CALGARY -- The surest way to stir up an argument here is not to call Calgary a cowtown or impugn the good name of Alberta grain-fed beef. No, if you are spoiling for a fight, just say the word. Chinook.
"Chinook? This isn't a Chinook," our cab driver said the other night.
But the temperatures were in the 50s, snow was melting. What do you call this?
"Warm weather," he sniffed. "With a Chinook, the winds pick you up off your feet."
I passed on this intelligence to one of the Olympic volunteers. "Who told you that about the winds?" he asked. "That's just not true. See for yourself, no howling winds."
Clearly, a Chinook is what you make it.
At an athletes' breakfast outside McMahon Stadium, one man in line for pancakes said he was glad the Chinook was gone. "I hate those damn Chinooks," he said. "They give me a headache."
Headache? "They just do. I'd rather it was cold."
One thing everyone agrees about: The Chinooks leave some serious dirt in their wake. As the warm winds blow through, they melt the snow and, in place of drifting snow, you have drifting dirt.
But before you get the drifting dirt, or howling winds, you get the Chinook arc. Sunday, the sky was divided equally between clouds and blue, a sure sign of a Chinook. I think.