Monday, February 28, 2011

In The News

Bermuda may be known for its pink sand beaches and world-class golf courses, but did you know that the island is also home to one of the most advanced marine research labs in the world? Founded in 1903 as the Bermuda Biological Station, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) leads its field in underwater research—clearly, since NBC news recently featured the Bermuda-based lab and its director, Dr. Tony Knap, in an episode of the science-minded series Changing Planet. If you’ve got six minutes, watch the above video to learn why the world’s ocean temperatures are rising. It’s an interesting report, especially since it uncovers how BIOS scientists have been measuring the temperature of the ocean since 1954, making Bermuda the epicenter of one of the world’s longest ongoing studies of ocean data. “We like to think of the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic as the canary in the coal mine," says Dr. Knap about Bermuda's scientifically significant location. "It’s the smallest ocean, it’s between North America and Europe and we think if we are going to see changes, we will see them first here in the ocean off Bermuda." Science teachers, time to revise those lessons plans.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deal of the Day

Last time I checked, the winter just doesn't want to quit in the American northeast. Snow keeps falling, temperatures keep dropping and there's no end in sight for one of the coldest winters on record. If you're one of the many New York metropolitan area residents reaching for an extra blanket to keep warm, then consider this fantastic deal to sunny Bermuda: American Airlines is currently selling flights to the island from JFK for $99 each way for travel between March 1st and May 20th. You'll have to book by March 15th, but if you head on over to, where the majority of the sale fares are mid-week, roundtrip flights with a mandatory $94.90 tax come to $292, which is about as low as it's gonna get. And don't try to score this deal through Orbitz, Expedia or Hotwire: The legacy carrier recently parted ways with all three travel sites so you'll have to visit American Airlines' website to get the cheap flights.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This Way Out

For the sake of brevity—and for the pure fact that an Oscar-nominated film about natural gas drilling really, truly, has nothing to do with Bermuda—I'll keep this short and sweet. Today on my Outside Television blog This Way Out, you can read about the Oscar buzz surrounding Gasland, a film nominated for Best Documentary at this Sunday's Academy Awards, which uncovers the nasty truth behind natural gas drilling (ya know, how it eventually causes methane gas to find its way into your drinking water, which you can then light on fire). Problem is, big energy companies including Haliburton, BP and Shell aren't too happy about it. So much so that their lobbyists are calling for the film's nomination to be pulled. I don't know about you but that doesn't sound like playing fair to me. Hate the player not the game, ya know what I mean? If you're interested then click on over to Outside Television and read my piece Oscar Buzz For Mountainfilm Documentary. In the meantime I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Monday, February 21, 2011

RIP: Bermuda Music Festival

I guess it’s true: All good things must eventually come to an end. Such is the fate of the Bermuda Music Festival, an annual three-day concert that featured artists such as Alicia Keys, Beyonce Knowles, Lionel Ritchie and more recently, Ziggy Marley and Wyclef Jean. The cut was one of several made on Friday, which helped reduce Bermuda’s Department of Tourism budget by $7.9 million or 21 percent. Said Tourism Minister Patrice Minors about the cut, “[the festival] was not attracting enough visitors to our shores to justify the spending,” a direct contrast to former Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown who often said the festival provided “excellent value for the exposure.” Truth is, over the past three years the government has spent $5.7 million on the event while recouping approximately $2.5 million on ticket sales, according to the Royal Gazette. And while that doesn’t sound like a smart investment, the music festival—or at least some form of it—is definitely going to be missed. It certainly will be by me. What ever happened to having a concert for the people? You know, us folks who live on the island and enjoy hearing live music? I’m not saying $3 million needs to be spent on a blockbuster performer, but I do think the lack of a local music festival will be a glaring omission on the cultural calendar. So in the spirit of problem-solving here’s what I propose: A one-day gathering featuring local acts throughout the day with Bermudian reggae singer Mishka as the headliner. It’d be a fraction of the cost of prior festivals since local reinsurance companies would want to sponsor such a community-building event (hey decision-makers, you did consider getting corporate sponsorship, didn’t you?) plus it’ll celebrate everything that’s great about Bermuda, that is, its people. Have it on the beach like last year’s festival, where local artists can sell their crafts and island cooks can whip up popular dishes (or even better, compete against each other in a fish chowder cook off). Gosling’s could sponsor a rum swizzle competition where island bartenders could make their version of the popular drink to be crowned Sizzle King. Then everyone could gather happily around the waterside stage to watch Mishka—otherwise known as Bermuda’s latest and greatest contribution to the world of music—perform his blend of conscious reggae. I’ve even got a name for it: The Best of Bermuda Fest. Sound good? I thought so. Now, let’s make it happen Bermuda. Do it for the children. Heck, do it for me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Saga Continues

In case you haven't already heard, comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert will be sailing to Bermuda at the end of May from his hometown in Charleston, S.C. It's exciting news indeed, especially if the funnyman takes my advice and allows yours truly to give him an island tour (an itinerary clearly laid out in my Open Letter to Stephen Colbert). But as of yesterday the stakes just got a little higher. You see, Colbert openly challenged media mogul, serial entrepreneur and global badass Sir Richard Branson to compete against him in the upcoming Charleston Bermuda Race to decide who is "the greatest sailor in the world." The gauntlet throwing starts at about 2:20 in the video above, but the entire segment is worth a watch since Colbert mentions how he originally posed the challenge to Branson during an interview in the Virgin exec's new iPad-only magazine, Project. And like most of Colbert's public stunts, he means business. This from last night: "Nation I need your help. I'm turning you loose on Richard Branson. Email him, Facebook at him, bury him in an avalanche of Twitter taunts. I want you to pop a hashtag in his ass! So put your rudder where you mouth is Branson." How about this? I'll organize the troops to get Branson signed up for the race, then, when he agrees, the three of us can all go shopping for shorts and socks at the English Sports Shop. Sound good? Stephen, I await your reply.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Best. Tie. Ever.

When folks talk about the Bermuda of old they commonly refer to Trimingham's, a department store that originally opened in 1842 known for a "wide selection of bargains including doe-skin gloves, perfume, English handbags and Indian Madras sportswear," according to Fodor's 1961 Guide to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda (thank you very much BrandlandUSA). Unfortunately however, Trimingham's closed its doors in 2005 but its fine name still lives on, most notably on racy cravats originally made in England for the Bermuda-based department store. So here for your viewing pleasure is—drumroll please—the Doghouse Tie. As originally noted on Affordable Wardrobe, "Gentlemen, a friendly reminder: Excessive drinking of beer, time spent playing cards or golfing with the boys is likely to land you squarely in the doghouse." Yeah, that or looking at the back of one's tie, which has a scantily clad woman embroidered into the fabric (click the photo). Nice work Trimingham's. We hardly knew ya. Now, if anyone could tell me where I could get one of these fantastic works of art, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bloomie Was In Bermuda!

It's official: New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was indeed in Bermuda during the massive snow storm that hit the Big Apple on December 26—a much-ballyhooed turn of events also known as Bermudagate. Hysterical, right? According to the Wall Street Journal, private aircraft belonging to Bloomie flew to Bermuda 16 times last year and 54 times in all from 2007 through 2010. On 41 trips, the aircraft left New York and spent all or part of the weekend in Bermuda with one overnight trip to the island coinciding with the major Boxing Day storm. Oops. Clearly the City Council is not very happy with Mayor Mike since the legislative body is exploring a bill that would require Bloomberg to notify the City Clerk every time he leaves the five boroughs. But what fun would that be? Isn't the whole point of having a private plane taking off at a moment's notice and hanging out at your multi-million dollar waterfront home? (That's his Tucker's Town pad above). I say leave him be! If the guy wants to jet off to Bermuda for a round of golf and a rum swizzle, then let 'em do it. And Bloomie, if you ever need a golf partner over at Mid-Ocean you know who to call.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Now Playing: Mountainfilm

It's officially Day Two of the Stephen Colbert Watch and still no word from the Bermuda-bound funnyman on whether he'd like yours truly to guide him across the island when he arrives in May. Fingers firmly crossed on that one, but in case you're hankering for some interesting television that doesn't necessarily include Colbert but definitely includes me, then check out Now Playing: Mountainfilm, my guide to Outside Television's latest lineup of inspired programming. Spoiler alert: I, along with pro-skier Lynsey Dyer co-host the show so perhaps I'm a little bit biased, but the independent documentary films airing this week are indeed worth tuning into (that's me and the crew on location in Telluride). Interested? Then read all about it here. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Monday, February 14, 2011

An Open Letter to Stephen Colbert

According to multiple reports across the web including CNN, Luxist and the island’s own Bermuda Sun, comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert will be sailing to Bermuda during the 777-mile Charleston Bermuda Race at the end of May. "The ocean has had a free ride for too long,” said Colbert who is a native of Charleston, S.C. and Honorary Captain of the Fleet. “Well, it has to deal with me now. Brace yourself, Atlantic!" Held every two years, the first-to-finish in Bermuda regatta is open to sailors with boats at least 30-feet long, so Colbert will compete on one of the race sponsor’s 65-foot ocean racing yachts. Clearly the funnyman will be well taken care of at sea, but I’m more concerned with his schedule once he reaches land. So without further adieu here’s my proposed itinerary for you, Stephen Colbert, once you arrive Bermuda’s pink sand shores. (And yes, given my extensive television background I’d be happy to show you around while you’re here. I think we’d get along swimmingly, if I do say so myself.)

Have a drink. Or maybe two. You’ll definitely be hankering for some rum after your time at sea and fortunately Bermuda has two national cocktails: the Dark n Stormy made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and spicy ginger beer and the Rum Swizzle, invented at the east end pub with a similar name, its got dark rum, amber rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, bitters and a sweet syrup called falernum. Mix ‘em all together and you’ll be sure to have a memorable time in Bermuda. Or have a few and you won’t be able to remember anything at all. Either way, I say we pay the Swizzle Inn a visit, throw back a few cocktails and swagger out to explore the island.

Hit the links. A man of your stature must play golf, right? Fortunately Bermuda is chock full of world-class courses including my personal favorite, Port Royal, which hosts the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a season-ending tournament won in 2009 by fellow South Carolinian Lucas Glover. Not only does the course boast unending ocean views, but it features what’s widely regarded as the greatest hole in golf—the cliff-hugging 16th with nothing but the Atlantic between the tee and the pin. Don’t believe me? Then check out this video I shot at Port Royal from last year’s Grand Slam. And when you’re ready to tee it up I’ll happily donate my green fees to DonarsChoose.

Shop for shorts. I know how you love your suits and ties, but I think you’d look fantastic in a pair of authentic Bermuda shorts with knee-high socks. How about you and I visit the English Sports Shop, buy some new duds and hit the town, shall we? I’ll even give you a ride on the back of my fancy 125cc scooter Dumb and Dumber style.

Meet the locals. Once we get our spiffy new outfits they’ll be some folks just dying to meet you. People like Johnny Barnes, a bearded 84-year-old Bermudian who greets the morning traffic each day with shouts of “I love you” at the corner of Crow Lane in Hamilton. What? You’ve never heard of Johnny Barnes? The guy is a living legend: Not only has Bermuda erected a bronze statue of Johnny down the road from where he blows kisses to cars, but a local filmmaker is currently shooting a documentary about him called Mr. Happy (watch the trailer here). Trust me Stephen, you two would be a match made in heaven.

Take a swim. Of course you can’t come to Bermuda without visiting its famed pink sand beaches so whaddaya say we go to Horseshoe Bay and test the waters? If that sounds a little mundane then we could always follow Bermuda’s high-flying adventurers and do a little cliff jumping. Seriously, if this video is any indication, you and I could have one heckuva time hurtling off the island’s lush cliffs and plentiful bridges. Or not.

Recreate history. Alright Stephen, get ready to have your mind blown. In 1609 the English colonists who settled Jamestown, Virginia, were dying of famine, so the King of England ordered a ship called the Sea Venture to sail to the New World with food and supplies to save the colony. In July, that ship crashed in Bermuda—an uninhabited archipelago previously discovered by Juan de Bermudez in the 1500’s. After ten months, the shipwrecked crew built a new ship called the Deliverance, filled it with food procured from the island and sailed on to Jamestown saving the colony, thus saving America. You heard right Stephen. If there was no Bermuda, there would be no America, and I know how you love America. I say we go to historic St. George’s, don our period garb and recreate the fateful arrival of Sir George Somers (kind of like Bob Hope did when he came here for his Christmas special in 1990).

Let’s do it for Bermuda. And most of all let’s do it for America. Stephen, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


David LaHuta

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Called a Brush. Use it.

Quiz: By the looks of my hair I've either a) Just rolled out of bed b) Endured a few shocks from the island electric chair c) Tested out a new "up do" or d) None of the above. If your answer was d then you've answered correctly, because that's just what happens when you play 18 holes of golf in 50mph winds. Sure, it's been 68 degrees and sunny for the majority of the month (otherwise known as Bermudaful weather in these parts) but on Tuesday the winds were howling at Port Royal Golf Course. You'd think I'd have the good sense to stay home, but alas, I was attending a press conference and subsequent tournament to celebrate the return of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf to Bermuda for the next two years. It's all fantastic news for the island, especially since the PGA just announced that it will grant first alternate status to last year's defending champion in case one of this year's major winners declines the invitation (ya know, like Phil Mickelson who totally dissed Bermuda last year). Which really just means we islanders will have a very good chance of seeing Ernie Els defend his Grand Slam title this Fall. In the meantime, for more pictures from Tuesday's tournament check out, which by the way is a great resource for island news, events and deals. Now, about that hair....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who Is That Masked Man?

Editor’s Note: Bermuda Shorts would like to apologize to all of its readers, especially anyone who happens to be a teacher, wrestling coach, surfer, Heineken lover, snorkel mask funneler, rented boat anchor breaker or international party planner who may or may not reside in West Islip, Long Island, for leaving a picture of Mayor Eddie Farve on our homepage for longer than one day. We hope to never disappoint you ever again. So, in the spirit of making amends here for you today is a little Bermuda Soup. Remember when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took all that flack for relaxing in his Bermuda vacation home while the Big Apple got walloped by snow? Well, according to the New York Times the City Council wants Bloomie to fill out a mayoral sign-out sheet every time the billionaire dashes off to one of his homes in Vail, London or right here in Bermuda. So much for swizzling in secret. Those looking for a great hotel deal should look no further than the Fairmont Southampton’s most recent promotion: Its $99 room sale good for 99 hours. You’ll have to book from today until February 13 and travel anytime up until May 11, but rooms that are normally $299 are being sold for a third of the price with a special promotion code from Travelzoo. And if you’ve forgotten why the Southampton resort is perfect for your Bermuda getaway, check out my Top Seven Reasons why you should reserve a room at the hotel today. Finally a little good news from the deep: “Where the Whales Sing,” a documentary from local filmmaker Andrew Stevenson about the migration of humpback whales through Bermuda’s waters has been awarded High Honors at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival in New Jersey. This is the second international honor for the film, after winning its category at the 2010 BLUE Ocean Film Festival. Care to see what all the hubbub is about? Then check out this video featuring whales breaching off Bermuda’s south shore. Bermuda Shorts is back baby!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Close But No Cigar

When Mayor Eddie Farve of Bay St. Louis, Miss., lost everything but the clothes on his back in Hurricane Katrina, the resilient resident vowed to wear only Bermuda shorts until his town recovered. For more five and a half years he wore them everywhere—to work, to the White House when he met then-President George W. Bush and even to the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner where he wore a tuxedo jacket with his infamous black knee-length shorts. Farve was the poster-child for Gulf recovery, then quoted as saying, "Until you make us whole, I'm wearing short pants. Somebody is going to get stuck with these ugly legs." Until of course, he had to take them off. As reported by the Sun Herald and NPR, Favre showed up at the Harrison County courthouse in, gasp, long pants. "It's a shame that it had to come down to this," Favre said. "I didn't want to offend the judge." Forget the judge big Ed, I think you've offended an entire island nation by claiming those mundane black shorts are indeed from Bermuda. Sorry pal but our shorts our pink, yellow, blue, madras—certainly anything but black. If you're reading, I invite you to visit our sunny shores for a little shopping trip. Looking for Bermuda shorts? Head to the English Sports Shop my friend. And while you're at it, buy yourself some proper knee highs, will ya?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deal of the Day

If you live in the United States, say, in the Northeast, Midwest or South—essentially anywhere but California—chances are you’re looking outside of your window at a thick blanket of snow. Another thick blanket of snow, that is. With one of the worst winters on record there’s a good chance you need a vacation from all that wet stuff. If a tropical holiday is in your near future, then consider this great deal from Jetsetter, which ends February 11 at midnight. Rooms at two great Bermuda properties are on sale for nearly 50% off regular prices. Even better, if you book with Jetsetter you’ll be emailed a coupon good for 15% off flights on JetBlue to the island. Not bad, right? If you’re interested, check out Jetsetter’s Rediscover Bermuda flash sale, with discount rooms at Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa and Newstead Belmont Hills Hotel. And if you can’t figure out what to do on the island once you get here, don’t miss my latest article, The Many Faces of Bermuda, which is loaded with great ideas whether you’re traveling with the guys, the girls or your sweetheart. Just think: Those feet of yours can be in the sand instead of the snow. Swami sees a vacation in your future.