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William Shatner reads Palin’s speech as poetry (via @davehyndman):

And getting up here I say it is the best road trip in America soaring through nature’s finest show. Denali, the great one, soaring under the midnight sun. And then the extremes. In the winter time it’s the frozen road that is competing with the view of ice fogged frigid beauty, the cold though, doesn’t it split the Cheechakos from the Sourdoughs?
And then in the summertime such extreme summertime about a hundred and fifty degrees hotter than just some months ago, than just some months from now, with fireweed blooming along the frost heaves and merciless rivers that are rushing and carving and reminding us that here, Mother Nature wins. It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future.

See also the poetry of Donald Rumsfeld and the Clinton/Lewinsky Poetry Under Oath.

Common phrases in Icelandic, a collection of videos and another cool resource I’ve found getting ready for vacation. Not too long ago, you wouldn’t be able to hear a native speaker until you got there. In the same way, when look on Flickr I can see recent photos in Reykjavik, see what folks are wearing, get a feel for the street. It’s be easy to go overboard with this pre-immersion stuff and dampen all the surprises, but it’s really cool.


I watched Koyaanisqatsi this weekend. It’s got a lot of cool footage and overall it was worth watching. But part of the problem with the message (that we live a “crazy life,” a “life out of balance”) is that it’s so dependent on the soundtrack.
A lot of it made me think of those time-lapse videos I saw on kids TV when I was little. Seeing a factory in fast motion was cool, not cause for worry. I was glad I found this Koyaanisqatsi: Redux which matches a portion of the film to a goofy, upbeat soundtrack, and contrasts it with a more dramatic string arrangement in the middle (musical transitions are around the 2-minute and 4-minute marks). I like parts of Philip Glass‘ original soundtrack for the film, and I think it’s kind of spooky-cool how the soundtrack can direct your response to what you’re seeing. But it’s too much of an emotional shortcut.

There are a lot of excerpts from the film on YouTube, like the original trailer, the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing in St. Louis, scenes from New York, and the famous closing scene that reprises the opening.