“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gringos in Paradise. -Desert Rat, Poet Laureate

Theme song for the Swan Island detachment.

Down to the Banana Republics, down to the tropical sun
Go the expatriated Americans, hopin' to find some fun
Some of them go for the sailing, caught by the lure of the sea
Tryin' to find what is ailing, livin' in the land of the free

Some of them are running from lovers, leaving no foreward address
Some of them are running tons of ganja
Some are running from the I.R.S.

First you learn the native customs
soon a word of spanish or two
You know that you cannot trust them
'Cause they know they can't trust you
Expatriated Americans feelin' so all alone
Telling themselves the same lies
That they told themselves back home

Down to the Banana Republics, things aren't as warm as they seem
None of the natives are buying any second-hand American dreams

Late at night you will find them
In the cheap hotels and bars
Hustling the senioritas while they dance beneath the stars
Spending those renegade pesos on a bottle of rum and a lime
Singin' give me some words I can dance to
Or a melody that rhymes

Down to the Banana Republics, down to the tropical sun
Go the expatriated Americans hopin' to find some fun
Desert Rat

Speaking of Paradise:

Panama to vote on expanded canal
The Panama Canal opened in 1914
The people of Panama are due to vote in a referendum on an ambitious plan to expand the country's famous canal and increase traffic.

Many modern container ships are too large for the 50-mile (80km) canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic.

The Panamanian government and the company that runs the canal want to build a new channel and new locks at either end to accommodate them.

The plan would double the canal's capacity, but at a cost of $3-5bn.

Supporters say the expansion will bring widespread benefits to the country, but opponents argue it will add to Panama's debt.


  1. Well, not to promote the idea that I authored the ditty.
    The song has been performed by Jimmy Buffett and written, in 1977, by Steve Goodman, Jim Rothermel, Steve Burgh.

    Songs of my youth.

  2. The Chinese will fund the Bonds and dredge the mud flats in Panama Bay, to boot.
    Hope they pass the referendum.
    Jr thinks they will, but he's not been there for a while.

  3. Aw shucks--I came over to 'comments' to laud your poetic prowess, rat--

    3-5 bb is a fantastically small bill for doubling the Canal's capacity. I don't get it--

  4. There are only 3 milliom people to spread the debt over. So it's, proportionately pretty large.

  5. DR, how could you do that to me?? I was so impressed, oh well, there have been many more things that have gone un-noted. It was fun doing the post anyway.

  6. I've got my first line, finally--it came to me in a dream:

    It was a dark and stormy night.

  7. I think that the fact that DR dusted off a song long since forgotten by most of us and fits the Swan Island Project is noteworthy.

    "In honor of old song dusting you are herby awarded "NOTE WORTHINESS" with "SA" song attribution"
    Sign....P Diddy