A Twisted Image comic strip from 1991

colorized this old comic strip of mine from 1991. It’s a little ham-fisted. But I was trying to make a point in support of decriminalizing drugs. You’d think after Prohibition in the 1920s when we criminalized alcohol — and it was a spectacular failure on every level — we would have learned our lesson. . .

But no. We went ahead with The War On Drugs. . . And by all accounts, Drugs won that war.

The lineage of the feral cats at my campsite (from 2007 to present)

Some people think it’s a little crazy how I’ve chronicled the lineage of all these feral cats at my campsite over the last 15 years.

But I like to remember them all. I gave them all names. And remembered who their mothers and fathers were. And who they ended up having babies with. And the subsequent generations. And all that.

It’s like a secret history of a secret society. That I’m keeping track of. Just for kicks. And love.

(Here’s a photo of the feral kittens Mini Owl and Mini Scaredy — brother and sister — in one moment of time and space in March of 2017, and then all the history behind the moment, ha ha)

The ballad of Kevin Freeman

Kevin Freeman was a character who passed into the legend and lore of the Telegraph Avenue street scene. . . I didn’t know Kevin personally but I remember him on the scene. I first noticed him back in the 1980s. He used to often sit by himself at the Hofbrau drinking pitchers of beer. He reminded me a bit of a werewolf with his long hair and beard covering most of his face, which was usually beet red.

One night I was hanging out at the cafe tables outside the Med and these two guys got into a fight. They were sort of sparring back and forth. And Kevin happened to walk by, noticeably drunk, a big grin on his face, and he got in the middle of it and started haphazardly throwing punches, laughing the whole time. He didn’t make contact with any of his swings, he just wanted to have some fun and get in the middle of the action for the helluvit’. It was so goofy, it put an end to the fight.

One night he happened to be passing through Hate Camp on the campus and he stopped to push shoulders with Hate Man for a cigarette. I whipped out my trusty Kodak instamatic and took several photos of the two of them. Later, I realized — to my eternal chagrin — that the film hadn’t been spooled onto the camera so the photos didn’t come out. Regret that to this day. They would have been classic photos.

Kevin used to regularly get arrested and locked up for short stretches, mostly for minor offenses like being drunk in public, or being homeless and passing out in the wrong place. His life came to a tragic end when he was locked up in this cell at Santa Rita with this lunatic for a roommate, who beat him to death. . .

His death created a bit of posthumous notoriety for Kevin Freeman. This local weekly newspaper, the East Bay Express, did a cover story about him and his life. Turned out he was originally from the Philadelphia area, from a fairly respectable family, and was an athlete and a good student in high school. His family and friends from back then had no explanation for the direction his life ended up taking. But life can be like that. You just start going down a certain path. And it leads you where it leads you.

A Mini Scaredy story

A Mini Scaredy the feral cat story for the helluvit.

When Mini Scaredy was about 2 years old I took her down to this clinic to get her fixed. There were already too many feral cats at my campsite, and I didn’t want Mini Scaredy to be popping out any more kittens.

So anyways, Mini Scaredy was a holy terror for the people — the vets and the workers — at the clinic to deal with. She’s a wild, feral cat, after all, who’s never been constrained in her life. So she’s ready to fight to the death anyone who dares to fuck with her. And she scratched the shit and bit several of the workers who tried to deal with her.

So they put Mini Scaredy in this little cage in this dark room for a week. Quarantined her ass. They wanted to make sure she didn’t have rabies or any other diseases that she might have inflicted on the workers that she had bit the the shit out of (drew blood and all that with her fearsome fangs and claws — she’s a holy terror Mini Scaredy).

So anyways, a week later I come back to the clinic to get Mini Scaredy after she’s been fixed and quarantined, so I can take her back to my campsite. So me and one of the workers go back to this dark, little room where Mini Scaredy is confined in her cage. I can’t SEE Mini Scaredy — she’s cowering in fear in the back of the cage. But I can HEAR her. She immediately starts hissing and howling when we entered the room

I called out to her: “It’s ok, baby.”

And she immediately stopped hissing.

“She recognizes your voice,” said the worker. “She hisses at everyone else.”

We’re bonded together. Me and Mini Scaredy. We always recognize each other.

Anyways, I got her out of the cage, sprang her from her prison cell, and took her back to my campsite. And we lived happily ever after. The End.

A resolution!

I’ve decided I’m going to stop living in the past — tripping out about past nostalgia and the good old days.

And I’m going to stop living in the future — thinking and worrying about all the things that could happen to me in the up-coming years.

From now on I’m going to live right NOW in the present moment. Be Here Now. Like this photo of me that I just posted in the present moment.

Woops. This photo is already from several minutes ago in the past. Darn darn darn. Missed it again.

Crime — San Francisco’s first punk rock band back in 1976

The band Crime can arguably claim they were San Francisco’s first punk rock band (though you’ll get in arguments and debates any time you claim “first” anything, re punk rock). And every time I stumble across a photo of them (seen here with Debby Harry of Blondie) I get a wistful feeling of nostalgia.

In 1976 I was 19 and living on the streets of San Francisco, sort of a hippie wannabe, looking for remnants of the ’60s counterculture that the city was famous for. . . And I used to regularly pass through this skuzzy back alley between 6th St. (skid row, my natural habitat) and 5th St. (where I used to climb into this big dumpster behind the San Francisco Chronicle building to fetch discarded copies of the day’s newspaper). And this rock band, Crime, used to have a rehearsal space in one of the warehouses in that alley. The music would waft out into the alley as I was walking by. So I’d often stop and listen to them practicing. They reminded me sort of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. They had that raw, loud, simple, droning kind of rock sound.

But it was their flyers — promoting their gigs and records — that were pasted on the poles and walls in the alley that really caught my attention. In the photos they all had short, black, severe haircuts and black leather jackets. And they looked simultaneously retro ’50s greaser, and yet futuristic, at the same time. It’s hard to remember exactly how jarring and ALIEN that look looked back in 1976. Because the San Francisco rock bands of that day were almost exclusively comprised of shaggy-haired, post ’60s hippie types like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship, Sammy Hagar, ad nauseum. So Crime really stood out as, well, as something . . . different! Something new that was just starting to happen, hadn’t quite gelled and formed yet, and hadn’t even really been defined (though the phrase “punk rock” was just beginning to be bandied about in the papers, mostly in the context of England and some band with the weird and dirty-sounding name “Sex Pistols” and it apparently had something to do with wearing safety pins like piercings and pogoing up and down when you danced).

There was also this sleek, black and shiny Cadillac that was often parked in front of the Crime rehearsal space. Which was also a jarring juxtaposition to see sitting there amidst this skid row alley. And it gave off an aura of luxury and decadence, along with this feeling that this band Crime was going places. Like they were a Next Big Thing or something.

Well, after causing a bit of a local sensation, Crime released some records and played some gigs and got a fair amount of publicity. Before (like so many other bands) they broke up and faded away. I don’t think they ever really sold many records or made it to the big-time. I guess — aside from their fantastic image and persona — they really weren’t quite gifted enough as songwriters to come up with something catchy and interesting enough to score a hit single (the ultimate lifeblood of any rock band). So they faded into obscurity. I guess as kind of a footnote in the history of rock’n’roll.

But Crime will always have a special spot in my memory. Mostly because of all things in my life that happened to me after that, and all of my subsequent involvements in the “punk rock scene” (so-called) over the years that followed… I guess I remember Crime in the same way that you might remember losing your virginity. It might not have been the best. But it was the first.