Friday, August 29, 2008


As I'm sure you all know, Summer is a difficlut time or news. Most people are on vacation, and there just isn't much going on.

This was confirmed when I checked the Faroe Island's biggest news website and found the following headline: "Altjóða mótasýning í SMS í dag." What does that mean? I have no idea. But I do know that SMS is the name of the only mall in the Faroe Islands, and the story was accompanied by this picture with the three women wearing somewhat provocative black clothing.

Using these small shards of information, I can safely assume the mall has been taken over by an alien race of Amazon dominatrix women. (Or, more likely, there was a fashion show at the mall.) And seeing as this was the most prominent story on Portal.fo, I'm also going to assume something else: there's absolutely nothing going on in the Faroe Islands.

So what to talk about? Well, how about that mall?

There's not all that much information out there about the mall, but I managed to find the SMS Centre's website. From that site I learned that the Faroe Island's only mall has a Burger King, a Body Shop, and about 32 stores I've never heard of like Bindibúðin , Tøjeksperten and let's not forget Klokkan , which I'm assuming is a clock store.

I also discovered that the mall publishes its own magazine called "Mess." It's an online publication (and, I'm assuming, a glossy magazine) that has ads from the mall's stores. This month's cover story is about champion swimmer Pal Joensen. "Mess" also has movie and music reviews and a feature story on... pornography?

Photos of the mall are also somewhat difficult to come by. The one above was posted by a man known only as TomFoolery. He describes the SMS Centre as a dreary place. Tom and a tour guide a read both noted the mall is sometimes called the "SOS Centre."

But a wise Faroese friend of mine offered a different opinion. He said the SMS Centre was the place in the Faroes "where latitude meets longitude." Everyone knows where it is. Everyone has been there. Every prestige shop wants a spot there (I imagine right next to the Burger King).

So what's the verdict? I don't really know. Perhaps I will find out myself one day. This week's Faroe photo is of the capital city of Torshavn, where the SMS Centre is located.

When you figure Torshavn is by far the biggest town on the Faroes, it's surprisingly hard to find many pictures of it. Apart from a few shots of the harbor and the parliament house, you're not going to find all that much out there. Perhaps, with all the breathtaking countryside out there, people don't think to take many pictures of the towns.

Oh well.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


For reasons I don't quite understand, Julie said she needed a picture of Nate and one of Will where their faces occupied no more than 1/6th of the frame. Again, I have no idea why.

So it was tub time, an that's a good time to get some cute pictures. So I pointed the camera at Will, and he gave me this...
Perfect. So now we need to get a picture of Nate which hopefully shouldn't be too much trouble, that is if he can stop putting that thing in his mouth...OK, now how about you give me a smile...Really? Perhaps a round of "Eency Weency Spider" will get you to smile...Now, look at the camera...Really? You're obsessed with cameras. Come on, look at me!Oh please, please look at me!Great, now, smile!You see, Nate, I need two things. I need you to look at me and smile. One more time...Nice, but I think your face is more than 1/6th of the frame. Can I get another?
And that's how you get your dad to take ten times more pictures of you than your brother..

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 25, 2008


A friend showed this to me today and it was one of the greatest things I've ever seen. This cat weightlifting competition is enough to make me turn off all my American TV channels and watch nothing but Japanese television. They do strange like nobody else...

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 21, 2008


It was cold and fairly damp outside when Radiohead took the stage last night at the White River Ampitheater. And perhaps that's what accounts for an opening that felt just a little sluggish. The band opened with "15 Step" and "Reckoner," two songs off their new album "In Rainbows." While the performances were competent, there just wasn't the passion one associates with a Radiohead show.

This problem was remedied by the time they played "All I Need" about five songs into the set. The ice had melted, the band was warmed up, it was going to be a good night.

Radiohead have been playing together for the better part of two decades, and they have developed an acute sense of how their music should be presented live. Over the years, their shows have increasingly used breathtaking state-of-the art lighting to frame their performances. This year the band employed dozens of LED lighting columns suspended from the ceiling. At times they would make the stage look like a cathedral. Sometimes they could make it appear as if the ceiling was melting (that's right, druggies, you wasted your money, it did that for all of us). And other times, well, it might be best to check out this one minute clip of "National Anthem" performed at a recent show in the Midwest. (the last 10 seconds or so are a good indication of what this lighting set up is capable of.

But all the high tech wizardry didn't overwhelm the band or the music. From Wednesday's performance, it is still obvious that Radiohead is the best band performing today.

The band played "In Rainbows" in its entirety, along with a seemingly random smattering from their previous six albums. Radiohead mixes up their set list each night, so you never know what you're going to get ahead of time. While it was a pleasure to finally hear a more obscure tune like "Talk Show Host" live, I would have traded in a song or two from "Hail to the Thief" or "Amnesiac" in order to hear more than one song from "The Bends."

These are minor quibbles when you consider just how stunning "National Anthem," and "Idioteque" were last night. And then there's "No Surprises." It is one of the saddest and most beautiful songs ever recorded and they haven't been performing it much during the last few tours. Last night they did. Gave me chills.

The moment that will most likely make the biggest impact on the Internet was last night's performance of "Faust Arp." The song was intended to be one of the quieter moments of the night, with only Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood on stage playing acoustic guitars. But Yorke messed up the lyrics, and the duo broke out into some song I didn't recognize. Moments later, they tried again, and Yorke still couldn't get the lyrics right. This time he simply said "f--- it" and continued with the song. The crowd, of course, ate it up.

The guy standing next to me said, "wow, Thom's actually human." Good to know.

(The photo above is of Radiohead's Chicago show earlier this month. It comes from this guy's Flickr photostream. He's got some excellent pictures from that show and I highly recommend you check them out.)


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Before we leave for Wednesday's Radiohead concert, I thought it best to come through on the promise of trampoline pictures. So here's a humble post about all that.

Trampoline pictures are quite difficult to get because, as always, as soon as you break the camera out, they're more interested in that than anything else. Then, there are the performance issues.

A lot of the time, Will will act like he's about ready to jump, but then stop short.And sometimes he'll just set up shop and hang out for a while.And sometimes Nate will not get in the trampoline at all, forcing you to take pictures of him on he futon instead.But every once in a short while, you'll hit the jackpot.Now because the trampoline is a thing of motion, the best medium to explore this video. So I've posted a video of Will jumping on the trampoline while Nate charges the camera and breaths deeply into the microphone. But be warned, this is really grandparent material. It's only 40 seconds long, but it's still pretty boring.

The only people who would be interested in this are people who are related to these children and recently purchased a trampoline for them. Everyone else, just scroll down a little further and we'll see if we can find something interesting for you...

In the "more interesting" category, we have the second run at the hokey pokey. If you recall, several months ago we posted a video of the little guys trying to do the hokey pokey, but really just staring at a television. Now they're starting to get the hang of it, and it's pretty fun. Nate is the one in the foreground who sticks a finger in each nostril when the song says, "you put your nose in..." Will is, as always on the trampoline. That kid lives on the trampoline.

And there you have it, an almost passable version of the hokey pokey. And in just two short years, they're already better dancers than me. Oh well.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 18, 2008


When I heard it was a video of Mr. Rogers attempting break dancing moves, I just assumed it was another one of those delightful YouTube video mashup things. But I was wrong, it really is Mr. Rogers doing some break dancing. Internet be praised!

http://view.break.com/549229 - Watch more free videos
This video was found on Maximumfun.org, who found it here.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 15, 2008


Like most people, folks in the Faroes are paying close attention to the Olympic games in Beijing. But Olympic fever in the Faroes is not without its side effects. You see, the Faroes aren't completely sovereign (Denmark runs their national defense and court system), so they can't field their own Olympic team.

That means Faroese athletes have to make a tough choice: attend the Olympics with the Denmark team, or boycott the games altogether.

Katrin Olsen is a Faroese rower (in the middle of the above photo... I think) who has chosen the former. According to an online bulliten board, Olsen is the first Faroe Islander to ever participate in the Olympics. While people back home are intently following Olsen's progress (her team could well win a medal), the celebration is tempered a bit. Having a hometown hero have to compete under the flag of your colonial overlord is never a good thing. But Olympic rules forbid Olsen from even displaying a Faroese flag during the games.

Then there's the story of Pál Joensen. He's one of the best young swimmers in Europe, scooping up three gold medals in the European Junior Championships earlier this month. But he chose not participate in the Olympics because he couldn't represent his country.

There is, however, much online video of Joensen winning his gold medals, and I thought I'd post this medal ceremony found through this German language blog about the Faroes. I love this video for a few reasons. First, the flag raising is pretty funny. Italy and the UK have these full sized flags heading into the rafters. But he Faroe Islands flag is so small that you almost don't see it at first.

Second is the Faroese national anthem. It's played during the ceremony, and is sung enthusiastically by whoever shot the video. I'd be lying if I said I knew what the actual tune of the Faroese national anthem is, but I'm pretty sure whoever was singing it was way off key. But it's sung with such endearing sincerity and gusto that you really don't mind.

This week's Faroe photo comes, once again, from Erik Christensen.
It's of the football pitch in the village of Vágur. The village has a population of more than 1,400, making it one of the larger villages on the Faroes. They've even got a soccer team called Vágs Bóltfelag (can't tell if this photo is of their stadium, which holds about 3,000 people). Alas, the Vágs have been relegated to the lower ranks this season, so all the seats in the stadium may not be full this year. But you have to admit, it's a great location for a sporting event.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I know I promised the next set of images of the little guys would have something to do with the new trampoline, but, well, circumstance has overtaken me. You see, we actually have a backlog of cool photos. And the guys are growing so fast that they'll be hopelessly out of date if they sit on that hard drive much longer. So please enjoy a few pics of Nate (wearing red) and Will (wearing blue) lounging on their birthday last month. If it will help you, you can believe that these are the most current pictures... heck, it works for NBC.

I'm pretty sure this is a picture of Nate an Will looking at their own live images from our camera on TV. But that's not all they did on their birthday. For instance, Will did his Marlon Brando impersonation.And then reenacted a scene from "Dumb and Dumber."

On his birthday, Nate did what he pretty much always does.He begged us to read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."He reads that thing about two dozen times a day.I don't really have a caption for this picture of Will. I just like it. And I also like this final group shot of my two little guys.Still hungry for some trampoline action? Ok, just one...More to come.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


There's a new entry in my "Favorite News Story of All Time" competition. I was surfing the Internet moments ago and found the headline, "Inflatable Art Escapes From Museum." I was duly intrigued, so I clicked on the story and learned it was so much more wonderful than I could have imagined.

Turns out, the art in question was a giant dog turd that was installed under the name "Complicated S---." The turd took out a power line and eventually broke a window at a children's home.

A story like this is a headline writer's dream. UPI went with "Giant Dog 'Poo' Attacks Neighborhood." But I'm giving the award to the utilitarian yet utterly absurd headline from the Russian News and Information Service: "House-Sized Inflatable Dog Turd Wreaks Havoc at Swiss Art Show."

The full story can be found at the above link. It makes me thankful I still live in a world that can produce such wonderfully absurd scenes.

Labels: ,

Monday, August 11, 2008


The year is 2005 and I'm 10 months into a 14 month sentence in Texarkana. My cell phone rings and it's Darrell, the managing editor of the TV station I'm working for. He tells me that, the next morning, I'm to travel to a small Arkansas town and cover the rototiller races.

One day later I head out to Emmerson, Arkansas on a sweltering July afternoon. What followed was an almost surreal scene, as people drove souped-up rototillers down a 100 yard course. The drought conditions that summer kicked up lots of dust and made for some great pictures.

I went back to the bureau and cut together two stories. That night, I scored one of my proudest moments... I made Darrell Rebouche laugh on the air... almost out of control. At 6:00 PM, he had to read the story out loud, but the footage made him laugh so hard that he lost track of the script and descended into a sea of laughter. By this point, Darrell was more than two decades into a broadcasting career, so I considered this quite an accomplishment.

By 10, all he had to to was introduce the completed package, and that proved much easier. While I don't have the air check of Darrell's breakdown, I do have a copy of the package that aired three years ago. Moments after I posted it, someone commented that the video was "the dumbest thing I've ever seen." Here's hoping you feel the same way.

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I'm looking at the TV playing the Olympics. There's a graphic in the corner indicating I'm watching a live broadcast. I'm also looking at an AP wire story that tells me the result of the race that will be starting in a minute. It posted 3 hours ago. Lying bastards.

Isn't there a law against that?


Friday, August 08, 2008


I'm asked quite a lot why I'm so into the Faroe Islands. And part of the answer is this vague, undefined idea about a place nearby yet isolated, exotic yet familiar. Another more simple answer is that the Faroe Islands are pretty. Just look at this photo of Runavik taken by Erik Christensen.* (Please see correction below) With all due respect to the good folk of Runavik, the town is a rather nondescript part of a 7 mile long stretch of towns. In other words, it's nothing special. But look at it. It is still a beautiful place I would love to visit.

But there's another element to my Faroe fascination, and it's best illustrated by the events of the past week or so.

I was chatting online with someone who is basically a self-appointed goodwill ambassador for the Faroe Islands. He loves the place, and loves sharing stories about the islands he calls home.

We were talking about music and he mentioned that "Boys in a Band," had put out a new album. BIAB is quite possibly the most popular band in the Faroes right now, and they're starting to make a name for themselves on the international state. They won the International Battle of the Bands in London several months ago. And they earned good notices after their performance at South By Southwest in Austin.

So I was asked if I had heard the new album yet, and I said "no." Then I checked on iTunes, and found it wasn't available there, either. So my Faroese friend said, "wait a moment," and then said, "it's taken care of." He later explained that he had IMed the lead singer of BIAB and told him to send me a copy of the album. And today, this arrived...

Stamp nerds would be excited by this envelope because Faroese stamps are rare, so allow me to taunt all those philatelists out there...But, of course, I knew what was inside, the new CD...It's not the most flattering picture of me, I know, but I wanted the lads to see their music had safely arrived in the northwest corner of the United States.

On the back was a handwritten note from Pætur Zachariasson saying, "I really hope you'll like the album. Inside, all the band members had signed the inner sleeve of the CD. They even mailed a poster.

I'll write about the music in a week or so once it's had a chance to sink in, but I will say that the first spin is quite a fun listen. On the band's MySpace page, they say they sound like "Dylan on amphetamine." That accurately describes the speed and enthusiasm of the album. And the description also sums up the feeling of reckless fun that skitters across the 12 short songs on "Black Diamond Train." I'll write more on the music when I've had a chance to listen to the album a few more times.

I'm thrilled to have this album for several reasons. First off, it's some fine music, and I love music. But more than that, I love what it represents. A bunch of people, on a tiny island far from here, got together and did something really kind for a complete stranger. My Faroese friend knows me only from online contacts. "Boys in a Band" don't know me at all. Yet these people were so excited about their home and their music and their culture that they spent time and money to share it. That is cool beyond my ability to describe in writing, but suffice it to say that I am deeply moved by the gesture.

While I can't claim to be any expert on the Faroes (I've never even been there), I'm learning that personal relationships are very important there. This hardly seems surprising when you realize that there are only 48,000 people living on the islands. For better or worse, everyone knows everyone there. There is something charming about a place where a person can IM the lead singer of the country's biggest rock band. Where a person can read a story in the newspaper, send a text message to the Foreign Minister to voice an opinion, and actually get a personal reply.

I'm well aware that there are drawbacks to to living in a place where everyone is in everyone's business and it's impossible to run away and reinvent yourself. But when you come from a place where people spend too much time sequestered in their cars or in small stucco fortresses, the Faroese model can look pretty attractive.

Thanks to all who made this small bit of kindness happen. I hope I can return this kindness some day.

(UPDATE 1/20/09: Someone with more knowledge than me has let me know that the picture at the top of this post is not of Runavik but of Toftir. Hopefully one day I will travel to both places so I will know the difference. Thank you for pointing out my error.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 07, 2008


At long last, a few short video clips from Nate and Will's 2nd birthday party last month. There was a delay because YouTube took more than a week to process one of the video clips. This is somewhat curious because none was any longer than 30 seconds. But anyway.

Our first offering clocks in at 27 seconds and is the offending piece of video. It's a little worse for the wear after a week of processing, but through the grime you can, in fact, see something resembling our children and hear the last few seconds of the "happy birthday" song.

Next up is a 20 second clip of Will running through the park and charging the camera before losing interest...

And finally on our short video is essentially a 17 second failed photograph. I was trying to document Nate's dirty face (caked with... well... cake) and I forgot the camera was still on the "video" setting. So instead we got this...

On our next edition, we'll document Nate and Will's newest obsession... the trampoline.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


I'm not much of a sports fan, but I must say I've been following the story of Brett Favre's non-retirement with great interest.

For those of you who have been completely cut off from the media, I'll recap the story so far. The legendary quarterback announced his retirement from the game last spring. Then he announced he wanted to return to the game just a few months later. This created more than a few problems as his team had already replaced him in the lineup.

The past few weeks of negotiations with the Green Bay Packers have failed, so Favre reportedly showed up to training camp on Monday (or maybe he didn't, those details are a little sketchy as of this moment).

The most striking news from the negotiations was that the Packers had offered Favre 20 million dollars (two million per year over the next ten years) not to play for the Packers, or any other NFL team. It appears Favre didn't take the team up on its offer.

This is great news, because it opens up an opportunity for me. I don't really have an agent, so this is perhaps the best forum to announce this. Hey Packers, why don't you give me a shot? If the price is right, I'd be willing not to play football for you for much less than Favre.

I'd be happy to accept $100,000 per year not to play football for you. That's only one million dollars over the next ten years, a mere fraction of what you were going to pay Favre not to play. I don't want a company car, don't want season tickets to any games, don't even want a 401K. I just want the $100,000.

You don't even have to mail it to me. If it's easier, I will personally drive to Green Bay, Wisconsin at the start of each season to pick up the money. I bet Brett never offered to do that.

I believe I am much better qualified to not play football for your team. I was always picked last when choosing teams in gym class, and I have never shown any athletic inclinations whatsoever.

Furthermore, I will not play football much more thoroughly than Brett ever couldn't. I'm sure Mr. Farve will want to show up to games and cheer on his team and host banquets and stuff like that. Not me. I won't even watch the games on TV. I won't touch a football on the playground. If you kick your offer up to $200,000 per year (still just 1/10 what you wanted to pay Favre), I won't even write or say the word "football" out loud. (Except if I'm in Europe and I'm really talking about Soccer, but that's something the lawyers can hammer out.)

So now the ball is in your court, Packers. I'd act soon if I were you, because I'm making the same offer to all the NFL teams. For $100,000, I will not play for any of you. As a matter of fact, the offer is open to any professional sporting team, be it major or minor league. How cool would it be to return to my hometown of Rochester, New York, proud in the knowledge that I was making $100,000 not to play for the Rochester Red Wings?

I anxiously await your call.


Friday, August 01, 2008


Bridges and tunnels can be tricky things in politics. Take, for instance, the famed "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. Senator Ted Stevens was a big proponent of this bridge, which would link Ketchikan (population 8,900) with Gravina Island (population 50). Congress had earmarked more than 300 million dollars for the project before it got derailed. Stevens was indicted on corruption charges this week, so the bridge project is not likely to be revived.

"A fine story," you say, "but what does this have to do with the Faroe Islands?" Now just calm down and I'll tell you.

A member of the Faroese parliament just left the ruling coalition this week because of a tunnel project. This tunnel would link the island of Sandoy (population 1,400) with Streymoy (where a lot of people live). Sandoy is known for having one of the only sandy beaches on the Faroes.

The tunnel had a cost of around 200 million dollars (US) and the government decided to abandon the project in favor of other priorities.

In protest, the MP from Sandoy left the ruling coalition, which means the ruling coalition no longer has a majority. And if you know anything about parliamentary politics (and I'm guessing you do) then you know that minority governments rarely last long. If they need another member to gain a majority, perhaps they'd like to draft Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. He may have a lot of free time pretty soon.

This week's Faroe photo comes from the village of Skarvanes (population 4). It's located on the island of Sandoy... which still must be reached by ferry for the foreseeable future. It's still a beautiful little place.

The photo is from a collection by Erik Christensen, he's a Danish man living in the Faroes and he's got an extensive and beautiful collection of photos that he kindly allows people to post to their own site, provided they give him a tip of the hat. Do check out his other photos here. If you're a nut for the Faroe Islands (and I'm pretty sure you are) then these pictures are like taking a mini-vacation to the place. More of his photos are likely to show up in this space in the coming weeks. Thanks, Erik!


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner