Tag Archives: Homeless

(2) Obstacles to my prosperity

Dan Rodricks complained that a recent Baltimore City ordinance on panhandling failed to address “the underlying issues.” He has failed to address them either; so, I thought I would. Here are those I personally see:

CHECKLIST

TREATMENT ON DEMAND. Drug and alcohol treatment needs to be available on demand. This doesn’t affect me personally, but does affect panhandling — and prostitution, petty theft, shoplifting, smash-and-grabs, larcenies, and in fact all crime of any type. It’s not just traffic fatalities — half of all crimes are committed while someone is either intoxicated or seeking drug money. Continue reading (2) Obstacles to my prosperity

(1) I stay at the best shelter on the East Coast

… 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

Gimme

Proverbs 30:15: “The leech has two daughters. Their names are ‘Gimme’ and ‘Gimme.’”

———— ♦ ————

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

The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore

(Originally posted 10/25/2013.)

City considers crackdown on panhandling

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

We are the 47%

(Originally published 09/18/2012 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 10/24/2013.)

Romney: Obama voters ‘believe they are victims’

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.

Postscript, 09/20/12:

Who are Mitt Romney’s 47 percent? A breakdown

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

Job creation: Mitt Romney’s other 30%

(Originally published 10/17/2012 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 10/24/13.)

During the 2012 Presidential race, a Democratic party operative secretly recorded Mitt Romney’s remarks to potential donors at a private fund-raiser.  Those remarks included that 47% of voters pay no taxes and thus have no interest in the Republican message.  The release of that recording caused quite a stir.  See “* We are the 47%.”  There are other features of who Romney is and what he does with his money, that got far less media attention.  Like, this one.

Democrats: Political slant marks Romney tax return

Continue reading Job creation: Mitt Romney’s other 30%

Treasures in heaven

(Originally published 07/01/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Republished here 10/30/13.)

One of my buds came into McDonald’s this morning looking for me. I’d not seen him in about a week. He’s in really good shape today, but it turns out that, as I’d supposed, he’d been on a bender.

We went out front to smoke and talk, and the time came for him to get on his way. I expected him to turn to go back upstairs to get his stuff. He did not. “Where’s your stuff?” I asked.

He’d lost it. Again. Everything. Kept only his I.D. and Independence card. Somewhere, sometime, while blacked out, he’d got up and left wherever he’d been, leaving behind all his belongings in a forgotten place.

In my immediately last prior post, “Me, me, me,” I said:

It’s not that I despised material possessions; I did not value them nearly as much as I (overwhelmingly) valued relationships. What I did despise was the desire for material possessions. As a result, now I have none.

Relationships are what I do have. They are my treasures in heaven.
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Giving it all away

(Originally published 05/09/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Republished here 10/30/13.)

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.

Not I.

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.

———— ♦ ————

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.
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

What a homeless man dreams of

(Originally posted 10/11/13.)

Having several interviews in quick succession has raised my hopes and made my dreams more vivid.

I can hardly wait to become a taxpayer again. This has been on my prayer list (I pray for it daily.) for more than two years.

They pass the offering plate at church, and now I’m wanting each time to put something in. If either of these jobs works out, I will be able to tithe, use my offering envelopes, and give $30 or $60 each week.

I dream of having a kitten, and cleaning the litter box each day. Seriously: I dream intentionally of playing with the cat, and cleaning the litter box. The point: I will have bought and paid for the cat, its food, the litter box, the litter, and the rent on this apartment, all with my own hard-earned money.

I likewise dream intentionally of washing dishes; sweeping and mopping the floor (normally on my hands and knees); and doing laundry. I take joy in these for the same reason: I bought the pots, food and dish soap; I bought the broom, dust pan, mop, bucket and detergent; I bought the clothes; I pay the rent, all with money I earned.

In my view, these dreams constitute prayer.

The biggest difference between me and most people around me is that they love to get things, but I love to create things. Thus they may like to gamble, for example, whereas I’d rather write or garden or cook.

There’s no end to what a single man can accomplish with one two-quart saucepan. It serves as cooking pot, serving dish and plate. Unless I change my ways, I’ll wash and scrub it thoroughly before each use (sic).

Not everyone will find my favorite dishes appealing, but these are things we never get at the shelter, and I dream about them often:

  • A big pot of green lima beans with butter. With bread or baked potatoes on the side, this can last three or four days.
  • A pot of spaghetti, into which I’ll stir a big wallop of peanut butter and slices of cheddar cheese. That will probably be consumed the same night.
  • Popcorn: Melt two tbsp. of butter in the saucepan, add the yellow corn and cover. Once three kernels pop, remove from heat for one minute. Upon return to heat, after about one minute the remaining corn will all pop at once, with no unpopped kernels and no scorching. It’s already “buttered.” Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
  • Chicken livers!on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

Shortbread. Anyone can easily make at home, world-class shortbread equal to the best of the best. I’ve done it many times. Two parts sugar, three parts butter, four parts flour. Knead with a fork until it becomes flaky. Press into a pan and bake.

Yeast breads. In 2010-11 (the year before I became homeless) I was routinely making breads of bakery quality; I could have gone into business. I will use the old-timey method, saving a lump of dough from one batch to use as yeast for the next.  See “Jesus’ outrageous parables.”

  • I’ll make cinnamon rolls at least once a week.
  • A peanut butter and jelly roll need not be cut into slices; I’ll just put the whole loaf in the loaf pan.  Fresh from the oven, it will be hard not to consume the same night.

Then I dream some more about playing with the cat.  Four legs of female in bed every night — the biting, the clawing, the scratching — Oh, what a feline!

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