The Daily Bongo

July 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005 -- Evening

There is not alot going on in the Big Brother house other than scheming. Since Sarah won the POV and is going to remove James from the block, that means that probably Rachel or Howie will go up in his place. If that's the case then Kaysar will probably be going home on Thursday. He is preparing for this. However, they have all come up with a scheme. Kaysar approached Maggie and said that she should consider her options. After all, what are the chances that one of the sheep will win the HOH competition next week. They are the weakest players, and so far, the folks who have been winning things are on Kaysar's side. Kaysar tells Maggie that she should play the game strategically and not personally and put up someone from the sheep and then that will guarantee that she doesn't go out next week when Kaysar's side wins. I don't know what Maggie thinks of the plan, and neither do they. I think that the POV ceremony is tomorrow, so we will have to see what she decides.

For more serious news, there is an issue with Discovery. There is some material that is dangling from the underbelly of the craft. This material will burn during reentry, and right now the scientists are trying to determine if the risk to the safety of the flight is minimal or not. If it is not, then the crew will have to make a spacewalk to either remove the material or shove it back into place and hope it holds. The flight itself is being extended a day so the International Space Station can be restocked and to help out in general.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 -- Afternoon

Training camp for the Steelers starts today, and there are alot of expectations on the Steelers this time. Last year, expectations weren't very high because we really didn't have a very good record in the previous season. This year, of course, expectations are out of the roof because of the 15-1 regular season, and the fact that we got to the AFC Championship. There are a variety of items that are of concern. First there is the fact that Plaxico Burress is no longer with us and Hines Ward is a hold out. That puts a hole in our wide receivers section that could cause problems. Personally, I don't think the loss of Burress is of much concern, but not having Hines Ward also would put a crimp in the Steelers' style. There's also some question about whether Ben Roethlisberger will sink under the pressure of trying to be good. After all, it would be something of a stretch to think that Ben could go undefeated again this year. We are going to have to expect some losses and not jump all over the kid. Last year our offense line held up well under pressure, but it wasn't that good the year before. Which offensive line will we have this year? when you throw all these items and more into the pot and give it a good stir, it's potluck. We might have a good bouillabaisse or an inferior clam chowder. We'll have to wait to see how the pre-season games go.

Not only do we have high expectations for the Steelers, but we are also hoping for alot from the Penguins this coming season. There are rumors about Alexei Kovalev and Johan Hedberg returning to the Pens. Nothing has been said about either officially, but the sportscasters in Pittsburgh have been talking about the possibility. Also we have Sidney Crosby coming to town and possibly playing immediately.

Speaking of Sidney Crosby, it seems that the kid was born to play hockey. Both is father, and his uncles on his mother's side were hockey players. When Sidney was a kid and first picked up a hockey stick, he took to it like a duck to water, and held it properly, even at the age of 2. His skating abilities were such that folks thought that he was older than he was because a kid his age couldn't possible skate that well. Our second round selection, Michael Gergen, will be heading to college first to do some maturing before he plays in the NHL. Sidney may be staying with the Lemieux family for abit here in Pittsburgh. Because of his age, his parents would prefer that he bunk with a more experienced player instead of being on his own. Who better to bunk with than someone who was in Sidney's position twenty one years ago?

JK Rowling has inflamed some other authors with comments that she made about fantasy. Terry Pratchett thought that Rowling should have known that writing about witches, goblins and magic fall in the realm of fantasy. What raised his ire is that she seemed to minimalize the genre while obviously not knowing alot about it and while writing in that genre. As Pratchett says, she writes fantasy, and other authors who write good novels that sell well aren't given the media hype that Rowling gets. You could say that it is sour grapes, but Pratchett is a well-known and acclaimed author of fantasy. I think that he just wants Rowling to admit what she writes and be proud of it. Fantasy and mystery books are not anything to be ashamed of writing or reading.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 -- Evening

Big Brother is on this evening. On the live feeds, the fish are gone, and it seems that Sarah has won the power of veto. Now she may use it on James, or she might not because she might be told to leave it the way it is because James will be safe and they want to get Kaysar out. This is a sad turn of events because it probably means that Kaysar will out this week. Now on to the recorded show. Of course, as usual, the show opens with a recap of past events. Ivette says that she loves Eric and will miss him more than anyone will know. Meanwhile Sarah says that she's happy that he is gone. Janelle says the same thing. Howie said that Eric took things personally, and Howie was going to give him a hug, but Eric was the slug that he is and wouldn't acknowledge it. As Evilette says, we lost our man but he is still in our hearts. Maggie says that she is going to attack this at a strategic and personal level. Kaysar says that losing HOH is a huge blow to his group. Howie says there is alot of animosity between the two groups. As Evilette (the racist bitch says) payback is a you know what. We then hear whiny Sarah saying that she doesn't want to go home. Sarah claims that she and James won't rally against their team that they are now on (which according to the live feeds they did). Howie thinks they will target couples because of the money. Evilette says that she will fix Maggie's house and buy Eric a BMW. Janelle says that even though it will be one of them, they will all stick together. Maggie and Ivette are talking in the storage room saying that they will play for Eric. We saw a picture of Maggie's boyfriend, Dave, and he is really on the ugly side. James said that he saw these putrid little rats running around kissing Maggie's ass. Kaysar yelled out congratulations Maggie. We then see Maggie and Rachel talking. Maggie says that she is torn between things and that she likes Rachel. Maggie says that she sees Rachel as totally grey. Maggie then calls in Howie. Maggie asks how Howie feels about everyone being split in two, and being on the other side. Howie basically says that he was HOH. Howie says that James and Maggie are strong players. Howie said that he saw Rachel giving him the look, and he said that the goal of the couples is to get to both of the individuals in the couple to the final two. Maggie asks if she doesn't nominate them if they will keep her in the house next week if they get HOH, and Rachel said that she has no problem with that. Maggie then says that if their keys are in the box tomorrow, then they have a deal. We will see in the end if Maggie sticks to her deal.

After the commercial break, we see James talking to Evilette and Beau and trying to get himself safe. As Sarah says to Janelle who notices him talking to the group, he doesn't know that's what's going to hurt him with both sides. Maggie then says that James is not on the grey side with her. Ivette and Maggie said that James should have stayed with them because he would have been safe. Meanwhile, James tries to "rationalize" that he was trying to save himself. They can't see it. As far as they are concerned, James should have let himself go. James then went to Maggie's HOH to apologize after Maggie walks away from him. Maggie asks James who he would put up. James said the most dangerous people are the ones who are not pairs. He also says that he would rather Sarah get voted off. James seems to have trouble saying who he would nominate. James thinks that Maggie is a cop because of the way that she interrogated him, and how she positioned herself on the bed and him in the chair and how she talked. She also said that they probably do the same thing for a living. So James must be in law enforcement somehow. We then learn that Howie likes Boobies. And that Howie is obsessed with boobies. All the girls agree that the only word he mentions all the time is boobies. He also calls them breastests. Kaysar tells them all that he thinks that the other side is going to try play on emotions. Janelle thinks that it will be James and Kaysar. Kaysar tells sarah that if James goes home, she needs to fight for revenge. Meanwhile Sarah tells the audience that she will do anything to keep James in the house. Including selling herself to the other side (and winning the POV as the live feeds show).

After the break, Ivette makes a bird feeder out of a coffee mate jar. Evilette came up with checkers, the ghetto slide and the coaster game with the hole in the coffee table. Ivette came up with alot of different food items. Now we see the food competitions. There were four panelists and six contestants in a game show. Sarah, Kaysar, Howie and April were the panelists. The others were the participants in a Match Game type setup. They had to get two answers that matched. The first question for Saturday: Pete is so obsessed with food, he tried to tie his shoes with string ___________. Rachel said cheese, and Sarah and Kaysar also said cheese. Beau played for Sunday. The grocery clerk was so hands on that one customer complained that he tried to grab her ___________. Beau was thinking of boobies, but said buns. Sarah and Kaysar said Melons. April and Howie said Buns. Food for Sunday. Jennifer is Monday. Dumb Doris was so dumb, she flew all the way to France to get French ___________. Jennifer said fries. Sarah and Kaysar said bread and April and Howie said Fries. Janelle is up. You know you are flying first class when the stewardess offers you chocolate covered __________. Janelle said Strawberry. Sarah and Kaysaar said sundae, and April and Howie strawberries. James for Wednesday. The frustrated baker blamed his girlfriend when his _______ refused to rise. James said bread. Sarah and Kaysar said dough and April and Howie said bread. Ivette is for Thursday. Donna said, my husband the pastry chef is getting a bit nearsighted. Last night he went outside and tried to __________ the dog. She said bake. Sarah and April said bake. Kaysar and Howie said cook. Jennifer went for Friday. The chef's cooking class was so boring that one student fell asleep in his apple __________. Jennifer said pie. Sarah and April said cobbler, and Kaysar and Howie said pie. So there is food for the entire week. Getting the bonus question right also gave them a prize--two numbers, 57 and 46. They realize that it is the final two numbers for the safe in the gold room.

Break is done, and everyone is in the gold room.
Jennifer is there, and Janelle is there too. Howie said to spin it a couple of times around and then Kaysar was able to open the safe. In the safe was a plate of PB&J sandwiches. In one of the sandwiches is a PB&J pass that allows the person to never have to eat PB&J again. The pass can be given to someone else to use too. Everyone gets a sandwich. Janelle has the pass. She was very excited. As Sarah says, alot of people will be willing to give up things to get the PB&J pass. Now we see Howie and Beau pretending that they would kiss. Howie says that because he is so great looking, he attracts all sorts of people. As Howie says, if he has to kiss the gay guy to stay in the house, he will. Then we see Sarah going up to the HOH house where Maggie, Ivette, Beau, April and Jennifer are. This is were Sarah bashes the other group and tries to claim that she is not part of their group. Beau thinks that Sarah is not a strong player, but guess what, she is feeding them a line to save her and James to stay in the house, and they are buying it. Maggie comments that Sarah said that James is not the strongest player and as Sarah says they are not part of any group. Maggie know that she did everything to make James look good. Maggie is trying to get rid of people who would get rid of her. Because of this, Maggie wonders to the group if she should nominate James and Sarah.

It's now time for the nominations. Maggie is collecting all the keys. Howie says that he doesn't feel safe this week at all. James doesn't think Maggie is here now to play the game, but to avenge Eric's death. Maggie is keeping in mind that the person doesn't forget who nominates them. Janelle says that she is not worried for herself, but for Kaysar. Maggie knows that there are some people who are expecting to be nominated. They are all called in for the ceremony. Maggie says that when she won HOH it was very clear cut to her that it was black and white in this game and clearcut where everyone stood. In the first 24 hours, things have become more gray. The first key is pulled. It is April's. She is safe. Ivette is safe. Jennifer is safe. Beau is safe. Rachel is safe. (Rachel thanks Maggie.) Howie is safe (thanks Maggie). Sarah is safe. Janelle is safe. That means that James and Kaysar are up for eviction. Maggie says that she has seen them rally people to support them, and that is why they are nominated. Maggie says that she can't trust either of them. James says he has to have the veto because he can't let Maggie win. Sarah says that what Maggie says is garbage and that Maggie is taking it personally. Kaysar says that the competition, not only for the POV but just in general will be fierce. As the credits roll, we see Sarah in the bathroom crying. And so the show ends.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 -- Early Evening

The POV competition may just be starting now at 6:30. The house guests have been waiting for it to start all day. It seems that Sarah and James have been scheming and are playing both sides. James seems to be pretending to be on the side of Kaysar and company while he sends Sarah up to Maggie and company to pretend to be on their side. I suppose that is a good strategy--play both sides. He thinks that will keep him in the game, but when he gets rid of all the players on his side, the sheep will get rid of him. I am hoping that Janelle wins and saves Kaysar because those are the two players that I would like to see at the end. I don't think that will happen, but I can hope. I think that if the show comes down to just being Maggie, April, Jennifer, Ivette, and Beau, I'm going to have a hard time watching it because that group annoys me with their pity bullshit. Ivette was comparing Kaysar to Osama Bin Laden. Talk about a racist bitch. Early in the week she was making comments about how she calls her cheap friends Jews. vote Evilette out!!

Plaxico Burress injured his knee this morning in a practice with the NY Giants. He was able to come back to practice in the afternoon, however. I don't think that Burress will be as good as the Giants think he will be, so it will be interesting to see how he plays if he remains injury free.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 -- Afternoon

I am waiting for the NHL draft to start. It should happen in the next few minutes. It will be exciting to see the formal and official offer from the Pens to Sidney Crosby. Crosby has been creating quite a stir. They are "choosing" now. I guess that they can't immediately say that they are taking Crosby. Craig Patrick and Mario Lemieux are there. They are now all heading to the stage. It was only a minute or so. Craig Patrick is making the announcement. They select Sidney Crosby. Surprising, isn't it? He looks small next to Mario, and stocky. There are pictures of Mario and Crosby holding the number 87 Penquins shirt, and right now, he has the jersy on and pictures are being taken with Craig Patrick and Mario on either side of him. The sportscaster there talked to Crosby. Crosby says he is happy right now, and it is amazing. The interviewer asked about the heavy expectations, and Crosby says that is not on his mind now. I was really amazed because Crosby was very soft spoken and polite. The folks who are commenting on the draft said that they see aspects where Crosby is mimicking Lemieux in the way he talks and stands. Mario is being interviewed and says that it will be a huge step for Crosby because it will be an adjustment because of the size and difference in players. Lemieux says that Crosby has the tools so it would just be a matter of giving Crosby the time to adjust. Lemieux has also said that there might be a room for Crosby to bunk in with the Lemieux family for a year or so. When Mario came to Pittsburgh, he stayed with a family here because Mario was also just 18 years old when he was drafted.

Some astronomers are considering the discovery of the object orbitting beyond Pluto as the tenth planet. Right now, it is only being referred to as 2003 UB313, but a name has submitted for the planet is now in the approval process. Speculation, because at this point we really don't know for sure how large the object is, is that the planet is larger than Pluto. This does raise some questions though. The question then becomes what constitutes a planet. Do we set a size limitation? Some people think that Pluto should have its planetary status removed because it really isn't large enough to be considered a planet, and might even be a moon of Neptune that escaped Neptune's gravitational field. Of course, as I will say over and over again with alot of the things that are mentioned in astronomy, it's speculation. We need to have more robotic missions to these areas to gather alot more information before we can claim to be sure.

Friday, July 29, 2005 -- Late Evening

I missed seeing this when it happened on the live feed, but it seems that James and Kaysar are nominated for eviction. Sarah has been playing Maggie and Company by telling them that James isn't with Kaysar and crying. Also, James has told Ivette that he would nominate Rachel and Howie if he was HOH. All I have to say is James is really a snake, and not someone that I would trust. The question is will the sheep vote out James or will they go for Kaysar. Also Kaysar is talking of having Janelle compete with him for POV. If she gets it, she can take Kaysar off, and keep herself safe. What would the sheep do then?

Friday, July 29, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

Lots of scheming in the HOH room. Maggie, Beau, Ivette, April and Rachel are on the bed discussing the nominations. It seems that the consensus is for the nominations for eviction go to James and Kaysar. Maggie is thinking about this strategically and says that James would be the best person to get rid out of the pair. As she says, James has a partner and Kaysar doesn't. Even if he has a following, there's no way that he has the guaranteed vote that James does. Maggie is plotting the POV competition, and the group is discussing talking to Howie and Rachel, and telling them to go ahead and win, but not to use it--or the partner goes up. So that would pretty much guarantee that the nominations stay as they are. Maggie and company are leaning to voting out James, and they think that the other side would feel the same. Maggie is smart. She keeps on trying to tell the others that still have their partner that the loss of the partner is key at this point, and that they need to go for the partner angle. There is alot of discussion of whether Janelle plays for Kaysar, and if she wins and takes Kaysar off, then they will have to put up Howie or Rachel. Maggie is a clear thinker, and I admire that in her. I think that she is much better at this game than Eric ever was. Meanwhile Eric was the huge fan of Big Brother as he admitted on the House Calls show. April tells them that need to act strong as a group at this point.

Friday, July 29, 2005 -- Mid-Afternoon

The Houseguests got the first safe open in the Gold Room. Inside it was a platter of PB&J sandwiches. One of the sandwiches had a pass in it that would allow the person to not eat PB&J. That person would have the pass for one week, and could give the pass to anyone for a day. Each houseguest picked a sandwich, and when they opened it, Janelle had the pass. Now the houseguests are in the storage room loading up on food since they have food for the day.

Friday, July 29, 2005 -- Afternoon

I watched House Calls today because I wanted to see what Marcellas and Gretchen would say to Eric since both really don't like him. The show was good. It was quite obvious that Gretchen and Marcellas were trying to keep their cool and ask non-confrontational questions. However, you could see that Marcellas was getting involved in the conversation, and he caught Eric in a lie about the promise that Kaysar made with him. Meanwhile Eric denied that he said it. As Marcellas said afterward, he doesn't know how Eric passed the psych test because Eric obviously believes the line of "whooie" that he's been spewing. Eric denied that when he leaped from his chair and charged at Michael that he wasn't planning some physical move. As Gretchen said, they were trying to get Eric to see that he had a sliding scale of morality and integrity that always leaves Eric on the moral side and everyone else on the slime side. After seeing the interview, I have to admit that I dislike Eric even more. It just amazed me to hear Eric say that he didn't see a problem in breaking that alliance that he initiated. He is such a jerk!

The House Calls show ran for 55 minutes, so by the time I got to the live feeds, they were in the middle of the food competition. I have no clue of what they are trying to do, but it appears that they are working as a group. In fact, it's hard to tell if the competition hasn't started yet, or if it's over. In fact, I think it is over, but I have no idea yet if they are getting food or not. From looking at the message group on Morty's TV it looks like they have food for the week by playing a match game type of game.

Friday, July 29, 2005 -- Late Morning

The houseguests on Big Brother are preparing for the food competition. It seems that there was a sleep over in the HOH room with Maggie, Ivette, April, and someone else--I am assuming Jennifer. I really don't like Maggie and Ivette (Marcellas calls her Evilette). It's really disappointing that Maggie got HOH, but I am hoping that the other guys will come back next week.

Friday, July 29, 2005 -- Morning

There is still alot of talk about the negotiations between the Steelers and Hines Ward. As the Steelers management says, they have made a "healthy" offer of approximately $8 million dollars. The Steelers do have a reputation of making fair offers to their players, and it seems that in the case with Hines, they actually made a very good offer that is one of the best ever offered by the Steelers, but Hines wants more. I think that what has to happen here is that both sides need to compromise, and that means that Hines needs to give abit too. Alot of football fans in the city are saying that the Steelers should do everything possible to make Hines happy. The issue though is that Hines already has a year left on his contract, and is obligated to play. We'll have to see what happens, although at this point, it is obvious that Hines will be missing the start of training camp.

Tomorrow is the NHL draft. That means that we will officially be selecting Sidney Crosby. It seems that the Pens have been impressed with Crosby both on and off the ice. Now the question is how much money will it take to seal the deal.

It seems that some foam may have hit Discovery. At this point, it appears that the shuttle can stil make a safe re-entry to Earth. It seems that there are 11 "indications" of what could have been impacts from foam. There are four areas on the wing that might have been damaged.

Astronomers have found an ice lake in the northern pole region of Mars. The lake lies inside of an impact crater in the area. It appears that the ice is highly visible, so it's not just a matter of speculation, but appears to be a valid observation.

Meanwhile there have been further discoveries in our Solar System. A fairly large object has been found orbiting the Sun out past Pluto. Of course because of its distance, astronomers are sure if the object is a large, dim object or a small, bright one. Speculation is that the object is composed of rock and ice. There's not alot of information on the discovery because of how far it is from us.

Fox has hired an independent counsel to investigate claims that Paula Abdul had an affair with a contestant. It will be interesting to see what the counsel turns up. Meanwhile, Fox is still supporting Abdul in the claims.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 -- Evening

It's eviction night on Big Brother. The show started with the usual recap of the past week. Who will be evicted? Eric or Maggie. Tonight they are also going to tell the houseguests that everyone is a partner and what it is $250,000 for second place and $1 million for first place. The first thing we see is Beau pushing his face in front of James--just being a baby. Now we get to see on televsion how Eric and Maggie take the nomination. Eric claims Eric and Kaysar aren't worth his eyesight. Eric gave his favorite line "don't piss in my ear and tell me it's raining". That was said to Sarah who went to console Eric and Maggie. Eric said that it was just a game except when it came to this nomination. What a hypocrite! Then Eric says to Ivette, "look me in the eye and say you weren't part of this". Of course, that means that everyone else is evil. Only Eric and company are the "good guys". Eric was totally blindsided by the nominations. Maggie doesn't want to burn bridges. Maggie thinks she will leave the house. Janelle, Kaysar, Sarah, James, Howie and Rachel talk about who they want to say. They think that Maggie is the smarter player. Maggie tells Eric to play like he's staying. Maggie would sacrifice herself for Eric. Unfortunately, he wouldn't do the same for her. Maggie says it's a huge loss for whoever stays. Julie chen first asks James what surprised him most about the game. He says everything. And he would do it all over again next week unless he gets HOH. Then Julie asks April about favorite food. April says any sort of seafood. Then there is Beau. She asks Beau who has the best fashion sense. He says Ivette. And worst is Howie and Eric. Then Julie asked Howie how to spell rhubarb. Before the commercial break, we get to hear Janelle, Jennifer, Sarah and April say. April says Maggie is a strong player. Jennifer says Maggie is her closest friend. Janelle says that she doesn't like Maggie, and that she thought Eric used his family stories to get to the girls. April thinks Eric putting his life on the land says something about Eric. Sarah is very sad. Jennifer and April voted to evict Maggie and Sarah and Janelle voted to evict Eric.

After the commercial break, we find out more about Kaysar and Janelle and how their families feel about this "odd couple" working together. Kaysar thinks he and Janelle are the normal. Kaysar's sister was interviewed, his family is obviously very religious. They came from Iraq when Kaysar was a boy. Janelle came from Grand Rapids. As her sister said, Grand Rapids never had enough pizzaz for her. The sister also said that Janelle doesn't let people get close to her, and playing ditz. The sister says that Janelle is very well read and not the ditz. Kaysar's sister said that Janelle is not the typical person Kaysar would associate with. Kaysar's sister likes the way Janelle acts. Janelle's sister says that she thinks Janelle is drawn to Kaysar as an ally because he is foreign and so different from her. Kaysar's sister thinks that by them joining forces they will bring down the house. Now we talk to Kaysar in the HOH room. Julie asks about the Kaysar and Janelle alliance. As Kaysar said, it was sprung by circumstance over what was left over. Kaysar learned to trust and understand her. Janelle listens to him and gives advice. Julie asked if Kaysar's nominations are part of payback for Michael. He said in a way it was, but he also wanted to make a ripple in the house. Kaysar also thinks that it they know what is best for them, they will make Kaysar a target next week.

Commercial break is over. Julie talks about secrets being revealed, and what this is doing to everyone's strategy. Howie has a sense from day 1 that others knew each other. Eric outed James and Sarah. At first Ivette, Beau, Jennifer, and April denied they were pairs. Eric admitted that he knew Maggie. Ivette said that she was shocked that everyone else had pairs. She is incredibly stupid. Then Howie and Rachel admitted to knowing each other for 10 years. Howie says that it's weird that you have five couples and four wild cards. Then we see Ivette crying crocodile tears. She goes on about how much it sucks that she is playing on her own. Meanwhile April and Jennifer kept on swearing and saying that she wouldn't lie about their friendship. April and Jennifer admit to knowing each other to both of the groups. Eric said when he heard that he can't trust anyone. Then April turns to Ivette and asks so you and Beau are together. Ivette denies that they are friends, but say that they were paired because they were both gay. Eric being stupid, buys it. Then we see Beau, James, Howie, Rachel, and Ivette vote. Howie said that Eric had a dictatorship going on. Beau calls him a leader, and James calls him a cult leader. Howie says that Maggie can't take a joke. Howie and James vote to evict Eric and Beau and Ivette vote to evict Maggie. We don't hear who Rachel nominates because we are to be left in suspense over who is evicted. I am sure that it is Eric.

It's now time for eviction. We get to hear from Eric who wants to thank Big Brother for giving him some nice experiences. He said that he will have friendships that follow him outside of the house. Maggie wants to thank Big Brother and ALL of the housemates (she stresses that herself) and her boyfriend David and others. Julie reads the name--by a vote of five to four, Eric is evicted from the Big Brother house. He looks all red, and keeps on saying no tears, and I love you guys. Sarah doesn't go near him. Only Howie is in line to say good bye. Eric tried to avoid Howie, but Howie gave him some pats on the back on the way out of the door. Ivette, April, Maggie and Jennifer run off for alone time together. Maggie was talking to someone, but we didn't see who. Julie talks to Eric and says that last week he was HOH, and this week he is out. Eric said that deals were broken, and Julie turned on him and said, didn't you break deals. Eric admitted that he had to help lobby to get James out of there. Then he was angry that Kaysar broke his deal and nominated him. Eric does not believe that Kaysar is the shy, religious guy. Eric says that part of the game is to hide yourself, but that Eric couldn't hide himself. Integrity. Eric says that he will tell his kids that he is a man of his word. He also says that the friendships mean more than the money. Maggie says that others in the house will see another side of her. She says that Eric brought more to her as a friend than she can ever repay. Eric thinks they have way underestimated Maggie. He thinks that Maggie is stronger which is what everyone else was already saying.

It's now time for the HOH competition. Kaysar can not compete. The game is called power roller. Each person gets one ball, and has to be closest to the hole at the end. Unlike the board that they got to use earlier, there are three other holes. If it falls in one of the other holes, you are out. Janelle stays on the field. Then comes Howie, and he goes out and gets eliminated. Then it's Ivette's turn and she is eliminated. Then comes James, and he stays in, but Janelle is closer. Janelle is still the one to beat. April falls in a hole and she is eliminated. Beau is next, and is too far out and is eliminated. Next up is Jennifer. She goes into a hole and she is out. Then comes Maggie. She is the new leader. Next up is Rachel, and she is too strong and eliminated. Sarah is the last person and has to get closer than Maggie's ball. Her ball goes right into a hole and Maggie is the new HOH. Of course the six are very upset because they know that one of them will be going next week. After the commercial break, Julie is going to reveal the secret about the money.

We are back from the commercial break. Julie gives a summary of what is to follow. There will be another twist next week. All the houseguests are in the living room. Julie officially confirms that every player has a secret partner. Julie says that everyone entered with someone they already knew from the outside world which blows Ivette's claims. Julie then says that second place for a pair is $250,000 and $1 million for the winner. Julie says there are more secrets. James looks worried because he is sure that he is going to go up. Maggie is talking, but everyone including Ivette looks disinterested with what she has to say.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

Hines Ward has said that he definitely will not attend the Steelers training camp on Sunday unless he has a deal with the team. As Hines said, "You said you want to make me first priority, now here it is a couple days from training camp and we're still negotiating." Everything should work out, but I think the stumbling block is on what is fair market value.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 -- Afternoon

I watched House Calls today, and it was hilarious. Gretchen dressed as a nurse, and Marcellas wore a fireman's helmet and had a muscle suit on. They were pretending to be Eric and Maggie. Marcellas was yelling and saying "I have integrity--I have a family--do to bed it's 11:30". I was rolling on the ground. Everyone's prediction is that Eric will go out. As Gretchen said, the only thing missing from Marcellas costume is a diaper and a baby pacifier. Eric really is acting like a spoiled, baby, poor loser. Gretchen said that Eric really acts like a big a**hole. I can't wait for tomorrow's show. Eric should get evicted tonight, and I would love it if they would ask some of the questions that we all have about Eric's behavior and how he rationalizes it.

Discovery docked with the International Space Station today. Before docking, the shuttle did a back flip so the astronauts in the station could take pictures of the underbelly for any damage. The shuttle astronauts then went over to the station where they were given bread and salt which is supposed to bring you luck in the Russian culture. Meanwhile NASA has announced that future shuttle flights are grounded due to the debris issue that NASA has with the fuel tanks. The question my boyfriend had this morning is why all of a sudden has debris become a problem. We just didn't know that it has been a problem of late. It seems that there were problems with the Columbia flight in 1997. The scientists found that there was more damage to that Columbia flight than there has been in the past--with damage in areas that should not have been damaged and of a greater intensity than in the past. What they suspected was the reason is that they changed the way they were making the foam. Originally it was made with freon, but in the interests of being environmentally safe they changed the chemical makeup. Now the problem could be due to the adhesive that attaches the foam to the tanks or the actual makeup of the current foam. I say go back to the original formula even if it isn't environmentally correct.

Hines Ward has turned down an over $7 million dollar signing bonus with the Steelers yesterday. Negotiations are still on, and things will be worked out, at least according to the local sports analysts. The Steelers really do want to sign Hines, and it's probably just going to take some compromise on both sides to make it happen. Training camp starts this Sunday so we will have to see if Hines shows up for it, or if he will be a hold out.

It's about time! Bob Goodenow is stepping down as the head of the NHLPA. After he wrecked havoc with the players and hockey in general, he steps down. It seems that even though there were several years left on Goodenow's contract, he wasn't too happy with the labor agreement so he stepped down. Goodenow is one of those people who believe that a stone can release blood if you squeeze it hard enough. For what Goodenow did to hockey, the only I have to say is good riddance!

In other hockey news, The Dominator, Dominik Hasek will continue to play for the Ottawa Senators. The Dominator should make $2.8 million this coming year. I have to admit that the Dominator is one of my favorite players. He has such a slinky spine, and makes the most amazing saves.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 -- Evening

I am catching up on some of my shows on the DVR. First up was the second season of Endurance. The fifth episode is titled Rollerball. It started with a recap of the last show. Annie could notice nervousness amongst the others. Michelle wants to win even though they have an extra ball. The game: each of the teammates have to take an end of a board and roll the ball from one end to the other which has a basket on the very end. If the ball falls, they have to start all over. Everyone has to get two into the basket except for Orange who have to get an extra ball. Brown got the first ball into the basket, followed by Green. Yellow got a second one also. Green got their second ball in first, with Brown hot on their heels. As Tyler of Orange said, the hardest part was working together. Michelle and Tyler don't work well together. Keetin feels safer, but thinks that it stinks to get another enemy. Mike asks who would really hate him if they were sent to the Temple and came back. Everyone said they would. Jeff is pretty sure that Orange will be going to the Temple, but isn't sure who else might go. Annie said that Mike told her that Keetin wants to send Purple. The reason was because Annie didn't talk to Keetin. Jeff told Annie to be nice to Keetin because they don't want the girls to get rid of Purple because of Annie. It seems that Annie is a guy's girl and is hanging out with all the guys. Calley is really big on sending Purple because she doesn't like Annie. There is some controversy over Annie liking Mike. Calley tells Keetin that Annie said she doesn't like Mike. Calley tells Mike that everone is saying that they should send Purple, but Mike doesn't want to feel the wrath of Annie. Orange was definite, but it's not sure yet who the second team will be. Calley admits that she would like Purple to leave because Annie doesn't like Calley. Who does Green pick? Orange and Red. Keetin took a long time before she got out the Red. Jacquelynn was totally shocked and started crying in her confessional. Phil thought he had a bond with Green, and couldn't believe that he was sent. Annie tells Jacquelynn that's part of the game--you just come back and get revenge. Keetin says that people are scared of the strength of red. Meanwhile Annie admits that she was scared out of her mind, and she was relieved. Annie kept on saying that Keetin kept on staring at her all during the ceremony. At the beach, Phil promised Jacquelynn that they will be coming back. Jacquelynn just can't get over the fact that she was sent because she was such friends with the Green team. In confessional, Jacquelynn says they better hope Red doesn't come back for sweet revenge. Tyler doesn't want to come back. He wants to go home, and he doesn't care what Michelle wants. Phil says that he was friends with Green two hours ago, and now they are complete enemies. In the first game at the Temple, Orange picks water and Red picks fire. Orange wins. In the second game, Jacquelynn is looking to Phil for an answer that he can't provide on whether Orange thinks they will pick fire again. Orange picks fire and Red picks wood. Orange team wins and goes back to the beach. Jacquelynn starts crying alot because she doesn't want to go home. Orange is still in the game and heads back to the beach. I noticed at the campfire scene that Scooter was sitting there hugging his stuffed teddy bear. Very touching because you have to realize these are kids.

The sixth episode was Tide Pull. The show starts with the kids grouping around JD Roth to get Red team's piece and read their note. Mike reads the note. The note starts; Dear Everyone except Mike and Keetin. They said that Annie was the nicest and Shep was very helpful. Red leaves their piece to the Blue team. They now have the Discipline piece. Red comments that they think Blue will win. They end their note a PS. It says that "now everyone knows Green's true colors and we hope Keetin gets bitten by a chicken". Keetin cackles at that one. In today's mission, you can take out any team you want. You can join together with anyone else to eliminate another team. Keetin isn't the brightest and didn't get the comment about "true colors" and Calley and Jenna had to explain that Red felt betrayed by Green. Meanwhile everyone is getting nervous with Blue. Brown, Green and Purple feel that Blue is taking up Red's revenge and is going to target them. Shep tells Max to keep his head together and not make a stupid mistake. Blue says that he is going to take them all out. Fateful words because no single team should think they can take out several teams. Let's see if it works for Scooter. The game is at the beach. A canoe for each team is connected to a pole on the beach. JD asks Michelle how the game is going to change, and Michelle says she's going to win. Scooter was feeling confident in his ability to perform. The piece that they will be competing for is the Strength team. One teammember goes into the boat. That person gets to row out for 30 seconds, then anyone can pull in any boat. Everyone can pick on one or separate boats. The boat that crosses the line is out. Last boat out wins. They started paddling, and Calley was getting in everyone's way. Everyone ran to Blue and pulled them in. Blue and Orange went to pull Yellow in. Yellow was first out because Calley sucked at this game. Then Blue was out. Everyone then went after Orange. Brown and Purple pulled in Green. It was down to Purple and Brown. Max pulled in Purple so Brown won the mission. They got the Strength piece and got the power of the Samati. Brown went for Yellow first and then Brown. Scooter says everyone going for Blue says to him that Blue is superior. Jenna is thankful that they made it this far. Jenna says that it's going to be hard to make a decision because they have alliances with everyone on the beach. Annie says that if she goes out, she won't give her pieces to Yellow because she hates Calley and doesn't want her to win even though she likes Shep. Calley wants Purple and Blue gone. She tries to get Shep to agree with her, but he won't commit because he doesn't know anything. Considering that they don't have the power, there is nothing to decide. Max goes to Scooter and says that if he doesn't give the samati to Scooter will Scooter not send Brown to Temple. Everyone is angry at the fact that Brown is making deals with everyone and not giving it to Blue. Max goes back to Scooter to change the deal and say that if they make a deal, that would include Yellow and Green. Max, Scooter and Christa shake on the deal. Scooter has been holding his teddy bear the entire time while the deal is made. The whole group meets up at the rock for the day's analysis. JD commented on how everyone went for the Blue team. Scooter says that he thinks Max will go for him too, but it's okay. JD asks if Purple and Brown were working together and if Purple feels safe. Shep from Yellow admits to Yellow, Green and Brown working together. JD comments that Calley looked really sad on the walk up. At that point, Calley tries to answer but begins crying. She says the reason is people. JD asked if she wanted to talk about it. Calley said that some people on the beach have low self esteem and need to pick on other people. She said that person knows who they are. JD tells them that they need to be supportive and needs to work with each other. JD said that person should approach Calley and talk to her--and he said that Shep seemed like a good partner and very supportive. Now it's on to the Samati. Who will Brown give it to? Max said that they like everyone on the beach, and they feel sorry for Orange so they are changing it up and giving it to Blue. Meanwhile Scooter was holding out his hand the entire time waiting for it. JD said that he can promise that they have something that will make it difficult for them to win the game. Scooter opens the Samati. Blue team has a 10 second delay before they can start tomorrow's game. Christa said that the Samati will impact their chances greatly, especially considering that they haven't won anything yet. Scooter just thinks 10 seconds will delay them from winning. Scooter added that someone is going to have to go home, and he wants to send them home. And so the show ends.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 -- Afternoon

I've been watching the Big Brother live feeds this morning, and Eric is trying to get folks to vote for him so he can stay on the show. He went to Jennifer and was saying how great it would be to still be in the house and put a crimp in Kaysar's plans. So Jennifer said to Eric, "don't you think it's cruel that you have been saying for a few days now that you want to go home and your kids are getting excited at seeing you and you want to stay here. Aren't they going to be disappointed?" Eric blew that off by saying that if he didn't go home this week, it would be next week so it was all good. What an ass wipe! You know that he doesn't just want to stay one more week--he wants to go further. I think that Jennifer hit the nail on the head. Eric probably really doesn't care about his kids or his wife--just himself. With the anger that he shows, by almost getting into a physical fight with a two degree black belt who could have used Eric's butt to mop the floor and by visciously grabbing the hat from James head in yesterday's show, I wonder how he acts towards his loved ones when they get him angry. Eric really needs to get some anger management. It's probably all pent up because he's so short. You know the type--little, angry Napoleons. So now Eric is trying to get Rachel and Howie to vote for him to stay in the house. I don't know how dumb Eric is, but he sure does come across as an arrogant idiot!

I was watching House Calls today. If you haven't seen the show, make sure to check out the archives. On the show today, Marcellas and Gretchen showed some video of Howie and Beau kissing out in the back yard. They also brought up the plot that April, Ivette and Beau came up with to have Beau give Howie a handjob and then blackmail Howie to vote the way that Beau and company want. Marcellas was incensed at the plan and called Beau a either a cheap hoe or a well paid hooker depending on how Beau does in the end. As Marcellas said, Beau has set back gay men at least 500 years.

Meanwhile Jennifer is now in the HOH room telling Kaysar that she didn't vote the way that she said that she would. So that must mean that she did vote for Maggie to leave. She tells Kaysar that she understands that he might not trust her now, but she did what she thought was in her best interests. As Jennifer says, you have to defend your friend to the end because that's your partner, and she can't abandon April even though she knows that April is against her. Jennifer says that she's just not that sort of person.

I finished reading Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn. This is the eleventh book in the Daisy Dalrymple series. The books are set in the 1920s, and Daisy is a modern woman for the times and supports herself by writing articles about stately homes. Since her father was an Earl, Daisy has access to and knows how to behave in the higher levels of society. From the first book in the series, Death at Wentwater Court, Daisy finds herself involved in murder and meeting her future husband, Scotland Yard's own Alec Fletcher. In Mistletoe and Murder, we find Daisy travelling to Lord Westmoor's home in Cornwall that is based on a real-life house, Cotehele. Daisy asked Lord Westmoor if she could write an article about the house based on the fact that she is a distant relation to Westmoor. Since Daisy's visit is around Christmas time, it is only natural that her mother would wrangle an invite for Christmas under the mistaken impression that the Lord of the Manor would be present. Unfortunately, the Lord of the Manor isn't there, but his poor relations are. As the holiday nears, murder appears when a clergyman brought from Indian by one of the relations winds up dead. Motive for the murder is that the clergyman can prove that the matriarch of the poor relations was actually married to the son of the former Lord Westmoor which will mean that the family will inherit the title and wealth. Since Alec is a Scotland Yard man on the scene, he is told to carry on an investigation. With the help of Daisy, his young daughter Belinda, and Daisy's nephew, Derrick, Alec solves the murder. The story is a very fun, light real, and as with the other books in the series, it's not very hard to figure out whodunit. The one problem that I have with the books is that the first book starts in 1923, and by the time you get to the 12th book, it is still 1923. Obviously, Carola doesn't keep track of the passing time. Other than that, the story is light and entertaining. A quick read when you want to forget about the troubles of the world.

The NHL has released the schedule for the coming season. For the Pens schedule, the first game will be an away game on Oct. 5 against the New Jersy Devils, and the home opener will be on Oct. 8 against the Boston Bruins.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 -- Morning

Discovery is being checked out for damagae that may have occurred during the flight. It appears that a chunk of insulation came off of the fuel rocket again, but this time did not appear to hit the shuttle. Also, there is a tile that is missing near one of the wheel wells. In the past, tiles have gone missing during the launch. It was only a problem with the last flight, and I believe that may have been because the lose of the tiles was in a sensitive area. Supposedly, this time around, the astronauts will be able to carry out some repairs on tiles while orbitting. In fact, it was on the schedule to do some fixes just to make certain that it can be accomplished. I don't know if I would want to go up in the shuttle. As I was saying yesterday, the 1 in 100 odds (which in real life is actually 1 in 57) just don't strike me as very promising. After looking up the odds of dying it appears that you are as likely to die in the space shuttle as in a motor vehicle accident. At least with the 1 in 100 odds.

The Pitt basketball team is trying to improve its chances of getting a good NCAA seeding with the release of their non-conference schedule. The complaint about Pitt has been that they have a soft non-conference schedule. Usually the Athletic department seems to come up with teams that would be comparable to a high school team for Pitt to play. That generates some problems because the team doesn't get a good preconference schedule workout, if you lose to a high school team it really looks bad, and it doesn't help for seeding purposes later in the year. So you beat five high school teams? We'll have to wait to see how the team does this year. Not alot is expected from them because some of the "big" names have graduated or moved on.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 -- Evening

I have been looking forward to tonight's episode of Big Brother for some days now. The episode started with the usual recap. We hear how Kaysar's plan was to expose the pairs and make Eric show how he would support Maggie over the others. Maggie said that she couldn't talk to Eric and that's what she wanted to do. Eric commented on how you would have thought someone had died from the depression everyone had. Kaysar knew that his nomination would expose pairs and break up alliances. Meanwhile Eric is walking around telling James to keep his cool. We all know though that Eric doesn't support James and that comes out. Kaysar says that being ruthless is the only way to survive, and he seems James as his friend or that he used to be. Meanwhile Eric goes to Kaysar and asks for Kaysar to use Eric in the power of veto, and that Eric won't use the power of veto. Meaning that Eric would let James go down. Sarah goes to talk to Kaysar, and Kaysar says that he really doesn't want James to go. James then knocks on the door. Kaysar hugs James and tells James that Eric came to Kaysar to offer himself up as a person to compete. Kaysar does let James know that Eric has started campaigning against him. James can see that Kaysar is upset, and says that he is going to make his enemies his friends. James approaches Janelle and says that he is going to compete for the veto. James also thinks that it is really hard to find integrity in Eric when Eric was making deals with everyone just to keep himself safe. James says that if he wins veto and takes himself off, he would like to see Eric nominated in his place. Janelle doesn't think that's possible because of the deal with Kaysar, and that's when James comments on the fact that Eric made deals with everyone.

After the commercial break, we see Eric finding that the coasters were removed. They used to toss the coasters into the hole in the coffee table. But the new coasters are clues. Sarah realizes that the coasters are like the wall tiles. She finds the tile where a black light is hidden. Supposedly, there is something written somewhere. Jennifer sees that there is something written on the fish tank. The clue says that there is something about the number of seas that will are on the map will open the first safe on the right. Unfortunately, they can't seem to count the seas and don't know that there are 17 seas on the map. Sarah then goes to Janelle and they start talking about pairs and who all are pairs. Sarah denies to Janelle that she is a pair with James. Sarah then goes to James and says they should tell Kaysar and Janelle that they are a pair. So Sarah tells Janelle that James is her boyfriend, and James tells Kaysar. Kaysar said that he knew that was the case. James said that he felt he had to be straigth to Kaysar if they were going to pull it off. Janelle was shocked that they were dating, she didn't think that was the connection with James and Sarah. Kaysar says that the group is now Kaysar, Janelle, Rachel, Howie, Sarah and James. Kaysar now feels he can trust James. Kaysar wants James to win, and says that if James wins, he will put Eric up. Kaysar then talks to Rachel and tells her that he knows all the partners. He tells Rachel that he knews she and Howie are together. Kaysar lets Rachel know that James and Sarah are dating, and that he wants them to be the final six and then the best couple wins. Kaysar says that they are going to try to get the veto to get James off, and then Eric goes up. Kaysar tells Rachel that if they don't get James off, they won't have the votes to save James. Then Kaysar brings in Howie. Kaysar says they know of Howie and Rachel. Then Kaysar tells of James as a pair with Sarah. Howie thought they were brother and sister. Howie is down with the plan. Kaysar says that the goal is to get them to the final six and let the best man win. I have to admit that I admire Kaysar for telling everyone that the goal is to get them to the final six and then let the best one win. None of this, we will be the final two bull crap that Eric spread around.

The commercial break is over. Maggie approached Kaysar and says that she was really hurt. Kaysar insists that he wants James out. Maggie asked why she couldn't have heard this before, and says that she doesn't like being a pawn. Maggie thinks Kaysar is shady, and Kaysar says that it is not personal. Kaysar wishes her luck, but she does not wish him the same. The veto competition beings. Kaysar picks Howie. Maggie choose Ivette. James picked Janelle. James picked her because the house hates Janelle. Ivette said that she almost crapped her pants. Eric said that opened his eyes. When they went out into the backyard, it was a chess board. Maggie claimed to be a chess champion. Each person picks a square and have to make the moves that a knight piece would. Whenever they land on a square, that square is removed from the game. When you can't move to a square, you are eliminated. James set himself up to eliminated one of Ivette's moves. Kaysar took another one of Ivette's squares. Janelle also took another square that eliminated a move for Ivette. Maggie took a corner square. Ivette was eliminated first. It was obvious that they were trying to eliminate Maggie's moves. James, Kaysar, Janelle, and Howie eliminated all her moves. Maggie was out. As Howie said, the pressure was off, and they could just celebrate. Janelle was out next. Kaysar was fourth. Howie was fifth out. James won the golden power of veto. Eric said now that he realized that Howie was part of the "Evil Empire". Ivette said that things were going to ugly and all things were going to break loose. Maggie and Eric look like they are the Evil Empire!

Back from commercial break, Maggie comes over all angry and asks to speak to Kaysar in a far corner. Maggie said that things just got ugly, and Kaysar says that he knows. He said that folks tried to back him into a corner, and now he is just playing the game. Kaysar says that Maggie is not the target. Kaysar says I caught your partner, I caught the bigger fish. Boy oh boy, did I love it. Kaysar was just so calm and direct. He said that he didn't hate anyone. Kaysar says that he thought Eric was a dirty player. As Kaysar said, he didn't swear on the Koran. Meanwhile Eric comes in and grabs the hat off of James head. James said that Eric was trying to get James out. James helped Eric to get Michael out of the house, and now Eric was trying to get James out of the house. Eric tries to say he is not upset, but he is just carrying on like a big, petty baby. Then Eric started to really freak out and let out that others had partners. Ivette said, why fight, and James said that Kaysar and company were the only ones who wanted to save James. Ivette starts crying big crocodile tears. Eric tries to tell her not to take the game personal. Ivette said that she is taking this so personally and that it really changes the game for her. Ivette also feels that she will be next out because she was the one most strongly connected to Eric.

The last segment. James is contemplating the veto. As James said, he has to use the veto or he's going home. April says that it is sad that James is selling himself out to give up Eric. So James was supposed to meekly just let himself be voted out. The veto meeting starts. James gives his speech saying that he is choosing to use the veto nomination to save his butt. Kaysar has to make another nomination. Kaysar says that it has been crazy and Kaysar's decision were not justified, but that they are. Kaysar nominates Eric. James said that it felt beautiful to see Eric sitting in that seat. Kaysar said that Maggie and Eric look defeated, and that's what he wanted to do--remove the power from Eric. Who will be evicted next? All I know is that Marcellas on House Calls said that he does not want to sit by Eric this Friday if Eric is there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 -- Afternoon

It seems that Jaromir Jagr might be considering remaining in Europe and playing for a Russian hockey team. His reason might mostly be because of the money. Under the new collective bargining agreement, Jagr would not be able to make the salary that he's supposed to make. This coming season, he should make $11 million, but the CBA says that no player can make more that 20% of the $39 million team salary cap. That means that Jagr could only make a maximum of $7.8 million. Also in Europe the season is shorter, less physical, and it favors the offensive player. Playing for the Russian team, Avangard Omsk, this past year also saw a return to Jagr's formal scoring skill. So for Jagr, it might make sense to remain in Europe. We'll have to see what decision he makes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 -- Late Morning

Discovery had liftoff at 10:39 am today. It was quite a dramatic moment. I think that folks have lost sight at times about how impressive and dangerous it is to send man into space. After all, there's not only the lift off, but the reentry. There was clean separation of the rockets. I don't know that I would want to go up to space in the space shuttle. NASA estimates the risk of a catastrope happening with one of the shuttles is 1 in 100. Those odds aren't very good in my opinion. The actual rate of catastrophic failure has been 2 in 113 flights which is 1 in 57. So far, Discovery is doing well. The mission is scheduled to be 13 days long with a return early in the morning on Sunday, August 7.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 -- Morning

Discovery is on target for launching in an hour's time. The hatch was closed on the astronauts a few minutes ago. So far, everything is going fine, and there hasn't been a repeat of the fuel gage glitch that caused the last flight to be delayed. Instead of watching the event on television, I am watching it via NASA TV.

Sidney Crosby has already had a positive effect on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since it was announced that the Pens had won the lottery draft, the season ticket sales have increased dramatically. Although the Pens have not officially released any figures, rumors are that the number of tickets sold is estimated to be 150,000. The only thing that the Pens have released is that they are getting phone calls from ten states for tickets. That is good news for the Pens because in the last season that we had hockey, ticket sales were down. I went to a few games because I got some free tickets, but I have to admit that I wasn't too excited about paying $50 for obstructed viewing seats while the Pens were playing so poorly. Since ticket prices have dropped, I am looking at some partial season ticket plans myself.

So far, Hines Ward still has not signed a contract deal with the Steelers. It's not clear what the hold up is, or if Hines Ward will report to training camp this coming Sunday. From what I have heard from the local sports reporters, the Steelers are going to sign Hines, so I'm imagining that the hold up must be how much money Hines will get.

Monday, July 25, 2005 -- Afternoon

Sarunas Jasikevicius, my favorite EuroLeague player, has signed a three year deal with the Indiana Pacers. It seems that he chose the Pacers even though he will make less money and possibly get fewer minutes because he might stand a better shot at the NBA title. His only other offers were from the Jazz and the Cavaliers.

I was just watching the live feeds from Big Brother before I developed problems with my Internet connection. The fish were up for a while and then the feed came back. It looks like Eric has been nominated for eviction. It's difficult to confirm though because Eric has been talking as if he was up on the block since James won the veto. I am really getting tired of hearing Eric talk about how honorable he is, and how he has ethics. He would have voted James off without a second thought. Because James does something to save himself from elimination, James is evil. I think that Eric is a jerk, and it will be nice to see him facing Marcellas on Friday after Eric's eviction.

Monday, July 25, 2005 -- Morning

So many things get sold on E-Bay. Today there are two items that are in the news. The first item Moshe Dayan's eyepatch. It seems that the eye patch was given to his bodyguard just minutes after Dayan died in 1981. The eye patch is now in the hands of an Israeli art dealer company, Pasarel, who is also selling a Smith & Wesson revolver that was presented to Dayan while he was Israeli Minister of Defense. The revolver is engraved with Dayan's signature. Since guns can't be sold on E-Bay, it is available only through the dealer. The asking price for the eye patch is $75,000, and so far, there are no bids on the item. The second item for sale is David Ben-Gurion's Hanukkiyah which is a mennorah that is specifically used for Hanukkah. The unique thing about the Hanukkiyah is that it is made from bullet cartridges. The hanukkiyah was made in 1948 and was in honor of Ben-Gurion visiting the Ayalon Institute, a bullet institute. is that it The item is also being sold by Pasarel. The asking price for the Hanukkiyah is $12,500.

The British government has come up with a plan to promote a love of reading among children. the plan is to give books, crayons, and writing paper to children up to the age of 4. Bags of the material will be given to the children based on age, and will be distributed at libraries, health clinics and nurseries.

On the Big Brother front, Eric was sitting this morning bemoaning his fate to Rachel. Even though the veto ceremony hasn't been held yet, Eric is sure that he will be nominated and voted out of the house. I haven't seen such a pity party in a long time. Meanwhile Jennifer is being cheered on by her fellow dancers with the Dallas Desparados. It seems that the team doesn't usually encourage the team dancers to participate in such things, but they made an exception for Jennifer. The thing that I find interesting is that Jennifer has a BA in Eduation, and is working on a Masters in Counseling and Psychology. I suppose that I'm abit surprised that she has such intellectual endeavors because she just comes across as a ditz.

Sunday, July 24, 2005 -- Evening

It's interesting to watch the change in alliances on Big Brother now. Kaysar, Janelle, Howie, Rachel, James and Sarah seem to be a group now. The others in the house really seem to be angry with James. From what I can tell, all of this anger towards him seems to stem from the fact that James won the power of veto, and will be able to take himself off the chopping block. From what I can tell from hearing James talking about the competition with Sarah, Kaysar, Howie and Rachel, it seems that the competition had a chess feel to it. It appears that there was some sort of setup where the person had to pick a position and then had to maneuver around and eliminate others. From what I can tell somehow James must have eliminated Maggie. There also seems to be a bad case of sour grapes amongst the others. Eric and Ivette want to appear holier than thou when they would have eagerly sent James home. Because he did something that foils their plan, James is the bad guy. Meanwhile, Eric, Ivette, April, Beau, Maggie and Jennifer are sitting outside putting down Sarah because she can't spell. Eric also seems to think that James is a stupid person and Eric claims he can't have an intelligent conversation with James because James has only one opinion. Hmm, the same could be said of Eric, but I suppose that Eric feels that his one opinion is the right one, and James has the wrong one. It is really amazing to hear people bad mouthing others when they were such great friends only a few days ago. I didn't think that Kaysar's move was such a bright one on Friday, but he really does appear to have achieved his goal of really turning the house on its ear. I think that the funniest comment that I heard was Eric telling April that the reason James does not like April is because James is jealous of April. Supposedly, James is hoping that his life is as together and that he looks as good at 30 as April does. I think that the reason James is irritate with April is because she is annoying and a liar. Eric and Maggie don't realize that Ivette, Beau, April and Jennifer are lying over the partner bit. From the live feeds, I have been seeing April working so hard to deny that she knows Jennifer. I think James made the right move to remove himself from the petty group. Personally, I find Ivette, Eric and April the three most annoying people in the house. Of course, there is nothing like drama, and the changes in alliance have really caused alot of drama. I can't wait to see the power of veto competition on Tuesday.

Lance Armstrongwon the Tour de France today for the seventh year in a row. He will be retiring after this year. I'll bet there are alot of folks who are happy to hear it because it will give someone else a chance to win the race. It's amazing what Lance has done after being diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread.

At 7:38 pm EDT, Kaysar called all the houseguests together in the living room. It was because of Sarah's birthday, and the PB&J restriction was removed for a meal and everyone had pizza and cake. Also Sarah got a birthday card from home, and started to cry. Meanwhile Ivette was the first person to grab up the food to take outside. Sarah remained in the storage room reading her card and crying while James stayed with her. Everyone is happy now, and Big Brother says the celebration can continue to midnight!

Saturday, July 23, 2005 -- Evening

The Big Brother show was on this evening. The show started with the recap of Thursday's show. We heard that Kaysar was saddened that he lost his partner especially since he suspects that everyone else in the house has a partner. Janelle says that she will avenge Michael's loss. Kaysar admitted that he felt the game got ten times more difficult. Meanwhile Ivette was strutting around with alot of happiness. Janelle was sad because she only had Ashlea and Michael to hang out with. April claims that she always like Janelle, which April admits in the diary room is a lie. As Janelle says, April is not a very good liar. Then Kaysar won the HOH--delivering a crushing blow to everyone. Even Eric admitted that everyone had a deer in the headlights look. Janelle was extremely happy because she knows that Kaysar is on her side. Rachel says that she is excited over Kaysar being HOH becaues it will remove a strong player. Ivette commented that Allah was looking over Kaysar and gave him the win he needed. Howie, Janelle and Kaysar went off to celebrate in the Gold Room. Howie commented on how they were all sweating bullets. Kaysar said that he is not going to focus on vengence because there is a game to play. Ivette is very nervous and Janelle admits that she hates Ivette, but she would rather have James or Eric gone. The power is now in Kaysar's hands, and everyone else wonders what will happen. Ivette calls Janelle the dumb girl, and says that the "dumb girls" always stay. James enters the Gold Room to get peanuts and they invite James to stay. Eric is upset because Howie has crossed over to the dark side by being friends with Janelle and Kaysar. Howie is a person who makes decisions based on the game, and recommends James and Maggie as people to go up. Kaysar admits that only Howie and Janelle are safe this week. Then we get to see Kaysar's HOH room. He got his hookah pipe. As he said, it is for light tobacco. Kaysar also go meats that he can eat. Kaysar figures out that Sarah is James girlfriend. Kaysar wants James on his side, and wants to create the biggest chain reaction. Also Kaysar wants to have the pairs compete against each other.

After the commercial break, Kaysar has James enter the HOH room. Kaysar thought James looked nervous, and he admits that he knows all about the tandem thing. James claims his partner had to back out due to medical reasons. Kaysar mentions all the pairing, and says that only James and Sarah are left. Kaysar mentions that if James lies to him, he will catch him out. Kaysar wants James to work with him. James says in the diary room that he is the biggest bullshiter. Kaysar says that he won't put James up. Ivette is talking to April about how she can't talk about her relationship. She admits to April that she doesn't have a boyfriend, but a girlfriend. April says that God sent Ivette to her because April would not judge her or out her. Ivette is testing April's honesty and loyalty. Meanwhile in HOH, Kaysar is trying to figure out how to use James. Janelle does not trust James at all. Janelle wants to put James and Maggie up to have Eric go to save Maggie so James could see that Eric is not on James' side. Kaysar really wants to flip the game upside down, and thinks this might be the way to do it.

Another commercial break, we see Howie being Howie. Rachel said that Howie has an odd sense of humor, but Rachel loves him so, even though she has put up with it for 8-10 years. Howie makes fun of her over the age boobies (Rachel is the oldest at 33). Meanwhile Howie keeps on going on about Rachel's underwear and her great body. As Howie says, he was always trying to get a piece of her, but Rachel only saw her as a friend. Rachel doesn't think anyone would suspect they were friends, or that Howie would ever be the time she would consider a friend. Meanwhile Rachel seems to be the only one who can control Howie. Now it is on to the food competition and spelling bee. "Will Spell 4 Food". One at a time, each person picks up a silver platter, picks up the cover, and then spells the food there. If it is correct, that person gets to remove a PB&J wedge from the wheel. Then someone spins the wheel. First is Ivette with avocado. She is correct. Second is Janelle with spaghetti. She misspells it. I think she did it on purpose to look stupid. James is third with Ham. Of course, he gets it correct. Then comes Rachel with broccoli, she misspells it. Then it's Jennifer with mayonnaise. She gets it correct. Then comes April with pepperoni. She has a dog named Pepperoni and spells it right. Then Beau with asparagus. He gets it right. Then comes Eric with marshmallow. He gets it right. Then comes Maggie. She gets papaya and spells it right. Then comes Howie with rhubarb. He misspells it. Last is Sarah. She gets cauliflower. And misspells it. There were only four PB&Js on the wheel, and Kaysar got to spin it. As Janelle said it was 75% or 2-1 (which is 67%). They all start celebrating too soon, and then the wheel ends up on PB&J. Sarah claims that she could spell cauliflower, but gave in to the pressure. Everyone is upset over eating PB&J.

Another break, Kaysar is asking Howie if he would admit what his religion is. Howie says that he is a Jedi. As Howie says, he is training to be a Jedi 24 hours. As Howie says, no one is teaching Jedi lessons. We really get a good view of how crazy and weird Howie is. Then Kaysar tells Howie that Jedis don't have sex. Howie then admits that he would have to go to the dark side to have sex. We then see Howie and Ivette talking in the HOH room. Kaysar says that if Ivette apologized after getting Kaysar so upset he would think differently of her. Kaysar asks if he hadn't won HOH if he would be up this week. Ivette turns it around to saying that Janelle would have put him up. She also says that they would have put Janelle up first. Ivette tries to talk Kaysar into putting up her and Janelle so they could get rid of Janelle and then they would all keep Kaysar safe. Then we see Sarah talking to Kaysar. Sarah admits that she is looking for someone to trust. So Kaysar says, "so you are not with James?" Sarah lies. Kaysar says that something weird is going on, and there is something going on between Sarah and James and he wants to know what it is. Kaysar says that Eric and company said to put James and Sarah up. Sarah goes back to James and told him what Kaysar said. Sarah then says that they should go to Kaysar and tell him the truth. James then goes to Kaysar, and says that if Kaysar puts up Janelle everyone would love him and keep him safe. Kaysar says he has already made a promise with Howie and Janelle. He would like to have James on his side, but not at the cost of Janelle and Howie.

The final commercial break is over, and we go back to see Kaysar contemplating the nominations. James admitted to not sleeping a wink the previous night. Eric feels that he is safe. Maggie says that she doesn't believe she will be nominated and would be very surprised if she is nominated. Nomination ceremony. Kaysar says it is difficult to pick two people. Jennifer is the first one safe. Then comes Beau, April, Rachel, Eric, Howie (he thanks Kaysar), Sarah, Ivette, and Janelle. That leaves Maggie and James. Kaysar says James is a great player, and he says the same applies to Maggie. Kaysar says that the house is very stunned, and that Kaysar would go after the obvious targets. Sarah says that she can't trust alot of people that she thought she could. Eric says that he feels responsible for Maggie and he will do whatever he can to keep Maggie in the house. As Kaysar says, he has really scrambled people up, and it is chaos and he loves it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

Boy, the drama on the live feeds! It seems that people know that Howie and Rachel, Maggie and Eric, and James and Sarah are partners. Ivette, Beau, April and Jennifer are denying that they know each other still. Ivette is really having hysterics over the fact that she couldn't control the game to allow her and Beau to be the final two. She is crying and screaming because she is going to voted out. As Maggie says though, Maggie is on the block, and she isn't carrying on like Ivette, and Ivette is still in the game. Kaysar right now is admitting that he knew Michael, and that he is being honest. Ivette doesn't seem to get the fact that it is a game and that everyone is playing it. Meanwhile Ivette is braying on and on about how she has been betrayed by James. She just needs to get the heck over it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005 -- Afternoon

I wasn't watching the live feed so I missed the competition, but I started watching just now at 4:40 pm EDT, and James is talking about how he won the veto competition. He is now saying how relieved he is and this is obviously going to change things. James would be a complete idiot if he doesn't take himself off the block. If he does, I wonder who Kaysar will put up instead of James. James is discussing the issue with Eric who is obviously wondering how this will affect Maggie. Meanwhile Kaysar is in the HOH room with Janelle and Howie, and the group does not seem too upset. I'm sure that Kaysar must have a backup plan. I may be wrong, but I think that the trio may be talking about putting up Eric against Maggie since they are partners.

Saturday, July 23, 2005 -- Morning

Kaysar made what I consider to be a stupid move last night. He nominated James and Sarah for eviction. I would have put up Eric even if I did make a deal with him. In fact, I would not have made a deal with Eric because it was obvious that he was scheming to keep himself in the house as long as possible. Anyway, the rationale in putting up James and Maggie is to show Eric's true colors. Supposedly Eric has been telling James that he would always have his back, but with Maggie on the block, he won't be able to do that. Sarah is crying because it seems that the agenda will be to keep Maggie over James. It will be interesting to see who plays for and wins the power of veto. I wonder who Kaysar will nominate if someone is removed.

On the sports scene, Carl Krauser says that he will be returning to Pitt this coming season. Alot of the sports commentators here in Pittsburgh think that is a bad decision on Krauser's part. They think that he should have taken an offer to play in the European league because it would have been better development for him. Supposedly Krauser had a few offers in that area. Well, Krauser claims he made his decision because of the fans, but I think that he made it because he thought that it would be the safe and comfortable decision. Also, I think that he has dreams about the NBA that will not be realized. Hmmm. Maybe he is only putting off the inevitable for a year.

The sports fans in Pittsburgh are really excited over the Penguins winning the lottery yesterday. This is just the boost that the team needs. Now if Ed Rendell gets off his butt and makes sure that the some assistance goes towards an arena for the Pens, either with some funding or a slots license, we would be able to keep the team here in Pittsburgh. Rendell is supposedly trying to buy votes in the area because he is not as well liked in this region because for most of his term of office he has pored money into the eastern half of the state.

Friday, July 22, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

The NHL draft lottery was just televised live on ESPN's news channel. Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the number one pick in the lottery. I am still trying to calm down from my emotional exhiliaration. As they were counting down from the number 30 pick to the number 1, it came down to the final two--the Penguins and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Next week is the actual draft. Wow! It's just hard to get over the fact that we will be getting Sidney Crosby!

Friday, July 22, 2005 -- Afternoon

After waiting for a long time, the food competition began around 12:30 pm. All the houseguests has to sit on a stage with a number around their necks. The game was interrupted by the fish. It is irritating how you pay to watch the live feeds, but then get these interruptions. The game was a spelling bee. One at a time, the houseguests had to go to a silver platter and lift it so Kaysar could see the food item. Kaysar will put the item in a sentence. If they can spell the item, they get remove a pie piece on the wheel. If they don't think they can spell the food correctly, they can pass and go to another platter. There is only one pass for the group. If they spell it correctly, they can remove a pb&j piece from the wheel. At the end of the spelling bee, they pick one person who spins the wheel, and get food for the house. It's hard to figure out what the rules were because of the fish interruptions and the fact that Kaysar seemed to have issues with reading the rules. After that, we had a rather lengthy interval of fish. Ivette was first. Her food was avocado. She got it right. She removed a pb&j wedge and food was underneath. I guess that either get food or pb&j. Janelle was second. Her dish was spaghetti. She spelled it wrong. I think that she did it on purpose. She left out the "h". James was next. He had ham. James spelled it right. So he took off a wedge. Rachel was next. Her food was broccoli. She spelled it incorrectly, but they thought it was right and she removed a wedge. Jennifer was next. I didn't catch what she had because of the damn fish which wound up staying on for quite some time. I think they caught that they let Rachel remove a wedge and made her return it. Jennifer had mayonnaise, and spelled it correctly. April had pepperoni and spelled it correctly. Beau was next. He has asparagus and I think that he got it right. I was having connection problems, and it seems they were frequently going to fish to check on the spelling that they got from people. I don't know what Eric or Maggie had, but Maggie spelled her work correctly. Howie came up, and it looked like he had rhubarb. Howie didn't spell it correctly. Sarah was up last, and she had jalapeno. She was stupid and couldn't spell it, and took a pass. There was one tray left which was cauliflower. She seems to be really stupid, and not know how to spell anything. What a ding-dong! She spelled it coliflower. What a dingaling! So now they have to pick one houseguest to spin the wheel, and they picked Kaysar. It landed on PB&J. So that means they have a week of peanut butter and jelly. The houseguests were really upset because they started celebrating before the wheel stopped moving. The fault lies with those who could not spell.

Meanwhile Michael was on House Calls at the same time. Since the food competition was over at 1:12, I was able to catch the last half of the interview. I'm sure that the best part was earlier with comments about midget Eric and Kaysar. I'll have to check out the archives later. One of the comments that Michael made is that he loved Howie, and was sure that Howie meant well--he was just a spaz. Gretchen asked about the fight. Michael said that it started with the pact. Michael did not appreciate being put up by Eric because they had a pact. Michael knew that it was supposed to be Janelle and Jennifer, so Jennifer made up a story about being sexually harrassed by Michael. As Michael said Jennifer was always following him around, and then it changed all of a sudden. As Michael said, the fight or argument started because Michael looked at Eric. It seems that Michael is 6 ft. 5 in. and Eric is midget-like. Also, Michael has a second degree blackbelt in something that is a mix of aikido and kickboxing. We then got to see the interview with Marcellas and Michael prior to entering Big Brother. It seems Michael was born in France, lived in Italy and other European nations. Then he also spent some time in the Middle East. Michael thought that he was picked because of his background and because he could bring something different to the house. Michael's job deals with special effects so his goal was not to be famous by being on Big Brother. Michael's parents still live in Italy. Marcellas asked for Michael's strategy to win, and Michael really wouldn't say other than the fact that he did have a strategy. Michael said that keeping his integrity will keep him to the end. The interview ended, and Marcellas said that all the interviews are on the website. Marcellas notes that Michael was the originator of the idea of going to Big Brother, and picked Kaysar to join him, and then Kaysar just let Michael down. Marcellas doesn't think that Kaysar will put up Eric. Marcellas even thinks that Kaysar will give in to popular public opinion and will put up Janelle. Marcellas would like Eric and Ivette put up, and I have to admit that I agree with it. A caller brought up that on the HOH Blog, Eric said that he ate his sardines in the food competition and Michael's. That was not what happened! Michael ate all of his, and some of Eric's. Talk about revisionist history! Also, Marcellas brought up the fact that when Julie Chen asked Eric about the comments that Michael made Eric lied and made up what Michael said. From what I saw on the live feeds, Michael didn't really say anything about Eric's parents abandoning him. All I saw was Michael say something about his grandparents dying as a joke to Janelle and then apologizing for even saying it. Some caller called in to say that House Calls is one sided because they are so against Eric. Marcellas hung up on her because she started to say that Marcellas wanted Kaysar to hit Ivette. Marcellas became outraged at that because he would never want something like that to happen, and he hung up on her. I like the fact that they are one sided because it just make it so funny, and I don't think that Marcellas ever wanted Kaysar to hit Ivette. Another caller commented on how the houseguests couldn't even say good-bye to Michael. That was a low point for the house.

Friday, July 22, 2005 -- Morning

It seems that Janelle of Big Brother has had some problems with the law. It seems that right before she entered the Big Brother house, she made an appearance in court for an outstanding 3 and 1/2 year old warrant for shoplifting from Macy's. The charge was initially brought in December 2001, and three bench warrants were issued before Janelle showed up this past June 24. She pleaded guilty and will have to pay a $982 fine and have to stay 100 yards away from Macy's. That wasn't Janelle's first brush with the law. She was also arrested for drunk driving in August 2000. Again, Janelle had some problems showing up for her arraignment. That charge resulted in a $1000 fine, 1 year probation and enrollment in an alcohol education program. For all her claims of being an "intelligent" woman, she really hasn't been very smart about how she handles her personal life.

Scientists have completed a chemical study of Mars, and they believe that Mars has been cold. These scientists believe that any periods of warmth on the planet may have been short lived, and that the notion that the planet was ever warm for an extended period of time are not true. Now there is some contradictory evidence from some meteorites that scientists believe came from Mars. It seems that these meteorites shows that there is evidence of microbial activity on Mars. Which is it? Well, perhaps the microbes were ones that developed and thrived in cold temperatures. Our prejudice is that we believe there is only one way for life to be initiated and prosper. As we do more investigation, we may find that there are alternatives.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 -- Late Evening

Well, the scheming has started on the live feeds of Big Brother. Eric is plotting over who will not vote him out of the house, and he and Ivette are really thinking of what will happen with the nominations. I am pretty sure that if Kaysar is smart, he will nominate Eric and Ivette. The thing is if someone wins the veto, and takes one of them off, you know that Kaysar will just put someone else up in that person's place that would be part of Eric's sheep alliance. It is just wonderful to see them all scurrying around like little scared mice. Michael must indeed be getting the last laugh. Now if Janelle wins the HOH competition next week, they can put a really big dent in the Eric Sheep alliance! Controvery and drama is so much more exciting and appealing than watching the Sheep mow down the competition. I am glad the Sheep are getting their comeupance because it's fine for them to malign others and throw them out of the house, but when it comes around to them, they can't take it. What a bunch of hypocritical babies! I am really hoping Kaysar nominates Eric and Ivette. That would just be so just!

Thursday, July 21, 2005 -- Evening

Tonight is live eviction night on Big Brother. The show starts a recap of the last week. We see how power has gone to Eric's head, and I have to agree with Marcellas who has opened my eyes to what a jerk Eric has become. He definitely has the short man's Napoleon complex going on. Julie Chen announces that it is Day 19, and that housemates are starting to figure out that there are pairs in the house. We see the veto ceremony again. Everyone in this house is too wussy to use the veto. I think that they should force them too. Michael says that he hopes that he and Eric have reached some level of civility. Eric said that he wanted Michael to know that the situation was over and done with. Rachel says that she thinks Michael has gotten a raw deal. She doesn't consider Michael a threat and thinks that people have been taken things too personally. Eric is now wondering if they have made the right decision in trying to get Michael out. April says that she wants Michael out, but thinks that Janelle is strong. Eric thinks that Janelle is more of a danger because she is a strong competitor. James says that Janelle is using Michael and Kaysar as her little pawns. It will be interesting to know if the housemates will vote her out after all. Howie tells Janelle that she will be safe because she has the surfboard people on her side. Julie checks in with the houseguests. She asks Jennifer about eating the chocolate snake. What did it taste like? Jennifer has blocked the memory and said it wasn't good. Jennifer said she liked pb&j. Julie then asked James about the competition. James didn't know if he could do it again--especially since Michael and Janelle were so close. The problem with the competition is that there were six stupid competitors who kept on using one water bottle, instead of filling one, leaving it to drain into the tank while they got a second. Marcellas mentioned it this afternoon on House Calls that there were several water containers there, and all the stupids kept on using the same one over and over again. Then Julie turns to Kaysar about the tense week. Kaysar says that the house has grown up abit and matured and learned their lesson. Then she asks Ivette who said that she is trying to control her mouth. Then we saw Howie, James and Sarah vote. All three agree that Janelle is a better player.

After the commercial break, we talk to Eric in the HOH bedroom. Julie asks about the problems with Michael. Eric says that he got some second hand stories about things that Michael said about his parents abandoning him. Julie reminds him that it is second hand. Eric agrees, but he doesn't get that he blew up over lies from others. Eric thinks that Michael tried to intimidate Eric in the house. Julie brings up that the guys had an alliance and Eric nominated Michael. Eric claims that Michael broke his trust by getting close to Janelle. Eric saw this as a break of trust because Janelle would have put him up on the block. I really am thinking that Eric is a petty guy. After that, we got to see the romance that is building between Michael and Janelle. Janelle admits that she is really starting to like him. Michael said that he didn't come to the house for a relationship, but that he has a strong chemistry with Janelle. Janelle says that now she doesn't think she can go back to the guy in New York, and broke up with him on camera. We see Michael and Janelle sucking face, numerous times. Maggie commented on how Michael and Janelle go behind closed doors in the Gold Room and spend the majority of their time together. Janelle really likes him for him even though she wished he was an investment banker. Janelle admits that Michael is the type that she would marry. Michael tells Janelle to listen to Kaysar and work with him. Then we hear Beau, Ivette, Jennifer, and April. Ivette seems really outspoken in not liking either Michael or Janelle. Beau thinks that Michael is misunderstood. April and Ivette really seem to hate Michael though. So far, we haven't hear how anyone has voted.

Back from commercials, and we are taking a look back at last year's pairs. What are they up to? First we see Holly. She was hanging out alot with Jase. After BB, they dated for ten months. Jase said that he is a country boy at heart. He lived in LA for awhile, but went back to Decatur. Then we have Cowboy and Nakomis. It seems that they really didn't keep in touch very much. Scott and Drew made it to Cowboy's wedding. Then we see Drew. He moved to LA and has been working with an acting coach. Then we see Drew and Diane in the house. It seems they were nothing alike in reality, but outside the house, they didn't get along. They live five minutes from each other in LA and are friends. Finally we see Natalie and Adria. Of course, they are still friends--they are twins. They have a web site They like the twist that BB has this year and all think they can benefit from the pair. Then we hear from Rachel, Maggie, and Kaysar. It seems that Kaysar will vote against his friend from what he says because he has to be strategic. As Marcellas says over and over on House Calls, with a friend like Kaysar, you don't need a backstabbing enemy. Kaysar is screwing himself out of a million dollars by his actions. But then I don't think these are the brightest folks. Also, I don't think they are the most honorable people.

We are now back from the commercial break. It is time for the live eviction. Julie talks to Janelle and Michael. It is time for final words. Janelle says that it is a pleasure to know everyone and that it has been fun and very exciting. Michael said that he wants to thank everyone and that he has had a great time, and thanks them all. It is now time for the voting results. By a vote of 9 to 1, Michael was evicted. I guess that Kaysar did vote for Michael because he would be the only person to be the 1 vote. Michael goes to say good byes. Howie gave his butt a grope on the way out. And so we have Michael talking with Julie Chen. We overhear Eric thinking that he has made his amends. Julie asks about the animosity between Eric and Michael. Michael thinks that it was because Eric broke his agreement with Michael. Julie then asks about the relationship with Janelle. Julie asks if it will continue after the game, and Michael said yes, and talked about it with Janelle. We see a message from Kaysar. Kaysar says that people hurt Michael's feelings and made Michael out to be something he is not. What does Michael think of Kaysar? He said Kaysar is his best friend, and that it was a game. Michael thinks Kaysar is the brightest guy in the house. Julie then lets Michael know that everyone has a partner. Michael said he figured that out in the first week. Julie lets him know the money amount, and Michael doesn't seem that upset by it. As Julie says you never know what the summer of secrets will bring. Michael will be live tomorrow on House Calls at 1 pm. The HOH competition is next.

The competition starts. Eric can not compete. In tonight's competition, the majority rules. Julie is asking questions about housemates and life in the house. They have to answer with the majority to advance. The last player remaining will be HOH. First question: Who is more likely to send flowers after the first date, Howie or Kaysar. Blue for Kaysar Red for Howie, and everyone votes for Kaysar except Beau. Who is more intelligent? James or Eric. Majority think James. Howie and Ivette are out. In this week's food competition, which was the grossest dish, turkey pot poi or iced clam sundae? Answer iced clam sundae. Who is more likely to dress pets in clothes, Beau or Janelle? Everyone said Beau. Who secretly reads a boyfriends email, Jennifer or Sarah? Everyone but April picks Jennifer. What is more annoying, houseguests who don't wash clothes or dishes? Majority said clothes. Who would the majority rather be stuck in an elevator with? April or Ivette. Majority April. Rachel and Sarah are out. Who to babysit kids, Howie or Janelle? Majority Janelle and Jennifer is out. Final question who comes closest to the number will be HOH. How many total coconuts were on both trees combined in opening competition, Wipeout? Answer is 184. Kaysar guessed 100 and he is the closest and HOH. Everyone, especially Eric and Ivette, must be shitting their pants!

The final minute of the show lets us know that Julie will be announcing to the housemates next Thursday that everyone has a pair, and lets them know how much they will win. Now everyone will start to kiss up to Kaysar. Eric and Ivette look like they are shitting, and so does Maggie.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 -- Afternoon

The NHLPA has ratified the agreement with the NHL. The only part that is left is for the owners to agree to it. The owners will be signing the agreement tomorrow at 3 pm, and that will be streamed on the NHL website. The draft lottery will also be streamed on the same website at 4 pm. That will be on interest to Pittsburgh Penguin fans because the team has a shot at the number one draft pick.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 -- Morning

NASA has said Discovery is scheduled for launch this coming Tuesday, July 26. The engineers believe that the problem is due to an electrical grounding issue somewhere inside of Discovery. The problem isn't fixed, but what they will do is to fuel Discovery, begin the countdown, and see where they get. So the shuttle may launch without the problem really being fixed or identified. I think that at this point, NASA really just wants to get the launch done just to get back into space. The only thing that would concern me if I were them is the safety of the flight. If something goes wrong with this flight, you know that the likely hood of the shuttle flights continuing will be nill.

It was 36 years ago yesterday that the first man landed on the moon. In honor of the occasion, Google has put together a site that allows anyone to explore the site of the lunar landings. There really isn't alot of information available, but it is what NASA has made public. The funny part of it is that when you zoom in all the way, the image changes to one of yellow swiss cheese! After all, isn't the Moon made out of cheese? You can check out the Earth in much more detail.

James Doohan who played Scotty on the original Star Trek television series, died yesterday at the age of 85. The cause of death is pneumonia and Alzheimer's Disease. It seems that the plan is to send Doohan's ashes into space. My favorite comment that Scotty made in the Star Trek movies, I believe, was that if you thought you could fix a problem in 1 hour, say that you could fix it in 2 hours. That way if something goes wrong, and it takes longer, you don't look bad, and if you do finish in one hour, you look like a genius.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 -- Afternoon

If you haven't had a chance, you should check out the House Calls show, which is a Big Brother talk show that airs on the main Big Brother web page at 1 pm EDT Monday through Friday. The hosts of the show is our host with the most, Marcellas from Big Brother 3, and Gretchen Massey. I have to admit that Marcellas was one of my favorite characters from BB3, and he is something to see on the House Calls show. Marcellas has an opinion, and he makes sure that everyone knows it. I just caught the ending of today's show, and Marcellas is very much against Eric (nicknamed Cappy by the housemates) in the whole issue with Michael. As Marcellas said, he has been watching the live feed alot, and says that the sexual harrassment claims against Michael were lies by Ivette, April and Jennifer to get rid of Michael. Also, Marcellas said that Big Brother should have addressed the sexual harrassment claims and lies. If Michael is guilty of sexual harrassment then Howie and Beau are too. Marcellas commented that Beau has been all over Kaysar and Howie is all over everyone. It's an interesting perspective. You can see the archives of the shows. I just love hearing Marcellas that he hates everyone in the show, and that Eric is a psycho. In Marcellas hate club is Eric, Ivette, Howie, Beau, Maggie... It seems that Marcellas only likes Sarah, Janelle and James (only a little). Marcellas is just hilarious. What insight! Marcellas also is saying that he is going to grow an afro because they only have bald black guys on, and Beau and Marvin were crazy! Marcellas said that Big Brother might fire him because Marcellas is so opinioned about the show and the guys running it. I hope not because I love Marcellas!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 -- Evening

We had another episode of Big Brother this evening. The show was delayed because of the announcement of George Bush's selection for Supreme Court. He selected John Roberts, who although a conservative might not be a contentious nominee. Now on to Big Brother. It started nine minutes into the show. I don't know why they couldn't start from the beginning. First we see Howie doing muscle poses. Then we see April advising Janelle to use the power of veto on herself instead Michael. As April says, Michael freaks everyone out in the house, and she asks why Janelle doesn't see it, and why she hangs out with Michael. April advises Janelle to distance herself from Michael. Obviously she won't because in the live feeds, Janelle is practically in Michael's pants everytime we see them.

After the commercial break, we see Eric and Maggie talking while Michael just stood there staring at Eric. Michael says that he's not trying to intimidate Eric. Eric said that he isn't intimidated. Michael thinks that Eric is intimidated by Michael. Michael is wondering if he should pick Kaysar as his partner. Michael is stupid and thinks that he and Kaysar are the only team. Kaysar doesn't want to help Michael though because Kaysar doesn't want to become a target. Kaysar says that it is obvious to him that Michael is going to be gone really soon, and there's nothing he can do. Meanwhile we see a gym in the house, and the door is locked and no one can figure out the combo to the locked door. A sign appears on the fridge saying it is time to get in shape. Sarah figures out that the clock time must be the clue to the combo. She puts in the time on the clock, and the door unlocks. So now they can get in shape. Meanwhile Michael is stalking the house like a caged panther. As he says, he doesn't want to seems like a bitter little child, but he is. Michael blames it all on Eric and says that he is the source of the sexual harrassment. As Kaysar tries to explain to Michael, it doesn't matter because however it came about, people are out to get him like a lynch mob. Michael claims that no one every said anything to him. We then see Eric talking with April about how Michael would have been found guilty of sexual harrassment in the real world because you just can't kiss girls on the neck or stomach if they don't agree with it. Then we see the start of the fight. Michael goes outside talking loudly about the midget and his sheep, and how all the girls in the house think he's a pervert. Kaysar tells him to relax and keep his cool. Again, Michael calls Eric a midget and Ivette a ghetto girl. Kaysar again tells him to calm down. Afterwards we see Eric, Maggie and Ivette talking about what happened outside. It was not the fight that was on the live feed--and I wonder if we will see it. commercial break comes up.

The commercial break is done, and we come back to Michael and Janelle laughing in the gold room. He makes a joke about Eric's grandparents dying. Rachel said that she was listening with her ear to the door, and she told Eric that Michael was saying nasty things about Eric's family. Michael has been trying to irritate folks, and he burped in Ivette's ear and she said that she is going to get Cuban on his ass. Meanwhile Kaysar finds out that Ivette is really upset with Michael, and tries to go to Michael and tell him to be mature and rise about the situation. Kaysar seems like such a mature, reasonable person, while Michael is such an ass. With a friend like Michael, Kaysar doesn't need enemies. Meanwhile outside, Ivette and Eric are building up anger at Michael. Kaysar is trying to calm everyone down. Eric is really upset about the comments about his family. Ivette says that she is going to try to be calm. Then Michael comes out of the house. Then Michael starts calling Eric a midget and saying he has a small penis. Howie got Eric, while James and Kaysar try to get Michael. Big Brother immediately puts Eric in the diary room and Michael in the storage room. Eric's parting words are for Michael to talk behind his back his family--and called Michael a bitch. While the lockdown was in place, Kaysar and Ivette got into words with Ivette saying Kaysar doesn't respect women. Big Brother then split up everyone putting Kaysar on the hammock and Ivette in the gym. Big Brother gathered everyone together and said that he would not get physical with anyone. Michael really does seem to be a disruptive force in the house. Kaysar went to Ivette and apologized about getting upset and they hugged. Michael went up to Michael in teh bathroom and apologized and shook hands. Michael just sees it as an empty gesture on Eric's part to show what a upstanding guy Eric is.

The veto competition comes after the break. Eric, Michael and Janelle get to pick their partners. Eric picks James. Janelle picks Rachel, and Michael picks Howie. Kaysar did not want to help Michale. Eric picks Beau as the hostest with the mostest. The competition had two zip lines running through the yard. The competiion is called High and Dry. Each person has their own track. The goal is to fill a container with water and to get your ball out of the container, and put it in another across the yard. There was alot of backing and forthing. The first team was Eric and James. Eric was losing alot of water. James got his ball out first and got in the other container across the yard. Then was the team of Howie and Michael. Michael realized that it was a game of precision. As Howie said, his water was getting spilled. Michael got his ball in first and then Howie abit later. Last was the team of Janelle and Rachel. Everyone was cheering for Rachel. Janelle noticed that Rachel was getting frustrated because she wasn't moving well. Janelle got the ball in first, and Rachel was abit later. The scoreboard came out. They started with the slowest times first. Eric was first with 9 min, 3 sec. Howie has 7 min. 45 seconds, Rachel had 8 min. 30 seconds. Then we had the fastest, Janelle 6 min. 48 seconds, Michael had 6 min. 44 seconds, James had 6 min. 31 seconds. So James won. Michael felt he could have gone faster and changed the game. James is happy that he won and did so well.

After the commercial break, we see James debating on his veto. He sees Michael as a threat to the harmony of the house, but James thinks Janelle is the stronger competitor. James asks Janelle to give a reason why she should be saved. Janelle tells him that using the veto will upset folks in the house so to do what he wants. Michael just says "same". James says that it is in his best interests as well as in others best interest not to use it. Janelle is not going to let it get to her. We know that Michael will be eliminated, and Kaysar says that he will fit as hard as he can to revenge Michael. Now we just have to wait for the live eviction on Thursday and the HOH competition.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 -- Afternoon

I finally finished my review of the new Harry Potter book. I really did enjoy the story, and can't wait for the final book. Unfortunately, that will be some time from now. What will happen to Harry and how will Voldemort be defeated? We will just have to wait to for book number seven. In the meantime, this book does the series proud by providing us with all the elements that make a story exciting: love, danger, and action. Tears will be shed by the end, but that is life for you. We can't always have a storybook ending, even in a storybook.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 -- Morning

It seems that Rico Fata had testicular cancer. He has received treatment for it, and is currently undergoing routine blood tests and CT-Scans to make certain that he remains cancer free. Best wishes to Rico!

It now seems that Discovery won't be lifting off before July 26. Engineers still can't figure out what caused the sensor failure. It doesn't look good for liftoff this month, but I suppose that NASA doesn't want to hold off until the next flight window in September.

I'm watching the Big Brother live feed, and everyone except Eric is sleeping, which is not unusual considering that it is 6:51 am. in california. Nothing exciting has been going on. Howie has been making outrageous statements and the girls have been sunbathing in skimpy bikinis. You can tell that guys control the cameras because at times the cameras will just travel up and down someone's body, especially Janelle's. Today the housemates will be voting for the person who is to be evicted.

Monday, July 18, 2005 -- Evening

I have to admit that I love our DVR. I'm always finding shows to record and watch. Well, Lifetime channel did a survey and they found that 48% of married women made the decision to buy a DVR and 55% say they understand how it works better than the husbands. I would have to say that it was a joint decision on both of our parts, but most of the shows that get recorded are the ones that I want to watch. 99% of those surveyed fast forward through the commercials with 94% saying they recognize brands, and 76% say they stop fast forwarding to watch brands that catch their eye. I have to admit that I do the same. I fast forward, but you can obviously see something. What I do if I see something that I want to get more information about, I might even rewind and watch the whole commercial. So at least with women, fast forwarding does not mean that the advertizers are missing out on getting their message across.

Monday, July 18, 2005 -- Afternoon

I finished reading the Harry Potter book last night, and am working on my review. There are many comments that I want to make and spoilers so I taking my time over it and hope to have a complete review ready by tomorrow. I will say this now: the book was a very good one. It does an excellent job of setting up expectations for the next book, and I have to admit that I have some ideas where things will be going that I will put in the review. The story did have me crying at the end because an important character dies, and it was unexpected in how it happened. The book sales broke all the sales records, selling 6.9 million in the first 24 hours. In the UK over 2 million copies were sold in the first 24 hours. That's pretty impressive. Meanwhile Ms. Rowling says that she needs a break to care for her 6 month old daughter. she is doing some writing, but really can't give all the time to it that she would like to. The end is going to be difficult for Rowling because she has been living with the idea for the book for so long. She also says that she is going to consider doing something other than fantasy, and will probably use a pseudonym for her next book to reduce the pressure and expectations on the book. After all, what could possibly live up to Harry Potter?

Sunday, July 17, 2005 -- Evening

I think that there are more pairings than we are aware of in the Big Brother house. As they say, this is the Summer of Secrets, so who knows if there won't be another twist somewhere down the line. Why do I think this? Well, Howie and Michael were in the kitchen eating, and Howie was talking about what he does, and said that he is a pharmaceutical sales rep. Well, I thought that I saw another house guest who has that job, and it's April. Interesting because officially Howie is a meterology student. Also a large number of them come from Florida. So I wonder if there are more connections then we are aware of at this point. Howie is very entertaining, and at this point, I am hoping that he's around for awhile.

I am hoping to finish Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince tonight. I am slowly getting there, and am now on page 461 of 652. JK Rowling won't be starting the next book until later this year. I would have hoped that she would have started already because that means another two years before we find out how it all ends. As soon as I finish, I'll give a review.

Sunday, July 17, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

The Big Brother live feed just went from fish to the housemates, and there is James with the Power of Veto medallion around his neck. It seems that James just beat out Michael, and it was some game with balls. Eric is taking credit for James winning. He keeps on saying over and over again that he is glad that he talked James into turning the ball upside down because that's what enabled James to win. From what I heard, James competed with Eric, Howie competed with Michael and Rachel with Janelle. It seems the order of finish if I heard Eric correctly was James, Michael, Howie, Janelle, Rachel and then Eric in last place. I would say that this means that the nominations will stand as they are, and that Michael will get voted out come Thursday.

Sunday, July 17, 2005 -- Afternoon

Today there were two more episodes from thesecond season of Endurance. First up was Tower of Power. The first thing discussed is the entry of the Brown team. You can see that the kids are divided on how they feel about the Brown team. Some like them, some don't. Meanwhile everyone is plotting alliances. Scooter and Christa of the Blue team have split their alliances. Annie admits that alot of the girls don't like her. We now get to the first competition. They are told before the elimination that one more team will be going home that evening, and this is a Temple mission. The teams have to race across a bit of water and deep sand collecting boxes and making a tower which they have to get across the finish line. If they drop any boxes, they have to stop and restack. The race begins. Each person grabs a box and jumps into the little bay of water. Jeanna was in the lead, and poor Michelle was in at the end because she wasn't a strong swimmer. The team has to wait for their partner. Yellow was first, Brown second. Red, Blue and Grey made it at the same time. Purple and Orange were lagging behind. Yellow was in the lead, and were down to the final two when they dropped their stack. Brown passed them, and then Green passed them easily. The stacks were high, so it was difficult to keep the stack stable and run with it to the finish line. Green got it to the finish line and lost their stack, but all they had to do was restack and they won. Mike and Keetin do have to select two teams to send to the Temple. Jenna thought that Brown was doing good, but that the hot sand got to them. It seems that Yellow had taken off their shoes also, and the sand was really hurting their feet. Tyler says that he would vote himself off because he was really homesick. Because he isn't trying and Michelle is--but isn't the strongest--they are one of the weakest teams. Michelle thinks that Mike is really tight with her, but she doesn't realize that he really doesn't like Tyler. Green team now has to choose two teams to send to the Temple. The team eliminated at the Temple can give their pieces to anyone they want. So the team that leaves can still influence the game. Mike says that the two teams are Orange and Grey. Keetin has her face covered as the announcement is made. Michelle of the Orange team looks hurt because she thought Mike was her friend. Michelle admits to being blown away because she thought that Mike was her bro. The reason for sending Orange was because Tyler kept on saying that he wanted to go home. Wayne couldn't understand why he was being sent, and Tyler tried to say because Grey was competition. The fact was that Grey was weak. Grey and Orange go to the Temple with Wayne threatening revenge on the Grey team. Grey and Orange arrive at the Temple in the Sea of Cortez. The elimination game is the same as in the first year. You have to choose the dominate element between water, fire and wood. The teammates have to write down their choice of element on a rock. In the first game, Orange picks water and Grey picks fire. Orange wins. In the second game, Orange picks wood and Grey picks fire. Grey team wins, so it is now tied. The next game determines who goes back to the beach. Orange picks water and Grey picks fire. Orange wins. Orange goes back to the beach and everyone seems glad to see them.

In the next episode titled Fireball, JD asks Max and Jenna if they thought Grey team would be the first to go, and Max said yes. Grey is jinxed. Grey team left a note, and JD gave it to Keetin to read. First there was an apology to Green and Yellow team. Purple got the Grey pyramid piece and said "send Tyler home". Grey mentions an alliance and then JD asks about it. Brown said that Grey promised them their appearance. Purple denies an alliance, but admits that Purple, Grey and Orange were supposed to help each other. Max says, yep, an alliance. Tyler was shocked that the note said to send Tyler home. Michelle doesn't understand Tyler because she came to play. Tyler says that Michelle ticks him off and reminds him of a six year old, and then he says that Michelle asks the stupidest questions. Meanwhile we find out that Phil really likes Jacquelynn. It seems that something is going on between them. Annie admits that Purple is afraid that they may be seen as a target because they have two pyramid pieces. Purple is afraid that they will get the Samati. This episode has the first Endurance mission. The winner gets the Luck pyramid piece and gets to give away the Samati. The game, one teammate is on the beach with a huge slingshot. The other person goes on a raft in the water. The person on the raft has to catch the ball as it is slung to them, then the team can kick out anyone they want. Blue (Christa) and Green (Keetin) caught a ball. Blue took out Brown. Green took out Orange. Another ball goes out. Blue catches it. They remove Yellow. Christa didn't want to, but Scooter was adamant. Another ball is slung. Purple (Annie) catches it. They take out Blue. Another ball that no one catches. Then another caught by Green. They take out Red. It is now down to Purple and Green. Whoever catches wins the game. It takes a few balls before Annie catches it. Purple wins and get the pyramid piece and Samati. They now have three pyramid pieces and everyone else has one. Michelle thought that she should have been catching the ball, but Tyler wouldn't take her input. Tyler said that Michelle said she could play softball, but she also claimed to be really good at swimming, and she was a poor swimmer. Everyone said that luck was a big part of the game. Calley admits that she didn't think that Purple was strong, but now she has to admit it. Annie wants to give it to Red, but Jeff doesn't. Michelle thinks that she is pretty tight with Annie so she thinks that Orange won't get it. Everyone is in an uproar because they are wondering who will get the Samati. Annie thinks that Brown should get it because it's not their Endurance. They has their chance the previous year. Annie and Jeff approached Shep because they say that Calley said that if anyone goes after Brown, Calley and Yellow would go after them. So now Shep is supposed to get Calley in line. Shep says that he would give the Samati to Red, and Annie asks what if Red comes back for revenge. At that point, Shep says that he has Purple's back. Everyone goes to the cove where they will meet after Endurance missions. Green would understood if they got the Samati since they have been competitive. JD asks Brown if they feel like an outsider. Max says yes, but Jenna says no. JD asks Jacquelynn if there is any romance on the beach, and she says none that she is aware of, to which Tyler says "red is the color of love, isn't it?" JD asks if Tyler and Michelle are closer, and Michelle says no because Tyler won't talk to her. Tyler says that it is because they are different people. JD says that having different opinions doesn't mean that the other isn't valid. JD says they have to work together. Annie says both Tyler and Michelle are really stubborn and really don't like each other. Jeff thinks Red and Yellow are the strongest. So who does Purple give the Samati? They give it to Orange. Inside the Samati is a ball. That means Orange will have an extra ball to control in the Temple mission. Michelle doesn't understand why Orange is being picked on. Tyler just wants to go home. Michelle says that she will stand up for herself and not let Tyler bring her down--and so the show ends.

Sunday, July 17, 2005 -- Morning

Today is Camilla's 58th birthday, and in honor of the event, she is being given her own coat of arms. The colors are blue, red and gold, and combines the coat of arms of her father and Prince Charles. On the left of the arms is a lion from the Prince's arms, and on the right is a blue boar from her father's arms.

The controversy continunes over the Montour school board's decision to make the ESPN series. Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette thinks that it was a decision that undercuts the authority of the new coach that was hired. Lou Cerro has a good record as a high school football, but in his first season of coaching for Montour will have to play second fiddle to Dick Butkus who has never coached before. Initially, Montour announced that Dick Butkus was going to be an assistant coach, but they had to take that back one word leaked that it was misinformation.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to have to go on a spending spree to get to the league minimium of salaries for the team. It seems the team has $17.5 million dollars to spend. This means that we might be able to get some good players back on the team for the upcoming season, and could possibly be a viable contender for the Stanley Cup.

I didn't watch the live feed for Big Brother last night, so I missed the shouting match that almost turned into fisticuffs between Eric and Michael. It seems that Michael is being a real jerk to everyone in the house, and Kaysar wanted Michael to do some apologizing for his behavior. So Michael goes outside where the others are sitting, and the next thing you know, Eric has leaped up and is shouting and Michael is using the f word. It was shortlived, but interesting. Morty's TV has some video captures of the event. So far, no power of veto competition. I'll be watching today to see what happens. Right now at 10:55 EDT everyone is sleeping in the Big Brother house.

Saturday, July 16, 2005 -- Evening

So far, I am only 200 pages through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but I am taking a break to watch Big Brother. The show starts with a recap of the last show and Ashlea's eviction. We hear that Janelle wants revenge, and Ivette says that she is excited about it. It seems that no one really liked Ashlea except for Janelle. Ashlea says that Howie was hugging her way too much after Ashlea left, and they even showed her getting knocked off. Then the houseguests noticed that Ashlea's picture was greyed out. Kaysar is infuriated that Eric is "so in bed" with Beau and Ivette. Kaysar thinks Eric is up to something and it kills him. Janelle said that she felt like throwing up in the pool because Eric won. Michael claims that Eric was close to tears because he is afraid of Janelle and the possibility of her winning. Eric talks about some of the plotting that he is doing and the fact that Janelle, Michael and Kaysar are nervous. Now it is time to check out the head of household room, and Eric takes everyone on a tour. Eric got energy drinks, low carb beer, pictures of his kids and a pool float. Ivette says that Eric's family looks like the ideal family. It's funny seeing Maggie looking at it, and asking if it was a recent one. Janelle on the other hand says that Eric is an actor always crying. Maggie got caught crying when Eric was crying, and everyone noticed. So the rumors are flying that Eric and Maggie are a team.

After commercial break, we see Ivette's ghetto slide made of garbarge bags and the hose. Ivette and Beau were doing it, and then Jennifer did it and just slid a few feet. Janelle was holier than thou, and refused to get involved in the ghetto slide. Then we see Michael making moves at April, and then kissing Ivette on the stomach. As April said, keep your paws off the girls unless the girls want your attention. Eric takes Michael aside and lets him know that the girls would appreciate not having Michael's attention. Meanwhile Jennifer and Michael were talking about the matter in the gold room, and Eric walks in on them while they are gossiping. Eric tries to explain to Michael that the girls don't feel comfortable with Michael touching them, and they may not say something because they are embarrassed. Eric tries to explain it, but Michael refuses to listen or understand. As Michael says, he is not Eric's employee. We then see James playing chess with Janelle, and Janelle claims to know how to play chess and is purposefully losing just to see who the smart guys are. Janelle says that Michael is stupid, but Kaysar is very intelligent and makes slow and deliberate moves. We then hear Eric saying that the war in Iraq was because of the president wanting to make money over oil. James and Eric are arguing over it. James thinks the war is justified and Eric thinks it is now. Kaysar says that the war is not for the best of the his country and that it isn't doing any better at least according to his family who is there. Kaysar talks to Michael and says his aunt died from diabetes because she couldn't get through a checkpoint. (Personal note--it is Iraqis killing Iraqis at this point that is the problem.) James tells Kaysar that he needs to keep on telling people what it's like to inform people.

We return from commercial break and see Beau practically sitting on top of Kaysar. As Kaysar says, he's not homophobic but he thinks that Beaus is getting aggressive. We then see the food competition. This looks so familiar from watching the live feed--there is more info about the competition under Friday's blog. Each pair is sitting at a barrel and must flip the top to know what they are playing for. They have to select items from the menu at the Snack Shack from Hell. James and Howie play for the beverages by getting iced clam sundaes. As Howie says, who cares, everyone drinks water when Howie and James lose. Then Janelle and Beau have the pepper only pizza. Janelle kept on spitting up and poor Beau had to listen to it. They win the bread and cereals. April and Rachel for the dairy have to eat the sauerkraut pie. They lose. Maggie and Jennifer have to eat chocolate snake. Jennifer says she will eat the snake and Maggie ate the chocolate. Jennifer wins the meat for them. Ivette and Sarah for fruit and veggies with the Turkey Poi Pie, and lose. Michael and Kaysar have the tuna malt, and of course drink it down in no time. Then for beer and wine, Michael and Eric compete with egg salad sardines. Janelle said that Eric was such a spotlight stealer and she hated him. Eric called a meeting and said that there are going to be competitions where some people can't finish or do well, and that they should just think of it as a team thing and not hold the people responsible, and that they will shine other times. Eric tells everyone to not eat everything in the first two days because they may only have one week's worth of food in storage. Janelle puts him down because as she said, she is going to eat all the ice cream, and if no one gets any before her, too bad. She is such a spoiled brat.

After the commercial break, we see Michael and Janelle carrying on in the pool. Janelle says that Michael is a very flirtatious person and has flirted with all the girls in the house. Eric talks to the girls about putting both Michael and Janelle up and then booting Michael out. The plan is to make Michael think he is a pawn. But Maggie is against lying and talks about it with Sarah. Maggie goes back and tells Eric that Sarah doesn't think that it is honest to tell Michael a lie. Eric in the meantime says that he knows James and Sarah are a pair and he thinks that it is not right for her to talk about Eric's honesty when Sarah and James are obviously keeping a secret. We then see Michael going through his talks with each person. In her meeting, Ivette refers to Eric as an honest guy. Eric tells Janelle about his plan to not get her out of the house. Then we see Michael and Eric talking, and Eric tells Michael that Michael is spending too much time with Janelle. Meanwhile the original guys against the girls alliance has fallen by the wayside as far as Eric is concerned. Eric then talks to Kaysar and says that Kaysar broke his trust by going to Michael with something Eric told Kaysar.

Commercial break is done, and we see Eric agonizing over the nominations. Michael does not think that Eric will nominate him. Stupid Michael. Eric says that he has to put his finger on the pulse of the house and decide what is best not only for himself, but for the house. Janelle doesn't want Michael to go up, because Janelle is relying on Michael to get her through the ordeals. As Eric said, in the end, everyone will know clearly why he nominates the folks he does nominate. They gather around the table. The first key belongs to Rachel. Then Howie. Then Jennifer. Then James. Then Beau. Then Maggie. Then Sarah. Then Ivette. Then April. Then Kaysar. That of course leaves Janelle and Michael. Eric says that he has underestimated Janelle as has everyone. Eric then tells Michael that Michael is one of the strongest players in the game and it is in his best interests to nominate him. Janelle says that she is going to win that power of veto and not be Eric's bitch. Then Michael says he is taking Eric out and all of Eric's sheep.

Saturday, July 16, 2005 -- Afternoon

Janelle and Michael are discussing last night. Michael is saying that the worst thing that they could be accused of is cuddling. I don't know about that because I saw alot of hand movements going on for the bit that I saw. It seems that Michael and Janelle slept in the gold room with Howie. Howie came in and asked them if they were making out, and went through a list of activities like squeezing boobs or self pleasuring. Michael definitely seems like a weird person to me, so I think that if I were there, I would be voting him off. Initially I wasn't a big fan of Howie. He seems like a big dumb lumox, but there is something about him that eventually grows on you--sort of like a fungus. Before you know it, you are completely taken over by the fungus, and that's how Howie is. It seems that even though he really has a potty mouth, and just talks about sex all the time that he is basically a good guy. In fact, the more I watch him and hear him, I have to admit that he reminds me of my friend, Paul. They both make outrageous sexual comments to both men and women, but are basically harmless, nice guys.

Kaysar approached Eric and the girls to find out why Michael was nominated. It seems that the reason that Eric nominated Michael is because he wants to get Michael out because Michael has been touching the girls, and they don't feel comfortable with it. It seems that Eric approached him and explained that Michael's behavior could be construed as sexual harrassment. I wonder if this will be mentioned on the television show. Sarah commented that after the nomination ceremony, Sarah said that she was kneeling by her bed, and Michael ran his bare foot up her leg and put it into her crotch. When she told him to remove it, Michael joked. If it had been me instead of asking him to remove it, I would have broken his toes. Eric is saying that he is sick of discussing it, and really doesn't want to keep on going over it with Kaysar, who is trying to defend his secret partner, Michael. It seems that everyone is preparing for the POV competition sometime today. I am don't think that will make the show tonight.

Michael is talking to Kaysar alone in the Gold Room, and Michael is telling Kaysar that Eric doesn't like Kaysar because Eric is Jewish and Kaysar is Iraqi. Michael is trying to convince Kaysar to compete in the POV competition because Michael seems to think that Kaysar will win the POV, and then can take Michael off the block which will leave someone else to go on the block. Michael is a real jerk, and he is trying to use scare tactics on Kaysar saying that "if I get off, you will go on the block and you will be out". Michael also keeps on trying to fill Kaysar's head with the fact that everyone has some issue with Kaysar because he is an Iraqi. Michael isn't a nice guy--even to his friends, obviously.

Saturday, July 16, 2005 -- Morning

My boyfriend bought my copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I'm going to start reading it now. My boyfriend went to the early registration at the local Barnes and Noble, and was the 113th person to get the book after midnight. By the time he got home, it was late, so I put off reading the book until this morning. I do plan on spending the day reading it. According to reports from last night's reading by JK Rowling, she promises answers to many questions.

Meanwhle on the Big Brother front, Eric and Rachel are up and getting breakfast. It appears that Janelle and Michael were nominated for eviction last night. With the live feed, you get four camera views of different places in the house. One of the views was of Michael and Janelle sharing a bed. There was an awful lot of wiggling going on there for abit this morning. I won't surmise what they were doing, but I would say that canoodling is the word for the day.

It may be awhile before Discovery launches. NASA announced last night that the shuttle won't be flying until this coming week at the earliest.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been making the news because of the fact that he has made deals with Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines. People see this as a conflict of interest because of the fact that Arnold vetoed a bill in California that would have regulated the use of performance-enhancing drugs in high schools. Because Arnold is the executive editor of the two magazines mentioned here which rely heavily on advertising dollars from nutrional and performance supplements, folks thought that was why he vetoed the bill. Personally, I would say that it probably has more to do with the fact that Arnold used steroids himself in his professional career, and probably thinks that there is a way to use them properly. The fact is that Arnold has had a professional relationship with Joe Weider, the main moving power behind the two magazines and Weider Publications, since the 1970s. I don't find the issue as disturbing as others do because, guess what, I knew that Arnold was a bodybuilder from way back, and therefore would have certain opinions about certain topics (dealing with exercise and supplements). Anyway, Arnold is now ending his deal with the magazines.

Some biblical scroll fragments have been found in the Judean Desert in Israel. It seems that a Bedouin found the fragments and was offered $20,000 dollars for them. He wanted to make sure he wasn't being ripped off, so he arranged to have them examined by someone who knew their worth. The news about this is that archaeologists have been assuming for a while now that there wasn't anything worth finding because nothing was being found. The problem has probably been that folks just weren't looking in the right area. The scroll fragments are estimated to be around 2000 years old.

Friday, July 15, 2005 -- Late Afternoon

Last night, I finished reading the first in the Lyn Hamilton archaeological mysteries. This one was called The Xibalba Murders. The book was a very quick read. Of course, I haven't had much else to do other than read. Lara McClintoch appears in this book, and it is just right after her divorce from Clive Swain, and she has had to give up the antique business because of division of properties in the divorce. At the beginning of the book, Lara is at loose ends. She has no business, no husband, and has returned to college because she has been advised by her attorney to not make money. Lara receives a cryptic call from Dr. Hernan Castillo asking her to come to Merida in Mexico to help him with a mysterious project about a writing rabbit. Of course, Lara goes down to assist him, but unfortunately by the time she gets there, Hernan is not there to meet her. He calls to let her know that he will see her soon. That's not the only intrigue that Lara has to deal with. The Children of the Talking Cross are a revolutionary group who are involved with the theft of a Mayan statue from a local cafe owned by the rich Diego Maria Gomez who is a huge collector of art and Mayan artifacts. Lara is in the cafe at the time and recognizes her one of the participants. It's the son of the family who is putting her up in their hotel. One of the members of the children of the Talking Cross shows up dead on the roof of the museum where Hernan is director. Then Hernan turns up dead. What is the writing rabbit? Can Lara track down the meaning of the clue and figure out who murdered her friend? Who can Lara trust to help her? The charming Jonathan? The elusive Lucas? The possible corrupt federal officer Martinez? The book was a good thrill ride. The thing that I liked the most about this book was that it was action packed. Lara is one of those heroines who jumps to action. Of course, sometimes she jumps into action with telling anyone or thinking it through all the way. There was this level of tension that ran throughout the book, and Ms. Hamilton did a good job with it. I have to admit that I guessed a part of the mystery, but not the whole of it, so there were some shocking and surprising moments at the end. I am going to move on to the others in the series, and in fact, just started The Maltese Godess. However, I will be putting it aside so I can read Harry Potter tonight.

There is alot of scheming going on in the Big Brother house this afternoon. Eric has meet with everyone and got agreements from most that if he doesn't put them up, he will be safe for one week if they get head of household. From his talk to Janelle, I am pretty sure that he is going to put her up as one of the nominees, but I'm not sure if Michael or Kaysar will be joining her. It seems that Ivette and Sarah really don't like Kaysar. I think his Muslim believes have been bothering them along with his general personality. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think that the nomination is going to happen later today or early tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2005 -- Afternoon

I am watching Housecalls now. It's available from the main Big Brother page at 1 pm each day. Ashlea is pretty talkative, and it seems that her problem was that when she went into the house she decided to fly under the radar, and that backfired on her. Also, she was feeling grumpy because she was eating just peanut butter and jelly. It seems that Marcellas (from BB3) agreed with Ashlea that Big Brother does not provide quality PB&J or bread for the sandwiches. Ashlea also admits that she was not a big fan of Big Brother and only did it because Janelle was a big fan. While in the house, Ashlea missed her pets and dinner with her friends. Marcellas also asks if Ashlea has a boyfriend, and it appears she does not. For the most part, the interview is abit boring because the show has just started and it's not that Ashlea seemed to be in the midst of things. I think that some of the others might make better interviewees--like Rachel, Eric, or Howie. After interviewing Ashlea, they showed the tape they made with her prior to entering the Big Brother house. As I said, it wasn't very entertaining just because I think Ashlea was boring to me.

I went to the live feed, and just caught the houseguests preparing for what looked like a food competition. They went into the backyard, and it was changed into a desert scene with huge cacti all over. Of course, at that point, the pictures of the fish from the fishtank in the house came on the screen. The producers block all the fun stuff from the live feed because it will be shown on television, and they make money from advertisers dollars. The feed is back! Eric looks weird because he has a long blonde wig on. The guests are in pairs sitting at barrels, and they are going to be competing for food. Each group has to pick food from a menu, and then have to eat everything they are given in under three minutes to get the food. First up are Howie and James. They are playing for beverages. They pick ice cream sundaes. But they are told--no more ice cream sundaes--they have to drink ice clam sundaes. The ingredients are cool sweetened New England clams with hot fudge and whipped cream with a cherry on the top. Also, if you puke up the food, you lose. If your partner can't eat it all, as long as one eats the food, they win. Damn fish again! The three minutes start. It seems that Howie is spitting up, but I don't know if he actually tried any. It appears that only James tried to eat it. Howie took a bite, but said that he couldn't eat it. It seems that the smell was the thing that turned Howie off. Fortunately they are showing the competition, but with fish periodically being shown. Howie and James lost the beverages--so it's only water for the whole gang.

Beau and Janelle are competing for bread and cereals. They chose Pepperoni Pizza, but are getting Pepper Only Pizza. The pizza is covered with Madagasgar black pepper. Beau and Janelle are giving it a good try--taking sips of water in between bites. Unfortunately, Janelle also sort of spit up, but it was only the water. Both kept on eating. Fish again. Poor Janelle--she keeps on coughing up water. Even though Janelle was still spitting up water, they won, and got bread and cereal for the household.

Next it's April and Rachel. They are competing for dairy, and they chose coconut cream pie. However, they are going to get sauerkraut cream pie. It's made of sauerkraut, vanilla custard, and crust. It doesn't sound that bad actually. They have four minutes to eat it. They are holding their noses and digging in. April spit out some of the food, but as long as she reeats it, it should be good. Eric keeps on telling them to drink some water to get it down. April does not look good though. It seems that they are splitting the sauerkraut and cream instead of eating both together. I think April was eating the sauerkraut. It ended, but there was some puking it seems so the judges are deciding, and it was a no go. So there is no dairy this week.

Now we have Kaysar and Michael--the secret pairing. They chose Tuna melt, and are going to get tuna malt. We switch to the fish tank again which is in the process of being cleaned. The tuna malt has tuna blended with vanilla ice cream and milk. I'm not sure what they are playing for because the fish keep on popping up on the screen. Eric is making the tuna malts in front of them. They both drank their drinks down in no time (seven seconds for Michael). Unfortunately, right after they finished the screens froze. So I'm not sure what food product the guys won for the group.

When it reconnected, it showed Maggie and Jennifer who were supposed to eat rattlesnake. Maggie is a vegetarian, and Jennifer said that she would eat it herself. Maggie is going to eat the part that is just chocolate. I gather that it is chocolate snake instead of chocolate cake. Jennifer ate it all. It was something else. On her own, she got the meats for the house.

Last is Ivette and Sarah. They are playing for fruits and veggies. They are going for turkey pot pie--which of course is turkey pot poi. It's turkey, veggies and poi. Ivette and Sarah are on the stupid side and don't know that poi is that goop that you get in Hawaii. Sarah is carrying on after just one bite, but is calming down and going to try to eat. They are both putting on the act of how difficult it is to eat. I would think that the texture of the poi would be a problem more than the taste. I think it's just the idea of eating the stuff. They couldn't complete the food, so there are no fruit and veggies. In total, they have bread and cereals, meats, and snacks and sweets for the week. There is one more catagory--beer and wine. One of the pairs has to volunteer to eat one of the two items on the menu. Now the deal is that any two people can offer to compete. Michael and Janelle are going to compete for the alcohol. They picked egg salad sandwiches. But it is egg salad sardines. Each will have to eat their own sandwich. It's eggs, mayo, bread and sardines. Eric though, chose to take Janelle's place. Michael really seems to be able to eat all this stuff with ease, and he's not having any problem with the sardines. Eric, however, has some gagging going on, and is holding his nose. But Mike almost puked towards the end. I think it was more from being full. They did finish in time and won the alcohol. Now it's back to fish again!

Friday, July 15, 2005 -- Morning

It seems that the earliest that the space shuttle will launch will be this coming Monday. The scientists and engineers at NASA are still trying to figure out what caused the fuel tank sensor to say that the tank was full when it was really empty. My question is--shouldn't they have known whether they put fuel in the tank or not? But I suppose that's not high on their list. It seems that this is the first time that the fuel sensor malfuntioned. It also happened in April which was the reason behind the delay in its May launch date. If the shuttle doesn't launch by July 31, they will have to wait until September 9 for the next launch window to open.

The NHL draft is scheduled for July 30, and the guy that everyone is out to get is Sidney Crosby. Because of the Penguins poor record the last time we had a hockey season, we have a good shot at getting Crosby. The NHL draft runs on a lottery principle to prevent a team from intially having a bad season just so they can get the top pick in the draft. You think that sounds funny, but that's exactly what the Penguins did in 1983-84 so they could get Mario Lemieux in the draft. For this years draft, we will be one of four teams that will have three balls in the pot that could allow us to get the first draft pick. The other three teams are Buffalo, Columbus, and the New York Rangers. That means that our chance of getting the first round pick is 6.25%.

This is a bad weekend to be house bound! The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix starts today. This is an annual weekend long event that takes place in Schenley Park. I am going to send my boyfriend out as roving reporter so he can take some pictures that I can post here. The Squirrel Hill Happening is also this weekend. Local businesses have sells and sidewalk stands all weekend. Most of the activity will take place on Forbes Ave. Also, tonight at midnight is the Harry Potter release. Again, my boyfriend will be trekking up to the local Barnes and Noble to get my copy at midnight. My boyfriend deserves kudos for being my eyes, ears and legs for these events, and for all the hard work he has done with cooking, cleaning and taking care of me while I recuperate from the bunionectomy. I hope that I can lessen his burden after my doctor's visit on Monday, and that I will be able to use my foot or heel for walking. One legged mobility is limiting.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 -- Evening

Tonight is eviction night on the live episode of Big Brother. The show started with a review of the events of the past two shows. The promise is that in this episode we will find out who are the secret pairs. The first segment shows Ashlea and Kaysar doing what they could to kiss butt and stay in the house. Ashlea was prancing around in a bikini top with huge boobs dangling. Janelle has the bit figured out about the guys wanting to get rid of the girls. We then see the guys trying to keep their alliance together after it becomes evident that Mike is getting close to Jennifer. Mike was lifting Jennifer's bra top to look at her boob. Kaysar secretly lets Mike know that the others notice his closeness to Jennifer, so then Mike goes over to Eric and asks if he is getting to close to Jennifer. At this point, Eric knows that Kaysar must have said something to Mike, and now Eric doesn't trust Kaysar. Eric confronts Kaysar about approaching Mike, and then Eric has a talk with April about the lack of trust. THEN we see Kaysar going to Mike and asking why Mike went to Eric. Kaysar knows that Eric is smart, but Mike seems to be on the really dumb side. Julie Chen asked Ivette about the peanut butter and jelly diet, and Ivette admits that it was truly awful. Then Julie Chen asked Howie how it was to be in a house with eight beautiful women. Howie, of course, loves it. Julie then asks Janelle who has the best sense of humor in the house, and she says Howie. Julie then asks Sarah what she thought of the gold room. Sarah said that she was happy to finally get a bed. Julie then tells everyone that the gold room was the first of many secrets and that this was a Summer of Secrets. The wheels start spinning. Before the commercial break, we see some of the votes--this time Janelle, Ivette, and Sarah. Janelle votes to evict Kaysar.

When the commerical break is over, Julie brings up the pair thing. We find out first that Ivette and Beau are partners and that they knew each other outside the house. They think no one knows it, meanwhile all the other housemates seem to have it figured out. Then we find out that Michael and Kaysar neighbors for the past six years. Kaysar has figured out that there are serveral pairings in the house. Next, we know that it is Maggie and Eric who are close friends. Maggie's boyfriend and Eric work in the same fire department. Eric said that their strategy was to lie, lie, lie and deny, deny, deny. Then there's James and Sarah who have been dating for four months. We then see April talking to Jennifer. They are from the same town and Sorority Sisters. April figures out that James has a partner, and everyone seems to know about Janelle and Ashlea. And Janelle and Ashlea used to be roommates. Meanwhile, Rachel and Howie are best friends--and a shocking pairing. So everyone is a member of a pair, which we all figured out. Now none of them know that the grand prize will be one million dollars. Julie now talks to Rachel and asks how it was to be the first HOH and golden veto and have so much power. Rachel said that it felt great, and that the other contestants seem to be glad she didn't use the POV. Rachel said that she hasn't seen Howie in a few years so it has not be difficult to pretend that she doesn't know him. Rachel told him to get off the board because he was cold, and Howie did it. As Rachel says, Howie is a nice guy. Another commercial break, and we hear from Maggie, Howie, Jennifer and Michael about their voting. Jennifer thinks Kaysar is causing problems by spreading rumors. Michael, of course, voted to evict Ashlea.

Back from the commercials. We now visit with James and Sarah. We hear James ask Kaysar who's the perfect package, and Kaysar says Sarah, and James agrees. Sarah says she loves James sooo much, and it is hard not to pay all her attention to him. Sarah says that they find ways to get closer together. Sarah says as for James flirting with other girls, she knows that he is just a nice guy. James asks April to see the tattoo on her butt. We then hear from Beau, Eric, James and April. April calls Ashlea high maintenance. April and James realize that sneaky, and Eric does not trust Kaysar as far as he can throw him. We then see James vote to evict Kaysar.

Back at the house, and the eviction is now closer. Julie talks to Kaysar and Ashlea. Each has a chance for final words. Kaysar stands up and says that he respects Rachel's decision, and thanks everyone for a very enriching experience. Ashlea says thank you to everyone and said that she had the best time. Julie announces who is evicted. By a vote of nine to two, Ashlea is evicted from the House, and we know where the two votes came from--James and Janelle. Ashlea then leaves, and goes over to join Julie for her exit talk. Janelle, obviously, is very upset, and gets comforted by Howie--perhaps too much. Julie asked if Ashlea took it personally, and Ashlea did, but realizes that she just didn't connect with Rachel. Ashlea said that it was too hard to hide her friendship with Janelle. As she said, when it was obvious she might be evicted, they spent more time together and weren't hiding their pairing so much. Ashlea says that Janelle's chances to win might be really hard. We then see the secret partner message from Janelle to Ashlea. Janelle said that playing with Ashlea will be hard because she will alone in the house, and that they will be best friends still after the game. Ashlea then begins to cry. Julie then tells that everyone in the house has a partner and tells Ashlea that any pair that makes it to the end gets $250,000 for the second place and $1,000,000 for the winner. Ashlea will be on Housecalls tomorrow at 1 pm.

Now it's time for the HOH contest. The game this time is Fast and Easy. Julie asks true/false questions and the guests have to press green for true, red for false. Whoever gets the answer wrong is eliminated. If everyone gets it right, the person who gave the slowest response is out. The game starts. "All of the fish in the house are yellow" True. Beau was the slowest and is eliminated. "15 houseguests moved into the house". False. Kaysar was the slowest and was out. "In the first competition, you picked coconuts off the tree". True. Maggie is out as slowest. "There are two hottubs in the backyard". False. James got it wrong and was out. "The head of household room is on the first floor." False. Sarah was the slowest and is out. "The team that lost the first food competition could only eat yams." False, and April is slowest and out. "There are more men than women living in the house." False. Michael knew he pressed the wrong answer and he was out. "The gold room was discovered by Rachel." True. Jennifer is slowest and out. "The gumball machine only accepts nickels" False, and Ivette is the slowest and out. "The kitchen cabinets are green." False, they are red, and Howie is slowest and out. It is down to Eric and Janelle. "There are only two safes in the gold room". It was false (there are three) and Eric got it right. He is the new HOH.

We then talk to Eric as the new HOH. Eric says that it feels good because there won't be lights out at 11:30, and he looks forward to a private bedroom. He also adds that he misses his wife and kids.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 -- Afternoon

There was a huge solar flare/explosion from sunspot 786 this morning. The sunspot is in such a position that the explosion wasn't aimed at Earth, but we should still experience some repercussions here on Earth in the way of auroras and geomagnetic storms. has some really nice pictures and video of the event. This one is particularly nice.

I am watching more of the Big Brother live feed, and the alliance seems to be with April, Ivette, James, Eric, Rachel, and Beau. They have been plotting away all day for the competition tonight for HOH. What I think is funny, and it is something that Eric commented on, is that Ivette was really upset because she doesn't like how one of the folks NOT in the alliance is looking at her, and Ivette thinks there are plots against her and others in the alliance. Eric said that's just what they are doing themselves. That is very true. They should realize that everyone is plotting against everyone else. It really depends on what the competition is because anyone, except Rachel who can't compete, could in theory win. You can never count on someone winning there. James keep on repeating that they need to remember that it is a game and they should just be having fun. Ivette seems to really be taking things personally.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 -- Late Morning

I have been watching the live feed for Big Brother, and it is rather boring. Most of them are sleeping, and a small group, Eric, Rachel, James, April and Ivette are in the kitchen area eating. The thing that disgusted me is that there are a large pile of dishes in the dish drain--where you would pile the dishes after washing them. Eric went to put a frying pan in the mix, and almost knocked over a glass. Instead of putting anything away, he just perched the glass precariously in another area. Geeze! Put it away. Even if you are the only one who does it--do it. Maybe the others might get the idea to not be so messy! James is whispering something about Michael. I hate the whispering because even with the sound up all the way, it's difficult to hear them sometimes.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 -- Morning

It's not certain how long the launch of the shuttle, Discovery, will be delayed. The reason for the uncertainty is that no one seems to know yet if the repair to the fuel tank sensor can be replaced on the launch pad, or if the shuttle will have to be moved to the hangar. Obviously a move to the hangar will mean a longer delay.

Scientists are discovering planets in other solar systems with increasing frequency. This time there is evidence that there is a planet in a system that has three stars. The main star is one that is like our Sun. The other two stars are a pair that are as distant from the main star as Saturn is from the Sun. Scientists aren't understanding how the planet could have formed because it would have been thought that the gravitational forces wouldn't have allowed the planet to form. It just goes to show how much we have to learn about such things. The planet is the size of Jupiter and is so close to the main star that its orbit is 3.5 days.

It seems that there is a slight bit of controversy over the coaching of the Montour School district football team. The show that ESPN is planning will actually show Dick Butkus as the head coach. The controversy was because the initial announcement had Butkus as the assistant coach. Montour just hired a head coach this past January, wooing a coach away from a rival school, Seton-LaSalle, where in the past three years, the coach, Lou Cerro, won two WPIAL Class AA titles.

Here are some of the details for the NHL agreement. The one that I think the most interesting is that the top ten revenue gathering teams will be sharing that money with the bottom ten teams. There's also a salary cap for the team ranging from $21 to $39 million and a player cap that won't allow one player to make more than 20% of the total team payroll.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 -- Evening

I was catching up on my recorded shows from this weekend, and watched the second season of Endurance. The first episode is called Drop-Out. They don't mention where the show takes place, but it is supposed to be in a different country. I am thinking that it is Mexico. We are introduced to some of the kids as they make the trip to the camp on donkeys (which is why I believe that it's in Mexico). Alot of the kids seem to have some problems with staying on the donkeys. Michelle had some serious problems with her donkey and it kept on butting her off and she kept on falling to the ground. Trey and Wayne were two of the guys who were also having problems with their rides. They finally reach the camp and meet JD Roth. As JD said that it was going to be rough because no one had to wrangle a donkey on Endurance 1, once of the donkeys brayed in reply which got a laugh from everyone. The camp is again on a beach. There will be no running water or electricity. There are the 12 pyramid pieces from the last game, Courage, Trust, Commitment, Discipline, Luck, Strength, Perserverance, Heart, Knowledge, Leadership, Ingenuity, and Teamwork. There are still two competitions: Endurance and Temple missions. The Temple of Fate is out in the water in the Sea of Cortez. JD comments on lots of twists to come. Of course, the first is that six kids would be going back that day. Scooter brought along a stuffed bear and brings it out to introduce to everyone. The girls seem to like Trey, but the guys really don't like him, especially Scooter. The elimination, each person stands on a plank with a bar over their head. If they lower the bar too much, the plank drops out from beneath them, and they have to hold on to the bar with their arms. The first three to let go are out. The guys go first. David was the first guy out. The plank and his arms gave way at the same time. Scooter had the plank drop, but he held on. Glen was the second to go because he bent his body funny and everything fell away for him, and then Trey went shortly after him. Scooter had held on just by his arms for around three minutes, which was really impressive. The girls were next. After two minutes, Sarah's plank came out from under her. Unfortunately, her fingers were slipping after holding on for a few minutes and she was the first out. Simone and Abbey both fell at the same time and ended the game. You had to admire Sarah though because she hung by her arms for awhile. We then had fourteen individuals to make up the teams. One of those there climbed 14,000 feet on Mt. Shasta twice, one never flew in a plane before, and another girl played tackle football. So JD tells them to select their partners well.

The second episode is called Wash-Out and the highlight is the partner selection. What the players don't know is that two players will be returning from the first season to compete with them. It seems that all the guys want Jacquelynn. It's pretty obvious that the reason is because she is so attractive. JD tells them that they should pick who they want as a partner and the color that they want to be as the hint of what they should do. Everyone tried to discuss it, but everyone wanted a small group of people. Mike is the only guy who questions why all the guys want Jacquelynn. The girls all think that Jacquelynn is very flirty with all the guys. Alot of the girls were mad because none of the guys seemed to want them, and you don't want tension like that if you are the girl the guys want. The competition for the partners starts. Color balls will drop from tubes on a metal frame. The girl and guy who catch the same color ball will be on the same team. The girls were on one side, and the guys on another, and a canvas wall was pulled between them. There's water behind each ball to make the job more difficult. The girls go first. Blue is the first ball out, and Christa got it, Scooter caught the ball for the guys. Michelle grabbed the Orange ball and Tyler got it too. Green was next and was caught by Keetin and Mike. Purple was next and was caught by Annie and Jeff. Red was next, and was caught by Jacqelynn and Phil. Grey was next and was caught by Maryelle and Wayne. That left Yellow for Calley and Shep. The curtain is removed and the Grey team is announced first. Then Red, Purple, Green, Yellow (Calley was very excited at getting cute Shep), Orange and Blue. Only Red, Purple and Green seemed really happy with their partners. Each team was also given a pyramid piece. Red got Discipline. Blue got Trust. Orange got Knowledge. Purple got Leadership. Yellow got Commitment. Grey got Heart, and Green got Teamwork. Four pyramid pieces are left: Luck, Strength, Courage and Ingenuity. But there is an extra piece, Perserverance. Now for the big surprise. JD picks up a basket and announces that the original Endurance players had a reunion, and got to vote for someone from the first season who deserved a second chance. The team who is brought back is the Brown team, and it's Max and Jenna. Everyone applauded, but you know that it is going to cause problems at some point. Max said this time they will change their strategy. The prize this season gets to go to Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and will get to swim with dolphins. It sounds like a great trip. Calley was glad they came back, but Christa and Scooter weren't too happy about it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 -- Afternoon

Dick Butkus is going to be filming a reality show for ESPN at a local school here in Pittsburgh. In fact, the school district is near my old home of McKees Rocks. The Montour School district football team used to be a powerhouse team, but in the past several years, it has really fallen on hard times. Dick Butkus is going to be an assistant coach, and they are going to see if they can revive the team to its former status. The show is going to start filming on Sept. 20 at 10 pm, and will continue every Tuesday while the season lasts. Usually the high school football season is over by Thanksgiving.

I was just watching the news on television, and I hear that Discovery's flight has been cancelled for today. It seems that four engine sensors were not functioning properly, so the flight was scrubbed. They don't know what the cause was or what is really going on. They will be studying the problem for the past hour, and hope to reschedule the flight for tomorrow. Liftoff was supposed to be around 4 pm EDT, so tomorrow, it will be around 3 pm EDT.

It seems that the NHL and the players union have finally come to an agreement. This doesn't mean that it is final because the agreement has to be approved by the players and the owners. This is great news, and finally for the first time in months I am feeling hopeful about a season this year. I'm just hoping that the tickets will be a bit more reasonably priced! I don't like the idea of paying close to $50 a ticket to sit in nosebleed seats where I can barely make out the players let alone the puck, and have this feeling that I am going to pitch head over heels onto the ice because of the steepness of the seating!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 -- Evening

Big Brother is on now, and we start with the evictions from Saturday. Ashlea feels that Rachel never tried to get to know her, and that it isn't all Ashlea's fault. Meanwhile, we see Eric telling Kaysar that he is okay and wont' be out, and that the guys are making a pact to get to the final four. Rachel says that Ashlea and Kaysar never really got to know her. Kaysar shows up in the HOH room, and tells Rachel that he respects her decision and April gives him a hug. Meanwhile Eric also tells Ashlea that it isn't all over yet. Obviously Eric is playing multiple angles which can always get you into trouble. Later, we see Beau talking to Kaysar and Beau says that he can relate better to Kaysar than the other guys in the group. Kaysar says that his plan is to come and to share a piece of himself. Kaysar knows that he is hard to approach because he's not a smily guy and a bit of an introvert, but he is a nice guy. I do think that Kaysar is one of the cutest guys in the group.

Meanwhile Howie just seems like a crazy guy. Ivette says that Howie is too out there. He models for folks in his underwear, and says he likes his women with nothing on them. As Howie says, he came to win a whole lot of money and to have fun. When Beau tells Howie that Beau is gay, we hear Howie checking out Beau's physique. Then we see the girls dress Howie up like a woman. If I had to live in the same house as Howie, I think that I would have to kill him. He is so annoying.

Rachel finds a remote control in her room that allows her to change one of the pictures into a tv screen and she can see all the rooms. Also she finds a secret room, and the camera keeps on zooming in on the books in the secret room. Rachel then looks in one of the books in the HOH room, and finds a clue to the location of the secret room. Rachel keeps it to herself because she wants the room for herself. Rachel was having dificulty figuring it out on her own, but didn't seem to want to tell the others.

When we return from commercial break, Eric talks about being a firefighter. He mentions a moving story when he talks about a fellow firefighter, Jeff, that he asks to keep an eye on his family if Eric is killed while firefighting. Jeff told Eric if something happens on a call, then you aren't dying alone. This strikes a cord with all the contestants. We also find that Eric has an alliance with the guys and with Ivette. Ivette says that she would like to see Ashlea go first, then Janelle, then Jennifer, and then Maggie. Eric replies that is best case scenario, and it isn't going to happen.

We then cut back to Rachel trying to figure out where the secret room is. Because others were in the room, Rachel didn't think that she could pick it up and look at it. So she bides her time and picks up the compass, and there is another note on the back, and she had to hold it to the mirror to read it. It was out of the bedrooms, and Sarah was in there sleeping. Rachel checked it out, and she had the wall give way and found her way into the secret bedroom. It was a gold bedroom with fur all over. There was a big gold key and a little one and three safes that Rachel can't get into. Rachel had difficulty in getting out of the room, and almost got caught by Kaysar. So now Rachel has to figure out what to do before someone else finds the room.
After the commercial break, Rachel figured out that she could unlock the hot tub, and she was right. Everyone started screaming, and it was right. Rachel told everyone that she found the key somewhere. Rachel is admiting that she had a clue that led her to other areas and admits that she found a door and an extra room. Rachel says that she is going to share it with everyone even though she would like to keep it to herself. So Rachel wants to play a game, and have everyone get a chance to go into the room. They use the lazy susan in the dining room, and Kaysar and Ivette win the first night. Everyone is commenting on how calculating Rachel is because she kept the information to herself and didnt share it.

Rachel then calls a meeting to discuss the power of veto game (POV). The winner can take a nominee including themselves off of the chopping block. It is as last year, where the HOH, two nominees and one person picked by each of the above play in the game. Some games it seems can result in no one winning the power of veto.

Another commercial break brings us to Kaysar waking up at 5 am every day to do his prayers. As for Ashlea, everyone is thinking that she needs to win the POV to not get voted out. Ashlea thinks that folks are talking behind her back, and that it is very high schoolish. Ashlea approaches Howie about playing for her to win the POV either by winning himself or letting her win. He would not commit himself one way or the other in what he would do. Now it is on to the competition. Rachel picks Maggie to play, Kaysar picked Eric, and Ashlea picked Howie. Ivette is picked as the Master of Ceremonies. Outside, there are three huge jungle gyms with string tangled all around. Each team is attached to the frame, and they have to untangle themselves. Once untangled, they have to get the key to unlock themselves, and then only one of the pair can go for the golden veto. Rachel and Maggie seemed to have the best way of getting through it, and seemed to work together well. The whole team competition reminded me of the Endurance game that I have written about. Ashlea just gave up, and sat down. She thought that since she got through the maze first, she could just sit and not help Howie. Everyone was yelling words of encouragement. It was close because Maggie and Kaysar were close behind Rachel and Maggie. Rachel and Maggie untangled their veto symbol, and Rachel put it on the pole so Rachel got the POV. Eric was worn out doing this. He said the heat and the lack of food really got to him,and he had to lie down in the shade while others brought over water for him. It is obvious that Rachel is a worry, and Eric refers to her as a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The last commercial break! Rachel goes into the HOH room, and Jennifer was in the HOH bathroom, and had locked the door to the HOH room while she was in there. Rachel goes to tell the guys that she had left the room unlocked, then found the door locked and Jennifer was in there with the door locked. When Jennifer left, she unlocked the door so she could go back in. Rachel then wanted to put Jennifer up and have her voted out. She tells Ivette, and Ivette tells her that Jennifer is just an idiot, and they need to get the bad seed--Ashlea out first. We then have the veto ceremony. Kaysar says that he is going to be cool about it. Both get a final chance to say why they should be saved. Ashlea says in her defense that the decision was based on nothing because how could Rachel know anyone. Kaysar says that he knows the first nomination was hard, and he was okay with honoring her decision. Rachel leaves the nominations stand as they are. They keep on showing images of Jennifer, and she just looks like a doofus. Who will be evicted? We find out live on Thursday, and should find out the secret pairs then too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 -- Afternoon

I finished reading Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton early this morning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 -- Morning

There is a new David Beckham ad for Pepsi. The ad was filmed last year, and was held back because of the tsunami disaster. You can see the ad here. It is quite nice. Basically, David Beckham is on a tropical island with Ronaldinho and some other soccer players and they begin playing soccer on the beach. Some surfers come on to the beach, and kick the ball out into the ocean, pointing to a sign that says "Surfers Only". Beckham and crew jump onto some surf boards and begin an amazing filmed game of soccer in the ocean, leaping off their boards to make amazing kicks. It's amazing film editing and photography. Then one of the guys on the beach, Thierry Henry, calls their attention to the fact that a surfer is going to take a drink from their Pepsi cooler. Beckham kicks the ball back to the beach, where it hits a coconut that falls onto the cooler lid, closing it before the surfer can get to the drink. On the lid, it says, "Players Only". Very nice ad, and the music was really fitting for the ad. It was Misirlou by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones. It's too bad we don't see these ads in the US.

Prince Albert of Monaco is to formally take the throne to Monaco today. Something more formal with foreign heads of state will be held in November, but the celebrations marking his ascension to the throne are today. That's not the only news about Albert. It seems that yesterday Albert acknowledged his two year old son with the flight attendant, and also said "I know there are other people who have nearly the same cases." He didn't say what he meant by that, but obviously there are other illegitimate children out there. This is abit surprising because the common rumor about Albert was that he was gay. Obviously that isn't the case!

Meanwhile Discovery is still on target for launch tomorrow. The clock is already ticking on the flight, and the external tank will be filled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen tomorrow at 6 am EDT. There is a countdown clock on NASA's website for the Return to Flight mission. At 11 am EDT, the countdown is 1 day 4 hours and 50 minutes. So liftoff should be tomorrow afternoon if all goes well.

It seems that a few Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince books were mistakenly sold early in Canada, and there is now a court order out to prevent anyone from leaking details about the book. It seems that the book went on sale in one shop on July 7, and was quickly pulled. Some folks who bought copies returned them willingly, but not all the copies were returned. You would think that folks would know from the last book that there were issues with early sales.

From watching some of the live casts of what is going on with Big Brother it seems that everyone is scheming and everyone seems to have figured out that there are partners on the show. Everyone is trying to figure out who is partners with who, and they seem to have figured out that Beau and Ivette are partners. It also seems that folks are admitting to knowing each other, so it might be that there is more than just the pairings. So folks may know more than one other person in the house. It's really difficult to follow the live feeds sometimes because the sound is down low with folks whispering. I really don't like Howie because he seems like abit of a jerk. He seems to be flirting with the women and with Beau, so who knows what is going on with Howie. The next episode that is televised is tonight at 9 pm.

Monday, July 11, 2005 -- Afternoon

Where will you be buying your new Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? It seems that in Britain, book stores are fighting for folks to come and buy the book from their stories with giveaways. Some places are having elaborate costume parties, while others are giving away gift certificates on other purchases. I am going to get my copy from the local Barnes and Noble on Friday night. Well, actually I am going to be laid up at home because I can't put weight on my foot for 10 days, but my boyfriend is going to get it for me.

Jerome Bettis won the football writers' Good Guy Award. It's the first offering of the award, and Bettis won it because of his good interactions with professional football writers. I think that Bettis should get it because of his friendly ways with the fans. Although I don't have personal experience with him, I have heard stories about how nice and approachable Bettis is.

Monday, July 11, 2005 -- Morning

Unfortunately I wasn't feel well yesterday. I called the doctor's office, and he recommended that if the symptoms didn't go away to go to the emergency room. They didn't, so I made a trip in the evening to find out that the vomiting and low grade fever were probably due coincidentally with a viral infection. I am feeling better this morning. Surprisingly, I really haven't had alot of pain in my foot since Saturday, and I stopped taking the oxicodone. Right now, the fever may have broken, and I don't think that I will need any pain pills.

As I said, I haven't been watching the live feed, but I did check out Morty's TV, and he has some detailed analysis on the pairings for Big Brother. It seems that Janalle and Ashlea are one of the pairs of partners, and Ashlea is one of those who is targeted for elimination, and it seems likely that she will be voted off. Rachel won the power of veto, and won't be using it to remove any of the nominees. Some of the other pairings that Morty has confirmed are April and Jennifer, Eric and Maggie, Howie and Rachel, James and Sarah, Kaysar and Michael. That leaves Beau and Ivette. Morty thinks there are some additional pairings that might make the Beau and Ivette pairing questionable.

Saturday, July 9, 2005 -- Evening

My bunion surgery went well yesterday. However, because of it, I have been out of it for most of the day. The problem now is the pain from the surgery which causes me to take the pain pills which knock me out and make me feel dizzy, sleepy and queasy. Sometimes I wonder if the pain is better than the medicine!

I haven't been watching much of the live feed from Big Brother today. However, I did read Morty's TV, and it seems that Rachel won the power of veto. So chances are that the nominations will remain as they are.

Because I haven't been able to concentrate on anything for any considerable duration, I have been reading some comic books. Before the surgery, I thought it might be fun to get some of the comics that I enjoyed as a kid so I could take my mind off the pain. I am so surprised at how expensive comic books are, and how little content they have. Fortunately for me, by the time I finish one comic, I'm ready for a nap. The ones that I have been reading have been the Disney comics, Archie and Scooby Doo comics.

Friday, July 8, 2005 -- Morning

I have a Chevron bunionectomy scheduled for later this morning, so I might not have alot of updates over the next two days. Yes, I am nervous and scared because I have never had surgery before, but I know that I am in good hands, so all should be a-okay.

The Pitt basketball team doesn't have alot to cheer about today. The Big East released the schedule for the coming season, and there aren't any home or home series games that include other Big East teams. Also, even though the television schedule hasn't been released, those in the know don't think that Pitt will be on alot of national television shows in the coming season. I understand that the Big East is in flux, but this seems a definite downturn for Pitt.

Thursday, July 7, 2005 -- Evening

Big Brother started this evening. Julie Chen announced that each of the housemates has a person who is working with him or her. From what she said, it could a significant other, friend, relative, co-worker. We met all the houseguests, and found out that Ivette has a female partner. So far, I think that was the only "shocking item". The houseguests came up to the house one by one. It's going to be interesting to see who is paired up with whom.The first five to enter the house were Ashlea, Howie, James, Jennifer and April. They went in and ran around the house looking for beds. The house looks huge, and I have to admit that the second floor is interesting. The beds so far appear to be in one room. The second group to go into the house are Kaysar, Beau, Maggie, and Rachel. Sarah, Ivette, Eric, Michael and Janelle were the last to enter the house. It seems there are 10 beds, three sleeping bags, and a fouton. Ivette figured out right away that there was a secret room. The first conflict was between Eric and Janelle. He was trying to tell her that she just had a sleeping bag, and she said, "whatever, I'll figure it out later!". In the intros, Ivette called Janelle a miniture Pamela Anderson. Eric also thought that Beau was the obvious gay guy. James first thoughts of Howie were that Howie suffered from some slight retardation. James also lied about what he did, and said that he used to teach ninth grade philosophy and now trying for his Master's. He wanted to seem less intimidating than a loss prevention manager--whatever that is.
The first competition is tonight. The competition this year will combine the food and head of household missions. The houseguests were told to split up into two groups of seven, and then had to change into swimsuits. It seems everyone is young and fit. They headed into the backyard, and it looked great. The competition--each team had to climb onto a surf board in a pool. They then had to balance and grab coconuts off the tree and throwing it into the mouth of the Big Kahuna. They can only do this when everyone is on the surfboard. The winning team gets food, the losing team gets peanut butter and jelly. The people on the winning team then get to compete for the Head of Household. The Orange team was five girls and two guys. Howie was on the head of the Orange team and he was in making some good baskets. Kaysar was shooting on the blue team, and he really sucked. The Blue team kept on rotating who was doing what, and the entire Blue Team wound up in the water. The final score was 23 to 7 with the Orange team winning--the girl team (for the most part).
Now for the Head of Household competition. The seven victors had to stand on the orange surfboard. The last person standing will be the head of household. The game begun when Julie said "surf's up". The scheming started. Both teams starting talking about forming an alliance against each other. Kaysar is Iraqi, and he thinks that he stands out in the house, and he will be the first one out. Michael told him not to be paranoid because he will make himself stand out, and the others will notice it and go after him. James was the first off of the surfboard because he said that since they wouldn't vote each other off, why not? Howie, Janalle, and Rachel all wanted the head of household. However, Janelle was the second one out. Sarah and Apri went out together. Maggie went off next, leaving only Howie and Rachel. Howie leaped into the pool after 2 hours and 35 minutes. So that left Rachel as the first Head of Household. Kaysar found a corner in the second floor and did his prayers. He is a practicing Muslim and said that he will be doing his prayers five times a day.
Rachel invited everyone into the Head of Household bedroom which was on the second floor, and it was huge. It was a whole suite with a private bathtub, shower and toilet. It is really impressive over past years shows. The seven teammates stayed behind in the HOH bedroom to discuss their strategy. Rachel basically asked the others for advice on nominating the first pair to be evicted.
Jennifer commented on how Michael was a hottie, but that Howie would be if he kept his mouth shut. Jennifer is playing all the guys as James says, and being openly flirtatous. Eric said that the guys have to realize there are 6 guys and 8 women, and they have to start sticking together. Eric and Kaysar seem to be forming an alliance. Rachel is looking at two people to nominate and they are Ashlea and Kaysar. Maggie says that Rachel scares her because Rachel is playing it from day one. James thinks that the girls don't like Jennifer because she is too flirtatous. For whatever reason, James really wants to get rid of Jennifer, and Rachel admits that Jennifer's name is on her list too. So far, she isn't ready to commit to two folks yet.
Finally, it is nomination time. The first key that Rachel takes out of the box is Janelle. Second is Maggie. The third key belongs to Beau. Fourth is Jennifer. Fifth is Eric. Sixth is April. Seventh is Ivette. Eighth is James. Ninth is Michael. Tenth is Sarah. Eleventh is Howie. That leaves Ashlea and Kaysar as the first pair nominated. Kaysar says that he is going to be more aggressive. Eric says that they should all be prepared for anything on any given day because you don't know what Big Brother has planned.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005 -- Afternoon

London won the right to the 2012 Summer Olympics this morning. The decision was between Paris and London, and London won. This has to be great for the Londoners. The Parisians weren't very happy, and played the poor sport by booing the film of the Londoners celebrating. I'm glad that it went to London. It's good to give the French a good kick in the pants and let them know that they may think they are the best, but the rest of us just don't agree.

A local Steelers fan died after a long illness. He died at the age of 55 of prostate cancer, and he and his family made plans for a Steeler funeral for him. They put him in a recliner, dressed him in his favorite Steelers outfit, had a beer and cigarettes for him, and Steeler highlights on a large screen tv. It was touching for his family. I always used to tell people that for my funeral, I wanted everyone to wear orange, and I wanted comedy routines playing instead of sad music. Since we have this open casket viewing thing in America, I wanted someone to rig a device under me so that midway through the viewing, I would pop up out of the casket and give everyone a good scare. What does that say about me?

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 -- Evening

Prince Albert of Monaco has finally acknowledged his illegitimate two year old son. The announcement should happen on Thursday which will be the day after the end of the official mourning period for Prince Rainier. The son, Alexander, will be able to inherit his father's money, but he will not ascend to the throne. Why? Because Monaco's constitution was amended in April 2002 so only "direct and legitimate" offspring could run the country. If Albert dies without any legitimate children, his sister Caroline and her kids would rule. I don't know how anyone could doubt that the child is Albert's. He looks just like Albert as a baby, only black skinned.

Meanwhile Prince William is on his first official royal tour. He is impressing folks with being very much his mother's son. He has been taking time to talk to people, touching them, and bending down to hug little kids. The last time William was in New Zealand was when he was 9 months old and crawled around on a blanket with Diana and Charles beaming at him.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 -- Afternoon

My weekend was a busy one so I am abit behind on my television viewing and reading. One of the recorded shows that I watched this afternoon was an hour special for the first season of Endurance. After the show had been televised, JD Roth brought back all the contestants to talk about their experiences in Endurance Reunion. The reunion show was filmed a year after the original show was taped in front of a live audience. The teams came out in the order in which they were eliminated. Aaron of the Blue team had dyed his hair blonde from his original brown. JD asked Aaron about the trip to the Amazon, and Aaron said that he didn't catch any snakes, but he did catch a South American alligator and pirrannah--and they ate the pirranha which Jonna said was good. We then got to see some video of their trip--such as catching and eating the fish. The favorite part for Aaron was catching the alligator. It's the size of a large lizard. We then got to see a fashion spread that the Chicago Tribune did with some of the kids who came from Chicago like Jenna, Lana, and Jon. Aaron said that since the show the ladies are always chasing him. There is a surprise in the show. JD announces that two of the kids will be returning for Endurance 2. Each of the contestants will get a vote, and the audience will be a collective vote to give a total of 15 votes. We had audience questions, and someone asked Christian why he let Ashley make decisions. Christian admitted that all the girls controlled their team. JD asked Chelsea and Layla about their friendship, and it appears that they kept in contact after the show. We also found out that life on the Island wasn't that great. It was cold and the beds weren't very comfortable. We also heard about alot of scheming and the alliances that folks formed. Some discussion was given to the Brotherhood that was made up of the guys on the Purple, Orange, Green and Blue. Sabrina admitted that she lied to everyone because she wanted to win. As Sabrina said, she made it to the last two. Max talked about how he wound up getting eliminated because Jonna and Max sent Grey to the Temple to beat the Green team. Blue really was sad to that Grey left. JD asked Jon about the shock that he showed at Sabrina wanting to give the Samati to the Red team.

The reunion show was broken into two episodes, and the second episode started with an analysis of scheming, backstabbing Sabrina. Skylar said that Sabrina's worse quality is that she didn't seem to have any morals, and that she would do almost anything to get her way. The funny thing is that Sabrina admits it. She also flirted with practically all the guys in some way. We also resaw the bits where Sabrina played with Aaron's head (and heart). So JD asked Aaron how he felt when he saw the shows. Aaron said that his feelings for her went down the toilet, but that he forgave her and is a friend. Aaron couldn't explain himself, but it is obvious that he doesn't trust her. As JD said, it's one thing to manipulate and another to play with someone's head. JD asked Sabrina if she would play the game differently if she went back, and she said no. Sabrina said that Jon was her best friend because she didn't have to lie to him during the game. JD then said that Sabrina wasn't the only one who played games. Examples are Max foiling the partner game. Also, everyone made deals with others that got broken at times. An example of a team that didn't get along was the Green team. They seemed to avoid each other except when they had to compete. Trevor couldn't see how blabbing what happened at the Temple was a bad thing. Someone from the audience asked everyone if they could play the game differently what would they do. JD had Skylar answer and he said that if he came back, he would play the game more like Sabrina. Skylar thinks that Sabrina played the game very well. Christian said that he wouldn't let the girls run the game as much the second time around. JD mentioned that the Blue team dominated the brain games winning three out of four of them. JD asked Aaron why that was the case, and Aaron just pointed to Jonna and said "it's all Jonna". Since they were talking about the mind puzzles, JD brought up "Squeeze Play" which was the only game won by Red. It seems not all the questions were shown on the show, so we got to hear of the others. Who got the most votes as the person to survive on an island by himself (Aaron), the messiest (Jon--in almost unanimous decision), and team most likely to keep in touch (Yellow--and they have stayed in touch). Sabrina admitted that she and Jon did keep in touch, and they did visit. While this was being said, a look passed between Jon and Ashley--embarrassed by Jon, and I think a hurt look on Ashley's part. When they came back from the commercial break, they showed the confessional where Jon admitted to writing Ashley a note and Ashley read it. Hmm...will they bring up something about a romance between the two? It wasn't the only clip, and when they came back, Ashley was teary eyed and crying. They showed Jon giving her a hurt look. Ashley said that it was hard because they had really strong friendships that formed quickly. A question from the audience was "what went on with you and Jon and did anything happen after the show?" Ashley says that Jon came to visit her in Florida and both families went to the Bahamas. JD asked Jon about it, and Jon said that things are kind of hard to figure out when you are far away, and said they decided to just be friends. Ashley looked really hurt and teary eyed, and Christian in a nice gesture patted her shoulder. So it looks kind of obvious that Jon must have been the person who distanced the relationship and dumped Ashley. Also, based on the looks that Sabrina was giving Ashley at the time, I wonder if Jon went for Sabrina later. After the commercial break, we found that Aaron, Jonna, Jon and Sabrina were given a carving of the Temple that was made from rocks on the Island. Jonna says she keeps hers on her shelf above her bed, and that she looks at it everyday and it reminds her to be true to herself. The last bit of the show dealt with the votes on which people should return to the second season of Endurance. We heard the audience vote. The guy they selected almostt unanimously was Max. The girl (again almost unanimously) was Jenna. JD would not reveal the contestants votes, and the result won't be announced until Endurance 2. The second season of Endurance will start repeats next Sunday. As for the votes that they did show contestants casting, here's how they went: Aaron voted for Max because he felt bad about sending Max to the Temple. Jon also voted for Max. Chelsea voted for Skylar because he was an underdog and a sweet guy and Skylar voted for Chelsea. Trevor voted for Lana because he did her so wrong in the game. Layla voted for Brandon and Max voted for Jenna.

In realtime, the fourth season of Endurance is currently being filmed. Casting calls were held until April 15 of this year.

Another news story was about Jacques Chirac blasting British food. According to Chirac, the food is really horrible--second only to Finnish food. The real controversy was the comment that you couldn't trust someone who had such awful food. Chirac made the comments to Putin and Schroeder as they all laughed.

Monday, July 4, 2005 -- Morning

Happy Independence Day! When I was a kid my father would always remind me of the the meaning of this day. It wasn't just about running around with my cap gun, creating a cloud of smoke wherever I ran or watching the fireworks at night. It was about a group of people in this country who over 200 years ago fought for the right to free themselves from a government that didn't allow them a representation in determining their fates and lives. Whenever the Fourth comes around, I always try to remind myself of that.

Early in the morning, shortly before 2 am, Deep Impact did indeed do its job. The probe collided into the comet, Temple 1. The impact was larger than expected, but the scientists at NASA assure us that the impact did not affect the path of the comet. What they are hoping to do now is to position the flyby spacecraft so that it can observe changes in the activity of the comet. Observations where also taken by the flyby craft of the impact itself. Materials that were ejected by the impact should have been observed by the flyby craft to give us some idea of the makeup of the comet.

When the deal is finalized by the NHL and the NHLPA, there will still be alot of work for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Players will have to be signed under the rules of the salary cap. Employees for marketing, managing, and coaching will need to be hired. The issue of an arena will need to be addressed. It will be interesting to see how the next few months pan out.

Sunday, July 3, 2005 -- Evening

Deep Impact has released the probe that is supposed to impact with the comet, Temple 1. The impact should be happening after midnight, and is supposed to still be on time. The expected time of impact in EDT is 1:52 am. Unfortunately, our cable company does not carry NASA TV, so my only option will be to watch the Internet feed. I'm going to keep my eye on the news channels to see if they are going to carry any coverage.

Danica Patrick won her first pole position yesterday, but unfortunately today, the best that she could do was finish ninth. Tony Kanaan wound up winning the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 today. There just seemed to be problems with her car, and she just wasn't able to get it in gear in more ways than one. I know that folks expect her to win right away, but hopefully it will come with time.

There was another new episode of Pimp My Ride this evening. The car that was pimped was a 2003 Toyota Corolla. The car was in awful shape. The guy had wrecked it, and the car didn't go into reverse. Obviously something really bad happened to this car, and I'm not sure how the guy could have screwed the car up so massively. Q still isn't on the show, but he is listed as still working for West Coast Customs. Curious! They did a very nice job with the car. Hopefully the guy won't drive the car because I think he'll just wreck it again.

Sunday, July 3, 2005 -- Morning

A Japanese man, Akira Haraguchi, yesterday set the world record for reciting the digits that make up pi. Pi is defined as π=C/d, or pi is equal to a circle's circumference divided by its diameter. The man was able to recite the first 83,431 digits. It took him several hours to do it because he had to restart after 3 hours of reciting when he lost his place. Amazing!

Roger Federer just won his third Wimbledon men's final. Andy Roddick was just not able to beat him. The final score was 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4. After the match when the sportscasters talked to Roddick, he said that he could really go for a beer which drew a roar of approval from the audience.

Saturday, July 2, 2005 -- Evening

Venus Williams won her third Wimbledon title. Lindsay Davenport started out strong and won the first set 6-4, but then she started to have some problems with her back, and had to leave in the third set for medical treatment (ie, cortisone shot). The whole match was a hard fought one, and Venus won with a final tally of 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) 9-7. It was an exciting match to watch.

The Space Shuttle, Discovery is scheduled for launch on July 13. This is after a release earlier in the week that the Space Shuttle is not ready for flight. This was based on a report by the Return to Flight team that said that NASA hasn't met three important criteria for returning to flight, such as minimizing or eliminating debris during the launch. The team did say that they didn't oppose the launch, however.

Friday, July 1, 2005 -- Evening

The story about the guy who was recently elected president in Iran has me abit irritated, but probably not for the reasons that you might think. The story is that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played an important role in the 1979 hostage situation at the US embassy in Iran. Some of the hostages say that they recognize him, and three acknowledged leaders who were involved in the hostage taking deny that he was involved. According to some, the Iranians who are denying the charges against Ahmadinejad now are on the political side opposing Ahmadinejad so they would have no reason defend him. So where's the news? It seems that a current cabinet member is an acknowledged participant in the 1979 situation. The reason I understand that so many are up in arms over the fact that someone who was opposed to Americans in 1979 should not be leader of his country. This is interesting because according to the same folks we were supposed to acknowledge Yasser Arafat as a responsible leader of the Palestinians. It's interesting that someone like Arafat who throughout his adult live promoted violence against Jews, Israelis and others and who was the head of the PLO is seen as someone with whom the US and the World could deal. Not only that, Arafat wins the Noble Peace prize for his role in promoting a peaceful solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians. So acts of murder and terror against children and civilians is a-okay, but taking an embassy hostage is not? I think this just goes to show you that it's all a matter of perception and political bias. Should Ahmadinejad be President of Iran? Sure. There is no confirmation that he was a hostage taker or terrorist of any kind. The bigger concern about Iran is its development of nuclear weapons. When a country has strong fundamentalist views that call for the annihilation of others we have to have concern. Of course, some would say that the US falls into that catagory too, but it doesn't. As soon as we start threatening other people with nukes just because they are there, then I'll do some revision of my thoughts about the American government.

Bo Bice married his hometown sweetheart. It seems that they actually got married on June 15, and have just been keeping it quiet.

So you think that all the questions we have about science have been answered? Well, you wold be wrong. Science Magazine has a feature in the current issue that highlights the 125 questions to which we don't have answers. Some of the questions that are in the top 25 are "what is the universe made of", "how much can human life be extended", "how does the Earth's interior work", "is there life outside of our planet", "how did life on Earth arise", "how are memories stored and restored", and "can we find a cheaper oil or a replacement for it". One of the ways to subscribe to Science is to join the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I'm going to have to go to the library at the Pitt to check out the current issue.

Friday, July 1, 2005 -- Afternoon

The news today is that Saturn's rings appear to have an atmosphere of their own that is separate from the planet. This latest information comes from the Cassini-Huygens mission. It seems that since the rings are made up of watery icy and rocks water can sometimes come off of the rocks. When this happens molecular oxygen (O2) is released which is what makes up the atmosphere. It also seems that the planetary rotation has slowed down. Measurements that were taken in the 70s and the 80s had the rotation seven minutes faster than Cassini is measuring today. It may be that Cassini is measuring surface rotation instead of core rotation and that the planet really isn't starting an internal slow down. If that isn't the case, scientists don't seem to know what could account for the difference in observation. Remember that Saturn is a gaseous planet, and that explains the comment about surface rotation differing from core rotation.

Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement and this is causing a great deal of commentary and concern. Justice O'Connor is 75 years old, and there has been talk for the past five years that she has been considering slowing down the pace of her life. The controversy arises because although Justice O'Connor was nominated to the Court as a conservative, she has been known for taking more moderate stances on subjects such as the abortion issue. Liberals are now worried that the court will take a more conservative stance if a conservative replacement is nominated. So the question that I ask is if it is okay for the court to have a more liberal stance? Shouldn't judgements be based on the law, and not on political viewpoint? Also, just because a justice was nominiated by a president for the justices viewpoint, it doesn't mean that once in office the justice will continue with that viewpoint. One only has to look at Harry Blackmun who was nominated by Nixon because of his conservative viewpoints. Blackmun turned out to be quite a liberal justice. When reviewing the qualifications, the President and Senate should look at the person's interpretation of law be paramount, and let petty biases on both sides go.