This week, find out why the Czech Republic is a marbles "superpower", a country where male fish are helpless against female contraception pills, and a place where mobile phone software manufacturers can sell products that violate the law. This and more in Magazine.
Playing marbles is one of the oldest forms of entertainment in history. It was popular in ancient Egypt and Rome and it is said to have been one of Julius Caesar's favourite pastimes. And it's still around today. The boys who grew up playing the game in the first half of the twentieth century are now grandfathers but some of them still bring out their bag of prized marbles on Sundays for a game with old friends. Although there are only a few hundred players in the Czech Republic - the country is a marbles "superpower". The marbles world champion is Czech - a certain Karel Tesar from Pilsen -who is now bringing up a new generation of marbles players. Last weekend he showed his prowess at the national marbles tournament on Strelecky Island in Prague. International events -often hosted by the Czech Republic - usually attract players from Germany, Holland, Slovakia and the United States - countries where marbles have a long tradition. And part of the fun is comparing marbles made in different countries during their heyday.
A Czech couple from Kutna Hora beat all the Easter stories and records this year about who made the biggest chocolate Easter egg or who decorated the best Easter birch tree. They announced to the press that they had a four legged chicken and it turned out the story was no hoax. Chickens with genetic defects of this kind usually die within a couple of hours but "Fast-feet" - as the chicken has been named - is thriving and has learnt to make good advantage of her two pairs of legs. She poses for reporters, gets around twice as fast as any of the other chickens - and one thing is for sure - she won't end up as Sunday lunch, because she has already become the family pet. What more could a future hen want?
Have you ever wondered about the truth of the Latin saying "Nomen Omen" - or one's name determines one's fate? Naturally, one is not inclined to believe these things, but how would you explain the fact that the chef at Czech government headquarters -who cooks for visiting royalty and prime ministers is called Nesnidal - or Mr. Didn't Have Breakfast - while the chef in Parliament - is called Nevecerel or Mr. Didn't Have Dinner? If you need more proof then the head of the Prague Botanical Gardens is called Vetvicka or Mr. Little Branch and a well known Czech gynaecologist has a funny - unmentionable name - that is also a slang word for the process of making babies. So if you really want to believe that your future is entirely in your hands I hope you have a completely nondescript, meaningless name.
Cellulite and thinning hair - two problems that make billions of crowns for cosmetics companies around the world. Now, a well known Czech beauty expert claims he has found a solution to the latter. He is advising men who have problems with thinning hair to try applying bulls' sperm to their scalp. He reportedly uses it on his own hair and claims that it works wonders. Now he is selling one dose for 180 crowns and knowing what people are like - he is sure to find a clientele. Question is what these guys' wives and girlfriends will think. So if your guy has a problem with his hair - I advise you to take an occasional peek into his bathroom.
Many Prague pedestrians crossing the road last week were in for a shock - the traditional green and red figures on the traffic lights -one standing the other walking - had been replaced with a one legged man, a lady in a dress and a hangman. They appeared in some 50 places around Prague and were the work of an unknown artist who the police would love to get their hands on.
And finally - how long does it take to build a house? Less than a day - if you have the right contacts. A team of builders set a new record last week when they put up a house in twenty one hours -working in three shifts. "We were dead beat at the end of the day but it was worth it" - one of them said. They have won a place in the Czech Book of Records but after this they plan to return to their normal pace - when a house takes about a month to build.