Archive for May 2016


New for me May 2016 Collage

In February I had a great 20th Leap Year birthday party and then in March, due to an accident, I chopped off the tip of a finger and in April was diagnosed with bursitus and badly hit my shin while in May I got an eye infection but…

It seems to have all started in December when I got a new computer and then Chuck and Terry got me a new computer chair plus a food shopping cart. For my birthday most everybody gave what I asked for which were needed/wanted.

I decided in March to start a new project and that was to make A collage of all the pictures and cards I got for my birthday which is something I never attempted. Previously, in 2012 and 2000, friends had surprised me with making collages but this time I decided I would do it. (As you can tell in the lower middle picture that one collage has turned into 3—so far!!)

As I posted last week I decided to join the 21st century by getting a cell phone, primarily to get the uber app that I could use to get around town when I needed to. So now I have a Samsung cell phone and will soon be giving up my landline so I can retain that number which I have had for close to 40 years.

This week I went down to the mailboxes and on the bulletin board was a note by a neighbor who wanted to sell a recliner they had. Now I had been speaking about getting a new recliner the past few months—and it was on my birthday list!– as I never did like mine so I decided to check it out. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it. It was just one of those old, large leather recliners that can also serve as a rocking chair. One of the many good things about living where I do, surrounded by old people, whatever you need/want will soon be available and that’s what happened here! He was asking $25 for it and said he would take $15 and I could pay $10 whoever brought it upstairs to my place—he lives on the first floor around the corner of my building. I sat in it, I reclined in it, I rocked in it, looked it all over and didn’t see a tear or anything wrong with it. As you can see in the top two pictures it found a good home!!

A couple of months ago I had a leak in my refrigerator, reported it to the office and was told that it wasn’t anything major but then last week the leak became ‘major’ and so I got a new fridge this week after 12 years with the old one, which wasn’t new when I moved into this apartment.

Sticking with the new theme being single I don’t usually cook fancy or anything complicated to eat at home. I can go from frozen dinners to getting a pizza delivered but every once in awhile I miss making something special and the other night I did just that as you can see in the lower left picture. Can you tell what it is? Care to guess?

In the lower right bottom picture is a new boat that just docked here. No it isn’t mine but it is new and fits in with the theme of this post. Besides who knows, with my good luck maybe I’ll be invited aboard!!

Last, but certainly not least, “we” got a new car! Well actually Allen got it and is paying for it but when he goes up to his daughter’s to celebrate his and his twin grandchildren’s birthday I will have it from June 15 to July3!! Talking about new—she and her husband bought a new home recently! I did talk him into the red color (though I wanted fire engine red and this is obsessive red—but it is red!) though since Cadillac doesn’t make a convertible I guess I’ll have to settle with this one which certainly looks roomier than the old one!

No matter what goes wrong in life—and I have had a few major ‘wrongs’ this past year—after living all  these years I know good will come along when you least expect it. Just hang in there!

allen 2 new car May 27 2016 (2)

Posted May 30, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized


Most people know Jane Austen’s from either reading her books “Pride & Prejudice”, “Sense & Sensibility” or seeing the many TV or movie versions of those books and “Mansfield Park” and “Emma”. The movie I saw this afternoon “Love and Friendship” is a novella, entitled “Lady Susan”, which she wrote but never finished and was finally published about 75 years later after her nephew took over the task to do just that.

In this film directed by Whit Stillman, who also wrote the screenplay based on the novella, there are a lot of smart, funny, sophisticated lines telling the story of the beautiful, widowed Lady Susan and her manipulations to get her daughter and herself married by any means. We meet many of their relatives, friends and eligible men with the latter being picked by Lady Susan for a role she has picked for each.

The cast, starring Kate Beckinsale as a beautiful, believable Lady Susan and including such actors as Morfydd Clark, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwall, Justin Edwards, Jemma Redgrave, Stephen Fry and James Fleet, among others, fit in with the Jane Austen English characters with only Chloe Sevigny standing out for the wrong reason. Tom Bennett provides many funny moments but he seems too silly for the film and story.

Stillman does a good job of directing and offers a first rate production though at time the actors talk to low and/or a bit hard to understand, swallowing up the words in their accents.

Though I would not recommend seeing “Love & Friendship” I do know it will send me to reading the novella “Lady Susan” so I can read the words of Jane Austen and see how, if, Whit Stillman added to the screenplay or undermined the original story.

Movie trailer

Posted May 27, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized


From arrival until we left the words elegant and elegance were in my mind. Whether I have eaten in too many fast food restaurants or the latest ones which are between fast food and full service or the full service restaurants have been too mediocre Bistro Mezzaluna completely overwhelmed me in a good way.

It started with the base of the table as you enter the restaurant–maybe a silly thing but it is part of the aura of the whole experience.From the hostess to the serving team of Hector and Tommy to the main courses of Rigatoni Bolognese and Shrimp Scampi, which they split into 4 dishes when I casually mentioned to Allen that we should order 2 different items and share them. Our drinks were refilled before we even had a chance to ask.

The only mistake made was the one I made. We asked Hector to suggest a dessert and though he suggested the apple pie a la mode we decided on the flourless chocolate cake which, to us, was to dry which is one of its features.

With our drinks, coffee and diet cola,plus a 20% tip our check came to $57.70 though I really should have left a bigger tip!
As of this meal I have now narrowed my favorites restaurants to three and, ironically, all are Italian!
Bistro Mezzaluna is elegant from the fountain, the centerpiece of the outside dining area, to the bar lounge with the piano back to the base of that table at the entrance/exit.

Oh, I forgot to mention the menus that use recent technology and light up upon opening them.


Posted May 25, 2016 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS, REVIEWS, Uncategorized


new phone May 2016

I have no one to blame but myself! I don’t know what made me do it but within one week I got my first tablet, a new desktop computer and Windows 10! Okay I got a good deal on the computer as it was on sale for $169 but the tablet was a waste of time and money!

I mainly got the tablet because with my situation here I really want to get connected with Uber for transportation but what I didn’t know was that you need a smart phone and, sorry, I am not going to get a cell phone* unless I have to . In any case after talking to Chuck ‘we’ decided I didn’t need the tablet, wouldn’t use it and that I should get rid of it! Well I did, giving it to John who already had one just like it.

Now regarding the computer and Windows 10 I got very lucky in that a week after I bought and not doing anything with it Chuck, who is my computer guru, appeared like Santa at my door and got to work putting the whole thing together, importing my pictures, documents, favorites, bookmarks, etc., from the old computer. He gave me his mantra “Google is your friend” and I was ready to go.

I am doing pretty good with the computer and Windows 10 so I guess I have at least one leg in the 21st century!


*Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!!! In order to get/use the uber app I bought a cell phone!!! My initial payment is $131 including the cost of phone, the activation fee, a stylus pen, shipping and a plan payment of $17.49 I have a 30 day test period and can cancel with only losing $10 for mailing of phone back. Well after ONE DAY I took the next plan at $21 a month. I need the data if I am going to do the uber thing—and I am!!! It is still cheaper than what my landline costs. Oh yes I can have my landline phone number transferred to use on my cell phone!

Now I have to decide if I want to get rid of my landline and what AT&T will charge me for the Internet since I won’t have a ‘bundle’. I don’t plan to use the cell phone anymore than I do the landline which is just for necessary calls like doctor appointments; even though I have all the free texting I want, 400 minutes of talk and 100 MB of data I still hate phones. I was thinking of using the camera that comes in the phone until I saw how much data it takes so that’s out but no longer wearing a watch!

If anyone ever sees me using the cell phone in public, except to call uber, you have my permission to kick me in the rear!!

Posted May 23, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized



I very seldom if ever read reviews before I go to see a movie. I will usually go to see a film because of the stars or having seen or trailer, sometimes by word of mouth or by reading hype which gives me an idea what the movie is about.

I decided to see “The Nice Guys” because I like Russell Crowe though lately his movies haven’t been that good and his appearance is starting to reach the ‘sloppy’ stage. I haven’t made up my mind about Ryan Gosling as I have liked him in about 25% of the movies I have seen him in. At one time I was a big fan of Kim Basinger but she hasn’t done anything g major in movies. Another selling point for me was Matt Bomer who good looks are almost hidden.

After seeing the movie I came home and went to the Rotten Tomatoes site to see it got a 90% critic rating and a 88% audience score while Meta Critic gave it a 70% good critics rating.

“The Nice Guys” is the story of a mismatched pair of private eyes in the 1970s in Los Angeles working together to solve the mystery suicide of a porn star. It is being sold as a comedy and I didn’t even crack one smile though I must say Allen did laugh at a Nixon joke.

Though not the worst movie I have seen this year so far it was a waste of time except for seeing the real star of the movie, a 15 year old actress named Angourie Rice, who steals all the scenes she is in with Crowe and Gosling.

The screenplay and direction along with the production design even fail in recreating the 1970s era of dope, sex, bell bottom trousers and the disco scnene.

If you like the bathroom scene in the trailer then you will probably like this movie. I didn’t and I didn’t!



Posted May 20, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized


meddler 2

There are many reasons to see “The Meddler” and 4 are Susan Sarandon, Sarandon, Susan Sarandon and SusanSarandon. There is a scene of pure joy when she, playing Marnie, starts laughing out of control with her daughter Lori, played by Rose Byrne. In another scene it seems like she is having an orgasm just eating a poached egg in the center of a slice of fried bread with classical music in the background with each beat timed with a bite and any food lover will identify with that!  

In a scene with J.K. Simmons, playing would be motorcycle suitor—Wait! As he says “I am a Harley Davidson which is a different thing” –she makes him look better on screen than he ever has.

And, yes, you can’t take it away from her because when Susan Sarandon appears in that body hugging red dress with a deep V top, nearing 70 in October, she is still one sexy woman.

The film is not perfect as there is a screenplay by LoreneScafaria, who also directed, regarding a mother-daughter relationship which strays far afield to the mother paying for a wedding for a Lesbian couple, played by Cecily Strong and Casey Wilson, her going to private sessions with her daughter’s therapist, AmyLandecker, meddling with her daughter’s ex boyfriend, Jason Ritter, and, yes, meddling in the lives of those around her but, in particularly, her daughter’s. She steers a young Black man, Jerrod Carmicheal, who sold her an Iphone in an Apple store, to go back to school and drives him there every night besides buying a set of text books to help him with his exams, not to forget trying to patch up the rift he has with his brother.

Supported with a star studded cast taking small roles such as Harry Hamlin, Laura San Giacomo, not to forget Michael McKean in a slightly bigger role as another suitor of Marnie’s plus 12 bridesmaids with the flower girl being the child of the Lesbian couple there is no doubt that only Susan Sarandon could be THE STAR of this movie! One minor complaint, very minor, every now and then her Brooklyn accent is jarring.

“The Meddler” is a movie worth seeing if only for the ‘loving to eat egg and bread’ scene, the red dress scene and every other scene Sarandon is in!



Posted May 18, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized


I had heard about the Top Hat Deli and the story behind it but wasn’t quite sure where it was until we dropped a friend off at the Greyhound bus terminal and there it was right next door.

It’s bright, new, trendy looking, well staffed who appeared to work as a good team so it looked like to a good start.

Whatever happened to the ‘customer is always right’ philosophy? Okay it didn’t always work at the Stage or Carnegie or Katz’s delis in NYC but if they had the ingredients you usually got what you wanted even if served sarcastically.

Two in the party ordered corned beef sandwiches and though we didn’t see anything about a side served with it–though it may be there on the menu somewhere– they were offered fries, chips, potato salad or slaw. One took the chips and another took the potato salad. Neither had ever had an egg cream so they ordered that as their drink.

Now comes the problem child–me! I wanted a combo pastrami and corned beef on rye and was basically told that I couldn’t get it unless I ordered two different sandwiches of one each! I didn’t, and still don’t, see the logic as to why I couldn’t get the combo sandwich unless they are getting their meats from the outside already portioned out though I don’t think that is the case.

I, too, had the ‘just a’  corned beef sandwich but didn’t order the egg cream as I wasn’t too happy with the ones the other guys got. I had coffee as my drink and the fries for my side.We all agreed the corned beef sandwich was excellent and, of the sides, the chips were the best.

The check came to $44.52 plus we left a 20% tip. I didn’t, actually see the check  but I have to assume the drink and side are included with the sandwich–maybe just at lunch?–as looking at their menu on the Internet the sandwich alone was priced at $14 so if it was all a la carte it would have come to around $64 before tax. as the sides were $4 each and the drinks $3.50.

$15.46 per person is about average for lunch in downtown Fort Lauderdale and, right now, they have plenty of free parking.

The bottom line? It’s a nice restaurant and one of only 3 delis in the area but if I can’t get what I want when it is available without having to pay double the price why should I return?


Top Hat Deli slideshow

Posted May 16, 2016 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized


Walking into a movie house to see a film starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, directed by Jodie Foster, one is expecting to see a good film and “Money Monster” delivers. It brings nothing new to the movie screen but it holds your interest, is a decent thriller and shows two stars at their best along with a supporting cast doing just that by giving strong support.

The plot sounds very simple but the financial dealings aren’t! Kyle, played by Jack O’Connell, takes flamboyant TV financial host Lee Gates, played by Clooney, hostage while the latter is doing his live show, which Patty Fenn, played by Julia Roberts, produces and directs. Kyle makes Lee put on a rigged bomb vest and threatens to take his finger off the detonator unless it is explained how he lost all his money on a tip given by Lee on his show, which was blamed on a computer glitch.

The company is owned by Walt Camby, played by Dominic West, a favorite actor of mine, whose communication director, and his mistress, Diane Lester, played by Caitriona Balfe, is in the dark about many things regarding her boss. Some of the best scenes in the movie are between Balfe and Roberts.

Christopher Denham as a producer wanna be working with Patty has a role underwritten but played well by him and offering humor. Lenny Venito as the lead cameraman on the show, Condola Rashad as an assistant and Emily Meade as Kyle’s girlfriend all make an impression with their time on screen.

George Clooney is his familiar, wisecracking, mugging self at the beginning and growing stronger as he tries to bind with Jack O’Connell who delivers a difficult role easily. Through it all Julia Roberts is the focus and main strength of the film.

The screenplay by Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf keeps the suspense going, gives the actors some funny bits and tries to look at all the aspects of Wall Street and how the financial world works but do their best keeping the dealings between Clooney, Roberts and O’Connell at a high level.

Though the film was suppose to have been shot in real time, a few scenes, outdoors, had to be fudged here and there. Jody Foster, as the director, keeps the tension going, the actors moving briskly and efficiently entertains. Though anything you can say about a thriller will be a spoiler Foster only did two things ‘wrong’, one regarding Roberts which is a personal spoiler for me and another regarding giving some information just a beat too soon.

“Money Monster” delivers any expectations a movie-goer could want and will certainly satisfy fans of Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Jodie Foster and thrillers.


Movie trailer

Posted May 13, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized


Yes I did it! I actually laughed twice! I was also amazed by the motorcycle chase trick and the Iron Man movie ‘magic’. When you have Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), each with a super power you know there will be a lot of battles and there are each given a chance to show off their ‘specialty’!

There are so many superheroes that mere human beings like Maria Tomei has nothing more than a cameo while John Slattery, Alfre Woodard and Hope Davis get a few minutes more and Emily VanCamp might even have 10 minutes on screen total with Oscar Winner William Hurt actually seems to be a major character in the movie bit that may only be because he is part of the reason there is a civil war with the superheroes divided into opposing camps.

Between the heroes and, oh yes, a few villains, plus the huge cast, the fights, chases, buildings tumbling, glass shattering, special effects, it is no wonder the film takes 2 hours and 30 minutes.

To me the standouts were Robert Downey, Jr., who can do no wrong on film, Chadwick Boseman making a great impression and Anthony Mackie who may have done a lot of work in front of a green screen but is flawless. I am a fan of Emily VanCamp and Paul Rudd as Ant-Man always gets a smile out of me.

I feel I have given Marvel comic book characters and that ilk a fair chance but aside from “Ant-Man”and “Deadpool” I can do without them. Liking, even laughing, maybe about 20 minutes out of a 150 minutes of a film really isn’t a recommendation.



Posted May 12, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized


Beautiful  2

“Beautiful—The Carole King Musical”, which opened at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, is a beautiful musical!   From the cast of 25 actors/singers/dancers to the 13 musicians conducted by Susan Draus to the precise direction of Marc Bruni, the choreography by Josh Prince, the fluid set design by Derek McLane working with the lighting design Peter Kaczorowski and sound design by Brian Ronan, (and what a beautiful sound system was heard at the Performing Arts Center), plus the costume design by Alejo Vietti all meld together bringing an evening of first rate entertainment.

In addition to the above just add the songs of Gerry Coffin and Carole King plus those of Barry Mann and Cynthia Wells such as “So Far Away”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, “One Fine Day”, “On Broadway” plus 22 others climaxing with “(You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman”, the title tune and “I Feel The Earth Move” and you have a glorious 2 hours and 25 minutes in the theatre.

The book by Douglas McGrath follows the formula of musicals but has a cast that takes old, very old, musical comedy lines and makes them sound fresh.  When Suzanne Grodner, as Genie Klein, Carole’s mother, can make a character who insists her daughter become a teacher and ‘stop the foolishness’ of writing songs and then when her daughter becomes a huge success takes all the credit sound so fresh and funny you know you are in a comfortable place.

The story follows the insecure Jewish teenager from Brooklyn who sells her first song when in her teens to the self assured woman who commands the stage at Carnegie Hall in 1971 to a sold out concert. We watch Carole Klein become Carole King as she meets Gerry Goffin, falls in love with him, writes the music to his lyrics, has his child and marries him. Gerry is a womanizer and, in all probability, bi-polar who has wild, various mood swings, when faced with the latest woman in his life Carole decides to leave him.

Abby Mueller is excellent as Carole Klein/King with a powerful voice whether singing alone or with others and handles the intimate scenes at first tentative as a teenager would and then morphing into the major star we know as Carole King. Liam Toby, as Gerry, has a more difficult role of making the audience like this man who betrays his wife and succeeds in doing just that including the corny, but touching, ending. Their duets together and the songs they sing solo are delights to hear.

Becky Gulsvig, as Cynthia Weil, and Ben Fankhauser, as Barry Mann, are real life songwriting competitors and friends of Carole and Gerry and almost steal the show from them. Weil/Gulsvig is almost a stock musical comedy character that you wonder if she was/is really like that but she holds your attention from her first entrance to the her curtain call. Mann/Fankhauser makes every hypochondriac seem to be the funniest person in the room. The two have a great rapport whether singing or exchanging witty remarks especially regarding their relationship.

To all this add an ensemble that reenact such singers as The Drifters, The Shirelles, Little Eva and The Righteous Brothers belting out songs in 1960s style and outfits and you have a winning show.

This is one of the best touring companies presented by Bank of America in their 2015-2016 Broadway Across America shows. “Beautiful-The Carole King Musical” will be at in Fort Lauderdale until May 10th and will return to the Arsht Center in Miami February 14, 2017. Go to see when it is coming to your city and get tickets!

Running time 2 hours and 25 minutes including a 20 minute intermission.

Posted May 11, 2016 by greatmartin in THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

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