Thursday, October 30, 2008

Grand Occult Party

On Tuesaday I attended the io's final pub quiz of the season. Since it's Halloween week and all, the theme was "Stephen King", which was unfortunate for me because not only have I never read a single Stephen King novel or short story (not even one of the hopey, 40's prison ones), I pretty much don't care about horror movies, which I could only assume would also be asked about. Luckily for me though the rest of the questions ended up being about short stories and Maine, things I'm mildly interested in. I would have come in third if I hadn't somehow gotten McSweeney's writer George Saunders and former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon mixed up (I think it's pretty safe to assume no girl has ever loved George Saunders), which would have won me one of io's famed frozen pizzas. On the upside though, I won best team name for "Cujo do me a favor?"

But none of this is the point. 


The point of all of this is that the last question in the round on Maine was "This former congressman from Maine was a Republican candidate for President in 1880. A hint - he also has an elementary school at Southport and Janssen named after him."

This shouldn't have just been a hint for me. I should know this - I live a block away from this school. But for the life of me, I couldn't remember the name James. G Blaine. I know, I'm horrible.

So I decided to look up the man - who was apparently a speaker of the House, a senator, and a two time secretary of state. He was also, according to Wikipedia, the leader of the Half-Breeds. 

That's right. James G. Blaine was a werewolf. 

James G. Blaine Discusses Foreign Policy With A Campaign Staffer, Congressional Christmas Party, 1872

And apparently during their National convention, the Half-Breeds went up against a group of hardlined Van Helsings called the Stalwarts, led by notorious demon hunter Ulysses S. Grant. Things got ugly: 
In the 1880 Republican National Convention, the Stalwart candidate, former president Ulysses S. Grant, was pitted against Half-Breed James G. Blaine for the party nomination. Grant's campaign was being led by Stalwart leader, Roscoe Conkling of New York, a state that had the biggest split between Stalwarts and Half-Breeds. Despite Conkling's attempts at imposing a unit-rule in the Republican National Convention, in which a state's votes would be grouped together for only one candidate, a number of Stalwarts went against him by vocalizing their support for the Half-Breed, Blaine. The Half-Breeds united together to defeat the unit rule in a vote, and elected George Frisbie Hoar, a Half-Breed, to the position as the temporary chairman of the convention.
It's bizarre to think that such a time existed where a werewolf could go about in public with a name like George Frisbie Hoar, which would basically be the equivalent of naming a child Teen Wolf in today's world. 

Eventually the Half Breeds won out by putting up moderate werewolf James Garfield as a candidate, who it was agreed that when his transformation occurred, could easily be passed off as an unshaven Norwegian man. 

Garfield eventually went on to win the election, and the half breeds decided to take a more muted place in politics over the following years, using influence and acquired gypsy spells to get their legislative agendas passed through congress. 

2008 marks the first time since the 1880 election when the Half Breeds have put a player into the ring, with Zombie-American candidate John McCain. 

That was a stupid joke, but honestly, I just wanted an excuse to post this photo

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