Random weirdness for the week of Jan. 29, 2019


For those who think the size of cruise ships coming here is getting out of hand, you ain’t seen nothing yet compared to the “floating city” a developer in Singapore thinks Asian tourists are totally craving (and just to get an extra-great bit of weirdness out of the way quickly, one of the promised benefits is it “minimizes the impact on the fragile Arctic”). The project was floated at last week’s Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø by Aziz Merchant (yes, that’s really his last name), an offshore and marine technology guru for something known as the Keppel Group, whose 30,000+ employees build lots of stuff including – surprise – oil and gas rigs. The floating Arctic cities appear to have the same cuddly ambiance, only with large cruise ships docked around the sides and helicopters buzzing around a sterile corporate hotel. But, of course, it’s all because the customers demanding it are great explorers. “From the Asian perspective, tourists want new challenges, they want to explore areas that has not been explored before,” Merchant told the conference. “Like with space tourism.” Um, is it just us or he doing more to denigrate visitors from that part of the world more than any number of stereotypical articles by disgruntled folks in various tourist spots? In any event, like Wiggy Trump’s Space Force, this seems to be a concept with much in terms of specifics, destinations or timelines. But at least there’s a fun picture to look at while pondering if Longyearbyen’s future in 2050 might come down to this or oil platforms…

But for now on a (mostly) blissful note, congratulations are in order to a new bride who, alas, didn’t quite have the bachelorette party she was hoping for this weekend despite one of the stranger pleas for help on social media we’ve seen. A friend of the bride-to-be (both of whom shall remain nameless to protect the not-entirely-innocent) posted an “URGENT” message on the local general-chatter Facebook page mid-Saturday afternoon asking “is there a man in the city who can dance as a stripper for a bachelor party tonight?” A few dozen names were suggested during the following few hours, with some brief inquires about specifics and polite turndowns. A couple of hours before the party the friend noted “there’s been a lot of good suggestions, (but) we’re thinking it’s just as well if they’re 20+” (which prompted a question about she meant years or kilos…answer, of course: both). But when the magic hour finally struck, it turned out to be a party without a penis, prompting the friend to make one final plea for a man in the mood to drop by if so inclined. But we ruled the Evil Ruler of this space for showing up out for journalistic reasons (um, yeah, that’s it) and the Evil Ruler of the Facebook page chose, as Mark Twain would put it, to “draw the curtain of charity over the rest of this scene” as the thread no longer exists, so the ultimate ending is one of seductive mystery.