July 30, 2016

My first major holiday at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp was 2015 Thanksgiving. On the Sunday of that weekend one of my friends asked me if I had enjoyed it. My answer was, "Not particularly." He then delivered one of the best lines I've heard here when he followed up with, "Well, Charlie, if you think Thanksgiving sucked, just wait until Christmas."

On a positive note, we often have special meals for holidays. For Thanksgiving and Christmas we had turkey and dressing. I'm a self anointed cornbread dressing snob, and I rated our Thanksgiving dressing a solid C+, which is not too bad, as my mom received the only A ever given. I was working in the kitchen then, and we were all surprised to learn that we would be given almost all the ingredients that we needed to make it. For Christmas, we even had celery, which improved it to a solid B-. 

For New Years, our holiday meal consisted of real chicken breasts, not the fake ones we're usually served, and steaks. That still ranks as my favorite me...

July 27, 2016

Although Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp is an intellectual wasteland and literally sucks brain cells out of my head each day, l still try to keep up with current events. For example, on the final day of its 2016 term, the Supreme of Court of the United States refused to hear an appeal from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals of the Storman v. Wiesman case. They refuse to hear about 7000 appeals every year; so big deal, right? Well, it is kind of a big deal if you're a fan of the First Amendment.

The Stormans owned Ralph's Thriftway, a grocery and pharmacy in Olympia, Washington. They sued the state of Washington claiming the state had infringed on their religious freedom by requiring them to fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptives, which the Stormans claimed violated their religious convictions.

A federal district court agreed with the Stormans, stating the Washington law did violate the exercise of their First Amendment religious freedom. However, the 9th Circuit disagreed when the...

July 22, 2016

A recent double blind study concluded that while Tylenol was effective at masking physical pain, it also made those taking it less empathetic. The Tylenol study revealed that the part of the brain that processes our pain also processes how we relate to the pain of others. The connection isn't surprising. While the study did not include any of the plethora of over-prescribed opioids, my own extensive medical training from watching reruns of "House" tells me that such studies would probably yield the same results. This study makes me wonder if it's possible for our own struggles with pain and suffering to transform us into more loving and compassionate people.

I have to admit that most of my pain has been self-inflicted. I've been to the ER more times than I can count to be sewn up and stitched for injuries I've caused myself. Some of my relationship "car wreck" were my own one-car crashes with innocent bystanders. Certainly I'm an inmate at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp through no one's...

July 18, 2016

I'm on an unpaid, one day sabbatical from Maintenance I at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, as our Corrections Officer/Boss takes every other Friday off. It's a well deserved respite from a job that requires from me long periods of nothing. It's not as easy as you might think.

With the attack in Nice, France, the surreal summer of 2016 continues. Starting in June, we were horrified by the terrorist attack/hate crime/mass murder at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. That particular tragedy forced me to consider the odd fact that the people in that narrative, namely those in the LBGTQ, Hispanic, and Muslim communities, all have had their very identities politicized and used by our so-called leaders to build their power base at the expense of all of us. 

I can't imagine what life must be like to be occasionally pandered but mostly abused simply because of who I am. I know some say we are a Christian nation. If that were true, would our churches stand for people being treated like that?...

July 14, 2016

We seem to be having a MRSA problem at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. Our new medical director called a Town Hall Meeting to assure us that our only 5 confirmed cases was "great". I wonder if it's only great because he doesn't live here, or if he hasn't been told there are really 6 cases. He did suggest that we might want to use spray disinfectant on the phones and other high contact areas. Apparently he did not know that our disinfectant spray bottles were removed months ago because we were using them too much. He also said that we really didn't need soap, explaining, "The soap just serves as a lubricant. It's the friction from rubbing your hands together that removes the bacteria." Yep, that's really what he said.

If you have ever been unconditionally loved by a dog, you should read The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein. It's the first person life story of Enzo, a Labrador/Airedale mix. I could not put it down.

I have a new job. I'm now the the Clerk in Maintenance I. We're res...

July 10, 2016

On his deathbed in early May, 1931, Baylor University President Samuel Palmer Brooks penned what would later be called "The Immortal Message". Now unless you've been in a coma, you know that Baylor has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Speaking from experience, when we fall on our face badly and publicly, it's helpful to look back to when we got something right. That's true for all of us and is certainly true for Baylor now. It's easy to loose our way, however Brooks knew what it was like NOT to be lost. His letter is a good roadmap for finding our way home. Everyone should read this message at least once a year. 

This, my message to the Senior Class of 1931, I address also to the seniors of all years, those seniors of the past and those seniors yet to be. This I do because I love them all equally even as I love all mankind regardless of station or creed, race or religion.

I stand on the border of mortal life but I face eternal life. I look backward to the years of the...

July 6, 2016

When deciding to write this blog, the name RE-CALIBRATING.COM seemed appropriate because it was obvious to everyone I needed to recalibrate my life. I also sensed that I was not alone in this need. By examining my own self-inflicted suffering, maybe I could find a new direction. If, in the process, I stumbled on some answers or even the right questions that might help others, that's even better.

The very word RECALIBRATING implies that we CAN recalibrate, change direction, and get back on the right road toward our destination. But what if it's too late? What if there's been too much water under the bridge, the ship has sailed, the train has left the station, or the... You get my drift, as there should be a limit of 3 cliches per sentence. What if, though, Elvis has left the building with the singing fat lady and then burned the bridge? That's what I call...a new sentence. But back to reality, what if it's too late?

Reality sucks and actions have consequences. That's why we have prisons a...

July 2, 2016

The day started with the lights abruptly turned on at 5:40 AM by a Corrections Officer whom I did not specifically recognize; but I have to admit, most of them look eerily similar. Remember The Matrix? We were ordered to get dressed quickly and to leave the housing unit immediately, taking nothing with us. Those of us who wanted breakfast could go into the Chow Hall, where I was amazed to see 2% milk in gallon jugs instead of small plastic bags. I poured a cold glass and tasted milk for the first time in 10 months. Wow!

We then went outside and waited...and waited. By 8:00 AM, there were approximately 20 COs at the camp, all standing around looking as confused as the inmates. The warden arrived, followed so closely behind by the assistant warden that they cast only one very odd looking shadow as they moved about the camp, a shadowy figure like George Lucas would have created.

By 8:15 AM, there were more COs than I could count, and I felt like a Russian athlete awaiting a blood and urine...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones