Surviving Hurricane Sandy in Long Beach

Carlyn and Franklin Karp after the storm

Caryl and Franklin Karp after the storm

I knew that my business friend Franklin Karp lived in Long Beach, Long Island, but it didn’t occur to me that he must have been a victim of Hurricane Sandy until I passed his name on my email contact list earlier today. I sent him an email to find out how he made out. An hour later he allowed me to interview him via telephone so I would get the scoop on what it was like being surrounded by water water everywhere but not a drop to drink.

(Watch the video below for an emotional recap of what happened in Long Beach.)

Frankin and his wife Caryl live on the sixth floor of an apartment building located just a few feet behind the Long Beach boardwalk. They have a magnificent view of the ocean. They moved to Long Beach in July of 2008 from a big house in Roslyn in order to be closer to the water. Ever since they moved to Long Beach, they feel like they are on a permanent vacation, even though they both work in Plainview for Audio Video Systems. They both grew up in the consumer electronics industry with me, so I have known them for decades. (Put on your thinking cap.) Franklin ran Harvey Electronics for 16 years and, for 19 years before that, he worked at Rabson’s on West 57th Street and at Stereo Warehouse in Brooklyn (same company).

My being an Internet addict, one of my first questions was, “How did you live without Internet?” For the next hour I received a good life lesson about what it takes when your world gets turned upside down yet you remain firmly balanced on both feet ready to deal with whatever forces come your way. “We love Long Beach and so do most of the people who live here,” commented Franklin. “I haven’t heard anyone who said they are moving away. Yes, houses were destroyed, but most want to rebuild, so it is just a question of when and how much.”

Question: “I would have been scared to death sitting next to the ocean watching it rise. What were you thinking?”

Franklin: “We were pretty calm. Everyone in the building was. Granted the building was vibrating a little but nothing to be alarmed about. It wasn’t till the next morning when we went downstairs did we know the extent of the destruction. When I saw a Nissan Pathfinder float by I realized we were in big trouble. Parts of the 2.2-mile-long boardwalk had washed several blocks away and landed by the Long island Railroad station. The majority of the sand on the beach was washed into every Long Beach Island street. Most who had first floor apartments were totally flooded, and countless homes were destroyed. Hundreds of cars were totaled. There was so much water and sand in them that they were never going to work again.”

Question: “What were the living conditions?”

Franklin: “At that point, we didn’t have electricity, water, or heat. You were not concerned about the Internet. You were concerned about the bare necessities to live. The worst part for us was to live without toilets that flush. You can live without electricity (strong flashlights), heat (gas fireplace and range), and even taking a shower every day, but you draw the line at toilets that don’t flush. There were signs in the street that basically told us all when we could flush. That is an image that will stick in my head for a long time. “Flush.” “Don’t Flush.”

Question: “What did you do at night?”

Franklin: “We had Hurricane parties. You got to know your neighbors. We had wine, great conversations, and planned for the future. Fortunately, it wasn’t that cold so it was not that uncomfortable. You learn to live with what you have. You make do. Even the people who lost everything were taking care of business. When I walked the streets, I watched people sorting though their life belongings, deciding what stays and what goes. All you can do is help them and find ways to move forward. Another tough situation was the fact that you couldn’t drive off and on the Island. If you had a car that worked, you could drive off, but the authorities would not let you drive back on. We also had a curfew. No one was allowed on the streets from 6pm to 6am. This was to prevent looting.”

Question: “What do you think you have learned from all of this?”

Franklin: “Hurricane Irene gave us a false sense of security. We thought that wasn’t so bad. In the future if the weather forecasters tell us a category two hurricane is approaching, we will get the heck out of there. Hurricane Sandy was a category one. Other than that, we learned that we still love living by the beach. I thought about why we would never leave. We are more physically active and alive. Living there is very therapeutic. My son lives in an apartment a few blocks away, and he wants to stay and so do most of the residents. This was a horrible situation, but the good years sure outweigh the bad. And yes, Lois, we are happy that we have Internet once again.”

A Holiday Contest

The nerds have all the fun. I decided to run a DigiDame holiday contest that will award a Westinghouse portable wireless sound system to the person who emails a picture of the most unique Menorah or Christmas tree. You can either make it yourself or take a picture of one that you saw. Email to Here are some photos to inspire you. Every one was produced by a techie. Let the creative in you pop out. Readers, don’t let me down.

Deadline: December 20, 2012







Psy, the Hottest Star Ever on YouTube

I remember 17 years ago when my younger cousin, Eddie Young, thought I was so cool because I knew something about “Green Day,” the rock group. He was shocked that a “square” like me would know the up and coming musical group. I am not sure why I knew them but I did. It was probably related to work somehow.

Today, all DigiDame readers need to know who Psy is and what he has accomplished in the last few months. Psy is truly the new king of YouTube. Five months ago no one knew who this guy was and today he is on top of the charts all because his video was recommended from person to person faster than anyone could ever imagine. Psy now holds the record for most YouTube video views, with over 830 million hits. The 34-year-old Korean native first appeared on the scene just four months ago when he posted his now famous YouTube video. Within weeks, the video went viral; and Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is currently at 833,499,683 views, while his overall YouTube channel has over 1 billion views.

Psy’s music is also the rage at every wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Sweet 16, birthday party, confirmation, and college bash. It’s the new Macarena. When you see young adults jumping up and down like they have an itch in their pants to music that sounds like it’s constantly repeats itself, you will know it is “Gangnam Style.”

I became familiar with Psy months ago because our Korean client, iriver, told us about him. We help write their music blog and Psy was the subject of one of their posts. I looked at the video, thought it was cute, wrote the blog post and moved on. Since then I witnessed the power of YouTube first hand. We did a followup post on Psy and his famous Gangnam style dance this morning.

I want to share it with you. Be sure to watch the video.

The famous Gangnam Style dance has taken over the world and many parodies of the video have been filmed including by the US Navy, Baby Gangnam Style, country music stars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and even Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center inmates. YouTube released the news of Psy’s latest success as he passed teen sensation Justin Bieber’s YouTube video “Baby,” which previously held the record for most views.

Formerly known as Park Jae-Sang, Psy comes from a wealthy neighborhood and family which were the inspiration and story behind the hit song. He came to the United States with the intention of studying at Boston University so he could return to Korea to take over his father’s company. However, he quickly became disinterested in the business aspect of life and decided to drop out and pursue his music career.

After spending his parents’ tuition money on music equipment, Psy tried his hand at Berklee College of Music. Yet, after a few courses there, he decided that wasn’t what he wanted either. With that, Psy dropped out of his second college and retreated home to continue his music endeavors there. In the summer of 2012, Psy released his sixth album, the one that finally brought him worldwide fame and recognition.

Since the release of “Gangnam Style,” Psy has been featured on Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, X- Factor, Extra, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and many more social platforms.

He has released several apps, video games, a “Psy” underwear line, and is ready to continue with new music as well. He is currently writing his next hit song, which he promises will be in English. Although he explains that the pressure to exceed expectations after “Gangnam Style” is a lot to handle, he is ready for the challenge.

Google Beat Out All Print Advertising

I want to be sure that you didn’t miss this milestone in advertising history. This post falls under facts that every DigiDame reader should know.

For the first six months of 2012, Google generated more money in advertising revenue on a global stature than all of the U.S. print publications put together. Do you realize what that means? A company that most people never heard of 14 years ago just sold more advertising than every newspaper and magazine sold on your newsstand in the first half of this year. Google brought in $10.9 billion in ad revenue, while U.S. newspapers and magazines brought in $10.5 billion.

The people working in print media are all scratching their heads over this one. Who ever thought this would happen so fast? Don’t underestimate the power of the Internet.

Speaking of the Internet, I also want to be sure you know this statistic as well. Cyber sales were up this year 30 per cent on the Monday after Thanksgiving. That is another strong indicator that more and more Americans are getting used to the Internet and enjoying the comfort it brings them.

The Best Medicine for the Stressed-Out Entrepreneur

I don’t care where you are or what you are doing, make time to watch this video about the history of the Jewish Deli. If it doesn’t show up on your smartphone, take 11 minutes of your time to watch it on your computer. Everyone over 50 should watch it. This video is making its way around the Internet especially in heavily populated digital areas because people can relate to it. The young adults who brought us Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Four Square, Pinterest, Amazon, eBay, Skype, Groupon, and LinkedIn, said they got their best creative ideas when they took a bite out of a pastrami sandwich.

A lot of these entrepreneurs are not even Jewish, but they all heard about the Jewish Deli from their grandparents. This may not be the healthiest food in the world, but it sure brings comfort. Put away the tranquilizers and the mood enhancers. Enjoy the video. Be sure to see the list of cities below where most of the digital action is taking place. This is a good list to know so you sound hip to your children and grandchildren. I bet they don’t even know some of the most important areas themselves.

Deli Man Trailer from Erik Anjou on Vimeo.

Here are the top 20 technology hubs:

1.Silicon Valley
2.Tel Aviv
3.Los Angeles
5.New York City
13.Sao Paulo
16.Waterloo (Canada)

Retire to Apple


Years ago I thought if I needed money in my retirement (not planning to so far), I could always be a Walmart greeter. Today, the world has shifted so much because of technology that many more people in their 50s and 60s are getting part time jobs at Apple stores to supplement their incomes.

Look around your local Apple store the next time you visit it. Not everyone on staff is in their 20s anymore. I predict in another year or two many more sales and tech guys will be in their 70s or higher.

It only stands to reason. More and more baby boomers are retiring and many of them still want to work on their own terms which means part-time. Sometimes it is a matter of money and other times it is a matter of keeping yourself fresh and relevant in society.

My friend Andrew Sager, who was a big real estate tycoon in NY (he once was married to singer/songwriter Carole Bayer Sager), moved to Los Angeles at 50-plus to be near his kids, and took a job at the Beverly Hills Apple store. When he first told me about it, I thought it was so odd that a big businessman was now a retail sales person.

So stupid of me not to realize the “cool” factor. You are a tech wiz compared to the rest of us who are desperate for information. Apple trains you thoroughly before you step on the sales floor and suddenly you are part of a relevant “in” crowd. How awesome is that?

Meet another over 50 salesman, (I forgot his name), a former New Yorker from the Upper West Side, who now lives in Sunny Isles, North Miami. (Pictured above). I didn’t ask his exact age but he was my sales guy at the Apple store on Lincoln Road, yesterday. He too works at Apple part time, now that he left his decades-long printing job six months ago.

“After living all my life in Manhattan, I am so over it,” he confessed. “It used to cost me a $100 a night just to go out for a few drinks with friends. It just got to be too much. I gave up my rent controlled apartment (his landlord is still dancing) and moved down here. I live in the land of paradise and work in the land of paradise. When I need a New York fix, I hop on an airplane and I’m there in less than three hours. To tell you the truth, I can’t wait to get back here. I find myself smiling all the time.”

I Had Sex With My Ex


This is a story about how emails can be a peacemaker. I know I talked before about how emails can provoke wars between old friends, but now I have a story about how two separated seniors (husband and wife) are possibly reuniting because of their correspondence on email during Hurricane Sandy.

I was reminded of this story after I read an article in The New York Times about how ex-couples fight less because most of their communications about their children now take place through emails. There is less face-to-face time, so tough relationships are much calmer. Click here to read that article.

Here is my story.

For years now, I have been listening to one of my clients bitterly complain about her husband who cheated on her once at the age of 70. She kicked him out. They never divorced but lived separately. Even though the are still married, she always refers to him as “my ex.” It was shocking when I first found out about it, but every business meeting after that was elongated by 15 minutes of her updating everyone on what that “son-of-bitch” recently did. We heard about his new girlfriends, his new sport cars and his new bachelor pad.

I noticed a few days ago that she wasn’t complaining anymore. I didn’t say anything because I was so happy for the reprieve. Then all of a sudden she was smiling a lot. She even got giddy during meetings. She was agreeable, positive, and calm.

Okay, enough of this BS. What is going on? I had to endure the dark days, so why shouldn’t I share in the happy ones? I finally asked.

“I had sex with my Ex,” she explained. “What? You couldn’t stand him? What happened?” She said that during Hurricane Sandy they had to email back and forth because the home they shared on Fire Island was badly damaged.

For some reason the emails were very endearing. They were both devastated by the damage, their children were heartbroken by the split, they were getting older, and a few of their friends had recently died. They were consoling each other on email several times a day. Then one night two weeks ago all of their children were coming to her apartment for dinner, so she invited him too because he was still without electricity. He was working out of a Starbucks several times a day.

She said the conversations on emails cured a lot of the hurt she was feeling. They were able to talk to each other without interruption and impulsive insults. All the good seeped through.

After their adult children left when dinner was over, he hung around for a night cap. One thing led to another and that’s where she ended the story, other than admitting to the lovemaking.

I am not sure if they will ever get back together, but at least her hostility is gone.


You Are Not Alone


A source of mine recently clued me in that retail stores across the country are going to be beefing up security, but not in ways we have previously experienced. Many are actually installing seeing-eye mannequins that will be watching your every move.

The intention is not to see you naked when trying on new clothes or watch you dance in front of the dressing room mirror. This is more about getting a fix on the type of customer shopping their stores. They want to know age, sex, and race.

If online retailers get the privilege of knowing your profile while you are shopping on their sites, why shouldn’t traditional stores know who is browsing their floors?

One of the new “dummies” that is making its debut now is from the Italian maker Almax. The $5,000 EyeSee mannequin contains cameras in both eyes. The cameras are connected to facial recognition software that analyzes faces, classifying them by age, sex, race, and ethnicity. The cameras can also detect when the store is getting crowded, and what products or clothing are attracting the most attention.

Almax claims pictures will not be saved or transmitted. The shopper data is simply aggregated without a record of specific individuals

The facial recognition technology was developed by Italian company Kee Square, a spinoff from the Polytechnical University of Milan.


Dark Meat

I love dark meat Turkey. So does Larry David. I found this out because Kara Swisher of shared the video below with her readers. It’s pretty funny, especially if you come from Brooklyn.

I want to dedicate this blog post to Elliott Lampert, my friend in Miami, who had to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital. You will be out soon. Get some good rest. Thank you Mindi for keeping us informed. I finally see the virtue of texting.

Quite a Turkey Day.

A Bigger Apple

I hate when friends want to hold my iPhone to see a photo or a video. They usually want to get closer to the screen. Unfortunately, they sometimes lose my photos when they try to enlarge the image or they displace videos when they want to switch from one to another. I have been known to grab my iPhone after I see them trying to manipulate the screen. “Get your sticky fingers off my screen,” I sometimes say out loud or mumble to myself

Recently I found a solution to my dilemma that I want to share with you. It’s the new ultra-sleek 3M Projector Sleeve for the iPhone 4/4S. All you do is slip your iPhone into the case. The case allows you to project pictures and videos everywhere and anywhere. All of a sudden everyone can share together. While it hasn’t been publicly announced, 3M is going to shortly introduce a projector sleeve for the iPhone 5. 3M calls the sleeve “dock and go.” I love that because it is small and thin enough to go with you everywhere. You can slip it in the pocket of your jeans, your purse, or the pocket on your shirt.

The makers of the 3M Projector Sleeve claim that users are getting a kick out sharing their new favorite viral video from YouTube® or streaming the newest films from Netflix® on the wall, on the ceiling or on the side of a tent. Others are creating photo sharing nights with family and friends with special slide shows. The 3M Projector Sleeve allows for 100 minutes of projection time. It also has a rechargeable battery. It’s very simple to use. Just project, share and enjoy. It even works as a back-up charger for your phone with the press of a button.

I plan to use the 3M Projector Sleeve for client presentations, to review photos on my camera roll, and to show off interesting videos I took at concerts, musicals, and plays. I may also start my own human interest channel on YouTube and share the videos with friends when we all gather together.

Amazon has the 3M Projector Sleeve on sale for $165.98 through November. It usually sells for $229.00.

Below is a video demonstration.