Posts Tagged ‘poland’

The Worst Commercial Ever

This is probably the worst commercial I have ever seen. It is perfectly designed to make someone never want to use Ancestry.com.

To recap: This commercial introduces us to Scott Krinsky, a regular guy who has a cute little story about where his ancestors came from: “The story was that my grandfather was born on the boat on the way over here. In school they had us put a tack on the map where our grandparents were born: Mine was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.” You can even hear the happiness in his voice as he tells the story. Then he goes on Ancestry.com and finds out… no, that’s not what happened. His grandfather was born in Poland, like tens of millions of other people. Continue reading

The Top 173 Things in History: #16. The Fall of the Berlin Wall

A lot of the phrases we use to describe the ends of various injustices are metaphorical. We have to break glass ceilings, tear down barriers, and free ourselves from shackles.

While the Berlin Wall was, in some ways, metaphorical, it was also very real. Unlike the abstract glass ceilings, the wall was very much concrete—in fact, a large collection of it running directly through a major European city. The Berlin Wall was about as subtle as giving a literary character the initials J.C., or, in C.S. Lewis’ case, having a character (without those specific initials) forfeit his life to save those of some children, only to rise from the dead to defeat evil.*

*I highly suggest reading Lewis’ interpretation of his own character in that link.

This is all to say: The Berlin Wall was not subtle. It was totalitarianism and oppression reified in mortar for all to see. It was, as Ronald Reagan said in his famous 1987 speech at the Brandenburg Gate, a “gash” and a “scar” not just on Berlin, but on Germany and the entirety of Europe. Continue reading

Top 173 Things in History: #78. The Great Northern War

Contrary to popular belief, the Great Northern War was not the dramatic final meeting between the United States and Iceland at the end of D2: The Mighty Ducks. Rather, it was a 21-year war between Sweden and a group of northern nations, headlined by Russia under Peter the Great. I know what you’re thinking already: Wait, Sweden in a war? Sweden taking on Russia and others? Preposterous!

How’s this for even more preposterousness: This could be the single most underrated war in world history.

Continue reading