Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Interesting times

An old Chinese proverb once caught my eye, making me wonder if it had been incorrectly categorized as a curse as it seem more akin to a blessing. During the past year or so I have however began to grasp the meaning of the saying: „May you live in interesting times“. Not only have I been enightened when it comes to understanding the meaning of the words, by national developments, but I have also come to learn that the saying is most likely not Chinese at all but a western creation, incorrectly contributed to the Chinese, probably to give it increased punch as they seem to have a lot of thought out wisdom to offer, sayings-wise. Further to this I found a sister saying to this first, better know, curse: “May you come to the attention of those in authority”. This one takes no contemplation, bank collapse or other catastrophe to understand – it suffices to have handed in a tax return with a figure accidentally placed in the wrong box or having planted a shrub a meter outside the dotted line on a planning commission’s hallowed diagram. Despite never having planted anything within or outside any dotted lines, I am an unwilling pen-pal of the Icelandic tax authorities and thus probably cursed by someone familiar with the latter proverb. Too bad no anti-curse appears to be out there.

I hope the year starts off better in other places of the world than here and ask all who read this to take any dramatised reports regarding our president’s overturning of the parliament’s decision to provide a modified guarantee on the Icesave (locally called Iceslave) commitment, with a grain of salt. Despite what you might have read this ruling has nothing to with an unwillingness to pay but relates to the conditions of such payments which are in their present form considered by many to be unusually harsh and more unfortunately, not attainable. I guess the sound bite – Iceland vetoes paying debts – makes for more viewers, listeners or readers than: Iceland sticks to the previous guarantee conditions. But I will not annoy you with this further aside from the general observation that it must be difficult to be a politician. In a country like mine where God or any sort of almighty do not have much of a role, it almost feels as if religious fervour has been replaced with political fervour. People choose a political side and stick to it no matter what, at the same time hating the other side with a tangible rage that makes one wonder. Usually both or all political sides/parties have a point or two and probably agree at heart on the things that matter the most to voters. It is most unfortunate that the way politics are engineered this can never be stated by the politicians themselves and it seems that opposing parties cannot be allies – no matter what the crisis. Maybe a temporary dictator would be the easiest solution for us here if we are to become internally united, at least while the worst of this stampedes through our usually docile society – I would assume it preferable if this person were a lunatic and as such not susceptible to being railroaded by rationality. Such a figure might also provide a few laughs which always help when things look bleak.

Speaking of laughs this picture accompanied one of the funniest bits of news that I recall from last year. You have probably already seen it but if not the accompanying article regarded the sketch of a suspect wanted for murder in Bolivia. It entered the media worldwide, not because the suspect had escaped Bolivia and was on the run somewhere in the world, but because the sketch is believed to be the worst such drawing ever publicly issued by any authorities, anywhere. Apparently it was drawn up by a witness to the murder and I would assume that if the police sketch artist was either ill at home or on vacation.

This article was followed up by another in which the title “worst suspect sketch” was contested, see drawings below. I will let you be the judge of which sketch is most deserving but the Michael Jackson lookalike gets my vote for Suspect Sketch Mr. Congeniality. Anyway I think it would be a great idea if these criminals would team up and form a gang. Bolivian guy would however not be eligible for membership which is unfortunate. Despite the feeling that the Bolivian police might have been better off using a Mr. Potatohead to make their likeness they apparently apprehended the man after he was recognised by someone - who must be the most perceptive person in Bolivia – if not further afield.

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. That identikit picture is simply gorgeous. My 10 year old could do a better job!

  2. Yrsa - Iceland's political problems mirror the insanity in the US. We have political and religious fervor, the latter not really having anything to do with the Almighty, and what a weapon of mass destruction that has become.

    One side is Godly and they label the other as Godless although it is the Godly who have decided that the Godless should not be saved, at least not in terms of physical health.

    Opposing parties won't give each other credit for anything although one side has blamed the current duly elected leader of the country for every bad moment in the US that has happpened, even in years before he was born. He hasn't been blamed for the attack on Pearl Harbor but he was born in Hawaii (unless you belong to the group that still insists that he was born in Kenya)so they will get around to it.

    The US is too dysfunctional at this point to agree on the day of the week, let alone a dictator, although the previously mentioned duly elected leader has been referred to as a tyrant. However, we have more than our share of demogogues who battle each other for supremacy in the media. One second tier demogogue is so despondent about the leader of the US that he desolves into copious tears on his daily show on a network that is fair and balanced. The tears are less a sign of emotion than a sign that the vaporub he applies to his lower eyelids works very well. A demonstrtion of this process can be found on YouTube. In my opinion he qualifies as lunatic because one would have to be to put something that can clear the sinuses of an entire room into the tear ducts.

    As to hate, I think the US has everyone beat on that one. It is palpable and, given the race of the duly elected leader of the country, scary beyond words.

  3. Yrsa

    I've read your post two or three times and I can't find a reference to the picture at the very beginning. Am I missing something? Should I know what this is? Please help!


  4. To Jacquie - the doctored photo at the beginning is supposed to show Iceland sinking into the Atlantic and was not chosen wisely as the geographical shape of the country is not well know at all. It is supposedly shaped like a sheep much like Italy is shaped like a boot but whoever came up with that was certainly not a farmer.

    To Beth: thanks as always for your comments. It sounds as if people everywhere are similar, I have heard that it is a part of man's genetic code to be a part of a team and that is why sports are so popular. There you take a clear side and stick to it, hate the competition and so on. I guess it is preferrable to war which is a branch of the same.

    To Gary: the drawings are amazing and I need no convincing that you 10 year old could put the witness to shame.


  5. Unfortunately, Yrsa, the US is doing war, too.

  6. Thanks for the explanation, Yrsa. I doubt I ever would have figured it out.

    Thought Beth's comment was right on target as well.

    Still loving this blog!


  7. Yrsa:

    "Too bad no anti-curse appears to be out there."

    How about "May you hear the ringing of false alarms"?