Monday, December 20, 2004

Not a Zamboni blog.

Yesterday I mentioned that, as part of a stroll through Chicago’s new Millennium Park, we happened across a zamboni smoothing the ice of that park’s large ice rink, which is next to Michigan Ave. The seasonal touch was some joker dressed as Santa Claus, skating near the zamboni and sometimes hitching a ride on the machine by grabbing a handle and letting it pull him along.

I imagined a Tribune headline: Man Dressed as Santa Dies Under Ice-Smoothing Machine. And the Sun-Times headline: Zamboni Crushes Santa! And the Chicago Reader: Death on Ice: Why Did the City Let Kris Kringle Die Under a Zamboni? Ho-ho-ho. But as far as I know, the man went home safe that evening.

We watched as the zamboni tracked circles around the rink, leaving a thin sheet of water in its wake, which I suppose freezes in a smooth position. Just my guess at zamboni mechanics. I had to think about it because Lilly asked me why the machine was putting water on the ice. It was mildly hypnotic, watching the machine go round and round, hardly making any sound but a shoooosh, the operator (zambonist? zambonisto?) intend on keeping it on course like any pilot.

The machine said Olympia on its side, with a small Canadian flag inside the initial O. I looked it up later and it turns out that, technically, this ice-resurfacing machine wasn’t a Zamboni. Olympia is a brand by another manufacturer, Resurfice Corp. of Ontario – as Airbus is to Boeing, it seems that Resurfice is to Zamboni. Or maybe not, but I’m not going to waste the analogy. In any case, there are two major makers of such equipment, one American, the other Canadian. Useless information, but I like it.


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