Tag Archives: homeless

Hobo Hilton highs for homeless

Opaque windows on all four sides at all levels to allow both privacy and lights are only one of the imaginary, unique, compassionate features.

Opaque windows on all four sides at all levels to allow both privacy and lights are only one of the imaginary, unique, compassionate features.

Hi readers:

When the tsunami of Chinese [and other Asian imports] spawned hobo-jungles of unemployed US workers a lot of us believed it was an ill-wind that blew no good.  However, what we couldn’t have anticipated was the new birth and rejuvenation of the US railroads to deliver those goods to consumers who still had jobs.

As you see in the photo the nearby dumpster provides easy diving as well as convenient disposal of garbage accumulations for community volunteers policing the area.  Note also the 'donation' bin located middle right.  Nearby residents are thereby able to voluntarily dispose of items of their own choosing rather than having things stolen willy-nilly from their vehicles and homes.  A pad located at the donation bin informs residents of the high-rise of who is contributing, and who is not carrying part of the load voluntarily.

As you see in the photo the nearby dumpster provides easy diving as well as convenient disposal of garbage accumulations for community volunteers policing the area. Note also the ‘donation’ bin located middle left. Nearby residents are thereby able to voluntarily dispose of items of their own choosing rather than having things stolen willy-nilly from their vehicles and homes. A pad located at the donation bin informs residents of the high-rise of who is contributing, and who is not carrying part of the load voluntarily.

The logjam automobiles at train crossings caused by new rail freight traffic forced many cities to elevate tracks inside the metropolitan areas.  Unfortunately the consequence was to displace hundreds of dispossessed workers living in hobo jungles.

The Kansas City Metro area, concerned for the welfare of their homeless population and inadequate available shelters during inclement weather, chose to devote resources to a long-term solution.  Based on the assumption US consumers would never again be able to produce anything but hamburgers to sell to one another and jobs  involving the transport, storage, unloading and sales of Asian products, they [the Kansans] built long-term.

Every elevated railroad intersection has a multi-story Hobo Hilton providing warmth, privacy, a place to relax where they  can be easily located and rounded up for police lineups when nearby neighborhoods fail to use the donation-bin with sufficient enthusiasm.

Asian products are fundamentally responsible for this one more demonstration of compassion so typical of US citizens and local governments.  When conditions change, Americans reach out and respond to help other Americans instead of only giving only lip-service “WE WILL NEVER FORGET” promises and self-congratulatory flag-waving.

It’s a warm fuzzy just seeing it.

Old Jules

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Blown tires and ‘the homeless’

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Strange trip to town yesterday to get my town business taken care of.  A guy was telling me about a bunch of ‘homeless people’ living down behind the Kerrville Public Library and the Guadalupe River, and I moseyed down for a looksee.  Middling surprising.

Kerrville’s a fairly wealthy, relatively small community filled with mostly retirees from government, military, and top drawer private sector.  It has golf courses the way most small towns in Texas used to have churches…. one-per-street-corner.  The rest of the population mostly makes do fetching and carrying, ringing up cash-registers to fill the needs of the golf-coursers.  Ingram used to be a different town a dozen miles down the road, but now it’s indistinguishable from Kerrville except for the population being part of the old-timers and people working to make life better for the rich retirees.

But here, out-of-sight in the midst of all this resides a colony of ruffled, smelly people sleeping on the grass and under the bridge over the Guadalupe.  A cursory look would number them somewhere between 50 and 100.  A good many do their washing up and hanging around in the library to get cool now, warm when it’s cold.

Not a homogenous group in any way I could see.  Some are the usual ‘homeless’ stereotype in the larger urban areas, some younger, some drugees and alcoholics, some maybe ghetto types, and some you wouldn’t spot as any of this, just seeing them on the street.

Evidently the Kerrville city government’s getting enough complaints about it to cause them to try to figure out how they can drive them off to somewhere else where they won’t be a nuisance.

I’ve never been comfortable with the word, ‘homeless’ as a means of placing people into a tribal stereotype.  The emphasis on the structure a person dwells in as a tribal name is just too damned lots-of-what-I-wish-different-about-America-disease.  The straight fact is that every single one of us has a few thousand generations of ancestors who lived in similar homes to the ones these people sleep under, minus the library. 

And the names we give our ancestors are peasants, serfs, nomads, hunter-gatherers, the whole range of words describing people who weren’t aristocrats, struggled to stay alive any way they could.  People who were fetching and carrying for the aristocrats and starving/freezing-to-death-doing it.  Filthy, stinking peasants, serfs, nomads, scratching out a living any way they could, stalking the game animals in the rich-man forests and getting hanged for it, or wandering around grubbing for nuts, plants and meat varmints they could eat because they hadn’t advanced far enough to have aristocrats.

What those people used to be was tramps, hobos, beggars, derelicts, which was nearer the truth, but still didn’t cover the subject.  That place between the river and library is a hobo jungle minus a railroad track.  But I don’t think the people living that life can qualify by any stereotype.  For instance, my long-time-ago post about Stephen Schumpert, a guy I grew up with:

Could you choose to live on the street?

 If the cats all croaked on me I think I might like to try that for a while to flesh out my life experience while I still have some.

Anyway, I was thinking about all this as I drove home when I blew out a tire on the RV…. another inside-rear.  Sounded a lot like a shotgun when it went.  After examining it I decided to nurse it home instead of trying to change it on the road. 

The cost of a new tire’s going to set me back about a month in my best laid plans, and trying to get the RV off  the ground high enough to change it’s going to be a day spent in hard labor.  Haven’t decided whether  to try to nurse it back to Kerrville and let one of the working-for-a-living serfs and peasants at the WalMart or Discount Tire do the work.

Maybe instead of ‘the homeless’ a better word to describe the colony of people down between the library and the river would be, ‘the blown tires’.

I sort of like that.

Old Jules

The Poor and Under-educated

Previously posted June 9, 2005

There’s been a lot of discussion on various threads about the statements people who think they know, (politicians, academians, religious zealots, know-it-alls, do-gooders and others with the wisdom to know what’s best for people who aren’t fortunate enough to be them) that most of the people who play the lotteries are poor and under educated.

The Poor:
I’d be the first to agree that people who are one or another level of ‘poor’ play the lotteries.  Most of us are poorer than we’d like to be…. that’s why folks such as Hollywood Henderson and Jack Whittaker bought tickets.

But how poor can a person be and still buy lottery tickets?

The poorest people I know are living on the streets panhandling.  They have their values straight, as a rule.  Priority one, when some money falls into their lives:  A bottle of something, a fix of something.

Priority number sixteen, or thereabouts:  Something to eat.

Priority number twenty-seven:  A lottery ticket.

Those folks aren’t buying a lot of tickets.

The somewhat higher level of poor people do buy some tickets, I’ve observed standing in line behind them at the convenience store.  They drive up in automobiles, buy a case of beer for the evening, some chips, and probably go home to watch the results on television.  They mightn’t have a nice home…. maybe a trashed out mobile home in some park full of human lessons to be learned, anger and loud music, but they aren’t actually poor.

In fact, by any standard besides the one we judge such things by today for social reasons, these ‘poor’ people are generally enjoying a level of wealth seldom experienced in human history.  There’s food available to them through food banks all over this nation to keep them from starving.  They have shelter from the weather and warmth in the winter.  They can purchase clothing at any garage sale for a quarter.  They drive automobiles or use public transportation unless they choose to walk.

In a world where the history of human living conditions have predominantly involved worrying about where the next meal is (or isn’t) coming from, where death by exposure to the elements has almost always been a reality, the US doesn’t have more than a smattering of poor people by standard that existed a century ago. 

Those poor people referred to by the politicians and statisticians are adults, making choices about what risks they wish to indulge with the money they have in hopes of improving their lot.  They’re submerged in wealth.  If you don’t believe it, imagine those pictures you probably see on television of villages somewhere with kids lying around with pot-bellies, flies walking all over their faces, them without the energy to lift a hand to brush them off, one step away from exiting the vehicle because there’s nothing to eat and there’s not going to be.  That’s poor.

The Under-Educated:

I happen to have a pretty fair formal education, though I’m ‘under-educated’, as is everyone I’ve ever met.  Which boils down to all lottery players being under-educated, and that being a shared trait with all those who don’t play.  Until someone invents an educational level that includes being ‘over-educated’, and ‘just-the-right-educated’, none of the above tells us much about who plays the lottery.

But it does tell us a lot about manipulative rhetoric, politics by guilt, religious posturing, hypocracy, and a willingness (or unwillingness) to allow adults who might be just as smart and savvy as we are to make their own choices about how they want to spend their money.  About what risks they’re willing to take in life.  That comes under the heading of something called, “freedom”.  Not a lot of it floating around these days.

Old Jules

Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why?



I’m not an admirer of human beings as being particularly inspirational, on the whole.  Yeah, a lot of human sentences find themselves trapped between quotation marks in fragments people find supportive of viewpoints that won’t stand on their own hind legs.  Pithy wisdomoids giving authority to vapid premises.  Often this does happen in a synthetically inspirational context.  But the sources of those quotes usually don’t appear so wise or unblemished under careful scrutiny.

Maybe ‘inspirational’ isn’t the appropriate word to capture the concept I’m hoping to convey.

Maybe ‘has had an influence on your life you believe helped you to be a person you came nearer admiring than the one you were previously’ would more accurately describe it while filling the need for cumbersome rhetoric.  The inspiration derived from firing wisdomoids back and forth at one another isn’t made of the strong stuff I’m trying to communicate.

For instance, I used to be acquainted with a Vietnam vet, who lived in an Econoline van in Albuquerque.  He had a route of parking spots and a time schedule he’d follow to hang around each place for a while.  The street guys who were dumpster-diving knew his schedule.  They also knew  he’d pay a fair price for  anything he could get his money back on that they’d salvaged out of the trash.  After making his rounds, the Econoline would head to the flea market and he’d sell first to the crowd, then whatever was left to the flea market merchants.

By reselling it from homeless guys dumpster-diving, he provided them a means of getting some cash for a lot of things they’d have no way to sell  for themselves, or would have had a lot of difficulty getting more than a few cents for.  His route superimposed an economic network devised to offer those submerged in hardship a trickle of income, a safety net.  He provided a valuable service.

But what I particularly admired was that, when he came across someone he believed was ready to try drug or alcohol withdrawal he’d pack them up in the van and head off somewhere to the middle of nowhere, usually a small town with a restaurant or grocery store where he could pick up food and supplies. Once out of the city environment, he’d keep the addict in the van a week, two weeks, a month, drying them out, getting them clean, being there for them.

I came across him once parked at Vietnam Memorial Wall park in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  I didn’t realize at first what I was seeing.  I just saw his van with the white Ministry sign roughly painted on the side and recognized it and him outside it.  I stopped to chew the fat with him, then heard the moaning in the Econoline.  He caught my eye and shrugged.

“Trying to kick smack.  He’s on his second week.  It ought to start getting better in a few days.”  The odor of vomit, urine and human excretions was strong near the truck, so we drifted further afield as we talked.  Probably he was used to it, but I wasn’t.

Christian guy.  One of the Christians I’ve known that kept me believing there are honest-to-goodness bona fide Christians in the world.

I surely admired his guts, his determination and compassion.  There’s a lot about him I’d admire in myself if I looked inside me and surprised myself finding it there.

Nice to come across a Christian occasionally who isn’t all hat and no cattle.

I wonder what Jesus thought about sin.  Jesus did his talking about loving neighbors, compassion, peace-making, mercy, that sort of thing.  Hardly said anything about sin.  If he could speak his mind today I wonder if he’d forgive Saul of Tarsus the way he did Judas.”  Josephus Minimus

Here are a couple of blogs you might find of interest:

Urbandumpsterdiver’s Blog

Doing It Homeless

Old Jules

Kingston Trio-Reverend Mr. Black
http://youtu.be/sKJiDbvKbZs

John Lennon– Cold Turkey
http://youtu.be/n6wxTkkfLqM