Photo: National Park České Švýcarsko

This week in Mailbox: identical entries to our monthly listeners' quizzes, response to last weekend's programmes, Radio Prague on satellite in North America, ticket inspectors on Prague metro. Listeners quoted: Mary Lou Krenek, Jaromir Hauzar, Jerry Fridrich, Thomas Straschnov, Kimsey Fowler.

It's Sunday again and that means we'll be quoting from your letters and trying and answer your questions here on Mailbox. At the beginning of last week's Mailbox, I spoke about multiple entries to our monthly competition. Since last Sunday, we have again received multiple identical answers from a couple of e-mail accounts as well as bulk entries from listeners' clubs.

I'm afraid this tactic does not increase anyone chances of winning and as of now, we will be taking into consideration only the first such answer to arrive. Of course, we happily accept entries from individual members of listeners' clubs, as long as they are not identical, simply copied and pasted. Hearing my note last Sunday, Radio Prague's listener in Texas, Mary Lou Krenek, got worried it might concern her and her friends.

"This is one of the few times I shared my entry with several others; only because it was about Madam Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Hopefully, they are not among the ones who resubmitted my entry as theirs. It was for information purposes to them. My sincere apologies if my entry was among those that was duplicated. I will refrain from sharing my comments with anyone in the future irregardless if this was the case this time."

Let me reassure you, I wasn't speaking about you last week and I didn't mean to discourage anyone from taking part in our monthly contests. We very much enjoy reading and quoting your entries, especially when they have a personal touch to them, and contain information that isn't so well-known. And that's also why identical entries are so frustrating to deal with. Anyway, on a more positive note, Jaromir Hauzar from Frankfurt, Germany, listened back to Dita Asiedu's Spotlight on the town of Ceska Kamenice.

Kamenice,  photo: National Park České Švýcarsko
"Believe or not, I spent a month there 'Ve skole v prirode' - at 'School in the Nature,' or what shall I call it - some time about 1953 when I was in the third class. Looking at the photo of the river Kamenice, I almost believe I recognise that tree. Anyway thanks for such a great report across the border to Germany! Hear you soon again on the radio."

I may have mentioned in some previous Mailboxes that the number of e-mails we get every month is steadily increasing. It has almost tripled in the last two years. Those letters contain additional questions about our reports, sometimes words of praise, sometimes criticism concerning the tone, the facts or typos and misspellings in the transcripts of our reports. And there are also certain e-mails which fall into a category of their own, among them letters from our reader Jerry Fridrich.

This week he responded to a Czech Books programme in which David Vaughan described the Czech poet Petr Borkovec and the Irish poet Justin Quinn as coming from different ends of Europe...

"Czech Republic at the end of Europe? Now which end are you talking about? North, South, West or East? Why don't you purchase a map of Europe? You'd find out on your own why the Czech Republic is generally considered to be located in the very heart of Europe! Even foreigners in the Czech Republic should know that much. So please buy the map, or better still (to save the money), consult any Grade 2 student. At the age of 8 they should be able to tell you."

Yes, quite, and at the age of 8 they also know the meaning of the word "metaphor"...

And in response to my Letter from Prague, Jerry wrote:

"What's the big deal about 1-hour change? When we travel across Canada or the U.S. we have to change the time by more than 1 hour (by up to 4 hours or more). The effects of a one-hour jet leg doesn't last for long. And if you have to get up say at 4 am during the summer and fall, then you have to get up at 4 am again during the winter and spring. The schedules don't change, do they? So what's the fuss all about? Doesn't the cable company adjust the time on the VCR for you?"

You may find it hard to believe, Jerry, but it doesn't. Nor does it do my washing and cleaning for me...

It doesn't happen very often that we receive mail in Czech. Even Czechs listening to Radio Prague here in the Czech Republic write their comments in English. But this e-mail came from Thomas Straschnov from California, written in Czech. This is what it says in an English translation.

"I just wanted to tell you that I listen to you via the Sirius satellite radio in my car in Los Angeles, which means your signal can be caught throughout the US and Canada. All subscribers to Sirius can listen to you on channel number 140 on World Radio Network. Thanks for your contributions and keep up the good work!"

And finally, Kimsey Fowler from the United States heard Letter from Prague by Emily Udell about ticket inspectors on Prague metro.

"For a many years the metro ticket police primarily checked the tickets of tourists. It all looked too much like a scam to get money from 'rich tourists', while Czech citizens' tickets went mostly unchecked. The tourist scam seems to have ended in the last two years... just when I had returned to the Czech Republic with a video camera to take video clips for my planned discrimination complaint to the European Union! I'm glad someone put a stop to picking on tourists. It was rude behaviour unbecoming to Czech people."

Thanks for that Kimsey, maybe it will make you feel better to know that I get checked every month and was fined once even though the inspector could see I had no time to validate my ticket since getting on a tram.

Thank you for all those letters and please keep them coming. Now we only have time left to repeat this month's quiz question:

We would like to know the name of the German industrialist, born in what is now the Czech Republic, who was honoured at the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel in 1963 as one of the Righteous among the Nations for his actions during WWII.

Your answers should reach us by the end of the month at [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic.