The Daily Bongo

July 2006

Monday, July 31, 2006 -- Evening

A surprising episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen. The person who is not the best of the four winds up staying because she won a challenge. I think that another more competent chef may also go next week based on the preview. Read the recap.

Monday, July 31, 2006 -- Morning

I just watched the new version of the Agatha Christie Marple mystery, The Moving Finger. It was on our local PBS station a couple of weeks ago, and I just had the opportunity to watch it now. The Moving Finger is one of my favorite of Christie's mysteries. Unfortunately, this version of the story is a total travesty. The story was totally changed. There was an additional murder, and the relationship between Jerry Burton and Megan was totally misrepresented. We have Jerry's sister making Megan over instead of Jerry being the person who turns the duckling into a swan. Then there is the character of Jerry. He is an alcoholic playboy who injures himself in a stupid suicidal move on his motorcycle because life is so boring. In the book, Jerry was a fighter pilot in WWII who is injured when his plane crashes. Yep, as you can see that totally changes the character. For some reason, the writers of the Marple series seems to want to rewrite the stories in a negative way. Another example of this is By the Pricking of My Thumbs. This was a Tommy and Tuppence mystery that was rewritten to add Miss Marple a major role. Tuppence is portrayed as an alcoholic too. The only interesting part of By the Pricking of My Thumbs was seeing an older Anthony Andrews who played Tommy Beresford. I think if saw these two movies as my introduction to Agatha Christie that I would probably not even read the books. The Moving Finger in particular was a huge disappointment. I know that the producers/screenwriters have been taking huge liberties with the stories, but you can't make a Christie better than it already is. The only thing that could happen is that you will make is worse.

Sunday, July 30, 2006 -- Evening

Big Brother All-Stars was on this evening. The show is a very interesting one, and although I have a fondness for the BB6ers, I have to admit alot of admiration for the game playing of Will and Boogie. Read the recap. And find out who won the luxury competition!

Sunday, July 30, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

Santonio Holmes has not been endearing himself to the local sports media. Yesterday, at the Welcome to the Steelers press conference, Holmes didn't show any remorse or apologize for his off-season behavior. As Holmes said, he is what he is off the field, and he doesn't have to prove a thing to anyone. He said this after sporting a red Ohio State Buckeye shirt that said "Da Man" on the back. Yeah, Holmes is da man all righty. Holmes also said that he never received any phone calls or messages from Ben Roethlisberger even though Roethlisberger said earlier that he called and left a "bunch" of messages. I'm not a big fan of Holmes at this point. I suppose that I should wait to see his actions on the field, but off field actions color one's perceptions.

Astronomers have found the largest object in the Universe. It is a huge blob of galaxies and gas bubbles called Lyman alpha blobs. Three of these objects are tied to each other with filaments and are theorized to have come into existence two billion years after the Big Bang. I think that there are alot more things out there than the scientists can even imagine--and I think that the matter will add up to show that we have a closed universe which will collapse in a continual Big Bang/Big Crunch scenario.

Saturday, July 29, 2006 -- Evening

Bernardini easily won the Jim Dandy Stakes today at Saratoga. People has been wondering if his Preakness win was just a fluke or the real deal. It looked like the real deal this afternoon when Bernadini won by nine lengths over Minister's Bid in a time of 1:50.50 for the mile and an eighth. Third was Hemingway's Key, followed by Dr. Pleasure, then Oh So Awesome, and with Sunriver rounding out the field. In the Diana Stakes Angara beat out Sweet Talker by a head to win the race. Argentina was a nose farther back in third place. The Diana Stakes is for 3 year and old fillies and mares, and the time for the race was 1:49 1/5 for the 1 1/8th mile race. Faster than the Jim Dandy which is for 3 years olds. The track was listed as sloppy after a heavy thunderstorm earlier in the day.

Ruud van Nistlerooy has moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid. Ruud was having problems with Sir Alex Ferguson, and was sent to the bench as a substitute for the second part of the season. There was talk about the move for a while now, and Ruud obviously thought that his would be in in his best interests. Sir Alex seems to have a real way of turning against some of his star players like Ruud and a few years ago, he had real issues with David Beckham, and famously kicked a shoe at him. Beckham pulled by his hair off his face so the stitches on his forehead would be visible to all.

Saturday, July 29, 2006 -- Morning

Samuel Fingold signed a letter of intent to buy the Pens. Supposedly Fingold is going to "try" to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh, but in June Fingold was saying that he didn't think that the city would able to build an arena for the Pens. Now Fingold comes from Hartford, Conn. which used to be the home of the Hartford Whalers. The city lost that team, and has been trying to get another team back. Well, this purchase of the Pens is very suspect, and I know that I am concerned that next year, the Pens will be playing in Hartford. After all, how can they build an arena in a year, and the Pens don't have a lease with Mellon Arena.

All of the Steelers showed up for training camp yesterday. That includes Santonio Holmes who was still wrangling over his salary recently. Even Joey Porter who was supposed to be considering being a hold out this season showed up bright-eyed and bushy tailed.

Friday, July 28, 2006 -- Afternoon

Ray Shero has been at it again. Late yesterday evening, it was announced that Shero was dumping a whole slew of folks from the Penguins payroll. This time he got rid of Rick Kehoe and the entire equiment team. That includes Steve Latin who has been with the team for 18 years. I can't understand why he would can all of the equipment team. I can truly understand wanting to make changes in the team, but that would be coaching and players. Equipment people really don't influence the direction of the team.

The rumor is also strong that Sam Fingold, the Hartford, Conn. real estate developer is very close to signing a letter of intent to buy the Pens. We'll have to see if this is just more of the rumormongering that has been going on for the past year or not. It seems that Fingold's originial intent was to move the team to Hartford, but that might not be as easy as he hopes with the NHL committed to having the team remain in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 -- Evening

Eviction night on Big Brother All-Stars. Jase is eliminated, and the BB6ers still rule by winning the HOH competition yet again. This time Janelle gets a second chance. Read the recap.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 -- Late Morning

Huge news this morning about the Tour de France. It seems that the winner, Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, has a positive drug result. It appears that he had more testosterone than is normally expected in men. Landis' A sample is the one that tested positive. If the B sample is also positive, he will be disqualified. It seems that the test was failed at some time in the last week of the race. At this point, Landis has dropped out of some of the races that he has on his schedule, including one now in Denmark. The official reason is that he is having hip issues that he will have hip surgery in a couple months. I think that the whole sport of cycling is suspect, and that I have doubts that Lance Armstrong achieved his results purely naturually. What we have found out in recent months is that the guys who were finishing second and third to Armstrong are suspected of doping. Then we have this Landis result. Meanwhile, we are expected to believe that all these others who weren't able to beat Armstrong, are doping, but Armstrong is clean. Yeah, right! At this point, it is only one positive test for Landis, but it smears his record in my eyes.

Alison from Big Brother All-Stars was not only dumped from the house, she was also dumped by her boyfriend. Meanwhile she was telling Julie Chen that it was true love. I suppose it wasn't true love. It has to be hard to have two huge disappointments at one time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 -- Evening

Ryan Malone got a good deal from the arbitrator. The arbitrator said that his 2006 salary should be $1,300,000 and for 2007, it should be $1,450,000. The amount is an 85% increase over the amount that he made last season.

This evening, I watched Life on Mars. It was a series that was originally shown on BBC earlier this year, and was just brought to BBC America. The first episode as on Monday, and in it, we are introduced to Sam who is a police office investigating a serial killer in 2006. He thinks that he has found the killer to only be told that the person, Colin Rames, had an alibi for the day of one of the killings. His girlfriend/co-worker, Maya, doesn't believe that the guy is innocent and she follows him. Well, Maya is kidnapped by the killer, and Sam knows that he has to find Maya in 30 hours before the killer kills her. It seems that the killer keeps the woman alive for 30 hours and doesn't feed her before killing her. While Sam is returning from the site where Maya was kidnapped. He is hit by a car. As he lies in the street not moving, we hear the sound of an ambulance and people talking about the severity of his case. The next thing we know, he comes to, rises from the ground and finds himself in 1973. Sam can't figure out what is going on, and everything seems so real, and yet he knows that this must be a dream. Finally Sam comes to the realization as he wakes to hear the doctor talking about him on the television that he is in a coma after having the accident. How does he let the doctors and his friends and family know that he is awake and that he wants help to come back to life in 2006. How does he save Maya? The first case that Sam is assigned to in 1973 is a copycat of the killings in 2006. How can this be? I was engrossed in this show from the moment that it started. I was rooting for Sam to find his way back to consciousness while also solving the copy cat crime in 1973. The language was abit of a problem, because I couldn't also decipher the London accents, but we turned on close captioning, and that problem disappeared. The show is fast paced and eerie. Sam is obviously back in 1973 because his subconscious is willing him to fix the problems of 2006. Or is he really just suffering the effects of a car accident in 1973 that makes him think he has gone back in time. The series has eight episodes, and there is currently a second series being filmed in England for release in 2007. Rumor also has it that there are plans afoot for an Americanized version. This show combines sci-fi with mystery, and I found myself totally absorbed in the story, gaping with mouth open waiting to see what would happen next. Very good. I also love the actor who plays Sam, John Simm. Simm also played Cal in State of Play another really great thriller by the BBC.

Barbaro had his cast changed yesterday, and his blood work has consistently been good. These are all very good and promising signs.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight's episode of Big Brother All-Stars was the best so far this season. We get to see Kaysar with a shaved head, Jase got freaky mad at hearing that he is going to be nominated, Dr. Will give the best vote me out speech ever, and over all the most turmoil. I just LOVE Dr. Will now. He is the man! Read the recap for all the details.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 -- Morning

Jerome Bettis is going to continue his local show, The Jerome Bettis Show during the regular NFL season this fall. The show is going to be broadcast on WPXI on Saturday evenings at 7 pm. It will repeat Sundays at 1 am and 10:30 am. The local sportscasters affiliated with WPXI will be hosts with Bettis. I wonder if it will be similar in format to his old show on KDKA where he would have a Steeler player as a guest and would compete with the player in some goofy competition like robotic fighters or putt-putt golf.

Monday, July 24, 2006 -- Evening

Another episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen was on this evening. We are getting close to the end and the emotions are boiling over. Garrett is the victim of backstabbing by his buddy, Keith, and is the person sent home. Next week sounds exciting. I only hope that Heather is sent home because she really annoys me. I think that I am cheering on Sara although it seems that Keith is probably the best chef of the remaining four. Read the recap for more juicy details.

Monday, July 24, 2006 -- Afternoon

Tell me it ain't so Ray! It seems that the Pens may have signed Mark Recchi to return to the Pens. I think this is the worst move possible because of his salary ($2.28 million) and the fact that it was known that Recchi was a disruptive cancer in the locker room with his attitude toward the younger players, especially Sidney Crosby. It seems that Recchi has a reputation for being a jerk in the locker room. We can only hope that the Pens are getting Recchi to trade him.

The veto ceremony occurred on in the Big Brother All-Stars house, but so far, I haven't been able to figure out who is up. It seems that Chicken George did use the veto to save his skin, but it isn't clear at this point if Boogie or Jase was put up in his place. James was talking to Kaysar and Janelle about how Jase should be the one to go and that the floaters would be stupid enough to vote Will out. I think that the houseguests in general don't want a floater to win just because the other alliances like the BB6ers and Chill Town get whacked.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens have signed Brooks Orpik to a two-year deal. They also signed Matt Carkner, a free agent who was playing in the AHL last season. No information on the salaries of eithter.

Another episode of Big Brother All-Stars was on this evening. We found out officially that the nominees for eviction are Chicken George and Will. Read the recap for more details.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 -- Evening

Astronomers have observed a star in this galaxy that is in its death throes. It seems that the star should be exploding in a type 1a supernova. This type of explosion is extremely bright, and should be five billion times bright than the Sun. The last time a type 1a supernova was observed was in 1572 by Tycho Brahe who was the person who provided Johannes Kepler by providing data on his astronomical observations. Astronomers don't know when the supernova will happen, but they believe that the star is reaching critical mass. As they say, it could happen tomorrow, or it could happen a 1,000 years from now.

Friday, July 21, 2006 -- Early Evening

Some news on the Pens front. Ray Shero has resigned Colby Armstrong. He has agreed to just under $817,000 for the next season. The contract that he signed is a two way contract which means that the Pens can send him down to the minors if they want. If they do, he would then mae $75,000. The Pens also made a trade with the San Jose Sharks for right winger Nils Ekman and a goaltender prospect, Patrick Ehelechner.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 -- Evening

A very interesting episode of Big Brother All-Stars this evening. Nakomis was evicted, and shocker of shockers! James won the HOH competition. James never won the HOH in the last season. This is really exciting because the BB6ers are still in power. Read the recap for all the details.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 -- Afternoon

FIFA has heard all the evidence in the Zinedine Zidane headbutt incident and have decided that Zidane can keep his award for most valuable player in the World Cup, but he will be banned for three games and have to pay a $6,026 in a fine. Marco Materazzi was banned for two games and will have to pay a $4,012 fine for inciting Zidane. FIFA, Materazzi, and Zidane all agree that the comments made by Materazzi were not racial, and Materazzi insists that they weren't about Zidane's mother. Since Zidane is retiring, only the fine will really be in place. I think that Materazzi should not have had any punishment. Zidane was just a wussy baby.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens picked up more players from the Nashville Predators today. They picked up forward, Libor Pivko, and center, Dominic Moore, in exchange for a third round draft pick in 2007. Moore appears to be someone who might be good in killing penalty minutes, and Pivko appears to be good with assists. Moore played with the New York Rangers last season, and was just traded to Nashville, who immediately traded him to the Pens. Interesting!

Barbaro is still in stable condition with normal vital signs. Dean Richardson said that he doesn't think any changes in his condition will happen quickly. In Richardson's opinion, it is going to be a marathon with changes happening over time, but that it could be months of treatment.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 -- Evening

Another Big Brother All-Stars episode this evening. It is amazing at how stupid Kaysar is by nominating Diane and Nakomis. I don't like Nakomis--now or two years ago. The thing that would have made sense however would have been to nominate Will and Boogie. Also Erika should have used the veto, and either Will or Boogie should have gone up in one of their places. Read the recap now.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 -- Afternoon

Michael Matz, Barbaro's trainer, said that Barbaro is continuing to hold his own. He saw the horse this morning, and said that he is still listed in stable condition and his vital signs are still normal. Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Dean Richardson, replaced the cast on the right leg and took x-rays of the area. The pastern looks like it is in good condition and all the pins and plate look like they are in place. The incision also looks clean and has no sign of infection. The left cast was also replaced to treat the laminitis. The procedures were done while Barbaro was lightly sedated and in the sling. Dr. Richardson said that Barbaro is a very intelligent horse and "adapted very well to being managed in the sling." Matz is encouraged but not getting too hopeful because he already lost two horses to laminitis.

It seems that the Pens might remain here in Pittsburgh. It seems that the NHL and the local and state government may have set the mechanisms in place so it will be difficult to move the Pens out of the city. It seems that one of the bidders who was interested in moving the Pens to Canada has dropped out because of this development. It seems that the new owners will be committed to joining in the Isle of Capri plan to build the arena. This is interesting news, and I hope that it is true. There have been so many rumors floating around about the Pens that I just haven't even been mentioning it. Alot of it has turned out to be rumor and at times, lies, so I will only really believe it when it actually happens.

Monday, July 17, 2006 -- Evening

Another episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen. The kitchen is getting hotter with emotions, and things are really boiling over. Virginia and Sara go at it, and tensions rise in everyone. Even Gordon seems really irritated with the pile of losers that he has to make into chefs. Maribel is sent home, but read the recap to get all the juicy details.

Monday, July 17, 2006 -- Afternoon

Barbaro is continuing to do well, and his vital signs are still normal. The one thing that his doctor, Dean Richardson, wanted to stress is that Barbaro has a bad case of laminitis and the treatment for it is complex. They are keeping a close eye on Barbaro, and changing the cast on the foot with laminitis as needed. They want to make sure to treat it as needed and to look for any signs of infection. Barbaro really does seem to have a will to live. Let's hope that his body doesn't fight against his spirit.

The ratings for Sunday's showing of Big Brother All-Stars 7 were down over last year's ratings. It seems the show was in third place for its time slot. It was slightly higher with 2.1 rating than last summer's average Saturday rating of 1.9, but still isn't doing well. I think that part of the issue is that it is the beginning of the season and people aren't getting into it yet. Or it could be that there is just a small group of loyal fans and the show will be cancelled after this year. All I know is that I enjoy watching it.

Marc-Andre Fleury and Colby Armstrong have turned down the offers made to them by the Pens. They are still restricted free agents, and hope to work out a plan with the Pens. They have not gone to arbitration as Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik have. Fleury received an offer of $989,100 and Armstrong was offered $817,325. That amount is a five percent increase over the amounts they made in the last season.

Sunday, July 16, 2006 -- Evening

Big Brother All-Stars 7 is now on Sunday nights instead of Saturday nights. That's much better for my schedule because I like to go out to eat on Saturday. The show covered the food competition and the strategizing of some of the players. The show ends with the nomination of Diane and Nakomis for eviction. Read the recap for show information and pictures of Boogie's surprise birthday party from today's live feeds.

I went back for the second day of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The crowds were still sparse, but there were a few races. I tried to take some pictures, but my camera wasn't very good with the movement. I did get some pictures of the first race. Since it was incredibly hot, and there wasn't alot of shade, I didn't stay for any of the other races. The crowds were sparse as I said, and the food and drink were incredibly overpriced.

Saturday, July 15, 2006 -- Evening

Barbaro had another good night, and appears to be responding well to treatment. He doesn't seem to be in pain. So he is still in stable condition. This doesn't mean that Barbaro is safe. He can still develop laminitis in another leg, and if that happens, he will be put down.

Today was the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. I missed this event last year because of my bunion surgery, but I did go today. It was an extremely humid and hot day, and surprisingly, the crowd was scanty. I was shocked at how few people were there. In past years, the area was so full that it was hard to walk around. I did get quite a few pictures of the event and cars. When I was there, there was only one race--most of the time, cars were just taking practice laps.

This weekend was also festival time at the SouthSide Works. There were booths of food and vendors and musical acts. The most interesting was the Polynesian dancers. The pictures of the hula dancers turned out all blurry because of the movement, but I did get some pictures of the group and the fire dancer.

Friday, July 14, 2006 -- Late Evening

Dr. Dean Richardson gave another press conference about Barbaro later today. It seems that Barbaro is still in stable condition. As Dr. Richardson said, they are treating the laminitis aggressively, and will continue to do so far as long as it is needed. As he said, the treatment could continue for months if Barbaro continues to respond positively. Edgar Prado stopped by to visit with Barbaro. Prado left New York at 4:30 am, spent a few hours with Barbaro, and then went back to New York to make the races at 3 pm. Prado walked with Barbaro, fed him, and then Barbaro put his head on Prado shoulder and went to sleep. Prado was crushed at the news that things had taken a turn for the worse, but says that Barbaro has the will to overcome the bad odds.

Friday, July 14, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Ray Shero has hired Chuck Fletcher as an assistant general manager. Fletcher has worked with in management for Florida and Anaheim. Eddie Johnston, who has filled many roles with the Pens over the years will continue as senior advisor in hockey operations.

Friday, July 14, 2006 -- Afternoon

Barbaro's vet, Dr. Dean Richardson, says that Barbaro is in stable condition. He was out of the sling for 12 hours and slept on his side for 4 hours. That doesn't mean he is out of the woods--not by a long shot. It just means that things are extended for abit and that he might have a chance to recover.

They finally had a food competition at the Big Brother house. They split up into two teams--Red and Blue, and had to grovel in pig troughs filled with slop and pull out rubber rats with their teeth. They worked in pairs with their inner legs tied together and one hand behind their backs. They had to shove their heads into the slop--it looked really gross. Check out my Big Brother page for pictures.

Friday, July 14, 2006 -- Morning

Barbaro is doing abit better this morning. He had a restful night according to vet, Dr. Dean Richardson. The promising news is that Barbaro even slept on his side which is a sign that he is feeling better. Although he continues to eat and look good, that doesn't mean that he is out of the woods. As Richardson said, if Barbaro appears to be favoring his left hind leg, or not wanting to put weight on it, he would have to put Barbaro down. Although things look promising now, that doesn't mean that we might not have a different story later today.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 -- Evening

An interesting episode of Big Brother All-Stars 7. Alison was evicted, and Kaysar won the HOH competition. Read the recap for all the details.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Barbaro's chances for survival are poor. As long as he continues to eat and is not in alot of pain, the vets will continue to treat him. However, it is possible that he might be put down in the next 24 hours. This is very sad news indeed. Right now, the vets have cut away the hoof wall on the left hind leg in the hopes of treating the laminitis. Both of Barbaro's rear legs are now in a cast. Barbaro is also spending some time in a sling. We can only hope for the best news, but it's not looking good at all. I will post any updates on Barbaro's condition as soon as I hear them.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 -- Afternoon

Really bad news on the Barbaro front. He has developed laminitis in his non-injured left hind leg. As Dr. Dean Richardson said, they aren't going to put Barbaro down at this point because he is eating and has normal vital signs. However, the laminitis was the worst case scenario that the doctors were concerned about. It's caused because the horse has pain in one of its legs and doesn't put weight on the sore foot. The non-sore foot then develops the laminitis because of the increase in weight and pressure on it. So when Barbaro developed the infection in his right hind leg, he must have shifted more weight to the left which resulted in the laminitis. Things are really not looking good for Barbaro at this point, and we can only hope that somehow things will improve.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 -- Late Morning

Ben Roethlisberger attended the taping of the 2006 ESPY awards last night with some of this teammates. This is first time that we got to see how he looked since his accident. Roethlisberger will be making a few appearances over the next few days, so we will all have plenty of opportunity to see what damage has been done. He will be on ABC's Good Morning America on Friday morning, and obviously, will be at the ESPY's. One of the things that Roethlisberger mentioned in an interview before the ESPY's is that he was seconds or a minute from dying due to a cut blood vessel in his mouth that was draining into his stomach. Probably an exaggeration, but not much of one, I imagine. Roethlisberger also said that he doesn't remember much about the crash, and doesn't know if he will ever ride a motorcycle again. He was also saying that he was periodically wearing a helmet, but just forgot it that day. From the pictures that I saw on the web, he doesn't look much different--maybe a bit puffier in the cheeks, scar on the cheek, and bumpier nose. For the most part, he still looks like himself. The Steelers were at the ESPY show to pick up an award for Best Team.

Greg Malone, a scout of the Pens, has found another job with the Phoenix Coyotes. It seems that Ray Shero gave the scouting staff the permission to look for new jobs and Malone took him up on it. Malone was with the Pens for the past 16 years. Considering the quality of some of the players and the way the team hasn't been jelling, it might be for the best to be rid of Malone and bring in some fresh blood.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens announced their 2006-2007 season schedule. It seems that the home games are going to be heavy with weekend dates. Of the 41 games, 10 will be Saturday games and a total of 21 weekend dates (6 Friday and 5 Sunday) . That will be perfect considering that I have tickets for the full season. They also announced the promotion. I am really excited over these because there will be a Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury bobbleheads. I am really excited about the Fleury bobblehead because he is my favorite.

I hope this is the final word on the Zinedine Zidane situation. Zidane said that Marco Materazzi said things about his mother and sister--very hard things--that he won't elaborate on. What this tells me is that Zidane is just a ruffian trying to make excuses for his behavior by saying that Materazzi said something about his family. Even if Materazzi did say things about Zidane's mother and sister, that's no reason to headbutt. Zidane did apologize for his bad behavior to the children who may have been watching him.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

Barbaro is listed in guarded condition. Dr. Dean Richardson said that the road has hit a bumpy spot, but that the vets are treating Barbaro aggressively in the hopes of saving him. It seems that Barbaro is still not comfortable, and isn't responding well to treatment. The vets are in close contact with the owners, Gretchen and Roy Jackson, and we can only keep our fingers crossed. As Dr. Richardson said, "There's so much concern. It's significant. Two weeks ago, we were at 50-50 (for survival). With this new problem, we are less than that." It's such a sad turn of events that he went from doing so well to being in such bad shape. The Maryland Racing Commission has reviewed the tapes from the Preakness and determined that Barbaro's breakdown was just a matter of bad racing luck. There was some controversy that Barbaro might have had his hind leg clipped by another horse and that resulted in the break. However, the Commission was unable to see anything conclusive.

Zinedine Zidane should be commenting on receiving the red card this afternoon. He has an interview scheduled for 19:00 BST on French television. I wonder what he is going to say. It also appears that FIFA may be considering taking away the Golden Ball for the Best Player in the World Cup. The award isn't decided by FIFA, but by a committee of journalists. FIFA can, however, step in and take the award away based on poor sportsmanship.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 -- Evening

Jerome Bettis got married this weekend. It took place in Montego Bay in Jamaica. Joey Porter and Hines Ward were among the many NFL players who attended the ceremony. Bettis is expected to open a restaurant Grill 36 on the North Shore--not far from Heinz Field.

Big Brother All-Stars 7 was on this evening, and there were some interesting clips. We missed out on all the sleeping and reminiscing about past seasons. Janelle wins the Power of Veto, and doesn't use it. Read the recap for more details from the show and the day.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 -- Morning

The Zinedine Zidane controversy is driving me crazy. What really irks the heck out of me are the stupid folks who say that the Italian team should have the Cup taken away from them! What the heck is that about? So Zidane headbutts someone because that's the sort of ruffian he is, and you want to blame the victim. Why? "He said something awful to me." Whatever happened to the phrase, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?" It shouldn't matter what someone says. Not only that, but that's how sports are. You say things to others to get a psychological edge. If the person responds emotionally, it will affect his play. And in Zidane's case, he headbutts. Oh, obviously it is all Marco Materazzi's fault. After all, it's not like Zidane has done something like this before--oh wait, he has. In 1998, he was redcarded in the World Cup for stomping on a Saudi Arabian player, and five years ago, he headbutted someone from the Juventus team. So obviously, poor Zidane is blameless in this. Zidane is a hot tempered ruffian, and he is totally to blame for his actions. Only an idiot would blame Materazzi, or someone who wants to make the victim responsible for the action of the villian.

Monday, July 10, 2006 -- Evening

Today was the fourth episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen. This time, it was very obvious who would be picked to go home because it was the one person who really screwed up--Rachel. Read the recap for all the details.

The big news in the city is that the MLB All-Star game is being held here in Pittsburgh. Tonight is the Home Run Derby, and tomorrow will be the game itself. Tickets were going for hundreds of dollars, and the city is crowded with visitors. PNC Park looks gorgeous in the film on ESPN. The bad news is that Mayor Bob O'Connor will not be at the game tonight. He was hospitalized with what was called a flu late last week. Today it was announced that tests have shown that he has primary central nervous system lymphoma and will start to receive aggressive chemotherapy tomorrow. Everyone's thoughts are with the Mayor and his family. The guy loves Pittsburgh, and has been a dervish around town--doing this, that, and everything.

Monday, July 10, 2006 -- Afternoon

Barbaro's cast was replaced yet again today. This is the sixth cast that Barbaro has had since the fracture was first repaired. The longer cast was replaced with a shorter cast so Barbaro will be able to move around more easily. It seems with the longer cast, he was having trouble getting up from a lying position. Dr. Dean Richardson said that Barbaro is doing well, has a fine appetite, and that his temperature is again normal. The abscess in his left hind hoof was also treated.

More stories about Zinedine Zidane. He was actually named the World Cup MVP. He did do a great job throughout the series--even though he did go crazy with that head butt. One of Zidane's people is claiming that Marco Materazzi said that Zidane was a terrorist, but Materazzi is denying that claim. I think that this is just a ploy on the part of Zidane supporters to point the finger of blame at the victim of the headbutt. Zidane is just a tempermental bugger and just made a stupid move. Watch the headbutt.

Chris Daughtry signed a deal with 19 Recordings Unlimited. Right now, Chris is going to concentrate on the American Idol tour and will form a band for recording in the fall.

Not alot going on in the Big Brother All-Stars 7 live feeds. Check out the recap for daily news and live feed screen captures.

Monday, July 10, 2006 -- Morning

Who would have know that Zinedine Zidane was a mamma's boy. Obviously not Marco Materazzi! It seems that Zidane's agent is saying that Materazzai said something inflammatory about Zidane's mother. Zidane won't say what it was that was said, except that it would explain his headbutt. I figured something at the time, and said to my boyfriend that I'll bet Materazzi said something about Zidane or a family member. Granted, that's no reason to headbutt someone. I can't really talk myself, because if I am frustrated and angry, I want to find a way to retaliate physically, and Zidane did it the only way he knew. When I was a kid, I did a Zidane headbutt to a big fat kid who wouldn't get out of my way. It's amazing how the well placed head will knock someone off their feet.

Sunday, July 9, 2006 -- Evening

Barbaro had more complications and further surgery late last night. Dr. Dean Richardson replaced the plate and several screws in Barbaro's injured leg. There are some problems with the pastern joint (which is the area that was most severly shattered), and the vets stablized the area with fresh implants and bone grafts. To increase the stability of the leg, Barbaro's cast was made longer to give more support. There appears to be some infection in the fractured area which the doctors cleaned. They are also treating the left hind hoof for an infection too. This is the second surgery in less than a week and is not very promising. I'll be keeping a closer eye on Barbaro's progress.

Sunday, July 9, 2006 -- Afternoon

Boy, what a crappy move! France vs. Italy, and in less than seven minutes, the ref said that one of the French players was tripped up in the box. Watching the replays though, the guy wasn't even touched! It was a class act dive--and resulted in a penalty shot. Who took the penalty shot? Zinedine Zidane. Yep, France scored. 1-0. This is the first goal scored against Italy in the World Cup. Thank goodness that Italy came back to tie things up. I was starting to get nervous there because I am rooting for Italy. The refs seem to be definitely on the side of France. In the 62 minute, Italy scored a goal that was waved off because it was offside. On replaying the goal, Italy was definitely not offside. I think that the refs definitely have a prejudice to having France win. Zidane injured his shoulder in the last 10 minutes of regulation time, but he continued to play. The game ended in a tie in regulation, and went into overtime. Zidane did something really stupid in overtime. He headbutted an Italian player. It happened right after the play. Marco Materazzi had grabbed zidane during the play and then let Zidane go. Materazzi and Zidane were talking to each other--and then the next thing you know, Zidane took a few steps and headbutted Materazzi in the chest. The ref didn't see it and everyone was going crazy. Finally a linesman came up and said that he saw it, and the ref gave Zidane a red card. What a way to go in the final game of his career! The game came down to penalty kicks, and the Italians won because all of their players made the kick while one French kicker missed. Italy wins the World Cup for the fourth time in its history.

Big Brother All-Stars 7 updates. Howie is really going crazy because Mike (Boogie) told him that Nakomis told Mike not to tell jokes. It's confusing because Howie got this info second hand, and Janelle tries to tell Howie that Mike might be making up the story. Howie doesn't think so and goes on and on about last year's Busto argument being minor compared to how Howie will get on Nakomis' back. Howie is concerned that Nakomis will get HOH this week and put him up because he tells jokes. An interesting thought that some of the houseguests have had is that there might be dual HOH in other competitions. I have to admit that for the past few days the houseguests have been incredibly boring. They basically are just sitting around talking about the past shows--except for Janelle, James, Kaysar, and Howie who are obsessing over who will be HOH next and who will be up on the block then. The Veto ceremony is this afternoon. I don't think that Janelle is going to use it. Right now, the flames are on the feeds so it is still ongoing. No fish this year. I suppose that they died too frequently in the past. Janelle did not use the veto, and it looks like she did not use the veto. Marcellas is lobbying for Danielle to go because as he said, he is not safe in the house as long as Danielle is in the house. It seems that Janelle and Jase think that Alison is the more threatening of the two.

Saturday, July 8, 2006 -- Early Evening

Well, a "man" finally won the women's final at Wimbledon this morning. Yeah, yeah, I know that Amelie Mauresmo is supposed to be a female, but if any female ever looked more masculine, I can't think of one. Anyway, Mauresmo went on to beat Justine Henin-Hardenne in three sets (2-6 6-3 6-4).

The losers' match--excuse me--the third place match in soccer today had Germany win against Portugal with a final score of 3-1. Portugal shot itself in the foot with an own goal by Armando Petit. That means he accidentally kicked the ball into his own net. This match brought up a debate between me and my boyfriend because he said that he would rather win the third place match than to lose the final match. I don't know about that. I would think that it would be better to be second and compete for the possibility to win other than being third at the most. But as my boyfriend said, he would rather "win" third place, then to get second because he lost the final.

Not alot going on today with the gang at Big Brother All-Stars 7. They didn't have a food competition today although the folks there seemed to think there would be one today. James, Janelle, and Kaysar are constantly scheming. They wonder what the next competition will be, and who might win, and who will get voted out first and next. Most of the players are talking about the past. Marcellas mentions that in a conversation with Janelle--that the players seem to be talking more about their seasons as opposed to the competition at hand. Marcellas thinks that will change as time passes. I think that when the first person gets voted out, and we get the next HOH, things will change. The most interesting idea came from Dr. Will today. He was just talking with Mike (Boogie), Danielle, and Nakomis, and he suggested that CBS do something where someone can pay to spend the night in the Big Brother house when the game isn't on. The visitors can then compete in competitions and act like they are part of the show. It could be a weekend type deal, and I would bet that it would go over very well with the fans. Imagine, a chance to stay overnight in the BB house.

Saturday, July 8, 2006 -- Morning

There is news on the Barbaro front. On Monday, Barbaro underwent surgery again to replace the cast on his leg and to replace a couple of bent screws and add three more around his pastern bone. The leg is healing well, but there are complications. It appears that Barbaro had been having problems with the second cast, and that lead to the decision to replace the cast. Also, he has been running a fever over several days which heighten the concern. An abscess was found on the sole of Barbaro's uninjured left hind leg, which again is a problem. This abscess is being treated topically and Barbaro is being given antiobiotics for any systemic problems. Obviously, Barbaro is not out of the woods yet, and it is going to be a long road still. As for the cast, Dr. Dean Richardson said that it will remain until he is certain that Barbaro's bones have healed and have the strength to support the leg on its own.

Friday, July 7, 2006 -- Early Evening

News on the Big Brother All-Stars 7 front is that Janelle won the veto. From a conversation that I am hearing right now with Janelle and James (with Jase in the HOH bed listening on) is that they haven't talked to Kaysar in quite some time. Janelle and James don't like the fact that others in the house seem to think that the season six people are all on the same side. James is trying to figure out the history of the past Big Brother seasons to figure out who is the better player. I wonder where Kaysar is because right now, Howie has joined the others. (He was in the shower cleanning up after the POV competition.) The three players from BB6 are strategizing about who to make alliances with and who can be swayed to join them. It seems that James, Janelle, and Howie are talking about how Kaysar isn't very good at strategy, and he seems to be giving away secrets as opposed to knowing how to keep them. James mocks Kaysar for wanting to go in "competition" against Dr. Will. As James said, Kaysar couldn't go against Maggie, let alone Dr. Will. It also seems that James is friends with Danielle from the wrap party. They are also going over every bit of the POV competition because they think that will be basis of the next HOH competition. Over on one of the other screens, Marcellas and Danielle in the kitchen area talking about their season and various things that have happened since then.

Say it ain't so! The Pens might actually be contemplating bringing back the "Cancer in the Locker Room", Mark Recchi. The Carolina Hurricanes have chosen not to pick up an option on Recchi and he is an unrestricted free agent. It seems from the rumors that I heard that he was also a "Cancer in the Locker Room" there too. The thing is that if you have someone who is disruptive and doesn't get along well with the young members of the team because he feels the need to lord it over them, I say let him retire and lord it over his own house. I think it is abit of the Napoleon complex. Short men have real issues, and I think that it intensifies as they age. Let's hope that Ray Shero doesn't fall into the Recchi trap and bring him back. Excise the cancer!

Thursday, July 6, 2006 -- Evening

Finally we are into summer and Big Brother All-Stars 7. I love the show. It was the highlight of my summer last year when I was laid up with the bunion surgery. The folks who saw the one hour of live feed on Tuesday were 100% correct. All the contestants mentioned earlier in the week were in, and there are 14 in total. Marcellas did get in, but he wasn't one of the fan votes. I thought that was surprising and so did he. He kept low key though in this show--at least without watching the live feeds. Danielle was trying to scheme, and Alison was running around trying to pressure Jase to go against the BB6 crowd. Read the recap to find out who is HOH and who is nominated.

Thursday, July 6, 2006 -- Afternoon

There was an interesting matchup at Wimbledon today. I say interesting not because of the actual match itself, but because it featured a feminine player versus a masculine player. Maria Sharapova played Amelie Mauresmo in a semi-final match and lost with a score of 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. I'm sorry, but everytime I see Mauresmo, I think I'm looking at a guy. She has a very masculine face, and sometimes, I'm sure I've seen a five o'clock shadow on her/his chin. The question I have is do we know for sure that Mauresmo is a girl. I would imagine from the fact that she really hasn't whooped the women players that much that she isn't a man, but boy---that face and figure really tell a different story. Take a look at picture 1 and picture 2 and tell me I'm wrong.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 -- Evening

I am behind in finding things out obviously, because I just found out that it was possible to see the World Cup soccer games online. ESPN 360 has had free access to online viewing of ESPN shows and live events until July 19. So I was glued to the computer at work listening and watching the France vs. Portugal game. It was another thriller, with the sole score coming from a penalty kick in the 32 minute of the game. Zinedine Zidane put the ball in the net for France then based on the trip on Thierry Henry by Ricardo Carvalho--who had his groin stomped by Wayne Rooney. So we will have France and Italy in the World cup Final. I'm cheering on Italy. The game will be played on Sunday at 2 pm ET. Meanwhile, the two losers, Germany and Portugal, get to duke it out in a battle of the losers. I could never understand bronze medal games, and this is one of them. So you weren't good enough to win the Cup, but hey, you get to "win" third place. The loser game will be on Saturday, 3 pm ET. One of the things that I admire about the soccer players is that after the game, the players wander around on the field and congratulate or console the players on the other team. Then there is the shirt switch. Today, Zidane went up to Luis Figo and asked for his shirt. The two exchanged shirts, and Zidane put on Figo's shirt.

Two things: the folks at CBS are a bunch of screwups and the fans of Big Brother All-Stars 7 are bunch of really obsessive fans. How else to explain folks scanning the live feeds on the Fourth of July to pick up the one hour of CBS broadcasting audio from the house. Some of the other things that folks are rumoring is that the first twist of the summer is that 14 houseguests were selected for Big Brother as opposed to 12. The theory is that the extra two came from a competition between the eight who didn't make it by votes. It also appears that there are two Head of Households in the first competition--and those two are Jase and Janelle. Supposedly, both will have to agree on whom to nominate, and if they don't, then they are up on the chopping block. Supposedly, from the one hour of feeds, someone was able to gather that folks are conspiring against Janelle. It will be interesting how close to the truth the analysis is. I'm figuring it's spot on.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

I am really getting excited about Big Brother All-Stars 7 because it will be starting tomorrow. That means I signed up for the live feeds today and started checking around on the sites that talk about Big Brother, like Joker's Updates. Well, it seems that there was a glitch in the live feeds, and things may have been broadcast. Some folks are claiming that they know who made it into the house. Now, I'm not sure how reliable this rumor is because the live feeds are not available right now and won't be until after the show tomorrow. Also, if the show tomorrow is "live" then that would mean that the word isn't out. However, in the past, I think the first show was not live, and the folks were in the house prior to the viewing so we could get some nice juicy clips on the show. Folks rumored to be in the house are: ‘Chicken’ George Boswell, Marcellas Reynolds, Kaysar Ridha, Howie Gordon, Jase Wirey, James Rhine, ‘Dr. Evil’ Will Kirby, Mike Matlin, Janelle Pierzina, Alison Irwin, Danielle Reyes, Diane Henry, Nakomis (Jennifer) Dedmon and Erika Landin.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 -- Evening

Today is Independence Day here in the US. Unfortunately, it has been a rainy day here in Pittsburgh. Plans are still on for the Fourth fireworks in the Downtown area, but who wants to watch it in a drizzle? Obviously not me!

The German vs. Italy game was great today. As I said a few days ago, I am cheering on Italy and France, so I was getting quite nervous as the game was progressing into overtime with a scoreless tie. As the overtime progressed the game announcers were saying that German was unbeatable in shootouts--basically because the team goes into the shootout with a cold, bloodless, analytic viewpoint. The Italians, on the other hand, suck as shootouts because they are very emotional and don't hold together well under the pressure. I was starting to resign myself to a Germany win when Fabio Grosso scored a goal for Italy with one minute left in the final overtime stoppage time. The audience went wild. In the remaining minute, Germany got the ball back, and put some real pressure on the Italy goal, when Italy got the ball back. They had a breakaway with a sole Italian player, Alberto Gilardino, running strongly with a couple of tired looking German players running after him. Gilardino passed the ball to Alessandro Del Piero who scored the final blow with a goal at the 120 minute mark. The whistle blew a few seconds later, and the game was over. Italy goes to the World Cup finals on Sunday.

In other soccer news, it appears that the Football Association (FA) will be responding to the red card against Wayne Rooney. It seems that FIFA won't be receiving the apology that it is expecting from Rooney. It is evident from looking at the video that Rooney stamped Ricardo Carvalho in the groin. Rooney is a thug with an attitude problem. Yeah, he was frustrated, but his actions are what lead to the red card that put England at a disadvantage.

The Pens signed another free agent today. This time it was Jarkko Ruutu. His specialty appears to be in racking up penalty minutes which I'm not sure that the Pens really need at this point because we have enough trouble killing penalty minutes. Last season was his best, but it's not that impressive to me. Obviously I don't know what Ray Shero is looking for, but I'm wondering why he sees in Ruutu.

The space shuttle Discovery was launched this morning, and it successfully got into orbit. The launch was delayed from last week because of bad weather, and there was concern that it might need to be delayed further by a crack that was found in the insulation on the fuel tanks. However, NASA deemed it safe. This is the first time that NASA launched a space shuttle on the Fourth of July. Again there was more debris that fell from the fuel tanks, but NASA is saying that it was too high to do any damage to the shuttle. The shuttle should return to Earth on July 16 after testing new safety equipment and procedures. Also on the schedule is a delivery of 13 tons of equipment and supplies to the International Space Station.

Monday, July 3, 2006 -- Afternoon

A few changes have happened on the Pens front today. First was that the hiring of former Montreal Canadien GM, Andre Savard as an assistant coach for Michel Therrien. It seems that Savard has done a slew of things like coaching, scouting, and GM. It's interesting that he would come to Pittsburgh for an assistant coaching role. I would have thought that he would have gone for a higher role in hockey. Next is that Ray Shero picked up Mark Eaton as a free agent from the Nashville Predators. Eaton is a defenseman and lead his team in blocked shots. We do need some help in defense, and I hope that Eaton is going to provide it.

In other hockey news, Chris Pronger has been traded to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Anaheim traded away some future prospects for Pronger. The other news is that Steve Yzerman is retiring from the Detroit Red Wings. It seems that Yzerman thinks this will be in the best interests of the team and himself, and prevent things from becoming a soap opera. It seems that the coaching staff thought that Yzerman might be past it at 41, and didn't play him at crucial times in the playoffs. If you know that you aren't considered productive, you can take it to heart. Yzerman is a standup kind of guy and just wants to do what is best for the team.

Sunday, July 2, 2006 -- Afternoon

I have not been feeling well for the past few days. I think that it is either a stomach flu or a slight bout of food poisoning from something that I ate at lunch time on Friday. Food poisoning may be a strong way to phrase it because it may just be that the food disagreed with me, and the effects just lingered for a few days. Needless to say, I wasn't up to blogging yesterday, but I did spend some time watching soccer.

The World Cup games yesterday were exciting and disappointing. Disappointing in light of the fact that I am a huge David Beckham fan. Yes, as you probably already know, England lost yesterday in the shootout phase of the game. The team was not playing well, and should have scored a goal at some point. However, the match with Portugal went to a 0-0 after 30 minutes of overtime. Beckham hurt his leg and left the game in the 52nd minute. The sad news for all of his fans is that Beckham announced today that he is giving up his role as England's captain, although he hopes to continue to play on the team. Another sore spot for England was when Wayne Rooney showed his thugish temperature by kicking one of the Portugal players in the groin. Rooney was ejected from the game in the 61st minute, and that left England with a one man disadvantage. Sven-Goran Eriksson has asked that the fans not be too harsh with Rooney, but it seems that this is the first time that he has let his temper get the best of him and act like a brute. The telling bit about Rooney is that he hasn't scored a single goal in the qualifiers and the recent games in the tournament--and he's a striker. His soul job is to make goals! Not only did he let his team down by not scoring and contributing, but by pulling a stupid move of temper that put his team at a huge disadvantage. Portugal went on to win the penalty kick round with 3 goals to 1. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the final penalty kick for Portugal.

The France vs. Brazil game was quite exciting, and Zinedine Zidane showed that he is very deserving of the title of footballer of his generation by delivering when it was needed. He fed the ball to Thierry Henry for the lone goal of the game. Ronaldo was a disppointment for the Brazilian team. The semi-finals will have German playing Italy on Tuesday and France playing Portugal on Wednesday. I think that I will be cheering on Italy and France. It would be interesting to have France win the Cup when they were almost out of it Stage 1 of the competition.

In American football news, Ben Roethlisberger has been healing faster than was expected, and they are thinking that he will be fit enough to throw the football in some light practices next week. As of now, it is anticipated that Roethlisberger will be able to starting training camp on July 28. That might be the first chance we all have to see what Roethlisberger looks like because the news media will be in attendance (along with alot of fans).