Monday, July 31, 2006

Episode 6 of Dreamtime

Commentary on "Theme Time's" "Summer" episode... Two Juneteenth Jamborees, some Worried Blues, and the story of Gladys "Fatso" Bentley, probably the only 200+ lb. singer to have played both The Clam Bar and on "You Bet Your Life."

... and thanks by the way, to the boys over at Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio for the pimping both in the blog and in the podcast. Go check out that loquacious dwarf in episode 81 who propounds and expounds on life as Iggy, BONUS CODE IGGY, blogging, the dark side of poker, and a multitude of other subjects in between what sounds like generous gulps of some sort of alcoholic beverage.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Protester arrested at "Bewitched" statue files civil rights suit

via The Boston Globe

July 28, 2006

SALEM, Mass. --A man arrested while protesting at the unveiling of a statue of the star of the sitcom "Bewitched" has sued Salem police, charging them with civil rights violations and excessive force.

In the suit filed Thursday in federal court, Richard Sorell, 66, also accuses police of violating his free speech rights and denying him medical care while in custody. He's seeking unspecified damages from the city and several police officers.

"They pulled some very, very foolish things that day, and there's no excuse for it," Sorell told The Salem News.

Sorell, a local tour guide, was upset that a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery perched on a broom was erected so close to where innocent people were condemned to death during the Salem Witch Trials.

Sorell brought a homemade sign to the statue's unveiling in June 2005 that read "Elizabeth Who? Is she from Salem?" When he realized his sign couldn't be seen by television cameras, Sorell tried to move closer to the front of the crowd and was arrested after police said he nearly knocked over a 71-year-old woman.

A charge of disorderly conduct was dismissed in November after a judge said Sorell didn't mean to nearly knock down the woman.

Sorell's suit alleges that during his arrest a Salem officer twisted his arm back and threw him in a police van. Sorell says in his suit that while he was at the police station he was taunted, threatened with a strip search and denied access to his arthritis pain medication, which caused him to faint.

Salem police Chief Robert St. Pierre told The Salem News he couldn't comment because he hadn't seen the suit.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Mamma, don't let your son grow up to be a podcaster - Part 2

I'm doing the Dreamtime podcasts for a variety of reasons. As you've probably noticed once or twice, I'm a fan of Bob Dylan's. The quirky segments he does on Theme Time are right up my alley; there's usually a great story behind Dylan's one-liners and allusions. And before anything else, like all writers, I love a great story.

And of course, I'm deep into podcasting at the moment. I'm making a couple of bucks here and there from it. However, with those I'm in the background as writer/producer, and it's a helluva lot easier to act as a producer and just lead the show than to have to be the show. And that brings me to another reason...

Back when I was at USM in Portland, sometime in the early `70s and me in my early 20s, I was looking for part-time work - as usual, since my GI Bill barely covered school expenses and rent - and found an ad on a bulletin board. A Portland radio station was looking for a part-time newsperson.

I went over that afternoon. It was a country music station. If you're not from New England, you might not know that the rural areas tend to share the same characteristics and tastes you'll find in the South. The station manager and I immediately hit it off. He explained they needed to do the minimum news required by the FCC in order to keep its license. So, it was strictly someone capable of editing and reading stories off the AP wire.

I hit a home run when he asked me to pull off some stories from the AP teletype and put together a 5-minute segment of news highlights...all within 10 minutes. Even back then, that sort of speed-writing was my meat. I'm a natural editor, so I just yanked the stories, skimmed through them, sat down at an electric typewriter, and two-fingered pounded out the segment. I went into his office at minute 6, handed him the copy, and he took it, eyebrows raised. When he looked up, I knew I had the job.

But, there was one last thing I had to do, and I found myself in a sound booth, reading - trying to read - my copy aloud, and I was as bad and as uncomfortable then as I sound now in the Dreamtime podcasts - even though I think I'm improving now with every try. But a natural reader I'm not, despite the speech therapy I went through when I was a kid; possibly because of that speech therapy, I sometimes think. In any case, as a voice talent I'm a great writer.

So, I came out of the booth, and I looked at the station manager, who looked at me, and who finally said, "So, how do you think you did?"

"Like crap," I answered.

"Yeah," he answered. "It's too bad. You know I was ready to hire you on the spot, don't you?"

"Make me feel better," I laughed.

"Maybe you could go get some training, or take some acting classes at school," he said. "If you do, come back, Fred."

I didn't, for a variety of reasons. I found another job, straight writing, no talking necessary. But you know, losing that radio gig has always rankled me.

And that's the other reason.

American Life in Poetry: Column 070


As a man I'll never gain the wisdom Sharon Olds expresses in this poem about motherhood, but one of the reasons poetry is essential is that it can take us so far into someone else's experience that we feel it's our own.

My Son the Man

Suddenly his shoulders get a lot wider,
the way Houdini would expand his body
while people were putting him in chains. It seems
no time since I would help him to put on his sleeper,
guide his calves into the gold interior,
zip him up and toss him up and
catch his weight. I cannot imagine him
no longer a child, and I know I must get ready,
get over my fear of men now my son
is going to be one. This was not
what I had in mind when he pressed up through me like a
sealed trunk through the ice of the Hudson,
snapped the padlock, unsnaked the chains,
and appeared in my arms. Now he looks at me
the way Houdini studied a box
to learn the way out, then smiled and let himself be manacled.

"My Son the Man" from THE WELLSPRING by Sharon Olds. Copyright (c) 1996 by Sharon Olds. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

My boss thinks I’m crazy — but he’s into X-Men

via The Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX because The Salem News thinks the internet is a series of tubes.

Bewitched’ fans wrap up enchanting convention

By Chris Cassidy

SALEM, Mass.Judy McClelland carries a purse displaying a photo of Elizabeth Montgomery.

She wears replicas of the necklace and bracelet that adorned Samantha Stephens. The ring on her cell phone is set to the “Bewitched” theme song.

But maybe the deepest expression of her fanaticism toward the popular 1960s sitcom came this week when she traveled all the way from Melbourne, Australia, for this year’s five-day “Bewitched” convention at Salem State College.

“We flew in on our broomsticks,” joked McClelland, who actually arrived by plane with her friend Melanie McDonald.

Since Saturday, about 30 of the show’s fans — most of whom originally met on the Internet — reminisced about the old days when a nose-twitching witch dominated prime-time television.

“It’s nice to connect a face to a blog name,” said Jean Yannes, a “Bewitched” memorabilia collector who came from Queens, N.Y. “... Later on, we’re going to reveal our eBay names so we know we’re not bidding against each other.”

During Wednesday night’s convention finale, fans wore “Bewitched” T-shirts, screened a classic episode of the show and watched a slide presentation called “Elizabeth Montgomery: Remembering the Magic.”

They also paid tribute to Kasey Rogers — Louise Tate on the show — who died earlier this month. Photographs of Rogers’ career flashed across the screen, as the song “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie hummed in the background.

“We’ve actually dedicated the whole convention to her,” Yannes said.

Rogers, who was in Salem last year for the dedication of TV Land’s Samantha Stephens statue in Lappin Park, had planned to participate in the convention.

Along a side wall, a silent auction showcased a 1965 Samantha doll (high bid $100), original “Bewitched” artwork ($20) and copies of The Salem News with articles on the convention and last year’s statue unveiling ($22).

Yes, there are still fans of “Bewitched” — and they’re armed with collectibles. Yannes, an accountant, has blanketed an entire wall of his office with “Bewitched” photos and items he’s picked up on online auctions.

“I’ll use lines from the show in conversation,” Yannes said. “My boss thinks I’m crazy — but he’s into ‘X-Men.’”

McDonald wore a necklace of Samantha Stephens on a broomstick to the final night’s event, the “Galactic Rejuvenation Dinner Dance.”

And convention organizer Mark Simpson, who flew in from Tacoma, Wash., not only owns photographs, magazines, DVDs and board games from the show, but he’s also launched his own fan site on the Internet — The Bewitched Collector.

But if conventioneers are united by Samantha Stephens, many are divided by her husband, Darrin, played by Dick York for five seasons, then Dick Sargent.

“I prefer Dick York,” Yannes said. “His face is more malleable. He can do more facial expressions.”

But Simpson thinks many dismiss the “replacement” Darrin too quickly.

“I defend Dick Sargent,” Simpson said. “He had to know people were comparing him to Dick York. I think he did a great job.”

Although most of the shows are set in Westport, Conn., producers filmed eight episodes in Salem after a fire damaged the set. While in the Witch City, Samantha and Darrin tour the House of the Seven Gables and stay at the Hawthorne Hotel. At one point, the couple is transported back in time and nearly put on trial for witchcraft.

During their five days on the North Shore, fans took the Salem Witchcraft Walk, screened Salem-based episodes of the show and participated in seminars with such titles as “Agnes Moorehead: Tribute to a Goddess.”

They even took a day trip to Gloucester, the setting for one classic episode where Darrin was changed into the man in the Fishermen’s Monument.

So what makes adults obsess over a show that hasn’t rolled out new episodes since the Vietnam War?

“I love Endora’s wicked, witty lines,” McDonald said.

“The twitching of the nose,” said Joan Brennan of Salem.

“It’s the message it conveys,” said Tom Stevenson, who also came from Tacoma. “That being different is OK.”

Chris Cassidy writes for The Salem (Mass.) News.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why I play online poker, part the 1st

via Wil Wheaton:

"I have seen countless hustlers, scam artists, con men, and other scum of the earth prowling around the Rio since I've been here."

From the Kittenish, Bear, Kritter Kouncil and Camp Curl

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A crazy monkey knocked me out

this could also be subtitled, "this is the first time I've ever been called 'dude'."

43 minutes into the tournament...

*********** # 50 **************
PokerStars Game #5681890589: Tournament #28350272, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2006/07/25 - 21:06:40 (ET)
Table '28350272 6' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: mad_scorpion (980 in chips)
Seat 3: DaFoundation (1800 in chips)
Seat 4: ricoM (1260 in chips)
Seat 5: peacecorn (2740 in chips)
Seat 6: HermWarfare (960 in chips)
Seat 7: DrPauly (2060 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 8: CarmenSinCty (1845 in chips)
Seat 9: Whaaaaa? (1265 in chips)
DaFoundation: posts small blind 25
ricoM: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to ricoM [Ks Kc]
peacecorn: calls 50
HermWarfare: folds
DrPauly: folds
CarmenSinCty: folds
Whaaaaa?: folds
mad_scorpion: folds
DaFoundation: calls 25
ricoM: raises 250 to 300
peacecorn: calls 250
DaFoundation: folds
*** FLOP *** [Qs Jc 4h]
ricoM: checks
peacecorn: bets 400
ricoM: raises 560 to 960 and is all-in
peacecorn: calls 560
*** TURN *** [Qs Jc 4h] [Qc]
*** RIVER *** [Qs Jc 4h Qc] [Js]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ricoM: shows [Ks Kc] (two pair, Kings and Queens)
peacecorn: shows [Jh Ad] (a full house, Jacks full of Queens)
HermWarfare said, "doh"
peacecorn collected 2570 from pot
peacecorn said, "did NOT put you on KK...sorry dude"

Until next week...

Mama, don't let your son grow up to be a podcaster

Episode 5 of the Dreamtime podcast - Two voices from Chronicles - is now up at the Dreamtime blog, which also has a new logo...

... courtesy of the folks at Service within a work week and for only $25 bucks! Thanks to Peggy for the thought that Dreamtime needed its own logo, and knowing that her husband's OCD motto is, "anything worth doing is worth overdoing."

Speaking of which, Dreamtime has been a good experience from that perspective. I had to finally realize that the goal was not to be perfect but to get a little better each time. I still have a way to go... but I'm still in the game.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching

Jim McManus seems to be on a tear at the 2006 WSOP...

07/15/2006 45

07/12/2006 6

07/11/2006 14

07/07/2006 14 $8,482.00

Let's see, reading from the bottom up, buy-ins were respectively $1,500, $10,000, $2,000 and $2,500 (McManus may have also got his buy-in(s) through a satellite). Not a bad profit margin.

Katie Melua - Blowin' in the Wind

Seems to be a morning for YouTube. One of Peggy and my favorites, Katie Melua - does one of my favorite songs. Click on the picture to hie yourself off to YouTube.

And if you haven't heard Katie's new album yet - Piece by Piece - do yourself a favor and go get it now. Her cover of the Canned Heat classic “On the Road Again” is worth the price alone.


A dramatic, mannered Dylan never seen again on-stage after The Rolling Thunder tour. This is from Renaldo & Clara, a film probably only for the Dylan completist, from all reports, but being one, I wish it would be released officially on DVD.

Click on the photo to your left - Dylan and Sarah Dylan in a scene from R&C, and you can also find another R&C clip, Dylan and Baez doing "Never Let Me Go."

Fans of `Bewitched' charmed in Salem

via The Boston Globe

GLOUCESTER -- When Judy McClelland's cell phone rings, the theme song to television's ``Bewitched" sounds. The ringtone is among the more than 50 pieces of memorabilia from the show she's collected over the years.

And recently the 45-year-old flew -- by plane, not by broom -- from her home in Australia to attend the annual ``Bewitched" convention, held this year in Salem.

``I've always loved the show," she said yesterday, as she dined at a Gloucester restaurant for a convention dinner. ``[The convention] makes it all real."

McClelland says she enjoys the relationships the long-gone show portrayed between Samantha Stephens , her husband Darrin , and Samantha's mother, Endora (played by Agnes Moorehead), who also is a witch.

About 20 adults from Australia, Canada, and the United States gathered yesterday during the second day of the convention to celebrate the sitcom, which aired from 1964 to 1972 and remains in syndication .

The convention at Salem State College includes presentations about the show's nose-twitching star Elizabeth Montgomery and the viewing of episodes that were filmed in Salem.

The organizer, Mark Simpson , 47, of Tacoma, Wash., said the event has evolved and become more formal since it started about six years ago, when only a handful of people attended . ``I kind of felt that `Bewitched' deserved a little more recognition than it had gotten in the past," he said.

Like other participants, Simpson has collected souvenirs from the show including lunchboxes, dolls, games, and photos. ``I like to think I'm the biggest collector in the world," he said.

This year, the convention was held in Salem so participants can view a statue of Samantha Stephens erected last year.

The convention runs through Wednesday.

New Pynchon Book slated for December...

... which may or may not be called "Against the Day." First listed that way on Amazon, it now appears as Untitled Thomas Pynchon (Hardcover) , although B&N is still using the "Against the Day" title. In both listings, the publisher's description, apparently penned by Pynchon himself reads...

Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.

With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.

As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it's their lives that pursue them.

Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.

Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.

--Thomas Pynchon

Indeed. :-) As my poker-playing buddies would say, Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Friday, July 21, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 069


This marvelous poem by the California poet Marsha Truman Cooper perfectly captures the world of ironing, complete with its intimacy. At the end, doing a job to perfection, pressing the perfect edge, establishes a reassuring order to an otherwise mundane and slightly tawdry world.

Ironing After Midnight

Your mother called it
"doing the pressing,"
and you know now
how right she was.
There is something urgent here.
Not even the hiss
under each button
or the yellow business
ground in at the neck
can make one instant
of this work seem unimportant.
You've been taught
to turn the pocket corners
and pick out the dark lint
that collects there.
You're tempted to leave it,
but the old lessons
go deeper than habits.
Everyone else is asleep.
The odor of sweat rises
when you do
under the armpits,
the owner's particular smell
you can never quite wash out.
You'll stay up.
You'll have your way,
the final stroke
and sharpness
down the long sleeves,
a truly permanent edge.

Reprinted from "River Styx," No. 32, 1990, by permission of the author, whose most recent book is "Substantial Holdings," Pudding House Publications, 2002. Poem copyright (c) 1990 by Marsha Truman Cooper. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Episode 4 of Dreamtime...

Tiny, I never saw a Toronto Maple Leaf hockey game.”

... now up.

The Wheaties - Return and Early Departure.

Back in the WWdN last night, after a couple of weeks hiatus. A tiny field of 52 should have - but didn't - improve my odds of finishing in the money. Instead I finished as badly as I ever have in a Wheaties tournament, in 43rd position, 37 minutes after the tournament started.

As I've said before, I don't give that much credence to "card dead" claims, but last night was as good a counter-argument as you're likely to see. Out of the 53 hands dealt to me during those 37 minutes, I saw the flop a total of 8 times, three of those times either in the small or big blinds, and winning exactly half - 4 - of those 8.

Looking back at my hand history, I played a couple of marginal hands, but the hands I lost were with A 10, K 10, and so on, with flops showing things like QQ, flushes, and so on and bets that would have crippled my stack made at me when the flop hit. In any case, I blinded down to less than 1000 chips, won my way back to around 1350, and had blinded/lost back down to 760 again when Katitude put me out of my misery.

Typical for the night, I had Jc Kh on the button with 25/50 blinds. Two limpers. Maybe I should have pressed, but in all honesty, if I had gone all-in pre-flop and lost with that hand, I'd be calling myself a fool. One limper, maybe. Two, too much chance of one of them holding an Ace, and one of them Bone_daddy, had more than enough to cover my all-in.

I call. Blinds fold away. Flop is Jd Ks Td, both bad news and good for me. Good is that I've got two pair with the high card. Bad is there's both a flush and straight draw on the board. Kat bets 200 which probably means she's got the K and one of those draws. Bone_daddy, I'm happy to see, goes away, as two players in on that hand would have ensured at least one of them was drawing out. I go all-in with my last $510, and Kat calls. I pray that she's holding K 10 and no diamonds, but indeed she is making a move at the straight with K Q and gets it when an Ace hits on the Turn. No joy for me at the River, and I'm gone. She would have beat me too with a full house if she had been holding K 10.

I'd stick around for awhile railbirding Iggy and Xkm among others, and watch some very bizarro hands indeed. Iggy's pair of 8s go down under a flurry of Qs and Ks, and a short time later, Troublecat gets busted out as half his table goes all-in pre-flop with pairs of As, Ks, and Qs.

Until next week.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Piece of the Cat

You can call me The Combine. Or The Big Man. Or maybe, The Brain. Yeah, that's the ticket, The Brain.

My descent into utter gambling degeneracy continues unabated. Yesterday, I took Troublecat up on his open offer to bloggers to buy into a piece of his action at the upcoming WSOP Main Event.

I figure what's good enough for a dwarf is good enough for Rico.

As TC says, it's a 2500:1 shot, but Uno: the idea of being in the Big Show, even by proxy is an attractive one; Dos: The Cat is a compulsive blogger, so it'll be fun to read a ground zero report as it's happening; and Tres: Hey, he beat me, right? And TroubleCat has been known to win other tourneys too.

It's nice to have enough in the stake to gamble every now and then.

R.I.P. Mickey Spillane 1918 - 2006

"How c-could you?" she gasped.
I only had a moment before talking to a corpse, but I got it in.
"It was easy," I said.
I, the Jury

I came to appreciate Spillane late, much of it due to Max Allan Collins Ms. Tree comic book series which, while never coming right out and saying it, used the conceit of what would have happened if Velda, Hammer's secretary, had kept the agency running after Hammer was killed.

The Erection Set
, released in `72, and not part of the Hammer series was my favorite of his books, not least because of the cover art, displayed to your left. That's Spillane's second wife, Sherri Malinou. The book was also dedicated to her. They'd later divorce and Spillane would remarry for the last time in 1983.

If you've never seen the movie adaptation of Kiss Me Deadly, it's very much worth tracking down. The Kefauver Commission, a federal unit dedicated to investigating corrupting influences in the 1950s gave Kiss Me Deadly the dubious distinction of being 1955's number one menace to American youth.

The Mick will be missed.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bob Dylan with Norah Jones - I Shall Be Released (Live)

Probably won't be on YouTube long, so watch while you can. Dylan isn't the easiest person to do a duet with, I would guess, but Norah Jones does a nice job on this pretty version of the song.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Steal this banner

if you have a poker blog, and are concerned about having your right to play online poker taken away, right-click on the banner above, save a copy, and post it on your blog. Be sure you include the link to the Poker Players Alliance. and if you haven't already joined... now's the time.

Dylan Sets Album Track List, Inspires NYC Tribute

via BillBoard:

July 13, 2006, 10:50 AM ET
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Bob Dylan has finalized the track list for his new album, "Modern Times," due Aug. 29 via Columbia. Four of the 10 cuts push the six-minute mark, including the nearly eight-minute "Spirit on the Water" and the nearly nine-minute closer, "Ain't Talkin'."

As previously reported, "Modern Times" was recorded earlier this year with Dylan's touring band of bassist Tony Garnier, drummer George G. Receli, guitarists Stu Kimball and Denny Freeman and multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron.

The album will also be available in a special edition with a bonus DVD featuring four additional songs, details of which have yet to be announced. Dylan will support "Modern Times" with his third annual tour of minor league baseball stadiums, which gets underway Aug. 12 in Comstock Park, Mich.

Meanwhile, Dylan will be the subject of a star-studded tribute concert to be held Nov. 9 at New York's Avery Fisher Hall. Such artists as Patti Smith, Phil Lesh, Cat Power, Philip Glass, Natalie Merchant and the Black Crowes' Chris and Rich Robinson will each cover one of Dylan's tunes at the event, proceeds from which will benefit the Music for Youth Foundation.

Other acts on the bill include Rosanne Cash, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, Medeski Martin & Wood, Gov't Mule and Al Kooper and the Funky Faculty.

Here is the track list for "Modern Times":

"Thunder on the Mountain"
"Spirit on the Water"
"Rollin' and Tumblin'"
"When the Deal Goes Down"
"Someday Baby"
"Workingman's Blues #2"
"Beyond the Horizon"
"Nettie Moore"
"The Levee's Gonna Break"
"Ain't Talkin'"

American Life in Poetry: Column 068


Here is a marvelous little poem about a long marriage by the Kentucky poet, Wendell Berry. It's about a couple resigned to and comfortable with their routines. It is written in language as clear and simple as its subject. As close together as these two people have grown, as much alike as they have become, there is always the chance of the one, unpredictable, small moment of independence. Who will be the first to say goodnight?

They Sit Together on the Porch

They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes--only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons--small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

From "A Timbered Choir", by Wendell Berry. Copyright (c) 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group ( All rights reserved. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Episode 3 of Dreamtime...

... is now up at the "other" blog. I think I've finally beaten the "low" audio problems. See - or hear - what you think.

So What?

Take 8 1/2 minutes right now, relax, and listen.

Paralyzed Man Able To Control Robot With Only His Thoughts…

via The NY Times

A paralyzed man with a small sensor implanted in his brain was able to control a computer, a television set and a robot using only his thoughts, scientists reported yesterday.

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff...

" 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?" - Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on the Internet

Why, indeed? And now you can hear the remix of Sen. Ted's infamous "Series of Tubes" speech here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dreamtime now has its own blog

I'm having fun with the Dreamtime podcasts; and unless/until that changes, will continue doing them. I've given Dreamtime its own blog here. Listen often, I need to get those iTune stats up.

First step down the slippery slope

via Wired News

House Bans Most Online Gambling

If online poker is your passion or if you fancy internet roulette, you might want to consider taking up a new hobby.

Congress has taken a significant step toward banning most online gambling.

The House voted 317-93 Tuesday for legislation that would prohibit credit cards and other payment forms from being used to settle internet wagers. It would clarify and update current law to spell out that most gambling is illegal online.

It also would allow law enforcement officials to work with internet providers to block access to gambling web sites. The bill would exempt state-run lotteries and horse racing.

The fight now moves to the Senate. Leaders in that chamber have not identified Internet gambling as a priority, and the bill's supporters say the House vote gives them momentum to push the Senate to act. The bill's main champion in that chamber, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), said Tuesday he would pursue it aggressively.

Supporters of a ban say the Internet's widespread availability makes it too easy to gamble, something that can create betting addictions and financial problems.

"It puts gambling in every living room, at every school desk and at every work station," said John Kindt, a business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has studied the issue and supports the bill.

Critics argue that the legislation favors some gambling industries over others and that regulating the $12 billion industry and collecting taxes on it would be more effective than a ban.

"Prohibition as a general principle is a bad principle, because it doesn't work," said Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

The American Gaming Association, the industry's largest lobby, opposed online gambling in the past but recently softened its stance and backed a study of the feasibility of regulating it.

The internet gambling industry is headquartered almost entirely outside the United States, although about half its customers live in the U.S.

The bill's sponsors successfully beat back an amendment to strip out exemptions in the bill for the horse racing industry and state lotteries.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada) sponsored the failed amendment. She said it was unfair to allow online lotteries and internet betting on horse racing to flourish while cracking down on other kinds of sports betting, casino games and card games like poker.

If the horse provision were stricken from the bill, there's a good chance the measure would run into objections in the Senate from Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and others.

Under the provision concerning horse racing, betting operators would not be prohibited from any activity allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act. That law was written in the 1970s to set up rules for interstate betting on racing. The industry successfully lobbied for legislation several years ago to clarify that Internet betting on horse racing is allowed.

Greg Avioli, chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, acknowledged the House bill likely would move internet gamblers away from banned sites toward horseracing sites.

However, he said the racing industry did not get a new exemption but that Congress recognized existing federal law, meaning the Interstate Horseracing Act.

The Justice Department has taken a different view on the legality of internet betting on horse races.

In a World Trade Organization case involving Antigua, the department said online betting on horse racing remains illegal under the 1961 Wire Act despite the existence of the more recently passed, and updated, horse racing law.

The department hasn't actively enforced its stance, though it recently indicated it was considering taking action on the issue.

"This bill does not touch the dispute between the Justice Department and the horse racing community," Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) said of the House-passed gambling ban, which he helped write.

Congress has considered banning online gambling in the past.

In 2000, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff led a fierce campaign against a similar bill on behalf of an online lottery company. Supporters of the bill brought up that history Tuesday and suggested that a vote for the bill was a way to make a statement against Abramoff's influence.

Opponents of the latest bill argued that the current lottery exemption wasn't in the bill in 2000, and, if it had been, Abramoff's client might have supported the legislation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 067


One in a series of elegies by New York City poet Catherine Barnett, this poem describes the first gathering after death has shaken a family to its core. The father tries to help his grown daughter forget for a moment that, a year earlier, her own two daughters were killed, that she is now alone. He's heartsick, realizing that drinking can only momentarily ease her pain, a pain and love that takes hold of the entire family. The children who join her in the field are silent guardians.

Family Reunion

My father scolded us all for refusing his liquor.
He kept buying tequila, and steak for the grill,
until finally we joined him, making margaritas,
cutting the fat off the bone.

When he saw how we drank, my sister
shredding the black labels into her glass
while his remaining grandchildren
dragged their thin bunk bed mattresses

first out to the lawn to play
then farther up the field to sleep next to her,
I think it was then he changed,
something in him died. He's gentler now,

quiet, losing weight though every night
he eats the same ice cream he always ate
only now he's not drinking,
he doesn't fall asleep with the spoon in his hand,

he waits for my mother to come lie down with him.

Reprinted from "Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced," Alice James Books, 2004, by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 2004 by Catherine Barnett. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

Where oh where has Rocketboom gone?

So much for "we'll be back on July 10th..."

Leia's Metal Bikini

would be such a great name for a post-punk band, but is, in fact a web site of fans who create - and model - the eponymous costume worn by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi. Below is a performance by Amira Sa'id, a dancer whose Princess Leia belly dance is both funny and cool.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Church signs you're unlikely to see


although I'm still in New Hamster, my spirit is with the WPBT in Vegas.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)

I'm ashamed to say I had never heard this prior to Dylan's "Theme Time..." "A-kissin' on me..." What a great image.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rocket Goes Boom

There's nothing like these here internets for watching a good ol' cat fight.

Andrew Baron, the self-proclaimed "evil genius" behind Rocketboom claims on a very stark Home Page that frontwoman Amanda Congdon has quit.

Amanda sees it another way.

And the speculation runs rampant.* Is it because of Mario? Will telegenic Amber MacArthur, current host of TechTV, become the new Amanda?

Amanda is currently living with her parents. You can see her farewell not-Rocketboom video here. Stay tuned.

*btw, blogger Stowe Boyd, who himself sounds like a soap opera character, notes as an aside that Andrew Baron is one of the worst speakers he has ever heard. After suffering through a TwiT panel discussion that Baron was part of, I wholeheartedly agree. Baron alternately insulted the other participants and promoted his wacky, Web 1.0 vision of a media empire a la Rupert Murdoch in a screechy, high-pitched voice which offered clear evidence about why he stays on the other side of the camera.

American Life in Poetry: Column 066


Some of the most telling poetry being written in our country today has to do with the smallest and briefest of pleasures. Here Marie Howe of New York captures a magical moment: sitting in the shelter of a leafy tree with the rain falling all around.

The Copper Beech

Immense, entirely itself,
it wore that yard like a dress,

with limbs low enough for me to enter it
and climb the crooked ladder to where

I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.
One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell
darkening the sidewalk.

Sitting close to the center, not very high in the branches,
I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,

watching it happen without it happening to me.

Reprinted from "What the Living Do," W. W. Norton & Co., 1997. Copyright (c) 1997 by Marie Howe. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit