Archive for December 2019

The end of 2019   1 comment

Restaurants a few for lunch Dec 2019
They say whatever you are doing at midnight on New Year’s Eve you will be doing the rest of the year–guess what I was doing last New Year’s Eve and the one before that and the one before that or even better yet guess what I’ll be doing at midnight tonight? RIGHT!
Above are just some of the restaurants I like all year round!
Leap 4

Posted December 31, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“A Hidden Life”–movie review   Leave a comment

“A Hidden Life” asks the question of how far you would go in your beliefs even if it means death when you have a chance to live? It is based on the true story of Austrian Franz Jagerstatter who refuses to swear his allegiance to Hitler though he does go when called up by the 3rd Reich for military training. He is a devoted husband and father of three girls who works side by side with his as much devoted wife on their large farm. His refusal to sign a loyalty oath takes him away from his family, farm and small town.
Along with the moral questions there is also the beautiful love story between Franz and his wife Franziska plus their love and interaction with their children.
The film takes place in St. Radegund, Austria, and,  after the opening shots of Hitler and Nazi Germany, the camera pans over the stunning location of the town and at any minute you expect Julie Andrews to come out and sing “The Sound of Music” which is one the things that sabotages the film all the way through.
Director/screenwriter Terrence Malick takes 3 hours to tell a story that could have easily been cut by an hour if he eliminated all the repetition of most scenes. He shows the hard work of working a farm from cutting, gathering hay, digging for the vegetables, planting potatoes not only once but each scene is repeated at least 3 times. Yes a river changes constantly and Malick makes sure we see that along with many shots inside the local church’s beautiful paintings.
He, also, fails to get into Franz’s mind and why he believed so strongly to be the only man in the village who feels the way he does to the depths he does. There are bits and pieces spoken from the bible and he was a devout Catholic but how come he was the only one in the village? His love for his wife and children appears to be as strong as his love for his religion but it is never explained.
August Diehl as Franz and Franziska by Valerie Pachner are beautifully matched and their love is shown in many big and little ways and she accepts the pain caused by her husband not only to them, their kids but also his mother and Franziska’s sister.
Is religion harder to explain than love? Is religion harder to show than love?  The fact that we don’t know what motivates the man to make his decisions and follow through with them, hurting many including those he loves being ostracized by all around them is the main and a big failure of the director/screenwriter!
“The Hidden Life” is a good example of more is not necessarily better!


Posted December 30, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

My Holiday Gift To Me!   Leave a comment

In 2004 (we think!) Chuck, via Gino’s suggestion, bought me a George Foreman Grill (in white) and I put it away for a decade.

About 2-3 years ago I decided to make a major change in my kitchen and I covered the stove top and oven door with contact paper and set the microwave oven on the stove top, the crockpot near it and, yes, the grill on top of the microwave oven!

Using all 3 made life a lot easier but I could kick myself for not using the grill before as it is great for making so many things and, like the crockpot and microwave, a snap to clean after using. (By the way for those of you who may not know it there are liners for the crockpot that making something in it cuts cleaning time in half!)

I’ve been using the grill more and more as the months went by and the only complaint I have is that it isn’t big enough for the portions of steak, chicken and sandwiches I eat/need.

So I did what makes perfect sense–I bought a Hanukah and Christmas gift for me–a new grill in red and almost twice the size of the white one. I’ve been using it all week.

I could have put it on my Birthday Gift Wish list but like the kid I am when I want something I want it–so I got it!!

Posted December 29, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

This drives me crazy–or crazier!!   Leave a comment

Cactus Christmas no blooms Dec 25 2019
Look at the dates–the ‘Christmas’ cactus blooms every month, every week and practically every day but comes Christmas Day 1 bloom is dying and a few buds appear!
Three days after Christmas there are a few buds and one is opening!
NOW they tell me!!
Why do they call it the Christmas cactus?
So, why is it called a Christmas cactus? Obviously, its common name (Christmas cactus) was given to the plant for its ability to flower at the right time. Actually the plant can bloom at various times including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
But in my place not on Christmas Day!!

Posted December 28, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”–movie review   Leave a comment

Star Wars Regal

(Sorry AJ and other friends who I know love Star Wars!) I wouldn’t know a Star Wars from a Star Trek though I believe I saw the first Star Wars movie and one later on. I had to approach this movie as a stand alone film and I must admit I was confused from the first frame to the last not knowing who was who and then all of a sudden there is Mark Hamil here for a few seconds, Harrison Ford with even less screen time but I did recognize Carrie Fisher who played the princess with the hair buns who faded in and out.
It may mean something I remember the robots from the first film and I saw the hairy Chewbacca who I remember from somewhere but the relationships between the various characters are a complete mystery to me.
There are certainly a lot plane fights not to forget all the light saber fights. There is one action scene after another as if the film stopped to hold its breath for a minute the audience would moan.
The movie is 141 minutes, seems to move fast with all the action but seemed to have taken 4 days to watch!
It was good seeing Adam Driver as I had been very impressed with him in both “The Report” a Prime Video movie and “The Marriage Story”, which should definitely get him an Oscar nomination, but I have no idea who he is in this movie.
Maybe if I had seen the 9 films, 5 series, 4 Animated mini-series, 3 live action series and the 3 Star Wars TV films I might have liked this better but even Allen, who is a Star Wars fan and the reason we went to see this, wasn’t impressed.
I really can’t recommend this movie but I will let the Star Wars fans make up their own mind about seeing it and, yes, millions are seeing it.

Posted December 27, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

New York Marina Deli–Ft. Lauderdale restaurant review   Leave a comment

NY marina Deli Collage 2 Dec 26 2019

Fast casual is still a fairly new concept in the restaurant business. It is halfway between a fast food and a full service restaurant but with the exception of having to give your order at the counter and paying at the register the NY Marina Deli feels like you are walking into a real New York Deli (except I have never heard “Subway” yelled by the cashier when you leave a tip in the tip jar or on a credit car! Every time I hear it I want to get up and go to Subway and order a hero!)

Everyone who works there is pleasant  and helpful which immediately puts in a first class category! Employer and employee none are above cleaning a table, getting you a condiment and checking that everything is okay.

With all the above if the food isn’t good than you can forget a 5 star restaurant but here the food is good, many times great, whether you are in the mood for deli or not!

Usually Allen and I will split a corned beef and pastrami sandwich but this time he had a Reuben Sandwich and I had a Turkey Sandwich. Each is served with a sour pickle and a choice of Potato Salad or Cole Slaw. Everything tastes excellent from the pickle that tastes like it was just picked from a barrel on Orchid Street (ask a New Yorker) with both sides tasty and the sandwiches melt in your mouth though because it was so thick Allen had a little problem with his Reuben (check the picture). He had a diet cola and I had a large cup of fresh coffee.

I usually get a receipt but forgot to this time but, with a 15% coupon, our check came to $27+change which for lunch is a reasonable price in Fort Lauderdale.

Located in the Southport shopping center on the north side of 17th Street near 1/2 a dozen other restaurants, close by the cruise ships, airport traffic, hotels and available to locals, the New York Marina Deli is a place to go!

Posted December 26, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Merry Christmas to all   2 comments

Carrot cake present DEc 24 2019
I came home from the movies yesterday–3:30 PM–and found this on my door. Now it was too early for Santa and, as you can read the note, his elves couldn’t afford it so who could have given it to me?

Who can I complain to if I don’t like it? (Yeah, like I wouldn’t like any carrot cake!!)

Well I better eat it before ‘they’ realize they put it on the wrong door!

In any case, whomever gave it to me, thank you and I love the upside down penguins!

Posted December 25, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“Bombshell”–movie review   Leave a comment

In 2003/2004 I saw “Monster” and walked out of the theatre saying that if Charlize Theron doesn’t win the Oscar for her performance I will never go to the movies. Well, she did I still go and today I saw a performance by Charlize Theron that might not get her that second Oscar but she, along with Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, certainly deserve nominations. (Robbie stands a chance in the supporting category as the other two have won best actress Oscars.)
I honestly did not recognize Theron until the near end of the movie due to makeup and prosthetics—another Oscar nomination?–and she has lowered her voice that she is Megyn Kelly. Though the film revolves around Theron/Kelly, for those who don’t know the whole story, it was Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) who was responsible, not only for the downfall of Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) but helped bring the #METOO movement to the forefront.
As with all ‘based on a true story’ I often wonder how true private conversations are but this man was so abusive that you know a lot wasn’t being told and it boggles the mind what he did do and what he, and other men, got away with. The fact that many women covered up for him and one seems to be a pimp for him, doesn’t bring any shame on them but on the industry for their practices regarding women.
Any film dealing with the politics in the past 5 years will have to involve Trump and Fox News but, even if we see the behind the scenes involving the Murdochs, this is not a Republican versus Democrat movie. There is a reason why the 3 leads, and so many others, are beautiful blondes wearing tight and short dresses and showing their legs and it all points to Ailes, and Fox, allowing him to do what he did because he was making the company billions of dollars.
Aside from Theron, Kidman and Robbie there are many name actresses such as Holland Taylor, Kate McKinnon, Allison Janney and Connie Britton playing large, small and all important parts.
Lithgow is a repulsive looking man as Ailes–again makeup and prosthetics–making it so unimaginable that he could get any woman that he wanted sexually but he does because of the way the industry worked. Richard Kind does a quick impersonation of Rudy Giuliani while Malcolm McDowell plays Rupert Murdoch and various actors play well known TV figures.
The screenplay by Charles Randolph holds your attention no matter how familiar you may be with the story while director Jay Roach keeps the film going at a quick pace.
“Bombshell” is a must see for the performances, the story and getting out to all the public exactly what brought the #METOO movement forward. Certainly every man should see this film.

Posted December 24, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

8 days to the start of MY year!   Leave a comment

20th Leap Year Birthday February 29, 2016 Part 3

Leap Year 4 2016 collage

Bob and Betty from Michigan came bringing Nancy with them (and Bob bringing his camera taking more pictures than I did, which was great!)

I got a surprise gift from Charlotte (and Charlie) who gave me 2 front row seats for “Kinky Boots” on March 1 and since Allen and I saw it in December in Miami he gave me his ticket so I was able to take Mary, Pat and Glenn.

With Phillipe, Glenn, Mary and Pat we ate at the Sage, the Quarterdeck and The Deck at the Sea Coast Hotel overlooking the ocean but the birthday dinner at Cafe Vico was the best.

Another surprise was receiving a box of brownies from Zest of Memphis sent by Chuck and Terry even though they had given me a new computer chair and shopping cart as gifts in December.

Can’t mention my 20th Leap Year birthday without mentioning another memory though it happened a couple of weeks later. I lost half of the 4th (Mmm–4–Leap Year–if I was into signs maybe that was one) finger on my right hand in a freak accident. In a way every time I look at my hand, I remember one of the best Leap Years I ever had and now I hope my 21st is better without any accidents!


The next time I will have a dinner party will be February 29, 2036 when I turn 25!

Posted December 23, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Only 68 days but who’s counting!   Leave a comment

20th Leap Year Birthday Party February 29, 2016 Part 2

Leap Year Dinner 3 Collage

Where to start? The day I went to order my birthday cake and Allen insisted on paying for it and it was a beautiful cake with each of my Leap Years, in chocolate, printed on it. By the way it was a layer of carrot cake and a top layer of chocolate cake.

February 26th Allen, his friend Phillipe, who had flown in from France, and I went to the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami to see the touring company of “The Phantom of the Opera”. 

On February 28th Mary and her sister Pat came in from North Carolina and a few hours later Glenn arrived from Georgia. I hadn’t seen Glenn for 40 years when we had gone to Dallas to see “A Chorus Line”. I met Mary on the Internet and we quickly became friends and this birthday week we would cement a strong friendship which in a way was my best birthday present in 2016.


Posted December 22, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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