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The President who wants to be King

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There is a presidential election this summer. The Icelandic President holds more somewhat more power in the legislative process than presidents in other European countries, as the Icelandic constitution was heavily based on the Danish constitutional monarchy and is basically bicameral with a parliament and a president.
The current president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has been in power for 20 year. He had announced not to run again, but changed his mind this week, citing the recent "unrest" and need for stability as a reason.
To me the current president is an example of Icelandic exceptional thinking. He praised the banks and speculators who ended up ruining the Icelandic economy as entrepreneurs and risk takers describing their high risk business tactics as unique Icelandic adventurism that can set an example for other businesses.
He repeated the "Iceland as an example for the world" sentiment in a speech in March. This time he was referring to the unique Icelandic creativity, naming the Jungle Bar, a snack bar made out of insects as an example:

I was present at an awards ceremony when the design award was given to some guys who have made insects into food. We have 9 billion people in the world, and one of the key solutions to food security and hunger in the world is that we start looking at the insects in a new way. There’s a fundamental challenge in the world regarding health and poverty, and it took the design people to put it on the map in this way.
http://grapevine.is/news/2016/03/18/icelandic-president-praises-pirate-party-as-political-innovators/



Insects as food, invented in Iceland in 2016, going to solve world hunger. Head meet desk.
Posted on - Categories: Iceland


Spring?

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Birds are singing outside my window in the morning. The sun is shining and I stopped wearing long underwear. A part of me has difficulty believing that winter is really over and the rest of me feels like taunting Icelandic winter "you tried to brake me? Well, watch me enjoying the sun!"
Posted on - Categories: Iceland


Ófærð / Trapped and representation

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So I have been watching the acclaimed new Icelandic TV series Ófærð or Trapped for English speakers. It is a good Scandinavian crime/thriller kind of series in the style of Arnaldur Indriðason, complete with xis-gendered, male lead whose marriage just failed and whose career suffered due to a mistake, which haunts him, jadajadajada...
It captures the claustrophobia of snowed in Icelandic small towns pretty well. Having lived in Blönduós I feel I can make that assessment.
However, having lived in a small Icelandic town I was a bit disappointing with the only foreigners represented being criminals (a hilarious caricature of eastern European (Lithuanian) mafioso, I'm sure the 1,683 Lithuanians living in Iceland were pleased) or victims of human trafficking (because all black women are). There are no immigrants anywhere, despite the fact that there are 25.000 (7.4%) of us. In a cast of 30 (only counting Icelandic adults) there should be two immigrants if it were to represent Icelandic reality.
To any film makers in Iceland, I volunteer to be your foreign cast member, as long as it won't be a tourist, criminal or victim. Please acknowledge my existence...


Happy Beer Day!

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Today, 27 years ago beer was legalized again in Iceland, after several years of being the only alcoholic drink prohibited, due to a variety of circumstances.

Beer replaced spirits as the most popular drink in Iceland as soon as it was legalized and if you ever tried Icelandic Brennevín (also called Black Death, an Icelandic Schnapps) you can understand why.



Icelandic alcohol consumption has been mainly increasing in the past 27 years, a rather untypical development for a European country. There is currently a proposal being prepared by an MP of the Independence party to allow for alcohol to be sold in stores (atm the selling of alcohol is only allowed by the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland), despite there being overwhelming evidence that availability of alcohol in stores leads to an increase in total alcohol consumption and especially heavy episode drinking. Binge drinking is already a problem in Iceland, with 1/4th of all adults engaging in binge drinking once a month and 1/3rd of drinkers only.

Having said all that, I am a fan of Icelandic beer and look forward to being able to walk to the store and get a beer when I feel like it.


Picture of the Week - Sólfar

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Solfár (Sun Voyager) on Sæbraut in bad weather.



I have a new camera lens, which can have a larger aperture and wider lens than my old one. Both are shot at f2.8 - 3.5 at 50mm lens and 17mm lens with a red filter (to get the dramatic sky).


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