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Surrounded by vineyards and filled with atmospheric wine gardens, small, tourist-friendly Würzburg (just 70 minutes by train from Frankfurt) is easy to navigate by foot or streetcar. Today, one in five of its 130,000 residents are students – making the town feel young and very alive.

A favorite teaching trick of mine, in my work as a tour guide in Europe, is to build a Gothic cathedral out of tourists. It just takes 13 bodies: six columns, six buttresses, and a spire. Imagine the scene: raised arms creating pointed arches, plenty of space between the columns for stained glass, and the buttresses taking a step back to become flying buttresses … it's perfect. When the skinny spire muscles her way into the sky, and the skeleton of support stands strong, all involved will forever better understand the medieval genius of Gothic.

In 2021, just 10.3 percent of American workers were members of unions, less than half the proportion we had four decades prior. This collapse in union membership didn’t happen in Canada -- it occurred in the United States for reasons specific to this country, including unpleasant changes in labor law and the practices of corporations that have taken place here over the last 40 years.

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One hundred forty years ago, the first Labor Day parade almost ended before it began. On Sept. 5, 1882, thousands of union workers, police officers and gawking onlookers gathered at City Hall in lower Manhattan. Everything was in place, the route was set, and the marchers were ready to go, except for one problem: There was no band to lead the parade.

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In April 1909, the New York Highlanders' first baseman Hal Chase was hospitalized with smallpox near the team’s spring training site in Georgia. The rest of the squad — which would be renamed the Yankees in 1913 — took an overnight train to Richmond, Virginia, where the Highlanders were scheduled to play an exhibition game against a minor league team before the regular season started.

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The next few weeks I bet you will be attending a graduation ceremony — yours or a friend’s or a family member’s. In an earlier column, I shared my thoughts about the speeches given at those times. With a few changes, here is what I wrote.

Warning! The following column is clogged with gratuitous potty humor. If it’s a strain for you to read it, the CDC advises that you hold your …