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Perhaps a bit more of a personal diary this week although--

The usual disclaimers apply. This is a community open thread diary. It's being posted to the Street Prophets group but we've no membership requirements in the comments. All are welcome to join in, relax, have a cookie. You don't have to react to my blithering; it's an open thread. You can decorate the comments in your own style.
Those of you looking for political news from this part of the world will probably be disappointed. The two big winners of the parliamentary elections last month are sitting down to talks to decide how the ministry posts will be divided. Andřej Babiš, leader of the second place ANO 2011 party, has told the leader of the leading party ČSSD, Sobotka that unless ANO gets the post of Finance Minister Sobotka will have to find someone else to join his coalition. Sobotka had originally proposed that the Prime, Finance and Interior Ministers should all be from one party but he remains optimistic that negotiations will not dissolve into a battle of personalities.

And that's about it from this end. But beyond the elegantly whorled ginger hairball I've got a few photos to share and a bit of nearly shameless self-promotion.

Shall we get the self-promotion out of the way first? I did manage to miss the latest Kos Katalogue bloggathon. I've been saying that I need to check the group page more often. Living several time-zones removed from most of you I'm sort of the stubby-tailed end to most things around Daily Kos. So here's a little stubby-tailed addition to what you might have seen of my work on The Kos Katalogue Mothership:

This is a richly detailed brush and ink drawing with layers of grey tones added in a painterly fashion using Photoshop-- the original is approximately 11" by 16" and I will be having archival quality full-sized prints made of it. They'll be signed and I suspect I'll be able to make them available for about $50. A message to me via kosmail or a note in the comments is enough to reserve one or multiple prints.

Alternately, you could head over to my on-demand printing store and look for Meg's smiling face on a wide variety of swag.

Oof, are you still with me?

How about a few photos as a meager reward for sitting through my sales pitch...

The dominant feature of Prague's eastern skyline is the still controversial Television Tower; voted #4 in CNN's 2012 list of ugliest structures in the world
In 2000 the artist David Černy installed 10 huge statues of babies, in black plastic, crawling all over the tower. The immense popularity of the installation brought the babies back permanently the following year. After my haircut on Wednesday I walked past the tower on my way home and took a couple of pictures. I remember telling someone on Daily Kos about the babies and their disturbing faces. From the ground it's not easy to see the faces of the babies clearly but I found one and zoomed in for a closer look:

Yeah, most people say,"How cute, and silly!"

Creepy, although it should be obvious at this point that I rather enjoy creepy.

Today I got out and about again to help a friend of mine buy phone and internet service. After our errand we looked for a place for dinner and beer in the area and discovered that practically all of our old haunts had closed and we wandered for quite awhile. It was a dry pub crawl. We passed the memorial to the student protests and the Velvet Revolution. The anniversary was Sunday the 17th and there were still thousands of candles covering the ground along with wreaths, flowers and photographs:
We crossed the river at the end of Narodní street where we saw two police officers catching wildly flapping swans with their hands and carrying them from one side of the bridge over to near their van parked on the other side.

We didn't know what had happened. Had the swans been injured in some way? Were they just belligerently blocking traffic? The officer on the left had such confident control over his swan that he turned to touch the beak and neck of the juvenile swan held by the other officer. Perhaps examining it for injuries?

Eventually we found a place that met all of our criteria: good cheap beer, reasonably priced Czech food and a not overly smoke filled dining area. One sign that we'd found the right place was not being instantly handed an English/German menu. We'd stumbled upon the sort of pub where the locals go after work for a couple of beers before they head home to face the family. It was the sort of pub where a pack of twelve young students might just wander in on a Friday night hoping to find a table. The sort of pub where you find men sitting by themselves reading newspapers at tables around the bar and middle-aged women having a beer with an old friend in the dining area in the back.

And the food was good.

We decided we'd be back. We also decided that one day, perhaps in the Spring when the weather was warmer, we'd make a day of wandering around the downtown taking notes and making maps of new haunts to replace our lost ones.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cookie Jar (9+ / 0-)

    I've got some scanning to do tonight so I'll be up for a little while yet. I'll add my usual note to point out that I don't disown my diaries mere minutes after I post them. As long as you can post a comment in a Marko diary I think you should feel free to do so.

    I'll be by later to read and rec it all. All next week if needed. Feel free to promote your own projects and post links, photos, videos-- whatever you feel should be covered by the "open" of open thread.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  •  Thanks, Marko. (7+ / 0-)

    For taking me through a slice of Prague. I could taste the beer.

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:18:43 PM PST

  •  Working on Jewelry (7+ / 0-)

    I'm working on a new line of jewelry with Pixie's help (such as it is). I was asked to try my hand at Steampunk. So far I have two one-of-a-kind necklaces called Clocks and Victorian Rose to sell.

    Steampunk Clocks photo SteampunkClock_zps64bdbc0e.jpg

    Steampunk Victorian Rose photo SteampunkVictorianRose_zps92b2b5ed.jpg

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:19:12 PM PST

  •  good so far. (7+ / 0-)

    I was in that habit myself (sitting around in places, reading the newspaper). unfortunate that I´m now living where they dont have such places. They are not so civil here, where the Rhine ends. Over in Belgium they are, but thats there and not here. I miss that! I also would have been one of the twelve. But we´d have gone back to work after a 1-2 beers as often as not. I miss the university where, well the visiting prof came down into the cellar - they were from the Ukraine .. well, you know how that ends. I have seen traveling scientists from all over the world now and the ones I found most appealing in this same sense (mixing work and life into one indigestible bramble) were the Koreans, of all people. Not that that means much. Catering to tourism is simply a sham. Someone gave me a present, a soviet style Mütze ear flaps and all with extra large red star, hammer and sickle, and a little strip inside, "made in Czech Republic". I like the intent (goading me to shock my company by wearing it to work) but I dislike the thing itself, cheap trash made ina convenient cheap country to sell formerly hated, now completely emptified signage (not even symbols anymore) to completely clueless tourists, a mutually useless transaction just to make them leave some more money in place, where it then flows to god knows who, profiteers that have no more to do with the place than the tourists themselves. Better stay at home and spend the money at the fish-frier at the street corner.

    people say that Prague is beautiful. I hope it still is! weathermaps say that it has snowed there (somewhere there) already, maybe in the hills. I hope you don t freeze. Hate the cold.

    •  It was nice (5+ / 0-)

      being the only English speaking people in a pub full of people. Not a difficult feat but still a rare find in that area.

      The group of students were fun, apparently most of the class out celebrating the end of a successful week of higher education. Most of the tables in the back were small or decorated with signs reserving them for people not due for hours. The group had nearly given up when, at my suggestion, they decided to squeeze into the large table where we were just standing up to leave.

      I miss my time at the university here too. We had an occasional professor or two who would join us for lunch between classes at the pub down the street.

      Yeah, the pseudo-Soviet garbage is overflowing the crappy little stalls and hole-in-the-wall shops downtown. The tourists must be buying it or it wouldn't still be everywhere.

      Earlier in my wanderings today I went across Charles Bridge, one of Prague's most famous landmarks. The bridge is lined with statues and one of them is of Saint John of Nepomuk who was hurled into the river from the bridge for refusing to divulge to the king, the queen's confession. At the base of Saint John's statue there are two brass plaques that illustrate the story of his martyrdom. If you crossed the bridge back before the revolution, when there were far fewer tourists, you might notice a tiny bright spot on one of the plaques. That plaque shows the queen seated in the foreground with her back to you, flanked by guardsmen. She's watching Saint John being thrown from the bridge in the distance. People would touch the tiny figure of the upside-down saint falling from the bridge-- for luck, to honor him. Today I paused to watch the tourists lining up to take photos of each other as they touched the plaque. Every damn one of the clueless twits was polishing the queen's ass.

      Prague is indeed beautiful-- and ugly, and all the things an old city can be. We got our first sprinkling of snow last week on Friday but it had all melted well before noon. Up in the hills and mountains, out in the country, they've gotten a bit more snow and the higher peaks seem to be holding on to it.  

  •  At 709 ft the Žižkov Television Tower (3+ / 0-)

    is about 79 ft. taller than the STL Gateway Arch, so I have a frame of reference.

    I love the babies on it. It's distinctive. Unique.

    I'd enjoy an architectural tour of Prague, and or the Prague Metro and Tram system. I could do spend hours looking at skylines and buildings.

    "this house believes in skyscrapers"

    by anodnhajo on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:17:07 PM PST

    •  It is an interesting structure, that's for sure. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The TV Tower is in a neighborhood of low buildings built in an era when faces and decorative whorls framed windows and peeked down at you from the eaves.

      Construction was started years before the revolution and completed years after the revolution. Many people hate it with the same passion they hate communism. In a way, I suppose, it is a bit like a final middle finger being thrust up at Prague by the despots.

      I don't think I've been up in the tower since the first installment of "Babies" in 2000.

      And here's a link to the English version of David Černy's website.

  •  One of the things I miss most about the CZ, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marko the Werelynx

    certainly within the "top 5 things," is the ability to go into a good pub after work and get a meal and a few beers for the price of an hour or two's worth of wages. It means that people of all incomes can socialize regularly, and do it without the guilt and stress of burning through your finances.

    I actually met up with a Czech buddy of mine just the other night here in MTL. Good times, good beer (small brewery). I wish I could do it more often, but I just can't justify spending half the day's earnings on this on a weekly - much less daily - basis. And that's a big skoda. Stress-free, regular socializing does a body and mind good.

    I'm curious about the place you found across from narodni. I'm going to try a couple guesses at it, in a bit.

    •  oh, and we didnt even order food! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marko the Werelynx

      Which would have done serious damage to the bill. Not even "neco k piti," which is what I typically would've ordered in Prague in the same circumstances (weekday night with a mate). You know the Big Mac Index? I had a Hermelin Index, which also measured quality in addition to purchasing power across pubs.  

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