Acid Heroes

January 17, 2018

The Pig Paper, 1987

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January 14, 2018

A New Years story

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People’s Park: Home of the strange, land of the freaks.


I rarely go to the free, charity give-aways in People’s Park. Even though they often give away some really good stuff. Because you usually end up witnessing some of the grossest and most piggish aspects of human nature. People pushing and shoving and elbowing to get at the front of the line, and acting like pigs at a trough or sharks at a feeding frenzy. And it usually puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. So I usually avoid them.

There’s a whole subset of people in the park where that’s their main hustle in life. Laying about in the park all day long and waiting to pounce on any donations that come through that day. Over the years you see the same faces at every give-away in the park. Pushing themselves to the front as they grab 3 times as much stuff as everyone else, while braying their eternal mantra: “I NEED AN EXTRA ONE FOR MY FRIEND!!”

But this afternoon I just happened to be walking through the park when a charity group showed up bearing gifts. They had big bags of brand new clothes — shirts and jackets and socks and blankets. And lots of food too — pastries and bananas and tangerines and hot chocolate. And they set up all the stuff on a picnic table at the top of the park. A real New Year’s celebration for all the homeless.

Except. This one guy who got there first before everybody else showed up, immediately sat right on the picnic table between these two big bags of clothes. Then he did this big act where he pretended to “help” distribute the clothes. “Does anyone need a hand warmer??” he repeated over and over, as he “generously” offered them to anyone who wanted them. Which was nobody.

Of course as soon as the charity people left, and another homeless person attempted to check out the bags of donated clothes, he immediately growled: “Get your hands off of MY fucking bags of clothes!!!”


Here’s to the New Year, same as the old year.




January 13, 2018

The History of Monk Rock

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January 11, 2018

My 19th Nervous Breakdown

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I had a nervous breakdown this morning. It’s no big deal. I’m an “overly emotional” person. And I have them all the time. It’s a way of blowing off steam and releasing the backlog of repressed emotions.

I had been sick as a dog with the flu for the last 2 weeks. And then dealing with the crappy weather, the cold and rain. Peaking yesterday when it rained non-stop all day and we got 2 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. You can’t afford to deal with your emotions when you’re dealing with that shit. You can’t afford to drain what little energy you have by indulging in depression, anger or sadness. So you just go numb. And slog forward. Repress the misery you’re feeling. And soldier on.

Then last night I had this long involved dream. I was in a recording studio trying to record music for a big festival on Telegraph Avenue. All my attempts sucked. And I felt like the loser of all time. Until finally I hit on some magic. Then I’m standing on top of this hill over looking Telegraph. And I can see Duncan and all my friends set up at our vending table. Just like in the Good Old Days. And it’s like a joyous happy ending.

Then I wake up. Pack up my campsite. And I’m walking down Telegraph early in the morning. For real. None of my friends are there. They’re all dead or gone. It’s just scattered homeless people waking up in doorways. A pretty barren scene. Compared to how Telegraph used to be.

So I start crying as I’m walking down Telegraph. Which is embarrassing. But like I said I’m having an unexpected nervous breakdown. And I’m using all my will power to control myself. Because I could easily start screaming and wailing and loud sobbing and have a complete breakdown if I don’t control myself. Which would be embarrassing. Publicly losing my shit. Plus they might come after you with butterfly nets and lock you up if you act too weird in public. So I’m keeping my head down as I walk down Telegraph. So nobody can see my contorted facial expression. And the tears running down my face.

And as I’m walking down Telegraph I’m remembering a million triumphs and tragedies I had experienced on Telegraph over the years. All the memories. But now it’s all gone. This barren harvest I am reaping as I walked down Telegraph on this early morning after the storm.

I walked down to the car wash by Shattuck and bought a coffee and jelly donut. And felt strangely better from having experienced something in the morning. Even if I wasn’t sure quite what I had experienced.



January 6, 2018

On this date last year: Grace under pressure. The kind of stuff Hate Man was dealing with during his last months on the planet

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Hate Man has been struggling quite a bit lately. He’s 80 years old. He’s having health problems (problems breathing). And a massive rainstorm is heading our way tonight. Plus, the cops are on his case. And he’s surrounded by street crazies fucking with him.

“Last night I set up all my camping stuff on Bowditch Street,” said Hate Man. “But when I came back this morning all my stuff was gone! Including my 8 garbage bags of recycling! At first I thought the cops had hauled it away. And now I’m completely fucked. The big storm coming in tonight and all my blankets and tarps are gone.”

“What happened to all your stuff?” I asked.

“It turned out Sunshine (this crazy tweaker chick) had hauled off all my stuff and dumped it in a garbage can.”

“For no reason?”


“Well I’m sure she had a reason. But it was probably a completely insane reason that made sense to nobody but her.”

“Yeah. But at least I managed to track down all my stuff. And now I’m struggling to get it all set up again before the rain starts pouring down.”

But here’s the kicker. Amidst dealing with dozens of dire issues Hate Man pauses amidst his travails and says:

“Oh. This guy dropped off a bunch of cans of Vienna Sausages for me. But I don’t want them. You can have them if you want (Hate Man knows my feral cats love Vienna Sausages).”

Hate Man digs out the bag of Vienna Sausages from the jumbled mess that is his campsite. Gives them to me. And then goes back to the task of trying to organize his campsite before the big storm hits.

Hate Man is kind of the epitome of the concept of “grace under pressure.”


January 3, 2018

Resolutions for 2018

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1. Make a sincere effort to spend more time on Facebook
2. Avoid all human contact except with liquor store clerks and bartenders
3. Write more indignant Letters-to-the-Editor
4. Don’t be selfish — share your political opinions with everyone!!

January 1, 2018

Happy Moo Year!!

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Communicating with your cat



Cats are funny. They have a subtle way of communicating with their humans.

Moo Cat has been banished from my campsite by the other cats. But none of them were around last night. So Moo Cat worked up the courage to sneak up to my campsite in the middle of the night and wake me up from a sound sleep. She jumped up on top of my chest. But when I went to pet her — like I usually do — she immediately stepped off of me.

Then she climbed on top of me again. But when I went to pet her? Same thing. She stepped off of me. She repeated this pattern for about a minute, pacing back and forth from one side of me to the other. Until I finally figured out what she was trying to communicate to me:

“The hell with this petting stuff. I’M HUNGRY!!!”

I opened up a can of tuna fish and plopped it into the cat food dish. Which she quickly gobbled down.

Then she sauntered back over and climbed back on top of my chest. And STAYED there this time. And gave me a look that said:

“NOW you may pet me.”

Ha ha. Cats.


December 30, 2017

Looking back fondly on the year that was, 2017, from the Ace Backwords perspective


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JANUARY: Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 43rd president of the United States of America.


JANUARY: Massive rainstorms across the state of California — one of the wettest Januarys on record — result in the end (at least for the time being) of the Drought.


JANUARY: As predicted by virtually all the polls, political pundits, and media experts, Hillary Clinton wins the presidency by a landslide in an alternate universe.


FEBRUARY: Milo Somethingorother — a boring political gadfly who apparently makes a living saying stupid things to upset people — attempts to give a speech on the Berkeley campus and is shut down by massive protests, violence, fires, and destructive of property.


FEBRUARY: The Mario Savio Free Speech Plaza is officially re-named the No Free Speech For Fascists or People Saying Stuff I Disagree With Plaza.


MARCH: Rightwing Conservatives attempt to hold a rally in downtown Berkeley, and are met with massive resistance and street-fighting violence, and the likes of “Moldy Locks,” the “Stickman,” and Antifa get their 5 minutes of fame.


MARCH: Taco Bell opens up a franchise in Berkeley. Millions rejoice.


APRIL: Legendary Berkeley street person, the Hate Man, transcends.


APRIL: Ace Backwords takes yet another, in a seemingly endless series of, selfies.


APRIL: The feral cats continue to mostly lay around and goof off.


APRIL: I finally decide to cut off the goofy wings on the sneakers I had been wearing for months.


APRIL: Life goes on.


APRIL: People’s Park makes it to 48 years old.


APRIL: President Trump continues to govern the land with a firm, even hand.


MAY: The liberal media continues it’s fair and balanced coverage of the Trump presidency.


MAY: One final casualty of the long and wet Rainy Season of 2016-2017 (ended up with a total of 37 inches in Berkeley): A water-logged tree on the Berkeley campus collapses and dies.


MAY: Ace Backwords continues to slack off and fade away.


JUNE: Fatty the feral cat, is banished from the tribe after losing a territorial pissing war with Mini Scaredy, the alpha female of the tribe.


JUNE: Two of the guys who had been running the ill-fated Ghost Ship wharehouse, are arrested and charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the 36 people killed in the fire during a rave.


AUGUST: People’s Park, for all its faults and shortcomings, still remains as a fairly cool place.


AUGUST: Feral cats, mostly still just goofing off.


AUGUST The city of Berkeley honors the great man, that asshole Hate Man.


AUGUST: Julia Vinograd is spotted on Telegraph Avenue.


SEPTEMBER: Mini Owl, the beloved one-and-a-half year old feral cat, disappears never to be seen again. *sigh*


SEPTEMBER: An unexpected visitor shows up at my campsite.


SEPTEMBER Record heat wave in the Bay Area with temperatures reaching 108 in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Berkeley street people handle the situation with their usual aplomb.


SEPTEMBER: Ace Backwords is honored with a plaque, a statue, and a set of commemorative dinner plates.


SEPTEMBER: Milo Whatshisname heroically returns to Berkeley, and, thanks to about a $million dollars worth of police protection, is finally able to give a 20 minute speech on Sproul Plaza, where he mouthed some dull slogans and canned one-liners to a rapt audience of about 30 people.


SEPTEMBER: Berkeley reaffirms its commitment to free speech, though it wasn’t actually free since it ended up costing the City about a $million.


SEPTEMBER: Further proof of the existence of God.


SEPTEMBER: Against all odds, Fatty the feral cat manages to sneak back to my campsite and resume her rightful position as a member of the tribe.


OCTOBER: Feral cats? Still slacking off.


OCTOBER: The Baby Boomer Generation continues it’s long and impressive march on the way to oblivion.


OCTOBER: Major media mogul Harvey Weintein creates yet another multi-media sensation and inspires a new movement in America..


OCTOBER: Massive wildfires in Northern California cause incredible tragedies. *sigh*


OCTOBER: Super hero movies continue to rake in big bucks at the box-office, proving that the genre is no flash in the pan.


OCTOBER: The cats finally decide it’s time to quit slacking off, to get organized, and take bold, direct action.


OCTOBER: Donald Trump’s popularity soars during the Halloween holiday.


OCTOBER: Moo Cat — the elder statesman of the feral cat tribe — turns 9 years old, but remains as ornery as ever.


NOVEMBER: Senator Al Franken makes one joke too many.


DECEMBER: Christmas 2017 comes and goes, and it looks like another year is pretty much shot to hell. HAPPY NEW YEARS everybody!!












December 26, 2017

Christmas 2017

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:47 pm
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Have a very merry People’s Park Christmas!!

Pretty quiet Christmas on the street scene. Aside from one ugly scene.

A car pulls up to People’s Park bearing donations. And you can always tell when there aren’t enough donations to go around, because the street people start sprinting towards the car from every direction (you never saw street people so motivated). Then they surround the car, gang swarm it. And everyone starts pushing and shoving and elbowing and jockeying for position.

Then this black woman comes barreling into the crowd like a battering ram, shoving everybody out of her way, in pursuit of the holiday holy grail. But the weird thing was, as she’s knocking people aside to get to the front of the car, she kept repeating: “Excuse me.” “Excuse me.” “Excuse me.” I guess she wanted to let everyone know that she had good manners. Ha ha.

But evidently the lady didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas. Because she suddenly started angrily shouting and cursing at the top of her lungs. Then she took her grocery bag full of stuff and slammed it on the ground and all of her stuff went splattering across the sidewalk.

So people start shouting and cursing back at her. And pretty soon everyone is jawing back and forth. But not to be outdone, the woman pulls down her pants, bends over, and moons the crowd, sharing her enormous ass with one and all (Christmas ’tis the season of sharing, after all).


That’s telling ’em.

Needless to say, it was another magic moment in my life..

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