Time Off for Book Behavior

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.

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There’s No Excuse for Not Using Sony Cameras

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. Read more

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

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. Read more