WUI (Writing under the influence)

Somebody once said we are all Americans, sometimes born in the wrong places.
On a warm autumn day in 1986, while enjoying beer with my college buddies,
I decided to join my new homeland.

I've come to appreciate the ideals that helped create this great country.
Liberalism, political-correctness, multiculturalism and moral equivalence
are destroying it.

This old house Grovenet Wal*Mart Visiting Poland American wine better than French.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Is 4 enough?

He's German. But he's right.


Communists of the world, be gone!

Solidarity is the only workers' union I've ever supported. But then, I support anything that opposes Communism.

Today is a special anniversary worth some contemplating:
On August 31, 1980 the ruling Communists signed an agreement with the protesting workers in Gdansk. That summer the Solidarity movement was created as a result of the nation's solidarity towards the common oppression. But at that time -- only ten years after a tragedy in Gdansk when several protesters were killed by the secret service -- no one was sure if the Communist regime would refrain from using violence against the people.

The rest is history, as they say.

I've been somewhat disappointed that after the fall of Communism people have voted ex-Communists back into power. But this is changing. This fall could be a very important turning point in Polish history when Communists are forever separated from power:
Some 15 years after the anti-communist revolution, Poles are turning to the right. This year is politically the most important in the new history of this young democracy.

Poland's future depends on the next coalition of parties in power. But only one significant party seems to understand a free-market economy. This is the PO - Citizenship Platform (www.platforma.org), whose leadership includes free-market liberals from Gdansk.

I found this article especially interesting because it explained to me how wrong my father is. He is very involved in local politics as the president of a chapter of the League of Polish Families (LPR) that, although Euroskeptic, is anti-capitalist.

I have to talk to my father about it again. But from the few conversations we've already had, it's clear to me that he believes in high taxes and dislikes private business owners because their motives are purely economical. What my father doesn't seem to understand is that self-interest is what makes the US such an economic power. The only positive attribute of LPR is that the same values that make it anti-capitalist also make it very socially conservative. Those values, of course, come from the teachings of the Catholic Church, which in Poland is still very strong. Those same teachings are also responsible for the fall of Communism. The Warsaw Voice says as much in this article (registration required):

World leaders coming to Gdansk to remember Solidarity

Warsaw, Poland August 31, 2005

Poland is in the midst of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Solidarity labor movement, which set off a chain of events that toppled communism throughout the Soviet Block.

Among the events scheduled are a mass at the Gdansk shipyard, where leader Lech Walesa and fellow workers created Solidarity. Foreign leaders due to attend include EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso and German President Horst Koehler.

Solidarity was officially recognized on August 31, 1980 and was the first free trade union in the former Soviet Bloc. Within months of its establishment, Solidarity became a national political movement with 10 million members. Nine turbulent years later, Solidarity leaders negotiated the end of communism and a few months later, the Berlin Wall fell.

An open-air mass at the gate of the Gdansk shipyard will be the highlight of three days of celebrations. Up to 20 heads of state are expected to join Solidarity members and former activists at the ceremony on Wednesday morning, to be led by the Archbishop of Krakow.

The mass marks the role played by the Roman Catholic Church in toppling communism, particularly that of Poland's Karol Wojtyla, then newly elected as Pope John Paul II.

Other celebrations will include street fairs and concerts throughout Poland.

So if LPR manages to win substantial numbers of votes it could play an important role in the new coalition, which, I hope, will have PO as the majority party with PiS following as the (distant?) second.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Trip to Cannon Beach

I went to Cannon Beach on Monday. These two pictures were taken within 30 seconds.



Wednesday, August 24, 2005



Monday, August 22, 2005


The more I look, the more I find... to do.


The steps are ready. Are they?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


The curb appeal

We are almost as comfortable inside our house as we ever would like to be so it's time to take care of the outside.

We are still trying to understand the history of this house so we are not sure whether the front steps are original and broke during one of the small earthquakes Oregon has experienced over the years or whether these steps were added recently and the installer screwed up something pretty bad. In any case, the stairs are ugly and we decided to fix them.

This should have been one of the first projects but because we knew this would be the place to be and we wouldn't sell it for awhile, we neglected the curb appeal until now. Also, projects like this require that the children be away for a few days not to interrupt their father while he slowly tries to get things right so this is the best time to undertake such a project when the whole family is visiting the grand-parents in the old country. I still have a full-time job so it will take at least 4 days to pour all the concrete and at least 2 more before anyone can walk on the new stairs.

The first step will be ready tonight.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Latest paint job

The TV corner.

The original door.

The new door.
The before pictures are here.


Forest Grove has new utility billing system

I'm not sure but I just don't remember running my lights on water in May. Could it be that the new utility billing system that the city of Forest Grove is in process of implementing has gone mad?

What's wrong with this picture?


Is this the year?

Seahawks looked really good yesterday during their game with Saints. Could this be the year for them? I really hope so.

I've been rooting for Seahawks since I moved to Seattle in 1992. My sons, both born in Madison, WI root for Packers. Over the years I've also rooted for Packers when Seahawks were out of playoffs. Only one year, 1997, did I root against Packers because I just couldn't stand them and their fans after they won the Super Bowl in 1996. OK, I know Packers won the Super Bowl in January of 1997 but, technically, it was still the 1996 season. So when Packers lost to Broncos I was as ecstatic as if Poland won the Soccer Cup, which, of course, has never happened.

So we all await what this season will bring. Will it be Seahawks or Packers? Or somebody else again?

Hopefully, next year, we will be able to travel to Seattle to see Seahawks and Packers play on the same field.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Paint job

I started the preparation work on the kids' play room for the new paint job. My wife didn't like the original color. Also, the ceiling hasn't been painted for years. There are also some light water stains from when I built the first bathroom upstairs and had a few "problems" before I managed to tighten all the pipe fittings correctly. There are no water stains (yet) on the ceiling under the second bathroom so I guess I learn my lessons well.

Today, I managed to wash the walls and priming will start tomorrow. The new color is called Rye. In male language it's beige with a little bit of green.
This is a very small room, barely 10x10 so I couldn't take one picture of more than two walls.

All the toys, a 13" TV (the only one we have in the entire house), a stereo, and a DVD player used to sit in this corner on a 10 years old IKEA shelf system. Everything will be back in the same place after painting is done until we build the new family room sometime next year.

The are two doors in this small room because of its strategic location. This is the original door. One of the first projects in this house was door #2. I opened the wall between this room and the kitchen so my wife could always have children under her eye.


I was wrong about the economy

Just when I was convinced that the economy was rocking, I read this:

A year ago, the liberal group America Coming Together was on the cutting edge of national politics, spending tens of millions of dollars on a massive voter-mobilization project in every presidential battleground state.

The dream was that ACT--heavily funded by billionaire George Soros--would play a decisive role in getting Democratic nominee John F. Kerry elected president and then remain in business as a permanent force in liberal politics.

Instead, the group this week began sending e-mails to most of the 28 people who make up the remaining ACT staff warning that their paychecks would stop at the end of August. All the state offices have been, or are soon to be, closed.
It's so sad to see people losing their jobs.


I must be Polish...

...because I don't understand what browsers have to do with Polish products.


Friday, August 05, 2005


The bomb

The difference between the right and the left, in general, is that we are open to consider certain morbid calculi. If we know or are sure, with good amount of certainty, that by killing a few lives now we can save countless lives later, we will entertain options the left will almost always reject. The WSJ editorial today makes this point while comparing popular opinions and attitudes of 1945 and 2005:

In 1945, Paul Fussell was a 21-year-old second lieutenant who'd spent much of the previous year fighting his way through Europe. At the time of Hiroshima, he was scheduled to participate in the invasion of the Japanese mainland, for which the Truman Administration anticipated casualties of between 200,000 and one million Allied soldiers. No surprise, then, that when news of the bomb reached Lt. Fussell and his men, they had no misgivings about its use:

"We learned to our astonishment that we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared, and shelled, and for all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live."

Mr. Fussell was writing about American lives. What about Japanese lives? The Japanese army was expected to fight to the last man, as it had during the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Since the ratio of Japanese to American combat fatalities ran about four to one, a mainland invasion could have resulted in millions of Japanese deaths--and that's not counting civilians. The March 1945 Tokyo fire raid killed about 100,000; such raids would have intensified had the war dragged on. The collective toll from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings is estimated at between 110,000 and 200,000.
I'm pretty sure that repeating Hiroshima today would be almost impossible. Europeans would probably prefer to die rather than to retaliate or defend themselves in this drastic way. Americans, depending on who was in charge, would probably be willing, with good amount of leadership, to pull the trigger sooner rather than later but it would, in all likelihood, be an act of desperation rather than cool calculus our predecessors made in 1945.

This is why I support our aggressive foreign policy since 9/11. Anything more would not be acceptable to the majority of Americans but anything less would eventually force us to that act of desperation when it would be too late to do us any good and when it would cause even more damage.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Bring it on

I'm tired of threats. I don't want them to realize. But I do want to say: put up or shut the hell up!

BTW, we will kill you when we get a chance.

Monday, August 01, 2005


It began in Gdansk

I was there 25 years ago when the first domino piece fell. I gagged on the gas. I didn't think we had a chance. I was wrong. I left. They are still there. I can only observe, be proud but humble. Who had more courage, I who left or they who stayed? Regardless, we all will be better for it. The new, the better, the domino theory.


Alone in the living room

I'm alone. Every year around this time my wife and my kids take off for Italy for the yearly family reunion. When I come from work I open a cold one and sit on the sofa in the living room. And I look straight ahead. And I see peace. This is one of my wife's pieces. It gives me peace.


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