The Daily Bongo

November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Rangers
The Pens met up with the New York Rangers again this evening in New York. Today was Mike Rupp's son's birthday, and Rupp said that he would score a goal for his son. Well, Rupp scored not one goal, not two goals, but three! Yep, Rupp's son got a hat trick present. It was Rupp's first career hat trick. What a great story! Sean Avery and Donald Brashear kept their hands to themselves, and there weren't any fights in the game. The Pens won with a final score of 5-2.

Sunday, November 29, 2009 -- Late Evening

Hines Ward Is An A**
Hines Ward is an a**. At least that is my opinion. Ward was interviewed by Bob Costas before the Steelers game this evening. Ward was questioning Ben Roethlisberger's toughness and whether he was truly hurt. As Ward said, if it were he, Ward would have lied to the doctors and would have played. As Ward says, it is only a concussion. What a jerk! I mean, we have been hearing how multiple concussions are affecting football players later in life (and not in old age, but in the 30s and 40s), and Ward just diminishes it all with his cavalier remark. Costas tried to say that it isn't like playing with a sore knee, but Ward is too much of an idiot to understand the difference. In Ward's opinion, this is like a playoff game, and football should be so important that a person risk his future life over it. What an a**! The Steeler doctors said yesterday and today that even though Roethlisberger was practicing with the team all week, he was still having post exercise headaches, and they refused to clear him for play. The doctors have it right. Ward has it wrong, but then that's because he's such a loser.
Steerers versus Ravens
The Steelers were playing the Baltimore Ravens this evening. With Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch both out in this game, Dennis Dixon, the third stringer, is playing. Also, the Steelers signed University of Pittsburgh loser quarterback, Tyler Palko as backup to Dixon. Dixon didn't do such a bad job. At one point, he realized he couldn't get rid of the ball and ran with it for 31 yards, but the ball came back because of a holding call. The Ravens scored first. Dennis Dixon did make a nice pass to Santonio Holmes for a touchdown to get the Steelers on the board. Dixon also ran the ball in for a touchdown. Both the Ravens and the Steelers seemed to suck though. The game was a close one and came down to a tie in regulation. The Steelers won the coin toss for the overtime portion, and of course, had first crack at the ball. After playing so well during regulation, Dixon threw an interception in OT. The Ravens ran the ball down into the 10 yard line. The Ravens went for the field goal, and won the game. It was a shame for Dixon because he did really well in his first NFL game. Well, the Steelers have been sucking this season. You could say that it's injuries, or that there isn't the urge to win. Either way, the Steelers just moved further from a wildcard berth for the playoffs.

Saturday, November 28, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Rangers
The Pens were back in town today to play the New York Rangers. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal on his 25th birthday. Kris Letang was also back on the ice after his undisclosed injury. The Pens are getting back into shape with Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, and Max Talbot back in the line up. The Rangers were the first to score with a goal by Marc Staal. The Pens answered right back with a goal by Malkin, followed by goals from Sidney Crosby and Max Talbot. The Pens had a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. The Rangers got another goal in the second period, but the amazing goal was Mark Eaton's goal with 0.02 seconds left in the second period. Crosby went on a scoring run in the third period, getting two goals for a hat trick. Unfortunately, for the Pens, there was a hat give-away. It seems that all the fans started flinging their free hats onto the ice. Kris Letang almost got a goal, but instead, the other former injured person, Tyler Kennedy, got his puck on it. The Rangers just started to take the game down a level. Sean Avery swung at Fleury, and then Avery tackled Ruslan Fedotenko, giving the Pens a seven minute power play (with less than seven minutes left in the game). The Pens spent the last six minutes just trying to get Eric Godard a goal. The Pens won with a final score of 8-3, and it will be interesting to see how things go on Monday when the Rangers and Pens meet up again.

Friday, November 27, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

Pens versus Islanders
Since it is the Thanksgiving weekend, the Pens played the New York Islanders in an afternoon game today. Brent Johnson was in goal for the Pens because Marc-Andre Fleury will be playing the Rangers tomorrow, on his 25th birthday. Although the Pens scored two goals, one from Matt Cooke and the other from Evgeni Malkin, the team as a whole just didn't seem to get their act together. This was most evident in the shots record, with the Islanders overshooting the Pens. In fact, the Pens only had five shots on goal in the third period. Malkin was really getting banged up, and had to leave the ice at one point because his chin was bleeding. The Pens are back in action tomorrow, and we can only hope they put on a better performance than this afternoon. Final score: Pens 2 - Islanders 3.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Canadiens
The Pens played the Montreal Canadiens this evening. The Pens were the first to score with a goal by Sidney Crosby in the middle of the first period. The Pens got two more goals in the second period. Crosby was working hard throughout the game. Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't overly challenged (only 19 shots from the Canadiens), but he did make some good saves to keep the Pens in it. The Canadiens managed to get a goal in the third period to take away Fleury's chance at a shutout. Pens win with a final score of 3-1.

Monday, November 23, 2009 -- Evening

When It Rains, It Pours
Poor Steelers! Not only did Ben Roethlisberger get his clock cleaned yesterday, but it appears that Charlie Batch broke his left wrist. Batch is going to have surgery on the wrist either tomorrow or Wednesday. Although it is not his throwing hand, Batch will be out for a several weeks, maybe the rest of the season. There has been no word on Roethlisberger, but he did have some sort of head trauma, ie, concussion. The question is how bad was it, and when will he be back. That leaves Dennis Dixon as the third string quarter back. The local sports announcers have been saying that the Steelers are courting some veteran quarterbacks, and someone may be signed this week of those still out there, like Jerry Garcia.
Pens versus Panthers
The Pens played the Florida Panthers this evening. The Panthers were the first to score late in the first period, after the Pens had taken four bad penalties and turned over the puck several times in the neutral zone. The Panthers scored again in the second period, and it was indeed looking dire for the Pens when the Pens charged the net and managed to get a goal off of Tomas Vokoun's shoulder. Vokoun and another Panther knocked the net off its moorings, but after a review from Toronto, it was called a goal. With only two and a half minutes left in the game, Evgeni Malkin shot at the net, and Mike Rupp scored to tie the game. The game went into overtime. The Pens has a break in overtime when the linesman saw a high sticking and reported it to the ref when the action stopped. The penalty went against the Panthers. The Pens did take advantage after the penalty ended, and Sidney Crosby got it past Vokoun to win the game. Final score: Pens 3 - Panthers 2.

Sunday, November 22, 2009 -- Early Evening

Steelers versus Chiefs
The Steelers played the Kansas City Chiefs this afternoon. Everyone expected the 6-3 Steelers to easily beat the 2-7 Chiefs. Obviously, the Steelers are the better team. Well, not quite. Special teams broke down right at the start with the Chiefs returning the opening kick off for a touchdown. It is ridiculous how many times that has happened to the Steelers this season! The Steelers picked up their game in the second quarter to only falter in the second half. Ben Roethlisberger got picked off in the end zone. He had been evading sacks for most of the game, but finally got sacked. The Chiefs tied things up, and the game went into overtime. Then Roethlisberger didn't have a play, and tried to run with the ball. As he was coming down, a Chiefs player ran into Roethlisberger's head with a knee. Roethlisberger was lying on the ground for awhile, and then had to leave the game. Charlie Batch did what he could, but the team in general has just been crappy. The Chiefs got a good long run down the field to the four yard line, and won with a field goal. The local sports announcers and fans were none too pleased. This was a game that the Steelers easily should have won. Instead, it's another loss. It's not looking like the playoffs for them this season. Final score: Chiefs 27 - Steelers 24.

Saturday, November 21, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Thrashers
The Pens were back in business this evening, this time against the Atlanta Thrashers. Martin Skoula had a good night, getting a goal in the first and second periods. Evgeni Malkin got into the act with a goal of his own in the second. You had to feel for poor Johan Hedburg. The pucks were bouncing off his own teammates into the net. It's hard to block shots that are ricocheting off people. Hedburg was making great saves on the ones he could see, so you have to give him some credit. The game had some interesting moments: Max Talbot was taken down while trying to come to the net to score, and was given a penalty shot. He didn't make it. Then in the third period, Ilya Kovalchuk instigated a fight with Matt Cooke (after Cooke knocked Kovalchuk for a loop). The Thrashers had to fight off a four minute instigation penalty, but George McFly decided to put only forwards on the ice. They gave up the puck, and Chris Thorburn was able to score a short handed goal for the Thrashers. With seventeen seconds left in the game, the Thrashers took Hedburg out of the net, and managed to score one goal. Fortunately for the Pens, the Thrashers weren't able to tie things up, and the Pens won with a final score of 3-2.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Senators
Lots of good news for the Pens. Sidney Crosby took the Olympic Torch through Hallifax last night. Also, finally, Sergei Gonchar and Max Talbot are back in the line up tonight against the Ottawa Senators. The game started positively, with a quick goal from Jordan Staal. There were high expectations because everyone thought that Gonchar and Talbot would bring positive energies to the team. The Senators got one in the first and another in the second, before going on a goal scoring spree in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled and Brent Johnson went in. Unfortunately, the Senators also got one past Johnson. The second and final of the Pens' goals came in the tail-end of the third when Evgeni Malkin scored a power play goal. Final score: Pens 2 - Senators 6. It was a pitiful showing by the Pens. Maybe Gonchar and Talbot threw off whatever chemistry had rebuilt over the past few games.

Monday, November 16, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Ducks
The Pens were playing again tonight. There have been so many games lately, all because of upcoming break for the Winter Olympics. Alex Goligoski was out this evening and will be for a few weeks because of an undisclosed injury. He was to have an MRI performed. Tonight the Pens were playing the Ducks. The Pens quickly got on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal by Matt Cooke. This was quickly followed by another goal by Bill Guerin. The Ducks got a short-handed goal against Marc-Andre Fleury for the last of the scoring in the first period. The Pens continued to score with a goal by Jordan Staal in the second period, and Martin Skoula in the third. The Ducks managed to get another goal, but Cooke got an empty-netter to seal the deal. The Pens won with a final score of 5-2.

Sunday, November 15, 2009 -- Evening

Steelers versus Bengals
The Steelers played the Cincinnati Bengals this afternoon. This was the second meeting of the two. The Bengals had won the first meeting, and today's game turned into defensive challenge. Neither team's offensive was able to score a touchdown. The only touchdown came from special teams when the Bengals returned a kick for a touchdown. The kickers were busy, with each team getting four field goals. Unfortunately, Troy Polamaul injured his knee again. I think that his knee really wasn't in good shape in the first place, and that's how he hurt it again. Polamalu left the game in the first half to not return. The Bengals won the game with a score of 18-12. Obviously, the Bengals are much improved over the past few seasons.
Countdown to Turkey Day
Thanksgiving is just a week and a half away, and one of my neighbors has already been decorating their yard. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it is devoted to food eating, and I love to eat, especially turkey and pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, my boyfriend really doesn't like turkey, so I'll be having roast chicken instead. Oh well! At least he loves pumpkin pie with whipped cream!

Saturday, November 14, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Bruins
The Pens played the Bruins this evening. Brent Johnson was in goal tonight. Evgeni Malkin was back in the line up, but Chris Kunitz was out with an undisclosed lower body injury. The hope was that Malkin would be on the same line as Sidney Crosby, and that would generate some offense. The Pens did generate more offense, but the Bruins answered every goal. When it came to the final minutes of the game, the Bruins took a 5-4 lead. Things were looking dire when with second left, Malkin came down the ice and passed to Bill Guerin who scored with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. The game went into overtime and the Pens were guaranteed a point in the standings. The Pens only took around a minute and a half into the overtime, Tim Thomas went behind the net for the puck, and got stuck behind the net with Jordan Staal. Pascal Dupuis got the puck into the empty net to win with a final score of 6-5.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Devils
The Pens were back in town this evening to play the New Jersey Devils. The Pens have been slumping over the past few games, with the injuries really wrecking havoc. Of course, as I say, the true test of a coach is not how he handles wins, but how he handles adversity. So far, I haven't seen much from Dan Bylsma, aka George McFly, when it comes to adverse situations. the Pens have been scoreless in the previous two games. Finally, Ruslan Fedotenko scored the Pens first goal in 160 minutes 41 seconds. He got it by beating away on Martin Brodeur as Brodeur tried to hold the puck with his leg. Of course, Brodeur complained, but the ref knew that Brodeur didn't have the puck secured with his hand. The Devils tied things up in the second, and then got the go ahead goal when the puck went off Pens' defenseman, Ben Lovejoy's, skate and behind Marc-Andre Fleury. It sounded as if someone turned off the sound in the arena because the crowd just went still. Although the Pens didn't seem totally out of it in the second period, they were totally out of it in the third period. It was so bad that Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey were talking about players from the past and various other stories while the Pens made a lackadaisical circuit of the rink. The only good thing to say about this game is that at least the Pens weren't scoreless. Final score: Devils 4 - Pens 1.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Bruins
The Pens injury woes continued this evening with Brooks Orpik getting injured in the first period of the Boston Bruins game. Not only are the Pens suffering because of injuries, but they can't generate any offense. For the second game a row, the Pens were scoreless. It will be interesting to see how George McFly handles this losing and injury spate.

Monday, November 9, 2009 -- Evening

Letang and Morehouse
Kris Letang left the San Jose Sharks game in the first period after falling and hurting his shoulder. The Pens says that Letang will be out for around two weeks with a shoulder contussion. Meanwhile, Pens' President, David Morehouse had a heart attack as the Pens were preparing to leave San Jose. Morehouse remained in San Jose and had a stint place in one of his arteries. He's expected to make a full recovery.
Steelers versus Broncos
The Steelers were in Denver to play the Broncos this evening. Ryan Clark did not play because of his sickle cell condition. In past years, when Clark would play in Denver, he would wind up getting hospitalized. Clark's type of sickle cell disease doesn't do well in high altitudes. Casey Hampton was on the sidelines quite a few times getting oxygen because his size was preventing him from breathing properly. In the first period, first half, the Steeler offense was having trouble scoring, but the defense ran in an interception for a touchdown. Tyrone Carter, in for Clark, got the interception. The Steelers' first possession in the third period didn't go well. Ben Roethlisberger lost the ball, and the Broncos ran it in for a touchdown. Fortunately, Roethlisberger came back with the next possession to move the ball down the field for a touchdown. I was extremely tired from my trip last week, and went to sleep at that point, but I was very happy to hear in the morning that the Steelers won with a final score of 28-10. Looks like they got a couple of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009 -- Afternoon

Pens versus Sharks
I only watched a very small portion of the Pens and San Jose Sharks game last night before I went to sleep. I think it's probably a good thing that I did go to sleep. The Pens seem to be in the usual November slump, and after the Sharks scored a quick goal on Marc-Andre Fleury, they went on to score four more to win the game with a final score of 5-0. Yep, the Pens were shutout. What is disappointing is that the Pens only had three shots on goal in the first period. Maybe they are just slumping against the West Coast teams. However, it will be interesting to see how and when they break out of this spate of poor playing. It will be interesting to see how Dan Bylsema (aka George McFly) coaches when the team ain't doing so good.

Saturday, November 7, 2009 -- Evening

Good-bye Baltimore
Last night, I went to the Maryland Science Center. The observatory is open free to the public. We got to see Jupiter and four of its moon through the telescope. It was a great night for star-gazing, crisp weather and clear skies. Afterwards, I went to Hooters for some wings, and then to the hotel to get some sleep before the early morning. We drove back to Pittsburgh this morning, and I got my final set of pictures. I enjoyed my vacation in Baltimore immensely. The Inner Harbor area has so much to entertain a visitor. I did so much walking, eating, and relaxing over the past week that I feel recharged and ready for anything! I will definitely go back to Baltimore. I'm hooked.
Classic Zenyatta

Today was the Breeder's Cup Classic, the mile and a quarter race for three-year-old and up horses. Zenyatta was the favorite for the race, and generating a huge amount of buzz. Everyone was talking about girl power and how good the undefeated mare is. I was glued to the TV to see if Zenyatta would remain undefeated. If you haven't seen Zenyatta in action, you are missing out. The mare is a dark bay/brown, around 17.5 hands (which is huge for a Thoroughbred, let alone a female), and loves to prance in the saddling area and the post parade. Today, she was prancing even more than usual. She seemed to know that the crowd was there for her, and she was making the most of her celebrity. Mike Smith, her jockey for 11 of her 14 races, said that it was nothing out of the ordinary, but that she did seem more jazzed than usual, and he couldn't wait to see what she would do. There were problems during the loading of the horses. Quality Road really freaked out and absolutely refused to go into the gate. The starters blindfolded him and lead him in, but at that point, Quality Road lost it. He started kicking his rear legs and kicked the front of the gate. They had to scratch him at that point because Quality Road was hysterical and had cut his hind leg. They unloaded the horses, and then reloaded them because they had been standing in the gate for so long. When the finally broke, Zenyatta did not break well. She broke on the wrong lead and was trailing the field. I wasn't too concerned because I know that Zenyatta can put on a burst of speed. As they made the turn into home, she was still in the middle of the pack with a wall in front of her. But Smith threaded her through the crowd, got her to the outside, and Zenyatta just took off, passing all the others to win by a length in 2:00.62. As Smith said after the race, she didn't even come out of third gear. Smith said that Zenyatta is the best horse he has ever ridden, and the best horse ever. I would have to say that I would give Zenyatta is something else. It's too bad that we weren't able to see Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra face off, and since this might be Zenyatta's last race, we might never see it. Gio Ponti was second by 1 1/4 lengths over Twice Over. The order of the rest was Summer Bird, Colonel John, Richard's Kid, Awesome Gem, Regal Ransom, Mine That Bird, Rip Van Winkle, Einstein, Girolamo.

Friday, November 6, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

Last Walk Around Inner Harbor
Today is my last day in Baltimore, and I took a final walk around the Inner Harbor area. The walk averaged around 5 miles. I have really enjoyed the Inner Harbor area. There are so many things to do in the area that you truly could spend an entire week in one area and walk from sight to sight. Tonight, I hope to go back to the Maryland Science Center to do some star-gazing. The observatory is open for free to the public from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Check out my pictures if you haven't already.

Friday, November 6, 2009 -- Morning

Pens versus Kings
The Pens played the LA Kings late last night. Although Tyler Kennedy played in the last game (he's been out for a few games) and skated with the team in the morning, he did not play last night. Maybe an injury? I just listened to the first period, and things didn't sound too bad. Anze Kopitar scored in the first 27 seconds, but then Jordan Staal has an answering goal in less than a minute. When I checked this morning, the Pens had scored once in the second period, and the Kings scored four, yes, four times in the third. So the Pens lost with a final score of 5-2. This was the first road loss in eight games.

Thursday, November 5, 2009 -- Evening

da Vinci's Brain
I went to the lecture on Leonardo da Vinci given by Dr. Jonathan Pevsner at the Maryland Science Center this evening. It was an hour lecture about da Vinci and his achievements. Pevsner talked about da Vinci as an artist, engineer, war machine creator, and anatomist. The lecture was very interesting, and Pevsner talked about some of his work with the TV show, Doing daVinci. It seems there may be more shows in future, which will be really cool. Pevsner also has a website devoted to da Vinci's genius: Leonard da Vinci and the Brain. What I gathered from the lecture is that da Vinci was into all those topics, but he was also conflicted about how those items would ultimately be used. For example, even though he created war machines, he was very much a pacifist. It stirred an interest in me to learn more about da Vinci because Pevsner could really only give a short chronological overview of da Vinci's life and work, with highlights on the war machines, work with the brain and anatomy, and the Mona Lisa. Pevsner tried to center the lecture on items that were available in the da Vinci exhibit. I was surprised to learn that da Vinci had mirror writing, meaning he wrote backwards, and you could read it by holding it to a mirror. Very interesting guy, and Pevsner was an interesting and captivating speaker. What made it even better was that the lecture was free, and we all got to tour the exhibit before and after the lecture, with Pevsner available to answer questions. it was a great way to spend a portion of the evening.

Thursday, November 5, 2009 -- Afternoon

Tall Ship
I had a very busy morning. I started the day early, before 9 a.m., so I could get in a walk before sightseeing. The walk turned into one of the best experiences of the trip. As I was cruising through the Inner Harbor area, one of the guides stopped me to tell me that a tall ship from Norway, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl was going to dock in the harbor. I continued with my walk around the harbor and caught sight of the ship entering our part of the bay. The sailors were arrayed all over the first set of sails and the bow of the boat, and they were singing a song. I heard from a woman that it is traditional for the sailors on tall ships to enter harbor singing. They sang the same song all the way to the docking area. When they neared the dock, they switched to another song. I watched the docking. I was just awestruck by the experience.
National Aquarium
After the Statsraad Lehmkuhl docking, I went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The aquarium spans over three buildings, and most of what was on display was excellent. The only disappointing sections were the jelly fish exhibit and the Australian exhibit. The latter was disappointing because we got to see so little of it. From the outside, it looked as if the people could tour a few stories. However, it was just one floor. The aquarium portion was really cool, with tons of different types of fish, including a huge shark exhibit. The patron walks up one side of the aquarium and down the other, so you feel as if you are walking through the ocean levels and seeing the natural habitat. The dolphin show was also very entertaining. Of course, they tried very hard to make you understand the evils of man when it comes to harming the environment, but they still had the dolphins perform some tricks. The 4-D movie of Planet Earth was way cool. I have to admit, my physics background tells me that the fourth dimension is time. However, this was a 3-D show with rumbling, poking seats, and stuff that blows in your face, such as water, bubbles, and snow. I admit that the bats freaked me out. You saw them fly at you, and then you felt something like their wings touching your legs. If I didn't have those low-cut socks, I wouldn't have minded so much. But it freaked me out to feel the "wings" on my bare ankle. Now I'm resting up so I'll be prepped for the DaVinci lecture this evening. I hope we can get in! In the meantime, check out my pictures of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl and Aquarium. I also have video of the sailors singing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 -- Evening

Pens versus Ducks
The Pens played the Anaheim Ducks last night. It sucks not being in Pittsburgh when it's hockey season because you can't see the game. I listened to the first period online. The Pens didn't seem as if they were playing well, and the Ducks took a one goal lead. In fact, Kris Letang seemed to be having serious issues in that first period, including giving up the puck a few times. But he made up for that by scoring in the second period. I found out though that the Pens won with a final score of 4-3. That's all that matters, a win in the end. Ryan Whitney says that he missed playing with the Pens at first, especially watching them during the playoffs. But then Whitney took his hanky out of his purse, wiped the tears from his eyes, and started enjoying the West Coast life style. Good for him!
Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, and trainer, John Shirrefs, have decided to enter the undefeated five year old mare in the Breeder's Cup Classic. This will be her first race against the boys, but she loves the Santa Anita track and has been working out quite well. Zenyatta is the favorite, and I will be glued to the TV on Saturday to see how she does. Mine That Bird, Summer Bird, Quality Road, and Rip Van Winkle will also be running in the mile and a quarter race.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

Science Center and DaVinci
I was sightseeing on my own today since the others were attending events with the conference. I started my morning by walking around the Inner Harbor area twice. My goal was to get in some good exercise walking before I started the sightseeing walking, which has pauses and standing. I started out with the Maryland Science Center. The Science Center has a touring exhibit showcasing Leonardo DaVinci's work. I have to admit that I don't have much tolerance for shrieking, rampaging children, and the museum was filled with school groups. The kids could hunt for dinosaurs, exam cells and medicine, learn about stars and space exploration. I was impressed with the amount of things that the kids could do. However, there wasn't much for an adult. I did some of the kid tasks, but it would be nice if there were some things to also entertain adults or older kids. With that said, that's just what the DaVinci: the Genius exhibit was. It was filled with DaVinci's replications of the designs found in DaVinci's notebooks. The subject matter covered art, aeronautics, war, medicine, and general mechanics. I spent over an hour in the exhibit and loved every minute of it. I only hope I can get into the lecture given by Jonathan Pevsner tomorrow evening.
Top of the World Observation Deck
After the science center, I had lunch, and then went to the Top of the World Observation Deck on the 27th floor of the Baltimore World Trade Center. It is the tallest building shaped in a pentagon. The views were amazing. There were maps describing the buildings, and little historical placards about Baltimore were scattered all over the deck.
Holocaust Memorial
From the observation deck, I noticed that there was a Holocaust Memorial. It was not far from the observation deck, so I headed over. I am glad that I did because it was a very moving sight. The memorial started with a sculpture in 1988 and was expanded into a park with a wall that represents the trains that carried Jews to the concentration camps. There are train tracks in front of the walls that are purposefully in a poor condition to illustrate the lack of care for those taken to the camps. Through the trains, you can see lush green grass, inaccessible to the viewer. You are in the depressed area, looking out to something green and free. Very moving. Check out my pictures of the day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 -- Afternoon

Camden Yards
I started out the day early today with an order of crispy bacon and water at Boheme Cafe, which is perhaps a mile or so from our hotel. The food was very cheap, a welcome respite from the expensive restaurants around the hotel. After breakfast, we walked towards Camden Yards while we waited for the historic ships to open for visitors. The ball park was closed, but we could easily see the field. We found out that there are tours of the ball park, which are scheduled from Babe Ruth's Museum. We trekked down the street, following the painted baseballs on the sidewalk. As we went along, we were wondering where the heck we were going because we were being lead further and further from Camden Yards and the Innner Harbor. Finally, we got to Ruth's house, in a small neighborhood, where all the houses looked like they were built in the late 1800s or so. The museum didn't open until 10 am, so we decided to head back to the ships.
Historic Ships
Four ships can be toured as part of the Historic Ships in Baltimore Harbor. They are the USS Constellation, the USS Torsk, the USCGC Taney, and the Chesapeake. We started with the Constellation. It's a ship with a conflicted origin. There was a Constellation that was built in 1757, and there is some confusion over whether the Constellation is that ship, which was decommissioned, and maybe have been restored, or if it was a new ship built with the same name in 1855. The most interesting thing about the Constellation was the lack of head room in the ship. Even though I am only 5 feet 4 inches, I felt like I was walking like a hunchback when I was below deck. The height from floor to ceiling became progressively shorter as you travelled deeper into the bowels of the ship. The ship fought in the Civil War, armed with cannons. There were no guides, but when you entered the museum, they gave you a huge, awkward phone on a lanyard to listen to an audio tour about the ship. We started out listening, but the stories were rather lame, so we gave up. The only thing I got from the audio tour was chaffing on my neck from lugging around the brick phone. Next up was the USS Torsk. This is a sister submarine to the one outside of the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, there is someone to take you around the sub, but funds are tighter on the Historic Ships crew. We walked through the sub, marveling at the lack of space and the smell. I can't imagine what it would be like to be trapped in the sub, under water for an extended period. The smell must be overwhelming. We stopped for lunch at UNO Chicago Grill. I had never eaten in one because I thought it was just an upscale pizza shop. Actually, it's more like a TGI Friday. The food was good, the service was excellent, and they provided a kiosk with nutritional information. After lunch, we went on to the USCGC Taney. It's a retired Coast Guard cutter that was at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It was eight miles from the bombing area, but the crew quickly assembled and went to help in the fight. The ship was used in WWII, and was the command ship in the battle at Okinawa. I did take plenty of pictures through out the day.

Monday, November 2, 2009 -- Evening

I left Pittsburgh this morning and arrived in Baltimore almost four hours later. The weather was beautiful for the drive, not too hot and no rain or gloomy skies. Since I was just a passenger, I was able to sightsee on the drive. Not much to see. Mostly open farm area, with a few cows and horses. The Inner Harbor area was gorgeous. I can only imagine what the area must be like in the summer. There is a good deal of development in the area, restaurants and museums. Because we arrived at mid-afternoon, we didn't get much chance to do thorough sightseeing. Tomorrow will be the big sightseeing day. Today, we walked around the Harbor to acclimate ourselves. We had a late lunch at the ESPN Zone. The menu is not good for anyone who is watching calories or fat. However, a splurge every now and again does no harm. I got a hamburger and fries, which were tasty. We plan on going back to the ESPN Zone this evening to watch Monday Night Football. Check out my pictures from my walk.

Sunday, November 1, 2009 -- Evening

Baltimore, Here I Come!

I'll be heading to Baltimore tomorrow morning. My boyfriend is going there for a conference, LISA '09. I'm just going along for the ride and the sightseeing opportunities. I'll be staying at the Inner Harbor area for the next five days and commenting on the places and restaurants that I visit.