Drumroll please! In honor of March (which is probably the best month of the year) and the NCAA March Madness, this fine blog is going to have a little tournament of its own. I therefore present Dick Madness!
|The Diggity Dick Bracket|
As you can see the bracket is pretty hard to read; rest assured, however, that it exists. For your convenience, I have listed all of the contests, complete with commentary, below. The lists go from the top of the bracket to the bottom; the left side is given before the right side. Most, but not all, of these Dicks have a blog entry, and these have been linked. Simply click on any yellow name to be taken to the relevant blog post. After reading, be sure to get your Dick on and vote. May the best Dick win!
Actors (who I haven’t blogged about but you know anyway):
Richard Burton vs. Richard Gere
Richard Burton (actually born Richard Jenkins) – British, twice married to Elizabeth Taylor, Antony to her Cleopatra, and Becket in 1964’s Becket (opposite Peter O’Toole as Henry II)
Richard Gere – sort-of good looking actor with limited range (he always seems to be playing either a business man a la Pretty Woman or a lawyer a la Chicago and that movie with Edward Norton in it)
Richard Burbage vs. Richard Mansfield
Richard Burbage – an actor who worked with the William Shakespeare, Burbage was the first person to perform such fabulous roles as Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Richard III (hell yeah!). Burbage also acted in Ben Jonson plays, and was an all-around top-notch leading man. Out of the approximately twenty big leading roles (over 800 lines) of the 1580-1610 era, thirteen of them were first played by Burbage. He continued acting until his death in 1619.
Richard Mansfield – supposedly one of the finest Shakespearean actors of the Late-Victorian era, he was briefly a suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders. He apparently also did a mean Richard III.
A New Twist on the Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones:
Ringo Starr vs. Keith Richards
Who will it be? Richard Starkey (otherwise known as Ringo Starr), the least important Beatle, or Keith Richards, ugly as sin but probably the second most important/famous Rolling Stone? Should the merits of the respective bands decide the battle or the merits of the respective Richards?
Pennsylvania Sweater Vest Battle:
This one’s a bit of a stretch, but oh well. Who would better rock a sweater vest: Dick Clark or Rick Santorum? I’m not sure Dick Clark wears sweater vests, but he seems like the kind of guy who might (or might have, back in 1950s or so). Plus, he and Santorum both have connections to Pennsylvania (Clark worked in Philadelphia – where American Bandstand started – and Santorum was Pennsylvania’s senator for a time).
Dick Butkus vs. Richard Doubledick
Dick Butkus – I don’t care how it’s spelled, people always seem to pronounce his name “butt-kiss,” which is pretty unfortunate. Anyway, Richard Marvin “Dick” Butkus is a famous football linebacker who played for the Chicago Bears. Richard Doubledick is a creation of Charles Dickens. What the dickens was old Charles thinking?
Both of these Richards are literary, so no real Richards were emotionally harmed. Semco is a 1950s creation who gets a bit testy when his girlfriend realizes she’s a lesbian and leaves him for a woman. Vandermarck is a Victorian character, who lamely pines away for a woman who refused to marry him once she discovered she wasn’t actually poor. Vandermarck, however, does seem to get the girl in the end – it just takes several years.
Authors with Dick in their Last Names:
Charles Dickens vs. Philip K. Dick
Normally I like to confine my blogging (and my love) to guys who have Richard or Dick as their first name. But since 2012 is the 200th birthday of Dickens, I’ll let this one slide. Dickens is a famous Victorian writer (duh!), notable for such works as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, and Great Expectations. Dick is a science-fiction writer whose various works have been made into a shit-ton of movies (all after his death, of course, so the poor sap died broke).
Richard Pryor vs. Richard Lewis
I feel like this is a totally unfair match-up, given that Pryor is the granddaddy of modern comedy and Lewis is known for playing Prince John in Robin Hood: Men in Tights and occasionally appearing on Curb Your Enthusiasm (maybe he’s done other stuff, too). But they’re both named Richard and they’re both comedians, so the face-off kind of wrote itself.
Medieval Dicks who have Greatly Benefitted from Fictional Embellishments to their Careers:
Richard the Lionheart owes Robin Hood big time. I swear, he would not have nearly so great a reputation if Robin hadn’t stolen from the rich partially to raise his ransom. Because of that, he got to be the lion with a full mane in the Disney movie and Patrick Stewart in Mel Brooks’ version. If it weren’t for Robin Hood, Richard would simply be that king who bled England dry so he could go fight infidels (which is not politically correct nowadays).
As for Dick Whittington, he did go from not very rich to ridiculously rich (and leave his wealth to charity), but he wouldn’t be nearly so famous if it weren’t for the quaint fable about him and his cat. But that story has kept his name alive: no other medieval mayor of London is so well known.
Father or Son? Old-timey boss or generic politician? Dead or alive? Only you can decide.
Famous Father Face-Off:
Blair is the son of George Orwell, while Cromwell is the son of Oliver Cromwell. Further details are spelled out in their blog post.
Who will it be: the vice president who mistook his buddy for a quail or the vice president who married his slave (and opened a bar to keep himself financially solvent)? This one will have to be decided on personal merits because as far as vice-president-ing goes, neither really did much.
Richard of Chichester is also known as St. Richard, a canonized saint of the Catholic Church. Richard Rolle was a medieval mystic who experienced the fire of God’s love actually burning inside him. Heavy stuff.
One is based on a poem, the other on a vaudeville routine. But only one will win. Who can it be now?
A tough one here. Both have been immortalized by Shakespeare (not to mention on this blog). The Second was a child king who was deposed by his cousin (Henry IV, who I always abbreviate as HIV in my notes. Not that I’m hostile or anything). The Third usurped the throne and murdered his nephews. I love them both!
For starters, I should point out the redundancy of saying “English Earls,” as only the English have earls - everyone else calls them counts. Be that as it may, Cornwall was the brother of Henry III, King of the Romans, and the first ever post on this blog. Cambridge was a do-nothing twit who was executed by Henry V.
Law & Order:
Dun-dun. That’s the sound of justice you hear, so choose wisely. Dick Wolf is the creator of Law & Order (and all its offshoots). Belzer is Detective Munch; he also wrote a comedy routine about only having one testicle. Ballsy.
I’m mixing comic books and comic strips here, but you’re just going to have to deal. Dick Grayson was the original Robin and is sheer awesome. He now goes by the name Nightwing, but he’s also done a couple stints as Batman. Dick Tracy has a very square jaw.
We’re mixing mediums here. Dadd was a painter who suffered from mental illness, murdered his father, and spent most of his life in an asylum. Sprang drew comic books, is from Fremont, Ohio (hell yeah!), and spent most of his life working from home (which was usually in Arizona).
This one is actually a competition. Richard Rich was instrumental in bringing down Thomas More. He was also voted the worst Briton of the 16th century. Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon was racist, anti-Semitic, and a crook.
Dicks I Blogged About Anyway (despite them being virtually unknown):
The first fell into a privy and drowned to death in shit. The second was a prince who died in a hunting accident.
Richard Loeb vs. Richard Ramirez the Night Stalker
Richard Loeb, along with his BFF Nathan Leopold, murdered a teenager for funsies. Richard Ramirez terrorized Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1985. He murdered over fourteen people and raped women and children. He was going to get his own entry on the blog, but I decided he was too much of a son-of-a-bitch to merit that (the child rape really got to me). I do want to tell the story of his capture, though, because it shows the good people of East LA at their finest.
To elude police capture, the Night Stalker (whose face had been in the newspaper) ran towards East LA looking for a car to boost. He found one sitting in a driveway with the keys inside. When he started the car, he found out why the keys were inside: the owner was underneath the car making repairs. The owner jumped onto his own car like an action-film hero and wouldn’t get off. Since his vision was obstructed, Night Stalker abandoned that car and tried to car-jack a woman who was getting ready to drive to work. When she screamed, her husband came running and started beating on Night Stalker. His shouts alerted the neighbor man, who came running with his strapping teenage sons. Night Stalker exited the car and took off running down the street. The neighbors recognized him from the newspaper picture, so they took off after him, eventually catching him and subduing him (no doubt through a beat down). And so, the Night Stalker was brought low by teamwork. Go East LA!
Darrin Stephens Battle:
Dick York vs. Dick Sargent
Which Dick was more bewitching? Both of these men played Darrin Stephens, husband of Samantha, on the television show Bewitched. York was the original Darrin, playing that role for 156 episodes. He left the series in 1969 because of chronic back ailments (acquired after he was injured on a movie set in 1959). His replacement was Sargent, who played Darrin for 84 episodes. Strangely, both of these men died in the early 1990s at the ages of 63 and 64 respectively.
Richard Wagner vs. Richard Strauss
Wagner is a nineteenth-century German composer, known for his epic, complex operas and his dislike of Jews. He seems to have been a less-than-stellar person, but he is an extremely influential Romantic composer. And, sadly enough, Richard is his middle name! His name is actually Wilhelm Richard Wagner. Richard Georg Strauss was also a German Romantic composer and the son of musician Franz Strauss. He was not of the same era as Wagner; Strauss lived from 1864 to 1949. Strauss was much less of a dick than Wagner, although, overall, his works might not be quite as famous. He did, however, compose the very famous “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” the opening of which was immortalized in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Richard Parker vs. Moby Dick
Richard Parker is the name of both a real teenager and a fictional character that were cannibalized by their crewmates. The death of the real Richard Parker precipitated a court case; the death of the fictional Parker simply occurred in a god-awful Edgar Allan Poe novel. Moby Dick is a great white whale - great white sperm whale. American classic, indeed.
Richard Burton was an adventurer, author, ex-pat, and government employee (interesting how he managed to be both of the latter two). He was pretty forward thinking when it came to sex and ridiculously racist when it came to Africans (boo!). Richard Wright was an African-American author and ex-pat, most famous for writing Native Son and Black Boy. Wright was also a communist, which is very exciting.
Dicks who have made Life Better for Children:
Steiff invented the teddy bear, while White is the voice of Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Both have made noble contributions to the childhoods of children everywhere.
Dukes of York:
Richard, duke of York (d. 1460) vs. Richard, duke of York (d. 1483)
This one is a little lame, but such is life. The elder Richard, duke of York claimed the English throne and thereby helped start a civil war. His son did manage to claim the throne, though, after Richard died in battle. The younger Richard, duke of York was the grandson of the first, and was probably killed in the Tower of London (at age nine) on the orders of his uncle Richard III. Despite dying at age nine, this kid was already a widower! He had married at age five and lost his wife within three years.
Food and Drink
Spotted Dick vs. Richard Hennessy
Spotted Dick (and I quote Wikipedia here) “is a steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit (usually currants) commonly served with custard.” Follow the link for a picture. Richard Hennessy is the founder of the Hennessy cognac company, and he even has a specialty brew named after him. I wonder if these two menu items would go well together?
Richard Brooke Garnett vs. Dr. Richard Gatling
Garnett is a Confederate general who died at the Battle of Gettysburg. According to The Killer Angels (which, incidentally, if you haven’t read this book, you need to get on that immediately!), Garnett basically committed Union-assisted suicide. He was too ill to walk at Gettysburg, so he rode a horse in order to lead his troops (this is generally a bad idea). He went out this way in order to remove the taint of cowardice (something which Stonewall Jackson had accused him of before Jackson died). Dr. Gatling invented the first successful machine gun in 1861; however, it saw limited use in the Civil War. I first heard about Gatling on (I am somewhat ashamed to admit) an episode of Pawn Stars, when Rick and a buddy drove for hours to see a Gatling gun. The gun still fired! The man selling it also wanted $300,000 or thereabouts! Apparently these babies are hot collector’s items.
Richard “Rick” Astley vs. Rick Springfield
Astley is the “rick-roll” guy, which means his 1987 song “Never Gonna Give You Up” has become the by-word for awful. Springfield, born Richard Lewis Springthorpe, is famous for sweet ‘80s tunes such as “Jessie’s Girl.” Interestingly, Astley is British while Springfield is Australian. Let the musical Battle of the Commonwealth commence!
Richard Simmons vs. Rick James
Shocking news! The fitness great Richard Simmons is not actually named Richard. According to Wikipedia his real name is Milton Teagle Simmons (born 1948). Ewww. That name makes Richard look good. Another discarded potential entry was Rick James (1948-2004). I figured he was probably named Richard, since Rick is a nickname for the most fabulous of first names. But I was wrong. Rick James was really named James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. So where do you think Simmons and James came up with their stage names? [And isn’t it interesting that both were born in 1948?]
Time for the most important part: voting. Since there are 32 categories, I was unable to set up a free survey-monkey survey. Because I am excruciatingly cheap, there was no way I was going to pay for a survey (I want this blog to only cost me time, not time and money). The upshot is that everyone has to e-mail me their votes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can post your votes in the comments. For your voting pleasure and convenience, I have listed all the categories and contenders below; all you have to do it copy and paste. You can either bold or underline your votes; another option is to delete the person you are NOT voting for. Since this will be on e-mail, feel free to express your innermost thoughts about Dicks. For instance, if you really love Richard Nixon (although you should probably get help for that), and want to vote for him 100 times, let me know. I’ll take it into consideration. Voting for Round One ends by midnight (whatever your time zone) on 7 March.
In the finest tradition of nineteenth-century voter fraud: vote early and often!
2012 Dick Madness Official Ballot
Left side (top to bottom)
Actors (who I haven’t blogged about but you know anyway): Richard Burton vs. Richard Gere
Shakespearean Actors: Richard Burbage vs. Richard Mansfield
A New Twist on the Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones: Ringo Starr vs. Keith Richards
Pennsylvania Sweater-Vest Battle: Dick Clark vs. Rick Santorum
Unfortunately-Named Dicks: Dick Butkus vs. Richard Doubledick
Kicked-to-the-Curb Dicks: Richard Semco from The Price of Salt vs. Richard Vandermarck
Authors with Dick in their Last Names: Charles Dickens vs. Philip K. Dick
Comedians: Richard Pryor vs. Richard Lewis
Medieval Dicks who have Greatly Benefitted from Fictional Embellishments to their Careers: Richard I vs. Dick Whittington
Chicago Mayor: Richard J. Daley vs. Richard M. Daley
Famous Father Face-Off: Richard Horatio Blair vs. Richard Cromwell
Vice Presidents: Dick Cheney vs. Richard Mentor Johnson
Holy Dicks! Richard of Chichester vs. Richard Rolle
Song: “Richard Cory” vs. “Open the Door, Richard!”
Kings: Richard II vs. Richard III
English Earls: Richard, earl of Cornwall vs. Richard, earl of Cambridge
Right side (top to bottom)
Law & Order: Dick Wolf vs. Richard Belzer
Comic Detective: Dick Grayson vs. Dick Tracy
Artist: Richard Dadd vs. Dick Sprang
Political Jerks: Richard Rich vs. Richard Nixon
Dicks I Blogged About Anyway (Despite them being virtually unknown):
Richard le Rakiere vs. Richard, son of William the Conqueror
Killer Dicks: Richard Loeb vs. Richard Ramirez the Night Stalker
Darrin Stephens Battle: Dick York vs. Dick Sargent
Classical music: Richard Wagner vs. Richard Strauss
Seafaring: Richard Parker vs. Moby Dick
Authors: Richard Burton vs. Richard Wright
Dicks who have made Life Better for Children: Richard Steiff vs. Richard White
Dukes of York: Richard, duke of York (d. 1460) vs. Richard, duke of York (d. 1483)
Food and Drink: Spotted Dick vs. Richard Hennessy
Civil War: Richard Brooke Garnett vs. Dr. Richard Gatling
Lame Singers: Richard “Rick” Astley vs. Rick Springfield
Fake Richards: Richard Simmons vs. Rick James