The Daily Bongo

February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Win in a Shutout
The Pens travelled to Dallas to play the Stars this evening. Dallas scored first in the first period, and Steve Sullivan tied things up near the end of the first period. Unfortunately, Kris Letang took an elbow to the head from Eric Nystrom halfway through the first period. Letang was out on the ice, went to the locker room in obvious pain, and did not return. The Pens said that Letang was out for the rest of the game with an upper body injury. It' really sucks because Letang had a concussion two months ago, and I can only hope that this vicious blow doesn't give Letang a setup. The NHL really needs to do something to stop low blows like this. At the very end of the second period, the Stars took the lead. But that didn't last long once the third period started. Craig Adams and Chris Kunitz got goals to give the Pens a 3-2 lead, and Marc-Andre Fleury made some great saves, especially a huge save on a Stars breakaway. The Pens looked like they had momentum on their side until the Stars tied things up. Regulation ended in a tie, and overtime started with the Stars having a power play. There was no score in OT, so you know what that meant: a shootout! James Neal went first and scored with a five hole shot. Then Loui Eriksson went for the Stars, and he scored to even things up. Evgeni Malkin was up next, and Kari Lehtonen stopped him. Mike Ribeiro got stopped by Fleury. Then Chris Kunitz made a last minute backhand move to score! Jammie Benn was up next, and Fleury needed to stop him, but he wasn't able to. Next was Pascal Dupuis, and he score with a quick shot! Then it was Michael Ryder, and Fleury stopped him. The Pens won with a final score of 4-3.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 -- Afternoon

Cover of the Archie Wedding comic book
Archie Gets Married
I'm behind the times. The Archie Wedding comic came out in 2010, but I just had a chance to read it this week. The story starts with the high school graduation of the Riverdale kids. Now we know that this will be a traumatic event because the comics have always covered the kids as teens in high school. What would happen if the teens actually became adults? Well, we get to find that out in Archie Wedding. Before the high school graduation ceremony, Archie goes for a walk, and he comes upon Memory Lane. In the past, Archie always walked down Memory Lane, which is the phrase people use when they remember the past. This time, Archie decides to walk up Memory Lane. As he walks, he comes upon a fork in the road. Archie takes one branch and finds himself in the future at his high school graduation. In this future, Archie marries Veronica, and Betty becomes a fashion seller in New York City. Mr. Lodge gives Archie a job at Lodge Enterprises, and Archie and Veronica have twins. Then one night, Archie goes for another walk, finds himself at Memory Lane, and this time he takes the other fork in the road. Archie's back at his college graduation, and this time, he marries Betty. You get the feeling that Archie would have preferred to marry Veronica, but he realizes that he really doesn't fit into her life style. Betty gets a job in New York, and she and Archie move there. That doesn't work out, and they find themselves back in Riverdale, with both Betty and Archie teaching at Riverdale High. Archie is the music teacher. In this reality, Jughead marries Midge, Moose is into anger management, and Reggie is a car salesman. Archie and Betty have twins in this reality; the writer must have a thing about Archie having twins even though twins don't seem to run in his, Veronica's, or Betty's families. Veronica winds up marrying Reggie. This time, when Archie goes for a late night walk, he walks down Memory Lane and returns to his current life. Archie has some memories of marrying Betty and Veronica, but no one believes his story about the future. Meanwhile, life is pretty much as always, with Archie getting into by arranging dates with Betty and Veronica on the same night. We do hear that Dilton Doyle, Riverdale's resident genius, is missing after discovering parallel universes. That ties into the Life with Archie comics that play out the two future realities with this evil character who is trying to manipulate things for his own gain.

I'm not sure how I feel about looking at Archie's future. I'm perfectly happy with the comic book life cycle. Archie has been a teen since the 1940s, and as far as I'm concerned, he can stay there. I don't want my comic book characters to grow up and have real life experiences. The thing I love about comics is that I can use them as an escape from the realism of real life. If I had to choose, which girl would I have Archie marry? Well, I think that I would bring in a third girl. That would create some tension and cause Betty and Veronica to team up against the third girl. Would Archie marry her? Maybe. I just think real life situations would intrude on the fun too much.

Who do I like better? Betty or Veronica? Both of them annoy me for different reasons. Betty is just too wishy-washy, and Veronica is too spoiled. If I had to choose, I guess I would say that Jughead is my favorite character. There are hidden depths to Juggie.

Cover of Archie American Series: Best of the Fifties

Sunday, February 26, 2012 -- Evening

Archie: Best of the Fifties
Not only do I love mysteries, but I love comics. One of my favorite comics from when I was a kid to today is Archie comics. Even today, I'll still pick up Archie comics from the comic book store or library. In the past few years, the Archie comics folks released a series of books that look at Archie over the decades. The series is called the Archie Americana Series. Since Archie has been around since the 1940s, they had a few volumes in the series. I just finished reading the Best of the Fifties. The characters in this volume look a lot more like the characters that I'm used to. There have been changes over the years, and I have to admit that I didn't really recognize the 1940s Archie. Archie is that same as ever, stringing along both Betty and Veronica. Jughead, although appearing to be a slow-witted clod, really has much more on the ball than the other kids. What I loved about the book the most is that it reminded me of the simplicity of my childhood. Even though I wasn't around in the 50s, I felt that I could understand the time just from reading the comics. Which character do I like the best? I think Betty is my favorite, and Reggie is my least favorite. I can't think of a better way to spend a slow moving afternoon than with an Archie comic. Some people may think that comics are only for kids, but in my opinion, if it has a good story and if it entertains me, that's all I want. The Archie Americana Series series does that and gives us an historical look at teen society from the 1940s to the present day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 -- Afternoon

Pens Win Back-to-Back
Brad Thiessen had his NHL debut this afternoon when he started the Pens versus Columbus Blue Jackets game. Brent Johnson is out for a bit with an injury. Supposedly, Johnson tweaked something during practice on Thursday, but I wonder if the tweak was that Johnson just hasn't been playing well when he goes in for Marc-Andre Fleury. The Blue Jackets scored first with a goal by Rick Nash. The Pens took a while, but Evgeni Malkin got a goal in the last minute of the second period. Pascal Dupuis got a goal in the third to give the Pens a lead, but then two goals were called off by the refs. The crowd got really antsy and vocal with the second goal, on a shot by Kris Letang, called off. The claim was that Chris Kunitz was in the line of vision of the goalie, or interfered with him in some way, but it was actually a Blue Jacket player who was in the way. You rile up the fans and the team, and what do you get? Letang scoring his goal back. The disallowed goal was a joke. The refs were so obviously wrong, but there's nothing anyone can do other than penalize the refs financially after the game. Like that would happen! Joe Vitale got a goal for the Pens, but then seconds later, the Blue Jackets got another one right back because the Pens didn't change their line after the Vitale goal. When the horn blew at the end of the game, Thiessen had his first NHL win. Dupuis got the puck to give to Thiessen, and everyone went over to congratulate him on the win. My favorite part of the win is when the players go over to congratulate the goalie, one by one. It's really cool, and I like to see how all the players interact with each other. Final score: Pens 4 - Blue Jackets 2.

Saturday, February 25, 2012 -- Early Evening

Pens Win!
The Tampa Bay Lightning were in town to play the Pens this afternoon. It was a fun game. I thought for sure that the Lightning would pull Dwayne Roloson when the Pens scored three goals in three minutes in the middle of the first period. They didn't, and Roloson continued to be a duck in a shooting contest. By the time it was done, Evgeni Malkin had three goals, Jordan Staal had two goals, and Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke, and Pascal Dupuis got one each. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 of 35 shots in the win and got the third star of the game. Fleury has been doing a great job this season. The final score: Pens 8 - Lightning 1.

Friday, February 24, 2012 -- Afternoon

Cover of The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes
The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes
The Dirty Duck is Martha Grimes' fourth entry in the Richard Jury series. I've been trying to read the series in order, and as I finish up a pair, I order replacements from the library. I'm very lucky to have such a good library system, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. In The Dirty Duck, Richard Jury is on vacation in Stratford-upon-Avon. Jury is hoping that he can meet Lady Jenny Kennington, whom he met in The Anodyne Necklace. Lady Kennington moved to Stratford-upon-Avon at the end of the last book. Melrose Plant is there too, with his Aunt Agatha and her American relations. There are also some other American tourists in Stratford-upon-Avon, touring with the Honeycut Tours. Of course, where Jury and Plant are, murder follows. First, Gwendolyn Bracegirdle gets herself slashed and stashed in a public toilet. She's found with a few lines of poetry written on a Shakespeare playbill. But it doesn't stop there. Little Jimmy Carlton goes missing. Then his step-sister is murdered, and as the tour moves to London, his step-mother is murdered in the same grizzly fashion. Both also have additional lines from the same stanza of poetry that's found on Ms. Bracegirdle. Is there a psycho killing folks, or is there a connection to the Honeycut Tours? Where's little Jimmy? Can Jury and Plant find the killer before anyone else is murdered?

So far, as I've been reading through the series, I find myself like the latest book better than the ones that preceded it. The Dirty Duck is the best of the four so far. Granted, the murders are fairly horrifying. The victims have their throats slit, and then are slit open to the waist. Of course, Grimes doesn't go into gross detail, but it's enough to set up some mental pictures. Again, we have the strong child character. This time, it's Jimmy, who finds himself kidnapped and not knowing what is going on. Of course, I don't want to give away the ending, but Jimmy shows a great deal of resourcefulness for a nine-year old. The only negative comment I have to make is that Jury and Plant have the worst luck of any characters I know in mystery literature. Lady Kennington, Jenny, leaves Stratford-upon-Avon before Jury can start a relationship with her, and Vivian Rivington, Plant's Ardry End neighbor, comes back from an extended stay in Italy with an Italian fiancé. Of course, she just happens to show up in Stratford-upon-Avon. Jury and Plant are in their 40s, attractive, and unable to get women? Really? Of course, they get the ones they don't want. Jury likes Vivian who likes Plant. What a tangled web! I am enjoying the Jury/Plant series, and if you like mysteries, you should definitely give them a try. I think they should be read in order because the characters and relationships appear to develop over the books.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 -- Evening

Fleury Gets a Shutout
Marc-Andre Fleury got a shutout in this evening's Pens game against the Rangers. Evgeni Malkin and Steve Sullivan both got goals in the 2-0 win. Fleury got the first star for his 22nd career shutout, tying the franchise record.

Monday, February 20, 2012 -- Afternoon

Cover of The Anodyne Necklace by Martha Grimes
The Anodyne Necklace by Martha Grimes
Everyone needs a break, and I'm mixing in some mysteries with the romantic suspense. One author that I haven't read before is Martha Grimes. Grimes is an American who writes British mysteries, and if there's one thing I like, it's the classic British mystery. So I've been working my way through her Inspector Jury/Melrose Plant series. Inspector Jury is from Scotland Yard, and finds himself getting called in to investigate various murders around the country. Melrose Plant is a Lord who gave up his title because he wasn't interested in the whole aristocracy/House of Lords bit. In the first book in the series, The Man with a Load of Mischief a murder happens near Plant's family home, and Jury is called in to investigate. The pair become buddies, and as Jury goes to investigate other murders, Plant motors out to help his pal. I just finished reading the third book in the series, The Anodyne Necklace. In this book, Jury is called out to investigate the murder of young woman in the Horndean Woods in the little village of Littlebourne. The woman is a stranger to the village and was found with the fingers of one hand chopped off. Jury has to figure out who the woman is and if the murder ties in with the other disparate things that seem to be going on: a young girl from the village who had her head bashed in while busking in the Underground in London, a jewelry robbery from one of the local landed gentry, and the accidental death of the person suspected of committing the robbery. Of course, Jury ties up all the loose ends and finds the murderer.

The book was a good deal of fun. I read through it very quickly, but I did have some problems with it. In The Anodyne Necklace, as well as with the second book in the series, The Old Fox Deceiv'd, an independent child has a key role in the mystery and the solution. The child in question this time is a girl, Emily Louise Perk. I don't know about you, but I don't know that many 10-year-old kids who are as enterprising and self-reliant as the kids in Grimes' books. Emily Louise's mother is nowhere to be found. The girl totally controls the whole village with her strong personality. No one from child services shows up to wonder what the girl is doing working or wandering the town late at night. The situations and characters are starting to feel very formulaic. I would hope that Grimes finds some way to change things up. The mystery is a good one. At first, I couldn't think of any way Jury could tie all the crimes together, but he did. This book had a decidedly dark element with the attack on young Katie O'Brien, who was left in a life threatening coma, and a threat to Emily Louise. The characters in the village are interesting, especially Polly Praed, a mystery writer who plots the murders of the annoying Bodenheim family, the leading family of Littlebourne. I did sort of suspect whodunit, but started to doubt myself as the story continued. I've just started the next book in the series, The Dirty Duck, so the formulaic bits of Grimes' style aren't annoying me yet!

Sunday, February 19, 2012 -- Afternoon

James Neal Contract Renewal
James Neal renewed his contract, it was announced today. Neal's contract is for six years and will pay him an average of $5 million a year. Neal has been doing a great job in Pittsburgh this season, and yesterday's goal gave him 30 goals so far this season. That is Neal's first 30 goal season. Since hockey players do their best before they are over 26 years of age, the Pens should still get some good hockey out of 24-year-old Neal. This guy did a great analysis of players scoring based on age.
Hockey in America Game
After a long, boring, hockey segment on NBC, we finally got to the Pens and Buffalo Sabres. We found out that the game was delayed in Buffalo because one of the camera lights exploded on the Sabres side of the ice. It scattered glass all over the Sabres' side of the ice. So the Sabres had to warm up on the Pens side, and then the players had to have their skates sharpened. Brent Johnson was in goal for the Pens, to give Marc-Andre Fleury a rest. 52 seconds into the game, Jason Pominville scored for the Sabres. In a few minutes, the Sabres scored again. As the NBC announcers said, Dan Bylsma has said before the game that they have to give Johnson some time because they can't play the wheels off of Fleury. After Johnson let in another goal at the start of the second period, Bylsma pulled Johnson and put in Fleury. Less than a minute after pulling Johnson, Evgeni Malkin shot the puck to Derek Engelland who put it behind Ryan Miller to get the Pens on the score sheet. In the third period, the Pens got a power play goal from Jordan Staal to pull within one of the Sabres, but then a minute later, Drew Stafford got a short handed goal to give the Sabres another two point lead. That wasn't the end of the scoring for the Sabres; they got two more in the third. A disappointing loss for the Pens with a final score of 6-2.

Saturday, February 18, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Beat Jagr and Flyers
The Pens played their first back-to-back game this weekend in Philly against the Flyers. The game was an early afternoon game, and it was a really exciting game. There were a ton of penalties in the first and second period, and both Jaromir Jagr and Matt Cooke both got two goals (and got the second and first stars, respectively, for the game). Cooke's second goal was a short handed one, and Jordan Staal also got a short handed goal in the second period. The game was tied going into the third period, but the Pens pulled ahead with three goals, from Dustin Jeffrey, Pascal Dupuis, and James Neal. The final score for the game was Pens 6 - Flyers 4. With the win, the Pens tied the Flyers' points for the season. Tomorrow, the Pens will be playing another early afternoon game against the Sabres.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Lose
Bruce Boudreau and the Anaheim Ducks were in town this evening to play the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens. Jordan Staal got a goal in the first period, showing that he is definitely back from his knee injury. Corey Perry tied the game for the Ducks in the final seconds of the second period. Teemu Selanne got the go-ahead goal for the Ducks, and they managed to hold off the Pens at the end. The Pens lose with a final score of Ducks 2 - Pens 1.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 -- Afternoon

Cover of Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels
Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels
As I continue my journal through the works of Barbara Michaels, I admit that I haven't been taking a systematic journal. I didn't start at the first book and continue through in order of publication. I wonder if doing that would have changed my experience. I just finished Houses of Stone, which was published in 1993. Barbara Mertz started publishing the books with the Barbara Michaels pseudonym in 1966. That's when the more woo-woo of the books came out. Ammie Come Home was published in 1968. The Sea King's Daughter, another of my recent reads, was published in 1975. I really liked The Sea King's Daughter. I'm a bit more ambivalent about Houses of Stone, and I do wonder if Michaels started to change her style as time went on. It's something that I'll have to look out for with future books.

Houses of Stone tells us the story of Karen Holloway, an English literature professor, who found some fame in publishing a poem by an unknown author named Ismene. Karen found the poem in a tattered, old publication, and she got it republished with commentary. You know, the sort of thing that professors specializing in literature do. Karen suspects that Ismene was a woman writing in the late 1700s/early 1800s, and when Karen hears from her friend Simon, a book seller, that he found an unpublished manuscript that Simon thinks was written by Ismene. Karen agrees, and the battle for the manuscript and publication begins. The manuscript isn't complete; the first few pages are missing. Simon offers the manuscript to the highest bidder, but gives Karen the option of preferred bidder. That means that Karen gets the option to outbid the highest bidder. With the financial help of her friend and colleague, Peggy, Karen is able to obtain the manuscript. The action begins then. Karen wants to figure out who Ismene really is. If she can give her a name, it would make the manuscript that much more valuable, financially and academically. Karen finds out that Cameron Cartwright sold the manuscript to Simon, as part of the estate of his uncle. Karen goes to the Virginia backwater town to investigate the family home/location to see if she can figure out if Ismene is part of the distant family tree. Peggy goes along to provide historical research. Meanwhile, rivals Bill and Dorothea also show up to try to beat Karen to the punch, and perhaps to steal the manuscript. Even though Karen is working from a copy, if the copy is stolen, Bill or Dorothea could beat Karen to publication. Karen's apartment is broken into, and the manuscript is almost stolen from her by the burglar. Then Karen is almost run over by a car, and rescued at the last minute by Bill. Then a fire breaks out in the garage under Karen's apartment. Karen narrowly escapes. Meanwhile, when Karen investigates Ismene's house and grounds, she experiences cold waves, feels evil, and hears ghostly screams. There are so many questions: who is Ismene? Is the gothic manuscript autobiographical? Who is trying to hurt Karen? Who is the romantic interest: Bill or Cameron? What the heck is going on?

The story was okay. I enjoyed the book, and I read it quickly. I suppose those are good things. However, I just felt that the story was dragging at points. I was expecting more build-up with the romance angle, but it just sort of happens at the end. All the loose ends get tied up, but I'm not sure that the journey was as much fun as it was in the older books. As with other Michaels books, Karen is a feminist. She gets herself into and out scrapes. However, there's still the element of the strong man in the background who really helps out. I would recommend the book, but with reservations that I don't think that it's the best of Michaels' work.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 -- Evening

The Pens were back in action this evening, this time with Brent Johnson between the pipes. The opponent: the Tampa Bay Lightning. Unfortunately, in the middle of the first period, the Lighting got two quick points with goals from Steve Downie, within seconds of each other! Evgeni Malkin showed why he is a points leader with a goal in the final minutes of the first to bring the Pens close. The Malkin-Neal-Kunitz line is amazing, and Chris Kunitz proved it by scoring the tying goal at the start of the second period (0:56). His assists came from Kris Letang and Brent Johnson. Then a few minutes later, Letang scored with an assist by Kunitz. Poor Mathieu Garron, the Lightning goalie and former Pens goalie, was under constant fire in the second period. Midway through the second period, Malkin scored again. He has been hotter than hot. When you see how Alexander Ovechkin performs, you have to wonder how Malkin got picked second! The third period was quite entertaining, even though there weren't any scores. With an empty Lightning goal and 1 second on the clock, Malkin bounced one off the pipes to just miss getting a hat trick. All in all, a very entertaining game! Final score: Pens 4 - Lightning 2.

view of the Pens vs. Winnipeg Jets from my seat at Console Energy

Saturday, February 11, 2012 -- Evening

Welcome Back Jets!
The Winnipeg Jets returned to Pittsburgh for the first time in 15 years. The game this afternoon not only marked the return of the Jets, but it also marked the return of Jordan Staal to the ice. Staal is supposed to be starting off with no more than 15 minutes. Yeah, right! Good luck with that! Even with a knew brace on, Staal wound up playing a total of 16:14 and a goal to his credit.

I was at today's game, and it was quite a scoring fest! The Jets took an early 2-0 lead, but then Dustin Jeffrey and James Neal both got goals to tie things up. The first period ended with a score of 2-2. Nope, the scoring wasn't over. The second period was more in the Pens favor, with the Pens making 15 shots to the Jets 4. And the Pens made three of those shots goals. Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin got the goals. In the third period, the scoring continued. Dustin Byfuglien got a goal for the Jets, but Richard Park, Jordan Staal, and Kris Letang (with goal number two) gave the Pens the lead and the win. Malkin ended the game as the first star with one goal and three assists. Final score: Pens 8 - Jets 5. Obviously, neither Marc-Andre Fleury or Ondrej Pavelec, the Jets goalie, had a stellar game. All that matters in the end is that the Pens got the win, and I got to see the Winnipeg Jets.

Friday, February 10, 2012 -- Afternoon

Cover of The Sea King's Daughter by Barbara Michaels
The Sea King's Daughter by Barbara Michaels
I have been in the mood for romantic suspense for the past few months now, and in particular, I have been focusing on Barbara Michaels. I haven't read her books in a long time, and I thought I would re-read them to see if they were as good as I remember. So far, I haven't been disappointed! I just finished reading The Sea King's Daughter, which is slightly different than the other woo-woo books published under the Michaels pseudonym.

The Sea King's Daughter is more in the style of Elizabeth Peters. Sandy Bishop is the heroine. She lives with her mother and step-father and really has no interaction with or knowledge of her father. Once as a younger child, she received a package addressed to Ariadne Frederick, Sandy's birth name, with a ancient Greek statue of Ariadne. Frederick is the last name of Sandy's biological father, an archaeologist. Sandy's mom left him when Sandy was a baby because Frederick loved his job more than his family. When the story really starts, Sandy is trying to figure out what to do with herself because she hasn't excelled in academics, but has excelled in athletics, especially swimming. Sandy wants the excitement that she had the previous summer when she and her step-dad found a submerged galleon off the Florida coast. The find got Sandy in National Geographic, and it caught Frederick's eye. Frederick comes to Florida to convince Sandy to help him search for submerged treasure in Greece. Sandy takes little convincing, and after her graduation from university, Sandy tells her parents that she is going to tour Europe. Yep, Sandy lies. Once Sandy gets to Greece, she starts to experience some feelings of deja vu, wondering if the feeling has some tie to her name Ariadne. Things don't start out well for Sandy on the island of Thera where Frederick is doing his archaeological work. Frederick is distant and uncaring. No one should swim or dive alone, and he leaves her un-watched as she swims. Sandy is starting to rethink her decision when she meets Jim in the village. Of course, the pair fall in love. Things get complicated when Jim's boss, Sir Christopher turns out to be a former cohort of Frederick's. Then Keller, a former German WW II officer, and his mistress, Kore, turn out to be living in a villa on the island. The foursome have a past history with Jim's uncle, who was killed during WWII. Earthquakes, volcanic action, and female deity worship add more spice to the story.

I really did enjoy the story. If you read Peters and Michaels, both pseudonyms for Barbara Mertz, you know that the books have a very similar feel to them. The Sea King's Daughter provided plenty of thrills, archaeology, and mystery for me. Yes, I guess you could say that the relationship between Sandy and Jim seems rushed, but it's fiction, people! The book gave me what I wanted: some romance, some suspense, and a break from the harsh reality of the real world. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how Sandy and Jim would untangle all the clues and figure out who the bad guy was. As Sandy mentions in the end, she learns that no one is all good or all bad. Definitely a winner!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Lose in a Shootout
The Pens were in Montreal to play the Canadiens this evening. You could tell that the top line was really suffering the strain of playing hard because Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, and James Neal seemed to be dragging at time. Fortunately, the team had enough energy for Pascal Dupuis and James Neal to both get goals in the third period to tie the game. The game went into overtime, a situation that happens a lot with the Pens. Of course, the Canadiens might not have gotten the goal from Lars Eller in the third period if Marc-Andre Fleury didn't misplay the puck. He seemed to think that the Canadiens were going to just toss the puck in for a line change, and then they didn't. As the whistle blew at the end of the overtime, Kris Letang tackled Patrick Subban. Subban had been shoving Malkin around, and Letang had had enough of it. Again, the Pens were in a shootout: Fleury against Carey Price. Renee Bourque was up first for the Canadiens, and he scored. Kris Letang was up next. The fans were booing because of his tackle. Unfortunately, Letang was stopped by Price. Max Pacioretty was next, and Fleury stopped him. Next up was Malkin. Malkin did a beautiful spinarama to put the puck behind price. Fleury stopped David Desharnais. It was up to James Neal, but he just didn't have a chance. Eric Cole was next for the Canadiens. Fleury managed to knock it wide of the net. Cal O'Reilly, new Pen, missed. Then Lars Eller was up, and he scored. So it was down to Chris Kunitz. Kunitz faked out Price and went five hole to score. Now it's Louie Leblanc. Fleury knocked the puck away with the stick. Steve Sullivan couldn't score when Price lay down on the ice blocking the net. Then it was Andrei Kostitsyn, who was stopped by Fleury. Pascal Dupuis went with speed, but he was stopped. Tomas Plekanec was up next, and he scored. All the weight was on the shoulders of Pens' Jason Williams, but he couldn't get it past Price. After a great, long shootout, the Canadiens win, with a final score of 3-2.

Sunday, February 5, 2012 -- Evening

RIP Dorothy Gilman
Dorothy Gilman, the author of the Mrs. Pollifax series, died yesterday from the complications of Alzheimer's Disease. I read the Mrs. Pollifax books as a teenager, and I loved them. You would think that a senior citizen who volunteers to work for the CIA as spy would not be an appealing character to a teen. However, Ms. Gilman knew how to write a compelling character and story. I'm going to have to add either a Mrs. Pollifax or stand-alone book to my TBR pile. The NY Times has posted an obituary.

Sunday, February 5, 2012 -- Afternoon

Pens Lose to the Devils
The Pens have had issues beating the New Jersey Devils in recent years, and this afternoon's game was no different. Marc Andre Fleury started the game for the Pens, but he was pulled at the start of the second period when he let in his third goal of the game (and a short handed one too, which really put the nail in the coffin). Brent Johnson went in, and the Pens quickly got a power play goal from Matt Niskanen. But then around eight minutes later, the Devils scored again with a goal from Zach Parise. Evgeni Malkin managed to get a goal to bring the Pens within two of the Devils, but it was too much to make up so late in the game. The Devils went on to win with a final score of 5-2.

Sunday, February 5, 2012 -- Late Morning

Walker in Shadows
Cover of The Walker in Shadows by Barbara Mertz I love a good romantic suspense book, especially if there are some gothic elements thrown in for good luck. That's one of the reasons why I love the Barbara Michaels' books. She writes the type of books that I love to read, and if I were an author, the type of books that I would want to write. Last night, I finished Walker in Shadows, one of Michaels' best woo-woo books. In this book, we have Pat Robbins, recently widowed mother of 19 year-old Mark. She lives in one of those huge, gothic type houses that you just know would be haunted. Next-door is a mirror image house. The pair of houses was built in the 1800s for a pair of twin sisters. Well, Josef Fredericks, recently divorced, moves into the next-door house with his 17 year-old daughter, Kathy. Tensions develop between the families when Mark falls for Kathy, who is forbidden to see Mark by her dad. Then Josef makes a remark about Pat that comes off as making her sound as if Pat is out to hook him. One night, when Pat is coming home from an evening out with a friend, she hears screams from the Fredericks' house. When she gets there, she finds Josef struggling with his screaming daughter. Nope, Josef isn't an abusive dad. A ghost in the house has traumatized Kathy. Pat and Mark get sucked into the horror because the entity is in search of Kathy, even if it means finding her in the Robbins' house. Of course, by the end, the problems are resolved, because that's what people want in their romantic suspense, a happy conclusion.

One of the things that I loved about the book was the absence of a typical gothic heroine. Pat Robbins is in her forties, a working mom, widowed, and not your typical beauty. As I get older, I love to see characters that are more realistic as the main character of books. Michaels is great at putting atypical people into romantic leads. Walker in Shadows kept me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages of the book late into the night. Not only did I want to know what was behind all of the horrifying situations, but I also wanted to know what would happen with Pat and Josef. I have to admit that I thought the romance bit happened a bit quickly between the two of them. It seemed forced, but it was still enjoyable. I have more of Michaels on my TBR list, and if they are as good as Walker in Shadows, I'll be happy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012 -- Evening

Pens Win With Fleury
The Pens were in Boston to play the Bruins in an early afternoon game. Marc-Andre Fleury was back between the pipes, and surprise of surprises, the Pens won this one. Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke got goals to give the Pens a 2-1 win.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 -- Afternoon

Pens Lose a Close One
Surprises of surprises, Marc-Andre Fleury, after an eight game winning streak, was pulled from the back-to-back home/away series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dan Bylsma decided that Brent Johnson needed a turn between the pipes to spell Fleury. Johnson didn't do a bad job; he only let in one goal. The problem is that James Reimer, the Maple Leafs goalie, had a shut out. The Pens suffered a loss, but let's hope that they pick up their winning ways again. Final score: Pens 0 - Maple Leafs 1.
The Old Fox Deceiv'd
Cover of The Old Fox Deceiv'd by Martha Grimes I just finished reading The Old Fox Deceiv'd by Martha Grimes. The book is the second in the Richard Jury series, and as with the other books in the series, the title comes from the name of a pub that slightly features in the book. In fact, in this book, the action is very slight indeed. CID Inspector, Richard Jury is called up to a small town in the North of England to investigate the murder of Gemma Temple, murdered in costume on Twelfth Night. The question, though, was if Gemma Temple was in fact Dillys March, long-lost ward of Sir Titus Crael, wealthy, local landowner. Melrose Plant, wealthy former Lord Ardry, is visiting the Craels and gets to join in the detection fun as he did in the first book. It would seem to me that as the series progresses, it will become more difficult to get Plant involved in Jury's investigations, but that's how fictional mysteries are.

The mystery in this book was a good one, and I enjoyed figuring out whodunit (and no, I didn't guess it this time). My favorite character was a young boy, Bertie Makepeace who has been left to fend for himself by a mother who is more interested in herself. Fortunately, Bertie has a level head on his shoulders, and a super-intelligent dog named Arnold. Jury and Plant travel to London to gather information on Gemma Temple, and in the search, find out something about Sir Titus' family, deceased Lady Margaret and the deceased elder son Rolfe, and younger son, Julian. The Crael family has many hidden skeletons in the closet, and all comes out under Jury's investigation. We learn that Julian''s adamant hatred of Dillys would be more aptly described as great love.

The book was an entertaining read. I like the interactions between Plant and Jury. The human side of both come out in the case of Bertie Makepeace. The mystery was a good one. I do wonder if I just happened to miss the piece that lead to the solution. I think that I might have read it, but not picked up on it. There were suggestions throughout the book, but because I missed the initial puzzle piece, the suggestions did nothing for me. Overall, the book is a good read, and I have plans to read more in the series.