presidents and pumpkin heads

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Monday, October 20, 2008
OCTOBER!!! (In my mind, I say this like Colbert shaking his fist with impotent rage at Barry Manilow or one of his other fake enemies.) OCTOBER, we meet again. (maybe it's not Colbert, maybe it's Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery talking to Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek. But I digress.) Actually, I really like October; it contains both my sister's birthday and Halloween. I'm just wigging out because work is so slow this month -- this gives me time to construct elaborate doomsday scenarios regarding my future employment. I'm really good at this -- so good that I often don't notice I'm doing it until I get to some really baroque bit of torment like: and then they REVOKE my library card forever and I have to go rogue like James Bond that one time in the one with Ursula Andress as a sexy librarian who SCUBA dives called Overdue For Death.

I'm sure it will all sort itself out -- september was really busy which makes october seem even slower -- but in the meantime I've got all this nervous energy (no doubt fueled by this addictive mini-series on every station called Election 08) and too much time to think about it. I've been working on projects, which helps. Unfortunately, I've been working on many of them with CNN playing in the background. So now I've got all this nervous energy AND an overwhelming desire to punch Lou Dobbs until my arm gets tired. I'm not a violent person, there's just something about seeing those weird ceramic teeth gleaming from his deflated pumpkin head.... He shouts and scowls at anyone who doesn't adhere to his personal talking points and cranks on and on about his straw man polls and arguments. He makes Wolf Blitzer look reasonable, and that takes some doing. It is truly the stuff of nightmares, but he HYPNOTIZES ME like a cobra.

HOWEVER, every now and then I get a little perspective and remember that politics in this country have always always crazy and maddening, yet interesting. We've always been a nation of hopeful weirdos, do-gooders, malcontents and willful obstructionists (among other things). Change is born from difficult times, which bodes well for a big change soon. (glass half full, silver lining, it's always darkest before dawn... am I missing any?)
So, speaking of politics and history, here are a few presidential things I've come across lately:

abraham lincoln

1. I love this portrait of Lincoln ("Lincoln knew who he was, even though he would get depressed. how could he not?" ) from Maira Kalman's wonderful book The Principles of Uncertainty. Lincoln had a lot on his plate. I wonder what more he would have gone on to do if he hadn't been assassinated.

2. This is from a while ago, but's 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time always makes me laugh -- mostly because I did not have to live under the administration any of these guys. (Andrew Jackson really was, as they say, "a fucking lunatic.")

Andrew Jackson, Most Badass Quote: "I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Clay and I didn't hang John C. Calhoun."
That's right. In a life rich with murdering people for little-to-no reason, Jackson's only regret was that he didn't kill quite enough people. People like Calhoun who, it should be noted, was Jackson's vice president.

3. I am completely infatuated with this forty-four presidents zine photoset on flickr. If you haven't seen it already, you should go look right away. I love that the text is a combination of presidential fact, flights of fancy and morrissey lyrics. I had a hard time choosing which images to post here. If you (like me) need to hold it in your grubby hands, you can buy a copy from the author's etsy shop here. It's very reasonably priced. There is a second part to Calvin Coolidge (not every president gets two pages), that flies off in a completely unexpected direction, so be sure to look for it. I was so charmed by both halves. Until now I've always considered Coolidge to be one of the most boring presidents.

I thought the Woodrow Wilson (part 1 above, part 2 below) was a good sample of the drawing style AND a window into how stressful the presidency can be for a thoughtful person. (okay, I also loved that he was "checking my google," because if he could have, I'm sure he would have.)

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