May 2018 - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
 "We tend to see a person in the moment, not as the journey they travelled to get here."  Kat Lehmann

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Journals

May 30th, 2018

Hooooooweee! It is hot! As I'm typing this it's a little past three in the afternoon, and the airconditioning is fluctuating. It was out yesterday, late in the afternoon, and it's been off most the day today, but I'm holding out hope that they're working on it because the air is going from cool to hot/cool to hot...But, man! It's not even June yet, and we're already in the middle of a heat wave.  

I went outside around 8 this morning, and it felt like a hot muggy swamp!  I was drinking water, bottle after bottle, with the guy I was playing ball with, and we were both sweating like mad men. I did enjoy the ball games today though...We decided to change the game a bit...Normally we play the first to ten points; he's been beating me because he's super fast, and because of a foot injury I have, I can't run nearly as fast as him because I can't dig my toes into the ground and really push off. But my wind is much longer than his, and I can outpace him by far! So, today, we decided to play the first to 50 points each game. He'd jump out ahead, but begin to stall out around 25, and I'd just outpace him and take off ahead. I won every match like that. It was fun, and great exercise. I'd like to play like that more often.  

I heard on the radio that the show, Roseanne, has been cancelled...What did I say? So...what does it mean for the star of a show, who makes racist comments, when the media has announced early on in the new season of the show, that the star was "representing middle America?" I'm not saying middle America is racist, nor all Trump supporters for that matter, but you cannot say that you're surprised when you normalize certain behaviors.  Apparently, she blamed the drug "Ambien", for her outburst; subsequently, the CEO of the pharma company responded by saying, "One of the side effects of Ambien is not racism..." I thought that was pretty funny.  

My neighbor and I got into a debate about PC culture today, and he feels it's unfair and that the country is too PC and proves we really don't have freedom of speech. Whilst I'll concede that on some things we are much too sensitive and overly PC (I make no exceptions for hate speech of any kind in that) people need to know that yes, you can say whatever you would like to say, but words - just like actions - carry consequences, so use your words wisely. ABC and the Disney Corporation are two of the most progressive media businesses out there, and there's no way they're going to tolerate one of their employees making comments on Twitter, or any other public media for that matter, in the way Roseanne did.  It's true she's always been one to shoot her mouth off a bit too quickly, but a line has to be drawn sometimes...What's really sad is that it has cost a couple of people their jobs.  

That's my take...

Courage.  Strength.  Hope and Faith!

Peace.



May 29th, 2018

I'm sitting here getting ready to listen to "Sound Awake" on the radio - a particular music show that usually plays some of my favourite music, especially when the DJ does the "Classic Club Hour" which is a mix of new wave and modern rock/industrial. At the end of each month he does a two hour special and I'm hoping he knocks it out of the park today. He can be a hit or a miss, but last week was exceptionally good. You can listen at kpft.org at 4pm-6pm, each Tuesday. It's really the only good music program I have right now since my favourite on kpft - "Radioactive" - has disappeared without explanation, only to be replaced by some godawful program. Houston...you confuse me!

So, today has been fairly relaxed and drama free. We had some good officers working...I should make a strong point here and say that whilst I often complain about some guards, I don't think they're all bad, or that anyone who wears a grey uniform is the "enemy". In fact, it's quite the contrary, and there are some really good officers. Sadly, they usually end up working on other pods, but over the weekend, one in particular had some extra spaghetti trays, and asked me and my neighbour if we wanted them. We were both, like, "Uh...yeah!" We were really grateful, and things like that show me that even in dark places, good deeds and acts of kindness can come from all walks of life.  

On a slightly down note, I learned today that one of my co-defendants received an execution date last week. I've not had any contact with any of them, and I don't even know what they've been filing in their appeals or what kind of attorneys they have. But the humanity in me doesn't want anything bad to happen to them - or to anyone for that matter. I often wish that this whole thing would just end for everyone here. People really don't understand how screwed up this system really is, and how unfairly the death penalty is applied. And by "unfair" I don't mean, "oh, woe is me...I'm a victim, and this is sooo unfair!"  No! What I mean is the overall way that the death penalty is applied. Just do your home work and study it...Look into it. I don't have to  tell you and give the same speech over and over. Don't let me or anyone else tell you either...Just look into it and you'll see it blaring out at you.  

I think the temperature today was 96F...because of the heat, they're starting to shut the outside recreation yards down from 1pm-6pm. They've been doing this the last couple of years because they don't want to run the risk of someone having a heat stroke, but I can remember a time when they didn't care...When we had to work in 100F temperatures, picking okra and other vegetables, or if we had pissed our "boss" off (the guard on a horse with a gun pretty much pointed at you the entire time) he'd have us swinging a garden hoe on hard dirt or dead grass for a few hours, to "teach us a lesson"...We prayed for a water break! I guess Texas is sort of getting with the times...

Not much else going on today.

Courage. Strength. Hope. Faith.

Peace!



May 28th, 2018

Happy Memorial Day...I feel a bit better. I decided to skip recreation today, which in hindsight was probably dumb because I'm most likely going to be on rec. restriction for the next few days...But I really didn't want to miss some good programs on the radio.  

Our lunch was fantastic! We had sausage, cheeseburger, potato salad, ranch style beans, a huge brownie, and green beans. It was really good.  

Not much to report today. I'm surviving.  

Courage.  Strength. Hope. And Faith.  

Peace.



May 27th, 2018

This  day has turned into a suck fest. I was actually enjoying my morning  and day, but when second shift hit, things went topsy turvy.

So, during the first shift and second shift, they've got a list of two "random shakedowns" and typically they're really about nothing. An officer walks into your cell, makes sure you don't have anything you're not supposed to, and that everything works. However, last night was an exception because we've got two new sergeants, and one is a freakin' nazi, and so gung-ho about everything she does she wanted to supervise the officers do their random shakedown. I was on that list and I wasn't really worried about it 'cause I had nothing out of the ordinary - maybe a fishing line (how we pass things to each other) and that was it. I did have a coax cable that was broken and sitting in my locker but I didn't think anything about it. So, the officers go into my cell, take my fishing line, take a rolled up magazine that I use to stick my mail in the door, and the broken coax cable. I thought they'd just throw it away and call it a day, but she told the guards to write me a "contraband" case. Now, it's classified as a "minor case" and my "punishment" should be miniscule, like recreation restriction, or commissary restriction, but I was like, "Really?" Things that you could've just tossed in the garbage you decided to write me up for?" The officers who did the shakedown both agreed it was a frivilous case, but they said, "We're just following orders". Ridiculous!

Sigh...Oh well. At least I have a good meal to look forward to tomorrow.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.  



May 26th, 2018

Memorial day weekend is upon us, and whilst it's really quiet right now, and I'm  listening to my radio to pass the days, I can't help but think about how different my life could have been. Okay, maybe I could be dead in a gutter somewhere, or a junkie...But I like to think that in an alternate universe I would've gone on to graduate from OBI, and become a  successful musician or music teacher. Maybe I did...in that alternate  universe.  

In the past I've written about one of my favourite novels, "ONE", by  Richard Bach (of Jonathan Livingston Seagull fame, and where the '80s  new wave band, "Flock of Seagulls" took their name from...A little FYI, and good music trivia! You're welcome!) The story is about the many choices in life there are, and where each choice or path leads us, and the alternate paths that spin from that in the universe. I recommend reading it.  

Anyway, I think back to the summer of 1995, and wonder had I just gone with my  dad to the grocery store, accepted his apology, and not been so impulsive, how different my life would be now. Instead, I turned down his offer to ride with him to the store, and waited on the Taxi cab that would take me to a Greyhound bus station and onward to Louisville, Kentucky.  

I will say that the bus ride was one of the strangest experiences in my life! In movies, you always see these run-down bus stations with homeless people and guys waving knives around. In fact, one of the more classic bus stationscenes was in the movie "Adventures in Babysitting" where Elizabeth Shue's character takes a group of kids she's babysitting to pick up her friend at the Greyhound bus station. She's  on the phone talking to her friend, and a homeless guy starts beating the glass and saying, "Get out of my house!" No way did I think that stuff was real life, but when the Taxi cab dropped me off at the Arlington bus station, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into.  

The Arlington station was relatively small, and what I was used to from taking a bus from Lexington, Kentucky to London, Kentucky where teachers at OBI would pick students up. I thought that I would leave from Arlington and go straight to Louisville, but I had to change buses in Dallas. When I stepped off the bus to go to the next terminal, a group of police officers were tackling a guy who was screaming like a mad man.   

I waited in a small terminal with people from all walks of life, and it felt like something out of Mos Eisley's cantina in Star Wars! Whilst waiting, I bought a bag of Doritos to munch on, which was a bad idea because they ended up opening my gums back up after the wisdom teeth removal earlier that week. It hurt really bad...I dug into my back pack and took out a painkiller, hopped on the bus, and dozed off. The next stop, in the middle of the night, was in Little Rock, Arkansas, and I was really hungry, so I went to a hamburger stand and got a hamburger. Another bad mistake...It ended up giving me a fit of the runs on the bus, and I spent a good deal of the ride going back and forth to the tiny restroom.  

A huge rain storm hit on the way, and we ended up detouring to Memphis, which I was really excited about because at the time, one of my favourite music films was U2's "Rattle and Hum", and I perked up to see if I could pick out any sites from the movie. The sun was rising, and the sky took on an eerie grey.  

We pulled into the Memphis Terminal, and I made a call to my girlfriend and asked her if my friend's parents approved of me staying at their place. She said she was having trouble getting a hold of Travis, but should know something by the time I got into Louisville. Because of the stop in Memphis, it put me behind schedule, and I wasn't sure if I was going to make it there by Saturday afternoon or early Sunday morning. I hung up and sat on a chair with my headphones in, and jammed out until they told us to board the bus. Again, the same strange group of people around me. Surprisingly, just a couple of hours later, and I was back on the bus! I sat towards the back, which was a mistake because I had to listen to a couple getting it on, moaning and groaning in the very back, the rest of the way to Louisville.  

We pulled into the Greyhound bus station downtown, Saturday evening, and I thought it was strange that Louisville felt like a ghost town. Even the bus station was empty. I got off the bus, picked up my bags, and headed inside. I called my girlfriend to find out what was going on, and she told me that Travis wanted to talk to me.  

I called Travis and was disappointed that his parents said "no", but he said he'd come and pick up my suit cases at my girlfriend's place, because her parents believed that I was staying with Travis, and until we could figure out a plan of action. Clearly, I hadn't thought this whole trip through as was typical of my impulsivity in those days! I took a Taxi cab to her place off of Bardstown Road, and she waited eagerly for me as the cab pulled up.  

An hour later and Travis came and picked the bags up and said he'd "pick me up" later, helping us in our ruse. I had nowhere to go and I remember sleeping behind St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic Church on Bardstown Road, for the next two nights. Eventually, my girlfriend talked to a family that she babysat for, and they agreed to let me stay until I had to return to summer school.  

On Memorial Day, I spent the day with my girlfriend and her family, and we BBQ'd, and had a really good time. But I also remember being the errand boy that day and being told to run up the street to the grocery store and get items they needed. That evening I went to the place where I was going to stay and my girlfriend introduced us. She said they were cool, but in saying they were "cool" she failed to mention they were also pot smokers, and it was the first time in my life that I had seen adults pull out a bag of weed and pass it around, and been invited  to do the same. Theresa showed back up around eleven at night to check on me, and I was toasted! "Are you high?" she asked. I kind of laughed and shrugged my shoulders, and she scolded me playfully and said, "You could've waited for me!"

The  summer fun hit a brick wall when, once again, being stupid and impulsive, I stole some batteries from a drug store. I really don't know why I did it, other than I remember earlier on, during the bus ride to downtown Louisville where my girlfriend worked at a frozen yogurt shop, that she was playing her Game Boy and the batteries died. While she was at work, I had decided to check out the mall in the down town  area - The Galleria. I still had some money left, and I needed to buy a couple of things. I saw the batteries and looked around, and then stuck them in my pocket. I walked up to the checkout line and paid for the items I needed, when a police officer stepped behind me in line...I went about business as usual, got my receipt, and left. But being the dumbass I was and can be on a regular basis, I pulled the batteries out of my pocket - with the police officer following right behind me - and stuck them in the bag. He immediately called me over to him, told me to hand everything over including the things I paid for, and asked for my ID. Earlier that day, on my girlfriend's lunch break, I had given her my wallet for some reason...I can't remember why. Anyway, I'm standing there and telling the officer that I didn't have my ID. He asked me where I was from. "Texas," I said, which seemed to make matters worse. He told me had I had my wallet he'd just write me a citation, but now he had to arrest me. This was the first time I'd ever been arrested, and my stomach dropped.  

He  took me to some basement jail in the mall, and made some calls. He then asked me where I was staying and I told him to get a hold of my girlfriend's parents and they could help explain everything. Well, it made things worse because they were pissed at me! For stealing, for lying to them about staying with Travis, and for being in Louisville in the first place.  I felt horrible - and not just because I got caught, but because I had now made things very hard on my girlfriend as well.  

I was transferred to a juvenile center where I was booked and processed, and I talked to a case worker. She was really nice and basically said, "Look...We're going to call your parents because they're the only ones who can get you out of this mess. Be upfront with them, don't lie to  them, and apologize for everything. We'll go from there." I gave her the number and they got in touch with my dad. They talked for a few minutes and the woman handed the phone to me. He gave me a good chewing out and said that they weren't going to charge me with anything, but I had to return to OBI the next day. In the meantime, my girlfriend's mom would come and get me out of the detention center, take me to the place I was staying, and would then make sure I got on the bus the next day. It was a mess.  

I hung up the phone and waited for her mom to pick me up.  

The next day I was on another Greyhound Bus and headed back to school.  

Memorial Day holiday would lead to a long series of unfortunate events that continued to plague my life, and push me further down the spiral.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

Peace.  

**Below is a picture of Randy, as a teenager**



May 24th, 2018

This has been one strange day! It started early this morning when I thought I'd be able to sleep in...I rarely get to listen to Stephen Colbert, one of my two favourite late night tv hosts - I love his biting political satire and I love Conan O'Brien's absurdity comedy! I grew up on Conan and have always been a loyal fan. Anyway, the guys on two row had said they were all going to rec., so that meant I wouldn't be going first round. So, I stayed up and caught Colbert and slept really well...Still, an extra hour would be lovely.  

I woke up at 5.25am when the first shift came in and began to set up recreation; the officer told me I was second round, and I said, "Cool"...I put the socks back over my eyes and dozed back off to sleep. At around 5.55am, the officer was knocking on my door telling me that one of the guys upstairs decided not to go to recreation, and he said I needed to get ready really fast. Having gone to a boarding school, as well as being locked up for over half of my life, I've got the art of the Chinese fire drill mastered! So, I slammed a cup of coffee, grabbed my exercise clothing, brushed my teeth, and set out for the dayroom. Well, something ended up going screwy on another pod, and they had to gas somebody...So the male officer had to leave the pod and help them out there. I ended up getting stuck in the dayroom, past noon, and normally I wouldn't care but I was now hungry - or hangry, rather, and also irritated...A nap wouldn't have hurt either. As well as all of that, it's been super loud today for some reason...Everyone seems wired up and going bonkers, and even though we had jerks working yesterday, at least it was super quiet.  

Here's the weirdest part of the day though...When the sergeant was making his rounds, my neighbor asked him, "What's up with the officer working  yesterday? Is his dad the warden or something, 'cause he gets away with crap on a regular basis, that other officers would be fired for". He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know..." But then, he stopped, turned back, and in a hushed tone tells my neighbor, "You  know...you guys could take care of him better than we can. It's only 90 days." And then he walked off.  

I asked my neighbor, "Dude, did I just hear that sergeant suggest that you assault his officer? WTF?" The 90 days the sergeant made mention of was a reference to the 90 days a person would do on a discipline should they do something wrong. Of course, my neighbour wasn't that dumb and wouldn't do something like that, but it was strange hearing a seargeant suggest one of us hurt someone.  

A really strange day.

Things seemed to have settled down now. As I write this it's 4.39pm and eerilly quiet. Maybe everyone is worn out. I'm looking forward to memorial day weekend even if it comes with some sad memories attached to it. If we were to look back in time, I'd be setting in motion a decision that would alter the course of my entire life. In fact, this day 23 years ago, I rode to a bank on my brother's bike, to cash a forged cheque that I had stolen from my father. I then stopped off at a gas station and bought my brothers a pack of bubblegum that I had promised to get them earlier that week, then I came home, packed a suitcase, and was getting ready to leave that Friday and take a Greyhoud bus to Louisville, Kentucky. I think I avoided my parents as much as possible around that time. In fact, they had gone swimming that Thursday night and I remember skipping out on it and staying home. I needed to call my girlfriend and let her know I was on the way and ask her to call a friend to see if I could stay at his place. I remember a couple of days earlier I had my wisdom teeth removed and was still bleeding a bit and in pain;  but I had a prescription of pain killers, so I was good to go.  

I'll write more about it over the weekend.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.



May 23rd, 2018

I'm  a little bit irritated right now...Well, it's kind of an irritated, yet amused feeling I have, if that makes sense. I went to recreation really early this morning, and played basketball, (I won 19-1) and then I did some push-ups etc. When I came in I was certain I'd get a shower, as usually, most officers working will at least do the first round of recreation before lunch. I waited and waited, and nothing was  happening. When an officer passed by, I asked, "What's the deal on the  showers?" To which she replied, "Oh, we're not feeling it today, and we're going to kick back." Kick back? Did she really say "kick back?" It's a prison...when people kick back, bad things tend to happen...But, hey, the ranking officer came on the pod, saw the officers "kicking  back" and walked right off the pod without saying a word...So,what do I know? I guess we've been spoiled, because the last three daytime crews that were working, finished all recs and showers before second shift, and because they moved the Muslim inmates to A-pod for Ramadan, it isn't like there's a lot of death row guys on the pod as it is...A whole section and a half is empty! Anyway, it was a nice few days of having everything done efficiently, and not having to  wait until very late for showers, mail or whatever.  

Anyway, being the class clown I can be, I decided to write a sarcastic grievance; I rarely do this unless I can be both humorous AND make a  point. I once wrote a grievance when we went two weeks without having any razors; this was before the shaving policy had changed to make exceptions for religious purposes. Since the very first day I entered prison, an inmate has always had to be clean shaven, or else they could receive a disciplinary case, so it really irks me when there's a razor shortage! Aside from the hypocrisy of it all, I don't like hair on my face, and I was beginning to look like a wild woodsman...So, I decided, "what the heck"...I'll write a grievance to see if we can't get some razors to shave with. I wrote about the shaving policy, and the point of having laws and rules, and without laws and rules, it can lead to the breakdown of society, and next thing you know, we're living like it's "The Walking Dead", and I really didn't want to live like that...Surprisingly, they processed the grievance! The response I got was that razors were ordered and on their way. Win!  

In this latest grievance I basically wrote about what was going on, and then I wrote..."I find it highly offensive, in this time of conservative leadership in our state and country, that workers for the state of Texas would so carelessly and callously WASTE the state's expenditures and resources so that employees can treat a prison like their personal playground. Surely, our great Governor and President would disapprove." I thought it was funny...Sometimes I amuse myself more than others!

Courage. Strength.  Faith. And Hope!

Peace.



May 16th, 2018

It's been a long and strange day...Well, actually, the first part of the day was fine: I went outside a little after 8am, played some basketball, exercised, watched some hawks flying above in the sky...Then, things started getting strange around noon...There was an execution scheduled that evening and things came to a halt, as is usually the case. There was a new officer being trained and they didn't fully understand what was going on. I overheard the conversation, and the more "experienced" guard said, "Oh, they're about to kill someone in a few hours, so they're loading him onto the van that's going to take him to the Walls." It was the way she said it that was just so cold and heartless...I could tell by the new guard's facial expression that he felt uncomfortable hearing what she said, and I thought, "geeze, at least the new guard appears to have a soul..."

Well, after all of that, the guards pulled out the next round of recreation, and then they just sat on some trash cans until almost 3pm! The same female officer who said someone was going to be killed, was walking by during a security check, and I said to the guy in the dayroom, "I suppose I'll not get a shower until second shift; I wonder if they'll manage to get to doing them as they're so busy right now." She didn't say anything, but kept walking.  

Around 3.45pm they finally started showers, and she said, "I shouldn't even let you get a shower with your shit talking."  
I said, "I wasn't shit talking."  
"Yes you were."
"Uh...no, I wasn't. I made a comment and then asked a rhetorical question"
She scrunched her face up and said, "Don't use big words you don't know the meaning of."
I looked back, admittedly irritated, and should've just let it go, but I said, "A rhetorical question is me asking something I already know the answer to, but hey, I was wrong, because you're taking me to the shower now!"

She rolled her eyes and told the male officer to strip me out and take me to the shower...Just a strange day.  

It does suck that the execution went ahead. I didn't know the guy on a personal level, but he was always really quiet, never started trouble with anyone, and helped anyone he could help. I was listening to the Execution Watch show, and they said that before and during his trial, the prosecution offered several plea bargains to remove the death penalty if he confessed guilt. He never accepted any of the deals, so he landed on death row. But here's a question he asked in an interview, and something I've wondered about a lot throughout the years, with regard to guys who have been offered plea deals...If the death penalty is supposed to be reserved for the "worst of the worst", obviously, the prosecutors don't think they are the worst of the worst if initially, they offer a sentence that is LESS than the death penalty? Am I wrong for having that kind of logic? I mean, if he was considered so dangerous from the outset, you'd have only gone for the death penalty, and not offered any kind of deal...Surely? Just another example of how crazy and arbitrary the US justice system is. Especially in Texas!

I hope his family are okay...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.



May 15th, 2018

I definitely had way too much sun yesterday! By evening, I was feeling miserable, and my head was tender to the touch. I tossed and turned, unable to really get comfortable in my sleep, and then I couldn't sleep in because I was first round at recreation. I went to the day room, exercised, and ended up joking around with a friend.  

I don't know how the conversation turned to cheap cologne - oh yeah, that's right, I made a comment about one of the guards' perfume, and said it smelled like something from Avon. I said to my friend, "I can't believe that they're still in business. How can that continue to be a successful business model? Are people still going door to door when you've got Amazon.com for everything?" He said, "Old people love that shit, and they don't have time to try and figure out new fangled technologies." So yeah, we were being completely ageist, but hey, it was funny, and I needed the laughs!

So, I'm telling him that in my early teens, my dad would buy me really cheap cologne...The kind you can get at the cosmetics section in a drug store. Once, he actually bought me some Aqua Velva! I also remember this gift box that he gave me one Chanukah...It had an array of Mennen products, and every little bottle smelled atrocious! My friend asked, "Like, how bad was it?  What did it smell like?" And I said, "Cat piss and shame." And we were dying laughing!!  

Then, I said, "What was weird is it seemed like ALL of my Jewish friends' parents bought them the same stuff, and so we were forced to wear this stuff for Shabbos services."  

I began imagining a commercial where this young Jewish kid is walking into temple...He's dressed up in a nice pair of slacks, and white dress shirt. As he's walking down the aisle to his seat, an older couple looks up and smiles at the kid's confidence, and the older Jewish guy leans into his wife and whispers, "Now that's class..." The kid stops, pivots on one foot towards the couple, and says, "No. It's Aqua Velva."

Oh man, we were laughing so hard!

I've spent most of the day cooking for a few people, and then writing and listening to "The Classic Club Hour." It was pretty good. I'm just ready for this day to be over with...I'm pooped.  

Courage. Strength.  ope and Faith!

Peace!



May 14th, 2018

Yay!!! Everything is back to normal today. I was so eager to go to recreation that I couldn't really fall back to sleep after breakfast (for those who don't already know, breakfast here starts at about 3am!) because I wanted to make sure that I was up bright and early for when the guards start scheduling recreation. I was out of bed by 5.30am, and when the guards came through asking about rec., I was told that I'd be going outside, 3rd round. Prime time sunshine!

Things started to slow down after lunch, and I was worried that by the time I got outside, the sun would shift to the other side of the building, and I'd miss a great deal of it, but fortunately, that wasn't the case. I made it outside sometime after 1pm, and as soon as I stepped outside, the heat slammed right into me...It was hot! I think when I made it outside it was close to 92F, and the sun was directly above me. It's hard to explain the feeling of stepping outside when you've been trapped in a cell for almost 4 weeks. When I went to my legal visits I was only outside for a couple of minutes - if even that - and it was still cool/spring-like at the time. Today, it was pure other-worldly. Taking in that great big breath of fresh air, then smelling the air - completely different to the foul circulated air of the inside of a prison. You don't even notice it until you step outside, spend two hours out and come back in. Then, it's like getting hit in the face by a garbage truck.  

Well, I had far more sun than I should have had, and it really wasn't being too smart on my part, because now I'm red as a lobster, and I'm hurting a bit. I'll cover my head the next time I'm out in the sun like that.  

I was talking to a friend earlier this morning, and he received news that his appeals were turned down by the 5th Circuit, and I tried to encourage him to keep positive and do all that he could to fight. He said he was seeing his girlfriend at visit the next day, and I said, "Man...ask her to be pro-active, and really aggressive in finding you some help." He seems to have some really good issues, but he's had very poor attorneys, so who knows?  I told him (and myself) that it's not over until it's over...I've literally seen miracles happen in this place; guys who were seconds away from being strapped to a gurney, only to have everything completely stopped, and either reversed, or they are given a lesser sentence. To quote Han Solo and what has become a battle cry of sorts to myself, "Never tell me the odds!"

Anyway, it's been a good day, and I'm feeling positive and upbeat.  

I want to close the day with an excerpt from my "Small Stones From the River" meditation book, by Kat Lehman...(I highly recommend it):

be brave
love the transient
love the imperfect
love the broken
(pretty much anything qualifies)

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace...



May 13th, 2018

Happy Mother's Day...(more on that in a bit!). As I write this it's early Sunday morning, and I'm starting to feel like a bucking Bronco, loaded up in a pen at the rodeo, and waiting for that gate to swing open! The lock-down ended on Friday afternoon, but because death row does not get recreation on the weekends, we're still trapped in our cells until Monday morning. Anyway, everything should be back up and running tomorrow, and it'll be my section's outside day, so I'm really looking forward to getting some sunshine (a sun burn...although, there is the possibility that I could burst into flames like a vampire!) and playing some basketball, or even just having a nice jog.

The latest legal news I have is that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order to the State to respond by the 15th of May to a briefing issue, but I don't think that it has anything to do with what we filed overall. If there are any developments, I will keep everyone posted. I'm actually thinking right now (and this is something I've been discussing with my Webmaster (the person who runs my website) that we should just go ahead a put a sub-heading tab relating to my appeals, under "Randy's Case", so that people know the news on my appeals in real time. You know what? That's what we'll do! So, go take a look...

Well, it's Mother's Day, and I can't help but think about my own mom...Yesterday I was writing at my desk, and a female guard stopped and said, "Whatchya doin'?" I looked up and said, "Writing..." She asked me if I had written my mom for Mother's Day, and even though it was a harmless comment on her part, it felt like a punch in the gut. I said, "No...mom stopped talking to me a long time ago." I mean, what else could I say?

It's weird when you have these immense feelings of love and loyalty towards your parents. You still defend them, even when people say the way they went about things was wrong, and not what parents do...and I agree. But that love - and I've said this time and time again - it never goes away at my end. It can be hard...I think I was much closer with my dad in a lot of things, but there are still things that I shared with my mom that we both had a passion for, and loved to do together - specifically, books, movies, and comedy. My mom was really quiet but she had a fondness for great comedy, and my own love for it - my own sense of humor - was shaped by what she shared with me. From Saturday Night Live, and all of the great '80s movies that starred the original cast members, to Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, and Richard Prior movies, and sitcoms. I would sit with her in the living room and soak all of that great comedy up like a sponge. My own sense of comedy is seen through that lense. I even developed a love for some great British comedy as well, because the local PBS station would play a sitcom block on Saturday nights and we'd sit and watch them. My brother Wesley and I looooooved Mr Bean, growing up.

Mom was a voracious reader as well. Having my own love of books, I'd demand trips to the book stores whenever she went, and we'd come home with piles of books. In the '80s I wasn't reading serious novels, more like Dean Koontz, R.L. Stine, and his "Fear Street" books, and things like that. I tore through all of Judy Bloom's novels, the Romona Quimbley books, "Freckles", "Encyclopedia Brown" and other titles...In my early teens I started to read a lot of what my mom was reading.

I also loved that my mom understood a kid/teen's need to dress somewhat fashionably. Well, from the time I was 6 to about 11, I don't think I cared what was "fashionable" to be honest...But I guess when girls started to notice me, and I was growing out of my not combing my hair phase, I wanted to dress "cooler". My dad was a "clothes are clothes" person, and the cheaper they are, the better. If I went clothes shopping with my dad, I knew it was going to go badly, and quickly! So, I'd beg mom to take me shopping...As long as the price wasn't outrageous, she let me get about anything I wanted. Of course this would inevitably lead to an argument between my parents when I came home...Mom would just "buy it", but my dad wanted me to work for it - if was something nice. I remember these shorts that were really popular in about 1990-91, called "Skidz"...Mom bought me a couple of pairs. They weren't cheap, so when dad found out the cost, he demanded I work it off in yard chores - mowing the lawn, pulling weeds etc.  

A particular memory that makes me smile all of the time is when I was about 11 or 12 and we were all sitting in the living room watching tv. Wesley and Jimmy were on the floor in front of the television; dad was on the love seat, and mom and I were on the sofa. A fly suddenly popped out of nowhere and began buzzing around us. It was quite annoying, so, my mom grabbed a magazine off the coffee table in front of us, and took a couple of swipes at it - but misses! The fly lands on the table and I'm teasing her because she keeps missing it, and then....WHACK! She hits it spot on...The fly's dead carcass pops off the table and lands on my leg, and I start screaming like a little girl!! It really freaked me out! Mom is laughing her ass off and eveyone else is just looking at me like I've lost my mind, because I'm screaming over a dead fly on my leg. In my defense, it was really gross. Let a fly with its blood and guts hanging out, land on your leg...just sayin'. Mom would tease me about that for several years after.  

Well, mom...If you're reading this, Happy Mother's Day....I love you!  

Sigh...I'm still holding onto hope and positivity. Good things are going to happen, and I'm keeping hold of that thought. I'm not perfect, and I make mistakes and have done stupid things in my life span, and sometimes currently...I try to use them as a learning experience and move on. I think acknowledging that and apologizing sincerely is a crucial component in that process, and that's what I try to do whenever I mess up.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace.



May 9th, 2018

Well, we're officially 3 weeks on lock-down. The good news, however, is that it should be winding down in the next couple of days. Quite possibly tomorrow or Friday. They've been sending officers from 12 building (death row/AD-SEG) out to finish the shake-downs in General Population, and according to a guard I spoke to this morning, commissary is back up and running again. That's the biggest sign for sure...I didn't think we'd get showers today, but a guard did show up to help do them.  

Well, last night I received copies of what was filed in the 5th Circuit on my behalf, and I have to say I was very impressed. It really put some pep in my step and boosted my optimism and hope. I want to keep the momentum going and stay positive. I really liked that my attorneys did a good job of making me an individual instead of part of the "group", and wording things in such a way that the Courts will judge me as an individual - my personality and actions - and not as part of the group as a whole - I really wasn't an active person in most of the groups' activities, and they never saw me as part of the group anyway. When the State argues, it is always within the confines of "The Texas 7" and not me, Randy Halprin...But my attorneys have made some very strong arguments for looking at me as an individual, and I just hope the court is truly fair and unbiased. Anyone out there willing to throw hope and some prayers my way, I'd greatly appreciate it. I just want a fighting chance...A chance to prove my worth to the world, and to show those who care about me, love me, and who are fighting for me, that I'm worthy of that second chance at life. That's all I'm asking for.  

I was listening to Bryan Fischer on American Family Radio because...why not? I was mostly interested in hearing his take on Trump's decision to back out of the Iran deal...(Trump claimed he was a man of his word, and yet has made this country look like it cannot be trusted and doesn't keep its word. Good ol' Trump! Thanks, buddy!) It's important - even if it can be torturous - to get other opinions and not live in an idealogical bubble. Anyway, he was on some tangent about the death penalty and swift justice, and saying that those who kill and do bad things need to be executed, and quickly. He thinks they should have just one court hearing/appeal like in China, and bam! Take them out and get it done with...Fine...you can feel that way, but I couldn't help but think about where redemption comes into play here - a key tennant of many religions. Even Paul, AKA Saul, was a mass killer who raped and pillaged early Christians and others that were a threat or had a "false religion". Men, women, and children. From my understanding, he was quite ruthless. Then, one day, he was blinded and heard the voice of Jesus telling him there was a different path for him...He was redeemed. If his redemption, and the redemption of others throughout history, is heralded and held up as examples of forgiveness and God's love, then how on earth can you not believe that redemption isn't possible for criminals? Especially people on death row...How can you be a staunch supporter of the death penalty, when the FOUNDER of your church, your way of life, was a mass murderer who was forgiven, and received a second chance? It boggles the mind. I had to change the channel before I blew a fuse...

Here's something that's puzzling me as well: How does one get BBQ sauce on their foot? I just looked down at my foot, and noticed a big glob of sauce! I was like, "What in the...?" Story of my life! I think that should be the title of my memoir whenever I actually finish it: "BBQ Sauce On My Foot" (and other related tales).

Well, I'm keeping the positivity levels up, the hope flowing, and the optimism at an all time high...!  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace...



May 8th, 2018

Still no word on the appeal, but I'm sure that I'll get something about it tonight. I'm just eager/anxious to see the arguments that my attorney makes. I'm still as positive and hopeful about things, as I was yesterday. I like to think that I have good intuition and that I'm "force sensitive"...I'm no Jedi, but I do pick up on things intuitively, pretty well. The problem I have is that I tend to ignore what I pick up on...put it to the back of my mind...or as Obi-wan Kenobi would say, "I'm not mindful of them"...This time though, I'm feeling the positivity flow, and that pitt of dread that I've previously had is not there. I'm taking that as a good sign.  

Well, it's another beautiful spring day! I think we're expected to hit 90 degrees here, as we did yesterday. They've got the AC cranked up, and the air coming out of the vent is downright frigid, so that's good. Just as the winter can make the concrete building feel like a refrigerator, the hot Texas sun can make it feel like an oven. I was listening to the news yesterday and apparently the State and the TDCJ is about to settle a law suit with inmates, on the matter of dealing with extreme heat on a particular Unit in Texas. They're going to convert that prison to air conditioning by 2020, but in the meantime, any inmates with health conditions or geriatric issues, will be shipped to units that contain buildings with air conditioning. The only issue I see with this is that most buildings that do have AC are Ad-Seg buildings like the one I live in now. We can't have open air ventillation, and the windows are not able to open like the ones that inmates have in general population, so they have to give us climate control. Those guys, assuming some are shipped here and put on B Pod, A and B sections, because they have 28 empty cells, are going to be treated like Ad-Seg prisoners, and live by a different set of standards. They'll not get the open air unrestricted outside rec. yards, and probably no television either. So, it could be TDCJ's way of saying, "Heh...you got your air conditioning, but chew on this for a while!" I'm only speculating of course. I do wonder how they'll manage other prison units under conditions of extreme heat...

I can't even begin to explain the level of heat that we had when I was in general population. There were times when it would get so hot that we'd pour water on the floor and just lay in the puddles. And if you were to go to the dayroom to watch televison or play games at one of the tables, you didn't have the luxury option of keeping cool...You had to be fully dressed in the day room, meaning wearing your pants and shirt. It was hell!  

I think over the past few years they've started offering cold water every few hours, and you're allowed to wear shorts and a t-shirt to the dayroom now. They also sell a "cool down" towel...You soak it in water, then you drape it on your head and feel immediately relieved...The water holds really well in those things. I always have one of those during the hot summer months, and will take it outside and use it to cool down after playing basketball. They do work. Anyways, not much going on for the day. Just trying to keep busy...My positivity levels are up, and I remain full of optimism!  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith!

Peace!



May 7th, 2018

Breathe, Randy...Breathe...Today is the big day! The appeal has certainly been filed now, and I'm left to fate, like a leaf drifting in the wind...Well, here's to hoping for the best. It is completely out of my control, and it changes nothing if I sit around and fret about it all...I surrender to the universe!  

I was flipping through my Small Stones From The River meditative book this morning, and landed on this:

"If you want to find
a problem
you will find one

If you want to see
the goodness
you will see it"

It makes me think of a couple of things...If you enter into any day with a negative attitude, and thinking the day is ruined and everything is bad...(isn't it weird how we often expect a bad day due to material things or physical appearances, like, "Man, I'm having bad hair day...This is going to suck!" Strange...) then you can't be surprised that "bad" will find you for the rest of the day. But if you go into the start of the day with a certain positivity and hope...well, good things do tend to happen. Yeah, it can be kind of annoying when you see a person skipping and whistling through the day as if they don't have a care in the world, but deep down inside you've got to appreciate that kind of careless optimism.  

It also makes me think about when I first went to prison. When you're in County Jail you'll hear numerous stories about what to expect...Some were true horror stories ripped from the pages of a Clive Barker novel...You see the movies and hear personal accounts from guys who have spent their entire lives in and out of prison. I always thought that many of these stories were exaggerated, but still, that fear of the unknown...and a crazy imagination...I didn't know what to expect. But some of the best advice I ever received was from a laid back older guy who said, "Kid, if you go there looking for trouble, you'll find trouble. If you just do your time, stand up for yourself when it's called for, and be your own man, you'll get through it."

For the most part, he was right...Sure there were moments that were a bit scary, but for the most part, any troubles I had were created by my own self, and fighting with my own self. Impulsiveness, insecurities, not knowing who I was, lack of familial support and friends on the outside...and having that feeling of isolation, and it leading to hopelessness and despair. I look back now, almost 22 years of being locked up, and I think, "You'd be out now, Randy...It wasn't prison who was your biggest enemy, it was yourself."

That very first day of entering the system, was interesting...Something I can still remember with a great deal of clarity. I'd been at a sort of midway station for a few months, in Ft. Worth. It was called "Greenbay Jail". They sent me there from the main Tarrant County Jail, after I had received my sentence. It was a large warehouse turned into a dormitory-like housing facility. I remember thinking it resembled a zoo more than a dorm because it was literally a bunch of separate cages that held about 20 bunk beds, a shower/bath area, and a television mounted to a steel bar.  

When it was time for me to transfer into TDCJ, they shackled me up to another inmate, and we stepped onto a large white bus. These busses are often referred to as "Blue Birds" because they all have a blue bird painted on the side of them. I've never really known why. Surely it represents something?  

Anyway, it took a couple of hours to make the ride to Tennessee Colony, a large penal colony in the middle of nowhere. There are several prisons in that area, as well as employee housing, and farmland. The bus drove into another set of warehouse like dormitories called, "The Gurney Unit". We pulled into a sally port type area, and we climbed off the bus and had the shackles removed. Guards surrounded us and began to scream at us to get naked, stand in line "nuts to butts!", and to shut up. Images of the movie "Schindler's List" popped into my mind.  

After all of that madness, we went into a group shower area, rinsed, and we were then herded like cattle to barber chairs, where a group of inmates shaved our heads. I think at that time I was keeping my hair fairly short and thought they'd let me keep it, but it all came off. We were issued state prison garb - a white shirt, white pants, and black work style boots.  

We went through a sort of orientation which was really just more guards screaming rules at us. One order that sticks out the most was, "Whenever you walk down that bowling alley (sidewalk) you're to shut your fucking mouth and keep your hands behind your back at all times. We see you with your hands anywhere except behind your back and we will interpret it as a sign of aggression, and you'll be eating concrete!"

Next up was lunch, which was actually something I was looking forward to. It was a time when the meals used to be halfway decent! And before state budget cuts, when everything turned to noodles and stews. Guys in County Jail would talk about fried chicken and mashed potatoes, like pirates talked about spoils.  

As we entered the chow hall, I could smell the fried chicken wafting through the warm stagnant air. It was incredibly hot inside the chow hall and I noticed there was no windows, no air conditioning, and everything moved at the speed of a busy beehive. I didn't care though...All I could think about was my growling stomach as I got close to the food line.  

The inmates on the other side of the line loaded the trays up...Two biscuits, a huge heap of potatoes, and a glop of white gravy that made them look like the rocky mountains after a fresh snowfall.  We also got fresh green beans, and another insert of pinto beans. Then, to my delight, a huge piece of fried chicken was plopped right down on the main course section of the tray! Not even Colonel Sanders could've fried a better piece of chicken himself.  

I sat on a table and immediately began to tear strips of chicken from the bone. After my third bite in, a large hand smacked the table, and barked, "Time's up. Move it on". I thought it was a joke of some sort. I looked at the guard with his cowboy hat and ruddy complexion, and went back to eating my meal. The other guys nervously looked up, and I guess, taking my cue, continued to eat. "I said let's go! Move it white boy!" He yelled. This time there was no mistaking the tone of his voice.

"I just sat down!" I protested, hoping to buy a little more time to eat.
"I don't care" He barked back. "You get yer ass off my table or I'll yank yer ass off myself!"

I stood up, still shoving food into my mouth as I headed towards the slop barrel and out of the chow hall. After that experience, I learned to eat really fast.  

I rejoined the group of new prisoners and we were ushered to a pile of mattresses and ordered to grab one. Then, anyone who had any personal property that was checked out and approved, had it returned to them. I was handed a small paper sack that had my watch from the free world, and a couple of pictures from my wallet. That is all I had to my name at that point. Anyone who had brought money into jail, or received money during their stay in County Jail, was allowed to make a spend at the unit commissary. I watched as a few guys bought some food and snacks, sodas and ice cream. Good for them, I thought, wondering if I'd ever get a chance to make store. After all, my brother promised to help if I needed it.  

As evening approached, we were given our housing assignments, and our work assignments. Almost all prisoners were immediately put into the "hoe squad", and had to do physical labour. I entered a large dorm area, found the bunk bed with my assigned number on it, introduced myself to the guy I bunked with, and settled into my new life...

There were some interesting orders from guards, we learned that day as well! Like, if you're walking down the bowling alley (the side walk) and talking, you were ordered to, "Get off all that damn head running!" If you were moving too slow, you were "Slow bucking", and if you were to throw a glance at a female officer, you were ordered to "stop eyeball fucking my officer", or the female guard herself would yell "You eyeball fucking me?" There was also a possessive used for everything...MY this, or MY that...it was very annoying. I swore to myself that I'd never refer to a guard as "Boss Man" as inmates tended to do, and the guards revelled in. Besides, it's slave connotation, and I never wanted to give anyone possession over me.  

So, that was my first day, as I remember it...

Courage. Strength. Hope. And faith! I hope my prayers are heard and answered...

Peace.



May 6th, 2018

Two and a half weeks on lock-down, thus far...This is when I start to reach my limit of being stuck in the cell - especially when the weather is as perfect as it is right now. Looking outside of my window at this point is pure torture, but I can't help but take a peek every now and then. I can't imagine a punishment worse than keeping a person completely away from nature. Sure, there's torture of the body...There's isolation and the lack of access to the free world, but then there is the torture of the soul...I can't step outside to breathe fresh air when I want to. I can't step outside to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, or hear the birds chirp, or the mating songs of the crickets. If you don't believe me, lock yourself up in a cell for a couple of weeks without ever stepping foot outside.  

The weekend has been exceptionally long and boring; at least during the weekdays there's mail and showers to look forward to. I've been doing my best to keep busy though, and I listened to a bunch of programs on NPR, I read, and I did some writing too. I'm eager to see what was filed on my behalf, appeal-wise, and it's due at midnight...I'm feeling very positive about it though, and I'm not nearly as anxious or worried as I was at the beginning of the year...I'm being optimistically cautious, but hopeful!

Something I was writing about earlier in a letter, is how I caught a radio program that was one of those true crime shows - I tend to loathe those shows because even if the person is guilty as can be, they give people the wrong impression about how the justice system works...They often highlight revenge, or the belief that revenge is justice (which it isn't) and they tend to sensationalize things in order to make a good story. I don't think it's healthy for the justice system, to be honest. Nor for average citizens for that matter. Nonetheless, they are popular programs, and here to stay I guess. So, I'm listening along, and this detective says something interesting...She says, "The truth doesn't change." And I agree...!

I've been in this process for a long time. Some would say longer than I deserve, but the fact remains, my story has never changed. In my years of being on death row, I've met just about everyone here. I may not know people on a personal basis, but because I move from cell to cell so often, I essentially know everyone, and over the years I've heard countless tales of lives and crimes...Often, even when I say, "Yeah...I don't want to hear what you did or didn't do, and I definitely don't want details...I don't need those images in my head", people still want to talk. I don't know if it's a case of just trying to convince you they didn't do something or that they're not that kind of person, to which I always say, "I don't judge, man...". Sometimes they just want to clear their conscience. I've met guys who after over a decade tell the same story with nary a detail changed, and I've met guys who have told me they did it, and then years later say they didn't do it. I've talked to guys who have HUGE support groups out there (all rallying for their innocence) tell a different story each time they tell it, which makes me doubt their innocence. And I've also met guys who have zero support systems tell me they didn't do it, and they've never changed their story...Yet, they've accepted their fate.

Life is strange, and yes, people change over many years, but the one thing that doesn't change is the truth. All you have to do is listen. Pay attention. If a person has been telling the same story for a long ass time, odds are they're telling the truth. Look at everything. When they talk to the media (if they have) look at their statements, look at what they write in blogs or in journals...Look at all of it.  

I can only hope that the courts look at all of it in my own case, because my story has never changed. Ever.  

Courage. Strength. Hope...And Faith...

Peace!



May 2nd, 2018

Today marks two weeks that we've been officially on lock-down, and I have to admit, it is flying by. It feels like it just started yesterday. We had our showers this morning, and we just had our sack lunch. An absolutely delicious brownish-green sausage (cold, of course...isn't it the best that way? Almost like jerky!) and peanut butter and jelly. Only the best!

I remembered earlier that my brother, Jimmy, and my mom, have their birthdays within the week, so happy birthday to them! It makes me smile that they're reaching another year.  

The guys on my row, along with myself, have been making a fuss to the guards working today because the mentally ill guy here - his name is Rockwell - still does not have his personal property after returning from the psychiatric hospital. The last straw was when he went to the showers this morning barefooted. I hadn't been paying attention to him during the last couple of showers we've had since his return, but I had just gotten up this morning and wanted to see what officers were working, so I caught a glimpse of him with no shower shoes! The idea of walking on the run barefooted and then the shower...and that shower is soooo nasty! If even my arm rubs against the shower wall I get the heebie jeebies and have to rewash. I told my neighbor the guy was barefooted, so he jammed up the officer and very politely pointed out the fact that he still didn't have his stuff. We explained his mental condition but as seems to be typical around this place - and increasingly so - the officer was indifferent. It's so frustrating. My other neighbour said he gave him dial soap and a new toothbrush and toothpaste, and I said that if they give us a stamp and hygiene spend on commissary, I'd buy him a new set of shower shoes, a wash cloth, and whatever else he needs. I mean, I don't know if this guy makes store or not, but it's the least we can do. Hopefully, a decent ranking officer will come through and we can get them to do something. Our psychiatric care for imates in TDCJ is just complete garbage, and it really angers me.  

Sigh...It's really been a so-so-ho-hum kind of day. Not much to think about or write about...

Courage. Strength. Hope and faith!

Peace.



May 1st, 2018

Wow...a brand new month. It's a bit mind boggling. In another month, we'll be half way through this year. It's been much warmer today than in previous days, and a bit overcast outside. The good news is that some of the general population trustees are moving about and helping the guards with certain duties, and that means that things are moving along in the lock-down, and could signal just another week or so left. I think for sure it'll be over by the 14th.

So, earlier today, I listened to an interview with Michelle Wolf, the comedian that so much controversy has circled around, following her hosting of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I also listened to her full routine, and honestly, while 'blue', I didn't find it offensive at all nor did she attack Sarah Sanders' personal appearance. It's another case of people taking bits and pieces of something, and joining in with the mock outrage. A policitcal opinion radio host made an interesting point this morning...He said that back in medieval days, many kingdoms kept a court jester for the sole purpose of bringing the King and the Court back down to earth. Because they lived in a bubble, and were often out of touch with ordinary citizens, the job of the court jester was to come in and make pointed jokes about what the king was doing wrong, and to objectively criticize the court through comedy. Only the jester had immunity to do this. So, it's important to have satire and comedy in bringing the political class back down to earth. Comedy often speaks its truth to power, and the reason you laugh is because the joke itself triggers a part of your brain that says, "It's funny because it's true", whether it be satire or someone speaking of their own personal observations in life.  

One of America's most beloved satirists, and one who is considered one of the greatest American writers of all time, is none other than Mark Twain. He often poked at the political class through his writings, and got the ire of many politicians (and arguably still does to this day, as evidenced by the banning of his books in certain public school districts in many states) throughout his years.  

I find it interesting that Conservatives and the political right will often complain about two issues: The deterioration of free speech, and society becoming too politically correct...Yet, when on the receiving end of someone's pointed criticism or jokes, they want to shut it down immediately. You can't have it both ways. Liberals are often called "precious snow flakes" because of our stance on particular issues, but based on what I'm hearing lately, the far right is being snow flakey as well.  

Another interesting thing that Michelle Wolf said about the correspondents' dinner (and something you didn't see on camera) is that when the journalist awards were being handed out, Sarah Sanders never stood for any of them. She never clapped her hands, and often had a look of utter contempt on her face. Michelle also believes that many journalists and politicians don't laugh at events like that because they don't want to appear biased or partisan, and are often afraid to laugh at a particular joke out of fear that a particular political party will use the laughter as proof of political bias in their journalism. So, the room can feel very uncomfortable.  

I was really impressed with how intelligent she was and that she stuck to her guns and basically said, "get over it." It's funny how Trump called her filthy, when he himself is filthy on a regular basis. I actually heard a guy on American Family Radio say, "Trump is right...women shouldn't talk that way or behave in such a manner that is unbecoming of them." Well, how should they act?

It's a bit early for me to be wanting dinner, as it's just 1.31pm...but lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich, and peanut butter and jelly, and my stomach is growling. I have to tell myself, "get over it, Randy...imagine the perpetual state of hunger that some people face." First world problems!

Courage. Strength. Faith and Hope!

Peace!


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