## Saturday, June 14, 2008

### How to play golf

Video 1: "On that evening, my father was strangely anxious." This video shouldn't be watched by readers below 18 years of age.

We just spent an afternoon in Prague by learning to play golf. There are so many types of clubs and it is so difficult to hit the ball, especially for your humble correspondent. ;-) Moreover, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle guarantees that the higher momentum the club has, the less accurately it strikes the ball. I won't bother you with details but one minor pedagogical point is perhaps worth mentioning.

As we learned, among dozens of other things, the right way to wave the club is described in 30 Cases of Major Zeman (1975), a very popular crime serial and one of the most expensive movie projects ever shot in the communist Czechoslovakia. (You may also check up the excellent movie theme song by Zdeněk Liška.)

This particular part (called "Water Well" (1978), one of the 30 parts of the soap opera) describes a very old mad father who decides to exterminate his family, cut all the trees in their garden, and burn his house. The events took place in 1969, after the occupation of Czechoslovakia. The son eventually survives and tells us about the scary story.

Needless to say, in a communist propaganda movie, a person who is as sick as the very old man had to be a bankrupt reactionary ex-capitalist who didn't like the fraternal help from our socialist brothers in August 1968. Major Zeman himself, the guy who investigates similar crimes, is an extremely positive hero of the movie, namely an agent of the Czechoslovak counterpart of KGB. ;-)

However, this part of the soap opera also showed that the post-1968 neo-stalinism, much like stalinism itself, has made the life of many families unlivable so I don't know whether the soap opera has made a good case for socialism. After the Velvet Revolution, the question whether this propagandistic but popular (and maybe even professional and artistically rich) soap opera should be aired again divided the Czech society.

In the horror video above, the method useful for playing golf begins at 1:11. ;-) The club moves as a pendulum and you should rely on the natural acceleration of the club rather than the strength of your muscles.

The Visitors

If you happen to be interested in additional soap operas from the communist Czechoslovakia, check e.g. The Visitors (1983); a video.

The CML/CBM computer (not to be confused with the Commodore Business Machines; the acronym stands for "The Central Brain of Mankind" - a typically socialist vision about the future internet's hierarchy haha) chooses 4 experts to travel from the year 2484, when a global catastrophe is imminent, back to the year 1984, when Adam Bernau, a 21st century genius, celebrates his 11th birthday and when a notebook with his secret formulae to transfer the continents is burned, together with their family's home.

The "Expedition Adam 84" uses a time machine and is supposed to save the notebook before it is burned - and to use the know-how and save the Earth in 2484 once they return to the future - but because of some glitches, they have to spend several weeks in 1984. Yes, the actress who is Adam Bernau's mother is Václav Havel's wife. All the music in this soap opera was composed by Karel Svoboda who shot himself in 2007.

#### 1 comment:

1. Thanks for the recommendations on Czech "serialy." I checked out the Studna clip and I'm happy I know Czech now. There are a few other cinematic highlights from the Czech Republic. Kurvahosigutentag is one of them. I think the Basnici series is decent, too.

Have you seen Marketa Lazerova? Not bad. I recently checked out Rok Dabla and was happy, though it wasn't what I expected.

What is your favorite film/tv series. Back when I lived in the Czech Republic, I watched Policajti z Predmesti like crazy, but it was only so-so.