Prison Pete

Wednesday, November 30, 2005
  Yet another direct to paper letter.
But this is going to be real short. I did the drafts of the enclosed post yesterday and have spent the last three hours proofing and printing.

I really need to go read some papers since I am due for the 'random' cube search any day now. So while I am still on a somewhat up mood, I thought I should get cracking on my papers.

I hope you had a nice turkey day....

We have some flurries, and they are predicting some significant snowfall for Thanksgiving.

I have gotten all the pictures okay, and am still awaiting the fifteen book shipment you mentioned. Packages have already been distributed so perhaps it will come tomorrow.

I will get some more typing tomorrow. Need to get back on a balanced schedule. The all or nothing approach does not allow me to keep up with all the day to day stuff I need to do.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
  Too Much to Live For.
Yes the internet is a great way to find partners for sexual encounters, and I am still not sure how to read when females in particular are shocked to be probed in a sexual way. I did end up meeting a few women back during my post divorce period over the chat lines that were popular in the early eighties.

I guess AIDS has really put a damper on random sex.

To be honest here, in my personal case, it is more the last nine years of abstinence that has given me the current understanding that there is no way I want to risk catching any disease of a sexual nature once I am released! I have way too much to live for to risk it on being stupid and seeking sexual pleasure without being in a solid relationship first.

Will that ever happen? Who knows? The other thing is that I also have a much clearer picture about what I want in a relationship and seeking sex from hookers as I did in past is just no longer going to be a part of my life.

Hopefully I have gotten a little better on the panic attacks of 'nobody likes me' but do have to admit that with the whole pen pal thing I have been feeling emotionally adrift. Sorry if some of that has spilled over to you. I know you are there for me.

Damn 9:24 PM. I have been at this since 8:00 and I need to take a break. Since this is not a draft I will type another page or two after the 9:45 PM count

10:00 PM. Motivation leaving fast. Lots of typos. Guess I should really type the draft first. Hope you can deal with it at this time.

Only got through first page of your letter. Will pick it up over the weekend.

Will expand more later but did want to put my two cents in for the Alto sax. They are certainly more expensive than a flute, but it is certainly easy to play. I taught myself. Will cover more when I get to that portion of your letter.

For now I am going to go hit the bed and try and disappear into a book. I have not been able to get into one lately, and find myself reading a few pages and nodding off. Now I am suffering from some mild depression, but that is not the whole story. I will figure it out soon.
Monday, November 28, 2005
  Blog Comments.
I appreciate you sending me all comments. Part is surely just my own paranoia, but I do really want to know if my perception of what people think is correct.

I do not mind if you happen to get personal contacts and do not pass on that info, but since anything you pass on to me would usually be from a source that I would have no direct access to I see no problem.

For example, if you actually did have personal contact with Summer and she asked you not to tell me her name and address, I would not expect you to pass that on. All the thinking out loud that she did voice on the blog was certainly enlightening for me.

Regarding my pen pals besides those previously discussed: I did get one letter from a guy in PA. I wrote him back and have not heard from him since. The woman from Georgia that had left her address I wrote to twice and I am pretty sure that was her response a few weeks back in the blog that she was not going to be able to write letters at this point. I did send a letter to an address in Australia but never heard back. The only other contact was the letter from the lawyer in California about the problems with the WordSmith. I have not sent him back a letter. So that is the total of all the pen pals.

About the only constant thing in mail call these days is the weekly letter from you and when that lags I might go a whole week with no mail at all. It has been over two weeks since I have gotten a letter from Mom and Dad despite a usual two letters a week from me. Since my only contact with the world and anyone that actually has something to caring to say to me is the mail, well that is why I do get a little blue when days go by and no letters appear.

I might be a little over dramatic, but remember that in most cases I would be considered guilty first and then need to prove myself innocent. If someone decides to call the prison and claim I am sending unwanted mail to his wife and that he is calling on her behalf etc. The request to see all comments is if one thing is being told to me in a letter and another is told on the blog.

That is what I was thinking about as far as comments. In addition to the general reality check mentioned above with how people feel in general about writing to me. Does that make sense? Was my letter written by an out of control person? Any other thoughts on the subject?

While I do not want to specifically piss off a staff member here, I am not too worried about that aspect of the blog at this point. I do know from hearing some staff members talk that there are some who spend time on line but as of now I have no direct indication of anyone here reading the blog.

Will work on the letter this weekend for future pen pals requests.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
  No hugs, no kisses, no touching.
This letter is being typed live. No draft. I received your letter (11/14) yesterday. I also received a letter and blog post from Calulu.

I am certainly battling a bit of the blues. I now have to respond to both BobbieLou and Calulu. You are not nearly as emotionally heavy to write to, but I am not my usually upbeat self of late and am working on the cause, and then the solution to that problem.

Part of it is that I have not being feeling particularly intellectually engaged of late. I need to grab onto some project that will be self-lifting in terms of my sense of worth.

Let me get to your latest later.

Good thing neither of us are mad. Perhaps what would be more accurate would be to say I was angry, but that there was not any specific person that the anger was directed at. Some of the 'anger' is strictly related to the lack of options to communicate. I wonder if you are aware of how many of our thoughts seem to cross in the mail. I think that is the sign of a really deep and strong relationship.

Yes depending on the mail is a drag, but it has also added much to the relationship. I am sure that there are whole topics and feelings that we would not have ever shared if it were not for the restrictions that my current incarceration imposes. Hey we had over twenty years to turn a childhood friendship into a solid relationship and it never did quite catch on.

It is a healthy sign that we can occasional let our 'anger' show to each other. More times than not the feelings end up changing sooner than either of us can send a letter back.

While I certainly do not want to say any attention is good attention, an occasional venting of negative feelings is a good thing in my mind and as long as we are each patient enough to allow the other to explain our feelings further, I think we will always be the stronger for it.

I think one of the positives I bring to the relationship is the total desert I live in as respects any kind of emotional feeding.

They say how important a sense of touch can mean. Well I am sure you get plenty of handshakes, hugs, kisses etc.

I get absolutely NONE.

Not a little.


The last time another person even touched me was when my parents came up to visit.

This is why I am always tossing out ideas to see if you can not make a dynamic change for the better in your relationship with your wife.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
  Lucky Editor Part Two.
I realize now that one of my major problems was that my dad was never around much as I was growing up. Now I knew this from the get go and always said I was not going to repeat his errors. I was going to be there for my kids. And I was. I changed the diapers, washed the clothes, fed them etc. The problem is that while I know I needed to be 'present' more often than my Dad was, I did not have any specific lessons on how to be a Dad.

Now I am not saying it is really that simple, but think for a minute the lesson you may be teaching you sons about dealing with women by saying that when they scream and yell just ignore it and hide. I am not saying that is what you are doing at all; please take it only as an example. I am not saying you are doing anything wrong at all. I am only explaining that sometimes it may require a more proactive approach to a problem.

To jump back to me for a minute, I do not hold anyone but myself responsible for my actions, I have come to realize that just because one knows one wants to be different than their parent, it does not mean that it will automatically be better.

You are truly a lucky man; I am honored to be part of your life. I value all you have shared with me, and only go into the areas where perhaps you might obtain a different outcome because I truly believe we are all able to make a better life for ourselves and those around us each and every day.

I hope some of this makes sense to you and you will give it some thought. I feel a little better having sat down and actually typed this letter to you and will get back to some serious writing STAT.

PS: Did I ever thank you for the books that I received Thursday? I am so fogged out I can not remember. THANK YOU. I will comment on the Pink Book in the next letter.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
  Little Notes.
I did want to mention something I came across in one of the Sidney Sheldon books I read recently.

They mentioned how one character would leave little notes in various places in the apartment for his girlfriend to find. The notes would be in the bread box, refrigerator, dresser draw, etc.

So my challenge for you, and it should tie in with Christmas too, is to go to the Hallmark store and buy a few of those 'cutsey' type memo pads. The themes should be varied, maybe one or two really 'hot', some romantic, and a few 'cute'.

Then each day you are to place a note or two in a place where you know your wife will go that day, so she will find the note. The notes themselves can be anything from reminding her of something she was going to do, maybe telling her you will be doing something she asked you to do or maybe just a note to tell her how sexy she is.

You did not mention what you got her for her birthday, but some of the notes can be along the lines of Santa's list has a special entry for you and the thing is bigger than a breadbox.

The point is the notes are not to be one specific type; some should complement her, some challenge her, some might be apologetic, and others might share a joke or something about one of the kids.

They will always be found in a different place, use different paper, and hopefully over the long haul, show that you are really thinking about her both by the content of the note and the place it is put.

For example if you know she is having a special meeting or something to so with work on any given day, you might wish her well and leave the note on the visor in the car.

The point is as opposed to my major bath time approach, this is a little at a time approach that actually requires you to show that you are thinking about her.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
  Nude Photo.
I just wanted to send a short note to you.

I received your latest letter yesterday along with a letter from one of my pen pals. Despite my specific instructions to the contrary, her letter included a nude photo. I never even saw it, just the note from the mail room to either let them destroy it or for me to send them a stamped envelope to send it back out. I told them to destroy it. That probably means it is now decorating some officer's locker.

I am having a great deal of difficulty dealing with all the various emotions that have been floating around, and need to buckle down and write out the various issues. I did realize the irony in my failure to give you the full story, for had you and I "met" on line, I would have freely told you the whole story. After all that is how I got caught.

Part of me certainly no longer takes any pleasure in discussing anything remotely connected to my actions of nine-plus years ago, and there is actually the possible legal issue of what I write could still come up in court is I ever am able to get any relief from the courts.

There is also the problem of being able to present the facts to you in such a way that I do not attempt to 'justify' my actions, yet it will be really hard to not mix my current 'outlook' as oppose to where my mind was at going back ten years ago.

I do not know if you understand, or put any weight in the fact that I have had close to six years of individual therapy from a psychologist! That is certainly not an insignificant event. If you combine that with the almost ten years of imprisonment, well I have certainly received plenty of 'treatment.'
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
  Still Confused - Government Math Cont'd.
The article "Congress Weighs Big Cuts to Medicaid and Medicare" in the Sunday, October 30, 2005 New York Times refers to a "$10 billion fund that can be used to increase payments to private insurers, as an incentive for them to enter and stay in the Medicare program."

I am assuming the Medicare program mentioned is the prescription drug benefit program that, according to my math, provided less than 25% of the cost of the first $5,000 of drugs a senior needs to buy.

The insurance companies are getting government funds to provide the coverage. I am assuming this is in addition to the premiums the individual pays.

The whole thing still makes no sense to me, but the dollars are certainly flowing somewhere.

I hold the media responsible for not providing a clear picture of what is going on here.

Anybody smell a pig roast near by?
Monday, November 21, 2005
  The Chocolate Had to Go.
Since there is a holiday this week, Veteran's Day, we received the bi-weekly commissary on Monday.

We are limited to spending $55.00 for food and non-food items. There is a separate limit for postage, $18.50. Each time I fill out the sheet I carefully keep track of what I am spending since if you go over $55.00 they start taking stuff off your list.

For the last two shopping's I have spent slightly more than $55.00 and as such have been deprived of the light bulb I need to keep on hand for when the one in my lamp goes bad.

I decided to increase the amount of black beans, tomato sauce and corn to eight cans of each. This is double what I have been buying.

In order to accommodate this increase in the basics, I was forced to cut back on the number of Hershey Bars. I cut back from 15 to 10. So last night I skipped my nightly treat. I figure I would try and skip the chocolate in the beginning of the two week period.

On another commissary-related front, one of the other inmates asked me if I would switch two 6-packs of my Diet Coke with two 6-packs of regular Coke. Apparently he was supposed to buy the Diet Coke for someone and marked the wrong item on his commissary sheet.

This is one of the things that make little sense. On the one hand, why should I give up the Diet soda for regular soda. If I wanted regular Coke I would have brought it. On the other hand, as an inmate who is willing to practice random acts of kindness without any expectation of any return favor, I figured I would do it.

Now I have had a few tough weeks lately and have been drinking most of the 48 cans I buy each commissary. The deal I worked out with the inmate was if I did not drink the regular Cokes by next commissary, he would buy 2 six-packs of diet coke and trade them back to me. This way I have a built-in incentive to not drink all 48 sodas!

Little challenges along the way to help me get through the day to day monotony.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
  Inside the Locker Door.
The only personal space we have here is our lockers. We are allowed to 'decorate' the inside of the locker doors (30" x 16") in any manner we would like.

The inside of the door that faces my bed, and is the side that is open the most, has the following 'headline' size quotes, all culled from the New York Times:

"This Might Hurt A Little"

"Rest and Relaxation at Last"

"Surrounded by Stupidity"

"First, Kill All the Lawyers? Nah, Give 'Em Therapy"

"Are You Scary Smart?"

"If You Think One Person Can't Make a Difference... Think Again."

The following quote was printed in mirror image in the paper, I cannot type mirror image, but perhaps my editor might figure a way to do it. If not, you will just have to picture as mirror type, which is the reason I have added it to my collection.

"People Notice When Something's Different"

In addition I have three 'strings' of used Commemorative stamps (over 35 stamps) hanging down from the top of the door, and a Catamount Ski Area trail map.

Just thought I would share that for what it is worth.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
  Suffer From a Lack of Personal Attention?
I had the second half of my tooth cleaning done today. I am still waiting to see the dentist and get the missing filling replaced.

I did not bother to look in the mirror to see any difference, but did come back to my bunk feeling more upbeat than I had before the cleaning took place. I started in attacking the New York Times and managed to stick with the project till I finished three days of papers.

You know you are really suffering a personal attention deficit when a tooth cleaning can lift your spirits.

The cleaning was done by a dental hygienist and it was not a member to the opposite sex!
Friday, November 18, 2005
  No Time Left.
It is Tuesday here, and I just got out of the shower.

Before I even got in the shower, I procured a spray bottle full of some sort of non-toxic cleaning liquid. The purpose of this endeavor was to spray down the shower stall. The reason for the spraying was to cut down on the number of occupants in the shower. I prefer to shower alone (given that I am NOT in a place that has members of the opposite sex) and there was a multitude of little tiny fruit fly looking bugs covering the walls of the stall.

I liberally sprayed the mystery fluid and was able to convince enough of the occupants to find someplace else to hangout.

It is now 3:00 PM in the afternoon and I am already running out of time to accomplish all I need to get done today.

Yesterday, I let the day run out before I had time to take my daily shower. It was approaching 10:00 PM and I still needed to cook dinner and take a shower before lights out at 11:00 PM.

My stomach won out and I cooked instead of taking the shower.

Today being Tuesday, it is my one night of television watching. I have been watching NCIS at 8:00 since it started back up for the season. Luckily it is one of the programs that the inmates who 'control' the television like to watch. I have also been watching Nip/Tuck on FX from 10:00 to 11:00 PM.

I spent the morning reading three days worth of New York Times. Sunday, October 30, through November 1. Now I think I have several hours of typing in me, and have decided that cooking will take precedent over Nip/Tuck. I do not know how I used to justify watching two to three hours of television a night. I only watch these two shows, with the exception of the weekend movies, and still do not have enough hours in the day to keep up with the reading and writing I want to do.

Well let me type some of the posts I have rough drafts for. Let us see if the attention will stay with the program.

[It is now 7:00 PM I just finished typing two letters for a fellow inmate to send to the Family Court. It turns out while he has been in prison for the last 23 months he has been racking up a child support deficit at the rate of $50.00 per week! I going to proof the post I have typed out in draft and then call it a night.]
Thursday, November 17, 2005
  Time Waits for No Man.
I have not had a letter from my Dad in over two weeks. I mention this because shortly after their visit, that is what my dad wrote in a letter, he was going to write me twice a week.

Monday night when I got your letter, I was pushed further down not because of anything you wrote, just that I could have probably used some more mail for some others too. I tried your cell phone to see if the call would actually go through and I would have called you the next day. I have not even tried your number prior to this because I knew it was not really much of an option.

In the past, I would call my parents and try to get some emotional support. It usually did not work out that way, but I tried. This time I have not. I am not even talking about discussing a specific issue. More like hey I am feeling blue, I call home and get cheered up. It just is not an option.

What I have learned is that it takes time to climb out of a funk. Some things move the process faster, but it still takes time.

I am awaiting the books you said you shipped, and that is certainly one of those things that add a boost to the journey upward. Hopefully the books you sent will be here tomorrow, since there is no mail on Friday. The act of getting the 'package' will give me an instant boost, and then depending on what books you enclosed, further emotional boosts will occur. So my emotional state as I write this will not be the same as you read it, I HOPE!!! (HA HA HA)

Then again there is that saying about cheer up things could be worse, so I cheered up and sure enough they got worse.

I am blessed and honored to have you as a friend. I hope you understand how much richer my life is because of all your efforts, (books, letters, research, blog, sounding board, etc.) and I want you to know I am always thinking of you and your life and hopefully can from time to time say some things that enrich your life.

It is closing on 9:00 PM and I need to proof and print this letter, and add the post and get it in the mail.

I am not cooking tonight. Roger and I had spaghetti with a red octopus sauce for lunch today, and mess hall diner was one slice of pizza. I am not all that hungry, and will probably just have a cheese sandwich later. I do need to still take my daily shower.

Will be working on more stuff over this long weekend so expect the next letter to Wednesday I hope.

Damn that clock does not stop for no man. It is now 10:20 PM and I am just printing out this last page. I did do a quick one pager to Mom and Dad. Where is a laser printer when you need it?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
  The Tin Man.
It is already 8:00 PM here at the Garden of Eden.

I was hoping to spend most of the afternoon and this evening typing out a letter to you and more stuff for the blog. The posts that are enclosed were all typed yesterday and I held them knowing I would be sending you a letter today. I was not able to type before dinner because there was no room at the tables. It was raining all day today so the card players were inside.

I finally finished the legal work that I was working on for the one inmate who lost one year of his good time. If he wins his case I will have to send you a copy of the forms that I wrote for the archives.

I was reading last Wednesday's newspaper today and came across an article in the business section about some guy in Texas, I think, that just won his federal appeal to be resentenced. His original sentence was 25 years. The article mentions that part of the reason for the resentencing was based on the Supreme Court ruling in January. I will have to get a copy of this new case and see if I can use any of the arguments in my case.

I wanted to write you how my emotional state has been thrown for a loop over the last two weeks or so. A good way to describe my usual day to day existence here is live like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, no heart, little emotion. Just the facts. Easy to write about political and social issues from the paper.

It is certainly not that I am denying any of my past actions or lost my soul and become a cold drone. You know that I do experience warm feelings from time to time, for instance when I get one of your warmer and fuzzier letters. The 'er' is purposeful.

Each and every letter you send me lets me know there is someone out there that still cares for me as a person. You certainly are allowed to express your fears and questions about my behavior, but even those times, it still appears that it comes from the heart.

What I have the most trouble with, due to scarce resources, is lifting myself up. Once I hit the bottom, the effort to lift myself up, is like using a bumper jack, as opposed to one of those nice gas station hydraulic jacks, to lift a Hummer. Yeah it can be done, but which jack would you rather have to do the job with? Perhaps you would call AAA and have them send someone to fix the damn flat.

I am not asking you to censor your feelings toward me, because I might be having a tough time. I am hoping that you will give some flexibility to what I might write to you, and question something that you might not understand, or worse, find insulting or offensive.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
  And I Thought I Had a Tough Life.
I was listening to the Dr. Joy Brown radio show last night (11/01/05). A woman called in, she is twenty-three. She is married. Hubby is thirty years old. She had a baby three months ago.

So far does not sound all that bad, right? Now we will add in the good stuff.

They are both in the military. They are based in Texas. The baby is currently in Arizona living with her Mother-In-Law. She is calling to complain she is not getting enough sex from hubby.

She has not seen her baby in several weeks. She and hubby are scheduled to go spend Thanksgiving with his mom, and get to see their four month old baby.

Okay at this point it is wacky, but it gets worse. The reason the baby is staying with Grandma, is that at the end of November hubby is being shipped to Iraq. Still not all that unusual, except at this point you should know that the wife (and brand new mom) is being sent for a tour of duty in Korea at the end of November too.

Now that is a great advertisement of American Family Values?
Monday, November 14, 2005
  And Yet Another Comment Response.
I have spent some time thinking about the lack of a central theme. I do understand that the blog jumps around. I sometimes consider myself to not have much of a life at all, yet the one comment says I lack a focus in my writing.

One solution might be to have separate blogs. This would certainly increase the work load of my editor.

I also thought one of the reasons for the comment might be a desire to see specific topics and not have to read through all the post to find the topics he is interested in. One problem I see with seeking news and information on a 'topical search' basis, such as using a search engine to find articles related to a specific topic, as opposed to scanning a daily paper, is that you miss things that might become an interest to you.

Even though I am not currently a follower of any particular sport, I spend some effort scanning the sports section. I might see something on the Alabama University football team that is the Alma Mata of one of the inmates here. I try to look after some of the sports that my editor is interested in: cycling (Lance Armstrong), baseball (NY Yankees), hockey (NY Rangers).

I have written about wanting to write a book and agree that such a project would certainly need to be more focused. I am hoping that my experience might end up feeding more than one book. I have already thought of covering my six plus years at Club Fed as a novel. This would enable me to avoid getting sued for anything I write about some of the more colorful characters that I dealt with.

This particular blog is constructed from two different sources and that can also lead to the lack of a central theme, other than "The Random Ramblings of an Incarcerated Individual."

There are posts that I type and are posted as received by the editor. Then there are my personal letters to the editor that he takes bits and pieces of and posts. I am never quite sure what information from my letters will show up on the blog. I only know about an item being posted on the blog when a reader comments on something that I know I only put in a letter.

As far as me appreciating comments, I do appreciate all of them. Since I would like to consider myself a writer, it is exciting to see how my writing affects others. Even the comment about "no talk of typewriters, drafts, ribbons or carbon paper."

Criticisms about me belaboring certain subjects are helpful. It is interesting to know how certain information is received. When I do write a novel, I now have plenty of 'research' on how to construct various characters. I certainly know how to construct an obsessive, dispensing way too much information of life's little problems. Hopefully there will be other characters that I will be able to develop!

One of my weaknesses, in the past, has been pursuing topics long past the point any normal human has interest. I would miss all the usual clues that interpersonal communication provides; yawns, wandering eye contact, and attempts to change the subject. Now that I have a better understanding of my own weaknesses, I do not have much of an opportunity to engage in face to face communication. I do not want to treat the readers of this blog as a captive audience and abuse the gift of your time. Dope slaps are appreciated when warranted.

While the whole subject of the typewriter and the various support issues might seem rather boring, it was these very issues that were both, the near death of the blog and its subsequent return from the brink.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
  And Now a Shorter Response.
Thank you Annabel Lee. My own personal verification department.

Then again, how do we know Annabel is a real person? It is all too easy to say that what I write is 'fake' in order to not have to deal with the possibility that I might actually be real and some of what I say is tough to deal with.

Think about how I feel. I do deal with the whole of it on a full time basis and do not have the ability to get up and walk away from the computer screen and make it all go away.

Now I will confirm Annabel is real, I do get mail that comes with her 'real' name on it. So I do appreciate her support of my efforts to write about my experiences on this blog.

I also appreciate her taking her time to send me copies of her blog and personal letters. She is one of three or four people that have taken the time to write me personally and those letters are really great spirit lifters.

Crazy Lil Diva Herself - Hey not only do we agree on the movie, Team America, World Police, I noticed from your blog profile that you also liked the book 'The DaVinci Code'. That is one of my top ten favorite books.

I appreciate the phrase "I could almost FEEL my brain cells withering away." That accurately explains how I feel at those times I slip out from my own little world of the reading, writing and other intellectual pursuits, and attempted to mingle with some of my fellow inmates. No they are not all idiots and I do get into an intellectual conversation from time to time; the problem is to not go too far afield. One step in the wrong direction and all of a sudden you could find yourself neck deep in muck before you know what hit you.

Hope this coming may, 2006 does find you getting that elusive piece of sheepskin. If that is what you want. Perhaps you will find more dollars and further extend your journey into the world of academia.

And the winner of posting the most words in one week goes to Bobbie Lou.

Yes I do love it when all of you out there in blogland take the time to drop a comment or question or two, or maybe a few paragraphs. Keep those fingers dancing on the keyboard. Thanks to all who read this blog.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
  I have received one serious beating while in jail.
The second front my rants tend to take are related to the general prison routine and procedure and its effect on the human soul.

As far as Rally's comments about judging prison staff members as individuals. I think I have done that. Perhaps some of my posts that were meant to have some humor to them came out sounding not funny at all. While I have personally witnessed examples of prison staff abusing inmates, I have also meant many others that not only 'do their job' but worked hard at treating individual inmates as human beings.

My seven years in the federal system allowed me to come in contact with many different staff members. And while there were several staff members that would indirectly give me a hard time, only one particular staff member went out of his way to bring possible physical harm to me by inciting my fellow inmates to act aggressively against me.

I have received one serious beating from another inmate while in a county jail. It went on for several minutes without any officer noticing anything was wrong, He "just happened" to be away from his post at the time. Six years later I still have minor problems with my right eye as a result of the beating.

Ironically, the day after this occurred, my parents were at the jail to visit me. I showed up with my one eye totally bloodshot and some ugly bruising to the right side of my face. No criminal or civil action was taken by me, or on my behalf, against the inmate or the jail I was in. Taking punitive action against another inmate or staff member can have long term results that lead to future abusive treatment.

The problem overall as I see it is that the vast majority of the American public is ignorant on the workings of the justice system and takes a hide their head in the sand approach when it comes to the workings of the prison system. That always changes the first time a loved ones gets tossed into the system and then his or her family gets a first hand crash course of the way the system 'works' or should I say does not work.

I welcome your questions and challenges to my comments.
Friday, November 11, 2005
  Yes, I Can Be Slow To Respond.
To Rally. You mentioned that you thought my blog was fake. It seems to me that you are not questioning whether I am in prison, but if I am remorseful and rehabilitated. I have not denied that I was guilty of breaking the law. I pled guilty to charges in both Federal and New York State Courts. It has been after my many years of incarceration that I have learned about the law, and how it is often at odds with what actually happens.

There is also much confusion as to the purpose of sending people to prison. Retribution, revenge, rehabilitation or protection of society at large. The preceding words may at times be used exclusively or inclusively of each other, and they are not interchangeable.

My rants at the 'system' are mostly on two fronts. The personal front is that according to the laws of New York State, I am probably being doubly punished, something that New York State law allows in very limited circumstances. The District Attorney admitted in writing that my case does raise the question of double punishment but since I pled guilty, the courts do not have to look into the issue. Unfortunately at this point all the courts have agreed with that rationale.

Not one court has ruled that I am not being doubly punished; they all say I gave up the right to ask the court to look into the issue.

The issue of the double punishment was something my court appointed lawyer should have handled as a preliminary issue before my case ever got to the plea bargain or trial stage. Regardless of my crimes, I am entitled to the full protections of all the laws of this country. You can not selectively pick and choose which rules and laws you want to use on any one individual case.

The United States Supreme Court ruled last December that it was illegal for a federal judge to increase the time of a sentence for any crimes that the accused had not been found guilty of by a jury of his (or her) peers, or pled guilty to. In my specific case my federal sentence was increased from eighteen months to one hundred and twenty months for crimes that at the time the federal sentence was originally imposed I had not yet pled guilty to.

One thing that has become painfully apparent to me is that even when 'mistakes' are made in the judicial system, fixing them is a very difficult process.

While I am not justifying or minimizing my actions in anyway, how do you explain that here in the same dorm with me is a retired policeman who was 'joking' around with a store clerk, pointed his licensed and loaded gun at him, and 'accidentally' shot and killed the store clerk, was sentenced to serve 1 1/2 to 3 year.

My combined sentence is currently 15 to 25 years. I have already completed the 10 year federal sentence, and now done 11 months of the state sentence (5 to 15 years), with the earliest chance of release still 4 years and 1 month away! I did not kill anyone.

Anyone that wants to question or comment on the above please do so and I will attempt to clarify any questions there are.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
  And the Winner is....
The following appeared in the National Briefing section of the New York Times, September 24, 2005:

"CALIFORNIA GIRL WITH LESBIAN PARENTS IS EXPELLED. Ontario Christian School expelled a 14-year-old student, Shay Clark, because her parents are lesbians, the school superintendent, Leonard Stob, wrote in a letter. 'Your family does not meet the policies of admission,' Mr. Stob wrote to Shay's biological mother, Tina Clark.

The school's policy states that at least one parent cannot engage in practices 'immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian lifestyle such as cohabiting without marriage or in a homosexual relationship, ' Mr. Stob wrote. The girl plans to attend public school next week. Ms. Clark and her partner, Mitzi Gray, have been together 22 years and have two other daughters."

Besides the obvious, that two adults, raising three children, being together for TWENTY-TWO years sounds like a good thing to me, I checked with my Christian Policy. The original source. I am sure Mr. Stob has seen it, THE BIBLE, and I think the following are much more important 'policies' that a CHRISTIAN school could be following:

1. "Judge not, that you be not judged." Matthew 7:1. If you continue to read that chapter you will read about trying to remove a speck from your brother's eye, while you have a plank in your eye.

2. "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:14) Shay was in the school for some reason; her sisters were apparently attending a different school(s). Why was Shay there? Is Mr. Stob so sure that God's purposes were not being served by Shay's presence?

3. Jesus said, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." (John 8:7) Here the people were about to stone a woman that was accused of being a prostitute. After the pronouncement by Jesus, one by one each person that was ready to so easily toss the stones, put the stones down and walked away. Further on in the chapter, verses 10 and 11, "When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?'

She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.' Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ' I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'"

Mr. Stob, in removing Shay, is depriving a child of God from being in an environment where she can certainly experience the Light of Life. But then again, maybe not, since I feel Mr. Stob certainly is overreaching in his actions.

The best demonstration of Christian love and inclusiveness would have been to keep Shay Clark in the school.

One last thought: the policy states "at least one parent cannot engage in practices...." This means one parent can be the most despicable person on earth and the child would still be allowed to stay in school. Since the school clearly does not recognize the two mom family, did Mr. Stob, research who Shay's biological father was? Maybe he made an anonymous sperm donation, and is living a Christian life and is not "engaging in practices 'immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian lifestyle such as cohabiting without marriage or in a homosexual relationship.'"

Just my two cents worth. Why can't we just all get along?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
  Senior Citizen Math Problem.
I am just getting to the September 24 New York Times. I have managed to read October 19 through 26. I am pushing myself to read the papers when they arrive instead of putting them aside and ending up with a massive pile. Will keep you updated on the progress.

There is an article about the new Medicare Drug Coverage. While the article fills a quarter of the page, something does not make sense. First of all they say the response of the insurance companies to the program has been very positive, even the rural states that the officials thought would be underserved have multiple companies to choose from.

The following describes the coverage:

"Under the law, all Medicare drug plans are required to provide coverage at least as good as Medicare's standard coverage. Under the standard benefit defined by Congress, the beneficiary will be responsible for a $250 annual deductible, 25 percent of the drug cost from $251 to $2,250, and all of the next $2,850 in drug cost. Beyond that level - $5,100 a year and more - Medicare will pay about 95 percent of drug cost."

The article says the monthly premium will average $30.00. This lays out like the following:

One year of Premiums = $ 360.00
Annual deductible = $250.00
25% of first $2,000 = $500.00
Full payment of dollars over $2,251.00 = $2,850.00

Total Drug Cost for year to hit max and get 95% coverage = $5,100.00
Less the out of pocket cost get to the max point = $3,960.00
Actual Insurance Dollars = $1,140.00

Something just does not make much sense about this whole plan.

Is there some government funding that goes to the insurance company to provide this coverage? Why would anyone offer this? It seems that the actual money the company pays out (worst case $ 1,140) plus the expenses of administrating the individual policy are not worth only $360.

Something just does not make sense, unless the point is that the only way you get the 95% coverage is to have this policy first. Something tells me that the only ones to make money on this will be the insurance companies and the cost will come from the taxpayers. Seniors are still stuck paying almost $4,000 for the first $5,000 of drugs.

Anyone that understands this better than I do please feel free to educate the rest of us. Okay maybe I am the only one that questions this.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
  Goodbye Frank!
Glad your Mom still has so much get up and go. Watch out, maybe someday she will pull the Winnebago up into your driveway and introduce you to your new step-dad. He could end up being a 30 something boy toy. Only kidding!!!!

Yes I understand the parking thing in NYC. I used to love showing up late nights and weekends downtown and parking on the street.

I have certainly broken more that a few plastic 'doohickey tabs" when trying to separate two pieces that I know come apart somehow. Congrats on looking for assistance FIRST!

Yes many people seem to have an obsession with gambling when it comes to the lottery. It always looks so easy when you can see what everyone has. The GREED factor and the hope that you will be the one to win are all you need.

Did you read the article about the slot machines that are placed in the military base recreation halls overseas? First we pay you a lousy wage, ask you to get you ass (and other parts) shot at, and then while you are trying to unwind, we will take back all the money we pay you. This letter is hitting the damn wall. Later.

I just spent some time talking with Roger and it turns out Frank was sent to general population in Adirondack. The purpose for him agreeing to go into general population was to take the Sex Offender class. There is no class offered where they sent him. They are just fucking with him.

House too warm for you but not warm enough for your wife? Send her up here. They have the heat sent way too high here, but it sounds like she would find it comfortable.

Glad you found the books. You could send another batch when you get the chance. I have stuff to read, but would like to get some new ones anyway. (Okay I am itching for some more fluffy romance stuff. I am really bummed out. The roller coaster of emotions that flowed out of me has taken a toll.) By the way I still did not get your response to the 'Pink' book? Was it the one I mentioned?

I am really losing the damn energy to type and my fingers are not helping. I have stuff to type, including two drafts of posts. But my heart and mind are not in it at all. Going to close up shop for the evening, it is only 7:40 PM but that is the end of today's efforts.

It is now 8:25 PM Sunday and I did get the one post typed and also a letter to Mom and Dad. I now need to cook beans and rice and then take a shower after the count. Need to get cracking.

Damn, the memory on this typewriter is acting up again scrambling the letter as I edit. Have already done six moves to straighten it out.
Monday, November 07, 2005
  FIOS network speed and wiring.
This is usually the time for Prairie Home Companion, but as luck would have it tonight is the fund raising edition so I am able to listen and type at the same time.

Still working on your October 11, 2005 letter. I think I left off at the point you were discussing the installation of your new Verizon FIOS fiber optic line.

You know all I can do is feel really left out. Oh do not feel bad for me, but besides the fact that I have no access to any computer, remember the last internet access I have had is over nine years ago, a quick glimpses at FCI Beckley not withstanding.

As I understand it, the fastest access via dial up is 56 KB. My question is: is the "B" in KB or MB, bits or bytes? As I seem to remember my definitions, a byte is made up of 8 bits. If both speed references are all bits, and kilo is 1,000 and mega is 1,000,000, then the 5 MB download and 2 MB upload FIOS fiber optic service you have is really fast.

Bill and I were talking and he said he had a 56 KB dial-up and one of his relatives had cable modem. He was looking at the advertisement for Verizon DSL and I told him he might not be able to get that as he needed to be within a certain distance of the telephone company.

Good for you on using BX cable. I had rewired the house we owned in Queens and the armor cutting tool was one of my favorite. Although my work at St. Anthony's taught me the real electricians always use the hacksaw blade. I know you have to use BX in NYC but I thought outside the city you could use Romex? But I do think the BX is certainly a safer bet. Less likely to have rodents chew through the BX.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
  Six degrees of separation.
I received not one, but two letters from one of my faithful pen pals that is going to require some serious writing on my part so that is what is on my agenda for this weekend, although as you read this it will already be after the weekend, so why do I bother telling you this? Just to confirm that yes, I will send personal replies to any that take the time to send me good old snail mail.

I will send these couple of posts out in the mail tonight, and follow up with more adventures of Prison Pete over the weekend. Someone had asked why I do not write about more about the others sharing this time with me, as they used to say on television, "You asked for it"

We actually have a real honest to goodness celebrity among us. While listening to the Howard Stern Show, the daughter of a fellow inmate was mentioned for a new song and video she has coming out. According to Howard, the song and singing were lousy. He said he has had the girl's father, my fellow inmate, on his show in the past.

It was certainly very strange sitting on my bunk with my headphones on and realizing that Howard Stern is talking about the man who at that very moment was ten feet in front of me. Talk about your six degrees of separation.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
  Day After.
It is now Thursday here, and the day after the threats of facial reconstruction.

Around 10:45 PM last night the gangster came up to me while I was mixing up a late night snack and held out his fist to me, saying he apologized, that he might have gone off the deep end, and he was sorry.

The idea of the outstretched fist is that I am then supposed to make a similar fist and we touch them together.

I did that.

The question that I have, and which I did not ask, was what exactly was he apologizing for? Throwing my bedding on the floor, stealing my empty soda cans, losing my State-issued winter coat, or the fact that he had called me a whole bunch of obscene words and threatened to heat me to a bloody pulp in front of twenty or so other inmates?

But as I said I did not ask the question because I am dealing with an unstable pharmacological pill popping individual. The point is he should be apologizing to all the inmates that watched while I physically stepped away from the fight he was itching for.

While those of you in the free world might find that an admirable trait, in a prison it is like painting a sign on one's forehead that says "Hit Me! I won't fight back."

While I am sure he meant the apology when he said it, I do not have any faith in the words, except that much like the terror codes used by the Homeland Security, we are now lowering the threat level a couple of colors.
Friday, November 04, 2005
  OOPS There Goes Another Crime.
Last night I went to get my State Issued coat from the coat hooks along our back wall. We each have a five inch long, one inch in diameter, dowel that we can hang our coat on. Each dowel is numbered by your bed number. Each coat also has a label on it with your name and prison ID number.

I had not used my coat in the last three days, and when I went to get it last night it was not on the hook where it should be. No major problem, sometimes the coats get knocked off the hook and they are not put back in the right place. I searched all one hundred hooks and now was getting very pissed.

After checking two more times, it was obvious that the coat was not misplaced, it had been stolen. Since we never go anywhere here, it is impossible to lose your coat. No, I realized by the smirks on my bunkee's and the gangster's faces that the coat had indeed met a sinister end. Alas. I need to now request a new coat and at best, will get some ratty old used one or at worst, be forced to pay $65.00 for a new one.

I have not challenged anyone directly about the mysterious disappearance of my personal property. The typical prison behavior that is being reinforced at this time is I am now fair game to any two-bit wanna-be gangster.

Yes, prison is really about the survival of the ones willing to fight instead of try peace.

Sometimes you can not win. I have ignored the gangster, yet five minutes ago he called me a pussy and challenged me to a fight in the bathroom. I step away from him several times and he continued to step right up in my face. This all took place in the doorway of the dorm with at least twenty other inmates standing around waiting to be called in for chow.

He said he knew I talked to the cop about him. I told him I was not a rat and I had not talked to a cop. Had I done that he and probably I would already be on our way to the box.

Now another inmate just came over and talked to me on his behalf. I told him the same thing I told the gangster, I am not doing anything to him, I have not told the cops anything and he said he would try to calm him down. He said he has known this guy since he was six or seven years old. Stay tuned for more updates. This gangster person is already on some type of daily meds. Guess they are not working too well.

I have made it plain that I am not going to fight him, and as I said earlier that is next to useless around here.

Remind me again how good I have it here. It is interesting that while I was being challenged right in my cube, another inmate right on the other side of the bunk, two and a half feet away that I had been talking, to all of a sudden made like I was not even there.

Now the local emissary came back and said that he calmed the gangster down, and he will not bother me anymore. If you put any faith in that last statement, I have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
  To the person that borrowed the 30 empty Diet Coke cans:

As a result of the removal of my personal property the other day I was tempted to post the following on the bulletin board. I admit that while I did share it with a few inmates, I chickened out and never posted it.


To the person that borrowed the 30 empty Diet Coke cans:

I am under a moral obligation to advise you that some of the cans were not properly rinsed.

This means you may have come in contact with a contagious disease. It is imperative that you contact the prison medical personnel as soon as possible. You should tell them you may have come in contact with some unwashed soda cans from bunk (You know what bunk).

I am not bothering to sign my name or bunk number, but you know who I am and where you got those cans from. I hope the $1.50 you will get from returning the cans was worth the risk.

Please do not worry too much; prompt medical attention has been up to seventy percent effective in preventing the disease from doing much damage.

Good Luck!!!!
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
  Petty, Petty, Petty.
One of the less civilized inmates took it upon himself to tear apart the bedding and other possessions of the inmate that bunks under me. The perpetrator even left a sheet of paper on his locker saying that the shakedown had been conducted by Sergeant Cupcake.

While one might look on this as a good natured joke, any prison official might have walked by and decided that this was a problem and needed to be dealt with. The general rule in prison is that you never touch another inmate's property or area no matter how funny you think it may be.

I work very hard at not attracting any attention to my area. I had initially told this inmate when he moved in that as long as he kept quiet and stayed to himself, he would be fine. He was moved from his previous location because of constant harassment from the other inmates directly around him.

Since he has managed to again attract inmates that like to harass him, I had told him that it was time for him to move on. He is too naive to understand that the same inmate that he thinks is his 'friend' is the one now harassing him.

The inmate that is doing the harassing considers himself a 'gangster.' When he heard I was asking his play toy to move, he turned around and threatened me for picking on my bunkie. He then told me that if I told my bunkie he had to move again, he, the 'gangster', would step in and take care of things.

The problem here is that if any physical trouble were to occur, both the gangster and myself would end up going to the disciplinary housing unit.

To illustrate his power, I came back from chow the other night to find my mattress, blankets and sheets all on the floor. Not satisfied with just making a mess, he stole the 36 empty soda cans that are returned to commissary for a five cent a can refund. He further told me that if I had a problem, maybe I should be the one to move.

Here is the problem with that. Obviously, it is clear to anyone reading this that I am in prison. As such I have minimal freedom to make even the most mundane decisions. One such decision is who I might share a cube or cell with. Imagine the logistical nightmare if any inmate could ask to change his cell or bed at any time.

So if I needed to change and had to explain why, the only plausible reason would be because this gangster was threatening me. Then he could end up going to the disciplinary housing and who knows who I might piss off by doing that. I know that, he knows that, to some extent, and does not really want me to move.

He is only a gangster as long as he can resort to using every four letter word that the FCC would not allow and lift his own self worth up while denigrating others.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
  An Inside Look At the Wheels Turning.
There is no way to truly decide which articles one should save. I am not good at remembering details, but once I read about something, I generally can recall the subject and in this current place and time, put my hands on the article to refresh my gray matter as to the specifics. So how can I still retain some 'Memory' of the articles and not create a rat’s nest of paper clippings. Most of the correction officers will be angry when they do the random searches of my locker and find all the articles.

If I was out there in the free world, I would simply set up a database, scan in the articles and toss the paper. Since I am not on the outside, although in this case the opposite means I am an insider and that is not a good thing, I am thinking one of the following might be a workable solution.

I send the articles I clip to my editor, and ask him to scan them into a file and create a real simple database that would store the article as an image file, along with the title, as an indexed field. I would maintain a list of the articles I send and if I needed to review a particular article I would simply give the editor the title and he would print out the image. Even simpler, I would assign a number to each article, that could be used as a file name, and I would manually keep track of the subject / title of each article. That would be really simple.

A slightly more high tech approach would be to sign up for the annual subscription to the Electronic Edition of the paper. Here I would type out the proper title for each article and I am assuming that the list could easily be formatted to point to the specific article on the Times Website. Now I know once the article has been located it can be printed out, and then one could manually scan it back into a local program and build a subset of the website for instant access to any article I had selected.

As long as the annual subscription was paid there would be no need to actually download any articles.

In its simplest form, I would be responsible for paying the annual fee and maintaining the title of the articles I might went to recall at some point. No real effort needed by the editor until I wanted a particular article, and then he would log on to the website and locate the article, and print it out. That would certainly be the K.I.S.S. solution.

My tech question: is there a way to locate an article, and without first printing it out, transfer the article to a local drive. Since the access would be paid for on an annual basis, the articles could be pulled up at a time convenient to the editor.

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