Friday, May 25, 2007

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Blogging has been scarce of late, as I've tried to catch up on all the work I should have been but wasn't doing over the past . . . oh well, let's just say I fell behind but am now racing toward the finish line.

On Monday, I'll be leaving for a much needed (though perhaps not deserved) vacation on the Aegean. Before going, however, I wanted to link to the following article, which delves into attempts by our President (sorry, that would be Vice President) Dick Cheney to tie the President's (that would be George W. Bush's) hands on the issue of military action against Iran. In case you're wondering, Cheney is into it. Why not, after our stunning successes in Iraq?

I've long harbored suspicions that Bush was selected as a candidate by the Republican hierarchy because he was seen as a tractable, vain, and naive, in other words, easily manipulatable by the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Of course, it's just a suspicion on my part, because as an American citizen, I really have no insight into the the workings of my government. I fear that this may be by design, or am I lapsing into cynicism?

Though I could be wrong, it is difficult to understand how a nation of 300 million manages to elect, not once but twice, a man manifestly unsuited to the responsibilities of his position. Perhaps there is more to this story than simply the free play of democracy. For whatever it's worth, here in Turkey, when people discuss American politics (which they quite frequently do) Cheney is generally cast as the puppeteer.

My thanks to Ken Frost for raising this issue and linking to this article on his website, Nanny Knows Best (see links to the left). While we're on the topic of interesting links, I've added a new discovery, What I Saw in America, to my list.

I'll be back in Istanbul, with more time to play, in early June.

Try not to get into any wars until then.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Trans-Atlantic Exchange

On the comments section of my previous post, Nappy-Headed Dough (no hate mail, please) an amusing exchange slowly evolved with my friend and fellow expat, Grumpy, other wise known as Grumpy Old Expat. As you will see, Grumpy is originally from the British Isles, but has managed through a clever act of self-imposed exile to escape the clutches of both Blair's Labour Government and the European Union in one lateral move, though the EU keeps threatening to absorb, or as Brussels likes to put it, "accept," Turkey.

Anyway, being too lazy or busy at the moment to post anything new, and having been rather pleased by the outcome of our exchange, I decided simply to copy and post our back-and-forth here. If you don't know what we're talking about, go back and read the previous post, or just forget the whole thing and click elsewhere.

grumpy said...


I seem to recall that, once upon a time, this site was in English.
What happened?

May 1, 2007 3:28:00 PM PDT

Black Sea said...

Dear Grumpy,

As I have noted in a previous post, the British "think tank" (boy, could we have some fun with that term) Demos, has already made clear to you tea-sipping snobs that: "the language is no longer the preserve of the English, who are just one of many shareholders in a global asset".

Stop trying to monopolize this global asset, and start sharing with your fellow shareholders!

As you may know, we are to be instructed in, and are to instruct others in, Hinglish, Chinglish, and Spanglish, with further variations to follow, including the sort found in this post.

I've no doubt that Ms. Clinton will take up this banner just as soon as she occupies the White Horse, sorry, House, and will perhaps employ your old chum T. Blair as special consultant.

May 2, 2007 4:28:00 AM PDT

grumpy said...

I would be fine with the 'sharing' idea if you Yanks could be trusted to take care of our joint linguistic heritage. As it is, it seems that you are doing to English in the US what your government is doing for democracy in Iraq. In the process you create something I would call Manglish, or Garblish.

Having said that of course, I have to admit that 'Our Tony' and his minions are doing for our home-grown version of the language what our naval personnel did for heroism in Iran recently. Surrendering it. The result in the UK is Yoblish.

So far as the redoubtable Mrs Clinton and 'Our Redeemer' Saint Tony are concerned, I would paraphrase the old Vaudeville joke: Take our Tony. Please.

May 6, 2007 12:48:00 AM PDT

grumpy said...


Sorry to take up your space, but I have just looked at the Fat Wayne/Little Joe video (with the sound off, of course). Now I have a question; Since the principals in the video demonstrate that they are totally devoid of taste in every other respect, how come they have such great taste in hoes?

May 6, 2007 1:08:00 AM PDT

Black Sea said...


I take your point about the "English in America, Democracy in Iraq" argument, though I object to being referred to as a "Yank" for reasons having less to do with the British-American linguistic debate than with my archaic and no doubt pathological regional loyalties.

Anyway, "Yank" must be preferable to your now infamous "Half-educated Rednecked Bigot," soon re-coined on another website into the less cumbersome acronym "Herb." Who says we "Yanks" have no sense of humor?

But I digress. As to the point that America is doing to democracy in Iraq what it has been doing to the English language for decades (centuries?), let me suggest an alternate analogy.

Democracy in Iraq is not so much equivalent to American English, which though perhaps debased, draws on a long and glorious history, as it is a political equivalent of Esperanto, a wholly inorganic construct which no one seems to practice, though everyone admits it's "a good idea."

Evidently, we human beings are more creatures of custom and culture than of bold horizons and bright new ideas. How sad for us.

Oh, and I think you owe it to yourself to view the Fat Joe video clip with the sound on. Otherwise, you deprive yourself of its full charm. I actually like the song (don't ask me why) or at least, it has tenaciously lodged itself in my brain, perhaps due to the stunning visual impact of the hoes employed as scenery.

What's more, I think the video and lyrics together offer a pretty accurate portrait of the current American political scene:

"Yeah, I'm in this business of terror
Got a handful of stacks
Better grab an umbrella
I make it rain . . . "

More articulate than anything ever to come out of our president's mouth.

May 6, 2007 4:28:00 AM PDT