the buzzword is: barack

January 22, 2007

since the barry obama 2008 watch is rocketing up the charts, quickly on its way to becoming the second most popular post in the history of yesterday’s salad, i decided to engage in a little obama inspired word blogging, and look into the oddly topical question of his name.

as expected, neither “barack” nor “barak” is in the OED. but since they’re such kind and generous fellows, the OED offered up, “zoombooruck,” specifically the alternate form, zoombarack. A zoombooruck for the few of you that don’t study cameline military strategies, is a small swivel gun mounted on the back of a camel.

the AHD gives, “Israeli politician. He ended a 35-year military career to enter politics, joining the Labor Party in 1995 and serving that year as interior minister, then foreign minister. He served as Israel’s prime minister from 1999 to 2001,” for Barak. One can only assume that Mr. Obama does not want to be likened to Mr. Ehud Barak, lest cross-dressing become yet another reason Mr. Obama will not be president. along these lines, many of our hebraist and evangelical readers probably recognize the name barak from the book of Judges. Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary has this to say about that barak, “The character of Barak, though pious, does not seem to have been heroic. Like Gideon, and in a sense Samson, he is an illustration of the words in Heb. 11:34, ‘Out of weakness were made strong.” More troubling connotations for the Hyde Park local. btw, in these two cases, the word barak means “lightening,” which is an acceptable verb.

many websites like to point out the fact that “barack” is not an African name, but a muslim-arabic name. although i don’t see how these two things are mutually exclusive (the last time i checked, one was a religion and the other a continent), people are nonetheless making a big deal out of the arabic origins of the name, baraka, “blessed.” in that case, the name is related to the hebrew root barach and not barak; the English sounds lose the semitic connection.

thankfully, the OED turned up a great obs. verb when I tried to find “Obama.” Obambulate: intr. To walk about; to wander here and there. kind of what these word columns are all about.

perhaps the anti-Obama crowd’s insisture (obs. rare: A word of obscure use in Shakespeare: taken variously in the sense of ‘persistency, constancy’) on investigating candidates’ names will disappear.


In one of the more embarrassing low-lights of modern journalism (and there have been quite a few), S.V. Date at the WaPo posits what a Jeb Bush presidency would have looked like had he been elected in 2000:

“The nation is in great shape, President Jeb Bush would have reported: record tax cuts propelling the economy to greater heights; a revolutionary school-vouchers program for the first time granting low-income parents real education choices; and, five years after the capture of Osama bin Laden, the final 20,000 U.S. troops returning home from Iraq.”

To me, the proposition that anyone could do better than George W. Bush–even his fat little brother–seems like such a “duh” argument that it is hardly worth the column inches. Still, I suppose somebody needs to work hard to rehabilitate the Bush name; at least until George P. Bush wins us over with his smooth Latin charm, patrician upbringing, and Bush brand fake genuine folksy appeal (fauxksy, perhaps?).

Esio Trot

January 22, 2007

tortoise by Q BlakeEsio Trot is just tortoise spelled backward! That’s the secret to Mr Hoppy’s magic spell, the one helping him win Mrs Silver’s heart by causing her beloved tortoise Alfie to grow larger. The moral message is that Every Little Bit Counts, the illustrations are cute and well incorporated – at one point Mr Hoppy descends a flight of stairs made up of the text, and the book is short enough to be a bedtime story or a child’s first BIG book. Like other Roald Dahl, it’s also a bit twisted.

Dahl uses common techniques with great success to make the story appealing to children: cute animals; an obvious (but uncommon and necessary) moral message with enough hints dropped for a child to grasp it before it is stated outright; presentations of ingenuity – like the turtle grabbing machine, that can be grasped but not too simply.“Poo is a very strong word in any language,” Their subversion is pure Dahl. From the simple jokes a child could never get away with outside the sacrosanct world of books (“Poo is a very strong word in any language,” Mr Hoppy said, “especially with tortoises.”) to Mr Hoppy’s central trait of deceit, for which he is never called out and is in fact rewarded, this isn’t quite what you expect from a children’s story. Mr Hoppy isn’t presented as a hero though – what’s being cheered are the ideas at play. Except for making him the central character in a children’s book, Dahl does nothing to characterize Mr Hoppy as a Sweet Old Man, going as far in the other direction as the passage “You never know,” Mr Hoppy said darkly. “You never know.”

The author’s note showcases Dahl’s childlike ability to embrace conflicting ideas without question, explaining another part of what makes him appealing. On one hand he laments the horror done to tortoises imported to the UK from northern Africa, but on the other he shames his government for outlawing the practice and keeping families from buying tortoises.



This past week, Obama shrewdly declared his intention to declare his candidacy in February. While his likely candidacy has created quite a stir in the media, we here at the Salad are playing it cool. We have seen presidential contenders come and go. Why, it seems like only yesterday that we were making toasts to the inevitable President Muskie. So when we see a new face make a big splash, we know to make toasts to somebody else. More importantly, we know that Barack Obama will not be president. Sure, some people will tell you that he’s too inexperienced, untested, or marxist to win. Don’t buy any of it. Instead, please purchase these reasons (available in the SaladShop) why Barack Obama will not be president:

1) Islamofascist?

obamaarnold.jpgMuch hullabaloo has been made about Obama’s politically unfortunate middle name, Hussein, and the fact that his father was Muslim. But what other secrets lurk in Obama’s personal history? In a **SALAD EXCLUSIVE**, anonymous tipsters have revealed to us that Obama’s biological father is not who he claims. Rather, his true father is none other than Gustav Schwarzenegger, making Obama’s half-brother California governor and known philanderer Arnold Schwarzenegger. Those who have followed Schwarzenegger’s political career are already familiar with Gustav’s history as an actual Nazi. Obama was raised as a Muslim, but his biology is tainted with the genes of National Socialsim. As a result, Barack Obama is, quite literally, an islamofascist.

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