What Was I Thinking? Thoughts On Hurricane Irma

For some reason, many people think of Hurricane Irma as Hurricane Andrew’s less significant step child.  A lot still went down with this storm. Anyway here’s some of what ran through my mind as Hurricane Irma unfolded.

Sleeping Under The Stars

I slept under the stars for the first time since approximately 1986. Or at least that’s the last time I can remember. Yes there are stars in the sky over Miami.  I just don’t take the time to look at them. When was the last time you slept under the stars?

Sleep under stars


Eating during a Hurricane is just out of control. Ask just about anyone. I think it fell into two categories: stress eating and bored eating.  Not a ton of cardio. Not a great combo. Anyway, please write me a note if you stayed on eating and workout regimen. I want to hang with you for the next one.Before irma.JPG

The First Looters: American Airlines

Seems like American Airlines wins the prize as the first looters of the hurricane. While JetBlue capped fares at 99 bucks out of the gate, American was asleep in the cockpit. Some flights were almost $4,000.00. When people are trying to evacuate to safety, grabbing Air Jordans from Foot Locker is low, but price gouging feels even lower. I take it back. They’re both low.

American Air

Link to the original Tweet exchanges can be found here.

American Airlines just plain dropped the ball the whole time for me too. They cancelled all 3 of my flights. Yet, even now,  they keep reminding me to check in for all the cancelled flights. Hey American, I’ll take my refunds too, thanks. When things looked bad, American looked worse.

Ron Magill — Weather Forecaster

nbc 6

While I thought Ryan Phillips and John Morales did a great job, only one person may have shined brighter: Ron Magill. Or should I say the animals around Zoo Miami may have shined brighter. All the “Doppler This” and “Radar That” might already be bested by what mother nature already has in place. The animals know what is going to happen.

A Football Helmet And Thoughts Of Complete Doom

Maybe it was the the way this hurricane was coming. Or the certainty of the severity and total destruction. So yes, I went and got Diego’s football helmet in case it all went down.

gulliverprephelmet-1.pngAlso I was thinking where would have to rebuild our lives. Like if I we had to pickup and rebuild even if it was only temporary. Not great thoughts to have.

My Employer

logo-smallOne of the true tests of any employer is how they handle emergencies. As this storm approached, all Miami staff were offered evacuation from Miami by private jet that was personally paid for by iSentium CEO Gautham Sastri. We were also offered any other means of getting away or staying safe and comfortable which included any temporary housing needed. Not one word was spoken about deadlines or deliverables.  My direct deposit will be there when it’s supposed to be. Nice to not have to worry when there is so much else to worry about.

I decided to stay behind and be a company guy. Maybe not the best decision I ever made in my life but I got lucky. So thanks for that iSentium and my CEO, Gautham Sastri. When things are at their worst, it’s good to see who’s at their best.

Hurricane Girlfriend?


It’s a romantic notion, but it’s too just too for that. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

Texts, Communications, Digital Stuff During a Hurricane

The lost art of speaking on the telephone really showed off during this hurricane.

Texts were down, emails were down, apps were down. Somehow a lot of people think you got their text message and wondered why you didn’t respond. How about this? Pick. Up. The. Phone.

Penis Size


It seems like everyone who has a Jeep or truck with oversized tires thinks their penis grew 4 inches post storm and drives like a maniac.  I swear I thought someone was going to get killed by these amateur hero wannabees. Slow down! You are really going to hurt someone.

Odds And Ends

-Having a good generator is key. Get a Honda. It’s worth the money. It’s quiet so your neighbors won’t hate you and it lasts a long time on a tank.

-Portable Chargers


I think I was the only one of anyone I knew who had a portable charger let alone four of them. Not that my phone worked. Not that I could comment on Facebook. Not that I could post a picture. But I still had plenty of juice. I have a solar one as well.

-Advertisers should avoid making us sit through a video when what we really want to see is a critical update. Hey guys, my power is flickering and you’re trying to sell me a Swiffer? Really?

-No I don’t want to have a 15 minute meeting to demo your company when I am trying to figure all of this out. You have been blocked.

-JJ Watt rocks.

-Diego went to New York and got to hoop a bit with his cousins.




Much of this unfolded on this important anniversary. I even forgot it was the 11th of September until I read the date on an email in the early afternoon. I hope everyone takes the appropriate time to remember this tragic day in our history. I did not write about 9/11 this year, but I invite you to visit this post from years’ past: https://mikelamonica.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/where-we-you-on-911/

To Donate

My best thoughts are with everyone affected by Irma and Harvey. You can donate to The American Red Cross by clicking here.


How fast are these athletes? Here’s some perspective.

A parody Bill Murray account had a great idea. In advance of tonight’s 200 butterfly final, I thought I’d give the folks at home a little comparison.


Right now I have the fastest 200 meter butterfly time in the nation for 2015 in my age group. And I’m second fastest in the world. I train 6 days a week in the pool with the Gulliver Masters Swim Club here in Pinecrest, Florida.  I eat pretty well. And I get my rest. Here’s my result:


Top in USA

2:24.30 (without body shaving). Michael Phelps cruised in last night’s semifinal with a time of 1:54.12 and will likely be faster tonight. Simple math will tell you he beat me by 30 seconds.  Or more than a whole lap. Some will say I’m fast. But the fastest guys could be out of the water and finished with their post race interview as I come into the wall.

No amount of cupping in the world can make up that difference.


Five ideas I could punch myself for not thinking of (updated).

While I’ve done my share of marketing that has pushed the limit, a bunch of it sits in files and on foam core.   Let’s call it the “Keep bringing us work like that, perhaps down the road” folder. Every marketing creative since the beginning of time has one of those folders.

I did, however, win the award for the best campaign of the year that never saw the light of day from The One Club. The first Night of the Living Dead award. It was a great campaign I did with Tracy Wong, Chairman and Executive Creative Director of Wong Doody when we were at Ogilvy & Mather, New York. Ex-Lax was the client.

Thanks to Susan Morris for tracking this sample down!


Anyway, here are 5 of my favorites I wish I had done:

1) Apotek Swedish Pharmacy interactive billboard.

Interactive product dramatization that’s a “sticky idea.”

2) Burger King Subservient Chicken.


Talk about delivering on the overall brand promise of “Have It Your Way.”  You would type in what you wanted the chicken to do and it did it.  Things like:

Turn off the stereo

Jump on the couch

Turn the lights out

The subservient chicken was the one that started it all on the interactive side. I wish the site was still live.

3) The greatest marriage proposal ever.

Even if you’ve seen this before, it’s so wonderful it’s worth another look. This proposal makes Kanye West’s proposal seem tame even though Kanye rented out an entire ball park for 200 grand. And he bought a 15 carat ring for 1.25 mill. But I bet he wished he did this:

No one may raise the proposal bar like this again, but I sure hope someone does.

4) Dove Beauty Sketches.

Studies showed that only 4 percent of women considered themselves beautiful. Dove performed this social experiment using a forensic sketch artist. And the results certainly are beautiful.

5) Say something nice.

This will restore your faith in humanity. The famous songwriter Hal David said it in this 1965 lyric, “What the world needs now is love.”

So what’s a great idea you wish you thought of?





Congratulations Selfie!

According to the Oxford Dictionaries, the word of the year for 2013 is “selfie.”  And why not? Usage has gone up 17,000% since this time last year. With that, I thought I’d dispense few selfie observations mixed in with a little selfie advice.

1) “The Weiner selfie.”  This brand of selfie does not need to contain a picture of Anthony Weiner in order to fall into this category.  Ladies and gentlemen, please remember that we leave digital footprints with every keystroke we make both in public and in what you think may be private. Even if you don’t put it on the internet. When you press “send” to anyone, you send to the world.


2) “The be aware of the of the wardrobe selfie.” Pictured below, this reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s love interest only seems to have one wardrobe. Might want to mix it up a bit. Three times on the same dress in a close date range? You can do better than that.

wardrobe best

3)   “The car selfie.” I don’t know what it is about the car selfie. Could it be that you are just dressed, fresh and ready to go? Does the rear view mirror give you the idea?  Whatever it is, the car selfie seems to be one of the most popular selfies out there. At least I see people wearing their seat belts more often than not.

car selfie 3

car selfie 1

4)    “The Bathroom selfie.”  Think you’re hot?  Think you’re really the shit? Well, you may or may not have great physical attributes, but the bathroom selfie (just the thought of it) doesn’t really help you out. With a bathroom selfie, you really are the shit. Avoid at all costs.


5)    “The leg selfie.” I get it. You’re at the beach and I’m not. Maybe I’m just jaded on this one since I’m in Miami.  I’d be interested in your thoughts on the leg selfie.

leg selfie

leg selfie 2a

6)    The peace sign selfie.” I don’t even know if a peace sign is called a peace sign anymore– I’m so not hip.  Maybe this is some type of code for something else, but I sure see a lot of them. The bottom picture happens to be of my son and he refuses to explain the peace sign thing to me…

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 6.34.25 PM

diego peace

7)    “The I’m not aware of what’s in the background selfie.”  This is a variation of “The Wiener selfie ” but warrants its own little mention here.

be careful before You publish selfie

8)    “Best use of the selfie, selfie.” Many have given the Pope Francis selfie the selfie of the year nod.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 6.52.38 PM

But to me, the below is the best selfie series I have seen.

best use of the selfie

best use of selfie 2

So congratulations you! It’s the year of the selfie. Please let me know what some of your favorite selfie types are or what I missed here.

Hope everyone has been well.


As a quick postscript, I will add that Twerk was in the running. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Saying goodbye

Sometimes the hardest part of photographing the homeless is saying goodbye.


Some of my time spent with the homeless is happy. Sometimes it’s sad. But usually, it both.  Because I don’t just shoot and run. I spend time. I make a friend.

Then comes the tough part. Saying goodbye. Some ask me for a ride somewhere. And despite the unknowns and the distinct homeless smell, I have brought them where they need to go. Some ask me where I live. Some ask me for my phone number so they can stay in touch. I’ve found that about half do have cell phones. I asked one man this weekend how he pays for his phone. He said he shows up in the wee hours after the nightclub crowd has thinned and he cleans up the outside of the place. They throw him a few bucks and some food and he’s ok with that.

They charge their phones by filthy public bathrooms and sit policing it so no one takes it. Last week one man wanted to share the pictures he took on his cell phone with me and I couldn’t wait to see what he had captured…what he found important enough to document.  But his phone was dead. And wet. So he put it out to dry in the hot Miami sun hoping it would work again.

He asked me to come back to share his pictures with me. And I will. I hope his lifeline to the world works when I see him again. So it’s not goodbye. It’s just goodbye for now and it’s tough. ~Mike

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.


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.

Happy House, Sad House

It all started out with so much promise.

In about 2004 construction began on this house at 4191 Ingraham Highway in Coconut Grove, FL. It was an odd shaped lot and I wondered how they would plant a house there. But sure enough it started to go up and took shape.  Then the most beautiful day of all came.  The builders put up a tastefully done custom sign that said, “FUTURE HOME OF THE JONES FAMILY” and I thought it was a nice and personalized touch.

For a while after the house was done, life seemed to bustle there. Kids bikes were in the driveway, there was a basketball hoop, many balls and many other signs of a happy family in their new home.  Then came the collapse.

I don’t know what the circumstances that got the house where it is today. Irresponsible lending, borrowing, loss of job, whatever.

This is one of many stories we have seen all over the nation. And no it’s not news. It still amazes me how so many things like this that started out so happy and ended so sad. For now.