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Greetings and welcome to the end of a grim week. Ready for a grim diary? Me either. I thought I'd kick off this week's Fuzzy Friday open thread with a few thoughts and photos from my week. I see small hopeful signs all over the place ...

Care to join me beyond the curiously symmetrical, orange hairball?

I didn't realize that the town of West, Texas was such a center of Czech immigration to the United States. If you haven't read northsylvania's diary ""Kolaches" I'd recommend it as a lovely tribute to West and a tasty pastry that made the town famous long before the explosions. I let loose my verbiage in the comments. I may be the closest thing to an expert on the Czech Republic in my own fuzzy head. The newspapers here in Prague are carrying stories about the explosions today with headlines like "Czech West nearly reduced to ash" there's a sweet proprietary sense to the news about all things Czech related from the USA. The Czech Ambassador to the US has been sent to the disaster by the Foreign Minister, Karel Schwarzenberg.

There was a movement to elect Madeline Albright to be President of the Czech Republic a few years ago. She was flattered but refused to run. Obama drew huge crowds during his visit. The jazz club, where Bill Clinton played his sax, still prominently displays his photo on a board out front. Despite a general opinion from an unscientific sampling the general opinion is that Americans are insane-- but a certain fondness shines through.

I may not be helping sway the opinion of American sanity but I do try to be helpful.

On Thursday I attended the start of a symbolic occupation of an art gallery downtown.



The gallery is named for one of my favorite Czech artists, Josef Mánes and it was originally owned by an artist's collective but it has since become an embarrassment. A series of incompetent or corrupt managers have managed to reduce Gallery Mánes to a seemingly never-ending construction site, with the running of the galley left to corporate entities that abandoned the long tradition of the gallery of promoting and displaying the works of local artists. And truly, there has been nothing worth seeing at the gallery for many years. I added my name to a petition to return the oversight of the gallery to a democratically elected board and kick out the political bribery team currently ensconced. The gallery is just one of the countless victims of the mismanagement of privatization after the Velvet Revolution. But the protest, despite the small crowd so early in the afternoon, has been drawing a fair amount of attention in the local media. When I went past this morning, a couple of hours before today's protest was due to start, things were a bit messy:

But I take this active involvement by local artists and students, and the media attention as positive signs. I'm hopeful that this movement will continue to grow. The crowd grew as the day went on. I'll have to look and see if I can't find some photos online from the evening.

Spring is a grand time for growth and renewal.

Speaking of renewal, earlier on Thursday I finally made good a promise to renew the lettering on my mother-in-law's family gravestone:


The work in progress, and then the final result seen from a distance. It's a very common style of Czech grave. Cremation is pretty much the norm so one plot will contain several urns. It took me almost two hours to restore a layer of enamel paint to these weather-beaten letters. Extra observant Kossarians will notice a cloud of dust in the second photo. Those of you able to decipher the pixelation on low-res photos may enjoy a bit of beefcake. Just a little something of added service from me. I was a bit worried about what I would say if someone confronted me while I was bent over the headstone painting it. Vandalism! But when two men pulled up in a white van and approached me I merely greeted them with my cheeriest, "dobrý den" (actually, the local Prague dialect version-- "dobrej den") and they returned my smile and greeting and proceeded past me to the row of graves behind (not accessible by van) where one of the men began resetting the blocks of the edges of the grave and patching a few joins. As I was finishing he lugged a power generator past me and asked if I or my work would be bothered if he raised some dust (so polite!) and I assured him that I was practically finished and besides, the wind would be blowing the dust away from me. I love little interactions like that.

I love all the seasons equally but Spring brings another brave attempt at gardening. In closing today I thought I'd share a few pictures taken moments ago on my balcony of my seedlings. I'll provide them with a bit of info that you can see if you "hover" or rollover the pictures. Marko, Marko, quite confarko, how does your garden grow?




More about my attempts at gardening as the weeks progress.

Thanks for stopping by to share a bit of my week.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Koláč Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Alright, Cookie Jar-- because it's just plain foolish to put gooey, flaky pastry in jars.

    This is an open thread. How was your week?

    Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

    by Marko the Werelynx on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:26:27 AM PDT

  •  My week? (5+ / 0-)

    I arrived at the school I teach at Tuesday to find that not only had I not uploaded my presentation for the day to the laptop I have to bring because my classrooms aren't "smart" but I didn't bring the disk it was on with me either. Oh, yes, and I'm from Boston even though I don't live there any more. Wonderful week.  I wish I was in Prague with you now.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:13:33 PM PDT

  •  For one (4+ / 0-)

    Americans really are insane. I agree with the Czech there. For two, my actual czech friend laughed her butt off over the "kolaches" (totally wrong spelling she said) but that says nothing since the laughs at everything if it is remotely possible. (Which is very nice!) So, good diary! You people over there had a horrible week indeed but it also is a little bit the fault of looking. The world is such a big place, there is always a bad thing to stare at somewhere. But there is also an entire, completely alright world to look at - especially now in Spring - and that helps.

    Gardening?? I am not so active. doing soing soing these people! my weekend will consist of snoring. Hm, hopefully.

    •  Spelling (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marsanges, SchuyH, Ojibwa, northsylvania

      It is funny to see things written using a slightly different alphabet. The approximations of pronunciation for letters and even sounds that don't exist in the English language are the best of course. It does work both ways ... does your Czech friend perhaps know what Czechs have taken to calling potato chips? They had a perfectly good, properly Czech name that is only rarely used these days, bramborové lupínky. Now they're mostly just called "čipsy" from the use of the American English word "chips" on packaging. The cute part is that people took the already plural word "chips" and put the Czech plural ending on it (chipsy). Double pluralization! Brilliant, eh?

      Poor "kolaches" could be a double plural too. "koláče" is plural but I suspect they've maintained the 'ch' as in 'cheese' sound of their 'ch' substituting for the 'c' with a hook. If they had the 'ch' sounding like a Czech 'ch' which is more like the 'ch' in 'chutzpah' or 'loch' they wouldn't need the 'e' ... blah, blah? Too boring? Oh, how I do go on about languages-- a veritable cesspool of information I am ...

      I like to think that I keep my view of the world broad enough that I cannot focus on the negative things ... I'm not terribly successful at maintaining this viewpoint but when I'm feeling down I try to make the effort to find something positive to include in the big picture. Or I may just be simple-minded and distractible.

      Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

      by Marko the Werelynx on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:24:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you. (4+ / 0-)

        I am so totally alien to czech language but now I can show off again to her :) čipsy! Staple food. Oh well! You have a good weekend :) You are in Czechia I gather. Hope its warming up there too! Still snow on the hills? What a cold spring it has been. Here down by the North Sea frost is long gone but it will and will not get really warm. No beach time yet! You stay snug and warm :)

        •  A wee bit chilly this evening (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SchuyH, Ojibwa

          Rain is pouring down on Prague tonight. Supposed to warm up again during next week-- nobody is threatening frost, yet. Last I checked the hills were still snowy but it has been a couple of weeks since I've been out of the cozy middle of the Czech Republic.

          North Sea you say? Whereabouts are you? I dipped myself into that body of water once or twice. I seem to remember a beach near Hamburg where the tides were amazing ...

          Thanks for the snuggly wishes. I'll probably tuck myself into a nice warm bed for a few hours already; 'tis nearly midnight here. Been a fairly long week and I've got some web design work to get done over the weekend. I'll be swinging through Daily Kos to check on things from time to time. You too be sure and have a great weekend!

          Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

          by Marko the Werelynx on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:55:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's a Powwow Weekend! (2+ / 0-)

    The drums are doing their thing and the powwow season on the Northern Plains has started once again. And, I have a campsite with WIFI.

    On another note, I'm aghast at the geographic ignorance shown by American politicians and the American media.

    •  I'm sure I won't need to remind you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa, northsylvania

      to have a great weekend. Sounds amazing-- and like something I'd love to experience someday.

      Am I right in looking eagerly forward to some fantastic Ojibwa photos of the powwow?

      I'd thought that geographical ignorance was just another example of American Exceptionalism. I vaguely misremember statistics from my youth claiming that over 70% of American schoolchildren couldn't find the U.S. on a map of the world. What brought up your comment about the unsurprising ignorance of people in politics and the media? My sources of info tend to steer away from American sources these days but I do indulge occasionally.

      Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

      by Marko the Werelynx on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:06:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One of my friends (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa, Marko the Werelynx

      writes a column for the Fort Worth (TX) paper. He was outraged when someone in comments thought Czechs came from Chechnya. Geography is not a strong point in the US. Comes from living on a continent, in a country whose schools have an emphasis on teaching to the test, I guess.

      You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

      by northsylvania on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 12:48:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of my friends, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania

        whom I'll hopefully be joining for a beer tomorrow night, posted on Facebook about the geographical ignorance of US politicians and tweeters. As a reply, one of his friends posted a link to a photo album he's been adding to over the years of mislabeled maps and other graphic gaffes from US news programs. Some of it was pretty funny. The one of the Czech Republic labeled as "Switzerland" drew several comments lauding our yodeling skills and our enviable trade in cuckoo clocks and chocolate.

        Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

        by Marko the Werelynx on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:24:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bummer week (2+ / 0-)

    I watched the grim six o'clock briefing. To sum up: "We Failed. There's a lunatic terrorist loose. Be vigilant." Uh, o.k. Only minutes later an ordinary but extraordinary  citizen of Watertown found the second suspect. & the people of Watertown cheered  their police, a lesson for those at a safe distance expressing ignorant, belligerent "patriotism,"

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:21:04 PM PDT

    •  As I was going to bed last night (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, DJ Rix

      I dropped in on one of those one line diaries that featured a link to a live news feed. It was hard to stop watching and just finally go to bed.

      I'm looking forward to reading the story of this event in a few days when all the details have been sifted and pondered properly. Meantime I may just have to hop off and watch Rachel Maddow's show from last night. She's one of my last remaining sources of television news-- perhaps the only, if you don't count Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

      Thanks for stopping by. It was nice to wake up to your friendly moniker.

      Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

      by Marko the Werelynx on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:50:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well done, you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marko the Werelynx
    I added my name to a petition to return the oversight of the gallery to a democratically elected board and kick out the political bribery team currently ensconced. The gallery is just one of the countless victims of the mismanagement of privatization after the Velvet Revolution. But the protest, despite the small crowd so early in the afternoon, has been drawing a fair amount of attention in the local media.
    ...and thanks muchly for the shout out.

    You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

    by northsylvania on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 12:42:39 PM PDT

    •  Nice to see you again! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania

      I was just over in your diary posting yet another long reply to one of your replies.

      The protest picked up a bit of steam in the evenings and the event was attended by some pretty good crowds over the course of the two days. Here's a link to a Tumblr page with lots of photos and commentary (in Czech).

      Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

      by Marko the Werelynx on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:03:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, you're being stalked now, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marko the Werelynx

        since you post pictures. It's better than an afternoon with Google street view, which admittedly has been done.
        Like the last one on Mánes umělcům of the guys raising the fist. Nice photo.

        You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

        by northsylvania on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:16:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps I should have added a disclaimer (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northsylvania

          -- those aren't my photos on Tumblr. They might be the work of Hynek Alt who was one of several people skulking around with cameras and I don't see him in any of those shots. I think I might be seen-- barely seen, I think that's my hair just to the left of the guy without much hair in the second photo.

          The photos that I use in my diaries are my own though.

          I've been known to indulge in Google street view occasionally. In fact, one of the two times I really did some exploring I was wandering through a neighborhood very close to that television tower we were discussing in your diary. I was looking for landmarks to help me find my way to an applied arts school. For a few weeks I was escorting the daughter of some friends of ours to drawing lessons in preparation for entrance exams to that school. I really should go back sometime and just sit in on a life drawing class and sip wine with the professor. I haven't done any life drawing in too many years.

          Now that the weather has warmed up again I'd much rather be outside sketching instead of doing graphic design work and staring at this monitor. Here's a pen and ink sketch of Prague Castle (mostly St. Vitus cathedral) before I vanish from the internets for a few hours:

          Saving the elusive werelynx though swag.

          by Marko the Werelynx on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:11:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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