A very special Birthday

Today is a very special day. For the person that gave me so much life, the knowledge to live it, and living life itself.

To my dear mother, I wish you a very happy birthday.

Having given me so much to live for, my mother was recently given so much more to live for. Her new birthday present:

Her name is



May you live many more years with the joys in your life with great health, success, and only happiness!

Your son



As much as I love the outdoors, I hate the risk that something will come and take away a piece of my mind, even if it is for a few days.  Or in this case, more than a few days.

My last day at the U.S. Open was amazing, except for the fact that I was sitting in Flushing Meadows Park and I noticed a sensation of a needle going into my left arm.  I looked down to see if it was a bee or hornet and it was a large fly that I had no idea what it was. 



Satan Itself



I tried flicking it off and it was locked in my skin.  After several attempts, I was able to get it to the ground and killed it with pleasure.  The few moments after that, it literally felt like I had flu shot, however, it was as if I went into the doctor’s office to be injected with the worst case of poison ivy/oak.  (Ironically I acquired a very high dose of poison oak once when I was in 4th grade to the point my left eye was swollen shut.)


Having in mind that it was just a simple sting, I went home to wash it off and taking the necessary precautions.  Over the next few days I slowly but surely my face grew obtrusive red spots which at first resembled a huge acne problem, however, the worst hadn’t come.  Spots had developed over my chest area.  One thing I did notice from the ordeal, I had an immense burning sensation all over my face and chest area.  Puss started to leak from the spots and developed crust.  I knew something was up and my first thought was: I wore or ate something which I was not knowing allergic to.  The cortisone cream I used actually relieved the pain for maybe an hour then the burning intensified afterwards.  I did know this, as I am a guy, I was very reluctant to seek medical attention but I knew I had to eventually before my holidays started as it was getting worse.  Much, much worse.





The doctor determined allergic dermatitis and the chest, he couldn’t place a diagnosis so I will keep you posted as I am seeking a specialists attention to it.  I was placed on steroids (Prednisone) to clear inflammation and I was given prescription creams to help clear the areas..  Suffice to say, my synagogue appearance over Rosh HaShanah was very embarrassing to say the very embarrassing.



My recommendations after being bitten by this monster:

  • Attend to it immediately by washing it off, and if you are able or allowed to, take an anti-allergy med such as Benedryl, Claritin, etc.  If you are able to take Cortizone, apply to the wound.
  • Get a doctors appointment ASAP.
  • Nothing to crowd the emergency room for unless if you have major skin allergies and or blood issues.
  • Protective sprays are also good.
  • Keep yourself covered.  The more clothes you have on the better as the weather is more temperate for more creatures to come out. 

Stay safe and don’t let this ruin your day(s)!!




A Special Birthday

This weekend has been mega crazy as getting everything accomplished: shopping, laundry, cleaning.  Despite this craziness I am enjoying my four day weekend from work.  Tonight at sunset Jewish people worldwide will begin the holiday of Rosh HaShanah and our celebration for


The World’s Birthday



Happy Birthday!


The birthday of the world’s existence is only a small portion of what the holiday consists of.  During Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, people from around the world go through self-introspection.  Looking into our own worlds to find out how we can make this world a better place.  On an even more deep level, we pray that God grant us to live for another year.  Scary, huh?


The question we raise and the answers we give are very elementary: How can we make the world a better place?  We use both our faculties: our heart and our mind.  Our heart for compassion towards others in need and our mind to have the intellectual capacity to perform the actions.  And our hands and feet to carry them out with.


What can we do to make the world a better place is crucial and our actions matter.  The answers seem so simple that they are right at our back door and many do not realize through common sense that they are there.  Opportunities waiting to be grabbed:

  • Donating to your favorite charities.
  • But then, charity doesn’t necessarily mean to open your wallet or pocketbook..


  • There are so many other ways..:
  • Helping a friend deal with a crisis
  • Inviting a friend over who is having a financial hardship  for dinner.
  • Visiting a sick friend or even better someone who has no one to visit them.  New friends are always welcome.

As always stated before, the opportunities are endless.  And yes, you can make the difference.  This are examples of not only dedicating yourself to the world’s existence but also changing the lives of the world in other people.  For these actions, we hope to merit only good things not only for ourselves but that the world will always become a better place despite the fact what the news reports always tell us.


In the Hebrew language, to make a toast over wine or another great alcoholic beverage, we say “L’Hayim” which translates to “To Life”  That is what we all strive for.  To live the moment and make every moment of our lives count.  Life is too short to think about death.  And we shall make a toast,… that for this year and many to come that the world should only see good things and that those who believe in the world being a better place should see a long life ahead.






To Life!



9/11 … 11 Years Later



My day starts at 4:00 a.m. every morning.  You might wonder why in God’s sweet universe do I awaken each morning before the crack of dawn?  Well, I have my reasons and they aren’t anything convenient to my daily life. 




What can I say?  I am now a New Yorker.  (Sorry, Dad.) 

I live the life of a New Yorker.  Even though I was implanted here in August of 2000, I became a full-fledged, bona fide New Yorker on September 11, 2001.  A day that would change how people would view the world.  A day that we would realize that we are human beings here on this Earth to survive whatever and whichever tragedies come our way.


Many of you who know me offline, know about my background and some of the “little” or not so little reasons why I immigrated here.  I have a story beyond anyone that I’ve told online.  I came to New York not to escape my family back in the Midwest, God forbid, but to come to New York to accomplish my many dreams in so many ways.  Some I have already accomplished the help and kindness of God.  Some others I am still in the middle of accomplishing.  What I will tell you is, that what made me accomplish my dreams so far sums down to one word:




When I came to New York I came here as if I had left Europe during the 1800s or Syria in the 1930s looking for a new homeland – a homeland to grow and prosper just like many who had passed through Ellis Island.  I came here without my family, on minimum funds, and I was starting out in a new community (talk about a major culture clash from where I came from), new job, not knowing nor trusting anyone as much as I was used to due to the size of the neighborhoods.  I was a fish out of water.  My mission here: to better myself in so many ways looking to start a new career, finish school, improve myself religiously, and most of all, to be my own “independent country” so to speak.  I must say that looking back, even though I have so much yet to accomplish, I have accomplished a lot and am surprised I have survived this far.  But it is only just the beginning. 

The day I realized I was a NY’er


Strength comes in so many levels.  I had been in New York for a year and one month and I was coming back from an important meeting in Brooklyn that night.  I was on the F train (outsiders call it a “subway”) line where it goes above ground.  I remember we were stuck for a while underground as there was a disruption in the train traffic that evening, however, the evening was all worth it as we eventually proceeded above ground and the sky was clear as far as the eye could see of the NYC-Manhattan skyline in all it’s glory. 




I thought to myself as I gazed at it, “I’ve been here a year … I think I might make it (without having to move back.)


That night was during the days where I was able to sleep in until 10 a.m. the next morning … every morning.  (I didn’t start my work day until 3 p.m. during those days.)


Then came…

The wake up call….


Many ask, “Where we you on 9-11?”  My answer was, is, and always will be,




Yes, I was sleeping as my wake up time was usually 10am, but I had arisen earlier that morning as I had a bad dream for some reason the night before and it ended with the sound of a gunshot.  From what I remember of the dream, I was being chased and someone was shooting at me.  Dreams tell so many things which are hidden.. but this one told me one thing: It was time to wake up and start my day.  (Not necessarily on a good note.)

Upon logging on to America Online that morning to check e-mail, I saw the welcome screen with a photo that looked like something from a Hollywood film. 



But it wasn’t.  It was a horrific reality.   The next thing I knew family from out of town was calling me to ask if I was ok, at best, alive.


The night before I rest assured myself that I was safe, that I was going to make it.  That day I was more insecure about my safety as the day I had arrived.  It wasn’t only me.  It was about 9 million, if not billions of other people.  We were all sharing the same feelings, emotions, words, etc.  We were all now like a fish out of water.  Not only was every New Yorker sharing my experience, I was now beginning to share the New York experience.  On September 11th, 2001, it didn’t matter what your make-up was nor your religious beliefs, on that day you were a New Yorker and a citizen of the United States.  It was on September 11th, that I was proud to be a part of the New York City that came together and did everything we could to help any of the victims, their families, and to help rebuild what was taken away from us: our dreams, our successes, our way of life as a free democratic western society.  To show the failures of destruction, hatred, and how our society shows that of prosperity, breakthroughs in science, technology, and commerce.

My reason for coming here.. 


This is, as we all know, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of … There’s nothing you can’t do…



Even though I was at home asleep, one of my best friends escaped death /serious injury that morning.  He escaped this, Thank God, as he is a late sleeper.  His unsuccessful cause proved successful that morning when he missed his first train going into the city.  Before crossing Jamaica Bay on the later train, many commuters on board spotted the pillars of smoke coming up from the skyline beyond JFK Airport.  Luckily, someone had a way of finding out what had happened.  He debarked at the next stop and caught the next train going back to Far Rockaway. 


Many beyond this, were not so fortunate.  I saw the the movies.  No one could ever coax me again, not only as a human being, but as a human who operates aircraft in real life, to watch those movies again.  One month after that  fateful day, I decided to take a trip to downtown near the site.  I am a “see it to believe it” type of guy. 



The aromas of the unthinkable came to life.  The sites I saw became real.  It finally hit me.  It really happened.


Alicia also tells us that the streets are mean..  Yes, they are..  But my question is:

Why did it take a horrific, unthinkable event like this to get everyone to realize that being human meant being nice to one another and that the basis of survival was self-sacrifice and working together as a team?

This, ladies and gentleman was, is, and for as long as we remember 9-11 will be our wake-up call.


(Sorry no snooze button.)

Each year, now, we remember what happened on this day as a reminder that the only way we can overcome humanity is not only to wage war against the evil infidels who brought down our fellow human beings, our family, our community, our fellow aviation professionals through preventing future attacks, but also to supersede their horrific actions by improving the world and rebuilding as much as we can possible by giving to others, through education, through helping, through kindness, and through so many other ways.  Not only is this the best tribute we can make to the victims, the many blessed souls who perished without a trace, and those who assisted that fateful day, but to also show our strength, our joie de vivre (joy of living), and our raison d’être (reason for existence.) 




Never forget.













Labor Day Weekend – Via Brasil

When one is unsure of the events and plans that take him into the future – that person must always have a positive outlook on life and that everything – happens for a reason.  And indeed it did this past Sunday.


My plans eventually led me into the city to do some photo shooting.


A sign I know all too well





Trump Tower


Little did I know what was in store for me as the streets of New York City’s Upper East Side transformed into the streets of São Paulo, … of Rio De Janeiro, … of Salvador, and of every city, town, and village in between filled with awesome Brasilian music, great spirits, the smells of delectable Brasilian Portuguese cuisine, and amazing sites of the world’s most famous playground: BRASIL!


What would have been an 8 hour flight from JFK, turned into a 20 minute train ride from my neighborhood.


So.. Let’s take a look shall we?  I present to you:




Brasil Day 2012!










I got your back..



Brasilian bands from afar came to give their most outstanding performances.  This is where I practiced my Portuguese dictation skills.



As cafés align the streets the spirits run as high as the flags are.



Bandeiras brasileiras em todos os lugares




In the final hours of my time there, one thing stood out that summarized the whole day:


If pictures are worth a thousand words, this one is worth a million.


Always keep a smile on your face and remember, it takes more muscle power to frown, than to smile.  And this is our Portuguese lesson for today..


Boa viagem!

(Safe travels to wherever your journey takes you..)