jPay Message #214

I’m fortunate enough to have a strong support system in the world to hold me down, and I’ve an even wider circle sending me books, so I dont need to hustle to live comfortably. Not that I couldn’t, but hustling in prison requires you to open lines of credit to accomodate the biweekly store schedule.…More

How to Play Pinochle: Rules, Procedures, Cheat Sheets

The most commonly played variant is known as double-deck pinochle. A pinochle deck is almost twice the size of a normal deck, coming to a total of 80 cards (96 if you play with 9s). Only 5 card values make up the deck: Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack (in that order, highest to lowest). There’s…More

“A Prison Pastime: Pinochle”

Except for, maybe, the smudged or faded black ink characteristic of prison tattoos, a person knowing how to play pinochle is the most obvious clue that he’s an ex-con. Elsewhere, I’ve only ever heard of old men generations ago knowing how to play pinochle. It’s a complicated game requiring an agile memory and card-counting ability.…More

jPay Message #212

For the past few weeks, I’ve made a habit of setting aside 10-15 minutes each day to meditate, or at least try to. I’ve yet to achieve nirvana, but I’ve at least become more conscious about how I do, feel, and think about things. I’m starting to see the things that cause an unconscious reaction.…More

Prison Glossary

What I’ve done here is compile a list of prison vernacular in addition to some common idiomatic expressions. This list is by no means exhaustive or definitive, and I’ll periodically update it as I recall terms and sayings. I’ve tried to send some version of this post multiple times, but the prison admin has censored…More

jPay Message #211

I’ve mentioned before how the social conditions of prison incentivize the adoption of extremist religious positions: chomos become Bible thumpers, ex-crack heads turn into black supremacist Muslims, certain whites join the Odinists. As much as I’ve tried to go back to church, I quickly lapsed after a couple months. It just felt insincere; incarcerated convicts…More