Friday, December 30, 2011

That's All Folks!

Remember when I used to write ambitious Bermuda Shorts Year In Reviews every December? Yeah, me neither. But of course that was before my wife and I had a son, which has very much flipped my world upside down. In a good way, but upside down nonetheless (like when I had to visit five pharmacies in search of Vitamin D drops shortly thereafter). Indeed 2011 has been a wild year, one so incredibly busy and filled with momentous events both personal and professional that I only managed to post once in all of November (and it was about how I hadn't posted in most of October, which saw a whopping five entries this year). So, as we reflect on another year gone by—the unsuccessful campaign to sail with Stephen Colbert, the hurricanes that weren't, the naughty neckties—let us look forward to another prosperous year ahead. And no, don't think that means I'll be cobbling together another Best of Bermuda list ala March 2010. But I will do my best to keep you in the loop with your daily dish from paradise. In the meantime a special shout out to my Number One Reader and Ultimate B Shorts Fanboy: CB from West Islip (aka the Guy In The Funny Mask). You da man. I think Petey needs to visit Bermuda very soon. So in closing, let me wish you a Bermudaful New Year! May sunshine fall upon your shoulders and your glasses be half-full.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

As word continues to spread about a massive winter storm hitting the heartland of America, Bermuda too is experiencing a treacherous cold spell. In fact, it's been so cold that I actually had to—gasp!—put on a long sleeve shirt. According to Bernews, Bermuda experienced a record low temperature earlier this week, 54F/12.2C, after gale-force winds pounded the island during the wee hours of the night on Monday. I'm not sure what's funnier, actually. This icy thermometer graphic, which is adjacent to the news report or the story's lead sentence, that Bermuda "became a genuine winter wonderland." And hear I thought it actually had to snow to be a winter wonderland! While it's true that Monday's temp neared the lowest December temperature on record—a chilly 48F/9C just last year—I still find it amusing, even after three years of living here, that 54 degrees makes the news. I guess someone better tell Santa Claus to dress a little warmer this year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bob Hope Christmas Part Deux

In case you haven't had enough of Bob Hope's Christmas Show from Bermuda—ya know, the 1990 variety program I told you about yesterday—here's another taste of the funnyman's island repertoire. In this clip Bob and friends reenact the fateful arrival of Sir George Somers to Bermuda's shores in 1609, when the Sea Venture got caught in a hurricane and shipwrecked on the east end of island. It's classic Hope, filled with one-liners, double entendre and clever word play, Like this:

Sir George Somers (Bob Hope): Is there anyone around here besides you?

Princess Lydia (Loni Anderson): Well, just an Indian Tribe. They're called the Hellawi Tribe.

Stranded Settler (Joan Van Ark): How do they know where we are?

Princess Lydia (Loni Anderson): They don't even know where they are. They just run around and say, 'Where the Hellawi?'

Sure, there was no Indian tribe on the island when the British first arrived, and the ship washed up on Achilles Bay (not Horseshoe where the entire bit was shot) but it is an entertaining six-and-a-half minutes. You can thank me later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ask And You Shall Receive

That's right folks, your prayers have been answered. With just five days until Christmas it's officially time to post your most wanted Christmas video ever: Bob Hope's Christmas Show From Bermuda. What? You've never seen this classic variety show from 1990? Well, sit back and do yourself a favor because Bob Hope and friends are about to ham it up Christmas-style. We'll start with this festive holiday classic when the legendary actor, comedian and vaudevillian sings his way down Front Street with his foxy friend Dixie Carter. If you've never seen it get ready for a Bermudaful treat (I especially like when the Silver Bells line, "It's Christmastime in the city" magically becomes "It's Christmastime in Bermuda." Nice work Bob). You can spot The English Sports Shop, Calypso and Gosling's Limited—among other festively lit Front Street shops—plus I also quite like how easy it was to hail a horse. Oh yeah, and pay no attention to the reflection of Christmas tree lights on the screen. Did I mention that I'm not a very good bootlegger?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Now Playing

If you're a casual reader of Bermuda Shorts you probably know that in addition to writing for the New York Times, Caribbean Travel+Life and Jetsetter among others, that I'm also a correspondent for Outside Television. It's a fantastic gig, especially in May when I head to Telluride, Colorado, to host Outside Film Festival: Mountainfilm, a 16-episode show, which airs the finest independent documentary films shown at that year's festival (that's me and my co-host Lynsey Dyer on location near Wilson Peak this year). I've blogged about it again and again, even though it had no real connection to Bermuda but that just changed in a major way. This year's festival screened Matt Morris' fantastic short film Mr. Happy Man, a fourteen-minute documentary featuring Bermuda's own Johnny Barnes. In case you've never heard about Johnny, he's an 80-something bearded Bermudian man who greets Hamilton commuters every morning with a wave, a smile and boisterous shouts of "I love ya!" He's so beloved that Bermuda erected a bronze statue in his honor, which stands just yards down the road from where he greets people each morning. If you're interested in watching the entire film in addition to an interesting chat I had with filmmaker Matt Morris in Telluride, head on over to where you can view the complete episode. And if you feel like sticking around for more you can also watch The Fall Line, about an injured Iraq war veteran who overcomes great odds on the ski slopes of Aspen and Wild Water, a beautiful short film about big water kayaking. Go ahead, check it out! It's the best fourteen minutes you'll watch all day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Luke, I am your Santa

I've told you how festive Bermuda can be around the holidays, what with rum-recipe-adorned Dunkley's egg nog in the markets, mulled-wine-filled walkabouts in historic St. George's and the proliferation of the island's compact Korean cars, many of which are currently sporting puffy red reindeer noses on their grills. That's right folks, it's officially Christmas in Bermuda. Now, before all of you Bermuda Shorts die hards start clamoring for bootleg Bob Hope in Bermuda Christmas videos (all three of you and yes, I'm talkin' to you West Islip, New York; you Mountain View, California; and you Lyndhurst, New Jersey) what's merrier than a Christmas boat parade? Last weekend islanders were treated to a special holiday treat, one that happens every other year and this year's parade was a doozy. More than 70 boats dressed up in twinkling lights and motored their way around Hamilton Harbor—a festive flotilla that culminated in a thrilling fireworks show that glimmered on the water as it danced in the sky. But what about the boats? You'll find many of my favorites on—gold star nominees like Santa's sleigh, Charlie Brown and a floating barge of illuminated gifts—but it was hard to beat the Star Wars-themed boat you see above. May the Christmas force be with you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Expat Life

It's no secret that I enjoy life in Bermuda. Hard not to, really. For an island just a two-hour flight from most east-coast gateways Bermuda feels far-flung and dare I say, even exotic at times. Think about it: Where else can you find such stunning (and accessible!) pink sand beaches, world-class championship golf courses (like Port Royal, which just hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf) and friendly faces (like Bermuda's own Johnny Barnes, who greets Hamilton commuters every morning with a wave a smile and is currently the subject a fantastic documentary short from filmmaker Matt Morris called Mr. Happy Man). And all of this just a 90-minute flight from New York City! Yes it's true, Bermuda is indeed a wonderful place to call home, which is largely the sentiment I captured in my latest assignment for AOL's celebrated travel blog, Gadling. Titled On Bermuda Time, the short commentary is peppered with classic only-in-Bermuda tales—like how my supermarket purchases once popped out of my scooter's rear basket—and discusses how I'll take tropical hiccups like those over big city headaches any day. Read it here or at the very least, click on over to check out a triumphant photo of yours truly perched high upon a south shore rock formation. It's worth it. I promise.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's December. Merry Christmas!

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm officially a naughty blogger. Just one post for all of November? Geez. And by the looks of it, December is not getting any better. It's already the fifth of the month for goodness sake! Sorry folks, I know you're not into lame excuses but life seems to heat up around the holidays, doesn't it? And by the holidays I mean Christmas, because here in Bermuda, it's all about Christmas. No beatin' around the bush either. This being a Christian nation the island is awash in Christmas cheer, which means just about everywhere you go these days you'll be greeted with a festive "Merry Christmas" rather than the oh-so-PC "Happy Holidays." Fine by me. In fact, Bermuda is jam-packed with cheery Christmas activities all month long. Why just last weekend my family and I attended the St. George walkabout, when the historic homes of Bermuda's oldest town open their doors for Christmas merriment (in case you don't know what that means, think mulled wine and rum-spiked egg nog by the fireplace, multiply that by 20 cedar-laden homes, add a dash of rum cake and some dancing in King's Square and you'll begin to imagine what it's all about; see above, that's what Town Hall looked like). A good time for all and no doubt the beginning of more to come—like the Christmas Boat Parade next weekend, when vessels of all kinds get wrapped in twinkling lights and parade around Hamilton Harbor (here's a picture of the giant multi-colored Michael Jackson, which adorned the winning boat two years ago; groovy, I know). So as I conclude, let this be a warning that while my posts throughout December may be sporatic, I'll do my best to keep you filled with as much Christmas cheer from Bermuda as possible.