Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bermuda Soup

Lot’s in the news today so without further adieu, I bring you Bermuda Soup—your semi-regular roundup of what’s happening on the island right about now. With April comes the start of cruise ship season and while the first mega-liners arrived Dockyard about two weeks ago, no one was happier to step on dry land than the passengers of Holland America’s Veendam. According to the Bermuda Sun, the ship’s 1,300 passengers were shaken up after a rough Atlantic Ocean crossing due to bad weather. So instead of docking offshore in St. George’s and tendering passengers ashore—a plan devised to accommodate large ships due to the port’s narrow channel—the ship went straight to Hamilton. “I don’t think anyone was that upset,” reported one passenger. No wonder there were so many blue-faced folks walking around Hamilton the other day! In other news, a popular island dive shop is back in action after its boat, a former drug-runner bought at auction named Tenacity, caught fire and was destroyed in February. Just over two months later Triangle Diving is back and offering popular excursions on wrecks, reefs and other popular sites on its new boat, Phoenix. “We decided to name the boat Phoenix because we’ve risen from the ashes,” said the outfit’s owner. Real original buddy, but hey, best of luck to you! Finally, motorcycle enthusiasts will surely get a kick out of this weekend’s big island run sponsored by the ETA Motorcycle Cruising Club—a group visiting by cruise ship which rides 1,600cc Harley Davidson’s—and the Bermuda Long Riders Motorcycle Club, a local club which rides 150cc motor bikes. The two clubs will be riding a loop around the island on Saturday, culminating with a stop at Gombey’s restaurant on Clearwater Beach at 1:30pm, but something tells me those Harleys might be getting the bulk of the attention.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

He's Kindof Like Shaggy

Today we’re talking about reggae—not conscious reggae, best demonstrated by the tunes of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh or even Bermuda’s own Mishka—but dance hall, a heavier, beatier style of music. Admittedly it’s never been my favorite. Maybe I’m getting old but it’s just too loud, too enthusiastic. Care to disagree? Just go to a live show. When the guy next to you pulls out an air horn and unleashes its full fury to the delight of the crowd, you might get a sense of what I’m talking about. Of course, I’m not trying to bash the music—there are plenty of decent dance hall singers out there—and one that immediately comes to mind is another Bermuda artist, Collie Buddz. The Bermuda born reggae singer first shot to fame with his 2007 debut single “Come Around,” and his latest single, “Come Down,” was released earlier this month. They’re catchy tunes (as far as dance hall goes) and fortunately for the artist formerly known as Colin Harper, he’ll be performing in the United States on a 20-city tour this summer. If I was anywhere near Boston, Philly or one of the 18 other stops on the tour I’d snap up tickets immediately. Why? Buddz will be opening for ska-rockers Slightly Stoopid, rap group Cypress Hill and reggae veterans Steel Pulse. It's sure to be a great show, but I have a feeling the green room might get a little smoky this summer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Best. Cupcake. Ever.

Even casual readers of Bermuda Shorts know my affinity for Dark n Stormys. As I noted in my Best of Bermuda roundup in March, you can order the potent mix of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and spicy ginger beer at any Bermuda bar and beyond it’s island-wide availability, Bermuda’s national cocktail is just hands-down delicious. (Heck, I might catch a JetBlue flight to Boston Logan so I can enjoy one at Fenway Park. Haven't you heard? Gosling's is the official rum of the Boston Red Sox). That’s why I was so excited to stumble upon this recipe for Dark n Stormy cupcakes on Coconut & Lime, a blog run by foodie and cookbook author Rachel Rappaport that’s dedicated to all things delicious (no, that's not a picture of the cupcake in question, but it's close). Not only does her recipe call for ginger beer and Gosling’s rum—a no-brainer for any DnS concoction—but the pièce de résistance lies in the addition of ground roasted ginger and Dark n Stormy frosting made with, you guessed it, more rum and more ginger. Simply brilliant! Of course, I still haven’t tried them but based upon the ingredients alone, you can consider me hooked.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bloomberg's Bermuda

Let’s file this one under Why Didn’t I Think of That? Bermuda’s most famous part-time resident—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg—got a splashy front-page story in today’s New York Times about how he spends his time when he’s here in Bermuda. The writer reports on his lavish Tucker’s Town estate, a $10 million four-bedroom home with five balconies, seven bathrooms, an in-ground pool and space for four cars (pictured); his favorite golf club, Mid-Ocean, where obsessively plays 54 holes over the course of a weekend; and four beloved island restaurants including Greg’s Steakhouse (for power lunches in the City of Hamilton), Rustico (an Italian café in Flatts where he orders platters of herb-marinated chicken, beef tenderloin and fresh orecchiette), Tom Moore’s Tavern (established in 1652, it’s Bermuda’s oldest restaurant), and Port O Call (for fresh fish on Front Street). The Mayor clearly has good taste. After all, I covered Port O Call in my New York Times piece, 36 Hours in Bermuda, which ran late last year and Greg’s has long been a local favorite. As for the Mid-Ocean Club, well, I think the $50,000 initiation fee speaks for itself. But I suppose when you have an estimated $18 billion fortune, 50K is just a small drop in the bucket. Ahh to live the good life, although I really have little to complain about. Bermuda is indeed a lovely place to call home. But Mike, next time you feel like sharing an island scoop with the New York Times, how about you give a fellow transplanted New Yorker a shout, will ya?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Calling All Brides To Be

Getting married this year? Care to do it in Bermuda? Then check out this fantastic giveaway sponsored by the Bermuda Department of Tourism, the Knot and JetBlue. Ten lucky couples will win a destination wedding for ten—a five-night stay at one of ten participating hotels, airfare for you and eight guests on a private JetBlue charter flight and a dream wedding based upon one of ten island-inspired themes: Exotic Cave, Eco-Chic, Magical Sunset, Waves of Love, Moongate, Sunset and Pink Sand, Waterfront, Harborfront, Nostalgic Bermuda and Linked For Life. The catch? You’ve gotta say “I do” on October 10 (ten couples on 10/10/10, get it?). Details of how to enter will be released today on the Department of Tourism’s website, but early reports suggest that couples will be asked to submit a photo along with ten reasons they want to get married in Bermuda. And no, “because it’s free,” is not a good reason. A panel of judges will select the finalists then the winners will be chosen by the public—sort of like American Idol, Bermuda style. In the meantime don’t forget about a similar giveaway still going on at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in cooperation with Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine. You have until May 31 to enter to win a dream wedding for 20 people. Here’s what’s up for grabs: A ceremony and reception at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess for up to 20 people (or $10,000); 10 double occupancy hotel guest rooms; 20 JetBlue airline tickets departing from New York's JFK or Boston Logan; and a $1,000 Saks Fifth Avenue gift card for a total retail value of $45,000. All you have to do is submit a brief essay (500 words max) about why you want to have your dream wedding in Bermuda. In contest parlance: “Tell us how the Fairmont Hamilton Princess is the perfect location to host your Ultimate Dream Destination wedding and what getting married in Bermuda means to you.” That’s it. All submissions must be received by May 31, 2010 and potential winners will be notified by email on or before June 15. So, what are you waiting for? That handsome couple in white could be you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Earth Day!

“Today’s British Airways flight has left London and is expected to land in Bermuda at 6:30 p.m.,” reported the Royal Gazette this morning. That’s great news for travelers stranded on the island due to last week’s volcanic ash debacle but not so good news for the planet. Is it just me or was that Icelandic volcano trying to tell us something? According to the Wall Street Journal, aircraft in the EU produce an estimated 200 million to 220 million tons of CO2 a year. In the five days of flight restrictions in Europe—caused by the ash plume admitted from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull—aircraft on the ground emitted an estimated 2.7 million tons less CO2 than they would’ve in the air. “Not a lot,” says the Journal, “but enough to roughly cover the annual emissions of Latvia or a month of the emissions from Austria.” Just think about that for a moment. Five days of zero northern European air travel and the planet was saved the annual emissions of a small country. I’m no scientist but I’d consider that a significant improvement. Certainly an unexpected benefit. Sure, thousands of air travelers were inconvenienced worldwide—engagements were missed, events went unattended—but maybe that’s just what we needed to realize the current way of doing things is, dare I say, wrong. Why should executives fly halfway around the world for a business meeting when video conferencing is a viable alternative? It’s greener and cheaper. The slowdown in air travel also made us consider alternative modes of transportation. Instead of flying to the funeral of Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski, who died with dozens of others in a plane crash, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip drove 18 hours. Of course cars are perhaps the environment’s worst offenders but the sentiment of changing one’s mindset is the point. People should start thinking outside the box. Take a train. Walk. For the good of the planet, just use an alternative when you can. I’m not sure what I’ll do to commemorate Earth Day, but if we all do something—anything—it sure would make a huge difference. Because the planet is indeed in our hands.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

R.I.P Mark Twain

Although Mark Twain died in his Reading, Connecticut home 100 years ago today, his soul can easily be found in Bermuda. The great American writer spent much of his time on the island dating back to his first visit in November 1867 when he arrived by sea on the S.S. Quaker City—a trip that inspired his book The Innocents Abroad, which gave the young writer immediate international attention. Ten years later he returned to Bermuda again, a four-day trip that resulted in a 15,000-word four-part essay titled “Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion” for the Atlantic Monthly (read part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4). He traveled quite a bit—most notably a European holiday in 1878 that inspired his non-fiction book A Tramp Abroad—but his heart always belonged to Bermuda. “I’m in search of rest, British humor, and an opportunity to appear logical in March in a white suite,” Twain said famously in a March 17, 1907 Chicago Daily Tribune article entitled “Mark Twain Seeks Place to Wear White.” That day he visited the island again, this time with Woodrow Wilson, who as President of Princeton University enjoyed vacations to Bermuda as much as Twain did. As the writer grew older he spent more and more time visiting the island—so much so that he fought to ban cars here and actively promoted Bermuda as a tourist destination to American visitors. Exactly one century later his imprint can be found everywhere: The bronze statue of him sitting on a bench in the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, another inside the Bank of Butterfield lobby plus an imposing bronze bust in the front entrance of XL Capital’s Bermudiana Road building. Twain may have passed away in Connecticut but if it were up to him, he would’ve been in Bermuda. This from the Associated Press: “He was 74 [when he died], and in failing health, his heart—his tobacco heart, he called it—so weak that he interrupted a restful cruise to Bermuda to return and die at the house on a hill built for him just two years earlier.” Clearly he was on his way back, but if his words ring true, then it really doesn’t matter where his body rests. As he famously once wrote: “You can go to Heaven if you like. I’ll stay right here in Bermuda.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kiss My Ash 2: The Saga Continues

I suppose if you have to be stuck anywhere it might as well be Bermuda, right? Welcome to day six of the official European airspace lockdown caused by the eruption of an Icelandic volcano called Eyjafjallajokull (if anyone knows how to pronounce it please let me know). The stoppage has stranded more than 400 passengers in Bermuda, all of whom are awaiting to board a British Airways flight to London that’s been grounded for a sixth straight day. “The earliest people can rebook is now well into next week,” said British Airways spokesperson Sallie Singleton. “It’s highly unlikely that Bermuda would get an extra flight to help alleviate the backlog of passengers stranded here.” Problematic, yes, but I could definitely think of worse places to be holed up. And of course let’s not forget about everyone stuck in Europe, like Bermuda’s Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and a twenty-person tourism delegation who visited London last week to promote the island to UK residents. The group hopes to return to Bermuda on Saturday, which given the extreme circumstances—thousands of passengers stranded worldwide, a volcano that continues to spew ash, potential safety concerns—seems a tad optimistic. But hey, a group can dream. So to those stuck in Bermuda I say live it up! This whole volcano explosion seems like a great excuse to tuck in for another Dark 'n' Stormy.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I’m not sure if the students of the University of Calgary have ever been to Bermuda but judging by their outfits last week I’m guessing no. The Calgary Herald reported that Friday was Bermuda Shorts Day—the last day of classes when students wear funny costumes and drink large quantities of alcohol. According to campus lore, it was 50 years ago when the editor of the university’s newspaper proclaimed that he’d mark the last day of classes by wearing the most flashy Bermuda shorts he could find and challenged other students to follow his lead. Nearly 100 others donned shorts of their own and from that day on Bermuda Shorts Day became a beloved U of C tradition. But somewhere along the line wearing funny shorts on the last day of classes morphed into an annual daylong booze-fest, when thousands of costumed students fill a 4,400 capacity open-air beer garden and basically, get wasted. “There’s nothing better than BSD,” says an anonymous commenter about the drunken bacchanalia. “It was the highlight of my undergrad, especially when compared to buying books and registering for classes.” Is it just me or is your mind NOT blown by this? College kids who prefer binge drinking over going to class? Shocker. But Bermuda Shorts Day? How about Grass Skirt Day? Or Funny Hat Day? Or I'm-Gonna-Drink-Till-I-Drop Day? For Bermuda's sake I propose an official rename—got any suggestions? Lemme hear it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kiss My Ash

That’s basically what Iceland told the world’s travelers yesterday when a thick volcanic cloud grounded thousands of flights in Europe. According to CNN some 17,000 flights were cancelled due to the eruption—the most significant stopage of worldwide air travel since 9/11. Even Bermuda has been affected: British Airways canceled its London flights to and from the island, which means Premier Ewart Brown and the tourism delegation currently promoting Bermuda in the British capital will be stuck there for the foreseeable future. At least they have those fancy rides. The pink taxi cabs are part of new campaign to entice UK travelers to visit Bermuda—a weeklong road show to promote the island across England. Even better the Department of Tourism has paired up with the currently-grounded airline to sweeten the pot for potential newly weds: UK couples planning to get married in Bermuda between May and October this year will get a free round-trip ticket on British Airways. Excellent idea, but let’s just hope that Icelandic volcano quiets down so folks can actually start flying again. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Checking In

Alright, fine. Budget Travel officially scooped me—the magazine first reported the following hotel deal on April 1—but that just proves the Bermuda Department of Tourism’s Sizzling Summer Offer is truly value-packed. Book one of 17 participating hotels until April 30 for stays valid from May 1 through October 31 and you’ll get a hotel credit: $600 for a six-night stay, $500 for a five-night stay or $400 for a four-night stay. With rooms starting at just $249 at the luxurious Fairmont Southampton or the historic Fairmont Hamilton Princess, that’s like getting two nights free (if of course you book for five nights; for a full list of participating hotels check out the Sizzling Summer Offer). Remember, you have to book by April 30 to get the hotel credit so act fast. That could be YOU strolling on secluded Church Bay.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Hour Is Back!

As if we islanders needed yet another reason to get together for cocktails the Fairmont Hamilton Princess just announced it’s latest and greatest promotion: Free drinks! That’s right folks, if you’re one of the first 125 people to show up at the hotel’s inaugural happy hour this Friday at 5pm, you’ll be given a ticket good for one free cocktail, wine or beer. Even better, if you show up at happy hour the following two Fridays with proof that you’re a fan of the hotel on Facebook, you’ll also be given a complimentary drink. The boozy promotion is part of the hotel’s 125th anniversary celebration—a year-long fiesta featuring free nights for couples celebrating a wedding anniversary and mind-blowing blockbuster giveaways (a free destination wedding for ten with airfare, anyone?). In addition to complimentary drinks this Friday, the hotel is also featuring live music from the Kennel Boys Band, Bermuda’s beloved Rock/Top 40 cover band. So what happens if you’re the 126th person to arrive on Friday evening? Have no fear: The patio bar at the Hamilton Princess will be selling five-for-$25 drink tickets until 6pm. Bottoms up Bermuda.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Deal of the Day

It’s JetBlue’s 10th anniversary this year, so in order to commemorate ten years of serving free Terra blue chips, flying quirkily named planes (Tale of Blue Cities?) and being an all-around great airline, the low-cost carrier is having a major spring sale on airfare and hotel packages right now. Amazingly JetBlue is selling flights as low as $29 each way—Floridians, say hello to the Bahamas for me—but we’re here to talk Bermuda right? From New York’s JFK, JetBlue is selling one-way flights to Bermuda for as little as $69 based upon a roundtrip purchase. That means with taxes and fees a roundtrip flight would cost $232.50—still a bargain when you consider flights to the Caribbean are usually twice that. The offer is valid for travel between April 22 and June 16, although not on Saturdays and Sundays with blackout dates from May 27 to June 1. New Englanders are getting similar savings from Boston’s Logan Airport: $99 each way good from May 1 to May 27, and yes, some blackout dates apply. The only catch is that you’ve got to book by April 21 (for more great fares visit JetBlue’s Spring Sale). But that’s not all! Looking for a hotel too? Then check out these mind-blowingly low air/hotel packages from JetBlue Getaways. For example, a four-night stay at the luxurious Fairmont Southampton with roundtrip airfare from New York costs from $615 per person! Considering the exact same package cost nearly double not too long ago, it’s one heckuva deal: If booked for two, the sale price saves you $1,230 when compared to its original price (for more on JetBlue Getaways click here). So what are you waiting for? The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and Bermuda is calling your name.

Monday, April 12, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Golf fans looking for a little drama at this year’s Masters in Augusta National certainly got it—and fortunately it had nothing to do with Tiger Woods' girlfriends. With a flawless final-round 67 for a 16-under-par total of 272, Phil Mickelson won his third green jacket yesterday, which means the repeat champion is the first invitee to this year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Bermuda’s own Port Royal Golf Course. What? You’ve never heard of the Grand Slam? Held each autumn at the end of the PGA and European tours, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf is a two-day tournament featuring the winners of that season’s four Major championships: the Masters, British Open, U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. Last year it was won by U.S. Open Champion Lucas Glover (see above), who wowed the crowed with his final approach on the 18th hole to defeat Angel Cabrera, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang (to watch it check out this short video I shot and edited last year). But alas, today is all about Phil and his stunning Masters victory. And what a win it was. His performance on the back nine was particularly impressive, like his laser-guided shot on 13, which he squeezed through a four-foot opening between two pine trees only to land it four feet from the pin at a distance of 207 yards away. If his play in October is anything like yesterday’s performance at Augusta, then the English Sports Shop better start sizing up Phil for his pink jacket as soon as possible.

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's Good News!

Remember when I told you about Rob Lane back in January? The inspirational insurance executive who after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, shaved his head to raise money for children’s cancer research? How about this for a positive update: Not only is he now cancer-free—his latest PET scan showing the disease in complete and total remission—but out of the 33,487 people who shaved their heads for St. Baldrick’s in more than 650 locations worldwide, Rob came in first in total funds raised with a whopping $102,917 and counting. In a recent e-mail the father of three wrote, “I am so humbled and grateful for the collective support you have shown to me and my family during these past several months that words simply don't do it justice. A friend recently reminded me ‘everything in life can be taken away except your attitude.’ I can say that my positive spirit, which you all helped embolden, played an integral role in my ability to successfully fight this disease with minimal disruption to my family life and career. So, thank you all so very much.” Clearly I’m not the only one who thinks Rob is an inspiration. This is from Kathleen Ruddy, Executive Director of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which is based in California: “St. Baldrick's Foundation and our Bermuda partner, PALS, have long been grateful for the generous patronage of the people of Bermuda and Rob's leadership is a stunning example of your island's can do spirit. With all of your help, we will achieve a cure for every childhood cancer in our lifetime, whilst improving the quality of life for patients and survivors.” And then there’s this, from Rob’s cousin Barbara Seawall, who left a comment on Bermuda Shorts in January: “In a time when many would focus on themselves, Rob has chosen to think of children with cancer. It takes a strong person with a big heart to do what he has.” I couldn’t agree more. To you Rob, I say three cheers—for leading by example, for having a huge heart and by showing the world what a little positivity can overcome.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And Don't Forget the Lime

No, my beloved New York Mets won’t be playing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park during inter-league play this summer, but in case you feel like rooting for another baseball team at America’s oldest ballpark here’s the latest and greatest reason to head to New England this summer: You can order a Dark ‘n Stormy. And I’m not talking about phony imitations made with Myers, Bacardi Dark or even Mount Gay, which I enjoy very much on occasion. This is the real deal—Gosling's Black Seal rum and spicy ginger beer on the rocks. That’s right folks, The Black Seal has entered the building. According to a recent report in the Royal Gazette, Gosling’s has become the official rum of the Boston Red Sox, which means not only will the Bermuda-based wines and spirits merchant have its logos displayed at Fenway Park, but Gosling’s rums will be available throughout the stadium including all luxury suites at the facility. Got some extra cash lying around? Then book an event at the park’s “Dark n Stormy Boardroom,” formerly the EMC Club where executives and heavy-hitters alike congregate to watch the big game. The deal is an extension of a recently renewed partnership with the Bermuda Department of Tourism, which will have official Bermuda Nights on June 17 when the Red Sox play the Arizona Diamondbacks and another on August 23 against the Seattle Mariners. Considering Bermuda is just a two-hour flight from Boston’s Logan Airport, there’s a good chance I’ll be drinking my next Dark N’ Stormy in New England. Bottoms up!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Deal(s) of the Day

Looking for an inexpensive flight to Bermuda? Do you live near Toronto or in the New York City metropolitan area? If so, keep reading because there are two major airfares sales happening right now from WestJet and American Airlines. First to Canada, where WestJet’s $72 for 72 hours promotion ends tomorrow (that’s right Canucks, you must book no later than tomorrow at 11:59pm). Valid for departures beginning May 3, nonstop flights to Bermuda from Toronto are $72 (CAN) each way based upon a roundtrip purchase, which means with taxes and fees it’ll cost you $254.27 (or $254.09 in U.S. dollars) to get to Bermuda’s sunny shores. The bargains are even better from New York’s JFK airport. American Airlines is offering fares to Bermuda for as low as $64 each way, which would make a roundtrip ticket with taxes and fees $222.50. You’ll have to book before April 11th for travel valid from Tuesday April 13th through Wednesday April 21st, but if your schedule is flexible, there’s no better time to visit Bermuda. The skies are blue, the sun is shining and your rum swizzle is waiting. Happy jetting!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To Casino or Not To Casino

There’s been plenty of debate about whether or not Bermuda should build a casino to attract more tourists. Some think it will increase visitation and make the island a more attractive destination for east coast travelers. Others think a casino will degrade society and bring with it social ills that have plagued places like Las Vegas. And while both sides have valid opinions I thought I’d offer a few of my own—because a little spirited discourse never hurt anyone, right? But first a quick story. Once upon a time there was a newly engaged man from New York City who was planning his bachelor party with his best friends and family. They drafted up all sorts of ideas for the big day: A baseball game in Queens followed by a boisterous steak dinner in Manhattan, a daylong fishing charter in Long Island, a weekend jaunt to Las Vegas. And then there was Atlantic City, New Jersey—a suggestion made not only for the gaming, but for its world-class restaurants, nearby golf courses, access to the beach and best of all, its proximity to New York. After all, Atlantic City was only a two-and-a-half hour drive from Manhattan. Most people could get there in less than three hours. Suddenly one of the groom-to-be’s friends spoke up. “But guys, what about Bermuda? It’s got better restaurants, better beaches, better golf courses and it’s closer! We could all be there in under two hours and at the blackjack tables just thirty minutes later.” And then the man woke up from his dream because there are no casinos in Bermuda, which is exactly my point. Look, I’m not saying a casino is a silver bullet for tourism. Nothing is. But it would provide an attractive option for folks looking for a little pizzazz during their next vacation. Just think of the potential: Nightlife, dancing, live music, the works. Yes, a casino may indeed attract nefarious people looking to capitalize on the perceived criminal elements involved in running such an endeavour, but I just can’t see how the cons outweigh the pros. There’ll be job creation, economic stimulus and an added source of tourism revenue. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase the house always wins? Build it in Dockyard where tourists can have a world-class gaming experience. Or even better, St. George's where a casino might help revitalize a town in need. As the saying goes, if you build it they will come. I say build it and turn that dream into reality.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Download This Now

It’s not every day you hear an artist with such raw talent that it moves you to start a record label with the sole purpose of disseminating his or her music—but that’s exactly what happened to Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey when he first heard Mishka. The Bermuda-born reggae singer was performing in a Jamaica bar in 1999, the same year McConaughey was vacationing on the island. The actor was so struck by Mishka’s laid-back brand of reggae that he started j.k. livin records and soon after produced “Above the Bones,” the singer’s first major album that quickly shot to the top of the Billboard reggae charts, eventually earning him “Best New Artist” honors on iTunes. Mishka has since made television appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Rachael Ray Show,” both of which garnered substantial attention—so much so that McConaughey co-produced Mishka’s latest album, “Talk About,” which was released last Tuesday. After listening to it all weekend long I can officially say that it’s my new favorite album. It's hard to pick a favorite song, but head on over to iTunes and have a listen to “Keep on Lovin,” “Give Them Love,” and “Bittersweet,” to get a sense of Mishka’s roots-reggae stylings. Want more Mishka? Check out the above video for a glance at the artist's laid-back lifestyle and the fortuitous discovery that started it all. Here's hoping he comes back to Bermuda soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Go Fly a Kite

There’s an often-repeated statistic that Bermuda has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in the world. I’m not wholly convinced that it’s true—after all, that’s a pretty hard fact to prove—but I do know that there are quite a few houses of worship here on the island. Literally, hundreds of churches in all denominations. That’s why today is a fairly big deal here in Bermuda. It’s Good Friday, a holiday observed by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. So what do believers in Bermuda do today? We fly a kite! Legend has it a local teacher was trying to demonstrate Christ’s ascension to heaven to her students, so she made a kite with a wooden frame in the shape of a cross and painted Jesus’ image on it. As it took off into the blue Bermuda sky, it symbolized his ascension—I’m sure a much easier concept for those young kids to grasp: Where did he go when he died? He went up. So from that day on, devout families island-wide started gathering at Horseshoe Bay Beach with kites of their own, flying them high to symbolize the sacrifice that Jesus made (so the story goes). As the Bermudian gentleman says about 2:51 through the above video, which was filmed at Horseshoe Beach on Good Friday in 2007, “Kite day is all about families in Bermuda. We all get together and have a good time on the beach and fly our kites and eat hot cross buns.” Sounds like a good time to me. I have a feeling I know where I’ll be today.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And You Thought Your Scooter Was Cool

It’s not every day you see someone driving a scooter with fifteen-foot flames shooting from the back—but that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday while driving along Middle Road in Paget Parish. All of the sudden this fellow just blasted by flames a-flyin’. Curiosity now peaked, I decided to catch up with Mr. Road Rager for a brief conversation at the red light between Middle and South roads. ME: "Dude, what’s up with your bike?” HIM: “It’s a lot of fun and firing the flames makes me feel like James Bond, even though I'm just a plumber.” ME: "Yeah, but isn't it dangerous?" HIM: "The flames are pretty big so you can definitely set fire to someone's car if you wanted to." ME: "Umm, right. So does it get hot?" HIM: "It can get rather hot if you're riding the moped and blast the flames when the wind is in the wrong direction." ME: “Ouch. But is it legal?” HIM: “I’ve been told that if I fire the flames while riding on the road it’s equivalent to using a firearm and I could be in a lot of trouble.” ME: “So basically you don’t care if you get caught?” HIM: “Well considering this whole cockamamie story is a made up to trick your readers on April Fools Day, well, no.” Gotcha. To read about where this bike really was go here, in the meantime, happy April first.