Ordinary People

Just because you’re a major actor and musician, doesn’t mean you want to go to the Oscars. Does that hold true if the picture you starred in has been nominated for the Best Picture of the year? Apparently so.

A group of Twitter folks spotted Michael Shannon at a bar in Chicago during the awards show and posted the sighting immediately. Michael Shannon starred in The Shape of Water.

For better or worse, that’s what social media is all about, instant news. You may not like it, but that’s the way the world works now. Actually, it’s been that way for years. Something tells me you already know that.

I wanted to show you what the tweets looked like when Michael Shannon was spotted. You may feel his privacy was invaded, but this type of breaking news has been going on since the telephone was invented. It’s difficult not to share unusual or special news.

I remember calling friends when Eliot and I spotted Jerry Lewis across the hall from us in a south Florida hotel 40 years ago. We thought we were so special. We just couldn’t keep the news to ourselves. I don’t remember who we called, but we certainly spread the news as fast as we could. Silly young adults.

50 Over 50

I am starting a 50 over 50 club. It’s about time that consumer electronics industry seniors get honored as a group.

If you have had a long-term career in the CE/tech business, you’re in. Let’s congratulate each other at a meet-up at CES in Las Vegas next January.

It will be so nice to see those who have had “staying power” get recognized with a few words from each of us attending. Retirees are encouraged to attend. Those who are no longer with us will be honored as well.

One of the reasons why I decided to start this group is because most industries do not honor seniors. You will see events for 40 under 40, or 30 under 30 groups. It frustrates the heck out of me to see industries honor those who have less experience, or have been in their jobs for a year or two.

Most of the time it’s done because the younger folks will attract advertising dollars for the magazines who honor them. It really has little to do with accomplishments. In fact, many of the young people who get honored, rarely stay around. They are building careers and jumping from industry to industry.

People are very excited about 50 over 50 because everyone can join in. It will be lovely to be in the company of those who dedicated themselves to building the CE business and are being finally bring recognized. No judges, no magazines profiting, no political agendas. Just lots of hugs and congratulations.

Details to follow.

Breaking Age Boundaries

Lyn Slater has refined what it means to be an older woman. I have been personally watching her for months. She is an inspiration and joy to celebrate.

At 64, she is a professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service. She also is a fashion and beauty blogger who writes about lesser-known designers.

And now she is a famous fashion model.

Lyn is the Accidental Icon.

I’m going to let Lyn tell you her story. Click the videos below. They are magnificent.

It’s About The Children

It’s not about whether you are politically red or blue. It’s about the freedom of children going to school in the United States without getting shot. I also worry about all of us every time we enter crowds at the malls, movie theaters, concerts, airline terminals, parks, festivals, playgrounds, sporting events, and nightclubs.

We can’t live like this. Eliot and I are thrilled that the younger folks are making their voices heard for getting better gun controls. They are going to vote out the politicians who turn their backs on them.

Too many seniors discredit the millennials and Gen X generations as being lazy and privileged. They forget what they were like at their age. Today’s youngsters are a whole different breed. They are not as naive as we were. They are not going to respect us just because we are older. They will respect us if they see us making an effort to be progressive in our thinking and our activities. It’s not our future, it’s theirs.

Bill Maher had an excellent conversation with David Hogg and Cameron Caskey, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida the other night. He said, “thank you. I really thought your generation was stupid. You have given me great faith in your ambition and strength.”

Please watch the video. You will begin to believe in the future. I recorded the video off the broadcast. I zeroed in on the important content. It’s not a great recording, but the message is so important.

Let’s make our senior voices heard March 24th. Find a local march.

Never Made It To New York

I never could have predicted that I would still be in Miami tonight. We had a big weekend planned in NYC. American Airlines cancelled our flight three hours before takeoff. I must have been greatly relieved about not flying in a storm because I climbed into bed around 7pm and slept until after midnight. Eliot said he tried to wake me several times, but I just kept going back to sleep.

It’s now 12:50am Saturday and I’m up for the day. I do have the capacity to read for a while and then fall back to sleep. I received a promotional message yesterday from Danielle Steele about her new book. Coincidentally, she said it was about flying. I wanted to share her personal fear of flying experiences with you. You might relate. I do.

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you. It’s been a rugged winter, and I am ready for spring. After fire, torrential rains, and mudslides in California, and two solid months of pouring rain in Paris, I am more than ready for some spring sunshine!! Mother Nature has not been kind to California in the last several months. And the first days of spring will be very welcome (although probably still pretty chilly in both Paris and New York, and a lot of other places!!)

I’ll be writing this month, as usual, and I’m excited about my new hardcover coming out on March 20th: ACCIDENTAL HEROES. It’s about a near crisis on a flight to San Francisco, and all the people who are involved. Security on the ground at Kennedy airport in New York, the CIA, the FAA, the flight crew on board, the passengers, and some very clever detectives, and the personal stories and background of each of the people involved. When you think about it, it’s really about the vast number of people behind the scenes who ensure our safety when we travel.

Many people are a little squeamish about flying, and some are really frightened, not necessarily for any concrete reason, but they just are. Many years ago, after years of flying comfortably with ease, when I got divorced, the residual anxiety from that made me suddenly fearful to fly. After about a year of being afraid to fly, I took an amazing eight-week class given by United Airlines at the time, and each week focused on a different aspect of flying: there were people from the Air Control Tower who spoke to us, safety experts, pilots, breathing exercises to do, and a psychologist who attended every class with us. There was even a graduation flight from San Francisco to LA. We drove around the airport, on the ground, and in the plane to get more comfortable.

I have to tell you, it REALLY worked, and I’ve been fine ever since. Classes are still given today (one of my children took a class like it). Today, it is done in a single all day session, or a weekend workshop, and wherever you live, if you check it out, there is a Fear of Flying class associated with the airport, or an airline. One thing it pointed out to me was that people tend to get anxious when they leave home, so anything related to travel, like flying, becomes a challenge. It’s a good point. But I highly recommend a class like it if you’re a fearful flyer. I gave one of those classes as a gift to a friend, who was a nervous flyer, and she’s been fine flying ever since! A class like that gives you the tools to cope with your anxiety, and explains to you all the reasons why you don’t need to be nervous. Statistically, just about everything else we do is a LOT more dangerous, from riding a bike, to driving a car. And it really is extraordinary all the measures the airlines take to ensure our comfort and safety. There are far more safety measures now than when I took that class, with all the security before a flight!!

I travel so much that taking that class has been a real blessing for me. Now, being on a plane is the place I relax most – no phone, no faxes, and I don’t bother with internet on the flight so I dont have to read emails. I catch up on movies I’ve missed, and sleep through most of the trip.

One friend told me at the time that he stopped being afraid to fly because it was just too much trouble to be that worried every time he travelled. And on one flight, before the class, I was sitting right next to the galley, where the flight attendants were chatting right before we landed, one said she had to pick up her dry cleaning, another said she was going to get a pizza for her boyfriend, a third one was going to get her nails done, while I sat clutching my seat, thinking that I was surely about to die when the plane landed, and suddenly it occurred to me”I’m sitting here planning my funeral, and they’re getting their nails done and ordering a pizza???” It put it into perspective for me!!! And reminded me that I was actually going to survive the flight!!

I hope you love the book, and whether you’re a fearful flyer, or a relaxed, confident one, it will reassure you that you are safe and in good hands while you fly!!! And if you are a nervous flyer, you should think about taking one of those classes. When I was afraid to fly, for a year or two, I didn’t go anywhere, and I missed out on travelling to Paris, New York, seeing family, or going on fun vacations. So don’t let those fears cheat you of happy experiences. Take care and have a great month of March!!

Happy Spring!!



VOXX/CarLink App Sends Retail Promos To Your Cell As You Drive Near A Store

Many years ago, a friend of mine, told me he was making a smartphone app that would tell you all about the store you were standing in front of in a shopping mall. Retailers like the Gap, Starbucks, and Nike could show up on your phone offering daily specials.

The possibilities would be endless. Retailers would finally have direct access to their customers, and customers would not miss a sale or promotional opportunity. Everyone would be happy. At least it was supposed to work that way. The truth was my friend was way ahead of his time. He spent a lot of money on a start-up that his programmers could not ever perfect. That was a long time ago

Today there are many variations of my friend’s app. One is coming from VOXX Electronics. The company will be introducing a retailer branding car-starter app with CarLink. CarLink customers use their phones to remotely start their cars or lock/unlock the doors. In a few weeks, retailers will have their names, logos and messages in the app when potential customers drive by their stores. Retailers are limited to one message per month so customers are not “spammed.”

The app also features the retailer’s store information, hours, Facebook page and a GPS. The VOXX app supports both iPhone and Android devices.


Drones Replace Live Models At Dolce & Gabanna Fashion Show

I know someone who was actually involved in the deployment of drones during the recent Dolce & Gabanna fashion show in Milan. The Italian luxury fashion house flew seven drones down the runway, each carrying a leather and jewel-encrusted handbag from the company’s latest Fall Winter 2018/19 collection.

My friend told me the entire production was first talked about two years ago. It took this long to create the precise tech extravaganza. The drones had to be in exact formation in order to show off the very pricey handbags. Dolce & Gabanna wanted to be sure everyone in the audience got to see all of the details of their creations.

The publicity on the show got picked up in both tech and fashion publications. The media was enchanted with this new approach in fashion runway shows.

It was completely different than anyone has ever seen before. The video of the show is available above this story.

From The Man Who Inspired The TV Series “Mad Men”.

I read Jerry Della Femina’s recent post on Facebook and had myself a good laugh. In fact. I found myself laughing out loud. You are just the right age to enjoy it too. While I work full time, I can identify with what he wrote here. I’m not sure if it’s because I live in Miami Beach.

I probably would feel the same way in the middle of Manhattan. Jerry was one of the most successful advertising executives in the world. We had the pleasure of sharing several accounts together. He even secured a few new pieces of business for HWH PR. Eliot and I even got to party, multiple times, at his beach house in East Hampton. He also owns a gorgeous brownstone just two blocks from where we lived in NYC.

Jerry, take it away.


By Jerry Della Femina

Lately, just about everyone I know has been asking me the same question:”Hey Jerry, you’re looking good. When are you going to retire?

This frightens me because I’m thinking they are saying to themselves, “God, Jerry looks terrible. I hope he retires so that he can enjoy his last few days in Florida, so at least when he is ready for his ‘dirt nap,’ he’ll go to meet his maker with a nice healthy-looking tan.”

My answer is I will NEVER retire and I must point to the piece below titled “Don’t Retire,” which was sent to me a few years ago by my old (and best) partner Ron Travisano. I find it hilarious. If the person who wrote it steps forward, I will be happy to give him or her credit. It’s so funny because it’s so true.”Don’t Retire.”

For those of you contemplating retirement, I would like to share my retirement experiences with you, which I hope will be helpful. Fifteen years ago, my wife and I moved into a retirement development on Florida’s southeast coast.

The last time we saw our grandkids was on Grandchildren’s Day, when they were dragged down by their parents. We were living in the Delray/Boca/Boynton Golf, Spa, Bath, and Tennis Club on Lake Fake-a-hachee. (There are 3000 lakes in Florida; only three are real.)

Our new community has so many interesting things for us to do. Back by popular demand, the feisty Hip Replacement Tappers Club will be tap dancing to the “Flight of the Bumblebee.” It promises to be quite a production, with lots of singing and dancing. This year, I am not in the cast but will be standing by with the defibrillator volunteers.

Our biggest retirement concern was time management. What were we going to do all day? Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem. Your days will be eaten up by simple daily activities. Just getting out of your car takes 15 minutes.

Trying to find where you parked takes 20 minutes. It takes a half-hour on the checkout line in Walmart, and one hour to return the item the next day.

Then, of course, there are the visits to the doctor and dentist offices. Let me take you through a typical day. We get up at 5 AM, have a quick breakfast, and join the early morning Walk and Talk Club.There are about 30 of us and, rain or shine, we walk around the streets, all talking at once.

Every development has some late risers who stay in bed until 6 AM. After a nimble walk, avoiding irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower, and change for the next activity. My wife goes directly to the pool for her underwater Pilates class, followed by gasping for breath and CPR.

I put on my “Ask me about my Grandchildren” T-shirt, my mid-calf shorts, my socks and sandals, and go to the clubhouse lobby for a nice nap.Before you know it, it’s time for lunch. We’re usually back home by 2 PM to get ready for dinner. People start lining up for the early bird at about 3 PM, but we get there by 3:45 because we are late eaters.

The dinners are very popular because of the large portions they serve. You can take home enough food for the next day’s lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, Sweet’N Low packets and mints.

At 5:30 we’re home, ready to watch the 6:00 news. By 6:30, we’re fast asleep. Then, we get up and make five or six trips to the bathroom during the night, and it’s time to get up and start a new day all over again.Doctor-related activities will eat up most of your retirement time.

I enjoy reading old magazines in sub-zero temperatures in the waiting room, so I don’t mind. Calling for test results also helps the days fly by. It takes at least half an hour just getting through the doctor’s phone menu. Then, there is the hold time until you are connected to the right party. Sometimes they forget you are holding, and the whole office goes to lunch.

Many of the receptionists are quite rude. They keep you standing at that dopey little closed glass window, totally ignoring you. After a half-hour I ignore the “Do not tap on the window” sign, and tap on the window. This always drives them nuts.If you do, they put down their Egg McMuffin or their copy of the Enquirer and fling open the window, ready for a fight. I lie, explaining I tapped on the window accidentally because I have Parkinson’s.

They claim they are required to keep the window closed because of the privacy law, but I don’t believe it. Are they afraid if I were to overhear that Sol Lipshitz has hemorrhoids I would blackmail him or sell the information to a foreign government? In Florida, everyone has hemorrhoids!

Should one find they still have time on their hands, volunteering provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate. Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and they need our help. I myself am a volunteer for “The Vertically Challenged Over 80.”Food shopping is a problem for short seniors, or “bottom feeders,” as we call them, because they can’t reach the items on the upper shelves.

There are many foods they have never tasted. Whenever I see one of them struggling to reach a jar of gefilte fish, I rush over to lend a hand. After shopping, most seniors can’t remember where they parked their cars. They wander the parking lot for hours looking for their car while their food defrosts.Lastly, it’s important to choose a development with an impressive name. Italian names are very popular in Florida.

They convey … world traveler, uppity sophistication, and wealth. Where would you rather live … Murray’s Condos or the Lakes of Venice? There is no difference. They are both owned by Murray, who happens to be a cheap bastard! The Italian names appeal to those name-dropping, phony snowbirds who are out to impress their friends up north.

I once heard someone say, “We spend our summers in the Catskills, but we winter at Villa Borghese in Delray Beach.”I have been to Villa Borghese. There are 1200 Jews and two Italians!

I hope this material has been of some help to you future retirees. If I can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you’re in Florida. I live in The Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach.

Wikipedia ……Jerry Della Femina (born 1936) is an American advertising executive and restaurateur. Starting from a poor Italian background in Brooklyn, he eventually became chairman of Della Femina Travisano & Partners, an agency which he founded with Ron Travisano in the 1960s. Over the next two decades they grew the company into a major advertising house that was billing $250 million per year and had 300 employees and offices in both New York and Los Angeles.

Della Femina is known for his larger-than-life personality and colorful language, and was referred to as a “‘Madman’ of Madison Avenue”. In 1970, he wrote a book about the advertising industry, humorously titled, From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-Line Dispatches from the Advertising War. The book became a best-seller, described by The Guardian as “one of the defining books about advertising”, and eventually inspired the television series Mad Men. Jerry is married to TV personality Judy Licht.

Jae Sweeny-Lardner 2001 – 2018

This is Jae.

These words below come from our friends Cris Sweeny and Claire Lardner of Miami who lost their youngest daughter Jae last Wednesday. Eliot and I are are proud owners of paintings from older sister Sage. We know this beautiful family because Sage and Jae, are goddaughters of our close friends Gail and Dawn.

Some of my readers are probably cringing that I am posting Jae’s story on my blog. Her mothers posted it on Facebook today. They are anxious to share their story with others and for everyone to always remember Jae. Their candor is to be admired and respected.

Jae’s godparents , Randy, Dawn, Gail and Ron.

This is an essay Jae wrote earlier this year.


I just want to escape

this physical world and blend

into the universe

Flow through the abyss

of space as pure energy

And experience what it is like

to finally live

Where everything is blurry

Filled with feelings you can’t describe

But they have a certain feel to them

they’re like ink

dropped in a glass of water

Or the color of a sunset

similar to an exhale

coming from your mouth

and blind smiles into the dark

I want to become

whispered promises to the stars

From those longing another

I don’t want to be someone

or something

I just want to be

The Rev. Martha Shiverick of the Riviera Presbyterian Church, Miami, told the hundreds of folks who showed up this past Sunday to honor Jae at the Celebration of Life service, “Don’t Ask, ‘What If?’ There are no ‘What Ifs’ in a situation like this.”

The World We Live In

Chuck Todd, host of Meet The Press, brought up a topic this morning that we are all somewhat aware of, but don’t do much about.

There are four plus companies who now control our lives. Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon definitely dictate how we get online, how we shop, how we communicate, and how we get our information.

Amazon alone is worth more than 15 of the best known retailers combined. Two thirds of adults in the United States have Facebook accounts . Half of those folks get their world and local information from that platform.

If you watch the video that I have attached, you will learn more about the current state of affairs. Ten years ago, life was very different. I don’t think any of us could have predicted the way the world now works.

Where are we going in the next 10?