My brother the 9/11 responder

On 9/11/2001, my brother Matt was an active firefighter with the New Rochelle, N.Y. fire department. Part of the family. Nineteen miles away from ground zero. But on that day 19 miles was further away than he wanted to be.


His whole ladder company wanted to go down and help. But as you can imagine the logistics were unimaginable. There were issues with who was needed, what was needed. But there was no doubt when it was needed.

After a couple of days, they were cleared and went down to the site. They drove the 19 miles, got off a bus and walked down the West Side Highway to the wild cheers of the crowds lining the streets. I can’t even imagine what that felt like. He and his company spent the day down at the site doing whatever they could. But he said he got the feeling that the New York City Firefighters wanted to “dig out their own.” He understood. I understand. I hope you do too.

Today is a day that I really hope we all remember with the proper respect and dignity. I’m proud of my 12 year old son for his great Instagram post this morning.

diego post

He remembered even though he wasn’t born yet. We brought him into this world one month later to the day on 10/11/2001.

As the saying goes, “life goes on.” Or does it? I don’t mean to single out The Carolina Panthers or Miller Beer but I did see this party invite from them.

partySomething about it just doesn’t feel right, does it? Perhaps there was another way to send out this message. I would think so. Thanks to everyone who is keeping the memory of this day alive in the proper manner.
















Got hit by a van yesterday…

So about 400 of us gathered together at BarCamp Miami 2012 at Miami Dade College in downtown Miami on Sunday.

For those of you who don’t know what BarCamps are, they are nicknamed “un-conferences” where anyone can speak about anything they want. Mostly social media and techie types attend and many came from all over the state for this one.

The great thing about BarCamps is that nothing is planned. Especially getting hit by a van. Some people had presentations prepared. And some people didn’t. Guess which category I fell into.

I decided that I would speak about Instagram and made up a quick title: Instagram: The most social of the social networks. So right after lunch break, as I was walking back to give my presentation, I spotted a homeless man who wouldn’t tell me his name but as you’ll see let me take a few pictures. We spent about 5 minutes together. I gave him a few bucks and he blessed me for the money and promised he would use it for food but I didn’t have time to enforce it. I asked if I could snap a couple of pictures but he said under one condition: that he could tell me where to stand so I could take the best pictures. And I listened to him.

I was so taken by our brief time spent together that I just couldn’t wait to look at the pictures that I had just captured. So I’m walking back looking at them on my phone. And as I was crossing the street, SCREECH! And bam, a van loaded with shoppers headed for Bayfront Park clipped me. The mirror hit my arm and spun me around real quick before the back tire could run over my foot. Everyone on the van screamed. The driver stopped and screamed, ” Are you OK? Are you OK? I tried to stop! I tried to stop!” It really happened so fast.

I asked him if he would stand for a picture and he agreed even though it was difficult for him.  The only thing he wouldn’t let me photograph up close was his socks. Why? Because that’s where he told me he kept his private and valuable stuff.

I have spoken with Jeff Zelaya many times about public speaking and I was lucky that I got to spend much of the day with him at BarCamp. I’ve always said that one of the keys to public speaking was having a great opening. Well, I had one. I just got popped by a van for the love of Instagram.

Maybe I’ll think of something a little safer next time.

Have a great short week everyone.


This is a big fat shout out for my ex-wife

1) Hey, thanks for the Guyabera for Christmas.

But if you didn’t notice, I’ve been working out and lost some weight. XL is too big for me and I’m swimming in the damn thing. If you have the receipt, please let me have it. I’m an L not an XL. Thanks.

 2) The Cuban time thing.

You’ve been much better about being on time for stuff. But you can still do better. I know you’re Cuban and I love the whole Cuban thing. It’s one of the reasons I moved here.  I also love your Cuban family (drama and all)  but I prefer to run closer to Gringo time for drop offs and pick ups of our son. Thanks again. I have all my clocks set about 10 minutes fast. I’ll do yours if you want me to.

3) You have your shortcomings and so do I. But I’d like to congratulate you on being nominated as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman Of The Year. You deserve it. You’re a cancer survivor.

We met right after you finished your treatments. It’s been probably more than ten years now and there’s about a skabillion people that are thrilled that you’re still free and clear. I know helping find a cure for cancer, any type of cancer, is something that means a lot to you and it means a lot to me.

4) You are a great mother and a great ex-wife. But then again I don’t have another ex-wife to compare you to yet.

5) In some ways our lives are separate now and in other ways they’ve never been more together. One thing’s for sure: we’re together on this fight to find a cure for cancer and I’m happy to ask everyone to join us in this important battle by donating below.

To view the ex’s donation page, click here.

So that’s the shout out for my ex. Thank you so much everyone for doing your best on this and as always my best to you all.


What basketball lockout?

As I see it basketball is alive and well.

Drive by any schoolyard, park, rec center or telephone pole with a cut out milk crate as a hoop and you’ll see that it’s game on.

Last Saturday the 11 y/o and under Florida Fire took a grueling and productive 2 1/2 hour workout an an undisclosed location (pics at bottom). And Friday night at Virrick Park in Coconut Grove, FL, 22 players in the 5th and 7th grade brackets lit up the gym at tryouts for the elite Miami City Ballers AAU  team. The crowd went wild when a 7th grader jammed one, but not as loud as when his shot was rejected into the bleachers on the next play. I’m also happy to report that soon to be 10 year old Diego LaMonica had a great tryout.

There happened to be two ex Miami Heat players there, but they were hardly the focus. The focus was where it should have been.

Honestly, I haven’t done thorough homework on what might keep a 2011/12 basketball season from happening. From an economic standpoint, we need this lockout in South Florida just about as much as we need an atomic wedgie.  Without getting all Ben Bernanke on you, the potential fallout just can’t be good. Thousands of livelihoods of all types depend on pro hoops here, right down to the scalpers. And I want to take my son to see his Miami Heat play.

I hope they can figure this all out. But for now, I’m just one father with one kid who is constantly losing pieces of his uniform and not turning his socks right side out before he puts them in the hamper.


Huge Day in Miami Hoops!

Move over big three.

Today the Miami Mega Heat of the Beth Am basketball league for 3rd and 4th graders will play in the semi-final and hopefully the final game of the spring season. The game that propelled them further into playoff bore an eerily similar resemblance to a recent Miami Heat game.  First a forced overtime period and the game was decided then with the Mega Heat prevailing. So on that day there were two rounds of parental angina, but happily everyone survived.

Today, there are at least four teams of 8 and 9 year olds with big dreams of taking it all home. And countless others on playgrounds and in in parks all around the United States. I hope they play our National Anthem like they did here. What a moving moment for all of us.

God bless our children. And God bless our men and women in uniform who provide us with the blanket of freedom to play today.

Go Heat!