The Daily Bongo

June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006 -- Late Evening

Today was an exciting day in soccer. First up was the German and Argentina game. Argentina took the early lead with a goal at 48 minutes. It was looking dire for Germany before Miroslav Klose (born in Poland, but a naturalized German citizen) scored the tying goal at 79 minutes. The game went to a shootout which Germany with 4 penalty shots to Argentina's two. The next game up was Italy against the Ukraine. Italy took the lead in the first five minutes. Luca Toni scored two more goals for Italy in the 58th and 68th minutes to make the final score 3-0 for Italy. The thing that sucks is that the only mar on Italy's record is the tie with the US team, and the only goal that the US "scored" was a deflection of an Italian player into his own net. The sad thing was that the US was so excited about this self goal that they didn't realize what losers they were. Germany will play Italy on July 4th. Tomorrow is the England vs. Portugal game and the Brazil vs. France game.

Another disappointing hibachi style steakhouse experience. I had been hearing from friends that Nakama had the best food. Little did I know that these were probably the same folks who think that Benihana is good eating. Well, Benihana isn't and neither is Nakama. In fact, Nakama was just a more expensive version of Benihana with higher costs. The chef that we had was boring and did no tricks at all. He spent most of the evening staring down the cleavage of one of my table mates. The quality of food was sadly on the same par as that of Benihana--tasteless and overcooked. The method of cooking was the same. Each item was cooked separately. So the veggies were cooked and ice cold by the time the rice was ready, which in turn was ice cold by the time that the meat was ready. Our chef, Juma, also had this irritating habit of cooking the steak meat first and THEN asking how someone wanted it cooked. Unfortunately, once meat is well done, it's hard to go back and make it rare or medium. Everyone at my table got well-done meat. My hibachi, sesame chicken was dry from overcooking and tasteless. Even the shrimp was overcooked--tasteless and rubbery. I couldn't even eat the three shrimp that I got, and I LOVE shrimp. The fried rice just tasty strongly of soy sauce with no flavor other than that. So we had salty rice and salty mushrooms. Needless to say, I left (wasted) alot of food because the food was really bad. What every you do, run, don't walk AWAY from Nakama. Nakama is a trendy gathering place (ie meat market) for yuppies whose tasty buds for food and non-slutty clothes is non-existant.

Thursday, June 29, 2006 -- Evening

Mike Lange has been fired by Fox Sports here in Pittsburgh! There were no reasons given, and the local Fox Sports show tried to soften the blow by saying that his contract wasn't renewed. Now this is a guy who is in the Hockey Hall of Fame for his broadcasting skills. The Pens were quick to distance themselves from the decision to fire Lange, and have offered him a position to call the games for radio broadcasts. This is such a shock to all Pens fans. Lange is considering the Pens offer at this point, and I hope he takes them up on it.

Speaking of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Herb Brooks was elected yesterday to the Hall. He was the coach of the 1980 US team that shocked everyone by winning the gold medal in the Olympics, and he was also affiliated with the Pens with several jobs including coach and scout. Also elected to the Hall of Fame was Patrick Roy. The first time I saw Roy, I thought that his name was pronounced as it was spelled as opposed to Wah. So I would always refer to him fondly was Patrick Roy.

I went to the afternoon Pittsburgh Pirates game. The team really sucks and has had a losing season for several years now. The fans have been getting more irate with each losing game. The past 12 games were loses, and that doesn't sit well with baseball fans. The IrateFans are tired of losing, and just want something to be done to improve the team. I know how they feel. Baseball isn't my favorite sport, even though I loved it as a child. But the issues that they have are the same that I had with the Pens when Eddie O was coaching. But that's another story. Anyway, the Pirates won today! It looked like it might be yet another loss when the Chicago White Sox tied the game in the eighth inning. Freddy Sanchez hit a home run in the ninth inning. He was first up in the inning, and just sealed the deal. Final score was 7-6. Sanchez is my favorite player because when he goes up to the plate, he comes through. His batting average is .354 and is second in the league in batting average.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 -- Evening

Dan Marino has said that the reason he decided to join forces with Mark Cuban and Andrew Murstein to buy the Pens because Murstein is committed to keeping the team here in Pittsburgh, and Marino would like to help in any way possible to make that happen. I have to admit that I have started to lose hope that we can keep the Pens here, and got full season tickets for this coming season because I don't expect the Pens to be here much longer. Call it fatalistic, but I just don't see that others who are in the power to make it happen are really that interested.

An asteroid is going to make a close pass by the Earth on July 3. The asteroid is around 1/2 mile wide, and should pass by just a bit farther than the moon's average distance from Earth. Some were worried that the asteroid would hit the Earth later on, but now it's not believed that will happen.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 -- Evening

France was the shocking winner of the game against Spain this afternoon. The final score was 3-1 with French legend, Zinedine Zidane, scoring the final goal for France at 91 minutes. I say that it was shocking because there was concern in the earlier round that France would be eliminated and not make it to the semi-finals. Now they have won against Spain who was undefeated in World Cup competition this year (3-0).

Dan Marino and Mark Cuban have joined with Andrew Murstein in a bid to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tim Benz, a local sports reporter on ESPN Radio, broke the story today. This could strengthen the bid made by Murstein. The group supposedly isn't getting alot of press from the Pens because they think that Plan B might be feasible. Plan B is the proposal to build an arena for the Pens here in Pittsburgh without funding it from a slots license (or being funded by someone who gets the slots license).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

Brazil upped the level of their game today to win their match against Ghana by a score of 3-0. Ronaldo scored the first goal in the first five minutes of the competition. I guess that he is showing all of his nay-sayers that he isn't past it just yet. I'm disappointed because I was hoping for a win from Ghana, just to have the underdog continue on abit more. Ronaldo, however, made World Cup history by scoring his 15th goal since he started playing in the World Cup competitions. That makes Ronaldo the all-time leading scorer. Later this afternoon will be the Spain vs. Italy game.

JK Rowling has said that two characters that she didn't plan on killing off will die in the 7th Harry Potter book. It seems that as she was writing that it just turned out that way. Sometimes when you start to put pen to paper (and in her case she actually does it that way), things go in directions that you haven't planned. In her case, one character that she had planned to kill off is going to survive and two others die. No other clues on who the characters might be, but one of them might be Harry himself. As Rowling said, before this book, she didn't have a strong urge to kill Harry off. In fact, it was necessary that he stay on. Rowling did admit that she can understand the urge that writers have to kill off a favorite creation so it can't be resurrected by someone else. This really sounds like Harry does die in the end. So for my guess, I am thinking that a Weasley is going to die. It may be Ginnie, but it may be Ron. And unfortunately, I think that Harry will be the other.

Monday, June 26, 2006 -- Evening

Another new episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen. The interesting thing about the show is observing the dynamics of the contestants and the constant power struggles. Things were hot today, but it looks like it really heats up next week. Out this week is Tom. Read the recap.

A Bongo Haiku
Hooves tatoo the track--
Horses pace a circular path.
Bets placed at random.

Monday, June 26, 2006 -- Early Evening

What an exciting day in the World Cup matches. First up was the Italy vs. Australia game. The game was a scoreless tie past regulation time and into stoppage time. In the 95th minute, there was controversy over a penalty call when according to the Australians, it looked like Fabio Grosso dived over Lucas Neill. The Australians thought that there should have been a call of a dive, but the Italians got a penalty kick. From what I could see, it looked more like a trip to me! Francesco Totti scored the winning goal on that penalty kick, and then the whistle blew for the end of the game. The Ukraine vs. Switzerland game was more of the same. Regulation time ended in a scoreless tie. 30 minutes of overtime, and it was still a scoreless tie. That's when they went to the shootout. Switzerland was unable to score, but three of the Ukraine players, Artem Milevskiy, Serhiy Rebrov and Oleg Gusev, all scored to get the win for the Ukraine. They will move on to play Italy in the quarterfinals. Tomorrow's games should be equally exciting with Brazil vs. Ghana and Spain vs. France.

The Pens are doing abit of housecleaning today. They only made offers to six of the 17 restricted free agents. Folks who got the offers are Colby Armstrong, Ryan Malone, Brooks Orpik, and my favorite player, Marc-Andre Fleury. Those who did NOT get offers include Konstantin Koltsov, Andy Hilbert, and Tomas Surovy. I think that Ray Shero is going to totally redo the makeup of the team. Hopefully that will get the team winning some games.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 -- Early Evening

The Portugal and Netherlands game was out of control. The referees lost control of the game by the second half, and there were several yellow cards and three red cards doled out. Portugal won and moved on to the next round with a score of 1-0. Ruud van Nistelrooy was not played in the game after the Netherlands coach, Marco van Basten benched van Nistelrooy because of his performance in the earlier World Cup games. Even though van Nistelrooy had a goal, he was substituted in all three games. Tomorrow's matches will be Italy vs. Australia and Switzerland vs. the Ukraine.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

This morning, England played Ecuador for a quarterfinal spot. There was alot of talk about how the heat would affect England and that the Ecuadorians would have an advantage because they were used to high temperatures. With the temperature in the mid 90s, the teams took the field. England wasn't doing well in the first half of the game. David Beckham was putting the ball in front of the net, but the others seemed to have trouble getting it into the net. The announcers were saying that part of the problem was that Wayne Rooney was the only striker on the field. England had a 5-5-1 formation. When the second half started, I was getting nervous because the score was still 0-0. Well, in the 60th minute, England had a free shot, and Beckham took it. He gave the ball a beautiful bend over the wall in front of the net and got the ball in the corner of the net for a goal. It was a beautiful shot. The goalie was guarding Rooney and was totally out of position for Beckham's ball. Beckham is the man! After the shot, Beckham was puking from dehydration from the heat. He was pulled out of the game at 84 minutes so he could rest and drink. England was able to hold off Ecuador and won with a score of 1-0. England will play the winner of the Portugal vs. Netherlands game later this afternoon.

Saturday, June 24, 2006 -- Late Evening

First up is the important sporting news. In the World Cup group of 16 matches today, German defeated Sweden with a score of 2-0. Both goals for Germany were scored by Lukas Podolski. German does seem like a powerhouse team, and they have yet to lose in the World Cup. The Argentina vs. Mexico match went into overtime because the score was tied at 1-1 after regulation. Ties are okay in the first elimination round, but now it is the winner of the match moves to the next round, so a winner must be found. The game will go into two overtimes of 15 minutes each. If the game is still tied after that, it goes to a shootout. Argentina won in the overtime. Final score 2-1. Tomorrow England will be playing Ecuador and Portugal will be playing the Netherlands.

Today was the day of the NHL draft. The St. Louis Blues kept their first pick (they decided to not trade it away), and they took Erik Johnson, the defenseman. He would have been perfect for the Pens because we need some good defensemen. There were rumors that some teams did want to trade for the Pens slot, but none of the deals were good enough for the Pens to pass up Jordan Staal. As my boyfriend said, the Pens are heavy with centers and don't need more, but my comment is that you can't pass up a Staal, especially when Jordan Staal is supposed to be the best of the Staal brothers. (Eric Staal is his brother. The Pens did better with their other picks. They got two defensemen, Carl Sneep and Brian Strait, and a goalie, Chad Johnson. In other moves, the Pens bought out the contracts for Sebastien Caron and Shane Endicott for $200,000 each. Both are now unrestricted free agents. Basically the idea is that the Pens are hoping to save money by getting rid of both players.

Today my boyfriend and I went out with some friends to Benihana and then to the Meadows racetrack to watch some harness racing. I was very excited about the harness racing portion of the plans.

I was extremely disappointed in Benihana. It was one of the worst, expensive meals that I have ever eaten. Benihana is a chain Japanese hibachi steakhouse, and I suppose that explains why the meal was crap. A chain obviously would not be as good as a standalone hibachi steakhouse. The tables were small and crowded. The hibachi stove at the table was small and didn't have a place for the chef to dispose of food scraps. It was a typical hibachi meal with soup, salad with ginger dressing, shrimp appetizers, and main course with veggies, mushrooms, rice and meat. The chef that we had was incompetent at performing any tricks and kept them to a minimum. We were lucky because at the other table, the chef did a move that broke a dish in front of a woman. Because the hibachi stove at the table was so small, and the chef wasn't very competent, the food was cooked one item at a time. The shrimp were done first, and were flavorless. The rice was mixed with egg and chicken, minimal seasoning, and a huge helping of soy sauce. In other words, the rice was the type that someone's grandmother would make who didn't know how to make fried rice--flavorless except for the soy sauce masking the lack of proper cooking. The veggies were cooked first and were sparse. First they were cooked, then the rice, then the mushrooms, and then the meat--scallops first, then steak, then chicken. By the time I got the chicken, the veggies were ice cold. This didn't make the flavorless food any better. Even my chicken was totally devoid of any flavor whatsoever. Basically, they assumed that you would eat your meal item by item instead of together. This was the absolute worse experience that I have ever had in a hibachi style restaurant. If you are ever considering going to a Benihana, don't! If you want hibachi style food, go to Shogun in Monroeville. The cost is the same, and the food is 100% better. If you want to just take $50 out of your pocket and burn it while forcing flavorless crap down your throat, then go to Benihana. I will never return there again!

We went to the Meadows racetrack today. It's maybe half an hour from our house and has harness racing. When I was a child, I used to read books on betting and would make pretend bets on the horses. The local newspaper would have the racing entries for the day, and I would write down my predictions on who would win, place, and show. Then I would check to see how I did the next day. With practice, I was pretty good. I haven't done that in years, so today my record was not very good. I gave my boyfriend the tips, and we won a few dollars. Basically we bet $20 and won $10 to $12. I hope to get better with practice, and plan on going to the races more often. The most exciting was the tenth race. I picked Solomon's Boogedy because his name is similar to my boyfriend's. Well, he was hanging at the end of the pack, but came on in the stretch to finish in a dead heat for second place. My boyfriend was really excited by that one. Out of the ten races that we saw, I picked two winners--Hidden Viggorish (won the 8th race) and Komodo (won the 11th race). Hidden Viggorish won the second division of the Currier & Ives 3 year old filly trot. She has five wins and one place out of seven races. Not bad--and obviously an easy pick to win. We bet for the horses to show because that would be a guaranteed way to get some money if the horse finished in the top three. I'm going to research handicapping again, and try my hand at exactas and trifectas. Here are a slew of pictures from the night.

Saturday, June 24, 2006 -- Morning

I forgot to mention that I returned to Silk Elephant, the Thai Tapas place here in Squirrel Hill. My last visit there was not the best, and I was leery of going back. What I was worried about was that my boyfriend and I were taking someone there who was new to the place. Well, let me just say that the service was stellar. The food was brought out quickly and was delicious and hot. We got a slew of tapas that we shared and entrees. The calamari was abit overcooked, but not rubbery and chewy. The chicken curry puffs and taro puffs were great. A note to the wise, the taro curry puffs are NOT on the menu, but ask the wait staff, and you can get them. I wasn't as pleased with the salmon rolls, but I am not a huge fan of salmon. For the entree, my boyfriend and I had fruit rice curry. This one sounds bizarre, but was extremely tasty. It was basically curry fried rice with grapes, pineapple, and apple in it. The grapes were extremely tasty because they were warm and juicy. The dish was sweet and spicy--a must try for anyone. The guy who was with us had a tasty pear saki with his meal that I sampled. It was smooth and tasty, served warm (room temperature). All in all, it was a grand experience--good food, great service, extremely friendly wait staff, and no rushing you out of the place.

Friday, June 23, 2006 -- Late Evening

One of the local sports writers brought up an interesting comment about Santonio Holmes. It seems that the NFL has a zero tolerance policy against players who exhibit violent behavior. Holmes recent arrest for domestic violence fits into the type of things that the NFL frowns upon. Because of this, there is the possibility that the NFL could review the arrest as it pertains to the personal conduct policy, and could result in Holmes being advised to see help with his problem or suspension. This would definitely not be good for the Steelers. At this point, there isn't any official word on a review on Holmes, even though once players are drafted, they are held accountable to NFL policy. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens.

Tomorrow is the NHL draft. The Pens will have the second pick. The St. Louis Blues have the first pick and word has it that they are going to pick Erik Johnson who is a hot defenseman. It sucks because the Pens could really use a defenseman. Jordan Staal is another hot prospect, but the Pens don't need another offense guy. The draft is tomorrow at 6 pm. Here's a listing of the 30 top prospects in this year's draft.

Also in Pens news: there is a rumor that there could be a "letter of intent" signed between the Pens and a prospective owner. It appears that two men have paid the $100,000 fee to look at the team's books to determine if the team would be worth investing in. We can only hope that the new owner will do what he can to keep the team here in Pittsburgh. I'm not holding out much hope because at this point, no one really seems to have a plan for an arena for the team. The team can't stay if they don't have an arena to play in.

France won today against Togo and have made it into the World Cup quarterfinals. Zinedine Zidane didn't play in today's game because of the two yellow cards that he received. His replacement, Patrick Vieira scored France's first goal, and assisted Thierry Henry with the second. Final score was 2-0. Tomorrow in the first day of quarterfinals, Germany will play Sweden and Argentina will play Mexico.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 -- Late Evening

The NHL gave out its end of the year awards. The show was longer than it needed to be with music and comedy skits throughout. I have to admit that some of the comedy skits were funny. Well, I suppose they have to make it worthwhile for the players to show up in their tuxedos. Unfortunately, Alexander Ovechkin won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year. Ah well, we will see how he and Sidney Crosby in their whole careers. For the full table of winners, check out the hockey page.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 -- Evening

Soccer today. Ghana beat the US in their matchup today with a final score of 2-1. Ghana is going to move on to the round of 16 along with Italy who beat the Czech Republic with a 2-0 score. The biggest shocker, in a sarcastic sense, is that Ronaldo scored two goals in the game between Brazil and Japan. The final score was 4-1. That was absolutely amazing because Ronaldo has been playing like the elder statesman of the sport. Brazil will play Ghana next in the round of 16 on June 27.

A little bit later on tonight, the NHL awards will be handed out. The one that is of the most interest to Pittsburgh fans is that Sidney Crosby is going to be up for the Calder Memorial Trophy which goes to the Rookie of the Year. Alexander Ovechkin is also a strong contender for the award. Ovechkin has some nice statistics, but Crosby is seen as the more well-rounded player. I should have the results on the awards later tonight.

Have you had a chance to vote for your favorite All Star? I've put my daily vote in. Go to the Big Brother page.

The reports on global warming just irritate the heck out of me! The latest report is that scientists have confirmed that the Earth is the warmest that it has been in 400 years--and here comes the kicker that makes me question the science of the report--that it might "possibly" be the warmest in 2000 years. Okay, that 600 year difference ain't just nothing. Yes, it's a blip on the map of the Earth's existence, but considering the fact that official recordings of weather are only a fairly recent phenonenon (only since the late 1800s) and that even then recordings can vary according to the record taker, I'm not sure that the researchers have accurate data. The even bigger annoyance is that the researchers are "positive" that the cause of the warming is the human race. So, how is it that they are so sure that it's not a more natural event. Do we really believe that we can "fix" the problem? The best part of it all is the change in temperature over the past 100 years. I can hear you now--it must be 20 degrees. Well, it is a change of 1 degree over 100 years. The thing that annoys me about global warming is that it is not something that is scientific. It is a political movement. How will we "fix" the problem? By politicians implementing laws and regulations that will put money into their pockets. There are scientists would could just as easily disprove global warming as there are scientists who will prove it. We only hear though of the side that the media supports. Would you want to put the global climate into the hands of politicians who have mucked up everything else? Not me!

A Bongo Haiku:
Cube wall boundaries are
Imaginary protection.
Privacy released.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 -- Evening

This evening we got to find out who will be eligible for the upcoming Big Brother All-Stars 7. I was very happy to see that some of my favorites were up for consideration. Marcellas, Kaysar, and Jase will probably get my vote for the men, and Janelle, Danielle, and Alison will probably get my vote for the women. The voting is going to be held at the Big Brother page until next Wednesday, closing at midnight ET. I've already looked at the page, but voting doesn't start until midnight ET to keep those on the West Coast in suspense, unless they see my recap.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 -- Morning

Hip, hip, hooray! It's finally the first official day of summer. This is my favorite season because of the warm weather and the thunderstorms.

The Miami Heat won the NBA title last night against the Dallas Mavericks last night with a score of 95-92. The games between the two were exciting, and it looked like Dallas was going to win because they had a 2-0 lead. However, the Heat came back to take the last four games of the series. Dwayne Wade scored 36 points last night and was named the Finals Most Valuable Player.

Michael Owen is out of the World Cup after injuring himself in the first second minute of the England vs. Sweden game. Owen twisted his right knee, and had to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 -- Evening

I forgot that Hell's Kitchen was on last night, but fortunately, I recorded it and caught up on it this evening. The show does have alot of drama, and I have to admit that I LOVE drama. Read the recap to find out who was canned yesterday. All I will say is that the men are really having issues.

Ben Roethlisberger showed up at the South Side Steelers' training facility. He was accompanied by bodyguards and wore a hood to cover his head and face. According to the coaches who saw him, the bruising and swelling from last week had diminished alot. I think that we are all very curious to see him, but I think that he is keeping the injury closely guarded. Personally, I think that it must be pretty bad.

Santonio Holmes apologized for bringing negative attention to the Steelers. I noticed that he didn't apologize for what he did, just that his actions brought negative attention to the team. I wonder if the kid gets it. For some reason, I don't think that he does, and I'm afraid that we will have more negative attention brought to the team because of Holmes.

England moves on to the next round after a tie with Sweden, and will meet Ecuador in the round of 16. Their match is going to be June 25. I am hoping that England makes it further in the World Cup. Germany and Poland also won although the win for Poland wasn't enough to get them anywhere since Ecuador won its earlier two games.

A Bongo Haiku:
Sinus congestion
Lingers still, sputum spraying
Summer misery.

Monday, June 19, 2006 -- Late Evening

I am hugely disappointed in tonight's Stanley Cup. It was a hard fought match, but the Carolina Hurricanes won tonight to become Stanley Cup champions. There were quite a few controversal moments, such as the near Carolina goal that was stopped by an Edmonton Oiler stopping the puck before it went into the net. Some were calling for a penalty shot because only the goalie should cause a stoppage of play by shielding the puck with his body. It is very disappointing that Edmonton would lose after struggling back from being down 1-3. Them's the breaks though. It's probably good for hockey that an expansion team won the Stanley Cup. Final score was 3-1 with the final goal for Caroline scored on an empty net seconds from the end of the game.

Monday, June 19, 2006 -- Afternoon

Ben Roethlisberger has been fined a total of $388 dollars for riding a motorcycle without a license or a permit and for riding without a helmet when he didn't fit in the criteria to not have one (driver for two years or passing the safety course). It appears that he was going the speed limit at the time of the accident and wasn't speeding as some were thinking. The woman driving the car was the actual cause of the accident by not yielding at the turn as she should have. She was fined $106.52. Since it is a moving violation, there will probably be points assessed on her driver's license. It also seems that the woman has been receiving threatening phone calls. The police are investigating the matter, but as soon as her name was released, I knew there would be problems for her. Especially as it was becoming obvious that she was responsible for the accident by pulling in front on him. She was doing a Pittsburgh left, which means that even though oncoming traffic has a green light, you make a left turn in the path of cars and expect them to stop. Sometimes they don't, or can't. Bill Cowher was on the Mike and Mike radio show on ESPN this morning to promote the coaching video game that he is affiliated with. I actually caught the beginning of the conversation as I was driving in to work. They asked him what his thoughts were about Ben, and Cowher said that he doesn't want to pass judgement on Roethlisberger. As Cowher said, everyone knows that he talked to Roethlisberger and what his feelings were, but the accident could have been tragic. It's better to just be thankful for the happier ending which has Roethlisberger walking away--even with a smashed face. The other thing that Cowher said is that he doesn't want Roethlisberger to change his ways. As he was telling them, Ben is what he is because of his personality and the fact that he does what he wants to do. Ben would be a different player and person if he changed that now.

On other news on the Steelers front, Santonio Holmes was arrested and charged with domestic violence last night in Columbus, Ohio. There isn't alot of information on what exactly happened. The only thing that is bad is that the kid seems to know how to get his name into the media in a negative light, and that is not something that the Steelers organization tolerates.

Barbaro is steadily improving according to Dr. Dean Richardson. Before he is considered to be more than 51% likely to survive, the vets want to make certain that his foot is healing enough that he will be able to have his bones support the weight of the foot without the titanium plate. The plate is only supposed to be supportive during the healing process. The bone should become strong enough to hold the weight of the horse on its own. Things are looking good and everyone is hopeful.

Sunday, June 18, 2006 -- Evening

Big Brother All-Stars 7 won't start until July 6, but this coming Wednesday, we will have an opportunity to see the possible contestants. That's when CBS will have the show introducing the contestants that we will have a week to vote for. In the meantime, TV Guide has some pictures of the Big Brother house. The house looks really cool, and the producers seem to be going with a flame or heat theme. I guess that it is going to be a "hot" summer. The Head of Household room is going to be on the second floor again and is going to have water theme. The living room is going to have a wall with a huge flame design, and the kitchen is going to have a brick floor to give the impression of a dungeon. Artifacts from previous Big Brother shows are going to be on display throughout the house, including the Golden Veto that Marcellas didn't use. The total cost for the house? $350,000.

Sunday, June 18, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

There were some interesting matches today at the World Cup. Brazil won its match against Australia with a score of 2-0. Ronaldo was pretty useless again. The guy is really out of shape, and Robinho, who replaced Ronaldo in the 71st minute, really added a whole different enthusiasm into the game. The coach, Alberto Parreira, said that he is going to stick with Ronaldo. According to the coach, Ronaldo did better in this game than he did in the last. Australia is still an interesting story in the World Cup because this is the first time in 30 years that they made it into the World Cup. Some people think that the reason Australia has been doing so well this time is because of a software program that allows the coaches to analyze the play in matches. The NFL uses the same sort of technology to analyze the play in their own games. The big story though was that France again settled for a draw with Korea. It was a very exciting game, especially in the second half when Korea really started to put the pressure on France. Thierry Henry scored France's goal in the 8th minute. Park Ji-Sung scored the tying goal for Korea in the 80th minute, and the Koreas really kept up the pressure in the last 10 minutes of play. France is in a pickle because they may not make it into the next round. Zinedine Zidane got a yellow card in the game, and will have to miss the next match. If France doesn't win the next game, they may not make it any further in the World Cup.

Saturday, June 17, 2006 -- Evening

The US team tied the Italians today. I had alot of issues with this game because it's not that the US team actually did the work. Italy scored the first goal. Then the US team had a free kick. The ball was kicked in front of the net, but when Andrea Pirlo went to clear the ball, it went off his shin and into the net. The final score was 1-1, and the only reason for that is because Italy scored for the US. Yeah, you could say that the US team managed to keep the Italians from scoring again to get the lead. I'm not that impressed. I think that luck gave them a reprieve, and if the US goes to the next round, it's not right. But then some would say that is the luck of the game. There is also some controversy over the number of red cards in the game. Three were handed out--one to Italy and two to the US. Some want to criticize the referee for giving too many reds or for not giving cards when players asked for it with really rough play. There were alot of blows being thrown in the game. The US is still in the run for the next round because Ghana defeated the Czech Republic with a score of 2-0. The second goal for Ghana was scored by John Pentsil in the 81st minute. Pentsil also plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv, and when he scored his goal, he celebrated by whipping an Israeli flag out of his sock and waving it around. It seems that Pentsil has a history of waving either the Israeli or Ghanaian flag. Another interesting item of note is that three of the Ghanaian players also play in Israeli soccer clubs.

The Edmonton Oilers are really putting on a show this evening against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were ahead 3-1 in the series, and the Oilers have come back with a vengence. The Oilers scored four goals in the game this evening, and held the Hurricanes to a minimum of shots. The Hurricanes had three and four shots on goal in the first and second periods respectively. The Oiler fans started chanting "We want a Cup" with five minutes left in the game, and it looks like the Oilers are definitely trying to comply. The game ends in a shut out with the Oilers winning 4-0. The Hurricanes only had 12 shots in the entire game. The Oilers went from 3-1 in the series to 3-3. Game Seven is on Monday. Let's go Oilers!!

There was an interesting article in the Post Gazette this morning about Ben Roethlisberger's accident. The author is a psychologist who questions why someone would ride a motorcycle without a helmet. As he said, Robert Schwartz said, some have called Roethlisberger stupid, young, or a thrill seeker. Schwartz takes exception to all. His theory is that Roethlisberger was emotionally scarred by the death of his mother in an auto accident when he was eight. As Schwartz says, psychologists will see evidence is kids who were traumatized between the ages of 7-12 of an unconscious compulsion to repeat. So it might be that Roethlisberger was unintentionally trying to put himself into a situation like his mother's. That's one of the things that bothered me about Roethlisberger's accident is that he was stupid enough to be riding a motorcycle without a helmet and risking killing himself in an accident. Didn't he think of how this would affect his father who lost his wife that way, and then his son? What Schwartz says makes alot of sense to me, and I think that it explains alot.

Saturday, June 17, 2006 -- Morning

Today is the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday. She attended Trooping the Colour which is the Queen's birthday parade that is given by the military. She also had a gunfire salute that is commonly given after military victories or birthday celebrations, but that was performed for the first time in the Queen's reign. The British monarch commonly celebrates his or her birthday in June (regardless of the actual date of birth) because the weather is conducive to having an outdoor parade and celebration.

The US soccer team is going to play Italy later this afternoon. The Italian coach, Marcello Lippi said that he isn't going to underestimate the USA team because to do so might be over confident. He doesn't think that the competition from the US will be overly difficult. I think that the USA team was hugely overrated this year. So far today, Portugal has defeated Iran with a score of 2-0. Cristiano Ronaldo, a real hunk, scored a beautiful penalty kick goal for Portugal in the 80th minute. It almost looked like he scored another goal during stoppage time, but he was offside. The whistle blew seconds later and the game was over.

Friday, June 16, 2006 -- Evening

Some news on the Pens front is that there are supposedly several buyers interested in buying the Pens. Some of the bidders might even want to keep the team in the city--even if there isn't a slots deal to build an arena. Things are looking dour for anyone getting a slots license in this state anytime soon. The Pennsylvania Gaming Board has run into numerous delays in approving licenses to the folks who will provide the slots machines. That has to happen 90 days before the license can be given to the casinos. Rumors abound on the local television stations that the delays are being caused because more folks want to grease their palms and pocket money. I think that the PA government officials are more interested in what's in it for them than in actually doing something with the slots. It is quite frustrating for the Pens fan, and for all the folks who want slots in PA so they don't have to travel to West Virginia to get their slots fix. Other news is that Joey Mullen is out as coach of the Baby Pens next year. Ray Shero has his own ideas of what is best, and obviously thinks that a player who ain't all that as a coach is not the way to go. Thank you! It's about time the Pens dropped the player bit and went for folks who actually have coaching experience and skill.

Thursday, June 15, 2006 -- Evening

Ben Roethlisberger was released from the hospital abit before midnight last night. Roethlisberger released the following statement to the press:
"In the past few days, I have gained new perspective on life. By the grace of God, I am fortunate to be alive, surrounded by loved ones and lifted by the prayers and support of so many. I am sorry for any anxiety and concern my actions have caused others, specifically my family, the Steelers organization, my teammates and our fans.

"I recognize that I have a responsibility to safeguard my health in the offseason so I can continue to lead our team effectively. I never meant any harm to others nor to break any laws. I was confident in my ability to ride a motorcycle and simply believed such an accident would not happen to me. If I ever ride again, it certainly will be with a helmet.

"My deepest appreciation goes out to the Steelers organization and my teammates for the compassion they have shown me. The physicians and support staff at Mercy Hospital were simply amazing, and I will forever be grateful for their caring treatment.

"I want to assure everyone I am committed to a complete and timely recovery. I look forward to being at training camp in Latrobe and to winning football games this season."
There has been no information on where Roethlisberger is staying, but it is reported that there are security guards in front of his townhouse here in Pittsburgh. I think it is very telling that his comment is "if" he rides a motorcycle again. I think that it would be difficult for me to get back on a motorcycle after such an accident, but then I am a wussy.

England played Trinidad & Tobago today. It was not looking good for England at first because they didn't seem to be able to take advantage of any opportunity given them. However, they were able to score a goal at 82 minutes when David Beckham fed the ball to Peter Crouch. Beckham also had a hand in the second goal at 90 minutes when he fed the ball to Steven Gerrard. England won with a final score of 2-0, and Beckham was named Man of the Match for his efforts. Wayne Rooney came into the game at the 58th minute. My favorite has and always will be David Beckham though. There aren't any other players like him.

If you would like to have a say on a boy and girl who are included on the fifth season of Endurance, you can cast your vote now. Go to the Casting Poll, watch the videos of the contestants, and vote before noon ET on Monday, June 19.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 -- Evening

The Edmonton Oilers came out to play tonight as was evidenced by the goal that they made in the first 16 seconds of the game tonight. It looked like Chris Pronger got the goal, but the video clip on television showed that it went off the stick of Marc-Antoine Pouliot. The Oilers took too many penalites in the first few minutes and that gave the Carolina Hurricanes an opportunity to tie things up with a goal by Eric Staal. The Oilers are going to get killed with penalties because now the Hurricanes have yet another goal by Ray Whitney. It's been a back and forth game. One team would pull ahead to only have the other come back and tie things. Staal is finally over his goal drought and has two goals in this game by the third period, and is trying for a hat trick. Going into the third period, the score is tied at 3-3. Carolina mostly played a defensive role in the period, but after regulation, the score is still tied, so that means overtime. What a great finish! The Oilers had a penalty and were shorthanded. That's when Fernando Pisani scored an unassisted short handed goal after he swiped the puck from the Hurricanes. It was great! The Oilers aren't out yet, and they will play again on Saturday in Edmonton.

Taylor Hicks has been named the number one bachlor according to People. The issue with the hottest bachelors will be on the news stands this Friday, June 16. Ryan Seacrest and Ace Young also made the list. My personal opinion is that People must have some people with no sense of "hot" picking these people because after looking at the folks selected I didn't see anyone that I thought was really hot. Maybe all the hot guys are married.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Ben Roethlisberger could be discharged from the hospital tomorrow. It seems that his face is badly bruised and swollen. For the first time today, Roethlisberger was allowed to eat some soft foods--pudding and yogurt. The thing that I thought was surprising is that his jaw isn't wired shut. It seems that the bones are being held together with a titanium plate. There is a press conference going on right now (5 pm). The doctor is describing how he operated on Roethlisberger and what sort of instruments he used. It seems that using the plates will allow Roethlisberger to not be on a liquid diet, but a soft diet. It will also mean that he might not need further operations. It seems that it will take six weeks to heal, and after that, the plates aren't needed, but they aren't removed. Roethlisberger also had another CT scan of his brain, and it appears that there aren't any problems with his brain.

The soccer games today were interesting. The most exciting and well played game was Germany vs. Poland. It seems that Poland has never beaten Germany in the past, and unfortunately, they didn't today. The game had gotten to the 90 minute mark, and there was still no score. There were three minutes of stoppage time, and one minute into it, Germany scored a goal. The stadium went wild, but I really felt bad for the Polish goalie, Artur Boruc. He made some spectacular saves earlier in the game, and just wasn't able to block that last shot. At the end of the game, he was just sitting forlornly on the ground. You really had to feel for him. Spain just whooped the Ukraine with a score of 4-0. Spain really was too much better than the Ukraine. The Saudi Arabia and Tunisia game ended in a tie.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 -- Evening

Ben Roethlisberger's doctor has updated his condition and given more details on his condition. Dr. Larry Jones, the head of trauma at Mercy Hospital has upgraded Roethlisberger's condition to fair and listed his injuries as: fractures of the upper and lower jaw, broken nose, fractures of other facial bones, multiple head lacerations, mild concussion, two teeth lost, and several teeth chipped. The family had requested that the information not be released earlier. According to the KDKA news broadcast, Roethlisberger might even be released from the hospital in a few days.

Barbaro's leg is doing excellent according to Dean Richardson. Dr. Richardson replaced Barbaro's cast today, and he said that “the incision has healed well and judging by the radiographs, the graft is opacifying (“taking”). Callus is forming nicely, and all of the implants (plate and screws) look unchanged.” The procedure was done under general anesthesia, and Barbaro is now awake and continuing to improve. This is very good news.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Breaking news on the Ben Roethlisberger story is that Roethlisberger did not have a Pennsylvania motorcycle license. In the past, people could get a motorcycle permit and just keep on renewing it every year without having to actually take the test for the license. In the past year, that has changed. That doesn't matter with Roethlisberger though because it seemed that he didn't even have a permit! It seems that the permit he did have expired on March 29 of this year. The other thing that my boyfriend was telling me (and he passed my skeptic's test) is that Roethlisberger probably couldn't legally ride a motorcycle without a helmet. According to the PA Department of Transportation: "Pennsylvania Law requires that any person who operates or rides a motorcycle must wear protective headgear unless he or she is over 21 years of age or older and has either two years of riding experience or has completed a motorcycle safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation." (From the Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Helmet Law Fact Sheet dated October 2005.

Ronaldo was booed when he was pulled from the pitch in the 68th minute of the game today. He was pulled because basically the manager of the Brazil team didn't think that Ronaldo was pulling his weight. You could see that Ronaldo was limping all over the place. obviously those blisters from not breaking in his shoes earlier in the month. It seems that Ronaldo has a reputation for being a whiny baby, and the fans were booing him because of his lack of effort in today's game. Brazil won with a final score f 1-0. There were alot of players exchanging shirts--which is the thing that a player requests of another player that he respects.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 -- Afternoon

I was off sick today with a sinus infection and bronchitis, but the good news is that I did nothing but watch soccer all day. First up today was the Korea vs. Togo game. Korea was behind in the first with Togo leading by a score of 1-0. Korea came back though in the second half to score two goals to win the game. The interesting thing is that France, the powerhouse that was expected to dominate Group G which has Korea, Togo, France, and Switzerland, is tied for second place with Switzerland because of a 0-0 tie with the Swiss today. The win today has put Korea in great position in Group G with three points and first place. Right now I am watching the Brazil and Croatia game. It is nearing half time in that game, and there is still no score. Brazil has not lost its opening game in the World Cup since 1930. They have 13 wins and 2 ties. I have to admit that the Croatia team needs to get a new uniform. They have a red and white checked shirt that looks like a tablecloth from an Italian-American pizzeria. Brazil just scored in the 44th minute.

It is not looking good for the Edmonton Oilers. They lost again last night to the Carolina Hurricanes. The final score was 2-1 and Carolina is now 3-1 in the series. From the way Carolina has been playing, I don't think that Edmonton will be returning to play in Edmonton this season. That's really a shame because I really don't like Carolina. Yesterday's game was interesting because when the singer was performing Canada's national anthem at the beginning of the game, he stopped and the crowd finished singing the song. One of the folks that was captured in the audience by the cameras singing his heart out was one of the Edmonton locker room assistants. His name is Joey, and he suffers from Downs syndrome, but he is a diligent worker for the team.

Ben Roethlisberger should be ready to play for the Steelers by the time training camp opens. It appears that the injuries were limited to his face and head. It seems that the reason that the doctors took seven hours on the surgery was to make the recovery time quicker. According to the doctors, there is no damage to Roethlisberger's brain, spine, knees, or shoulders. Other than the bone breakage in his face (from going face first into the windshield of the car), he just has scrapes and bruises. It seems that people who were witnesses to the accident and went to help Roethlisberger didn't recognize him because of the injuries and the amount of blood. Obviously from the description of the injuries and the fact that anyone in this city who hasn't lived under a rock for the past couple of years would have recognized him, it seemed to me that he really must have damaged his face. I wonder how he will look after he recovers. I feel bad for the woman who pulled out in front of him. It seems from one witness account that she might have made her turn on a red light, although the details of what actually happened during the accident and the official report probably won't be out for several weeks. The media has released her name and address. The woman is a Squirrel Hill resident and lives not to far from me. I feel sorry for her because I would expect that she is going to be getting harassed by some stupid fans.

Monday, June 12, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight was the first showing of Hell's Kitchen. I have to admit that Gordon Ramsay is my sort of chef. He is very demanding and doesn't send out inferior food. Sometimes I wonder where some of the chef contestants come from because they don't seem to have been in a kitchen before. I'm cheering on Heather because she seems the most together of the group, and the most professional. Read the recap for all the "juicy" details.

The latest details on Ben Roethlisberger is that he had seven and a half hours of surgery to repair a broken orbital bone, broken nose, and a broken jaw. He is still listed in serious but stable condition. There has also been talk about the contract that Roethlisberger has with the Steelers might mean that he is in trouble for having an accident on his motorcycle. The Steelers can inforce the terms of the contract that list activities as dangerous to levy a fine against the signing bonus if Roethlisberger misses games. Of course, this is just an outsider talking. There isn't anything specific about motorcycles in Roethlisberger's contract. Since it is mostly his face and head, he probably won't miss many games, especially since the season is 12 weeks away.

Monday, June 12, 2006 -- Later Afternoon

More news on Ben Roethlisberger. Some eye witness reports are that he tried to get up after the accident, but fell over. There was alot of blood, and he kept on asking someone who saw the accident while walking across the bridge and ran to help if he was okay. The woman told him that he was okay. It sounds from the updates that the woman driving the car pulled right in front of him and that he had no chance to stop. It also appears that Roethlisberger had a green light. Roethlisberger went into surgery a little after noon, and at 5:15 pm is still in surgery and has extensive injuries. Because the extent of injuries to his head appear to be severe, there is concern that he might have had a concussion because he was confused abit after the accident. The latest report on the knee injuries are that they are just sprains and should not be a problem, although one news station is sticking by the more serious knee injury. It seems that Roethlisberger was coherent before the surgery and that his vital signs are stable.

Monday, June 12, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

I have not been near a computer until now, but I have been following Ben Roethlisberger's accident. Late this morning, Roethlisberger was driving his motorcycle here in Pittsburgh, and at the intersection of Second Avenue and Tenth Street he ran into a car driven by a 62 year old woman who is listed as a resident of both Maine and Pittsburgh. Her name is not being released--probably for her own safety. The woman was making a left hand turn onto the bridge at Tenth Street when Roethlisberger ran into her. From what the police are saying, it could take some time before full details are going to be released, but there is no blame being placed on either side at this point. It sounds like he was probably headed to the practice facility on the South Side near the Hot Metal Bridge. Roethlisberger hit the front fender of the woman's car, smashed his head into her windshield, flipped over her car, and landed on his knees. Right now, he is in surgery, and the extent of his injuries is sketchy. It seems that Roethlisberger was admantant about riding without a helmet, and that was a major problem in this case. According to some reports, Roethlisberger has a broken jaw, broken sinus cavity, several missing teeth, a huge gash on the back of his head, and possible injuries to both knees that is questionable at this time in severity. One station is saying that the damage is minor while another is saying that it is severe. There really hasn't been alot of official news released at this point, and as far as I can make out at 4:34, Roethlisberger is still in surgery and a plastic surgeon has been called in to work on him. At this time, Roethlisberger is listed in serious but stable condition at Mercy Hospital. Charlie Batch was the first Steeler to arrive at the hospital and declined to make any comment. Mike Logan was also seen at the hospital. I'll post more details on Roethlisberger's condition as I learn more.

Basically Roethlisberger was a fool to be riding without a helmet on a motorcycle, and as is evident from this accident, he really messed up his head and face. I know this is not the time to be placing blame, but I think that if I were on the Steelers management or his family, once I knew that he was going to be okay, I'd give him heck for being an idiot.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 -- Evening

My boyfriend and I turned on the second game of the NBA finals. We are both cheering on the Miami Heat. The Dallas Mavericks won the first game in the series. Anyway, imagine our surprise when we heard that Elliott Yamin was going to sing the National Anthem. Well, the song started out okay, but by the middle of the song, Yamin lost it and was really pitchy and off key. It was one of the worst renditions of the song that I have heard. Let's hope that Yamin gives up on singing the National Anthem in future. An interesting tidbit that I just learned about Yamin is that his father, Shaul Yamin, is an Israeli Jew of Iraqi heritage.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 -- Early Evening

More soccer today. The most exciting match in my opinion was the Mexico vs. Iran game. The score was tied with around 16 minutes left in the game when Omar Bravo scored two goals in four minutes to enable Mexico to win by a score of 3-1.

This afternoon on BBC America, the documentary Queen and Country was shown. The film was made for Queen Elizabeth's fifty year jubilee (the 50th year of her reign) in 2002. It was reshown this afternoon in honor of her 80th birthday. The documentary was broken into four parts. The first part was titled Servant of the People. It covered the Queen's interaction with and service for the public. The second part was Private Passions. This episode covered the interests of the Queen, and starts with her interest in horse racing. It was quite comical to see her running with passion to watch the horses run down the stretch. She has a great love for her horses, and is very knowledge about them and can recount their lineage. Then of course, there are the corgis that follow her all around. She also breeds gun dogs (laboradors and cocker spaniels). This was the most interesting of the shows because it shows the personal side of the Queen. The third was Enduring Loyalties. This show covered the Queen and her international trips and foreign politics. Finally,the last was My Government and I. This one dealt with the Queen and her role in British government. I have to admit that I admire the Queen. This is a woman who came into power at the young of 25, and has shown strength of character throughout that time. It has been quite an achievement to bring the monarchy into more modern times. Even though she has been chastized for not responding the way that others think she should have, I think that she did a grand job. The series actually humanized the Queen.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 -- Evening

ABC did a very nice job with the Belmont Stakes broadcast. Although the show was two hours long, they filled the time with two other races that were held at Belmont Park. First there were several sections about Barbaro. We had the longer clip first that went over all the details of the past three weeks and the update on Barbaro for today which is that he is doing well. Then periodically through the show, they would send the cameras back to Barbaro, including showing a clip of Barbaro rolling around in his stall--oblivious to any problems with his rear leg. When it got closer to the start of the race, they wheeled in a television and had it facing Barbaro's stall door. It did look like he was looking at the television screen. Probably, he heard noises that he recognized as pre-race noises, and that caught his attention. It seems that since the New Bolton Center setup an e-mail address for folks to send best wishes to Barbaro that he has received 40,000 messages.

On to the races themselves. First up was the Acorn Stakes for three year old fillies. The race was delayed for several minutes, and the horses were unloaded from the starting gate when Miraculous Miss reared in the gate, flipped over, and was trapped on her back in the stall. She was flailing around with her legs, and there was concern that she would seriously hurt herself along with Wonder Lady Anne L who was in the gate next to her. Miraculous Miss was one of the favorites in the race too, having won the five of her last six races. Bushfire won the race after a stirring stretch battle between her and Hello Liberty. At one point at the head of the stretch, Hello Liberty pulled ahead of Bushfire, but Bushfire came on to win the race by a neck. The time for the mile long race was 1:35.89. Last Romance was third, and Adieu (the favorite) finished fourth.

After that was the Manhattan Stakes, a mile and a quarter (10 furlong) turf race. This race was very exciting. Edgar Prado was on Cacique, who was one of the favorites. The folks associated with the horse (I can't remember if was the trainer or owner) were talking before the race that if the pace was slow, Cacique might take the lead early. Well, Cacique did just that. In the stretch, he held off late charging Relaxed Gesture to win by a nose. It was a photo finish between the top four finishing horses. Grey Swallow finished third, a neck behind Relaxed Gesture. English Channel was a head behind in fourth place. The time for the race was 2:04.10

Finally, on to the Belmont itself. Bob and John had the early lead, and Jazil was lagging behind the field of horses. However, before the final turn, Jazil put the steam on and took the lead. He came on in the stretch to take the lead and to hold off late bids by Bluegrass Cat and sunriver to win in a time of 2:27 4/5 by 1 1/4 lengths. Steppenwolfer was fourth (the early favorite to win.) It was quite funny because all week long we have been hearing Steppenwolfer stories, how he was bred to win longer distance races and how he was named after the music group, Steppenwolf. All for naught with Jazil winning. The winning stories with Jazil are that this is the first Triple Crown race that his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin (a two time Eclipse winning trainer) won. Jazil's jockey was 18 year old Fernando Jara, and his owner is Sheik Hamdan from Dubai, and brother to the owner of Preakness winner, Bernardini.

Updates on soccer today. England won its match against Paraguay with a score of 1-0. The second half was not the most stellar example of soccer. In fact, if England wants to get far in the matches, they will have to pick up the level of their play. I was watching some of the analysis on ABC, which showed some of the games today, and one of the announcers said that everyone is talking up Wayne Rooney, but he didn't even score a single goal in the qualifying rounds. That is true. It's all fine and dandy to have the talk, but you have to have some actions to back it up. In the other matches, it was a tie of 0-0 between Sweden and Trinidad/Tobago, and Argentina defeated Cote d'Ivoire with a score of 2-1. There was almost a controversy with the game when one of the Argentinian players looked like he knocked the ball into the goal, but the ref said that the ball didn't fully break the plane of the goal line. From the replays, it looked the ball totally crossed the line in the goalie's hands, but the goal was called off. Fortunately, Argentina won so the controversy is moot. Finally in soccer news, everyone, including Brazil's President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, have been wondering if Ronaldo is fat. It seems that Ronaldo is 6 feet tall and weighs around 189 pounds. According to the BMI Ronaldo would be considered overweight. Now if he weighed 180, he would be considered normal weight. It seems that the newspapers in Brazil have been making fun of Ronaldo non-stop with his weight, the blisters he got on his feet from having new shoes, and in general being a sicky. I think that the proof will be in the pudding, and if Ronaldo produces, the comments will stop.

In hockey news, the Edmonton Oilers won tonight! Finally! The final score was 2-1, and the audience was very vocal, and they could be heard chanting throughout the game. The series is now 2-1 in the Carolina Hurricanes favor. We can only hope that they tie up the series in the next game on Monday.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 -- Late Morning

Who's a coward now? Delio Cesar Toledo, from Paraguay, called David Beckham a coward. According to Toledo, Beckham avoids getting into physical confrontations during the game. Toledo said that he knew how to take care of Beckham because he just needed to "raise my leg to him." Three minutes into the England vs. Paraguay match this morning, David Beckham scored a goal for England. It was a beautiful bend and was helped in by a header from Paraguay's captain, Carlos Gamarra. England played well in the first half, but things are abit slower in the second half. There are still probably around 25 minutes left in the game, so I'll have the final results later.

Friday, June 9, 2006 -- Late Evening

It's been a long time since my boyfriend and I went out with friends to dinner and a movie. This evening, we went to McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant. The restaurant is located in the Southside Works which is a favorite place of mine. Granted you have to pay for parking in a lot, but the price for parking is reasonable and easier than searching for free parking on the street. There is a little plaza in the area with benches and live music. Tonight's offering of music was on the lame side with some new ager playing a cd of his music. On to the restaurant. Surprising for the area, we seated very quickly after arriving. It helped that we were able to make reservations, but there weren't many people waiting for tables. The menu is made up daily because the offerings of fresh fish change all the time they say. My boyfriend and I skipped the appetizer because I wanted to save room for dessert. I had grilled Rainbow trout with a few stalks of aspargus, one baby carrot, and two potato croquettes. The fish was very tasty and flaked easily onto the fork. I liked the pine nut butter that was used on the fish. The fish was sliced thin and there wasn't as much of it as I expected. The sides were on the skimpy side too. For close to $20, I expected abit more. However, I suppose that I really don't need large sized portions. There were several options on the dessert tray, but I went for the strawberry shortcake. The "cake" part of the dessert turned out to be more like a shortbreak cookie. It was harder and definitely not fluffy. The strawberries were on the skimpy side. However, there was some ice cream in the middle with a generous dollop of cream. Finally, I had a glass of ruby port with my dessert. The food was definitely good, but I think that they did skimp on some things. The service was very good and the waitress was attentive. I would go back again.

As for the movie, it was X-Men: The Last Stand. I not a huge fan of action comics. I prefer Archie and Disney Comics. I'm not the person who can tell you if the movie is faithful to the Marvel Comics or not. I do know that I didn't fall asleep during the movie (probably because of my cough and sore leg). Truth be told, though, I did find the movie to be entertaining. It wasn't the best movie, and I don't know if it was worth the full price admission. Ian McKellen did a nice job. James Marsden had an extremely minor role in the movie. He cries and he dies--and then not even on camera. We do get to see Rebecca Romijn naked and without blue paint. She strategically has all her body parts covered though. In general, I just felt that the movie really didn't go in to the characters very much. All the characters received only a minor introduction and appeared to be thrown together just to show what great special effects CGI can produce. I was disappointed in the end because there wasn't an explanation of what happened to the kid who was the Cure. Also, I understand that the movie is supposed to be setting up the younger generation for future movies, but I just didn't get to know any of the characters. The movie was just a superficial special effect feast. Oh, and stick around for the end of the credits for an extra surprise. Out of five stars, I would give this one two. It wasn't my cup of tea, but at the same time it wasn't torture to watch it.

Friday, June 9, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

The World Cup started today. There were two games, Germany vs. Costa Rica and Poland vs. Ecuador. Germany won its game against Costa Rica by a score of 4-2. Miroslav Klose scored two goals for Germany. The goals were nice birthday presents for Klose who celebrated his 28th birthday today. Although Klose was born in Poland, he plays for Germany where his family moved when Klose was 9. The Poland vs. Ecuador game was abit livelier with two yellow cards Ecuadorian players and one against Poland. A goal scored by Poland was waved off. The final score was Ecuador 2, Poland 0. This game was abit of a shocker because it was assumed that Poland would beat Ecuador. I am keeping track of the scores and standings.

Friday, June 9, 2006 -- Morning

The huge news in Pittsburgh are the rumors about Bill Cowher. It seems that he had a press conference yesterday and made comments about taking his coaching role from year to year. Right now, Cowher has two years left on his contract with the Steelers. So he should be with the team through the 2007 season. The reason this even became public interest was because Cowher bought a house in Raleigh, North Carolina. His family has relocated to that house, and his daughter is going to go to school in Raleigh. That started the talk that he isn't going to stay in town long enough for her to graduate from high school in the next four years. Cowher is still young, so even is he does retire now, he might come back to coaching at a later time. Or he might just do something else with his life. There is more to life than football.

The World Cup starts today with opening ceremonies in Munich. The matches today are Germany against Costa Rica and Poland against Ecuador. Both teams are in Group A.

Thursday, June 8, 2006 -- Evening

Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, went to visit Barbaro today. Rendell was there to present the New Bolton Center with a check for $13.5 million that will go towards the building of new medical facilities. Barbaro is still improving with every day. It seems that he is showing a great deal of interest in the mares that are in the area. All of that bodes well for his recovery.

JK Rowling was named as the greatest living British writer by The Book Magazine. Terry Pratchett trailed Rowling with a third of the number of votes to win second place. The authors were picked by a survey of readers.

The Schenley Plaza in Oakland officially opened today. The park has been semi-open for a few weeks. Today, all of the food places were open. There are four of them--a hot dog stand, Bagel Factory, Asian food, and pizza place. Events through the weekend included free carousel rides, the Zany Umbrella Circus, and different music acts. During lunch today, I wandered around the park and rode the carousel. It is actually a very nice environment, and it will be a nice addition to Oakland. How relaxing to sit in a park, eat some food, and listen to music. The only problem with the park is the lack of shady places. These pictures give a feel for the atmosphere of the celebration.

I am so disappointed that the Carolina Hurricanes won the second game in the series last night. The final score was 5-0. It just seems as if the Edmonton Oilers have given up because of the loss of their goalie, Dwayne Roloson. I can only hope that the Oilers put on something of a fight in Saturday's game.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006 -- Evening

So Tommy Maddox finally deigned to show up to receive his Super Bowl ring yesterday. It seems that Maddox just had such a busy and full schedule (unlike all his other team mates) that he just couldn't make it to the White House or the ring ceremony. I think that Maddox was just been a petty, spoiled brat. Maddox isn't sure of just what he wants to do. Since he wasn't very good at selling insurance (which I think would be the job for him), he is looking at a career in professional golf. Unfortunately, he hasn't been good enough to make a tournament yet. That doesn't stop Super Maddox. He also is keeping his options open for a return as a quarterback. And you know that Maddox is being picky, and not just going to take any sort of quarterback opportunity with any team. "The thing that's nice about winning a Super Bowl is that at my age you can kind of be picky and see what you want to do," sayeth Maddox. Earth to Maddox: you sucked at the quarterback job here in Pittsburgh, and in fact, you're incredibly bad performances, lost the Steelers some key games. So to say that because you "won" a Super Bowl by warming the bench with your ass and throwing interceptions and making ineffectual attempts at tackles that cause a game to be lost shows that you are definitely not in touch with reality. Maybe some team will be stupid enough to take Maddox if every other quarterback on the team is injured, and there is no one else out there. I doubt it though.

Katharine McPhee has landed a contract with Clive Davis' company. It's the same company, 19 Recordings Unlimited that signed Taylor Hicks. I believe that Clive did something similar with second place Bo Bice last year. Katharine will be releasing My Destiny, the boring beyond boring song, and Over the Rainbow.

Wayne Rooney has his foot scan today and was given clearance to play in the FIFA World Cup. Rooney broke a metatarsal bone in his right foot in April during the regular season. Rooney normally plays for Manchester United. United!

The post positions were selected today for the Belmont Stakes. The trainer of Deputy Glitters, Tom Albertrani, has already said that if the track is muddy, he will scratch Deputy Glitters. It seems that he doesn't do very well with muddy tracks. check out the horse racing page for the post positions. Of course, even though Barbaro won't be in the race, he is going to feature heavily on the ESPN and ABC telecasts. There is going to be discussion of his surgery and how he is doing. This is going to be the first time since 2000 that ABC will be broadcasting the Belmont. I remember when ABC and CBS used to be THE horse racing channels.

The Edmonton Oilers have put Jussi Markkanen in goal for this evening's game. What other options did they have when Ty Conklin gave away the game on Monday. It's not looking good for Edmonton. The Carolina Hurricanes scored a goal in the first and second period while the Oilers are scoreless. If the Oilers don't win today, chances are that they will lose the series.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006 -- Afternoon

Dwayne Roloson won't be back for the remainder of the Stanley Cup finals with a knee injury. This is going to be quite a blow to the Edmonton Oilers chances of winning the Cup as we can see from the brilliant move that Ty Conklin made at the end of last night's game. That's really a shame because the Oilers have shined in the playoffs and deserve better. Also, I really hate the Carolina Hurricanes. I think that part of it is because geriatric Mark Recchi is playing with them.

Ronaldo should be ready to play for Brazil in the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Ronaldo has been plagued with a foot problem that might have been caused from new boots causing blisters. You would think he would have trainers or someone who would know to break in his shoes for him.

Monday, June 5, 2006 -- Evening

I used to be a huge baseball fan, and perhaps after going to some games this season, I'll return to my love of baseball. However, right now, I still find hockey a much more entertaining sport. The reason I bring this up is because the Pirates have two players who have received kudos today. First, Jason Bay was named National League Player of the Month. Jose Castillo was named National League Player of the Week. Both players have been doing a good job with hits and home runs in recent weeks. Freddie Sanchez is another one to keep an eye on. Right now he is number two in the National League in batting average with a .345 average.

The first game in the Stanley Cup finals is on this evening. The Edmonton Oilers are playing the Carolina Hurricanes. The Oilers scored in the first period to take the early lead. The game is pretty fast paced, and the Oilers are trying to press their advantage at this point. It's important that the Oilers win in Carolina because that will give them the advantage when they get to home ice. I have to admit that I am cheering on the Oilers. I'm not a fan of the Hurricanes, even if they do have phenom Eric Staal. The Oilers get a penalty shot because one of the Hurricane players, Niclas Wallin, was in the crease on the ice and put his hand on the puck because the goalie, Cam Ward, lost his stick. The Oilers decided to use defenseman, Chris Pronger, as the shooter, and he scored the goal! The Oilers lead, 2-0. The Oilers scored another goal later in the period, but the Hurricanes had an answering goal. Score as the second period ends is 3-1. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes came on strong in the third period to score two goals in less than five minutes to tie things up. The game is an exciting one with neither team rolling belly up. Darn! The Hurricanes scored on a breakaway to takes the lead. The Oilers came on to tie the game with six and a half minutes left in the game. Dwayne Roloson got injured on a play and had to be helped off the ice. With three minutes or so left in the game, Ty Conklin was put in goal for the Oilers. It looked like it was going to overtime when Conklin, in an amazingly stupid move with 30 seconds left in the game, went behind the net to get the puck, and passed it to a Hurricane, Rod Brind'Amour who scored the winning goal. Caroline wins the first game with a score of 5-4. You know, my pet peeve is when the goalie goes out from his net and gets into stupid situations like this. Brind'Amour wouldn't have been able to score an empty net (for all intents and purposes) goal if Conklin was in place--AND if stupid Conklin didn't feed him the puck. Goalies belong in the crease, and only seem to get into trouble when they leave it.

Monday, June 5, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

The Steelers got their Super Bowl rings yesterday. A ceremony was held in a lounge at Heinz Field last night. The ring is quite nice looking, with the five Super Bowl trophies in the background and a Steeler logo in the foreground. On the sides of the ring are the player's name an number on one side, and information about the game (teams playing, final score, year and number) on the other side. Jame Harrison doesn't think that the ring is very flash, and it probably isn't. I think that it has a very elegant look to it. Here's an image from the Steeler web site of Bill Cowher's ring. Jerome Bettis and Ben Roethlisberger helped with the design of the ring.

Chris Daughtry has turned down Fuel's offer to join the group as a lead singer. He wants to try doing something on his own, and will be announcing his plans in a few months. That probably means that he is going to wait until the end of the American Idol tour.

Sunday, June 4, 2006 -- Late Evening

My boyfriend and I went to a Pirates game this afternoon. They were playing the San Diego Padres. When we arrived at the park, I used the coupon for a free hot dog that my boyfriend won for me at the last game (he grabbed a flying hot dog) and he took pictures of the pitchers warming up in the outfield. Unfortunately, the skies weren't very cooperative. We wound up having to dash inside a few times to escape the drops. It was crowded in the clubhouse because others had the same feelings that we had. The one thing that I couldn't understand is why people would want to sit in the seats with a thin plastic poncho. The Padres won with a final score of 1-0.

I am catching up on some recorded shows and one of them is the second series, Beyond the Boiling Point, that Gordon Ramsay made about his quest for three Micheline stars. (He doesn't get it this time, but does make it in 2001.) In this series, Ramsay cooks for Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin. He also ran a marathon, and even though Ramsay used to a former soccer player, he seems to be really out of shape and heavy. As he said, the soccer was 15 years earlier. This was a very personal show, and we got to see more of Ramsay's wife and kids (she had twins at the beginning of the show which is set in late 1999/2000). Ramsay also has a brother, Ronald, who has a problem with heroine addiction. After trying many rounds of counseling to help his brother, Ramsay realizes that he has to practice tough love and cuts his brother off. Ramsay is himself in the kitchen, giving his sous chefs and commies what for because of undercooked and old beans.

Sunday, June 4, 2006 -- Evening

Scientists have found a crater that may have caused the worst mass extinction ever. The crater is 300 miles wide and is hidden under a half mile of ice in Antartica. It seems that scientists believe that this crater is the result of an asteroid hitting the Earth and wiped out the majority of living things. The mass extinction resulted in conditions that allowed the dinosaurs to become the dominant life form on the planet.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup starts this coming Friday. My boyfriend found one of the worst commercials for the World Cup. It's a Pepsi commercial that features several star players, including my favorite David Beckham. The players want some Pepsi, but have to play a gang of Bavarian yodellers for the priviledge. The soccer stars managed to outdo the Bavarians with fancy footwork until a rather husky (meaning fat) blonde woman grabs the ball and the Bavarians move it down the "pitch" with their dance steps. It reminded me of an outtake of German Week from Are You Being Served? In preparation for the World Cup, I have been watching some clips from YouTube for David Beckham - A Footballer's Story. The documentary was originally shown on ITV in May of 2006. My favorite bit is the second part on YouTube where Beckham speaks Spanish.

Saturday, June 3, 2006 -- Evening

One of the horses racing in the English Derby at Epsom Downs today was euthanized after breaking his right front leg 600 yards from the finish of the race. Horatio Nelson was the second favorite in the race and according to his jockey, Kieren Fallon, Horation Nelson was stiff in the legs before the race. The course vet and the trainer checked out the horse for several minutes before the start of the race (holding up the start of the race) and deteremined that the horse was fine to go. Horatio Nelson stumbled 600 yards before the finish as he was being squeezed between the favorite, Visindar and Hala Bek. Fallon pulled up the horse immediately. Five vets checked out Horatio Nelson, and the fractures were similar to those that Barbaro suffered, a fracture in the cannon, sesamoid bone, and a dislocated fetlock joint. The only difference was that Horatio Nelson's injuries went through the skin. Since there was a possibility that infection was already present and that blood flow was disrupted to the area, it was decided to euthanize Horatio Nelson. The race finished in a four way photo finish with Sir Percy winning the race by a head, Dragon Dancer was second by a head over Dylan Thomas who was third by a head over Hala Bek. Queen Elizabeth II was in attendance at today's races. The Queen is a huge racing fan and can recite the lineage of her racing stable to the amazement of many racing folks.

Casey Hampton proved that he was telling the truth yesterday when the Steelers went to the White House. Hampton told the others that he knew President Bush from the days when Hampton went to the University of Texas. The school was in Austin which is also the state capital. Well, as we all know, Bush used to be Governor of Texas and is into exercise. Well, it seems that he used to exercise in the gym at the University and talked to Hampton. Hampton told all his fellow Steelers that he knew the President, but they chose not to believe him. Vindication for Hampton came when Bush singled Hampton out in his comments saying "We used to pump iron together. His took, mine didn't." It also seems that when Bush came into the room, one of the very first people that he welcomed was Hampton. I don't know why his fellow players didn't believe him because Hampton did go to the University of Texas at the same time that Bush was Governor.

Friday, June 2, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

The Steelers were at the White House today to meet President Bush and be offered congratulations for their Super Bowl win. The thing that I have been most interested in is the Super Bowl ring. So far, it is a closely guarded secret, and no one has seen the design. That will change soon when the players get their rings on Sunday.

Today is Shavu'ot. Shavu'ot comes exactly 49 days after the second day of Passover. Shauv-ot is the time when the first fruits are harvested, and it also marks the giving of the Torah to Moses. The holiday is marked by reading the Torah throughout the night and having a dairy meal. The way that I mark the holiday is by having a nice slice of cheesecake. Any holiday that requires the eating of dairy, especially in the form of cheesecake, is the holiday for me.

Thursday, June 1, 2006 -- Evening

The seventh and final game in the series is underway now between the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes. Of course, I have been saying all along that I am a Buffalo fan. Mark Recchi plays for Carolina, and that's one of the reasons I'm not a fan of the team. Anyway, in the game this evening, the Hurricanes scored first scoring in the first period. It wasn't looking good for the Sabres as it was going into the second period. In fact, most of the second passed without a score by either team. In the last four minutes (well 4:10) the Sabres came on strong to score two points to pull ahead of Carolina. The score is now 2-1 as we wait for the third period to start. Unfortunately 1:34 into the period, the Hurricanes scored the tying goal. Darn! And then the Hurricanes pulled ahead with another goal with less than 10 minutes left in the game. Then the nail was put in the coffin when Carolina scored another goal with 51.7 seconds left. Final score was Carolina 4-Buffalo 2. So Carolina and Edmonton Oilers will meet in the Stanley Cup.

Thursday, June 1, 2006 -- Afternoon

Taylor Hicks has signed a deal with 19 Recordings Unlimited which is Clive Davis' recording company. The winner of American Idol basically HAS to sign with the company. Unfortunately, the single that is going to be released is that bland song from the finals, Do I Make You Proud. Fortunately, the B side is going to be a cover of the Doobie Brothers Takin It To the Streets. This is probably going to be a case where the B-side cover gets more air play that the song that is being hyped as the hit.