Monthly Archives: July 2014

Views of this blog by country since May, 2012

It’s been a while since I posted this info, but only because I haven’t had access to a computer which could take a screen shot of one of my stats pages. Today, I can do so:

Screenshot from 2014-07-31 14:09:53Click on image to enlarge

This explains why I’m not at all concerned by the most hateful criticism from anyone in Boulder, CO; there’s a whole wide world out there of people who enjoy reading my work, and I’m grateful to them for doing so.


Max’s Journal 7/31/2014

By Max R. Weller


Read this editorial, Fresh idea: Food assistance doubles at the market, in the Daily Camera. My online comment is copied below:

So, using homeless SNAP recipients as an example, they’ll end up with the same amount of food that could be purchased at a less expensive grocery chain like King Soopers — but at DOUBLE THE COST TO TAXPAYERS.

Cooking classes for homeless people without access to a kitchen? I hope the nutritionist is donating his/her time, and not on the public payroll.

Yes, of course, not all who receive SNAP benefits are homeless. And “food stamps” (or whatever you choose to call them) did in fact begin as an agricultural subsidy program for farmers, so this isn’t anything new — except for Boulder getting into the act. How about fixing those county roads, instead?

I’ve lived here for 6 1/2 years, and I’m still surprised at what passes for sensible government spending.

For the record: I’ve never applied for SNAP benefits.

More Boulder weirdness in this DC report. Why don’t more guys steal trash trucks for a joyride? The suspect’s Facebook photo below:

10171081_1467606970122794_1010138019_nApparently, he was employed by a well-known local moving company in my north Boulder neighborhood — the one with the Big Green Trucks. My guess is that they didn’t let him drive, but who knows? It’s Boulder, CO.

It appears that the heaviest rainfall is over now, and it will continue to taper off over the weekend. See National Weather Service forecast for Boulder. You know, for a high desert area, the Front Range gets way too much rain.

An endorsement of this humble blog from an unlikely source:


That’s all for now, folks.

CO Supreme Court orders end to Hall’s grandstanding, and more

By Max R. Weller

I’ve made it clear that I support same-sex marriage being legally recognized in all 50 states. In order for that to happen, litigation must work its way through the state and federal courts, as seems inevitable.

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall talks to the media regarding her office continuing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall talks to the media regarding her office continuing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

I’ve also made it clear that  Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall’s dog and pony show of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples before the matter is fully adjudicated serves no useful purpose. Now, the Colorado Supreme Court has agreed with Attorney General John Suthers; see the report in the Daily Camera (which bears a very misleading headline because most reporters are as ignorant as most citizens of how the judicial system operates). Quoting from it below:

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, bringing an abrupt halt to gay marriages in the last Colorado county to allow them.

The order was issued in response to a filing by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on Friday, asking the court to stop Hall from granting same-sex marriages.

Hall had issued more than 200 such marriage licenses since June 25.

The Supreme Court said it will take up the matter and ordered a stay on same-sex marriage licenses in Boulder County while the case is resolved. Both Suthers and Hall will now be asked to issue responses.

Continuing excerpt:

Suthers released a statement Tuesday praising the courts for creating uniformity across all Colorado clerks.

“The Colorado Supreme Court restored order to the state’s legal process by making it clear that all clerk and recorders should comply with existing state law,” Suthers said. “We are pleased that the focus may now return to the important constitutional issues posed by the same-sex marriage cases pending in Colorado and around the country.”

My online comment follows:

Can we hope that Hillary Hall will now try to focus on supervising the election process in a fair, competent, and transparent manner? It seems she has a lot of work to do in that regard . . .

Is anybody surprised by this story in the Washington Post? Read Inside Colorado’s flourishing, segregated black market for pot.

I think I’ll stick around Norlin Library for a couple more hours, and play chess online, since it’s unfit to be outside in my north Boulder neighborhood. I’m hoping the rain will stop before tonight, and I’ll be able to dry out my camping gear tomorrow. This is where I’d like to be, if only it were an option allowed in the People’s Republic of Boulder:

Screenshot from 2013-12-21 09:03:47

Boulder County Commissioners lie, and more

By Max R. Weller

Read Boulder County to refund $5.6M in assessments after judge invalidates paving district in the Daily Camera.

The fact is that there has been an ongoing shift (for many years now) from county spending on roads, which has decreased substantially, to greatly increased county spending on social services. For any elected Boulder county official to claim poverty in 2014 is ludicrous; the county government is awash in money, it’s their spending priorities which are all screwed up.

“We need more social services, man! How can I buy weed if nobody else will pay for my food, clothing, and shelter? You’re a bunch of snobs, hating on the homeless!”

Which leads me to this dystopian novel I found for $5 (hardcover) in the bargain bin at King Soopers: Flashback by Dan Simmons. About halfway through this Colorado author’s book is a chapter entitled “The People’s Republic of Boulder” which extrapolates recent decades of Boulder politics into the future, in which America is collapsing and the PRoB has seceded (along with the Republic of Texas). I didn’t find this vision too far-fetched at all, but I’m not surprised at the negative reviews on the Goodreads website. Simmons’ use of the term “dork handle” alone was worth the price I paid, and it still has me chuckling.

Read the latest from Charles Krauthammer — The vacant presidency in the Washington Post.

That’s all for now . . .

The 24-hour summer flu, and more

By Max R. Weller

It struck me yesterday morning as I was drinking my mug of instant coffee in Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. I began shivering all over, and must have looked like a wino suffering alcohol withdrawal. It was all I could do to ride the SKIP bus down to King Soopers on Table Mesa; I bought some orange juice and ginger ale, but forgot to get the Sunday edition of the Daily Camera. I didn’t eat any solid food yesterday, because I had no appetite. I crawled into my burrow about 9AM yesterday, and stayed there until this morning at 5. I was sweating like a pig overnight, usually a sign that the flu is coming to an end, and I feel better this morning. Still don’t have much energy, so I’ll probably go to bed early tonight. Not really hungry, but I’ll eat something anyway.

Great news: Judge rules Boulder County lacked legal authority to create subdivision paving district in the DC. Quoting from the article below:

Boulder County commissioners didn’t have the legal authority to establish a Local Improvement District created to charge rural residential subdivision property owners the bulk of the costs of rehabilitating those subdivisions’ paved county roads, according to a Friday Boulder County District Court ruling.

The Board of County Commissioners “exceeded its jurisdiction and abused its discretion in authorizing and forming the Subdivision Paving Local Improvement District and imposing assessments on properties within the District,” Senior District Court Judge J. Robert Lowenbach wrote.

Lowenbach said in his ruling that the authorization and formation of the road paving district the commissioners formed last year — and the county’s imposition of millions of dollars of assessments on the owners of about 10,900 properties in nearly 120 subdivisions — “are invalidated.”

The judge further ordered Boulder County to “promptly return the assessments and/or installments collected, with interest, and remove any and all liens” imposed as part of the funding mechanism intended to help pay the costs of rehabilitating and reconstructing about 150 miles of paved roads in the county’s unincorporated residential subdivisions over the coming 15 years.

Here’s a story from the Denver Post which needs to be told, and it certainly applies to Boulder as well: Legal marijuana factor in larger numbers of Denver homeless. Quoting from the article:

“Of the new kids we’re seeing, the majority are saying they’re here because of the weed. They’re travelling through. It is very unfortunate,” said Kendall Rames, deputy director of Urban Peak, a non-profit which provides food, shelter and other services to young people in Denver and Colorado Springs.

Younger visitors to Father Woody’s Haven of Hope, which serves those 18 and over, typically are more demanding and difficult than their elders, Melinda Paterson, the director, said. “Typically, they have an attitude. But we are really strict here. We treat you with respect … and if they are not respectful, we ask them to leave.

Combined with an increase in those who arrive penniless and seeking jobs in the state’s strengthening employment market, the homeless influx is straining a service network already under stress, said Murray Flagg, divisional social services secretary for the Salvation Army’s Intermountain Division.

Continuing excerpt:

The number of those who go to Father Woody’s normally rises by about 50 people per month during the summer, Paterson said. This year, “we have gotten 923 new homeless over the last three months,” more than 300 a month.

About two months ago, she added, the shelter began bringing those who eat breakfast and lunch there to the table in shifts to accommodate the increase.

“It is worrisome in the sense that how are we going to clothe and feed and find shelter for them?”

Between May 1 and July 15, Urban Peak’s drop in center, where homeless people 15 through 24 can get a meal, do laundry, shower or take GED and other classes, saw the number of new visitors jump by 5 percent over the same period last year, Rames said.

Last summer, the Salvation Army’s single men’s Crossroads Shelter in Denver housed an average of 225 men each night.

This summer’s average is about 300 per night, and when other shelters are full, the organization provides a bed for as many as 350, Flagg said.

In the past, the shelter’s residents averaged between 35 and 60 years old. “Now we are seeing a much larger number of 18- to 25-year- olds.”

An informal survey performed at the shelter suggested that about 25 percent of the increase in population was related to marijuana, Flagg said.

While many come to smoke without worrying about the law, others “are folks looking to work in the industry, a lot of them have an agricultural background,” or other experience they expect will be in demand, he said.

They may also have a felony on their record that automatically disqualifies them from getting a job in the highly regulated business.

Those who do find jobs in pot shops and grow houses often earn subsistence wages that make it difficult to pay rent, or buy a home in Denver’s expensive housing market, Flagg said. They too can end up homeless.

Why feed and clothe and provide other forms of assistance to anyone who is a substance abuser? All you’re doing is making it possible for them to spend their own money on dope (or alcohol). This is inappropriate compassion, and enables a permanent dependency on the social services system.

The Great Depression of the 1930s was a different story altogether:

BTW, the soup kitchen above was operated by Al Capone’s organization.

That’s all for now, folks.

Br’er Skunk gives me a break, and more

By Max R. Weller

Mephitis mephitis

As I was leaving my campsite this morning, following the path I always use, I almost stumbled over the young skunk which has been a visitor before. I was distracted by thoughts of what I would post here today, not paying attention where I was going. Luckily, I did NOT get sprayed, although the critter was in its ALERT posture. We simply stepped off the path, backing away from each other, then went on our separate ways. A skunk’s eyesight is very poor, but perhaps it recognized my scent (Ivory bar soap) and wasn’t excessively alarmed at my carelessness.


The hobo said, “Thank you, ma’am!” And he went on down the road to Boulder, CO

Continuing with online comments from this Daily Camera article yesterday:

> randomdancer: Aren’t you the guy who panhandles at Broadway and 36 all day?
Can you please explain how THAT helps anybody? 

Apparently, “randomdancer” is one of the do-gooders who thinks that giving financial support to Bridge House and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is better than using one’s own judgment to help a humble beggar directly.

> homelessphilosopher: I’m delighted you asked the question. See this blog post from 2011:…

In fact, I spend only about an hour there each day. My neighbors from Dakota Ridge and business owners/workers from the commercial district in the 4900 block of N. Broadway frequently donate to my cause as I’m reading in a shady spot in front of the Mexican restaurant.

Bottom line: I receive zero government benefits and have never been ticketed/arrested for any offense during my 6 1/2 years living here in Boulder, CO.

If every other homeless single adult followed my example, there wouldn’t be any problems at all. Of course, the army of people employed by the social services industry would be out of work — but nothing is perfect.

Have a good day! 

> ThatWouldBeJack: Step One: Boulder starts having the police enforce the laws already on the books.
Step Two: (and this is probably the more important one) People stop giving money to people on the street.

I am all for the the city’s funding of the Homeless Shelter and all other services to homeless people, whether they be those who have lost their jobs or those, like Max (the “homeless philosopher”), who *choose* to be homeless and sponge off the rest of us. Publicly funded services provide anyone who needs it shelter in the colder months and food throughout the year. That’s what they need to survive and I’m happy to contribute to that both through my tax dollars and private donations. Donations to the agencies… through whose work people who want to can hope to better their lives to get back on their feet is a noble and good cause. Many of Boulder’s homeless population are like that: you don’t see them, but they’re fighting to survive and seeking to improve their lives. Those people you *do* see, the face of the homeless, are those you see along the creek, at the library and on street corners asking for your money to keep them in their lifestyle.

Boulder has always been a Mecca for the homeless who only want to sponge off society. Those of you who have been here know that this was a problem *way* before Boulder even had a homeless shelter or services targeted to the homeless population. The Shelter has not brought more homeless people, nor have the various services that the city provides. What keeps the transients here — those who hang out near and at the library, those in central park and along the creek — are the donations they receive on the street corners and intersections.

I’ll repeat that: What keeps the transients here — those who hang out near and at the library, those in central park and along the creek — are the donations they receive on the street corners and intersections.

Don’t give panhandlers money. It’s really that simple. 

“ThatWouldBeJack” is another befuddled Boulderite enthralled by the local nonprofits; this is how those corrupt organizations keep raking in millions of $$$ every year.

> homelessphilosopher: Pretty easy for you to hide behind an anonymous screen name and criticize your fellow citizens who actually think for themselves, in deciding what to do about the homeless people they see.

Let me ask you — if the current model for the homeless shelter/services industry is working, why isn’t homelessness going away?

BTW, I don’t hang out at any of the public venues with the worst-behaved transients.


On the lighter side, watch this YouTube video of the Flat Earth Discussion Group.

Boulder County Froot Loop

Tonight at my campsite: King Soopers frozen (fully cooked) bacon cheeseburgers, thawed out in the blazing hot sun in my north Boulder neighborhood.

Boulder City Council gives me a raise, and more

By Max R. Weller

Last night, after Lisa M. surreptitiously delivered a brown paper bag stuffed with cash to my campsite, I counted it and found an extra $50. I guess they really do appreciate what I’m blogging about the transients from Denver and elsewhere.

Read Boulder coroner: Homeless man found dead in alley overdosed on heroin in the Daily Camera. Quoting from the article:

The homeless man found dead in an alley just off the Pearl Street Mall in June died of a drug overdose, according to a release issued today by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.

Coroner Emma Hall determined that Daniel Kitlitz, 27, of Boulder, died from “heroin intoxication,” and ruled his manner of death an accident.

Selected online comments are copied below:

If you want to make a cash donation to help the needy, give it to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, the Bridge House, the ARC, or any organization you like. They may not be perfect, but they WON’T spend your money on drugs and alcohol. 

homelessphilosopher: The nonprofits in Boulder, CO’s homeless shelter/services industry spend your donated money providing all of life’s necessities to alcoholics/drug addicts, thus ENABLING those homeless people to turn around and spend their own disposable income on booze and dope (including monthly disability benefits from both the state and the feds).

Can you please explain how this helps anybody? 

Wake up, people! Your desire to DO GOOD and to FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF by giving to so-called charities  is killing the homeless alcoholics/drug addicts in our fair city. Try to be more discerning, please.

Also see Sheriff: Crowding ‘crisis’ at Boulder County Jail soon will necessitate early releases in the DC. Quoting the report:

With overcrowding at the Boulder County Jail reaching a “crisis” level, Sheriff Joe Pelle says he plans to move forward with early releases for some nonviolent inmates, including some Boulder municipal offenders.

The announcement came a day after the Boulder City Council’s rejection Tuesday night of an agreement in which the city would pay to house municipal inmates in other jurisdictions when overcrowding necessitates it. The agreement also would greenlight the early-release approach.

Boulder leaders balked at the notion of paying the county to house inmates arrested on city charges. But Pelle said he knows of no other county in Colorado that jails municipal offenders at no cost to the city.

“Right now, we’re in a crisis with crowding,” Pelle said, noting the 536-person-capacity jail had 520 inmates Wednesday morning.

“It’s a politically difficult situation in that I understand the city is dealing with some real issues with regards to the downtown campus and the (University Hill) and the transient population, and I’m sympathetic to that,” Pelle said. “But somehow I have to be able to manage this crisis in overcrowding we’re having, and I thought this was a good proposal.”

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle (Camera file photo)

My online comment below:

homelessphilosopher: Certainly, the City of Boulder should pay for transients’ bus tickets out of town, and Sheriff Pelle can hand ’em out.

“We love Boulder’s free stuff!”

From Forbes comes this analysis of [WhodunitCare] costs for individually-purchased health insurance: 3,137-County Analysis: Obamacare Increased 2014 Individual-Market Premiums By Average Of 49%. It’s like I’ve said all along, [WhodunitCare] is an unholy alliance of government bureaucrats lusting for more power and private insurers lusting for more profits; what’s best for physicians and patients doesn’t enter into the picture, not at all.

The blues always makes you feel better. Listen to The Sky Is Crying, covered here by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Tonight at my campsite: chopped ham on wheat bread with kosher dill slices and mustard.

Max’s Journal 7/23/2014

By Max R. Weller

Remember this Daily Camera report from May, 2013? Survey: More than half of Boulder homeless who sought help at center were new to city. As far as I can tell, not a darned thing has been done in the past year and more to stem the tide of transients coming to Boulder, CO.

“F*** you, we have a right to do whatever we want!”

I need a vacation from the bums! I already avoid all of the public venues where they hang out, but because I visit Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to shower every morning I still have to listen to their insanity. This morning, it was yet another shouting, cursing match involving the Froot Loop Traveler couple outside of the shelter. She was angry because he wouldn’t shower and put on clean clothes more often than once a month; he called her “abusive” and refused to give her half of their marijuana stash. I’d rather listen to the birds singing, but it’s impossible. Their SERVICE ANIMAL (so-called) got overly excited by the yelling and began barking, then lunged at the woman. The couple belongs in a secure psychiatric facility for evaluation and treatment, and their dog should be taken to the local Humane Society for adoption.

This seems very inviting to me right now:

Abandoned mine somewhere in Colorado

I only wish I was in better shape physically; if so, I’d leave Boulder immediately and never look back. This city has become a dumping ground for the worst-behaved, barely human critters from all over America.

What I’m learning from other homeless people, and more

By Max R. Weller

Just this morning at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, I learned that I’ve been wasting my time using the $1 washers to do my laundry. I should be doing what one of the program residents was doing when I walked into the shower area (a half dozen other homeless men following): he was washing clothes underneath a shower (only five are available now, because nothing ever gets fixed), and he was leaning against the wall blocking the narrow entrance to the showers, asleep on his feet like a horse. He sort of looked like the ass end of a draft mule — a big dude. When I told him this wouldn’t work, he replied that he didn’t give a f*** what I liked or didn’t like; nevertheless, he picked up his clothes and got out of our way.

I guess if I were in the Transition Program, I could also come to understand that the world revolves around me and I don’t need to show any consideration for others at all. I’m sure that would set me up for a harmonious relationship with my landlord and my neighbors, if and when I got into subsidized housing of some kind. Yeah, right . . .

Another homeless guy, new to our fair city, has taught me that it’s okay to loiter in BSH after 8AM, the time when everyone not in the program is supposed to be gone from the facility. So what if you accumulate four such infractions of the rule, and have to stay out for a day? Just blame others; it’s so convenient!

And if I did decide to use the $1 washers for laundry, I could use the three which are available all at once, like the newbie mentioned above. If another homeless person objected to my selfishness, as one did with this new guy, I could act like my feelings were hurt. Works like a charm!

If I wanted to become a Traveler, like the Froot Loop couple who don’t like this blog, I could get a second dog and teach it how to be aggressive with the SERVICE ANIMAL (so-called) I would already own (this seems to be a requirement for Travelerhood). I observed this enlightened approach to dog ownership as I was waiting for the SKIP bus outside of BSH this morning.

I could go on, but I’m embarrassed at admitting I have so much to learn about how the homeless ought to behave. How could I be so ignorant after so many years as the Homeless Philosopher?

Read Municipal offenders could be released early, transferred under deal between Boulder, sheriff in the Daily Camera. Quoting from it below:

Boulder officials and Sheriff Joe Pelle have reached an agreement under which municipal offenders could be released early or moved to other jurisdictions at city expense when the county jail is at capacity.

The Boulder City Council will take its first vote Tuesday night on the intergovernmental agreement, which Pelle said he hopes to use as a model for a similar agreement with Longmont.

A second vote and public hearing will take place in August.

The agreement comes as Boulder has reinstituted the possibility of jail time for first-time municipal offenders and asked for longer jail sentences for crimes committed in “high-impact” areas like the municipal campus.

Rodney Honcoop, left, asks Blayd Mattes about his hand while learning to play spades in the Boulder County Jail on Monday. The city of Boulder and Sheriff

Rodney Honcoop, left, asks Blayd Mattes about his hand while learning to play spades in the Boulder County Jail on Monday. The city of Boulder and Sheriff Joe Pelle have reached an agreement concerning the handling of municipal offenders in times of jail overcrowding. (Mark Leffingwell / Daily Camera)

Let’s not forget Boulder County Jail’s FREE Friday night movie with FREE popcorn and FREE soda pop (no charge to the inmates’ commissary accounts). Might be the only county jail in America which provides this special treat for its guests.

My online comment is copied here:

From the article: “Boulder officials and Sheriff Joe Pelle have reached an agreement under which municipal offenders could be released early or moved to other jurisdictions at city expense when the county jail is at capacity.”

Hmmm . . . Wouldn’t it make more sense to put municipal offenders who are transients from Denver and elsewhere on a bus back to the city they came from in the first place? Bus fare out of town should be the extent of Boulder taxpayers’ costs for offenders who have no ties to this city.

Tonight at my campsite: chicken nuggets and lettuce salad, with a big jug of rotgut vodka to wash it down.

Max’s Journal 7/21/2014

By Max R. Weller

Want to know how crazy some folks in Boulder, CO really are? Read this comment I found in the moderation basket this morning, in reply to my previous post:

“The homeless philosopher tells it like Boulder City Council tells him to.”

Of course you don’t need to avail yourself of social services or anything else with a sugar daddy like that. Paid to stand there, glare at everyone with haughty contempt, spy and disparage.

I think it’s hilarious, as everyone knows your latest callout is a direct result of someone making fun of the size of your equipment in the men’s shower. Lol

This individual used the screen name “No Diogenes” and also an e-mail address with that anonymous name, but I also have the IP address. No matter; it won’t be published here, and I shouldn’t even waste my time pointing out that the shower incident involved a guy joking about another man’s uncircumcised penis (I am, in fact, circumcised). Leads me to believe that No Diogenes is that Froot Loop female Traveler who often screams at random men that they have tiny equipment . . . BTW, I think I’ll ask Boulder City Council for a raise, since they have millions of $$$ to waste in pursuit of municipalization.

About three years ago, one morning at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, I observed a homeless man with a “service animal” entering the dining room inside that facility. He also took his dog into the men’s restroom/lavatory area. I alerted the staff, and I pointed out to them that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires only that a “reasonable accommodation” be made for so-called service animals. I suggested at that time, and BSH staff agreed with me, that any disabled individual with a dog be allowed to take their breakfast tray and eat in the day room (otherwise not allowed), so as not to spread dog hair in people’s food in the dining room. I also insisted that dogs have no place in the restroom/lavatory area, but should be kept in the kennel space outside of BSH while the disabled person tends to sanitary needs; staff also agreed to this.

Lately, however, it seems that dogs are being permitted into the dining room, and once again I’ve protested. Furthermore, I believe this is setting a terrible precedent. What happens on October 15th, when emergency overnight dorms open once again, and several homeless people begin demanding that they be allowed to sleep with their service animals next to their bunks? Reasonable accommodation does NOT mean bending over and taking it up the wazoo for anyone who demands it. If BSH gives in, it’s very disrespectful to other homeless clients and Just one more reason for me to sleep outside year-round (as I’ll do in any case).

Men’s emergency dorm at Boulder Shelter

Update on missing 17-year-old in the Daily Camera. About what I expected (yawn).

Consider this guest opinion in the DC — The fault lies with Hamas. Hear, hear! It’s unfortunately true that the Palestinian leadership consists of gangsters, and the late Yasser Arafat is the model for those who have followed. Having said that, however, it remains in Israel’s best interest to continue exploring diplomatic avenues to a peaceful settlement. Appearances do count.

A final thought, copied from my Facebook Wall:

Boulder, CO’s self-styled homeless advocates just don’t get it, but the fact is that the more extreme their demands become the more the majority of citizens push back. I continue to identify with the mainstream, which explains why I stay out of trouble . . .