Archive for June, 2012

Time Off for Book Behavior

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Four days less for every book Brazil’s inmates read, says their Governo Federal. Inmates earn up to 48 days off each year for reading 12 classics or 12 works of philosophy, science, even humor. It’s an effective, creative approach that need not produce voter-ready results to be successful. And why not? ‘Cause we already know that reading is the most basic of human skills, and just being able to understand those seven words could have a Butterfly Effect. 

A Butterfly Effect is where a small change at one place in a complex system can have a large effect elsewhere. Though it also happens to work, teaching prison inmates to read is a truly humanitarian gesture requiring no quantifiable numbers or lowered crime stats as a proof that it does: the very act of spreading literacy is like giving sight to the blind. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. our lawmakers can’t sell each other on the promise of a good deed anymore than you or I can poop gold. But so what? That’s no excuse for not helping someone help themselves, or for not helping ’em reach through the razor wire to interpret the world anew.


There’s No Excuse for Not Using Sony Cameras

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Such picture quality! How can those contrasts be so precise? I’ve never seen bugged-out eyes so huge and clear. You can almost taste the crack resin on his breath from the burning chunk of Brillo-pad he used as a screen in his pipe — wow! I’m telling ‘ya there’s a reason Sony’s XDCAM 422 is the industry standard.

For extended nighttime high speed chases with freakish tongue wagging and multi-collision wrap-ups you just can’t beat Sony. Check out the difference between the lesser quality, undercarriage-mounted heli-cam and the handheld 422 on the ground. You know they’re not strappin’ Sony money to the skids on that bird, so no surprise the air footage is pixy and lame. But that all-up-in-your-sorry-grill XD422 captures details your dreams won’t forget. (more…)

“Journey to the Center of a Sandwich” — An Excerpt

Monday, June 18th, 2012

This week’s post is an excised chapter of Where Excuses Go to Die, the forthcoming book for which this blog serves as a pre-publishing playground. Like many of the book’s chapters, Sandwich began life as a prison journal entry before being performed as a spoken word piece.  Since it got pulled from the book, I thought you might enjoy it here.


California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) – Norco, Level II 

5th Street & Western Norco, CA 92860

The first bite tasted fine – for a prison sandwich. I’d already given the thing a cellblock once-over, scanning for obvious stuff like bugs, matches, dirt, and pieces of human. I’d also reexamined it as I made improvements: contraband mustard, nips of onion, a razor-cut tomato. In custody, firm, fresh tomatoes are more expensive than chocolate but they’re worth it. A good tomato can make or break a sandwich anywhere, anytime. While doing time, their value triples. (more…)

Home is Where the Abuse is…

Monday, June 11th, 2012

In the video clip he posted to YouTube, Oscar Lopez can be heard asking neighbor Anthony Sanchez, “Why don’t you come over here and teach ME!?” Lopez, you see, had just captured footage of Sanchez lashing his stepson with a belt for failing to catch a baseball. 

Sanchez turned himself in on Friday, after the clip went viral. On Saturday, he resigned his post as director of California’s Imperial Irrigation District. He’s now being held on $100,000 bail for suspicion of felony child abuse, yet another elected official implicated for yet another failure of character.

Now I realize that many adults over a certain age had the crap kicked out of them as children, and I also know that serious child abuse is often a cycle. Sanchez, age 34, probably knows these things too. What he doesn’t seem to realize, however, is that there’s no excuse for wailing on a kid either way.

And what was Stepfather of the Year’s excuse?  In the footage he can be heard responding to Lopez, “The boy suffers from ADHD! Do you know how he acts?” Well okay then, Sanchez, by that standard you need a head-punch and 2 face-slaps. (more…)

Shouldn’t Undercooked Homeless Man Cash In Too?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Nicholas Carlesi captured what is thought to be the last last photo of Ronald Poppo before 75% of his face was chewed off.

Last week, nearly all the major media outlets and countless web destinations profited from leaked photos of Ronald Poppo’s eaten up face and the 9-1-1 calls reporting his attack. It’s bad enough that the rest of his miserable life is gonna be spent in pain and beef jerky jokes, there’s no excuse for Ronnie not gettin’ a slice…uh, a cut, a chunk – some money!

I mean, we don’t look homeless people in the eye or give ’em the time of day. We can’t stop to unfold a buck or two and we’ll cross the street if it means avoiding one. But let a bum get his face chewed off and we become wide-eyed pigeons, pecking at the ground — or in this case clicking though channels and websites — for salacious crumbs.

As quickly as the photos were leaked, only to go viral, is as quickly as I decided against lookin’ at ’em. I assure you it isn’t because I’m “mature” ‘n what not, and practically nothing grosses me out. What bothers me is the idea of celebrating sensationalism. Number one, I already knew the gruesome images would resemble a plate of chicken mole enchiladas, and number two, what’s the message? It sure as hell isn’t “homeless people deserve respect.” (more…)