People Helping People 

On a trip to Croatia a few years ago, Eliot and I met an older gay couple from Houston. We kept in touch from time to time. I thought of them two days ago, and sent an email to check up on them. I can’t believe what I got back. 
Dear Lois,

It is wonderful to hear from you.  

 Our worlds have changed forever.

We have lost everything; car, house, all contents! We are living in a one room garage apartment. I am concerned about our health. Everyone in one story houses for miles around us have lost a lot. I just got Internet but no TV, radio, land phone, etc. The house is uninhabitable. It will be a total loss and I am selling the property at lot value.  

We are trying to buy a condo but I must raise a lot of cash very fast. They require cash, full payment! This morning we are signing papers on one vehicle as total loss for cash.  

My computer is acting strange, moving letters around!

We hope you are safe and I will try to email later.  

The Wall Street Journal wants to do a story about our tragic losses.

Hugs and kisses with much love,

I posted this letter on Facebook without identifying them. I was hoping to get them help. Here are the comments.

The final results. After reading my Facebook posts,  Meredith Stark, a former CBS executive, has volunteered to help my Houston friends. She said she is great at paperwork and just wants to see these guys get well again. Meredith is incredible. Thank you Meredith.

Back To The Future In Cameras 

I’m always looking for novel products. This one is for the person who still loves to walk around with printed photos. 

I’m going to let the photo essay provided by the  manufacturer spell out all of the details of the Prynt Pocket. Simply put, this new accessory turns your iPhone into a palm-sized instant camera. You can now print any photo in your camera roll. The Prynt app also allows you to add a video inside your photo. See the explanation below or watch the video. It’s quite remarkable.
Have fun.


Audible on Amazon Echo

I did something today I thought I would never do. I listened to an Audible book on our Amazon  Echo.  

I have been listening to books on audio contraptions since they were invented. I was an early user of Audible books long before Amazon bought the company.

I listen to a book a month, sometimes more. If I went out walking everyday like I should, I could knock off an audio book or two a week. I would love that. One day I will get my act together.

Here is a little background for those who never listened to a book on Audible. In today’s world, most books published are available on Audible.  Either the audio version is available immediately, along with the print edition, or a few weeks later. The books are read by the author, an actor, or a professional reader. I spend $15.00 a month on Audible which usually gives me one free book, plus bonus credits for future purchases.

I listen to books on my iPhone or iPad. It doesn’t matter what device I use, the book picks up where I left off. It seems like magic. It’s not like the books you used to listen to on audio cassettes. There is very little chance to lose your place. The chapters are marked and you can set the voice speed. If you need to review the story because you didn’t understand something, you can click a 30-second button to go “back” or “forward.” 

Today, I decided I wanted to listen to “The Store” by James Patterson on my Echo. I thought I could just give the command to Alexa and the book would be read. No go. After 45 minutes on the phone with Audible support, I found out I had to download the Alexa app, and click on a few settings to make it work, 

I listened to “The Store” on the Amazon Echo for a few hours today, while I worked on eliminating my emails. It was a great way to work and be entertained at the same time. The commands for The Echo are posted above.. See how sophisticated and easy it is. Let me know if you need my help.

Ready, Set, Go

Image: The Verge

Industry analysts are predicting that there is going to be a shortage of the iPhone X’s. Most folks will not he able to get units until 2018. I urge you to be ready to preorder on October 27th.

This seems unbelievable considering that the iPhone X is the most expensive one ever, $1,000.  

Millions of smartphone users are super thrilled to own an iPhone that features a full-screen, no bezel, and facial recognition. Apple anticipates 40 million units will be sold in 2017, and 90 million 2018.

Read more about it in The Verge. Click here






Failure Is Fake News 

I wish I knew there was no such thing as failure when I was building my career. I was always so afraid of failing that I really didn’t venture into some of the things I wanted to do. Now I know better. 

 I want to make sure that all of my young friends don’t make the same mistake. One such friend is  LA40 talk show host, Katerina Cozias.  Kati recently had a quasi mid-life melt-down because she felt she had failed. Was she living the life she had intended to? Watch Kati evaluate herself in the age of the digital revolution. We can all learn something.

Click here.

Enjoy the slogans.

He Said, She Said 

The first time I saw the Sock Slider commercial on the air, I thought the product was a great idea. I didn’t have to bend down to put on my socks. Eliot looked at me like I was out of my mind. “How lazy can you get?” I thought for a second and said, “Very.”

I have thought about that little conversation a lot. We are getting older. Which route are we going to take as we age? Are we going to think like an older person, or ignore the increasing numbers? Many of our contemporaries live pretty simple lives and have somewhat narrow universes while others are busy exploring new hobbies, traveling around the world, and doing charity work. 

The New York Times recently did a story about how to stop aging mentally by making strong commitments to improving your mind and body.

My friend Mel reminded me that most illnesses in older people come on suddenly, without any warnings. It’s time to start thinking and acting younger. 

Read the New York Times story here


My Favorite Irma Posts



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News Scoop

I didn’t post this on Facebook but I did want io tell you that we have a major Republican guest at the Colonnade. Jeb Bush and his wife were spotted in the lobby and going out for dinner tonight. I guess this was his shelter for Irma as well. Of course, I will be scouting for him tomorrow. I have a few questions that I have been dying to ask. Here is my chance. 

Stay Or Run 

Our Miami friend, Dawn McCall, called this morning to check on us. She lives in our building but spends her summers up north. She asked an interesting question. “Would you and Eliot make the same decision to stay in Miami for another  hurricane?”

I thought I knew the answer to that (yes) until I watched the news today and saw some of the devastation. If you are going to ride out a hurricane at home, or on vacation, I sugggest you stay in a huge concrete structure. I learned that no one knows for sure where the eye of a storm will land, so there is no good choice. You have to be lucky. We got very lucky this time, but I don’t  know if that will happen again. 

One thing I do know is that we are not getting in a car to outrun a storm. I watched friends drive north only to end up in a city (Orlando, Atlanta, Savannah, Tampa) where Irma was also planning to visit. My friends chased around like robbers who just stuck up a bank. 

Miami Beach is opening tomorrow at noon. Residents are allowed to return. We are not sure if we are going back because our condo does not have cable and Internet. We have work assignments that require both, so we will make that decision tomorrow. Most likely it will be Wednesday. The good news is that a condo staff member checked our unit, and everything was perfect. Happy days. 

The Sounds Of Irma 

Every once in a while we hear a huge crash outside our 9th floor window. It sounds like broken glass falling. It’s actually terra cotta tiles falling off the roof of this high rise office and hotel complex. It’s smashing on the floor of the pool terrace just below our window. A peek through the curtain reveals a pile of shattered tiles that will sooner or later fall into the pool. 

After several hours of listening to the tiles falling, it starts to feel commonplace. Every time it happens, Eliot and I laugh a little bit. It reminds us that we are in the middle of one of the worst hurricanes ever. 

We are tucked away in our luxurious hotel suite with all the comforts of home. We are so thankful for our niece Val and nephew Alfredo for including us in their hurricane evacuation plans. 

We don’t have any electricity, TV, or A/C right now but we are still so much better off than those who drove for hours to avoid the hurricane, and then had to drive again to other cities because the storm was chasing them.  We brought movies, music, Audible, e-readers, crank-up radios, flashlights, batteries, food,  protein bars, snacks, wine, water, soda, and weed (only kidding on the last one) with us.

I’m going to be upset if I can’t post today’s blog because I haven’t missed a day in over five years. Something had to happen sooner or later. We are going to be in this hotel for a while because there is a lot of debris on the road and the last thing we need is a flat tire.

The staff at the Colonnade has been superb. The lobby has electricity, alcohol, food and all kinds of supplies. It’s amazing how many guests prefer to remain in their rooms and take care of themselves. People brought their cats and dogs so I guess they are just happy to be safe and secure.

Now I am going to try to post this.  I just heard free ice cream in the lobby. What do I do first?