IKEA Claims Another 10,000 Lifestyles

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Vol 40 Issue 17

Bush To Iraqi Militants: 'Please Stop Bringing It On'

WASHINGTON, DC—In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. "Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now," Bush said at a Monday press conference. "Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y'all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back." The president added that the "it" Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.

Strangulation The New Blow To The Head, Says Hired Killer Magazine

NEW YORK—Strangulation has replaced a violent blow to the skull as the hot new way to eliminate a target, according to the May issue of Hired Killer magazine. "Striking the occipital was fine in the easygoing '90s—an audible thump and a sloppily collapsing body fit the casual feel of the times," read the article by Jonathan Grecco. "But the elegant silence of a strangle kill, and the skill that its proper execution demands, are too-too today, especially when a monofilament line is used to modernize this classic." The May issue also features 10 Ways First-Time Trigger-Men Screw Up A Body Disposal.

Putting Up With Dave's Shit Not In Job Description

SPOKANE, WA—Although he's willing to put up with a hell of a lot, coffee-shop employee Jason Bowen said Tuesday that dealing with endless amounts of Dave's shit isn't part of his job description. "I'm sorry, but I didn't come to the Second Cup just so [store manager] Dave [Shaw] could use me as his personal slave," Bowen said. "Nothing in the employee handbook says I have to stay until midnight cleaning the cappuccino machines, just because he has to go argue with his fucking girlfriend." Bowen added that he was hired as a barista, and maintenance work is so not what he's paid to do.

Spawn Of Satan A Failure In Father's Eyes

TUSTIN, CA—The humanoid spawn of Satan, Belial K. Ravana, 16, has proven to be a huge disappointment to his father, His Satanic Majesty reported from Hell Tuesday. "Apparently, young Belial started a fire in the garbage can at school today," Satan said. "When I begat young Belial, I had high hopes that he would follow in my cloven-hoofsteps. At his age, I was scorching the earth in hellfire, flensing the skin off of infants, and making the streets of Babylon run red with the blood of the righteous." Satan said he hopes Belial will turn it around and "at least rape the principal" before the semester's end.

National Cyber Security

The Department of Homeland Security recently identified a serious Internet security flaw that could leave the web vulnerable to hackers. What do you think?

You're Fired!

You're fired! Since Donald Trump started saying it on The Apprentices, I can't say it enough. It's this year's "Is that your final answer?" I've been saying it to everyone: my friends, my mailman, and even my mom! And now we know the apprentice is Bob, who proved that he had the goods by coordinating a golf tournament. Congratulations, Bob!

Sept. 11 Could Not Have Been Prevented Without Accruing A Lot Of Overtime

Esteemed members of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, good afternoon. As National Security Advisor, my job is to coordinate the efforts of America's intelligence and defense agencies and report directly to the president. I was, and continue to be, in a unique position to understand the threats and dangers our nation faces. It is with utmost confidence and sincerity that I assure each and every one of you that there was no way the federal government could have prevented the horrific events of Sept. 11 without accruing an enormous amount of overtime.
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IKEA Claims Another 10,000 Lifestyles

ATLANTA—IKEA, the rapidly growing Swedish retailer of inexpensive home furnishings, claimed another 10,000 American lifestyles in 2003, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Interior Design Control.

Map - IKEA Proliferation, U.S.

"This epidemic of self-assembled, clean-lined modernist furniture is still largely contained to densely populated urban areas, but the danger exists that it will spread to other regions throughout America," CIDC spokesman Chris Greeves said Tuesday. "At the rate it's moving, our nation could suffer European levels of Scandinavian design within a decade."

Greeves said IKEA is not easily controlled, as it spreads largely through word of mouth.

"It passes between rooms until it has infested not only your living room, but also your 1.5 bathrooms, your cleanly appointed kitchen, and then your entire sun-drenched, open-plan loft apartment. In the most extreme cases, it will even spread to the string-light-decorated rooftop patio overlooking your recently gentrified neighborhood."

The IKEA encroachment began attracting attention in 1985, when the first American IKEA store was diagnosed in Philadelphia, infecting an estimated 2,500 homes with Stenkulla tables, Blankhult chairs, and Ingebo sofas almost overnight.

"My friend Kyle was the first person I knew who got IKEA," said Adam Goldman, a Manhattan web designer who said he now knows "20 or 30 people" who have the furniture. "I was at his place on a Friday night, and everything was normal. He mentioned that he was going out to shop for a little bookcase the next day. A week later, his whole place was so thick with blond birch veneer and chrome wire shelving that he could barely stand up."

Goldman's friend lost the apartment later that year, but Goldman could not confirm IKEA as the cause.

"The real problem isn't the furniture—it's actually been around for years," Greeves said. "The problem is the people who spread it. Many of them are embarrassed that they have it, but they show a brave face to the world and talk about low cost and convenience. What those who've contracted it won't talk about is the fact that IKEA is mostly self-assembled."

Greeves added that many people who have lost their lifestyles to IKEA started out thinking of full-blown IKEA home remodeling as "something that happens to other people."

"They know the danger is there—they've been to those dinner parties," Greeves said. "But they think, 'That's not going to happen to me. I'll just get some CD racks... and maybe one of those canvas magazine holders."

A home in Philadelphia containing epidemic levels of IKEA.

Greeves continued: "Those whose homes are infested with the IKEA fittings are mostly young and newly financially independent. They're not careful with their new freedoms. In a spontaneous moment, a chrome Stalaktit seems like a sensible lighting solution. They don't stop to think, 'Hey, this could be something I'll have to live with for the rest of my 20s.'"

CIDC officials say they are unsure exactly how many U.S. rooms have been claimed by the furniture and décor line, but they fear that the number of homes in which one or more residents have been exposed to IKEA could increase as much as 80 percent by 2008.

"The chances of contact with the infectious brand are increasing rapidly, because very few areas of daily life are safe from the IKEA bug," Greeves said. "The existence of such seemingly innocuous items as IKEA tea lights, napkin rings, desk accessories, and beach-sports equipment dramatically increases the average person's chance of falling prey to IKEA consumption."

Karl Westin is an actor who came down with a truckload of IKEA when he moved from Seattle to Burbank, CA, in 1996. In recent years, he has spent thousands of dollars eradicating it from his house.

"For me, it started slowly," Westin said. "I had a Poang—it's a form of chair—and I just couldn't seem to get rid of it. That led to a lot of other things I'm not particularly proud of. I indulged in Leksvik, Branas, even a Svingen. If you don't know what those are, consider yourself lucky."

Although Westin said he has been IKEA-free for more than a year, saving his lifestyle was neither easy nor cheap.

"It took a lot of expensive Restoration Hardware sessions before the IKEA was totally wiped out," Westin said. "And I'm one of the lucky ones. I hate to think what happens to people who can't afford to go out and get the new window treatments they so desperately need."

Greeves said the IKEA threat, once dismissed as a weak European form of viral marketing, increases for Americans daily. There are already 18 known IKEA centers in the U.S., with six more poised to arrive soon in such heavily populated areas as Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Dallas-Fort Worth.

"If an individual lives within 100 miles of an IKEA store, the chances of finding IKEA inside his home increases 20-fold," Greeves said. "It's important for anyone in close proximity to one of these stores to take precautions. That friend with the SUV who invites you to come along to IKEA 'just to look' is exposing you to the risk that you'll walk out of that place carrying a 24-piece teal-blue plastic picnic set."

This year, the CIDC will team up with corporate partners Wickes and Ethan Allen, who have each pledged $200,000 to a campaign to spread the message about alternatives to cheap composite furniture, even for those who are young or on stipends.

Still, experts fear that things will get worse before they get better.

"At present, the IKEA epidemic is mostly limited to the coasts, but if the populace isn't educated about the very real aesthetic dangers of IKEA, more lifestyles will be lost all across the nation," Greeves said. "Just last week, we received a report about a young man who'd moved to Wyoming to go to college. His very first week in the dorms, he went to the IKEA web site. A week later, he broke out a bright red Klippan sofa. He's just 18 years old, the poor guy. No matter where he ends up going in the coming years, he'll be carrying the IKEA sofa."

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