Monday, July 23, 2007

Brain Freeze

Garrison Keillor is pining for the fjords (no permalink):

This week I am traveling around the part of Norway you see in the travel brochures - the fjords with picturesque villages on the shores, forested mountains with thousand-foot waterfalls coursing down the precipices, old wooden fishing boats anchored in the harbor, old churches. An American walks around and wonders, "Where are the auto salvage yards, the strip malls, the golden arches?" This is a country that believes in zoning and government regulation. Government trolls will not allow you to open up a Mr. Donut drive-in unless you disguise it as a shop.

Hmmm. I wonder how long till we get around to Chimpee McHallibushitler?

Ancient burial mounds here tell us something about the Vikings. For one thing, when a chieftain died, his people killed a slave woman to go along with him to the afterlife.

And when the Vikings started running out of local slave women, they had some flown in from Atlanta.

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

They asked for volunteers and since the lives of slave women were hard, there were some who were willing to take their chances on entering paradise. We also learn that the Vikings were expert woodworkers, which was how they were able to discover America 400 years before Columbus. They knew how to join wood and make ships that would stand up to the North Atlantic.

[NOTE: This post has already achieved its one-Viking-Sex-Boat-Orgy-Scandal-joke quota, so I shall abstain here.]

In Moorhead, Minnesota, you'll find a fine replica of an 11th century Norwegian stave church, which looks a little odd there with few trees and no mountains. And that's how the Norwegian emigrants felt who wound up on the prairie. The sky was too big and they had to learn to walk on level ground. But life was hard in Norway. The Black Plague had killed off half the country in the 14th century and made it defenseless, and so Norway fell under the woolen fist of Danish oppression until Denmark chose the wrong side in the Napoleonic wars and was forced by Britain to give Norway to Sweden, and between the Danes and the Swedes they managed to give Norway a national inferiority complex that lasted even beyond national independence in 1905. In these little villages along the fjords, people wearied of vertical agriculture and began emigrating to the Midwest back when it was a primitive frontier.

OK, while the history lesson is nice, and far more illuminating than pretty much everything Keillor has ever pooped onto newsprint, I'd like to get to the stupidity for me to mock, which is the only reason anybody reads this ThunderJournal.

A Norwegian hates to admit a mistake, however, so the emigrants wrote glowing letters back to Norway, which lured even more Norwegians to the Midwest, so they missed out on the great Norwegian oil and gas bonanza of the past 50 years. Our oil profits go to robber barons who give it to their wastrel children to subsidize lives of insane narcissism, but Norwegian oil profits go mostly to the Norwegian people and subsidize the little villages and the roads and rails needed to connect them - Norwegians are in favor of provincialism - and also go to the largest pension fund in Europe, $300 billion, which is forecast to more than double in the next 10 years.

Ahhh. There it is.

So Norway is superior to the benighted United States, because it takes "oil profits" and gives them to it's citizens.

You mean like that wingnut utopia known as Alaska does?

Must have something to do with the latitude, or number of fjords per citizen, then.

Or the fact that both Alaska and Norway have access to an abundance of much sought-after resources, while also having the combined population of Wisconsin.

Economics aside, Keillor is betraying the roots of his success here. Because after all, didn't he at one point in his career draw a paycheck that was funded by taxes on the profits of oil companies among others (contrary to what dimwits like Garri would have you believe, corporate profits are taxed, as well as the dividends they pay their shareholders, which also comes out of the profits), the proceeds of which were dumped into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?

Maybe those funds should have gone to a national pension fund Social Security instead.

Just sayin'.

American Norwegians live in little prairie towns where health care is the main industry because everybody's old and their main asset is their home, which isn't worth what it was because the town is shrinking because old people have a tendency to die. Their ancestors took a wrong turn.

Take a moment to let that last sentence there - written by a twit with a thesaurus who owes no small part of his livelihood to you, the American taxpayer - sink in.

They had no idea America would fall into the hands of a failed oilman who would waste the country's pension money on a war for oil

There it is.

while Norway, the world's most peaceful country, enjoys a very sensible prosperity.

I shall be checking the real estate listings today to see if Keillor has listed his Summit Ave. -are manse, his place in River Falls and his condo in New York. Doesn't sound like he'll be needing them any more. Off to the Bestest Country on Earth, where everybody loves the government and don't mind the cost one bit (even in addition to all that Free Oil Money)!

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