things that make the news in Iceland: cheeseburger soup and snow penises

Snjótyppi klýfur Gautaborg // Snow penis divides Gothenburg (

A snow penis has reportedly caused division among the residents of Swedish city Gothenburg. An unknown prankster drew a penis on a frozen river and the city received a number of complaints from people asking it to be destroyed. This proved to be rather a challenge as the ice was too thin to allow city workers to walk on it, so they had to use some sort of long-handled tool to destroy the snow penis from a distance.

The destruction of the snow penis caused a backlash on social media, and of course someone founded a Facebook group called something like “Rebuild the snow penis” (I’d like to think that in English it would have been something like “the snow penis will rise again”).

A new snow penis was indeed created, reportedly so large that it can only be seen in its entirety from the air. The Icelandic article delightfully refers to it as “Hið nýja snjótyppi,” which will probably be amusing only to those who know Icelandic.

(Here’s an article in English for those who want to learn more about the snow penis phenomenon.)


Ostborgarasúpan gerði allt vitlaust upp í HÍ: Það var algjör örtröð í Hámu // Cheeseburger soup causes a ruckus at the University of Iceland: The cafeteria was crazy crowded! (Vísir)

Yes, the soup of the day at my school’s cafeteria made the news. Is cheeseburger soup an American thing? Probably. In any case, I feel like it’s something I’ve definitely heard of before, but apparently here it’s the soup equivalent to a unicorn. Everyone lined up to try it and deliver their verdict. Some hypothesized that the soup was an experiment of sorts, to measure the power of social media. It seems to have worked. One person went so far as to declare it akin to “Almar í kassanum,” the art student who spent a week naked in a glass box back in December. In other words, it was something everyone just had to see for themselves. It was the talk of the town.

It sparked a number of amusing tweets and the wonderful hashtag #súputíð, which literally means “soup time” but is a reference to the word gúrkutíð (“cucumber time”), used to describe a period of slow news. It’s always gúrkutíð around here, really.


Gæti skotið einhvern en samt unnið // Could shoot someone and still win (RÚV)

Ironically for someone who’s so into wall-building, the stupidity of Donald Trump knows no boundaries. While I am grateful to hear a lot less about him here than I would back in the States, I still hear way too much, as of course the world is following the campaign with an appropriate blend of amusement and horror.

His latest assertion that he could stand on Wall Street and indiscriminately shoot someone walking past without losing a single voter basically encompasses everything that is wrong with Trump: he is stupid, he is crass, he is disgustingly confident, and he is disgustingly popular.

Reading about him in Icelandic somehow creates a bit of distance, but sadly I know he will continue making headlines, and the truth behind those headlines, regardless of the language, will be alarming and depressing.

Until the next batch of news, friends.


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