Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself

When I was homeless, I used to sneak in to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcoholics Anonymous) for the free coffee and cookies. Some of the women there were pretty hot, too, especially at the meetings in Beverly Hills and Westwood.

One of the things I learned is that you get trinkets for certain periods of sobriety and cake for one year anniversaries of sobriety. Your yearly sobriety anniversary becomes your “birthday.”

No cake for Bill (or Suzy or whomever)” means you fell off the wagon and have to be born all over again. I think that’s the gist of it. I was busy in the back of the room stuffing cookies in my pockets.

All this has nothing to do with the video above (unless you’re in to allegory). It was brought on by the title of this video: “A Future for Cakes.” The guy looks like Jack Kerouac in his later years, doesn’t he!? Sounds a lot like him, too.


Part of my childhood was spent living in a little mining village called Gilman atop the Rocky Mountains near Pike’s Peak and Holy Cross Mountain in Colorado. I could look out my bedroom window and see herds of elk grazing in the lower mountain pastures below. It was absolutely panoramic.
We were cliffdwellers, all 200 of us living in that remote mining village. It didn’t bother us that we were ringed on three sides by a thousand foot dropoff to the river below or that part of the town had slid down the mountain to join the winding waters. We didn’t even bother to rope off the cliff. Everybody knew it was there. Like death and taxes, it was always there.

Little could I have imagined then that 35 years later I would be pushing a shopping cart up and down Roscoe Boulevard in Van Nuys, California, looking for a food bank. But life had given me a foreshadowing in the form of my very first Halloween Day parade in Gilman: my dad burned a bottle cork, smudging my chin with the ash to give me a deep 5 0’clock shadow, tied a handkerchief bundled with underwear to a stick (these were the days before the invention of the shopping cart), and I joined the parade as a hobo.

Somewhere in my mother’s east Texas, moldy, water-damaged garage is a roll of 16 mm film showing that little first grader tramp marching proudly down the steep oiltopped main street of Gilman at the head of the Halloween Day parade . I should dig out that film and scream across the decades at that grinning buffoon, “You shoulda gone as a banker or an oilman or a real estate agent; anything but an artist!”

As Seen On Blinx Tv

Here’s one of my videos, entitled “Poets, Poets, Poets” as seen on Blinx Tv. But how did it get there? I didn’t put it there. And out of my 437 videos online, why did they choose this one? Inquiring minds want to know.

Psycho Nut Job Watch Alert

We have a psychologist on the U.S. Vets homeless veteran shelter premesis. She doesn’t do any one-on-one counselling of veterans or anything like that. I’m not sure what she does, but she does it in the Corporate Development office next to our computer room.
I’m not sure what Corporate Development does, either. I think they beg corporations for money and that’s what kind of psychology Laura does: getting into corporate heads to relieve them of some of their corporate slush fund guilt money.

Laura is a rotund little person, a waddler. She reminds me of Oliver Hardy of Laurel and Hardy, even down to the mustache, except that she sports a dayglo red punk rock spikey hairdo. She looks like a fat little junior high schooler looking for the Halloween party. Every day.

She was doing the ‘administrator shuffle’ (head down, for God’s sake don’t make eye contact with the inmates) along the sidewalk from her office to the mess hall. I was walking the opposite direction from the elevators to the Benched Players benches. She looked up and asked me perfunctorily (not actually expecting an answer) “Howyaduune?”

“I’m on the unshaven edge of madness,” I answered and kept walking.

She kept walking, too. She walked a few feet away, stopped, turned back to me and asked, “What?”

“I’M ON THE UNSHAVEN EDGE OF MADNESS!” I said louder over my shoulder and kept walking.

I sat down on the benches across from Gordon The Hollywood Anarchist, who was on his cell phone with a Washington, D.C. customer service bureaucrat at the Department of Labor. Gordon was really letting the bureacrat have it, rathfully screaming at him about what kind of shady, broken-souled government it must be that couldn’t peel loose 37 cents to mail an honest laborer the form he needed.

Laura walked past the Benched Players bench just as Gordon was demanding to speak to the beaurocrat’s supervisor or someone even higher up, preferably someone who had the authority and the ability to command the expense of 37 cents to mail him a labor complaint form.

“I was just kidding,” I called out to Laura as she passed, “I’m going to shave this afternoon.”

She must’ve run and told because since that little exchange, I’ve noticed other administrators suddenly making eye contact with me when they never did before. They seem to be going out of their way to ask me how I’m doing. Uh oh. I’m on their radar screens now. Laura must’ve put out a Psycho Nut Job Watch Alert.

Parental Advice from An Urban Nomad

My son wrote me about
a wonderful young
woman in Kenya who
wants him to join her
there. I wrote:

Why not go? It's your
life . . . but it seems to
me that you've chosen
an unencumbered life
so far for some purpose.

He wrote back:
Yeah, why not right?
But how does one just
drop everything and
go? How can one make
changes without
knowing the proper

My answer (the best parental advice a skewed-up guy like me can muster):

Nobody knows the proper outcome except God and He whispers. How does
one just drop everything and go? Throw everything that slows you down into
the street, take a deep breath, strap yourself in and scream

Mother’s Day At The Homeless Shelter

Prime Time is out at the conversation benches. He looks confused and concerned, shaking his head sadly.

Prime Time is one of our cooks at U.S. Vets homeless shelter for crackheads, felons and crazies. Prime Time qualifies for this place in two out of three of those categories.

Prime Time is upset and hurt. He says that not one mother showed up for our Mother’s Day event at the veterans shelter.

Flyers were put up all around the shelter weeks before Mother’s Day. Prime Time and the other cooks spent weeks planning the menu. They dipped in to the food services discretionary fund to buy actual, real and unsually fresh food for the Mother’s Day Breakfast. They got up five hours early Mother’s Day morning to put actual cloth tablecloths on the tables and unlock the nonplastic spoons and forks (no knives allowed).

Not one mother showed up. All that tablecloth finery and good food had to be wasted on us inmates. Prime Time shook his head sadly and repeated,

“Not one mother . . .”

“Well of course not!” the elder, slightly bitter sheltered veteran we call ‘Uncle Miltie’ said, “The mothers are the first person these crackheads burned,” Uncle Miltie explains, “Can you imagine one of these guys calling their mother and inviting her to come down here for a mother’s day breakfast?”

“Give me my TV back first,” she’s going to say.”

Writing Political Speeches For An L.A. City Councilman With The Drummer From “The Archies”

(click pic)
I’m just a simple country boy. I drove to Los Angeles from San Antonio with stars in my eyes, but never did I figure on how weird it was going to get. My last job in San Antonio was as a civil service aircraft mechanic at Kelly Air Force Base, working on B52s and C5As. I never would’ve guessed that not long after arriving in L.A., I’d be writing political speeches for a city councilman with the drummer from “The Archies.” And THEN things started getting weird.