Jefferson's Clockwork

August 24, 2008 9:41 AM

Lost chapters in American history, episode one: a rivalry between two founding fathers takes a shocking and scandalous turn.

In reaction to the incident in which a remote-controlled dildocopter disrupted a political meeting of Russian opposition leader/chess champion Gary Kasparov, bunnytricks argued that this sort of tactic had a little-known historical precedent in one of my all-time favorite comments on metafilter:

"This reminds me of that story from the second continental congress where Jefferson's skittering clockwork vagina snagged Ben Franklin's shoe buckle."

This song fills in some of the backstory.

Ok, so I admit it wasn't a random selection. I just liked this comment to much to pass it up.

posted by umbú (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I actually heard the song as the background while I saw that Kasparodildocopter clip, and it worked great. You could sample a congressional hearing with lots of discussion and use it in this song and it would give it a great effect.

I really like the harpsichord as well. And the thing that comes in at that a melodica?
posted by micayetoca at 10:59 AM on August 24, 2008

It's two patches doubled together: a vintage organ, and, placed lower in the mix, a synth lead that sounds a lot like the solo in ELP's 'lucky man' (YTlink: listen around 3:25).
posted by umbú at 2:42 PM on August 24, 2008

Nice tune, umbú, very ambitious, very creative. Kudos! For me this is quite reminiscent of Andy Partridge/XTC. And I mean that as a high compliment. Would've been right at home on their Nonsuch release, for example. (With, say, about another 6 months of tinkering with the production).

And definitely, "Jefferson's skittish clockwork vagina" is one seriously inspiring phrase. How could you not write a song around that?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:19 PM on August 24, 2008

This whole song is very nicely constructed, but the chorus turn with the I V vi III just kills me. "Sec-ond Cont-i-nen-tal Con-gress". So sweet.

And the turn at the end to the insistent bridge!

Just, man. This is a great piece of work, umbu.
posted by cortex at 8:24 AM on August 25, 2008

Aside from the fact that you've produced a really delightful melody with a great, hilarious arrangement, the lyrics are just fantastic. You should post them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:34 AM on August 25, 2008

Oh, I see. It kinda sounded like a melodica, but different. And funny, the one in the youtube link sounds completely 70s. Good call putting it lower in the mix.
posted by micayetoca at 8:52 AM on August 25, 2008

Thanks all! Here are the lyrics:

When I saw that
Whimsical invention
Da Vinci’s id extension
Aimed right at the chessman and his henchmen
I couldn’t help but think then
About what happened back when
Between a couple great men
Jefferson and Franklin

It reminds of a story
From the Second Continental Congress
When Jefferson’s skittering clockwork vagina
Snagged Ben Franklin’s shoe buckle

[clockwork snagging shoe buckle sound]

It confounded him how
Benjamin Franklin
Attracted such attention
With his ideas and inventions
It sparked an intervention
That escalated tensions
Between a couple great men
Jefferson and Franklin

So he went to Monticella
And he holed up in the cellar
‘Til Jefferson’s scandalous mechanical contraption
Was fully assembled

The thing about the stunt
At the time pre-Allen Funt
Was that the tale didn’t spread like wildfire right away
It took an excellent engraving
To ignite the public’s craving
And the caption told the gossip-mongers
What they had to say

Did you hear about
Jefferson's meticulous clockwork?
Never seen a mechanism that worked finer
Jefferson's complicated clockwork?
It was quite sophisticated for the time
Jefferson's scandalous clockwork?
There were rumors about who inspired the design
Jefferson's skittering clockwork vagina
Wowed the original signers
posted by umbú at 9:53 AM on August 25, 2008

Absolutely...phenomenologically wonderful. :)
posted by cachondeo45 at 1:09 PM on August 25, 2008

Yay, my two favourite founding fathers and a clockwork vagina, how can you go wrong?
posted by Sir Mildred Pierce at 1:54 AM on August 27, 2008

Reminds me of a dirty They Might Be Giants song! There should be more of those.
posted by not_on_display at 3:01 PM on July 15, 2009

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