Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dreamtime - Episode 11 - All mobbed up

So why was Ol' Blue Eyes doing a radio commercial for a Skokie, Illinois car dealership?

Hear/read all about it.

And yes, yes, we're still heading out on vacay.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's that time of year again



The grass is slowing, the day lightens later each morning, and fades earlier each evening.

Cool, late Summer days, and time for vacay. See you in a couple of weeks.

American Life in Poetry: Column 074

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Of taking long walks it has been said that a person can walk off anything. Here David Mason hikes a mountain in his home state, Colorado, and steps away from an undisclosed personal loss into another state, one of healing.

In the Mushroom Summer

Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,
mist in the pines so thick the crows delight
(or seem to), winging in obscurity.
The ineffectual panic of a squirrel
who chattered at my passing gave me pause
to watch his Ponderosa come and go--
long needles scratching cloud. I'd summited
but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,
the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,
scattered among the locoweed and sage.
Today my grief abated like water soaking
underground, its scar a little path
of twigs and needles winding ahead of me
downhill to the next bend. Today I let
the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.


Reprinted by permission from "The Hudson Review," Vol. LIX, No. 2 (Summer 2006). Copyright (c) 2006 by David Mason. 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 www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bats in the House!


The wifey said to me, "Hon,
Bats in the house just ain't no fun.

It's swooping through the living room
get off your butt and get the broom.
I'll open the doors, you knock it out."

"Oh, no," I screamed, "The Bear got out."

"The Bub's in hiding, you stupid fool,"
the wifey cried, "Get that bat, while he's flying through."

I whacked the bat behind the TV
(it was playing something by Spike Lee),
but he recovered, and with an"Eeee"
took to the air and continued his route
while Dad-doo waved the broom about.

Tiring of the game the bat flew off,
Mystifying Dad-doo, while Momma did shout.

"FIND THE DAMN BAT! 'CAUSE I AINT GOING TO BED!
TILL I KNOW THAT CREATURE IS GONE OR IS DEAD!"

(She didn't mean it, she was under a strain. It's hard to be calm with bats on the brain.)

We searched in the basement, we searched through the rooms. Peggy with a paper bag. Fred with a broom.

No bat to be found on floor 1 or floor 2.

He was hiding behind a curtain in the master bedroom.

"Call the fire dept or the New Hamster PD," frightened Fred said like Allen Woody.

"I'll get him myself," said the brave Peggy.

But a man is a man, even when he's a wuss. So, girding his loins and grimming his puss, Fred donned heavy gloves and grabbed the ol' bat...

...who "eeeeee"'d quite fiercely and struggled so that...

...Fred dropped him,

and Peg gave him a whack

with the broom, while Fred also attacked.

The bat said, "Enuff! You two ain't good hosts. I'm going to bat heaven!"

And gave up the ghost.

The bat in the bag, the cats in the house. Order restored, as much as you'd think.

Peggy sat down and said, "I want a big drink."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In the Wheaties of August 22nd...

... Mr. Rico finished 16th in a field of 47, a placement that is more a testimony to survival instincts than anything else, as I had few cards to play... and those I did I capitalized on a bit, but not enough.

One hand I should have walked away from at the Turn took a big chunk from my stack when I played it out to the River, and I spent from 9:30 to 10:00 trying to recover from that whack, with nothing to use to get chips, or folds round the table when I did bet hard.

There are probably things less frustating than folding hand after unplayable hand and watching your stack slowly blinded away when you're short-stacked, but it's instructive, if nothing else. An all-in with AJ sooooooted didn't improve against a pair of Kings, and that's all she wrote for me this night.

The deck is being put away for the next couple of weeks, but they'll be another WWdn report sometime in September. That Star Trek Actor is talking about a H.O.R.S.E. tournament sometime soon, which would be fun to try.


Until next month.

Monday, August 21, 2006

How time flies when you're podcasting...


Episode 10 - Too religious for the country crowd, too country for gospel fans is up-and-at-`em over at Dreamtime.

One of the things I love about "Theme Time," is that once Dylan has given you the hint, you can always learn something by exploring. This one is on the Louvin Brothers, especially Ira Louvin, caught twixt the Devil and God.

10 episodes, which sounds like a lot unless you know that my average podcast times out around 5 minutes. But #10 weighs in at 11+ minutes, so who knows, I may be challenging Theme Time's length in a couple more months.

Special thanks to my very own Mystery Woman for the intro.

American Life in Poetry: Column 073

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Those of us who have planted trees and shrubs know well that moment when the last spade full of earth is packed around the root ball and patted or stamped into place and we stand back and wish the young plant good fortune. Here the poet Roy Scheele offers us a few well-chosen words we can use the next time.


Planting a Dogwood

Tree, we take leave of you; you're on your own.
Put down your taproot with its probing hairs
that sluice the darkness and create unseen
the tree that mirrors you below the ground.
For when we plant a tree, two trees take root:
the one that lifts its leaves into the air,
and the inverted one that cleaves the soil
to find the runnel's sweet, dull silver trace
and spreads not up but down, each drop a leaf
in the eternal blackness of that sky.
The leaves you show uncurl like tiny fists
and bear small button blossoms, greenish white,
that quicken you. Now put your roots down deep;
draw light from shadow, break in on earth's sleep.


Reprinted from "From the Ground Up," Lone Willow Press, Omaha, NE, 2000, by permission of the author, whose most recent book is "A Far Allegiance," forthcoming from The Backwaters Press. Poem copyright (c) 2000 by Roy Scheele. 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 www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Our horse comes in

... or maybe it's our cat who came in. In any case, I like the picture.

As you may remember, I took a (very) small piece of Troublecat's action at the 2006 WSOP. The Cat finished in 410th place, out of 8,773 entries, and won $30,512.00, not bad earnings on a $10k investment... especially since Ryan made the buy-in through a win at FullTilt.

He apparently looked at it as pure profit, since my email this morning noted that $305.12 had been deposited in my PokerStars account, representing my 1% backing.

It would have been nice to get a piece of the $12,100,997 (let's see, that would have been $121,099.77. whew.) that the ultimate winner, Jamie Gold took, but hey, I bet Gold couldn't write as entertaining a blog as the Cat, either.

Thanks, TC. It was a fun run, and whenever you want a backer again, give me a call. In fact, you can count on at least two from New Hamster. My wife followed you as closely as I did, sending me lunch time reports on your progress. I think you have a fan.

Three Alternate Histories

The "Burning Settler's Cabin" at Disneyland had an everchanging history, reflecting whatever happened to be politically correct at the time.

When I was a kid, there was a dead settler in front of the cabin, Indian arrow prominently sticking out of his back, while the recorded voice on the Mark Twain told us about the dangers faced by the early pioneers.

Sometime in the `70s or `80s, the body was replaced by a "sleeping moonshiner" complete with jug, who, the audience was told, had drunkenly set the cabin on fire before passing out. I never saw that version at Disneyland - the last time I was at the park was in 1971, but I'm pretty sure I saw it at Disneyworld.

A version I missed at both parks - which I'm just as happy about - was some weird environmental scenario, where the cabin's resident had accidently set the cabin on fire again, this time in an attempt to evict a family of eagles who had taken up residence in its eaves. Don't look at me that way. I don't write `em. I just report `em.

In any case, the bean counters at Disneyland had the fire permanently shut off, although it may still be burning at WDW, and I guess when you round the curve now on the Rivers of America, you just see a blackened cabin, and the narrative says something about it... or maybe not. Which is a shame, 'cause as the folks at Re-imagineering say, it was "one of the coolest experiences a kid and his parents could share together."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Samuel L. Jackson in your ear


Just in case someone you know needs to be told that "Snakes on a Plane" will be out tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Crushered

Crippled to a stack of $350 when Leather Tuscadero's Ace high straight beat out rico's King high straight, ol' rico would go all-in with two Kings a few hands later only to meet Warp Factor Love's AA... and out in 42 of 48.

Until next week.

Episode 9 of Dreamtime

A podcast in three parts: Part 1 - Coco has a hot rod. Part 2: The Dharma and Greg connection. Part 3: The indisputable leader of the gang.

A little zombie art.




courtesy of "Spelling with Zombies"





Friday, August 11, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 072

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Those who survived the Great Depression of the 1930s have a tough, no-nonsense take on what work is. If when I was young I'd told my father I was looking for fulfilling work, he would have looked at me as if I'd just arrived from Mars. Here the Pennsylvania poet, Jan Beatty, takes on the voice of her father to illustrate the thinking of a generation of Americans.


My Father Teaches Me to Dream

You want to know what work is?
I'll tell you what work is:
Work is work.
You get up. You get on the bus.
You don't look from side to side.
You keep your eyes straight ahead.
That way nobody bothers you--see?
You get off the bus. You work all day.
You get back on the bus at night. Same thing.
You go to sleep. You get up.
You do the same thing again.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
There's no handouts in this life.
All this other stuff you're looking for--
it ain't there.
Work is work.


First printed in "Witness," Volume 10, Number 2, and reprinted by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 1996 by Jan Beatty, whose latest book, "Boneshaker," was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2002. 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 www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

14 Views of the Big City...



... a tone poem at Dreamtime.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Da winnah for this Tuesday's Wheaties....

... is moi.

PokerStars reports:

You finished in 1st place.

276 hands played and saw flop:
- 13 times out of 60 while in small blind (21%)
- 19 times out of 60 while in big blind (31%)
- 9 times out of 156 in other positions (5%)
- a total of 41 times out of 276 (14%)

Pots won at showdown - 14 out of 15 (93%)
Pots won without showdown - 48

Notable hands...

About eight minutes in, I'm holding pocket Kings. I raise 4x the BB ($80). Get a $100 reraise from the next guy in line, cantseefade, who I don't remember ever playing against before. Flop is 6s 9h 5h. I bet $400. cantseefade goes all-in with 1280. I think about the Aces, the sets, maybe the AK of hearts, and finally call. cantseefade is holding AQ of diamonds. He doesn't improve. I go up to 3010 in chips.

From the "something you don't see very often" department. Maudie in Seat 3 raise 3x the BB. CawtBluffin in Seat 6 reraise sanother $190. Maudie calls. Everybody else folds. Flop is 2d Ac Kd. Maudie and Cawt both check. Turn is a 4h, which will turn out to be significant. Maudie checks. Cawt bets 330. Maudie goes over the top with a re-raise. Cawt goes all-in. Maudie has Cawt covered and calls.

River is a 6c. Maudie is holding a pair of 4s, and had a set at the Turn. Unfortunately for her, Cawt had been slow playing Aces, and had made a better set at the Flop. Game Cawtbluffin.

About 9:30 I get whacked hard by weak_player when I have pocket 7s and an open-ended straight at the Flop. Unfortunately for me, weak is holding a pair of Kings, which hold up. I go from $3500 to $1100 in that one hand.

Notable quotes #1 from my archenemy, dsheep: "Aqua has replaced you as my enemy, rico" "you are down to 'strongly despised'"

Notable quotes #2 from my archenemy, dsheep: "what a nice evening (subliminal message: Rico pass me your remaining chips) for a poker outing"

Notable reply from me: "subliminal msg: (Bite me, d)"*

*Just to keep the record straight, we're only arch-enemies at the tables, and like jerking the other's chain.

Da Hammer Falls: I'm in in the Small Blind with a perfect Hammer and $602 in chips. weak raises to $450 and I figure what the hell. I go all-in and get my revenge on weak when I pair my deuce and he doesn't pair either his King or Queen. I double to $1354.

A little later, with $904 now left, I go all-in with Kh Jd. dogtown73 smells my desperation and calls. Happily he's only holding K8o, and I win with a better kicker. Back to $1908 in chips.

I go on a mini-rush with JJ QQ and QQ in close succession and work my stack to $2908.

I take out weak with a set of Queens vs. his Big Slick. $4800 in chips.

I take out GScottW when I pair an Ace against his pocket 6s. $6511 in chips.

I take out Hermwarfare when my nuts flush beats out his 10-high flush. $10,011 in chips.

10:17 - at the final table with $10,231 in chips.

I wander in the wilderness for a long time; alternately stealing blinds and folding, staying around $11k in chips, staying out of trouble. The field gradually shrinks without my involvement.

With $10,400 in chips left and $600 committed in the Big Blind and holding soooooooted K10, I call my fellow traveler xkm1245's raise to $1200. Flop has two more of my suit, and I go over the top with a $2400 raise. xkm calls. Turn gives me the flush and I go all-in when xkm checks. He thinks about it and folds. $14,700 in chips.

I cripple kaellinn18 when I pair a King at the Flop, beating out kaellinn18's pocket 8s. $30k in chips. kaellinn is taken out next hand by xkm. Three of us left. dogtown is short stack with $11k. I'm in close second with my $30k. xkm has $31k.

We fence 3-way. We fence some more. I mostly stay out of the way as dogtown and xkm go at it.

Notable quote #3 - xkm1245 said, "hey, if we get heads up rico, what say i drive over and we play it live?"

We're in a 3-way tie circa 11 pm when dogtown gets a flush at the Flop while holding J4. He had raised. xkm with AQo reraised. xkm refuses to let his flopped Queen pair go, and chases a possible full house to the River. He doesn't get it. Happily, I was not in the hand. xkm gets a little crazy about the dog's play, but what the hey. It's 3-handed.

xkm is down to $662 in chips and I take him out with a KJ vs. his Q10. Just me and the dog now.

Me and dog go heads-up. He's got double the chips I have and is wearing me down. I start blasting all-ins at him with anything useful in my hand and work my way up a bit.

But I'm getting tired, and don't even notice a hand where I pulled a straight at the River. Opportunity missed. Frustrated, the next hand I call dog's $2800 raise with sooooooooooted 8 6. I flop middle pair, an 8, bet $4,000 and dog calls. 6 on the Turn, I go all-in, think dog's been running a trap when he calls, but he has nothing but a straight draw vs my two pair, which hold.

With that big whack at his stack, I'm now in the lead with $60k. dog has $13k, goes card dead, and with only $4600 left, goes all-in AJo. I only have 9 6 sooooooooooted, but make the proper call. I pair my 6.... and win out over the small field of 48.

Until next week.







Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bingo (redux)


A WWdn winner am I, to quote the Cat. More tomorrow.

Latest Dreamtime is up and podcast thoughts

Episode 7 - The donkey that wouldn't die, on Hee Haw.

Lessons learned to date for all you burgeoning podcasters out there:

  1. It pays to advertise in like-minded venues. A little less than 90 percent of Dreamtime traffic is currently coming from a Dylan central clearing-house, Expecting Rain, which I send an announcement to when each new podcast goes up.

    The bulk of the remainder of the traffic is coming from another Dylan-related site, White Man Stew, where a couple of commentors had some kind things to say about the podcast. The rest is literally only 20-30 visitors a week who have found Dreamtime through some sort of search, or friends/family come to visit and support.

  2. Placement increases traffic dramatically. ER was giving me somewhere from 300-400 visitors each week, until this week where the Dreamtime announcement was in first position in Monday's list. That drove over 1500 visitors to Dreamtime in one day. Visitors from White Man Stew also started moving from the tens into the hundreds after the blog's owner permalinked to me.

  3. Being listed in podcast directories is worthless, with the possible exception of iTunes (see below). Being listed in the Yahoo podcast directory may help, but that's been broken every time I've tried to enter my RSS.

  4. The download/play numbers are interesting, although I'm not sure how reliable they are.

    As far as I can tell, I currently have about 70 subscribers (or at least subscribers who listen) through iTunes or some other RSS reader. I'm gauging those numbers based on posting the mp3 on Saturday but not making an announcement until Monday. In the interim, I had those 70-odd downloads. To be accurate, I'd probably need to have the file, sans announcement, up for at least a week of tracking.

    I've had about 300 download/plays of the latest podcast directly from the site (released on Saturday, announced on Monday), which indicates that the vast majority of Monday's visitors either read but didn't listen or just left without doing either.

    That may be content. Episode 7 dealt with Hee Haw. The most popular to date, Episode 5 - Two voices from Chronicles, which was of more likely interest to the Dylanphile than Hee Haw, had nearly double the amount of downloads/plays when it was released, and still remains the most-listened to Dreamtime each week. #2 is the Baseball episode commentary.

  5. People want to read as well as listen. A lesson I already learned from business podcasting, where my #1 request was to include a transcript (#2 was the ability to play directly from the site w/o bringing up a blank Quicktime screen or the WMP).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Night time in the Big City

It's night time in the big city
Rain is fallin', fog rolls in from the waterfront
A night shift nurse smokes the last cigarette in her pack
The moon goes behind a cloud
A truck drops off tomorrow's newspapers
A styrofoam coffee cup rolls across the street
Two sailors get out of a cab
Somewhere, a car alarm goes off
A woman walks barefoot, her high heels in a hand bag
Pizza parlour is locking up
A drunken security guard drops his flashlight
A truck driver runs a red light
The strange, quiet man practises Tai Chi in the park
A night shift nurse smokes the last cigarette in her pack
A married couple has a late night snack
A man buys a pack of gum, steals a nail clipper
Two pairs of sneakers are strung over a phone line
A woman watches her neighbor through binoculars
A cat knocks over a lamp
Angry prostitutes fight over a street corner
A man gets drunk, he shaves off his mustache
Outside, the dogs are barking
A woman walks barefoot, her high heels in her handbag
The wind picks up from over the bay
A delivery boy makes the wrong turn
A guilty man goes home to his wife
It's time to make the donuts
An ambulance races through downtown
An off duty cop parks in front of his ex-wife's house

- Opening lines to Theme Time
(up to 8/2/06 show) as poetry via Expecting Rain forum

Friday, August 04, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 071

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

William Carlos Williams, one of our country's most influential poets and a New Jersey physician, taught us to celebrate daily life. Here Albert Garcia offers us the simple pleasures and modest mysteries of a single summer day.


August Morning

It's ripe, the melon
by our sink. Yellow,
bee-bitten, soft, it perfumes
the house too sweetly.
At five I wake, the air
mournful in its quiet.
My wife's eyes swim calmly
under their lids, her mouth and jaw
relaxed, different.
What is happening in the silence
of this house? Curtains
hang heavily from their rods.
Ficus leaves tremble
at my footsteps. Yet
the colors outside are perfect--
orange geranium, blue lobelia.
I wander from room to room
like a man in a museum:
wife, children, books, flowers,
melon. Such still air. Soon
the mid-morning breeze will float in
like tepid water, then hot.
How do I start this day,
I who am unsure
of how my life has happened
or how to proceed
amid this warm and steady sweetness?


Poem copyright (c) by Albert Garcia from his latest book "Skunk Talk" (Bear Starr Press, 2005) and originally published in "Poetry East," No. 44. Reprinted by permission of the author. 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 www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

25 seconds at the final table

... literally. ricoM arrived at the final table in Miz Maudie's named WWdN last night and 25 seconds later left in 9th place with $19.25 in my virtual pocket, falling in the first hand against aquaverse when I made a rookie play that has caught me out too many times before - pairing high card on the flop with an Ace kicker and playing the hand way too passive/aggressive.

I'm in the Big Blind with AJo (200/400/25). Aquaverse simply limps in. Everyone else folds. I check because at the time I don't think much of the AJ off. This is Mistake #1 - Passive. Sometimes you bet because you think you have the better hand, sometimes you bet to steal. Sometimes you bet for information. Against one player, I should be thinking at least one of those things and bet. If I had bet out, maybe $1000, it's likely that aquaverse would have gone over-the-top at me, since he was slow-playing a pair of Queens. With a limp and then a raise, I would have folded, smelling a big pair trap, turning over the $2000 to him, but I'd still be in the game with around $5000 in chips. Even a call would have raised my antenna that he was playing something. But no bet by Rico, no information for Rico.

Flop is 7c Js 4s. I, as I said, have top pair and get all excited, like a little girl. It is a good hand, but not so good that it can't be beaten, by say a set of 7s or 4s, both possible limper hands, or by someone who has played his hand just like aquaverse has and has laid the perfect trap if I'm holding a Jack. I bet $1200, and aquaverse immediately raises to $3500. Here comes Mistake #2 - Aggressive. The only play I can make now is use my remaining chips and go all-in or fold my tent. Again, I'd have around $5k in chips left if I fold, short-stacking me at the final table, but enough that I could work my way out of the hole with some good play and good luck.

In mid position, I don't believe aquaverse has been playing J7 or J4, even on a limp, certainly he ain't playing a 74 combo. Limping with a small pair that has evolved into a set is certainly a possibility - hell, I do it all the time - but I choose to ignore it; and decide that aquaverse is probably holding a KJ or QJ. This is pretty specious thinking on my part in retrospect, but it's wonderful what you can convince yourself is true when at the poker tables.

In any case, I have at him, use my remaining chips and go all-in and, not surprisingly, since he's already committed over $4,000, aquaverse calls my $1200 raise. This could be listed as Mistake #3 on my part, as you should not go all-in unless Uno: you believe you have the winning hand and want to be called or Dos: There's something on the board that you can use to convince your opponent you have the winning hand when you don't want to be called. I kinda believe I have the winning hand, but kinda is not the belief system you should be using when your tournament life is at stake. And in my heart of hearts, I'd be really, really happy if aquaverse doesn't call. As I said, Mistake #3, but at this point it doesn't really matter - it's like remembering that you didn't put on clean underwear after having been hit by a truck because you forgot to check both sides of the street.

Aquaverse has, as you might remember, a pair of Queens, and has me beat from the git-go. I could get an Ace or Jack at the turn, but I don't. I could get one or the other at the River, but aquaverse gets a 3rd Queen instead, sealing my fate.

Aquaverse would later go on to take down the tournament. I'd go home, 9th place. Outside of that bonehead play, I was pretty pleased with myself last night, finally feeling like I had my game back after an erratic past couple of weeks. Had Maudie at my table for a bit, which was nice. Kept my eye on that crazy monkey who blitzed me last week while calling me "Dude," half regretting not getting the chance to take my revenge on her, half happy that we stayed at separate tables through the night, as Gracie would drop down to 400-600 in chips, and then blast her way back up the board. Just as happy not to be her victim again, thank you very much.

Until next week.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Young Love

via Wil Wheaton in Exile:

"Ah," I thought, "It's a young couple having a fight in the parking lot." The normality of this put me at ease. I could have been in any suburban mall in America at that moment.

As I passed them, I heard him say, "Well, what do you think I should have done?"

I looked over at them, and saw that she was pissed.

"Andrew," she said, "You can't push with ace king after a raise and a re-raise, especially with big stacks yet to act behind you!"

An Okie speaks

... and, as usual, it's worth listening to. The close made me laugh out loud. When are we going to get these on a regular basis through iTunes, Maudie?

Internet gambling bill seen delayed in Senate

I saw this first at Iggy's:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill to outlaw most forms of Internet gambling appears unlikely to win U.S. Senate passage before senators begin a month-long recess on August 4, two Republican leadership aides said on Tuesday.

They said backers of the legislation were trying to build support for it and resolve differences as the Senate focuses on other legislative matters and gets ready for a summer break.

The bill was not among the priorities outlined by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, during a session with reporters on Tuesday in which he laid out measures he hopes to wrap up before the August vacation.

"I don't expect it (Senate passage of the Internet gambling bill) to happen in the next two weeks," one Republican aide said.

"It's always a possibility, but right now it is not on the schedule," another aide said.

Backers of the legislation had hoped to swiftly push it through the Senate this month after the U.S. arrest of David Carruthers, the former chief executive of U.K.-listed BETonSPORTS, on charges of racketeering and conspiracy.

The Senate bill is virtually identical to legislation overwhelmingly approved earlier in July by the U.S. House of Representatives. It would prohibit most forms of Internet gambling and make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.

The horse racing industry has some concerns with the legislation, one gaming source said.

Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, tried to fast-track passage of the bill in the Senate by getting unanimous consent to approve it but some lawmakers objected, according to sources following the matter.

Kyl told reporters on Tuesday that supporters of the bill are making progress toward resolving the objections. He declined to elaborate.

Congress has relatively few work days left this year because of the congressional elections scheduled for early November. Lawmakers are scheduled to return from vacation in September for several weeks, then adjourn again before the elections, and then return in December.

The Republican-backed bill has been criticized by some as an election-year appeal to the party's conservative base.

Supporters of a crackdown on Internet gambling say legislation is needed to clarify that a 1961 federal law banning interstate telephone betting also covers an array of online gambling.

Among the priorities listed by Frist were passage of an energy and defense appropriations bills and possibly a military construction appropriations bill and an extension of the estate tax repeal.

***

Uno: Thank God for the inherent laziness of our legislators. Dos: I've taken down the banner ad for the nonce, as flashing banner ads annoy the hell out of me (except when I'm on a mission). But it can come back.