Friday, September 19, 2008

September 16, 2008

Dear Sis~
Two more days until my birthday (I've read that, statistically, more people are born in September than any other month) and at the top of my list of things I'm thankful for must be the fact that I'm alive. Being a glass-half-full type of guy, I'm in accord with the old maxim that every day above ground is a good day. Having said that, things continue to deteriorate here in a general sense. Our already terrible food has gotten even worse under the current budget crisis here in Virginia (the governor has told all state agencies to cut their budgets by up to 15%). The portions are tiny and the quality abysmal, mostly cold and starchy. The vegetables and potatoes are consistently rotten and full of sand, the "meat" is all fake ( a soy-based mystery meat which makes you gag) and all the food is served cold 90% of the time. We get these rotten potatoes with every meal, including every breakfast. You already know we get a "bag lunch" (a single bread bun with rotten lunch meat and 2 slices of fake American cheese) and on weekends we only get 2 meals a day (no lunch at all). Now, the latest budget move is that we are no longer issued a bar of state soap each week; we have to pay for our soap now. Traditionally, in all jails and prisons, the state provides soap and toilet paper each week (in some prisons, this extends to toothpaste, paper and envelopes). This is because most prisoners are dirt poor, with little or no money on their books. Now soap is no longer issued (as with most prisons, the soap we were issued were bars of crude, lye-based soap made by prisoners themselves). From now on, unless you have no money on the books you cannot get a bar of state soap, you must buy your soap from the canteen. Those who qualify for a bar of state soap will have a lien placed on their account, so when ever do receive any money, the cost of the state soap will be deducted from their funds. Rumor is that toilet paper will be next, but fortunately so far, that is just a rumor (first they'll have to start selling it in the canteen, something not presently done). I'm not a chronic complainer (I know things could be a lot worse) but things are really bad here now and destined to get worse. And yet, I'm still alive for another B-day, so in the end, it's all good!
Give the doggies a hug for me and give my regards to C.P. (at 90 years old, he's in better shape than many guys 25 years younger).
Love, Bill
P.S. We will be going on quarterly lockdown at the end of the week.