As I mentioned yesterday, I’m headed to Poland later today. With the time difference and having to switch planes and then having a long car ride, I won’t get to my destination until sometime Sunday night.
It’s a bit of a planes, trains and automobiles situation to get to where I'm going. Which leads me to think of John Candy and the movie of the same name. John Candy then makes me think of the Shmenge Bros., the polka-playing pair from Poland, who we first came to know from "SCTV" in the ‘80s. Candy played clarinetist Yosh Shmenge and Eugene Levy was his accordion-playing brother Stan. They led their band, the Happy Wanderers, primarily through polka-ized versions of pop hits, including Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Their final performance was even captured in a mockumentary called “The Last Polka.”
For some reason, my sister and I were mesmerized by the Shmenge Brothers and to this day, we still have inside jokes about them in that way that only siblings (or friends as close as siblings) can.
Last week, we were talking about my trip and I don’t remember which one of us thought of the Shmenge Bros., but one of us did and that led to a fun YouTube festival of Schmenge Bros.’ videos. It’s totally ridiculous, given that I am in no way Polish, that somehow, recalling the fictional Shmenges and the thought of going to their homeland got me much more excited about the trip. (until I did a little more research to write this and discovered that the Shmenges actually come from the made-up country of Leutonia. WHAT? I could have lived my whole life without knowing that myth-busting bit of information). Jeez. I guess I’ll have to go listen to Chopin instead...
Given this disheartening news, I guess the search for a Shmenge shrine is off, but I do expect to enjoy some cabbage rolls and coffee. If that makes no sense to you, watch below.
Today’s $10 goes to The Kosciuszko Foundation, which I know how to pronounce because of the same-named bridge in New York. TKF promotes educational and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and Poland.
Aug. 3:The Kosciuszko Foundation