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

TURKEY WEEK   1 comment


Due to the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement on Tuesday, November 16, my energy level has been way down and recovery is slow–doesn’t help that I when I mentioned to my doctor that I had recovered a lot faster in 2008 when I had the whole aorta valve replaced he said, “Remember Martin you are 13 years older”!!–so I had to cancel a dinner invitation I got and accepted.

I knew I would have to stay home a lot and figured the first week would be easy enough with it being Thanksgiving.

Six years ago I cooked the turkey in my crock-pot and was really impressed in how tender it was so I have been doing it that way every year. The only variations I have done is what kind of stuffing I made but this year I decided to do something completely different with this year no stuffing. I cut the 14 pound turkey in half and cooked it in two parts. Over the first half I emptied a package of Knorr chicken flavored rice and pasta and cooked it for two and a half hours and the next day I cooked the second half with a package of teriyaki chicken stir fry sauce also for two and a half hours.

Over the past 4 days I have tried both and was really surprised how tasty they were. I add a sweet potato and various vegetables to each serving plus a salad then finish the meal off a cup, or two, of Luigi’s ‘real’ Italian ice.I can survive this for another 3 days—if the turkey lasts that long!

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Posted November 28, 2021 by greatmartin in FOOD, HOLIDAYS

“HOUSE OF GUCCI”–MOVIE THEATRE REVIEW   1 comment


In “House of Gucci” Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino are brothers with Adam Driver the son of the former and Jared Leto son of the latter and there isn’t the slightest resemblance between any of the four except maybe the heights–Irons & Driver tall, Pacino and Leto short. The worst, in more ways than one, are their ‘Italian accents’ which are more than laughable. Whether they adapted their own accents or had a speech coach (who should never be hired again) the fault is at the feet of the director Ridley Scott.
Director Scott is also responsible for accepting, and working with, the screenplay submitted by Becky Johnson and Roberto Bentivegna but for an experienced director he doesn’t seem to know what he is doing regarding any aspect of the film.

I had heard about the performance by Lady Gaga being Oscar nominated worthy and though I have become a huge fan of Lady Gaga (be sure to watch the concert she does with Tony Bennett on Sunday on CBS) except for  what seemed to be 100 costume and hair changes her role, as Driver’s wife, is disjointed and all over the place without any direction and/or guidance by the director. The nicest thing I can say about Salma Hayek is that her husband, who is a CEO of the company that owns Gucci, owes her an original Gucci bag if she doesn’t have one!

The best part of the movie is the ending—2 hours and 38 minutes later–where it tells what happened to each of the major principals in the true story.”House of Gucci” is a waste of time and talent.

Posted November 26, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

STREAMING REVIEWS NOVEMBER 2021 PART 5   Leave a comment


A MUST SEE–STREAMING NOW–“TICK, TICK….BOOM!”
1) “Wanderlust”–Netflix–British series–6 episodes–5 hours & 43 minutes–starting off with a promising premise, starring Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh, as a long married couple agree to affairs with others–we follow 6-7 couples, all ages–ABOUT EPISODE IT ALL FALLS APART.

2) “Tiger King 2”–Netflix–series–5 episodes–3 hours & 33 minutes–Part 1 was crazy, shocking, funny and camp–PART 2 IS NOWHERE AS INTERESTING, INFORMATIVE OR WORTH WATCHING

3) “Sex/Life”–Netflix–season 1–8 episodes–6 hours & 19minutes–woman in a prefect marriage with a a perfect home and baby misses the ‘bad boy’ she was with before meeting her husband–COMPLETE MISSTEP IN EVERY DEPARTMENT

4) “Convergence:Courage in a Crisis”–Netflix–British documentary–1 hour and 53 minutes–10 directors from around the world look at front-line workers who work in under-served COVID communities–SACRIFICES MADE BY COUNTLESS CAREGIVERS

5) “The Movies That Made Us”–Netflix–documentary–6 hours & 25 minutes–with titles like “Halloween”, “Friday the 13th” and “Nighttime On Elm Street” and 5 more films this was, obviously, made for Halloween, if you are into basically horror films this is for you–does divert a bit with films like “Elf”, Coming to America” and does have the classic “Aliens”–MAINLY FOR MOVIE NERDS INTO THIS GENRE

6) “Handsome Devil”–Netflix–Canadian Movie–2 soccer players fall in love–full of ‘coming out’ cliches but handled SO WELL BY FIONN O’SHEA AND NICHOLAS GALITZINE IT ALL SEEMS NEW

Posted November 25, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Streaming

QUARTERLY HAIRCUT!!   Leave a comment

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I went to see my primary doc yesterday and we had a fairly long talk as he patiently listened to my moaning and groaning about the previous week with the cardiologists and hospital. He changed the bandages and said the incisions were healing nicely. Then he asked me for my ‘list’ as he knows I always bring a list of questions when I come to see him and this time was no different!

I seemed to be growing double nails at the tips of each nail plus they are cracking, splitting and are not only very brittle but are turning red! He explained that can happen when someone has heart trouble which was also the reason for my skin being very dry.

I, also, told him that I wanted to change my cardiologist(s) plus I didn’t want to deal with any doctors working out of Broward hospital unless they also had access to Holy Cross—the much better hospital in my opinion!  (In my old age I am becoming an expert on hospitals, doctors, treatments, etc.!)

When I asked him what hospital he was working out of he threw me a shocker by telling me that the Senior Medical Associates were recently bought out and that they did not want their primary doctors to be associated with any one hospital!!

Seems like I have to start doing a lot of research, starting with talking to my insurance company.Oh yes, at the same time my insurance company has changed the dental network they are providing which means I have 6 weeks to get everything done with my current dentist and he has been adjusting my new partial  bridge since April!!

PS My barber wanted to know what happened to my hair, what I was using, as it has turned a white white–ah, some more research. How can anyone say they are ‘bored’ being retired?!?!??

Posted November 23, 2021 by greatmartin in HEALTH, LIFE

“tick, tick…BOOM”–FILM REVIEW PLAYING IN THEATRES AND STREAMING OF NETFLIX   Leave a comment


“Rent” was never a favorite show of mine but I understood how Jonathan Larson’s show brought change to Broadway and also the legend of his death the night of its first performance off-Broadway. What happened before that night is what  “tick,tick…BOOM” is about, a show Larson wrote the book, music and lyrics for–a story of a writer wants to ‘make it’ before he is 30 and he hears the clock ticking away.This is a movie for anyone in their twenties who are dreaming of success in whatever chosen field they have picked whether it being in show business or any other business or whatever road they might take. It is a movie for anyone over thirty who made it or didn’t.I didn’t really get into the film until it was about halfway through and then it completely took me over. I was back to being in my twenties, working as a waiter, writing books and plays, seeing myself as a successful writer. On the screen were words that I had thought, might even had said, both negative and positive. Now, 60 years later, I could laugh and/or cry, watching a guy about to be thirty seeing himself as a failure, thinking life ended at thirty.

While I don’t remember a single song I remember listening to each one as a story being told. You can hear Jonathan Larson’s voice telling you how and what he felt as he reached for success and, possibly, seeing failure.I don’t know how much of the screenplay are actually Larson’s words and what Steven Levenson contributed but it runs smoothly covering all points of a creative mind. Director Lin-Manual Miranda, in many interviews, has credited Larson for making it possible for him to write and get “In The Heights” on Broadway to be followed by “Hamilton”. In a way, here he is thanking Larson for that and in turn does fine work in his first turn as a director.The acting is first rate from Andrew Garfield as Larson to one of the many cameos where if you blink you will miss Chita Rivera, Bernadette Peters, Joel Gray, Brian Stokes Mitchell to name a few, even Miranda as a cook!

The cameos in no way distract from Judith Light as Larson’s agent or Bradley Whitford as Stephen Sondheim, in a way Larson’s mentor. Alexander Shipp as Susan, Larson’s girlfriend and Vanessa Hudgens as Karessa, as a singer in the show within a show are highlights of the cast while Robin de Jesus as Larson’s best friend is a standout.

I was so taken in by the second half of “tick, tick…BOOM” that all I remember is being awash in tears. THIS IS A MUST SEE MOVIE!

Posted November 21, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, ENTERYTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Streaming

REPLACEMENT TRANSCATHETER AORTIC VALVE   Leave a comment


On July 21, 2008, I stopped smoking just before I was wheeled into the operating room to receive a pig aorta valve to replace the one I had and my only thought was “Why a pig valve in a Jewish boy?” In any case I haven’t smoked a cigarette since that day!Everything was going fine though I would think that Jew/pig and, also, I had read that the ‘lifetime’ of a replaced valve was about 20 years but really didn’t spend too much time on either though I will admit a conflict about pigs as it was the 4 pound ham I ate one night over New Year’s Eve that caused my going to the hospital with congestive heart failure and a relative of THAT pig provided the valve I needed to save my life–so I cut back on eating bacon and pork, not completely.I won’t get into the whole story about the ’10 year lifetime’, 2021 being 13 years, dealing with 2 new cardiologists, their not mentioning the valve but starting to ‘push’ a pacemaker and after referring to an expert in that field I didn’t hear anymore until I was told I was booked into the hospital for a aorta replacement in August but that was cancelled because ‘the machine was broke’–what machine? The Coke machine?
In any case it was at that point I started to think of the cardiologist that had done the pig valve replacement operation and that I should try to get in touch with him as I was very comfortable with him and he spent a lot of time answering my questions but I kept putting it off.I would bet that I dealt with and spent more time with the Nurse Practitioner of the 2 new cardiologists then I did with both guys but that was okay because she is great! I won’t go into everything because I have no one to blame but myself for not following through looking for the original cardiologist or asking any and old questions of the new guys.I went in knowing very little of what would happen before, what to expect during the operation and what to look for after the operation—THE LATTER WAS A HUGE MISTAKE!! Won’t go into details but I have never experienced any kind of fear when it came to my body whether the congestive heart failure, the pig valve replacement, having my appendix taken out in my 50s. etc., etc., but I was terrified, horrified, waking up in the middle of night in the hospital this week bleeding, and in pain, from a place I never excepted or warned that could happen.I don’t remember seeing either doctor before, during or after the operation except when it came to discharge time and that in itself was an additional horror. (Oh yes, the doctor did say I wouldn’t have any problem with breathing–BUT I DIDN’T BEFORE THIS DOCTOR!!)
I got home Wednesday afternoon and though I could walk and didn’t need help doing anything I am floored that for 3 days now I have slept from 1 AM straight through to 1 PM without waking once which is very odd for a guy my age plus I who have never been a ‘napper’ find myself napping 2-3 times between 1 PM and 1 AM!!!I have zip energy–took me about 3 hours to type this–and made the decision to NOT go to the ER and to wait until Monday to call my Primary doctor for advice and to call my insurance company to track down my ‘old’ cardiologist and see if I could come to his office.
This is really the first time I have had  uncomfortable experiences/feelings with doctors and will be the last.  A word advise from an old man:IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR DOCTOR, IF HE/SHE DOESN’T ANSWER QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD HAVE OR WON’T LISTEN TO YOU PLEASE, PLEASE GET ANOTHER DOCTOR!!!PS With all my moaning and groaning (and, yes GAINING 12 pounds the 24 hours I was in the hospital!!!) as you can tell I am well enough to smile, take selfies and I talked about getting a my semiannual crew-cut and shave with our local barber!!

Posted November 20, 2021 by greatmartin in HEALTH, LIFE EVENTS

STREAMING REVIEWS NOVEMBER 2021 PART 3   Leave a comment


1) “Suddenly Last Summer” American version–Amazon Prime–1 hour & 54 minutes  2) “Suddenly Last Summer”–British version–Amazon Prime–1 hour & 22 minutes–the American version is 30 minutes longer because Gore Vidal reworked Tennessee Williams poetry , visualized his words and also had to rework many of his thoughts as ‘the movie code’ in 1959 wouldn’t really allow Vidal to say what Williams did, while the British version was Williams and only Williams words, his play, consequently, for me, the better version. Though Clift and Lowe are listed as stars their roles are secondary to Hepburn, Taylor, Richardson and Smith and trying to compare Hepburn versus Smith and Taylor versus Jackson is like trying to compare apples and oranges. Each actress does a fine job though Taylor surprised the most being seen as a ‘star’ and very seldom recognized for the actress she was–WATCH BOTH AS A DOUBLE BILL–WILLIAMS POETRY HITS HOME

3) “Motive”–Netflix–documentary–4 episodes–2 hours–if you can make it through the descriptions, the first 10 minutes, of the killings, you might be interested in this 14 year old who killed his parents and 2 sisters–is he just a ‘bad seed’? Had no feelings? Knew exactly what he was doing? It leaves too many questions at the end such as how long did he spend in prison, how is he living unknown today in our information world? HIS LIFE TODAY IS SHOCKING TO ME AND THIS IS NOT AN EASY DOCUMENTARY TO WATCH AND UNDERSTAND

4) “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word”–Netflix–documentary–1 hour & 36 minutes–is the Pope a wise man or is a wise man the Pope? He speaks wisely but does he act wisely? He says all the right things using the words and thoughts of God but does he do what he says he will do?He talks about the many problems we all face but has he solved any of them? THE POPE TALKS ABOUT THE CHURCH SHOULD BE A POOR CHURCH BUT WHAT IS HE DOING TO MAKE IT THAT WAY?

5) “The Raincoat Killer”–Netflix–Korean documentary–3 episodes–2 hours & 23 minutes–a serial killer killed over 20 people violently and disposed of them in a violent way–the brutality of the murders have stayed with the  police for over 15 years and the less than stellar way they investigated the killer–IF YOU LIKE VIOLENCE THIS IS A DOCUMENTARY FOR YOU

6) “Shameless”–Netflix–series–11th season–10 episodes–9 hours & 7 minutes–I hate to see this series end as I have loved it since its first episode–though ‘Fiona’ was the backbone of the show along with Frank, the father, she quit after the 9th season but the last season is as good as the first–it is outrageous, funny, touching and the emphasis as and has always been about family–everyone, good or bad, is represented in the Gallagher family and you love them all,  including the unlovable ones–A MUST SEE SERIES WITH UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS AND ACTORS

Posted November 12, 2021 by greatmartin in Documentaries, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, REVIEWS, Streaming

STREAMING REVIEWS NOVEMBER 2021 PART 2   Leave a comment


1) “Love Hard” –Netflix–movie–1 hour & 46 minutes–the first of many new holiday movies–from the title to the ending everything works together to be a Christmas rom/com–with good chemistry between the leads–NOT A CLASSIC BUT A WINNER

2) “Te Ata”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 45 minutes–based on a true story–I love a movie that makes me want to learn more about the person it is based on–after the movie go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Ata_Fisher  if you are like me you know very little about American Indian history except what you have learned from Hollywood movies–THIS MOVIE IS DIFFERENT AND HAS YOU LOOK AT AN AMERICAN INDIAN’S LIFE

3) “Aquarius”–Netflix–limited series–10 episodes–7 hours & 25 minutes–another series based on Charles Manson that doesn’t tell us how he lured his followers to do the horrendous acts they did for him–it stars David Duchovny who doesn’t add anything to the series–VIOLENT, CRUEL AND JUST ANOTHER DETECTIVE STORY THAT JUST SITS THERE

4) “The Harder They Fall”–Nerflix–movie–2 hours & 4 minutes–based on real people who, probably, never met in real life–there are some good moments and all the western genre happenings are covered–A WESTERN IS A WESTERN

5) “Maid”–Netflix–series–season 1–10 episodes–9 hours–an abused woman who can’t arise above the poverty level to make things better for her and her 3 year old daughter–Margaret Qualley, Andie MacDowell, Tracy Vilar and Anika Noni Rose lead a fine cast–A GOOD SERIES AND LOOKING FORWARD SEASON 2

6) “Destination Wedding”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 27 minutes–Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder have 0 chemistry and what is basically just 2 actors talking–A LOT OF TALKING BUT THAT’S IT

Posted November 8, 2021 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, REVIEWS, Streaming

This, that and other things   1 comment


It may say 75 degrees on the thermometer but with the bright sun out and the cloudless sky it feels like a typical South Florida beach day!

Got the November dogs out which reminds me that I have to get a 2022 calendar out as it is just around the corner.

2) All the ‘baby’ holiday cactus plants are blooming

3) Went to Jalisco’s restaurant on Thursday and I had their Cuban platter: chicken, pork, beef, rice, black beans, onions and plantains–plus they serve a cup of chicken soup along with their chips and salsa as you wait–even I leave filled up

!5) Right across the street from the restaurant are just 6 of the new buildings that are going up all over Fort Lauderdale–the city claims they now have 80, 000 new apartments–who they are going to rent them to plus who could afford them (!) is another story!!!  https://www.zumper.com/rent-research/fort-lauderdale-fl  but then homes are scarce and most people can’t afford the down payment!!

4) Many people have told me not to bother with an air fryer and I should have listened to them! There is basically nothing wrong with them, (the fryer–not my friends!) except learning how to get the ‘fried’ taste plus if you have a indoor grill, a microwave oven and a crock-pot, as I have, the fryer just takes up space. Granted the 2 quart fryer I got takes up very little space and is convenient for 1 person but it is still a waste of money and time as most items will cook faster in the microwave or on the grill.Macy’s has it on “Black Friday” sale for $24.99 which is really a good price if you have time and patience—I have time but not patience when waiting to eat!

Posted November 7, 2021 by greatmartin in FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE

OKAY, OKAY, SO IT ISN’T SNOWING BUT….   1 comment

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Adding insult to injury not only do we lose evening light on Saturday because of Daylight Savings Time and we have to turn the clocks back but today we had 2-3 inches of rain causing a lot of flooding along with stalled cars all over the city BUT look at the second picture!!! 59 DEGREES!! This is SOUTH Florida! This is FORT LAUDERDALE! We had 4 inches of rain!

Add that we are having ‘King Tides’  https://www.fortlauderdale.gov/government/departments-a-h/city-manager-s-office/strategic-communications/king-tides    (Anticipated 2021 King Tides  November 3-9)  that lead to flooded driveways, entrances, water above ankles, very wet clothes and people.  
 

The only saving factor is that the rain brings the beautiful birds and more beautiful birds and, oh yes, more beautiful birds.There is also a positive to the cold weather as it brings us many laughs seeing people from Michigan, Wisconsin and Buffalo, New York, all bundled up in sweaters, gloves, complaining how their blood has thinned and they are freezing–NO FOLKS! YOU ARE OLD AND YOUR SKIN HAS THINNED AND YOU ARE COLD WHEN THE WEATHER GOES BELOW 85 DEGREES!

No, I am not comforted to hear it is snowing, freezing, hail dropping, sleet all around, ice on windshields—this is SOUTH Florida! this is FORT LAUDERDALE! We don’t need/want 58 degrees!!

Posted November 5, 2021 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, SEASONS, WEATHER

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