Magazine

18-03-2006

A Czech shoemaker has invented a unique shoe! The King of Cambodia sings an aria from the Bartered Bride in Czech, and you can launch your own one-man radio show even if you lack the finances. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

It is not often that a king breaks with protocol to sing an aria - but his majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia surprised the diplomatic corpus by breaking into song during a royal dinner held to mark half a century of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The king sang the best known aria from Bedrich Smetana's famous opera The Bartered Bride in Czech. Norodom Sihamoni is the only royal in the world who speaks fluent Czech, having lived in this country as a student between 1962 and 1975. He calls the Czech Republic his second home and is expected to pay a royal visit in the autumn.

 

Do you suffer from diabetes or some other medical condition that makes your feet swell? In that case shopping for shoes must be a bit of a nightmare. Thousands of people in the Czech Republic know exactly what it's like - but now there's light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of his career shoemaker Josef Hanak from Vyskov has produced a real treasure: the shoe that will mould itself around your foot comfortably no matter how swollen it may have got and that shrinks back to a much smaller size when the swelling's down. It's not clear whether he would have come up with the idea at all had his neighbour not constantly complained that she couldn't find any shoes to see her through the winter. Her ankles and calves swelled so much she was often forced to wear open summer shoes. Hanak set to work and produced a shoe that expands several sizes with the help of inserted zippers and laces. They will give you firm support no matter whether your ankle measures 23 or 45 centimetres on a given day. Hanak's "universal" shoe was tried and tested by chiropodists at the faculty hospital in Brno who had no end of praise for it and the shoemaker has now had it patented. To all accounts nothing like it has ever been produced anywhere else in the world. Here in the Czech Republic it is expected to go on sale in April - in a winter and all year round version. Well, it's not as pretty as Cinderella's glass slipper - but Hanak says it's the best shoe he ever made. And he's expecting it to make its mark in the world!

 

The youngest "reader" in the Czech Republic in twenty two months old Tomas Tomek who has just got into the Czech book of records as the youngest child in the country who knows the alphabet and is able to read simple words. The previous record was set by a two year old girl. Tom's parents say that he's been learning the alphabet of his own volition since he was a year and a half. "Whenever there was a newspaper or magazine lying around he'd point to letters and ask what they were", his mother said. Miroslav Marek, one of the authors of the Czech Book of Records, says Tomas is definitely exceptional. He's set a record in the Czech Republic, though it is hard to say how it compares to other states because different alphabets vary in their complexity.

 

You know what it's like - you need a pencil quickly and you can't find one. This can happen even if your flat is stuffed with finely sharpened pencils from top to bottom. Emanuel Petran from the town of Most has been collecting pencils for thirty years now and has 3, 333 pencils in his collection. They come in all shapes and sizes and some of them are a metre long. A special division of his collection is devoted to eye-liners and lip pencils. Although Emanuel himself occasionally needs to grab something to write with his precious collection is off limits - the pencils must remain pristine. Especially now that he's organizing his first public exhibition of pencils. Somehow though I can't believe his wife doesn't occasionally borrow an eye-liner or lip pencil when his back's turned. I mean what woman would resist a make-up collection right under her nose?

 

A brawl in the town of Ostrava last week ended in a rather drastic manner, with one of the guys involved biting the others' index finger off. The police are now searching for the sharp toothed culprit who may face several years in prison for the attack. The victim -a twenty year old man will have to get used to life with only nine fingers. So remember the next time you get mad at someone - don't point any accusing fingers.

 

People forget all kinds of things on the bus. A young man who found an abandoned package on his way to work was horrified to find that it contained what looked like a human skull. A trip to the nearest police station soon solved that little mystery. The police found that the skull was not a human skull at all but a classroom model ordered by one of the local schools. The firm's employee has been on her way to deliver it when in a fit of absentmindedness she had left it on the morning bus.

 

Venda Imrich leads two very different lives. In the mornings he's a salesman in the village of Zizalevec, in the afternoon he turns into a radio star. Due to a lack of finances he can't pay for transmitters but that hasn't stopped him from setting up his one-man radio show called Radio Millenium. He simply opens his windows wide and talks to his audience - switching smoothly from the role of DJ to newsreader. The feedback is instant - if people don't like his choice they just yell "give us something else Venda". The village has 120 inhabitants and Venda has no shortage of listeners - there's almost always an audience outside his window, especially on a nice warm day, and Venda gives them the benefit of his top ten, the latest village news and film tips. His most constant listener is his elderly mother who says that sometimes the whole house shakes and the windows on the ground floor rattle with whatever hit he's blaring out - but she's happy to let her son have his heart's desire. Besides, one tends to get a bit deaf in one's old age and that may not always be a bad thing...

18-03-2006