I’ve been incommunibloggo for over a month now – partly because of a more-hectic-than-usual schedule and partly because, thanks to a mandatory “upgrade” to AT&T U-verse (may the gods curse it forever), my home internet connection is now much less reliable than before. So here’s what I’ve been doing.
1. At the beginning of the month I headed to Reykjavík (by way of an interminable layover in Toronto) for the October 3rd ESFL Regional, where I gave a talk on left-libertarianism. Unfortunately, my luggage didn’t make it out of Toronto, so I had to spend the entire weekend without a change of clothes. But it was great to finally get to Iceland! I also got to meet some members of the Icelandic Pirate Party.
My hosts gave me a tour that included Thingvellir (the spot where two continental plates meet in a craggy ravine, as well as where the medieval Althing or open-air parliament met during the stateless period – and the spot where criminals were ceremonially drowned in the post-stateless period), Geysir (the granddaddy after which all other geysers are named), and the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall. I’ll post pics later (the ones below aren’t mine).
There are few trees in Iceland, but the ground, though strewn with volcanic rock, is also covered with low-lying foliage in brilliant fall colours. They also took me to Eftsi-Dalur II, a farmhouse-turned-restaurant near Geysir where the large picture window in the ice cream parlour offers a view directly into the barn with the cows.
Other restaurants I can recommend, in downtown Reykavík, include the Grey Cat Café (for breakfast) and Sjávargrillidh (for dinner). On my own I also went to the top of Hallgrímskirkja, a church whose columns are modeled on the natural basalt columns of the Icelandic coast.
The road leading up to the church is painted in rainbow stripes – half gay pride celebration and half Bifröst reference.
Travel note: the hot water in Iceland is drawn from the thermal springs, which means that hot water from the tap smells of sulphur – rather disconcerting when taking a shower. The cold water, though, is pure and delicious.
2. Two weeks later I drove down to Gainesville for the October 17th SFL Florida Regional. I gave a talk on anarchism (powerpoints here). There were three other Molinari/C4SS comrades there: Cory Massimino, Kelly Vee, and Tom Knapp (the last two I met for the first time in realspace).
It was my first visit to Gainesville. Their downtown area is cool, while the vibe in the Bagels and Noodles restaurant feels like an actual college town in a way that Auburn seldom does.
3. I’ve had a C4SS op-ed on racial bias in juror selection, and three more installments of my series for Libertarianism.org on ancient Greece: one on economic freedom in Athens, one on the role of women, slaves, and immigrants in the Athenian banking system, and one on the private provision of public services in Athens.
While you were in Iceland, did you visit the grave of Robert James Fischer?
I was checked from doing so.
I missed a transition in that post–for a moment I thought you’d driven directly from Iceland to Gainesville. That seemed an impressive piece of driverly derring-do. Then it occurred to me that you hadn’t.
Well, when I was in Hawaii I saw a car with an Idaho license plate.
Oh yeah? Well, when I was in the West Bank, I saw a car with Virginia plates.
Ha! Beat that!
Well, getting from Virginia to Israel involves, in principle, less sea travel than getting from Idaho to Hawaii. Drive northwest across North America from Virginia to Alaska; take a ferry across the Bering Strait; drive southwest across Siberia and Central Asia to the Levant, and Bob’s your uncle.
I can’t promise favourable road conditions — or favourable political conditions — at every point along the route, but hey. where’s your sense of adventure?
I think you mean Virginia to Occupied Palestine. I saw the car in the town of Bethany, which is Area B (i.e., demographically Palestinian, Palestinian “civil authority,” and Israeli military control). Granted, Israel controls the borders in every direction.
Your route works, but I sure hope there is a ferry across the Bering Strait. Imagine driving to Alaska and finding out there wasn’t. “Recalculating….”
“Trans-Stellar Space Lines would like to apologise to passengers for the continuing delay for the departure of this flight. We are currently awaiting the loading of our compliment of small, lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment, and hygiene during the flight, which will be of two hours’ duration. Meanwhile we thank you for your patience. The cabin crew will shortly be serving coffee and biscuits… again.”
“What’s happening on this hell ship?”
“There has been a delay. The passengers are kept in temporary suspended animation for their comfort and convenience. Coffee and biscuits are served every ten years, after which passengers are returned to suspended animation for their comfort and convenience. Departure will take place when flight stores are complete. We apologise for the delay.”
“Delay? Have you seen the world outside this ship? It’s a wasteland. A desert. Civilisation’s been and gone. It’s over. There are no lemon-soaked paper napkins on the way from anywhere.”
“The statistical likelihood is that other civilisations will arise. There will one day be lemon-soaked paper napkins. Until then, there will be a short delay. Please return to your seats.”
Just barely on topic, but I can’t resist advertising my annual anti-Atlas Society Space Travel Rants at this point. Here’s the 2014 installment:
And here’s 2015: