Tag Archives: Bob Rivers Group

“Murder on the Orient Express” surprisingly really good. Break up the Jaguars and Rams, and NFL instant replay is the worst. And as Christmas nears, my favorite Xmas song is in my head

It’s December, so among many other things that means, it means I see more movies in a month than I see the rest of the year.

My reasoning is that almost all the best movies seem to come out between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I really don’t like schlepping to the theater and paying $18 to see garbage flicks, and there are always 3-4 movies out around this time that look right up my alley.

So recently my lovely wife and I started our December movie binge by seeing “Murder on the Orient Express,” which I had very low expectations for. It’s not the kind of movie I normally like, I hadn’t seen the original 1974 classic so didn’t know the story (nor had I read the Agatha Christie story it was based on), and my beloved was way more excited to see it than I was.

Honestly, what I was most excited about that night was that we were seeing it in a theater with those cool new reclining chairs that basically make you feel like you’re watching a movie on your couch (they’re pretty awesome if you haven’t been in one at a theater yet).

But happily, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the movie was. Starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe and others, it’s a terrific film. Branagh plays Poirot, a mustachioed brilliant detective who solves crimes others cannot. Branagh hams it up throughout the movie and almost ruins it that way, but fortunately the story and cast are so strong he doesn’t overwhelm the film.

Taking place on a famous, luxurious train, the story follows the investigation into the murder of a wealthy criminal (Johnny Depp) by Poirot. Everyone is a suspect, and you’re sure at least a half-dozen times that you know who did it, but then something happens and you’re clueless again.

The acting, especially by Pfeiffer, surprisingly, is excellent. The script crackles with one-liners and the scenery is sensational.

“Murder on the Orient Express,” highly recommended.

**Next up today, I briefly found myself at a giant shopping plaza on Long Island Sunday, eight days before Christmas. As you can imagine, there are war zones in the Middle East that are less chaotic than the parking lot I saw. Just pure madness. So of course, when I encounter a scene like that, I think of my favorite all-time Christmas song, which I try to highlight every year here on World Wide of Stuff. I love No. 2 so much. Here it is, The “12 Pains of Christmas” by the Bob Rivers group…

**Finally today, NFL football is starting to get real interesting with only two weeks left, and Sunday brought a few sensational games, including, surprisingly, the horrid Giants against the best team in the NFC, the Eagles. Somehow the Giants almost won, though I continue to wonder: What the heck is Eli Manning still doing playing QB in these games? The Giants are 2-12, going nowhere, have a young, untested QB on the bench in Davis Webb, and yet continue to trot Eli out there when the season is lost.

Makes no sense to me. Seems like something my Jets, or the Browns would do.

— Couple stunning results Sunday: The Rams not just winning, but walking into Seattle, the toughest road stadium in the NFL the last 10 years, and winning 42-7. Forty-two to seven??? Incredibly rare to see the Seahawks spanked like that.

— And the Patriots, damn them, once again going into a hostile environment, getting beat up all day, then winning at the end. Of course it took another controversial instant replay reversal of an apparent winning TD catch by the Steelers (above) to help New England, and honestly I’d scream and yell about injustice today if I were a Pittsburgh fan but there have been so many of these terrible replay reversals, just about every fan base in the NFL could point to one. The “catch” rule in the NFL is impossibly stupid.

— Sucks to be a Raiders fan today. Another crazy finish Sunday night, as Derek Carr races for a game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against the Cowboys, then fumbles the ball through the end zone while reaching for a score. This is another rule that I don’t understand in the NFL: You fumble while trying to score and the other team gets the ball? It’s been that way forever so nobody questions it, but it seems silly to me.

— Also crazy from that game? Check out the 7:05 mark from this video, as an NFL referee used a piece of paper to determine if the Cowboys made a first down. It’s 2017, the NFL is a billion-dollar industry, and an index card helped officials Sunday. Insane.

On the other hand, it’s a good thing someone stopped at Staples before the game, otherwise they might still be arguing about that first down.

Good News Friday: Kobe’s relationship with his H.S. English teacher is awesome. “The 12 Pains of Christmas” always makes me smile. And a Canada children’s choir singing song in Arabic

at Verizon Center on December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

And a happy Friday to you all! We’re between Chanukah and Christmas and year-end lists are flying around like insults out of Donald Trump’s mouth.  Sad to report that it looks like one of my favorites, the Regrettheerror.com list of the best and funniest newspaper and magazine corrections of the year, is no longer. Seems the guy running it, Craig Silverman, got a new job and has shuttered his annual roundup. Bummer.

However, three happy stories to lead you into the weekend, where hopefully you won’t be stuck at a mall shopping… (and a fourth story that I’m not writing about simply because I could write about LeBron James’ kindness and generosity every week, and that would get boring. But what he did for a disabled fan in Boston the other night… so great.

First up, I’ve heard some fabulous radio stories over the years from Bill Littlefield’s wonderful NPR program “Only a Game,” but this one from last week’s show has to be among my favorites. You may remember a few weeks ago that Kobe Bryant, in announcing his retirement from the NBA following this season, wrote a poem called “Dear Basketball” and published it on Derek Jeter’s website, The Player’s Tribune.

Well, in seeking to find out where Kobe’s poetry inspiration came from, Littlefield tracked down his old high school English teacher from Lower Merion, Pa., a delightful woman named Jeanne Mastriano.

This seven-minute interview is just terrific, especially when Mastriano talks about the voicemail she left Kobe during the NBA Finals one year, and the stunning impact it had on him.

Can’t praise this short piece enough; listen to it here. I’m not a huge Kobe fan but anyone who loves his English teacher that much can’t be all bad.

**Next up, here’s a story that’s not quite as perfect as first thought when it went viral, but still pretty awesome.

A children’s choir in Canada performed an Arabic song called Tala’ al-Badru Alayna, which was sung by Prophet Muhammad’s companions to welcome him as he sought refuge in Medina. The beautiful performance went viral as it was shared as a welcoming event for refugees in Canada while the country was getting ready for the second group of refugees.

But… not quite. Recent reports suggested that the choir and the song did not have anything to do with welcoming the refugees, it was just something the choir director had wanted to perform for a long time.

Still, it’s a beautiful performance and should indeed be a sign that some countries (not America, apparently, but SOME countries) understand the meaning of compassion and welcoming in those who have suffered so much in recent years.

 

**And finally today, I try to run this song every year on the blog around the holidays because it always makes me smile. It’s an old song parody from the Bob Rivers Group, it’s called the “12 Things at Christmas that are such a pain to me.” I laugh, not exaggerating, every time I hear it. Especially, of course, at the “rigging up the lights guy.”

Enjoy, and take a deep breath, the holidays and the stress will be over soon…

Detroit’s new way to deter crime (it involves dummies). My favorite Christmas song makes me happy. And Jason Kidd, an utter disaster as coach

Pinkflying

Writing this late Monday night after getting back from seeing Pink at Barclays Center. I raved about her last time I saw her so I won’t do another blog on it, but hot damn, that woman can put on a great f’ing performance. Great voice, great acrobatics again, and as you can tell, she flew (above at the very top) through the air at the end. Fantastic, fantastic show.

The city of Detroit has gotten so much bad publicity for so long, you have to feel at least a little sorry for the residents there.

And you can’t really blame them for getting creative when it comes to battling crime.

A local man who shall remain nameless was tired of having his house broken into, and none of his previous security efforts have worked.

So he decided to dress up two CPR dummies as gangsters, and stationed them on his porch.

And, amazingly, it has worked. His house hasn’t been broken into since.

Detroit police have stopped by to congratulate him on a novel and clever idea, the man said.

I say “Bravo” for the brilliant idea. Reminds of when Long Island first got HOV lanes on the highway, and people would bring dummies with them and put them in the passenger seat to make it look like a second person was in the car, so they could use the HOV lane.

I just hope this guy in Detroit doesn’t start talking to the dummies and treating them like real people. Hey, people get lonely sometimes, you know?

**Next up, I suppose it’s officially Christmas season since I have to keep changing the channel and the radio station to avoid hearing the dreary Christmas tunes we all endure every year.

But on the plus side, I did get to hear this wonderful song this morning; it’s my favorite Christmas tune, and I run it here on the blog every year.

It’s the Bob Rivers comedy group, singing “The 12 Pains of Christmas.” As always, the “rigging up the lights” guy has me laughing out loud…

jasonkidd

**You know, what I’m about to write about Jason Kidd and my beloved Brooklyn Nets is not a second-guess, because as soon as the NBA legend was hired as coach last summer, I called my friend Tony and screamed “Are they freaking kidding? Hiring a guy with NO experience to run a team that’s built to win now????

So it’s not all that surprising to see my pathetic Nets with a 5-14 record. Oh yeah, I know it’s unfair to totally judge Kidd right now, with so many of the Nets’ stars, like Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry out injured; if those four were healthy, you have to believe the Nets would be better.

But even accounting for that rash of injuries, Kidd has been terrible as a coach. The Nets get destroyed in every third quarter, showing he has no clue about making halftime adjustments. He all but begged respected coach Lawrence Frank to be his top assistant, then 15 games in “re-assigns” Frank to menial tasks.

Then there was the bush-league “intentional spilling of soda on the court” a few weeks back, as Kidd tried to bend the rules and get an extra timeout after he blatantly spilled his drink on the court, forcing a delay.

The guy is one of the greatest point guards ever, and I love him for bringing the Nets to the NBA Finals a decade ago. But as a coach, he’s totally lost. Most great players in all sports make lousy coaches (see Magic Johnson, Ted Williams and Mike Singletary, just to name a few), because they can’t translate their greatness to other players.

But Kidd just seems utterly confused and unable to make coaching adjustments, and I wonder even once the Nets get healthy, if he’ll be able to do the job.

Sigh. Everything looked so good over the summer for the Nets, but now they’re back to being the losers I’ve sadly come to know and love.

R.I.P., Jets season. A crazy, crazy Steelers win. And the best anti-Xmas song ever

If Sunday’s New York Jets game were Jeopardy,” here’s a clue: The entire second half.

The question: When were you certain the Jets were going to lose to the Atlanta Falcons?”

Yes my friends, 30 years of Jets-watching has allowed me to be Kreskin, at certain moments. And as me and the rest of my bar amigos at Houligan’s Pub here in Ormond Beach watched mistake after mistake by the Jets, missed field goals, interceptions by Mark Sanchez (geez, where have I written that before?) and blown chances, I knew this was going to end badly.

“How many times have we seen this?” I muttered into my Coke. “Jets dominate the game, can’t put a team away, the opponent puts together one good drive, and BAM, game over.”

So it was, in a way, a tiny bit satisfying as I watched the Jets fall to 7-7, in a crushing 10-7 defeat at Giants Stadium.

A few questions sprung to mind during this contest, besides “what the hell am I doing watching this for 3 hours?”

— OK, so Kellen Clemens stinks as a QB. He also stinks as a holder on field goals. What, if anything, is he good at?

— Was the Jets defense unaware Tony Gonzalez, one of the best tight ends in history, plays for the Falcons? Because he was awfully lonesome on that 4th and goal play when he scored the winning touchdown.

— How many bleepin’ interceptions did the Jets defensive backs drop Sunday? 4, 5, 6? Besides the three missed FG’s that was another sign it wasn’t going to be New York’s day.

— Mark Sanchez, Jets fans really, really want to see progress from you. But on two of those three interceptions (the middle one didn’t bother me that much), it looked like you’ve learned nothing from Week 1. Eat. The. Ball. If no one’s open.

— The defense was great Sunday, really great. I don’t blame them for the loss, even though they gave up the final TD. You just can’t kill a defense that allowed 10 points; they’re not the reason the Jets lost.

— Sadly, thanks to the bumbling of some other AFC teams, I can’t officially write off this season completely. Denver lost and is 8-6, Baltimore is 8-6, while the Titans, Steelers, Jags and ‘Fins are 7-7, like the Jets. But here’s the thing: No way the Jets deserve to be in the playoffs, and there’s NO WAY they’re beating 14-0 Indy next week.

So yeah, the season’s over. And I’m OK with it. 7-7, with a rookie quarterback and the loss of two hugely important players to injury (Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington) is about where this team should be.

It just sucks to watch the same movie over and over again, and that’s what this team is.

**So there were some crazy endings to games Sunday, another reason to love the NFL. Oakland wins AT Denver? With JaMarcus Russell? Crazy. San Diego nips Cincy at the end on a 52-yard field goal? Crazy.

But without a doubt the most thrilling ending was Pittsburgh, scoring a TD on the game’s last play to beat Green Bay, 37-36. They overcame one of the stupidest coaching calls ever (Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, up 30-28, tries an onside kick late in the fourth quarter. Of course Green Bay recovered and scored) and won on the play of the game, Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace, fresh off the “60 Minutes” set, apparently.

Still, the onside kick was beyond nuts. I know Tomlin explained that he didn’t trust his defense, but still, that’s a crazy, crazy call.

— I have no idea who’s making the playoffs in the AFC. My best guess right now is Denver and Jacksonville, but who the heck knows?

**Boy, the Duke basketball team kicked the holy hell out of Gonzaga Saturday. That was nice to see. Still wanting to see more out of the Plumlee boys, Mason and Miles, but I’m not complaining. And it was nice to see Carolina lose, too. A good Saturday!

**Finally, if you’ve hung in there and want a good laugh this Monday, this is my favorite all-time “Christmas song.”  The 12 Pains of Christmas cheers me every December. Just listen to the “rigging up the lights” guy and try not to laugh.”