Photo: YouTube Channel of Pražský Patriot

In Magazine: how old is the selfie-stick, are Czechs really the fifth vainest nation in the world, knitting makes a comeback, there’s no mattress like an Olympics mattress, nutrias settle in the Vltava River and Prague Zoo celebrates the return of 15 runaway birds.

“I Killed Einstein,  Gentlemen”
The Czechs appear to have given the world the selfie stick half a century before it began appearing everywhere. Proof of that is a clip that recently appeared on Reddit from a 1969 Czech sci-fi called “I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen”. The clip shows a woman posing for a selfie with her husband who is about to travel back in time with the help of a long stick. The “selfie stick” flashes and instantly spits out a small Polaroid-like photo. This popular futuristic science fiction comedy features an atom bomb blast that causes women to grow beards and lose the ability to have children. A summit meeting is held at the United Nations, with the proposed solution of building a time machine and travelling back in time to murder Einstein, in the hope that without the mathematician’s research there will be no atom bombs. Films such as these were extremely popular in the late communist era since censors rarely interfered with them and they provided an escape from reality and plenty of laughs.

Photo: Archive of Anastasiyi Zamyakiny
Believe it or not, a new study claims that the Czechs are the fifth vainest people in the world. The market research firm Gfk recently conducted a survey on personal grooming asking citizens of 22 countries how long they spend on bathing, shaving, dress, hair and make-up –on average – every week. According to the results women spend on average almost 5 hours per week on personal grooming while men spend just over 3 hours. The study found that the Italians spend the most time working on their appearance-on average 5.5 hours a week. Citizens of Argentina, the US and France come next, followed by the Czech Republic where women allegedly spend 5.8 hours on their appearance every week, and men put in 4.3 hours. When asked why they want to look their best 76 percent of Czechs ticked “to feel good about myself”, 49 percent marked “to please my partner” and 41 percent ticked “to set a good example for my children”.

When people are not putting on make-up, you may find them knitting. Amazingly knitting did not die out with the arrival of the Internet and 18 percent of Czech proclaim themselves to be “active knitters”, whatever that means exactly. The majority are of course women – but three percent of men likewise admitted to engaging in this peaceful and productive hobby. Asked whether anyone they know knits 75 percent of Czechs answered “yes”. In the younger age brackets it is mothers to be and mums who are responsible for the growing popularity of knitting.

Photo: Official YouTube Channel of the Czech Olympic Team
The Czech Olympics Committee is planning to pamper the country’s representatives at the Olympics in Rio in order to provide perfect conditions for perfect results. Sleep is considered essential and so Czech sportspeople are already trying out the special mattresses they will be using in the Olympics village and, apparently, they are more than happy with the result. In fact according to Katerina Kudejova, world champion in water slalom, the mattresses are so comfortable she can barely force herself to get out of bed every morning. In Rio the matrasses will be personalized – with sports peoples names and the team will also have a sleep therapist and chaplain on call.

An annual meeting of zoo enthusiasts called Zoofanatics 2016 took place in the Hluboká nad Vltavou Zoo last weekend. The event, first held in 2014, is a platform for people who like visiting zoos worldwide and who often plan their holidays so as to visit zoos they have not yet seen and collect souvenirs and memorabilia from each place they visit. The Zoofanatics events are held in different Czech zoos and provide an opportunity for people to exchange experiences, photographs and memorabilia and make friends with people with the same hobby. The first was held in Dvur Kralove Zoo, the second in Plzen Zoo, this year in Hluboká nad Vltavou Zoo – which is celebrating its 80th birthday and is the fifth oldest zoo in the Czech Republic, and next year the get-together is to take place in Jihlava Zoo. Although it started out as a Czech event it is now attracting zoo fanatics from Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.

Photo: YouTube Channel of Pražský Patriot
Walking along the Vltava River in Prague you may see nutrias or river rats, large rodents that look like beavers, swimming along the embankment. The nutrias appeared a few years ago and people started feeding them along with the ducks and swans. According to the news site Novinky they quickly started breeding and can now be seen along the whole Prague stretch of the river. “ I first sighted one a few years ago and now I see them every day, they are very tame and will feed from your hand,” one of the locals told Novinky. Environment activists are not happy with the likelihood of them overbreeding, but it seems the nutrias are here to stay.

Northern ibis,  photo: ČTK
And finally –good news from Prague Zoo which, ably assisted by the public, managed to recapture 15 of the 18 Northern ibises that escaped from the zoo a week ago after a load of fresh snow damaged their aviary. The birds scattered around Prague and other parts of the country and the hunt for them became a hot issue on social networks. Regrettably one of the ibises died shortly after being brought back because it consumed whatever it came upon, including pieces of broken glass. The others appear to have survived the ordeal exceptionally well and are now basking in their new-found fame. The zoo has already placed billboards around Prague urging people to “come visit our celebrities”.