The Daily Bongo

April 2012

cover of The Lightning Thief graphic novel

Sunday, April 29, 2012 -- Evening

The Lightning Thief
I read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan around two years ago. Today, I read the graphic novel adaptation of the book. The graphic novel stuck to the highlights of the book. There were missing sections, like Medusa and Auntie Em's Garden Gnome Emporium. Of course, a graphic novel is limited in the amount of pages it has. The basic plot remains: Percy Jackson finds out he is a half-blood and, in fact, a son of Poseidon. When Zeus' lightning bolt is stolen, Poseidon is blamed, and Percy goes on a quest to recover the lightning bolt with buddies Grover and Annabeth. The graphics in the novel are great. They add to the story, and I'm sure that they help a person who cannot visualize the story in their mind. It's a good introduction to the story, and I hope that a child who reads the graphic novel goes in search of the novel to get enjoy even more of the story.

Graphic novels have their place. They give the reader a quick, visual of the highlights of a story. The Lightning Thief graphic novel does a great job in introducing people to Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Sunday, April 29, 2012 -- Early Evening

Cover of Jerusalem Inn by Martha Grimes
The Jerusalem Inn by Martha Grimes
I've been behind in my reading. There are many excuses: grading papers for 28 students for the end of term, watching playoff hockey, and more things to do at my full-time job. However, I am in catch-up mode now, and just finished reading The Jerusalem Inn by Martha Grimes.

The Jerusalem Inn is the fifth in the Richard Jury/Melrose Plant series, and it was more of the same as the earlier books. Jury meets Helen Minton at the beginning of the book, and after a brief tea, he makes dinner plans with her. Since it's only a few days till Christmas, they both see this opportunity as a way to have some holiday cheer. Unfortunately, when Jury goes to meet her, he finds the local police in residence. Helen is dead, assumed to be dead due to natural causes. Jury is suspicious, and rightfully so, when it turns out the Helen was poisoned. As Jury tries to find out why someone would want to kill Helen, he learns more about her life with her cousin, and that Helen may have had a child with her cousin. Tracking down the cousin, artist, Edward Parmenger, Jury travels to a snowbound mansion where Plant, his annoying in-law, Agatha, and Vivian Rivington are gathered to celebrate Christmas with the Seainghams, Parmenger, and other assorted characters. As Jury arrives, one of the guests turns up murdered.

Although it took a while for me to read the book, it wasn't because the book was bad or boring. The story was pretty much the same as the others in the series. I think that I am getting a bit tired of the fact that Jury seems to be relegated to a lonely life without love. Yeah, I get it that he is incredibly handsome. Why can't he find love in his life? It's the same with Melrose Plant. There are precocious children in this one, as with the others. This time, it's little Chrissie in Jerusalem Inn. She says something that makes Jury realize the answer to the mystery. Then there's Tommy, the young Marquis. He's 16 and a champion snooker play. Now you might think from some of the comments that I didn't like the book, but I did like it. And I was not able to guess the murderer. I guess that I should have, but it was a surprise to me. I'll read more of the series. I just hope that Jury and Plant find some love and happiness in life.

Sunday, April 22, 2012 -- Early Evening

Pens' Season Ends
We all knew that it would be difficult to win four in a row. Not many teams have been down 3-0 in a series and have come back to win it. The Pens this season were no exception. In today's game against the Flyers, the Pens just weren't able to get their act together. The team looked lackluster to me. Only Evgeni Malkin was able to get a goal to answer the four goals that Marc-Andre Fleury let in (and one empty netter). The question becomes what happens to Dan Bylsma after this. I admit that I've never been a fan of his. I can hear you know, telling me that Bylsma won a Stanley Cup with the Pens. Yes, but Michel Therrien was the coach for the majority of that season. When Bylsma is the season's coach, the Pens seem to have a problem getting beyond the first round. Last season, Bylsma had the excuse that he didn't have a healthy team. This year, he has a healthy team, and one that was supposed to be at its best. I guess we should be happy that at least we won two games in the series???? I know that is meaningless to me, and I'm sure it's equally meaningless to other fans, and hopefully to the Pens management.

Friday, April 20, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Are Still Alive!
The Pens were still in desperation mode this evening. Right now, they have to win every game to stay in the series. It's possible that they can do it, at least based on tonight's performance. Marc-Andre Fleury did a pretty good job in goal; he has his confidence back, and he only let in two Flyers goals. Steve Sullivan had a goal in the first period that was bookended by goals from Matt Carle and Scott Hartnell. Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy got goals for the Pens to tie and then take a one point lead. Fleury's confidence was back, and the Pens managed to get the win. Things are looking up with the Pens winning with a final score of 3-2.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 -- Evening

Must Win!
Tonight was a must win situation for the Pens. The situation in the Flyers series was dire. James Neal had a one game suspension for the fiasco in Sunday's game, and so did Craig Adams. Arron Asham had a four game suspension. The media was all over Sidney Crosby for his curlish, immature behavior in letting the Flyers get under his skin, and acting like a petulant baby who didn't get his way. Marc-Andre Fleury was exuding a lack of confident and an inability to stop the puck. Evgeni Malkin could hit the broad side of a barn if he was inches from it. Yes, there was a good deal wrong with the Pens in this series. When game four started this evening, things did not look good. Claude Giroux scored 1:14 into the game. The fans were cheering for the Pens blood. The first period was a back and forth shooting fest with the Flyers and then the Pens scoring. Malkin, Crosby, and Jordan Staal all had goals for the Pens to bring them within one of the Flyers. The first period ended with a score of Flyers 4 - Pens 3. When the Pens came back from the locker room for the second period, they went on a scoring streak. They were determined that they would not be denied the win. Fleury was stellar in goal, and held the Flyers to not goals through the last two periods. In the second period, Kris Letang, Steve Sullivan, and Pascal Dupuis got a goal each. Staal got two goals to get a hat trick in the game. Malkin got another goal in the third to give the Pens a double digit score of 10. The Pens got the win, and Fleury got his confidence back. Now, it's just down to playing each game as if it is the only one. Maybe, just maybe, the Pens can come back from a 3-0 deficit to pull out a series win. Final score: Pens 10 - Flyers 3.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 -- Late Afternoon

Farce of a Game
The Pens /Flyers game this afternoon was a farce. The Pens just seem to be unable to play against the Flyers, and the game devolved into a shooting fest, and in the last few minutes of the third period, a fighting fest. James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Derrick Englland, and Craig Adams were all involved in the fighting. Adams got into trouble because he pulled Scott Hartnell's hair, although I think that Adams was grabbing for jersey and got hair. In the final seconds of the game, the Flyers crowd was chanting, "you can't beat us!" and it does seem to be the case. Marc-Andre Fleury played the first two periods, and was pulled in favor of Brent Johnson when the score was 6-4 at the end of the second period. Final score was Flyers 8 - Pens 4, and the Pens go down 3-0 in the series. Scorers for the Pens: Jordan Staal (2 goals) and James Neal (2 goals). Max Talbot also got two for the Flyers.

Friday, April 13, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Down 2-0 in the Series
The Pens' had to come out fighting to win tonight's game against the Flyers. Sidney Crosby scored a goal in the first 15 seconds of the game, and that go everyone going in Console Energy Center. Nine minutes later, Chris Kunitz got a power play goal with the help of James Neal and Evgeni Malkin to give them a 2-0 lead. Peter Laviolette called a time out to give the Flyers a breather, and things were looking very good, but we had a similar start with Wednesday's game. Max Talbot, former Pen, scored for the Flyers, and you could have heard a pin drop in the area. It was as if the air was let out of the crowd's spirit. As the period ended, Paul Martin got a goal with an assist by Crosby. The first period ended with a 3-1 Pens lead.

Five minutes into the second period, Claude Giroux scored. Two minutes later, it looked like the Flyers were going to tie the game when Marc-Andre Fleury made a beautiful save to keep the Pens in the lead. The action moved to the other end of the ice where Ilya Bryzgalov made some nice saves for the Flyers. Things started to look like the last game when Giroux got a short handed goal to tie things. The Pens were dead, and Malkin and Kunitz came right back to score an answering goal six seconds later! With 2.8 seconds left in the second period, the Flyers Sean Couturier got a goal to tie things up. The players went to the locker room with a 4-4 tie.

The Pens came out and scored on in the first minute of the third period with a goal by Tyler Kennedy, with assists by Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal, but then Couturier got it back seconds later to keep the game tied at 5 each. The tide turned against the Pens when Jaromir Jagr gave the Flyers their first lead of the game. Then it went from bad to worse. Couturier got his third goal of the game, and Giroux got one in the Pens' empty net. The Flyers win with a final score of 8-5, and it sounds as if a death knell is ringing over the Pens' chances at another Stanley Cup.

Thursday, April 12, 2012 -- Evening

Playoff Stunner
I admit it. I had a migraine last night, and I went to sleep at the start of third period of last night's Pens /Flyers. After all, the Pens were doing well. Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy, and Pascal Dupuis all had goals in the first period to give the Pens a 3-0 lead into the second period. Yeah, so Danny Briere got a goal in the second, but there was no way the Pens wouldn't win the game. I woke up in the morning to learn that the Pens had lost in overtime. Briere got a second goal in the middle of the third, followed minutes later by Brayden Schenn to tie things up. Then 2:23 into the first overtime, the Flyers won with a goal by Jakub Voracek. I'm really starting to worry about the Pens making it through this series. The Flyers take game 1 with a final score of 4-3.

Saturday, April 7, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Win Final Regular Season Game
The Pens /Flyers game was not as raucous as we all thought it might be. Pascal Dupuis continued on his scoring streak with a goal, an and Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby also had goals. Jaromir Jagr also had a goal for the Flyers. Malkin finished the season as the Art Ross Trophy (most points in the season) winner with 107 points. Marc-Andre Fleury started the game and played for 32 minutes. Since the Pens had a 2-1 lead at that point, Dan Byslma pulled Fleury. If the Pens won, he would get the win, and if they lost, it wouldn't count against him. Since the Pens won, Fleury got win number 42 to finish second in wins for the season with Pekka Rinne having 43. Final score of today's game: Pens 4 - Flyers 2.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Beat Rangers
The Pens played and beat the Rangers this evening in the next to the last game of the season. The Rangers had already clinched the first place in the Eastern Conference, and with the win, the Pens clinched the fourth place. The Pens will be meeting the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. In tonight's game, Evgeni Malkin got goal number 49. Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy, Richard Park, and Kris Letang also got goals in the 5-2 win. There was an incident where Brooks Orpik had a knee on knee with Derek Stepan in the last few minutes of the game. John Tortorella, Rangers coach, went ballistic, calling the Pens "one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the time, and look what happens. It's ridiculous. But they'll whine about something else over there, won't they? Starting with their two [expletive] stars." Harsh words! From the replay, it looked like Stepan ran into Orpik who was just holding steady in his position, and when Stepan went around Orpik, he ran into Orpik's knee. It definitely wasn't an Alexander Ovechkin type kneeing incident.
Annual Pens Awards
The annual Pens team awards for the regular season are:

Baz Bastien Memorial "Good Guy" Award - Marc-Andre Fleury and Pascal Dupuis
NHL Masterton Nominee - Matt Cooke
A.T. Caggiano Memorial Booster Club Cup - Evgeni Malkin
Player's Player Award - Brooks Orpik
Edward J. DeBartolo "Community Service" Award - Evgeni Malkin
Defensive Player of the Year - Brooks Orpik & Marc-Andre Fleury
Most Valuable Player Award - Evgeni Malkin

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 -- Afternoon

Cover of the True Blood: Tainted Love comic book
True Blood: Tainted Love
I love to read, and I'm not one of those readers who snubs her nose at any sort of reading material. I say that because I love to read comic books, graphic novels, and manga. This past weekend, I saw a brand new True Blood comic book at the library. I snapped it up, and happily read it. The volume I found was volume 2, titled Tainted Love. The comic book is based on the HBO series, which is rather loosely based on the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. I'm not a huge fan of the HBO series; yeah, I know that makes me an anomaly. In the comic book, someone has tainted Tru Blood, the synthetic blood for vampires. The poison gives the vampire who drinks it a lust for killing and drinking human blood. Usually after going on a rampage, the vampire winds up killing him or herself. When Jessica, the young girl that Bill Comptom was forced to turn into a vampire, drinks the tainted Tru Blood and goes berserk, it's up to Sookie, Bill, Eric, and Sam to figure out what's going on. Although vampires take credit for the tainted Tru Blood, it's really a plot by the Empire of the Sun.

The nice thing about comic books and graphic novels is that it shows you the pictures and the action. Some people may not like that because they want their own imagination to supply the pictures. I enjoyed reading Tainted Love. The plot was good. There was action from beginning to end, and it kept me turning the pages. I don't think the HBO characters jive with the characters from the books, but at least with this comic, I wasn't pulling out my hair with irritation. If you like the HBO series or the books, I think you'll like the comic book.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Win
Brent Johnson was in goal for the Pens in this evening's game against the Boston Bruins. James Neal got his fortieth goal of the season, and Sidney Crosby got two goals in the game. Arron Ashman got a goal, and Joe Vitale, unfortunately, took a puck to the face. However, the game was a win, and that's all the Pens need in the waning games of the season. Final score: Pens 5 - Bruins 3.

Monday, April 2, 2012 -- Afternoon

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
I just finished re-reading an Agatha Christie novel, Cards on the Table. I love Agatha Christie's works, and Cards on the Table is from the strong 1930s/1940s material.

Sunday, April 1, 2012 -- Afternoon

Pens Lose -- No April Fool
Every time the Flyers come to town, you know there's going to be a hard fighting game. This afternoon's Pens / Flyers game was no exception. Tempers are always on a short leash, and before you know it, a fight can break out. This game was particularly emotional because the Pens haven't been playing as well, and the Flyers are battling to take the number four spot away from them, so the Flyers can have the home ice advantage in the playoffs. The first two periods were close, with the Pens and Flyers tied at two goals each. Steve Sullivan and James Neal scored for the Pens in the first, and Claude Giroux and Max Talbot scored for the Flyers. In the third period, things got out of hand. The Flyers scored four goals on Marc-Andre Fleury, and tempers started to flare. In the final minute and a half of the game, the Flyers put out their line, and the Pens put out their fourth line, who then started hard hitting. Fighting broke out on the ice, and then Peter Laviolette started yelling over at the Pens bench. Laviolette even jumped up on the partition to yell. Tony Granato jumped up on the Pens partition to tell Laviolette to step down. Pierre McGuire, who was in the section between the benches said that Granato wasn't saying anything bad, but both coaches were thrown out of the game. Then various players were thrown out of the game. With 32 seconds left in the game, Chris Kunitz scored one, but there wasn't any celebrating. It's not looking good for the Pens to maintain their number 4 position with the Flyers now only one point behind them. Final score: Pens 4 - Flyers 6.