Saturday, July 16, 2005

eXile - Issue #218 - Nerf War and Real War: IRA vs. Al Qaeda - By Gary Brecher: "Ah, Semtex, a bus-bomber's best friend. The Czechs made thousands of tons of it back in the day. They were mighty proud, too -- the name 'Semtex' comes from a suburb of Prague. "

That's not true, is it?

Friday, July 15, 2005

This is just too good. I'm embarrassed to say I've been following this convoluted Valerie Plame story from the very beginning and I'm not about to stop now.

The latest scoop: Rove confirmed Plame's status to Novak after hearing about it from other journalists. Note that this certainly doesn't get anybody him off the hook. But it reminds me of the good old days in the newsroom at Prague Business Journal when we used to hear a rumor, call a several, er, high level sources to ask if they'd heard about the rumor, then sit on it for a day or two before calling several more high level sources to ask again if they'd heard the rumor. Since Prague is such a small town and all our sources talked to each other then naturally everybody had heard the rumor by that point and we could report - indeed, it would be irreponsible of us not to - the fact that this rumor was circulating, and indeed we'd heard it confirmed from several high level sources.

OK, OK, I'm exaggerating here. We never actually did that at PBJ, not to my knowledge at least. Honest to goodness, we didn't and wouldn't have. But we'd joke around about it, and it was well within the realm of the possible.

And then again, why didn't we? Cuz if Bob Novak can do it...!
The other day I caused a car accident. I approached a so-called "zebra crossing," the big black and white stripes, and stood at the side of the road, as you do, waiting for a chance to cross. A woman in a red car with the Oskar mobile phone logo on the side drew to a stop, as you do, to let me pass. The car behind, an old Skoda, her spun out and rammed into her rear, as you do. The woman yelled out her window, "Ty vole!" -- as you do. I crossed the street.

I waited around a bit, trying to look as though I was available to help, if necessary. Nobody was hurt. Even though I was in a hurry, I'd have certainly been willing to be a witness, if that was needed. Nobody said anything to me and it didn't look like I was needed, so I left.

Speaking of Oskar, one reader of this blog recently ran into me in a night out on the town and, as he works at Oskar, promised me one of those bad-ass red T-shirts that say "Oskar: Since 2000." These are going to be collectors' items, of course, since Oskar is being re-branded as Vodafone.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Czech wine imports grew 15.5% last year in volume terms. Wine consumption grew only 8%. In price terms, the value of imported wine grew 25%. This leads me to beleive that after EU accession, when tariffs on imported wine fell to zero, Czechs actually started spending more on better imported wine, rather than spending the same amount on better wine, or even less on better wine. How about that.