Random weirdness for the week of Feb 28, 2017


To the many in Longyearbyen who suddenly have no address, a Very Special Letter arrived a few days ago. Actually, it’s to the “people of Longyearbyen,” but they wouldn’t have gotten it if not for some persistence by the sender and local postal officials since it was mailed to our editor who’s among those evacuated (not the first time we’ve made that inside journalism joke this week) after Tuesday’s avalanche. The well wishes and picture-perfect drawing of our town are by Eszter Kuli, 5 (and a half), of Budapest. “Please welcome my drawing of your beautiful land. We have just watched the TV series about your life with my parents and we felt living among you for a few hours. Thank you for the adventures and insights into your life.” We’re hoping the post office returns to its usual bureaucratic inefficiency (we know, bad stereotype, but we couldn’t come up with a better punchline) when it comes times to getting our bills to us…

Moving on to inside baseball, the first time we covered a destructive avalanche in 2015 we printed a four-page extra edition and it was published on our allegedly “regular” Tuesday deadline. This time we’re doing extra in a totally different way and we’re way the hell off schedule. Simply keeping up with developing events published at our website after Tuesday’s avalanche (not to mention our cruel overlord getting exposed as a bum again…bwahaha) kept us from our regular contribution to Longyearbyen’s litter problem. But since we’re sort of infamous for a casual relationship with deadlines, we figure we can do whatever the hell we want in a case like this and so our current print edition is a 28-page, one-off with an official publishing date of Saturday, Feb. 25, to reflect all of the developments during the week. Of course, that means we’re already far behind this week’s issue which again will have an official Tuesday dateline (as in Feb. 28), even though there’s no way on Earth it’ll be out then…

And since that doesn’t sound very professional, it seems only fair to expose you to someone who truly gets into the spirit of things with an article headlined “Northern Lights and heavy drinking: What it’s like to spend 100 days without sunlight in Svalbard.” The Independent’s Simon Parker starts off by drinking local beer while the barmaid offers historical tidbits such as “men used to get so crazy in the darkness they would play Russian roulette with loaded rifles.” And while things might not be that bad now, he notes repeatedly that Svalbard residents drink more booze than anywhere else in Norway. But you don’t need to spend long in the dark for the urge to kick in, apparently. “I’d only been in Longyearbyen a few hours, but the lack of light had already started playing tricks with my body clock,” Parker wrote. “It was just 4 p.m. and I was on my fourth pint. I’m not a teetotaller by any stretch of the imagination, but heavy afternoon drinking, in an empty pub, in the Arctic?” But for those hoping this might turn into the alcoholic version of “Super Size Me,” he cheats his readers because it turns out he doesn’t spend 100 days here drinking. Which means that while we just cheated you our of a few days, he cheated you out of 93 because “there’s no way I could handle the darkness for longer than a week…”

And finally, because there’s no story where tasteless reader comments are off-limits these days, here’s a few from around the world to an English article by The Associated Press headlined “Avalanche in Arctic Norway tosses kids around, no injuries.” A Yahoo News reader with username of Scrooge bragged “I give the missus a little toss now and then, she loves it……………!!” Mock Arena quipped “Phew, sounds like a landslide victory to me!” Wood Bats recycles a cliché with “so, it’s all fun and games until the electricity goes off.” Amazingly, we found none that blame the whole thing on muslims or Wiggy Trump.

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