Monday, May 18, 2020

Pool noodles to fight COVID; Pandas fly home; the great lawn bowls revival; and Iceland rules Eurovision.



Pool noodle cafe

Blow-up doll restaurant patrons:

Iceland’s Eurovision song:






If the announcement on Friday that the AFL would finally restart on June 11 wasn’t indication enough that there is finally light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, the emergence of Australians from lockdown at the weekend – with parks full, shopping centres busy and the odd cafe and restaurant re-opening its doors only further added to the effect.  

But it’s not over yet. While Victoria announced cafes and pubs would re-open with a 20 person limit from June 1, Queensland said it had no plans to re-open its borders.

Which is in stark contrast to Italy, whose Prime Minister yesterday announced that despite being one of the countries in the world worst affected by COVID-19, it was planning to re-open to tourists.  


Speaking of re-opening … restaurant and cafe owners all over the world are grappling with how to restart their businesses while keeping patrons 1.5 metres away from one another. Hats off to the cafe owner in Germany who made a bunch of hats with a set of criss-crossed pool noodles stuck to the top of them – for her customers to wear and ensure they kept a healthy distance from one another. And a shout out too, to the restaurant owner in America who dressed up a bunch of blow-up human dolls and sat them in every second booth in her dining room to make the place look busier than it was. There are links to both ingenious innovations in today’s episode notes. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today, we’ve landed in Canada … where zookeepers at the Calgary Zoo have decided to put a pair of giant pandas on a plane back to their homeland of China.

For weeks now, since coronavirus restrictions have limited plane flights about the world, the zoo has been having trouble finding fresh bamboo to feed its resident pandas. They usually get fresh bamboo flown in from China, but that’s come to a screaming halt. Bamboo doesn’t grow easily on the icy tundras of Canada – and pandas eat nothing but bamboo. Like, 40 kilograms of it, per panda per day. They flew in bamboo from California, but the pandas didn’t much like the taste of that. And so – to ensure they have ready access to as much bamboo as their panda bellies can take, they’re going to be flown back to China. 




Lawn bowls … it’s a sport that you normally associate with your grandparents. But could it become the most popular sport to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic? At least that’s what the sport’s governing bodies are hoping – predicting that the fact players are almost always separated by a lawn green and there’s absolutely no contact involved, could mean the past-time that until now has been dominated by senior citizens, might just appeal to a younger crowd. Can you see yourself gently rolling a bowl down a green instead of strapping on the footy boots, putting on the cricket gloves or velcro-ing on the netball bib? No. Didn’t think so. 




Each year, some of the craziest bands and kookiest performers from around the world get together in a European city and battle it out in the Eurovision Song Contest. This year’s event had to be cancelled, because: coronavirus. But that didn’t stop Australians from holding our very own mini-Eurovision competition at the weekend – watching video clips on TV of each of the contestants and voting on our favourite. And the winner – according to Aussies – was Iceland … a band whose name I won’t even attempt to pronounce, but whose song ‘Think About Things’ is already a YouTube hit. And no wonder: the kids from Iceland – a country renowned for its attachment to all things kooky – have produced a song that is catchy and a video that is all kinds of nuts. There’s a link to it in today’s episode notes. 




 This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What is a German cafe attaching to customers’ hats to maintain social distancing? 
  2. What plant does the average panda eat 40kg of each day?
  3. Which country did Australia vote the winner of the Eurovision song contest?




Today’s birthday shoutouts… Sienna from Everton Hills, Emily and Vanessa from Sydney, Isabella from Wodonga, Hayley and Holly from St Ives, Alexis from Cairns, Nolan from Canterbury, Jamie from Turramurra, Oscar from Canberra, Jack and Alexander from Brisbane, Holly from Adelaide, Fleur from Marrickville, Hallie from Dee Why, Alex from Carina, Hafsah from Hammond Park, Alexis from Wahroonga, Quinn from Bicton, Oliver from Melbourne and James from Lilyfield. 

And some belated birthday shoutouts…Amalia from Ashmont, Harriet from Richmond, Jaylah from Oran Park, Rylee from Taree, Lucy from Sydney, Annabel from Northcote, James from Greensborough, Hamish from North Balgowlah, Nathaniel from Epping, Blake from Glendenning, Joanne from Prospect and George from Mosman Park. 

Happy birthday one and all.

Today’s classroom shoutouts… Class 4B at Patrick’s Road State School, Year 5 at All Hallows’ School, and Mrs Lucas & Miss Corcoran’s 2/3 class, who were inspired by Squiz Kids to start their own podcast.

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Pool noodles
  2. Bamboo
  3. Iceland