Friday, September 21, 2018

Word(s) On the Street

My apologies for not posting for a bit, but I was off in London! (Doesn't that sound jaunty?)

Today's post is dedicated to my two amazing tour guides:
Looking lovingly at each other over Mary Wollstonecraft  Godwin's grave - the exact place where Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein and Godwin's daughter) was wooed by Percy Shelley.















While in London I did a lot of reading...ON THE STREETS!

The Brits are good about giving you kindly directions where ever you are:

On the walking paths:








Getting on or off the tube:










At the edge of every street crossing:

Opposite of what we are used to...
Particularly helpful ALL the time.











And their other signage is so civilized and polite as well:
Instead of EXIT
Instead of YIELD
They even affirm you via the sidewalk:
"Be More You"













Today's poem is a 'sign' of my appreciation to London:

head bent
eyes down
along the streets
words are found

"stay to the left"
"mind the gap"
both are hard
when reading a map

word on the street is
London's the best
lots of directions
for every guest
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Red Scare (Unexpected Flair!)

We were walking down the street the other day when we saw a large group of people all wearing bright red ball caps:







Immediately we thought, what the what?!? Please tell me that there are NOT 4 divisive words that correspond to the acronym MAGA on those hats...in Switzerland.

As we got closer, we saw that the front of the caps were blank (thank goodness).

















The group started to dance. In mass.

A flash mob. On one of the main street corners in Zug.

What's so remarkable about a flash mob in Zug is the Swiss don't do demonstrative. Or conspicuous. Or showy. From what we've observed the Swiss are generally a quiet, orderly, conservative culture. But this red hatted group boogied and clapped and whooped to loud music. In public.

Today's poem is a flash mob of dance moves:
leap
dip
waltz
skip

cha-cha
shuffle
hip-hop
hustle

swing
sway
strut
sashay

wiggle
clomp
quickstep
stomp

laugh
prance
together
dance
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Happy Go Clucky

Here in Switzerland, we have happy chickens.

And happy eggs.

 A sign along the path behind our neighborhood tells us so:
"Eggs from happy chickens"



















One thing I love about Switzerland is the signs all over the area educating the populous, local and foreign, about what is happening on the land around you.

Here is a sign about the local chicken/egg production in front of a farmer's hen house:
"Laying Hens..."

The top part of the sign translates to:
"More than 10 million chickens are kept in Switzerland, of which around 2.5 million are responsible for egg production.  The average egg consumption per capita in Switzerland is 180 per year. This means that one laying hen produces eggs for two (persons) per year. Self-sufficiency in table eggs in Switzerland was 75 percent."

Despite all the educational signs, the eternal question remains: which came first, the happy chicken or the happy egg?
Happy hens smiling.

The eggs look happy, don't they?
I may be accused of fowl (word) play with this poem, but I stand by it (literally):
A chicken dance...
chickens little
chickens big
Swiss hens have
a lucky gig
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.
                       

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Vending Machine Madness

The Swiss like their vending machines. And you can get just about ANYthing in a vending machine. A few months ago I told you about the Käseautomat (cheese vending machine), but over time we've discovered so much more can come out of a coin operated box in Switzerland!

Farm fresh milk:

Does a body good.
24/7
Pointing the way.
Catch-all "Products" have...
...so much to choose from including...

...eggs...
...potatoes...

...syrup...
...tomatoes...
...huckleberries...

...and jam!








And in Zug, being the land of cherries, we have cherry vending machines (Kirschenautomat) :
Not the best picture, but there are cherries in there...








But the Swiss are not all about farm fresh vending machines, they have the junk food ones, too:

















With some products you don't normally see in a vending machine in the US:
Just in case...
Having access to all these vending machines comes in handy on Sundays when grocery stores and restaurants are closed. You really never have the excuse to not have milk in the house...

Today's poem is about the surprising availability of food in and around our home here in Zug:
stores are closed
growly tummy
in search of
something yummy

we walk the paths
around our 'hood
ready to eat
something good

we stumble upon
machines with food
instant improvement
to our mood

a machine with milk
and veggies and fruit
dinner for three
via rural route
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Prague 2.0: Missing Persons

Sorry I've been away from the blog for a week, but we went to Prague last weekend to meet up with some very important people that we've missed:













But these are not the missing persons that I am referring to in my post title.

No, our mystery began after the above family members left town and Joe, Mo, and I were left to our devices for a day. After a quick Google search, Joe discovered that the Žižkov Television Tower in downtown Prague is a functional television tower that has an art installation (babies!) attached to it. Yes, please!
From across town.



















A quick trip on the Czech WAY underground subway system...
One of the cool walls at the subway stop.












...brought us to the tower:

 
View from underneath.

According to Wikipedia, "The structure of the tower is unconventional, based on a triangle whose corners are growing up in steel columns, consisting of three tubes with a double steel wall, filled with concrete. They support nine 'pods' and three decks for transmitting equipment. One of the three pillars extends considerably higher than the others, and this provides both the necessary height for some antennas, along with the structure's rocket and gantry appearance. The tower stands 216 metres (709 feet) high, altitude of the observatory is 93 m, the hotel room* altitude is 70 m, restaurants altitude is 66 m, with a capacity of 180 people. Three elevators transport passengers at a speed of 4 m/s. " 
*ONE hotel room!

But where are the babies??? Google promised us babies crawling up the tower!

"In 2000, ten fiberglass sculptures (3.5 m long, 2.6 m wide, and weigh approximately 150 kg) by Czech artist David Černý called "Miminka" (Babies), crawling up and down were temporarily attached to the tower's pillars. The sculptures were admired by many and were returned in 2001 as a permanent installation."

On the observation deck we saw a model of the tower we were standing in with the babies:
How cute is that?
But in real life there were NO babies!  

Apparently, for cleaning and structural checks, these Babies were removed from the tower in the fall of 2017, and they were scheduled to return to the tower in the spring of 2018, but they haven't been returned as of August 2018! Boo hoo!

Then we read that three replica babies (made of bronze, though) were located in Kampa Park. So off we went in search of the missing babies. After another subway ride and a long walk along the Vltava River we FINALLY found the missing babies:
My 'babe' next to a baby for scale.
Baby butt!





They were pretty awesome except for their faces...Mo was VERY disturbed by the "faces"...or lack there of:

















Our missing persons search ended up giving us a "baby steps" tour of Prague.
See what I did there?















Today's poem is not about babies, but about what it feels like to miss someone. Being halfway around the world has made the absence of loved ones very keen:
...I am a sock without a shoe.
...I am a cow without her moo.
...I am a detective without a clue.
...I am a stamp without the glue.
...I am a full bladder without a loo.
...I am a pigeon without its coo.
...I am a church without a pew.
...I am a ghost without its boo.
...I am the early morning grass without its dew.
...I am not my best

                                    ...without YOU!

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Target Practice

This post is kind of a Pee.S. to Friday's post...












I'm sorry to belabor the bathroom subject, but Joe encountered something in the bathroom here at work that he never saw in the US:
A "fly" in the urinal.



















The urinals are "equipped" with a painted on fly for "target practice":
Ready, aim...
...fire!

Apparently this is not unique to Switzerland, though it is "on target" with the Swiss cleanliness sensibilities. The Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam famously introduced "flies" to their urinals in the early 1990's to improve aim and lower cleaning costs, if you know what I mean. And it worked!

Anything can be used for target practice for men, but the fly seems to be the most effective. Psychologically men want to pee on things they don't like. If it was something pretty like a butterfly or ladybug, men might not aim directly at it. If it was a spider or cockroach, it might induce fear and make them not even stand there. The fly is universally disliked, but does not induce fear. The perfect target!

If you want your own fly guy you can buy it here at www.urinalfly.com. Seriously.

Women don't need a target to keep the bathroom clean. Just sayin'...

Today's poem speaks for itself...
What's that?
What do I see?
Next to the drain
staring up at me?

Could it be
a nasty ol' fly?
Ready...aim...
goodbye!

What happened?
Why's it not gone?
Target practice
for the john. 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Cleanliness Is Next To...

...Godliness.

That saying is nowhere truer than in Switzerland, where the Swiss take cleaning to the next level.

Case in point, public bathrooms (or WC (water closet), Toiletten, toilettes).

















Every public bathroom we've been in has been equipped with a toilet brush.

Every. One.

















Some take the cleanliness to the next level and provide toilet seat cleaner.

















But the best is when they give you explicit instructions on what to do...um, after you doo.

Even in English!



















I also love that they even have red dots on the sign to direct you exactly where to clean.



Today's poem is about the best possible thing I've overheard in a public bathroom:
a cheer and clapping

echoes off the bathroom stall walls

potty training success
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.