Sunday, April 02, 2017
  Not just lucky

Wandering the web, I noticed an old article on OSR at Mansfield in the British Daily Mail. Brits often get American stuff wrong, but in this case they were mostly right.... with one obvious exception and one subtle exception.

The obvious, perhaps caused by Brit/Am language difference: A sign that says "Circulation" was clearly in the prison library and didn't mean "Place where the guards rotate shifts." I suspect this sign was installed during the movie and tourist era; signs in the real prison were much more official and proper.

The subtle:
These haunting images were captured by urban photographer Cindy Vasko who was 'in awe with the impressive, beautiful castle-like architecture' of the prison's exterior after passing through its gates. She told MailOnline: 'Upon entering the prison, I was quite taken with the massiveness of the facility... Multi-level floors of cell blocks greet a visitor. The two large cell blocks are the largest I have ever seen - six tiers.

She added: 'The one cell block has cells a bit larger than the other so I assume one group of prisoners felt a little luckier than the other due to the added living space.
Luckier? Yes, and it wasn't just a feeling. The concrete West Block was more expensive. Beasley ran a realty business for inmates who wanted to get out of the especially dismal all-steel East Block. You paid Beasley's agents for the first move into the West Block, which was calculated to be a small increase in status. You paid again to move away from the inner end of West, out to safer territory. Suburbs and exurbs.**

Vasko caught the architectural distinction but didn't understand human nature.

= = = = =

** Come to think of it, that's not a metaphor. It's precisely literal. The East Block cellie who was going to kill me was an Italian mafioso from downtown Cleveland. The first move to Inner West was with an Armenian psychopath from Parma; last move to Outer West, a couple of Jewish junkies from Shaker Heights.

= = = = =

Separate thought: Articles based on movies and modern photos consistently miss a major aspect of prison life. Because the outbuildings have been demolished, you get the impression that inmates spent all day in their cells. In reality we spent a shitpile of time MARCHING around the campus. Wake up, march to the cafeteria building, march to workplaces, march to cafeteria, march to workplaces, march to cafeteria, march to cell block, march to recreation, march to cellblock. Each march began with a complicated sequence of lining up from various ranges and blocks and buildings and ended with a complicated process of peeling off to various ranges and blocks and buildings.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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