The destruction of the trees in People’s Park

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They basically clear-cut the entire top of People’s Park. And they brought in an army of out-of-town cops to guard the tree-cutters. Planned out the whole thing like a military operation.

And you’d think chopping down trees in the dark of night during a rainstorm would be in violation of a dozen health and safety codes.

But the really galling thing is phony “reasons” the University came up with for destroying all these healthy trees. Like: “The trees blocked out light.” Yes. That’s what trees DO. They provide shade.

 

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Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorOne slightly surreal scene. I put down my umbrella and coffee on the sidewalk so I could take some photos of the cops. I even asked the cops permission to take their pictures. I’m polite if nothing else. Then I walked down the street to take some more pictures.

When I came back the cop said:

“Somebody tried to take your coffee but I told him it was yours.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I really need it this morning.”

So I thanked the cop for saving my coffee . . . Too bad I couldn’t thank him for saving the goddamn trees.

 

Bastards. Hate Man’s tree gone gone gone. He’s probably rolling over in his cremation urn. (Actually it turned out I was wrong. They didn’t destroy Hate Man’s tree. They just hacked off most of its branches.)

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If anyone is interested in the REAL reason why the University destroyed all those trees in People’s Park: Several years ago the University decided to chop down a bunch of trees by the football stadium. But tree-sitters organized a protest to prevent them from destroying the trees that went on for several years. And it ended up costing the University over a million dollars before they were finally able to get rid of the tree-sitters and destroy the trees.

So the University didn’t want to go through that again. So they destroyed virtually every tree that might be used as a tree-sit. And almost all the “reasons” they listed on their bogus Press Releases for destroying the trees are a complete lie. And an insult to anyone’s intelligence that they would even spew these lies in public.

 

Almost all the trees at the top of People’s Park, destroyed. Completely healthy trees and for the most bogus reasons. When we all know what the REAL reason is.

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The destruction of People’s Park. And brought to you by the Berkeley “progressives.” Mayor Jesse Arreguin and former Berkely City Councilman Kriss Worthington.

Ironic, no.

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Tree falls, kills Novato man on UC Berkeley campus

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.Just last week one of the countless dead, or unhealthy trees on the Berkeley campus collapsed and killed somebody. None of the strong healthy trees in People’s Park showed any indication of collapsing. And yet the University is urgently concerned with destroying the healthy trees in People’s Park. It’s worse than a bad joke.

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Anyone who wants to express their outrage over this latest travesty in People’s Park, you can leave a message for UC Chancellor Carol Christ (and her “immense intellectual vitality”) at her office.

510-642-7464

Tell her Ace says hi.

CHANCELLOR.BERKELEY.EDU
 
UC Berkeley is a place of immense intellectual vitality, where some of today’s brightest students and scholars work together to deepen understanding of the world we live in. It is also a place that is steadfastly committed to widening the doors to educational opportunity, a place that sets young p….
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A brief anecdote about the concept of “karma”

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One of the tough things about being part of the homeless street scene: You’re surrounded by needy people. So you have to pick your spots, where you’re going to help somebody. Because if you try to help everybody you’ll be sucked dry real quick.

Further complicating the situation: there are the Truly Needy. And then there are the con artists who mimic the Truly Needy to exploit other people’s Good Samaritan impulses. Usually they don’t want to lift a finger to help themselves. They’d rather you did it for them. They are like babies, endlessly demanding assistance and service from others. They’re classic bums, really. And they endlessly weave a tale of their latest woes, as a sales-pitch, before they hit you up.

Anyways, one night we happened to be hanging out with one of these types. And as usual he made numerous requests for me to help him get through his latest dire circumstance. Requests I politely declined.

Finally he resorted to playing his big card. In an attempt to guilt-trip me, he sneered:

“What goes around comes around, dude. Some day your bad karma is going to come back at you. And you’ll be sitting here asking for help, and nobody will help you.”

“Maybe so,” I said. “But maybe that explains why YOU’RE sitting here and nobody will help you right now.”

People rarely have much success when they try to one-up me on philosophical issues.

The secret origin of Blondie the feral cat

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Blondie was the first feral cat to show up at my campsite. Way back in 2007. She was only about 6 months old. Still a kitten. I first noticed her mother actually. Who looked just like her. She got hit by a car. I noticed her battered body lying by the side of the road.

Then one morning I noticed Blondie and her two siblings about 30 yards up the hill from my campsite. Hiding in the bushes and peering down at me. I used to throw out a bunch of bread for the blue jays. And I noticed the three feral kittens would sneak down to my campsite after I left and gobble up the bread.

So one morning I got some cat food and left it for the feral kittens. That’s how it started. I didn’t have a dish for the cat food. So I left it on a piece of cardboard.

The next morning I noticed the feral kittens had not only eaten the cat food. They had also eaten big chunks of the cardboard that had been soaked with the cat food gravy. I thought: “These feral cats must be hungry if they’re eating cardboard.”

So I ended up feeding Blondie for the next 10 years. I never once touched Blondie in all those years. Eventually she came to trust me. So I probably could have. But I figured why push it. Though on one occasion she touched me. One morning — completely out of the blue — she climbed on top of me while I was laying there in my sleeping bag. Sat there on my legs for about 10 minutes. Looking at me like she was thinking: “I always wanted to TRY this.” Then she climbed off of me. And never did that again. Ha ha.

Blondie disappeared about 2 years ago. But her daughter Moo Cat is still very much with us.

Looking back fondly (and otherwise) on the year that was, 2018

2018 was an odd year for me. I spent most of the year dealing with a seemingly endless series of problems. The kind of problems that takes months to deal with, and you have to jump through 20 hoops before you resolve them.  And as soon as I resolved one problem, two other problems would pop up. It was that kind of year. I don’t know if it’s because the world is getting more complicated. Or I’m getting stupider. . .  Probably both.

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I started the year like I ended it. Toasting in the year.
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Scaredy Cat’s second litter of kittens pops up at my campsite. Hurston, Thurston, and Micro Scaredy.
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In the world of sports, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots come up just short in their quest for another Super Bowl trophy.
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In the world of politics, against all odds, Trump manages to get through the second year of his term without getting his ass impeached.
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In the world of wingnuts, the wingnut formerly known as the Polka Dot Man became the XX Man.
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In one of those end-of-an-era moments, we locked up the shed that Hate Man had been occupying for the last 40 years for the last time, and returned the key to the building owner.
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In the world of politics, the thing I most remember about year 2018 was all the endless talk about the immigration issue. With half the country outraged about how Trump was handling it, and the other half wildly supportive.. . . And the other memorable thing was Year Two of the Mueller Investigation. With everyone waiting for the other shoe to drop. And again, half the country avidly hoping he gets nailed to the wall, while the other half hoping he skates.
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On the personal front, after slogging through the winter in cheap sneakers and wet soaks. I finally manage to get a good pair of winter boots, two weeks before the end of winter.
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By March, the three amigos — Hurston, Thurston, and Micro Scaredy — were already starting to grow by leaps and bounds.
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President Trump continued to make history with his historic tweets.
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Senator Elizabeth Warren released her DNA tests proving her Native American Indian heritage and put an end to that controversy once and for all.
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Hurston and Thurston Owl the Third exhibited some of their legendary cuteness. And it slowly dawned on me that the feral cat population at my campsite was on the verge of exploding out of control if I didn’t get off my ass and start dealing with it.
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Ace Backwords, pervert, caught in the act on film and becomes the latest casualty of the #MeToo movement.
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In a statistical oddity, I ended up finding big bags of pot on three different occasions during the year. And I don’t even smoke the shit. Causing me to wonder if they’re making the pot too strong these days, causing all the stoners to get too spaced out and lose their stash.
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On the weather front, it was a fairly mild winter in Berkeley. We only got about 15 inches of rain all year, about 10 below normal.
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In another one of those personal end-of-an-era moments, I moved out all the stuff I had been storing in the closet of this apartment for the last 23 years. And before that I had lived in the apartment for 13 years. So my 36 year connection to that old apartment finally came to an end.
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In 2018, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin announced their joint plan to destroy People’s Park and build student housing on the site. Causing the People’s Park activists to spring into action in their efforts to save the Park.
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The People’s Park activists bring their message directly to the University.
 
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Scaredy Cat pops out her third litter. And I would spend the next three months struggling to trap and fix as many of the feral cats as I could.
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Probably my biggest accomplishment in year 2018 was getting Mini Scaredy fixed. She had already had two miscarriages, and probably would have kept on having multiple miscarriages — which can’t be healthy for a body — if I hadn’t taken care of it.
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After Scaredy Cat left my campsite to make a new nest for her new litter, in a surprise move, Mini Scaredy adopted as her own the three kittens from the previous litter.
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President Trump traveled to England to visit with the Royal Family.
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Over the summer I got the word that my father had cancer and there was nothing the doctors could do about it, and he probably only had about two more years to live. . . A couple weeks later he died.
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Bill and Hillary Clinton embarked on their eagerly-awaited national speaking tour.
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Telegraph Avenue legend, Julia “the Bubble Lady” Vinograd’s bubble finally burst in 2018.
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In September the assholes at the main Berkeley Post Office inexplicably locked me out of my P.O. Box, and for the next 4 months I’d be unable able to receive most of my mail. But finally — after jumping through a seemingly endless series of hoops — I was able to get a new P.O. Box somewhere else. VICTORY!! . . . It was that kind of year.
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In a surprise attack, the University snuck into People’s Park at 4 in the morning, like thieves in the dark of night, packing chainsaws. And destroyed 28 mostly completely healthy trees.
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Meanwhile, the feral cats ended the year pretty much like they started it, mostly slacking off.

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A dark period in the desert — both literally and figuratively

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For some reason I was thinking about a particularly dark period in my life. 2009. I had a complete nervous breakdown around December of 2009. Everything that had been working in my life stopped working all at once. My best friend died. My street vending job came to a bitter end. My latest book (which I thought was going to be the answer to all my prayers) bombed commercially. And my artistic career (so-called) grinded to a halt. My life had hit a complete dead-end in every way.

Adding to my misery, I had been homeless for 3 years at that point. And the rainy season was about to hit. And what with all my other existential woes I wasn’t up to dealing with that, too.

So — for lack of anything better to do– I decided to get the hell out of town. Maybe if I got out of Berkeley, and got some distance from my situation, I could get some kind of perspective on the wreckage that my life had become. I had $5,000 bucks saved up from my vending job, so the plan was to just hole up somewhere, lick my wounds, and see if I could come up with a Plan B. So I got on a Greyhound bus and moved to this little town in the middle of the Arizona desert, and rented out a little apartment at this one-story motel/trailer park.

My apartment had a kitchenette, a living room with a bed in it, and a bathroom. When I looked out my window I could see all the RVs parked in the courtyard. And beyond that, miles and miles of Arizona desert. It was like being in the middle of nowhere.

I got drunk by myself in my apartment almost everything night. Mostly OE malt liquor. But occasionally I’d get a pint of Jack Daniels to add some fire to my fuel.

And I binged on cable TV. I must have watched TV about 12 hours a day. Which was a weird experience. Because I hadn’t watched any TV in nearly 20 years. The last time I had a TV in 1990 there was the 3 networks, PBS, and a local channel and that was about it. And now suddenly there were hundreds of channels. The one show I really got into, oddly, was The Kardashians. I must have watched an entire season of that show. I vaguely remembered Bruce Jenner from back when he was the Wheaties All-American Boy of the ’70s, and now his skin was all tight and shiny from too much plastic surgery, and he had fake hair, and when he smiled he looked sort of like the Joker from Batman (this was well before he became a woman). And one of the Kardashian sister was married to an NBA player from the Los Angeles Lakers, so that was interesting to me as a hoops freak, getting an inside look at that stuff. And for the big season finale this guy Scott, who was the boyfriend of one of the Kardashian sisters got drunk at a swanky Las Vegas casino and when the waiter wouldn’t serve him because he was too drunk he made an ass out of himself by trying to stuff a wad a bills down the waiter’s throat (which was grotesque) and ended up getting excommunicated from the family. But then his girlfriend had a baby — they brought the cameras right into the hospital and filmed her at her hospital bed grunting out the baby while everyone looked on in awe and shit. And the boyfriend showed up and they decided to let him back in the family since he was the father (so they were stuck with him for better or worse). And that’s how the season ended on this choreographed note of so-called inspiration. I don’t know what happened after that with the Kardashians. But as a natural voyeur it was fascinating to me to see how these rich Hollywood media creatures and vampires lived and related to each other behind closed doors.

The other show I used to sometimes watch was the cable news guy with the square head Keith Olbermann. He sort of played the part of the righteous, crusading liberal. So it was interesting to get up to date as to what the liberal were outraged about at the time. . . And I liked “The Dave Chapelle Show.” He was pretty funny. And he just seemed like one of the guys you’d be hanging out with on a street corner, and then he gets up on stage and does his own TV show. . . And then late at night I would watch the “Girls Gone Wild” info-commercials. Because that was the only thing I could find that had sex and nudity in it.

Sometimes late at night, after many hours of drinking, when I was really starting to get a good buzz going, I’d come up with some great idea for how I could turn my life around. And I’d get all excited and start making all these big plans and it was great because I had finally come up with a new direction to go in. But when I woke up the next morning I’d realize my idea was stupid and hopeless. So it was back to the drawing board.

After three months living in that motel apartment in the middle of nowhere, I started to run out of money. So I decided I better pack up my bags and move back to Berkeley. So that’s what I did. And here I still am.

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