All the Presidents, Man

Over the course of 28 days, three dudes in Northern California did all 42 past U.S. presidents.

With large doses of insanity suspectedly involved, songwriters Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken, and Jefferson Pitcher self-produced and recorded 14 songs a piece, each number based on the tenure of an American president.

abraham lincolnCompleted as part of February Album Writing Month, this particular project is deserving of wider recognition, especially at a time when our current president is actively re-classifying historical records in an effort to manipulate his own legacy. The trio intends to salute the Commander with a final song for the project, tentatively slated for proper release in late 2006.

Audio files and complete liner notes including lyrics for each track are available for free here. None of these are little ditties — they are complete songs and run as long as seven minutes. The lyrics and melody in Kiefer’s “Eisenhower (When Ike Walked the Land)” put the listener quite literally in the landscape of suburbanization and black and white TV:

We made a fence / painted it white / made the kids all fear God / and Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll / sold lots of radios.

Jeff Pitcher’s rich ode to the demise of President William Henry Harrison could bring someone to tears, if only they weren’t aware that he is widely regarded as maybe THE worst president in history, or had they not at least read Pitcher’s extensive commentary in the notes:

William Henry Harrison was an incredibly horrible and atrocious piece of shit… who was ultimately responsible for a big portion of the genocide of native americans….

The cut cuts deep.

Warren G. Harding may have been in and out before his first term was up, but as Matt Gerken explains in verse, we can thank him for establishing the chronyist corporatocracy we know so well:

The cabinet was a board room / Business leaders / Hobby policymakers / Protecting their interests / Making sure life is harder / For the rest of us / Just like today

I don’t post about music as much as I’d like, but once I downloaded the tracks and listened, I was pretty floored. Not since unwrapping the most recent gift of historical manifestations from Surfjan Stevens had I remembered that the dullest of stories could be brought to light in bright melodies.

Kudos, gentlemen for the incredible feat of not only writing one song for each of our 42 past presidents, but for creating AND laying down the tracks all within the course of our shortest month! Readers — check it out, this is far and away the best history lesson out there since Jon Stewart’s America.

Track 43 may prove to be epic… I can’t wait.

Addition by Detraction

I just got the memo — and at the risk of being classified a “determined detractor,” I want ON Rummy’s “electronic media engagement team.”

Because the best offense is the defense of the known unknowns.

“Fewer than 10 blogs written by those who oppose U.S. operations, which CENTCOM calls “determined detractors,” have established links, [CENTCOM’s Lt. Col. Richard McNorton] said.”

On Thursday Rumsfeld drew comparisons to the Truman years of the Cold War: “the future then too was unclear, the tasks often seemed insurmountable, and it was difficult to view things with the perspective that only history can offer.”

So Commie pinkos will be damned, we PATRIOTs shall spread nukes to whomever doesn’t yet want us dead — maybe they too will discover a “hopeful” existence, perhaps some sort of Asian democracy.centcom

McNorton: “‘The enemy’ even ha[s] virtual Caliphates. We were so far behind the curve,”

Sign me UP — and lift us up where we belong!

Politicked Off

With this post, I begin a more concerted effort to broaden the content of this blog. After all, politics is boring and for the most part useless, right? From now on, I pledge to address the more provocative, inspiring, and enabling elements that make this existence circa 2006 so damn exciting.

One look at my links opens a door to a new dimension of new media tools and concepts that have either enhanced my experience as a consumer and producer of a world of content or have been put on the backburner until i have more time to check them out. Additionally I invite one and all to steal my .opml file of the news and blog feeds I regularly peruse (thanks, Dave). Grab it here, import it to your newsreader, and try not to drown.

I originally intended this site to be a news aggregator, enabling the user to delve into a fully customizeable sampling of “everything between.” Sure, it was somewhat motivated by my disgust for the unreal extremism of our two-party system and the sheer irrelevance of the main talking points that were established to decide the 2004 prez election for black or for white.

After early talks with developers and other aspiring minds, I ditched enterprise for edumacation and have since been in grad school. But others have since beaten me to it, dirty work and all!
Gabe Rivera has done the best job with Memeorandum and Tech.Memeorandum.

Memeorandum refreshed every five minutes and features the most blogged-about articles (or posts) at any given time. As Rivera explains, the algorithm is based on the amount of recognition, or linked references a particular article gets throughout the blogosphere at any given time. This is why many of the same blogs appear regularly. Last fall I e-mailed Gabe as I was suspicious that some bloggers were they manipulating the algorithm? Or was I just narcissitically jealous that I couldn’t get up there no matter how many sites I trackbacked (I have since received a few referrals from the couple times I’ve appeared in memeorandum, if only momentarily). He reassured me that that was not the case — some bloggers just consistently are linked to and mirrored throughout the blogosphere. The shameless Michelle Malkin, seems to appear in memeorandum “headlines,” just as often if not more than AP or New York Times — and I would argue that this is thanks to her strategy of leaving all of her blog entries open to “trackbacks” and only a select few open to comments.

Technorati founder Dave Sifry noted in his February “State of the Blogosphere” report (a must-read) the fact that traditional media web sites (New York Times, Yahoo! News, Washington Post) GREATLY overshadow blogs in regard to measuring “authority,” or number of linked references.

The 150,000 or so well-read blogs represent what Sifry calls the magic middle: “A realm of topical authority and significant posting and conversation within the blogosphere.”

Together these statistics illustrate the effectiveness of blogs in shaping news and bringing the citizen voice to the forefront, while continuing to rely primarily on information published by the traditionally trusty broadsheet stalwarts.

In lieu of breaking out on yet another tangent… i’m gonna quit procrastinating — next time i’ll bring out some REALLY fun toys to play with, promise 😉