Friday, July 31, 2009

Sympathy for Myself

I’ve never understood all the fuss
About my disguises
The word now carries a sense of deceit
But the fake fur and eyelashes
Came from a sense of fun
The same with the clues
Muddle metaphysicians
And find mystics in a heap
A wizard who lives backwards
And doesn’t sleep?
Invert nil REM
It’s easy
Mallory got that one anachronistically
Give him a hint and he’ll create a novel
And thus a world

Ours is dying
We’re promised a technological cure
And told that the medicine
Is a dose of Vitamin C and not clap sans frontieres
Similar promises accompanied pox-filled blankets
Terra Incognita became terror known
To those who saw the New World as old
Age provides perspective.
Four hundred years for Rome
Less here I think.
Caligula may have looked impassively at the decapitated head of his nephew
(Will that child not stop coughing?)
But he would blush today.

According to an ex-colleague of mine
It was people who screwed up the deal from the get-go.
He forgets that I was there and saw
Eve's alleged mistake
She wanted to exile ignorance.
But the snake
(When straight, the perpendicular pronoun, wink wink)
Was a liberator
A facilitator of education.
The one thing that He despises most.
Knowledge is the antithesis of faith.
And what’s the price for suppressing it?
Hope and Charity locked out of the house.
Silly girls asked questions.
Original thought is original sin

So with snakes out of favor it was time for geometry
Got Descartes thinking
Produced axes and soon thereafter
Died in Sweden thanks to the negligence of Queen Christina
(There's that name again, feminized)
He says, 'thou shalt not know,' and strikes down one of the Enlightened.
But the first half of the secret slipped out.
I think, therefore I am.
A good start
And yet the species is reluctant to end its childhood
And accept that the Cartesian axiom for an individual also applies to a society, planetwide.

He’s the master of confusion
His lawyers successfully turned the World upside down.
War, they claim, is the domain of the Dark Angel, for our Lord is Light
(Blitzkrieg almost gave the game away, but they got the Big Lie guy on board)
The Lightning strike of the Stukas was His idea, not mine.
The Crusades didn’t end.
The theocratic clash echoes down the centuries and Force Majeure still rules
But knightly armor is now Armani and an alligator smile.

Funny thing.
We’re told, by the latest lead attorney
As he stuffs his old clothes in the closet
And puts on a funny hat
That the one without toes is behind all this
(The only inconvenience concerning the toes, incidentally, being a slight numbness in the feet, but an aspirin a day works wonders)
I’ve also been implicated in famine
But have you once heard me say ‘go forth and multiply.’
No. That was one of His.
And don’t worry about the consequences for He will provide… Starvation?
And if all this gets you down remember
Death ain’t so bad.
Heaven on Earth is a blink away.

But a cat has two eyelids, blinks twice.
The second one a Darwinian marvel evolved to block His Light.
It’s why felines need nine lives
They’ve used those eyes to peek behind the curtain and so He keeps trying to bump them off.
Exterminated by the Inquisition in millions.
Know why?
The cats were killing the rats.
Slowed the spread of the Black Death.
He got pissed.
Plague fills the churches faster than plenty.
Fear populates the pews.

I'll give Him this, He has a certain ingenuity.
But even He can’t suppress the curiosity characteristic of cats and sometimes seen in people.
He’d like to because you are (He claims) His children.
(Technically adopted; He bends the truth.)
He tried to head-off the desire for knowledge through his Killing Joke
Claiming the Son was a teacher
Teacher? A teacher of blind obedience.
Follow me for I am the path and through me, The One
(The cats call him the One Third)
You will learn not to think.
Here endeth the lesson.
Well, with the Father's pitiful bill of goods, what other lesson could there be?
The three of them, you see, they don't want to let you go.
They like having kids, whereas I’ve never been comfortable around children.
That's why they threw me out.
And why, eventually
(I have to confess, it's taking a while)
I will bring Childhood's End.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Interwebz

One of the problems presented by online poker that is not an issue when playing live is losing internet connection to the poker site. If a casino unexpectedly bursts into flames all players in the card room are affected equally and an equitable resolution to the problem can be easily found. I guess it's conceivable that one of the geriatric cocktail waitresses at Bally's might drop a gin and tonic in my lap and that I'd be forced to leave, but that has not yet happened. If, on the other hand, I am sitting in a PLO8 tourney at Stars looking with joy at AA23 single-suited and my internet goes down I am both screwed and apoplectic. This happened last night. For real. AA23.

As we all know, the internet is a series of tubes, and I understand that on occasion those tubes can get clogged. So when I phoned my cable company this afternoon to report this ongoing problem I was polite and controlled despite the fact that this is costing me money!!! And I spoke to a very helpful young man named Brandon who confirmed he was seeing packets vanishing for an unknown reason and that a service engineer would be out tomorrow afternoon. Which is really pretty fucking useless given that I need to play off another 1400 Stars' VPPs to maintain my VIP status AND I am supposed to be internet-broadcasting a tournament tonight. Brandon also told me explicitly, because I asked, that no other customer in my area had reported any problems.

Now I know absolutely nothing about the internet (other than the tube thing), hardware, software, computers, electronics, or anything that gets plugged into a wall socket, but undeterred by my boundless ignorance I decided to walk around my estate to see if there were any squirrel teeth marks in the big wire that comes from a pole in the alley to the box on the side of my house. And what did I see in the alley? I saw a man up a ladder fiddling with wires. And beneath him was a white van. And what do you think was written on the side of the van? Hmmm??? Yup. The name of the cable company that provides my fucking internet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Just Play

National Poker Week is upon us and a drive is underway by organizations such as the Poker Players Alliance to defend The Holy Game from the stupidity of the UIGEA, the DoJ and quite probably the DMV since they are usually involved in making life difficult. This raises a question for professional and recreational online players alike: What can we do to keep online poker legal and help it thrive?

There are petitions that can be signed and form letters that require a couple of mouse clicks to send to members of the House and Senate. The major online sites have been ponying up prize-pools for freeroll tournaments for those signing these petitions and sending letters, thereby providing additional incentive for players to get involved in this process. I strongly encourage everyone who supports the right of citizens and residents of the U.S. to play online poker to take the thirty seconds required to petition and write. However, I am also convinced that the most important weapon we have in our fight against dim, repressive, and flawed legislation is the simplest of all.

Just play.

The fundamental reason that the prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. was repealed is that people continued to manufacture and consume alcohol. Similarly tobacco remains legal despite its health consequences because so many people smoke. The U.S. will eventually follow the worldwide trend of decriminalizing marijuana largely for the same reasons. One does not have to approve of drinking and smoking to recognize that attempts to make them illegal are counter-productive and lead to a lessening of respect by the public of laws in general.

Playing poker online is not currently illegal, of course. Part of the cynicism of lawmakers opposed to online poker is that, recognizing the popularity of the game, they have attempted to cripple it through indirect means such as attacking the flow of money between players and online sites. And this has clearly succeeded in driving away many U.S. players. Particularly the bad ones, unfortunately. We have endured scares over seized funds going back to the Neteller fiasco. I had nearly $10k tied up for several months. I didn't like this at all. Eventually every penny ended up safely in my bank account.

Clearly one can make the decision to cease playing and wait to see how the legal situation pans out. That is exactly what the opponents of our freedom to play The Holy Game want you to do. So be the change you want to see in the world. Just play.