Please pay no attention to the killjoys and cavillers who have been so lustily tugging at your beard! They have been having a tough time of it lately living down the resident President, their crocks o' stocks and their robbed jobs. So they are all extremely busy being miserable and humourless, which does not help them to see the silly side of American English (or Anguish, as I call it). And as your examples have shown, it can be very silly indeed (or crazily inspired, depending on the inventiveness of the speaker and your mood at the time)!
My reaction on landing in the middle of Kansas a couple of years ago was much the same as yours - something like: "What the hell kind of outlandish place have I landed in here, where the favoured mode of transport is the pick-up truck, the square-topped baseball cap tugged down across the nose is still the latest in grocery-shopping attire, and 'Huh?' is the most frequent question in normal conversation?"
I still get this feeling regularly, a sort of delicious tickling sensation in the pit of my stomach.
Why, only a few months ago I had just such a gastric event on spotting an item in the local paper, when it reported on NASA's attempts to work out what had happened to the Columbia space shuttle: 'Ron Dittemore, the shuttle program manager, said, "Examining where debris fell and where it was gathered is going to be very important as far as piecing the puzzle together as far as what happened at what altitude." '
How pusillanimous it would be for one's first thought to be something like "For me, the first step in working out what happened to the shuttle would be to try to piece together the puzzle of what Ron was trying to say, and in what order, let alone at what altitude."
No, no and thrice no! One's first response should be to praise Ron's bravura sentence construction! Fearlessly opening his mouth where he was about to place his foot, effortlessly scattering Strunk & White to the four winds though innocent readers choked in the slipstream, our doughty manager struck out bravely in every direction with his deathless prose, sliced deftly through the inconvenient straitjacket of logic, parried aside the entangling tinsel of syntactical convention, and with a final, decisive thrust embedded his linguistic poniard deep into the breast of sense in order to create a disjointedly, gloriously inspired statement which was all his own! It may have been strange, but it is beautiful in its way! And it is his!
It is in this spirit, I feel, that the mental spasms of George W Bush take exultant wing in statements such as, "You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos and order—order out of chaos. But we will"; or, "I think the American people—I hope the American–I don't think, let me—I hope the American people trust me"; or, "I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will."
Of course, it may fairly be said that Bush's actions both at home and abroad easily qualify him for the epithet of 'this century's worst ever US president' (a record which, with only 97 years to go, will take some beating); but let us not overlook his outstanding achievements as a language-mangler of the highest rank.
Whereas there is no particular honour or glory beyond the first flush of going down in history as a run-of-the-mill warmonger or an ordinary rogue - let alone a simple incompetent - George W Bush's contributions to Mangled Anguish, at least, know no parallel. And for this, if for little else, he will be remembered long after he has passed from the scene; if not quite fondly, at least with some nostalgic feeling.
So, Charles, I urge you to continue revelling in the linguistic strangenesses of your new stamping grounds! Make more notes, and keep sharing your findings! I at least will look forward to inspecting more of the rustic treasures collected from your new compatriots' creative tongues! They may not always glow with the burning brightness of Bush, but they are still little jewels, every one!
Ahmed: I fear that our rat-eating Eeyore of Transylvania is most likely responsible for the zoological input. Be consoled by knowing that evolution will settle his hash soon enough.