Friday, January 30, 2009


Still quite busy this week, but I will have a chance to tell you why next week. So for this abbreviated Faroe Friday post, here's a soda commercial filmed in the Faroes.

It's not a real ad, but a school project. Still, it's actually pretty good and allows the viewer to see some of the striking Faroese landscape.

More soon.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009


I've been neglecting this space a bit this week, but I've got a perfectly good reason why... and I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

But for now, enjoy this educational film. I learned all sorts of things I never knew before.

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Monday, January 26, 2009


I've not posted any photos of the little guys in quite a while, and I think you can see why...
Pretty much ever since they turned two, it has been almost impossible to get both of them in the same frame.And attempts at creative framing have had limited success...After much pain and sorrow, this was as close as we could get to a decent picture of Nate and Will with their mom and great-grandmother...And now they've got a secret language... more on that later.

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Friday, January 23, 2009


This week's Faroe Friday post concerns the man pictured to the right. He's Colin Calderwood, he's a Scotsman, and he's the new head coach of the Faroese National Football Team.

This is not an easy job. Calderwood has to take a team comprised mostly of amateur players and send them out to compete against some of the best athletes in the world. The results are normally predictable. The Faroe Islands team is one of the lowest ranked in the world. FIFA has them ranked 175 out of 207. This is especially rough when you learn that Somalia is ranked 175. Somalia? Really? They haven't had a government in about 20 years. How do they even get to matches? Do they hijack a plane or something? But anyway, they're ranked higher than the Faroe Islands.

But every now and then, they can pull off an upset, but it's still extremely rare. Since the team began international competitions 1988, their wins even in qualifying rounds can be counted on a single hand.

This can work to Calderwood's advantage. The bar is set pretty low. If they can play another European team to a 0-0 tie, the people of the Faroe Islands will consider that as good as a win.
The national team's next match is in March. It's a "friendly" against Iceland. As a matter of fact, it should be extremely friendly. The Faroe Islands recently loaned Iceland more than 50 million dollars as that country slid into a financial meltdown. The very least the Iceland team can do is let the Faroe Islands win.

The match will be played in Iceland at a special indoor soccer pitch that has real grass. And while the odds are always stacked against the Faroes in situations like these, I think you know who I'll be rooting for.

This week's Faroe Photo is yet another from Erik Christensen's collection. It's from the village of Viðareiði, which is the northernmost village in the Faroe Islands. Like most villages in the Faroes, it has a spectacular natural setting and a history with the sea. The village church has silver given to the village by the British government to thank them for helping rescue sailors from a wreck near Viðareiði's shores in 1847.

I would like to go there. The end.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


A friend has sent me the link to the source video for the music clip I posted earlier.

The bad news: This really is a fashion show of some sort from the 1970s.

The good news: It's even funnier with people speaking German over the top of it.

So here it is... even more joy...



My friend Devin posted this and claimed that anyone who watches it will find instant joy. After watching it a few times, I'm inclined to believe.

It's a video promoting a new album, but I don't know if the images you see are vintage, or if they were just supposed to look that way. I actually kind of hope this was recently filmed, because it means those dancers are still young and can still pull off those great moves.

So here it is... instant joy.

Justin Faust EP Sneak Peek from Justin Faust on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I was sitting in a sandwich shop having lunch with a British woman when she hit me with this question:

“Do you consider yourself patriotic?”

At that moment, it was kind of a loaded question. We were in Washington DC, about two blocks from the White House. As a matter of fact, you could actually see the presidential residence if you stepped outside the front door of the restaurant. It was March of 2003, and the US was just a few hours away from invading Iraq.

About an hour earlier, my friend and I were sitting in a room of aspiring journalists who were arguing about the legitimacy of the inevitable invasion. Things got pretty heated, and those of us who opposed the invasion were asked by others if we really loved America.

So away from the shouting, the lone Brit in our fellowship group asked me if I thought I was patriotic. I paused for a long time and tried to stammer out an answer. It went a little something like this:

“Well, it depends on what you consider patriotic. Right now patriotism seems to mean unthinking acceptance of anything the government does. People who call themselves patriotic are using chants of ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ as code for ‘shut up.’ So if that’s patriotism, then I guess I’m not patriotic.

“But if questioning your country when it’s doing something you think is wrong is patriotic, then I guess I qualify. If I didn’t care anything about this country, then I wouldn’t care if it invades Iraq. But I do…”

And on and on it went. It was a complex, long winded reply and I never really answered the question. But it was hard back then. Hard to be proud of what our nation was doing.

On Tuesday, the answer was clear, I’m a patriot. I sat watching the crowds on the National Mall and on the parade route and I was moved. I listened to Obama’s inaugural address and heard a vision of an America I want to live in. I saw Obama and his wife walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and was struck by how excited people were to be starting a new era.

So today I’m proud to be an American. I’m not naive, though. I know that we have the same problems we did yesterday. I know that Obama is not going to be a perfect president and he’ll likely say and do things that disappoint me. I know he can’t solve all of our problems with the stroke of a pen. I know the economy is probably going to get worse in the coming months.

And yet, despite all that, I’m left with a (sorry to use the word again) hope that we’re going to start heading in the right direction. It’s nice to smile again when thinking about my country. I hope it lasts.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It’s finally here, the Bush era ends today and Obama will be sworn in as president at noon. I’ve been watching some of the images from Washington, and it’s hard not to be moved. People from all over are crowding onto the Mall to celebrate the inauguration. Many are young, some are old, lots of races are represented out there. Reporters are talking to people who have traveled halfway around the world to see this moment.

It’s a stunning scene. These are not good times. Our economy is teetering on the brink of a depression, we’re stuck in two long and costly wars, and if feels like we’ve lost our way as a country. Yet in the mall and in gatherings all around the world, there are smiles. Not just smiles, really, but excitement. And the very notion that there’s anything to be excited about is almost revolutionary.

So today, despite all the troubles we face in the nation and in the world, is a day to celebrate. A day to celebrate the peaceful transition of power (hey, we’ve handed over power 42 times without firing a shot, that seems worthy of a party). It’s also a day to celebrate our potential as a country and celebrate that we’re trying to get closer to that ideal. And, of course, it’s a day to celebrate the inauguration of a black president.

People around the world and at home thought we could never do it. They said America would never accept a black president. But here we are. It’s happening. And new polls say Obama is entering office with the highest approval ratings of any incoming president since they started keeping track of these things. That means Obama has won the approval of many people who didn’t vote for him.

The term “hope” almost became a cliché during the presidential campaign. But hope is exactly what I’m feeling right now. And just hours before he takes office, here’s hoping Obama takes good care of our country and inspires the rest of us to do the same.


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Welcome to those of you who came here from the Mail Tribune site. The Faroe Friday post referenced in today's front page story can be found below.

And for you readers outside of Medford, this blog (specifically the stuff about the Faroe Islands) is the subject of a front page article in today's Mail Tribune. Reporter Paris Achen did an excellent job, in my humble opinion.

Rah rah.

Friday, January 16, 2009


If you live in any city in the US with a population topping 200,000, you are likely in for a visit from some hard rocking Faroese men.

The nice young men pictured above are Týr, they're a heavy metal band from Runavík. They describe their music this way: "The vikings have come to life again and are very impressed with electric musical instruments and are anxious to resurrect their heathen world."

Týr have been slowly building a reputation in Europe, and now they're trying to conquer America. They've launched an ambitious tour of the US and Canada. They're playing 28 shows over the course of one month. Týr will play the big cities like New York and LA, but will also be visiting smaller places like Allentown, Tulsa, and Rochester, NY.

In mid-March, they will play a show in Seattle, then play in Salt Lake City the next day. That's a brutal schedule, but if the vikings could paddle across the Atlantic in wooden boats, I'm sure these guys will have no problem with the tour. Their complete tour schedule can be found on their myspace page.

While hardly a metal-head, I plan on attending the Portland show on March 14th (or the San Francisco show a day earlier, if Kent gets his way). I'm also hoping to interview the band for a project I'm working on. More on that later.

This week's Faroe photo comes from Runavík. It's a fairly non-descript town, notable for having a busy-ish harbor, an alcohol store, and one of the only hotels outside of Torshavn. But we chose this town because it's the place Týr call home. It hardly seems like a place where dark metal fantasies are born... but you never know.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today a friend showed me a blog that I must share with those I love.

In Provo, Utah there is a pretend Mormon bishop named Bishop Higgins who keeps an almost daily blog for members of his pretend ward. It is extremely funny.

In the most recent post, Bishop Higgins profiles a ward member who ran for the Wisconsin senate, lost money at a dog track, and now helps fellow ward members get seats at Olive Garden.

The Bishop also breaks down the most and least popular sins of the past week. Wizardry scored low in last week's tally.

So if you're Mormon and you'd like to have a laugh at your expense, I highly recommend this site. And if you're not Mormon and you'd like to have a laugh at our expense, help yourself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Here's hoping they wind up on a channel where I can actually see them.

Friday, January 09, 2009


(In case you're wondering, that's a picture of a bank. I really don't have all that many visuals to use for finance stories, so I'm using the bank picture again.)

With the tough economic times stretching to almost every corner of the globe, people are looking for a place where things aren't so bad. A news site in India searched the globe and found the Faroe Islands at the top of the list of relatively safe places during the financial crisis.

The story cites the Faroe's low unemployment rate and lack of a mortgage meltdown as factors that put the islands on top. They may have overstated things just a bit, though. As we reported a few weeks ago, there have been layoffs in Faroese media and the government isn't isolated from budget concerns.

But the article did call the Faroes "heaven on earth," so I'm inclined to believe most of what it has to say. (In case you're wondering, the other places on the list were Bhutan, Washington, DC, Antarctica, and somewhere called Nagorno Karabakh.)

This week's Faroe Photo is of sheep near the village of Hvalba. It's a town of about 600 on the Faroe's southernmost island. Hvalba has a coal mine nearby. A Danish website says the village was sacked by pirates in the 17th century.

The story continues: "Thirty women and children were taken away to be sold as slaves in North Africa. On the Faroe Islands a collection was organized to raise enough money to by back the people. They did not succeed though and the people never returned to the islands."

A sad fate, indeed


Tuesday, January 06, 2009


During our drive to Arizona last month, we got to spend about 23 hours in Santa Monica, the city where Julie and I lived immediately after we got married. But for Nate and Will, it was their first time.

While the little guys had been to the beach once when they were not quite one year old, this was the first chance they had to walk along a beach on their own power.Will sat right down and started playing in the sand.And Nate sometimes didn't know exactly what he was supposed to be doing.But they both had fun, and they both had a chance to meet some of our friends from California. What they might not of understood is just how wistful their parents (especially their father) were during the short visit. We lived a very good life and Santa Monica, and the flood of familiar sights, sounds, and foods made me desperately homesick for the place.

And when we drove away the next day, it was with the hope that we would return, maybe to stay. But that will take a giant pile of money that we just don't have right now. But for one day, it was nice to feel at home again.

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