The Pouch Salutes
The Chairman of the Board

Ol' Blue Eyes Sings About Diplomacy

by Manus Hand

Whenever Pouch editing time comes along, I say to myself, "This will finally be the issue when I'll have time to write something myself, for the first time in I don't know how many issues." Well, all my good article ideas are still up in my head instead of on your computer screens, though, because time has just not been kind to me.

So why, you ask, when I finally decide to force myself to write up an article (making the issue's publication all that much later), do I choose yet another humorous one instead of all the dang good serious ideas I have? Oh, I don't know. But that's what happened. So you'll just have to keep waiting to get anything from me that is meant to make you think rather than smile.

Because what we have here is my personal tribute to one Francis Albert Sinatra, who passed away, of course, earlier this year. (You may also look at this as a tribute to Phil Hartman, whose humorous impersonation of Sinatra is also very missed.)

I am very happy that Sinatra lived long enough for me to come to appreciate his talent; as someone raised on rock, I always saw Sinatra as the ultimate square. It's only in the last year or so that I came to realize why he was and still is so very popular. The guy had quite a voice. In fact, as they say, he had The Voice.

I don't know if Sinatra ever played Diplomacy. I kind of doubt it, since some of the people he hung around with weren't exactly the diplomatic type, if you know what I mean. But until he cut Peter Lawford out of Robin and the Seven Hoods, his rat pack included the brother-in-law of the Kennedys, and Jack and Bobby were Diplomacy players. So you never know.

And so, what you'll find below are a number of Sinatra standards, with the words changed to portray old blue eyes not just as the Chairman of the Board, but as the Chairman of the Diplomacy Board.

The idea isn't exactly original with me, though. In a game in which I was involved, James McKay once broadcast some "mid-phase comments from uncle Frank," little lyrical excerpts that show how Sinatra would have been thinking musically had he been playing a few of the powers in the game.

Just so you know, I butchered the songs below with one rule in mind: none of the title lines (or the titles of the songs) have been changed. Why I made this rule for myself, I don't know, but I did. It kept my murderous hands off of songs like, "New York, New York" and "Young at Heart," but there are plenty of Sinatra songs where even the title lends itself to a Diplomacy slant. In fact, some are just so easy that I didn't even bother. For example, take the song "How Could You Do A Thing Like That To Me" -- change the word "Baby" to "Turkey" and the word "Ma'am" to "Turk" and you'd basically be done!

Here are a half dozen of the slightly less easy pickings, though. Enjoy, and maybe we'll see some more of these. (Reminder -- next issue will see the second annual Pouch Holiday Song festival. Hopefully this puts you in the mood -- maybe you can help by putting new words to some old carols.)

It Was A Very Good Year

When I had three SC's
It was a very good year
It was a very good year
For neutral dots
And secret allies
We'd hide from the light
And aim to please
When I had three SC's

When I had eight SC's
It was a very good year
It was a very good year
For alliance play
With open attacks
And all those stabs in the backs
And fleets in the seas
When I had eight SC's

When I had twelve SC's
It was a very good year
It was a very good year
For out-and-out lies
And independent thought
Once my lies were bought
No more allies to tease
When I had twelve SC's

And now their talks are short
We're in the autumn of the year
And I think of my game
As vintage wine
I drank it all in
From oh-one to the forced win
It poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

My Way

And now, the end is near
And I submit my final orders
My friends, my friends so dear
You've done me in, I'm drawn and quartered

I've played a game that's short
I fairly dealt with every guy-way
But lies, no more than lies
Were all thrown my way

Supports, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I said I'd do
Supported you, without redemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step, so I wouldn't die-way
But lies, no more than lies
Were all thrown my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When your lies were more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up, you spit me out
I faced it all, and slammed the wall
That you threw my way

I've bounced, retreated, held,
I've had my fill; my share of losing,
And now, your plans have jelled
You find it all so amusing

To think I did all that;
And may I say, not in a cry-way
You rats, you dirty rats
You threw lies my way

For what am I now, what have I got?
Except for Smyrna, I have naught
You called me friend, made secret deals
And kept the truth so well concealed
The record shows I took the blows
And went on my way

Strangers in the Night

Strangers in the night,
Exchanging glances
Gunboat in the night
What were the chances
We'd be sharing dots
Before the game was through

Something in your eyes
Was so inviting,
Something in your smile
Was so exciting
Something in my heart
Made me hope France was you

Strangers in the night, two silent players
Playing gunboat in the night
Up to the moment
When you entered Rome that Spring
How you made me think:
"Stalemate line's a year away
I hope he knows to clear the way!" and

Yes, you saw the light
You moved Rome south-east
I built fleet Rome to fight
You convoyed to Greece
It turned out so right
For strangers in the night

This is the Beginning of the End

This is the beginning of the end,
I can read it in your press, in everything you do,
And you're too weak to tell me that we're through
But I can tell when hearing from you.
This is the beginning of the end,
You just give yourself away with everything you say,
And though you never told me we will fight,
Still I can read between the lines you write
Why is it now when I read your plans
There is some little something that they lack?
What has happened to the length of your mail?
And where is that little dagger for our ally's back?
This is the beginning of the end,
Our alliance now is gone, why let it linger on,
Why lie to me and say it isn't so?
'Cause now I'm ready; I'll stab you first, so
That this, this is the beginning of the end

All The Way

When somebody stabs you,
It's no good unless he stabs you -- all the way
You can let them near you,
As long as you're sure they fear you -- all the way

Fall or Spring, just one SC is
No loss to really feel
Deeper than just two SC's is
How deep it goes -- if it's real

When somebody trusts you
It's no good unless he trusts you -- all the way
Through the good or lean years
And for all the inbetween years -- come what may

I know where that road will lead you
Even most fools would say
That if you'll let me stab you
It's for sure I'm gonna stab you -- all the way
All the way

Something Stupid

I know I stand in line,
Until you think you have the time
To do some talking with me
And when we go someplace to talk,
I know that by the clock
You won't be allying with me

And next season we drop into a quiet little place
And have a word or two
And then I go and spoil it all, by saying something stupid
Like "I trust you"

I can see it in your eyes
That you will tell the same old lies
You told the year before
And though they're all just lines to you,
For me they're true
You never seemed so bright before

I practice every turn to find some clever lines to say
To hide my intentions from you
But then my mind just goes, right when the deadline gets close
And I'm alone with you

The time is right, your lies fill my head, my army's dead
And now our orders are due
And then I go and spoil it all, by saying something stupid
Like "I trust you"
("I trust you, I trust you,...")

Manus Hand

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