The Lowe Down

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Chan Lowe: Championship panhandling

vet.gifI was just a little sad when the Sun Sentinel did an exposé on our intersection “vets,” those guys who dress up in camouflage and carry collection buckets emblazoned with the stars and stripes.

It was only a matter of time, I knew, before word of the scam would spread through the region, and virtually every motorist would know that little of the money they give to these guys actually ends up in the hands of our honored veterans.

In a jaded environment like ours, where you need an original shtick to stay afloat, the vet routine has been superb street theater.

I watched one of our intrepid roadside warriors march between the lanes of cars (calling out a cadence, “Hup, toop, thareep, four), execute a spit-and-polish left face, and proffer the bucket to a driver as though he were presenting his weapon for inspection. It would have made a drill instructor proud.

Rather than passing laws preventing this kind of thing, we should be encouraging it. Make our intersections Darwinian—let the best act survive. We cast our ballots by the amount of change we give them, and those that don’t measure up get voted off the island.

Then, we sell it up north as a tourist attraction.

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i must admit i am weak for street beggars. tossing a few coins here and there. the biggest donation i ever gave was at the corner of 441 and davie blvd. his sign read i am not going to fool you ,i need a drink. gave him a ten. honesty is the best policy.

I am NOT weak for street beggars (shocker, I know). I believe that you do more damage by giving. It's a viscious cycle that they are in and by giving you allow them to continue to just barely get by. And, the money you give them goes straight to alcohol or drugs. For instance, while at a red light one day a friend of mine offered an untouched burger we had just picked up through a drive thru (2 for 1), to a, "homeless person" holding up a sign that claimed they were, "starving". The beggar refused and asked for money instead. Needless to say, the arrow turned green and I hit the gas pedal.

I recall my parents talking about "Street Cornner" vendors: selling apples & pencils during the Great Depression -- Why that.? I'm guessing apples were a good way to get a full tummy feeling.....Pencils.? My hunch is to write a suicide note,and commit harakiri with the pencil.But- lets think positive....Maybe for a resume. ! ! !


First time I agree with Chan Lowe. Its breaks up the boredom for those of us that still have jobs, and have to drive home during rush hour traffic , and wait at traffic lights. Their is even the one gypsy with elephantiasis on tenth street in Deerfield. He makes sure he wears cut up short to expose the hideousness that are his his legs; a lot of shock value and a very nice technique! I saw it used on a Parisian subway right by Notre Dame last March, it had a nice hunchback feel to it, very effective indeed.

Instead of just giving the bums money, maybe they could try being journalists at the Sun-Sentinel. Couldn't be any worse than what we get now.

You've really got some kind of axe to grind, don't you?
I don't think you've ever made any real comment on this blog but to attack the cartoonist, or his colleagues or The Sun-Sentinel overall.
Maybe you're just a disgruntled ex-journalist?

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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