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The lyrics for 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego' apply weirdly well to Vladimir Putin

News coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin's bizarre disappearance from public view, now ongoing for several days, has relentlessly deployed a single phrase to sum up the story. It's appeared on countless headlines and in cable news: Where in the world is Vladimir Putin?

In addition to being a good question, it's also a reference to "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego," an educational computer game that became a 1991 children's game show. You may remember the show's young "gumshoes" contestants identifying clues — some in the form of charming a capella songs, others just straight-up NSA-style wiretaps — to find the location of crooks like Patty Larceny and Eartha Brute and their crime boss, Carmen Sandiego. It might be time to bring the show back to enlist those kids to help find Putin. If they did, they would have to change remarkably little about the old program.

The lyrics of the show's a capella theme song, I was surprised to find when I listened to it for the first time in almost 20 years, apply oddly well to Putin's disappearance. Suspiciously well. Don't believe me? Read them here, modified only for gender, illustrated with a few photos. And, yes, that is a reference to Ukraine, with which Putin is currently fighting a war, in the very first line:

Well he sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina,
He's a sticky-fingered filcher from Berlin down to Belize,
He'll take you for a ride on a slow boat to China,
Tell me where in the world is Vladimir Putin?

Did Putin take a slow boat to China? (Sasha Mordovets/Getty)

Steal their Seoul in South Korea, make Antarctica cry Uncle,
From the Red Sea to Greenland they'll be singing the blues,
Well they never Arkansas him steal the Mekong from the delta,
Tell me where in the world is Vladimir Putin?

Is Putin making Antarctica cry uncle? (ALEKSEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty)

Well he'll ransack Pakistan and run a scam in Scandinavia,
Then he'll stick 'em up Down Under and go pick-pocket Perth,
He put the Miss in misdemeanor when he stole the beans from Lima,
Tell me where in the world is Vladimir Putin?

Did Putin stick 'em up Down Under and go pick-pocket Perth? (Andrew Taylor/G20 Australia via Getty)

Well he glides around the globe and he'll flimflam every nation,
He's a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery,
His itinerary's loaded up with moving violations,
Tell me where in the world is Vladimir Putin?

Is Putin gliding around the globe, flimflamming every nation? (Alexsey Druginyn/AFP/Getty)

Just try and tell me that this 1992 song is not secretly about Vladimir Putin, that double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery.

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