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Fun with the Founding Fathers

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I'm something of a history buff. Not a good one, mind you; I can't retain dates or names for the life of me. Still, I really enjoy museums and learning about our country's past and the founding fathers. Exhibit A: John and I went to Washington, D.C. - for our honeymoon.

This was not taken in DC. Nor was it taken on our honeymoon. In fact, it has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that it's an eagle and today is the fourth of July and I'm really proud of this shot and I may not get another excuse to show it off. So...hey, look! Pretty eagle!

Anyway, I first saw this video nearly six months ago, and I think I watched it a dozen times in one sitting. It's odd, silly, and a flat-out bizarre in the end, but for some reason I love it. And since it's about the Declaration of Independence, I figure today's the perfect day to share it:



The best part is definitely the actor playing Thomas Jefferson, R. Keith Harris. There's something kind of mesmerizing about a smooth rockin' Jefferson. :D

You can download the song for free (and also learn more about the group who made the video) here.

Also, if you're looking to get your feet wet with American history, you can't go wrong with a book on Lincoln. He may not be a founding father, but his life and words are fascinating enough to get anyone hooked on history. (And when you're done with him, read something on his wife. Yowzers.)
Also not taken on our honeymoon. But at least it IS in D.C.
There are tons of Lincoln books out there, but for light reading I'd go with this one by McPherson - it's less than 100 pages, and I *think* it's one of the ones I read and liked.

If you're up for something (much) heavier, David McCullough is another good author. I don't believe he has anything on Lincoln, but his John Adams made for excellent bedtime reading: slow enough to not keep me awake after I put it down, but interesting enough to keep me going through the 750+ pages. (Keep in mind I'm a fast reader, though.)

And finally, just for fun:

Hee!

A costume at the '08 Dragon*Con by Studio Creations

Just when you thought Lincoln couldn't get any cooler.

And one more for a good LOL:




Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Posted by Jen at 2:30 AM Labels: ,

64 comments:

  1. I just want to say, I love your blog. I think I might like this one more than Cakewrecks, and Cakewrecks is a hoot! Thanks for all the awesome ideas you share! And how awesome is a Steampunk Lincoln!!!

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  2. Have you seen Drunk History? This series makes me giggle. This one has to do with Lincoln: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL68NyCSi8o
    My favorite though is the Tesla one and the Benjamin Franklin one.

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  3. I too love your blog. The steampunk stuff is awesomesauce, and your humour is wonderful. As a small thanks, here is a Star Trek hoot I hope you will like.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xSOuLky3n0

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  4. HAHA I love that Lincoln commercial! Too funny. Also funny.....your Blogs! LOVE them.

    Thanks Danna

    PS How can one get one of your Epbot buttons??

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  5. If you enjoy American history, especially about Lincoln, you need to check out "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It's long...but worth every word! Goodwin is an excellent writer who is one of those historians who can make the complexities of the past understandable and fascinating.

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  6. When I was younger, I had a copy of "Love Is Eternal: A Novel of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln" by Irving Stone. It was originally my mother's book, I think, and it was a really good read. It focuses a bit more on Mary's point of view, and was a great narrative.

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  7. Ha ha, I just watched the Star Trek episode last night with Lincoln!

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  8. If you like reading stuff like this, I highly recommend this book on Franklin... super fascinating: http://www.amazon.com/Benjamin-Franklin-Yale-Nota-Bene/dp/0300101627/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278235810&sr=1-6

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  9. Ha! The music video is awesome, but I probably wouldn't have sat through the slow beginning if it hadn't been on your recommendation. I'm glad I kept going!

    Also, I love the commercial. I'm an American living in the UK and I must say, they just don't do good commercials over here!

    Thanks, Jen. I know I'm always in for a smile when I read your blogs!

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  10. OMG, my husband and I went to DC for OUR honeymoon (albeit 3 years after the fact!). :) It was great. I heart DC.

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  11. The Lincoln commercial is great! The Drunk History hoopla posted makes me giggle too -- my husband is a historian in Colonial Williamsburg, and these guys are so passionate about their stuff, even when tipsy. ;-) I like the stories of history, but like Jen, can't recall dates and names. My favorite Lincoln book for lighter reading is "The Humorous Mr. Lincoln: A Profile in Wit, Courage, and Compassion" by Keith W. Jennison.

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  12. Marla R. Miller just wrote the first biography of Betsy Ross (yes, the FIRST). You should check it out!

    http://www.amazon.com/Betsy-Making-America-Marla-Miller/dp/0805082972

    WV: Croma ... When kind acts are rewarded by Indian food.

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  13. As always, you've managed to make me feel less alone in the world! When my husband and I went on our first vacation in 12 years of marraige, we took our kids to Braintree and Quincy, Mass. It was so cool....well to us anyway. Can't wait till my husband comes home from sea so I can show him both videos! Thanks for the giggles, I'm going to go wake my girls up for our traditional July 4th screenings of 1776 and ID4!

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  14. I saw that video several weeks ago. As a US History/Lit teacher, I'm definitely using it in my classroom!

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  15. You completely forgot this winner from The Whitest Kids U Know:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4Uf9rsBbhc

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  16. Thanks Jen, for another great post! Happy 4th of July!

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  17. I have to confess, I have stopped reading your other blog. I enjoy this one SO much more. THank you for sharignthe contents of your head with us.

    Peace be the journey

    Paja

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  18. Jen, that eagle picture is amazing! And I love your reasoning for posting it! You should be proud of it & share!

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  19. Haha, that was a good music video! Jefferson was good, like sexy in an old-school singing way....I guess...

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  20. Not much of a history buff - but I DO love vampires...so for today's 'You got your peanut butter in my chocolate' moment...you should check out Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith...awesome read.

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  21. I agree with The Wicked Chef. "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" is a great read. I just finished it a few days ago. Oh, and I love the blog. :]

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  22. Nothing beats Cake Wrecks for a daily dose of wrecky humor (or some inspiring Sunday Sweets), but I'm really loving this new blog of yours!! Wonderful post today; your eagle photo is gorgeous, and the video is awesome. :)

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  23. What about Stars and Stripes Forever? Its not Independence Day without Muppets.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDA9NbPAK8o

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  24. Great post.

    May I recommend an armchair type of history (travelogue) book?
    The Assination Vacation by Sarah Vowell-the audiobook.
    mocking

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  25. Awesome video! Actually, awesome post!! I totally love this blog, and this was the perfect Independence Day post. Very patriotic, yet also lots of fun at the same time. Who says that history has to be boring?

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  26. I loved the song!!! I reposted it here... http://momlovesdeals.blogspot.com/2010/07/independance-day.html

    Thanks for sharing and making the day a little more real to me.

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  27. I am married to a history geek. For 28 wonderful years, I have toured some of the finest historic sites in the country. For his father's day present this year, we spent a week in Virginia going to various and sundry Civil War sites. Some of them pretty obscure. He had a "wish list" for the week and I think we found just about all of them!

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  28. I recently read Lincoln, a Photobiography and really liked it. It's written for elementary school age kids, but I thought it was really good and pulled you into Lincoln's world. I was totally drawn in.

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  29. "Happy Independence Day, everyone!"

    You're welcome! ;)

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  30. McCullough is the best, hands down; how I wish he'd do a Lincoln biography! *swoon* Though the Lincoln I'm reading right now, by David Herbert Donald, is superb. I need to find more by him.

    While I dearly love to read history, particularly political history, I find I get more out of it (and remember it better) when the history is in the form of biography. Seeing events through the lens of a particular person gives it an extra dimension.

    And by the by... I'm another fan of both Cake Wrecks and Epbot. Love them both, would find it impossible to choose between them! I hope you have the time and energy to continue both, Jen. You're the Bestest Blogger EVAH! :)

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  31. Loved both videos and am also a history buff, but read more globally - or at least I'm trying to.

    I've read extensively on Anastasia (Russia), Jack the Ripper (London) and Lizzie Borden(USA).

    Can't you just tell I'm kinda goth.

    ;-)

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  32. If you like reading about history, I recommend checking out Jeff Shaara. He writes pretty easy to read historical fiction about the major wars of American history, the Revolution through WWII.

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  33. I'm reading a great book on US history right now called "A Voyage Long and Strange: on the trail of vikings, conquistadors, lost colonists, and other adventures in early America" by Tony Horwitz. It a great look at some lost perspectives.

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  34. Awesome post Jen, thanks! I begged my husband to take me to DC for our honeymoon and loved it! Someday soon we'll go back. Thanks for the blog, I love it.

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  35. I'm exactly the same kind of history buff. Names & dates escape me, but understanding history, visiting historical sites, reading historical fiction...all my favorites. Thanks for the video!!

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  36. You know, if they showed that "Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration" video in History class, I'm sure everyone would have a chance to pass.

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  37. That 'too late to apologize' video might just be the best thing I have ever seen.

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  38. David McCullough's "1776" is also very, very good. After reading that, it's amazing we were able to achieve independence from England.

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  39. Ha! I just posted that Geico commercial on my blog today, too! It is hilars!

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  40. I hope you and your hubby had a wonderful 4th!

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  41. I thought the funniest part of the Timbalake ripoff was the Samuel Adams character immortalized by a mug of brew.

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  42. I love history, too. My favorite Lincoln biography so far has been Ronald C. White's "A. Lincoln" which I thought did a great job of trying to explain the context of the times Lincoln lived in as well as the details of his life. It is a long book but I really couldn't put it down. I agree with Quill2006 about "Team of Rivals" too--great book. Thanks for this blog--I really enjoy reading it.

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  43. People look at me like I have two heads when I tell them that my husband and I went to D.C. for our honeymoon! I would much rather be at the Smithsonian than on a beach!

    Also, have you checked out the HBO miniseries "John Adams" (based on the book you mentioned. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney are fab...I think we Netflixed it. I tried to read the book before watching the miniseries, but I am a slow reader and I just couldn't wait to see it!

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  44. There is a Civil War reenactment happening this weekend in my area, and today they're having a Town Hall with Lincoln (apparently this guy is a "renowned Lincoln impersonator")... sounds kind of fun.

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  45. If you like D.C. (and if your sense of humor and wackiness is anything like what I think it is....which it should be, since it's broadcast all about teh interwebs), you should come up to D.C. for the Post Hunt next year. It's a totally bizarre puzzle that happens every year and involves a lot of brain-wracking and laughing and oddness. The recap from this year is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/magazine/features/2010/post-hunt/index.html You can't tell me that doesn't look like awesome!

    Also, to add to the Lincoln themed stuff - a small, random, obscure moment in history from 5 second films (it's stupid, but it makes me giggle):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGmWR5dv7B0

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  46. Did you know that, in the Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln's hands form an "A" and an "L" in sign language? Yep. The picture you posted is the "A."

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  47. If you like books about Abe Lincoln, you should read this new book: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". The author of that also wrote "Pride And Prejudice and Zombies".

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  48. i second the drunk histories comment. seriously good stuff. Thanks for the videos!

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  49. Hehe, embrace the history geek! I recently attended a "1776" themed bridal shower which included some singing of that version of "Too Late to Appologize."

    Took a week to get rid of the ear worm but I still had to watch it again! : )

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  50. aliceinwonderland14July 6, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    I just saw the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. a couple weeks ago-beautiful! The sign language thing is cool......I just learned that on my trip! The Jefferson rock thing was so good. Love the lyrics-:)!

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  51. That steampunk Lincoln poster is probably THE most posted steampunk picture on blogs. You chose wisely

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  52. I posted that music video to my facebook account and I've had at least 4 other people link from it to their account. Thanks for the find.

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  53. Most excellent Independence Day post. That music video made my whole, exhausting weekend. Thank you. :-)

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  54. Jen, thank you so much for sharing the "Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration" video. It's completely fabulous as is, but was especially appreciated today. Half of the school where I teach was destroyed in a fire yesterday, so I most definitely needed the laugh. Thank you for helping me lighten up today!

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  55. i keep going back to the music video. you're right about jefferson. if my history teachers made it half as smooth as he did, maybe i'd remember those dates.

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  56. I was supposed to go to DC on my honeymoon as well. Was all packed and ready to head out the evening of our wedding... that is until my husband surprised me with tickets to HAWAII!!!

    We made it to DC a few years later when he was sent by his work to a convention. I got to wander the mall and museums while he slaved away at seminars! WOOT!

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  57. http://shirt.woot.com/friends.aspx?k=14293
    for some more Lincoln butt-kicking action.

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  58. Steampunk Lincoln is all kinds of awesome. Just...because. :)

    And thank you, thank you for the link for Too Late To Apologize. Must show that to my husband (1776 is his favorite musical).

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  59. Hi, love both your sites! I'm hoping one day soon you'll take a stroll through upstate South Carolina: noting could be finah!

    You might enjoy the site of an acquaintance of mine.
    http://www.thehistorybluff.com/

    Thank you from one Trekkie, Star Wars, Disney, Dapper Dan loving, snarky-commenting nerd to another!

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  60. As a high school history teacher and historian, I definitely have to second the David McCullough suggestion!

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  61. Love the new blog (and Wrecks, too). If you liked this, you will love the movie 1776. Musical history, and Jefferson is a hunk...

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  62. I enjoy the new blog as a whole, but this post really took the cake (heh). Almost two weeks later and I'm still geeking out over that video! TJ is the best, and I love when the wig flies off the bust from the rockin' violin!

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  63. I realize that this comment is coming months later, and I hope that you get notified about it!

    I teach 4th grade, and part of our social studies curriculum is teaching about the American Revolution. I filed this movie away in my mind, and showed it to my students for the first time the other day....
    and they LOVED it. Actually, we watched it 3x in a row today (during recess no less) and I now know all the words by heart.

    I'm not sure whether that's a blessing or a curse, but thank you for sharing this with us!

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  64. I've been lurking at your blog on and off for the past couple of months. I think this video uses really good imagery at the end because this is what our Founding Fathers looked like to the British Empire and the rest of the world...rebellious teenagers with just as much sense as parents and grown up people thought rock stars had when that movement was being born. It would be awesome if people still thought of the Founding Fathers as right up there with their favorite music artists...though they certainly were more intelligent than your average bear.

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