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.

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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 AUGUST 2022 PART 2   Leave a comment


1) “You Don’t Know Me”–Netflix–series–4 episodes–3 hours & 44 minutes–Synopsis: When all the evidence points to his guilt a man on trial for murder uses his closing argument to recount his love with a mysterious woman–a good crime story but how it is told takes away from all the ‘mystery’.

2) “The Gray Man”–Netflix–movie–2 hours & 7 minutes–Synopsis: When a shadow CIA agent uncovers damning agency secrets he is hunted across the globe by a rogue operative–you have to laugh as two guys trying to kill each other have time to make jokes–oh yes, the music as they strangle, punch and knife each other is also funny–by the way a lot of ‘bad a$$ women can fight like he77 but never win a fight–a lot of violence and fighting and, though it is not meant to be funny it is and not in a good way.

3) “Girl In The Picture”–Netflix–documentary–1 hour and 42 minutes–Synopsis: a woman found dying by the side of the road leaves behind a son, a man claiming to be her husband and a mystery that unfolds like a nightmare–a very twisted story of incest, murder and abuse–sadly a horrible degrading story is told with a ‘beautiful’ veneer–they try to show this as a love story but love has nothing to do with it–it is a tough watch and not worth it.

4) “Alba”–Netflix–Spanish series–13 episodes–11 hours & 36 minutes–Synopsis: a woman is raped by her lover’s friends and, possibly, him–this is the aftermath of the rape on both the victim and rapists–after dealing with all angles of the rape the last hour is strictly “Hollywood”–all in all about 2 episodes too long.

5) “Persuasion”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 49 minutes–Synopsis: 8 years after Anne Elliot was persuaded not to marry a dashing man of humble origins they meet again–Henry Golding gets better in every movie and while Dakota Johnson does a good job there is no chemistry between her and Cosmo Jarvis, the latter completely miscast–Jane Austen characters speaking like a millennium? I don’t think so and along with bad direction no thank you!

Posted August 8, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Streaming

LET’S TALK ABOUT FOOD (FOR A CHANGE!)   1 comment

Have you ever heard of and/or had Dragon fruit? I never did until The Pantry gave me a couple to try–and as someone said that it must be because I have led such a sheltered life! I had to google it to even find out how to eat it but that turned out to be very simple. It is supposed to taste like a cross between a kiwi fruit and a pear but I found it tasteless which is why it must be so healthy for you. Here is more information if you are curious :  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dragon-fruit#what-it-is

Well along with a new fruit I tried a new restaurant and like the Dragon fruit I found it tasteless and disappointing–Allen picked up the check so I shouldn’t complain but…..when you can get a sandwich AND a large cup of soup on the same plate you know the sandwich isn’t as big as a regular sandwich. This was supposed to be a chicken salad melt topped with tomato and Monterey cheese. The soup was good but after 2 bites the sandwich was gone!

The other three restaurants we went to were good old reliable s with the first being the IHOP which I still think have the best cheese omelets but this time I had the fancier Big Steak Omelet made with steak, cheese, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and salsa. Being the good boy I am I could have had pancakes on the side but instead had hash browns. It was big, delicious and at $12.79 a good deal.

We hadn’t been to the other favorite for awhile and I think only once since COVID hit but Cabo Blanco, a Peruvian restaurant, has always been excellent with many specials–over 28 for lunch! I love their lunch special which is shrimp, fresh tomatoes, onions and a dark herb sauce on linguini and it was as good as ever though the price went up a bit to $16.99 and instead of an overabundance of shrimp there were a dozen but with the cup of chicken soup served first it is a very satisfying lunch!

Last but not least another favorite, Tequila Sunrise, that I have been going to for over 20 years but have also been alternating with another Mexican restaurant Jalisco the past 2 years. I have never had a bad meal at Tequila Sunrise and didn’t this time when I enjoyed the beef and chicken Fajitas plus I had a ‘buy one get one free’ coupon (which isn’t true because it is only good for up to $12 but I am not going to argue!) so lunch was plentiful (with the chips and salsa to nibble on while waiting for the main course) and fairly inexpensive.

Oh yes a lot of restaurants are adding either an inflation ‘fee’ or a fee for paying by credit card!

Posted August 7, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY AND THE PARK!   1 comment


Every 3 months I get enough points on mypoints.com to get a $25 gift card (#1) for The Cheesecake Factory–a particular favorite restaurant of mine for many reasons though 2 cheesecake and 2 coffees ‘eat’ up that $25. The service is always good, the portions a good size and though, like many restaurants, they have gone up a bit in price they aren’t that high–plus they offer lunch portions on most items at a lesser price. With the dark bread (#4), the Shrimp & pasta dish (#6) plus the Godiva cheesecake it more than a satisfying lunch, especially at $15 each including tax and tip minus gift card!

There has been a lot of talk about expanding the tunnel on Federal Highway and putting a park above it all and they are finally getting around to it. #10 is where they are expanding the tunnel to give them more land for the park while #7 is right outside The Cheesecake Factory where they used to have their outdoor dining though I am sure they will probably get some of the room on the park. Don’t know how long it will take but if you look to the rear that is where they are (or have already) building 3 new high rises which even with the expansion of the tunnel will cause a lot of traffic tie ups as it already does as it is!

At least they are putting in a park, more greenery, instead of just tearing down old buildings and building high—very high–condos/rentals. I don’t know how easy it will be getting in and out of The Cheesecake Factory but I will let you know when they are finished!

Posted August 6, 2022 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS

“BULLET TRAIN”–MOVIE THEATRE REVIEW   1 comment


This is the newest, and latest, entry into my list of 5 top bad movies I have ever seen in over 80 years of moving going!This might make your top best list of movies if you love blood, lots of blood, violence, blood, all kinds of fights with guns, fists, blood, swords knives, heads, feet, arms, blood, violence, bodies, blood spurting from necks, cheeks, arms, eyes–oh yes, did I mention violence and blood? Plenty of violence and blood?

Along with all that I guess I should also mention the special effects which are ongoing because most of this blood and violence takes place on the Japanese bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto with fights (and blood spilling) in the train, on the train, in the train cars, the train seats, the train doors and all nooks and crannies that any part of the body can fit!

On the positive side (apart from not getting any blood on me or being kicked in the crouch!) are the stars and many unannounced surprise actors plus an erratic soundtrack—Brad Pitt walking to the music of “Staying Alive”?–and the ‘sad’ attempt at satire and references to other movies of this ilk.

Unfortunately the stars and guest actors are misused and, yes, we get it, Brad Pitt is not just a pretty face.It looks like movies like “Bullet Train” with all the violence, fights, blood and special effects is what fills the big screen these days while the gems are being shown on streaming stations.

Let me just end with that I would love to have had the ‘blood’ concession on this movie plus if you want to get bored for 2+ hours and spend–like we did–$11 for an afternoon senior ticket–this is the movie you want to see.

PS Did I mention the massive scenes of blood and violence??

Posted August 5, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW

THE PICTURES DON’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY!!   Leave a comment


I’m laughing as I look at these pictures because, as the subject matter says, the pictures don’t show the whole story!
First, 2 weeks ago I went to a new dermatologist and she made some ‘cuts’ wanting to take biopsies for possible melanoma because of my living in the sun for so many years and the fact that my previous 5 dermatologists never tested me. I have an appointment to see her tomorrow (Wednesday) while this past weekend I got an email from here that all tested benign.

Last night (Monday) around 9 PM I was answering some email when I felt a strange something on my chest and when I looked down there was blood dripping from one of the biopsies cuts on my right check. I wasn’t too freaked out because after 22 years of taking 2-3 blood thinners a day I was used to never ending cuts bleeding ‘forever’.

Over the next 3 hours and after using 30 different size bandages, using elastic bandages around the chin, cheeks not to mention using pillow cases, towels, handkerchiefs plus blood all over me, my clothes, the floor, etc., even more than the night I ‘fell’ out of the recliner!Finally decided, at Midnight, to call 911 figuring they would come over and just tape it up but when they got here they said they couldn’t do that because it was at a ‘bad’ angle on the check and they would have to take me into the ER. Long story short–I got to the ER at 12:30 AM, they put 3 stitches in my cheek (which you really can’t see in the pictures!) got a cab and was home by 2:30 AM!

I went to my cardiologist today and he didn’t say anything about the stitches after I told him what happened and we discussed the pain I am feeling in my legs! He suggested I get another vascular surgeon’s opinion but I told him I would wait until I see the one have now in September.

Now I have to see what the new dermatologist says about the stitches plus a new ‘experimental’ drug—Dupixent–which is a self-injection every 2 weeks for psoriasis which I have all over–only if the government (my insurance) pays the cost.By the way–don’t get old–yes I know the alternative but when all you do is talk about the weather, doctor visits and medicines you talk about all the time maybe the alternative isn’t bad! I’m just kidding!! I am having too much fun as an old man!!

Posted August 2, 2022 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS

STREAMING REVIEWS AUGUST 2022 PART 1   Leave a comment


1) “Uncoupled”–Netflix–series–8 episodes–3 hours & 52 minutes–Synopsis: Michael’s life seemed perfect until his husband blindsided him after 17 years of marriage. He has to confront the nightmares of losing his soulmate and suddenly finding himself as a single man in his mid-40s–written by Jeffrey Richman & Darren Star responsible for “Sex and the City”–a look at how life really is for an older man (40s is old!?!?)–a lot of cliches but then what makes a cliche? Truth!–funny, fast moving, touching and you will never look at Neil Patrick Harris in the same way again–can’t wait for season 2!

2) “Tab Hunter Confidential”–Prime–documentary–1 hour & 30 minutes–Synopsis: film focuses on the American actor, singer & author inspired by his autobiography and how he hid in the ‘closet’ until he couldn’t/wouldn’t hide anymore–one of the best looking actors in the 1950s and how he hid being gay including the many female stars who helped him knowingly and unknowingly–you have to admire him and how he handled himself during and after his movie career.

3) “Elton John: Uncensored”–Prime–documentary–58 minutes–Synopsis: interviewed by Graham Norton, Elton John talks about his career and reflects on his addictions and how fatherhood changed his life–I’ve never been a fan/follower of Elton John and it wasn’t until I watched this that I became aware of all the hits he had and all he accomplished–I was particularly impressed with his battle with drugs and alcohol and winning though the interviewer annoyed me!

4) “Is It Just Me?”–Prime–movie–1 hour & 33 minutes–Synopsis: a romantic match online gets mixed up when one of the guy’s sleazy roommate’s picture is sent instead of his–routine gay love story with a slight twist–the best friend of the gay man is a straight woman and an old gay man is still mourning the one that got away and both bring a lot of fun to the old familiar lines–makes “Uncoupled”, as good as it is, look and sound so much better–a lot funnier and deeper than this.

5) “Flesh and Bone”–Prime–1993 film–2 hours & 6 minutes–Synopsis: decades later a son of a killer falls in love with a girl whose family’s horrifying murder he saw in childhood–nothing new or surprising about the story–it is ‘fun’ to see Gwyneth Paltrow before she found her ‘goop’, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid 30 years ago but the film is depressing.

Posted August 1, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Streaming

Going to the Mall   1 comment

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I don’t remember the last time I have gone to a mall! The Galleria–high end–Mall is less than a mile from where I live and I don’t remember the last time I was there. Luiz came down from Pompano and we decide to go there as Julie was cleaning my place and I didn’t want to be in her way.
The first thing that struck me upon entering the mall was how quiet it was. I’ve read, that because of online ordering, malls were closing all over the country and many name stores no longer anchored malls. (Saks and Neiman Marcus are gone from this mall and a lot of stores I never heard of have opened.)

The next thing that hit me was that my legs were in worse condition than I thought as I had to stop many times due to the pain in my calves BUT it didn’t stop me from making it to the chocolate shop (photo lower left corner) where they were handing out ‘samples’! I did behave myself and had only 2 samples!

They had redone the whole food court area but one of my favorite sit-down full service restaurant was still there–Seasons 52–so we decided to go there for lunch (last 3 photos) and they didn’t let us down–good food, reasonably priced, excellent service.

I did love browsing in the ‘art’ store where I could have bought the parrot (4th picture) for ‘only’ $4,000 BUT I wanted the full standing horse (3rd picture) though I was afraid to ask the price! LOLIn the center of the mall they had a welcome desk and were giving out coupon books but what got me was seeing a Western Union section–I don’t remember the last time I saw a Western Union office anywhere!

In the first picture you can see Luiz buying out the soap store!I took 2 videos on my phone but as much as I try I am unable to download them!In any case this Galleria Mall may soon be out of date because I just saw this on their home page yet I don’t understand why they would make a big change as this section of Fort Lauderdale will soon be under water as many are predicting but aren’t doing anything to prevent it!

In any case with good company, a good lunch (and let’s not forget the chocolate samples!) it was a different, pleasant afternoon!

https://www.galleriamall-fl.com/redevelopment/

Posted July 30, 2022 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE

STREAMING REVIEWS JULY 2022 PART 7   Leave a comment


1) “Anything’s Possible”–Prime–movie–1 hour & 36 minutes–Synopsis: Coming of age story that follows Kelsa, a confident high school girl who is trans as she navigates through her senior year–I bashed Billy Porter in my last post for his now getting boring shtick in “Cinderella” but as a director of this film he certainly redeems himself–I don’t know who Ximena Garcia Lecuona is but she writes a great, important screenplay here–for many people, like me, or who don’t really know or maybe don’t even understand what being trans means this is a moving lesson in trans 101–a must see for people who want to learn about a subject they don’t know much about and are open to education!

2) “Martha Mitchell Effect”–Netflix–documentary–40 minutes–Synopsis: this documentary profiles the cabinet wife who spoke out during Watergate–I don’t recall much about Martha Mitchell except she was a ‘loud, blonde Southern Belle’ who wouldn’t stop talking which is/was a good thing because she exposed Richard Nixon (and her husband) for the thieves and liars they were–this is a primer for those who never knew about Martha Mitchell or those who have forgotten about her as soon there will be a major movie starring Julia Roberts as her–we need more women like Martha Mitchell in government!

3) “My Fake Boyfriend”–Prime–movie–1 hour & 30 minutes–Synopsis: a young man uses social media to create a fake boyfriend to keep his awful ex lover out of his life and it all backfires–whether it is a same gender or opposite gender or whatever mix–a good story has you involved and hoping for the “Hollywood” ending!  This is about 2 men plus an opposite gender couple so you have 4 people to root for–a lot of eye candy–male kind–and a bad picture of today’s young adults.

4) “Master”–Prime–a horror film–1 hour & 31 minutes-the story of 3 women facing race problems and, on another level, a story with witches, ghosts, nooses, etc., not quite meshing together–I felt very let down, very disappointed with the many twists being a ‘so what?

5) “Don’t Make Me Go”–Prime–movie–1 hour & 49 minutes–Synopsis: a single father learns that he has a fatal brain tumor and decides to take his daughter on a road trip to find the mother who abandoned her–the opening line of the movie starts with the daughter saying, “You won’t like the way this ends”–the father has a major decision to make and his daughter has to learn why certain choices are/were made–I loved it but then I am a sucker for love–all and any kind!

Posted July 27, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

FOOD, FLOWERS AND FLOODS   Leave a comment

With “variety being the spice of life” I must admit that the older I get the less ‘variety’ I have in life—unless you call visiting 10 doctors variety and I don’t, including getting up in the middle of the night for a dentist visit!!–as I find myself following a routine every day BUT even within a routine I vary things a little bit!

I may go to JMarks restaurant (first and seventh pictures) and have the steak each time I go but I do vary the potato! Then on other days I may go to IHOP (pictures 4 & 6) when I want something ‘light’ and will usually order either the cheeseburger or cheese omelet but this time I ordered off the ’55+ menu’ and I won’t do that again! A half a sandwich and 2 onion rings? No thanks.

I do love the variety of blooming flowers I have in my apartment (second picture) as there are always new blooms every day and I really don’t do much except water them once a week and they reward me with colors!

It is THAT time of the year in Florida! We have had a very ‘dry’ rainy season but was reminded that it is also hurricane season by the yearly handout (third picture) of the “Hurricane and Flood Guide”! September and October are usually when we get hit with a hurricane though we have been lucky for the past decade as the hurricanes have missed us. There is a dangerous sign this season though because one of the  names on the new list of hurricanes is Martin!! (PS I ain’t evacuating!!)

With that in mind I guess I will just have to eat the box of a dozen cookies (fifth picture) that I ordered for someone else!!

Posted July 26, 2022 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE

STREAMING REVIEWS JULY 2022 PART 6   Leave a comment


1) “Worth”–Netflix–film–2 hours–Synopsis: In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks a lawyer faces an emotional reckoning as he attempts to put a dollar value based on the lives lost–the aftermath of 9/11 and what was paid out–how much do you base it on and what–age?  Potential? Education? Income? Possible income? Father? Single woman?–Would you want to name a number? ‘Dramatics’ are kept to a minimum but the question is not an easy one to answer

2) “Hustle”–Netflix–film–1 hour & 57 minutes–Synopsis: a washed up basketball scout discovers a phenomenal street ball player while in Spain and sees the prospect as his opportunity to get back in the NBA–I haven’t always been a an of Adam Sandler but he brings a warmth and sweetness to the film–It’s the “Rocky” of basketball and it still works!

3) “Sylvie’s Love”–Prime–film–1 hour & 55 minutes–Synopsis: Star-crossed lovers passionate about jazz in the late-’50s/early ’60s New York–it paints life in New York City at that time when interracial couples are accepted–I love a good love story and this is a good one with a great soundtrack of old songs by some of the best in the business (and which I could listen to all day and do!)

4) “Cinderella”–Prime–film–1 hour & 53 minutes–Synopsis: really? You need one?–a new cast–Cinderella wants to be a businesswoman–bring in Idini Menzel as the wicked stepmother and have her sing ” Material Girl”–the only negative I have is Billy Porter’s schtick–not funny anymore (and I will have to eat those words when I review his latest movie “Anything’s Possible”!)–no matter how many versions you have seen of Cinderella it is always a winner!

5) “Procession”–Netflix–Documentary–1 hour & 55 minutes–Synopsis: it follows 6 men who suffered abuse by priests looking for peace–this is not an easy film to watch especially as we realize we, as a society, failed them–and the priests, mainly, just walked away–I have never been physically abused and I don’t recall ever reading stories about abuse by rabbis but male or female, priests, rabbis or any adult abusing a minor should not be excused and allowed to walk away–see this film!
                                      

Posted July 23, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Streaming

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