The Žižkov TV tower in Prague

The Žižkov TV tower in Prague is rated the second ugliest construction in the world! Why do ČSA planes have two different logos? And, a bishop gets booed as he blesses a “stolen” statue. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.

The Žižkov TV tower in Prague
The Czech capital may be an architectural jewel but it also has its monstrosities – at least according to travel experts at the web site who have compiled a list of "The World's Top 10 Ugliest Buildings and Monuments”. The Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore appears to have won top place hands down as the ugliest construction on earth, but Czechs can pride themselves on the second-worst monstrosity – a television tower that looks a little bit like a rocket on a launching pad preparing for take-off. Built in the communist era – between 1985 and 1992 - the tower is 216 meters high, with observation decks at 100 meters and a restaurant and cafe situated at a height of 63 meters and its one saving grace is that it affords a marvelous view of Prague. The Reuters news agency says that “with its ugliness the tower could easily stand on its own but the black babies climbing all over it transform it from an eyesore to a head-shaker”. The black babies are statues by David Černý – the controversial Czech artist who created a storm with his art-piece Entropa. The babies are actually one of his tamest undertakings – and were initially placed there on a temporary basis but the public asked for them to be installed permanently. The tower itself has long been the butt of jokes, and in the communist days it was dubbed “Jakešův prst” - a finger raised by the country’s last communist leader.

The police are searching for a bank robber who clearly has no time for modern technology. Forget about guns with silencers, fast cars and what not. This man rode a bike to the bank, he was unmasked and his sole weapon was a stone he’d picked up in the field. He strode in, smashed a glass counter with the stone and while the terrified clerk rushed to a back room, he helped himself to all the available cash –several hundred thousand crowns. He then got onto his bike and made off with the loot. Amazing how little it takes to break through the high-tech security systems that banks employ.

A thirty-year old man from Hodonín has learnt the hard way that girl-friends are not always to be trusted. The man had been saving money -in coins- for years, collecting it in an old-fashioned coffer. After a few weeks he showed his new girlfriend his treasure trove - twenty-one thousand crowns in coins. When he was out she took the money and booked a holiday to Majorca, spinning a story about having moved the money to a new coffer in the cellar for safety reasons. The man called the police who soon informed him that the culprit was living in his house. The girl will not be charged – sporting a tan from her holiday she sweet-talked the man into forgiving her. Whether he will keep her though if far from certain – it may be years before she can afford another holiday.

Květa Fialová, photo: CTK
Christmas more than any other holiday is a time of charity events and one of the many ways of helping the needy is to buy a calendar called Changes 2010 – featuring leading Czech actresses and singers who have been transformed into famous personalities – with the help of a computer programme. Květa Fialová is portrayed as Albert Einstein in the famous picture of him – white hair disheveled and tongue sticking out. The actress says it’s her best picture ever. Singer Marta Kubišová is shown as John Lennon, singer Bára Basiková as Mozart, actress Anna Polívková as Franz Kafka and Zuzana Bydžovská as Mick Jagger. The calendar is available in bookstores and on the internet and the proceeds will go to the Archa Chantal Foundation to help create a better environment for children in hospitals.

The original ČSA logo
If you’ve been to Prague’s Ruzyně Airport lately you may have noticed that ČSA planes rolling down the runway have two strikingly different logos. This strange phenomenon is the result of a court suit over the original ČSA logo – three red letters on a white background. The authors of the 1992 logo have taken the company to court saying they’d never signed a proper license agreement and although the court has yet to rule on the case ČSA has gradually started replacing the old logo on planes, cars, buildings and stationary. Since they don’t want the dispute aired they have been doing so with a minimum of publicity and only observant travelers notice that some ČSA planes look slightly different.

Three Kings and Pieta
Bishop Jan Baxant who celebrated mass and blessed a newly reconstructed statue in the town of Ústí nad Labem found himself in the midst of a furious dispute between the inhabitants of two districts. The statue Three Kings and Pieta had originally stood in the Svadov district, but after its reconstruction the town hall moved it to a park in a different part of town – Střekov. As the bishop blessed the statue half of the assembly started booing and people held up banners reading “a blessed theft”. The Svadov locals came to make a point they want the statue back and argue that they have a special relationship to it. Clearly taken aback by the turn of events, the bishop attempted to calm the crowd and said that if the town decided to move the statue back to its original location he would be happy to come back and bless it again. Then he went on to preach about tolerance and goodwill. What effect the sermon had –if any – will be seen next week when representatives of the two districts meet to do battle over the precious statue.