In Magazine: why fining your superior may not be such a good idea; a baby palm cockatoo captures Czechs’ hearts, a Czech police officer makes international headlines by taking a musical break from his beat in the centre of Prague and a nativity scene in heaven and hell.
Passengers’ complaints about rude ticket inspectors usually fall on deaf ears, but a recent incident involving a member of the Liberec Transport Authority board has made waves. The high-placed city transport official was caught without a ticket on a tram in Liberec and apparently given hell by the ticket inspector who considered him a “daft punk” who was trying to get out of paying a fine. The man’s protests that he was on the executive board of the transport company, and owned a free pass which he had forgotten at home, fell on deaf ears and the inspector not only wrote out a fine but told his boss exactly what he thought of his appearance and others like him. The official, who said he went everywhere by car and had boarded the tram at the request of his three-year-old-son, was outraged by the lack of respect telling the media he would look into the behavior of ticket inspectors because it turned out people’s complaints were justified. The inspector, visibly cowed, said he regretted the mistake adding that he would never have expected someone on the city transport board to sport a punk hairdo and an earring.
Small breweries have produced limited series of specially-flavored brews for the Christmas season. They are usually low on alcohol with a taste of nuts, honey, almonds or rum. This year the Štramberk brewery has gone for something special producing a brew flavored like the town’s famous Štramberk ears – a local delicacy that has received an EU protection label. The brew tastes of ginger, cinnamon and aniseed and contains minute particles of gold dust.
A baby palm cockatoo –also known as the Goliath Cockatoo – born in Prague Zoo in October has become hugely popular despite its funny appearance. Described as possibly “the world’s least attractive bird” by the daily Mail, the scruffy-looking mite has won Czechs hearts and become a hit on social networks. Prague Zoo which boasted that the chick is the first of its kind born in Europe since 2010 is banking on its success and plans to put it on the zoo’s PR gifts such as coffee mugs and T-shirts.
A Czech policeman who took an impromptu musical break from his beat in the centre of Prague, treating passers-by to a rendition of The River Flows in You on a street piano has made headlines the world over. The video posted by a tourist with the caption “This is Prague, baby” has been viewed by millions of people and, while the officer who joined the force recently, was given a talking-to by his superior regarding his behaviour on duty, police president Martin Červíček recently praised him for doing more to boost the force’s image than he himself could have done. Nevertheless, the officer in question wants to remain anonymous and has made it clear will not be giving a repeat performance.
Over 100 nativity scenes are currently on display at a Christmas exhibition on the premises of the Czech Senate. Among the unique exhibits on display are a three-tier nativity scene depicting heaven, earth and hell. Made by woodcarver Bohumil Dušek it combines traditional nativity scene features with new elements – such as two angels playing tennis in heaven or a pub in hell where the dishonest pub owner is being roasted alive for his sins. The oldest exhibit is an ivory-carved nativity scene dating back to the late 18th century. The smallest nativity scenes – also on show – were placed in nutshells and dried poppy-seed heads. Nativity scenes are a big part of the Czech Christmas tradition and almost every family has a big or small one at home that they bring out at Christmas. Ethnographers believe that the Czech Republic has the highest number of nativity scenes per head in the world. The exhibition in the Senate – an annual event – is open until January 5th and there is no fee.
Electronic gifts top the ladder of things that Czechs want for Christmas, with notebooks, tablets and smart phones top of the list. According to the results of a survey just out women spend more money on gifts than men often exceeding the limit they have set themselves and start shopping for presents earlier than men 59 percent of whom leave it to the very last minute. Women also prefer real Christmas trees to fake ones and put a much greater emphasis on gift-wrapping and decorations. Not surprisingly the vast majority of men say they prefer to tackle the Christmas shopping with their wives or girlfriends and appreciate ideas of what to get for whom.