Icelanders are happier this year than they were last year, and way happier than they were in 2011 when national happiness was at an all-time low. RÚV reports that the average happiness rating of Icelanders responding to a new survey conducted by the Ministry of Health was 7.5 out of 10. So that’s pretty happy. Some of the factors contributing to unhappiness were unemployment and having a tough time making ends meet, which isn’t particularly surprising. Those who are married or in a committed relationship reported being happier, on average. Icelanders were at their happiest in 1990 when they rated their overall happiness an 8 out of 10. Those were the days.
As reported by RÚV, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm appeared on Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show, last Monday. While admitting that he had never been to Iceland, after Ferguson briefed him on former Mayor of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr and his Best Party, Hamm replied: “This is why the list of why I like Iceland keeps growing and growing.” Hamm’s gestures at that point seemed to indicate he had a somewhat extensive list in mind.
If you spend your holidays at an Icelandic household, you will most likely see the living room decorated, or perhaps occupied, by green plastic in the shape of a pine tree. The artificial Christmas tree seems to be taking over. It is likely that you will be served smoked pork —hamborgarhryggur— on Christmas Eve, and you will almost unavoidably be offered smoked lamb or mutton —hangikjöt— on Christmas day. This is according to a recent poll, conducted by MMR. Most likely to deviate in any of the above are supporters of the Pirate Party, and the poll’s highest wage group.
Þórhildur Sunna Sævarsdóttir, Chair of the Women’s Association for Peace and Culture (MFÍK), says it is urgent to thoroughly investigate whether Iceland in any way supported the CIA’s transportation of prisoners for torture. If that turns out to be the case, Icelanders are accomplices to war crimes. “These crimes do not become void. Being an accomplice to torture is a war crime,” she stated, interviewed by Stöð 2 this Saturday. Iceland’s involvement On December 12, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson announced that the Foreign Ministry had commenced an investigation into any potential “abuse” of Icelandic facilities related to the CIA’s
Throughout December, as count-down to Christmas, RÚV has re-broadcast various season-related music acts from earlier decades. This Saturday’s broadcast sported an eleven year old Björk Guðmundsdóttir reciting the Christmas nativity story, accompanied by music played by students of the Reykjavík Children’s Music School. The recording was made in 1976. Seven seconds of the recording have appeared on YouTube: RÚV’s entire video is not embeddable, but you can watch it, in whole, on their website.
The tenth Yule Lad, Gluggagægir (Window Peeper), was arrested last night on suspicion of espionage. Gluggagægir was apprehended after police received reports of him loitering outside Alþingi, peeking through windows. Gluggagægir has spent centuries peeping through people’s windows, curious about the going’s on inside and occasionally stealing shiny trinkets. His arrest record for acts of voyeurism is several pages long. Gluggagægir’s belongings, seized in the arrest, included his laptop which police have said contained troubling material regarding national and international security. “We cannot give you any information regarding the case, which is currently under investigation,” a police spokesperson told the
Popular hot dog stand Bæjarins Beztu hired extra security last night in preparation for the arrival of the ninth Yule Lad, Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Swiper). “We couldn’t afford losses like last year,” said the vendor on duty, Jói, when the Grapevine caught up with him last night. “He cleared us out, all the hot dogs, just gone. I’d only worked at Bæjarins Beztu a few months when Bjúgnakrækir hit us last year. One minute I’m selling a hot dog ‘with everything’ and the next I’m waking up on the floor and the whole place has been turned over. He ate it