Archive for the ‘FRIENDS’ Category

A JEW LOOKS AT CHRISTMAS PART 1   Leave a comment

 


I very seldom repeat past posts but I get so tired at this time of the year regarding “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “Happy Hanukkah” and “Happy Kwanzaa”–I personally don’t care what you say as long as this time of the year means something to you for whatever reason. This is a 3 part series that I wrote for a paper years ago–hope you enjoy reading it again or reading it for the first time!

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I LOVE Christmas and have since the days stores didn’t decorate for the holiday until Thanksgiving weekend when Santa appeared magically all over town and the Salvation Army went out in force and didn’t take credit cards and the men stood by their big, black kettles ringing bells. It was back in the days when there were Christmas, not holiday, trees and people gleefully yelled “Merry Christmas”, not “Happy Holidays”.

I remember 73 years ago sneaking out to my front yard where we had a tall, huge fir tree and decorating it with balls and silver strips and my mother lamenting, & quote; “What will the neighbors think?” and I didn’t care. We lived on Bogart Avenue, between Lydig and Pelham Parkway, the dividing line between the Sharks and the Jets–for those who don’t get the reference it separated the Jews from the Italians and our block was made up of both.

 

I didn’t think of it as a religious holiday but as a time for peace towards all men. Way back then–in the ice age–you didn’t hear songs like “Jingle Bells”  until Thanksgiving weekend, certainly not in October as a theme song for a cruise line. The celebration of the Christmas feeling started when you heard Nat King Cole sing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” from The Christmas Song or Judy Garland’s sweet, sad voice sang “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas” and, of course, wherever you went you heard Der Bingle (Bing Crosby) sing “White Christmas”.

 

Christmas wasn’t a religious time for a Jewish boy in New York but a time of cold weather, snow flurries, people running here to there with a smile on their face and everyone carrying wrapped packages with bows and ribbons. Of course I had an unfair advantage over my Italian friends because I, also, got to celebrate Hanukkah where children were given geldt (money) and went to the houses (apartments) of their grandparents who had immigrated from Russia and England and were surrounded by very large families and ate and ate and ate, because that is what Jews did on holidays, though I was to learn so did Greeks, Italians, Filipinos, Germans, etc.

Again, it wasn’t the religion of the holiday that attracted me to attend Christmas midnight mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral but the pageantry, the voices of the choir ringing out and the sound of the Latin language, again this was many years ago, echoing through the cathedral. I must confess–hey, it’s a Catholic church–that years later, in the 60s, Ronnie, Joe and I use to go for ‘camp’ reasons–to see Cardinal Spellman all dressed up in his finery, his red robes looking like a gown and, we thought, in all probability, hiding his red, ruby slippers.

None of this is meant, or said, in disrespect of the Christmas holiday and its true meaning but looking at an aspect of it that was open to all children who had imagination and loved to see their world almost become magical for 4 weeks–not like now where by the time the holiday comes around you are ready to scream if you hear one more Christmas song because you have been hearing them since August when you started getting the catalogs and the stores were decorated with wreaths and holly even before Halloween.

NEXT, PART 2, A MAGICAL TIME/PLACE NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN AND SHOULD BE EXPERIENCED BY EVERYONE AT LEAST ONCE–A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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“With our thoughts we make the world.”

Buddha  563-483 BC Indian Religious Teacher

 

 

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

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Posted December 19, 2016 by greatmartin in FRIENDS, HOLIDAYS, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

REST IN PEACE–TO NEVER BE FORGOTTEN   Leave a comment

HOPEFULLY NO MORE WILL BE ADDED!

Victims’ Names

During this difficult time, we offer heartfelt condolences to the families of the 49 victims who lost their lives during the Pulse tragedy. To the families and friends of the victims, your city is with you and will continue to be with you as you deal with this unimaginable tragedy.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Posted June 14, 2016 by greatmartin in FRIENDS, GAY, LIFE EVENTS, LOVE, Uncategorized

CELEBRATING PHILIPPE’S BIRTHDAY PART 2   Leave a comment

15th Street Fisheries June 4 2016 Collage

On a picture perfect, sunny, ‘tourist’ weather day Philippe took us out to the 15th Street Fisheries to celebrate his day! The restaurant is a landmark in FortLauderdale and even today, in ‘off season’, it was packed enough that they had to open the second floor which is usually just open for dinner. (If I had known it was open I would have requested we sit up there but I didn’t find out until later.)

The first two rows of pictures show the entrance, their famous Koi fish pond, one of the dining rooms and a picture of Philippe, Otto and Allen.

The 3rd row starts off with me and Allen while the third picture is a cup (served in a cup!) of conch chowder followed by my skillet which was suppose to have fish, shrimp and scallops which had 3 tiny shrimp, not a scallop and the rest was fish in a red wine cream sauce, while, in the bottom first picture, Allen and Philippe had fried shrimp and, in the second picture, Otto had fried Calamir rings

For dessert Philippe had Key Lime pie while Allen and I had a triple chocolate brownie and I was not impressed with the latter.

I hadn’t been to the 15th Street Fisheries in a couple of years, which at one time was one of my favorite dinner places, and while the service was excellent the food, at least mine, wasn’t up to par.

The bottom line is that we had a pleasant lunch on a beautiful day with good company and helped a friend celebrate his birthday!

FOR LIVE VIEWS GO TO:

http://15streetfisheries.com/fishcam.html

Posted June 4, 2016 by greatmartin in FRIENDS, Uncategorized

LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN!   3 comments

The Sea Watch opened in 1974 and since has become a landmark in South Florida. I have been eating here for over 30 years and the restaurant has recently gone through a major overhaul and while the chairs are not the most comfortable the surroundings are still a part of dining here. It is one of the very few free standing restaurants built on the beach overlooking the ocean and it is a great place to take out-of-towners for the scenery alone, especially during the day, and then taking a walk on the beach.

It is almost a jigsaw of a place seemingly put together without rhyme or reason and as far as I can tell there are 3 different levels all offering views of the beach and ocean.

Being on their mailing list for years I received a $30 gift certificate so Allen and I went there for lunch yesterday. I had Rigatoni made in a San Marzano sauce with mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and Parmigian cheese plus I added shrimp. Allen had the Seared Scallops with roasted red peppers, thyme, coriander and corn relish plus fries. They serve both dark and rye seeded bread and though good I wish it had been warmed up. Our server Patrick was very efficient but as I told him instead of the 22% tip (on what it would have cost) added to the bill I would have made it 25% if he smiled! :O)

Aside from being a place to take guests from out of town for the seafood the landscape adds that extra touch.

Sea Watch slideshow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD-KuxjjWpg

AN OPEN LETTER TO CHUCK AND TERRY!   Leave a comment

My memory isn’t much good when it comes to dates but back in 1977 or ’78 (‘someone’ stole my diaries from the latter 1970s) I was in Overton Park and met a guy called Chuck—almost lost him but that is another post. I don’t quite remember the date I met Terry (2006? ) but I do know he was at my 18th Leap Year birthday.

Meeting Chuck was a life saver in many ways being there when I needed him, listening to my nonsense, seeing me at my worst and best. He has come to accept me for me with all the good and bad—though we would disagree I feel there is more good than bad!! (Otherwise why would he be my friend?!) Trust me when I say he has been there for me when I needed someone to talk to or cry on a shoulder. He knows my lack of a money gene and though I have never seen him shake his head I know he has. At my worst I know I will always get a smile from him—sometimes in frustration and not taking advice, his or anyone else’s!  He has also shown quite a lot of patience as my computer/Internet guru but he has only himself to blame for that as he gave me my first desktop computer.

Now Terry is another story! He picks on poor, little innocent me with zingers in person, on the Internet and everywhere else and I, being shy, never counter attack! Okay you know that is a lot of bull! I think there is an unwritten agreement between us that we can take whatever the other one deals out though one time I acted like a prima donna—yes I know that is hard to believe but it happened.

Chuck and Terry got married in 2013 and I believe next year they will be celebrating being together for 11 years. I am glad they have found each other and I am glad to be part of their family.

On Tuesday December 1st there was a knock on my door absolutely surprising me and making a great memory that I will keep forever but more about that in other—many other posts!

Chuck and Terry I love you both and I am proud, happy to know you are FRIENDS of mine!  (Even if I didn’t get a convertible with a year’s worth of auto insurance but more of that later!)

Chuck & Terry slideshow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saC7U30fOh8

Posted December 18, 2015 by greatmartin in FRIENDS, Uncategorized

THE STORY OF MY SURPRISE PART 3   Leave a comment

In 2008, for my 18th Leap Year birthday Chuck and Terry came to Fort Lauderdale to help me celebrate and on the advice of a mutual friend they got me a George Foreman Grill—something I didn’t need and something I didn’t use until 7 years later—this year. (And I love it.)

Not being shy on November 22 I posted a blog called MY WANT/NEED/WISH BIRTHDAY GIFT LIST–BY DEMAND OF CHUCK AND MARY!!

And I did just that, listing about 30 different items, in all price ranges. There were a couple of unrealistic wants/needs/wishes like a red convertible Chevrolet or Caddie with a year’s worth of auto insurance.

On the list was a new desktop computer but I got a good deal, before Terry & Chuck came down, for one with Windows 10 already in it so that wasn’t on the list anymore. I had emailed Chuck and told him about it because I knew I would need his help getting it going. (Chuck is my computer guru having given me my first computer back in the 1990s—wonder how many times since then he cursed that decision?)

Making a long story short the three of us spent Wednesday, December 2 traveling all over the world—well Broward county—because Terry wanted to get the new computer chair (on the list) at a Costco’s—long story short we went everywhere except where I suggested but eventually they bought the chair across the street from where they were staying at The Office Depot!! (Not that I will remind him 5,000 times!) So that was another item I can cross off the list.

I must say I was really surprised when on Friday they showed up with a great collapsible shopping cart! I had talked about the new owners here had changed the rules about the carts we had around the property, so we could get our packages upstairs, by getting rid of them which would make it a little hard for me to get my groceries up 3 flights of stairs—see the picture just of last Thursday’s shopping at the Dollar Tree and Winn-Dixie. Okay maybe I mentioned it about 40 times but they didn’t HAVE to get me one!!!

So now I had to take off 3 items from my want/need/wish birthday list! I started hinting about the car and auto insurance but so far no luck!! (Mmm—maybe they are going to surprise me on my birthday?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1HbfuLFgdw

 

Posted December 16, 2015 by greatmartin in FRIENDS, Uncategorized

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