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Color Me Up by Mark Anthony Given

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Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. -Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)  _________________________________________________
THE FIRST CASINO I walked into was in Biloxi, Mississippi in the late fall of 1994, and having walked into every blackjack den on the Mississippi Gulf Coast I finally found exactly what I was looking for. But I had to get my feet wet before spanking some real ass, at the biggest and best casino that had two locations, The Biloxi Grand and the Gulfport Grand fifteen miles down the beautifully manicured man made crystal white sandy beach. On the second floor separating the tables from the machines was a circular eight person Video Blackjack starting at $1.00. They were the only ones on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and God as my Witness, three weeks after I turned this sore looser into my personal ATM, they were taking out of the casinos and never came back
        IT TOOK ME ten thousand hours to learn how to play Blackjack like a…

The Game

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People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. 
I stare out the window and wait for spring.-Rogers Hornsby
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             I READ ONE HUNDRED AND twenty volumes of United States Supreme court cases because I thought it was the most efficient use of my time doing five years in federal prison for bank fraud back in the 1980's. To be a great writer you have to read great writers and while legal writing is not exactly classic literature, occasionally a work of art emerges and this case is one of them. In one of the histories of the United States Supreme Court, I read that the Justices drew straws to decide who would write the opinion for the high court. One of the two biggest baseball fanatics won, Justice Harold Blackmun and Justice Potter Stewart, shared an obsessive following of baseball. In one oral argument on October 10, 1973, Stewart passed Blackmun a note that read, "V…

The One Man Crime Wave by Mark Anthony Given

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TO HAVE ONCE been a criminal is no disgrace.
To remain a criminal is the disgrace. ―Malcolm X #malcomx ______________________________________________________
I JUST ROBBED the Hancock Bank & Trust in downtown Gulfport, Mississippi with my trusty twenty-cent Bic and blank checks I found on doorsteps out of Another Hot Grand (link below) and was driving down beautiful Highway 90 in West Biloxi Beach with patches of condos and now casinos and plenty of places to pull over and enjoy the sea breeze and smell of seafood.  They had almost completed the I-110 interchange linking Interstate 10 with the Gulf of Mexico.  Right where the cars are discharged onto Highway 90, is the original/first high rise ten or twelve stories upscale apartment building.  The owner lived on the top and I was told he won the building in a poker game.  It was said to have been built to withstand any hurricane and you can see it still standing after Katrina. …

My Famous Felons by Mark

________________________________ Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. -Aristotle ________________________________             OFF THE TOP of my head, these are the famous, semi-famous and notorious inmates I met doing twelve years on a ten year federal sentence for bank fraud from 1986-1998.  When you violate your parole for smoking pot (twice) they take away your street time and that's how it takes twelve years to do a ten year sentence.  Hands down the most famous I wrote about recently in "The Three Don's," (link below) is Don Carlos Marcello the Mafia Boss of New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast.  I kept him laughing his ass off and he kept me around.....            Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Scarborough who was a complete fish out of water with us real criminals.  This man's crime was more about serendipitous stupidity than mens rea (…

In The Hole in Lewisburg USP by Mark Anthony Given

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When the door swings, you swing.....  ___________________________________  
DRIVING onto the property of the United States Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in the middle of the afternoon on a crisp fall day the manicured landscape was reminiscent of approaching a prestigious Ivy League College until you got up close.  At the very top but set back from the front facade was an old black Iron Christian Cross providing a foreboding atmosphere.  I found out later it had been a monastery long ago.  Two young go-getter FBI agents had transported me from a county jail in upstate New York after a routine traffic stop resulted in my arrest for five counts of bank fraud out of the Southern District of Alabama.  No words were spoken for several hours as we headed south for the Big House; I knew better than to talk to them….           THE STRANGEST THING happened there that never happened again or before which is …

The Texarkana Dons by Mark Anthony Given

______________________________________ Where 'ya at 'Little Big Man? ______________________________________                  DON CARLOS MARCELLO always had a look on his face of permanent surprise and open disdain and it he didn't want to talk to you he feigned hard of hearing but he always had a smile for me.   When you walk into the chow hall at FCI Texarkana you got in line along either wall, usually whites on one side and blacks on the other with a few hold outs... I noticed them as soon as I got in line about three quarter's down the wall where we always sit by the front door in case shit jumped off we could be the first one's out.  The Texarkana Don's table, me Don Carlos Marcello, Don Joseph Fama (link below) probably the best man I ever met in jail, the defrocked Texas Supreme Justice Don Yarbough (link) who was goofy as hell but we went easy on him....
                RIGHT OUTSIDE the Chow Hall smack in the middle of the long East to West two story medi…