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Bicycles and the Executive Bum

With spring coming my mind turns to bicycles… In cities you see few homeless on bicycles because they get stolen, cost a pretty penny, and the homeless tend not to be the exercise type. Their primary activities are recycling cans and dumpster diving, where the classic carrier is a purloined shopping cart. A bike doesn’t [...]

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It Always Starts with Alba

I get a strange impression on entering the Kitchen this noon and cast about the ten tables of fifty patrons- homeless, unwaged, retired, crazies, welfare cases, stew bums, beggars, the hungry, transients, or others just searching for a cup of comfort- for a focus.  The place jumps, almost explodes out the door.  I step back [...]

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Who Eats at the Blythe, CA Kitchen

Here’s a sampling from our Kitchen that represents the general downtrodden found in the streets and soup lines across America. About forty eaters surround me daily of which I estimated based on my fifteen tramping years:         ¼ have part-time jobs but few work full-time.         ½ beg.         ¼ would give you the shirt off their back [...]

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Some Are Born to Teach

There's been a go-around on education among us recently. Today at the Blythe Food Kitchen, while scarfing seconds of a free 5-course meal, a red-bearded man next to me shifted and whispered, I know that new old lady serving us. And she's staring hard like she knows me too. The fellow across the table replied, [...]

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Hope and the Working Class

For the last month, day by day at noon, I watched the street people of Blythe, California file to the free Kitchen eatery door and, after reading the same old sign, retrace their steps staring at their feet: Cook had heart attack! Today, out of hope, I looked up at the sign one more time [...]

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Soup Kitchen

Every day when I walk into the soup kitchen in Blythe, CA, it’s like opening a Louis L’Amour novel where I learn a dozen useful facts of life. On today’s “menu”: How to hang a door: Better hang it before you frame it, like the legal system, to ensure no cracks. How to straighten a [...]

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Tortured in the LA County Jail

I've been to some strange places on earth but when I landed in the LA county jail for jaywalking I thought this is the end. First, two hundred of us were jammed into a large room with one open toilet where the feces literally overflowed onto the floor. I sat on the floor near there [...]

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Battling Beggary

Ten tips, if you please. Whom should I give to? bores to the heart at the fingertips of every beggar. 1   When I receive something of value then I give back in same, whether it’s to a beggar or otherwise. 2   If the beggar is a hard case cripple then I give unless he’s in [...]

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Begging Lessons from a Beggar

Any beggary tips I proffer are from observations on a hundred skid rows across America and in a hundred countries, with one exception. Hobos call it ‘throwing your feet’ with so much walking and standing. It stares you in the face that the more panhandlers, the worse the times, and the higher the takes the [...]

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Prison Tourism In Peru

Take a virtual tour of the infamous Lurigancho Lima prison before visiting Peru as a tourist. Watch 50,000 cans of beer tumble off a truck into the prison yard courtesy of the warden who takes a 25 cent commission, try your luck at the casinos, dance shirtless in the disco, pretty girls, drugs, attend church, [...]

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