February 27, 2016

The law library at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp is a 12' x 14' room with 3 computer terminals to use for legal research (pay by the minute), 2 typewriters, an empty file cabinet, and a copy machine (pay by the page) that sometimes works. The maximum capacity is 7 people. It's used infrequently for attorney/client meetings during day. I use it for reading and writing, typically 2-4 hours each day. 

 

In early December, I developed a staph infection in my elbow. The first antibiotic, which I took for 10 days, did little to help. The second one did the trick, but I ended up with all the drug's side effects plus fever and chills. I couldn't go outside as sun exposure was the only labeled warning, which I ignored, regretfully, but only once. During that period of almost 4 weeks, my 2-4 hours per day in the law library became 5-7 hours, certainly over the excessive line. Since January, I've been back to my usual schedule.

 

We have several inmates here who were la...

February 26, 2016

Even as student during the Viet Nam era, I always had great respect and admiration for the US armed forces. Some of my inmate friends here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp had long careers of military service. Our fighting prowess is unmatched, and I would even go so far as to say there is nothing we do better as a country than kicking ass and taking names. If I were a Two-Bit Dictator and the US declared war on me, I would beg for mercy, loud and long, before getting "shocked and awed."

 

However when politicians declare war on other stuff, my money is on the other stuff.

 

Does anyone still think the War on Poverty was successful? After 40 years, have we even won one skirmish? Is income disparity higher or lower? Are fewer or more citizens on government assistance?

 

What about the War on Drugs? Are there more or fewer drugs on the street? State after state seems to be realizing the war is over and we lost, and we now thankfully have a Drug Czar in Washington, a recovering alcoholic by th...

February 22, 2016

Back when I owned a GPS...and a car...and had money for gas...and somewhere to go, my GPS would sometimes get lost. When that happened, it would tell me, in its sexy, Siri-like voice, that it was re-calibrating. She was trying her best to get me back on track toward a place I wanted to go.

 

I've been a little lost for a few years now. One of the purposes of this blog was to be a way of hopefully chronicling not just my getting lost, but my own re-calibrating. It's a journey that's going to take some work, but I have an abundance of writing material, as I'm finding that I have much to learn. Maybe you're a little lost too, so we can re-calibrate together. 

 

I'm very pleased to announce today that my blog will be moving to its new site at re-calibrating.com. That site is now live thanks to daughter Jana and son-in-law Matt. I haven't seen it, as we don't have internet access at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. But knowing them, I have no doubt I'd approve....

February 19, 2016

On February 18, 2016, my baby boy would have been 29 years old. There are many statements I could 

make about his short life, but to me the most remarkable is this: In his almost 28 years of life on this 

earth, I never recall him saying one unkind word about anyone. That makes him unique in our family.

We were so fortunate to call him son, brother, and friend. 

 

He was precocious and full of wonderment.

 

Perpetually 27. What will it be like to be 82 and have a 27 year old son/brother/friend? Sometimes I can't help but wonder about what might have been, but then I remember afternoons on the Brazos. I remember the long drives to South Dakota for pheasant hunting, laughing to Howard Stern and Garrison Keillor. I remember the simple joy of hearing his Randolph Family Band ring tone and answering my cell phone to hear, "Hey Dees. Wanna meet at 4:00 and play nine?" 

 

While I can't hold him; he's here. I still hear his voice. I feel him. I talk to him. All this has taught me th...

February 14, 2016

Some people are uncomfortable with silence. I am not; never have been. I like silence very much.

 

One of my favorite movies is Cast Away, which has almost no dialogue for a third of the movie. It stars Tom Hanks and a volleyball named Wilson. Hank’s plane crashes in the Pacific, and he is hopelessly lost on an uninhabited island thousands of miles from where people are searching for him. He has neither tools nor talents suited to his predicament in this hostile environment. He is totally screwed.

 

If you’ve seen the movie, you know there is a point when Hank’s character realizes that life is not going to get any better and he is going to slowly die. He climbs to a high place on the island, secures a rope and prepares to hang himself. But the rope breaks and the desperate attempt to control his own destiny fails. He can’t even determine his own demise.

 

So what happens? A package from his plane washes ashore (he worked for FedEX in the perfect product placement movie ever). We don’t know i...

February 10, 2016

Since arriving at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp on August 26, 2015, I’ve read over 20 books. I promised to report on some, so here’s another Book Report. While this report would earn only a C in most colleges, as I’m just quoting from the book, sometimes the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur applies. This doctrine is one of the few things I remember from law school and means (for those too lazy to look it up) “the thing speaks for itself.” Sadly I only remember this important doctrine because we used to make crude jokes about it, but I digress.

 

Thomas Merton’s No Man Is an Island speaks for itself and it also kicked my ass. It’s mere 264 pages took me over a week to complete as I read most of it multiple times–not just because it was good, but because it was way over my head spiritually. Here are some quotes for his chapter on Being and Doing.

 

* In order to find God in ourselves, we must stop looking at ourselves, stop checking and verifying ourselves in the mirror of our own futilit...

February 8, 2016

I’m noticing that most of the drug offenders at Bastrop FSC have little trouble admitting they committed a criminal act. Most of them correctly think their sentence was too harsh, but at least they own what they did. Some own it a little too proudly in fact, but that’s another story.

 

The white collar offenders though, who comprise a much smaller percentage of the inmate population, are different. I’ve been here long enough to meet most of them and a vast majority are convinced they did nothing wrong. Obviously I lack sufficient information to know if they are honestly and accurately assessing the government’s case against them. Let’s just say I’m as skeptical about them as I am about the government.

 

So far, I’m one of two white collar offenders here who seems to know what I did was criminally wrong when I did it. My plan was to fix it before I got caught. As I wrote, “one of two”, there is one other inmate who would make a similar admission, and it’s no surprise we have become friends.

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones