Acid Heroes

August 18, 2018

Mini Scaredy the feral kitten

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:13 pm

Micro Scaredy has always been the least friendly and most wary of all the feral kittens at my campsite. And she often takes an adversarial position towards me.


How to put this delicately . . . Micro Scaredy the 9-month old feral kitten?? She’s kind of an asshole.

All the other feral cats have always intuitively understood: You don’t wake me up for breakfast until dawn, until it starts getting light. As famously as cats are for their lack of patience, they’ve always accepted that the light of day is the defining line for their breakfast schedule. And they don’t start pestering me to be fed until then. . . Occassionally, if a cat hasn’t been fed for 3 or 4 days, they’ll wake me up at four in the morning, crying for food. And I’ll get up and fix them a late-night snack. But generally they wait until daylight before they start pestering me.

But not Micro Scaredy. Nooo. She did it again last night waking me up in the middle of the night with her meowing. And she kept jabbing at my face with her claws. Not hard enough to draw blood. But just hard enough to let me know she MIGHT. I kept turning over from side to side to avoid her jabs. But she’d just trot over to the other side and continue her assault from that angle. And when I tried hiding completely under my blankets she’d start pouncing on my head. And the funny thing is, the whole time she’s harassing me, she’s purring as loud as she can. She’s obviously enjoying the hell out of the whole exercise. It’s like a fun cat-and-mouse game to her. With me as the mouse.

So finally I resigned myself to the inevitable and got up and fixed her a can of cat food.

In truth I don’t really mind. I actually LIKE seeing my feral cats being aggressive and assertive. I’m like the proud father in the song “A Boy Named Sue.” I know these traits will help them survive if anything ever happens to me.

But man, what an asshole. Ha ha. But then, at least she’s MY asshole.


August 16, 2018

Matthew V. Labriola, RIP 1929-2018

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:36 pm




August 15, 2018

Mini Scaredy: Waiting for the Man

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 7:40 pm



Mini Scaredy the feral cat has gotten very attached to me. It almost scares me how attached she is to me. I’ll give you an example.

Mini Scaredy waits for me to show up at my campsite every night. And she doesn’t wait for me at my campsite. She waits for me several blocks down the road from the entrance to the trail that leads up to my campsite in the Berkeley hills. And she’ll wait for me hiding there in the bushes for over FOUR hours waiting patiently for me to show up.

I know because I showed up at 10 PM the other night and there she was waiting for me.

And then the next night I showed up at 2 AM — four hours later — and she was STILL there waiting for me in the bushes.




August 14, 2018

“ACCIDENTALLY LIKE A MARTYR” by James Campion : a book review

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:19 pm
Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and text


Enjoying this Warren Zevon bio ACCIDENTALLY LIKE A MARTYR.

One of the seminal moments in Zevon’s life happened on Christmas Day 1956 when he was 9. His father was a Russian-Jewish immigrant, a former boxer, notorious gangster and professional gambler who went by the name Stumpy. His mother was Scottish-Welsh descent and a strict Mormon. So with a schitzo upbringing like that it’s not surprising that Zevon ended up a conflicted person.

Anyways after a successful gambling bender Stumpy presented Warren with a brand new piano for a Christmas present. His mother — envisioning the piano as a “tool of the devil” — demanded it immediately be removed. A fight broke out between Mom and Dad, and in a rage Stumpy hurled a carving knife at Mom’s head, missing by no more than an inch. Stumpy then sat Warren down on the piano stool and disparaged all his mother’s haughty Christian Mormon talk as so much bullshit. “You’re a Jew, son. Never forget that.”

PS. The piano stayed.




August 13, 2018

Some random pages from Twisted Image #1

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:20 pm

I always get a kick out of stumbling across bits and pieces of my past on the internet. Not the least because some of it is from so long ago — this issue of Twisted Image #1 is from the summer of 1982 — that I barely remember it myself. Last night I came across two different people who were selling this issue on eBay. Merely 30 bucks . . .  With my luck I won’t attain “highly collectible” status until long after I’m dead.



The staff.

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An ad.

The back cover to Twisted Image #1.

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August 12, 2018

Weird “coincidences”

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:38 pm



These kind of “coincidences” always happen to me right after a person I know dies. These weird little omens. These weird little gifts and/or curses, depending on my relationship with the deceased.

Case in point. My Dad died this morning.  And I was just headed to my favorite evening hang-out spot to drink a 12-pack or two in honor of my dearly departed Dad. And right nearby I found these three plates of fresh to-go food from a nearby Italian restaurant. Pasta, ravioli, and a calzone.

I’d consider them “coincidences” except that things like that happen one after another during the first two weeks after the death. And then they start to taper off after that.

The Hindus maintain that after a person dies their spirit lingers very strongly around the earth for a couple of weeks. And the spirit has the power to bless it’s friends and curse it’s enemies to varying degrees. And then the spirit leaves this mortal coil and merges back with the Cosmos.

My father was Italian. And he loved Italian food. And one of my childhood nicknames was Peter Ravioli.


I’ll give you another example of a weird “coincidence.” Right after my friend Duncan died we planted his ashes in Peoples Park. And I posted the obituary from the Oakland Tribune on the Peoples Park bulletin board, with a big photo of Duncan’s face as part of the article.

Then it starts raining. Highly unusual in June in Berkeley. Even more unusual, after it stops raining a big rainbow appears across the Berkeley sky. And the rainbow is perfectly centered with the bulletin board right square in the middle of it. With Duncan’s face from the photo seemingly staring right up at the rainbow

It was a very weird moment.


August 10, 2018

The last time I talked to my Father

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:34 pm







Talked to my Dad on the phone today. It’s the first time I’ve talked to him since 1999. It was a pretty wrenching experience. I kept telling myself: “Don’t start crying. Don’t start crying.” Of course I started crying. I couldn’t help it.

The good news is, he says he’s not in any pain (they must have good morphine back east). And his wife is watching out for him 24 hours a day. The bad news is, his wife says “He gets a little weaker every day.”

His voice sounded different. It was a higher pitch than usual. But it was the same familiar Dad speech patterns. Though without his usual mindless enthusiasm. He was strangely matter-of-fact and unemotional. Probably didn’t have the energy to get excited or emotional. When I alluded in a roundabout way to his impending demise, asking him how he was “dealing with his situation” he simply said “That’s just a part of life.” I think all his years as a minister — where he made countless visits to hospitals to talk with people on their death beds — prepared him for this moment. It’s familiar terrain.




He’s having trouble eating and sleeping. Spends most of his time sitting comfortably in a chair in his bedroom.

I figured I better say it. “I love you. I’m gonna mi– ” But that’s as far as I got. The words got choked in my throat.

We made a little  more small talk about this and that. I didn’t want to drain his energy so I cut the conversation short. Told him I’d call him back tomorrow.

What a life.





My recurring dream strikes again!

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:18 pm

So there I was outside Oracle Arena. . .


I had my recurring dream again last night where I’m trying to get somewhere but keep getting pushed farther and farther off course.

In the dream I had tickets for a Golden State Warriors basketball game so I’m waiting on line outside the Oracle Arena. When I get inside the building one of the ushers says to me “Excuse me sir would you step over here and lie down on this table.”

I laid down on the table and this guy strapped this thing on my arm that doctors use to check your blood pressure and they start pumping away. They really strap me onto the table so I can’t get up. This guy standing over, who I assume is a security guard, is running all these medical tests on me. After awhile I start to get suspicious.

“Do you do this to all the customers?” I said.

“No just you,” he said.

“Well why am I being singled out?”

“Well for godssake man take a good look at yourself. Take a look at your appearance!”

I realized my jacket is covered with dirt and leaves, my hair is wildly strewn, and my flie is open. In fact I look exactly like a crazy, disheveled, and potentially-dangerous homeless street person. “I was sleeping in the bushes before I came here,” I explained.

After awhile the security guard decided I was OK and unstrapped me from the table. But by that time I had gotten comfortable lying there on the table so I decided to roll over on my side and take a nap. Until one of the ushers woke me up and said “You better not sleep there or they’ll REALLY think you’re weird.”

Next I had to deal with all my stuff. I had inexplicably brought all my homeless camping gear with me (including a tent) and I had to pack into onto this little cart as compactly as I could, including the three jackets I was wearing.

Then I walked into the main arena. I was surprised to find out I had great tickets practically right at courtside. The seating area wasn’t set up like the typical sports arena. It was more like a fancy bar with people lounging around drinking at little round tables. My ticket number was A-1 (naturally). And they had a map showing the seating arrangements. But I still couldn’t find my seat. I kept pacing back and forth in the aisles getting more and more frustrated.


The final scene of the dream

Then I’m running up this country road going up a hill in the middle of this forest. There are beautiful green tree vistas everywhere I look. Now I’m completely confused. “How did I get up here?” I thought. “One minute I was in the Oracle Arena and now I’m way out in the country somewhere. This doesn’t make any sense.”

I stood there on the road trying to figure out how I was going to get back to the game in time when I suddenly realized “This is all just a dream!”

That instantly explained everything and I finally relaxed and stopped worrying about solving my problems because this was all nothing but a dream and would soon disappear. But I was also amazed as I gazed out at the dreamscape because it was all just as vivid and realistic as real life.

And then I woke up.


August 9, 2018

The final scene of the dream

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ace Backwords @ 11:47 pm

August 4, 2018

Dust never sleeps (or stops rolling down the hill)

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:37 pm

Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature


I camp on the side of this rather steep hill. One of the advantages of that is, that it’s on such a steep incline that it’s difficult to hike on, and there’s virtually no level land that you can comfortably hang out at. So almost nobody ever goes up there. Therefore I have acres and acres of beautiful land that is virtually all my own. I don’t technically own it. But it’s basically my personal property in a way. (PS. Don’t pity me for being “homeless”)

One of the downsides is, you can occasionally lose your footing and go rolling down the hill. I probably told you about the deer who lost its footing, went somersaulting down the hill end-over-end, broke its neck, and was dead before it even came to a stop at the bottom of the hill.

For my sleeping space I take out a shovel and carve out a level area big enough to accommodate my sleeping bag. So I’m snug as a bug in a rug. Living there by myself with my goddamn feral cats on the side of a goddamn hill.

The only problem is. Due to erosion and the laws of gravity and the sands of time. Eventually my leveled sleeping area will eventually return back to its natural hilly state. And I’ll gradually notice that when I roll over in my sleep I start rolling down the hill. Or the cans of cat food that I had placed by my side had ended up at the bottom of the hill.

So eventually I’ll rouse myself from my stupor, grab a shovel, and level the land one more time.

It kind of reminds me of the Neil Young line “rust never sleeps.” It’s relentless, isn’t it? We might temporarily get our lives in order. But the forces of gravity are always pushing us back down the hill.



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