Archive for July 2019

Always room for more!   Leave a comment

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“They” can take all the flowers up from the grounds around our buildings but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a load of them in my apartment! At my count today I have 29 mostly in the living/dining room area. There is a pepper plant in the kitchen along with “I don’t know what kinds of seeds I have thrown in there” pot! I have an orchid plant on the bathroom sill that needs ‘saving’ !

There is a miniature evergreen in the east window that is growing so slow I might get old before it is tall enough to decorate!

Posted July 29, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!   Leave a comment

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50 weeks of the year I have to depend on uber, lyft, cabs, TOPS (A county service) or insurance car rides to and from doctors! The other two weeks of the year Allen goes to visit his daughter, and twin grandchildren, so I have his car.
Oh yes! No way can I forget Jacque who lends me her car almost once a week so I can go to a movie and some med appointments.This week Allen went up north and on top of that my neighbor’s wife had to go to Argentina as her 97 year old mother isn’t well and that’s where her family lives. He said I could use the car as long as she is away (and when they go on vacation) and they just got her this new used car.So now I have to decide whether I use one car or alternate the cars but at least Jacque’s car gets a rest from me. And you think you have problems!!PS After Wednesday it is back to no car!

Posted July 28, 2019 by greatmartin in AUTOMOBILE, LIFE

Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood–movie review   2 comments

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The only reasons to see Tarantino’s latest movie are the really alive performance by Brad Pitt, the red Rottweiler Brandy and a scene where Margot Robbie, playing Sharon Tate, watches herself on the screen in a theatre and enjoying the audience’s reaction plus it is always good seeing Al Pacino, even in a wasted role.As to be expected in a Tarantino’s film there is a lot of very vivid violence, much distortion of history and facts and a lot of extraneous scenes that bring nothing to the film.I have always been a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio since “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” even in his lesser pictures but in this movie he is just bad and I put the blame on Tarantino’s shoulders as director and screenplay writer. There are many cameos but none memorable or even remembered 5 minutes after you see them.The only reasons to see “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” are if you have 2 hours and 41 minutes of your life to waste and/or your electricity has gone out and this is the only theatre that has air conditioning! synopsis Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer/director features a large ensemble cast and multiple story lines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age. Comedy, Drama   2 hr. 41 min.
Movie trailer

Posted July 26, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

The new ‘uniform’ Gateway Terrace Apartments   2 comments

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The ‘new’ Gateway is almost complete–just missing a few bushes!I give the owners credit for making the inside of the apartments really modern with new kitchen and bathroom cabinets, new hurricane windows, new ceiling fan/light fixture in the ceiling of the bedroom and new lights in the kitchen and bathroom, new blinds though the new air conditioners/fans don’t do as good a job as the old system and they certainly fixed up the hallways.The big problems are on the outside where all individuality has been taken away. No more Christmas/Hanukah lights and contests for the best displays (or even the company putting up lights all around). The biggest downer are the beautiful individual gardens that many residents put their own time and money in to liven up the place with Hibiscus & Rose bushes, many colored orchids,  Banana plants, lemon, grapefruit trees with blossoms, sunflowers, etc., etc.  No plants on the window sills, no decorations of any kind on the doors and/or windows. Our avocado tree from which we got 75 avocados one season is gone.Now you can’t tell one building from another and I don’t know if one has to do with the other but all of a sudden we are ‘losing’ residents to death, rehab and nursing homes more than usual!Don’t get me wrong! I love my apartment and I can look out and see Karen Bay, green trees but from the outside all you can see are bland buildings, one after another and sometimes ‘uniform’ can be very dull!

Posted July 25, 2019 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, LIFE EVENTS

A question asked–my answer   Leave a comment

Someone asked me a question about my restaurant reviews and this is what I answered–hopefully it will help and not add to the inquirer’s confusion.

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale in Broward County where there are over 2,000 restaurants and it is too hard to keep a record of how many open and close within ONE year.

I have/had been in the restaurant business 38 years, all positions, now retired and the biggest problem I have found is that too many restaurants open before they are ready to open and/or don’t have enough money to see them through a year.

With all that said I am pretty easy with restaurants as I really don’t expect much except a clean place, good food—doesn’t have to be great!–good servers–not necessarily super stars but at least show that they have been trained well. With prices as high as they are today, with a choice of 4 types of restaurants starting with full service, followed by buffets, then the new fast casual and finally fast food, a restaurant really don’t get a second chance Added to that is the fact there are too many choices of each types of food. In 1970 we had 2 Mexican restaurants now I can count 23. Italian restaurants? There are 9 within 2 miles from where I live. Just recently, within 1 mile we have 3 Cuban restaurants and Peruvian restaurants are growing faster than I can count.

I eat out twice a week, one usually fast casual or lower priced full service and another a new one. I have 5-6 favorite restaurants that I try to get to 2-3 times a year at least. Add to that I am a Leap Year baby which means I have (and only celebrate) a birthday every 4 years with a dinner party at a restaurant, usually a new one, that I have tried in the intervening years and comes Saturday, February 29, 2020 I will be celebrating my turning 21 at the Nabu restaurant if #1 They are still open and #2 I haven’t come across a newer, better one. My last birthday was in 2016 and I held a dinner for 22 people at Cafe Vico and I couldn’t have asked for better food, service, atmosphere or evening.

I usually will try to speak to a manager if I find something wrong–some listen, some don’t. I see over 100 movies a year in theatres–maybe, if I am lucky, I will see 5 or 6 that I would want to see again. Why do I bring this up? Too many people today don’t have the money to go to movies anymore and certainly not to eat out. I don’t like to see any business close or employees lose employment but I know I read reviews for restaurants, movies, plays, etc., so I won’t waste my time and money.

I soon learn who to trust when when reading their reviews and who not to. For instance there is a critic in South Florida that I know if they dislike some place chances are I will love it!

Didn’t mean to go on so long–I appreciate your note and just wanted to explain a little–which turned into a lot!–of where my head is at regarding my posting reviews! I reviewed 2 restaurants recently–VALE FOOD CO and CAO Bakery & Cafe–each had something good but I won’t be returning to either because there were too many negative things that should have been taken care of before they opened if not after customers brought it to their attention. Hope you find some great places to eat!


Don’t drink the water—in Fort Lauderdale!   1 comment

Water, water everywhere without a drop to drink!
Thursday morningI received an alert message,not only on my phone but also on my Internet email, stating that Fort Lauderdaleand a few surrounding cities had contaminated water due to a company busting an old 42″ water pipe and due to old safety valves the water was not transmitted to safe water pipes and so:
Tap water should not be used for drinking, making ice, preparing foods, washing dishes, brushing teeth, taking showers, etc. Before using be sure to boil water for a minute to eliminate bacteria or other organisms.
“They”said this should be fixed within 36-48 hours and here is it 88 hours later and the warning is still in effect. At least the water is still running!
It being hurricane season most many people had bottled water in their homes just in case but it seems the majority didn’t as stories below talk about.
On Thursday Allen and I went on to do our regular Thursday chores only this time we had his daughter who was here on vacation joined us and we decided to eat lunch in a ‘nice’ placebut many restaurants weren’t open because they didn’t have water to cook, clean or to serve to customers. Just think about all the businesses that depend on water–clean, germ free water–and imagine the loss businesses will take not to forget employees! We finally found a restaurant that was open but I still think they used the tap water to make that awful lemonade I had and all the dirty tables! (See my post about Vale Food Co.) It took a couple of days for restaurants, hotels, etc., were able to reopen.

Needless to say that any place selling water was immediately cleaned out by panicked customers!

I lucked out that I had bottled water supplies in case of a hurricane but I got a bonus in that my neighbor orders bottled water and last week they sent him double the amount he usually gets so he gave me a case of 24 bottles, each bottle holding 18 ounces and he has 12 more cases if I need some!
“They are testing the water again today and we are waiting to hear the results meanwhile having a heat wave like the rest of the country (but not as bad and at this time of the year we expect it and know how to deal with it).
Meanwhile I have Allen’s car to get out and enjoy a beautiful sunny day in Fort Lauderdale with water all around—only not to drink!!

220,000 In Fort Lauderdale Urged To Boil Water Through Sunday

Posted July 21, 2019 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE EVENTS

VALE FOOD CO–restaurant review   1 comment

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The second time in a week that I was to a restaurant in a location that has failed before, the dish I had was excellent but everything else was either blah or downright not good.

We had other plans but with the water situation the few places we wanted to go to were closed and I had a coupon for this place  that had been another restaurant for a short time. Vale has kept the same set up which is fats casual, line up for your food, get it, pay and go look for a table, hopefully to find one that isn’t dirty, sticky and still have used plates on it.

I had the small Aci bowl which is normally $7.99 but with the coupon I got it free as long as I bought a drink, which I did and cost $3.52 with tax.

The Aci bowl was really good with bananas, strawberries, granola, something like a blueberry cream sauce but the drink, organic lemonade made with sugar cane and blue agave that tasted like gasoline

If nothing else that ‘drink’ would keep me from ever going to that place again but the dirty tables was/is even more of a reason not to go back.

“The Lion King” 2019 Movie Review   1 comment

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In 1994 I saw the animated film of “The Lion King” and was impressed. I was even more impressed seeing the Broadway musical version 3 times including just this past May 9, 2019, in Miami and each time my jaw dropped to the floor with the opening number. Now we have a live action/CGI version. I admit I haven’t the slightest idea what that means except the talking animals really seem to move and talk just as human actors do!
I very seldom have good things to say about a remake but in this case a remake of a remake of an original held my attention from beginning to end even knowing the story forward and backwards.The cast voices fit perfectly and Billy Echner as Timon the meerkat almost, almost, makes me forget Nathan Lane’s voice in the original animation and Seth Rogen gets all the laughs he can as Rumbaa the warthog. It is good to hear James Earl Jones reprise his roll as King Mufasa while the new voices of Chitwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Donald Glover as grown-up Simba and Beyonce Knowles as Nala are equal to the best. By the way the cubs playing Simba and Nala will make anyone a cat person!
The direction, (how do you direct a live/CGI animal?) by Jon Favreau, the photography by Caleb Deschanel with the visual effects by Robert Legato and Adam Valdez all combine to make this version of “The Lion King” a clear winner!

synopsis From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new -The Lion King- journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother -and former heir to the throne- has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. details Animation, Action/Adventure
1 hr. 58 min.
Opens July 19th, 2019 cast Donald Glover Beyoncé Knowles-Carter James Earl Jones Chiwetel Ejiofor Alfre Woodard

Movie Trailer The Lion King Official Trailer

Posted July 19, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

Summer–Fort Lauderdale July 2019–Part 2   1 comment

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Rainy season runs from May to mid-October while¬† hurricane season is June 1 to November 30 and so far we haven’t had much rain in Fort Lauderdale. Other towns and cities seem to get more than us but I am not complaining.

Contrary to what people think rain does not cool down the temps but does send the humidity sky high!When it does rain it is usually in the morning or around 5 PM but an hour later you would never know it had rained!

One pleasure I have in the summer is sitting at my dining room table, have supper and watch the moon rise. Doesn’t take much to make me happy but Mother Nature does her best!

Right now at 5:44 PM in Fort Lauderdale we are not allowed to use the tap water without boiling it–will explain over the weekend–right now I want to enjoy the blue sky, puffy clouds, sunshine and everything that makes living here so great!

Only a high of 92 today!!

Posted July 18, 2019 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, WEATHER

“Toy Story 4”–movie review   1 comment

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All right, I do it in public so I might as well admit to all: most people who know me know I cry in movies and I have never been ashamed of it but to cry in an animated film??? Come on!! Okay I did and I do. I remember years ago crying when Bambi’s mother died but until cartoon movies became way more, in technical ways, I didn’t during Snow White, Pinocchio or even Fantasia!I saw “Toy Story 1” but aside from remembering some of the characters I remember little of the story. I skipped 2 & 3 but not having anything else to see today I decided to see the, supposedly, latest and last story. It is a story about how one feels not being wanted or loved anymore and how to handle the feelings and life changes.In this film we find an old friend Woody, a sheriff, has lost his first owner, Andy, who pushed him aside when Andy went off to college. Woody found consolation with Bonnie who inherited him but now she is off to kindergarten and has made her own toy, Forky, made from trash items like pipe cleaners, a plastic spoon, doll’s eyes and considers himself trash but Bonnie loves him.

Very shortly after bringing him home she loses him and Woody feels it is his duty to return Forky, now Bonnie’s friend who in turn deserts him while at the same time convince Forky he is not just trash.

The chase involves some old, and many new characters, in the Toy Story series but bogs down in the chase sequences while at the same time offering a few laughs such as a skunk sort of being a Trojan horse or at least camouflage! The main tug at the emotional strings are the reunion of Bo Peep and Woody with the former having accepted the fact that she no longer serves a purpose just moving here and there.

Not having seen the middle stories I am not sure who is new here but Tom Hanks, as always, is very effective and, yes, believable as Woody. Tony Hale, new as Forky, is funny while Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear gives solid backup to his friends while Annie Potts returns as Bo Peep as a very strong woman and Christina Hendricks as sort of a villainous Gabby Gabby who wants Woody’s voice box. One of the newest characters, and definitely the funniest, is Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, a Canadian stunt motorcyclist, full of himself and daring to do anything.

“Toy Story 4” is a film for both children of all ages and adults will, in many cases, enjoy it more! After seeing about a dozen of the ‘new’ ways films are animated I am still intrigued at how the characters seem alive and, in many cases, you believe in them.

Synopsis Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called “Forky” to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy.

Movie trailer

Posted July 16, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

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