Random weirdness for the week of Sept. 6, 2016


If they’re creative and environmentally conscious, newlyweds Winjar and Tina Skjelten can now have safe sex for 11 years after friends filled their apartment with 4,000 balloons as part of a surprise welcome-home party Saturday. The couple was married Aug. 27 in Kristiansand and upon returning to Longyearbyen was greeted by a chaffer with a bottle of champaign and a Hummer serving as their limo (hey, snow is already happening in Svalbard since it’s September). The balloons completely blocked the view into the apartment from outside, left, and it took a vigorous effort by the couple to explore all the “redecorated” rooms, center, and find their dog…


Nothing to celebrate: While it’s good we can do something useful, we’d rather it not be this. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

And on a drastically more serious note for this space: it’s bad enough to make ourselves the story; it’s far worse to use a tragedy to do that for what seems promotional purposes. So we’ll state emphatically we have a strictly not-for-profit motive in mentioning a section from the Norwegian government’s assessment of the Dec. 19 avalanche (see the lead story this week) that translated into English states: “In the aftermath of the avalanche, the governor and municipal government continuously published information on their web and Facebook pages. According to both, Facebook worked best as an information channel and all inquires received via Facebook were answered. The information was only published in Norwegian for the first few days after the avalanche. From Dec. 23 on, some information was also posted in English. The evaluation group believes this was somewhat late. Meanwhile, a local online English newspaper published information for the foreign population on its own initiative. Information in English should have been a bigger priority because at any time there is a large number of foreign visitors in Svalbard and because a large part of the population are not Norwegian speakers.” We’re not saying for a second this is humorous – which usually what we strive for on this page – but it is weird because our editor applied for a grant from the governor a few years ago seeking to translate essential releases from Svalbard’s government entities into English (as well as updating things like firearms applications that didn’t reflect current law). It was rejected flat-out, but this report means we’ll be trying again (even though there’s only a week until the deadline) in the hope of providing a break-even service that’s probably of far more value than our endless animal porn and awful toilet humor.