This is where I have fun pontificating about quirky stuff albeit with a Polish bent. Here you will find topics from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Helluva lot more than just Polkas [Click Here]
Almost 1/2 Mile high
Test your general knowledge of Poland [Click Here]
For most of its history Poland has elected its kings.
While Christianity appears to be in a steep decline across most of Europe, in Poland the faith still burns brightly. The question is whether Poland is an anomaly, a quirky throwback to another era, or a harbinger of Europe's coming culture war. I have faith it is the latter.
JPII hoped that the intense spirituality of his native Poland would spark a "new evangelization" in Western Europe. During most of his papacy, there was scant sign of that happening. But more recently Poland has emerged at the fore of a fledgling movement to restore Christian values to Europe.
Poland's churches are still packed; its seminaries still ordaining great numbers of priests. The census data shows: 96 percent of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholic; 57 percent say they attend Mass every Sunday. Now, there seems to be more statues of Pope John Paul II across Poland than there once were of Lenin.
A few years ago, a typical Pole was Catholic in his private life. Today, they express it openly and want it expressed in public policy. Political parties are listening.
Aleksander Kwasniewski, the reformed communist who was Poland's former president said: "there is no excuse for making references to ancient Greece and Rome, and to the Enlightenment, without making reference to the Christian values which are so important to the development of Europe."
Lawmakers in the fall of 2006 have drawn up a resolution naming Jesus Christ as the honorary king of Poland, but the 46 MPs behind the idea have failed to win support from the country's powerful Roman Catholic church.
After a vote in the Polish parliament in April 2016, Our Lord Jesus Christ was officially crowned the king of Poland. The idea originally came from a young nurse, who in the early 1900s had a vision that foresaw Poland's imminent demise if Jesus Christ would not be crowned its king. The idea was initially dismissed by the clergy, but after more than a century of uncertainty it finally happened.
The coronation, which took place on 19 November 2016 in Kraków, attracted thousands of believers – including President Andrzej Duda and several MPs. Having Jesus on Poland's throne doesn't change anything legally, but it's another step to reinforce traditional Polish values and morals.
Jesus followed the path of the Virgin Mary, who was declared honorary queen of Poland by King John Casimir 350 years ago.
Largest Statue of Christ
Reverse Polish Notation
It makes child's play out of Rocket Science...
So, computers all over the world use it
I bet your calculator has an equal button on it. Mine does not. I'll go further to bet I can rip through a complex chain calculation like the ones Einstein was famous for then have time to eat a half dozen blended cheese pierogi slathered with butter fried onions and wash it down with a pint of Zywiec before you close your last parenthesis or find some sub-total you were supposed to put in memory. You see my unfortunate friend, your AOS (Algebra Operating System) calculator with the equal button - it's no challenge for a RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) operating calculator like the Hewlett-Packard scientific calculators which first hit the market in 1972.
In the 1920's, Jan Lukasiewicz developed a formal logic system, which allowed mathematical expressions to be specified without parentheses or brackets by placing the operators before (prefix notation) or after (postfix notation) the operands.
For example the (infix notation) expression
(4 + 5) × 6
expressed in postfix notation as
4 5 + 6 ×
Prefix notation also came to be known as Polish Notation in honor of Lukasiewicz. Postfix notation is called (what else?) Reverse Polish Notation. HP adjusted the postfix notation for a calculator keyboard, added a stack to hold the operands and functions to reorder the stack.
If you went to Catholic school, you're still with me, right?
In the years that followed, computer scientists realized that RPN or postfix notation was very efficient for computer math. As a postfix expression is scanned from left to right, operands are simply placed into a last-in, first-out (LIFO) stack and operators may be immediately applied to the operands at the bottom of the stack. By contrast, expressions with parentheses and precedence (infix notation) require that operators be delayed until some later point. Thus, the compilers on almost all modern computers converted statements to RPN for execution. (In fact, some computer manufacturers designed their computers around postfix notation.)
RPN - BRILLIANT!!! Thank you Mr. Polish Mathematician Guy!
Stan Ulam, at right, was the brilliant Polish mathematician at Los Alamos who made the hydrogen bomb possible. Edward Teller was smart, but he was no Ulam! In fact, even on his death bed he would not credit Ulam. But, history knows differently.
Polish Math to the Rescue, Again
Polish mathematicians are finally getting the credit they deserve for breaking the toughest code ever developed in the world through World War II. The Polish Cipher's Office including Rejewski, Rozycki, and Zygalski got a description of the militarised German Enigma machine. In December 1932, Rejewski reconstructed the Enigma's internal connections. In January, 1933, the two other cryptologist also became involved in Rejewski's work. In the same month, the first German messages were decrypted. Since then, the General Staff had access to the most secret data transmitted by the German Army, Navy, Air Force, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Enigma cipher's algorithm was considered so strong, it was used in the Unix Operating System encryption in the 1970s.
Technical Aspects of Enigma This is a link if you want to see how difficult the problem was to crack the code.
A list of outstanding Polish Mathematicians
From Arabic Numerals, to
About 30,000 and many of them live around Bialystok, in northeast Poland. How'd they get there? Most of them are Tartar lineage, but have long since assimilated into the Polish way of life. The came to escape the wrath of Kahn. Poland, being a particularly tolerant and kind place in those days, welcomed the newcomers, and communities thrived. Many added Polish endings to their surnames, such as Ryzwanowicz and gradually assimilated.
Besides curing their meat under the saddles of their horses in the olden days, they still unlike the typical Pole, do not eat pork or consume alcohol. (See links in right marginal column under Esoteric Things)
Selling Poland one hunk at a time
Fighting Water with Water
French writer Victor Hugo (1802-85) once told a delegation of Polish emigres, "I am Polish because I am French." It was his way of noting the deep, long-standing ties between the two nations, both then struggling for freedom.
So, last spring, it seemed something of a reversal when French opponents of the European Union invoked the specter of a Polish plumber to encourage people to vote against the EU's constitution. The plumber symbolized emigrant workers who supposedly would steal French jobs if the constitution passed.
On May 29, France rejected the EU constitution by 55%, thanks, in part, to the Polish plumber.
About the same time, Bartlomiej Walas, director of the Polish national tourism office in Paris, called his boss in Warsaw and said he thought there was another way to make the Polish plumber useful.
The result was an ad campaign featuring a handsome 21-year-old Polish model in a pair of off-the-shoulder green coveralls, holding pipes and urging French travelers to visit Poland. It appeared on posters and the Polish tourism website (www.polandtour.org) on June 17, seductively titled, "I'm staying in Poland. Come visit."
Bet this guy would get more calls than All Seasons
But is it on the map yet?
There is an Obi-Wan Kenobi Street in Grabowiec, a settlement in western Poland, near Torun (the town of Copernicus). The idea came from Leszek Budkiewicz -- resident, local council member and after all -- a Star Wars fan. He came upon his crazy idea and made the council go after it (I wonder if he was using the Force). Some of the council's members even became Star Wars fans themselves! I wonder if they're going to call themselves The Jedi Council? ;-)
Polish Desert is No Mirage
Now the desert is quickly becoming covered with vegetation, colonized mainly by Caspian willows, and it's getting harder and harder to find patches of spectacular bare sand. Fortunately for the lovers of the exotic, some scientists think that the desert is going to recover, at least partially.
Over the last few years, the Bledowska Desert has become a favorite with paragliding aficionados. Two factors contribute to this popularity: a series of relatively high hills making excellent launching sites and favorable air currents allowing you to soar high in the sky.
Poles at the Poles
There are two polar research stations operated by the Polish government. The one closest to the North Pole has been in operation since 1957 and the station in the Antarctic was established in 1977. While both sites accommodate 50 to 60 scientists during the summer season, each camp can only support a dozen people during the harsh winter months.
At both polar stations the Christmas Eve feast starts at 5:00 pm (local time). Everything seems similar to the regular Christmas observance. There is a Christmas tree (artificial), and Christmas Eve 'oplatek'. There are exchange of wishes, mandatory 12 dishes, gifts, and koledy. The only difference is the scenery outside. At the North Pole it is mid-winter and has the ever-deep polar night during whole day. In Antarctica it is in the middle of summer and the sun never sets.
The two small groups, residing at Polish Polar Stations, far away from their homes, observe the most important Catholic holiday in their solitude. The only companions they have are the animals-Polar Bears and Penguins, -- who during Bethlehem Night speak in human voice (according to traditional Polish beliefs pure of heart humans hear animals speak).
At midnight the improvised 'Pasterka' takes place. The small chapels are dug out of ice rocks -- disguised as temples. The role of the priest is assigned to one of the scientists. There is a reading from the Bible, a common prayer and silence while thinking about the Lord's birth. Loneliness can be sensed at the top and bottom of the world, in spite of the presence of a dozen friends working at the stations. The absence from home, loved ones and the real joy, which accompanies Christmas makes the experience difficult.
Whether our Polish cousins are in the homeland, here in the States or on duty at the frigid poles where wind chills run at minus 70 below - one thing is for certain - Strong adherence to Polish traditions make this time of year very special for everyone who has Polish blood coursing through their veins.
Each year we send our best Wigilia wishes to Poles around the world - especially to the Poles at the Poles.
There are wild buffalo (bison or in Polish zubr) roaming around eastern Poland. Zubrowka means of the buffalo. So, why do folks want what the buffalo has? Click the pic and find out.
LOWLAND SHEEPDOG a.k.a Polish Owczarek Nizinny or PON as they are affectionately called. Get one today, they're cute!
Info on PON
About Polish Muslims
Tartar Nobility in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth
Britain seeking Polish Muslims as halal butchers
Crop Circles in Polish
PolishToledo Home Page