Archive for July 2013



It seems every other block has a Mexican, Cuban or Spanish fast food restaurant franchise and sadly Pollo Tropical doesn’t ofer enough to make you want to leave one of the other places and come here.
The only reason we came here was that we had been to a movie, wanted a ‘light’ bite and I had a coupon “Two can dine for $9.99”–$5 for lunch is a good deal but…
The cashier was of absolutely no help, mumbled and didn’t smile. The latter is a real ‘bummer’ to me.
Allen had the chicken with lettuce ‘tropichop and I had the chicken, rice, beans, onion and peppers an order of plantains. He had mango iced tea and I had a diet soda.
Why Allen got shredded dark meat chicken and I got bite sizes of white chicken I don’t know, neither does the receipt explain why. The food was just okay.
Maybe there is another fast food franchise that doesn’t have soda machines available for refills but this is just the first time I remember that being the case. I didn’t want/need a refill but the  idea that it wasn’t there is just another mark against this place.
I went to their web site to see what the meals would have cost normally but couldn’t find prices!!!!
No Pollo Tropical in my future!

Posted July 31, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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One thing you can be certain of in life is that along with the bad there is a lot of good and looking over my 78 years (okay 77 and a half or 19 and a quarter) there has been at least 87% good and that ain’t bad!

In just the past 8 years, not in any particular order and not including theatre or movies, some of the good have been;

I learned about being eligible for medical surveys. The first one I went to I got paid $100 and since it was so close went to Jaxson’s for ice cream afterwards. Without having a car it is more difficult to get to them but every once in awhile I do.

I have met some pretty fabulous people on the Internet and most have surprised me in various ways. I met AJ and he introduced me to  the Jean M. Auel book series which starting with the “Clan of the Cave Bear” kept me mesmerised (though as hard as he would try he couldn’t get me into “Star Trek”!) Through him I learned about his partner Ray and I am so proud of them being the first couple in Rhode Island to have a civil union and it looks like they will be the first same sex marriage in that State!!

I met Tim, who sent me a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory for my birthday and made it extra special. I am still waiting for him to get some of his fantastic poetry published! Talking about The Cheesecake Factory Chris (then known as The Pirate, I believe) also treated me giving me a gift card and though I pick on him (I want him around for his daughter’s wedding!!) I am still waiting for him to stop by one of these days.

On February 18, 2009, Michael and Alfredo came down from New Hampshire for a week and we went to see the Broadway touring company in “A Chorus Line” during mu ‘unbirthday’.

Maria and Mary have been more than generous with their outpouring of love to and for me not to forget their gifts. Donna was the first person to ever send me a gift and due to that I learned about Groupon and I have had some fabulous meals at very low prices.

Big Louie’s got damaged by a double whammy of a hurricane and a car crashing into thier glass front. On December 16, 2005 Allen and I went to the ‘new’ Big Louie’s–a little more expensive and without that homey neighborhood feeling they use to have but the food as good as ever. It is always a must stop when Chuck and Terry come down! And Sheila still asks me to work a couple of nights a week!

In May of 2011 Suzanne, the administrator of Gateway, approached me about publishing/editing the Gateway Gazette and for 6 months I had a ball but then it became a job.

Talking about Gateway I met so many great people over the years, losing a few. The names Little Flo, Emily, Francis, Larry, Carol, Jean, Angelina, Cookie, Norman may not mean anything to you but they mean a lot to me!

I’ve won at Play 4, Fantasy 5, got a bonus with Obama’s stimulus package, holiday gelt from Larry, was able to buy a new 3 in 1 printer that 7 years later is still working. I bought a new DVD/VHS player and haven’t used it in a couple of years. I’ve learned how to work with the Internet to get many free gifts and was given my first digital camera and have been taking pictures ever since.

Over the past couple of years I have been transferring loads and loads of pictures to a  thigamiig UBS that Chuck gave me. For 8 years I have kept my ‘diary’ on the Internet–not that I have given up making notes in notebooks but they aren’t as big or as many as there were years before the Internet came along.

I’ve been very lucky to make a friend in Allen who goes above and beyond to help me out when needed and just to be a friend the rest of the time.

Five years ago I bought this Emachine desk top computer and there is the possibility I may get a new one but right now I am  saving my pennies for my 20th Leap Year birthday on February 29, 2016. There is nothing in life I lack (except a darn car and the insurance for it) but I am sure over the next 3 years I’ll manage to come up with a list.

I want for nothing, certainly don’t need anything and as the old Berlin Song goes, “I’ve Got The Sun In The Morning”


Taking stock of what I have and what I haven’t
What do I find?
The things I got will keep me satisfied
Checking up on what I have and what I haven’t
What do I find?
A healthy balance on the credit side
Got no diamond
Got no pearl
Still I think I’m a lucky guy
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night
Got no mansion
Got no yacht
Still I’m happy with what I got
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night
Gives me a lovely day
Gives me the Milky Way
Got no checkbooks
Got no banks
Still I’d like to express my thanks
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night
And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I’m all right
(And I was lucky enough to hear Ethel Merman sing for the first time anywhere on the Broadway stage in “Annie Get Your Gun”.)

It would take me books to write about all the good things that have happened in my life but even more books to write about all the great people I have met.

Posted July 30, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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It was 2000, I was 64 years old and all of my good living, eating, drinking, carousing and everything else was catching up with me and, I’m sorry, but I don’t regret it. Many people have the same problems I have and were ‘good’ their whole life!

Going backwards, just this week I suffered a bout of gout (that is painful!), a broken flip bridge, a growth on my brain (See! I told you I had a brain!), ‘something’ on my neck which could be either my carotid artery or thyroid or dental infection. I was suppose to have an ultra sound, a MRI and MRA but couldn’t handle it. I am now awaiting word when I can go to the hospital, get knocked out and find out what is going on. I don’t worry about things like this and except for the gout pain, which has now decreased due to anti-inflammation medicine, I feel great and can do whatever it is I do!

December 23, 2011, I called 911–I was bleeding out of every orifice of my body. Making a long story short I had Warfarin poisoning caused by overdosing due to faulty tests. Four days later Allen and I were having dinner at the City Hall restaurant in Miami and then went to see “Million Dollar Quartet”!

November 8, 2011, I was walking up to the movies, tripped, fell flat on my face and with a bleeding face I went on to the movie house only to go into the men’s room and find blood all over me. Well I washed myself off and went to watch “Weekend”. I just had to look up what it was about!!!

July 21, 2008, was when I went in for my aorta valve operation–I still kid my doctor about putting a pig’s valve in a Jewish boy’s body! IT WAS, ALSO, THAT DAY THAT I STOPPED SMOKING AFTER 60 YEARS! And I don’t miss it after 5 years, starting my 6th year smoke free!

I ended the 20th century and began the 21st with congestive heart failure spending the New Year’s weekend in the hospital. I have written blogs on that so that’s all I will say here.

Along with other ‘minor’ illnesses I have P.A.D., C.O.P.D., arterial fibrillation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, all monitored by medicine, and not affecting my day to day life except for the P.A.D., which stands for peripheral artery disease, making it difficult to walk more than 4-5 blocks at a time and I have reached the point in my left leg where it is not possible to put in another stent.

Okay folks, that is it! It all sounds like a lot, and I guess it is but you would never know anything was wrong just by looking at me or spending time with me. As I said, except for the gout (and I hope you never get it!) there is no ongoing pain or discomfort. (And no matter what doctors say ice cream and/or carrot cake is good medicine!!!)

It is this positive spirit, this Pollyanna persona, that I know not where it comes from but the bottom line is AS LONG AS I WAKE UP IN THE MORNING I HAVE IT MADE!

Now, aside from waking up every morning, let’s look at all the good things that have happened to me in the last 8 years besides the ones I have already mentioned!


Posted July 29, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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From left to right: onion, romaine lettuce, turnips, beets–in another week I will chop up the ‘scallion’ part of the onion (started raising 2 weeks ago) and the Romaine leaves (started 20 days ago) julienne the turnip leaves and finely chop the beet leaves (planted March 29 but didn’t thin it out enough so the turnips and beets didn’t have the space to grow–next year I will do it differently!) mix them all together and toss them in a dressing of lime juice, garlic, apple vinegar and virgin olive oil and then eat my home grown salad .

I saw this outside a mom and pop restaurant and had to take a picture!

I generally have 5-7 blogs ready to write and/or post and someone asked what I will be writing about this week and the following is just a possibility:

The last 2 chapters of my “7 Decades series” and then I will start the writing, rewriting, editing, adding the X rated parts and a few things I have never told anyone.

Living well is the best revenge and there is no doubt I am living well!! I am and know I am a very lucky guy.

Posted July 28, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Posted July 28, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Lime Fresh, Taco Bell, Chipolti, Pollo Tropical, Fresca Zona, Tijuana Flats, Moes, etc.  Does Fort Lauderdale need another Mexican restaurant? How many advertise “Fresh natural”? Then we have Carlos & Pepe’s, La Bamba 1 & 2, Jalesco’s, to name a few independent Mexican restaurants. Do we really need another one? Didn’t Baja Fresh on the other side of Federal just close? Do we need as many Mexican restaurants as the city has Italian restaurants? And in the Latin explosion we have Spanish, Cuban among other countries cooking their home style dishes.
The only reason we went to Salsa Fiesta was that I had received a 25% coupon in the mail and after the movie we wanted something light for a late lunch–that was a mistake! We both ordered the house combo consisting of a Burrito with chicken, an original taco with carnitas and served pico de gallo, a beef taquito and a few mashed big plantains–no way would that be considered light! We did want caffeine free Pepsi but they only had diet–I know, I know, with that plate what good would a diet soda do. The food was good and it helped that we were served. Also with it being slow when we were finished they clean the dirty plates off.
It all tasted good, no complaints about the employees and I believe the boss was the cashier (that makes sense!)
The check before the 25% discount was $28.17 which is a little high without full service. Also the place itself, though while clean, was not distinctive from the competition as far as ambiance or uniforms.
Salsa Fiesta is okay but without a coupon I probably won’t go back if then.
(And I didn’t see a TV–hurray!)

Posted July 27, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“RED2”–MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


You walk into “Red2” knowing exactly what you are getting. After checking your brains at the door you lean back and observe the actors from how beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones is to how much fun Helen Mirren appears to be having even to the point of playing a queen gone mad in one scene. There is John Malkovich playing crazy as only he can and Bruce Willis flipping off repartee as if he was back in “Moonlighting” only this time sparring with Mary-Louise Parker. First spotting Anthony Hopkins you may think Charles laughton has come back to life. With this cast it is hard to stand out but Korean star Byung Hun Lee, as a lethal body weapon, gets laughs with his ‘want my plane back’ tirade at Bruce Willis and Neal McDonough is ready to jump into the next James Bond movie as a villain extraordinaire.


Director Dean Parisot and screenplay writers Erich and Jon  Hoeber  know they aren’t making a picture for the ages but a fun romp with stellar performers. Yes they throw in a mad scientist, a device that will blow up, if not the world, then at least Moscow. There is a timing device ticking down and wires being cut but suspense is not the name of this game. Have a few car chases, blow up a few more cars, break a lot of glass and have Helen Mirren come out blazing with a gun in each hand plus a sexy scene with her, being a sniper, and Brian Cox enthralled by her and her shooting and her toes curling with each round she fires off and you will be smiling.


What can you expect of a movie that takes place in Paris, France, Moscow, Russia and Teterboro, New Jersey, that also has a subdued, but pounding beat of a music background by Alan Silvestri and throws in “Papa Loves Mambo” sung by Perry Como?

This is the type of movie that throws away a line like “Is that a stick of dynamite or are you just happy to see me?” to burn in your mind and go right on to the next line!


Hot and/or rainy day? Want to forget everything for 2 hours and just relax? Definitely go see “Red2” and watch pros have a good time!

Posted July 26, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Cafe Vico has that home feel and yet the decor, with white and yellow tablecloths and curtains playing against the dark wood gives the place the elegance of a country home. (I wish Morton’s would take some lessons in how to make a restaurant feel comfy and cozy.)
We went for lunch and had the specials: Ossa Bucco ($16.95)  that melted in your mouth and 4 cheese ravioli ($12.95) that was delicious. As soon as you sit down you are served plain, hot rolls with a thick garlic, oil and spice dipping bowl. Having a choice of soup (pasta fagioli) or salad with the meal I took the latter which was thick and tasty.
The carrot cake ($6.85) that I had was presented presented better than I have seen it served anywhere else.
Cafe Vico has been hidden away in the corner of a shopping strip and has grown year by year with the help of ‘regulars’ and tasteful expansion.
The ambiance and food are top drawer as was the service with the server and busboy working as a team
Bravo Marco Vico!!!



Allen and I, it being Thursday, went to Cafe Vico for lunch today with Allen having the salmon salad and I had the tortellini (spelled it wrong in the picture!) in a tomato cream sauce–once again we, te customers, were winners!

I am giving serious thought to having my 20th Leap Year birthday party here!

Posted July 25, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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For the past couple of summers the local theatres in South Florida have gotten together and offered free theatre tickets having you select 3 choices of what is available and trying to give you your first choice . Two years ago we went to see “After The Revolution” at the Caldwell Playhouse in Boca Raton and though I didn’t care for the play I did like the theatre and had been going to see that theatre company from the days they started in a store front in the mall. Their new theatre was beautiful but they built it when the economy hit the skids and never recovered officially closing the doors last year.

Looking over the list I chose “Spamalot” for a few reasons: 1) I have never seen it, missing the touring company 2) it was close and 3) though I don’t remember what I saw there a few (many?) years ago I do remember being impressed with the auditorium and 4) I had seen the other shows and those nearby weren’t worth seeing again.

Bailey Hall is on the Broward College campus and though the latter is easy enough to find the former isn’t. We eventually passed a building saying Fine Arts so we figured we were near and did eventually find it.

Bailey Hall has a sleek, long lobby and the theatre itself is sharp with bright red seats, no middle aisle and in many ways reminding me of the Parker Playhoues with good sight lines and both theatres having a capacity of about 1,165 with a large stage. It is a comfortable place to see a show.

This production of “Spamalot” was put on by high school and college students with a few adults in main roles. They really did a spectacular job with the scenery filling the stage with many different sets. The lighting, the costumes were, more or less, adequate but when it came to the cast most performers were way below par. While the choreography tried different steps the cast wasn’t up to executing it very well. There were too many sloppy moments with head gear falling off, batons being dropped which, if it was an experienced cast, could have taken advantage by playing into the Monty Python humor but it was beyond them.

It’s not fair to blame the cast for it being a bad show because the songs were pedestrian, the book, though incorporating many of the Monty Python’s group pieces, dragged.

It was a very small audience–probably ‘winners’ like us and family members–spread out, not giving the actors a point to play to which didn’t help keeping focus on to whom they were playing for.

It is said “You get what you pay for” so what can I say when it was free? It was an outing on a Saturday afternoon in an air conditioned impressive theatre hall and let’s leave it at that.

Posted July 24, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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It isn’t a secret that I love going to the theatre. I believe the first Broadway show I saw was the original cast of “Oklahoma” in 1943 when I was 7 years old. I have written many posts about theatre I have seen including some of the most renowned productions and performers. Even when I didn’t have money I went to the theatre.

Between bankruptcies, congestive heart failure and the aorta valve operation money was tight for me in the 2005-2009 period but, as it always seems to happen, I was rescued!! Reading a Broadway web page I saw a message asking if anyone would be interested in writing/reviewing theatre for another web site called and a new site she was starting www. I immediately contacted Corine and we agreed that I would review all the Broadway touring companies passing through Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It was a dream come true as even in my high school senior book I had put my aspirations of becoming a drama critic, so what if it happened 56 years later?!?!? Since that conversation I have seen/reviewed 41 touring Broadway shows ranging from “Les Miserables”, “Warhorse” to “Priscella Queen of the Dessert” and in the upcoming season I will be seeing the hardest show to get a ticket to on Broadway just as the tour is selling out as soon as it is announced “The Book of Mormon”.  I lost count of how many movie reviews of mine she has posted but I am ever grateful for us finding each other.

With my finally getting my finances in order and my controlling how I spent my money instead of money controlling me life got better in many ways as such things happen with, of course, a downer now and then to make me aware that all life doesn’t run smoothly!

Jill was kind enough to allow me to use her car when she took trips as did Allen who goes to see his grandkids every June (they all share the same birthday) and Christmas. He is kind enough to drive me to do all my shopping on Thursdays and Friday is movie day plus, occasionally, like last Saturday, we will go somewhere. Too bad the city took away the bus route that stopped in front of our building but they have offered a service–$3.50 each way–for seniors and handicapped people taht take them all over the city.

Movie wise, in the past 8 years, I have gone to see over 400 movies–emphasizing that I saw them in movie theatres!!!–and, sadly most are forgettable. There were a couple that I fell in love with like the movie version of “Dreamgirls“—I immediately became a huge fan of Jennifer Hudson–and this year I saw “Amore” an emotional journey in film making.

I already talked about theatre but I did have a disappointing night at the Broward Performing Arts Center when I went to see a concert with Barbara Cook starringwith the Fort Lauderdale Mens Chorus. I was a fan of her in her early Broadway musical shows like “She Loves Me” and “The Music Man” and was really looking forward to seeing her. I was in the minority but she wasn’t that good.

For the past 8 years I have been able to enjoy all that I enjoy (except not having a car!) with movie and theatre going, eating out at restaurants, special events, having special people in my life, loving where I live including Fort Lauderdale and my apartment at Gateway.

The only problem–and it comes with being old–are the health ‘kickers’ that come along but, as the song says, “I’m Still here”.


Posted July 23, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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