Tag Archives: iceland

Pirate Party: success at last!

Pirates are thriving, and it may be a good thing.

On December 2, Iceland’s President mandated that Pirate Party Member of Parliament Birgitta Jónsdóttir form a government. In the October 2016 general election, the Pirate Party came in third, but the two top vote-getting parties, the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement, failed to build a coalition large enough to run the country. It is now time for the Pirates!

Yes, Iceland has a Pirate Party. As the Pirate Party website notes, it is patterned after the Swedish Pirate Party.

The UK established a Pirate Party in 2009, again patterned after the Swedish party. Founded in Manchester, it espouses civil liberties, privacy, direct democracy, and other very sensible things, constrained only by the somewhat strange name. It has never managed to get anyone elected to the UK parliament, but a quick read of the pamphlet distributed in Manchester for the 2015 election demonstrates a very workable set of policies:

What is the Pirate Party? "We believe that being a pirate means you are independently minded and independently minded politicians are what we need right now. If you believe most politicians are crooks, then maybe it's time to try the Pirate Party. Think different, vote different."
What is the Pirate Party? “We believe that being a pirate means you are independently minded and independently minded politicians are what we need right now. If you believe most politicians are crooks, then maybe it’s time to try the Pirate Party. Think different, vote different.”
Platform of the Pirate Party: end mass surveillance, respect privacy, basic living income for all, openness and transparency in government, free health care, broadband for all, education as a lifelong right.
Platform of the Pirate Party: end mass surveillance, respect privacy, basic living income for all, openness and transparency in government, free health care, broadband for all, education as a lifelong right.

Given the state of recent political rhetoric in the UK and the US, consider the Pirate Codex. It lays out a simple set of principles that, despite being political, are remarkably non-partisan.

Of Monsters and Men and Merriweather – and spotlights

Of Monsters and Men, an Icelandic rock group, visited Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, in September. The name doesn’t really seem to describe the group all that well, though a few photos may help clarify things.

The opening act was Oh Land, a Danish singer-songwriter who is not named either Oh or Land.

Oh Land at Merriweather Post
Oh Land, the professional name of Danish singer-composer Nanna Øland Fabricius, at Merriweather Post Pavilion, serving as the warmup act for Of Monsters and Men. Nanna is the one wearing a skirt at the center of the stage. And yes, using an iPhone to take photos of a psychedelic light show is silly.

Oh Land started writing music in her bedroom after being forced to give up dance, due to an injury. It was an impressive move; she is an impressive singer and songwriter. It seemed half the audience sang along with every song.

Then the Monster appeared, much like the famed Flying Spaghetti Monster, only without (usually) the religious overtones:

The Monster
On the left, the OMAM (Of Monsters And Men) logo. To the right, the monster. Or perhaps an odd artifact of shining powerful lights at the audience.

Of Monsters and Men is itself something of a cultural miracle. Most two-album bands are opening acts, not the main event, much less main events singing in a language not their native tongue.

Of Monster and Men
The Icelandic group Of Monsters and Men visited Merriweather Post in Columbia. Center stage, Of Monsters and Men, with a spotlight aimed at the audience. Off to the right, a video screen showing a not-much-better-exposed image of the same thing.

Carrying on where Oh Land left off, the audience sang along with everything Of Monsters and Men had to offer. Fortunately, the band had amplifiers. And spotlights.

Light tubes and monsters
Of Monsters and Men used light tubes to mimic the Of Monsters and Men (OMAM) logo behind them, in different colors with different lights in use. It was an interesting, minimalist visual effect.

Spotlights lighting the band (especially a band dressed in dark colors against the black background of a stage) makes sense. It is less clear why rock concerts shine spotlights on the audience.

Blue and white monster
Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, in blue and white pants, and co-lead singer and songwriter Ragnar Þórhallsson, to the left, perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. For a brief moment in time, spotlights were not aimed at the audience.

It was a very pleasant way to spend a warm autumn day outdoors.

Digital scrapbook IV

Outstanding anti-smoking video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gV9_P2Oc3U

Write like the wind, George R.R. Martin!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7lp3RhzfgI

Books that shaped America:

http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/

The evolution of print:

And who says the world is without irony?

Dettifoss, Iceland, Prometheus, and Ridley Scott in one video:

http://vimeo.com/43258575

http://icelandwantstobeyourfriend.tumblr.com/

Code Club, the Interview. It does help if you know something about the Internet and British royalty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxhGIajRsq4

The future is ours:

http://vimeo.com/44658040

I just wanna play ball:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1ighxU1vYw

Wedding announcement:

http://jessandruss.us/

My dad weighs 15 pounds:

http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/2012/06/26/all-about-my-dad/

101 year old driver and 1931 Packard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHwwwJ83oWo

CNN, the Supreme Court, and health care reform, in Tweets:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jpmoore/the-25-funniest-obamacare-tweets

Moving to Canada to escape socialized medicine:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/people-moving-to-canada-because-of-obamacare

Affordable Care Cat:

http://affordablecarecat.com/