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Monday, May 2, 2011

9 years. 7 months. 20 days. Gotcha!

This spring has really been filled with some memorable events. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was referencing the 'Death of Online Poker' as we know it to be 'one of those moments' you talk about in the future as a 'where I was when' moments. That was preceded by that earlier Friday morning when Japan was hit by a 9.0 earthquake, and subsequent tsunami that ultimately destroyed whole towns, and damaged Japan's largest nuclear plant.

Then last week...on April 26th, one of America's worst outbreak of tornadoes EVER...swept through the Southeast, killing around 350 of our neighbors, friends and/or family members...and causing billions of dollars worth of property damage. I am still numb from this, and can't stop reading stories and looking at photos, and am 50/50 right now (leaning towards going) on loading up my car with tools, and all the clothes I never wear anymore, and driving to Tuscaloosa and staying with BJ McBrayer (who was lucky enough to NOT lose his house...just part of his fence) for about 5 days or so and just do whatever I can to help out up there.

Then yesterday, Sunday...Squirrel and her friends had a 'Girl's Day' at the I.P. where they rented a cabana at the pool, all took massages and spa treatment, then had a suite upstairs...where they partied all night, including a night at 'Chill' the nightclub. The men were allowed to join them later at Chill. I was at home watching sports, tried to play a little on Lock/Felt Stars...two different names but the same find that out when you aren't able to play on both sites at the same time. I got frustrated with that. Cabin Fever was setting in. I had to get the hell out of the house. So I showered, got dressed and headed for the I.P. where I bought into a $1/$2 game that was filled with old people. I am 44...and at a table of 10 people was the 2nd youngest guy at the table. Whoa.

4 minutes after I sat down...this old guy to my left, who I would later bust...ordered 'a black coffee with 2 Splenda's' and when the waitress brought his order to him....about chewed her head off, "Hey...cocktail! I asked for two Splenda's...this is SUGAR!!!!" How do girls do that job without killing someone?

Then the killing started. First I get a message from Jenn Gay. I was asking her to clear something up for me...but she was busy coping with having just witnessed watching what seemed to be a normal 26-year old man shoot himself, right in front of other casino guests, at the Goldstrike in Tunica. I wasn't positive, because sometimes Jenn will just throw shit out there for dramatic effect, if she was being serious...but then today I read her blog (click the link to read her entry)...and holy smoke, she was serious. If you get a moment...I recommend you read it, especially if you have characteristics about you that give some indication that you may be either depressed or bordering on depression. She really strikes a nerve and breaks down the reality of what we go through as gamblers/poker players....and yes, the two are pretty closely related.

As I am sitting there working my $300 buy in up to $700 by just being patient and letting bad players pay me off...which would end up leaving my stack in one final hand, when...after being summonsed by Squirrel to come join them upstairs...and where I was literally racking up my chips, this skinny little kid who had sat in the 10-seat only 42 minutes earlier and was nailing every flop he entered...once again raised his straddle to $20. I had AQ and was going to raise, but figured he would do it for me...everyone would call...and if I could hit a good flop, might double up on my last hand. Almost all of that happened. Everyone called (pot of $120), I hit the flop head on.... (Q-7-5 rainbow) and I got action. From the kid. Who happened to be sitting on pocket Q's...and yes, I left the table BUST! In for $300, out with zilch. Kind of sucked.

Back to death...and not just the death of my chipstack...because once again this month, poker takes a back seat to life.

As you are all by now aware...Osama Bin Laden is now fish food. This photo down may or may not be His Royal Terror-ness. I can't reveal where I got this photo...but lets just say I have some friends in the special forces. I would like to think it is the Sultan of Murder. I was sitting there in the middle of a hand, when I got a text message from Joe "Luckbox" Gross...with a screenshot of CNN...and the header 'Osama bin Laden reported to be killed.' Before I could ask him if this was a joke, I looked up at the TV and saw the same thing. Then, as I was on my iPad, I started going into 'Information Mental Monkey' mode...and within minutes had all the answers to all my questions.

So by now we know that a team of 22 United States Seal Team Six members, in a mission that was clearly planned for quite awhile, came in under the cover of darkness in two helicopters...and since it was 22 team members, we have to assume they were Black Hawk of which was lost to what was deemed 'mechanical failure.' I am a little any piece of machinery that the Navy Seals flies around in is always in the most pristine condition. I suspect that there may have been some ground resistance at the compound...and it was brought down by either a Stinger missile or an RPG. You could see photos of the chopper, the tail specifically, inside of the compound's 18-foot perimeter fence. It would have been a fairly easy target to hit. The good news is that it seems no Seal Team members were harmed in the mission. The team then allegedly scuttled the chopper with explosives as is the usual tactic.

I think its safe to say that Seal Team Six had a tremendous amount of support. If you saw 'Black Hawk Down' you recall that high aerial reconnaissance provided a birds-eye view of what was going down the entire time. Add to that our advanced technology in the area of satellite reconnaissance and its safe to assume that a second-by-second account of how the assault went down is on record somewhere, and will hopefully be shared with us at some time in the future.

This is Seal Team Six, Monkey Company. I would like to think these were the men who enacted this mission last night. And in my mind...they were! I'm enjoying watching the talking heads on TV discuss all the various aspects of this mission...some of them are posing some excellent questions, and some of them are just a fucking joke. Which makes all of this more interesting, is that two nights before, I rented and watched 'The Pat Tillman Story' which really opened my eyes to just how much our government is motivated to put a positive spin on everything that comes out of the Middle East. It was an excellent movie, I recommend seeing it.

The aftermath of Bin Laden's death? Well, first let me say...I enjoy reading all the comments that you find at the end of every article, especially Yahoo. It helps me to find some kind of middle ground on what America as a whole is thinking/feeling. It also reveals how many poorly educated idiots live among us. If you are a conspiracy theorist...or just absolutely do NOT trust our government...then these comment forums are your home away from home.

Merely hours after it was announced that we had killed bin Laden, it was announced that he had been handled within the Muslim laws and afforded a quick disposal of his body...and buried at sea. Apparently, Muslim law states that upon death they are to be buried within 24 hours of their death. Now...there are faith-based Muslims arguing that bin Laden fails to qualify as a Muslim who should be afforded treatment as a deserving Muslim...that he was nothing more than a skewed fanatic with a murderous agenda. In which argument could be made that we should NOT have given him the benefit of a 'just' burial, and maybe satisfied the blood-lust of many Americans...bringing his body to the US to put on display, and to revel in his ouster. Finally.

As soon as it was announced that he had been buried at sea, all the doubters and naysayers started up with the comments. "He's not really dead" being the main theme. Show us photos! Show us videos! Of course that would be the reaction. Humans are curious creatures by nature. I admit, I am just as curious and would love to see every facet of the operation that is available. However...there is a price to be paid for every act. We have already seen what total maniacs the radical Muslims are, haven't we? Why give them ammunition to use against us? The way we handled this is about as P.R.-friendly as it gets, using the utmost in dignity. And that has to be for one reason and one reason only, to spare more innocent victims' lives.

Some people want to suggest that we have had his dead body for weeks, maybe months...and that Obama was using this is a re-election tool. Come on! Get real! Some want to suggest that we didn't really get him. Some suggest that we should have captured him alive...and as talented as the SEAL teams are...I'm pretty sure it could have been done. But think of what a nightmare it would have been to be parading this bastard around the courtrooms of New York and/or D.C. all while wondering which terrorist group was planning to stage an attack on his behalf? And do we really think we would have gotten him to give up any information? Not without zapping him with some Sodium Pentathol (aka Truth Serum) we wouldn't have. Or if we had killed him...and proudly flouted his photo all over the internet and TV for the world to see? I'm sure that wouldn't have inflamed radical Muslims all over the world right?

I'm sorry, but as much as I thirst for the desire to see this maggot's dead body, I think that the US Government and the US military is being pretty honest on this one. I think we are choosing the path of least resistance by handling his death and burial the way they did. These were decisions that obviously had to be made quickly and decisively, tough decisions...that no one would want to be responsible for, I think. I might not agree with a lot of what Barack Obama has done since taking office, but on this one, he gets high marks. But between you and I, I don't think it was his idea, most likely the folks at the CIA, who have a pretty good feel for the pulse of the international landscape. I'm pretty sure Obama had to just 'Yay' or 'Nay' the plan as it was drawn out.

And for those thinking it was a ploy to get him re-elected? This was a lot bigger than Barack Obama. And re-election is nearly a year and a half away. People in America, who should collectively be on A.D.H.D. medication, have zero ability to stash this away for over 500 days and use as a reason to re-elect the President.

So...with that being said, I think who needs to fall under immediate scrutiny are the Pakistani's. Word comes today that they are 'angered' by not being notified by our military that this mission was in the works. If anyone noticed, Obama quickly, and in an obviously staged manner, thanked Pakistan for their 'involvement and cooperation' in the mission. I knew as soon as I heard that it was like the running back who goes ape shit for 350 yards and then makes sure to thank his offensive line. Yeah yeah...we get it.

So Pakistan is mad at us now? know what Pakistan? F-U-C-K Y-O-U! If anyone was buying Pervez Musharaff's sack of lies that Osama bin Laden was 100% not hiding in Pakistan or being aided in any way by the Pakistani people, then you are a fool. 75% of that country is opposed to US policy, and whether they support bin Laden or not, if they had to choose sides, they would not side with America. The problem, is that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Sitting on their border is India, also with nukes. Those two countries despise each other.

So for those morons who think that now that we have killed Bin Laden...that we have 'accomplished our mission' in Afghanistan and can now bring home the troops, as much as that would be nice, as it would reunite a lot of families, and kick-start the recovery of our nation's economy, its just simply not possible. Why? Because...and it's pretty simple...and nearly happened in the past two years. The Taliban, acting in accordance with Al Qaeda and other terrorist factions, are trying to impose their brand of leadership on Pakistan...which would result in them gaining access to nuclear weapons...which, if you know how to add two plus can understand why we are still over there.

We are 100% defending the freedom of the free world by planning, seeking out, and killing the Taliban and terrorists in the Middle East. As for attempting to 'win the hearts and minds' of the Afghani's, I say we should just say sayonnara to that feeble mission. Those people no sooner want to be living the American dream as we want to move en masse to a fucking tent in the middle of a patch of dirt in Kandahar. So how about we just STOP spending billions of dollars building them schools and bridges and improving their infrastructure when they just go and blow the damn things up again? Fuck em, fuck em all! Go over there, and do what we need to do, hunt down those who threaten us and the rest of the free world.

So what does killing Bin Laden really accomplish? Well, for starters, I think it gives a bit of peace and tranquility to those who have been struggling for 9 years, 7 months, and 20 days, knowing that the mastermind of their loved one's death was out there roaming the Earth, not only reveling in the success of his murderous plot, but simply breathing oxygen. So for them to imagine a young man...probably between the age of 25-35...holding a powerful weapon in his hands...seeing Osama bin Laden on the other side of the room, attempting, like a use one of his many wives as a shield to catch the bullets being fired in his direction...and with his weapon trained over the left shoulder of the female shield, sending an explosive piece of lead hurtling toward that piece of shit's skull....and watching the red mist explode from the rear of his head and all over the wall, the women escaping his clutches...and hitting the floor. That is the image that the woman in Long Island...who lost her husband nearly ten years ago when he kissed her on the cheek and left that day for work, can roll around in her head today. Instead of the one she had been replaying in her mind for the last 9 years, 7 months and 20 days...of airplanes flying into the World Trade Center. For those people today, I say a prayer for. They are one step closer to recovery.

So is this getting too long for most of you? Sorry. It is a lot better though, isn't it, than reading about a bunch of hands that I either played right or wrong? About another damn bubble? Another setback at the hands of the Poker Mafia?

I am anxious to see where the current leadership of Al Qaeda goes now, in terms of direction. Do they go into a serious retaliatory pose now? The good news is that the prick is dead, and not sitting in some prison...and his body is toast. They have nothing to hold on to. They can't hijack some flight filled with innocent passengers and demand that he be released or they will fly it into a building or blow it up. And you KNOW that WOULD have happened. I'm sure those little cockroaches are all huddled somewhere discussing what's next. What I like is knowing that hunting this scumbag down took numerous months to do...and that in the process they likely happened upon others in his network who will go down next. Lets cross our fingers and hope so.

In closing on this subject...I wish to praise the men who dedicate their lives to a thankless existence, making a salary that barely crosses the poverty line. Waking up at 6am every day, working out to the limits of a human body. Putting themselves in the line of fire every time they take on a mission. Never getting their name read in public when they save a life, or kill someone to save hundred of others' lives. Men whose lives amount to more than seeing how much money they can accumulate, how many hot women they can sleep with, or how many feathers they can get in their cap. I read a lot of novels that have to do with national security, and with special forces troops, and think I understand a lot of what goes on in the mind of a SEAL, or a RANGER, or a DELTA FORCE team member...and admittedly, I don't know how they do it. But I sure am glad they do. When I hear the National Anthem...when I see the flag, when I watch a jet fighter streak across the sky, its these men who I think of first. Those are MY heroes. Not LeBron James. Not Brad Pitt. Not Sting. heroes are those guys.

In closing...the world is scaring me right now. Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, Civil Wars, Fires, Floods...its like everything is happening all at once..and with the Mayan prediction of a May 2012 demise, its all a little eerie. The fact that Osama Bin Laden was killed on May 1st...the same day that Adolph Hitler left the planet Earth some 66 years ago...kind of underscores the close relationship the two shared. Did he know what was coming? Or was he totally surprised? No doubt if our military leaders had decided to let the Pakistanis in on the mission, someone within that countries leadership would have tipped off bin Laden, and he would have wriggled off the hook, again. And thank you, Obama...and the military, for not just sending a couple of million dollar cruise missiles to rain fire on his head. Despite the total destructive capacity that Tomahawks are capable of, it just doesn't quite come off as genuine to see a pile of rubble and accepting the story that 'we got him' as much as putting boots on the ground, walking into his bedroom, and shooting him in the face with a 4-ounce piece of lead.

Bye bye asshole. And I hope you enjoy your bath. And by the way...did you enjoy what was waiting for you on the other side? Paradise? And those were 70 Sturgeons waiting for you...whoops, hope they are enjoying the snack!

For those of you in Alabama...and Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia...states who all suffered staggering losses...the military draws heavily from these southern states. I hope that in your time of despair...that today's news gives you something to at least smile about for a minute or two.

We continue to pray for all of those who have been affected by the storms last week. I encourage people to visit the American Red Cross website and donate whatever you can. I have first hand accounts from numerous people in Tuscaloosa who have told me that the Red Cross is doing amazing work up there. Also, the communities all over Alabama and Georgia (not sure about the others, haven't heard anything) have really pulled together to help one another. The shelters are nearly peoples families and neighbors have opened up their homes to the victims. Clothes are pouring in from all over to help replace those lost.

In scouring Facebook, I saw some amazing pages that popped called "Prom Dresses for Tornado Victims" where people donate dresses to young ladies who lost everything, including any chance they had of attending the biggest function of their young life. How cool is that? To give them something to actually smile about in the most traumatic time of their young lives? There is another one called 'Documents and Photos found after April 26th Tornadoes" where people take photos of whatever they found and post them on the page for people to find or identify. Social networking really is pretty amazing, when you think about it. Its now been credited with leading to the revolutions now overtaking the entire Middle East. These are incredible times we are living in. I feel like a mere spectator, and am clamoring for my opportunity to make a difference. I know that my poker skills aren't doing shit for mankind. And it kind of bothers me. REALLY bothers me. Which is why I think I will be heading to Tuscaloosa to lend a hand to those who need help.

Have a nice day.


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