Afternoon Inquisition

Afternoon Inquisition 2.12

Today is Big Birthday Thursday!

In addition to all the random people celebrating birthdays today — Ray Manzarek, Arsenio Hall, former Boston Celtics center, Bill Russell, Jim Creeggan, bass player for Barenaked Ladies, etc. — both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln turn the big 200.

Darwin’s and Lincoln’s lives and accomplishments are still in the public consciousness; Darwin in part because of the political struggles between evolutionists and creationists, and Lincoln because the U.S. just elected its first black president. 

So today’s Inquisition is an obvious one:

Who would win in a fight between Chuck Darwin and Abe Lincoln?

Or if you’re not in a violent mood:

Do you do anything to celebrate birthdays (yours or other people’s), or is it just another day? And if you’re big on birthdays, what’s your most memorable birthday?

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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55 Comments

  1. i wished everyone a happy darwin day on myspace and facebook AND livejournal because i am a geek and am enjoying today ‘cuz it’s a-okay to be geeky today yay!

    also cold meds = i have no idea what i’m typing right now.

    also, i agree with DMS: Honest Abe is scrappy.

  2. I celebrate my birthday (and my wife’s), but it’s an excuse to go have a party or something, really. My most memorable was in 2004 when I went to Sapporo (with wifey) for my birthday during the Sapporo Summer (Beer) festival.

  3. I think I would kick both their butts, because today is my birthday too, and I think a 25 year old girl could beat a couple of skeletons already lying down… Unless they were zombies… but then I would become a zombie after they had bitten me and I would be a younger, stronger zombie who could rip them to pieces. :)

  4. My favorite birthday was my wife’s 5 years ago. We decided to meet up in Boulder on the spur of the moment. Had lunch at the glorious Kitchen. This led to wine which led to a completely indulgent trip through Classic Facets the best jewelry store on the planet which led to more wine and whatnot. I loved it because it was completely unplanned and it never stopped being fun. Things I plan never go so well.

    I dislike my own birthday intensely. Not because I mind getting older, I just hate people making a fuss over me for no reason at all. One by one I’ve convinced my family and friends to just drop it already.

  5. I usually have a party or at least cake with my family for my birthday, but it gets less and less important.

    For my 30th I said I didn’t want a party at all, but my parents said I’d at least have to invite them and grandma over for coffee. And then they showed up with both my grandmothers, my brother and his girlfriend, two aunts, an uncle and four cousins, birthday food, cake, pastries the whole works.

    A good surprise party. :)

    This year my birthday is on a Saturday, so even though 34 is an extra insignificant number I’m having a party with … possibly more friends than my apartment has room for. We’ll see how many show up.

  6. I just had my 40th birthday not too long ago. I threw a “Decrepitude Party”. I dressed up in one grandfather’s old 70’s polyester stretch pants and wore one of the other grandfather’s fishing hats. Black socks with white shoes finished the ensemble. It was a lot of fun.

    I used to do nothing for my birthday, and then I realized that there is nothing wrong with an excuse to throw a party.

  7. my birthdays usually end up being a bit of a dissapointment because it seems like every year Iexpect to feel different or significant in some day, and I forget that, at the end of day, its still just another day. that, and I’m an absolutely atrocious planner, so either a friend plans my parties or I just don’t have one (:

  8. “Who would win in a fight between Chuck Darwin and Abe Lincoln?”

    Are we talking atomic statue mutants or zombies? Because that Lincoln Memorial statue’s pretty big. If it’s zombies, it probably an even match.

    Then again, Chuck Darwin’s pretty tough…
    – When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Darwin.
    – Chuck Darwin doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
    – Outer space exists because it’s afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Darwin.
    – Chuck Darwin does not sleep. He waits.
    – There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Darwin has allowed to live.

  9. Lincoln freed the body, Darwin freed the mind.
    Mind over body or body over mind?
    As the smartass — I like to think mind over body, but hey – I always want the big guy in the bar to have my back – Fox — that’s you

  10. When Lincoln was in the Illinois state legislature, he was challenged to a duel by State Auditor James Shields. Honor dictated that Lincoln could set the terms of the duel:

    Lincoln stated that the weapons he wished to use would be “Cavalry Broadswords of the largest size”. He figured that he could easily disarm Shields using the swords, whereas pistols would most likely lead to one of their deaths, if not both. He also added that he wanted the duel to be carried out in a pit 10 feet wide by 12 feet deep with a large wooden plank dividing the square in which no man was allowed to step foot over.

    Broadswords. In a pit.

    Darwin’s going down hard.

  11. @Howard: Glad someone else brought up the duel. Lincoln was indeed a wirey warrior dude.

    Then again, in the spirit of the Batman vs. Wolverine matchup, Darwin might pull some fast ones- unleashing hordes of exotic fauna gathered on his travels…besides the finches and tortotises…hmm. Perhaps he must retreat to the lab for some time to breed successively fitter generations of beasties tested in battle against a steam-powered RoboLincoln.

  12. Darwin: 5’11, 148 lbs. (Beagle voyage) … Lincoln: 6’4, 180 lbs. (1859) … I say Lincoln takes Darwin in the second by TKO.

    I think birthdays are pretty arbitrary … My only particularly memorable birthday was at age 21, which is also the legal drinking age in Texas at the time … I was walking back from computer lab (taking a course in Pascal, if that helps you put a date to it) to my modest 425 sq. ft. apartment, and my then girlfriend had just pulled into my parking lot when I walked up and asked “Where is your car?” (A red t-top Camaro that I kept in primo condition.) There was shattered glass all over my parking spot. Someone had stolen it, notwithstanding the rudimentary alarm system at the time. So we cancelled the small gathering that was supposed to take place at a local bar, called the police, waited for an hour and a half, and then made the report … But to add insult to injury, by 11pm, we ended up going to HEB (24-hour grocery) to pick up a bunch of wine and beer, and for the first time in my life up to that point, I was not carded. At that point, my girlfriend said, “Jeez, the guy just turned 21 today and had his card stolen – the least you could do is card him!” The clerk ended up giving us the booze …
    Twenty-eight days later, the police ended up finding the car – in trashed condition – just two days before my insurance company would have written me a check for the replacement value.

  13. When in Alaska– and I frequent bear country — in those unfortunate times when a large grizzly is chasing you — yes, natural selection favors the strong — but it also favors the smart. The reason you have a pistol is not to shoot the bear — their coats are so thick you cannot penetrate them — it is to shoot your buddy in the knee. The bear eats them – and you run. So, it isn’t the reach of Lincoln, or the height– it might, however, be who is smarter. Two disciplines that are different, hard to imagine in a fight — they would probably instead go to a pub and have a couple of pints together.

    Birthdays — for kids

  14. I couldn’t decide who to go with until I read the broadsword thing. Go Abe!

    My maternal family, who’re the ones I do all my family stuff with, have odd birthday distributions…4 of us have birthdays within a week of each other in September, three of us have birthdays in February. So we just do two big birthday parties and have a lot of fun with it.

  15. Lincoln

    I am currently in the week long celebration of my daughter Joy, Today is the day itself so…HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOY (17)! We started the week with a dinner to celebrate that special right of passage, getting her drivers license. Tonight is out to dinner with her friends, she wants to go to John Harvards. The tomorrow a dinner party at her grandmothers, capping off the celebration is the Boston Science Fiction Movie Marathon from Sunday to Monday at the Somerville theater.

    In our family we also celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. birthday. This year we had a community dinner that was attended by about 30 people where we listen to speeches share thought and in general appreciate this great man.

  16. Now in a straight one on one fight Lincoln would win, no doubt. He has reach and possibly weight advantage. But what most people don’t know is that Charles Darwin was actually a super hero with the powers of Evolution, He would go into a trance and emerge ever so slightly more powerful. Also he and Huxley once formed Voltron.

  17. @Soresport: I LOVED the Somerville theater! Very retro (at leats it was 15 years ago when last I went). Do they still do the Festival of Animation there? I used to live about two blocks from that theater during grad school. Happy birthday to Joy.

    Yeah, the broadswords things clinched it for me. I’m putting 50 big on Abe.

  18. It is still a great theater SteveT, but changes since 15 years ago. Still has that beautiful 1000 seat main screen with the stage in front of it. It is excellent they serve beer and wine. I started going there in the 80’s working at Northeast Food Coops on Cameron Ave. A great theater!

  19. What with the rail splitting and growing up in rural 19th century America, I’m sure Lincoln could beat the somewhat upper class privileged Charles Darwin. On the other hand, Darwin did go to one of those English boys’ school and sailed with a bunch of sailors for a number of years, so who knows? I bet they wouldn’t have fought at all.

    As for MY birthday of course I celebrate it. I’m 52 and I still want presents. And who can blame me?

  20. I’d say Lincon. Not only was a gangly midwesterner, he was a wrestler in his youth. Darwin, although on board a ship for 5 years, was in the end a pedantic gentleman. Now if we did Lincon vs Thomas Henry Huxley, I’d pay $5 on pay per veiw for this match-up.

  21. I’ve never been big on birthdays. I don’t celebrate mine. I just accept gifts and do whatever everybody else wants to do. (Same goes for everyone else’s bdays… I ask them what they want to do, and we do it. I don’t really buy gifts, not for xmas either.) Then after 9/11, my birthday became even LESS entertaining. Permanently! I can no longer celebrate a single birthday without also mourning the deaths of thousands of people, not to mention the death of my innocence/naivete towards this awful world we’re stuck in.

    See, this is where I always end up when talking about my bday.

    I’d say Lincoln would win! It would be a close match, but Lincoln would pull through in the end.

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