Archive for January 2015


To cry in the first half hour of a film means you are looking ahead to a picture filled with emotion. “Black or White” starts with  scene in the hospital where Eliot (Kevin Costner) just lost his wife Carole (Jennifer Ehle) in a car accident. They had been raising their biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell) after the death of their daughter during childbirth and the father Regie (Andre Holland), a drug addict, had taken off. Her paternal grandmother, Rowena, (Octavia Spencer) who had been okay with the arrangement now decided, with the help of her lawyer brother, Jeremiah, (Anthony Mackie) to fight for custody of Eloise.
There is a little heavy handed melodrama here and there but none, pardon the pun, of the characters are black or white. We see the difference between living in Santa Monica’s white enclave and South Central’s Black area in Los Angeles along with the Mexican housekeeper for the lawyer Eliot and the very much extended family of daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces living under the same roof and sustained by Rowena, also known as Grandmother Wee Wee.
The director, who also wrote the screenplay, Mike Binder, based the story on his own family involving a biracial nephew. Though he faces some of the Black versus White problems, including the use of the N word, he skirts around some of the major issues and a blow up near the end seems completely contrived to get to a Hollywood ending. He also errs in writing the character Fay (Gillian Jacobs) completely unnecessary to the film and making Eloise’s math tutor and piano teacher, Duvan (Mpho Koaho)  multilingual, speaks only 8 languages, seems to have written published papers on almost all subjects talked about, just a little bit too much though he does supply some humor.
Though there is nothing special regarding his direction of the movie the acting is strong all around with star turns by both Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner while Jillian Estell, as the 7 year old, is cute at the right times, playful at others and serious enough when she is required to be. The differences between Holland and Mackie as brothers are a little hard to take to accept them as such but individually they are their characters.
An aside regarding critics: I wanted to see this film based strictly on previews but if I had read reviews before I went I would never have gone. Reading the reviews I just shook my head at how many people will miss seeing a good film.

Posted January 30, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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I don’t know how many dogs there are at Gateway where I live but I have about 50 different dog pictures!

Every afternoon when the folks come to relax at THE POINT they will always bring a few dogs with them. You can always depend on Biscuit or Champagne and, if you are lucky, Kiki and/or her brother Meatball, just to name four of them.

Though THE POINT is not officially a dog park, and dogs must be on a leash all the time, somehow or other they get around to interact with each other for the enjoyment of the humans and if dogs playing with each other don’t put a smile on your face what can?

THE POINT has everything: Karen Bay, yachts, blue water, people canoeing, kayaking, on paddleboards, others fishing, birds, dogs, seniors and 350 days of perfect to sit out there and enjoy it all.

Come on and join us at THE POINT!

Posted January 29, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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As I have mentioned THE POINT is sort of a meeting place but what I didn’t mention is that if you have ANYTHING wrong with you this is the place to come for information–forget google!

Where I live at Gateway in Fort Lauderdale there are about 290 senior citizens. If you have any health problems this is the place to come and discuss it. You will hear all the good and bad about any procedure you are thinking of going through, what it will involve, whether you will be up and about in a day or a week or a month!

Going to have a hip replaced? A new knee? Cataract surgery? Diagnosed with diabetes? Cancer? Want to know about chemo or rehab? Heart surgery? Hey they walk around showing their ‘zippers’ with pride! (Only those who have had heart surgery or live with someone who has had it know what I am talking about!) Have a pain in your left side? Foot? Leg? Back? Head? Worried about shingles? Should you get the flu shot and when is the best time to get it? How often should you get a pneumonia vaccine? Have psoriasis? Cirrhosis? Nuerothapy? An ache here a pain there?

This is THE place to come! You will find at least 10 people with 10 experiences and 10 suggestions! They will tell you that everything will be fine, that you shouldn’t worry, that you will be back on your feet before you know. They will tell you what to eat and what not to eat when you have gout or an upset stomach or have a cold. They know EVERY medicine available and every side effect.

And folks the best part is that there are no office hours! And they don’t rush you. In fact they take hours describing what they went through and what you will be going through. They will tell you the best and the worst doctors and what hospitals serve the best food and which have the best nurses!

One thing, well two things, I will tell you and that is: 1) You will know everything and anything that you could ever want to know about any particular problem and 2) They will not only wish you well and tell you that ‘it is a breeze’ but they know–they definitely know–everything will be fine.

By the way if you need anything at least 200 of them will be there for you!


Posted January 28, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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Folks up in the NorthEast please don’t hate us!

First I have to apologize as I forgot to put my finger over the audio when I wasn’t speaking! Okay now on to The Point!

The Point is at the east end of our residence property overlooking Karen Bay. It is the ‘backside’ of the pool and offers a place to sit, talk and relax. On the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve it is the place to see fireworks from Fort Lauderdale Beach, Pompano Beach, Hollywood Beach and downtown Fort Lauderdale. In May, when it happens, we can watch all the planes fly over for the plane and boat show.

We use to have a lot of parties there but for reasons unknown they don’t happen much anymore. A group of folks generally will come out around 4-5 PM, some bringing their dogs, and just have conversations about where they have been and what they have been doing.

I will go out at midnight just sit and look up at the sky with all the stars and the moon with clouds now and then passing overhead. It is about 5-6 blocks away from the city (in the video in the opening shot you may be able to see Sunrise Boulevard) but you feel as if you are in the country. Sitting here there is no way to feel any stress or anxieties.

Next I want to talk about the ‘senior citizen health group’ and the dog ‘park’ that isn‘t really there!

Posted January 27, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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I had bought myself a new pocket digital camera last month and taking a walk on Sunday, January 18, 2015, I decided to test it out by making a new video.

There is a canal behind my building and across the way are million dollar+ homes–though the first one you see in the video doesn’t look it!

It was a perfect Sunday with a blue sky and a few wisps of clouds. The sun was shining bright, it was about 76-77 degrees with a light breeze.

I realized right away that I should have walked in the other direction–where the fancier homes were!–in order for my shadow not to show in the grass but I kept on going.

It is just a slice of my life in a minute and how good I live–not in a home worth a million+ dollars!


Posted January 26, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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THE DAY I SAID “NO MORE!”   2 comments

(The picture has nothing to do with the post though I did gain a few pounds when I stopped. It was taken at the Oaski Steakhouse where Allen and I had lunch this past Thursday. :O)

It is hard for me to believe that I haven’t had any alcohol touch me lips for 34 years now. I won’t take cough medicine or eat coq au vine because it is made with wine. While some people check labels for salt or sugar contents I check for alcohol.

I started ‘drinking’ when my dad took me to Sun Luck Gourmet West in New York city and ordered a ‘frozen’ non-alcoholic daiquiri for me. I was 12 or 13. When I was 14-15 I started going to gay bars–at that time the drinking age was 18 and I looked 18.

An aside–I walked into a long dark bar on 45th street filled with guys leaning, sitting, all over the place. I didn’t notice what anyone was drinking as I was scared out of my mind and didn’t look at anyone. I went up to the bar and ordered a frozen daiquiri and the bartender, aloud with 2-3 guys at the bar, started laughing. He did nicely, quietly, tell me to look around and notice what everyone was drinking, which I did. To a man they all had either a bottle or a glass of bear in their hand! I remember turning a beet red but I remember my first glass of beer and hating it. Never did have a beer after that!

In the 1950s up to the 1990s gay bars were ‘home’ for gay people. It is where they went to meet people, socialize and/or cruise. At 16 I started going to the bars frequently and by 1981 I had been to all kinds of bars all over the world. It was also in 1981 when I had become thin, rich and on top of the world that I crossed the line from being a drinker to being a drunk. Oh I didn’t drink in the morning and I didn’t miss a day of work because I was drunk nor did I embarrass myself though I did get in the habit when going out to dinner in fine restaurants of leaving my dining companion behind to pay the check. Yes, I made good for it the next day.

I won’t get into all the messy details of over-drinking but in was the third week in January of 1981 when I was 45 years old that I woke up one morning not knowing how I got home and/or where my car was. I had a black-out. It turns out I drove home and my first thought was that I could have hit someone with my car and not have known it. I looked at the front of my car, I looked in the newspapers, I called a few hospitals and, yes, the police. There were no accidents reported.

I do know that losing such control over myself, not knowing what had happened, was too much for me to deal with. I, also, knew that I would stop drinking. No, I couldn’t have one and stop. I was/am smart enough to know that with me whether it be booze, food, sex, money, whatever, it is all or nothing at all. Moderation is NOT in my vocabulary and that day I said, “No more!”

On Sunday, January 25, 1981, 34 years ago today, I stopped drinking.

Posted January 25, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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“CAKE”–A MOVIE REVIEW   2 comments

Jennifer Aniston gives an excellent performance as a woman suffering both physical and mental pain. The hair is stringy, the face scarred, the body constantly in pain as she seeks relief with Percocet and alcohol. Her husband, Chris Messina, has left to fight his own demons, she has been thrown out of a support group and aside from a loveless interlude now and then with her gardener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, her main companionship is with her housekeeper Adriana Barraza, who equals Aniston’s performance. The two women represent the imbalance white women and their Mexican help have, particularly in Southern California, though it is only followed through in one quick scene.

“Cake” contains not only fine performances by Aniston and Bazzaza but also from Felicity Huffman, as a support group leader, along with a cameo by William H. Macy that is too short to have the impact it should plus Sam Worthington as a husband who recently lost a wife, Anna Kendrick, to suicide as she couldn’t deal with the constant pain, with a young boy to raise.

The sad thing about “Cake” is that the screenplay by Patrick Tobin, and the director Daniel Barnz, doesn’t even come close to what the actors give them to work with. They play it safe and go with the story of why Aniston is in such pain with a bunch of clichés that are telegraphed way before it has any impact.

“Cake” is, what was called in the 1940s, a 4 hankie picture and would have been a star vehicle with say Bette Davis and though Jennifer Aniston equals a performance of that stature unfortunately the screenplay  and direction lets them down and we get a 1 hankie picture instead.

Posted January 23, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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SPRING 2, TOO   1 comment

Most people who know me know that Mother Nature constantly takes me by surprise. I was over at John’s apartment and when I left I decided to visit the garden his neighbor Bill had planted and which people had added items.

I walked over to mainly take some pictures of the blooming hibiscus plant. When I go there I saw a movement in the bush and it took a minute or two for me to see the bluebird hidden in there. I tried to get a clear picture of him and as I walked around he would just jump around in the density of the bush.

What surprised me was that he didn’t fly off which made me think maybe it was a female. I looked around for a nest but didn’t see any and then I thought the bird might be hurt but it seemed to hop from twig to twig without any problem. His/her claws and feathers all seemed to be okay so I thought a neighbor might be feeding the bird and that’s why he/she was hanging around.

As I left, a neighbor, sitting out side, asked if I saw the cat and I hadn’t. He was just sitting there under the hibiscus very nonchalantly seeming oblivious to the bird ‘playing’ in the bush above but with a cat you know better. The cat is a Gateway cat and, from what someone had said previously to me, I think it is blind.

As I walked away I wonder if the bird and cat were aware of each other? What do you think?

Look hard at pictures 6 and 7–in 7 the lower right–for the bird.

Posted January 22, 2015 by greatmartin in MOTHER NATURE

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January 9, 2015

The body is a marvelous thing but it certainly can betray you when you least expect it!

Through the years I have been unable to sleep in cars, planes, trains, buses, watching a movie or a television show but put me in bed by myself and I can sleep through anything! I have slept through tornadoes and hurricanes, maintenance and exterminators coming in to do their job without disturbing me for a minute.

Once my head hit’s the pillow I am out. I always have been able to sleep solidly 8 or more hours without getting up once but at a certain age you know you will be getting up in the middle of the night a few times to urinate but even then I have no problem getting back to sleep.

It seems as soon as I hit 62 and retired my body started acting up. It might be paying for all the years I ate wrong, smoked, drank to excess and basically abused it but even then I have been able to live with whatever came along whether it be an aorta valve replacement, congestive heart failure, COPD, PAD, etc., including getting diagnosed with diabetes2 this past November.

Well since this past Sunday my body has been double crossing me! It is the same pattern every night: after 2-3 hours of good sleep I wake up with a sharp pain on/by my left hip. When I say sharp I mean on a scale of 1-10 it is a 10. As long as I sleep on my right side all is well but as soon as I turn on my left I am up and hurting.

Don’t know what is causing it but I do know if I say something to my primary doctor it means going to specialists, getting X-rays, cat scans and spending a lot of time going to and from doctors. I am not ready for that yet! By the way it does not hurt when I am awake!

For those who say “Age is just a number” or “You are as old as you feel” try to tell yourself that after you hit 60!

Posted January 21, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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Is it Spring already? I know the calendar says January 20, 2015, but we are suppose to be in the 80s by Thursday! Everywhere I look outside I see flowers blooming from the cactus to the Cuban flower.

I walked into the Dollar Tree last week and aside from them having decorations for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter they also have their Spring planting products on sale from 4 packets of flowers or vegetables for a dollar to herb garden starter kits.

At the beginning of the month I planted a sweet potato and already the shoots for the vines are growing like crazy!

Best of all ‘MY’ bluebird family returned to the tree right outside my window and one of the family members posed on the top of the tree long enough for me to take a picture and then flew off.

Is it really only January?

Posted January 20, 2015 by greatmartin in SEASONS

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