Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas

I found this lovely seasonal picture today on, in an essay on Christmas in Serbia.
Here's the link:

Monday, December 03, 2007

O mein Papa

A movie about Swiss composer Paul Burkhard started playing in cinemas in September. Paul Burkhard enjoyed worldwide success with his song O Mein Papa.
Here's a link to the trailer on YouTube. And here's a link to the movie's website. Both are in German.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Trabant, Traband

The Trabant was a cheap car made in the German Democratic Republic. In German the car is known as Trabi, and it's now a collector's item. You can make your own (miniature) Trabant by downloading a file that you can print, cut, and fold. Here's the site:
Look for Trabant Bastelbogen near the bottom of the page, under the category "Sonstiges" (various). Or just click here to get the file ""

Traband is a Czech Folk/Experimental group, featured on this week's Magic Carpet (from Radio Prague). They also have a page on Myspace where you can listen to a few samples.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

EuroBureau for May 30, 2007

A couple of fun items today that deserve an entry on this website.

First, from Radio Prague's "Magazine" is an item about the Czech prime minister visiting Pakistan.

Is that a Czech flag or a checkered one? Sometimes it's hard to tell. The controversial exhibition showcasing preserved human bodies is turning out to be a hit in Prague - and, a Czech student invents an automated fishing rod! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
One of the diplomatic skills a prime minister needs to wield is keeping a straight face when one's hosts commit a gaffe. Now the Czech Prime Minister's manners leave a lot to be desired here in the Czech Republic - where he has been known to raise a middle finger at the opposition benches in Parliament, but abroad Mr. Topolanek is tact itself. On an official visit to Pakistan recently his motorcade went past large banners welcoming the Czech prime minister and sporting - wait for it - checkered flags - instead of the blue, red and white Czech flag. Obviously someone who was trying to ascertain what the Czech flag looked like misspelled Czech and got the checkered one instead. If the Czech Prime Minister noticed the goof he never lifted an eyebrow or cracked a joke. His hosts may have got the Czech flag wrong but the banners stated that the Pakistanis were praying for Czech progress and prosperity and like any well-mannered guest Mr. Topolanek acknowledged the spirit of good-natured hospitality. Moreover with a crucial vote on tax reform coming up, the Czech prime minister needs all the prayers he can get.

Here's the link to the Magazine website (of course the contents change each week, so look at it before June 2nd if you want to see the checkered flag).

From Insight Central Europe comes this item about an exhibition at the Bratislava City Gallery, it's called "The Pope Smoked Dope"

Switzerland's largest retailer Migros has been giving one percent of its turnover to cultural activities for the last fifty years. Here's the story on swissinfo. For instance, many of the music festivals held every summer throughout the country are partly financed by the "Kulturprozent".

While browsing swissinfo I found this image and link:

Listen to alphorn music and yodeling and classical music written with parts for alphorn, read up on alpine traditions, you can even create your own alphorn tune and send it to a friend. I think I may have to do a special about this site sometime soon.

We'll also have the last, the very last edition of "The Week Ahead" from Radio Netherlands.
And we'll include a commentary by Perro de Jong. He starts his talk with Bokito, the gorilla that broke out of his enclosure at Rotterdam's Blijdorp Zoo.

Last week we played some of the finalists in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinki. If you want to know more about the artists, or the whole contest, check out the Eurovision website. In the Eurovision Shop you can listen to snippets of songs and buy the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Swiss Christian Party Attacks Eurovision Song

from swissinfo:
Christian fundamentalists are calling for Switzerland's Eurovision Song Contest entry to be banned because of its allegedly satanic content.
On Tuesday the Federal Democratic Union (FDU) handed in a 49,000-signature petition to the government condemning DJ Bobo's "Vampires Are Alive" as an affront to people's religious convictions.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Guide to understanding rude Parisians issued

PARIS (Reuters) - You don't need to speak French to understand the Parisians. You just need to know how to gesture. Or so claims a new guide issued by French tourism officials to help foreign tourists understand Parisians with a list of commonly used gestures with meanings like "shut up".

"Blend in by using them the next time you're in Paris. People will start mistaking you for a native in no time," says the online guide issued by the Ile-de-France regional committee of tourism at

Complete article from Reuters

Scots dump 40m poo in Edinburgh field

Giant Poo as seen from space

Oslo hotel bans Cuban guests

January 5, 2007
Associated Press

Oslo — An Oslo hotel owned by the U.S.-based Hilton Hotel Corp. faced protests, a boycott and a police complaint this week after refusing to book rooms for a Cuban delegation because of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

The Cuban delegation, set to attend a travel fair in Oslo this month, planned to stay at the Scandic Edderkoppen Hotel in the city centre, as they had on five previous visits.

However, the 140-hotel Scandic company was bought by Hilton in March, and the Cubans were informed in December that they would have to find another hotel due to the American boycott.

On Friday, the 300,000-member Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees announced that it was boycotting all Scandic hotels in Norway, joining a wave of protests that started when the ban on Cuban guest became news on Thursday.