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Prison Diaries

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January 17, 2011

Last night of another four day weekend. Seems longer – because in addition to the Friday-Monday holiday weekend for Martin Luther King Day, Thursday was a training day for the guards so we did not work.

Events that were notable for this long weekend – visits from my parents Saturday through Monday. Visit from brother Greg, finished "The 5000 Year Leap", "The Power", "An Invitation To Great Reading: The World's Greatest Classics" and starting "Basic Documents of American History: The Worlds Greatest Classics." Yesterday was another great church service – touching to see the inmates doing a good job of having a small choir, many singing petty good and my roommate leading the group on the drums and having an excellent solo with a great voice.

I went to bed reading - and the pages I read were "The Maryland Toleration Act April 1649". What a short and fair act – establishing tolerance of religion. What a great concept that I think in later readings of our basic documents, I will see the continued protection of Christianity being the basis for our divinely established country.

Visiting with Mom and Dad and Greg was great. I asked Mom and Dad to order a set of "The World's Greatest Classics" for my children – so they my have them available as they grow up. Pili and I would have to think of some reward to get them started on reading some of them. I thought it should be available to all our families – but Mom and Dad reached that thought also without my prompting.

I started a list of "Thoughts to Assimilate" about a week ago. Already have three pages of them from the books I have read over the past few weeks. I will spend the next day or two re-copying the thoughts or sayings that I value from these recent readings. I would hope my children would be able to assimilate the values or tenets into their lives.

January 21, 2011

Just when I thought things were getting boring – things start happening. I had a discussion over the phone referencing an author that had corresponded with me about six months ago. The author had a vast knowledge on the issue of constitutional eligibility. About one hour later I received my mail; several letters. Included in one of these letters was a copy of a twenty page essay by the very same author I had been discussing on the phone.

Later in the day I went to the library – mainly to read the latest newspaper. I also needed to look up a few topics from "The 5000 Year Leap" that I still had questions about. Now when I first went to the library about two weeks ago – "The 5000 Year Leap" book was shining to me like a beacon. From some of its references to the French nobleman/political scientist Alexis De Tocqueville – I thought it would be interesting to read his work sometime – but thought they would be difficult to find even on the "outside" world. But here today is another book on the shelf that catches my eye – or grabs it. The book "Democracy in America" by Alexis De Tocqueville. Brand new appearing 2010 paperback, never been read by its appearance. Also, all the library books are numbered for inventory and checking purposes. Our library now has over 2700 books numbered. This book is #1. It would appear that the library staff picked this book up first to start her inventory. Looks like a good read, next on my self guided studies, after "Basic Documents in American History," and "Liberty and Tyranny".

Yesterday I took the Tables Test – test of adult basic education. Hope I passed! Only real education that is offered at this faculty is the FEMA. I took two of them and completed them. It is a good course for a public service oriented professions.

In the afternoon I was called to meet the chaplain. I had requested a meeting to discuss a few things. Mainly complement him on the quality of his Sunday services. There are a few quality singers and band, the others are good and improving – but it is incredible to see the courage of a few of them up in front of other inmates singing. My roommate though, is gifted with a great voice. He has been writing a song for the past few days and debuts it on Sunday. Chaplain and I talked for a good hour and a half. Covered a lot. It was good to get out of the library work for a bit. We no longer can read once we get our work done – so we have to look busy for three hours. I've taken to book repair to stay busy. If this keeps up, I think all the books will have protective tape coverings in a few months. All the other work details for all other prisoners sound very uninspiring. Biggest work detail is textiles. Some inmates enjoy it. You can also work in the dining faculty (KP) help and facility cleaning crew. This place was not designed to have any kind of vocational skill training.

January 22, 2011

Seems like a short Saturday. Took morning nap. Afternoon signed up to go outside – I think it is about two weeks now of not being outside. It was announced at 1410 hours that outdoor rec was canceled – indoor rec had just returned and said the other pod was outside and just came in. Many of us were upset. Several inmates demanded to see and talk to the watch commander. He quickly changed his mind and let us go outside. About fifteen of us went. No running because there was a little snow still on the track. I walked as many laps as I could. Of course I for a few wisecracks of "you walk pretty good for an old man". Finished another FEMA module today and read.