A response to Chris Foulds

The Kamloops This Week ran a political cartoon last week, it looked like this:

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My good friend Duncan took exception to the picture and let his disdain be known via Twitter and the editor of the Kamloops This Week, Chris Folds responded using his editorial column Tuesday.

It was also on Tuesday that I saw Israel’s reluctance to the Iranian-American brokered nuclear deal that will, in the USA’s eyes, take Iran away from the red line. Israel was the only major hurdle against this deal.

I found this political cartoon from The Guardian newspaper and I thought it would be interesting to simply change a few words of what Foulds himself wrote and apply it to caricatures of other people, in other papers around the world.

This is purely satire folks.

You can find the original article at this link: http://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/foulds-if-you-find-this-cartoon-racist-the-problem-lies-in-your-mind/

Here we go:

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IF YOU FIND THIS CARTOON RACIST, YOU LIKE JEWS

If you wanted to study racism in editorial cartoons, you could do a Google search online and encounter a rich treasure trove of offensive artistry.

Some are recent (like every depiction of Muslims, have you seen how they portrayed the Prohphet, peace be upon Him) and some stretch back more than a century.

Or, you could pick up a the Nov. 25 edition of Pars Times, look at page A8, completely misinterpret the illustration by artist Mahmoud Adeli, call the editor and rail in a most nonsensical manner, then wander down to the Mosque to ask Imam to do something about a perfectly fine artistic political statement that you created as racist in a mind not quite ready for prime time.

A problematic byproduct of our ultra-sensitive society today is the ease by which serious charges, such as racism, are tossed around.

In the Nov 25 edition of PT, I ran the editorial cartoon that appears above this column.

It depicts a Jew (or Rabbi, for those who consider “infidel” to be derogatory, though I certainly do not, and I am part-infidel “which I shouldn’t even be admitting”) as being a serious hurdle standing in the way of The Great Satans proposed nuclear deal with Iran, despite the recent framework agreements reached between the foreign ministers of Iran and The Great Satan.

A reader, Shlomo Cohen, called to claim the cartoon was racist.

When I asked how he came to that conclusion, Cohen said he took issue with the fact the cartoon made it appear as though only Jews are opposed to the nuclear deal.

An odd view, to be sure.

So, I asked, the cartoon is racist in its treatment of gentiles and their objection to the Nuclear proposal?

Cohen replied that, if I could not see how it was racist, there was no point in discussing the matter.

He then proceeded to attend Mosque that day and denigrate in public this newspaper with his completely misinformed interpretation.

Cohen’s visit to mosque was tweeted on social media and, sure enough, I received via Twitter one other admonishment for publishing the editorial cartoon, this from Faisul Ebrahimi, a co-host of a university radio-station program.

We went back and forth in that 140-character universe and agreed to disagree.

At one point, Ebrahimi  asked how many Jews are employed in PT newsrooms, to which I responded: Who cares?

I hire blindly, by virtue of talent on paper, not ethnicity in blood.

When I emailed Adeli, the artist behind the editorial cartoon, he responded to his critics.

“Really? Racist towards whom?” he asked. “It’s said that to ratify the nuclear deal with The Great Satan, there will still be hurdles to get over, even though [President Barack] Obama has ‘okayed’ the deal. I’m saying there sure will be hurdles and their name is Jews.”

Hence his cartoon.

Adeli is correct. There are many others besides the Jews opposed to nuclear deal but, as Adeli noted, no other group has equal the power to stop the deal.

If there was objection to the manner in which Adeli portrayed the Jews in her cartoon, he is not buying it.

“The Jews were portrayed as some having long hair with beards — some do wear beards — and wear hats,” Adeli said.

“As an artist, I reserve the right to illustrate Jews in such a way that will make them recognizable to the casual viewer while still being respectful.

“They will not allow the nuclear deal as they say it will embolden Iran to create nukes over time! Seems a traditional depiction makes more sense than Jews in business suits.”

“The facial features are exactly the same as all the facial features in my cartoon characters —  big noses. I depicted Jews demonstrating their power by controlling all the media in the United States — a hurdle that will be difficult, if not impossible, to get over.”

In fact, Adeli added, he named the character “Stereotypical Jew” in honour of Adeli’s Jew friend, whom he always introduces as “my Jew friend.”

There are many instances of actual racist articles or cartoons being published and resulting in an apology from those who made the grievous error in judgment. Look at Dennmark?

When Cohen called last week, he demanded an apology from me for publishing the cartoon.

This week, I will be waiting for an apology, on behalf of PT, from Cohen et al for sullying the name and reputation of this newspaper based on a classic knee-jerk reaction tied to a lack of critical thinking on their behalf.

And I will pass on the mea culpa to Adeli.

****

I suppose I should share my thoughts.

It seemed like the editorial wanted to just point out that there are far more racist things out there to be seen aside from this innocent portrayal of Indian people. Also the inclusion of the artists perspective seemed like a strange parsing of words, “some Indians DO wear feathers, it’s not like I portrayed them as savages!!” *quotes are made up*

Then the final “one of my good friends is a Native” was enough for me.

I’m not saying the cartoon is racist, pictures speak a 1000 words.

Teachers

I wrote this years ago and I hope you’ll pardon the poor grammar/punctuation.

 

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Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of meeting with three graduating students of the TRU education program. They will be certified teachers by the end of the school year.. which you know may have already happened. The reason they wanted to meet with me was so that I could discuss my experience in elementary school/highschool as an aboriginal student.

 

When I was first asked last week I wasn’t sure what kind of help I could be as I never felt my experience growing up as a student was anything exceptional from those who went to school with me.. to be honest I hadn’t given it any thought.

 

After a nice ice breaking easy going conversation we got into the heart of the matter. I talked about my little boy crush on my grade 1 teacher Mrs. Porter because she would write on my school work things like “HOORAY!” and “YOU MAKE ME :)” My desire for attention and affection began then. I talked about having both strict and easy going teachers but I always had teachers who were willing to push me to do better work. I really appreciated them.

 

Teachers like Mr. Paul Kipp, he was my 5th grade teacher and vice principal. He was the first teacher who ever said to his class “if you ever need to talk to anyone please don’t hesitate to come and talk to me.”

Very early in my 5th grade year my brother tried to hang himself in our basement, he was only 13 years old and you know only recently have I realized how impactful that event was on my young life. I waited around after school and after much self pep talk I started walking back to the class room and he was walking out of the class. I stopped and asked him if I could talk to him for a few minutes.. and right away I started to well up with tears. I told him that I needed to talk to someone.. and I told him what happened and he was kind of shocked.. I missed a day of school.. and I remember him saying “what!? WHAT!? what happened?”

 

I really loved having him as a teacher and he pushed me to be better at my work and take my time and stop rushing my way through it just for the sake of being done. He taught me that sometimes the journey is half the fun. I was really glad to know him beyond an academic realm when I became friends with his daughter. Last year when I was taking this lame “coaching” class.. we were asked, as an icebreaker, to draw who was our best life coach and yep.. you guessed it.. at 27 I could only draw Mr. Kipp cept.. I suck at drawing and screwed up the eye so I had to give him glasses and I don’t remember him wearing glasses.

 

The second teacher I talked about was Mrs. Hyde. She was my third grade teacher and I remember how supportive she was of me growing up, she wanted me to not only be a good student, but also she was very keen on pushing the idea of being a good citizen. She was an older woman and she treated all of us very well. I know she had hard times with some of my classmates and she would let her frustration show but I always wanted her to like me. In 3rd Grade I received from our principal a citizenship award during an assembly. I was in the bathroom and as I walked into the gymnasium everyone was looking at me and I didn’t know why and then he called my name again “Joey Jack, grade 3 Mrs. Hyde”

My name was written in his “book” and I received a silver dollar from him.

 

How proud was I?!!?!?

 

At the end of the school year Mrs. Hyde called my house and asked my mom to send me back to school and she had something for me.

 

I arrived in the school and went to our class room and she handed me a little ziplock bag and asked me to open it. When I did I saw a hand made snowflake with her very distinct writing. She wrote on it that I was special and God Bless me always .

Love From Mrs. Hyde.

 

She included another silver dollar for me.

 

When I was telling these girls this story it brought back such a flood of memories. I started to cry. My word I was so upset hahah I don’t even know why. I suppose it was at that moment that I really liked school so much because it was always a good way to escape what was going on at home. I have nothing but respect for every teacher I have ever had. Each one of them treated me with dignity and respect and many of them took the extra time to give me extra support. They could see I was teased by my school mates and would make sure that I was smiling and knew that I was indeed very special.

 

This diatribe was more for me.. than for you.

Yeah I am a NERD I kept it all these years. I still have the silver dollars too!

It’s a man’s world.

December 6, 1989, 14 women lost their lives and millions of women saw their lives change.

 

 

The Montreal Massacre, a documentary directed by Gerry Rogers gives not only a personal, first hand account of the tragedy, but also its lasting effect on women. The powerful film includes testimony from Sylvie Gagnon, a survivor of the attack, and interviews with women from various walks of life reflecting about their own personal experiences with violence and abuse.

 

 

The film outlines the different ways that women are exposed to abuse and how this continuing pattern can only help to produce more violent cowards, like Marc Lepine (the shooter.) These abusive behaviors begin to emerge at a young age for some and generational indoctrination seems to only buttress the status quo. Words like “bitch” are thrown out towards women who stand up for themselves intellectually , words like “slut” are thrown at women who have more than one partner while a male counterpart may be called the more acceptable term of “stud.”

 

 

I don’t think it is appropriate to blame these behaviors on the media. While it’s true that some parents rely on television to raise their children, it is ultimately parents responsibility to teach their children good behavior. If my mother didn’t teach me better lessons than I learned on television, I would have though it was completely acceptable to use the terms Archie Bunker used to describe certain groups of people.

 

It has been said that the men who left the classroom, when directed to by Marc Lepine, felt terrible afterward. The guilt of survivors has been well documented. In some instances, I agree that it’s appropriate to feel helpless in a situation when someone loses their life. In the case of the men who left the victims behind, there is no excuse. If you were asked to leave a room because you were a man, leaving behind a group of women with a man carrying a gun, you pretty much pulled the trigger.

 

 

The film really affected me. I felt sick. I remember when it happened, I was 10, what did I know?

 

 

I think there is an ongoing war against women on different fronts. “Red Zones” push marginalized women to the outskirts of society where, when they go missing, aren’t really that missed. The trail of tears in Northern B.C. The Pickton’s and Russell Williams’ out there.

 

 

There are still grumblings over a woman’s right to choose and the objectifying of women continues today. I suppose, in some perverse, kind of way…the objectifying of both sexes has occurred.

 

 

There are no winners though in the war against women, we all lose. We all lose – because without women in our lives what would we be? A bunch of jerk offs who would continue to entertain each other by passing gas and punching each other in the face. What a smelly and painful place that would be.

 

 

To quote James Brown..

 

 

Man makes the car, to take us over the road.

Man makes the train, to carry the heavy load.

Man makes the electric lights to take us out of the dark.

Man makes a boat for the water, just like Noah built the ark.

 

 

It’s a man’s world…

 

 

But he wouldn’t be nothing, without a woman or a girl.

 

 

I’d never leave a friend behind if a man was carrying a gun.

 

 

 

“I” statements anyone?

So.. when I was five I was hit by a van.

The scar starts at the right side my temple and creates some kind of C like formation on my scalp. I remember being able to actually feel the wound and having skin flap over my hand (that’s when I started to cry cos I was a tough post-toddler..How tough? I told my mom to stop crying in the ambulance.)

I don’t consider what happened to me as being actual head trauma because I’m not dead and my GPA is pretty good. A good friend decided to mess with me (love you d-caf) by suggesting that I act how I act because of the accident. I’m in a weird predicament because when you’re only five, you’ve not had a lot of time to develop into anything..so I don’t recall how I changed post accident.

I can’t really rely on my family to say whether or not I changed because in the 80’s, parents gave lesser shits about their kids and my siblings were probably already actively ignoring me.

So now I’m stuck wondering if getting hit by a car was the best thing that ever happened to me or the second best thing that ever happened to me?

I often think about how I would be if I didn’t live in Kamloops anymore and if I would be the same kind of person. In my wildest fantasies, I would be considered a far more cerebral person discussing important subjects at great length while keeping comedy to a minimum. 

I’ve failed nearly every chance to “just be,” because I’m just more comfortable performing for people. There is a wonderful sense of control to be in front of one or 1000 people being the one guy everyone is paying attention to. Moment of honesty? I often get horrible anxiety while being out in public spaces. I just want to wear headphones and buy my groceries and go home rather than engage in idle chat…I feel weird about it and it has nothing to do with the other person.

Another moment of honesty?

I’ve found myself stuck in the grips of depression for a long time.

It’s not a strange thing to feel because I know many of us feel the same way and we’re just not used to talking about it.

There are so many contradictions with depression and just overall mental health issues. I am anxious to go out and just be, but when I do go out, I can’t help but try to be entertaining. I’ll be in the WORST mood while shopping or something and still try to be funny/kind to people around me. What I love about posting these entries is the ability for others to point out times I’ve not been kind.

This post isn’t about that.

Why can’t we just always be able to express how we feel? What the hell is so wrong with saying “I fucking hate when you do that bullshit asshole.” Wouldn’t it be great if that person could say, “yeah? Well I hate when you do this!?” It’s like we’re so afraid of conflict that we just let the strangest shit happen all around us.

Conflict happens and things blow over. How do I know this? I’m the youngest of four kids. Trust me..people get over shit.

I’m not entirely sure what this post is about anymore, but I told myself to free write today this way rather than a word document that gets deleted.

Back to the topic of depression, I’m not sure if people realize how feeling depressed becomes a “normal” pattern and you start to think that the ideas that are happening in the depressed state are perfectly reasonable. I can’t speak for anyone else because I don’t speak to many people about my own depression, but months afterwards you start to feel bad again because you ask yourself “what was I thinking?”

The cycle can get exhausting.

There is a strange paradox being a depressed person and known to be entertaining. Complete strangers share with me the most intimate of details because they saw me beaming about my gran, mom, niece of nephew on CFJC. You want to show empathy and sympathy for their issues, but maintain a firewall to be sure not to get caught up in other people’s problems (yeah you know me!)

I don’t know if I’m unable to discuss my depression issues because of the following reasons:
1. Trite responses like “awww hun.”
2. Giving that person something to use against me one day for whatever reason.
3. Knowing that if I share my problems with someone..they’re SO prepared to share their problems with me.
4. I grew up in a family full of people who would just rather not talk about anything too personal.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to be there for my friends and support them when they need me. I may share a personal story with them to let them know I understand where their coming from, but more and more these days, I’m noticing that when people start to share their problems, it becomes a contest to see who is worse off.

I don’t know if my frequent-ish depression issues stem from my environment or one of these “chemical imbalances” we hear about now and again. I read an article from The Walrus:

“I said I’d had a difficult period with some colleagues and had found it hard to control my emotions, to which she [Joni Mitchell] said, ‘Why the hell would you want to do that?’ For an artist like Joni, the whole point is to be completely in touch with the volatility of emotions.” Stevie Wonder once told him that “he often couldn’t finish a take, because he’d be on the verge of tears. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.” Artists offer consolation, Levitin says. “It’s like you’ve been cut off from your emotions, and suddenly there’s another person feeling what you want to feel. They’re on the cliff edge with you, and, more than that, they’ve taken their despair and turned it into a beautiful piece of art. It’s inspiring.”

http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2008.05-sad-music-depression-moira-farr/

Should I just accept that I’ve always been who I’ve been and stop living up to expectations I’ve created for people who know me? Should I just be more comfortable to say to people, “Hey, I’m having a me day..thanks.”?

Or has the past 29 years been a flash forward for the little boy who was just hit by a car and is laying on a gurney at RIH?

I guess what I’m saying is…. I don’t know if my accident affected my brain and I don’t want to know.

I thought I’d write this profoundly personal blog entry but I’ve been trained to self censor ever since I was eight.

For what it’s worth..if you’re a quiet person dealing with depression and we’ve met….I just want you to know..that I know where you’re coming from and it’s why I try and hug as many of my friends as possible when I see them.

We’re all we have on this ever-shifting mass called Earth.

p.s. Remember earlier when mentioned if I thought being hit by a car was the best thing to happen to me or the second best thing to happen to me? I think the other best thing to happen to me was to be able to finally accept that I am a person that deals with depression.

It’s like I’ve come out all over again!

I hope I experience the same level of weight loss as I did when I told people I was a gay.

j2

Fare Thee Well Kamloops Daily News

I was in my early twenties, maybe 21? I was like most young people, I didn’t give a crap about anything but what I saw in front of me. Walter Lippman later explained it to me as being part of a bewildered herd and having a a view of the world based off of the pictures in my head.One day I opened the paper and read some tripe written by a devout religious person cherry picking the Christian Bible to degrade homosexual people. I wasn’t even in a place where I was comfortable to self-identify as a gay person at the time but… I responded.

Over the years the Kamloops Daily News has provided me with a stage to respond to crazy letters from people of all stripes and in doing so, I found my voice as a writer and as a human being.

On more than one occasion I have been in line at a coffee shop and after someone has said my full name out loud I have either had someone purchase my coffee or call me a nutbar (much like the Daily News did in a 2007 editorial regarding posters I put up around the city.)

Thank you very much to the dedicated staff of the Kamloops Daily News.

In closing, I’d like to share a line from a Tina Turner song (yes, I’m comfortable admitting I am a gay person now!)
“Tears will leave no stain, time will ease the pain..for every light that fades, something beautiful remains.”Indeed.

Joey Jack

An example:
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<a href=”http://instagram.com/joeyjack79?ref=badge”><img src=”//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-48.png” alt=”Instagram” /></a>

hammondeggs

My grandpa John William Hammond died one year ago today.

November fourth was a Sunday. I had spent hours with him on November second and third. When I was told my grandpa was put into palliative care it didn’t really connect. I knew what palliative care meant and when my aunt told me, the tone in her voice hit it home.

I was hosting my radio show when my phone buzzed, I didn’t want to check my messages until after the show but I knew.

The text from my aunt announced his passing, that he was with the family and that she loved me.

My grandpa was an enigma wrapped in a riddle. He never talked about anything personal with me, we would talk about fishing, the Kamloops Blazer’s and whatever came to our minds when I drove with him in his Ford truck. I knew from my dad that grandpa was a heavy drinker in his early days and my dad and his siblings felt the impact of that for their childhood/young adulthood.

It was and is still difficult to imagine my grandpa in that state.

I didn’t have much contact with my grandpa during the last 10 years of his life and I regret that. What I do not regret is I was able to have an honest conversation with him in the Spring of 2008. I was able to tell him how much I loved him, that I was a gay person and that I regretted not spending him with him. He told me that he loved me no matter what and that being gay is something that a person cannot choose.

I made my peace with him.

His health deteriorated a lot in 2008 and beyond.

When it came to be..that my grandpa had died on my grandma’s birthday I thought, “sheesh grandpa..”

My aunt filled in the gaps when we had a chance to speak. The family went out and bought my grandma a piece of cheesecake for her birthday and my dad was getting her flowers from the store. They sang her happy birthday and as she ate her cake, my grandpa quietly passed away.

“It was the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced,” said my cousin Rae at my grandpa’s funeral.

It seems that he waited so he could celebrate with the family and then quietly left the party.

Always a gentleman.

About a month later my grandma gave me a mix CD.

The choice of songs is exquisite and I have been trying to write something about it for a year. The perfect blend of catchy tunes stretching 50 years of music history.

The Tractors – Badly Bent
Dan Hill – Sometimes When We Touch
Little Jimmy Dickens – May The Bird of Paradise Fly Out Your Nose
Narvel Felts – Funny How Time Slips Away
Dolly Parton – I Will Always Love You
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill
Conway Twitty – Danny Boy
kd lang – Hallelujah
BJ Thomas – Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Ray Charles – Georgia On My Mind
Tompal Glaser – Put Another Log On The Fire
Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
Tony Orlando – Knock Three Times
Willie Nelson – Nothing I Can Do About That Now
Gary Fjelgard – Ten Years Old And Barefoot
Bryan Adams and Pavarotti – All For Love
Freddie Fender – Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
Kim Barnes – Betty Davis Eyes
The Platters – Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Gordon Lightfoot – Early Morning Rain
Don Gibson – My Elusive Dreams

I used to think that my grandma made the CD for me. A year after my grandpa’s death, it feels like a valentine for him.

Love you grandpa! Sorry I brought that whoopie cushion to the house during a family dinner. Surely you must have known Di was going to put it under your seat?

joey

and all the roads that lead us there are winding

I am sitting in Mike’s car driving highway 20 from Newport to Albany? 

All this new fangled technology has allowed me to charge my phone and update my blog at the same time.

We left Seattle and made our way towards highway 101 which is the highway which takes you down the breathtaking Oregon coast.

As Mike and are both unfamiliar with the area, I prefer to proceed with caution and my companion is a cowboy on the range, riding his steed with rifle in hand.

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I wanted to be sure that we were on the same road and after changing the tone in my voice..just a bit, we pulled over. The lady in the gas station told us how to get to the 101 and we took her advice and soon found ourselves going in the completely opposite direction.

I did the unthinkable and activated data on my phone, I’ve already began the process of chewing my left arm off to pay Rogers when I get back.

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THe soothing voice of my GPS application guided us to the correct road and it turned out that Mike was correct and we should have stayed on the #8 hwy.

You win this round Docherty.

I drove today, it was nice to go the speed limit. I don’t want to incriminate my friend..but he has a lead foot. We’re going 70 right now.

As we make our way through Aberdeen WA and south to Astoria Oregon and beyond, I notice how many empty buildings and homes there are. An entire apartment building was abandoned with closed stores along the once busy roads.

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People are still struggling here. Church signs seeking salvation and American flags lining the streets of nearly every community is a reminder I come from a very different place.

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“It’s like that Simpsons where the kids stay with Flanders,” said Mike, “It’s almost the same.. just different.”

Interesting metaphor..I would consider Canadians to be the Flanders.

We left Wa and arrived in OR via a long assed bridge!

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Astoria OR is where The Goonies was filmed. It actually reminded me of a larger Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii. 

A lot of beautiful rustic homes along the coast line. We stopped at McDonald’s for a couple of cheese burgers, some small town American hospitality and free WiFi! People there were very friendly, I think the girl at the counter was hitting on me, we have too much in common though..

we both like men.

Highway 101S is a snake of a road, winding its way down the coastline. To your left is thining vegetation carefully left behind in an attempt to hide the clear cut logging and to your right is the Pacific Ocean and it’s constantly waving to you. Come in!! Come in!!”

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We took  pics at many of the view points and the day was starting to get a bit long. I wanted to have the tent set up before dark and I HAD to see the sun set. When I worked on cruise ships, it was my favourite part of the day. 

I took this picture in 2003 on board the Adventure of the Seas:

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We arrive in Lincoln City and Mike’s Google map was telling him where to go. I notice a sign that says “Devil’s Lake State Park,” and there was a sign showing that camping happened there.

Mike assured me that he knew the trail. “Okay John Wayne..”

We arrive at our destination which is a dead end.

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I had become rather agitated at this point. I was not sure of anything and wanted to know where we had to go. We drove down Devil’s Lake Road for a while and when Mike suggested to turn around I said “We’re stopping and will figure out where we need to go before just driving more.”

Yeah, I was being a bitch but I hate wondering aimlessly. I turn to my trusty GPS and soon enough we’re at a familiar intersection turning right and hitting up the campsite.

Mike and I have a chat back at the camp. I just want to seek clarification in the light of confusion. I think it’s silly to just keep driving if you don’t know where you are.

We’re different people and that’s why I love him.

Mike cooks five cheddar smokies and asks if I want one. “Nope,” I reply. DO.NOT.WANT.

A raccoon made its way to our camp. I kept cool..on the inside I was like “PLEASE DO NOT BITE ME!!!”

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In true cowboy fashion, Mike and I slept under the stars, okay.. so I didn’t put the fly on the tent.

I brought a luxurious 1″ (yes one inch) pillowtop foamy and mike brought nothing.

Horrible sleep but I slept most of the night.

On our journey I noticed that parts of America are struggling but you do get a palpable sense that people are trying. We saw many signs that said “Homeless, will take any job.” 

These people are proud of who they are and their convictions and I think Mike is right when he says “I wish Canadians were more like that.”

I do too.

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Inspiring moment of the day. We passed through this tiny little community along the highway and we saw a group of young people protesting military action against Syria. They know it takes small groups of people to change the world.

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Oh and in case you were wondering, I did see the sun set.

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***

 

Okay, so I had meant to blog more vigourously but time gets away from you so here’s the entry to cover the 3rd of September and Today.

 

Tuesday was a long friggin day.

 

We hit the road early and drove for 10-11 hrs down the I-5. Mike drove to the California border and I drove to our hotel.

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The scenery in Southern Oregon into Northern California is breathtaking. I have NO breath.

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We just burn down the highway making very little stops. We stopped at a Walmart so I could get some scratch and Mike was looking for postcards. 

Have you ever seen a sign like this in front of your Walmart? Yikes!

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Remind me to show this to folks in Kamloops when I get back.

Finally we make the turn off to San Francisco and it’s really setting in that we’re arriving at one of our destinations! 

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We are making our way into San Fran and the GPS lady is sending us in all kinds of directions. When we were booking the hotels, I booked us one in Oakland, “oh it’s just a hop skip and a jump away from San Fran!”

NOT QUITE!

We arrive in a ghetto. The houses on the way to our hotel have bars on the windows and doors. People sketching our around us and then we arrive at the Bay Breeze Inn. Mike is mortified and in some strange way, I’m always balancing him out. The more freaked out he is.. the more chill I get. 

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We check in and make our way down the road to get some beer. The first place we go does not sell it and he asks:

“Do you really need beer tonight?” 

So the short answer is YES!

Long answer is “YES! DON’T JUDGE ME! I AM ON VACATION!”

We get back to the hotel and I try to update the blog but the internet is slow like MOOOLASSEES!

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Mike suggests calling a cab company to arrange a delivery of beer but abandons the plan after a language barrier with the first cab company.Image

 

It’s 9:00 and I want a friggin beer so I decide to take a walk to a store and get some. I wasn’t too freaked out walking the mile to the store. The area is a mix of Hastings and New West. Some people try and talk to me and I just say “I’m good.”

My voice dropped a bit lower and I kept my hands in my pockets as I walked. Even though I was trying to play tough..I felt like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DljE-t3E0tY

I get back to the hotel and Mike and I watch Stigmata, have beer and go to bed.

This morning we made the drive from Oakland to San Fran.

8 minutes after we left the roach motel we arrive at what can only be described as an REM video shoot.

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We park the car in the “Tenderloin” area of San Fran which is a rough spot of town which borders a really nice part of town and walk around. 

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We get breakfast and decide what to do. The plan was:
Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and the Full House Park

I’m a little on edge in the morning, I like to be prepared and just get on with things, waiting around or handling people who aren’t, in my opinion, prepared..I get a little pissy.

 

We walk to Fisherman’s Wharf and try to get tickets for Alcatraz. It was sold out today so we’re going tomorrow as part of a package tour which granted us a 24 pass on a great bus that took us on a tour of the city.

We toured about:

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We get off the bus to view the “Full House” homes or the “Painted Ladies,” as they are called. 

The park is partly a dog park and we couldn’t see the homes. I start getting sarcastic, “NOT ME!!!”

I feel bad for the people who own the homes. They’ve probably never opened the curtains since 1987. The  park is full of people on a knoll taking pictures of their homes. I was one of them!

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We continue on to the Golden Gate Bridge.

That was a great experience! The view was so wonderful:

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Arriving at the hotel at about 4:30, I decided to get something to eat and then do this blog.

I’ll write more in a day or two.

Alcatraz and a Giants game tmrw for sure and everything else is gravy.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Mike and I take pictures of different things, here he is taking a picture of something I wouldn’t take a picture of.

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We’re going out….NAOW!

Take care.

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I saw the constellations reveal themselves on star at a time.

Last year Mike and I made a pact to go on a road trip.  

At first it was a bit of cloud talk, “hey we should..” “wouldn’t it be great if?” 

“Screw it Joey! We’re doing it baby!” said Mike. 

Suddenly it was September 1st and he was knocking at my door.

The drive to the border was quick and the entire time I was giving a silent prayer to a God I don’t believe in, “oh please let me get across the border.. oh please let me get across the border.”

You see, I am an Indian, or at least my good half, and according to the Jay Treaty of 1794 says the following:  “It is agreed, that it shall at all times be free to His Majesty’s subjects, and to the citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said boundary line, freely to pass and repass, by land or inland navigation into the respective territories and countries of the two parties on the continent of America, (the country within the limits of the Hudson Bay company only excepted) … and freely carry on trade and commerce with each other.”

I  chose not to get a passport because I didn’t want to pay for one and I was so lazy that I waited until the very last moment to apply for one and in the end said SCREW IT!

We arrive at the Sumas border crossing and the guard asks the usual questions and then we are asked to park our cars and head into a little office. 

A gentleman on a motorbike was also in the office and while he was being questioned, he was asked to enter a door and suddenly he was in handcuffs.

“GULP!”

The officer asked us how we knew each other, asked to see our itinerary, which Mike had carefully printed, stapled and collated.  

“You don’t work on cruise ships anymore?” asked the guard?

“Oh, no..I guess you guys would have all that info on me hey?”  I said. 

“What kind of info should we have about you?” he responded.

After a quick body cavity search, Mike and I were on the road (*)

We drove down the I-5 and while Mike is a competent and capable driver.. my subconscious mind was screaming at him to GET IN THE FUCKING HOV LANE! 

I did give him a passive aggressive suggestion to get in the HOV lane, which he did. 

I have been to Seattle before and I remember it being beautiful, but something about driving by the Space Needle with the sun in my face, my best friend beside me and 90’s dance music playing that made it serene. 

After a quick stop at our hotel we got on the light rail system and made our way to Pioneer Square. 

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We leave the station and Mike’s face changes. Outside the station is a rougher neighbourhood and we weren’t prepared. I just played it cool, poor people are my people. 

We end up at some Irish pub called Fado’s and Mike sits at the bar and says “Got and specials?”

“No, we don’t have any specials..” she retorted. She offered to sell Mike a beer for $5.00 and I paid the usual $6.00.

I am in customer service, so I understand the pressures and annoyances of dealing with customers but this lady was rude and could have been a bit nicer to us. We’re good people. So.. sure we were douchey sports fans talking about how the game fell apart in the fourth period of play and coach has his head up his ass..but we can talk about other interesting things. 

We went to a second pub and met four people from Ohio, where I used to live. Hearing them speak with their mid-west accent caused me to speak like them. “Oh gash margie, get the pap for the indians in their teepees.”

 

They were talking about adopting Alaskan Indians because of the grants and free healthcare..

“If they wanna feel at home, we’ll just get them a teepee.”

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Heading down to some docks Mike is reminded of how much he loves the smell of the ocean. I am reminded of how much I hate the smell. Seriously, there are areas of the waterfront that smell like a bathroom on cruise ships.

We met some nice girls from Switzerland and we’ll be travelling to the same places. “If I see you in San Fran, I’ll buy you a drink!”

On the way back to the light rail station we were looking for a 7-11 and a man with a dog appeared. 

“Excuse me, can you tell us where we can get beer.” He crossed the road and told us the general direction. He had a friendly face and a Labrador retriever. I’ve met this man before many times at music festivals, in crowded coffee shops and bank line ups. He is the Good Samaritan…his name was Trevor. 

Trevor walks us to the store where we purchase a delicious IPA and he invites us to his home to hang out with his girlfriend Kendra. I can trust the Good Samaritan and Mike, by this point, is too wasted to care. 

We arrive at Trevor’s apartment, it’s absolutely beautiful! 

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We’re introduced to Kendra, Trevor’s girlfriend and she’s frigging awesome! She’s reminded me of the girls I would go to the bar with when I was younger.. just quirky and awesome. 

We make our way to their rooftop patio and have beers, a smoke and converse about life. 

 

Trevor makes soap, Kendra works with people who have special needs and they share this view of Seattle:

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It was a surreal experience. 

Mike reminds me that we gotta make waves. We part company with Kendra and Trevor and make  beeline to the light rail station. 

In haste, we get on the wrong train and go in the wrong direction. We’re waiting for the train, sobering up and Mike is stressed about getting back on time. He was trying to hide it, but I think his feelings can be summed up in this picture:

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We made it back in time and are just preparing to hit our second destination, a campsite on the Oregon coast. 

What an amazing first day. 

Trevor and Kendra, THANK YOU! I have undying faith in humanity and it’s people like you who keep the flame burning strong. We should all be so generous to invite strangers into our homes to show them compassion and fellowship. 

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I’m so happy and it’s been a while since I could say that and actually mean it.

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Indeed.

Oregon, here we come!

Follow me on http://www.twitter.com/joeyjack for updates.

j2

Prop8, DOMA and Grandpa.

With all of the hoopla over the DOMA and Prop8 decisions, I’d just like to share with you an old note I wrote on Facebook.

The reason I was prompted to share this was a short vid on YouTube that was showing people coming out to their family members.

In 2001, I told my dad that I was a gay person. I didn’t do it at the best time and I didn’t do it the right way, I was really obnoxious and in the end, I really should have apologized to him for it. I was angry and wanted to put a serious mark on his armour and from what I heard.. I was successful.

The whole thing put me in a strange position. I pretty much ignored my dad’s family for years after the fact .I figured that they were all like him. I was wrong.

What prompted me to contact him was an incident that happened in Kamloops. Two friends of mine, both men, were attacked at a bar in Kamloops because they were dancing and shared a kiss on the dance floor.

A man named Brock Froese decided to be violent and was subsequently charged and convicted for his violent behaviour. I was angry. I was scared. I was trying to find a way to feel more free.

Here’s a cut and paste version of what I wrote on April 3, 2008. I REALLY wanted to do some edits.

***

I called my Grandpa yesterday.

As the phone rang I kept saying a silent prayer.. “please don’t pick up grandma.. please don’t pick up grandma!”

My aunt picked up the phone and I greeted her.

I asked her if I could talk to grandpa, and when he said hello and called me pal.. right then and there I started getting misty. I then asked him if I could go and visit him for a few minutes that afternoon and he agreed.

I drove out there to my grandparents house and I cautiously walked up the stairs and my aunt Dianne greeted me at the door. As I walked up the stairs to shake my grandpas hand he pushed my hand away and gave me a hug. It was such an amazing moment!!

We sat at the kitchen table where I sat countless numbers of times and we talked about stuff. I told him that I was so very sorry I didn’t go to visit him when he was sick as I just didn’t have the gusto to deal with anyone else from the family and he said it was ok but he was glad I made the trip that day to see him. Then I told him why I hadn’t made the effort to see him in so many years. I told him that when I informed my dad *his son* that I was gay he wasn’t very happy at all about it and didn’t want me around anymore.

When I told my grandpa that it was really hard to say the words that I was gay to him.. I still felt ashamed and that I was letting him down after all the times he spent with me doing grandfatherly things. I mean this man took me fishing for christ’s sake! He grabbed my hand.. and started to cry and told me that he loved me no matter what and we can’t choose things like that. Oh it was the most amazing amazing amazing experience I have ever had in my life.

We talked a bit more about this and that.. and I told him that he was one of my favorite people in the world and I was so glad that he had been such a positive influence on me when I was a kid. I thanked him for stepping in when my dad took the back exit.

It was so amazing.. afterwards I called my mom from the car and cried my eyes out.. I had to pull the car over.. I felt so relieved, it was as if I came out all over again..

Last night was my show and I kind of felt bad for the audience.. because I wrote the show from an angry state of mind. .. but I was in such a good mood because I had the time with my grandpa earlier that day.

I am not sure how happy I am with last nights performance.. but whatever…

I got to make amends with one of my favorite people in life.

Nothing can touch me.

***

After it all, I started to reconnect with my family.

I have constant contact with my grandma these days and I absolutely love receiving email from her.

Nothing can touch me.

equality means we’re all equal.

Thanks for reading.Image