Magazine

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100 000 years of sex in a nutshell. A Czech NGO hands out its “snooper of the year” awards and, the Czech supermodel with no belly-button. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

“100,000 years of sex” is the name of a traveling exhibition that has just opened in Špilberk Castle home of the Brno City Museum. On display are 250 artifacts from 60 European collections among them chastity belts, erotic underwear from the Bronze Age, antique ceramic penises, Roman coins depicting a variety of sexual positions, good luck charms and a golden casket which was to house a man’s penis in the grave – to be used in the afterlife presumably. One of the most popular exhibits is a condom dating back to 1640 when it served primarily to protect men from venereal diseases. The condom on display was made of pork intestines and had to be dipped in hot milk before use –as a disinfectant. Those who did not fancy pork intestines could use a condom made of fish stomachs – several of which were found in Dudley Birmingham. But – enough of that – if you want to know more you will have to visit the exhibition at Špilberk castle where it will remain open until February.


Prague City Hall’s Open Card project and the American Electronic System for Travel Authorization have both received Big Brother awards – a mock award for “biggest administrative snooper”. The Czech NGO luridicum Remedicum presented eight Big Brother awards last week, criticizing the extent to which people were made to provide personal data and agree to their processing in return for services rendered. The overall winner is a firm offering a computer programme enabling the owner to snoop in other people’s computers. The EC got a Big Brother Award for the proposed installation of special micro-wave scanners at airports which would virtually undress passengers and Deutsche Telecom got one for loosing the data of around 17 million customers.


Brno Zoo is getting ready for a big occasion – the first birthday of its twin polar bears Bill and Tom who single-handedly managed to put the zoo back on the map. Their birth a year ago launched the zoo’s most successful year in its post-communist history with over 300,000 visitors pouring in to admire the latest arrivals. The breeding of polar bears in captivity is extremely difficult and Bill and Tom are the zoo’s most successful project in its 50 year long history. However they are growing fast and their time together is coming to an end. In the spring Bill will be transported to a zoo in the German town of Gelsenkirchen while Tom will find a new home at Prague’s Troja zoo. The only consolation for mum Cora will be the return of her partner Umca and the only consolation for the zoo’s management is the fact that they have proved fruitful and may give a repeat performance.


Ruddy Shelduck, photo: Steven G. Johnson, Creative Commons 3.0
Ornithologists in the Přerov region are having a field day thanks to the unexpected arrival of four Ruddy Shelducks. This particular breed is indigenous to Asia and has never before been sighted in the wild here in the Czech Republic. With its bright orange-brown plumage it stands out among the local flocks of wild geese and ornithologists believe the two couples got here by accident – driven off course by a strong wind or simply having lost their bearings. Although there are a number of Ruddy Shelducks bred in captivity in the Czech Republic these ducks show the signs of birds who have lived in the wild. They are expected to stay as long as there is food for them in the area.


The Ajeto glassworks in Lindava is launching a new tourist-friendly project as of January 1st. The glassworks, headed by the renowned Czech designer and architect Bořek Šípek, is currently helping to make the biggest carillon in the world. It has an excellent international reputation, but only opens its doors to tourists once a year. That is about to change. In response to growing demand for regular tours the Ajeto glassworks have invested two and a half million crowns into a workshop for visitors where skilled glassmakers will in future show visitors the art of glass-making and let them try it out for themselves – allowing them take home the piece they produce. There will also be a permanent sale exhibition of crystal glass products and a café. On occasion, when it is possible to have guided tours, visitors will also be taken through the glassworks main hall where they can see the country’s top glass artists at work on their projects.


Thieves get more brazen by the day. The police reported a case this week of a thief whose car was packed with stolen goods. The traffic police selected his car for a random check, not suspecting anything out of the ordinary. Instead of stopping the driver put his foot on the gas pedal and gave the police quite chase. In the first village they raced thorough he crashed through a garden fence but recovered and raced on. He crashed the car a second time shortly after and disappeared into a wooded area on foot giving the police the slip. The officers confiscated the car and stolen goods and set about tracing the thief but much to their amazement he turned up on his own the next morning walking into the police station to announce that his car had been stolen two days ago and asking the police to launch an investigation. However a confrontation with the officers who had chased him the night before proved his undoing – one of them clearly remembered his face and after several hours of questioning the man broke down and admitted all. He even gave the police the addresses of houses he’d broken into so that the stolen goods could be returned to their rightful owners.


And finally: the news that set the fashion world on its ear this week. Czech supermodel Karolína Kurkova has no belly button. Its absence was noticed this week when the 24-year-old model graced a US catwalk for Victoria Secret underwear. The fact that a model who makes over 2 million pounds a year has no belly button –only a tiny dimple - has given an entirely new dimension to the perennial debate about whether it is better to have an “innie” or and “outie”. So why has Karolina broken the mould? The supermodel is keeping mum – and the only thing her agent will say on the subject is that she’s not an alien. Fair enough. Her belly button –or lack of it – is her own business. And as one reporter put it “what she’s got is far more eye-catching than what she hasn’t”.