Tuesday, January 08, 2008


In a comment underneath a previous posting, e-kvetcher (http://search-for-emes.blogspot.com/) alerts me to a new and fascinating blog.

A blog which describes itself as a shapeless and confusing monstrosity. The blog of a scholar in Iceland.

Now, before I continue, please do not make jokes about Icelandic Bee Honey. It would be in extremely bad taste to do so. And possibly cruel and beside the point. Let there be no japing with the concept of an Icelandic Bee Honey vending person.

To demonstrate:
Man: A strong hive of bees contains approximately 75,000 bees. Each honey bee must make 154 trips to collect one teaspoon of honey. Hello, sir.
Dad: What do you want?
Man: Would you like to buy some of our honey, sir?
Mother: What you doing in here?
Man: Which would you like, the Californian Orange Blossom, the Mexican, the New Zealand, or the Scottish Heather?
Mother: He can't eat honey. It makes him go plop plops.
Man: Come on, please try some.
Dad: All right I'll have some Icelandic Honey.
Man: No, there is no such thing.
Dad: You mean you don't make any honey at all?
Man: No, no, we must import it all. Every bally drop. We are a gloomy people. It's so crikey cold and dark up there, and only fish to eat. Fish and imported honey. Oh strewth!
Mother: Well why do you have a week?
Man: Listen Buster! In Reykyavik it is dark for eight months of the year, and it's cold enough to freeze your wrists off and there's only golly fish to eat. Administrative errors are bound to occur in enormous quantities. Look at this - it's all a mistake. It's a real pain in the sphincter! Icelandic Honey Week? My Life!
Mother: Well why do you come in here trying to flog the stuff, then?
Man: Listen Cowboy. I got a job to do. It's a stupid, pointless job but at least it keeps me away from Iceland, all right? The leg of the worker bee has.......

[source: http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/episode45.htm#2]

You see?
It is painfull.

The blog I wish to flog, however, is not stupid, not pointless, nor gloomy, dark, or crikey cold.

A brief excerpt will make that obvious:
"I managed until the age of twenty to avoid all girls and their pesky kisses. A great feat! At the age of twenty a woman who I considered my friend decided to kiss me, and more seriously, managed to persuade me to kiss her back after hours of hard work. Today I do not consider her my friend. Some time later I decided to kiss another girl. It had consequences."

The author currently has no intention of kissing another girl unless marriage is involved.

Another excerpt:
"The Germans were supposedly abstinent until the age of twenty (Caesar) which contributed to their stature and strength, and furthermore were generally faithful to their companions (Tacitus), although it was often out of fear. The Romans on the other hand were pederastic and enjoyed a number of orgies (supposedly). Basically, Germans, strict social rules, Romans, libertines and deviants."

And, to show the breadth of this blog, a third excerpt:
" - Hins vegar er það trúlegra, að refirnir séu nægilega djarfir og lagnir til þess að klifra í snarbratta kletta eftir álkueggjum einir síns liðs." - "

For more, please visit:

The author of said blog writes in English. Which is good. Most of us do not understand Icelandic. Stop by and say howdy.


To please my mother, I whacked my way through several Icelandic sagas at one point. It was dense going, just like my experience with Old-English (which was also to please her - Old-English, Old-Norse, and Old Irish were her subjects at college).

I particularly enjoyed Grettir's tale, which is described here:
Given in the original language here:
And in English here:

It is stirring.

Read it, and realize that this is a living language, still spoken by such people as Shapeless And Confusing Monstrosity, the descendant of Clubfoot and Smiter, who is undoubtedly related to both Thorod the Godi as well as Thorir of Garth.

1 comment:

Phillip Minden said...

I did that too, back in the halls of The University. Fascinating language, but the content of any random part of the the sagas is basically:

X [name unpronouncable to most, containg at least a pre-aspirated long T or sommmink] takes his club, says "Honey, I might be late for dinner, see to it that the fish don't stink too much", goes to the other end of the island to his neighbour's hut and knocks him dead.

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