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September 20, 2014

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THE NEW HOMELESS: MY STORY:

Hostile toward homelessness

Many are blind to plight of those forced out of their homes, no matter the reason

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

After vacating their house and moving into an extended stay hotel, Lela Michael and Rodger Jacobs head across the street to a Denny’s for dinner August 31, 2010.

The New Homeless: Part 1

The New Homeless:Pt 2

Disabled freelance writer Rodger Jacobs and his girlfriend Lela Michael, a freelance editor, moved to Las Vegas in 2007 to care for Jacobs' ailing mother. On the second anniversary of his mother's death, Jacobs and Michael are packing all their belongings and moving to a weekly rate residential hotel. The Sun ran the first video of this series on August 29, 2010, when a judge gave them seven days to vacate their house because they could not pay their August rent. Now, a stranger's help gets them out in time, and the couple adjusts to their small new living quarters and deals with backlash from the reaction to the first installment of their story.

The New Homeless: 5-Day Time-Lapse

Disabled freelance writer Rodger Jacobs and his girlfriend Lela Michael, a freelance editor, fall behind in their rent and are forced to pack up and move into a room at a weekly-rate residential hotel in North Las Vegas. This time-lapse photography, taken over five days, is a snapshot of their unpacking and daily routine in their new cramped quarters.

The New Homeless - Part 2

Rodger Jacobs pauses for a moment while moving into an extended stay hotel August 31, 2010. Launch slideshow »

The New Homeless:Pt 1

Rodger Jacobs and his girlfriend Lela Michael have only lived in their North Las Vegas home for five months, but they have fallen behind on rent and face an eviction hearing Monday, August 23, 2010. Jacobs, 51, is a freelance writer who has had trouble finding work during the recession. Jacobs' cousin owns the house and charges $1,050/month, but the couple will soon be moving into an extended-stay hotel where they can pay $200/week to save money.

The New Homeless - Part 1

Rodger Jacobs reacts to bad news from girlfriend Lela Michael after waking up Tuesday, August 24, 2010. Launch slideshow »

How you can help

Financial contributions for Rodger Jacobs will be accepted at any U.S. Bank branch.

For information helping the homeless, contact helphopehome.org, which coordinates with various Southern Nevada agencies to assist individuals and families achieve stable and sustainable lives.

Donations to the Southern Nevada Homeless Trust Fund can be made through the United Way of Southern Nevada (uwsn.org, or 734-2273).

For volunteer opportunities, contact the Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada at 892-2321 or at volunteercentersn.org.

This is the second installment by writer Rodger Jacobs, sharing his experience as one of the new homeless in the Great Recession.

With my freelance writing opportunities all but dried up and unable to afford the rental of my cousin’s home in North Las Vegas, Lela and I now find ourselves at a sort of way station, the Budget Suites of America along the urban trench near Rancho Drive and Smoke Ranch Road.

It is a sprawl of economically depressed off-Strip casinos, fast-food joints, gas stations, choking bus fumes, the rush and scramble of humanity, the insolence of the street beggars, humble yet aggressive (“Hey, cuz, gimme a cigarette … c’mon, I know you got one, man.”). In the beer and wine cases at the Terrible Herbst market on the corner, MD 20/20 and Cisco are offered at $3.99 a bottle, cheap but highly effective booze (Cisco is 13.9 percent alcohol) that is recognized as the preferred beverage of Skid Row denizens in my hometown of Los Angeles.

In fact, returning to L.A. is now our goal — hopefully, by Nov. 15 — because it surely will offer a more supportive environment, where we have a reliable social network and greater opportunities in general. We have little hope of sustaining ourselves in Las Vegas, although some locals have been extremely generous in offering financial support since the first installment of the New Homeless was published in the Sun four weeks ago (thanks to U.S. Bank for setting up the special donation account). I have received several possible freelance writing assignments, and Lela has received some editing work.

But a friend of mine, who has worked with the chronic indigent, warned me about baring my predicament in the newspaper. I should brace myself, he predicted, for a cold shoulder.

“People are uncomfortable with and hostile toward the topic of homelessness,” my friend Joseph Mailander cautioned. “More often than not, they want to believe that the homeless got in their situation because of mistakes that they have made rather than confront the uncomfortable truth that fate is often random and undeserved and homelessness could happen to anyone in the blink of an eye.”

The day the Sun published my essay — which was intended to illustrate how close many of us are to being homeless in the Great Recession — I had planned to spend packing. Instead, I spent many of my waking hours defending myself against allegations of sloth (“30 years of not having a real job”), hypochondria, arrogance (“Your arrogance got you where you are and will keep you where you are”), weak moral and ethical judgment, prevarication (“Writers are liars and opportunists”), alcoholism, drug abuse, liberalism, solipsism, atheism (“Christ was homeless … read the Bible … take up your cross and follow the Lord”), ripping off “the system,” a defeatist attitude, poor money management, a grifter looking for a handout, and, oh yes, I need to stop smoking, get a haircut, and “renounce (my) citizenship, become a Mexican citizen and then come back as an illegal and qualify for free housing, food stamps, and medical coverage and live off the fat of the land.” (How chilling that the last comment unintentionally invokes John Steinbeck in “Of Mice and Men,” perhaps the greatest literary defender of America’s downtrodden.)

Who wouldn’t be distracted from their responsibilities by such loathing and shrill white noise? (Incidentally, I have not quit smoking, but I did get a haircut — from a kind Wal-Mart beautician who was recently homeless with two teenage sons to care for. I did not ask what “mistakes” she made that put her in that perilous position.)

Two days before the article appeared, Lela placed a classified ad on Craigslist offering all of our home furnishings for sale in an effort to downsize to a small storage space; on Friday there was one taker for my new office chair — five bucks cash — and no other offers. Saturday, Lela placed a new ad offering our furnishings for free and the phone never stopped ringing with calls from eager takers, and every one of them, when they arrived to escort our belongings out the door, was a snapshot of economic despair: a man with an apartment but “not a stick of furniture,” a young woman with a baby in tow, her husband having shipped off to Afghanistan (she gladly took our dining room set) — perhaps the man should have rented a furnished apartment and the young lady shouldn’t have married a soldier during wartime; but it’s not my place, nor anyone else’s, to render such judgments. They’re hurting bad enough as it is and I was gratified to see my possessions going to people who needed them.

On the eve of having to vacate the house — which was also the second anniversary of my mother’s passing, the tragedy that brought us to Las Vegas from California — most of our furniture was gone but dozens of boxes of books, files, medical paperwork, and personal belongings would have to be put in storage; we had cash on hand for the first week at the Budget Suites and the storage space was within our projections, but we had no money to rent a truck or hire movers, not if we expected to eat; with stunning regularity, groceries and prescription co-pays have exerted an inexorable influence on our budget planning.

As Lela laboriously stuffed goods into boxes, my anxiety began to mount. Under Nevada landlord-tenant law, if we did not remove every personal item from the property by 5 p.m. Aug. 31, the management company reserved the right to pack everything up, put it in a storage facility of its choosing, and charge us any rate it pleases. We were 26 hours away from this unthinkable option becoming a reality.

All I could do that afternoon was field phone calls from people with potential freelance work and helplessly watch Lela pack; my psoriatic arthritis limits the amount of physical labor I can do. One of the comments in the original Sun article, comparing my condition to “a hangnail,” represents common public ignorance about psoriasis and its arthritic byproduct. Psoriasis is not a skin disorder, it is an immune system disorder with serious side effects. I am plagued by tendinitis, enthesitis (pain and swelling where tendons and ligaments attach to the bone) and I am exhibiting symptoms of severe joint degeneration in my hands and feet. I live with pain 24/7.

I walk with a cane, sometimes I have to use an electric wheelchair that Medicare provided last year when I was under home health care by a nurse service, and my toenails and fingernails have been eaten away by the ravages of psoriatic arthritis, leaving exposed flesh with sensitive nerve endings. I cannot help Lela pack, let alone avail myself of “menial labor” jobs that so many respondents in this paper excoriated me for refusing to do should such offers come my way.

Imagine life without fingernails and toenails and then ask again why I’m not working at McDonald’s. Under the strict definitions of Social Security disability, my “condition interferes with (my) basic work-related activities” and I “cannot adjust to other work.” And getting approved for Social Security disability was no rubber-stamp affair: It takes eight months to one year and requires the applicant to avail himself of food stamps and all state aid remedies while awaiting approval — it is a humiliating and humbling process.

The day before we had to move out, a kindhearted representative of an independent organization called the Fallen Angel Factory (requesting anonymity) contacted me via the Sun to donate moving and storage services on the day of our move-out, an offer that we wholeheartedly seized upon.

By sundown the next day we were ensconced in our cramped one-bedroom affair at the Budget Suites. It’s a far cry from the suburbs and exurbs of Las Vegas that we are accustomed to, but we have a goal in sight — to be out of Southern Nevada by Nov. 15 — and that makes our situation seem temporary and tolerable.

In the next two to three weeks, Samizdat Press will release a nonfiction book, “Jack London: San Francisco Stories,” which I collaborated on with Matthew Asprey, a creative writing instructor at Macquarie University in Sydney. It is a groundbreaking work that I have a percentage stake in. My fingers are (painfully) crossed that the book will attract attention in both the academic and commercial world of publishing, leading to modest sales and more work offers in the field of journalism that I enjoy the most, literary essays.

But life in a residential hotel is far from ideal, and it has offered me a ground’s-eye view of the full effect of the Great Recession, from entire families crammed into small rooms and a school bus that drops off dozens of children in front of the hotel on weekday afternoons.

Every day at 3:30 I walk to the Terrible Herbst on the corner of Rancho and Smoke Ranch to buy a few snacks and a bottle of water for the evening. My path converges with the path of the schoolchildren, backpacks and textbooks in tow, their voices loud and cheerful as they scatter across the sprawling grounds of the Budget Suites. So many families live here, so many people struggling as I am, and I cannot help but feel that we are invisible to the community at large.

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  1. The level of vitriol after the last article left a lot to be desired. It says something that people are able to function in society at a level of ignorance that is simply unfathomable. Reading comprehension aside, it's doubtful the attackers are big fans of the facts. Why let facts get in the way of a position they probably mindlessly adopted without so much thought as they give to the brand of toilet paper they buy. Ignoring facts is all the rage, you know. In fact, there is a whole industry based on it.

    This will be interesting.

  2. During one of my recent long term stays in Las Vegas I had decided to check out these Budget Suites of America myself. I stayed at the one on Boulder Highway, the one that's closer to Sam's Town. There are two of them. I used to walk across the Street (Nellis or Tropicana, can't remember) and used to hop on the free shuttle to the Bellagio where I used to play my regular 15/30 game. The Budget Suites are ok if you stay more than 1 month as otherwise all these taxes and fees put upon are ridiculous. Unless you bring your own linen and everything else you pay too much for a little and not sound-proof room. The pool was so dirty and not well-maintened, I wasn't even sure if the water quality met minimum requirements. The best thing about it was the HBO channel so I could watch good movies from time to time without interruption.

    Las Vegas is a dream world for adults that try to escape from their "old reality" and try to get a new start going. Some people can handle it, some can't. This recession wasn't very helpful for the ones living on the edge and this explains the mass exodus of many locals citizens.
    As a tourist you don't really get to see this kind of reality but I can only reckon that the truth of making a living in Vegas is far from what you see on the Strip with all these pseudo happy visitors.

    Greetings from Switzerland

  3. As a frequent visitor to Las Vegas and a resident of the industrial midwest, it is sad to see the working middle class caught up in conditions beyond their control. This is a new experience for cities like L.V. Hang on, this to shall pass.

  4. As a big anti-friend of the hotel resort fee idea I would instead support a 1 dollar-per tourist extra fee , under the conditions that 100 per cent of this single dollar goes to the homeless. I am sure this idea would help a lot and make a huge impact to the lives of these poor people hanging around in North Las Vegas, sleeping in tents or somewhere under the surface in the jungle of some dried water pipes. 1 dollar per day, not a big thing for a tourist, and definetely more helpful than 1 dollar tip to the guy blowing the whistle in front of Caesars Palace or Mirage, calling for the next available cab. I would definetely support this idea.

    From Switzerland

  5. I'm one of those who ignores "homeless" beggars with their hands out. Many, if not most, take the largesse to the nearest seller of booze or drugs, get "high," then are back on the street hassling folks for their "change." Forget it! If they are legit, there is plenty of help available to them including religious organizations and other do-gooders. My sister is one of those "good-hearted" folks who wants to "help." When confronted by a dirty, foul-smelling, unshaven bum for a handout, she offers to take them to a nearby diner and buy them a meal. Know what? Most turn her down. They don't want food! They want money to continue the habit that got them where they are. I'm not about to help them do that.

  6. I was one of the commenters on Rodger's first article, and I did mention that he had a defeatist attitude and had made some poor choices. I also said however that I tremendously enjoyed the article, and that Rodger had certainly accomplished his goal of bringing homelessness (or at least drastically downsizing one's lifestyle) into the spotlight.
    My computer does not allow me to view the videos, plus my speakers don't work, so unfortunately I did not see the video portion (I am not poor, just too cheap to buy new speakers plus upgrade my computer to handle video).
    I hope the Las Vegas Sun has planned several more articles on other residents who have fallen on difficult times. Stories such as Rodger's are valuable in putting a human face on poverty.
    Being from Canada, my opinion is that government programs and financial support should be easily available for the poor so that they do not have to sell or give away most of their possessions. I realize that the majority of posters on the Sun will disagree with me, as they want less government involvement in society.

  7. Last week a man and his two kids approached me outside Walmart. They were living in their car.
    The kids eat at breakfast and lunch at school but on weekends they don't have food.
    I am a teacher and I have kids in my class who are homeless.
    Las Vegas is a mean town for those who fall on hard times.
    For all those who believe people "deserve" to be homeless and those who can't cut it should leave, how about starting a fund to buy bus tickets for those who would like to leave the state?
    You could help them get back to relatives who could help out and fulfill your dream of getting the "slackers" out of your state.

  8. I feel for Rodger, and have been in a similar plight years back in Las Vegas - after an automobile accident left me with a nearly amputated leg, and the wife decided she could not "handle it" and decided to leave me.

    thankfully, i had some loving family members who stepped up and aided me. i did not go on public assistance. Mind you, i was very tempted. and i would care to add, my family is not rich, just middle class members.

    i chose against public assistance b/c i could not stand the embarrassment and the defeat that it would have meant to me - even as i was struggling to stop a staph infection and retain my leg for 24 months.

    i am currently gainfully employed and have made a recovery and walk with my leg - only with a noticeable limp - no cane.

    what i am trying to say is this, your reality can be changed in a matter of months - cherish hope and promise -- you have your intellect and that is a powerful tool.

    you like books and books stores - i greatly encourage you to check out Anthony Robbins and his materials - you could get some of his books at the library, not even charging you penny for the wealth of knowledge. I HONESTLY attribute much of his technologies and ideas to greatly aiding me in planning out a life and recovering!

    I am empathetic to your plight and the fear you feel...Vegas can be a very hard place to live when you are "down in life" - yet it is the "king of the mountain" when one is riding high. it has as many valleys as peaks.

    Please take hope and massive action to correct your circumstances.

    I am rooting for you.

    p.s.--- yes, many of those comments are seemingly heartless or cruel. mean spirited, and yet, you give power to how you interpret them. do you see as "cruel statements attacking you" or "a wake up call" with people saying we know you can do better? i am not trying to be overly simplistic, yet, we are in control of what meaning we give to life and its words (i think your girlfriend does a great job with controlling meaning in her life. she control her perspective well).

    take hope. be well. i wish you well.

  9. The 75% of Las Vegas howmeowners who owe more on their home than it is worth made a poor choice. Hindsight is 20/20.

  10. Seems like the same Rodger to me. Focused on the negative, feeling entitled and refusing to see how you could make your own situation better.

    The woman cutting your hair wasn't askingfor anything, she wasn't wallowing in her own pity party, she was trying to step up. So naturally, she doesn't deserve you questioning how she became homeless. She didn't write an article, you did.

    I read the first article and it was responded to with criticism; when you write an article, you should be prepared for that. It was also responded to with caring comments and offers from people. One couple even offered you and your girlfriend a place to stay. For free. The first article surprised me with how open and caring many Las Vegans are.

    If you were going to focus on the negative, Rodger you should have least looked for some lessons in there.

    And once again, you didn't spend your time productively packing and looking for someplace to stay, you stayed up all evening and 'defended' yourself. You came off as defensive and hostile. Me thinks thou doth protest too much. If you were so secure in your intention to be a starving artist and a sick person who ignores the doctor's advise by smoking, you'd let those comments wash over you. Look within Rodger.

  11. Mr. Sun, to the extent that your story brought hostility or harmed these two unfortunate souls, it is on your hands...you used them to sell advertising by portraying them in the worst possible way...it was despicable then and it is despicable today...hope you sleep well Mr. Sun...

  12. P.S. The title to this article is SO biased. Sure, some are hostile to the homeless but many are not. Also, criticism is not hostility. Is it hostile to tell people how they could improve their life? Or to indicate they don't want to give money to someone who will burn it up on cigarettes? That's not hostility, that's opinion.

  13. Richard, I believe Rodger wanted to write the article. He was just hoping for a better response. There have been many families in dire situations who've had their stories published by the Sun who have then been showered with charity by Sun readers.

  14. I was Homeless for my first 9 months out of the Army so i know where this guy is comming from but i did not stay in a Budget Inn (How sweet that would have been). I stayed under a little tree with my books, photos and memories. I was so down on myself i could barley stand for anyone to see me. Life is ok being homeless and single, i made the best out of it. Who would have ever thught that after many years of service i would have found my way sleeping alond side a highway. To make a long story short its been a few years, eventually found my way out of homelessness from my GIBILL money and started going to school. I just graduated from college and now i am on a mission, not from God but from Humanity, a mission to HELP everyone person i come in contact that needs help. Rodger and Lela if you need a ride to So Cal let me know and i will gladly give you a ride where you need to go, no gass money, just a good story or two and a hand shake.

  15. Cognastics...you are in the minority...and that's not good, not good at all.

    After I looked up the word, VITRIOL, I paused to reflect on my own ignorance.

    We are facing a "cumulative effect" from decades of problems that were swept under a carpet that looks more like a carpeted hill now.

    "Enforced ignorance & incoherence" is an industry. You're right about that.

    The concept of "work ethic" doesn't even have any real application...never did, actually. "Work ethic" is just another linguistic, behavioral control device.

    The system tweaks and fast-fixes could only hide the rudimentary, repetitive problems for so long.

    Technology has assisted in the "behavioral control of the masses" process. This has immeasurably exacerbated an already growing group of serious, base-line problems.

    I tried to explain this in my first book, which I refused to publish (to prevent "shelfing") to MENSAs around the world and the Black Mountain Institute's so-called think tank.

    Cognastics...the people at the helm of our modern-day Planet Titanic are COMPLETELY delusional and ruled by fears...both real AND imaginary.

    They have their hands on the steering wheel and have surrounded themselves with control systems and bully boy automatons with guns.

    But there is a solution. Can you guess what it is?

    Hint: You cleverly take the structure apart from the inside, while building a new foundation of thought (based on reality) on the outside.

    And yes...I have already done that. I've built the vehicle.

  16. I still don't understand why almost half the country supports spending money on wars but not on helping our fellow citizens. Christian? No! Crazy? YES!!!!

  17. Very good to see a major media outlet get on this issue.

    Tent Cities are the shocking reality from the Trickle Down era in America.

    Foreclosed office buildings would make conversion condos for those forclosed out of houses / only fair -- a cool site; Balkingpoints ; incredible satellite view of earth

  18. I can only offer up some general advice. If you are still in school, stay in school. Get a high school degree. If within your dreams, get a college education with a marketable skill. If not college, then technical school.

    START SAVING NOW!

    I know it sounds odd to say this. Try and buy a home. It is still the number one method to get net worth. Money. Net worth of homeowner vs. Renter is astonishing. Average net worth of a homeowner is $73,000. Average net worth of a renter is $500. Those numbers are for people who are in Rodgers income bracket. The disparity grows as your income rises.

    IRA's
    401k's

    I see a lot of 65 year olds still working because they have to. Some have stories of catastrophic events that have put them in a position where they can't retire. Most have the same old story. Failed to save money. The vast majority of them never owned a home. I know the American dream has crashed and owning a home has put a lot of people in deep water but The numbers don't lie.

    Good luck on your journey Rodger. Hope it works out.

  19. Turth and criticism is not hostility in and of itself. Sometimes, the truth hurts, but it is not inherently hostile.

    If someone really wants to change their life, they probably wouldn't spend a moment at a keyboard "defending" themselves from anonymous commenters. That is a waste of precious time better spent doing something positive toward the goal desired.

  20. I want to say thank you to all those who have reached out to Rodger and Lela. I am Lela's daughter. It pains me that I could not be there to help them. They both work very hard, contrary to some of these commenter's assumptions about them both, and have all their lives.

    Just remember, it could be your mom too.

    I have a college degree yet i make $10 an hour... there's little room in our economy for those of us who don't fit inside this corporate world.

    But happiness and comfort are relative. In this country a clean place to live with drinkable water, food in our bellies, and medical care should be easily accessable to us all. Yet it is not for so many...

    Yes there are people in much worse places then Rodger and Lela. Yes there are people who suffer more. That is the point. Why are there hungry children in a country that has more obese people than anywhere else on earth? Why is it that 2 people who work hard can't afford their electric bill?

    Doesn't make sense.

    Those who simply look at this article as one person's story need to broaden their perspective and see it as a small window into the HUGE unbalance of wealth and resources in our country. In our world.

    And please quit comparing my mother and her boyfriend to the crackheads on the street begging for change...it's just uncalled for.

    I love you mom and Rodger! Can't wait until you're back in California closer to me. (well sort of)

  21. Exactly roguerunner. What Rodger and Lela and Becca fail to understand or maybe don't want to understand is that no one owes them anything. Life is sometimes tough and sad. Some times you get a helping hand and sometimes you don't. Many people have reached out to help Rodger and Lela. Not everyone. And no one is obligated.

    I love that Becca says people aren't allowed to make assumptions but she sure seems to make some assumptions. Her mother is better than the crackheads? How do you know what circumstances those crackheads had in their lives? Maybe, like Rodger, they had a dream that didn't work out. Maybe they just made some bad choices. So you judge them. Others judge Rodger. Welcome to the real world.

    Again, opinion is not hostility. Just because I have zero desire to help Rodger based on the information he gave me doesn't mean I wish him any harm. Or that I don't help others. Now that I know they have a daughter who apparently loves them, I will trust she'll be helping them out. She makes $10 an hour. That's more than my friend makes and she took her sick mom into her home. Becca should do the same.

  22. I DO wish them well. I feel for rogers health problems which are terrible to live with and not his fault.

    I do wish they had made the choices that would have given them a better chance at retirement, good health insurance, stability and a future.

    They didn't and here they are. Here we all are.

  23. I'd like to thank those of you who have sent us support and financial donations over the past few weeks. We've been able to pay off Rodger's pay day loan, a major event in our tiny household.

    We've also been able to rent our room at the Budget Suites, which is clean and safe. Being able to pay weekly rent without utilities has also been a load off our shoulders.

    There is one shot of me in the video showing that I, too, have had my hair cut. Because I went to Great Clips, the hair cut was free due to their "Love Locks" program. As for going to Denny's on the first night we lived in our room, there was no energy left after the move to cook that night, let alone do the dishes after. I may be Rodger's devoted long-time companion but I'm not Wonder Woman.

    We've put enough money aside to cover our rent for the month of October, again thanks to the generosity of Sun readers. Any suggestion that Rodger's articles here are a "scam" is just silly, as are nit picking arguments over whether or not we know how to properly budget. Deconstructing our every action to the nth degree misses the larger point, as was pointed out in the comment by Becca.

    What's frustrating and scary to us is the recession's impact on our ability to earn a living utilizing our skills to the best of our ability for our own good and for the greater good of society.

    I'd like to add that I've been volunteering a few days a week at a local food bank as a way of giving back for the support we've recently received. I'd also like to thank the people who offered their homes to us as a temporary solution; not to gross anyone out, but Rodger's psoriasis flakes and occasional staph infections are not something to wish on anybody. Nonetheless, the offers were appreciated.

  24. Lela, perhaps you should be writing the articles. You seem to have much more appreciation for everything you've been given by others.

    Rodger ended his article with "So many families live here, so many people struggling as I am, and I cannot help but feel that we are invisible to the community at large."

    Invisible? Look at all the blessings heaped upon you by very generous Sun readers. And yet Rodger focuses on the criticisms and gets defensive. No one is taking care of my moving expenses, or cutting my hair, or sending me money. Not that I expect them too. I also didn't write an article complaining about how tough my life is.

    This article should be focused on how much the kindness and generosity of Las Vegas people have helped you out. Not on trying to disprove the things people say. The title alone is a slap in the face to everyone who reached out to Rodger.

    People think Rodger shouldn't spend money on bottled water when clean water runs out of your faucet. Or that maybe he shouldn't smoke with all his health problems. That's their right to think. You should ignore that and thank God that you have a roof over your head and food in your stomach and a daughter who loves you. And money sent to you by people who don't even know you. That astounding to me. And should be to you.

  25. All the best to you, and your companion. Maybe I am misreading this, but your a lucky guy. You have a lady who cares and sticks with you. You have a plan. I still think some probiotics, & maybe some AHCC could alleviate some of your symptoms, that's just from a layman's perspective, I ain't no nurse I just know that anti-biotics do kill the good stuff, as well.
    Could be worse; and smoking, well that's your choice. How do you know the price of cheap wine? I am a little jealous, cause I can't afford to take my wife to Denny's but that's ok, "Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved"

  26. Hello Rodger and Lela, I've been waiting for an update on your story. Hope you get back to LA soon, and I'm glad you wrote your story. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that "it could be me". Don't give up. I'm rooting for you too. I'm on holiday in Vegas in November for a week, and as much as I love it there, I now look at the city slightly more realistically.
    I still wish you all the best. And hope for further updates. Regards, Mary

  27. After surviving a horrible divorce with domestic violence and a gun pointed at my head, then unemployment for 2 years, depression, disgust, disappointment, discouraged, and hopeless - I found hope. There is hope. There is love. There is happiness. I began giving of myself each day, to anyone I could, acts of kindness, generosity, and love. What you put out in this universe, you get back in spades. Unless we find ways to curb our desires and produce the things we truly need in less destructive ways, the sustainability of human life on our planet is questionable.

  28. In my post to your previous story, I began: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." I believe this. When I was a kid, I realized that the ONLY WAY I was going to improve my lot in life, was to DO something about it MYSELF. THAT REALIZATION was a big "GAME-CHANGER." in my life. With positive thinking, I climbed up the "Ladder of success" and achieved my own version of the "American Dream."

    Although there were pitfalls along the way, I persevered. And I realized that "failure was not an option." So, I submit that if Rodger intends to GO ON LIVING - HE WORK AS HARD AS HE CAN TOWARDS WHAT HE WANTS - and, somehow, deal with the medical issues that cannot be eliminated (at the time). Lela must understand this; I commend her for sticking with Rodger. That must be what love is all about.

    Yet Rodger ALREADY KNOWS there are many ways to get help. He has "been there and done that." As a writer, Rodger should be adept at analying problems, finding information, and identifying solutions. JUST DO IT!

    Someone once said there are only two things sure in life: Death and Taxes. Well, THERE IS ONE MORE. It is called: HOPE. But you can't dwell on the negative, and expect to have hope. I suggest Rodger re-read all the comments posted, take written notes, and WORK ON the recommendations that people have taken time to offer. ISN'T THAT THE HELP YOU WANTED? (BTW, forget the irritating comments.)

    I cannot end this post without saying what I believe. That is: GOD WILL PROVIDE. He does, you know. I see this has already happend, whether you attribute it to God, or not. In my life, NO ONE but God could have solved many of my problems. I saw this over and over again. So, I believe God gives us help - if we have faith.

    But FAITH in God is not the end. It is a BEGINNING; and a frame of mind. Do you think everything you've received (advice, assistance, money) just came from "bleeding hearts"? NO! It came from compassionate people who were motivated to help someone in need. Coincidently, the Bible says that: "God moves in mysterious ways, his purpose to achieve." And God uses people to do His will. Many religions teach similar things. So, what do you think Rodger? It wouldn't hurt to trust God, and ask for help.

    Rodger has been dealt him a hard situation to handle. But, he has lots of company. Millions of others are worse off, and many of them will die tonight! Rodger, I kow you can MAKE LIFE BETTER better for yourself and Lela. And I know YOU believe that. Why else would you go back to CA? Just don't see your move as an ESCAPE. NOTHING will change unless YOU WORK to change it - no matter where you are. You just have to try a little harder.

    Finally, LOOK for and FIND the ways God is sponsoring people to help you. And maybe, if you give Him a little credit, He may just do it more often!

  29. Hang in there guys. After a four month stint of living in a non-working motor home with a tarp set up outside, my wife and I were able to land decent jobs. I'm two years away from full Social Security and my wife is three....it won't be much but we've been poor before and can live poor again. In the meantime I'm buying a decent truck and trailer so that I'll have someplace to live just in case. I'm rapidly running out of faith in our government to provide the safety net necessary for capatilism to work beneficially.

    best regards

  30. I have very mixed views on this.

    Like most, I was raised to help those in need when I could. But my experience has taught me that "need" is not always as it seems, and this has tempered my desire to help others at times.

    I offer this incident for illustration.

    I was a division manager at a small manufacturer and had an opening for a telephone sales person. I offered the job to a local beggar I knew who would have been more than capable of doing the job (a vet with an amputated leg.)

    He turned me down. Even though the job would have paid a reasonable wage plus commission, it would have been equal to only about half what he made on the streets begging plus service disability pay.

    I have been very reluctant to help like that since.

  31. Being a spiritually influenced person when I read comments from people criticizing others who are less fortunate than them. I think of the many parables that have influenced my life over the years. It brings to mind the following Idoms. Such as;
    "You will know me better when you walk a mile in my moccasins."
    "There But for the Grace of God go I"

    Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
    I believe in Karma and those who criticize should be very careful.

  32. Rodger & Lela, This is Kim. I wanted you to know that I created an account so that you could contact me via the Las Vegas Sun, I also added some comments to the new policy about linking to Facebook.

    You two are are welcome to contact me at anytime, for any reason. You have touched my life in a way in which I can not explain.

    I hope the best for both of you, and Lela it was nice to see that your daughter "Becca" commented on your behalf, I am sure she is devastated that she is not able to assist you, as I am also not in a postilion, as you know, to help my parents, god forbid anything happened to them.

    You two do not deserve the ridicule that was bestowed upon you in your 1st article (or the articles to come), and I told you face-to-face, I am in similar shoes as you both, and in life you can not possibly always have the "right" choice to be made, therefore we all have made due with our choices, and they are proving to be quite difficult to handle as of late.

    Godspeed to you and yours! Please remember that you are not alone, and that many are willing to be their mentally, physically, and emotionally. Our few hours together, and the quietness you saw, was just me observing how alike we really are.

    Kim Pavao

  33. Comment removed by moderator. Off topic.

  34. what amazes me is that the people commenting here that are critical of Rodger & Lela feel it necessary to KEEP POSTING comments to somehow REINFORCE their nastiness.
    "Just in case you didn't hear me the first time, losers, let me phrase it another way"...

    WOW!
    It must be interesting to feel so self-important and egotistical that you must lash out at those less fortunate than yourself, to whatever degree that may be.

    Denny's, a few snacks, BOTTLED WATER, whoa! Talk about high off the hog!

    I have my own arthritic demons; if you don't, you have no idea what the physical pain does to your mental psyche.

    Man, it is SO EASY to sit at your bloody keypad and type a rebuke to the downtrodden.

    Well, judgers, your day will come, in some form or fashion.
    I hope you'll recall the harshness with which you flayed these folks when it comes at you, out of the blue, in all it's randomness and unwavering accuracy that you can't possibly dodge.....

    Good Luck & Godspeed, Rodger & Lela; You'll come out on the other side, as good people that fight the fight typically do.

  35. There are a lot of freelancers who claim they work hard but the reality is that most of them never put in a 40 hour week. It's a nice gig. You can make your own hours, dress as you please. So what if lunch lasts longer than 45 minutes. Need to pick up dry cleaning? You can go mid afternoon. Feel like waking up a little later? No problem.

    Freelance work for some can be lucrative. Those that are highly skilled in tech or computers can make a nice living. But for the most part freelancers do what they do because they like the idea of working from home. No real boss breathing down your neck. No 9-5. No dress code. The problem is that most barely can get by. That has been Rodger for what seems like the last 10 years.

    I would rather hear from someone who suffered a catastrophic event that left them destitute. Not from someone like Rodger where the path has been bad decision making, poor planning and no real desire to join the ranks of a regular 9-5'er.

  36. I have to say congratulations on your ability to get a place at Budget Suites. It may not be much, but living there shows that one has found a way to not really be "homeless" in the sense that it is normally used (living in a tent, under a bridge, in a car, etc). A weekiy room is certainly not the Ritz, but it is a (fairly) secure "home" until you can find something better. Probably a better situation than the relative's house which required maintenance and utility bills, along with a costly rent. When I worked in LV in the 1990's for a development company, they rented an apartment out near the Showboat (Castaways) for the out of town employees (like me). It was truly on the low end. I called it "The Beverly Hilton" which it was not. One morning, I had to "break in" to my company truck with a coat hanger, took awhile. The on-site security didn't even bother to check out what I was (obviously) up to. I imagine that place has a lot of folks in your situation living there now.
    Good luck on your future ventures.

  37. The problem with this story and the headlines is there is no homelessness.

    I wish Lela and Rodger the best of luck, especially on getting out of town. I gave them some tips in comments I made in the first article since I was homeless twice during the course of almost four years.

    I worked much of that time and slept at the airport, on buses, on sidewalks on Foremaster Lane or Main Street, in Parks, at friends homes, and when I was lucky to get in at so-called "shelters".

    I don't and didn't drink, do drugs and I don't have a gambling problem. Financial and medical problems yes, addictions no.

    I ate at soup kitchens, slop like elbow macaroni in water, and at church homeless feedings.

    I never once asked for a penny from anyone.

    This story does present the plight and perils of those in poverty, but NOT the homeless. And it does demonstrates that the Great Recession is not over with, far from it, although it has been officially declared over by the government and media.

    But it does not address the facts about homelessness in Las Vegas. It doesn't even come close.

    The writer and this newspaper has no clue whatsoever what homelessness in Las Vegas is about.

    The Las Vegas Sun has for a long time ignored the true facts of homelessness in Las Vegas.

    Although I have pointed out to the Las Vegas Sun numerous times, it still fails to cover the real hostilities against the homeless and poor citizens of our community.

    For over a year all vending machines were removed from DTC. (To keep homeless and poor people from hanging out and so they can be arrested for loitering and trespass since no machines are available.)

    For many homeless, especially the old, there is no SAFE place to sleep. Some homeless are near 90 years old and combat veterans that this town steps on like cockroaches.

    Just some of the hostilities against the homeless by local officials that you fail to report follows:

  38. For over a year no hand soap dispensers were operating at the DTC outside men's room. until I complained to the State of Nevada Health Department and threaten a lawsuit there were zero, despite the hazards of disease being spread from not being able to wash your hands. Now there is only one for six sinks in the outside men's room. No hand driers and sometimes no doors on stalls. Yet, thousands of dollars of security equipment and signs put up after my complaints to protect $15 soap dispensers.

    A radical Black Panther type armed security force patrols DTC and RTC to threaten and intimidate the homeless and the poor.

    Million dollar city parks closed because city and county officials don't want the homeless hanging out yet every year over 50,000 (Fifty Thousand) people experience homelessness in Southern Nevada.

    Illegal barricades have been placed on the sidewalks of Foremaster and Main streets, against American with Disability Act regulation, but no coverage from the Sun. Handicapped homeless in wheelchairs and walkers have to travel in the dangerous streets because they can not use the blocked sidewalks.

    Illegal acts against the disabled in violation of ADA run out-of-control on the city buses. (An Oscar Goodman co-chaired government entity among many he is a member of that forces hostility upon the homeless population of Las Vegas.)

    There are countless abusive, hostile and aggressive acts committed by the corrupt Mayor, Sheriff and County Commission chairman, and other government personnel, including illegal actions by Clark County Social Services. Yet the Sun covers none of those.

    The amazing thing is they are all Democrats who claim to stand for helping the poor, but instead enrich themselves. Mr. Sun, you don't cover that!!

    I've noticed since I suggested to the Sun, along with other people, that using verified names on comments would cut down on the hate and insulting comments made by ignorant people. For that the Sun deserves credit.

    But if you want to cover the real homelessness story in Vegas you need to get some direction to your misguided lives.

    Oh, and by the way the Help Hope Home that you suggest your readers contact and donate to is just another of many government propaganda machines Oscar Goodman is on that does more to hurt the homeless than to help them.

    But you already know that, don't you?

  39. Boris,
    The $1.00 per night room tax you mention (I assume you mean per night) has one major fault. Like many of the "homeless shelters (including some church based), a large portion of the money goes to pay "executive staff" high salaries. One "shelter" in my town is constantly on TV and sending mailers asking for your $10 or $25 or more donations, and saying how many meals that $10 or $25 will buy. What they fail to mention is that the reverend in charge makes $140,000 and the "fundraising director" makes twice that. Think how many $10 donations it takes just to pay these two fat cats to live in seven oaks and drive a Mercedes or Lexus. Not to mention, these types will usually get high priced meals comped at restaurants because they are "helping the poor". In trality, they are helping themselves.
    The couple in the article is doing better to find the cheap accommodations they have (I wouldn't call them homeless, since a cheap room or apartment is a "home").
    The "homeless advocate" profession is very lucrative for a few. (No intent to take away from the good that the true volunteers or lower paid staff does).

  40. Rodger: You've written a fine, vivid piece, well, two of them. I do hope your life improves and that you have the opportunity to use your writing skills for a very long time. All the best as you walk down the road and thanks you for an enlightening piece of writing.

  41. Living in the Budget Suites is not homeless. Many construction workers, salespeople and vacationers stay there. The writer is poor and marginally housed.

    Texas used to offer students an extra skill, even if they were college-bound. So in addition to the academic curriculum they would learn restaurant skills, welding, animal care, auto mechanic, etc. That way they might find a job in their more rural community.

    A writer, poet, photographer, comedian, etc. needs a "day job," some skill or trade, whether it is a convenience store job, telemarketing, repair work, computer skills, etc. that they can fall back on.

    Las Vegas is not friendly to cultivating extra work. You couldn't even be a carpet cleaner without a "sheriff's card."

  42. Whats crazy and no one gets its very Maxist but Hey some one wins and some one looses period... and you guys that have no compassion...life deals out its own justice..... great story great way we have ben able to interact with them...... most are 2 paychecks away... from the same spot

  43. By CliffHarrison (Cliff Harrison -
    You make some good points about the lack of accomodation by for the "real homeless," and insufficient reporting on homeless people. I have commented before that some SUN REPORTERS (and other news organizations) DO NOT tell the whole story.

    Two examples are the COSTCO killing of Erik Scott, and the ST. ROSE Hospital "drill" with an off-duty cop. SOme deeper investigation, and more questions asked, would have resulted in FEWER critical comments from readers.

    Omissions in stories seem to be the result of "copy deadlines," or a lack of investigative skills, at times, by would-be ("CUB") reporters - who write short news "summaries" vs. stories. WHY Mr. Greenspun and SUN editors don't catch such "incomplete" stories - my guess is not all stories are not edited.

    The result is the SUN's communication of the news is short-changed. And after all the up-front, chit-chat, many stories fail to follow the reporting guidelines of: "who, what, where, when, how, and why."

    If Rodger is supposed to be a "new" category of "homeless people" - I think the story fails on this point. I have a few friends who are NOT homeless - yet - but have fallen on hard times, themselves. One of them (a former millionaire), has lost HALF her monthly income (which was not exhorbatant). It was destroyed when the companies where her money was invested went out of business last year. Now, she could become homeless if things get worse.

    This is because, even though her home is paid for, she has many bills, taxes, living and medical expenses that must be paid each month. So at 69 years of age - she is thinking of getting a job to supplement her reduced income - BUT WHERE, at 69?. She saved for her retirement, and now, just like millions of others - much of that retirement income is gone, and cannot be replaced. So much for her Golden Years.

    But this is just another "face" of the (potentially) "New" homeless. People in financial dilemas - regardless of their income level - can experience life-changing events, and lose their ability to support themselves. Who's next?

    Incidently, she tried to get a "bridge-loan" but the BANK TURNED HER DOWN - due to a lack of sufficient annual income! If things get worse, she might have to sell her home and buy a smaller one. Plus, she has to have back surgery in the near future, so she is trying to keep up her medical insurance payments; another drain on her income.

    The singular example just illustrates how the "NEW HOMELESS" can come from anywhere. The SUN is (not) writing about that, nor the other homeless people mentioned herein. There are millions of others - with smaller incomes - who have also lost much of what they had. Rodger seems to fit the latter mold. But where does it begin - and end?

    Without a broader, more objective view, this story about the "NEW HOMELESS" seems to ring hollow.

  44. The NEW HOMELESS rings HOLLOW to you, Chuck?

    Words fail me...and I'm a writer.

  45. The first installment of this story disturbed me, so does this current installment.
    I have empathy for anyone who has hit hard times, yet I object to this couple being called homeless. Yes, this couple is in a hard situation, yes, it is heartbreaking and many face similar. This is not however a glimpse at homelessness, nor is it a good choice to open the hearts and minds of those who have been blessed by fortune, family, and hard work to never know hardships.
    When you are sleeping in your vehicle, you are homeless, when you are sleeping out of a tent, under a bridge out in the open you are homeless. When you are going from shelter to shelter sleeping on concrete floors with only a thin mat under you are homeless. When you are happy to have the privilege of using a group showering facility twice a week you are homeless and grateful for a congealed mess they call oatmeal or canned soup once a day you are homeless. When someone at one of those facilities offers once a week to wash the sole change of clothes you have while you are sleeping and it moves you to tears you are homeless. I have been homeless twice in my life, it is a humbling and life altering experience. The first time in my youth and ignorance, I allowed a relative whose dwelling I was living in to be added to my banking account. That relative emptied my account and when I found out I confronted them. I asked how can I pay the rent, the utilities how can I keep a roof over our heads, when you get paid you need to put the money back. The response was to kick me out on the streets with a two year old. I had no money, I had no access to food, I had no roof over my head, that was homeless. I asked for help, I begged for help I tried to use programs for people in my situation not for me but for my child please understand I was recovering from a serious spinal injury I could not work. Those programs were woefully inadequate. The homeless assistance amounts available for a single woman with one depended was not even enough for the deposit on a studio apartment much less deposit and first months rent. The waiting list to get into a transitional housing program in that area at the time was four and a half years long. I own that I made poor choices that resulted in the situation; I made even more poor choices out of desperation to get my child off the streets and back in a home...even after I had a home again the after-effects were lasting and resulted in a mental breakdown...

  46. The second time I was homeless was a conscious choice. I was living in a volatile and dangerous situation first I took steps to ensured my child was in a safe place. I tried to improve my situation and was making strides then the situation continued to degrade. Rather than remain and not feeling I had anyone or anywhere to turn to for help I grabbed a backpack of clothes and walked out the door. I had lost everything once before and rebuilt I did not care they were just possessions and things. What mattered was my child was safe and that I remain unharmed to raise him. I struggled to change my situation for the better; truthfully, it was qualifying for disability that gave me the opportunity. When I had a breakdown the hospital filed the paper work for me, no one was more shocked than I at being approved. That measly 600+ a month allowed me to find a home, it allowed me to bring my child home and be a parent again. Yet I hated it, I still hate it. For years, I have tried to go through the system to learn new skills and return to the working world always only qualifying for jobs that paid minimum wage or to be told condescendingly oh honey just go home and spend time with your children. Those jobs I did qualify for were ones that my body would not have been able to hold up under for long. I hated it, I wanted to work but at minimum wage; my children would have less not more, for which my then spouse criticized me for being selfish. With the end of our 10-year marriage, I realized I have to take control of my life. I needed a decent vehicle so I sacrificed and found a lot that would finance and work with me. I started with a POS vehicle and faithfully made my payments working my way up into a reliable and decent one. If I needed an education to earn a decent living, so be it, instead of going through rehabilitative programs I realized I could apply directly to colleges. If I want a future off disability in a job where I can support myself, I have to make sacrifices to accomplish it. One of those sacrifices was sending my children to my ex-husband. Much as I do not like it, he can provide better for their needs than I can right now.

  47. I miss them ever day and visits are hardly enough time, but I do not have the recourses yet to relocate. Therefore, I search for work, and yes, I search for cash paying odd jobs. Sometimes this means working and not being paid. I will continue to do so, because every extra dollar is a step closer to paying off my vehicle, and saving money to move where my children are living. I fully own that my choices and my lack of skills created my situation I do not expect others to fix it for me. Instead I try to create opportunities to fix it for myself. Not that I am going a great job but ahh well when learning to walk you fall down quite a few times before you get it right. I am learning I am growing and I refuse to give up.

  48. I have empathy for you Mr. Jacobs, I know what daily pain is like, I know what it is like to be angry and defiant. I know what it is like to have your body fail you. The thing is no one owes us anything. We are blessed to live in a country with programs such as disability where would you and your beloved be without this program? Please read my words and open your mind to see what you do have, what blessings do exist in your life instead of outrage at the opinions, judgments and advice of others. You sir are asking for charity and compassion as if it is your right as if your plight is everyone's concern and problem. The truth is it is not their problem; the truth is many who are working make it on less money than you have. They make sacrifices; share a home with family or friends to save money while working to create lasting solutions. Can you not see how it would be challenging for them in these times to not feel bitter at your complaints when you still have more than they do? Do I think you anticipated this happening? No sir I do not, I think you have always managed somehow and were ill equipped to deal with what has transpired. It is easy to look backwards and think I should have done or could have done differently. It is also a waste of time and energy. Tell me sir have you learned and grown as a person from this hardship? Tell me what do you intend to do differently so you do not end up in this position again? What offends so many sir, is that you are not in as bad of a place as you believe yourself to be in. What offends so many sir is that even with all the kindness you have received you write in a manner that see's only what you do not have and did not get. What offends so many sir it that you write in a manner that says I am a victim pity me, and takes no responsibility for your own choices. Not once have I read that you admit you regret anything. Not once have I read that you in anyway are humbled or grateful. You write sir like the kindness and generosity of others is your right and due you. You write about how a local organization assisted you but asked for anonymity yet you post their name. Why did you post the name of someone/group who wished to remain nameless? Honestly, sir when I read your story I it reads as if someone is seeking attention and hand outs and it reads like someone who has decided to take this journey and profit from it. It does not read like someone falling on hard times seeking to find a way out, you sir write seeking a hand out not a hand up. That you dare write badly of those whose paths you cross that actually are homeless who have even less than you do and show contempt for them infuriates me. When so many have shown you kindness you have none to show others? I hope you sir never have to walk a mile in their shoes, it is not something I would wish on anyone, but I do hope sir you learn humility and gratitude.

  49. Everyone should read Thia's comment, very well written, accurate and moving.

  50. Sun editors, you should print an article on Thia

  51. "You write about how a local organization assisted you but asked for anonymity yet you post their name. Why did you post the name of someone/group who wished to remain nameless?"

    *******

    Thia, first of all, the gentleman requested that his full name not be used but he did encourage both me and the Sun photographers to use the name of his charitable organization, which is what I did.

    As for the rest of your comments -- and many of the other comments that have appeared here in the last two days, remarks that often reinforce the header of this article -- I will simply quote from journalism professor Celeste Fremon, who wrote about this article at her website Witness LA this morning:

    "One of the things I found astonishing about the hostile comments is that so many people focused with blind fury on the small personal details of Rodger's dilemma, as if they themselves were entirely foible and error free.

    "Many commenters also seemed outraged that he'd had the nerve to write about his troubles at all, as if the writing itself constituted some kind of whining, when actually the narratives were examples of skillful and courageous storytelling, particularly in that Rodger made no attempt to sanitize his predicament, but simply told his story as it was, without literary Photoshopping, so to speak.

    "It should also be noted that, by writing his story for the LV Sun, Rodger was behaving proactively. He was using his talents to fashion the scary circumstances he was living through into an income-producing piece of work--which also has the advantage of shining a light on a larger issue.

    "These are uneasy times. One in every seven Americans is now living below the poverty line, according to figures released earlier this month. Unemployment rates remain in double digits, with no sign yet of dropping. Kids coming out of college are now routinely doing free internships for extended periods because the paying jobs they assumed would be theirs have vanished.

    "So maybe all these angry commenters are ranting to keep their own fears at bay. But to do so, they must convince themselves that Rodger's difficulties are of his own making. That way they can more easily believe the fiction that they could never, ever wind up in a similar predicament.

    "It is a form of whistling in the dark."

    You may find all of Celeste's thoughts on this series here:
    http://witnessla.com/

  52. i agree with Carolyn Singer about the need to see criticism as constructive. I hope the main characters of this story don't see criticism and unsolicited advise as 'hostility'.
    i might add that hardship is a relative term. I am an immigrant from a really poor country and know what hardship means. And when i say poor, i mean famished poor(check pictures posted at unicef please). I can't believe what we call 'poor' here in america have cellulite(if not grossly obese) and have vices.
    buying a carton of cigarettes here costs what would be a month's salary where i came from. A box of bud light would probably cost the same.
    i don't smoke and don't drink alcoholic beverages. Heck i don't even drink soda or coffee. When my kids ask for me to buy them candy or junk food, i tell them i can only afford to buy them bananas, apples, and other healthy stuff available at the dollar store. When they ask me to buy them soda, i tell them i can only afford to buy them milk, soymilk, orange juice, apple juice from 'food for less'.
    the only junk they ever have is when a friend or relative treats them to mcdonalds or during halloween when they go trick or treat, and even that i have to limit if the intake is unreasonable.
    i tell them if ever they want to smoke, drink, or eat junk food, they will have to get a job so they could finance it. And also tell them i hope that they will treat their kids the same way i treated them.
    i now earn a hundred grand a year, and could well afford to splurge on a big house, a fancy car, or eat out at denny's if we wanted to, but you know what, we still live in a modest shack(which we paid for in cash, benefiting from the depreciation of real property, thanks to that bandwagon of lavish investors who bought more than they could afford), and walk or bike to the 99c store almost every day and get our cans of pork and beans, sardines, bananas, a couple of chocolate bars for the 'cravings', and a few pounds of rice---and can safely say my kids aren't less happier or less healthier. Sardines and beans actually make more brain cells than anything one could get at denny's. I've been buying them books which could be had for a few cents each over at goodwill. And most, if not all, our furniture were bought there(most of them solid wood and made in usa---and not of fiberboard that was made in china).
    for a good time i take them to the library where they could read whatever they want and borrow dvd movies as they please.
    sure, a hundred grand year is a lot of money(especially for a previously famished immigrant like me), but like many here have insinuated, complacency is a sure way to bankruptcy.
    while all this is unsolicited advice, hopefully not many see it as hostile.
    lastly, it is hard to find a job if one smells of cigarette fumes.
    most people who want to help you can't afford to give you money, but most people here could at least take some time to help you find ways to earn a living.

  53. "why are you buying bottled water? cant you just keep refilling a water bottle with tap water?"

    ********

    And I suppose, likewise, we could use strips of newspaper instead of bathroom tissue; this sort of nit-picking that is on ample display in these comments contributes absolutely nothing to a meaningful dialogue, it just makes the commenter appear petty and trivial and blind to the larger issue.

  54. So let me get this straight....he hasn't quit smoking, eats dinner at Denny's and buys snacks from a Convenience Store?

    Why wouldn't he:

    1 - Quit Smoking (save a ton of money in the process)

    2 - Eat Top Ramen & Cup o Noodles....Hell, I did that for 5 yrs in college....instead of eating at Denny's.....at $.25 each, you can have 12 meals for a $3 Denny's entree.

    3 - Buy snacks at a grocery store, which is 1/2 the price of a Convenience Store.

    It doesn't look like he's making good decisions despite his situation.

  55. "lastly, it is hard to find a job if one smells of cigarette fumes"

    ********

    My work is done on a computer at home as it has been for the last 20 years: telecommuting. I hardly think my cigarette fumes waft from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and New York, where most of my clients are.

    Furthermore, Tweaky, we have been shopping at Dollar Tree and the 99 Cent Store since we first landed in this sand-blasted furnace. Are you assuming we do not know how to shop or simply using these comments as a venue for patting yourself on the back for your thrift? (By the way, check the labels on those items at the discount stores and you will note that a good many of them are manufactured in China, El Salvador, and Ecuador, even the canned and packaged foods.)

  56. "eats dinner at Denny's and buys snacks from a Convenience Store?"

    ********

    Where did you or anyone else reading this article and commenting obsessively on the visit to a restaurant after a hard day's moving get the impression that we eat at Denny's on a regular basis? Please go back and review the article and tell me where you got this information. You are incorrect, sir, so, no, you did not "get this straight."

    And one Nature Valley granola bar twin pack and one bottle of water from the convenience store costs just under $1.50.

    I'm glad you could survive on a high-sodium diet of Top Ramen and Cup of Noodles but I am a 51-year old with serious health conditions and on a doctor-ordered low sodium diet. What worked or works for you may not always work for others, a point that several commenters need to understand.

  57. Hey Rodger.....how about reading the caption under the main picture of the story....

    "After vacating their house and moving into an extended stay hotel, Lela Michael and Rodger Jacobs head across the street to a Denny's for dinner August 31, 2010."

    Doesn't matter how much items cost at a Convenience Store....it's ALWAYS more expensive than a grocery store....I can't even believe you're trying to argue that!

    Yes, Ramen & Cup o Noodles may be high in sodium....but I guarantee you I can find low sodium food for cheap at a grocery store....certainly cheaper than a meal at Denny's.....can't you see....in order to make a change, you must change your thinking and actions....instead of arguing with me, open your eyes to change and do it.

    I love how you avoided the Smoking point altogether....the $5 for the chair you sold barely covers a pack of smokes.

  58. And how about reading my question:

    " ...get the impression that we eat at Denny's on a regular basis?"

    I'm not "trying to argue" anything with you; get off the Denny's lunacy. It was a one-time thing, almost four weeks have passed since that photograph was taken. And seeing that we do not have a personal vehicle, when the temps are in the triple digits, you're damn right I'm going to walk one block to the convenience store when I need something instead of one mile to the nearest grocery store. That's simple common sense.

  59. goodness gracious, Mr. Rodgers, i don't think anybody is patting anybody's back here... in fact, one could easily conclude(as i see it, at least) that the great majority in this forum wants to help you. As for nit-picking, you are absolutely right about the majority here doing just that. Using newspaper for toilet paper is not ok, because newsprint is too stiff and will clog your toilet-- costing you more in the long run. But buying bottled water is a bandwagon anyone cannot afford. Not good for your budget, and neither for the environment. Bottled water profits are in the thousand percent, and not hundreds. I have been drinking lake mead water for years and i doubt if it will subtract years from my finite existence. Besides, where i came from, the tap water is not as palatable as what you natives are shunning here. And i apologize if i have to point it out to you like many others here already done: but smoking really is bad for your health and finances. It is hands-down far worse than drinking tap water. If your girlfriend does not smoke, your smoking will surely debilitate her in a cumulative way and further lessen her chances of giving you and herself a better life. Also, as you've pointed out yourself, writing does not pay much nowadays, so you can't limit yourself in this endeavor, and definitely can't afford to further hinder yourself from trying other employment avenues- which aren't exactly partial to smokers. In other words, we are nit-picking because we want you to save money, and save your health so you can find other forms of employment.
    incidentally, there might be some flyers that are thin and soft enough to use as toilet paper. It is possible that in many parts of the world, people are probably using this to economize, and the people there are human beings too-- they are no more special-- and no less special-- than you.
    and speaking of flyers, 99 c store offers soymilk, pork and beans, spaghetti o's, and many other foodstuff of real substance that are made and/or grown here in usa.
    so if i should pat my back again here, well, i got by on no more than 60$ a month on food from 99c store and many mexican budget grocers when i first landed here, which, even if you think otherwise, is still the only land of opportunity on this planet. Analogous to what sinatra sings about new york, well, if you can't make it here in usa, then you can't make it anywhere. Clearly, some darwinism is still at work here, and we are watching it live at lasvegassun.com. We hope we have reiterated enough for you to take steps in helping yourself. But you don't need to change your DNA or evolve physically to better your person, all you need to to is get rid of all the self-damaging habits. Besides, even you might agree that many more people would reach out to help you if you never showed video of yourself smoking and drinking. At any rate, i hope all this publicity you're getting paves the way for a more lucrative career.

  60. "Rodger has enjoyed a rather leisurely existence for the last couple decades"

    ********

    Please tell us how you come about this bit of speculation, Brian. I do not know you and you are not acquainted with me, so how could you reach such a conclusion? (And in framing your reply, don't forget to bear in mind that for eight years of those "last couple decades" I have lived with chronic pain, as essayed in the article).

  61. Mr. Jacobs
    Thank you for clearing up the issue about the gentleman/agency who helped take your remaining belongings to storage. Perhaps in your next installment you will take care to be clearer so you do not mislead by mistake. The way it was written comes across as disregarding the wishes of a generous individual who did you a kindness. In short callous disregard.
    I must protest Mr. Jacobs, how unkind of you to attempt to discredit my comments by lumping me in with the blatantly hostile and unfeeling. Yet sir that does not hold water. I have been in your shoes and worse.
    In fact, in May I was moving I had planned and budgeted carefully. Yet despite my careful plans things when wrong. Over a year of careful planning undone in that one instant, I was stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere smoke pouring out from under the hood at 2:30 in the morning exactly 59 miles east of Kingman AZ. All my worldly belongings in a 5x8 U-haul tow behind and in my vehicle with me only my dog for company. On top of that, I could not get any cell reception. In the 12 hours I was stuck on the side of the road not one person stopped, did not even slow down. Yet even devastated I held onto the hope there was a way to salvage something from the situation. When I look back on that day yes there is disappointment, yes there is frustration, but what sticks in my mind more is how blessed I was but I am getting ahead of myself.
    The best my sister could do at the time would be to come and fetch my dog, a small suitcase and me. I decided to wait until business hours and call my car lot, you see they have worked with me for two years now and they actually care ya I know in Las Vegas surprising isn't it. I knew the manager could give me a good idea of what exactly was wrong and possibly where to have my vehicle towed for repairs, and I had already promised to check in until I made it to my destination. So I left a message on the voicemail and then followed up with a call half an hour after the opened at 10:30 am. Did I forget to mention it was a weekend? Through several phone calls, repeatedly losing my signal a tow truck out of Kingman came to fetch me. The shop in Kingman was beyond unprofessional, by this time I was almost in tears.

  62. "Rodger, will you please comment on if you were compensated for this article by the Las Vegas Sun? Will you receive compensation for the work on the up coming book?"

    ********

    "Affirmative" to both questions, though I believe that Celeste Fremon's comments that I posted above ("an income-producing piece of work") and my quote in the article about having a "percentage stake" in the Jack London book should have answered this query.

    ********
    "I really doubt that you are in as tough of a situation as you would like us to believe."

    ********

    What can I say? You're right, you busted me. I actually have a sizeable portion of cash and bonds in an offshore bank account but I have a sociopathic urge to con Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers into publishing stories about myself that are outright prevarications. I'm also a silent majority holder in Denny's stock (I even gave them the idea for the "build your own omlette" schtick -- it's doing quite well, from what they tell me).

  63. Throughout all of this, the manager of the car lot kept calling and checking in on how things were progressing. He tried talking to the shop in Kingman, to no avail they would not give me a diagnosis, an estimate, or anything and were extremely condescending. At this point you are say well sounds about right big deal it is what happened next that changes things. They (my car lot) sent a tow truck from Las Vegas to Kingman, AZ to get my vehicle, the U-haul, my dog, and me. Was I charged for the tow truck yes, but it was a nominal amount. I do not know what the charge normally would be. They asked that I pay $350, the other tow company charged almost that much for only 59 miles. He went out of his way to help me, called and checked on me several times until he knew I was safely back in Las Vegas and with my sister which was not until around 9 pm. Mind you, the business closes no later than 2 pm on Saturdays. I stated in an earlier post I have a reliable vehicle (present tense not past) that is because even knowing I had no way to come up with the money upfront they fixed my vehicle (a complete engine rebuild). That day I lost a job, I lost a hard worked for opportunity to move near my children and it pains me more than I can express. However do you know what sticks with me, it is how blessed I was. I owe my sister over $1600 dollars, I have no clue where I will be living at the end of this year and how I will keep a roof over my head, but I am fortunate things could be much worse. I count my blessings, and despite all of the progress I lost that day, despite being deeper in debt look at all I gained. In a city, know for using, discarding people in a city with so much haltered, and callousness. In a society such as ours has become this was a beautiful act of compassion and kindness. Do not try to discredit my comments as though I am simply picking on you hoping I will not be you. Without my sister, I would have ended up homeless, without the manager of this company I would be without my few possessions and without a vehicle; I take such pride in having financed on my own. Should I fail in the next few months I will not have the luxury of a budget suites and yes even with my best efforts I may very well fail. I get discouraged, I get depressed, and no, I did not plan for this. My choices put me in this situation. I committed resources and spent money counting on move and a job that did not happen. I am not complaining, no sir I am grateful for what has been done for me, I am grateful for today and a roof over my head. I am actually glad they charged me something to come fetch me, for I would not sleep well otherwise.

  64. Sure, I was and am a good customer I pay my payments on time or early. Sure, this man calls me his friend (save the jokes about used car salesman and the crude comments please), but I have never spoken to him off the car lot. Our families do not socialize, we do not belong to the same religious group, or clubs and we are not neighbors. I Mr. Jacobs choose to focus on my blessings, I do not ignore the challenges in life. I have many I am facing right now, and trying hard to find solutions.
    This is the fundamental difference between us, you see my first posts as criticizing and yelling when what I was doing was quietly calmly sharing my experience and trying to show you where others point of view was coming from. What you fail to realize is in the morning and through the next day, many will take to shred my words and my choices apart. They will question my character, complain about how I am a drain on the system and lazy. The thing is sir it is a fallacy to claim you are homeless, and it is wrong to focus on the criticism instead of those who have helped you. It screams entitlement and victim, your writings and your outrage only seek to entrench the hard hearted who walk away believing you are the example of those facing homelessness. Many of those facing homelessness are working class families, and the elderly who have lost their jobs, and retirements. If the goal of this series was to sway the public and open their minds and hearts someone on disability should not have been the focus, people are angry and fed up. People are tired of entitlement attitudes, and they are tired of social programs.

  65. Thia, in the article I clearly stated that the gentleman, not the organization, requested anonymity. I cannot help it if you concluded otherwise so please drop the refrain of "callous disregard." It sounds like you've had a rough hand dealt to you too. I wish you the best. Sincerely.

  66. "People are tired of entitlement attitudes, and they are tired of social programs"

    ********

    Well then, by gosh and by golly, just opt out of the social programs and do not pay into Social Security, as I and millions of others have done through paycheck deductions for many, many years; SSD is simply giving me back what I paid into for several decades; without SSD and Medicare I would not be able to afford the approximately $1500 a month in prescription costs and doctor co-pays that my "social program" pays for (and that's after my $100 a month deductible.)

    What, Thia, would you suggest that I do if I did not have this assistance, apparently, from your words, born of an "entitlement attitude"? (Tell the truth -- you've been going to Sharron Angle rallies, haven't you? Do you think we should privatize the Veterans Administration too?)

  67. Sorry to to hear about your mother, bullmoose, and my sincere condolences on your father -- as you may recall from the first part of the series, it was my mother's terminal illness that brought us to Las Vegas in the first place.

  68. This man rodger makes me sick to my stomach. He still is just looking for handouts, that is why he reads these comments instead of looking for work. Keep drinking your beer and smoking your cigs rodg, especially in your non smoking room, lol. Lazy Lazy Lazy loser. Your just going back to cali because you can't find anyone in vegas to take care of you and pay for your cigs and beer. You piss me off so much I want to reach through the computer screen and smack you. I would respect you if you even worked part time at walmart or something but instead you have your coupons on your fridge for little italy. You scum, keep working on your fake crying also by the way you piece of garbage.

  69. You may render any judgements you prefer against me, Ron, but mocking my grief over my mother's passing -- a genuine and spontaneous moment caught on camera by Ms. Euphrat -- is inhumane and cruel; have your little LOL moment there, pal, but I wouldn't desire to be anywhere near your vicinity when fate and karma deals you a payback.

  70. "I don't think you know what it's like to drag yourself to a job you hate so much it makes you sick, that is completely unfulfilling, raises your blood pressure the second you walk in the door, and genuinely makes you miserable for an average of 70 hours a week. The time you aren't there is consumed by the dread that comes with knowing you'll do it all over again tomorrow."

    ********

    Sounds like catalog advertising copywriting, which I did for four years, Ron, absolute repetitive drudge work, though it paid well ... but a divorce (cited in the comments in part one of the story) wiped out my savings.

  71. "I would respect you if you even worked part time at walmart or something ..."

    ********

    No, instead I was invited to write two articles for the LV Sun this month, which I would wager paid a tad more than a Wal Mart greeter but since, in Brian's words above, that's not "a job you hate so much it makes you sick" then I guess it doesn't count, right?

  72. Congratulations on your writing assignments for the Sun. I hope you get more. As one who had made a living off of one time short term jobs, and contract work since a layoff nearly 2 years ago, I know that any work is good work, and a small check is better than none. I have managed to find something most of the time, and ebay fills in the days off. (40 years of collecting "stuff", I can part with some). I've even considered writing an article or two (on subjects that I have a lot of knowledge or experience) just to see what happens. We're all surving out here right now. Good luck.

  73. bam1969
    No doubt, we should let the guy be attempts have been made to help, attempts have been made to offer suggestions.
    Here is the problem for many, his own responses.
    Here is my problem he writes in a sensationalized manner that takes away from the plight of others while claiming to do the opposite.
    He attacks anyone who has solutions and is unwilling to compromise.
    I know people who are facing homelessness not just here in Las Vegas. I have a friend in NorCal. For almost a year, she has slept on her mother-in-laws floor (no air mattress as there is no room for one). In that small 3 bedroom home are 4 generations of a family 5 if you count her son who is there part-time. Her body is failing her most days she cannot feel her legs, she cannot feel to have a bowl movement and still she is trying. Her husband is signed up for every temporary agency in the area; he hunts for jobs taking whatever is offered. They cannot relocate for better opportunities without leaving behind her child. They are the new facing homeless.
    Stories such as theirs would better serve to educate and enlighten the public.
    This man uses rhetoric and woe is I, while he says my life is hard, he uses classic stereotypical sensationalistic garbage to describe those less fortunate than him. This man demands compassion, empathy, respect and unaccountability yet gives none.
    Yes, I am done talking to him. As a professional writer, he fails miserably at a persuasive piece. As a professional writer he should well know better. Shoot pay me (or any college student) to edit and re-write this propaganda just for comparison and you will see a drastic difference.

  74. A few notes.

    To those inquiring about Rodger's smoking, it was discussed at his monthly doctor's appointment last week and what to do about it is between Rodger and his doctor.

    The debate as to whether residents of hotels are "homeless or not" is not new; it is unfortunate to see not much progress has been made within that debate.

    Thank you to those readers who understand that a freelance writer is an independent contractor, and that independent contractors in the creative arts have been hit very hard by the current recession.

    Rodger's temper and occasionally grouchy remarks here are not born of arrogance. One of the first things a writer hears from early on is "Don't be a writer." Next comes "Why aren't you famous yet," followed by "Your writing isn't really that great." Some writers cave in to such remarks, others fight back.

  75. Okay, guys. Rodger started smoking when he was a teen. I wish he hadn't, but he did. Smokers who have been addicted for that length of time (30+ years) are at risk for a heart attack if they stop. The fact that Rodger discussed it with his doctor, and that they are formulating a plan based on his overall health and safety is enough for me, which is why I say, that is between him and his doctor.

    He is not in dire financial straits because of smoking. It is because of the recession. There may be other people who are also having a hard time, some perhaps suffering even more than Rodger, but that doesn't erase the fact that as a writer he is hurting.

    Rodger is a writer of literary fiction. His "day job" is freelance journalism, book reviews, and the like. Independent contract opportunities for anyone in the creative arts has dried up and those people are frightened, some are angry.

    "Get a job," "learn to budget correctly," and "stop writing" do not solve the problem; in fact, those comments exacerbate his frustration. He wants to keep writing and sometimes fears he cannot, it's that simple and that complicated.

  76. To all and Lela

    I cannot say anything about the smoking since I smoke. I will also be the first to say that my cigarette addiction is not a habit I am addicted. If I have to choose food or cigarettes, I will go without eating.

    If I have to choose paying my bills or buying cigarettes I pay my bills and ration myself seeking any reasonable way to earn some extra money so I can smoke.

    I cannot say anything about bottled water I drink bottled water. That I drink bottled water because I have to due to health reasons holds little sway with most because I smoke. It is also a valid point, since smoking harms my health.

    I do understand being in chronic pain every frigging moment of everyday. I have been in chronic sometimes mind numbing pain for close to 17 years. Yet in searching for work I have applied for jobs delivering fliers door to door, I have applied for jobs washing dishes, cleaning houses. If I am in pain, doing a job so what if it will help me out of a mess I created banking on a situation that fell through that is all that matters. What Rodger and Lela do not comprehend is how privileged their existence has been, and how it is not everyone else's problem. They do not hear there were possible actions they might have taken to avoid this learning so it will hopefully not be repeated.
    (continued)

  77. The truth is this, you all open your life/choices to the public asking for understanding and the kindness of strangers like it or not you all contributed to creating the situation. When you do this you do not get to demand what help they will give.
    In my area alone (granted I live in a nice area thanks to my sister) there is a place that rents studio's partially furnished for $600 a month. They do short term leases as little as 3 months, with $900 a month seeing this coming you could have broken your lease and chose such a situation.
    It would have been hard, it would have been an adjustment but you all could have possibly held on until things got better. I know I have seen places cheaper not good neighborhoods but sometimes you make sacrifices to get by.
    That you and Rodger give no indication such an option was considered is what enrages many. Those angered often have had to make those sacrifices and do not have disability to ease the drying up of job opportunities. Many people work in constant pain. What we read shows the attempts made were to find writing gigs but not to downsize or plan for what if jobs do not come in time.
    I am very sorry if it offends but writing these installments, asking for charity, and moving to a by the week motel does not count as a contingency plan.
    I did not share parts of my life or my situation to pat myself on the back or get sympathy. I was seeking to explain in a manner Rodger might possibly be able to hear why there are so many angry responses.
    I am sorry it was in vain I do not think any lessons were learned by anyone from Rodger and Lela's situation.
    I think it only served to further inflame the very real issue of homelessness and those on the brink of homelessness.

  78. "They do short term leases as little as 3 months .."

    ********

    We do not plan on being in Las Vegas for another three months (that point is in the article) so what would have been the sense of locking ourselves into another lease, even a short term lease?

  79. Rodger
    Yes right now you do not plan to stay in Las Vegas another three months but what about six months ago, what about a year ago? I said you could have broken your lease and averted this. I did not say get a studio now.
    When I moved to Las Vegas, it was after I had cleaned up the financial mess left to me to resolve on my own from my marriage. I believe his words were "You are the one who wanted a divorce why should I care about what was our debits." I was a passive person, I caved to pressure by him for instant gratification and we were deeply in debt to several payday loan companies on a join checking account. I paid off all of them while struggling to feed clothe and shelter our children, he just walked away leaving me to cope while he sulked and pouted. I struggled living in conditions with children worse than a pay by the week motel, finding homes for the horses and other pets save the one a dog I have managed to keep. The problem with living in places like that in a rural area is no one wants to rent to you afterwards. You are forever labeled trash, and addict even if you have only fallen on hard times. When after more than a year of trying hard to make changes on my own and seeing that it was not going to get better, I made a choice I made sacrifices. I came here where I had family, not having all of the burdens of a providing a home on my shoulders alone I could afford a decent neighborhood. It eases the financial burden for both my sister and I. When she moves I will be on my own and since I see it coming I am doing my best to find solutions now, not in a few months. So once again, had you allowed yourself to plan for what might go wrong you could have made choices and sacrifices to avoid this situation. Or are you trying to say that work dried up over night? I am not foolish freelance work is on again off again in the best of times sir. It is not unlike seasonal truck driving up north, there are periods of no work you plan accordingly and live modestly.

  80. It's difficult to fault Rodger for defending himself when ppl misread what was said in the story, or introduce things that weren't in the story in order to support a position they have taken. I know how frustrating it is to me when someone does that in a conversation.

    What is interesting is the attitude ppl have toward disability or the level on has to sink to in order to be worthy of assistance.

    A lot of the posts seem to say more about American society than the printed word. It is quite simple, this country wants you as long as you are young, healthy, and able to work at the expected level of productivity. If not, please stay out of public view.

    The way ppl attack his disability leads me to believe they are younger, healthier individuals. The odds are their attitudes will change as they grow older or when their body starts to give out on them.

    It just doesn't make sense that someone has to get down to the point where they have gone through all their assets and are damn near totally destitute before they are deemed worthy of assistance (if then). If you don't have certain assets it is lot harder to get back up.

    Maybe some one knows someone who has taken actions in life because they had a deal with someone, say for a job that was to start Monday or the first of next month, and then their fellow American decided to go with something better that had come along. Then the person, through no fault of their own, was screwed (in a big way).

    It's pretty clear that not every little consideration is in the article. Certainly their were other considerations along the way. A lot of the ppl on the attack come off to me as nothing more than petty flamers.

    Good luck Roger and Lela, I hear the weather in southern California is wonderful this time of year.

  81. "Yes right now you do not plan to stay in Las Vegas another three months but what about six months ago, what about a year ago?"

    ********
    What about six months or a year ago? Things were not that bad six months to a year ago. Before you lend any more long-winded advice, Thia, I would strongly advise you to go back and read both articles again. Carefully. You are reading things between the lines that simply are not there and you are averting what content is in both articles. Case in point ...

    ********
    "I said you could have broken your lease and averted this." (Thia)
    ********
    Clearly you missed this, the eleventh graph into part one of the story:

    "This month we called for a mediation session with the property management company, through the Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center, to discuss the fact that we believed we were in over our heads with the additional costs of leasing the house in Aliante and to suggest a renegotiation or outright cancellation of the lease."

    Enough, Thia, if you cannot discuss our situation based on what was written, then do not bother at all; you sound foolish when you are offering advice without a sound knowledge of the circumstances that can be rendered from reading the articles. Stick to the facts, please, not to what you imagine we did or did not do. Okay?

    The same advice applies to all other commenters from here on out: stick to the points raised in the article and stop going off text. There are almost 6,000 words for you to digest and comment on, all else is supposition; when you start arguing about issues that are not in the articles, speculating about what mistakes you think we may have made, criticizing my work as a writer and suggesting that I've not been a contributing member to society because -- God forbid -- I actually enjoy my work when I can get it, then you are going off-topic and violating the Sun's Terms of Use. Stick to what has been written; if you have a question, ask. Do not speculate.

  82. "Though both from a literary sense are well written, they are in my opinion also bit elitist in vocabulary and phrasing for a newspaper article."
    ********
    Please explain your use of the noun elitist. Did I employ a phrase or make a literary allusion that you did not understand? That's not elitism.

    And if you read both articles, Thia, why did you accuse me of not doing something that I clearly did (attempt to negotiate a termination of the lease)? You are choosing to bow out and sidestep your own errors now.

  83. Go back into the article and find quotes to support your thesis. I'm not sensitive to criticism in the least; I'm sensitive to unsubstantiated arguments; those are the rules of engagement for any debate.

  84. "Oh, forgot to mention. If California is not left enough for you, I am sure you will be welcomed in Venezuela."

    ********
    Finally, we get down to what's really at the heart of the matter ... politique.

  85. Le contraire, mon ami ...

  86. "Even if Rodger and Lela choose to watch TV all day"

    ********
    Where did you get this idea? From Katharine's video? The time lapse photography that you see in one excerpt of her excellent video took place over four days; you might also note the amount of time spent in front of the computer at the desk in the kitchenette area of the room.

    Now, how do you define a "very real interpretation"?

  87. One more thing, Brian: your "underachiever" epithet baffles me. If I am an underachiever how is it that I have an original essay, "Running with the Wolves" (1999) in the permanent online collection of Jack London Studies at Sonoma State University, sanctioned by the late author's estate?

    http://london.sonoma.edu/Essays/redbeard...

    How many underachievers have written and produced two feature documentaries ("Guns of the Civil War", "World War II: Breadlines to Boomtimes") for sale in the Smithsonian Institution Book Store in Washington, D.C.?

    And how many slackers out there had their first website (8763 Wonderland) selected for inclusion on the syllabus of a University of Maryland literature course titled "Literature in a Wired World"?

    I may be many things but an underachiever sure as hell isn't an epithet that fits.

  88. Rodger, I have been reading your blogs and the blogs of your friends that you mentioned on here. You and other writers from LA speak ill of Las Vegas, yet years ago you railed against how uncaring LA is when you were evicted from there.

    It is also clear from reading your blogs that your financial woes started well before the recession, and you always struggled with paying for your drinking and smoking habits despite finances and doctor's advice to the contrary.

    According to your blogs the only time you didn't live in a weekly motel type situation since 2003 was in Las Vegas. You've begged for money over a dozen times, while ordering that there be "no 'get thee to a soup kitchen' styled postings in the comments section this time."

    You ask for compassion, yet in this piece mock the homeless who beg for cigarettes. I am sure you will call me a "hater" or hostile. I am neither.

  89. "It is also clear from reading your blogs that your financial woes started well before the recession"
    ********
    Indeed they did, Stephanie, in fact I chronicled the downfall of the freelance market in a May 2009 feature-length essay for Pop Matters titled "Depression 2.0: Sunday in Kerouac Alley":

    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/9376...

    The point you may have missed is that although I have experienced some bumps in the road over the last several years, this time the car almost went off the cliff; indeed, had it not been for my trade talents -- writing these articles for the Sun and the positive response they elicited -- this story would have had quite a different ending; but instead of congratulating me for using my vocational skills to prevent a crash, so many have chosen to excoriate me instead. That's logic that only the denizens of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland could understand.
    ********
    "According to your blogs the only time you didn't live in a weekly motel type situation since 2003 was in Las Vegas." (Stephanie)
    ********
    Not true, read more closely; for six years after my divorce I resided at the J.P. Allen Extended Stay Suites Days Inn in Glendale, California, quite different from, say, the Budget Suites or Siegel Suites here in Vegas; it was a monthly rental and quite a comfortable place to call home (except for the lack of a dishwasher).

    In 2007 Lela and I lived in a weekly rental in North Beach, San Francisco, but, again, circumstances that you did not take into consideration in your casual perusal of my blogs --I was working through a situation wherein SSD had accidentally cut off my benefits and a weekly was what we could afford until the red tape-laden procedure to restore the benefits was concluded.

    (By the way, I worked as a doorman at Vesuvio in S.F. for six months while waiting for my benefits to be reinstated, a job that hastened the onset of my psoriatic arthritis from standing in the night chill for six hours, four nights a week -- so much for those who say I don't know how to find non-writing work when I'm destitute).
    ********
    "You ask for compassion, yet in this piece mock the homeless who beg for cigarettes" (Stephanie)
    ********
    Do you know what immersion journalism is, Stephanie? That's what my first two articles are, a striving to accurately recreate circumstance and environment, even dialogue.

    When I encounter that man who practically lives at the RTC stop near the corner of Smoke Ranch and Rancho every day, he utters those exact words to me: "Hey, cuz, gimme a cigarette .. c'mon, I know you got one, man." Those are his words, Stephanie. I am not mocking him. I am recording his words. Or would you rather I unrealistically sanitize it so he says, "Excuse me, dear chap, might I borrow a cigarette from your person? So sorry but I seem to have waylaid my own package somewhere."

    Thanks for commenting.

  90. Hello there, Roger, the last couple of times I stayed at the Budget Suites on Rancho, I was always being hit on for a smoke. I didn't mind the sharing, because I know how broke these folks were that they couldn't afford a pack of cigs. And if they had a pack, it was what I call horse-turd cigs, you know GPCs or something similar. In the area of the complex we were in, quite often people would try to give me a quarter for the Marlboro I would share. They still had pride in themselves, I think. My one sister, Carole, that died of a stroke this past April at the age of 53 had descended down to the level of scrounging her smokes from the cig butts she would find in peoples ashtrays and yards around where she lived. She once offered me one of her 'used smokes'that she kept in a Marlboro hardpack. It was a shock to me. I went out and bought her a carton; she was back to her used smokes in three days. She was a generous soul that would share with her pals.See ya.

  91. Rodger, I'm afraid that I didn't have time to peruse your blogs. You've written so much over the past five years that I really only had the chance to skim through most of your entries and not devote the time for a careful and complete reading that a perusal would require. I will not post anymore quotes from your blog, as it is apparently against the Sun's policy.

    I understand that you were trying to preserve the original dialect with the use of the apocope "cuz" and the contraction "c'mon." However, this is not what I felt was mocking or condescending. Rather it was the phrase "the insolence of the street beggars". How are they insolent? Because they dare beg strangers for an addictive, unnecessary and harmful substance when they are unable to provide themselves without the basic necessities of life?

  92. Simple, Steph, "gimme" or "give me" is insolent and demanding, in my opinion.

  93. I understand. Best of luck to you, and I look forward to reading more of your writings on Jack London.

  94. Here's an idea... When you are at your nce cushy job for life, because it seems so many here are blessed with a gaurenteed career and household budget... What would you say to working next to a guy like Roger?? I mean having him with you doing the job you are doing 9-5?? Warts and all.

    I'm betting you would not like it and want your boss to get him out the door ASAP.. But yet, you want him to be hired by somebody else, just not your place of employment...
    Lovely....

  95. Denny's $4.99 grand Slam for dinner.. a reward to be finally moved from a house to a rat trap... Yup, that's living high on the hog. I guess maybe the SteakHouse at Bellagio must have been full...

    Give them a break folks, You would do the exact same thing when you get in this position.