Street Fighting Man

The Rolling Stones are in town tonight. These young fans, ranging in age from 16 onward, are in front of the Europejski Hotel hoping for a glimpse. The Stones stayed here when they played their first Warsaw concert 50 years ago. Then and now it was a luxury hotel but now it’s REALLY top notch.

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland-rollingstones/mick-jagger-quips-about-polish-courts-overhaul-at-warsaw-concert-idUSKBN1JZ007

 

Mick Jagger quips about Polish courts overhaul at Warsaw concert

 

 WARSAW (Reuters) – The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger took a swipe at the Polish government’s shake-up of the judiciary during a concert in Warsaw, adding his voice to a chorus of critics who say the changes harm democracy.

The new laws force all judges aged 65 or over – including the head of Poland’s Supreme Court, Malgorzata Gersdorf – to retire. They are part of a wide-ranging overhaul that the ruling conservative Law and Justice party (PiS) says is needed to rid Poland of its lingering communist legacy.

“I am too old to be a judge,” Jagger, 74, said in Polish on Sunday to the audience gathered at Warsaw’s national soccer stadium. “But I am young enough to sing.”

The European Union, human rights groups, international bodies and Polish opposition parties have all criticized the changes, saying they undermine the independence of the courts and boost the influence of politicians.

Poland overthrew communism in 1989, breaking away from the Soviet system imposed after World War Two, before the Berlin Wall fell several months later.

The key figure in the process was Lech Walesa, the leader of the pro-democracy Solidarity trade union, who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle.

Before the concert, Walesa wrote to Jagger asking the veteran rock star to intervene while in Poland. On Monday, Walesa thanked the Rolling Stones in a tweet: “True Solidarity will always win.”

Poland joined the EU in 2004, becoming the largest ex-communist member of the bloc and a poster-child for peaceful democratic transition in eastern Europe. But the dispute with the EU over the judicial changes and other reforms have tarnished its reputation in Europe.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by James Dalgleish and Gareth Jones
And on the news tonight:

 

 

And on the news tonight:
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YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION? or just a typical summer Saturday afternoon in Warsaw

The US Embassy held a propaganda bash, oops, I mean celebration for the 4th of July on the 7th of July. We mere mortals were not invited to the official bash on the real 4th of July at the Ambassador’s house. We used to be under Communism because they were limited to how many spies they could invite and they needed bodies. But now that they have CEOs, corrupt politicians, and wannabees by the bucketful as guests, we have been tossed aside like yesterday’s firecracker.

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Maja dressed in her finest patriotic scarf….

 

elvis

Elvis was in attendance….

mary army

…..as was the Army. That is a leaded vest I’m wearing. It’s heavy. And ugly, both in style and intent. I asked how do you run in this? They answered we’re Americans. We don’t run.

mary melania

Why doesn’t she like me? Why doesn’t she want to be my friend? She’s so cold, like a cardboard cutout.

mary pres

What can you say? Wrong finger, Donald.

 

jane pres

 

rolling

The Rolling Stones are in town tonight. These young fans, ranging in age from 16 onward, are in front of the Europejski Hotel hoping for a glimpse. The Stones stayed here when they played their first Warsaw concert 50 years ago. Then and now it was a luxury hotel but now it’s REALLY top notch.

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell Tour

Joan Baez was on a Farewell Tour and I took 2 days off from school to fly to London and see her. She is 75 after all and who knows when I’ll see her again.IMG_2394

The concert was just great.

Having spent the past few weeks listening to Who? (including the customs guy at the airport who asked why I was in London) it was so great to see 5,000 people, mostly my/our age passionately enjoy her concert.

 A great selection of songs representing her entire career opening with There But For Fortune by Phil Ochs to her newest album to Farewell Angelina to Me and Bobbie McGee to The Boxer and of course Imagine and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and everything in between. Great commentary in between.  She talked about her first appearance at Albert Hall in 1965. She had the audience in the palm of her hand. And sounds great. A bit lower but still able to hit some of those high notes.

I took the bus back home  so saw a bit of London at twilight. I sat next to a woman who was at the concert too. She talked to me first. How did she know? I guess if you were at the Albert Hall bus stop and of a certain age………

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/joan-baez-reviewroyal-albert-hall-rapturous-evening-legend/

 

Before the concert, I met my nephew who works in London (Bank Holiday) at the wonderful Serpentine Cafe by a lake in Hyde Park which I didn’t even know existed. 27 degrees and sunny. Nice, especially since it was supposed to rain every single day while I was there (only 3 days, my shortest visit to London ever). Fortunately, there was a huge thunderstorm during the concert and unfortunately the day I left, causing my flight to be late by 3 fucking hours!

I used my old tactic coming back to Warsaw, refusing to put my bag in the hold but this time ripping off the tag before I came onto the field. Once again, there was another free row and lots of room above me in the luggage bin. Good thing too because then they told us it be another 2 hours (!) after already waiting in the airport for 2 but it turned out to be only one. And we got nothing. No water even.

 

I stayed at an Air BnB in Notting Hill because I wanted to be close to Albert Hall. As it turned out, there was a bus that took me directly there and I love riding the bus in the upper deck. Notting Hill is the poshest, greenest, quietest neighborhood I have ever stayed in. 827x400_NHL170006_18I lived in a 70s house in a Mews but up the street, there were these gorgeous mansions, all pastel, with fragrant roses planted outside. Nehru lived there in the 40s.

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And of course, the movie, Notting Hill was filmed there. There were also renovations going on with some houses and even then they had a letter posted apologizing and to call them if there was any problem with noise and mess. The people you were supposed to call were all Polish. Most of the workers I came into contact in the cafés were all Polish too so I used Polish quite a bit. I still don’t understand why working in a café in London is better than working in a café in Poland what with the fact that London is at least 5 times as expensive as Poland. I’m sure they don’t make 5 times as much.

But the best part of Notting Hill was that the main sound you heard was birds. Lots of birds because there are so many trees, parks, and large yards. This was my daily walk to the bus, Tube and the cafes of Portobello Rd.

Interesting enough, from time to time you saw public housing interspersed among all this wealth. It’s the only place I saw people of color. It was only when I was walking to the other Tube to get the bus to the airport that I saw signs talking about people’s loss and I realised that tall building I was passing, wrapped with white was Grenfell Tower.

It was right next to the Tube stop, Latimer Rd. I now understand why all those rich people want that housing out of their posh neighbourhood. I was talking to the construction guy and he said it is going to be torn down. 1 point for the 1%. Again.

So great weekend all around. Revisiting history.

 

Day Five of the Rest of My Life

Or, Heidi and Mary’s excellent out of town adventure…..

First stop, the best sweet shop in Warsaw which is not in Warsaw (but close enough).

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Coffee and pineapple meringues

Choosing dessert makes us so thirsty and tired it’s time for a tea break…Must be all that sugar..

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What to choose, what to choose? This one?36324399_10214420771064809_5342768144597385216_o (1)

Good Choice!!!36388702_10214420768464744_3242793431960911872_o (1)

Our teas and dessert: strawberry cheesecake, Genmaicha tea and Yunan Golden Tips. Plus fortune cookies! And our meringues to take home.36274415_10214420730943806_4900296898616754176_o (1)

What will my future hold on the 5th day of the rest of my life?36302479_10214420718303490_5672701648170909696_o (1)

Riches! My winning lottery numbers. Stay tuned…..36398114_10214416397595475_8555371061728772096_n (1)

 

 

 

 

Na Razie. So long, it’s been real.

The last letter to my colleagues at the American School of Warsaw.

Dear Friends,

Many thanks for the thoughtfulness displayed by you all. Really, you shouldn’t have, but I’m not going to say no to a year’s worth of movies. And popcorn.

The. Best. Present. Ever!!!

 

A big thank you to my team for getting the ball rolling. It was such a surprise because I was expecting it to go in a completely different direction. Special thanks to Gaja for organizing it all (she majored in Film Studies). Who knew she could be such a secretive woman? And Aga for the card (she majored in Art). Maxine’s my favorite character. How did you know? And for all the wishes and sentiments enclosed within the card. No, I did not learn Polish to tell people off, it was an added benefit.
So, next September, let’s all meet for a movie. I’ll send the invite.
And let’s not forget the standing ovation! Let’s face it. Everyone deserves a standing ovation at least once in their life. Thank you Emily for starting it. Your cheerleading skills really came in handy this time. And to all of you for joining in, even those who wondered who the hell I was. I hope it becomes a tradition every year for everybody.
Of course, I have my own retirement plan and will be scouring my basement right now, and you should too, especially those who wrote, “I’m jealous.”
And if that doesn’t work out, I hope to be part of the food truck next year. I’ll be part of the Mexican food menu, selling frozen margaritas and daiquiris.
I’ve put some of my 30 year plus observations in my blog, Amerykanka. Here are two and if you want to read more, let me know and I’ll send you an invite.
So here I am in the 31st year of my 2 year contract. Where did it all go? Some of you weren’t even born yet. Once again, thanks for the conversations, the stories, the laughter, the parties, the food, the memories.
And finally, I’ll leave you with this:
Of all the books in the world, the best stories are between the pages of a passport. 
So, it’s not “do widzenia” but “na razie”.
Trzymajcie się.
Mary

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The First Day of the Rest of My Life

European Spring Conference. Together for European Solidarity. 

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A coalition of European left-wing parties for a Europe for millions rather than a Europe for millionaires and who will run for office this spring.

Special guest, Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Financial Minister while it was suffering through severe austerity measures imposed by the IMF so banks could get their money back after losing it all through risky investments. Sound familiar?

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I had an opportunity to have a very animated chat with a very charming Yanis (who me? an immigrant girl from the tenements of New Bedford?) about Trump, Kaczynski and how it is all related. I told him my favorite post-Communist joke: how everything the Communists said about Communism was false but everything they said about capitalism…. and he finished the punchline by saying, “was true.” and burst out laughing.

 

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Hanging out with financial rock stars.

If today is the first day of the rest of my life, then we are off to a very auspicious start indeed.

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