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July 27, 2016 - The Life of a Polish Party Animal
The month of June for me was all about my first-ever trip to Wisconsin for the Milwaukee Polish Fest, and then on to the Upper Michigan Penisula and Ontario for camping. Summer is so short I believe it is best to do the fun stuff early on to escape missing out. The Polish American Festival of Western New York is something I always look forward to in July and August is for Rochester's Polish Arts Festival at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish (August 5 & 6).

Of course, partying is not all I am up to. A great deal of time is spent on updating this website and my online music store, as well as biking, running, playing/learning musical instruments and reading. It has been a very hot and dry summer so far. Today marks our 14th summer day with temperatures in the 90's (Above 32 degrees Celsius.) so I will run in the early morning and will practice accordion and play guitar indoors this afternoon.
Bob's Blog:



2016 Cheektowaga Pulaski Parade
While searching for my babcia's brothers' graves, I came across my mom's brother's grave in Section M at St. Stanislaus Cemetery. I am so happy about that. I'll continue looking for the other graves later this summer.


Don't forget!
Thank you Facebook buddy Barbara Proko for sharing Maps of Europe’s ancient tribes, kingdoms and Y-DNA. I know I am of Polish ancestry because my parents told me so; they spoke Polish regularly and our family celebrated both Polish and American customs. I recently took advantage of DNA testing available through Ancestry.com and 23 and Me.

  • According to Ancestry.com, I am 89% Eastern European, 6% Scandinavian, with  traces of DNA from Europe West (1%), Finland/Northwest Russia (1%), Iberian Peninsula (1%), Great Britain (<1%), and Ireland (<1%).  They also say that the average Pole residing in Poland today is 82% Eastern European, somewhat lower due to the "age of transportation". I'd say the hell that the Polish people were subjected to during the twentieth century also had something to do with it.

  • DNA results from 23 and Me reveal that my father's haplogroup is R1a1a (a subgroup of R1) and my mother's T2 (a subgroup of T). So where did my ancestors live 9,000 years ago? This map shows where:




The (above) map shows Europe around 7000 BC. The Ice Age had ended and Mesolithic European hunter-gatherers had migrated from their refuges to recolonize the continent, including Doggerland which later submerged beneath the rising North Sea. The majority of western European males belonged to Y-haplogroup I and northeast Europeans to haplogroup R1a. Other minor male lineages such as R1b, G, J, T and E would also have been present in Europe, having migrated from the Asian Steppe, the Middle East and North Africa.

In case you are interested, my father's family ended up in north-central Poland and my mother's family lived in southern Poland. Many of us now live in Western New York, but some are still moving about.




July 29, 2016 - RIP Paul Cimicata







organized trips to Europe to broaden his students' horizons. Listen to their performance of Serdeczna Matko in Poland during their 1996 EuroTour: 
I am saddened to hear that Paul Cimicata, educator and beloved director of the R-H SIngers, had complications from heart surgery this week and has passed away. He was a colleague of mine, but more importantly an inspiration to hundreds of Rush-Henrietta CSD students including my two daughters and many of their friends. "Mr. C" regularly 
August 1, 2016 -  Guitar Review
I am eager to try out my newest guitar, a Teton acoustic dreadnought guitar with electronics (STS205CENT). Some of my customers have been raving about its sound and playability so I decided to get one for my own use. I love its feel and quality, typical for Teton musical instruments. I currently have four: the Teton cedar top classical guitar w/ electronics (STC155CENT my work horse), Teton's semi-hollow electric guitar (TES-50VS), and a Teton solid body ukulele (STEU101T). I also ordered a nice Teton hardshell case for my dreadnought. I must say I have never seen guitar case so nice. I think it will come in handy when I make my Christmas tour this December and January. (The Polish Christmas carol season is traditionally December 24-February 2, but Polish Americans often begin in early December.) NOTE: I can give you the lowest prices on Teton guitars and ukes if you email me at PoloniaMusic@yahoo.com.


My New Teton Guitar
August 6, 2016 -  Rochester Polish Arts Festival
I had a nice talk with the The Komrads, the band that played at this year's festival. I was sure to tell them that I was very impressed by their music and hope to see more of them in the future. I also enjoyed talking to friends and having dinner under the trees behind the church. Temperatures were again above ninety degrees; we have had fourteen or fifteen so far this summer, but there was a nice breeze so it was very pleasant in the shade of the trees. I regret not having stayed longer, but had to get back home early.

This is a very small festival compared to the extravaganzas I attended this summer in Milwaukee and Buffalo, but it's one of my favorites. Its intimate atmosphere reminds me of the low-key parish lawn fêtes of the sixties - friendly and fun.

The Komrads
David Bryniarski and family demonstrate their wonderful pisanki skills every year. Thank you, David.
Lalki
THESE ARE SIZZLING HOT ROMANCES- and much, much more!!!
I recently acquired the four volume English translation of Nobel Prize-winning Polish author Władysław Reymont's Chłopi (The Peasants) and just started reading it this afternoon. I'll comment on it some other time. For now, I would just like to remind you that this year is the year of another Nobel Prize-winning Polish author, Henryk Sienkiewicz. If you haven't already, I hope you read his novels. My dad told me Sienkiewicz was the best and that it would be a mistake not to read his works. Once again, dad was right. Sienkiewicz's novels are wonderful and he is definitely my all-time favorite author. Unfortunately, I was not able to read his works in the original Polish. No matter, they are great in English too!


Sienkiewicz statue in  Łazienki Park, Warsaw.
Rok Henryka Sienkiewicza
Some friendly advice: Please do not be afraid of the length of Sienkiewicz's books; they can run about one thousand pages. Once you get into the second or third chapter, however, you won't want to put them down, so stick with it.

There is one problem that I should warn you about. I read the old Jeremiah Curtain translations. The names of the many characters in his translations are a bit unwieldy. Instead of just keeping the more familiar Polish spelling, for some reason he decided to change the spelling to make it more phonetic-friendly to the reader, so Jawiga becomes Jagiełło and Yadviga and  becomes Yagyello. I suggest you look for the more modern translations by W. S. Kuniczak. I have not read them but I have been told by Professor Kazimierz Braun of SUNY Buffalo that they are more readable than the Curtain translations.
Novels
The Trilogy (Trylogia):
With Fire and Sword (Ogniem i mieczem, 1884) depicts the 17th-century Khmelnytsky Uprising of Ukraine's Cossacks against Poland; the novel has been made into a feature film of the same title and inspiried the video game Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword.
The Deluge (Potop, 1886) depicts the 17th-century Swedish invasion of Poland, the "Deluge"; the novel has been made into a feature film of the same title;
Sir Michael (Pan Wołodyjowski, 1888) depicts Poland's struggle against the Ottoman Empire, invading Poland in 1668–72; the novel has been made into a feature film, Colonel Wołodyjowski.
Without dogma (Bez dogmatu, 1891).
The Polaniecki Family, a.k.a. Children of the Soil (Rodzina Połanieckich, 1894).
Quo Vadis (1895): a story of St. Peter in Rome in the reign of Emperor Nero.
The Teutonic Knights (a.k.a. The Knights of the Cross: Krzyżacy, 1900) relates to the Battle of Grunwald; the novel was made into a 1960 feature film of the same title, by Aleksander Ford.
On the Field of Glory (Na polu chwały, 1906): a story of King John III Sobieski and the Battle of Vienna.
Whirlpool (novel) (Wiry, 1910).
In Desert and Wilderness (W pustyni i w puszczy, 1912): the adventures of a Polish boy, Staś, and a younger English girl, Nell, in Africa during the Mahdist War of 1881–99.

Other
Yanko the Musician and other stories (1893)
Lillian Morris and other stories (1894)
Hania and other stories (1897)
Let Us Follow Him and other stories (1897, unauthorized)
Sielanka, a forest picture, and other stories (1898)
On the Bright Shore (1898)
In Vain (1899)
Life and Death and other legends and stories (1904)
So Runs the World (criticism, a story, and two short dramas, "Whose Fault?" and "Win or Lose")
August 14, 2016 - Celebration of 135 Years of Service at St. Stanislaus B&M
The Felician Sisters began teaching the children of Polish immigrants at St. Stanislaus Parish in Buffalo, New York in 1881. Initially the​ Sisters taught only the girls, but in 1889 took over the entire operation in an expansive new school. Since then, the spiritual instruction and educational needs of generations of children - mostly Polish-American, but not exclusively- have been met by the Felicians. Although their teaching responsibilities ended some years ago, a small cadre of Sister continued to serve the parish in other ways. Today that all came to a close, and time was made to celebrate their contributions.Thank you, Sisters.

Here are just a few of the photos I took at the luncheon:

Rev. Marius Dymek addressing the Sisters and guests
Blessing the food.
Forever In Our Hearts You Will Stay
August 16, 2016 - Binge Reading (All 4 Seasons) - Stanisław Władysław Rejment 
We have had twenty-two days of temperatures over 90 degrees so far this summer here in Rochester, and hopefully we will finally get a few days of much needed cooling and drought-relieving rain. (It's raining now. Hurray!!!)  The weather also gives me the excuse to stay indoors and read more than just a few pages without feeling guilty about wasting a summer's day. Reymont wrote the novel in four parts - one for each season of the year- between 1904 and 1909. He started writing it in 1897, but because of a train accident and health problems it took seven years to complete. In 1924 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for what many consider to be a must-read for anyone interested in Polish literature or Polish traditions. 

​One problem is it's hard to find the complete four volume set in English. "The Peasants" has  long been out of print, so you can't just order it from Amazon.com. Try your local library to see if they have it, (the Chicago Library has it in both English and 
TWILIGHT - from Reymont's "The Peasants" (Chłopi)
   The potato-diggers, working with their hoes between their feet, went on more slowly, having no one to hurry or to chide them any more.
   The sun, now quite in the West, glowing red as if heated by its rapid course, hung like a huge crimson globe above the high, black woods. Twilight was deepening and spreading over the landscape; filling furrows, hiding in ditches, gathering under thickets, and slowly pouring over the land; deadening, blotting out and wiping away all colours, until the tree-tops and the churchroof and steeple alone glowed with gorgeous hues. Many labourers were already ploding homewards.
   Shouts and neighings, and bellowings and the rattling of carts, growing ever louder and louder, filled the quiet evening air. But presently a tinkling from the belfry announced the Angelus; and at the bell's sonorous vibrations, these noises were all hushed, and only whispered prayers, like the faint sound of falling leaves, were audible.
   And now the cattle, driven home with merry cries and songs in a confused multitude, came along the roads stirring up such a volume of dust that only now and then were their mighty, thickly-horned heads seen to emerge from it.
   Sheep too bleated here and there, and flocks of geese, flying off the pasture lands, were lost in the Western glow, so that only their shrill, creaking cries betrayed the fact that they were on the wing. - Vol.1, pp.12-13; Translated from the original Polish by Michael H. Dzierwicki, Reader of English Literature at the University of Cracow
Władysław Reymont 1924
Polish) or go to eBay for individual volumes; but to be honest, it took me years to find the comlete set on Ebay at a reasonable price. Of course you can order the movie no problem, but I don't think you will be shocked to discover the film is nothing like the book. (Let's also keep in mind that translations are rarely, if ever, as good as the original. "Chłopi", I understand was written in the original Polish using dialect in dialogues and in narration, a feature that is inherently lost in translation. That's okay, the English translations are wonderful in their own right.)

September 4, 2016 - R.I.P. Eddie Zawadzki 
I am still trying to get over learning that Eddie Zawadzki, Toronto sportscaster and author, died of a heart attack last Wednesday. Eddie was well known on both sides of the border and he was my friend. He will be greatly missed by his mom and by friends and family. Such a shock. Eddie was only fifty-five years old.

I have been checking the obituaries for information regarding funeral arrangements and/or a memorial service, but nothing so far. The video on the right is my way of saying goodbye. Eddie was a boxer in his younger days and continued being active as a ring announcer and fight promoter. I don't know much about boxing, but I saw him slam a punching bag once, and let me tell you HE COULD HIT.  I always told him that if a fight ever breaks out at one of our events, I wanted to be on his side. Eddie was a great guy with a big heart. He will me missed.
So long, pal!
R.I.P.
Edward Zawadzki
1961-2016
In Celebration of Edward Zawadzki
May 24, 1959 - August 31, 2016
It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Edward Zawadzki at age 57 on August 31, 2016. Beloved son of Wanda and the late Walter. Brother of George, the late Richard, and Christine Ross. Brother-in-law to Doug Ross and beloved uncle to Jessica Ross. He is also survived by many relatives in Poland, and friends in Canada and the United States who remember him for his work as an author, columnist and sportscaster. 

Friends and family may call at the Turner & Porter "Butler" Chapel, 4933 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario M9A 1B6 (Burnhamthorpe and Dundas) on Friday, September 9, 2016 from 5pm until 8pm, and on Saturday September 10, 2016 from 2pm until funeral service is held at 3pm. 
September 29, 2016 - Pedal To The Sea
September has been a very busy month. Mostly I have kept myself occupied making YouTube videos of musical performances on guitar and concertina.

 One of the highlights was also having the opportunity to attend my fifty year high school reunion. It gave me a wonderful feeling to see my old pals again. Of course many of our classmates are no longer with us -- too many I'm sad to say.

September is also the best time of the year for cycling. The air is cool and crisp, the sky a deep blue and the kids are in school, so I always try to fit in a long ride, usually in Canada. For the past two Septembers I have been biking along both sides of the Niagara River between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. This year I chose a different route, electing to bike round trip between St. Catharines and Welland, Ontario. 
Maybe you are familiar with the children's classic, "Paddle To The Sea" about a First Nation's boy who carved a canoe out of a block of wood and placed it in a Manitoba stream by which, unbeknownst to him, it was destined to travel through the Great Lakes, to the St. Lawrence Seaway, and ultimately to the Atlantic. I thought about the story during my ride along the canal.
"Pedal To The Sea"
Buffalo Skyline