Archive for June 2016


Fuego Latino restaurant Collage

A good restaurant that can be overlooked because of hedges in front of the strip mall but once you find it you are in for a treat!

I had been carrying a small newspaper clip rating the restaurant as one of the best for a Cuban sandwich so we decided to try it and was surprised from the minute we got there. The outside in the afternoon looks more like a takeout coffee place than the large, well appointed, comfortable restaurant inside. It was about 1:30 PM and the place was empty and stayed that way except for a guy who came in for a takeout order.

Our waiter Javier was not only new to the USA, from Cuba, but seemed new to the restaurant business though he knew/did all the correct things from suggesting a few items, showing us the  list of 8-9 different lunch specials, bringing our drink orders promptly, checking back to make sure everything was okay only making one mistake which was understandable.

I did order the Cuban sandwich ($7.99) and Diet Coke ($1.79) while Craig had the Pork Sandwich ($7.99) and diet Coke ($1.79) both coming with fries. There was some confusion when we were served because I knew what I had in front of me was not a Cuban sandwich but it was corrected when we realized that Javier just put the sandwiches down wrong and it was hard just by looking at them to tell the difference!

My sandwich was really good but I wish there had been homemade fries or the choice of another side dish but that’s minor.

Looking over their menu, divided between Mexican and Cuban dishes, all at reasonable prices, ranging from pork, chicken, seafood, steak, from fajitas to Arroz con Pollo all with appropriate side dishes.

I hope Fuego Latino makes it because it has everything going for it as far as I could see when it comes to ambiance, a good looking, eager to please staff, a lot of free parking and one of the craziest tables at the front door alone worth the trip there! I would love to see what the frosted window in front of the restaurant looks like in the evening and I am planning to have dinner there soon, probably trying the fajitas.

Oh, yes, even though we didn’t expect, or ask for it, Javier gave us separate checks which weren’t necessary as the price was the same for both $10.36, including tax. That little gesture earned him a bigger tip.

Fuego Latino 12 April 14 2016

Posted June 29, 2016 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

From a seed to a flower   Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I went into the Dollar Tree store to find them setting up racks of seed packet which they sell 4 for a $1 and, of course I went wild buying packets of seeds and it always amazes me to see a seed grow into a beautiful flower. Over the next year I will I have Morning Glory blooms in the morning, Geraniums all day, flowers in my living/dining room, kitchen and bathroom each seem to be greeting me. Now if I could only get the vegetables to grow!

I now have zinnias blossoming on the sill of the east window!

I usually put the empty seed packet with the plant but I didn’t with the one in the following slideshow which I have made over the past year. It is a beautiful pink blossom almost in the shape of a pitchfork. Anyone know the name??

Posted June 27, 2016 by greatmartin in MOTHER NATURE, Uncategorized


temple street eatery Collage

Craig and I were hungry so I suggested this place I had often passed and wanted to try, mainly because they were related somehow—I forget how—to one of the best Chinese restaurants in Fort Lauderdale.

Started with a dour order taker who aside from not being able to bother a new customer with a smile was tongue tied when it came to suggestions.

We both ordered the Buddha Bowl with lemongrass chicken ($11) and a soda ($2.50) plus 1 appetizer of chicken dumplings ($4). The appetizer came after we were halfway through our main course and was absolutely tasteless. Regarding the main course, was it suppose to be hot? Cold? A salad? I really don’t know as it was more or less served at room temperature with a cold fish sauce.

The bill with tax came to $32.86 At that price for the food served and lack of interaction from the staff I see no reason to go back.

One more restaurant to forget. 

Posted June 26, 2016 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS, REVIEWS, Uncategorized


Matthew McConaughey is a powerful actor in a powerful role but “Free State of Jones” is not as powerful a screenplay, by Gary Ross, as it could have, should have been. All the elements are there from the story being based on a not too well known chapter in American history that includes the Civil War, slaves being mistreated by owners, inter-racial lovers, voting rights, KKK attacking, the poor who are fighting the war so the rich can get richer, a band of escaped slaves, a time in the future when a man is put on trial for marrying a white woman because he may be part black and just after that scene the film doesn’t go into the high you would not only expect but want.

The idea of a band of people calling a section of their State, here the Free State of Jones, and how that is done or would work is passed over just as what the slaves and poor white people have in common enough to unite and go against those in charge.

Gary Ross, who also directed the film, tries to stick to the facts of history and, in most cases, stays away from over dramatizing those scenes that might have been more moving, for instance the coupling of white, married Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) and black slave Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who give birth to a son and, due to reversals in fortune, his wife (Keri Russell), along with his first son, comes to live with them.

McConaughey continues his winning streak of strong characters but here he applies the strength that is only hinted at by the director and writer, while the depth of his relationship with Rachel is helped by the subtle playing of Gugu Mbatha-Raw who, after “Belle” and “Beyond the Lights” should be a huge star. Mahershala Ali, who names himself Moses, starts with a repulsive iron necklace with spears eventually removed by McConaughey, and winds up in one of the most shocking scenes of the film.

The cast, with many speaking parts, is an honest look at all sexes, ages, social strata most of who made up the armies of the Civil War. The swamp, filmed in Louisiana, provides some breath taking scenes.

“Free State of Jones” will show many viewers a part of American history not too well known, contains strong performances but at 140 minutes could have been tightened by eliminating the courtroom scenes that take place in the late 1940s making for a tighter, faster moving and, possibly, allowed some room to add emotional scenes as even most of the death moments offer nothing.




Movie trailer

Posted June 24, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized



In my senior years all I ask is a roof over my head, food in my belly and clothes on my back but I find myself having so much more.

The other day went to café Vico for dinner and then to see a good performance of “Beauty and the Beast”—on Friday the excellent movie “Genius” which I have written about.

Monday I took a ‘me day’ (yeah like every day isn’t a ‘me day’!) I had to go to my primary doc for blood work and will go back to go over the results today. I didn’t know how long it would take at the doc’s but I was out in 15 minutes. I checked out the paper and saw “Finding Dory” was going to be on at 2:15 so I went to the theatre getting there what I thought was 45 minutes early only to discover a show was going on in 10 minutes. The icing on the cake was that I had a free ticket with their reward system so instead of paying $11.49 ($3 higher because it was extra for 3D) I paid nothing! After that, since it was so nearby and I had fasted for the blood work and it was sort of early for dinner but late for lunch (any excuse will do) I went to Sweet Tomatoes where I had a 50% off coupon so only paid $4.

Tuesday it was off to the hand surgeon and good news there–he said that the finger looks great and is almost sure we can start talking prosthesis before the end of July. Meanwhile he said I don’t have to have it bandaged anymore but if I wasn’t ready for that (I’m not!) instead of wrapping it up all I needed was two bandages–one over the top and the other around the top–I did look at it today and didn’t faint so that’s a good sign!!! And then I had the day to go to the beach, the art museum, Los Olas Boulevard and the Riverwalk using the water taxi!

Today I have a friend coming over to clean my kitchen and I can go to Wilton Manors, after I check Allen’s place, get his mail,. etc., to see what’s new there, stop for a bite at Cheddar’s as I haven’t been there in a long, long time, and maybe check Out of the Closet for a couple of things I want plus walk around as I haven’t been in that area for awhile.

I know right around the corner something ‘bad’ is waiting to happen—at my age it is part of living—like breaking my kneecap, chopping of my finger, having a heart valve replaced—as since 1999 when I had congestive heart failure something bad has happened every year BUT right now I am living a life that couldn’t be better plus a 2016 Caddie to get around to live it!!


Spring 1 May 14 2016 (2)

Posted June 22, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized


I found one scene in “Finding Dory” to be absolutely ridiculous and while shaking my head I heard my brain saying, “What can be more ridiculous than an 80 year old man having a ball watching a cartoon about talking fish and enjoying himself, probably more than the kids in the audience?”

I don’t know which was more fun recognizing old friends like Dory, the blue tang fish who has no short term memory, or Nemo and Marlin, the clown fish or meeting new friends like a very near sighted shark, a very strange octopus who can somewhat drive a truck and a beluga fish who can see outside of his surroundings.

You are very quickly drawn into the picture as we meet Dory and her old and new friends. You not only are in their world but you believe the world exists no matter what situations they get into and out of, in the strangest ways!

We are brought up to snuff regarding “Finding Nemo” and quickly get into Dory looking for her parents. “Finding Dory” is a little heavier and sadder than the first movie.  Though Dory’s movie is only about 3 minutes longer than Nemo’s because of its heavier scenes about friends and family it seems a lot longer. A lot more characters are introduced, some quickly who come and go, others become an important part of the picture.

From the opening vignette, before the titles, up to the funny ‘bits’, mainly by Hank the octopus, under the closing credits, “Finding Dory” is a good film for the kids and the adults. Of the many films I have seen this year so far I would rate “Finding Dory” in the top 5.

Yes Ellen DeGeneres is back as Dory and Albert Brooks is Nemo’s father, while Nemo is now voiced by Hayden Rolance along with Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy as Dory’s parents, Ty Burrell as Bailey the  Beluga whale, Kaitlin Olson as Destiny the near sighted shark among many others but don’t waste time trying to figure out who is what creature as it will only drive you crazy!

I do expect a feature like “Finding Destiny and Bailey” in 2-3 years!!

By the way we adults outnumbered the kids at the matinee which might say something—or not!



Movie Trailer

Posted June 21, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

GOODBYE SPRING–HELLO SUMMER 2016   Leave a comment


summer 1  2016 Collage

1) Dock at the 15th Street Fisheries where we celebrated Philippe’s birthday

2,3,5,6) Queen Crepe Myrtle before and after rains

4) Doctor’s office—he has some of the most interesting cactus plants

7) Lillies

8) MY green peppers—all of a sudden the seeds I planted are producing like crazy!

9,10,11,12) Around Gateway

13) Staghorn Fern outside the office at Gateway

14) At The Point—my favorite place to relax

15) Working on my collage—should get it done by 2020!

16) Allen’s car parked at the Sea Watch where we took Philippe for his birthday!

Sorry but I forgot to number the pictures!

Though summer officially starts today our temperatures have been in the 90s for a few days already and the humidity, because of the daily rains during rainy season, is high—glasses fog up when you walk outside—but I love the heat and humidity!


Posted June 20, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

…but somebody has to do it!   Leave a comment

sea watch 11 allen's car june 2 2016 (1)
(Allen’s new Cadillac)

A couple of weeks ago Allen traded his Caddie in for a 2016 one. I wanted him to get a red convertible but it turns out that Cadillac isn’t making convertibles but he did settle for the color red—not the bright fire engine red I wanted but it was red!

Allen and his twin grandchildren celebrate their birthday on June 18 so he goes up north to spend it with them. We have an agreement that in return for me taking him to the airport when he leaves and pick him up when he gets back I can use his car so now for 17 days I have freedom—to spend money!! Having a car is expensive as if I want something I can go and get it when I have a car. If I want to go somewhere I can get in the car and go!

If I know in advance when he is leaving I usually make some doctor appointments because without a car it is difficult and takes a whole day to get to and back from the appointments and, consequently, I have appointments next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 1 PM. Since I will be out I may be able to get a friend to clean my place as I don’t like being around and getting in the way.

This past Wednesday we had dinner at the Café Vico where I had my birthday party and then we, Anthony and I, went to see a good performance of “Beauty and the Beast” and then yesterday I went to see an excellent film called “Genius”—you can read my reviews of both. Thursday I did my usual Winn Dixie and Dollar Tree runs and I bought myself a new watch. No, not at the Dollar tree, though at one time they did sell dollar watches nor at Winn-Dixie. In any case see the pictures below for my new watch.

new watch 2 june 17 2016 (1)       new watch 2 june 17 2016 (2)

Today I will go out to Allen’s place, get his mail and check the condo. Sunday, having a car, I may check out the paper’s ads and if I want something I’ll go and get it—see what I mean having a car is expensive and I haven’t even mentioned the cost of gas going up again. (Good thing I have everything I need!)

I was thinking of taking a trip up to Orlando but my friend John there said I should wait. Right now they have people coming in from all over, pouring in, and they appreciate all the help they are getting but in 2-3 weeks they will be alone again when the next story takes over the media. John also suggested I stay away the 4th of July weekend as it will be crazy. It looks like the best time to go up, while I have the car, will be around the 27th and John said he will call me a few days before. Don’t know what I can do there but I am sure I can help in someone, somehow.

In any case I was told—and believe—living well is the best revenge and cruising around in a red Cadillac certainly helps. Somebody has to do it so it might as well be me.

Allen will also be going to England for a month at the end of August so I guess, once again, I will have to put up with taking care of the car—poor little me.

By the way you can start this car before you get in so the a/c will be on and in Fort Lauderdale in the summer that is a good thing to be able to do. Now if I could only figure out how to do it!! Guess I’ll have to read the manual!

 allen rok burger   nov 15 2919   1

Thanks for being my friend Allen and trusting me with your car.

Posted June 18, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized


First and foremost “Genius” is an excellent film with a performance by Jude Law, as writer Thomas Wolfe, that is a standout and better than many he has done in the past decade with a much quieter, but as strong a performance, by Colin Firth as Editor Maxwell Perkins.

It is not easy to have a movie featuring a writer but add an editor and you have a lot of scenes of writing, editing with a red pencil and voiceovers reading what the author has written. There are some scenes like these in the screenplay by John Logan, based on the biography of Perkins by A. Scott Berg, but they don’t distract from the temperamental differences between the two men and the results not only in their lives but what they brought to the world.

Near the beginning of the film Thomas Wolfe describes himself, at the same time describing the performance that Jude Law gives, as being flamboyant, loud, childish, full of self involvement and importance, a genius, and that is the man we see. On the other hand Maxwell Perkins is presented as a quiet, even tempered man who, it seems, never took his hat off!           The main thing they had in common was love of the written word with Wolfe known to write many words when few would be better and Perkins knowing how to get to that few.

Though not knowing how much of the film was “Hollywood imagined”, though a few scenes felt as if they were invented, by the end you will wonder if Wolfe or Perkins or both of them were the genius of the title.

While Laura Linney, as the wife of Maxwell Perkins, has a quiet role as the supportive wife and mother Nicole Kidman as Aline Bernstein, Wolfe’s companion, partner, lover and provider, steals a few scenes from both Law and Firth.

There are basically cameos from Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald, an almost unrecognizable Dominic West as Ernest Hemmingway and a brief performance by Vanessa Kirby as Zelda Fitzgerald.

I must admit that though I knew of Thomas Wolfe as a writer, mainly from the play version of his first novel, “Look Homeward, Angel”, never having read the book and vaguely remember hearing about his bestseller “Of Time and the River” I now want to read both and I want to know more about the man and how close this film is to his real life.

I did know of Maxwell Perkins through the world of publishing and the editor of two of my books, Layde Sparks, always referred to herself as my Maxwell Perkins and this film also makes me want to read the book it is based on.

“Genius” is an excellent film not only for bringing two men everyone should know to life but also to see the performances by Jude Law, Peter Firth and Nicole Kidman. I hope they aren’t forgotten, especially Law, when award time comes along.

I very seldom talk about films that can be the downloaded from the Internet at the same time they can be seen in theatres but I want people to see this—though it is better on the big movie screen!


Posted June 17, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized


beauty beast june 15 2016 curtain call

Heartfelt thanks to the cast and crew of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” for taking us out of the reality of what has happened outside of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale this past week. Instead they took us into a world of fantasy, fairy tales, singing, dancing and talking teapots, clocks, loving fathers, egotistical and funny suitors, beasts who turn into princes, spells, roses and love.

This production seemed to move at a faster clip than previously and the actors got laugh after laugh even wringing some from jokes, and moves, we have seen numerous times. The beast, played by Sam Hartley, was the funniest beast yet as he interacted with Lumiere, the living candelabra played with expertise by Ryan N. Phillips, and the clock, played by Samuel Shirtluff, hitting every beat and at the same time touched our hearts as he found love with sweet, lovable Belle, played by Brooke Quintana.

Babbette, played by Melissa Jones, Mrs. Potts played by Stephanie Gray, with a little help from Chip, an adorable Deandre’ Horner and Stephanie Harter Gilmore as Madame de la Grande Bouche couldn’t have brought more to their characters and the audience ate them up. Jeanette Palmer, Colleen Roberts and Sarah Shelton, as the Silly Girls, could and should get an act together and play in nightclubs they were so coordinated working together.

Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek as Gaston, made being vain, narcissist and ultra masculine pure camp milking every line for a laugh and getting them while as Matt Dasliva, his sidekick, Lefou, took so many tumbles and pratfalls it’s as if he is one big rubber band. The ensemble of dancers and singers, along with the above, made show stoppers out of “Be My Guest”, “Human Again”, the title tune “Beauty and the Beast” as if they were being heard for the first time.

The rest of the score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, under conductor Kevin Francis guiding 10 musicians was the icing on the cake.

Almost as much fun was watching the princesses in the audience, many dressed with tiaras and almost gowns, as they watched Belle with fascination while the princes, not as many, were caught up in the magic that was taking place on stage whether it was the beast turning into the prince or seeing plates, spoons, knives and dishes dancing!

Thank you to Broadway Across America, Bank of America, NETworks Presentations LLC, Florida Theatrical association and Disney productions for giving us 2 hours and 10 minutes of musical theatre magic at a time when it is certainly needed.

“Beauty and the Beast” was the last presentation of the 2015-2016 season and makes us look forward to the start of the 2016-2017 season!

Posted June 16, 2016 by greatmartin in THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

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