Straight 50: Here are 50 kind of weird things about the Georgia Straight

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      The Georgia Straight is chock full of weirdos.

      It's not something we're proud of but it's just a matter of fact. We can't help it. It's in our DNA.

      And here's another weird fact: today is officially Georgia Straight Day. Not kidding. You can check it out for yourself: Mayor Gregor Robertson officially proclaimed it.

      To celebrate our 50 years of weirdness, here's a list of 50 kind of weird things about the Georgia Straight. While there are a couple of items from the more distant past, quite a number of them are from the past few years because:

      a. Our memories aren't very good.

      b. The internet didn't exist in the early days. (See above.)

      c. We would basically have to include every issue of the early days if we went back that far.

      And so here is a sample of some of the weirdness that has gone on in the offices of the Georgia Straight, in no particular or comprehensible order:

      1. Georgia Straight staff have an unusual dress code.

      2. There's often BS like this to contend with on a daily basis.

      3. Believe it or not, but Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Anderson Cooper all once worked for the Straight.

      4. Craig Takeuchi once felt proud about writing some memoirs of a gay-sha.

      5. Speaking of makeovers, the Georgia Straight's first gay columnist Kevin Dale McKeown also got one.

      Kevin Dale McKeown: before and after

      6. Georgia Straight illustrator Rand Holmes often drew naked people on covers. And weenies.

      7. In 1967, a sign at the Arbutus Café (at 4th Avenue and Arbutus) stated "We do not serve hippies or beatniks". Straight editors Dan McLeod and Pierre Coupey with three friends were refused service. After McLeod returned with a copy of a city bylaw against discriminatory business practices and the threat of a hippie sit-in, the owner eventually took down the sign.

      8. On the day that gynecologist and abortion provider Dr. Garson Romalis was shot in his home in Shaughnessy in 1994, one of the city’s most outspoken anti-abortionists showed up at the old West Pender Street office of the Georgia Straight. Then news editor and now current editor Charlie Smith was so shocked to see him that the first words out of his mouth were: “Did you do it?” Police eventually issued a warrant for a U.S. anti-abortionist, James Kopp, who was believed to be living in Mexico.

      9. From "The Addled Typewriter" by Bob Cummings (April 19–May 2, 1968): "This exclusive column will regularly rape your mind in future issues of the Georgia Straight."

      10. The Georgia Straight's music department has a long history of calling actor Jared Leto names like "10th Grade tyrant" and a "used-car salesman" for his band 30 Seconds to Mars.

      11. Adrian Mack once explored the world of Japanese fartsploitation. And never fully came back.

      12. On a similar topic, Mack reviewed Mike Usinger who was reviewing Katy Perry's 2014 concert.

      13. Speaking of which, Gail Johnson's anal-bleaching story still gets tons of hits.

      14. On that note, Miranda Nelson gawked at a nude painting of Stephen Harper.

      15. Similarly, Dan Savage made us throw up when he taught us about emetophilia.

      16. Meanwhile, Adrian Mack says the most important sex organ isn't between your legs. And if Mack says it, you know it's true.

      Michael Mann

      17. Travis Lupick reported on naked devils appearing in East Vancouver. (This was one of the few articles that he didn't win an award for.)

      18. And so did Stephen Hui.

      19. Hui also had a gas blogging about a fart book made in Vancouver.

      20. This post about McDonald's pink slime by Michelle da Silva went viral.

      21. When a receptionist received a call in 1993 from Robert Redford, who was asking to be connected to editorial staff member Martin Dunphy for an interview, she put him on hold and screamed so loud with excitement that staff members went running to her aid because they thought she had been attacked. 

      22. Stephen Hui was sad that none of TransLink's maps resembled a penis like Toronto's. Civic envy.

      23. Stephen Hui also discovered that Stephen Harper really was a dick.

      24. Aural sex.

      25. Michael Mann hoped to see Flea's weenie.


      26. Foreskin Pride went full-frontal in the Vancouver Pride parade—and got kicked out. As a matter of fact, the Georgia Straight also got kicked out of the parade, too (without going full-frontal).

      27. Illustrator Mark "Atomos" Pilon once had to illustrate syphilis.

      28. A few years ago, a man showed up at the front desk and wanted to speak to a senior editor. Acting like a character in an old western movie who enters a bar, he pulled his weapon out of his pocket and placed it on the reception counter. It wasn’t a gun—it was a huge knife. To this day, we don’t know why he did that.

      29. We learned that you could have an orgasm just from taking a dump. Thanks, Dan.

      30. A reader wanted to know if it's possible for a man to insert his balls into a woman. And according to web statistics, apparently lots of other people still do too.

      31. We learned that Vancouverites have very active sexual imaginations.

      32. Books editor Brian Lynch keeps getting review copies of Bill O'Reilly's morbidly prolific "killing" series.

      33. Gail Johnson once received a voicemail message from an elderly woman who left a message with Johnson because she had a "white-sounding name". This woman wanted to rant about Asian women who constantly and purposely bump into her on the seawall. 

      34. Publisher Dan McLeod was once Asian for Lunar New Year.

      35. Charlie Smith can speak some Cantonese. And he's also a walking encyclopedia of Bollywood trivia. And he's been known to wear a turban for the Vaisakhi celebrations. So maybe he's not as white as he looks.

      36. One of the sadder aspects of working in the media is dealing with people who are clearly delusional or suffering from a personality disorder when they contact the editorial department. One letter writer thought his neighbour wanted to kill him. Others have felt they were being followed by Canada’s spy service. One woman was convinced that we were deliberately seeding her name in the paper as part of a hateful campaign. But perhaps the most tragic involved a man who believed he was a reporter for the Georgia Straight. He hopped in a cab and then told the driver to bill his employer. The problem was that we didn’t have an account with that cab company and he didn’t work for the Straight. After he was sent to Riverview Hospital, he somehow gained access to a phone and called the editorial department.

      37. An interior glass door once spontaneously exploded one evening inside the Straight building on Broadway in the 2010s. Even after reviewing the security camera footage several times, we still have no idea why.

      38. Charlie Smith reported that Geox founder Mario Moretti Polegato announced that the "smelly feet era" is over. That was in 2008. It's now 2017. What gives?

      39. Craig Takeuchi blogged about music editor Mike Usinger's massive bunion and art director Janet McDonald's sty on her eye. Gross.

      40. Craig Takeuchi also reported on how eel in the ass was becoming a growing global problem. But it never did affect him—which is the weird part.

      41. Adrian Mack once marveled at Ryan Kesler's marble ass.

      42. Movies editor Adrian Mack is obsessed with Julianne Moore's bodily functions. But he's also obsessed with UFOs. Which might explain a lot.

      43. Reader Melanie Cookson wanted Adrian Mack to stop sniffing his fingers.

      44. Michael Mann stirred up a massive shitstorm for his Pop Eye column "Boo hoo, broke bands, quit asking for charity" about bands crowdsourcing. What is weird about that is that Mann still lives to this day.

      45. How NOT to Decorate hosts Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan once revealed to Janet Smith that they went into one homeowner's house and tracked down a bad smell to the carcass of a dog they discovered under a bed. To which the owners said, “We wondered where he had got to."

      46. Things you learn from Mike Usinger: Diarrhea Planet is a band. He also has had a longterm obsession with the word splattered. He's also obsessed with Avalon Milk. And you can make him throw up by making honeydew milk.

      47. A former editorial staff member was so paranoid about other staff departments poaching or "borrowing" copies of the editorial department's newspaper subscriptions that we received from other publications that he used to rip a half-page tear in them to make the copies look unattractive to be stolen. Unfortunately, this made the copies hard to read even for the editorial department. 

      48. There's a guy at the Georgia Straight nicknamed after a salamander. And he's still there.

      Steve Newton (left), is also known as the Newt

      49. Stranger than fiction: The Fraser Institute once shared the same building with the Georgia Straight. True story.

      50. The Georgia Straight is still alive and kicking at 50 years old. Now that's really weird.