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Mindslave
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10 Dec 2010, 5:05 pm

I picked up a book in the library once about Poland. It said that Poland was instrumental in keeping the Iron Curtain from spreading across Europe. Poland was still on mounted horseback by the time World War II started. I learned in 6th grade that hot dogs originated in Poland (not sure how true that is, but 6th grade is 6th grade) and I think that Poland had a good gymnastics team in the 90s (or maybe it was just Romania?) Supposedly, the drinking age in Poland is very low, and not very much enforced.



Valoyossa
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10 Dec 2010, 5:09 pm

Drinking age in PL is 18 and you have to show your ID in the shop. In comparison: in Germany it's 16. Low?


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John_Browning
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11 Dec 2010, 2:10 am

They make great sausage
They have great cold war surplus guns available for fairly cheap
They have tons of cheap but quality ammo for the guns they are selling off
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Irulan
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11 Dec 2010, 5:53 am

Mindslave wrote:
hot dogs originated in Poland (not sure how true that is, but 6th grade is 6th grade) and I think that Poland had a good gymnastics team in the 90s (or maybe it was just Romania?)


No, hot dogs originated in Germany. And no, it wasn't Poland but Romania indeed.



Laz
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11 Dec 2010, 6:33 am

The home of Vodka



Quartz11
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11 Dec 2010, 10:32 pm

There's a lot of Polish heritage in my area of the US. Though the Polish population here has mostly been around a few generations now.



Irulan
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19 Oct 2011, 4:29 pm

Anything else? :D Any names of politicians or celebrities for example? :twisted:



CosmicRuss
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19 Oct 2011, 5:38 pm

The lovely Tomasz Schafernaker a former BBC Television weather presenter.

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earthtoerika
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19 Oct 2011, 6:15 pm

I like Poland because its adjective form, "Polish," is spelled the same way as the verb "polish." So you can use it in Scrabble. And if you pronounce it like the nationality when you're putting it on the board, there's a chance your opponent will have a brain fart and not think of the verb, and challenge you, in which case you will win extra points for proving them wrong. I wrote an "Abby and Norma" comic about that once.


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mntn13
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19 Oct 2011, 6:21 pm

Some of my ancestors came from the hills of Poland.



Irulan
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20 Oct 2011, 5:49 am

earthtoerika wrote:
I like Poland because its adjective form, "Polish," is spelled the same way as the verb "polish."


And the name for Poland in our language - Polska - means also the adjective "polish" if we use it in reference to a noun having a feminine grammatical gender - like "polska kiełbasa" - polish sausage. But: "polski dom" - "polish house", "polskie dziewczyny" - "polish girls", "polscy mężczyźni" - "polish men". The endings change :D



blue_bean
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20 Oct 2011, 8:11 am

I know that the capital is Warsaw. All I know about Poland is what I learned from reading the book The Silver Sword in 7th grade :P



Irulan
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20 Oct 2011, 8:26 am

I just googled "The Silver Sword" - it seems it was never published in my country while it's considered literary classic of children's war literature elsewhere. But if some of the names used in the book are Polish, then I'm queen Victoria. Anyway, no woman in Poland has her last name ending with -cki - Mr. Balicki's wife is always named Balicka.



gramirez
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20 Oct 2011, 8:59 am

What do I know about Poland...Hmm... Most of my ancestors came from there.


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DoubleSPY
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20 Oct 2011, 11:03 am

I have a friend that lives in Poland, though I don't know to much about the country itself.



visagrunt
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20 Oct 2011, 2:23 pm

I recently performed in a production of Tomasz Slobodzianek's Our Class, a fictional account of Poles and Jews caught up in the events in Eastern Poland during the Second World War and thereafter.

Poland has long been beseiged by her neighbors on all four sides--the Germans, the Russians, the Swedes and the Austrians have all, at one time or another, held parts of Poland or divided it up among them.

Notwithstanding this hostile occupation, Polish people survived as a nation primarily due to two factors: religion and language. Poles are primarily Roman Catholic unlike the Orthodox Russians, and the Protestant Prussians. Polish is a Slavic language--unlike German, but it is written in the Roman alphabet--unlike Russian. Such cultural distinction meant that Poland and the Polish people continued to survive, even without sovereignty. (Ironically, it is precisely that same culture distinction that allowed Jews to thrive in Poland).

With the overthrow of the three occupying powers (Germany, Austria and Russia) at the end of the First World War, Poland was finally able to secure independence after over 120 years of Partition. From the late 20's Marshall Piłsudski maintained a troubled realpolitik balancing the Germans and the Russians against each other, and allowing Poland to thrive between them. But his death created a power vacuum that increasingly aggressive Germans and Soviets were able to exploit. The Secret protocols to the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact put an end to any pretence of Polish independence, and the country was, again, partitioned--until the Nazis turned on the Soviets, and occupied all of Poland in June 1941.

Poland fared little better after the War. Although she regained territory from Germany in the West, she lost territory to direct annexation by the Soviet Union in the East, and her government was quickly subordinated to the Soviets. For all that Poland was one of the least repressive of the Soviet satellites, any claim to real Polish sovereignty was a sham. However, that liberalism did allow a trade union movement to develop and later flourish. Unlike the harsh crackdowns in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, by the 1980's the Soviet Union was increasingly incapable of exercising rigid control.

Elections held in 1989 (even with a deck firmly stacked in favour of the Communist Party) demonstrated the beginning of the end for Soviet control in Eastern Europe. It is fitting that the return to democracy had its first successes in Poland, since she was the first nation in Europe (and the second in the world) to adopt a written constitution, and the first nation in the world to establish a Ministry of Education.


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