Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

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White House Holiday Traditions Throughout The Years

George and Martha Washington had an adorable and, of course, patriotic White House tradition. Every year, they’d sit around on their uncomfortable furniture slowly dying of old-timey diseases and George would say,

“Have they built the White House yet?”

And Martha would say,

“God, I hate you.”

Then, she’d pry the wooden teeth out of his mouth and throw them across the room. Later on, they would fuck like wolverines. It was one of those kinda relationships.

John Adams was the first president to live in the White House; he and his wife Abigail celebrated the building’s inaugural Christmas in a most festive way, captured by a letter that attendee Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert wrote to his mistress Bulbina, an excerpt of which I reproduce here:

…17 missing, tho 4 bodies were later recovered (putting aside the fact that of the 4, 2 were “lost” on the way to the morgue, as the local ghouls are back at their devilish business) and 1 man did regain his health in part, but not his legs.

The Domicile of the Executive had been breached by the vox populi; the Doors of Democracy, having been opened, refused all entreaties towards closure. The hallways, so newly built, bulged and strained with men paradoxically insensate yet singing! The Sirens of corn liquor provided gratis and similarly priced beers of Gilgameshian strength yodeled with a throat more muscular than the Potomac had e’er heard. Stragglers and shysters and Senators and supplicants and simpletons. A rumor spread that a passel of Connecticut Sissy Boys were in the residence trying on the First Lady’s bustles. Prospero had conjured a tempest for our infant White House, and it appeared she may be dashed ‘pon the rocks.

Ah, look at the time. I must go be in charge of the navy. I’ll see you next Wednesday, so stop bathing on Saturday.

Love,
Benjy

Here’s a little-known fact: Christmas trees were invented by Martin Van Buren. Not the species of tree. God invented those. I mean cutting it down and decorating it. You probably learned it was an old German custom, but you were lied to. They lied to you about 9/11, and they lied to you about Christmas trees. It was all Martin Van Buren.  Woke up one morning and told the White House staff, “Bring a tree inside,” and when they asked why, he gave them the People’s Elbow. MVB got his tree.

“Decorate it,” he said, and now everyone was too afraid to question him and they got to work. When MVB saw what they had done, he asked, “What’s with the star?” The chief usher said, “It’s for Jesus.” And Martin Van Buren was like, “Fuck, yeah. Jesus. Love that guy.”

And that’s why we have Christmas trees.

During the Christmas season, Abraham Lincoln would sit at his desk by candelight writing letters to the families of dead soldiers. He would pause now and then to stare meaningfully or say something memorable. Then: back to the dead soldiers. Abe was kind of a drag.

To celebrate the Yule, Teddy Roosevelt launched a fifth column campaign in Colombia to “liberate” Panama from them, read two 700-page books, drafted 85 letters to various members of Congress and his administration, negotiated a settlement in a coal strike, killed two elephants and a cheetah, bailed his daughter Edith out of a Toronto jail, launched a dance craze, survived an assassination attempt, and gave a dozen speeches in a dozen towns. On December 2nd, though, he got to work.

TR’s cousin Franklin was the first to give the now-traditional Christmas Address; they’re mostly staid affairs, unremarkable, except for in 1972 when a drunken Richard Nixon found the radio equipment and managed to get it working before anyone could stop him.

Christmas. Christ, what does anyone know about Christmas? Not like Nixon knows. The Jews don’t know about it. They reject Christ, just like they rejected my dying brother. The Jew doctors killed him andhey get the hell off me I’m the president of the United–

[TAPE ENDS]

Lyndon Johnson introduced a fun tradition: he would walk up to staffers and say, “Hey, wanna see a real Christmas tree?” and he’d have his dick out. For a few years, the concept lay fallow, but when Bill Clinton brought it back.

Hamilton: The Dialogue

“He is a varlet!”

“Yes, yes.”

“A rank scoundrel bound neither by convention nor morality!”

“I know, but it’s all you talk about, Hammy.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“I just want to discuss something other than politics. Just for a little bit.”

“Easy for you to say. I’ve ne’er heard a statement more imbued with white privilege, General Washington.”

“White privilege? Have you been talking to Martin Luther King Bust again?”

“He’s a powerful speaker.”

“He is a divisive race-baiter.”

“I heard that, you tree-mouthed motherfucker.”

“I meant you to, Dreamy.”

“General Washington, the man is a cad and a bounder.”

“So was my brother Billy.”

“Your brother was named Billy?”

“He made beer.”

“We’re off the point. This miscreant means to bring down what we strove and fought to bring about. He shall be the end of the republic.”

“You have a very Chicken Little attitude towards life.”

“And you, sir, are like Pliny’s ostrich. Head buried in the sand.”

“How dare you?”

“I dare!”

“Then we shall duel!”

“Dude, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say–”

“WHY DID YOU SAY ‘DUEL?'”

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

“IT’S A SENSITIVE FUCKING ISSUE, MAN!”

“You’re right, Al. You’re right. My bad, my dude. All on me. My bad.”

“I’m hyperventilating.”

“Breathe. Just breathe.”

“I need a paper bag.”

“Well, we’re portraits. So you can’t have one.”

“Just gimme a sec.”

“Take as much time as you need.”

“You really are a rotten asshole, you slaver motherfucker.”

“FUCK YOU, MARTY! No one asked your opinion!”

“From the piney woods of Georgia to the mighty redwoods of California; from the desert to the sea; from the lunch counters of Alabama to the auction blocks of New Orleans: one of these days, I’m going to beat your ass, George.”

“You call me General Washington, damn you!”

“Right after you suck on my nuts.”

“George Washington sucks on no nuts!”

“Big black free nuts, buddy. Take out your teeth and open wide.”

“Gentlemen! Stop fighting! We must put aside our petty differences and solve the problem to hand. For providence’s sake, he’s even brought streetwalkers into the Oval Office.”

“I think that’s his wife.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“I cannot tell a lie.”

“Nice.”

“Right?”

“She looks like a off-brand Barbie doll left in the car on a hot day.”

“Regardless. She is the First Lady.”

“Worst lady.”

“You know, Hammy–”

“Don’t call me that.”

“–I’m beginning to think that there is nothing this man can do right in your eyes.”

“You should have been thinking that for some time now, General. He has proven foul in every possible way. Why are you defending him? He belongs to a political party and loves foreign entanglements. He’s everything you despise.”

“Not everything.”

“What? What, then, is the attribute of this homunculus that you admire?”

“Well. You know.”

“No.”

“You knooooooow.”

“I truly do not.”

“I don’t want to say in front of Martin Luther King Bust.”

‘I KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT HIM, MOTHERFUCKER!”

“I hate the both of you and wish I were out in the hall with Clinton Portrait and Kennedy Portrait.”

“I’ve heard they throw some good parties.”

Overheard That Time The Grateful Dead Took A Tour Of The White House

  • No, Mr. Owsley, you cannot examine the communication system.
  • Billy just punched an usher in the dick.
  • Someone go down to the Situation Room and let Keith out.
  • I don’t know how he got in there in the first place, let alone lock himself in; just go get him.
  • Then wake him up: just get him out of there!
  • Carpet-cleaners to the Situation Room.
  • Do you smell smoke?
  • All the Grateful Deads need to stop calling the president “President Branford;” it’s just incredibly inappropriate.
  • “President Oteil” is just as bad, Billy.
  • Why is there 8 tons of gear in the Map Room?
  • Whoever it was that ordered pizza: the delivery boy just ran off with the CIA Daily Briefing.
  • No, Bobby: State Dinners aren’t when the president has ribs with all the governors.
  • Billy just punched the social secretary in the dick.
  • Flotus has asked for Pigpen to be kept away from her.
  • You dosed the Secret Service? I dosed the Secret Service. Jesus, how many people dosed the Secret Service? We should go check on them.
  • A burning smell; no one else smells that?
  • Lenny Hart has stolen the nuclear football.
  • Someone needs to tell Mickey taking his dick out under the Lyndon Johnson’s portrait while screaming, “EL BEEJAY!” at female passers-by is just not gonna work.
  • Because besides it being the White House, it’s an office; you just can’t have drummers taking their dicks out.
  • No, he can’t keep screaming if he puts his dick away; every part of what he’s doing is unacceptable.
  • Billy just punched White House communications director C.J. Cregg in the dick.
  • The road crew found the secret tunnels, and now they’re racing dirt-bikes.
  • Why are there people selling burritos in the Rose Garden?
  • Flotus has asked for John Mayer to be kept away from the First Daughters.
  • How did Katy Perry get in here?
  • Like the Treaty Room is on fire: I’m the only one who smells that?
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