What NOT to do after a hurricane

Dear New York-

Hi, it’s Miami giving you a quick heads up. In true New Yorker spirit, I give you this quick list of what not to do after Hurricane Irene. Please know that most accidents happen after hurricanes pass so don’t:

-Let your kids out of the house. Downed power lines may look dead, but many are still live with enough power to kill. Most dead lines look just like live ones. Assume they are all live. Don’t even get close to anything that is touching the line, like a tree, fence, or a vehicle. I know that puddle looks like a cool place for them to enjoy their day off, but it could kill them. Even if there is no power in lines, the puddle could be filled with raw sewage, chemicals or other funky stuff.

-Don’t be a cleanup hero. If you’re some cufflink wearing power broker, don’t break out your chainsaw and pretend like you’re on the TV show Ax Men. You’re not. Leave the tree work and heavy cleanup to the pros. Heart attacks spike after hurricanes by people attempting to be hurricane cleanup heroes.  Also, statistics show that most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings anyway so you may have a double whammy there depending on landfall time.

-Don’t run a generator in your garage. Only use in well ventilated areas. Carbon Monoxide will kill you quick.

-Don’t store your gas can inside. I know it sounds stupid to say, but many people do it.

-Don’t waste your time duct taping your windows. It may make you feel good, but it doesn’t do squat.

-Don’t crack you window to “let some air in.” This is an old wives tale. If wind and pressure get in, it will need to go out. You don’t want your windows or roof blowing out.

-Don’t be drinking. Down here, we’re a little bit more used to it and some have hurricane parties but having a clear head is a real good idea.

So New York, that’s my quick what not to do list. Take my advice and if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer. For information on what to do, go to ready.gov.

Good luck and I hope you won’t be sending us any snow advisories any time soon.

Stay safe-

Mike in Miami

Side note: I learned many of the above tips while while working at Beber Silverstein as we handled the Florida Power & Light for 18 years.  So please take the advice!!!

Miami football rundown w/o 8/15/2011

1) The Miami Hurricanes mess came out. While it’s sad, I’m not too surprised. Kinda like breaking the news that JFK had a wandering eye. Do you think it’s just the Hurricanes? I think not. My eyebrow did go up with one of the shocking line items though. You know which one.

2) The FIU football team had an outing on South Beach. After doing 3-a-day practices, coach Mario Cristobal took the guys in two giant-sized buses to bowl at Lucky Strike and then came and visited my son and I at Nikki Beach. One player said the field temperature the day before 124 degrees, so a little cooling off was in order. Great bunch of guys. We had a football and they played catch with my son. The highlight of his day was getting tackled by one of their linebackers.

3) The Dolphins looked good even though it was just the preseason and just the Panthers. Reggie Bush looked great and lit up the stands. He also looked great on Sunday’s TV show, The Same Name.

4) The highlight of the week: Pee Wee football is in full swing. I happened to pass by an intense preseason session at The South Miami Community Center and grabbed some snapshots.

That’s my weekly sports wrap. What are some of your highlights from this week? Signing off from South Miami, Mike LaMonica reporting.

Will there be another Black Monday?

No one saw it coming. That’s why it’s called Black.

On October 19, 1987, the blackest of Black Monday’s, I was a copywriter on the Merrill Lynch account. The whole team pulled an all-nighter preparing a script for Merrill Lynch Chairman of the Board and CEO William A. Schreyer. The essence of the final messaging was that Merrill Lynch was still bullish on America even after the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered it’s single largest percentage loss day of 22.61%. For the time being, he was right. By the end of the year, total returns, including dividends, came in with about a 5% gain. In the below interview with Louis Rukeyser, he equated it to a “total eclipse of the sun.”

There have have actually been three Black Mondays in the stock market, but here’s the good news: they all occurred in October and none of them came announced. Well, it’s not October and the recent events couldn’t be more “announced.” Black strikes when least expected.

The bad news is that they all happened when politicians and bankers were trying to make assurances that the market was sound.  John Kenneth Galbraith’s “The Great Crash 1929” is a great read if you can grit it out. One bit you’ll take away about the 1929 crash was that politicians and bankers were saying “the economy is sound.” And in various shapes, iterations, and subtle inuations, that is happening now.

Whether you agree or disagree with the S&P downgrade or not, one thing is for sure. The U.S. debt is the world’s benchmark debt. It has never been downgraded before.  So it seems like anyone who claims to know what they are talking about is probably making it up.

What do you think? Could there be another Black Monday? Or does it just feel like there could be?


Is Follow Friday still meaningful to you?

Everyone loves a shout. That’s what Twitter’s all about.

When I jumped on Twitter about two years ago it seemed like the traditional #FF had more meaning than it does today. Mostly. There are still some who do them one by one, they give a reason and it has real meaning.

There are even some “group #FF’s” that are meaningful to me as I know the sender and I try my best to look up the unfamiliar faces.  I took some time last week to see who shouted me out. Some of the retweets were from people that weren’t even following me. I even waited a couple of days to see if they did in in fact take the time to follow me after recommending that others do. And none did. Maybe they didn’t find my feed that interesting but my guess is that they didn’t even look.

Not even the nicest, kindest and most caring person could possibly include everyone, one by one and give a reason.  I think Follow Friday needs to be reinvented or refreshed somehow.  Here one I sent out last week.

Sorry I couldn’t include everyone. I even had to do the titles in two segments as the editing program said it was outside of the known values in the program. Or maybe I need an editing lesson.

What are your thoughts on this whole thing? Has it lost its meaning? Is it just fine by you? Do you ignore the group shouts? Your turn.


Update on Homeless Woman and Service Dog

On July 11th I posted Apartment Needed for Homeless Woman and Service Dog.

Here’s what finally shook out for this poor woman as passed on by Mitch Koch, senior writer at Beber Silverstein & Partners here in Miami.


The social workers in the 555 building on Miami Beach, found Maria even before I called them. They offered her temporary housing at a shelter in Homestead, the only one in the state that accepts pets (in most cases, the homeless are forced to either abandon their pets or stay on the street—most choose to stay on the street rather than be separated).

She refused the shelter, because she’d have to be separated from her little, old dog, “Foxy,” during the night. Just the thought of her and her dog being apart, even overnight, brought tears to her eyes as the dog is the only family member who will have anything to do with her (she actually has a brother in Miami, whose wife is a psychiatrist and whose daughters are stars of the Miami ballet, but they don’t talk).

I found photos of the Homestead shelter and their kennel online, then printed them out so Maria could see what it’s like down there. I discovered the kennel was built thanks to the generosity of a wealthy donor who is an animal-lover and hated the idea of the homeless having to give up their pets in order to receive shelter. I told Maria this story, showed her the pictures and it seemed she warmed up to the idea. Just a little.

Sunday she called me to ask if I’d want a large, “beautiful” blanket she couldn’t lug around anymore. I told her I wouldn’t take it, but would store it temporarily. Sunday night it rained.

Monday morning another, much larger homeless woman went berserk, grabbed Maria’s hair and began smashing her head into the concrete wall in the park. She kicked her glasses down the sidewalk. A young guy in the area ran over and probably prevented her from being killed. The police came, put the attacker in jail, and asked Maria if she wanted to press charges. She said no.

When I saw her last night, she had a pavement burn on her arm and a bump on her head. Also, that large blanket was stolen. And it rained again.

This morning, the 555 workers (amazing people) were starting at the north end of the park and working their way down to Maria, who has been residing near 5th street. She finally agreed to let one of the workers, Katie, who has befriended her, take her to Homestead to at least check out the facility in person. I think she’ll finally take them up on the offer and get off the street. The heat, the humidity, the rain, the thieves and the bump on her head may have finally convinced her.

So hopefully, Maria is now in the system and out of the park. I’ll swing by tonight to check, but I don’t expect to see her and her dog living there anymore.