The Daily Bongo

June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009 -- Evening

Guerin and Adams stay with Pens
Both 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 Alexandra
Yesterday 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" commericals
Since 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 Draft
This 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 death
It 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 Dies
Today 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 Canceled
I 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 Awards
Tonight 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:

Award for outstanding rookie
Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets

Award for outstanding defensive forward
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

Awarded to most valuable player to his team
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Award for outstanding coach
Claude Julien, Boston Bruins

Award for outstanding defenseman
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Awarded to player that displays sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

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

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

Awarded to the player who leads the league in total points at the end of the regular season
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Awarded to the top goal scorer in the regular season
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

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

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

Awarded to a National Hockey League veteran in recognition of their contributions to the league
Jean Beliveau

Awarded to a National Hockey League player based on fan voting
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 -- Evening

Pens rumors
Rumors 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 Tribute
One 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 Parade
Today 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.

Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, and the Stanley Cup
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 7
Game 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
Dead and Gone cover
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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 -- Afternoon

Steelers' 2008 Super Bowl ring
The Steelers received their Super Bowl rings yesterday evening. I really am not into garish jewlery , but I have to admit that the rings do look nice. There are six big diamonds surrounding a field of little diamonds with the Steeler logo in the center. It does look stylish.

Super Bowl Ring

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 -- Late Evening

Stanley Cup Game 6
It was do or die for the Pens this evening. The last thing anyone in Pittsburgh wants to see is Marian Hossa and the Red Wings skating around Mellon Arena with the Stanley Cup. There was talk that George McFly might put Petr Sykora back in the lineup, and he did, scratching Miroslav Satan. In the first period, the Pens tried to take advantage of their opportunity, getting 12 shots on goal to the Red Wings 3, but none were goals. Jordan Staal scored for the Pens in the first minute of the second period. Although the Pens, again, had plenty of opportunities in the second, nothing came of it. In the third period, Tyler Kennedy got a goal to give the Pens a 2-0 lead, but that wasn't to last. Less than three minutes later, Kris Draper got a goal for the Red Wings. After that gaol, the Pens seemed to fall apart, taking two stupid penalities right after it: a cross checking penalty by Evgeni Malkin and a high stick by Billy Guerin. The tension was rising as the third period was moving to completion. With 1:12 left in the game, Detroit called a timeout and they pulled Chris Osgood from goal. The Red Wings put on a valiant attack. With only 18 seconds left in the game, Rob Scuderi made some excellent saves to keep the puck out of the net when Fleury was knocked out of the crease. The Pens managed to win the game with a final score of 2-1. There will be no celebration in Mellon Arena this time. The series goes back to Detroit with game 7 on Friday. Jordan Staal got the number three star of the game, Tyler Kennedy got the number two star, and Marc-Andre Fleury got the number one star. Someone will get the Cup in the next game. I'm hoping that it will be the Pens.

Saturday, June 6, 2009 -- Late Evening

Stanley Cup Game 5
The action was back in Detroit this evening, and both the Pens and the Red Wings started off with lots of energy in the first period. We have been hearing in the news that George McFly (aka Dan Bylsma) has been eating burritos from Qdoba, and supposedly his wife bought him one to eat today. But the Red Wings were the first to score 13:32 into the first period. The Pens started the second period with the majority of an interference on the goalie penalty to kill. Just as the Pens killed the penalty and were changing lines, Chris Osgood shot the puck down to Marian Hossa who passed the puck to Valitteri Filppula. Filppula scored to give the Red Wings a two goal lead. Unfortunately, minutes later, the Pens gave the Red Wings two power play opportunities, and the Red Wings took advantage of both, getting two more goals. At that point, the NBC announcers were talking about pulling Marc-Andre Fleury and putting in Mathieu Garon. However, they had Pierre McGuire talk to George McFly during a TV time out, and McFly thinks that the Pens just need to get back to playing their game. He wasn't blaming Fleury. The problem is that the bleeding of goals continued. The Red Wings were really taking advantage of power plays, and the Pens in general were playing like crap. Chris Kunitz had two penalities, by the end of the second period. Fleury got pulled after the fifth goal. McFly had to do something to send a message to the team as a whole to up the play. The Pens just seemed to want to take stupid penalities when Sidney Crosby took a slashing penalty, and then Max Talbot took a slashing call 20 seconds afterwards to give the Red Wings a 5 on 3 advantage. The Pens continued their stupid penalties through the third period. Craig Adams and Matt Cooke both got game misconduct penalties within two minutes of each other. The ref went to McFly at that point and told him to control his players. The Pens were unable to score a since point. The Red Wings won the game with a 5-0 score. The series returns to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The Pens had better play alot better or the Cup will be given away again to Detroit on our ice.

Saturday, June 6, 2009 -- Early Evening

Belmont Stakes
Today was the 141st running of the Belmont Stakes. All the talk this week was of a jockey triple crown (as if one existed) because Calvin Borel was back on Mine That Bird. So everyone was thinking that Mine That Bird would win the race because a mile and a half is well suited to a horse that comes from behind. Also, Mine That Bird's sire was Birdstone who won the 2004 Belmont. As the horses were being lead to the paddock before the race, you could see that Mine That Bird was agitated. He was acting alot more nervous, nowhere near as calm as before the other races. When the race started, Dunkirk took the lead. Mine That Bird was dead last at that point. However, coming down the backstretch, Borel let Mine That Bird start to run. Now the thing to keep in mind is that the homestretch at Belmont Park is lengthy, and when Mine That Bird took the lead early in the homestretch, things weren't looking good. Dunkirk, for one, didn't give up, and Summer Bird, another son of Birdstone, was coming up on the outside. Mine That Bird gave up the lead, and Summer Bird just blew by him and Dunkirk. Summer Bird won by 2 3/4 lengths over Dunkirk, and Mine That Bird was an additional 1/4 length behind Dunkirk. Time for the 1 1/2 miles was 1:27.54. Calvin Borel was criticized afterwards because he didn't take any time during the week to scope out the track. At least Mine That Bird finished in the money in all three Triple Crown races.

Thursday, June 4, 2009 -- Evening

Stanley Cup Game 4
More hockey. The Pens needed to win again because they can't go back to Detroit three games down. The Pens were the first to score with a nice goal by Evgeni Malkin. But in the last two minutes of the first period, Rob Scuderi turned over the puck to Darren Helm, who managed to get a goal because another Red Wing was practically falling on top of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Red Wings have said that their goal is to get in front of Fleury so he can't see. So after the first period started with the momentum on the Pens side, it shifted to the Red Wings. Unfortunately for the Pens, that momentum carried into the second period when the Red Wings got another goal 46 seconds into the start of the period. Finally Jordan Staal got some points in this series with a short handed goal while the Pens were a man down for a Brooks Orpik tripping call. The fans were packed outside. At last estimate, they were thinking there might be 10,000 fans outside the arena watching the jumbotron. Score tied. Momentum shift! Malkin and Sidney Crosby both coming down the ice with a puck. Malkin passed to Crosby who buried the puck. The fans, both inside and outside, went crazy! Kris Letang was so excited that he rushed Crosby, knocking him to the ice. The sound from the crowd was overwhelming, even over the television! The scoring wasn't done. Chris Kunitz and Crosby came down the ice with the puck. Crosby passed to Tyler Kennedy who to a goal to give the Pens a 4-2 lead. Lots of back and forth during the third period, and no score. At two minutes, the Red Wings pulled Chris Osgood. Kunitz went down the ice with the puck, and got hooked while shooting at the empty net. Kunitz missed, and the ref could have given the Pens a goal, but chose instead to give the Red Wings a penalty. Osgood was still in the net, and according to Eddie O as he did his color, Osgood was getting called out of the net, but couldn't hear. The game ends with the Pens winning with a final score of 4-2. The series is even, and the next game in Saturday in Detroit at 8 pm ET.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009 -- Evening

Stanley Cup Game 3
The Pens are back in town, and their backs are against the wall tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. They won't lose the Stanley Cup if they lose this evening, but they are really going to have a hard time trying to win four in a row against the Red Wings. Evgeni Malkin did not get a suspension for his fight in the last game. Since he got an instigation penalty, he should have been suspended a game. However, I think that the officials later decided that Malkin didn't instigate. I know he responded to an incident where Max Talbot was being throttled. I don't think that really qualifies as an instigation. The crowd went wild when Mario Lemieux came out to drop the ceremonial puck. The Pens were the first to score with a goal by Talbot off of a shot from Malkin. However, the Red Wings quickly got an answering goal, and then a go-ahead goal. The refs had their eyes closed in the first period. Around 13 minutes into the period, the Pens had six men on the ice for around 25 seconds. The announcers in the Versus booth were going crazy, and they couldn't believe that the linesman didn't see it and didn't call it. Mark Eaton finally realized it and got off the ice. Geeze, a bench penalty means George McFly doesn't have his eyes open. I'm not one of those people who don't think that penalties should be called against my team. They should be called against whichever side commits the penalty. Fortunately, in the last couple of minutes of the first period, Kris Letang scored a power play goal to tie things up. The second period went by without a goal on either side. This was the first period in the series to pass without a goal. It was getting nerve wracking because it was so important for the Pens to win, and finally, in the third period, Sergei Gonchar scored on the power play with assists from Malkin and Sidney Crosby. There were so many missed opportunities and pucks hitting the pipes, especially on the Pens side. I mean, guys, you have to bury those pucks! Chris Osgood got pulled with one minute left in the game. That's when Talbot got an empty net goal. Pens win, finally! The series is now 2-1 in favor of the Red Wings, but if we can even things up on Thursday, who knows what can happen! Final score in the game: Pens 4 - Red Wings 2.