The man who sells animal feed tested on humans! What made the Communist Party buy a cow? And, who is running in the Office Rats Race? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Petr Hajek a Czech farmer from South Bohemia has come up with an ingenious way of getting around EU regulations which he claims threatened his livelihood. He used to make a good living selling goats cheese made to an old family recipe. But in May of this year he was suddenly faced with strict EU norms which meant investing around 3 million Czech crowns into hygiene equipment at the farm. It looked like the end of the road - where would I get that kind of money, Hajek says. After giving the matter some thought he hit on the perfect solution. He now sells the same product as animal feed. A large notice outside his door reads:
"Goats' cheese. Home made to a family recipe handed down through six generations. Completely in violation of EU regulations, should be used as animal food. Has been successfully tested on humans!"
The communist party has just bought a cow. Not any old cow but a controversial cow from the summer Cow Parade which was painted as a mock copy of the Russian tank which stood on Kinsky Square for years as a tribute to the Russian army. The cow itself was innocent of any wrongdoing, but it entered the fray of hostilities after an artist decided to turn it into a mock copy of the tank, painting it a grey-greenish colour and decorating it with the communist red star and the number 23 - originally the number of the tank. Now, plenty of controversy surrounded the tank. A group of students painted it pink shortly after the Velvet Revolution and it was eventually transported to a military museum amidst heated arguments over whether it should be allowed to remain, since it was in memory of Russian soldiers who had died helping to liberate the country of Nazi oppression. Then, when the arguments had finally died down - the poor cow came along and stirred up fresh trouble. A group of students vandalized it - seeing in it an insult to the Russian soldiers who died in helping to liberate the country. And it too got carted off. Now, with the approaching auction of all the cows in the Cow Parade, the Communist Party has come to the poor cow's rescue, buying it for 46.000 crowns. The cow will be repaired, given a new garb and sent off to live out the rest of its days in south Bohemia - away from political controversies - where it can start with a clean slate.
The change in lifestyle in the recent decade is making itself felt in the countryside as well. People's gardens are undergoing a transformation and the concept of garden architecture is now getting a lot of attention. Whereas not so long ago gardens were used mainly for growing fruits and vegetables - to be consumed or preserved for the winter months - now they are being transformed into a private haven for their owners to relax in and entertain friends. Vegetable patches are being scrapped to make room for outdoor swimming pools or garden ponds filled with goldfish and water lilies. Garden barbecues have become incredibly popular and many families have them every weekend -if not several days a week. And those who have enough space have their own tennis court. Weeding as a way of staying in shape is totally OUT.
Czech TV viewers are getting their fill of reality shows. Half a year ago most people would not have been sure what the expression meant, but after the huge success of the Czech Pop Idol contest Czech TV stations are falling over each other to attract viewers with this particular TV genre. Private TV Nova has launched its own reality show called the Million Dollar Couple in which viewers act as matchmakers. Private TV PRIMA has also gone for public courtships promising viewers they'd see "chemistry at work", while Czech public TV has put its money on makeovers. Hairstyle, make-up and dress - at this stage Czech TV is not offering plastic surgery like similar shows in the United States. But even so the makeover shows are enough to attract plenty of viewers and a long list of applicants. In view of the fact that all Czech TV stations claim to be money strapped - a relatively cheap show that attracts viewers is a Godsend.
Do bureaucrats make your life difficult? Are there times when you are so frustrated by their attitude that you would like to strangle them? You now have the perfect opportunity to get a little of your own back. If you are listening to us in Prague you should not miss the Office Rats Race scheduled for October 9th. In Czech jargon "office rats" is a less kindly name for bureaucrats. Bureaucrats have thrived in this environment ever since the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and as the name suggests - they are not very popular. However there are so many of them that there is at least one in every family -and that helps to break the ice. So this Office Rats Race is really a fun event in which Czech bureaucrats aim to show the public that they do have a sense of humour - and are not just office rats. They will be running in their regular work clothes - meaning suits and ties and costumes for the ladies - the only concession being sports shoes. In addition there are two compulsory requisites -a mobile in one hand and folders in the other - in other words the perfect bureaucrat - as you meet them in institutions all over the country. The event is being held under the auspices of the mayor of Prague Pavel Bem. " Our bureaucrats are very hard working and this outdoor sports event will do them a world of good - in addition we want to give the public some fun " he said. So do go and enjoy the fun while you can because on Monday morning all those bureaucrats will be back in their seats and behind counters - ready to have you for breakfast!
If you are listening to us in Prague do not forget that the annual wine harvesting celebrations are coming up this weekend. They are held on the main squares of the Prague 2 and 3 districts - and you will be able to enjoy a procession in period costume, live bands, outdoor theatre performances, singing, dancing and lots of good food and wine.