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

Another week in Fort Lauderdale May 2022   1 comment

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Though it is not officially summer we have been hitting the temperatures if the high 80s and low 90s for a couple of weeks now and I have no objections. Today officially starts our rainy season which also means the humidity will start climbing but right now all is comfortable and walks outside, looking around, is a pleasant way of spending time on a Sunday afternoon.

In the upper left corner is a picture of the Queen Crepe myrtles coming into bloom (which means the Jacarandas aren’t far behind—some already showing buds of red!)In the top row in the center 2 pictures and in the lower left corner a bird almost joined me on the walk. I took a closeup of his head but it didn’t come out. Though the bird looks very familiar  he had some ‘different’ markings on the top of his head–yellow and white flowers.

In the two middle pictures in the center row are a few other ‘strange’ birds! I think they are called humans and come in all shapes and sizes and they don’t agree how to maneuver their modes of transportation but they are always fun to look at.Of course I don’t have to go out to spend pleasant time as my place always offers things to see.  I enjoy watching the weekend weather man give his predictions and I often wonder if he just makes up the projected amounts of rainfall chances to cover his backside. We will get rain most everyday (or night) from now until November and it can be a short, misty fall or a hurricane but as long as he says it is going to rain he is very seldom wrong!!

Looking around my place I can see all kinds of plants from the pink Geraniums in the upper right corner to the yellow Cuban flowering plant below it and below that is the ‘Christmas’ cactus blooming in May!Last, but not least, are two pepper plants with one producing a round pepper and the other an elongated pepper, both green. Now I am waiting on a couple of red ones on another plant!

I look around inside and outside and I can easily tell myself that life is good—-for today at least! :O)

Posted May 15, 2022 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, MOTHER NATURE

MARTIN VERSUS TECHNOLOGY!!   1 comment

It all started a week ago Saturday when I got a message “paper jam” on my printer but I couldn’t find/see any paper jammed! John came over and he couldn’t find any either! I had the  EPSON XP 430 for 4 years as of April 16, 2018, so I wasn’t surprised it finally gave up! I needed a printer and I needed it NOW! (Hey, I am only 21–still a kid!) I went on the computer and looked for a wireless computer since I was getting a new one and could do without a couple of hanging cords. I saw a ‘wireless’ computer for $89 at Target (top left and center picture emphasize  “WIRELESS”) and even though I thought the price was too low I ordered it. The web page said I would get it by Tuesday if I ordered before 5 PM so I did just that–it would be the second lie they told me!   

The first lie was that it was wireless and in very small print on the web page it said USB cord not included. It didn’t arrive Tuesday and on Wednesday I inquired about it and was told that it wasn’t in stock and as soon as they get it they ship it out. I canceled the order and went hunting again and decided to get another one advertised as wireless (LIAR!) for a little more money from Office Depot because they guaranteed delivery that day and they did get it delivered around 8 PM! I opened the box and the first thing I saw was an electric cord that has to be plugged into the wall.I looked all over the box and no where did it say you needed a UBS cord if you wanted to use it with a desktop computer!John had an extra cord but it didn’t help. He suggested I call the support number which I did and I was on the phone for 3 hours!!! It seems I had an infection (Did the computer get it from my infected blood?) in the computer. He would not call it a virus. In any case after 3 hours on the phone and a charge of $196 it worked!

Got up this morning, turned on the printer and I had a message of ‘a paper jam’!!! Once again I was on the phone but this time I had a virus called the Trojan and it would require his going through my computer. No, I didn’t scream, rant or rave, even when he told me it would cost $249.99 and because I was a senior there wouldn’t be a tax charge (?) and I would get a credit for the $196 because at this point I knew technology was the winner and I was knocked out of the ring!

It has now been working for an hour and so far only cost me an outlay of $709.52. I haven’t seen the credit reflected on my charge card (heck, how did you think I was paying for all this?!) and from something the second said I have a feeling that initial charge was a scam!!!

Oh yes, I signed a ‘deal’ to get the ink at half price and only when I need it BUT if I printed more than 700 pages in my trial period of 6 months it would cost more. More than 700 pages in 6 months? Heck, I ‘printed’ more than that because I forgot to add that the printer spit out pages without print on it the ONLY was I could stop it was to turn off the printer.I won’t and haven’t even gotten into trying to get rid of the old printer and not getting the ink cartridges I had in that machine that I couldn’t use but John could have nor did I mention Office Depot charges for recycling printers if  turned it in.

Last but not least HP and Office Depot talk about saving trees–won’t talk about how many trees were killed this week with my printer plus I am left with the thought that maybe, just maybe, if I had gotten rid of the virus I could still be using the 4 year old printer!

Posted May 14, 2022 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“FIREBIRD”–MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

“FIREBIRD” is a love story that takes place in Russia during the Cold War.  The cinematography is top rate as is the acting particularly between the two male leads.The first hour is very slow moving as it sets up the story of Sergey, (Tom Prior) a private in the army who is impatient to get his service over with, to serve as Lieutenant  Roman’s, (Oleg Zagorodnii) driver and guide who plans to spend his life in service as a pilot and is new to the base. They start off sharing an interest in photography and Luisa (Diana Pozharskaya) a friend of Sergey’s and possibly a love interest for Roman. The latter, an important part of the story is not gone into (possibly because the true story book it is based on was written by Sergey Fetisov) though it takes place at a time that many men who knew or suspected that they were, or might be homosexual, got married to prove they weren’t and/or to make an appearance of being a family man to get promotions at work. It, also, could have held an interesting aspect that is very seldom approached in films.

Before I go any further let me say that I didn’t understand all the raves for this film which doesn’t handle sex problems and/or sex scenes that haven’t been handled before  better–especially the sex scenes–that first hour but then all of a sudden something happened but I can’t explain it! I was completely caught up in the lives of not only Sergey, Ramon and Luisa but, also, those around them, good and bad, and , yes, there are a couple of ‘villains’ in “Firebird”! I know I was crying the last 15 minutes—and I never apologize for crying in the movies–and was intrigued to the ‘what happened’ after credits!

This is basically the story from Sergey Festsov’s point of view and I would love to have known how Luisa felt after her discoveries or did Roman see what was happening to him  and did he care? With all that they were facing an epic love story turns into a melodrama and the slow pacing kills whatever emotions the people are feeling. The KBG officer who threatens Roman comes off as a comic of yesteryear and the flying scenes are wasted and the drama teacher who Sergey encounters in his pursuit of an acting career in Moscow adds nothing but ‘ham’ to the romance at the center of the film.

The film hits the romantic stride it was aiming for at the 1 hour and 15 minutes point and grabs you quickly into the story the film was trying to hit from the opening scene which is repeated and is meaningless the second time it is shown.

“Firebird” is not a ‘must see’ movie and I think it might be better on the small screen even if the scenic views yell for a theatre screen and it just might spur someone else to tell the story with a screenplay worthy of the leads but until then make time to see this version.

Posted May 13, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW

STREAMING REVIEWS–MAY 2022—PART 2   Leave a comment

1) “Grace & Frankie”–Netflix–Season 7–Part 2–12 episodes–5 hours & 34 minutes–end of series–this series reminds you of early television when a show ‘invaded’ your house and brought pleasure with each episode but except for a small attempt allowing for age and how it changes you they want to, and do, entertain you–it opened with the husbands (Sam Waterson & Martin Sheen) of the 2 women leaving them to live with each other and the women asking “What now?”–the 4 leads are dynamite as are the rest of the cast but the spotlight is on the 2 women and they deliver–Tomlin gets a laugh just with a look and with Fonda they work together like the pros they are but, obviously, enjoying their friendship–a great, fun show to stream!

2) “Ozark”–Netflix–Season 4–part 2–7 episodes–7 hours & 8 minutes–another series coming to an end–while each season had its ups and downs Laura Linney & Ruth Langmore–the former never giving a bad performance and the latter equaling her, basically, making her a new star–there is a lot of gambling, drug dealing, double crossing, not as much sex but dealing with families relationships–I wasn’t happy with the ending with certain cast members but unlike movies/shows from years ago this, in most cases, shows that crime does pay! Richard Thomas and Veronica Falcon give strong support.

3) “Oprah And Viola”–Netflix–Special Event–48 minutes–when you hear Viola Davis talk about hearing rats eating her porcelain doll you can feel how it means to be poor if you never were –she is talking with Oprah about her book, “Finding Me–A Memoir” and while I like Oprah I LOVE Viola Davis–a few quotes from her/her book: “My dreams had to be bigger than my fears,” “When faced with empathy and compassion you know you are being seen” but it is her talk with God about the type of man she wants is laughable, heartening, romantic and you can hear her waiting for His answer–Viola Davis is a force of nature and Oprah, one herself, knows just what to ask so we get to know the woman behind the actress–definitely a MUST SEE!

4) “Russian Doll”–Netflix–season 2–7 episodes—3 hours & 27 minutes–like season 1 season 2 doesn’t make much sense but Natasha Lyonne who stars in it and co-wrote it holds your attention just like she did in the previous season–instead of living the same day over and over this time she has gone back in time to 1982 and not only is she herself she is her mother too–it doesn’t have to make sense, just listen to the wisecracks–she sometimes plays her mother while other times Chloe Sevigny does, sometimes she is on a subway in NYC and sometimes it is 1962 and in Germany or Russia or who knows–and a plus is having Elizabeth Ashley as a tie between mother and daughter.

5) “Elite”–Netflix–Spanish series–season 5–8 episodes–6 hours & 12 minutes–it is a repeat of the first 4 seasons–the couplings, uncoupling, the crying, the changes, the gay or straight, the is he or she or isn’t, he did what! There are mostly old characters with a few new ones thrown in and possibly one shocker regarding who is having sex with who but all in all if you watched the first four seasons you’ll like this season and the way it ends–somewhat logical!

Posted May 9, 2022 by greatmartin in Netflix, Series, Streaming, Uncategorized

Signs of May 2022   Leave a comment

First sign of May at Gateway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are the Queen Myrtle Trees start to bloom! We used to have dozens of them but many were taken out not to mention other signs of May that I miss like the blooming hibiscus that were all around the property.

Of course another sign are the weather predictions when temperatures in the 90s start appearing but considering we have been in the high 80s since February it isn’t a surprise.

What would May be without Cinco De Mayo which is celebrated more in the USA than in Mexico where it is acknowledged as the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the battle of Puebla in 1862. I believe it is also celebrated more in the South then in the North but then we have so many Mexican restaurants in this area not to mention any excuse to drink Margaritas!!

We went to the Tequila Sunrise restaurant where they were preparing for a big party outside and it was busy, as always inside! We had a Chicken Chimichanga which is a tortilla filled with meat and then fried. It is always served with refried beans and brown rice and is delicious, not to forget filling!

Also—I think it got mixed up–my Christmas cactus bloomed  to help Mexico celebrate!!
And who are the building C cat, and me, to not enjoy the sun, warm weather, he looking out the window and me strolling along the walkway to my apartment?!

Welcome to May, 2022!

Posted May 7, 2022 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, GATEWAY, SEASONS

STREAMING REVIEWS—MAY 2022—PART 1   Leave a comment

1) “Book of Love”–Prime Amazon–romantic comedy movie–1 hour & 46 minutes–man meets woman–they are complete opposites–man falls in love with woman–woman falls in love with man–man loses woman–man and woman live happily ever after together–come on–that is NOT a spoiler–the movie is filled with every cliche you can think of  and yet we love it every time wherever it takes place–here it is in Mexico–Veronica Echegi reminds me of a younger Penelope Cruz (though the latter isn’t old by any means–a mini romantic getaway

2) “The Weekend Away”–Netflix–a whodunit thriller–1 hour & 31 minutes–it is an old-fashioned ‘who did it?’ and it really doesn’t matter because it is fun–a lot of twists without a lot making sense but makes you hang in there–trashy but watchable with Ziad Bakri playing a smaller role as a friendly taxi driver–of the 5 possible suspects I guessed the 4 wrong ones!

3) “Sense8”–Netflix–a Sci-fi series–season 1–12 episodes–10 hours & 46 minutes–in chapter 4 one person says to another, “You are now 7 people but if you don’t save Nomi you will only be 6!”–I saw him change into different people talking to each other (talking to himself?) except he is talking to her(? Or is it him?) in English and she is talking in Korean–I said that’s enough and in the middle of the 5th episode I completely gave up–Sci-fi is not for me

4) “A Very British Scandal”–Prime Amazon–season 2–3 episodes–3 hours–AND

5) “Anatomy of a Scandal”–Netflix–limited series–6 episodes–4 hours & 28 minutes

In 2018 Hugh Grant played a Liberal Party leader who murdered his gay ex lover in 1979 in a 3 part series called “A Very English Scandal” based on a true story. “A Very British Scandal” is also a true story which is based on the theory that because a woman gives a man oral sex she is a slut, a wanton woman. In this case she is a Duchess and the Duke takes her into public divorce proceedings giving her an out by staying with him which she refuses. “Anatomy of a Scandal” is the only one that is fiction but seems as real as the true stories with a British politician being accused of rape by a woman who works for him and they had an affair. We watch him on trial being faced by the woman while his wife seats in the gallery thinking of their past and their life of privilege. Oh yes, there is a twist to this whole story that is definitely British! (And sort of mild for David E. Kelley.)

You either like movies/series about British parliamentary members, their sexual peccadilloes,  all having underlying themes and if you do you will like both of these “Scandals” and don’t forget to watch “a Very English Scandal” that started this series!

WELCOME TO MAY 2022   Leave a comment


April went out and May came in with https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/fans-flock-to-the-beach-for-the-10th-annual-fort-lauderdale-air-show/ar-AAWMZud?ocid=BingNewsSearch&cvid=c5b32588274b4d1f96af14f80c79d94a   but I have a feeling it was cut back because a) I didn’t hear the continuous barrage of noise over our buildings and b) there was on and off rain though none really that heavy.

#2 pictures–I walked around Gateway along the canals and down to The Point and even though it was Spring since we had mainly temperatures in the 80s since February it was like a summer day–the grounds were wet but not a drop of rain all afternoon and the sunny was out and bright!

#3 pictures–Spring or not the plant on my kitchen ledge consisting of the yellow Cuban flowers and the pink Geraniums were blooming! All from little snips of older plants and just stuck in a pot of dirt and left alone to do their thing!

#4 pictures–talking of blooming and Spring my 5 pots of pepper plants started showing flowers towards the end of April and on the first of May I had a few peppers to use in my dinner tonight. I don’t know why out of 15-20 blooms I only get about 6-7 peppers and they are very small (but enough to flavor a recipe!) I suppose I should cut them back, have less branches and the results would be better and bigger but I love seeing the blossoms and since each plant seems to rotate in producing peppers I am not really complaining!

Do I really have to explain the two unnumbered pictures? I didn’t think so!Here’s to May 2022 on the way to summer.

“THE DUKE”–MOVIE REVIEW–SEEN IN THE GATEWAY THEATRE IN FORT LAUDERDALE   1 comment


I was really looking forward to seeing “The Duke” for many reasons from the fact that it starred one of my favorite actresses, Helen Mirren, and her co-star, Jim Broadbent, always gives a good, sometimes great, performance. They were the leads in this film based on a true story and was being billed as a British comedy which is always a plus when it comes to movies! Also, in its favor it was only 1 hour and 36 minutes which meant it had to move fast. Last, but not least, there was included a story about one man fighting against the system with social overtones and, to a certain degree, showed how the British government did, or didn’t, work.

I was ready to relax and enjoy all the above.

The true story is interesting but not worth 96 minutes! Oh yes, that 96 minutes seemed like 4 hours. There was only one time I, or anyone else, laughed but I won’t tell you because might as well leave you something to look forward to. There is a twist that unless you know the story you won’t see it coming and might not believe.

Mirren and Broadbent are good but there is a whole story between them that is only touched on and could have made for a more powerful story.The trial section is entertaining to a point but not as funny as the spectators, the lawyers, judges, court personal and the prisoner to to think it is.

“The Duke” is really slow moving, not funny, not dramatic and not really a movie worth seeing on TV as it certainly is not worth paying admission to see it in a movie house!

“HEARTSTOPPER”–STREAMING ON NETFLIX–SEASON 1–8 EPISODES–3 HOURS AND 53 MINUTES   Leave a comment

This is the first time I have reviewed a series on streaming individually because I was so impressed with it!  It is Season 1–8 episodes–3 hours and 53 minutes—on Netflix

Season 1

100%

Critics Consensus: An inclusive romance told with striking sensitivity, Heartstopper is so effortlessly charming that viewers won’t dare skip a beat.

2022, Netflix, 8 episodes, View details

Heartstopper is a British coming-of-age romance streaming television series developed for Netflix based on the webcomic and graphic novel of the same name by Alice Oseman. The series was released on 22 April 2022 to critical acclaim.

I usually don’t go for teenage coming out stories because I never went through the so many things they go through–hell, I never questioned my being gay going to the bars and baths in NYC when I was 13 & 14 BUT I was in tears through so much of this—happy tears, sad tears, heartbreaking tears–I mean I couldn’t see the TV screen the last episode–I wish they would show this in every high school AND LIBRARY in the USA. This is only a fraction of what the series is all about–I don’t want to give anything away–I want you to discover the kids as I did–as individuals–some knowing who they are, others guessing and still others having no cue–if you aren’t one of these teens then you knew them or of them

“They have done a really good job with casting teens that look a lot like how they are illustrated in the comics.  The series definitely has a British feel, which works really nicely. I am definitely looking forward to see if they stick with the plot all the way to the beginning. It is a a really well done romance that folds in some of the horrors teens face as well as the role social media plays in their lives.” (AJ Librarian)

If you don’t get Netflix get a trial period and watch this!! The two guys playing the leads Kit Connor and Joe Locke are dynamite!! And I was surprised to see Olivia Colman, in a smallish role, as Connor’s mother.

Ahead are just the headlines of the many positive reviews–to read the full reviews just go to RottenTomtaoes.com:

SERIES INFO

Teens Charlie and Nick discover their unlikely friendship might be something more as they navigate school and young love.

Starring: Joseph BalderramaKit ConnorSebastian CroftJoe LockeFisayo Akinade

Avg Tomatometer 

100

Avg Audience Score 

98

Saloni Gajjar
AV Club

TOP CRITIC

Apr 25, 2022

Heartstopper aces this portrayal of the bashful hope and gutting anxiety that accompanies young love. But the show isn’t just aimed at an adolescent crowd.

Full Review | Original Score: A-

Drew Gregory
Autostraddle

TOP CRITIC

Apr 22, 2022

This show is lovely. Charlie and Nick’s friendship and possible something-more-ship is a joy to watch in a simple kind of way that will melt as many hearts as it stops.

Full Review

Rebecca Nicholson
Guardian

TOP CRITIC

Apr 22, 2022

Heartstopper may not quite live up to the dramatic promise of its title, but this adorable teen romance is a heartwarmer, at the very least.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5

Lovia Gyarkye
Hollywood Reporter

TOP CRITIC

Apr 22, 2022

A coming-of-age story notable above all for its sweetness… Heartstopper’s dulcet tone is addictive.

Full Review

Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle

TOP CRITIC

Apr 20, 2022

“Heartstopper” captures the joys and agonies of being a teen, when every stray text can make a profound impact, and being able to announce you are “going out with” someone means everything.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4

Apr 15, 2022

Heartstopper is a truly comforting, uplifting teen dramedy that’s so loaded up on subtle moments of friendship and romance that your ticker will likely cease functioning at points.

Full Review

HEARTSTOPPER
Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper is a beautifully poignant graphic novel about identity, friendship, crushes, and the flush of first love. Most people in school seem to know that Charlie is gay. Heartstopper Vol. 1 definitely lives up to its hype of being a cute comic that is quick to read, one with diversity and a good representation with LGBT+ characters

Posted April 27, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Netflix, Streaming

HEADING INTO LAST WEEK OF APRIL 2020   1 comment

1, 2 & 3    We have had Spring in Fort Lauderdale since February–all in all great weather for the Spring-breakers, tourists and birds but it was the blooming of the Queen Myrtle Crepe trees that made it official!

4  All my pepper plants in the apartment are blooming–all have a lot of blooms but it seems only each plant will produce only 2-3 peppers

5  No, I am not a drug dealer–those are just some of the meds I take each day and a few, very few, ‘as needed’!

6  The lab I go to for c-scans, sonograms, etc., which will soon change—more about that in May!

7   You probably can’t read it but just above the  NO DIVING is rule #7 “DO NOT USE POOL IF YOU ARE ILL WITH DIARRHEA”  Welcome to Senior Citizen World!

8  Oh, just a little snack I threw in!

Posted April 26, 2022 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, FRIENDS, LIFE

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