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Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

Need for Mass Distraction

When I look at the news in Hudson, the closest city to our country home, the news is about the controversy surrounding the proposed St. Lawrence Cement Plant.

It's been waging since before we purchased Claverack Cottage. The very first time we went to the Hudson area we noticed all the pro and con signs. STOP THE PLANT! SUPPORT THE PLANT!

We wondered what all of it was about. Once we purchased our home, we discovered all the hooplah was about the St. Lawrence Cement Company's desire to build a new plant on the banks of the Hudson to replace its old plant.

Those who have moved to Columbia County for its relative pristine beauty and its rural, pure nature sport STOP THE PLANT! signs. Those who have lived there for a long time generally support the plant because it provides JOBS!

We now have a STOP THE PLANT! sign at the entrance of our drive. I am not against jobs but I am against what seems to be a not particularly well thought out plan to replace an old plant with a new one that won?t replace the old one's problems.

No matter where I am, I regularly check the Hudson Register-Star's website to get the local news. Claverack Cottage is my home and touching base is restful.

Particularly when contrasted with the city part of my life. Leaving a restaurant on lower Broadway, I was startled by the number of police cars everywhere. At night, I suppose, they just stand out more than they do during the day. Walking home from the restaurant I wondered to Tripp why it was that six or seven police cars, sirens screaming, were racing toward the Battery Park Tunnel.

He shrugged. It's normal. Haven't you noticed?

No. I guess I haven't.

Probably like so many this week, I have allowed myself to be swept up into the scandal du jour: the "love Gov."

New York's neighbor, New Jersey, has had its Governor announce that he has faced himself in the mirror and seen that he is gay.

The supposition early this week was that it would blow over rather quickly.

What? Why? This is WAY TOO juicy.

Sex! Harassment! A handsome Israeli poet! A good looking Governor! Government patronage!

We have here a twice married man, a rising political star, a two time father, carrying on with a single man, who was placed by him in some relatively high paying state jobs for which he wasn't qualified as he wasn't an American citizen.

The Israeli poet has since fled back to Israel, declared that he is straight and announced his victimization by New Jersey's Governor whom he has declared "a predator."

All of this was followed by a wild, rambling, almost bizarre interview with a male professor in which he declared he had also been the Israeli poet's lover.

It has been the perfect vehicle of mass distraction for residents of theTri-State area. It keeps us from thinking about the parade of police cars racing into the Battery Park Tunnel. It prevents us from focusing too much on the increasing number of soldiers we see. It prevents us from thinking about the upcoming Republican Convention and its possible repercussions on our body politic.

New Jersey's Governor McGreevy, who has recently outed himself, has been a perfect vehicle to fog over the brain bending realities that surround us. God love the New York tabloids! McGreevy has pushed most other issues out of sight and out of mind.

I can deal with the issues of a cement plant. I can even deal with a Governor who may or may not have declared himself gay in order to obscure that he was both sexually unfaithful and unobservant of his civic duties and responsibilities if not also actually breaking the laws of his state.

What I have trouble dealing with, though I have uncomfortably accepted, are the screaming sirens and the presence of camouflaged soldiers proliferating across my personal landscape.

Like almost everyone, I have welcomed McGreevy as a distraction. We need them.