Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cucumber time

Nothing newsworthy has been going on here in Iceland this past week. Summer seems to have settled in, quite nicely at that, and almost everyone appears to have gone on vacation – leaving me with little to report. Even our troublesome geology is taking it easy, relaxing and enjoying the warm sun and the just perfect, tickling breeze.

I looked at what the internet papers were saying and the main news item was that a seagull had attacked a rabbit. What a scoop. Oh yes, also someone left a discarded tire on the beach near Grindavík. Spectacularly interesting. This period of the year, July and August is always like this. Our parliament is on vacation so the politicians are lying low and nothing really happens. It is called the cucumber period with respect to the news, probably meaning that there is little to report aside from how the cucumbers in the greenhouses are doing.

I guess no news is good news, a phrase that can be understood in two ways if your English is not perfect: a) it is good news when nothing is on the news, or b) nothing good can be considered as news, i.e. to be news it has to be awful. I realize that grammatically the latter is not a correct translation of the meaning of the phrase, but it does ring true. At least here, the more pitiful or horrible the news, the better. I‘m sure a seagull helping a bunny free a carrot from the ground would not be reported. It is just that our horrible news in normal times is not really all that horrible. When I was living abroad and came home for a visit I would first really feel back when I heard the evening news on the radio with reports of someone lighting fire to a trashcan or someone giving birth in an ambulance on the way to hospital. Not exactly fodder for crime novels.

There is one other thing that just hit the airwaves ten minutes ago, namely that the US is about to announce an embargo on trade with Iceland due to our whaling. This is a bit odd considering that our annual quota is 30 minke whales out of a pool of about 174,000 animals and 9 fin whales out of about 30,000 animals in our seas – compared to the 50 bowhead whales hunted in the USA a year from a population of about 10,500. Does not make sense to me but I guess you cannot enforce an embargo on yourself. Anyway – it will all turn out OK as the US has always been friendly to us and a close ally when we have really needed one. Even good friends don’t agree on all and everything.

So aside from the bunnies, seagulls, tires and whales that is it for now. Maybe next week something really exciting will have happened. Who knows, a beached whale might choke on the discarded tire, mistaking it for a licorice life saver, only to be given the Heimlich maneuver by a flock of seagulls.

But this would not make the news as nothing horrible happened. Unless…. the tire was catapulted into the air due to the Heimlich, landing on a bunny and squishing it. Aw poor thing, but bunnies have no luck do they?

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. Would that our world was as antic as you described. Here in the USA, I fear we suffer from too much news-at least too many people having too many opinions about it. It would be nice to have one light news day. ;)

  2. During the quiet ´cucumber summer´ our local paper tends to write about cats in trees and such. Lovely really to live in such a peaceful area, and very useful. I sent an e-mail to a journalist, telling him that thousands of Amazon customers had downloaded my free short story "Heather Farm", and he wrote a nice article about my adventure :D

  3. The debt crisis is the only thing of significance that is being reported in the media. Unfortunately, they miss the real story behind the story.

    The day Obama was inaugurated, Rush Limbaugh announced to his rabid audience that he and the Republican party were going to do everything in their power to guarantee that this president failed.

    They have held to that promise. If the debt-ceiling crisis is not resolved, the damage to most Americans will be severe. There will be a run on the banks because credit cards won't be accepted; everything will have to be done in cash and there likely isn't enough paper money in circulation to fill the need. At no point do the Republicans acknowledge the need to work for the good of the country. Bipartisanship is dead.

    The Speaker of the House, John Boehner is technically the leader of the Republican party but he seems to have ceded that role to the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, whose normal tone of voice is a whine. He insists, constantly, that he will never give in on any of the Republican points, meaning that he will not work to resolve the problems of the United States. This is the Republican definition of leadership.

    Obama made it clear that the entitlement programs that the Republicans want him to cut are Medicare and Social Security, the two programs that directly affect the senior citizen population. Cantor et al want the very rich to continue to enjoy the loop-holes, big enough to drive a truck through, that protect the richest people from having to pay any taxes at all.

    Should fire fighters have to pay taxes on the money they earn going into burning, smoke-filled, collapsing buildings to save lives while people who don't pay taxes do their work in a boardroom, clean and safe? Seems a bit lopsided.

    Can Warren Buffett explain how much money is enough?

    I'm a New Testament/Roosevelt socialist. Is it necessary to have ten homes when five will do? Is it necessary to have five homes when people who work hard can barely hold on to the one they have?

    The United States leads the world in selfishness. We are number 1.

    Sometimes my country makes me crazy.

  4. I'm one of those Seniors, Beth. I agree with you, but most of the news on this is posturing, and it really makes me crazy. I love this flawed country, but as in many other places, the politicians are busy hurting it.

  5. I want to live somewhere where a seagull attacking a bunny is big news. Where the headline might be EXTERMINATOR KILLS 60,000 ANTS. And isn't it wonderful when the politicians go away? And I mean ALL of them, not just the ones from one party or another. If I ruled the world we'd have three months each year that was open season on politicians.

  6. I've read your piece twice, Yrsa, and I'm laughing even more the second time. Tim, though, gets an assist with his headline ANTics.:))))

  7. Yrsa, just finished The Day is Dark (from Amazon UK) and enjoyed it thoroughly - one of your best. A great story, and I think the first I've ever read set it Greenland, of all places. It must have been fun doing the research.

    Judy Bausch

  8. Hi everyone.

    djskrimiblog - congratulations on the article, I really need to get an e-reader. Can't remember if the Kindle or the Nook are hte way to go.

    Beth - lopsided applies to the politics in most countries. As a frequent visitor to the States I tend to see the good side of the country, the people and the land itself. But this debt ceiling thing seems dead serious and I hope it gets resolved without having to squeeze further those already in the wringer. It is amazing that cutting from the elderly and the sick is even being considered. I don't get it at least but then I have never been very politically savy, tend to follow the heart.

    Tim - sorry but we donðt have ants here. Would have made a great headline though. The big on today was "Ice cream truck went off the road in Ísafjörður". Still cucumber time I guess.

    Jeff - happy you liked it!

    Judy - thanks for the kind words. I really liked writing that book, it is based on my own experience of living in an isolated construction work camp (for 4 years). I loved going to Greenland although the west coast is certainly a very sad place.