Notes From There



“The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.”  Bum Phillips

When we were children, my mother had a unique method for dealing with our petty squabbles: she would have us shake hands, hug, and then say, “I’m sorry,”–in that order.  Until she came up with this there was no way she gould get us to discipline ourselves any longer than it took for her to leave the room.  After that horrible rule and the horrible prospect of actually showing love for each other, we learned the craft of self-discipline.


“Failure is the opportunity to begin again.”  Henry Ford

Free markets are fond of catastrophes because they can move into an area on a clean slate and rebuild without any of those pesky regulations or people organized to object.  When the Twin Towers fell, though, no one has yet to move in to rebuild.  Maybe that’s because of all the fire and safety regulations that will have to be followed–and we know there’s certainly no money in that!  Now it looks like they want to preserve the site as a place where the opportunity to rebuild will always be there…while holding out for top dollar.


“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it was the same problem you had last.”

I am still in prison.  It’s a tough problem.  My still being here is a mistake–at least in my opinion.  But I just can’t seem to get that parole commission to correct the problem!  I think the measure of their success, at least as long as I’m measuring it, is rather poor.


“The good or ill of man lies within his own will.”  Epictetus

Yesterday when I chose to be miserable over my lousy potatoes at chow, I left really bummed out.  But when I thought about it, and chose to be grateful they weren’t beans–Prang!–I suddenly became a really lucky guy!


‘I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”  Ghandi

The other evening I had to listen to some guttermouth’s bragging while in the bathroom.  When it came time that he expected someone to laugh in support of his story I flushed the toilet–which are very loud here.  Actually I flushed it twice–and everyone left.

Notes From There



“There is no way of writing well and writing easily.” Anthony Trollope

When I write letters home from prison it takes me at least six rewrites.  I wish I could write better so that I could write easier–and do it in half the rewrites.  Butt then it would only be half as good.


“Education makes a people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible to enslave.”

My mother was a Dr. Spock mom who believed in education and communication with us kids.  It was pretty easy to lead us with reason, but when she’d try to drive us to do something, I think we tended to drive her a little nuts.  Oh sure, we wanted to do the right thing, and we were a pretty good bunch of kids by and large.  But there was no way to keep us from sneaking out of the window on a warm summer’s night.


“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it for themselves.”  James Barrie

I find when I’m cheerful around others, pretty soon I convince myself that I’m also feeling rather pleasant myself.  Then for some reason the whole world seems to be smiling and I find I am, too!


“If a man does his best, then what else is there?”  General George Patton

I was raised in a highly religious home and, I must say, I was rather offended that we were so easily condemned to eternal hell for some personal failure.  When I told my mom I’m on this earth to try to do by best–and not to be condemned for it–she said that I’d forgotten just one thing: her opinion.