Saturday, January 24, 2009

Are they going to go?

No - this are no pictures of a fashion show.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dinner for One

Though the politician's talk show Kryddsíld on New Year's Eve was a big hit there are considerations to cancel the show in the future to spare the furniture of the Hótel Borg in Reykjavík. Instead Dinner for One should be performed as is the custom in other Scandinavian countries. To introduce the alternative small talk show in Iceland some changes are recommended.

The ghost guests Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr. Pommeroy and Mr. Winterbottom should be replaced by Sir Haarde, Admiral Bjarnason, Mr. Sigurðsson and Mr. Mathiesen. Ingibjörg Sólrún could act Miss Sofie and Davíd would perform the butler James perfectly.

But why waiting for the next New Year's Eve? To introduce Dinner for One in Iceland I propose January 23, this year's first day of Þorri, the so called Bóndadagur, dedicated to men. Then the British dinner can be transformed in a Þorrablót, an Icelandic midwinter feast.

Appetizer: Hákarl (rotten shark) and harðfiskur (dried fish).
Maincourses: hrútspungar (sheep's testicles), sviðasulta (sheep's head jam), slátur (liver and blood sausages), hangikjöt (smoked lamb), hvalllíki (fake whale blubber) and other delicacies.
There is no need of dessert.
The drinks are brennivín - a schnapps also known as Svartidauði (Black Death) – maybe a drop of Egils beer, brennivín and brennívin again.

When the original sketch was filmed the British actor Freddie Frinton had his tiger with him and insisted on using it although the studio had prepared a polar bear skin. Now it is time to appoint the polar bear! There are two nice hunting trophies from the last year, which were already a great success in the Áramótaskaup (New Year's joke) TV-show.

I only fear all visible and invisible actors will refuse to go off and mess up the glorious end of Dinner for One in Iceland.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year, Iceland!

And a happy New Year to all visitors of my blók*!

* Blók means something like nonentity.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowball fights and thrilling games

On the picture you can see some Icelandic figures or parts of them (Davíð Oddsson, Björgólfur Guðmundsson, Reynir Traustason, Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, Skyrgámur and Guðjón V.).

It's a good time for a snowball fight. Afterwards you should spend a milk ice for the patron saint of the 19th December, Skyrgámur. Later you will have a nice evening with your family playing Kreppuspilið, the thrilling crunch game.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Liquid funds

Askasleikir is the sixth of the Icelandic Jólasveinar, the troll lads, who come before Christmas to tease the people. Askasleikir (Bowl-licker) is waiting under the bed and when someone put his wooden food-bowl on the floor, he grabs it and licks it clean before cat or dog can do it.
But today Askasleikir was found lying in a ditch. He was immediately transported to a hospital to get his stomach pumped. I visited him and he reported:
I have a positive experience with cat food in the last years. The people don't give the animals leftovers any more but good meat in metal cans. In the morning I crept in a posh house and hid under the kitchen bench seat. I was enjoyed to hear the landlord's voice: "We will survive Christmas! I have hoarded a lot of tax-free Whisk-" - "Oh, God bless you, darling! Let's party and the devil may care," a woman cried. Later, when all was quiet I tiptoed into the store room. There were no cans but bottles with the label "Whisky". It must be a new sort of Whiskas, I thought. It was easy to open the first bottle. The liquid cat food really was a good stuff. But now I feel a bit wretched. Tell me why this devils wrenched it from my paunch!
Poor old lad!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Three man in a boat

(or perhaps thirty)

Did you also got an email like this?

From: Bjorgolfur
Iceland, Europe.
Reply to:
Dear Sir,
Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I got your name and contact from an international brochure because I do not know anybody I will contact. I prayed over it and believed that you will be a reputable and trust worthy person that I can trust and do business with, I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business assistance. I am Bjorgolfur the son of Bjorgolfur.
My father was a very wealthy merchant in Iceland; but then his business went ill. He secretly called me on his bed side and told me that he has the sum of Five Million, Nine Hundred Thousand United State Dollars USD ($5,900, 000.00) he deposited with a private security firm in X, which he used my name his only son as the next of Kin in depositing of the money with the private security firm in X. The security firm is not aware that the box contains money and my father warned me to keep this as a top secret till I get a reliable foreigner that will assist me get the box out as his foreign partner. He also expla
Please, I am sincerely seeking your assistance in the following ways: (1) to assist me claim the box containing the money from the security company as my father’s foreign partner. (2) To serve as a guardian of this fund. (3) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and to secure a resident permit in your country because I cannot go back to my country till I am a full grown man.
Moreover, sir I will like you to tell me what you will take from the total sum as compensation for your effort/input after the successful release and transfer of this fund into your bank account in your country. Please you should indicate your interest towards assisting me by writing me an email at : ,as I believe that this transaction would be concluded within seven days (7) days you signify interest to assist me. Please keep this proposal confidential.
Thanks and God bless.
Best regards,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

As kitschy as can be?

You can see kitschy Coca-Cola-colored Santas all over the world, in Reykjavík, New York, London ... it's boring.

But there are other interesting figures:
Tomorrow comes Stekkjastaur (Sheep-Cote Clod), the first of the thirteen Jólasveinar, the Icelandic Yuletide Lads. They are no Saints but the sons of the troll woman Grýla and they tease the humans by stealing food and making mischief till Chistmas. You can see Stekkjastaur on the left side of the picture. If you like to enjoy the adventures of the Jólasveinar I recommend to visit the webpage of Mo'a Romig-Boyles within the next days.

On the right side there is an oldfashioned Nikolaus from the German children's book Struwwelpeter (1845). The educational poem The Story of the Inky Boys was translated by Mark Twain. We can learn that Saint Nicholas (the real Santa Claus) is also active in summer.

The Story of the Inky Boys
As he had often done before,
The woolly-headed black-a-moor
One nice fine summer's day went out
To see the shops and walk about;
And as he found it hot, poor fellow,
He took with him his green umbrella
Then Jóhnny, little noisy wag,
Ran out and laugh'd, and waved his flag,
And Skúli came in jacket trim,
And brought his woollen hoop with him;
And Kaspar, too, snatch'd up his toys
And joined the other naughty boys;
So one and all set up a roar,
And laughed and hooted more and more,
And kept on singing,--only think!--
"Oh! Blacky, you're as black as ink"

Now Saint Nicholas lieved close by,--
So tall he almost touched the sky;
He had a mighty inkstand too,
In which a great goose feather grew;
He call'd out in an angry tone,
"Boys, leave the black-a-moor alone!
For if he tries with all his might,
He cannot change from black to white."
But ah! they did not mind a bit
What Saint Nicholas said of it;
But went on laughing, as before,
And hooting at the black-a-moor.

Then Saint Nicholas foams with rage:
Look at him on this very page!
He seizes Kaspar, seizes Jón,
Takes Skúli by his little head;
And they may scream, and kick, and call,
But into the ink he dips them all;
Into the inkstand, one, two, three,
Till they are black, as black can be;
Turn over now and you shall see.

See, there they are, and there they run!
The black-a-moor enjoys the fun.
They have been made as black as crows,
Quite black all over, eyes and nose,
And legs, and arms, and heads, and toes.
And trowsers, pinafores, and toys,--
The silly little inky boys!
Because they set up such a roar,
And teas'd the harmless black-a-moor.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Waiting for the Ice Man

All fishermen and the stock of cod are waiting for the Ice Man. But he doesn't come ...

Kidding aside! The book The Ice Man Cometh should come out in February 2007 under the title Sex, Lies and Supermarkets but it didn't. An explanation you can only find in the Icelandic news: The publishing was delayed due to threats of Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson's lawyers and then the title was changed. But the "Ice Man" didn't come out. The British publisher obviously feared to get financially ruined by publishing this book. By the way the journalist Ian Griffiths didn't write any more about the Ice Man & Co. in The Guardian during the last two years. Was he forced to keep his hands off this tycoon?

Here is the text of the Ice Man's blurb:

He is a multi millionaire whose name is never far from scandal and intrigue. He has been described as a decadent playboy and has been the target of fraud allegations. His retail group, Baugur, has become famous in the UK for boldly snapping up familiar high street chains such as Oasis, Iceland and Hamleys toy shop to name but a few. Meet Jon Asgeir Johannesson, the Icelandic entrepreneur who is buying up Britain. In 1998, he took over as the Managing Director of Baugur Group, his family's company, and began driving the chain firmly towards the fashion and retail sector, voraciously expanding their overseas operations. In 2005, however, the extraordinary pace of Baugur's acquisitions was slowed when Icelandic authorities brought charges of fraud against the company. Throughout the proceedings, Baugur claimed that the charges were politically motivated...In this explosive and informative book, the lid is lifted on the scandal that has been the talking point of the business pages for the last few years. The authors reveal how Baugur's international expansion became a source of embarrassment for Iceland and how its commercial success forced the country's government to bring charges against the company. They also look at flaws that became apparent during the police investigation into the matter, how Baugur managed the crisis and how, ultimately, were vindicated. The high-profile nature of Johannesson's bold commercial ventures in this country have made the enigmatic Icelander a source of constant fascination for media and public alike. The less-than-positive attention received as a result of the trial have been cast aside and the company is back out on the high street with their own shopping lists! This gripping book is a must for anyone who keeps a keen eye on the world of business or for anyone who want to know the truth about one of the biggest news stories of recent years.