The Daily Bongo

April 2006

Sunday, April 30, 2006 -- Early Evening

The Colorado Avalanche has moved on to the next round of the playoffs when they won this afternoon's game in overtime against the Dallas Stars. Final score was 3-2.

I haven't seen the movie in some time now, but late this afternoon, We showed Dirty Dancing. I forgot how much I enjoyed the movie. The chemistry between Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze adds to the movie and draws the viewer into the experience. Yes, the plot is slim and unbelieveable, but watching it and listening to the music just puts me into a really happy place.

Sunday, April 30, 2006 -- Afternoon

This coming Wednesday, May 3, will be Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence day. In honor of the event, the UJF in Pittsburgh is holding a festival in Mellon Park in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh. There are supposed to be a variety of activities, a mini-shuk, and Israeli food. I plan on attending. The time for the event is 5 pm until 8:30 pm.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv lost this afternoon in the Euroleague Championship final. Maccabi was haunted by turnovers. You can't win a game if you keep on giving the ball to the other side. CSKA Moscow was just playing at the top of its form, and the final score was 73-69. Anthony Parker, the star of Maccabi was just not up to form although he managed to get some good shots in. The turnovers were the real problem and led to the loss today.

I went for a walk today on the Eliza Furnace Trail. The only thing that has changed is that fewer people seem to use it. The lack of maintenance is the same. Read my thoughts on the trail and graffiti.

Saturday, April 29, 2006 -- Evening

Today was the NFL draft. The Steelers were going to draft last in the first round, but they traded to get to the 25 pick instead of 32. They did the trade so they could get wide receiver, Santonio Holmes. Holmes comes from Ohio State and it is hoped that he will fill the role of wide receiver and punt returner. The Steelers traded with the New York Giants and gave the Giants their picks in the first, third, and fourth rounds.

Jaromir Jagr only played for 53 seconds in the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils game this afternoon. Unfortunately, he was knocked into the boards and it hurt his shoulder even more. At this point, Jagr isn't sure if he will need surgery, but he can look into his options now because the Rangers lost the series to the Devils with the fourth loss today. The score was 4-2. The Rangers were a real disappointment in the post season. Well, I suppose in actuality they were in a downward spiral towards the end of the regular season.

The Tampa Bay Lighting lost this evening to the Ottawa Senators. The Senators have moved on to the next round, and the defending Stanley Cup champions were ousted in five games. The score was 3-2.

Friday, April 28, 2006 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby has made a commercial for Gatorade. It isn't being shown in this country. It's been making the rounds in the theaters in Canada. The commercial starts with a group of kids getting ready to play hockey on the street in their neighborhood. They throw their sticks down on the ground in a pile. The two captains of the team will then randomly pick sticks and determine the teams based on the sticks that are picked. So Crosby passes by and throws his stick into the mix. Well, some girls see this from an apartment building window and all pandemonium breaks out. Everyone is running up to throw in sticks. Kids, adults, the Hanson Brothers, and players from Rimouski Oceanic, Crosby's team when he played in the Quebec Junior Hockey League. It's really a very interesting commercial.

This evening, my boyfriend and I went to Bahama Breeze for dinner. It was quite enjoyable. The wait time was not long even though there were a large number of people there. The restaurant is large with indoor and outdoor seating. One of the outdoor tables is for a large group of people and had a fire in the center of the table. The decor of the restaurant is in keeping with a the Caribbean theme. The food was wonderful, fresh, and very tasty. We started with the Jamaican Grilled chicken Wings which were huge, whole wings rubbed with Jerk seasoning. Jerk barbeque sauce was on the side, and a huge slice of fresh, juicy pineapple accompanied the dish. For the main course, my boyfriend had the Jerk Chicken Pasta which he said was very good, but not as spicy as he thought it would be. That doesn't mean he didn't like it, it was just unexpected. The dish came in a normal and light size. I had the fire-roasted Jerk shrimp which had a garlic-thyme butter dip and a whole hoagie sized loaf of bread for dipping. As a side, I had a bowl of fresh fruit that was made up of actual fresh, juicy pieces of pineapple, cantaloupe, and honey-dew melon. I finished the meal with the Dulce de Leche Cheesecake and a hot, alcoholic, coffee drink. The food was great, and the waitress was very attentive and pleasant considering how busy it was there. I will definitely be back.

Shockers in the hockey world when the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers tied up there series at two all. Both games were close with only a point between the teams. Right now, the Colorado Avalanche are trying to end their series and move on to the second round.

Friday, April 28, 2006 -- Afternoon

If someone asked you who had the better attendance over the past year, the Steelers or the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, what would you say? If you said the Library, you would be right. The biggest shocker in the news to me was that 70% of people between the ages of 13 and 36 have library cards. Visitors to the library totalled 1.6 million over the past year. The reason for the library's popularity is the extensive music cd collection, DVDs and free Internet access. At the Squirrel Hill Library, there are computers in the children's room that kids can use to play video games. I go to the Squirrel Hill Library at least once a week, sometimes more often to get books or cds that I have reserved, the place is always busy. The computers are usually all in use, and lots of people are browsing the shelves. The library also has programs for its users, such as yoga, finance and reading clubs. If you haven't been to your local library, or the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, make a point to do so this weekend.

The Euroleague Championship is being played in Prague this weekend. Maccabi Tel-Aviv is in the final four for the third year in a row, and they won their semi-final match against Tau Ceramica. Score for today's game was 85-70. The final will be this coming Sunday.

The Colorado Avalanche stand a chance to move on to the next round in the playoffs tonight if they beat the Dallas Stars.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight's episode of Survivor: Panama, Exile Island was an interesting one. Terry does seem to be the man, and he is just whizzing through the challenges. The question is how long can he continue to remain unbeaten in immunity challenges. I think that he has alot of incentive to be strong, and he has the physical and mental strength that the others lack. Tonight's show does have a twist to it in who does get voted out. Read the recap.

Some of the hockey games have been interesting in this playoff series. The most interesting matchup, I think, is the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars game because the sports experts were all thinking that Dallas would win the series and they are now 0-3 in the series. Colorado is still showing itself as a powerhouse just as the New Jersey Devils are.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 -- Evening

Who gets voted out on American Idol? We can only hope that it is someone who can't sing, but who knows how the fickle public will vote. There were 47.5 million votes last night which is the highest number. Simon said that he thought that one person didn't get the right appraisal and that was Katharine McPhee. Simon said that looking back at the show, his appraisal was different. Andrea Bocelli sang Because We Believe with David Foster accompanying him on piano. Now that is a voice! Lisa Tucker was in the audience. The group was broken into three groups of two. Katharine McPhee was on the far side of the stage. Elliott Yamin was sent to the middle of the stage. Kellie Pickler was on the near side of the stage. Paris Bennett joined Kellie. Taylor Hicks joined Elliott. That left Chris to join Katharine. Elliott and Taylor were sent to their seats first. Chris and Katharine got the highest number of votes last night and got to sit down. The bottom two--Kellie and Paris. Kellie Pickler got the lowest number of votes and really deserved to go home.

Other news on the Idol front is that Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul have a tense relationship. There have been comments made back and forth. Ryan Seacrest has made some comments about Paula's bizarre and drunken behavior. Ryan was also quoted in People that his relationship with Paula was "awkward." Paula also made a comment about Ryan saying, "He only kisses the mirror. And honestly, do you think Teri Hatcher is that desperate of a housewife?" The rumor was that Teri Hatcher was dating Ryan. Supposedly, Paula also claims that all the comments are just friendly banter amongst people who are for all intents and purposes a dysfunctional family.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 -- Evening

More hockey tonight. This evening is Western Conference night, so there are three competing games on at 10:30. The Eastern Conference game playing on OLN as I write this is the Ottawa Senators against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tiny wonder Martin St. Louis just got a goal for Tampa Bay, and they now lag behind Ottawa by two points. The score is 3-1 in the first period. Ottawa pulls away in the second period to lead 5-1 as the third period starts. Some news on the hockey broadcasting front is that OLN has made a deal with Dish Network to bring OLN back to the satelite company. The NHL has really made a bad mistake by making a deal with a cable company because it has lowered their prospective audience instead of increasing it. That's not what the NHL needed. They needed to find a way to boost viewership.

American Idol was on this evening, and it was an interesting one. Most of the performances were lackluster. Kellie Pickler really was extremely bad. It is very obvious that she does not belong in this competition. The question is whether people are going to suckered in by her naive act to keep her in another week. I may be prejudice in Chris Daughtry's favor, but all the judges loved his performance. Chris is the one who deserves to win this competition. Will he? Even if he doesn't, I know that he will easily get a record deal and record something that sells. Read the recap to see how the whole show went.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 -- Early Morning

Interesting evening yesterday. All the hockey teams that won last night are now 2-0. The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars game was another overtime match that Colorado managed to win. More hockey tonight. There will be hockey every night for the next two weeks depending on how long each series goes. In theory, last night's teams might just have two more games if all four winning teams continue to win.

Monday, April 24, 2006 -- Evening

Unfortunately, three of the hockey games are on at the same time. However, two of the teams that won on Saturday are winning today. The Buffalo Sabres are really whooping butt against the Philadelphia Flyers and in the beginning of the third period are leading with a score of 6-1. The New Jersey Devils are leading the New York Rangers by a score of 3-1 with 12:47 left in the game. Jaromir Jagr isn't playing tonight because of the unspecified upper body injury which was either a shoulder or elbow injury from the looks of it. The Montreal Canadiens led the Carolina Hurricanes in the first period with a score of 3-0, but the Hurricanes have come back in the third tie and then take the lead. Score is now 4-0. Since the Devils/Rangers game is the only one on television, I can't really comment on the others. However, the Rangers are really starting to put some pressure on the Devils and Martin Brodeur. Whether it will amount to anything depends on whether the Rangers can score two goals in eight minutes. John Madden just scored a hat trick for the Devils and their lead is now 4-1. Madden's first two goals were short handed, but this one was even handed. The ice is getting covered with hats. The Devils win their game, and the Sabres have a blowout with a final score of 8-2. Meanwhile, the Montreal/Carolina game is a thriller. The game is tied at the end of regulation, and is OLN showing it? Nope. They are just showing the blow-out games. Obviously there is an utter lack of understanding of what makes for good television and how folks want to watch the exciting games. So the Montreal/Carolina overtime is not being shown. Finally, halfway through the second overtime, the Canadiens scored and won. So far, the winning teams playing in the Eastern conference games today are all 2-0. The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars game has just finished the second period with Dallas leading 4-3. I'll give the results tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon, my boyfriend and I went to the Festival of Mystery that was held by the Mysterylovers Bookstore in Oakmont, PA. There were around 50 authors there, and there were probably a few hundred mystery fans there. The authors were in one section of the hall, and the other end of the hall was setup with chairs and a section where some of the authors could be interviewed by the bookstore owner. I got to meet Rhys Bowen. I haven't read any of her books just yet, but I have heard alot about the books on the DorothyL mystery list. I was able to take a few pictures before my camera battery died, and unfortunately they didn't turn out very good because of the lack of light in the area. However, Rhys Bowen's picture turned out pretty good. It was a fun event. I only stayed for a short while because it was crowded, and the interviews were minimal.

Monday, April 24, 2006 -- Morning

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks won last night's game against the Calgary Flames with a final score of 4-3. Everyone who played yesterday wound up tieing the series. Tonight the next set of four will compete. The thing that sucks is that three of the games will be on at 7:30. Unfortunately because the NHL made a deal with Comcast only one of the three games will be shown on OLN. At least, I'm lucky enough to have Comcast. The NHL made a bad deal because viewership has to be down since fewer folks can actually access the games. Tonight's game is going to be the New Jersey Devils against the New York Rangers.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 -- Evening

The Tampa Bay Lighting and Ottawa Senators game has turned into an interesting one in the third period. The score was tied at 2-2 after the second period. In the third, Ottawa moved ahead, but Tampa Bay answered with two goals in less than a minute. The last was scored by tiny Martin St. Louis. The goal was his second in the game. Score is now 4-3 with less than 10 minutes left in the game. I find it hard to believe that St. Louis is 5 feet 9 inches. The guy looks like a midget on the ice, and looks like he only comes up to the waist on most hockey players. I say we get out a yardstick, strip him of his skates or any shoes, and measure him. 1:49 left in the game, and Tampa Bay looks like they are headed for a win. Ottawa pulled the goalie, but it was to no avail. Tampa Bay won. So far today, none of the teams have pulled ahead to a 2-0 lead in the series. Ottawa hasn't been able to use Dominik Hasek who has been out with a groin injury.

The second game of the evening was between the Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Because the game was on the West Coast, I wasn't able to stay up for the entire game, but after the first period, Anaheim was leading 2-0. It looks like the whole day is shaping up as an Even Steven day with no team pulling ahead to a 2-0 lead in the series.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

A couple of hockey games were on this afternoon. The Edmonton Oilers managed to beat the Detroit Red Wings this afternoon to even their series, and the San Jose Sharks did the same against the Nashville Predators. All four teams are now 1-1.

I have just finished reading the new Cesar Millan book, Cesar's Way. The book is identical to the television show, Dog Whisperer. As Cesar Millan tells dog owners, you have to establish yourself as pack leader from the beginning and you have to practice calm, asssertive behavior with the dog at all times. Consistency is the key to having a well-behaved animal. In the dog world, there are leaders and followers. The dog looks to the owner as a leader, but when the owner fails at that role, the dog feels that he has to become the leader. If your dog leads when you walk, determines the stops along the walk (stopping to sniff and pee whenever the urge comes to him), jumps on people, barks or displays aggression to other animals or people, or if you ever find yourself saying that your dog does things because he wants to do it, then you have a problem. Your dog believes that he is the leader of your pack and that you are just a follower. If you have a powerful breed of dog, like a Pitbull, Rottweiler, or Doberman, then you might find yourself with a Red-zone dog. That's a dog that has aggression problems that could spell trouble or lawsuits for you. This is a book that's worth the cover price. Even if you don't have a dog, you might find yourself analyzing your own personality and the energy that you project.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 -- Late Evening

The only game on television this evening was the Buffalo Sabres game, and you could hear the chant of "Let's Go Buffalo" as the third period progressed. Even the announcers on OLN said it a few times. The Sabres were outshooting the Flyers like there was no tomorrow. According to the NHL official score sheet, with two minutes left in the game, it was 40 shots for the Flyers 17. With only 1:51 left it the game, the Flyers tie the game at 2-2. There was abit of a scrum in the first OT period when R.J. Umberger got creamed by a hit from Brian Campbell. Umberger was lying on his back on the ice for a few minutes looking very dazzed. It looks to me like his jaw was broken. It was a clean hit because Umberger had the puck, but he really looked like he was knocked for a loop. It seems that Campbell caught him right at the jaw, and the announcers are just saying that there was blood all over Umberger's shirt. Finally, almost half way through the second overtime, Buffalo scores with a goal by Daniel Briere.

Meanwhile Montreal Canadiens whooped the Carolina Hurricanes with a final score of 6-1.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 -- Evening

The playoff games this afternoon were interesting. The analysts say that the New Jersey Devils should win the series against the New York Rangers, and right now, it is looking like a possibility. The Devils won the first match with a score of 6-1. The best that Jaromir Jagr could achieve was an assist in the first period. In the third period, Jagr was going to give someone a hit, and hurt either his shoulder or his elbow. The only information that the team is releasing is that it is an upper body injury. At the same time the Dallas Stars were playing the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars are favored in the matchup, and a higher seed, but they lost to Colorado with a score of 5-2. The other two games are being played right now, and I'll have more information on them later. Right now, the Montreal Canadiens are leading the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-1 as they start the third period. The Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres is closer. At the start of the third period the Sabres are leading: 2-1.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 -- Afternoon

Three of the NHL playoff games were played last night, and four more are scheduled for today. Three of yesterday's games were Western Conference games, and they were exciting games that had tight scores. The Detroit Red Wings beat the Edmonton Oilers in a close double overtime game with a final score of 3-2. The other close game was between the Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. That game also went into overtime and was won by Calgary. Nashville Predators beat the San Jose Sharks with a goal in the third period that gave Nashville a 4-3 lead. Nashville really has to thank Paul Kariya, who had an assist in all of Nashville's goals in the game. The Eastern Conference game was with the team that I'm rooting for, the Ottawa Senators beat up on the Tampa Bay Lighting with a final score of 4-1. Today's games have the New York Rangers against the New Jersey Devils, the Montreal Canadiens against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Philadelphia Flyers against the Buffalo Sabres, and the Colorado Avalanche against the Dallas Stars.

Friday, April 21, 2006 -- Evening

Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth! Today was her 80th birthday, and yes it was her real birthday. The Queen of the British Empire celebrates two birthdays in a year. The first is on the real date and the other is in June and is the Trooping the Color. The reason for the split is because if a monarch has a birthday in winter time, it might not be possible to have a parade due to inclement weather. The Queen seems to be going strong for someone who is 80 years old. Of course, hardy old age runs in her family. Her mother lived to 101, and Queen Victoria lived to 81 which is amazing for the 19th century. Here's hoping to many more birthdays for the Queen.

A recent study of Mars suggests that the planet had three distinct geological periods in its history. Each stage saw less water than the previous stage which has scientists theorizing that the earliest stage was the window of opportunity for life.

If you love to read mysteries, you might want to check out the Festival of Mystery that is being held by the Mystery Lovers Bookshop here in Oakmont, PA. The festival is going to be held this coming Monday from 4:00 pm until 9:00 pm. A slew of authors will be at there. I'll be attending and will post pictures and commentary.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 -- Evening

My boyfriend and I went to a restaurant opening today. We were invited to the opening, and it appears that everyone on the guest list was not charged. Never having been to a restaurant opening, I didn't know that it was good luck to do this. The restaurant is owned by the same folks who own and run Bangkok Balcony, and the food is of the same quality--extremely good. Silk Elephant is a Thai tapas restaurant, and the items on the menu this evening were just the tapas part. It was all very tasty, and even though things were tapas sized (ie, small), we were full. We had the chicken curry puffs--my favorite, and the crunchy taro, which was deep, fried taro with crushed peanuts and a hot, spicy sauce for dipping. We also had beef satay and fried calamari (dipped in wasabi). To end the meal, we had a sampling of taro cake which was mushier than cake, but not as soft as pudding. It was very tasty, and I look forward to going again. The menu in future weeks should be more expansive with noodle and curry dishes.

When I came home, I watched Survivor: Panama, Exile Island. Bruce was removed due to medical reasons, and Terry is still alive in the game. There was alot of drama, however which is in Terry's favor. Read the recap.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 -- Afternoon

It finally happened. Craig Patrick will no longer be General Manager of the Pens. The ousting was announced at a press conference earlier this afternoon. There is no word yet on a replacement, and it could be two months before one is announced.

Other news on the Pens front is that the Pens have the second pick in the upcoming NHL draft. The lottery was held today to determine the top 14 spots in the draft. The St. Louis Blues got the number one pick. The remaining 16 slots will be determined after the Stanley Cup final.

Other big news in the hockey world is that the Toronto Maple Leafs fired coach, Pat Quinn. Rumors are swirling already that Quinn might make a good coach for the Pens, but those are only rumors.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 -- Evening

This news came out a couple of days ago, but I just found out about it today. Google has released 12,358 puzzles for folks to solve over the next 24 days. The event is cooperation with the The DaVinci Code movie that is going to be released by Sony at the end of the 24 day period. The puzzles started on April 17, and the number of puzzles is a play on Fibonacci numbers. So far, I have been a loser and can't get beyond the first puzzle which is like a sudoku with symbols.

I just got a book from the library today, and it brought tears of laughter to my eyes. It's Atomic Wedgies, Wet Willies, & Other Acts of Roguery by Greg Tananbaum. The book is a short one and was obviously written for the adolescent boy in all of us. The book lists every type of prank that can be pulled on others--like wedgies, Dutch Ovens, Hoodwinks, Nose Tweaks, and other fun things that I can't wait to pull on my boyfriend. The Lift Lies will be great--you know, make up bizarre and gross stories about others or yourself in the elevator. The best thing about this book is that it describes the prank, gives tips on how to best pull it off, and ways to defend yourself from attack. A great, quick read that I strongly recommend.

Tonight was the night that someone went home on American Idol. Rod Stewart sang Just the Way You Look Tonight. Next Tuesday's theme is Greatest Love Songs with Andrea Bocelli coaching the contestants. Ryan Seacrest started by breaking up the contestants into groups. The first group has Chris Daughtry, Paris Bennett, and Ace Young. The other group has Elliott Yamin, Kellie Pickler, and Katharine McPhee. Taylor was told that he was safe and had to pick the group that America thought was safe. Believe it or not, the Kellie, Elliott, and Katharine group was safe. That meant that Chris Daughtry is in the bottom three. Paris was told that she was safe which meant that Chris is in the bottom two! What a shock. Thank God! Ace Young was sent home. That was quite a tense few moments for me.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 -- Evening

American Idol was on tonight, and for the most part, it was a very entertaining show. The contestants sang songs from the Great American songbook and were aided in their attempts by Rod Stewart. There were only two possible low-lights. One was Kellie Pickler who admitted that it was an awful job on her part. The other was Elliott Yamin. I really don't like Ace Young, so I am still holding out hopes for him going home since he wasn't that great, even if he wasn't that bad. Read the recap.

The Pens had a busy day. First there was a rally for them Downtown. This evening, they played the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sebastien Caron was in goal for the final game of the Pens season. The Leafs scored a goal first 8:19 into the game and just went on a scoring spree after that. By the middle of the second period, the Leafs were ahead 4-0. Sidney Crosby was not to be outdone, and he scored a goal for point number 101. Caron got pulled after the Leafs went ahead 5-1. Marc-Andre Fleury was put in his place. The Pens did make an effort in the third period. Colby Armstrong scored a goal with an assist by Crosby. Ryan Malone scored a goal to get the game to 5-3. Unfortunately, the Pens couldn't do any better, and so the season ended with a loss. Here's to the future, and hopefully many more wins!

Monday, April 17, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight was the last home game for the Pens 2005-2006 season. They played the New York Islanders. At the beginning of the games awards were given out for a variety of different things. Here's a list of the awards and winners:
NHL Masterton Nominee “Comeback Player” AwardJohn LeClair
The Pittsburgh Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association votes for the Penguins’ Masterton nominee. Each NHL team selects a Masterton candidate from which the overall winner is chosen. The Masterton candidate is nominated as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Edward J. DeBartolo “Community Service” AwardRyan Malone, Marc-Andre Fleury, Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney
The award recognizes the player who has donated a tremendous amount of time during the season working on community and charity projects. Sponsored by Verizon Wireless.
Baz Bastien Memorial “Good Guy” AwardSidney Crosby
Presented by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association to the player who the local media of the PHWA want to acknowledge for his cooperation throughout the year. The award is presented in memory of the late Aldege “Baz” Bastien, Penguins general manager from 1976-83. Sponsored by UPMC.
A.T. Caggiano Memorial Booster Club CupSidney Crosby
Presented in memory of A.T. Caggiano, long-time Penguins’ locker room attendant & Booster Club supporter, the award is presented by Penguins Booster Club members, who vote for the three stars after every home game and tally votes at the end of the regular season.
Player’s Player AwardJohn LeClair
The players hold a vote at the end of the season for the player they feel exemplifies leadership for the team, both on and off the ice, a player dedicated to teamwork. Sponsored by the Local Pittsburgh Dodge Dealers.
Rookie of the Year AwardSidney Crosby
Presented in memory of former Penguins forward Michel Briere to the player who makes a substantial contribution during his rookie season. Sponsored by 84 Lumber.
Most Valuable Player AwardSidney Crosby
Based on the overall contribution the player makes to the team. Sponsored by Mellon.

First period: When the game started, it was obvious that Crosby had an intensity. There are two games left, and Sid the Kid has three points to go to reach a century (100 points). Well, 1:04 into the game, Crosby passed the puck to Andy Hilbert who made the goal. 98 points for Crosby. The Pens take the early lead. At 10:31, Malone scored a goal to make the Pens lead 2-0. The Pens seem to be energized to give the fans a game tonight! Fleury is doing a great job stopping some of the shots that the Islanders are making.Second period: Seconds into the period, Miroslav Satan drew a penalty that resulted in a penalty shot, but he couldn't get the puck past Fleury. Fleury then stood up to a barage of shots from the Islanders that resulted in a chant of "Fleury, Fleury" from the audience. The Islanders do manage to get a goal in shortly after that however on a puck that richochetted all over the place and wound up in the net. At 15:19, Tomas Surovy scored a goal with an assist by Crosby. Crosby is at 99 points. At 15:44 in the second period, history happens. LeClair takes the face-off and shoots the puck to Crosby, who passes to Malone who scores a goal. Crosby has his 100 points. He is the youngest person in hockey to ever get 100 points in a season, and the crowd goes wild. White shirtss that were handed out at the start of the game are being spun, and the arena is on its feet. What a moment! What regret I have that I am not in the audience to experience such a moment and to witness it first hand. After the period ended, they showed clips of Crosby who was been miked during the game. After the 100 point, he went up to LeClair and asked if he could have his stick. Interesting! Third period: The Pens get yet another goal by Josef Melichar. The score is now 5-1. It looks like the Pens are going to make a win of their last home game. With less than five minutes left in the game, Ryan Whitney came on to score a goal to give the Pens a 6-1 lead. The Pens win the game with a score of 6-1.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 -- Evening

Monaco's Prince Albert has become the first head of state who has made it to the North Pole while he was currently in office. Supposedly the mission's goal was to highlight global warming. I don't know how the Prince treking to the North Pole proves anything about global warming. Not only that, but I don't believe that it has any scientific merit in showing the causes of global warming or the possible solution. For some reason, the politicos would like us to believe that scientists have a strong understanding of the causes and cures of global warming. I doubt that they do. Just think of it, the meteorologists can't even predict what the weather will be like in a week let alone make changes to it. In fact, as of yesterday, they were calling for sunny skies today. Meanwhile it was very overcast and chilly today with sprinkles of rain. The point is that even if the climate is warming, I highly doubt that scientists really understand it. This is particular piece of "science" is too highly politically motivated to allow for unbiased decisions.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens played the New York Islanders this evening. It seems that the Pens are doing everything they can to make sure that they don't finish in last place. This game was an exciting one. Andy Hilbert scored a goal for the Pens with less than two minutes left in the game. The Pens had pulled the goalie, Sebastien Caron to tie the game at 4 all. No goals were scored in the overtime so we were treated to a shootout. The Islanders won it in the shootout, scoring four goals to our three. It was quite a shootout with alot of scoring back and forth. The Islanders score one more shootout goal than the Pens do and win the game with a score of 5-4. Sidney Crosby did not score any points in the game and still has only 97 points in total for the year.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 -- Early Evening

There were three prep races for the Kentucky Derby were held today. First was the Santa Anita Derby. Brother Derek won by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:48. A. P. Warrior was second and Sacred Light was third. In the Bluegrass Stakes held at Keeneland in Kentucky, Sinister Minister won in a pole to pole effort. Time was 1:48.85. Sinister Minister was 10 lengths ahead of Storm Treasure. Strong Contender was third and the favorite, Bluegrass Cat, finished in fourth. On to the Arkansas Derby. Favorite, Lawyer Ron won by 2 3/4 lengths over Steppenwolfer. In third was Private Vow. The time for this race was a pedestrian 1:51.38. Lawyer Ron took a page from Sinister Minister's book, and lead practically the entire way with just a minor challenge from Private Vow at the top of the stretch. It will be interesting to see how the three match up in the Kentucky Derby which is three weeks away.

Friday, April 14, 2006 -- Late Evening

I have never been a big fan of Barry Bonds. It goes back to the pre-steroid era (PSE). He played for the Pirates back then, and I actually used to enjoy watching baseball. I didn't like Bonds because he always had an attitude, and he choked during the playoffs. It's all fine to talk with arrogance, but don't choke when it counts. You wouldn't recognize Bonds from those days, because he was small then. Now he is blown up like the Michelin Man--including with a swollen head that swollen with more than arrogance. The whole steriod bit came out. Folks commented on his increased size and player improvement that started to be noticed since 1995. It was obvious that the guy was doing steroids. Yeah, it was illegal to use it in this country, but MLB didn't penalize it as it should have. There has been alot of controversy about Bonds breaking the homerun record, and how he claimed that he never took steroids (only flaxseed and Ben-Gay). The reason I bring this up now is because Bonds hasn't been doing that well this season. So far in six games, he is batting .188. This is the worst that Bonds has played since the PSE. I just find it humorous that Bonds is finally playing like the 42 old man that he is. Must be because he's off the 'roids.

Friday, April 14, 2006 -- Afternoon

Google has launched a calendar service. I checked it out late last night, and I have to admit that I am impressed. You have the option to load a variety of calendars (Jewish, US, and UK holidays are examples of the offerings). You can also share your calendar with other or view others calendars. Calendar items from Outlook can be imported also. So far it is an interesting concept. I don't think that folks need to work as much about Microsoft taking over the world as they should worry about Google. The only difference is that Microsoft tried to take over the world by cutting off the air supply of others. Google does it but just releasing items that folks want that actually work.

I have become a fan of South Park in recent weeks. First there was the incident with Isaac Hayes being a hypocrit and quitting the show because it mocked Scientology. It was okay with Hayes if the South Park guys mocked every other religion, but when it came to Hayes own, then the line was overstepped. Bull donkies! Anyway, over the past two weeks, Matt Stone and Trey Parker came up with episodes titled Cartoon Wars. The theme of the shows were to show the stupidity of folks who won't show cartoons of Muhammad because of Islam uprising and terrorist acts. The two parter mocks the Islamic radicals who are affronted by the cartoon, and by the public that will allow themselves to be bullied and bury their heads in the sand. Cartoon Network would not allow Stone and Parker to show a cartoon image of Muhammad. However, images of Jesus pooping on George Bush and the American flag were obviously perfectly acceptable. When will folks pull their heads out of the sand over this issue?

Thursday, April 13, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the New York Rangers this evening. Sidney Crosby got four points in the game this evening: one goal and three assists. As of at the end of the game this evening, Crosby has 97 points for the season. Colby Armstrong got two goals and one assist. Meanwhile, Jaromir Jagr scored a goal to get a total of 122 points. The Pens are playing very well now, and the little bit that I saw of the game was very exciting. Final score was Pens 5 and Rangers 3.

Survivor: Panama, Exile Island was on tonight. The show is getting very interesting with Terry dominating the competitions and battling the old Casaya team single-handed. Can it continue? When will he have to use the hidden Immunity Idol. Read the recap to learn more.

I finally have my pictures from the Pirates game on Tuesday. I didn't really get any action pictures of the game, but isn't that abit of an oxymoron? Action and baseball.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 -- Evening

Exciting news for Big Brother fans here in the US. CBS has announced that this summer's show will be an All-Star version. A pool of 20 contestants will be selected by CBS and fans will get to select who they want to see on the show. There is no word on when that will happen, but I will be diligently keeping my eyes and ears open to find out when it will happen. I have to admit that Big Brother is one of my favorite reality shows. I love the human drama of watching folks who are trapped in an enclosed space with no escape. Last summer when I had my foot surgery, I was pretty much trapped myself, and I loved to watch the live feeds. I am hoping that Marcellas makes it on the show although I will miss watching him on House Calls.

Venus Express has sent back the first pictures that it has taken of the hellish planet. The most interesting thing that scientists have seen is a vortex that shows up quite clearly in the southern pole. At this point, there hasn't been much analysis, but the vortex is similar to one that has been observed at Venus' north pole.

Sidney Crosby is going to be playing for Canada in the World Hockey Championships May 5-21 in Riga, Latvia.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 -- Evening

Passover started tonight at sundown. This is the holiday that celebrates Moses and the Israelites leaving Egypt. The 10 plagues are recounted during the Seder and the wine cup is filled for Elijah.

Elimination night on American Idol tonight. The producers decided to punish us with an hour long show tonight. That means that the tension was dragged out over an hour. The show started with the contestants singing a medley of Queen songs. We were treated to video of the contestants family members saying that the love their contestant. There was a revelation about next week's theme when we find out that Rod Stewart will be working with the contestants on songs from his Great American Songbook albums. Finally they got down to the gritty nitty and we got to see who was in the bottom three. Unfortunately, they went though each contestant and had a lengthy video with family and friends for each contestant. One surprising thing that we found out is that Elliott Yamin is diabetic. It was discovered at the age of 17. Each of the bottom three contestants sang their Queen songs. The bottom three contestants were Elliott Yamin, Ace Young, and Bucky Covington. Ace was looking like a pouty baby during most of the show and gave Simon a dirty look when Simon said that based on performances that Ace should be voted out. However, Bucky Covington was voted out. Let's keep on hoping that Ace goes next week!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 -- Evening

I went to the Pirates game this evening. I'll post some pictures of the event tomorrow. The Pirates have not been doing very good so far this season and had only one win in eight starts. Tonight they did a good job and wound up winning the game. The final score was 7 for the Pirates and 6 for the LA Dodgers. It was a decent game to watch. I have to admit that I'm not much of a baseball fan. I used to be in my younger days, but since I was introduced to hockey, I have found baseball to be a rather boring game. There were moments this evening when I wished I had brought along a book to read during the tedious times. We had good seats, but I thought that they would be abit closer to the field than they were. The food options in the box area were much improved over the regular areas, and there was a much greater variety. I had a hot dog, fries, rootbeer float, and a slice of cheesecake. The latter is definitely not typical baseball fare.

Meanwhile the Pens were playing in Philadelphia against the Flyers. Although the Pens were able to tie up the game in the third period, they wound up losing in the end with a final score of 4-3. Sidney Crosby was questionable because he had a lower body injury in the last game that he played, but he was in the game today and scored a goal and had an assist.

It was also American Idol night. The contestants were singing Queen, and there were some really rough moments and some really nice moments. My choice for the bottom three: Ace Young, Katharine McPhee, and Taylor Hicks. I always want Ace Young to go, but I think that Katharine McPhee is probably the most deserving to go. We'll see if America agrees. Read the recap for more details.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Venus Express has successfully gotten into orbit around Venus. This should be an interesting mission, and I will be keeping my eyes open for an new developments.

Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be playing for the Baby Pens when the Pens regular season is over. The Baby Pens are doing quite well with 49 wins, 18 loses, five over time loses and five shoot out loses. The Baby Pens will be playing for the Calder Cup which is the AHL equivalent of the Stanley Cup.

Monday, April 10, 2006 -- Afternoon

Disney is doing what everyone else should be doing. They are going to offer some of their ABC shows free on the Internet for a two month trial period. They are offering their popular shows, such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Alias the day after the shows are broadcast on the network. The BBC did something similar earlier this year. They found that folks tended to watch the shows at a later time in the evening than previous viewship records showed.

Venus Express has almost reached its target. Tomorrow morning, the spacecraft will begin a 50 minute burn tomorrow morning to slow its speed so it can safely enter Venus' orbit. The Venus Express will then orbit the planet for 500 Earth days. The goal is to gather more information about a planet that is thought to have been more Earth-like before undergoing some sort of cataclysmic event that sent the greenhouse effect out of control. Venus Express is a European Space Agency mission.

Sunday, April 9, 2006 -- Evening

I have been trying to take a long walk on Saturdays and Sundays in the hopes that doing so will improve my health, help me to lose the few pounds that I would love to shed in the upcoming months, and just basically tone my flabby, out of shape muscles. Since I had the bunion surgery last July, I have really been a lazy bum and have let my physical condition deteriorate. My walk takes me through Schenley Park, and today I saw a hawk sitting on one of the street lights. He casually sat there and watched me take his picture. From what I have been able to figure out, it must have been a merlin or pigeon hawk.

I have caught up on the past two episodes of Dr. Who. It was a two episode set about the invasion of the Slitheens. The thing that I always find humourous about Dr. Who or Bond flicks is that the Brits are always the ones saving the world. They have never come to accept their fall in the ranks of world leadership. It does make for very interesting television. The two episodes were Aliens of London and World War Three. Both episodes were quite entertaining and humorous. I loved how the aliens were always farting because of the gas buildup that the human skins formed around their alien bodies. There is a very obvious chemistry between Rose and the Doctor. I am enjoying this series of Dr. Who.

Saturday, April 8, 2006 -- Late Evening

I was at a wedding today. Because of that, I really didn't get alot of other things accomplished.

The Pens has a game this evening. They played the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although the game may have been well played, it was probably a boring game to watch. Only one goal was scored, and unfortunately, it wasn't scored by the Pens. The Pens are still in last place in the NHL by one point.

Friday, April 7, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Florida Panthers this evening and eliminated the Panthers from any post season play. Yes, the Pens actually won this evening, breaking a 12 game losing streak against the Panthers. The final score was 5-1. Sidney Crosby got the number one star of the game by scoring four points (one was a goal). Right now, Crosby has 91 points for the season. Not bad at all. Sebastien Caron did a fantastic job taking 39 shots and just letting the one goal go by him.

Very sad news for Jamie Dixon and his family. Maggie Dixon died last night at the age of 28 after suffering heart problems on Wednesday. The official cause of death is cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) with a mitral valve prolapse (improperly working value in the heart). Maggie coached the women's Army basketball team to an NCAA tournament performance. My condolences go out to the Dixon family. It is always shocking when someone dies so young and so suddenly. It is even more distressing when you think of the happiness that the family was feeling at Maggie's career success.

Dan Brown was found to not have copied the ideas of Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. The judge even said that Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh must pay 85% of Random Houses costs for battling the lawsuit. Totally cost for Random House was approximately $2.6 million. Baigent and Leigh were also denied the permission to appeal the decision. I think that Baigent and Leigh just filed the suit for the publicity. For some reason, even though they lost, they believe that they won on the "spirit of the law."

Thursday, April 6, 2006 -- Evening

The Steelers have released their schedule for the coming season. The last seven weeks of the regular season will be flex weeks where the NFL can move the games around to times that would allow the better games to be played in a time that would generate the best television ratings. So instead of having a good game at 1 pm on Sunday afternoon and a crappy matchup Sunday evening, the game times will be adjusted to have the good, exciting matchup shown in the prime time spot.

Another new episode of Survivor: Panama, Exile Island was on this evening. It was quite a surprising one. The end did not turn out as I thought it would. Terry won immunity, and Austin was voted out without Terry saving him with the immunity idol. I'm not sure what Terry's plan is. Read the recap.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight another contestant was voted off of American Idol. Kenny Rogers was on the show. I can't get over how different Kenny looks. He sang his new single I Can't Unlove You. We found out that next week's theme will be Queen music. Ryan Seacrest split the group into three groups of three. Mandisa, Elliott Yamin, and Paris Bennett made up the middle group of three. Taylor Hicks, Kellie Pickler, and Chris Daughtry are in another group and Ace Young, Bucky Covington, and Katharine McPhee are in the third group of three. Right away, we found out that Chris, Kellie and Taylor were safe. Shockingly, Ace, Bucky, and Katharine were not in the bottom three. So this week, the bottom three was Paris, Mandisa, and Elliott. Paris was safe which means that it comes down to Elliott and Mandisa. Shockingly, Mandisa was voted off the show! Mandisa was crying. It was indeed a shocker because I don't think that she was the worst of the singers. It's just that the fans of the person don't make the phone call to save their favorite.

The Pens were in New Jersey tonight playing the Devils. The first period started off well with Sidney Crosby scoring a goal in the first minute. The Pens also scored in the last minute of the period, but unfortunately for the Pens, the Devils scored twice in the middle of the period. Andy Hilbert scored the last goal in the first period, and the only goal that the Pens had in the second period. Meanwhile the Devils were on a scoring streak, especially Patrik Elias who had a hat trick. In the third period, Jani Rita scored another goal for the Pens, but Elias is on a hot streak having a hand in five of the Devils' six points. So it is bad news for the Pens that they lose another one and remain in the basement in the standings. Final score tonight was Devils 6 - Pens 4. However, good news for the fans is that next year, the season ticket prices will stay the same as they are this year. It is the Pens' way of thanking the fans for being supportive of the team.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006 -- Evening

American Idol was on this evening, and I am just in love with Chris Daughtry. His performance tonight was perfection, even if Simon didn't think so. There will be a battle for the final three spots, but I think that it will be all men. In fact, the battle for the worst performance of the evening is down to Taylor Hicks and Bucky Covington in my opinion. Read the recap.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006 -- Morning

Florida won the NCAA basketball tournament last night. They whooped UCLA's butt. The final score was 73-57. The whole game was a bore, and I wound up reading a book instead of watching the game.

In case you didn't know it, the stress of the workplace can cause headaches and other illness. A group of British researchers did a study and found that physical illness could be linked to a "working environment characterised by poor psychosocial conditions." Folks were thinking that the cause of their runny noses, coughs, headaches, and tiredness were related to poor air circulation or other conditions in the building in which they work. The researchers said that the building itself was usually a minimal cause of problems. Now the question is what to do when you are stressed out at work, or just not feeling well. Finding a new job may be the cure, or at the very least, use some sick time and don't worry about the work that will be there waiting for you when you go back to work.

A doctor at the University of Pittsburgh says that attending church can help you to live longer. The claim is that although regular exercise can add three to five years to your life and taking an anti-statin (like Zocor) can add 2.1 to 3.7 years to your life, regularly going to church can help you live 1.8 to 3.1 years longer. I think that the point they are missing is that you have to actually believe and have faith. You just can't be an athetist going to church and reap the same benefits. Besides, there may be more to it than going to church. Church-goers may be less likely to smoke or drink and might not let the stress of life get to them because of the belief in an afterlife. I can just see people going to a house of worship, not because of belief, but because they want to live long. Poppy cock!

American Idol is on tonight. The theme for this week is supposed to be country music. This will favor Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington. I wonder what Chris Daughtry will do with this theme.

Monday, April 3, 2006 -- Evening

This week is National Library Week. I am a huge fan of libraries, and go to my local library, the Carnegie Library at least once a week. Where else can you find books, magazines, movies, and music that you can borrow? Not only that, but my local library has a slew of classes for users, such as yoga, finances, and arts/crafts. I never mind my tax dollars going to the library because it is open to everyone, rich and poor. The Carnegie has an audio book program too.

Hines Ward started his 10 day tour of Korea. He hasn't been to Korea since he and his mother left the country when Ward was an infant. Ward is also going to get honorary citizenship to Seoul.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

UCLA did win last night. The final score against LSU was 59-45. Tomorrow night, it will be a match up with UCLA and Florida for the Championship.

I went to the iFest on the University of Pittsburgh's Catherdral of Learning lawn this afternoon. It was a pitiful excuse for a festival. There were a few tables there with beads for kids to make necklaces, henna tattoos, information about some Israel organizations, a skimpy offering of Dead Sea lotions, a cotton candy bin, and some falafel and humus. A small band was playing Israeli music, and a student was showing other students how to belly dance. At 2 pm, there were only a handful of folks there, and they all seemed to know each other. There was no Krav Maga demonstration as promised, and the whole setup was only in a small corner of the wide expanse of lawn. As I said, it was a very pitiful excuse for a festival. I'm not sure if the problem is that no one was interested in attending or if it was just an incestious affair (meaning that people who manned the tables knew each other and knew the people who attended). Of course, the signs that were placed around town were usually in locations that were difficult to see. The next time I see an advertisement for this event, I won't even waste the time to even contemplate going to it.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had a game this afternoon. They were playing the New Jersey Devils. I missed a good portion of the game because I walked to the pitiful iFest, but I did catch the ending of the game. It was very exciting, and the Pens have really upped their level of play. The Pens up until the last 19 seconds of the game were leading. The score was 2-1 at that point with goals by Sidney Crosby and Colby Armstrong in the first period. The Devils got a goal in the second period and then tied things up with 19 seconds left. What is pitiful though is that the Pens had two to three opportunities at empty net goals, but couldn't get it into the net. So the game went into overtime. At 2:22, the Devils managed to score a goal to win the game. This is a sad one because in the last minute of regulation, the Pens had the opportunity to win the game, and just weren't able to pull it off.

Saturday, April 1, 2006 -- Evening

The Final Four were playing this evening in the NCAA tournament. At 6 pm ET, George Mason played Florida. My boyfriend was rooting on George Mason for the upset factor, but except for a brief period, George Mason was outclassed. The final score was 73-58. Right now, UCLA and LSU are playing, and the game is still in the first half. Score is UcLA 29-LSU 16. As the second half starts, UCLA is still holding on to a major lead. Five minutes into the second half, UCLA leads by 23 points (50-27). I am cheering on UCLA just because of the Ben Howland connection. From the way the game has been going, it looks like it is going to be UCLA and Florida in the final game Monday evening.

Tonight at 2 am (actually April 2nd), it will be time to change our clocks ahead an hour for the start of Daylight Savings Time (DST). That means that we lose an hour. I always like the fall when we gain an hour. This past August, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which will change the dates on which we move to DST. Instead of staring on the first Sunday in April, it will move to the second Sunday in March. The end will move from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November.

Today was the Florida Derby, one of the many prep races for the Kentucky Derby. The intersting thing about this race is that one of the horses in the field was the undefeated, Barbaro. Well, Barbaro won the 1 1/8 mile race by a half a length. I have to start keeping track of the various prep races like the Wood Memorial and see who wins to see who I might like to win the Derby.