Saturday, December 22, 2012

No, you don't get a vacuum cleaner, but you do get holiday greetings from Finland

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by Ken

What with the crush of events the last couple of days, I haven't had a chance to pass on this fantabulous holiday greeting from one of our country's proud diplomatic servants. I wish to correct current of suspicion I'm aware of which claims that I lack "holiday spirit." This may or may not be related to the fact that I have very little holiday spirit, as witness the fact that this recent Roz Chast cartoon represents what I consider the ne plus ultra of holiday spirit. (You should be able to click on it to enlarge, but what do I know?)


Anyway, we were talking holiday spirit. Does it come any more spirited than the above card sent to an unfortunately select group of friends by our ambassador to Finland, Bruce Orick. And if you're wondering about the name, it turns out that yes, it is that Orick, familially speaking, but not individually speaking. The vacuum-cleaner magnate is Ambassador Orick's father, David Orick.

Before we get hopelessly tangled, perhaps we should let Al Kamen explain, in his Washington Post "In the Loop" column.

In Finland, our ambassador brings the muscle

By Al Kamen

There are traditional holiday cards, and then there are nontraditional cards. There surely are none more nontraditional than the one sent out by our man in Finland, Ambassador Bruce Oreck.

Oreck, a lawyer and son of famed vacuum cleaner manufacturer David Oreck, was a major Obama bundler and Democratic contributor before getting the appointment to Helsinki.

He's also a former professional bodybuilder and known among his friends to be somewhat irrepressible. So when one friend got the muscleman's holiday card a few days ago, he took it to be the official embassy card and thought Oreck had indeed "lost his mind."

But then he opened the card -- which features Oreck and his wife in formal attire -- and realized "it was just Bruce being Bruce."

As another Oreck friend noted: "Bruce has a great sense of humor." The gag card, we were told, had a limited distribution to his friends.

Oreck's also an adventurous sort, once hitching a ride with a Finnish Air Force pilot to cruise in an F-18D Hornet and recounting the trip in his online journal.

And lest there be any question, we checked with embassy spokesman David McGuire, who assured us "there is no Photoshopping. That is his real arm."

Oreck, we were told, "places tremendous emphasis on staying in shape." The photo is taken from a recent shoot Oreck did with ProBody Magazine, a Finnish fitness publication.

"The ProBody article was about his philosophy that 60 is the new 40 and maintaining fitness has become all the more important," McGuire said, adding that Oreck "is a big man with an outsized personality to match," making him "an extremely popular ambassador" in Finland.

As one Oreck pal said: "If you had arms like that, you would run a sleeveless picture of yourself in every column!"

Well, we prefer not to show off.
Even Scrooge would be touched.
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