Swiss Tease

The Michele Bachmann / Switzerland citizenship brouhaha, which played out quickly over the course of a few days this week, has me thinking about Cole Porter musicals.

While we don’t know all the details of what really went on behind the scenes, I’m sure the 1930’s Broadway version would re-write the story to revolve around an unlikely relationship with international overtones.

Michele, a blushing American farm girl, meets Marcus, a dashing Swiss industrialist, when he comes to Bettendorf to demonstrate a new machine that will add Swiss chocolate to cows’ milk as it comes out of the udder.

Marcus’s attempts to woo Michele meet with some initial success, but she hesitates to commit because her one true love is the manager of the local grain elevator, an inexplicably attractive hick named Potus. But Potus has never looked at her seriously, and Michele fears he never will.

It seems that every four years, Potus becomes eligible and a frantic contest ensues to win his Pledge of Allegiance, which is highly coveted but only good for another four years. Potus has exacting requirements for those he will accept. One unshakeable condition is that each candidate must be clearly aligned and totally committed. No wishy-washiness allowed!

Each time the quadrennial courtship begins, Michele considers launching a bid of her own, but with Marcus in the picture she has something more solid to go to – the very real possibility of a tangible kind of happiness in a cozy chalet in the Alps.

But one dusty day near the truck scales, Potus casts a meaningful glance in Michele’s direction and she realizes she must chase her crazy dream of someday fairy-land happiness with Potus. She campaigns relentlessly for his attention, flying off in all directions at once and saying outlandish things to re-capture that moment of magic. Her friends shake their heads at this irrational fixation, particularly since they all think a cozy chalet and a cup of Swiss chocolate with sure-thing Marcus sounds pretty great.

Marcus waits with the carefully calibrated patience of a fine Swiss watch, marking off the days and hours until Potus breaks Michele’s heart, which, of course, Potus does, choosing to go off with a wealthy lightweight Michele considers to be a glaring fake.

In her hour of humiliation, Marcus re-offers Michele a ring, and this time she accepts.

On her wedding day, while walking down the aisle under a veil of regret, Michele is stopped mid-way to the altar by the Swiss embassy’s charge d’affairs, who informs her that when she ties the knot with Marcus she will automatically become a full citizen of his country, and will have to adopt a small herd of goats and sign the Pledge of Neutrality.

This she cannot do.

Happily calling off the wedding, Michele informs the Swiss official he can keep his wimpy, wishy-washy pledge – she’s going back to Iowa to continue hoping … and waiting.

Or something like that. Of course Cole Porter didn’t write the tangled plots of those goofball musicals – he just did the tunes and lyrics. I haven’t had time to think of what those lyrics might be, except for this verse from some early song where Michele wrestles with her choice between potential happiness in the Alps and her irrational love of Potus:

All of Switzerlands’ attractions -
Private banks. The Matterhorn.
Can’t compete for someone who was
In a place much flatter, born.

and …

If I choose to go with Marcus,
living in another place, we
won’t remember I was born
just down the road from John Wayne (Gacy)

Obviously, “Swiss Tease”, the musical, needs lots of work.

In the meantime, from what country would you accept dual citizenship?

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95 thoughts on “Swiss Tease”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboonis!

    Italy. La Dolce Vita is too wonderful there. And Paris is only slightly behind this. The Italian love of beauty, good food and wine, and family is irresistable to me.

    When politics in the USA goes conservative, then I yearn for dual citizenship with Canada.

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  2. There’s nothing half way about the Swiss way to charge you and they will charge you anything at all.
    Switzerland, where the wind comes sweeping down the Alps.
    Where your account number while let you slumber.
    And hide you from all who want your financial scalp.

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    1. As we used to joke when I worked in Basel, the Swiss idea of a good time is when the whole family is gathered around the home’s only 60W lightbulb and dad is reading out loud from the bankbook. I think Ms. Bachmann would fit right in.

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  3. Dale, with apologies to you and Mr Porter

    At words poetic, I’m so pathetic
    That I always have found it best,
    Instead of getting ‘em off my chest,
    To let ‘em rest unexpressed.
    I hate parading
    My serenading
    As I’ll probably miss a bar,
    But if this ditty
    Is not so pretty,
    At least it’ll tell you
    How great you are.

    My congresswoman is pathetic
    But things are gonna shine
    Redistricting drew a brand new line
    A thrill divine
    Down my spine.
    Now gifted baboons like Anna and PJ
    Will know that I’m glad to say
    That District 4 s a whole new day
    And I’m glad Michelle has gone away

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  4. michele does it
    just because it
    means that she and all the bees buzz it
    shes running
    shes cunning wow

    the swiss do it
    michele says screw it
    shes reconsidered thinks that she blew it
    dual citizenship
    i dont give a rip now

    her husband may be
    100% swiss baby
    but that dont win the show
    she wants dc
    just between you and me
    i would like to see her go

    making headlines
    with what she said lines
    to be heard the whole world round
    too bad bumble
    is how she tumbles
    tea party queen you win the crown

    ill take a second citizenship in ireland any day
    or tibet

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    1. Tim, I’m holding a lighter up in the air right now to salute the righteousness of this song you’ve posted. You can’t see it, but I am.

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  5. As Randy Newman says, Asia’s too crowded, Europe’s too old, Africa’s far too hot and Canada’s too cold, so I think I’ll go for Australia. Has the advantage that I wouldn’t have to learn another language, and I like koalas and kangaroos.

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    1. Had to open my iTunes to listen to this track after I read your post. One of my faves – Randy Newman’s a national treasure!

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  6. Good morning. I can think of at least three countries that I have visited that seem like good choices for a second citizenship, Scotland, Bolivia, and Bulgaria. I think it is a tie between Bolivia and Bulgaria. Actually I think I would like to choose to be a citizen of the world and become a citizen of every country there is if that is possible.

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    1. go man go. there must be a way to do this jim. i think you should consider laying the groundwork. your gifts are welcome the world round and you could visit a country a season from now until you were done and have one heck of a life

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  7. Norway. It’s one place I have visited where I felt immediately like I was home. It’s expensive, and the politics there can be weird sometimes, too, from what I understand – but the dairy products are excellent, I wouldn’t have to worry about health insurance, and then there are the fjords…

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      1. I was going to say Norway, but I’m afraid a butter shortage would be a deal breaker.

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    1. My cousin lives there and loves it. I haven’t taken her up on her open invitation to visit yet, but I would very much like to.

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      1. Go! In the name of all things Norse – go! It’s lovely. Besides, in the space of a few hours you can see an old Viking ship (or two), the Kon-Tiki (or is it the Ra? I think it’s the original Kon-Tiki and reproduction Ra), Amundsen’s ship (tiny), the Folk Museum (with the old stave church at least one of great-grandparents were baptized in)…and then on a different day, a fabulous castle dating to the middle ages that is also home to a wonderful WWII museum…never mind things like the Munch museum, Ibsen’s apartments (near the palace), the room where they present the Nobel Peace Prize (in the city hall)…and Frogner Park…and that’s just central Oslo. Go go go!

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        1. Anna, we must talk. In 1 1/2 years Lou and I are taking an extended trip to Europe, including Norway for some ancestor-search (we know where his are from, but I know little about mine). I’ll want your input so we catch the right waves!

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        2. The one time I went I was mostly in Oslo…but I kept a bunch of the museum and tourist info from my trip – I’d be happy to share. :)

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        3. I plan to go when I can, Anna, it’s just a big trip to plan, both in terms of time and money. My kid’s already headed to China in a few weeks with her school, and that pretty much depletes our family travel budget for this year! Maybe next year, who knows…but I definitely want to get there. I’m sure I’d love it!

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        4. Chris and Anna, we’ve wanted to get to Norway, too; also thwarted by time/money obstacle. Bill and I have both traced our ancestors (who emigrated to the US in @ 1870-80’s) to within a few miles of each other NE of Christiana (Oslo). Who knows if they might have attended the same church or even known each other? Who knew that 90 years later in 1969, Bill and I would connect in the new world :-)

          Note to BiR, the butter shortage does give one pause, but still . . .

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  8. Canada or New Zealand would be nice. I can hear Michele singing this (with my apologies to Cole Porter)

    If you ever need a pal, I’m not your gal.
    If you ever need a friend, think again.
    If you ever decide that you want my seat, expect some heat.
    Its campaign time, campaign time,
    more anguish and pain time.
    When other candidates have been forgot, I will still be hot (not)

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  9. First, I loved this post. I would pay big bucks to see this on Broadway, and I think someone ought to get a producer looking at it seriously. If The Book of Mormon can make it on the Great White Way, then Swiss Tease can, too. Let’s make it happen, people!

    And, second, how much would Marcus Bachmann LOVE the idea of a musical like this? He might even want to star in it himself. I understand he’s very good at dancing and drama and whatnot.

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  10. i can see tina fey as michelle on a short run to be replaced by hannah montana after the show is a hit lets do it baboons i love it.
    swiss tease
    the story of michelle bachman
    with music by cole porter sort of

    the marquee would be fabulous

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      1. was the cheese fondue intended to bring swiss cheese into the discussion? i think the swiss tease/ swiss chesse could be the hook.

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    1. I don’t think it is by Cole Porter, but the heartrending lament-“Yodeling man, where have you gone?” would bring the audience to tears.

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  11. Good one, Dale. I’m thinking Wales. I have a little Welsh in my background, and have been fascinated by the culture and the language, which unfortunately is disappearing.

    Have a good weekend, all – headed out to Winona.

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    1. i loved my visit to wales . snowdownia was beautiful,
      alice in wonderland hometown, longest names on the towns with an unbelievable number of consonants, best azaleas and rhododendron garden park in the world. nice people who sing and beautiful flowers are what i remember. nice way to recall a place. https://www.google.com/search?q=wales+snowdonia&hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1C1AFAB_enUS453US453&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=r6CuT42_LofusgaB3pCJBA&ved=0CJkBELAE&biw=1632&bih=748

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  12. Love it :) It would have to be Finland for me. Someday, I will get there and see where my ancestors came from.

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    1. good to see you back alanna, a finn huh? that explains a lot. i was up in northern minnesota a couple years ago and happened on a little cultural center that talked about the lalllanders and had one of the traditional houses. neat stuff. how is the little dog?

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    1. Now I’m wondering if New Zealand looks like Middle Earth because the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed there or if the movies were filmed there because NZ looks like Middle Earth?

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    2. isle of sky is the other place with that type of landscsape. but when i thin of new zealand i think of the sheep ad the gentle farmscapes . it is on my bucket list

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      1. I’ve visited the Isle of Sky, tim, and memory tells me it looks nothing like NZ. It looks like much of coastal Scotland, which is plenty beautiful but not like Middle Earth. We stayed overnight at a B&B where the family hosting us told us their pet tortoise had been missing for two or three days. They weren’t concerned because, “He can’t have gotten very far.”

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  13. Any country where the official language is English. I’m too old to attempt to learn a new language well enough to navigate the daily grind. Canada is my first choice, but Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain are the first tier. Switzerland next (I’ll suffer struggling with language for that scenery and their world neutrality–the best idea any government could ever think of. Leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone!), and possibly my ancestral home of somewhere in Scandinavia–I used to think Sweden, but now I discover my grandfather was half-Norwegian, too!

    If worse came to worst, I might consider Texas … ;-)

    Chris

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      1. texas was one of my last states to visit. i got there about 10 years ago and was not overly impressed. i have a friend who heads up the art world in houston and he loves it but he is in a different community form the rednecks or at least sees a different side of them. he sees the rich ones who patronize the arts. he likes it. i was unimpressed with all but sanantonio and austin. cant take the overview.

        as for speaking english chitrader, the whole world speaks english today.the only places you have trouble being the ugly american is with the working class in china or elsewhere where the uneducated do not have the hang of english but in western europe the far east and even south america from what i hear, english is easy to access and taught from an early age. so the old people (50 somethings) are the only people that have to ask for help translating and the younger ones are usually there to help out.

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        1. I think it is true that there are people who speak English all around the world. In my limited experience, there are times when you wouldn’t always find someone handy who can speak English. You can do a lot by pointing and various gestures and everyone seems to use the word, okay. I think it is always good to learn as much of the language of the people where you are at as possible. Even if they speak English, they will usually appreciate any attempt you make at using their language.

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        2. In my experience, you can always find someone who speaks English. BUT, if that’s not the language spoken by most people there, you’ll still be an outsider.

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      2. We found that everyone in Italy spoke English until we had our pockets picked by Gypsies. We went to the polizia, and suddenly NO ONE spoke Inglasia. We were SOL

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  14. Easy :-) Canada, Scotland, Wales or New Zealand. Canada for the people, the spectacular landscape and the health care. Scotland for the wild countryside/islands, the wry humor and the music. Wales for the music and the gardens and my ancestry. New Zealand for the sea, the sheep, and because I take my daughter’s word that it’s easy going and fabulous in every way. English speaking because it’s more universal than my other language, Japanese. And all of them for the wooly/yarn/knitting culture that they share. I much much prefer four seasons to endless summer punctuated by monsoons.

    And as for MB, side kick Marcus and their baker’s dozen kids, you make a good case for her having turned into a parody of herself which surely merits a berth off Broadway. Sound of Music meets Producers. I predict a one week run with scathing reviews and a monumental tax write off. Unless it becomes a cult classic with an annual run at the Lagoon like Rocky Horror.

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    1. re:MB as the subject of a musical-Evita was a hit, right?

      Back in the days before costume shops were silenced by everyone being “plugged in” to their own little world, we would make up movies and show, and we always thought Amazing Imelda would be great, if you could afford the shoe budget.

      I suspect the Poitician Formerly Known as the Governor of Alaska will feel the need to up the ante if MB gets a musical first…….

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      1. Mig, you’re right — Evita is so much more her style. Can’t you just see MB and SP duking it out for the lead role? Someone suggested Pillsbury doughboy as the sidekick. That just about wraps it up for central casting.

        I looked for you yesterday at Shepherd’s Harvest — kinda like looking for a knitting needle in a haystack. Approached two women wearing red shawls and, since I didn’t know your “real” name, asked them if they were looking for a Robin. One of them pointed to her friend and said, “She’s right here!” So had we found each other, there would have been 2 women in red shawls with a Robin. So many people, llamas, alpacas, dogs, rabbits. I’ve never seen that many Angora rabbits in my life, so tempted to bring one home :-) Found some gorgeous handpainted lace weight at Happy Hands. What a day.

        Gotta go out back now and spread the picnic blankets for the hordes who will be descending on us in a few hours. HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY to all you mothers and mothering types out there. Is this weather incredible or what?

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  15. Happy Mothers’ Day to everyone on the trail who is a mother, has a mother, had a mother, or met a mother!

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    1. Thanks tim. I’ve always considered this one of the sappiest songs ever written. The Madeline Kahn version is terrific

      M is for the many things she gave me
      O is for the other things she gave me
      T is …..

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  16. Now it will have to be Australia so I can see my grandson, Mr. Tuxedo, as a TV star.
    A film crew, the equivalent of PBS there, is in the US doing a major documentary on infectious diseases in both countries. They were at Mayo and then came to one of my daughter’s churches to film on Mothers Day as part of a tragic death in that church. They were wonderful folks to talk to. They filmed the whole service and will only use small part, of course. But the producer said one part will be in for sure and will be in the promos in Australia because Australians love stuff like this. The bishop was doing the service. In the children’s sermon the bishop said, “I’m sure none of you know what a bishop is.” Jonah answered very confidently and clearly, “Well, actually, I do.”
    This was not related to Becca’s kidney donation, but they were thrilled with that sidebar to their story. The bishop who knows Jonah and his sister very well, said afterwards it was kind of dumb to ask that will the two of them there. When he asked Jonah what a bishop does, Jonah explained quite well. At the moment, the producer said, PBS is planning to show it here and is doing some of the funding.

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  17. Almost bedtime Baboons!

    I had the best Mother’s Day. After tim’s fabulous sappy song to start the day, we met my son and my husband’s cousin for brunch on the perfect patio of Pat’sTap–fabulous. Then we rode our bikes to the MayDay Parade in Powderhorn Park. I always love it when I get to spend time with my son. Sigh. The parade was just pure fun.

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