Acid Heroes: the Legends of LSD

June 15, 2017

Today is the first day of the rest of your lunch

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:45 pm

Living on the streets, not doing the 9-to-5, it can be hard to keep track of what day of the week it is. The only way I can keep track is with the Subway’s daily specials. Today is Italian BMT Day. . . Better known as Thursday to the rest of you normal people.




The NBA Finals 2017

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:23 pm




My favorite moment of the Warriors-Cavs series?

Game 5 I’m sitting in the back of this jam-packed sports bar at a table with this big crew of young black guys and gals. All of whom are loudly rooting for the Warriors. Except for this one guy. This young guy with dreads. He’s rooting for the Cavs. Probably the only guy in the entire building that’s rooting for the Cavs.

Every time the Cavs score a point he’s the only person in the crowd who cheers. And when the Cavs fuck up (which was often) he’d grimace in pain. You could tell he was a die-hard fan.

But throughout the game all of his friends were mercilessly ragging on him.
Every time LeBron made a mistake, one of them would get in his face and shout things like: “BEST PLAYER ON THE PLANET?? HMPH!! HE’S A CHUMP!!”

He’d try to muster a comeback. But it’s hard to be the one person standing up against a rabid mob. And I always respect anyone with the guts to do that.

But as the game was winding down and you could tell the Cavs were going down, his friends got even more brutal with the mockery. One of the chicks kept pointing at him with a wild smile on her face while she kept shouting at him: “YOUR CAVS ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF LOSERS!! LOOOOSERS!!! MAYBE NEXT YEAR, BRO’!!”

img_20170612_201535.jpgAnd all he could do was put his head down and sort of retreat into his shell and take the abuse. What could he say? The Cavs were losers.

But right after the game ended, and the Warriors had won, and the entire sports bar is going absolutely nuts. I couldn’t resist going up to him and patting him on the shoulder.

“Your Cavs put up a good fight,” I said. “They’ll be back next year.”

And we pushed knuckles.

And he gave me the biggest, sweetest smile I had ever seen.

It was probably the first nice thing anybody had said to him all night. Ha ha.





June 14, 2017

Unique skills you pick up living on the streets

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 7:17 pm

You know you’ve been on the street scene a long time: You can tell if the car coming up from behind you is a cop car just from the sound of the engine.


June 12, 2017

Life is a movie. Or at least a radio show

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ace Backwords @ 9:46 pm



I don’t know if you guys do this. But sometimes I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll suddenly feel like my life is a movie. And one movie is now ending. One period of my life has come to its conclusion.

Then I’ll feel like a new movie — the next chapter in my life — is now beginning.

And I’ll actually hear the theme music playing in my head. As one movie ends (as they roll the credits). As I walk into the sunset. And then another movie begins (with a big title splashed across the screen: “Tune in to yet another heart-warming installment of AS THE ACE BACKWORDS TURNS!!”). As I embark on my next adventure.

It’s probably just bullshit. But it makes my life seem temporarily meaningful.

The other odd thing I do. It’s like I’m constantly broadcasting in my head like a radio play-by-play announcer broadcasting a radio show.

“And there’s Ace Backwords walking down the street! He’s thinking of going to Subways for a sandwich. But wait! That annoying guy who Ace is always trying to avoid is straight ahead. Ace suddenly darts across the middle of the street and narrowly avoids contact with the guy!! That was a close call. And now a word from our sponsors. . . ”

What the hell.  At least I manage to amuse myself sometimes.


The serial doser

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





They arrested this crazy street woman in People’s Park the other day for dosing a toddler with meth. She snuck up to the 2-year-old and stuck the meth in his mouth. When the nanny saw that, she immediately called the police and they rushed the kid to the hospital where they found the meth in his system. They arrested the woman and charged her with attempted homicide.

That woman is a public menace. She’s been on the Berkeley street scene, off and on, for years. And she has a history of dosing people.

One night last year I was hanging out with Hate Man at his campsite. Suddenly Hate Man started slurring his words and then slumped over, passed out. I tried to revive him, to no avail. I thought he was dying on me. So I called 911 and they rushed him to the hospital . . . It turned out they found a bunch of drugs in his system. That woman, who had been camping right next to Hate, had slipped a mickey into his coffee when he wasn’t looking. She’s totally nuts. Dosing an 80-year-old man with drugs powerful enough to knock him out. She could have killed him.


The woman was right out of central casting for the role of lunatic. She had the crazy eyes and the loon laughter. She’d often sit at her campsite loudly babbling to herself.  These sudden bursts of incoherent madness.  She might start shouting in rage, or laughing like a loon, or crying like a little baby. And she’d be constantly emoting, like she was an actress putting on some kind of insane performance in her head. Or a deranged opera singer. Mama mia! She was one of those people I always kept an eye on out of the corner of my eye.  And made sure there were no sharp objects available (she once stabbed a cop who was trying to arrest her).

She was a heavy-set gal.  And she often wore skimpy outfits that showed off her ample flesh. She’d sometimes prance around in this coquette-ish manner that I suppose was designed to be alluring. But I don’t know too many people who were allured.

God only knows how many people she pulled her little dosing trick on before they finally caught her.  I’m glad they’re charging her with attempted homicide.  Hopefully we won’t be seeing her face on the scene for a long time to come.


June 11, 2017

No walls. Sure

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 11:31 pm
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That’s a little odd. This sign on a building on the Berkeley campus. In fact, the last I looked, that building was made up of walls. And with locks on the front door to keep people out.


Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 10:11 pm



For 15 years I cranked out one of these sex comics every month for various porn papers.  Sexley’s BELIEVE IT OR NUTS!!  After about 10 years I had exhausted virtually everything I had to say on the subject of sex.  But I had to keep cranking them out every monthanyways, because I needed the money. So it became a real chore.  I’d put it off until the very last minute before deadline, wracking my brain for something, anything — any kind of a scrap of an idea — that I could turn into a passable piece of commercial art. I’d be up all night, the night before the porn paper went to the printer, drinking endless cups of coffee and hacking away at the old drawing board. Finally, just as the sun was starting to come up in the morning, I’d have a finished piece of art. Or at least a finished piece of porn. Something on a piece of paper that somebody else would pay me a hundred bucks for.

It was too late to mail it in. So I’d have to get on the first BART train and hand-deliver it to the office of the porn paper in San Francisco.  They had the entire rest of the paper all laid out, and then were just waiting for me and my goddamn comic strip (my comic strip was the best thing in the damn paper — which wasn’t saying much — so they were always willing to wait for me).

Then in 1994 I got the word from the lawyers at Ripley’s BELIEVE IT OR NOT! that I had better cease and desist from infringing on their copyrighted trademark our else they’d sue my pornographic ass. So I had to quit doing it.  I was actually grateful to Ripley’s for putting it out of it’s misery.

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June 9, 2017

Blind Tony

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:07 pm



Tony has been on the Telegraph street scene for at least 20 years.  I have a personal connection with Tony because we were both diagnosed with glaucoma around the same time back in 2009.  So we used to regularly check in with each other about our respective conditions. Tony went completely blind.  And I ended up going half-blind (my right eye still works). So when I see Tony nowadays, I often get that “there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-goes-I” kind of feeling.

When the eye doctor first diagnosed me with glaucoma, he tried to impress on me the seriousness of my condition: “Ace, if you end up out there living on the streets, blind and homeless, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.”  And I often think of that line when I see Tony.  Tony is black, blind, and homeless.  So he has his issues to deal with for sure.

The other day, Tony was panhandling on Telegraph.

“Hey Ace, do you gotta’ cigarette?”

“Oh, no man.  I quit smoking after Hate Man died,” I said.


“I miss ole’ Hate Man and them Virginia Slims.”

“Yeah, me too.”

I gave him a buck towards the cigarette fund.

“Thank you, Ace.”

“You hang in there, Tony.”

“I am hanging in there,” he said, firmly.


img_20170418_195330.jpgAnd he is. I don’t know how he does it.  But he does. He looked pretty solid. He’s hanging in there.

For years Tony got around with the help of a cane. And he moved around pretty well. You’d often see him bounding up the lawn of People’s Park in the direction of Hate Camp, bellowing: “HATE MAN!! GET YOUR DIRTY ROTTEN ASS UP AND PUSH SHOULDERS FOR A CIGARETTE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!!”

And Hate Man would shout back:


The shouting back and forth was a way for Tony to know which direction Hate Man was at.

Then they’d push shoulders for a couple of minutes. And then sit down, light up their smokes, and hang out together smoking their cigarettes.

(my life probably doesn’t make a helluva’ lot of sense to normal people on the outside looking in).

Nowadays Tony has ditched the cane and gets around in a wheelchair. Probably because it’s easier. And plus, he always has a place to sit. Which can be hard to find sometimes when you’re on the streets.  A place to rest your ass.

Later that night I ran into Tony on Dwight Way.  “Hey Ace, would you push me across the street to Regent Street?

“Sure thing, Tony,” I said.

I pushed him across the street to Regent Street. It made me realize how the simplest things — like crossing the street — could be an incredibly difficult ordeal when you’re blind.

“Are you going to be all right, Tony?”

“Yeah.  As long as I’m on Regent Street I’ll be all right.”

I left him there, sitting there in the middle of the sidewalk in his wheelchair.  And I just wondered how the hell  I would be able to find a crash-spot for myself if I happened to be sitting there in total and complete darkness.




June 7, 2017

R. Crumb explained

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:26 pm

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Hate Man nostalgia: “Hate Man gets crunched”

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 7:29 pm


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On this date last year, June 3, 2016: The city just grabbed Hate Man’s recycling bin where he stores some of his stuff and threw it out. So he’s stunned at this moment. Taking the hit. His jug of fresh brewed coffee and 12 pounds of sugar (Hate Man has a sweet tooth, that 12 pounds probably lasted him a week, ha ha) and some of his journals were in there. Two jackets and a blanket. Among other stuff. So its a loss. . . . . But Hate Man was philosophical. “Its like what Edgar Cayce used to say. ‘Everything is appropriate.'” . . . . . Speaking of sugar,  Hate Man once asked me to buy him a cup of coffee at Peat’s. “Get the coffee black. And then fill this other cup half-way full with sugar from the condiments table.” “Why do you want all that sugar?” I asked. “That’s how much sugar I put in my coffee,” Hate said.




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