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By Bartleby (Thu May 04, 2006 at 05:48:42 AM EST) media, Rossija, Polska, Deutschland, halleluja, reading, Vargas (all tags)
Stanisław Moniuszko (May 5, 1819 - June 4, 1872)

Yesterday, May 3, was World Press Freedom Day as well as a national holiday in Poland. To mark the occasion(s), I wrote a diary that then fell victim to a browser crash. Decided, at first, that that was probably a good thing. But what can I say? Live just isn't complete without those si tacuisses moments.

Word of the day, in honour of all you fine MFC folks:
afrocke, German (dial. Cologne): RTFO

Next installment to follow whenever I can come up with a good word with b-.

Bayushki bayu

Soviet television has six channels. On the first channel, a party dignitary is holding a speech. On the second channel, the same dignitary is holding the same speech. Ditto on the third, fourth and fifth channel. On the sixth channel, another comrade is pointing his finger at the viewer: "Switch back right now!"

Heard in the beginning of the perestrojka era in a West German carnival show. Strange that I still remember that not so terribly funny joke, plus another one from the same show, twenty years later. Sad that it has a point again.

From a report on the state of the media in Russia I learned a new (to me) expression, serij brifing (grey breefing). It is on Wednesdays, allegedly, that the heads of the tv companies go to the Kremlin and receive their orders get the government's view on current issues.

W Strzebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie.

In this chapter: Polish domestic politics. But first, 3 maja 1791 r.

Last autumn, when parliamentary elections were held here in Germany and parliamentary and presidential elections in Poland, Polish and German politians seemed to compete to find out who could be the most embarassing bunch. I can proudly report that our guys did their best, in particular Schröder's operation no-I-didn't-lose-the-elections comes to mind. Only a true genius like il Cavaliere could even dream of outdoing Schröder's chutzpah. These last few weeks the Poles seem determined to catch up.

The 1950s called and wanted their filthy perverts back when president Lech Kaczyński declared during his first visit to Germany a few weeks ago that homosexuals mustn't be given equal rights, lest mankind should die out. In his defense, he was probably freaked out by demonstrators interrupting a speech he gave (at Berlin's Humboldt University, IIRC). Previously, as mayor of Warsaw, Kaczyński proved he's a God-fearing man. Or so I'm told. At any rate, shouting down a guest speaker is bad style, even if he deserves it.

La Pologne - zéro points, l'Allemagne - un point; l'Irlande - douze points, comme d'habitude.

The president's brother Jarosław is head of the major ruling party PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, "Law and Justice"). German media rather benignly call them "national conservatives". To get back with the media theme, Jarosław Kaczyński made a statement backing Radio Maryja prior to the conference of Polish bishops that is underway right now or one of these days. The party closest to Radio Maryja, Samoobrona (Selfdefence), recently joined the governing coalition.

Radio Maryja is a strange thing. A radio station run by the Catholic order of the Redemptorists, more specifically by one father Rydzyk, and seen by my fellow filthy hippies in Poland as home base for all those who can't decide if it's Jews, Russians, Germans or the EU that they hate most, and who want to hear that God wants them to hate them all. In short, sounds like any odd talk radio show in the US, I imagine, but in Poland and neighbouring countries the station is a constant source of embarassment for the Catholic church. The Polish bishops insist that Radio Maryja belongs to the redemptorists and they can't and won't meddle, but they now received a letter (in Polish) from Rome basically telling them to see to it that Rydzyk's posse stays out of politics.

"You humans have made us sick. Now, you eat our illnesses."

There's a billboard down the street where I live that seems to be frequently hired by charities or religious organisations. Subsequent posters have been strangely consistent in style, i.e. they all displayed some clumsily worded sentence trying to smack onlookers over the head with its message. The current offender is a sect that cares alot about animals. (Look under "Free paraphernalia > Posters and postcards". The billboard poster is the second to last.)

Today I saw a guy in a t-shirt that read "H5N1 on tour. I was there." Says "dork" more loudly than my haircut.

Le roade-mouvie

I spent a good portion of the extended weekend reading two crime stories by French author Fred Vargas. I had never heard of her before, went to the library if they had any of her books, and, lo and behold, there were L'homme aux cercles bleus and L'homme à l'envers. I've been out of practice for way too long, as far as reading texts in French is concerned. Good thing I had a dictionary handy, but by the by it went pretty well.

As for the books themselves, well, I found them so-so. Characters are generally whacky enough to be interesting, but not absurd. The commissaire isn't so much looking for answers as waiting until they drift by him, his brainier sidekick both awestruck and annoyed by his serendipity and his instinct. Worked well enough for two novels, but I'm not sure I'd want to read more variations on that theme. Also, one problem with the reading precisely those two of Vargas' stories is that many plot devices from L'homme aux cercles bleus reappear in L'homme a l'envers, which probably helped me to see the eventual solution in the latter one coming miles away, except there was no motive, which then appeared in deus-ex-machina fashion towards the end. Didn't like that.

Rumours are flying it's spring out there. Gonna check. Later.

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Spring? by calla (2.00 / 0) #1 Sat May 13, 2006 at 09:16:12 AM EST
Good grief. It's Summer here.

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