I confess that this Olympic welcoming of the world thing is turning out to be much more comprehensive an operation that I expected. It is not just all the temporary pavilions popping up on every parking lot. That did not surprise me. It's the smaller changes. Stuff disappears - like garbage bins (remember the Atlanta '96 bombing?) - and stuff appears - like clear plastic garbage bags. Pizza sized round country flags are appearing on sidewalks, and signs directing people to venues make their way to lamp posts. In the eternal construction site that is Vancouver, changes to the city might no longer surprise. But it can sometimes confuse. Witness the guy whose job is to put up some of those new signs on Vancouver streets. Welcome Guy
Science World may be closed until March the eighth - but the show must go on for its annual Iron Science Teacher competition. If you, like me, did not know there have been previous contests to choose the most informative and entertaining science teaching team in B.C., then have no fear! Because - our top camera crews here at CBC managed to track down this year's event, not through deductive reasoning or wild guesswork. No folks, we simply followed the instructions on the press release which directed us to the MacMillan Space Centre - also known as the planetarium. Iron Science Teacher
I have never admitted this to anyone in the past decade or so, but I may as well come clean for the sake of a blog intro. Back in the 1970s, when I was just a wee jasper, I really liked slam dancing. When the Damned were playing over the speakers, there was nothing quite like bashing into some other fellas on the dance floor who also did not know any real moves. It satisfied some inner need to avoid the humiliation that I believed would ensue when a woman turned down my invitation to dance. Ahh, youth. Such fond memories!
If only the Streb Extreme Action Company existed back then. I could have bashed my body for art, and maybe been a better man for it. 30 years on, this still looks like fun.
I know it was only an exhibition game, played on a Monday afternoon in a rink that did not have many seats. But some might find it surprising how few people came out to see Canada's gold medal men's sledge hockey team take on Korea's national team. Those who did show up watched one heck of a match - and one can see why Canada is the class of the world at this remarkably fast and skillful game. By the way, the Canadians swept all three games against Korea.
What Canadian has not made at least one snowman during their lifetime? Even if you live in Vancouver, the winter generally provides ample opportunities to play with snow and ice. Not so much this year, but as the Olympic folk keep reminding us, the snow is not over yet. But one group of folk have been working in sub-zero temperatures for more than a month - right here in the lower mainland - creating a unique Olympic display. It about coloured ice for a giant painting at Richmond City Hall. I did not understand it either, so I headed down to see what was going on. Ice Art
No doubt you have heard all the warnings about the traffic schmozzle Vancouver expects during the Olympics. Road closures, tons of tourists, oh it can make a commuter's blood boil just thinking about it. The solution? Well, there is none. But the city of Vancouver is spending 100-thousand bucks on metal bike parking racks and offering a free valet service to cyclists during the games. Think of the luxury, folks, when you drop that two wheelers off, dust off the tuxedo and head off to the Gold Medal game. Olympic Bike Service
We've all heard about how a dog year is equal to seven human years. They just age faster than us, they die sooner than us. People who love dogs keep replacing them one after the other, sometimes giving the new one the same name as the old one. But what happens when an old dog just keeps getting older? Well, that's the focus of this story. And I should mention - that I wrote the story on a Wednesday and it ran on TV on a Thursday. Why is that important? Because - in the strange coincidence department (see next story) - Otto the World's Oldest Dog - died on the same day we showed this story on TV. (We only learned of it on the Friday) Oldest Dog?
I'm not going to give away the punchline on this one. But let's just say it's in the same vein as the story about a fellow who leaves his town, travels half way around the world, moves into a house and discovers his next door neighbour used to be his next door neighbour in the first town. I'm talking about coincidences, friends. Strange little symmetries that make us scratch our heads and say "hmmm, that's odd". Or "My, what a remarkable coincidence." Usually it means nothing - and that's certainly the case here. But still, I find coincidences fascinating all the same. Don't you? Odd and Fascinating
Vancouver's Tourist Board has issued a 10 point list suggesting how people can become good hosts to the tens of thousands of tourists who will arrive for the Olympics next month. It's a good idea, since many of those tourists will have no idea where anything is, so helping them out is a very friendly thing to do. That is providing we know more about the Olympics than they do. I went to find out just how Olympic informed our citizens are. The results - well what do you think? Venue Confusion?
I wonder how many of us had New Year's resolutions that included pressure washing the mould and muck off the back fence. That's some big job. But not nearly as big as the one a fellow I ran into had. Cleaning the entire side of a building of decades worth of grime, all because of one night's worth of grafitti. But this was no garden variety tagging. It was Olympic sized. Graffiti Be Gone