Archive for April 2020

3 Films–1 Series Reviews   Leave a comment

3 Movies 1 Serial
There is a list on my desk of 40 movies and a series of which 30 are on Netflix and 10 on Amazon/Prime video. Over the years I had some ‘must-see’ shows on television but never had a list. Also, I was sort of a snob about seeing movies in a movie theatre but that’s another post! Here are 4 ‘movies’ I saw recently on television.
1. “How To Fix A Drug Scandal”–series on Netflix–4 episodes  This is a documentary regarding 2 women who worked for the State of Massachusettes with one being Sonja Farak who was responsible for testing drug evidence turned in by police and to be used in the trials of the ‘criminals’. She became addicted to the drugs, using the evidence, and was responsible for thousands of drug convictions and was eventually found out. Six months before the other woman, Annie Dookhan, trying to impress her supervisors as a chemist, had been caught forging thousands of tests which in turn caused jamming up the courts with appeals. There was also an underlying scandal regarding how the state attorney’s office buried a lot of the evidence against Farak. The ‘narrator’ of this series is a defense attorney, Luke Ryan, who was very suspicious of the way everything was handled and had 2 clients who were convicted based on Farak’s test results.
For people who like true crime documentaries “How To Fix A Drug Scandal” is very interesting but could have been told in 2 episodes instead of the 4 lasting over 3 and1/2 hours.
2.  “Tigertail” is a film written and directed by Alan Yang, based on and narrated by his father, is about the latter leaving Taiwan to migrate to America. He leaves behind the love of his life and enters a loveless marriage to his boss’s daughter who funds the trip to the U.S. where they raise their son and daughter. He is a dour man who fails to connect with his children as we see in a few scenes between father and daughter.
At an hour and 31 minutes “Tigertail” promises to be an interesting movie but doesn’t deliver though if you have the time it is worth seeing.
3. “All In My Family” is a 40 minute documentary by Hao Wu showing how he left his traditional Chinese family, came to the U.S. and with his lover has kids via surrogates. He and his lover Eric, with the kids, return for a visit to China. They all are loved by the family though they don’t understand or accept that their child is gay in 2010.
In 40 minutes Wu covers about 3 years, leaving nothing out, and shows the difference in acceptance via culture.
4. “The Windermere Children” was on PBS and is a must-see. In 1945 300 Polish youngsters, not speaking a word of English, were liberated from the nazi concentration camps and brought to England to become acclimated with a new world. We follow 7 of the children, at the beginning hearing the voices of 5 of these survivors and, in the end, we get to meet them. I couldn’t/wouldn’t take my eyes off the screen for a minute, many times shaking my head in disbelief, at times even smiling at their antics and a few minutes later crying at what they had been and were going through.
Director Michael Samuels and screenwriter Simon Block show us what “The Windermere Children” endured and overcame. Check your PBS station for a repeat (or when it is streaming) and don’t miss it!

Posted April 11, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Summer In Spring?   1 comment

Weather collage April 10 2020
 “Fortunately, the temperatures in Fort Lauderdale hovers in the high 70s and low 80s in March while April is all sunny skies and beautiful temperatures in the 80s.”
Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet! Since March 2 most of the day temperatures if not 90 or above it was either 88 or 89 degrees! And today we broke a record in Fort Lauderdale going over 94 degrees!
But wait! We are going to have a ‘cold wave’ hit us this holiday weekend with rain and 2 days in the mid and high 80s only to return to the 90s for 3 days!!
Looks like Memphis and the mid-south will have a sloppy, stormy Easter Sunday while we will be enjoying Spring and/or Summer!

Posted April 10, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

OH NO! NO INTERNET! WHAT TO DO?   Leave a comment

Isolation 2 April 7 2020
Just when you think anything could get worse–yes, I know, getting the virus is–you wake up in the morning to find the Internet is down which means no connecting people in a relaxed way and many at the same time! Then, because I won’t get Pandora on my monitor, I turn to the television because I need/want background noise and I never (never say never!) put on the TV until 5 or 6 PM.  Sadly without the Internet, there is no TV. Oh, wait! I have an indoor antenna so I can get local networks but being spoiled those hands will drive me crazy!
Here I am without the Internet, no streaming TV shows or cable–what will I do with my time? Hey, I got it! I can go back to reading a book or 2 or 3! I can write stories! I can enjoy Mother Nature! I can eat! (Well better watch out for that!)
We get so spoiled with technology and think it is the end of the world if something goes wrong!  It doesn’t! We woke up this morning and we have many choices about how to spend the day and, even, do nothing if that is what we choose to do!
I am not lying–after 24 hours I had a great grin on my face when the Internet (and Netflix) came on!
Happy Passover                Happy Easter

Posted April 8, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

An Artist (not me!) wants your reactions to his latest project!   1 comment

John's boats collage 2
Over the years I have posted many of John’s projects from artworks to making props for the annual 1st Baptist Church Christmas Pagent plus local theatre companies. He has made shelves for neighbors, a stand for me to put my plants on to making a bed base for another resident. I hate to say it (and I will deny I did) the man is talented plus one of the good guys (and there are so few of us!) He has been working on this new project for a couple of years and he was wondering what other people’s reactions would be at seeing them.
Whatever comments you make I’ll pass on to him.
Be kind–remember he is an artist!!  :O)
John wrote the following:

A few years ago I noticed these strange looking chips that looked like little boat hulls. I thought to myself why not make something out of these things. So, a short time later I picked two of these things up and took it to my shop and came up with this idea.

I learned that mahogany trees have seed pods once a year and they open up and spread the seeds to the ground. Then the pod itself falls to the ground in segments of which there are 5. These fallen chips or segments are all over the place and can be readily collected by anyone.

The process for making these boats is done very carefully as there are many different steps involved. Each boat, depending on size and complexity, takes about 2 to 3 days.

Over time I have sold some of them or given them as gifts. One friend was so enthralled with them that he bought about 25  at one time. (900.00). I will continue to make them especially now that the world has shut down and we all have a lot of time on our hands. I hope to someday make a youtube video of the entire process.

Posted April 5, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

Thoughts during isolation!   1 comment

COVID-19 April 2020 Collage 3
Being in isolation, my mind starts to wander and I wonder if anyone else has thoughts that make them laugh out loud or even just forget what’s outside?
I drink more coffee now then I did working as a waiter but I’m glad I gave up smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day in 2008!  I can’t even imagine how many I  would be smoking now and if I could even afford them!
I was going to cut down on using the Internet just before COVID-19 came to us and now I am on it more than ever.
Luckily I had my 21st Leap Year birthday party before the virus hit Fort Lauderdale!
I just want to pass on something I heard yesterday. The owner of a restaurant is asking his customers to order their food to be delivered directly from them instead of a delivery service as he is keeping his  staff of servers, bartenders, dishwashers, etc., working by their delivering the food and getting the 30% he has to pay for the service!
Okay, I got the numbers messed up but you’ll be able to follow the photos easy enough!
1) I’m so glad my Christmas cactus is blooming for Passover & Easter!
2) So many rules to follow but with the office not allowing anyone in how are we supposed to register our needed visitors?
3) You have to buy what the store offers and who doesn’t smile at Mickey Mouse? (An offbeat question/survey: are more people counting how many toilet paper squares they are using? Hey, you’re having strange thoughts, too!)
4) I’ve been subscribing to the Sun-Sentinel for 41 years and about 2 years ago the yearly subscription rate went over $200 so I had to cut back. They offered a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday subscription for $10 a year–yes, you read it right–and I took it! I don’t think I looked at the newsstand price since but on Friday I noticed no Showtime plus the whole paper was so thin I glanced at the front page and got sticker shock! $3!! Unbelievable! And newspapers are wondering why people aren’t buying the real paper and are going for the digital issues!
5) There are so many rules that I think the office has used up a few of the trees that they removed a couple of years ago!
6) Our poor mail people–they are being treated like lepers–and now they are saying (on the Internet, of course) that unless the government helps them financially there will be no more mail deliveries!
7) That guy looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world! What virus? What epidemic?

Posted April 4, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“Uncorked”–Netflix–Movie Review   1 comment


I decided to have my Friday at the movies in my living room. Looking over what was new and playing on the streaming services I found about 4 new movies and decided to see “Uncorked” after reading the synopsis. I made a bowl of popcorn, sat in my recliner, turned on the TV and I was ready!

 Let’s start off by saying after about 84 minutes into the movie there is a scene of different BBQ meats ready to serve and I wanted them all! I lived in Memphis for 10 years and had some of the best BBQ ever. Okay, what does BBQ have to do with a movie called “Uncorked”? You would think it would be more about wine and it is. I have a fundamental knowledge of wines having worked in restaurants but I learned a lot from this movie.

Wine and BBQ might be a good duo but both are only a minor part of the movie. Without giving any spoilers (if you have been a moviegoer for some time you will know where the screenplay is going) “Uncorked” is about a father (Courtney B. Vance) who owns a BBQ restaurant, originally owned by his father, is training his son (Mamoudou Athie) to take it over from him and help him open another restaurant while the son dreams of being a Sommelier while working in a wine shop part-time to make extra money, aside from working with his father and going to school.

 The son, Elijah, is taking a wine course which requires him to go to Paris for part of the semester which he can hardly afford and his father is against while his mother (Niecy Nash) backs him and insists on her husband giving their son the money to go. Oh, by the way, Mom has had cancer.

That’s all I’ll tell you except all the actors are so believable in their roles that you believe they are who they say they are and though you, probably, know what is going to happen between father and son, to the mother, and the son making BBQ or pouring the wine the director and screenwriter Prentice Penny does a good job of you being involved with the story and the actors.

The picture divides the 104 minutes between Memphis and Paris, with more time in the former and captures the feel of the cities. There is a love story, family conflict, strong supporting cast, excellent performances by the leads, food and wine porn along with warm feelings.

Posted April 3, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

COVID-19 Rule–Not siding with a party or politician   1 comment

COVID 19 collage 1

I believe, we more than most, are under more orders regarding what to do and not do under the COVID-19 epidemic but even if we aren’t most of us are living within the rules, especially not congregating with more than 10 people (is that still a rule?) and/or social distancing! Why, all of a sudden, does the Governor of Florida say it is okay for members of a religion allowed to congregate in their house of worship? With Easter and Passover coming within 2 weeks isn’t that asking for a further spread of the, right now, uncontrollable killing virus? I am glad to see many Christian and Jewish leaders are saying stay home. Again, this is NOT about the Governor or party but about the rule–do you feel it should be allowed or not followed? Thanks for being civil–and I forgot to order my chocolate matzoh!

Posted April 2, 2020 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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