Back when I lived in Russia, Kosovo was big news. The Russians were really pissed off that NATO was bombing Serbia for its actions in the Serbian province of Kosovo. The Serbs were trying to drive out ethnic Albanians, usually Muslims, in favor of ethnic Serbs, usually Orthodox Christians.
This would make Kosovo, a historic center of unrest, more palatable to direct rule from Belgrade. It also parallels Russia’s ageless problems with Chechnya. There, ethnic Muslims have historically fought against Moscow’s Orthodox Christian rule.
NATO would have none of that though, and bombed Belgrade to convince Slobodan Milosevic that he should let Kosovo become and independent country. Only Americans would think this anything but a dangerous precedent. Europe is filled with concentrated minorities that all want independence, mainly on religious or ethnic lines. Kosovo is a perfect example.Read More
As you already know, I never check my bags. I even go to great lengths to outfox baggage Nazis. Because I refuse to check my luggage, I pack light, very light. In fact, I only pack a carry on bag, no matter the length of the trip.
My view is that after a week’s worth of clothes, which is essentially three full outfits that can be mixed and matched to make seven, you can always wash it all and start the next week fresh. So there is no need to pack more if youâ€™re on a longer trip.
But I am not a woman, and more importantly, I am not my co-worker Sue.Read More
Stepping off the plane in Skopje, Macedonia, I get a feeling o dÃ©jÃ vu. A feeling I’ve been here before, though I know I haven’t. My parents came through here in the time of Tito, but that was years before my birth.
Still, I could not shake the feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu. It was so strong, I felt I was having an out-of-body experience, until I realized what was happening. I was time-warping and place-shifting myself back to Russia, circa 1999.
The signs in Cyrillic that I could read like they were in English. The language, which spoken slowly sounds way close to Russian. The people, they even look and act Russian. And of course they do, they are Slavs, just like the Russians.
But this is not Russia. This is Macedonia.Read More
One oft-heard complaint about my amazing, cutting-edge Belly Button Window is the dearth of photographs on my posts. With an average of one or two photos per entry, readers are always asking for more visual context for my writing content.
In the past, I was hesitant to put all the extra images online, partly due to the bandwidth costs and partly due to the lack of an easy, yet visually pleasing user interface. Now, with the advent of Flickr, both problems are solved.
Flickr allows me to host hundreds of photos at original size, with scaled down versions that can load quickly on slower bandwidths. And I’ve taken advantage of this service to the tune of almost a thousand images so far in a variety of photo pools.Read More
Heading back to Florida from Puerto Rico, Mom and I get to discussing her new back yard. She spent the summer adding in fill, sod, and plants to give her a new green space. She also demarked the back yard with a nice wooden fence.
Left over from the fence were a hundred plus pieces of wood where the builder cut each fence plank down to size. Looking at the pile of wood, Mom wondered if there was a way to make them into a raised garden. A garden a foot or two above the grade of the back yard, so Mom could work on the plants without hurting her back.Read More