April 28, 2016

Here's the Writer's Almanac from April 28, 2016, from Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp.


There are several inmates here working on the next great American novel. One of them, who is often in the law library, is a man from Austin. He's 40 and has 14 kids, ages 26 to 9, by 11 different women. He breathes burnt orange, even though he has never set foot on the 40 acre campus at the University of Texas. He and I hit it off immediately, as I have always secretly loved UT. The title of his novel is Mr. Chocolate. It may be a trilogy. It should be an autobiography.


As he was writing recently, we had this conversation.


Him: Do you know what effervesce is?


Me: Yeah


Him: Well, what is it?


Me: It's like Alka Seltzer, where air escapes from a liquid with a bunch of tiny bubbles.


Him: OK. So would, "His blood effervesced from his neck when she stabbed him with an ice pick" be alright?


Me: No. Not really. That's different.


Him: I think I'm going to use it anyway.


He has a point. He's a novelist. What do...

April 24, 2016

On my first night at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, a generous inmate offered me some shower shoes, and he said, "Don't even think about going into the shower without them on." This was excellent advice. There are 8, 3'x3' shower stalls with plastic curtains both on the East and West Wings for 185 inmates.  Half of them work at any given time. The unwritten rule here is that an inmate must enter and leave the shower still wearing at least his boxers. That's a great rule, but it creates an acrobatic challenge which brings us to our lesson of the day for all lifelong learners, which is....


How do you put on your boxers after a shower, while wearing shower shoes, without putting wet feet through the legs of your dry boxers, and without touching the slimy wall of the shower which would necessitate another shower?


This is, in fact, a ten step process.


Step 1: Dry off everything but your feet.


Step 2: Hold your boxers in your teeth in a way that you can tell the front from the back, for obv...

April 20, 2016

At the 2016 Masters, 22 year old Jordan Speith, last year's Masters Champion, hit his tee shot on the par 4, 230 yard 4th hole so far right into the trees, many thought his golf ball was lost. So he took out another ball and hit a provisional shot, a "do-over", if you will. Jordan found his first ball, hit out of the pine trees and miraculously made par on the 4th hole. Had he been required to play his provisional shot, he would have lost one stroke.


I love the game of golf, having only taken it up personally in my mid 50s so I could play with my son, who was good. When he was at Baylor Law School, we would often walk 9 holes on the shores of Lake Waco at Ridgewood Country Club, meeting at 4:00 pm. There is nothing in life quite like hitting a golf ball within 5 feet of the pin from 200 yards. In fact, just such a golf shot is one leg of my personal holy trinity. The second leg is successfully making 7 intense cuts on a slalom ski at 36 mph in glassy water. The third....that's a myster...

April 18, 2016

I'm just rambling with some more random observations from Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp...


* There is a volunteer from Austin who has come here almost every Tuesday night for over 22 years to lead a Bible study. That's approximately 1,200 times. I know he can't work his way into heaven, but I'm just saying...


* We now have Blue Bell ice cream in the commissary. However the commissary is only open from 6:00-6:30 am once a week. We have to purchase it then and eat it immediately. After almost 8 months without any dairy products, eating a pint of Homemade Vanilla at 6:30 am was not my best move. Even so, I’ll be doing it again.


* I received my highest compliment here to date, during my first morning of working in Maintenance II. One of my Hispanic brothers told me he had never seen a white boy any better with a weed eater. That's high praise.


* We now have Grandy's jelly in the Chow Hall. It's 200% better than the old jelly, but didn't Grandy's close all its restaurants in 2000?


* There...

April 12, 2016

Bill Murray is a funny man and an excellent character actor. The character he played in the movie Groundhog Day is stuck in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where he goes as a TV reporter to cover Phil the groundhog on February 2nd. Once there, that day repeats itself, over and over again, as he suffers through the same alarm, the same Sonny and Cher song on the radio, the same everything. He is stuck in a crazy time warp completely beyond his control. Do you ever get that feeling?


I've never been in a situation where I felt like I was in a time warp; that is, until I arrived at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. After almost 8 months here, I know what's going to happen before it happens. My routine is frighteningly predictable, even though it is completely out of my control.


I know I'm incarcerated, but I never feel like I'm really suffering here; bored, but not suffering. However, suffering can take many forms. Its common denominator is that the victim is in an environment where life is out o...

April 8, 2016

I've written before that inmates can't vote here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. However, that doesn't keep us from having opinions and discussions that are frequently passionate and occasionally intelligent. It's far better than Meet the Depressed on Sunday morning TV. So...here's an opinion.


During the last 8 years of Barack Obama's presidency, the democrats have lost 900 state legislative seats, 11 governorships, 69 US House of Representative seats, and 13 Senate seats. They have no farm system, and it's a party completely bereft of young talent. Had it any, he/she could waltz into being the party's nominee for our nation's highest office as Obama did in 2008. Nobody wants Hillary, and Bernie is your crazy uncle who taught philosophy at a Junior College before being laid off. I bet he has 4 pairs of Earth Shoes.


The republican leadership is so dysfunctional; it is incapable of even suggesting a presidential nominee whom anyone can stomach. The party's leadership has abdicated its...

April 3, 2016

Just when I thought I was on a bit of sound footing here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, I completely forgot about that elusive rug that could be yanked from under my feet. On Tuesday, March 29th, I was on my way to see if I could get into the barber shop at 1:30 pm, to start my second job as hair stylist to the criminal elite. The Corrections Officer and Counselor stopped me and said they wanted to talk to me. Since it's prison and my primary goal was to never have a conversation with either of them unless it was an absolute last resort, my expectations of what was about to happen were extremely low. Once the meeting began, I realized that I was being way too optimistic.


They started by asking me if I charged to cut hair in the barbershop. That's in itself a trick question as EVERYONE knows that haircuts are free, but that those receiving the haircuts often purchase commissary items as a love offering for the poor barber. So that was my answer. Since I'm here for fraud, why not jus...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones