Anti-crisis measures have gone through the ceiling. Plastic surgeons are offering a scrap incentive for old body parts! A visit to the hospital turns nasty, and sharing a flat with several hundred poisonous bird spiders. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.
A visit to the hospital had serious consequences for a 60-year-old woman from the town of Zlín. Walking into the hospital she suddenly felt the ground beneath her give way and fell into a 4-meter-deep shaft, breaking both her legs in the process. Unbelievably, maintenance workers had decided to clean the iron grate which covered the shaft and simply took it away leaving only a thin pane of opaque glass covering the hole. Since the grate was just outside the hospital entrance doors it turned into a trap for anyone who wanted to walk in. A number of adults, including mothers with children, allegedly crossed it without mishap because they were not heavy enough – but the poor woman put her whole weight on it and the glass cracked under her. Police are still scratching their heads over this unbelievable stupidity and have filed charges of negligence leading to grievous bodily harm against the maintenance workers who clearly left their brains at home that day.
Its amazing how popular scrapping subsidies have suddenly become – car makers wants them, furniture makers have tabled their own scrap incentive proposal and the energy giant ČEZ would like to see financial incentives for scrapping old models of refrigerators and the like. But best of all, plastic surgeons have now come up with their own initiative – a scrap subsidy for old body parts. Under the motto “off with the old and on with the new” some clinics have introduced their own scrap incentives, slashing the price of certain services. Need a better filling – scarp the old and we’ll give you a bonus! Still carrying round extra fat despite the crisis – get a liposuction job and we’ll scrap the fat, clinics say urging the public to look on the brighter side of life despite the crisis. And as the first to introduce an anti-crisis package they are doing good business!
Most Czech towns have heraldic signs with lions, eagles or wild boar on them, however when it comes to live mascots there seems to be a preference for albino catfish. Not that there are many of those around. The Czech Republic is a country of many lakes and ponds – natural and man-made- and most of them are teeming with fish. When these lakes are netted in the autumn fishermen occasionally come across an albino catfish – a rare find not just because it is a genetic anomaly but because in the wild albinos are easily spotted by predators.
Villages that come across an albino catfish usually give it a name and return it to the pond once the netting is over. After that these mascots are netted, weighed and returned to the pond every year with annual reports on their progress. One Czech town has an albino catfish called Vendelín who has lived in the local lake for twenty years now and weighs and impressive 60 kilograms. Albinos are believed to bring good fortune and legend has it that anyone who kills such a mascot would die within the year – so most of them live a long and happy life if they have no natural predators close by. Recently the village of Hlušice – which has its own albino catfish – decided to donate it to the Plzen Zoo and give the public a chance to admire it all year round. The mascot’s name is Baby and when the locals found him in the village pond six years ago he measured just 15 centimetres – today he measures 1metre 20 and weighs a whopping ten kilos. He is the pride of the zoo’s aquarium and experts say he could live another 20 to 40 years. Handing him over wasn’t easy though – the entire village accompanied him to the zoo to make sure he was settled in well and to say goodbye. The way things look Plzen Zoo can look forward to a rise in the number of visitors – not just because the albino has attracted a lot of kids to the zoo but because the Hlušice villagers plan to check up on Baby regularly.
Hockey player Ivan Padělek has a passion – he collects pucks. Now you would think that one puck is pretty much like another – you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. So why have 20,000 of them? But Ivan knows better. Every puck is special – they come in various colours, sizes and materials but above all they are special because of a memorable game in which they played a key role. He has pucks used in world championships, Olympic games, pucks which brought gold medals and pucks which put hockey idols on the road to fame. The pride of his collection - is housed in a special room – the “puck room” of his home where the walls and ceiling are lined with a mosaic of 7,000 pucks. The place of each puck was carefully selected and Ivan says he knows the history of every puck on display –what game it was used in and how he managed to obtain it. He says that at first it was difficult to get players and referees to give him the pucks but eventually when news of his hobby spread they would save and bring back pucks from various games the world over for his collection. Naturally the puck with which the Czechs won the Olympics in Nagano in 1998 is part of it. And Ivan Padělek is as pleased with it as if it were a gold medal. Ten years ago he had the biggest puck collection in the world – now he is not so sure, but he says he definitely in the top three.
If you think Ivan’s obsession with pucks is something you might find it hard to accept, then think again. Rostislav Ujčík from southern Moravia collects exotic species. Right now he shares his two-room flat with his wife, hundreds of poisonous bird spiders, several boa constrictors and other dubious house pets.
Ujčík says his fascination with bird-spiders started years ago and has
only grown stronger with time. He now has about thirty bird spider species
and spends hours watching them hunting, mating and hatching. Well, I must
say I take my hat off to his wife. With hundreds of poisonous spiders and
several boa constrictors in a two room flat I don’t think I could get a
wink of sleep at night for fear of what might creep up on me.