Dictionary of Oddity

Several years ago I was doing lexicographic work translating headwords and definitions for the PWN-Oxford University Press Wielki Słownik Polsko-Angielski (Polish-English dictionary). Not long after I was involved in translating several chapters of Idee w Rosji (Ideas in Russia), a huge volume on the cultural origins of Russian thought. At the time I liked to use a certain electronic […]

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Can the Real Poland Step Forward?

There are two events in Poland’s very recent history which in a fashion demonstrate the schizophrenia Polish democracy is suffering from. On the one hand, Poland is this burgeoning new dynamo, bustling with economic energy, pulling up trees and surprising everyone (including itself) with respect to how well it has done in the transmogrification move […]

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Angelina Jolie – Press Stunt

I was a little surprised when I heard the news that Madame Jolie had decided to remove her breasts. However, it wasn’t the double whammy mastectomy that I found surprising but rather the fact that Angelina Jolie did not have cancer. Ugh? Huh? What? I followed the news feeds, read the statement and thought “Oh […]

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Bizarre Tunes – Five of the Best

Just to cheer things up a little I’ve decided to share with you five of my favourite light-hearted numbers. They’re odd, strange but they always put a smile on my face. We’ll begin with the sultan of dank and dirty blues, the master of juju-, voodoo-tinted zydeco and the king of boogie woogie, Dr John. […]

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Bizarre Polish Place Names

Inspired by several polls, lists and tables of ludicrous, embarrassing and rude English place names, I have decided to compile a similar list for Poland. However, before we get down to the polski equivalents, let’s delve into the most bizarre English ones I have been able to unearth. The Mirror and The Telegraph both have wonderful ‘top tens’ […]

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Rain Stops Play

Football has moved on in recent years: better-behaved fans, better stadia, even perhaps a better all-round experience. Football is big business. Football is a machine. A well-oiled, money-making global machine. But perhaps not in Poland. The failed first attempt at playing the Poland-England World Cup qualifier is perhaps indicative of what Poland is all about. […]

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Is Poland Corrupt?

This question keeps popping up. Commentators, business people and politicians outside Poland are keen to know whether Poland has been able to shed the post-communist tag which is so often associated with corruption. Is being a post-communist country tantamount to being corrupt? Poles themselves, Polish politicians, entrepreneurs and sociologists are eager to be rid of […]

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