Blog Comments

  1. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Wonderful note.....You expressed these scenarios so well I could feel myself actually being there. Thanks!! GH
  2. MeganFernandez's Avatar
    Fun story! I appreciate all the work you did to compile and organize the numbers.

    For me, personally, it's a simple smell test. Serena, Steffi and Martina all have the numbers to justify a GOAT argument. But Serena's accomplishments and legacy loom over the other two, in my opinion. She played against her sister in majors. She has stretched her career for at least 20 years. She made several comebacks. She broke barriers (as did Martina). She transcended the sport. There is definitely a recency effect, and I don't know how to avoid it. Boiling it down to numbers doesn't work for me. Numbers capture only part of a story.
  3. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Another fascinating entry. I spent 5 weeks in Greece in 1979, and this description of life is very similar to what I saw there then. So maybe Albania is just 40 years behind, as was discussed in another note.

  4. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Another are also right that the fact that smoking is so ubiquitous in public places puts them way behind most countries of Europe. I have an actual allergy to cigarette smoke (not just an abhorrence of it, though I have that, too). Prior to restaurants in Europe banning smoking, I actually ate in European restaurants rather infrequently, despite spending a lot of time there. I got really good at buying meals from deli-like counters in supermarkets, etc. In most of Europe, I've had a solid 14 or so years of smoke-free restaurants in which to catch up on European cuisine. I hope Albania switches that before I go there.

  5. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Albania was incredibly isolated from the rest of the world from soon after WW2 to 1991. That is over 40 years. And even since 1991, they have not been as connected to the rest of the world as almost all the rest of Europe. How much do you think that is reflected in what you see now? Are they simply 40 years behind the rest of Europe, or is the difference even greater than that? It sounds like the situation with women is not where women were 40 years ago in Europe, but rather further behind, possibly reflecting the Muslim influence (?).

    By the way, I was on a boat from Brindisi to Korfu once in the 1970's, and I remember very clearly looking over at Albania from the boat and thinking, "That is somewhere I can't go. And it's somewhere that almost no outsiders get to. I wonder what life must be like in a small country with that much isolation from the rest of the world."

  6. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Thanks again for the blog!! This was very interesting like all the others!! GH
  7. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Thanks again for the blog. Due to your comments, I looked up some things about the Albanian language. My understanding from that is that Albanian is very much a unique language, and that it is quite different from any other Indo-European language. It appears to have 2 very distinct dialects, which are called Gheg and Tosk. Gheg is mostly spoken in the northern part of the country, and Tosk in the southern part. The dialects are mutually intelligible. I suspect you've mainly been in the Tosk region.

    Your point about what is called a "dialect" and what is called a "language" does, as you say, become one of those weird semantic discussions. And where one draws the line between "dialect" and "language" is necessarily vague. Still, when I read about the differences between Albanian and the other Indo-European languages, I would clearly consider this a unique language.

  8. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Ponchi, I love these blog entries, by the way! Anyway, about your first paragraph. It is not only in Albania where the naming of cafés and restaurants can be a bit off. My little vignette is about Italy:

    As I think you know, I have a very close friend who has lived in or near Milano her entire life. She is over 80 years old now. So, though she is a very progressive thinker, she is also a bit of a traditionalist about some things, like the Italian language. Nowadays in Italy, you will see many places that are referred to as "Ristorante Pizzeria", a fact that has never bothered me. But that drives my friend crazy, especially when she sees what is inside one of them. We were in one once to get pizza, and she kept going on about how "this is a 'pizzeria' is by no means a 'ristorante'. Things must be one or the other." When I read your first paragraph, I could just hear her saying, "this is not in a piazza and it isn't a café."

  9. GlennHarman's Avatar
    I've also had some very memorable moments in gastronomy. But the ones you write about, because they involved some incredible adventure simultaneously, put anything I've done to shame.

    I hope the trip continues to bring such memorable moments. And feel free to continue to share the stories (and photos) with us!!!!

  10. GlennHarman's Avatar
    I love the story about the vests. And also, I have personal love for the concept that the other guests think they were staying at "Le Hotel du Clochards" when they saw you folks in the vests. My trail name on the Appalachian Trail (as I was saying in some forum thread recently) was "Oboe Hobo". In French that is "Hautbois Clochard"........not quite the rhyming thing that made me pick it in English. So as a backpacker, I would have fit right in. And, I wore a blaze-orange sweatshirt at times on the Trail during the autumn hunting season, so there was even a time I would have especially looked the part.

    Thanks for these stories.......the Old Town of Berat sounds delightful and a lot of fun. I hope you continue to get to enjoy excursions that you can share with us!!

  11. ponchi101's Avatar
    At least one more month here. Then a second turn further south.
    Totally worth visiting. Not super European in the sense of development but for Northern Euros, cheap and different.
  12. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Ditto what Suliso said. I have never been there either, and I'd love to go. How long will you be there?

    I'm enjoying your blogs.....keep it up!!

  13. suliso's Avatar
    You have a lot of imagination

    I'd love to visit Albania as well, albeit on a vacation.
  14. Ti-Amie's Avatar
    "When one door is closed another is opened."
  15. GlennHarman's Avatar
    I enjoyed your discussion as always. Sort of on the same theme: I think we all have certain commentators who annoy us more than others. For me, one of those is Tracy Austin. She seems to change her assessment of the relative skill of any player based on every shot. The player hits a cross-court forehand winner, even if the previous 4 attempts were all wide. Comment: "She has really been working on her ground-strokes and it's starting to show." Same player then misses a backhand volley. Comment: "She really needs to work on her skills at the net." Over the course of 5 minutes, the player can be said to be well on her way to perfect tennis one minute, and needing to improve her fitness, her strokes, and everything else the next minute.

    Just had to rant in response to your better-thought-out rant.

  16. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Good job on this as always, Ponchi. I find it totally disgusting HOW frequently one sees Confederate flags in Georgia, but also in other states. For instance, to me it makes no sense that the state in which I seem to see the highest density of them is West Virginia, a state that exists solely because, 150 years ago, the residents believed so strongly in the things that the Union stood for that they left Virginia to be a separate state. Now a clear majority of the residents seem to want the Confederacy back.

    Back to Georgia.....I was genuinely concerned about spending a couple of weeks camping in the woods in Georgia when I first did the Appalachian Trail. But then I disappeared into the Trail environment, and I had so little to do with the actual Georgians that I really had nothing either good or bad to say about them from that experience. I simply didn't see them. So I've done that part of the Trail several times since then, and that has always been my experience.

    Yes, there is such a thing as Southern hospitality. But all of the bad things you mention are there in such quantity that it remains a place I wouldn't recommend to, those who live in parts of Atlanta or in Athens, or parts of Savannah, can step up and say how wonderfully well it is working there for them. But most of that state remains as you have pictured it in your blog.

  17. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Ponchi.......well-written and well-thought out, as always. I enjoyed reading this!!! GH
  18. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Ponchi, Many thanks for this, also. What a mess this has all become, and you are so right that the world is taking far too little notice.

    I could have mentioned this to you in a private message, but I don't think so: In one of my Spanish classes, we read a very short essay by Claudia Larraguibel entitled, "Al amigo que se quedó". (Not for you, but for English speakers, a good translation would be "To the friend who stayed behind") Though short, this essay was incredibly powerful. It was written by a woman who was one of a close group of 6 friends, all but one of whom had become part of the far-flung Diaspora of Venezuelans. She had met this friend in Lima, and their discussion had been heartbreaking, for her, and for us the readers. I would recommend this short essay to anyone with interest in this subject. It really says so many of the same things you said above. I found her and your essays to be very informative and touching.

  19. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Ponchi, I often forget to check for your blogs, and hadn't read this one yet. This was very nicely stated. A couple of decades ago, I, with my keen interest in history, did a ton of reading concurrently about 2 subjects: the Holocaust, and the reasons for World War I. Out of reading about both of these subjects, the Treaty of Versailles became an important subject for my reading. I came to several conclusions (none of which are particularly original or earth-shattering). One of these was that World War II almost certainly would not have occurred, at least in the form that it did, if the Treaty of Versailles had been fairer to Germany.

    And I also came to a conclusion that I am almost sure you and I disagreed on at another point in time: If a large coalition of western nations had boycotted the Berlin Olympics, WWII may have been avoided. At the very least, it would have been, again, a very different war. I still believe this, though I also understand why people disagree. The disagreement easily stems from the possibility that the avalanche was too far down the mountain by 1936 to have been stopped.

    Nonetheless......another thing on which you are SO right above is this sentence: "And the mistake that the West is making is to believe that such a man can be brought back to his senses by talk and dialogue." Surely history has shown us how right you are on this.

    Thanks for your thoughts, as always. GH
  20. mmmm8's Avatar
    I am so sorry .... Thank you for sharing
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