Another One Gone
Sticky, of San Diego, California
Written on Monday, July 4, 2016.
Today, July 4th, is my 49th birthday. I am one year closer to (and from) that dreaded half-century mark. Birthdays don't really mean much to me these days but, as fast as the big five-0 is approaching, I'm taking more notice. Like many people my age, I wonder just where the hell all the time went. Wow, suddenly I feel like some grandpa, pointing his cane, and saying, "Back in my day ...."
Last night I was thinking about birthdays and it occurred to me how, besides my 10th, every one of mine ending with a zero I have been incarcerated. Granted, my 20th was only for a few hours; a scare tactic (that worked) because I failed to pay a traffic ticket. Thirty was in the middle of my first prison term, 40 was the beginning of this second term, and 50 (next year) I'll still be here. At 60 I'll either be free or dead, but not here. I'll take myself out of the equation before returning to this place.
This morning, about 6:30 AM, after the key turned in our cell door, we stood there as the C/O told my cellie it was time to go. Today is his parole release day. He's done his 6 1/2 years and this much anticipated day finally came. After he picked up his brown grocery bag filled with six years worth of worldly treasures, he turned to me, shook my hand, and said, "So long bro. I hope you look me up when you're out in 3 1/2 years." He stepped out of our 7x7 palace, the door relocked, and he was gone. From my window I watched him exit the yard gate, headed for R&R (Receiving & Release) and, ultimately, back home to Northern California.
He and I were cellies for the last year. I watched him go through much turmoil and strife. His wife became quite ill during his tenure of incarceration and several family members passed on. His family name is one every greeting card connoisseur would recognize and he shared a lot of the family legacy & origins with me. I pray he does not start cooking dope again. There are plenty of other ways to earn a comfortable living, especially for a man with his talents and understanding of chemistry.
As much as I will miss my friend, still, I was happy to see him go. He's another of many shining examples of men who were sentenced way too much time for a bullshit crime. Several of my good friends have been released lately, and I am happy for them, as well. If I see any again, I hope it is not within the confines of these walls.
So long my friend.
Letters to the Editor
1. I've received a number of mailings from you lately I thank you for all, including the Frontiersman; including special appreciation for publication of my ltr to you. I recall just 2 typos that probably skirted my meaning there, but my fault, not yours, because of my atrocious penmanship. Nonetheless, I deem it a real plus that my sentiments got "out there."
2. You may not have known it, but in your opening piece in Frontiersman July 2016, there is a principle that the ancient Bible laid out. Different application (slightly), but same principle. (Privacy Isn't Guilt article). You stated: "Privacy should be demanded every time, in all situations, regardless of the circumstances. Then, the cops can't tell the difference." (Between whether you are guilty or innocent). The passage in the Bible that correlates, as I see it, is the passage in James 5:12 (& another few places) where we are admonished to "not swear at all." Here's how it correlates: if a person is pressed to "swear to God (YHWH)" as to some accusation or query as to whether he "does or does not" or "did or did not," etc. and he will "swear to God" he didn't, because he knows that's true, he gives himself away as to his private deeds or thoughts or beliefs, etc. when he's pressed to answer another query to which he will not swear he didn't/doesn't, because he knows he "does or did." I believe this is the
|reason why we are admonished not to "swear" at
all to anything: You automatically tell on yourself the times you
won't swear to it, compared to your willingness to swear to other matters
that you feel you are in a favored position on....
Dear Mr. Milam....
The administrators of social vengeance have voiced their concern that the light of truth is getting a little too bright. There seems to be a biological parallel, as cockroaches are negative-phototropic, also. I remain,
In admiration and gratitude.
Greetings to you comrade. They moved me here about a month ago. I just want to thank you for printing my last letter [July 2016, page 2]. I don't have much time to write. I'm in a very strict lock down unit that does not allow pens in cells. I only get a half hour to write a week outside the cell. This is short term. About another month, when I leave here I'll write you a good letter explaining why they sent me here.
Solidarity, your friend.
Ramon D. Hontiveros, P-34034
Dogs, Differences, and Dictionaries
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I see pet product advertisements in which women are described as "pet parents". If they really are pet parents, then those mutts must have come out of their birth canals. However, even if (perish the thought!) such a woman has a weird sexual preference for dogs, such a pregnancy is impossible. So, the advertisements are lies. The women are not pet parents. The meanings of owner and parent have been confused. The women aren't even pet owners. The county animal protection agencies are the pet owners. People who have pets are merely pet custodians. If such people don't treat the pets in accordance with county regulations, then the county authorities will seize the pets. The meanings of owner and custodian have been confused. There are even people who claim that some scruffy mongrel is a "member of the family". Only another person can be a member of the family. The meanings of member and possession have been confused.
Such confusion of the meanings of words is dangerous. When the differences in the meanings of words become confused, then the differences in the understanding of ideas can also become confused. When a dog is thought of as a member of the family, the same as a child, then the doctrine that applies to the dog might also apply to the child. The county agencies will already seize children if the children are not treated in accordance with regulations, exactly as they will seize pets, and for the same reasons. Thus, to a certain extent, children are already in the same legal category as pets. To that extent, the meanings of custodian and parent have been confused. It seems entirely possible to me that the meanings of pets and children might eventually become confused.
It's the job of advertisers to persuade people to buy things but they ought not to do so by confusing the meanings of words or by distorting people's thinking All too often, that's what they do. Another example, in addition to those already noted, is the toilet paper advertisements in which the claim is made that, with their product, a person can use four times less. Why they would want to sell less is a mystery to me but the fact is that times means multiplied by. There can be four times more or one quarter as much, but not four times less. The claim is mathematical nonsense.
Confused meanings of words promote confused thinking, and vice versa. It's to the advantage of the government agencies when we're confused. It makes us easier to deceive, manipulate, and control. If we can believe that there's four times less of something then we might also believe that we can protect our liberty by sacrificing it. To avoid such folly, we need to understand definitions and the associated ideas. We need to be able to think for ourselves, and to do so in chains of logic that are longer than sound bites. Almost by definition, each person must do that kind of thing for himself. I suggest that it would be useful to such a person to visit The Sovereign's Library. Milam's Dictionary of Distinctions, Differences, and Other Odds and Ends would be a good place to start.
Nor Any Stop to Think
Sam Aurelius Milam III
A long time ago, I worked for about 10 years at GE, in San Jose, California, as a Nuclear Engineer. For about 5 of those years, I was a Responsible Engineer. As such, I was legally authorized, among other things, to bear the design responsibility on Engineering Change Notices (ECNs). I was also liable, under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, for imprisonment for up to 2 years each for certain specified violations, and for penalties of up to $25,000 for each day of such violations. That's a lot of zeros and a lot of days.
Each ECN had what was designated as an Internal Sheet, not to be distributed externally. Among the various things on the Internal Sheet was a box labeled "enter estimated total". It was used to provide a cost estimate for whatever design change was being documented by the ECN. Responsible Engineers initiating ECNs were required to provide that information, for every ECN. The estimated total was always $350. Every time.
Eventually, I got curious about that. I asked, first, why engineers were expected to make financial cost estimates. Nobody knew. Then I asked why the estimated total was always $350. Somebody told me that it was just the number that we always used. Somebody, somewhere, at some time in the past had instructed us to use that number. Nobody knew who, when, or why.
Being a father, I had easy access to some children's toys. One of them was a little game called Waterful Water Works. It was a little tank made of transparent plastic, about 6 inches wide, 8 inches tall, and 1 1/2 inches thick. It contained several little plastic rings, of different colors. Inside the tank were two plastic spikes, pointing up. Near the bottom was a button. When the button was pressed, it squirted the rings up toward the top of the tank, after which they'd slowly settle back to the bottom. Sometimes, one of the rings would settle onto one of the spikes. My daughter was tired of the game anyway, so I took it to work with me. I assigned different number values according to which color of ring settled on which spike. I added a label that said Internal Sheet Cost Estimate Calculator. I sat the thing on my desk, facing out, where anybody could see it. Only one person, a woman who worked in QA, ever asked me about it. She seemed amused.
For a while after that, I used the Internal Sheet Cost Estimate Calculator to calculate the estimated total for Internal Sheets. The numbers were random and could vary from a few cents to thousands of dollars. I began putting the numbers in the box on Internal Sheets and sending the ECNs on their way. I was issuing ECNs, formal, auditable documents, identified and tracked by formally issued unique numbers, retrievable by number from Document Control, defined by the Engineering Operating Procedures, used to make engineering design changes to the control systems of nuclear reactors in an industry that was regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, under the authority of the Code of Federal Regulations and the Atomic Energy Act as amended. As part of the information on those ECNs, I was providing randomly calculated, completely fictitious, absolutely undocumented and unverified numbers. They didn't bear any relationship to anything. I don't remember how long I used the Internal Sheet Cost Estimate Calculator but, for however long that was, nobody ever asked me where I was getting the numbers. Nobody questioned them.
It would be a good idea to keep this kind of thing in mind. Reported numbers aren't always reliable, especially when somebody's trying to use them to sell something, to promote an agenda, or to win an argument. In that regard, I suggest my article Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics Again. It's available on page 2 of the February 1997 issue. I also recommend Elusive Remedy, on pages 1 - 3 of the February 2016 issue. The story of my entire work history, including my time at GE, is available in my memoir Outward Bound. The memoir is available on Pharos.
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Lady Jan the Voluptuous; my mother; Betty; FL, of Soledad, California; and Robert O, of Ione, California.
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Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor