The Daily Bongo

December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

I am just back from the hockey game, and I am thrilled and excited. For the first time this season, I was able to watch a Pens win! Yep, you read that right! Also for the first time this season, the Pens have managed to put together two wins in a row, and they did it against a team that has been playing well, the New York Rangers. As happened the last time we played the Rangers, folks were booing every time Jaromir Jagr touched the puck. The guy sitting next to me at the game didn't know why that was the case, so i reminded him of the "I feel like I'm dying alive. ... I don't feel comfortable here right now" quote. If there's one thing that Pittsburgh fans have, it's a long memory for the bad moments. Personally, I have always liked Jagr. I digress. The first Pens score came at 1:35 in the first period, and was a score by Tomas Surovy with assists by Sidney Crosby and Ziggy Palffy. Jagr answered with his 25th goal of the season at 17:14 in the first period. Michel Ouellet helped the Pens pull ahead with a 2-1 lead with his 4th goal of the season. The Rangers came back in less than two minutes to tie this up with Jagr assisting on the goal. Third period and Surovy scored his second goal of the game to take the lead, but the Pens squandered that by taking some stupid penalities and the Rangers tied things up 3-3. The Pens were playing well, so I was resigning myself to yet another loss, but giving kudos to the Pens for being better since Michel Therrien took the reins as coach. At the most, I was hoping that the Pens would hold on to the tie into overtime so they would at least get a point. overtime started with an unsportsman like penalty on one of the Rangers. Marek Malik must have said something on the bench during the 1 minute intermission and was caught by the ref. The Pens were putting pressure on, and then the Rangers took yet another penalty. We had a two man advantage. Then the Pens scored BUT the whistle had just been blown so the goal didn't count. I was ready to call for the heads of the refs if we lost, but then Crosby came on to score his 19th goal of the season to give the Pens a overtime win. Score was 4-3! Shots on goal for the game: Pens 37 and Rangers 17. Unbelieveable and such a change from the Eddie O days. It was a great moment and the whole arena went crazy. Finally a win when I was in attendance. The Pens have been playing much better since Eddie O was removed, and I am only hoping for more of the same.

Friday, December 30, 2005 -- Early Evening

I haven't mentioned the Baby Pens game from the middle of the week. They won the game against the Hartford Wolf Pack by a score of 5-0. Maxime Talbot scored two goals in the game, and that might explain why he was brought up yesterday. The next game will be tomorrow evening against the Norfolk Admirals.

The World Junior Hockey championships are going on right now, and both Canada and the United States are doing well. The first round of games will be over tomorrow, and then the playoffs will start on Monday. In fact, the Canadian team has already secured second place in Group A, and is hoping for the top spot if they beat the United States tomorrow. The Russians are also unbeated, and are being led by the Pens own Evgeni Malkin. So far, Malkin has scored a goal in every game. Check out the schedule for the rest of the tournament.

If one of your upcoming New Year's resolutions is to do more reading, you might want to check on the email bookclub Every Monday through Friday, you can receive a few pages from a book fitting the genre of your choice. Only about a chapter of the book is sent out via email, and if you are interested in reading more, you can get the book from the local library or purchase it. A link to your home library is set at registration time and is included in every email to facilitate the process. The genres available are mystery, sci-fi, horror, romance, plain old fiction, non-fiction, business, and prepublication books. The woman who runs the site includes a chatty comment about life in each email that at times is more entertaining than the book selection. Next week, the non-fiction option will be The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul by Phil Jackson.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 -- Evening

Pens versus the New Jersey Devils tonight.
First period: The Pens got a 5-3 power play advantage that was offset with an interference call against Sidney Crosby. With a 4-3, Ric Jackman scored. So far, we aren't getting alot of penalities, and are keeping even with the Devils in that respect. With abit over a minute left in the game and a power play opportunity just finishing, the Pens have scored again! Two goals! It looked like Crosby got the puck on it, but right now, it seems that Dick Tarnstrom is getting the credit. Marc-Andre Fleury has made some really good saves. The period ends with the Pens leading by a score of 2-0. What a difference!
Second period: 17,132 people are in attendance tonight. That's pretty good for a mid-week game without a promotion. Crosby was given credit for the second goal this evening. Another goal for the Pens! This one was by Tomas Surovy. He sent the puck right between the legs of Scott Clemmensen. This is really something! Now part of it could be due to the fact that the Devils played last night. The only thing I know is that I am going to hold my breath until the end of the game because I think that if the Pens break their losing streak, they might go on a winning streak. At least that is what I am hoping for. The announcer at the game is in the stands, and Hines Ward is there watching the game. Ward is wearing a Crosby shirt and said that he actually sent Crosby a letter to get the shirt signed. Ward is a fan of Crosby's and said that The Kid is good for the city. Just as they finished talking to Ward, and less than eight minutes into the period, Mark Recchi scored! The score is now 4-0. The Pens are on fire, and so is Fleury. He seems to be in the zone, and made another good save. To get back to Ward after all that excitement, it was very refreshing to see him in the stands with a Crosby shirt on. They just showed Ward on the jumbotron, and the whole arena went crazy. A very classy move on Ward's part to pay for a seat in the stands and to wear a Crosby shirt. Oh uh, the Devils have a 5-3 powerplay. First was a penalty on Crosby, then another on Tarnstrom. Darn! The Devils just scored. Now it's a 5-4 powerplay that has 44 seconds to kill. The score is now 4-1. Now they are back to full strength and only one goal given up. Darn, there goes Fleury's chance at a shutout. With 1:02 in the period, John LeClair took a stupid hooking penalty. That's one of those penalities that is caused because you have someone who is tired, and as LeClair is sitting in the box, you can see him breathing heavy. There was a real scrum in front of the net, and it looked like there might be another penalty, but fortunately not. The period ends. There will still be abit under a minute of penalty to kill in the third period, but the Devils will have a three goal deficit to make up.
Third period: The Devils almost scored on a puck that ricocheted across the net. They came back a minute later and did score. It's 4-2. Then a penalty was going to be called on the Devils, Surovy was passing the puck to Crosby when the puck was intercepted by Paul Martin's (of the Devils) stick, and into the goal. The Pens now have a score of 5-2. At this point with over 13 minutes left in the game, the Devils have 36 shots on goal while the Pens have 23. Now the Devils have another power play. The Pens take another penalty to give the Devils a 5-3 advantage. Fleury is making some great saves, but there's only so much he can do when the Devils are given 5-3 opportunities. The defensive guys are protecting Fleury very much, and he is really getting attacked by the Devils players. Now it is just 5 on 4 and 40 seconds of that to kill. The Pens killed the penalty. There are 10 minutes left in the game. Can we hold on to the three goal lead?Woo-Hoo! Crosby scored another goal. Assists by Ziggy Palffy and Surovy. You know, I really hope that Team Canada does poorly in the Olympics this year. That's what they would get for leaving one of the best Canadian hockey players playing right now off the team. Whose twisted idea is it that the Olympics are for the old and geriatric players? Score is now 6-2. Palffy has three points from assists this evening. 4:44 left in the game. It looks like a win for the Pens unless something goes horribly wrong. Less than a minute and the Pens are going to win.
An amazing game, and Fleury definitely deserves the first star of the game because he faced 46 shots on goal. They really needed the win. I think that this will help them in a change of attitude. It was a great game.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 -- Afternoon

Tonight's Pens game should be an interesting one. They will be playing the New Jersey Devils. In the past 14 games, the Devils have only won three. This might good news for the Pens, and I am going to be hoping for a win tonight. The Pens have recalled Rob Scuderi, Maxime Talbot and Colby Armstrong from the Baby Pens.

Over in the Steelers camp, Hines Ward and Casey Hampton were voted the MVPs of the team by their teammates.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

Mario Lemieux might be skating next week, and might be back with the team in two weeks. It seems that so far he has been doing well with his off-ice conditioning, and thinks that he won't be such a geriatric when he returns to the ice. Personally, I think that he should have taken this issue as a sign that he should be retiring.

Last night after the game, Michel Therrien said that he mentioned to the team after the second period that the Pens were acting as if they were the team who had played a game the previous night instead of that being the situation for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The second period was the one in which the Leafs scored twice. It was a more energetic game. The thing is that if the team was out of condition a week ago, not alot could have changed in that time. Unfortunately, it's going to take a bit longer. Last night's game was the sixth straight loss for the Pens. The question is how to snap them out of the losing streak and get them winning again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 -- Late Evening

I may be one of the only folks to say this, but I had a great time at the Penguins game tonight, even though the team ultimately lost in overtime with a final score of 3-2. First the positives. The game was exciting. There were some nice shots and some nice saves by Marc-Andre Fleury. Our seats are directly behind the net in the north end, which is the end that Fleury defends two periods out of three. So we did get to see some nice moves. Another positive was that the number of penalities was much less than usual. There were only four by the Pens in the entire game. Two were by defensive players, one was for too many men on the ice and another was by Shane Endicott. Yet another positive was that we are getting shots on goal. Tonight we had 35 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs had 33. For the negatives, towards the end of the game, and especially during overtime, it seemed that the team was doing more to prevent a goal then to make one themselves. Also, there was a period in the third period where we had a two man advantage for almost three minutes based on back to back penalties. So there are still items to work on, but the energy and excitement were a huge improvement. There was a time when you actually thought that the players themselves even thought they might win. Attendance at the game was 17,132, and a good percentage of those there were Toronto fans. In all the games that I have gone to so far this season, this is the first time that I saw so many people supporting the opposing teams. There were Maple Leaf flags, shirts, signs. For a minute there, I thought that I had somehow been transported to Toronto for the game. Because of that, I upped my level of creating noise for the Pens, and practically lost my voice by the end of the game. There was no way that I was going to let the Leaf fans drown out the support that I had for my team. All in all, a good game, and a disappointing overtime loss.

I didn't take my camera to the game, and I wish I had for two reasons. First was because Don Cherry was there on the ice, right in front of my section. I was booing him for his comments about Crosby, but I'm sure that was drowned out by the cheers from all those Toronto fans. As I said earlier, it was something to see so many Toronto fans, and so many of them had CBC signs so they could make it on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. The theme of most were along the lines of "Crosby Belongs in Canada" and "Crosby Bleeds Canadian". I think that there are a number of people who are irritated by Cherry's remarks and that Crosby didn't get named to Team Canada. The other missed photographic moment was a man who had a serious mullet. He was King Mullet. The back was long, and it was lacquered so that it looked like a hurricane would not blow a hair out of place. It was a mullet helmet. Not only did this gentleman have a mullet, but his son, probably 10 or so, also had a serious mullet. It was a real Polaroid moment, and I am kicking myself for not taking the camera with me this evening.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 -- Afternoon

The Penguins are playing the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening. It's one of the games for my season ticket plan, so I will be at the game. This game is going to the Hockey Night in Canada game. That means that Don Cherry will be here in Pittsburgh for the game. For some reason, Don Cherry really has it in for Sidney Crosby. Cherry claims that Crosby wanted to get Eddie O fired and that he didn't deserve to be named an alternate captain because of his age. What a goober! Even if Crosby thought that Eddie O was a crap coach, he never went around saying "we need a new coach". I know that I was saying that because, let's be honest, Eddie O should have never been a coach. Cherry has had a history of blasting Crosby, calling him a cherry picker two years ago for a trick goal that Crosby made, a diver earlier this season, and this past weekend just seemed to get on Crosby for a slew of issues. If Cherry would a woman, I'd say he had bitter old maid syndrome. Is there such a thing as "never able to do it when young, and past it now" for men?

I'm going to take along some good luck charms this evening in the hopes that we get a win. Michel Therrien didn't have much opportunity to work on problems with the defense since the last game because of the Christmas break and because Ryan Whitney wound up getting stuck in Boston and Brooks Orpik has some sort of injury from his last game.

The last thing of interest that I read about the Penguins in the past two days was the commentary on the bonus situation with Marc-Andre Fleury. There's alot more to it than Fleury just playing x number of games in the majors. Fleury will get more than $3 million if he mets four of the following: top 10 finish among NHL goalies in goals against and/or save average, 20 victories, save percentage of .890 or higher, playing time of 1,800 minutes or more, goals against average of 3.25 or lower, and four shutouts. Granted, Fleury will get some dollars for whatever of the above he does meet. Fleury is young, and as he has said, really isn't interested in the money, and didn't think much about the financials when the contract was made up. The question is if something can be arranged to save the Pens some money.

The Baby Pens won last night against the Hershey Bears. The final score was 8-1, and seven of the goals were made in the first period. The Baby Pens are still doing well. The season tally is 25-3-2-1.

Monday, December 26, 2005 -- Evening

One of the items that didn't get a big mention on the national broadcast of the Steelers game was the fan who got on the field. The guy got all the way onto the field without anyone appearing to challenge him. Verron Haynes ran away from the guy, and appears to the butt of some of his fellow players' jokes. Cleveland Browns player, Kenard Lang shoved the fan out of the way. While the stupid fan was jumping up and down, and losing his pants, James Harrison took matters into his own hands. As he said later, it looked like no one else was doing anything about the guy, and the guy did have his back to Harrison. So Harrison grabbed the guy from behind, body slammed him to the ground, and held him there until the security guys came over. All the players told Harrison that if the NFL fines him for grabbing the fan, they will contribute to the fine.

Michel Therrien gave a nice interview in the Post Gazette. The guy is very passionate about winning, and not just in hockey. As he has said, it's going to be a long, hard road, and it's not like the team is going to suddenly start winning. As Therrien has said, he can work on attitude changes right away, but it is going to take time to instill the system into the guys. Obviously there are deeper problems with the defensive line, and he hasn't said yet how he will address that problem.

Chinese restaurants are very popular at Christmas time. On Christmas Eve, my boyfriend and I went to a local Thai place, Bangkok Balcony, because the food there is excellent, and as can be expected, it was one of the few places open. It seems that alot of Asians also don't celebrate Christmas, and probably see a good opportunity to take advantage of providing an eating place for folks who want to eat out on a Christian holiday. One of the biggest groups of diners are Jewish. One thing that I hadn't thought about is that Jewish people tend to go to Chinese restaurants because it is always possible to find kosher food by sticking to the vegetarian options.

This January 1, a leap second is going to be added to the atomic clock. The reason is that the Earth has been slowing down, and in order for the atomic clocks to be accurate and in accordance with astronomical time, a second has to be added periodically. The atomic clock clicks off a second based on an atom of cesium 133 going through 9,192,631,770 cycles. The thing is that the Earth is slowing down. An astronomical second defined as 1/86,400th of a "mean solar day," the average time between two consecutive noons. This time is getting longer astronomically, so in order to keep the atomic clock in line, leap seconds are periodically added. Sometimes I wonder about what drives as humans to keep track of time so closely. Does it really matter if it is 9:45 or 9:46? When it's daylight, so daylight things. When it is nighttime, turn on the lights. We get so caught up in being exact that we forget how to live and enjoy life.

Sunday, December 25, 2005 -- Evening

An interesting story from Israel. Subliminal ads have been legalized for use on television shows. Two stations, the Music Channel and Israel Plus (a Russian language channel) are cleared for the usage, and they have to announce both before and after the program that subliminal advertising has been used. So how does the subliminal advertising work? The program just uses the product somehow in the show, and doesn't have to disclose which product was placed for subliminal purposes. It's akin to the jury on American Idol drinking from obvious Coke glasses, or Doug Heffernan eating Cheetos on King of Queens. I think that subliminal advertising is the wave of the future. Since people can now record shows on their DVRs and fast forward past commercials, the way for advertisers to get around it is to place products in the show. Now, I'm not sure how this would work for syndication because the product might not be available years later. Would I eat Cheetos because Doug Heffernan eats them? Not likely, but I did notice that he ate the crunchy Cheetos which are my personal favorite.

Yesterday I got the latest Enya CD called Amarantine. This is the first CD that Enya has released in five years. It's a typical Enya CD, and I enjoyed listening to it. There is something soothing about Enya's music, and this CD didn't disappoint. Some of the reviews on Amazon comment that this CD isn't very different from her other CDs, but that misses the point. Usually when a person likes an artist, they want to get more of the same. When you hear Enya's name, you know what to expect, and I don't see the problem with that. If you don't like the music then don't listen to it.

Sunday, December 25, 2005 -- Early Afternoon

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all.

Since today is a slow news and sports day, I thought that I would use the downtime to put some of the short stories that I had to write for my class this past term online. Please feel free to send me any suggestions for improvement.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

The Steelers are playing the Cleveland Browns this afternoon in Cleveland. The game is being played on Saturday because tomorrow is Christmas.
First half: Cleveland had the ball first, but they really didn't do anything with it. So far, we have had some good passes from Ben Roethlisberger to the receivers, and we now have the ball down in the red zone. Jerome Bettis got the ball for three carries, and scored a touchdown. For the third game in a row, the team has scored on its opening drive. The kick was good, so the score is now 7-0. This is Bettis' sixth touchdown run of the season, and 88th for his career. On the kickoff, the Browns fumbled the ball, and the Steelers almost recovered the ball, but it squirted out of Ricardo Colclough's hands and was recovered by the Browns. Hines Ward has two really good receptions, and the ball is in the red zone again. Roethlisberger throws the ball beautifully to Ward in the endzone and it's another touchdown. The score is now 14-0. Joey Porter just got his ninth sack of the season. The Browns had to kick off, and Antwaan Randle El was returning the punt, and lost the ball when he was tackled. The Browns recovered it. Fortunately, it was back at their own 20 yard line. My boyfriend put the whammy on Randle El because it looked like he was going to run it in for a touchdown, and my boyfriend has Randle El benched on his fantasy team. The Browns couldn't keep the ball, and had to punt again. For the last play of the first period was a 47 yard throw that Roethlisberger made to Cedrick Wilson. Start of the second quarter has the Steelers down on the 13 yard line. Bettis is back in the game, and powering the ball down to the first down yard line. Bettis is someone who can just drag defenders with him. We were't able to make a first down, and it looks like we might go for a field goal of 26 yards. It's good. The Steelers are up 17-0. The Browns had the ball and did nothing, and the Steelers got it back. For the first time in the game, Roethlisberger was sacked, and just now Willie Parker was held without any yardage. We weren't able to do anything with this drive and have to punt. Porter just got his second sack of the game. The Steelers' Bryant McFadden blocked the punt and got the ball at the 50 yard line. It won't be an official blocked punt because it bounced past the line of scrimmage. Another nice 21 yard throw to Ward. We are down at the 30 yard line. Parker had a few nice runs, but we weren't able to get the first down, and are going to attempt a 31 yard field goal. It's good. With 2:17, we are ahead 20-0. The Browns can't do anything offensively, and the Steelers get the ball back and just run down the clock. It's now half-time.
Second half: The start of the second half is not very exciting. A few yards here and there and then punting to the other side. Just as I say that something exciting happened. Roethlisberger handed the ball off to Fast Willie Parker at the 20 yard line, and Parker ran the ball 80 yards down the field for a touchdown. With this run he gets his 1000 yard in a season mark. Congratulations Willie! The Steelers are now ahead by 27-0. The Browns got the ball, and managed to get it down the field. Porter got his third sack of the day, and the Browns decided to go on a 4th and 13. The ball was overthrown, and the Steelers get the ball on the 29 yard line. The Browns should have gone for a field goal so at least they would have some score as opposed to a big old goose egg. Bill Cowher challenged a call of an incomplete pass to Wilson, but the refs threw it out. The Browns got the ball, and Verron Haynes ran the ball 11 yards into the endzone for a touchdown. Extra point is good and the score is now 34-0. There is still a minute left in the quarter and another quarter to play, but the game already has a feel of being over for all intents and purposes. By the fourth quarter, Cowher pulled some of the starters, and Charlie Batch is in as quarterback. At this point, it is just running down the clock, and the final score is made with a 31 yard pass to Quincy Morgan. The extra point was good, and the score is 41-0. There are 6:12 left in the game. Cleveland keeps the ball for the rest of the game, but doesn't really do much with it. The game ends with a final score of 41-0.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 -- Early Afternoon

After the Penguins game last night, Michel Therrien was not very happy with the way the defense was playing in last night's game. As Therrien said, "I'm really disappointed about our defensive group, Those guys have to play a lot better. As long as they're not going to be better, we're not going to win many games. It's not only one thing, But they have to play better. There isn't any hockey team that has a chance to win if their defensemen are not on top of their game. And right now, that defensive group is not on top of their game. That's one of the biggest reasons why we lose games. Is it a lack of concentration? Is it a lack of will? Is it a lack of skill? I don't know. It's tough to answer. But the defensive group has to be more sharp." Obviously the defensive group is not among the warriors.

Meanwhile Sidney Crosby gave a stellar performance yesterday. He said that it wasn't an attempt to send a message to Ken Hitchcock who was part of the decision making group for Team Canada's Olympic hockey team. I think that the message will be sent when Team canada doesn't win the gold medal. Meanwhile, Crosby chartered a plane so he could fly home for Christmas with his family.

Sergei Gonchar has been named to play on the Russian Olympic hockey team. It's funny that the only active Penguin player playing at the Olympics is probably one of the worst and a real non-performer this season. I guess that the Russians don't have anyone better to pick for his position.

Friday, December 23, 2005 -- Evening

I missed the first two periods and the beginning of the third period of the Pens - Flyers game tonight because I went out to dinner to one of my favorite restaurants Mediterranean Grill and then went for a drink at the local Barnes and Noble. My boyfriend and I like to go and get some coffee drinks, a cookie and read through the magazines. Needless to say, we missed a good portion of the game. When we got home, the score was 4-3 in the favor of the Pens. However, from looking at the game summary, it looks like the Pens were done by a score of 3-0 into the second period. Sidney Crosby scored two of the four goals, and also had an assist. Erik Christensen and Tomas Surovy scored the other goals. Right now with abit over six minutes left in the game, the Pens really do seem to be playing some exciting hockey, and are putting some nice shots on goal with the power play they are currently on. The thing that has been killing the Pens though are the number of penalities they are taking. Damn, the Flyers just tied up the game with 4:33 left in the game. Peter Forsberg was the scorer for the Flyers. Forsberg has two goals and an assist in the game so far. Damn, Damn! In abit over one minute, the Flyers have scored again, and the score is now 5-4 in favor of the Flyers. We only have 3:15 left to tie it up. 1:44 left in the game, and it is not looking good for a tie. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled from goal with one minute left in the game. Therrien took a time out with 20 seconds left in the game to go over some strategy and to give Crosby a rest. Crosby has been on the ice for awhile now. Fleury is still on the bench. Crosby won the face-off, and they put a big rush on the net and almost scored. 13 seconds left now! We have some exciting hockey. The Flyers won the game. Fleury was shaking his head on the bench, and smacked his stick against the side of the bench. Things that still need to be worked on are the shots on goal which were still on the meager side with only six shots on goal in the first period, and the number of penalities that the team has taken. One thing to note is that the geriatrics played a big hand in pulling some of the earlier penalities. The analysis by the announcers is that it was a much better effort on the part of the Pens than we have been seeing. However, it should be noted that the Flyers are a decent team this year, fifth over all in the Eastern Conference and second in the Atlantic Division (we are last in both Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division). The next game up for the Pens is also a home game, and I will be at that game. We'll be playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. The post game show just showed a segment on the Pens taking the bus together to practice. It seems that it has been a bonding experience for the team, and Andre Roy was joking about how the guys sing For He's a Jolly Good Fellow on the bus.

Friday, December 23, 2005 -- Afternoon

Today is the first day of winter recess at the University of Pittsburgh. Yep, that means that I don't have to go back to work until January 3. I am planning on spending the break giving in to the inner fatter and eating my way through the days. It should also give me a chance to catch up on reading and blogging.

The Pens will be meeting the Flyers tonight. It seems that the players are optimistic about what they are learning from Michel Therrien's system. One of the key components that Therrien is trying to instill in the players is a sense of positioning. There is a place that each player should be in at every time, and if the players stick to that system, there is hope that they might turn things around and win a game. It will be interesting to see how they do tonight after a week of practices and conditioning with Therrien. Mario Lemieux was observing the practice yesterday, but at this point, he is just doing off ice conditioning.

Scientists have observed an explosion on the Moon that occurred on November 7 of this year. The explosion was caused by a 12 centimeter-wide meteorite traveling at 27 km/s that crashed into the Moon. It seems that the meteorite might have been part of the Taurid meteor shower that occurs in late October/early November. The explosion from the impact was equal to 70 kg of TNT.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 -- Afternoon

The Penguins have named Isle of Capri Casino as their partner in the arena building escapade. Yesterday, the Isle of Capri representatives talked about a plan to redevelop in the Hill District where the Mellon Arena currently resides and to build the 18,000 seat arena for the Pens. Lots of folks are getting excited about the plan, but I am reserving my opinion. It all hinges on the Isle of Capri group getting a slots license in Pennsylvania, and rumors are swirling that even though the official decision hasn't been made, the cronies of the current state Governor will be awarded the licenses. Of course, these are just rumors and will either be validated or invalidated by the actual awarding of licenses.

Two reports are challenging the assumption that there may have once been water on Mars. According to the two reports, the layered sandstone like terrain might be the result of volcanic activity or collisions from space. Obviously, much more data and research will be needed before a definitive answer can be given. If you are interested in what might happen if an object collided with a planet in our Solar System, check out the Solar Systems Collisions page. If you go to the page, try out Target--Earth, Projectile Composition--Iron, Projectile Diameter 50 km, Projectile Velocity 80.0 km/sec.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 -- Evening

Can we say "Geriatrics R Us?" That's going to be the mantra of Team Canada where geriatrics who aren't performing as well as younger players were given a place on the team. "No room, no room," as the Mad Hatter said, for Sidney Crosby. He's too young for the team--that's the consensus. So he has 33 points, and Todd Bertuzzi, who probably shouldn't even be playing hockey after his ugly hit on Steve Moore, is on the team. So Bertuzzi has 29 points. Bertuzzi was too good to pass up, and he should be rewarded for his behavior with a spot on the Team. Of the 23 players, 21 have been on Team Canada in 2002 AND 2004. That does say something about the team. Eric Staal with 47 points, 24 of which are goals, could only be considered for the reserve squad which means he doesn't even get entry to the Olympic Village. Yep, Team Canada wants to make sure that the old weezers of hockey are recognized for their past efforts as opposed to recognizing the younger players who are actually playing good now. If I were in Canada right now, I would be roaring with outrage. I guess Team Canuck doesn't want to actually win a medal this year. They just want to make sure that the geriatrics feel good about themselves and rattle their aged bones around the Olympic rink one more time before retirement.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 -- Afternoon

Last year nine Steelers made it to the Pro Bowl. This year, the Steelers haven't been playing as well, and only four players were named to the Pro Bowl. They are Alan Faneca, Jeff Hartings, Joey Porter, and Troy Polamalu. Notable abscences are Hines Ward, who has gone to the Pro Bowl for four years in a row previous to this year, and Ben Roethlisberger who has had a pretty good year statistically. The teams who have the heaviest representation are those that are doing well, such as the Colts, Bears, Chargers and Falcons.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 -- Morning

The Penguins have found a partner who is willing to finance an arena for the Pens if he gets a slots licence. The Pens themselves will not benefit from the slots, but their partner will. The partner has not been named, but it is some entity that is a gambling operator. I say that because I don't know if it is an individual or a group. Needless to say, this is good news for the city. Basically for awhile now, we have known that it is going to come down to the distribution of the slots licenses. Let's just hope that it goes in the Pens favor.

Everyone has been talking about the changes that have been happening with the Pens since Michel Therrien has been named coach. It has been one of those eye opening experiences for some, not for me. I could see that Eddie O's notions of treating your players as friends was going down a slippery slope to crap, but I suppose that some thought that if you have a coach who treats you like an intelligent equal that you will perform for said coach. Heck no! Let's put it this way, if your boss didn't care what time you showed up for work, or if you did the assigned work for the day, would you do it? Some people might, but as time went by, even they would become slackers. So now we have a coach who is trying to instill teamwork and a system. The players now meet at Mellon Arena, change their clothes, ride out on a bus to Neville Island, they do the prescribed workout, ride back to the Arena together and do their off-ice workout. As Therrien has said, it's not that he is being mean. He is being the parent who offers the support and discipline that the family needs. One of the quotes of Therrien's that I like is: "I don't demand a guy scores two goals or three goals. What I'm demanding is that if you have a dollar in your pocket, I'm expecting that you give me one dollar. If all you have is 50 cents, bring me your 50 cents, and you'll be fine." Eddie O is a nice guy. He's not a bad guy. Who in their right mind would have hired Eddie O as a head coach with no coaching experience? So now the Pens have a system, and a person who will enforce that system. We will see how the players respond. The only comment to be made is that after Therrien took the time out in the game on Saturday and yelled at the players, they scored three goals. Of course, they ultimately lost, but sometimes a firm hand is needed and works.

The Pennsylvanian courts ruled yesterday that intelligent design will not be taught in the biology classes. The federal judge ruled in favor of the parents who brought the suit and who wanted Darwanian evolution taught in biology. Of course, this ruling probably won't stop the ID folks who want the credit for human life to go to a God. Personally I have a problem with the ID folks. So they don't think that human life can evolve from microbial beginnings, BUT they believe in the existence of this being that can create human life from nothing. When you ask them who was the creator then of this being who creates life, well, then you just have to have faith. Pshaw! Let's just leave out a step and put our faith in the fact that life can arise from just the right conditions and chemicals and eventually evolve into intelligent life. Let's put creation myths where they belong, in a classroom that teaches the myths and legends of all religions and peoples, past and present, on the planet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 -- Morning

Wayne Gretzky's mom died last night at the age of 64 after fighting lung cancer since the fall of 2004. Gretzky just this past weekend had taken time off from his duties as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes for an indefinite period to be with his family. Unfortunately, he did not get to spend as much time with his mother as he probably wished. Phyllis Gretzky was 64 years old.

Team USA has announced its 23 man roster for the coming Winter Olympics in Turin. Two who weren't on the list were John LeClair and Jeremy Roenick. The lockout has really been detrimential to the older players. In the case of Roenick and LeClair, they have not been playing at the same level they were prior to the lockout.

I wish that I could have been at yesterday's Penguins practice. It seems that the 75 minute practice was intense. Some of the players likened it to a college practice because they will have the entire week to practice and not play until Friday which is commonly the case in college. There were one on one practices--forwards against defensemen. If the forwards were able to score three points, the defensemen had to do pushups. If the forwards scored less than three points, they had to do the pushups. The final score was three sets of pushups for the crappy defense and one set for the forwards. Clips were shown on some of the television shows, and it was something to see--players doing pushups while Michel Therrien walked amongst them, gloves on, holding his hockey stick. That stick seems to be glued to his hand during practice time. Although the players haven't wanted to say anything bad about Eddie O, all admitted that they were out of shape, and that they thought the practice was a good workout and not punishing. It was obvious that the players were out of shape because in the film footage on the sports shows, you could see the players standing on the side of the rink at times, bent over and breathing heavily. The goal from now until Friday will be to work on the system. I am looking forward to the games that I will be going to next week.

My question is whether Mario Lemieux can withstand such a practice, especially with his heart issue. The consensus now is that the return of the problem was due to the fact that Lemieux played too soon after the diagnosis and treatment of his issue. The goal now is to just have Lemieux do some off ice conditioning. Once he is given the go ahead by his doctor, then he will resume ice work. It seems in the past that the problem has been that Lemieux has been making the decisions on whether he is capable of playing as opposed to the medical professional who knows better. This brings up the question of whether Lemieux should retire. We have all seen Lemieux's level of play since the beginning of the season. He is one of the geriatrics to whom I have been referring who don't have the vim and vigor to skate at high speed around the ice, who have been leaving the puck in the middle of the ice, and who have gotten high minus ratings on the ice. Lemieux is a -16 which means really bad things happen when he is on the ice. He should retire for the benefit of the team. He is not playing at his former level. He has health problems. Jiri Fischer had an irregular heartbeat discovered in practice a few years ago, and recently had the incident that scared all the fans watching the game, when he collapsed and almost died on the bench. Lemieux needs to retire. He has had a great career. What Lemieux needs to realize now is that it's time to say good-bye. It's hard, but it's something that should be done.

Scientists think that they have found the location where Beagle 2 crashed late in 2003. The scientists have looked at the crater where Beagle 2 was supposed to land, and have found disturbances in the area that are indicitive of an impact. No sign of debris at this point.

The Steelers are eigth in the NFL in bonuses. The Steelers have so far this season paid out $41 million dollars in signing bonuses. The Steelers had to resign alot of players this past season and accounts for a good portion of the payments. One bonus that is not likely to be paid is to Tommy Maddox. If he is still on the roster in March, he will receive a $100,000 roster bonus. So it is probably very likely that he won't be around by that time.

Monday, December 19, 2005 -- Evening

Joey Mullen was named the head coach of the Baby Pens today. I gave some misinformation earlier about the situation this weekend. Rick Kehoe was the person assisting Joey Mullen this weekend. The Baby Pens did not do too poorly this past weekend. They had two wins and a loss. Last night, they beat the Hershey Bears with a score of 3-0.

The NCAA has released a new report with graduation rates for college athletes. They managed to boost the graduation rates for athletes by accounting for graduation that takes up to six years and transfer from one college to another. The University of Pittsburgh has a graduation rate of 48% for football players, 29% for basketball, and 77% for baseball. Still very shabby statistics and it shows that basically colleges just use the players and spits them out. Penn State does appear to stand by its athletes with an 84% graduation rate for football players, 64% for basketball and 72% for baseball. West Virginia University has 64% for football, 67% for basketball, and 57% for baseball. Obviously Pitt has alot to learn from those two colleges.

Monday, December 19, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

It seems that Mario Lemieux will be out for an indefinite time period that will be at the minimum two weeks. The concern is that Lemieux came back from his atrial fibrilation abit too early last time and that caused a reoccurence of the problem. The goal this time is to be more careful and not to have Lemieux stress himself over coming back to play. Also, I'm not sure what sort of physical condition he will be in. Lemieux might be in Eddie O shape and not Michel Therrien shape, and I don't know if the grueling Therrien shape will be good for his heart.

Monday, December 19, 2005 -- Afternoon

The Penguins should have a rough week ahead with full practices that will detail Michel Therrien's philosophy on the game and teach the team the system that he believes will help them to win. Also, the team has to get into better shape. Therrien was saying after one of the games that the team gets the hooking and holding penalties that are killing us because they can't skate. The reason the team is having skating issues is because the team is basically out of shape. So there should be alot of aerobic and strength conditioning going on this week. The next game for the Pens is this coming Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

It seems that Michel Therrien is using Michel Ouellet for more than scoring. Ouellet is being used in penalty kills also which is not what Ouellet thought was his strength. So far, in the two games that Ouellet has played, he has done a good job with two goals and making his presence felt on the ice. Also the line of Ouellet and Erik Christensen will be one that we will be seeing alot of because the players have a chemistry together.

I have been listening to the The Very Best of the Feynman Lectures today. It is a quiet time at work, and alot of people aren't around, so there is no one to disturb by listening to physics lectures. The cds cover The Theory of Gravitation, Curved Space, Electromagnetism, Probablity, The Relation of Wave and Particle Viewpoints and The Schrodinger equation. The lectures are interesting, and would be even more fun if you could see the slides that he shows. Feynman was an interesting character and was acknowledged as one of the best physics lecturers around. His New York accent is very noticeable, and the lectures are entertaining in that he find a common way to explain things and he uses humor. If you are interested in physics, you should check out the cd set.

One of my favorite authors is Charles Dickens. When I was a young child, I would reread David Copperfield every summer. Another of my favorites is Christmas Carol, and Penguin Books UK is releasing a free podcast of the book as read by Geoffrey Palmer on its web site. The podcast is broken up into five pieces, and today was the release of the third piece. The podcast will only be available until the New Year, so go to Penguin Books UK and subscribe to the RSS feed to get the mp3s.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 -- Afternoon

Steelers game today. We will be playing the Minnesota Vikings. Since the Steelers had alot of problems with the noise level (real or manufactured) playing against Indianapolis Colts, they played some practices with manufactured noise to prepare for another game in a domed stadium.
First half: The Steelers got the ball first, and are moving the ball down the field. We are yards from a touchdown now based on a throw by Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller with a good block by Hines Ward. Now we are down to fourth down and couldn't convert a touchdown. We went for the field and Jeff Reed kicked it in for three points. The ball was going back and forth and the Steelers had it again, and Antwaan Randle El signalled for a fair catch, but then didn't catch the ball. There was a fumble and it looked like the Vikings got the ball. There was a review, and the ball was given to the Vikings because Randle El didn't catch the ball. It seems that Randle El's goal was to signal for a catch and then to get the heck out of there when it looked like he wasn't going to get it. While trying to get out, he was tackled and the ball bounced off him and the vikings recovered. The bad thing is that the Vikings are on the three yard line. The Vikings throw the ball. It looks like an incomplete pass, but they are challenging because it looks like the guy came down with two feet and then lost the ball. The Vikings lose the challenge and a timeout. They are unable to get a touchdown and have to settle for a field goal. Score is now tied at 3-3. The Steelers have the ball again. The second quarter starts, and it looked like a fumble, but the Steelers were offside. The vikings had the ball, but fumbled a catch, and Joey Porter recovered the ball. Neither team seems to be taking advantage of any opportunities. Randle El just returned a punt for 72 yards. We are down now around the 14 yard line. They gave Jerome Bettis the ball three times, and he got the first down. The Steelers are at the four yard line. The Steelers are third and goal at the three yard. Roethlisberger was under pressure, and he ran and got the ball in for a touchdown. Randle El put in a hit for him. The extra point was good. Score is 10-3. The ball got thrown down by the vikings for a possible touchdown and it was intercepted in the endzone by Deshea Townsend. The Steelers take the knee for the final 18 seconds and we go to halftime.
Second half: The Vikings had the ball, but couldn't make a touchdown, so they tried for a field goal. The Steelers blocked the ball, so there was no score and it was now our ball. Our offensive line is holding up very well, and Roethlisberger was sacked for the third time today. The ball was thrown to Cedric Wilson and the officials said it did not make a first down. Bill Cowher challenged the placement of the ball, and the official review put it down further on the field and we got the first down. Then a hand off to Willie Parker that got them 49 yards. The Vikings got a penalty for holding on Ward, and that got us to a first down on the 14 yard line. Roethlisberger got sacked for the fourth time with a loss of five yards. We couldn't get a touchdown, and had to settle for a Reed field goal. Score is 13-3. At the kickoff, the Vikings fumble, and the Steelers recover at the 30 yard line. Again we aren't able to get a touchdown and have to settle for a field goal which is good. Score is 16-3. The vikings had the ball, then we did, then we had to kick off to them. They had the ball in their end zone, and we tackled the runner and got a safety. So the score is now 18-3. And we get the ball again. Randle El ran the ball for a first down. He has been doing well this game even though he did have the screw up with the punt and fumble in the first half. Larry Foote got a sack on the Vikings quarterback, and with abit over five minutes left in the game, the Steelers have the ball again. The game is winding down, and it looks like the Steelers are going to win. The Steeler take the knee to win the game. Final score is 18-3.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 -- Late Morning

I have been wondering who lost the A that was given to Sidney Crosby. After all, it stands to reason that if Crosby was named an alternate captain that someone was demoted from that position since there are only three alternate captains on a hockey team. Well, I found out today who it was. It was John LeClair. He is not taking it personally, and he shouldn't. It makes sense because LeClair has been injured of late with hip and groin problems. Also, the point was not to take it from LeClair, but to give it to Crosby so one of the younger players would have representation as an alternate. Also as Michel Therrien said at the time, it is to help Crosby take some responsibiilty because eventually the team will be his.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 -- Evening

I went to the most boring sporting event late this afternoon. It was one of the non-conference basketball games for the Pitt Panthers. They were playing Vermont. The game was incredibly boring, but that may be because I really don't like basketball very much. I might watch a game or two, but that's really pushing it. The Panthers won by a score of 63-52. The only good thing to say is that the game only lasted in total (with breaks, time outs, etc) an hour and a half. I was dozing off in the second half. I had gotten the tickets for free from work, but I can't believe that others paid the $40 face value on the tickets. Yeah, it gets you access to the Club House, which is a place to buy alcohol and extremely overpriced food.

Because I was at the game, I missed most of the first two periods of the Pens game. I don't think I missed much because when I turned on the game with seven minutes left in the second period, the score was 3-1 in favor of the Buffalo Sabres, and then Buffalo scored another to make it 4-1. It was at that point that I noticed that Jocelyn Thibault is in goal. Sidney Crosby scored the first goal for the Pens. The third period started with Michel Ouellet making a goal in 24 seconds. There was another almost goal by him a few minutes later. That's obviously why Michel Therrien brought Ouellet up from the minors. The Pens do seem to have some tiredness issues, and that's not something that Therrien can change in 48 hours. You can't give your players stamina just by willing it. It's going to take some hard work on the part of the strength and conditioning coach. Ouellet, Tomas Surovy, Eric Christensen and Ryan Whitney were putting intense pressure on the goal, and it wound up with a score by Surovy. Note that those four are guys who have come up from Baby Pens and have plenty of experience under Therrien. It was amazing to watch their effort--and the result of a goal. I think that in a few weeks we are going to see some great hockey coming out of the Pens. Right now, the score is 4-3 and the Pens seem to have some momentum in their favor. The younger Pens put on a valiant fight to get the tieing goal with no luck, but it was great hockey. I really have high hopes for the future. Shots on goal were up and that is a big improvement over the Eddie O era. Final score was 4-3.

It seems that Mario Lemieux has had some additional problems with the irregular heartbeat in the third period of yesterday's game. He didn't travel to Buffalo, and there is concern about the condition. No other details at this point. Obviously, it is too early to make any decisions about future play. I think that it's going to be one of those wait and see things.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 -- Morning

I noticed last night that Ric Jackman was not playing last night, and it seems that he was a healthy scratch. It really isn't understandable since Jackman is the Pens highest scoring defenseman. It seems that Eddie O has some sort of falling out with Jackman, and that has carried over to the new coach. Michel Therrien has said that he has had to make room for other players who were coming in off of the injury list like Mario Lemieux, and this is the explanation for the Wilkes-Barre moves and Jackman as a scratch. Therrien said that Jackman could be playing today, and that Maxime Talbot might be coming back.

There are a group of Jews for Christmas who are trying to call attention to the fact that preventing the majority of people from acknowledging their religion isn't right. Lately, it has become unacceptable for people to wish each other Merry Christmas, and this has been disturbing alot of people. Being an atheist with a Jewish boyfriend, I don't celebrate Christmas, but I don't understand why some people are supposedly offended by the singing of Christmas carols and people wishing each other Merry Christmas. I can understand that the country should not force religion on others, but it should also not force people to not deny their religion. By saying you can't wish others Merry Christmas, have a Christmas party, or sing Christmas carols, you are saying that the 85% of this country's population has to deny or hide their religious beliefs. The first amendment of the US Constitution states; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Note that there shall be no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Sing the Christmas carols, wish a Merry Christmas. After all, that does fall under your rights to free exercise of your religion and freedom of speech. Don't let the few who fear religion staunch the rights of those who wish to celebrate and embrace their religion. As Jackie Mason said at the Jews for Christmas rally in New York, it's okay to say Happy Hannuka, but obscene to say Merry Christmas. He wants all religions to be able to express their religion, and encourages us all to say Merry Christmas to others. I know that I am planning to do so.

Friday, December 16, 2005 -- Late Evening

I am back from the Pens game this evening. It wasn't a win, but it was one of the better games that I saw this season. In fact, a young boy was saying to his mother that it was the best game he had seen. Yes, it was a loss, but the team seemed to have more energy, especially in the first period. There were any goals until the second period when the Buffalo Sabres scored, and surprises of surprises, Michel Ouellet who just came up from the Baby Pens scored the first game for the Pens to tie the game at 1-1. The Sabres scored again, and that was followed by another goal by Ryan Malone with assists by Tomas Surovy and Ryan Whitney. The Bruins pulled ahead 3-2, and in the last three minutes of the game, the Pens tied it up with a reviewed goal by Ziggy Palffy with assists by Crosby and Mario Lemieux. The game went into overtime. And after another bad penalty by Josef Melichar, the team lost--4-3. There were positives in the game. Crosby saw actiion on the penalty kill, and the lines were consistent. When Palffy was on the ice, you would also see Crosby and Lemieux. With the Eddie O regime, it would be helter skelter. There was more action in the game, and although they did lose, I thought that it was an enjoyable game and the fans were really into it.
Shane Endicott had three penalties in the game, and after the game, Michel Therrien said that the team was taking some bad penalities, at least he considered them bad, and he especially named Endicott as a person who was taking bad penalities. Therrien also mentioned that the team didn't seem to be in very good condition and that needs to be remedied. It seems that in general, the players haven't been working out alot or eating well, and it seems that the whip is finally being cracked. As Therrien says, there are problems with the team, and they could not be addressed completely in less than 24 hours. It's going to take awhile, but even Crosby admitted that things were being worked on that should help the team in the end. The Pens will be playing against Buffalo again tomorrow at 5:00 pm.

Back in Wilkes-Barre, the Baby Pens lost tonight. Of course, that doesn't mean that it is a trend, but Joey Mullen and Randy Hillier aren't very good coaches. The Baby Pens were playing the Syracuse Crunch. The Baby Pens are now 21-2-2-1. Just as Therrien can't get the Pens to win immediately, the Baby Pens might take a while to get the full losing effect of Hillier and Mullen. Now they could make their losing ways known right away, so I'll be keeping my eyes on their progress. The Baby Pens' next game will be tomorrow against the Norfolk Admirals.

Friday, December 16, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

Surprising news this afternoon. It seems that Michel Therrien has made Sidney Crosby an alternative captain this afternoon. That's actually a big deal because usually the A is reserved from players that are in the league longer then Crosby has been. Crosby said that he is honored, and Therrien said that his goal is to impress a good winning attitude into Crosby because one day "this will be Sidney's team". Things are sounding encouraging.

Friday, December 16, 2005 -- Afternoon

The talk all around town today is still about the new Penguins coach. It seem that Michel Therrien was signed to a new three year contract with the team as head coach. The consensus is that he is a tough, demanding coach who isn't afraid to get in the face of some of his players. It's not that he needed to get the job as the Pens coach either because with Michel Therrien's previous NHL experience and the fact that he has been doing so well with the Baby Pens he was sure to be picked up by some team next season. It is going to be curious now to see how both the Pens and the Baby Pens do with the coaching change. Right now, the Baby Pens have the best start in AHL history. Will they keep such a record with Joey Mullen and Randy Hillier as coaches? It seems that Craig Patrick is going to give Therrien full rein to do as he wants which will be good. However, some people blame Craig Patrick because he is the one who hired Eddie O as a head coach with no coaching experience, and he is the one who put together this team that isn't jiving. To fix the problem now, the only reasonable solution was to get rid of the coach. The team has to start winning. I will be at the Pens-Buffalo Sabres game this evening, and will give a game synopsis later this evening.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- Evening

Today has been a big day for Pens news. In addition to the major coaching changes, there were also some changes in the roster. Michel Ouellet was brought up from the Baby Pens and Maxime Talbot and Lasse Pirjeta was sent down. For now the coaches of the Baby Pens will be a combination of Rick Kehoe and Joey Mullen.

On the local sports show, Sportsbeat there were several segments on the coaching changes with the Pens. First up were some comments that Craig Patrick made. He called Michel Therrien a very good coach, and that he has done a great job with the young guys in Wilkes Barre. Then as Patrick said, "alot of the young guys are here now, so it makes sense to bring him (Therrien) here." Patrick said that Therrien is straight, forward, blunt and hard--a no nonsense guy. You do it Therrien's way or you don't play. As Patrick said, the Pens look pretty on paper, but what are they? I don't expect Therrien to make a difference immediately. Stan Savran had an interview with Therrien, and here are some of the things that Therrien said: He heard the news last night, and was excited but had mixed feelings. As he said, there was excitement this summer, and he just concentrated on the young kids in Wilkes-Barre and bought a house there. He is sad to leave the kids, but is excited to be back in the NHL. He said they need hard work starting today. The first thing he wants to get across is a foundation of a system. (Finally!). As he said you can't let the goals get made. In the first practice, they started work on the system, and will have more time next week to work on the detail. They have to concentrate on defense, and it seems in the first practice today, Therrien concentrated on defense. Therrien was told that the report was that the system was the same in both here in Wilkes Barren and he agreed, but said that the players have to have the will to perform the system. Therrien said that he doesn't like cheaters who aren't working, and he wants everyone on the same page. He also said that it will help to have the players from the Baby Pens because they know his expectations. He said he is close to his players, but there is a fine line you shouldn't cross. He said that he would do anything for his players, but they in return have to give a hell of an effort. He said the players should be warriors on the ice and that means to work hard and to do whatever it takes to win a hockey game, such as blocking shots. Therrien said that it's tough to win hockey games and it is easier to lose. As he said you don't have to pay a price to lose hockey games, but there is a price to be paid to win the games. And he wants to establish that the players will have to pay a price to win hockey games. Savran asked about the geriatrics. Therrien replied that any hockey player has pride and wants to be recognized for working hard. Therrien said that he will be strict and help the players to be recognized for working hard. He also said that he won't hide anyone, it's not his style. He said that when they need the pat on the back, he will give that to them, and when they need to have their fingers snapped, he will do that too. Therrien said that he wants the team to think of itself as a family, and when the father is tough on his kid it doesn't mean that he doesn't like them. He said it is the same in hockey, and he has to change the attitude of the team. He is expecting good things. Therrien said that he just arrived an hour before practice, and hasn't talked yet to Mario Lemieux, but he will talk to Mario. As he said he has so much respect for Mario, and the players do, not only on the team but in the NHL. Therrien expects Mario to be a true leader, and he is going to play Mario with Sidney Crosby because he thinks the two will do some damage. Therrien said that there is no time frame in getting the players acclimated to his system and his discipline. He said that he won't be able to change things around in 24 hours regarding how they play, but that they should quickly change the attitude and mentality and think of themselves as winners. As Therrien said, this is a good hockey team, and it is not achieving and that's why he is there. He said that he loves Eddie O and that Eddie O is a good friend of his, but the mentality of the hockey team has to change right now.

They also talked to some of the players about the firing and hiring. They showed Therrien in the practice. As Mark Recchi said, "the right attitude wasn't there, the right work ethic wasn't there. We would do it for a game and then take a couple off. And it's not acceptable. We didn't play hard enough and that's why we are here." Brooks Orpik agreed that things had to change. Matt Murley said that Therrien isn't afraid to tell the players and the papers that someone is not playing well. He said that Therrien got into their heads and made them believe that they had to win every little battle--you can't lose anything. Crosby said that sometimes when someone hollars you have to make certain that you got that message. Marc-Andre Fleury said that they know what to expect and they know how they are, and it makes the transition easier. The commentator talked about the change in practice today that got some Pens thinking that things could change quickly. Crosby said that they were working on defense and that was stressed alot. Orpik said that it comes down to how they play on the ice.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- Late Morning

There is going to be a Save the Pens rally at Mellon Arena tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 16, at 6 pm. The rally is to show support for keeping the team in the Pittsburgh area. The gathering will be held on Mario Lemieux Boulevard outside the box office gate and the Pens Station store. If you are going to attend the event, send email to Let's go out and show the political leaders and the Pens management that we want the team to stay in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- Morning

This is a happy morning for me. Eddie Olczyk has officially been fired from the Pens along with all the assistant coaches and the strength coach. It was a real housecleaning. Michel Therrien is going to take over the reins, and will start with the practice today. Therrien has wanted to get back into coaching in the NHL, and in the past did coach the Montreal Canadiens. The new assistant coach will be Mike Yeo, Gilles Lefebvre will be the goaltending coach, and Stephane Dube will be the strength coach. There will be another assistant coach named at a later time. The next game for the Pens will be against the Buffalo Sabres. I'll be at the game, and hope that I start to see some exciting hockey as opposed to that pathetic show that the Pens have been giving.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- Early Morning

Breaking news, and it's something for which I have been wishing! The Penguins are expected to fire Eddie Olczyk today and to replace him with the coach from the Baby Pens, Michel Therrien. Not only is Eddie O expected to go, but Randy Hillier and Joe Mullen are also expected to get the ax. It's understandable because none of the three really have coaching experience. They were basically players who just moved into coaching. The thing is that playing doesn't mean that you can coach. I'm going to keep my ears open for the story, and will let you all know when it is official!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 -- Evening

Some good news for Pittsburgh sports fans: Jerome Bettis was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. Bettis rushed for 101 yards and got two touchdowns which were reasons for him to get the award. It's ironic in a way because Bettis is seen as an elder statesman on the team, ready for retirement, and then he just goes and show you that he has it it him. Maybe not every day, but when push comes to shove, you know that you can count on Bettis.

Bettis' teammate, Ben Roethlisberger, has been creating alot of controversy over his thumb. Roethlisberger has been commenting on how his thumb is broken and how he is having problems throwing the ball. At his press conference yesterday, Bill Cowher was getting pressed by one of the regular news guys at KDKA about the issue. It finally reached the point where Cowher gave the guy his scary stare and said to just drop it and that he had answered the question. It seems that in the NFL the teams don't like information about injuries to get out. There are two ways that you could look at this, either the injury is not that serious, or it is serious and Cowher just wants to keep it underwraps. This is the second time Roethlisberger has made a big deal about an injury that Cowher wanted kept quiet. The other time was after the playoffs last season when Roethlisberger kept on talking about having broken toes.

Someone asked Eddie Olczyk the question that I have been wondering. He was asked if he would consider quitting his coaching job. Eddie O's reply? Not in a million years, Never. Never. No. Never. Never. ... I'm as committed as I was six weeks ago. From Day 1." It's nice that's the case although it is to the detriment of the team. The sports writers are expecting some sort of major shakeup before the Friday game. It's one of the games in my season ticket plan. I did send some email to my account representative to stress that I made a commitment to the team by buying season tickets, and I expect some sort of commitment from the team to make an attempt to win some games. I don't think that the Pens have made that commitment.

Hubble Telescope has been used to find the mass of a near-by white dwarf. The white dwarf is a companion star to Sirius and is called Sirius B. It has been incredibly difficult to get size estimates because of the brightness of Sirius. However, they were able to use Hubble's imaging spectrograph to gather the data. Sirius B is around the size of Earth, 7,500 miles in diameter, but it's mass is around 98% that of the Sun. White dwarfs are very dense stars that are the product of a sun run that has run out of fuel to keep on burning via nuclear fusion. The star winds up collapsing in on its self.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 -- Evening

Two of the worst teams in hockey are playing this evening--the Pens and the St. Louis Blues. It will be interesting to see what happens. I will only be watching the first hour, probably the first period and bit of the second, and then will switch to the final episode of Amazing Race 8. So far in the first five minutes of the game, we had a power play and then had to do a penalty kill. The game so far is very slow paced. It does look like two of the worst teams are playing each other. Neither seems to really press the other during power plays. The news in St. Louis is that Patrick Lalime, the goalie who took the Ottawa Senators to the playoffs prior to the lockout, has been sent down to the minors by St. Louis. Lalime is one of those players who really did not take the year lockout very well. The lockout really seems to have affected those players who weren't playing elsewhere. Obviously, you can't be game ready if you sit out a year. You have to feel for someone like Lalime who went from glory to the AHL. The Pens are playing like they want to lose, and again they have another penalty to kill. So far, in the first ten minutes of the game, we have had three penalties compared to one for the Blues. Also, the shots on goal tell a story. Pens have three shots on goal, the Blues have twelve. Another penalty for the Pens. As the announcers on OLN are saying that the Pens obviously lack discipline--coaching problem I say. The cameras showed a concerned Eddie O. Poor guy! So obviously in over his head! First period is over, and there is no score. Shots on goal? Eight for the Pens and 12 for the Blues.

On to something that should be interesting: the final episode of Amazing Race 8. The title of this episode is 25 Days, 50 Cities, and More than 600 Consecutive Hours as a Family. The show is a two hour special and starts with a recap of all the previous episodes. The episode starts in Montana where the last Pit Stop was. The final three will not have an elimination before the final. The Weavers sit at a table by themselves. The Bransens leave first at 3:04 am. they have to travel to MOntreal, Canada, and enter the Underground City, search the tunnels fand find the passageway to the CDP Capital Building. They are given a flight, but can see if they can find another flight if they want to. The Linz family leaves at 3:08 am. The Weavers leave at 4:02 am. The Weaver mom comments that Rolly Weaver is the man of the family and has matured in the year and a half since his dad died. The Bransens made reservations that will get them into the Montreal ten minutes earlier than the original flight. All the teams are now flying to Canada with the first connection in Minneapolis. The Linz family thinks they are ahead of the Bransens. The Linz family has gotten onto a flight from Toronto to Montreal that gets them in an hour ahead of time. Rolly Weaver gets into a race and trips one of the Linz boys to get in front of them. As Megan Linz says, it is getting personal. It wasn't earlier, but it is now. The Weaver mom yells at the Linz boy to get his hands of her son to which he told his brothers that Rolly was lucky he didn't break his arm.

From seeing the film, Rollie did grab the Linz boy bookbag which caused the Linz boy to fall. The Linz and Weavers are on a flight that will get them in MOntreal at 4:10 pm while the Bransens will get there at 5:00 pm. The Weavers get into a van that is taking them to the Underground City. The Linz family also gets into a van. The Bransens find out that they are behind schedule and will get into Montreal at 5:25. The van driver for the Weavers say that he will wait for them, but they have to come back. The Weavers have found the clue first. It is a detour. In Slide It, they have to drive 22 miles to the Mcgill Arena and do some curling. Each team member must have the stone go 120 feet and get into the house. It could take a long time to finish. Roll it takes them 23 miles away, and they have to roll some logs that will require strength and deterity but strong teams can finish quickly. The Linz family is at Victoria Square and looking for the CDP Capital. The Bransens are just landing now. The cabdriver for the Weavers may have gotten them slightly lost. The Linz family hasn't found the clue yet.

The Linz family finally finds the clue which they walked by before. They decide to do the curling detour. The Bransens are on their way to Victoria Square. It seems that the Weaver cabdriver was driving them to the wrong location. The Linz family gets direction right away. The cabdriver for the Weavers is trying to tell them how to curl. The Weavers get there first and the cabdriver comes in to watch them. The Linz family goes to the wrong rink too. It appears that there are two with the same name. So now they are behind. The Weavers are still working on the curling. Only Becky Weaver has her stone in the "house". The Linz family has another person explain how to get to the other McGill arean. The Bransens find the clue and they are deciding to do the log detour. With the Weavers, one of the stones hit the other to knock it in. All four Weavers get their stones in the house and move on. They are looking for the American Pavillion which was built for the 1967 World Expo. The Weavers cabbie, Ted, is already calling for directions. The Linz family has arrived at McGill. The Bransens have arrived at the Arboretum. They just have to roll four logs. The Weavers find out that Ted is a Christian. He does have a cross on his rearview mirror. The Linz family has three stones in the house and need to get the last one. The Bransens get the first of their four logs. The Weavers have found the American Pavillion and now have to find the marked stairs that they need to climb to the fifth floor to find their next clue. The Weavers say they are very fortunate to find Ted because he is determined to get them to their destination. The Weavers are at the building and can't find the stairs at the base of the structure. Finally they find it and rush back down the stairs. They now have to go six miles and find La Porte J which is door J at 2350 Dickson St. is the location they need. The Weavers are always boosting their drivers ego. The Linz family seem to have irritated their driver who shakes his head when one of the Linz boys says Andelay to the driver to drive faster. It's Spanish though and not French. The Bransens are having serious problems with their logs.

The Bransens get the second log. The Weavers are saying that God sent them Ted. The Linz family has found the American Pavillion. The Bransens have finished their clue, and are now headed to the American Pavillion. The Weavers are looking for 2350 Dickson St. They have a road block. The person has to learn and successfully complete a move on a trapeze. Rolly is going to do the move. The Weavers are praying for Rolly. Megan quickly finds the stairs and they have the next clue. The Bransens are at the American Pavillion. Rolly asks if the other guy is a professional. Rolly quickly does the move on the first try. The Weavers are in first place. They have to travel two miles to Parq Olympik. They have to drive in a golf cart, and find the one door that will let them in. Then they to go to the center of the football field inside to get the next clue. The Weavers are in first place. Alex Linz is going to do the trapeze stunt. He doesn't make it the first time. The Bransens have found the stairs and the clue. The Bransens are now on their way. The Weavers have the Parq Olympik first and are driving around in their golf cart. The mother says that they should have taken a left because everyone makes a right because it is most common. How stupid. Alex is trying the trapeze again, and gets dropped. The Bransens have found La Porte J. The Bransens are happy to have caught up. Alex doesn't think he can do this road block.

The Bransens are happy to have caught up. Alex Linz is finally caught and ready to go on. The Linz family says that they haven't seen the Weavers in a long time. The Weavers are still driving around and stop to look at a map of the building. The Linz family have gotten to the stadium now. Beth Bransen used to do gymnastics and makes it on the first try. The Bransens are not far behind the Linz family. The Weavers are trying to break into the stadium by ramming the doors with their cart. The Bransens are at the stadium now and both they and the Linz family are looking for the opening to the stadium. Thw Weavers have finally found their way in, and they are running to the box at the 50 yard line. They now have to search the stadium to find three different charter flight tickets with different times. They have caught up with the Weavers. Once you pick a charter, you have to keep it. The Weavers don't think that it is fair that the others have caught up with them. I think that's rude on their part. The Weavers went out to pay their taxi drivers and the others realize that they should do the same. The Weavers keep on saying that the other teams are sore losers and that they know that the Weavers got to the stadium first. The Bransens and the Linz families are going to work together so the Weavers don't win. The Bransen dad is arguing with his daughters because he doesn't want to do what they want and everything is taking longer than he thought. One of the daughters say that the dad is a stubborn person. The Weaver mom says that they shouldn't go to the upper levels, meanwhile they found one for 5:50 am. The LInz family is just taking it and done. Rolly keeps on telling them that the Weavers should look upstairs. The Weavers are just sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. The Bransens found one for 5:45 am and they took it. The Weavers don't want to look, and their mom has gone to sleep. The others have their tickets and are going to sleep. The Weavers just want to give up and don't have the energy to compete. Rolly keeps on trying to get them to stop wuzzing out, but the Weavers are apathetic.

Rolly keeps on begging them to find the charter flight. The Weavers are finally looking for the clue. Rolly finds it. The flight is for 5:55 am which means they are in last place. The Weavers don't know if the other teams are leaving before them or not, but they are heading to the airport. The Linz and Bransen families now head to Hubert Airport. The Weavers find out they are on the last charter. The destination of the flights is unknown. All are now waiting at the airport. The Bransens go off first. The Bransens are focused on winning the million dollars. The Linz family head out second, and then the Weavers are on their way. The mother said that they can come back from it and win. She thinks they are the team to beat. The next destination is Toronto, Canada. They rush to their SUV and now have to travel to the CN Tower. They have to go to the uppermost observation deck, use binaculars to scan the city to find their next clue. The Linz family is in Toronto. The Weavers are right behind them and it is a rush to the cars. The weavers rush to leave but don't know where they are going, but the LInz family appears to know. The Weavers stop at a store to ask for directions and the Weaver mother asks for the map because it is torn, and says they have no money, can they have it because they will get back what they give. The guy looks at her, but gives her the map. The Bransens are looking for the flag that will point out their next destination. The Linz family has gotten there second. The Weavers are just arriving. The Bransens and LInz families have spotted it and are headed down. They need to get out of there before the Weavers find it. They are all headed down and all the Weaver mother can do is whine and complain about how frustrating and unfair it is.

One of the Weaver girls finally finds the yellow flag, but the Bransens and Linz families are on their way. They are heading to the pier. The Linz family arrives first and then the Bransens. It is a detour. In Ship, they have to sail across the Toronto Habour and go to the boat called Kajama. When they find it, one team member must climb 150 feet up the mast and can be physical and frightening. Shoe takes the team to the Bata Shoe Museum, and then must choose a pair of shoes and find one of 100 women who have a matching shoe. It can be time consuming. The Linz family and Weavers do ship and the Bransens do Shoe. The Linz family arrives at Queens Quay first. They first have to take a sailboat over to the Kajama, and they get a lesson is sailboating. The Weavers have started out in their sailboat. The Linz family still looks like they are in first place with the Weavers right behind them. The Bransens have found the shoe museum and are trying to find the model who matches the shoe. One of the girls realizes that they should have done the task. The Linz family arrives and now has to climb. The Linz boy gets there and down quickly. They now have to travel 81 miles to Queenston and take a ride up the gorge to the Niagara Falls and grab their next clue from the buoy. The Bransens are having difficulty finding the matching foot.

Finally the Bransens find the shoe that fits and they are headed on their way. It looks like the Linz family is in first and the Bransens are second. The Weavers are at the boat, and Rolly is climbing to get the flag. He is having second thoughts, but he does it. They get their clue and are now on their way. The Linz family realizes that they made a huge circle around the United States. The Weaver mother gets mixed up and doesn't realize where they are going, but the kids keep her straight. The Linz and Bransen families asked the same person for directions and the guy gives the Bransens some attitude, but they are on their way. The Linz family gets off first and then the Bransens. The Weavers have yet to arrive. The Linz family gets soaked by the waves in the rapids, then so do the Bransens and the girls all scream. The Linz family gets the clue, and have to go to Lewiston, NY for their final destination. It's not done yet as they say. The Bransens are getting their clue and are headed to Lewiston as quickly as they can. The Linz family and Bransens are on each others tails. Road block! There are 71 jigsaw pieces that must be completed for a map of North America. Once it is completed, the teams can now race to the finish line. They are all close. It is a race between the Linz and Bransen families. The Weavers are nowhere to be found just yet. it is nerve wracking as one of the Linz boys admits. Nick Linz is doing it for the Linz family and the dad is doing it for the Bransens. The Weavers are still on the river and haven't reached the buoy yet. They now have their clue and are headed to the final destination. I hope that they don't catch up with the Linz or Bransens. It is going to be close between the two families. I am getting nervous just watching. Both families are excited. There are only small ones left for the Linz family. it is a battle to the end. The Linz family finishes first and then the Bransens are racing them. The Linz family has won, and the Bransens have finished second. The Weavers were trailing by a mile. Megan Linz is crying. The Linz family has a group hug and all the other families who have been in the race and their families are there to applaud them. The Bransen and Linz families hug and congratulate each other. They say that it is for everyone back at home and for Mom and Dad. Megan says that she doesn't want to run again for the rest of her life. Megan said that she ran with the guys and she kept up with them. The Linz family says that the Bransens were tough competitors. As the Linz boy says, it was three boys against three girls. The Bransen dad starts crying when trying to answer a question and then the girls start crying. The girls all say they wouldn't have made it without him. Even the other families are crying. The Bransen dad said that as a parent he was proud of the Linz family. The Weavers come up now in third place. I don't think they actually did the puzzle. The Weavers are crying too over their trial. The Weavers say that working together is what is important. Everyone now comes and congratulates the winners.

Back at the Pens game, they wound up losing horribly to the Blues with a final score of 3-0. The Blues had 41 shots on goals compared to the Pens 21. So the worst team in hockey beats us. What does that say about the Pens and their coaching or lack thereof. More on this pitiful performance tomorrow. Everytime I think it can't get any worse, the Pens prove me wrong!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

It seems that the local government is trying to come up with solutions to the Pens arena problem without using local tax dollars. I have to admit as a tax paying citizen in the city and county, I'm not that keen on spending even more tax dollars on yet another sports facility. As it is, the voters voted against using tax dollars for Heinz Field and PNC Park to only have tax dollars go towards both facilities. The city is having enough trouble as it is keeping afloat to just throw money around. However, I do like Dan Onorato's suggestion to use "private investment, state capital funding, naming rights sales and slot machine revenues". There is a controversy over the slot machine revenues because folks are saying that some people are greasing the hands of some politicians to get a guaranteed license. This was originally stated by the outgoing mayor, who has since retracted his statement. Again, this will be one of those wait and see items. We shall see who does get the slots license, and if the politicos come up with a plan that keeps the Pens in the city. As an additional Pens note, they will be playing tonight against the St. Louis Blues. We should be able to beat the Blues since they are considered the worst team in hockey this season. If we lose tonight, I think I will have to stage a protest at the game this coming Friday. Fire Eddie O or refund my season ticket money!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 -- Afternoon

One of my favorite eating places for as long as I can remember has been McDonald's. Their fries are the best, and I love the Big Mac and even the regular hamburger with the single pickle strategically placed in the corner of the patty. Nowadays, my favorite lunch plan is to go to Mickey D's, and get a burger, small fries, yogurt parfait and apple dippers. I have deluded myself into thinking that this constitutes a healthy lunch. I may have even more reason to frequent McDonald's even more. It seems that McDonald's is thinking of replacing the toys in the Happy Meal with a portable media player that will have Disney movies, songs and other media type stuff. The idea is that you get your portable device and then when you go to McDonald's and make a purchase, you can download a clip. It might take five trips to McDonald's to get a complete movie. The downloads can be done via wireless which McDonald's has been putting in its restaurants since 2003.

An interesting tidbit that I was not aware of prior to yesterday is that Rafe Judkins on Survivor: Guatemala/The Maya Empire was from Pittsburgh. It seems that Pittsburgh is a hotbed for Survivor competitors, and four previous final four players came from the general Pittsburgh area. Everyone is talking about how stupid Rafe's morality was because he released Danni from her promise to take him to the final two. What did he expect her to do when he did that? I would have done the same thing that she did. The point is to win the game, not finish second. Rafe didn't do too badly though. He wound up with $85,000 for the third place finish, and got enough publicity that he should hopefully be able to launch his screenwriting career.

Monday, December 12, 2005 -- Evening

A hockey night in Pittsburgh! The Pens are playing the Detroit Red Wings.
First period: The Pens got the first penalty and did a nice job of penalty killing. I have to admit that in the first few minutes of the game, the Pens were looking quite energized. The penalties are the things that kill the Pens and this time, they got another penalty and the Red Wings were able to score at 10:44. They lead by a score of 1-0. Play is starting to follow the Pens usual non-performance with the Pens having two shots on goal with only five minutes left to play in the period while the Red Wings have 13. It is the story of the Pens poor coaching that is never addressed. In some Pens news, they have recalled Tomas Surovy from Wilkes Barre. You know what that means, they pull a producer from the Baby Pens who quickly becomes yet another non-producer under Eddie Olczyk's non-coaching. Little over 3 minutes left in the period, and Lyle Odelein again has a penalty in this period, his second so far. Surprisingly, the Pens put a couple of short hand shots on goal. Penalty is killed and one minute remaining in the period. Shots so far 19 shots for the Red Wings compared to 3 for the Pens. Again, the Pens have the same issue--no shots on goal.
The announcers at OLN were making derogatory remarks about Sidney Crosby's comments about the lack of effort on the part of his fellow teammates. The announcers felt that he should have been quiet and make the remarks only in the locker room. I would imagine that the problem is that Crosby has done just that, and the remarks have fallen on deaf ears. His only recourse was to make the comments public after his extreme frustration.
Second period: Fleury is doing a nice job of blocking goals, and even the OLN announcers have to admit that Marc-Andre Fleury is an excellent goalie. The Red Wings have two penalties in a row. The Pens have a 49 second window of 5 on 3 opportunity. Eddie O called a timeout, obviously not to talk scheme, but to just give the guys a rest. The Red Wings won the face off and threw the puck all the way down the ice. The Pens so far have wasted 30 seconds of the advantage. They did get a few shots on goal in the last few seconds. The Red Wings were putting a ton of pressure on Fleury with a one man disadvantage. Then one of the Pens, Odelein I believe, gets the puck and a breakaway, but he is stopped by goalie, Chris Osgood. The Pens had another 21 second two man advantage, which they did nothing with. Then still on the power play, the Red Wings score a short handed goal off of a bad turnover by Sergei Gonchar. The announcers say that something is horribly wrong with Sergei Gonchar because he is playing so poorly and not at all as he has in the past. Shots on goal nearing the end of the second period? 30 shots for the Red Wings and 8 shots for the Pens. Yep, 8 shots for two periods. Pitiful! The Pens end the period with Tomas Surovy taking a penalty for hooking. As the announcers said, that is an unacceptable penalty because you have to learn that this sort of thing isn't being tolerated by the refs anymore. The penalty will carry over into the third period by 28 seconds. Period ends with a score of 2-0 and 31 shots to 8. The Red Wings have also won 64% of the faceoffs.
Eddie O is now talking during the intermission about the team seesm as if it playing in quicksand and that thanks to the skill of a good goalie, they are still within reach of a possible win.
Third period: Brooks Orpik took an obvious hooking call which he tried to make the refs believe was a dive on the part of Mikael Samuelsson. Well, the Red Wings had a power play and capitalized on it. The score is now 3-0. Just watching the Pens, you can see a total lack of system. When you see five Pens buzzing around a puck that gets shot across to the other side of the net where there are no other Pens, but only Red Wings, you realize that someone needs to give the team direction so each player isn't out there just doing things without consideration for what the other members of the team are doing. With more than half of the third period gone, the Pens have a total of 11 shots on goal for the entire game. Looking at the faceoff comparison the Pens really don't have a productive center. It seems that our win percentage is around the 30% mark. That's not really very acceptable. 46 seconds left in the 3-0 game. With 28.9 seconds left to go, Mark Recchi scored a rebound goal. At least it isn't a shut out. Score is 3-1 with the Red Wings winning. The shots on goal were 39 for the Red Wings and 17 for the Pens.
It is absolutely pitiful when the goalie for your opposition, Chris Osgood, says that this was the least shots on goal that he has seen all year. Osgood did say that Fleury did a great job. What can you do though when you have almost 40 shots against you, and all your teammates can do is stand by and watch. The Pens should be ashamed of themselves based on their performance in recent games, and if Eddie Olczyk really cared about the team, he would quit because he is doing the team nothing but harm.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 -- Evening

Tonight is the conclusion of Survivor: Guatemala/The Maya Empire. The two hour final episode titled Thunder Storms and Sacrifice started wtih a recap of the entire season to this point. Stephanie commented at that time that people may have just wanted to get rid of her. It's amazing that she did manage to make it to the final four. Day 37. Everyone is waking up and realizing that they are in the final four. Lydia said she always felt that she was the odd man out and that it might be her destiny. Danni said that she felt Kansas State Blackhawk fan who like the team made it to final four but didn't bring back the championship. Rafe said that he is proud of all the decisions that he made in the game and he likes the people that he's with. Lydia got a tree mail message and said it was a good one. Lydia thinks that the message is one that tells them all that they will get to celebrate, but none of the other three see a celebration in store for them. As they are all sitting around the fire, a Mayan family comes to the camp. None of them spoke any English, and they went to the temple, and poured salt and honey all around. The oldest man did a chant in all directions. Stephanie kept on hoping they would get the honey to eat or to eat a live chicken that is brought into the camp. They pulled off the chicken's head and threw the head into the fire. Steph didn't seem to think that it was dead, but Rafe explained that with the head ripped off and in the fire it was dead. Lydia said that being of Hispanic heritage, she felt a kinship with the people. Steph asks Lydia to ask them if they can eat the chicken, but it was just a sacrifice to the Gods. They did get drink and tamales though. It is now time for a competition. Immunity is up for grabs. They have a monstrous maze. They have to race into the maze and find their colored puzzle pieces. There are six stations, but eight pieces. They have to take each piece back to the their station and then return to the maze over a rope bridge. Once they have all eight pieces, they have to solve the picture puzzle. Everybody found their first pair. Everyone has three pieces and need to find four more stations in the maze. Some of the stations are fakes. Danni, Rafe and Steph have four pieces now. Rafe now has five, and Steph is behind him with her fifth piece. Lydia and Danni came in with their fifth pieces. Rafe and Steph are ahead with their sixth piece. Danni gets her sixth piece and Lydia is lost. Rafe is back with his final pieces and Steph is behind him. They are now trying to form one of three images, monkey, jaquar, and crop. Danni is back with her final piece and now has to solve the puzzle correctly. All three are working on it. Patience is key as Jeff Probst says. Rafe has it and wins immunity. Lydia shows up at that point with her last piece. Rafe is save that night. So it will be one of the three women who is voted off.

Back at the camp. Rafe thinks it's weird to know that he will make it to the final three, and that he does have a chance to win. Steph thinks that Rafe will be the person that she can win against because they both screwed over the same person. Steph talks to Rafe and thinks that they should take Lydia because there is a better shot to win against Lydia. But Rafe promised Danni. Danni said that everyone goes back on their word. Rafe tells Danni that she's a big part of the reason that he is there. Steph wanted to eat the sacrifical chicken. Steph said that she wished she had thought of it earlier to get the chicken. Lydia then asks if Steph and Rafe will keep her there. Lydia thinks that Steph wants to take her to the final three because Lydia can't win the immunity. Lydia digs in first, but Rafe seems abit leery. He thinks that because it is a sacrifical ritual that it would be pointless to eat the chicken. After all, the point was not to eat the chicken. Rafe backs down but the other three eat it. Then a huge thunderstorm moved it. It was the biggest since they were there, and it was just after they ate the chicken. Rafe said that he thought he did hear them mention the thunder gods in the ritual. It is now time for tribal council. The four go to the council and then the jury is brought in. Rafe tells them all about the ceremony. Rafe thought it was a very moving experience and felt that he was a part of the culture. Jeff asks them about the storm. Lydia admits that it might have been because they ate the chicken. Lydia said that she knew they were punished for eating the chicken. Jeff said that he wasn't judging them, but wondered about them not respecting the ritual. The jury members are shaking their heads and Judd is rolling his eyes. Lydia thinks that since she doesn't pose a physical threat that to keep her would get Rafe and Steph to final two. Danni said that Lydia could win it all because she is liked by everyone. Steph thinks that Danni is a big threat and well liked and that Danni has never backstabbed anyone. The votes are given and Jeff goes off to tally them. Votes: Danni, Lydia, Lydia, Lydia. Lydia is voted out. It would have sucked for Lydia to be still in the game and to risk winning the game. Danni, Steph and Rafe will have the final immunity competition. Lydia says afterward that it was the hardest thing she ever did, and that it was an incredible experience that she would not trade for anything in the world.

At camp that night, it is still raining. Day 38 dawns bright and clear. The Rain is over. There are no coals on the fire and they have to use flint. Everything is soaked. The monkeys were really loud, louder than usual. The corn is disgusting with maggots in it, but as Steph says, it is day 38. They have to hike to the other camp, and get the torches and images of the 15 who have been voted off, and have to sacrifice their images. They will then have their final immunity competition. They burn the images one by one, first of Jim, then Morgan, Brianna, Brooke, Blake, Margaret, Brian, Amy, Brandon, Bobby Jon, Jamie, Gary, Judd, Cindy, and Lydia.

Now it is time for the final immunity challenge. It requires balance and concentration. They must balance on a platform. For the first hour, they will have a rope for each hand. After one hour, they have to get rid one rope. After another 30 minutes, they have to let go of the other rope and balance themselves. The swivel on which they are standing is very sensitive. They are only up for 20 minutes, and Rafe moves to remove his glasses, and jiggles alot, but makes it. The howler monkeys are yelling at them. An hour passes, and they have to let go of one of the ropes. Steph comes off and is hanging on by the rope. Then Danni and then Rafe. They can't let their feet touch the platform. All three manage to find a spot that keeps them safe. All are leaning against one of the poles with their feet on the swivel. It is now coming onto the release of the only rope, and their hands can't touch the post. Rafe is stretching, and after 1 hour and 35 minutes, Rafe touched the pole and is out of the competition. Rafe didn't even realize that he did it. As he said, he lost focus for 2 seconds. Danni and Steph are left, and Steph appears to be sliding down the pole. 2 hours and 38 minutes. Danni said that she feels the same and Steph says she can't move and she is crying. Steph is wiggling and trying to ease her sore back. While she is doing that she wiggles too much and slides to the ground. Steph is crying and Rafe instantly says that he wants to release Danni from any promise and that she can take whoever she wants to the final two. I think that Rafe is feeling for Steph at this point. Danni now has the afternoon to think who she is going to take with her to the final two. I think that if I were her, I would take Steph because you know that people don't like Steph, and she might stand a greater chance of winning. Who will Danni take?

The three head back to the camp. Steph congratulates Danni. Danni is blown away to be in the final two because the odds were against her. Danni says that she will have to vote out one of them, and now doesn't know because she feels pressure since Rafe removed her from any promise. Rafe said that he felt horrible going into the tribal council because he saw how Steph was struggling. Rafe feels good about letting Danni out of the promise, and to let Steph deserve a chance and to have both of them fighting to make it to the final two. Steph said that she feels that she has a 50-50 chance. Danni said that it is such a hard decision. As Danni said, she is there to win. Danni said it will be a game time decision. That she won't be ready until she has to write the name down. The three head up to tribal council. Jeff asks them about voting out the strongest all along, and then when it cames up to the final four, they got rid of the weakest. Steph said that the only chance was to tie it up. Steph said that it was just a decision to go against the best and see what happens. Danni said that she is blown away and can't believe that she is stil there. Steph said that she was in so much pain, and felt like such a failure because it was such a tough competition. Gary looks back at Judd when Rafe tells about releasing Danni from her promise to take him. Judd rolls his eyes. Danni said that she wants to make certain to make the right decision and that it is hard. Danni said that one reason to pick Rafe is because he has helped her alot since the merge. Danni said that to take Steph might be smart because Steph has more enemies. Steph said that the jury thinks that Rafe is more likeable. Rafe thinks that both he and Steph screwed over the same people. It is interesting to see the jury's reactions to the comments. They do mostly seem to hate Steph. Danni goes to vote. Person voted out is Rafe. So it is down to Danni and Steph. He wishes them both good luck on the next day. Steph thanks Danni. Final tribal council is the next day, and that is when the jury selects the person. Rafe is rooting for Steph and is voting for Stephanie at the end.

The next morning at the camp, and Steph and Danni wake up on day 39 as the final two. Steph is very proud of herself for making it to the final two. Danni said that she and Stephanie are very much alike. They are the two tough girls. Steph knows that after this nothing will stand in their way. Both go out to the pool to swim and clean up. Danni said that she is going to miss Guatemala, and that it was a great experience and not something you do very often. The two break down the camp and burned everything. Steph thinks that everyone back home will be proud of both of them. Danni said that you may be down, but you are never out. Danni hopes to be the all-American girl next door, and depending on the questions asked she decide on the answer to give. Steph said that she outwitted, out played and out lasted every single one of them and that's why she is in the final two. It is now time for the final tribal council. The jury comes in. Rafe is all clean shaven and looks very different. Danni and Steph get a chance to make an opening statement, and then get questions and comments and then Danni and Steph make a closing statement. Danni mentions how she never thought that she would be in that position because she was outnumbered. She said that she had hardships in life that prepared her, and that tried to do her best and be honest. She also invites everyone to Kansas City for a barbeque. Steph said that she is completely honored to be in the final two, and that she knows some are angry with her, and would like the opportunity to explain herself.

Jury gets to address them with a question or a comment. Bobby Jon is first, and says that no one can take away their accomplishment. Steph is asked how proud she is of playing the game. Steph said that she played the best game that she could and doesn't regret anything. Danni gets the same question and she is happy of how she played the game and how grateful she is to still be there. Danni just wishes they had one more immunity. Gary said that he is judging by most honest answer. Steph is asked why she should not be voted for. Steph said that it was because they originally had the alliance, and then she broke it. Danni said that she had an alliance with Gary and then made one with Rafe for selfish reasons and she is sorry for that. Jamie asks Danni first who her top five would be. Bobby Jon, Gary and Brandon are in the three. Stephanie is asked how she thinks the jury feels to see her be the best friend to someone and then to vote that person out. Steph said that blindsiding was the best way to go, and that she hopes that they will realize that she had reasons and still vote for her. Lydia asks Steph why she should vote for Steph when Steph voted her out because Lydia was loyal. Steph said that she wanted the best competition, and that Lydia would not be the best competition. Danni said that she tried to be open with Lydia but at some point you need to do some lying to win. Cindy asks Danni who of the jury she would remove. Danni said Rafe because she knows that he will vote for Steph. Steph says that she would take out Bobby Jon because he was the first to make the jury. What a non-answer. Rafe is up next and congratulates them and calls them both sisters to him. Rafe asks Danni about taking the person that she though deserved to win against the person she could beat. Danni said that she decided to take Steph because of how Steph fought in the final challenge and said that Steph is deserving. Rafe said that he wanted to know why the decision changed. Rafe said that he and Steph talked strategy all the time was, but that he wonders what the best strategy was that he didn't know of. Steph said that Rafe was the only person she was really honest with. Judd asks Danni if she went roller blading and ice skating. Judd said that he thinks that she just skated through the competition. Really strange. Danni said that she lied to Jamie about voting him out and lying to Brian about not knowing who to vote out. Judd tells Danni she should beg God for forgiveness. Judd asks Steph is she is hungry because all she did was eat the entire time. Judd tells Steph that she lied to everyone, including his wife. Steph said that at that point she wasn't lying because she didn't know that she was going to vote Judd out. Steph is blaming Danni on voting Judd out. Judd said that he likes their answers and thanks them. There is alot of anger between Judd and Steph. Now Danni and Steph have a minute to think of their final responses.

Closing statements. Steph first says that it is the hardest game that anyone will every play and that it will bring out the worst qualities and that is going to upset some people. Steph said that she never let anyone make decisions for her, and that she took a leadership role, and that she outwitted and outlasted everyone and that's why she is sitting there. Danni said that she came into a merge and she took a step back and noticed that Steph and Rafe were the strongest, and said that she realized that was whom she should align herself. Danni said that she did bond with Rafe and Steph. The jury is now voting for the person that they would like to see win. Voting starts. Judd said he keeps his promise and you never did, and he promised he wasn't voting for her. Judd votes for Danni. Rafe votes for Steph whom he refers to as the ultimate Survivor. Jeff Probst is going to tally the votes, and he comes back to congratulate them. The votes will remain a secret until they get back to the US, and then Jeff Probst leaves and walks off, getting on a helicopter. The next thing we know, we are back in LA with the studio audience and we now have the reunion show. The jury, Danni and Steph are nicely dressed and sitting on the stage which is setup to look like the ruins in Guatemala. Stephanie and Danni don't even look like themselves. They look like totally different people. It's amazing how different they look. The winner will get a Pontiac Torrent and $1 million. The votes: Danni, Steph, Danni, Danni, Danni. Danni Boatwright is the winner of the show! Danni goes out into the audience to hug her family. The other contestants who were voted off earlier show up on the stage. It is now time for the live reunion show. The only thing I have to say, is that Danni does not look like the Danni from the show that we have been watching. As my boyfriend said, he thinks that she put on some weight and that is why she looks so different. Danni was pretty thin in the show, and had her hair pulled back. It is a remarkable difference.

Danni thinks that it was money well spent to get the clue to the immunity challenge. Danni thought that the best move she made was taking out Rafe at the end. Danni said that Rafe was an awesome guy, but she was there to win. Rafe said that he was influenced by Steph's effort, and that he wanted Danni to make a decision that she would be proud of. Danni said that she knew that she couldn't take Rafe because she needed to make the right move so her family wouldn't kill her. Gary doesn't think that Danni was underrated, but that she was a good, strong, happy player. Jeff asks Rafe about being morally conflicted. Rafe said that the moral decisions were the hardest. He said that he was proud of his decisions throughout the game and that he was proud of the decisions that he made. Rafe said that he didn't think that anyone else expected him to do well and that he was underestimated. Jeff wondered how Lydia made it so far in the game. Lydia thinks it was because she was a nuturer and provider. She provided people with food and a vote and a smile and motivation. Jeff said that Lydia's attitude was remarkable, and she always had a smile. Lydia said that a goo attitude and smile get you far in life.

Jeff Probst talks about the dilemna of bringing back Steph and Bobby Jon. Steph said that it was difficult because she didn't think that she would get past the first tribal council. She said that she made a major alliance that got her far. It seems that in the first Survivor, Steph was the sweetheart, but in this show she played harder. Steph said that both of them are her and she is what she is, and she hurt people in the show. Steph thought that she started to realize that she might not win because she was alienating people. Cindy had said earlier that one of the reasons she was in the show was because of Stephanie, and she said that she thought that if Steph could do it, she could do it and better. Gary admits that he is a big Survivor fan and that he liked both Steph and Bobby Jon. Gary said that people were looking up to Steph and Bobby Jon and asks questions. Steph won 10 and lost 36 challenges. She made it through 25 tribal councils. Jeff asks about the bond with Judd. They show Judd wishing they would get bitten by a crocodile and calling them scumbags. Judd said that no one likes to lose, but that Steph is a good girl. Judd is asked if anyone recognizes him, and he said that he was recognized. Judd admits that he is brutally honest and has no regrets. Judd said that his comments against Margaret were strategy and that there are no hard feelings with Margaret. Jeff tells Judd that he should admit that he lied. Judd is still denying the lies because he was claiming to be hung over. Bobby Jon is asked about how he was taken out by the trek at the beginning of the show. Bobby Jon said that you have to mash the gas in the car and keep on going. Bobby Jon is called the most authentic and endearing guys. Bobby Jon and Jamie are sitting side by side and shoving each other like little boys. Jamie said that they are good old country boys. Jamie is asked if he was going nuts in the jungle. Jamie admits that he was losing it abit out there, and that it goes both ways.

Danni recognized Gary Hogeboom as an NFL quarterback. It seems that there was a whole shrine to Gary at Central Michigan State. Gary had the alter ego planned so he could get far in the game. Amy is asked what the reaction after finding out that Gary was a quarterback. She said that she wanted to beat him down. Jeff tells Amy that she looks fantastic. Judd also lost 45 pounds. It seems that Cindy still wishes that she was in the jungles of Guatemala. She says that she still thinks of the sounds and the hardness of the ground. Cindy also lost her job at the zoo to go to Survivor. Cindy said that she feels like a part of her is gone that she won't get back. Jeff asks her about the car curse. Rafe said that he doesn't know what he would have done if Cindy gave him a car, so Cindy at least has the car to take her back to Guatemala. Margaret is going back to Guatemala to help in a relief attempt. It seems that Brian is going back too. We also hear from Blake about the golden boy persona. Cindy gave him the name of Golden Boy because everything he touches is golden. Jeff asks about the reaction of his girlfriend about describing her. We then get to see video of Gary finding the immunity idol.

Brandon is asked about the eleven mile trek. He looks totally different too with short hair. He says that he never experienced anything like that trek even in treking in Montana. Brandon admits that he would still play a strong, clean game, but the game brings ugliness and is a mean game. Jim is asked about his years of experience and having a freak accident. Jim said that he would do it again just to be in the Mayan ruins, even if only three days. Brian is asked about being such a student of the game, and understanding of strategy. Brian said that luck is a huge part of the game. As Brian said, you have to be okay with the luck factor. Brooke is asked about getting labelled a smart person early on. She said that her original team knew that she knew how to use a compass, but that she was a farm girl who spent three years in law school. Brianna said that the game did overwhelm her and that she had an awesome time. Morgan is asked about getting voted out early. Morgan thought six days wasn't enough, but that she didn't think she would do so well physically, but that she thought that she was doing well.

We got a preview of the next Survivor which will be on a small island off of Panama where people will be banished to an island on their own at times. The new Survivor will be Survivor: Panama: Exile Island.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 -- Afternoon

The Steelers are playing the Chicago Bears today.
First half: The Bears have the ball first. Chicago has another of my favorite players, Muhsin Muhammad. The Bears don't have the ball for long, and have to punt. Willie Parker just ran the ball down the field for 45 yards to get 22 yards from a touchdown. He seems to be doing well so far with another carry right after that long one for another eight yards. Hines Ward just got a short pass and ran it in for a touchdown. The score is now 7-0. chicago answers by bringing the ball down the field and within a few yards of the end zone. Inside the five yard line, and theh Bears blow three downs, and have to settle for a field goal, which they get. The score is now 7-3. There are snow flurries in the air, but nothing is supposed to accumulate so it shouldn't affect the game. The Steelers are running the ball alot and eating up the clock. We are halfway through the second quarter and the Steelers have a first down on the 12 yard line. Willie Parker has just run the ball down to the 1 yard line and are poised to make another touchdown. They give the ball to Jerome Bettis who shoves himself over the line and scores a touchdown. Score is now 14-3, and Ben Roethlisberger is doing well considering he has a broken thumb. The Chicago defense is not doing as great as their reputation this season would warrant. The half ends with the Steelers leading, 14-3.
Second half: The snow is coming down now in big, thicky, fluffy flakes. I don't think it is going to accumulate, but it does looks nice as I watch the game from inside where it is warm and dry. The Steelers aren't able to do much on their first try with the ball, and have to punt. It is really coming down now, and the Steelers have the ball back and are methodically running it down the field. Bettis took the ball in for a touchdown, and the Steelers are now leading 21-3. It's snowing so hard now that it is hard to see what is happening. The Bears have the ball, and do a fake field goal attempt and punt the ball. The Steelers are onto the subterfuge and go after the ball and get it. Bettis got the ball, and just ran the ball up the middle. He gets tripped abit, but keeps on running and ran the ball around 40 yards up the field. it's amazing how you can barely see anything with all the snow. The ball went flying into the air, like water spouting out of a geyser. The Steelers managed to recover it. It seems that things are just going the Steelers way today and the announcers even commented on that fact. Just as the fourth quarter starts, the Bears are able to throw the ball down the field and it gets caught on the first yard line. The Bears then get the touchdown and miss the extra point kick. So the score is now 21-9. Bettis is having a great game so far, and my boyfriend isn't playing him in the fantasy team. Sometimes you just never know which player is going to do well in a particular game, and today seems to be Bettis' day. Bettis has come out of the game now, and is having his knee looked at so he might not be back in the game. Nope. Bettis is back in the game, and making good yardage. With 1:45 left in the game, Bettis is trying to get over 100 yards in the game, and now has 102 yards. The Steelers have won, breaking their three game losing streak and the Bears eight game winning streak. Final score was 21-9.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 -- Early Afternoon

Some hockey news this morning. Mario Lemieux has said that he will not compete in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. Wayne Gretzky was in town last night to see the Pens play, and heard Lemieux's decision then. It is possible that Gretzky was checking out Sidney Crosby for inclusion on Team Canada.

In other Pens news, Lemieux is also saying that he does not believe that the Pens will remain in Pittsburgh when their lease runs out with Mellon Arena in 2007. It seems that Lemieux says that the team can't afford to keep on losing money and to go for years losing money and that's what will happen if the team does not get a new arena. I have to admit that I have some confusion over this statement. I'm not sure how getting a new arena will solve all the financial woes of the team. Supposedly it will be because they can then charge seating licenses where you have to get a license before you even pay for the seat, and will have luxury boxes that companies will just eat up at high prices. If they continue to play like they are playing now, they won't be selling many seats. Besides, the Pens organization and Lemieux say that even if they sell out the seats in Mellon Arena now, they still won't make money. So it is very confusing to me how just having a new arena and selling seats there will make them more money than selling seats in Mellon. Besides, I think that the reason they don't sell as many seats now is because it is extremely expensive, and the team sucks! Anyway, Lemieux was blasting the local government for not wanting to work with him to resolve the issue. Well, there is the fact that the city is close to bankruptcy, and can't even open city swimming pools, so it's not as if the city can just pull several millions of dollars out its butt to give to Lemieux and the Pens. The new mayor, Bob O'Connor, has asked for Lemieux to wait until he gets into office in the next few weeks, and that O'Connor will try to come up with a solution. However, I think that Lemieux has made up his mind, and that the team will be heading to Kansas City. As Lemieux has said, even if they get the slots license, it will take a few years for the benefits to kick in, and he can't afford to lose money that long. I think that the decision has been made by Lemieux and in two years, the team will be the Kansas City Penguins.

The Baby Pens won last night against the Manitoba Moose. The final score was 7-1. One of the big scorers for the Baby Pens was Rico Fata who couldn't seem to do anything right here. Now it could be that it is just so fricking easy to play in the AHL that everyone we send down excels there, and everyone that excels there doesn't do well here. Or it could just possibly be superior coaching. I'm going for the superior coaching angle. The Baby Pens are now 21-1-2-1. Their next game will be next Friday against the Syracuse Crunch.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 -- Evening

Pens game tonight. They are playing the Colorado Avalanche. I missed the very beginning of the game, but the parts that I have seen of the first and second period have actually been pretty energetic. The Pens were the first ones to score, and now in the second period are leading with a score of 3-1. Mark Recchi scored the first goal and an assist on the third goal. The second goal was from Dick Tarnstrom and the third was Erik Christensen. The Avalanche just scored another goal and it's now 3-2. The Pens lead is in no way secure, especially with the way the Pens play. The third period has started and the Pens are still doing well. They may actually pull off a win tonight. The Pens scored another goal by Maxime Talbot, but then Colorado came right back to score another goal. The score is 4-3. With a minute and a half left in the game, the Avalanche took a time out, pulled the goalie and had a two man advantage due to a Penguins penalty. The Pens managed to hold them off, and the Pens have won for the first time this season on a Saturday. They did have some good energy in this game. However, I am not going to become excited and expect a complete turn around for this team. I know how they are, and that one win means next to nothing. With that said, it is very nice to finally have a win!

My boyfriend came back from San Diego today, and brought me a much appreciated present of some Peppermint Bark chocolates from Ghirardelli. He remembered that last year at this time, I had eaten some of the chocolates and really loved them. I was just able to get a small sample, and had difficulty finding more. I have a bag of twelve to enjoy. I'm going to savour them for as long as I can.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 -- Morning

With all the problems that the Pens have, the best solution that Eddie O and crew could come up with was to trade Steve Poapst for a similar type person, Eric Boguniecki. As I heard someone comment, we traded one healthy scratch for another. It seems that Boguniecki hurt his shoulder and had surgery prior to the start of the season, and the St. Louis Blues were hoping he would come back to his former glory as a scoring defenseman, but it doesn't seem like that has happened--yet. I suppose we can only hope, but when your team has as many problems as the Pens do (all coming from coaching or lack thereof) to just make such a minor trade is a smack in the face of the fans. Obviously the team wants us all to be disgusted so when they sneak out of town, we all aren't crying in our beers over lossing a hockey team. Eddie O obviously, doesn't care if we win or lose. Yesterday, Eddie O decided to skip a punishing training session because he doesn't think that punishment gets you anywhere. The nice thing for Eddie O is that the players think that he's a nice guy, a good coach. They just love him. They should hate him! He's the coach! Coaches aren't meant to be loved by their players, they are meant to put wins on the record. We have a team that plays as if they are totally demoralized (although they claim that they aren't) and the best that we can come up with to fix the problem is a minor trade. I would say that I just give up on this team, but I am stubborn. I'll keep on watching and commenting.

Meanwhile the Baby Pens lost last night, breaking their streak of 23 straight games earning at least one point, ie not regulation time losses. There's no way that any team could keep that stat for the whole season, so at least they got a loss out of the way. The Manitoba Moose won last night with a score of 3-1. The Baby Pens are playing the Moose again tonight and I'll have my fingers crossed for a different result. The Baby Pens results for the season are 20-1-2-1. (wins, losses, tie/loss, shootout/loss)

There have been some problems with the robotic arm on the Mars Rover, Opportunity. It seems that one of the coils in the motor that works the arm might have snapped, and the arm has been locked in the stowed position since November 25. The scientists were able to get the arm to move a little bit yesterday, but the question is how do they want to proceed. If the arm should lock in an extended position, it could cause problems. The other rover, Spirit, is so far doing fine.

Friday, December 9, 2005 -- Evening

This season of Survivor: Guatemala/The Maya Empire will be ending this coming Sunday. It is now down to the final four of Rafe, Lydia, Danni and Stephanie. I have to admit that I am cheering Danni on. I think that the reason I like her is because she is spunky and has managed to get the others not to vote her off either by winning immunity or manipulating their minds. I think that it would really suck if somehow Lydia wound up in the final two because she really has done nothing whatsoever to give her a good reason to be there. My second favorite is Rafe. This is the first time that I have watched the show, and I have to admit that I have enjoyed it.

We had a few inches of snow here in Pittsburgh, and I have to admit that I was ticked because the KDKA news crew "claimed" that the city of Pittsburgh salt trucks had been out and about and that all the primary roads in the city of Pittsburgh were just wet. Now as I was watching, they interviewed a woman who said that her ride was good until she got to the city of Pittsburgh, but the news reporter, Brenda Waters, claimed the woman must have been talking about secondary roads. Bull donkies! The primary roads, Forbes and Fifth Ave. were covered with a few inches of snow and slushy ice making for a slippery ride into Oakland from Squirrel Hill. I suppose that when KDKA was talking about the primary roads being cleared, they meant only in the downtown area of the city, not the city as the whole. So in that small area of prime real estate, clean roads. Everywhere else in the city, the tax payers have to put up with neglect. It's really disgusting. The main roads when I left work this evening at 5:30 had a thinner layer of slush and snow--not as bad as this morning, but that's probably because of the traffic. I never see a salt truck in Squirrel Hill, and the majority of streets, primary and secondary are usually a mess until a thaw in the temperature. I am hoping that the new mayor, Bob O'Connor will improve this mess, especially since he lives a few blocks away.

I would mention that everyone I know is now on the Fire Eddie O bandwagon, but it is getting too depressing to talk about the Pens when they do nothing to improve the situation--like fire Eddie O. At this point drastic measures are needed. A friend took the tickets to the game last night because I had class and my boyfriend is in San Diego, and he said that he wanted a refund on his money because the game was so bad. Meanwhile Mark Recchi is the worst player playing right now with a -20, but Eddie O still has faith in him. Even Recchi has admitted that it was the lowest point in the Pens season. Players are talking about how frustrated they are, and how after having a few days off, they should have played with energy. Instead they played with ennui. We have lost six games in a row now, and were didn't have a shot on net in 12 straight minutes of the game last night. I think this calls for a coaching change, don't you?

Thursday, December 8, 2005 -- Evening

Two things going on tonight, the Pens game and Survivor: Guatemala/The Maya Empire. I'll try to update on both. I'll watch the Pens game for a bit, and then switch to Survivor when it comes on.

Damned disgusting. 1:04 into the first period, and Minnesota Wild scored an easy goal against Jocelyn Thibault. It looks like one of those types of games. while watching Survivor, the first period ended with 18 shots on goal by the Wild and 3 by the Pens. Yep, definitely one of those games! Score is 1-0.

Onto Survivor: Guatemala/The Maya Empire. This episode is titled Big Win, Big Decision..Big Mistake? The group is talking around the fire after the tribal council. Danni said that she has been praying for the alliance to crack. Cindy told them that she wished that someone had told her something about it. Rafe tries to explain it to Cindy, but she said that they didn't tell Judd they were voting Jamie out, and they didn't tell her they were voting Judd out so Cindy sees a pattern and thinks she is next. Day 34, and Rafe is the only guy left. Only men are on the jury at this time. Rafe said that since Judd left they can all act abit more dorky and have fun. For example, they all go around crossing their eyes. Lydia said that they see Rafe as one of the girls because he is so gentle. Rafe feels that he has a close personal friendship with all four of the women left. Rafe and Danni find a car key in the reward pot, and they figure that someone will be winning a car this time. Lydia said that the car will be for her son and she is going to work really hard for it. Also Steph said that she has never had a car. Everyone goes to the reward competition an there is a van waiting them. It is a second chance at the past competitions. First, they have to walk across a balance beam and untie three sets of maconas. The first three to finish move to the next round. The first two to break a tile 30 feet away with their maconas will move on to the last round. In that round, they have to solve a puzzle based on the Mayan calendar. Once the puzzle is solved, hop in the cart, chop off the rope that holds the cart. The first one to the finish line wins. The winner gets the car, and will drive to an archaeologist camp to a feast, spend the night and return to camp the next morning. The face begins. Steph has her second set, and Danni is behind her and Cindy is close to. Steph fell off and had to go back to the start. Then Lydia fell and had to go back. Cindy fell off near the end and had to go back. Lydia fell off again. Danni is the first to finish. Cindy is second and moving on. Battle between Rafe and Steph, and Steph moves on. First two to break the tile now moves on. Cindy broke a tile and is moving on. Steph broke her tile next so it is Steph and Cindy trying to win a 2006 Pontiac Torrent. They are now putting the puzzle together. Cindy is in her cart and she has won. Jeff Probst gives her the keys and tell her that she has won and can take one person with her on the feast. As Jeff tells her, the person who won the car in the past ten seasons has never won Survivor. Cindy can give up her car and give a car to each of the other four. What will Cindy do? Cindy is chewing her nails, and she said that she doesn't believe in superstition. Cindy says that she also believes in making the impossible possible and win the car and the $1 million. Cindy is going to keep the car for herself. She gets to take one person with her. Cindy takes Stephanie with her because she finished second. Cindy and Steph leave to go to the camp. Steph agrees with Cindy that there are no guarantees in the game. The four Torrents that weren't given away will be given away as prizes to the general public.

Cindy says her mind is reeling and she is shocked that she won a reward and that she won a car. Stephanie was overwhelmed with happiness for Cindy. Cindy said that she was never that happy in her whole life. Cindy said that it was awesome to see three girls in the final three. They have arrived at the archaeological site and there is an archaeologist waiting for them. They have food, meat, fruit and rum. They cook the meat and cut open the fruits. I can't believe that they will eat all that food. Cindy is still talking about whether she should feel bad. Cindy says "screw the curse" and she is taking the car. Rafe couldn't believe that was the decision that Cindy made. Rafe said that he would have given the cars away. Danni said that she would have given the cars in a heartbeat. Everyone agrees that Cindy needed the car. Lydia said that she should have kept the car. Rafe admits that he wouldn't have voted Cindy out ever if he got a car, but now, who knows. Cindy and Steph ask the archaeologist about the Mayan culture and if they ate that corn all the time, and they did. Steph and Cindy have blankets and candles. It seems that they want to get rid of Danni next. Cindy said that she finally felt that she got to know what was going on. They both decide that Danni is the biggest threat. They are going to bring it up to Rafe because they feel that he will understand getting rid of Danni next because she is a physical threat.

Cindy and Steph are back at the camp with everyone else and is asked how she likes the car. Cindy is enthusing about the car and Danni is crushing corn. Rafe said that it is grating on peope that Cindy won a car. She keeps on going on about having a brand new vehicle. As Rafe said, if you can't see that no one is listening as you ramble on and on about your car, you have a problem. Cindy thinks that no one has any qualms about her winning the car. Steph said that Cindy should have kept the car. Rafe said that he and Danni were saying that they were talking about how they would have given up the car. Steph said that she didn't think that anyone would have given up the car. Steph said, "no way". As Steph said it was the first time she and Rafe disagreed. Lydia said again that Cindy made the right choice. Rafe said that he started to think that he was playing the game too nicely because everyone else would have kept the car, except him and Danni. Jeff Probst asked about the reward. It is now time for the immunity challenge. They are each attached to a rope that is wound around four poles. Their hands and feet are shackled. They have to unlock their hands, untangle enough rope to get to the finish line. They also will get a key to unlock their feet. First one to finish wins. There are ten keys and they have to find the key to unlock her hands. Steph is first, then Rafe and then Cindy. Steph and Cindy get their second locks undone. Steph and Cindy are in the lead. Lydia and Danni are free. Steph is on the third lock first and then Cindy. Lydia has her second lock undone and is at her third lock. Rafe is also on the third lock. Danni is behind everyone. Steph has the lock undone and is on her fourth and final lock. She gets it done and unshackles her feet. Cindy also has her rope free. Steph doesn't have enough rope and had to undo one knot and then a second. Cindy is working on her final lock. Steph releases the last knot and wins immunity. As Steph said, she has finally won something on her own, and she begins to cry. Rafe, Cindy, Danni and Lydia--one will be voted out on Day 36.

Back at camp, Lydia is telling Steph that her family will be happy for her. Rafe looks shell shocked. Steph is still trying to get over the fact that she got this far. Rafe said that he won't vote Danni out this time or next. Danni and Rafe had a promise to get to the final three. Rafe said that he won't change it regardless. He says that if Steph tries to deal, he won't be swayed. Rafe said that Danni has promised Rafe to take him to the end. Rafe wants to vote out Cindy. Rafe is going to try to persuade Steph to vote out Cindy over Danni. Rafe thinks that he can convince Steph to vote out Danni. Steph said that she can't vote out Cindy because of the jury. Rafe asks if she made a deal with Cindy. Steph doesn't want to look bad on turning on Cindy. As Steph said, Cindy at least has a car, and she knows that folks on the jury may be against her already. Steph tells Cindy that Rafe wants to get rid of Cindy because she is the bigger threat. cindy then decides that they need to vote out Rafe. Steph and Cindy are working on Danni and trying to convince her to eliminate Rafe and have an all female final four. Rafe comes up as they are talking and looks upset. Time for the tribal council. The jury is back in place. Rafe is asked about the mood. Rafe said that everyone feels threatened and Rafe comments that he is the only guy left and there are all guys on the jury. Danni said that she is always worried because she is the odd man out. Cindy feels that she made the right decision on taking the car. She thinks the curse is silly and thinks you have to be a tough competitor and win. Being tough is a curse and at that Judd smiles. Cindy said that Rafe is the one that people should be concerned about because he wins competitions and everyone likes him so he should be voted out. Cindy votes first and votes for Rafe. We hear that Lydia is voting for with the tribe, but we don't see who she is voting for. Rafe votes for Cindy. Votes are being tallied. Votes: Rafe, Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. Cindy is votes out, and says that she will think of them as she looks at the stars out of the sunroof of her car. The others are now the final four. I like both Rafe and Danni and hope that one of them win. All four voted against Cindy.

Back to the Pens game where the team is losing and playing miserably. The score is 3-0, and shots on goal for the game so far are 30 for the Wild and 11 for the Pens. It is a pitiful display, and it is heartwrenching to see the team's management do nothing to put the team out of its misery. It seems that Eddie O is playing musical lines again and just making up new line matchs. That has been a problem in the past, but obviously Eddie O is unable to learn from his numerous mistakes. With the start of the third period, the Wild score again to make it 4-0. I suppose that the only question for the Pens is whether they will score at all in this game. Watching the third period of this game, I am reminded of the last season that the Pens played and Eddie O's first season as coach. Some of those games were so bad that I stopped watching the Pens for awhile. It's hard to get excited about such poor quality of play. In fact, this game is so boring that I am doing a suduko puzzle. Another goal by the Wild because Thibault thought it would be a good idea to come out of the net and just laze about in front of it. Easy goal because the defense guy was the only one there to try to block the goal. Score is now 5-0. I'm not even paying attention at this point because only 4:21 is left in the game. It is a slow moving one, and the seats look empty. There were only abit over 14,000 there, and most are leaving because the game sucks and the snow is coming down hard. We are expected to have perhaps as much as 8 inches by morning. Painful loss and we are shutout. Final score is 5-0.

Thursday, December 8, 2005 -- Afternoon

Mario Lemieux was released from hospital this morning with a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation which is a common problem that can be controlled with medication. It seems that he has been having problems since summertime, but the doctors were unable to figure out what was going on until he was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He should be practicing again in a few days and returning to play sometime after that. I think that they are just taking it a day at a time.

Jocelyn Thibault is going to be in goal tonight against the Minnesota Wild because Marc-Andre Fleury has a stomach flu. I'm not expecting a win tonight, but you can never tell. Miracles can happen, or so I hear.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005 -- Mid-Evening

Official word has been released about Mario Lemieux going to the hospital. At this time, it is just a precautionary measure, and Lemieux will definitely not be playing tomorrow against the Minnesota Wild. I won't be going to the game tomorrow because I have my final fiction writing class, but I will give a synopsis later in the evening.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005 -- Evening

Breaking news here in Pittsburgh is that Mario Lemieux has been admitted to hospital for an irregular heartbeat. It seems that Lemieux is under observation and the irregularity could be addressed with medicine. Perhaps Lemieux might realize that it's time to retire and concentrate on being an owner as opposed to owner/player. It also seems that he probably won't be playing in the Olympics this coming winter. Now this isn't anything that Lemieux is saying, just my thoughts on the matter.

Eddie Olczyk is not very concerned about Mark Recchi's plus/minus rating. Recchi has the worst rating of anyone in hockey, but Eddie O claims that the low rating is due to Recchi doing things for the betterment of the team. What? Sometimes I wonder if Eddie O lives in some sort of Wonderland where he is Alice and the Pens, the Cheshire Cat. I do know that some of my friends are starting to jump on the Fire Eddie O bandwagon, and all I have to say is "about time". Eddie O may be the nicest guy personally, but a coach he ain't.

University of Pittsburgh trustees gave Chancellor Nordenberg a 3 percent raise. So how much does the Chancellor actually make? Well, there are the perks such as free housing, car, travel, and other things, but his base salary is now $427,500. Supposedly there has been unprecedented campus growth, but I really haven't noticed anything personally in my ten years in the Oakland area. Maybe they mean that the Chancellor has brought in alot of money by fundraising and selling alumni information to credit card companies. Yeah, that has to be it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 -- Evening

One of the final episodes of Amazing Race 8 this evening. This one is titled Family Christmas Card. The episode starts with the race to Phil without the teams knowing that the race was still on. Phil gives them their next clue. They have to drive 49 miles to DuBois, Wyoming and drive to Turtle Ranch to get their next clue. The Godlewskis decide to stop to call to find out where they are going. The Linz family just decides to keep on going. The Godlewskis just waste time because they can't call anyone on the pay phone. They argue because one sister told another to grab a phone book, which she refused to do. The Bransen daughters talk about how cranky they get if they don't have food. The Weavers stop to ask for directions and even though they stop at a gas station, they don't get gas. It becomes an argument between the sisters. The Linz family gets to Phil in third place and call him the Philinator. The Linz family starts off on the next leg of the race. The Godlewski sisters are still arguing and Christine is crying because the sisters are being mean to her. Phil tells the Godlewskis that it's not over and to keep racing. The Bransens get to Turtle Ranch and find out that they have to wait until the next morning for the ranch to open which means that everyone will be starting out on the same foot. The Weavers say that the other families aren't people they want to hang out with. The Linz and Godlewski families arrive and now everyone is on even footing. The Weavers are inside their camper complaining, but the other families are outside and talking.

Everyone runs out to the cars with the Linz family in first, Weavers second, Bransens third and Godlewskis last. They all drive out and the Weavers are praying. The families are headed to Indians at a tepee. There is a clue box there. It is a detour. The two chores are Pioneer Spirit and Native Tradition. In Pioneer Spirit, they have to attach four wheels to a cover wagon, and then atttach horses to the wagon, and drive it along a quarter mile course. In Native Tradition, teams have to use materials and tools to build a tepee. The tepee building could be lengthy where the wagon chore could be easy. The Weavers and the Godlewskis decide to do the tepee and the Bransens and Linz family do the wagon. One of the Godlewski sisters checks out the tepee that is already standing and finds that it is four shoes between each tepee pole. The Linz boys are good at the Wagon wheel work. The Bransens have their wagon wheels ready first, but they still need to be screwed on. Rolly Weaver gets freaked out because the Indian chief is looking at him. The Linz family is on to getting the horses. The Linz family is leaving first. The Bransens are off next. The Weavers and Godlewskis are still building. The next trip is to Cody, Wyoming, and must go to a hotel called the Irma named after Buffalo Bill's daughter. They have to dress up like characters from the Old West and get their picture taken with Buffalo Bill's daughter then give the picture to Buffalo Bill who will give them the clue. The Linz family is in first and the Bransen's are second. The Bransen girls credit their father with them doing well. The Godlewskis are trying to figure out how to get higher to tighten their tepee. The Godlewski sisters climb on each others shoulders. The Weavers finish their tepee first and get the clue. The Godlewskis have to hurry to not be left too far behind.

The Godlewskis appear to have their tepee done and are in last place, but not too far behind the Weavers. The Linz family is in Cody, and are now finding Irma. It's a real race between the Linz family and the Bransens. The Linz family gets there first. They go into the dressing room, and when the Bransens get there, they have to wait for the Linz family to dress first. The Linz family are a good looking bunch. and there is some flirting with the Bransen girls. The Linz family is in first. They have to travel 73 miles to Red Lodge, Montana and go to the Red Lodge Mountain golf course. At the 10th tee, they will find their next clue. The Weavers are also already in Cody. The Bransens complete their picture taking and now are heading off to Red Lodge, Montana. Papa Bransen says that he will use the picture with Buffalo Bill as the family Christmas card. There is a road block at Red Lodge. In this version, two people must chose one of the colored flags and must go around the back nine and find four balls the same color as their flag. They choose orange. They find one ball, and the Bransens have arrived. The Bransens choose purple. The Bransen find one of the purple balls. The Weavers are commenting on how good they look as they get their picture taken. The Godlewskis have finally arrived at Irma. The Linz family now has three balls. The Bransens have three balls too. The Godlewskis get abit carried away with flirting with Buffalo Bill. The Linz boys have missed one of their balls which is in the hole. The Weavers have arrived. The Bransens have found all four balls and can now get their clue. They are in first place. They must now drive 43 miles and go to Green Meadows Ranch. It's the pit stop for this leg of the race. The Linz boys find the last ball,a nd are now on their way. They are in second place. The boys are mad that they didn't look in the hole for the ball. The Godlewski sisters arrive and go off look for their balls. The Weaver girls aren't talking to the Godlewskis. The two sisters are arguing and fighting and not looking for balls. One jumps out of the go-cart and refuses to get back into the cart. They are dooming themselves to being eliminated if they don't stop fighting.

The Godlewskis are still fighting while the Bransens are looking for Green Meadow Ranch. The Linz family is seven miles away. The Weavers have found all four balls which means that the Godlewskis are in last place. The Godlewskis have their balls and are on their way. Back at Geen Meadows Ranch, the Bransens have arrived and they are first. They are one of the three teams that will be racing to the finish line. As the winner of this leg of the race, they won a Buick Lucerne. The Linz family is second. They will be another one of the finalists. The Weavers get pulled over for speeding. The officer gives them a warning only. The Weaver mom goes out to ask for directions to the ranch. The Weavers are running out of gas. The Weavers and Godlewskis are both racing to the finish and the Weavers get there first. They will go on to the finals. The Godlewskis are eliminated. The Weavers feel good about getting this far and say it hasn't been easy. The Godlewskis get the bad news that they have been eliminated. It was very stressful, and it seems that all the sisters had to admit that they weren't surprised at how they treated each other. It seems that they aren't going to be more accepting of each other. As one says, they may not like each other every minute, but they do love each other. The Bransens and Linz families admit that there will be no more helping each other. All say that they are going to continue to play as they already have been. Next week will be the final episode and will reward the winner with $1 million.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 -- Morning

The girls who were leading the girlcott against Abercrombie & Fitch have met with executives of the store about offensive sayings on the company's t-shirts. Company representatives told the girls that they use focus groups to evaluate the clothing before it is made available to the public, and the girls who looked at the "offensive" shirts found them to be humorous. After all, what isn't humorous about someone with a larger chest wearing slogans like "Who Needs Brains When You Have These?" The girls made other remarks to the company representatives about a lack of diversity in the company because I suppose no black representatives were there from the company. The company directed them to their web site's diversity link.

Ziggy Palffy and John LeClair are expected to be back at practice today. Their injuries are healing nice, and they should be playing in the next Pens game. Meanwhile Craig Patrick is taking responsibility for the team's failure to perform so far this season. He says that the problem is that he was trying to put together a club that would make it to the playoffs and he failed. However, he still thinks that the team in its current form can succeed and just needs some fine tuning. Hmm. We shall see.

Monday, December 5, 2005 -- Afternoon

The big question here in Steeler nation is whether the Steelers have blown a chance at the Super Bowl this year or even the playoffs. There has been alot of talk over the summer about how the Steelers were going to make a real run for the Super Bowl this year. The thing is that last year was the year for them. A team doesn't often go 15-1 and then play as poorly as we did in the playoffs last year. Last year was our year, and they blew it. This year the team has been saddled with injuries and poor play. In my prediction at the beginning of the season, I had the Steelers doing alittle bit worse then they actually have been doing, although if they totally crap out, my prediction of a 7-9 season might not be too far off. I also thought that the Cincinnati Bengals would take the division this year, and they do seem on track for that. Right now the Indianapolis Colts look like they are on their way to a possible win in the Super Bowl with their win yesterday. Right now, the Colts are undefeated at 12-0. Of course, all bets are off once the playoffs start and every team starts at 0-0.

Monday, December 5, 2005 -- Morning

The Baby Pens lost yesterday to the Hershey Bears. They managed to tie the game in the third period, but lost in a shootout with a final score of 3-2. The record for the team is now 20-0-2-1 (with the one being a shoot out loss).

I missed the As Time Goes By Reunion Special that was on this past Saturday. Unfortunately, it was listed in the guide as Members Favorites. The first episode was on our local PBS station (WQED) this past Saturday, and the second episode is scheduled for this coming Saturday at 9:00 pm. The show will be released on DVD at the beginning of January. I suppose that I should just wait for the DVD so I can watch both episodes.

Sunday, December 4, 2005 -- Afternoon

Time for the Steelers game.
First half: It was starting to look like a boring start to the game. Ben Roethlisberger came out with a couple of good throws, but nothing went anywhere and we had to punt. The Bengals were having the same luck. But then the Steelers got the ball, and with a few good throws to Heath Miller we got it down to the goalline. Jerome Bettis ran the ball in for a touchdown. Score is now 7-0. The Bengals came back though with some good throws to Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh scored the tieing touchdown. Score is 7-7 with abit over three minutes left in the game. With seconds left in the first quarter, Roethlisberger managed to get the ball down the field and throw a 25 yard touchdown reception to Quincy Morgan. Score is now 14-7 Steelers. The Bengals have come back in the second quarter with an answering touchdown. The touchdown was scored by Reggie Kelly and the game is now 14-14. The Bengals have gotten an interception. It happened right after Roethlisberger was tackled and fell on his injured right hand. Then the ball was thrown all the way down the field and that was intercepted. Carson Palmer got the ball down the field and threw another touchdown pass to Houshmandzadeh. Score is now 14-21. Roethlisberger had a late hit on him that was directed at his knees. The Bengals were penalized for it, but it was a low blow. Fortunately Roethlisberger appears to be okay. Then Hines Ward was running with the ball when he was tackled and fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by the Bengals who now have the ball again. Fortunately, they weren't able to score and had to punt the ball. There were some issues with the first kickoff, so the Bengals had to do it again. It was good news for the Steelers because we got 20 extra yards out of it. A bomb was thrown down to Cedrick Wilson who came down with that ball in double coverage on the 30 yard line. We still have two minutes left in the game to tie things up. We weren't able to get a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal. Score at the half is 17-21 with the Bengals leading.
Second half: In their first series of plays, the Bengals get the ball down the field, but they can't score a touchdown and have to settle for a field goal. Score is now 17-24, We got the ball back, and took the ball down the field, and Roethlisberger threw another touchdown pass to Ward. Score is now tied 24-24. On the kickoff return, the Bengals returned the ball 93 yards, and was stopped four yards short of a touchdown. The Bengals ran in the ball for a touchdown. Score is now 24-31. Not alot going on with neither able to produce anything. Roethlisberger just threw an interception in the fourth quarter with abit under 9 minutes left in the game. The Bengals have just scored another touchdown off of that interception. The score is now 24-38. Finally! I was in the kitchen making a roast turkey when I heard that Roethlisberger had moved the ball down the field and threw a touchdown pass to Ward. The score is now 31-38. There are 2:59 minutes left in the game. can we come back to win or tie the game? We have less than two minutes, and we are now on third down with 24 yards to go. If we win up punting again, we might not get the ball back. Fourth down: will they go for it? It appears that they will and we are in the 20 yard line, and Roethlisberger is sacked, throwing the ball as he goes down, almost costing an interception and further score on the part of the Bengals. It seems that the Bengals are just going to take the knew and run down the clock. The question that the game announcers have is what went wrong with a team that was 7-2 and is now 7-5?

The Baby Pens are doing great. They won again last night with the winning goal occuring in the last two minutes of the game for a final score of 3-2 over the Norfolk Admirals. It's the 15th consecutive road win for the the Baby Pens, and their record for the season is 20-0-2. The Baby Pens have another game today against the Hershey Bears.

Sunday, December 4, 2005 -- Late Morning

I was just watching a pregame show for the Steelers game this afternoon. It seems that Ben Roethlisberger has been having some problems with his thumb. Supposedly as he was coming off the field from practice he was telling people that his thumb was really hurting him. This has been a season plagued with injury for Roethlisberger. It appears that the thumb may actually be broken because when he was asked by someone if the thumb was broken, Roethlisberger said "I don't know if I can disclose that." Interesting, but that's how the NFL is about injuries--very secretive. Charlie Batch is dressing as a third quarterback choice--meaning, you got it--Tommy Maddox might be playing today. Just in general, it's not looking good for the Steelers because we have so many injured players and the Cincinnati Bengals have been playing well. Chad Johnson is one of my favorite players and has been a steady producer on my fantasy team.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Calgary Flames tonight. Sebastien Caron went on waivers yesterday, and no one picked him up so he was reassigned to the Baby Pens. That's sort of sad because if any goalie deserves to be in the minors based on the quality of his play, that's Jocelyn Thibault. I suppose the reason that Caron was sent is because Thibault refused to go. They should have just let Thibault go then because that would have been permissible if he refused to go down to the Baby Pens. John LeClair and Ziggy Palffy won't be playing tonight because of injuries.

Speaking of the Baby Pens, they won again last night and now have a 19-0-2 record. The Baby Pens have set an AHL record for consecutive road victories which now total 14 victories. They are playing the Norfolk Admirals again tonight. The game last night was an overtime win for the Baby Pens with a final score of 3-2.

Now on to the Pens game: First period: the play is very fast paced and the Flames are playing a very physical brand of hockey which is typical for the West Coast team. The Flames were the first to score with a questionable goal, because it wasn't very clear from watching it that it actually did cross the goalline, but the Flames got the point which was scored by Marcus Nilson and an assist by Andrew Ference who used to play with the Pens. Score is now 1-0. During the tv time out it seems that the Pens coaches were upset over the fact that the referees called it a goal so quickly. The Flames better hope to win by more than one goal, or it will put a stain on the win. Obviously I'm thinking that the Pens won't win the game tonight. The period ends with the score 1-0 with the Flames getting 12 shots and the Pens getting 8 shots on goal.
Second period: We have been getting alot of penalties, so far five in the game only five minutes into the second period. Sidney Crosby got a penalty for goalie interference because he went full force into the goalie. Crosby came out from his penalty and the Flames had gotten a penalty. Crosby was able to score a powerplay goal. Score is now tied at 1-1. Mario Lemieux also got an assist on the goal. The Flames aren't doing very well, and their coach took a time out to try to get his team into shape. They have had a slew of scoring opportunities, but haven't accomplished much. The period ends after alot of back and forthing still tied at 1-1.
Third period: Less than two minutes into the period and the Flames scored off of a faceoff during a powerplay that just started. The score is now 2-1. The Flames came out in the third period to win. Two minutes after scoring at 1:51, the Flames scored again at 3:48. Score is now 3-1. The Flames went on a respite from scoring though, and Ryan VandenBussche just scored a goal for the Pens at 12:19. The score is now 3-2. With 2:11 left in the game, Eric Christensen got a penalty for interference. Just what the Pens needed when they are trying to tie up the game, or heck, maybe even win, is a penalty for interference. What could you expect? 32 seconds in the game, and the Flames now have a penalty for goalie interference after Fleury got in the way of a Flame to successfully draw the penalty. 3.9 seconds are left in the game and the goalie is pulled. Will the Pens tie the game? The Pens hit the goalpost and the clock ran out. No goal and the Flames win, and the Pens, per usual, lose. Final score is 3-2.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 -- Early Afternoon

Another new episode of Endurance: Tehachapi. This one is titled Super Stumped. Shea is nervous because he is afraid that the other superteam is going to be stronger and that Blue might be in trouble. Meanwhile Isaac and Chris on the other team are talking about how they both want to be in charge. Abit of foreshadowing? JD Roth said that the perception is that Green, Red and Yellow are the strong teams while Blue, Purple and Orange are weak. Michael said that was true, but they were going to work on that. It seems that Purple has an alliance with the other teams. Jonathan from the Purple team says that he understand that he may need to go up to the Temple, but if the other Super Team loses, he says that he will let Blue and Orange decide because he wouldn't want a hand in sending one of his friends up to Temple. The mission? A row of stumps are going across the lake. The teammates have to use planks to build a bridge from stump to stump. If any team member falls into the water, they have to wait for that team member to climb back up on the stump to join them before they can continue. When they reach the other side, they have to grab their flag and race back across the bridge to win. All six have to get to one side and then get back. The race starts out very tied. Isaac and Shea are the leaders of their respective teams. The Red, Green and Yellow super team get stuck when one of their planks get stuck and won't come up.

Meanwhile, Orange, Purple and Blue are going well, and they have a major advantage. They are on their way back and the Green, Yellow and Red are behind. Blue, Orange and Purple make it back first. The issue is that the stronger teams just couldn't work together well. Kylie said it was incredible because they finally won something. The problem was that the Green, Yellow and Red team put one plank on top of another and then couldn't lift the second plank out after it was crossed. It was a major blunder as Franke admitted. Michael says to Green and Yellow are the stronger teams. Jonathan said that he wanted Red and then just somebody else. They are very conflicted about whether to send Green or Yellow because the teams all do seem to be close. Chris realizes that there is a question about Yellow or Green, but Franke knows that Red is definitely going to be sent. Franke said that he can't lose though because he's not done there yet.

The teams meet with JD, and JD says that the unthinkable happened and that he doesn't think that anyone expected this to be the case of the weaker super team winning. The decision now has to be made. JD has Jonathan tell them which two teams are going. The teams that are being sent Red and Yellow. The girls on all three teams seem more upset and Jeszie is crying the most. Jonathan says that he hopes to see Chris back. Chris tells Jonathan that nothing changes and they are still tight. Callie says that it's hard because you become so dependant on each other and you grow to like each other so much that it's hard. Erika says that they think that if Red comes back, they have a really good chance to win. Erika says you can't take your home life for granted. Chris says he wants to stay very badly. Franke says it's a lose-lose situation because either he is out of the game, or one of his friends is.

Red and Yellow are headed to the Temple of Fate. Only one team will return. Yellow chooses water and Red chooses wood. Red wins the first match. Yellow picks wood and Red picks water. It's the exact opposite so now Yellow wins. Each now has won a round. Time for the final tiebreaking round. Yellow picks water and Red picks wood. Red goes back, and Yellow is out. Chris thanks JD for everything and extends the thanks to everyone. He is a very mature young man (the youngest in the game). Red heads back to their friends. Everyone is outside waiting, and everyone starts screaming and hugging Red.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 -- Morning

On to the next show which is Survivor: Guatemala/The Maya Empire. The title of this episode is A Price for Immunity. The show starts on Day 31. Danni is grinding corn and admits that she is next on the totem pole. Lydia says that she smelled sausage and eggs and Judd blamed it on Stephanie farting. Danni said that it was funny that morning with everyone acting like nothing happened the previous night and that they weren't outed for lying. Danni said that she isn't going down without a fight. Danni said that the perfect little alliance is going to have to start breaking apart and picking on each other, and she wants to aid that. It's now time for the Survivor auction. Each person gets $500. If they see something they like, they should bid on it. They can also pool their money, but they will have to split the item. Beef jerky is up first and Danni pays $20 for it. Danni is happy with the beef jerky. Three chocolate chip cookies and milk. Lydia puts up $20, and Cindy pays $40 and gets it. Next up is an individual mosquito net. Lydia gets into a bidding war with Rafe and Danni who pool their money. Lydia gets it for $140, and Jeff Propst even remarks that Lydia is covered with bites. Next item is a covered item. Rafe and Danni buy it for pooled money of $180. It is a philly steak sandwich with fries and ketchup. Next item is an envelope that will help with immunity. Danni bought it for $200. It has a waxed seal on it that has to remain sealed until the next challenge. The next item are family members--there's Cindy's twin sister, Rafe's mom, Lydia's brother, Danni's brother, Judd's wife, and Steph's boyfriend. Rafe said that it was overwhelming to see his mom. Whoever wins the bidding gets to have the family member come back to camp and spend the night. If two people pool their money, only one gets to have a family member, so it would be one person helping another. Bidding starts at $40. Judd got money from cindy and paid for his wife to come at $880. Stephanie could only get $700 some dollars. Judd gets to pick two other family members. He picks Cindy, who can pick up her twin, and he also picks Stephanie. Rafe was crying because the remaining three family members are leaving and the three without family are going to the old Yaxhu camp without getting to even hug their family members. Rafe is bawling his eyes out. The three family members get to head to camp.

Back at the camp, the family members are arriving. Mindy does look like Cindy. Judd's wife is shocking at his camping skills. She did not think that he would know what he was doing. Mindy said that she and Cindy used to play wilderness people when they were kids. Stephanie said that she owes Judd big time because this is the second time that he did something big for her. Judd hopes that Steph takes him to the final two. Rafe, Danni and Lydia went over to the old Yaxhu camp. Danni said that it is hard to trust anyone. Danni said that Gary told her to trust Rafe. Danni admits that Rafe has to trust her because folks will see him as a threat at some point. Rafe said that Danni and he are closer than him and Judd. Rafe would like to catch Judd someway in a lie so they could sway Stephanie to get rid of Judd. Stephanie and Judd's wife talk about the final four, and Stephanie admits that she wants the Jersey people to be final two. Final four should be Judd, Stephanie, Cindy and Rafe, and that's what Judd says as he talks to Steph, Cindy and the family members.

Day 32. Judd goes out wood picking with his wife. Mindy said that it is more barren than she expected. Stephanie's boyfriend says that it's the real deal and alot of people wouldn't have survived. Judd said that it felt great to have his wife there. The family members are leaving and Judd, Stephanie and Cindy say good bye at the boat dock. Judd's wife said that she misses him so much because she has never not talked to him for more than 24 hours, and she just wants him to come home. Lydia tells Judd that he has to get a game plan going. Lydia tells Judd that they have seven more days left, and that they have to unite to get to the final two. Danni heard how Judd was telling Lydia to get rid of the strong players, and that Judd knew that Stephanie was behind voting out Jamie. It is now time for the immunity challenge. It's a human chess game. You can move forward, backward, side to side, but not diagonally. Once you land on a spot, you flip over the tile to make it red. Once a tile is red a person can't step back on that tile. The way that the tiles are setup is that they are on levels and the top levels spin so the person can spin themselves to a spot that might not be red. If you can't step on another tile, you are out. The last person standing wins. Danni still have the sealed envelope. They have spots on the board. Danni gets to switch positions at any time in the game with one player. Everybody makes a first move. Danni goes first, then Cindy, Judd, Rafe, Steph, and Lydia. Cindy is the first person out of the game. It's Danni's move and she asks to switch. She switches with Stephanie who doesn't like it. Lydia is the second person out of the game. Rafe is now out of the game after Danni makes a move that eliminates him. Judd is out because he can't move diagonally. It's down to Danni and Steph. Steph is now out and Danni wins immunity.

Day 33. Danni thought that she would be going next, and she says other things are going on which can work even more in her favor. Danni tells Stephanie that Judd was still mad about the Jamie situation. Stephanie rolls her eyes, and Danni tells Steph that only Judd and Lydia were talking. Judd is watching Rafe, Steph, and Danni grinding corn. Steph says that Judd has been caught in quite a few lies, but not Danni. Rafe asks Steph what is going on, and Steph tells Rafe how Judd was telling Lydia that he wanted to get rid of the strongest people and that he was ticked over Jamie. Stephanie, Rafe and Danni talk about taking Cindy to the final four and getting rid of Judd and then Lydia. Stephanie said that she loves Judd, but she wants to win. Danni is hoping that her plan worked to get rid of Judd. Lydia is trying to save her butt which is why she is smoozing Judd. Lydia said that she thought Danni was going out next. Judd said that no one is safe. Lydia is talking about keeping herself safe to Rafe, and Judd says that Lydia better not vote for him. Judd told Rafe that Lydia is working it to stay in. Judd said that you have to say something, you just can't sit there, but he doesn't admit to his conversation. Judd said that he will miss Lydia, but no hard feelings. Judd says he will always have a smile on his face as long as it isn't him going home next. Tribal council. The members of the Jury come up now. Stephanie said that she has been going out with her boyfriend for seven years, and she thought it was good that he could see what she is going through. Danni said that there was no way that she was going to let that immunity advantage get away from her. Cindy said that you have to think about who you vote off and how it will affect your alliances and how that person might then vote in the jury. Rafe is considering how it will be different when it comes down to five, but Rafe said you have to trust your gut and have strong trust in someone. Stephanie said that it is important to be able to vote out the right person for the right reason and to explain why you did what you did if you make it to final two. Judd admits that everybody wants somebody to go home. Judd says, deal with it. As he says, it's better for him if someone else goes home. Danni is keeping her immunity. Voting begins. Danni votes for Judd. Judd votes for Lydia. Vote tallying. Votes: Judd, Lydia, Lydia, Judd, Judd, Judd. Judd is voted out. As he leaves, he says, "thanks, I hope you guys get bitten by a frigging crocodile. Scumbags". As his torch is put out, Judd again says scumbags. Jeff Propst says that the game just took a change in a very big way. Cindy didn't know about the vote against Judd and she was the other vote for Lydia.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 -- Early Morning

I was up at 4;30 am this morning to get my boyfriend to the airport by 5:30 so he wouldn't be late for his 7:30 am flight. He's going to San Diego via Phoenix. Since I am now back home so early, I thought I would watch the shows that I missed through the week.

First up is Amazing Race 8. The title of this episode is Don't Talk to Me Like I Was an Animal or Something. The episode starts in Salt Lake city. It has the largest inland salt lake in the world. The Linz family left at 12:46 am. They have to drive to Park City High School. The Linz sister is not feeling well, and the brothers take care of her. It seems she has cramps, and the one brother doesn't want her throwing up on him. She admits that she likes being spoiled by her brothers. The Bransens are second. They talk about the tensions between the other teams that they aren't involved in. The Godlewski sisters go next, and the sisters seem to be having problems getting along and arguing. The Linz's arrive at the school. They have to inflate a hot air balloon, take a scenic tour of the Utah countryside. The balloons start departing at 6:00 am, and shuttles for the balloon site leave every 10 minutes. There is one team per balloon, and they get the next clue when they land. The families then go to sleep in their campers. The Weavers leave last, and the mother says that the family has never been treated like that before. The Linz sister is feeling better after sleep and Pepto Bismal. The Weavers just arrived at the school in the morning, and they were screaming at the other teams about getting to sleep in a bed. The mother asked the Linz family if they were sorry that they used their yield, and one of the brothers said that they weren't sorry. The Weavers feel happy for making rude remarks to the other teams. The Linz family is working on getting their hot air balloon up and running. The Bransens arrive shortly after and begin working on their balloon. The Weavers then make some rude remarks about the Godlewskis being bottle blondes and implants. The Linz family is up in their balloon. The Bransens leave next, then the Godlewskis, and finally the Weavers. The scene seems beautiful. The Bransens and the Linz balloons lightly touched. One of the Godlewskis sisters said that she was afraid of heights, but Amazing Race is getting her over this. Meanwhile, Rolly Weaver said he had a dream about falling out of a hot air balloon so he is freaking out. The Linz family gets their clue first and they must travel 14 miles to Heber Valley Railway and search the grounds for their next clue. The Bransens land next and start out on their next leg. The Weavers wind up landing somewhere near a road and have abit of a fright when it seems as if the basket is going to tip over.

The Weavers are left on a side of a mountain. The Linz family has found the railroad. There is a detour. They have to choose between Spike it and Steam it. In Spike it, teams have to use old time railroad tools to complete a 20 foot section of track. In Steam it, they have to fill a steamer with 400 pounds of coal to fuel the steam engine. Spike it requires precision while Steam it requires strength. The Linz and Bransens take Spike it. Megan Linz just gets to stand by and watch the boys do all the work. The Godlewskis also take spike it. The rail seems to be very heavy and requires alot of strength. The Godlewskis start arguing with one of the sisters using the title of the show to another sister as they argue. The Weavers take steam it. One of the Bransen girls got hit in the head, but continues on. Walter Bransen took over with the hammering and did a good job. The Weavers seem to be doing a good job with the Steam it, and are running hard. It's looking like Steam it was the way to go when the Linz family has to redo their section of rail. They do finish first encourage the other teams to keep going. For the next clue, they have to travel 148 miles to the Bonneville Salt Flats. There they will find a 87 foot sculture known as the Tree of Utah. They have to scan the salt flats to find their next clue. The Bransens finish next and head off to the salt flats. The Bransens say they would have been screwed without their dad. The sisters are arguing. The Weavers finish third. The sisters are now arguing over who chose the task and one of them says to just stop it, they all agreed. One of the sisters is crying, and asks to be left alone.

Christine Godlewski feels that she doesn't get the kudos that she deserves and that's why she is crying. The Linz family finds the clue box. They now have to go to Garden City and find Bear Lake Park and find Rendezvous Beach. They will be staying overnight and the first time to arrive will be the first to leave in the morning. They will be leaving 15 minutes apart. The Bransens arrive first and will leave at 8:30 am. The Weavers are the second time to arrive and will be leaving at 8:45. The Weavers go begging for money. The Godlewskis are the third to arrive. The Linz car battery was drained by a production error and they wound up arriving last. The teams must now travel 137 miles to Wyoming and must find Dunham Ranch Big Piney for the next clue. The Bransen dad is seriously studying the map while the daughters act silly. Poor Megan has to put up with alot of roughhousing from her brothers. The Bransens arrive at the ranch. There's a roadblock. This time two people from the team. They must ride by horseback and take 6 cattle and herd them down to a pen a quarter of a mile away. Once they have completed the mission, they get the next clue. Two of the Bransen girls set out with their cowboy. The cowboy tells them to not go too fast and if the calves run, they will stick with their mothers. The Bransens seem to be doing okay. The Bransens got their cattle in the pen, and now have to travel 190 miles to Yellowstone National Park and find Old Faithful. They have to stay to watch the geyser, and then will get their next clue. The geyser goes off every 90 minutes. The two Weaver girls do the task, and it seems that they have three horses at home an done of the girls wanted to be in a cattle pinning contest with her dad, but they didn't do it. The Godlewskis are trying to turn their car around on the road and are getting into yet another argument.

The girls stop some guy who winds up helping them turn the truck around. The Weavers completed their task. The horse runs off on one of the Godlewskis. The Weavers and Linz family get into an altercation because they were on a narrow road and the Weavers said that the Linz family should have moved their trailer over. The Godlewskis got their clue. The Linz family is in last place. The Linz family is done and trying to get back into the race. The Bransens have arrived at Yellow Stone. They find a fireman and find out that it will be 4:28 when the geyser goes off. The Bransens don't want to lose because another team caught up. The Godlewskis and Linz family arrive at the same time. The Weavers and the Bransens are together to see the eruption. They now how to go to a Ranch at 15200 and look for Phil. The Bransens told the Godlewskis where to go. The next eruption is at 6:02. The Linz family and Godlewskis wait for the eruption together. They now have to head off to the Ranch. The Bransen is the first family to arrive, and the Weavers are second, but it is just the first leg of the race, and this is not a pit stop. The next leg of the race continues in the next episode.

Friday, December 2, 2005 -- Evening

The Penguins have plenty of problems. The question is how can the problems be resolved. More fans and sports writers are starting to get on my Fire Eddie O bandwagon. The Pens management says that it supports Eddie Olczyk, and that the problem isn't him, but it's all the players who aren't making an effort to play together and who aren't doing their best to live up to their potential. My question is how long can the management be blind to the fact that Eddie O was never a coach, isn't one now, and probably won't be one any time in the foreseeable future? The players are all saying that it is only a matter of time when they start playing together as a team. Yep, that's a repeat of Eddie O's first season where in the final month of play the team managed to start to play together in spite of Eddie O's lack of guidance.

The Baby Pens are playing the Norfolk Admirals this evening.

Here's a nice article on B&H Photo. This is the location where my boyfriend and I have gotten our digital camera and DVD player. The prices are good, and the selection is enormous, and the shipping is handled very professional. If you are looking for a camera or anything to do with photography or video, check out B&H.

My boyfriend is headed to LISA tomorrow. The conference starts in San Diego on Sunday and runs through the week. It's going to be lonely without him, but I'll be doing alot of reading, writing and blogging while he is gone, so I'll be entertained.

Thursday, December 1, 2005 -- Evening

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do all the blogging that I would like. Monday was the Steelers game, Tuesday was the Pens game, yesterday it was a migraine, and today it was work and a class. Because of the backlog, I'll be giving a synopsis of Amazing Race 8 and Survivor: Guatemala/The Maya Empire on Saturday.

There is alot of news for the Penguins today. First of all, there was a game this evening. We played the New York Rangers and of course we wound up losing. Marc-Andre Fleury did an excellent job in goal, but it doesn't help if the offense isn't scoring points, and with a score of 2-1, the offense isn't scoring. In fact, all three goals by both teams were made by defensemen. Even my boyfriend had to admit that the Pens are obviously playing as if they have no system. That's the problem, and regardless of the individual accomplishments of the players, if they don't play as a team, they won't be doing very well.

Jocelyn Thibault cleared waivers today, and was not picked up by any other team. It is not certain if he will be sent down to Wilkes Barre. It seems that Thibault refused to go to Wilkes Barre for two weeks conditioning and that was how he was put on waivers. What will they do with Thibault is still unknown.

Mario Lemieux went to the doctor yesterday about his ongoing stomach ailment. He did travel to New York, and did play in tonight's game. I wonder if his stomach problems are relating to the stress of the Pens losing.

More people are coming out in favor of a coaching change with the Pens. As Bob Smizik says in the Post Gazette article, no other team in their right mind would have hired Eddie O because he had zero coaching experience. Yeah, he was a player and a sports announcer, but that doesn't make a person a coach. Also, it seems "In his first season, Olczyk could rely on Lorne Molleken, a former NHL head coach, as a mentor and a sounding board. Molleken also doubled as a goaltender coach. But when he left the team last year, he was eventually replaced by Shane Clifford, who is strictly a goaltender coach." As Smizik says too, if you have players from the team talking about "playing hard" and not having intensity, and not trying very hard and seeing if they can get by on talent which are comments that both Ryan Malone and Erik Christensen have made, you have to realize that the problem comes from the coach. So Eddie O needs to go. The comment that Smizik makes though is that Craig Patrick is just as guilty because he is the person who decided to hire Olczyk with so little experience. How will this be resolved? The team will continue to suck as long as someone who is incapable of coaching is in charge. At some point we are going to have to have a coaching change.

News on the Steelers front is a controversy over the sound in the Colts stadium. It seems that the story is that the Colts put microphones around the stadium and then ran it through the speakers to intensify the sound while the Steelers had the ball. That would explain why we had so many false starts, and why the center and the guards couldn't hear the quarterback. If the Colts did that, it is illegal, and they should be fined, but neither the Steelers or the NFL is going to investigate the matter. I believe they should because this is really offensive behavior and if it did happen the team should be fined.