METANOIA MAY | June 2018
CHRISTOPHER TITUS THE ACCIDENTAL TERRORIST HUNTING ROYALTY Politics . Art . Health . Economics . Entertainment
The Accidental Terrorist By Hank Leis
Christopher Titus By Hank Leis and Jillian Currie
Des Brophy Artwork
Hunting Royalty By Salme Leis
Rant: Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! By Hank Leis
Panache, Politics and Parties
Turkey's New Invasion of Cyprus By Andreas C. Chrysafis
Missives By Donald J. Boudreaux
Facts and Beliefs In Society By Dr. Gordon Hogg, MP
What a Ride By Len Giles
Dan Walker Chronicles By Dan Walker
Executive And Staff PUBLISHERS Salme Johannes Leis & Allison Patton COPY CHIEF Caleb Ng ASSISTANT COPY CHIEF Jillian Currie EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS JR Leis & Heino Leis PHOTO ARCHIVIST Galina Bogatch INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR Suzette Laqua INTERVIEWER/PHOTOGRAPHER Britany Snider DISTRIBUTORS AUSTRALIA Peter Storen CANADA BRITISH COLUMBIA Tariq Ghuman GREATER TORONTO AND HAMILTON AREAS Henry Maeots GREATER VANCOUVER AREA Lesley Diana MONTREAL Gene Vezina
CONTRIBUTORS Beth Allen, Jaspal Atwal, Gerald Auger, Maureen Bader, Alex Barberis, Mario Basner, Andy Belanger, John P. Bell, Donald J. Boudreaux, Des Brophy, Dr. Tim Brown, Richard Calmes, Andreas C Chrysafis, Anabella Corro, Kamala Coughlan, Brian Croft, Miki Dawson, Shane Dean, Vie DunnHarr, Cheryl Gauld, Len Giles, Kulraj Gurm, William Haskell, Greg Hill, Matt Hill, Carly Hilliard, Dr. Gordon Hogg, Marilyn Hurst, Dr. Arthur Janov, Jeanette Jarville, Randolph Jordan, Richard King IV, Peter and Maria Kingsley, Mark Kingwell, Nina Khrushcheva, Rod Lamirand, Barbara A. Lane, Valev Laube, Suzette Laqua, Marilyn Lawrie, Hank Leis, Nelson Leis, Salme Leis, Chris MacClure, Dunstan Massey, Seth Meltzer, Thomas Mets, Fabrice Meuwissen, Dr. Caleb Ng, Paul Nijar, Janice Oleandros, Stefan Pabst, Dr. Allison Patton, Ivan Pili, Luis Reyes, Danielle Richard, Cara Roth, Dr. Bernard Schissel, Pepe Serna, Diego Solis, Lisa Stocks, Peter Storen, Mohamed Taher, Christopher Titus, Jack Vettriano, Dr. Jack Wadsworth, Chris Walker, Dan Walker, Tom Weniger, Sharon Weiser, Harvey White, Robyn Williams, and Helena Wierzbicki METANOIA MAGAZINE Is a publication of Metanoia Concepts Inc. 3566 King George Blvd Surrey, B.C. V4P 1B5 Canada 604.538.8837 Metanoiamagazine@gmail.com Metanoiamagazine.com
INDIA AND PAKISTAN Tariq Ghuman UNITED KINGDOM LONDON Salme Leis UNITED STATES ALBANY NEW YORK Seth Meltzer NEW YORK Valev Laube LAS VEGAS Mario Basner METANOIA MAGAZINE
This issueâ€™s cover story is about the one and only Christopher Titus, who is a psychologist camouflaged as a comedian. He is saving America, by making Americans laugh at themselves and in the process, the world. He is exactly the kind of guy who makes a great companion and neighbour - and more importantly a friend to go to for advice. Jaspal Atwal is an international figure, made even more famous by his recent visit to India, coincidentally at the same time as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau â€“ he has been written about in numerous publications, but we believe we are the first to get it right. Then there is Des Brophy, British artist, who believes that mature people make the best subjects. He sees the joy in just being old. And there is more. Since the founding of Metanoia Magazine by three Naturopathic Doctors and the Leis family in 2008, we have produced over ninety issues. We have had over one thousand articles written, including interviews of over 100 actors, 100 artists, dozens of politicians, philosophers, psychologists, and experts in other fields. A majority of the writers have post-graduate degrees or have expertise or knowledge of a special nature.
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THE ACCIDENTAL TERRORIST By Hank Leis
Here is a grandfather who loves his children and grandchildren, brought to tears, as he talks emotionally about his relationship with them. A man who jumped out of his moving van as his passenger took over the driving, in order to save a woman from being robbed by a knife wielding villain and had his own throat sliced open in the process. A man who, while riding on his Sea-Doo at Harrison Lake in B.C., when hearing cries for help from under an overturned motor boat, rescued a man, a woman and their dog from certain drowning. He must be a celebrated national hero? Not if his name is Jaspal Atwal. Not even if he showed absolute unconditional remorse and spent five years of a twenty-year sentence behind prison bars paying for that one sin he committed in a moment of confused stupidity when he was essentially set up by colleagues who had their own agendas to commit this horrific crime. Because of it being a spontaneous reaction that went awry, rather than a planned execution and even if after the conviction while in prison, he spent all his free time taking every available course to educate himself into becoming a better human being and citizen. Let there be no mistake about what happened - In 1987 on a lonely road on Vancouver Island, Atwal and his associates chased down a visiting Minister of the Indian government in his car, smashed the car windows with bats, shot him in the shoulder, left the scene, and almost immediately afterwards were captured by the RCMP. This act was perpetrated as revenge for the Indian attack (Operation Blue Star, June 1 â€” 8, 1984), on the Golden Temple where thousands of people were reported to have been killed. Because of these events, the Khalistan Liberation Force became the movement to create a country or refuge - Khalistan - for Sikhs. Jaspal Atwal was never a member of that group nor any other organization advocating Khalistan separation. His most recent excursion into political villainy has again brought his name to the attention of the press and the politicians. The now famous photo of Jaspal and Trudeauâ€™s wife during his visit and theirs to India seem to say it all. But does it? Jaspal wants to set the story straight; not for any personal or political gain, but for the sake of his family and their future. He wants them to know there is more to him than what the headlines say. I'd just like to have you talk a little bit about your history, your background in India, where you grew up, and what made you decide to come to Canada. Let's start there. My grandfather's father was living in Malaysia in 1900. My grandfather was born in 1894. He lived until he was 106 years old. Our family moved in 1947 to Punjab, a state in India. My grandfather had shares in a transport business there. The company was called Hoshiarpur Express. And my grandfather also had shares in the other bus company, the Victory. They were in a town called Garhshanker. My
grandfather was a shareholder in both companies. My father didn't go to school when he was growing up because one time he grabbed a brick and threw it at the Maulvi. A Maulvi is an Islamic teacher. He was his student because he was learning Urdu at that time. You know, at that time India and Pakistan were one country. So when he grew up, he started driving buses. At one point the bus company went on strike and my father went on a hunger strike for over four or five months. My grandfather was one of the partners of that bus company. They laid off my father METANOIA MAGAZINE
and suspended a few other people. So my father went and started driving trucks in Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India, in a city named Sagar. When his case in Punjab was settled in court, my father received back pay from the bus company and he bought himself a truck. My uncle, my dad's older brother, got involved and started a trucking business with him. Their business was going well at the beginning. But later on, their partnership couldn't continue; it had too many problems. So my father sent me back to Punjab with my mother. I used to score poor grades during the school year,
but in the final exams, I always got the highest grades. Then my father went to Chhattisgarh, another part of Madhya Pradesh state at that time, where he bought some trucks. We then went back to him in Kargi Road Kota town in Bilaspur district and we bought a house there. My family was the only one from Punjab whose kids were going to school in that town. The official language in that state was Hindi which has a different script from the Punjabi language.
relationship with all of them when I was just nine years old. If I went to Gujarati businessmen and said, "Uncle, I need some money â€“ 200,000 rupees or whatever," they would never say no to me. When we had more trucks, we were running a big type of business. As part of the transport company, we hired some other trucks to go to the jungle and bring back bamboos. The land where the bamboos grew were owned by Tata Birla. Tata and Birla are now separate companies.
The town had people from Gujarat and Sindh and included Hindus and Muslims. It was quite diverse. I had a good
Even in the winter time, when there was no bamboo business, our trucks were never idle. The reason was that I METANOIA MAGAZINE
had a good relationship with the business people who gave me a lot of goods to transport to the cities. My father didn't know what was going on because I used to take care of all the business. The other truck owners were very jealous of us as they had no work during that season. They went behind my back to tell my father stupid stories about me. My father didn't know Hindi at that time. He had a temper. He beat me up. That's the way my life was. When I was 11 years old, I was driving trucks myself. My father didn't know.
Someone would drive up, I went and sat in their truck and we would head to the jungle. I didn't find it hard to drive and so when I got in the truck, I always told the driver, "Hey. I've brought you tea and pakora (an Indian snack), so let me drive!" That's the way I always did it.
From my mother's side, her dad's brother came to Canada in 1905. He was the supervisor of the Fraser Sawmill in New Westminster. My mom's two brothers were both in Canada as well. My older uncle came to Canada in 1953-1954. My younger uncle came in 1969.
When I was 13 years old, I killed a tiger. I was driving in the jungle when I saw the tiger on the road and ran over it. The labourers helped me put the tiger in the truck. Ten kilometres from there, were some people who live in the jungle. I gave the tiger to them to skin it for me and preserve the skin.
It took me three days to reach Punjab. I arrived at my maternal grandfather's house in Dosanjh Kalan around 6 p.m. and the very next morning I had my hair cut. Until then, I had always worn a turban. Then I had my photograph taken and got ready to prepare my passport. My mom and dad didn't know anything. My younger uncle had come to Punjab from Canada to see his father because he had a stroke. So I was there for two months helping my grandmother take care of my grandfather. My uncle left for Canada after a month.
The impact with the tiger damaged the truck's "shockers". When my father found out a few days later, he asked the driver, "What happened here? How did you do this?" The driver got a little scared, so he told him what I had done. My father came home from the truck loading area and beat the living daylights out of me. He angrily asked me, "Why did you kill the tiger?" He didn't know that I had asked the people who lived in the jungle to skin the animal for me. So when I got the cured skin from them three months later, my father was thrilled. That's the way I was growing up. Quite frequently, my father used to demand eggs or a chicken. I had to go all the way to a village that was situated on the other side of the mountain to get them for him. That meant a walk of one hour each way. That was a regular thing for me. When I had just completed my grade 10 exam, somebody told my father lies that I was always flirting with the girls. He really lost his temper and beat me brutally. My grandfather came to my rescue. He shouted at my dad, "What the hell are you doing? You want to kill him?" Then my grandfather said to me, "Leave. Go somewhere. He's going to kill you. Run away." So I decided that day to leave my father. I was not yet sixteen. So I had 200 rupees in my pocket, and was wearing pajamas, a shirt, and my slippers. I left that night and hid in a tree in the station because I needed to catch the train and was worried that Papa was going to come back. Around 11 p.m., my grandfather came and started calling out for me. I didn't want to come down, because I thought my father was there too. But he told me it was just my uncle who was with him. My grandfather had told him I was leaving, so he came to meet me. So I climbed down to meet him. He gave me 100 rupees, so I had 300 rupees when I left. METANOIA MAGAZINE
Two weeks later, I got my passport. My grandmother gave me 720 rupees. I still remember 6,859 rupees was the cost for the air ticket flying with Lufthansa Airlines from New Delhi via Frankfurt and New York to Vancouver. What year was that? That was August 22, 1972. I was living in Queensborough, New Westminster, on Jardine Street. Then a few months later my uncle wrote me a letter at 6 a.m. and put $50 on the desk. When he left, I was lying on the sofa, and he said, "When you get up, make sure you get this letter on the table, you read it, and do whatever is written." So when he left, I thought, "Why did he say that?" I went and read his note. He had written, "You can leave this house. Here's $50. Go somewhere, live somewhere. If you need anything, let me know. Otherwise, you're on your own." So I took a shower, and I left his $50. I only had 25 cents. I got my suitcase ready, took my clothes, and I left. I walked all the way from Queensborough to 48th Avenue in Vancouver. I still remember the address: 489 East 48th. I had only met the people who lived there once with my older uncle. My mom and dad didn't know I was in Canada. I applied to be a Canadian resident. And what happened was, at that time I had a lawyer called John Drysdale. He used to work with Mr. Taylor as an immigration lawyer. I had only 49 points. I needed 50 to get resident status. So I appealed it. I stayed at 489 East 48th for a couple of months. Then I met somebody, and he said, "You want to come with me to Fort St. James? I could get you job in the summer." I said okay, so we went to Fort
before you, and if you have experience, then we'll see what we can do." So anyhow, the next morning I went to the Rainier Forest sawmill. I gave my application to a guy named Joe Ferguson. He said, "Okay, thank you. You have safety shoes?" I said, "No." He said, "We'll call you. What number we can call?" So I gave him my uncle's number. The same day, they called me and said, "You want to come to work? Afternoon shift?" I said, "Sure." So I started my new job.
Jaspal Atwal and Hank Leis
St. James. We arrived on a Sunday. He was on holiday or something. So the next morning, Monday, he took me to a sawmill called Tekla Forest Products. When I went there, the person managing the sawmill was Ken Cox. He said, "You are young. Can you do it?" I said, "Just give me one chance, you know." That time, you needed a letter from the mill because I didnâ€™t have a work permit. So they give me a piece of paper saying they have a job for me. So I took it to Immigration to get a permit. Unfortunately, I had left my passport at my uncle's house in New Westminster. So I flew from Prince George by CP Airline for $26 on a one-way ticket and got my passport. Then I caught a flight back to Prince George the same day. The next morning, I went to Immigration to get my work permit. When I received the work permit, I sent a letter to my lawyer. For immigration, if you had your work permit, you got 10 points. And then I got a gun licence and a hunting license, which got me another 5 points. So that ensured my permanent residence status in 1974. And then in 1977, I received my citizenship. I worked at the sawmill and bought a house. In 1975 I was married in the New Westminster temple. Then I tried to find a job here, but it was very hard at that time. So I returned to Fort St. James. I tried to get a job in Vancouver on a couple of occasions but it was impossible to get work there at that time. Every time I went back to Fort St. James, I got my job back. Then I was appointed as a job steward, IW Union. Nobody wanted to do that job, so everybody said, "Hey, why don't you do the job?" Every year we had a convention in Prince George. Some bigwigs came to the Prince George North Hotel for the
convention and stayed there; it was the only hotel there at that time. I learned on the job at the mill - from picking the strips, planer feeding, tail housing, trimming and lumber grading - I did it all. And I worked double shifts most of the time: Monday to Friday double, Saturday single, Sunday clean up. I made a record there, working day, afternoon and graveyard shifts and then going back to my usual shift. One foreman came up to me after my shift and asked, "You want overtime?" I said, "Yes." He said: "Okay, you do the cleaner feeding." The next shift came and another foreman asked me, "You want overtime?" I again said, "Yes." He said, "Okay." When it was my own shift, my foreman came to me and asked, "You worked graveyard?" I said, "Yeah." He asked, "You worked afternoon?" I said, "Yes." He then asked me, "You worked day shift?" I said, "Yes." Then he shouted, "Why the hell are you here? I can fire you because there's the Workers Compensation Board." I said, "I had no idea. Everybody's coming to ask me and wants me to work overtime." He said, "Go home." So I went home. My wage started at $3.98. Before I started working at the sawmill, I worked on the farm, too. But that was $1.50 per hour. My two-week cheque used to come to around $1,300. At my last convention in Prince George in 1978, I was looking at the paper when I saw a job advertisement at the Rainier Forest, at Heather and Marine in Vancouver. They needed a lumber grader. So I called them and they said "Yes, we are looking for a lumber grader. If you have experience come on over." So I said, "I'm coming from work in Fort St. James, so I can take the plane down. Can I come tomorrow?" He said, "If nobody comes METANOIA MAGAZINE
I worked there for around a month. Then they stopped one shift, so I was laid off. I was thinking, "What the hell! Iâ€™m nowhere. I quit my job to come here, and just one month in, I have no job." But then I found a new job on Mitchell Island in Vancouver - another lumber grading job, full time. In less than a month, my former employer called me back. So from 1978 until this happened, in 1986, I was working at the sawmill. Then what happened? You know how sometimes life can change in a moment? Me and my friend, who was living in Vancouver, were driving on Georgia Street. Some guy who stole some clothes from The Bay was holding a knife to a lady's neck. I was driving my pickup, a small Mazda, and I told my friend, "Look, I'm going to jump. So could you come to the driver's side and drive the truck?" So I jumped on the guy and both of us fell down. In the process, he dropped his knife. Then he got up and started to run away and I gave chase. We were at Georgia and Howe when he whipped out a sharp blade and cut my throat. I received 80 stitches and was all over the news - in the Vancouver Sun, The Province, CBC, everywhere. I got a lot of mail from all over, even from as far away as New York. You jumped out of the truck to catch this guy? Yeah, to save somebody's life, because he was holding a knife. And then Bob Stewart, who was a sergeant at the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) at the time, he gave me a letter recognizing me as a good citizen. The City of Vancouver did the same. I was also a guest on the TV show, "What's Going On, Vancouver?" at 7 p.m. Then what happened was that a few months later, a police officer whom I knew from Fort St. James, Harjit Sull, came to my place. He didn't like the fact that I had grown a beard and advised me to shave it off, telling me that I looked
much better without it. He said he was going downtown to get a visa for India and asked me to get some XXX Rum, Guru and Kingfisher beer, and to make some goat curry. Then I went to my accountant on Victoria Drive to file my tax returns and went to the liquor store. At the liquor store I heard sirens but I had no idea what was going on. My friend retuned from downtown and we had some beer and rum along with goat curry. He then left for Surrey. When I went to work the following day, everybody was talking about the attack on Ujjal Dosanjh. Someone asked me if I knew about this and I replied, "Oh that is good. I wasn't there or I would have beaten the shit out of him for talking against the Sikh community." But I am assuming that someone who heard what I had said informed the police or Dosanjh's brother. A few days later, I saw a Ford Explorer truck in the parking lot at my workplace with a policeman sitting in the driver's seat and Ujjal Dosanjh in the back seat. I went there and knocked on the window, telling the policeman to put the window down. He did, and I looked at Ujjal and said, "What happened to you? Good thing it happened to you!" and went to work. Then a few days later, I was working the afternoon shift. The policeman called the mill and the foreman came to me and said, "Somebody from the police is calling you. Will you answer?" So he came and replaced me and I went to take the call. A police officer said, "Mr. Atwal, you beat Ujjal Dosanjh. I will charge you." I said, "You know what, you already know what you want to do. Why are you asking me then?" So he said, "Look, I want you to come to one of the police stations. Otherwise, I'm going to pick you up. You have a warrant." Remember at that time, 1985, if you had a signal that was not working or some similar problem, you got a fine. If you didn't pay the fine, they would come and pick you up. I didn't pay that one time, when the lower left light was broken and the signal was not working. It was a fine of $35. I came back to my job. The foreman said, "What happened?" So I told him what happened and he said, "Because you didnâ€™t pay the $35?" I said, "Yeah." It was about 5 p.m. and he advised me to go at 8 p.m. to 222 Main Street police station and pay my fine. I did that. The next morning, the police officer called me again and said, "I'm waiting."
I said, "For what?" He said, "You have an arrest warrant." I asked him, "For what?" He said, "The fine." I said, "I already paid the fine, go check it out." Then I hung up. A few days later, he called again and said, "Mr. Atwal, you have to come down. We're going to put you in a lineup." I said, "I have no problem with being in a lineup." So I went there. There were five or six guys in the lineup. The witness, whoever it was, picked a policeman. Not me. But the police told me I was getting charged. At that time I didn't know who was picked out, I only found out later. So they give me $100 bail. Beating Ujjal Dosanjh and paying only 100 dollars! And I didn't even pay, just signed a form for $100 and I was out! So the lawyer I called was named David Gibbon. Very nice gentleman; he's dead now, because he had lung cancer. His wife, she's a B.C. Supreme Court judge now, Janice Dillon. So we went to court. My RCMP friend, the guy who had told me to cut my beard, and the revenue lady who did my income tax return came as witnesses. And the lucky thing was, I had gotten the beer. When I had bought it from the liquor store, they used that to confirm the time I had been there and prove I had an alibi. So I got acquitted. I had nothing to do with Ujjal Dosanjh. I never beat him up. Then, after my acquittal Ujjal Dosanjh probably knew who did this to him. The problem with Canadian law is, if you charge somebody, you cannot go back and charge again. That's called double jeopardy. This is the reason they didn't charge the other person. Then, my lawyer told me, "We're going to sue them." I said, "Let it go." What happened then, when all this had started, I had nothing to do with this, I had no part of that. So now the people, all the organizations, they came and started saying things on Jack Webster's show. I got a phone call from Jack Webster to come to his show because of this. So I told him, "Hey, I can send you somebody who can speak for me. This guy is named *****.â€? He was from the International Sikh Youth Federation. There was a spirited debate between Dosanjh and the guy. My lawyer's bill was paid for by the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) that approached me; one of the guys was *****. He was the president of the Ross Street Sikh Temple. Then after that, the attack on the Golden Temple by the Indian Army caused a great deal of hatred against the Indian government all over the world. People asked, "Why did this happen there?" Killing innocent people caused a lot of anger and hatred. Now METANOIA MAGAZINE
people have changed but at that time, everybody was mad. They put a box in the temple asking people that if any person wanted to do anything for the Sikh cause, they should put their name in there. I put my name there, too. I received a call from ***** (the president of the International Sikh Youth Federation at the time). He asked me to meet him at the New Westminster Sikh Temple. These guys asked me to run for the vice president of the temple and I accepted their request. I won the election easily and my opponent got only 56 votes. After a few days, I was called to go to a meeting at the temple. *****, myself, *****, and ***** met with the president of the ISYF. The meeting was regarding the Punjab cabinet minister Malkit Singh Sidhu who was visiting the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island for his nephew's wedding. At the meeting it was decided that me, *****, and the president's younger brother, were told to go to Tahsis on Vancouver Island where ***** and ***** would provide a rental car. ***** handed me a handgun. The next morning, I went to Surrey to pick up *****. That time we found out that ***** said that his brother was not going with us because something had come up. So ***** told me not to bother going because *****'s brother had dropped out. So I told ***** if he would tell the others and he replied that we should go ahead with the plan. Just the two of you? Yes, the two of us. When me and ***** went to Tahsis, the same night ***** called me and asked me what was going on. He sent two more men whom we didn't know, ***** and *****, to join us. The next morning we woke up and found out the minister had left. What were we going to do? We didn't know who he was, how to reach him or anything. So around 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. we searched but couldn't find out anything about this guy. Eventually somebody told us that he'd left. And then we left from there. When we caught up with the minister's vehicle close to Gold River, we overtook it and cut it off. Two of the guys in our car stepped out and started breaking the minister's car's window with a baseball bat. One of the guys sitting on the passenger's side in our car shot at the minister. The aim was to merely injure him slightly, but the minister suddenly sat up and got hit by two bullets, one close to the heart and the other under his shoulder.
We left from there and took our getaway van from Gold River. On the way to Campbell River we came across a police roadblock and all four of us were arrested. So when you were there, were you nervous or sad or angry or scared or any of those things? No. No. No. It's not like that. We knew we didn't want to kill him. That was the one thing we did know. The guy was who was calling the shots told us we just wanted to give him a message. So what was the message? In wounding him? Was that the idea? The message was to convey the message: “You know, you guys are going to do this in the Golden Temple; so we're not going to forget you guys. We're going to take care of that.” That's what it was. All right. Well, that was what I wanted to ask you because it's not like I'm an expert or anybody is an expert on this kind of thing. When the guys were hitting the car windows with baseball bats, they didn’t smash them. And when the minister got shot with the bullets that went through the windshield, he sat up unexpectedly and took the bullets to his shoulder and chest. So they really didn’t want to kill him; just send a message to India. So none of this was planned directly? No, not directly. But the guy he was here, the guy who was the mastermind. He was *****. And we heard later, that he got money from somebody for it. Because he was actually a lawyer in India. He had some land problems with his lawyer and some other people. That’s what we found out in jail. At least, I found out that somebody paid money to have us do that. He used us. Even now, some people in Surrey, they're going after Khalistan or whatever. But this has nothing to do with Khalistan or about making Khalistan. These people are getting money from ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service. Nobody should believe them. They're only using young people, the way they used us. How old were you at the time? Twenty-nine. I had two kids. So was there any planning or anything like that? How did it happen that one day, you’re a married guy with two children, you have a family, and you take care of
them. And one day you're a family man, and the next day you're a shooter. How does that, how did that transformation take place? That’s a good question. I spoke bluntly with these people about having a family who depended on me. “What happens if I get arrested and something happens to me?” I asked them. Because at that time, my job was that of a lumber grader at the mill. I was getting $17.53 an hour and that was in 1985. I was making good money for that time. I told them, "Look, you know, if I get arrested, I have to support my kids, so I'm not going to be involved." "Oh, don't worry. You show me your pay stub, tell me how much, we will pay you. If something happen to you, we will give you your paycheck. Every two weeks for your family,” they assured me. All lies! Nobody did anything for my family. But some reason, young blood, whatever... I just got into it. I don't blame them either now. It was own my stupidity. I'm just think that there wasn't much planning. Here, take a gun and shoot that guy. … It seemed very quick, not planned. If there had been a plan, nobody probably would have been caught. There was no planning. They just told us, "Go there." You know what? Nobody admitted who did the shooting. No one! We were four guys, I have a transcript showing that. The minister’s brother-in-law did not accuse me; he picked out my co-accused. But you got convicted, right? All four of us. We didn't go on the witness stand either. Nobody went on the witness stand. None of us accused each other. So the judge convicted all of us. When I was in jail and I went to the parole office, they asked me who was the shooter. I said I did it. And then I said, "You know what, I'm taking full responsibility. And whatever I did, I am sorry about it.” I was a cook inside. When you have a person in prison, one prisoner costs over $85,000-90,000 dollars a year. If they have a chicken, one whole chicken, they make four pieces, so it's divided among four people. I started making chicken curry, lamb curry, rice, and in the budget they saved a lot of money. Every station came to them, everybody got more money. They're doing one day every week with chicken curry or lamb curry. Their expenses came down. And also a guy named Joe. The guy who was in Joe Philliponi’s case, he had METANOIA MAGAZINE
a similar story. He was there because the institution couldn’t afford plumbing, it was a big-time bill. He was the plumber, he dealt with the whole plumbing of the Mission prison. He got 25 years. He was the first guy in BC to get out in 15 years in spite of a first-degree murder conviction, because he was doing his own thing. So that's the reason we got out. Can you talk a little bit about your experience in the prison itself, when you were there? What was your life like in the prison? You know, I've seen a lot in the prison, but I knew one thing. I needed to do my own thing, what was best for me. I got up in the morning, they opened my door at 6 a.m. when I was working as a cook making breakfast. I went there, worked until 11 a.m., came back to my cell, got ready, took a shower and went to school. That finished at 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. and then I’d go back in the lockup. They'd then let me out at soccer time. Then I went to the gym. You went to study, to play or for a walk… whatever, you kept yourself busy. When I went to max, the next day I applied to be in a course for drug and alcohol abuse. I didn't have a problem with drugs or alcohol but I did have a problem with life skills, how to live my life, how to control my anger, how people get along with me, methods for how you are going to do that. I went through all of that in the program. When I was there, it only took me seven months to transfer to the low security jail. I didn't ask for it. One of the guards, my live-in officer, came to me and said, "You know, you did everything. You should go to Mission [the minimum security jail]." I said, "You know I'm doing 20 years. I've been told I'm not going to go anywhere for four or five years." He said, "You’re gonna go." I said, "Whatever, wherever you guys want me to go, I will go, but I don't know if they're going to give that to me right now." So one day, the board gave permission. I had never done any of the paperwork. They called me into a meeting, told me that they're looking for a good candidate to go to low security. There were like five people sitting there, asking me some questions. They said, "You know, Mr. Atwal, before we take you to Mission, could you answer a few questions? What you are going to do when you get there?" I said, "I'm going to do the same thing as I did here. Any course there, I will do. I finished all the courses here, I'm going to go to school, cook, whatever you need." Roger Bock, he was the warden from South Surrey, said, "Hey, could you give me your butter curry recipes? Butter chicken. Or lamb curry, whatever."
So it was the same thing for me when I started at the Mission prison. Then, after four years, he said to me, "Apply for the escorted passes." I did. He said, "Okay. Go see your family." It was for eight hours, they sent with me with two people the first time. I spent all of my eight hours at home. I went back to jail, they wrote a nice report because I was no security risk. Okay, apply for another one. So I wrote another and had to wait for a few months. I applied for unescorted passes and the parole people said in the first hearing, "Why are you applying for the unescorted permit? Why not the day parole? You did your time." And I said that my correction officer told me I was not going to get it. And they said, "Look. You worked, you went to school and did all the courses. You did everything, you should not be here." Coming to the day parole, I was thinking, "Okay, maybe that was it." Then they said, "You asked for unescorted permit for 48 hours." They told me to go for more because they had heard a lot of good things about me. I had a lot of excellent recommendations, thousands of scripts from steward, the guards, and everyone. I was just doing my thing, I didn't get involved in any shit there. You know, people using drug and all that, they have everything there. But I never used drugs, never got involved. I remember the lady named Kathy Ross, she was the superintendent. They asked my parole officer, "Would you do the paperwork for his parole?" He went to his office, did the paperwork, and the warden signed it. They called me in, and they said, "Mr. Atwal, you were granted parole. Your 20-year sentence, it's been five and a half years, you're out." When I got out I started driving a taxi; I bought a taxi and got the license. Then I went to the dealership, worked as a salesperson here in White Rock at the Don Carr Chevrolets. I was the top salesperson there for eight or nine years straight, selling 40 cars to 50 cars a month. Every year they praised me, telling me, “You're doing a good job.” I was the top salesman. When you were sentenced to 20 years in prison, what was that like? There must have been some reaction that you had, that you thought. What did you think? The day that I got sentenced to 20 years, in my mind, my life was over. I'm not going to lie to you, I was thinking maybe I would commit suicide or something. What was I going to do with this life? And a lot of people in that situation were in jail. Everybody tells you a different story about jail. Some people come to you and
say that your life is done. You have to do 20 years, that you're not going to get parole for 15 years. This thing is going to happen to you in jail, that is going to happen.
your jail time, they make one phone call, and you will be arrested. If somebody accuses you, without proof, falsely, they will come pick you up.
At the same time, you hear from other people that nobody can hold you that long if you do things the proper way and don't get involved with the shit going on in there. I guess I was thinking about it in my mind, what I should do. I even told my wife, "If something happened to me, take care of the kids."
You've been in a number of photographs, with a lot of politicians. Why did you want to be photographed with them?
It was an emotional time for you. Yeah, when you went inside, and then you're looking at the people going into the hole, they get caught with drugs, they are all doing stupid things. I just stayed out of it, I didn't need it. If somebody was doing things, I just turned my back and went the other way. I didn't need that. And this was exactly the same for us, all of us. The four of us, who all got the same amount of time, we all got out early. Now, there was a point where you knew you were going to get out, after around 5 years. It was coming up. It must have been the opposite of how you felt when you went in. What did you feel like, when you were going to, that you're going to get out? How did that make you feel? By that time I had learned a lot, because I did a lot of programs, and they had a lot of good programs inside. For anybody who wanted to straighten up, to start doing better for their life, they give you the chance if you stop, think, and learn when you’re inside. That time, I knew that if I got to get out, I was never ever going to go along with whatever people were going to try and use me for. I am never going to get involved in that shit again. You get mature and start thinking for yourself. You're getting a lot of chances, to think by yourself, hear yourself, inside, when you're alone. You're going to figure out, hey, this is what I did, I did wrong. This is the way that it happened. I can say that time, "No," to them. But at the same time, when it comes to your people, your community, and when you're looking at the history of your country and your legend and all that, at one point you're thinking, whatever you did, you did right. But then when you think about it, it was not right. That was not a good idea. And when you got out, it wasn't really over, because now you have a reputation, right? Yeah, you have a reputation, and also if people who don't like you know about
You know what, I never went and asked for pictures, they somehow just suddenly happened. Like, for example, I went to Victoria. I was talking to [thenPremier] Christy Clark when someone took my picture. I didn't ask for it. They sent it to me. They have the picture. Same thing, with Justin Trudeau, in 2008. Mr. Trudeau was just a new MP, for the first time in his life. He came to Surrey. Someone in the campaign asked me, "Could you go pick him up? And when we tell you to bring him here, then you bring him and until then, you can…" Who were you picking up? Justin Trudeau. I went, picked him up in my Hummer. We were driving around, killing time, both of us. When they called me, told me to bring him over, I took him to the Guildford Golf Course. When we were there, people started taking pictures. Then Bob Rae came. Somebody called me and said, "Could you come get Bob Rae from North Delta?" I picked him up, brought him there. I have a picture with Bob Rae, too. You know, the Conservative MPs, they called me and they said, "Why don't you come here?" So I went to Mark Warawa. They have a picture with me. But I never gave any pictures to the press, even after whatever they have said or done. Do you have a collection of pictures? I do and I don't. Because it's all stored on my old cellphone, I have a lot of photos, seven or eight years worth sitting somewhere of everyone who kept telling me, "We need a picture." I don't feel like giving these to anybody. When I look on the internet, it seems to me that you could create an album full of photos with politicians. To tell you the truth, I have one with Bill Clinton, too. But I don't want to give anybody this picture. No way. Because I have made a promise with everybody. All this propaganda, they made me famous all over the world. Last Friday, I went to the All-Star Wrestling
like Yin and Yang. Positive part of the negative situation. And the other thing is last year at Harrison Hot Springs with one lady, one guy and one of their dogs, I rescued them when their boat flipped. They had no vest, no life jacket, nothing on. They had a small boat and they're going out like that with big waves around. They come out of the water, they couldn't swim. People are driving around but nobody sees them. They were saying, "Help me! Help us, help us, please!" And I woke up, heard something, but I did not see them.
Jaspal Atwal receiving an award for being a Gold Level Sales Marketing Guild member at Don Carr Chevrolet Oldsmobile Ltd
in Cloverdale. I went there because somebody invited me. They gave me front row seating. As soon as the wrestling started, the bad guy comes out first and comes over and says, "Mr. Atwal." The bad guy, you know, they have a bad guy, good guy. The second guy comes, the good guy, he came to me. It happened that way for three matches. The guy sitting behind me, he came to me and said, "Sir, can I ask you, are you some kind of celebrity? Are you a wrestler or something? You’re going to go into the ring or something is going to happen?" I said, "No, please sit down, I'm nobody." Then, Inder Gill came out. I was sitting at my table, I wanted to drink water, so I went to go pick up a bottle of water. And they announced, "Anybody want to a picture with a wrestler, please go in this booth." So I'm going in the booth for water, some blond girl came to me, "Hey, can I have a selfie with you?" I say, "Okay." And then where they had the wrestler, they have a big wall, they say ECW, ACW. Now she wanted me there, and she asks a wrestler, "Hey, could you take my picture with this guy?" As soon as he saw me or something, this wrestler said, "I need a picture with you." All these wrestlers came to take a picture with me. Then everybody started coming to try and take a picture with me. It took 15 or 20 minutes until I just picked the bottle of water and went back to my seat. And then after the championship match, the first thing the guy who won does after winning is grabs me and gives me a hug. I was out with my son and he waits for almost half an hour for people wanting a selfie. And eventually I say, "No way, I'm going to go home."
On Sunday, at the Aria Banquet Hall, there were a thousand people there. I went there and people wanted a selfie. And they're telling me, "Hey, this is all bullshit, people, you know, you tell the truth, this is all this." That's the way it is. So you're kind of a celebrity. I'm not saying I'm a celebrity, but I'm getting a lot of calls and opinions. The TV channel Punjabi that's run all over the world, I got a phone call from India, have been getting calls from everywhere. And the guy who set me up, now the people in Calgary, they're talking about him. And they want me on the radio. I'm curious about the celebrity status now, because often times, people who become famous or notorious use it as a jumping off point to launch some kind of a political career or some other kind of a career. Have you thought of that, or are people encouraging you to do that? No, I haven't. When I was leaving India, I met a lot of news people, a lot of movie stars. One of the guys was a director and producer. He called me and he said, "Jaspal, where are you?" I said, "I'm in New Delhi." He said, "Are you going to be there Sunday? I would like to meet you." He said, "I'm going to bring my script writer, and we're going to talk, and I will think of making a movie on your life." And I said, "Sir, I'm leaving." He said, "Well, could you change your flight?" I said, "No, I'm going to go. I haven’t thought of doing anything right now. I'm going to go.” So he said, "We'll talk. If I have to come to Canada, we can do that, or unless you come to India, and we can make some deal." I'm thinking, what would that be like, because there's a lot of other stuff going on and you know,
Finally I spotted them. They were under the boat on one side and I said, "Oh my God!" So when I saw where they were, I took my Sea-Doo there and grabbed the young guy by the hair, brought him up on my Sea-Doo and then I took the dog out. And then he said, "My girlfriend!" I gave her my hand, brought her up, but she was hard to carry. And this guy, he just tried to hop onto his girlfriend. And he came in the back side and my Sea-Doo flipped over. So we were all in the water. And I had a life jacket on, so I turned my Sea-Doo back upright and then I held on to them and I saved them. So they sent the Coast Guard who came in a boat while I was holding these people. The guy, because he was mad, had water going inside his body, and it took us ten minutes to get out. The Coast Guard guy came in, helped this lady, took her and the guy into the boat, and then they helped me out. And the guy just fell down at my feet because he had screwed up and told the Coast Guard, "This gentleman saved our lives. Otherwise, nobody would have stopped; nobody would have cared." All the people knew I had saved their life. That’s the way that happened. Okay. Well, I was going to ask you, what now? What are you going to do after this? You're now on the news almost every night, everybody's talking about you, and you must be recognized all the time. So what are your plans for the future? Yeah, I have no idea right now. I think news about me is stopping now. I only meet with people I know and talk to them. After my interview on PTC TV, which broadcasts all around the world in Punjabi, people in the Punjabi community understood the situation. They were calling me from all over and saying, "You know, Jaspal was telling the truth." When people have been charged and are in jail, our politicians will still go into jail and ask for their votes. Even Pierre Trudeau, when he brought in the Charter,
that time anybody who got a first time charge or did something, even he said that people can do time and still come back into society. A scandal video of a Punjabi radio host in Calgary came out on February 19. I was asleep when I got a phone call at 4 a.m. One Calgary ex-Conservative MP called me. And I picked up, because you know, you have a time difference. So 4 a.m. there, that meant 2:30 p.m. in Vancouver time, and you can say 3:30 p.m. Calgary time. This person was talking in Punjabi, saying "Brother, what are you doing?" I said, "I'm sleeping." He said, "This time? Sounds like you're in India?" I said, "Yes, I am in India." He said, "You know the news?" I said, "What news?" He said: "Oh okay, if you're in India, you don't know. That's fine, okay. Sleep well and we can talk later." Then, two or three hours later, I got a message. Somebody sent me a picture and video link of the scandal I looked at it, and recognized the person it right away. Then I knew, this person from Calgary and the ex-MP who called me, they are buddies. They used to hang out and drink in the evenings. What I did was to send back the video to him. And I said, "Oh this is the news you're talking about?" And he texted me, saying, "Jealousy and confusion. Fake." And I said to him, "This is real." Because at that time I had already made a few calls to people from his village who knew him. A guy in Surrey, one of his class fellows, he's there. And he said, "We went to primary school together, we grew up together. That's him. I don't know why's he lying now. That's him." Here's what happened. When I went to that party in Mumbai (Bombay), all the people were talking about this sensational sex scandal. The person involved in the scandal had travelled with the Prime Minister but that evening he didn’t have the guts to turn up at the party. Worried that his scandal was going to come out in the media and the radio’s reputation would suffer, the owners in Surrey sent all this information to media and news companies. A reporter texted me. "Hey Jaspal. You know I have some picture of you with the Prime Minister. Please call me." I didn't hide anything. It was 3 a.m. in the morning, I looked at the message. I called back and said, "Is this *****?" "Hey Jas. Where are you? Oh, you were in Delhi and you publicize it?" I said, "No, I'm not in Delhi." They didn't listen to me. The reporters, they have all false information. "Oh, Jaspal went to Delhi and this and that." That picture is from Delhi, that's
Jaspal Atwal at the Surrey Leader's Golf Tournament August 23, 2001
what they were saying. But that was not Delhi, that was from Bombay. I was in Delhi when they called me – the same day but night time.
controversy. ***** is the one who broke the story, and they didn't show up and ask questions. They sent *****, another news reporter instead!
Incidentally, **** has indulged in such shabby journalism on more than one occasion. At my bail hearing in 1986, Chief Justice Allan McEachern was the judge. The prosecutor was a guy named James Taylor, he's a judge now. I have to respect whatever happened to us at the trial, that's their job to prosecute us, and they have to do it. Mr. Taylor said, "This guy is an International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) member." And my lawyer David Gibbon was sitting there, and I said, "David, I never was. I was never with anybody. No relation." So my lawyer got up and he said, "Your honor. My client was not a member of the ISYF. If they have any evidence, please bring it." And the Chief Justice stopped everything right there. He said, "We'll give you two hours. Come back at 2 p.m. Bring the evidence."
Is there... I guess there's something here, actually there seems to be a lot here, that you think is unfair, that you've been unfairly treated. What, in particular, is one of the issues where you felt unfairly treated? Are there other things you'd like to talk about, where you feel unfairly treated?
So at 2 p.m., the prosecutor said, "Your honor, Mr. Atwal is not an ISYF member." Okay? They never said Jaspal is a terrorist. Having that in the papers was all their doing, *****'s. And my lawyer, before the press conference, he emailed to ***** to ask, "What kind of evidence do you have? Please tell us, because you wrote this article." And so on, back and forth. And they said, "Oh, no, I don't have anything, I thought the jury said that." But the jury never said that. The jury only decides if a person's guilty or not guilty. And he asked them some other questions, which they didn't respond to. And they never came to the press conference that my lawyer Rishi Gill held earlier this year on the Trudeau METANOIA MAGAZINE
Okay. One of my co-accused, he was also on the list, for the event in Delhi. Well, after this all happened, he didn't go. Canadian and Indian MPs, MLAs, who have had all kinds of charges still went and were welcomed. Nobody talks about the others. Here in Canada, they have some MPs with a background check done. They have the same thing as me, past charges against them. People who have been charged with first degree murder, second degree murder, who have done time. Nobody is bringing them into the public spotlight, it's only me. If I have done something wrong, I fight with somebody, yeah, you can say, "Hey, this guy was this." What's this, one mistake and then you're dead? This is going to be all your life, that way? I mean, the way they have this system, every country has a lot of people reformed. My friends, they from South Asian countries and from Spain, and they're saying, "What the heck is going on here?" Even a while back, whatever a person has done and gone to jail for, people don't allow him to get back into society afterwards? When politicians are going to prisoners and asking for their vote, are they okay? If they want to deal with
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anybody who has a charge against them, then let everybody who has been charged be treated the same way. So what you're saying is that, you've paid the price for your sins, basically, and you want a chance now to live your life and to do very positive things for society. Exactly. What I'm doing, I don't vote with any particular party, Liberal, Conservative, or NDP. Whoever I like, if I see a person who is good for the community, doing good work, I will support them. It doesn't matter which party. In the last provincial election, a candidate came to me and he said, "I need your help, I need a membership." You know, when you want to be a candidate, the nomination process. He came to me, and I told him, "No, I cannot do that for you." He said, "Why? You're a Liberal." I said, "Look, I'm nobody. I don't have any membership. I used to, but not anymore. I cannot help you because the other guy, Harry Bains, he's doing good work. So I'm not going to vote for you." And this guy, that time, he made a lot of stupid calls to Indian newspapers and telling them, "Hey, Jaspal got arrested." And you know what, the other thing that hurt me? Our prime minister... I'm a Canadian citizen, yeah? Been living over 46-47 years here. If any Canadian citizen went to some other country, and something happened to them, our government will protect them, right? I was in India. The comment he made there, "Oh he was a criminal, he shouldn't be here, and everything," He's putting my life in jeopardy there. You know the Indian police. I didn't get why he's saying this, starting that big fuss, all this that has happening, what they'd done to me. He couldn't answer that. Put it that way. He's young, he's not mature. With what he said, he wasn't thinking with his brain. If he said, "Yes, he's a Canadian citizen. He did one mistake, he did life. What do you think about this, that weâ€™re not going to give him a chance?" If he had said something like that, everything could have gone away. But he said other things. The question is this: the constant movement, is there still a movement, really, any kind of a real movement, like there was years ago? Or has that dissipated? Good question. And I can tell you this. The Khalistan movement is all collapsed. Nobody wants Khalistan. It used to be in Surrey, that people used to chant, "Khalistan, Khalistan." And I can tell you
this, people from India, in Punjab, they don't want Khalistan. You can go there and check it out yourself. Nobody wants to have a Khalistan. People in here don't want to do that. But I have one example. In the last 10 to 20 years, the Communist Party in India, they're the one who brought the so-called "blacklist." Put someone on the blacklist, they cannot enter India. Mr. Narendra Modi, the new prime minister, when he was elected, he came first to New York. He said that all the blacklist will be gone, he would be checking into it. He came to Surrey and said the same thing. Then his Home Minister was told to get it done. They did a beautiful job. They told everybody here, whoever was on the blacklist, "Come to us. Everybody, I'll give you a visa." So what happened? One of the gurdwaras here, they're called the ***** Temple Gurdwara. They're controlling so-called Khalistani people. Every one of them, except two or three people, and I know who they are, they went to the Indian Consulate General, for one-to-one interviews. They said that this happened 25 years ago. When asked what they were doing now and if they were Khalistani, they replied: â€œWe are no longer." They got a temporary visa, for one month. Everybody got it. I got mine the same way. When they went to India, they cleared immigration, and returned to Canada. Last year I talked to three people, the people who had no visa. I went to them, and I asked, "You know, for 30-35 years, you guys didn't go to India. You don't like it. Why don't you go to the Indian Consulate General and see if they will give you a visa?" You know what they said to me? They said, "If we go to India, all my connections from Pakistan, they will be mad. They are going to tell us we are traitors. We are getting money from them. They are running the business." Money? Their business? They're using people. It's not Khalistan. This guy, Sikh justice from state, his name *****. He came here, I don't know why the Canadian government didn't revoke his visa. He came here, talking to young people, brainwashing. And I came forward, I even said on the news that day, "I'm telling these people. You know, I was young, look at me, what I went through. You guys should stop. Don't be involved with this stupid thing. It's not worth it. I cannot cross the border, because of this thing. Go and study, go to school. Do what you have to do. But don't get involved in that shit. It's not worth it. If they are real Khalistani or something, maybe that's a different story. But these people, they're METANOIA MAGAZINE
agents from Pakistani government or their military." So it's about the money now, not a cause? No. When I came out [of jail] after five and a half years, and I found out all this, how they used us and what they'd done, I went to them. They had no answer. You know the guy who sent me there? He had no problem going to India. He was in jail himself for 15 months. When I found what these guys were doing, when I got out, I never went to them. I never met with them. I mean, if I meet them on the road, I say hello or hi, but that's it. I don't get involved with them, I stay away from them. I had nothing to do with Khalistan. One other thing, in 1997, they had a big problem in the Surrey Temple. Chairs and tables were broken. Some people wanted to sit on chairs [and not the traditional way of sitting on the floor to eat in the Langar or dining hall], and a reporter made it a big story. Everybody wanted to watch the 6 p.m. news that day because it was going to be some big news. I was working as a car salesperson. I went home and I said, "I got out early to watch this." I turned the TV on. Nothing about them, it was about me. They said that Jaspal Atwal who got convicted was involved in the violence and referred to ***** as my cousin, although we are not related at all. However, I was not even there. I called *****. I said, "What the fuck you're doing? I have nothing to do with this, I was not even there." He said, "I don't want to talk to you. I have a source. My source told me, he was there. I don't need your b.s. Whatever you want to do, go ahead." I said, "Okay." I called David Gibbon. I said, "David, this is bullshit. I wasn't even there. I have a condition not to go near them." For almost 10 years, I didn't go to any Sikh Temple. I spent my time in the white community here in South Surrey.
Comic, Actor & Writer
AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER TITUS BY HANK LEIS AND JILLIAN CURRIE
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
What can one say when words aren’t enough to describe a phenomenon? Mostly one shuts up and listens and watches, in hopes of catching every nuance of the wisdom at source. The sorcerer I speak of is Christopher Titus. He made me laugh, cry and then taught me what I already should have known. You may recall him from the TV show Titus, which he co-created, starred in and produced. The story was about a dysfunctional family. In other words, it was about us, only supercharged. Newsday referred to him as, “TV’s most original comic voice since Seinfeld.” With no disrespect intended towards Seinfeld, Titus is ‘the man’. Although his presentation is delivered brash and bold, the messages are subtle and with deep meaning. He is the intellectual’s psychiatrist, one who practices dentistry on the side, because he understands rotten teeth and the harm that decay can cause to the patient’s psyche. He isolates the pain to the point where the patient become so vulnerable, they can no longer defend themselves; then he takes out a sledge hammer, meticulously and with precision, ready to shatter every facial bone in the process in order to extract the decaying tooth but instead removes it gently with a kid glove concealed on his other hand. Yes, it is deceptive, but the extraction is painless, and resistance is futile. It is my observation that comedians are better counsellors than psychologists, even though both frequently come from dysfunctional family backgrounds. Their skills are developed early in life to avoid the terror that comes to a child where mental cruelty and physical violence is used to train them and so teach them how to anticipate and deal with life’s challenges. Titus is as sensitive to others in his transactions as are the best counsellors. Holding court with six inquisitive minds, who simultaneously are wanting answers to only their questions is more than challenging. Titus handled us all with such aplomb. He quickly differentiated the characteristics of each and attended to our peculiar needs, by giving each the attention they sought. This takes intellect, insight and a great deal of empathy to accomplish. Titus has a mission. It is to make America great again. And he means it and he is doing it. You don’t have to buy into it, because you will when you see and hear him in person. And no matter what your inner battered child fears, the extraction
will be painless. After a session with him, all you hardened gun carrying right wingers and tolerant and intolerant left wingers, will leave his show arm in arm singing KUMBAYA. I would be remiss if I did not mention Rachel Bradley. She is a comedian, profound articulate, and, oh yes, very sexy and married to Christopher. METANOIA MAGAZINE
Her routine on stage was amazing. She is of course an Alpha Chick. She has earned that title by voicing her views to cheering and opinionated crowds. Her routine meshed well with Christopher’s, but it was definitely that of an Alpha Chick who was in command of her own destiny and leading others to the call.
Hank Leis, Dr. Allison Patton, JR Leis, Dr. Galina Bogatch, Jillian Currie and Christopher Titus
Years and years ago, I use to watch your show Titus on TV. Do you think your background, what you experienced with your parents, brought you into comedy? Before the moon rose over the plains. There were many buffaloes outside. Years and years ago. I guess the reason I say that is because I used to love what you used to do with respect to family and how you found humor in the family. Yeah, I think it's funny in the absurdity. I took the Landmark Forum, which used to be EST. I got over my anger about my dad's alcohol, my mom's mental illness. I got over it, and I let it go. When I let it go, it was easy to write jokes about it. Everything went from something that held my life down and stopped me, to becoming this absurd bunch of circumstances. When I started writing comedy people would come up to me and tell me I was really funny, and how many of them had issues in their families. You would not believe the shit. They would tell me these stories about their families. It unlocked something else, and... I can tell you the whole story about what happened the first night I did it. The first night I did it, we were at this club and I was so afraid to share my story. I only wrote one bit about it, and I was at first so afraid that I thought, "This audience is going to beat my ass." I brought a buddy from acting class. The METANOIA MAGAZINE
bit was called, "We need comedy to get rid of our desire to kill," and I was really letting go and being myself. I went on the stage and I did this three-minute rant about the worst day you could possibly have, and that comedy is here to deal with your anger at the world. I'm screaming. It was something I'd never done before. The audience went nuts. They were like, "Yes!" But I didn't have any other material. I had seven more minutes to do, and all I had was my old crappy shit about showers. "My shower has two settings, arctic and lava." It was horrible. The audience stopped dead. I got off that stage and I was like, "Wow, I killed them for three minutes, and then the next seven minutes I sucked." It was because I stopped talking about the truth. When that happened, I made a choice. The next day, every piece of material I had, I threw it out and I started writing again. I started at nineteen. I'd already been doing comedy twelve years. I been here a long time, kids. I'm thirty three years in. Years, and years, and years. The funny thing is that I was going through Pinterest and your photograph came up. I thought, â€œI remember your comedy.â€? I thought you had insight into human behavior that a psychologist ought to have. From my point of view, they were just so incredibly profound. I didn't always laugh at everything, because it was deep. That's what I thought.
Thanks, man. I think sometimes we got in a lot of trouble with what we wanted to write. We did an episode called "Tommy's Not Gay," about my friend who everybody thought was gay but it turned out he was just raised by a closeted gay man. In the episode his father came out. It was about gay bashing. His father got his ass beat, and we had to meet him at the bar and we had to deal with it. I put a black-andwhite picture up of Matthew Shepard when my character starts talking about what happened to him. He's like, "Wow, they hung him on a fence and left him to die because he was gay? They killed him because he was gay?" My character just gets it. And Zach, my brother on the show, came to me at the end of that week and he goes, "The writers..." I was one of the writers on the show. They were for sure questioning the decision to do this episode and Chris Sheradin, he's like, "You can't. It's too far. You can't do this show." I go, "You're wrong. We're the one that should do the show, because of Will and Grace." Zach came up to me and he goes, "You know, Will and Grace is preaching to the choir. We're the type of show with NASCAR fans. Us doing this show, we'll make a difference." Look, it's not like we did this as an opportunity to promote a social movement. You don't want to make it bigger than it is. Funny first. I always say funny first. But, in the end of that, if there's a bonus as I call it, is when it promotes understanding of others. When I get up onstage during the Amerigeddon tour, everyone is so fucking polarized in this country right now. I wrote the show to not to make fun of people and who they voted for. I wanted to point out, "Hey guys, we're all idiots. We're all getting sucked in by these idiots." I had a guy come up to me in the casino we did last week and he said, "You know, I came down because I loved your comedy. I knew you were going to talk about this, and I didn't want to hear it, but you changed my mind on some things tonight." I said, "Did I make you laugh?" He said, "Oh, yeah. You did good." Because that's first, being funny, but after that... Look, anybody who gets up there and talks about penises, sex, anal sex, or whatever, it's like, "You know, Redd Fox did it better in 1961." My two favorite people are Carlin and Robin Williams. Carlin because his writing is amazing, and Robin Williams because Robin opened his box of toys. People underestimated Robin. Carlin was so specific with his words. Robin was free-forming it and saying the same thing Carlin was, but it doesn't come across the same because Robin was just crazy. Carlin didn't do characters.
I loved those two guys, for the reason that they could go anywhere. That bit in my show about the Mexican drug dealer getting drugs over the border is really racist, but for some reason it works. People are like, "Yeah, that is stupid. Really, they're going to catapult it over the wall?" Have you experienced censorship before in your Comedy? I don't care if I do. If anybody came up to me... Okay, so when I wrote Norman Rockwell, I did. I had clubs shut me down. Two or three clubs said, "We don't want to book him anymore." Because at that time, it was controversial, it addressed issues people didn't talk about in public. I wrote that in '94, '95. In '95 I went from happy boy comedian, trying to make everybody happy, to where I would walk on stage and go, "Do you people even know why you're here tonight? Do you like paying six bucks for a beer? Is that why you? No, you're here because comedy gets rid of our desire to kill." That was the beginning of that bit. I was angry. I talked about my mom's suicide, I talked about... And this is '95. I had three club owners call my agent and go, "We don't want him back until he goes to his old act." I was like, "No, I actually found who I am now." I was going to quit comedy. Before I wrote Norman Rockwell I was quitting comedy, because I called it growing a tumor on my soul. I hated it. I would be on stage doing the same crap I'd been doing, and as the joke was coming up to my mouth to say it and I'd inwardly be like, "Ugh, I hate this bit." I would say it, and I hated myself. I was going to open a body shop. "I'm good with cars, I'll have a body shop, I'm not supposed to do this."
He said, "If you don't want to do it, if you don't want to tell your truth on stage, I don't want to represent you anymore." I was making this guy money. And so that's what woke me up. I was like, "Wow. You're willing to give up money? Okay, I'll try it then, if you see something that I don't see." I trusted him enough, and I did it, and that's where Norman Rockwell came from. The funny thing about that is there's a club in Cleveland, the Cleveland Improv, and they had basically fired me. I came with the new show, they were like, "Nope!" and told my agent they'll never work with me again. That was '96. Then I got a TV show based on that show. Then that show ran until 2002. They booked me back at the club in 2003. I came back and that woman, that manager picked me up at the airport. We get in the car, we get like five miles down the road, she goes, "I want you to know something. I was dead wrong. You were way ahead of your time. You did something that no one had done at that time, and I just didn't see it. I want to apologize." I was in the car. I'm like, "Wow. That's crazy." That's not how my family operated. I was not ready for someone to just take it, to take responsibility. It was pretty cool. One of the things I wanted to ask you, I think you made a statement that you lost $30 million because you didn't fire your wife. No, I never lost $30 million. It was actually $10 million, I figured it out. Yes, I lost $10 million, but not because I wouldn't fire my wife. It was because they wanted to change the show. We sat down
A friend of mine took me aside and said, "You need to tell the truth about your life." I said, "They won't get it." He was my agent at the time, but he goes, "You're an asshole. You really are kind of an asshole. You're an angry guy who's up against the world, and that's the guy you need to be." And I told him, "I can't do it. They won't like it." Alpha Chicks of Mountainview Wellness Centre METANOIA MAGAZINE
for a meeting with the network president at the beginning of the third season of Titus. We had three network presidents in three years, and every time a network president comes in... The first guy was great, Doug Herzog. As long as it was working, he didn't fuck with it. He was like, "It's working, I'm not going to change it." But if something wasn't working, he'd get involved. Everybody else, it could be so successful but they want to pee on it and put their scent on it, so they'd come in and tweak it. I learned something from that meeting. Don't take the comedian to the meeting with the network president. Especially a comedian like me, because diplomacy is not my strong suit. It's just not. The network president sat down and said, "I want you and Erin (my wife on the show) to cheat on each other, and then we'll have a love triangle, and we'll do that for a seven-episode arc." We did that already, in the first season, episode four. I looked at the network president and I said, "Do you even watch the show?" Now, had I done this one-on-one, we could have had an argument and it would have been fine. Instead, I did it in front of thirty of her minions, at a table at FOX. See, all you guys went, "Ooh..." I don't have that. I think telling the truth is what you're supposed to do. My dad didn't hold back anything. The whole room just changed after I said that. Then I explained to her how the show worked, in front of all of them, like she was a three-year-old. I didn't swear, I just said, "Let me explain how the show works to you." I said, "First of all, we already did that in episode four. Second of all, if I cheat on her... The entire premise of the show is based on one thing: two dysfunctional people together make a strong couple. If we cheat on each other, then we've lied to the audience for two years and the third year now. The show won't work. We have just sold out every premise we've actually built." I said, "So, I'm not doing it."
I did a bit about it in one of my specials. I thought people were going to be like, "Yeah! Fuck that bitch!" I thought they were going to all get up. They were like, "Eh..." Even my executive producer, who was sitting next to me, he'd already worked on a couple shows. Stab me in the face with a pencil. Do something. Get involved. They just let me babble. I buried the show. It's my fault. I lost one hundred and fifty people their jobs. I'm not proud of it. A lot of people said, "You did good. You stood up for it." No, because we still could have done some more work had I just shut the fuck up. I'm self-aware enough to know when I've made a mistake.
You became a comedian when? After you understood this, or did you start earlier?
Recently, I got into an argument on Twitter with Dana Loesch. I made a mistake, and I wrote a 10-tweet long apology. I don't think she deserves it, but I made the mistake, so I apologized for it.
I told my dad, and my dad was like, "Yeah, blah, blah, blah." Then years later when I became one and got a TV show, he goes, "No one listens to little kids. I barely remember you saying that to me.â€? "I'm going to be a fireman, I'm going to be an astronaut, I'm going to be a comedian." That's what people say. No, I knew at five years old.
When you were growing up, did you see the humor in your life immediately or did it take a little bit of time? No, I didn't. I thought my mom hated me. I thought my dad hated me. Then I did the Landmark Forum program and I got that, a new way to think. I learned two things in the Forum. Number one, my dad stayed with me and fought for me his whole life, whether he was a drunk alcoholic or whether he was hard on me, it doesn't matter. I couldn't change my dad. I changed my mind about my dad. Nobody who hates you stays with you and fights for you. They let you go and ignore you. He loved me more than anything, because he gave up so much for me. Number two, My mother on the other hand was just crazy. She didn't not love me. She was mentally ill. That's all it was. When I got that, two things cleared up in my life. My love for my father and mother. When he died, we were best friends. My mom had already died. She killed herself. My mom was already gone, but I got her back. I got love from my mom back once I realized, "She didn't hate you. She did the best she could, as insane as she was." You've got to remember, this is a manic depressive schizophrenic with a 185 IQ. She lived in a world that we can't approach. She spoke four languages fluently. She was a concert pianist. She worked for a drug company for a while named Hollister-Stier. She was a secretary when she worked there, but she studied the textbooks of all the drugs and she was taking phone calls as a pharmacist. That's why she got fired. Crazy. She was just crazy. When I got that, it cleared it up and I let all that pressure go. That's how I can write the jokes now. METANOIA MAGAZINE
No, when I was five I wanted to be a comedian. My mom lived in this shitty apartment in North Hollywood. I was a little kid and we used to go to sleep every night listening to Bill Cosby. This is before we knew Cosby was a rapist. I would go to sleep every night, and I remember there was one night he was telling stories and thousands of people were laughing. I made a decision. I was laying in bed as a little kid and said, "I'm going to be a comedian."
Stacy Keach played your father in Titus. How close was that to your father? Pretty scary. Stacy came in and read for the part, me, Jack, and Brian were sitting there. Lee Majors came in, all these actors came in. Lee Majors came in with a list of his felonies, arrests, divorces, and domestic violence. I was like, "No, no, no. We want a guy to play that. We don't want that guy." We don't want an actual fuckedup human being. We want someone who's competent and can play a fucked-up human being. It taught me something about auditions. Don't really tell them who you are, be the character. If he'd had just come in and done that character, I'd have been like, "That's great." Then we'd add the rest in and whatever, we'd be putting him in the show. Stacy came in like two people later to read. I read with everybody, because I hate when auditions are horrible. I've been an actor since I was young, and I hate auditions. I made sure I read with everybody who wanted to come in. I was reading with Stacy, and Stacy scared the shit out of me. He was yelling at me and it was really funny. I was in this scene with Stacy, and here's the thing about Stacy. People ask what's it like to act with Stacy Keach. It's like playing basketball with Michael Jordan. You and I play basketball with Michael Jordan three on three, we're going to look great. He's going to pass you the ball exactly, you're going to pass it to me, I'm passing it back and he's going to dunk it. We're like, "Oh, shit! We're on a team with Michael Jordan!" That's what it
was like playing with Stacy Keach. Stacy Keach made me a better actor every time we worked together. Keach finishes the audition, he walks out and I'm kind of shaking because he was yelling at me. He was comically yelling at me. He walks out and Jack and I go, "What do you think?" I go, "He scares the ever-loving shit out of me," and they go, "That's him!" We had to fight for Stacy. We had this other sitcom actor who's a great actor, I know him. I'm not going to tell you who it is, because he's a great guy and I'm not going to diss him at all. Stacy and him were the final two guys, and the network's with us. Stacy comes in and does his character, and he was real. He was so real. It was a little frightening, but really funny. This other guy came in and hit the jokes sitcom-y. They leave, and the head network guys go, "What do you think?" Our producer on the studio side turns and goes, "That's Stacy fucking Keach. You get that, right?" That was it. That was the only thing that happened. It was over. Me and Jack, we looked and nodded, like, "Did you not see what just happened?" That's when my hatred for the network started. You really had to deal with these top bosses. They kind of dictate to you what kind of artist you are. That's my problem. That's why I've actually burned some bridges and I've created a reputation that's not good. Years ago I decided I would never be actor meat. Actor meat is somebody who does what they say, when they say it, does it the way they want it. I love Carlin, love Robin. Look, I know I'm not those guys, I know I'm just the guy that I am, but I will never have someone who has an Ivy League law degree come in and tell me how to write a joke. I'm not going to have someone who never wrote a script, never performed on stage and never made thousands of people laugh in a room tell me what to write. When you have 33 years of making people laugh, I'll listen to you. Case in point, and I'm not bullshitting, I wrote this movie Special Unit that's out right now. For three bucks on Amazon it's on rental now, you can watch it. We used real disabled actors. The premise is, due to the Fairness and Disabilities Act, the LAPD has to hire four handicapped undercover detectives. I play Nick Nolte's mugshot. I play the worst cop in LA. I'm a drunk, alcoholic. The reason I wrote the movie, I have friends who are disabled and they get screwed with all the time. Every time they're in a movie, it's a Hallmark movie. It's like some special METANOIA MAGAZINE
little hero. I wrote them to be badass. They take the worst guy down. Everyone who read the script said, "This is really funny, but there's no way we're doing this. We can't. You've got disabled actors in it and there's going to be blow back." There's a funny school shooting in the movie. There's going to be blow back on this movie. I was like, "Okay, I'm doing it." I did. I committed to doing it. We found investors, they invested in it and we spent $400 grand. Billy Gardell is in it, from Mike and Molly. We did this movie. In the middle of production I get this text from Peter Farrelly, from the Farrelly brothers. He said a lot of disabled people were in his movies, and one of his best friends had his spine messed up. I don't know Peter Farrelly. He just says, "Hey, Titus. Peter Farrelly here. I hear you're doing this movie. Can you text me back?" "What the fuck is going on?" I text him and then I call him back, and he says, "Hey, I hear you're doing this movie. I'd like to read it." I go, "Why?" He said, "Because we got it wrong with The Ringer, and I want to see what you're going to do with it." I said okay, so I send Peter Farrelly the script. This is going back to people that know comedy, and people that don't. Peter Farrelly wants to hear my comedy and give me advice, I'm going to shut the fuck up and listen to Peter Farrelly. Some person who was third assistant on some half show two years, who never wrote a script, never told a joke, doesn't know what they're talking about, to tell me what's funny, I have a problem with that. If I know this is going to make an audience laugh and I get told, "Yeah, we don't think it will." You're wrong. Then I'm fired again. I get that I'm an asshole. I get it. When it comes to that, I'm an asshole. Peter Farrelly reads the script, calls and goes, "Can I give you notes?" I said yes. Calls me about four days later, I had my computer and I'm ready for Peter Farrelly to give me jokes. Peter Farrelly blowtorches the whole script. He pulled one thread that pulled eighty pages out of the script. Killed it. I'm just sitting there and I'm like, "Oh, my god." He said one thing to me that the script originally was very Austin Powers. All these disabled people, even the bad guys were disabled, everybody was disabled. I put as many disabled actors as I could in it. Peter Farrelly goes, "Your whole point of this movie is to show that disabled people are just as capable as able-bodied people are, right?" I said yes. He goes, "Then how come they can only take down disabled criminals?" I was sitting there and it was one of those moments of internal insight where I was like, "Wow,
you just blow torched the whole script, and you're right." That's what I mean when I say you've paid the dues and you've done your job, I will listen. Ron Howard tells me how to direct, I'm going to shut the fuck up and listen to Ron Howard. I have a Writer's Guild nomination and I didn't go to college. For an episode I wrote of Titus. If all these people in television knew what they were doing, there would be no cancelled shows. They'd know what they were doing. Every show would work. If it didn't work, they'd fix it. They don't. They just keep dying. ABC bought 25 new pilots. If they knew what they were doing, they wouldn't have so many new shows. That was a long-ass dissertation on some bullshit. By the way, you know how long that took? Years, and years, and years. I have a problem... I don't anymore. It cost me. It was a $10 million mistake. I don't now. Now, in my head I would say all those things. I would look at the network president and go, "Okay, we'll try that. Let's see if we can make that work." I guess Iâ€™d like to follow up on that a little more, and that is, how difficult was a comeback after that? Are you trying to come back the same way? There's no comeback, man. Show business, there's no comeback. You just keep working. This is my eighth special. It's no comeback. I fucked that job up. Then I got Big Shots, which was a great cast. We finally got it to where we were all being funny together, and then the writers strike happened. The Forum told me not to look to the past but to the future. A comeback means I'm trying to recreate. I went through it a couple years where I was like, "I'm trying to get back to something." I'm not trying to get back to anything. For many years I talked about you to my wife. Partially because she has a brother who has sense of humor like yours. They had an alcoholic father. And so they learned really early, how to deal with a lot of things through humor. And so I would say so many times to her, for years, remember Titus, and remember how he how he talked about his life. And I think that is one of the reasons it was so important what you did, because there are so many people who deal with what you've dealt with. I get that. I get so many people come up to me. I call that the bonus, where people just come up and they go, "Dude, I want you to know something. That show changed my entire view of my parents and changed my life." I was like, "Okay." METANOIA MAGAZINE
Funny first, but sometimes... I never try to make it a big deal. A lady came up to me, she goes, "I'm a recovering addict and I actually now am a counselor, and I show my people Norman Rockwell is Bleeding so they can actually get clear on how bad life can be." I was like, "Wow. That's cool. That's a bonus. Thank you, that's a high compliment." That's why this show is not just me shit-hammering Trump. That would have been easy and it would have been over very quickly. To actually write a bit to bring the country together with everything... Because we do think, to find a way in, to create, "Oh yeah, right, it's them. That's what they do, all the time." If we can just stay together ... We don't have to agree, but we can stay together. Again, people come up and tell me how much it matters to them. Here's the thing. Simple. I can't write something if it doesn't have a point. I can trick them with the point, I can hide the point, but I can't write something without meaning... I don't like to make a point. Special Unit makes a point without making a point. It's a wild, raucous, as funny as any Seth Rogen comedy, but by the end you forget they're disabled. About two-thirds of the way, you forget they're disabled. They're just characters in a movie. That's good. What I'm trying to get at is that I think because of the quality of what you do, I would like to see something happen again, something of that scope. Where youâ€™re reaching the numbers again. We were. By the way, we were actually killing it. You know what happened? The network president. Someone said years ago that television is just high school with money, and I pissed off Gail Berman. Then you want to hear my biggest regret in show business? Okay. I'd made her mad at that meeting. We'd done the season, the season was great. It was probably our best season. We did a terrorist episode. The network at one point threw their hands up in the air, and then 9/11 had happened and I go, "I want to do a terrorist episode. We're going to do like we're all scared on a plane, terrorists, and it has to do with my mom's death." These guys were like, "It's a sitcom." They're like, "You're out of your fucking mind." Finally, they just threw their hands up. They were like, "Whatever." Two things. I was like, "Yay!" And then I thought, "Uhoh. They don't care that much anymore." The ratings were great. I get a call from the studio and they go, "Gail Berman wants to have lunch with you." Dana Walden got on the phone and she goes, "You kiss her ass.
From left to right: Christopher Titus, Dr. Galina Bogatch, Hank Leis, and Jillian Currie
I want you kissing her ass. You kiss her ass and you save the show. It's too good of a show." I said, "Okay." I go to this meeting with Gail Berman and... It was weird and uncomfortable. As you can tell, I'm not that guy. I was like, "Whatever you want us to do. If you want us to have a baby, we'll have a baby." She's like, "No. Huh. Eh, you know." Then like three weeks later they cancelled the show. My biggest regret was if I'm not myself that's my fault. What I should have said was, "Listen, I fucked up in that meeting, bad. What I want you to know now is that if the show continues forward I'm going to keep doing what I do and I'm going to turn in a killer show every week. I will take your opinion into consideration, but I'm not going to apologize for protecting the show. You want to cancel it, that's on you. You don't want to cancel it, I will give you the best show you've ever seen. But if you want to cancel it, that's on you." I could have walked out. Instead, I kissed her ass, and she still cancelled it. It was an experienced I learned from. I will do something good. I'm writing a show for Billy Gardell right now, and myself, and there's a movie that I just started doing with Greg Grunberg that we're working on writing now. I've never done anything in my career where anyone's ever said, "Here's a vehicle for you." The only type of thing I've ever done is when I've created it and that a long time ago. I get that you liked the show, I
was just giving you shit. The problem is, I think people want another Titus, and I don't know how to do that. Do you know what I mean? That's that one thing, and I have to figure out what the next thing is. I just loved the interaction between you and Stacy Keach, and some of the other characters. It wasn't light. It was funny, it was so funny, that I couldn't laugh. I don't know if you understand that. Yeah. Bruce Springsteen said to me "Man, that show. I don't like television at all, but that show. You make people laugh and then you just take it to this dark place where everything just went away, and then you get us laughing again." He goes, "Man, that show was art." Maybe that's the only time I'll get it in my life. Maybe that's the only time I'll hit it. I'm okay with that. Once? I'm okay. I'm okay with once. Once is better than zero. That's right. I just remember that show, and I thought it was so outstanding. I think that you stand out even amongst the best comedians around. I think it was fabulous. I don't ever say these things lightly. That's humbling. I get you. You have no problem just going, "This is bullshit." I get it. Someone wrote it for Forbes online, they said that Titus was doing Louie 15 years before Louie did it. I was like, "All right. I wish I'd get a check still." METANOIA MAGAZINE
I don't know what the future holds for you, but one of the things, we of course run a wellness center. If there's any way that we can help you ... We actually need a paradigm shift in health and we need a paradigm shift in just humanity, man. It's got to come. If it doesn't come, we're going to burn this place down. It's going to be over. Here's the thing about comedy. People go, "How do you still do comedy?" It's like better than breathing. Do you guys know Dick Shawn? Great actor, he was in all those surf movies, those surf beach movies in the '60s. He always played one of the funny gangsters. He died onstage. He was on stage at a college doing a bit about a guy teaching a seminar on being calm at work, trying to be calm. The whole bit is he keeps getting angrier and angrier as he's teaching the seminar. As he's teaching the seminar, Dick Shawn really starts having a heart attack, except it looks like he's into the bit. He's having a heart, and he's like, "Agh, agh, agh," and they're laughing hysterically. They left him there for three minutes and he died. You know what I thought? Perfect. Perfect. I'd have no problem with that. I'd be like, "There you go. That was the period."
DES BROPHY Homeward Bound
Where did you grow up and could you talk about how your experiences there inﬂuenced your future various careers. I was born in Dublin, Ireland and am the eldest of six - a large Irish Catholic family. We lived in Dublin until I was 11 years old. Money was tight, but we made our own fun, and somehow managed to survive the difficulties of that time. Our mother was a very strong woman who tried to do what she could to help her kids get on. We always seemed to find humour in the toughest of situations. At an early age we were taught to see the lighter side of life. Eventually we moved to Norfolk, England, and settled in a country village. This was quite a change from the city life of Dublin but it gave us a contrasting appreciation of country life with its very different values. I used to sketch as a child, and both my parents encouraged me to continue and develop this hobby. I was, however, more interested in travel at that time. I joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) age 16 and began to travel around the world. I served in
the U.K., central Africa, Singapore, Malaya, Australia and the Middle East. On leaving the RAF I met and married my wife Elaine, and we set up home in Sheffield, where we had two children. During this time I became a policeman. As a policeman you must have observed both the light and dark side of life, yet in your art you chose to portray the light. In fact your art is rather comedic. Do most of your observations reﬂect the fun side of life? As a policeman the darker side of life became a regular occurrence. Through these dark moments there often appeared glimmers of hope and light. I found that observing human behaviour could be entertaining and after initially painting landscape watercolours, I realized that I wanted to ‘lift the moment’ by painting loose, whimsical character paintings, initially in watercolour but later in oil. In short, I try to portray the lighter side of life because it puts a smile on people's faces, and can lift their mood. I would rather make them happy than sad!
Old ladies and old men jumping around in puddles of rain, acting like children, seems to be a theme in your art. Is this meant as an illustration of old people recapturing their lost childhood? Studying the behaviour of old people has interested me for some time. The fact that they sometimes revert to childlike behaviour can make them amazing subjects to capture in paint. I don't think they set out particularly to recapture their lost childhood, but more the case that they are experiencing the â€˜cycle of lifeâ€™, where they often naturally become more childlike. They can be great fun to paint, and I often see little scenes or moments, of which I make a mental note to paint later (if I don't have a pencil to hand!).
What is your process in terms of translating an idea into art? The process of translating an idea to art I would describe as more of a spontaneous thing. I glimpse a brief moment and feel the need to get it down on canvas. The beauty of art is that I can change or move things around in the painting to suit through artistic license Your daughter seems to be an integral part of your business. Can you talk about that? My daughter, Lizzie, has been supportive of my work, and has looked after my international sales for me. She has a business degree from Nottingham, METANOIA MAGAZINE
Still In Love
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and is far more switched on in areas that I am not! Your subjects represent joy. What brings you joy? My family bring me the most joy, including my wife, my children and grandchildren. Describe the environment in which you do your art and what inspires you. My painting environment was originally in our home, but with the
development of my work internationally I had to move out to a studio so that I could have more space. This was ok at first, but I found that travelling 3 miles to open up the studio on a cold winters night somehow detracted from the pleasure and spontaneity of getting the ideas down on canvas straight away. I've since returned to my studio at home where I'm happier painting. What do you enjoy painting? Having lived by the sea for most of the earlier part of my life, I love oil painting METANOIA MAGAZINE
big skies with coastal views. However, I always seem to want to return to my favourite subject which is people in amusing situations. What next? Iâ€™m currently preparing for my next exhibition which is in Seoul, South Korea. Once completed, my wife and I hope to get away to southern Spain for a much needed holiday!
Another Home Win
For more information on Des Brophy, or to inquire about his art, visit: http://desbrophy.bigcartel.com/products
HUNTING ROYALTY BY SALME LEIS
Hunting is controversial in the UK, with the Hunting Act of 2004 changing much of its' key aspects. Open season varies by region and species. There are more than 180 foxhound packs in Britain, and not a single one has folded since 2005. There is no question, it’s a topic that provokes people. It seemed odd to me that a simple act of horses and men hunting can mean so much politically and can also be reflective of a certain class and status. It seemed as provocative an issue as any. For me controversy is always incentive to find out more. I met Bunny out one night in Clapham Junction. She was a friend of a friend, a tall blonde skinny Sienna Miller type. We were both in line for Mojitos at the bar and confessed our love of tequila, quickly finding out we were both Virgos, and then the similarities began to multiply. Not only were we both Virgos but we were born on the same day! I visited Bunny’s home of Shropshire a number of times and met her family. Her mom, vivacious with an abundance of confidence, had a sharp witty sense of humour that kept you constantly on your toes. Bunny’s two younger brothers are both equally charming and intellectual in a way that isn’t intimidating, but in fact inviting. They are well brought up in a way that seemed like effortless parenting, a duty to make them capable in the world. Harry is the middle child and is exceptionally stylish, which makes sense seeing as he designs for a fairly prominent fashion label in London. The youngest, Giddion, is in the family business of farming, he can tell you about how cattle are raised and bred. He knows how to cultivate land, grow crops, and has the most exceptionally beautiful presence in the family. He is rarely available because of his independent and inquisitive nature. Bunny loves her brothers and seems to want them near, but in her own right, reminds me of a rare and beautifully independent cat. She looks after her family but has a world she creates that
is all her own. Her own opinion matters most, and though she may consult you, she definitely has the final say. Setting the stage for Shropshire: Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, and Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south. The community of Shropshire population is about 313,400. The Father: It is my observation that some fathers your meet seem to have been that way all their lives. Some kind of calm and natural mentorship exists in them and the moment you meet them, you are immediately at ease. Before I met him, Bunny had told me that her father was sort of part of Shropshire almost like it was his job to take care of the land and be a commingled with it. The Meet: The day I met her father was the day of the meet. I woke up and walked to her room which was adjacent to mine. I flopped on her bed and started doing my makeup. She pulled on her riding gear and warned me to dress warm, then proceeded to pile clothes on top of me until she almost surrounded herself with them, realizing I would not be properly dressed if it were left up to me. Bunny then left with her mother. It was up to her father and brother to drive me to the meet and her father would arrive at the house any second. I pulled on all of the gear she had left. I was happy I could fit my curvy body into some of my slim friend’s clothing, even more happy to feel so very cozy on this very icy, crisp English morning. Suited and booted I was ready to go and moments later Bunny’s father walked in the door. As per usual, I genuinely fucked up the English greeting and both shook her father’s hand, as well as kissed him on both cheeks. I’m pretty much use to startling every English person I meet, because of my clumsy greeting or very strong accent, or perhaps that I look as they would call it “exotic” in comparison to people they usually meet. I’m pretty sure he noticed all of the above but only teased me about my inept greeting. At least I know how to make an impression. The meet is held on someone’s land, someone who presumably elects to hold the meet. Apparently, there is some kind of obligation for this person to fix any major damage left over from the horses.
The horses are extremely beautiful and well kept, manes braided and coats shiny. I’ve always found horses to have an intimating beauty and we seem to share a mutual respect for the other and a distant love; as in they seem like they could do some serious damage so I stay at least and an arms-length away. The image we walked into was aesthetically pleasing; maybe a visualization looking something like; a collection of horses and riders very well turned out, in a clutter getting attended to. Stables and a beautiful house with exposed beams and stained glass windows was very modern looking. A tiny pool of water, surrounded by trees made a picturesque setting with the surrounding Shropshire hills and valleys. As we walked up Harry and I, the two city kids, were the odd ones out and we definitely drew eyes as being different and became somewhat of a spectacle. How odd it is to be perceived this way when you yourself are viewing something that seems so out of the ordinary to you. It was like visiting a tribe in Africa, being aware that I was immersed in something very cultural. It meant something important to them. My naivety was something the stood out amidst those belonging to the tribe. It was all so beautiful to me as often it is for someone who is far removed from something that is routine. Bunny’s father’s manner of dress was impeccable; tweed jacket and waist coat, page boy hat, his hair cut like a character from Peaky Blinders and carrying a large hooked walking stick. Among this vision of red coats and riding pants he definitely stood out. He is old English gentry in a beautifully articulated, modern way. Farming seems to be a religious culture and way of life for him, perhaps even a professional practice. It works for him and he wears it well; not just the clothing but the lifestyle. It is what I imagine most men look like when they finally like themselves and settle in with who they are. The meet starts off with a blast of a horn and all the horses stirred. Off they galloped! If you can remember the scene in Mary Poppins then that is precisely what they look like, all in uniform filing out for the hunt. Some of the riders chose to do a jump initially, which Bunny informed me was unkind to the horses as they had not been warmed up yet. Bunny would know this well given that she use to ride and jump competitively and is quite accomplished in this. She has a cheeky confidence about herself, her looks, and her accomplishments, she is a strange mix of old England and London city life. Like a sassy Princess Diana.
My friend charged forward with the other riders with complete ease and confidence. She rode down the sloping countryside. Shropshire's beauty is in its' rolling hills where you can lose sight of the hunting gang for a moment before quickly seeing them peek up again. Bunny’s father elegantly walked with his large curved stick and led us to the best viewing points. He watched as I would imagine a lion watches his pack, with wisdom and grace, an inner earned knowledge that comes with experience. He discussed with some onlookers about the new Huntsman, who corrals the hunters towards the foxhounds' directional lead on the fox. The laws dictate that the hunters are not allowed to catch the fox and so most of this is done solely for sport. The particular meet I attended got mislead a couple of times, once by a deer I saw fleeing into a beautiful orchard and once by a hare that sped by us at a heart racing pace. Almost as if to say, “I’m late, I’m late, no time to say Hello! Goodbye! I’m late I’m late I’m late!” I looked readily for a pocket watch and waistcoat, but to my disappointment could see neither. After cutting through gates and walking through for a bit my guide (Bunny’s father) led us to the top of one of the rolling hills. We perched there in silence as he told us the wind would carry our voices and we needed to be silent and still as possible. The sun was beaming on us and silence was gorgeous and full, the scenery soothed my soul, the air was clean as I happily filled my lungs with gulps of air as if hoping it would somehow make me healthier. And there he was, he ran out over a hill, his tail bushy and bright red, THE FOX. I saw him running making his way across the field to a gathering of trees. The fox, even though in recent years is no longer truly hunted, is highly regarded in these societies. You will often find the houses of English gentry adorned with fox trinkets, foxes on blankets, plates, and artwork. It reminds me of any culture that has a great profound respect for the thing it hunts. For me the sight of any animal can have a hidden meaning. On this day Bunny’s father told me it was incredibly rare to see the fox. As for the fox totem, the fox is often associated with the figure of the trickster, but as a spirit animal, it can also turn into a teacher providing guidance on swiftly finding your way around obstacles. We left shortly after that. The hunting party would be riding for some time on what they called a trail. I was off to drink and eat in an old English pub to speed by the beautiful hedges that lined the countryside.
FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!
BY HANK LEIS
I met Russ Meyer by happenstance. It was on a hot, humid, day in Texas, and in trying to escape the discomfort I went into one of those movie theaters frequented by University students, who would drink beer, eat hot dogs and scream obscenities at the screen. I had never heard of Russ Meyer nor was I aware of his cult following, so had no expectations of what I was about to watch. The movie was, what I found out later, the usual fare. Large breasted women, being abducted and physically abused by dark loathsome men, the women then wreaking revenge on the miscreants who had mistreated them. It was farce. As I exited the theatre, there was Russ Meyer himself, hawking photos, t-shirts and books. I stopped to talk to him and found him to be most interesting. He had a gruff exterior and not at all the man I expected, given the nature of the movie he had made. Although he was somewhat defensive, he was very serious about his life’s work and the message he was trying to impart. He was reluctant to enjoin in
my ill thought out humor, partly I suppose because he was married (or so he said) to one of those busty babes. We talked for some time about the movies and parted as friends, despite my lack of aplomb or good manners. Tura Luna Pascual Satana Yamaguchi is not exactly a household name. But she was a star of FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! Her real life story is less believable than Russ Meyer’s movies she acted in. Her father was Japanese and mother part Cheyenne Indian. As a child she was gang raped by five men. She learned martial arts and tracked each of the five men down, exacting revenge and letting them know afterwards who she was. As a delinquent she was sent to reform school. She married and divorced when she was seventeen years old. She danced at nightclubs and somehow met and dated both Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Apparently Elvis asked her to marry him, but being the independent she was, she turned him down. She acted in a number of ‘A’ list movies. She died in Reno, Nevada in 2011. Russ Meyer was an unusual feminist. He was serious about his job as a story teller. His actresses were treated with respect and courtesy, even by today’s standards. The interesting thing is that for him, this was not a cause. It was just about how things should be and his fascination for big breasts did not deter him from being considerate and caring. His movies still appear on late night television. Watch them for a laugh, then cry because you now know some of the background of the people it took to make them.
Hank Leis is author of The Leadership Phenomenon: A Multidimensional Model
PANACHE, POLITICS AND PARTIES
Metanoia Magazine at Powis Castle, Alpha Chicks, Surrey Women In Business, the Peace Arch Hospital Gala, and the JUNOâ€™s Songwriting Circle featuring Jann Arden
Turkey's New Invasion of Cyprus REVOLUTION OF THE MIND SERIES
One more time the Cyprus government has been caught napping not having a strategic plan to diffuse Turkey’s anticipated provocations; provocations that have now been put into practice! Like modern pirates, Ankara has sent five war ships with one objective; to flex its muscles and stop ENI’s gas exploration inside Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Because of Turkey’s refusal to sign the Agreement of UN Convention of the Sea it has the audacity to claim that 70% of those resources found between Cyprus and Egypt actually belong to the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. It is therefore no coincidence that Ankara has chosen this specific moment in time to issue a Navtex for military naval exercises without consideration or the respect of international law. As expected, the Turkish vessels intercepted ENI’s Saipem drillship from reaching its offshore Plot 3 Soupia. Using threats of conflict the warships blocked Saipem from continuing its exploratory drilling voyage. Before the first Navtex had even expired, Turkey issued another one extending its naval control this time across the Eastern Mediterranean to include parts of the Aegean and Cretan waters. This is a cunning blackmailing tactic under the pretext of justifying its control over Plot 3 to serve as a warning
to both Cyprus and Greece that Turkey has the power to dictate events in the area. After days of friction Turkey’s new military provocation has forced ENI the Italian/French consortium to abandon its drilling plans and withdraw Saipem from the area.
of Pentadaktilos mountain the massive lettering K.K.T.C. (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) next to the illuminated Turkish flag as a way to provoke the Greeks. What kind of a mentality is that from people that claim to be “Cypriot compatriots”?
One can see clearly Ankara’s plans; it will keep on renewing the Navtex until Cyprus is pressured by outsiders to submit and negotiate its natural resources under Ankara’s terms. To even “talk about it” would be a grave political mistake if the government succumbs to pressure of such a discussion; that would indicate concessions are more likely than unlikely! So far Cyprus has refused to link the two until a political settlement has been reached.
Meanwhile Cyprus is trapped and the government is now busy seeking political support to deal with Turkey’s latest bullying tactics. Mr. Donald Tusk, the EU President on behalf of all the EU leaders, expressed his sympathy and confirmed his support of the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to: “explore and exploit its natural wealth inside its exclusive economic zone EEZ”.
It is no coincidence that the Turkish Cypriot administration is now also blackmailing Cyprus declaring that it would not return to the negotiating table unless all the 12 Plots are placed on the table for negotiation before a political solution is agreed. Actually, they are now also warning Cyprus militarily (for the first time ever) that the TCs have the means (meaning Turkey’s military might) to stop any further drilling operations inside Cyprus’s EEZ. Adding salt to injury, the TC regime have intentionally laser-carved on the side METANOIA MAGAZINE
Cyprus has heard such shallow rhetoric many times before; it does not need fancy words and sympathy but action! As meaningful as they are, Cyprus has barrelful of such useless UN and EU resolutions amounting to nothing drafted by paper lions. Turkey simply ignores and dumps them under the carpet. In July 2014, the EU imposed severe economic sanctions against Russia for its “invasion” of the Ukraine and yet it has declined to act in a similar manner in support of one of its own member-states. It is high time that Cyprus recognized that there are no real friends or loyalty in politics but self-interests. Indeed, the
EU is playing a cunning game of rhetoric without substance at the detriment of Cyprus. As a full EU member, Cyprus should expect no less than to receive the same respect and support as Ukraine did – apply EU sanctions against Turkey! That would send a devastating economic and political blow to the Erdogan regime, which is using brutality to solve issues. Such behaviour is not and cannot be tolerated in a civilized society and especially in the European Union! Irrespective of what happens next, the EU’s long-term interests are well secured either way. There are gains to be made from Turkey that offer ¬ a massive consumer market and the crossroads to the East, but also from tiny Cyprus that offers the greatest discovery of natural gas resources in the area. Hungry for energy, Cyprus’s liquid treasure would keep the European wheels of industry turning for years to come. If Cyprus is to deal effectively with the current hostilities, it desperately needs a new defense policy to safeguard the country and its natural resources from pirates like Turkey. Such a policy should have been applied years ago, but successive governments have failed to do so! Turkey’s aggression in co-ordination with the TC administration’s refusal to negotiate unless the natural gas is offered as a part and parcel of the negotiations, it leaves no other option for Cyprus to put an end to the ongoing “negotiations” charade. It is much wiser to have no solution than a bad solution! Any further attempts to negotiate under gunpoint diplomacy would be suicidal and certainly bring about the end of the Republic. This is a wake up call for Cyprus to abandon the old strategy and formulate a new tactical offensive policy that will trigger political and economic cost to Turkey but also a cost to the TC puppet regime. Their conspiracy to destroy the Republic is certainly a treacherous act and such a crime is treated as an act of treason in any country in the world. In Turkey thousands have been locked up for even thinking about questioning Erdogan’s authority!
Cyprus as a full EU member has the political and legal prerogative to insist on EU sanctions against Turkey that would cost Ankara dearly. If the government does not initiate radical new policies, Turkey will continue its bullying tactics and no one knows how far Ankara will take its provocations unless stopped on its tracks. Should the Commission fail to support a member state in times of adversity and foreign aggression, then why remain a EU member at all? The possibility of a sensible political Cyprexit (but remain within the Customs Union Agreement) could in fact tip the balance of events and trigger a hurricane for the EU institution as Brexit has done. It would finally force the EU Commission to re-consider its priorities and main role as to its responsibility towards all member states. Today, Cyprus has no other option but to resist further talks and go ahead and apply new effective political measures against Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot regime, which has decided to use militant rhetoric and threats against the Republic of Cyprus. Such statements of conflict by the TC regime makes it abundantly clear that the regime no longer represent the interests of their own people but the interests of their paymasters in Ankara; for they dictate their every move! There are public feelings that the government must now take action and shut the crossings but also freeze all EU funding to the TC puppet regime until they come to their senses and put an end to Turkey’s meddling and hostilities. As a way forward Cyprus passports and citizenship held by TCs must also be revoked until a reunification solution is found without any presence of Turkish troops on the island. Games of deviousness must finally come to an end and allow the two peoples to prosper together as equal citizens and to share equally the rewards of the Republic such as; EU citizenship, freedom of movement; the wealth of natural gas and social stability but above all else, live in peace under Democracy and the Rule of Law. The TC cannot have it both ways!
Andreas C. Chrysafis Was born at Ayios Ambrosios, Kerynia, Cyprus. He studied and lived in the UK and Vancouver, Canada for most of his life where he practiced his profession as an architectural designer. He is a prolific writer of books, press articles including The Vanishing Cyprus Series and the Revolution of the Mind Series both published worldwide. Today, he lives between London and Cyprus devoting most of his time writing and painting works of art. Info@evandia.com
SOME FACTS ON THE U.S. STEEL MARKET “Much protectionism is driven by irrational fears.”
Mr. Rick Gonzales: Thanks for your e-mail. You support Pres. Trump’s steel tariffs because, you believe, “they’ll help at protecting us from Chinese predatory pricing.” As you likely know, predatory pricing allegedly occurs when a supplier, hoping to gain a monopoly position tomorrow, tries to destroy all of its competitors by charging ‘excessively’ low prices today. Forget for purposes of this letter that neither history nor theory is kind to allegations of predatory pricing: the conditions necessary to make it a plausible strategy are wildly unrealistic. (You can check out some of my thoughts on this matter here.) You might reply that, if Beijing is subsidizing Chinese steelmakers, such predation becomes more likely to succeed. To which I respond: ‘Yes. It raises prospects of success from about 0.0000000000000001% to about 0.0000000000000002%.’ U.S. steelmakers currently supply about 70 percent of all steel-mill products bought
in the United States, with the remaining 30 percent coming from foreign-based companies. (The proposed tariffs are on steel-mill products only - ‘raw’ steel, if you will.) The top ten countries that supply such steel today to the U.S. are, in this order: Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, and India. The steel supplied to us by the many different companies in these ten countries, combined with the steel that we supply to ourselves, is about 93 percent of all steel-mill products bought and consumed in the U.S. Among today’s foreign-country suppliers of steel-mill products to the U.S. China ranks #11, supplying about 2 percent of U.S. imports of such steel - or about 0.6 percent of all such steel bought and used today in the U.S. Even compared only to the amount of such steel supplied to the U.S. market by American companies, Chinese steelmakers supply a paltry 0.4 percent of what American companies supply to the U.S. market. That
is, American steelmakers alone supply 250 times more steel to the U.S. market than do the Chinese. Remember that to monopolize the American market, not only would the Chinese have to bankrupt all U.S. steel producers, they would have to bankrupt all steel producers worldwide. This reality and these numbers render fears of a Chinese scheme to monopolize the U.S. market for steel-mill products about as plausible as fears of a zombie apocalypse.
DONALD J BOUDREAUX Professor of Economics and Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030
FACTS AND BELIEFS IN SOCIETY By the Honourable Dr. Gordon Hogg, MP, former B.C. MLA, PhD
Most of us know about Humpy Dumpty. He sat on a wall and subsequently had a great fall. But like so many mishaps, in life and in policy, there are many things that we don't truly understand about Humpty like how did he get in that precarious position anyway? What was he thinking? Why did he go up there, anyway? How did he get up there? It's like so many of us who get into difficult positions and then wonder: "What was I thinking? How did I get into this mess?" And why was it that all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty back together again? I assume the king's horses and the king's men were pretty good at fixing things that didn't go the way that was expected, so what was different about Humpty's injury that was
so challenging, that he couldn't, even with help, get it together again?
should have focused less on facts and more on social meaning.
It seems that our ideas about how things work can fail us. Humpty was, I assume, the only one on the wall. If so, he had a different vantage point from everyone else - or every egg else. I wonder if he knew that sharing similar views was part of being socially and intellectually acceptable? What if Humpty's view was so different, yet correct, and everyone else's view was wrong?
It seems that it's only when we perceive that a policy bears social meaning congenial to our own values that we become receptive to evidence, because culture is cognitive prior to facts, and in policy disputes culture is political prior to facts as well. Humpty's story has so much to teach us. Seeing the world from different points and different vantage points helps us to better understand ideas and to better understand each other.
It seems that no one challenging the prevailing view of a group is deemed credible. Maybe the king's horses and the king's men didn't tolerate different approaches and really didn't want to save Humpty because he was just going to see things differently anyway. It seems that to get agreement, Humpty should have presented information in a way that confirms rather than threatens his group's values. He probably should have found some validators, experts with diverse views. Then, just then, perhaps he could have solved his differences. He METANOIA MAGAZINE
Former B.C. Minister of State for ActNow B.C., Gordon Hogg was a Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for the Liberal Party. A psychologist, he was a Regional Director in the provinceâ€™s Corrections Service prior to his election in 1997. Currently, Dr. Hogg is representing the South Surrey- White Rock riding as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of Canada. ActNow B.C. is a government initiative that crosses departmental lines to promote healthy living.
CONTINUING FROM THE LAST METANOIA
A BOOK BY A CANADIAN RCMP AND A CSIS OFFICER
WHAT A RIDE
Leonard N. Giles joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1960. When the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was proclaimed in 1984, he crossed over after twenty years in counterespionage. In his career, Giles had assignments in the United States, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, India, Macau and the Philippines, retiring in 1991.
BY LEN N. GILES
I did not look forward to picking up Spears who reminded me of a whining little “weasel” and after the morning experience with him I had no intention of treating him with much kindness. The handcuffs would be on him for the full journey to Vernon. It would be a long night, as the train would not arrive in Kamloops until mid morning. We left the station promptly at 5 p.m. and poked along for a couple of hours. I don’t think we got much past Mission, B.C. before we came to a full stop. It had been a long slow ride to that point –20 miles or so–and there we sat for well over an hour. It was pitch black outside and still raining heavily. Finally, the train lurched and started to roll backwards. As we gathered some momentum it was clear we were going to be going some distance in reverse, perhaps to a siding to let another train pass. Finally, the conductor came through advising there had been a major landslide in the Fraser canyon and the tracks were out. Consequently, we were returning to the Vancouver station. Damn, not again! Sometime after 11 p.m. we arrived back at the station and I finally got
Spears back to the city cells shortly after midnight. I returned to the Georgia Hotel and crashed. I had been travelling all day and had arrived at exactly the same place I had started, only in a different room. At least I was warm and dry, with no need to be constantly alert to the antics of the little “weasel” I had been trying to escort back to Vernon. The only alternative mode of travel left was via Greyhound bus and we caught the mid-morning bus which was to arrive in Vernon sometime around 8 p.m. Before departure I had the Vancouver Detachment call Vernon to have them meet me on arrival. In view of conditions through the Fraser Canyon, we took the southern route, the Hope-Princeton Highway #3. Spears was being his usual self, whining and complaining about everything. By the time we stopped in Manning Park for a short rest break, he was so irritating I felt I could have shot him. Sometimes I wish he had started to run which may have given me justification to do just that; however, it never happened. He just continued to irritate me for the rest of the journey. Maintaining my equanimity METANOIA MAGAZINE
with some difficulty, we finally arrived in Vernon. There, I was met by a member and Spears was promptly deposited in the Vernon Detachment cells. He was to appear in Court early the following week. I was thankful to be clear of him. I hoped I would never see or hear of him again. That was not to be. Spears received two years less a day in prison. After serving his time he was released and returned to the interior of the Province. Shortly thereafter he shot and killed Constable Neil Bruce near Kelowna, B.C. He was hunted down in the bush and to confuse trackers, I heard rumours he had tied horseshoes to his feet. However, that did not work and when our members closed in on him–over a week later–he refused to surrender. Subsequently, faced with imminent attack from a charging police service dog, he fatally shot himself in the head with a high-powered rifle. I was saddened by the loss of our member and upon reflection thought it’s fortunate we cannot tell the future, for if we could, for some reason, Spears may not have survived the trip from Vancouver to Vernon two years earlier.
Maintaining the Right I arrived in Salmon Arm, as scheduled, on Saturday, December 1, 1962, at about lunch time after the 40-mile drive from Vernon. I was pleased to find a new detachment complex that had opened only five months earlier with single men's quarters at the rear of the office. The two members on duty welcomed me and showed me to my new abode. I was the first and only occupant so I had my choice of the two rooms. I selected the smaller of the two as it was far more suitable for one person and, as it later turned out, the larger room, from time to time, became a gathering place for the odd ale or two to be consumed even though there was no alcohol allowed in barracks. Basic standard issue furnishings were provided which included a single bed, a dresser, a bed side table and a chair. That was it. Nevertheless, it became home for the next fifteen months and as it turned out it was very comfortable, even with the stark furnishings. As it was a Saturday, the Corporal in charge of the Detachment —Bill Dodd— was not in. I knew of him and I had met him briefly a year and a half earlier when he was in Penticton. There he was known as “Wild Bill” to those who worked with him. After general conversations with the members, they began to tell me things that were rather bothersome. I was about to hear more disconcerting comments that afternoon than I would ever have expected. The members on
duty warned me about the Corporal and some of the antics that were going on at the Detachment. They considered the Corporal and his wife to be alcoholics as was their friend and drinking companion, Roy Birtwhistle, who was the elderly contracted night guard. I had no knowledge of these accusations beforehand and was very disturbed about the nature of the comments being made. They were painting a picture steeped in frustration, dislike and disrespect for the persons they were telling me about. This was not the kind of Detachment lifestyle I was familiar with; and, in essence, I was being cautioned about what I was about to be exposed to. I was told when prisoners were in the cells Roy ordered breakfasts from a local restaurant under an agreement to provide prisoner meals. Meals would be provided as required and all paid for at the end of each month; that was standard procedure. However, with the Corporal's blessing, he would order an extra meal for himself. The extra meal was never recorded and therefore never paid for at the end of the month. Apparently, it was the Corporal's view that "those Chinamen" never kept track anyway. This flew directly in the face of everything I had been taught at Princeton detachment. I was entering a minefield and wanted no part of it, yet I had no choice. When I told the members this was crazy and I would not do it, they wished me good luck, suggesting I would be opposing this procedure at my peril. I appreciated the insight and told the members I would not prejudge the situation. I knew it would be several weeks before I would be put on the midnight shift. That time would be required for me to become familiar with the local environment and get my feet on the ground in relation to the duties at the detachment. That grace period gave me the opportunity to think about how I would deal with the “stolen” meals issue, if and when I was faced with it. By 3 p.m. in the afternoon the Corporal stopped in and we met; I remembered him from Penticton and our introduction was cordial. He was in a jovial, joking mood and presented nothing in his demeanour by which I felt threatened. He was in charge; that was the bottom line. Eight men were stationed in Salmon Arm, two on highway patrol and six between the town and municipal details. Like the Corporal in Princeton, Cpl Dodd was also a transferee from the old British Columbia Provincial Police. Cpl. Dodd was, indeed, of a very different breed from those with whom I had worked before. He was a short, stocky, heavy-set man, rather gruff in manner, long in service and one who
had, in his mind, done it all. A story could not be told that could not be bettered by him. I was quick to realize things were done his way, without questioning his authority or rationale. He started work late, delegated everything, and left early. I learned this Corporal, on this detachment, "was God" and the morale of the members reflected that reality. It was not a happy detachment and as the weeks passed I soon became aware of many issues that were sitting like boils, aching and ready to burst. Every member had some kind of differences with the Corporal. The good feelings of camaraderie on a detachment I had experienced in Princeton and Vernon were not present in Salmon Arm. Everyone was on edge and Roy Birtwhistle, the Corporal's confidante, could not be trusted. He reported everything that was said or done in the office. The Corporal often raised issues which everyone knew could only have come from Roy. The atmosphere at the detachment was toxic. It was like walking on thin ice. What was going on in Salmon Arm contradicted everything I had been taught by Cpl. Brown in Princeton. I found this to be very disturbing and it bothered me that the integrity of the Force was being undermined. With the arrival of my first midnight shift duty, I knew if prisoners were in the cells, Roy would be ordering their morning meals. The first few nights, we had no prisoners; therefore I was alone and did not have to worry about prisoner meals. When the day shift members came on, I briefed them on any outstanding events which happened during the night and then went to bed. The night finally came when we had three prisoners in the cells. Roy was scheduled to come in as the night guard. I knew when I came on duty, I would be challenged in the morning. I had a choice, ignore the issue or confront it. My integrity would not allow me to ignore it. Often Roy would visit with the Corporal and his wife before starting his shift at midnight and that night was no different. The shift itself was uneventful and I made sure I was in the office when it was time for the morning meals to be ordered. At about 20 minutes to 7 a.m., Roy asked if he should order the meals which I could then pick up at 7. I agreed, ensuring I was within earshot when he made the call. When I heard Roy order four meals, I interrupted him stating, "Roy, we only have three prisoners." He looked at me in surprise, stumbled momentarily for words and then said, "Just a minute." He placed his hand over the mouthpiece of the telephone and said to me, “But, we always order an extra meal for me, they don't keep track.” I replied, “If we have METANOIA MAGAZINE
three prisoners in the cells, then we order three meals.” I added, “If you want to order an extra meal for yourself that would be fine; if you give me the money to pay for it.” I also told him I would gladly pick it up as well. He gave me a dirty look and said into the phone, "I'm sorry, that should be three meals, and I thought we needed four." After hanging up, Roy said in a rather indignant tone that it was "normal procedure" to get an extra meal for him. "Not on my shift Roy," I retorted. Shortly thereafter, I picked up the three meals and delivered them to the prisoners. The day shift came in and I briefed them on events of the night and on the meal issue. The two day shift members listened in mild shock, with one shaking his head, “You’re dead,” he said. With that unsettling thought, I went to bed shortly after 8 a.m. Midnight shifts, in my case, prepared me to crash when I finished my shift. I expected Roy would report to the Corporal and something would be said. However, I was too tired to worry about it. I was asleep within minutes. I don't think I was asleep for more than half an hour when I was suddenly awakened by the Corporal who was physically shaking me and yelling, "Just who do you think you are?" He was ranting and raving about how dare I question his authority or the procedures that were in place at his detachment. He made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that Roy was to get his meal. I replied, “If you put that in writing then I will be glad to do it,” which only made him furious. He yelled obscenities at me and told me, “You f—king well better watch your step around this detachment!” as he stormed out of the room. I had challenged his authority on an issue that was wrong. I knew it and so did he. That’s probably what irritated him so much. Regardless of the Corporal's rage or threats, Roy never pressed the issue again when I was on the night shift. After that, the other members also refused to allow Roy to order an extra meal without paying for it. I was very proud as a uniformed member of the RCMP in the community and I was not going to allow my integrity to be tarnished by co-operating in a scheme to swindle the local restaurant out of the payment for meals. Other members disagreed with the procedure, yet knowingly went along with it out of fear of the wrath of the Corporal. How long it had been going on, I had no idea. My relationship with the Corporal thereafter was always very fragile and I always made sure he had no reason or grounds to question my actions; or so I thought.
The Dan Walker Chronicles
Is an adventurer, a businessman, and raconteur. He has visited every country in the world. His trusty Rolls Royce has taken him across many continents. He includes his grandchildren in some of his travels allowing them to select the destination. Originally, he hails from Victoria, British Columbia, but now resides in Costa Rica. We are pleased to present the Dan Walker Chronicles.
PILON TO SANTIAGO DE CUBA After breakfast we headed along the coast road to Santiago de Cuba. We'd been warned the road was bad, but that was an understatement. Much of the road had been washed out by Hurricane Sandy, so between that and landslides from high cliffs it was a slow, but interesting drive. I'd like to have had my 4x4, as we were dragging the bottom on stretches where driving on the gravel beach was necessary. The distance was about 190 km, and for the first 150 km the only other vehicle we saw was an old dump truck. There were several large tunnels along the way that it is said were built by the Russians when they were bringing missiles to Cuba in 1962. At one place the road was crawling with good sized land crabs, which also scaled the roadside cliff. The other main
users of the road were goats. Two large bridges were in a state of collapse - in both cases an entire concrete section had lost supports on the landward side, and were held in place only by the other side. The bridge was radically tilted but we managed to get across by crowding close to the high side. The only other alternative would have been to turn back, something I'm not good at. We had been advised strongly by the rental car people not to pick up hitch hikers, but did several times along this stretch of road, as it was a long way between places and no other vehicles. It gave us a great chance to learn about the area and the people. One fellow was a school inspector, and he told us teachers are paid $24 per month in Cuba. When we reached Santiago and pulled in for gas, a self appointed tourism guide joined us in the car to guide us to the 1914 vintage Casa Granda hotel located on METANOIA MAGAZINE
the main square. It was full, and so was another two blocks away, so he found us a nearby house to stay in and secured parking for the car a couple of blocks away. Once settled we walked back to the Casa Granda for drinks and to look at the view from their rooftop bar. A taxi got us to a restaurant, billed as the best in town, where we had really great lamb stew with mashed potatoes. The food was the best on the trip so far. We tried to flag down a cab to get back into the centre of town, but there were none. A fellow was working on his car in front of the restaurant, so we asked him how we could get a taxi. It turned out he was someone else's driver waiting for the people to have dinner, so he drove us to the Casa de Trova where we listened to great Cuban Trova music. It was only about 3 blocks from our guest house.
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This issue’s cover story is about the one and only Christopher Titus, who is a psychologist camouflaged as a comedian. He is saving America,...
Published on Jun 1, 2018
This issue’s cover story is about the one and only Christopher Titus, who is a psychologist camouflaged as a comedian. He is saving America,...