The only hell of concern to me is the living hell, in this life, here and now, that people create for themselves and one another.
Today, the Central African Republic is a prime example.
There is a history to this conflict that goes back to 1960, but as far as I can tell this land has never known peace at any time.
It’s a matter of what the people there choose to want from day to day.
Continue reading A living hell
(Originally posted 01/29/14.)
In the process of “recycling” old posts on Wednesdays(*), I am now coming upon a number of posts with which I’m not completely comfortable. I probably would not write them, now or in the future, the way I did at the time; but I’m also still not sure exactly how I’d write them differently.
At the time I wrote those posts, I supposed my homelessness would be brief, and William Tell would soon enough become a public figure able to speak to what he saw as the pressing social issues. My homelessness continues eighteen months later, and my perceptions of those issues have changed.
Continue reading Issues with upcoming posts
At work on Tuesday 05/08/12, the radio station they had on the PA played Genesis’ “Giving it all away.”
People see things different ways given their personal circumstances.
I know nothing about Phil Collins personally. But in all likelihood, were he to “give it all away” as he understands it, he would probably have a lot left.
All I own is the contents of two heavy bags. Giving it all away would be a simple gesture. And afterwards, I would have nothing.
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That afternoon, as usual, as soon as I got to my bunk I sat down and got out my medications for the evening. The guy assigned to the bunk above me was a newcomer, real clean-cut, a Jake Pavelka lookalike.
“Got any goodies in those pill bottles?” he asked.
“No,” I answered.
“It’d been cooler if you’d said yes,” he said.
As usual, I put my meds back in my zipper bag when I finished, and, as usual, I locked it.
Because of guys like him.
(Originally published 05/09/12 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 10/30/13, 12/29/16.)
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger
… which shall here remain nameless, for reason that I also have harsh criticisms and don’t need any reader, however well-intentioned, to draw me into controversies not of my own choosing. The administration is rigid and authoritarian, and if I ever need to ask a favor it’s best I not be seen as a troublemaker.
I had ample time to prepare for homelessness. I packed up all my stuff neatly to make it easy for the landlady to dispose of. I gave away practically everything of durable value — dumbbells, tools, kitchen utensils, foodstuffs. Angie wanted to keep the bird feeder going after I would leave, so I showed her how. I was able to ask around and find out the highest-rated men’s homeless shelter in town. I went there at once when I became homeless March 7, 2011, and except for three nights, have been there ever since.
Continue reading (1) I stay at the best shelter on the East Coast
Proverbs 30:15: “The leech has two daughters. Their names are ‘Gimme’ and ‘Gimme.’”
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Saturday 05/12/12, 3:00 p.m. — I tired today of strangers asking me for things when I was on smoke breaks out in front of the library.
Other homeless guys have talked with me about this in the past, expressing similar frustrations.
People talk about “What goes around comes around,” but when it comes to this stuff, I don’t see it. In my years in the ’hood (Barclay area, 2006-2011) I got the definite impression that it’s always the exact same individuals asking, asking, asking, and the “blessing” never gets passed on, nor do they ever give back.
They’ll bleed you dry.
Continue reading Gimme
(Originally posted 10/25/2013.)
Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety
For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”
Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.
Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.
My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
Continue reading The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore
One can want the best for another person, but
only that person can define what “the best” means.
On the walk from the shelter to church Wednesday morning, I was in great turmoil. I may or may not manage to recall all the questions now. Pastor is focused on the need to change systems (people’s circumstances) in order to alleviate poverty, and seems unwilling or unable to consider how people act; my orientation is the exact opposite, wanting people to change their ways in order to alleviate poverty. Pastor says he doesn’t like it when I talk about squalor; but doesn’t squalor need to be talked about, given that it’s why “haves” won’t invest where the “have-nots” live?
I am torn between the way I want to live, and the way I have to live in the situation I’m in.
Continue reading Resolution
(Originally published 09/18/2012 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 10/24/2013.)
First, let me say I believe the Republicans nominated the right person. Second, I have no special mission here to post things that put Mitt Romney in a bad light. I also am not keen on secret taping of anyone. (Remember Linda Tripp?)
Those things said, this report gives me lots of mixed feelings.
And my “facts” are certainly subject to correction.
I find it hard to believe 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. For the past several years I have had income so low as to have no income tax obligation, so that I get a complete refund of all taxes withheld; but one has to have a REALLY low income for that to happen, and with the U.S. median household income at roughly $50,000/year, I have to believe most of the folk in that lower 50% face some income tax liability.
The characterization of people who work full-time as “dependent” is questionable.
And I would look forward to polling or other public opinion research to verify what portion of this 47% hold to “entitlement” or “victim” mentalities. Such data will be much harder to come by during the current controversy. Please note that I myself speak to those frames of mind in this blog.
Not all the 47% will vote for Obama. They include a disproportionate number of folk who don’t vote at all, including convicted felons who cannot vote. And I have to assume a significant portion of the 47% have been Romney supporters all along.
This article helps some, but I want still more information. How many of those who don’t pay income tax, support Romney?
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger
(A message I sent family on 26 April 2006.)
Disease, or sin?
To the best of my knowledge, the “disease theory of alcoholism” began with Dr. Robert Silkworth, at the time of St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, coincident with the beginnings of A.A. “Dr. Bob” referred to the condition as an “allergy”; for whatever reason, these folks’ bodies respond to this substance differently than others’ do.
This theory and its ramifications are, today, largely taken for granted throughout the scientific world. Whatever the disease’s cause, behavioral strategies are needed, too, if the subject is to manage the disease and live a normal life. The same is just as true of diabetes or near-sightedness or hay fever.
The competing view, that drinking problems reflect sin or some kind of moral deficiency, still has its grip on the popular mind. The predicaments that problem drinkers create for themselves and for others, are bad enough in and of themselves without the added burden of this stigma. My late father insisted until his last lucid day, that it was all a question of “will power.” I remember visiting Mom at home sometime prior to 1990, and finding on the bookshelf different books by Hazen G. Werner, an Ohio Methodist bishop whom my father fervently admired, and finding certain passages that my father had marked wherein the author discounted the disease theory and blamed it all instead on, as it were, sin. I shook my head at the untold, needless damage such words do.
Continue reading Alcoholism basics