Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Tonight we learn that federal agents raided the home of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Now I hate to be one of those people who feel like that German word I can't spell that means you take delight in the suffering of others, but it's hard to weep for Stevens. He's one of the nastier figures in the US Senate (and that's quite an accomplishment), but he knows how to bring home the bacon. Bridge to nowhere, anyone?

The FBI is reportedly investigating Stevens' relationship with an oil field developer who has pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska politicians. The investigation is still ongoing, but I learned through he Internet tubes that a major remodel of Stevens' home may have been bankrolled by this developer.

Between the investigation, Steven's advanced age, and an uncertain electoral picture in Alaska, we may not have Stevens to kick around much longer. He's already had his wings clipped since the Democrats retook the senate. Back in the heady days of the Republican majority, Stevens gave a famous speech on the nature of the Internet... the Internet he was in charge of regulating. So let's take a trip down memory lane and listen to the soothing tones of Ted Stevens.

Goodbye, Ted, we're going to miss you.

And if you're really hardcore, check out this great techno remix of that speech.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007


Nate and Will turned 1 last week, and like any good former-Californians, we threw them a pool party.There were some ladies in attendance, so Nate tried being the quiet, James Dean type.And Will... he just jumped around a lot.There were bubbles, too. Will liked the bubbles.The big moment came when we sang "happy birthday" and let them have their first-ever cupcakes. Will liked his a lot.And Nate wasn't interested at all.So after a while, we congratulated Nate on his restraint and told him that Americans have a chronic obesity problem and staying away from sweets will keep him from getting fat and having heart disease and things like that. So, just to shut us up, he tried some cupcake.And he tried on the hat, which is much more than Will was willing to do. And when it was all over, everyone agreed it was Nate and Will's best birthday ever. The bar wasn't set too high, though, as hey spent their original birthday either screaming or in the intensive care unit. There was much less of that this year.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007


Over the past, week, I've gotten my first comment from an actual Faroe Islander... who has a blog that looks a lot like this one. And he's got two other blogs about free money on the Internet. I don't really know what that's all about. But his Faroe Islands stuff is taken mostly from Wikipedia.

Faroe Man responded to another reader's request for a map of the Faroe Islands. He sent a link to this map...

The Faroe Islands are those tiny green specks next to the words "Faroe Islands." Let me see if I can find a close up...

There we go. All settled, thank you, CIA!

In this week's Faroe Islands news, a Scotish Newspaper reports that the Faroes may be becoming a human trafficking hub.

Phoey! I don't believe it, I'm sure all those South Asian men merely wanted to take in the charm and neatly mowed roofs of Torshavn before heading on to legitimate jobs in Scotland. I know I would.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I'm out covering a story and find myself standing on the side of an isolated stretch of river shooting some video. A guy in a raft floats by and shouts at me:

"What happened here!"

"Tune in tonight at 6 to find out!"

"You're going to do that to me!"

"I can't just give this stuff away!

"You do on the air every day!"

"Yeah, but we run ads afterwards!"

"Ok, so advertise something!"

"Dollar GMC, Save, Save, Save!"

"Ok, so what happened here!"

"Someone stole that RV, then pushed it over this 200 foot embankment!"

"Thank you!"


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


A good friend of mine is on a round-the-world trip this month, and he sent me back this photo. Apparently, South Park is endorsing airlines in the Middle East.


Monday, July 23, 2007


So "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" opened in theaters this weekend and is now the #1 movie in America. This is bad news because the film looks like complete crap.

I've not seen the film, but it looks like two guys get married (I'm assuming in Massachusetts) to keep receiving health benefits or something. But these are two really manly guys so, you know, being gay is lame. So they mince about in public to keep the ruse up. But when nobody is looking, they prove how straight they are by burping and farting a lot and drooling over Jessica Biel's boobs.

If they really wanted to do the film right, they should have adhered to the first rule of the fake marriage genre: the people who pretend to be married discover that they actually are in love. Now that would be a daring comedy.

And what's more, this film doesn't look anything like my experience of pretending to be gay to cheat the system. I should explain.

It happened when I lived in LA. One of my best friends in town was a delightful gay Canadian named John. He had a high paying job working on the Tonight Show. I was unemployed and living in a garage. We met when I interviewed for a job. I didn't get hired, but John and I became good friends.

One Saturday afternoon, John called:

"Hey Matt, want to go to Disneyland?"

"You know I can't afford that."

"Of course you can't afford that. I'm paying, but I'll need your help with something."

He arrived about 30 minutes later and explained further.

"Here's the thing, Matt: every employee at Disney is a big old screaming queen." (apparenly he's allowed to say that)

"I didn't know that, but I guess it makes sense."

"So I need you as eye candy." (what with my rugged Stone Phillips looks)

"I don't get it."

"When the ride operators see us together, they'll assume we're 'together' and they'll let us cut in line."

"Shut up!"

"No, really, it works. It's like a secret club."

"Do you really think they'll believe I'm gay?"

"Every last one of my friends think you're gay, so I'm pretty sure the folks at Disney will, too."

"And they're going to let us cut in line?"

"Oh yeah."

So we arrive at the Happiest Place on Earth™ and get into the Indiana Jones line. We weave our way through the line's many caverns until we reach a place where the Head Line Guy (not sure what the actual title is) can see us. He gets on his tiptoes, points to us, and waves us forward. I couldn't believe it.

At the Matterhorn, a man came and opened a special gate that directed us straight to the next available train. Amazing. I had never seen anything like this.

Then we hit Space Mountain and learned the limits of the Disney Gay Underground. A girl was running the line. Humf! We pouted as we actually had to wait in the entire line.

With the excepion of that one incident, my day at Disneyland was filled with the kind of VIP treatment usually reserved for heads of state or those kids who are dying. A good time was had by all. (And I didn't even have to put out!)

A much better time, it would seem, than spending 2 hours watching "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."

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Friday, July 20, 2007


Dear Nate and Will,

I have several friends who write monthly letters to their kids on their blogs, and I haven’t really done that… mostly so they won’t accuse me of copying them. But today’s special, so I’ll risk their wrath.

One year ago today you two guys were born. It hardly seems possible it was that long ago. It feels like it just happened yesterday, or perhaps 30 years ago, I’m not sure which.

In the past 12 months, we’ve watched you grow from tiny red bundles of need into two distinct individuals with your own habits and personalities.

Nate, you’re a patient and methodical baby. You notice detail and can occupy yourself for long periods of time by performing what I’m assuming are the baby equivalent of physics experiments. You’ll pick up a round plastic lid, drop it, and watch with fascination as it rotates on the floor before stopping. Then you’ll pick up the lid, tilt it at a different angle, and repeat the experiment.

You also appear anxious to begin talking. For the past several weeks, you’ve been mimicking human speech. You’ll look at me with purpose, and say something like, “da da gla gla, ga ma wa.” I imagine you think that means something. You’re actually quite bookish for a 12 month old child. Even when you were much, much younger, you’d love it when your mom would sit you on her lap and read a book to you. Now that you’re older, you’re interested in turning the pages by yourself. (You’re not actually all that good at it… yet.)

Perhaps your most charming trait is the joy you seem to derive from the happiness of others. One of the toughest things to do as the parent of twins is play with one child while the other it watching. Sure, there are plenty of things all three of us can do together, but some things, (dancing, airplane rides, etc.) can only be done one at a time. While you enjoy playing, you get almost as big a smile when you see your brother having fun. You’ll point and laugh at him and wait patiently until it’s your turn.

In other situations, you’ll try to get the attention of others and try to make them smile. Well, Nate, you make me smile a lot, without even trying.

And as for you, Will, you’ve spent your first year as something of an explorer. You were the first one to learn how to roll over, the first to crawl, and the first to pull yourself up on furniture. Each time, you were focused and determined to reach the next level of mobility.

Once you learn a new trick, you want to see how high you can climb or how far you can crawl. Just yesterday, you almost figured out how to scale the play wall by using a knob as a foothold. Had you been left unattended for a few seconds longer, I’m pretty sure you would have succeeded.

You also like to jump. You were in Utah in November when you started jumping on your grandfather’s lap. You really haven’t stopped since, Will. You bring vigor and enthusiasm to whatever you do, from splashing in the bathtub to shoveling Cheerios into your mouth to jumping on your bed when you really should be sleeping.

What people notice most about you is your smile, Will. You have a broad smile that is difficult to resist. This can make life difficult when I’m supposed to be resisting you by, say, putting you to bed or inserting some odd glob of baby food into your mouth. But your little toothy grin has already earned you some big fans among the sweet young (very young) things in Medford.

In your short lives, you’ve both become minor TV celebrities in the small town you were born in. You’ve appeared on TV about 6 times now, and when I meet people on the streets, they stop and tell me how beautiful you two are and how fun you seem to be.

And they’re right, you’re both really fun. Now that I see how fun you are, and how cool you’re turning out to be, I’m almost a little embarrassed at how much I dreaded parenthood before you were born.

Perhaps dreaded isn’t quite the right word, but I wasn’t all that anxious to enter the world of parenting. But then I met you guys. How could I not like you guys? How could I not love you guys?

While your presence in our lives means that we no longer get to take cool international vacations and go out to eat every night, you’ve made your mom and me happier than we ever could have imagined.

This happiness is in sharp contrast to the events in the world around us. The day you were born, the front page of the New York Times featured a picture of Israeli troops invading Lebanon.

By most objective measures, these are not good times. Our country is bogged down in an unpopular war in Iraq. Our government is mired in a series of scandals that can cause a person to question the very ideals the country was founded on. A shaky economy and housing market have people feeling uncertain about their futures. Then there’s this lingering dread over international terrorism washing up on our shores.

Yet even in these troubled times, your mom and I have found an abundance of happiness with each other. And once the two of you arrived, our joy was increased exponentially.

So on our birthday, I’ll have a few wishes of my own as you blow out your single candle (or as your mom blows it out, anyway).

Wish One: That I get to see many, many more of these birthdays. Your lives are like this wonderful story, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the next page.

Wish Two: That you’ll continue to be patient with your mother and me and we figure out how to be parents. Neither of you came with instruction manuals.

Wish Three: That you’ll be able to see past the deep imperfections of the world we’ve brought you into and find true happiness. Before you were born, I actually debated the morality of forcefully bringing anyone into this world. After all, it’s pretty messed up. But then I met you two guys, and all that worry seemed pretty silly.

Despite all the violence and hate and sadness in the world, there’s also a lot of beauty, joy and love to be had as well. And the arrival of my two little boys last year has filled my life with much beauty, joy, and love.

So happy birthday, little guys. We’ve made you some cupcakes, and you’ll get to open some presents, too. But we will never be able to give you any gift as wonderful as you’ve given us.

Thank you.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Did you know?

The Faroe Islands has donated $180,000 (USD) to a World Food Program effort to feed the people of Afghanistan. On a per capita basis, that's almost 10 times more generous than the amount the United States has given to the program

Rah, rah for the Faroe Islands!

And they have sheep, lots of sheep.


Monday, July 16, 2007


We spent most of last week on the Oregon coast, and it was a lovely time. While temperatures hit 107 and lightening storms took out power back home, Will and I were chilling on the sunny beaches.I guess they weren't really sunny beaches, but they were chilly beaches. Indeed, the clouds and rocks made me think of the Faroe Islands, my favorite place I've never been. (I got 3 hits from the Faroe's capital village, Torshavn, while we were out of town... hooray for the Faroes!)

But back to our trip. Julie took Nate for a walk, but he wasn't so sure how happy he was to be dressed up like a strawberry.

I thought the outfit looked a little girlie, too, but Julie just wouldn't listen to reason. Oh well, the questionable fashion choices didn't stop us from taking a quick family pic on the beach.

No, the picture isn't out of focus, we were blurry for our whole vacation. But we've taken antibiotics and we're all fine now.

We're safe back home, and exhausted from an all day drive with two babies who decided they do NOT like being strapped in car seats for extended periods of time. Hmmm, perhaps I should take a few days off work to recover...


Saturday, July 14, 2007


So what do we do with little Scooter? He got convicted of a crime, then the president let him off the hook for his jail time. The president says he's merely commuting Scooter's prison sentence, but we all know Lil' Scooter will have a full pardon before January 19, 2009. This move hasn't been a hit with the American public.

Sure, seeing Libby get off without paying a real penalty can be pretty galling. After all, donors have already paid the fine, and he really doesn't need his law license anymore to make a handsome living. Prison was all that was left, and the president took care of that. Yes, the president is within the law to let Libby off the hook, but many people though the move was immoral and undercut the rule of law in America.

And that's where I disagree. Our president is nothing if not a moral man and, in this matter, I am forced to assume that his compass is working just fine. Clearly, President Bush is exercising the simple Christian values he was elected on.

During the 2000 election campaign, President Bush said Jesus was his favorite philosopher. And in granting Scooter forgiveness, our president is merely following the example Jesus set.

"Hey Matt," you're probably thinking right now, "the President is a thoughtful and intelligent man who is familiar with the story and teachings of his favorite philosopher."

Absolutely, what's your point, dear reader?

"So how is President Bush able to grant forgiveness to Scooter?"

Of course, the Constitution gives the president the right to pardon whomever he pleases, but Christian principles demand a little more. I mean, Jesus didn't just run around forgiving people willy nilly. That would hardly be fair, and would undercut the basic notion of justice.

Jesus only had the power to forgive people because he had taken their sins upon himself. And, based on his deeply held Christian beliefs, that's what you can expect President Bush do. Once he has completed his term in office, our president will report to a federal prison where he will serve Scooter Libby's 30 month sentence.

It will be a noble gesture that will show what a deeply Christian man President Bush really is. Many people can spout off some religious cliches just to please a few voters. But not our president. He walks the walk, my friend, and I am proud he is our leader.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I'll be out of town this week, so posts may be a bit infrequent until the weekend. But I posted a lot last week, so it all kind of evens out.


Friday, July 06, 2007


Since I launched my campaign to have the entire population of the Faroe Islands adore me, I've gotten a THIRD hit from the Faroes. That means one of every 16-thousand people on the Faroe Islands has been to this blog. Bravo.

This week Reuters reports that the Faroe Islands could become the next oil boom country. Right now, the country's economy is highly dependent on fish exports. Tourism is a fast growing industry. But according to an unnamed Faroese tourism official, the German tourists who frequent the islands never spend any money.

"We need some Americans to come here and spend some money," he says. Well, Unnamed Tourism Official, I'd like to be that American.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007


About a week ago, I put a photo of Alan Johnston on my sidebar. I got the idea from another blog I read. The BBC reporter was kidnapped in Gaza four months ago. More than 200,000 people signed a petition calling for his release and bloggers all over the world included his picture on their pages.

Johnston was released yesterday. I feel a little foolish writing about this, because I was a little late to the game in paying attention to Johnston's fate. After the Daniel Pearl murder, stories of kidnapped journalists are more than I can stomach.

I can only imagine what Johnston's family has been going through for the last four months. Julie gets concerned if I stand out in the sun too long while reporting a story. When I drove a treacherous mountain road to cover the James Kim search, it made the woman I love very unhappy.

I don't want to draw too many parallels between myself and Mr. Johnston. Yes, we're both journalists, but I'm the equivalent of a McDonald's fry chef in the business, and Mr. Johnston is working at Spago. (But I make excellent fries, don't get me wrong.) My job isn't all that dangerous, although a guy did threaten to kill me and a photographer once. But Alan Johnston's job was extremely dangerous.

Gaza is probably the toughest beat for any western journalist. As a matter of fact, he was the only western journalist who was even trying to report full time from there. When an assignment is that difficult and that dangerous, a news director won't send you there unless you volunteer.

So I am glad to hear he's safe and free and heading for a reunion with his family. Even us lowly fry chefs have reason to be proud of him today.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007


An MSNBC anchor, who apparently reads this blog and does whatever I say, refuses to read a Paris Hilton story on air.

It feels a bit staged to me, but I give her credit for at least trying to comply with my wishes.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007


With those words, Tony Blair left the House of Commons last week after his final Prime Ministers Questions. I just saw the session on TiVo tonight, and it really did feel like watching a little piece of history.

For Brits, I understand the question of Tony Blair is a thorny one. He came into power in a wave of optimism 10 years ago only to find himself deeply unpopular at home. He got cozy with one of the most hated men on earth and helped facilitate the invasion of Iraq. At home, he got caught up in scandals about selling spots in the House of Lords. And he's credited with bringing sleazy, American spin-doctoring to British politics.

In America, we're much less conflicted. We pretty much like him. Folks on the right think Blair is the only right-thinking leader who isn't named Bush. He's a true and loyal friend who will stand on principle even when it's unpopular. Lefties see him as a noble but tragic figure who made a deal with the devil (agreed to endorse Iraq war in exchange for help with the Israel/Palestine conflict) and got burned.

In many ways Blair is the kind of person we wish our president was. Despite the obvious flaws, Blair could be counted on to give a thoughtful, reasoned argument for going to war in Iraq. You got the idea that he had actually thought it through and determined it was for the best. Perhaps that's why his support meant so much in the run up to the war. By that point, far more Americans trusted Blair than Bush.

As a person who consumes British politics mainly for entertainment purposes, I will miss Tony. His public speaking and rhetorical skills are first rate, and that made Prime Minister's Questions a fun watch.

Gordon Brown seems much less fun. Apart from the fact that he looks like a koala bear wearing tie, he also seems worn out from spending the last 10 years working at the highest levels of government. While I don't have access to any polling numbers, it feels like Brown would have a hard time winning a general election. He'll face the Commons tomorrow, and I'll be interested to see how he does. Perhaps he's got some life in him yet.

I found a video of Tony Blair's first question time as opposition leader in 1994. It was fun to see him with youthful swagger back in the days before 9/11 and the Internet boom and the Spice Girls. He sort of reminds me of that young buck David Cameron.

In his last question time, Blair ended his remarks with a brief speech on the value and basic nobility of politics. To American ears, it sounded silly and naive and helped me to understand why he was once known as "Bambi." But he made you at least believe that he believed it. Perhaps it's the British accent that makes us Yanks believe anything he says.

But whatever you think of him, you have to appreciate any guy who can rule a country for 10 years, step down on his own terms, and get a standing ovation as he walks out the door. When our guy leaves after 8, I doubt you'll see a scene like this.

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Monday, July 02, 2007


On Saturday, our nanny got married, and now will no longer be taking care of our little guys for several hours each day. It was such a special event, Nate and Will even got dressed up for the occasion.
They were mostly good for the ceremony, and Will was first to say "hello" when there was a break in the action.
Will agreed that Maren looked beautiful on her wedding day. Nate was so overcome that he had to come over and give her one of his butterfly kisses.
Maren has been a nanny for Nate and Will since November, so she's known them for most of their lives.
Even though she was taking care of someone else's kids, she always showed generous love for our boys.
And in return, they truly loved her back.
Indeed, Maren has a talent for showing love for things she cares about, which bodes well for her as she starts her life with her new husband and, one day, her own family. They will be lucky to have her as part of their lives. And we consider ourselves lucky that she became a part of ours.
Congratulations, Maren. We're happy for you in this joyous moment of you life. But we're a little sad that you're leaving us for life in the big city. But mostly, we're just happy that you've made such a difference in Nate and Will's lives. Thank you.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007


I appears the editor of US Weekly reads this blog and took up my challenge to ignore Paris Hilton. She explains her decision in Slate Magazine, and she even stole my headline from more than a week ago... which I stole from a pretty forgettable Billy Crystal movie/NBA promo released 12 years ago.

Bravo, US Weekly, bravo.

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