Archive for October 2016

HALLOWEEN–THE GREAT GAY HOLIDAY!   Leave a comment

I look at the date on the bottom picture and I realize it is exactly 30 years ago and I still recognize that guy–WOW!!

I was never into the Halloween scene especially since the 1970s when everyone dressed as either Judy Garland or a Nun!

At that time I was working at Wag’s on University Drive and Commercial Boulevard–it has since been 3 different businesses–and Gonzalez, who I had worked with in New York, had brought in a painting kit knowing I wouldn’t be dressed up for Halloween and got to work so there I was walking around serving customers as a cat! Back in ‘those days’ we didn’t have phones with cameras or point and shoot digital cameras so there were no selfies or such!

I was looking through my pictures because I know I have one of my two friend’s, each named Michael, dressed up to go out to the bars–yes one was Judy and the other a Nun–but I can’t find it–will ahve to look again.

Thinking of the holiday and the year I realize it is also 30 years ago both Michaels and one of my mentors, Albyn, died, 2 in the month of October. The three of them loved celebrating Halloween and it has become a bitter sweet time for me–I miss them but I see kids all dressed up getting ready to ‘trick or treat’ and I just want to say Happy Halloween and have a lot of fun!

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Posted October 31, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“INFERNO”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Though a huge Tom Hanks fan that doesn’t mean he always makes good movies. I saw but don’t remember the first two films based on the books by Dan Brown and this is the most forgettable of all, that is if you can even remember what the plot was about though it was again a case of a man wanting to rule the world and the good people who want to stop him.

Tom Hanks, not being a Tom Cruise, doesn’t go around fighting 5 people at a time and winning the fight and, in fact, gets beaten up a few times, but, yes, recovers pretty quickly as only movie heroes can. At 60 he isn’t running as fast or as much as he use to but the one thing Hanks has is that tremendous likability that always makes him a winner in any movie he is in.

There is a strong supporting cast made up of young, middle aged and old actors doing a professional job but, alas, all for nothing. I am a firm believer of checking your logic at the door when coming to see an action movie but the screen writer David Koepp and director Ron Howard seem to be deyfing you to follow the film. Yes, someone wants to eliminate half the population, as he feels we are overpopulated, releasing a virus and there are a load of red herrings and some people are out to stop the virus from being released.

Three things going for the movie are the soundtrack by Howard Shore, the production design by Peter Wenham and the cinematography by Salvatore Totino in Florence, Venice and Istanbul but that’s not enough for a good movie.

If you haven’t seen Tom Hanks in “Scully” then skip “inferno” or save your money to see “Moonlight” next week and “Loving” the week after!

Movie Trailer

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH2BD49sEZI&spfreload=10

Posted October 28, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

LA BAMBA–RESTAURANT REVIEW–FT. LAUDERDALE   Leave a comment

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With opening day offering a ‘50% off your complete check special’ it was surprising that we only had a 10 minute wait plus everything, as far as I could see, went smoothly. I believe this is La Bamba’s 6th restaurant in the area and, probably, one of the most brightly decorated one in the area including the new ‘thing’ of the ceiling being a special part of the restaurant interior.

To start off our server Jason was excellent. (An aside: am I just old or do all servers look 15 years old today?!) The ladies at the front desk didn’t have an easy job but they handled it professionally and with a smile which is always a good introduction to a restaurant.

The portions are huge and the food tastes good which I suppose justifies the high prices for a Mexican restaurant though sticker shock isn’t new these days.

Anthony had the  Flautas ($13.50), asked for a side of guacamole ($4.50) and his iced tea without ice ($2.50) which always makes me laugh.. I had the Supreme Fajitas which consisted of chicken, shrimp and steak ($19) without too much shrimp but a good portion of steak and chicken along with a diet coke ($2.50) We both cleaned our plates at the same time saying we weren’t hungry!

The only disappointment were the chips–sort of tasted stale–as did the 2 mild and one spicy salsas served with them, neither having a homemade taste.

It was good to see a working manager going to and from tables and even helping a server here and there plus cleaning a table along the way.

Our check came to $44.52 with the 50% off making it $22.26 plus tax and tip.

For the past 20 years my favorite Mexican restaurant has been right around the corner on 17th street but with La Bamba open for lunch, and the former not anymore, I may be seeing Jason again–as when I find a good server I will always ask for them as they are one of the reasons I am coming back to a restaurant.

A GREAT INTERNET DEAL–A LOUSY FINGER DEAL   Leave a comment

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(Mold/cast made for new finger!)

I am sitting here minding my own business and I get a call from The Hanger Clinic who are making my prosthetic finger–for a second I thought they might be calling to tell me my finger came in but oh no!

Tiffany was on the other end and she told me the insurance company denied my claim even though they did okay it Oct 4 and I went for measurements.

I won’t get into the HOURS of calls to the insurance company but the bottom line is they didn’t deny the claim but they need my medical records–easier said than done as I just changed my primary doctor and now we have to track down the records–does the old primary have them or did they send them to the new primary or are they ‘lost’? Do I have to get the records from the finger surgeon? ARGH!!!!

Today will be more hours (it is ALWAYS hours!) on the phone calling the insurance company and trying to get hold of my insurance case worker, calling the old and new primaries AGAIN, etc., etc.

Or if you want to give me $5,334 I’ll be able to skip the insurance and just pay for the finger!

Hopefully the insurance will okay the claim and it won’t hold up my getting it.

_____________________________________________________________________

A GREAT INTERNET DEAL IN THE USA!

A few of you know that I didn’t have the Internet last weekend  and between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon I spent close to 5 hours on the phone.

For those who don’t know, AT&T, through the government, offers a $12 credit for a landline phone if you are eligible (in other words poor!)–now they are offering the Internet for $5-$10 a month (plus taxes) and I applied and received a letter yesterday saying that I was eligible and all I had to do was call 855-220-5211 to finish the ordering process so I did.

Spoke to someone very nice who explained that with this new deal instead of 1.5 MB I would be getting 12 MB–didn’t have the slightest idea what she was talking about–and that it was a good deal.  We finished the call with her telling me I would get my first bill charging me $10+ taxes November and that I would get a credit for October. We hung up and I went to go on the Internet–COULDN’T GET ON THE INTERNET!!! I won’t get into all the hours on the phone (YEP! It is ALWAYS hours) and will just cut to the chase–a technician came over at 6 PM–I explained what happened and he said he knew exactly what the problem was and 5 minutes later I was on the Internet.

I won’t say I understand the whole thing but the 12 MB was too much for the wires and box handling Internet so going from a speed of 1.5 MB to 12 MB caused it to go down. I didn’t know but I have been ‘working’ with 1.5 all along and it was never a problem–I really didn’t find it to be slow–well, not THAT slow! :O) As it is because I can’t use the 12 MB I will only be PAYING $5 A MONTH PLUS TAXES for full service Internet. I do not see any difference in speed between paying $40 and paying $5!!

So anyone that goes for the $5 (and who wouldn’t if you were eligible??) deal just remember when you finalize it to be sure to mention staying at the 1.5 MB rate. I do understand some States don’t have it yet while others have different rates—be sure to check if you are eligible and what the rates are. Also check the MB and how high you can go without knocking yourself off the Internet.

Looks like the AT&T deal will save me $40 which is more than my cell phone costs a month!!

You can Thank me later!

 

Posted October 26, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“DENIAL”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Most people don’t expect to walk out of a movie smarter than they walked in but seeing “Denial” not only entertains but teaches the audiences. Most Americans don’t really know about the British court system but the main difference is that in America in libel cases the defendant is innocent until proven guilty while in England the defendant is guilty until they can prove their innocence.

Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) has written a just published book “Denying The Holocaust” portraying David Irving (Timothy Spall) as the holocaust denier he is and the latter claims she has ruined his career, cost him a loss of income and defamed him so sues her.

The “Denial” is based on a true story and the courtroom scenes are word for word from the actual trial records. Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) defends her in court while Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott), who was Lady Diana’s solicitor in her divorce, heads a team to prepare the case. Irving defends himself hoping to bring his denying the holocaust to more of the public and increasing his following while making his argument more valid. The outcome of the trial has a lot at stake on both sides and while some may go into the movie knowing the ending they will still get caught up in the trial.

It has been awhile since there has been a good trial movie and this fills that absence with both parties agreeing to the judge making the decision instead of the hearing being in front of a jury. His final decision is over a 300 page report and everyone in the audience where I was holding their breath and some even vocalizing at the decision.

From the opening scene, where Irving confronts Lipstadt, giving a lecture in a full hall, to the last scene in “Denial”, the film holds your attention and the three leads Weisz, Wilkinson and Spall are standouts, especially the latter who as a despicable person may make you shake your head back and forth but will hold you interest. The supporting cast doesn’t have a less than worthy player.

A film about the holocaust doesn’t immediately bring laughter to mind but with Lipstadt, as a ‘fish out of water’, provides quite a few smiles and, in some cases outright laughter, as the differences in the ways of Americans and Brits, especially in the courtroom, come about naturally.

While I wasn’t so emotionally involved as I thought I would be I was more intellectually involved than I usually am with a movie.

An aside: I have finally found someone who has written, and keeps, more diaries than I did/have and he makes my collection look like nothing!

MOVIE TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH7ktvUWaYo

Posted October 24, 2016 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

60 HOURS IN A RETIREE’S LIFE   Leave a comment

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I have never worked as hard as I have since I’ve been retired!! Any time I hear someone saying they are bored being retired I want to slap them! I don’t know how I worked and got all this done.

On Thursday I went to meet and talk to a new primary doctor and my immediate reaction was that it didn’t feel comfortable but I will give it a couple of more meetings before I make any decisions. Allen picked me up there and we went to the Cabo Blanco restaurant where I am working my way through their 32 luncheon specials in no particular order. I had #31, Pescado A La Chorrillana, fresh fish fried topped with fresh sautéed onions and tomatoes and a side of rice. It was good!

Since I am talking about food we eat everywhere and anything as, for instance, after seeing “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” on Friday we went to Arby’s afterwards having their 2-4-$10 meals plus a 3-4-$5 roast beef sandwiches. The next day, (okay, the picture is too dark so you may not see so I am helping you out here!) before going to the theatre we went to Rok:Burger, a gourmet burger restaurant with gourmet prices—come on for 2 burgers with fries, 2 diet cokes one vanilla ice cream plus tax and tip the check came to $50. I still can’t get use to $13, $15 burgers!!

Talking about theatre the first two pictures show the set for “the Hunchback of Notre Dame” and the cast taking their bows at the end.

 The rest of the pictures were taken walking from the restaurant to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts including the old but magnificent tree and the yacht Allen is going to buy—someday. The big chair is something new on the walk and no way was I going to climb up there! All around the Center are Birds of Paradise plants which are my favorite flower plus there were two weddings going on. The next to last picture I took from the top of the hill—yes, we have hills in Fort Lauderdale! Okay they may be man mad but it is a hill.

From the hill, though I couldn’t get a good focus, the 2 bottom pictures, one on the right and one on the left, are a family of ducks with the one on the left including dad who is far behind. There were about 8 chicks and not a one would leave the mother’s side.

The theatre, the doctor, the movies, restaurants, walking through the Riverwalk Park—retired life is tough but I am doing my best to keep up! 

(AND I DON’T EVEN HAVE TIME FOR NAPS!!!)

Posted October 24, 2016 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME” –A MUSICAL THEATRE REVIEW   Leave a comment


“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is based on the novel by Victor Hugo, and songs from the Disney film set, with music by Alan Menkin and Stephen Schwartz  and the book for the musical written by Peter Parnell. It is one of the Slow Burn Theatre Company’s largest physical productions and consists of a cast of 15 plus a choir of 18.

On the surface the story is about three men who fall in love with a Gypsy woman while the underlying stories are about being different, unwanted immigrants, religious faith and conflicts along with the differences between a man, a monster and a hero.

Quasimodo (Bobby Cassell) is a hunchback who rings the bells in the church ofNotre Dame which have made him partially deaf, lives in isolation and refers to his uncle as “Master’, the latter having promised his brother upon his death to take care of the child. Quasimodo falls in love with Esmeralda one afternoon when he leaves the sanctuary of the church to take part in the Festival of Fools and is elected as the Pope of Fools ‘winning’ a contest for being the ugliest fool in Paris. Later when he is being beaten by the townspeople she is the only one to give him water when he begs for it and he falls in love with her for the very rare kindness she shows him.

The uncle, Frollo, (Matthew Korinko) is the Archdeacon of Norte Dame, tortured by his lust for power and, upon seeing Esmeralda, his lust for her, betraying his own faith and setting off a chain of events that will effect everyone.

The third man is Captain Phoebus (Landon Summers) who saves Esmeralda from being abducted and becomes intrigued with her as she becomes infatuated for him.

Esmeralda (Shenise Nunez) is a Gypsy street dancer filled with fire and passion who is use to the attention of men and sees herself as their equal and demands respect from them.

Another main character is Clopin (Trev Whittaker) who aside from narrating the story is also the King of the Gypsies and is a standout of the cast.

The use of a choir of 18 singers is both a blessing and a curse. They make many of the songs soar but at the same time, in many cases, they drown out cast members when they sing along or behind them.

The 8 piece band, led by Caryl Fantel, does a good job of the score by Menkenand Schwartz while the production staff, from the scenic design by SeanMcClelland, the costume design by Rick Pena along with the lighting design by Becky Montero, add to this production.

The main problem with “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is not anything done by the Slow Burn Theatre Company but by the almost impossible task Peter Parnell had of condensing the Victor Hugo novel of over 900 pages to a book for a 2 hour 10 minute musical. It just doesn’t work though it makes for an interesting time in the theatre.

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