Archive for January 2017

WINTER (JANUARY) 2017 IN FORT LAUDERDALE   Leave a comment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSN5YC_v8Wo

All of these photos were taken where I live at the Gateway apartments in Fort Lauderdale.

The first few were taken at what we call The Point! You see speed boats to yachts going up and down Karen Bay plus you will usually see Bill fishing. In this shot he caught a fish that he said was rare in these waters called lizard fish. It was too small—looked like a lure—so he threw it back.

There are always flowers no matter where you look at any time of the year but just in case I keep a ‘few’ growing in my apartment. These geraniums, on the south window sills, have been blooming for weeks while on the ‘table’ I set up in the east window is the Christmas to my unbirthday cactus blooms ongoing.

Whether it is the sun in daytime or the moon at night there is a certain light that envelopes our city.

While we have many birds here from wild parrots to woodpeckers to bluebirds every once in awhile you will see a dove sitting on a branch tree, all by himself, just observing the world around him.

And if you didn’t know it was winter/January all you have to know that it is time for “All-U-Can Eat pancakes” at IHOP! For those who are cold in 77 degrees temperature or most over air conditioned restaurants there is always Ox-tail stew which I had last week still working my way through the Cabo Blanco menu!

 

 

Posted January 30, 2017 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, WEATHER

IT’S A GREAT/GOOD/STRANGE WORLD!   Leave a comment


OMG!!! We had a high of ‘only’ 60 degrees today–folks this is Fort Lauderdale–and it is raining!!!!!
(No I don’t expect any sympathy/empathy from my ‘friends’–wait until tomorrow)
I just took these 2 pictures–talk about a crazy world!!

Posted January 29, 2017 by greatmartin in LIFE, WEATHER

“THE FOUNDER”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

A moviegoer enters a theatre with expectations whether it is seeing the star(s) or they have heard of the story line and, in some cases, who directed it. I walked in expecting a good performance by Michael Keaton and some of the more familiar names in the cast like Laura Dern and Patrick Wilson and not expecting much else. To my surprise, and delight, “The Founder” was a much better film than I had anticipated.

Based on a true story “The Founder” is about Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) who got control, many say stole, McDonald’s from two brothers, Dick and Mac McDonald, (John Carroll and Nick Offerman). They started the change of American restaurants by introducing ‘fast food’ using fresh items in San Bernadino, California. The brothers had things down to a science, even in some cases inventing equipment, treated their employees like family and took pride in all aspects of the business.

While the story focuses on the interaction between the two brothers and Kroc it is mainly about the latter. Did the brothers have a family life? You won’t find out. We do meet Kroc’s wife who spent most of her life supporting his schemes that never worked out and his secretary June (Kate Kneeland) who seemed to live in the office 24/7, along with some bankers, lawyers and investors.

There is no doubting that Michael Keaton has a load of charm and gives an excellent performance but even he can’t dispel the fact that Kroc didn’t care for people caring only for ‘the art of the deal’. Yes, there are many resemblances between the two men even though this movie was made long before Trump even started running for business. Are all very successful, money making men, as ruthless to threaten business partners that they will sue them until they will lose financially or be buried in paperwork so high that they won’t be able to take care of their business? Do these men not care about people and their families? As good as Keaton is he doesn’t make you overcome the fact that Kroc was not a nice guy, a ‘good guy’.

All the actors mentioned plus Linda Cardellini as Patrick Wilson’s wife, B.J. Novak as a financial adviser and assorted McDonald’s employees all do what they can as the screenwriter, Robert Siegel, doesn’t give them much time on screen. The brothers, as played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch, are as interesting as Keaton and more affable than the latter ever seemed to be. Is there room in the world today for people like the McDonald brothers?

Using the new idiom of the day Kroc was known for ‘alternate facts’ regarding his life and as good as Keaton is he doesn’t make you overcome the fact that Kroc was not a nice guy, a good guy.

“The Founder” is more than you expect it to be, not only from the actors, but little things like except for popular song sung in a restaurant I had to look up if there was even music in the movie! Director John Lee Hancock gives us a sunny USA pictorially even in the very down sequences where Kroc is being very much the ‘businessman’ and not like he is dealing with human beings.

While it is a good movie and I would recommend it “The Founder” is not a must see movie.

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX2uz2XYkbo&t=15s

 

Posted January 25, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

COOKING AND EATING AT HOME PART 2   Leave a comment

Despite what some people may think I do most of my eating, & cooking to eat, at home. To some extant I do that to keep my weight in control. (that’s another post—not that I am weight obsessive but I can tell you what I have weighed every Thursday—and Monday– since the last Thursday of March 1967!!! Who says I have a problem?)

I cook very simply for myself unlike when I use to ‘entertain’. I eat a lot of fish and change the taste by using a variety of spices. I will also use sauces but very limited—maybe a tablespoon at the most—as even hot sauce is high in sodium and I have to watch my intake of salt. I have even experimented using cinnamon or vanilla beans on fish! I do use unsalted chicken broth mainly to cook vegetables in.

For 50 years I have kept a food chart—revising it in 1999—keeping a record on calories, fat, fiber, protein, sodium, saturated fat, carbs and cholesterol intake for health and weight reasons. I weigh everything I use. I hear people moan and groan about all the work it involves and, I’m sorry, it takes, maybe, 3-5 minutes to weigh and write down ALL I eat.

Along with fish my basic diet at home is turkey and chicken with a little variety here and there.

For snacks I have unsalted mini pretzels, a couple of apples a day and for a lunch break it is 2 rice cakes with peanut butter. I end every evening with what use to be called a Weight Watchers milkshake and is now just a low cal smoothie!

I usually spend some time Saturday making up the meals for the rest of the week. I have stopped using my oven and stove doing most of my cooking in the microwave, a Crockpot, a George Foreman grill, a toaster and an electric teapot.

My basic evening meal consists of: a salad made with a whole Romaine lettuce, a tomato, 2-3 ounces of onion and a salad dressing I have made up of vinegar (various kinds), garlic, additional spices and 2 tablespoons of oil per 32 ounce jar. My main course consists of 6-8 ounces of protein, a pound of assorted veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, onions and/or tomatoes. I top it off with the shake consisting of 16 ounces 1% or reconstituted dry milk, 6 Sweet ‘n Low, vanilla extract, a 12 ounce frozen bag of various fruits such as peaches, all kinds of berries, mango, pineapple, etc.

My whole day of food intake for, usually, 5 days of the week, is under the maximum amount of nutrition intake allotted for men. By the way I have years and years of food charts and at the bottom of this post is a picture of the revised food chart I came up with in 1999 if you want to give it a try!

Food pictures

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

 

 

FOOD CHART

Date/food cal2000  sod2400  cho300 pro63  carb300   fiber30  satfat25 fat65    

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Posted January 24, 2017 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

COOKING, AND EATING, AT HOME   Leave a comment

Yes I love eating out and will any chance I get but then again I really can’t afford that more than 2-3 times a week so I have to fall back on cooking foods at home the rest of the time.

At home I do ‘try’ to stay away from too much processed foods so I cook basics using various spices.

The microwave sliced apples are a cinch to make. I core them (with the dollar corer I got at the $ Tree!) first, slice them up put them in a micro safe dish, put some vanilla extract over them and sprinkle a few packets of Sweet ‘N Low over them. I nuke them for 6 minutes.

For the cheeseburgers I use the Foreman grill mixing some cheese in the meat. I like them rare so it doesn’t take very long to cook them and I then cut the thick burger down the middle. I toast the bread, use 2 different condiments, one on each, plus thick slices of tomato and onion, sit down and have a feast.

Fish soup is a quick and easy dish to make and I really do it the easy way by NOT chopping fresh vegetables but get a bag of frozen mixed veggies. I put them on the bottom of the dish and, sometimes, top them with salsa, other times with various spices. I buy a 4-8 ounce package of various frozen fishes which I defrost and layer on top of the veggies. I will add 2 cups of unsalted broth and nuke the whole thing for 6-8 minutes. There are so many variations between fish, veggies, spices, toppings, etc.

I’ve already given the recipe for the crockpot turkey—just check my end of November posts.

I will once in awhile go fancy making Shrimp Scampi or pasta al fredo from my old chef days. I have covered the stove burners and taped the oven switch so between the Foreman grill, toaster, microwave oven and crockpot I’ve done some improvising using food items you wouldn’t even think of and got some great dinners!

Oh yes, always a salad with dinner—a big salad—someday I’ll tell you all the variations I use making salads.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph_AKaci49A&feature=youtu.be

 

Posted January 23, 2017 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

THE TILTED KILT–A RESTAURANT REVIEW   Leave a comment

Where to start? If you like VERY loud noise/music blasting out of the speakers you might like it. If you want to see more television sets (including 5-6 in the men’s room) all on without sound in one restaurant (wonder if they hold a world’s record?) you might like it.

If you like food that tastes as if it was taken out of a frozen box, or sauces taken out of a gallon jar, defrosted, put in a microwave and served to you might like the Tilted Kilt.

We had the Sampler platter ($13) which was made up of typical bar appetizers except for the pretzel served with 3 sauces. Allen had the Chicken Tenders with French fries and cole slaw ($11) and either he was sick or not hungry or they weren’t good as he didn’t eat the  slaw or fries. He had a diet coke ($2.99) and I had water.

For dessert we each had the Tilted Guilt Chocolate cookie ($6 each) plus .50 for chocolate sauce and .50 for caramel sauce which means the 2 cookies with ice cream cost $14. By the way the chocolate chip cookie was very, in fact too, soft.

The check came to $54.99 plus $3.30 tax plus a $10 tip coming to $68.29 but we had a groupon for which I paid $35 and was worth $64 causing a misunderstanding and a discussion with a manager who didn’t care to listen and had the attitude the customer is always wrong!

We were there from about 5:15 to 6:45 and were the only people eating dinner while there were about 6 or 7 customers drinking it was pretty deserted and this is a very huge place, deceptive from the outside.

The only positive thing I can say about the Tilted Kilt is that our server Chantelle did a good job.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZkG4_heVdQ

Posted January 19, 2017 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, FOOD, Uncategorized

THAI MOON BY THE SEA–A FT. LAUDERDALE RESTAURANT REVIEW   Leave a comment

thai-moon-by-the-sea-dec-1-2016collage

You get off to a bad start when you have ‘by the sea’ in the title of your restaurant and you are lucky if you will even smell the salt air let alone see a sea!!!

Okay we went for lunch around 3 PM and the place was empty. They had a sign wait to be seated and it took some time for someone to acknowledge us. There was a little to do about the menu since we had a groupon that said nothing about ‘only dinner’ which we discovered was changed after we bought ourgroupon. The manager came out and said he would give us the lunch menu like he was doing us a favor.

In any case, red being my favorite color and the predominant color of the decor is red, it made up for the menu ‘fuss’.

Our waitress Ailene G was pleasant and did her best to make the whole meal but sadly she couldn’t make up for the food.

We started with a dumpling appetizer $7.00 which really was very bland. Anthony had iced tea–without ice ($2) and I had a diet coke ($2) He ordered the Pepper Steak ($10.95) and I had the Fried Rice combo ($12.95) Anthony said he liked the Pepper Steak while I found the Fried Rice combo dry and tasteless. The combo consisted of 1 shrimp, 1 piece of meat and 2-3 small chicken strips served with onions, tomatoes and two slices of cucumber.

The check came to $36.99 while minus the groupon it was $5 and change and we left a $10 tip. Having been given the dinner menu first I thought the prices were very high and they were almost double the lunch prices. If the food is made the same way as the lunch meals were it is a losing proposition. It is a new restaurant in the area where there are Italian restaurants, the PomperdaleDeli across the street, steak houses, seafood restaurants, a German restaurant, etc. With the groupon it cost us $31 for lunch

Thai Moon By The Sea needs something special–actually good food at reasonable prices–if they want to make it here.

Meanwhile, right now, Cabo Blanco is the best restaurant deal for lunch!

 

“LION”–A MOVIE REVIEW   2 comments

“Lion” is a first rate, sentimental, emotional, ‘small’ movie that will move even the coldest hearted person. It is a true story that starts in  1986 when we meet five year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his older brother (Abhishek Bharate) in a poor province of India where their mother (Priyanke Bose) earns what money she can hauling rocks. The boys help by bringing in any money they can earning it in any way they can including stealing coal off trains so they can exchange it for milk. One evening the boys are separated and we see Saroo falling asleep on a decommissioned train finding himself lost and in Calcutta almost a thousand miles away from where he lives.

The first part of the film follows young Saroo, as he tries to survive, with director Garth Davis and screenwriter Luke Davies not shying away from those who prey on children. (In the credits at the end it states that 80,000 children in India go missing every year, many to sex traffickers, to this day).

Going into the second part of the film it is 20 years later and Saroo, now played by Dev Patel, lives in Tasmania, an island State off Australia, having been adopted by Sue and John Brierly (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). He goes to Melbourne to study hotel management and meets Lucy (Rooney Mara) from America, they become lovers and at school they meet and become friends with other Indians. It is through these meetings that Saroo develops a need to search for his long lost mother, brother and very young sister who he has never forgotten.

To tell any further would mean spoilers and I don’t go there.

Up until 1961 the Oscar awards had a special category for any Juvenile performers who gave a strong performance. If the category was still given this year two young actors would fight it out with 8 year old Sunny Pawar playing a 5 year old in “Lion” versus Alex R. Hibburt, a 12 year old, playing 9 year old Chiron.

Dev Patel does a superb job as the older Saroo having to show a lot of his feelings with his face instead of talking. Divian Ladwa plays another child adopted by the Brierley’s who isn’t able to adjust to the new life presented to him after being traumatized in his earlier life.

David Wenham and Rooney Mara do what they can with what they have to work with while Nicole Kidman has two extended scenes that had many audience members trying to hide their tears!

Cinematographer Greig Frasier will certainly be responsible for a big rise in tourism to Tasmania with some of the scenes breath taking as is some of the aerial shots of the mountains and waters in India.

This is director Garth Davis’s first feature movie and doesn’t overdo tugging of the heartstrings which the screenplay by Luke Davies is quite effective in just telling the story as it happened.

The soundtrack by Dustin O’Halloran and Hausckha is a definite plus.

Be sure to stay for the ending credits as it not only explains why the movie is called “Lion” plus pictures of the real people highlighted in the film. 

 Movie trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RNI9o06vqo

Home decorating is NOT my thing!   Leave a comment

apartment-2010-to-2016-collage

Unlike the old cliché as a Gay man I am not good at decorating where I live. I just put things here and there more on convenience than color, setting, etc. I live in an apartment where in the living/dining room I have 6 large windows. I never put drapes/curtains on the windows and the blinds are always up. Due to the way my apartment is set up I don’t have to worry about privacy and if I wanted to I could be nude the whole time (but I don’t want to shock the birds, squirrels and/or the pilots in the helicopters).

In any case at one time I had birds and because of the  cages I had the room set up one way and after I had to give them away I set it up differently and started hanging pictures on the walls and putting plants all around. I did have some sort of theme with the pictures but I didn’t hang them in any particular order plus I know two people reading this who want to straighten out all the frames!!!

You may also notice the couch has been against almost every wall in the apartment! LOL

I moved into this apartment in 2004—after never living in a place more than 5-6 years—and these pictures represent the past 6 years. The first 3 (starting in the upper left hand corner and going clockwise) were taken in 2010, 4 in 2013, 5 & 6 2015 and the last 6 were taken this week.

As long as I get all the light available, can look out at Mother Nature and get sun for the 28 plants I now have in the place all is good—until I move things around again. 

Posted January 16, 2017 by greatmartin in HOME, Uncategorized

“HIDDEN FIGURES”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

When you watch a movie based on true events that you watched when it was happening and know the ending it takes a good director, Theodore Melfi, good screenwriters, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, to get you caught up in the events being  shown on the screen and “Hidden Figures” is such a movie.

There is also another part to the film that has a tag line “the untold true story” and that is a story most people, Black and White, don’t know about. The film takes place in months leading up to John Glenn (played by Glen Powell) who figures importantly in this film aside from being an astronaut and racism is still ingrained in the American consciousness. The latter is shown in small and large ways, each effective, whether it is a woman having to run a half a mile to go to the ‘colored women’s bathroom” even though she is capable and does help NASA solve many problems to get men in orbit around the world and get them back safely.

Taraji P. Henson is real life Katherine Goble Johnson, a mathematical genius, who knows ‘her place’ and is insulted not only by words but by actions. She is only one woman of two in an office of a dozen men and she is Black having to put up with some indignities to do a job she loves, wants to keep, but when she reaches a point that she has had enough she is not afraid to open her mouth.

The other woman in the office, the group’s executive assistant played by Kimberly is not welcoming and the head engineer, played by Jim Parsons, first has no respect for Katherine and then disdain only to question the knowledge she gives that is more accurate than his. The only one who doesn’t care about her sex or color but her much needed knowledge is her boss Al Harrison, played believably by Kevin Costner.

There are other people in Katherine’s life aside from her 3 children whose husband/father is dead, her mother and, about half way through, a very romantic army officer Mahershala Ali but two others, her best friends, also faces racism because of being Black, though very smart accomplished women. Dorothy Vaughan, played by a strong Octavia Spencer, is in charge of the West Computing Group, as they are referred to, made up of Black women which segregates them from the White women in the East Computing Group. She does the work and puts in the time that a supervisor does but she isn’t given the title and certainly not the pay. She delivers a put down with a smile that hides her pain but tells the truth.

The third woman is Mary Jackson, played by a saucy, smart Janelle Monae, who wants to be an engineer but, due to Virginia laws, is not allowed to attend the classes she needs to get the degree. (Ah Virginia, the State that is also the basis for the movie “Loving” and tells  another true story about that State’s laws.) She has a husband, played by Aldis Hodge, who hesitates in backing her but has a Polish-Jewish refugee, played by Olek Krupa, from the concentration camps, who is all for her going for her dream.

Based on the nonfiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly one doesn’t know how much of the script by Schroeder and Melfi was “Hollywoodized” but a lot of it rings true and the production designs by Wynn Thomas and the costumes designed by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus certainly reflect the era.

The acting by all is first rate but Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae give powerful performances showing how strong and accomplished Katherine, Dorothy and Mary were, the indignities they suffered and how just by being themselves they are role models for all of us.

“Hidden Figures” has two story lines intertwined and as exciting as the race to the moon became the true story of what these three smart women had to go through because of their color was more interesting as the former was familiar to me while the latter was a learning experience about these women I knew nothing about and everyone should.

Movie trailer

 

 

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