Underwater Photos From Galapagos

From the minute my cousin Jeff Young, from Sherman Oaks, California, found out that Eliot and I were going to the Galapagos, he urged us to buy an under water camera. We did and the photos below are the results of being capable to snorkel and capture life under the sea that few of us ever see.

Eliot was disappointed with his first attempt because it was difficult to shoot the fish swimming by. Eliot is going to try video next time. We saw the video one of the naturalists took and it made a major difference.

In any case, we want to thank cousin Jeff for the camera recommendation and for the books he sent us on Charles Darwin, and pamphlets that showed us what birds to look for. That made a big difference in our trip. After all, what do city kids know about the Lava Heron, Doves, Rails, Flycatchers, and Mockingbirds? Thank you Jeff!

Temple Emanuel Features A Legend

I’m not sure how I found out that 91 year old Mel Brooks was going to be performing at Temple Emanuel in New York City tonight. I’m glad I did, because it was like watching a lifelong friend reminisce about years that you spent together.

Eliot and I flew from Miami Beach to NYC this morning because we have several events taking place this week. We made sure we were in Manhattan early today because we absolutely wanted to see Mel Books in his golden age.

Our friend Steve Greenberg joined us for what will be one of Mel’s final gigs in the next few years. The main takeaway was that working and performing well into your ’90s helps keep you sharp and focused.

Two thousand people showed up to pay tribute to one of the most talented people in Hollywood. The forum of a very reformed temple was just the most perfect setting for Mel Brooks to tell Jewish shtick from his 60-plus years in comedy.

Someone from the audience asked him if he wore briefs or jockeys. He responded, “It depends.” (The adult diaper). The audience went wild. Several times during the night the audience broke out into thunderous applausez, and finally at the end, he received a much deserved and loving standing ovation.

Mel Brooks was totally alert and profound on stage. It was amazing to watch him because he didn’t skip a beat, or miss an opportunity, to make fun of himself. All photos and videos by Steve Greenberg.

New Google Maps Updates

I’m always amazed how well Google works. We set our destination when we get in the car, and the Google voice gives us precise directions. Even when we make a mistake, Google corrects us. Occasionally, Google takes the long way to where we are going, but that doesn’t happen too often.


Now, I just found out that Google Maps will be adding several “exploration features” that many other companies tried to develop but were never accomplished. No doubt, Google will make it work.


One of the new upgrades is recommendations when you arrive in a new neighborhood or city. Right now we use Trip Advisor for local suggestions, so it’s going to be very interesting to see what Google has to say.


Another upgrade is restaurant recommendations. All the new “trending” restaurants will be listed, as well as others in the same food and price category. The recommendations will also stress seasonal establishments like ice cream parlors, or outdoor restaurants.


Artificial intelligence will also help identify places you will like because of past preferences. If you liked a certain group of places in the past, Google Maps will figure out similar tastes. The book and fashion industry already do that, so Google should have no trouble making suggestions. We will take them all.

I Hope I’m Around To See This

I first saw this slide show months ago. I couldn’t decide if it was a joke, or it was for real. When I did some research, I learned that Richard Branson was on a mission to save animals. I became fascinated. I always thought killing other living things, so we can eat, was a little weird. I accepted that was the only way we could survive.

Then I read that Branson believed there was an alternative. There are many stories about Branson’s determination. You can read one particular story in Forbes. Click here. This is going to be very interesting to watch.

Should The Galapagos Be On Your Bucket List?

Many family and friends have asked me just how fabulous the Galapagos is, and is it worth the trip? I’m going to “yes” right off the bat because anytime you can see wildlife in their natural habitat, it’s a treat. This is probably truer for a gal who grew up in a city atmosphere than those who were raised in rural areas.

The natural beauty of the unspoiled islands make you realize what this Earth is all about and what we are doing to mistreat it. The Galapagos naturalists make you wonder why while some of us devote ourselves to the land, and the rest of us are not even aware of what makes the Earth tick.

The following photos, taken by Eliot Hess, give you a sense of the beauty that awaits you.This set of photos were taken on Española, the southernmost of the Galápagos Islands. It’s also one of the oldest. Geologists day it’s about four million years old.

A 31 Year Relationship

My friend Maurice de Hond is probably one of the most famous people in the Netherlands. You can’t walk around most places in Amsterdam without him being recognized. If you are Dutch, you know Maurice.

Most of his fame comes from being a TV personality. He is a pollster, a computer expert, and the founder of School Suites, a start-up that promotes personalized learning in the school system. Maurice believes that each child should be educated on his or her own individual talents and interests. The days of mass learning in a traditional classroom is over. The transformation will take place over the next decade. Click here to read all about it. http://scoolsuite.nl/en/. He travels all over the world giving lectures about it.

He is also working with a cancer research company that will have a big announcement in the not-to-distant future. Keep your fingers crossed. We may beat this disease in our lifetime.

Maurice and I met though business but have remained friends for 31 years. We usually see each other once a year and speak to each other via email, social media and phone calls. Eliot and I also know Maurice’s adult children and their families.

Maurice is pictured with his wife Mari and daughter Daphne in the above photo. Maurice met Mari on his trip to Cuba almost 13 years ago. He went there to learn how to Salsa dance, and came back to Amsterdam with a bride.

We have all gotten together a number of times on both sides of the ocean. I’m thankful for the Internet because without it, we never would have maintained such close ties. I have done other profiles on Maurice before in DigiDame. This won’t be the last.

Pictures taken at Wynwood Walls.

A Facebook Gift

This video was created by Facebook about my trip to the Galapagos. I opened my Facebook account today and there it was. Interesting to note, some of these photos were never posted on Facebook. They were taken from my camera roll on my iPhone. Watch out what you store on your phone. Facebook can grab them.

Photos on your camera roll are stored by city, and by date. It’s not that difficult for a software program to capture a group of photos that are related to each other. The video did have one mistake and I was able to eliminate the photo from another story.

I’m pretty proud that I was able to take the video off of Facebook and post it here. That was something I couldn’t do before. All I had to do was save the video to my camera roll, then turn it into a YouTube video on my channel, and then post it here. It was so simple.


Cremation Diamonds Are A Mourners Best Friend

I’m shocked that this concept is still around. Yet. Inc magazine decided to do a feature story last month on Eterneva, a company that inserts ashes from a loved one into keepsake diamonds.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Our PR agency, HWH PR, represented the predecessor to Eterneva, over 15 years ago. When the owner of the first company, who came up with this concept, first debriefed me on his idea, I thought it was the craziest scheme I ever heard. We continued to do business for a while, but I got tired of convincing the press to write stories about this new type of jewelry.

Now years later. Inc says cremations are outnumbering burials. I guess timing is everything, and this concept now makes sense.

Carrying the ashes of a loved one around with you can be very comforting, What I once thought was very spooky, turns out to be very sweet after all.

My timing was off.

Living On The Seas

I played hooky this past Sunday, the last day of hiking when we were in the Galapagos. The hiking trails scheduled for that day were treacherous and I didn’t want to take any chances. Most days on the expedition we were climbing on boulders and it was a miracle that I didn’t break my neck.

(This is the super yacht we were on, La Pinta. It is 209 feet long, houses 27 crew members and 44 guests).

I was one of the few who remained onboard. I loved it. I practically had the whole luxury yacht to myself. See the picture of the La Pinta above. It was glorious, just lounging in my cabin watching the water ripple by. I suddenly thought to myself that it would be interesting to always live on a ship. Each day I would wake up in a new port. While that sounded very romantic at the time, reality set in fast. The vessel suddenly listed to one side, and I realized that I couldn’t handle the constant swaying.

Coincidentally, my brother sent me a story from the New York Times about a man who has lived on an ocean line cruiser for the past 20 years. I enjoyed the story so much I wanted you to read it too. Mario Salcedo has been living on the Royal Caribbean as a full time resident. Please read the story and watch the video. It’s a great end of life story. Click here.

Me And The Galapagos

For a city girl who has had little exposure to nature, this trip was an eye opener. Of course, I have been exposed to other national parks, museums and zoos. I also watch nature shows on TV and in the movies, visited farms, ranches, and read National Geographic and travel magazines.

This was different. Hanging out with Naturalists for a week, and spending time with bird watchers, hikers, wildlife lovers and people who truly care about the Earth, was refreshing and inspiring. I should have done this decades ago.

People in their 50’s to late 70’s came from all over the world to make this trip. We made friends from South Africa, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Seattle, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. It was amazing for me to see women my age easily hiking over the giant boulders and lava rocks. Younger folks wore flip flops. I needed a walking stick and Eliot’s arm not to break my neck.

Suddenly, I realized what I missed out on and what I can’t do on my own. My girl friend Marcia recommended Yoga for better balancing techniques and stronger physical capabilities. Whitney gifted us a series two years ago. We loved it but stopped for a number of meaningless reasons. There is too much living to do. Yoga here we come. We strongly recommend this trip to anyone who really wants to feel close to the Earth and examine how they actually fit in.

Turtle poop.