Playout date: 2 April 2007
I hope you enjoy the gallery part, showcasing photos of mine taken on a Spring walk like a hanami, with Sophie, feeding the birds in Szczesliwicki Park. Here you have Ochota in a nutshell, the part of Warsaw where we live, its charming mix of the drab post-socialist, the timeless park, and the new developments.
Read the rest of this entry
I thought I would just round off the year’s blogging personally, rather than just with the machine generated summary in the previous post which is very interesting, maybe more so for me than for the readers, just to give you all my warmest wishes for 2013 and to hope that I may continue to be part of what you look at online in the coming year. Your ratings and comments and hits, both here and on Quoracy.com blog and also on the YouTube channel, on Linked-In and Facebook and several other places are all very highly appreciated and at times of crisis I do derive a certain strength from knowing that I’ve still got my readers, at least I got my friends:
In the deliciously ironic video to this interesting recent hit, the girl’s friend is a robot, but in my case behind the robot face of the internet and it’s various interfaces are real people who have been willing to share a bit in my life by watching the videos, listening to the voice droning on, reading the posts and the comments. That means a lot to me, and some of you I’ve got to know as well as people I’ve spent time with in the same room, or better.
I didn’t manage to do as much as I wanted to in 2012, partly because I always set my plans too high anyway, but also because I had a bad round of pneumonia in the summer which wiped out July and August. Read the rest of this entry
As a guest pdf-cast, I am making the topic of today’s post here on Huliganov TV the Prof. Moses Schorr Foundation, a unique non-profit organization in Poland, which runs an educational centre for secular and religious Jewish studies and the country’s largest Hebrew language school.
Using a wide range of professional tools, as well as social media, they educate both Jews and Poles about the enormous presence of Jews in the Polish society before the Holocaust, their contribution to culture, political thought and community life, all in a contemporary context, but respectful of tradition. What makes them distinctive is their flexible programming, which allows them to participate in the public debate in Poland, while remaining inclusive for students of all backgrounds and viewpoints.
Their overarching objective is to support the development of an open society in Poland and help counter the rise of xenophobia and isolationism in Europe by using documentary material and scholarly work to re-create the past and bring back to life links between communities that were brutally destroyed by the Holocaust.
Here is the annual report of the Foundation. Hopefully it will spark the interest of some of my readers.
- Jill Shaw Ruddock: To Snip or Not to Snip Is Not the Question (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
- Polish officials call on Obama to apologize for ‘death camp’ remark (jta.org)
- Museum of Polish Jews Wins Major New Donations (abcnews.go.com)
- David Herman interviews Jan Gross, chronicler of Polish atrocities (thejc.com)
- The answer is Zionism – Ynetnews (ynetnews.com)
- Aided by Ultra-Orthodox, City’s Jewish Population Is Growing Again (nytimes.com)
So now finally, the inevitable has happened. The long-awaited competition jointly hosted by Poland and the Ukraine has come to an end, the teams and fans and the organisers have all gone home, that is those who weren’t home in the first place.
What conclusions can we draw from this competition? For each of us no doubt the conclusions will be unique and personal, but some of the ones I have reached are as follows:
1. England has in fact got a very good football team, however we do need for them to learn a few games other than football, especially the one involving the goalkeeper simply trying to save a ball which somebody’s kicking into the net from point blank range. It would appear impossible to win a football tournament without knowing the other game also. It seems tantamount to having a chess competition in which one grandmaster, unable to do more than stalemate the other grandmaster, suggests a game of draughts in order to decide the competition.
2. The organisations which are responsible for arranging these competitions have turned into huge molochs whose every whim must be obeyed even by the state servants who are paid out of everybody’s taxes, and also by elected politicians. People seem so desperate for their cities to be hosts to these huge competition is that normal democratic considerations – as in does anybody actually want this – are swept aside, and the people of the place put to amazing inconvenience in order to be able to host these events. Nobody seems to be in a position to present a business plan that shows whether a place is likely to be better or worse off for hosting an event. Also UEFA were able to stop people filming in public places as well as block routes to and from work for people.
3. The conception of Poland in the Western part of the EU wasn’t necessarily helped by being twinned-up with a CIS nation in order to run the show. The Ukraine got to host 17 of the 33 matches, a slight majority, as they had the final in Kiev, or Kyiv as they insisted on spelling it on the boardings around the pitch, like we didn’t already have a perfectly serviceable word for the place in English. There was no difference in quality of broadcasting and filming at all in the various game locations, and the camera work and cutting were of the highest quality I’ve ever seen. However, Poland played host to thirteen of the sixteen teams. One of the three teams in the Ukraine was of course the Ukraine itself as indeed one of the teams to choose Poland was Poland itself, so effectively Poland quartered 12/14 of the visiting teams and 5/7 of the visiting teams whose matches were played in the first part all in the Ukraine. This included England of course, who were based in Nowa Huta, an unlikely destination as that place has Stalin nostalgist tours running to it out of Krakow to show what communism used to look like. The destinations chosen by visting teams really seem to have done their utmost to welcome them and whole towns in Poland have been decked out in colours of such countries as Greece, Portugal or Italy. The hotels where the teams stayed have been inundated with post-tournament accommodation requests, with holidaymakers willing to pay top zloty to be in the room where their favorite football star stayed for the tournament.
4. Mr Platini who is the UEFA top brass had a lot of praise for Poland and said that this tournament had set the standard that everyone from now on would have to measure up to. He had great praise for the hospitality in Poland. He called the Ukrainian hoteliers “crooks and robbers” for upping their prices during the tournament, which seems to be a fine case of double standards seeing how official merchandise from his own UEFA is much more expensive than unbranded merchandise of the same quality. Ecuadorian Radio Sports Commentator Alan Heath went on record saying how he was glad to see that a man like Platini, making several millions of EURO, could still find the time to criticize ordinary men and women who were trying hard to scrape together an existence.
5. Platini has also caused controversy since the tournament by suggesting that instead of countries winning and then appointing cities, individual cities, 12 or 13 of them from around Europe, will each bid to host some matches. The potential for bribery and corruption given that way of doing this will escalate tremendously, and so my congratulations go to Mr Platini’s personal advisers for dreaming up that one for their client. That’s real thinking outside the box.
6. It seems that if you want a road built in Poland, you need to wait for twenty years waiting for it and driving on overcrowded back roads with your life in your hands, and then when a football tournament comes along suddenly it will all magically be finished on schedule.
7. Polish people really care about whether they look good in the eyes of people from other countries. The Ukrainians were much less worried about that and just expected people to take them as they found them.
8. The police in this country are quite clever and capable of handling a situation with balance and without undue provocation, while putting the right amount of resource on the street.
9. International media are only interested in stories about yobbery and violence among fans, and immediately put out with relish the few such scenes that occured in Poland. They had very little to say about the 99.9% of the interactions of strangers on the streets in Warsaw, which were friendly and cordial, and frequently ended in sexual intercourse, if what I noticed is anything to go by. I don’t see the international news networks reporting on that. Likewise there were all these reports about likely racial abuse from Polish fans, whereas in fact there were no such incidents. Will the networks now kindly offer Poland an apology?
10. I still don’t understand the offside rule, and often get the impression that people make up the rules of football as they go along. Some goals that were disallowed, some things that were fouls and didn’t look like it or which were not fouls when they did – all of this adds to the impenetrable mystique of this game.
If you’d like to see my full coverage on film of the impact of EURO 2012 on Warsaw, please look up the EUROWARS series on http://www.youtube.com/usenetposts. In due course they’ll also be up on here as their own category.
- Platini hails Euro 2012 (iol.co.za)
- Platini suggests Euro 2020 may be held across Europe (panarmenian.net)
- Shake-up planned for Euro 2020 (3news.co.nz)
- Euro 2012: Michel Platini will sour a winning formula with ill-conceived Euro 2020 plans (telegraph.co.uk)
- FA tell Platini of fears over racist violence at finals (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Uefa president Michel Platini warns ‘Mr Balotelli’ about leaving pitch over racism during Euro 2012 (independent.co.uk)
- Euro 2012: Michel Platini warns of bookings for racism protest players (guardian.co.uk)
- Platini floats idea of multi-country Euro 2020 (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Platini hails Euro 2012 a success (todayonline.com)
The lake you see in this photo is not far from the last photo. Here it is possible to see the black stork, a much rarer sight than the usual white stork, but I didn’t manage to photograph it. This lake is man-made and each spring it is commercially stocked with carp for the table and for sport fishing. Each winter it is drained, and lies empty and, in theory, dry over winter, which greatly reduces the ability of pests and the parasites of fish to overwinter and wreak havoc with next year’s lot.
Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region
There are not many natural lakes within striking distance of Warsaw, even Zalew Zegrzynski, the large Y-shaped reservoir north of Warsaw at the confluence of the Bug and the Narew has been flooded artifically, but the North of poland has many more natural lakes from Mazury through to Pomerania, and some, such as Lake Sniardwy (Poland’s largest lake probably a few hundred times larger than the one above) are among the largest in Europe. The Polish Sniardwy compares to Lake Windermere in England or the Hungarian lake Balaton. Contact me for recommendations if you are planning a holiday in Poland.
Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region
More scenes from the other parts of Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes, but they will be reposted later on. I’ve done these seven for now, and I will move on to something else to avoid a monotony – especially of things you don’t usually see on this blog – and come back to the remainder of restoring this part of my old Usenetposts.com website some other time.
- Confused.com Guide to Driving in Poland (confused.com)
- Train crash kills at least 16 in Szczekociny, Poland – Telegraph.co.uk (telegraph.co.uk)
- Poland Train Crash Leaves 14 Dead and Several Injured (ibtimes.com)
Gallery Page 6 – Birch forest in East Poland
The birch forest you see here is typical of East Poland. When I first came to this country 19% of the country was forest, including the largest original forest in Europe, the Bialowieski Park, home to the European bison. Now, because of tax breaks for reafforestation, the figure quoted is around 22%, making Poland one of the most forested countries in Europe. This is part of another piece of ancient woodland, not so large as Bialowieski, but not far off it. It contains a huge selection of wild forest fruits, and we always go here to collect cowberries, bilberries, cranberries, and a variety of edible wild mushrooms (not something to be done by the uninitiated, by the way, as you can end up with the ultimate gourmet event!). I cannot give the exact location, as in Poland it is tradition to keep one’s forest finds secret.
Polish birch forest in the summer – Photo taken at near Topory, Siedlce region June 2004
The typical fauna of the forest in this place are deer and boars, and storks and cranes are plentiful. Last time we came here we saw three cranes walking nearby, a very rare sight on the forest floor, as they are very cautious of humans.
More scenes from the same part of East Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes …
DJJ 13th February 2005
- Train crash kills at least 16 in Szczekociny, Poland – Telegraph.co.uk (telegraph.co.uk)
- Wild and woolly, the bison thriving in the New Forest after being re-introduced to Britain (dailymail.co.uk)
- Poland train crash: 16 killed after trains collide (telegraph.co.uk)
- Poland train crash: 15 killed after trains collide (telegraph.co.uk)
Gallery Page 5 – Coots in cahoots
The birds you see here are the common coot, Fulica atra, which is similar to the American coot Fulica americana, only with a ‘balder’ appearance, as the white headshield is higher in the Eurasian version, leading to the expression ‘as bald as a coot’. The term ‘coot’ in itself is in all likelihood onomatopoeic in English, as one common noise the bird makes, among a large playlist of other calls and alarms made by the splashing of its specialised lobed feet, is like the syllable ‘coot’. The only language that shares with Engolish the name ‘coot’ is Dutch, which calls the bird ‘Meerkoet’. The German term is ‘Blaesshuhn’, the Scandywegian languages are ‘blishoene’ and ‘sothoene’, but don’t ask me which is which, the Russian is Lysukha’ and the Polish is ‘Lyska’, and the Romance languages show mainly variants on the latin ‘Fulica’ (Fr. ‘Foulque’, Sp. ‘Focha’ , It. ‘Folaga’)
Coots wintering on the Vistula near Plock – Photo taken at Nowy Duninow, December 2004
These coots are resting together on the retention reservoir which has been made in the Vistula River between Plock and Wloclawek in a ribbon several birds deep and several kilometres long, strongly calling to mind the appearance of the band of rooks in migratory flight over Warsaw each spring and Autumn, only resting on water rather than flying through the air. These birds will migrate in the spring into East Poland, Belarus and Russia for the summer breeding period – this is the most westerly point on mainland Europe that they are found all year. They live for about 18 years, are omnivorous, and considered as a type of rail: family Rallidae, order Gruiformes.
More beautiful landscape scenes from Poland and elsewhere coming up…
DJJ 13th February 2005
- A Coot, A Wigeon, and a Heron (bobzeller.wordpress.com)
- Great Egret grazing with Coots (bobzeller.wordpress.com)
|Playout date:||24 October 2006|
|Post Production:||Windows Movie Maker – slight use|
|Location:||Nowy Swiat, Warsaw|
|Other people featured:||Not known|
|Genre:||Nicked for subtitling|
This is probably the first example I can think of of when I have simply taken a film from another source and added subtitles in translation. As a rule I don’t do much third-party stuff on my channel, but there are three cases where I do. The one case was the radio stuff which Stuart Heron captured the video for and I added to my channel with the agreement of play radio. Another case is Soviet films which actually belong to everybody and which have not always been shown in full on YouTube. In these cases I have put them on if I had them. The third case is where I have taken something which is vailable and popular but not yet in English and I’ve taken it in order to produce the English version with a translation given as subtitles. This is an example of this case.
It has become one of my most popular videos, and to a degree I think I foresaw that it would be. I uploaded this from the office while working with another colleague, and that colleague and I were checking back every so often looking at the views which hit a hundred on the first day. I wasn’t used to that back then and I’m still not really used to it although it happened one or two times since. One thing is sure Polish people are heavy users of the Internet especially you Tube and they do like their politics.
- Don’t watch this video (economist.com)
- VIDEO: ‘Subtitle glasses’ for deaf people (bbc.co.uk)
- Sony HUD Specs Show Subtitles to Cinemagoers (wired.com)
- How to Sync Subtitles in VLC Media Player (madrasgeek.com)
I had to go into work at the weekend and one of the things that that old office had about it is that whenever you were there on a Saturday there’d be something going on. Recently I filmed the Bikers’ Critical Mass from the same window on a VAT quarter when I had to be there on a Saturday.
Anyway, I put this video together both in the commentary and in the labelling on YouTube claiming that tyhis was the Gay Rights March in Warsaw. Well it’s been up for months and nobody has said anything, although of course it may be that someone has twigged and just kept stum about it.
Does this look or sound like the Gay March? What it was in fact was the anti-gay march. They were coming out of the forest there and congregating and getting ready to confront the main march – which indeed they did as you can see from news reports the same day.
Interesting is what they are shouting “Polska dla Polakow” – Poland for the Poles. I think these people need to focus on one thing at a time: either they should be making a protest march protesting at the fact that some people are gay, or they should be making a protest march that 1 million of their compatriots don’t live in Poland but somewhere else in the EU, and urging society to make jobs so that these people can come back. I think mixing the two “wateks” just shows a certain confusion of thinking on their part.
So here we have it – stay subbed to Huliganov TV! Here’s where you get the real back story to the videos that go up on Usenetposts channel on YouTube!
- Gay Polish fans call for separate seating at Euro 2012 (telegraph.co.uk)
- Warsaw, Poland Part 1: Sight-seeing and The Gift of Communism (stevensirski.wordpress.com)
- First Sleeper – Warsaw, Poland (travelpod.com)
- Debunking stereotypes: Poles are homophobic (guardian.co.uk)
- Warsaw hosts EuroPride despite protests (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Warsaw, Poland: an up-and-coming European museum destination (gadling.com)
One of my Polish viewers who now lives in the UK didn’t believe that concerts on Grandma and Granda‘s day (near the end of January) are marked with concerts all over Poland, as she didn’t remember any from her school days.
The fact is that this piece of Polish charm was actually imported from the United States during the 1980s! It seems like the typical piece of socialism hangover, but the funny thing about Poland in the eyes of an Englishman is that a lot of things which we are tempted at first glance to write off to the Communist era actually has a completely different explanation.
That’s why you still see May holidays, Red plaques by buildings, military parades all over the place, grandparents’ day concerts and the habit of putting the water in the cup in restaurants without the bag – which I always assumed to be an East Europeanism until I got precisely the same in the States. Some of these things which the British would wave off as Sovietisms actually come from a totally different direction.
ANYWAY, this was Sophie’s first ever piano recital in front of a hall full of people. We thought she was going to be given a proper piano and not this joke of an instrument. Notice also how the music teacher doesn’t give any credit for the talents of the piano playing kids to their teachers (Sophie’s teacher is sitting with Irina and me in the audience cringing with the amateurishness of it all) as naturally there is nothing of the sort available in the State curriculum. The appalling song at the end about Warsaw being Chopin‘s city (which he dreamed of nothing but escaping, despite his liking for one girl there) which has been shoved out at kids in all the Warsaw schools just as a recorded karoke piece – although the sheet music is available on the internet just in case any Warsaw school music teacher can actually read musical notation. Some pieces were played by the music teacher not on the tape recorder, that fine baroque instrument, but on a guitar of which 1 of the 6 strings was absent and I think she knew a good 4 or 5 different chords.
I didn’t write all of this in the YT description and discussion, I’ve saved it for here as I like to give you a separate perspective on here, or why would you come? The videos are all on YT and some of you have already watched them once.
Please add your thoughts on musical education in schools, including answering the poll on what the government policy should be.
- Warsaw, Krakow … which is in pole position? (guardian.co.uk)
- Top trips in Poland (guardian.co.uk)
- Plaque row mars Polish commemoration of plane crash (reuters.com)
- The locals’ guide to Warsaw and Krakow (guardian.co.uk)
- Warsaw, Poland Part 1: Sight-seeing and The Gift of Communism (stevensirski.wordpress.com)
(Published to Google Hotpot earlier this evening, and it also gives me my post for the day here. I think that’s fair.)
I’m sitting here writing this actually in the hotel room having found it on the road in Google on my Android phone when I discovered that the place I was really supposed to be going was unexpectedly booked up.
I had a bit of a nightmare getting here from where the GPS said it would be only 9 km. The main bridge in Kedzierzyn-Kozle was shut, the next bridge up on the Oder per the GPS turned out to be some seasonal ferry that wasn’t there, and when I finally found the new road that wasn’t on even google maps and still isn’t, it turned out that there had been a nasty accident so I got caught in the road over the middle of the Odra waiting for the emergency services to do their bit. Read the rest of this entry
Despite the latest travel “advisories”, whatever that horrible concocted word means, warning people to watch their asses in the land of the Pharoahs, a typical one being on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website of HM Government:
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary and Safety and Security section. We advise against all but essential travel to Cairo (all four governorates, including Giza), Alexandria, Luxor and Suez. The nationwide curfew has been extended from 1500-0800 local time. We recommend that British nationals without a pressing need to be in Cairo, Alexandria or Suez leave by commercial means where it is safe to do so. British nationals in other areas of Egypt where there are demonstrations should follow the advice below and stay indoors wherever possible.
and all the scenes in the news of upheaval and revolution going on over there, the selling of “dream holidays” in Egypt by travel agents in the Czech Republic, Poland and other places continues unabated.
Yesterday’s “Hospodarske Noviny” reported that as other countries are doing their best to evacuate their nationals, Czech travel companies are still chartering tourist flights into these destinations. Polish TV news a few days ago reported how some tourists are intentionally trying to get into the areas which have the hottest riots, just as thrill seeking, and advised against people doing so. Maybe they are seeking some practical experience in civil unrest so as to be one jump ahead when it all kicks off over here?
Maybe learning how to turn up the front nozzle of a water cannon so that it only shoots into the air is a valuable survival skill in the decade we have just embarked on. Maybe it’s a handy thing to learn how to dance in front of a tank and get out of the way at the last second if you can’t manage to face it down? With additional activities like flag-burning, molotov-cocktail throwing (alcohol-free ones for the kids) food-hoarding and embassy wall scaling, as well as optional extras like looting and pillaging and dropping bricks from bridges, a holiday in Egypt right now could be the ultimate adventure holiday. Great for corporate teambuilding, I should say.
Or is the new football hooliganism? Will coaches adorned with scarves containing scores of chanting skinheads start turning up at revolutionary hotspots in North Africa? Will motorway service stations turn them away? Will these unrests become like a syndicated event with huge sponsorships and advertising revenues? Will Putin try and snatch “Revolution 2024” from under London’s nose so that he can catch the spend that will become associated with it? Will protestors be asked to show a particular brand of bottled water on their shirts?
In any event, it seems that now more than ever these so-called “last minute” holidays may indeed live up to their inherent promise, in the case of some holidaymakers.