Scattershooting, while wondering whatever happened to….
….political revolutionary and Kurdish freedom fighter Abdullah Ocalan.
It’s been a sad week. We lost two extraordinary actors, one of them a movie legend and the other arguably the most versatile comedian of our time. However, losses in entertainment pale in comparison to the agony now exploding in Iraq and Syria, which have gone beyond the crisis stage. These tragic events where civilians have been targeted for what amounts to genocide have knocked the Palestine-Israel conflict off the front pages, at least temporarily. That’s not a good thing for the few among the two camps actively seeking solutions. I fear a ceasefire and uneasy truce will only create another explosion in the near future, which will cause even more misery later. The one positive thing about the fighting and newsworthiness of the conflict is the world is talking about the problem and there are now many interests who would like to see some kind of two-state solution.
Lauren Bacall was the latest film legend to pass away at age 89, which happened yesterday. But the world still remains in shock over Robin Williams’ reported suicide two days ago. I’m not sure what more I can add to all the expressions of sorrow and pleas or us to take mental health more seriously as a society. Prompted by Christine G. Rose, I read a remarkable column by Ben Willnosky, a professional poker player who wrote a courageous piece on his own struggles with depression, which oddly has infected his life even with a fair amount of success in the game as a full-time player. I urge you to read Ben’s column, which is posted here: NEVERSCAREDBLOG
I’ll be skipping “One Drunk Puppy” this coming Saturday night, which is the wine-tasting for charity held at the Silverton Casino here in Las Vegas. I’m all for the good cause and love wine tastings. But after the misfortune of attending last year, that’s got to be the worst-run tasting I’ve ever experienced. If you like being crammed into a tent where it’s about 110 degrees, where there’s no food, then have at it. Until the host casino and organization get their act together, I recommend a “pass” on that one.
Marieta went to the hair stylist today. She picked a new salon and went to this particular stylist for the first time. After it was done, Marieta told me the stylist spent 30 minutes telling her life story and was talking about her three children non-stop. What makes people think anyone wants to hear this nonsense? I realize being friendly is good, and I’m in favor of getting to know someone. But what sadist subjects a customer to listening to their life story and kids’ problems for the entire duration of the hair appointment? I told Marieta to go back to her again, and next time, spend all 30 minutes talking about our two cats. Alex vomits in the house all the time. The other cat Farro runs out and we have to chase him in the street. And so forth, and so on. That should drive her bonkers.
We saw “The 100-Foot Journey” a few nights ago. A highly recommended movie, although it’s probably best appreciated by the over-50 crowd. Nice message about being open to new things and experiences. Up next is “Boyhood,” which is getting rave reviews and sounds like one of the best films of the year.
It’s rained a lot here in Las Vegas over the past month. Obviously, living here in the desert, I tend to like the rain. I’ve run in it a few times (when there’s no lightening). I don’t understand why people shy away from the rain. It’s such a pleasant feeling, especially after so many scorching 100-degree days. A little water never hurt anyone. So, get out there and enjoy!
N.J. Governor Chris Christie vetoed a sports betting bill in his state this week. There’s lots of speculation as to why he’s flip-flopped in the fight (he was strongly in favor about a year ago). Critics accuse him to pandering to Sheldon Adelson’s fat wallet, assuming he might run for President in 2016. Such a position would also infuriate some of the religious right, which still wields lots of power in Republican primaries. As for me, I just think he’s a coward without any principles whatsoever. Odd how a “maverick politician” falls in line with the rest of the scumbags when its election time.
Going non-partisan in my attacks here, can you believe Rep. Nancy Pelosi had the gall to show up in Las Vegas yesterday for a fundraiser? She vociferously opposes all forms of gambling, so she comes to Las Vegas? To ask for money? I advise everyone NOT to give money to either national party. Give to candidates directly. It’s a disgrace to see the likes of Pelosi coming to our city and begging for dollars when she’s been such an appalling House Minority Leader (before that — Majority).
Missed all my friends at West Palm Beach (Kennel Club) these past two weeks, for the start of the new WSOP Circuit season. I think this marks ten years of events. I was fortunate enough to work eight of them. Miss all the good people who work and play on the Circuit. You know who you are.
Tomorrow night, I’m flying off to Turning Stone Casino in Upstate New York for the latest stop of “Poker Night in America.” Be sure and tune in on CBS Sports Network, on Sunday nights. Re-runs are broadcast the following Saturday night.
Which brings us back to scattershooting…..so, whatever happened to Abdullah Ocalan? Perhaps more appropriate for starters — who is Abdullah Ocalan?
Ocalan founded the PKK, which is the Kurdistan Workers Party, a revolutionary group based in Turkey, but which represents the aspirations of Kurdish statehood. The Republic of Turkey calls the PKK a terrorist organization, and pressured by their ally, the United States agrees. I have my own views on this, which were formed when I once worked at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. The more I followed Ocalan and the more I learned about the Kurds, the greater I became convinced they deserve a homeland. I should note that most of the land should be carved out of Northern Iraq, but that’s another in-detail column for another time.
Ocalan was captured and imprisoned in Turkey. He was given the death sentence, which was commuted to life when Turkey abolished the death penalty about ten years ago. Today’s he’s the only prisoner kept on an island in the Marmara Sea. There’s a remarkable story here, of bravery and sacrifice, and ultimately of tragedy. While the PKK has indeed resorted to acts of terror, the Kurdish independence movement has largely been non-violent. The time seems right to dissect Iraq into as many zones (and perhaps nations) as possible. Let’s start with creating an independent Kurdish state.