The Washington Post

An ambassador’s Christmas card like no other

(Greetings from our man in Finland. )

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 amongst his friends to be somewhat irrepressible. So when one friend got the muscle-man’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 “official” embassy 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 photo- shopping: 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.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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