April 01, 2007
April Fools Day. I think we all feel like fools on Death Row so no
practical jokes are played. I went to bed last night at about 2:00 A.M. and
woke back up to exercise at 8:30 A.M. I was very careful not to hurt my
back. If I‟m here on this pod on Tuesday, my neighbor promised he‟d go
outside with me to play some basketball. I don‟t want to get too excited.
As he stood me up last time. I don‟t know why people haven‟t been
exercising as much or wanting to play ball. It‟s this damn isolated
environment. It‟s breaking people down and it‟s scary.
Yesterday at recreation I kept smelling the stench of urine and feces. It
was awful. I asked a guy where the putrid smell was coming from and he told
me the cell. There are several things that immediately upset me about it (I
suppose the natural reaction would be to say „what a nasty son of a birth
ol‟ dirty ass bastard‟ and cuss the guy out for living that way but it goes
beyond living dirty) (1) From all accounts a few years ago the man was
clean and social. A year or two ago he “flipped” and hasn‟t been the same.
(2) I see it as a psychological manifestation and deserves proper treatment.
Instead, the guards don‟t do anything to help nor does the psychiatric
department. (What a farce!) Instead, they let him live like this. That is
truly disgusting. I asked a guard passing by „Why don‟t y‟all get him in
the shower and have someone scrub his cell‟ His reply was, “Well, if he
wants to live that way let him. I ain‟t buying that crazy shit. He ain‟t
crazy” All of a sudden TDCJ guards have PhD's in psychology around this
So, I see a growing trend of people withdrawing and not going to recreation,
not showering, not exercising and I suspect it will continue to worsen in
this segregated environment. Heck, some days I feel like crap and don‟t
want to do anything either.
Time to listen to KDOL…..Yea! Just heard someone special. She‟s coming in
two weeks and I‟m very excited. I can‟t wait.
It‟s not 8:00 P.M. I just finished listening to that show “Extreme
Makeover: Home Edition”. what a powerful show! I can‟t see what the house
looks like, I can‟t see the tears of joy on the families face, but still the
emotional punch the show throws…I get all teary eyed! Programs like this
allow me and others to feel human. When society labels us monsters-
many monsters do you know that cry listening or watching extreme makeover?
In an environment and system designed to take away our humanity it still
shows up in the oddest places. It sill dwells in our hearts. We may have
done bad things, but that seed of goodness still existed. It just takes the
right thing to help it grow.
The Jedi” Luke Skywalker tries to talk Darth Vader into leaving the dark
side, Darth Vader replies, “It is too late for me.” Luke says something
like, “No, it‟s not too late for you. I still see goodness in you” Despite
the fact that Darth Vader had chopped off Dukes hand.. My point is-
us want a chance to show and prove the goodness within us. It is there, it
is alive and to me that makes the Death Penalty senseless and useless.
April 02, 2007
It‟s 6:33 A.M. I‟m about to go to recreation, but before I do I wanted to
write about this dream I had before I woke up. It was very bizarre. I work
up in my dream in a large field. There were stars like diamonds in the sky.
Then, I watched myself appear maybe 200 yards away. A bright UFO like
thing circling around. Then another UFO popped up and it headed straight
for me watching everything. I panicked, but it suddenly flew off and
disappeared. Suddenly fireworks began to explode everywhere. I mean,
fourth of July style! Bright and vivid. I thought, “Why on earth are fire
works going off in the middle of the night?” A split second later (or what
felt like a split second anyways). I was back at home talking to my mom and
I asked what was around to eat. She told me to look in the „fridge so I do.
Inside is a whole bunch of T.V. dinners, frozen burritos etc. I dig
around and I pull out a clear plastic piggy but in the shape of Garfield The
That‟s all I can remember. Strange dream. Gotta go to recreation. I shall
Just got back. I did a light workout and jogged for a bit. I didn‟t get up
for breakfast, so now I‟m pretty hungry. Yummy beans! I had an idea for a
story pop up while I was out at recreation based on my school years in
Kentucky. It sprang from telling this guy about how we had to attend chapel
services everyday during school. The sermons were boring and it would take
all the will in the world to keep from falling asleep. Sometimes I‟d jerk
awake from the back of my head hitting the backboard of the pew, or I‟d fall
into whomever I was sitting next to. Sometime I‟d daydream or if I was
lucky enough to sit next to a girlfriend, she‟d have my attention. Going
into school breaks were just as bad. Very anticlimactic…Like, regular
public schools kids would watch the clock with anticipation, waiting for the
school bell to ring. The end of the semester…We had a sermon that bored us
to pieces. When it ended and the closing prayer was uttered you were just
relieved it was over with.
Out of that, I came up with this paragraph as an opener from a story idea I
had: It‟s fictional; but based on reality.
(Most school years end with a bell. Mine ended with a sermon. I sat still
trying everything I could to keep from falling asleep. I was paranoid that
the president of the schools eyes were zeroed in on me as he sat in his
chair next to the pastors pulpit. I looked around the chapel to see a sea
of students simplified by pure boredom as the chaplain rambled on about
salvation and summer. Suddenly I imagined Jesus, the Christ, in a two piece
bathing suit, long brown hair and cheeks sun kissed by the sun swinging in
an old truck tire high above a sparkling swimming hole. I began to chuckle
to myself. “What‟s so funny?” A kid next to me whispered. “Nothing.. Just
laughing at my own irreverence.” I replied.)
That‟s what I came up with while out on rec. I wonder if I can turn it into
It‟s not 1:51 P.M. I just came back from a nice shower. Popped a butter
scotch candy in my mouth and I‟m about to pick up a book and read until I‟m
either told to pack up and move, or mail comes…
April 03, 2007
Today started off poorly. A mail room lady woke me up saying I could not
mail out a dream catcher I had made for someone. It was so pretty and this
guy had put a lot of work into it….Plus, it wasn‟t cheap so I was upset.
More upset that it wouldn‟t be going to someone special. I really wanted it
to be a nice Easter gift. But…With this place it‟s always about chance and
control. You have to expect and (sort of) accept that you can lose things
at any moment. Nothing really belongs to you. Sometimes you get lucky or
they let things slide..
I went outside and played some ball with my neighbor. I think in a previous
entry I mentioned how he‟s one of the best players on Death Row…We played
for an hour and I was slaughtered. Out of 20 games I won 2. Two games. Oh
well. It did feel so good to run in that cool morning. The sun came out
after we played and we got about an extra hour outside. The sun felt so
nice towards the end of my recreation time. I made up my mind; as long as
the guards approve it, I‟m going to try to get outside more often. I figure
since not as many people have been going to rec., it shouldn‟t be too
…..I‟ve been wanting to write about a growing trend amongst Death Row
prisoners who are about to be executed. More and more are refusing to walk
to their deaths. Some have actually put up fights (which I don‟t condone,
but do respect actually) some just make them carry them. People have mixed
feelings about these methods, as they don‟t see the whole picture.. They
say, “Why do that when the futile, anyways? Why not go out peacefully or
respectfully?” I‟ve known true Christians who ultimately accepted their
fate but still have refused to walk to their own deaths. One, it shows that
you simply accept your murder and two, by carrying you to the gurney-
makes guards that might have just watched you die-
accomplices. The psychological possibilities long term have to be
astounding. Maybe this view is extreme to some, but I see it as if you
it‟s okay to kill you. Imagine being a guard and having to carry a man to
his death….I doubt it‟d be a light hearted dinner topic, unless you were
just sick hearted in the first place.
So, I think it‟s great more and more of us aren‟t walking to our deaths…I
know I won‟t be.
3:31 P.M. Just got back from the shower. Man it felt good! I need to wash
my exercise clothing. Then get ready to move-
tonight. After I get all of that finished I‟ll finish reading this
excellent book I started yesterday. I‟ve only got 40 pages left. It‟s a
coming of age story called The Highest Tide. I found it at the bottom of my
book bag. I could‟ve sworn I had read it a while back, but didn‟t
Anyways, I guess I‟ll close here. Oh yeah: Happy Passover!
April 08, 2007
The weather here is insane right now.. Last night I went to sleep and it was
cold. By the middle of the night came around I had to get up and sleep in
my jacket because it was about 30 degrees and we had cold air coming out the
air vents. Imagine sleeping in a meat locker. That‟s what it felt like.
Just Friday it was in the 70‟s..Sheesh.
You know, a lot of the global warming nay sayers are retards for real.. I
heard this program this morning and one of these yahoos say‟s, “Well, if
it‟s so called global warming, why then is the country having record lows?”
Because, you moron, when the atmosphere changes it sets off different
reactions in the weather system. You‟re never going to have the same
conditions all over the globe. One part might be freezing, another part
unseasonably hot, another part with torrential rains, hurricanes,
tornados.. Various weather fronts clash.. That‟s why it‟s like it is. Pick up
a science book for crying out loud. Sheesh.
Anyways, it‟s still cold and a very boring day.
April 09, 2007
Monday. Didn‟t do much all day long, I was waiting for a new comedy show to
come on NBC so that I could listen to it and see if it was any good. Turned
out to be great. But what I really wanted to listen to was a documentary on
PBS about Jim Jones, the cult leader back in the 70‟s. That was very scary
stuff. This guy recorded everything he did up to the very last minute in
which he killed (Murder suicide..) most of his followers. It was horrible
to listen to all of these people screaming and crying after some had drinkin
the kool aid. But his calm and patient voice is what freaked me out the
most. All of these people are dying around him and he‟s calm, serene like.
Frightening. I hope I don‟t get any night mares..
I‟m winding it down for the night. I have to get up early and go play some
ball. The weather report predicted warm and sunny. I can‟t wait. I‟ll
miss most of the sunshine though, as I‟m going out at six. Ugh. Have to
April 10, 2007
Today has been cursed. I got up at six all hyped up and ready to go. I got
almost a full eight hours of sleep which is rare for me. I turn on the
radio and start a letter while I‟m waiting to go outside. The weather
report was still the same. What happens as soon as I step outside? It
rains. The 30% chance of rain fell on us. We were stuck outside in cold
rain for two hours. When I come back in I dry off and wait for my shower.
We get a shower before lunch, but when lunch comes what do I do? Knock the
tray off my desk, after tripping on my headphone cord and spill it all over
me and my cell. Beans, cream corn and spinach everywhere. Lovely.
On top of that, they tell me I‟m getting moved to the ad-
care at first, thinking it would be as calm as it was four months ago.
Wrong. It‟s a complete mad house here. In fact, as I write this at 12:34
A.M. some dude is screaming, “Fuck you fuckers!” over and over. Why , I do
not know, but I feel like I‟ve entered an insane asylum the twilight zone
or something else just as crazy. Oh well. Guess I‟ll stuff some toilet
paper in my ears and try to get to sleep. Try..
April 11, 2007
It‟s loud right now. It‟s been loud since I first stepped on e-
going to go to recreation, but I think I
trying to get things taken care of before my special visits tomorrow with my
lovely gorgeous Hawaiian lady and those usually take up much of the day.
I‟m going to ask the guard for a shower as soon as I see him. I can‟t
believe how loud it is. I have my headphones on right now, turned all the
way up and can still hear the madness…
I‟ll be writing how my visits go tomorrow and the next. I‟m really nervous,
but excited too. I know we‟re going to have a great time, I just wish it
was right now. More to come.. Stay tuned.
April 12, 2007
Today was a beautiful wonderful day. Man, where do I begin? I got up early
to exercise and wash up. I was expecting a visit with the wonderful woman
who has entered my life and while we‟ve been writing a while and it felt as
if we‟d known each other for centuries, I was still a bit anxious and
nervous. The sun began to rise and as light began to pour into my little
window and I could see a streak of blue sky, I knew it to be a good omen.
The guards came to take me to my visit about 8:50 A.M. when I entered the
booth, I saw a smiling, gorgeous woman. We hit it off from the start. It
was truly magical and had such a bright and wonderful soul. Everything just
felt perfect and right. We talked and talked and talked those four hours
and I felt in another dimension. I felt true happiness inside. I felt
You have to understand, I‟m a person that thrives off of love, sense of
family and friendship. These are the things that keep me upbeat and
hopeful. When you go so long without, and realize you took all of that for
granted in the past, the value only increases. Today I was blessed. I‟m
already excited to see her tomorrow.
I came back to my cell and wrote her a letter and then took a nap, „cause
visits can be so overwhelming emotionally. But it‟s been a great day and I
should sleep peacefully.
It‟s getting late and I am exhausted, but I‟m happy and that‟s all that
April 13, 2007
Wow.. Another spectacular day. I‟m just amazed at how well everything has
worked out for me and this growing relationship I‟m in. I feel reawakened.
So, I go to my second visit and I got to meet her son, whom I‟m officially
nick named “Big K”. What a wonderful kid. He was shy at first, but after a
bit we hit if off and talked about movies, cartoons, video games, extreme
sports. He was very polite, kind and really handsome. I told his mom he‟d
better watch out „cause when he‟s older the girls are going to be
everywhere. Haha. I had such a great time, but more than anything I just
felt so blessed.
This has definitely been an answered prayer for me. I‟m really happy right
My attorney also showed up during my visit and so when I finished seeing my
girl, I talked to my lawyer. Things seem to be about the same. We have so
much stuff that will help me out just growing and growing. I don‟t want to
be too optimistic, because this is Texas and trust me anything can happen,
but I feel good. I want to trust the system and that things will work out,
but really only time will tell.
I‟m really tired and so I think I will take a nap, but I‟ll be smiling.
That‟s for sure.
April 15, 2007
Yesterday was mostly a rainy day. I went to recreation and walked around
and then came back in and ate some mixed nuts. I passed the day reading and
then listened to a concert of the band “Garbage” on PBS. When I woke up
this morning it was very chilly, but sunshine was pouring through my window.
I‟ve been cleaning out some junk, „cause rumor has it we‟re going to be on
lock down any day now. I should be exercising, but I keep putting it off.
I‟ll do it later on. I mean, I‟ve got all day, right? Really, I‟m going to
exercise.. I mean it!
Tonight I want to listen to this documentary on PBS that‟s supposed to be
really good called “America At A Cross Road” It starts off with the 9/11
incident and goes into our perception of the world and how the world
perceives Americans. I‟m actually looking forward to it. I love a good
Guess I‟ll stop here. Not much else happening around these parts.
April 16, 2007
I‟m taking a break from doing laundry right now. I‟ve got one set (a t-
It‟s gorgeous outside. If I knew what direction I was facing I‟d say “out to the south or north..” Haha, but really in the distance is a green pasture where normally horses would be grazing, but I can‟t see any. There are a few hawks gliding around, probably scanning the fields for a small snack. It‟s pretty interesting to watch.
This morning I read the first chapter of the book that‟s all the rave right now called The Secret. Me and my girl decided to read it together. It‟s about the power of positive think-
Last night I listened to an awesome documentary called
It‟s really loud right now. I just have one more day on this pod-
It‟s now 7:26 p.m. At 5:00 p.m. I heard the news about the 32 students killed by a shoo-
Just random thoughts bouncing around my head right now. The sun is setting; a mixture of white and grey clouds washed against a sky of orange, violet, and blue. Perfect in its beauty but underneath God‟s imperfect servants waiting for sleep.
April 17 -
The past week was very boring and to be honest depressing. After the shootings in Vir-
Tuesday I was moved to A-
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all I pretty much did was read and go to rec. The weather has been really nice all week long and I got to go outside on Thursday. It was a pretty sunrise. Friday I relaxed and listened to a movie. Saturday was long a boring. My highlight was listening to a marathon of the T.V. show “Heroes” and then some music. I was going to stay up late and listen to this midnight movie, but passed out about a quar-
doing laundry. I just heard my baby call in not too long ago, so of course I
Right now as I type this, dinner is being passed out and I‟ve got my first batch of laundry hanging to dry. I‟ve put my fan underneath it to speed up the process.
Guess I‟ll finish up here and kick back and wait on my dinner.
April 23, 2007
It‟s 7:00 P.M. Monday night. They‟re still running recreation and doing showers, though I‟ve already had mine earlier today. The sun is setting, but it‟s not too spectacular to-
I went outside today. The guy I went out with didn‟t want to play basketball, but would exercise with me so that‟s pretty much what we did for the time. I talked him into jog-
I came back in and have been reading and thinking. I heard on the radio that some guy went on a shooting spree in some apartment complex in Houston. Then, as it seems to be the standard practice after killing a bunch of folks, he killed himself. Life these days just seem to get more insane each minute. I think America in general has some real an-
Though, I remember reading some Sigmund Freud a while back and he was talking about how societies manifest things such as fear, and violence. He even went on so far as to say that religion was a manifested insanity of sorts, but I disagree with the latter idea. I do think our culture may indeed be manifesting this violence and anger, as it seems to be spreading like a virus. Saddening and crazy.
All that‟s left for the day is mail. I sure do hope on some lovin‟ from my girl : )
April 24, 2007
I‟m settling down for the night. I am so tired. About two hours ago I was moved to another cell and cleaning it up. I was pretty sure I was going to get moved earlier, so I had already packed my things up. Then at about six in the evening it was time for me to go outside and get my recreation. At the same time I was told by another guard that I was getting moved. That worked out pretty good for me. Outside we played a couple quick games of ball and did some exercising. It looked like it was going to pour, but the wind felt so good. I could‟ve stayed out there all night.
When I got on the next pod and right outside my cell, some guy in a real hostile voice yelled from his door, “Hey, who are you, what‟s your name?” The tone of the voice put
up my guard, so I went to a defensive tone myself and said, “Randy.” “Randy who?” The voice said back. Now, this guy had his light out in his cell, so I couldn‟t see who it was. I was thinking that it must be some new guy who thought he was billy bad ass. I said, “Just Randy. What are you the police?” Then, the voice changed and he started laughing, “Calm down Randy, it‟s me! I‟m just yanking your chain. Don‟t get mad!” I admit, I was getting a little irritated by the tone of the voice, but it just turned out to be a dude I was cool with. The joke was on me.
Not much has happened today. Been thinking a lot, but not been able to get things down on paper. I don‟t know why, but I have all of these ideas for things to write, but every time I try I just go blank. It‟s been like this since last August…
Guess I‟ll close here and brush my teeth, wash my face and go to sleep.
April 25, 2007
Went to rec. Ate some cookies my neighbor shared with me and not much else. Mind is blank.
April 26, 2007
Tonight I‟ve been thinking on a couple of things. I received a couple of emails that sent my heart and mind in two different directions. One email was from an old baby sitter of me and my brothers and it brought back so many memories I had actually long forgot-
The other email was a valid opinion against the death penalty, but I still feel they‟ve got it all wrong. The only point I will conced with him on is when he said, “You can sit in pris-
Also, my intentions in my writings and fight against the death penalty is not have people feel sorry for me or anyone else on Death Row. If I‟ve done that, then I‟ve failed com-
The day has been so-
Time to get some shut eye : ) Peace.
April 27, 2007
Got to go outside today. Man, did it feel nice. We played some basketball and I‟ve really got to get good again. I lost 14 to 10. Ugh. I can‟t believe that I‟ve gotten so bad. I mean, last year I was unbeatable. What happened? Either everyone got better or I just really suck. Sheesh. I think from here on out, I‟m going to beg and plead the guards to get outside as much as possible. I really need to practice. I‟m just going to start calling everyone I know out and challenging them. I‟ll trash talk everyone I know just to get them riled up so we can play.. Yeah, that‟s what I‟m going to do.
I can‟t believe the weekend is here already. And May is only a few days away. Craziness.
So, today I heard on NPR that there‟s some Texas law maker trying to speed up the ap-
You know, this is how Blood thirsty the state of Texas is; Most of the country has either abandoned the death penalty or slowed it down, while Texas is dug in and is trying to find quicker and better ways to kill people. It‟s sick.
I mean, the Dallas Morning Newspaper has come out against the death penalty. There‟s a bit of a scandal going on in Harris County (Houston) in which a guy that was back here has received a new trial on grounds that none of his DNA matched the DNA of that found on the evidence.. What happens when he‟s brought back to Harris County for the trial? The evidence the prosecutor are sure will find him guilty mysteriously is misplaced and can‟t be found. How sickening is that? And so the Texas legislature still wants to find new ways to execute people?
April 29, 2007
It‟s Sunday afternoon as I type this. It looks gorgeous out my window, with sunlight pouring into my cell. I woke up this morning at about 8:30 A.M. and started my day. I kept telling myself to exercise, but then the lazy part of my brain said, “nah, you‟ve got all day to do it.” Finally I had to override Mr. Sloth and say, “Listen fat ass, you‟re going to exercise right now.” Turned out to be really good. Intense. Though, my back is a little tender right now.
Other than that, I‟ve just been doing laundry waiting on a couple of messages on KDOL. Just thought I‟d drop in and say, “Howdy” so.. Howdy.
April 30, 2007
It‟s the last day of the month and then May is here. April really flew by. I‟m actually look-
means a good meal on that day). It‟s when we start getting a few slices of watermelon every now and then, maybe some cantelop. My friend David is coming this Thursday and Friday to visit. I‟m excited about the month.
Man, my brain is just going crazy with ideas today. I‟ve been writing pretty much non-
Right now it looks gorgeous outside. It was predicted to rain and I thought it might ac-
So, today I was going to share another prison story. To be honest, I don‟t know if I‟ve written this one in my journal or not. I‟ve told it to a few of my friends, so maybe that‟s why it feels rehashed, but it‟s a pretty ugly, but powerful one to tell about the machina-
I think I was about twenty years old. I‟d only been on the conally unit for about three or four months and I was starting to get an idea of how everything really was in a real pris-
My cell mate was a black guy they called
Psycho had a few mental problems, thought and I had to get used to them. It was the first time I‟d ever been housed with a guy like him, but I learned to deal with it. One ex-
During this time that he was my cell mate, a guy had loaned a magazine to me. While I was in the dayroom watching T.V. he asked if he could get his magazine back. I said sure and went up stairs and asked Psycho to hand me the magazine. He grabbed from under my bunk and slid it to me under the door.
I went back upstairs and asked my cellmate about the words being cut out. He imme-
raising his voice, cussing Psycho out. From the point of the day room it looked like two white guys trying to check a black dude and a few black guys playing dominos didn
“Look, Psycho. You‟re the only person I know who cuts words out of magazines. Just ad-
“I didn‟t do it.” He replied.
“Yeah, you did. Damn, why are you being so difficult?”
All of a sudden Psycho erupted. “Fuck you, bitch! White son of a bitch. Get the fuck away from me!” He yelled this so loud that everyone in the day room had looked up at me and a few guys whispered something amongst themselves. He had just disrespected me in front of a whole bunch of people which was not good. To be honest, I was shocked, turned around and went back downstairs.
When I got back to the day room some white guys approached me. “Say, Randy you gonna let that guy talk to you like that? What‟s up with that?” “Man, don‟t talk to me like that. He‟s my celly, he‟s just troubled. He‟s having an episode.”
“Dude he just disrespected you in front of everyone. You don‟t check him and someone is going to think you‟re a punk and then next thing you know dude‟s will be grabbing your ass.” Said another white guy. I felt cornered. It was already hard enough being Jewish, the last thing I needed was to worry about people trying to take my ass. I had no choice. I had to fight him.
“When they roll the doors, I‟ll go fight him.” I said sound unsure to myself.
“Yeah, that‟s good Randy. Go earn your respect.” The little group of white people I no-
I went back upstairs and my cell mate was pacing back and forth nervously.
“Aww, Randy, man, I apologize. Okay. I cut up the magazine. I‟ll replace it. Tell him I‟ll give him my radio.”
“Dude, I don‟t want to fight you either, but I have no choice. You disrespected me in front of everyone. My hands are tied.”
The cell door opened and I went into the cell. I noticed a couple of guys came upstairs to my cell and stood outside it to make sure we fought. I put up my towel in the window so no one could see inside from the control center and then I said, “C‟mon, celly, let‟s get this over with.” He understood and so we began to swing at each other. I remember it lasting only a minute or so and I had a busted lip. I pulled the cell down and the guys confirmed we fought. I apologized to my cell mate and he apologized to me and we both agreed to just let it go. I told him, “Do not give that guy your radio, it‟s not worth that. Give him a few snacks to replace the magazine so we can squash this crap. Okay?”
About an hour later, they opened the cell doors back up and I was able to go back into the dayroom. People; whites and blacks were shaking my hand for fighting. It was the oddest thing in the world. Just an hour earlier everyone was looking at me like they wanted to kill me, now guys were saying I had their respect. I remember thinking how pitiful it was that people had to fight to be respected, but realized that prison‟s rude awakening. I did learn an important lesson in politics, though.
Dinner has just arrived, so I will close here. I‟m actually going to knock out a few exer-
Oh, before I close I‟d like to suggest some required reading. This will really open your eyes on some other aspects of the death penalty. The book is called Deadly Speculation: Misleading Texas Capital Juries With False Predictions Of Future Dangerousness. You can get this book at www.texasdefender.org.