"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Friday, February 24, 2012

What they gave up? And what they didn't? : The True Story about the First 10 Presidents and Lent

1. George Washington :
                What he gave up? Choppin’cherries
                What he couldn’t give up? Taking names and kicking ass.
2. John Adams:  
                What he gave up? Doing shit atthe last minute
                What he didn’t give up? Hedgehogging 

3. Thomas Jefferson:
                What he gave up? Writing lettersto his pen pals in France
                What he didn’t give up? Poppin’ cherries

4. James Madison:
                What he gave up? Signingarticles with the name ‘Publius’
                What he didn’t give up? Callinghis ‘pen’ mightier than Washington’s ‘sword’

5. James Monroe:
                What he gave up? Finishing thelyrics to his song ‘Era of Good Feelings’
                What he didn’t give up? TheMonroe Doctrine… stay the  f%&@ outEurope!

6. John Quincy Adams:
                What he gave up? Dairy [See what Andrew Jackson didn’t give up]
                What he didn’t give up? "The Art of making Love..." like a Yankee

7. Andrew Jackson:
                What he gave up? Dodgingbullets. Why dodge when you can just make the gun not fire?
                What he didn’t give up? Huge ass blocks of cheese

8. Martin Van Buren:
                What he gave up? Being born as aBritish subject.
                What he didn’t give up? Competing in the 1st Annual World Beard Championships

9. William Henry Harrison:
                What he gave up? Wearing a hatand jacket.
                What he didn’t give up? Pneumonia. 

10. John Tyler: (this dude is kind of boring...)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Aaron Burr and the Mechanical Horse

John F. Kennedy's 2nd trip to the moon in 1960, during which he made his famous mechanical unicorn ride, is pretty well-established in the canon of American History, but it's no surprise that the history books have taken some liberties with the details of this notable event. Some historians would have you believe that Charlie, the mechanical unicorn ridden by Kennedy as pictured below, was the product of a group of NASA scientists attempting to design a vehicle that could not only handle the rocky terrain but also be left on the moon and remotely controlled to take satellite photos for study. While it's true that NASA did in fact fit Charlie with more than a few upgrades including the signature horn used to monitor possible radiation on the moon, the famous unicorn was in fact originally a mechanical horse designed and built by none other than Aaron Burr in 1789.

Burr, most commonly known as the man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in their infamous duel, was also considered an avid equestrian during his day. In truth, Burr was actually disgusted by the smell of horse manure as well as terrified of falling from the back of a spooked horse, having suffered an injury as a child when he was thrown from a pony that saw a snake. However, one fact about Burr that was not widely publicized was that he was an excellent mechanic. In an age where machinery was fairly rare and usually very bulky and simple, Burr's spent many evenings tinkering in his cellar on contraptions so exquisitely crafted they would put many modern marvels to shame.

Burr's favorite hobby was crafting mechanical animals. His creatures ranged from small rabbits and squirrels that could be wound up to move and even make noise, to larger creations including a dog and a life-sized giraffe based on one he had seen as part of a French nobleman's private collection years earlier. In 1789, Burr's love for riding and tinkering merged in what is his longest lasting if not all-around greatest work, Charlie the horse. This wind up mechano-horse took 7 months to build, and supported the weight of a 180lb man. Almost unbelievably, if properly wound (a process that took 2 men several hours to complete), Charlie could run at a gallop for over 20 miles. Burr in fact won several races before losing the horse in a poker game to a man named John Nash in 1802.

From there history gets a little hazy as it often does. To be honest, we are not sure where Charlie traveled in the years following his parting with Aaron Burr, but we do know that the horse resurfaced in 1954 when it was purchased by the Kennedy family in an estate sale. The fact that it was still in such pristine and working condition is considered to be one of the original inspirations for the space program, evidenced by JFK's one-time quote "We are the new cowboys. Where they rode into the sunset, we choose to go to the moon." Thus we establish the origin behind Charlie's inclusion in Kennedy's famous ride, solidifying once again the rippling impact our founding generations have had throughout history.

The Lost and Founders

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Bachelor: A Midnight Ride

The first televised episode of The Bachelor aired in 2002, but the roots of this popular American reality series go back much further; specifically, to 1773 when Paul Revere set out on a journey to find true love.

“The bachelorettes are coming!”

After the death of his first wife earlier that year, Revere responded to an ad for colonial bachelors: “Date 25 of the Colonies’ hottest bachelorettes and propose to the lady of your dreams!” Turns out he was the only bachelor that applied. And the only person who failed to read the fine print: “Sign here to grant The Bachelor producers full rights to record every moment of your life from this day forward and to enlist yourself to any and all Revolutionary efforts requested of you.”

When Paul showed up in Boston for his first day as The Bachelor he was surprised to see that it wasn't 25 women as promised, but a mere 3: Rachel, Martha and Courtney. (A fourth bachelorette applied to participate, but was turned down) And instead of 3 months of courting, the producers decided that one week and one Rose Ceremony would be sufficient.

On the first group date, Paul and his three potential brides spent the day in Salem, Massachusetts, where they reenacted the Salem Witch Trials. Paul was captivated by Courtney's very convincing performance. However, Rachel made the most lasting first impression by showing off her horseback riding talents during their trip back to Boston.

While relaxing at the Bachelor Mansion later in the week, Paul received disconcerting news regarding one of the bachelorettes: Martha was allegedly already married to another man. When Paul confronted her about this rumor, Martha broke down, sobbing, and admitted she had recently tied the knot. She had been feeling neglected by her husband and hoped that by coming on The Bachelor she would be distracted from troubles at home. Martha was sent back to her husband in Virginia promptly after this confession, leaving Paul with just two eligible brides from which to choose.

At the end of the week Paul weighed his options carefully before heading to the The Rose Ceremony. While it was a tough decision, The Final Rose went to Rachel, who became Mrs. Revere the following week. 

The Revere's planned a honeymoon trip to celebrate their marriage, but unfortunately the War and Paul's accidental enlistment had caught up with them and Paul was sent off for another Midnight Ride.

"...One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm..."  -Love poem recited by Paul Revere to Rachel as he departed for the Revolutionary War

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dolley Madison: She Wore the Pants

A month ago, our readers were exposed to a story that involved Dolley Madison punting a living wolf from the roof top of Monticello. We here at Lost and Founders had no way of knowing that this fascinating anecdote would lead to revolutionary breakthroughs in our perception of Madison that rival even the startling realization that Jefferson’s dining room was in fact painted yellow, and not the shade of baby blue that scholars had envisioned for nearly a century.

Until now, Dolley Madison’s name has been synonymous with the birth of Washington, D.C. as we know it. We hear of her extravagant parties, of how she cooled even the most heated of bipartisan squabbles with homemade ice cream, of her buoyant optimism, and of course, of how she saved Washington’s portrait from the fire that burned down the executive mansion. She was brave, dedicated, heroic, cheerful, and… a power-hungry monster who, restrained as she was by societal expectations and gender roles, achieved greatness by controlling her frail husband like a puppeteer does a doll. Modern scholarship will attempt to suppress reality for fear of tarnishing the founding, but in our continual efforts to portray the real truth, we will attempt to show Mrs. Madison as she really was.

Dolley was born to the Payne family of Virginia in 1768. She was raised a strict Quaker, and thus, endured a childhood that was just about as lively as a bowl of oatmeal. In 1790, she married a well-to-do lawyer and had two children. Just as everything seemed to be falling into place, and just as a simple uneventful life seemed imminent, we see the first manifestation of the TRUE Dolley Pain Payne. In 1793 a bout of “Yellow Fever” conveniently broke out in Philadelphia, conveniently killing off her husband and son, and conveniently leaving her single and ready to mingle (to use a common expression of the time) with a certain 5’ 4’’ congressman who conveniently had achieved great fame by writing a lil somthin’ somethin’ we refer to as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

According to the history books, Dolley was expelled from the Society of Friends when she married Madison, an Episcopalian. At Lost and Founders, we think that the Quakers knew what was up. Dolley, who allegedly was sick with the fever at the same time as her husband conveniently survived and recovered just in time to court the lonely Mr. Madison. Convenience aside, James was also shy, sickly, and short. Contemporaries referred to him in private as “Little Jimmy” and Henry S. once famously said of him “He’s an anchovy”. At 43, Madison was 17 years her senior, and when we consider this along with evidence that suggests that Dolley was “a total babe” we are naturally left with sinister conclusions.

Just before her wedding, Dolley Madison notoriously quoted “There is a secret in life, better than anything a fortune teller can reveal. We all have a great hand in the forming of our own destiny.” Boy did she have a hand in forming her destiny. We understand that many readers, horrified by the accusations being brought against our first real First Lady, will refuse to accept that she was both a murderer and a grave-robber. We would like to reassure you, she wasn’t just a murderer and grave-robber, she was also an arsonist.

In 1926 The Evening Independent published an article stating: “If Dolly Madison were alive today, she would have been classed as a flapper. . . . She was frivolous, used rouge, dipped snuff, and . . . played cards for high stakes. . . . Quite another sort...” Furthermore, it is crucial to consider the reality that she wore a turban. In our experience, people who wear turbans and have no legitimate religious reason to do so tend to use them as a means of hiding something way sinister within the folds of the fabric… like Lord Voldemort


During the Madison administration, Dolley would tackle the War of 1812, domestic insurrection, and a fledging economy; meanwhile James would furnish the White House, plan social gatherings, and churn the famous ice cream for which his wife received all the credit. In 1814, during one of her customary fits of rage (this time set off by her dislike of the bright velvet curtains James had chosen for the family room) Dolley set fire to the executive mansion. With just enough time to secure the portrait of colonial heartthrob George Washington, Dolley managed to escape shouting “The British Are Coming!! The British Are Coming!!” James, scared as he was of his wife, went along with the story fooling generations of scholars into believing that the British burned down the White House.

We wish this weren’t all true; however, it is our solemn duty to inform you that it is. Dolley was a woman born way ahead of her time, constrained and restricted by society’s perceptions of a woman’s place. She did what she had to do, hurdling over…hurdles..? achieving her goals, her dreams, and her full potential. And let’s be honest. She was a total badass.