Photo: CTK

How tall is the tallest Czech? An ostrich collides with a car and comes out the winner! And, a police dummy called Krystof helps the inhabitants of Uhersky Brod. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

If you have problems deciphering the text on your mobile phone screen - then you may benefit from the latest Czech gadget on the mobile phone market - a mobile phone magnifying glass. Right now there are 12 types on the market which are attachable to 107 types of mobile phones. The idea has been patented and the head of Zoom Mobile Martin Novak says his company wouldn't be producing it were it not that his girlfriend is an optician and happened to remark one day how many people grumbled about the size of their mobile phone screens. "We launched a survey to test demand and the response was overwhelming - especially in the 40 to 60 age bracket. With this gadget people can opt for a tiny light mobile - and still get the letter size they want," he says.

His name is Tomas Pustina, he is 29 and he is the tallest Czech on record. With his height of 2 metres and 24 centimetres Tomas towers over most people in his vicinity. /The average height of men in the Czech Republic is 180cm, that of women is 168cm./ Tomas says that life with his measurements - a 37 cm long foot and 170 kilos in weight is not easy. He needs specially designed furniture, tailor made clothes, and shoes made to measure. He has not worn gloves since he was a kid because they just don't come in his size. Although he's 29 he still lives with his parents - not having found a girl he can see eye to eye with. Or rather because the Czech giant is reported to be shy. "He doesn't say much" his mother told the media, "but he does eat plenty - I serve him four helpings of everything and when he takes a drink - he downs two litres in one go!"

And on the subject of size - Czech orthopaedists report that the current sports footwear craze among young Czechs is giving them bigger feet. In the past 7 years alone the average foot size among the young has jumped by 3 sizes. Just seven years ago the average foot size for women was 38 - that for men 42. Women who tottered around on high heels in their teens can still fit into Cinderella sized shoes, but today's 13 year old girls are struggling into size 40 and over: seems like men will just have to re-think the concept of small feet being pretty.

Miroslav Chlud from the town of Vizovice has the biggest collection of old radios in the Czech Republic. The collection takes up several rooms in his home and the oldest radio in his collection dates back to 1928. "Restoring old radios to their former glory is not easy because spare parts are hard to find," Miroslav says. As a result only about a third of his radios are fully functional. The oldest are so precious that Miroslav only plays them on special occasions. As for new radios - well - you won't catch him listening to one of those. He points out that most of them are made of plastic which may be practical but it cannot compare with wood in terms of acoustics and resonance. There are some 350 old radio collectors in the Czech Republic. They swap spare parts and admire each others treasures at old-radio bazaars.

Mrs. Jana Benickova from Uhersky Brod has a daily morning ritual - she dresses a clothes dummy in police gear and sees him off to work - positioning him on the side of a busy road that leads past her house. Mrs. Benickova says her policeman works wonders when it comes to slowing down passing traffic. "Few drivers respect the 50 km speed limit in town -unless they see an officer nearby," she says. "When the real ones are around it's a blessing, but the local police force doesn't have enough men to send out - so it occurred to me to use a fake," Mrs. Jana says. Allegedly even her husband put his foot on the brake when he first saw the officer outside their house. It is not clear how the local police chief feels about this little initiative - but so far nobody's complained, so maybe the police appreciate some extra help on the side as well. As for Krystof - as the dummy officer has been nicknamed - he gets a clean shirt and tie every week and a great deal of attention from the local youngsters.

If you are a fan of womens' mud fights then you might enjoy a Hradec Kralove version of this entertainment. The local girls did not particularly like the idea of getting caked in mud but they were not averse to combat in a sweet smelling bubble bath. Maybe it's an idea that will catch on...

Photo: CTK
Visitors to the town of Olomouc witnessed the rare sight of sculptors hard at work on the town's main square. The locals are well acquainted with this annual event - a sculptors' workshop that takes place out in the open all week. Sculptors from several European countries get a piece of wood, instruments and a free rein to create whatever they like from it. The only condition is that the sculpture is at least 1metre 50 cm high. Some sculptors work on life-size statues. On most days they are surrounded by onlookers and there's a lot of interaction with the crowd, as people try to guess what the object taking shape is. At the end of the week the statues are auctioned off and the money is donated to a selected charity.

Photo: Police Ostrava
A runaway ostrich came out the winner after colliding with a car on a Czech street, police reported this week. The accident happened when the flightless fugitive escaped from its backyard pen and ran through a residential area in the eastern city of Ostrava. Police spokesman Milan Klezl said that the pet ostrich was spooked by a barking dog and a bicyclist before running into the street, against traffic. When the bird collided with a small car driven by a 28-year-old man, he said its talons scraped the fender, the left-front door and an outside mirror, causing about 3,000 crowns (133 dollars) in damage. Eventually the bird was caught by its owner. "The ostrich showed no signs of injury," Klezl said.