Friday, February 04, 2011

Week in review…

Regular readers of this still spankingly fresh blog will know Jaroslaw Kaczynski is a favourite and he did not disappoint this week. Though I too took note of Kaczynski's ambitions for the zloty as a regional reserve currency, so did Marcin Sobczyk in DJ's New Europe blog. What neither of us said is that Kaczynski's view on the euro delay is not that crazy. Many economists believe the euro should not be adopted until "real" income convergence is achieved between Poland and the euro-zone, among other factors. The euro-zone periphery's ongoing travails also show caution can be prudent. (How about that? I just partly agreed with Jarek.)

DJ's Malgorzata Halaba hit the New Europe blog as well in the week past, noting some Polish economists' belief Poland has more currency reserves than it needs to counter potential market turmoil. Getting an extra USD 30bn "emergency reserve" from the IMF basically costs nothing, so what's the big deal? Unless, that is, the Finance Ministry is far more worried about the state of public finances than it lets on. Conspiracy theorists, get to work!

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, the government's own UK Conservative, has been pretty quiet for some time. This reticence lasted all through the Smolensk wars but was finally broken this past week. Sikorski returned to the limelight to hassle his favourite bugbear of late, Belarus President Hosni Mubarak. To hear Sikorski speak, Aleksandr Lukashenka will soon become like the beleaguered president of Egypt if he doesn't reform. The problem is Lukashenko appears to have read more closely Authoritarian Dictatorships for Dummies and knows you bust up mass demonstrations before they even start. I think the Belarussian nut is up to Russia's President Prime Minister Vlad Putin to crack.

"Poland" has been on a campaign for some time now to inform global minds that just because the Holocaust's concentration camps were largely found on what is now Polish soil, they were not "Polish concentration camps." In a cyber angle to this story, the Culture Ministry is calling on concentration camp websites to drop the ".pl" indicator from their names. I am sympathetic to Poland's efforts, but I would probably admire less a frenetic distancing and more a national reckoning.

Back to the lighter side of the ledger, every sports fan knows some guys have all the luck (i.e., The Great One (!) Wayne Gretzky). Others have none. Polish international footballer Lukasz Fabianski is in the latter camp. Just when the Arsenal goalkeeper finally put a spell of disastrous performances securely behind him and snatched the number one spot on one of the biggest soccer teams on the planet, boom, injury hits. He's set to undergo season-ending surgery. This tale has a more sordid turn, though, as compatriot Wojciech Szczesny might have been partly to blame.

Sticking with sports, the NBA's Marcin Gortat, the 6' 11' (211cm) basketballer known as the Polish Hammer, has been kicking some behind of late. Check out this colossal dunk. Some even talk of him as a future all-star, which would be a first for a Polish basketball player . . . But, wait, what's this? The Polish Hammer is actually Canadian lightweight mixed martial arts fighter Chris Horodecki, who's set for a bout on Apr 2. Apparently, Horodecki doesn't have an opponent. Clearly, Horodecki and Gortat should face off to see who's the real Polish Hammer.

In conclusion, I'll celebrate life. In this case, the life of elephants. It seems Polish businessman Waldemar I. is suing a travel agency because he failed to kill even one elephant on a recent hunting expedition in Zimbabwe. At issue is 32,000 zloty. All I can say is, Waldemar, fuck you! To everyone else, have a good one.

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