OK, this place is actually nothing like Emerald City. I just wanted to make a reference to the classic HBO series, Oz. If you haven’t already enjoyed that wild show, please do so at your own leisure. It’s well worth your time, even though the finale is a bit lackluster. I plan to watch the entire show with my wife (EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll see) next year. Now, as for the topic at hand…

I promised myself that I was going to save the narrative of my state sponsored vacation for the book I plan to write when I get out. That is still very much my intention. A couple of things can be said though. For one, I already have enough material to write a sizable volume even though I’ve only been gone for 30 days. The stories and characters are endless. The other things that has really jumped out at me is how much I miss you all, how much I miss the action. It is sort of like being on another planet, albeit with occasional dispatches from Earth. Thank goodness for radio, and even for the Washington Post.

Thanking the heavens for The Post. Yes, it’s that bad.

Still, it could be much, much worse. A friend of mine was describing the conditions associated with involuntary confinement in Zambia. Needless to say, there are still many blessings to be thankful for. Morning coffee, however, is not one of those things. Neither is salt…or pepper. I could go on, but I think you catch my drift. Plus, as I said I’m trying to look on the bright side of predicament.

One constant battle is with boredom. Even thought I can’t have books sent to me, there are some hidden gems in the library cart that comes on Wednesday. Right now I am finishing Gore Vidal’s Burr. It’s excellent. I’ll give a full accounting of my reading materials early next year. And even though you can’t send your contributions, you can send letters. Some of you have donated to my commissary fund as well, which I appreciate more than I can properly express.

All in all, it’s going pretty well. Sure, I miss my wife. I miss my life. But I’m making due with the hand I dealt myself. That’s pretty much all that can be done. But there will be a day when this bullshit comes to an end, thankfully. Actually, it’s a very specific day: 2nd February, 2018. I look forward to it immensely.

Nora is doing a great job keeping the site rolling along. I aim to send in a greater number of contributions now, so hopefully that helps my tireless champion. You all help a lot just by coming here, so once again, I want to thank you for that. Oh, and if you have guest submissions, send them to [email protected]. Some of the best posts in TRR’s history have come from readers!

On that note, I bid you farewell for now. I can’t wait to interact with you all again. It’s truly been one of the great privileges of my life.

Ethan Ralph

Owner of TheRalphRetort.com