Friday, December 3, 2010

"Napoleon of the Stump"

Woodcut by Frans Masereel, from Die Lebensalter, 1948, sought out because of this.

Louis Andriessen, De Staat
Phosphorescent, Aw Come Aw Wry
Atlas Sound, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel

Phosphorescent, "I am a Full Grown man (I Will Lay in the Grass All Day)." I just read Rachel Maddux's profile on Phosphorescent in the OA Music Issue and it totally turned me around on a guy I thought I wasn't interested in.

I'm interested! That's all I want to be. This morning Maya was looking up at this poster of all the Presidents we have up in the dining room and she asked, "Who do you think the creepiest looking President is?" We agreed it is, according to the poster, James K. Polk.

James K. Polk has some Frankenstein business going on with his painted portrait. The daguerreotype on Wikipedia doesn't really do him many favors either. Like, what is that shadow where his heart should be? Is it the cholera historians believe he contracted on a goodwill trip to New Orleans in the late 1840's, the same cholera that claimed his life only 103 days after leaving office, granting him the shortest Presidential retirement in history?

I've often wished that Wikipedia had a scrobbling feature, like what does to record all the music you play on a computer, and a widget to display/record them. I mean, I get that Wikipedia probably collects all this and sells it to Proctor & Gamble or the Freemasons or our arsenic bacteria overlords; that's what funds the Internet and OK, good on them. My data is generally only interesting to me because it gives me something to blog about. So I've considered keeping a list of what I looked up like I do books and albums consumed, a little ingredients list, clues how to reverse-engineer my consciousness should mine get accidentally erased by the aforementioned bacteria overlords.

We started making jokes about James K. Polk in a  funny, old man voice. "I, President James K. Polk, want you to go to school today because public education is a key part of my platform!" but is that true? (it is, at least when he was Governor of Tennessee) I really don't know jack about James K. Polk. I know a bunch of Western Expansion was done under his watch; we as a nation reached the Pacific, and They Might Be Giants did a song about him. And through that, I know he was called the "Napoleon of the Stump".

They Might Be Giants, "James K. Polk"

Here is some more Masereel: a portrait of Tolstoy, another woodcut from Die Lebensalter, "Der sweig Jude", and a sexy brothel scene. The story linked above talks about his wordless novels being a precursor of graphic novels, but I dunno, these operate on a different scope. Maybe more in a silent movie vs. talkie way. Plus they are not about frustrated cartoonists working at Barnes & Noble having difficulties with their girlfriends, which seems to be what most graphic novels are about.

Anyway, it made me think about this set of collages that I think is Fuzz Against Junk by Akbar del Piombo reprinted in The Olympia Reader, a book I used to have collecting a bunch of dirty before, during, and after Beat stuff published in France. I'll go look that up too.

Louis Andriessen, De Staat (excerpt)

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