more friday shorts

I had very nearly reached the end of my rope with Facebook—an over-saturation of pictures featuring cute kittens, puppies, and dogs; “profound” words of wisdom posted (not authored) by people who have managed to screw up their lives as far as I can see; endorsements of political views that bear no similarity to my own; food dishes I have no hope of preparing here; invitations to waste my time playing mindless games; “inspirational” sayings that verge on the saccharine—and I had reached the conclusion that I should cancel my Facebook account.

Then someone posted this ad, and I decided for the time being that Facebook should be given one more temporary stay.




gradLast week at Indiana’s Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility, Paul Henry Gingerich graduated in cap and gown from high school. Paul was 12 when he was sentenced to prison; he is now 17. He earned his official high school diploma behind bars. He will soon start college courses online. His family was present.

But don’t look for his immediate release to a halfway house.

In the five years that he has been incarcerated, he has received no therapy—at first because of his pending appeal, but now because he doesn’t want to revisit the crime. His counselor feels it is too high-risk to release him until he is properly prepared for freedom. So we will see how it plays out.



george_carlin_unraveling_a_free_speech_iconLast month was the seventh anniversary of George Carlin’s death at age 71. I can hardly believe we have survived so long without the grounding influence of his comedy and social commentary.

If you, like me, occasionally need a “Carlin fix” to get through the bullshit of life (his words and sentiment), perhaps you will enjoy hearing this routine called “Free-Floating Hostility.”

If you’re at work, you’d better use your earphones. Otherwise, the people around you won’t get anything done for about twenty minutes—and it will be your fault.



I just received a message from Clemens Unit prison in east Texas, where we have four young parricides. The temperature in the cells is reportedly 120°, and the prison has been on lockdown. Cruel and unusual punishment? I think it qualifies.



Groove of the Day

Listen to FC Kahuna performing “Hayling”


Weather Report

100° and Clear


3 Responses to “more friday shorts”

  1. 1 anonymouse
    July 31, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    “His counselor feels it is too high-risk to release him until he is properly prepared for freedom.” In a way, that is an odd situation, as just how many 17 year olds are “prepared for freedom?” I hope that is a short time and he is on his way soon.

    In his last letter, Austin said he would have to work the fields for at least a year before earning an opportunity to move back to the library or other indoor job. He seemed upbeat about that, though I couldn’t imagine it being a good deal, and hope that it is indeed the character building experience he sees it being. Working in the south Texas sun must suck, but it is probably better than laying in your rack bored, in a 120 degree and likely very humid space.

    A reminder to those who correspond, that Jordan’s 18th birthday is coming up next week.

  2. July 31, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for the new about Paul Henry’s graduation. So I will congratulate him in a coming letter.

  3. 3 Willow54
    August 23, 2015 at 4:52 am

    It is probably fair to say that Gingerich’s 2013 Appeal agreement now lies in tatters. The State has already used the boy’s refusal to engage with counsellors to discuss the details of the crime as grounds to block his transfer from Pendleton prison to a secure juvenile home, where he would have undertaken an intensive course of rehabilitative therapy in advance of a forthcoming sentence review hearing in the Spring of 2016. The hearing, which was part of the 2013 agreement, and which is due to take place as soon as possible after Gingerich turns 18 years of age, could have paved the way towards his early release on parole. As things stand, however, the only likely outcome is continued incarceration.

    The irony in all this is that the focus seems to have shifted firmly in the direction of his older co-defendant, Colt Lundy, who, it has been widely reported, recently transferred out from Wabash Valley maximum security prison, and is now a resident of Pendleton’s Adult Facility across the state highway from where Paul Gingerich is currently being held in the Juvenile Prison there. In spite of the reduction in Lundy’s security category, and his very recent arrival at Pendleton, it has also been widely reported that he is already on day release from the facility in order to gain work experience, only returning there at night, and there is the suggestion that, if he keeps his nose clean, he could be paroled in around three years’ time. No such prospect appears to exist for the younger man.

    There is the very real possibility now that Gingerich’s entire future could be derailed by these developments. The final major element of the 2013 Appeal agreement was that he would not spend any time in an adult prison. The significance of this apparently innocuous statement seems to have been underestimated. Basically the State was indicating that it wanted to keep him behind bars until he turned 21 before it would contemplate allowing him to be paroled. Should he continue to deflect attempts to have him account for his role in Danner’s murder, the authorities could, and probably will, insist that he is not fit for release, and the likelihood is that he will spend the entirety of his 25 year sentence in prison. Given the level of his involvement compared to that of Lundy, this would be a travesty of justice, and a personal tragedy for Paul and his family.

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