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Daniel - Poker Journal

I Shall Live

02 May 2007

The book was written by Henry Ornstein and it deals with his life in the late 30's early 40's when he and his family suffered through the years of the Holocaust. Not exactly a cheery topic, but when you read the book you’re left with more positive feelings than negative. At least I was. The stories of triumph are very inspirational.

One story in particular blew me away, and that was the story of Mrs. Lupinska. During that time, harboring a Jew was a crime with a punishment of death. Most families weren't willing to take that risk, and it's understandable. The idea of risking your own life for another person isn't something most people are capable of. Mrs. Lupinska was a rare case.

She hid Henry and his family despite knowing full well that if she were caught, not only would she be killed, but so would her husband and her children. She was actually able to keep it from her family, and each day she would find a way to feed them meat, potatoes, milk, bread, and butter.

That's not all she risked though. At one point arrangements were made to help the Ornstein family escape via a river and go back to where the rest of their family was. The only problem was that the location was extremely difficult to find. Mrs. Lupinska, in heroic fashion decided to walk them to the place where they were to meet the person helping them. This was a huge risk, but she felt compelled to do it.

What's even more remarkable about that story is that Mrs. Lupinska didn't know the Ornstein's all that well. It's quite a contrast when you think about the acts of Mrs. Lupinska and those of the Nazi's, or even some of the other Poles that were anti-Semetic.

In the book, Henry describes a scene that just makes you angry. At one point, several Jews were being rounded up to go to the camps and meet their death. A lady, from her window was watching this and actually raised her young child up so she could watch. It's just so sick to me, it's hard to imagine that. Henry mentioned in his book something like, "How can one person be so kind and the other so cruel and heartless?"

The name Henry Ornstein may sound familiar to some of you. He is the man who originally patented the idea of the under the table camera for poker television shows. He is the man behind Poker Super Stars, High Stakes Poker, and several other excellent poker shows on television today. He's also a player, beating Chip Reese heads up in the inaugural NBC Heads Up Poker Championship.

Henry offered to send me a copy of his book and when I started reading it I couldn't put it down, which is extremely rare for me. Normally I don't like to read for several hours straight, but I had to know what happened next.


Through reading this book, as well as following the progress of the war in Iraq, it made me pretty sad to know how many people are suffering there now. While I was heavily opposed to the war from the get go, I just don't think the area can be abandoned now. It would seem almost inhumane to not do everything that can be done to free those people that live in hiding everyday.

The decision to go to war with Iraq was, in my opinion, a travesty. Enough people have come out of the woodworks now, including ex-CIA head honchos, and several other important figures, admitting that going to war with Iraq was a mistake.

The mistake was made, though, and now we have to clean up the mess. As much as I'd love to see the troops come home, I just don't think that would be a good decision right now. President Bush, a guy I'm not a huge fan of, has asked for more troops in Iraq. It seems to me, as much as I hate to say it, that it's a necessity. If they are going to fight this war, they should have every resource available to make sure they are successful. Cutting funds and pulling out the troops WILL lead to mass chaos in that country.

Mass chaos in Iraq will lead to mass chaos worldwide. It seems like an impossible war to win, but I just don't think they can leave right now.


My Schedule Ahead:

May 3: I'm doing the Danny Deutsch show via satellite tomorrow afternoon. Later that night I'll be attending the premiere of "Lucky You" at the Red Rock.

May 5: Early in the afternoon I'll be making my second appearance on Poker After Dark. Later that night I'll be doing an appearance at Caesar's.

May 6: I'll be having dinner with tournament director Bob Daly to discuss this upcoming WSOP. I'm getting excited about it and I think there were a lot of improvements made in several areas.

May 7: Double dipping on Poker After Dark, with an early afternoon show followed by another show in the evening.

May 8: I'm playing golf and RawVegas.tv will be along for the ride shooting the action with me and other poker players.

May 9: This is going to be loads of fun. I'm flying to Los Angeles for the afternoon to do some voice overs for a Saturday morning cartoon called, "The Replacements." I'm playing a couple of characters and I'm really looking forward to it.

May 13: High Stakes Poker season four. I'll be playing a full session that day and that will likely be it. I believe they are filming for two or three days, but I'll only be playing on the first day unless something changes.