“LION”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

“Lion” is a first rate, sentimental, emotional, ‘small’ movie that will move even the coldest hearted person. It is a true story that starts in  1986 when we meet five year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his older brother (Abhishek Bharate) in a poor province of India where their mother (Priyanke Bose) earns what money she can hauling rocks. The boys help by bringing in any money they can earning it in any way they can including stealing coal off trains so they can exchange it for milk. One evening the boys are separated and we see Saroo falling asleep on a decommissioned train finding himself lost and in Calcutta almost a thousand miles away from where he lives.

The first part of the film follows young Saroo, as he tries to survive, with director Garth Davis and screenwriter Luke Davies not shying away from those who prey on children. (In the credits at the end it states that 80,000 children in India go missing every year, many to sex traffickers, to this day).

Going into the second part of the film it is 20 years later and Saroo, now played by Dev Patel, lives in Tasmania, an island State off Australia, having been adopted by Sue and John Brierly (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). He goes to Melbourne to study hotel management and meets Lucy (Rooney Mara) from America, they become lovers and at school they meet and become friends with other Indians. It is through these meetings that Saroo develops a need to search for his long lost mother, brother and very young sister who he has never forgotten.

To tell any further would mean spoilers and I don’t go there.

Up until 1961 the Oscar awards had a special category for any Juvenile performers who gave a strong performance. If the category was still given this year two young actors would fight it out with 8 year old Sunny Pawar playing a 5 year old in “Lion” versus Alex R. Hibburt, a 12 year old, playing 9 year old Chiron.

Dev Patel does a superb job as the older Saroo having to show a lot of his feelings with his face instead of talking. Divian Ladwa plays another child adopted by the Brierley’s who isn’t able to adjust to the new life presented to him after being traumatized in his earlier life.

David Wenham and Rooney Mara do what they can with what they have to work with while Nicole Kidman has two extended scenes that had many audience members trying to hide their tears!

Cinematographer Greig Frasier will certainly be responsible for a big rise in tourism to Tasmania with some of the scenes breath taking as is some of the aerial shots of the mountains and waters in India.

This is director Garth Davis’s first feature movie and doesn’t overdo tugging of the heartstrings which the screenplay by Luke Davies is quite effective in just telling the story as it happened.

The soundtrack by Dustin O’Halloran and Hausckha is a definite plus.

Be sure to stay for the ending credits as it not only explains why the movie is called “Lion” plus pictures of the real people highlighted in the film. 

 Movie trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RNI9o06vqo

Home decorating is NOT my thing!   Leave a comment


Unlike the old cliché as a Gay man I am not good at decorating where I live. I just put things here and there more on convenience than color, setting, etc. I live in an apartment where in the living/dining room I have 6 large windows. I never put drapes/curtains on the windows and the blinds are always up. Due to the way my apartment is set up I don’t have to worry about privacy and if I wanted to I could be nude the whole time (but I don’t want to shock the birds, squirrels and/or the pilots in the helicopters).

In any case at one time I had birds and because of the  cages I had the room set up one way and after I had to give them away I set it up differently and started hanging pictures on the walls and putting plants all around. I did have some sort of theme with the pictures but I didn’t hang them in any particular order plus I know two people reading this who want to straighten out all the frames!!!

You may also notice the couch has been against almost every wall in the apartment! LOL

I moved into this apartment in 2004—after never living in a place more than 5-6 years—and these pictures represent the past 6 years. The first 3 (starting in the upper left hand corner and going clockwise) were taken in 2010, 4 in 2013, 5 & 6 2015 and the last 6 were taken this week.

As long as I get all the light available, can look out at Mother Nature and get sun for the 28 plants I now have in the place all is good—until I move things around again. 

Posted January 16, 2017 by greatmartin in HOME, Uncategorized


When you watch a movie based on true events that you watched when it was happening and know the ending it takes a good director, Theodore Melfi, good screenwriters, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, to get you caught up in the events being  shown on the screen and “Hidden Figures” is such a movie.

There is also another part to the film that has a tag line “the untold true story” and that is a story most people, Black and White, don’t know about. The film takes place in months leading up to John Glenn (played by Glen Powell) who figures importantly in this film aside from being an astronaut and racism is still ingrained in the American consciousness. The latter is shown in small and large ways, each effective, whether it is a woman having to run a half a mile to go to the ‘colored women’s bathroom” even though she is capable and does help NASA solve many problems to get men in orbit around the world and get them back safely.

Taraji P. Henson is real life Katherine Goble Johnson, a mathematical genius, who knows ‘her place’ and is insulted not only by words but by actions. She is only one woman of two in an office of a dozen men and she is Black having to put up with some indignities to do a job she loves, wants to keep, but when she reaches a point that she has had enough she is not afraid to open her mouth.

The other woman in the office, the group’s executive assistant played by Kimberly is not welcoming and the head engineer, played by Jim Parsons, first has no respect for Katherine and then disdain only to question the knowledge she gives that is more accurate than his. The only one who doesn’t care about her sex or color but her much needed knowledge is her boss Al Harrison, played believably by Kevin Costner.

There are other people in Katherine’s life aside from her 3 children whose husband/father is dead, her mother and, about half way through, a very romantic army officer Mahershala Ali but two others, her best friends, also faces racism because of being Black, though very smart accomplished women. Dorothy Vaughan, played by a strong Octavia Spencer, is in charge of the West Computing Group, as they are referred to, made up of Black women which segregates them from the White women in the East Computing Group. She does the work and puts in the time that a supervisor does but she isn’t given the title and certainly not the pay. She delivers a put down with a smile that hides her pain but tells the truth.

The third woman is Mary Jackson, played by a saucy, smart Janelle Monae, who wants to be an engineer but, due to Virginia laws, is not allowed to attend the classes she needs to get the degree. (Ah Virginia, the State that is also the basis for the movie “Loving” and tells  another true story about that State’s laws.) She has a husband, played by Aldis Hodge, who hesitates in backing her but has a Polish-Jewish refugee, played by Olek Krupa, from the concentration camps, who is all for her going for her dream.

Based on the nonfiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly one doesn’t know how much of the script by Schroeder and Melfi was “Hollywoodized” but a lot of it rings true and the production designs by Wynn Thomas and the costumes designed by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus certainly reflect the era.

The acting by all is first rate but Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae give powerful performances showing how strong and accomplished Katherine, Dorothy and Mary were, the indignities they suffered and how just by being themselves they are role models for all of us.

“Hidden Figures” has two story lines intertwined and as exciting as the race to the moon became the true story of what these three smart women had to go through because of their color was more interesting as the former was familiar to me while the latter was a learning experience about these women I knew nothing about and everyone should.

Movie trailer



MY FIRST HEALTH REPORT FOR 2017   Leave a comment


(January 2, 2017)

On January 5th I went to my primary doctor’s office to get a bunch of lab  work done and then on January 11thwent to the doctor to sit down and go over it plus ask a few questions.

Basically the report was good with a few ‘minor’ glitches such as my sugar was a little high—hey, this was just after the Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year’s holiday—and though the cholesterol numbers were on the high side (179) they were within the okay range (100-199). She did change the cholesterol medicine I had been taking. The only thing she was a bit concerned about was the kidney result which was 5.650, above the 4.500 high numbers so she adjusted my lisinopril dosage. My INR (blood thinner) levels were fine within the acceptable range. The other 66 items tested for were fine.

I did talk to her about the 4 gout/arthritis attacks I had in the November-December span and she explained that the best way to decide that was next time I am having one of those attacks to come in and she could take a sample to see if there are crystals in the fluid. We discussed the home remedies (tart concentrated cherry juice and apple cider vinegar) which she said could do no harm but she would prefer I tale Aleve but not the AlevePM.

All in all the ‘problems’ could be dealt with and none were life threatening plus I knew how to get the high numbers down “and with no holidays, no Leap Year and the next labs to be done before Valentine’s Day & the chocolate sales, the numbers should come down!” (She knows me.)

Oh yes did I forget to mention that I had lost 2 and a half pounds, even with the holidays, since the last time she weighed me. On the other hand it seems I lost a half an inch in my height since last January—so that’s why I may look fat!!

Posted January 12, 2017 by greatmartin in HEALTH, Uncategorized


Laura wrote a post about matching her plastic lids with their bowls and mentioned leftovers which made me ask “What’s a leftover?” which in turn made me go over, open my refrigerator and see if I had anything that could be considered a leftover which is defined in the Random House dictionary ‘something remaining unused from a meal’.

Opening the refrigerator facing me was a gallon of water which I sip on all day and a gallon of mixed powdered milk from which I make a Weight Watchers milkshake every evening. There are 3 jars of salsa that I will use as flavoring for fish, meat and chicken, occasionally having salsa and chips.

There are 2 jars of instant decaffeinated coffee—many years ago I was told that if you put your coffee in the fridge for storage the flavor will last longer. There is a package of hearts of Romaine which I use one every night in a salad for dinner. In front of that is a plastic bag of peeled onions that I use a chopped slice of for the salad.

On the bottom shelf is a back-up of a gallon of orange juice of which I have an 8 ounce glass every morning—well when I wake up. Next to that is an 8 ounce portion of chicken which is for my dinner—more about that in a moment. Okay let’s not talk about that tin of chocolate—it is my Thursday treat and, no, none is leftover as the whole tin is eaten that day. In the back is a package of bread because that is where you keep bread in South Florida.

In the bin on the left side are onions waiting to be peeled and on the left side are apples of which I eat one a day, sliced and shredded nonfat cheese which I will use for a sandwich and on various dishes of protein.

On the inside of the fridge door on the bottom is the opened gallon of orange juice I am currently using, a liter of no caffeine, no calorie, no sodium diet cola I drink in the evening (oh yes, and no taste!) and a jar I keep excess grease from cooking in instead of throwing down the sink or toilet. Above that are various condiments including hot sauces, Katsu sauce—are you ready?—Fat Bastard Critical Mass Port and Chocolate steak sauce, Dijon mustard, light mayonnaise, no salt ketchup, light ranch dressing, minced garlic, grated parmesan cheese, grated topping cheese and a jar of Ciboulette. There are also 4 rice cakes as I have 2 with peanut butter for lunch in the afternoon.

In the freezer, on the top shelf, is a loaf of backup bread, a pound of ground sirloin, a pound of ground pork, a container of 24 small meatballs to be divided into 4 meals, a 12 pound uncooked turkey, 7 ‘emergency’ frozen dinners and packages of filet of flounder and tilapia for weekend dinners.

On the bottom shelf are two trays of ice cubes, cold patches for bruises (yes, I get a lot of those—getting old doesn’t help!) and next to that is a plastic box of chicken strips that I cook 12 pounds of in a crockpot, in different condiments, sauces and spices, the beginning of the month to use in 6 ounce amounts for dinners during the month. (See about the portion ready to be used on the bottom shelf of the fridge.)

I think that covers everything and I really don’t think any item could be considered a ‘leftover’ unless you think I have to eat the whole loaf of bread when I open the package!


Posted January 9, 2017 by greatmartin in FOOD, Uncategorized

A DART BOARD FOR 2017 MADE FROM 2016   Leave a comment


I have never been shy when it comes to having my picture taken and have a record from birth to today in pictures though I am missing a few mid teen years.

Don’t remember when I first discovered ‘selfies’ but I haven’t stopped since! I take pictures of myself at restaurants or with and without glasses, different shirts, any time something happens to me—which is more and more as I get older from cataract operations to tripping and falling first on my right knee and then a few months later on the left and let’s not forget ‘the finger’ incident where I took pictures even I couldn’t look at but I took them!

And I just added a last 2016 selfie—would you believe tripping in a movie theatre? Don’t ask!

I have one more look back at 2016 I want to post which will probably be mostly if not all videos but I am going to do that one over the weekend

Posted January 4, 2017 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

BEST THEATRE 2016   Leave a comment


I saw 20 shows in 2016 14 of which were touring shows of Broadway productions presented by Broadway Across America and Bank of America and 6 by a local production company called the Slow Burn Theatre which present show that have played on and off-Broadway that we wouldn’t see otherwise.

The best shows I saw in 2016 were; “Beautiul” (which will be playing again and I am looking forward to seeing once more in 2017), “An American in Paris”, “Sound Of Music” and “Kinky Boots” which I saw twice within 3 months it having played in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

The best performance was by Garen Scribner a first class dancer, a good singer and actor in “An American in Paris” followed closely by J. Harrison Ghee as Lola  in “Kinky Boots”.

The start of 2017 will be the Broadway touring company “Cabaret” in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday January 10 at the Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Posted January 3, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, Uncategorized

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