A Meal to Remember
Written on Saturday, February 6, 2016
So, here is the breakdown. As a Teacher's Assistant in the Vocational Carpentry Shop, I earn a whopping 15¢ per hour. If I am lucky, my workday will be four hours, or 80 hours every month. I put serious emphasis on the "if I am lucky" part so, $12/month, gross.
Now, the prison system has deemed I must forfeit 50% of my pay, plus an additional 5% for administrative fees, to go toward restitution. Therefore, in a perfect world, my take-home pay for an entire month would be a grand total of $5.40 ($12 minus 55%).
Officially, I started my job in mid-October, 2015, allowing my paychecks to accumulate since then. In late November, I lost one week's pay to our Thanksgiving holiday and another 14 days for the Christmas/New Years "vacation." In the last week of January, 2016, I received my quarterly Trust Account Statement which reported my balance to be ... wait for it ... $18.74. I have mental visions of Homer Simpson jumping for joy and yelling, "Woo-Hoo!"
Since I absolutely detest line-standing in my old age, I decided to spend all my money on a food sale which benefits a girl's softball league in some nearby town outside this prison. I ordered the food the day following my balance report. The cost of said nourishment is a local inmate exploitation rip-off but it is what it is. Beef & pork are expensive in the Joint. Perhaps this is another form of Karma for past transgressions.
This morning, I took delivery of my ice cold, fifteen dollar & fifty cent, 8" long, Tri-Tip with three slices of bacon plus avocado & mushroom sandwich, accompanied by 20 or so french fries. I would imagine all was hot at some point in time, hours before it ever had my name on the box. Once I opened the container, the smell of fried bacon was invigorating.
My cellie and I heated some water & suspended the sandwich in a towel over the top of boiling water; an effort to reheat it. We were semi-successful. We should have wrapped it in plastic as the bread was a bit moist. Trust me, though, it got et!
As I sit here, the taste of steak, bacon, & avocado still stuck in my teeth, watching a cooking show on PBS, I think for the millionth time what my life has become and how much I will appreciate freedom, some day, when it comes again. Was 3 1/2 months pay worth five bites of lingual bliss? Who knows? Who cares? At least I didn't have to wait in some 7-hour canteen line to get it. Besides, it felt good to share it with my cellie.
I suppose I am back to square-one saving for my Memorial Day vittles, now. Maybe they will have one of those Costco rotisserie chickens on that menu. Those are worth waiting for.
God Bless All,
Letters to the Editor
Thanks a lot, Sam — I especially appreciated the article by Sticky [Anybody's Guess, April issue, page 1] — It is indeed crazy. And your article about "Last Man Standing" [Cura Te Ipsum, April issue, page 3] — Your thoughts are right on the money — and thanks again for email this issue to me. I read it as soon as it arrived!
By the way, I used to save the hard copy Frontiersman in a pile by my bedside — and sometimes didn't read it until a month after I received it. Now, getting it on my PC, I read it right away. That way I can respond immediately if I have a comment, and am certain to read it.
—Tom, of Redwood City, California
... Sam, I have some extra, loose, stamps and am sending them.... I think there are, finally, some trustworthy cops working my building. I try to save the "flag" stamps for you.
I wonder if you could send me another copy of the March 2016 issue? I ask because of the huge coffee stain on the one I received in the mail. I'm sure it was spilled from the pig who was reading that issue, before it was delivered to me. I'm surprised there was not donut spooge next to the java stain. I send the
|"special" copies to my dad. He frames them
By the way, what ever happened to the guy who was writing you from the hole with his homemade pen and cool-aid ink? I've been in his exact situation (about 10 years back) and really felt for the guy....
—Robert, of Soledad, California
I haven't heard from him for a while. I hope that he's doing well.
Great issue (the last one) about the condoms in prisons [Anybody's Guess, April issue, page 1]. Bro that's old news. We've had 'em here for going on six months now. Heck, we've written letters home, to be put on certain web pages — Drudge, Prison Planet, Infowars, San Jose Mercury News, SF Chronicle, and other news sources. We raised so much hell about it that one of our local yokel news groups (KSEE24) did an investigative report on it and talked about flack coming to the Dept. of Corrections — heck, even the union president Chuck Alexander (California Correction Peace Officer's Asso.) said he won't comment on it — period. Big thing here is "the state took away our condiments (salt, pepper, and sugar substitute) and gave us condoms." Okay. Here's the info: 22 Feb 2016 — $128,000 for 13 prison facilities, that's broken down to $138.00 a case (of condoms) @ $1.17 per inmate and we're only allowed 3 in our possession @ any time. Ok, the title of the investigation was "Condom Giveaway". Free to inmates but @ what cost to the taxpayers? If you or I ran a business the way this dept. runs things — yeah, okay, we'd be broke too. ($10+ billion a year budget for CDCR.) California is on it's way down and a lot of us are aware of it (including staff) and look @ it as "rearranging the chairs on the Titanic".
Hear tell (chatter by staff) that the next free giveaway will be syringes — since there are more diseases passed on through the use of dirty needles than with sexual contact. So stay tuned in Sticky, it's fixing to get real costly to be housed in state prisons. Or as a lot of these men call it, "their gated retirement and assisted living community @ taxpayers expense".
Anyway. Thank you Sam for your great piece. Believe it or not, your articles are opening folks' eyes. Keep up the good work.
I don't presently have an opinion about whether it's a good thing or a bad thing for the prisons to supply condoms and syringes to prisoners. I'm more interested in the decriminalization of behavior that shouldn't cause people to be sent to prison in the first place, but which does anyway.
Mr. Sam Aurelius Milam III,
My name is [name withheld]. I am currently at Scotland Corr. Inst. in [U.S.A., location withheld]. Mr. Sam I really like your newsletter. It's so true what you've said about the homos it's getting ridiculous in America not just America though throughout the world society is just accepting this crap. The facility that I'm in is one of the most violent in NC and the guards here are scared to death it's good in some ways because they stay out of our living areas but bad because they allow the homos to openly flaunt that shit they sit in the day room holding hands and shit and it's hard not to see them in a room cause there's just so many of them. "Sickening to the max". Mr. Sam I'm [description withheld] and feel the same way you said in your article they bring that stupid monkey shit at me and I will crack their asses don't want to be bad or scary I just want to be real. Mr. Sam I fully expect God to rain down fire and brimstone on this place at any time. By the way was that prison with the condom dispenser in the U.S.? I would like to know. Mr. Sam I'll send you stamps when I can they give us stamped envelops here with the prison name on them but I'll do my best. Please put me on your mailing list for this newsletter. It's honest and great.
Thank you so much for your time.
I believe that nobody has an obligation to approve of either homosexuality or of homophobia. I believe that critics on both sides of the issue should be free to express their opinions without being punished for it. Even so, I think that it would be a really good thing if people in both factions could be courteous and tolerant. The freedoms of opinion and of expression are good things, but it should stop there. The forced imposition of ideas and the forced control of behavior are worse than either homosexuality or homophobia, whoever's exerting the force, and however worthy their cause.
The prison previously mentioned was in the USA.
|Dear Mr Milam,
Thank you, for your intellectual coruscations and fodder for thought: To Rave Is Madness, and Milam's Notes. I appreciate your wit and profundity.
To Ptosis' defense of American prisons, April 2016: "I do not agree that American prison [sic] is the worst of all places — not good but not the worst." Accompanied with "unknown source" photographs of El Salvador, and Uganda prisoners:
Abuse of relativity reigns when framing an argument with unknown source photos of third world incarcerations, to support a premise: American prisons aren't so bad. After all, tax dollars could never support inhumanity, when there's such pretty flowers gracing the entrances of these "rehabilitation" colonies.
With 5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's prisoners, and regularly punishing harmless old men to death, America's penal system is an embarrassment, and laughing stock to other civilized societies. With this in mind, I can understand how a "red blooded" American patriot would grasp at any machianography [neologism] to defend the honor of the motherland. It's called denial, the average person doesn't want to look behind the curtain, or face the ugly truth until it's too late.
Unfortunately, I was one of those parochial patriots until I stepped into the quicksand of reality. If you're not in a position to buy justice — multi million$, you're on your way to Dante's unspoken circle of synthetic hell.
If you haven't walked a mile in another man's shoes, take a good look behind the curtains, and well beyond the pretty flowers. Or, you can continue to allow Big Brother to do the thinking for you.
From behind the curtains, and where there are not flowers, I can assure you there is nothing to instill patriotic pride. Trying to bring light to the darkness of propaganda, I remain,
In admiration and gratitude,
Sam Aurelius Milam III
There are now television remote controls that can hear spoken commands and send them to the television. I expect that they can also hear spoken conversations, and send those to the television, as well. Most televisions are already connected to a cable that can transmit signals. If televisions weren't previously surveillance devices, then they can be surveillance devices now.
Remote controls are capable of remotely controlling things. Thus, the name. Maybe the new ones will be able to do more than just control a television. Maybe they'll be able to receive instructions from the television and turn off a security system, open a garage door, disable a security camera, and block a 911 call. The situation surpassed Orwellian some time ago. Orwell's telescreen was merely for surveillance. The modern equivalent might be able to remotely control everything in an entire house.
Television remote controls are only one example among many. We've surrounded ourselves with remote-capable devices. They're in our homes. They're part of our cars. They run our appliances. We've even hung them on our sick people and our old people. There are legitimate uses for such things but any such device that we can use for our benefit, the government agencies might be able to use against us. Is it really so difficult to get up and walk across the room to change the channel on the television? Is it really that onerous to lock the front door manually, or to actually get in the car before starting it? Are we so incompetent that we need devices to do everything for us, to remember everything for us, to think for us?
I suggest that we consider carefully the benefits versus the risks. It's a dangerous road that we're travelling and it might well be a one-way street. From where we're going, we might not be able to return.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
•It isn't a proper function of government to prevent crimes. It is a proper function of government to avoid committing them.
•Vocabulary, people. Discrimination isn't the problem. Discrimination is only the process of distinguishing between things that are different from one another. Prejudice is the problem. We should use words correctly.
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Lady Jan the Voluptuous; my mother; Betty; Eric, of Ione, California; Robert, of Soledad, California; and Robert, of Ione, California.
Man Joke, Not for Women
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor