Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Czech papers awash in sex scandals.

First, Czech courts have ruled that there ain't nothing unseemly or "damaging" about hot models getting naked: Diana Kobzanova, Miss Czech Republic for 2001, was sued by the beauty pageant after pulling a Vanessa Williams, that is, after stripping for a porn mag. The organizers of the contest claim she's damaged the good name of the Miss contest (puh-leeze, what country do you think we're in?) and sued for a paltry CZK 750,000. Courts sided with the hottie, who prompted did a shot of slivovice.

Second, the choirmaster of the Bambini di Praga children's choir, Bohumil Kulinsky, has been charged with sexually abusing 49 girls over the course of 20 years. Exactly two of the girls reportedly "suffered a serious psychological damage." (What, the other 47 just giggled about it afterwards?) Somehow, while on tour with the choir, the creepy choirmaster lured the girls into the sauna and then groped and fondled them. He actually managed to have sex with two of them. The ages of the children in the choir range from 12 to 20, and although two of the girls (unclear if it's the same two) were over 15 at the time - that's the Czech age of consent for all you lily-white Americans out there - that doesn't seem to matter in this case; understandable, being a perverted choirmaster trumps the age-of-consert rule when the victim is a ward of the alleged perpetrator. Kulinsky, a conductor and choirmaster of some renown, has been called "ever theatrical but perfectly controlled" by The Los Angeles Times.

Finally, and most galling of all, is the case of Hamid Bin Abdul Sani al-Thani, a cousin of the Qatari Emir who was convicted in Czech court of sexually abusing young girls. (Sani's other girlfriends went out and found him underage whores.) Despite being found guilty, Sani was just released by the Czech Supreme Court at the request of Czech Justice Minister, Pavel Nemec - apparently for no other reason than the fact that he's a member of the Qatari ruling family.

Yes, ostensibly Sani could face a much longer sentence in his native land, where he's being extradicted. Yet considering his membership in the emirate's ruling family, and given that the convict himself was pressing to be extradicted, it's safe to say that's pretty unlikely. Reports in neither Radio Prague nor Czech Press Agency give any hint of the legal justification for the Supreme Court's decision (in most countries, courts are supposed to give reasons for their verdicts) although Radio Prague makes two imporant points: First, the case sets a precedent whereby the Justice Minister can overrule the Czech courts for political reasons, and second, according to some unnamed German lawyer, this sort of thing definitely isn't kosher in the EU.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Speaking of obscure phrases from the Vulgate (to be sure, there are few if any non-obscure phrases from the Vulgate), a very good friend (okay, it was my girlfriend) recently used the phrase "to give up the ghost," which means the same as "to kick the bucket" or "to buy the farm," that is, to die.

I had not hitherto heard that phrase but I was handy enough with my browser to look up the meaning and source, which is Acts 12:

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

She was quite impressed when I proceeded to quote the Latin:

Confestim autem percussit eum angelus Domini, eo quod non dedisset gloriam Deo; et consumptus a vermibus exspiravit.
Actually, I don't think she was impressed in the slightest. I, however, was really impressed.

Point is, next time somebody says "kicked the bucket" or "bought the farm" or "gave up the ghost," you should say, "You mean he took a ride on the vermibus!"

Monday, August 22, 2005

I heard a rumor that some friends of mine are tossing me a little going away party this Saturday from 8pm at Tulip Cafe. Since I lost my phone in May, and all my phone numbers with it, and haven't gotten out much since then, I figured I'd post it here in case the three or four readers of this blog hadn't already heard. There will a limited amount of free beer. You're invited if you've met me at least twice and on one of those occasions I was sober.