Acid Heroes

December 24, 2017

The perfect gift for that STRANGE one on your shopping list

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Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 1:09 am
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 One of my friends looked at this photo and wondered:  “What’s going on here?  What possible context could make any sense of this?”
I figured, my hunch is that the deer’s hoof is caught in something, and the cops are trying to free it. Something like that.

 Or else the pigs are going: “We got ways to make you talk, Bambi!!”


December 22, 2017

Hate Man’s last Christmas



2016 would be Hate Man’s last Christmas.  He would be dead in 3 months. Of course we didn’t know it at the time.  We just figured the tough old bastard would live forever.  It was hard to imagine a Berkeley without Hate Man. . .

As usual, Hate Man had a Hate Camp Christmas tree.  That was one of the great things about Hate Man.  A lot of life on the streets is just a grim, gritty survival trip.  But Hate Man always took the time to add that extra little flair.  A fresh flower in his hat.  And a Christmas tree just for the street people.

And we decked out the Hate Camp Christmas tree with tinsel and electric lights, and a star on top.  But the night before Christmas this crazy tweaker chick (hi, Sunshine) grabbed the tree when nobody was looking and dumped it in a garbage can. Hate Man was able to track down the tree, but the tinsel and lights were gone. Merry Methmas!!

But that was sort of what Hate Man’s life was like during his last years in People’s Park. He was surrounded by a pack of lunatics, basically.  He had two different tweakers that would regularly sneak into his campsite when he was gone and rifle through all of his stuff and make a big mess. They wouldn’t necessarily steal the stuff. They’d just carry it off and deposit it in a garbage can for no particular reason (aside from the “reasons” that made perfect sense in their meth-addled brains).

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“Have a BAD Christmas.”

Of course there were other thievin’ bastards that would actually steal Hate Man’s stuff. And then there were all the vultures that were constantly hitting Hate Man up for his cigarettes or his money or anything else of value that they could gouge off of him.  And then there were the ones that would physically attack him.  I saw Hate Man get punched in the head and knocked to the ground on multiple occasions during his last years.

But Hate Man never really complained (aside from his usual line “I’d like to kill that guy!”) (To which my standard response was: “I’m not stopping you.”).

But that was another great thing about Hate Man. He never felt sorry for himself.  He always viewed life like it was a challenging (and ultimately fulfilling) adventure.  Along with his endlessly repeated catch-phrase: “It’s up to me to defend myself.” And he always had this great sense of gamesmanship. He often talked about life being a “battle” or a “war.” But in truth, I think Hate Man looked at life as more of a game than a war. In a war, you want to obliterate your opposition.   But in a game, you just want to neutralize them. So that you can play another game with them tomorrow. And Hate Man looked at all of his nemeses as worthy and respected adversaries.  That he would spar with, like sort of a fencing duel. With his stated goal being that he hoped to learn how to relate to everyone, and all the different “vibratory types.”

I don’t remember any of the details of that last Christmas at Hate Camp.  All the memories sort of blur together of a thousand nights at Hate Camp. Smoking cigarettes, drinking our drinks, talking the gossip of the day, or discussing Hate Man’s latest battle with his latest adversary. Hate Man didn’t make a big deal out of celebrating the holidays.  Because Hate Man celebrated every day.

Hate Man’s body, at age 80, was finally wearing down, piece by piece at this point. He had a pacemaker in his heart, and a tube up his dick, and regular chiropractors for his back, and his lungs were finally starting to go. He had just started slipping into that pattern of regular trips to the emergency ward. And ever-more frequent stays at the hospital, of ever-increasing duration.  But he’d also often snap back, periodically, into being the vibrant, vital Hate Man he had always been. So we all just figured he’d defeat this latest obstacle — death — just like he’d defeated all of the previous obstacles.



December 20, 2017

Yet another odd scene at the Berkeley Library

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Just had another odd scene at the Berkeley library. We’re all at our cubicles working at our computers when this woman starts talking on her cellphone. The guy siting next to her keeps telling her to quit talking, it’s bothering him while he’s trying to work on his computer. But she keeps talking and talking. And he gets more and more pissed. Finally he stands up, hovering right behind her and says: “WHY DON’T YOU GO BACK TO MEXICO!!” and storms out of the library.

The woman watches him go, and then says: “Why should I go back to Mexico? I’m from El Salvador.”


December 16, 2017

Some more old Twisted Image comic strips that somebody posted on the web.

One of the problems with doing topical humor:  30 years later I’m not sure if anybody even remembers the comic strips Mama, Hi & Lois, or Beatle Bailey.  Let alone Howard Cosell.

But at least I can be assured people will still be remembering Charles Manson for a long time!


The “secret” homeless


A professor teaching at San Jose State University who can’t afford a place to live in the South Bay tells KPIX 5 she is spending most nights sleeping in her car.

This article highlights a point that I often make: Most people have a complete misconception as to who “the Homeless” actually are.

And that’s because the only homeless that most people notice are the OBVIOUS homeless. The street wingnuts. The panhandlers. The ones pushing shopping carts or wearing frame backpacks.

But these obvious types make up a small percentage of the actual homeless population.

Take myself for example. I’ve been homeless for the last 10 years. But I could walk right by you and you’d never know I was homeless. How would you know? Even other homeless people can’t tell I’m homeless. I regularly get panhandled by the homeless when I walk down Telegraph. When I tell them that “I’m on the streets, too” they usually apologize (it’s considered bad form to bum off of another bum).

So consider that the next time you assume you know who “the Homeless” are. You most likely have a VERY limited understanding of the subject.

There are zillions of “secret homeless” (as I call them) who you would never recognize in a million years.

Mini Scaredy makes her position clear

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 1:28 am



My feral cats are incredibly affectionate.

This morning I packed up my campsite and headed on down the trail towards the road. Mini Scaredy came running after me. She ran in front of me, and then she laid down right in front of me, blocking my path. Then she rolled over on her back and looked up at me with those big ole’ cat eyes. And if she could have talked in English I’m sure she would have said: “Aw, c’mon, dude. Give me a couple of more pets before you go!”

Ha ha.

Of course I had no choice but to kneel down and do precisely that.





A surprise guest at my campsite

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 1:25 am
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Had a surprise guest at my campsite, Tuffy the brown-colored feral cat. Out of the dozens of feral cats that have come through my campsite over the years — all of whom have been variations of black, white and gray — Tuffy is the only brown one. She’s from Moo Cat’s one-and-only litter back around 2011. A homeless friend of mine who camps on the other side of the hill from me, adopted Tuffy. But every couple of years or so she’ll drop by to say hello to me.

My two feral cats — Scaredy Cat and Mini Scaredy — were immediately on red alert. The both immediately stiffened and stared off intently into the distance, growling under their breath (they always spot an on-coming intruder long before I do). Tuffy approached them and nonchalantly sat there about 10 feet away from them, staring blankly at them, It was a major invasion of my cats’ territory (world wars have broken out over less). So my cats kept making that noise — that gutteral, high-pitched whining/howling sound that cats makes that translates into English as: “If you come one step closer to me, I’ll slice you to ribbons, bitch!!”

My cats finished their breakfast in a state of agitation, and then laid down next to me for back-up. Tuffy casually trotted over to the food dish, ate up some of the food, lingered for a little while more, and then headed off up the hill.

When my homeless friend was out of town for 6 months, Tuffy started coming down to my campsite every morning for her breakfast. She immediately established herself as the dominant cat of the tribe, settling herself into the center of my campsite.. That’s just how it works in the cat world.


December 14, 2017

The human mind: What a concept

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:09 pm



The human mind is a strange thing. This morning I was walking down the street when this song suddenly popped into my head. And I started singing it to myself:

“Moon shines bright
asleep in my bed
like so many people
I got a big day ahead of me . . .
Wake the world to a brand new morning
Wake the world to another fine day . . . “

It was this obscure Beach Boys song from 1968. “Wake the World.” It was the b-side to their single “Do it Again” which I had bought in 1968 when I was 12.  I listened to “Wake the World” a couple of times back then. And I haven’t heard that song since then.

So why it would suddenly pop in my head out of nowhere 49 years later seemed a little odd. . .

It made me wonder what other long-forgotten junk I still have lodged somewhere in the back of my noggin.


TV or not TV?

This Twisted Image comic strip from 1988 was reprinted in a Terrance McKenna newsletter. Of all things.  They used to refer to ole’ Terrance as “the Timothy Leary of the ’90s.”  I remember thinking: “Sheesh! Talk about damning with faint praise.”

This strip was inspired by a story I read in the paper about this guy who was obsessed with Johnny Carson. He kept a daily diary, but it wasn’t about his real life. It was entirely about his relationship with Johnny Carson.  “Johnny seemed a little depressed tonight.  I wonder if him and Ed are having problems again.”

And for awhile I used to watch the TV show Cheers re-runs every night.  I think I’ve seen every episode. It was a nightly ritual. And after awhile I started to feel like I really knew all the characters on the show, almost as if I was one of the gang, hanging out at the bar.  And I realized I probably spent more time with them than I did with my real friends.

And, of course, there was that nut John Hinckley, who actually fell in love with a movie actress and tried to get her to marry him.




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