Archive for December, 2019

Report on the Obnoxious Persistence of Czech Culture in Prague

The aim of this report is to outline and call attention to the troubling occurrences of the unfortunate eruption of Czech culture in the capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague.

Shops and Establishments

This one is relatively amazing. Over the past twelve years, there has been an extremely aggressive campaign to completely squash Czech culture by saturating the city center with shops and restaurants that are either of completely differing culture or are completely void of flavor or culture. Waffle houses, rib, wings or burger joints, furniture shops for rich people, Moleskine shops, fried fish houses. And yet, despite this, there are still some Czech establishments poking through. Contributors to our research counted as many of four (4) Czech restaurants in the city center and were horrified to find that three of those didn’t even have a burger on the menu.

Our recommended action here is scorched earth. Find these places and bring them down.

The Gentrification Campaign of the Pub

Our campaign to remove every pub with even a drop of character that might not appeal to upper-class white people from New York has been enormously successful. In their wake, we have left a hundred pubs with brass and dark wood interiors, tables, and chairs; patrons enjoy sleek menus (a burger features on each one), Wi-Fi, and absolutely no discerning characteristics from one another.

Research shows that people could not tell one center pub from another in a blindfold test (blindfolds were removed when they were brought out of the toilets). Feedback shows that patrons like this sort of bland anonymity. The only problem in this area is the occasional classic Czech pub, but these exist mostly on the periphery of the city.

Recommendation: keep pounding away and do not relent.

Ježíšek

Attempts to bludgeon the Czech people to death with Santa Claus have been absolute. He is in Coca Cola ads on the square, he is winking at people with Rudolph-the-bloody-rednosed-bloody-rein-bloody-deer in Old Town, and he is in the chocolate ads in every British, German, and Dutch shop in the city. But still the Czechs maintain an annoying dedication to their Christmas spirit, Ježíšek (baby Jesus).

This is more remarkable when considering the fact that Jesus in baby form has little to no marketability power in the modern world. He can’t bring presents into a house, he isn’t comforting (no baby is), and his ability to grant wishes (Christmas or otherwise) seems mostly based on the proxy power of his father. More confusingly distressing is that, unlike Santa and Rudolph, Ježíšek has no real physical representation. So Czech people are forced to use their “imagination” to conjure the image of a small baby whose father grants them wishes and who can’t carry a gift without the help of an adult, but who somehow comes to their living rooms when kids ring a little bell. Insanity.

We may make some headway in a few years if we keep up deployment of Christmas movies to Netflix and to international theaters. If the occurrences of Santa can be raised (an estimated) 19%, then we may see a slow decline in Ježíšek’s popularity. Might consider cameoing both in the next Die Hard film.

Nota Bene: pass this by Bruce. Would he feel comfortable shooting a “baby Jesus” with a Glock 20?

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The Joy of Discomfort

On Friday we bought snacks at the train station, ate a fast food meal that I treat myself to whenever I travel, and got on the train. It left at 15:30 and by the time we were in the country the sky was darkening. An hour into our trip, the sky was pitch black.

Prague. Four hours of zooming through the country. Nipping a flask of whiskey. Four waters. Pistachios, lots of pistachios, more pistachios than a person should eat. Short spurts of reading punctuated by shifting and trying to make my well-padded ass more comfortable. Two long delays in the dark country somewhere in central Czech. Some complaining. Bratislava.   

I have a peculiar devotion to my weekend comfort zone. It’s decorated in televisions and lined with flannel cushions. My cat is there. Burke is there. A couch with a sign above it: Home is where the pants aren’t. In my comfort zone there is no place for stress or anxiety or the possibility of a curve ball or a chance I might not get what I want. There’s a strict No English Instruction rule. The Saturday a month I have to teach nearly kills me.  

But once I’m out of the comfort zone, I make the most of it. Whenever I complain that I have to go out on a weekend night when I’d far prefer to sit in my pjs and read, Burke always says: you’ll be happy once you’re there. And she’s always right. It’s the getting out of the comfort zone that seems to be the hardest part.

So this weekend I cast fate to the wind. I stayed out until 3 am on Friday, slept until 10:30 on Saturday, woke up and dined on bread and cheese. I did not comb my hair.   

We went to a Christmas market which was fully committed to food and hot alcohol drinks. There were virtually no kiosks selling the knick-knacks and tchotchkes rampant in Czechs markets. The scene was a classic. Cold air. Blue skies. An ancient town square. Little kiosks decked out in traditional and charming Christmas decorations.

My first drink is a hot mulled wine. Simple and delicious and on a relatively strict time schedule of tastiness. The very moment mulled wine passes from a steaming beverage into no-longer-hot it also passes into no-longer-good and you’re soon holding a cool-ish cup of grape juice and tart oranges.  

In any event, this is my rationale for pounding it.    

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