Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Cuban Peter Pans

Between 1960 and 1962, 14,000 children fled Cuba to the US as part of an exodus known as Operation Pedro Pan.   The kids arrived in Miami and then were sent to stay with relatives, foster families and orphanages until their parents could reunite with them.

There's a new exhibit at the HistoryMiami Museum that explores their stories. I wrote an article about the exhibit and interviewed a Pedro Pan alum who arrived by a ferry to Palm Beach.

The photo on the left is a display at the exhibit that represents the shoes of the children who landed in Miami on Pan Am flights.

Photo below is of a Miami Herald article about the exodus written by Gene Miller. The article is also on display at the museum.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Cuban Jaws

For all you land sharks out there in front of the TV, Discovery channel's Shark Week heads to Cuba to explore the story of El Monstruo. That's the 21-foot Great White shark that was captured off the Cuban fishing village of Cojimar in 1945. I wrote an article about the episode and how it marks the first time that the network travels to Cuba for its Shark Week.  A team of Florida shark scientists work with their Cuban counterparts for the expedition that also looks at why the island nation draws big sharks. At an estimated 7,000 pounds, maybe El Monstruo was the Cuban Jaws?  

Photo above is of El Monstruo featured in the episode.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Operation Makeover

The whirring of electric saws and drills spills out from the inside of the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Lauderdale. That's because Operation Build, a TV home improvement reality series on the History Channel, has been renovating the charity house just outside downtown Fort Lauderdale.  I wrote an article about the renovation and I got to hang out with the crew and meet some of the workers and families there.

Photo to the left, the show's design team led by Alexi Panos prepare to apply new wallpaper in the dining area.

I couldn't resist having our photographer Taimy snap a photo of me with the lifesize  Ronald McDonald figurine that sits on a bench at the entrance of the residential complex.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer reads

Since publishing my first novel Boston Boys Club in 2007, my books have been associated with summer. They're light, fun and breezy reads, perfect for the beach or pool (and they make for good towel weights too.)

As I set my sights on finishing my next novel (working title is Six Neckties because it's my sixth book and the theme revolves around New England and Miami weddings), I hope you or one of your friends may consider one of my five novels for your summer travels.

The books are available on Amazon, at some Barnes and Noble stores, Books and Books in Coral Gables and Calamus Books in downtown Boston.  Happy summer and happy reading!

Below is a sweet review of the Spanish version of Take the Lead or Tomar La Iniciativa.  Gracias Gaby Franz por leer mi libro. :)

Debo reconocer que cuando leí el resumen de esta novela no me llamó mucho la atención. Pero como Johnny Diaz era un autor que nunca había leído le di una oportunidad. Y sólo puedo decirles que amé esta novela.

Ha llegado a mis manos en un momento en mi vida en el que me hizo revivir muchas cosas pasadas con mi padre. Desafortunadamente falleció hace casi dos meses y sentí en carne propia muchas de las vivencias de Gabriel, el protagonista de esta fantástica historia.

Un relato muy humano, muy real, creíble hasta la médula.

Ha pasado a ser una de mis historias favoritas.

Me enamoré de la forma de escribir de Johnny, de su forma de sentir, de su forma de expresar tanto sentimiento contenido.

Quiero darle las gracias al autor. Sé que sólo es una única palabra para tantas que me ha dado, para tantos recuerdos que me ha hecho revivir y volver a sentir y reír y llorar al mismo tiempo.

Esta tal vez es una reseña algo extraña, pero sólo me sale escribir qué sentía mientras leía y cómo me sentí al llegar al final: paz, esperanza, dolor liberado, entendimiento.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Selfie stick(y) situation

Obnoxious? Annoying? Hazardous?  I'm talking about selfie sticks and the growing backlash.

The camera poles, which are really popular among tourists, aren't welcomed in some South Florida hot spots and tourist stops. That includes museums, zoos and even Marlins Park where the Marlins play. Here's my article on the selfie stick ban.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Behind the wheel

Yo taxi...I mean Uber! Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have been pulling into South Florida. But instead of giving people rides, they're also giving them jobs. Folks have been driving for Uber and Lyft as their main job or a fun second one.

I took some rides with some drivers and got their story for a story in the Sun Sentinel.

(Alex, a Lyft driver in Fort Lauderdale)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Anchor made

What goes into making a lead anchor team? Chemistry? Credibility? A connection to the community? Perhaps all of the above and more. I explored the topic in a recent Sun Sentinel article that looks at South Florida's main anchor teams and how they came to be.

(left Belkys Nerey and Craig Stevens from WSVN Channel 7.)

 (left, Irika Sargent and Rick Folbaum, lead anchors at WFOR Channel 4 in Miami.)

Monday, May 11, 2015

The PrEP Debate

Lately, I've been hearing a lot of guys in South Florida talking about PrEP, the HIV prevention pill. Some groups such as Impulse South Florida have been holding townhall/cocktail party-type gatherings called PREP U to educate young men and their friends about the pros and cons of PrEP and who should be taking it.

 I wrote an Sun Sentinel article about this PrEP debate and how guys are weighing whether its right for them.