GET /freshly-pressed/

List Freshly Pressed Posts

Resource URL

Type URL and Format
GET https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/

Query Parameters

Parameter Type Description
http_envelope (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Some environments (like in-browser Javascript or Flash) block or divert responses with a non-200 HTTP status code. Setting this parameter will force the HTTP status code to always be 200. The JSON response is wrapped in an "envelope" containing the "real" HTTP status code and headers.
pretty (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Output pretty JSON
meta (string) Optional. Loads data from the endpoints found in the 'meta' part of the response. Comma separated list. Example: meta=site,likes
fields (string) Optional. Returns specified fields only. Comma separated list. Example: fields=ID,title
callback (string) An optional JSONP callback function.
number (int) The number of posts to return. Default: 10. Limit: 40. Default: 10.
after (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or after the specified datetime.
before (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or before the specified datetime.
content_width (int) When in context=display, images/embeds in post content will be set to the desired maximum width. Default: 480.
thumb_width (int) Desired width of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 252.
thumb_height (int) Desired height of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 160.

Response Parameters

Parameter Type Description
ID (int) The post ID.
site_ID (int) The site ID.
author (object) The author of the post.
date (iso 8601 datetime) The post's creation time.
modified (iso 8601 datetime) The post's most recent update time.
title (html) context dependent.
URL (url) The full permalink URL to the post.
short_URL (url) The wp.me short URL.
content (html) context dependent.
excerpt (html) context dependent.
slug (string) The name (slug) for the post, used in URLs.
guid (string) The GUID for the post.
status (string)
publish:
The post is published.
draft:
The post is saved as a draft.
pending:
The post is pending editorial approval.
private:
The post is published privately
future:
The post is scheduled for future publishing.
trash:
The post is in the trash.
auto-draft:
The post is a placeholder for a new post.
sticky (bool) Is the post sticky?
password (string) The plaintext password protecting the post, or, more likely, the empty string if the post is not password protected.
parent (object|false) A reference to the post's parent, if it has one.
type (string) The post's post_type. Post types besides post, page and revision need to be whitelisted using the rest_api_allowed_post_types filter.
comments_open (bool) Is the post open for comments?
pings_open (bool) Is the post open for pingbacks, trackbacks?
likes_enabled (bool) Is the post open to likes?
sharing_enabled (bool) Should sharing buttons show on this post?
comment_count (int) The number of comments for this post.
like_count (int) The number of likes for this post.
i_like (bool) Does the current user like this post?
is_reblogged (bool) Did the current user reblog this post?
is_following (bool) Is the current user following this blog?
global_ID (string) A unique WordPress.com-wide representation of a post.
featured_image (url) The URL to the featured image for this post if it has one.
post_thumbnail (object) The attachment object for the featured image if it has one.
format (string)
standard:
Standard
aside:
Aside
chat:
Chat
gallery:
Gallery
link:
Link
image:
Image
quote:
Quote
status:
Status
video:
Video
audio:
Audio
geo (object|false)
publicize_URLs (array) Array of Twitter and Facebook URLs published by this post.
tags (object) Hash of tags (keyed by tag name) applied to the post.
categories (object) Hash of categories (keyed by category name) applied to the post.
attachments (object) Hash of post attachments (keyed by attachment ID).
metadata (array) Array of post metadata keys and values. All unprotected meta keys are available by default for read requests. Both unprotected and protected meta keys are available for authenticated requests with access. Protected meta keys can be made available with the rest_api_allowed_public_metadata filter.
meta (object) API result meta data
current_user_can (object) List of post-specific permissions for the user; publish_post, edit_post, delete_post
date_range (object) date range covered by current results.
number (int) The number of posts brought back by current query.
posts (array) An array of post objects, with added Freshly Pressed info, in the editorial property for each post.

Example

cURL

curl 'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1'

PHP

<?php

$options  = array (
  'http' => 
  array (
    'ignore_errors' => true,
  ),
);

$context  = stream_context_create( $options );
$response = file_get_contents(
  'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1',
  false,
  $context
);
$response = json_decode( $response );

?>

Response Body

{
    "date_range": {
        "newest": "2014-10-31T22:05:17+00:00",
        "oldest": "2014-10-31T15:02:02+00:00"
    },
    "number": 10,
    "posts": [
        {
            "ID": 1193,
            "site_ID": 45688449,
            "author": {
                "ID": 14586495,
                "login": "mbrannaganfrederiksen",
                "email": false,
                "name": "mbrannaganfrederiksen",
                "nice_name": "mbrannaganfrederiksen",
                "URL": "http:\/\/beginswithlemon.wordpress.com",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/1.gravatar.com\/avatar\/1715edd3e6864ac45598fa14f0239bbe?s=96&d=identicon&r=PG",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/mbrannaganfrederiksen",
                "site_ID": 45688449
            },
            "date": "2014-10-30T15:43:35+00:00",
            "modified": "2014-10-30T15:43:35+00:00",
            "title": "Because i was twenty-one: Why i&#8217;m not done with the Jian Ghomeshi abuse story",
            "URL": "http:\/\/beginswithlemon.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/30\/because-i-was-twenty-one-why-im-not-done-with-the-jian-ghomeshi-abuse-story\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p35HEt-jf",
            "content": "<p>[Content note: abuse, being disbelieved]<\/p>\n<p>Since last night, almost as soon as the Toronto Star published the article wherein eight women &#8212; including Lucy Decoutere &#8212; came forward with allegations of abuse by Jian Ghomeshi, i&#8217;ve been reading a number of variations on the theme of being done with the Jian story. And i can sympathize.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m done with Jian Ghomeshi too.<\/p>\n<p>But I&#8217;m not done with Lucy Decoutere.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m not done with any of the other seven women whose stories are reported by the Star.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m not done with the unnamed woman who spoke yesterday evening on CBC&#8217;s As It Happens.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m not done with any potential survivors who haven&#8217;t spoken yet.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m not even done with them if they don&#8217;t speak.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m not done with the women who have been assaulted by other famous or well-loved men.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m not done with the women who were assaulted by men who are less famous, women who will never be approached by a media outlet and urged to tell their story.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m also not done with the fact that i don&#8217;t speak to many of my own experiences &#8212; not on the internet, not under my own name &#8212; because of the shit i&#8217;m afraid to bring down on myself and my family.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m going to say this, though. It&#8217;s part of a larger story, but it seems especially pertinent now. When i was twenty-one, i was raped. I knew my attacker. I had broken ribs, and a pregnancy that ended in an abortion later that year. Even later, there would be a trial.<\/p>\n<p>The day after it all happened &#8212; the attack, the hospital, the police, the two glasses of wine and painkillers i needed just to get myself out the door &#8212; i told a friend what had happened. (Eventually, I told several people, but this is about a particular friend. The first one I told.)<\/p>\n<p>It was a hard time. I flaked on a lot of people. I showed up to class less than sober. I was either completely cold, or straddling the line between laughing and sobbing. Many people were kinder to me than i deserved &#8212; professors, friends, people who would become friends &#8212; but this one friend&#8230;<\/p>\n<p>About a week after i told her, she asked to talk told me to look her in the eye. She said she did not believe me. She speculated that i was making the whole thing up for attention. She did not believe that anyone could laugh after being raped. She thought i was putting on the sadness, my responses to pain. She asked me to look her in the eye and tell her she was wrong.<\/p>\n<p>I didn&#8217;t.<\/p>\n<p>I looked down, gathered myself to the extent that i could, and i looked up again. I mumbled something along the line that she would believe what she saw fit. I walked away, clenching my teeth.<\/p>\n<p>It took me years to figure out that her disbelief wasn&#8217;t my fault.<\/p>\n<p>So i&#8217;m not done with Lucy Decoutere, or with any of the other women. I believe these women, and their stories, and i applaud their bravery, because i was twenty-one, once, and my friend&#8217;s disbelief hurt me more than i&#8217;ve ever said out loud.<\/p>\n<p>And, because now i&#8217;m thirty-four, i believe these women, and i know each one of them is brave and strong and worthy of love.<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>[Content note: abuse, being disbelieved] Since last night, almost as soon as the Toronto Star published the article wherein eight women &#8212; including Lucy Decoutere &#8212; came forward with allegations of abuse by Jian Ghomeshi, i&#8217;ve been reading a number of variations on the theme of being done with the Jian story. And i can [&hellip;]<\/p>\n",
            "slug": "because-i-was-twenty-one-why-im-not-done-with-the-jian-ghomeshi-abuse-story",
            "guid": "http:\/\/beginswithlemon.wordpress.com\/?p=1193",
            "status": "publish",
            "sticky": false,
            "password": "",
            "parent": false,
            "type": "post",
            "comments_open": true,
            "pings_open": true,
            "likes_enabled": true,
            "sharing_enabled": true,
            "comment_count": 14,
            "like_count": 28,
            "i_like": 0,
            "is_reblogged": 0,
            "is_following": 0,
            "global_ID": "9a847b8b044716843778ed49d96aba48",
            "featured_image": "",
            "post_thumbnail": null,
            "format": "standard",
            "geo": false,
            "publicize_URLs": [

            ],
            "tags": {

            },
            "categories": {
                "Uncategorized": {
                    "ID": 1,
                    "name": "Uncategorized",
                    "slug": "uncategorized",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 27,
                    "parent": 0,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449\/categories\/slug:uncategorized",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449\/categories\/slug:uncategorized\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449"
                        }
                    }
                }
            },
            "attachments": {

            },
            "metadata": [
                {
                    "id": "566",
                    "key": "_wpas_done_3270567",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "562",
                    "key": "_wpas_facebook_publicize_failure",
                    "value": {

                    }
                },
                {
                    "id": "561",
                    "key": "_wpas_mess",
                    "value": "Because i was twenty-one: Why i'm not done with the Jian Ghomeshi abuse story"
                },
                {
                    "id": "557",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_google_plus",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "558",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_linkedin",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "560",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_path",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "559",
                    "key": "_wpas_skip_tumblr",
                    "value": "1"
                }
            ],
            "meta": {
                "links": {
                    "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449\/posts\/1193",
                    "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449\/posts\/1193\/help",
                    "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449",
                    "replies": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449\/posts\/1193\/replies\/",
                    "likes": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/45688449\/posts\/1193\/likes\/"
                }
            },
            "current_user_can": {
                "publish_post": false,
                "delete_post": false,
                "edit_post": false
            },
            "pseudo_ID": "9a847b8b044716843778ed49d96aba48",
            "is_external": false,
            "site_name": "Begins With Lemon and Ends With Pie",
            "site_URL": "http:\/\/beginswithlemon.wordpress.com",
            "site_is_private": false,
            "featured_media": {

            },
            "editorial": {
                "blog_id": "45688449",
                "post_id": "1193",
                "image": "https:\/\/s1.wp.com\/mshots\/v1\/http%3A%2F%2Fbeginswithlemon.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F10%2F30%2Fbecause-i-was-twenty-one-why-im-not-done-with-the-jian-ghomeshi-abuse-story%2F?w=252",
                "custom_headline": "Because I was Twenty-One: On Believing Assault Victims",
                "custom_blog_title": "",
                "displayed_on": "2014-10-31T22:05:17+00:00",
                "picked_on": "1970-01-01T00:33:34+00:00",
                "highlight_topic": "sexual-violence",
                "highlight_topic_title": "Sexual Violence",
                "screen_offset": "0",
                "blog_name": "Begins With Lemon and Ends With Pie",
                "site_id": "1"
            }
        },
        {
            "ID": 482075,
            "site_ID": 43719139,
            "author": {
                "ID": 45259795,
                "login": "anastasiflavorpill",
                "email": false,
                "name": "Alison Nastasi",
                "nice_name": "anastasiflavorpill",
                "URL": "",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/2.gravatar.com\/avatar\/bce3b68dc9e3a43108cc3adf8f0a135d?s=96&d=identicon&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/anastasiflavorpill",
                "site_ID": 43719139
            },
            "date": "2014-10-12T12:41:43-04:00",
            "modified": "2014-10-27T17:42:09-04:00",
            "title": "Horror Movie Marathon: Netflix Fright Flicks You Probably Haven&#8217;t Seen",
            "URL": "http:\/\/flavorwire.com\/482075\/horror-movie-marathon-netflix-fright-flicks-you-probably-havent-seen\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p2Xrlp-21pp",
            "content": "<p>The greatest time of the year is here: Halloween. The best way to get into the spirit of the spooky season is by watching horror films until your eyeballs bleed. Luckily, we\u2019re here to help. You\u2019ve probably watched <em>A Nightmare on Elm Street<\/em>, <em>Halloween<\/em>, and <em>Friday the 13th<\/em> dozens of times. The classics are classic for a reason, but we wanted to offer you a selection of fright flicks that will add a little something different to your October horror movie marathon. Take a break from the masked men and pizza-faced killers of the horror-verse, and check out these Netflix-ready films.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/blood.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482079\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/blood.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"blood\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>Bay of Blood<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>The maestro of Italian horror cinema Mario Bava was one pioneer of the slasher film thanks to\u00a01971&#8217;s <em>Bay of Blood<\/em> (aka <em>Twitch of the Death Nerve<\/em>), which predates Bob Clark&#8217;s <em>Black Christmas<\/em> (usually cited as one of the North American progenitors). Unlike the Italian <a href=\"http:\/\/flavorwire.com\/221138\/giallos-best-film-posters\" target=\"_blank\">giallo film<\/a>, the influential <em>Bay of Blood<\/em> doesn\u2019t contain a convoluted mystery narrative. Instead, Bava goes straight for the kills, dispatching his characters in gruesome ways\u2014making it a favorite of gore fans. <em>Friday the 13th<\/em> and other body-count films owe a lot to Bava. The plot is forgettable and the actors didn\u2019t win any awards for their performances (it\u2019s a massive cast, but the players exist only exist to be slaughtered in creative ways), but <em>Bay of Blood<\/em> is more stylish and inventive than all the <em>Saw<\/em> films combined.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/pontypool2.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482082\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/pontypool2.jpg?w=480&#038;h=254\" alt=\"pontypool2\" width=\"480\" height=\"254\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>Pontypool<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>A cerebral indie horror that puts a unique twist on the \u201cinfected\u201d genre (don\u2019t call it a zombie movie, or else) that was simultaneously created as a radio play (based on the 1995 novel <em>Pontypool Changes Everything<\/em>). \u201cIt\u2019s mostly set in a church basement, where a washed-up morning-radio shock jock (Stephen McHattie) becomes the world\u2019s principal source of information on the mysterious apocalyptic virus that is turning the inhabitants of snowbound Pontypool, Ontario, into ravening cannibals,\u201d <a href=\"http:\/\/www.salon.com\/2009\/05\/30\/munyurangabo\/\" target=\"_blank\">explains<\/a> Andrew O\u2019Hehir. \u201cExcept it seems that the virus is spread by words and sounds\u2014by language, in fact\u2014so by reporting on the epidemic, the cowboy-hatted drunkard at CLSY may actually be spreading it.\u201d<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/johndies.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482085\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/johndies.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"johndies\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>John Dies at the End<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>A cross between <em>Naked Lunch<\/em>, a Douglas Adams story, and <em>Buckaroo Banzai<\/em>, Don Coscarelli\u2019s (<em>Phantasm<\/em>) adaptation of Cracked.com editor Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) 2007 novel <em>John Dies at the End<\/em> is a hallucinogenic horror-comedy that careens from one bizarre universe to another. Two small-town slackers are plunged into a supernatural crisis that finds them dealing with meat monsters and talking dogs. If you want to see a cult classic in the making, this is it.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/devil.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482087\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/devil.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"devil\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>Here Comes the Devil<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>Adrian Garcia Bogliano\u2019s 2012 Mexican horror film, often compared to Peter Weir\u2019s <em>Picnic at Hanging Rock<\/em>, swept Austin\u2019s Fantastic Fest film awards. Something strange happens with two children who go missing, only to return the next day\u2026 different. \u201c<em>Here Comes the Devil<\/em> sets itself apart from many contemporaries with confident, slow-boiling camerawork and a practically self-parodying sense of humor that rigidly accentuates certain shots, allowing us to laugh with moments of deliberately hackneyed narrative progression before the events at hand become entirely too malevolent for laughter,\u201d <a href=\"http:\/\/www.soundonsight.org\/tiff-2012-malevolent-here-comes-the-devil-finds-unholy-middle-ground\/\" target=\"_blank\">said<\/a> Sound on Sight. \u201cThe whole is bedded in a swelling cacophony of unsettling, William Malone-esque sound effects and rooted by the desperately concerned and increasingly disturbed performances of Francisco Barreiro (Felix) and Laura Caro (Sol).\u201d<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/thestuff.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482091\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/thestuff.jpg?w=480&#038;h=322\" alt=\"thestuff\" width=\"480\" height=\"322\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>The Stuff<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>Starring \u201c<a href=\"http:\/\/upload.wikimedia.org\/wikipedia\/en\/6\/64\/BenStone.png\" target=\"_blank\">that guy<\/a>\u201d from <em>Law &amp; Order<\/em>, a young Paul Sorvino, and a killer primordial ooze (sold to the unsuspecting public as an addictive ice cream), Larry Cohen\u2019s <em>The Stuff<\/em> is a wicked piece of satirical commentary about our ignorant consumer obsessions, with a dose of nihilism. The B-horror auteur\u2019s clever, near philosophical twist on low-budget horror always surprises and delights.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/chud.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482118\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/chud.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"chud\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><strong><em>C.H.U.D.<\/em><\/strong><\/p>\n<p><em>C.H.U.D.<\/em> stands for \u201cCannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller,\u201d so you know exactly what you\u2019re getting into when you turn on this goofy, B-grade \u201880s trash flick. A bizarre string of murders in New York City leads a ragtag team under the city streets where they uncover a race of mutant cannibals (who used to be the city\u2019s homeless). What other ridiculous horror movie can you watch that boasts three of the <em>Home Alone<\/em> series actors? This is one from the golden era of horror that doesn&#8217;t involved masked maniacs and is strangely charming for it.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/vampirelovers.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482121\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/vampirelovers.jpg?w=480&#038;h=350\" alt=\"vampirelovers\" width=\"480\" height=\"350\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>The Vampire Lovers<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>Hammer Films legend Ingrid Pitt stars in this gothic great based on the novella <em>Carmilla<\/em> by J. Sheridan Le Fanu\u2014an influential story that has shaped the role of the female vampire throughout film history. This is the first chapter in Hammer\u2019s <em>Karnstein Trilogy<\/em>, which found Pitt in a dual role, playing Marcilla and Carmilla\u2014a vampy lady who spends eternity seducing young women. Pitt played the part with a sexual confidence that was controversial for the time (being nude and sharing a bed with other women helped). It was a daring shift away from Hammer\u2019s wide-eyed starlets who fell prey to a male vampire, addressing the sexual and social taboos of the time.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/visitinghours.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482130\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/visitinghours.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"visitinghours\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>Visiting Hours<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>Somehow, this 1982 Canadian horror film snuck in a little social commentary about misogyny, which is not what you\u2019d expect from a film featuring a Comic Sans-esque font on its poster. Don\u2019t let that or the hospital stuff deter you. This isn\u2019t a benign ER drama. The setting provides a claustrophobic labyrinth for a woman-hating serial killer to chase the feminist TV journalist he\u2019s been stalking\u2014and it\u2019s gritty, at that. Star Michael Ironside made a career out of being the bad guy, and he&#8217;s genuinely frightening in <em>Visiting Hours<\/em>.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/shivers.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482133\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/shivers.jpg?w=480&#038;h=359\" alt=\"shivers\" width=\"480\" height=\"359\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>Shivers<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>If the only <a href=\"http:\/\/flavorwire.com\/480660\/flavorwire-interview-david-cronenberg-on-body-horror-dick-pics-and-his-first-novel-consumed\" target=\"_blank\">David Cronenberg<\/a> films you know are his dark dramas, then you\u2019re missing out. The director\u2019s body horror roots started with his debut feature, 1975\u2019s <em>Shivers<\/em>. The Canadian government didn\u2019t look kindly on Cronenberg\u2019s visceral film for its gory, sexual content\u2014but the filmmaker wound up winning the Best Director award at Sitges. The film is a cult classic, today. The residents of an isolated apartment block are infected by a parasite that transforms them into sex-crazed lunatics\u2014taking the concept of Romero\u2019s <em>Night of the Living Dead<\/em> and recontextualizing it for an era full of sexual\/gender anxiety. You can see the influence of <em>Shivers<\/em> in films like <em>Alien<\/em> or <em>Species<\/em>.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/houseofthedevil.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-482136\" src=\"https:\/\/flavorwire.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/houseofthedevil.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"houseofthedevil\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><em><strong>The House of the Devil<\/strong><\/em><\/p>\n<p>Ti West has quickly become one of the best filmmakers working in the genre today. He has gained a reputation for slow-paced, tense indie chillers that emphasize storytelling, atmospheric visuals, and in-depth characters. There\u2019s a supernatural premise running throughout his work\u2014like my favorite of the bunch, <em>The House of the Devil<\/em>. It\u2019s a throwback to Satanic horror flicks from the 1980s. When a broke college student takes a babysitting gig during a lunar eclipse, she has no idea what her employers (the amazing Tom Noonan from <em>Manhunter<\/em> and former Warhol Superstar Mary Woronov) really have in store for her.<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>The greatest time of the year is here: Halloween. The best way to get into the spirit of the spooky season is by watching horror films until your eyeballs bleed. Luckily, we\u2019re here to help. You\u2019ve probably watched <em>A Nightmare on Elm Street<\/em>, <em>Halloween<\/em>, and <em>Friday the 13th<\/em> dozens of times. The classics are classic for a reason, but we wanted to offer you a selection of fright flicks that will add a little something different to your October horror movie marathon. Take a break from the masked men and pizza-faced killers of the horror-verse, and check out these Netflix-ready films.<\/p>\n",
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            "date": "2014-10-21T10:02:09+00:00",
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            "title": "Life in a Haunted House",
            "URL": "http:\/\/victoriadougherty.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/21\/life-in-a-haunted-house\/",
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            "content": "<p><a href=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/haunted-house-kids-trick-or-treat.jpg\"><img src=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/haunted-house-kids-trick-or-treat.jpg?w=211&#038;h=300\" alt=\"haunted house kids trick or treat\"   class=\"alignleft size-medium wp-image-2180\" \/><\/a>We never get any trick-or-treaters. I can tell myself that it&#8217;s because we&#8217;re the only house on a dead-end street and surely, being off the beaten path is part of the problem. But if I&#8217;m to be completely honest, it&#8217;s because I know that little kids are afraid of our home. <\/p>\n<p>Yes, we live in THAT house. <\/p>\n<p>It&#8217;s the one we all dared each other to visit on Halloween. The one that got the occasional egging from only the bravest, most rebellious teens. The one that made toddlers cry. <\/p>\n<p>In the neighborhood I grew up in outside of Chicago, there was a dark, recessed house that looked like a Turkish prison. It definitely stuck out, as the rest of the homes in our neighborhood had been built in the early 1960s and had a decidedly family-friendly feel to them. Swing sets in the back yard, goofy Halloween decorations and middle class tastes made them look safe, even when the masters of those homes appeared grumpy and mean, and the mistresses depressed, lonely and on the edge. <\/p>\n<p>At the Turkish prison house, me and my friend Laura would get about as far as ringing the doorbell, but ultimately, we&#8217;d chicken out and run away. I don&#8217;t think we ever got candy from those people, and if we had, we would&#8217;ve probably stuffed it in their mailbox before high-tailing it out of there. Afraid that any loot we might&#8217;ve scored was laced with arsenic, battery acid or just plain old bad juju.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/haunted-house.jpg\"><img src=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/haunted-house.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"haunted-house\"   class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-2184\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>I recognize now that the unfortunate, in all likelihood sweet-as-heck folks who lived in that house waited in vain every Halloween for someone &#8211; anyone &#8211; to come by and put a dent in that bag of Hershey&#8217;s Minis they felt obligated to buy every year&#8230;just in case.<\/p>\n<p>I know that&#8217;s what we do.<\/p>\n<p>Maybe you&#8217;re thinking, &#8220;Aw, come on. It can&#8217;t be that bad. You seem nice enough &#8211; I&#8217;m sure there&#8217;s a very good reason why no one will trick-or-treat at your house.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>And there is.<\/p>\n<p>Our house is haunted.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/haunted-house-ghost-and-man.jpg\"><img src=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/haunted-house-ghost-and-man.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"haunted house ghost and man\"   class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-2183\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>It&#8217;s no surprise, as our house is really, really old and has had a lot of traffic. She was built while Thomas Jefferson was still among us and living across town for heaven&#8217;s sake, cross-breeding heirloom vegetables and writing letters that now sit in the Smithsonian. She&#8217;s been a general store, grain depot, bar, theater, voting place, boarding house, student ghetto, and a musician&#8217;s flophouse (we&#8217;ve been told Art Garfunkel partied at our home in the 1960s &#8211; scary, right?), until finally, over the course of two owners, she morphed into a single-family home.<\/p>\n<p>I think our basement is the crux of the problem. An old-fashioned wet basement, it looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. It is populated by numerous snakes and spiders that we welcome as part of the delicate ecosystem of our house, as those critters keep the mouse and insect population in check. But that&#8217;s not why I mention it, and it&#8217;s not why little kids who don&#8217;t know us do the fifty yard dash past our property line. <\/p>\n<p>It&#8217;s that our basement was also once used as a (gulp!) Civil War morgue. <\/p>\n<p>So maybe that&#8217;s where all of the cling-clangs, footsteps, apparitions and ghostly murmurs come from!<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/scarlett-ohara.jpg\"><img src=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/scarlett-ohara.jpg?w=300&#038;h=300\" alt=\"gettyimages_3170621\" width=\"300\" height=\"300\" class=\"aligncenter size-medium wp-image-2215\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>Case in point, in our most recent paranormal encounter, I got up in the middle of the night to fetch myself some water. When I returned to our bed, I distinctly heard a man&#8217;s whisper and turned to my husband. <\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Did you say something, honey?&#8221; I said.<\/p>\n<p>My husband told me that he had not. <\/p>\n<p>&#8220;But I heard it, too,&#8221; he said. &#8220;Let&#8217;s talk about it in the morning.&#8221; Which we did, but without the drama and hullabaloo you might imagine.<\/p>\n<p>We&#8217;re not afraid anymore. We&#8217;ve been living here long enough to know that these odd occurrences are just our home&#8217;s way of saying hello every once in a while.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/downstairs.jpg\"><img src=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/downstairs.jpg?w=300&#038;h=197\" alt=\"downstairs\" width=\"300\" height=\"197\" class=\"aligncenter size-medium wp-image-2198\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>And that&#8217;s what I&#8217;m getting at.<\/p>\n<p>As spooky as our house may seem to outsiders, we know she loves and protects us. <\/p>\n<p>Like a loyal, old crone, she objects loudly and emphatically to people who annoy, interfere or in any way attempt to cause mischief in our lives.<\/p>\n<p>When my grandmother got ornery and meddling in the years before she died, our house would actually respond to her visits &#8211; keeping her up at night with grating, intermittent noises that tormented my Baba&#8217;s sleep like Chinese water-torture. The plumbing wouldn&#8217;t behave for her, temperature controls would go haywire and the guest room TV screen might simply go on strike.<\/p>\n<p>I don&#8217;t have to tell you that all of these petty annoyances would vanish the moment Baba pulled out of our driveway, Rush Limbaugh blasting from her radio and a cloud of cigarette smoke billowing out of the passenger side window.<\/p>\n<p>Now, I loved my grandmother &#8211; even at her worst. But my house? Not so much. She always preferred the company of my more cheerful mom, who accompanied my grandmother on her visits, but would remain curiously unbothered by the woo-woo goings on.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/monster-mash.jpg\"><img src=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/monster-mash.jpg?w=200&#038;h=300\" alt=\"monster mash\" width=\"200\" height=\"300\" class=\"aligncenter size-medium wp-image-2205\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>And I love that our house is strong &#8211; clad in history&#8217;s armor. Thick-walled and made of brick. She barely shakes when the trains go by, standing broad-chested and chivalrous; a black, Southern grandmother. She has been a friend and safe haven throughout violent weather, illness and economic catastrophe. Even when we&#8217;ve scowled at her and bristled at the tyranny of caring for her scratches, bruises and idiosyncrasies. <\/p>\n<p>But we have never let her down either, and she knows it. <\/p>\n<p>My husband and I have fought her and fought for her, fixing her face-paint, finding the right doctors for her Edison-era wiring, buying her a brand new roof that sits on her head like a Sunday hat. No more piles of cold, young men, whooping cowboys, tired merchants, transients, or naked hippies. Our children have filled her life with laughter. They&#8217;ve hidden their secrets in her many nooks and crannies and papered her walls with their dreams. <\/p>\n<p>We have given her a happy family.<\/p>\n<p>So, please, consider coming by this Halloween. We have all the good kinds of candy and you&#8217;re sure to get a big handful instead of the usual one piece allotment that more popular homes dispense.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/coven.jpg\"><img src=\"https:\/\/victoriadougherty.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/coven.jpg?w=300&#038;h=212\" alt=\"coven\" width=\"300\" height=\"212\" class=\"aligncenter size-medium wp-image-2207\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n",
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            "title": "One-Star Amazon Reviews of Pulitzer Winners",
            "URL": "http:\/\/earlyamericanists.com\/2014\/09\/17\/one-star-amazon-reviews-of-pulitzer-winners\/",
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            "content": "<p style=\"text-align:justify;\"><img class=\"alignright wp-image-9388 size-medium\" style=\"border:1px solid #000000;\" src=\"https:\/\/earlyamericanists.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/pulitzer.jpg?w=205&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Portrait Of Joseph Pulitzer\" width=\"205\" height=\"300\" \/>We talk a lot about accessibility in historical writing. Many of us\u00a0worry\u00a0whether the academic historical profession has much to say to a broad popular audience. <a href=\"http:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/books\/99\/09\/19\/bookend\/bookend.html\" target=\"_blank\">It&#8217;s a pretty old form of anxiety.<\/a> But what do the general public in the United States really want from their history books?<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">A few days ago, I decided to try an experiment. I collected\u00a0all the one-star customer reviews at Amazon.com for the last twenty years of <a href=\"http:\/\/www.pulitzer.org\/bycat\/History\" target=\"_blank\">Pulitzer Prize winners in history.<\/a> (No award was given in 1994, so I included books from 1995 to 2014.) I wanted to see whether I could identify common complaints. Obviously, this wouldn&#8217;t be a very scientific experiment, but at least it would be reasonably systematic\u2014slightly better, perhaps, than relying on anecdotes from acquaintances.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">As I expected, some of the reviews were amusing. There was, for example, <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R1HSTMR0EX73DZ\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=1402505396\">a review<\/a> that complained about the lack of \u201cpictures or graphs\u201d in the audio CD version of a book. <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R1UIXR19JQHHWN\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0375705244\">Another reviewer<\/a> observed that the author \u201clives in Mass., which probably pins him as an unrepentant Federalist or a modern day fascist.\u201d (Who hasn&#8217;t entertained that thought at some point?) <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R1K41RVZB0DQBH\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0374528497\">Another admitted<\/a> that the book was \u201can enlightening one\u201d\u2014but \u201cone sentence, [on] p. 375, makes you wonder.\u201d My favorite was <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R39TYHTOZE7BXO\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0195392434\">the review observing<\/a> that Daniel Howe\u2019s <em>What Hath God Wrought<\/em> has \u201ca low amount of information per page.\u201d<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">Actually, my favorite is a tie. I&#8217;m also very fond of <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R3W1MF0M3NSA7R\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0195152948\" target=\"_blank\">this one:<\/a> &#8220;Only the Bush administration could produce such a pack of lies. The Salk vaccine &#8216;safe?'&#8221;<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">Of course, Eric Foner\u2019s Abraham Lincoln book drew out <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R1N41OE4AMG5AY\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0393066185\">one very angry neo-Confederate,<\/a> upset (among other things) that \u201cno true southerner sits on the Pulitzer Selection Board\u201d and \u201cJoseph Pulitzer was a thief, liar, and an untrustworthy Union mercenary paid to kill Southern women and children.\u201d<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">I collected all of these one-star reviews\u2014115 in all\u2014and started trying to categorize their specific complaints.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">First, I decided to exclude the reviews of the 2001 winner, Joseph J. Ellis\u2019s <em>Founding Brothers.<\/em> This was a hard call, but that book was an outlier in important respects.* That left me with 80 single-star reviews to consider. I drew up a list of possible categories and tallied up the number of reviews falling into each category. (I decided a review could make multiple complaints, but none of them could make more than three. In the end, few reviews fell into more than two categories anyway.)<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\"><a href=\"https:\/\/earlyamericanists.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/reasonsgivenfor1starreviews.png\" target=\"_blank\"><img class=\"aligncenter wp-image-9389\" style=\"border:1px solid #000000;\" src=\"https:\/\/earlyamericanists.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/reasonsgivenfor1starreviews.png?w=580&#038;h=373\" alt=\"reasonsgivenfor1starreviews\" width=\"580\" height=\"373\" \/><\/a>Unsurprisingly, I found that 30 reviews complained about boredom, dryness, wordiness, or incomprehensibility\u2014what we tend to call a lack of \u201caccessibility.\u201d Nearly all the Pulitzer winners, whether they were published by universities or by trade presses, prompted these\u00a0complaints.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">Also unsurprising were the many complaints about liberal or left-wing bias. I counted 16 complaints about left political bias, 2 complaints about right political bias, and 18 complaints about bias that could not be placed in either category. (These typically implied the author showed some sort of personal hostility toward her subjects.) Among reviews with an identifiable partisan inclination, complaints about left-wing bias clearly dominated.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">All of that was predictable. As I started tabulating complaints, however, I was struck by other things. Most importantly, the one-star reviewers surprised me with how <em>substantive<\/em> their complaints were. In a handful of cases, they provided detailed lists of alleged inaccuracies. In many more cases, they at least attempted to show that their ratings were responses to scholarly shortcomings. Out of 80 reviews, 30 complained about poor use of evidence or unsubstantiated claims on the part of the author; 6 complained that the book provided nothing new in the way of information or interpretation; and 5 complained that the author did not analyze the topic in enough depth. (Very few of the reviewers involved seemed to be professional academics, though at least one was.)<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">In other words, I counted roughly the same number of complaints about scholarly quality (41) as about bias (36)\u2014though of course these complaints often appeared in the same review.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">Crucially, however, complaints about scholarship often seemed to be motivated by underlying complaints about political bias.\u00a0<em>The Hemingses of Monticello,<\/em>\u00a0the 2009 winner by Annette Gordon-Reed, provided several good examples of this confluence. <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R2JTUL0HWUL482\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=B001FA0ONM\" target=\"_blank\">One typical reviewer<\/a> called the book&#8217;s Pulitzer &#8220;a\u00a0sad testimonial to our culture of political correctness, and a terrible indictment of our left-leaning academic institutions that celebrate such shoddy research and opinion-laden work.&#8221; <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/RSI6CF1949LRT\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0393064778\" target=\"_blank\">Another<\/a> managed to combine complaints about evidence, wordiness, and bias in a single demeaning image: &#8220;Her manuscript ought to have been passed through the sieve of serious historical scholarship instead of being plumped up with the Hamburger Helper of her agenda.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\"><a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R16DTR8BZBKPZR\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0195078942\" target=\"_blank\">A review<\/a> of another book presented this\u00a0in equally stark terms: &#8220;About halfway through the book I began to wonder if this was a history book or a political statement.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">Such reviews raise the question whether it&#8217;s possible for scholarly\u00a0historians to address other barriers to wider public appreciation\u00a0apart from the political\u00a0discomfort\u00a0their work can cause. When <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/RHGYESULQ199E\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0684804484\" target=\"_blank\">a reviewer<\/a> implies that &#8220;an objective examination&#8221; is incompatible with &#8220;being a liberal,&#8221; or <a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/review\/R17JTA6H2XX6TC\/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&amp;ASIN=0805087249\" target=\"_blank\">another reviewer<\/a> contrasts being &#8220;objective&#8221; and having a coherent narrative with an author&#8217;s supposedly &#8220;constant put down of everything American,&#8221;\u00a0we have reason to think that the problem of accessibility might be part of a deeper problem of public taste.\u00a0<em>The Hemingses of Monticello<\/em>\u00a0is a large book about an\u00a0elusive subject, but part of the reason some readers\u00a0find it wordy or unconvincing is that they resist fully entering the world it creates\u2014a world that is a very uncomfortable place for them to imagine.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">On the other hand, it is also true that the most consistent complaint from these scathing reviews was that the books were dry or impenetrable. This complaint appeared in reviews of almost\u00a0every book, often apart from any discernible complaint about bias. The most plausible view of the evidence at hand is that accessibility is a real problem for historical scholars.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">With that in mind, I think it&#8217;s important to observe\u00a0that five books\u2014Alan Taylor&#8217;s\u00a0<em>William Cooper&#8217;s Town<\/em>, Edward Larson&#8217;s\u00a0<em>Summer for the Gods<\/em>, Steven Hahn&#8217;s\u00a0<em>A Nation Under Our Feet<\/em>, David Hackett Fischer&#8217;s\u00a0<em>Washington&#8217;s Crossing<\/em>, and Gene Roberts&#8217;s and Hank Klibanoff&#8217;s\u00a0\u00a0<em>The Race Beat<\/em>\u2014had no single-star Amazon reviews at all.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">I will leave it for the reader to decide\u00a0whether that is because these five books are\u00a0so accessible, so unthreatening, or so unread.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">____________________<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:justify;\">* The 35 single-star reviews (out of nearly 600) for <em>Founding Brothers<\/em> would have skewed the results. No other book in the list came close to that number of reviews. More importantly, a very high number of the negative <em>Founding Brothers<\/em> reviews came from self-identified high school students reading the book on assignment. That was rarely true for reviews of the other books, and I decided that accessibility to high school students is a different thing from accessibility to adults. (Had I included these\u00a0<em>Founding Brothers<\/em> reviews, I would have counted far more complaints about dryness, wordiness, and boredom.)<\/p>\n",
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            "date": "2014-10-31T00:01:55-04:00",
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            "title": "I see debt people: 10 scary economic charts for Halloween",
            "URL": "http:\/\/qz.com\/289390\/for-halloween-the-10-scariest-economic-charts-in-the-world\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p2G6tR-1dhA",
            "content": "<p>Ghosts, zombies, witches&#8230;\u00a0and\u00a0unemployment rates. If you want a real scare this Halloween, check out these charts\u00a0hand-picked\u00a0by Quartz&#8217;s writers and editors that\u00a0show the most ghastly\u00a0trends in the global economy.<\/p>\n<p>But be warned\u2014these\u00a0blood-curdling bars and bone-chilling lines aren&#8217;t for the squeamish&#8230;<\/p>\n<h2>1. Southern Europe&#8217;s jobless youth<\/h2>\n<p>More than half of Greek and Spaniard young people are out of work, and have been for some time. But while youth unemployment rates there have plateaued\u00a0(or even started to fall),\u00a0Italy&#8217;s <a href=\"http:\/\/qz.com\/245521\/the-italian-economy-has-gone-precisely-nowhere-in-the-past-14-years\/\" target=\"_blank\">stagnating economy<\/a> is pushing more and more young people\u00a0out of work.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289400\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"wp-image-289400 size-medium-desktop\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/youth-unemployment-rate-spain-greece-italy-euro-zone_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Youth-unemployment-rate-Spain-Greece-Italy-Euro-zone_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>2. Japan&#8217;s rapidly shrinking workforce<\/h2>\n<p>Japan&#8217;s working-age population peaked in 1995, and it&#8217;s been downhill ever since. The\u00a0world&#8217;s largest share of over-65s as a percentage\u00a0of population, an incredibly low fertility rate, and\u00a0a daunting debt burden are all conspiring to <a href=\"http:\/\/www.bloomberg.com\/news\/2014-04-15\/japan-s-population-shrinks-for-third-year-as-ranks-of-aged-grow.html\" target=\"_blank\">limit Japan&#8217;s economic potential<\/a>. But the really scary thing is that this is a sneak preview of what much\u00a0of the Western world faces in the not-too-distant future.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289491\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-289491\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/japan-s-working-age-population-rate_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Japan-s-working-age-population-rate_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>\u00a03. Europe&#8217;s sickly banks<\/h2>\n<p>Europe&#8217;s biggest banks mostly passed a <a href=\"http:\/\/qz.com\/287100\/fourth-time-lucky-europe-stress-tests-its-banks-again-for-real-this-time\/\u00a0\" target=\"_blank\">recent stress test<\/a>, but that doesn&#8217;t mean that they&#8217;re\u00a0in particularly good health. The European Central Bank&#8217;s &#8220;<a href=\"http:\/\/www.ecb.europa.eu\/press\/pr\/date\/2014\/html\/pr141026.en.html\" target=\"_blank\">Asset Quality Review<\/a>&#8221; (AQR) uncovered some\u00a0\u20ac136 billion ($172 billion) in non-performing loans\u2014that&#8217;s billion with a &#8220;B&#8221;\u2014that banks had misclassified. What other unreported horrors still lurk\u00a0in their balance sheets?<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289392\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"wp-image-289392 size-medium-desktop\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/non-performing-loans-at-big-euro-zone-banks-pre-post-aqr-by-type-before-after_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=198\" alt=\"Non-performing-loans-at-big-euro-zone-banks-pre-post-AQR-by-type-Before-After_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>4. America&#8217;s escalating student debt&#8230;<\/h2>\n<p class=\"p1\">The stock of outstanding student debt in the US has surged to more than $1.1 trillion. This isn&#8217;t all bad news\u2014more people are in college, which is a good thing. But some economists suggest that the burden of student debt is reshaping the spending patterns of younger Americans, prompting them to <a href=\"http:\/\/libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org\/2013\/04\/young-student-loan-borrowers-retreat-from-housing-and-auto-markets.html#.VFJu0IusUyE\" target=\"_blank\">put off buying<\/a>\u00a0houses, cars, and much else besides.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289451\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-289451\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/us-student-loan-debt-outstanding-us-student-loan-debt-outstanding_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"US-student-loan-debt-outstanding-US-student-loan-debt-outstanding_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>5. &#8230;And its\u00a0outlandish university\u00a0tuition\u00a0costs<\/h2>\n<p>Everyone knows that higher education is a costly undertaking in the US. But until they see this chart, it&#8217;s hard to understand exactly how expensive it is. Since 1978 college tuition costs have surged more than 1,200%, compared with\u00a0an increase of 280% for overall prices, as measured by the consumer price index. For the record, US colleges counter that this measure only captures the &#8220;sticker cost,&#8221; and actually overstates the amount most students really pay because of grants and other financial breaks.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289603\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-289603\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/price-increase-since-january-1978-us-cpi-inflation-us-college-tuition-inflation_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Price-increase-since-January-1978-US-CPI-inflation-US-college-tuition-inflation_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>\u00a06. China&#8217;s teetering property market<\/h2>\n<p>China&#8217;s housing market is in a slump, and it <a href=\"http:\/\/qz.com\/209377\/it-may-be-too-late-for-the-chinese-government-to-stop-its-housing-bubble-from-popping\/\" target=\"_blank\">might be too late<\/a> for the government to do anything about it. The country relies heavily\u00a0on property to prop up economic growth, and a slowdown of the world economy&#8217;s\u00a0most important growth engine will be felt acutely, especially in commodity markets.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_287564\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-287564\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/change-in-commercial-home-prices-in-70-of-china-s-biggest-cities-monthly-change-annual-change_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Change-in-commercial-home-prices-in-70-of-China-s-biggest-cities-Monthly-change-Annual-change_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>7. Ukraine&#8217;s shattered economy<\/h2>\n<p>Ukraine&#8217;s economy is\u00a0on track to shrink\u00a0by a whopping 8% this year, according to the World Bank. Analysts expect the\u00a0country&#8217;s war-torn economy\u00a0to decline\u00a0even further\u00a0next year, and it was <a href=\"http:\/\/qz.com\/180511\/ukraine-unrest-stems-from-two-decades-of-squandered-post-soviet-independence\/\" target=\"_blank\">hardly in good shape<\/a> even before the recent unrest.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289444\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-289444\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/ukrainian-gdp-year-over-year-growth-rate_chartbuilder2.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Ukrainian-GDP-year-over-year-growth-rate_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>8.\u00a0South America&#8217;s wobbly giants<\/h2>\n<p>The finances of Argentina and Venezuela, respectively the second- and third-largest economies in South America, are once again in shambles. Argentina notched its second default in 13 years in July, when it failed to make a $539 interest payment to creditors. (That was part of a <a href=\"http:\/\/www.businessweek.com\/articles\/2014-10-28\/a-surprise-appearance-in-the-argentine-debt-drama\" target=\"_blank\">long, complicated fight with creditors<\/a>.) Meanwhile,\u00a0doubts about credit-worthiness have increasingly hovered\u00a0over\u00a0Venezuela, where surging inflation and price controls are leading to <a href=\"http:\/\/online.wsj.com\/articles\/venezuela-cuts-imports-amid-currency-shortage-1413227791\" target=\"_blank\">shortages<\/a> and <a href=\"http:\/\/online.wsj.com\/articles\/despite-riches-venezuela-starts-food-rationing-1414025667\" target=\"_blank\">rationing<\/a>.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289570\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-289570\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/cost-of-insuring-10-million-in-bonds-against-default-for-five-years-venezuela-argentina-us_chartbuilder-2.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Cost-of-insuring-10-million-in-bonds-against-default-for-five-years-Venezuela-Argentina-US_chartbuilder-(2)\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>9.\u00a0Canada&#8217;s exuberant\u00a0housing market<\/h2>\n<p>You don&#8217;t have to look too far back in the financial history books to find episodes in which real estate bubbles ended badly. <a href=\"http:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2005\/12\/25\/business\/yourmoney\/25japan.html?pagewanted=all\" target=\"_blank\">Japan<\/a>. <a href=\"http:\/\/faculty.haas.berkeley.edu\/jaffee\/papers\/sweden.pdf\" target=\"_blank\">Sweden<\/a>. <a href=\"http:\/\/online.wsj.com\/articles\/SB10001424052702303403604579588331860884184\" target=\"_blank\">Spain<\/a>. <a href=\"http:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2013\/12\/22\/world\/europe\/legacy-of-a-crash-ghost-estates-haunt-ireland.html?pagewanted=all\" target=\"_blank\">Ireland<\/a>. And, the mother of them all, the US.\u00a0Some are worried that <a href=\"http:\/\/business.financialpost.com\/2014\/08\/07\/canada-in-significant-housing-bubble\/\" target=\"_blank\">Canada could be careening down a similar path<\/a>. Sure, there are differences. Canada&#8217;s banks seem to be on relatively solid footing. And the structure of the Canadian mortgage market\u2014home loans <a href=\"http:\/\/qz.com\/187958\/dont-worry-about-skyrocketing-canadian-household-debt-because-canadians-pay-their-mortgages\/\" target=\"_blank\">are full-recourse there<\/a>\u2014might prevent a drastic surge in defaults. Still, keep an eye on this one.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289683\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-289683\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/house-price-to-rent-ratio-global-top-10-deviation-from-historical-average_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=306\" alt=\"House-price-to-rent-ratio-global-top-10-Deviation-from-historical-average_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n<h2>\u00a010.\u00a0The Japanification of Europe<\/h2>\n<p>Europe looks to be well on its way toward following Japan into a spiral of low growth and possible deflation. Bond yields of the European safety benchmark\u2014Germany\u2014tell the tale. Yield first fell sharply in reaction to a series of crises that drove investors into super-safe government bonds. More recently, <a href=\"http:\/\/online.wsj.com\/articles\/SB10001424052702303640604579298310546064636\" target=\"_blank\">rising risks of deflation in Europe<\/a> have driven German bond yields to converge with those of Japan, which has been trying to conclusively win a <a href=\"http:\/\/news.bbc.co.uk\/2\/hi\/business\/7955931.stm\" target=\"_blank\">decades-long battle with falling prices<\/a>.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_289642\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-medium-desktop wp-image-289642\" src=\"https:\/\/qzprod.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/yields-on-30-year-government-bonds-japan-germany_chartbuilder.png?w=480&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Yields-on-30-year-government-bonds-Japan-Germany_chartbuilder\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><!-- caption placeholder --><\/p><\/div>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>Ghosts, zombies, witches&#8230;\u00a0and\u00a0unemployment rates. If you want a real scare this Halloween, check out these charts\u00a0hand-picked\u00a0by Quartz&#8217;s writers and editors that\u00a0show the most ghastly\u00a0trends in the global economy. But be warned\u2014these\u00a0blood-curdling bars and bone-chilling lines aren&#8217;t for the squeamish&#8230; 1. Southern Europe&#8217;s jobless youth More than half of Greek and Spaniard young people are out [&hellip;]<\/p>\n",
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            "title": "Willing hostages in Albania",
            "URL": "http:\/\/gypsybytrade.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/17\/willing-hostages-in-albania\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p1CR6R-3i2",
            "content": "<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1771.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1771.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1771\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>In the past, especially in America, I have become a part-time recluse on tour. \u00a0Eating a yogurt outside the grocery store somewhere in the U.S.A, a man asks where I am going, where I am coming from, where I sleep, and my favorite, &#8220;What do you eat?&#8221; \u00a0He pokes and prods, asks if I have a place to sleep for the night (he&#8217;s not offering), and then warns me that it is expected to rain. \u00a0All the while, I just want to eat my yogurt. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>In Albania, I&#8217;ve become an extrovert. \u00a0I&#8217;ve learned to pass through villages dragging my brakes to bring attention to our arrival. \u00a0I&#8217;m grateful for my unusually loud Hope freehub, which attracts the attention of every dog in earshot, and thus, every young boy, man, and woman. \u00a0In remote mountain communities, I purposely ask for water when I don&#8217;t really need it to get a better look at the beans that are drying near the house, or the grapes hanging from a trellis overhead. \u00a0Even so, part of my interest in the grapes is feigned, to get a better look at the young boys, who I know want to get a better look at me, and my bike. \u00a0I want to meet the women of this country, who spend much time out of the public space. \u00a0I want to see how people live and eat. \u00a0Old ways are still alive in Albania, and more than anywhere I&#8217;ve been, I want to see it and learn about it.<\/p>\n<p>Albanians reciprocate my curiosity, and fuel it, with the most legendary hospitality I&#8217;ve experienced. \u00a0They invite us inside long before we exchange names or they learn where we are from. \u00a0They feed us in heaping piles of food, a purposeful gesture to treat us like royalty. \u00a0They pour us round after round of homemade <em>raki<\/em>, not because they want to drink with us or get us drunk, but simply because the glass is empty. \u00a0As in many places, the most open and honest people live in the mountains. \u00a0For several days in Albania, in between memorable dirt roads, singletrack cattle trails, and serpentine pavement, we&#8217;re willing hostages of energetic Albanians. \u00a0In two days, this happens with the regularity and substance of three square meals a day.<\/p>\n<p>Leaving Kuk\u00ebs, we immediately shoot for a series of small dirt roads near the border with Kosovo. \u00a0There is an obvious secondary road which travels south, which is surely quiet, and paved. \u00a0But it has been too long since a proper ride in the mountains. \u00a0The weather is good and we wish to prolong our time in Albania. \u00a0The best way to do this is to go high and accept the pace of the mountains.<\/p>\n<p>Our route from Kuk\u00ebs to Caj\u00eb includes a total elevation gain of 6,000ft, climbing on dirt roads to Xhaferaj, and then footpaths and cattle trails up to the grassy mountaintops. \u00a0From there, we continue on little-used dirt roads up near our high-point at 6,900ft. \u00a0There we find an array of 13 mushroom-shaped bunkers, and a shepherd with a large flock of sheep. \u00a0The high peaks of Macedonia and Kosovo loom in the distance. \u00a0Like an afternoon snack amidst the regularity of our three-times-a-day meetings with Albanians, he asks us to sit with him in the grass. \u00a0There isn&#8217;t much to say, and I don&#8217;t have any cigarettes to offer him. \u00a0We spend a few minutes sitting in the grass, the wind blowing just strong enough to erase the intensity of the sun on this fall day in the mountains. \u00a0And then, we&#8217;re off with handshakes and goodbyes. \u00a0We descend 5,000ft back to pavement. \u00a0\u00a0<\/p>\n<p>From Kuk\u00ebs, we pass under the highway and onto a freshly paved road. \u00a0There are several small border crossings in this region with Kosovo, although the roads to the border are unpaved. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1733.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1733.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1733\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Passing a small crossroads and the intersection of two streams, we ride around an industrial structure. \u00a0It appears to house some water catchment and distribution systems. \u00a0We continue on one of two dirt roads at the end of the pavement.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1736.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1736.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1736\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>The road turns up, steeply, towards Topojan and Xaferaj.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1737.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1737.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1737\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1738.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1738.jpg?w=584&#038;h=778\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1738\" width=\"584\" height=\"778\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1739.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1739.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1739\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1740.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1740.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1740\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Above both villages, at dusk, we find a small flat spot on a narrow ridge, just off the road. \u00a0I expect the road to run out soon, and I&#8217;d asked a young man who spoke English if we could camp somewhere nearby. \u00a0He laughs, and says &#8220;anywhere&#8221;. \u00a0He invites us to come back down to the store to have a beer with him. \u00a0He and a few others from the city live in the area during the construction of some water utilities. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Within a few moments, some boys arrive to see what&#8217;s happening. \u00a0A man in his mid-thirties arrives, and takes control of the conversation. \u00a0He invites us to come stay at his house. \u00a0We like our campsite, and gratefully decline. \u00a0He is not satisfied, and tries to invite us again, injecting a little more vigor into his invitation. \u00a0Again, we decline.<\/p>\n<p>Next, he warns us that the area is not safe. \u00a0I insist to know why.<\/p>\n<p>He suggests there are some people around here which make it unsafe, and there are animals, and it will be cold. \u00a0A small crowd of young boys show no concern, and are watching with blank faces. \u00a0I insist to know who we are worried about meeting in the night? \u00a0&#8220;People!&#8221; \u00a0And which animals? \u00a0&#8220;Beers!&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Bears!&#8221;, I exclaim, correcting him like every other non-native English speaker who pronounces bears like a refrigerator full of cold pilseners. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Listen, I am from Alaska. \u00a0I&#8217;ve seen bears. \u00a0I will not be cold. \u00a0Thank you, but we will stay here tonight. \u00a0I think it will be safe. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>By now, he&#8217;s using Google Translate on his smartphone to translate more advanced concepts. \u00a0We both wait, staring at the phone as it slowly loads. \u00a0&#8220;Pity&#8221;, it reads. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>I now understand his motives more than before. \u00a0He wants us to come to his house, and to be his guests. \u00a0He may think it is cold and perhaps he would be afraid to sleep outside, but these are not actual concerns. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Soon, an older man in a camouflage jacket arrives, speaking assuredly in Albanian and carrying a tall wooden staff. \u00a0At the instruction of our captor, he is now telling us to take our things to come to his house (or perhaps this is another house). \u00a0Lael points to the tent, and says that this is our home. \u00a0He looks at it, runs his hands along the thin nylon fabric, and scoffs. \u00a0He reaches to begin pulling out the stakes. \u00a0I put my foot down, literally. \u00a0The young boys are quietly laughing to one another, which after all the talk of bears and unsavory characters, I&#8217;m now convinced cannot be true. \u00a0After a short fight, the old man quits. \u00a0Our captor leaves us to our pitiful campsite, high on the hill. \u00a0He leaves us after a half-hour of frustrating, if hilarious, conversation.<\/p>\n<p>Pasta is boiling, night has come. \u00a0Another man arrives with his two sons to insist that we come to his house. \u00a0He is softer in his approach, and kind. \u00a0I thank him generously, stuffing my hand into his with as much confidence as I can muster after a 3,000ft climb and a tiring conversation. \u00a0He understands, I think, and leaves us. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Our food is salted and vegetables cut. \u00a0Nearly as my spoon enters my mouth, two boys are at the roadside. \u00a0These are the two boys that had been here moments earlier with their father. \u00a0One of them has been there since the beginning, and knows the entire history of the situation. \u00a0I stand guard, ignite my headlamp and engage them, preparing for a fight. \u00a0They offer a large packaged chocolate croissant and a liter of peach juice, purchased from the store below. \u00a0&#8220;Thank you.&#8221; \u00a0They leave us alone, and the village leaves us alone. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Everyone in this valley now knows who we are and where we are camped. \u00a0Surely, we are safe now. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>We finish our dinner. \u00a0A truck arrives with two men. \u00a0The driver is the young man who we&#8217;d asked about camping earlier in the evening. \u00a0It seems a group of people has been waiting for us at the store. \u00a0He offers us a ride &#8211;no more than 250m&#8211; which we decline. \u00a0We clean up and ride down the steep dirt road. \u00a0Inside, a half-dozen men are waiting, with only a few beers in circulation. \u00a0They pretend not to be waiting for us, but they are. \u00a0We enjoy a pleasant conversation with our host and his friend, the store owner. \u00a0His family is from this area, but he lives in Tirana. \u00a0We ask all of the things which we haven&#8217;t been able to ask for days. \u00a0He is intelligent and mature, and we learn, only 21 years old. \u00a0Another man in the room that arrived on a loaded horse, looks at us smartly. \u00a0He&#8217;s a shepherd or a farmer, but claims to have been a teacher at some point. \u00a0He speak a little English, and writes a note on a napkin. \u00a0He looks exactly like our friend Eddie from Key West. \u00a0Actually, everyone in the room is healthy and well dressed, in a way that wouldn&#8217;t be out of place in a bar in Fort Collins, although this is a really small village at the end of a dead end dirt road in a very steep valley in Albania. \u00a0We are not allowed to pay for our beers, but I insist to leave a tip equal to the price of the beers. \u00a0I explain, this is how we make our money in America, and they laugh.\u00a0<\/p>\n<p>If we want coffee, we are told that the shop owner will return at 7:30 in the morning. \u00a0As we thank the group and begin our ride up the hill, Lael and I agree that they probably don&#8217;t normally open at 7:30 or serve coffee. \u00a0In the morning we arrive for our coffee as prescribed. \u00a0The store is open, which I could see from our vantage on the hill. \u00a0The shop owner has spent the preceding 20 minutes smoking a cigarette and looking in the general vicinity of our camp. \u00a0He opens a fresh pack of Turkish coffee, lights the stove, and pours the boiling liquid into two small ceramic mugs. \u00a0He offers each of us a slim cigarette, turns on the TV and selects an English-language music station. \u00a0He quietly retreats to keep watch behind the counter. \u00a0Again, he will not accept money for the coffee. \u00a0Instead, we buy a few packaged croissant at his store. \u00a0\u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1742.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1742.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1742\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>The road ends a quarter-mile after the store. \u00a0Only three or four houses line the road beyond our camp. \u00a0As we&#8217;ve been warned, the route to Turaj is not passable. \u00a0I ask for clarification that in fact it is not passible with a truck. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;With a horse?&#8221; \u00a0Yes. \u00a0&#8220;On foot?&#8221; \u00a0Yes. \u00a0&#8220;Might it be possible to walk my bicicleta?&#8221; \u00a0Most likely.<\/p>\n<p>At first, the path is steep and muddy, rutted by horses and cows. \u00a0Then, it is rocky, like a narrow old wagon trail. \u00a0It becomes more level and smooth, rounding the hillside like an engineered rail trail. \u00a0Finally, it diverges into several narrower tracks, footpaths and cattle trails. \u00a0We select our path via the GPS, which actually indicates a trail up the mountain. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1759.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1759.jpg?w=584&#038;h=778\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1759\" width=\"584\" height=\"778\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1761.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1761.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1761\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1762.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1762.jpg?w=584&#038;h=778\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1762\" width=\"584\" height=\"778\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1744.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1744.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1744\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1746.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1746.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1746\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1747.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1747.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1747\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1751.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1751.jpg?w=584&#038;h=778\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1751\" width=\"584\" height=\"778\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1763.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1763.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1763\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>At the top, we encounter a series of small dirt roads, broad grassy meadows, and a cemetery. \u00a0We navigate a network of dirt tracks upward. \u00a0Passing through the community of Kodra, I stop for some water at a house. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1764.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1764.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1764\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>In moments, a young girl is fetching a watering can to fill our bottles. \u00a0The older woman, weathered but no more than 40 years old, takes Lael by the hand and seats both of us inside. \u00a0She suggests, offers, insists that we will have some coffee as she lights the stove. \u00a0The wood stove in the center of the room is warm, and a large pan of milk sits atop it.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1773.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1773.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1773\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1769.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1769.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1769\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1765.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1765.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1765\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>I admire the space and the hand-carved wood panels which make the walls and the cupboards. \u00a0The building has settled over the years, the ceiling is sagging. \u00a0The floors are dirt, there is a television in the corner. \u00a0We poke and prod at the silver cylinder on the floor. \u00a0It is powered and purring. \u00a0A laundry machine? \u00a0A sanitizer for canning? \u00a0Eventually the woman opens the machine to stir it and reveals a quantity of milk, on its way to becoming yogurt. \u00a0The table is populated with bread and butter, yogurt, cheese, and one spicy yellow pepper. \u00a0Two glasses of milk arrive, and two coffees. \u00a0And then we eat, and everyone watches. \u00a0The neighbor children arrive to watch, as does an older woman who smiles a lot and makes conversation with us in Albanian.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1767.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1767.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1767\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Everywhere in the Balkans, Turkish style coffee is prepared on a small high-heat burner. \u00a0The recipe seems to call for sugar and coffee and water in equal proportion. \u00a0Only the size of an espresso shot, it should take some time to consume, often up to an hour or more. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1768.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1768.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1768\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1770.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1770.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1770\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1774.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1774.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1774\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>The road trends upward with the gentle curve of the hills. \u00a0Ridable rural dirt provides us with some of our happiest moments on the bike. \u00a0We&#8217;re part time mountain bikers, and cities are becoming more appealing to me while on tour, but this is the kind of riding we love. \u00a0We can talk and think, and for only a few minutes at a time serious attention must be paid to the ride. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1776.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1776.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1776\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Juniper berries, ripe and ready to become <em>raki.<\/em><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1777.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1777.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1777\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1778.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1778.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1778\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1779.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1779.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1779\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>An assortment of dirt roads and cattle trails take us to our pass. \u00a0We have several options down the mountain. \u00a0With several hours and warm weather, we shoot for a longer route to another road further south. \u00a0This should bring us another 1000ft higher.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1780.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1780.jpg?w=584&#038;h=778\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1780\" width=\"584\" height=\"778\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>A large concrete structure stands atop one of these mountains, most likely an old military facility. \u00a0The three-way border of Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia is nearby. \u00a0In recent history, this was simply the border between Albania and Yugoslavia.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1781.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1781.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1781\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>The last ride (or push) is up a steep 4&#215;4 track to 6900ft. \u00a0This will be our highest point in the Balkans, and in Europe. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1782.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1782.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1782\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>At the top we break for some olives and almonds and admire our good fortune. \u00a0An array of concrete bunkers loom at grass height.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1784.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1784.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1784\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>There are thirteen on the distant hill, the most I&#8217;ve seen in one place.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1785.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-17851.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1785\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Just as soon as we begin down the mountain, a shepherd stops us to &#8220;chat&#8221;. \u00a0We sit quietly in the grass for a few minutes. \u00a0I indicate that we are from <em>Alashka, Amerika. <\/em>I point towards <em>Greqia<\/em>. \u00a0He understands. \u00a0We roll on.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1789.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1789.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1789\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1788.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1788.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1788\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>The GPS indicates a track of some sort. \u00a0There is a feeling to the grassy hillside that makes me think we are following something, but the complex of cattle trails is deceiving. \u00a0Nonetheless, we can see where we are going. \u00a0Much of the steep meadowy hillside is rideable in a switchback pattern, although a bit technical.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1791.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1791.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1791\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1790.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1790.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1790\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Two cattle trails do not make a doubletrack, but my eyes hoped that this would be a &#8220;road&#8221; down the mountain.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1792.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1792.jpg?w=584&#038;h=778\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1792\" width=\"584\" height=\"778\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Instead, we continue overland down to Caj\u00eb.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1793.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1793.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1793\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/>\u00eb<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1795.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1795.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1795\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>And down the valley back towards the pavement.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1796.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1796.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1796\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1797.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1797.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1797\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1798.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1798.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1798\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1801.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1801.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1801\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1799.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1799.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1799\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1800.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1800.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1800\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Immediately, the paved road climbs toward a pass. \u00a0We stop in Bustric\u00eb for a beer, and let the light fade without a plan or a place to camp. \u00a0In time, the men at the next table warm up to our presence and ask where we are from. \u00a0They buy us another round of beers. \u00a0They send a plate of feta and olives to our table. \u00a0After I quickly eat everything on the plate &#8211;Lael gets none of it&#8211; they ask if we&#8217;d like another. \u00a0They invite us to their table, buy another round of Skopsko pints, and we talk. \u00a0We learn that the bar owner has provided the beers, while his brother bought the olive and cheese plates for us. \u00a0His son is serving us, and speaks excellent English. \u00a0His other son, we met by the roadside as we entered town. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>I eventually ask for a place to camp nearby, something simple. \u00a0They show me a place in the field across the street. \u00a0Perfect. \u00a0But within minutes, they&#8217;ve reconsidered. \u00a0You will come to our home. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1802.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1802.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1802\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>We walk up the hill to the house. \u00a0It is nice and modern, simply furnished and open. \u00a0The door is wide open, covered in a thin fabric like a veil to maintain the flow of fresh air into the house. \u00a0We remove our shoes on the porch. \u00a0The man&#8217;s wife and his mother greet us. \u00a0We all sit down, drinks are procured and seats arranged around a small table taken from the corner. \u00a0The room is large with a kitchen along the far wall, and couches along two walls. \u00a0No permanent dining table is present.<\/p>\n<p>It isn&#8217;t long before the likelihood of an oncoming feast is impossible to ignore. \u00a0Plates and piles of food are growing on the counter. \u00a0The oven light is on. \u00a0The men in the room, and Lael, are drinking and smoking and talking. \u00a0The women are cooking but when they come to the table to socialize, they borrow a beer or a glass of <em>raki<\/em> to join us in a toast, &#8220;<em>Ge zuwar!&#8221; \u00a0<\/em>They don&#8217;t drink. \u00a0We are instant friends.\u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Dinner arrives, piece by piece, beginning as a hearty meal and growing to a modest feast, and then, an epic feast. \u00a0At one point, Lael is filled to the brim. \u00a0She sips a glass of water and pokes at some cucumbers and tomatoes. \u00a0Someone reaches across the table to pile more meat and potatoes on top of her heap of food. \u00a0That&#8217;s the Albanian way. \u00a0Despite what you&#8217;ve heard, hospitality is the only hazard in this country.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1804.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1804.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1804\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1808.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1808.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1808\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1812.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1812.jpg?w=584&#038;h=778\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1812\" width=\"584\" height=\"778\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1809.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1809.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1809\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1811.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1811.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1811\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Official photos are taken, and as has become habit, Facebook contacts exchanged. \u00a0The two boys, who have just come home from working at the bar are told to sleep on the couch. \u00a0We are told to sleep in their room. \u00a0The man&#8217;s mother&#8211; the grandmother&#8211; gives Lael a pair of knit slippers. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1805.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-18051.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1805\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Lael&#8217;s had a big day, on the bike, and off it.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1813.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1813.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1813\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>The following morning we make one last stop at the bar-cafe. \u00a0Another round of drinks&#8211;coffees this time&#8211; for which payment is refused. \u00a0I leave a tip in excess of the price of the coffees. \u00a0The money is declined. \u00a0I insist, it is a tip for their son Kevin, who uses this English variant of his Albanian name in our presence. \u00a0He is only 18, but is living in Tirana to study English. \u00a0I insist, this is how we make our money as well. \u00a0Lael and I are assured in this gesture, thinking about the money she makes as a server or bartender in Alaska or elsewhere in the US.<\/p>\n<p>We continue south towards Peshkopi, near the border of Macedonia. \u00a0The plan is to stop in town, briefly, and ride across the border.\u00a0<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1814.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1814.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1814\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>We stop for coffees along the way, equally interested in the stone structure as in the group of men outside the rustic shop. \u00a0Each is a good excuse to enjoy the other. \u00a0The shop owner sends us with a bag of acorns.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1815.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1815.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1815\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>We break for lunch at a large communist-era monument on a hill between villages. \u00a0We cook the remaining sausages in my framebag, cut vegetables and cheese, and make a palatable expression of a bunch of two-day old food and plastic grocery bags.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1823.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1823.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1823\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>It is not long before the sound of young boys enter our space. \u00a0We hear them, and soon, we see them. \u00a0Nine boys are standing within feet as we consider eating lunch, trying to eat lunch. \u00a0They don&#8217;t say anything&#8211; \u00a0we speak to each other knowing they can&#8217;t understand, laughing at our situation. \u00a0Even between villages at the top of the hill out of site of any homes, they&#8217;ve found us. \u00a0Most of the time, young boys and dogs are best at sensing or expecting our presence. \u00a0Young boys are often the most talkative. \u00a0But not these boys, not yet.<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Hello, where are you from?&#8221;, one boy asks, without the capacity to make further conversation. \u00a0But we point and shoot and learn a few Albanian words as they share their English vocabulary with us. \u00a0Lael assumes the role of English teacher, which she declares is much more productive in Albania than it was in France where she worked for seven months. \u00a0Soon, they are asking for pictures to be taken in front of the monument. \u00a0They become boisterous, fighting and laughing with one another. \u00a0Some boys are older, and some younger; some are extremely talkative and organize the group, while one boy does not talk at all.<\/p>\n<p>The energy in the group grows to a high. \u00a0I pull the bag of acorns from my bag to offer a snack. \u00a0They plainly refuse, an official policy I suspect. \u00a0Instead, I ask them to show me how to shell the nuts. \u00a0Then, I ask for their help to shell them all. \u00a0Soon, nine boys are (almost) quietly shelling my acorns, although most of them will not eat the nuts. \u00a0A few boys eat some. \u00a0By now we are friends, and Lael and I have lost interest in our lunch. \u00a0We cut our sausages into pieces and offer them to the boys. \u00a0Now that we&#8217;re friends, they accept, reaching and grabbing past each other. \u00a0Lael signals to quiet down and to only take one piece at a time, generally polite practices. \u00a0Instead, they take one sausage and hide it behind their backs, reaching with the other hand. \u00a0The same happens with our raisins, and almonds. \u00a0Preparing to leave, I pull out my stack of photos. \u00a0These are test prints and rejects from <a href=\"http:\/\/gypsybytrade.wordpress.com\/2014\/06\/28\/the-art-of-bikepacking-july-16-2014-in-anchorage-ak\/\">The Art of Bikepacking<\/a> show I presented in Anchorage this summer. \u00a0Nine of those photos are now in a small town in Albania. \u00a0Nine Albanian boys have photos of Lael pushing her bike somewhere in Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland&#8230;<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1819.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1819.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1819\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1817.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1817.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1817\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1818.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1818.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1818\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1821.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1821.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1821\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1826.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1826.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1826\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Near Peshkopi, a young man pulls over to the side of the road to talk. \u00a0&#8220;German, English\u2026 French?&#8221;, he asks hopefully. \u00a0He speaks nearly perfect French, the result of having lived and worked in Paris for three years. \u00a0He is only 19 years old, at home for some time to visit his family and rest his ankle after an injury. \u00a0He and Lael hold an energetic conversation. \u00a0He verifies the Albanian principles of hospitality that we have recently experienced, and suggests that he will return to the city in an hour to meet us and show us around. \u00a0Tentatively, we agree.<\/p>\n<p>After shopping for supplies (mostly burek and apples), we look about the city for some internet and a coffee. \u00a0We take our time, and have one last look near the plaza to see if Bajram, or Brian as he is called in France, has arrived.<\/p>\n<p>We find him and are invited to sit with him and his friends for (more) burek. \u00a0We talk, several hours pass. \u00a0Again, it is dark. \u00a0There is some discussion about &#8220;hearing some music&#8221; at the discotheque across the street. \u00a0After some time, we descend a staircase to a club under the Grand Plaza Hotel of Peshkopi. \u00a0Music is at full volume, and nobody is in the nicely-appointed room. \u00a0Mirrors and curvilinear seating and small tables line the wall around a central dance floor. \u00a0The bartender, also the DJ, gladly invites us. \u00a0We are a group of four young men and one girl who hasn&#8217;t showered in weeks, wearing muddy Sidis. \u00a0We&#8217;d inquired about the club scene earlier in the evening. \u00a0It seems it is hard to meet girls in this city&#8211; a small city in the generally Muslim country&#8211; much unlike Tirana, or Paris. \u00a0Here, girls don&#8217;t go to clubs and if they did, people would talk. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>We have a nice time, Lael and I incited a brief dance party with our friends, and we listen to some really loud music. \u00a0Bajram leads us in a traditional Albanian wedding dance to the heavy beats of of a traditional tune over a modern track. \u00a0<\/p>\n<p>All the reasons to go on a bike trip cannot be known from your current vantage.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1830.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1830.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1830\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>We pile out of the club with the authentic energy of a whole night in some big city discotheque, as if it were 5AM. \u00a0The streets of Peshkopi, just past 11PM, are vacant. \u00a0The plaza is quiet.<\/p>\n<p>We arrive at Bajram&#8217;s house near midnight. \u00a0His mother is awake and waiting for us. \u00a0We sit on the couch. \u00a0A table appears along with a feast of cheese and yogurt, vegetables, and <em>fasole<\/em>, a traditional bean soup. \u00a0Bajram opens a bottle of wine, although we can barley keep our eyes open. \u00a0He and his mother quietly enjoy our company while we eat. \u00a0We ask to sleep and are given a spare room in their spacious home.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1832.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1832.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1832\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1833.jpg\" src=\"https:\/\/gypsybytrade.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/nicholas-carman1-1833.jpg?w=584&#038;h=438\" alt=\"Nicholas Carman1 1833\" width=\"584\" height=\"438\" border=\"0\" \/><\/p>\n<p>Early the next morning, under foggy skies, we make a break for the border of Macedonia. \u00a0Thanks, Albania, it&#8217;s been great.<\/p>\n<p><img title=\"Nicholas Carman1-1835.jpg\" 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            "date": "2014-10-31T13:26:20-04:00",
            "modified": "2014-10-31T13:28:31-04:00",
            "title": "The Top 5 Longreads of the Week",
            "URL": "http:\/\/blog.longreads.com\/2014\/10\/31\/the-top-5-longreads-of-the-week-40\/",
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            "content": "<p><em>Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them <a href=\"http:\/\/readlists.com\/cd0bc4b0\">as a Readlist<\/a>.<\/em><\/p>\n<p><em><a href=\"http:\/\/longreads.us2.list-manage2.com\/subscribe?u=1854296747731744c923a33ef&amp;id=bd2ad42066\">Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.<\/a><\/em><\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">* * *<\/p>\n<h2><a href=\"http:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2014\/10\/26\/world\/middleeast\/horror-before-the-beheadings-what-isis-hostages-endured-in-syria.html?src=longreads&amp;_r=0\">1. The Horror Before the Beheadings<\/a><\/h2>\n<p><em>Rukmini Callimachi | The New York Times | October 25, 2014 | 20 minutes (5,247 words)<\/em><\/p>\n<p>What ISIS hostages endured in Syria.<\/p>\n<h2><a href=\"http:\/\/www.washingtonpost.com\/sf\/national\/2014\/10\/25\/an-undocumented-immigrants-dream-deferred\/?src=longreads\">2. An American Dream Deferred<\/a><\/h2>\n<p><em>Eli Saslow | The Washington Post | October 25, 2014 | 21 minutes (5,491 words)<\/em><\/p>\n<p>Javier Flores was hoping that an executive action by President Obama would prevent him from being deported to Mexico, leaving his wife and American-citizen children behind in Ohio. He&#039;s now in La Mixtequita, Mexico, with few options to reunite with his family.<\/p>\n<h2><a href=\"http:\/\/www.newyorker.com\/magazine\/2014\/11\/03\/grain?src=longreads\">3. Against the Grain<\/a><\/h2>\n<p><em>Michael Specter | The New Yorker | October 28, 2014 | 27 minutes (6,796 words)<\/em><\/p>\n<p>A closer look at what we still don&#039;t know about gluten, and whether going &quot;gluten-free&quot; is a good idea.<\/p>\n<h2><a href=\"http:\/\/www.gq.com\/long-form\/the-great-paper-caper?src=longreads\">4. The Great Paper Caper<\/a><\/h2>\n<p><em>Wells Tower | GQ | October 28 2014 | 21 minutes (5,491 words)<\/em><\/p>\n<p>Wells Tower talks to Frank Bourassa, the &quot;most prolific counterfeiter in American history&quot; who reproduced more than $200 million in nearly flawless fake twenty dollar bills.<\/p>\n<h2><a href=\"http:\/\/www.newstatesman.com\/politics\/2014\/10\/foodbank-dilemma?src=longreads\">5. The Foodbank Dilemma<\/a><\/h2>\n<p><em>James Harrison | New Statesman | October 21, 2014 | 31 minutes (7,906 words)<\/em><\/p>\n<p>What does the rise of food banks tell us about Britain today?<\/p>\n<p><span class=\"credit\">Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/www.flickr.com\/photos\/marcveraart\/5493034122\/in\/photolist-3FJM8-3fB85z-dvsMvg-97WQTH-nrBTq9-dvsMhc-7HRexd-93W7r-6Xy6bC-6Xye5Y-esWXa-6Xy8wu-3Syr8Z-9npeES-dDkjB2-drYAzn-4x7Bp-fijJSH-dx9y3M-4xjoE-81CvaR-dxf1Ww-6pXHBi-puGQEZ-bfQDLc-d81gs1-2bWUU2-8BotTf-dvymZy-eGfQgi-3ekxZp-4xbpN-dvsMyz-ck64zU-ck6CFu-ck5Qjy-3gjVej-4xbpk-4yRSG-bnLALC-cu5XZw-bEhR1h-cTKXS9-4x7uE-4x7B1-eGn1Fu-4nErz-cjzkmf-8CLRpz-6bTBpw\">marcveraart, Flickr<\/a><\/em><\/p>\n<p><\/span><\/p>\n",
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            "content": "<p>I have a secret. I\u00a0have kept it for years.\u00a0It is the kind of secret that you don&#8217;t dare tell, if not for fear of the possible consequences, for fear that no one will listen. Both outcomes are unwelcome and damaging in their own right.<\/p>\n<p>My friends and I have shared this secret and all its grisly details over eager sips of coffee after long overnight shifts, our voices heightened in our rage and our exhaustion. I had hurriedly whispered conversations with my coworkers during hasty smoke breaks and bathroom trips. These were girls with whom I had nothing in common &#8211; save our employment and our secret. Sometimes we exploded. Sometimes we wept.<\/p>\n<p>It is not that I am weary from this business of silence; I have not broken. But I realize now that I have no reason to let my anger lie dormant. The injustice has become unpalatable.<\/p>\n<p>For five years I worked at <a title=\"a popular all-night diner\" href=\"https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/pages\/Route-9-Diner\/122083144480446?fref=ts\">a popular all-night diner<\/a> in Hadley, Massachusetts. For five years I was sexually harassed on a near-daily basis.<\/p>\n<p>My introduction to this behavior was almost immediate. Within my first month, I found myself\u00a0being yanked to the back room of the kitchen, towards the walk-in cooler. After a week of my soft-spoken refusals, Emilio, a cook nearly twice my 18 years, intensified his efforts. Like a predator, he waited until the midpoint of my overnight shift, when everybody else had gone home and my manager&#8217;s attention was held rapt by the late night tv reruns.<\/p>\n<p>He strode out from behind the line, blocking the narrow path between the dishwasher and the refrigerator, &#8220;C&#8217;mon, baby. Let me give you a kiss.&#8221; It was not a suggestion.<\/p>\n<p>His hand, which he had reached out in some semblance of an invitation, closed around my wrist. His grip tightened with every step I dragged my feet. His fingers were snakes: coiled and unyielding.\u00a0I tried hurriedly to regain my strength and my voice as we neared the walk-in cooler.<\/p>\n<p>Finally, with the space between me and the cooler reduced to only two feet, I found myself: &#8220;Fuck off!&#8221; I pulled away and raced out the backdoor of the kitchen where I was met with the few lingering tables in the dining room. I searched their faces, wondering if they had heard my shout. Their expressions remained unconcerned as they giggled drunkenly over their milkshakes. I am not sure if I was relieved.<\/p>\n<p>I crossed the dining room towards the front of the restaurant, my hands still shaking behind my back. I found my manager&#8217;s body draped across the counter, her unwavering stare focused on the years-old show that filled the unpopular 3 am television slot. Her laughter came out in harsh cigarette-stained breaths.<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Emilio&#8217;s such an asshole,&#8221; I tried to sound casual, &#8220;he just dragged me to the walk-in to try to kiss me.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;What a pig,&#8221; \u00a0Jessi scowled\u00a0before turning her attention back to the tv.<\/p>\n<p>I was relieved to find that the incident was passed on to the senior manager, Nikos. When I came into work the next evening he sat me down in the furthest booth and asked me to recount what happened. His brown eyes wandered as I repeated my story. When I was finished, he looked back to me and said, &#8220;Well, I really do apologize for that.&#8221; It was the same practiced line he used with unhappy customers. Still, I was grateful for the acknowledgement.<\/p>\n<p>The owners\u00a0never spoke to me regarding this,\u00a0although I presume they witnessed everything when they checked the cameras&#8217; footage from that night.\u00a0Emilio continued working his shifts.<\/p>\n<p>The truth is that there was such consistent harassment from the cooks that in the next few months it became background noise. I grew accustomed to being greeted by a chorus of\u00a0<em>&#8220;mmmmmmmmm&#8221;\u00a0<\/em>when I entered the kitchen, complete with licked lips and hungry stares. There were days that it was more bothersome than others. Some days the cooks would be angry and tell me, &#8220;<em>no tienes tetas,&#8221;\u00a0<\/em>when I asked for my tables&#8217; food. My days were so commonly punctuated by stares and sexual comments\u00a0that I wrote it off as part of my job; it was just another bad tip or difficult customer. I spent shifts coaching a coworker on the many reasons she should leave her abusive boyfriend. I told her to stand up for herself and that there was no reason for her to endure the things she had. Then I walked over to the window to pick up my food, narrowly avoiding having my hand licked. There wasn&#8217;t so much as a flicker of awareness of my hypocrisy.<\/p>\n<p>After a year of working there, I found myself in another precarious situation. I had graduated to daytime shifts and worked with many of the diner&#8217;s veterans. Carlos, who was at least 40, had taken an instant liking to me. &#8220;Hey precious&#8230;&#8221; he cooed when I arrived in the morning. &#8220;For you? Oh yes,\u00a0<em>anything!<\/em>&#8221; he simpered when I asked him a question. I\u00a0told myself that if I regarded his flirting as being harmless, it could only be harmless. I was too new to the shift to realize that he was purposely doing this in front of the waitress he was sleeping with.<\/p>\n<p>One day, Carlos followed me into the walk-in cooler and set his gaze firmly on my lips as he approached me. I could hear the prep cooks snickering outside as they turned the lights off.<\/p>\n<p>Then on.<\/p>\n<p>Then off.<\/p>\n<p>Carlos stood between me and the door. &#8220;Can I bite your dimples? I love your dimples,\u00a0<em>Maria.<\/em>&#8220;<\/p>\n<p>I declined nervously, his pockmarked face only inches from me.<\/p>\n<p>I didn&#8217;t tell anybody immediately. Part of my assimilation into life at the diner had been realizing and accepting that things like being trapped in the walk-in sometimes just happen. When I mentioned it to Jessi and Nikos they seemed unfazed. At the moment it seemed that anything regarding Carlos was deemed as part of his relationship drama, of which I had unwittingly become a part. Days later I was asked, &#8220;If you don&#8217;t like Carlos, why did you grab his dick?&#8221; I had no idea where that rumor started. No one was interested in what happened to me. Carlos was not punished.<\/p>\n<p>Eventually in my tenure I became less complacent.<\/p>\n<p>On my 21st birthday I reluctantly agreed to work the 6am shift for Yael, the head waitress and my neighbor. I was greeted warmly by Marcos, Yael&#8217;s husband, who was cooking that morning. He congratulated me as his arm found its way around my shoulder, pulling me in for a hug. I reciprocated unenthusiastically. As I tried to release the embrace he pulled me closer. He relinquished his hold only when his lips had found my neck, leaving a trace of saliva that I could not unfeel.<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Elias, can I talk to you?&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>The owner looked up from his paperwork expectantly.<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;It&#8217;s about Marcos.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>He furrowed his brow as he agreed to speak to me in the office &#8211; a rare occurrence for the waitresses.<\/p>\n<p>After listening to what had happened, he sighed. &#8220;This isn&#8217;t the first complaint I&#8217;ve had about him.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;I know.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;What do you want me to do?&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>I stared at him, dumbfounded. &#8220;Elias, that&#8217;s Yael&#8217;s husband. They have three children. Yael is my friend. Don&#8217;t ask me to make the decision about what happens to her family.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>He nodded gravely\u00a0and agreed.<\/p>\n<p>Nothing changed. Nothing, unless you count the small addition to the lightswitch by the walk-in cooler, that now prevented the light from being turned off. But when had anybody at the diner ever been afraid to harass us outside of the dark?<\/p>\n<p>It has been nearly two years since I left that job, and there is hardly a week that has gone by that I did not consider writing this. As I became more serious in the endeavour, I began to consult friends and other former coworkers. Together, we unearthed a mountain of experiences that were both horrendous and routine:<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;One time Nikos made a joke about raping me.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;One time Carlos oinked at me for an entire eight hours.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;The other manager, Bobby, used to constantly text me, &#8216;show me your tits.&#8217; He even wrote it on my facebook wall. When I told him to stop he told me I probably had gross elephantitis tits.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;The cooks used to refuse to give me my food unless I showed them my tongue.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Marcos used to massage Emma even though she told him to stop multiple times and one time he bit her neck.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Carlos kissed my neck.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;One of the cooks cornered me in the walk-in and when Bobby found out he told me to get over it.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>&#8220;Both the owners, Elias and Andreas, used to laugh at the comments the cooks would make about the waitresses&#8217; bodies after they left the kitchen.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>I have always known that this behavior was unacceptable. I have understood that it&#8217;s unfair that it happened and I have wished that something had been done about it. However, I was also a young adult with no support from my family, and I prided myself on my grit. I was grateful for my reasonably-lucrative job, where I had become a shift staple, in a difficult economy. I naively accepted the entire package.<\/p>\n<p>Recently, though, I&#8217;ve realized that I don&#8217;t actually owe my previous employers anything. After five years of good, full time work, they were not doing me a favor by continuing to employ me; it was only a natural business relationship. I believed that because they liked me, I must not betray them. But now I ask myself: how much could they have really liked me if they allowed their staff to repeatedly sexually assault me?<\/p>\n<p>I can aver that the environment at the diner is no different today than it was when I left. My silence will achieve nothing except to protect and perpetuate the things that are allowed to happen there. I refuse to participate any longer.<\/p>\n<p>Some days I am ashamed that I did not stand up for myself. It is difficult to forgive that weakness. But I am doing my best to make up for it. I am shouting now that I have the strength to shout. I am encouraging everyone else to share their stories. I have a beautiful, impressionable 16 year old sister. And for god&#8217;s sake, the lesson I teach her is not going to be one of silence.<\/p>\n<p><em>Note: all names have been changed as a super nice favor, but if you&#8217;re interested, I&#8217;d be happy to disclose the information privately.<\/em><\/p>\n<p><strong>UPDATE:\u00a0<\/strong>My amazing friend, who also worked at this diner, has written an account of her own experiences, which I highly recommend you read. <a title=\"Check it out\" href=\"http:\/\/thisisablogpost.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/29\/tales-from-the-diner\/\">Check it out.<\/a><\/p>\n<p><strong>UPDATE:\u00a0<\/strong>Another waitress has bravely <a title=\"shared her story\" href=\"https:\/\/livefortheexperience.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/30\/tales-from-the-diner\/\">shared her story<\/a>\u00a0and <a title=\"ANOTHER here!\" href=\"http:\/\/idunnoaboutthat.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/30\/tales-from-the-diner\/\">ANOTHER here!<\/a><\/p>\n<p><strong>UPDATE:\u00a0<\/strong>I find <a title=\"this one\" href=\"http:\/\/thesearetheproblems.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/30\/so-you-want-to-work-at-the-diner-read-this-first\/\">this one<\/a> particularly hard-hitting. She explores not only the sexual harassment, but the really awful way the owners treated the waitresses.<\/p>\n<p><strong>UPDATE:\u00a0<\/strong>And yet another waitress <a title=\"has spoken out.\" href=\"http:\/\/ecadams.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/31\/tales-from-the-diner\/\">has spoken out.<\/a><\/p>\n<p><strong>UPDATE:\u00a0<\/strong>Another account has come to light, this one also exploring <a title=\"the verbal abuse and poor food safety.\" href=\"http:\/\/disaffectedwaitress.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/31\/tales-from-the-diner\/\">the verbal abuse and poor food safety.\u00a0<\/a><\/p>\n<p>Thank you to everyone for the support. It is so appreciated.<\/p>\n",
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            "content": "<p>My admiration for authors, people who have written books, goes back to my childhood\u00a0and runs deep in my psyche. This admiration is threefold. I grew up idolizing those authors&#8211;Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, and Michael Moorcock&#8211;who filled my youth with their imaginative worlds. At the same time I grew up in a traditional Jewish household, and from a young age I was exposed to traditional Jewish scholars, many of whom are referred to by the title of their books (e.g., The Tur for Rabbi Yaakov Ben Asher and Beyt Yossef for Rabbi Joseph Caro). Being a member of &#8220;The People of The Book&#8221; for me was understood to mean you were expected to write a book. Finally I grew up in academic household, with a father and an uncle who were prolific writers and publishers (even as\u00a0my uncle struggled to find an academic position, he had no problems writing and getting published). A big part of my parents&#8217; social world were scholars, and\u00a0I was frequently introduced to them with &#8220;this is professor X, she just published a book on Y&#8221;. My decision to be an academic, specifically to go to grad. school, was, more than anything, a decision to write books, to be published (yes, I knew there were other elements to being an academic and that they were important, but this part felt like it was fulfilling a childhood dream).<\/p>\n<p>Also at a young age, although not quite as early as my idolization of authors and their books, we discovered that I have a learning disability that affects my ability to write: dysgraphia <a title=\"Dysgraphia\" href=\"http:\/\/www.ncld.org\/types-learning-disabilities\/dysgraphia\/what-is-dysgraphia\" target=\"_blank\">http:\/\/www.ncld.org\/types-learning-disabilities\/dysgraphia\/what-is-dysgraphia<\/a>. As a child this manifested itself in an inability to write legibly, and an inability to learn how to spell properly (in two different languages).<\/p>\n<p>In the public Israeli school system, there was not much awareness ( at least at the time I was a student) of how to deal with this, and my parents tried to work on this on their own&#8211;this included buying my a computer at what was then a fairly young age (13, with my Bar Mitzvah money), taking me to special tutors who would try to work with me on spelling and on techniques to improve my handwriting (I spent a few weeks during a summer in Oxford working with an older gentleman, who insisted that the way to fix things was to have me use a fountain pen&#8211;by the end of it I could write my name fairly nicely, if I spent 15 minutes doing it&#8230;).<\/p>\n<p>The only real accommodation I had in school in Israel, and I confess it was big, was that I got to dictate my answers to someone on the final subject exams required in high school.<\/p>\n<p>Then I came to college in the U.S.&#8211; first a junior college (Vista College in Berkeley), then UC Berkeley. Both schools had facilities to deal with my disability, and I looked into it, but I did not take the required tests to get my disability officially recognized. Why? Not because I was ashamed of it, and not because I was too proud to ask for help. But for two (contradictory) reasons: part of me was unaware (or in denial) about the scope of my challenge: I thought that it was mostly an issue with spelling (and most of my assignments were typed by then). I had made into college (and at Vista I had straight As), so I did not expect Berkeley to be much different. I expected that the nature of the assistance would resemble what I had had in high school, even though I hadn&#8217;t done the tests to verify my disability.<\/p>\n<p>Also \u00a0I was scared that someone would say, &#8220;Oh, with this you will not be able to write at a high level, you cannot be a professor&#8221;.<\/p>\n<p>If there is any lesson in this for anybody reading, it is in that aspect&#8211;don&#8217;t make the same mistake. My whole life would have been easier if I had taken the steps at that point to get my disability properly diagnosed and get the help I needed.<\/p>\n<p>I got through undergrad. primarily because I spoke a lot in class and most professors gave me credit, looking beyond that obvious flaws in my writing to the kernels of good ideas there. Some were not so forgiving, and I know (even then I kind of knew, but now I really know) that from their perspective the gap between who I was in class and who I was on paper likely indicated either that I was lazy, did not care to put effort into writing, or arrogant and did not care to produce something respectful.<\/p>\n<p>The first indication that I was going to have problems moving forward was when I asked a professor for a letter of recommendation for grad. school, and he said that he would have to say in the letter that my writing skills were not ready for grad school&#8230; But I got the letters of recommendation, and I got into grad school.<\/p>\n<p>Then things got really hard. To be honest, I could not complete all of the final essays required at the end of the term, and I had to take &#8220;incomplete&#8221; for one out of every three courses I took. It was not hard for me to think of ideas for any paper, and even to talk about them with profs, but I could not actually carry out writing them in the allotted time. Also I was beginning to realize that writing papers (and longer scholarly texts) was just a small part of the writing an academic is expected to do. The other forms of writing&#8211;emails to profs or classmates, reading lists for exams, casual notes that might be circulated, etc&#8211;were as hard or even harder for me to carry out as written class assignments.<\/p>\n<p>It became clear, although not until year three, and after some pretty biting comments from profs (again, from their perspective, I was turning in very substandard work, and, since I had done well enough to make it into Berkeley, clearly this was by choice), that I had to tell my professors about my learning disability. I explained, and they were understanding and some even very supportive.<\/p>\n<p>I stuck through it, in part I told myself that every one has difficulties in grad school, and my in-class talents and other advantages (for example, coming from an academic home, being multilingual) balanced things out. I also told my self: just get through to other side (PhD, a job, grants, etc), and you will be able to pay for copyediting and everything will be solved.<\/p>\n<p>I did not publish or even try to publish anything while I was a grad student. Some profs actively encouraged this (not just of me): &#8220;Grad writing should be a time for experimenting, feeling ok with not producing things for the sake of publication&#8221;; &#8220;What you publish stays with you, especially during the long process of writing a dissertation. Do you want people to come to associate you with something you published in grad school, even as you become a more mature scholar?&#8221; Many of my peers ignored this advice, but I didn&#8217;t; it made my life a bit easier (I wonder if having to face the process of submitting and getting rejected earlier would have actually helped later&#8230;).<\/p>\n<p>Writing the dissertation was almost impossible, and I probably would not have been able to finish it without support, some from parents, but a lot a lot from my wife, who copyedited each section (even while working full time at her first academic post, parenting two young boys, and all that goes with it).<\/p>\n<p>I also realized by that point that things will not get easier: no magic hand will produce funds for me to pay for proper copyediting for papers and books; in fact, presses are cutting back on any such services that they once had&#8211;authors are expected to handle more and more of that themselves.<\/p>\n<p>Finishing my dissertation felt like a big accomplishment, but I felt as far as ever from achieving the dream of publishing a book. I also tried to be more reasonable, focusing on getting an article (or articles) published. I still have little to no success. Now I am aware that it is hard to get published early on, even in the best of circumstances, and my Dad loves to tell me how many times he has had articles rejected. But its just not the same for me. First, it takes me much longer than most people even to produce anything. Second, that little voice we all have, that &#8220;imposter syndrome&#8221; voice, rears its head each time a submission is rejected (and it is compounded by failures on the job market), whispering that since I have dysgraphia I will never be able to publish something.<\/p>\n<p>It\u00a0is not just about my childhood dreams, or even about the very real need to get published to advance my career; it is very much about the need to be a part of the academic community, to express my thoughts in writing, to have people cite them, argue with them, review them.<\/p>\n<p>This is part of why I have really taken to Twitter&#8211;it has given me a measure of this feeling, communicating with others, in my field and not, sharing discoveries answering questions, etc.<\/p>\n<p>We live in a time of change in terms of academic writing (among other things)&#8211;blogs for example offer a chance for academics to augment more traditional forms of academic writing. Last year, I figured that a blog might offer me a bit of a solution to a growing crisis over my inability to get published. I told myself that I would allow myself not to care about typos, formatting, etc That it would give me an outlet for expressing my ideas, and that perhaps I could use the blog as a stepping stone to producing writing that I could then edit and turn into more traditional academic writing.<\/p>\n<p>But I have realized a few things. Even if I don&#8217;t care how things look from an ego standpoint, I can&#8217;t put stuff out there that looks bad, or people will just have the same reaction my profs in grad school had&#8211;its lazy scholarship done by someone who does not care to put the work in (and here\u00a0some of the prejudices against blogging that some have might reinforce this). This\u00a0impression might be confirmed in a reader&#8217;s mind if they checked the list of my publications (or the lack thereof).<\/p>\n<p>Which brings us to this post: I had to write it to explain (to myself) why I need to try to blog (even though it might seem that I should be spending my time producing more traditional academic writing), why my blogs may not look as good as they do in my head, why they may appear in fits and starts, etc.<\/p>\n<p>Also, I wanted to say that I am so happy about the other parts of academic work&#8211;particularly teaching&#8211;and I can&#8217;t imagine myself doing anything else.<\/p>\n<p>As soon as I can afford it, I plan to experiment with voice transcribing software which may be a way to meliorate some of the issues of dysgraphia.<\/p>\n<p>(Even this post, which is intended to express something I feel is very important is very different in writing from how it appears in my head&#8211;but if I try to get it to be closer to that, I don&#8217;t think it will ever be written).<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n",
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            "content": "<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>This is the National War Memorial in Ottawa, which honours more than 116,000 Canadians who died in the Great War of 1914-1918. We had visited the monument a couple of weeks before Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a reservist with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was gunned down while standing guard in front of the monument. The honour guard has served as sentries at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the summer since 2007. The ceremonial guard was reinstated two days after the attack and will continue to serve until Nov. 10, the day before Remembrance Day.<\/p>\n<p>The remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in the First World War were repatriated from France in May 2000 and, in a special ceremony, buried in a special tomb in front of the war memorial.<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>\u00a9 Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00058-2-copy.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-2605\" src=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00058-2-copy.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"_Fujifilm-x100s---War-Memorial-Ottawa--00058-2-copy\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00062-3-copy.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-2607\" src=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00062-3-copy.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"_Fujifilm-x100s---War-Memorial-Ottawa--00062-3-copy\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00071-3-copy.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-2610\" src=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00071-3-copy.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"_Fujifilm-x100s---War-Memorial-Ottawa--00071-3-copy\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00064-copy.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-2608\" src=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00064-copy.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"_Fujifilm-x100s---War-Memorial-Ottawa--00064-copy\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00074-copy-2.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-2613\" src=\"https:\/\/bethwalshphotography.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/10\/fujifilm-x100s-war-memorial-ottawa-00074-copy-2.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"_Fujifilm-x100s---War-Memorial-Ottawa--00074-copy-2\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n",
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