Art & Culture
December 21, 2020

Granville Street, 1911~Christmas Gift Pieces~”Be Sensible Give Furniture”


The D. A Smith Furniture Company appears on Vancouver’s  Granville Street and moves into a “larger” premises at 931 Granville Street in 1911. Here is the Christmas advertising that was first used, with the admonishment

“Every year we notice an increase in the number of odd pieces sold at Christmas time. People are coming around to the proper idea of Christmas giving. If you feel you want to make somebody a present, why, be sure and give something that will be useful as well as ornamental”.



Even this early there is the start of a business association with co-operative Christmas advertising appearing in the Vancouver Sun in 1912 with gift suggestions for “Father, Mother, Wife, Husband, Boy, Girl and Baby”. All the suggestions of gifts were from local Granville and Hastings Streets businesses.

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Coincidence? The Turner Movie Channel plays the full version of 2001: A Space Odyssey on the weekend, the 1968 classic film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Then right on cue a strange, large metal monolith, remarkably similar to the one featured in the 52 year old film is discovered in public land desert in Utah,nestled into a canyon. Of course there were no footprints around the 12 foot (3.6 metre) monolith, but there it was, found by wildlife officials counting bighorn sheep from a helicopter in an undisclosed “remote south-eastern area” of Utah.

As the BBC reports, the helicopter crew landed to take a look at the upright plinth, and scrambled down to its location where it had been placed in a carefully cut rock. They did touch the monolith, and it did not set off any response to summon alien beings.

The Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau tried to be in the fun  zone in their statement “It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from.”

Fearing that people would find the perfect covid pandemic activity of trying to trek into the location of the monolith, the department has made it a big secret.

It did not take long for sleuthers on Reddit to figure out where the monolith was located, and they even established it had been placed there in 2016.

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We’ll put this under ‘Walking and Dancing.’

The principle at Xi Guan Elementary School, Zhang Pengfei, introduced his students to shuffle dancing  as a way to both provide some outdoor exercise for his students and to amuse them with a distraction from phones and computers. Undoubtedly Chinese: the principle leads and barks orders, the students are perfectly synchronized, the dancing is both comical and disciplined – and when you look at the kids, it seems charming as well as fun and healthy. (Click on title for video.)


“The dance is called the Melbourne shuffle, or shuffle dance, that originated in Australia in the 1980s. With energetic steps, it is becoming a new form of “square dance” occupying China’s urban spaces from parks to plazas and a popular pound-losing exercise for many elderly and middle-age Chinese.

What a blending of cultures.  Very West Pacific.


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NPR’s Reese Oxner reports on another whale of a tale that just happens to be true~a public art installation of whales’ tails stopped a derailed train from falling into water, causing a greater disaster.

Architect Maarten Struijs worked for the City of Rotterdam starting in 1981 and has an array of public buildings to his credit, including the Blijdorp station on the new Metro Train line. He designed the playful whale tale sculpture to be placed in water two decades ago, and was surprised that the plastic structure held up when the metro train ran on top of it. The train was approximately ten metres above ground when it ran through the shock system designed to keep the train on the  elevated track. The train was vacant of passengers at the time and had one operator on board.

Surprisingly the sculpture installed in 2002 is called “Saved by the Whale’s Tail”. The sculpture is located at the  Akkers station in Spijkenisse, a town of 72,500 people  near Rotterdam.

It’s no surprise the safety officer for the area expressed what everybody has been thinking~”Thank God the tail was there.”

This is the latest in the series of auspicious fish tails, including the Hedlington Shark which was installed in Oxford England.  In 1986 Bill Heine installed a 400 pound 25 foot tall headless shark on his row house as a protest against how his theatre business  was being treated by the town council.

The good citizens of Oxford were apoplectic about this shark among the roofs, and as  this web page on the Hedlington Shark attests  the local Oxford city council sprung into action.

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