Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

With a star-studded cast including Kate Hudson, Daniel Craig, and Edward Norton, the film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is our topic for the Sunday, January 8, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.

We’d love to hear your responses to some of our discussion questions below. Add comments to this page or drop us a note at

Click above for audio.

Discussion questions:

  • Would you say you are a fan of mysteries?
  • As far as the twist and turns of who might have done it, what surprised you?
  • What were some of your favorite scenes?
  • Would have these people actually been friends before Miles hit it big?
  • What did Andi need Miles for?
  • Miles owned his own island. If you were to own an island, what part of the Earth would it be located on?
  • What was your favorite scene?
  • Who was your favorite character?
  • Have you seen the pandemic wove in as a subject in other film or television?
  • Did you enjoy this film? Where does it fit in when it comes to the best films you’ve seen in the past five to ten years?
  • Would you recommend this film? Who is it for?

Summary from Rotten Tomatoes:

  • Benoit Blanc returns to peel back the layers in a new Rian Johnson whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles’ former business partner Andi Brand, current Connecticut governor Claire Debella, cutting-edge scientist Lionel Toussaint, fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay and her conscientious assistant Peg, and influencer Duke Cody and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.
  • Click here to visit the Rotten Tomatoes Glass Onion: Knives Out webpage.

Thanks for listening to this edition of the Torg Stories Podcast!

David Halberstam book The Breaks of the Game

David Halberstam’s book The Breaks of the Game is the main topic for conversation on this New Year’s Day 2023 edition of the Torg Stories podcast. I also bring some of my writer and teacher self to workshopping this show’s content in the second half of the episode.

Scroll down for the audio podcast and for a list of “Golden Lines” from the book Anne and I used for our discussion.

Click above to listen to the podcast.

Click here to link to the book on Amazon.

Some background notes on Halberstam’s book The Breaks of the Game:

  • Published in 1981 and tells the story of the 79-80 Trailblazers team. 
  • Author David Halberstam won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1964.
  • Halberstam died in 2007 age 73 and was killed in car crash. 
  • I also read Playing for Keeps, Halberstam’s book about Michael Jordan.

Golden Lines from the book:

  • “When you are discussing a successful coach,” sports psychologist Bruce Ogilvie once said, not of Ramsay but of the entire profession, “you are not necessarily drawing the profile of an entirely healthy person.”
  • Most damaging to the intensity of the game was the arrival of the no-cut contract. Given no-cut contracts, too many games, and a schedule designed to exhaust even the most physically fit young men in America, many players responded by functioning on automatic pilot, coming alive only in the playoff games.
  • In addition to just doing whatever it takes to win, I believe that I ought to coach a version of the game I enjoy watching. This line about Coach Ramsay reminds me of that: “Ramsay, for all his toughness and his obsession with winning, that believed there was poetry in the game, that it was connected to ballet, and that there was beauty and truth in it, the right movement of the right body flashing by another body to score.”
  • Whether you are coaching at a middle school, for a DII college team or in the pros, each level of competition comes with a variety of challenges: “The real question is why anyone would want to be a coach in this league. You’re always on the road, the pressure to win is terrible, the players are not conditioned by salaries to listen, and there’s simply no time to teach the kids in practice.”
  • At Watauga HS in the girls basketball program, we use visualization. Here was a description of Walton’s pregame routine: “He played his own music, from the Grateful Dead, a rock band of which he was virtually a member, and the music helped, it flowed through him and he thought about the tempo he wanted to set and how he could move. He would sit in his home or his hotel room in those hours and actually see the game and feel the movement of it. Sometimes he did it with such accuracy that a few hours later when he was on the court and the same players made the same moves, it was easy for him because he had already seen it all, had made that move or blocked that shot.”
  • “For suddenly the team went into a slump. A few defeats became, as they can in basketball, a psychological state.”
  • In the classes I teach at App State, we talk about the tension that can come with assimilating to a new group. This about Kermit Washington: “When he went home to his old neighborhood during the summer his friends teased him. ‘Kermit, what’s happened to you? You beginning to talk like a white person now, man.’ He knew he was changing, he did not think it was a bad thing to change, to want to be better. It was also important for Pat to like him. He was sure she would not like someone who could not write a sentence or make a paragraph.”
  • I grew up in Indiana rooting for Coach Bob Knight’s Hoosier teams and later trying to run a version of their motion offense. This sentence is about Coach Knight: “He once suggested to the NCAA that schools only be allowed in effect to give out only as many basketball scholarships as the number of seniors who had graduated from its program and received their degrees the previous year.”
  • The following quote is about nicknames, and it got me thinking about nicknames I’ve heard and liked. In this sentence, Earl Monroe shows up at the playground for a game: “He was wearing the most ragged shorts imaginable, terrible ratty sneakers and an absolutely beautiful Panama hat. That, Luke knew immediately, was true style, the hat and the shorts and the Rolls. The crowd had begun to shout Magic, Magic, Magic (his playground nickname, different from his white media nickname which, given the nature of sportswriters who like things to rhyme, was the Pearl). 
  • What nicknames came to mind right away for me: Sweetness, The Splendid Splinter, Chocolate Thunder, Big Smooth. The Snake, Magic, Babe, Dr. J., The Iceman and The Bus. 
  • I didn’t know this word!!!! Obstreperous meaning noisy and difficult to control. 
  • The writer describes UCLA: “For UCLA was a beautiful school, one of the loveliest in the country; its faculty and intellectual climate, as America’s power and affluence steadily moved westward, had been continually on the rise.”
  • THE LEAGUE’S PROBLEMS were not limited to its television ratings. Live attendance was bad too. It had averaged around 11,000 a game the year before and now it was down nearly 10 percent, to about 10,000. Only 6 of 22 teams showed an increase in attendance and 7 of the teams had a decline of more than 2,000 spectators a game.
  • Would have been an incredible time to buy in: “To no one’s particular surprise, he sold the San Diego Clippers to Donald Sterling, a Los Angeles realtor-lawyer, for $13.5 million, a figure far far greater than the amount he had spent to buy in. (IRV LEVIN BOUGHT BEFORE: COMPLICATED STORY BOUGHT CELTICS FOR 3.5 MILLION) 
  • The lines where the book gets its title: “In the end the club waived him but agreed to pay him for roughly a quarter of the season. It also agreed to help him in his claim against the insurance company for his disability pay. Thus did Larry Steele’s active career with the Portland Trail Blazers end. He tried not to be bitter about it. It was, he said, just one of the breaks of the game. Friends in business told him that this sort of thing happened all the time in the corporate world, especially when men reached higher career levels where salaries were greater.”

Some other background or related information I collected:

  • Billy Ray Bates is mentioned as a player who joins the team and gets off to a good start. From Wikipedia: “On January 17, 1998, Bates robbed a New Jersey Texaco station at knifepoint, slashing the ear of attendant Philip Kittel. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. Bates hit bottom when he robbed the gasoline station. At the time, he was living with his wife and stepdaughter while holding two manual-labor jobs in eastern New Jersey.”
  • Click here to read the Suns sale for 4 billion dollars.

Jack Ramsay :

  • Died in 2014 at age 89. 
  • Doc of education from Penn. 
  • 1977 Ramsey won the title with Blazers. 
  • 15 nba finals for nba radio

Bill Walton:

  • He’s 70. 
  • I know him first as an 86 Celtic and then as a broadcaster now. 
  • 88 game winning streak at UCLA 
  • 4 sons with first wife, including Luke who was named after Maurice Lucas. All sons played college basketball.

Thanks for checking out this page and the podcast!

An NBA and NFL Christmas in the Casino

We discuss Anne’s Christmas Vegas trip and go over the list of NBA and NFL bets she made on this Dec. 25, 2022 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.

Tweets of the Week

Kathryn Van Arendonk writes for Vulture, and you can click here to reach her Twitter profile.

J Kidd complimented LeBron’s Christmas shoes. Click here for the NBA Buzz account on Twitter.

Click here for Tim MacMahon on Twitter.

Click here for Bryan Kalbrosky on Twitter. Click here for his article on USA Today about Celtics Coach Joe Mazulla’s Quizlet scouting reports.

Next week, Anne and I will discuss David Halberstam’s book The Breaks of the Game. Thanks for listening to the podcast!

White Lotus Season 2 Finale

White Lotus Season 2 Finale, Saturday Night Live, An Argument for Commercials, and North Carolina Women’s Basketball Report on the Sunday Dec 18, 2022 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.

Tweets of the Week

To connect with Katie White’s Twitter profile, click here.

To connect with John Downs Twitter profile, click here.

Here are some links mentioned on the podcast:

  • For SNL’s Jennifer Coolidge is impressed by Christmas skit, click here.
  • For more information on the Cherokee Invitational Basketball tournament, click here.
  • Watauga High School will play in the Ulitsvyasdi bracket. There are three more brackets, each with 8 teams. To access all of those brackets, click here.

Thanks for checking out this week’s podcast!

Deon Sanders, Top Gun, and White Lotus

Deon Sanders, Top Gun, Scoring at the End of a Blowout, and White Lotus topics on the December 11, 2022 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.

Tweets of the week discussed on the episode:

WorldWideWob and Pat_Benson_Jr

@WrBolen stands with everyone pro Zion Dunk

AP reports on Top Gun and @LindaHolmes wonders about artichoke liqueur.

To read about artichoke liqueur, click here.


Good NBA nugget from Stan Van Gundy.

For articles like the one mentioned above and random out-of-context tweets, check out Mike Freeman on Twitter.

To read Mike Freeman’s article about Deon Sanders move to Colorado, click here. Here’s a quote from the article:

  • What I felt was the most significant acknowledgement of what Sanders might have accomplished at Jackson State: “Sanders’ success at Jackson State, and what could be even more success at Colorado, and earning huge paychecks along the way, could open up doors for Black coaches. Sanders could even lead to the hiring of more Black coaches in Power Five conferences.”

A recapping of White Lotus Episode Season 2, Episode 6 with some commentary and sprinkles of humor mixed in:

Tanya, who you can see in Legally Blonde and current Old Navy commercials, is off for two nights to Quentin’s family palazzo with the “high end gays” and her assistant Portia. The beautiful couple, Cam and Daphne, are having sex to open the episode. Next door at the resort, Harper talks to her husband Ethan how they aren’t attracted to each other anymore. We get lots of shots of statues with no noses.

Tanya, who in no way seems to have her shart together, (I say shart to avoid cussing like my daughter Izzy showed me how to do) tells her assistant Portia to get her shart together, which although ironic is probably the right advice. Grandpa Bert Di Grasso is very excited to go with his son Dom and grandson Albie (who have both slept with Lucia) to visit the place in Sicily where their family is from. Lucia approaches Ethan at the resort and demands to be paid for a night’s work as an escort, even though it’s Cam who arranged the evening and who slept with her. Ethan’s wife Harper thinks she keeps seeing evidence that Ethan did cheat on her even though she didn’t. Harper says to Ethan, “I saw you talking to the hookers.”

Quentin, who appears to be paying Jack to sleep with him, watches Jack drive away for the day with Portia. We hear “get it together again,” but this time it’s Grandpa Bert telling his son Dom about his losing it over Lucia coming along with Albie for the trip to see where they come from. There are a bunch of what I take to be red herrings about who will do the killing in the final episode. Jack gives a pretty good speech about living each day as it comes. He’s pretty hard on Portia for saying she feels unsatisfied; kind of a person of ease’s discontent that she might have.

Lucia is supposed to be the DeGrasso family interpreter as they travel to find their family roots but she is followed by this dude we’ve seen before. He seems to indeed be her pimp or it’s some kind of set up. The DeGrasso’s let her go off with him. Back at the resort, don’t forget Cam grabbed Harper’s leg the day before. Now she goes off to drink with him. Then she goes back up to the rooms with him. Maybe they’re in the same room and maybe they’re not. For the first time we get to see someone’s imagination: Ethan imagines Cam and his wife Harper in the room together. Other than getting hurt, the Degrasso visit to the motherland couldn’t go worse. The elder lady of the house threatens to throw artichokes at their heads.

Back at the palazzo, Quentin has set Tanya up with a young good looking man. Tanya does lots and lots of coke. Valentina has a birthday. She asks out the worker she has been harassing. She says yes! Oh, the worker is engaged to Rocco. Valentina cancels! Mia, who is friends with Lucia, turns out to be an amazing piano player and singer. We learn Valentina has never been with a woman. Mia says she’ll give her a birthday present and sleeps with her. The palazzo party totally rages. Doesn’t one guy look a lot like Borat? Jack gets terribly drunk. Portia wants to go back. They don’t. Jack says he was in a deep hole. Sounds like Quentin and his buddies think Tanya can get them out of financial trouble. Tanya sleeps with the dude she’s been set up with. Is it part of a set up to get her money? Final episode coming up next.

Thanks for checking out the podcast!