“What the Hell are You Going to Do . . . ?”
In January and February of 1805, Marshal Jean Lannes was commanded the Advanced Guard of the French Army that was invading the Papal States. Early in February, shortly after having overwhelmed the Papal forces at Imola, near the Adriatic Coast, Lannes was taking a walk along the beach with Auguste Marmont and about six other officers and aides.
By chance a regiment of 300 Papal cavalry came up. Their commander, a young Seinese nobleman the Cavallero de Bischi, promptly ordered his men to draw sabers and prepare to charge.
As the troopers drew their sabers, Lannes stalked up their commander, shouting, “What the hell are you going to do with those sabers? Put them up at once!”
The outburst stunned de Bischi, who promptly ordered his men to return their weapons to their scabbards. This done, Lannes then bellowed, “Now dismount, all of you, and follow me.”
Totally “psyched,” Bischi ordered his men to comply, and so, leading their horses, Lannes led them to the French camp, where they were all promptly made prisoners-of-war.
Origins of “The Medicine Ball Cabinet”
Having won the election of 1928, prior to his inauguration in March of the following year President-Elect Herbert Hoover paid courtesy calls on several Latin American countries. From California a battleship thoughtfully provided by the U.S. Navy carried him to the countries along the western Coast of South America. After visiting Santiago, Chile, Hoover took the railroad across the Andes to Buenos Aires. There the Navy once again provided him with a battleship, this time the USS Utah (BB-31), which carried him to Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, and thence to the East Coast, in time for his inauguration.
While voyaging home in Oklahoma, Hoover noticed some young officers playing with a medicine ball, and promptly decided to get into the "game" himself. He found that heaving the heavy ball around in a circle with other men good exercise, and conducive to good conversation as well. Hoover soon roped several others of his entourage into a morning work-out with the medicine ball, and by the time the ship docked back in the U.S. was firmly hooked on the sport.
Shortly after his inauguration, on March 4, 1929, Herbert Hoover instituted the practice of having a regular work-out with a medicine ball before breakfast every day with a few of his closest advisors and congressional leaders. The daily routine not only provided the President with some vigorous exercise, but also enabled him to sound out his co-players on matters of policy.
Needless to say, the press soon caught on to the daily presidential routine, and quickly dubbed the group the "Medicine Ball Cabinet.” Hoover kept up this routine for his entire four years in the White House, and even afterwards, with some friends and associates.