Saturday, June 14, 2003

Meanwhile, Iranian Girl keeps posting about the protests in Iran. She's already calling it "the summer of victory."

Now I'm so much excited that I can't sleep & I'm just thinking about future that is not that much vague anymore, some bright points are seen. If things go on like this & these demonstrations continue just for one other week I bet that there'll be no need even to others' support... This summer will be the last time that we have Islamic republic & hateful mullahs in our country...Yeah, this summer will be the season of Iranians' victory; A hot but cool summer...
She's hopeful, to say the least: "You know when a government start shooting to people & killing them there is no hope for them to survive anymore." Try explaining that to the Chinese.

Click here and here for nasty pictures of pro-government thugs' handiwork.
Reuters reports exit polls show an 81% (!) "yes" vote. So I was almost spot-on with my prediction of the outcome (75-80%), if not on the turnout, which I guessed would be at least 65% (in fact it was only 57%).
Hats off to Doug for translating the front-page "Ano" editorial from Mlada fronta Dnes.

Petr from Daily Czech, you da man!

Since the Daily Czech's archiving function was messed up, I'm just going to print the entire post here:

Scott tells a restaurant co-owner tale about how some people are mean and what is involved when you own a restaurant. Come to TULIP CAFE to cheer him up and don't leave without paying. I have a suggestion: let us all visit this place every day for the next ten days. Each time leave at least 20 Kc tip in a jar on the bar so that he can have the stolen money (well, not exactly, you gotta read it yourself) in no time.

Friday, June 13, 2003

This is an excellent site I came across recently while researching an article about the European Union constitution. It's an online, hyper-linked encyclopedia of every euro-term imaginable. I had no idea, for instance, that the European Council, the Council of Europe, and the Council of Ministers were all different entities. Man, what a mess.
Uncle Dan's photos of the day: Bush and poppy on Segways. Bush falling off Segway.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Statements like this (from UPI's chief European correspondent) make me feel better about myself as a journalist:

Some commentators have likened the work of the body to the Philadelphia Convention that gave birth to the modern-day United States at the tail end of the 19th century.
Funny, I thought the United States was a bit older than that.
Gotta say I'm pretty chuffed about the slug my editor at Slate gave today's press review: "Will a heat wave keep the Czech Republic out of the European Union?"

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Just noticed that Slovnik.cz, the best (and only, I think) online Czech-English dictionary, has revamped its site and added German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and (!) Latin.
I realize I should probably blog more about Tulip Cafe, since there are so many weird stories that come along with owning a restaurant. Like today, for instance, my partner Luboš and I went to Makro, which is the big wholesale supply store for restaurants and businesses in the Czech Republic, to finally buy some barstools. We got five, if you're interested; I ate lunch sitting right up at the bar today for the first time, and man oh man was it great. Anyway....

In the store, Luboš, who's the manager of the joint, received a series of phone calls. Some guy had called him earlier to reserve the restaurant for 30 people, which is not so unusual. Luboš told him he woudln't be there until the late afternoon and to stop by then, and they'd arrange it. Around noon, while me and Luboš were at the store, the guy showed up at Tulip. The waitress on duty called Luboš on her mobile phone and passed the phone to the stranger. Apparently the stranger was asking for some sort of commission, or up-front fee for bringing customers into the restaurant. Needless to say this IS unusual -- though not totally unheard of -- and certainly not financially interesting for us. Luboš told him to forget about it, and stop by later to discuss whatever crazy scheme he had in mind.

A bit later Luboš received another phone call from Tomáš, the assistant manager, who'd just arrived at the café, asking what the strange package and the invoice was. Luboš said what are you talking about.

Here's what happened: Apparently there's a pretty common scam in Prague, where strange people walk into a bar or restaurant with a package and an invoice for a handy but reasonable sum. They get the name of the odpovìdní vedoucí ("responsible supervisor") from the front door, which is posted there by law, and ask for him. When the manager's not there, the guy shows up with a box and explains that he's spoken to Mr. Manager about this delivery for X amount. Sounds reasonable enough, since there are always delivery people coming in and out of restaurants, so the hapless waiter or waitress gives him the cash, and when the manager comes, he or she finds a box filled with dog biscuits or something.

Our waitress is not quite that hapless, but -- apparently after the guy got off the phone with Luboš (when Luboš basically told him to piss off) he explained to the waitress that Luboš had indeed approved whatever it was he was asking for. And so she gave him Kè 3,000 (about $125, not an insignificant amount for us) and the guy left us a box filled with empty jars.

Tomaš called the cops, and put the mobile phone in a plastic baggie to be tested for fingerprints. Needless to say, the waitress is in the doghouse.

But hey, we finally got some barstools.
Emcee Will's Picture of the Day. The Neiman Marcus TOTALLY strapless bra. Frankly, I just don't understand. Aren't there some basic, unyielding laws of physics?

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

The Daily Telegraph wrote this back in February, but it pretty much sums up the prevailing euro-skeptic sentiment in Great Britain right now:

For a decade or more, the European debate has been punctuated by cries of "Wolf! Wolf!"; now the slavering beast is truly upon us, its yellow eyes narrowed, its muscles bunched for the pounce.”

Monday, June 09, 2003

My new, utterly baseless prediction on this weekend's Czech EU referendum: It will not, in fact, be a nailbiter as NicMoc foresees, among others. The turnout will be at least 65%, and the "yes" vote will be 75-80%. (I bet a beer with Rob McLean of Czech and Slovak Construction Journal on this yesterday. He says 55% turnout, 70% yes.)

Place your bets in the comments section.
Sorry if you've come to this site and been disappointed by the light posting! I'm busy busy. But I will soon tell you my own little story of public nudity. In the meantime, amuse yourself this Canadian radio piece from December, including a soundbite from your truly about the Prague film industry and the cozy, "incestuous" nature of Czech society in general. (Drag the first red-brown folder on the left into one of the blue folders below it. Then hit the play button, and a Real Audio player should pop up with the item.) Courtesy of Ross Crockford.