Vice Squad
Friday, July 01, 2005
Vienna Vice

I am in Vienna, and I wanted to share one vice vignette. You know that Ferris Wheel that played a role in the movie The Third Man? Well, as you approach the Wheel from the tramstop or subway station, you walk along a path in a sort of park-like setting. There are a series of warning signs that dot the side of the path. The signs are in some foreign tongue, but fortunately they come complete with an English version for language-limited folks like me. What is the danger being warned of? Just what you would expect, of course: illegal gambling. Really. The signs say "Beware of Illegal Gambling." I have been quite wary of wayward dice ever since I read the warnings. (I suspect that, when the weather is nice -- not like today, that is -- some three-card monte cons are conducted along the path.) In an unrelated note, near the Ferris Wheel is a spherical home that belongs to its own Republic -- it is not part of Austria, apparently. I will endeavour to learn more. Not sure that it takes the same lax view of soft drugs for which Copenhagen's 'free city' of Christiania is famous. [Update: It's the Republic of Kugelmugel, with one citizen, who is, like many revolutionaries, a tax protestor, it seems.]

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