June 28, 2016

It's another rainy day, and I'm stuck in the Maintenance Warehouse with time to think. 

Regardless of what Donald Trump sometimes says, the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution prohibit the federal and state governments from establishing a religion or hindering its free exercise, even if you're Muslim. Also, as a good Recovering Baptist, I understand and appreciate the philosophical idea of the Separation of Church and State which has served our country very well. But I'm also a realist and see that it's impossible for people with deeply held religious beliefs to separate those beliefs from political perspectives and desires and from party affiliations.

Have you ever noticed that liberal Christian politics focuses on economic oppression and social injustice? These are systematic issues that flow down to individuals. Critics call this "Wasteful Handouts".

Have you also noticed that conservative Christian politics focuses on naughty behavior? These are individual issues that...

June 24, 2016

There are 6 telephones at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp which are available for a current inmate population of 187. Usually at least one of these is not working. Sometimes none of them work. The longest time they were all out of service since I arrived 10 months ago was 5 days, but a 3 day outage is not uncommon. 

To complete the initial set up of my account, I first had to say my name into the voice recognition software. Once done, my phone account was activated and I could transfer funds into my phone account from my general commissary account.

I quickly learned that phone calls here are expensive, limited, unreliable, and monitored, but otherwise great. No call may last more than 15 minutes, at which time the phone shuts off. That 15 minute call costs $3.15.

When making a call, the voice recognition software never recognizes me. Typically I have to try 6-8 times before it believes I am me. When/if I'm finally recognized, the person I'm calling gets and "Unidentified" caller ID notific...

June 20, 2016

Sports have been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. As soon as I could read, every summer day began with the Major League Baseball box scores in the Monroe Morning World. As an adult, I cried the day Mickey Mantle died and again recently at the death of Muhammad Ali, the greatest athlete of the 20th century and a hero who truly transcended sports.

One of the blessings of being an inmate at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp is being able to watch sporting events with a bunch of rowdy felons. Sports discussions are better, too. Ali's death has caused me to think back on the greatest events I have witnessed in sports, mostly through the miracle of live television. Here's my Top Ten List. You'll see that one is on my list because it didn't happen.

1. The Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Winter Olympics

2. Secretariat wins the Belmont Stakes to complete the 1973 Triple Crown in horseracing

3. Sandy Koufax refuses to pitch for the LA Dodgers in the opening game of the 1965 World S...

June 16, 2016

When I was growing up, we had a large seed bin where the oats harvested in the spring were stored. We then fed these oats to our calves during the summer to help them gain weight. But one year my dad had a brilliant idea. Just before the cotton was picked in the fall, he and I shoveled the oats into burlap bags and trucked those bags to a nearby airplane pilot where we loaded them into a small bin on the bottom of his crop plane. When loaded and airborne, the plane showered the seeds onto our cotton field. The next week the wheels of the cotton picker pressed the oat seeds into the soil where they could germinate. By winter, the oat seeds had become winter grass, and the cattle could graze on the green grass in the cotton rows. The best part was watching the plane take off and land, but our seed project did serve as a good lesson on seed agronomy and perhaps life agronomy.

I know that quietly living in the moment is the way to enlightenment and an abundant life. It's the way to allow Go...

June 11, 2016

Justin Paperny has a new website at http://www.whitecollaradvice.com. Justin is a prison consultant, a well-known speaker on ethics, and a friend who has been extremely helpful in preparing me to meet the challenges at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. He asked me to write a guest blog on his new website about a typical day at a federal prison camp, so I wrote about June 2nd. There was nothing special about that day, other than it was when I received his request. Fortunately, I was immediately able to add his request to my pseudo-busy schedule. If you have been subscribed tomy blog since the days that I posted on the Etika LLC website, you may have received the post in an email last week.

If you did not read it last week, thepost can be found here.

While there, check out the rest of Justin's website and his original site.

Justin does good work for folks who are in an overwhelming situation.

June 8, 2016

To loosely quote Garrison Keillor, "It's been a quiet week at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp."

 

I was recently asked by a Prison Consultant for some recommendations for someone who was about to surrender to Federal Prison.

 

Here are ten suggestions--some I knew, some I wish I had known.

 

1. Before you arrive, create a Wish List on Amazon.com, so friends and family can send books and magazines you'd like to read. I prefer paperback books, as they are cheaper and take up less locker space.

 

2. Bring with you a list of contacts that includes mailing addresses, emails and phone numbers. You can add these contacts to your trulincs account as soon as it's activated.

 

3. Focus initially on listening and learning, saying as little as possible, as it will will takes months to know who can be trusted.

 

4. Make arrangements for someone to electronically transfer up to $300 to your commissary account as soon as you surrender.

 

5. Realize that time will slow down. Nothing will happen quickly, so slow your...

June 4, 2016

I've never been much of a distance runner, but I do like to swim and bike; so in my early 50s I talked myself into doing a few triathlons. My last race was an Olympic distance course in Maui, and as usual the goal was to finish and to do no harm. I had completed the race 2 years before, so that gave me some confidence; but I hadn't trained as hard this time, as I kept hurting myself during training.

 

At the start of the race, I had my usual adrenaline rush and quickly settled into my swimming stroke. The swim distance was about 1 mile, and at the 3/4 mile mark, my goggles began to fog. When I raised my head up from the ocean water to rinse them off, I immediately threw up in the water. My first thought was that I was about to choke and die in the Pacific to be found the next day. But that didn't happen. Instead I swam to a nearby kayak manned by a race volunteer, held on for a few minutes, caught my breath, and restarted my swim. As my feet hit the sandy beach at the end of the swim, I...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones