Random weirdness for the week of Jan. 19, 2016


It’s not as cool as the animated Lego horror show of an oil spill Greenpeace gave us back in 2014, but there’s still something entertaining about figuring out why that guy in the bow of a ship sinking in oil-drenched Arctic waters is having such a great day. The cartoon by Marianne Henriksen of the Norwegian Coast Guard is above a column from the agency titled “Nobody Can Survive Alone,” which calls for cooperative efforts between Arctic nations and organizations in preventing and containing oil spills. “It does not help much to sit at the right end of the boat if the other is leaking,” the column notes early, in the only apparent reference to what Mister Happy Fun Guy is up to. While we have no proof, it’s entirely possible he’s related to the person who got a stern talking to for skiing on Sukkertoppen a couple weeks ago, having apparently not seen the global headlines about the massive avalanche there (to say nothing of the devastation itself)…


Capital crime: The all-caps part of this “have you seen me” Facebook rant reads “WHO HAS SEARCHED THROUGH THE CAR AND FOUND THE KEY AND TAKEN IT???” Of course, the dangling modifier suggests “it” is the key, an error by a professional writer we’ll chalk up to the heat of the moment (although it’s also worth noticing that, literally translated, a “piece” of the Toyota truck in question is missing).

Call the police after a car gets stolen in Longyearbyen and the response will likely be a shrug. So says Nordlys in its coverage of a car caper involving The Local Paper of Rogues. A pickup truck left for the editor in the Svalbard Airport parking lot wasn’t there, resulting in an outraged inquiry and a lot of sleuthing on Facebook that eventually deduced tourists had mistaken it for their rental car. As for the shrug-off by police? “If someone steals a car they do not get very far,” said Christopher Engås, a Svalbardposten reporter who launched the internet investigation into why his boss was left isolated, noting the town only has a few kilometers of roads that all go to nowhere. For the record, the last Longyearbyen car theft reported in our fishwrapper was the infamous intoxicated idiot who on a Saturday night in November of 2009 stole a few six packs of beer from Huset, drove away in a car whose engine was running, lost control at high speed on an icy road about a kilometer away and ended up flipping the vehicle onto the roof of an old barn – a physics-defying feat that puzzles us to this day…


Follow the money grab: She’ll earn more in a week pretending to do our work than we probably will all year. Photo by Stig Svendsen.

And since we’re diving into the dangers of a beat reporter in Svalbard, it seems appropropriate to share this promo picture that is an Absolutely Accurate depiction of how we look at the end of a typical day (aside from lacking the supermodel looks and certain sex organs). Kari Bremnes, a musician and actress who at one point was an actual journalist, is slated to star in “Kings Bay,” a full-length political feature film featuring a modern investigation into the 1963 mining accident in Ny-Ålesund that killed 21 people and forced then Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen to resign. “Nordlys journalist Harrieth ‘Harri’ Hansen is struggling to keep her head above water at work and in private life,” a synopsis of the film notes. “Life has a way of getting away from her. One day she receives an anonymous package and it will be the beginning of an intensely stressful story.” And since there’s apparently a law that says all Svalbard fiction must incorporate surreal elements, there will of course be lots of conspiracies and inexplicable events. Filming for the 17-million-kroner movie is scheduled to start soon in Svalbard, Tromsø and Målselv, according to Director Stig Svendsen, who has been trying to launch the production since 2008.