My other half was reading an article to me this morning about prison overcrowding. Running out of room in California prisons, and in an effort to make the prisoners more comfortable, the prisons are being forced by the courts to release a portion their populations back into society. Sort of like an output valve on the head in a submarine. I’m sure the fish nearby are almost as excited by the exchange as we are.
What a ludicrous idea, prison inmates suffering discomfort? Why would we want that? I say let’s encourage those guys to re-up, that makes more sense. According to a source I read, it costs about $189 per day, per prisoner, or nearly $70,000 tax dollars annually to house them. Some jails have tv’s in every cell and swimming pools, and whether first class or not, provide three meals a day, and access to medical and dental treatment. Sign me up.
I applaud Joe Arpiao, the warden in Arizona who has the inmates in his charge living in tents outside in the elements. He made a good point in defense of this, that being that our troops overseas often live in tents or sub-standard conditions, why then should people who break the law be afforded a higher standard of living? His approach is zero tolerance. Finding the inmates stealing the white underwear provided them by the state, he had them all dyed pink (the underwear not the prisoners). Problem solved. Men there work during their incarceration, not pump iron and watch Ellen. Prisoners pay for their own meals in and some claim the dogs on the premises get better fare. As I used to tell my children growing up, “there is no reward for bad behavior”. I stand by that.
My ex husband and I went our separate ways in the late 1990’s. It was a strange time for me, unsettled and difficult. For six weeks immediately following, my dog, cat, and I went to live with my daughter, her husband and their two toddlers until I could decide in which direction to point my sails. First and foremost, I located a temporary job.
Once that was scratched off my list, I redirected my energies to finding a location I liked, housing, and a permanent position. My car was about to celebrate its ninth year with my name on its pink slip, and wasn’t looking good. One morning while preparing to back out of their driveway the accelerator got stuck. No matter how hard I pushed on the brake, the wheels spun totally out of control, and suddenly shot the car backwards like a torpedo jettisoned from the hole. Practically airborne, I fortunately stopped, or more accurately was stopped, by the fire hydrant and stone fence in a neighbor’s yard directly across the street. This was a good thing, because without that buffer I would have been able to change the channel on the tv in their living room without leaving the comfort of my front seat. A total of three things happened during those explosive few minutes; I totaled my car, I totaled their fence, and I totaled the city’s fire hydrant. As a note here, never having purchased a fire hydrant before I had no idea they were so costly.
Now, I had a job but no car, and not much jing left to buy one, due to the damages. Left with about $2,500 and living in the Bay Area, I figured for that amount of money I was looking at a Red Flyer wagon pulled by my Shih Shu, Sushi. My son-in-law suggested he help me locate a vehicle. After several days he looked at one he liked. It was described to me as having a few years on it, but in excellent condition. Oh, like me. In addition, it was owned by the original buyer who only drove it every other Sunday after mass to rescue baby ducklings stuck in sink holes. Suggesting I strike while the iron was hot, I gave him the go ahead to pay the man. OMG.
When he drove up in that car it looked more like a landing craft than a car. It stretched half the length of the block and on the back-end there were two huge fins that gave it the appearance of being amphibious. Really? To make matters worse, if possible, it had a Paul Bunyan sized bench seat and a massive plastic steering wheel. Being a relatively small woman, once seated behind the wheel I needed a booster seat to see over the dashboard and my feet, toes extended, barely reached the pedals. Mommy. Driving into the parking lot at work the next morning my boss, before seeing the top of my head, said he thought at first the car was driving itself. Very funny.
About five weeks into my stay, my son-in-law, who owned a bail bonds business, asked a favor of me in return. Above and beyond posting bail, he and his brother on occasion went after skips, (people who had not shown up for court dates and forfeited their bail). This night they had the location of a female skip and needed to pick her up. In order for the two of them to do this without a police officer, they needed a female in attendance. Now I had just come in from work and was still dressed in heels and a dress, but there was no time to change.
Reaching the residence, we knocked on the door. Soon a woman came to the kitchen window carrying a glass, and opened it half way. Dressed in a mini robe and little else, her hair looked like she had recently survived a severe electrical shock and the smell emanating from every pore in her body screamed eau de Smirnoff. Whew.
After some discussion we were invited in through the window, which in a skirt was a production. This, she explained, was because the three gigantic dogs eying us like rawhide chew bones had left a sizable deposit in front of the front door and it would no longer open. Swell. Smells emanating from any number of possible sources were totally disgusting. A fragrant melange of dog poop, crud laden dishes, and a dumpster diver’s delight of empty liquor bottles. I make fun, but it was sad, truly.
Obviously, she had to change before going to jail. In my opinion, more than just her clothes. I was asked to accompany her while she got dressed. Are you kidding me? What is it about my life? So drunk was this woman that she could barely navigate the stairs. I stood quietly memorizing the patterns on the ceiling in her room while she selected some clothes and got dressed. Half in and half out of her pants, she fell backwards disappearing in a pile of dirty laundry. Wearing a lovely pink blouse over her head she slurred for me not to look. I would have bitten down on a cyanide pill first.
We got her in the car and took her to jail. Can’t think of anything worse. I’m a lover not a fighter, and a bit of a fluff. I’d be doing some big tattooed woman’s laundry before my mug shot dried. I’m just saying.
I love this recipe for days when I’m strapped for time. Easy and good.
Crockpot Taco Soup
2 lbs. ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1 medium green pepper, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. Lawry’s (or your fav) hot taco mix
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix
1 15 1/2 oz. can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos, undrained
2 15 1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 15 oz. can chili beans, undrained
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz. can whole kernel corn, undrained
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground oregano
1 14 1/2 oz. can beef broth
1 cup water
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste
Garnishes: Tortilla strips, chopped green onions, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, salsa, sliced avocado, lime wedges
Brown meat, onion, and green peppers until meat is cooked through. Spray 6 quart crockpot with cooking spray. Drain meat and add to crockpot. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over meat, stirring to blend.
Cook on low for 8 hours on low. Serve with your choice of garnishes. Also good served over rice.