In sports, in business, certainly in dating, when you find a strategy that succeeds for you, you are likely to repeat that strategy. The same is true in politics.
Donald Trump is an extremely stupid man. Just based on his spelling and use of language, I’d guess his IQ is in less than triple digits.
But, he knows this. Way back when he made his Mexican rapists and drug dealers comment, and all Democrats (myself included) said “Well, that’s that one gone, he’s toast,” and his poll numbers didn’t plummet but actually rose, he realized he had a winning strategy. He doubled down on it again and again. And he won the election. So, he’s doing it again. The ‘go back where you came from tweet’ is as blatantly racist as you can get.
It makes sense, and it might even win him a second term.
The Democrats, on the other hand, lost the last election. If this were sports, or business, or dating, and they were trying to succeed, they would not repeat the same strategy (i.e. doing everything they can to keep a candidate who is popular with a wide cross section of the public from winning the nomination) Yet, they are. Either they are incredibly incompetent politicians, stupider than Donald Trump, or trying to lose. I suspect the last one.
It’s not that over 50% of the American people are racists. That number is probably closer to 30% It’s the same percentage of Americans who believe that the world was created, in a single day, 6,000 years ago. It’s the same percentage who believe the story of Noah and his Ark is literal. It’s the same percentage who believe that global warming is a hoax.
It’s always around the same number, because it’s the same people.
One might think that 30% is not enough to win an election, but it is when only 50% of the people vote.
So, all the Democrats need to do is field a candidate who people are excited about, who people will turn out in droves to vote for, and there’s only one of the current crop of candidates who has that appeal. It isn’t creeper Joe Biden. It isn’t Kamala the crooked cop. It isn’t Elizabeth Warren, even though she’s saying all the right things. It certainly isn’t Corey “steals medicine from old people” Booker, and it isn’t the failed mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
It’s Bernie Sanders.
My wife read last night’s blog and complained that I wrote about politics again, I guess she wants me to write about nothing but our vacation. And I guess she’s right. People for the most part ignore my blogs, and even my comments and posts, on politics, usually. And a vacation is an interesting thing, especially now that we’re in a country I’ve never been to before, and which a lot of people, over 90% of those in the world, I’m sure, have never been to at all.
As with every vacation to parts unknown, there’s going to be some good and some bad. On the good hand, our apartment is quite nice. Oh, we had to go out to the shop to get our own toilet paper, and a shower curtain but that will be going home with us. We have two balconies, and we can sit out there and eat dinner.
Also to the good, people here are very friendly and welcoming. And the food’s great. Huge portions. Somewhere between Greek and Turkish. I had moussaka for lunch this afternoon, and Izzie had a meat skewer yesterday. It isn’t quite as cheap as I expected, but for a resort town, the prices aren’t bad at all.
On the bad side, almost all of the beaches are private beaches. The places marked ‘public beach look very much like a ‘free speech zone at an American major party political convention. They don’t really want you there at all, if you’re not paying 1,000 lek a day (about $10) for a deck chair, so you’re allowed an area just a few meters square where it’s possible to lay out a towel. On the good side, once you’re in the water that doesn’t matter, and the water is lovely and just the right temperature.
There is a spot, close to our flat, where the land meets the water, but it’s not really a beach. Some boats are tied up there, but there’s algae in the water, and garbage everywhere. Like piles of it in some places, and even human feces. In fact, there are a lot of places in town that look like that, and a lot of unfinished construction projects.
So, despite the fact that the scenery, long view, is absolutely spectacular, with mountains behind us and the island strewn Adriatic in front of us, I wouldn’t recommend Ksamil.
Which is a shame. A couple of small changes and it could be a downright spectacular place.
The blue no matter who people who were so obnoxious in 2016 are at it again, and I know this post will fall of deaf ears because it’s not as if we haven’t already told them they are being obnoxious, they just don’t see themselves that way.
But, here’s the deal. There’s a candidate in the race now that I actually like, and am enthusiastic about, and he has earned my support. That, of course, is Bernie Sanders. I also like Tulsi Gabbard and Mike Gravel but neither one has a realistic chance of winning. I probably could be persuaded to like Jay Inslee, because I agree that saving the planet should be the number one issue, but he also has no realistic chance of getting the nomination.
If the Democrats (as they seem hell bent on doing) nominate Joe Biden, who hates raves and marijuana, there will not be a candidate in the race who I like. If they nominate Kamala Harris, who loves private prison and thinks cops should be able to beat the fuck out of anybody they like, and isn’t particularly bothered about priests raping little boys, either, there will not be a candidate in the race who I like. If they nominate Liz ‘see I can drink beer like a normal person’ Warren, who will not stand up to the oil companies who are destroying our planet, there will not be a candidate in the race who I like. If they nominate Pete Buttigieg, who was not even a good mayor of South Bend, Indiana, there will not be a candidate in the race who I like. (Yes, Bernie started his political career as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. The difference is he was kind of spectacular as a mayor. Turned a dying industrial town into a wonderful place to live.) If they nominate Beto O’Rourke, there will not be a candidate in the race who I like, no matter how many burgers he eats.
I think that about covers it. And if I don’t like a candidate, I’m not voting for him or her. That is done. That argument is over.
Well, our Air B and B experience here was even worse than in Zagreb. We finally arrived in Tirana, Albania at about 9 in the evening, after a one hour wait at the border, and then getting stuck in traffic behind a herd of cows, then a flock of sheep, and then a very slow moving truck. We had to follow that bastard for about 30 kilometers of solid no passing zone.
Still, that should have been plenty of time. We had booked the accommodation, but couldn’t reach the host by phone, and there were no e-mail messages from him, either. About 11 p.m., we started looking for a hotel. The first 3 we tried were all full and the 4th couldn’t fit us all into one room, and it’s a really nice hotel so this is setting us back 160 euros. We’ve contacted booking.com, and we hope we don’t get charged, but still, it pisses me off. If someone is offering their room (and making a pretty penny off it), they should at least answer the damned phone and show up with a key.
I don’t expect everybody to leave biscuits in the room and provide us with detailed tourist information on the town, the way our last hostess did, but answering the phone is sort of a minimum.
Outside of that, I am quite surprised at Tirana. The rest of the country looks 3rd world, with sheep in the streets, geese in the garbage, and half built buildings everywhere, but Tirana is a modern city of bright lights and outdoor cafes. A bit on the garish side, actually. Something between Paris and Las Vegas.
I’d heard there is crime here, but plenty of people are out walking around late at night and even though we felt inconvenienced, we never felt endangered. All the people we asked for directions or information were helpful and friendly, and even the hotels which couldn’t fit us in were polite and sounded genuinely remorseful.
But the guy hosting that Air B and B room is a dick, and he will get a scathing review.
This is going to be a very short blog tonight because we are camping and I am writing this on my phone and we are all in the tent both because it is raining outside and because it is night. Had an incredible lunch of mussels which I had ordered because it was one of the cheapest items on the menu and I was a bit worried it would not be enough but they brought out like a bucket of them in a garlic sauce and it was wonderful. Despite the perfect sand beach with turquoise waters and the initiation of our new tent, which is a mansion among tents with two separate sleeping compartments and a section in the center that is tall enough to stand up in, at least for anybody in my family, the mussels were the highlight of the day for me.
It was a lovely, relaxing day, which is just the way we planned it. We got a bit of a late start, but we were up touristing by about 9:30, and started with the marketplace in this picturesque city of Mostar. Lots of beautiful stuff on display, but other than some baklava and Turkish coffee, made no purchases. It probably took us an hour to get down to the bridge, which is sort of the spiritual center and biggest tourist draw in town. (Mostar is named after the original inhabitants, the Mostari, defenders of the bridge)
People dive off it, which is a show for tourists, and it sure looks scary as hell, because the stream is very narrow and so you might think it’s not very deep but right below the bridge I guess it is. Wandered around the other side a bit, saw some buildings which still bore the scars of the war (93-95. After gaining their independence from Serbia, the Christians and Muslims turned on each other) and the High School which is supposed to be a way of bringing the two communities together, a lovely example of Islamic architecture. (I think Islam is a dumb religion, even among religions, which I think are all a bit ridiculous, but I am a fan of their architecture and their cuisine)
After that, we took a trip up to Kavica Falls. I had no idea what to expect, hadn’t even seen any pictures. It’s actually several falls, a wall of water plummeting over the edge and forming a sizable pool at the bottom. Which was seriously, almost painfully cold. I got in and swam for a bit, Isabel did too but never put her head completely under, Helena dabbled her toes, and Sam stayed out entirely.
Had a truly excellent meal at an outdoor cafe afterwards, and tomorrow we’re off to Dubrovnik.
After kind of a frantic morning (I couldn’t find my glasses after we’d already packed up and were on the road, so we took a sight seeing tour of Zagreb to try and find a drugstore) and a long drive, we have arrived in Mostar. In contrast to last night’s experience, our room here has a door that is easy to lock, and a hostess who was here to meet us and give us some hints on what to see in town, and she lives downstairs.
I’m not going to dwell on that. I’m actually keeping a separate travel diary, which may be something to pass the time in the car, or I may try and write it up later, I don’t know.
Anyway, by the time we checked in and started out to get some dinner, it was starting to get dark, so we will do more sight seeing tomorrow. That, plus there are some waterfalls near hear so we’ll get in some swimming and hiking.
There was a wide choice of eateries, and we settled for some cevabcice, pronounce che-vab-chee-tzee, which are small, beef, sausages. They were delicious, the price was reasonable, the waiter was friendly, and it was in all respects a different experience from last night.
One thing I didn’t realize about Mostar before I arrived here is the significant Muslim presence. There are several mosques and you can hear them belting out the call to prayer at regular intervals. On the other hand, it’s the kind of southern European town where hirsute and overweight gentlemen of middle age obviously feel very comfortable walking around shirtless, and there are plenty of young couples out wandering about together, dressed to party.
So, East meets West.