July 27, 2017

Should I forget the area code of the city where I lived for over 40 years prior to coming to Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, I have only to observe the large "254 Central Texas" tattooed on the back of the bald head of one of my inmate brothers. The back of another inmate's head has the Midland area code which might be good for future reference.

I realized this month that the inmate in the bunk next to me never uses a towel. Upon investigation, I have determined that he uses his dirty clothes for drying off when he showers. I guess I should be thankful that he at least showers...but I'm not.

We have a new camper--a small, female, brown and white dog who's not seen, with her one good eye, any good days lately. She's now the most loved, pampered, best fed dog in the world. The camp cat hasn't warmed up to her yet, but give it time. Maybe she could take the bunk next to me. Dogs love towels.

This month I read The Good Book by Peter J. Gomes. Gomes sold the book short, as it's actually a grea...

July 22, 2017

Everyone has a few words they don't like, but there is one word which elicits acute pain in my heart. The word is fentanyl. Maybe you heard about it in 2016 when an overdose took the life of Prince. My introduction was from a Midland, Texas, police detective who called two months after my precious son Walton's death to tell me the cause. I had to ask him to repeat the word, then spell it. Now I know that fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It's 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. Most of the world's supply is produced legally in China, but it ends up in the hands of the drug cartel in Mexico.

Aggressively marketed synthetic opioids like oxycontin and hydrocodone have led to an epidemic of opioid addiction in America. These drugs are marketed so well that they're prescribed 3 times more often here than in Europe. Patients don't realize how addictive opioids can be until it's too late. Once addicted, any opioid feeds the addiction; the stronger, the bet...

July 17, 2017

I recently had an enlightening conversation with an inmate here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. He's in the middle of a long sentence for drug related charges. He's smart, universally well liked and talented, but he's experienced a side of American life unknown to me. I've paraphrased below his answers to some of the many questions I asked him.

Q: What illegal drugs did you sell?
  A: We sold cocaine and marijuana only--recreational drugs. We never sold heroin, meth, or any of the opioids, as they are so addictive.

Q: How did it work?

 A: The cartel got the drugs into Mexico. Then someone would go to Mexico and bring them into the United States. That was usually me. The farther away from the border, the higher the transportation costs and higher street value. For example, the street value in Chicago was considerably higher than in Austin. We didn't sell to street vendors, though. We sold to other distributors in various parts of the country. 

Q: What was the most money you ever ma...

July 12, 2017

Human nature teaches us to believe that whatever we are experiencing is real and permanent. For example, I know that I've been at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp for 716.5 days, but who's counting. We also know that every day has 24 hours and every year has 365 days, with leap year thrown in for accuracy. We have only to observe the moon on a clear evening to understand predictability. We sense these things are permanent, but are they?

Did you know that 450 million years ago, a year wasn't 365 days, it was 415 days; and 360 million years ago, it was 400 days? That's because the speed at which the earth rotates has been slowing down for a few hundred million years since an immense asteroid crashed into our planet and a large fragment bounced off to become the moon. The moon's gravitational pull is still slowing the earth's rotation. In 100 years, it will take 1.17 milliseconds longer to rotate than it does today. The moon, by the way, is also slowly moving away from us, too. At one time,...

July 7, 2017

Americans enjoy the freedom to be nitwits. I should know that, as I'm an inmate at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, but I'm thinking about some specific examples. We've had a steady stream of them lately reacting to an administration they don't like or support. 

Kathy Griffin, a D list comedienne, recently held up a bloody facsimile of President Trump's head and apparently thought someone somewhere would think it was funny.

Reza Aslan, a religious writer and host of the CNN show on religion called "Believer", sent out a tweet calling the President "a piece of shit" who is "a stain on the presidency."

Stephen Colbert, a devout Catholic who is paid a lot of money by CBS to be funny, said to the President "The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's cock holster."

Nightly on Fox News and MSNBC we can watch people yell over one another and espouse extremist views that have more to do with hate than news or reality. They're mean spirited, bigoted, and goading. They are highly...

July 2, 2017

This, in memory of my eternal friend E. Duncan Manning, whose body left this earth 5 years ago. He's still alive in my heart, making frequent token appearances, always arriving fashionably late with only a $100 Silver Certificate in his wallet that he "hates to break just to buy lunch." I believe he'll appreciate these uniquely personal thoughts.

As I write this from Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, I feel as if I'm between a rock and hard place. While writing can sometimes be as easy as falling of a log, I can also feel like I just fell off a turnip truck, and my ideas are drier than a burnt bush. When that happens, and I've bitten off more than I can chew, writing is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and I'm essentially left with no row to hoe. In light of these limitations, I'm very much aware of the fact that this blog must seem like a box of chocolates. You never know what you'll get.

Even so, I take heart in knowing that, even if I'm as slow as molasses and as poor as Job's...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones