Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I am from the Czech Republic. So What?


I don’t think that we, Czech people, are the best. But there are several things which we really are the best in. You would be surprised. From your American view, you sure must think that some ten million Central Europe teeny tiny country isn’t worth for knowing about. Besides, in a country strongly affected by a communism there can’t be something exceptional. Right? Is that what you think? Ok, I don’t blame you. But you might want to give me a chance to change it with this little article.

I have spent fifteen months in the United States with you, guys – five months in the New York City and then I moved to Los Angeles. So far everytime I said where I’m from, I heard two kinds of responds: 1) What?, and 2) You mean Czechoslovakia?. Too sad to be true? I know.

Let me make it quick and painless. Czechoslovakia was founded on October 28th, 1918 containing the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Its political independence was regained in 1989 and Czechoslovakia was again a democratic country. On January 1st, 1993 the country split in two, and since then we have two independent republics: Czech and Slovak. The Czech Republic has became a member of the European Union on May 1st, 2004. Our neighbors are Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. So the important fact is that already for 13 years there is no Czechoslovakia anymore! I feel like that the persons I talked to must have spent those years in a coma.

Czech Republic is usually known for its tasty beer (Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser Budvar, Gambrinus, Starobrno and others) - where beer is cheaper than mineral water and soda - ice hockey and soccer players, pretty girls and Ivana Trump (former professional skier, model, and ex-wife of mogul Donald Trump). The hottest news (kind of something to be proud of) is a victory of the blonde eighteen year-old Taťána Kuchařová in the Miss World competition in Poland. It was the first time in the history of this beauty competition when a Czech girl became the winner. But don’t misunderstand me, most Czech girls are brunette.

Now lets finally look at some really interesting things which I would like to point out.
Do you like to start your day with a cup of coffee? And do you sweeten? Then you should know that such a lump, you use daily without wondering about its original, “was born” in the Dačice sugar factory, Czech Republic, in 19th century.
If you ever go to the capital city of the Czech Republic, the first thing your guide will take you to, will be the Prague Castle - the official residency of our president. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the biggest castle in the world.
There are so many people using lenses nowadays. They were invented in 1961. But by who? By a Czech guy Otto Wichterle. If he didn’t exist, you would still have to wear glasses.
Do you like dollars? Oh yes, I know you do. But what is dollar actually? Your American dollar comes from the old Czech coin tolar being stamped in the Jáchymov mint.

And when you feel like relaxing, rent some Czech movie. Give it a try. Here are some recommendations for you.
Comedies: The Elementary School, Lemonade Joe, My Sweet Little Village;
Drama: Dark Blue World; Divided We Fall, Kolya;
Fairy Tale: Three Wishes for Cinderella.

About the Writer

Ivana Poulova is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on I am from the Czech Republic. So What?

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By Steven Lane on April 08, 2007 at 07:47 pm
lol, Reza Welcome, I lived in Czechoslovakia in 1984 for about 3 months. At the Alcron Hotel, a very time in my life. I spent a lot time at Barrandov, Most and Ceske B
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By Steven Lane on April 08, 2007 at 07:48 pm
interesting time
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By Rosescu on April 24, 2007 at 10:13 am
Prague is awesome, I agree! Why'd you leave? Not all American's are ignorant about 'the republic' but you've got to agree its not that important for an average American to know about. I get sick of people blaming us for not knowing as much about their country as they do about ours. That's because you have MTV, CNN, and Cartoon Network. When we get the Czech CNN on our tv, then you can hold us accountable for knowing about your history and culture.
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By DaemonArch on April 30, 2007 at 03:05 am
Im living in Czech republic all my life and I was born in Prague, where I stays, nice very nice article. I dont think that american people are ignorant, they arent, but they dont know about us in one reason: When I was a child, barely 9 years old, on elementary school, we were learning about ALL states in US and their capitals and the government and history, all american presidents and a lots of other things. TV just simple make deeper knowledge about, but the basic knowledge is rooted deep in the childhood schooldays. A few words to add in the article. My favourite beer is Kelt (The Celt) which is made by very very old recepture of paganic culture in middle europe. Prague city is one of the world (There are many cities build by the energy lines of Earth, but Prague is the biggest, because the other cities has only small center like this), that is based on ley lines energy drifting. It was made by our king Karel IV and his, after a few centuries Rudolph II. , they were very interrested into alchemy and quabballah and they made a city which can hold the name of the Capital of Alchemy Astrology and Magick. When you walk an old city, you can feel it, really, there is no only Prague castle ... when you are interrested into magick and interrested into energy (ley) lines and works with sideric pendulum or the others, you are in your heaven :-) really and you probably know czech from the books and articles, because this place is one of the most important of the world. And at the end, did ya know that word "robot" is from czech language from czech writer Karel ÄŒapek? It is from book RUR which was an utopic book about cybernetical word, and he used this word first in a history of humankind. So stay with us ;-)
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By knedliky on December 07, 2007 at 05:40 pm
just to set the record straight: Sugar cubes were first made in 1840 by the Austrian Jacob Christoph Rad. The word "dollar" is derived from Low Saxon "daler", an abbreviation of "Joachimsdaler" – (coin) from Joachimstal – so called because it was minted from 1519 onwards using silver extracted from a mine which had opened in 1516 near Joachimstal, a town in the Ore Mountains of northwestern Bohemia. The term "dollar" was widely used in reference to a Spanish coin at the time it was adopted by the United States. Let’s look at the contact lenses inventor options: #1. Contact lenses inventor… could be someone around 1000 A.D. This is the first record of a contact lens. #2. Contact lenses inventor… In 1508 Leonardo da Vinci drew a described several kinds of contact lenses. #3. Contact lenses inventor… In 1632 Rene Descartes suggests a corneal contact lens. #4. Contact lenses inventor… In 1801 a man named Thomas Young created a water-filled glass tube that contained a microscopic lens. He used Descartes idea and after making the lens used it himself. #5. Contact lenses inventor… An English astronomer in 1827 thought that grinding a contact lens to fit exactly on the eye’s surface would be a good idea. This contact lenses inventor was named Sir John Herschel. #6. Contact lenses inventor… In 1887 a glassblower from Germany, F.E. Muller makes the first eye covering that could be worn for a longer period of time. This contact lens inventor is considered by many to be one of the actual inventors. #7. A Swiss physician, A. Eugen Fick and a Paris optician, Edouard Kalt, working independently say they have used contact lenses to correct vision problems. #8. Contact lenses inventor… Joseph Dallos uses molds from living eyes to make lenses that will conform as closely as possible to human sclera. #9. Contact lenses inventor… In 1936 a New York optometrist, makes the first American made contacts and uses plastic. This contact lenses inventor was named William Feinbloom. #10. Contact lenses inventor… Dr. George Butterfield created a corneal lens which was not flat but followed the shape of the eye. This contact lens inventor was from Oregon and was an optometrist. Last week, Czech academics marked the 90th anniversary of the birth of the outstanding Czech scientist and legendary inventor of the contact lens and the synthetic fibre "silon", Professor Otto Wichterle, who died five years ago. Those who had a chance to meet him, his former students and colleagues remember Otto Wichterle not only for his achievements in science and research but also for his exceptional personality. Invention of the Contact Lens The invention of the contact lens dates back before 1877, when Adolf Fick, Eugene Kalt and August Muller made the first contact lens from glass. Leonardo da Vinci created sketches encapsulating the concept of a covering for the eye as early as 1508. In 1801, Thomas Young decided to work on a device to help correct his own vision. What Young did was to fit a water-filled glass tube with a microscopic lens. However, it would be a number of years before anyone developed a device that could fit onto the eye itself. So we come to that date, 1887. Fick, Kalt and Muller made the first known contacts from thick glass, which covered the entire eye. As one might imagine, such an object was not very comfortable to wear. However, they were able to correct some vision problems, but because of the comfort issues, patients could not keep the lenses in their eyes for more than a few hours. In the early part of the last century, scientists came to the rescue. In 1934, a new plastic called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) was created, which was to revolutionise the development of contact lenses. Patents were issued in 1948 to Kevin Touhy for the first PMMA contact lens, the first hard lens. These lenses were much easier to fit and wear than their earlier counterparts, and rather than fit to the whole eye, PMMA lenses were small enough to just fit the cornea. During the early 1960's, the use of contact lenses boomed, and the majority of contact lens fittings were carried out using PMMA hard lenses. Then, in 1971 Bausch and Lomb introduced their first soft contact lenses to the United States. Soft lenses were made of very thin and pliable material, which was heavily water based. Comfort levels in contact lens wearers increased dramatically, and long duration lenses became the norm. However, whilst still much more comfortable than their PMMA counterparts, soft contact lenses were not perfect. They eyes are a living organ, and require oxygen in order to remain healthy. Despite their increased comfort, soft contact lenses were unable to allow enough oxygen into the eye. So, science came to the rescue one again, and with the aid of silicon as a core material, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses were created. As their name suggests, gas permeable lenses let oxygen through to the eye, helping them remain healthy, even through extended wear. Some of the comfort issues re-emerged, because rgp lenses are hard and take a little getting used to. However, the effort is often worth while because they are better for the health of your eyes.
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