FREE | JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
Volume 55 | Number 2761
JOYCE AREA’S HIGH PRICES
President-elect Joe Biden appears to be putting the planet’s future very high on his agenda
OFFICIAL TOWN FOOL
Pandemic-proof real estate industry lures more agents
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
President-elect Joe Biden’s climate plan goes way beyond that of the Trudeau government, but will it be enough to stave off future disasters?
by Carlito Pablo
s a new realtor in British Columbia, Irene Querubin got down to business quickly. Shortly after receiving her licence last December, Querubin wrote her first offer on a property early this January. She represented a family in New Westminster. The husband and wife want to move from their condo to a detached home so their three young kids will get more space. By appointment, Querubin and her clients viewed a four-bedroom, three-bath residence in Pitt Meadows on January 2. Then they made an offer. As it turned out, the home got a total of 22 offers. Listed for below a million dollars, it sold for $1,052,500, $150,000 over the asking price. In addition, the successful buyer took the property without conditions. Querubin’s clients did not get the home, and the RE/MAX Crest Realty agent continues to look for other properties. Although her first offer did not succeed, it served as a valuable learning experience for the new realtor. “Oh, my goodness, it just tells you how hot the market is. It’s crazy,” Querubin told the Straight in a phone interview. What’s more, she feels encouraged at the start of her new career. “People want to buy. People want to sell. And they need realtors,” Querubin said. “So, to me, that’s promising. There are a lot of opportunities.” Querubin is one of 1,346 people who were newly licensed last year by the Real Estate Council of B.C., the provincial Crown agency that regulates realtors. As of December 2020, there were a total of 25,632 licensed realtors in the province. Most of them are in trading or sales. Thousands also work in rental and strata property management. Pamela Skinner is vice president with RECBC for education and licensing. “People who are successful in the career tend to be those who have the passion for helping their clients and developing those strong long-term relationships with their clients,” Skinner told the Straight by phone. In addition to commitment to clients, Skinner said, education and professionalism are all a big part of being in real estate. According to her, a good proportion of new licensees have postsecondary education. The first step to become a realtor is to register for and complete a licensing course and exam. The real estate division of UBC’s Sauder School of Business offers a real-estate trading-services licensing course for those who want to go into sales. “While that is a self-paced course,
January 14 – 21 / 2021
By Charlie Smith Cover artwork by heblo/Pixabay
In the Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhood, some single-family homes are being listed at four times their 2020 assessed values. By Carlito Pablo
Maenam continues finding ways to wow West Side diners, even in the midst of tough economic times in the restaurant industry. By Charlie Smith
Theatre artists Marcus Youssef and Maiko Yamamoto curated the 2021 PuSh Rally in ways that will raise consciousness about privilege. By Charlie Smith
e Start Here Irene Querubin is one of 1,346 people who became licensed agents in B.C. last year.
People want to buy. People want to sell. And they need realtors. – Irene Querubin
people generally take around six months to do that or they can take up to a year,” Skinner explained. Aspiring realtors also have to complete a separate course, which is an appliedpractice course that builds on the earlier licensing course. “The reality is that a real estate professional is a trusted advisor with specialized expertise, and that doesn’t come easily and people have to work at that,” Skinner said. Realtors have to renew their licences every two years, and they have to fulfill continuing-education requirements to do that. “People need to have that long-term commitment before they get into the business,” Skinner said. Querubin, a mother to two young children, knew she was ready to start a new career when her youngest kid started kindergarten last year. She also understands firsthand the value of homeownership.
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
see page 4
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Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 55 | Number 2761 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9 T: 604.730.7000 F: 604.730.7010 E: firstname.lastname@example.org straight.com
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Joyce-Collingwood emerges as property hot spot
by Carlito Pablo
n desirable cities like Vancouver, streets are paved with gold. Homes are worth a fortune, and millions of dollars more can be made with just a change in the zoning of a property. Simply put, a lot that is rezoned for greater height and density increases in value. That is what is called land lift. Some say rezoning is like printing money. Listings on a short street in East Vancouver near the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station may provide a good example. In 2016, the city approved a “precinct plan” to increase heights and density within two blocks of the transit hub. The area is bisected by the SkyTrain guideway. It is bounded by Wellington Avenue on the north, Kingsway Avenue on the south, Rupert Street to the west, and Ann Street to the east. One of the streets covered by the plan is Payne Street. Single-family-home lots on this street are now being sold for as much as four times their assessed values. The reason is simple. The Joyce-Collingwood Station Precinct Plan identifies Payne and Ann streets as a
In the vicinity of Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station, real-estate listing prices for single-family homes are sometimes four times higher than the 2020 assessed values. Photo by Northern.
sub-area where mid-rise buildings will be allowed. These buildings are four- to sixstorey apartments, as well as townhouses.
from page 2
In a period of five years, she and her husband saw their previous condo in New Westminster almost double in worth. “We changed the carpet. We painted before selling it, but that’s it: no major renovation,” Querubin related. With their equity, Querubin and her husband bought a detached home in Port Coquitlam, where the family now resides. According to her, a common misconception about being a realtor is that it is no different from another sales job. “That is not true at all. After going through the real estate course at UBC, I understood that being a real estate agent bears a huge responsibility to the client and the public,”
The sub-area is located behind the new condo tower being developed by Westbank Corp. on Joyce Street across
Querubin said. She counts RE/MAX Crest Realty’s Jerome Deis, a longtime realtor, as a mentor. “When your clients are repeat clients,” Querubin said about Deis, “that’s living proof that you do a great job at helping them.” Before becoming a realtor, Querubin did a lot of interesting things. Until 2018, she hosted a weekly radio show for more than five years at Red FM. She did sales for Shaw Communications. She scheduled advertisements for Bell Media and Rogers Communications. Querubin, who trained in broadcast journalism at BCIT, also worked as a host for a local Filipino community TV news
program and wrote stories for community publications. Now she has a front seat in a business that she considers a powerful tool for building wealth. “I want to live it, and I want to share the knowledge. That’s how I see myself as a real estate agent,” Querubin said. She should expect a busy year in 2021. In its latest housing forecast, the B.C. Real Estate Association projects “strong momentum” from the robust 2020 market heading into this new year. The BCREA predicted that sales in 2021 could total 99,240 homes, or more than the anticipated total for 2020. Final sales figures across B.C. for 2020 had not been released at deadline. g
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
from the SkyTrain station. One example is 5005 Payne Street. The single-family-home lot is listed by RE/MAX City Realty for $5,199,000. The 2020 assessed value of the property is $1,243,900. According to the online real-estate site Zealty.ca, the ratio of the asking price to assessed value is 4.18. This made 5005 Payne Street the number-one property in Vancouver with the current highest ratio of asking price to assessed value as of the first day of 2021. A property on Oak Street took second place. Interestingly, third to eighth places are taken by other Payne Street properties. At third place is 5040 Payne Street. Its listing price is $4,978,500. The 2020 assessed value is $1,224,600. According to Zealty.ca, the ratio of asking price to assessed value is 4.07. Not surprisingly, the ninth-highest ratio is found on Ann Street. The property at 5131 Ann Street is selling for $3.5 million. According to Zealty.ca, the asking price is 3.41 times more than the property’s 2020 assessed value of $1,027,099. g
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Evergreen doesn’t need an app to please pot lovers
by Charlie Smith
n the two years that he’s been a licensed private cannabis retailer in Vancouver, Mike Babins has learned an important lesson. “Trust cannabis users over computers,” the former radio DJ recently told the Straight over the phone. “I’ve been offered many an app that helps you stock your store based on what the top sellers are in the province. It does all the analysis. And I know a lot of the stores are using that.” Babins, co-owner of Evergreen Cannabis on West 4th Avenue, employs a different approach. “If I wouldn’t smoke it, I am not going to carry it,” he declared. Babins has also learned that people usually don’t require nearly as great a high from edibles as they might think. Customers sometimes come into the store and request 100 milligrams when, he said, they might be happy with only two or five milligrams. That’s because microdosing often gets people to “the right place where you need to be for what you’re doing that night”. “You don’t drink a full bottle of scotch [at once],” Babins noted. “You may have in high school, but you learned your lesson.” On Christmas Eve in 2018, Babins and
If I wouldn’t smoke it, I am not going to carry it. – Evergreen Cannabis co-owner Mike Babins
Customers who bought branded goods at Evergreen raised $17,000 for PHS last year.
Maria Petrucci, his wife and the store’s coowner, received news that they were the first to receive a provincial licence for a retail cannabis store in B.C. Babins, who has a long-time love of heavy metal, attributed this good fortune to the store’s long-haired, bearded saviour, “Lemmy” (a.k.a. Ian Fraser) Kilmister. He’s the deceased lead singer and primary songwriter with Motörhead. “I was praying to Motörhead all day,” Babins quipped.
In 2020, Evergreen Cannabis launched a fundraising campaign to help PHS Community Services Society, a charitable nonprofit society that provides housing, health care, and harm-reduction services to people facing multiple challenges and who are among the hardest to find homes for. The store raised $16,938.39 through the sale of specially marked products that carried the Evergreen Cannabis logo. Customers can pay, by donation, whatever they want to give for those items. According to Babins, every penny goes directly to PHS. “One of our staff used to volunteer with them,” he said. “They’re a great organization.” As an example, a customer could purchase an electric USB lighter in his store. A product such as this might ordinarily
sell for $25 online. But the customer might only pay $7, as long as it has the Evergreen Cannabis logo. Babins noted that because this lighter is rechargeable and doesn’t rely on butane, it’s sustainable. There are also rolling trays and grinders made from bamboo and pocket ashtrays created from recycled plastic, with the proceeds going to PHS. “We try to be as green as possible,” Babins said. The past two years have been a wild and enjoyable ride for him and Petrucci. As a result of the pandemic, they were offering products curbside for a while. They’ve since broadened the Plexiglas shield in the store. If there’s been any disappointment, it’s with the City of Vancouver, which is still charging a $35,000 annual fee for a business licence, even though Evergreen Cannabis meets all the provincial requirements. “When I paid last year, they gave me a paper copy of the licence,” Babins recalled. “I asked, ‘Could you give me a digital copy to keep in my email?’ And they said, ‘That will be a $15 charge.’ ” On principle, Babins refused to pay any more money and decided instead to scan the document. g
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Author finds gold researching life of city’s town fool
Jesse Donaldson’s insightful biography sheds new light on one of Vancouver’s most eccentric characters by Charlie Smith
FOOL’S GOLD: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF VANCOUVER’S OFFICIAL TOWN FOOL By Jesse Donaldson. Anvil Press, 128 pp, softcover
d ARE YOU SICK of hearing about the pandemic? Would you prefer to focus on a simpler time in Vancouver’s past, when there was an official town fool to prick the consciences of the powerful? If so, then Vancouver author Jesse Donaldson has an ideal solution for you: a lively, colourful, illuminating, and sometimes heartbreaking tale about one of Vancouver most peculiar residents. In Fool’s Gold: The Life and Legacy of Vancouver’s Official Town Fool, he tells the story of Joachim (“Kim”) Foikis, who used to wander the streets of the city dressed as a jester. In 1968, to the shock of Vancouver’s
establishment, the well-educated Foikis received a $3,500 Canada Council for the Arts grant to be the official town fool. That’s roughly $26,000 in today’s currency,
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
so this naturally provoked a public debate over the wisdom of this expenditure. In his role, Foikis engaged in several stunts to challenge conformist thinking in the wake of the Summer of Love. That included riding a cart pulled by two donkeys through city streets to raise awareness about pollution from motor vehicles. He also promoted street parties— foreshadowing car-free days decades later—and zany acts designed to spread joy and confusion. But Donaldson’s book doesn’t merely dwell on reasonably well-known episodes of Foikis’s life as the town fool. Through interviews and extensive research of media archives, the author delves far deeper into the life of the German immigrant who morphed from being a serious theology student into a madcap, minimalist prankster. Donaldson also chooses an unusual approach. Rather than telling a straight chronological story, he jumps around in time. This provides a cinematic feel, delivering revealing insights at unexpected moments into a man who loved organic
gardening, lost contact with his family, and occasionally ran afoul of the law. Foikis fell to his death at the age of 72 while dancing on the rock wall above Victoria’s Inner Harbour in 2007. So what motivated Foikis to turn his back on the trappings of modern life, sometimes living off the grid on Lasqueti Island while, at other times, dwelling in a Downtown Eastside SRO? Was it linked to the death of an infant? A wild acid trip in 1966? Or the fallout of spending his childhood in Berlin at the height of the Nazi era? There are no easy answers, no Rosebud moment, in explaining Foikis’s eccentric life path. This is Donaldson’s second contribution to Anvil Press’s series 49.2: Tales from the Off Beat, which kicked off with his Land of Destiny: A History of Vancouver Real Estate. Like Fool’s Gold, that book is also an enlightening and sometimes disturbing stroll through the city’s history, written with a similar degree of verve and imagination. g
Poet Sherry Duggal raises her voice for Indian farmers
by Gurpreet Singh
ancouver writer, poet, dancer, and actor Sherry Duggal has joined the growing chorus against controversial farming laws brought forward by India’s right-wing Hindu nationalist government led by Narendra Modi. Duggal, also a naturopath and a teacher, has given voice to the protesting farmers who are camping outside New Delhi through her poem “I stand with farmers”. Thousands of farmers have come into the streets to denounce laws that are threatening their livelihood and are aimed to benefit corporations by rolling back subsidies and protections given to the agricultural sector in India for years. Indian police used excessive force to prevent farmers from marching to the national capital, sparking angry demonstrations in Canada. Braving extremely cold weather conditions, the farmers continue their siege in New Delhi, even as the government has refused to revoke the laws. Duggal, born to parents of Indian origin, told the Straight that she was hurt by what’s happening. “I think this has a universal significance,” she said. “What is going to happen in India is going to set a precedent for all
Sherry Duggal’s poem “I stand with farmers” highlights the importance of food producers.
over the world, and not in a good way. If corporate organizations have control over our food, our health, our environment, I think everything will be compromised.” Her poem focuses on the role of women in farming and their participation in the ongoing struggle. She emphasized the farmers’ deep connection with the Earth, which, according to her, is treated by them as Mother. “No one can take the Mother away,” she said with a lump in her throat while trying to hold back her tears. g
Joe Biden’s climate plan ups the ante for Trudeau
Can the U.S. keep a warming planet habitable for humans? Some say the next president is on the right track
by Charlie Smith
ost Canadians don’t think of Joe Biden as a climate hero. The long-time senator, former vice president, and incoming president has often occupied the centre of the U.S. political spectrum. But this year, after securing the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Biden did something that astonished those hoping to prevent a climate breakdown. He announced a bold plan to invest US$2 trillion over four years on a climate plan that would create millions of union jobs rebuilding infrastructure and expanding public transportation. It would upgrade four million buildings and weatherize two million homes, making them far more energy efficient. The overarching goal was to put the country on a path to achieving net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 across the entire economy. “Just as with COVID-19, Donald Trump has denied science and failed to step up in the face of the climate crisis. He has called it a hoax,” the Biden plan states. One of those expressing glee over the plan was Vancouver lawyer Tim Louis, a Che Guevara–admiring left-wing rabblerouser and not a typical Biden supporter. What turned this Bernie Sanders fan around was the response of the Sunrise Movement, an influential group of young climate advocates. “Now the Sunrise Movement has come out very strongly in support of Joe Biden’s bold green economic recovery plan,” Louis wrote on his blog. “They assess it as being more progressive than even Bernie’s climate action plan in 2016.” Biden has followed through with appointments that have energized some climate activists. He started by naming former secretary of state John Kerry as his climate envoy. Kerry played a key role in negotiating the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aimed to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° C above where it stood at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Seth Klein, the Vancouver-based author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, told the Straight by phone that Kerry is a good choice. “You want someone with real oomph in that role and who clearly gets ‘emergency’,” Klein said. “Kerry communicates ‘emergency’.” Lindsay Meiman, senior U.S. communications specialist with the climate-justice group 350.org, told the Straight by phone from New York that she’s delighted with the appointment of Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico as interior secretary. If the Senate confirms Haaland, she will become
The Biden approach on climate is substantially better than the Trudeau government’s. – A Good War author Seth Klein
In advance of being inaugurated as America’s 46th president, Joe Biden has left an impression that he takes the climate crisis much more seriously than his predecessor. Photo by Michael Stokes.
the first Indigenous person in history to hold this position. “That’s absolutely massive and a huge testament to the Indigenous-led peoplepower movement that pushed for that nomination,” Meiman said. Biden’s national climate adviser will be Gina McCarthy, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency in the Barack Obama administration. In early 2020, McCarthy became president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is one of America’s better-known environmental groups. The deputy national climate adviser is Ali Zaidi, deputy secretary for energy and environment in New York. There, he’s leading efforts to drive investment into climate-friendly areas to boost New York’s economic and environmental resilience. The Vancouver-born former governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, is awaiting confirmation as the new secretary of energy. Perhaps most importantly, Biden chose Ron Klain as his chief of staff, who directs, manages, and oversees all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities
for the president. Klain’s wife, Monica Medina, is a lawyer, former principal deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and cocreator of Our Daily Planet, which is an online news platform focusing on climate change. Meiman noted that a Guardian/Vice poll before the election showed that seven of 10 U.S. voters want the government to take bold climate action. “Really, Biden has a climate mandate with massive support behind him and his administration—and working to hold them accountable,” she said. For his part, Klein acknowledged that the presidential platform was “terrific” and the victory of two Democrats in the recent Georgia Senate races is “incredibly exciting”. But he noted that nobody really knows yet if Biden will deliver on his commitments. “The Biden approach on climate is substantially better than the Trudeau government’s,” Klein said. “So, really, we are shifting gears massively where we just spent four years with the Canadian climate plan being way ahead of the federal U.S. plan and now they’re leapfrogging ahead of us. And now you’re going to have
the Canadian government running a bit to catch up.” He noted that this is reflected in Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson expressing a willingness to discuss a future ban on internalcombustion engines. That’s something the Liberals didn’t contemplate in their December climate plan. In A Good War, Klein outlined four markers that demonstrate if a government is willing to address a crisis. They include a willingness to spend what’s necessary; the creation of new economic institutions to get the job done; the implementation of mandatory measures rather than merely focusing on incentives; and telling the truth. According to Klein, this happened when Canada mobilized to fight the Second World War. And the Trudeau government is taking similar action in response to COVID-19. But to date, Klein doesn’t think the federal government is hitting any of these markers in connection with the climate crisis. Biden, on the other hand, appears to be moving further in that direction, hitting a financial target outlined in the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. Canada, though, is only spending $5 billion a year, according to Klein, which is 10 times less than Biden on a per capita basis. Plus, Biden has started telling the truth by saying the fossil-fuel sector will need to be wound down. But it’s unclear yet whether Biden is prepared to create new economic institutions and embrace mandatory measures to curb the release of greenhouse-gas emissions. “So there’s some clear indication that the U.S. under Biden will be more serious about climate than Justin Trudeau is,” Klein commented. “That said, it will really matter who he puts in key leadership roles.” g
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Sustainable investing is in the eye of the beholder
by Charlie Smith
any Vancouverites want to invest their retirement savings in environmentally sustainable enterprises. But according to Dermot Foley, who spent 17 years as a sustainable investment–portfolio manager and shareholder-advocacy analyst, it’s not always easy for the average person to figure out how to do this. “It’s not a putdown of people, because we’re all extremely busy,” Foley told the Straight by phone. “We don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about where our retirement money is being invested, mainly because it’s one more thing in the great juggling act that we all do day to day.” Moreover, the former Vancity employee
said that there’s a broad spectrum of activities that are being described as “sustainable”, depending on the lens that is being applied. No industry organization or government in Canada has set a standard for a “sustainable investment”. “Just as an example,” Foley said, “I can imagine the government talking about sustainable oil, you know, or uranium.” According to him, even tobacco companies or weapons manufacturers could, theoretically, obtain a high sustainability rating, depending on their business practices. Then they could be included in a mutual fund that scores well on a chart prepared by a rating agency. Prior to his retirement last year, Foley
MICAH WASKOW ...a life f well spent p
Former portfolio manager Dermot Foley says that it’s possible to invest in mutual funds with holdings in a substantial number of renewable-energy enterprises. Photo by Science in HD.
Just as an example, I can imagine the government talking about sustainable oil. – Dermot Foley
It is with great sadness thatt we announce the death of Micah Waskow on Tuesday, December 29 at Cottage Hospice ecem Dece in Vancouver. Micah was born on December 6, 1948 in Phoenix, a as a Arizona and moved to Canada young a adult. Micah’s name changed from her birth name of Mary Linda to at her ﬁrst marriage, and i d Wallace W ll t Linda Li d Morrill M then to Micah Ruth Waskow in 1989, with Micah choosing the name from Rabbi Arthur Waskow who pioneered eco-Judaism and worked for peace, civil rights, equality for women and gay people and healing for the wounded earth. Micah drew widely from Indigenous, Quaker, and Jewish traditions and ultimately became a Jew because of the challenge of Jewish ethics. Micah worked in Alberta as a night clerk at YWCA, and then spent eight years as a driver for Calgary Transit. She completed a B.Ed at University of Calgary then moved to Vancouver and worked 3 years as a family planning educator and advocate before becoming a teacher working with Adult Basic Education students for 28 years with all levels of upgrading. She taught at Vancouver School Board Career and Community Services, Burnaby Correction Centre for Women and Douglas College. Valued by both students and colleagues, Micah was an innovative, creative, intelligent teacher with a commitment to learner satisfaction and teaching excellence. She also raised awareness of the experiences of marginalized Canadians, replacing a whitewashed mythology with the reality of unrelenting racism in Canada’s history. That included teaching to Indigenous issues and how colonization has created and maintained inequality in Canada and world-wide. Micah spent time volunteering as well over many years. She chaired Group 17 of Amnesty International, for several years, sat on Grandview Woodlands Council, did Sensible BC canvassing, and worked in the Vancouver Learning Centres ELSA program. After she retired, Micah became involved in volunteer one-to-one tutoring 2nd and 3rd grade students, participated in the Acapellaboratory Singing Gang choir, two ukulele groups, one with her friend Hardy, one with a group of women friends, Sheila, River, Val, Janie and Maddy. She also continued on with her 55 years of organic gardening with apple and plum trees, blueberries, raspberries, nine raised beds of vegetables and a greenhouse in an East End back garden which was featured in the East End Gardening Tour last year. Micah is predeceased by her wife, Leah Georgia, the biological mother of Micah’s and Leah’s planned son, Jacob. She leaves behind to mourn her loss her son Jacob, her sisters Robyn and Nancy, her brothers Bob and Breck as well as her many friends. Our sincere thanks go out to all the caregivers at the St James Community Society Cottage Hospice in Vancouver who took such good care of Micah. Due to COVID-19, a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date or be on Zoom.
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
said, he became involved in “a little bit of an argument” with people who prepared ratings of investment funds with one well-known agency. “I looked deeper at the methodology and had a lot of things confirmed as to how they were doing this,” Foley recalled. “It really isn’t about sustainability. It’s more about coming up with a standard for the industry that the industry can live with.” So where does that leave the average retail investor who doesn’t want their money contributing to planetary ruin? “I think it’s really important to have an investment adviser who understands your concept of sustainability,” he said. “What are you concerned about?” As for himself, Foley is particularly keen not to invest in the fossil-fuel sector. It’s not just because of the havoc that this industry is causing with rising greenhousegas emissions. It’s also because he doesn’t think the industry is sustainable. “We’re going to see a transition away from fossil fuels, and I would like to help see my limited resources go toward helping that transition, investing in funds that have a substantial number of renewable-energy companies or clean-water companies,” he said. Back in the early and mid-1990s, Foley was one of Vancouver’s more vocal advocates for addressing climate change. As a one-term park commissioner and as a case manager with the B.C. Energy Coalition, he frequently spoke out about the need for proper planning to take into account all the social and environmental costs of capital projects. “I got involved in climate-change debate in the 1990s,” Foley noted.
Back then, the concentration of greenhouse-gas equivalents in the atmosphere was 354 parts per million. Last October, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that the concentration of carbon-dioxide equivalents stood at 412 parts per million. That’s 47 percent higher than the beginning of the Industrial Age and 16.4 percent higher than 1990, the year Foley was elected to the Vancouver park board. Since then, concern over the climate has expanded from hard-core environmental activists to the money-management industry. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, known as TCFD, is pushing for increased corporate reporting in this area. The organization, which is chaired by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, wants money managers to be in a better position to evaluate climate-related risks and opportunities. Foley pointed out that there are trillions of dollars in institutional investment pools such as the Canada Pension Plan, the B.C. Investment Management Corporation, and other entities around the world. “Financial-risk disclosure is really important for these much bigger pools of capital,” he said. That’s because the Canada Pension Plan, for example, has to be able to think on a much longer time horizon than an individual who is investing to save up for a down payment on a home. In 2020, the Canadian stock market, as a whole, fared much worse than many other markets because the Toronto Stock Exchange is so heavily weighted toward fossil-fuel and banking companies. “Those areas have lagged a bit,” he said, “whereas the more future-looking companies—the Googles, the Apples, the Microsofts, even Amazon—have done much better. Then there’s the electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla, whose stock rose 695 percent in 2020, making its CEO, Elon Musk, the richest man in the world. “The notion of a visionary is, I think, what people are investing in,” Foley said. g
Maenam makes mouths water after all these years
by Charlie Smith
early 12 years ago, Vancouver chef Angus An and his Bangkokborn wife, Kate Auewattanakorn reinvented Thai food in Vancouver. Since opening Maenam at 1938 West 4th Avenue, it has astonished countless diners with the many ways it incorporates fresh and sustainable West Coast ingredients into mouthfuls of Southeast Asian flavour. I recently dropped by as part of my personal mission to support the local restaurant industry during its tough economic times. And it didn’t disappoint. The highlight of the meal was the 8 Spices Lingcod, which comes with baby corn, peppers, and basil leaves bathed in a multitude of flavours. Lingcod are found in B.C. waters—pure West Coast cuisine— but the enchanting and vibrant spicing made me feel like I was on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. This is Thai food full of personality, with an elegance and precision that’s reminiscent of fine French cuisine. And no wonder—An is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, where he studied under several star chefs. An’s love of Thai cooking was forged at Chef David Thompson’s legendary Nahm
C hoco LOVE
When chef Angus An (photo by Helen Ho) and his wife, Kate Auewattanakorn, opened Maenem in 2009, they were eager to offer a new take on Thai food; 12 years later, the restaurant’s family-size tasting menu (above) and other dishes keep diners coming back. Photo by Octane Collective.
restaurant in London, where he met his wife. What’s offered at Maenam is unlike the more Chinese-style fare available at some other Thai restaurants in the region. It actually brought back warm memories of an elegant evening spent dining on Thai cuisine at the ultrachic Bambou restaurant in Paris. The second main course at Maenam, Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts, was
Wined Up: Jackson-Triggs Merlot with Gaetano Fadda
by Mike Usinger
e lovingly decant wines from the West Coast to Western Samoa and beyond, then give you a highly opinionated, pocket-sized review.
WITH THE Hot Chocolate Festival
about to begin and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s as good a time as ever to drop by your favourite artisanal chocolatier. For some, it’s Koko Monk Chocolates, which displays its fabulously artistic works at its outlets at 2883 West Broadway and 1849 West 1st Avenue. First Kiss is a vegan fresh sour cherry– and raspberryinfused treat; the Brunette Bangle features vegan curry and coconut; and for those who like their chocolate raw and bitter, there’s the Dominican and Madagascar Trinitario, featuring sundried mango. There’s nothing quite like it across the city. g
also something to savour, with peppers, baby corn, and shimeji mushrooms. The chicken was exceptionally crisp. If there was a downside to this delicious dish, it was that it’s a little shy on sauce, so it didn’t fully meld with the white rice on my plate. The dessert was a coconut cream cake with roasted hazelnuts. It actually tasted like a soft version of cornbread. That’s
Jackson-Triggs Reserve Merlot 2018 THEIR WORDS
“Our Reserve Merlot underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged with French and American oak for complexity. It is a full-bodied wine with notes with fresh plum and black cherry.” SUGGESTED PERFECT PAIRINGS
Go braised beef if you’re in a Bobby Flay mood, fried chicken if you’ve made a pit stop at Downlow Chicken Shack on the Drive, or a nice (which is to say non–Great Value™ at No Frills) Gouda, Gruyère, or Havarti from Bosa Foods (which the last time we checked this holiday season had a lineup around the block). Or, even better, start watching Season 4 of Fargo, pull on your nonna apron, and whip up a megaplatter of penne Bolognese with grilled Italian sausages.
Speaking of the show that goes with winter like snow tires and mulled wine, a quick diversion here. When you’re big and bold, you can hold your own against pretty much anything. Need proof of that? Look no further than Fargo’s Season 4, which has been (and arguably remains) the best show on television right now. There were countless great characters, included but not limited to E’myri Crutchfield as preternaturally smart teen Ethelrida Pearl Smutny, Jessie Buckley as warped midwestern nurse Oraetta Mayflower, and Timothy Olyphant as carrot-munching Mormon marshall Dick “Deafy” Wickware. But the greatest of all might have been scene-stealing Salvatore Esposito as psychopathic Italian man-mountain Gaetano Fadda. Fadda would love the unfussy and workmanlike Reserve Merlot, a full-bodied but not overpowering offering that hints at dark chocolate and field-grown strawberries with a smokey whisper of oak. Best of all, it’s not going to break the bank, meaning you can pretty much be guilt-free about reaching for that second bottle at dinner and pouring that third glass. Sometimes simple and sturdy is good. Just ask Fadda. g
somewhat unusual in a city where desserts are invariably sweet. For those who worry about eating out in a pandemic, Maenam passed the test. There was a Plexiglas barrier between my table and the one next to me and everyone was fully masked. The service was brisk and attentive; the minimalist décor was refreshing. I’ll return in the future. g
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JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
For liquor nerds, January is always the cruellest month Whether going completely dry or opting for the three-four split, there are options worth reaching for
by Mike Usinger
ever mind what T.S. Eliot once blathered on about two decades before getting back on track with The Cocktail Party—there is no crueller month than January. Think about it for a minute as you stare out at the endless monsoons that have ushered in 2021. Traditionally, for all of December the rules and guidelines that apply to the other 11 months of the year go out the window. Happy hour starts with Mad Men-doChristmas style lunches, where one martini is an appetizer for the next three. Eggnog is consumed by the gallon, with little care that one is pounding back a defibrillator-taxing mixture of raw eggs, whipping cream, half-and-half, whiskey, brandy, rum, and 30 times the daily amount of sugar recommended by Health Canada. And there’s no point limiting oneself to three or four cans of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale when you’ve got a couple of two-fours in the fridge and three more lurking under the tree. From living a gloriously sedentary lifestyle on the couch watching Bad Santa and Black Christmas to endlessly stuffing one’s face full of rum balls, shortbread, and mincemeat tarts from dawn until dusk, December is all about glorious fucking excess. And that went double last year thanks to the everlasting shitshow known as COVID-19. Which explains why so many of us are white-knuckling it through Semi-Dry January. The key word there is semi. Unless you ended up with gout, or spent December drinking enough to make Shane MacGowan seem like a pillar of restraint, there’s no real reason to lay off the liquor full-time in the cruellest month of the year. Raise a stir stick if you’ve chosen the three-four split, which is to say breaking out the cocktail shaker on hump day and weekends, and going dry the other four. (Except, that is, on days when friends drop by—sorry, Dr. Bonnie Henry—for a cocktail we like to call the Dumpster Fire 2020. Or when something so horrific happens— hello, Donald Trump’s Capitol catastrophe—that something is needed to take the edge off.) But most days this January you’ve tried to be good—which is another way of saying boring. Which is no fun, because half the joy of being a hard-core cocktail nerd is creating, whether that’s charring cedar planks and hunting down wild cherry bark in the name of a better bitter, or crafting a perfect Clarence Oddbody Flaming Rum Punch. 10
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Canada-made 18.8 Gin and zero-proof offerings from Ceder’s are a couple of options when you need to make up for the debauch of December.
Luckily there are options for not only a Semi-Dry January but a dry one. Farflung locales with less-than-tolerant attitudes towards liquor—think Dubai— have embraced brands like Arkay, which makes alcohol-free riffs on scotch, rum, and tequila. Australia’s Lyre produces highly decorated zero-proof offerings like London Spirit Gin, American Malt Whiskey, and Italian Orange, all of which have one thing in common: you can pop the top, chug them dry, and then drive to the corner store for a bag of Dorito’s Chile-Limón Dinamitas without breaking the law. Get ready for day-drinking without the hangover that comes with running over the neighbour’s dog and hockey net before taking out three garbage cans in the alley, crashing into a mini-van of nuns, and then leading the 6 o’clock news. Sweden-based Ceder’s has moved into Canada with a whole range of zero-proof botanical offerings great for creating complex and layered mocktails. Ceder’s Classic is distilled with juniper, coriander, and geranium; Ceder’s Crisp incorporates juniper, citrus, cucumber, and camomile; and Ceder’s Wild brings clove, ginger, juniper, and South African rooibos to the alcoholfree party. Substitute in a Singapore Sling or Rosemary Gimlet to keep your Dry January streak intact.
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
You don’t have to make the trek overseas to find zero-proof offerings. British Columbia’s Sheringham Distillery is now producing Lumette! Bright Light Alt-Spirit and Lumette! London Dry, both made with botanicals that make a sensible substitute for Kazuki or Sipsmith in a gin and tonic. Assuming you’re on the three/four program, there’s a way to scale back your alcohol consumption without going the Meaford Temperance League completeabstinence route. Based in the glorious Niagara region on Ontario, 18.8 is a distillery making vodka and gin with a low-alcohol spin. If Dry January has you begrudingly trudging off to the gym five days a week, take note that roughly half the alcohol (that would be 18.8 percent) also means half the calories. Winningly, both offerings taste like the real thing. With 18.8 Vodka you get a smooth and light vanilla kiss in a spirit with none of the unpleasant afterburn that can comes with, say, Poland’s legendary Spirytus Rektyfikowany. As for 18.8 Gin, expect a pleasantly floral bouquet—hello, elderflower—underscored by juniper and citrus. Think elegant and understated without being the liquor equivalent of a wallflower. The best thing about 18.8? You know how Uncle Ernie always ends up with the
lampshade on his head four drinks in at family gatherings? Both 18.8 Vodka and Gin have enough juice to get him buzzed, but not to the point where you’ll have him insisting on starting a conga line to Ice Cube’s “You Can Do It”. Which, admittedly, was a lot of fun in the 31 straight days of debauch that was last December. Here are two drinks you can make for a liquor-reduced January. 18.8 MOSCOW MULE
2 oz 18.8 Vodka 2 oz club soda 1 oz fresh lime juice 3/4 oz ginger syrup Pour ginger syrup, lime, and vodka into a shaker with crushed ice. Shake, pour in club soda, and shake again. Pour into a copper mug (or old-fashioned glass), and garnish with lime wedge. CEDER’S VALLEY CUPPA
2 oz Ceder’s Wild 1/2 oz Jasmine Tea 1/3 oz Earl Grey Tea Syrup 1/3 oz fresh lemon juice Pour all ingredients over cubes in a shaker, shake and strain into a chilled coupette glass. Garnish with floating edible flowers. g
Rally PuShes the parameters of artistic discourse Theatre leaders Maiko Yamamoto and Marcus Youssef are curating a series of compelling presentations
by Charlie Smith
his has been an awkward year for the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. The associate artistic director, Joyce Rosario, was let go in the midst of a pandemic, along with others. And health restrictions imposed by the provincial government have made it impossible to put on live performances. Stepping into the breach have been highly regarded Vancouver theatre artists Marcus Youssef and Maiko Yamamoto. In a phone interview with the Straight, Youssef pointed out that there was a reaction from the community when Rosario left because the PuSh festival is so meaningful to so many artists. “Suddenly you have an organization that’s been central to the development of many of our careers and our lives without any artistic leadership whatsoever,” he said. After discussions were held within the arts community, Youssef and Yamamoto are curating an online series of conversations and artist presentations called the 2021 PuSh Rally. And it features some imaginative participants who are certain to raise consciousness around people’s privilege, identity, race, and historical systems of oppression. It’s timely in light of the monumental collective awakening unfurled in the wake of the police killing of African American George Floyd last year in Minneapolis. Youssef said that this has been a huge part of his own thinking, questioning, and investigation for many years. And it’s been reflected in his work at Neworld Theatre. “How do we sit inside systems that we know are unjust?” he said. “And how do we navigate the effects of those systems and try to change those systems—and at the same time care for individuals and care for each other as individuals inside that context? I think it’s a critical question.” This will be explored in several events, including a conversation that Youssef will have with New York author, playwright, and public intellectual Sarah Schulman. She’s the author of 19 novels as well as the new nonfiction book Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 19871993. She’s also the author of Conflict Is Not Abuse and The Gentrification of the Mind. Youssef said he spoke with Schulman more than a year ago at the Stratford Festival about the productive value of conflict. “Her work is entirely about how do we navigate conflict in ways that move the culture forward and that doesn’t destroy relationships,” he noted. In another event, Vancouver theatre artist and writer Carmen Aguirre and Iqaluit actor, musician, filmmaker, and
Theatre Replacement’s Maiko Yamamoto (photo by Stephen Drover) and Neworld Theatre’s Marcus Youssef (photo by Kari Medig) are curators of the recently formed 2021 PuSh Rally, which is an online series that will feature artists’ discussions and presentations at a pivotal time in history.
storyteller Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory will each share their visionary approaches. Youssef pointed out that Laakkuluk, as he refers to her, is a practitioner of uaajeerneq, a Greenlandic Inuit form of dramatic expression entailing mask dancing.
tives that might not be popular. “She’s very difficult to pin down ideologically,” Youssef said. “And yet she is someone who has consistently been challenging the status quo, and sometimes the super PC liberal status quo. All status quos.
How do we sit inside systems that we know are unjust? And how do we navigate the effects of those systems and try to change those systems? – playwright and director Marcus Youssef
“It’s really profane and really intense— and funny but scary,” Youssef said. “It was actually utterly banned by missionaries in Greenland for being the devil’s work.” He has known Aguirre since the early 1990s, after she graduated from Studio 58 and he moved to Vancouver after graduating from the National Theatre School. Youssef described Aguirre, whose family escaped Chile after the Pinochet coup, as “one of our city’s real treasures, both as a writer but also as a kind of cultural presence or thinker”. He added that she has been consistently unafraid to adopt positions or inhabit perspec-
But she does so in a way that is absolutely clear and not at all aggressive.” Youssef is also excited to be joining Pulitzer Prize–winning (Fairview) playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury in an exploration of the overwhelming whiteness of theatre audiences in North America. They’ll be joined by director Sarah Benson, set designer Mimi Lien, and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly. Drury’s play Fairview opens with a Black family dealing with various issues. Youssef likened this as being akin to watching The Cosby Show. But over time,
the voices of people who sound white overlay what’s taking place on the stage—and these unseen voices are talking about race. “You hear this really hilarious, really cutting-true conversation,” Youssef explained. “And then you realize they’re talking about the play.” To Youssef, it’s fun and exciting to engage audiences in explorations of the impact of the ideology of supremacy. The fact that he can do this is also a reflection of the magnitude of changes that have occurred since Youssef first became friends with Aguirre in the early 1990s. Back then, there were hardly any directors and playwrights of colour in Canada, let alone two who were politically motivated and who traced their roots back to socalled brown countries. “In some ways, we looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, my God, you’re the only other one,’ ” Youssef said with a laugh. On a more serious note, he added that Aguirre’s practice, like his, engages with the world in raising fundamental critical questions. “We don’t always agree,” Youssef acknowledged. “We disagree a lot… It’s the kind of discourse, I believe, that we really need right now, which is a discourse based on a fundamental recognition of the other’s humanity.” g The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival runs from January 28 until February 7.
JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
MUSIC / TV
Kellarissa finds morbid humour in isolated times
by Mike Usinger
y definition, black comedy—also known as black humour, morbid humour, and gallows humour— gets its laughs by finding the funny in the tragic. Think the collected works of Lenny Bruce, Kurt Vonnegut, or Karl Kraus. Or consider the brilliance of English serial killer William Palmer stepping onto the Stafford Prison gallows in front of 30,000 people, looking at the trapdoor, and asking the hangman, “Are you sure it’s safe?” It took a bit of stepping back to appreciate the sentiment behind Kellarissa’s “Kensington Carol”. The video is shot in gloriously gothic black and white, that decision bringing to mind the photographs of Shirren Lim,
Ansel Adams, and Sally Mann. If you’re looking for a visual encapsulation of Vancouver in November, look no further than the opening frame, where a leafless tree towers in a prewinter sky. The post–Gregorian chant song is built around Kellarissa’s patented dream-world synths and enchantingly ethereal vocals— both of which give things an air that’s elegantly sombre. But it’s the lyrics that make “Kensington Carol” as clever as it is captivating. Rather than playing her hand early, Kellarissa starts out with, “How could we have known/Many moons ago/The world is upside down”. Angsty right? And who can blame her, given the shitshow that The Georgia Straight Confessions, an outlet for submitting revelations about your private lives—or for the voyeurs among us who want to read what other people have disclosed.
Scan to conffess Pandemic loneliness
I just fill the void with pandemic stress eating. So many ice cream buckets and buckets of fried chicken... I’m still not fat though... Weird eh.
I am an asshole I have known this for a long time now I try to be as nice as possible at all times but in some situations I can not help myself. The one who takes the brunt of this behaviour is my wife. I am very ashamed of this and I wish I could someday make it right but I don’t think I will ever be able to. She deserves way better treatment than I’m able to provide at times.
I don’t open the door to strangers Because I have experienced a violent break-in. Thanks to the dude who called me a fag today because I made you use the intercom. Hope you may read this and understand why.
A foreign “aﬀair” I went as an exchange student and had a crush on a local girl who later said “Whatta YOU want? within earshot of me after I waved to her. She dedicated the phrase to former NHL player Scott Stevens. Boom. That’s what it felt like. You live and you learn on the way to becoming a Jedi Knight.
Scented I transport my re-usable masks in old pot ziplocks.
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to post a Confession JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
The lyrics in Kellarissa’s “Kensington Carol” take a look back at some unexpected challenges posed by the pandemic before she goes on to describe why weekends fill her heart with dread.
has been the past 10 months? But pretty soon things take a turn, right after Kellarissa—in black, right down to her nail polish—sings about friends she never thought she’d miss so much and lonely lost weekends she’ll never get back. The first tipoff that she’s able to see the humour in things comes with, “Weekends fill my heart with dread/Take all my meals in bed”. She goes on to wring every bit of drama out of, “Oh to make some plans/To
see you in the flesh”. And then, marching slowly toward the camera in a chimneyblack face mask, finishes things off with, “For, if I must always cover my mouth/I may never sing again”. It would be funny if it wasn’t so blackly true. Feel free to laugh, because sometimes that’s all you can do. g Watch Kellarissa’s video for “Kensington Carol” on Straight.com.
Don’t sashay away, because Drag Race 2’s casting is on
T by Staff
hink you have what it takes to win Canada’s Drag Race? Well, you might have a shot. Crave just ordered a second season of the wildly popular reality series and sent out a casting call for new artists who might be feeling especially competitive. The Bell Media service is currently soliciting applications for drag performers at its website. Entrants must be 19 or older, and either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Applications are being accepted in English and French, and please be sure to keep it tight on your video clip in more ways than one: “we will stop your video after 90 seconds” is right there on the form. The first season ended with Priyanka being named Canada’s first drag superstar. According to Crave, it was the mostwatched show on the streaming service during its entire 10-week run. It also had a massive footprint on social media, which had its downside when fans went after judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman on Twitter, leading him to delete his account.
Crave is on the lookout for the next Priyanka on Canada’s Drag Race 2. Could it be you?
Trevor Boris, of Big Brother Canada and Paradise Hotel, has been named showrunner for Season 2. Details of the production have yet to be announced, though Blue Ant hopes to start shooting “in the coming months”. It’ll be interesting to see how COVID-19 protocols affect the show’s tone, but, presumably, the queens will take it in stride. g
Workouts can help beat back pandemic anxiety
by Charlie Smith
his is not an easy time to be the owner of a fitness and yoga facility. But when the Straight reached Vancouver exercise guru Ron Zalko, he was in an upbeat mood after celebrating his 40th year in business. And with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, it’s been unlike any other since he opened his first gym in 1980. “It’s a very safe place,” Zalko said of his roomy 20,000-square-foot workout palace on West 1st Avenue. “That’s what I want people to understand. Our aim is to make sure everybody feels safe.” So how does he do this? First off, people must have their temperatures taken before entering. There’s the mandatory hand sanitization, of course, and everyone is required to wear a mask. They can only be removed when they’re doing cardio exercises, as long as they’re at a safe distance from anyone else in the gym. Plus, people have to fill in questionnaires revealing their health status. “They have to read it, sign it, and provide us with an address and telephone number in case we need to do any contact tracing,” Zalko said. That’s not all. Clients can no longer shower on the premises. Nobody is permitted to use the water fountains. And there are absolutely no gatherings on the premises. “We have very good ventilation, with fresh air coming into the facilities all the time,” he noted. “I’m very happy about that. I really believe in working out in a climate where there’s good airflow.”
…when you’re suffering from stress, you don’t sleep well. – Ron Zalko
Vancouver exercise guru Ron Zalko still enjoys spending days at the gym after 40 years in the business of keeping people fit.
These days, many people are exercising at home—and Zalko doesn’t have a problem with that. He emphasized that any exercise is beneficial, particularly now, when people are under tremendous stress. That’s because physical activity can strengthen the immune system and alleviate anxiety and depression. So it’s worth doing outdoors or indoors. “Stress kills,” he declared. “Also, when you’re suffering from stress, you don’t sleep well. You gain weight. Your body feels under attack so you produce more fat.”
Online calculator reveals timing of COVID vaccination
However, he quipped that sometimes it’s hard for people to maintain their motivation to exercise when they’re working out so close to their refrigerator. And constant snacking can undermine the goal of losing weight. In fact, the pandemic has given birth to a new term— Quarantine 15—to denote the additional pounds people are packing on by spending so much time in their homes. Although Quarantine 15 has an amusing ring to it, weight gain is a serious issue, particularly if the root causes are more sugar, more carbs, and more booze in a person’s diet. “I respect the decision of people if they want to work out at home,” Zalko added. “Exercise is very important. But what they get in a fitness club—particularly in the group exercises—is the inspiration, motivation, and structure. People like to work out with other people.” g
Online Cardio Kickboxing
by Richard Trapunski
his probably wasn’t the most optimistic New Year’s countdown you’ve ever experienced in Canada, but there is a reason to feel that 2021 might be better than 2020: the COVID-19 vaccine. Canada has plans to vaccinate 1.2 million high-risk people in the first quarter of the year. But just because COVID-19 vaccines exist doesn’t mean you can immediately get it, because provinces are distributing them in phases, starting with health-care workers, residents and staff of senior care facilities, and seniors in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences. So when can you get it? There are a lot of variables that might affect that, including your age, your job, your health, the province’s actual rate of rollout, and the fact that not everyone asked to get vaccinated actually will. In order to find your place in line, try the new Vaccine Queue Calculator. Created by recent University of Guelph MSc graduate Jasmine Mah and Steven Wooding, the tool shows you the minimum and the maximum number of people in front of
you and a range of dates you might have to wait until you get your shot. “I think a lot of people going into the year 2021 are hoping that the virus is just going to disappear, but the truth is it’s still going to take time to get us all vaccinated,” Mah said in an interview. “At first, I was just curious about when I would get my shot, but as I did my research, I realized that it could be a helpful tool as well for millions like me who are wondering how far we actually are from getting the vaccine. I hope that my estimations can somehow put things into perspective for people who can’t wait to get their vaccines.” The calculator uses a national rollout plan and puts the default uptake rate at 70.3 percent, which was the figure last year for people aged 64 and over who were offered the annual flu vaccine. You can customize those variables if you want, while also offering your age and a few other job and demographic variables. I’m a journalist in my mid-30s. The calculator says there are between 12,217,781 and 22,472,513 people ahead of me, which means I should expect to receive both doses between early July and late August. g
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firstname.lastname@example.org JANUARY 14 – 21 / 2021
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Spelling of cum remains a seriously sticky issue by Dan Savage
b AS YOU CAN see by my signature, Dan, I’m a linguist. On your podcast, you frequently ask researchers “whatchyougot” on all kinds of sex- and romance-related questions, I thought maybe you’d be interested in some expertise on linguistic matters too. And I have some on cum, cumming, and (shudder) cummed. The technical term here used among linguists for this kind of phenomenon is peeve. Let me clarify: it’s not the cum, cumming, and cummed that’s a peeve but the shuddering. You see, the snide sound there is due to the fact that causes peevers to shudder causes linguists to get interested. The point is, language always changes, and linguists are interested in these changes, however much they horrify normal people. (That’s our technical term for nonlinguists.) Grandparents are forever lamenting about how their grandchildren’s generation is ruining the language. Documentation of this phenomenon goes back to the Roman times. And, indeed, generations upon generations of grandchildren turned Latin into Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, and a host of lesser known forms of ruination. In terms of the sticky substance at hand (or on hand), cum as a verb and cumming are just alternative spellings, which are common enough for slang. It’s slang! You really gonna insist slang follow uptight and buttoned-down spelling rules, Dan? That’s just stoopid. Cummed is more interesting—and also causes peevers to shudder— because it’s a real change in the language. But why shudder? Why not appreciate it instead? Cummed shows us how creative we are with our language, how we play with it, and in this case do something useful, differentiating the sublime got off (cli-
maxed) from the banal got there (arrived). Don’t fall into useless peeving, Dan! You’ve famously instigated language change. Just ask Rick Santorum, your former college roommate, or the men who’ve cummed and cummed hard while a nice vagina haver pegged their ass. - Michael Newman, professor of linguistics and chair, department of linguistics and communication disorders, Queens College/ CUNY
Thank you for taking the time to write, Professor Newman, and please forgive me for peeving you. But the sticky issue for me—if you’ll pardon the expression—remains the seemingly unnecessary and arbitrary use of an alternate spelling in this one instance. As I’ve said before, no one is confused when someone calls a person a “dick” in print and then goes on to wax poetic about the dick they sucked in the next sentence. If we don’t have to spell it “dik” when we’re referring to male genitalia—or the genitals of penis havers—I don’t see why come needs to be spelled “cum” when referring to someone climaxing or when referring to ejaculate. Of all the words out there with more than one meaning—dick, dong, cock, pussy, beaver, box, crack, rack, sack—why does this one require special linguistic treatment?
b INTERESTING TAKE ON cum…as your column ventured into linguistics. How do you feel about “tonite” for “tonight” or “lite” for “light”? Inquiring minds want to know. - Commonly Used Mutated Spellings
I made inquiries at the website of the world’s
best dictionary (and best drag name) Merriam-Webster, CUMS, where I learned tonite is “a blasting explosive consisting of
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a mixture of guncotton with a nitrate” and lite means “made with a lower calorie content or with less of some such ingredient (salt, fat, or alcohol) than usual.” So you can have dinner tonight and wash it down with something lite, CUMS, but don’t have tonite for dinner unless you want to light yourself up. b I BASICALLY AGREE with your views about spelling the verb as “come”. However, I think one could be a bit more nuanced about usage here. Come is rather polite and could easily be used in a romantic context (“Oh, god, honey, I’m about to come”) whereas cum has a definite “let’s fuck” feel to it (something not unheard of in your column). Different contexts call for different styles, perhaps. I would also like to make an outright exception for the substance cum, which I feel should always be spelled with a “u.” For the noun, using the “u” hardly seems vulgar at all. One might wonder why cum seems more appropriate for denoting semen. I can think of two good reasons. First, cum evokes “scum,” which matches the feelings of some (benighted) people that cum is slimy and disgusting. And, secondly, the final letters “um” occur in some medical terms—all nouns—which relate to sex, like pudendum, scrotum, rectum, flagellum, perineum. This is a very different association than scum but also seems like part of the story, at least to me. - TK
Hm… I agree that an alternate spelling when
referring to ejaculate could be helpful. But context also provides clarity. If a man and/or penis haver says, “My come was everywhere,” no one thinks his/ hers/their orgasms are Jesus Christ or dark
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matter—literally everywhere throughout the universe—but rather that he’s/she’s/they’re exaggerating about the volume of a recent orgasm to make a point about the intensity of pleasure he/she/they derived from it. b I’VE BEEN A copy editor for 15 years and a Savage Love reader for much longer. I wanted to chime in on fellow Canadian COME’s letter about the come versus cum spelling. I fully agree that as a verb it should be “come” and “came/coming” instead of “cummed/cumming”. But there is a place for cum: as a noun when referring to the actual gooey substance (a.k.a. semen, ejaculate, spunk, etcetera). Consider the sentence, “I have come in my mouth.” Are you announcing an act of autofellatio (talk about a cumblebrag!) or are you describing a substance someone else left behind? Or, “How did come get on my jacket?” Doesn’t that just look like a mistake? Millennials love turning nouns into verbs (adulting!), but I think using come as a noun is incorrect. And what about describing something as “cummy”? How would you spell that? Comy? Comey? Perhaps we can all come together on this: come for the verb of achieving orgasm; cum for the noun that describes the resulting emission. - Copyeditor Uses Modification For A Noun
me, CUMFAN. If everyone else agrees to use come for the verb, I can swallow cum as a noun. The copy editor carries the day! g
Your argument convinced
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NO. M1910977 VANCOUVER REGISTRY
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INSURANCE CORPORATION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA THIRD PARTY
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