Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – June 13th

Tez and I had the total pleasure of taking granddaughter Taylor to the fabulous Fat Cat festivities last weekend – and perhaps had even more fun than our three-and-a-half year old accomplice. The wonderful thing about being a grandparent is you can spoil the heck out of the grandchild and then send them home to mom and dad.At the end of the day, (which for us was about eight hours of parades, games, junk food etc.) it turned out that Taylor was less exhausted than Tez and I – a true sign that age is not on our side. The bonus is we have the pictures to prove how much fun we had in case our memory starts to fade as quickly as our energy level.Regardless, it was a total blast and organizers did another tremendous job of creating a fun filled day.That said, at the risk of perhaps upsetting a few folks, I must admit to being a little bit disappointed or at least surprised by the actual Fat Cat parade.I am fully aware of the volunteer factor involved and just how difficult it can be to organize a large parade, however three or four factors stick in my brain about the cavalcade of cars and clowns. Clowns or the lack thereof being one of operative words.My childhood recollection of great parades involved lots of floats, marching bands, and clowns – all three of which were in short supply at the recent event.Aside from Fat Cat and one or two stuffed mascots from businesses there were no clowns involved – short of one who sat in the driver’s seat of her car, plastered with advertising, and waved to the kids waiting longingly on the curb for some personal interaction.The only marching band was the always reliable yet certainly dwindling in number Kelowna marching band, who led off the parade (thanks for being there folks) while the only other memorable music of note came from a float entered by Wentworth House of Music.From a float perspective there were just two – the City of Kelowna and City of Penticton. The remainder of the parade consisted of cars, trucks, vans, or flatbeds boasting the names of businesses or corporations, all spewing out vehicle fumes for the crowd to consume. The commercialism heavily outweighed the community concept.However, most confusing was the number of parade entrants on bicycles representing various groups or sports, few to none of which wore helmets. I was shocked at how many youngsters and young adults were involved in the parade, often displaying their skills and tricks on bikes, sans some head protection.  Seems to me that not only was there an obvious liability factor at stake as well as a lack of logical messaging.It is illegal to not wear a bike helmet and considering the target audience was children – the wrong or lack of safety examples by not demanding entrants wear helmets seemed ironic.Everyone loves a parade – few more than me, however hopefully next year more floats and less commercialism might be nice. And for goodness sakes put a bucket on the bike riders.


Several weeks back I ranted about how a certain gas station was charging money for air for tires. On the good news side I have discovered a gas station that is wise enough to NOT charge you a loony to inflate a tire. The Chevron gas station at Highway 97 and Spall provides air free of charge. Thanks Spall Chevron for not holding my car tires hostage!


If you are looking for some real fine wine fun this weekend check out the Flip Flop on the Hill event hosted by the Fab Five Wineries in Kelowna.The event runs Saturday from 7:30p.m. until 11:30p.m. at the East Kelowna Community Hall. Enjoy an evening of wine, music and food. Funds raised at the event go towards supporting the hall itself, and the Kelowna Food Bank.Organizers are asking everyone to bring a non-perishable food donation for food bank. Tickets are available at all five wineries (Camelot Vineyards, Vibrant Vine, House of Rose, SpierHead Vineyards, and The View) or at the door. The event sold out last year so I suggest you get your tickets early. For more go to http://kelownafabfive.ca/archives/91


And so the battle lines are drawn and the generals and foot soldiers are massing.In the right corner (closer to centre than right but certainly not left) Christy Clark (of Point Gray) and the defending (offending?) champion Liberal Party. In the left corner, rookie challenger Carol Gordon (actually from Kelowna) of the NDP, and somewhere in limbo, with no real corner to rightfully claim but hailing from Penticton, Sean Upshaw of, well, the Conservative Party – at least for this month.Let the brawl begin.Just when you thought you had heard the last tasteless advertisement, or saw the last ugly election sign, the by-election to give our reigning Premier a second chance to keep her job has been set for July 10.If Queen Christy had visions of simply ascending to the role of Kelowna-Westside MLA without a fight – those dreams are now dashed. The question is – will it actually be an election contest or just another waste of taxpayers’ time and money.There are a variety of analogies plausible with this latest election scenario, however when it comes to B.C. politics one thing is for sure – nothing is for sure.Some experts suggest if the public wanted to make a real statement and kick Christy to the curb then there should only be one opponent running against her. You may believe that single opponent should be either the NDP or the Conservatives thereby not splitting the vote so that the Liberals climb up the middle.Still others suggest the lone combatant should be an independent that many voters could then support as a protest vote and do so with a clear conscience.Regardless, the sporting aspect of it all is that at least Clarke is not getting a free ride without a bit of a fight.I still maintain a very high profile independent could actually turn the trick and tip this province on its head big time. However, that’s rather unlikely.Of course, now that I have suggested it won’t happen, wait for it to actually take place.Once again – only in B.C.


Speaking of fights and finals, should any fans be surprised that game one of the best of seven Stanley Cup final round went into triple overtime Wednesday night?If the opening salvo is any indication the Boston-Chicago final could easily go to seven games.While my heart is with Boston it is simply neat to see two of the original six NHL teams battling for hockey’s Holy Grail – even if it is mid June.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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