Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Doda softer than below

To soften the shock of the first video clip in the following post - here is a more kind and gentle version of Doda Elektroda. This from the Sopot Music Fest. Not exactly Woodstock, but where I'd rather be.

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Polish Films to See

My favorite Poilish Language Movies available at the Toledo-Lucas County Library are

Bez konca (No End)

The "hero" of NO END is Antek, a young liberal lawyer who dies four days before the film begins. He leaves behind his beautiful young widow Ulla, their son, and the unresolved trial of a Solidarity organizer.

Reluctantly caught up in the trial, Ulla finds herself unable to get Antek out of her mind, literally haunted by his memory. Antek shows up from time to time in ghostly narrated soliloquy.

She pledges to help the wife of the jailed labor organizer searching for the written trial strategy prepared by her late husband and begs Antek's old law school professor and now aged public defender to take the case. The old lawyer kinda reminds me of Abe Vagoda - "Barney Miller" and "Godfather" fame. This is a serious and somewhat dark drama. Not as dark as czarnina, but close.

Denny's Gwiazda rating (1-5) = *** 1/2

Popiol i diament (Ashes and Diamonds)

Portrait of a young Polish nationalist assassin who, when World War II ends, finds himself living uncertainly, moving from echoing bars to seedy hotel rooms, finding comfort in a girl and crazy jokes.

Zbigniew Cybulski -
the Polish James Dean - stars.

Award winning role.

Denny's Gwiazda rating (1-5) = **** 1/4

For a little instant drama check out the video short with Doda Elektroda.

Denny's Gwiazda rating (1-5) = sto jeden

A Completely Different Version - Same theme

Denny's Gwiazda rating (1-5) = not rated

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dyngus Alive & Well in Buffalo - Toledo Polonia not so much

You would think that with more than 10% of the Toledo area's population being Polish-American and that we rank 3rd on the ethnicity "hit parade", we'd have a much better showing as far as festivals and events are concerned.

Buffalo Polonia does a great job organizing huge events several times a year. But, Dyngus Day really stands out as a unique Polish-American event that encompasses the entire Buffalo region.

See: DyngusDayBuffalo.com

Listen to the National Public Radio Dyngus Day Report: Click Here

See: Newspaper article with schedule & Dyngus Day Ads

The entire city embraces the Easter Monday theme (which lasts all week)and businesses profit from it. Here, in pretty much boring Toledo, we could take a lesson from the folks in Buffalo. During the week of Smigus-Dyngus even non-ethnic and Irish bars hire polka bands and serve pierogi and other Polish foods. There are dances and other events all over the Buffalo region. Maybe next time will do a better job trying to elect a Toledo Mayor like Keith Wilkowski.

A few years ago I shuffled off to Buffalo just to experience how the whole community pulls together to celebrate Polishness regardless of one's individual ethnic background.

Already preparations are being made for this year's events in Buffalo:

Dyngus Day Buffalo, a grassroots initiative to promote Buffalo-Niagara's Dyngus Day activities, will hold an organizational meeting for all interested parties on Thursday, February 1st at 6:30pm at St. Stanislaus Church on Fillmore Avenue.

This year's Dyngus Day will take place on April 9, 2007 with activities in the Buffalo region continuing through April 15th. To be discussed at the session will be local & national media opportunities, cooperative marketing programs and the organization of Buffalo's first ever Dyngus Day Parade.

Also on the agenda will be remarks by David Lacki, Director of Tourism for the Greater Buffalo Convention & Visitors Bureau. Lacki will discuss the growing cultural and ethnic tourism industry and how, if property marketed, can have a positive economic effect on the entire region.

The Dyngus Day Buffalo meeting is open to the public including all promoters, event organizers, and other interested parties who would like to assist in growing one of North America's most unique ethnic traditions.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Is US anti-missile system on Polish soil good for Poland?

US defense experts suggest that an interceptor missile base be stationed on Polish soil. Poland has yet to say yes.

Polish Premier Jaroslaw Kaczynski says that if Warsaw agrees to a anti-missile shield on Polish soil, it should also serve as a security blanket for us as well. Premier Kaczynski thinks that Russia doesn't see it as a threat for its own security, but that the shield would place Poland in a higher position in Europe.

"It is obviously the only reasonable explanation why Russia objects to the idea. It's not being aimed at them. The Anti- Missile Shield is for rockets coming from the Middle East."

Reports suggest that Washington is preparing a concrete proposal to start exploratory talks with Warsaw soon. Poland is the strongest ally of US foreign policy in Europe.

But Polish lawmakers argue that this doesn't mean that Warsaw should surrender its sovereignty to the US. Polish Defense officials have gone on record saying that Washington would have to give Warsaw security guarantees before stationing anything foreign on Polish soil.

International defense expert Bartlomiej Weglarczyk from Gazeta Wyborcza says that Poland would have the upper hand if it would say yes to the US scheme.

"This shield is a long range missile shield. It has nothing to do with Poland; it `s not to defend Poland so we should get something to defend ourselves. The Polish military has a huge shortage of short-range missile defense systems. Poland is the best location for the missile shield, so we can get a huge prize for our agreement to place the base in Poland."

But Roman Kuzniar from the Strategic Defense Studies at Warsaw University disagrees with popular opinion. He thinks it would place Poland in danger of a possible terrorist attack.

"Obviously I am against it. We don't need it. Nobody needs it. It is not a threat driven project. First it is going to endanger our security situation. It is going to put us at risk from the security point of view. Why because this American base can be come in the time of crisis an object of a hostile attack. There is no prize for
the exchange of your security. What can we get in exchange - visas?"

The US which already has an early warning system stationed in
California and Alaska wants to extend its defense reach to Europe by 2011.

Source: Radio Polskie 1/25/07

Hitler-Stalin Pact II & Other Ills

When Germany and Russia signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, bypassing the usual overland route through Poland, Polish Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski compared it to the Hitler-Stalin pact.

Laying pipe on the floor of the Baltic will cost three times as much as an overland route - and because of 10s of thousands of undetonated artillery shells dumped on the sea bed after WWII it is a dangerous proposition for pipe crews and ferry traffic.

Given Russia's recent attempts to manipulate energy supplies to Europe, Poland's concerns do not appear to be misplaced. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's natioalization of BP and Royal Dutch Shell oil fields and petroleum operations in Russia is foreshadowing "Uncle Joe" strong arm foreign diplomacy tactics to come. Poland gets almost 95% of its natural gas from Russia. After the Baltic pipeline circumvents Poland altogether - look for Putin to extort Poland like he did last year with Ukraine.

On the Eastern front: A German group is suing Poland in EU court for properties given to Poland to compensate Russia and punish Germany after WWII. When the German lawsuit was filed in November, President Lech Kaczynski and twin brother Jaroslaw who serves as PM, said it was necessary to remember "who were the victims and who were perpetrators" during World War II. Clearly, the Poles were victims. Poland was invaded by Germany and Russia. Six million Poles lost their lives in the war, including 3 million Polish Jews killed by the Nazis. 13 Poles were million expelled.

Another substantive sticking point includes Berlin's decision to temporarily restrict Polish workers from entering the German labor market as a condition of Poland's accession to the EU. Warsaw retaliated by placing a temporary ban on property sales to German nationals.

The two neighbors also disagreed on Iraq"The problem with German-Polish relations," according to Kai-Olaf Lang, an analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, "is that the Germans know too little
about the Poles, and the Poles know too much about the Germans."

Even when former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, visiting Warsaw in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, declared that Germany would not support the claims of its citizens against Poland--a position also embraced by Chancellor Angela Merkel--the Poles were not mollified. Lang said he did not believe that the Kaczynskis had deliberately embarked on a collision course with Germany but rather that "they are hyper suspicious of Germany and do not yet have a clear idea of what they want from Europe." Sudetenland be worried?

The twins have threatened to reopen the 1990 treaty that was supposed to have settled all claims arising from the neighbors' unhappy 20th Century. Relations between Germany and Poland have become increasingly strained since the twins came to power in 2005. The poisonous atmosphere threatens to undermine cooperation in other key arenas, including NATO and the European Union.

Victimized Poland ought not roll over. If liberals come to power in Poland it will be 1939 all over again. But, this time a crushing economic war with Poland squeezed in the vise of Russian - German pacts.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

First Karski Freedom Award to Walesa

Polish solidarity leader receives prestigious US award - US ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe has awarded former President Lech Walesa the Karski Freedom Award.

The US embassy in Warsaw awarded former Polish President Lech Walesa the Karski Freedom Award, a distinction named after Jan Karski, an underground courier who gave eyewitness reports about the Holocaust to the Allies during the Second World War.

Lech Walesa is the first recipient of such an award. Edward Monster from the US embassy in Warsaw says that the award underscores the courage and perseverance in securing democratic freedoms for Poles. "We decided to name this award after Jan Karski because of his heroic acts and because of the commitment of his life to the promotion of democracy and human rights. Now we also see President Lech Walesa as having committing his life to the promotion of democracy and human rights. We see President Lech Walesa as the first recipient of the Karski Freedom Award a good fit for the Karski freedom Award."

Krzystof Michalek, professor of American History thinks that this award symbolizes just how dedicated Walesa is in the fight for democracy and human rights. "When we look back on his record of achievements he was a fighter in the late seventies, eighties and when he became a new President of Poland. He represents a personality, which is more oriented in the fight for freedom, to fight for a good cause and to fight to the end.

To be successful and victorious." The Karski Freedom award is one of three annual awards the US Embassy to Poland initiated this year. In the spring the embassy will announce a Polish winner of the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski award for Public Service.

Source: Polskie Radio, January 24, 2007

Unibomber Ted, still fighting

Unibomber Ted Kaczynski in his 9th year behind bars is fighting to reclaim more than 40,000 pages of his writings and correspondence so he can preserve them in their rawest form for the public to read.

Kaczynski, 64, is in a legal battle with the federal government and a group of his victims over the future of the handwritten papers, which include journals, diaries and drafts of his anti-technology manifesto. The journals contain blunt assessments of 16 mail bombings from 1978 to 1995 that killed three people and injured 28, as well as his musings on the suffering of victims and their families.

The government wants to auction sanitized versions of the materials on the Internet to raise money for four of Kaczynski's victims. However, Kaczynski, citing the First Amendment, has argued in court filings that the government is not entitled to his writings and has no right to alter them.

The writings were among the items taken from his remote Montana cabin after his arrest in April 1996. In a motion drafted in pen, he said he planned to argue that the government had too much discretion under a federal restitution law to confiscate writings.

The New York Times,Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More Going to Poland

Tourists visiting Poland from European Union countries rose by 16 per cent to almost 12 million the past year. The number of visitors from Ireland, Britain and the Netherlands rose by 20 per cent.

The historical city of Krakow in southern Poland was the most visited place, for the first time beating Prague as the fifth most popular city in Europe.

Worldwide Poland is the 13th most visited place and in Europe stands in 7th place.

Warsaw This, Warsaw That

Le Guern Gallery in Poland's capital is playing host to virtual reconstructions of the Nazi and Soviet visions for Warsaw. What would Warsaw look like today if the Nazis had won the Second World War? How would it have changed if the Soviets had rebuilt it in their own image?

The exhibition Wartopia: Berlin - 518, Moscow - 1122 offers possible answers. The work uses 3D computer simulations to show what could have become of Warsaw had German or Soviet forces successfully implemented their own, juxtaposing "utopian" visions for the city. Hence the exhibition's author, Aleksandra Polisiewicz, derives the word "Wartopia" from the combination of the words Warsaw and utopia. The designations "Berlin - 518" and "Moscow - 1122" refer to the location of Warsaw in relation to the capitals of two of the most potent superpowers of the 20th century.

Polisiewicz based her designs on Nazi plans drawn up during the early years of the war and from Soviet projects created in the Stalinist era. Those who attend the exhibition can take their own virtual stroll through the 3D simulations, joystick in hand.

From the Warsaw Business Journal

Starbucks Paczki

Besides a highly over priced cup o' joe, when you visit a Starbucks in the Detroit Metro Area between now and Ash Wednesday you'll, for the first time, be able to buy paczki to go along with your kava.

The popular Polish pre-Lenten pastry - is putting in an appearance for patrons at about 60 Detroit-area Starbucks outlets.

Detroit area Starbucks stores will sell the deep-fried jelly-filled doughnuts, which pack lots of calories and are customary on the eve of Lent, the 40-day period (not including Sundays in the count of 40) of self-denial that many Christians observe before Easter.

Starbucks Corp.'s Great Lakes regional director, Scott Hasselbach, told the Detroit Free Press that selling paczkis is a way for the international chain to be "locally relevant."

Starbucks is offering them with apple cinnamon, raspberry and Bavarian cream fillings for 95 cents. Starbucks said it will take orders for boxes of six for pickup on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 20, the day before Lent.

With laws going into effect banning transfat all over America - how long until our liberal Democrat politicians outlaw Paczki as being unsafe and harmful to humans?

You think I'm kidding, right?