such devious civic boosterism. If you’ve seen Kinderhook, you basically know what Rhinebeck is about (except, of course, since Kinderhook has a Genuine Dead President, it is much, much cooler).
If we hadn’t gone through Rhinebeck, though, we wouldn’t have driven past the Vanderbilt Mansion. We didn’t see it, but the gatehouse was bigger than my house.
We got to the Library, and the park ranger gave us the full schpeil about the guided tour, the movie, blah blah blah. Finally Barbara said “Actually, we’re just here to see the gravesite.”
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “You can walk the grounds for free. You go out these doors, around the other building, and the grave’s in the rose garden.”
First, (since it had been a long car trip) we decided to sit through the movie (it was only 20 minutes) (I dozed off for a while). We learned a bit about FDR and Eleanor. As you can see in the picture, the place was packed.

After the movie, we went out to see Frank and Eleanor. Little did we suspect they were having tea in the garden…

Then, the Main event. The grave. It’s a white stone grave, which was kinda hard to photograph, since it was sitting in a snow-covered garden. In the summer it must be prettier.
Here’s a picture of Alice in front of the grave:

Anyway, we we had to hurry and get our pictures, because the tour group we decided not to join was closing in on us fast. Also, Barbara realized that that her white coat wasn’t helping things. So here’s a picture of Barbara stripping in front of the late Franklin D. Roosevelt, while a crowd of foreign tourists closes in on us:

Here’s a picture of me looking cold, and vaguely like I’m Photoshopped into the picture.

And finally, here’s a picture of Barbara and Alice in front of the grave:

So we took our pictures and wandered a little around the grounds. We saw the driveway that FDR used to hobble down on his crutches every day. We were hungry, so we headed off to lunch at a crowded but very cool diner pretty much across the street from the historical site. My sister Terri has since pointed out that it was featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Here’s a picture of the Eveready Diner:

Alice’s fries came in a cardboard Cadillac convertible.

I still felt gross, but my tuna melt was very good. I didn’t get a picture of it, though.
The trip home was long, but uneventful. I fell asleep for a while on the Taconic Parkway, and when I woke up my headache was mostly gone, and I felt generally much better.
So that’s the story of the trip to Hyde Park. For my daughter Maggie, the most interesting thing about it was that we were in upstate New York, which is where her idol, Rachel Rey, lives. We didn’t see her.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Bring Me the Underpants of Grover Cleveland!

I know it's been a long time, and I promise to have the write-up of the Hyde Park Expedition on here very soon.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother-in-law mentioned to my sister Anne ( that the Conway Historical Society in Conway, NH has a pair of Grover Cleveland's long johns on display. These we need to see! How many presidential undergarments are there in museums? This may be a new Quest!

Ma! Ma! Where's my Pa? (And why did he leave his underpants in Conway?)

Monday, April 23, 2007

2 Epic DeathMarches Remain Undocumented

I've been working (slowly) on the story of the Great Hyde Park expedition of 2007 (I'll cut to the chase - it was successful), but of course, it isn't done. I now also have the Adams Family Expedition to write about, too. Yes, we're up to 7 Dead Presidents! I'll write more soon.