CBC British Columbia
Bob's Blog

Money Category

Souped Nuts

bc-cars-nixon-100711.jpgHere's are a few things I learned in the course of doing a story about customizing cars.  Most of the people who want to customize cars are men who have money.  Quite often, lots of money.  Quite often that means they are middle aged, and quite often they want to customize a car from their youth.  Quite often they choose a car that meant alot to them when they were young because of what happened inside it one night when the feeling was right.   Quite often this produced an intense memory that gives them great happiness whenever they recall it.  So as they age, and they get alot of money, they want to return to that happy time by customizing the kind of car that holds such importance in their lives.  A sentimental lot, car buffs. 

I confess that a 1962 Rambler American figures prominently in my own youthful memories.  But who customizes AMC cars?  That would be crazy!  Custom Cars icon_video.gif

No Chance?

bc-lotto-nixon-100625.jpgLike you, I am very, very disappointed that I did not win 50 million dollars over the weekend.  Yes, guilty as charged, I am one of those suckers who plunks down hard - well not so hard - earned money in the hopes of becoming filthy, stinking rich.  Believe me I would wallow in it.  I ignore all those who point out the odds are stacked against me even as I accept their truth that a win is almost impossible. 

But then, all kinds are of things are almost impossible - which is good in many cases.  Other things that are possible, far more possible than cashing in a jackpot ticket, still strike me as impossible because I am incompetent in most human endeavours.  I sensed a problem with exploring or even mentioning what those other things are because, superstitious fellow that I am, that seemed to reduce my hopes of winning the lottery even more.  After all, what are the chances of a reporter doing a story about long odds actually going on to be the one who beats them?  In my case, not good.  Long Shots icon_video.gif

Fine Paintings

bc-art-nixon-100526.jpgIt is one thing to go into an art museum and see some of the remarkable creations people have made throughout history.  But it is something else again to go to an Art Auction house and check out what is for sale.  That is quite an education to try to figure out why one painting might go for, say, ten thousand dollars and another for two million smackers.  Museums generally do not deal with such crass matters as what people think a painting is worth, at least openly. 

The Spring Heffel Art Auction in Vancouver was a wondrous opportunity to make such price comparisons.   Now that it is over, it seems that the Heffel Brothers surprisingly underestimated the demand for the works on offer.  That Bill Reid sculpture - featured in this piece - sold for more than $700-thousand, within their estimate.  But overall, buyers spent $23 million dollars on the 223 artworks, while the original estimate was between $12-to-$15 million.  Guess some people think the recession is over - or that the art market will outperform stocks. Art Auction icon_video.gif

Medal Money

bc-gold-bonus-030210.jpgOh it's a hard scambling life being an Olympic athlete.  Or most of them anyway.  Either they dip into savings, beg from Mom and Pops - a corporate sponsor or two helps as well -  or work to get some of that government Own the Podium or Excellence money that became available for the Olympics. 

But if they were lucky enough to win a medal - and those 26 medals for Canada translated into 88 individual winners - the Canadian Olympic Committee was passing out the cash.  A total of $1.61 million dollars this year to our athletic heroes who made the podium.  That compares with just over half a million given out to athletes at the Beijing Summer Games. 

Mind you, not every Olympic athlete needed the cash.  Take the men's hockey team - which if they were an NHL team have contracts that would exceed the league's salary cap by about $67 million.  U.S. dollars too, if you're counting.  

What to do, what to do with the dough the COC was passing out?  That's a question to take to the streets.  What do you think?  Olympic Green icon_video.gif


Olympic Berry

bc-cranberries-nixon-net.jpgWho does not want to make a splash at these Olympics?  I am not speaking here of mogul and half pipe skiers up at Cypress Mountain, where melting snow means splashes are possible but not desired.  No I am referring to that Holy Grail of all Olympic activies - marketing.  Even before the games begin, Vancouver is awash with billboards from the Olympic Committee thanking official sponsors for pouring big bucks into these games.  Call them good corporate citizens, but they clearly hope for a payoff in sales somewhere down the road.  There's no sin in that, I suppose.  Even poverty activists are using the games to highlight the ongoing housing, unemployment and social service problems the city faces.  There's no sin in that either.  From a marketing standpoint the Olympics help to focus the mind, offer up a stage that can be seen around the world.  But I ask you, is it a sin to use food to make such a marketing splash?  Not just a little bit, tons and tons of food.  Whatever you think, you have to admit, it's pretty good marketing.  Floating Cranberries icon_video.gif





Hey, an update on this one.  Turned out the current of the Fraser River as it empties half of British Columbia was too strong for the berry structure.  Yeah, I scratched my head on that one too.  But, not to worry, they found a football field that provides a nice green background.   Not quite so impressive, but that's showbiz.  It's big, it's red, it's big red cranberries!!! 

Let's Make a Deal

bc-combo-nixon-100127.jpgRemember the good old days when people spent hours on their computers trying to get their hands on Olympic tickets in the hopes of flipping them like so much Vancouver real estate?   The idea was that those tickets were gold, and big premiums to actual ticket prices were guaranteed.  Even Vanoc has got into the act, offering ticket holders a website where they can sell them.  Go to Craiglist and you will see thousands and thousands of tickets available.  And then there are the folks who have apartments and houses to rent, hoping for cash in during the games.  I'm sure some people are buying some of the tickets and renting some of the homes.  I'm no realtor, but it looks like an awful lot of supply is out there - and the clock is ticking down.  Then there's this guy pictured above - who thinks he's got the right package that just might find a buyer before the games. Combo Play icon_video.gif

Doggie Spa

As a kid, we had a black lab named Skipper.  She was so smart that when I told her to go get her dog food, she would race down to the basement larder and pick out the Dr. Ballards from amongst all the niblets, peas and other can choices.  Could she smell the food through the tin, or did she recognize that German Shepherd on the label?  I never knew - but neither did I ever reward her for her ingenuity.  

Times have changed, apparently.