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Standing at the Svinov train station and looking up, I see the majestic architectural landmark towering over the train line. In the highly unlikely event that any of my friends came to Ostrava to visit me, the must-see attraction that I would want to show them would certainly be the Svinov Bridge – the most with the most. Not just a most, but mosty! Think about it. Have you ever stopped to consider just how many satisfied travellers visit it every minute of everyday?
Have you been good this year? Is Mikuláš going to give you some chocolate, or maybe some oranges? If so, best of luck to you. You don’t want the devil to give you a potato or, worse, a lump of coal do you? I do. That’s right, after consulting the devil’s economist I have dispensed with all morality and started to follow the stock markets.
This week I was startled to hear one of my students inform me that he and his family had dined on a Christmas feast of potato salad and frightened carp. After I realized what he had meant to say, and that I wasn’t just suffering from a fried circuit in my brain, I pondered the menace of frightening carp and felt compelled to offer the following advice.
Am ersten Mai gibt es vielerorts Maibowle, nach unterschiedlichen Rezepten zubereitet, aber immer mit Waldmeister. Maibäume werden aufgestellt, Spiele und Wettkämpfe darunter veranstaltet, in der Nacht zuvor haben sich die Hexen auf dem Brocken versammelt und die Walpurgisnacht gefeiert.
In our customs and traditions we tend to accept the use of the artificial to represent the actual; the fake in place of the real. How shocked we would surely be to attend a communion service and be offered anything other than the customary bread and wine. Would anybody call this unethical? Quite to the contrary. Who would be so unaccustomed to symbolism as to write a letter of complaint to their church objecting to the absence of real blood? Let’s not even go there.
Our school held its annual Graduates’ Ball recently, but I have to begin this story with my recollection of an occasion when, as a student, I had a summer job doing dangerous work for which the employer required us to wear Canadian Standards Association CSA-approved safety boots. For our safety, of course. When shopping you could easily identify approved safety wear by the affixed triangular green CSA label. One of my co-workers had bought a similar-looking pair of boots but the boss berated him for bringing bad boots; reprimanded him for having inappropriate footwear on hand… or on foot, rather; in fact, his boots, on closer inspection bore a sticker: “Warning: not suitable as safety boots!” Caveat emptor – buyer beware!