Sunday, April 26, 2020

75th Anniversary of Brno Liberation

Brno's Red Army Monumnet 
Today is the 75th anniversary of Brno's liberation from Nazi Germany.  The Soviet Red Army, under the leadership of Marshal Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky, successfully liberated the city towards the end of the war.

Malinovsky Square is named after him and there's a memorial near the Mahen Theatre.

The Bratislava-Brno Offensive began on 25 March with the goal of taking Bratislava and Brno.  The 2nd Ukrainian Front, along with troops from the Royal Romanian Army, destroyed German divisions and help reunify Czechoslovakia which had been split by the Germans into the the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and a Slovak puppet state.

Brno was officially liberated on 26 April 1945.  I'm not positive but I think the fighting here lasted about two weeks.  Here's a 17-minute video I found out on YouTube.  It's in Czech, without any English subtitles, filmed by a Soviet cameraman.  


Sunday, April 12, 2020

New Brno Vending Machines

There are some new vending machines that have popped up across Brno a couple of weeks ago.  The machines provide masks, disinfecting gel, and gloves.

Very cool idea but I think the execution could have been better.

The vending machines only take bills and coins.  Considering the virus I don't understand why you can't pay by debit card or contactless.  But at least they are stocked with face masks and hand sanitiser.  

Thursday, April 9, 2020

My Exams Are Cancelled

I'm not happy.

I was scheduled to take my Czech citizenship exam and B1 level language test on 25 April.  

I found out today that due to COVID-19, and the State of Emergency, that my exams are cancelled.  Hopefully I'll find out soon when my new test date is.  I guess on the bright side that I have more time to prepare.

Update:  Now really not happy.  My exams have been rescheduled for December.

Update:  The December exams were cancelled too.  Now waiting for a date in 2021.

Update:  My new exam date is 10.4.2021.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Health Insurance

One of the things that Europeans don't understand is that most Americans are just one major illness away from bankruptcy.  You can work your entire life and end up losing everything due to crushing medical bills.  

If you lose your job then you lose your health coverage.  If you don't have a job, which offers health insurance, then you don't have benefits which means you don't go to the doctor because you can't afford it.  It's a horrible system.

One of the best things that the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, did was prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.  Here's how it used to work until recently...

Let's say you work for a company and while there you get cancer.  Even if you beat the cancer then you now have a pre-existing condition.  This means that you basically become stuck working for your company.  You can't really take a job anywhere else because when it's time to get health insurance with your new company, the insurance company can deny you coverage because of the preexisting condition.  Basically you became an indentured servant because you couldn't change up your employment.  It's not just cancer, it applies to everything...diabetes, HIV, asthma, cataracts, high blood pressure, heart disease, pregnancy.

It's absolutely unforgivable that Republican politicians want to get rid of the ACA.  If that happens, then the pre-existing condition problem will return.  How many Americans could be denied health coverage once COVID-19 becomes a preexisting condition?

Here are the number of people who have lost their health coverage over the past two weeks due to losing their job.

Czech Republic - 0

Austria - 0

Belgium - 0

Denmark - 0

Finland - 0

France - 0

Germany - 0

Greece - 0

Hungary - 0

Iceland - 0

Ireland - 0

Italy - 0

Netherlands - 0

Norway - 0

Portugal - 0

Slovakia - 0

Spain - 0

Sweden - 0

Switzerland - 0

United Kingdom - 0

United States - 3,500,000

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Virtual Pub Night

My mates and I have a lad's night at the pub every four to six weeks.  Obviously that's not possible during the state of emergency and with the country on lockdown.  So last night we had a virtual pub night.  

Not quite the same thing as actually being together but not as a work around.  It was great to catch up with everyone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

100 Year Old Flag

The Czech flag just celebrated its centenary.  It was unveiled on 30 March 1920 as the flag of Czechoslovakia.  After the Velvet Divorce the Czechs kept their flag while Slovakia adopted a new one.

Over here you see Czech, and EU, flags at all government buildings.  It's not uncommon for people to display Czech flags on certain public holidays.  However, it won't be on every building and it won't be displayed the rest of the year.  It's pretty much the same in other European countries as well.

By contrast in the USA, it's not uncommon for people for people to fly the flag often.  Sure it's more prominent on the 4th of July, President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Veteran's Day.  But you'll see people flying the flag almost year round.

I don't think it's a matter of Europeans not being as proud of their flags as Americans are of our flag.  I think that we Americans tend to go overboard.  If it's not a proper flag, you still see the image of the American flag everywhere in the USA.  Hats, clothing, drink coozies, the list goes on and on.  

Sure you can buy a Czech flag baseball cap in Prague at a tourist shop.  But only a tourist would wear it.  You'll never find a someone in Czechland wearing a Czech flag bikini whereas in the USA it wouldn't surprise you.  It would be tacky but that's a different story.