Archive for the 'Toronto' Category

Suspicious minds

March 9, 2008

Hyenas

PHILIP
“Hey Tony, I was talking to this homeless guy, Randy, about sleeping in shelters. He hasn’t stayed in a shelter in at least a year and he says he won’t ever again if he can. He figures that 10% of the five hundred guys staying there are ‘psycho’ — guys who’d kill you for ‘a pack of smokes or half a tuna sandwich.’ ”

TONY
You’ve heard me tell you that before. Nobody believes it … who’s gonna to listen to one of us, if you know what I mean?”

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Tony’s 59th birthday party – Tues, Feb 26 2008, 4:30-6pm – Gino’s: Howard Park and Dundas

February 23, 2008

Thumbs up

Be there.

Home invasion

February 13, 2008

Man in blizzard

TONY
“I haven’t seen so much snow since that winter of 1999, you know when the army came in to dig us out. Also, that’s about the time when I got stuck being homeless.”

Cough-22

November 28, 2007

Sigmund Clemens

PHILIP
“You’re coughing again.”

TONY
“You’re telling me! It’s pushing my gut through my stomach muscles now.”

PHILIP
“Why don’t you go down to St. Joe’s and see a doctor?”

TONY
“No point.”

PHILIP
“What?”

TONY
“They’ll just write me up a prescription, but how’m I going to pay for it?”

PHILIP
“Come on, Tony, there’s got to be a government drug payment scheme for people in your situation.”

TONY
“Yeah, I’m working on that.”

Bump on a log

September 21, 2007

Logs alone

PHILIP
“Where were you the last few days?”

TONY
“You’ll never believe this. I fell asleep in back of a truck on Wednesday night, I think it was. So while I was sleeping, the driver drove up to Huntsville. I didn’t feel a bump, I was sleeping like log. So I woke up in Huntsville and then it took me two days get back here to Toronto.

PHILIP
“The driver didn’t know you were there?

TONY
“Nope. Nobody knew where I was except me.”

Roaming through the Danzig corridor

August 27, 2007

Rat baiting

PHILIP
“We haven’t really discussed that murder of the St. Catharines’ guy by those four homeless people. ”

TONY
“Well as far as I’m concerned, they must’ve been provoked. Homeless people don’t get in fights with regular folks unless they’ve got to. Maybe if they’re on acid, but you gotta wonder even then. One thing’s for sure — no one’s ever going to find out, one way or the other.”

For a few dollars more

August 19, 2007

A few dollars more 

PHILIP
“Tony, have I asked you about that murder by the four homeless people last week?”

TONY
“Hey, Phil, can we talk about it tomorrow? I need to get some money for some dinner.”

Responding to today’s Globe and Mail editorial

August 14, 2007

Letter to the Globe - Aug 14 2007

PHILIP
I just sent this letter to the Globe regarding their editorial promoting tough treatment for hostile panhandlers (apologies for the small-size scan):

To the Editors:
Stiffer enforcement of hostile panhandling laws is both impractical and inhumane.

Any beggar, whether hostile or not, that is perceived as a pest by local retailers will be swept from the streets. Consequently, jail populations will grow, as the hapless perpetrators are generally without the means to pay fines. For those not placed behind bars, expect further overflow in our dismal mental health depots.

Are such results acceptable?

Forcible confinement of panhandlers, homeless or otherwise, is monstrous. This very point is explicitly recognized even by Calgary’s business community. Recently, TransAlta and Suncor — among many others — made a comprehensive commitment to finance a cure for the city’s homelessness problems. Provision of housing, along with requisite social, medical and psychological services are centerpiece of their plan. Of course, Calgary’s booming energy sector has substantially worsened that city’s homeless situation. Nonetheless, they have chosen an approach both pragmatic and compassionate.

The problem of beggar-related harassment and violence is serious. Our approach should be serious too.

Philip Stern, Toronto
Note: The author blogs at homelessmanspeaks.com.

Hometown son

March 9, 2007

The Toronto Sun

TONY
The Leafs got slaughtered last night. They dropped the game 5-1. It was a total disaster.”

———
Update on Tony: He’s dealing with the cold, the leg brace, the one crutch, the inconvenience, the pain, plus the everyday pedestrian stuff. On the bright side, Tony’s got a reasonable prospect of long-term, affordable accommodation in the near future.

You always remember the first time

February 6, 2007

311 Jarvis, Toronto

PHILIP
“What’s the first time you were arrested?”

TONY
“I got caught stealing from the candy store.”

PHILIP
“How old were you?”

TONY
“Seven.”

PHILIP
“So what happened?”

TONY
“They took me home to my mom and she decided that I’d better learn my lesson about stealing. So they took me down to 311 Jarvis for five days.

“I can tell you, I stayed pretty clean for a while after that.”

7UP + $0.02 = domino theory (circa 1965)

February 2, 2007

7UP (circa 1951)

TONY
“I got arrested when I was 17 for taking 7UP from a 7UP truck, which was actually the second time I did it.

“I’ll tell you about the first time, which we didn’t get caught for. I was 16 and a bunch of us went up to the old 7UP factory on Christie one night. We emptied out the whole side of a 45-foot long delivery truck. So, right when we were taking the last case, the truck got so lopsided that it just kind of leaned over, right onto the truck beside it. Before you knew it, it was like a a bunch of dominoes, with our truck being the first domino.”

PHILIP
“What did you do with all the 7UP ?”

TONY
“We drank most of it. Other than that, we just poured it out.”

PHILIP
“You did this for kicks?”

TONY
“Actually, we did it mostly to get money. Back then, they would give you two cents for every bottle you returned.”

Tony in jail — Update #1

January 27, 2007

PHILIP
I visited Tony in jail yesterday. He’ll be there for another 20 days or so, as a result of three minor offences, including a “failure to appear” charge pertaining to the trial for the other two minor offences. However, he’s got two further charges against him that are more serious. These could send him to prison for up to two years as I understand it. Tony wanted to make clear that none of the charges allege any actual or attempted physical harm to anyone. Also, he emphasized that these charges relate to events that occurred well before we started this blog.

Tony asks that if one of his readers is a lawyer — or knows one — who could handle Tony’s case, please email Philip at philip [at] sternthinking.com.

Separately, you are heartily invited to visit him (the Don Jail is located at Broadview and Gerrard). Visiting hours are 130pm – 4pm, 7 days a week. Just tell the front guard that you’re his friend. His full name is Anthony Clemens.

__________

PHILIP
“How are you?”

TONY
“Well I’m staying out of the cold. They put me in the medical ward to fix up my feet and my back and my knees and my collar bone and some other problems. They fixed the crack in my feet already; they’ve got this cream that really works. So that’s good. But I haven’t slept in 4 days so they’re giving me some drugs for that.”

PHILIP
“And they’re treating you right?”

TONY
“Oh yeah. Even when the officer arrested me the other day, he was a decent guy. He locked up my bike for me and even let me finish my cigarette before putting the cuffs on. They still have my glasses at 11th Division but I’ll get them in a few days.

“The problem is mostly that you can’t receive phone calls here and it costs 75 cents to make a call, unless you can call collect.

“Anyway, I’m staying out of that cold and they’re giving me food and fixing me up, so it’s not too bad for now. I’m not even missing my smokes much.”
 

Jamaica farewell

January 22, 2007

jan-9-2007-ps-114.jpg

TONY (walking into a local convenience store)
“Hey Phil.”

PHILIP
“What’s up?”

TONY
“Just going to use their phone to see if my flowers got delivered. My “second mom” just died so I’m sending flowers. I met her 15 years ago when we were both working at this old people’s home where I was the maintenance guy. She asked me to help her get some barrels into a van and I gave her a hand. After she moved back to Jamaica, she came up from time to time to visit her kids up here and she’d give me a bottle of Jamaican rum, extra proof, every time.

She was really a second mom to me. My diabetic friend is pretty sad too. We’re gonna miss her.”

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