The New York Times just published an invitation to an unlikely tourist destination,
That's quite an unexpected promotion given the fact that only 1/40,000 of the world population - or 170,000 - live in Pilsen. And not even municipal patriots such as your humble correspondent would include the city among the three prettiest places in Czechia. ;-)
The NYT article mentions some of the unsurprising places to visit - the large gothic cathedral on the main square, our renaissance city hall, the third or fourth largest synagogue in the world, the Techmania science museum, a puppet museum, our Patton Memorial, and various breweries, restaurants, and hotels.
Of course, there are other things to visit, including a decent zoo with dinopark (a local Jurassic park where dinosaurs were resuscitated), a famous law school of the local university where gangsters' friends and relatives get a degree in a few months :-), an insufficient soccer stadium where the team became the winner of the top Czech league a week ago, an ice-hockey stadium where the team owned by Marty Straka won the presidential trophy a year ago, and Czechia's most famous prison where Havel has spent quite some time. Pilsen also has an interesting and nontrivial historical underground.
The city was established as an industrial town according to a modern, technologically up-to-date project, in 1295. ;-) There was a nearby village with a similar name centuries earlier, too. But you know, those events already took place some years ago so despite the constant "working character" of the city throughout the centuries, it has become "somewhat" historical, too. In 1295, our American friends were scalping each other and waiting to learn how to ride stolen horses from the Spaniards 200 years later. ;-)
Pilsen used to be very dirty - not only because of the Škoda Holding factory (amusingly called "Factories of V. I. Lenin" during communism) - but after the fall of communism, it has become much prettier. The facades of both historical buildings and the concrete blocks are just one major manifestation of the change. Much cleaner air is another. Lots of malls and effective (usually German-owned, such as the newly opened largest Hornbach in Czechia) large stores is a third example.
See Google images to check some random pictures from Pilsen.
Obama in Poland
Barack Obama is visiting Poland and he also met Václav Klaus. Well, Klaus is always ready to meet the people. Lech Walesa refused to meet Obama because of the latter man's ass-licking of Russia and the cancellation of the Czech-Polish U.S. missile defense system unit.
During the dinner last night, Obama compared the recent Arab "revolutions" with the fall of communism.
Of course, Czech President Václav Klaus behaved diplomatically and didn't scream at his American friend that such a comparison is insulting. But he still made his point, explaining to Obama that Northern Africa and the Middle East are not ready to the kind of changes that the Central and Eastern Europe underwent in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Obama replied to Klaus that Klaus is too pessimistic. Well, Klaus is primarily a realist but whether his prediction is a pessimistic or optimistic one could be a matter of perspective, too, I add.
Generally, the visit is meant to be just a symbolic gesture showing that Obama hasn't forgotten that there exists something like the former socialist Irope, or Yourope, or Herope or more likely Sherope, or what was the exact name of the continent next to Asia. ;-)
Czechia fifth most peaceful country in the world
Some people think that your humble correspondent is combative - just because he wants thousands of Shmoity crackpots and alarmist jerks to be shot into their heads. But according to an objective survey, they're as wrong as you can get.
Czechia is the fifth most peaceful country in the world. And it should clearly occupy the #1 spot because ahead of the Czech Republic, you find Iceland whose volcanoes are aggressively attacking the whole Europe; New Zealand with the dangerous kiwi bird that can peck meat out of your palm; Japan with its tsunami, not to speak about its harmless power plants that some people consider dangerous; and Denmark that has nearly caused the clash of civilizations with its nice pictures of Mohammed. ;-)
Iranian Fat Cats invent Internet
Comrade Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have achieved the same thing as Al Gore did years ago - they inventetd the Internet. They will build a totally new structure that will rival the global Internet so that they will be able to disconnect the dirty global Internet. However, unlike the global Internet, it will be totally halal. If you don't know what "halal" means, it's just like "kosher", except that aside from pigs, it also bans the Jews. They have also declared a "soft war" against the Western culture.
The Czech mole in space
The mole (krtek), a Czech astronaut, is finally in space where he's installing the AMS to detect antimatter in cosmic rays:
The astronaut is smiling but he's also asking: what the hell did grow out of my buttocks?
A week ago, Pope Benedict 2^4 called the international space station by phone. He is usually speaking to other Fat Cats in the heavens but the holy father decided to change the gears at least once.
He wanted to to know whether the Earth was really round. The mole astronaut told him that the AMS is supposed to be observing antimatter. Benedict didn't like it because if matter was created by God, antimatter had to be created by the Devil. It didn't help when they revealed that the gadget could also see the dark matter - because it's Lucifer's handiwork.