Random weirdness for the week of Dec. 4, 2018


Talk about a “wow” headline: “Dead dinosaurs to power cruise ships.” Oh, wait, that’s yesteryear’s news since those rotting Jurassic carcasses are exacting revenge for our grave robbing by ensuring the fumes from their residue (which we refer to as “heavy oil”) wipe us out from climate chaos as well. Since that oil is now banned in our local waters is banned, some authority types that don’t rely on their “big gut” to make Earth-altering decisions are chasing a different form of carcass cruise ship control as Hurtigruten is hoping at least six of its 17 ships will be powered by dead fish by 2021. If successful, leftover fish parts from processors mixed with other organic waste will be used to generate biogas, which will then be liquefied and used in place of fossil fuels (pardon us for visualizing the scene in the engine room if it’s not successful). Here’s a bit more food for thought: the ships would begin operating at roughly the same time as some companies are hoping to launch fish processing plants in Svalbard under rules the government approved a couple of years ago…and of course disposing waste is often a big obstacle with business and other ventures. It seems to be a win/win, but if we’re the friendly regional oil company we might see fit to start a “grassroots” campaign to raise a stink, so to speak, about the impact of all that foul fish coming out of warehouses and smokestacks…


Svalbard standoff? One of these ships is occupied by little green men from Russia. The other by people about to get their asses kicked by them. Photo courtesy of the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Speaking of fishy headlines, try this one on for size: “Russia’s new ‘little green men’ may invade Svalbard.” That’s the upshot of an article by The Ukrainian Independent Information Agency of News detailing how the Russian Coast Guard, described as basically a police/intelligence successor to the KBG, may expand tactics used to overrun the Ukraine and Syria into other territories of interest. The lone specific example cited? “Russia might as well consider deploying its coast guard in an aggressive way against Norway in Svalbard, a demilitarized island group under Norwegian sovereignty adjacent to important Barents Sea fisheries. With a substantial Russian population on Svalbard, there has been increasing speculation that Russia may launch gray zone operations there, but Norway’s confidence and modern naval and air capabilities vis-à-vis Russia are far beyond Ukraine’s. Moreover, the strategic calculus for Moscow in Svalbard is far riskier.” It’s just the latest in a collection of conjectures about an invasion of the archipelago, such as experts a couple of months back who thought Norway’s arrest of a suspected spy in Oslo might trigger such a takeover. But while it might just be more what-if noise, we feel obligated to mention that the claim of Norway’s military prowess is pretty much debunked by both debunked by both Norway and Russia if it ever comes to blows…


Send Ronny the ticket, officer: I mean, it’s like he practically begged me to get drunk – can’t you see? Photo by Svalbard Bryggeri.

“A personalized soft drink? Is it, like, a can of cola with your name on it?” a fictional TV character asks a tycoon about his latest concept. “No,” the tycoon snaps back, rolling his eyes at the sheer idiocy of the idea. Well, it seems the Svalbard Bryggeri folks aren’t nearly as sober about such silliness as they’re honing the departure of a local icon and introducing their own new “concept” just in time for the holidays. Cans of beer named after and featuring a caricature sketch of Ronny Brunvoll, the soon-departing head of the local tourism bureau, showed up at Longyearbyen’s lone liquor store recently. The cans are inscribed with his first name at the top and a cryptic “YNWA” (for the Liverpool football’s theme song “You’ll Never Walk Alone”) at the bottom. More than 300 of the 360 cans were snagged rapidly before The Local Paper of Rehab managed to alert the abstinent masses. “I thought my colleagues were joking when they said the cans should be sold in the store,” Brunvoll told the paper.  “But I’ve got a taste for a little madness, so this is both very funny and stately.” Brewery officials said it was a chance to show off new equipment that will allow them to produce customs cans for other individuals and special occasions. One interesting omission: there’s no mention which of the brewery’s beers is inside the cans or, if it’s a custom blend, what Ronny tastes like in liquid carbonated form…

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