Monthly Archives: July 2013

Max’s Journal 7/31/2013

By Max R. Weller

Sign held by panhandler on the northwest corner of Broadway & Canyon this morning: 2 UGLY 2 PROSTITUTE. It seems to me that 90% of these chronically homeless panhandlers don’t have a clue about how to gain the favor of passersby, which explains why many of ’em are so mistakenly intent on coming up with some catchy phrase for their scrap of cardboard. They behave aggressively, marching right at drivers and thrusting their signs at these poor folks who are already distracted, and way too many of these bums are filthy and/or under the influence. No wonder they probably average less than $5 per hour, and would be better off going to Labor Ready if they’re physically fit (and most of ’em are). They don’t know how to stay warm and dry while camping out, either, but that’s another story . . .

Since the homeless shelter/services industry in Boulder, CO seems unable to cope with housing the hordes of homeless people here, why don’t they teach Life Skills to their clients so that their lives would be a bit easier on the streets? Even the program people at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless have a real struggle with something as simple as catching the SKIP bus, which stops right there. Almost every morning, I see these characters wait until the last second to leave BSH, and the bus often pulls away without them. They need to be able to read and comprehend the bus schedule, then drag their lazy butts out to wait at the bus stop so they won’t be left standing there looking foolish. There are literally dozens of other examples I could cite, all of which are indicative of a lack of common sense — and nobody is teaching these poor souls what they need to know to get along on their own. It’s pitiful!

I’ve discovered that the Campbell’s soup people make a very tasty canned sausage gravy. Unfortunately, the biscuits available at King Soopers are not nearly as good as homemade, and are overpriced as well. Perhaps I’ll use plain white bread, instead. Speaking of bread, I remember my first efforts at making bread when I was 12 or 13 years of age; it turned out hard on the outside, and filled with huge air pockets inside. I considered it a FAIL. Then, I came here to Boulder, CO and encountered the same sort of “artisan” bread being sold at various pretentious grocery stores for extortionate sums, and it frequently gets donated to homeless services providers along with fossilized scones and other barely edible baked goods. Toss in granola bars, too, and homeless people who have bad teeth are out of luck. Such fare might be put to better use in carpet bombing suspected terrorist hideouts.

Hmmm . . . I wonder if my friend from the Real World who wants to camp out with me in a couple of weeks, then shadow this Homeless Philosopher as he makes his rounds the following day, would want to try her luck at flying a sign on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36? All proceeds to charity, of course. I’d be interested in observing the reactions of passersby to someone who bears no resemblance to the typical panhandler found in our fair city.

Has anybody seen Uncle Joe Biden lately? Some have criticized him for being drunk frequently, but we need comic relief in these trying times of the Bush/Obama Great Recession. (This is as close as I’m coming to political commentary).

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Max’s Journal 7/30/2013

By Max R. Weller

It’s still hard for me to believe that I was tossed out of a Facebook group in my old hometown of Lexington, MO — a community bulletin board, which had enabled me to keep up with stuff going on back there — simply because the new administrator of it is a petty, vindictive female who still harbors a grudge against me after more than a decade without so much as a word passing between us. WTF? I’m still happy that I NEVER slept with you, J. Get over it . . .

With all of the new faces showing up on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36, it’s difficult for me to slip out there and play the role of humble beggar. Yesterday afternoon, nobody was around and I went out for an hour in between light showers; I made $31. This morning, one of my true friends gave me another $20, when she stopped by my shady spot in that north Boulder neighborhood to pick up a bag of my winter clothes for storage in her basement — today being the time that everyone had to clear out their locker at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless for fumigation, the locker room reopening on Friday. It’s great to have people on my side! I won’t claim to be living right, but I’m certainly fortunate, and often it’s better to be lucky than good.

I’ve overcome my prejudice against Crocs, since I’ve been wearing a pair for a week now. Unlike canvas or leather shoes, Crocs can get wet and you don’t have to worry that they’ll ferment and start giving off the horrible foot odor so prevalent in homeless shelters, and other venues catering to the unwashed. I’ve worn my Crocs in the shower to clean ’em up, and they dry very quickly afterward. Still ugly, but lovable nevertheless.

The daily cranberry juice regimen seems to be working for me. Enough said.

Tonight at my campsite: Johnsonville brats (100% pork) and Hostess cherry pies.

A false friend from the past, who has made me happy to be a hermit

By Max R. Weller

I met her after I’d resigned from Lexington (MO) City Council in May of 1993. One of the mayor’s plans was to change elective offices like City Marshal, City Attorney, and City Collector to appointive positions, thus giving herself greater control at the expense of the voters. I was opposed to such a blatant power grab, given this particular mayor’s questionable conduct in office — see the Page above entitled “How I learned to hate politics” and you’ll get a better idea of what I mean. Anyway, before the mayor was defeated in her bid for re-election in April of 1994 she’d managed to corrupt things to her liking. My “friend” was the first appointed City Collector, named to that position by the newly elected mayor.

I had remained involved in watching what was going on at Lexington City Hall, largely because concerned citizens kept calling me for info and advice. The new mayor was a friend of mine, too, and he’d been one of the city council members who had been an ally of mine along with the only black man holding elective office in our small town. We’ll call him B. Anyway, whenever I visited with B. he would drop hints about the last elected City Collector being involved in an embezzlement of city funds which occurred shortly before she was replaced by the new appointee. We’ll call her J. Eventually I decided to start poking around a bit to see if there had, in fact, been a felony theft and subsequent coverup of the crime. J. had approached me on an unrelated issue, the $150,000 plus in delinquent sewer fees which the city seemed unable to collect, and I gradually became better acquainted with this rather mousy young woman. There came a time in early 1995 when she flat out told me that the previous collector had stolen about $6,500 a year earlier — a theft which was quickly detected, but never reported to law enforcement because the City Administrator thought it wiser to seek restitution while otherwise sweeping the matter under the rug (something that could be considered misprision of a felony). I’m still shocked that the mayor and city council went along with the coverup. Anyway, civic-minded guy that I was, I tipped off the local newspaper. It made for quite the controversy, especially because the city administrator had grossly overstepped her bounds and threatened city hall employees with termination from employment if news of the crime ever leaked out (something that might have been grounds for civil lawsuits for harassment). All of those involved in the coverup survived the negative publicity at that time, but wound up leaving City Hall within the span of a few years for various reasons.

During this time, J. and I began to see each other as platonic friends who shared a taste for beer. Another friend of mine, who had retired in 1993 after serving fifteen years as a city police officer, had warned me off of J. but I ignored the advice. As it turned out, my ex-cop friend was right on the mark — mousy appearance aside, J. was actually leading a double life as Small Town Playgirl. Later on during the course of our friendship, J. would regale me with lurid tales of her conquests, complete with names! This served to dampen any sexual attraction I might have felt for J. as effectively as a bucket of ice being dumped into my lap. Still, she was a bright and witty individual and could be entertaining, at times. More often — and this became my downfall — J. simply wanted to use me as a convenient place to dump all of her self-inflicted bad feelings which came from her never-ending drama. In fact, she was the child of upper middle class privilege and because of family connections enjoyed a lot of support from influential figures in our community. Fool that I was, I fell into the trap of actually caring about her. Whenever I’d break off contact for a week or two, she’d start calling me again, usually late at night after she’d dumped her young son off with her parents. I learned the hard way that there’s no good outcome from playing the role of White Knight rescuing the Damsel in Distress — the damsel would never stay rescued for very long, because it’s the drama she loved most of all.

I’m thankful that I never slept with her, so she couldn’t gossip about me the same way she did with her lovers.

Anyway, I’d never sought any real emotional support from J. until the Fall of 1996, when I felt strongly that my drinking was spiraling out of control. Of course, sobriety is something that you have to claim for yourself; it’s NOT within anyone’s power to give it to you. Still, I didn’t think it was asking too much for J. to listen to me rant for a while, given all of the time I’d spent being her confidant. Hundreds of hours, probably. It turned out that she was more interested in screwing the husband of one of her friends, at the same time she was dating another guy, than she was with being a sympathetic shoulder I might lean on. BTW, J. was frequently involved with married men, almost all of whom had young kids at home, her gratuitious way of maximizing the drama in the affairs and hurting the greatest number of innocent people. I gave her a verbal lambasting, while I was under the influence, such as I’d never unleashed on anybody before. That ended things between us for good, and I mean for my good.

Oddly, after all these years without contact, J. thought it necessary to block me on Facebook when she noticed that I’d joined a FB Group in Lexington, of which she is the new administrator. I’m glad she still thinks I’m angry at her, since it will keep her away. What she never understood (being so very self-centered), however, is that I’ve been more angry at myself for ever having given a flying fig about her in the first place.

Moral of the story: Avoid getting involved with emotional basket cases who want to suck the life out of you, and give nothing in return.

A refreshing rain!

By Max R. Weller

It was a pretty heavy downpour around 2PM yesterday in my north Boulder neighborhood, in the 4900 block of N. Broadway. At my spot underneath a shade tree in front of the Mexican restaurant, where I remained for the duration of the storm, there’s a drainage channel from the parking lot in that small commercial district about 10′ from me; it was roaring with water which shot across the sidewalk into the ditch next to the street. This serves the useful purpose of washing away the empty beer cans and vodka bottles discarded there by the bums, who panhandle for booze/dope money on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36. Oddly, none of ’em were around yesterday, and I greatly enjoyed the break from their stupid antics.

My friend Rebecca came by with the little girl (maybe 3 or 4 years of age) she watches during the day. The wee one had a big umbrella for protection, which seemed to be all she could manage, and Rebecca was wearing a raincoat with the hood pulled up. This delightful sprite of a young woman stopped in the midst of the rushing water, submerging her flip-flops, smiled at me and asked, “Isn’t this fun, Max?” Well, yes it was — and I can say that without feeling like a dirty old man. The world needs more people like Rebecca, or at least my world does . . .

Boulder, CO seems to me to be just as trashy, in general, as the inner city of Kansas City, MO where I lived in 2005 and 2006. And that includes Pearl Street Mall, Central Park/Boulder Creek Path, and University Hill. The rain scrubbed off the spit, vomit, and body waste from sidewalks and streets — but it’s probably just as filthy once again this morning. Boulderites who believe this city’s public venues are a showplace must be stoned, and seeing things in an alternate reality rather than the disgusting mess right in front of their eyes.

Anyway, the rain eventually stopped and the sun came out (although I heard the patter of sprinkles on my tarp overnight). I made a few more $$$ on the corner after the storm had passed, but it wasn’t the bonanza of Tuesday. I believe it’s important to maintain a presence in front of the passersby, however, so they remember the contrast between a humble and respectful beggar and those aggressive yahoos making a spectacle of themselves. That particular corner has such a great scenic view, besides, in every direction; being sober, I can appreciate this bonus provided by Nature.

It’s good to be warm and dry in my burrow, away from others of my species, and last night seemed especially restful.

Max’s Journal 7/25/2013

By Max R. Weller

I heard this morning at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless that an illegal campsite nearby, apparently to the west of BSH off of Lee Hill, was “raided” by the City of Boulder yesterday — and all of the trash and belongings left behind by the homeless rat pack camping there hauled away for disposal. According to my source, a dozen or more homeless campers had been there for some time and neighboring property owners just got tired of it. This is what always happens here in Boulder — one or two people find a good spot to camp overnight, then the bums start showing up and drawing attention to it. Word spreads quickly, because most of these characters don’t have the good sense to be discreet and they seem to be afraid to be alone in the outdoors. WTF? In my experience during the past five years living outdoors wild critters have never been a threat, but the lowest common denominator of bums are constantly fighting and sometimes stabbing each other. If I could change one thing about the chronically homeless people here in Boulder, it would be their instinct to band together in large groups — taking over public venues in the daylight hours and harassing the general public, then camping illegally at night without regard to the rights of others, partying, yelling, starting fires, trashing the area with litter and body waste, etc. A homeless campsite may start out with one or two people who have permission from a property owner, but sooner or later the swarm of louts will descend to everybody’s detriment, and complaints will be made to the authorities (rightly so). The worst thing that self-styled homeless advocates here in Boulder, CO can do is to promote this notion of a “homeless community” which naturally tends to segregate itself from the broader population; nothing good has ever come from it, but it does serve to stroke the egos of the do-gooders. A pox on them! The word “accountability” is not to be found in their vocabulary.

[Denver] King might as well be executive director of Bridge House or BSH. I don’t think it could make matters any worse . . .

I’m putting myself on a daily regimen of cranberry juice in hopes of helping to alleviate certain symptoms suffered by every man who reaches a certain age. It’s not related at all to the stomach flu, but most unhappily for me struck at the same time. Not only that, I’ve had a bout of swelling in my lower right leg the past few days, something I usually get in one or both legs about once a year. They say that bad things come in threes, and if that’s true I have nothing more to worry about for the time being.

Tonight at my campsite: meatball sandwiches and Hostess cherry pies.

Max’s Journal 7/24/2013

By Max R. Weller

After being gone from the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 since last Thursday, due to illness, I got a chance to play humble beggar for a couple of hours yesterday between 12:30 and 2:30PM. Usually, this is not a profitable part of the day compared to the evening rush hour, which I prefer; this time proved an exception. I made $41 in cash, and got some really tasty food (an omelet with sausage, cheese, and veggies; gourmet zucchini bread; french fries, which I rarely get to enjoy; and more). I was down to my last $8 in my coffee jar savings kept in my locker at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, so this was most helpful — and I finally felt like eating again, so the food came at the right moment as well. I’m truly grateful for the support of kindhearted folks, everywhere I meet them.

I was also treated to a most dramatic performance of childishness by [Denver] King. He came riding up on his bike w/attached kiddie trailer shortly after I got out there, and I knew he was going to pester me with the stupid question, “How long are you going to be out here?” I responded that I hadn’t been on the corner at all since last Thursday, and that another man was next in line when I decided to leave. You’ll recall that this fake Homeless Vet Dying of Lung Cancer (or some variant of this compound falsehood) is panhandling at that spot for more hours than anyone else, and making less $$$ because almost all passersby realize by now that he’s a phony. Anyway, [Denver] King blew a gasket at my reply. He immediately screamed at me, for the umpteenth time, “You’d better stop blogging and talking about me!” I told him, as I often do, to sue me. He went on to say, as he started to ride away from the scene, “I’m going to see a lawyer!” I replied that he should consult a retarded lawyer, because nobody else would touch his case. By this point, he’d ridden around the end of the concrete median, and he stopped his bike a few feet past me on the other side and shouted, “Did you call me a retard?” I repeated what I’d said about a retarded lawyer. He started to dismount his bike, got his legs all tangled up doing so, and thought better of confronting me on foot. Instead, he grabbed his water bottle and threw it as hard as he could in my direction — and scored a complete miss. The plastic bottle broke on the surface of the street and I was refreshed by a cooling spray of water. He pedaled away, stopping at the entrance to Laramie Blvd. which leads into the Dakota Ridge subdivision. He yelled at the top of his lungs, while pointing at me as curious drivers watched, “That man is a liar!” This surpasses irony, into the realm of psychosis. In any case, as soon as Richard Grant a.k.a. [Denver] King can produce valid proof of his claimed military service, in the form of a certified copy of his DD-214, I’ll be more than happy to admit that I was wrong about him and I’ll publish a written apology here on my blog. Fact is, this character doesn’t have any clue about what a DD-214 is . . . For the next couple of hours, [Denver] King rode his bike back and forth between the corner and his friends’ RV parked illegally on Front Range Dr. behind BSH. He stayed far enough away that I couldn’t quite understand what insults he’d hurled at me, then he’d pedal off again while giving me the finger — exactly like a delinquent teenager who ought to be taken to the woodshed for a session of behavior modification. By evening, {Denver] King had gotten into arguments with others who fly a sign at N. Broadway & U.S. 36, lost those verbal skirmishes also, and he ended by screaming, “I can’t take any more of this!” Last I saw of him yesterday, he was pushing his bike back to the gypsy-style caravan because his chain had either slipped off its sprocket or was hopelessly messed up — sort of like his gray matter. No big deal: [Denver] King is widely reputed to obtain bicycles by less-than-honest means, and he has served time in Boulder County Jail for stealing a moped.

I found a novel by Saul Bellow at BSH that I’ll begin today, after I return to north Boulder from shopping at King Soopers.

Rainbow thugs trash north Boulder neighborhood

By Max R. Weller

PEACE and LOVE were not in evidence yesterday morning, after the arrival of a decrepit RV (with an overflowing wastewater holding tank, judging by the stench) filled with at least four men, one woman. a few kids, and a couple of dogs. They parked in front of the mailboxes next to the Mexican restaurant in that small commercial district in the 4900 block of N. Broadway. A couple of the men promptly ran out to the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 to start aggressively panhandling, and the others brought out sleeping bags and assorted gear to set up camp right there on private property, within 10′ of large NO TRESPASSING signs.

Still feeling poorly from the stomach flu (see previous post), I wasn’t intending to stand out there in the hot sun for the sake of making a few dollars, and I’d found a very interesting book to read, anyway: “Showing Off in America” by John Brooks, which is a study of how well a much earlier published work — “The Theory of the Leisure Class” by Thorstein Veblen — has stood up to the passage of many decades. (I highly recommend both books to anyone wanting a better understanding of Boulderites’ attitudes. Everyone has heard the phrase conspicuous consumption, and now you know it was coined by Veblen at the end of the 19th Century). I settled back to watch the Rainbow Show, over the course of hours, until I retired to my campsite in the evening.

Anyway, it wasn’t very long before one of the business owners came along and told ’em all that they could neither camp nor park their RV there. The gear, kids, woman, and dogs were packed up and a couple of the guys also got in before they drove away in the direction of downtown Boulder, CO. The other guys stayed behind to panhandle, but in the meantime [Denver] King has slipped onto the corner and he didn’t leave until about 1PM. The Rainbows volunteered to me the info that they’d just arrived in Colorado a couple of days ago from California, someone in Denver had told ’em to come up to Boulder, and they were expecting to make lots of cash and also score FREE WEED from passing motorists. As it turns out, they gained very little money that afternoon and apparently no marijuana at all. I tried to stifle my laughter, as I explained that the drivers leaving town didn’t live in the Hippie Paradise itself, but out in the more conservative county or neighboring cities, and that a few of these folks of my acquaintance had supported Mitt Romney last November. You can’t expect them to be sympathetic to the desires of transient Rainbows. After the RV returned to its previous spot in the 4900 N. Broadway commercial property, from the Central Park area where that portion of the team had likewise struck out, all of the Rainbow men became very agitated and began loudly cursing the passersby at my corner as cheapskates and worse, much worse. I have to say that the Rainbow woman in their company was pleasant enough to me, even offering me a PB&J sandwich at one point; but still recovering from illness, I wasn’t about to accept any food prepared by her unwashed hands. By the time I went over to my campsite around 6PM, there were three of these characters spread out in the median, one attempting to play his guitar and sing and the other two prancing around with signs demanding marijuana. An example: GOT A BOWL WITH A HOLE/NEED A NUGGET TO PLUG IT. Every time they were ignored, which almost all passersby chose to do, the Rainbow thugs would shout, “F*** you, f*** you, f*** you!”

They had mentioned that they were leaving Colorado yesterday, since it’s not what they expected, and I hope they stick to that plan. The one thing that most surprised me is that nobody called in a complaint of harassment/aggressive panhandling/trespassing to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, so law enforcement never responded as far as I know. Their stinking RV was gone by the time it got dark, and one of the more or less regular (and quiet) panhandlers was on the corner. I saw no sign anywhere of the Rainbow thugs this morning . . .

Believe it or not, the apologists/enablers in our local homeless shelter/services industry extend a welcome to sociopaths like this every day, year-round. Such misguided compassion surpasses my understanding . . .