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.


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


(Just taking a break from Thanksgiving weekend eating!!)1) “The Crown”–Netflix–Series–Season 5–10 episodes–9 hours & 20 minutes–Synopsis: the season focuses on the 1990s, looking more into Charles & Diana–so many unhappy people in the royal family–was it, is it worth giving up happiness? Margaret, Peter Townsend and Andrew in the 8th episode excellent–wonder if the scene between the Queen and Diana really took place–you either love this show or don’t–I do!

2) “The Green Glove Gang”–Netflix–Polish series–Season 1–8 episodes–4 hours & 18 minutes–Synopsis: when their latest heist goes wrong the 3 older female burglars escape the officials by hiding out in a nursery home where they uncover a sinister secret–generally  it is old(er) men who are the thieves but here it is the old(er) women–it is not funnier or worse or better or more or less because of the change of sex.

3) “The Chalk Line”–Netflix–Spanish film–1 hour & 47 minutes–Synopsis: after a couple finds a traumatized child of unknown origin the wife must decipher the girl’s strange behavior to unlock the dark past and her identity–it is a horror and part of the horror is that there is no explanation of the how and why–and that I watched it!

4) “The School For Good And Evil”–Netflix–film–2 hours & 28 minutes–Synopsis: best friends Sophie & Agatha find their bond tested when they are whisked away to a school for fairy tale heroes and villains–the movie is for people who believe in princes and princesses, unbelievable ongoing special effects, fairy tales, laughing at things that weren’t supposed to be funny, who imagine Disney on steroids–if you believe in flying swords and good always wins over evil then this is for you–you won’t believe it (and I will deny I ever said it) but I loved it!!! And wait until you read the credits!

5) “The Takeover”–Netflix–Dutch film–1 hour & 28 minutes–Synopsis: framed for murder an ethical hacker must evade the police while tracking down the criminals blackmailing her–seeing Rotterdam plus the chase was interesting but all the tech stuff was way beyond my understanding.

6) “We Have Always Lived In The Castle”–Amazon Prime–film–1 hour & 35 minutes–Synopsis: 2 sisters live with their uncle–they are survivors of arsenic poisoning that killed everyone 5 years previously–the big question here is who is the craziest? The father? The uncle? The cousin? One of the sisters? Or the guy in red sports car? This is a good picture for Halloween even if Halloween is over!! Strange and odd!

Posted November 26, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Streaming

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!   Leave a comment

My holiday cactus is doing its job–the mother plant and about a dozen of her ‘kids’–all around the apartment–are in bloom along with the Geraniums, Cuban and pepper plants–who needs decorations???

So far the only thing not cooperating is the weather–have had a row of cloudy, rainy days but it looks like it might be changing now as the sun is starting to pep out of the clouds and it is 4:30 PM.

With Daylight Savings Time the sun will soon set–way too early for Florida!!

Hope you have a good Thanksgiving and just remember I eat all leftovers! :O)

Posted November 22, 2022 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS


I knew going in that I would like this movie because I have NEVER seen a movie that Anthony Hopkins has been in that I didn’t like! (I must admit I haven’t seen his Academy Award winning performance in “The Father” because it came out at the beginning of the COVID virus hitting and I still haven’t found it on streaming.) He didn’t disappoint me because he gives another standout performance but the picture surprised me by being more moving than I expected.

It is a personal picture written and directed by James Gray telling about a friendship between two boys in the sixth grade in  PS 173 in Queens, New York. Paul (Banks Repeta) is the grandson of Aaron (Hopkins) who tells Paul about his (Paul’s) grandmother, a retired teacher, Mickey (Tovah Feldshuh), who saw her parents killed in front her and then escaped Ukraine through Poland and England coming to the USA.Paul is surrounded by family including 4 grandparents, his father, Irving. (Jeremy Strong), his older brother Ted (Ryan Sell) and mother Esther (Anne Hathaway). We see many dynamics between the family members including a rough scene between Paul and his father, the parents having arguments, the grandparents involved with all, the brothers not getting along and two tremendously moving scenes between Paul and Aaron.  

Though the family interactions and feelings are an important background of the film it is the friendship between Paul, who is White, and Johnny (Jaylin Webb) who is Black. They meet and become friends partially as part of Paul’s teenage rebellion and Johnny who is the frequent target of a particular teacher, Mr. Turkeltaub (Andrew Polk) called “Turkey” behind his back. Due to the 2 boys caught smoking a joint Paul’s parents, though liberal, feel Johnny is a bad influence and enroll Paul in a private school in Forest Hills.  It is easy to stereotype Johnny because he lives alone with his grandmother who has dementia and he has been left back in school but that is not what this film’s main story is about but the time of  1980 with Reagan about to be president and racism along with the beginning of the division changing the world

.”Amageddon Time” has a lot going for it aside from the acting—though Anne Hathaway was hard to hear in a few major scenes–the family scenes, many familiar, hit home with everyone while the racist angle is an important part of  how we got from the 1980s to now. I found it all to be very moving!

Posted November 19, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW

LET’S EAT!!!   1 comment

As much as I love eating out these days it is too expensive so I sort of compromise.  I will eat at a higher priced restaurant maybe 2-3 times a month and once a week at not quite fast food but still not full service. Once in awhile I would go all out but for 3 years I was putting aside money for my Leap Year birthday plus being retired dollar bills let alone coins aren’t that readily available BUT a man has to eat so I am just doing what I am supposed to do!Some of my favorite restaurants are Cafe Vico, J Marks, Quarterdeck, Fredo’s, but going there means about $25-30 plus tip plus tax person so going to less expensive places other times sort of balances the ‘budget’. (Just an aside: I usually have water with my meal because if you think of it adding coffee or soda—let’s not even get into alcoholic drinks–adds $3-4, again plus tip and tax. And to think I used to spend money on 4-5 Dewer’s Scotch White Label on the rocks during a lunch!)In any case above are 3 re4staurants

I like to go for certain items (except one I’ll get to in a minute.)

I love having wings in a mild to hot sauce with Blu Cheese dressing on the side and don’t often order them in a restaurant but when I want to have them I like going to the Wilton Manors Wings restaurant. They have a special of 10 wings and fries for $13—which is why I don’t often order them in restaurants! But are they g-o-o-o-o-d!Top on my list when I want a cheese omelet I will always pick IHOP–The International House of Pancakes–which has been around forever but the first time I ever was in one was when I moved to Memphis and there was one right next to Goldsmith’s department store where

I gave a WW lecture once a week. I was impressed when I was asked what kind of cheese I wanted and then whether I wanted hash browns, fries or pancakes as a side—guess which I ordered? I had Cheddar Cheese on the omelet and a side of pancakes—oh, I loved that meal. Won’t get into prices–that was back in the early 1970s–but with coffee, taxes and tip it was under $10!Everyone knows if they visit me in Fort Lauderdale that we would go to Big Louie’s for a pizza and garlic rolls! Big Louie’s is one of the very restaurants that I worked in and went back to eat after I left. I LOVE their pizza, garlic rolls and everything else they have on the menu! I will say their prices, like every other restaurant, have gone up quite a bit but definitely worth it. Sheila, who was a manager when I worked there is now the waitress, working part-time, and one of the best there is!
Usually when I want Mexican food I will go to Tequila Sunrise which I first heard of when I moved into the Gateway Apartment 22 years ago as the mother of the owner lived here. They seem to have been running their ‘buy one, get one free’ special forever and is a good deal but after 15 years of seeing the Jalisco restaurant across the street from Winn Dixie we decided to try it once and since then have been going back at least every month and I have been slowly working my way through their lunch special, a long list on the back of the menu! I have to tell you a secret–for months I have been hearing about their cheeseburgers and how great they are but I always thought, “Who would order a cheeseburger in a Mexican restaurant?” and one day—last week–that was the next item on the lunch menu and so I ordered it! It was delicious and I am sure I will have it again!

Okay, Thanksgiving is coming up so time for a little of the more expensive, full serve, the hell with the prices eating!

Posted November 17, 2022 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS


1) “Young Royals”–Netflix–Swedish series–season 2–6 episodes–4 hours & 34 minutes–Synopsis: Prince Willhelm adjusts to life at his boarding school but following his heart is more challenging than anticipated–the villain is hissable, the lovers are moving–add the royalty, sex, videotapes and horses–what more do you want?–I really like this and the 2nd season is as good as the first (and also watching “The Crown” looks like love and royalty don’t mix!)

2) “Hide Away”–Prime–movie–1 hour & 20 minutes–Synopsis: a successful businessman, a broken and haunted man attempts to resurrect his life by buying a dilapidated sailboat–a lot of quiet scenes, even scenes with other people–a very bland movie and shows a sailboat isn’t enough to help a divorced man.

3) “The Broken Rose”–Prime–movie–1 hour & 52 minutes–Synopsis: Rose is a young girl who has grown up in foster care and disparate to escape an abusive situation does not at what price–though you know where the film is going to end the last 20 minutes are still a shocker and/why it happens and still happens we are doing nothing about–the paths open to foster children and those who are caught up in it like sex trafficking are brought home vividly!

4) “Murder by the Coast”–Netflix–Spanish crime documentary–1 hour & 28 minutes–Synopsis: in 1999 teen Rocia Wannink is murdered and her mother’s ex-partner Dolores Vasquez is suspected and found guilty–no one ever apologizes to the accused–murder sells on TV whether network or streaming and in this one injustice is put on trial.

5) “Belascoaran, P.I.”–Netflix–Mexican series–season 1–3 episodes–3 hours & 49 minutes–Synopsis: Hector Belascorn leaves his corporate job to become an independent detective to tackle shocking criminal cases in Mexico City–I watched all 3+ hours of this silly series about a PI who can’t shoot straight–I should get a medal for watching!

6) “Closet Monster”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 20 minutes–Synopsis: Teenager Oscar is desperate to get out of his home and his head but isn’t sure how to be himself in a world having freedom doesn’t feel safe–a different look at a teenager coming out–a completely confusing movie!

Posted November 12, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, Series, Streaming


1) “The Meddler”–Starzs–movie–1 hour & 43 minutes–Synopsis: a widow moves to Los Angeles to be closer to her daughter–the film is a showcase for Sarandon and a joy to watch her even if the screen play isn’t up to what she is capable of–in a way her meddling is abuse and could have used more imagination.

2) “Young Royals”–Netflix–Swedish series–season 1–6 episodes–4 hours & 47 minutes–Synopsis:  Prince Williams enrolls in a boarding school which is where his older brother, the king to be, attended. Oh no! Not another young adults in school ‘finding’ themselves?! NO! Yes, there is drinking, drugs and booze but here we have a royal prince not quite the usual student nor where his story goes–the acting, especially by the villain, is excellent and the story is handled beautifully–anxiously waiting for season 2!

3) “Firebird”–Prime–British movie based on a true story–1 hour & 47 minutes–Synopsis: a romantic drama set in the cold war era based on a Russian’s memoir about his love affair with a fighter pilot with the latter having to choose between his wife and career or his lover–it ends with some facts and the last sentence you see is “Please share this with someone you love”–an old school melodrama that is moving but could have been more effective if the screenplay had been cut by 15-20 minutes.

4) “Everything Calls For Salvation”–Netflix–Italian series–season 1–7 episodes–5 hours & 21 minutes–Synopsis: waking up involuntarily committed to a mental hospital Daniele has to learn how to live and love with the help of his fellow patients–mental health is taken more seriously today and it is interesting following what happened to Daniele to get where he is and how he deals with how it happened–though the patients are basically run of the mill Hollywood types Daniele’s story is worth following and looking forward to what happens to him.
5) “From Scratch”–Netflix–limited series–8 episodes–7 hours & 2 minutes–Synopsis: an artist finds romance with an Italian Chef in Italy and she embarks on a life changing journey–many love stories take place starting with the artist and chef, the love between family members and the melodrama between the two families–there are conflicts between sisters and divorced parents– there really is nothing new here–there are the smiles and tears–if course the scenery is beautiful and as many stories you have seen like this it is a good series with a ‘difference’ here that is not small in a TV series.

6) “The Good Nurse”–Netflix–movie based on a true story–Synopsis: an ICU nurse doesn’t want to believe her kind, new colleague and friend could be killing patients–without ‘high dramatics’, except for one 5 minute scene, we feel the tension of a killer with no remorse–Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain hold your interest to keep the suspense going.

Posted November 6, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Series, Streaming


If you look at the middle picture on the left side you will see a ‘baby’ Christmas Cactus I started growing last month just by snapping off a small bit of the mother plant in the rest of the pictures. I really don’t recall when I got the original plant but I do know I have given ‘baby samples’ away to about 10 people plus I am always snapping off a growing branch and putting it in a different pot with other plants.

I don’t know why it is called a ‘Christmas Cactus’ because it does bloom all year round. I believe I bought it around Christmas time so maybe that’s the answer but just out of curiosity I went to and asked, “Why is it called a “Christmas Cactus”? and I got a long involved answer but I think it is basically because I grow it indoors. Here is the answer:

I do know for many years Mother Nature has been an important part of my life and no matter where I lived I grew plants indoors, even, if like when I lived in Memphis, where I had a patio.  I am, basically, an optometrist but I do have my down times, blue moments but all I have to do is look at a plant in bloom or a pepper growing in a pot or an Avocado pit in a glass of water starting to show roots and I can’t but help get a smile on my face!

Over the years I have grown Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, onions, etc., by putting them in pots of dirt on windowsills and, of course, all kinds of flowers of which right now I have Geraniums, Cuban Butterfly plants, the aforementioned  peppers and Avocados, begonias plus of  course, the ‘Christmas Cactus’ flowers.

In a couple of weeks I will probably get a Poinsettia plant and see if I can clip off a branch and grow my own!

Posted November 5, 2022 by greatmartin in GARDENS, MOTHER NATURE

“TAR”–A THEATRE MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Let me start off with saying that Cate Blanchett is dynamite in this movie and that I am definitely in the minority with the major Rotten Tomatoes critics when it comes to the movie itself  but in sync with many of the audience reviews. I very seldom read reviews until I post mine but I had to in order to find out what the underlying themes were in the movie.

Cate Blanchett does such an excellent job that the major theme is obvious but I wondered how much more moving it would have been if 50% of the dialogue was heard.I thought that age has made movies almost impossible to hear plus when streaming I have automatically put on closed caption hearing but I asked two other people in the theatre about hearing what the actors were saying and they said they were having the same problem!

There appeared to me major characters but I couldn’t be quite sure who/what they were playing until I read the reviews and had more of an idea.The basic story is sort of a take of the MeToo movement in that Blanchett in a position of power, she is currently the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, and a lesbian, has taken advantage o younger women. Her lover  has turned her head away the times it has happened and she it is happening again. They have a daughter who seems to have problems but what they are and why I have no idea.

In one particular scene, where she is teaching a class, she seems to demean a male student, played by Zethphan Smith-Gneist, in front of everyone but for what reason I couldn’t figure out—because she is a lesbian and hates all males? I don’t think so!–and yet it is a key plot line that comes back to haunt her.

Cate Blanchett is commanding as a conductor and, as announced in the credits, does all her own piano playing while it is very believable her hero and teacher was Leonard Bernstein. She is the main, and only reason, to see”Tar” in spite of it being inaudible and, even with that, being an hour too long with a lot of repetitive actions and lines with an ending that really doesn’t supply the drama the film has been aiming for and loose ends.

Posted November 4, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS


Not having a birthday every year about once a year I buy myself a non-Leap Year celebration gift! This year, on a whim, after seeing their web page, by accident,, I decided to get me their welcoming gift of 15 different treats for $14 including shipping. What I didn’t know, until I get the box, that as good as the treats are (were!) the writing on the 16 different ‘sides’ of the box holding the gift were side splitting funny and I treated myself to reading ONE side as I ate ONE of the 1-1.5 ounce sample packages EVERY DAY for 15 days–okay I cheated on the last side as I read it while I ate the 15th sample.
The items run from Boubon Pecans, Southern Heat Mix, Dark Chocolate Turbinado Sea Salt Almonds to Apple Pie Crunch, Roasted Pistachios (Salted, in Shell), Roasted Cashews (50% less salt) not to forget Dried Pineapple (Chunks), Half Dried Apricots, Spicy Lime Plantain Chips plus 6 other items.
Between the snacks and such writings, as on the last side, “Open me to get the inside scoop! Nuts! Nuts! Nuts! We’re nuts! Go ahead take a peak inside!” this was one of the best presents I bought for myself!

Posted November 3, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD



Instead of writing a review of this book I wish I could send everyone who is gay–oh hell, everyone I know, gay or not– a copy of Fierstein’s memoir! Reading this book I forgot the world outside and when I read the last page I wished there was a sequel ready to be read.

In the last decade this is the second book* I’ve read that just wouldn’t leave me, blending in my life, my thoughts, my night time dreams and as I write this I want to write what this man wrote for you to read. I want you to discover not the celebrity, not the man who has had 20 theatre nominations and won 10, the man who has written, acted, sung in, approximately 30 movies, 9 plays, 40 TV shows, 4 video games, but the man behind all this.

The man, who recently said in an interview, talking about gender, that if he had been born in the 1980s would he be a woman now and in another interview if he wanted to transition he answered, simply, “No, I am comfortable being me.”

Mr. Fierstein is 16 years younger than me and yet he followed a path similar in many ways like I did for the first 30 years of his life. We were both born in New York City, he in Brooklyn and me in the Bronx, he cruised the west side docks and bars, got lost in the back rooms of bars, he discovered the world of alcoholism, attempted suicide–for different reasons and at different times in our lives.

He can say at the age of 70 that he is comfortable with who he is as I can say at the age of 86 I have felt that way since I was 34. We also are similar in regards to partners but I’ll let you read his version!

He gets into stories about his shows like “Torch Song Trilogy”, “La Cage Aux Folles” (oh how I wish I had heard and seen him sing “I Am What I Am”!). “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Kinky Boots”, making “Mrs. Doubtfire” and who will ever forget his Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray”? And no matter how many times I have seen and heard Jack tell Kathryn in “Newsies”, “….but I’m afraid of you!” I melt!

I have seen 3 different actors play Arnold, including Mr. Fierstein, on stage in “Torch Song Trilogy” and I have watched him in the film version at least 6 times and every time his speech to his mother about people not accepting for whom he is always leaves me in a puddle of tears.

Yes, there is some ‘backstage’ gossip but don’t look for trash talk as he seems to forget/ignore those he doesn’t like but he takes the time to throw a barb here and there while at the same time shows respect to those he has worked with and/or loved.

I haven’t really told you much–hinted at a few things–because I would rather you read and hear them in Harvey Fierstein’s voice as they will certainly have an impact on you!


Posted November 2, 2022 by greatmartin in BOOK REVIEW

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