Friday, February 29, 2008


Due to many factors, I skipped last week's Faroe Friday feature. And to my utter amazement, someone actually noticed its absence and even seemed to miss it. For almost a year now, I have been under the impression that I was the only person who cared much about this admittedly esoteric feature. But apparently here are two people who care: me, and News Ten's Curtis Bartlett. We're winning converts one reader at a time.

This week's Faroe Islands news comes from UEFA.COM. It seems the Faroe Islands is preparing to build a new, larger national soccer stadium. The country's current facility has been deemed unacceptable for international play. The new stadium will seat about 8,000 people, one day I hope I can be one of them.

I had seen a picture of the what the new stadium will look like on what's probably the island's best online news source. However, I didn't know what it was because, well, I don't read Faroese. By the time the story was written in English, the picture was long gone.

Normally in circumstances like this I would turn to Faroe Man for advice. For several months, he's maintained a blog where he posts Faroese news stories in English. Apart from being a news buff, he's quite proud of his country. News of a new stadium wouldn't have passed him by.

Alas, Faroe Man appears to have vanished into the ether of the Internet. After posting at a furious rate since July, he wrote up a small crime story on December 15th, and hasn't been heard from since.

Faroe Man has offered no explanation for his extended absence. Perhaps the long Faroese winters have stricken him with Seasonal Affective Disorder and he can't bring himself to post anymore. Maybe he's developed relationships with actual human beings and doesn't need cyber friends anymore.

Whatever the reasons, Mr. Man's absence has left a pretty big gap in the Internet's supply of English language news of the Faroes. So please pay a visit to the dormant "Everything About the Faroe Islands" site and leave a comment urging Faroe Man to come out of retirement. You'd be doing me (and apparently Curtis Bartlett) a big favor.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We're long overdue for some baby photos, so we thought we'd return to a common theme, waking up. These were taken just after the little guys got up from a nap. Here's Nate looking out the window near his crib.

That was Julie's favorite picture of the batch. But I'm partial to this one, if only because it features some Gorillaz artwork we bought from Jamie Hewlett's company.That's right, Nate, you've got parents who think they're hipsters. Meanwhile, Will has woken up, but he's not quite in focus.But give him a few more minutes, and he clears right up.That's more like it. Now looking at these photos and the others we've been posting for the past 19 months, you might come to the conclusion we have the cutest little kids in the world. And you'd be right. But they can take a bad photo every once in a while. I know you don't believe me, so here's proof...Indeed, Will looks like something from the Addam's Family in this picture. We threw out the camera after it captured this image. It's obviously defective.

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Monday, February 25, 2008


Following a massive recall of frozen beef, Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company may shut their slaughterhouse doors forever. The company's general manager says the cost of paying for the recall will drive them out of business. That makes sense, but what's important is how he said it:

(From Reuters)
"I don't see any way we could reopen," Magidow was quoted as saying in a phone interview. "If the USDA wants payment back, we're dead meat. We're done."

That's right, "dead meat." The owner of a meat packing plant said they were "dead meat."

Where to start with the jokes? Dead meat? I thought that was your business plan.

How about: Well if you're dead meat, why don't you just pack yourselves up and sell yourselves to the school lunch program.

Clearly Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing is an irony free company. And for that reason, I'll be sad to see them go.


Sunday, February 24, 2008



Ever since I lived in LA, I've had a certain affection for the Oscars. It's bigger than the Super Bowl down there, and the betting pools are just as competitive. So in honor of the ceremony later today, I thought I'd offer my predictions. I think it's pretty easy pickings this year, so it's much less likely that I'll be revealed as the complete poser that I am.
The votes are in, and I have, in fact, been revealed as a complete poser. Let's review my choices:

There Will be Blood
Oscar voters are old people who love movies with an epic sweep that "tell the story of America." This is that film. It will win big tonight.
It did not, in fact, win big. But I really do believe that this was the best film of the five nominated. But it's hard to get bent out of shape about the Cohens winning awards. They're quite good.

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will be Blood
The Cohens are certainly in the running, but they've won before, and Anderson is proving himself a unique voice in American film. He'll get the statue.
The Cohens were in the running, and they ran away with this one. I'm 0 and 2 so far. Not good.

Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will be Blood
Oscar voters love a showy performance, and this one is over the top. It's an amazing performance, too, and worthy of recognition. This one is a sure thing.
There we go. You didn't have to be all that bright to figure this one out. It really was a sure thing.

Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
I want to vote for hometown hero Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War." He's great in that movie, and in every other movie he's been in. But he's already won a "Best Actor" statue, and the Oscars tend to spread the love. And Bardem is absolutely terrifying in "No Country." I was frightened every second he was on the screen.
Yeah, I get another one right! I'm back to batting .500!

Julie Christie, Away From Her
This is another one of those sure things. She's a great actress, the Academy wants to recognize her again while she's still around. And she plays a woman with a mental illness. Oscar voters love mental illness.
Who the hell is Marion Cotillard? I was positive I got this one right. I didn't see Ms. Cotillard's performance, so perhaps it's brilliant. Now I'm 2 and 3.

Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
When in doubt, go for the woman in drag (or the woman playing a prostitute... but there aren't any of those this year).
Tilda Swindon? Aww, come on! She was great in "Michael Clayton," but still... I didn't call it. I'm batting .250, and things are looking worse.

Persepolis is beautiful and moving and fun, but betting against a Pixar film is a losing game.
Nice. My safe bet paid off. I've won three and lost 4, that's not all that bad.

There Will be Blood
When in doubt, go with your "best picture" choice. Many lazy Oscar voters do, too.
My system is breaking down. "Sweeny Todd." 3-5 and I'm in some real trouble now.

There Will be Blood
See "Art Direction."
The Borune Ultimatum. I didn't even give the blockbuster films a chance this year. My bad, 3-6.

Sweeny Todd
"There Will be Blood" is not nominated, so I'm taking "Sweeny Todd" because Tim Burton's people usually do a good job in that department.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age. This is bad, this is really bad. 3-7.

I normally use the "best picture" coattails rule, but "Atonement" has a 5 minute tracking shot that is pretty amazing. Film nerds go crazy for that type of thing. That shot alone will earn it an Oscar.
OH COME ON! The only bone I really throw to a film other than "There Will be Blood" is won by... "There Will be Blood"! 3-8 I've never been so humiliated.

I've not seen enough of the documentary or foreign language films to make an informed decision, so I'll stop my predictions here. Sadly, I won't even be able to watch the broadcast live. I'll be anchoring a newscast on a competing network. Oh well.

I consistently win any Oscar betting pool I'm in. I've never done this bad in my adult life. What's the difference? I posted my predictions online for the first time this year. Lesson learned.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


What you’re about to read is a conversation I really had many years ago. I went home and wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it.

On a city bus in Provo, Utah. February, 1991.

Me: So in my astronomy class they were talking about the start of the universe and how everything in the universe was packed into something smaller than a thimble.

Friend: Yeah, I think I’ve heard that.

Me: It’s kind of mind blowing, but I guess you can kind of imagine a giant hydraulic press mashing all the planets and stars together and stuff. My point is, I don’t have any problem with the idea of stuffing everything in the universe into a thimble.

Friend: OK.

Me: But what freaked me out was the black stuff.

Friend: The black stuff?

Me: Yeah, all the stuff that isn’t anything. The teacher said that all the black stuff was packed inside that thimble, too.

Friend: I don’t get it. What’s it doing in there?

Me: I know. I’m fine with a tiny, dense ball of stuff floating out there in the black stuff, but once you stuff the black stuff in there… well… I don’t know about that.

Friend: Did you ask the teacher?

Me: Yeah! I said, “If the whole universe—including the black stuff—is stuffed into a thimble, what’s outside of the thimble?”

Friend: And what did he say?

Me: Nothing. He said there was nothing outside. Now before this class, I understood that the black stuff was nothing. Now he’s telling me the universe is expanding… including the black stuff. So I asked, “If the black stuff is expanding, what is it expanding into?”

Friend: And he said “nothing.”

Me: Exactly. And I tried to ask again, I said, “OK, tomorrow the universe will expand into somewhere where it isn’t today. What’s there now?”

Friend: Let me guess, he said “nothing.”

Me: Kind of. He said I was thinking about it all wrong. So I’ve decided that nobody knows anything about what’s out past the universe, so that makes me as much of an expert as anybody on the subject. With that in mind, I’ve devised a theory. Wanna hear it?

Friend: Not really.

Me: Too late. It’s white stuff.

Friend: White stuff?

Me: Yeah, it’s this great sea of white stuff, and it eventually gets displaced by the black stuff when the universe expands into it.

Woman Sitting Behind Us: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Friend: That’s my stop. Goodbye.

Me: It’s not so stupid. Nobody can tell me I’m wrong because nobody knows anything about it.

Woman: Of course you’re wrong! It can’t be white stuff.

Me: Why not?

Woman: Because if it was white, it would be emitting light. That would violate every law of the universe.

Me: But that’s just the thing, it isn’t the universe. It hasn’t arrived yet. It will arrive soon. First there will be Martial Law, then the laws of the universe will come when the black stuff arrives.

Woman: I can’t believe I’ve just had this conversation with you.

Me: Me too!

And the next stop was mine.


Saturday, February 16, 2008


It seemed like an innocent enough thing. Nate and Will helped decorate Valentine's Day cookies, so we thought we'd let them try some after dinner. Nate was very interested in this new treat. Almost immediately, his demeanor changed.He kept on asking for more and more bites.Soon, he began screaming for more...He began to clamp down on it like a pit bull on a poodle.And even when his mouth was full, he still wanted more.And if you took the cookie away, things would get ugly.Will got a chance to try the cookie, too ( I don't know where that scratch came from) ...And that did not go over well with Nate...But we did let Will continue to get his fair share of the cookie...And Nate kept squealing for more.We had to peel them both off the ceiling at bedtime.

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Friday, February 15, 2008


A Scottish newspaper is reporting that advance summer bookings for the ferry line that connects the highlands and the Faroes have tripled over the previous year. That could mean a lot more tourists hitting the shores this summer.

Of course, maybe the bookings are everyone clearing out of the Faroes in anticipation of a flood of summer tourists. Alas, I am not likely to find out this year. I've got but 2 short weeks of vacation this year, and it looks like I'm burning them all up on a trip to Turkey (I know, I know, boo hoo). But looking forward, I'm dedicated to making 2009 The Year of the Faroes. Just don't tell my wife.

The photo of the Faroese operated ferry is courtesy of Jenny. She splits her time between the San Francisco Bay area and the Faroes. She's got lots of great pictures on her site. As a matter of fact, this week's Faroe Photo also comes from her. It's just a city scene from Torshavn. The only place on the islands that even has anything approaching a city scene.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The past several weeks have featured some pretty wet and nasty weather, and even a bit of snow on the valley floor. So needless to say, the little guys have been going stir crazy inside.
So yesterday we finally got a chance to unleash them on our back yard.Needless to say, they were very excited.During his romp in the outdoors, Will took time to contemplate nature.And Nate ran around a lot...Will took time to fiddle with his hat...And Nate ran around a lot...Will even stopped to practice his cute look...And (say it with me now) Nate ran around a lot...And after a day of strenuous exercise, there's only one way to unwind...Elmo.

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Monday, February 11, 2008


The Grammys went late and I got out of work even later... and I'm fighting off a nasty cold. So there just isn't time to upload the bumper crop of cute twin photos. Give me another 24 hours. But for now, I'll offer this.

Clinton sacked her campaign manager today. Clinton said the move had nothing to do with Obama's recent string of primary wins. Instead, she said her manager had to go because the nomination process had gone on longer than expected. And why is the process taking longer than expected? Because of Obama's recent string of primary wins.

Oh, how I do hate how those Clinton's talk. It brings back all the bad parts of the 90s, and makes me dread the thought of living with another 8 years of it.

But perhaps I'm looking at it wrong. Perhaps this slippery, circular talk is really just the Clinton campaign's attempt at absurdist theater. On Friday, I got my first look at "That Mitchell and Webb Look." It's a great British sketch series that I hope to write more about at a later date. The show has a recurring sketch called "Numberwang." It's a game show based on numbers. In an interview on NPR, the show's creators said they wanted the sketch to be complete nonsense. They would go back through the scripts and eliminate anything that might possibly make sense.

So perhaps this is that the Clinton's are up to. I look forward to the day when one of her campaign events looks a little more like this...

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Saturday, February 09, 2008


This thing is all over the internet and its already been viewed more than 5 million times, but I just have to pass it on. I laughed so hard I cried. Maybe it helps to have kids.

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Friday, February 08, 2008


Several weeks ago we told you about "Boys In A band." Five lads from the Faroe islands who recently won the Global Battle of the Bands in London.

Now it seems they're coming to America. They're playing the fabeled South by Southwest festival in Austin next month. It's hard to be positive about this, but it's quite likely that this is the first time a band from the Faroes has played SXSW. Way to go, boys.

Boys in a Band aren't signed to any record label, and haven't even recorded an album yet, but SXSW is dense with music industry types. So perhaps they will be seeing a bigger audience in the year to come.

Rememer, you heard about them first here.

This week's faroe photo comes from this guy's Flickr photostream. It's of the jagged Mykines coastline. The island is beautiful, but difficult to get to. Strong storms can leave the island cut off from the rest of the world for week(s) at a time.

That's all for now. Baby photos to come sometim over the weekend.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008



I'm still a bit hung over from an evening of watching non-stop election coverage last night. Still hard to know what to make of it, except nobody really delivered a knockout punch.

It seems pretty certain that Romney is gone, however. He showed such promise when he saved the 2002 Olympics and ran the state of Massachusetts. Then he decided to run for president, and he turned into something of a wanker. Perhaps there's something about running for president that rots your soul.

And how about that Huckabee? That friendly guy who used to be fat just won't go away.

So almost nothing has been decided and the races on both sides (but especially the Democratic side) will go on for some time. I can't possibly pretend to know who's up or who's down anymore, or offer any insight into what the future might hold. But I can hope. Hope that, perhaps, this race will drag on for some time. Hope that things are so evenly split that Oregon's pitifully late primary might actually mean something. (And hope for the flood of political advertising that comes with it... that's where my paycheck comes from.) And hope for a political process not as depressing and ugly as what has gone before it.

Is that too much to ask for.

(Answer: yes)


Tuesday, February 05, 2008


They’re writing songs of love, but not for me. Indeed, I am a voter, its Super Tuesday, and nobody cares. Why? I live in Oregon.

It seems I will always be cursed to live in politically insignificant states, at least during the primary season. I spent most of my life living in either New York or California, two states political candidates use as ATMs. Presidential candidates traditionally never campaign in either of these states during the primaries because the voting takes place too late in the process to matter.

But there’s nothing traditional about this year’s presidential campaign. Everyone moved their primaries up to February 5th, even New York and California. But now I’m in Oregon, and we like bucking national trends here. So when do we get to vote? May 20th. That’s right, we have to wait another 3 ½ months before we have a say in who gets the presidential nomination. May 20th. Guam gets to vote before we do!

In this most exciting presidential election in just about anyone’s memory, we have to sit on the sidelines while everyone else has all the fun. No candidates come to visit, no ads, no nothing.

So as you watch the election results roll in Tuesday night, just think of us poor souls in Oregon, who have to let the bozos in all those other states chose our political candidates for us. Choose well, please.


Sunday, February 03, 2008


I lived in California for many years, and I miss it almost every day. But I rarely miss it around election time. The ballots are clogged with complicated and often conflicting initiatives and its almost impossible to figure out how to vote on them This time, there are several Indian gaming initiatives on the ballot. This video (found via Ken Levine) does a pretty good job at summing up what it feels like to watch TV in California during election season.

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Friday, February 01, 2008


It might come as something of a surprise that the Faroe Islands has its own airline. Atlantic Airways was founded in 1988 to provide more dependable air connections with the outside world. They started with one plane, and had three by 2001. Today there are seven planes in the fleet and several more helicopters.

All of the fixed wing aircraft are smaller regional jets that look a little something like this...
Actually, it looks exactly like that, this is an actual photo of one of Atlantic Airways' planes. I bring up these rather arcane details better suited to planespotters because Atlantic Airways is actually in the news this week. They've just purchased a new Airbus A-319, which is pretty much the French version of a Boeing 737.I'm left to assume that Atlantic Airways doing pretty well if they're investing in bigger aircraft. This is good news, as I'm hoping to fly to the Faroes one day, and Atlantic Airways is the only airline that flies there.


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