Vagabond Vignettes: Icelandic Attributes

by D Heimpel, originally published in Iceland Review.

We decided not to stay in hotels. For three nights my friend, Van Arde Pretorious, and I roamed Iceland. We slept when tired, in the car or on the ground, like animals.

The Wind

“The wind drives you insane,” a waitress with dark eyes once told me.

Van Arde and I were at Lake M?vatn, an area where the Eurasian plate tears away from the North Atlantic, causing mud to boil and creating red pumice that’s ripped away by the wind when you throw it.

The wind rocked the car as we pulled off the road next to a peninsula dotted with moss covered craters. It was our last stop in a day spent staring at neon yellow sulfur deposits, swimming in steamy water belched up from the Earth’s stomach and trying to have full thoughts while the wind pulled them apart.

We stepped outside, the wind blaring off the lake.

“I’m just going to take some pictures. But I’ll walk if you want,” Van Arde said.

I didn’t move. The wind had won.

Sleep

“We need to rest,” I said when we arrived in the northern town of Akureyri. We drove around looking for a soft patch of grass. The gate to the soccer field was open. Van Arde took out some blankets. I took out my sleeping bag and we lay down.

I looked up. Clouds came over and it drizzled for a moment. Then I slept. At midnight we woke up and continued on.

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The Daily Show on Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is a serious issue for those of us who love the Internet. Last night Jon Stewart did a wonderfully enjoyable piece on it. Watch below. For more on Net Neutrality and how it affects you, visit the Save the Internet Coalition.

Also, click here to listen to Sen. Barack Obama discuss the issue on his podcast.

Strategy Behind Bush’s Stem Cell Veto

President Bush’s first-ever veto of stem cell research legislation is a supposed letdown for several pro-life conservatives as well as about 2/3 of Americans, according to recent polls. But in fact, this questionable use of veto power may prove to benefit Republican candidates in 2006 and ’08 and their strategists.

Bush’s veto statement on legislation meant to enable scientists to access new lines of stem-cells from unused embryos that are essentially wasted by fertility clinics, verifies the foolish nonsense behind his (what-in-most-humans-you-might-call) logic.

More importantly, the stubborn-ass president stays true to his concrete opinions and positions (and lies) immune to any barometers of public opinion as well as scientific advances and studies that have rendered his five-year-old reasoning irrelevant, if not totally off-the mark.

It is no surprise that Bush would use all means possible (and what isn’t possible for this president) to shoot down a bill because, according to WH press secretary Tony Snow, “he thinks murder is wrong.” Certainly, GOP candidates and all the Karl Rove lackeys are prepared to take full advantage of this unpopular view from an already unpopular, lame duck president.

Undoubtedly, GOP congressional candidates will flip the tables in advance of the November election and reveal the *truth* behind stem-cell research, and come off as potential saviors when they commit passing a bill, even if it takes a veto override, in 2007 — thereby affecting the lives of up to 100 million Americans.

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