Very good sentences the culture that is Iceland

by on August 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

Seven-year-old Jón Haukur Vignisson unexpectedly won the highest score among non-professionals in the annual national ram groping tournament organized by the Sheep Farming Museum in Hólmavík, the Strandir region in the West Fjords, last weekend.

The article is short but interesting throughout, every line a gem and the site has a puffin ad too.  Perhaps the hat tip should remain anonymous but I can assure you the person is excellent.

Here is a photo of Hólmavík.

1 Andrew' August 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

How do you grope a ram?

Very carefully.

2 dearieme August 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

And I thought they might be castrating them with their teeth.

3 Kelvin August 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

They couldn’t castrate the sheep, considering the prizes they award.

4 JCE August 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

jesus christ, what the hell is wrong with those people?!?

5 Hoover August 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I don’t know. Is something wrong with them?

6 Claudia August 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Calm down, city kid.

The photos on the museum webpage are fun too, like this one: I wouldn’t worry about those people.

7 Hoover August 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Terrific account of this year’s groping. Thanks.

So it’s man versus machine even in this field. I wonder if they’ve already had their Deep Blue moment, when there came the sudden realisation that man would never grope technically as well as technology. My guess is that “getting a ram to look you in the eye” is a modern variation added to give humans the idea that they’re still in control of the magic.

Sadly my edition didn’t have the puffin advertisement, but the vibrant hand-knitted woolens were adequate compensation.

8 Andrew' August 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Are you startled that a 7-year-old Icelander would grope a ram? Well, you aren’t half as startled as the ram.

9 Thor August 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Why do you say that? If it’s an Icelander ram, it might very well be familiar with the custom. It might even come to expect a good groping from time to time, especially if it is a boring time between volcanic eruptions.

But what kind of person googles “7 year old” and “groping” and “ram”? No wonder there’s no hat tip.

10 Thor August 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I clicked on the “Holmavik” link expecting that this was the name of the happy ram himself, but alas it’s just a village.

11 Nigel August 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm

“I wonder if they’ve already had their Deep Blue moment”

They had that last year – the winner “…made the news for spraying newborn lambs that had been rejected by their mothers with a blue color to confuse the ewes and make them accept the lambs.”

To add to the fun, the competition is followed by a “Gropers’ Ball”.

12 Roy August 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Translation is an imprecise art, but this one is fantastic. Having actually watch male sheep being judged at county fairs, I think groping is a totally appropriate word for it, but more than it would be for rabbits. I think I will forward this to a local newspaper editor I know and suggest he write about the bunny groping at next months county fair.

13 bjartur August 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Tyler, have you read Independent People? If you liked the article you’ll love the book. Seriously, it’s a must-read. Full of very good sentences and sheep.

14 Peter Schaeffer August 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Visit Iceland by all means. Don’t stay in the cities. The hinterland is stunning. But don’t eat the puffins. They are awful. The lamb and fish are great though. Stay out of the truck stop diners. Greasy. Buying food from the grocery stores is a good choice.

Try to make it to Gulfoss, Dettifoss, Goðafoss, and Glymur.

15 David Wright August 24, 2012 at 3:28 am


16 Marie August 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Glorious. Brings new meaning (or really, an original meaning) to my uncle’s saying “when men were men and sheep were afraid.” The eye contact comment nearly made me spit out my drink.

17 Ram August 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I was surprised to find out that there is a tournament devoted to groping me, but lots of things surprise me, I suppose.

18 Daniel Francis August 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm
19 IVV August 24, 2012 at 8:44 am

Naming laws are something that feels just so incredibly wrong in American culture, aren’t they?

20 careless August 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm
21 Ryan V August 24, 2012 at 12:42 am

Apparently last year, a three-year-old won third place.

22 ahow628 August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

Holmavik is also the home of the Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft museum. I wonder if there is any cursory relationship between the two…

23 claire demers August 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I’ve met a lot of gropers in life and if I’d known about the Icelanders it might have saves a lifetime of therapy and them getting knocked over the head with beer bottles.

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