Sunday, 25 September 2016

…Just a little insight won’t make things right

When in 2014 I resolved to leave the Employer, the main motive behind it was the decision was my strong conviction the Employer was going nowhere. The Employer was winding down, losing clients, laying off people, giving sparse opportunities to develop. The transfer to the New Factory was a breakthrough in many respects and despite some downsides, I am still of the opinion taking up the current job was the right move made in the right moment. Compared to standards of rewarding staff by the Employer, the New Factory still comes out absolutely superior, yet some cracks have begun to appear on the immaculate picture…

July 2015
Before I receive Level III results, I kindly ask the New Factory whether the employer would pay my annual membership fees on my behalf or refund them (the cost is USD 350 per year). An HR chick replies to my e-mail briefly: The Charter is not essential to perform your job. The content of the response is a fact. Two other facts are that I had decided to earn the Charter off my own bat and for myself and that the New Factory was under no obligation to cover the annual dues. Yet had the response been formulated differently, e.g. As a matter of principle the New Factory does not participate in costs of maintaining certifications by its employees. Nevertheless we recognise and appreciate your effort to earn the Charter, I would not have remembered it as the most painful slap in the face since joining the New Factory.

December 2015
Chicks from the HR Department organise a meeting to present a new personnel development and remuneration model. The very attempt to foster development of most talented staff is commendable, but opaqueness of the concept makes it fishy. Time has proved the fishiness true – the model is like Loch Ness Monster – everyone has heard of it, no one has seen it!

July 2016
A fellow junior analyst from another team all of a sudden invites me for a lunch. Unsurprisingly, not disinterestedly. He wants to take my advice whether to take up a job with the New Factory’s state-controlled competitor. The junior is of my age, has worked at the New Factory for five years and though his competencies have not been inferior, his chances for promotion to analyst position have been close to zero. Besides, as part of skurwienie, he has been harassed by his boss. Folks around have never seen him as happy as during his notice period; as happy as a man who breaks away from a torment.

Last Thursday he brought his farewell cake. I wished him well, though I would not follow his path. A state-controlled company is not a workplace I would fancy.

After two years with the New Factory I have made a name for myself. Judging by how my workmates and bosses treat me I infer my name is a recognisable brand in the organisation. I am flying high, my tide is rising. Time to reach out for benefits. If I am offering a lot to the New Factory, I can expect something in return. I submit application for two positions, one in another big city in Poland where the New Factory also has part of its head office, one in another European capital where the parent company of the New Factory is seated. Relocation plans (don’t know whether for a few months, a few years or forever) put my flat purchase plans on hold…

August 2016
In the middle of the holiday season some top dogs decide to pursue a new split of customers between business segments with almost immediate effect. The reshuffle involves also various transfers of account managers. The embittered account managers whose long-lasting relationships with clients will be shattered communicated the ill tidings to customers. Many of them threaten to quit, yet the protest does not convince top executives to abandon their plan.

I cannot believe this is happening. Such ridiculous moves could have been done by the Employer, but the New Factory for years has truly fostered its relationships with clients.

Early September 2016
My plans of relocating within the organisations all go down the drain. Besides, my boss shows my the e-mail in which a director from the HR Department remonstrates him over allowing me to submit those applications. He adds had he been an obedient corpo-swine I would have got it in the neck too. Oddly enough then I did not construe the course of events so far as a serious warning sign.

21 September 2016
The HR Department and Senior Managers organise a workshop with selected employees on career paths (I do not attend it, but it soon becomes a hot topic across the office). The workshop turns into veritable cut and thrust during which managers openly tell their employees they do not deserve to get anything more from the organisation and they should forget about prospects of promotions or pay rises. At the end a guy from the HR Department speaks it out: if you want to develop, look for opportunities outside the New Factory.

My comment: if a host shows you the door, for the sake of your well-being leave his place. Of course, changing a job wisely is a matter of careful lookout and take several months.

Currently I am not going to make any abrupt moves. This year has been good in terms of meeting targets, therefore I must not miss my bonus for 2016 I will be eligible for in late 1Q2017. Once the money is transferred to my bank account. Before this happens, around Christmas 2016, after my annual assessment is approved, I am going to talk to my boss what my chances of being promoted to senior analyst and getting a pay rise are and justify him why I believe I deserve it (I have been compiling a list of arguments for a few weeks now). Implications of that conversation will set the path I will take in 2017.

Sometimes during job interview recruiters ask candidates where they see themselves in five years (what their job description would be, what position they would hold, what competencies they would improve, etc.). I feel this question is totally irrelevant to me. I believe no matter what I do, how hard and diligently I work, how few mistakes I make, how much I stand out among peers, in five years I am doomed to hold the same position and earn the same salary. Unless I find a job with another company…

I am emotional now, I realise. I need to cool down and think things over. I had to spew out the most bitter emotions that have accumulated inside me recently. In the coming weeks I will soldier on, as in the short-term changing nothing will only benefit me. In the long-term the best choice is to take the path that will least harm me (at best).

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The handicapped generation

Ran across the link to this kind of outdated article on my friend’s wall on facebook. Read it twice and I am of the opinion this piece should be an obligatory read for most today’s parents who bring up their offspring to become… Why do they call the future adults zombie creatures?

It is not a secret that gap between people born in 1970s and 1980s is far bigger than the gap between the latter and born in 1990s. I can say nothing about differences between people born in 1990s and those born in 2000s since I lack sample to make such comparison. This abyss between people of nearly the same age is not just the effect of growing up in different economic and technological environment, but is an element of a deeper social change. In big cities childhood in late PRL or in years of nascent capitalism differed much from today’s pattern of childhood, moreover communication was not facilitated by the Internet and mobile devices; yet these differences make up just the tip of the iceberg.

How sensitive children are is a clear consequence of how parents raise them. An average child is told on every step dangers loom all around. Imagine you are told not to stroke an animal since it may bite you or bacteria from its fur may jump into you… Imagine you are instructed to wear a helmet protecting your limbs, otherwise learning to ride a two-wheel bike you will get bruised… Imagine you are prevented from taking a mountain-hiking trip or a canoe trip, because for a few days you would live without electricity, sleep in a tent and wash yourself in cold water…

Parents’ attempts to assure comfort to their children and to save them from harm at any price at the end of the day do more harm than good. Childhood by definition ought to be the most carefree period in life. But childhood and youth are the period of learning and experiencing, also learning from one’s own mistakes which usually do not kill a child, but make them stronger and wiser. If children are to manage on their own in their early adulthood they need to be taught to take decisions and responsibility for them.

Today’s parents who do everything for and instead of their children not only fail to teach them taking decisions and responsibility, but also deprive their offspring of the carefree element of their early years. There is a built-in pressure to meet parents’ expectations instead of enjoying childhood the way a child wants. Yet a contemporary child would not want to enjoy it the way I did it over twenty years ago, since patterns of pastime activities have changed. Go to any housing estate and look out for children aged less than 10 running around or riding bikes nearly without parents’ care. Such was the reality in mid-1990s!

While today, parents want to spare their children as much strain as possible and bring them up to become frail adults, shying away from hardships or becoming so-called kidults. Pains, suffering, defeats, eating humble pie, etc. are the elements of brutal life. Children should rather be supported in coping with them, rather than shielded from them…

The article dwells on the appalling fitness of Polish children. I stick to my theory that today’s children’s life expectancy will be lower than today’s middle-aged people’s. The first and foremost reason is that children move too little, spending too much time staring at smartphone. The second cause is less straightforward, namely physical activity is, I argue, over-coordinated, not spontaneous. Parents sign up their offspring for horse-riding classes, swimming lessons, tennis lessons, etc. which in essence is commendable, yet takes away the element of spontaneity… I wonder how many parents signing their children up for various classes ask if their offspring really want to attend them and how many do it because of the peer pressure or to fulfil their own ambitions.

On top of this an average child of well-off educated parents gets what they want without even asking. Such behaviours among parents have been witnessed more than ten years ago, hence we already see young adults claiming they deserve to get something, but offering nothing or little in return. If children think they are exceptional and the world should treat them as a hub of the universe, the fault lies with their parents…

The advent of social media and the culture of sharing one’s life with others via them has changed motives which drive people’s activities. Author of the article incites his audience to ask a question whether youngsters do things for themselves of to impress other people. The quintessence of leading a happy life is doing things for one’s own pleasure. I see nothing wrong in sharing with other people things done for one’s own pleasure (and do it occasionally, may facebook fellows know I’m having fun), yet if impressing others becomes a primary motivation for choosing what to do in free time, a person falling victim to such way of thinking will sooner or later get hurt.

Such reasoning leads to dangerous conclusion, namely the measure of how much a youngster is worth is how much appreciation they receive. Number of likes under a person’s post on facebook becomes a benchmark of who’s more trendy, cool or… valuable…

The author also points up helplessness of youngsters in simple situations. Sewing in a ripped button, mending a leaking tap, changing a light bulb for many young people, not taught to cope with such tasks at home, have become insurmountable problems. This is horrifying, yet I have witnessed situations when youngsters were helpless staring at an overloaded rubbish bin, not coming up with a solution that emptying it (throwing away rubbish) would help…

This is also a matter of widespread consumerism. In the economy propelled by disposable items which once wear out or break down are replaced by brand-new ones. Though socialist economy was bound to collapse and had built-in depravity, it taught people resourcefulness. If you could not come by brand-new stuff, you had to seek ways to repair the old one, plus oddly enough, what was manufactured, though technically obsolete was much more durable. In today’s capitalism once a customer buys a new item, its vendor already plans how to attract the customer again (planned obsolescence is one of the tools). In the economy of shortage, with supply falling short of demand, a vendor was bending down backwards to keep the customer away from it for many years, so that insufficient supply of goods was less visible.

There is no use in protecting children from life’s hardships. The later they face up to them, the more painful the head-on collision with brutality will be.

Criticise children wisely, get them accustomed to criticism. Balance stick and carrot in upbringing. Praise when due, but teach to draw conclusions from judgmental remarks instead of taking umbrage with the world.

As the author points out towards the end of his essay (quite long, I once read for an average Pole a text longer than four A4 pages is too long to absorb, while the one on which I base my today’s post is six A4 pages long), not learning to overcome problems leads to mental diseases in early adulthood. Statistics quoted by the author of the percentage of students prone to depression, neurosis and other mental problems is horrifying. If those number are true, they illustrate the price paid for flying away from the golden cage of carefree childhood…

BTW, what’s the English for pierdoła? None of the translations found on the spot online renders properly the context in which the word was used in the title of the article…

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The new bike - review

Bought the new bicycle in late May, prompted by the unforeseen theft of the previous rickety one. Three months (and approximately 300 kilometres, since I failed to equip the bike in with an odometer) on, it looks I am poised to review my single-track motor-less vehicle.

The first impression is similar to changing an over ten-year-old car for a brand-new, though not upscale, car. I was genuinely impressed with smoothness and lightness of the new bicycle. The bike underwent a showroom-exit maintenance, so nearly all stuff was properly regulated and the vehicle was prepared for the first ride. It soon turned out some screws were too loose, yet I tighten them up and it runs beyond reproach. Gears are changed smoothly, without a single grind and sufficiently precisely (what else can I expect from a bike which set me back less than PLN 1,000).

Fixtures do their job well. I rode through muddy puddles and mudguards protected my clothes from being grimed. I did not test the LED lamps, yet they look out neatly and should ensure visibility if I happen to use the bike after dusk. What I have not purchased so far and catch up with are a decent bicycle lock (I used the bike for recreational rides, I yet I intend to use it to move between places and then the lock will become indispensable) and a pump (I have used compressors on petrol stations instead and consider sticking to that method of pumping up tyres).

The only drawback of the bike is its saddle. When choosing it I noticed immediately it was hard and uncomfortable, so I added to my shopping car a gel pad which turned out to help little. Firstly, the pad has been flattened by my backside, secondly it served just as a quick fix and the hapless saddle will be due for replacement later this year or next spring.

The biggest pity is that I could not take really long trips on account of problems with spine whose onset coincided with swapping bikes. My longest trip so far was mere 30 kilometres, I was yearning to cycle longer distances, yet my body held me back. I will keep on exercising during winter and next spring I hope I am fit enough to enjoy cycling more.

Plus I have made a resolution to have the new bike regularly (at least once a year) maintained by a professional. My first maintenance, within six months from the purchase will be free of charge, yet each next one should cost less than PLN 100, a tiny expense if it is to extend durability of the bike and ensure safe and pleasant cycling.

Today I cycled for the third time this summer to Zalesie Górne. Not a long ride, yet 20 kilometres was an optimum distance given air temperature before noon. Today for the third day in a row, maximum temperature reached more than +29C. Tomorrow is forecast to be also that hot, so I have taken a day off to lap up last moments of the warmth.

The weather these days is typically summer-like. Length of the day reminds the equinox is near, around half past seven in the evening darkness sets in. Besides, nights bring relief from the heat, while mornings bring mists lingering above fields. Autumn is not felt in the air, it will take a while before the scent of changing season comes over. In 2015 the first whiff of autumn (defined as cool enough to wear a coat) was felt on 7 September, but in 2014 we had to wait for it until 24 September. Hope this year’s September stays merciful.

For those thinking such spell of summer in mid-September is an anomaly, a dose of weather statistics (and an opportunity for me to indulge in what I am fond of).
  • The warmest September in Warsaw since records began was in 1919 (monthly average of +16.3C), ahead of September 1967 (mean temperature +16.2C), well ahead of September 2006 (monthly average of +16.0, though for no apparent reasons this one is frequently cited as the warmest ever), not mention Septembers in 1951 and 2005 (mean temperatures of +15.9C) and September 1999 (monthly average of +15.8C).
  • On 17 September 2015 temperature topped at +29.9C, however this was one-day peak, with day-before and day-after highs a few degrees lower.
  • Between 12 and 14 September 2014 day-time highs were above +26C, while night-time lows were not below +14C (spent this time away from Warsaw on a two-night off-site and remember, yes I do remember, how warm (no ambiguity) those nights were)
  • September 2013 was one of two coolest over the recent decade and exactly three years ago day-time highs barely hit double digits.
  • On 11 September 2012 temperature topped at +30.4C, like in 2015 this was a one-day spell.
The past measurements clearly prove the second decade of September is the latest period when temperature near +30C stands a chance to be recorded in Warsaw, yet such prolonged September heat wave is unprecedented based on the data I have access to (ogimet page, whose archives have recently been depleted to my displeasure), so September 2016 stands a serious chance to go down as the warmest in history in Warsaw.

According to the forecasts, heat wave should begin to wane from Tuesday and by the next weekend maximum temperatures are likely to descend to still enjoyable range of +20C to +25C, with no rain bringing relief to thirsty ground within the coming week. By 25 September late summer is predicted to stay in Warsaw! Make the most of the perfect weather until it gives way to gloomy autumn.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Accidents will happen

I have held the driving licence for 10 years, I have used a car on a daily basis for five years on; the two last years were the period of more intense business travels, taken also by car, my own old Megane or company cars, meaning over the last two years I covered around 35,000 kilometres behind the wheel; on top of another 35,000 kilometres driven over previous eight years.

Driving instructors argue a typical driver has an accident during their first equator’s length (roughly 40,000 kilometres) of driving. Over that time I had one minor traffic collision, oddly enough not impacting my insurance track record, besides since October 2012 my track record behind the wheel has been impeccable, except for scratching right-rear wing in five weeks ago. I rubbed against a lamp post while parking parallel.

I varnished the eye-popping aftermaths of my haste and inattention, yet the scrape slightly dented my self-confidence, which after all should do more harm than good. Lesson learnt – I should be more cautious. Nevertheless, I did not change my mind and did not find driving on Polish roads dangerous, until last seven days, when I nearly had three serious accidents, none I would have been guilty of, yet they could have ended up with serious injuries.

Last Sunday on ul. Słowackiego (Warszawa Żoliborz), I changed lanes from right to middle and noticed an iffy driver in Honda City on left lane. I somehow foresaw he was an unpredictable motorist and braced for his manoeuvre of changing lanes from left to middle nearly ending in hitting the side of my car. Having cars on both sides, but no vehicle behind me, I pushed the brake to the floor and avoided the collision. Fortunately my passengers kept a cool head and did not scream (I still remember the attack of panic of my three female colleagues in November 2015, when somewhere between Płońsk and Sierpc our car was hit by an ice slab flying off the roof of a truck ahead of us (no damage to the vehicle to my surprise)).

On Wednesday as I drove up ul. Puławska, I nearly fell victim to kinked lanes and foolish driver on the intersection with Baletowa. He followed the swinging lanes before the intersection but behind it he drove straight ahead, cutting in on me, moving properly up the right lane. I swerved into the lane for buses marked out before intersection with ul. Pelikanów, thus avoiding bumping into meathead-driven Mazda 6.

The most scary narrow escape struck me the next day. I was on the slip road from Dolinka Służewiecka (westbound lanes) into ul. Puławska (southbound lanes). I spotted a ZTM bus running at the lane west of the viaduct carrying the traffic from ul. Puławska into Dolinka Służewiecka, but glimpsing to the left I failed to notice its driver was speeding (70 kmph) while I did at around 45 kmph. Where the slip road and the right-most lane of ul. Puławska met, he immediately began changing lanes into mine, not minding I was there and. to make it worse, not minding there was a cyclist (cyclists should be prohibited from riding such roads and she should have safety cycled down the pavement on the other side of ul. Puławska!) on the same (mine) lane. The presence of the cyclist (still wonder whether she realised what was going on, since she seemed to be totally unaware how dangerous the situation was) left me fewer room to move rightwards, while an idiot in BMW just behind my rear bumper left little room for abrupt braking. I slowed down gently, trying to keep minimum 20 centimetres from the bus side and the cyclist and managed. Only with hindsight I realised what near miss it was.

It occurred to me it would have been safer to travel by bus. The next day while driving towards Park and Ride Metro Ursynów I drove 75 kmph and kept a steady distance from a 331 bus. Indeed, both bus driver and I were speeding, however the difference in magnitude of our sins that I would stop my car (including time to reaction and stopping distance) within 50 metres and fastened belts would protect me, while the bus driver would probably stop after more than 100 metres and many passengers would be injured. In retrospect, I regret not having reported that incident to ZTM.

Speed and alcohol rank among the most frequent accident causes in Poland, yet the list should be supplemented with other sins of drivers, seldom mentioned…

Firstly, not looking around. Wing mirrors and rear view mirror help the driver control situation around them. If you know what is going on around, you immediately know whether you can swerve (this facilitates controlling the blind spot as well) or suddenly brake. Looking around involves also watching out for vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians or animals that might trespass onto the road.

Secondly, not foreseeing. As one gains experience behind the wheel, more situations become predictable and consequently, accidents avoided.

Thirdly, pushing one’s luck. Sounds ridiculously, but several drivers count they will make it (finish overtaking by forcing other drivers to brake or swerve, violating the right of way by assessing another driver will skim on their brakes to avoid a collision etc.). Even in 99% instances it works, the remaining 1% results in increased number or casualties and fatalities on Polish roads.

Fourthly, not keeping proper distance. The reasons why rear-endings are so common are not just speed or lapses of concentration. The dire effects of the above would not lead to so many incidences of bumping into rear of a car ahead, had the proper distance been kept.

Fifthly, tiredness. Fatigued, drowsy drivers can display similar reactions as intoxicated drivers. I should also tack on over-using mobile phones when behind the wheel as fumbling with them also worsen drivers’ concentration.

Sixthly, technical condition of vehicles on Polish roads. I do not want to gripe about the average age of vehicles on Polish roads, declining, yet still above eleven years. I have a 13-year-old car and I take care of it to ensure travelling by it is safe. Poles drive what they afford to but the owner or user is always to blame. Nearly brand-new (aged less than 3Y) vehicles from corporate fleets, if they are not looked after properly (believe me or not, 3Y post-lease cars are frequently rickety bangers), are in far worse technical condition that my car.

And #7, cyclists and pedestrians ignorant of perils in traffic or even traffic rules. Starry-eyed traffic participants not realising if they have right of way, for the sake of their own safety they should not exercise it at all cost and that fault of a car driver is not an excuse. What I hold most against cyclists is: (1) riding on fast-traffic roads (speed limits at or above 70 kmph), (2) choosing to take a road, where there is a decent cycling path running parallel to the road, (3) not sticking to the right thus hindering overtaking. What I hold most against pedestrians is that they (1) can stand (or hang around) next to a pedestrian crossing with no intention to cross a street, (2) cross streets where they are not allowed to without even looking whether a vehicle is going to smash them into pulp.

I have mulled over installing a dashboard camera in my next car, not for the purpose Russians put them up (to prove they are not guilty of an accident) but to keep record of on-going horror on the Polish roads. So far, I keep up with Polskie Drogi channel on YouTube and hold it dear. Watching the compilations of accidents helps me learn from others’ mistakes, adds to my experience and enhances my predictive skills. The scenes by Polskie Drogi often prove many accidents could have been averted, had somebody thought beforehand or foreseen other traffic participants’ crass stupidity.

Dangers on the road must not be shrugged off, yet this is the risk one should manage. Driving cautiously does not guarantee you will return safe and sound from every journey, yet minimises the chances of having an accident.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Warsaw, from guests’ perspective

Skipped last week’s piece of blogging to look after my family (aunt, cousin and his wife) from Jelenia Góra who came for a few days to Warsaw. Heedless of political correctness, I confess living under one (especially one’s own) roof with a few people you meet once in two or three years is a nuisance. Yet, we all endured it without major clashes and their visit egged me on sightseeing trips through Warsaw and around I would not take in such number without third-party incentive.

They arrived on Saturday (over a week ago) before noon by Pendolino. For no apparent reason they chose to go by train, though door-to-door journey is shorter and less costly (for an equivalent of three adult ticket from Jelenia Góra to Warsaw they could buy petrol to come to Warsaw and drive back home.

On Saturday, after unpacking and lunch we set off to Prażmów where several of our common ancestors are buried. We visited their graves, burnt candles and I took the opportunity to discover areas of cemetery I had never ventured into, despite dropping in on there twice or three times a year. To the right, one of such places, a plaque commemorating local insurgents who fought in January Uprising.

On Sunday morning the relatives refused to sit back on a terrace and relax, so I had to take them for a longer stroll to Piaseczno. We inspected the reconstruction of ul. Wojska Polskiego. The scope of works is anything but overwhelming. The street will not be widened, but new asphalt will be laid, new pavements and parking spots built, two new pedestrian crossings marked out.

The major gain for local residents will be the newly built intersection with ul. Sikorskiego, which used to be a cul-de-sac since 2000. The new link might spare local car-ridden residents around one kilometre of detour. Note the florist’s and delicatessen grocery on the left side of my snap. The two facilities have not changed by a bit since 20 years (I lived a stone’s throw to this spot until 2005), resisting competition from posh flower shops and Lidl and Kaufland shops opened nearby in early 2000s.

On Sunday afternoon we paid a visit to Warsaw Uprising Museum. This was my second trip to that establishment this year, so I served as a guide. The museum, as each public one is proscribed to open its doors free of charge once week. Here the day when visitors do not need to buy tickets is Sunday, hence a long queue to the entrance. The wait, fortunately, did not take long and after some 20 minutes we crossed the door of the building. After an hour and a half, as we were leaving, rain was pouring down heavily. Bang went plans of ambling around the new residential and commercial developments of Wola district.

On Monday and Tuesday I escaped to work (refused to take the whole week off and put my patience to such test, imagine my grin when I was driving off bound to be away from home for eleven hours) so my mother took care of the guests, showing them nooks and crannies linked to our family’s history in Piaseczno and on Tuesday they went to Warsaw to Królikarnia Park, Łazienki Park and to Palace of Culture’s observation deck.

On Wednesday morning we headed for Polish Jews’ Museum. The probably most magnificent museum in Warsaw was opened over three years ago, on 70th anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising outbreak. The exhibition strikes with modernity and gives visitors the chance not just to familiarise with the history of Jews on the territory of Poland (not sparing the shameful pieces of it), but also acquaints them with Jews’ culture and religion.

Walking quite carefully through the exhibition took us more than two hours and if I can hint those interested in visiting the museum (definitely worthwhile), go through the first part of the exhibition, until the end of eighteenth century faster and than slow down, since as you move towards the present, the story gets more appealing.

Having left the museum, we strolled around the very centre of the capital to let the relatives see the recently built skyscrapers (in Warsaw’s terms building having more than 20 storeys) – Q22, Warsaw Spire and Cosmopolitan.

After the lunch the family were tired enough to stay in, while I took a bike for a short trip around the neighbour- hood. In Nowa Iwiczna, next to the station, pavement south of ul. Krasickiego was under construction. Dwellers of roadside houses were overseeing workers to ensure driveways to their properties were assembled properly (i.e. without curbs and not too slippery).

Little was going on close the station in Nowa Iwiczna. The level crossing has been opened, target tracks have been laid therein, yet the old island platform remained nearly intact and the place seemed to be lagging behind in terms of work progress, compared to other sections of W-wa Okęcie – Piaseczno modernised section.

Further north, in Jeziorki, tarmac has been ripped off ul. Karczunkow- ska and literally nothing was going on. As I turned up there, it was just before 4 p.m. so I expected to observe construction crews bustling about. Instead, the only humans at the scene were two men next to gatekeeper’s hut, staring at the desolated place. Besides, not a living soul in sight. Closure of the level crossing is an inconvenience for locals therefore swift pace of works should be ensured to minimise it.

In Dawidy, rail-wise, same progress of works as one station south. However here the level crossing has been revamped, yet gates have not been put up. Passengers can use one new platform next to newly-laid track used currently by trains running in both directions. The northbound track has been ripped and no signs of further course of works could be witnessed.

Cycling home along ul. Baletowa I spotted a ZTM bus, operating a newly launched 737 service. Inhabitants of this part of Zielony Ursynów had been waiting for a bus connection to town for 20 years and had greeted the first bus a few days earlier with ribbon-cutting, bread and salt. Must ul. Karczunkowska have been closed to bring those people closer to civilisation and relieve them from dependence on cars and rarely running trains which do not reach Ursynów or Mokotów?

On Thursday morning we set off to take a walk through Krakowskie Przedmieście. My mother and aunt visited interiors of all churches by the street, then we strolled around Plac Zamkowy. End of August is still a height of holiday season, so majority of people around (just like in Polin Museum) were foreigners.

Then guests took us to a café in Old Town Square to enjoy “home-made” ice-cream. While waiting for my portion, I snapped a bird, plucking and pecking flower petals. Then, I accidentally caught the fellow flying away, shooed by a waiter.

While heading towards the castle to turn right in the direction of the Unkown Soldier’s Tomb and Ogród Saski, I took a picture of the National Stadium. The sport arena looks splendid, unlike my photo which rather resembles an advertisement of Skoda Fabia (I somehow failed to notice the car, whose driver probably did not give a damn about traffic restrictions).

On Thursday afternoon we took the last trip to Konstancin Jeziorna. The place, which I used to pop in on often as a child, has undergone a huge change since I last visited the sanatoria park in spring 2013 (documented visit in 2011). The most dilapidated area near Jeziorka river has been marvellously revitalised, since three years ago where the pavement lies you could see a narrow trampled path, and wild shrubs were overgrowing it on both sides. The old sanatoria building was demolished to give way to a spa facility.

Hugonówka café, opened in 2014, is now the main cultural house in Konstancin, serving both as eatery and as scene of theatre and open-air cinema. Compared to how badly it looked in 2013, the stride made here brings out joy. Konstancin now is one of excellent weekend trip destinations for Varsovians!

On Friday early morning another Pendolino took my cousin and his wife home, while my aunt took a bus to Legionowo to visit her another cousin. The remaining household members could finally have a sigh of relief and after a solid cleaning up could enjoy a slightly longer weekend. Today around noon I set off to the airport to pick up my acquaintance from Germany who played host to me and my friend during holidays in 2005. I promised her to drive her to Wólka cemetery to visit her daughter’s grave, then we are about to eat out and her another daughter should take her home.

The weather these days is truly summer-like, yet +30C heat this time is absolutely tolerable for me. Cool nights and brisk mornings help air out interiors which give shelter from the heat in the afternoons, while the very air is dry and breeze takes the edge off heat. Long-term forecasts predict such weather is to continue until the end of first decade of September and may they prove accurate!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

But a change of heart comes slow…

Taking note of my unchanged approach to Warsaw Uprising last week has motivated me to rediscover my pieces of writing from the early years of blogging. I have run PES for over seven years; despite several crises I have soldiered on, yet the period of most intense and inspiration-driven writing lasted for somewhat more than a year. Later on, since the summer of 2010 when I took up a full-time job, posts began to appear once a week and were far less often written on the spur of the moment. Over the first year of blogging I blurted out thoughts I most needed to share with the world, then I moved on and freshness went by… Now I genuinely miss those days when youngster’s zeal was filling me with energy and inspiration do the job I do not feel up to today.

The posts I’m revisiting today were written when I was 21 or 22 (vs. 28 today). One would claim I should have grown mature; should have undergone a process which involves reshaping one’s views on several matters. When I read my very first posts (from the first three or four months of blogging) I find them childish and clumsily written. After this formative period, my style seemed to have been brushed up on.

Time to find out how many times I have changed my mind. As I set off to take this journey, I safely bet my opinions have not evolved much.

The concept of shelving the public debt still sounds like a daydream. Deep down I agree with myself, yet the more rational parts of me reminds me the government to some extent functions like an enterprise for which there is an optimum level of debt below which borrowing is a cost-effective form of financing.

In 2009 media coverage was my once source of information on pathologies in retail banking in Poland. In 2016 it looks not more different. Today I could write more about the dark side of corporate banking, yet even though I am striving to withhold my identity I resist the temptation.

Five years after graduation, I hear from youngsters I know my university continues to be on decline. In international rankings SGH has been overtaken some time ago by Kozminski Academy, marking an imminent change in the higher education system in Poland where public universities have been superior to private poor and profit-oriented ones.

Returning to 2009 I can boast about being a critic of the bygone shape of pension system in Poland before Donald Tusk’s government decided to dismantle it. With hindsight, as the private-run pension fund business has been effectively pared down, I believe every word I wrote was justified and the two-stage (2011 and 2013/2014) crackdown on the pension funds was a move in the right direction.

My (modest) proposal of a flat-rate tax with a high allowance still sound appealing, yet I would slightly modify it by introducing a higher tax rate and a higher allowance and would add child allowances to it.

The purpose of that post was actually to mock at the late president Lech Kaczyński. In November 2009 no one thought in less than five months Mr Kaczyński would tragically die. Everyone thought his term would draw to a close in a year and he would be replaced by a candidate from PO entourage. Today when I observe conduct of Mr Duda I appreciate Lech Kaczyński was not that bad, particularly in comparison to the current “head of state”.

After the decease of general Jaruzelski in 2014 discussions on legitimacy and backdrop of declaring martial law in Poland in 1981 have somewhat faded. Still I argue the state of affairs in Poland was complicated at that time and I believe we will probably forever suffer from lack facts and documents helping historians fairly assess that decision.

My essay on dire effects of loose monetary policy was written after a year or so of pursuit of such policies by major central banks. From today’s perspective I still conceptually agree with my reasoning and could write the same again, yet I need to bear in mind ultra-loose monetary policies have been run for nearly eight years and unconventional tools have also been harnessed to keep economies afloat. Oddly enough, evils listed in paragraph (1) to (4) at the bottom of the post have not materialised or have materialised only to a marginal extent which should prompt me to rethink my approach.

In early 2010 I challenged the widespread theory the financial meltdown had been caused by greed, pointing out its major cause had been lack of fear. Today the theory still sounds alluring while I need to add another, definitely not mould-breaking, note. Economic actors will do whatever they are not prohibited from to pursue their goals. Therefore regulations and their proper enforcement are vital to prevent financial crises.

My critical look at various investment theories could today be enhanced by the experience of recent years. Theory of macroeconomics has been reshaped by unprecedented phenomena witnessed in post-crisis years (negative interest years, ultra-loose monetary policies fuelling no substantial asset bubbles, scrapping the paradigm of risk-free securities, etc.)

While my financial well-being has incomparably improved since 2010 I still think interns should be remunerated for their work. My approach is shared by an increasing number of employers who erased unpaid internships from their job openings as part of incorporating CSR agendas.

The take on Poland between 1945 and 1989 appears well-balanced. I find assertions that one occupier was swapped for another in 1945 out of place. Keeping in mind Poland was dependent on Soviet Union, its political system was far from democracy and its economic order was ineffective, between 1945 and 1989 warfare was generally not conducted on the territory on Poland, buildings and factories were erected rather than torn down, an ordinary man, as long as they kept their mouth shut, had no reason to be afraid of their life and the number of victims of 44 years of oppressive system was lower than of 6 years of Nazi occupation.

In July 2010 I had a heated post-Smolensk argument with Toyah and his fellows being on the other side of the political divide line. Today we stand where we stood then, while the end-justifies-the-means remains a motto of PiS and their advocates. I have to also boast here about my impeccable anti-PiS credentials. Never, ever, since I have been seriously interested in politics, i.e. since early 2005, have I ever been enchanted by PiS. In 2005, when PO was bound to win the parliamentary election by a tiny two of three percentage points and create coalition with PiS, I was not fond of vision of this right-wing coalition taking charge of Poland. I became the PO electorate after the party put itself in opposition to PiS and its social agenda drifted left.

The picture of today’s career-minded youngsters painted in this post is a piece of utter rubbish, I confess. Most young people I know strike work-life balance well and have no problems with relationships with people although I still feel sorry so few Michał’s friends turned up at his wedding. Having more important things to do than celebrating important moments in friends’ lives with them is still a plague with my peers.

In this post I foresaw the history will be rewritten sooner or later. Just recall that sentence: On Tuesday “Gazeta Polska” published an interview with Jarosław Kaczyński in which he envisages Lech Wałęsa will soon be discredited and after his name is dragged through the mud Lech Kaczyński will become a symbol of Solidarity. This is taking place, proving how determined politician Jarosław Kaczyński is.

Today, even more than then, I find current affairs in my life more important than politics. There are moments I feel sick, yet I am growing indifferent. On Thursday I returned frazzled from a two-day business trip and did not even feel like learning what the sentence of the Constitutional Tribunal on the new law governing the institution is (content was predictable) and what implications of it would be.

Today I no longer would write rants on linguistic competencies. Despite using English every day at work and making use of all four skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening), my use of English has been narrowed down to professional topics. I wonder when my fluency in English was at its height, but I am nearly confident that moment is behind me. Keeping up excellent command of non-native language if you do not live in the country where that language is widely used is a challenge indeed.

Next post in two weeks at best, in three weeks at worst. My family from Jelenia Góra are visiting the capital so I will be looking after them next weekend, while after they go home I will need to take care of another acquaintance coming over to Warsaw. Take care!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sick of politics

One down, four to go. Counting down days until the end of his term and wishing him good health.

One of keystone vows of Mr Duda as a candidate was to convert toxic foreign currency mortgage loans to PLN at the rate at which they had been taken out. As the problem is quite intricate, it has been tackled by a dedicated task force several times. The first proposal of loan conversion into PLN at “fair rate” was unveiled in January 2016, another “draft” of set of measures to ease CHF-mortgage-ridden debtors was laid out in June 2016. Last week the president’s experts finally presented the draft law whose core element is the obligation for banks to refund the borrowers overcharged spreads…

YES WE CAN’T, one would love to paraphrase Barack Obama’s campaign slogan. After several promises to bail out borrowers (majority of whom are either well-off and their only problem is that their properties cannot be sold, or are suckers who wanted to outwit their fellows indebted in the domestic currency) the final scheme has been grossly whittled down in comparison to what had been pledged. Yet, as Mr Dera sincerely confessed, perception of a candidate differs from perception of an incumbent president.

Thanks to the new scheme hapless debtors will see principals of their loans decline by the amount of spreads overcharged at disbursement and at each instalment payment until August 2011, when anti-spread law came into force. Essentially, if you look at this detail, president Duda’s task force’s proposal is just the extension to the banking law amendment enacted by PO-PSL government (and initiated by former president Komorowski in the wake of soaring CHF in mid-2011) since it applies to payments between banks and borrowers made between January 2000 and August 2011.

So far no one has mentioned the risk of new law’s illegality. It needs to be noted though banks had charged FX-debtors excessive spreads, or simply had ripped them off, they had done it within the letter of law (there had been no limits on spreads) which in principle is not retroactive. Yet with constitutional tribunal brought to the heel, this should no longer be a concern.

Even if the total cost for banks in Poland reaches PLN 10 billion, the burden will be bearable and will not shake stability of the financial system. “Ensnared” borrowers are let down by Mr Duda’s scheme, while the refund of overpaid spreads will in fact constitute a transfer of wealth from banks’ stakeholders (not only shareholders but also clients) to a relatively wealthy group of PO and Nowoczesna’s electorate who will have their mortgage loans prepaid (or if they have paid off their debt, they will receive cash).

The 72nd anniversary of Warsaw Uprising outbreak was marked by a dispute to who the homage should be paid at W-hour. A handful of insurgent were called to minister Macierewicz’s office and forced to agree to a compromise that the full list of 96 fatalities of Smolensk air crash would not be read out, instead names of five persons involved in nurturing the remembrance of the Uprising would be read out.

The presence of Smolensk tribute during each and every event assisted by the army not only contributes to denigrating remembrance of 96 Tu-154 passengers who died in the tragic transport accident, but also is the top point on the agenda of rewriting the history.

Besides, the PiS-inspired industry of hatred is running at full steam. The two victims are 99-year-old general Scibor-Rylski accused of collaboration with communist secret services in post-war years and Zbigniew Galperyn. Beyond all doubt general Scibor-Rylski did co-operate in these bleak times, however by all accounts the collaboration was tactical and did not harm anyone. The campaign against Mr Galperyn kicked off just recently, after he criticised combining commemorations of Warsaw Uprising and Smolensk air crash and is backed by no evidence, a similar article could be written about anyone doing anything.

Actually it does not matter whether they collaborated with communist regime before 1989. Many today’s zealous supporters (Jerzy Zelnik) and politicians (Stanisław Piotrowicz) of PiS did it and their past does not disqualify them out of public discourse. What only matters is one’s attitude towards PiS today. The moment you firmly oppose against what knights of dobra zmiana pursue is the moment before the mud-slinging machine is set in motion.

Seven years after this pledge, my approach to the Warsaw Uprising has not changed. I still pay homage to inhabitants of Warsaw who valiantly fought against the Nazi occupier and to civilians who either lost their lives in the Uprising or endured probably the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in the history of Poland. I am sick when I see people who show off how they pay tribute to the insurgents, use the W-hour anniversary as an opportunity for lansik or when public figures attempt to capitalise on the anniversary. Commemorate, but not celebrate. Stop for a minute, in silence, with your head down and be thankful you live a in free, peaceful country.

Meanwhile, first serious cracks can be seen among affiliates of the ruling party who have relished on power. Backdrop of the decision to oust Mr Kurski from the public TV broadcaster’s CEO seat and then to defer his departure by nearly three months laid bare clashes between coteries. Unlike some of you may think, supporters of PiS are not a uniform group. Gazeta Polska entourage is not fond of wSieci / wPolityce and the other way round. The two entourages have also little in common with priest Rydzyk’s empire, not as influential as in 2005-2007. Just read Toyah’s blog to learn more. He often gripes about Rafał Ziemkiewicz, Tomasz Terlikowski and moans how other accolades of PiS hinder the good cause.

Quarrels between coteries do not herald break-up of the wide front of PiS supporters, yet the more perceptible they are, the more they remind Poles PiS politicians are no different than their predecessors, they go back on promises and become corrupt by power

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Civilisation winding down?

The pace of progress our civilisation has made over the last decades is impressive and incomparable with any other period of well-researched history. Mould-breaking developments have been made for instance in medicine, engineering, information technology and have left positive marks on our everyday lives.

Thanks to improvement in information exchanges and growing availability and affordability of long-distance fast transport, the world has virtually shrunk. Places out of reach a few decades ago seem now close at hand. Day-to-day unlimited communication with people is now not confined only to those who surround us. Those processes, as I notice, do not have “ever-expanding” character. We seem to be falling victim to them, or they are self-reversing. Just take a look.

Smartphones are the essential tool of information exchange for today’s youngsters, yet for many they have become the prevalent means of communication with the rest of the world. The quite frequent sight of a group of young people all staring at their phones instead of talking to one another is just one of bleak proofs of excessive dependence on technology.

Nearly any place on earth can be reached by air transport within 24 hours, and plane journeys are affordable for masses, yet there is a growing number of places being a no-go areas for tourists; places which a few years ago used to be popular destinations: Crimea, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, some Greek islands besieged by immigrants from Middle East just to name a few. Though Poles’ horizons have broadened, their holiday plans have been altered by new global threats, thus Baltic sea shore, despite cold water, changeable weather, wild crowds and sky-high prices of everything a tourist needs, is again the preferable holiday destination. In 1990s Poles would go to the seaside because overseas resorts were out of their reach financially or because they were daunted by the unknown exotic places. Today the seaside is a safer place (with improved tourist infrastructure one needs to admit).

Two years ago, as I roamed around Germany, I did not take into account I could become a victim of terrorist attack in a shopping mall or restaurant. Paris, Munich, Nice until recently used to have all makings of a safe place for tourists and residents. Terrorism is not an entirely new phenomenon in Europe. Munich was attacked during Olympic Games in 1972. Madrid commuter trains were blown up in 2004, London public transport vehicles in 2005. Yet the frequency of attacks and profiles or terrorists have changed. Today we do not witness Al-Kaida taking revenge for military intervention in Afghanistan. Today secret services do not observe terrorists collectively planning an attack together. Today’s fanatic killer is a young brain-washed male on a lonely, unaided mission to murder possibly many people before he dies martyr.

Societies are becoming less tolerant, I wonder whether they will become less outgoing. Will fear of and dislike for the others become a factor keeping people inside walls of their homes?

After the financial tsunami in 2008 many thought the new economic order will change workings of the world. In fact little has changed. Economies have ridden out the storm although one should be far from declaring they are doing well; had they been, interest rates would have been jacked up. Yet the societal change might be imminent. To keep going, people need to earn and spend money; produce and exchange services, yet who how flows between economic actors go no longer is a subject of economic debate, it has become more about politics and social science. From the economic point of view if in a developed economy there are low-paid jobs domestic workers are unwilling to take up, such gap is filled with migrants from less developed countries being a motivated, cheap labour force which moves the economy forward. From the social or political standpoints, migrants are becoming an unwanted element, regardless of their impact on economic growth and well-being of the whole society.

The ongoing social change is reflected in political choices and the victory of PiS in Poland last year is not the most glaring example. Donald Trump’s dreadful popularity in the United States and support for Brexit in the United Kingdom fill me with far more uncertainty regarding future.

I fear that the world is heading towards isolation, on micro and macro scale. Demise of bonds between humans is already perceptible. Decades ago people had a few close friends and had closer (though often not ideal) relationships with families. Today people have hundreds of acquaintances (a good measure is a number of connections on social networks) but despite this not seldom feel lonesome.

Besides, for most of July I felt too comfortably, too carefree, at times lethargic or numb. That state has given way to some sort of anxiety, a gut feeling something bad might afflict me personally in the close future. Hope it is just a mild version of mid-summer blues caused by to humid air ;-)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Spine, down my spine

A few years ago, while reading results of my medical general check-up, my GP told me by the time I reached forty problems with health would not afflict me, but if I looked after myself well, I would stay healthy until I turned fifty. Then it would all go downhill anyway, since only a tiny fraction of population aged over 50 can boast about excellent health.

I can drop in on a dentist once a year to have my teeth checked preventively or at worst have one of them mended. I visit ophthalmologist at least once in two years to have my eyesight inspected. I get a medical check-up at least once in three years and wait for a spot-on comment that I have my car thoroughly serviced at least once year, so why do I care more about a depreciating tin. The last time I was on a sick leave was in October 2013, after a food poisoning, since then not a single cold caught. I am doing fine, so what’s the point in seeing doctor “just in case”, as some of my peers, who just like me have medical care packages paid by their employers, do.

This might be the thing of the past… Before each warm long weekend doctors advise people who lead sedentary lifestyle not to overstretch themselves. I heard those warnings also before the late-May Corpus-Christi weekend, but did not take them to heart. April and May were stressful, I sat long in the office to meet deadlines and once I saw the back of the dreadful streak, I wanted to make the most of days off. Swimming, cycling, garden and house works in abundance have put a pleasant strain on my muscles. On Monday following the weekend I barely got up from bed, being stricken by a pain down my lumbar spine. I thought the strain, just muscle soreness, would ease off after a day or two. It did not. With varying intensity the aches kept me company for four weeks; being a nuisance at work, at home, during business trips and private travels… I carried on, though there were days I could not remain sitting for more than half an hour; a limitation bearable in the office, yet uncomfortable during conferences or workshops when I could not stand up whenever I wanted.

Having returned from holidays I finally signed up to see my GP at Medicover; on the next day I had my spine X-rayed as prescribed. With the results and a relevant referral I marched to a physiotherapist. It turned out my spine, though not in pristine condition, is not ruined, yet if I do not want it to cause me further pains, I should take up regular exercise and change my habits. The former will not help if I do not pursue the latter.

The very sitting, inevitable if you work in an office, is not a natural position for a human spine, therefore it is crucial to minimise negative effects of sitting long hours. Firstly, do not sit on the tailbone (the Formula-1 driver position). There are two bones around the middle of your buttocks which should absorb the burden of your body as you sit. Secondly, your spine should be vertical as you sit. To allow for this, you should have a chair with properly shaped armrest, monitor ahead of your eyes (not lower, otherwise you will hunch), keyboard and mouse close to you (so that you don’t have to reach out for them and hunch).

Everyday habits also need to be changed not to strain the lumbar spine excessively. If you want to lift something heavy, bend your legs and let your thighs take the strain. Generally, I am switching from squatting and bowing down towards sit-ups and kneeling. I have quite strong legs (riding a bike a lot as a child) and they should take the strain off my spine, yet have to be careful about the knee joints. In other words time to live normally, but without encouraging the pain to keep me company. Unfortunately, over the coming weeks long (> 25 kilometres) bike trips have to be given up. Though I have chosen the bike in size corresponding to my height (XL; 180 – 195 cm), longer cycling takes its toll on my still sore spine, therefore I will most likely enjoy longer rides in late August at the earliest… Today I cycled to Zalesie Górne and back (total distance of around 20 kilometres, one snap on my fb profile) with a short break at my destination and felt I could do with a little bit longer trips, yet my spine calls for a break after some 45 minutes (or 10 kilometres) of recreational cycling…

Oddly enough, Wisła resort today had few visitors, despite conducive weather.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

History being rewritten

The Polish Internet has recently been flooded with humorous memes scoffing alleged accomplishments of Poland’s first back seat driver. The influx of mockery has been spurred by Mr Kaczynski and his servile henchmen (fellow politicians and reverent media) whose claims and deeds are aimed at changing roles of some people in Poland’s most recent history. Thus the official version of history, compiled by impious post-communist elites is set to be rewritten, to highlight roles of under-appreciated figures and to debase those whose merits have been undeservedly overrated.

Comment 1: beyond all doubt, Lech Kaczyński was one of the prominent figures in Solidarity since the inception of the movement, nevertheless no historian so far has dared to assert he had played the second fiddle in the movement.
Comment 2: beyond all doubt, Jarosław Kaczyński, despite holding no other function in the state than an ordinary lower-house deputy, is an actual leader of the group of people who formally exercise executive and legislative powers in Poland. The situation when a man actually takes decision but shuns responsibility for them is abnormal. I actually hope Mr Kaczyński takes over as prime minister.

Who is accountable for killing over forty Jews in Kielce and burning alive more than 300 Jews in a barn in Jedwabne? Minister of education in the PiS government lacked courage to admit those were Poles.
Comment 1: I would not put it down to Mrs Zalewska’s inadequate familiarity with Poland’s history.
Comment 2: A mature nation is capable of admitting to crimes its representatives committed, apologise for them and firmly condemn. Quibbling, as Mrs Zalewska did in the notorious TV interview, does not bring us closer to maturity in this respect.

You might think if Jarosław Kaczyński was not interned with the imposition of the martial law in December 1981, communist regime did not find him dangerous. Got it wrong my dear, the secret services planned to detain him, but accidentally did not do it, even though they had a chance to make up for it when Mr Kaczyński was shortly interrogated in the first days of the martial law…
Comment: You will not turn back time. On that frosty morning Jarosław woke up at ten a.m., went to church and in there found out something bad was going on. No bleak men knocked at his parents’ door to arrest him…

Who can take credit for bringing Poland into NATO? The omnipotent Leader and his crony Krzysztof Czabański! Any contribution of politicians such as Taduesz Mazowiecki, Bronisław Geremek, Aleksander Kwaśniewski? Who would care?
Comment: Wiadomości by TVP have become the most nefarious propaganda tube in Poland since 1989, beating by a long shot all previous SLD- or PO-affiliated circles of journalists and clearly biased coverage by TVN. From time to time I wrench my guts and watch Wiadomości. Selective choice of facts, failure to separate facts from comments and instructing audience what to think are now the distinguishing features of the main news programme, still financed from taxpayers’ purse.

Comment 1: rationally, why mixing up fatalities of a tragic air crash with actual martyrs who died fighting for free Poland?
Comment 2: the decision to bring in Smolensk component into each and every occasion assisted by military forces is already making people laugh it off and in effect denigrates the remembrances of crash victims.

Having vented by anger at the above, I still underline rewriting the history is less detrimental than tampering with the economy (may the clearly debt-financed child allowance programme be enough) or with democratic institutions. The five hundred zlotys per child, a tangible proof how PiS kept their flagship promise, has lifted some people from penury, raised their living standards or simply bribed them off. Other voters could not care less, a few million genuinely believe PiS are mending Poland. Thus PiSites enjoy support reaching 40%, not because they have dismantled the constitutional tribunal, not because they are ruining public finances, but because they are the only party with agenda for Poland. No matter how strongly I disagree with the vision of Poland by PiS, I cannot deny the have what other parties lack.

Below, a derisive poem I could not resist to share, nimbly offending the better sort of Poles who vote for PiS…


Był raz grafoman, wierszokleta,
Dziennikarzyna z bożej łaski.
Lecz się przedstawiał: wieszcz, poeta,
I ciągle czekał na oklaski.
Choć jego wierszy nikt nie czytał,
On niepowodzeń znał przyczynę!
Zmowa! Grubymi nićmi szyta!
Jeszcze - odgrażał się - wypłynę!
Podkreślał stale swe zasługi,
Że on jedyny pisze z sensem,
Sam się ogłosił raz i drugi,
Że niby polskim jest Brassensem.
Mając, jak twierdził, lekkie pióro,
Oceny podjął się z ochotą,
Co dobrą jest literaturą,
A szczerze mówiąc, był idiotą.

Był raz kabotyn, aktorzyna,
Przez całe życie grał ogony,
Lecz to nie moja – mówił – wina,
Że jestem wciąż niedoceniony.
Nikt do teatru nie chciał chodzić,
Oprócz lizusów i klakierów,
Lecz przekonywał: nic nie szkodzi,
To spisek bandy reżyserów.
Innych nazywał szmirusami,
Albo wyrażał się z przekąsem,
Kpił w żywe oczy, a czasami
Złośliwie mruczał coś pod wąsem.
Czy to był Hamlet czy Medea,
Do złej gry robił dobrą minę.
Chwalił się: zrobię dobry teatr!
Ale, niestety, był kretynem.

Był raz szarpidrut, muzykancik,
Blade pojęcie miał o jazzie.
O mistrzach mówił: dyletanci,
A sam rzępolił ile wlezie.
Choć jego grania nikt słuchał,
Grał w swym mniemaniu pierwsze skrzypce.
Czeka mnie – mówił - niezła fucha,
O władzy śniąc i złotej rybce.
Choć słoń nadepnął mu na ucho,
Wielkiego znawcy przyjął pozę,
Dziś z talentami – rzekł - jest krucho,
Tylko ja jestem wirtuozem.
Wmawiał, że jest muzycznym tuzem,
Choć był podrzędnym muzykantem,
Zapewniał: ja gram dobrą muzę!
A tylko zwykłym był palantem.

Był raz pacykarz, beztalencie,
Malował straszne bohomazy,
Lecz przekonany, że ma wzięcie,
Wystawiał wszędzie swe obrazy.
Nikt tych obrazów nie oglądał,
Świeciły pustką wernisaże,
Winę w kolejnych widział rządach,
Mówiąc: ja jeszcze wam pokażę!
Wszędzie miernoty i nieuki,
A ja? Świat jeszcze o tym nie wie,
Że to prawdziwe dzieła sztuki.
Reszta - gryzmoły i badziewie.
O innych mówić zwykł z pogardą,
Ja się – rzekł - znam na dobrej sztuce!
Swój kicz nazywał awangardą,
A był zwyczajnym, pardon, bucem.

Był raz polityk, nieudacznik,
Z rozdętym ego, z kompleksami.
Z nim osobnicy dość dziwaczni,
Nieudacznicy tacy sami.
Zebrał do kupy pacykarzy,
Niedocenionych wierszokletów,
Wziął dyletantów, dobrał łgarzy,
Wiedząc, że nie brak im tupetu.
Obiecał im: będziecie wielcy!
Sam przy tym się dowartościował.
Więc maszerują wierni strzelcy,
Historię pisać chcą od nowa.
A polityczna kusi scena,
Więc większość poszła jego tropem,
By ponoć z woli suwerena
Naprawiać Polskę, świat, Europę.
Dobrał frustratów, kabotynów,
Zawistnych, mściwych oszołomów.
Omamił, wezwał ich do czynu:
My nie poddamy się nikomu!
Dał szansę wszelkim grafomanom
I sam cytuje hasła wzniosłe,
To wszystko nazwał Dobrą Zmianą.
A jest zwyczajnym tylko posłem.

© MKWD (Muzyczny Kabaret Wojtka Dąbrowskiego)
Druk: tygodnik Passa, nr 26 (816), 30 czerwca 2016

Those interested in the alternative version of truth, seeking to free their minds, are advised to indulge in reading in Jarosław Kaczyński's autobiography. I am looking forward to borrowing this book, as I am not going to purchase it and support Mr Kaczynski financially nor contribute to higher popularity of the book measured by number of paperbacks sold. If I come by it, I promise to review it.