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THE BANK ROBBER'S BLOG
FEBRUARY 2013

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--- KEEPING THE FAITH ---
28th February 2013

My best friend is a nun. Her name is Sister Margo and she teaches developmentally disabled people at a convent outside of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She's under five feet tall, is a World Famous Convent Cook, and has a good sense of humor. She emails me every night before I go to bed and comes to visit me occasionally with a friend of her's named Sister Charlene. I met Sister Margo 23 years ago in Chicago on a snowy Christmas Eve after I had gotten myself into another jam and had recently prayed to God and asked him to let me die. She was the answer to that prayer. The story of how we met is in my forthcoming book "Bank Robber: Stories From The Life." In a life where I've managed to run everybody off who ever dared to love me, Sister Margo has been my example of unconditional love in this world. She's also the main reason that I know God is real and that He's paying attention to my life.

Out of the 6.9 billion people on this earth, 73% of them practice some type of religion. Whether you're praying in a temple in Tel Aviv, laying prostrate on a prayer rug in a mosque in Mecca, or attending mass in St. Peter's Square in Rome, most people believe in something or have some type of faith. Three of the most prominent religions of the world are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. While the beliefs of these religions differ greatly, there is two things that all three of these religions agree on. The first is that a messiah will eventually come and unite the believers of the world and lead a battle where good triumphs over evil. They also basically accept the first five books of the Bible as historical fact. But aside from these two things, these religions, like all religions, think that they have the market cornered on God and eternity. In some cases, to the point of killing other people who don't believe like do. I personally believe that God created man and man created religion. The naysayers state that religion is an opiate for the masses and a way to control people. While I think they have a valid point, I prefer to look at my glass of dogma as being half full and think of religion as a way for people of like-mind to worship together and to help each other through community. Because no matter what you do or don't believe in I think that everybody agrees that the world is no easy place and that everyone needs help from time to time.

You've heard the cliche before that "God is love." The best articulation of this premise that I've ever heard comes from C.S. Lewis. He's the author of several children's novels and was a professor of literature at Oxford. He was also an avowed atheist until his conversion to Christianity, which some say his devout (see nagging) wife was the impetus for. During WWII when an evil maniac was putting people into ovens and burning them alive and sending planes to bomb the city of London every single night for weeks on end, people were justifiably questioning the existence of God. So the monarchy of the United Kingdom asked C.S. Lewis to go on the BBC and make the case for Faith. He did so in a series of talks that were eventually condensed into a book called "Mere Christianity." On page 50 of this book C.S. Lewis says that our spirits were designed by God to run on His love much in the same way that an engine is designed to run on petrol and won't run properly on anything else. A lot of us spend our whole lives seeking pleasure in temporal things like money, food, sex, and alcohol and drugs, but what we really crave is love and the joy that this brings. C.S. Lewis states that all love is God's love. I like this definition and think that he may have a point. My personal definition is a variation of this. You know how you feel when you fall in love or when you hug your child against your chest and get a good whiff of their forehead? I think that THAT is God.

I'm a Christian. And like 1.4 of the 1.6 billion Christians on this planet, I'm Catholic. Catholics believe that we are the original Christians. This derives from when Jesus put his hand on Peter and said, "Upon this rock I will build My Church." Hence, St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square. We even have St. Peter's body buried in the basement of the Vatican in case anyone comes around looking for proof. Some other Christian religions who don't understand Catholicism like to focus on the messenger versus the Message and the fact that we have lots of middlemen (e.g. priests, cardinals, bishops) and saints. But all of these are just part of the ritual of being Catholic and don't preclude a personal relationship with God or Jesus. The saints are just extra insurance. Kind of the way that you tack on collision when you already have liability. Has Catholicism committed atrocities throughout history in the name of God? You bet. But show me a religion that hasn't.

When I tell some people that I believe in God one of the first things that they point to is that I'm a Bank Robber. They say things like, "You weren't lighting any candles in those banks you robbed so why are you up in the penitentiary lighting them now?" To that I reply, Touche. But as I've said before, "What" we do is not necessarily "Who" we are. "Bank Robber" is just one of my labels, although I will admit that this particular label is presently clinging to me like spandex. I see a lot of people come to prison with that "Deer in the headlights" look and immerse themselves in religion. While I sometimes make fun of these people and call them things like "Jailbirds for Jesus" or "Morons for Mohammed" I don't put them down because I have compassion and figure that they're just doing the best they can to deal with the horror that's called prison. But I'm not one of these converts or Holy rollers, nor do I push my beliefs on others or even much share them with people. My faith is more private and with one exception, I prefer to pray in my cell. Throughout the years I've prayed in more cells than a Trappist monk. I also believed in God before I came to prison, but obviously God didn't have anything to do with liberating money from all of those banks. That was all me.

I'll tell you somebody else whose an absolute criminal yet who absolutely believes in God. My amico, Don Corleone. He has a book of saints that he regularly asks for help from and sometimes I'll walk into his cell and catch him with it in his hands and I'll ask, "Who are you begging today?" and he'll reply, "St. Fuhgettaboutit." I'm not sure that the entire Communion of Saints could get The Don an absolution for all of the bingo games that he's fixed in the past though. Every week on Sunday we go to mass. Out of a prison of roughly 1300 men there's only four people in our congregation. Our old priest was a former Nigerian refugee and former marine named Father Willy. He was black, had the disposition of a drill instructor, and the compassion of the prison nurse. He would regularly scream at us from the pulpit if we didn't say "Amen" loud enough and more than once he stopped speaking in the middle of mass to mean-mug The Don and I for whispering or for elbowing each other in the ribs. Part of the reason we had attention-deficit was because Father Willy has a thick Nigerian accent and we could never understand what he was saying during his sermons. If he smiled, we smiled; if he looked somber, we'd purse our lips and shake our heads; and if he stabbed his finger in the air and yelled, "Praise The Lord!!!" we praised the Lord. But we had no idea why we were praising because we had absolutely no idea what he was saying.

Father Willy was transferred a while back and we heard that he was recently invited to the Vatican for an audience with the the pope. It came as no surprise to me and The Don that the pope resigned shortly thereafter.

In the end it all comes down to faith and choice. Although this isn't any speculation that I bring up at mass or one that my Angel Sister Margo would necessarily go along with, what if Christians, Muslims, and Jews are all correct in their beliefs? What if they are ALL right? What if God loved His creation enough to offer them several ways to approach Him, much in the same way that there's several roads that you can take into a city? What if there is only One God and that the important thing is not so much how you come to Him, just that you do?

It's certainly something to think about.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- HELL'S KITCHEN ---
23rd February 2013

It was 6 a.m. and I was standing at the table in my cell in a pair of freshly-washed gray sweatpants and a crisp white tee shirt with a lime-green towel draped over my shoulder listening to some Enrique as I diced peppers and onions with the lid of a sardine can. I was making sauce and on the table in front of me was stewed tomatoes, V-8 Juice, sausage, diced peppers and onions and various spices. But the one essential ingredient that was missing was oregano. Who makes a sauce without oregano? Not this Bank Robber.

So I washed my hands and went down to Don Corleone's cell to see if he had gotten some like he was supposed to. As I walked into his cell I smelled coconut hair gel he had "Summer Wind" by Frank Sinatra playing. I said, "Frank Sinatra at 6 a.m.? You're such a greaseball." He was doing a crossword puzzle and without looking up he asked, "What's a four letter word that describes a woman and ends in U-N-T?" I replied, "That's easy. Aunt." He said, "Shit. I need an eraser" and threw his pencil down on the bed. I asked, "Where's the oregano?" He shook his head and said, "I don't know. I paid that ugly kid from Brooklyn who works in the kitchen to bring it to us but he never showed up with it. I think the cocksucker's too lazy to steal."

A couple of my friends out there in The World can't believe it when I tell them some of the meals I prepare back here. If you've ever seen the movie Goodfellas they have a scene where they're actually here at Lewisburg and they're cooking. That's pretty much how it is back here. My life consists of hunting an onion, some mozzarella cheese or a particular spice. The result is meals that Gordon Ramsay would love. And if he didn't, The Don would probably have him clipped.

The ingredients for the meals we prepare come from a couple of sources. The main one is the prison's kitchen. I don't care if it's pork loins, pastrami, chicken tenders, sliced roast beef, or fresh vegetables and fruit; if it comes into this prison in a truck, some of it is going to fall off of it and roll down the tier and end up in our cells. The other source of our food is the prison commissary. This is our grocery store. Once a week we choose what we want on a list of approximately 300 items and we bring it to the store and slide the list in through a slot in a bulletproof window along with our I.D. card. Our account balance is encoded into a strip on our I.D. just like a credit card. There's a prison employee standing behind the glass at a computer and when he gets out list he passes the order to a convict behind him. Once it's filled he rings the items up and then slides the groceries out of a slot beneath the window that's large enough for them to fit through, but not large enough for us to climb through.

We stuff the groceries into a white mesh laundry bag, sign our receipt and drag the bag back to the cell block. I get my staples from the store. Things such as coffee, mayto, olive oil, batteries, Tootsie Pops, and Hershey's chocolate syrup that I tip up and drink straight from the bottle in the middle of the night sometimes. I also get cases of soda from he store, but the rest of the things I get come from the kitchen. At this custody level (USP/High) the hacks don't really sweat us having things like pilfered vegetables in our cells. They're more worried about knives, and they basically just want us to stay calm and not kill each other.

A rookie hack walked into my cell one time and picked up a green pepper and said, "You're not supposed to have this. I could "write you up"." I told him, "I'm in prison for robbing seven banks and have escaped from custody once by dropping two stories out of a window in leg irons. If all I'm doing is dicing green peppers while I listen to Britney Spears in the privacy of my cell then you guys are in good shape." He stared at me for a minute and then said, "Yeah, I guess you're right. I never looked at it that way before" and put the pepper down and walked out of my cell. Sometimes you have to sticker-shock 'em to keep things in perspective.

When you walk into my house there's a ledge right above the door inside that runs the length of the front of the bars. This is my spice rack. On this ledge is everything from parsley and Bay leaves, thyme and cayenne pepper to cinnamon, lemon juice, cubes of broth and garlic salt. I've tried to share some of my recipes with The Don but he's always criticizing my cooking and prefers his own. One time I was making a glaze for a ham and I tried telling him how I was making it and he stopped me short and said, "Look, I don't want to hear how you kill the cow. Just bring me the fucking hamburger." We use pretty much anything we can find that has an edge on it to cut things with. When the hacks take it from us we hunt something else. We use plastic bowls to cook the food in one of the six microwaves that our located on different floors in the cell block. And we use plastic silverware to eat with.

It's all about having a decent quality of life and going to the chow hall because you want to and not because you need to. And while a spaghetti prepared behind a 30 foot wall using liberated spices may not sound too attractive to the average person, there's still a certain joy in preparing a good meal and sitting down to enjoy it with friends...no matter where you are.

Don Corleone shut off Old Blue Eyes and stood up and said, "C'mon, we gotta make a run to the kitchen. When we get in there I'll keep the hacks out front occupied and you slip in the back and find some oregano." I replied, "The last time they caught me wandering around back there they almost pepper-sprayed me." He shrugged and said, " You're a tough guy. You may have to take one for the team. Anyway, that stuff washes off." So off we went to see a man about some oregano. The sauce was waiting. It was just another day in The Life. Just another day in Hell's Kitchen.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- CELEBRITY REHAB ---
10th February 2013

It's entirely possible for two people to live in the same prison and have completely different experiences. Much in the same way that two people can live in the same neighborhood and have a completely different take on their environment. It doesn't really matter who you are or where you live because life is subjective, and at the end of the day we all live in our own heads. Some people live in comfort, and some people live in fear; some people are Zen-like, and some live chained to their addictions and exist from one high to the next. Out there or back here.

Here's something that should come as no surprise to you. There's drugs and alcohol in prison. It's unrealistic to lock up the world's biggest drug dealers and expect to stop the flow of drugs. Or stop them from finding a way to drink alcohol. It's also impossible to corral so many Type-A personalities against their will who have substance abuse problems and expect them not to seek relief. A judge doesn't cure addictions, he only hands out time. People have sought relief this way since the beginning of time. It doesn't make you a bad person. It just makes you human. It's also worthy to point out that if you believe in the Bible, when God got disgusted with the world and decided to kill everybody off in the book of Genesis He chose to repopulate the earth using a drunk and his family. Yes, by all accounts Noah loved to have a toddy or two. They also say he built a pretty good boat.

I used to get higher than a Georgia Pine. My thing was opiates. I bought so many gold teeth for dope dealers that The American Dental Association sent me a thank you card. All people who abuse drugs first exhaust their own resources and then they revert to one of three ways to support their habits. They 1) Steal; 2) Deal, or, 3) Sell their body. Try as I might, I couldn't find anyone to buy this body...or even rent it. And I couldn't sell drugs because I was too big of an addict and could never really get with the idea of selling perfectly good drugs. Every time a dealer would give me a package to sell I'd end up using the whole thing. I've screwed up more packages than Federal Express. So that left theft. And, oh boy, did I go at that with everything I had. Heroin will make you steal the chrome off a hubcap. You know the difference between a thief and a junkie? A thief will steal your wallet. But a junkie will steal your wallet and help you look for it. I stole everything from weed eaters, cigarettes, and cases of the Black Barbie, to a few million dollars worth of infant formula that I sold to a cartel of Arabs that used it to defraud the government with. (You'll have to buy the book to hear that story though.) Then I got tired of dicking around and decided to cut out the middle man and go where the money is: Banks. You basically need two things to rob a bank. The first is a complete and total disregard for your life. The other thing you need is a smidgen of testosterone. I finally decided to stop getting high when the FBI was kind enough to do an intervention on me and drag me into this Celebrity Rehab. I'm not proud of what I've just told you, and none of it makes me look good...but it's the truth. There's no putting lipstick on this pig; It will always be a pig. I'm just giving you a few pork chops off of it.

Here's something that may surprise you. I don't get high back here. There's plenty of heroin back here but you couldn't pay me to touch it. I no longer have the desire. There's also two other reasons I no longer touch narcotics. For one thing, I can't afford it. There's no banks to rob back here. Prison is basically a place that you can do or be whatever you want as long as you're strong enough or rich enough to back your play. I'm neither. I'm strong, but not strong enough to overcome five guys with ice picks and knives who come for me when I can't pay for a high I've long-ago forgotten about. The other reason I no longer get high is because it cost me too much personally. Screw the money I lost behind it. Money comes and goes. But it ultimately cost me everybody that I loved. Everyone. Do I still take an occasional nip of the moonshine that guys make back here?

My lawyer's asked me not to discuss that.

I hope that I haven't given you the impression that getting high and drunk back here is okay with the powers that be, because it's not. We are constantly drug tested and they have sobriety checkpoints where you'll be walking out of the cell block and have to blow into a machine. During the NFL playoffs six hacks came up into the TV room and locked the door and breathalyzed 75 of us. Not one person failed. If you're stupid enough to sit in the TV room and drink then you deserve what you get. Some things are best left to the privacy of your cell after lockdown. Or so I'm told. If you test positive for drugs or get pulled over while you're drunk the penalty is severe. They send you to lockup for a minimum of 18 months...or as we call it "Jail." Going to jail back here sucks. You're locked-down 24/7 an they usually stick you in a cell with someone who literally can't think straight and who ends up getting you both tear-gassed because he wants to show how much "Power" he has by not passing his food tray back out the slot in the door after he's done eating. Yes, jail sucks a lot. It's like detox on steroids. But some people back here can't control themselves to the point that they can't even live in general population. These people spend years living in lockup and end up being transferred from one lockup to the next in different federal prisons across the country. They never get to listen to Miley Cyrus on their MP3 while they make stuffed peppers or feed fish tacos to a pack of surly cats. They may live behind the same wall that I do, but for them it's a totally different prison.

This post is really just to pull one brick out of the wall and let you peek into my world. It's also to blog about one Bank Robber's perspective on life and on getting high. That's why it's called The Bank Robber's Blog.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- JOHNNY CASH AND THIS FUCKING GUY ---
1st February 2013

I recently had an idea to use the song Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash as the intro music to the Bank Robber's Blog. So I ran it by Steve at Murder Slim and he told me he wasn't sure of the ramifications concerning copyrights and such and that we could potentially be sued. So I went and asked my friend Don Corleone's opinion. He said, "Can they get blood from a fucking turnip? When you were in the shower I went in your locker and counted 17 packs of tuna fish. This is the extent of your wealth. If they want em, I say let them come and fucken get em." Still not satisfied, and wanting some information on the subject, I decided to see if This Fucking Guy knew anything about copyrights since he seems to know something about everything else. Sure enough, when I asked him if he knew anything about copyright law he confided, "I don't tell a lot of people this, but I studied Patents, Copyright and Trademark Law at Princeton before going into Holistic Medicine at a private university outside of Bhopal. So I asked him if there would be any problems using Folsom Prison Blues as the intro song for the blog.

He said, "A song becomes public domain after 95 years from its first publication, but state laws can modify that Common Law right that was promulgated in the 1710 Statute of Anne. Johnny Cash actually borrowed the melody for that song and many of the lyrics from Gordon Jenkins 1953 "Seven Dreams" concept album, specifically the song Crescent City Blues. So technically speaking, 59 of those 95 years have already passed."

As I stood there staring at him and thinking, I can't believe This Fucking Guy, he added, "I have a complete copy of the Lanham Act in my cell if you'd like to read it." Figuring I'd stump him, I smugly said, "But my publisher is based in the United Kingdom." He scratched his chin and thought for a minute and then said, "Laws of The Crown are rooted in the Magna Carte authored by King John in the year 1215. Luckily for you, I think I have a copy of that in my cell too." Of course he does.

I'll keep you posted on whether you'll be hearing Johnny Cash anytime soon. Those decisions are above my pay grade. I'm just the scribe here. If you'd like to hear this song as the intro to Bank Robber's Blog, or if you have a higher degree in copyright law than This Fucking Guy does, email Steve at moonshine@murderslim.com and give him your opinion.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2