The “Uncommon” Common Icelandic Skink*

common icelandic skink


I was driving up the Eyrarbakkavegur to my regular chess therapy appointment at the Bobby Fischer Center in Olfuss, Iceland, when I came across one of these little guys in a hard hat and high-visibility safety vest holding an orange safety flag.

Being from the New York metro area, I was initially annoyed at the delay, but upon closer look I noticed that this “flag-skink” was supporting the annual skink migration from their traditional winter home in Reykjavík, to their summer feeding grounds near Flúðir.

The 100+ km distance is a short 1-2 hour drive by car, but for the Common Icelandic Skink this can be a grueling 1-2 week long trek across many busy (for Iceland) roads and several broad and frigid rivers. Fraught with danger from a variety of sources, both native to the Island nation and of the foreign variety.

Native dangers include hungry puffins, Atlantic salmon, and Supply Chain Management consultants. The latter have become increasingly agitated in their opposition to the Common Icelandic Skink due to the tax breaks the government has given them in the important national transport and logistics market. (There have even been some formal protests and angry language bandied about against what is being viewed by some as cronyism.)

Non-Icelandic dangers, while normally limited to drunken frivolities at the local hot springs followed by a visit to McDonald’s, have been fraying the edges of the social fabric of the skink population. This is because petroleum companies have been paying high wages to have young skinks work for them on the oil rigs in the North Sea, upsetting the delicate ecological balance and traditional family values of the Common Skink.

So this is why, upon reflection, I was so impressed by the skink on the road to Olfuss. He was one of the teenage skinks the foreign oil companies were so avidly recruiting. With the typical aqua blue tail and yellow and black stripes of a young male skink in his prime, here he was volunteering to warn drivers of the migrating herds of skinks! This wasn’t just admirable, it was becoming more and more uncommon. And so, I salute you, and others like you!

The uncommon Common Icelandic Skink.

* not “Spink”


danke schoenToday is Friday, 11 January, 2019. And what boggles my over-saturated 21st Century imagination is why no one has made a sequel to 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Frankly, the time is riper than a squishy avocado to revisit these saucy characters that encouraged us with their revelry and youthful mayhem, and to have a glimpse into their older (and perhaps wiser) selves. Then we can finally stop the endless speculation about whether Jeanie and Garth ever got married. Or if Principal Rooney ever overcame his rage issues.

C’mon Viacom, give the fans of this classic John Hughes teen comedy a shot of cinematic Viagra, and bring back the ol’ gang. If not now, when?

Northern Blue Autoclave Lizard


A true icon of the rural Canadian wilderness, the Northern Blue Autoclave lizard has managed to avoid the paparazzi of the natural sciences for decades. The first documented evidence for the Northern Blue was in the back pages of DC comics magazines alongside advertisements for X-Ray Spex and mail-order hypnosis lessons.

We were thrilled to have this specimen sent to us by a faithful reader, Jethro Osborne of Dutch Madder, Manitoba. We’ve named her (you can determine the sex by looking underneath) “Blue” in honor of her color, and frankly her sense of humor. A sparkling wit, interlaced with profanities, can be heard coming from the glass tank where she is kept entertained with a pair of wild caribou mittens.

Many thanks to Jethro and the thousands of subscribers out there who have already commented on and liked our previous posts, and the legions of Icelandic herpetologists who have threatened to boycott us unless we post a similar blog post about the Common Icelandic Skink.