Another Day In Paradise
Sticky, of San Diego
After a decade of incarceration, there are things I've gotten used to that, at other times, would have irked the crap outa me. One of those things happened today. This morning started out as most days do. My cellie woke with the roosters, made two cups of coffee (one for me), and did whatever he does. I don't know because I'm sleeping. Most days he is quiet and respectful, some not so much. At 6:15 AM, he thumped the underside of my bunk, waking me, so I could get ready. I gulped the laxative, let it do its work, and donned my blues. Usually, about 6:45, we are released for breakfast. After exiting our building, we are required to walk around a track, on a white line, to the dining facility. There is absolutely zero reason for this except cops in dire need to lord their power trip. My thought is, if all they've got to feel important is to order grown men to walk single file, so be it. This is not a forever gig for me.
Breakfast this morning was decent although it could be much better. How much dope are you snorting if you're screwing up pinto beans and instant grits? Oh well, I didn't come to prison for the cuisine. After eating, my cellie went straight to work. He makes pants, in Textiles. I trekked back to the cell. Usually I do some writing, daily scripture reading, followed with a meditation/self hypnosis session. This morning I did only the first two. I needed to finish a greeting card a friend of mine commissioned me to do. I use pastels and pressed flowers to create my pieces. I wish I had the talent to sculpt or draw but God blessed me with a different interpretation of art and I make it work.
While applying my last coat of acrylic, I heard the familiar jingling of keys not far from my door. I live near the stair landing from the 1st to 2nd tiers so this is a frequent occurrence. My senses are heightened to the sound. Every inmate knows this sound. It is infused into the psyche and will be for life. Paintbrush in hand, about to finish the card, I heard the metallic sound of a key sliding into the lock of my door and the gung-ho, floater, rookie super cop telling me, "cell search, step out," as he pulled open my door. Closing the lid of my clear coat, asking him to be careful with the card as it's still wet, I informed him the tools on my desk are listed on my hobby property card.
The CDCR has determined that inmates are allowed to possess certain items in the property within our cells and everything else is considered contraband. To make sure we don't step over the line and acquire (or construct) such things, now and again we must endure cell searches, much like the current random, invasion of privacy. Most cops don't search because, quite frankly, that would constitute work and, God forbid, we wouldn't want that. Others, like this one, are nosy and use the opportunity to put their dick-beaters all over our pictures, appliances, hobby supplies, and personal property. This particular guy was somewhat mild. I stood outside, on the tier, and watched him for about 15 minutes. He found nothing right away and lost interest. He moved on to my neighbor's house, staying there for about an hour. I could bitch but it'd do no good. Fuck it, wash the hot-pot, wipe off the pictures, and go about the day.
He took nothing because I have nothing to take. It might be a week, maybe a month, before this happens again. Who knows? Who cares? I suppose it would matter if I was up to no good and shooting dope, hiding a cell phone, or making Apple Jack. Call me a lame-o square, but I'm going home in 3 more years, maybe less if I get some Prop 57 action, and I will do nothing to jeopardize that.
A White Man's Notes
Sam Aurelius Milam III
The names of institutions can be interesting. Consider the CDC. It was founded in 1946, a successor to some previous agencies, as the Communicable Disease Center. In 1967, it became the National Communicable Disease Center. In 1970, it was renamed the Center for Disease Control. In 1980, an "s" was added, making it (them?) the Centers for Disease Control. It wasn't until 1992 that the words and Prevention were added to the name.
So, prior to 1970, the purpose of the CDC was, presumably, to study communicable diseases. After 1970, it was renamed not as a center for studying diseases, but as a center for controlling them. It wasn't the Center for Disease Prevention, or Treatment, or even Cures, which would have preserved the acronym. It was the Center for Disease Control. Not until more than 20 years later did somebody, probably a spin doctor, think to add the words and prevention. Even then, by congressional mandate, it remained the CDC, not the CDCP.
As I observed in Milam's Notes, in 1994, the only reliable test for ownership is possession or control. So, if the CDC controls a disease, then maybe the CDC owns the disease. In Animal Gestapo Houston (November 2008), and elsewhere, I commented that ownership of a thing means that the owner of the thing can possess it, use it, dispose of it, and so forth, as he wishes. So, if the CDC owns a disease, then the CDC can decide how it's used, by whom, and for what purpose. Maybe the CDC is entirely above reproach in this regard but, after all, it is a federal agency. In the X-Files episode Unusual Suspects, the administrators of a federal weapons facility were planning to test an aerosolized gas on unwitting civilians in Baltimore. In that episode, Susanne Modeski commented, regarding such behavior by government officials, "No matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough."
Although the names of institutions are interesting, they might not always be entirely informative. I doubt if the Department of Defense is entirely occupied with defensive plans and strategies. The Department of the Interior probably isn't much concerned with the insides of buildings. Orwell treated such misnomers in an interesting way in his novel 1984. The Ministry of Peace was concerned with war. The Ministry of Truth perpetuated lies. The Ministry of Love tortured people. I believe that the September 11, 2001 attacks were perpetrated by a federal agency but I don't know its name. In my writing on the subject, I referred to it as the Unnamed Agency. So, maybe the CDC isn't trying to control the use of diseases for nefarious purposes. Maybe it is. I don't know. That's kind of the point.
That brings me back to Susanne Modeski's comment. I believe that she had the right idea but used the wrong terminology. Properly speaking, paranoia is an irrational or unjustified fear. I believe that her fear was entirely justified in the fictional world of The X-Files. Thus, she wasn't paranoid. She was well informed. I believe that the same fear is entirely justified in the real world. So, I'm not paranoid. Since most of the relevant information is hidden from us, I'm also not well informed. That leaves me with only skepticism and cynicism with which to evaluate federal agencies. So, I'll rephrase Susanne Modeski's comment regarding the nature and purposes of federal agencies. No matter how skeptical and cynical you are, you're not paranoid, and you're not skeptical and cynical enough.
Thoughts About Busybodies
Forwarded by SantaClara Bob.
Attributed to C.S. Lewis.
Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we "ought to have known better", is to be treated as a human person made in God's image.
|Letters to the Editor
Dear Mr. Milam,
Thank you for rescuing Civilized Society from your trash basket and giving it dignity in March's Frontiersman.
Unfortunately, experience has proven most prisoner generated mail doesn't make it past the trash basket. As you wrote in your prelude to Civilized Society, "The article tells us that things haven't improved. Yesterday's article is still reporting today's news."
How true! People in our "civilized society" still scratch their heads, saying "Why don't things change?" There are none so blind than those who will not see.
Thank you for shining Frontiersman's beacon of enlightenment into the social abyss of stupidity.
In admiration and appreciation,
Robert H. Outman, Prisoner P-79939
Received the latest Frontiersman....
I'm happy & sad at the same time, today. My immediate neighbor, whom I've known for seven years, starting from a different prison, went home several hours ago. He was doing a life sentence and had 27 years down. He went to board a few months ago and was found "suitable" for release. A transition program came to pick him up. I'm happy for him, ecstatic, actually, but feel a bit of emptiness that my friend is gone. I hope to see him again, but not in here.
I've learned that even though Prop 57 has passed, Calif. prisons will not implement anything until October of '17. Sounds to me like they didn't expect it to pass and didn't make plans. Once things are "implemented", I have 11 weeks worth of credit that will count toward my credit; more when I finish these two college classes.
I will count on nothing and be surprised if it happens rather than expect it and be let down if it doesn't....
Take care my friend,
I've been trying to write you for weeks & weeks, every day, & the pileup gets in the way, worse daily. I have been getting I believe all of the Frontiersman & I thank you for those. Each time I had set out to write you in response to some articles in those, & that effort every time has also failed as I fall asleep each nite (next morn) with piles of letters fallen all over me on bed that I had set out to respond to & fell asleep finally instead. The Frontiersman each time has had some excellent articles....
Scientists Find New Element
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by Warren, of Pocatello, Idaho.
A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science, Governmentium.
Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium lacks electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes reactions with which it comes into contact. A small amount of Governmentium recently caused one reaction to take over four days to complete, instead of the normal reaction time of less than a second.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years, but it doesn't decay. Instead, it undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. Governmentium's mass actually increases over time, since each reorganization causes more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.
This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain concentration, referred to as Critical Morass.
When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, [However, see New Element Discovered in the January 1996 issue.] which radiates as much energy as Governmentium, having half as many peons, but twice as many morons.
Reveals New Details
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Betty; Robert, of San Diego, California; Eric, of Ione, California; and FL, of Soledad, California.
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Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor