When North Vietnam became a Communist nation in 1954, the US sent troops to South Vietnam to prevent its government from falling into Communist hands. This is known as the domino theory: if one domino falls, they’ll all fall.
In fact, most American wars were based on childhood games such as dominoes. The Cold War was based on Monopoly–by the end, the Soviets only owned Baltic Avenue and one broken-down railroad. The Korean War, obviously, was based on Candyland, with its decisive and bloody Battle of Gum Drop Mountain. And World War II was based on Apples To Apples, with the Allies working feverishly to find the perfect opportunity to play their Adolf Hitler card (when, of course, the British drew the “Stinky” card).
America’s Civil War was based on the game Clue–who can forget how Colonel Mustard, with the candlestick in the study, won the Battle of Fredericksburg against the superior numbers and firepower of Mr. Boddy?
Even America’s Revolutionary War was based on a childhood game–freeze tag. After losing, King George III had to stand stone still from 1781 until his death in 1820.
So who won the game of dominoes that was the Vietnam War? Ice Cube, as recounted in his autobiography, “It Was A Good Day.”
How do we know the US lost? Because the US got stuck with Texas. Before the war even started, the US and Mexico decided, “OK, loser has to take Texas.” Because, come on, it’s Texas. Nobody wants Texas in their country. That’s why European nations are in Europe–they want to be as far away from Texas as possible. Lucky Europe!
But now, the United States is stuck with Texas, unless it can find a sucker to start a war with who’s willing to take the bet, “Loser gets Texas.” But sadly, you will not find a nation on Earth willing to take that bet. The US is so screwed.
It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it. Although, people are fond of the damnedest things. Like licorice. That shit tastes like ass. I apologize for my salty language, my dearest Eliza. It’s just that I have strong feelings about licorice.
Sometimes, during battles, I pretend that my enemy is made of licorice, and that licorice is trying to destroy me, my family, and our entire way of life. I don’t have to pretend very hard–licorice is, after all, an abomination to God, liberty and motherhood.
But I am afraid I may have taken my licorice hatred too far, my dearest Eliza. With a like-minded platoon of good, licorice-hating men, we have split off from our army to fight the REAL enemy: licorice. Wherever licorice is, we’ll be there to destroy it, and to destroy the people who aid and abet licorice.
It will be a long fight, my dearest Eliza, but someday, I promise I will return to you in a licorice-free world.
Yours without licorice,
General Ulysses S. Grant (drunk)
PS: I think the South won the Battle of Bull Run, on penalty kicks.
This week’s Disalmanac Podcast is all about Benjamin Franklin. He’s a history guy or something.
And stay tuned for a Random Bonus Fact about candy from the flat-out awesome Julie Klausner, host of the podcast How Was Your Week? and author of I Don’t Care About Your Band. Plus, she’s in the middle of a campaign to get to pet Duke, the adorable dog from the Bush’s Beans ads. Remember, Julie: You’re petting that dog for all of us.
Download by right-clicking the above link. Like you don’t know that.
Remember, all the previous podcasts are here. Hear previous guests like Reggie Watts, Ted Leo, Mary Jo Pehl (MST3K), Bill Corbett (also MST3K), Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings, the British band Clinic, and Sara Benincasa, or learn some crap about String Theory or Iceland. Whatever. Just download ‘em all: it’s like four years of college in a few hours!
And don’t forget our Twitter feed, our Facebook fan page, and our new book-writin’ blog over at Cowbird. That’s right–the Disalmanac book is coming out in 2013 from Perigee/Penguin, so try to learn to read soon, OK?
The 1920s were a time of great prosperity for America. “The business of America is business,” said President Calvin Coolidge. Then he demanded that someone pull his finger before ripping a huge one right in the Oval Office. They had to leave the windows open overnight.
This was the Jazz Age, when flappers jitterbugged and 23 skidoo’ed a shrimp on the barbie or some shit. Historians and speech pathologists believe there was some sort of aphasia rampant that made people speak random words.
The 1920s were also the era of Prohibition. The manufacture, sale, import, export and juggling of alcoholic beverages was prohibited by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. And yet, alcohol was easily available at neighborhood “speakeasies.” Many were run by organized crime figures like Al Capone, who controlled all bootlegging in 37 states, six Canadian provinces, most of Europe, and the planet of Neptune.
A few years later, Prohibition itself would be prohibited. Well, mostly—it is still illegal to juggle alcoholic beverages. If you are discovered doing so, you can be sent to Guantanamo as a potential terrorist. You’ve been warned.
In 1803, Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million. The French wanted $25 million, but Jefferson was able to talk the French down because the Louisiana Purchase included Arkansas.
So why were the French willing to part with the massive Louisiana Purchase, stretching from New Orleans to Montana, for only three cents per acre? To pay off Napoleon’s massive gambling debts. Napoleon was in deep to the Mob, and needed cash fast. Napoleon had bet $20 million for the Dolphins to win the 1802 Super Bowl, even though neither the Miami Dolphins nor the Super Bowl would exist for another 160 years. He lost big time, and the Mob wanted their cash, pronto. The Mob had threatened to make Napoleon ten inches taller, which would have ruined his whole image.
Napoleon had to do something, and so we ended up with the Louisiana Purchase. Though sadly, we did not keep the receipt, so we’re stuck with Arkansas.
The Battle of Lexington & Concord, in 1775, was the first battle in the Revolutionary War. Of course, before the battle could start, King George had to cut a ceremonial ribbon with his ceremonial scissors. And then, the winner of season three of “Colonial Idol” sang the national anthem. And then the armies of all the nations marched into the stadium, and Benjamin Franklin jogged in and lit the torch. And then there was the coin toss; the British won the coin toss and for some reason, elected to kick rather than receive, which is now considered a major military blunder.
Anyway, by this time, it had started raining, so a rain delay was declared and the grounds crew rolled out enormous tarps. And then there was the sausage race, and by this time, it was getting dark so they re-scheduled the battle for sometime in 1787. And by the time 1787 rolled around, the war was already over so they just canceled the whole damn thing.
And this is why the Battle of Lexington & Concord is considered one of the greatest battles in history.
But the truth is, Nathan Hale actually regretted a lot of things; not kissing Sherrie Jellum in tenth grade when he had the chance out behind the gym after third period algebra certainly came in near the top of the charts, but there was more.
Nathan Hale really regretted not going to Europe the summer after graduation so he could work at his dad’s garage instead. While Ben Franklin, John Adams and all his revolutionary buds were living it up in Europe’s youth hostels and techno raves, Nathan Hale was fixing buggies for his dad’s boring friends, and his dad always yelled at him for leaving the tools in the wrong place. Jesus, what a stupid summer. At least he could get high out behind the garage on his lunch break, but he really wanted to be having youth hostel orgies with hot, unwashed Euro babes with Button Gwinnett and John Hancock. Man, life sucks sometimes.
When Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase from the French for three million dollars and “all the escargot you can eat,” he sent Lewis & Clark west to explore it. Lewis & Clark jumped at the chance, with Lewis saying, “How long can it take to explore half a continent on foot? Like, two weeks?” Besides, it wasn’t like Lewis & Clark had a lot else to do besides play Super Mario Brothers in Clark’s mom’s basement, anyway.
So they set out from Saint Louis in 1804, after a hearty breakfast of several Egg McMuffins at McDonald’s. They also got a few to go, and they each got a large Diet Coke. This held them until they returned, in 1806. And what a day that was! It was after 11PM, so they ordered from the late night menu, getting a good deal on Big Macs and fries for under three bucks. Not bad! What an adventure! Wow! Plus, Clark was able to pick up his Super Mario game right where he left off, so: bonus.
Aaron Burr walks into a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve alcoholic cows here” (for the sake of this joke, Aaron Burr is a cow who is also an alcoholic).
The point is, jokes weren’t very funny back in 1804.
Despite that, Aaron Burr was an important and distinguished figure in early American politics: he served as a US Senator, and as vice president of the United States under Thomas Jefferson. He set an example for cows who are also alcoholics for generations to come.