Archive for May 2022

Rainy & Hurricane ‘Seasons’   1 comment


Our rainy ‘season’ is May 15 to October 15 while the hurricane ‘season’ is June 1 to November 30! Does that mean it doesn’t rain October16 to November 30?!??!? Only in Florida folks!!

We have been very lucky that most of the hurricanes have by-passed Fort Lauderdale with us only getting 2 major hurricanes which were Wilma in October 2005 and Irma n August 2017. Most of the hurricanes have veered up north or west towards New Orleans but that doesn’t mean we won’t get it this year.

I am ready every month/day with supplies such as cans of tuna (and an old fashioned manual can opener), batteries, 24 bottles of water, nuts, flashlights, battery operated radio, fans, backup meds, etc. No hurricanes??? I can use all the above in the following months!

Regarding the rain—we usually get our heavy rain between 9-11 AM and in the afternoons between 2-6 PM but year by year (caused by weather change) it can come at any time of the day or night.

By the way the one thing I don’t do is evacuate my apartment and go to a ‘shelter’—someone needs to protect all my plants, pictures on the wall not to forget my “A Chorus Line” mementos!!

I hate to say it but the fury of Mother Nature during hurricanes can be breath-taking and, in some incidents beautiful!

Posted May 31, 2022 by greatmartin in MOTHER NATURE

STREAMING REVIEWS—MAY 2022—PART 5   Leave a comment

1) “Hello My Name Is Doris”–Netflix–movie–1 hour& 30 minutes–Doris (Sally Field) is a 60 year old spinster who develops a romantic obsession on a much younger co-worker John (Max Greenfield) but is too timid to do anything about it. Her mother has recently died and her home would easily qualify for the “Hoarders” program.After attending a lecture by a motivational speaker (played by Peter Gallagher) she decides as he suggests, to take a big risk and pursue John. Roz (Tyne Daly–excellent) is Doris’s best friend and is instrumental in setting up an ‘accidental’ meeting with John. The film hovers between comedy and drama–the latter a forceful scene as Doris explains to her brother, and his wife, what she has sacrificed taking care of their mother, and shows why Sally Field is an award winning actress! This is a winning film from beginning to end worth seeing if only for her scenes with Tyne Daly but offers so much more–it is funny, serious, crazy and real.

2) “Night Sky”–Prime Amazon–season 1–8 episodes–6 hours & 13 minutes–up until episode 8 it is a compelling story of a long married couple, who lost a son, are still very much in love, with a secret chamber in their basement–we meet their granddaughter, their friends, strangers, next door neighbors with a sc-fi and religious strain going through the whole series dealing with the chamber and religion but don’t ask me what! Mainly due to the acting of Sissy Spacek and J. K. Simmons it is obvious that the rest of the cast is bringing their A game to the series making the first  episodes compelling and keeping the 8th episode interesting, even if incomprehensible only to me.

3) “Along For The Ride”–Netflix–1 hour & 47 minutes–Auden (Emma Pasarow) is a straight and narrow star student with divorced parents and instead of taking a summer job as her mother’s research assistant she chooses to stay with her father, his much younger wife and their new child at their Colby Beach, North Carolina, beach house working for her stepmother, keeping the books of her book shoppe. She eventually meets Eli (Belmont Cameli) who seems to be a little out of it—hey, this is a boy meets girl story-can’t all run smoothly! I liked it up to the HDP (sorry, if you want to know what that is see the movie) and then I loved it which surprised the hell out of me!

4) “Stay Close”–Netflix–limited British crime series–8 episodes—6 hours & 12 minutes–after 16 years and 3 daughters Megan (Cush Jumbo) and Dave (Daniel Francis) decide to get married–before Megan was Megan she was Cassie, a dancer/stripper and/or ???? at the Vixens Club–no one, including Dave, know about her past but now, suddenly, someone is going to expose her. At the same time Detective Michael Broome (James Nesbitt) and he ex-wife, also a detective, Erin Cartwright (Jo Joyner) are investigating the disappearance of a young man which may involve Megan/Cassie’s daughter. The 4 adults and the rest of the cast give top performances with the many twists and turns. There are very vivid violent scenes and the real villain surprised me as it really wasn’t the best solution but, if nothing else, Megan/Cassie’s story holds everything together and makes this a better than average crime story!

5) “New Heights”–Netflix–Swiss series–season 1–8 episodes–6 hours & 20 minutes–the crazier a family is the better the drama is and this Swiss family is a mess! The grandmother/mother-in-law to the mother and the three kids was the mother to the husband/father who committed suicide and that’s just the beginning! All 3 kids were born on the father’s farm–the oldest son is a Zurich business consultant coke head–another son is a farmer’s farmer while their sister wants the farm sold for her share of the money and the new age athletic business she runs–the various stories are about the farm and what to do with it and the 3 adult children while the mother wants to keep it and have the younger son run it. By the way the older son is gay and involved with 2 different guys–one from his past who is married and one at his business who  can help him become a partner and that’s all just in the first episode!! It’s just a good old fashioned soap opera–the Swiss version!

Posted May 29, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, Series, Streaming

“Top Gun: Maverick”–Movie Theatre Review   1 comment


Unless you have a great memory that goes back to 1986 and can remember a lot of the important relationships in the first “Top Gun” movie the 2022 “Top Gun: Maverick” can cost a lot of confusion plus taking you out of the current movie trying to remembering the first one!

There are a lot of stories running through the main screenplay but the majority of scenes and what makes the picture are the flying scenes which would probably be more thrilling seeing them on an IMAX screen.

A lot has been made, in interviews and stories, of Tom Cruise doing his own flying but how do you know, how can you tell with computer generated imagery used so much in today’s movies. In any case they make up the bulk of the movie and are very effective.

Talking about Tom Cruise he does a great job showing how and why he is the top gun not only in this movie but the many hit movies he has made. He is surrounded by a top notch supporting group and has a special touching scene with Val Kilmer, who in real life due to cancer can only talk in a low raspy voice.

“Top Gun: Maverick” will probably be a huge blockbuster due to Ton Cruise, those who remember “Top Gun” affectionately, the fact that is it an adventure action film plus it i playing over Memorial Day Weekend in thousands of cinemas including small ‘art’ theatres like The Gateway that is showing it on 2 screens! (Not to forget we are having another air and sea show in South Florida!)

For those of you who are going to see it will go not matter what is said but I strongly suggest you see the first “Top Gun”—which you can see on many of the streaming shops–to remember or understand “Top Gun: Maverick” easier.

A lot has been made, in interviews and stories, of Tom Cruise doing his own flying but how do you know, how can you tell with computer generated imagery used so much in today’s movies. In any case they make up the bulk of the movie and are very effective.Talking about Tom Cruise he does a great job showing how and why he is the top gun not only in this movie but the many hit movies he has mad. He is surrounded by a top notch supporting group and has a special touching scene with Val Kilmer, who in real life due to cancer can only talk in a low raspy voice.”Top Gun: Maverick” will probably be a huge blockbuster due to Ton Cruise, those who remember “Top Gun” affectionately, the fact that is it an adventure action film plus it i playing over Memorial Day Weekend in thousands of cinemas including small ‘art’ theatres like The Gateway that is showing it on 2 screens! (Not to forget we are having another air and sea show in South Florida!)
For those of you who are going to see it will go not matter what is said but I strongly sugges you see the first “Top Gun”—which you can see on many of the streaming shops–to remember or understand “Top Gun: Maverick” easier.

Posted May 27, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

STREAMING REVIEWS—MAY 2022—PART 4   Leave a comment


1) “Blood Sisters”–Netflix–Nigerian limited series–4 episodes–3 hours & 44 minutes–Uduak, (played by Kate Henshaw-Nuttal) is like no other mother you have ever seen–including Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest”!! She is evil, nasty, bitchy–name it–and she excels at the drama–her clothes are WOW as many of the costumes and accessories are but HER outfits, attitude, jewelry and the looks she gives, as mother of the groom who doesn’t approve of the bride, are none you have never seen before–the themes are relatable to families everywhere if not as melodramatic–and the series is full of melodrama–there are a couple of good twists in the series but the whole show belongs to Kate Henshan-Nuttal–a must see to believe!

2) “Bordertown”–Netflix–Finnish series–3 seasons–season 1–11 episodes–10 hours & 27 minutes– the leading man is on of the most boring characters I have seen in years–as he is in charge of the murder investigation of young girls, which is not new to the first story called the “Doll House”–whether he is boring or written that way I don’t know but I gave up by the 6th episode–it is good if you want to be put to sleep!

3) “The Kids in the Hall”–Amazon Prime–8 episodes–3 hours & 23 minutes–maybe the ‘kids’ gave their all when they first came on the scene but it seems they have nothing more to give–anyone, like me, who aren’t familiar with them won’t understand why this was made and those who did see them when they were young will wonder why this has been made!

4) “Our Father”–Netflix–Documentary–1 hour & 37 minutes–Doctor Cline inseminated at least 94 women with his sperm who have had a child by him and not their consent–he truly believes he did it in the name of God–he told the women the sperm was donated by a pool of medical students–we hear from many of the siblings not knowing each other about their health problems, mental problems among other things all this has caused by this one doctor (and, eventually, at least 44 others who did the same thing). We only hear from the women and except for his belief that God made him do it we learn nothing about the man–there were no laws against what he did and he received a one-year suspended sentence, a $500 fine and ultimately, served no prison time–this is a horror story with the monster walking away.

5) “Operation Mincemeat”–Netflix–British film–2 hours & 7 minutes–based on the true story of an elaborate subterfuge during WW 2–the title was based on a beginning author who served in the outfit–Ian Flemming–it is a high class production with, as expected, excellent acting–the last shot after the ‘what happened to…?’ is as fitting an ending to a true story as you can get–as much as I love American movies only the English can make a movie like this and make it so good!

6) “David Spade; Nothing Personal”–Netflix–standup special–1 hour & 6 minutes–he is a professional who has been around over 30 years–yet I felt I was watching a guy trying standup comedy for the first time–yes the “F” word, penis jokes, crass stories–nothing funny–nothing memorable–all forgotten 2 minutes after whatever he says–even the crudeness regarding Sly Stallone and others–a complete waste of time!

Posted May 24, 2022 by greatmartin in MOVIES, Series, Streaming, TELEVISION

Eating lunch out Thursdays and Fridays   1 comment


It is no secret that I love eating in ‘fine’ restaurants but with inflation and little money I can only afford those places once or twice a month not to mention restaurants prices are going through the roof! It is not easy to find a full service restaurant for lunch less than $20 per person—and I am not a drinker!
Most restaurants today are somewhere between full service and fast food and though I prefer the former I do go to many of those ‘in-between’ places also known as fast casual! You place your order at a counter, in most cases get your own beverages, and in some you pick up your orders or someone will bring them to your table.

Though some people (I am NOT mentioning names, but you know who you are!) sneer at the fast casual restaurants I have found two I like with one being Arbey’s as they have a Reuben sandwich that while not quite like a NY deli Reuben is excellent and for $9.84 you get the sandwich, fries and a soda. In many cases you will get coupons once a month in your ‘junk mail’ that offer up to 6 Reubens for $6 each and, yes, I have become a coupon clipper!

One full service family restaurant that I like is IHOP, especially for their omelets and side of pancakes. Recently they introduced some new omelets and I had the cheeseburger omelet ($11.49) that, yes, has all the makings of a cheeseburger minus the bun, in omelet style. It was HUGE and good except next time I would tell them to not put on the mustard and/or ketchup! Throw in the pancakes and you have a MEAL!

When I want wings—not I am not talking about those phony chicken strips sold as wings–I will usually go to the Wilton Wings full service restaurant where they have a daily special of 10 chicken wings in a choice of 5 different sauces and fries for $13.79 and they are good!It’s no secret I like trying new places and one that opened recently was the Tropical Smoothie Cafe, though it is more of a fast casual place than a cafe. There was only two other people when we walked in by the time we left there were 14 people waiting for their orders and we eat a late lunch. There were only 2 people working with one taking the orders and making the smoothies while the other was doing the cooking!

I asked the order taker for her recommendation and to be honest here it is 4 days later and I don’t remember what it was except it was small and expensive which is okay if only it was good!

Last, but not least, I got a batch of ‘buy one get one free’ Baskin Robbins coupons and just a few doors down from the cafe is a combination DD (used to be Dunkin Donuts!) and Baskin Robbins sharing a store with each on one side. One time we went for a one scoop sundae and after the Tropical Cafe we went for 3 scoops of ice cream in a cup. The latter cost $7.95 for both which, with what ice cream costs today, was a good deal.

A few restaurants we go to quite often including full service, fast casual and fast food places are: The Quarterdeck, JMarks, Big Louie’s, Tequila Sunrise, Subways, Jalisco, among others.

Now starts my search for a 4-5 star restaurant for my 22nd birthday on Thursday, February 29, 2024!!

“Downton Abbey: A New Era” Movie Review   2 comments


No matter what reviews may say if you are a Downton Abbey fan you will see this movie! It was one of the biggest audiences I have seen at The Gateway Theatre at a Friday matinee since before the  COVID epidemic! (I am wondering how the crowd next Friday at “Top Gun; Maverak” will compare–I’ll let you know!) Plus it is never too late, even if somewhat confusing to who is who, for a newcomer to be introduced to the goings and comings of a family and their servants.

Upfront I must say I enjoyed this latest chapter of the aristocratic Crawley clan and their servants, a highly rated and watched series on PBS and a winner of their first made for movie theatres taking in a box office of $194 million though I have a few negative feelings the first being that this seems to been have made for TV where it could have run in 8-9 episodes covering all the multi part stories they tell here.

The main story revolves around Dowager countess Violet Grantham, played by the perfect Maggie Smith, inheriting a villa in the South of France which brings up an episode in her past. There is also why she will be leaving it to her granddaughter while also bringing up the question of who really is the father of her son Robert. The latter with his wife Cora and a bevy of servants leave for France as the Duchess is to ill to make the trip herself.

At the same time a film crew is invading  Downton Abbey to film a movie in exchange to paying  for the leaking roof. Throw in a possible romance between the director of the film and Lady Mary along with the change of silent movies to ‘talkies’ and the problems it may or may not cause the two stars on the movie. Oh yes, let’s not forget the possible romance between the  lead actor of the silent movie and the butler of the house. Throw in the wife of the man who left the Duchess the villa and her son’s reaction to the inheritance and to who it was left to and why.

And we haven’t even gone into all the servant’s problems and the bridge between them and the various Crawley family members or the retired butler’s presence or the current butler’s homosexuality or the former footman turned schoolmaster who is very knowledgeable about the new movie ‘business’ in the multi screen stories.

While not a MUST SEE for those who aren’t familiar with the Downton Abbey series it is a more than entertaining film with an excellent cast, some laughter, a few tears and an honest look of the division of the poor and rich in a period of English history, their changing of positions and adjustments made by both as the 20th century advances.

“Downton Abbey: A New Era” is worth the money and time to see in a movie theatre!

Posted May 20, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

Lasagna, an alarm and a Geranium!   1 comment

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1) It is so great to have an Italian neighbor—an Italian neighbor who loves to cook–an Italian neighbor who loves to cook and is a good cook–an Italian neighbor who loves to cook and thinks of her neighbor!! Yes, that is Cathy and just today she brought me a HUGE pan of lasagna–enough that I may even Allen half–(he is just lucky that my primary doctor said my potassium is a little too high and she wants me to come in for a lab test next week and that I should watch what I am eating–she has no sense of humor because she didn’t laugh when I said that I always WATCH what I am eating whether an apple or a carrot cake!)

2) Talking about my primary and doctors and labs–after close to 20 years with Aetna I switched my Medicare Plus insurance to  Health Sun because of the many benefits including a free ’emergency response system’–after my ‘falling’ off my recliner in December I’ve been looking into an alarm system–this one wouldn’t have helped me because you have to push the button to get help and I was out cold for about an hour and a half but this is at least a start–I can wear it around my neck (as in the picture) or like a wrist watch. I’ve been wearing it around the neck without any problem when I am in the apartment and in bed. I am trying to be careful as I walk around but…….So far, so good!

3) A little brightness near my computer–the sun shining on the Geranium giving it a white look when it is actually a mix of red and pink–love it!Now to MY lasagna!!!

Posted May 18, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, HEALTH

STREAMING REVIEWS–MAY 2022–PART 3   Leave a comment


1) “Sex Education”–Netflix—Season 3–8 episodes—7 hours & 24 minutes–at the end of season 3 everything and nothing is solved so they are open to another season which is said to start in Fall 2022–season 3 is a repeat of the first season with all kinds of sex couplings (or not) are presented–everyone from the kids to the adults have problems–what can season 4 do? Repeat the first 3 seasons with some new ‘faces’? Why not? People love the series as it is!

2) “One Child Nation”–Prime Amazon–documentary–1 hour & 28 minutes–a hard movie to watch and leave a lot of questions open about thousand of kids who don’t know they have birth parents and/or siblings living in the US–restricting a family to only having one child causes many problems–same, worse or better than not allowing abortions? Watch and decide!

3) “I Am Not Your Negro”–Netflix–documentary–1 hour & 33 minutes–after years of being an admirer of James Baldwin, the writer,  I met him at a YMCA talk he gave in the  mid 1970s–while I didn’t agree with all that he said I wasn’t smart enough, at that time, to challenge and after gaining wisdom I’m glad I didn’t–you may not get to know Baldwin, the writer, you will get to know the Black, Gay, Baldwin who still speaks more for the Black man than the Gay man–he is a part of American history

4) “Hard Cell”–Netflix–series–season 1–6 episodes–2 hours & 30 minutes–I am not familiar with Catherine Tate but reading her credits, including “The Office” she has a following but she has taken on too much here from writing the story to playing 6 different roles, directing and creating the series–most of the comedy falls flat and trying to make the story about a women’s prison putting on a production of “West Side Story” does not help!
 

5) “A Hero”–Prime Amazon–Iranian drama–2 hours & 8 minutes–an interesting story–the director/screenwriter in real life is being sued for plagiarism for stealing her story from a  thesis she wrote–the movie, not her thesis, does move a bit too slow but, at the same time, shows a lot about Iran’s way of life and dealing with prisoners and their possibly getting out of their sentence by paying their monetary debt.

Posted May 17, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Streaming

Another week in Fort Lauderdale May 2022   1 comment

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Though it is not officially summer we have been hitting the temperatures if the high 80s and low 90s for a couple of weeks now and I have no objections. Today officially starts our rainy season which also means the humidity will start climbing but right now all is comfortable and walks outside, looking around, is a pleasant way of spending time on a Sunday afternoon.

In the upper left corner is a picture of the Queen Crepe myrtles coming into bloom (which means the Jacarandas aren’t far behind—some already showing buds of red!)In the top row in the center 2 pictures and in the lower left corner a bird almost joined me on the walk. I took a closeup of his head but it didn’t come out. Though the bird looks very familiar  he had some ‘different’ markings on the top of his head–yellow and white flowers.

In the two middle pictures in the center row are a few other ‘strange’ birds! I think they are called humans and come in all shapes and sizes and they don’t agree how to maneuver their modes of transportation but they are always fun to look at.Of course I don’t have to go out to spend pleasant time as my place always offers things to see.  I enjoy watching the weekend weather man give his predictions and I often wonder if he just makes up the projected amounts of rainfall chances to cover his backside. We will get rain most everyday (or night) from now until November and it can be a short, misty fall or a hurricane but as long as he says it is going to rain he is very seldom wrong!!

Looking around my place I can see all kinds of plants from the pink Geraniums in the upper right corner to the yellow Cuban flowering plant below it and below that is the ‘Christmas’ cactus blooming in May!Last, but not least, are two pepper plants with one producing a round pepper and the other an elongated pepper, both green. Now I am waiting on a couple of red ones on another plant!

I look around inside and outside and I can easily tell myself that life is good—-for today at least! :O)

Posted May 15, 2022 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, MOTHER NATURE

MARTIN VERSUS TECHNOLOGY!!   1 comment

It all started a week ago Saturday when I got a message “paper jam” on my printer but I couldn’t find/see any paper jammed! John came over and he couldn’t find any either! I had the  EPSON XP 430 for 4 years as of April 16, 2018, so I wasn’t surprised it finally gave up! I needed a printer and I needed it NOW! (Hey, I am only 21–still a kid!) I went on the computer and looked for a wireless computer since I was getting a new one and could do without a couple of hanging cords. I saw a ‘wireless’ computer for $89 at Target (top left and center picture emphasize  “WIRELESS”) and even though I thought the price was too low I ordered it. The web page said I would get it by Tuesday if I ordered before 5 PM so I did just that–it would be the second lie they told me!   

The first lie was that it was wireless and in very small print on the web page it said USB cord not included. It didn’t arrive Tuesday and on Wednesday I inquired about it and was told that it wasn’t in stock and as soon as they get it they ship it out. I canceled the order and went hunting again and decided to get another one advertised as wireless (LIAR!) for a little more money from Office Depot because they guaranteed delivery that day and they did get it delivered around 8 PM! I opened the box and the first thing I saw was an electric cord that has to be plugged into the wall.I looked all over the box and no where did it say you needed a UBS cord if you wanted to use it with a desktop computer!John had an extra cord but it didn’t help. He suggested I call the support number which I did and I was on the phone for 3 hours!!! It seems I had an infection (Did the computer get it from my infected blood?) in the computer. He would not call it a virus. In any case after 3 hours on the phone and a charge of $196 it worked!

Got up this morning, turned on the printer and I had a message of ‘a paper jam’!!! Once again I was on the phone but this time I had a virus called the Trojan and it would require his going through my computer. No, I didn’t scream, rant or rave, even when he told me it would cost $249.99 and because I was a senior there wouldn’t be a tax charge (?) and I would get a credit for the $196 because at this point I knew technology was the winner and I was knocked out of the ring!

It has now been working for an hour and so far only cost me an outlay of $709.52. I haven’t seen the credit reflected on my charge card (heck, how did you think I was paying for all this?!) and from something the second said I have a feeling that initial charge was a scam!!!

Oh yes, I signed a ‘deal’ to get the ink at half price and only when I need it BUT if I printed more than 700 pages in my trial period of 6 months it would cost more. More than 700 pages in 6 months? Heck, I ‘printed’ more than that because I forgot to add that the printer spit out pages without print on it the ONLY was I could stop it was to turn off the printer.I won’t and haven’t even gotten into trying to get rid of the old printer and not getting the ink cartridges I had in that machine that I couldn’t use but John could have nor did I mention Office Depot charges for recycling printers if  turned it in.

Last but not least HP and Office Depot talk about saving trees–won’t talk about how many trees were killed this week with my printer plus I am left with the thought that maybe, just maybe, if I had gotten rid of the virus I could still be using the 4 year old printer!

Posted May 14, 2022 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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