Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Václav Klaus' 75th birthday

On Sunday, I was honored to attend the magnificent birthday party of Václav Klaus, the second president of Czechia, which took place at the Štvanice [=Hunt or Exhaustive Effort] Island on the Moldau River in Prague. The island is named "Hunts" after dog hunts at animals (bears, bulls, deer, cows...) that have been organized on that island up to 1816 or so – this activity has been defunct for 200 years in this year. The ban of this entertainment was penned by Francis I of Austria in 1802 and after a delay, the island switched to more peaceful sports.

Lots of European politicians have sent him birthday wishes remotely (the video above was posted by AfD and is AfD+FPÖ-centered but if you're patient, Marine Le Pen sings) and lots of famous Czech politicians, economists, artists, and singers have attended. The party was located [bird's eye] in the real estate of the First Bohemian Lawn Tennis Club (founded 1893) which has owned it since 1901 but the current modern buildings were only opened in 1986.

Before the birthday party, there was a tennis tournament over there. The winner was Prof Václav Klaus, the current executive director of the First Bohemian Lawn Tennis Club. I think that as an athlete, he's still impressive although I do know a man of basically his age who claims to be vastly better at all these sports. ;-) Because of the lack of any hard evidence, I will omit any speculations on whether or not the other participants of the tournament have helped the director to win. ;-)

The list I will just reveal won't say much to the non-Czech readers but the Czech readers may want to know that the following politicians, ambassadors, economists, aides, singers, and actors have attended, among hundreds of others:
Martina Bacíková, Pavel Bém, Lucie Bílá, Jana Bobošíková, Lubomír Brabec, Aleš Brichta, Jiří Brodský, Vladimír Dlouhý, Rajko Doleček, Dominik Duka, Karel Dyba, Jindřich Forejt, Richard Genzer, Petr Hájek, Tomáš Haas, Ondřej Hejma, Ladislav Kerndl, Milan Knížák, Jaroslav Kubera, Ivan Langer, Marek Loužek, Miroslav Macek, Petr Mach, Jiří Rusnok, Michal Suchánek, Petr Štěpánek, Dušan Tříska, Emil Viklický, Jiří Weigl...
The well-known musicians (written in italics) were singing, too. This list is obviously biased in favor of the people whom I know, especially in person. All the folks had to wait in the line to wish Václav Klaus. The queue has existed for approximately 3 hours in total.

Klaus has received lots of gifts including a 60-kilogram pie resembling three books.

The participants were obviously not representative of the Czech political views. Critics have called the participants "polistopadová galerka" ([Post-November-1989] Criminal Underground or The Museum of Crime?) and asked whether Viktor Kožený, fugitive Czech living in the Bahamas (who earned a lot of money through his "Harvard Funds"), attended as well. Well, I think he couldn't but I guess he will send me some e-mail about cutting-edge technology again, anyway. Also, Mr Kožený, I expect some apology and an explanation why you didn't attend. ;-)

My estimate is that 6% of the participants could be classified as Klaus' critics – they would rate president Klaus with a negative sign. The calculation is analogous (and the result is the same) to Polchinski's calculation of the probability that the multiverse is physically wrong (search for 94 in that article). You need to halve 50% thrice. In the society, about 50% would be anti-Klaus but: at the party, basically only the companions were candidates for the negativeness (one factor of 1/2 or so), the anti-Klaus companions are underrepresented because of selection effects (another factor of 1/2), a half of those anti-Klaus would-be companions haven't come at all (the third factor of 1/2). ;-) I needed to make an estimate of the figure 6% because my companion could have probably been counted into this fringe group.

So the 94% of us didn't have a problem at all with the speeches saying that Václav Klaus was the most important Czech man from pretty much every respect etc. I write these things a bit jokingly because I am naturally against authorities but I do agree that he's amazing and his contributions to the life of Czechia have been profound.

Thank you again, Prof Klaus.

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