Holy cow, I wrote a book!
I can make out perhaps a fifth of what's going on. If I really
concentrate (and they speak slowly enough), it might reach half.
But after the first two stories or so, my brain explodes and I have
to take a rest.
Embarrasingly, it took me weeks to figure out what they were saying
to introduce each show! "Programmet som förklarar nyheterna
på ett enklare sätt." I got stuck on the first word;
even today it sounds like the guy is saying what seems to be
the nonsense word "pörjammet".
The two types of stories I like most on Swedish radio are
(1) where they talk about the United States,
since it's enlightening to learn how others see us, and
(2) when they talk about slimy politicians.
The Swedes seem all upset that their politicians are selfish
money-grubbing sleazeballs. Hey, you idealistic Swedes,
they're politicians. Being selfish money-grubbing
sleazeballs is their job!
Exhibit A: Politicians paid for sitting on committees,
but don't actually show up for committee meetings.
When confronted, one politician explained, "I didn't realize
I was being paid." (Translation: "I don't do things unless
I get paid to do them.") Another used the excuse,
"I didn't know I was supposed to attend the meetings."
(Translation: "Sure, go ahead, pay me extra money, I'll
gladly take it, but if you expect me to do work, you have
to tell me!")
Exhibit B: Members of the Riksdag are permitted a free
rail pass to travel between their constituency and Stockholm.
Half of the MPs which avail themselves of this perk choose
the most expensive railway ticket, the so-called
Guld" (Annual Gold Card), which gets you a complimentary
three-course meal among other top-class amenities.
All these Gold Cards cost
the Swedish taxpayer over a million Kronor per year,
compared to the cost of buying them all coach tickets.
Meanwhile, here in the United States, we don't even bat an eye
one representative sneaks a US$225,000 renovation of his
home town's swimming pool into the federal budget,
and another secures a US$50 million grant to build an indoor
rain forest in Iowa.