Archive for May, 2007

Dad, could you spare me?

May 30, 2007

Mercy and justice

“Tony, I’ve meaning to ask you this for a while: What’s your earliest memory?”

“I remember when I was 5 years old, my Mom would sometimes put us in the ‘cold room’ in the basement for punishment when my sister and me had been bad. I remember once when she was angry at us — I can’t remember what it was about — so we went into the cold room. Then my Dad sneaks in, he surprised the heck out of us and he gives us each dime, so we could crawl out of the little basement window and go to see a movie. I can’t remember the movie at all but I’m pretty sure we saw it twice and we probably got some popcorn too like we always did. Then after we snuck back through the window to the cold room. Of course, when she let us go later, my Mom asked us if we’d learned our lesson and of course we said we did and I think probably we even behaved properly after that and Mom never found out.”

I and thou

May 29, 2007

Seeking affection

“See that guy who’s jogging up the street with no shirt on? Yeah, he’s the one that’s been making eyes at me every time he goes by — and I gotta say I just can’t imagine what he’s got about me.”

A cheesy old yarn

May 25, 2007

Rat marks

“Where’d you sleep last night?”

“On that porch I told you about. Like always, I hung my socks over the plywood to air ’em out. So some guy comes by and I think maybe he smelled my socks; anyway he asks me why I’m hanging my socks there so I told him I’m trying to keep the rats away but the problem is that they get used to the smell after a while.”

Three requests of you

May 23, 2007

Samuel Clemens’s home

Tony and I need your help in three realms:

  1. The Calgary business community has committed to curing homelessness in 10 years. We believe that we can and should do the same in Toronto (and other Canadian cities too). Do you know anyone who could catalyze this or help us launch this initiative?
  2. Tony’s face, his wry bearing and amazing loquacity — they all remind me [Philip] of Mark Twain. Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens. How could Tony find out if Samuel is his great-great grand cousin, twice-removed, etc.?
  3. Our blog,, has a large and enthusiastic readership, for which we’re grateful. Thank-you. Nonetheless, Tony and I are seeking ways of dramatically increasing the readership and visibility of the blog. We think the blog’s key messages will resonate with lots of folks who’ve never heard of the blog. Any ideas?

If you might be able to help us, please leave a comment below, or if you prefer, click me at philip [at]

Much, much appreciated.

The best rats

May 21, 2007

Shoe shine

“Sometimes those rats are almost as big as raccoons. The best rats I’ve seen are as long as two of my shoes. And look at my feet; they’re size 12’s. So I’ve seen some rats in my life.”


May 18, 2007

Rough on rats

“So I was telling a guy about the rats that sometimes come to the porch where I’m sleeping most nights. Two days later he walks up and puts a plastic bag with rat poison on my little stool here. The rats don’t bother me so I don’t really need the stuff.”

Oh fudge

May 15, 2007

“Went down to the bottom of Roncesvalles the other day and I saw a kid coming out of that variety store right at the corner with Queen Street. He was eating a fudgesicle and, you know, I just can’t resist those fudgesicles. I ended up eating 10 fudgesicles that night and I felt sick after eating them. I hope I never do that again.”

The crutch of conclusive evidence

May 13, 2007


“I lost my crutch a few days back.”

“How’d that happen?”

“Someone stole it.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding. Someone stole a worn-out crutch from a homeless guy?”

“Yup. Then the other day, I see a guy walking towards me and that’s my crutch he’s got. So when he walks by, I grab the crutch. He tells me he bought it fair and square but show him a special black mark near the bottom — that’s the mark that was on my crutch. So he gave it back.”

Pushing his button

May 10, 2007

Life begins

“You know, Elmo is a big attraction. There’s this older lady, mind you she’s got lots of energy in her; she walks all the way up to me from the next block and comes up and presses Elmo’s button to play his guitar. So I said to her: ‘You didn’t need to walk the whole way, I could have met you half way.’ So she says don’t worry about it, she says it’s a fun thing for her to do all by herself. If you ask me, that’s the good attitude to life.”

Spring’s new charge

May 8, 2007

“Some guy walked by the other day and he tells me I’m a bit crazy. So I asked him why he’d say that. So he says that since Elmo needs batteries, I must be spending money to buy them.

“Then just then, a kid goes up to the Elmo and presses the button and Elmo plays his little guitar and sings. Of course, the kids smiles, and I so ask the guy who told me I’m crazy: ‘What could be more precious than a kid’s smile?’ So the guy says he needs to think about that and goes up the street. About an hour later he comes back and just hands me a package of new batteries so I think he got what I was saying.”

A new guard for Tony’s new bag

May 6, 2007

Sesame street person

(Tony’s previous bag was stolen.)

Tony’s new hat for spring

May 4, 2007


It’s detox time

May 2, 2007

Ghost stories

“Remember when I told you few days ago that I was going to set up that meeting between the aura and the guy who gave the aura his drugs before he died? Well, I did and it happened. And my friend, he saw the aura and he knew what it was about and he recognized the aura and everything. He just bolted out of the room and down the stairs, didn’t even touch the plywood and didn’t land on any of the steps, he just flew out of there.

“Well you know where he went? Straight into the detox. He’s still in there. That aura scared the crap out of him so bad and he said that he was going to go straight from now on.”

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