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So you won the silver … waddaya want, a medal?

Right. So now that the euphoria of Iceland’s near-Olympic gold win has worn off, I have to say I’m a tad put off by our president’s gleeful decision to award the Order of the Falcon to the entire handball team, plus the coach and the chairman of the handball association. [The last two get the Grand Cross, while the others just get the Regular Old Cross. Go figure.]

I’ve never been partial to this order business because it seems they’re usually just handed out to people who are good at their jobs and who are in the spotlight for some reason. Meaning that a violinist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra who is particularly adept at stroking them strings may get awarded the Order of the Falcon, but not, say, the woman who cleans the president’s office, even though she may be just as good at her job. Personally I think these kinds of Orders should be reserved for people who do something exceptional that isn’t just in their job description – say, if someone performed some daring feat to save someone’s life, or found a way to bring back blue Opal.*

Be that as it may, our prez has been over in Bejing cheering on our boys for the past couple of weeks [in between meeting the Chinese president for tea and cakes – and lunch] and I think he just wants to prolong the party. Normally there’s a committee that *snore* goes over who should be awarded the Orders of the Falcon at a special ceremony on June 17 – but in exceptional cases the Grand Master of the Order [i.e. the prez] can hand out orders willy-nilly at his discretion at other times, which apparently he intends to do here.

Meanwhile, our First Lady Dorrit Mouissaieff, who everybody just adores, has been winning fans bigtime in Bejing – pulling little stunts like spontaneously Shanghaiing a passing reporter from the Washington Post to come do an interview with the Icelandic team when they were in a restricted area by announcing “it’s OK, I’m the wife of the president,” and suchlike. She’s been married to Óli for about five years … his first wife died tragically of leukemia about a year after he took office and the nation was not especially keen on Dorrit to begin with, but it’s safe to say she’s won the nation’s heart with her boundless enthusiasm for all things Icelandic, relentless promotion of the country and its people abroad [she’s got some friends in high places] and her single-minded effort to learn Icelandic – which, as anyone who has tried can tell you, is a little like climbing Mt. Everest backwards with a mouthful of marbles.

A few days ago, just after the Icelandic team had won the semi-finals and everybody was jumping around in joyful delirium, some reporter had just finished getting a comment from Ólafur when Dorrit spontaneously cried into the mic: Ísland er stórasta land í heimi! – a slight mistake in grammar which roughly translates as “Iceland is the biggestest country in the world!” It was just hilarious and now this tiny faux pas is on everyone’s lips as a perpetual joke … everybody goes on about Ísland being the stórasta land í heimi, and it’s pretty funny and everything, but I’m starting to worry that Dorrit is going to take it the wrong way and stop being spontaneous and speaking Icelandic when she does interviews and stuff, which ABSOLUTELY IS NOT ALLOWED TO HAPPEN. In fact I think Óli should award HER the Order of the Falcon. Like, immediately. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that Dorrit is the one true candidate for the Order of the Falcon. Forget the handball dudes – give them to Dorrit. Seriously!

OK, now that I’ve imposed my opin told you what I think, let’s hear your opinion. Should the Icelandic handball team be awarded the Order of the Falcon? Should the president’s cleaning lady be awarded it? Should Dorrit? Cast your votes below.


Whell, there’s no denying it any more … fall is in the air. It’s getting cooler and more rainy and windy and blustery and the osteoarthritis in my neck is acting up because of the damp weather [kids: don’t ever let anyone rear-end your car. Trust me]. It started out rainy this morning but turned to showers and then stopped entirely, enough for YT to take a long refreshing walk out by the lighthouse, replete with whitecapped waves and gusts of wind. Right now we have 9°C [48F] and sunrise was at 5:50 am, sunset at 9:07 pm.

*Opal is the name of pastilles that are popular here, and the blue variety was discontinued a couple of years ago after years of production because it contained chloroform. It was the best kind, though, and now a group has been formed on Facebonk to bring back blue Opal.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bluegrass Mama August 26, 2008, 12:31 am

    I vote for Dorrit. Not the cleaning lady, because I have not had the opportunity to inspect her work. She may well deserve it, but someone else needs to make that decision. And why not the handball team? They brought a great deal of recognition to Iceland.

  • Professor Batty August 26, 2008, 1:49 am

    blue variety was discontinued a couple of years ago after years of production because it contained chloroform…

    What’s wrong with ingesting a little chloroform now and then?

    When I was last in Iceland I looked for but could not find saltlakkrís (salt-licorice) which I developed a taste for on earlier trips. (mmm…Ammonium Chloride!) The box had a troll with his tongue sticking out on the front. We can get a Swedish kind here but it isn’t nearly as good.

  • Ranger August 26, 2008, 2:08 am

    I bow to your superior insider knowledge and vote for Dorrit. On my own behalf, I would like to vote for The Iceland Weather Report, which has also brought international recognition (of a kind) to Niceland.

  • pierre l August 26, 2008, 2:28 am

    Of course Alda should get one. In the meantime, once the cleaning lady has been doing the job for a while, say ten years, and is about to retire, she should get one “for services to cleaning”. I am sure that whichever set of awards comes up next in the UK, we will get one for everyone who did reasonably well in the Olympics.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson August 26, 2008, 7:48 am

    Well, all previous Olympic medalists got the order and this time you could say that they were also doing a great job of “Landkynning”, being on the front page of newspapers in the US and all.
    And the order committee has already gone over the idea so it is not like the President is acting on his own here.

  • Tannálfurinn August 26, 2008, 8:26 am

    the falcon order should not been given to plp for sports!!

  • hildigunnur August 26, 2008, 8:58 am

    I don’t mind them getting the order, though I think they should wait until Jan. 1st, (the order’s usually only presented two times yearly, Jan. 1st and June 17th). No need to have a special ceremony only for them. The sportsman who won silver for Iceland in triple jump had to wait for about 50 years for his. 😛

    Cleaning lady, sure if she did something exceptional. Politicians and civil servants, sure, but not just for showing up at work for an x amount of years, they also should have done something special. My ma’s got one last year, for years and years of selfless work (mostly unpaid) with children in music, which has resulted in some of our finest singers in classical, pop and jazz, when relatively unknown people like her get an order, it’s usually deserved. Not necessarily so with the more known names.

  • Ásdís August 26, 2008, 9:16 am

    I’m with you in the “only those that do something exceptional should get it” camp and I’m not positive doing well in sports is in that category. At least it’s ridiculous when people get it for doing their job, whether it’s cleaning toilets or shaking hands for the foreign office.

  • Sonja August 26, 2008, 11:06 am

    The team got handball on the front page of the New York Times. No small feat. I think they deserve the fálkaorða 😉

  • Egill August 26, 2008, 11:42 am

    The Order of the Falcon ( sounds so much cooler in English) should in my opinion be reserved for people who do something that’s not in their job description as you put it, to people who go above and beond ‘the call of duty’ if you’ll allow my histrionics. And I really do believe that ‘our boys’ did exactly that in the Olympics so I think that they do deserve everything the President throws at them.

    Btw. Óli Stef will also get the Grand Cross for being captain and chief philosopher.

  • gsch August 26, 2008, 11:49 am

    …if someone performed some daring feat to save someone’s life…

    Wouldn’t they get the medal for heroic achievement (Afreksmerki hins íslenska lýðveldis)?

  • Alda August 26, 2008, 12:26 pm

    OK, that’s four votes for the handball team, two for Dorrit, zero for the cleaning lady … and two for YT! [thanks Ranger and Pierre, you’re too kind *blush*]

    Thanks for the input, all!

  • Cheeky Spouse August 26, 2008, 1:08 pm

    As an Icelandophile I’ve been supporting the Icelandic competitors as well as my own British ones throughout the Olympics. I was naturally very proud when the handball team got a silver. Now that you mention that they’re up for the Order of the Falcon, well, I’m not so sure whether it’s appropriate. Maybe if they got gold, it would be another matter.
    Here in Britain OBEs, MBEs and even knighthoods seem to be dished out like sweets to all and sundry. In recent years this has detracted from the true meaning and the honour attached to receiving such an accolade. For example we have rock and pop stars with knighthoods – well maybe Bob Geldof did deserve his for all the work he puts into helping those in the Third World, but there are others who have one for just services to the entertainment industry. Hmmm I’m still deliberating….

  • Keera August 26, 2008, 5:55 pm

    Turn the handball men into falcons (or whatever the question was). Should Iceland ever win another medal, they can hand their birds back (or whatever the question was).

    Dorrit sounds cool! I hope she keeps speaking Icelandic. I actually understood what she said (what you wrote).

  • tk August 26, 2008, 6:12 pm

    Another non-vote for the cleaning lady. After all, the president may have rather tidy habits. Of course if he’s anything like me, then she should be up for the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal.

    Giving the O.o.t.F. for sports does seem a bit much, especially on top of an Olympic silver. And it diminishes the value of the award if the prez has to rush to give it to them, before the shelf-life of the fascination with the team expires. Why not just reward them like we’re doing here with Michael Phelps: brand them as celebrities and pry relentlessly into their private lives?

    So that leaves Dorrit and Alda. You don’t mind splitting it, do you? 🙂

    (“…climbing Mt. Everest backwards with a mouthful of marbles” – love it!)

  • lulubelle August 26, 2008, 9:26 pm

    Alda………….I love your site and never miss a post. I came across it last year when we were planning our trip to Iceland. We are Canadians of Icelandic descent and we went to Iceland to learn more about our heritage. We had a great time and now when I read your blog I’m reminded of our great trip. Keep up the good work!

  • alda August 26, 2008, 10:04 pm

    CheekySpouse – good points about the value of the orders diminishing proportionate to the number given out. And I totally agree with you re. Bob Geldof vs. the others. That’s sort of what i was trying to get across here.

    Keera – Dorrit is great. Just hope she has a sense of humor and doesn’t take herself too seriously, because they are now actually making T-SHIRTS with that quote on the front. Yikes!

    tk – as a matter of fact, I do mind splitting it. Surely I should get one of my own – all those handball guys are getting THEIR own! [whine]

    lulubelle – hi and welcome and thank you! Glad you enjoy it and that it keeps you connected.

  • Carolyn August 27, 2008, 6:31 am

    I definitely vote for Dorrit!

    I’m a bit over sporting teams getting the Order of the Bestest Person in the Country. (Sorry, over-sporting country here in Australia. Way too much sport is lauded over more seemly pursuits!)

    Dorrit sounds like my sort of woman!

  • Carolyn August 27, 2008, 6:33 am

    On second thoughts, the silver medal was a damn fine effort and I was definitely cheering them on!

    So Handball and Dorrit get my vote.

    And cleaning lady probably does an excellent job too…

  • gkb August 27, 2008, 7:14 am

    No more blár opal? Tragedy!! My favourite of all the Icelandic candies … the chloroform was what made them so wonderful. What’s next, deciding that Þristur is somehow carcinogenic?

    This is what I get for not moving back to Iceland sooner.

  • dinu August 27, 2008, 8:59 am

    Off topic : I saw your comment on Chris’ blog. I would like to know about your experience with Thesis,

    you may want to edit the footer link and make it your affiliate link 😉

  • digdug727 August 27, 2008, 2:55 pm

    put me on the list of “exceptional achievement beyond the call of duty”. the sports heroes get their own medal and plenty of public accolades. lets leave the honors bestowed by the people/president to people whose selflessness and courage would otherwise go unnoticed. i mean, really, sports heroes are here today gone tomorrow. might as well give it to the cop shouting “GAS! GAS! GAS!”

  • Jessica September 1, 2008, 1:30 am

    I vote for Dorrit! As a hapless foreign spouse in Iceland also trying to learn Icelandic, I completely empathize with Dorrit’s grammar faux pas! Maybe she’s right and Niceland IS the biggestest country in the world…c’mon.

    Climbing Everest backwards with marbles in the mouth? That description of learning Icelandic comes close. I would call it “climbing Everest backwards with a mouthful of marbles whilst hungover and carrying a load of bricks on your back and being forced to listen to Stuðmenn over and over….”.