All posts in the Miscellaneous category

Play Review: The Book of Mormon

Published December 31, 2014 by mrsrag

bomStarring: Declan Egan, Rob Colletti, Denee Benton and a monstrously talented supporting cast.

Sold out 1543 shows in a row on Broadway and counting.  We saw it at the The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL; but possibly coming to a town near you soon.

Musical/Comedy.  Written by: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Robert Lopez.

I have to begin with the background story of how Maria and I were able to attend The Book of Mormon.  I didn’t even know it was coming to town until the day before it opened at the Kravis, as I read about it in the paper.  Also, I had no clue how popular this show was, but I soon discovered in my attempt to get tickets.  I called my brother Randy, because I know he donates to TKC every year, and I thought he might have an “in” for getting tickets.  He did, but there were simply no tickets to be had anywhere, for any price.  My brother, however, is not used to taking “no” for an answer.  I had called him on Monday, he proceeded to embark on a five day crusade to find tickets.  At the eleventh hour, he found a pair, in Las Vegas (yes Vegas!) and had them FedEx’d on Saturday morning.  He showed up at our door at 10 AM: “Merry Christmas!  You have no idea what I went through to find those.  Have fun.”  I also shudder to think what he paid for them, but oh my goodness, did we ever “have fun”!!

We just felt so lucky to even have the opportunity to go and see this play, especially under the circumstances.  But we had a wonderful night out on the town thanks to Randy.  And we had a ball getting decked out and doing something a little different.  This show is pure, unadulterated fun.  What I love about Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of a little t.v. show called South Park, is that they aren’t simply filthy or just silly, they’re fucking brilliantly smart.  And their writing beautifully displays their knack for raunch, storytelling and an admirable fearlessness.  The Book of Mormon was right up our alley of humor with innuendos, puns and a supreme selection of musical parodies.  One of our most favorite things.  The most unbelievable aspect of this rendition is that most of this cast was comprised of second string actors and the performance was still absolutely flawless.  I can’t imagine it could be any better on Broadway.

It would be fun someday to get to the Broadway version to compare the performances, but I’m with Maria, hard to imagine anyone doing it better than this cast.  The humor here is definitely not for everyone, but absolutely in MRSRAG’s wheelhouse.  Let’s face it, Mormons have some crazy ideas: magical underwear, your own planet when you die, white people were here in the U.S. before Native Americans etc., so making fun of them is easy.  Matt and Trey rarely disappoint when it comes to laughs and the songs are fantastic, only equaled by the people singing them.  The play kicks into high gear when Elder Price (Egan) and Elder Cunningham (Colletti) get to Uganda to do their two years as missionaries and bring as many of the locals into the fold as possible.  As you may guess, the Ugandans are less than receptive as they have many horrific problems to deal with, and one of the first numbers; reminiscent of the hakuna matata song from The Lion King, is hilarious.  Faith, persistence, despair, loss of faith, innovation, hope; all examined here in song, performed brilliantly with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  If you’re not easily offended, do yourself a favor and try to find The Book of Mormon if you get a chance, you’ll be happy you did and you won’t even end up with “maggots in your scrotum”.  Just believe, because I say so, it’s the Mormon way!

This isn’t the first time Matt & Trey have poked fun at the Mormons.  Some of you may be familiar with the South Park episode where a constant stream of, “dum, dum, dum…” plays in the background during an explanation of how Joseph Smith developed the faith.  I imagine growing up geographically close to Mormon country has had some hand in influencing this pair’s affinity for the religion.  They originate from Colorado and Mormon land is only a hop or skip away in Utah.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I have found myself singing their Hakuna Matata-esque mantra, ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’.  If you don’t find yourself as lucky as us with the ticket situation, you can always check this one out on YouTube.  It’s well worth stealing five minutes away from cat videos.  And one final note, did we mention that our seats were two rows from the stage?!  Now THAT is some Christmas present.  Thanks again Randy!!

Ross’ Rating: 4.25 Playbills out of 5.

Maria’s Rating: 4.5 Playbills.


Book Review: Sharp Objects

Published December 22, 2014 by mrsrag

sharp objectsAuthor: Gillian Flynn.  Originally published in hardback in 2006. 393 pages in paperback.

Murder mystery/Psychological drama/Suspense.  Fiction.

The reading world was smashed wide open after Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl reigned atop Bestseller’s lists across the country following its release in mid 2012.  I remember hearing the first glowing reviews from friends and knowing it was a must for my beach season repertoire.  I absolutely loved it and lately have been hearing great things about her other novels.  My recent stint in an airport bookstore left me desperately seeking something of interest and I came across Flynn’s debut novel, Sharp Objects.  I gave the back cover a quick read and knew this suspenseful mystery would more than captivate me.  This lady has a penchant for writing about twisted broads.  Flynn is talented, unique and absolutely fearless.  Her first novel pushes boundaries and disproves numerous stereotypes often used to describe women writers.  Her style can be described as wicked, crazy and brilliant.  She is capable of weaving a vicious web, sending readers on a journey of moral exploration and self doubt.  Just as soon as you believe you have a handle on what’s going on, she throws in another twist that changes the readers perspective.  This time we find ourselves immersed in the small town of Wind Gap, Missouri, following journalist Camille Preaker back to her roots and an uncomfortable home life she’d rather leave in the past.

“Twisted broads” indeed.  Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne was one mercenary, crazy woman, and Camille holds down the crazy quite well in Sharp Objects; but her mother Adora is at the very top of the literary food chain of fucked up nasty bitches.  Camille works for a small paper in Chicago, and when one little girl is murdered and then another goes missing in her hometown in Missouri, her editor thinks it’s a good idea if she goes back to cover the story.  Camille isn’t too happy about the assignment though, she hasn’t seen or spoken to her mother or her younger half sister Amma in years.  Camille was right to be hesitant to go back to Wind Gap.  There’s a reason she likes to carve words into her flesh (yes you read that right), like “WICKED”, “NASTY”, “HARMFUL”, “WHORE” and a myriad of others, but you’ll have to read to find out.  I don’t know what kind of women Gillian Flynn has in her background, but I sincerely hope she is writing from her imagination and not life experiences. Steven King had nothing but superlatives for Sharp Objects, calling it “a terrific debut novel” and “an admirably nasty piece of work.”  I couldn’t agree more with the greatest writer of my lifetime.  Gillian Flynn is badass!

Flynn has received vast amounts of praise for her growing body of work and personally I can’t wait to see what she does next.  She isn’t afraid to discuss sexuality, violence or a myriad of taboo behaviors.  And I believe it’s this freedom in her writing that allows her to reach a pinnacle of creativity and excellence.  Her novels are the kind that you just can’t put down.  I found myself stealing away during the Thanksgiving holiday just to plow through another chapter.  It creeps into the dark recesses of your mind, into your dreams and daily thoughts.  I was feeling mighty thankful that I was raised by a nurturing and caring woman.  And that my family is comprised of loving and kind people.  Sharp Objects will introduce you to a cast of players ranging from emotionally disturbed to pure evil.   I’m planning on picking up another of her twisted tales, Dark Places.  We’ll see what that has in store for me during my Christmas travels.

Gone Girl was made into a movie (an excellent adaptation, check out our review in the MRSRAG archives) and I just read Sharp Objects is coming to the small screen soon, presumably as a mini series.  Ms. Flynn is hot and her style is unique as Maria pointed out.  There’s nothing like a book that you just can’t put down, and she’s two for two in that department with me.  Sharp Objects has some dark shit going on, but it will keep you thinking, guessing and reading until the wee hours of the morning.  Dark circles under your eyes?  A small price to pay for such an exquisitely demented journey through the mind of a master storyteller.

Maria’s Rating: 4.5 Bookmarks out of 5.

Ross’ Rating: 4.25 Bookmarks.

Time Travel Possible? Evidence?

Published November 6, 2014 by mrsrag

Maria and I came upon this photo under mysterious circumstances.  It came in an unmarked envelope, an envelope that was too physically cold for having spent time in our Florida sun.  Inside a note: “We’ve decided to use this photo on the posters for the 2044 release of the age old classic, Gunga Din.  Daniel looks pretty good for 76 doesn’t he?!”  The Daniel in question is none other than James Bond himself, Daniel Craig as you can plainly see.  How is it that we received this strange letter?  Is it actually a message from the future??  Or could someone simply have seen the picture on the wall at a wedding they recently attended, and sent it to us as a prank.  And even if the latter is the case, couldn’t that still be future Daniel Craig in the aforementioned movie?  Like Jack Nicholson’s pictures on the wall, decades before he arrived at the Overlook Hotel, in Stephen King’s masterpiece The Shining.  These questions may remain mysteries, but you can look at the picture and judge for yourself, come to your own conclusions.  We may all just have to make it to 2044 to find out.


We hope he’s still getting hand jobs from Rachel Weisz,  (See the Golden Globes a couple of years ago.  She had a handful under the table!  You go Rachel!)

Theme Park Review: Rapids Water Park

Published July 15, 2013 by mrsrag

Located at 6566 N. Military Trail, Riviera Beach, FL 33407.  On Military between 45th St. and Blue Heron Blvd.  www.rapidswaterpark.com.  Phone: (561)842-8756.

We love amusement parks and I have a special affinity for water parks.  Luckily, we have a rather inexpensive and very close park that we thoroughly enjoy.  My favorite thing about Rapids is that a majority of their slides require a tube of some sort.  I’ve lost some of my adventurous side, which used to enjoy a good tubeless throttle down a curvy tunnel.  Rapids still delivers the thrills, but with more comfort and a sense of security.  I much prefer being on a tube these days.  And quite frankly, some of their rides could be described as terrifying.  For example, Big/Black Thunder, two sister slides that reside on opposite sides of the park.  The only difference, as I’ve been told, is that Black Thunder is completely in the dark.  However, I’ve only given Big Thunder a go.  I’m not sure I’d be a huge fan of the belly dropping plunge into darkness and the feeling that you may just tip over at any moment.  Here’s a video from Big Thunder’s observation deck, just make sure your volume is quite low…someone’s a screamer:


This is my new favorite ride in the park, which is saying a lot considering how many awesome slides they have there.  They also have the usual standards including a lazy river and a wave pool.  The lazy river is a great way to travel from one side of the park to the other or just for a nice leisurely float break.  Rapids has everything a water park fan could ever need.

We do LOVE going to theme parks.  Disney, Universal, Lake Compounce in CT, but Rapids has a lot going for it.  First, it’s only twenty minutes from our house.  Second, it’s reasonably priced at $39 per person during the week and $42 on the weekend.  PLUS, we’ve gone the last two years and each time they’ve given us “buy one get one free” coupons for our next visit.  So, your second trip Monday-Friday is only $19 a piece.  And the cherry on the sundae is the place is a blast!  We took Ethan and his buddy Madian last time, and the boys love the place too.  Many of the rides have tubes that fit four, so we all could go together.  I absolutely agree with Maria, Big Thunder is my favorite; watch the video and you’ll see why.  Raging Rapids and Riptide Raftin’ are also four person thrillers.  We also enjoy Tubin Tornadoes, another set of sister slides that accommodates two people per tube,  we call them “the twins.”  The boys went on Pirates Plunge, another pair of slides that are for one person, no tubes.  Like Rapids Racer, which I have been on, these rides are for smaller bodies than mine.  But it sure was fun seeing the transformation of Ethan from fairly meek last year to daredevil this year. 

What a difference!  Last year I was begging him to go on some of the milder slides, such as ‘Big Red’ & this year he’s hopping from Pirates Plunge to Big Thunder like an old pro.  He and Madian even gave the newest ride, Flow Rider, a try and I had to join them.  The line was quite substantial, but it was too enticing to me and my 9 year old escorts.  Flow Rider has a ‘continuous, simulated wave system’ – which is a fancy way of saying the wave lasts forever.  Although, most participants don’t last the full two minutes, which is the allotted time.  In fact, if you get caught in the 35 mph wave sideways, even for a split second, your body disappears over the upper crest.  When I rode, I took extra care to ride the wave and then exit to the left where the wave settles.  I was not going to have a disastrous wipeout, but many riders including E’s pal Madian took some serious diggers toward the back.  Of course, there were a few experts including a young boy or girl (?) who sat up on the body board and performed some yoga poses.  All four of us were confused about the gender, I thought it was a girl, but the expert body boarder reigned supreme either way.  Rapids is great fun for all ages and they have some excellent areas for smaller children as well.  My best advice if you’re planning a visit is 1.) Get a locker; 2.) Bring dry clothes to change into and even an extra suit; 3.) If you don’t like fast food-esque fare, pack some snacks and lunch; and lastly 4.) Get there early for parking and to leave yourself ample time to fully experience the park.

Oh man that young girl/boy was a body boarding savant!  We were literally split down the middle on gender, two votes male and female each, but she/he was a pleasure to watch.  We truly have a great day every time we go to the Rapids.  Open to close is a perfect amount of time to get to everything you want to do, as many times as you want to do it.  The only damper on our last trip was Ethan slipped and took a pretty nasty header on some stairs.  I was right next to him and it was like a terrifying, slow motion, daytime nightmare.  The park employees were quick to come to our aid, and fortunately he came out of it just bruised up and scraped, but I would advise some caution when travelling from one side of the park to the other and on the multitude of stairs you’ll be climbing throughout the day.  Wet ground, wet feet lead to some slippery surfaces.  Other than that, go to the Rapids before the summer is over, preferably during the week.  You’ll have fun, the kids will be smiling all day, and you’ll get a nice stair workout too. 

Maria’s Rating: 4.5 Water Slides out of 5.

Ross’ Rating:  4.75 Water Slides.