Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aug 3, 2010

Dear Sis~

The dog days of summer are upon us here in this sweltering, stifling cellblock.  Last night, like many nights before, I awoke around 3:00 am, drenched in sweat and feeling on fire.  The lack of any meaningful ventilation renders the tiny fans sold in the canteen ineffectual; all they do is push the hot, humid air around. 

Last week, out on the rec yard, I watched a crew of prisoners enter and scrub down the execution chamber and witness room on the bottom floor of Q-Wing.  Later that day our wing sargeant told us that they had conducted a "mock execution" drill.  I'm guessing that Governor Crist is on the verge of signing one or more death warrants.  With an election around the corner, an execution is a time-tested method of gaining favorable publicity, shoring up the "tough on crime" cred of any southern politician.  It's a cheap. feel-good solution for whatever ails a politician's shaky poll numbers, as exemplified by President Clinton's infamous 1992 pre-election move when he flew back to Arkansas from the campaign trail to execute a profoundly retarded and brain-damaged convict, despite the personal pleas from the Pope (and many other world leaders) to spare his life.  Clinton, who was being labeled by Republicans as "soft on crime" knew it was good politics to kill that guy.  Arguably, that move helped propel Clinton into the White House (and it was a tip off, to those paying attention, to slick Willie's true character and moral ambiguities)...

Just read a very insightful and informative aritcle in the Aug 2nd New Yorker magazine titled Letting Go by  Atul Gawande, a physician.  The article deals with that very sensitive subject - death - and, in particular, when and under what circumstances does a terminally ill person (or his loved ones) decide to forgo furher, futile medical procedures and allow events to take their natural course.  There have been many articles and studies on the subject and I won't attempt to describe this particular one, other than to say it's well worth reading by anyone and everyone, even if they don't currently know anyone who is terminally ill.  The time to begin weighing these issues is before you have to... The article can be found on

It's increasingly depressing and disappointing to read about the epidemic of obesity in this country (and which is inexorably spreading around the rest of the world).  I didn't pay much attention to it for years, thinking it was mostly hyperbole, but the statistics are now overwhelming and alarming.  The health of our kids and  future generations is absolutely at risk; we're becoming a nation of diabetics, right before our eyes.  Mostly, this has to do with our processed foods, much of which isn't even true food, just artificial vehicles for delivering fat and calories.  Because I'm blessed with an excellent metabolism and am, more or less, naturally trim, I failed to appreciate the scope of this problem, but it cannopt be ignored any longer.  I'll offer up my own humble solution: besides eating right, avoiding most processed junk foods, as you know, 10 years ago I began fasting every other day.  Initially, it was just to quickly lose 6 or 7 pounds, but after 2 weeks, I felt so good I never stopped.  I intuitively felt it was good for me and the last decade has proven me correct.  I still work out as hard as ever (on my eating days) and my weight has been constant the entire time.  I figure this must be my "natural weight", the point where I neither gain or lose weight.  The fasting is not hard; you quickly acclimate and it becomes normal to you (and you really appreciate those meals on your eating days!) Anyone can do this and they'll feel great and healthy, too.  (My blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, etc, is excellent).  Anyway, it works for me...

That's it from the state pen, Sis.  Keep your chin up and a smile on your face!
Love, Bill

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