(A heavy set man named Oliver stands alone in the center of a nearly endless, empty but brightly lit furniture store. He is greeted by a thin, cheerful man with a name badge that reads “Stan”)
Stan: Can I help you with something, Sir?
Oliver: Well, I’m in the process of moving from an apartment into a house. I have more room and am in need of some new furniture to fill the place out.
Stan: Great, well you’ve come to the right place. What are you looking for first?
Oliver: Well, I’ll need a new couch.
Stan: Right this way.
(Stan leads down a row of dining room tables into a bank of couches)
Stan: Are you looking for a sectional, maybe a divan….
Oliver: (pointing at a large, rather non-descript red couch) That one…over there. I like that.
Stan: Ah yes! Our 20th Century Persian Sectional. Very popular item.
Oliver: I don’t mean to be rude, but I’d like to cut right to the chase. I have a budget I’m working with. I’ve seen this couch before at another store but it was too expensive. If you offer me a good deal on it, I’m pretty much sold. What’s it cost?
Stan: No problem at all. I like working with someone who wants to get right down to business. (pulling a tag from behind the couch) This couch right here will cost you the first twelve nights you spent alone after your wife and children left you and the funeral of your Aunt Sally.
Oliver: Wow. That’s a bit steep for a couch. The IKEA up the street only wanted the week my father was in a coma after the construction accident and the time my dog froze to death on the back porch when I was six.
Stan: Hmmm…..Okay, look, you’ve got me over a bit of a barrel here. I’ll be frank with you, I need to move some merchandise pretty quickly. Got a new shipment coming in, plus my boss needs to see some numbers. You seem like a nice fellow, how about I ask you for the time your parents locked you in a closet for five hours because you got caught smoking and the time you were eight and your uncle punched you in the face because he thought you had hidden the remote control?
Oliver: Not bad. Will you throw in the ottoman?
Oliver: We have a deal. Now, let’s see about a bed for the guest room.
Stan: (hurriedly moving to the bed section) Right this way.
Oliver: Looking for a queen-sized mattress and an upscale looking frame. Oak maybe. What’s that set over there run?
Stan: Well, that one will set you back the week after you were first diagnosed with diabetes, the time you got fired from your high school job at Target because you fell asleep in the stock room and the death of your good friend Ralph.
Oliver: That’s just too much. This is going in the guest room. Do you have anything a bit more reasonable?
Stan: Well, this set in the corner will only run you the time you got cut from the JV basketball team and the car accident where you caused that man to be in intensive care for five weeks. And it’s quite sturdy.
Oliver: Sold. Now, all I’m really in need of are some end tables for the living room and a recliner and I’ve got everything I need.
Stan: Well, I’ve got a recliner over here that I think you are going to love. Check out this little number.
Oliver: (sitting down in a huge leather chair and leaning back) Oh yeah! Stan, may I call you that….
Oliver: Stan, this is like heaven on earth. I haven’t been this comfortable in a long time. This would be perfect for the living room.
Stan: Well, you sure picked the right day to visit us! That’s a closeout special. Do you like the style of table next to it?
Oliver: Very much.
Stan: Here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll get you the recliner and two end tables just like that one as a package. All you need to give me are the ten or so experiences of sexual inadequacy with women you’ve accumulated in the last three years and it’s yours. What do you say?
Oliver: Well, it’s a great chair…..
Stan: Imagine putting your feet up on a Sunday and watching the game in that chair. Think of how comfortable you’ll be. Think of how much joy this will bring you. Think of all the pain and suffering this will substitute for. You don’t need anything in this world but a comfortable chair and a place to put your feet up. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that.
Oliver: Stan, you’ve got yourself a deal. When can it be delivered?
Stan: Well, delivery will cost the week that in elementary school that everyone decided to ignore you because someone caught you picking your nose. I could have it in your home by Friday. Just write down your address and I’ll have the fellas bring it on by.
Oliver: Sounds like a plan. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.
Stan: Likewise, Oliver. Likewise.
(The two men shake hands)
I am amazed at what has happened. The Sarah Palin “Oystergate” scandal is becoming a major national news story!!! I just pulled this off of the wire 10 minutes ago. (If you are just finding out about this story here are links to the original article and Palin’s reply)
Bloomington, MN (API)-In a bizarre scandal that is being called “Oystergate”, Sarah Palin is being accused of having a deep hatred of Swedish people. This story began when Palin agreed to write a music interview on a small website called “The Tyranny of Tradition”. Palin’s review, in which she shared her feelings about music including a love for the rock group The Blue Oyster Cult, started off as a simple discussion of heavy metal and quickly turned into an anti-Swedish diatribe where she claimed to be concerned about “slick talking Swedish terrorists” and referred to the government of Sweden as being “brutal and oppressive”. In a follow-up email, Palin added fuel to the fire by misquoting William Shakespeare and saying that there was “something rotten in the state of Sweden”.
The Swedish Embassy officially condemned Palin’s remarks. Swedish spokesman Per Gustafson said, “The Swedish people are deeply offended by Palin’s statement. Anti-Swedism has no place in the world of mature political communication.”
Late in the afternoon, things took a decided turn for the worse for the Palin camp. Helen Blomquist, the personal housekeeper for the Palins from 2006 until 2008, dropped a bombshell when she accused Palin of using anti-Swedish language around their Wasilla home. According to Blomquist, during a heated meeting with one of her top advisors, Palin shouted “Grow up! Stop acting like such a Swede!” Blomquist also claims that, as a sick joke, she was regularly pelted with Swedish fish and subjected to mocking anti-Swede insults by Mrs. Palin and her husband Todd.
In the wake of the growing scandal, the Palin camp has issued a statement saying, “Sarah has nothing but love and appreciation for the Swedish people. The comments of Mrs. Blomquist are entirely untrue. Any accusations of Anti-Swedism are purely a creation of the left-wing media.” However, growing tension has clearly plagued Palin’s staff. Hilda Erickson, Palin’s Chief of Swedish Relations, resigned this afternoon citing “personal, family related reasons.”
Swedish-Americans have taken to the streets to voice their outrage at Palin’s comments. A group of nearly 500 angry Swedes stood in front of the IKEA in Bloomington, Minnesota today carrying protest signs, shouting “Palin hates Swedes” and proudly singing the Swedish National Anthem. Hilmar Lindquist, head of the Swedes For America group, has demanded an apology. Until Palin apologizes, Lindquist and several of his followers have begun a 40 day lingonberry-only fast.
This was in my inbox about a half an hour ago. In case you missed how this whole thing started, here’s a link to the original article. I’m really not sure what to think about anything anymore. Things have gotten simply too weird.
Anyway, here’s Sarah…
I want to clear up some misconceptions that came up in my review of Ghost’s “Opus Eponymous”. I have received a good amount of angry emails from people who felt that I made remarks that were demeaning towards Swedish people. I even received an angry message from the Swedish embassy. I want to go on the record as saying I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Swedish people. Some of the most significant Americans of the last 100 years have been Swedes. John W. Nordstrom, founder of the Nordstrom’s retail chain, was born in Sweden. Astronaut and American hero Buzz Aldrin is part Swedish. Even wonderful entertainers like Julia Roberts and Tippi Hedren claim Sweden part of their great ancestry.
Just so you know, I was one of the first shoppers at IKEA when it opened in Anchorage. They have all of those sturdy pieces of furniture with the silly names. I think we bought a Flarn for Piper’s room that day. Every Sunday, Todd and I drive an hour to treat the family to breakfast at the closest IHOP over in the town of Chuloonawick. Every week without fail I order the Swedish pancakes. Surprisingly enough, both my and Todd’s favorite candy are Swedish fish. I ask you, do I sound like someone who hates Swedish people?
The point I was trying to make was not that we should hate all Swedes or the country of Sweden. Sweden is clearly an up and coming country. They have their own embassy, which tells you a lot about them. IKEA has a business model all Americans can be proud of. Once they grow out of their socialist phase like Russia did, they could easily rejoin the great nations that have refuted socialism and embraced values we can all stand for. The point I was trying to make in the article really had nothing to do with Swedes. It was more the idea that we should naturally be aware that some foreigners are against what we stand for and are dangerous. Since we can never be quite sure which ones are the bad ones, we must naturally be aware of all of them and treat them with appropriate caution. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of vigilance when our safety and well-being is at stake. When we are dealing from refuges from a socialist country like Sweden we must be even more prepared for the threat of potential anti-Americanism or worse. Even a writer and poet as great as Shakespeare understood this. He put it brilliantly when he wrote those now famous words “something is rotten in the state of Sweden.” I am clearly not the only one with these sorts of concerns.
I was very upset by your comments last night on MSNBC. After reading your article about the Beatles, I was sure you were someone I had a good deal in common with. How wrong I was! The statement you made about “condoning my metalheadedness but not my blockheadedness” was simply unfair. First of all, metalheadedness is not a word. Secondly, it upset me to no end to hear you give ammunition to an arm of the liberal media empire like MSNBC. They are clearly out to destroy me. In a week where I’ve experienced such awful attacks and personal suffering I would think you could have been a bit nicer. I simply will not write anything else for your stupid little blog.