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Song of a Traveller: the courtesan's salon - 88 Lines about 44 Presidents
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88 Lines about 44 Presidents
Blame wealhtheow and Grover Cleveland. (Okay, and the song.)

88 Lines about 44 Presidents

Washington was quite reluctant
Didn't want to rule the land,
Adams, more enthusiastic,
Claimed Sedition Acts were grand,
Jefferson bought half the nation,
Headlined the two dollar bill,
Madison's Federalist Papers
Seemed to give him quite a thrill.

Monroe was a flagpole bearer
Spread Good Feelings through and through,
Quincy Adams followed father,
No one ever called him Q,
Jackson, he was one tough bastard,
Old Hickory through wartime years,
Van Buren grew up speaking Dutch
Then oversaw the Trail of Tears.

William Henry Harrison would
Rock the vote with "Tip and Ty"
Tyler walked in one month later
When his predecessor died,
Polk was "that one" old-school style,
Then pushed a westward Destiny,
Taylor thought that compromise
Might swing deserters from a tree.

Fillmore knew nothing at all,
Sent Perry's Black Ships to Japan,
Pierce was dubbed a doughface, then
Let Cuba slip right through his hands,
James Buchanan, bachelor,
Left it all up to history,
Lincoln rode the storms of war,
From Gettysburg to poor Bixby.

Andrew Johnson fought with Congress,
Reconstruction, then impeached,
Grant raced in his horse and buggy
And speed limits overreached,
Hayes got in by one elector,
And granted female lawyers rights,
Garfield was much more unlucky,
Shot in Stalwart party fights,

Arthur, maverick reformer,
Also was a fashion plate,
Grover Cleveland kept gold standards
As the currency's fixed rate,
Harrison then overthrew him,
Buying up the Blocks of Five,
Cleveland came back with a vengeance,
Strikers watched the troops arrive.

(Uh-uh. Not Cleveland.)

McKinley sent the Maine to Cuba,
Blew a mine to start a war
Roosevelt carried a big stick,
Hiked in forests, hung with Muir,
Taft, a fan of jurisprudence,
Left the White House for the Court,
Wilson and his Versailles treaty.
Cut "War to End All Wars" short.

Harding had bribery scandals,
Ran aground on Teapot Dome
Coolidge liked his laissez-faire,
And played up "Silent Cal" at home,
Hoover held Efficiency
Right up until the markets died,
Roosevelt held fireside chats
Then took the New Deal forth to try.

Truman wouldn't pass the buck,
He fought McCarthy over spies,
Eisenhower? Roads and rights,
He added God in public guise.
Kennedy ruled Camelot,
A generation's "where were you?"
Johnson, he got Vietnam and
Our first wiretap ballyhoo.

Nixon, when touched by audits,
Snubbed the mink but kept the dog,
Ford traveled to fair Helsinki,
Served as a golf program's cog.
Carter was a peanut farmer,
He tried to live within his means,
Reagan was a movie star
Who filled the jar with jellybeans

Bush the first, he led the spies,
Put "cheerful" in the CIA,
Clinton was already smiling
Recruited Blair for the Third Way,
Bush II's high-amp approval rates,
Show most constituents are pissed,
Obama's campaign promised change,
We voted "hope" to end this list.

Eighty-eight lines about forty-four Presidents.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: amused fuck yeah

Comments
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corivax From: corivax Date: January 21st, 2009 09:09 am (UTC) (Link)
That is awesome!
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Hooray; glad you think so.
perligata From: perligata Date: January 21st, 2009 09:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Historical poetry FTW.
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'd call it parody more than poetry, since the meter and structure were all taken from the linked song. I'm almost never satisfied with any of my serious poetry (and so it doesn't make LJ because aiee, no, die), but I can do comic or "in the style of" knockoffs pretty reasonably.
wealhtheow From: wealhtheow Date: January 21st, 2009 09:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm either crying with the awesome or creaming my pants, perhaps both. OMG.
pvck From: pvck Date: January 21st, 2009 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm tired enough that I read "screaming in my pants", which I think is a good description of how it makes me feel.
wire_mother From: wire_mother Date: January 21st, 2009 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
excellent. and in an open post, so i can link to it, right?
feyandstrange From: feyandstrange Date: January 21st, 2009 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
(is hoping so too)

And very nicely done, lady!

This song is one of those things I invariably prefer parodies of to the actual.
caladri From: caladri Date: January 21st, 2009 10:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that's very, very well done :)
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hooray! I'm glad you think so.
cheetahmaster From: cheetahmaster Date: January 21st, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

as I'm sure others will mention

I'm not as big a fan of Mr. Coulton as others are, but he has a song called "The Presidents" that's in a very similar vein. It's finally helped me remember the progression from Tyler to Polk to Taylor.
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: as I'm sure others will mention

I haven't heard much of his stuff, probably because like you I am not as blown away by it as everyone else I know. But neat!
phaedra_lari From: phaedra_lari Date: January 21st, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Delightful!
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had a lot of fun with it. I wanted to work in some of the weirder history to keep it from becoming too serious -- I *had* to get Grant's horse and buggy speeding ticket in there.
drwex From: drwex Date: January 21st, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your lead-in URL incorrectly attributes the song "88 lines about 44 women" to They Might Be Giants. In fact the song was done by The Nails. See here: http://www.80smusiclyrics.com/artists/thenails.htm
and here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nails
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fixed. It was just the first lyrics link I came up with when I Googled.
l_stboy From: l_stboy Date: January 21st, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant, I love it!
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hooray!
arensb From: arensb Date: January 21st, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Under what license, if any, is this released? And if you don't mind it being spread around, how would you like it credited?
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Free to everyone for whatever they want. Just link back here for credits; that'll do. Glad you liked it!
badger From: badger Date: January 21st, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was great.
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
snej From: snej Date: January 21st, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is superb!

(And I see someone else has already noted that lyricsdownload got the artist wrong, the song's actually by one-hit-wonders The Nails.)

As a follow-up, may I suggest you adapt Jim Carroll's "People Who Died", which has a very similar structure … then we could all painlessly memorize how every president died =)
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! (I'm guessing that TMBG covered it later and that was just the first lyrics link to pop up in my search.)

As for a follow-up, unfortunately, I don't know that song that well, so inspiration is unlikely to strike there. The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on. But if you do it, I'd love to see it.
sinthrex From: sinthrex Date: January 21st, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks.

Interesting. Didn't know that Rickover's crowd and the follow-on group that worked on the Maine, got into a screaming match over it.
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, there are some historical gems in there. Every time I start to think *our* politics are petty and degenerate, I look at history and realize that no, everyone has had to deal with those people.
divamanda23 From: divamanda23 Date: January 21st, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sent here by <lj user="wire_mother">

That was quite impressive. Your talent is to be lauded.
May I pass it along for others to see?
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sent here by <lj user="wire_mother">

Sure, feel free to link away!
glaucon From: glaucon Date: January 21st, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like your version better than the one The Brunching Shuttlecocks did 10 years ago.

still, the fact that they actually did the audio is pretty neat.

thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
No one wants to hear me sing this. Trust me. I'm a soprano. [grin]
cratermoon From: cratermoon Date: January 21st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Schweet.
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you dug it.
silenceleigh From: silenceleigh Date: January 21st, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I *love* this!
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hooray! I'm pleased to entertain.
rubian77 From: rubian77 Date: January 21st, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bravo!

What really caps it are the explanatory links. :)


(found you via shadesong)
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, context is queen. [grin]
djwudi From: djwudi Date: January 21st, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's awesome! The original has always been one of my favorite 80's bits, and this is a great take. Thanks! Will definitely be spreading the linklove as well.
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
fireba11 From: fireba11 Date: January 21st, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was brilliant!

And I'm officially retiring this icon, some time very soon...
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I took off my "peace love planet no W" bumper sticker, and was really happy to do so. The only politician-centric sticker to ever grace my car is now gone, baby, gone!
misslynx From: misslynx Date: January 21st, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow - very impressive! Especially with all the info links to back it up...
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad that you liked it. I was feeling lazy for mostly linking to Wikipedia, but, well, people can research from there if they want to. I wrote the whole thing in a few hours (it would have been less if LJ hadn't logged me out and lost presidents 5 through 34 from my draft, forcing me to rewrite that part), so it's not exactly my most polished work. But it gets part of its value from being up quickly, so I decided "good enough".
wingedelf From: wingedelf Date: January 21st, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is another in a long line of bits of brilliance. Damn you. :-)
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. You're welcome. [grin]
jalenstrix From: jalenstrix Date: January 21st, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Delightful fun to read - thank you for creating and posting! [grin]
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for reading, sharing, and enjoying!
ovrclokd From: ovrclokd Date: January 21st, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
*giggling* excellent. i'll be following links all afternoon... :)
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Filk educates! [grin]
tsuki_no_bara From: tsuki_no_bara Date: January 21st, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
here via phinnia to say that this is FANTASTIC. (and also i lovelovelove the original song.)
thewronghands From: thewronghands Date: January 21st, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm really glad you liked it; thanks for your kind words.
140 forks or fork, exec?
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