Saturday Night Serenade–A Song and a Movie

To say Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is a great song is to be simply redundant. Taken as a whole, their body of work is sublime, with stand-out nuggets like Fat-Bottomed Girls, Under Pressure, and cult-classic Bohemian Rhapsody.

But I really like this one. I can’t get it out of my head. It’s currently featured in several television commercials. And with the success and acclaim of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, all these songs are getting new life. Take that, Millennials, who believe if something didn’t happen in their lifetime, it didn’t happen at all.

As promised, though, this week’s serenade comes with a movie recommendation. While there are countless versions of Don’t Stop Me Now, this is one of my favorites. It comes from a fantastic little horror-comedy from 2004 called Shaun of the Dead. It’s a smart, funny, and yes, okay, gory at times, take on Dawn of the Dead. Just the title cracks me up.

The story follows hapless Shaun and his slacker-pothead wingman Ed (played the the hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) into what appears to be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Only we’re not using the zed-word.

Complicating matters is the fact that Shaun’s girlfriend Liz has just broken up with him, and he’s perpetually at odds with his stepfather (the brilliant, if low-key in this role, Bill Nighy).

Once he realizes that the end of the world is here (and it takes him an hysterical amount of time to figure it out–watch him pop out to the shop for a Diet Coke), Shaun cooks up a scheme to save Liz from the undead, and thus win her back. Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

At one point, Shaun’s intrepid band of survivors finds itself holed up in his favorite pub. The fight scene set to this Queen classic is a marvel of choreography and comedic editing.

I’ve checked–you can stream Shaun of the Dead for about $4 from nearly any streaming service. So what are you doing tonight? Saturday Night Live is in reruns until Fall.

By the way, happy Memorial Day! I hope you enjoy your long weekend. Be sure to hug those you love and tell them that you love them.

If you’re remembering someone who paid the ultimate price in service to their country, please accept my deep respect and gratitude. Freedom isn’t free. It never was.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Guilty Pleasures

Okay, y’all.  It’s 2019’s first guilty pleasure.  I shouldn’t like it.  Nobody should like it.  And yet…

Anybody besides me find themselves sucked into FOX’s new music competition show, The Masked Singer?  It’s beyond ridiculous.

Famous people dress up in costumes that cover their entire bodies, drop clues to their identities via short video introductions, then come onstage to sing.  A panel of four judges (Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger tries to guess who the singer might be.

Six singers compete in each episode, and at the end of the hour, the singer with the least number of votes (from the judges and the studio audience) loses, and removes his or her costume head to reveal their identity.

The show is like a cross between American Idol and a fur con (It’s a thing, look it up, LOL.)  It sounds awful, right?  Except I’m loving it, and lots of people agree with me.

In the most recent episode, the losing contestant turned out to be 4:20 icon Tommy Chong.  Which was a little sad, because he wasn’t as terrible as you’d imagine.

Another contestant belted out Ricky Martin’s classic Livin’ La Vida Loca, and I was in heaven.  I’d forgotten how much I love this song!  (Okay, Ricky Martin might be another guilty pleasure, so you can see how layered this thing is.)

At any rate, if you find yourself with nothing special to do on a Wednesday night at 9pm EST, you might just turn to FOX and see what’s up with The Masked Singer.

In the meantime, I hope you’re managing to stay warm this January weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

I Love This Place!

Mr. R and I went out for dinner last weekend to celebrate the closing of his first real estate listing.  Unsure of where we wanted to go, we looked online to find some options.  We really wanted to try someplace we’d never been before.

We landed on Cool’a Fishbar at Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens.  The menu looked good, and the prices were moderate.  The website offered us the opportunity to make a reservation, which we did.

When we arrived about 10 minutes early, we were seated immediately in a large booth.  The interior is upscale indoor tiki, with lots of dark wood and woven rattan.  Our server, Steven with a ‘v’, was both friendly and efficient, and extremely knowledgeable about the menu, which boasts fresh, locally caught seafood.

We ordered coconut shrimp as an appetizer, and I opted for Cool’a’s signature drink, a strong rum and citrus concoction.  I cannot tell a lie, I had two.

For dinner, Mr. R ordered the Mediterranean Seafood bowl–a mixture of shrimp and scallops with tomato, spinach and feta cheese, sauteed with white wine, lemon, butter, and oregono over angel hair.  I chose the Island Grilled Salmon, which was topped with crabmeat and a Hawaiian aioli.  My entree came with two sides, and I had the mixed baby greens and the Cool’a potato, a heavenly kind of au gratin served in a ramekin.

EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, was delicious.  We ate like we’d just tapped out of Naked and Afraid.  Across from us, a couple shared a slice of Key lime pie.  I wanted some so badly, but I was too full to even think about it.

Suffice it to say, we’ve found a great new place to go for date night.

*The first three photos are taken from the Cool’a website.  The last one, of my dinner, is mine.

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4 Stars Out of 5

I hate working out, y’all.  Not a fan of sweat.  But I’ve been doing it.

Back in the fall, I registered to attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention which is happening July 16.  I’ll tell you more about that later.   Right now, my point is that I realized that by July, I wanted to look more like a svelte, sexy romance writer, and less like Jabba the Hutt.

To that end, in January I started being careful about carbs, eating lots of salad and veggies, and walking away from bread and pasta.  And I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far.

Most days, Coach Kozak from HasFit on YouTube kicks my ass, but today I wanted to do something different.  A little investigation led me to a bunch of virtual treadmill videos.  They make it seem like you’re running someplace magical rather than in your living room.  And yes, I could just run outside in the neighborhood.  But it’s summer, y’all, and it’s HOT.

So today I took a run along the beach in Queensland, Australia.  It was beautiful, and I nearly forgot I was running.  The half hour passed quickly.  I would give the video 4 out of 5 stars.

Why did I dock it a star?  We passed a bar TWICE and the fucker refused to stop.

Date Night–Cocktails, Apps, & Dinner, Oh My!

Mr. R. and I had a fabulous date night last weekend.  We started with cocktails and apps at The Alchemist on Clematis.  As it was a cool evening, we opted to sit at a high-top inside.  Having previously only eaten outside on the sidewalk, I was pleasantly impressed with the interior.  It was wooden tables and chairs, tin ceilings, industrial pendant lighting, carefully cluttered bric-a-brack, and a relaxed atmosphere.  It reminded me for all the world of my favorite bar on the planet, the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City, the historic Cuban district of Tampa.  Which may explain why I loved it so much.  I had a glass of Kim Crawford while Mr. R. enjoyed a Stella or two with our lobster fritters and empanadas.

But when we searched the menu for something dinner-type, neither of us found anything that really struck our fancy that night.  Mr. R. looked at me and suggested that for dinner we could go to the Sunset Bar & Grill and I was thrilled to agree.

So we made our way to Northwood Village and the Sunset Bar & Grill.  I’ve written about this terrific little Indie restaurant before and it’s one of my favorite places to go. The interior is funky, eclectic, and artsy, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.  We were shown to our favorite booth right next to the bar and wasted no time ordering a glass of Clifford Bay.  Glancing around, we noticed that about half the tables had ‘Reserved’ signs on them and we found out that many people had booked reservations for later on that evening.

For dinner Mr. R. had the pork chop in marsala sauce and I had the shrimp Francaise.  Both were hot and delicious.  I’ve never seen a ‘chop’ the size of the one he had.  Having had apps downtown, neither of us were able to finish the generous portions we were served, but before we left we were treated to the most amazing dessert.

Mind you, I’m generally of the opinion that “if it ain’t chocolate, it ain’t dessert.”  I have changed my mind.  We were served a raspberry pear cobbler that absolutely blew my mind.  The first bite just melted in my mouth and I was hard-pressed not to stab Mr. R. with my fork in my eagerness to get another bite.

Next time you’re looking to go someplace different for a great meal, I’d recommend the Sunset Bar & Grill.  You might make reservations to make sure you’ll get a table.

And Valentine’s Day is coming up, just saying…

Date Night–A Walk in the Woods

No, we didn’t go hiking for Date Night.  Instead, Saturday night Mr. R. surprised me with tickets to see the Robert Redford/Nick Nolte film at the fancy-pants movie theatre.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I can’t see going to a movie at a regular theatre ever again.  I’ve been spoiled by being able to choose our luxurious leather recliners online when we order the tickets.  I’ve been spoiled by friendly and efficient wait staff greeting us and taking our orders, only to return moments later with glasses of wine and an elegant cheese platter.  It’s the high life, I tell you.

On the downside, there was a woman in front of us who slipped off her sandals and put up her feet.  Shed of their coverings and propped up right there in front of God and everybody were, without question, the ugliest feet you’ve ever seen.  Mr. R. took a photo as proof but since this a classy blog, you won’t see the picture here.

But I was excited to see the movie, A Walk in the Woods.  I read the Bill Bryson book a lifetime ago, way back when I was married to my nightmare, and I loved it.  It’s the true story of Bryson, an American writer who lived in the UK with his family for years, and had recently moved back to New Hampshire.  Determined to reacquaint himself with his home country, he found a willing partner and set out to hike the 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.  The book is at turns humorous and heartfelt and the movie is the same way.  If you’d like a break from movies about robots, superheroes, and shit that blows up, you’ll like A Walk in the Woods.

I also recommend reading the book because like so often is the case, the movie can’t tell the whole story.  While you’re at it, I actually recommend any of Bryson’s books.  He’s sharp and witty with a dry sense of humor and a keen sense of observation.  And by the way, he knows that’s a grizzly bear on the cover of the book.  It’s a joke. Get it?

Another of my favorites is A Short History of Nearly Everything, the very title of which reflects his tongue-in-cheek pomposity.  It’s a terrifically informative and fun read.  So with this Date Night post, you get a two-fer–a movie review and a book review.  Plus a reminder to try out the fancy pants movie theatre in your community.  You’ll never look back.