Acid Heroes

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

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 7:20 pm
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Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, hat and outdoor

 

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?”

“Yeah.”

“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.”

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January 1, 2018

Happy Moo Year!!

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 12:15 am
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Communicating with your cat

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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APRIL: Life goes on.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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AUGUST: Feral cats, mostly still just goofing off.

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

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AUGUST: Julia Vinograd is spotted on Telegraph Avenue.

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

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SEPTEMBER: An unexpected visitor shows up at my campsite.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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SEPTEMBER: Further proof of the existence of God.

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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.

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OCTOBER: Feral cats? Still slacking off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NOVEMBER: Senator Al Franken makes one joke too many.

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

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October 8, 2017

End of the line

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:43 pm
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Image may contain: skyscraper, sky, ocean, outdoor and water

When I head down from my campsite in the Berkeley hills in the morning, I often get a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay, and the San Francisco skyline, and the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Pacific Ocean beyond it. And I often get this funny feeling. Like I’ve reached the end of the world, the end of Western Civilization, the end of the line. Remember traveling 3,000 miles across the country from New Jersey to San Francisco. And ending up here mostly because I couldn’t go any farther.

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October 3, 2017

Part of the scenery

 

img_20170713_153148.jpgOne of the weird things about homeless street people. They become like part of the scenery. There’s that street light.  There’s that bus bench. There’s that store front. And there’s that homeless guy hanging out at his spot on the sidewalk with his dog.  You see them every day. So after awhile you get to feel like you know them. Even though you don’t really know them.

Like this guy. And his dog. I must have passed him and his dog a thousand times as I walked down Shattuck.  He was always set up at his hang-out spot on the sidewalk in front of Half Price Books. He’s been hanging out there every day for years. And him and his dog are a perfect match. A matching set.  They’re the very definition of “laconic.” Neither of them hardly ever move from their spot. And when they did move, they moved slowly. They were almost like a public statue.  And then at the end of the day they’d move about 10 feet to their crash spot in the doorway of Half Price Books where they’d sleep for the night. Wake up the next morning.  And start all over again.

He seemed like a fairly friendly sort.  People would often stop and chat with him as they strolled down Shattuck.  And his dog was quite popular, too.  Got a lot of pets, a lot of attention, from the passerbys. Every now and then he would take out his acoustic guitar,and jam out some bluesy kind of instrumental stuff, and he had some nice skills on the guitar.

Image may contain: flower, plant and textYou could tell he had a lot of miles on him, probably in his late 50s, and had been through many a rough winters and was kind of on his last legs.  So I wasn’t particularly surprised when he suddenly disappeared last winter.  You noticed his absence immediately.  For, like I said, he was part of the scenery.  And now a piece of it was missing.  Word went out that he had died. So they made a make-shift shrine in his honor at his hang-out spot. They put flowers and candles and heart-felt eulogies. “I miss you and your dog Grinder so much, Rick!!”

But then a month later he returned to his spot. He wasn’t dead after all.  He was having some health problems and had been temporarily put up in a hotel. So it was like Mark Twain. “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

But now he’s been missing again lately for the last 2 months. So who knows.  Nothing stays the same for very long in this life.  Even things that seem like they had been part of the scenery forever.

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September 23, 2017

Wake up and smell the McDonald’s

 

I made the mistake of going to McDonald’s at around noon today. Lunchtime. So the place was packed. And the line was long. But I’m a cheap bastard. McDonald’s is the only place where you can get a large coffee for a dollar. So I decided to put up with the madness.

But I swear, half the people in there are INSANE (conservative estimate). This one lunatic is having a long and angry conversation with the soda dispenser. Another guy repeatedly marches up to the counter and angrily demands: “GIMME MORE NAPKINS YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!!” (he’s very displeased with the service) The cashier gives him more napkins which he clumsily drops on the floor. Which he blames on the cashier: “GIMME SOME MORE DAMN NAPKINS!!”

Meanwhile every other person ordering their meal turns it into a bizarre ritual that goes on and on for an ENDLESS amount of time until they finally get their order straight.

Then this guy and his girlfriend sidle up to the guy waiting on line ahead of me. “Hey Joe how’s it going?” he says. They shake hands and start making small talk. Evidently they’re friends. And it becomes clear that they’re planning to use their friendship with Joe as a pretense to cut in front of the line (which is LONG at this point).

Generally I just let these low-level assholes slide. It’s not worth the hassle. And I’ve seen people get gutted with a knife for confronting line-cutters. But I’m just not in the mood for this shit this morning.

“The line starts back THERE!” I say curtly.

He gives me a blank look. Lingers for a minute or two in the spot on the line ahead of me. And then, wisely, says goodbye to his friend Joe. And he and his girlfriend leave the McDonald’s.

I think sometimes even relatively thick people can sense when I haven’t yet had my first cup of coffee in the morning. And that I very well may kill them if they prevent me from getting it in a timely fashion.

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September 20, 2017

Some of my old comic strips that somebody posted on the internet

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September 11, 2017

The hallowed halls of academia

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There are many geniuses that walk among us in the Halls of Academia. And then there’s the other kind. . . About 10 years ago somebody decided they should have a clock in the lobby of the Student Union Building. So they brought in these workmen. And they installed the clock. Built it right into the wall of the lobby. Looked great.

But then, 6 months later, when it was Daylight Savings Time, and they had to turn the clocks back an hour, they realized — to their chagrin — that there was no mechanism to change the time.

So they brought the workmen back. And they tore the wall apart so they could get to the inner workings of the clock so that they could correct the time. So that was great.

Except 6 months later, when the clocks changed again, they had to bring the workmen back again to repeat the whole routine of tearing the wall apart.

After a couple of years of this they finally concluded: “Fuck this. This is too much trouble.” So they just left the clock the way it was.

But the good news was: For many years the clock in the lobby of the Student Union Building had the correct time for at least half the year.

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September 6, 2017

Hate Man Superstar

Last Sunday BAMPFA (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive) had a screening of the documentary “Hate Man Street Philosopher.” The film was shown outdoors on this big screen in the back of the BAMPFA building. So it was sort of like going to a drive-in movie, except without a car.  And it was surreal to see Hate Man’s gigantic head, 20 feet tall, staring down at us from the silver screen. Needless to say I give the film a big thumb’s up, and a hateful time was had by one and all.

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