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June 30

Looking for relatives in Poland

That’s me with Bronislaw and Zofia Sudol in Spie, Poland.

By JD Lasica

My side of the Lasica family — the American side — has had only fleeting contact with our cousins in Poland since my grandfather, Wojciech (George) Lasica, arrived on Ellis Island on Feb. 13, 1912. (For some perspective, that was a month before the Titanic sank.) My grandmother, Katarzyna Delenta Lasica, and my aunt Tory (Sophie) Lasica Stagg, sent items of clothing over in the 1950s, but since then, the connections have faded away.

So when I headed to Poland last week for the first time, as a speaker at the Bitspiration startup conference, I decided to mix business with family affairs by hiring a Krakow-based family researcher from Your Roots in Poland to accompany me to the former Lasica family homestead in Spie, about 2 1/2 hours northeast of Krakow.

Here are 34 photos of my trip to Spie and the surrounding countryside.

Kinga, Krzysztof and I spent June 27 tooling around Wilcza Wola, the district that encompasses Spie, with a local historian, Wojchiech Mroczka. We spent an hour going through records dating back to the early 1800s in the church parish’s offices with the help of Father Stanislaw. But the highlight came when we visited the now-abandoned house at 11 Spie and met the neighbors, Bronislaw and Zofia Sudol, who still maintain the land there for the property owner.

I won’t go into the backstory of how a determined family matriarch, Maria Lasica Bordon, cajoled family members to up and move to Toronto. But the Łasica family (pronounced wa-SHEET-sa) left an indelible mark.

Here’s a short video I took of Bronislaw when we arrived — he was quite excited to pass along his recollections of family members who once lived there, and it was quite touching to meet him and Zofia. For your hospitality, dziękuję bardzo!


Photos of Krakow & a startup conference

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June 11

Photos from Santa Clara Grand Prix


Here’s the set of more than 220 photos I shot as a credentialed photographer (for seven years in a row now) of the Santa Clara Grand Prix, including a roll call of Olympians: the world’s greatest swimmer, Ryan Lochte (above), Missy Franklin, Nathan Adrian, Jessica Hardy, Elizabeth Pelton, Dana Vollmer, Caitlin Leverenz, Elizabeth Beisel, Laura Sogar, Matt Grevers, Tyler Clary, Maria Gonzalez Ramirez, Gillian Ryan, Kevin Cordes, Fernanda Gonzalez, Allison Schmidt and dozens of others.

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February 3

Photos of Macworld Expo 2013


Here’s my Flickr set of 35 photos of the just-ended Macworld Expo, including actor-comedian Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” and “Portlandia.”

January 26

Telemarketing firm TCE Marketing needs to be prosecuted

Robo-calls from Carpet, Tile and Furniture Cleaning Experts just won’t stop

By J.D. Lasica

Have you ever gotten on a telemarketer’s phone list and found it absolutely impossible to get off of it? That’s what’s happened to me. For the past two months, at least five times a week — including weekends — I’ve received the following voicemail:

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November 3

Outtake from an Organizing for America meetup

By J.D. Lasica

Here’s a photo from the MoveOn/Organizing for America house party today held in Danville, Calif.

A dozen volunteers showed up and we called people on the MoveOn list on Colorado and Connecticut, asking if they’d be willing to do door-to-door canvasing on Sunday, Monday or Election Day (Colorado is a swing state, Connecticut has a key Senate election with candidate Chris Murphy). Probably called 500 voters — many didn’t answer, three or four were Republicans, and one was a disenchanted member of the Green Party. But we contacted enough volunteer canvassers to make it worthwhile.

In case you were wondering how these things work, I captured the shot at top — we were spread out throughout the house and back yard, running down our sheets of 16 voters per state before turning them in to me, to phone in the results to MoveOn headquarters. We had a “chatty script” (though no one called it that), or a notes outline, to induce a conversation with the supporter or voter, instead of a robotic script where we just read something to them. Studies show that getting people to knock on your door to come out to vote is a much more effective way to get out the vote than just making calls.

Looking forward to Tuesday — polls are looking good for President Obama and Democratic Senate candidates.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

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