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Category Archives: Bermuda

Bermuda is not in the Caribbean.  But, sometimes, it shares more with Caribbean islands, culturally, then it does with the USA.  So, I do remember hearing reggae, ska, and so forth on the radio from time to time.  “Rivers of Babylon” is one song that transcends everything — written by The Melodians and covered by nearly everybody like Jimmy Cliff and, in this instance, Boney M:

Care of a Boston Globe Article

Most Bermudians who claim to share their antique cottages with ghosts simply accept them, Cann says. Of houses built a century or more ago, ”nearly all have ghost stories.” He suggests reading the locally published paperback ”Bermuda’s Favourite Haunts” (1991) by Bermudians John Cox, Mac Musson, and Joan Skinner.

The book admittedly contains only tales of what the authors call ”cheerful ghosts” as revealed in interviews with householders who have encountered them. Many ghosts seem to be little more than transparent houseguests who create cold drafts.

When I lived in Bermuda, there were a ton of things I missed out on. Since I lived close to the Naval Air Station, most of the goods my family consumed came from the naval commissary. St. David’s Island, or at least the part of it I lived on, had no convenience stores. If you needed something, you either went on base or to St. George. So, when it came to soft drinks, I most drank American. And, to be fair, most of what was in Bermuda were American products. So, anyhow, I happened into this can Barritts at a liquor store here in New Jersey. Had to try it, and I have to say, it screams GINGER!

Anyhow, here’s a history of the company.

Even though my fiction project about Bermuda is likely to end after a few more stories (with most of them still floating out in the editorial ether), I found out a bit of something interested from my sister.  She’s ao  veritable expert on being a 17 year old bored American teen in Bermuda in the 1980’s, partly because that’s what she was when she lived there.  Recently, I asked her about some of the shenanigans teens routinely found themselves embroiled in.  I got the usual response of “drinking, partying, and dancing at The 40 Thieves in Hamilton.”   In then, she said something so mundane, I found it shocking — almost.  “To kill time during the day, we used to get on the shuttle bus and stay on it for hours.”

The shuttle bus ran from the Front Gate to the opposite end of the base, which would be Clearwater Beach and NASA’s Cooper Island Tracking Facility.  To state the obvious: it takes an enormous case of boredom to go:

“What do you want to go do? Go to the Beach?”

“No.”

“Go Fishing?”

“No.”

“Go to the bowling alley?”

“No.”

“Go shop around at the NEX?”

“No.”

“Throw rocks at seagulls?”

“No.”

“Ride around the base for three hours on the shuttle bus?”

“Wow!  What a brilliant idea!”

Here’s some of the McDonald’s history I experienced first hand.  McDonalds made a foray into Bermuda in the 1980’s.  The first time, they sent out some reps to the Naval Air Station with the ingredient to make Big Macs in the base’s Rec Center, which was atop a hill adjacent to the Carter House.  A huge portion of people on based lined up.  My family was in that line — at the time, most fast food on military bases were operated by AAFES, so a Big Mac that day came with a huge dose of nostalgia for The States.   Not long after,  McDonalds opened a restaurant.  My sister worked there for a time.  It stood across the street from the air strip, with the Tradewinds further up the hill, and the bases movie theater like a couple of blocks away.  Once the base was closed, however, McDonalds had to go with it.

Bermuda has strict laws about signage and neon.  Well, a ten years ago, McDonalds tried to regain entrance to Bermuda.  After all, a significant chunk of the tourists that visit there are American.    The BBC further lays it out:

The idea of golden arches spanning Bermuda’s winding lanes was controversial enough to provoke uproar on the island – and provoke uproar it did.

In view of the fact that Sir John was the former leader of the ruling United Bermuda Party, the finance minister, Grant Gibbons, was forced to deny that anything improper had occurred.

But government backbenchers, intent on fighting to the bitter end, introduced the Prohibited Restaurant Act which, while not mentioning either Sir John Swann or McDonald’s by name, was clearly designed to block the plans.

The debate on the bill was bitter and contentious, causing deep divisions within the United Bermuda Party.

When the act was finally passed by the island’s legislature, an equally determined Sir John challenged the constitutionality of the law in the island’s Supreme Court.

Although the Supreme Court struck down the act, agreeing that the absence of compensation provisions conflicted with the island’s constitution, the three-judge court of appeal has now ruled that the Prohibited Restaurant Act is constitutional.

Much to the chagrin of many who live in Bermuda, the whole notion of “The Triangle” has taken root in OTHER people’s popular culture and imaginations.  So, imagine this — some people on the internet have appropriated the name for an intersection of highways in California.  It seems kind of convoluted, so it’s probably best to let a block quote of the introduction speak for itself:

The Silicon Bermuda Triangle, or more commonly referred to as “the Bermuda Triangle” by those on the up and up, is the triangle created by the intersection of the highways 237, 85, and 101 in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, California. Instead of just naming another geographic region for it’s shape, this area has earned it’s foreboding name because of the imposibility and improbability of giving or following directions to one of the many Internet companies located within the mysterious triangle. Some believe the Internet has thrived for so long because so few of Microsoft’s spies have been able to find their way in-to or out-of the most important Internet district in not only Silicon Valley, but the world.

Ever since my father told me that NASA’s Cooper Island had been largely staffed by independent contracts, I’ve been trying to figure out which companies filled those roles. So far, not a whole lot on the night, but I recently found this:

Raytheon has a long history of supporting the military with the use of its battle-proven MicroLight and the radio’s Enhanced Position Location Reporting System capabilities. Now, it hopes to transition that technology to space as NASA readies for future missions to the moon, Mars and beyond.

Raytheon’s partnership with NASA dates back to the Apollo missions when Raytheon provided solutions for the Saturn launch vehicle, lunar modules, and space suits.

So, it’s the last sentence that gets me. Cooper Island could provide a couple seconds of radar and other bits of monitoring. And, Cooper Island had been involved in most missions from the early pioneering days to the Space Shuttle. So, that includes Apollo. However, this is purely conjecture on my part. At least I now know what exactly Raytheon did/does for NASA now, irregardless of whether they worked at Cooper Island or not.

The Royal Gazette recently ran a story about a deep sea squid washing ashore in Bermuda. Sure, it’s weird. But it’s not the first time strange things are beached. The following comes from scientific paper entitled: How To Tell a Sea Monster: Molecular Discrimination of Large Marine Animals of the North Atlantic:

A 1988 report from Bermuda described a “Glob,” “2 1/2 to 3 feet thick … very white and fibrous with five ‘arms or legs,’ rather like a disfigured star. … It had no bones, cartilage, visible openings, or odor. …” (quoted in Ellis, 1994). In 1990, another carcass washed ashore in the Hebrides Islands, Scotland: “It had what appeared to be a head at one end, a curved back and seemed to be covered with eaten-away flesh or even a furry skin and was 12 feet long [and] it had all these shapes like fins along its back. …” (L. Phitts to S. McLean, Hancock Museum, Newcastle, UK; pers. comm. to S. M. Carr). Definitive species identification of any of these carcasses has been impossible. Pierce et al. (1995) concluded on the basis of ultrastructure and amino acid analysis that the Bermuda carcass was the remains of a vertebrate, …

I am not a Canadian, yet consider this more of a link parking space for later use.

This is on YouTube, care of bermudayp.com.  All the information one would need, if one’s dog tries to eat a Bermuda toad.