The Daily Bongo

July 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 -- Afternoon

I have been a fan of the KDKA Sports Showdown. It's a local show with four local sports reporter discussing sports topics of the days. Some of the topics are local; others have a national bend. Lately there has been some controversy on the show. Recently, Joe Starkey, the sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Trib raised the ire of the producers because he questioned the motivation behind Ellis Cannon, a talk show guy on one of the local sports broadcasts, supporting the Pittsburgh Pirates management. As Starkey said, the radio station was a contributor to the Pirates, and that might color Cannon's viewpoint. My gosh, you would have thought that the sky collapsed. It sounded like a perfectly reasonable question, especially with Cannon's narrow-minded view, and the fact that Cannon allowed himself to be used for the Bound for Glory show. Cannon lost all credibility to me when he acted as if Dick Butkus was the coach of the Montour Spartans when it actually was Lou Cerro. So the new controversy happened this Sunday. Paul Zeise from the Post Gazette was talking about the Michal Vick controversy. Vick was suspended, and told not to report to camp because of the dog fighting allegations against him. It looks bad for Vick because it looks like he actually was involved in dog fighting and did some heinous things. However, Zeise commented that Vick would have gotten off better if he had raped a woman because he would have just been suspended for four games and allowed to continue to play. The thing is that Zeise's comment was true. The problem is with the sports organizations (NFL and NBA) that have not put much stock in penalizing criminal actions. I mean, Kobe Bryant was allowed to continue to play even while on trial for rape. Vick, however, doesn't get the same treatment. I know that was Zeise's point. However, that holds no water with KDKA. Zeise had to apologize for his comments. Then KDKA proclaimed that they hold no responsibility for the participants' comments (there is a new disclaimer at the start of the show.) Then the Post-Gazette apologized. Zeise is no longer going to be on the show, and I think that the whole thing is ridiculous. Unfortunately, we live in a very sorry society where someone is so penalized for a comment that holds truth. We may not like to hear what is said, but unfortunately, that doesn't make it less true. I hope that Zeise doesn't suffer further from this incident. I sent an email to KDKA in support of Paul, but got no response. I really don't expect one. Unfortunately, this has really made me lose respect for the powers that be at KDKA.

Monday, July 30, 2007 -- Afternoon

I am getting more interested in Big Brother 8 as the show progresses. Last night's episode was entertaining when we got to see the houseguests fixating on who was the second vote for Kail. It was Eric's vote as America's Player, but they don't know that. The tension builds as no one suspects Eric, but everyone thinks that Nick is the culprit. Now poor Nick is being labeled a turncoat, and someone not worthy of trust. It's amazing how the wheels spin in the brains of these people. I grow to like Eric more and more every day. I think that he was an excellent choice as America's Player. He is one of those people who just gets along with others, and really is doing a great job at carrying out the tasks assigned to him. The vote for yesterday's show was to pick a phrase that Eric would try to get everyone in the house to use. The options were "Sweet Chicken," "Boo-yaha," (or something like that) and "I would do that for a dollar." I went with the dollar quote because I can see so many chances to use that one. Meanwhile, Evil Dick is trying to make nice with his daughter, Daniele, but she seems dead set against him. Whatever happened in the past, she isn't willing to forgive. From what we learned in an earlier show, Daniele borrowed money from Dick, and then didn't pay it back. There was alot of crying on both side, and Daniele gave Dick a half-hearted hug. Boy, is that girl thin! Daniele's arms look so thin that I would imagine them breaking with the slightest pressure. The show ended with the nominations, and this time we seem a more human side to Jen when she cries by herself over her nomination. When Dick nominated her, she wasn't hurt, but this nomination is more personal to her. It seems though, from watching the feeds, that Jameka is going to use the POV that she won this weekend on Kail. It seems that Nick is going to be nominated, and he is the one who is going to be voted out. Who will America's Player vote for? Whatever happens, it will create tons of drama in the house after the vote is revealed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007 -- Evening

I have finally finished by review of Harry Potter. I loved the book, and I have to admit that the story has been preying on my mind since I started reading the book.

Even though there is a new HOH in the Big Brother house, there hasn't been alot of change in nominees for eviction. Kail and Jen are on the block. This time, it seems that things are going to stay that way since Jameka has won POV.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 -- Evening

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley
Robert Burns got it right with To a Mouse. I had planned on having time during the day to work on my Harry Potter review. However, that didn't happen. I had a lengthy eye appointment, and just couldn't find the time during the day to get anything accomplished. Now as evening settles in, I find myself lacking the energy to write. However, there is always tomorrow. For those who can't wait, the only I will say is that I loved the book. I finished with a satisfied feeling. So keep an eye out for the review tomorrow.

I did have time, however, to watch the latest episode of Big Brother 8. After all, I have to find out what happens in the house, and who leaves, Kail or Mike. It was another live vote in the BB house. I don't remember this being done in the past years of BB. The very first thing we see in the episode is Dick campaigning to get rid of Mike. Everyone seems to see Mike as a threat, and they want to send him home. As Dick said, Kail is a mess, so he would rather have Mike go out. Eric is given the assignment from America to get Kail voted out. His job isn't an easy one because people really seem to want Mike out. The shocking part of the episode was watching the segment with Daniele's boyfriend. The guy looks very dorky compared to Nick. He isn't concerned about Nick hitting on his girlfriend, which I think is interesting. Finally it is time for the vote. Only Eric and Jen voted for Kail. Eric did it in his role as America's Player. As time goes by, I am finding that I like Eric more and more. It was shocking that Mike went out because he really didn't seem like a bad person. I think his biggest flaw was that he didn't talk much to anyone. Eric was playing the HOH competition, but then answered a question too quickly and was eliminated from the final three. Dustin is now HOH.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 -- Evening

So there is alot of something being made out of the fact that Jordan Staal was arrested late Saturday/early Sunday morning for disorderly conduct. Staal was at a resort in Minnesota for a bachelor party for his brother, Eric. Well, the group was fairly noisy, and the police decided to take action around 3 a.m. Jordan was booked and released, but Eric was held overnight. The Staals' agent said that the brothers were there, but they had gone to bed. Jordan was charged with disorderly conduct and underage drinking. The Pens did not have an official comment. As Ray Shero said, they know that something transpired and are waiting for the legal system to take its due course. The agent, Rick Curran, said that he thinks the charges will be dropped or reduced.

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night, and hope to have my review of the book finished by tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 -- Morning

Big Brother 8 news. It seems that Jen saved herself with the POV last night, and Mike is now up on the block. Does this mean that Kail will be going home on Thursday? I think that MIke has a few allies in the house so he might be safe. We'll have to wait until Thursday to find out. On the show tonight, we will get to see the POV competition and ceremony.

Troy Polamalu signed a five year contract for $33 million dollars with the Steelers yesterday. Now that he is locked up, the Steelers can see if there is any money left off with the cap for other players. More money might be offered to Alan Faneca, but I don't know if that will persuade him to stay with the Steelers. He was pretty adamant that this would be his last year with the team.

Monday, July 23, 2007 -- Afternoon

I am still reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I think that I should be done with it sometime this evening. Right now, I have around 300 pages left to read, and the action has really started to build. I really wonder where thing are going to go, and how things are resolved. It sucked to leave the book behind at home while I came to work. I know if I brought it to work, I would try to read it--especially since I was just getting to a very tense moment. I hope to have more information on the book tomorrow.

The Big Brother 8 show was pretty interesting last night. We got to see some interactions between Dick and Daniele. Daniele approached Dick saying that she is conflicted because she has a boyfriend and is confused about Nick. There has been alot of drama in the house between Dick and other members of the household. It's going to be interesting to see who nominates to replace Jen on the eviction block. When I think back to the start of the season, and how I was bored with the show, it just makes me realize that you have to give the show time. Big Brother is one of those shows where the pot simmers slowly, and then suddenly comes to a boil.

Today is the first day of Steelers training camp. There should be plenty of stories about how Mike Tomlin is handling the team, and if there is any controversy over the Alan Faneca situation. Faneca has made it clear that this will be his last season with the Steelers because he is unhappy about the financial offer from the Steeler management.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 -- Evening

I was one of those people who queued up at midnight to buy the latest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. By the time I got home, I was feeling tired from having allergy problems for the past few days, and only read a few pages. I've been doing some reading today, but haven't had alot of reading opportunities. Now it is later in the evening, and i hope to get a good bit of reading done tonight. So far, I'm abit over 100 pages into the book, and really enjoying it. The action has been great. I have this feeling of anticipation, wondering what will happen. How will Harry win in the end, and which two characters will die (as publicized by J.K. Rowling befor the book's publication). I've been trying to avoid any sites that might give too much information, because I don't want to ruin all of the suspense. Hopefully, I will have more to say about the book soon.

The Big Brother 8 folks have had an interesting day. I haven't really watched the live feeds, but from checking on Joker's Updates, Dick nominated both Kail and Jen for eviction. The POV was also held today, and Jen won it. Now it appears that Dick may nominate Zack in Jen's place.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 -- Evening

I just finished watching the live eviction on Big Brother 8 this evening. I know that originally I was thinking that the show would be boring, but things have picked up since I got to know the characters. Evel Dick is the most fun, and fortunately, he was able to escape eviction. Joe was the person evicted from the house with a vote of nine to one. Then in true Big Brother fashion, Dick went on to win the HOH competition. I'm guessing that he is going to nominate Jen and Kail. Dick hates Jen, and Kail was campaigning against him.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 -- Afternoon

The Pens signed an extra, veteran goalie to the team with the signing of Ty Conklin to the lineup. He is expected to play with the Baby Pens. However, if needed, he can join move up to the majors. The Pens also announced their promotions. There are four bobbleheads on the scheduled, honoring Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Mark Recchi's 500th career goal last year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 -- Afternoon

There's lots of drama today in the Big Brother house. The house is divided over the Dick and Joe nomination. Joe has Kail on his side, and she is trying to get her Mrs. Robinson alliance to vote for Dick--with Dick leaving. Kail is starting to realize that the three guys that she thought were in her alliance aren't as committed. Nick and Daniele are support Dick. It's going to come down to the wire tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have to wonder if there isn't a leak from the producers to the team in the house. I heard the Mrs. Robinson comment in describing the actions of Kail, Zach, Mike, and Nick. Then they started using it in the house. Interesting! Meanwhile Jen is still wearing, or barely wearing, her unitard.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 -- Evening

I just finished watching this evening's episode of Big Brother 8. Amber annoyed me first by crying so much during the show. It seems that that girl has issues with everything. First she was crying because Dick and Daniele were nominated. Then she was crying because Jen threatened her over the Power of Veto competition. Amber's ball was picked by Dick, and Jen told Amber that if she didn't eliminate Daniele and Dick from the competition, she would put Dustin up. Jen is really doing a good job of alientating most of the other houseguests. After Daniele wins the POV, Zack talks Jen into nominating Joe for eviction. Of course, Jen wants to nominate Nick because she is jealous of his relationship with Daniele. In the end, Jen nominates Joe. The other thing that is glaringly obvious is that Daniele looks like she has a weight problem. The girl is so thin that it's painful to watch her. Nick, however, admits to Daniele that he has strong feelings for her. It will be interesting to see how that relationship fares. The thing is that some of the people in the BB house suffer from something akin to Stockholm Syndrome. Being "held captive" in the house, they start to develop intense relationships. I guess it could be called Big Brother Syndrome. We will find out on Thursday who gets voted out of the house.

Monday, July 16, 2007 -- Late Morning

Michel Therrien signed a one year contract extension with the Pens today. I thought that it would have been more than a year. It makes me wonder about the comments that some were making in the middle of the season that Ray Shero wasn't happy with Therrien and might want to replace him. Of course, Therrien will have two more seasons with the Pens.

I watched the Sunday edition of Big Brother 8 last night. I have to admit that there were some very funny moments in it. Jen is totally wrapped up in herself, and spends so much time talking about herself that the guys started a drinking game. Everytime Jen says "I", they take a sip of their drink. Of course, they wind up constantly sipping. I think that the two houseguests who make the show interesting are Jen and Dick. It will be disappointing if Dick goes this week. Daniele has the POV, and will take herself off the block. We should know today who Jen puts up in her place.

Sunday, July 15, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

It was another day at the Vintage Grand Prix. The turn out for the races, at least my mid-afternoon seemed light to me. I know in past years, it would be difficult to even find a space near the fence that lined the racetrack. Last year and this year, it was easy to find a place. Also, Sunday is pretty much just race day with very few cars on display. The golf course is lined with tents for groups that are proud to display their yuppiness while looking down their noses at the rest of the rabble trudging over the golf course. If you are a fan of the races, and like to bake in the hot sun while you see a few cars whiz by every now and again, then the Sunday of the Vintage Grand Prix is for you. If you would rather live vicariously through others, you can take a look at my pictures of the second day.

Saturday, July 14, 2007 -- Late Evening

Today was a busy day. It was the 25th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, and the cars and crowds filled Schenley Park. Today was warm-up and qualifying day for the racers, and British car day for the auto displayers. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous, sunny and not too hot. I managed to get alot of really nice pictures. While my boyfriend and I were on the golf course looking at the cars, the announcer came on the loud speaker and announced that Sidney Crosby had come in to town, and was there to see the show. Tomorrow the races will be held, and I hope to be there to see them. I hope that the rain storms forecast for tomorrow hold off until later in the day.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 -- Later Evening

I just finished watching Big Brother 8. It was eviction night, and Carol was booted out of the house. The only person who voted for her was Jen. The show was relatively boring--after all the live feeds and show have been extremely boring so far this season. We got to see Eric's family. He is a huge fan of Big Brother and has watched every season. His family was originally not happy to hear that he was America's Player. Eric voted Carol out based on America's vote. Now his assignment is going to be to campaign against a person of America's Choice. Jen, the person that everyone in the house hates, won the HOH competition because she was good at guessing what everyone in the house thought about a set of questions. She also has the closest number in the tie breaker question which was how many gallons of water the giant teacup held. The teacup fit a few people and spins around. Well, it was a trick question because there was a doorway in the cup, so it only held 9 gallons. Everyone, except for Jen, guessed numbers in the hundreds. Jen guessed 41 gallons, which was closest to 9. I am hoping that things will pick up now that the person everyone hates is HOH. I'm hoping for some exciting eviction nominations.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens signed Colby Armstrong to a two year deal. Armstrong will make $1.2 million each season. Armstrong initially was going to go to arbitration, but accepted this deal to avoid the arbitration process.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 -- Afternoon

The NHL has released the upcoming season's schedule. The Pens have a few good games coming up. The home opener on October 6 is with the Anaheim Ducks. I'm really looking forward to the December 3 game at home against the Phoenix Coyotes. It will be my chance to get some pictures of the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Believe it or not, I wasn't very excited about watching Big Brother last night. When I got up this morning, I thought that I would catch up and fast forward through the commercials. Well, the episode was as boring as the live feeds have been. We did get to see the POV competition which was just basically a game of hide 'n' seek. Each of the six competing houseguests got to hide a veto in the house. Then they had to go and hunt for the others in the remaining time. Daniele won because she hid the veto in the pot of slop. They tore up the house looking for the veto. The other bizarre thing that we saw was Jen lying to a group about Nick trying to make out with her. Jen claimed that she rebuffed him and that was why Nick was making out with Daniele. Joe, being the tattletail, told Nick who confronted Jen in front of the group. Jen stuck to her lie, and then finally admitted to Nick that she was jealous of him making out with all the other girls. The thing is that Jen is just plain obnoxious. On House Calls, Gretchen Massey has been trying to tell people to stick with it because it will get better. I doubt it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 -- Morning

Sidney Crosby signed a five year extension to his contract either late last night or early this morning. The deal is rumored to be at $9 million a year, but the official announcement doesn't mention any financial aspects.

Sunday, July 8, 2007 -- Evening

The second Big Brother 8 episode was on this evening. The show validated my thoughts that this is a shallow bunch of losers. Jen had a hissy, crying fit because her picture on the BB wall was too ugly. As she whined and cried to everyone, she doesn't usually look like that, and she put her hand over the picture and refused to move until BB replaced the picture. We also got to see the food competition, where the houseguests got to stand under a butter vat and get butter all over them. Then their team mates got to remove the butter from their bodies with their hands. Again Jen was acting the shallow Princess and told Dick that she didn't want him to touch her. Meanwhile anorexic Daniele seems to be making some moves to get along with her dad--telling the diary room cameras that they have each others' backs. We also got to find out what America's Player, Eric, would have to do for his first assignment. he has to pour out his heart to someone and tell that person a sob story about his past. We get to vote on the person he tells. What a lame task!!! Boy, this season is really sucking! To see tonight's episode online, go to the CBS BB video page.

Saturday, July 7, 2007 -- Evening

Today was 7-7-07. So what better day than today to go to the Zoo? My boyfriend and I decided to go to the Pittsburgh Zoo today. There have been a ton of promotions on TV about the "Polar Bear Experience." The zoo built a walkway under the polar bear swimming pool so you could observe the bears in the water. While we were there, the temperatures were in the 80s which I thought would send the polar bears diving into the water. However, that was not the case. The polar bears just wanted to be in a shady spot, and were pacing to see if they could get in their cave. Most of the animals were either lying in shade or in hiding. You have to feel sorry for them because even though the zoo has improved some of the exhibits, you could still see alot of the neurotic pacing that caged, bored, unhappy animals display. I know that I was hot and thirsty after the two hour zoo visit. Obviously, the people weren't as smart as the animals, and we were trekking around in the heat of the day. We skipped the monkey area because when we walked in to the monkey area, the smell was overwhelming. Another interesting note is that the zoo allows folks to bring in food. So you could take in your own small coolers with drinks and food. Also, the costs for the food wasn't very expensive. I got a hot dog, box of popcorn, and drink for under $7. Yeah, that's alot, but still cheaper similar places. Check out my zoo pictures.

The Big Brother folks have been very boring. There was a discussion of religion, and they are all commenting on the youth of the houseguests. All very boring so far. However, the strategizing might get better as the weeks progress--we hope! Daniele won the Power of Veto, and is probably not going to use it. it's not the brightest move to use the Veto this early in the game--especially for people that you really don't know.

Friday, July 6, 2007 -- Afternoon

The live feeds are on and boring. There hasn't been alot of action, although the nominations for eviction did happen. Amber and Carol are the two who are nominated. So far, I haven't been very impressed with the houseguests this season. They all appear to be on the lame side. The most annoying factor is whoever did the casting for the show decided that we all wanted to see a bunch of vapid 20 somethings running around and creating drama. I know that I, for one, would like to see some vapid 30 somethings creating drama. We'll have to see how annoying the youth factor becomes on the show. Right now, the live feeds are showing a repeat of last year's Big Brother quiz. You would have thought that they would have been able to come up with new questions for this season. I'm assuming since they are showing the quiz that the houseguests must be getting prepared for the food competition.

Jocelyn Thibault has signed a one year deal with the Buffalo Sabres. I suppose that he was getting tired of playing second fiddle with the Pens and wanted to make something of his career.

Thursday, July 5, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens have re-signed Maxime Talbot and Erik Christensen today. Both of them got two year contracts. Christensen gets $750,000 for each year of the contract, and Talbot gets $650,000 the first year and $700,000 the second. Not a bad chunk of change. Meanwhile, Colby Armstrong has gone to arbitration. It doesn't mean that he won't sign with the Pens, but that he hasn't been happy with the offer so far. Usually players go to arbitration when they feel they aren't being offered what they are worth. I'm not a huge Armstrong fan, and personally, I wouldn't pay him much. In my opinion, Armstrong underperformed most of the time.

I have been working on my GRE page. I still haven't posted my flash cards yet, but I do give tips on how I studied. Hopefully, this informatiion can help others prepare for the GRE.

Big Brother 8 started this evening. I have to admit that the contestants seem pretty lame this year. In fact, I'm not sure there are that many heterosexual men in the group. The most annoying guy is Joe, and his voice is like nails on a cholkboard for me. The story is that there are six people in the group who are enemies. The enemies: Dick and his estranged daughter, Daniele; Dustin and bitter former boyfriend Joe; and Jessica and former high school chum, Carol. Dick, Dustin, and Jessica were locked in a room upstairs and watched the entry of the other 11. They played a role in picking the HOH, Kali when both she and Eric won the HOH competition as a pair. Before the three came out to meet the other 11, Joe was really bashing Dustin, claiming that Dustin gave him gonorrhea. Joe admitted that he did everything to screw up Dustin's life. We really don't know the story behind Daniele and her father--just that she is crying because he's there. I have to admit that he doesn't look like a winner--with tattoos and pearcings all over. The Carol and Jessica feud is the lamest. It's juvenile compared t the others. All we know is that Carol owes Jessica $5 from when they were 14. Lame-o!! Eric is the America's Player. We will get to vote to have him do things that may have a strategic impact. Starting in the next show on Sunday, we can start ordering Eric aroung. I didn't do a complete recap of the show because the show should be available on the CBS Big Brother page. They have been putting things out with Innertube since last year. Right now, nothing is going on with the live feeds. I think that they are waiting for those in the Pacific time zone to see the show on CBS before they turn on the live feeds. I will have my eye on the feeds tomorrow, however.

Monday, July 2, 2007 -- Morning

Some surprising news from the Pens front this morning. There were rumors from the local television stations (KDKA) that the Pens were going to sign Paul Kariya. I wondered about that because I think they get their rumors from a loser who is always wrong. Well, I was right. Kariya was signed by the St. Louis Blues. However, the Pens did make a signing. They signed Petr Sykora and Darryl Sydor.

Sunday, July 1, 2007 -- Early Evening

It looks like the CBS page is up for Big Brother 8. The 14 houseguests don't look too interesting so far. Most of them are generically young and good looking. Most are in their 20s, except for a guy in his forties who is covered in tattoos. Let's hope that we when start to watch it gets more interesting. One of the twists is that some of the house guests will be in the house with an enemy--or someone that they have unfinished business with. The other interesting bit will be that there will be someone who will be called "America's Player." This person will have to do things that the viewers vote on. There could be strategic things that they are told to do. However, that house guest won't be able to tell anyone that they are America's Player.

Sunday, July 1, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens resigned Ryan Whitney to a six year contract. Whitney should make $24 million over the deal.

The big signing in the NHL free agency so far was Daniel Briere to the Flyers for $52 million over eight years.

Sunday, July 1, 2007 -- Afternoon

Today is the first day of the NHL free agency. It started around noon today, and some big names are available. There isn't any work yet on whether the Pens are considering anyone. Some of the people who are shopping around are Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, and Paul Kariya.

Also in hockey news: the new members of the Hockey Hall of Fame were announced on Thursday. Mark Messier, Ran Francis, and Scott Stevens were inducted on their first year of eligibility.