Category Archives: Rants

Liveblog: ‘Svalbard: Life on the Edge,’ Episode Three (‘Out of Darkness’) at Polar Permaculture


9:30 p.m.: Saw an advance screeing of this “make-or-break” episode two days ago (almost certainly the last time locals will get the opportunity during the 10-episode series) and it certainly was for the best as I prepare to do this tonight. Not because of the jolt of reliving last December’s avalanche – hard as that is at times – but because of a far more dismal shock I never would have imagined would be shown tonight (BTW, that shock isn’t what may seem overwhelmingly obvious, as you’ll learn by the end).

Rant: Holy f****** c***, we just published a 20-page fishwrapper…


It was a cute and quirky bathroom reader at four pages. It became constipation-worthy at eight pages. And capable of causing constipation at 12 pages. This monstrosity might require surgical extraction.

Rant: Homeless – a very true story about ‘that woman holding all her belongings in a plastic bag’


Most locals have probably seen the cover of the most recent Svalbardposten and know people (or were among them) joking about “that woman holding all her belongings in a plastic bag.” I will tell you her true story.

Rant: If this article is true, everyone’s worst fears about that BBC ‘docu-soap’ are coming true


(This story has been updated with a producer’s response at the end.)

If you live in Svalbard, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Not because of any real-life dangers here, but because of the extremely hazardous view the world apparently will be getting about life here starting a month from now. A 10-part BBC “docu-soap” is scheduled to debut Aug. 28 and it appears it may live down to the worst fears of everyone who felt them during the eight months of filming.

Multi-multi-lungual: New Svalbardposten editor familiar with many languages by many definitions


It’s daunting enough to be a new newspaper editor sitting down on the first day and facing the task of getting out the next issue. Hilde Kristin Røsvik found herself facing the necessity of publishing two during the same week.

Rant: ‘You may want to go home’ – for the last time; two hours of hell and angels evacuating Gamle Sykehuset


I’m throwing clothing, books, computers, musical instruments, cables and who knows what else wildly about in my three-room flat, not caring where any of it lands except for those things I most desperately want to keep or think I can sell. With no time to hunt for empty boxes, I’m tossing everything I value most in my life in grocery bags that are carried out by people who are largely strangers to me, but are rallying to my aid in an ultimate moment of crisis.

Maybe what I’ll remember most about being forced to permanently evacuate my apartment building on two hours’ notice is those black reusable cloth grocery bags with a “Svalbardbuttikken” logo on them. Dozens of them, piled in a corner of my bedroom where I was using them as the base of a nightstand (a throwback to my college days when milk crates were my bookshelves).

‘Fortitude’ follies: We binge watch and document everything the cult-hit TV series gets wrong about life in Svalbard


“There has never been a violent crime here.” Maybe that’s because after shooting a guy in the head you’re told to go home and not worry about it by the cop who watched you pull the trigger.

Believe that’s a realistic portrayal of everyday life in Longyearbyen and you’ll be well-prepared for the rest of “Fortitude,” since throughout the 11 episodes (or 12, since the DVD version treats the double-length opener as two) the locals wander about killing and pummeling each other, stealing relics and expensive equipment, going on drunken shooting binges, and generally acting in ways that make viewers think everyone deserves to be locked at some point. And while some are – always the wrong ones, naturally – nobody’s ever charged, let alone convicted of anything.

But we really don’t care much about that, because the far more twisted thing is – WTF is up with all those trees?

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Editor’s rant: Safe at home again, but the drama is far from over


Thanks to everyone for their kind words these past few days. For those interested in “the rest of the story,” this is a “family and friends” e-mail I sent on Christmas Eve:

Hei alle (tell me I haven’t ignored any of you long enough that you think I misspelled my greeting)…

Those of you who read my fishwrapper may know I’m back home again, although it’s anyone’s guess for how long. I’ve already written about most of what I went through early this week, so this e-mail is mostly to fill in the gaps.

Dishonorable mention: We watch and rank every episode of ‘Sval and Bard’ so you don’t have to


The temptation to use the moronic cliché “so bad it’s good” (and vice-versa) with great repetition is powerful since, as with anime porn, the more evil the better.

But “Sval and Bard” deserve better since – even at their good-bad moments (the kind where their lack of badness is not good, which we’re sure sounds confusing to nobody) – they deserve a spot somewhere in Svalbard’s Video Hall of Fame.

Rant: Idiot government overlords win as Barents Observer ceases publication, editorial staff quits


Someday this sorry fishwrapper will cease to exist. God willing, it won’t be because of the utter hell another vital source of local news has fought against – and apparently lost – during the past few months.

BarentsObserver (yeah, we’re never quite sure if it’s supposed to be one word or two, but we’ll go with their website usage for now), has officially ceased publication and its entire editorial staff has quit because some Norwegian government folks have decided the online newspaper should be a propoganda puppet.