* The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore

City considers crackdown on panhandling near businesses, parking meters
Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety

For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”

Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.

Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.

My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
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* “Chaos Overwhelms the Poor”

Yahoo! Voices has released my latest piece:

Chaos Overwhelms the Poor
10/18/2013
“Personal failings” and “an environment that is not conducive to success” so interact that many poor folk come into a state of self-generated, self-perpetuating crisis.  Personal failings can be outgrown, however, and untoward circumstances transcended.

For the moment, this is my definitive expression on the subject.

on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

* I’m getting interviews!

Yesterday at noon I had an interview for a Program Assistant position at a medical professional society downtown. This is straightforward secretarial work, and if I get hired will be $15.00/hour 40 hours/week. Thus my gross pay would be $600/week.

I have another interview on Tuesday, October 15, for a Secretary II position at a City agency. I am well familiar with this agency from my previous work with the City, and the job is located just a few blocks from the shelter. The pay would be the same.

(I observe that secretaries’ pay hasn’t changed since 2006.)

An income of $600/week has been my long-range financial goal for a long time. I figured out several years ago, long before Obamacare was ever conceived, that this income level was the threshold for my being able to buy my own comprehensive health insurance. Also, now I will be able to give $60/week to church! But will I be able to get my own place?

Or instead merely take my place among the working homeless?

I want to get a little studio or efficiency apartment in Washington Hill, a nice neighborhood located midway between my church and downtown. Then I’d be able to walk to and from work, and to and from church also. But will I be able to get that for $600/month? (The rule of thumb is that one month’s rent should not exceed one week’s pay.)

Affordable housing is a big issue in Baltimore, one I’ve heard a lot about, but have not personally had to face till now.

I’d rather not get a “room”; I just spent five years in a rooming house prior to becoming homeless, and am not eager to go back to the “drama” such places offer.

The other question I’m asking is spiritual: Do I deserve these opportunities now? Have I earned them? Have I done the work that my homelessness was meant to do? I recall having had the sense in January that my fortunes were about to turn around; that homelessness for me had accomplished its purpose. Maybe I’ve been homeless long enough. It’s been 2½ years.

* Jacob’s ladder 09/28/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

 1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
 2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  Details here.
 3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  Details here.
 4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  Details here.
 5. Moments of unusual hardship and sacrifice. Details here.
 6. Cut loose the losers. Details here.
 7. Smoking.  See posts tagged “Smoking”.

A real church in a real ‘hood

Video: Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Baltimore

Link to it early and often throughout the day!

My first audition tapes will probably be PSAs (public service announcements) for this congregation.

 

She discovered the opiate receptor

Candace B. Pert, neuroscientist who discovered opiate receptor, dies at 67

The significance of this discovery is not to be underestimated.

I would have supposed it occurred much earlier.  To put things in context, 1973 is the year I graduated high school.  So maybe that’s about right.

This opened the door to study of the whole world of receptors, with many important developments.  Discovery of the serotonin receptors was key to invention of the medicines now most widely prescribed, and most successful, for treatment of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Discovery of the insulin receptors has wholly changed research into diabetes.

At least from its Amazon page, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d seems to deserve attention.