Only 84 days to go!!   Leave a comment

15th Leap Year Birthday February 29, 1996

My first thought looking at this picture is the shirt I am wearing, which I still have and, in fact, wore it last Wednesday, but after 23 years it is time to let it go!


Okay, back to the post on hand. My 15th Leap Year birthday was on a Thursday and was held at the ZanZbar, a South African restaurant and would consist of 15 various desserts shared among the 6 of us. I had the 7 pictured above.


One of the most memorable parts of the celebration was that Nancy, Teacher Mike’s sister, was here from Michigan to be part of my birthday party.

10

Posted December 7, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“A Bronx Tale”–touring production review   Leave a comment

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There is a certain magic that takes place in a theatre between the cast on stage and the audience sitting in the auditorium.  It happened last night without any explanation or understanding what happened.
 
Being familiar with Chazz Palminteri’s one-man show about growing up in the Bronx, which was made into a movie starring Robert De Niro, this Broadway musical was based on the former’s play and is directed, with Jerry Zaks, by the latter. Alan Menken who wrote the music and Glenn Slater the lyrics are both professionals who have written many hit songs for other shows. Sergio Trujillo, who won the 2019 Tony Award for best choreography for the musical “Ain’t Too Proud” this past Sunday, did the choreography for this show and has won awards for other Broadway shows and there was a certain curiosity of what he would do with the dancers ‘in da Bronx’.
 
The show opened with a 10-year-old Calogero, alternately played by Shane Pry and Brigg Liberman, and a decade older Calogero played by Joey Barreiro. I was sort of outside the show, not getting involved, and I can’t quite say when I lost awareness of how the audience was reacting and knew I was watching something special but, I think, it was around the time Barreiro and Brianna-Marie Bell, playing Jane, sang “Out of Your Head” and I didn’t want the first act to finish but it did. The second act flew by and before I knew it the show was over!
 
Joe Barbara as the leader of the neighborhood gang Sonny, Richard H. Blake as Calogero’s father, Michelle Aravena, as the mother, and Bell originated their roles on Broadway, along with a few others of the cast members, bring a professionalism to the show that makes what could have been an ordinary show something special. And, yes, Trujillo, puts the ensemble, especially Antonia Beverly, through steps and dances that make you understand why he has won many awards.
 
“A Bronx Tale” is a show with heart, humor and emotions with a cast that knows what they are doing and does it the best they can which is everything you can ask for!
 
“A Bronx Tale” runs 2 hours including a 20 minute intermission and will be at the Fort Lauderdale Broward Performing Arts Center until June 23.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Posted June 12, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Streaming Reviews–September 2021–Part 3   Leave a comment

1) “Q Force”–Netflix–Animation series–4 hours & 20 minutes–full of gay stereotypes starring the voice of Sean Hayes who should know better–PROVES GAY CARTOONS CAN BE AS UNFUNNY AS NON-GAY CARTOONS

2) “Blood Brothers: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali”–Netflix–Documentary–1 hour& 36 minutes–2 men in history who won’t be forgotten but how will they be remembered as individuals and/or as a team? A  GOOD DOCUMENTARY BUT A LOT IS ASSUMED AND/OR MADE UP

3) “Cinderella”–Amazon Prime–movie–1 hour & 53 minutes–each generation brings a different tale to this story and here Ella wants to be a fashion designer, independent, to compete–it is still the Cinderella story with the prince, the missing slipper and happily ever after–Pierce Bronson and Minnie Driver are the standouts–good musical numbers–Billy Porter is getting more hammy/outrageous with each movie–NOT THE BEST VERSION AND FAR FROM A MUST SEE

4) “JJ+E”–Netflix–Swedish movie–‘young adult’ movie–1 hour and 31 minutes–rich girl, poor boy, Swedish ending–not soapy but neglects one of the stories to the detriment of the whole movie–SWEET ROMANCE BUT CRAZY ENDING

5) “Hit and Run”–Netflix–Israel thriller series–season 1–9 episodes–7 hours & 10 minutes–Lior Raz, who certainly gets a workout, is a standout from the opening scene starting with his being beaten within an inch of his life and the violence continues from that point–a lot of fights, chases, killings, maiming, double crosses and some improbabilities–far too many dark lit scenes–an interesting story filmed in Tel Aviv  and New York city–THE ENDING SUGGESTS A SECOND SEASON AND, I HOPE, LESS VIOLENCE

SEE REVIEW OF “CRIME AND PENALTIES” PREVIOUSLY POSTED IN PART 2

Posted September 15, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, REVIEWS, Streaming

Streaming September 2021 Part 2   Leave a comment


1) “Black Island”–Netflix–German Thriller–1 hour & 44 minutes–scenic–very little suspense–okay but if you miss it you don’t miss much–ALREADY HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT IT WAS ABOUT

2) “Luis Miguel: The Series”–Netflix–Spanish series–2 seasons–total of 17 hours & 40 minutes–though I know of many Latin singers ranging from Cuban to Mexican to Spanish I have never heard of Luis Miguel and had to look up to find out if he was a fictional character or not and found out that ‘he is the most successful artist in Mexican history’–I watched the first 10 episodes and had to give up–a lot of ‘soap opera’ starting with what happened to his mother and then is dropped after his uncle tells him his father had something to do with it–none of the music was familiar and wasn’t particularly good–FOR ME TO STOP WATCHING A SERIES, MOVIES, READING A BOOK, ETC., IS SO RARE BUT I GAVE UP

3) “Misha and the Wolves”–Netflix–Documentary–1 hour & 30 minutes–is it true? Is Misha the first to make money and fame off the Holocaust? Or should the question be why are we so gullible to believe in an impossible story? Did she really hide from the Nazis living with a pack of wolves? IS THE REAL STORY OF MISHA MORE MOVING? MORE BELIEVABLE? YOU DECIDE!

4) “Untold Crimes & Penalties”–Netflix–Sports Documentary–1 hour & 26 minutes–Part 4–(I only saw this one chapter of a series about sports and crooks) You want violence? The ‘mob’ sports? If you haven’t heard of The Danbury Trashers or Jimmy Galante or the Galante family this is a story of  17 year old AJ who was a hockey mad teenager and was given the team as a gift from his father! YOU COULDN’T MAKE UP A CAST OF CHARACTERS LIKE THIS WITH ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE TO BACK THEM UP

5) “Divos”–Amazon Prime–movie–1 hour & 38 minutes–it is an old fashioned ‘let’s put on a musical’ with senior high schoolers–even Judy and Mickey in the old MGM movies did better than this–HECK, ANYONE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS–EVEN ALL THE STEREOTYPES ARE PRESENTED BADLY

6) “Tell Me Your Secrets”–Amazon Prime–thriller series–10 episodes–7 hours & 41 minutes–a crazy all over the place thriller which holds your interest because it is so crazy! Maybe if I watch the last 15 minutes of the last episode 10 times I would get all the answers, especially the last 3 minutes. THERE IS A SEASON 2 COMING—MAYBE–REMIND ME NOT TO WATCH IT!

Posted September 14, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, REVIEWS, Streaming

It is Still Summer!!!   1 comment

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#1 I got up this morning to find my Christmas cactus loaded with buds and a few blooms but it is only September!! Okay people are already talking about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and wishing their life away but not me. I don’t celebrate the end of summer until it is the end of summer! So we only had a high of 91–that doesn’t mean it is winter!!

#2 Can’t pick on the Cuban flower because that blooms all year round–this plant is on the edge of my desk–all I have to do is break off a piece from the original plant and I have a bloom in a few days.

#3 Allen has had a pizza ‘thing’ so we go to Big Louie’s a few times a month–best in town!

#4 The first one is an reflection of me in the water at The Point while the others are what I am surrounded by—love it!

#5 The orchid in the tree outside my window–getting a darker purple every week

#6 Don’t tell me summer is over!! :O)

#7 Back to where we were summer 2020

Posted September 13, 2021 by greatmartin in LIFE, WEATHER, FORT LAUDERDALE

Ferdo’s Grill–Lebanese Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

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First and foremost I could kick myself for passing this gem of a restaurant for so many years! Being in a nondescript shopping strip I’ll use that as my excuse for not giving it a try!

From walking in the door with a little nook on the right side all I can think of is the word ‘charm’ and that includes the hostess and the server. They greeted us with smiles and upon entering the main dining room I broke out in a smile for no reason except—yep, there’s that word again–it radiates charm with booths on the left, round tables down the center and square tables on the left.

Our server Julio, with a weird sense of humor like mine, obviously a professional old fashioned waiter, couldn’t had made our first time more comfortable and welcoming.I could go on talking about the chandeliers and their delightful trimming, the green lit ceiling, etc., but let’s get to the food. As soon as we sat down Julio put a dish of warm pita triangles on the table and handed us the menus pointing out the separate lunch menu with 15 items.

The items ranged in price from $12.99 to $22.99 with selections of salads, sandwiches and platters with the latter including hummus, rice, tossed salad, a thimble size of garlic butter (which next time I will ask for to put on the pita triangles) and the main dish plus Iced Tea or American coffee is included. I ordered the shrimp platter which is served with 5 good sized shrimp in a light, tasty sauce. (A minor complaint–it wasn’t served on a skewer! You’ll understand when you see their marque!)

Excellent service, excellent food in a charming atmosphere–can’t wait to try the other 14 items on the menu and that is before tackling the dinner menu which I didn’t even look at!

Posted September 11, 2021 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS FORT LAUDERDALE

“Language Lessons”–Movie Theatre Review   Leave a comment


“Language Lessons” has a very simple premise–the relationship between a Spanish language female teacher, Carino, living in Costa Rica and a wealthy, married Gay Oakland man, Adam, who meet due to his husband, Will, buying him 1,000 hours of Spanish lessons and hiring her as the teacher. Filmed with zoom calls and face time messages the production is also simple. There are only two actors in this 1 hour and 31 minutes film and they are Natalie Morales and Mark Duplass, both doing an excellent job. She also directed the film and co-wrote the script with him and his production company produced the film. (Oh, yes, his recently sold home was used for his background shots!) They provide a charm and heart that normally wouldn’t work between 2 actors in a film where they not only command the screen but are the only ones in the movie.

Teaching takes a backseat after the opening shots to get into what is going on in their lives though, regrettably, very little is said about their lives in the past except they are/were Catholics. I would have liked to know more about the implied abuse, the lives and relationship of Adam and Will  aside from the former having lived a heterosexual life before meeting the latter.

Without wanting to give any spoilers it is hard to get into the content of the screenplay though death, illness, tragedy, crippling grief, nurturing, confusing and comedy with language and that people can connect on the Internet in platonic ways. Humor is also provided when showing what can go wrong and/or being on zoom or face time messages.

“Language Lessons” is what used to be called a ‘small, art’ film. It is not going to break records at the box office but it is certainly one of the better movies being shown in movie theatres since they have been reopened.

Posted September 10, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

Abortion “Laws”   1 comment

These are just a few ‘comments’ I found on facebook—and agree with!!
Just as I don’t understand any Gay person voting Republican I do not understand how any Woman can–the only argument I hear pro Republican is that they ‘don’t give away money like the Democrats’–they will sell their soul for a few dollars????

So you can read it!

Posted September 9, 2021 by greatmartin in LIFE EVENTS

“Flag Day”–movie theatre review   1 comment

(After going crazy on the phone for 4 hours and getting crazy—or crazier–with the medical profession I decided to go to the movies to escape real life. BIG MISTAKE!!! ;o)


Sean Penn directs his daughter (Dylan Penn) his son Hopper Penn and himself, giving top billing to Dylan, in “Flag Day”. It is based on a true story about a con man father and his drug addicted teenage daughter with the latter turning around as a young adult.Sean Penn has enough respect in the industry to get names like Regina King, Josh Brolin and Norbet Leo butz to do what may constitute as a ‘walk-on’, a cameo or blink and you miss them.

Now if he only could have gotten writers worthy of the actors time maybe, just maybe, the film wouldn’t have been so boring. Penn always is an interesting actor and his daughter does show a spark of his brilliance when she is given the chance while Hopper really doesn’t show what he may be able to do.

Based of Jennifer Vogel’s memoir “Flim -Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life” she is not too easy on either herself or her father but she is too close to the subjects, and, maybe, too in awe of her father, to not have too many scenes of what she wished her father had been instead of the father and husband he wasn’t.

The screenplay is repetitive and too much like other father and daughter stories where the latter wishes the former would change and, yet, by the opening of the movie we know he doesn’t.

Penn gives himself scenes where he excels in bursts of anger and even a couple where in his being quiet he is forceful and he gives his daughter, in his first starring role, enough scenes to show she has the potential to excel in the business.

The direction is pedestrian, the photography okay but the screenplay and movie is a waste of time and BORING! Also, surprisingly, Penn falls into the trap of far too many voice overs instead of letting the actors do their work.

Posted September 8, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

Why Medicare is so expensive?!!??!?!   Leave a comment

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Things are getting crazier EVERY day!! I was reminded of the Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, the Keystone Kops, Laurel & Hardy, etc. today. (For those of you old enough to remember them—mmmmm—wonder who is their equal today?)

After not being able to call any of the medical offices about my going to the hospital on the 14th I finally was able to connect with the nurse practitioner who was handling the aorta/hospital/heart paperwork for the 2 cardiologists–she was surprised that my insurance gave me 3 days for the procedure but she didn’t tell or say anything about THE procedure EXCEPT the machine (WHAT MACHINE???) is broke and that she would get back to me Wednesday—no, Thursday–and we will go from there!!!

WAIT!!! That was only the beginning of the day!

I called my pulmonary doctor’s office to check if they got the referral for my appointment on Monday September 27 at 1:45 PM and if he had scheduled the CT exam on Monday September 20 at the Broward hospital and if a referral was needed for that—I, also, explained what was going on about the hospital the previous week and I don’t know if I will be able to keep the following 2 appointments. Their response????? What CT exam??? What appointment with Dr. Singer on the 27th at 1:45 PM?!?!? I checked the calendar on my computer desk and I checked on the calendar in the kitchen–both verified the appointments!

Wait!! Round 2!

I decided to call Michelle, my primary doctor’s office manager, who is really on top of everything–no, she didn’t know about the hospital appointments because neither cardiologist or the nurse practitioner had informed her about it or what was going–all she had was the appointment for the neurologist in January 2022! When I asked her about the CT and Singer appointment she told me they never inform her what is going on and that my insurance never informs her about referrals. She added that the only time she knows what other doctors are doing is when I tell her or I bring in their reports or if I call her for a referral for doctors that I know need one for me to see them .And now Act 3!!!Take a look at the pill bottles above and the dosage of each.  I went to CVS to pick up 4 prescriptions and, since I was there, get my annual flu shot. No problem with either–well with one of the meds. My insurance covers most of my prescriptions except for Eliquis, Breo and Prasugrel. When I got the Eliquis I saw there was only 1 jar with 60 pills (taking 2 a day)–I explained to the woman behind the counter that I usually get 3 months supply as whether I get 1 month or 3 months it costs me a total of $9.60 which is why I take the 3 month supply.When I got home–instead of taking a shot of scotch or eating a carrot cake–I had a cup of tea, made my entry about the flu shot and took out the pills to put them away.  When I first started taking Eliquis I was taking a 5mg dosage once a day but between that, aspirin and Prasugrel I was bleeding profusely when I hit myself on anything so the cardiologist stopped the aspirin and cut the Eliquis dosage down to 2.5 mgs.

Do I really have to tell you??? Yes, it was the 5mg dosage not the 2.5!! First of all at 5mgs the pill is too small to cut in half and second of all IN FLORIDA THE LAW IS ONCE YOU TAKE A PRESCRIPTION OUT OF THE DRUGSTORE YOU CAN NOT RETURN IT!!!

I called Tim, the pharmacist, and explained what happened but he said there was nothing they could do about. By the way Michelle who I mentioned before gave me sample 20 boxes—14 tablets of 5mgs each–when my primary mentioned to her I was now on it.

I now have 14 boxes left with 196 pills for a total of 376 pills of 5mgs each which will go to waste and that is a waste!!! I will call Michelle and see what she can do as far as maybe giving them to patients who they are prescribed for, at least the boxes if not the jars!

Do I have to mention that I didn’t even have a chance to call my dental insurance and/or insurance
caretaker to look into that whole replacement business–I left messages and they are supposed to call me back—I’m waiting!!

More of the farce to take place tomorrow I am sure!!

Posted September 7, 2021 by greatmartin in HEALTH, LIFE EVENTS, medicines

STREAMING REVIEWS–SEPTEMBER 2021 PART 1   Leave a comment

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1) “She’s Out of My League”–Amazon Prime–movie–1 hour & 44 minutes–started watching it thinking it was “Out of My League” (see below)–boy meets girl, boy loses girl, audience cheers for boy to get girl–he’s a 5–she’s a 10–will it work? CONVINCING ENOUGH THAT YOU WILL CHEER FOR HIM TO BECOME A 10 FOR HER!

2) “Before/During/After”–Amazon Prime–1 hour & 23 minutes–boy meets girl–boy gets girl–boy and girl get divorced–story is a basic one about a marriage breaking up but the writer tries to approach it from a different angle–many ‘bits’ played by Broadway names–DOESN’T QUITE SUCCEED BUT TRIES

3) “Clive Davis: Sound Track of Our Lives”–Netflix–documentary–2 hours & 4 minutes–loads of clips and loads of praise for Davis–some by Davis–the man made many a “STAR”–responsible for many hit songs–many clips of Manilow, Warwick, Aretha (who seems to be all over these days) but mainly of ‘his’ star Houston–A LOVE SONG TO AND BY DAVIS WHO DESERVES IT

4) “Annette”–Amazon Prime–movie–2 hours & 20 minutes–a wife on the rise and her husband on the way down–“A Star Is Born”? not quite–a almost all sung through film to tell an old story with no chemistry between Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard and a puppet for a child–TOO MANY NEGATIVES

5) “Out of My League”–Netflix–Italian movie–1 hour & 31 minutes–she’s sick–an ‘ugly duckling’ in her words–she is sick with a short future ahead of her–he is rich and handsome–she has 2 gay friends but it doesn’t help–guess what happens–ALL CONTRIVED AND NO ITALIAN ‘HEAT’

6) “Count Me In”–Netflix–documentary–1 hour & 21 minutes–the best band drummers talk for and to themselves–even had my favorite from years ago Gene Krupa–CERTAINLY A LOT OF NOISE AND THE JAM SESSION AT THE END SHOWS HOW BEAUTIFUL NOISE CAN BE

Posted September 5, 2021 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Annual doctor’s rant!!   1 comment

I believe I told you that on June 1 I went to Broward Hospital for am MRI and they ‘lost’ my denture and bridge—okay, the hospital agreed to take care of all the expenses for the replacements–briefly since mid-June I have been going to the dentist at least 3-4 times a month to have the new bridge adjusted and still doesn’t fit right–I can’t eat in public with them–today I had another appointment, another adjustment plus I now was getting an infection on my gums–I decided to discuss with the dentist starting from scratch with a new bridge model and he beat me to it saying they would take a new impression of my bottom teeth and go from there–then came up I would have to pay the difference between the one they made and the new one–I counted to 50 before I said anything–he said he would talk to their accountant and get back to me and I very, nicely, said it was their mistake and asked why should I be paying anything  and, aside from that it is they who should be talking to the hospital about any more charges–right now who pays is on hold as he waits to get the new material for the new bridge BUT that is nothing!!

In 2008 I had a pig aorta valve replacement–it has, generally, a 10 year life span–last November I told my new cardiologist (that’s a  whole other story) that I was concerned about the valve and was thinking maybe it was time to do something about it–long story short–since we discussed that I have seen the cardiologist maybe a total of 3-4 times for not even a total of 60 minutes plus I was introduced to another cardiologist in the office who I met twice, once when I was sedated for and/or after a test at the hospital–this is when a doctor I have never seen said I need a pacemaker on June 9th!! Next I heard I had to see a neurologist and no one in the cardiologists office knew why but I was set up for one in January 2022!!!!! 2 weeks ago I got a call from the heart doctor’s nurse practitioner telling me that she would get everything straightened out and that she was able to get me an appointment with a neurologist at Broward Hospital for September 14th and she would get back to me.

Keep in mind I was the only one who said anything about a valve replacement (heck I won’t go into the new cardiologist taking me off warfarin blood thinner that I had been on for 21 years with only ONE problem over 10 years ago and putting me on 3 blood thinners causing me to bleed profusely twice in the past month) and then I came home this afternoon and opened this letter–no discussion about it–no talking about scheduling it–getting the letter on the start of a long holiday weekend–no instructions about preparation—nada, nothing, nil.

And as I read the letter I could feel my blood pressure going up and then I talked to myself, decided to rant and rave and now I am calm, cool and collected but still don’t know what is happening! LOL

Posted September 4, 2021 by greatmartin in HEALTH

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