Archive for December 2015

“JOY”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

The joy of “Joy” is that Jennifer Lawrence is on screen for 95-98% of the time, otherwise the movie is too busy and has too many unnecessary characters such as the Isabella Rossellini’s role which supplies one way to forward the story but adds a lot of nothing to an expanded role.

The best part of the movie are the scenes involving Bradley Cooper as he and Lawrence just have a natural chemistry no matter what roles they play opposite each other. Following close are the scenes with Edgar Ramirez as her ex husband still living with her and their two kids. Also living with them are her mother, Virginia Madsen, her father, Robert De Niro, andf her grandmother, Diane Ladd who narrates the movies. Also in supporting roles Elisabeth Rohm as her half sister, Dascha Polanco as her best friend, Melissa Rivers as her mother Joan along with soap opera icons like Susan Lucci, Laura Wright and Maurice Benard fill in the story with the latter three stretching out the film making it seem longer than it really is.

The movie is ‘based on a true story’ about Joy Mangano’s inventing the self-wringing Miracle mop and all it took to make it a success from appearing on the QVC channel, being duped by men regarding business, her going into monumental debt and finally standing up for herself.

As it is the film is very chaotic with all the family members, the business and TV angle, independent woman in the 1990s, instead of concentrating on that plus her ex, their kids and how she handles all that plus fighting in a business world.
Jennifer Lawrence continues to show her expertise as an actress in playing various roles and doing a good job in each and though she is excellent in “Joy”, the movie itself, as directed and written by David O. Russell, it is not up to her capabilities.

Posted December 31, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized


It has become sort of a tradition that we go to the Thanksgiving OR Christmas buffet at the Isles casino and having missed Thanksgiving it was going to be Christmas. I called the casino to check the price and the woman who answered said that it was $19.99. For some reason–maybe memory–that didn’t sound right and I called again Thursday night and was told it was $26.99 which sounded more reasonable for a Christmas Day buffet.

We got there at 1:30 PM and expecting a line I had brought 2 magazines to read while we waited but to my surprise we paid and were seated by 1:48 PM! Oh wait! I was more than shocked to see we had been charged $15.89 including a soft drink and tax!

The buffet and food stations seemed unlimited and if you look at the slideshow at the bottom of this you will see just what I ate—yes I am a big eater and buffets were made for me!

The standout items were the ham, steak, Chinese ribs while the pizza slicers were okay. None of the fried foods from the wings, shrimps and Chinese food varieties were cold and very salty. The meatballs were like rocks and the net of  a ‘Maine pot’ was not only difficult to get at but the corn and potato were cold, the shrimp,mussels and crayfish tasteless and I couldn’t find any drawn butter so it was a total loss. I didn’t have the sushi, turkey, pasta or any of the salads except for the seafood salad which was too watery, salty and not good at all.

Being a sweet eater I had 5 different desserts including the carrot cake and nut cinnamon bun and the latter would have been better if warm. The soft ice cream was soft and that is about all I can say on that item.

There is definitely a huge variety of items and more than enough for even fussy eaters to choose from but it would have been better if all the items offered were good and served at the right temperature!

There is no denying the price is right for what is good and we will be back next year!

Isle Farmer’s Pick Buffet in Pompano Park

1, 2 & 3 Entrance to casino and Allen

4-6  Just 3 of the many food stations

7-13  Just what I  (YES!) ate

14  The winning penny slot machine (More about that in another post!)


Posted December 30, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized


The “Sound of Music” opened on Broadway in 1959 which is where I first saw it. Many critics called it too sweet—what did they know?—and it ran for years. The musical was the last written by Rodgers & Hammerstein as the latter died soon after.

The movie version came out in 1965 and the opening shot is an icon in the hall of fame of movies and it has become a ‘must’ see on TV around holiday time. This year marks its 50th anniversary.

In 2014 there was a live version presented on television and over 44 million people watched it.

This touring company—a brand new production heading for Broadway—is directed by three-time Tony award winning  Jack O’Brien and opens this evening at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and I’ll be there. I promise NOT to sing along with “The Sound of Music”, “Do-Re-Mi”, “My Favorite Things”, “Climb Every Mountain” or “Edelweiss”!

Look for my review over the weekend.

Posted December 29, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, Uncategorized


Christmas  Card Collage

(Now this person knows me! Plus it included a Dollar Tree gift card!)

I waited patiently all evening on Thursday, Christmas Eve, December 24 but Santa didn’t show! I decided then and there that I would not waste another year being a good boy!

It turns out that he had a lot more kids to give toys to so he had to leave the good adults, like me, for Christmas Day and, WOW!, did he deliver and reward me for being good!!

It started when I woke up in the morning to find that I had won $10 with the Fantasy 5 lotto ticket I had bought the day before! May not sound like a lot but with my Leap Year dinner party coming up I need every penny I get!

The next gift Santa gave me was in the disguise of the movie house manager where we went to see the 11 AM movie as he treated us to seeing the movie!! WOW!! Whether it was because I got up so early or because I think their movie theatre is the best around and I go practically every Friday, and sometimes Tuesdays, I had a big grin on my face walking into the auditorium.

Next we were off to the Sea Isle Casino for their Christmas Day buffet. I had called a few times because I wasn’t sure what the cost was and the first person I talked to said it was $19.99 For some reason that didn’t sound right as I remembered paying more last year so I called again and was told it was $27.99 plus a few dollars more if I wanted to have all the crab legs I wanted to eat. Imagine my surprise when I got there and found out, including tax a free beverage it was only $15.89! When you read my review of the Farmer’s Pick Buffet, which is what they call that restaurant, you will understand better why the price was outrageous in a good way!

On the way I out I decided to take a chance on the slots. Now you have to understand I am not a good gambler—I cry when I lose!—so I decided to play $5 on the penny slots. I had no idea what I was doing and just pushed buttons when all of a sudden the lights were flashing, the bells were ringing until everything got silent. I had no idea what happened but I pushed the ‘collect’ button—what did I have to lose? $5?—and the slip came out saying I had won $78 and change!! I grabbed Allen and said that we should get out of there!

With all that I got home exhausted ready to call it a day when I saw the red envelope with a card in it that I had forgotten to open and laughed myself silly reading it—this person really knew me! Adding to that was a gift card for The Dollar Tree store—who could ask for anything more? I couldn’t but I got more when I opened a gift basket I had received that had a bunch of goodies. I knew I had to eat them all because the next day it was back on my diet to get down to the goal I want to reach by February 29 and if I started to behave myself after the food orgy I had been on earlier I would reach that goal!

Well the bottom line looks like I will have to be a good boy for another year! Thanks Santa!

Posted December 28, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized


With 8 new movies opening this week and we wanting to see 6 of them, due to showing schedule and our afternoon plans we decided to see the 11 AM screening of “The Danish Girl”.

Very little is known by the public about what a transgender person lives with and goes through. Recently, because of Caitlayn Jenner and recent shows based around transgender people, the public is becoming more aware of the subject. In 1999 Hilary Swank won a Best Actress award for her role in “Boy Don’t Cry” as a girl who transgendered to a man and  in 2005 Felicity Huffman was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in “TransAmerica” as a man transgendering to a woman.

Einar Wegener, played by Eddie Redmayne, was one of the first men to transition to a woman, in this case, Lili Elbe, in this based on a true story written about in “Man Into Woman” in 1933. Einar is helped, understood and cared for by his wife Gerder, played by Alicia Vikander. In more ways than one she aids Einer become Lili not really understanding what he is going through just as he really doesn’t and the doctors he goes to don’t. 

Both were well known Danish painters with Einar famous for landscapes while Gerder would become more famous for her paintings of ‘Lili’. As a young couple they were very much in love with an active sex life but the more Einar became Lili their relationship in all ways changed.

Having been married for over 20 years the relationships between Einar, Lili with Gerder and hers with both is sort of given short shift in understanding what happens in cases like this.

As Redmayne proved last year in his role as Stephen Hawking and as Marius in “Les Miserables”, winning an Oscar for the former, he can completely immerse himself in a role but here he seems to be all poses and uses scarves as a co-star.

Alicia Vikander appeared in 6 films this year particularly recieving a lot of attention as artificial intelligence Ava in “Ex Machina”. Her role here seems underwritten and she is sort of given short shift regarding the feelings she is suppose to be undergoing.

Amber Heard as a friend of Einer and Gerder and who gives Lili her name, Sebastion Koch as the pioneering doctor, Ben Henrik as Lili’s first suitor and Matthias Schoenaerts as a boyhood friend and the first crush of Einar are all good supporting performers though the latter is put in the position of a possible lover for Gerder which doesn’t ring true.

“The Danish Girl” is an interesting film but doesn’t deliver. There is also the problem of some important–at least they may be important–lines are very soft spoken to the point many people in the audience ask, “What did they say?”, and it isn’t the fault of the theatre’s sound.

Posted December 25, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized


Posted December 25, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized


  1  Merry Christmas

2  A gift

3  What’s Christmas without “Grinch”? 

 4.  5.  6. Broward Performing Arts Center

7 Irene’s corner

8. 9. 10. 11. Coral Ridge/Lauderhill mall1

12. My table

First slide show—explanations above

we have new owners and one of the first rules was “No decorations OUTSIDE of your apartment!”  Well you don’t fool around with old folks!!

1  2. 3. Just a few who don’t follow ‘rules’!! LOL

4      Arthur’s tree with “decorations”—Geri in this picture

  1.   4Jackie joins Geri and Arthur! Can you see the full working train at the bottom of the tree?
  2. 5   Me in 1988 working at the Holiday Inn at Christmas time
  3.   6Me in 2011 having lunch at the Quarterdeck
  4. 7   My Christmas table before I got more cards—see still at top of post taken today.

Second slide show—explanations right above


Posted December 24, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

A JEW LOOKS AT CHRISTMAS   Leave a comment


To me the Nativity scene, Santa Claus, the Rockettes, St. Patrick’s cathedral, Carols, Jingle Bells, snow, cold weather, horse and carriage rides in Central Park, the skating rinks in Rockefeller Center and Central Park, decorated store windows, hot chestnuts, etc., just to name a few things–ALL make up Christmas.


It’s 79 degrees outside but I can walk into a South Florida mall and see a Christmas tree, a kid sitting on Santa’s lap, watch another kid throw a fake snowball, hear “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” on the loudspeaker and it is Christmas for me!!!


Now my Christmas may not acknowledge Christ or any religious aspect that a Christian may but I feel as warm, as moved, surrounded by cheers of “Merry Christmas” or seeing pins on women’s clothes of lit up Santa Clauses as anyone can. I look around and I think of “Peace on earth, good will to men” whether it is looking as a Christmas wreath or a Hanuka bush.



I was 16 and saw myself as a sophisticated man of the world with my cashmere leather trimmed, falling just below the knee, overcoat, leather gloves, brown fur earmuffs and a cashmere scarf thrown around my neck in cavalier fashion about to take my first horse and carriage ride through Central Park with someone I had just met in the Oak Room of the Plaza hotel. I can tell you every inch of that ride and the beauty of being in the park in the middle of Manhattan surrounded by towering buildings sparkling like many colored jewels on  a dark, snowy night three days before Christmas but I couldn’t tell you a thing about the person I was with.




I started this series off by saying I probably will never experience another Christmas season in New York but my memories of such magical times in my life will be with me forever. Whether I hear a choir singing carols or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” or “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” heard on the speakers in a mall or see and/or smell holly, mistletoe, a pine tree or a nativity scene or a menorah or Santa Claus or watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” an unforgettable time will come rushing to me.


It is never too early for

“Peace on earth and good will towards men”

I hope that each of you who have never experienced the magic, the wonder, the awe, the excitement, the meaning of the holiday, get at least one chance to have Christmas in New York City.

Posted December 23, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized


We had a choice between seeing “Sisters” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. I didn’t want to see the former because I know though being sold as a comedy I would cringe as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, talented writers, directors, actresses and comediennes would tell penis, fart, vagina, crass, crude and rude jokes showing they could get as low as men which seems to be the fad among woman comediennes in movies today.

I did a bunch of calls regarding availability of seats at the many theatres showing “Star Wars” and I was surprised to find out that quite a few said ‘no problem’ so off we went.

I do believe in Santa—that should count for something with sci-fi fans—so I don’t want to get any bad marks with only a week to go. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is a movie 2 hour and 25 minutes long and I can honestly say I wasn’t bored for a total of 5 minutes! Seeing it in 3D didn’t help.

It was fun seeing Harrison Ford in his Han Solo/Indiana Jones mode though more of the latter than the former and having a few funny lines. I was impressed with John Boyega as a storm trooper and Daisy Ridley as a desert scavenger but there was a big misstep when it came to showing their growing relationship and they will, obviously, be in future sequels. Does the director realize it isn’t shocking for a Black man and a White woman to kiss? (That’s not a spoiler—if you don’t see that story line coming you will probably enjoy the episode of “Star Wars”.)

Oscar Iassac as a hot shot pilot, Adam Driver as a Darth Vadar junior, Max von Sydow in a cameo and Carrie Fisher in not much more than a cameo all offered something but I don’t know what! Domhnall Gleeson as a fiery General Hux acted with more facial expressions than Chewbacca (Peter Mayhem), R2-D2 (Henry Baker) or C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) but after doing some research I can’t say who ‘voiced’ BB8.

One stunner in the movie was that I had no idea what role Lupita Nyong’o played until I got home and googled the cast to find out she played Maz Kanata and that’s all I’ll tell you!

It was great hearing John Williams score but it seems the director J. J. Abrams and writers Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt were following the original Star Wars films, including ‘the best of…’ from the complete series but they did forget Yoda though not the bar.

I don’t want to think I would have enjoyed “Sisters” more but maybe?????


“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Trailer


Posted December 18, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Uncategorized


My memory isn’t much good when it comes to dates but back in 1977 or ’78 (‘someone’ stole my diaries from the latter 1970s) I was in Overton Park and met a guy called Chuck—almost lost him but that is another post. I don’t quite remember the date I met Terry (2006? ) but I do know he was at my 18th Leap Year birthday.

Meeting Chuck was a life saver in many ways being there when I needed him, listening to my nonsense, seeing me at my worst and best. He has come to accept me for me with all the good and bad—though we would disagree I feel there is more good than bad!! (Otherwise why would he be my friend?!) Trust me when I say he has been there for me when I needed someone to talk to or cry on a shoulder. He knows my lack of a money gene and though I have never seen him shake his head I know he has. At my worst I know I will always get a smile from him—sometimes in frustration and not taking advice, his or anyone else’s!  He has also shown quite a lot of patience as my computer/Internet guru but he has only himself to blame for that as he gave me my first desktop computer.

Now Terry is another story! He picks on poor, little innocent me with zingers in person, on the Internet and everywhere else and I, being shy, never counter attack! Okay you know that is a lot of bull! I think there is an unwritten agreement between us that we can take whatever the other one deals out though one time I acted like a prima donna—yes I know that is hard to believe but it happened.

Chuck and Terry got married in 2013 and I believe next year they will be celebrating being together for 11 years. I am glad they have found each other and I am glad to be part of their family.

On Tuesday December 1st there was a knock on my door absolutely surprising me and making a great memory that I will keep forever but more about that in other—many other posts!

Chuck and Terry I love you both and I am proud, happy to know you are FRIENDS of mine!  (Even if I didn’t get a convertible with a year’s worth of auto insurance but more of that later!)

Chuck & Terry slideshow

Posted December 18, 2015 by greatmartin in FRIENDS, Uncategorized

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