Sunday, March 27, 2022

Czech Police

Policie České republiky is Czechland's national law enforcement agency.  It was established in 1991 and it falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior.  PČR has the task of protecting the safety of people, property, and public order.  

PČR is the state police and it's different from obecní policie or městská policie, the municipal or city police. Municipal police supervises public order and road safety while only having jurisdiction over misdemeanours.  The state police is responsible for criminal investigations.  Municipal police can't investigate crimes.  The municipal police secure suspects on the scene or take suspects to the nearest state police station where they hand the case to the state police for investigation.

The state police cooperate with intelligence agencies like BIS or ÚZSI on specific crimes such as terrorism.

All police officers in Czechland are armed.  Municipal police officers have civilian status so they all need to obtain the D category gun license in order to openly carry their weapon.

The motto is pomáhat a chránit "to help and to protect".  Occasionally, the police even have to help Santa deliver Christmas presents.

Back in the days of communism there was the Sbor národní bezpečnosti (SNB), the National Security Corps, which was the national police in Czechoslovakia from 1945 to 1991.  In Slovakia it was the ZNB.

The SNB had two parts.  There was Vařejná bezpečnost (VB) which handled public security as the uniformed police force that took care of normal police work.  The other part was the StB which was the undercover secret police that functioned as an investigative agency, an intelligence agency, and a counterintelligence agency.  The StB was responsible for anything that could be considered anti-state.

The PČR took over from the the SNB in 1991.  After the Velvet Revolution, employees had to pass a vetting process by a commission which was used to purge communist ideologues and agents of the StB from the police force.  Former StB agents aren't allowed to be police officers.  

I hear that Prague has a Czech police museum.  I guess I need to check it out the next time I'm there.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Madeline Albright, R.I.P.

On Wednesday, 23 March, Madeline Albright passed away.  As the first female U.S. Secretary of State, she was, at the time, the highest ranking woman in government in American history.

She did not suffer fools and was well respected internationally, especially in Czechland as she was born in Czechoslovakia and could speak Czech.

Following the end of the Cold War, she was a leading voice in expanding NATO to Central Europe.  In 2012 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2018 she received the Czech Medal of Merit Award for Diplomacy.

Here are a few short clips I found on YouTube that talks about her legacy.



I didn't know the story behind her pins.  I found it to be pretty fascinating.


Never one to slow down, even last month she was sharing her opinion on Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Friday, March 25, 2022

Brno Supports Ukraine

All throughout Brno you can see signs of support for Ukraine.  There are Ukrainian flags everywhere you look.  At Moravské náměstí, there's the Red Army memorial for the Soviet soldiers who liberated the city from the Germans during WWII. 

Today I saw the Red Army soldier with Ukrainian flag flying, right next to the Czech flag, plus the flags of NATO and the EU.  Nice! 

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Thursday, March 17, 2022

How Czechs Describe European Countries

Just for a little light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek fun.  Especially given everything going on in Ukraine right not.  Here's a map of Europe with basically a tag line of for each country from the Czech perspective. 

Starting with Central Europe
Czechland = Home
Slovakia = Little bro ❤️
Germany = Big Sister
Austria = Annoying, rich neighbour 
Poland = Bro with big ego who is compensating for something
Hungary = Honorary Slavic bro
Slovenia = Our cute little cousins
Switzerland = Money

Estonia = Prague lite
Latvia = Pretend they can play ice hockey
Lithuania = Polish Slovakia

Denmark = Source of the bi-annual Danepocalypse
Norway = Natural wonderland
Sweden = Ikea
Finland = Nokia
Iceland = Here be volcanoes

Croatia = Primary holiday resort
Bulgaria = Secondary holiday resort
Montenegro = Tertiary holiday resort
Romania = Land of gypsies and abandoned babies
Serbia = We're sorry
Macedonia = LOL
Bosnia & Herzegovina and Albania = Friendly muslims
Greece = missing a comment

Belgium = The good dictator
Netherlands = Friend in weed is a friend indeed
Luxembourg = We learn about them in history class

England = Secret crush
Wales = Cool flag
Scotland = Men in kilts
Northern Ireland = Stockholm syndrome

Western Europe
Ireland = Here be whiskey
France = Arrogant traitors
Italy = Land of romance and culture
Spain = Big land of wine and sunshine
Portugal = Small land of wine and sunshine
Spain's Balearic Islands = Too many Germans

Russia = Our ex-wife
Belarus = Nostalgialand
Ukraine = Good migrants
Moldova = Romanian Slovakia
The Caucasus = Far-away Europe

Israel = BFF
Cyprus = Too many Russians
Turkey = It's complicated
The rest of the Middle East = Stop Right There

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Three Week Update

I am over Covid and I'm cleared to return to work tomorrow.  The doctor wants me to take it easy still.  I'm not allowed any strenuous exercise or sport for at least three months because, as she put it, "at your age we want to be careful".  I swear that I didn't feel old when I turned 50, but I'm starting to with all of these "at your age" comments.

I had my first two Covid vaccinations in May and June and then I had my booster in December.  Covid kicked my butt for almost a month.  I don't want to imagine how bad it could have been if I hadn't received my vaccines and booster.  

I'm also very grateful that I didn't have to worry about the cost of being sick.  The Czech healthcare and social insurance system meant that I could focus on getting better without the fear of financial ruin.  In the USA, the vast majority of Americans are one major disease away from bankruptcy.  

I've had a goatee for years but I've never tried growing a beard before.  While I was stuck at home I didn't bother shaving.  I was starting to look like a mountain man so now I'm going to give a beard a try.  What do think?

Before and after

I've also managed to keep the -27 kg for a week.  

Let's see if I can keep it up.  I'll be happy just to keep the -25,4 kg off for an entire month.  

Friday, March 11, 2022

Baltic Trip Cancelled

Two weeks ago, on Friday afternoon, I was cleared to go back to work on Monday morning.  I must have overdone it because two days later the doctor put me back on sick leave.  Lots of coughing and all of my flu symptoms came back hard.

On Wednesday, they took x-rays and fortunately there's no infection.  Both my blood pressure and my oxygen level were both a little low.  The doctor was concerned that I might get phenomena and kept saying "at your age."  Oh, how I love the direct Czech approach.  Great health care but not the best bedside manner.  Ugh!

Perhaps they will release me to on Monday which means that Covid will have knocked me out for just over three weeks.  Technically, I'm supposed to work four days next week and then I have holiday.  I had a trip booked to the Baltics for 10 days but I've cancelled it.

I'm disappointed about not going back to Balticland.  I was supposed to start off in Riga, Latvia, where I planned to visit Jūrmala, which is a nearby beach resort.  Then up to Estonia to visit Narva which is right on the Russian border.  I didn't make it to Narva during my 2014 trip so this is the second time I'll miss it.  Then it was on to Klaipėda, Lithuania, before going back to Riga to catch my airBaltic flight home.

There are basically two reasons why I cancelled my trip.

  1. I am just too tired.  The thought of running around three countries right now doesn't sound anywhere as good as sleeping.
  2. If I tell my mother that I'm going to the Baltics, much less right on the Estonian-Russian border, then she will just worry.  Also, Klaipėda isn't very far from the Russian exclave Kaliningrad.    

I know that, unlike Ukraine, all three of the Baltic countries are members of the EU and NATO.  Putin would have to be crazy to attack the Baltic countries.  But, each were former Soviet republics so who knows if he is crazy enough to attack.  Who thought that he would actually invade Ukraine?

Instead of travelling, I'm go to have a Brno staycation.  I just plan to sleep and will try to watch something other than coverage of the war.

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Brno Stands With Ukraine

Brno stands with Ukraine.  So of course that means that Jošt Moravský, Jobst of Moravia is sporting the Ukrainian flag on his shield.

#славаукраїні #brnostandswithukraine #standwithukraine

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

2022 International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day!  Especially to all of those brave Ukrainian women who have had to flee with their children to other countries in order to escape Putin's savage war on Ukraine.  #standwithukraine  Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 


Monday, March 7, 2022

Weight Goal Achieved

I've had this goal of losing 25,4 kg, which is 56 lbs, for quite some time.  I actually want to lose a bit more than that but the first step that I've been working towards for a while is to hit 85 kg (187 lbs), which is why my goal is to lose 25,4 and not just 25.  At the end of January I hit -24 kg.  That mean I only had 1 kg left to go.  Well, actually 1,4 kg (3 lbs).  

As expected, I kept fluctuating +/- 0,5 kg each week until I finally hit my initial goal weight.  Yeah!!!

I've actually overachieved it because I'm now down 27 kg (59 lbs).  The bad thing is that I don't really think it counts.  I'm stuck in bed with Covid and not eating.  I still have my sense of smell but I'm just not hungry.  I have a feeling that once I start feeling better the I'll put a couple of kilos right back on.  But it was nice to see the -27 kg.

Now I've got two new goals.  The first goal is to stay at -25,5 kg for a month.  The second goal is to hit -30 kg (66 lbs).  While I want to hit -30, the goal of keeping off the weight for a month is more important to me.  

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Czech Consulate Damaged

Czechia has very good relations with Ukraine.  There's a large Ukrainian population here and they make up 30% of all foreigners in Czechland.  There are more Ukrainians here than Slovaks. 

Ukrainian Consulte in Brno

There's even a Ukrainian consulate here in Brno that's about a five minute walk from my flat

An embassy is a permanent diplomatic mission, usually in the capital city and an ambassador is in charge.

A consulate is like a junior embassy, located outside of the capital and the consul-general is in charge.

In Ukraine, the Czech government has their embassy in Kyiv.  It has consulates located in Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Uzhhorod.

On 1 March, the Czech consulate in Kharkiv was damaged during heavy rocket shelling by Russian troops.  Due to high pressure caused by rocket attacks the consulate's windows shattered.  Fortunately no one in the consulate was injured.  The Czech government continues to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

While I'm stuck at home with Covid I keep watching what all is going on in Ukraine.  In 2020, I was supposed to go to Lviv but the trip was cancelled because that's when everything first shut down.  Now I'm watching rockets destroy the city.  I think it will be quite some time before I actually get to visit Lviv.

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

No Siren Test

On the first Wednesday of each month, at noon, there's a regular siren test across the country, except in Olomouc.  The siren goes off for 140 sends and is followed by an announcement in Czech that it was only a test.

In Olomouc, the tests take place ten minutes later, at 12:10 pm, so that it doesn't conflict with the astronomical clock.  

They started up following the 2002 floods.  However, the Czech Fire and Rescue Service cancelled this month's test so as to not create any unnecessary panic given the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  This isn't the first time the test has been cancelled.  It was cancelled during the floods in 2009 and 2013, in 2010 when the U.S. and Russian presidents met together in Prague, and in 2020 during the four worst months of Covid lockdown.

Here's a video I found out on YouTube so you can hear what the various warning sirens sound like over here in Czechland.

There's a fire alarm signal for voluntary firefighters to report to the station.  There's a general warning siren for people to seek refuge in a brick building and two Seall all air accesses due to a possible radiation or chemical hazard.  

There used to be a flood wave signal that was in used until November 2001.  That's when the laws pertaining to siren signals were changed and it was replaced by the general warning siren.

©Czech Siren Tech
Update: The tests were also cancelled in April and May.  They resumed in June 2022.

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦