Homeless in the Material World

Anthony Ciccone is down on his luck.

When the 55 year old Michigan native lost his sales job at a vineyard, things started to slide downhill. For the last year and a half he’s been among the ranks of the homeless, sleeping under bridges and taking meals served by volunteers at places like the Faith Reform Church in Traverse City, Michigan.  He is not looking forward to another winter in the streets.

“If you spend enough time on frozen concrete without proper insulation you will get frostbite”, he told the Michigan Messenger. “You have no idea how gruesome it is.”

“You get nerve damage. That’s the milder stage, in the severe stage you have tissue damage, that is when you lose parts of your body. I got frostbite on my feet last winter, Ciccone said. “A friend of mine lost all 10 toes. Several have died of hypothermia.”

This is a heart breaking story and one that is more and more common as we continue without direction in this third year of Depression II.

“Never say never,” Ciccone said in the interview. “This could happen to anybody.”

What is different about Ciccone’s circumstance is who he used to work for and who he is related to. Anthony is the older brother of the artist known as Madonna, and the nearby Ciccone Vineyard run by their father Tony is where he used to work.

While one can imagine that there must be more to the story than what meets the eye and that Anthony has probably been a cross to bear for the Ciccone family for quite a while, consider that earlier this year USA Today estimated his sister’s net worth to be at least $325 million, making her the fourth richest woman entertainer in the world.

In 2007, the pop star made headlines when she announced that she intended to “boost her image as a serious campaigner against child poverty.”  A source told the UK newspaper The Sun that “Madonna wants to dedicate the rest of her life to helping children. She desperately wants to become the female Bono and be taken as seriously as him. Her days of being the Material Girl are gone.”

She further urged people to follow the example of Jesus.

“Jesus’ message was to love your neighbour as yourself, and there are people in need. I hope that people got that message,” she was quoted as saying.

Somehow, one imagines that if Bono had a brother living in the street or if Jesus was sitting on a net worth of $325 million, either one would find a way to help their brother no matter how difficult the familial relationship.

Despite her attempts to change her image, it seems she may be as material a girl as ever.

Living in a material world
and I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
and I am a material girl

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