Selfless Not Selfies

Seeing Sandi suddenly take a turn for the worse put life into perspective.  There were times when I was angry, frustrated and feeling slighted by not having personal desires met. It makes me look at things differently when I see her struggling to get up, eat and drink. Finding the truth does this. For the longest time, I thought her chronic tiredness was mainly a result of her bad attitude.

That may have been part of it, but I learned, after she finished the more body draining chemo and after a year of less damaging Opdivo and after she just kept getting increasingly tired and uncooperative, it was the brain cancer.  She was diagnosed with lung cancer which also metastasized to the liver.

Brain was the first cancer treated when I took Sandi to ER after she felt like a hatchet was going through her head and spilled coffee at Code Blue, didn’t go in to eat with me in the morning, started taking her coat off after we got out of the car in freezing weather, threw up in the Levittown, PA public library and became very disoriented.

After the brain tumor was treated, and Sandi survived, except for minor problems, such as short-term memory loss, heavy chemo removed the rest of the cancer. It came back in the liver, but a year’s Opdivo treatment zapped the liver cancer, as if Packman was eating it.

Whew! I thought we were home free. But then a dramatic downfall. The cancer doctor explained that the brain cancer had been creeping back in, and now this seemingly sudden change. Awhile back she was walking on her own, going to community meals and to church with me. She got too tired to go any more and ended up having to use a walker. We did manage to visit relatives, one who had a lovable pit bull whom Sandi just loved. A few weeks ago, it took an hour or so to get her out of the car after seeing the doctor.  If it wasn’t for a good Samaritan, I don’t know what I would have done!

She was just one of many people who wander around Bucks County, PA who have no home to go to.

Seeing her now sleeping in a bed in a nursing home, nearly helpless, reminds me that people have intrinsic value, made in the image of God. We only have value because God created us from the clay of the earth and breathed life into us. Any gifts, skills God gives us is not for our own self-aggrandizement, but to be like Him and serve others.

For me, it’s a struggle to accept something like this happening to someone close to me. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.”

Even when people create their own problems, we should still care about them. This doesn’t, of course, mean we enable destructive behavior. Not only would the enabling hurt society, but it also doesn’t help the person who engages in destructive behavior.

Do not snitch is a mentality found among the homeless community in Bucks County. The mentality is driven by the idea that you want to keep the peace and that people who report a criminal act are causing trouble. How about the victim? Hummmmm?

Recently, a drunken homeless woman suckered another homeless woman because she was allegedly running her mouth about someone being busted for drinking. If, as may be the case, the woman was not just talking about someone who is hurting others in the group, as was the case when a homeless guy who kept coming to meals drunk and causing problems, she had no business with the neh neh-neh neh neh verbalization of what happened. I can understand someone who is affected being angry about it, but the neh neh-neh neh neh remarks were not directly connected to the assailant. Maybe not directly, but the attacker may have taken this as a personal affront on people who get drunk.

This is similar to the written attack about a comment I made on someone’s Facebook page about a celebrity coming out of the closet and announcing he’s “gay”. I wrote “I wish these queers would stay in the closet.”  My detractors whined that I was affecting many people. Evidently, they thought that “being gay is OK.” Instead of defending my right to my opinion on her FB page, my FB and casual friend in real life told the politically correct Nazis “Jeff knows better.” I unfriended her on FB and in the real world. I have no plans to beat her up.

No matter what the reason, attacking people because you don’t like what they say lowers a person to the status of a wild animal! It also sends a poor message to the establishment. I heard that the authorities are not exactly going out of their way to bring the assailant to justice. I’ve compared the way the homeless are treated to the way blacks were treated during the Jim Crow South.

I remember seeing a movie about rock and roll legend Richard Penniman, aka Little Richard. His father was murdered by another black man. One of the characters said that “the police don’t care when one ni**** kills another ni****. ” This very well may be the case with this recent assault on a homeless woman by another homeless woman.

The Bucks County establishment thinks that homeless people are a bunch of drunks, thugs, druggies, thieves…, or as the old popular song goes “gypsies, tramps and thieves.”  Attacking each other, according to the elites, is simply what homeless people do. Wrong! Your status in life does not define you! You don’t have to believe, as Curly of The Three Stooges says, “I’m a victim of soy cum stances!”

https://www.bing.com/search?q=gypsies+tramps+and+thieves+song&FORM=EDGNCT

“As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another” -Proverbs 27:17

Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ On Me?

A bird has been getting into the community meals for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, PA. It has not only been eating the food and beverages there, but has been flying off with some grub to take back to its nest. Must have a big family with all the food and drink it takes home.

At the meals, someone once asked “what is that?” when this creature walked by with large bags. Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it’s Birdman! Faster than a speeding bullet, more gall than a telemarketer, able to take off with a ton of food and drink at one meal in a single bound.  Image result for a popinjay

 

The hosts at the Friday night’s community meal kept an eye on this bird. Rather than directly draining the beverage containers into his containers, last night he made trips to his table with cups of beverages, two or three at a time. He went into the kitchen a few times to beg for more hoagies, unsuccessfully.

When the guests came into the dining area, the hosts gave them a bag of chips or Fritos. Birdman, who was behind me, asked how many he could have. The host said one. I turned around and told the host “better watch that guy, he’ll take the whole box.”

As the hosts were cleaning up, I told one of them to watch Birdman because he likes to take the salt and pepper shakers home. “I already yelled at him about that,” the host replied. This old bird, about 70, acts like a childish brat. My daughter was better behaved than Birdman when she was two-years old!

As the guests were getting ready to leave and the hosts were ready to take back the remaining bottles of drink back to the kitchen, Birdman bum-rushed the table. As he was ready to snatch the bottles, as host to him to stop and said the church needs what’s there for an upcoming event. “What’s your problem?”, Birdman snapped, “I’m just getting a drink!” He tone was insolent, hostile.

He returned to his seat and started packing up and said to Queen Nora, who joined him “they treat me like dirt!” I was tempted to respond “that’s because you are dirt,” but I bit my tongue. I’ve been trying to control my tongue. He’s angry because he didn’t get his way. He is a dirty bird, or to use Navy terminology, a sh**bird. Like Charley Brown, he wonders why everybody is picking on him!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UnPzp2lmNk

Birdman and Queen Nora make a very dysfunctional couple.

Birdman is the quintessential noble savage. The noble savage is a relativistic philosophy championed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, where all restraints of civilization or any authority are removed and the self becomes the center of the universe. There are no borders.

Most of the folks who go to the community meals, both homeless and those needy with homes, act civilized and show self-restraint.

Birdman’s behavior comes down to selfishness. He could care less about taking drinks designated for an event to others. When the host told him that, I don’t think it even registered, as there is no world outside himself, except for him to selfishly grab all its gusto.

The host was nice enough to graciously provide for others. There was plenty to eat for everyone. Nobody should go away hungry!

I’m glad that Birdman’s behavior was challenged individually and not the group. Birdman is not homeless, but he exhibits the stereotypical way that some people falsely believe homeless people are. Your status, situation in life does not define your behavior.

After hearing Birdman cry out that he’s treated like dirt, I started thinking that this is an ingredient to make a deranged, angry mass shooter. Maybe we need to keep an eye on him, and not just for looting the meals! This anger, feeling he’s a victim who is being picked on could build up and these captive thoughts translate into action. I hope not.

Modern thinking would label Birdman as being “mentally ill” as being “mad”.

Mad or just bad? http://www.nouthetic.org/images/pdf/Mad_or_Bad.pdf

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets“. -Matthew 7:12

Birdman’s theme song (to be played when he enters a community meal) https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=The+Bird+is+the+word&qpvt=The+Bird+is+the+word&FORM=VDRE

 

We Gotta Get Out of This Place!

Gracious people have worked hard to help the homeless in Bucks County, PA, but a few miscreants are risking losing the free meals they provide. Lately I heard that before one of the meals homeless guys urinated in the parking lot, where people could possibly see them.

There’s enough prejudice against the homeless; this kind of crass behavior only adds to stereotypes! All the people who, out of the goodness of their own hearts, put in the time in effort to feed to homeless needs is for someone in the neighborhood or passing by to see, and possibly report this crude behavior. It isn’t good public relations for the homeless. Some of us are trying to convince the public that the homeless are basically decent people – that they just don’t have a home – but when certain individuals create problems it makes the PR campaign to educate the public more difficult.

Evidently, some homeless people think that because they “live in the street” it’s natural to adapt a street behavior. As I’ve written before, just because you are homeless you don’t have to lose your dignity. You can act civilized. Let people judge you on the content of your character and not your living situation! Homelessness is no excuse for bad behavior!

Some homeless people have not let their station in life define their behavior. The Bucks County liberal establishment is heir to the philosophy that believes in a caste system, so it’s no surprise that its view of the homeless is that once you are homeless, you will always be homeless. On the contrary, the consensus in our country, before it was contorted by the French enlightenment and eastern religion, is that everybody has an opportunity to be whatever he strives to be. Examples of this are Abraham Lincoln, who grew up in a shack but improved himself and became President, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and now HUD head and top neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.

Speaking of Dr. Carson, one of his quotes applies to the homeless situation. “Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”

I’m a great believer that people can be restored. One guy who was homeless and struggling for work got temporary jobs through an agency. He told me that one place he worked as needed asked to have him back when they needed someone. Obstacles did not stop him, and he kept plugging away, having faith that God would provide. God did. He also has substance abuse problem, but went through a Twelve Steps program and was able to lick the problem. Now he has a good steady job he went to school for, and is doing well in it.

He told me that he doesn’t want to be made too comfortable in his homeless situation. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have the incentive to get out of this place, if it’s the last thing he ever does.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUpBSvN1a50

There are other homeless success stories in Bucks County. In one such story, a formerly homeless guy became self sufficient and got his act together because, as he told me, he took responsibility for his actions and didn’t blame others. “They don’t like that.” I’m not sure to whom he was referring – we talked briefly as he walked by my table at a community meal, but I believe it could apply to world view of the establishment in Bucks County – Penndel Mental Health, The (alleged) Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN), the county commissioners, the soccer moms whose bratty kids terrorize the Levittown Public Library…

It’s good that some of the churches are doing more than feeding the homeless. Many of them genuinely make them feel welcome, accept them and minister to them. After all, man does not live by bread alone. Likewise, some homeless and needy people counsel one another, encouraging, building one another up.

With Allen and Keith’s wasteful, problematic mental health hustler programs about to be defunded, the churches and the brothers and sisters need to fill in the gap – to fill the empty shell with genuine concern and help, something not, as was the case with Alice in Wonderland, found in a pill.

The community meals for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County is a wonderful thing. Let’s not ruin it!

 

One Size Fits All?

The one size fits all mentality is what I’ve been fighting against, particularly when it applies to the homeless community. Judging by the content of one’s character, I look at the homeless as individuals who happen to have the common need for a home.

But it seems that in some cases, when you judge particular individuals in the homeless and needy community, people circle the wagons and act as if you are attacking all of them.  In one case, at a community meal in Bucks County, PA,  a drunken homeless guy loudly cursed out another guest and physically threatened him. It was an unprovoked attack; T-Rex was drunk and disorderly. Yet, the Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) gave him a free pass and punished the guy he attacked, as did the host. Although I was told the decision came “from the top”, I believe it was a result of an AHTN member on the scene lying about and demonizing the victim.

T-Rex finally met his Waterloo. After he ambushed the same guy at a homeless meal, someone called the police, but, aided and abetted by “friends”, he eluded police for weeks until he was arrested at the free laundry. When someone called the police about the attack, a homeless guy told the caller not to call the police. After T-Rex was arrested and in jail, as I was waiting in line at a community luncheon, a homeless guy ranted that someone calling the police to apprehend the fugitive was “terrible, terrible!”

One thing I’m sure of. The one armed man did not do it!

On another occasion, two AHTN volunteers said nothing when guests walked away with an inordinate amount of take homes when they were sitting right next to them. Although they had homes, I think they became honorary homeless people and became members of a clique. Members of their small exclusive group defended their indefensible behavior.

Two members of the clique confronted me in the parking lot last night after the community meal about calling  out two individuals on my blog. One was very hostile and tried to intimidate me into not calling out particular individuals from the clique. Yet The Adams Family was held up to public scrutiny for doing the same thing. Consequently, they changed their evil ways, baby. And people in the wagon circle don’t have a problem with me calling out Birdman for his anti-social, predatory behavior.

We all need to be held to the same standards.

What people may not realize, is that by circling the wagons to protect someone in their clique reinforces the one size fits all mentality that the Bucks County establishment subscribes to. This mentality was evident at the public library in Levittown, at the Veterans’ memorial near the library, and at the Salvation Army Levittown Community Center. What’s terrible is that some individuals are not held accountable for their behavior and, consequently, everyone in the group is punished.

There’s been a campaign at the library to constructively keep the homeless out of the library. It’s not because of their behavior, but just because they are homeless. The Bucks County officer stationed at the municipal  building, pressured by some of the government hacks in the WIC building, told homeless people who were just hanging out at the memorial, not breaking any rules, that some people are afraid to come to the memorial because they feel uncomfortable when the homeless people are there. Consequently, he tried to shoo them from the memorial. With my egging them on and my remarks to the officer, they did not comply and he eased off. The same rules need to apply to everyone.

The Countess of Carlisle, public relations gal at the Levittown Salvation Army, agreed with the campaign to keep the homeless out of the library, arguing that some people who visit the library don’t like them there.  The Salvation Army official is so named because, like her namesake, she claims to help the disadvantaged, but doesn’t really want to know or understand them: “In 1838, Lady Carlisle articulated a negative opinion of Charles Dickens, who was then emerging as a successful author. ‘I know there are such unfortunate beings as pickpockets and streetwalkers. I am very sorry for it and am very much shocked at their mode of life, but I own I do not much wish to hear what they say to one another’, she said.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgiana_Howard,_Countess_of_Carlisle

Freedom of Speech is a wonderful right Americans have. It doesn’t just protect popular speech, but speech some people don’t like. It should not be abridged. “Sit down and shut up,” was a phrase the last resident of the White House has been known to say about people with whom he disagrees. Well, I refuse to sit down and shut up even though some people don’t approve of my calling out people whom they believe have immunity or the way I do it.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32

 

Give Peace a Chance?

When he met with neighbors to address their concerns about plans to provide housing for the homeless, the pastor of the Church of The Nazarene in Burlington Township New Jersey said that he expected trouble from the community. He explained that he, his church and The Citizens to Help the Homeless, with whom he said the church has a covenant to build a homeless community, didn’t conceive the project because they wanted to start a fight, but to follow God’s mandate to help people in need.

But a fight is what they got!

The local homeless they talked with and videotaped  don’t have a home as a result of job loss, sickness, and other circumstances. Candidates for the housing will be screened, there will be a manager on duty for the community, and various services will be offered.

http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/theirstories.html

Yet, the recent meeting was full of popinjays, hostile to the plan to help the homeless. For those of you in Doylestown, a popinjay is “a person given to vain, pretentious displays and empty chatter.”  -Bill O’ Reilly

Image result for popinjay

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” -Romans 12:18

Peace is not just the absence of conflict. It’s not just a feel good thought. In a yoga class I used to attend, the instructor lead a class mantra:

May the long time sun
Shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.”

Lofty feelings, but there’s no basis for finding fulfillment, true peace through the mantra. That is unless you find it by worshipping the sun. Sun worshippers often end up with wrinkly, scaly skin. Seriously, these thoughts, though lovely, are empty. As a recovering Romantic, I see the vanity in wishful thinking and following a hot, but inanimate, object.

The popinjays rudely squawked at the meeting as the panel tried to honestly and candidly address the concerns of neighbors having homeless people moving into their neighborhood.  Peace is not achieved by just writing them off  as being “just the way they are.” They are wrong! They claim the homeless are druggies – despite the fact that they will be screened – and that the homeless are going to endanger their community, lower property values, and tie up ambulance services. They say the homeless are going to rummage through dumpsters and panhandle, to mention a few phobias.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY! http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/myths.html

In Burlington Township, New Jersey, the community doesn’t want the homeless to move into their neighborhood. Well, judging by the behavior of the concerned citizens who spoke at the meeting, for them I can’t echo Mr. Rogers’ sediments and cheerfully say “I’d like to have a neighbor – just like you so…”

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  -Luke 6:31

If the people who selfishly demand the homeless not move into housing in their neighborhood were homeless themselves, I would think that they would have a different attitude if they were in their shoes!

The uproar, discord with the neighbors of the planned homeless community is just something those who want to help the homeless have to deal with. Your circumstances, your personal peace and prosperity needs to take a back seat to serving God and our fellow human beings.

God is the source of peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

 

The Sky is Raining Homeless

Monday night,  I found out first hand that Bucks County, PA is not the only place that reeks with prejudice against the homeless. I left a meeting of the Citizens Serving the Homeless, held at the Church of The Nazarene in Burlington Township, NJ early after hearing a flood of judgmental, callous and bogus remarks about the homeless from neighbors near the site where the organization plans to house 60 homeless people.

The pastor of the Church of the Nazarene opened (after a prayer) with an explanation of the relationship between the church and the non-profit. He explained it as a “covenant” between two separate entities with the plan to help the homeless. In addition to helping the homeless with physical needs, the church will offer spiritual guidance, the pastor said.

The pastor explained that the property designated for the non-profit was vacant for more than 1 ½ years. After much prayer, fasting, and consulting with people inside and outside the church, the church decided it was God’s will and their Christian mission to help the homeless as the opportunity arose.

The goal of the plan is to help the homeless become self-sufficient.

The Citizens for the Homeless put on a presentation to show the kind of people who will be living in the housing, with testimonies from homeless people about why they became homeless. Some had had a major illness, suffered job loss, death of spouse, and other things that don’t make them career criminals, drunks or druggies. The opponents of the plan to help the homeless accused the homeless helpers of cherry picking the kind of people they showed they will be helping.

In their infinite wisdom – and they must be clairvoyant – the opponents assumed the people who would use the homeless housing were druggies. One presumptive twit said that the innocuous people who are out on the street only because they had nowhere else to go will not use the housing.

The consensus of the cacophonous crowd was that the people coming to the housing will endanger the community. One opponent asked what the CSH is going to do when most of the people use drugs and some of them will either revert to drugs or go back out on the street, as if this is a fact. So, like magic, the homeless shelter is now a drug rehab place. The underlying assumption is that the homeless are druggies, at least. These hobophobic (the irrational fear of the homeless) Chicken Little opponents were tone deaf to the statement that people will be screened before moving in and that there will be a manager on site 24/7.

The sky is falling! Raining homeless!

The homeless housing plan opponents arguments were specious. For those of you in Doylestown, “specious” means “superficially plausible, but actually wrong:

‘a specious argument’

 

It was evident that the opponents of the plan weren’t there to have an honest conversation but to just push their will on those who plan to help the homeless.  Many of the opponents were loud, interrupting the hosts, not even allowing them to fully answer questions they asked. Early on, when the pastor spoke, one particularly rude individual constantly tried to shout down the pastor.  The pastor explained that the meeting needs to have order and that the loud mouth (my words)  needed to be respectful, and told him to shut up and that he’ll have his turn to address the issue. At one point, the guy sitting next to me stood up and dressed the loud mouth down, telling him, in so many words, that he was out of order and that we needed to have a civil meeting.  When he sat down, the guy remarked to his wife “this isn’t a Republican meeting.” I quietly said “yes” and nodded in agreement.

It was typical Democrat debate. It was like watching the hearings for the folks that President Trump picked to serve us.

What was ironic is that the barbaric opponents of the plan labeled the homeless as miscreants, as they showed almost zero civility, respect for others. They didn’t see the homeless as human beings, after you cut through the smoke screen, but as a pestilence that they don’t want invading their back yard. Figuratively, they were carrying torches and pitch forks! They were rabid!

Tonight’s meeting reminded me of the contrast between a Christian world view and the wicked ways of the world. The church in this case sees the homeless as having intrinsic value, made in the image of God. The worldly views that they are not was abundantly evident tonight!

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. “

-Isaiah 58:6-8

For more information about The Citizens Serving the Homeless: http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/

Homeless Gone Wild

In my last blog I wrote about Bucks County feeding the homeless to the alligators in Florida and using the Stand Down site, where each year homeless and needy veterans get free care and referrals, as a Soylent Green factory, where the homeless are churned into green wafers. This, for those of you in Doylestown, is satire, so don’t take it literally.

Why satire?

Satire defined: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

synonyms: mockery · ridicule · derision · scorn · caricature · irony · sarcasm

  • a play, novel, film, or other work that uses satire:
  • “a stinging satire on American politics”
  • synonyms: parody · burlesque · caricature · lampoon · skit · spoof · takeoff ·
  • sendup
  • a genre of literature characterized by the use of satire.
  • (in Latin literature) a literary miscellany, especially a poem ridiculing prevalent vices or follies.
  • a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc. : humor that shows the…

I use satire to ridicule the attitude and policy towards the homeless, as I’ve witnessed in Bucks County, PA.

Examples:

  • A campaign to constructively remove the homeless from the Levittown public library because, as The Countess of Carlisle, public relations gal from the Salvation Army Levittown Community Center told me, people who visit the library don’t like the homeless being there.
  • The homeless are chased off the Veterans’ Memorial near the Levittown library because government hacks from the nearby WIC office don’t feel comfortable visiting the memorial when the homeless are there.
  • No longer allowing Stand Down, where homeless and needy vets get help, to set up each year for a few days on Bucks County public land behind the library, with no explanation why from the county.
  • The Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) and some churches that host community meals for the homeless and needy not holding individual homeless people accountable for their behavior but instead treating the individual homeless as representing the whole group, and acting not for what’s best for them, but for their own self interests.

Warning – Satire!

So as not to hinder stereotypes of the homeless – that they are irresponsible, violent, lack self-control, are drunks, mental cases…  AHTN and churches who have joined the initiative have created HOMELESS GONE WILD.

The plan:

Instead of putting juice or ice tea in the coolers where the homeless get their drinks at the meals, fill them with booze. Once intoxicated, the homeless will start jumping up and down and dancing on tables, curse each other and the hosts out, and generally behave badly.

One special feature one of the hosts, The Redeemer Lutheran Church in Penndel, PA, has added is the game “fine a scapegoat”, where a member of AHTN makes something up about someone they want to use as a scapegoat to see if the host will believe it. After an innocent party is accused of wrongdoing, AHTN and Redeemer plays “See if we can get the court to rig the proceedings in our favor when a victim of our lies sues us.”

AHTN will have a film crew at the meals and will record it. They will sell the tapes for entertainment and will hold a viewing for the Bucks County Commissioners and Penndel Mental Health Center, to build a case to commit the homeless and to secure more tax dollars.

A Parody:

Don’t Think Freely (parody of Buck Owen’s Act Naturally)

Well, they’re going to put me in the nuthouse

They want to make a monkey out of me

They’re going to put me in the nuthouse

And all they have to do

Is round up me

 

Well, they are going have to chase me real far

They’re going to hunt me and they can’t really tell

If I really need to be in the nuthouse

They expect me to play the part for them real well

 

I hope you’ll come and see me in the nuthouse

Maybe you can slip me a file in some cake

I hope you’ll come and see me in the nuthouse

Where I’m all doped up and can’t think freely

 

They want to put me in the nuthouse

That’s because they don’t think I am OK

Well, the only reason that I’m in the nuthouse

Is that  I’m homeless in Bucks County PA

 

Well, they are going have to chase me real far

They’re going to hunt me and they can’t really tell

If I really need to be in the nuthouse

They expect me to play the part for them real well

 

I’ll be a homeless collection in the nuthouse

From the state they want to collect their precious bounty

I’ll be a monkey caged there in the nuthouse

Where I’m all doped up and can’t think freely

 

Well, the only reason that I’m in the nuthouse

Is that  I’m homeless in Bucks County PA

The only reason that I’m in the nuthouse

Is that  I’m homeless in Bucks County PA

 

Dupe-dupe a looney Dupe-dup a looney Dupe-dupe a looney…

They’re coming to take me away ah-hah he-he ah-hah ah-hah he-he ah-hah he-he…

 

Here’s another parody hit by the They’re Coming to Take Me Away! Band:

Upcoming Funding Time (parody of Fats Domino’s Finger Popping Time)

It’s upcoming

Funding Time

It’s upcoming

Funding Ty-ime

I feel so good

I’m on the public dime

Hey now Hey now Hey now Hey now

 

They lost Alan but here come Keith

Here comes Chris and he’s talking sweet

But Alan’s still with the county

And helps get the bounty

It’s upcoming

Funding Time

It’s upcoming

Funding Ty-ime

I feel so good

I’m on the public dime

Hey now Hey now Hey now Hey now…

Fractured Homeless Tales

In my last blog, I compared the way the homeless are portrayed in Bucks County, PA to the Fractured Fairy Tales shown on the old Bullwinkle and Rocky show. The fractured fairy tales are a humorous distortion of traditional fairly tales. Likewise, distortions of the character of the homeless is laughable.

“Don’t talk about us; talk with us.” -slogan a group of homeless folks created.

Awhile back, the crew producing the “AHTN Public Service Announcement Video Shoot” at the Veteran’s Memorial in Levittown didn’t want the homeless around when they were shooting. That morning, a member of “The Memorial Mob”, told me that the county officer from the nearby municipal building told them that the county commissioners were coming and implied that the homeless should not go to the memorial. Later that day I saw a stand for AHTN set up near the entrance to the memorial. That’s when I learned about the video shoot.

The homeless came to the memorial anyway.

I learned that there was pizza, but not for the homeless on this day when there were no community meals. They kept the pizza at another location, away from the homeless.

As the crew that was working on the video about the homeless  walked by the homeless, they completely ignored them, as if they were mannequins.

Evidently, talking with the homeless to get first hand information about them, as John Steinbeck did when he visited migrant camps to do research for his novel The Grapes of Wrath, was something they didn’t need to do. They’d rather talk about the homeless than talk with them.

It’s no wonder there are stereotypes about the homeless and resulting hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless.

On other occasions, authorities wanted to shoo the homeless from the memorial. A Bucks County official told homeless people who were properly using the memorial that some people who wanted to visit the memorial were afraid to go when the homeless people are there.

“The Memorial Mob” is a name a guy who used to hang around the memorial to ironically gave to himself and others who frequented the memorial.

Hobophobia is a big reason that much needed shelter for the homeless doesn’t happen. Besides the inadequate portrayal of the homeless in the AHTN video, there are some homeless individuals who contribute to a misunderstanding about the homeless. On occasion, people, who happen to be homeless, are drunk and disorderly at the memorial as well as at community meals.

Most of the homeless who visit the memorial and who go to the community meals are civil. One size does not fit all. There are drunks and druggies in all populations.

Druggies from local recovery houses show up at the memorial, sometimes high and sometimes damage property and generally cause problems. Refugees from recovery houses end up joining the ranks of the homeless.

On one occasion, someone from a recovery house took an American flag out of the ground and placed it on his bicycle. A homeless guy called the local authority, who made the jerk place the flag back where he got it and kicked him out of the memorial. This is the way it should be.

Another stereotype is that homeless people are mentally disturbed. Certainly, just being homeless can get people down, but I would not make a blanket statement that the homeless are mentally disturbed! They don’t need the men in white coats (or men in black) to take them away. There are, however, the county mental health hustlers who chase after the homeless in an attempt to Shanghai them so they can use public funds to pay for their services.

The problem with some of the homeless is simply that the exhibit bad behavior. It’s a matter of character. About 2 1/2 years ago I went off the deep end. The problem was that I was thinking and doing the wrong things, sinful things. I did things I knew were wrong and continued ungodly behavior and fell down what pastor and Christian counselor Dr. Jay Adams calls a downward spiral. It’s like going through a black hole. Scientists say that an object travels at incredible speeds when going through a black hole, but it feels like you aren’t moving. At some point people become calloused and ignore what is right and wrong and just have to crash sometimes to come to their senses. That was the case with me.

Another stereotype about the homeless is that they won’t work. The work “bum” and “hobo” denotes someone who doesn’t work, and probably is a drunk. The word “hobo” originated during the Great Depression. As I illustrated on a previous blog, the case with hobos was not that they didn’t want to work, but they could not find work, a situation created by the progressive government. They even hitched rides on freight trains and went hundreds of miles to find work.

Today, many homeless people work, wherever and whenever they can find work. They just don’t have enough for a place to stay or have trouble finding a place, especially in the tough housing market in Bucks County.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

-Matthew 7: 1-3

Another Brick in The Wall

One of the myths about the homeless is that they are all mentally ill. Another myth is the way people are labeled as “mentally ill.”

Some experts don’t think “mentally ill”  is an accurate term. They don’t think that people with mental problems should be labeled as being ill.  For them, “illness”, such as the flu, is caused by a virus. They ask what is the source that causes mental illness?

At the community meals for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, PA, there are a few guests who act in a bizarre manner. Some observers have postulated that they have mental problems. Are these people “mentally ill”, and not responsible for their behavior, the way a cold makes you sneeze? Well, we are more than just a connected series of organs, nerve endings, etc., that respond to stimuli. We are a special creation. We can reason and tell the difference between right and wrong.

There are some people who can’t, or won’t distinguish between right and wrong. One character, known as “Birdman”, goes from table to table at community meals, as people are finishing up their meal and asks them if they want various items that were set out for their table, as he reaches for the items. Last night at every table he tried to get ice tea, people turned him down.  A defeated predator, he slinked away and whined  “everyone has to keep it for themselves.”

At one meal, we told him we wanted what was on our table. I added that this is for our table; “go to your own table, leave us alone, you are annoying.”

At a meal after that, as I approached him at the back of the room as I was getting my drink, he asked “Am I annoying you?” I said he wasn’t. He then asked me how he annoys me. I responded “I’ll treat that as a rhetorical question.”

Birdman doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. Is he “mentally ill?” No. He just has bad manners and doesn’t have borders. He evidently subscribes to the concept of “The Noble Savage”, where one ignores the restraints of civilization and just follows one’s animal instincts. This concept most recently became vogue at Woodstock, where unruly spoiled brats invaded the farm country at all hours with their revelry, disturbing people in the community.

When I was in elementary school years ago, when the Bible was read in the classroom, at recess we had “out of bounds”. This was an area marked off where we were not allowed to go. We weren’t just afraid that a safety or even our peers would catch us. It was just somewhere we did not dare go. Like the ladies room in the Star Trek Enterprise, a place where no man has gone before, it’s a place kids were reluctant to enter.

Birdman is oblivious to the concept of out of bounds.

There’s another nut – I use the term just to identify bizarre behavior – who goes to the community meals who also selfishly thinks she is a special privileged character who, not content with what the hosts graciously prepared for everyone else, demands a custom meal. I call her “Queen Nora.” At one meal the Queen asked “Do you have anything with beef?”

Both Birdman and Queen Nora think that anyone with a car is obligated to be their chauffeur, simply because they have a car and they do not.

While I’m on a roll, he’s another anecdote about another nut who has gone to the community meals. I don’t have a name for her yet. This one doesn’t like anyone to touch her or even walk behind her, especially when she sits at the table. On one occasion, as we were finishing a meal, another busload of guests came. The hosts were rolling a desert tray down the aisle.  Wanting to leave before the other people entered, she chirped “I’m finished my dinner; just give me my cupcake and I’ll go.” Nobody complied. “Does anyone speak English?”, she stammered. She held up her hand and repeatedly demanded “give me my cupcake!”

Even the few examples, whom some people on casual observation may conclude are people with mental problems, are not representative of homeless people.

The homeless are just a microcosm of society. And they are not all alike.

Today, society has become Godless. The Bible was taken out of the public schools. Pink Floyd got it right when they sang:

“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”

Indeed, in our society you are just another brick in the wall. This is the case with the mental health industry in Bucks County. It’s representatives canvas the homeless community like Jehovah’s Witnesses and shanghai the homeless. Their bate is housing. One representative told me that he doesn’t believe in “housing first” because the homeless have to get straightened out first. This presupposes that they all have such big drug, alcohol or mental problems that they need “professional” help before getting housing. Wrong!

The Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) also treats the homeless as if they are just another brick in the wall. Unlike others who hold the homeless accountable for their behavior, they’ve been known to give unruly homeless people a free pass, evidently reasoning that it is the way homeless people are supposed to act. This mentality fosters negative stereotypes about the homeless and contributes to hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless, which, incidentally, is not tax deductible.

Hummmmmm…

But not with God. He made us in his image and has taught us right from wrong. There are absolutes!

“Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults.” – Isaiah 51:7

Just Say No

One size does not fit all. Two people in a similar situation will not always act the same way. Take the homeless.

Although contributions to homeless stereotypes are not tax deductible, some homeless people, for example, in Bucks County, PA, are great contributors to the stereotype that the homeless are lazy, are nut cases, have no goals, are drunks and druggies, have no borders and just want handouts.

Just yesterday, at the community meal, a guy known as “Birdman” grabbed for all the gusto he could. He went to a beverage container, which was for all the guests, and filled a large container he had, without asking. He asked one of the hosts if there was any more of the beverage as he approached the large container again. The host said “no”, but Birdman checked anyway.

At this meal I didn’t notice him doing his usual rounds to each table to grab bread and other items that were on each table, which for designated for the guests at that table, maybe because other guests had confronted him about this rude behavior.

Birdman is not officially homeless, but in the category of the needy.

After the meal, Birdman and a homeless woman, known as The Queen of England, purposely missed the homeless bus, and counted on bumming rides from people who have cars. They tried to get rides from several people, who turned them down, knowing that they are users. As I walked briskly to my car to try to avoid the two, Birdman suddenly drew close to me and asked for a ride, which I declined.

“Why not?”, he demanded.

“Because I said no,” I answered, and got into my car and drove off.

These two  (sh**)birds of a feather are an excellent example of the entitlement mentality in our country today. I’ve divined that they believe that because they don’t have a car,  those who do are obligated to chauffeur them anywhere they want to go – that their wish is other’s command.

Other homeless people, by contrast, don’t impose on others but apply themselves in order to get out of this place, if it’s the last thing they ever do. One formerly homeless friend told me that he doesn’t want to become too comfortable in his homeless situation so that he has incentive to move forward. He applied himself and got on call work. He had saved some money and bought a truck, but could not afford to keep it running. So he got a bike, and sometimes rode an hour to work!

On a few occasions when I saw him at a community meal when he had no transportation, I learned he had a very long walk to the job, so I gave him a ride.

My former homeless friend had substance abuse problems, and through a twelve step program and by going to God, he put the problem at bay. Unlike the sh**birds, he never demanded a ride, especially when there were other options available and not just for recreation.

This guy, like others I’ve noticed in the homeless community, have moved forward. Instead of developing PMS (poor me syndrome) or an entitlement mentality and giving up, he worked his way out of his situation and is becoming a productive member of society.

By giving into the users, you are not helping them or society. As former first Lady Nancy Reagan said about drugs, “just say no.”

One of the first homeless people I met when I started hanging out with the homeless almost 2 ½ years ago is a professional homeless person, although, I believe through county housing assistance, is staying in government assisted housing. He quit two jobs someone had gotten for him; he just wanted handouts and to stay in the Land of The Lotus Eaters. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus-eaters

I believe he, like his girlfriend, is getting disability. Not the official reason, but the government is taking care of them because they are lazy and not responsible for their actions. Awhile back, the guard at the Levittown library caught them having sex at the homeless bus stop. One member of the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) lobbied for them and got them off the hook, although the county punished the rest of the homeless community by removing the bus shelter. Other homeless people were singled out and individually punished for fighting at the bus stop.

There is hope for the homeless. Given the opportunity, a hand up, some members of this community can move forward and not contribute to homeless stereotypes and flee from the Land of The Lotus Eaters.

“Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.” -Psalm 82:4