Thursday, November 30, 2006

ČD Pro Vás

To return to the train theme, after nightfall on a trip back from Zlín, Jesse and I were intrigued to notice this engine with the legend "ČD pro Vás" emblazoned across its nose. We felt touched. A whole railway system just for us!

Since the train was standing-room only, we spent a good part of our journey attempting to photograph the scenery out the window. That's what happens on holiday weekends.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ouško Visits Jesse

Speaking of rabbits...
Since Jesse couldn't attend Alex's Thanksgiving dinner due to concerts in Brno, he persuaded me that I should spend some time in Brno on my way back to Prague. We went to several performances, which I may discuss if I ever get around to it. I will note that I got to be the camera-person for his interview with Zuzana Lapčíková, despite my never having previously used a video camera. My job consisted mainly of watching the battery level and trying to keep Jesse's head out of the picture.
But on the rabbit topic, we finally decided that Jesse's long-eared neighbor deserved to come in for a hop around. We would have brought in the gerbil as well, but we were afraid it would disappear somewhere.
We had thought about bringing in the rabbit before, but I suppose the fact that he used to share his cage with the gerbil was a deterrent. After chasing the gerbil all up and down the stairs and the walls and preventing it from jumping onto a roof, I wasn't too anxious to lose it in Jesse's plumbing or heating.
The rabbit has, over time, developed a very jaundiced attitude about life, and who can blame him? He lives in an insanely small cage, is always hungry, and has nothing to do. He usually has a frustrated and angry look in his eye, and sometimes bites in order to keep strange hands out of his domain. At the same time, he is madly eager for human attention.
It took Ouško a few minutes to venture out of his cage, even though I had put down a towel for him to land on, and Jesse had brought forth a piece of carrot. Once out, he had to assure himself that he could retreat.
As the night progressed, however, Ouško became more and more eager to explore. He went into the hall a couple of times, scuttled behind the mirror, and decided he particularly liked the area under the cimbalom. His entire expression changed and he began to look like a real rabbit, curious and (almost) playful.
We would have let him spend the night, but we knew his humans would be up earlier than we would, and while we don't think they are very good at caring for small mammals, they're probably nonetheless quite fond of Ouško and would be upset if it appeared he had been stolen. I finally lured him back into the cage with a second piece of carrot and returned him to the landing, but I would rather have had him visiting me during the night and putting his extremely small front paws on me, as he did a couple of times when checking out his surroundings. He's a good rabbit at heart, and with the right attention he could be very nice.
I wanted to take his picture scampering about, but I didn't think he would like the flash.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

HRS Christmas Cards

Word has come that Orion and Ms. Spots are featured on the House Rabbit Society's Christmas cards! You can see and order the cards at CafePress. Proceeds benefit the House Rabbit Society, which rescues unwanted rabbits and finds them new homes.
Orion's photos were solicited because he was adopted in 2006 and the staff thought he would be great on a calendar. Two other rabbits that Ms. Spots met during the summer, Guinness and Kylie, are also featured on Christmas cards.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Domesticity in Zlín

Due to what was either poor transit information or my own stupidity, I arrived in Zlín somewhat too late for much other than dessert. I did, however, get to spend two exciting hours in the Bratislava main train station.
As a result of all this, I did not spend very much time communing with Alex, but if I had, it might have looked something like the following.

Gnomes cook breakfast.

Breakfast is devoured...

Life seems deceptively calm...

Passions erupt...

Refrigerator decorations are all that remain.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Zlín Train Station

Alex managed to send out her Thanksgiving dinner invitation before anyone else I know, so she will be getting the benefit of my company again later today. I will probably be taking the train there. So... for all railroad enthusiasts... I present to you the Zlín train station platform! (Photographed last weekend.)
The Zlín train station is not large, but these are some things one can see from the platform.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Rather than babble about the lectures I gave to Štěpanka's grad seminars on Monday and Tuesday mornings (which were, after all, pretty much the same as those I gave last year on the Feminist Art Movement and Multicultural Art), I thought some photos of the environs might be of interest. The Charles University is scattered all over Prague, and the neighborhood housing Štěpanka's building is called Jinonice. I thus present a (very limited) look at Jinonice.

This is the bus stop.

And the campus, seen approximately from the bus stop.

Turning right back around and not going into the campus area, one finds the Jinonice metro station entrance.

And, as you can see from the following, the Jinonice metro station is a rather fine place. That is, apart from the frigid wind that always seems to blow through it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


For those who need to see this (you know who you are, but others will also be entertained), we present AlexVision: Mrtvola. Basically, this explains exactly why I shouldn't let Jesse and Alex travel without me. They find stuff like this.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Adventures in the Audio-Visual Realm

The weekend involved a trip to Zlín so that more filming of folk concerts and such could occur. I'd say that at this rate Jesse will have a lot of material for his dissertation by the time he goes back to Michigan. I managed to acquire a CD and a book of folk songs.
On Friday night we all watched the film version of Nezval's Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, which (along with other things) induced a somewhat bemused stupor. One of these days I'll have to finish reading the book. I had forgotten it was so heavy on vampires.
On Saturday night after the concert, Jesse and I somehow managed to find the energy to watch Alex's copy of Daisies, which amused us greatly. I'm not sure how we combined all this folk music with surrealist-New Wave film.
This morning, however, I was back in Prague giving a talk on the Feminist Art Movement to another of Štěpanka's graduate seminars. I had never used the new laptop for a presentation before, and was aggravated to find that it didn't want to work properly with the projector (we used the school laptop instead). When I got home, I investigated on the internet, without much success. It appears that every university on the planet has a guide to how to hook up laptops to projectors (this shows that it is not so intuitive a process as ought to be the case), but none of the guides I examined made any mention of how to troubleshoot getting the laptop's desktop wallpaper and nothing else out of the projector. Mind you, this is not the first time I have had this problem, merely the first time with this particular laptop. This is my fourth laptop and every one of them has at least occasionally refused to work with projectors. Sometimes one gets no image, other times one gets the wallpaper and nothing else, and then again sometimes everything works just beautifully. Each of the guides I examined went into great detail about how the projector must be turned on first and how the cable between the two machines has to be connected before the laptop is turned on. There was a lot of obsessing about not bending the pins, which is not something I have ever had much cause to worry about. Long discourses on adjusting the screen resolution, which again is not something that has ever seemed to be a problem. No mention at all of the wallpaper-sans-presentation issue.
I guess we will use the school laptop for tomorrow's lecture.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Czech Class Finds Beer and Fries

I have not said much about my Czech class, mainly because by the time I get there I am usually too tired to get very much involved in it. It's a good review and the classmates are nice.
Today, since it is the second-to-last day, we had a test, which seems to some extent focused on placing us should we continue. I am pleased to report that, unlike the regular placement tests they do, it is not a test that can be graded by placing the answer key over the thing and seeing which boxes weren't filled in correctly. It even had an essay section, which I'm sure I did better on than the fill-in-the-blanks since on the latter I always made dumb mistakes that make me wonder how I could have written something that I know perfectly well is wrong.
Afterwards, several of us went out for beer, for the first time. It would have been nice if we had started this earlier on, but I didn't have the energy to initiate it then. I think some of my classmates have also become much more confident about their speaking skills, too, so that, for instance, my three Mexican classmates no longer routinely lapse into Spanish but speak in Czech more and more often.
We had a nice time and plan to go out again after class on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Shortbus at Světozor

Jesse and I had been meaning to get to some of the offerings at this year’s Mezipatro festival. As usually happens to us with film festivals, we almost failed to get to anything at all. I never even got around to looking at the schedule, which was particularly bad of me. However, Jesse did have plans to come to Prague and interview a couple of musicians, and this resulted in our going, with Ilya, to Shortbus, the last film of the festival. (We tried to persuade Hubert to join us, but he was not in the mood. I believe he wanted to stay home and watch Superstar, of which he is a great devotee.)
Before hopping on the bus, Jesse sent a link so that I could read about the film. It sounded sufficiently intriguing, especially considering that the last films I had managed to see were about Central Asian music. I figured that anything with a tagline like “Voyeurism is participation” ought to be at least moderately entertaining, whether or not it proved to be any good.
Since it is so easy to confuse oneself over whether something is at 17:30 or 7:30, I arrived at Světozor shortly before 17:30, where I encountered a vast crowd that included Andrea of the Fulbright office. Since Ilya was supposed to have gotten our tickets in advance (Prague premiere), I stood around chatting with Andrea and wondering where Ilya and Jesse were. Of course, as it turned out, Andrea was there for the 17:30 film while the Shortbus premiere was at 7:30. (Life would be easier if the 24-hour clock were used consistently, or not at all, rather than merely frequently.)
The crowd for the Shortbus premiere was enormous. I’m not sure whether this was due to good press for the film (Jesse tells me that there is much written on the Web) or to the fact that the director was to be there. When we finally made our way into Světozor’s large hall, I was sure that they had oversold the seats and that we would have to sit on the floor. Fortunately, Ilya spotted three empty seats which were actually contiguous and not directly behind anyone with massive dreadlocks or other barriers to sight. We were mildly puzzled, however, to see a black couch onstage with a woman seated in its center. We knew that there was to be a short film first, but the woman on the couch did not look as if she were impersonating a short film.
The house lights went down, the spotlight went up. Two (mostly) naked couples entered and planted themselves on either side of the woman on the couch, who looked disconcerted and began to talk earnestly about the festival. After about twenty minutes of talk about the festival and its donors and supporters, the female member of the couple on the left was still partly, if minimally, clothed and everyone’s attention was, I assume, fixed on the rather more energetic pair on the right. The announcer had abandoned the couch and presented prizes to several directors, all of whom were doubtless wondering how long the two couples would remain on opposite ends of the couch. They were illumined by a spot of an abstract film that suggested to me something you might see under an electron microscope, and which made them appear to be heavily tattooed. No doubt they actually did have tattoos, but they could not have had as many tattoos as it appeared or I would have noticed when they first entered. It was a remarkable performance and entertained the audience greatly.
The subsequent animated short film was amusing and lighthearted, and reminded me that one of these days I would like to learn computer animation so that I can come up with strange films of my own. I have had one project in mind for some time now, which was inspired by a conference panel I was on with my friend Annie. Annie’s paper was on Sorb nationalist art, so it had lots of images of imposing Slavic gods; mine was on Toyen and gender boundaries; and the third paper was on Austro-Hungarian postal representations of Balkan peasants. I think that an animated film involving Slavic deities, Czech surrealist erotica, and Balkan peasants could be quite humorous, especially with the right music. The animated film that we saw was enlivened by portions of Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals.” (Of course, my imagined film might also make viewers wonder whether they had taken the wrong drugs.)
At long last, Shortbus was shown. I must confess that I prefer its working title of “The Sex Film Project,” as apparently I am the only person alive who had to have the title explained. It does get explained in the film, but I never imagined that anyone who hadn’t seen the film would grasp it. However, both Shawn and Štěpanka immediately connected short buses with children who have to go to special schools. It’s true that when I was in grade school there was a short bus for that purpose, but it never occurred to me that this was a universal practice. I’m surprised enough that I even knew of the bus in the first place.
In any case, the characters in the film are not exactly candidates for a short bus. They are not mainstream Americans, but you could hardly argue that they are defective or disabled in any of the ways that get one put on a short schoolbus. Each character has some sort of quirk or problem, and they all end up going to a New York sex club (“salon,” according to the director, since it is not a commercial enterprise) called Shortbus.
Without going into detail about the various characters and their difficulties, which perhaps Jesse will do, I will say that so long as the viewer is not offended by the basic premise and by scenes that have doubtless gotten the film an X rating in the US, one is likely to find this a funny, sad, and enchanting tale. While it occasionally involved some suspension of disbelief (how does Caleb the voyeur afford his apartment on a proofreader’s pay? How do any of the characters, especially Sophie and Rob, afford their apartments?), one is rapidly drawn in to the stories of Sophie and Rob, Jamie and James, and the people they get to know at the club. This movie was first cast and then written collaboratively, and this collaboration shows. The characters come across as very real people with believable situations and developments. There’s an element of caricature at times, but who hasn’t seen real people lapse into that? Sophie’s lines as a couples counselor are parodic, but a lot of therapists talk that way. We laugh at the way she talks, but we sympathize with her situation and want her to succeed in her quest.
While I had no particular expectations of this film beyond that it might prove amusing, all three of us were pleasantly surprised at how much we liked it. Despite some grim developments, ultimately the film comes to a happy end and, while we know that the characters haven’t solved all their problems, there’s that satisfying feeling that at least for the moment everyone has come to a moment of shared happiness and contentment. The film gives plenty to think about on a variety of levels, and for at least awhile we get to share its fantasy of companionable acceptance.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Too Tired to Think, Oblivious to Stress

Turned in grant proposal, have no brain cells left. And so it's time for another silly quiz.

What Your Face Says

At first glance, people see you as warm and well-balanced.

Overall, your true self is moody and dynamic.

With friends, you seem dramatic, lively, and quick to react.

In love, you seem energetic - almost manic.

In stressful situations, you seem like you're oblivious to the stress.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Another Review of the Toyen Film

In the early days of this blog, I posted my reactions to the 2005 Jan Neměc film Toyen. KinoKultura, in a theme issue on Czech film, has now reviewed the film as well.
On the whole, the review is intelligent and well grounded. Not surprisingly, it pays particular attention to the cinematic merits of the film, which are considerable. A fair amount of good background is also provided for those readers unfamiliar with Toyen, Heisler, and Czech surrealism.
Still, as is unfortunately so typical of English-language accounts of the Czech surrealists, there are a few inaccuracies. For example, Karel Teige was not a founding member of the group, although he joined not long afterwards. Kalandra was not a surrealist, but was friendly toward the movement. Also, Nezval's 1938 attempt to break up the Prague surrealist group was not a direct result of Soviet preference for socialist realism but was occasioned more by his and Teige's diverging attitudes toward Stalin (and socialist realism) at a point when Nezval thought it crucial to support the USSR as an ally against Nazi Germany while Teige saw the USSR as increasingly totalitarian. (We can only hope that my dissertation magically avoids errors, but I daresay it will have its share, especially the kind where I will run across the correct information only after having submitted the final version, which will be deeply embarrassing.)
The review, which I should reiterate is really quite a good one, does leave me with a couple of questions. First, I was unsure whether the reviewer watched the film with English subtitles (is there a subtitled version?) or without. I would like to get a copy, and with subtitles, as I can't follow all of the Czech. Second, the reviewer refers to quotations from Toyen and to Toyen dreaming of sitting on her own grave. What is the source of these? My research has uncovered extremely few documents written by Toyen, almost all of which have been vacation postcards or business correspondence. I realize that Neměc had access to sources that I have not located, but it is my understanding that the screenplay is a creative imagining of Toyen and Heisler's wartime life. I would be interested to know whether any of the script comes from Toyen's own words. I would be particularly interested to know of documentation that Toyen recorded or described her dreams.
Perhaps one shouldn't review reviews, but I fear I could not resist. And I am afraid I still feel as though the film was more about Heisler than Toyen, even though Toyen's art was prominently shown.
KinoKultura also reviews Nuda v Brně, but although in this case I had no factual quibbles, I found this review much less sensitive to the nuances of the film. This may be in part due to this reviewer not writing in her native language, but it is not solely that. First off, I think Nuda v Brně is really quite brilliant, while I can't tell whether the reviewer agrees or merely admits that lots of people think so. (She calls its successor, Hrubeš a Mareš, a failure, but doesn't specify whether that was artistically or merely at the box office. I don't know how Hrubeš a Mareš did at the box office, but I thought it was hilarious. Admittedly, I am a twisted soul.) I think that it is Jesse's job, as Nuda v Brně's biggest fan, to write about it in detail; however, I will say that I don't see any of the women in the film as sexual predators and I didn't have any problem simultaneously laughing at and sympathizing with most of the characters. But then, I could see aspects of myself and my own life in practically every one of them (well, ok, not the mismatched S&M couple), and I find my own life pretty funny despite my tendency to take it terribly seriously. Haven't most of us had dreadfully awkward encounters with our love/lust objects? The brilliant thing about Nuda v Brně (well, one brilliant thing; the pacing and cinematography are also very fine) is that it gets right to that horrible anxiety and awkwardness, which is simultaneously so laughable and so deeply human.
Coming up soon: notes on a film seen more recently.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Masarykovo nádraží

I can't say I actually spend a lot of time at the Masarykovo nádraží, which is a medium-sized train station catering largely to commuter trains, but every so often I find myself there. For instance, some of the trains to Kutná Hora leave from there.
While it has not really been fixed up, it has its own peculiar charm. There are also various odd things to see in the station (as, for that matter, is the case in pretty much any train station for those who take the trouble to look).
For example, the aggressive sign stating that Bílá Labut' (a department store) calls to you.

The traveler seeking reading material can find some right here, especially if the desired material consists of old magazines.

The environs of the train station include a postal facility, although whether it is open to the public, I am unsure.

One can, of course, go out on the platform and wait for a train.

Or, one can wander a little further and find a small parking area. I have forgotten who it is for.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Last-Minute Bureaucrazy

There is never, apparently, any end to the nuisances involved in grant applications. Was I pleased that my department is forwarding the one application as its nominee for the modernist fellowship, and did I think that I could polish off the next application in a leisurely fashion this weekend?
Well, I am still pleased about the one situation, and I can probably still put the finishing touches on the present application without any real problem given the limitations of my sample "chapter" (of which I have complained before).
However, this one requires that one of the recommendations come from my chair or dean, so I had sent the chair--who is on my dissertation committee and is quite familiar with my work--the requisite information. (The application is due Tuesday, although admittedly the letters can drift in a little later.) This morning he emailed the entire department to let us know that anyone applying for this particular fellowship will be having their letters written by the dean (someone I doubt any of us have ever met or heard of), so we have to change our applications to list her instead of him and must send information to her so that she can come up with something to write about us.
I am not sure whose brilliant idea this was. It is a mystery to me why any dean would want--at the last minute, yet--to take on the task of writing recommendation letters for every PhD student in the humanities and social sciences who applies for this grant. Is this person going to be able to say anything more than that I am a student in good standing and that the university has agreed not to fund me further if I get this grant and fail to graduate on time? I cannot imagine that she will want to spend the weekend reading through X number of 5-page applications and 25-page chapters plus whatever else we send her to acquaint her with our academic progress and plans.
This is all happening on a Friday, I might add. I am sure I am not the only applicant who is away in a foreign country and might not be checking email every few minutes. Suppose I were diligently pursuing my research somewhere in Latin America, Africa, or Asia (or even a European village) where I could only check my email once a month or so and had sent off my application long ago and considered the matter finished? What if, for example, I were studying Laplanders' traditional music and was roaming around northern Finland with a group of Lapps and a team of reindeer?
Well, I say no more.


Another India-based observer of world advertising, Arvind, highlights a series of pro-human rights, anti-dictator stamps at ....HOW ADVERTISING SPOILED ME....: Amnesty...Interesting!

More locally, one of these days I plan to post some entertaining ads from interwar Czech periodicals. And I have just received word that my application for one of the grants was viewed favorably by my department, meaning that I am the university's nominee for this particular award (which is for studies of modernist art). I have no idea how many other schools are sending in applications, however. Probably at least 20, since there are something like 40 PhD programs in art history in the US. Much better odds than one of the grants I applied for last year, which had something like 1200 applicants. Anyhow, I still have an application to finish off this weekend...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Evening on Václavak

It's that time of year when Václavské náměstí, not always our favorite place to spend time, becomes a fun place to walk in the early evening. The crisp, cold air somehow accentuates the buildings that line the square, which include the Koruna (formerly, and in my lifetime, an automat restaurant, but now merely boring stores like Kenvelo) and Bat'a (where one can still buy Bat'a shoes).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

After the Campaign Ads

Those who listen to a lot of radio in the US, or who have been reading Kristen's blog, may already have heard this, but if not, here's a fine parody of American campaign ads. After all, once Diebold has counted the votes, you may want something to laugh about.
Or, of course, there are always the Czech elections to amuse those of us on this side of the Atlantic. There was an election this fall to see if voters could make up their minds after the spring election. I am afraid I did not pay close attention to the fall elections.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Sartorialist Returns to Form

For awhile I was concerned that The Sartorialist had been utterly co-opted and would only be photographing people connected with the fashion industry (which, of course, he has every right to do, and after all it is the industry in which he earns a living), but it looks like he has not given up on his forte, capturing interestingly dressed people on the street.
There are many competent fashion photographers and paparazzi, but only one Sartorialist.
I thought of him this morning as I followed a stunningly dressed young woman to the tram and failed to take her picture. She was wearing a very long, soft-looking coat of an extremely flowing cut, in a color somewhere between dirt and battleship gray--not a color that would normally appeal to me at all, but the shape and soft appearance of the fabric were enchanting. Accenting the coat, she wore a fringed, patterned rust-colored scarf, a little hat in some sort of gray or brown with an embroidered or knitted pattern in reds and oranges (not at all a Czech hat, but clearly from some exotic land), and very plain black boots. The effect was gorgeously autumnal.
There has been somewhat of a surfeit of these dirt and gray shades in women's clothing here over the past year, but I have to admit that on the whole they seem to look better on most people than the vapid baby pink and baby blue that a different sector of the population wears. Very few people actually look good in large amounts of baby pink and baby blue, although I did see one who successfully set off the pink with black trim. Very dramatic.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Time--the Diebold Variations

It's election time back in the United States. Some of my readers, I'm sorry to say, will be expected to vote using devices that leave no paper trail. Sounds like time to register for a permanent absentee ballot.

image (c)2004-06 Rand Careaga/salamander.eps

I ran across this and a host of other fine satirical ads for Diebold, makers of those paperless voting machines, thanks to a link at Apophenia, where Danah Boyd tells of her efforts to vote after moving and incidentally gives her views on California ballot measures. Enjoy the ads and go vote.

Shiny and Glowing...

Quick, which of these photos was taken on Mission St. in San Francisco, and which one at the Vietnamese market next to the Florenc bus station in Prague? (OK, I could have taken photos that were even more similar and had even fewer clues which was which, but still.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Odds and Ends

In glancing over my Sitemeter stats this morning, I noticed that the other day someone from (or at least with an ISP in) Kviteseid, Norway visited the blog. There are not many Norwegian communities that I know by name, but a person from Kviteseid has a good chance of being a distant relative of mine. Life is full of oddities.

On the Archelaus Cards front, I have been informed that within a day and a half of their placement at the Pulp stores in Washington, DC, cards were already selling well. Quite a few more have sold since then. Of course, those not in the Washington area can order via the website.

Minnesota voters are using the internet and Delicious tags to share information about the 2006 elections. The idea is for real people to pass on information, not just candidates and parties. Check it out!

Well, it's rainy out and I can't say I feel much like applying myself to finishing off the last grant application of the fall semester (due the 15th). I'm much more tempted to do non-dissertation-related things. And in fact I suspect that at the moment I feel much like the typical PhD student feels, balking at the need to do something on the dissertation. This isn't a sensation I often have, and actually, I don't feel any particular reluctance to do other dissertation-related tasks, it's just the one with a deadline that I don't feel like dealing with. I dislike deadlines.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rabbit Reads: Antidote to the modern world

Rabbit Girl tells, in brief, the tale of her adopted rabbits Snowman and Amelia at Rabbit Reads: Antidote to the modern world. Snowman is no more, but the last part of his life was happy and along with some nice photos of his post-adoption life, there is a most charming picture of Amelia perched in a bookcase.
Rabbits are often inexorably drawn to bookcases, whether for the books, or for the interesting perching possibilities.
One of these days I would like to build Orion and Calypso Spots a fine play structure with several levels and areas to sit on and sit under. I'm afraid this project has been in the works for several years and not gotten anywhere yet, though. Whenever I go to a pet store and see the cat structures, I am quite jealous. But it does seems as though it would be relatively cheap and easy to build something appropriate to rabbits out of a selection of boards and with some fabric or carpet scraps stapled on.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Karel Čapek

The grave of Czech author Karel Čapek is, I think, rather oddly designed (to say the least!), but was lovingly adorned during last year's Dušičky celebration. Čapek's grave is not far from that of Mikulaš Aleš at the Vyšehrad cemetery, where particularly famous people (although certainly not all of them) are buried.
In other news, Prague experienced its first snow of the season last night. When I headed for the bus in the morning, there was a layer of snow pellets atop the cars and portions of the ground. I am curious as to what meteorological conditions cause snow to form in pellets rather than flakes... It looks very peculiar and unnatural, in my opinion.
As for why I was taking the bus rather than the tram, there has been road construction in Holešovice, which prevents the 17 from going past the Vystaviště. This means that the best route to the archive is via the metro, which must, however, be reached by bus or a different tram. I can only say that presumably the eternal road work in Prague is improving the city rather than being a project to keep its denizens confused and late.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mikulaš Aleš

Dušičky, the holiday of the dead, is upon us. Each year, Czechs visit the graves of family members and the famous, and place wreaths, flowers, and candles on the graves or in the immediate area. While technically this is a one-day holiday, the work schedule of the modern Czech causes many people to do their grave-visiting the weekend before the holiday, causing the display to be spread out over at least a week.
I took this photo of the grave of nineteenth-century artist Mikulaš Aleš after Dušičky last year. Aleš was known for his pen-and-ink illustrations of national themes, and also decorated the outsides of various buildings with handsome murals. (It was my intention to show an example or two, but Blogger refused to cooperate.)