Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What's on the spindle

The Weakerthans rock. If you haven't heard them, or have but don't have their new album "Reunion Tour," check it out. This band just keeps getting better, and probably scores highest on writing Songs That Are Just True of any group I've heard.

Also, if you like great punk/rock songs with a lot of attitude, search out the debut EP by The Papsmears, "Love Chords." These women can really play.

I've added a new menu to this blog called "Playlist" ... I'll list links to bands mentioned here, so you can check them out.

P.S. "Spindle" for all you young folks out there means the thing that holds a record on the turntable. Yes, even in high school, I bought records instead of tapes sometimes because I thought they sounded better. And I refused to pay an extra five bucks for the CD version. Still, I'm glad I did not become a music fan in the eight-track era... that's about as great a format as RealAudio.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Are you a Lögberg or a Heimskringla?

Over the years I've worked at L-H, I've noticed that some long-time readers still associate with the original newspapers — some have said to me, "We only got the Heimskringla" or "We were a Lögberg family." When L-H had its first website in 1999, www.logberg.com, we heard from a few people about how we were ignoring the Heimskringla. And when we launched the Heimskringla 120 Club in 2006 as a fundraising drive within the Future Fund, we heard from people who wondered why we were excluding Lögberg.

While I don't intend to explicate those past decisions here, I thought I'd mention that you can now put Lögberg or Heimskringla on your computer desktop, with some new desktop wallpapers our designer Lesley has come up with. (And yes, there are L–H desktops too...)

Visit our website and go to the "Get Icelandic" page. The desktop wallpapers are free to download, in a variety of sizes. We will be adding more as Lesley creates them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The joys of proofreading

For anyone who thinks proofreading takes only a few minutes, I submit the following: The Lögberg-Heimskringla Future Fund Capital Campaign donor wall.

What you see in the photo are the second set of proofs from John Henry Creations, who are building the permanent donor recognition wall which will list all donors to the Future Fund campaign, and the people donors wished to honour. At last count this was something like 1200 names AT LEAST — an overwhelming show of support for L-H from the Icelandic community.

Karen and I proofed the donor matrix every time we published donors' names in the newspaper, and made corrections based on phone calls, e-mails and letters from donors. We also pulled out all the original donor cards and checked our matrix against every donation when we sent the final matrix to John Henry. Karen also called many of the donors to doublecheck things that seemed "not quite right." Then the whole matrix had to be set at John Henry, and we received proofs of the panels for the donor wall.

We went through all of those names again and checked them against our master list.

After we noted corrections to be made, we asked John Henry Creations for another set of "final" proofs — just to be sure we hadn't missed anything. After looking at multiple spellings of Kristjanson, Kristjansson, Kristjánsson (and many other common Icelandic names), we knew we'd have to go over everything at least one more time.

This was many hours of work... Karen has gone over the whole matrix and noted corrections to be made, now I am doing the same.

We still plan to have a donor wall unveiling at the L-H office before Christmas.

Who we are

The staff of Lögberg-Heimskringla.

From left: Karen Bowman, Administrative Assistant; Audrey Juve Kwasnica, Business Manager; Catherine Lambertsen McConnell, Advertising and Marketing Manager; Lesley Nakonechny, Layout Editor; and David Jón Fuller, Managing Editor.

This photo was taken by Linda Bjarnason of Calgary, AB, the Monday after the Icelandic National League Convention.

Blogging versus editorials

I used to scorn the idea of writing a blog, since I write an editorial for L-H every two weeks and sometimes it's difficult enough to figure out what to write for that. I looked to my predecessors in the editor's chair, three of whom I worked with.

In backwards chronological order... Steinþór Guðbjartsson used to write about miscellaneous items, whether it be Icelandic communities he had visited, the collaborative Gimli Diet and Exercise Program, changing seasons and even airport security.

Lillian Vilborg Macpherson often wrote editorials based on memories — stories from her life, or about people she'd known, touching on subjects such as prejudice, holidays and places she had lived.

Gunnur Isfeld usually preferred not to write formal editorials, and I can see why... sometimes after putting the whole newspaper together you sometimes don't have anything else to say!

Still, a blog is more informal even than the "person-to-person" tone of an L-H editorial. Maybe I can interest you in tales of budget planning, ad campaigns, rustling up new ways to cover all things Icelandic that haven't been tried in the 121 years this newspaper has been publishing —

Wait, where are you going? This is exciting stuff!

First post...

Well: this venerable ethnic newspaper has arrived in the 21st-century blogosphere. Welcome to Blögberg-Heimskringla, surely the most cumbersome, and yet strangely alluring, name since two Icelandic newspapers amalgamated in 1959.

I'll explain this now and then try to set up an FAQ, since I know many people will wonder why the long name for this blog.

Okay. In short, when the Icelanders began emigrating to North America in the 19th century, they brought with them their love of reading. The first Icelandic settlers were actually converts to the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints, principally from the Westmann Islands, and they were directed to settle in Spanish Fork, UT, beginning in 1855. A later, and quite separate, emigration followed to Canada and the United States in the 1870s, with many Icelanders homesteading in Manitoba and North Dakota. (For all you hard-core Icelandic descendants reading this, yes, I know I am glossing over settlements in other places).

There were a number of attempts to begin publishing an Icelandic newspaper — Framfari ("Progress") began in 1877 and lasted until 1880. Another publication was Leifur, which lasted from 1884 to 1886.

However, in September 1886, Heimskringla (named after the famous work by Snorri Sturluson; roughly translated, the title means "the ring around the world") began publishing in Winnipeg, MB. In perhaps true Icelandic fashion, one of the founders decided he could not work with the others, and in January 1888 he founded Lögberg (named after the "law rock" of Iceland's parliament, the oldest in the world).

Both newspapers published in Icelandic out of Winnipeg, reaching Icelandic immigrants across North America. Heimskringla was seen as the more Conservative (politically) and Unitarian newspaper, where as Lögberg was Liberal and Lutheran.

After decades of rivalry, they amalgamated in order to keep publishing in 1959 — which is why the newspaper is now called "Lögberg-Heimskringla."

I called this blog "Blögberg-Heimskringla" just for fun.