The Daily Bongo

May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 -- Afternoon

Random Bits
My Memorial Day was a relaxing one, mostly spent sitting outside, catching up on my huge pile of magazines, and eating and drinking. So here are some random items I wanted to comment on:
Matt Damon and Markie Mark
Am I the only person who confuses Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg? I keep on using their names interchangeably. Over the past weekend, I have seen movies with both: the Bourne series of movies with Damon and Date Night with Wahlberg. All I will say is that both are cute, and Wahlberg looks exceptionally good without his shirt in Date Night.
Winnipeg Gets the Thrashers
The Atlanta Thrashers were sold to True North, who will be moving the team to Winnipeg. The news was announced this afternoon, and the team will be in Winnipeg for the upcoming season. No word yet on the name or the structure of the league. The NHL Board of Governors still has to approve the sell and move. That should happen on June 21.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has been steadily advancing at the French Open. Fabio Fognini, who won his last match while experiencing severe muscle cramps, withdrew from his match to give Djokovic a win for the match. Djokovic gets extra rest before his next match, a semi-final match against Roger Federer. We will find out tomorrow if Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray meet up in the other semi-final match.

Saturday, May 28, 2011 -- Evening

I finished reading the teen book, Virals by Kathy Reichs. It was an okay read, but I wasn't a huge fan. The story has a sci-fi element to it that should go over well with the readers of the Twilight series. Well, the teen characters don't turn out to be vampires, but they do gain super human powers (strength and sharing of thoughts) after being exposed to an experimental Parvo virus. As I said, it wasn't a bad book, I just wasn't that thrilled with it. Reichs is going to release the second book in the series this coming fall, so fans can get more of Tory Brennan and her gang.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 -- Afternoon

206 Bones
I have almost worked my way through Kathy Reichs' books, and just finished 206 Bones. You would think that I would be getting tired of the books, but I really enjoyed this one. This time, an inept co-worker is out to sabotage Tempe by making it look like Tempe is incompetent. This time, the book starts out with Tempe in a life-threatening situation. The italicized chapters are the ones in which Tempe is trying to escape her tomb, and they continue through the book. As I said, I really enjoyed the book. I knew right away who the guilty party was. The mystery wasn't a surprise, but I like the characters and the overall story. I only have one more of the Tempe mysteries to read, but before I read it, I'm going to read Virals. Virals is written for teens, and features Tempe's niece, Tory. I'll have more on that when I finish it.
Doctor Who
There are only two more episodes of Doctor Who before it goes on hiatius until the fall. The episode this past weekend had a clone of the Doctor. The episode wasn't bad, but I liked The Doctor's Wife more. In fact, I think that episode was my favorite this season. I'm just not sure where things are going in the series, and I think that's part of the problem for me. It's hard to wonder what will happen next when you aren't sure what is happening now.
Bones' Cliffhanger
Bones went out with a bang in its season ending episode last week. I just watched it on the DVR, and Bones' announcement that she was pregnant with Booth's baby was a shocker. I had been thinking throughout the episode that Bones was acting very introspective. I also noticed that they seemed to be hiding Emily Deschanel's pregnancy. Deschanel plays Bones. Now, I'm burning with curiosity to find out how the writers and producers handle the story line. BTW, Angela and Hodgkins had their baby, a boy, with perfect eye sight. It's nice when you have a happy finish, especially after the sadness of The Hole in the Heart.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 -- Evening

Shackleford Wins Preakness
Today was the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes. Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner, was the favorite. Usually Animal Kingdom took at least six week breaks between races, so coming back within two weeks was a big change up for him. I was not impressed with his effort, and didn't think that Animal Kingdom would do well. Imagine my surprise, when Animal Kingdom made a run down the stretch and almost caught Shackleford, who lead from wire to wire. Shackleford won by a 1/2 length over Animal Kingdom with Astrology finishing third. Time for the 1 3/16 miles was 1:56.47. There won't be a Triple Crown winner this year, but that's not surprising considering the overall mediocrity of the field this year. The complete finish for the race:
Place Horse
1st Shackleford
2nd Animal Kingdom
3rd Astrology
4th Dialed In
5th Dance City
6th Mucho Macho Man
7th King Congie
8th Mr. Commons
9th Isn't He Perfect
10th Concealed Identity
11th Norman Asbjornson
12th Sway Away
13th Midnight Interlude
14th Flashpoint

Sunday, May 15, 2011 -- Evening

Neil Gaiman, The Tardis, Doctor Who
Neil Gaiman's Doctor
I never seem to watch live television. Everything I see is on the DVR, except for sports, which you have to watch live. So even though the last episode of Doctor Who was on last night, I just watched it tonight. Neil Gaiman wrote The Doctor's Wife, and I think that it was the best of the past two seasons. The Doctor gets a message from another Time Lord. Thinking that he might not be alone, he goes in search of the origin. That's where he runs into Idris, who we later come to know as Sexy. Who is Sexy? It's the Tardis. Now how did the Tardis get into human form, it was something that the House, the entity who is tricked the Doctor into coming, did. The House lived off of Time Lords. The episode was really good, with great interplay between Sexy and the Doctor. It's a true love relationship between them, and fortunately, even though they only got to communicate verbal for such a short time, the Doctor was happy to find out that Sexy was still the Tardis. Although she couldn't talk back to the Doctor, she can hear him and is still alive.

Friday, May 13, 2011 -- Evening

Bones' Best Episode?
I just watched the latest Bones episode on my DVR. I was really crying over this one. The Hole in the Heart was a very emotional episode with the death of one of Bones' lab assistants, Nigel, the British guy. Poor Nigel was shot in the heart while answering a phone for Booth, who was trying to track down Jacob Broadsky, the sniper who killed the Grave Digger. I still haven't gotten over it. Watching Nigel lying there, blood pouring from his heart, as he kept on saying over and over, "Don't make me leave; I don't want to leave." Who amongst us wants to die? Nigel was such a light hearted character. He was working on a presentation with Bones for a conference on whether T-Rex or a human would win in an arm wrestling machine. (It seems that man would because T-Rex would break his arm trying to get the torque to get the arm all the way to the table. The question that I was asking myself if why do TV shows have to kill beloved characters? Obviously, the reason is to win Emmys and to give a strong acting show. But I don't want death to come to the good guys. Death happens in the real world. I want my fictional characters to continue to live on in a happily ever after world. The good part was that Booth catches Broadsky, and Bones winds up in bed with Booth. Yeah, you read that last part right. This episode was very emotional. Very good, but very emotional. Next week's episode will be the last of the season. Then comes the long way until the start of the 7th season.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 -- Afternoon

Baby Llama at the Petting Zoo
Pittsburgh International Children's Festival
Starting today, and over the next five days, the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival will be taking place. The Festival is setup in the area by the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning and the Carnegie Library. I walked around the Festival at lunch time, and I have to admit that the only part that appealed to me is the Petting Zoo. I have always loved going to a petting zoo and seeing and petting the animals. Nowadays, folks are too worried about germs to let their kids pet animals in a petting zoo. That's probably why allergies have increased. Kids don't get exposed to enough germs early in life. This particular petting zoo is great because it's just all baby animals. They had two calves, a baby donkey, baby goats, and my favorite, a baby llama.
Boring Sookie
I was hoping that I would read the latest Charlaine Harris book, Dead Reckoning. That won't be happening though. Why? Because after I got a third of the way through the book, I was noticing that it was the same sort of drivel as the last book. I really don't have the time or interest to read a book that doesn't really go anywhere. I gather that there is some action someplace in the book. Sookie breaks her blood bond with Eric, which I didn't think was possible, and conspires with Eric and Pam to get rid of the new king of the area. Yeah, that sounds like it might have been interesting, but the thing is that I found I really didn't care. The last book was extremely boring, and I kept with it till the end because I kept on thinking that something exciting was just about to happen. It never did. I was getting the same feel from this book. I was getting a good deal of disjointed ramblings about Sookie's life, and just didn't care. It seems that Sam may be getting setup for a romantic role in Sookie's life, but guess what? Yep, you guessed it; I just don't care. Since I didn't care, I just stopped reading and returned the book to the library. Perhaps someone who does care will be excited to read it. For some reason, I doubt it.

Monday, May 9, 2011 -- Afternoon

Kathy Reichs' Books
I am still working my way through Kathy Reichs' oeuvre. Over the past two weeks, I read both Break No Bones and Bones to Ashes. The relationship between Tempe and Andrew Ryan starts to unravel in these books. In Break No Bones, Ryan finds Tempe being consoled by her husband and takes it the wrong way. As the story progresses, Pete, Tempe's husband, gets shot, and Tempe goes all gooey over him. This, of course, gets Ryan into questioning their relationship. That questioning comes to an end in Bones to Ashes when Ryan tells Tempe that he is getting back with a old flame, the mother of his early 20s daughter, Lily. Lily has major problems with heroin, and Ryan thinks that he can getting back with her mother will give Lily a stable family life. How stupid! It definitely seems that the Ryan/Tempe relationship is truly kaput, but I'll know more as I finish off the series.

The mystery in both books is good. Reichs always tries to lead us the wrong way to the solution so she can give us the gotcha at the end. The gotcha was stronger in Bones to Ashes. Tempe really does seem to heading to a crash, and from the reviews, it seems that the next book, Devil Bones, may be the bottom point. I really find myself liking Tempe's chararcter in the books, and I know that I will read through to the most current book, Spider Bones, to see what happiness life can bring to Tempe.

Sunday, May 8, 2011 -- Evening

Strawberry and Cream Waffle from Waffalonia
Over the winter, a new snack shop opened in Squirrel Hill. It's called Waffalonia, and as you can imagine, they sell waffles. But not just any waffles. Really nice, sweet liege waffles. The waffles come with a variety of toppings, fruit (strawberries, bananas), spreads (chocolate, peanut butter), ice cream, and whipped cream. I finally stopped by this afternoon because it was a warmish and sunny day. Perfect for eating outside if you can't find a seat in the very small and cramped shop. I am so glad that I did stop. The waffle was sweet and melted in my mouth. I got it with strawberries and whipped cream, and it tasted like heaven. I can't wait to go back and try some of the other options. I'm sure the banana one would be just great. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to bananas, so I'll have to pass on that. If you find yourself in Squirrel Hill, make sure to save some room for Waffalonia!

Saturday, May 7, 2011 -- Evening

Animal Kingdom, winner of the 137th Kentucky Derby
Animal Kingdom on Top
As Tony Kornheiser said in Friday's Pardon the Interruption, with the withdrawal of Uncle Mo from the 137th Kentucky Derby field, the race became a gathering of nags. That was the consensus of most experts. The race was so wide open that maybe seven or more of the 19 horse field stood a good chance of winning the race. After two and a half hours of hearing happy, gooey stories about the women in the race, Rosie Napravnik, jockey of Pants On Fire, Kathy Ritvo, trainer of Mucho Macho Man, and Kathleen O'Connell, trainer of Watch Me Go, we finally got down to the race. The field was bunched up, and favorite, Dialed In was not a factor. Shackleford lead for most of the race and put up a valiant struggle at the finish, but only managed to finish fourth. Animal Kingdom came from behind to win by 2 3/4 lengths in a time of 2:02.04. Nehro was second, a neck in front of Mucho Macho Man, who was 3/4 length in front of Shackleford. The complete finish for the race:
Place Horse
1st Animal Kingdom
2nd Nehro
3rd Mucho Macho Man
4th Shackleford
5th Master of Hounds
6th Santiva
7th Brilliant Speed
8th Dialed In
9th Pants On Fire
10th Twice the Appeal
11th Soldat
12th Stay Thirsty
13th Derby Kitten
14th Decisive Moment
15th Archarcharch
16th Midnight Interlude
17th Twinspired
18th Watch Me Go
19th Comma to the Top

Thursday, May 5, 2011 -- Evening

Capitals Choke
It was a very sad night in Washington, DC last night. The Washington Capitals for the fourth year in a row, choked in the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the Capitals in yesterday's playoff game. The Capitals weren't able to get the puck in the net, and their goalies were basically unable to stop the puck. Ted Leonsis, the Capitals' owner, wrote an apology to the fans on his blog. He realizes that they have to address the problem: the question is how to address it. Everyone is on the case to fire Bruce Boudreau. It's always easiest to fire the coach when the team sucks. But you also have to wonder if the general manager should go too, because of the quality of some of the positions, such as goaltending.
Kentucky Derby Pole Positions
The Kentucky Derby post positions were drawn this afternoon. Uncle Mo got the number 18 slot. Dialed In, favorite for the 137th running of the Derby. I'm favoring Uncle Mo because he was really doing well until the recent Wood Memorial Stakes. His trainer and owners say that Uncle Mo had a stomach ailment, and that he is 50-50 for the Derby.
Cover of People magazine's royal wedding commemorative issue

Wednesday, May 4 2011 -- Afternoon

Can't Get Enough of the Royal Wedding
I just can't get enough information about the Royal Wedding. Since Friday, I have been watching specials on TV and collecting commemorative issues from various magazines. What I like the most about this story is that it is about happiness and looking forward to the future. So much of the news is filled with horror, violence, and unhappiness. It's great to see something positive for a change.
Lightning Doing in the Capitals
The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-0 lead against the Washington Capitals last night. The Capitals seemed to put up a good fight for the first two periods, but the Lightning were determined to win the game. The Caps and Lightning are playing back-to-back games, so there will be another game tonight. So tonight might be the last night for the Caps. I have to admit that I'm rooting for that because I'm not a fan of Alexander Ovechkin, and this might be a bit of a comeuppance for him.
Weather Blues
I am getting very tired of the weather here in Pittsburgh. Over the past few weeks, we have had dreary skies. The sky is mostly leaden gray, and there is constant rain. My yard is overgrown with grass and other weeds. I did manage to get some of the grass cut on Saturday, the one nice day in the past few weeks. Looking at the radar map, it looks like the storms are past, and hopefully, we should have some sunny skies tomorrow. April showers bring May flowers. Bah! April showers cause things to bloom leading to increased allergy attacks from pollen and mold.
Side-by-side comparison of Munch's The Scream and Doctor Who's The Silent

Monday, May 2 2011 -- Afternoon

What the Heck, Doctor Who?
I watched the second part of the two part Doctor Who this past weekend. Day of the Moon continued the action of The Impossible Astronaut. At least, I think it did. The same alien characters were in it; the guys who look Edvard Munch's The Scream, but with suits. It seems that the Scream may have inspired Steven Moffat when he was writing the story, as you can see from the photo here. I think that he could have used the Silence to much better effect, however. The Day of the Moon was extremely convoluted. In fact, I thought the opening sequence was some sort of preview of what we would see in the show, only to gather that it was the story. Thank god for DVRs! I rewound and watched the opening again. I still couldn't make heads or tails of it. That feeling continued throughout the episode. The first episode was quite good. This episode just left me hanging and wondering "what the heck!?" It also leaves me wondering if I really do want to see the rest of the season. I hope that the other episodes make more sense, and I hope that we find out what happened with the Doctor dying at the beginning of the previous episode. If there was an answer in Day of the Moon, it was so subtle or convoluted that I didn't get it. I haven't seen many reviews of the episode, but I'm afraid that others may have found it to be better than I did. Is there something wrong with me? Have I been reduced to wanting pure entertainment and easy to folllow plots? I think everyone loves a good story, and in my opinion, Day of the Moon wasn't it.
Lightning Take a 2-0 Lead in Series
When the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pens, I thought that the Lighting would have a chance against the Washington Capitals. The Caps have been having issues throughout the past season. Alexander Ovechkin hasn't beeen scoring as much as he has in the past, and the claim is that he has learned to take on a new collaborative role with his teammates, making the Caps a better team than they have been. Well, I was choosing the Lightning to take the series because I thought that the Lightning has players who can score. They definitely aren't the New York Rangers, who had definite issues with scoring. AND the Lightning have a good goaltender in Dwayne Roloson. Well, the first game on Friday was a 4-2 win for the Lightning. The second game, yesterday afternoon, was a tighter one, with the Caps tying the game in the final seconds of regulation to go to overtime. Vincent Lecavalier scored the winning goal in the first overtime to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead in the series. I think that if the Caps don't make it to the next round, Bruce Boudreau might be looking for a new job next season.