The thing that we should do

September 10, 2008

Look what I found.”

“What’s that?”

“I found him on the road here. It’s a little bluebird. I can’t let him just get run over.”

“Holy smokes! So what are you going to do now?”

“Didn’t I tell you once that one of my regulars knows all about animals. I’ll take it over to her place. She’ll know the thing that we should do.”

18 Responses to “The thing that we should do”

  1. kim Says:

    Where are you getting your information on Tony’s home and truck? Is it simple because he turned down your help that you assume this? Has it occurred to you that he is perhaps not unhappy about his situation? Perhaps he doesn’t feel the need to change it?

  2. Sharon Clemens Says:

    Dearest Maisy, you are pissed off because Tony dose not need you help .Not all poeple need to live in a house to call it home , on til you have the true story keep your mouth shit.this is from Tony’s loving sister now piss off the leave my brother a lone

  3. Sharon Clemens Says:

    Phillip ,Tony can see family pictures on my facebook page

  4. Maisy Says:

    My friend offered him 2 six-foot lamps and asked him if he could use them, thinking this may help generate him some cash. He said ” Yes! They’d go perfect in my apartment.” My friend, confused by this asked how he would manage to take them *home* with him, he answered “My truck is parked right around the corner.” He packed up and took one of the lamps *HOME* with him.

    As for Tony’s loving sister, if your brother is homeless, and you are aware of his plight, you must recognize the severe situation and consequences of homelessness. Homelessness is a severe medical threat to persons of grievous misfortune: malnutrition, inappropriate access to health care, exposure to the elements, beatings and abuse all contribute towards hundreds of deaths on our streets every single year. And so why is your role here to defend his “life choice” (something which I defend, by the way and am well aware that several of Toronto’s homeless suffer from severe schizophrenia, addiction or other mental illnesses that render this choice preferable to forced incarceration or treatment).

    If indeed your brother *is* homeless, why are your efforts spent here, writing me, rather than making a conscientious efforts to assist in his transition to a safer lifestyle and homestead? He is a Canadian, and thus, eligible for assistance, and has had more than one person try to offer him help in obtaining this.

    Homelessness is a very serious social concern. I don’t care if Tony doesn’t “need” me. I’m glad of it, frankly, because that is one less person in dire straights. I do care, however, that every other *real* marginalized and desperate person living on the streets are impacted negatively by this one man’s story-telling gig. And that otherwise generous and kind-minded people with the will and means to try to help the poor and displaced will become jaded and reluctant to grant their assistance towards this very important social concern because of one man’s exploitation of their kindness.

  5. kim Says:

    Again Maisy, you are making sweeping assumptions. You assume because a person is homeless they are victim to beatings are schizophrenic, malnourished and in dire need. Maybe he is, I don’t know him personally but considering the fact that he clearly has people looking out for him have you even CONSIDERED that Tony is happy with his current situation? Your all encompassing assumptions are just as bigoted as someone saying that because he is homeless Tony must be a thief & a junkie. It is the same prejudice with just a little more sugar on top. Yes, he has been offered assistance in gaining government help……. why are you so pissed that he’s turned it down? He is an adult male who clearly has the ability to make his own choices. I think your mad because he didn’t agree with what you had chosen FOR him.

  6. Maisy Says:

    Now *that’s* funny. Freedom of speech is herein granted to the “homeless” but when a bonafide and legitimate concern is herein voice (i.e. the two posts I wrote following this present one to Kim) containing clarification about my statements regarding homelessness and economic disparity – that by no means denigrates the real faces of poverty AND details about the actual *STATUS* of Tony’s homelessness by his OWN admission (which is what prompted this reply in the first place) *and* offering useful ways to effectively help with the homeless or poor in your neighbourhood…

    These are omitted.

    Makes the initial statement about fraud all the more convincing when you need to silence the truth. Don’t you think?

    Sorry you missed these replies, Kim. The editorial process and such working hard to…. well, I suppose we are proximal to the Bush Administration’s regime. Silence is golden and good for the State.

  7. Philip Stern Says:

    Hi Maisy,
    I take down any comments that are defamatory, which includes accusations of fraud. If you’ve got a criminal complaint, this is not the place to air it, especially by pasting the same comment under at least 12 different posts, which is by itself objectionable.

    For more info, have a look at

  8. Maisy Says:

    Dear Phillip,

    I fully appreciate your granting a face to homelessness. I have worked with the homeless, the economically and socially marginalized, still do, and recognize that granting this disadvantaged populace a face and a voice is a necessary thing to do in order to raise public consciousness.

    I *support* this, and I *do* believe that at one time, Tony lived on the streets. I also think it hugely triumphant if your awareness campaign has served the interest of helping him *off* the street, as I have claimed and supported by specifics that were omitted. This being the case, his success should be heralded since it would seem your objective towards public awareness has achieved at least one case of success.

    But the threads that you pulled were, if anything, a firm and strong statement of advocacy FOR in DEFENSE of the poor and marginalized in our society. I even suggested several practical and useful ways individuals who otherwise feel helpless about the issues can do something about it. Surely, my commentary can not be regarded as any more defamatory than Kim calling me a bigot, a notion that is so completely off the wall, it’s just silly.

    But a face for homelessness should be valid, and not be a “feel good” mask to make the “have’s” feel better about the “have nots” when the true “have not’s” interests have failed to be served. To know they said “hi” and dropped a coin or two in Tony’s hat, or to come here and think to oneself “Yes, I’m being a good person and I can sleep well tonight” doesn’t necessarily serve the apparent intent of this website, unless I have a grievous misunderstanding of its intent.

    The object is to bring to the fore public awareness, no? If I one is to respect the poor, the marginalized *and* their right to choose, which I strongly support, then do these same people not deserve just the same respect and regard as anybody else? If so, they should equally be called to task if deceiving the public. I am not even saying Tony is a bad guy. I don’t believe he is, but whether he is or isn’t is entirely beside the point.

    The only question I have tried to address is whether or not he is, presently, homeless, as he campaigns himself to be, when by his own admission, he has a home. If he is to campaign publicly to the contrary, and if this is assertion is untrue, then the public he is campaigning towards has the right to know this, don’t they?

    Of greatest concern to me here is that one man’s inauthenticity can have enormous consequence upon the real, desperate and largely invisible homeless. People, in general, once deceived tend not to trust again, and the moderately visible become again majorly invisible, and this seems to me to undermine your ultimate imperatives in your creating this site.

  9. kim Says:

    Maisy, this reply brings up some valid and interesting points- the earlier ones appeared angry and blindly aggressive (hence my response to them.)
    I think you and Philip have similar goals, but clearly a different approach to them. If Tony is in fact no longer homeless I agree that the posts should state/reflect that but I don’t believe that his regular routine on the street needs to change if he doesn’t want it to. I don’t think need has to be fraud if the need is not “dire enough” to warrant the change thrown in. Everyone on the street has their own reason for being there, even if it’s part time. I disagree with you in that I think this site brings the very really point to the people who possibly turned a blind eye to it in the past. People read the blog- clearly people with access to computers- and Tony’s blog puts a face & a story to homelessness that most people don’t get in their day to day lives. Perhaps by stumbling on this blog they will look at homeless in their city with a little more compassion. People are much more apt to act if what they are acting for seems “real” to them. A face, a name, a story, some humour, some sadness…. Maybe it will make the masses a little more understanding?

  10. Philip Stern Says:

    Thanks and amen.

  11. kim Says:

    You’re welcome!

  12. […] PHILIP “This wouldn’t be a hub cap from the van that that woman wrote about on the blog last week?“ […]

  13. […] “You’ve just gotta be kidding me?  Somebody out there is saying that I got a van and an apartment — they even said it was a pret… ?  What planet is she […]

  14. James Says:

    It seems maisy that you have defined in your mind what homelessness is, and therefor if someones situation does not fit into your view, then they are misrepresenting them self. Of course being that you seem to have extensive experience working with those who are experiencing homelessness, you would understand that to define an individual by their circumstance is to in fact, condemn them to that. Your experiences with those finding themselves with out a home, of course has led to the understanding that a home is a whole life situation that means being welcomed into a safe, secure and dignified place to live; healthy, nurturing relationships; the opportunity for education, meaningful work for reasonable pay; and to engage in vibrant community.
    If someone has a van/truck/box/shelter to sleep in does that mean they are no longer homeless and no longer in need of what was stated above? how about someone who surfs from couch to couch?
    many equate 4 walls and a roof, to home… and that is just naive!

    Tony and Phil, tell your story in the way that you feel conveys your point… you are poets, take poetic license. your point is truth !

  15. Ryan. L Says:

    Fuckin Eh!

  16. kim Says:

    Well said James!

  17. lina Says:

    Homeless people are people that do not live in a residence.If you live in a car or on the streets then you are homeless.People that have a residence that beg on the streets is taking away from the truly homeless.If you are hungry go to a food bank or soup kitchen.In one of tonys comments he says he asked the guy from brads to give him a dollar towards diner and the guy asked tony how much he needed for dinner and tony said 7 dollars.ARE YOU KIDDING ME,$7!!! I have a part time job and i do not spend $7 on a meal.If somebody were truly homeless they would not spend $7 on one meal.Two double cheeseburgers at mcdonalds total cost under $3.This guy is almost as bad as the lady out every day selling newspapers who i quit giving money cause she goes and buys $8 pack of cigarettes and gets her hair died.You can’t go ten feet on roncesvalles without a bum asking you for money.

  18. James Says:


    COME ON…
    two colon blockers from mcd’s isn’t fit for a cat, let alone a human. because something is edible does not make it food. many of those who find themselves without a home, also realize that vitamins are important. And a 6′ combo at subway with drink and cookies is about $7.
    and to say that you have a job and you don’t spend 7 on a meal is the most absurd thing i have ever heard… you seem intent on reading what Tony and Phil write, yet you want them to conform to your rules on homelessness.
    So then conform to my rules of having a job, you are wealthy, you have disposable income, you travel to exotic lands, you wipe your ass with $100 dollar bills, and act like mr burns from the simpsons…
    Do you see the lunacy of forcing someone to conform to your cockamamie misconceptions of their life?
    oh screw it, your post is an obvious attempt to feel a level of superiority over those who are in a different position than your self. So here you go.

    Lina you are awesome, all humanity can learn from your compassion, your advice to eat the most unhealthy food our country has, is an inspiration. Your direction to use a soup kitchen or food bank, was excellent, (giving the location of a few would have been swell too). Due to your advice in this post, i would say, you good friend have done your duty, when asked for a dollar or some assistance, I would recommend pointing people to this post. it just may be what is needed to solve the issue of the urban hungry, or the homelessness crisis in Toronto. so again THANK YOU.
    Sorry for being a dick… but as I lead off with COME ON

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