Don’t Dance

The fun police are on the beat The Urban Well in Kitsilano has been sold and will now become a sushi joint. Apparently there are still some fish out there raw and ignorant of rice. Thankfully Vancouver has another chance to address this issue.

On dozens of occasions over the last 10 years Vancouver liquor board inspectors, both openly and in covert operations, have infiltrated the Urban Well restaurant/bar/joint to discover people holding glasses (but no napkins!), drinking at the bar, walking about, or allowing their bodies to move in a rhythmic manner. In a world gripped by war, terrorism, global warming, drought and famine, corporate skullduggery, and racial/religious/class hatred, human beings will still blindly strain to eke out a little joy. Fortunately, Vancouver has the moral fibre to quash such displays of humanity.

Reading a number of the liquor board’s reports over the years between 2001 and 2004 is all the entertainment one needs. “One [covert] inspector testified that a staff member [of the Urban Well], who she identified by name, told her the liquor inspectors were present and referred to them as “persistent little buggers.”
Another inspector testified that at one point she was “accosted by a male patron who appeared to have had too much to drink, who asked her why she was on her own and if she wanted to dance.”
Insolent bastard! Obviously, he was a criminal, probably an “unreconstructed Communist.” That is to say, an al Qaeda terrorist.

On another occasion, after the inspectors had “consumed a fruit martini each… and… shared a pizza,” suddenly a spotlight was turned on, directed at a stage, which was very disconcerting. “One inspector testified he felt his safety was jeopardised.”
The inspectors were very observant.

“Upon entering they noted a male and female couple dancing… neither were wearing jackets. The inspectors described the music as “rock-and-roll style.” The duty manager of the Well that evening “could not have failed to see the two patrons dancing [and] did nothing to prevent the activity.”

Had the man never seen WWF Slapdown? It’s not like anybody was sitting on any of the chairs provided.

With Wink having gone down—though admittedly an end brought about by its owners rather than anything the city had done—the Butchershop, and a long time ago the Sugar Refinery did the same, Vancouver will soon be ready for its glorious fate: To be made into a gigantic park for senior citizens to sit about in feeding pigeons! Already three million new pigeons have been ordered from the Non-Partisan Association Pigeon Factory, along with three million more senior citizens so each pigeon will enjoy sufficient and loving attention.

Our Dynamic Leader has stipulated all expressions of human joy must be appropriately licensed and regulated down to the barest minimum—one—if this World Class City is to shuck its nickname No Fun City and embrace its new moniker, Miserableburg!

The so-called improv “comedy” regulars have already found themselves a new base of operations at Chivanas restaurant nearby. Our inspectors will need new, darker glasses, and bigger hats to resume surveillance.

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Costumes for VIPS

Halloween is a time when we all get to pretend to be something we’re not, to be ghouls and devils and fairy princesses. Politicians, however, spend their entire careers pretending to be something they’re not—honest, helpful, sober. And most them already are ghouls, spooks and devils, creatures of the night that spend every day of the year in human being costumes. So what fun is Halloween for them? It’s not fair. They can’t even let themselves enjoy the cocaine. Er, candy. So Only, in sympathy for these poor, suffering monsters, is making a few costume suggestions so our leaders can enjoy prowling the shadows of our crumbling society’s streets as much as the corridors of power.

Bill Clinton
That crazy outburst of Ex-President Bill Clinton’s on Fox last week had nothing to do with Chris Wallace’s needling him on Osama. It was a full moon that night, y’see, and Bll had just finished watching Teen Wolf starring Michael J. Fox, and there he was on Fox, and things were getting kind of hairy, and it all just kind of came together into an angry mess. Bill needs to exercise his inner teen wolf, just like a certain wolf exercised a certain teen in the Oval Office a few years ago, y’know what we’re sayin’? Also, Bill has the hairiest body since Grover Cleveland, and we’re not just talking presidents here. Incidentally, did you know the only reason they let Cleveland into the White House a second time was so he would clean up his leftover sheddings?

Fidel Castro
Sometimes the magic of Halloween costumes lies in their simplicity. The beard was already a cinch; just pop on a top hat and voila. Not only would this costume be perfectly politically ironic, but Castro would also be a good guy to invite to a party because since there’s no candy in Cuba, all the children get bottles of rum as they go door to door. Unfortunately, he would also probably spend the entire party explaining the irony that he had escaped more attempts on his life at the hands of American assassins than Lincoln had spent years as President before he was shot.

Hugo Chavez
This leftist “oil pimp” was easy. He’s more of a Venezualan celebrity than he is a president. His flamboyant charisma has skyrocketed his talk show ‘Aló Presidente’ to hieghts only rivaled by CSPAN. So to best present his sense of popularity but enigmatic personality Only suggests Hugo go as Mr. Snuffleupagus. Back when Sesame Street was made by communists and homosexuals Senor Snuffleupagos shared similarities to Chavez’s own political approach: If Sesame Street was the world, then the grown ups (The Capitalists) never believed he existed, but the children (everyone else) knew he did.

Dick Cheney
Now, many of you might be saying “Dick Cheney as the Phantom of the Opera is an easy costume choice.” They’re both deformed, pasty faced, and lurk in shadows mumbling, but you’d be missing the fact Dick has an incredible pair of lungs. Sunday mornings the halls of the White House ring with Dick’s arias reverberating from the showers in the North Wing, with George picking up the colouratura soprano with the trembling vulnerability of a contrata eunuch boy dropping a bar of soap. Beautiful.

Vladimir Putin
We’d like to see Vlad dress up as a lump of ginseng. Apparently at the Kremlin, they bottle his breath as a health tonic, and when the Russian president walks by his assistants’ eyes start to tear up. Ginseng was an easy choice because all he has to do to pull it off is make a grumpy face, paint himself turnip coloured (in Russia known as “The Other Potato”) and walk around naked. Naked doesn’t make him look more ginseng-like, it’s just his thing. Who’s going to point it out to him? The last person—some journalist—made mention of his naked Tom Cruise costume last year, and she regretted it.

Sam Sullivan
Originally we thought “Professor X from X-Men!” because we love any superhero whose costume includes a woollen blanket. But we didn’t want to make him shave his head—people might mistake him for the Dalai Lama. Finally we decided on Dr. Stephen Hawking. They are both galactic geniuses, and give lengthy speeches that eventually sound like someone beating a xylophone made up of hog-tied frogs.

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Stephen Harper

A nation overflowing with sausages

President Stephen Harper wants more guns, less art, no gays, and all the kids to go to Afghanistan and protect America by making them hate Canada more. Only doesn’t think King Steve goes far enough. If Canada really wants to be a playa on the international stage we have to reverse decades of being responsible, trustworthy, caring, peaceful pussies. Here is nearly a decade of gems and a bit of spit and polish.

On Human Rights Commissions:
“Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society… It is, in fact, totalitarianism” (BC Report Newsmagazine, January 11, 1999).
If human rights are totalitarian, the obvious solution is single people out for their skin colour, eye colour, age, ethnic origin, sex, sexual preference, economic stature, height, skull shape, and toe quantity, and imprison or kill them so we can all be free to follow the rules better.

On Starving Orphans:
Back in 1997, possibly while dressed as Fagin for the Missisauga Paladium’s Christmas pantomime Oliver Twist: Lust for Gruel, Harper boasted:
“These proposals included cries for billions of new money for social assistance in the name of “child poverty” and for more business subsidies in the name of “cultural identity.” In both cases I was sought out as a rare public figure to oppose such projects” (The Bulldog, National Citizens Coalition, February 1997).
The poorest children should be made into sausages to feed the second poorest children for one year. If those children don’t pull up their bootstraps and make something of themselves they should be made into hamburger for the third poorest children. And so on, until we reach the richest kids. Children of millionaires should feed billionaires and children of billionaires should feed trillionaires, until all of Canada’s young people are zillionaires.

On Western Canadian society:
“You’ve got to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings… are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettos and who are not integrated into western Canadian society” (Stephen Harper, Report Newsmagazine, January 22, 2001).
No, really, kill everybody. This one’s solved already. Moving on! Next!

On Killing Everybody but Americans in the Name of Peace:
“While there are Canadians who oppose the invasion, they are a minority, as are those who are anti-American. It certainly exists. But in fairness, there’s an anti-American sentiment among the American left in the United States itself. We have some of that here. But that’s a minority sentiment… I believe very strongly the silent majority of Canadians is strongly supportive” (Halifax Daily News, April 4, 2003).

It’s true. Once everybody is dead, Canada will be a greener, more
peaceful place for the Americans to visit and build homes. Once Americans live here instead of Canadians this will be a glorious, tax-free paradise, overflowing with sausage and fresh compost. If we didn’t want this we wouldn’t have voted for him, or we would be marching on Ottawa demanding change. This is what we want. A Canada for the future. A Canada fit for all Canadians who aren’t fit to be here. Amen.

One more, just to show we are completely sympatico with the maple syrup prime mini on at least one thing.

On Kittens and Democracy:
“I think people should elect a cat person. If you elect a dog person, you elect someone who wants to be loved. If you elect a cat person, you elect someone who wants to serve” (Interview with Kevin Newman, Global National April 5, 2006).

Amen amen.

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Broken Windows In The City Of Glass

Kim Kapri

One woman’s vision

A young friend of ours was biking through the Strathcona bike route last week when a frantic male voice yelled out to her: “Hey you! Stop!” Ignoring Mr. Potential Rapist, our friend kept on riding.
That’s when a Vancouver Police Cruiser roared past her, cut her off, and forced her off her bike by driving her into a parked car.
Two cops jumped out screaming, “You’re under arrest!”

“What the hell? Why? What for?” our friend asked.

“For failing to come to a complete stop and fleeing the scene,” said the cop.

“This is because of Kim Capri, isn’t it?” our friend said.

“Broken Windows,” admitted the cop,

Apparently caught out by the Kim Capri reference, the cop merely gave our friend a $109 ticket but didn’t arrest her.

Kim Capri, one of the brand new City Councilors, is a proponent of the Broken Windows theory as argued in the book Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by criminologists George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles. It’s a law and order argument whose title asserts that if you leave a window broken, the wall will become vandalised, and subsequently attracting squatters who will live there for nine months until they have their babies that will further contribute to the problem. However, if you fix the window, other people will see this and fix their own windows and walls, prosperity will ensue and squatters will sniff out a broken window in a different town.

It’s a great theory for city councilors and cops because it creates lots of non-threatening incidents: harassing jaywalkers, street kids, helmetless bikers and the likes in the bad part of town but it doesn’t require the solving of any root problems—that’s for the invisible hand of the Broken Window to do. Dealing with root problems are expensive and require soul-searching and souls are in short supply at City Council these days.

The idea that arresting jaywalkers on Hastings will ultimately, Rube Goldberg-like, make up for the utter lack of services for mentally disturbed people, the humiliation towards First Nations people, and the crushing poverty that inhabit the Downtown Eastside is ridiculous. In fact, if the rumoured increase in welfare to $800 is true, putting a little bit of cash in people’s hands will positively transform the DTES far more than the baton. The salaries of 100 yet-to-be-hired cops easily gives 2000 people on welfare a $300 per month raise.

Weirdly though, the staff at City Hall and our condo developing overlords loathe Broken Windows. They read the competing book The Rise of the Creative Class by social theorist Richard Florida.

Florida’s theory is so much nicer—for developers and yuppies. It states that cities that have bike paths, eclectic arts scenes, outdoor cafes, and tolerance to the marginalized attract a better sort of folk, the kind of folk who like bike paths, eclectic arts scenes, outdoor cafes, and tolerance to the marginalized. Florida believes they tend to be better educated, have better jobs, and ultimately better incomes to buy the narrow, shimmering tower dream.

Broken Windows people want the Whitecaps stadium. The Creative Class doesn’t care. The Creative Class wants festivals in parks. Broken Windows people want everything shifted to entertainment ghettos like Granville Street or the new High Art district around the Queen E. where exuberance can be contained. The Creative Class just wants to be able to drink until 4am. Actually, everyone wants that.

Where will these two worlds collide? Cops descending on Yaletown or Kitsilano or Coal Harbour to induce people to shape up will result in a quick, discreet phone call to City Hall for an order to back off. Eventually only the Downtown Eastside will be the beneficiaries of enforced civility. If that means constant police harassment and chronic underfunding of social services, well, what else is new?

The Rise of the Creative Class & Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities are just two of the many magical worlds you can find at your local library. Reading is fundamental.

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Free Love Is Expensive

The Georgia Straight's SUV gets 20MPG

Burn more bras

As Marcel Proust wrote in À la recherche du temps perdu, nostalgia is a rat bite on your crotch.

Nowhere is a more throbbing example than the Hippie Daze, a Kitsilano festival held during the second to last Saturday in August. In the late 60s and early 70s, Vancouver was a centre of excellence in Hippie science. They created Greenpeace, rioted in Gastown over pot, prevented a freeway from razing Gastown and Strathcona, and fucked each other at Be-ins until the herpes sores crusted over their nostrils and they either died or birthed you.

Kitsilano was where they all lived. Hundreds of huge, old houses were essentially abandoned by responsible parents who moved to the suburbs to raise their kids—leaving these monster homes in the hands of the Hippie. Some of them stayed for years, eventually getting jobs, raising families, buying the houses and eventually, in the ultimate betrayal, taking a bath. These people now own million dollar houses.

Hippie Daze is their way to relive their youth. Fourth Avenue is closed between Burrard and Vine to present a display they prefer to see: a stage with 50s music blasting, hula-hoopers hooping, and classic cars parked in the middle of the street. A giant sidewalk sale down each side keeps the crowd in the proper frame of mind.

Saying that Hippie Daze betrays everything Hippies ever believed in is too trite to deal with. That it is nonsensical requires a modicum of self-awareness that even David Suzuki wearing a David Suzuki Foundation jacket is incapable of.

Diagonally across town, the Storyeum has filed for protection from their creditors. Storyeum, the five-level theatre below the ground under a parkade in Gastown has spent $22 million to show, er… nobody, the musical history of British Columbia from the First Nations to the gold mining town of Barkerville to the creation of Expo to the opening of the Storyeum.

The quality of the show at Storyeum isn’t in question—you haven’t seen it either. It’s the idea that rather than actually going to a First Nations cultural centre, people believe there is a need for some Studio 58 grads to Ho-de-do a song about the creation myth; that rather than seeing the ghost town of Barkerville, people see a need to recreate it 40 feet below the earth, rather than visit an art gallery or the Art Gallery, people may prefer an accapella ode to Emily Carr.

The crime Hippie Daze and the Storyeum are guilty of, besides terrible taste, is to create a fake reality that distracts from a far better but less commercial reality. Car Free Day on the Drive attracted five times more people than the Hippie Daze Car Show and Sidewalk Sale. Protesters sent a freeway to hell thirty years ago, their modern counterparts plan to have the Gateway project join it. A five-level theatre slowly goes bankrupt below the ground under a parkade in Gastown. If this isn’t the age of Aquarius, what else could it be?

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We invited the world but got developer Disneyland

Expo 86, Vancouver’s Worlds’ Fair, admitted its first visitor twenty years ago, May 1st. Something like four years in the making, its official legacies are BC Place Stadium, Skytrain 1.0, the convention centre, the dropping of “It’s in Canada” when explaining where you live when visiting overseas, and the kick-start to Vancouverism, the new model of urbanism we have been told we are proud of.

Although, BC Place will probably be deflated after the 2010 Olympics for more condos, Skytrain and the convention centre both continue to be expanded two decades after their creation, a testament to innate usefulness. Vancouver’s debut into society and the sell-out of our own citizens for real estate is cause for more debate.

Expo took place on the False Creek waterfront between Main Street (The Science World structure was built for Expo) and Burrard. Previously, all that land had been warehouses, sawmills and railyards. (The Georgia Street viaduct is called that because what is now Tinseltown and the Stadium Skytrain was a huge railyard. A viaduct is a bridge over railway tracks, btw,.)

Rather than a showcase of Canadian technology and culture in the Expo 67 vein or as a great amusement park in the Disney/Six Flags style, it was a middle of the road affair, consisting of small buildings with trade show displays of participating countries and a Playland-like midway. The cultural events were exactly what you expected: Anne Murray, Loverboy, Kenny Loggins, etc. The exception was the Kodak Theatre.

The Kodak Theatre was the outdoor, 5000 seat theatre that Vancouverites dream of today. It was to be the host of the “Festival of Independent Recording Artists” from Vancouver and across Canada. Opening night featured the Vancouver punk band Slow whose set caused Expo management to cut the power. Chaos ensued. A Slow member mooned the audience. The entire series was cancelled. The mooner, for the record, was Big Hamm now of Canned Hamm. But that’s all forgotten now.
After the six-month long fair ended, the Province dismantled the site, spent hundreds of millions of dollars detoxifying it after a century of industrial use, and sold it in one block to Hong Kong billionaire Li Ki Shing for $320 million. Li gave it to his son as practise for his real development plans in Hong Kong.

Expo is now touted as the catalyst that transformed Vancouver from a small city in the middle of nowhere to the sophisticated, cosmopolitan city we hear about but can’t quite see.
What we do see is property values gone mad, driving low and middle incomes out of the city. Who asked for this? Had residents been asked in 1982 if we wanted a city that you could not live in in 20 years, that has closed down every neighbourhood grocery store, that has moved all jobs in which one works with their hands to the suburbs, would we have voted yes? This result was not random chance—City Hall planners and private developers made it this way. Vancouver was designed to be the exclusive neighbourhood for the elite of the Lower Mainland with the wealthy and the powerful in the city and the workers and the marginal incomes out of sight. What was magical is that it worked far beyond anyone’s dreams.

Expo did result in a few positive things besides a few buildings: by clearing out people living in Downtown Eastside hotels to make room for tourists and, ooops, killing a few, the upcoming Olympics have to abide by stronger laws in that area.
Also, previous to Expo, you couldn’t drink on Sunday. And closing time was earlier. Expo officials were embarrassed by this parochial attitude and had the law changed temporarily. But we still have it, and have even extended them.

But ultimately, the legacy of Expo wasn’t worth it. The towers are shiny and tall and slender but, if you remain true to yourself, you’ll never live in one.

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Holy Blood

Phoney balogna

Everything in this week’s Last Stand is true.
Jesus rode into a Greek restaurant, ordered grappa all round, knocked around a piñata with his mates, ‘The Disciples’, then everybody formed a conga line out to Golgotha where they put on a tightly rehearsed cabaret ending with Christ hanging from a cross. In the morning Jesus and Mary Magdalene waved goodbye, swapped addresses with their cheering friends, and rode off on a donkey to their honeymoon in France. Kids, middle-age spread, and eventually a history-moulding secret society devoted to placing a crazy old man named Pierre Plantagenet on the Merovingian throne of 20th century France. And the world.

And the right wing glee club of the Catholic Church, Opus Dei (The Work of God) employs albinos to kill people. And Leonardo DaVinci, besides being a gay, transsexual anarchist, has hidden countless dithering clues in his work with the express purpose of making Audrey Tautou run around a lot and breathe heavily. And Tom Hanks looks convincing in a ponytail.
All true.

The Catholic Church, ancient repository of wisdom and the words of Our One True Lord Jesus Christ, is enraged. Such secrets to let loose on a credulous, almost child-like public! Folks were just starting to swallow the one about the walking on water bit again!
Author Dan Brown’s second novel featuring semiotics and symbology of art prof Robert Langdon, tapped into a swelling zeitgeist of millenarianism and New Cynicism and created a publishing phenomenon. Coming on for four years at number one on the New York Times and Globe and Mail bestsellers lists, amongst others, the book has sold well in excess of 30 million copies in hardcover. Poorer readers complained, “when is it coming out in paperback?” then forked out large bills anyway. Now, to coincide with the inevitable film release, a March soft cover release had been set.

In 1980 three journalists/filmmakers for the BBC, in researching an apparent mystery for the British series Dispatches, ‘discovered’ a series of interconnected clues suggesting that quiet hands in grey corridors have been massaging the last two thousand years of history. They published a sensational and bestselling book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail detailing their investigative adventures. It was but the latest in a long chain of such books, but its effect was stupendous. As is the outcry from church leaders, denouncing the book as a pile of lies. It’s all made up. Almost a work of…fiction.

Following the spidery strands of truth, half-truth, outright fictions, and freestylin’ splendifery of exclamation points scattered willy-nilly across the four hundred or so pages, it is easy to get lost in the reality the book puts forward. It’s fun. It’s almost immaterial whether it is one of the greatest crackpot hoaxes of the last thirty years or a mind-boggling alternate history of Western Civilisation. Folks have so given up on traditional institutions of authority, even the Catholic Church isn’t considered flaky enough.

Thirty million copies sold worldwide in hardcover at thirty bucks American each, and generally accepted three or four times higher sales for cheaper paperbacks of likely eight or nine dollars, and possibly half a billion more in film tickets. It’s no secret why Mona Lisa is smiling.

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We Built This [Terminal] City

Terminal City Issue #1, Dec 30, 1992. Layout by Darren Atwater

And now it is gone

Terminal City is officially dead. In most instances death is a horrible thing, and in some cases death is tragic, but in the case of Terminal City, it’s a relief. The deterioration of the weekly that many of us had worked so hard on for so many years was sad and painful to watch. What once was an often despised, sometimes venerated and always-reckless media stalwart, ended its life as a watered down mockery of the journalism it had set out to destroy in the first place. It may be hard to remember, but TC wasn’t always this shoddy. In fact, the paper that many are eulogizing now has only been around for just over a year. Terminal City itself has a history that goes back well over a decade, and just as one would do at the funeral of any former friend, we’ve decided to highlight some of those high points, and joke about the bad.

Terminal City was created by Darren Atwater thirteen years ago because he was bored of the formulaic principles behind most newspapers. He was also adamant to prove that you could just as easily lose money in the publishing industry as make it. Originally, TC was staffed by Josephine Ochej and a former Greenpeace campaigner named Brian Salmi. Atwater also persuaded an obscure advice columnist from a small Seattle weekly to contribute Savage Love to the paper and a guy named Tony Millionaire in Brooklyn to contribute a comic.

Under this team the paper unleashed ideas like the now infamous Brian Salmi revelation: “It costs nothing to run for office — let’s get 1,000 people to run for mayor.” After marshalling the entire resources of Terminal City, fifty-eight people eventually ran for mayor and, by the reaction of the city and the city’s media, you would have thought Terminal City was handing out free crack.

TC was investigated by the Vancouver Police for instigating the 1994 Stanley Cup riots, though the police decided against prosecution for fear it would give Salmi a public forum, allowing him to influence a wider audience. In 2002 Atwater and Salmi stormed the legislature in Victoria and were arrested for criminal trespass. Fortunately, the paper was set up with a bail fund. But its impact was farther-reaching than pranks. Tom Flannagan’s series on APEC and the subsequent attack by the RCMP on protesters at UBC kicked off the worldwide public resistance against globalisation. During later coverage of the Gustofsen Lake trial, the CBC used Terminal City reporter Ben Mahoney extensively because he was the only journalist to cover the trial. The Globe & Mail declared Terminal City as the “Only alternative weekly that mattered.”

Then Terminal City folded. Unfortunately you can’t keep a keep a sickness like this at bay very long, and in 2001, Atwater’s brother Graeme had the idea to start up?? Terminal City Weekly.?? This version, under the initial editorship of Jen Cressey, helped end George Puil’s career by blaming him and only him, in a Salmi piece, for the bitter bus strike which lasted four months. The editors of what is now Only started drifting in: Amil Niazi first, then John Cow, Alan Hindle, Sarah Albertson, Sean Condon, Rhek, Sarah Cordingley, Ben Lai and it was a new Gilded Age. Page size went up, an investor appeared and, in an entirely unprecedented move, staffers were paid. But the good life didn’t last long.

In a Gordon Gecko move by management to gain editorial control of the newly growing monster, Atwater was fired. The entire staff — less six — refused to work under the awkward new management, walked on the spot, and started getting drunk. Three days later you got Only. And you’re reading it now.

And now Terminal City is dead, again, but this time it’s Terminal City??’s last stop. It would be easy here to say something really biting, like how ??Terminal City slowly began to eat itself, hiring and firing editors and writers, leaving everyone wondering where it was going – but we don’t need to say that kind of stuff. They’ve got no way to defend themselves… And we’ve been reading their e-mails, and they’re sad.

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Only Builds A New Popefolio

With a dead Pope swathed in the traditional garments of death: velvet and satin, choosing a successor is number one on every in-Cardinal’s list. While the herds of pilgrims make their way to the old Pope, trendsetters are looking ahead to the future, the next hot thing. Sure the last Pope was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for defeating communism and bringing together religious homophobes from across the globe, but we here at Only think it’s time to diversify the Popefolio. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia website the Pope serves as an infallible figurehead possessing, in general, “exemption or immunity from liability to error or failure; in particular in theological usage, the supernatural prerogative by which the Church of Christ is, by a special Divine assistance, preserved from liability to error in her definitive dogmatic teaching regarding matters of faith and morals.” Though the remaining Catholic Church claims to have a stronghold on the available infallibles, we think there are a few overlooked applicants who fit the description.

Oprah Winfrey
Spreading literacy across the globe, this asexual dynamo already has 1.1 billion followers. With only 4 million showing up in Rome for the Pope’s funeral, she is definitely ahead of the game. Oprah knows the value of safe sex, wanted babies and the power of womyn. We think she’d look great in a billowy white shroud.

Michael Jackson
The Neverland ranch could become the new Vatican. Wacko Jacko could never match the sexual prowess of the dead Pope and his “infallible” strap-on dildo, but he’s making a good run. Jackson got his little alter boys drunk on the blood of Christ, and let them sleep in his tabernacle. But he’s got big assholes to fill. PJPII oversaw one the biggest pedophilia cover-ups since the Greeks made it part of their culture. The Pope had perverted priests transferred to new parishes without punishment and ensured that hard up priests would have nowhere to turn but to their 12-year-old servants. At least Pope Jackson would introduce jazzier numbers for mass.

Orlando Bloom
Dude is 28 and he still can’t grow chest hair. It doesn’t get more wholesome than that. Orlando embodies the strapping image of purity that all other Pope nominees should be measured by. He’s 007 in a papal gown. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. The next Pope won’t be a chick, and he won’t be black. Or American. They’re going to stick to their archetypical WASP, so why not a sexy WASP with a British accent? Who played Legolas! He would bring the kids and the geeks on board like crazy. The poster sales? Come on.

David Blaine
Not only do his sultry dark eyes lazily seduce you as he levitates and guesses your dead best friend’s name; he walks around America amazing all kinds of people, from gangstas to white bread, the NBA to Hollywood. He can hang with any one. You gotta figure that he could get around that heavy abortion issue by making unwanted fetuses just…disappear. No clinic. No killing. Just good ol’ miraculous misconception. They say that it takes a miracle before you can be called a saint. Screw Pope. David Blaine is a living saint!

(Lil’) Bow Wow
Bow Wow is Catholic to the tits. Like the Pope, he believes in exploiting the masses for the distribution of crap. While Bow Wow might not have the bling of the women hatin’, child fucking homophobe, he comes a close second. Just as the Polish sausage killed his predecessor PJPI–who lived as Pope for just a few short months and died under Clintonesque mystery-Bow Wow killed the gangsta Snoop Dog and turned him into a Muppet.

Though these are all potential heavyweight candidates, we’re sure the cardinals will decide on another completely useless and inconsequential replacement to fill the plastic bubble of the last completely useless and superfluous Pope. God bless him.

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Granville Maul

Photo by Chuck Ansbacher

Hands Off, You Damn Dirty Apes

Autocracy is absolute rule by one despot. Theocracy is rule by a religious elite. Teocallicracy is defined as being ruled over by Mexican pyramid temples. Vancouver, it would seem, is under a Simianacracy- government by monkeys.

As part of funding the new RAV line intended for ferrying in Vancouver General Hospital workers from the suburbs and getting North Vancouverites quickly out to Richmond and the airport, many businesses along Granville are going to be charged an additional 30 per cent rent. Yep. Nearly one-third of their rent will be bumped to help pay for all those tourists expected to hop on the skytrain and be taken out to…not-Granville Street. And, of course, to cover the massive costs of transporting potential millions of suburbanites who don’t need to come in to Vancouver to buy what they’re needing. Of course, those businesses which can’t make the hike, such as Cheap Thrills, The Leather Ranch, and ModRobes, which are closing as a result, or have already pulled midnight runs, these can always be replaced by Robson Street-style high-end dumps. They haven’t decided yet whether they are coming or going, but Granville Book Company may disappear soon, too — or perhaps simply move. Their loyal clientele might follow, but anything is risky in today’s quirky market.

So, bye bye north Granville. Gradually all the interesting places which have miraculously survived along the premiere strip in Vancouver will be hedged out to make room for… all the same places that are already on Robson, plus a bunch you normally only see in malls. Maybe Past Times will take over one of the cinemas.

“How do the monkeys make such important decisions?” we hear you ask. Here’s the scoop, people, straight from Only’s hidden microphone at the secret Masonic 54 Degree Orangutang Shill and Boners Society who hammered out this highly beneficial business plan.

MONKEY A: Shriek! Shrieeek! [slapping Monopoly board laid out in the tree branches before the members, knocking red plastic hotels and green shoe stores. Monkey C saves the pieces and begins masturbating with the silver token shaped like a limousine.]

MONKEY B: Ooh ooh ohh awk! AWK! [Proceeds to groom Monkey A, picking out fleas and maggots and eating them, a clear act of back-scratching purposed to obtain the contracts for supplying raw concrete and laying cyber-optics cabling.]

MONKEY D: Auuuuuuuugh! Ook ook, eek…? [“I object; does the member have a viable business strategy for obtaining grade A concrete, or will he use banana peels and his own turds again, as he did for the ill-fated condominium complexes on Granville Island in the 1990’s?”]

MONKEY A: Huh. [Kills Monkey D, tearing furry flesh off the highly respected financier and former city councilor. Smearing steaming blood across its rage-stricken face and presenting aggressively its inflamed, purpled ass in the faces of the other businessmonkeys, Monkey A quickly and diplomatically curtails divisive opinion and returns the meeting to order. To Monkey E, it asks:] Babblballbababbb?

MONKEY E: [Nodding and taking its cue from A, E reads back from the recent minutes] Shriek! Shrieeek! Ooh ooh ohh awk! AWK! Auuuuuuugh! Ook ook eek…? Huh. [Mimes disembowelment but tactfully refrains from shoving its ass in members’ faces lest it step over its place in the jungle order.]

MONKEY A: Scream gabble gabble howl shriek. [“Excellent. I suggest we conclude our meeting with a brief, empowering, circle-jerk session, then go catch a cocktail at Doolins or The Penthouse Gentlemen’s Club? Agreed? Meeting adjourned. Will somebody bring D’s corpse so I can rub his intestines on my belly? Plus, I can wear his flesh. With Leather Ranch gone I need to get me a new Spring jacket from somewhere.”]

There you have it. The inner mechanisms of Vancouver’s business planning community. You, of course, have no say in this matter. What would you do, anyway? Complain? Make your voice heard? Throw rocks at the trees? Huh. Don’t make me bare my ass at you. However, come the coming election, show your ass to Gordon Campbell and at any civic meeting regarding RAV from now until voting day. You are the silverback here. This is your jungle.

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