Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Monday, August 24, 2009


THEY have returned, quiet, ok, fairly quiet, sitting there in my desks with sort of a glazed look upon their young faces. "Half" a day, no, more like 3/4ths of a day. Voice held out today....predict will not have much voice in three days time.....just SO much to present to incoming 7th graders, most of whom will be just SO totally overwhelmed by this massive bombardment of new information about the school, history, science, language arts, math, physical education, etc., that within two days time, they'll implode........

So, how was YOUR first day back ?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Historical Ignorance to sell Electronic Games?

The ever lovely Mrs. Polski3 and I often do our walks at a nearby indoor mall when the weather outside is not conducive to being outside. Like most malls in the USA, there is an electronic game shop there, selling modules for a variety of electronic game systems.

Recently, they have displayed a poster for a game called Wolfenstein or something like that. I am guessing it is some sort of armies of the dead game in that the character shown on the poster is a skull with a World War II Axis-side topper (hat). I personally have nothing against people gaming to recreate historical military events or even fantasy encounters; however the hat on this character displays a symbol that is, to many people, one of Nazi horrors and atrocities, the SS Death's Head.

What I wonder is this. Do the mostly young people who will buy and play this game even realize what that symbol represents? Do their parents know? While I am not Jewish, I personally know several Jewish people who would be very offended by such a public display that includes such a symbol. And if I'd had members of my family robbed, taunted, humiliated, arrested, tortured, starved, raped, medically experimented upon, gassed and machine gunned down, I would be offended by it.

So, what is the point of this post? That it is ok to include some "historical" symbol to help sell a game or other product because hardly anyone knows just what that symbol represents ? Please don't tell me about the First Amendment to our US Constitution; I don't think it applies here because of what that symbol represents (or, have our courts said otherwise?). Or is it just that not enough people know or care about what happened "way back then" ?

Anyhow, it is my opinion that if you purchase something like this game, you condone what that symbol represents. And to me, that is all the more reason History must be taught to the young people. Things like what happened in Europe in the early half of the 20th century should never again happen. But there must be an awareness of what happened.....it must be taught.

Thanks for reading this post.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Summer, 2oo9

Hello, anybody out there? Polski hasn't posted for awhile. There are many reasons for this, but anyhow, here I am to tell you some about my summer.

In short, Polski went to some new and exotic places, discovered a new (for me), musical group, spent kid-less time with Mrs. Polski and done some reading. Polski has not done a few things that he's thought about doing, such as dealing with boxes of teaching stuff piled up in the garage, cutting some wood into smaller, fireplace sized pieces and getting my "study" organized.

Anyhow, some of the highlights were a teacher field trip with the "Teaching American History" government grant program. We went to Mass. and NY, two places I'd never visited. From California, we took off in the early morning over the Pacific Ocean, then turned and flew towards the rising sun. That night, we went to bed with a "June Nor'Easterner" rattling our motel windows in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I think it is just so neat that one can be on one side of our continent in the morning, get on an airplane and be on the other side of the continent hours later.

Massachusetts has SO much history to see and learn little details about, but we were limited on what time we could spend there. In the wind and rain, we visited Plymoth Plantation and the Mayflower II sailing ship at Plymouth. In Boston, we saw Paul Revere's house, the Old and New Massachusetts State Houses, stood on the cobblestones where the "Boston Massacre" took place, and visited a classroom at Harvard (which we were shocked to see, still had a chalk board with bits of chalk for the professor/lecturer/T.A. to write with). We briefly toured Old Sturbridge Village (1830's era N.E. farming life), the old Mills at Lowell, Mass., ( I never water power could "power" all that manufacturing equipment; oh the minds that thought of that !), and Hancock Shaker Village out in far Western Massachusetts.

We also got to NY; we visited FDR's house and the FDR Presidential Library, saw the place where "Orange County Choppers" are created (which was a big deal to some of the tour participants, I was not one who was at all interested in this), we visited our US Military Academy at West Point and Manhattan.
This trip saw us drive over and under the Hudson River, and "sail" upon it on a ferry boat that stopped at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. [ BTW, 2oo9 is the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson's "discovery" and brief exploration of the Hudson River ], In Manhattan, we visited, very briefly, Ellis Island, saw where the new construction is happening where the World Trade Towers used to be and, that evening, many tour participants went to a "Broadway" show ( which were disappointed to many of them, mostly due to the cramped seating). Polski, however, hiked over to Grand Central Station and took a train to Conn. where one of my brothers lives. He treated me to dinner at his Yacht Club and I got to have a nice to visit with him and his family. After a quick, whirlwind time of this trip, it was and very pleasant to sit for awhile to visit, and eat a nice dinner watching the sun set over Long Island Sound at a yacht club. Several tour participants were a bit shocked that I would go away on a train to another state and then return in time to catch our tour bus to our motel of the night.

I wish we'd had more time; several things I would have really liked to see or do include visiting the USS Constitution in Boston, visiting Fenway Park ( its history; the oldest major league baseball park in the world ! ), visited Bunker (Breeds) Hill, Lexington and Concord and other American Revolutionary War sites. I also wish I'd stopped off at one of the several NYC Irish pubs I walked past on my return from Grand Central Station to our pick up point. As it turned out, I had time to tip a half pint or so. Oh well, guess I'll have to go back someday. There is just SO much to see in this great nation of ours !

I don't know exactly where it is coming from, but I've recently developed an interest in "Irish" style music. Maybe its from listening to fiddles in some of my favorite country music songs? I don't know. Anyhow, a couple of my favorites are Metallica's version of "Whiskey in the Jar" and a tune called "Black and Tans". This summer, I "discovered" a group that is labeled "Celtic Punk," an L.A. band called "Flogging Molly," whose lead man is apparently Irish. Several of their tunes are, IMO, cool; "Drunken Lullabies," "What's left of the Flag," "Black Friday Rule" and "Devil's Dance Floor". Maybe I'll check out some of the "older" traditional groups like the Dubliners. Anyhow, If "Irish" style music is of any interest to you, check out Flogging Molly on YouTube or whatever modern musical digital jukebox thing you might know about.

Polski's sons went to summer camp; BOTH at the same time. Mrs. Polski and I got away by ourselves to a cool (as in temperature) part of California for a few relaxing, enjoyable days.

I hope you have had a Great Summer. If you want more details or have questions about my trip, feel free to ask.