The Daily Bongo

March 2006

Friday, March 31, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens played the New York Islanders this evening. I missed the game, unfortunately. It seems that it was one of the best games of the season. Sebastien Caron was in goal. Not only did he achieve a shutout, but he stopped a penalty shot by Sean Bergenheim. Sergei Gonchar had two goals, and Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists. Final score of the game was 4-0. Alot of people are commenting on how the Pens' level of play has picked up in the past few weeks.

This coming Sunday celebrate Israel from 12:00 till 4:00 pm with iFest. The event will be held on the Cathedral of Learning lawn in Oakland, and will feature Israeli music, Krav Maga demonstrations, belly dancing, Dead Sea products, Israeli foods, and much more. It sounds like it should be a great deal of fun.

Physicists have determined that the neutrino has mass. This is big news in the world of physics because little is known of neutrinos, and yet they are everywhere. Originally neutrinos were not thought to have mass, and the model of how particles interact in the Universe will need to be revised based on this new information. The reason neutrinos are so difficult to study is because they can pass through space and the Earth without interacting with matter.

Scientists are wondering how reliable current climate models are because they have failed to simulate the current conditions in Antartica that have the temperature raising 2 degrees Centigrade over the past 30 years. Is the warming due to supposed "global warming" or is it the result of natural climatary changes in the Antartic region. I think that it is quite obvious that we really don't understand how the climate works. We don't know what is causing the things that are happening, and we are unable to even begin to suggest how to "fix" them. When I hear folks talking about how global warming is an accepted concept and that x, y, or z will fix it, I know that they are talking out of their butts. Read Michael Crichton's State of Fear. Of course it does add fictional suspense, but Crichton brings up some good, skeptical scientific questions.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 -- Evening

Survivor: Panama, Exile Island was on this evening. The show was an interesting one. I hate the whole merge idea though because it really screws the team that has fewer people. It just doesn't seem as if the other teams has much of a chance. As was to be expected, a former member of La Mina is kicked off. For more info, read the recap.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 -- Afternoon

Governor Rendell announced his plan to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh. Rendell's plan is to have $293.5 million in bond money made available with the Pens paying $8.5 million up front. As the Pens said, it's not as attractive an offer as the Isle of Capri plan. Isle of Capri is going to put the money into the arena. There will be no cost to others. As Ken Sawyer said, with the Rendell plan $7 million dollars will annually come from a developement plan and will take 30 years to complete payment. If you have someone willing to pay for the arena, how could any other offer compare? As Rendell says though, "no one knows how the gaming control board will vote." Of course, the gossip and implication is that Rendell does know how the voting will go and that the fix is in. The Gaming Board denies it, but since they are Rendell appointees, he could have just appointed people that he determined might already have an inclination to vote a specific way.

Jaromir Jagr broke the New York Rangers scoring record yesterday. He has 113 points in 73 games. This is the most points in a year by any Ranger in the history of the team, and there are still seven more games left in the season. Jagr really seems to have found the old fire within this past season. The lockout was a huge help for him, and seemed to give him a new perspective on the playing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 -- Late Evening

I went to the Pens game this evening. They played the Florida Panthers. It was a very interesting display because throughout the game, the Pens seemed to have no rhythm. The whole team was guilty of bad passes and mishandled pucks. Meanwhile the Panthers seemed to be full of energy and took full advantage of all the Pens' lapses. The Panthers pulled ahead to a four goal to none lead by the middle of the second period. That's when Marc-Andre Fleury. That happened at 10:34, and at 16:59 in the second period, John LeClair score his 18th goal of the season and his 400th goal of his career. Andy Hilbert of the Pens scored the second goal for the Pens in the third. With abit less than two minutes left in the game, Sebastien Caron was pulled from the net to get an extra man on the ice. That lead to an empty net goal for the Panthers. At that point the Panthers were ahead 5-2. Surprisingly, Konstantin Koltsov scored the third and final goal of the game with 2.8 seconds left in the game. Final score was 5-3.

On April 18th, there is going to be a rally for the Pens at Mellon Square Park (Corner of William Penn Place and Sixth Avenue) . The rally is being sponsored by Pittsburgh First. The members of this group are the Pens, Isle of Capri, and Nationwide Realty Investors, Ltd.

I caught up on American Idol when I got home. Tonight another contestant is leaving the show. The musical entertainment was Shakira. Shakira sang Hips Don't Lie. Great song and performance! Who was in the bottom three? Lisa Tucker, Ace Young, and Katharine McPhee. I have to admit that all three sucked yesterday in my opinion. Surprisingly, Ace was not in the bottom two. The person sent home was Lisa Tucker. I was very impressed with Lisa because she had a huge smile and took it all very well. Unfortunately, she just wasn't getting the right songs in the past few shows.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 -- Evening

The final 10 singers were performing tonight on American Idol. There were several bad performances. Only two were good in my opinion--Chris Daughtry and Paris Bennett. My vote for the person who should be booted off the show is Ace Young. Read the recap and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 -- Afternoon

There's going to be a total eclipse of the Sun tomorrow. Southern Asia and Africa will be prime locations for the viewing.

What I didn't realize as I was watching the Pens game on Sunday is that Noah Welch scored a goal for the Canadiens. That's what I get for not paying close attention to the game. Anyway, Welch went to shove the puck into the corner, and somehow got it into the net behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Surprisingly, Welch didn't let it bother him, and came back to score a goal shortly after that. With such a close game, it is really a shame because without that goal, it would have been a tie at the end.

I have only been able to observe from a distance, but there is filming going on in Oakland today. The show being filmed is a television pilot that is being called Smith for now. It is causing abit of a traffic jam, but nothing major.

Today was election day in Israel, and polls have just closed. According to the exit polls, the new party that was formed by Ariel Sharon, Kadima, appears to have gathered the most votes. Usually, the Israelis are active voters with about 80% of the population turning out to vote. However, this election appears to have run into voter apathy, and the turn out was much lower than expected. Exit polls have Kadima taking 29-32 seats, Labor taking 20-22, and Likud only getting 11-12. What this will mean for the future of Binyamin Netanyahu is not certain.

Monday, March 27, 2006 -- Evening

I watched the third episode in the new Doctor Who series. This one is The Unquiet Dead written by Mark Gatiss. The show starts with a dead woman in a coffin in Victorian England. As her son mourns her, the woman comes to life, attempting to strangle him. The time is 1869 and the Doctor and Rose arrive at Christmas time, believing it to be Naples and 1860. The undertaker has a young woman servant who is psychic. The older butler takes the girl to find the woman. Who else is in the episode, but Charles Dickens. The Doctor and Rose finally realize that they are in 1869 Cardiff, England. The dead woman goes to a reading of The Christmas Carol given by Dickens and creates quite a ruckus by having the "evil soul" flying out of her. Rose is kidnapped by the servant man and the unwitting servant girl. The Doctor goes in hot pursuit in Dicken's carriage. Rose finds herself captive in a room with the dead woman's dead son who is now taken over by what apppears to be an evil spirit. As he and his mother try to attack Rose, Doctor Who saves her. It seems that the dead bodies of the woman and her son are inhabited by souls from another time. The undertaker tells Rose, the Doctor, and Dickens that it's the house that is haunted and causes the dead to walk. The Doctor figures out that the problem is a rift in time that is allowing souls to drift from one time to another. The Doctor realizes that Gwyneth, the psychic servant girl, is the link to the spirits which are beings from the other side of the Universe. It seems that the spirits are bodyless because of the Time War, and that Gwyneth is their only hopes for survival. The spirits would like the dead bodies on Earth so they can have a bodily presence. Although Rose doesn't want Gwyneth to help the bodiless spirits, Gwyneth wants to help. As she said, she has been speaking to the spirits since she was a child. The Doctor suggests that they go to the weakest part of the house which is called "Bleak House." The Doctor is fooled though, and there are so many souless bodies that they want to kill all the human race to take over their bodies. The Doctor is upset that he was foolish enough to trust the spirits. It's Dickens to the rescue when he realizes that the answer is to turn out the flames in the gas jets in the house. Dickens figures that the spirits would have to leave the bodies and join the gaseous environment. Gwyneth is too weak to send the spirits back to the other side of the Universe and decides that the best way to close the rift is to blow up the house. The Doctor explains later that Gwyneth was dead at the time, and by some supernatural way was able to communicate to the Doctor and Rose, and to save the world by closing the rift. As Rose and the Doctor leave Dickens, he says that he will spread the word of the gas spirits by having them be the murder in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The show was an interesting one, but so far, it is my least favorite of the three that have been broadcast. I really like the actor who plays the Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. He plays the Doctor with alot of humor and energy. Not only that, but he's cute. There is a very nice chemistry between Eccleston and Billie Piper.

Sunday, March 26, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Montreal Canadiens. In the first period, the Canadiens were able to score two goals while holding the Pens scoreless. Less than a minute into the second period, Colby Armstrong scored a goal for the Pens. The Canadiens just lead by one goal now. The Canadiens came back just a short time later to score another goal. The puck bounced off of John LeClair and was put into the net by a Canadien. Tomas Surovy scored a few minutes later to make the score 3-2. Unfortunately, everytime we score, the Canadiens come right back with another. This time Alexei Kovalev scores a goal. Kovalev was interested in coming back to play for the Pens, but Craig Patrick took too long to make an offer and Kovalev signed with the Canadiens. Armstrong had an answering short handed goal. The second period was a scoring fest for both teams. Score is now 4-3. As the period was ending, Kovalev came on to score another goal. The period ends with a score of 5-3. The third period starts with a goal by newcomer, Noah Welch. It looks like Colby Armstrong might have a hat trick, except that the puck hit him, and he might have redirected the puck into the net. That means that the goal will probably be taken away. If not, then it will tie the game at 5. The officials take the goal away from Armstrong. The Canadiens score again with seven minutes left in the game. Score is now 6-4. The Pens just aren't giving up though, and LeClair comes on to score yet another goal. The score is now 6-5. Even with pulling Marc-Andre Fleury at the end, the Pens aren't able to tie things up. They loss, but it was an exciting game.

Over in the NCAA tournament, there were even more upsets. The last two number one seeds, UConn and villanova both lost today. UConn lost in overtime to number 11 seed, George Mason University, with a final score of 86-84. In fact, UConn was very fortunate to even get to overtime because they managed to score a two pointer in regulation to tie the game just as the buzzer was sounding. Villanova lost to Florida in a more lopsided affair, with the Florida Gators leading most of the game. The final score had Florida winnning, 75-62. There are no number one seeds left in the tournament. Next week, the final four will meet with LSU playing UCLA and George Mason playing Florida. I am not even going to make a guesstimate at which teams will win. Although I have a preference for UCLA since they are a Ben Howland team.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 -- Evening

The Endurance: Tehachapi finale was on this evening. For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the details, the Red team won. To find out all the juicy details, read the recap.

Jamie Dixon is not leaving Pitt after all. He agreed to a contract extension today. Originally his salary between $500,000 and $600,000 dollars yearly and should get a $300,000 raise. Not bad for someone who hasn't gotten the team to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament in the last two of his three year tenure or the Big East championship. I'm underimpressed but I guess that the Pitt administration isn't.

As for the NCAA tournament, LSU went into overtime against Texas and wound up winning to make it to the final four. The score was 70-60. Texas just seemed to not have their hearts in it during the overtime. The other game this evening was between UCLA and Memphis. UCLA beat Memphis in a low scoring game. Final score was 50-45. Ben Howland, the coach for Pitt before Jamie Dixon, is the coach of UCLA, and he took the team from nowhere to the Final Four. Now Howland is a coach who is worth a pricy contract extension.

Friday, March 24, 2006 -- Late Evening

I went to the Pens game this evening. They were playing the New York Islanders. One of the best goals of the season was in the first 2:20 of the game when Ryan Malone was charging the net short handed. He fell onto his side as he neared the goal, but still managed to get the goal into the net. The Pens were leading by one point. The Islanders pulled ahead to a three to one lead in the second period, The Pens came back to tie the game up and take the game into overtime. Sidney Crosby scored the game winning point in overtime. It was a game with alot of action, and the crowd of 15,210 were really into the game with lots of noise and enthusiasm. Final score was 4-3.

Two exciting games in the NCAA tournament this evening. First was the Villanova/Boston College game. The game went into overtime, and Villanova won by a score of 60-59 when they were given two points for goaltending by one of the Boston College players who denied Villanova a basket seconds before the buzzer sounded the end of the game. Our seats are just behind the gold seats at Mellon Arena, so we had the television tuned to the game, and everyone in our area was watching the end of the basketball game while ignoring the hockey game. The other exciting game was the UConn/Washington game. That also went into overtime, and UConn won with a final score of 98-92. Georgetown lost to Florida today with a score of 57-53 and George Mason beat Wichita State by a score of 63-55.

There are rumors that Jamie Dixon will be leaving Pitt to coach basketball at Arizona State. The rumor is that Arizona State was willing to give Dixon $1 million plus in salary. What I don't understand is that Dixon signed a contract with Pitt for six years. Four more years are left on the contract. Pitt really isn't under any obligation to pay Dixon more, and he should not with any good conscious even consider offers from other schools. So folks are complaining that Pitt didn't do enough to keep Dixon. I say that someone should remind Dixon that contracts are not to be taken lightly. Personally, I say "don't let the door hit your butt" to Mr. Dixon.

After the game this evening, my boyfriend, two other friends, and I went to Six Penn Kitchen. It's on Penn Ave in the Downtown area of Pittsburgh, several blocks from the Arena. The food there was actually good. The calamari was tender and tasty, the personal pizza with homemade mozzerrella, tomato, and basil was very tasty. We decided to get dessert which was a warm apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. The food was good even though abit on the small side. The nice thing about smaller sizes is that you don't overeat. The prices were comparable to the sizes, so I was not disappointed. The only negative was the number of items on the menu. It didn't have alot of options or variety. Even with that, I would go back again if I was in town.

Friday, March 24, 2006 -- Morning

Last night's basketball games were quite thrilling. I wound up staying up until 12:30 am watching the games (and playing with my iPod). First was the West Virginia game. West Virginia was playing Texas, and West Virginia had just tied the game with seconds left. It looked like it was going to go into overtime. However with .8 seconds left (yes, less than 1 second) one of the Texas guys sunk a three-pointer. The ball went into the basketball as the buzzer was sounding the game end. They reviewed the point, and agreed that the thrower let go of the ball prior to the buzzer. Final score was 74-71. Right after that, CBS went to the Gonzaga and UCLA game. Gonzaga was ahead by 17 points at half time. However, they just didn't seem to know how to finish the game. Some of us call it choking. UCLA came back to score the final eleven points to win the game with a score of 73-71. It was another thriller with the game being tied in the last few seconds. Then UCLA scored and after that stole the ball from Gonzaga. Again with only partial seconds remaining, Gonzaga tried a long throw to get the ball within shooting range. However, this time, the ball bounced off the rim instead of going in. Alan Morrison, who gets compared to Larry Bird and believes the hype, was bawling his eyes out like a spoiled baby, giving quite a show of histronics by sobbing, covering his face, and then lying in the middle of the basketball court. What a baby! Anyway, it was thrilling basketball!

Thursday, March 23, 2006 -- Evening

Today has been a busy day for me. I got an iPod this evening, and have spent most of the time installing software, copying music to the thing, and creating playlists. I got the 60 GB one because I just know that I will be filling the thing with music and videos. So I haven't been doing alot of blogging.

I resigned myself to the fact that my NCAA bracket is totally useless. Why? Because Duke lost tonight, and I had them winning the tournament. It just goes to show you how useful the rankings are, and how difficult it is to pick the winners. West Virginia is going to be playing abit later on this evening. Because the Duke/LSU game took so long, the West Virginia game won't start until after 10 pm. So I will probably be sleeping before the game is over.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 -- Evening

Since I didn't watch the Pens game last night, I missed the hit that Sidney Crosby received in the game. He was hit in the knees, knocking him over, and the Pens are sure that the hit was one that was intended to cause injury. What is worse is that the refs called only a two minute tripping penalty instead of a five minute kneeing penalty. I saw the clip on ESPN, and Andrej Meszaros did come down low and catch Crosby at knee level. It that is what kneeing is, then that is what Meszaros did. Meszaros admitted that he hit Crosby in the knee but that it wasn't meant to hurt him. Michel Therrien is sending a request to the leaque to review the hit for possible infraction.

It was judgment time on American Idol tonight. 35 million calls were made in the two hours after the show last night. The Ford music commercial this evening was cute. The contestants were singing We Got the Beat. The commercial was colorful, energetic, and very nicely done. I think that this year's group is much better vocally, and the songs that they sing together sound pretty good. Barry Manilow performed the song Love is a Many Splendor Thing. Afterward, Bobby Bennett was on stage to give Maniolow a hug. Bobby was voted out on February 23. Bucky Covington, Kevin Covais, and Lisa Tucker were in the bottom three. Paula Abdul was brushing a tear from her eye because I think that she likes the contestants personally. Who will go? Lisa was the third from the bottom. Paula tells Bucky and Kevin that this isn't the end, but a beginning. Well, Kevin Covais was the second person voted out of the top 12. It was sad because Kevin is a cutey pie. Ah well, I can only hope that Ace goes sometime soon because he annoys me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 -- Late Morning

I'm so glad to learn that I don't have poor judgment when it comes to bad singing. It seems that the folks at The Trades also didn't like Ace Young. I thought that his performance was subpar, and wonder if he really might get the boot if others feel like I do. I think that Ace's biggest fan base is with 8 year olds and women who are wanna be teenyboppers. You know the type--in their 30s to 50s and still not able to get over the idea that they aren't 13 anymore. Vote for the Worst is still backing Kevin Covais. We'll have to see how it goes tonight. Paula Abdul is claiming her bizarro antics are caused by Simon Cowell whispering weird things into her ear, like "what's the price of beans?" Sounds to me like Paula is hearing voices and blaming it on poor Simon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight the eleven contestants competed on American Idol. The performances were better this week than next week. My bottom three are Ace Young, Bucky Covington, and Lisa Tucker, and I'm sure that one of them is going to go tomorrow, more than likely, it will be Lisa. Chris Daughtry, as usual, gave a great alternative performance. Read the recap for more details.

I didn't watch the game this evening because I was watching American Idol, but I did keep my eye on CBS Sportsline. The sad thing is that the Pens had exactly half (19) the shots that the Ottawa Senators had (38). The only scorers for the Pens were Colby Armstrong with an assist by Ryan Malone. Tomas Surovy had an unassisted goal. The final score was Ottawa 5, Pens 2.

Monday, March 20, 2006 -- Evening

I just watched the first episode in the recent series of Doctor Who on the SciFi channel. The first episode was titled Rose. The show starts with Billie Piper playing Rose who wors as a sales girl in a London department store. As the store is closing, Rose is sent down into the basement to deliver the lottery tickets to the manager. Well, when she gets there, she starts to hear some strange noises, and then finds out that the store mannequins have come to live. As they almost corner her, Doctor Who, played by Christopher Eccleston, jumps out to save Rose. That's how the adventure starts where Rose tries to figure out who this Doctor Who is and what is going on. Doctor Who blows up the department store, but Rose wants to find out what happened. There is an alien force that has settled in London, and who wants to take over the Earth for his own by killing off the human race. The Doctor, with Rose's help, manages to kill off the alien mastermind, and asks Rose if he would like to join her on his adventures. After turning him down, she decides to give up her loser boyfriend and mother and jumps into the Tardis to join the Doctor. I have to admit that I liked Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, and I thought that Billie Piper was a good foil for him. She has this young, innocence about her while still being energetic and adventurous. As for the plot of the story, it was abit silly. After all, a monstrous alien who settles in the sewer system under the London Eye. But the writers did a fine job, throwing in humor with just the right blend of thrills and excitement. The special effects really put the old shows to shame, and the Tardis looks pretty impressive. I'm looking forward to the other episodes in the series. The SciFi channel has one more that was shown last Friday that I recorded. Then there will be one every Friday.

The second episode is titled The End of the World. This episode takes place right ater the events in Rose. The Doctor decides to show Rose travel in time. He decides that just going a few years in time is not enough, and they go five billion years into the future to the end of Earth when the Sun explodes. It seems that humans have made it five billion years. A group of aliens are gathered to watch Earth death. The only human left is this creature that is just skin stretched between a frame, a skin trampoline as Rose calls it. As the clock clicks down, Rose and the Doctor aren't aware that something evil is going on. One of the alien races have brought a ball that contains a robotic spider type creature that is quickly multiplying and attacking the people who are on the space vessel to observe the Sun's explosion. The special effects with the interior of the space craft and the creatures are very well done. It is such a change from watching the old series. Doctor Who figures out that something is going on, and runs to the rescue of the space vessel and Rose while Brittany's Spears' Toxic plays in the background. Doctor Who figures out that the evil sabatour is last remaining human who hopes to hold the space craft and inhabitants for hostage. The plot is to get money from the people held in the space craft. The Doctor to the rescue! The end was very thrilling and a race against time. I have to admit that I like this Doctor. He is quite cute, hunky, and manly.

Monday, March 20, 2006 -- Morning

The power outage last night at Mellon Arena during the Pens game was probably caused by a fire in the electrical relay box. The guys in the press box could smell something buring, but there wasn't any danger to the patrons.

Sunday, March 19, 2006 -- Evening

The Toronto Maple Leafs were in town this evening to play the Pens. The first one and a half periods went by without any scoring or any significant number of shots on goal. My boyfriend and I were watching the game when all of a sudden it blacked out and the station starting showing something else. Checking the NHL and CBS Sportsline websites, it looks like there was a stoppage to the game that hasn't been renewed. I'm wondering if the electricity went out in the Arena. Yep, the electricity did go out. They just showed some footage on television of the lights going out for awhile, and then the emergency lights kicked on, but they felt it wasn't enough to start playing again. Finally the lights came back on and the game was on. The electricity went off again, and there was another stoppage. After the second power outage, it seems that alot of people left the game, and they weren't able to broadcast the game on television. They did not take a long intermission before starting the third period. Shots on goal for the first two periods are 10 for Toronto and 11 for the Pens. Toronto scored the only goal of the game on a penalty shot in the third period. Total shots on goal in the game were 17 for Toronto and 18 for the Pens.

The Sopranos was on this evening. This one was titled Join the Club. It was very surrealistic. After all, in the last episode that we watched, Tony Soprano was shot. This episode starts with Tony in another city on a business trip. It seems that it was just all a dream. Tony was in the hospital, in bad shape. As Carmello asked the doctor, "does Tony know he's dying?" The doctor does not know. The show goes back and forth between real life and Tony's dream world. The episode was dark and depressing with no quick resolution to Tony's injuries. Read the summary of the show.

Sunday, March 19, 2006 -- Afternoon

My NCAA bracket suffered some major busting yesterday with the Fighting Illni (Illinois) losing yesterday to Washington with a score of 67-64. What was bad about it was that I have the Illni going all the way to the final two. So that whole bracket--the Washington, DC part is totally wiped out. This afternoon, Pitt lost to the number 13 seed, Bradley. Bradley lead for the entire game. Pitt only came within a point a few times. The final score was 72-66. In the first half, West Virginia is leading against North Western State with a score of 41-19. One of the West Virginia guys made a throw from half court at the buzzer that made it. I didn't plan on them winning this game, but then I also didn't plan on them playing North Western State. I have just resigned myself to failing miserably with my bracket this year, but watching and enjoying the games anyway.

Poor Spirit! It's right front wheel isn't working anymore. There were problems with it earlier. Then it was determined that the problem was a lubrication issue. This time it seems that the motor that runs the wheel has konked out. Right now, Spirit is dragging its wheel, as it makes it way to a good location for the Martian winter.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Montreal Canadiens. The Pens came out with two quick goals by Eric Boguniecki and Ryan Malone. Both goals were made within two minutes of each other and within the first six minutes of the game. The Canadiens fought back, however, and scored three answering goals. It looked like the period was going to end in the Canadiens favor when John LeClair scored a goal with 22 seconds left in the period. LeClair had a hand in all three points in the first period with two assists and a goal. The first period ends with a score of 3-3. In the second period, the Canadiens were first to score, followed quickly by the tieing goal by Ryan Malone. One problem that both sides appears to have is getting too many men on the ice. At one point, the Canadiens had seven men on the ice. The Pens have been called for it twice. The Canadiens have been giving Marc-Andre Fleury a workout with 19 shots on goal in the second period. The between period intermission was interesting because some clips of comments by Fleury was shown. what we learned from the clips is that his favorite hockey players are Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy. Fleury's favorite foods are steak or pancakes, and chocolate dessert. His roommate's worse habit was when he was in the minors and his roommate would walk about in the room naked all the time. Fleury thought it was disgusting. Yeah, guys could be naked in the locker room, but walking around the room like that was something else. Fleury's favorite practical joke is to fill a garbage can with water, then tilt it against someone's room door, knock on the door, and when the person opens the door, water goes everywhere. Fleury's favorite music is dance music, although he likes all music. Fleury is a real cutey, and he's my favorite player. In the third period, Andre Roy scored a go-ahead goal to give the Pens a 5-4 lead. Now if the Pens can only hold on. There are still 13 more minutes left in the game. Believe it or not, the Pens are able to hold off the Canadiens, and we really have Fleury to thank. The Canadiens put 46 shots on goal. Final score: 5-4.

Simon Cowell made a prediction about who would be the final three on American Idol this year. In his opinion, the three will be Chris Daughtry (my favorite), Taylor Hicks, and Kellie Pickler. Kellie Pickler doesn't have that strong of a voice, but her naive act has made her a darling with alot of people.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 -- Late Morning

I just finished reading Prince of Fire last night. It's a spy novel by Daniel Silva. I had heard about the series of books that Silva wrote about Israeli spy, Gabriel Allon, but hadn't had a chance to read any of the books. However, a couple of weeks ago, I was in the library, and Prince of Fire was sitting on the best sellers cart. The book was a very good read, and I would have finished it sooner if I had more time to read. It is an enjoyable page turner. Read my review.

South Park is making news this week with the announcement by Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, that he is quitting the show because the show was not respectful of others "personal spiritual beliefs". So after years of poking fun at Christian, Jewish, and Muslim figures, that straw that broke Hayes' back was when the South Park guys poked fun at Tom Cruise and Scientology. Hmmm, could it be that Hayes is a hypocrite, and it was okay to make fun of everyone else's religion, but when it came time to poke fun at a religion to which Hayes subscribes, they went to far. Scientology and Tom Cruise should have fun poked at them. In the past year, we have all seen the looney tune side of Cruise with his couch jumping on the Oprah show, and his commentaries on psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. Cruise, who doesn't have a college degree, claims to know more about psychiatry than anyone else. Cruise is the very vocal voice of Scientology. My favorite looney tune Scientology story is that we are filled with dead space aliens, and that it is only Scientology that can clean the body of these aliens. Right! Comedy Central, the home for South Park, pulled the Scientology episode and showed other South Park episodes this week. According to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, this was because Cruise threatened not to promote Mission Impossible 3 for Paramount which is owned by Viacom, the owner of Comedy Central. Yep, looks plausible to me. I have never been a Tom Cruise fan, and haven't seen any of his movies because I can't stand Cruise. He's a short, little whiner who uses intimidation to silence people who poke fun at him or question whether he is bisexual. All I have to say on that issue is that Cruise wasn't acting like a 40 something year old straight man when he was jumping on that couch over Katie Holmes.

Friday, March 17, 2006 -- Evening

Pitt won its opening game in the NCAA tournament against Kent State. Charles Small actually got to close out the game. He's the 5 foot 7 inch player on the team. He's a senior who does not have an athletic scholarship, and I understand from his girlfriend that he has been accepted to Pitt's School of Social Work. So far, I am some how leading the work NCAA bracket. This evening, I have been lucky with UConn and North Carolina State winning their games. Having a bracket does make the games alot more interesting! So far, my Oakland division is intact, pending the Kansas/Bradley game. I think that I thought I was doing worse than I was.

Friday, March 17, 2006 -- Afternoon

Deshea Townsend signed a four year deal with the Steelers. That means that the Steelers should have at most nine of the defensive line returning next season.

My NCAA bracket suffered some more this afternoon with the lost of Iowa. I had them going at least another round. That game was a killer. With 0.5 seconds remaining in the game, Northwestern State got a three pointer that put them one point up on Iowa. Northwestern went on to win with a final score of 64-63. It was a shocking, exciting finish. Also, I picked Wisconsin over Arizona, and Arizona blew away Wisconsin with a final score of 94-75.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens played the New Jersey Devils this evening.
First period: The Pens score the only goal in the first period. Jani Rita scored an unassisted shot.
Second period: The Devils were able to tie things up when Marc-Andre Fleury came too far out of the net, and John Madden got the puck past him. Sidney Crosby got shoved around abit by one of the Devils shortly after the goal, and when the ref didn't call a penalty on the Devil, Crosby mouthed off to the him, and wound up with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Yeah, Crosby got shoved around abit, but suck it up and play! As the announcers were saying, some players can mouth off to a ref in a similar situation and not get a penalty. The thing is that Crosby has a reputation as a whiner, be that right or wrong. When you have the reputation, try to suck it up or get a penalty for whining. With less than three minutes in the period, the Devils score a power play goal to pull ahead of the Pens: 2-1.
Third period: This game has been a boring one, and it hasn't been very heavy on the shots. With almost 3/4ths of the period done, the Pens have two shots on goal to the Devils five. Compared to the other periods of this game, the Pens had seven in the first while the Devils had six, and in the second period, the Pens had three to the Devils eight. As the announcers are saying, it seems as if the Devils are content with their one goal lead, and they aren't doing too much to score. Fleury was pulled with less than a minute left in the game. Therrien called a time out with two seconds left in the game and a face-off pending in the Devils' end. The Pens can't do much in two seconds and the Devils win: 2-1.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 -- Early Evening

Astrophysicists believe that they have found proof of the theory of inflation. The driving force behind inflation was that astrophysicists had to come up with a theory to explain how the Universe is the same regardless of where you look at it. This is the horizon problem because in whichever direction you look, things are the same. How have areas that are so distant so similar? The other question is with the age and size of the Universe, why are we now in a "flat" universe? That means that as far as we can tell, we aren't really sure if we are going to have eternal explansion or collapse. Well, now astrophysicists are claiming that clumps of radiation that are found in the cosmic background is proof of inflation. Basically the space around us is filled with radiation. This is the remnant of the heat that was around after the Big Bang. The most interesting aspect of the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) is that for all intents and proposes it is uniform and evenly spread. It is only with the most sensitive instruments that any fluctuations can be found. Now this group of Scientists is claiming that it is finding fluctuations and that the fluctuations are the result of inflation. I think that the actual fact of the matter is that we really don't understand the Big Bang. Because the Big Bang happened around 14 billion years ago, and we don't have any real evidence of what happened, scientists can come up with any sort of theory and find evidence to support it. The things that we think now will be scoffed at in 100 years time. Who made me the expert? I'm not, but after getting a bachelors in physics and astronomy, I know that alot of it is guesswork. Some of the guess work can be proved but some of it is just accepted until it can be proved or disproved.

So far, my NCAA bracket is not fairing well. Seton Hall, Oklahoma, and Nevada have lost, and Boston College just managed to squeak by in double overtime against Pacific. I have been keeping my eye on the CBS Sportsline scoreboard. I found out the deal with the free video. Basically you have to register with CBS Sportsline, and then you get put into a waiting line. If you close the page, you get bounced out of the waiting list, although my boyfriend was bounced without doing that. Because I am doing it in the evening, I was able to get in with just a wait of a few minutes. However, it was different this afternoon. All those working folks were crowding the lines.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 -- Evening

A recap episode was on Survivor: Panama, Exile Island with little that was new. I watched it, but there is really nothing of note to mention. Meanhile one of the contestants was voted off on American Idol. Read the recap to find out who gets tossed. Except for one of the contestants, the bottom three were not the ones most would have expected.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 -- Early Evening

I have finally completed my NCAA bracket. I really didn't listen to any analysis of the teams because I thought that it might be better for my bracket if I just went my gut feeling. While I was doing the bracket, I was surprised at some of the teams that I was picking and what my match-ups were. What can I say though? Those were the answers that were coming to me, so I went with it. Time will tell how I did. The games start tomorrow.

The Tennessee Titans have signed Chris Hope. Boy, the Steelers are losing people left and right.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 -- Afternoon

I was just looking around on MSNBC's website, and I found a fan ranking of the American Idol contestants. It appears that the low marks go to Kevin Covais, followed by Bucky Covington and Melissa McGhee. It will be interesting to see if this means that Kevin might not have gotten the votes last night. The top three are Chris Daughtry, Mandisa and Taylor Hicks with Paris Bennett following closely behind. Vote for the Worst, a website that encourages people to vote for the worst contestant, has Kevin as its posterboy. Kellie Pickler, my worst performer, is a close second. It seems that the owner of the website has gotten some insider dirt that Kellie isn't as naive as she acts. Well, nuff said. I know the naive country girl routine is wearing thin for me, but it probably appeals to little old ladies and the stupid. Last year, I liked the analysis from The Trades staff, and here is this week's roundtable analysis.

The Steelers signed Jerame Tuman today, but Kimo von Oelhoffen went to the New York Jets.

The big find in the Valley of the Kings last month turned out not to be a tomb. It appears that it was a room that was used to prepare the Pharoahs for mummification. That diminishes the find in some eyes, but I think that it's still a very valuable resource for learning about the ancient Egyptians.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 -- Evening

The twelve contestants were singing on American Idol. For some sick reason, the producers at Idol thought that it would be cool to make this a Stevie Wonder theme show. The bad thing about it is that most folks can't sing Stevie Wonder, and the contestants proved that theory to be a correct one. The performances at the end of the show were better than those at the beginning, and by far, the best performance was given by Chris Daughtry. Read the recap.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 -- Early Evening

Today is Purim. It started last night at sundown. Purim is a very happy holiday with little children dressing up in costumes and with lots of treat giving, prizes, and happiness. Purim is the story of Ester and Mordechai and how they saved the Jewish people from the schemes of Haman who plotted to get King Achashverosh to kill all of the Jews in the country. Purim is a happy holiday because the Jews survived and the King learned to honor Esther and her heritage. During this holiday, Jewish families will take gifts of sweets to others. I know that I am looking forward to getting a few Hamentaschen. Some nice sites that give more information and games for Purim are Purim on the Net,, and

Google has launched a site that maps Mars. My boyfriend was the first to alert me to the site, and it is nicely done. Maps are given in both visible and infrared light. Also, sites of interest are highlighted on the map.

Charlie Batch has signed a three year deal with the Steelers this afternoon.

Monday, March 13, 2006 -- Evening

I am still working on my NCAA bracket, and hope to have it ready by Wednesday at the latest. The games are going to be offered for free online by CBS Sportsline. What that means is that folks will be watching the games at work. Allan Ray has been cleared to play in the tournament. ESPN showed the film of the accident this morning, and it was a gruesome sight. It was very obvious that Ray's right eye was knocked out of the socket. Ray has said though that his vision is much better now, and that depending on how comfortable the protecive goggles are, he may or may not be wearing them.

I just finished watching a recording of Sopranos today. The new series started last night, and it did not disappoint. The episode ended with a death and a possible death. Well, everyone has been talking about it so it won't be news for folks to hear that Tony Soprano gets shot by Uncle Junior who shoots Tony in the abdomen while in a delusional state. It seems that Junior thinks that Tony is Pussy, the guy that Tony whacked a few seasons back. The story starts with Carmela and Tony happily back together again. I find this part of the story a tad unbelieveable because they both act as if the near divorce didn't happen. Meanwhile, this character, Eugene, who is a bookie runner for Tony, comes into a $2 million inheritance from his aunt. Eugene wants to retire to Florida, but Tony informs him that you don't retire from the Mafia. Towards the end of the episode, we find out that Eugene is a rat to the FBI, and the desperation starts to build. Tony won't let him go to Florida and neither will the FBI. Eugene is needed in New Jersey. Meanwhile, Eugene's wife wants to move the family to Florida to get her teenage son away from drugs. With no way out, Eugene hangs himself in his garage. The scene is quite graphic. Right after that, Tony goes to take care of Uncle Jun, and that's how he winds up getting shot. The episode ends with Tony calling 911, but passing out before he can talk to the 911 operator. The impression we are left with is that Tony is in dire straits, but we all know that the 911 folks will trace a call on an open line and find Tony in plenty of time to save him. Read the episode summary.

Sunday, March 12, 2006 -- Late Evening

I went to the Pens game this evening, and it was the best one of the season. The Pens played the Flyers. Colby Armstrong scored both of the goals that the Pens had with assists on both from Sidney Crosby. In the third period, Andre Roy got a seven minute penalty that the Pens had to kill. Yes, you did read right, seven minutes. Two of the minutes were for instigating and five minutes for fighting. Believe it or not, the Pens did a great job of killing the penalty. Marc-Andre Fleury got a shut out, and the Pens won two in a row with a score of 2-0.

Other big news is that Antwaan Randle El has signed a deal with the Washington Redskins. You can't blame Randle El for taking the deal. The Redskins offered him more than the Steelers gave Hines Ward. Randle El has a six year, $27 million deal and the sports announcers here were saying that it would be $11 million guaranteed. Not bad. It's going to be sad to see Randle El playing for another team, but no one in their right mind would pass up this deal.

Pitt got a number five seed in the NCAA tournament. They will be playing Kent State this coming Friday in Oakland. I'll be filling out my bracket tomorrow, and will post it here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens played the New Jersey Devils this evening. New Jersey is a decent team. They are third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. However, they aren't fairing well against the Pens. In the first period, the Pens scored four goals to the one goal scored by the Devils. Sidney Crosby scored the first goal and had an assist in the second goal that was scored by Ryan Malone. The third goal was by Michel Ouellet and the fourth by new guy, Andy Hilbert, who also assisted Malone with his goal. The Pens started the second period ahead with a score of 4-1, and Crosby came on to score yet another goal in the second. Colby Armstrong scored yet another goal for the Pens. At that point, Martin Brodeur was pulled from goal. Marc-Andre Fleury has been making some great saves for the Pens, and has only let in two goals on 28 shots midway through the second period. Brodeur, meanwhile, let in six goals on 16 shots. At the end of the second period, the Pens lead with a score of 6-2. In the third period, the Pens were held to no goals, but the Devils only were able to get one themselves. The final score is 6-3 with the Pens winning in a surprise. The three stars of the game were Crosby at number 1, Hilbert at number 2 and Sergei Gonchar at number 3.

At the same time as the Pens game, Pitt played the Orange, Syracuse. Syracuse pulled ahead to an early lead. The question is can they maintain it. At the start of the second half, the score is 36-30 in favor of Syracuse. The last half of the second period was very close, especially in the final minutes. The final score was Syracuse 65 and Pitt 61. So Syracuse wins the Big East title for the second year in a row.

Saturday, March 11, 2006 -- Late Morning

Believe it or not, Pitt won yet again last night. This time they beat the number two seed in college basketball, Villanova. The final score was 68-54, but the game was an emotional one for Villanova. At the start of the second half, Allan Ray of Villanova was diving for the ball with Carl Krauser. In the scrum, Krauser's hand came up, and Ray got a poke in the eye. Unfortunately, the poke dislodged the eye from the socket. I didn't see the incident, but my boyfriend did, and said it was a horrible sight. Ray was taken off the court and rushed to a hospital. Fortunately, the damage was not as bad as it looked. There is soft tissue damage, and Ray is said to have the vision restored in that eye. Right now, Ray will be considered on a day to day basis for future play, since Villanova will be playing in the NCAA tournament. As for the Big East final, Pitt will be playing Syracuse tonight. I will be cheering on the Orangemen.

I just read this recent review of the NFL Super Bowl XL - Pittsburgh Steelers Championship DVD. The comment that is made is that the DVD is a must see. One point that I will agree with is that the 72 minute video of the season is nicely done. However, so many plays were missed. With a DVD, the show could have been longer--two or three hours. Also, Bob Smizik, the review, said that the DVD is a tribute to Jerome Bettis. It could have been much better with longer clips or an analysis of Bettis' career. What got to me about this DVD after watching everything on it is that it was a rip-off. The clips are just sections from the NFL Games of the Week that are made on a weekly basis throughout the season. With a DVD package, so much material could have been included, or a two DVD set could have been made, that would have made this offering truly amazing. As it is now, yeah, it's nice, but when I think of how good it could have been, I get angry. The only person who might be amazed by this DVD is someone who doesn't have access to the NFL channel and won't realize that the meager offerings are just plucked from that resource. Another sore point was the cost. Don't buy this DVD at its listed price of $24.95. Look for a discount. In my opinion, the list price of this DVD should have been $10. So even the discounted price of $12.95 that you will find in some stores is abit more than I would have liked to pay. I see that Sports Illustrated is giving the DVD away as a freebie along with a few other items (such as a cap if I am remembering the commercial correctly). This DVD is just another sorry attempt from the NFL to squeeze every last, little penny out of its fans without giving them bang for their buck!

An interesting turn in the Dan Brown trial in England. This is the trial where the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail are accusing Brown of stealing their idea for his book. Well, one of the authors of the Holy Blood book has admitted that one of the ideas in his book was appears in someone else's book. Richard Leigh, one of the authors of Holy Blood said that the idea that Jesus did not die on the cross, but lived to marry Mary Magadlene and father child was "Not copied, repeated." I say that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Mr. Leigh and Michael Baigent profitted from the Da Vinci Code because people bought the Holy Blood and Holy Grail book to read more about it. Also, it does help them that Brown credits them as a source of information. Some folks like Mr. Leigh and Mr. Baigent are just darned greedy!

Friday, March 10, 2006 -- Evening

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has successfully gotten into orbit around Mars this evening. The orbiter is now in an elliptical orbit around Mars. The technicians at NASA were getting nervous because there was radio silence as the orbiter went behind the planet shortly before they received confirmation that all was well. The MRO is going to look at Mars surface and atmosphere in more detail than any previous Martian mission.

I have become a big Matisyahu fan, and have been watching some videos of him performing on AOL Music Sessions. Matisyahu is a 26 year old Hasidic Jew (of the Lubavitch variety) who sings reggae music. The themes of the song come from religious and biblical sources. Each week, AOL Music Sessions features a different artist.

Syracuse just won in a thrilling finish against Georgetown in the first of the Big East semi-finals. Georgetown led throughout the game, usually by several points. However, Syracuse came back in the second half. With less that 18 seconds left in the game, Syracuse gets the ball and scores a two pointer to pull ahead 58-57. Yes it was that close. Instead of taking a time out, Georgetown runs the ball down the court, and Syracuse gets the ball back with 1.5 seconds left in the game. After not having the lead in the game until the very last score, Syracuse went on to win. How could you not love a team that celebrates the color Orange (my favorite color).

Friday, March 10, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Pitt beat West Virginia last night. I was disappointed because I was hoping that West Virginia would go farther in the tournament. However, West Virginia has a dilemna. They love to go for the three pointer (field goal). Sometimes that is to the sacrifice of the two pointer. Now when the team is in the groove and hitting the three pointers, no problem. However, when the team ain't so hot, they can lose. And lose is what they did last night. Pitt was behind in the first half of the game, but came back in the second half with the help of some freshmen players to win. So Pitt moves on again. Tonight they will be playing Villanova. Most folks don't think Pitt will get past Villanova. I hope not because I am not a big fan of the team.

Evidence has come back from Cassini that one of Saturn's moon's, Enceladus, could have liquid water beneath its crust. This has scientists excited because where there is water, there could be life. Enceladus also has the attention of scientists because it is geologically active. That means that jets of what is believed to be water have been observed spouting from locations on the moon.

The University of Pittsburgh renamed one of its biomedical buildings after Dr. Thomas Starzl today. The first Biomedical Science Tower sits in the upper campus region (that means that it is on the hilltop where Trees and the Petersen Event Center are). Dr. Starzl found out about the honor today at a luncheon to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Jerome Bettis lost $67,000 worth of jewelry at a Super Bowl practice last month. Bettis had placed a Rolex watch and a diamond studded gold bracelet on the top of his locker after practice. When he noticed that he had forgotten to pick it up, he thought the someone on the Steelers staff had packed up the items. However that was not the case. Bettis reported the items as lost for insurance purposes.

Thursday, March 9, 2006 -- Evening

Survivor: Panama, Exile Island was on tonight. A surprising move happened in the combined reward/immunity challenge, and Dan was voted out. It was emotional for everyone. Read the recap. The next episode is going to be on next Wednesday because of March Madness, and the episode after that will be three weeks from tonight. So there will be a Survivor vacation of sorts.

At the same time American Idol was also on. Thank goodness for a DVR! Anyway, I was shocked that one of the guys was voted off because I thought that he did a nice job. Unfortunately for us all, Ace Young is still in the competition. Read the recap.

Thursday, March 9, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Today at 3:00 pm ET was the trade deadline for the NHL. So what does Craig Patrick of the Pens do? He picked up some crappy players for the team. Mark Recchi, Ric Jackman and Cory Cross were traded away for players of a lower quality or future draft picks. The biggest non-surprising surprise is the Recchi trade. It makes sense because Recchi is the number two scorer on the team, but at the same time, he was saying that he wanted to stay with the Pens. I suppose when it comes down to it, a player wants to be on a team that has a chance of getting to the playoffs. The Pens have also been given the go ahead to investigate options for relocating to another city. The Pens are allowed to initiate talks with other towns starting June 30.

Yesterday's Pitt game was an interesting one. They wound up winning the game, but at half time Pitt had a 28 point lead against Louisville that was squandered by the end of the game. The final score was 61-56. Some sports analysts thought that if the game just went abit longer that Louisville would have won. comments like that are irritating because the game is 40 minutes, and if you can't win it then, you couldn't. However, I think that this doesn't bode very well for Pitt's future in the Big East basketball tournament. Tonight Pitt will be playing West Virginia in a quarterfinal match. In my opinion, I think that Pitt is going to lose. We'll have to see what happens.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006 -- Evening

A busy evening today. The Pens played the Washington Capitals. Sebastien Caron was in goal for the Pens. It seems that the Pens have won all three previous meetings with the Caps and want to make it the first time that they have beaten the Caps in every outing in the season. Two minutes into the game, the Pens scored first with a goal by Colby Armstrong. Sidney Crosby had the assist. However, the Caps came back two minutes later to score a goal. The Caps came back later in the period to score two goals. The second of those goals was due to the fact that Caron was out of position. Caps lead with a score of 3-1 in the first period. John LeClair scored an unassisted goal in the second period to bring the Pens within one of the Caps. A powerplay goal for the Caps made the score 4-2 in their favor at the end of the second period. Ryan Malone scored a short handed, unassisted goal in the third, but the Caps came back with an answering goal, and an empty net goal in the last second of the third. Final score was 6-3.

The men were competing on American Idol this evening, and for the most part, the performances were strong. I am not a big Ace Young fan, and I thought he did an atrocious job this evening. My ears still haven't recovered from the assault. However, the squealing girls are probably rushing to the phones to vote for him. Read the recap.

The Pitt basketball team is playing in the first round of the Big East basketball tournament in New York. Pitt is playing Louisville. My prediction is that Pitt is going to lose tonight. We'll have to see how they do. Since the game just started at 9:40, I'll probably comment on the win or loss tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006 -- Late Evening

It was a hockey night in Pittsburgh. Although the first two periods of the Pens vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning were going in the favor of the Lighting, the third period opened up. Sidney Crosby got his 29th goal of the season and his 39th assist in the third. A late game rally and a goal by Ryan Whitney gave the Pens the tieing goal at 19:04 in the third. The game ended in regulation with a 4-4 tie. An exciting over time lead to no score, so it was on to the shootout. I was unhappy at that point because the Pens haven't been stellar in shootouts. They didn't prove me wrong in this case either. The Lightning got two goals to our one. The game was over--final score of 5-4. One of the big uncalled penalties came at 4:56 in the third period when Michel Ouellet lost a couple of teeth on the ice due to a high stick. The call wasn't made, and the whole arena was livid. Even from my seats at the other end of the ice, you could see the blood dripping onto the ice. There was also a freak goal in the first period. Unfortunately, it went against us. The puck was shot behind the net. It richotted off the glass, over the back of the net, hit Marc-Andre Fleury, and bounced into the net. It was a really weird and unfortunate goal to give up. I have to admit that the game, especially in the third period was quite an exciting one. Even if the team loses, it's nice to see a well played and close game.

Tonight on American Idol, the women were singing. Two of them will be eliminated, and after this week, we will have the final 12 will a joint competition between the men and the women. Mandisa was far and away the best. That girl deserves a record deal. Read the recap to find out who I think should go.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006 -- Late Morning

Brooks Orpik received a three day suspension for the boarding call this past Saturday to Erik Cole. Orpik thinks that there are others who do worse who don't get the suspension, but he understands that because Cole will be out for the season that there will be some disciplinary action. Orpik just thinks that three days is too much. The Pens are playing the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening, and I will be attending the game.

Monday, March 6, 2006 -- Evening

Brooks Orpik may face suspension for the hit that he made on Erik Cole on Saturday night. Orpik says that he is sorry for the event and that he has never been a dirty player. In Orpik's opinion, it was just an accident. I don't think that Orpik meant it, but at the time, it looked like boarding to me. It's always dangerous to hit someone into the board when his head is down and the player is playing the puck. Cole has a compression fracture of the vertebrae in his neck and is expected to be out for the rest of the season. His teammates on the Carolina Hurricanes are noticeably upset because they are in a run for the playoffs, and Erik Cole is their best player. It just stinks to the Hurricanes because the hit was not called for, and the Pens are fighting for last place. I can see their point. At the same time, I know that accidents and bad judgment can happen.

Sunday, March 5, 2006 -- Evening

I finally finished reading Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea by Nancy Atherton. It was an okay read, but somewhat of a disappoitment. It is the rare author who is able to keep the story and characters fresh after serveral installments in a series. I really liked listening to Ms. Atherton at her recent book signing, but if I met her today, I would beg for a stronger mystery. Read my full review.

I also watched all of the NFL Super Bowl XL - Pittsburgh Steelers Championship DVD. I was disappointed because I realized today that what I thought was a three hour main program was actually only one and a half hours. The season is gone in a flash, and the extras are shorter than I expected. A short on Jerome Bettis is just that, short. It is over in four minutes. What I don't understand is that the NFL has alot of material in their film vaults. I think that they just prefer to put as little as possible on this DVD and charge alot for it. The cost of the DVD is $24.95. Fortunately, I paid only $12.95 for it. The filming and quality of the video is excellent. NFL Films does a great job in detailing the games and showing what goes on along the sidelines. However, there was so much that could have potentially been on the DVD. It was a disappointment to think of the things that were missing.

Saturday, March 4, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Carolina Hurricanes. The first period did not go very well. Marc-Andre Fleury gave up three goals on four shots. He was pulled and then Sebastien Caron gave up two golas on five shots. Yes, you heard right, five goals on nine shots. The second period was abit more even handed with the Pens scoring three shots while the Hurricanes scored only two. By the end of the second period, it was 6-3. Mark Recchi, Konstantin Koltsov, and John LeClair scored the three goals. The third period started with Recchi scoring another goal to make the score 6-4. Brooks Orpik sent Eric Cole head first into the boards. Orpik is sent out of the game for it, and Cole looks like he is badly hurt although he is able to get off the ice on his own. Orpik is rightly called for boarding. The Hurricanes are able to score immediately after the penalty and the score becomes 7-4. Recchi scored a hat trick by scoring a goal in the third period with 5:02 left in the game. Score is 7-5. Recchi has been doing a great job in the past 13 games. Both of Recchi's goals in the third period were unassisted. Not bad for a geriatric player. The period and games ends with the Hurricanes winning with a score of 7-5.

Jupiter has developed a new red spot called Red Jr. The new red spot was formed back in 2000 and was the result of a couple of storms colliding. Basically, the theory is that the Great Red Spot and Red Jr. are storms that are so powerful that they are dragging materials from deeper in the surface of Jupiter to the surface. These materials are turned red because of the Sun's ultraviolet rays. Scientists are going to be keeping a close eye on Red Jr. (officially Oval BA) to see how things develop.

The twelfth episode of Endurance: Tehachapi was on this morning. The final two teams are determined in an emotional episode. Read the recap to find out all the details. Because the season is coming to a close, Discovery Kids has an Endurance marathon this weekend. The first season was on today, and the second season will be on tomorrow. Contestants are now being selected for Endurance 5 and commericals are out telling kids to call 1-877-946-6635 to apply. There are also web instructions.

Friday, March 3, 2006 -- Late Evening

Pitt lost to Seton Hall tonight with a final score of 65-61. It was the last game of the season for Pitt, and a home game to boot. Seton Hall isn't the best of teams either, so it is not looking good that Pitt is finishing out the season as losers. This does not bode well for the Big East tournament next week. I think that Pitt will lose in the first game.

I bought the NFL Super Bowl XL - Pittsburgh Steelers Championship DVD this evening. It was on sale at Giant Eagle for $12.95 which is a very nice price. The DVD has a three hour film that goes over the Steelers 2005 season, including the playoff games and the Super Bowl. There are also extras that include the Steeles vs. the Colts Game of the Week, a section on Jerome Bettis, the Super Bowl half-time show, plus a slew of other clips. So far, I watched a good portion of the three hour show, and I have to say that the DVD is a great collector's item. The NFL does a great job with recording the games and the sideline interactions. It's interesting to see the things that go on behind the scenes. If you want to have something to remember the season, you should get this DVD.

Friday, March 3, 2006 -- Evening

Tommy Maddox is no longer a Pittsburgh Steeler. He was cut from the team today along with Willie williams. Maddox says that he would like to go somewhere that he can compete. I imagine that will be in an insurance office. He can compete for the most sells in a month.

Hines Ward is going to make a trip to Korea for a week starting on April 1. Ward was born in Korea and left the country with his mother and father when he was one year old. Ward will be returning with his mother, and she will be showing him around the country. Although Ward has asked for privacy during his tour, he will be giving a press conference and meeting with the South Korean president.

Thursday, March 2, 2006 -- Evening

Astronomers have a beautiful portrait of a spiral galaxy courtesy of the Hubble Telescope. The picture is a face on view of the Pinwheel Galaxy, and it is the most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy from Hubble. It took 51 exposures to create the image.

Tonight on Survivor: Panama, Exile Island, La Mina finally makes a comeback, and Casaya is sent to tribal council. Who gets voted out? Read the recap.

Four contestants were voted out on American Idol tonight. Surprisingly, I did pick all four contestants who were voted off. Who were they? Read the recap. Next week the group will be cut down to the final 12.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens lost another one this evening. The first period was a rather boring one with only one penalty (on the part of the Senators. They also scored the only goal of the period. At the very end of the first period, Sidney Crosby must have mouthed off to the ref, and the Pens started the second period with a two minute unsportsmanlike penalty courtesy of Crosby. Things started to open up, especially for the Senators. They scored three more goals in the period to pull ahead with a score of 4-0. Third period and the Pens started to score. Colby Armstrong had two assists, and new Pen, Jani Rita had an assist and a goal. The Pens weren't able to tie things up and had another loss with a final score of 4-3.

Interesting side notes about the game. The Pens intro film and music was based on the James Bond theme music. First up was Sidney Crosby with a 007 under his face. Then the 00 slid around to form an 87. Neat! They showed others of the Pens with numbers or sayings. The only other neat one was Marc-Andre Fleury who was labelled "The Man with the Golden Pads". When Sergei Gonchar's picture came with "From Russia with Love", everyone booed. Gonchar doesn't have alot of fans here in the city due to his poor performance.

Another item mentioned at the game was the auction of Mario Lemieux items that will be held from March 5 to March 15. Money from items sold through the Bid For 66 auction will benefit cancer and neonatal research.

Other breaking news is that the special screening of the Steelers DVD held in the Loews Waterfront theater was cancelled due to a bomb threat in the theater. Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis, Ben Roethlisberger, and Antwaan Randle El were there and were ushered out of the theater when the bomb threat was made.

The men were competing tonight on American Idol. The best and my favorite is Chris Daughtery. That man is hot and talented! If he doesn't get a record deal out of this, I will be shocked. Read the recap.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006 -- Early Evening

I'm going to the Pens game tonight. They are playing the Ottawa Senators. I was hoping to see Dominik Hasek in action and get some pictures of him but he won't be playing because of the injury in the Olympics. The Pens have a tough road ahead. Of the 23 games that are left in the season, 22 will be against teams that are in contention for the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the Pens do tonight after the two week break.

Things are not looking up for the Pitt basketball team. It seems that Pitt is probably going to be a sixth seed in the Big East tournament. However, they are hoping to do better in the NCAA Championships that are fast approaching. Yep it is March so March Madness can't be far away. The reason that the team thinks it will do better is based on the fact that the Big East is a tough conference and with a fairly decent record Pitt should get a better seed in the NCAA. Record for Pitt is 21-5, which breaks down to 10-5 for Big East games and 11-0 for non Big East games.

Queen Elizabeth is going to turn 80 years old on April 21, and in honor of the occasion, a website has been setup to commemorate the event. Officially, the Queen will celebrate her birthday with Trooping the Colour which takes place on June 17 of this year. The official birthday is always in mid June in order to have the best weather for a parade and outdoor events. You can also send a birthday greeting to the Queen.

A study has been done by CMU that shows that the use of cell phones during a flight can be risky. It seems that the story is that the frequency at which the cell phones communicate could interfer with GPS systems on a plane and cause a crash. Although there is no instance of this happen so far, the CMU guys say it is only a matter of time. The Verizon Airphones that are available on planes uses a different frequency and shouldn't be a problem. Not only do the CMU guys claim that cell phones are a problem, but that also believe that laptops and hand held gaming devines might also cause problems. All the research is based on data from a 2003 study that documented the emissions of electronic devices when used during a flight. I'm not sure how much I buy this one. I would love to have the Mythbusters check this one out. Right now, you aren't allowed to make cell phone calls during a flight, but it appears that one to four cell phone calls are made on each flight in the northeastern US. That's why I find this study abit hard to swallow. If folks are using their phones, laptops, and Gameboys now, why hasn't there been a crash? Answer that question for me CMU guys.