The Daily Bongo
Monday, June 29, 2009 -- Evening
Guerin and Adams stay with PensBoth Craig Adams and Billy Guerin have agreed to contracts to remain with the Pens. Craig Adams took a pay cut to stay, taking only $500,000 a year for a two year deal, which is less than last year's $600,000. The Guerin deal was just made public at 8 p.m. this evening. Guerin's deal is a $2 million contract for one year. It will be interesting to see what happens with the other free agents: Ruslan Fedotenko, Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan, Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill, Philippe Boucher and Mathieu Garon.
Sunday, June 28, 2009 -- Afternoon
Rachel AlexandraYesterday was the 1 1/8th mile Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park. Rachel Alexandra was entered, and only two other fillies were entered against her. Malibu Prayer took the early lead and set a fast pace. She was followed closely by Flashing. Rachel Alexandra waited behind them and made her move around the turn to home. At that point, neither of the other two had anything left in the tank. Rachel Alexandra galloped easily to a 19 and 1/2 length win in 1:46.33. Malibu Prayer finished in second place 12 1/4 lengths ahead of Flashing. There do not seem to be any challengers in the filly realm for Rachel Alexandra.
"Windows" commericalsSince the Microsoft commercials came out a few months ago, I thought they were incredible dumb. They showcased people who were obviously computer illiterates talking about things like "power," claiming that Windows has it and the Mac doesn't. But wait a minute! The Microsoft commercials aren't about the operating system, the only thing that Microsoft is responsible for. Instead, the commercials are about the amount of memory, screen size, webcams, and other hardware options. What the frick does that have to do with Windows? Ummm, nothing! Apple is responsible for both the hardware and the operating system. And yes, a Mac laptop is powerful, complete with webcam, light, and more expensive. The difference is that the operating system works well with the hardware. The reason I switched to a Mac was because I wasn't able to do the work that I wanted with images and video. I will continue to pay more, but in the end, I get what I pay for: quality of hardware AND operating system. Believe me, Windows Vista is inferior to Mac OS X.
Friday, June 27, 2009 -- Late Evening
2009 NHL DraftThis evening was the first round of the NHL Draft. Because the Pens won the Stanley Cup, there were the last to pick. They chose Simon Despres, a defenseman. The pick made sense because we have some aging defenseman, and Rob Scuderi might not be around next season because he is a free agent. Weird to think of that because the next season is just a little over three months away.
Michael Jackson deathIt seems that the corner couldn't come up with a conclusive outcome on Michael Jackson's autopsy. Rumors and stories were being spread all day that Jackson had a huge prescription drug problem, and a personal doctor, who wasn't licensed to practice in California, had just injected Jackson with Demerol. One of the signs of an overdose of Demerol is respiratory depression. It seems that shortly after the injection, Jackson started to experience shallow breathing. Because the injection did not occur in a hospital, there wasn't any thing available to counter the problems. There are lots of questions about the doctor, but it seems that just like the other early celebrity deaths, Jackson had problems with indescriminate use of prescription drugs. The final results and conclusion of the autopsy are being held off until the toxicology reports are in. That implies to me that there was nothing physically wrong, so it comes down to overdose or drug interaction. I'm not a huge Jackson fan. Yes, he had some good songs in the early 80s, but for the past 20 years, he has just been a freak show.
Thursday, June 26, 2009 -- Evening
Michael Jackson DiesToday was a day for celebrity deaths. First this morning, we found out that Farrah Fawcett had finally succumbed in her battle against colan cancer. She was 62 years old. Then in the late afternoon, we heard that Michael Jackson had had a heart attack in LA and was being rushed to the hospital. This quickly turned to rumors that Jackson had died. Finally around 6:15 ET, the news was official that Jackson was dead at 50 years of age. As they say, things, especially celebrity deaths, go in threes. Ed McMahon had died early in the week, so that's the three celebrities in a short span.
People are in shock about Jackson's death, and broadband access was inundated as people tried to find out if Jackson was alive or dead, and telling others the news. I know that I was having trouble sending and receiving text messages as the systemw was saturated. I admit that I did like his music, but Jackson as a person was one sick individual. There were the attempts to make himself look white, the plastic surgery, the weirdness of beliefs (such as sleeping in a barometric chamber), the child abuse allegations, and keeping his children masked in public. The guy was really weird, but he was talented musically. MTV and the music video craze took off as it did because of Jackson. Perhaps that's the best way to remember him: as musician and music video innovator.
Thursday, June 26, 2009 -- Afternoon
Shojo Beat CanceledI just found out some bad news today. Shojo Beat magazine has been discontinued. Because I am behind in my reading of Shojo Beat, I didn't notice that the July 2009 issue, on the newsstands on June 16, was the last issue. Subscribers can either get a refund of their money, or complete their subscription with Shonen Jump. The problem that I have that is that Shonen Jump is not shojo manga. If I like shojo manga, which is targeted towards young females, then I'm not going to be a huge fan of shonen manga, which is targeted towards males. I guess what it comes down to is that males, and probably young teenage boys in general, are more likely to buy comics and manga. At least that is the lesson that I take away.
Thursday, June 18, 2009 -- Evening
NHL AwardsTonight was the NHL Awards Ceremony. It started with Evgeni Malkin, Max Talbot, and Dan Bylsma bringing the Stanley Cup onto the stage. The Cup was displayed on the stage for the entire ceremony. Boy, does that cup get around. Unfortunately, Alexander Ovechkin won the Lester B. Pearson Award for the league MVP. Surprisingly, Ovechkin didn't seem as verbally smooth as usual. He congratulated Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk. Of course, one award that we know the result of is the Art Ross Trophy, for the player with the most points in the season. That's Evgeni Malkin. There was a small tribute from Ben Roethlisberger, congratulating all the winners and nominees at the NHL awards. That was a very nice touch. Roethlisberger was filmed with the crowd at the Mellon Arena behind him. One of the funniest moments: when Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez received the William M. Jennings, for goalie or goalie team who had the lowest points against for the year. Tim talked first, and as he finished, he turned to Manny and asked if he should thank Manny's wife for him. Datsyuk was much better when he got the Lady Bing. He was very nervous when he got the Selke Trophy, but was more glib for the Lady Bing. One thing that I noticed throughout the ceremony was that the applause was very weak. I'm not sure if it was because there weren't that many people there, or if it was something else. I did notice alot of empty seats in the fan section. Ovechkin won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Award, and he spoke after Malkin did for the Art Ross. Ovechkin made a job about Malkin speaking English better than Datyskuk. Datsyuk did not laugh. Unfortunately, Ovechkin won the Hart Trophy too. How annoying for Pens fans.
Here are the list of winners for the 2008-2009 season:
CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY
Award for outstanding rookie
Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets
FRANK J. SELKE TROPHY
Award for outstanding defensive forward
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
HART MEMORIAL TROPHY
Awarded to most valuable player to his team
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
JACK ADAMS AWARD
Award for outstanding coach
Claude Julien, Boston Bruins
JAMES NORRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY
Award for outstanding defenseman
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY
Awarded to player that displays sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
LESTER B. PEARSON AWARD
Awarded to the most outstanding player as voted by fellow NHLPA members
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Award for outstanding goaltender
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
Award for the player who exhibits perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey
Steve Sullivan, Nashville Predators
WILLIAM M. JENNINGS TROPHY
Awarded to the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it in the regular season
Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez, Boston Bruins
ART ROSS TROPHY
Awarded to the player who leads the league in total points at the end of the regular season
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
MAURICE "ROCKET" RICHARD TROPHY
Awarded to the top goal scorer in the regular season
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
KING CLANCY MEMORIAL TROPHY
Award for player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community
Ethan Moreau, Edmonton Oilers
MARK MESSIER LEADERSHIP AWARD
Awarded to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season
Jerome Iginla, Calgary Flames
NHL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Awarded to a National Hockey League veteran in recognition of their contributions to the league
SCOTTIABANK FAN FAV AWARD
Awarded to a National Hockey League player based on fan voting
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 -- Evening
Pens rumorsRumors are flying that both Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan may have offers from the Russian league. Sykora had played for Metallurg Magnitogorsk during the NHL lockout, and he may have a offer from them for the coming season. However, Stan Savran, who mentioned the offers, said that both Sykora and Satan are considering their options.
CBC 2009 Stanley Cup TributeOne of my favorite videos is the CBC Stanley Cup 2009 Tribute. It played right after the CBC broadcast of game 7. The clip is a montage of video images from the entire playoff series, culminating in the Pens winning the Stanley Cup. I just love the clips that were used, and they really fit into the music. The music was also great. The song is Sleeping Sickness by a Canadian band, City and Colour. Great clip!
Monday, June 15, 2009 -- Late Evening
Sidney Crosby, rude?I forgot to mention the big controversy over Sidney Crosby and game 7 of the Stanley Cup. Chris Draper was making a big deal about Crosby being disrespectful to the Red Wings because he didn't get into the hand shake line early enough. Draper said that Nikolas Lindstrom waited for Crosby and eventually left the ice without getting a handshake. It seemed like a big to-do over nothing. Crosby did get into line. Unfortunately, he took longer at getting into the line because he was busy celebrating. As Ron Cook of the Post Gazette said that Crosby will have to realize that certain things are expected of him, and in future, he should cut the celebration with his own team to a minimum until after the handshake. I think it was just plain sour grapes though. In fact, there was video evidence of Draper going up to Crosby in the line. It looked like a confrontation that left Crosby looking confused. Basically though, it is Draper making a mountain out of a molehill.
Monday, June 15, 2009 -- Evening
Pittsburgh Pens' Celebration ParadeToday was a gorgeous day in Pittsburgh, made all the more so by the city's celebration of the Pens' Stanley Cup win. There have been sightings of the Cup all over the city this weekend. In the wee hours Saturday night, the Cup was dangled out of the second floor of a restaurant/bar located on the South Side. It took the police a few hours to clear the crowd of 500 fans from the streets after that one. Then on Sunday afternoon, a large group of the Pens, including Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, and Max Talbot took the cup to the Pirates' game. Billy Guerin got to throw out the first pitch at the game and took the Cup to the announcers' booth. Then today was the official city parade. It went the same route as the Steeler parade. 375,000 fans attended, 25,000 more than for the Steeler parade. It was probably because the weather was so gorgeous: sunny, warm, not humid. The parade went by far too quickly. Mario Lemieux was one of the first to go by, followed by Ken Sawyer, Ray Shero, Eddie Johnston, the various announcers, and finally the players. The trucks that the players were on zoomed by my vantage point, but I did manage to get some good photos. Evgeni Malkin had his parents on the truck with him and the Conn Smythe Trophy. At the end of the parade route, the players talked to the fans, thanking them for all their support. All in all, it was a good day.
It was announced today that Sergei Gonchar was more serious injured than we were told when he had the knee on knee with Alexander Ovechkin. It seems that he has a partially torn ACL, something that usually puts players out of action for weeks. Yet Gonchar was back within a week. Granted, he may not have been at his best, but I think just having Gonchar on the ice did something with the chemistry for the Pens. Hopefully Gonchar will recover over his very short summer. He was not at the parade today. Crosby also will be okay with his knee injury from game 7. It was just banged up, and the doctors didn't even think he needed an MRI. Easy to believe watching Crosby running around without a limp while he hoists the Stanley Cup all over town.
Friday, June 12, 2009-- Late Evening
Stanley Cup Game 7Game 7. The first period was a very energetic and stress for one. The Pens had a few good opportunities and near misses, and the Red Wings missed at least one open net opportunity. Neither side was able to score though. The Pens were the first to score with a goal by Max Talbot. Unfortunately, minutes after that, Sidney Crosby got a strong hip check into the boards, and immediately, he wasn't able to put weight on his left leg. Crosby slowly made it to the bench and went to the locker room. Halfway through the second period, Talbot scored again to give the Pens a 2-0 lead. Crosby came back in the third period, but he was really unable to play. My nerves were kiling me, and with 6:07 left to go in the game, Detroit scored. Six minutes left, and the Pens only have a one goal lead. But Detroit was not able to score, even after Chris Osgood was pulled from goal. Marc-Andre Fleury made some great saves in the end, and the one he made throwing his body in front of the puck with only 4 seconds left was amazing! The Pens won the Stanley Cup! It was the most stressful third period of my life! Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable in the playoffs. It was overwhelming to see Sidney Crosby lift the Cup. What a game! Even though I love the Pens, I didn't think they would be able to do it. All the odds were against them. Detroit has been unbeatable at home, home teams usually win a game 7. All I can say is WOW! I will definitely be at the parade. You know, it really has to suck to be Marian Hossa. So close, but he made the wrong team choice. In your face, Hossa! Final score: Pens 2 - Red Wings 1.
Thursday, June 11, 2009 -- Evening
Dead and Gone Review
I just finished reading Charlaine Harris' latest Sookie Stackhouse mystery, Dead and Gone. I had read a few reviews before I read the book, and they spanned the gamut from great to disappointing read. Those who said that it was disappointing commented on how the plot didn't seem to advance the general Sookie storyline and how Ms. Harris seemed confused and inconsistent about Sookie's past. Some even said that they thought the book, which was released just a few weeks ago, was meant to promote the new season of True Blood more than to continue the characters in the book. (Who can blame them when there is a blurb for the new season on the front cover of the book?) So what did I think of the book? I liked it. I think that Ms. Harris has had problems with consistency in following the plot in previous books in the series. In fact, I think in the foreward to one of the books, she mentioned that she has someone who is supposed to keep an eye out for such problems because she admits that's not her strong point. I admit that whenever I come across one of the inconsistences, like Eric not being aware that Sookie never got her money for her work in Chicago for Sophie Anne Leclerq, when Sookie harassed the Eric about the money several times in the previous book, I just roll my eyes, and continue on. In Dead and Gone, I think the story takes a turn for the dark side, and it really tumbles Sookie's world ass over tea kettle. Some major deaths happen, and the book ends with an air of uncertainty. What direction will the books take next because I believe that a major change happens in Dead and Gone. Most important of all is Sookie's relationship with Bill and Eric. From the way the book ended, I would think that there would have to be a change there. In the last few books, more has been made of Sookie's blood bond with Eric (even though I think she may have shared blood with Bill three times, which should mean she is blood bonded to her.) I have to admit that I'm not as keen on the Eric relationship. I prefer Bill, even though I know that he done our Sookie wrong when she found out that he started a relationship with her at the beheast of Sophie Anne. The next book, due out next year, should further advance the story and maybe take us down another route which will open more avenues for stories. At least, I hope that is the case because Dead and Gone closed quite a few. All in all, if you read the other Sookie Stackhouse books, you'll like this one.