Before getting to the business at hand, have a look over at our joint blog, where yesterday we said hello to summer as only we can.
Every once in awhile I'll check my blog stats. Sometimes the search terms people use to find my blog are, well, slightly beyond bizarre... which would be an understatement. That would explain how, among the top ten search terms for the week is the term Porn Captain America. Okay then...
Of course, the international audience for my readership varies from week to week. The top place each week is consistently the United States, where many of my readers are (big hugs to all of you!). Below that, things can get rather odd. There are some of the usual nationalities: Canada, Britain, Australia, Germany, and France. Then there's the strange places like Malaysia or India, which, I suspect, is where many of the spambots that turn up in my Anonymous filters come from. Note to spammers: I'm not publishing your posts, and if one sneaks in past the filters, it's getting sent back to spam land post haste! Go away! Note to other bloggers: check your published comments each day, because spam comments do tend to get through your filters.
Anyway, this week, the second most readers of my blog came from an unexpected country... Iran.
This I find a bit puzzling. I have from time to time featured Iran in blogs (usually grouchy diplomats), and I do have a character loosely based on the outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (also known as Mr. Cranky) in my writings (for the record: my fictional one is a rather nasty chap). Still, how is it that within a week, six hundred views originated from Iran? What is it about this nonsense that I write that appealed to that part of the world? I don't really think of Iranians as the ideal audience for my usual brand of mischief, after all. Sorry, Iran, but you do have a rather dour, frowning reputation, you know...
An election was held there in the last few days, and it seems the new president, Hassan Rowhani (much harder to make fun of that name), is seen by some as a moderate or centrist. Not by our Foreign Minister, who dismisses the whole thing as "meaningless", but between us, our Foreign Minister is a sneering self absorbed blowhard jackass. Here in the West, when we hear moderate in terms of a new Iranian President, the subtext of that is Please, let this one not be a crazy loon like the last guy.
Well, so... the new guy is coming in, and the old one is stepping out. Mr. Cranky has certainly not been dull during his tenure, sniping and snapping at every opportunity, grabbing the tiger by the tail, and viewing the world through a warped and rather demented lens. At least that's the view from here. Still, Mahmoud (I can call you that, right?), your annual speeches at the UN consisting of endless I hate all of you rantings gave a lot of fodder to many a comedian here. What will you be doing now that you're stepping away from the spotlight? Writing your memoirs? Puttering around the garden in retirement? Yelling at kids to get off your lawn? Plotting how to get yourself into the post of Ayatollah, by chance? Come on, now, you can share.
To the people of Iran, just in case it's actual people from the country reading these dispatches (as opposed to Mr. Cranky and his minions... hi, minions!), you'll have to get used to the new fellow. At the very least, you're lucky enough not to have this guy as a mayor of your largest city...
And while I can't say I live under the auspices of a theocracy (something I'm quite grateful for, thank you very much), I do know something of what it's like to have a leader who's a hyper-partisan, paranoid, vengeful control freak seeking to reshape the country in his image, and would love to get away with being called Supreme Leader, Majestic Excellence, or Glorious High Muckety-Muck.
We call him Stephen Harper.