The Daily Bongo

May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010 -- Early Morning

Dead in the Family
Dead in the Family book coverCharlaine Harris's latest book in the Sookie Stackhouse series came out earlier this month. The book is Dead in the Family. In the last book, Dead and Gone, we saw the destruction of the Fairy War. Sookie had been captured and tortured to the point of death, Bill Compton had been bitten by a fairy with silver teeth during Sookie's rescue, fairy godmother, Claudine, was killed, and there was more death among other minor characters. The very last act of the book had Sookie's great grandfather, Niall, took over the fairy leadership and closed the entrance to the Fairy's world. I know that I had many questions about what would happen. Would Bill Compton survive? What would happen next to Sookie? Read my review.

Sunday, May 30, 2010 -- Evening

Go Hawks!
The Stanley Cup finals began last night with a goal filled game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers. Every time one team would take the lead, the other would come back to tie things up, and maybe to take the lead themselves. It doesn't matter who had the lead when because the Blackhawks won with a final score of 6-5. Marian Hossa had a couple of assists too. This might be his year to break the Cup Jinx.

Friday, May 28, 2010 -- Evening

How to Become More Daily!
When I first started The Daily Bongo five years ago, I used to be much better at putting up information every day. In recent years, I've just let life get in the way of "blogging." I have found that too many things have been going on with work, a Master's degree, and buying a new house. However, that should not get in the way of me expressing my interests and giving an outline to my writing. Granted, The Daily Bongo has never been a traditional blog. I don't allow others to comment, and I don't comment on my own thoughts or emotions. I found that in recent months I have been using Facebook to express opinions and thoughts to those who are "friends." Facebook has many privacy issues that I don't like. With The Daily Bongo, personal information about me is removed while I express my viewpoints to a larger audience. So starting today, I'm going to start commenting on more of the things that rile me and informing others of the things that interest me.
Winter Classic
The big news in the city is that the Pens have been awarded the Winter Classic this coming season. They will be playing the Washington Capitals and play in Heinz Field. I'm not sure how I feel about an outdoor game in Pittsburgh. We don't consistently have really cold temperatures, even around New Year's Day. It might be cold, or it might be warm. I would have much rather have had the All-Star game.
In the past few months, I discovered podcasts. Yes, I know they have been around for some time. The problem was that I was syncing my old iPod on a Windows machine with an old version of iTunes. I tried to update my version so I could access the iTune store, but for some reason, iTunes couldn't recognize my iPod. Well, when I bought a new 160 GB iPod, I started syncing it on my Mac. I have been listening to numerous podcasts, especially ESPN's Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption (PTI), TSN's Off the Record, various scientific/skepticality shows (Skepticality and Skeptoid), and Old Time Radio shows. I really am addicted to the Old Time Radio shows (OTR). My favorites are the Saint shows, starring Vincent Price. Sherlock Holmes is also good, and stars either Basil Rathbone or John Gielguld as Holmes. My present job doesn't keep me very busy with work, so I find myself spending several hours a day listening to the shows. Also, it helps to silence the incessant slurping noises coming from the guy in the cube next to me. I cannot stand slurping. You aren't a Hoover vacuum, so don't try to suck down your drink.
Jewish Chronicles Project
The house that I recently bought has been a fixation of mine lately. Lately, I'm thinking of renovations, cleaning, packing for the move, or contemplating the history of the house. The house was built in 1909, and we got blueprints from the former owner that show the house was build for H.B. Ferguson. We have been doing a deed search at the County Office, and we cannot find H.B.'s name on any of the deeds. I did a search on the Jewish Chronicle archives that Carnegie Mellon University has been working on. They have scanned in over 150 years worth of newspapers, and it is fascinating and addictive reading. I cannot wait to search for some of the other names of people who lived in the house.

Monday, May 24, 2010 -- Evening

Martin Gardner Dies
Martin Gardner, mathematician, puzzle creator, and science writer, died today at the age of 95. Gardner wrote 50 books on math and skeptical analysis. For 35 years, he wrote the mathematical puzzle page of Scientific American magazine.
Chicago and Hossa Make it to the Stanley Cup
The Chicago Blackhawks, and in turn, Marian Hossa, beat the San Jose Sharks yesterday to move on to the Stanley Cup round. The Blackhawks won all four games against the Sharks and look good as possible Stanley Cup winners. I have to admit that I am well over the whole Marian Hossa thing. Yes, I still have some animosity toward him because of the whole leaving of Pittsburgh so he would have a better chance at the Cup. But Hossalost, and that put him in his place. It looks like the Flyers are going to join them. The Flyers are up 3-1 against the Montreal Canadiens, and might end the series tonight if they win.
Steve Nash Should be a Hockey Player
Steve Nash should be a hockey player. Yesterday in the Phoenix Suns Western Conference game win, Nash had his nose broken. It happened in the fourth quarter, and the cameras showed Nash trying to put his nose back into place. Earlier in the playoffs, Nash had gotten hit in the right eye and played with an eye that was swollen shut. Yeah, Nash is a Canadian, and it makes you wonder about the hardiness of the people. Obviously, in Nash's case, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking. All I know is that I would want Nash on my hockey team!

Sunday, May 16, 2010 -- Evening

Lookin At Lucky Is Indeed Lucky
I hate to admit it, but I have been so busy with a new house that I just purchased that I totally forgot that the Preakness was on Saturday. I was reminded when I heard the results, but of course, that was after the fact. It's not that I was oblivious to the race. After all, I had been hearing reports of Calvin Borel claiming that he would win the Triple Crown this year, which I thought was funny because Super Saver, the Kentucky Derby winner, didn't seem so impressive to me. In fact, I think that Super Saver benefitted from a muddy track and an open rail. Super Saver was definitely not on my radar as a Triple Crown winner. Super Saver started the Preakness as the favorite, but tired badly through the race, and wound up finishing 8th. Lookin At Lucky took the lead at the start of the home stretch and held off First Dude, who finished second, and third place finisher, Jackson Bend by three quarters of a length. Lookin At Lucky won by 1:55.47. First Dude finished a head in front of Jackson Bend. Trainer Bob Baffert has already said that Lookin At Lucky will skip the Belmont and race in the Haskell Invitational on August 1 at Monmouth Park.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 -- Evening

The End of the Road
The Pens played game seven against the Montreal Canadiens this evening. It was obvious from the start that the Canadiens came to play, and the Pens to lose. Sidney Crosby took a boarding call in the first ten seconds of the game that resulted in the Canadiens getting a goal from Brian Gionta 32 seconds into the game. Then another Canadien goal gave them the lead. The Pens tried to play catchup, but after the fourth goal for Montreal, Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled and Brent Johnson was sent in. That woke up the Pens a bit, and they scored two goals. But it was two goals too little. The Canadiens went on to win with a final score of 5-2. The Canadiens go on to the Eastern Conference finals. The only thing left is to find out who will join them. The Flyers are making a series of it against the Bruins. Right now, in game six, the Flyers are leading 2-0 after the second period and are trying to take it to a game seven.

Monday, May 10, 2010 -- Evening

Do or Die
The Pens were in Montreal for game six against the Canadiens. Obviously the Pens wanted to end things in Montreal so they could get a rest before the next series. The Canadiens were the first to score. Sidney Crosby broke his no goal in eight games in Montreal by finally getting a goal to tie things up. Things took an even brighter turn when Kris Letang got a goal with an assist from Crosby. However, just when we thought things were humming along, the Canandiens got one to tie things up, and then another to take the lead. However, the Canadiens were bound and determined to win the game. They scored another goal in the third, and even though Billy Guerin scored one with less than a minute and a half left in the game, it was too little to late. The Pens play was not the best in this game, and afterwards, Dan Byslma sounded defeated and out coached. Let's hope that the Pens rise above this, and win game seven in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Final score: Canadiens 4, Pens 3.

Saturday, May 8, 2010 -- Evening

Pens Stay Alive
The Pens played the Canadiens this evening in game 5 of the semifinal round. The Pens needed to win to keep the home ice advantage, and to switch the momentum in their favor. To that end, Billy Guerin was back in the lineup, and Ruslan Fedotenko was out. Fedotenko hasn't been playing well so far in the playoffs. The Pens scored first with a power play goal by Kris Letang at the end of the first period. Letang probably felt that he has to make up for the winning goal for the Canadiens in the last game. The Canadiens put on a valiant fight in the third period, with a two minute power play in the last two minutes of the game. With only 31 seconds left in the game, the Canadiens were able to get a goal, but they were unable to tie the game in the remaining 30 seconds. The Pens won the game with a final score of 2-1, and they are now up 3-2 in the series. Now let's hope that the Pens put an end to it all on Monday in Montreal.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 -- Evening

Stall Outdoes Chuck Norris and Gary Roberts
Believe it or not, after having his tendons sliced by a skate, Jordan Staal played in tonight's Pens and Canadiens game. The Canadiens got a goal in the first three minutes of the game, but then the Pens got two goals in the first period to take the lead. There were no goals on either side in the second period, but then the Canadiens got a goal to tie things up. Horrors of horrors, Kris Letang mishandled a puck and put it into the net behind Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Canadiens the lead. I mean really! The last thing that Fleury needed was lack of help from a teammate that results in a goal that gives the Canadiens the lead. Unfortunately, that's how the game ended, with the Canadiens winning off an own goal by Letang. Final score: Pens 2 - Canadiens 3. The series is back in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 -- Evening

Back on Track
The Pens were in Montreal tonight to play the Canadiens in game three of the Eastern Conference Semi-final. Billy Guerin was a scratch before the game due to an undisclosed injury. That's how things work in the playoffs. Undisclosed. Guerin could have anything from a hang nail to a broken bone. Well, maybe not a hang nail since that wouldn't be a scratch able injury. But you get the idea. The interesting story was that Jordan Staal skated today. He didn't practice, but it was a very hopeful sign to see Staal lacing up the skates. The first period of tonight's game was not in the Pens favor. They only got three shots on goal, and it was obvious that the Pens weren't playing their game. That started to change in the second period. The Pens were the first to score with a power play goal by Evgeni Malkin in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury did a good job, making some nice saves, even though the Canadiens didn't get many shots on goal (only 18 in the whole game). Jaroslav Halak was pulled in the last minute of the game, and that's when Pascal Dupuis got his empty net goal to seal the deal for the Pens. Pesn won with a final score of 2-0, and Fleury got a playoff shutout. Next game is Thursday.

Sunday, May 2, 2010 -- Evening

Canadiens Turn Up the Heat
The second game of the Pens / Canadiens series was this afternoon in Pittsburgh. It was not a good time to have an afternoon game in Pittsburgh because the Pittsburgh Marathon had most of the roads closed in the city until shortly before the start of the game. The Pens started out in the first period with some good power and energy. Matt Cooke got a goal, and the arena was abuzz. However, the Canadiens came back to tie things up at the end of the first period. The Pens that came out in the second and third periods were not a team that was playing well. Even though the Canadiens only had three shots on goal in the second and six shots in the third, they still managed to get a goal in each period. Probably Marc-Andre Fleury was off his game because of the sparsity of shots. Jaroslav Halak gave another stellar performance, stopping 38 of 39 shots. It was definitely not a good game for the Pens, and I can only hope that they pick up their game to defeat the Canadiens in the series. The final score for today's game was Canadiens 3 - Pens 1. The next game will be Tuesday in Montreal.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 -- Evening

Staal to Miss First Game?
Jordan Staal severed a tendon in his right foot from the skate of P.K. Subban in the second period yesterday. He had surgery to repair the tendon today and is on a day-to-day basis. I wouldn't imagine that he would come back quickly, but the Pens say that he may be back for the next series. I think Staal is a hardy player, and if he came back with what looked like a broken nose, in the same game that it was injured, I don't see him taking long for a severed tendon.
136th Running of the Kentucky Derby
Today was the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby. It was a bit of a let down this year because Eskendereya was scratched from the race early in the week because of a leg injury. The problem was described as a swelling in the left front leg, and Todd Pletcher wanted to play it save by taking Eskendereya out of the running. Then it rained today. The announcers at NBC were saying in the utterly boring two and a half broadcast before the race that over two inches of ran had come down today. The track was muddy, and that instantly signaled to me that the traditional favorite was not likely to win today. Fortunately for Todd Pletcher, he scored his first ever Kentucky Derby win with 8-1 Super Saver. Super Saver was ridden by Calvin Borel, who knows the ins and outs of Churchill Downs better than any other Derby jockey. Borel took Super Saver up along the rail, and scored a 2 1/2 length victory over Ice Box. Paddy O'Prado was third. Favorite Lookin At Lucky broke from the number one post position and cut off and jostled around several times at the start, even having to be pulled up twice when openings in front of him were cut off. Lookin At Lucky finished sixth, and one of Pletcher's four entries, filly, Devil May Care, finished tenth. The winning time for the mile and a quarter was a slow, 2:04.45. I suppose that's not so bad for a muddy, sloppy track.