How much do panhandlers really make? Can you possibly make a living at this? How much of a difference does a funny sign make? Will people give to a guy in a banana suit? Does every sign have to say "God Bless?" Important questions. I aim to find the answers. Give me a dollar. God Bless.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Comic-Con and Jeffrey Brown

I went to San Diego to do some panhandling at The Comic Con and to support my "client" Francois Fly who was performing there. The comic con was cool, but it's hard to panhandle folks when everyone else is trying to sell them comic books not to mention that fact that many of them are in costumes without convenient pockets as illustrated by Jeffrey Brown. Getting to meet Jeffrey was the coolest part of the convention. I've recently become a fan of his when my neighbor Christy turned me on to his books Clumsy and Unlikely. Having a drawing of me done by him is the coolest.
Francois Fly's gig was fun, but we had to share a dressing room with the burlesque dancing ladies. This is the second time we've been forced to share a room with gorgeous women. It's so annoying having them get undressed in front of us. Sometimes they even ask us for help with various buttons and zippers. It makes it very difficult to concentrate on playing Shinobi on my laptop. Blaine Capatch of Beat The Geeks was the MC and a real nice guy. Kitten Deville was just one of many lovely ladies on the bill, all of whom refused to give me so much as a nickel! I should mention the show was produced by Augusta of Itsachick and she is one awesome lady.
The burlesque crowd starts booing pretty quick when an act that isn't a naked lady comes on, and Francois Fly got his shair of boos but he basked in the glory of it taking each boo as a badge of honor and he had a good portion of the crowd laughing and having a good time. The dancers in particular seemed to really get a kick out of the fly.
I already wrote about the LA portion of the trip so I'll get back to my begging. I want to buy a copy of RetroGamer magazine but it's like 12 bucks, so could you maybe spare me a couple of dollars? It comes with some emulaters on cd rom so it's totaly worth it! ! ! God Bless.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rating the beggars

No, I'm not making fun of the homeless. Remember, this site started because people were giving ME grief for GIVING to panhandlers. That said, there are some folks that are better at this art form than others, and a little critical analysis can only help as we push our chosen discipline to greater heights.
My friend Frank Robert's will be helping me out here as we look at some panhandlers in action. Frank has a background in fashion having worked for a summer in the boys department of K-Mart. And also he's gay. We've rated according to how much we'd give if we were upper middle class.

Joe: Okay, the black thing is great if you can pull it off, so props for that. But come on man, suffer a little. The white guilt angle, the black solidarity thing, you could be filling that cup right quick but you don't look like you need it. You're wearing a Bill Cosby sweater for crissakes, AND HEADPHONES! The cane is good in theory, but it's a bit too dignified. A crutch with some newspaper wrapped around the armpit cushions would work way better. You just look like someone's grandpa ready to go in and get a refill. Not a Cent.
Frank: I love it. He's retirement age, he deserves to relax. Who is gonna tell a grandpa to get a job? He's dressed just nice enough that they figure he's not a lifer or an addict and they give him a couple bucks. Five Dollars.

Frank: What's going on here? Killing time before the big super bowl party. Will work for cheese whiz, pretzels and oversized foam fingers? Two Dollars.
Joe: I like it. Makes for a cool working class kind of appeal. You can imagine he just got laid off from an assembly line. And if he did, um, sorry dude. Four Dollars.
Joe: This is pathetic. The "Why Lie I Need a Drink" sign, as tired as it is, would be better than this. I'd rather see him stick to a classic than to see such a pathetic attempt at being original. All he did was change the wording a little. No Dollars.
Frank: The pony tail is nice, says he's been at it awhile, also appeals to the yuppie who cut their hair to land a job. I can see them now droppin' a few coins in, "You keep it real for both of us man!" I'm not offended by the sign. Maybe he'll get a few bucks from folks hoping he'll use it to hire a new writer. Three Dollars.
Pony tail? That aint a pony tail. That's a doo rag or something. Black guys don't have pony tails.

Joe: This is The Great Russian Panhandler? No. That's an accordian. He's playing it. That means he's a street musician. A busker. HE'S WORKING! The Russian employee of the month would be more accurate. And the kid angle is pathetic. Oh, look at me. I'm a kid, give me money. I have big sad puppy eyes. Minus Five Dollars.
Frank: The cloths are GREAT. By day, on the streets, he's hopelessly out of fashion. By night, at the clubs, he's totally retro chic with a great sense of irony. I love it. I wonder if he can play any Run DMC on that thing. Five Bright Shiny Silver Dollars.
Joe: Alright, now you're just disagreeing with me to be difficult. Frank get's No Dollars and No Cents. And I was just kidding about him being gay. He's not even gay!

Frank: Uh, business is good eh? You may want to change that "Will work for food" to "Will work for shaving cream. You look needier in that department. Fifty Cents. And while it may be true, I'm not technically gay, I sing along with Shakira and I did just use the phrase "retro-chic."
Joe: He's got a cool smiling Buddah touch. I'd drop him some coins for sure. Four Dollars and Twenty Five Cents.

Look for more soon. And please, Frank ate all my guacamole. If you can spare a couple bucks for avacodo, cilantro, garlic and a squirt of lemon, I'd really appreciate it. God Bless.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

No Photos

I'm gonna end up on the side of the road with a sign that says, "Take My Picture please?"
No photos yesterday, but the usual 8 bucks in an hour give or take a few nickels so filthy I didn't want to touch them. Why do nickels in particular seem to get so yuckified? I'll be back out in a couple if days to get a photo for the "Your Ad Here" E-bay experiment. In the meanwhile, I could us a couple of bucks so I can go see one of the summer blockbuster. Spare me two dollars and I promise no to spend it on The Bad News Bears.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I love everyone

Rockstars, webmaster and everyday folks give me money.
I put up a new page outlining my online earnings. Click here to visit this new page.
And donate some yourself to make it oh so much more exciting! Thanks all. God Bless.

Friday, July 15, 2005

On the Radio In LA

Kathy at KNX CBS News Radio in LA discovered me via via as did many other individuals including many radio stations. I've done an interview a day for three days with three more next monday. Kathy's boss Mike Singer contacted me and asked me to appear on their afternoon news program. I was in LA anyway, that's me panhandling with my "This Pays More Than Minimum Wage" sign and the Capitol Records building in the background, so it was decided I'd come into the station for the interview rather than phoning it in.
I went to the ancient CBS building, a relic from radio's golden age. Jack Benny once worked out of this building! I spare changed the gate security guards as we parked, but didn't get any dough out of them. I hit the front desk next but struck out again. I continued my spare changing as I was escorted through the builidng.

I got into the studio and into my headphones and we were on the air with Jim Thornton and Vicky Cox. I took the opportunity to promote Francois Fly while I was there when they asked what other ways I've tried to make money. I told them I manage and Insect Comedian. The DJ noted that I was not making fun of the needy and that my site often feature links to sites where you can contribute to various charities. I appreciated that. Mostly though we just clowned around and it was a-lot of fun. I spare changed each of the DJs and Vicky gave up a buck.

After we finished Singer led me and Lizard Boy (thanks for taking the photos L.B.) out of the building so they could get to their next guest; Grey Davis! HA! They had the disgraced and recalled ex-Governor of California on, but I was the lead. That's rich. I asked if I could panhandle Davis, but he was being interviewed by phone. I guess only us important guests come into the studio.

I was introduced to Kathy, who found me in the first place and we got a picture together. I then hit up her co-workers for money and made my fourth dollar off of CBS News. That's four bucks in less than twenty minutes. Spare changing radio stations on payday does indeed pay more than minimum wage. Thanks so much to Kathy for finding me and getting me on in LA today.

On Monday July 18th I'll be on KXJZ in Sacramento at 2pm with Jeffrey Callison, and I'll be on the air with Charles Adler at 12:30pm. Adler can be heard throughout Canada and even some places in America. (Yeah, yeah, I know, Canada is America too. Give me a buck and I'll change my wording.)
On Tuesday July 19th I'll be on Doug Stephan's Good Day, currently the ninth largest talk radio show in the country.

I can't be on the freeway offramp when I'm on the radio doing interviews so it's really hurting my income. Can you help me out with a couple of bucks? God Bless.

A Present? For Me?

Someone noticed the wishlist on this site, and while they didn't get me anything from the list I did get my first panhandled gift. It came Drew in Texas. Thanks Drew.

It's "How To Get By Rich" by Donald TRUMP, and it's a NATIONAL BESTSELLER! I need some money to invest in new clothes, maybe some drycleaning for my banana suit. The Donald says it's important to look good. Can you spare a couple of bucks? God bless.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Badmouth and Fark ran a little piece I wrote on this experiment and then picked it. So many hits from Fark that Badmouth was knocked offline in minutes. It keeps popping off and on so give it a try. As a result the local sports radio station is calling for an interview. Cool. Can you spare a buck? All this attention's made me thirsty.

This art was done by Jared Von Hindman at I hope to have lots more art by Jared on the site. So if you can't spare a buck, maybe you can send me your panhandling stories, suggestions or cool artwork, but really... Send me a buck, I need some new video games.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Panhandle Haiku

I'm thinking of going out with some Haiku signs. If I remember correctly it's three syllables, five syllables, three syllables or five, seven, five.Here's some I'm considering:

Off ramp, hot
Give me your money
Thanks God Bless

I am broke
Thirsty for green tea
Spare a buck

Get a job?
Work at McDonalds?
This pays more.

Will work for food if
Vegan, organic, kosher
Better make it cash

Please post your own panhandle haiku, and maybe spare a couple of bucks. It's freakin' hot. I want to buy an iced soy cappucino to blend with some carob powder. Yum.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cop vs Banana

This is a still from the documentary that Jonathon Morken is shooting on my adventures in panhandling. This cop is booting me from the offramp, but he's pretty nice about it and he answers many questions about panhandling laws and what not. Shaking hands with a banana is probably not an everyday thing for him (most bananas don't have hands.) I can't wait to get my first ticket for being on a freeway offramp!

This is Morken and John (all three guys in this production company are named John) shooting while I panhandle. They stay hidden as best they can. John's not fishing, he's holding a boom mic. Nowadays they have me wearing a remote mic on my costume too.

Of course they don't pay much, and sometimes they make me but frenchfries with my days wages, so maybe you could spare a couple bucks? God Bless.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Click on this image to go to a page with ad banners so I can pan handle on your website too!

Putting a banner on your site is even better than giving me a couple of bucks, but theres no reason you can't do both. Spare a couple bucks? God bless.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Uncle Sam Needs You! (scroll down for story)

Click on the poster for larger pretty version!
The lizard boy made me this poster, and Decades Costumes lent me an Uncle Sam outfit, so this weekend's panhandling was a blast.

I printed the poster at work, on a regular consumer grade printer using the print poster feature, a feature I'd never seen before. The poster took four sheets of legal size paper which I taped together.
Luckily the boss left for 4th of July early so I could get away with misusing the office equipment and supplies. Of course he reads this blog, but what's he gonna do, fire me? He knows I'll just laugh. I've got my lucrative career in panhandling to support me and mine.
I added a "God Bless" to the bottom of the sign. Always the God Bless, it's panhandler gold. Who wants to give money to some godless commie on 4th of July.

I called James and Jonny at Decades Costumes and they had a few Uncles Sams left, but I couldn't pick one up until after they closed on July 2nd, just in case a paying customer came in before then wanting one. Luckily, there was still one left when I get there, and it works out great because the junkiest looking costume will always be the one left. Junky is perfect for my uses. I want to look like I need a bit of help.
It was unbearably hot, not so much from the coat, but the hat! My god, I was sweating buckets. The first half hour only yielded a couple of bucks, and not many smiles or laughs. I couldn't figure it out, but the second half hour rocked. Folks were cracking up and the money was flowing. I think it's all a matter of me relaxing out there, getting the eye contact down, etc.

Of course not everyone enjoyed it. An older couple shook their heads at me. I shook back. It's my policy to agree with everyone. The woman than told me I should be ashamed. Again I agreed and they went on their way.

A psycho young man kept screaming "F*** America" over and over. The girl with him was asking him to stop. Continuing my policy I gave him a thumbs up and was delighted to hear him saying to her, "See! See, he agrees. Do you not SEE THIS?!" What a nut. ("F***" is because moms read this too.)

Most people just had a good laugh, and many were willing to pitch a couple of bucks for it. There were still a few of the "I'm not going to look at you" folks. If you ever pass silliness and you're not even willing to look at it, get help. Life should be more fun! These freaks of nature were the rare exception. I made $14.50 an hour. That's a record so far. Two bucks (thanks Max and Lindsey), and an ash tray full of change (Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Verona) came from friends, but even subtracting that, I had a great day, and made more per hour than I do at my day job.

Why don't you follow the example set by those generous folks out there today and donate a couple of bucks. Maybe we'll set a record for online earning today too! Life is better when you give me money, and your sex life will improve too! God Bless.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Begging In Portugal

This is a letter I got from my friend Eric who is in Portugal. He took the picture too.

"Like you, the gypsies in Portugal have some great angles. Sometimes they fuck with their kids´eyes and make them ask for change for glasses. There was one guy that was pretty slow (Forest Gump slow) who asked me for two euros for a cup of coffee, which is only 50 cents. I am impressed because he asked me for money in english. When I offered him my coffee, he didn´t want it. Then he started walking behind people asking them for two euros. He was completely ignored. While this was happening, a couple of kids were feeding the pigeons bread from the bakery. Christ! The rats with wings had more luck than him. Pan Handler, can you spare a banana suit to help this guy out? "

Eric's promised to send pictures of Portugalese Panhandlers soon. In the meanwhile can you spare me a couple of bucks to buy a second banana suit? God Bless.