The Daily Bongo

February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 -- Evening

The women were singing on American Idol this evening. It's amazing how some of these folks claim to watch the show, and yet they don't learn from it. One of the biggest thing that gets mentioned over and over is song choice. Key is not to pick a song that an icon is known for because the Idol contestant usually pales in comparison. Well, not usually--always. I really do hope that Brenna is voted out this week because she is one of those obnoxious people who have a modicum of talent but thinks she is the be all and end all. Read the recap.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 -- Morning

The Pittsburgh Panthers lost last night to West Virginia last night with a final score of 67-62. That means that Pitt won't have a bye in the first day of the Big East basketball tournament. Pitt is in fifth place in the Big East, and only the top four teams get a bye. If Pitt had defeated West Virginia, they would have swapped places in the rankings and Pitt would have gotten the bye. The first round starts March 8 in New York City.

If you missed the opportunity to see Mars this past fall, here's an animation of the planet that was taken by an amateur astronomer. It's a nice job.

Monday, February 27, 2006 -- Evening

The Steelers Super Bowl DVD is going to be released tonight at midnight. Starting tomorrow, there will be a flurry of activities scheduled around the release. Tomorrow from noon until 1:30 p.m., Joey Porter and Antwaan Randle El will be giving autographs at the Wal-Mart in Robinson. Tomorrow evening from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., Hines Ward will be at Dick's also in Robinson at the Mall. On Wednesday from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., Jerome Bettis will be signing autographs at the Robinson Best Buy. Finally, all four will be at Loew's Theater at the Waterfront at 7:00 p.m. for a VIP screening of the DVD.

Mario Lemieux had a procedure done to correct his problem with irregular heartbeats. The hope is that this will eliminate the need for medication to control the problem. Lemieux will be kept in the hospital overnight.

Another Pen in the hospital is Lyle Odelein who has to have surgery on his knee. Odelein skated with the team in practice on Wednesday, but the off-ice biking routine did his knee in. There's no suggestion at this point that if Odelein didn't bike he would have been able to play out the season. Right now, he is out for the season, and at 37 years of age, Odelein has to be wondering it if it time to hang up the skates. Right now, the only thing that is sure is that the surgery will be done and he will be out for the season.

When I heard of this contest, I thought of Paul, a friend of mine. He has this obsession with rating bathrooms. He has alot of criteria, like cleanliness, spaciousness, how busy it is, and location. Paul is a weirdo, however, and will go a distance to go to the bathroom of his choice. Well, it is now time for the fifth annual America's Best Restroom Award. I don't know if Paul has been to any of the locations listed, but I can see him taking a plane trip to try them out.

Dan Brown is being sued for theft of an idea from two authors who wrote a non-fiction book making the claim that Mary Magdalen gave birth to Jesus' child. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh are claiming that Brown stole their idea and research about the Magdalen story which was published in 1982 in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Alot of the ideas that were espoused in the book did wind up in Brown's book, but can a person copyright an idea. I can understand the alligation if Brown took Baigent and Leigh's research and claimed it as his own. Instead, Brown says that he came up with the idea somewhat on his own when he came across the book. Brown even acknowledges Baigent and Leigh's book in the The DaVinci Code. Come on! Brown wrote a work of fiction. In fact, Baigent and Leigh should be getting down on their knees and thanking Brown. Why? Brown writes an exciting and compelling mystery thriller. Say what you want about the literary value and ideas, but you have to admit that the story is a thrill ride. Because people were so caught up with the story and wanted to read more about it, they went and bought (or read) Baigent and Leigh's book. This is just a ploy on Baigent and Leigh to take advantage of Brown's success and to get some bucks out of the book sales in England and ticket sales for the movie.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 -- Evening

The 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin are over. The past two weeks have gone by so quickly. I gained an interest in curling from watching the games, and I'm going to check out curling with the Pittsburgh Curling Club on one of their open house days. The closing ceremonies are supposed to represent a circus. NBC is going to show the Olympics closing ceremony from 7 pm until 11 pm.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 -- Morning

The gold medal game between Finland and Sweden has just completed, and Sweden won the gold medal with a final score of 3-2. The score was tied at the start of the third period, but 10 seconds into the period, Nicklas Lidstrom scored the game winning goal when Saku Koivu broke his stick on the faceoff. It has to be difficult to be the silver medalist in the hockey games. The only two teams receiving the medals are the gold and silver winners, so it's not like the silver medalists can see that they were better than the bronze medalists. The Finnish players wee looking very despondent because they didn't win the silver--they lost the gold. I was abit surprised because Finland had been doing such a superb job this Olympics. Antero Niittymaki was given the honors of tournament MVP because he did such an excellent job, but it still has to stink to only get the silver medal. There goes my predicition from Friday. I got it all wrong!

Saturday, February 25, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Czech Republic beat the Russian team in the bronze medal hockey game. Russia was shutout with a score of 3-0. Jaromir Jagr injured his groin in the second period and sat out the rest of the game. Ilya Kovalchuk was tossed from the game with a game misconduct for taking his elbow to the face of Pavel Kubina. Kubina was bleeding heavily after the hit. Tomorrow morning at 8 am ET will be the gold medal match between Finland and Sweden. Obviously I was off with my prediction for the bronze. I'm glad though that the Czech Republic won because I am a huge fan of Jagr's.

Apolo Anton Ohno won a gold medal in the 500 meter short track race and the US team, with Ohno, won the bronze medal in the 5000 meter relay. That race is scary looking. You have all these skaters on the ice, and the outer ring is where the competitors are, and the inner spot is where the other team members skate until the substitution is made. Instead of handing off a baton, the replacement skater comes onto the race track and gets shoved by the person he is replacing. It is very scary looking.

One of the Pennsylvania state representatives wants to know why the Petersen Event Center went so far over budget. The implication from Joe Petrarca is that Pitt underestimated so the sate would sucked into committing more dollars than initially intended. The original assessment was $35 million, but the arena wound up costing $119 million with $66 million of that coming from taxpayer dollars. Originally, the state was only supposed to contribute $13 million. Petrarca hopes to investigate if the cost was deliberately underestimated by Pitt to secure more tax payer dollars. The size of the arena was increased from 230,000 square feet to 400,000 square feet, and somehow Pitt got the state to agree to pay more than the original $13 million. What makes this even more offensive to Petrarca and to every tax payer in the state is that the University is now going to the state and asking for a 10% increase on the amount allocated to it this year. The powers that be want to waste even more money, and that is the only thing that I have ever seen Pitt excel at--wasting money and effort. The additional smack in the face is that $6.2 million is needed to fix the roof of the arena because it was so shoddily built. It's a real shame to the student of the University because the tuition hikes come every year. I have no plans to contribute money to the University as an alumni because of the way the current administration wastes money.

Saturday, February 25, 2006 -- Morning

Another episode of Endurance: Tehachapi this morning. It was on earlier than scheduled, but I managed to catch it. It is now down to the final three teams, and the Samati will be awarded in this episode. Read the recap.

I'm not the only one who thinks that the key for the US and Canadian hockey teams in future Olympics is to go younger. After all, the stamina and energy that young people have can't be ignored.

Friday, February 24, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Finland's male hockey team remains undefeated by beating Russia in the semifinal match by a score of 4-0. Finland will indeed play Sweden in the gold medal match. I don't see how Finland can be beaten except by themselves. They are a very good team.

Mike Modano was unhappy with the way that things went with the US hockey team, and he didn't stay around for the team meeting the day after the team's loss to Finland. Modano thought that the team needed new blood, and maybe that also means new blood on the ice. Perhaps some younger players instead of 36 year old Modano should have been playing. Modano was also benched for most of the third period of the final game. I think that Canada and the US got a wakeup call about relying on the geriatrics. Let's see if they actually pay attention to it.

You probably didn't realize that you were getting a physics lesson as you watched the Olympics, or maybe you did. Originally folks thought that the reason people glide on ice is because the friction of the blade causes the ice to melt and put a layer of water on top of the ice making the glide possible. However, that really isn't the case. Regardless of friction, there is 20 layers of water on the surface because that's just how it is. Another thing you might not know that the ice is different for figure skating and ice hockey. Figure skating ice is softer so the skater can dig into the ice and do the jumps and spins. Meanwhile the hockey ice is harder so the skaters can be quicker.

Ike Taylor, cornerback for the Steelers has a website to sale t-shirts that he designs. During one of the many interviews of the team members after the Super Bowl, Ike had his teammates wearing some of his designs to promote his business.

Scientists have noticed a strange explosion near our galaxy that might be the precursor of a supernova explosion. Astronomers are training their telescopes on the spot and are waiting for a surge in brightness over the next week.

Friday, February 24, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

The Czech Republic lost to Sweden in the quarterfinal match today. The score was 7-3. That means that Sweden will move on to the gold medal round and the Czech Republic will go to the bronze medal round. My prediction for the medals in hockey (and it's easy since I have only the four teams from which to choose) is Finland with the gold, Sweden with silver and Russia with bronze.

Friday, February 24, 2006 -- Morning

The Us Men's curling team won the bronze medal today in the Olympics after defeating Great Britain. I got to watch a portion of it before I came in to work today, and it seemed that the guys were in the groove. The final score was 8-6.

Later on this afternoon, the hockey semi-finals will be played. Sweden will be playing the Czech Republic and Finland will be playing Russia. More on those games later today.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 -- Evening

Sasha Cohen lost a chance at the gold medal in the women's figure skating long program when she fell twice at the start of the long program. I haven't seen the clips yet because NBC holds the videos hostage. They only show the good stuff (meaning the winners of the popular sports) late in the evening. I'll try to stay up to watch. The only good news is that Cohen was still able to get the silver because Irina Slutskaya fell at the end of her program, and wound up in third place. The gold medal winner was from Japan, Shizuka Arakawa.

Another episode of Survivor: Panama, Exile Island this evening. In this episode, Terry finds the Immunity Idol, but doesn't have to use it this evening. Read the recap.

Tonight is also the night when we find out who is voted out on American Idol. Read the recap.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 -- Evening

The selection of geriatrics gave the Canadian Men's hockey team just what it deserved: a loss to Russia that removes Canada from the medal rounds. Will the Canadians learn a lesson from this performance? Probably not because when there is arrogance that says that the older non-performing members are more deserving that those that are young and doing a great job, there isn't much interest in learning from mistakes. The final score was 2-0. The best part of the whole fiasco was that the young Alexander Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the third period. Elderly Canada, on the other hand, was totally incapable of scoring.

26 years ago today, the Miracle on Ice happened. That's when the US men's hockey team won the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics. This year, the US team was ousted by Finland with a final score of 4-3. Again it was a matter of having older, non-performing geriatrics. At least the Americans can go to sleep tonight knowing that the score was a close one.

The Czech Republic was able to hold of Slovakia with a win today. The score was 3-1. Sweden beat Switzerland by a score of 6-2 to move on to the semifinal round. In the semifinals on Friday, Sweden will play the Czech Republic and Finland will play Russia. The winners of the two matches will meet on Sunday for the gold medal game, and the losers will meet to battle it out for bronze.

The Pens were allowed to start practices today. Bob O'Connor, the Pittsburgh mayor, has gotten into a war of words with Ken Sawyer, the president of the Pens, over plans to build an arena. After quite a few years of the Pens begging the city and county for an arena, they finally went out on their own, and made a deal with Isle of capri that would remove the city and county from financial obligations to build the arena as long as Isle of Capri gets a slots license. Unfortunately, the fix is in on the slots license, and no one can publicly admit that. So the game begins. O'Connor is now saying that the city wants to come up with Plan B to build an arena, and are trying to blame the Pens for not playing along. The thing is that the Pens have offered the city, county and state a viable option that won't cost the government and people, and will instead bring in money with the casino and the non-hockey and hockey events. However, the city just wants to place blame on the Pens for its own lack of responsibility in the past, and with the inability for anyone to call out the crony filled state government. What will probably happen in the end is that Isle of Capri will not get the slots license and the Pens will leave Pittsburgh. Who is to blame? Not the Pens! The city and state need to take responsibility for this failure. Unfortunately for O'Connor, he has inherited a mess. Unfortunately for the city of Pittsburgh and the Pens' fans, individuals lining their pockets with money is more important than the welfare of the city.

The men were competing on American Idol this evening. Yesterday, Randy was saying that it was the men's competition to lose. How wrong he was! I thought that more of the male performances were subpar. The two standouts were Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks. Bobby Bennett was the worst of the group. There was a huge middle ground though of middling performances that could either stay or go. The only things I feel strongly about are that Bobby Bennett sucked and I really do like Chris and Taylor. Read the recap.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 -- Evening

A two hour long American Idol was on tonight. Some of the performances were fabulous. Others were not so great. The two that I thought did the worst jobs were Heather Cox and Stevie Scott. Read the recap and vote for your favorite. Tomorrow it will be the men's turn.

Sasha Cohen is leading after the women's figure skating short program. Kimmie Meissner is in fifth place and Emily Hughes is in seventh. Not bad for Emily since it is really her first competition. Tomorrow will be a big day for the US men's curling team. They will be competing in the semifinal round and could be competing for a medal on Friday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 -- Afternoon

Canada beat the czech Republic with a final score of 3-2. With one period completed, Russia is leading the US with a score of 2-1.

In the women's figure skating short program, half of the skaters have competed and Kimmie Meissner is leading the group with Emily Hughes in third. Sasha Cohen will be competing last in the group.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 -- Late Morning

Canada is currently playing the Czech Republic, and in the first period is leading with a score of 3-0. I suppose that team Canada has figured out where the net is. Martin Brodeur is in goal for Canada, and that is going to be to their benefit. Later on this afternoon (around 3 pm ET), the US team will be playing Russia. From what I heard this morning, because Kazakhstan beat Latvia by a score of 5-2 earlier today, the US will be playng Finland in a quarterfinal game tomorrow.

Late last night, meaning after 11 pm ET, I got a chance to see the Russian ice dancing team of Tatyana Navka and Roman Kostomarov. They skated to the music of Carmen and did a great job. The commentators were claiming that the pair wasn't very emotional, but the difficulty of the program was impressive to me. The Americans, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, came in fourth in the free dance, but it was enough to win the silver.

Later on today, the women's short program is going to start. Sasha Cohen is scheduled to go last today. That could put some pressure and stress on her to watch everyone go before her. Emily Hughes will be 15th of 29 and Kimmie Meissner will be skating second. It will be interesting to see how they do. The start time for the event is 7:00 pm Turin time which should be 1 pm ET.

Monday, February 20, 2006 -- Afternoon

The US Men's curling team lost to the Canadian team with a final score of 6-3. The US team had already wrapped up its spot in the medal round, so on Wednesday, they will meet Canada again. On Wednesday, it will be Finland against Great Britain and the US against Canada. The winners of both matches will compete for the gold medal while the two losers will compete for the bronze.

The last component of the Ice Dancing competition is taking place right now. It is the free dance. In yesterday's competition, the Canadian pair of Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon had a terrible fall. Patrice was spinning Marie France as she held on to his arm. It was a really neat move with her totally wrapped around his one arm, but then her fingers slipped. She fell heavily to the ice and had trouble putting weight on her right leg. The team withdrew from today's competition because of her injury. It was really horrible. The Israeli team of Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski have yet to compete today. They finished yesterday in ninth place.

Monday, February 20, 2006 -- Morning

Jerome Bettis has been signed by NBC as a sports analyst. He will be working with Bob Costas on the Sunday night game that used to be on ESPN.

The US Mens Curling team is playing Canada right now. They are in the seventh end and the score is tied 2-2. If the US team wins, they should get a medal, and Canada will then be in a tie for fourth place. Go USA!

Sunday, February 19, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Olympic hockey news. The US team lost to Sweden with a final score of 2-1. As the announcers were saying the US team seems to have it all except for offensive scoring. It doesn't matter if you have a goalie that keeps the points down if you can't score. That's the same problem that the Pens have. The Czech Republic beat the Italians with a score of 4-1. Jaromir Jagr played in the game with nine stitches in his forehead after yesterday's hit. Finally, in a game that just ended, Canada was shutout by Finland. Antero Niittymaki is doing an excellent job. Finland is undefeated in Group A. In Group B, the US is really lagging behind three really good teams. Slovakia is undefeated, followed closely by Russia and Sweden with three wins and one loss each. The big news though as the announcers said is that Canada has not scored a goal in the past two games. I think it is because the team concentrated more on making geriatrics and criminals happy as opposed to picking team members who were young and vital. It would be grand if Canada doesn't even medal in hockey. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that result!

I'm going to watch the ice dancing competition this evening. The Israeli team of Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski finished sixth in the original dance portion to be ninth overall. It seems that there were some spills which allowed some teams to move up.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

I am watching the US hockey team play Sweden. So far, in the second period, the score is tied--1-1. Time is 8:30, and the game is a good one. Sweden is playing well, and Rick DiPietro and Henrik Lundqvist have made some nice saves for their teams. Later today it will be the Czech Republic against Italy and Canada against Finland.

I played PowerBall yesterday because the amount was so high. When it gets to $365 million, you have to play. After all, even if the odds are against winning, wouldn't it be wonderful to have enough money so you can determine your own future instead of having to do a job to put food on the table? Obviously, I didn't win, but someone from Lincoln, Nebraska did.

The Olympics have not been doing well in the television ratings here in the US. American Idol has done alot better than the Olympics even in its fifth season. Simon Colwell thinks that it's because the Yanks don't do well in the Winter Olympics. As Colwell says, "Nobody wants to watch Swiss people doing well." Another reason why Idol might do better in the ratings is because someone who is unknown can make it to stardom.

Pitt's basketball team lost to Marquette last night in a close game. The final score was 84-82. Right now, Pitt is fourth in the standings in the Big East. The top four teams will get a bye in the Big East championship games which will be played March 8 through 11 in New York.

Tommy Maddox says that he will be happy with whatever happens with the Steelers. It does not seem likely that the team will resign Maddox. His future in the NFL is uncertain because it's not likely that any other team will want him. Now how about that trash story from October. The story was that trash was thrown all over Maddox's lawn and his children were being terrorized. Now the story came from Maddox's agent. Maddox's wife denied that there was any truth to the story, but Maddox kept quiet. Why? I said to ellict sympathy because he is a whiny, baby loser. Well, it turns out that Maddox now admits that the story wasn't true. Now he says that he had to pick up a piece or two of trash, but that the whole thing was blown out of proportion. What an ass--because he was the one who allowed it to be blown out of proportion! I have no respect for Maddox at all, and hope the door doesn't whack his butt too hard on the way out of town.

An astronomer has come up with a list of stars that are most likely to have life. Margaret Turnbull from the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC picked the five possibilities based on the age and iron content of the star. Good candidates would have at least 50% of the iron content of the Sun. The five stars are: Beta CVn, HD 10307, HD 211 415, 18 Sco, and 51 Pegasus.

Saturday, February 18, 2006 -- Late Evening

More losses today in Olympic hockey. The US team lost to Slovakia with a score of 2-1. Czech Republic lost to Finland with a final score of 4-2. Jaromir Jagr was hurt in the match when he was rammed into the boards by Jarkko Ruutu. Jagr fell to the ice and was lying in a pool of blood for several minutes before being helped off the ice. Marty Straka, teammate of Jagr's when they were with the Pens and currently on the Rangers, went after Ruutu and knocked him to the ice. Ruutu got a game misconduct for boarding and Straka got two minutes for roughing. Jagr may be okay to come back and play tomorrow against Italy.

Saturday, February 18, 2006 -- Late Morning

No one sympathizes with Lindsey Jacobellis from the US. She had an impressive lead in the final of the Snowboarding Cross competition, and decided that she was going to show off. So on the next to last jump before the finish, she leaped into the air, swiveled, grabbed her board, landed, and fell. Jacobellis wound up in second place as she was passed by Switzerland's Tanja Frieden. Cockiness isn't always the way to go when you are competing for the gold because you can fall on your butt and win up a loser. In Jacobellis' case, she didn't "win" the silver, she lost the gold. At first, she tried to deny that she was showboating, and said that she just fell while trying to stablize her board. Chuckle! Unfortunately, she was caught on tape looking back, and then doing her little twist before the fall.

The big news in the Olympics is the success of the US Men's curling team. This morning, they beat the German team by a score of 8-5 to move into a solid second place. They were just talking to a happy Shawn Rojeski and he said that they are just going to the games one at a time. The US team will be playing Great Britain on Sunday and Canada on Monday. I don't know much about curling, but it really is a strategic game. The player has to decide how to get their stones in the circle while knocking out the opponents stones. Curling really depending on physics too with the friction from the stone and kinetics. The US Curling team's web site had over 12 million hits yesterday which caused the server to crash. Learn more about curling.

The Canadian hockey team is losing to Switzerland in the second period of a game that is being played live as I write this. After two periods, the Swiss lead with a score of 2-0.

Friday, February 17, 2006 -- Evening

Dominik Hasek is out of the Olympics with a groin injury. Hasek has decided that it might be in his best interests to take the time to rest and rehab the injury so he could return to the ice for the Ottawa Senators. I don't think that the Czech Republic hockey team has much of a chance without the goaltending of Hasek.

The womens US hockey team lost today to Sweden with a score of 3-2. The Swedes won by having a goalie who shutout the American team in the last 48 minutes of the game. The game ended in a tie in regulation. Since this was a semifinal match, it went to a shoot out which the Swedes won. The other semi-final match was between the Canadian team and Finland which Canada won with a score of 6-0. That means that the Canadians and Swedes will meet in the gold medal match on Monday (the 20th) and Finland and the US will meet up for the bronze match the same day.

Johnny Weir is the talk of the town, and it's not positive. Weir could use some cheese with his whine. Imagine how insufferable the brat would have been if he had won the silver instead of underperforming? I suppose there are always small pleasures in life.

My boyfriend and I returned to my favorite eatery, Bangkok Balcony. They have the best Thai food, and they have added a new item to the menu. They now have a pastry dough puff that is filled with either curry chicken or taro. Tonight we got the taro, and it was excellent. If you want to sample some of the best Thai food, Bangkok Balcony is the place to go.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 -- Evening

A new episode of Survivor: Panama tonight. I watched it while snowboarding was on the Olympic coverage. It was an interesting show, and La Mina winds up losing a member. Read the recap.

Just as I finished, the men's final free skate competition came on NBC. First up was Evan Lysacek from the US. In the short program, he ranked 10th with a score that was his personal worst. Evan came back today to skate his best to music from Carmen. He did a beautiful, clean job, and scored his personal best. He finished in third place for the free skate, and in combination with the points from his 10th place in the short program, he wound up fourth overall. Not bad at all. Meanwhile Johnny Weir's problem was that he was an insufferable bore both on and off the ice. He skipped some elements of his program, and then whined on and on about missing a bus and having to have a volunteer drive him to the arena. Boo-Hoo! Weir also stormed off after getting poor scores for his performance, and swore in the parking lot. Perhaps Weir should realize that he ain't all that. Nah, won't happen.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

I was quite disappointed today when Canada won their match against Germany with a final score of 5-1. I really have been cheering against the team because of the fact that the young guys were passed up. I'm sorry, but I don't feel any sympathy for someone in his late 30s who might want to win a medal and hasn't yet. Meanwhile the Czech Republic lost to Switzerland earlier today with a final score of 3-2. The US hockey team is currently playing Kazakhstan and is leading in the second period by a score of 3-0.

Johnny Weir must have had a problem. I am following the live results on the web, and it looks like he is in fifth place. I am assuming that there must have been some sort of fall on Weir's part. I'll have to see what happened tonight on NBC. The results for the men's final are not complete yet because two more skaters have yet to compete.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 -- Evening

The final 24 contestants were picked for American Idol. 12 men and 12 women were selected to begin the competition that allows the viewer an opportunity to vote for his or her favorite singer. Read the recap to find out who made it and who didn't.

The USA hockey team was just able to pull off a tie with Latvia this evening. The final score was 3-3. This was not a very good showing for the USA team. One thing that I do have to admit is that I am cheering on any team other than the Canadian team. My reason is that the team is a geriatric team, and that better players were not included just because they were "young." Something has become so perverted in our culture that we believe that the Olympics is not for the young and enthusiastic, but the older, more experienced athlete.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Rufus, the bull terrier, won the Westminster Dog Show yesterday. According to the experts, Rufus had the perfect egg shaped head for his breed. Rufus is a cutie.

Olympic hockey news. Canada beat the Italian team earlier today. It was looking pretty close there for the first period because Canada only had a 1-0 lead, and then Italy came back to tie things up at the beginning of the second period. But then Canada started to pull away. Final score was 7-2 in Canada's favor. The Czech team also won in a closer game against Germany with a final score of 4-1. Dominik Hasek was injured during a power shot by the German team and was pulled from the game. Meanwhile, currently in progress at 4:40 pm ET is the USA/Latvia game. In the second period, Latvia is ahead with a score of 3-2. I hope to get home in enough time to catch some of this game because it looks like it will go down to the wire.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 -- Evening

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tonight was the first of the elimination nights on American Idol. The group was cut down to 44. We saw the group sing-alongs, and the usual hysteronics and drama. The Brittenum twins did not disappoint with their antics, and somehow make it through to the round of 44. Tomorrow will be the big night when the cut is made to 24. Read the recap.

Tonight on NBC, they featured alot of the male figure skating short program. Unfortunately, I missed the performance of Yevgeny Plushenko, but he did a great job with a quad toe loop/triple toe loop combination. The guy is unbeatable because he performs his moves so cleanly. Plushenko is ten points ahead of American Johnny Weir, who is in second place. I did catch Weir's performance, and it was great! I was really impressed. He did a nice job with his jumps and foot work. The spins showcased Weir's impressive flexibility. I was surprised, because for some reason, I wasn't thinking that Weir would do that great of a job. Unfortunately for Weir, it looks like he will have to settle for the silver medal because Plushenko is so impressive. The men's freeskate is on Thursday.

The Steelers are going to play in the first game of the 2006 season. The game will be nationally televised on Thursday, Sept. 7 and will be played here in Pittsburgh.

Monday, February 13, 2006 -- Evening

Today is Tu B'Shevat. This is a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, and is a New Year for trees. The thing to do on this day is to plant a tree and to eat fruit.

There were alot of crashes today at the Olympics with the women skiers. The defending Alpine champion, Carole Montillet-Carles of France, was the more seriously hurt with back and rib injuries. The American skier, Lindsey Kildow, looked like she really hurt herself with the spreadeagle move that brought her down, but she just has a badly bruised hip. Lindsey is expected to return to the slopes for the Olympic competitions. It's ironic because in the last Olympics, the women skiers were complaining that the course was too easy. Another serious injury was to Samantha Retrosi, from the USA. Her luge hit the wall, and flipped over. Samantha was unconscious under the luge as it careened down the track. She was taken to the hospital and is expected to be okay. She only suffered a concussion, cut chin, and some short term memory loss. Last night, Apolo Uhno slipped on the ice during 1500 meter short track speed skating event, and was out of the race. This was one that he had gotten a gold medal in during the last Olympics.

Now for some good news. Shaun White won a gold medal in the snowboard halfpipe competition. He was expected to be the favorite, and he didn't disappoint. He has an irritating look--at least irritating for me. He has long, tomato red hair, and looks like a modern day Howdy Doody. He seems like a nice, kid though. Shaun has the hots for American skater, Sasha Cohen, and says that his friends are trying to arrange a meeting.

This evening we all get to watch the final night of Pairs figure skating. The Russian pair of Totmianina / Marinin won the gold with the Chinese pairs of Zhang / Zhang and Shen / Zhao winning the silver and bronze respectively. The Chinese used to lag in figure skating, but as with anything they take on, then tend to excel. The NBC Olympics show this evening even has a clip on how horrible the Chinese used to be, and how good they have become. Earlier I was watching curling, and surprising, the United States team beat Norway. I don't understand curling, and my boyfriend wonders how it can be included in the Olympics because it's not very athletic. What he doesn't understand is that athletism doesn't have to be part and parcel of an Olympic sport. The recognized sports just have to have an organized body that supervises the sport, establishes the rules, organizes events, and do drug testing on the competitors. So bridge is a recognized sport, and could someday become an Olympic event.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

I watched the tenth episode of Endurance: Tehachapi this afternoon. It was a very exciting episode because the final four are reduced to the final three. My favorite team went to the Temple and returned. Which team is my favorite? Read the recap.

The American women competed in a hockey match this afternoon (evening in Turin) with Germany and won the match with a score of 5-0.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 -- Late Morning

Michelle Kwan has pulled out of the Olympics. What a surprise! Not! Kwan was unable to complete her short program practice on the first day because of a groin injury. That was why she wasn't able to compete in the US Championship earlier in the year. Fortunately, Emily Hughes who finished third in the US Championship and who deserved to be in the Olympics, unlike Kwan, will get to compete. What I think is sad is that Hughes missed getting to walk into the stadium and partcipate in the Opening Ceremonies. Kwan painted a pitiful picture with her desperation to win a gold medal. Her time was past, and the odds that she would have been a successful competitor with the scoring changes in figure skating that were implemented to prevent judges cheating.

The Canadian women's hockey team is whooping butt in the games so far. Today they are playing the Russian team, and the Canadian team is winning easily. The Canadians scored seven goals in the first period. Right now, they are in the second period, and the score is 9-0 in favor of the Canadians. It is amazing to watch them. They are outskating everyone, and even when they are shorthanded, the other team, in this case the Russians, can't seem to get out of its end. The Canadians are able to skate down the others and steal the puck, and seem to shoot the puck with greater strength, speed, and accuracy. The Canadian team is a joy to watch in the sport. The third period just started and the Canadians have scored again to pull ahead 10-0. It seems that the team has made 25 goals on 100 shots in the tournament so far. As the announcer said, that means that every fourth shot is a goal. The shame is that the other women's hockey teams seem to be so inferior so it's not much of a competition.

Sidney Crosby is going home for the Olympic break. Some of his other teamsmates are taking a vacation and going to sunny and warmer climates. Colby Armstrong is going to go to Wilkes-Barre because he has a girlfriend and apartment there.

More information on the discovery of the intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The archaeologists involved think that the five mummies that were enclosed in the tomb are possibly royal or noble mummies that were moved into the tomb to protect them from tomb robbers. The BBC link contains video and pictures of the tomb.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Steelers are probably going to have some problems in the coming season due to the money that has to be paid out to several players as bonuses for the team winning the Super Bowl. The money will go against the coming season which might make it difficult to sign some of the players who will be free agents, such as Antwaan Randle El. Fortunately, the offensive line and most of the defensive line is firm for the coming year, so there is some hope that next year can be a repeat. We'll have to see how things turn out.

Netflix is under attack from subscribers who are very unhappy with the delivery practices of the company. It appears that Netflix penalizes people who are heavy renters by putting blocks in to slow down the amount of DVDs that the person can receive in a month. Also, the heavy renters tend to not get the latest releases on a very timely schedule. Netflix's reasons for doing these things are so the company can make money. However, they have always publicized their service as one that allows the user to have access to an unlimited number of DVDs per month. Now the company is making some note of the restrictions that it places on heavy renters because the company has had a class action lawsuit placed against it because of its actions. The solution was to give subscribers an extra DVD for a month, hence if you usually can have three DVDs at a time, you could opt to get four at a time. The hidden clause was that if you took the offer, you agreed to up your subscription rate the following month to get the four DvDs. In other words, to remedy our scam, we want to scam you some more. Personally, I haven't had much issue with my Netflix shipments, but I tend to rent the television series which take awhile to watch, and aren't usually the most popular shows.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 -- Evening

I missed most of the game, but I am now watching the end of the second period of the Pens - Capitals game this evening. The Pens scored on goal in the first period, and then an additional four in the second! I am absolutely shocked. So far, the Capitals have yet to score. I suppose that the Pens want to go into the Olympic break on a winning streak. Scoring so far: a power play goal by Sidney Crosby in the first period with only 1:35 left in the period, John LeClair scored at 1;11 in the second, followed by Sergei Gonchar, Colby Armstrong, and Mark Recchi. It's an impressive difference in the games played yesterday and today. The capitals finally got a goal in the third period at 13:08. It was partly Marc-Andre Fleury's fault for giving away a bad rebound. Poor Fleury misses out on an opportunity to get a shutout. The Pens come right back to score another goal with Eric Boguniecki scoring one. Then the Caps come right back with a goal by Alexander Ovechkin. Score is now 6-2. With 30 seconds left in the game, the Capitals score yet again to make the final score 6-3. The Pens go into the Olympic break with two wins in a row.

Today was the first full day of Olympic competition. Women's hockey started today, and the Canadian team put on a show by winning against Italy with a score of 16-0. The Canadian women are good, and obviously outclassed and outplayed the Italians. The American women played Switzerland, and won with a score of 6-0. The Canadian and American teams are considered the elite teams in the competition, and many hope and anticipate that the two teams will meet in the gold medal round. It is really amazing to watch women's hockey after watching the NHL for so long. The women are slower moving and appear to be alot less skilled than the men. It's really interesting because even the better women hockey players seem to be less skilled with skating than I would have expected. The Pairs Figure Skating short program competition is this evening. I just saw a few minutes of that during the Pens intermission. It's amazing how little of the competitions is shown on television here in the US. I suppose that NBC doesn't think that folks would want to watch non-stop Olympics. The other thing is that they tend to concentrate mostly on the American competitors, and just show us the highlights in the evening show. It's a common complaint that I have. I thought that at least with six cable channels involved, there would be more sport. However, somehow, it just winds up being the same amount as when it was just shown on one network channel.

This morning, I went to a breakfast talk with Nancy Atherton at the Mystery Lovers Bookstore to promote her new book Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea. Atherton is an extremely entertaining talker, and wowed the audience with stories of how she writes and funny events that have happened in her life. She talked of her childhood and how her parents raised her and her five brothers and two sisters to be independent and observant thinkers. Atherton has had several, low paying jobs that gave her alot of life experience and characters to draw from for her books. Mystery Lovers provided a breakfast of bagels, scones, fruit and coffee/tea for the 20 or so women who attended the talk. Afterwards, Atherton did a book signing. I will give a review on the book as soon as I have a chance to read it. That may not be soon because of the work that I have to do for my journalism class. In fact, that is why I attended the lecture today. Read the piece that I did on Atherton's comments on writing for the class.

Friday, February 10, 2006 -- Late Evening

The first period of the Pens game against the Carolina Hurricanes was fairly boring and routine. Eric Boguniecki scored a goal for the Pens half way through the first period. The next bit of excitement came when Eric Staal scored with 0.03 seconds left in the period. Official time of the goal is 19:59, even though it was alot closer to 20:00. The second period started with a goal by Mark Recchi at 0:16. Score is now 2-1. The Hurricanes come back to score the tying goal midway through the period. A comeback at 19:16 has John LeClair scoring the go-ahead goal. The second period ends with the Pens ahead by a score of 3-2. Third period starts, and 1:46 into the period, Sidney Crosby scores. Score is now 4-2. Eric Staal scored a goal for the Hurricanes with three minutes left in the game, but the Hurricanes are unable to tie things. The Pens WIN! The final score is 4-3, and it is a win for Sebastien Caron.

I am watching the Opening Ceremonies, and so far, it has been fairly boring. The best part was when a ski jumper was formed by a group of people. It was well orchestrated and it went from the person starting the jump, to coming down the ramp, to the leap in the air, and the landing. It was very nicely done. I am waiting for the best part which is the arrival of the Olympic flame and the lighting of the torch.

Friday, February 10, 2006 -- Evening

The Steelers are working on the design for their Super Bowl rings. Dan Rooney said that the current players on the team with have some say in the design of the rings, especially Jerome Bettis. There might be some reference to the past four Super Bowls, but as Rooney said, this team doesn't have a tie to the past wins, and the ring is for them.

Meanwhile some of the players have been hitting it big on television since the Super Bowl. Ben Roethlisberger has been getting around alot with a stint on David Letterman and on the Grammys last night. Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis have also been making the talk show rounds.

The Pro Bowl is this Sunday. This will be the last football game of the season. I saw an interview show yesterday on ESPN with the Pro Bowl players. Chad Johnson wants to play both wide receiver and cornerback. Johnson, one of the most entertaining players in the NFL, thinks that he can make the touchdowns and stop them. It will be entertaining to see how he does.

Jose Theodore tested positive for a banned substance and is blaming it on the popular hair restorative product, Propecia. It seems that Propecia can mask other banned substances and that's how it got on the banned list. Theodore's hair seems to be pretty lush, but maybe it's because he uses Propecia.

Wayne Gretzky is denying all involvement in Operation Slapshot. At a press conference late yesterday evening, Gretzky said that he has never bet on professional sports. Obviously his wife has been involved in the mess, and there are conversations that were captured during a wire tap of Rick Tocchet's phone between Gretzky where he talked to Tocchet about keeping his wife out of the mess. Gretzky is continuing his duties with the Canadian team during the Olympics and will be joined in Turin by his wife.

For the first time since King Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered in 1922, a new intact tomb has been found in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb contains five unopened sarcophagi and are dated to the 18th Dynasty (around 3000 years ago).

The Turin Winter Olympics started today with the opening ceremonies. Since we are six hours behind Turin, we have to settle for watching the Opening Ceremonies in a recording. I am recording the event for later viewing. It seems that Alberto Tomba was the first to run with the flame in the Turin stadium. Stefania Belmondo, Italian cross-country skiing legend with 10 medals--two of which are gold, lit the Olympic flame. Sophia Loren was one of eight women who carried the Olympic flag. The ceremony will be on NBC at 8 pm ET.

Thursday, February 9, 2006 -- Evening

A new episode of Survivor: Panama is on this evening. The teams have to use the schoolyard pick to get people on the tribes. It starts with Terry and Danielle picking the first of the two team members and then each picking successively. The teams are La Mina (Orange) and Casaya (Purple). Casaya loses immunity and has to send a tribe member home. Read the recap.

Myron Cope, former voice of the Steelers wrote a letter to the Post-Gazette in support of the Penguins. Cope blasts the city for thinking that the Pens won't leave the city and for state and local politicians taking campaign money from certain individuals that will want a slots license and won't commit to an arena.

Thursday, February 9, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Mark Recchi and John LeClair are threatening lawsuits against any media outlets that tie them to Operation Slapshot, the gambling ring associated with Rick Tocchet. Both Recchi and LeClair have business dealings with Tocchet, but deny all involvement with any gambling activities, legal or otherwise.

Big news for Steelers fans. Ken Whisenhunt, Steelers offensive coordinator, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the head coaching job with the Oakland Raiders. It seems that Whisenhunt loves his job with the Steelers, and even visions of mucho dinero couldn't sway him to take on the Raiders and Al Davis, whose picture is in the dictionary next to tyrant.

The city of Pittsburgh is limiting the amount of time that city workers can spend web surfing. All workers will have 30 minutes a day in which they can surf the web. The time is broken into three chunks that are 10 minutes in length. Opponents are saying that the limitation might have an impact on work activities because there are times when it might take 30 minutes to complete a flight reservation for work purposes. The city is paying tons of money for Internet usage and is hoping to cut the amount of bandwidth that is used. The rationale is that cutting the bandwidth will lower the overall cost. I don't know what I would do if my Internet usage was limited to 30 minutes a day. Personally, if you get your work done, I don't care if you browse the Internet or stream music or news. Productive workers aren't necessarily the ones that are chained to a desk with a list of restrictions. In fact, that tends to develop a disgruntled worker.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Boston Bruins tonight. There was no scoring in the first period, and I moved on to watching American Idol. The Bruins comes on to score two goals in the second period. It's understandable because they have 26 shots on goal compared to the 11 that the Pens have. The Bruins score another power play goal in the third period. Score is now 3-0. It seems pretty obvious that the Pens are determined to go to the Olympic break without any more wins. With a minute and a half left in the game, Tomas Surovy scores. It is just too little, too late, and the Pens wind up losing another one 3-1.

Today was the first elimination on American Idol. The Brittenum twins are in the episode which is surprising because I had heard that they weren't going on because of their legal troubles. I suppose that People had it wrong. Read the recap.

I have some more pictures from the Steelers parade yesterday. These photos were taken by a friend, Sunny Ng.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 -- Afternoon

I caught up on the first episode of Survivor: Panama this afternoon. It was entertaining, and I really disliked the three older women who voted Tina out. Read the recap.

Luciano Pavarotti is going to be singing at the Turin Winter Olympics opening ceremony. He is my favorite opera singer, and it will be interesting to see his performance.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

There have been alot of grumblings about the officiating at some of the NFL games of late, and it extends to the Super Bowl. One of the most blantant errors was when the official overturned the interception made by Troy Polamalu. In that case, the NFL admitted that the overturning of the call on the field was in error. Now the Seattle Seahawks are claiming that they lost the Super Bowl because of the officials. The three calls in particular that get everyone's goat are the Seattle touchdown that was not a touchdown because of passer interference, the touchdown that Ben Roethlisberger made, and the tackle on Ike Taylor after the interception. The thing that I have to say is that Seattle should not have been in a situation where a few calls would make a difference. I thought the same thing in the Steeler - colts playoff game. It should never have come down to the colts being able to take the game with a field goal. Seattle should look at some of the missed opportunities and work on that.

Controversy in the hockey world. Rick Tocchet, former Pens player and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach was implicated in a gambling ring that involves several other hockey players and Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet. It seems that the group was betting on other sports, not hockey. Gretzky says that his wife was not placing bets for him, and that his only worries are for his wife and his friend, Tocchet. Yes, gambling is illegal in certain instances, but who is really hurt in this matter. If there was no betting on hockey, the only one who is hurt is the person who is gambling and losing money.

A dog by any other name would be called Ralph Fiennes. It seems that he has been cheating on his partner, Francesca Annis. The couple has been together for 11 years and are now splitting. In the past, it seemed that they had a great love story. The couple met while performing in Hamlet. She played his mother, since she is around 18 years old than him. They were both attached to others at the time and broke up with them to be with each other. It seemed that they had alot of love for each other, but I guess that was just the public face. I guess that what it comes down to is once a cheater, always a cheater.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006 -- Evening

I watched the Boston auditions of American Idol this evening. 28 people moved on from Boston to Hollywood, with a total of 175 making it from all seven cities. Read the recap.

I am watching the taped Steelers parade and rally. It was amazing to see all the people! 250,000 and it is amazing to see the masses of people in the streets. My boyfriend said that the crowds were immense, but very orderly. People were running up to the cars as the Steelers went by, and were getting autographs and pictures. I have a selection of pictures that my boyfriend took. Some are good and some are a tad fuzzy, but you can get the feeling of the atmosphere. I love the picture of Willie Parker taking a picture of my boyfriend taking a picture of him. Also, my boyfriend went out of his way to get a picture of Antwaan Randle El, my favorite, even practically getting on top of the car to get a good picture.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006 -- Afternoon

It was estimated that over 250,000 fans showed up for the Steelers rally today. My boyfriend said that it looked like several thousand people were in the area where he saw the parade of cars headed to the stage. He took some pictures, and if the quality is good, I will post them later this evening.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006 -- Late Morning

The streets of downtown Pittsburgh are packed with fans who are attending the Steelers rally this morning. WTAE has a live webcast of the event for those of us who are stuck at work. Unfortunately, I can watch the video, but I have no speakers for sound, so it isn't much fun. I am recording the event at home so I can watch it this evening. My boyfriend has gone downtown, and I am hoping for some pictures from him which I will post.

Monday, February 6, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Ottawa Senators this evening.
First period: Ryan Malone makes a goal 1:14 into the game. Ray Emery is in goal for the Senators, and he is obviously no Dominik Hasek. Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal for the Pens. At 8:57, the Senators have come back to tie things up. Score is now 1-1.
Second period: Less than five minutes into the period, Sergei Gonchar highsticked a Senator. The staff came out with towels, and I made a joke about ketchup in the towel just seconds before Bob Errey made one about the towel being serious--that they would have a blood capsule in it. The Senators got a penalty too while Gonchar was in the box, but still managed to score a goal to pull ahead of the Pens: 2-1. The Senators come back to score two quick power play goals. The problem is that the Senators were crowding Fleury and the Pens were doing nothing to get this one Senator out of the crease. Score is now 4-1. Eric Boguniecki scored an unassisted goal to make the score 4-2. At the end of the period, the Senators have 36 shots on goal compared to the Pens 19.
Third period: Less than a minute into the period, the Senators score again and now lead with a score of 5-2. The Pens can't compete against the Senators. The game ends with 46 shots on goal by the Senators and 23 by the Pens. Final score is 5-2.

Monday, February 6, 2006 -- Early Evening

The talk around town, and on the news, has been nothing but Steelers all day today. Tomorrow at 11 am, there is to be a victory parade through the Downtown area. The parade will start at the Mellon Arena and ending in Point State Park. Meanwhile various Steelers have been making appearances everywhere. Ben Roethlisberger is going to appear on the David Letterman show. The big news about the appearance is that Roethlisberger shaved his beard on the show. Hines Ward was elected the game's MVP, and that means that he spent the day at Disney World. Ward was part of the Disney parade, and kept to his promise to take Jerome Bettis with him.

I noticed yesterday that Terry Bradshaw did not show up with the other past MVPs that paraded into Ford Field in Detroit. The rumor that was spreading is that Bradshaw had some beefs about the money that was given to those appearing. All were given $1,000, and rumor has it that he wanted more. However, Bradshaw says that he just decided to stay at home. Another missing MVP was Joe Montana. Montana was the only three time MVP, but supposedly wanted $100,000 to appear. Of course, Montana is saying that's not the case. Montana's story is that he wanted to be at home to watch his son's basketball game. I would hope that the absence was not due to financial reasons. I know that I missed Bradshaw in the game.

Monday, February 6, 2006 -- After midnight

I forgot to mention that Jerome Bettis announced on the stand as the Vince Lombardi Trophy was being handed around that Detroit would be his last stop. So the Bus stops here and is retiring. It's not something that was unexpected. Everyone has been talking about it for the entire year, and that's why the trip to Detroit seemed like such a fairy tale ending. Thankfully it was a happy ending for Bettis and for the Steelers.

Sunday, February 5, 2006 -- Late Evening

Super Bowl Sunday! What I will do is give the hightlights of some of the moments of the game and of the few commercials that I saw. I wound up missing most of the commercials because of talk or fast forwarding. However, there are sites that have all of the Super Bowl commercials. Of the few that I did see, I liked Ameriquest commercial that was set in the hospital. The doctor used the electric heart paddles that are used on people suffering from a heart attach to kill a fly. As he is looking at the dead fly that is now lying on the patient's chest, the doctor says "that killed him". Meanwhile the guy's wife and little daughter walk into the room to hear it. It was the funniest. The other commerical that I liked was for Budweiser titled the Streaker. This one had a sheared sheep that broke into the football game between the Budweiser Clydesdales. My third favorite was shown in the third quarter and was for Careerbuilder. The guy is talking to someone on the phone and is explaining that he is having problems because he works with a bunch of monkeys (as monkeys cavot all around him). On the other end of the phone is a girl who says she understands because she works with a bunch of jackasses (as donkeys go walk around her). So those were the three funniest of the few that I saw.

Also before I go over the game, let me comment on the musical entertainment. The Motown tribute was interesting with some good musical bits in it. The national anthem was a different story. Aaron Neville, of the big black mole on his forehead, started singing first. All I have to say is that he would have failed an American Idol audition. Aretha Franklin came after him and did a better job. The half time show was the Rolling Stones. They did a very nice job. It was surprising that they are as old as they are. Mick Jagger does not look like a 62 year old man was he swiveled his hips, pranced and sang like someone half his age. There were no garment malfunctions this year. I don't think you would want to see Aretha Franklin's hefty, naked breast.

Now on to the game. As most people probably already know the Steelers won the Super Bowl. The final score was 21-10, but the game was much closer and nerve-wracking. The Seattle Seahawks were their own worst enemy. There were many opportunities for the Seahawks, and they would get a stupid penalty that would take the play away. For example at the end of the first quarter, it looked like Seattle had a touchdown, but it was called off because of passer interference by the Seattle receiver. Then there were a few missed field goal attempts. Meanwhile the Steelers seemed to be unable to make a first down for most of the first half. Seattle only managed to get a field goal in the first half, and the Steelers had a touchdown that was Ben Roethlisberger made that was questionable. The first series of plays by the Steelers after half time were great. The Steelers lost the coin toss, but Seattle elected to receive the ball in the first half. Willie Parker got the ball, and instead of being stopped by a mass of men, broke through and ran 75 yards for a touchdown. The score was now 14-3. Seattle had the ball and couldn't do much with it, and the Steelers got it back. We were yards from a touchdown when Roethlisberger threw an interception that got run down the field. Although the team managed to stop the runner, Seattle went on to score a touchdown. The fourth quarter started with a scorew of 14-10. The Steelers got an interception that lead to one of the best plays of the game. That's when the Steelers brought on one of their infamous gadget plays. This time Roethlisberger gave the ball to Parker who then passed the ball to Antwaan Randle El who ran with it abit, and then gave his cute little leap to throw the ball for a touchdown to Hines Ward. The score was now 21-10. At this point, the Steelers did everything they could to run out the clock and Seattle tried all they could to stop the clock and make a score. Seattle was not successful and the Steelers were. Personally, I didn't think that any one player on either team really stood out, but Hines Ward was granted the Super Bowl MVP. I think that I would have given it to Randle El because he got a first down for the team at a crucial period and threw the touchdown pass. On to the celebration. The kids in Oakland are going crazy and lighting fires and overturning cars. Other than that, the rest of the city seems to be sane, probably because the roads are icy and snow is coming down.

Sunday, February 5, 2006 -- Morning

Another new episode of Endurance: Tehachapi was on yesterday, and I just had a chance to watch it this morning. This episode was a very emotional one for the teams, and resulted in alot of tears being shed in the end. Read the recap.

Saturday, February 4, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens were playing the New York Islanders this afternoon. Around 500 people showed up for the Support the Pens rally. A heavy rain storm put a damper on the event, and probably caused alot of people not to show up. Hats and shirts were distributed amongst the crowd. On February 9th, there is to be an Ed Rendell campaign event here in Pittsburgh, and folks are being encouraged to show up there to show support for the Pens. All I can say is that Rendell has received campaign contributions from three donors who are also applying for slots licenses. Rendell says that he will not return the contributions. Rendell claims he can't influence the slots selection, but rumor has it that the fix is in. We'll just have to see who receives the slots licences in the end.

On to the game. It was at points exciting and boring. The Pens did do a much better job with shots on goal, making 44 for the game in comparison to the 29 by the Islanders. It didn't seem to matter because the Pens lost in a shootout with a final score of 5-4. The first two goals that the Pens made were based on five on three opportunities. The biggest problem was that the Pens don't seem to have a good power play squad for instances when it is more even handed, such as a one man advantage. In the penalty against Miroslav Satan, the Pens just passed the puck back and forth and put zero shots on goal. At times it was a pitiful performance, and at others, there were flashes of brilliance. Sergei Gonchar was being booed alot. He says that he thinks that he is playing better now then at the beginning of the season, but that's hard to see when you see poor puck handling and passing. Sidney Crosby played today and acted like he was over the flu. He was not one of the players selected for the shootout. Instead, Mark Recchi and Michel Ouellet were the duds who were picked. Duds since neither scored. Satan was the first star of the game, and he deserved it by scoring a natural hat trick and getting a shootout point. All in all, a disappointing game.

Friday, February 3, 2006 -- Afternoon

Duquesne University is opposing the placement of the Isle of Capri casino in an area that is close to the university. According to officials at Duquesne, they are sending letters to the PA Gaming Control Board to let them know of their opposition. Supposely, the Duquesne powers that be would have us believe that they are not against a new arena for the Pens. They just don't want the only group that has supported the arena to be giving a slot license. The point that the folks at Duquesne aren't bright enough to understand is that a casino is going to be located in Pittsburgh. If they think that their students can't get to Station Square quickly and easily, they obviously haven't a clue. Yes, the Isle of Capri casino will be two blocks from Duquesne, but if you are under 21, you will not be allowed into the betting areas. If you are 21, then Duquesne shouldn't be dictating to you what you should do on your off hours. To show support for the Pens and the Isle of Capri plan, go to Mellon Arena tomorrow for the rally for the Pens. It will take place at noon. It should be a good opportunity to show support because NBC will be there to broadcast the game.

Friday, February 3, 2006 -- Early Morning

What a dodo I can be at times! I totally forgot that Survivor Panama was on last night. I could just kick myself for missing it. However, I think that Comcast ONDemand is reshowing the shows, so I should be able to catch up on it and give a synopsis. However, I heard that of the four groups (old men, young men, old women, young women) that the old women lost. What a shocker! The woman who was cut was Tina, a lumberjack woman, who was supposed to be in the last Survivor, but had to cancel due to the death of her old child in a car accident. Her son, Charlie, was only 16. Tina was competing for Charlie, but the other old ladies felt that they couldn't beat her because they were weaklings. So they got rid of her. I'll update more when/if I get to watch the show. Also, I'm going to make sure that it shows up in my recorded programs.

Thursday, February 2, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Ottawa Senators this evening here in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby isn't playing this evening because of the flu. Sebastien Caron is in goal for the Pens, and my favorite goalie, The Dominator Dominik Hasek is in goal for the Senators. The Pens score first in the first period with a goal by Michel Ouellet. Assisting were Tomas Surovy and Sergei Gonchar. It's a tight game into the second period. The Pens pull ahead by two goals with another score by Ryan Malone who breaks into a huge smile on his 12th goal of the season. Score is now 2-0. In a span of less than two minutes while we had the power play, that Senators come back to score two goals to even things up. Bob Errey is blasting the Pens for an extremely poor powerplay performance. As Bob Errey is telling us, he feels for the coach because he is ready to go balistic because the Pens were making a line change while the Senators were still playing full steam. it was the most embarrassing, poorly played two minutes of hockey. Unfortunately, I find myself saying that alot with the Pens, and yet each time, they still manage to outdo themselves. So now the Pens have two penalties to kill with Cory Cross and Colby Armstrong getting penalties within eight seconds of each other. The Senators took advantage of it and scored a goal to pull ahead of the Pens. The third period starts and in less than 30 seconds, the Senators have scored again. The score is now 4-2. The Pens get another stupid penalty, and the Senators score yet again. With 13:30 left in the game, the Senators are pulling away with a score of 5-2. At 12:26, one of the Senators is badly injured. It looks like Christoph Schubert was knocked into the boards, possibly by Brooks Orpik, so hard that his helmet came off. Schubert is lying face down on the ice as the channel goes to a commercial break. On the the return from the break, Schubert is still on the ice. He's up now, and his eyes are open. Actually it was Eric Boguniecki who ran into him. Boguniecki gets the penalty for boarding, and Oprik and Mark Recchi get penalties for getting into a fight based on the boarding. Another goal by the Senators. Score is now 6-2. The little bit of fight that the Pens had vanished after the two goals in a row in the second period. Bob Errey, the announcer, is even commenting on how Caron seems to not be paying attention at this point. With a little over five minutes left in the game, the Senators score another short handed goal. Score is now 7-2. what makes it even worse is that the Senators have only made 24 shots on goal. The Pens lose yet another one with a final score of 7-2.

Hold onto your horses! Troy Polamalu injured himself in practice today, and is listed as probable for the Super Bowl. Probable means that there's a 75% chance that Polamalu will play. The only word on the injury is that it is a tweaked ankle.

Thursday, February 2, 2006 -- Early Evening

This coming Saturday, Feb. 4th, at noon, there is going to be a rally in support of the Pens. The rally is to show support for the Isle of Capri intiative to provide the Pens with an arena if Isle of Capri gets a slots license in Pittsburgh. The Pens will be playing the New York Islanders at 2 pm on Saturday. I'll be at the game, and hope to make it for the rally. Tonight the Pens are playing the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa leads the Northeast conference and is fourth overall.

Thursday, February 2, 2006 -- Morning

After being dragged from his hutch, Punxsutawney Phil supposedly saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter. I think the whole thing is a bunch of bull-donkies. It seems that Phil has been seeing his shadow since 1999. Obviously he would with all those klieg lights around him! Personally, I don't think we will have six more weeks of winter because our winter has been so mild already. It feels as if spring is already here. Of course, I haven't seen a robin yet. So maybe Phil is right.

A group of five students from Pitt have a website in support of Ben Roethlisberger's beard. The site contains a petition that men and women can both sign. The men pledge that they will not shave their face hair until Ben shaves his.

I read about this site in a local newspaper, and it is entertaining enough to take your mind away from the Steelers. Fish School is a web site setup by a father/son duo who have trained their goldfish to do tricks. The fish plays soccer, fetch, and jumps through hoops. The guys on Mythbusters had a show where they trained goldfish. It seems it can be done. The only problem is that the fish don't really retain the training very well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the New York Rangers this evening. They are hoping that they can come back against the Rangers to win. Marc-Andre Fleury has said that he hopes to not see as many shots as last time. It doesn't seem like that is going to be the case because the Rangers have already come on to score a goal only five minutes into the game. Shots so far are six to one. It seems that today is Mark Recchi's 38th birthday, so Mike Lange and Bob Errey are hoping that Recchi will score for his birthday. With 9.4 seconds left in the first period, Recchi does indeed score to tie the game. Fleury is credited with the only assist on the goal. The period ends with a score of 1-1. Ranger and former Pen, Michal Rozsival, scores one for the Rangers half way through the second period. Score is 2-1. The Rangers scored again halfway through the third period. There was such a mess in front of the net, it would have been shocking if Fleury could have stopped the puck. Scorer is Petr Sykora. Score is now 3-1. Shots on goal are tied at 24. Fleury gets pulled with only a minute left in the game. The Pens stupidly pull a penalty with 28.5 seconds left in the game when Ryan Whitney trips a Ranger. The game ends with the penalty and a final score of 3-1. No goals for Jaromir Jagr, but he does get into an arguing match after the final whistle with Rob Scuderi.

While the second period of the Pens game was in progress, I went into the bedroom to watch American Idol. This is the last episode of auditions and took place in Austin. 12 people are picked to go to Hollywood. I was mistaken in thinking it was the last week of auditions because they will be heading to Boston next week. The Hollywood portion of the show will start on Wednesday. Read the recap.

According to Harvey Weinstein, Judi Dench was snubbed by the Today Show, Good Morning America, and The View because of her age. I don't think that sounds very realistic because Dench is one of those stars that is very much admired by the critics and the fans. Dench was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in Mrs. Henderson Presents.