Prison Pete

Thursday, January 29, 2009
  Research Needed.
Could someone out there please find out some information on the "Humanitarian Parole" program under the Department of Homeland Security?

There are apparently many different avenues one can explore as far as being able to stay in the United States when one is not a citizen. What I would like is any textual information that you can email to the blog.

At the very least if someone can find the address of who one might write to in order to get additional information, that would be much appreciated. Simply email the information to the blog and my editor will send it along to me.

Thanks again.
Friday, January 23, 2009
  I Get My Arts Through The New York Times.
One of the vexing problems of my current government funded secure location is the lack of any reception of a "Public Radio" station. While staying at Club Fed in the middle of nowhere West Virginia, I at least had 24 hour a day reception of a Public Radio station. Besides listening to all the great classical music, there was the special shows like Car Talk, Prairie Home Companion, weekend jazz marathon show from midnight to 6:00 AM, and Pipe Dreams. While there are a couple of public radio stations in the general area, for some reason while inside the dorms we can only pick up one FM station and it goes off the air at midnight each night.

I was excited to find an article about Pipe Dreams in the New York Times. "Tuning In to the Organ, And Not Just in Church," Saturday October 18, 2008. Not only was there a half page story on the show, now in its twenty-fifth year, but it also include a picture of the host, J. Michael Barone. It just so happens that he wears his hair in a pony tail, like I do. The article points out the niche nature of the program with a current listening audience of about 250,000. It would be 250,001 Michael, but it will have to wait till I can get to an area that allows reception of a station that broadcasts the show. In the meantime, how great it must be to have a job you really love for twenty five years that also brings much joy to those that listen to the show.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
  The Leg Report - A Continuing Saga.
Someone mentioned in a recent note to me that I had not written anything about my leg lately. This will remedy the lack of information.

I had an evaluation with the physical therapist this past week. He wondered what he was supposed to do with me as I explained that after almost nine months, my femur bone had still not totally healed. He questioned me as to any chronic conditions I might have that would inhibit the bone from healing. That's what I love, being a medical oddity.

Well after he took as much personal history from me as he needed, he did his initial evaluation. He tested me for range of motion, reflexes and muscle strength. I completed all the tests with flying colors. He almost forgot, but also checked the length of my legs and agrees with my feeling that my injured leg was now slightly shorter. He will be referring me to a specialist for a possible heel insert to correct that condition. He said that considering my travails, I looked remarkably well. (Please take note any single members of the opposite sex.) Hey of course I look good, it is one of the few ways you can show the keepers that they are not going to get you down,. As a matter fact, one of the frequent responses when other inmates ask how I am doing is, "More fun than an inmate is supposed to have."

When we were discussing further treatment, I told him it was my impression that the surgeon was letting me decide when I would consent to the hip replacement surgery. I told him I thought that at the least I would be better off having the surgery after I get the muscles on the right side of my body that have been weakened from the last eight plus months of disuse back to full strength. He said that made some sense. The healthier one is with any surgery, the better off one is.

The doctor also took an x-ray of my leg and confirmed yep I can still see the fracture line and I have no idea why it has not healed by this time. He also cheered me right up with the possibility that the pins that are currently holding my femur bone together might actually break under stress.

The bottom line seems to be that at some point in the not too distant future I will be going under the knife for the fourth time in less than three years. Amazing, I managed to make it the first fifty years of life without having broken any bones, or received anything more serious than stitches and one three day hospitalization for my chronic asthma condition.

The first two surgeries were for my hopelessly clogged sinuses, and the correction of a deviated septum. The third time was the pinning of the broken femur.

I do notice that while I am still using both crutches to hopefully prevent me from relearning to walk with a limp, that each week brings me closer to walking without one. I do get very physically tired when walking without the crutches. My guess is that using the muscles that are not as strong as they should be uses more energy. Hence the tiredness.

So that is the latest on the leg for now. Stay tuned for further updates. And hey, thanks for asking about it. You know who you are!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
  Thursday evening here and I thought I would drop you a line.
I am too lazy to look at what I last sent you, so hopefully I am not repeating myself. I have not been able to get my act together and put the last few months of letters in order and so I am not following any previous thoughts.

My mom managed to send me two letters last month, with the second one arriving on Christmas Eve. The big issue in that letter was that they are trying to sell the house and while I might have had a slim hope of living there with mom, the other problem is the few worldly possessions I still have are stored there. The biggest loss would be my tool collection but I have asked Mom to see to it if there is any way they can be stored.

The last thing I wrote to my Mom about was how she felt about the possibility of living someplace with me as her caretaker?

The last time I brought the issue up was near the end of the fed time, and at that point my parents expressed their desire to be on their own. They were more than willing to provide support both monetary and emotional to get me a place to live, but did not want to have me living with them. There may have been other "issues" (such as tension with my siblings etc.) but that was never verbalized.

Of course there is the whole issue of Mom wanting to live with me? I am not exactly sure what financial shape Mom is in right now, and I am not being included in any of the plans for disposing of any of the contents of the house.

Okay that last paragraph was a little off. I am not sure what Mom's financial status is at this point. I know she has her own pension and Social Security, but am not sure if any part of Dad's pension carries over. I am not being included in any thoughts as to the dispersion of the "family heirlooms" but certainly hope at least my property will be saved. While it is certainly a long shot I could be a free man come this November.

As I have said before, I am due to see the Parole Board in August and will see a parole officer around May to discuss my plans if I am released. So on the one hand I have little hope of being release this year but I have to have some sort of plan in place for the parole people to chew on. The economy is certainly not going to be any help at all. With an abundance of job seekers, especially on the low end of the pay scale, who is going to bother with a felon. So how does one deal with all this very practical stuff which carries all sorts of emotional weight too.

This is my from of mind of late and I would not mind just losing it all and sitting in a padded room strumming my lips and going "blub-blub-blub" or however you would convey the sound one makes as one strumming lips and say "blah blah."

Well that is all for now. I am off to shower and then to bed.

Oh the leg. I finally saw a physical therapist. He was puzzled as to how my leg was not healing given no other pathology and also wondered what he was supposed to do? He did some evaluation maneuvers and said I looked very good considering the leg. He is recommending me to another specialist since it does appear my right leg is now a little, but noticeably, shorter. I mention that one possible scenario was that I thought if I must eventually have the hip replacement surgery, I would be better off if I first got the strength back to all the various muscles that have been lying around without use for the past eight months. He said that made sense.

So for now I can walk around without the crutches. I have less of a limp, which tells me I did well using the two crutches to keep me from learning to walk with a limp. I get very wiped out when I do stand or walk for a couple hours without the use of the crutches.

On Monday, I helped put away some of the Christmas decorations up in the chapel, and yesterday was on my feet at the stove cooking three pounds of ziti which served seven. I had to chop and slice two pepperoni sticks, one summer sausage beef log, two onions, and two peppers. Not really all that big a deal if you are in a regular kitchen, but try doing that without any metal knives. Only the cheapest of plasticware to work with.

I ended up putting in most of the ingredients, but it worked out well as all the other guys raved at the amount of meat and sauce. One of the other inmates came over today and even offered a beef log if I included him in the next meal I cooked. High praise indeed.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
  Happy New Year 2009.
I thought that since I had not written to you this year, today, New Year's Day, would be a good day to break the silence.

I am wondering if I have just finished experiencing my last Christmas and New Years behind bars. But then again one should not get one's hopes up. I wonder how your holidays have gone.

I am still holding my breath as to any impending transfer. I am not sure what if any value my current medical situation has on me being transferred. I am still using crutches, but am finding that I am getting closer to being able to walk without limping. I have no real pain at this point but know the muscles still need to get stronger in my right leg. From my last meeting with my doctor, I am of the opinion that I might be able to be almost 100% mobile but that at some point the pins, which are keeping the bone together, will give out and I will have no choice but have the hip replacement surgery. So I wonder is it better to first build my leg muscles back up, and then have the surgery, giving me a faster recovery time as I would be able to walk better.

So many questions, so little answers.

I know you are worried about the state of the stock market, but I do have one question.For example if I, as a Microsoft stock holder, decided to sell one share of my holdings to you for one dollar, and the sale ran across the tape, would that really mean that all Microsoft shares are to be valued at $1? So if less than 1% of a stock is traded on any given day, how is it that the other 99% all of a sudden take on that value?

Now suppose I have been holding shares of Rich Corp. stock that I brought for $5 each fifteen years ago, and ten years ago they were valued at $150 each but now they are down to $15 each, what have I lost? I managed to triple my money in 15 years; not all that shabby is it?

So I wonder if you could build a database of all the shares currently being held, the price they were brought at, and could then run a report showing exactly what percentage of shareholders have lost real money (paid more than stock is now worth), who is losing value as computed by picking some arbitrary percent of annual growth (say 5%), and lastly those current share holders that if they sold their shares today would still end up with x percent more than they paid,. If the stock has been paying dividends over the years of ownership, that amount should also be taken into account.

While I certainly do not pretend to be any type of financial genius, I often enjoy explaining my views on how the current incarnation of the stock market is built on more style than substance.

I remember way back in my younger years, one of the things that I was taught was that when you looked at when buying a stock was what was the amount of the dividend the stock was paying, expressed as a percentage of the stock price, and what if any capital appreciation of assets might cause the price to increase over the years. Now we have people that attempt to make a living out of trading shares of stock on a daily basis. That is the same stock is brought and sold the same day. What is wrong with this picture? The 50 billion dollar Ponzi scheme meltdown is another example on a simplistic level of duh if it sounds too good to be true, it may be.

You should be getting a new subscription to INC. magazine. It was a special deal that if I paid for a new subscription for someone, I got a year added to my subscription. So while I usually have my parents pay my subscriptions, this time I used my own funds. I know you are busy, but I want to be able to toss some ideas that appear in the magazine at you. Mostly though, I do find a certain amount of kinship with a lot of the profiles done, as these are people who very often go against the flow as it were and come up with some great business ideas and therefore lifestyles that certainly give me something to dream about.

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