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February 3, 2018: Superbowl Sunday / Classical Gas
I plan to work on a cover of Eric Andersen's "Violets of Dawn" before the game. Also I think I will get in a little cross country skiing this afternoon once it warms up a little. My last video was finished a few days ago. (See above.) I have been faking "Classical Gas" since I first heard it in the late sixties, so recently I decided to work on it more carefully with the goal of producing a satisfactory rendition. Check off another item on my bucket list. If you have ever studied this piece, you may notice I missed a few notes here and there. There are so many notes coming at you so fast, but don't worry.... I threw in a few of my own to make up for it! ;-) Good enough!
February 5, 2018: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously!
Here is my cover of Eric Andersen's "Violets of Dawn". I met Eric Andersen when I was a  student at SUNY Fredonia in 1966 and later in Rochester -- even got to chat with him a bit about the folk scene of the sixties. I was greatly influenced by his music. Hope you like my rendition.


February 6, 2018: Marguerite De Ste-Agnes
Félicitations à mon amie canadienne, Monique Carrière, qui 
vient de publier son premier roman. J'ai hâte de le lire. Bravo 
Monique!

L'histoire se déroule dans la basse ville, dans l'agglomération de Ste-Agnes qui compte environ 5,000 habitants où la famille Sorel, héritier d'une langue ''joual'' que sans éducation, ils n'ont pu corriger, éprouve des conditions de vie très difficile, pauvre et misérable. On apprend que Mary Jane Sorel ainsi que sa fille Marguerite s'avèrent toutes les deux victimes de violences conjugales mais étant les deux sous l'influence des doctrines de leur religion et des mœurs de leur époque font que les deux femmes endurent et se soumettent à une vie de misère, de violence et d'indigence. Après avoir fait la rencontre de Roy Stevens, Marguerite Légaré parviendra-t-elle à oublier son mari, Théodore Légaré, l'homme qui lui inflige tant de violence? Mary Jane Sorel apprendra-t-elle du péché mortel de son mari Raoul avant qu'il parte pour le grand voyage? Théodore Légaré réussira-t-il à vaincre son tendon d'Achille, sa prédilection à la boisson, ainsi que son beau-père Raoul? George oubliera-t-il son grand amour Angeline et apprendra-t-il qu'elle aurait donné son enfant en adoption? À vous de faire la part des choses au fur et à mesure que vous découvrirez les péripéties de la famille Sorel et Légaré. Néanmoins, quoique basé sur des faits réels pas toutes les anecdotes dans ce roman sont fictives.



​And while I'm at it, let me give a shout out to my buddy Pierre Dubuc, an artist from the province from of Quebec. Here is his latest "toile", painted in hopeful anticipation of summer warmth. Bravo Pierre!
February 12, 2018: Le roman de Monique
Et bien, je viens de finir l'histoire de Marguerite De Ste-Agnes par Monique Carrière. À mon avis le roman est absoluement très bien écrit et extrêmement puissant. J'espère que Monique continue à écrire. Mon amie est bien doué!  Bravo Monique👍👍

February 21, 2018: Parkland School-Shooting Aftermath
After reading so much gówno prawda this morning, I considered deactivating my FB account to escape the nonsense. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are toxic environments, in my opinion.

We are dangerously divided in this country and I am afraid things are getting even worse. However I must say, that although I have little faith in most adults and society in general, I was inspired by the Parkland survivors' impassioned pleas for action in Tallahassee today. They are the future; they have guts and our leaders must listen to what they have to say and take action. In the years to come, things will get better... I hope.

February 22, 2018: Phil Ochs
Phil Ochs was a protest singer in the sixties whose work I greatly admired. In '74 I had the pleasure of seeing him perform at Le Hibou, a coffee house in Ottawa, Ontario. Such a powerful performance! It was wonderful having the chance to see him play up close -- ten times better than hearing a recording or seeing him on TV. I'll never forget his moving rendition of "The Highwayman". (I'll have to try that one sometime.) It's a long song. If you have never heard it, maybe you are familiar with the poem by Alfred Noyes. 



It was apparent he was very sensitive, and sincere in his politics and his passion for music. During the break between sets that evening, he walked over to the bar and ordered a coffee and stood there drinking by himself. I thought people would chat him up, but no one did. He looked lonely and I felt the urge to walk up to him and tell him how much I admired him and his music. The thing is I always felt celebrities don't want to be bothered by just another guy who wants to talk about fingerpicking or whatever.

A little more than a year later, he took his own life. I discovered later how troubled an individual he was. Now I regret I didn't talk to him, not that it would have made any difference... but what are we here for? We should try to be friendly and help one another.

I love this song and it reminds me how important it is to make the most of our time here on Earth.

February 28, 2018: Common Sense Gun Reform
So not long ago I went to Dick's Sporting Goods to look for lightweight rain gear that I could stuff in my backpack when setting out on a long bike ride. They didn't have what I wanted, so I walked across the street to Field & Stream, which is also owned by Dick's. I did find something there in with the fishing gear, but it still was not quite what I wanted.


We stand against the NRA!
We stand against the NRA!
There was a time when the NRA was mostly about sportsmanship, but in the mid 1970's they started lobbying on behalf of gun manufacturers, and that's when America's gun culture started getting ugly. (I read we now have 310 million guns in our country) and semi-automatic weapons are again legal. And now we lead the world in mass shootings. Is the NRA solely to blame? Of course not, but their efforts to find a solution by lobbying for MORE GUNS under the guise of protecting civil rights is shameful.

Look, I am starting to ramble here, so I'll cut it short. I just want to thank DSG for taking a stand on sensible gun reform. (I still have a problem with your "trophies".) We really should be able to compromise on this issue!

By the way, I think some hunting is okay and the private possession of firearms is okay under certain circumstances... like the time a rabid fox entered our barn and threatened the safety of my children and our family dog. Believe me, I could go on and on with horror stories about the misuse of firearms that I personally experienced. That was not one of them. That poor animal had to be put down fast.

Look, I am starting to ramble here, so I'll cut it short. I just want to thank DSG for taking a stand on sensible gun reform. (I still have a problem with your "trophies".) We really should be able to compromise on this issue!

Thank you Dick's Sporting Goods for banning the sale of assault weapons in your stores and taking other actions to promote common-sense gun reform.
March 2, 2018: Weather Report
We had record heat two days ago, but I won't be putting away my skis yet. 


A year or two ago, I met an elderly gentleman who lives in my neighborhood. We exchanged business cards, from which I could see he was a retired teacher (professor emeritus) from a very well-respected local university, but as soon as he saw my Polonia Music card -- the one with the Polish eagle on it -- a look of contempt quickly appeared on his face. Then he informed me he was a Jew and that if I am a Pole, I am an anti-Semite. He even blurted out that crazy line that we Poles automatically inherit our anti-Semitic attitudes by drinking our mother’s milk! He then rushed off before I could talk to him about his remarks. Wow, such hate coming from the lips of such a highly educated man!

I thought about him when I discovered this article a few months later written in 1983 by Polish-Jewish writer, Henryk Grynberg. Grynberg and his mother survived the Holocaust thanks to Polish families. I plan to read one of his books soon. To read his article CLICK HERE.

March 13, 2018: Annual Pilgrimage to the Grave Site of General Haller's Recruits

Niagara-on-the-Lake Pilgrimage
June 10, 2018
The steering committee for the annual pilgrimage to the Cemetery of General Haller's Recruits met this weekend and established this year's date and agenda. The International Committee is made up of representatives from the Canadian Polish Congress and the Polish American Congress. Representing the "States" were James Ławicki, President Polish American Congress Division of Western New York, and Steve Flor, Polish American Congress National Director Delegate of the Polish Falcons of America.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the cemetery which was created in 1918 as a result of the Spanish Flue Epidemic. The epidemic ravaged the training camp of 22,000 volunteers to General Haller's Army, claiming the lives of 43 recruits. The epidemic claimed the lives of 1 percent of the world's population in 1918, more lives than World War I itself. General Haller's recruits went on to fight along side of US forces in the battlefields of France ultimately procuring the independence of Poland by War's end 100 years ago!




Representatives from the Canadian Polish Congress and the Polish American Congress
March 22, 2018: Polska Chata
I had lunch at Polska Chata in Irondequoit, New York today. Don't forget, Dyngus Day is just around the corner (the day after Easter). In Rochester, its celebrated at Polska Chata. I already have me t-shirt! Here are a few of my photos:


Wednesday, March 28: Roundtable: Revisiting the Cold War: History, Politics and Culture
Hosted by The Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies
Today at 7:30 PM - 9 PM
UR River Campus, Sloan Auditorium, Goergen Hall 

Participants:
Randall Stone, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Skalny Center
Matthew Lenoe, Professor of History
Lisa Jakelski, Associate Professor of Musicology, Eastman School of Music
Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, Associate Professor of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland, and Skalny Visiting Professor.

The Cold War (1946-1989) shaped world politics for two generations and cast a long shadow that continues to fall upon everything from diplomatic relations to cultural expressions in Europe and around the globe. A faculty panel will offer reassessments of the Cold War from the vantage point of nearly three decades of subsequent history.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking on designated University lots is free.