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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

September 18, 2007

The joys of generous conversation…

I am a member of the, as my former partner used to say, the “somber Tombers,” and am an individual who has never really learned to guffaw though am somewhat attuned to the ironic. We tend also toward work alcoholism or, as my sister says, “We’re good Catholic compulsives.”

Recently, over the last few years, I have been making efforts to get away from that – to choose to be more social. So it was that when my friends Dick and Dena Moran invited me for dinner I felt it was too special an occasion and decided that, come what may, I wanted to be there. Dinner parties are a great opportunity for real conversation. This dinner was such an example. We discussed what was happening with us in the here and now.

We talked of the beauty of the weather, a summer that seems intent on making us remember that it was here. We have had a series of late summer days that have been brilliant and beautiful, poised between summer and fall with summer refusing to let go without reminding us consistently of how beautiful she has been – and how much we will miss her.

Against this beautiful backdrop we reviewed the week’s events.

First of all, the Emmy Award Show.: General consensus: it was lousy. Personally, I thought it was more watch-able than any of the last few years though I was definitely in the minority. Ryan Sechrist did seem to me an aging high school cheerleader struggling to whip up enthusiasm for a team that was behind by eighteen points. The circular set was probably better for viewing at home than at the Shrine. And what was up with cutting off Sally Field? Are we that afraid of hearing “goddamn” over the air? I guess so.

Next up: O. J. Simpson. Okay, what were you drinking, smoking, imbibing? What were you THINKING? Has media attention become so necessary to your being that you’d throw your life away for another media mad trial? General consensus over the dinner table: this is a person who can’t quite figure out the meaning of the word “consequences.”

We talked of the quality of the programs on television, agreeing, after some disagreement, that if you include both broadcast and cable networks [I was surprised that anyone still made that differentiation but some people do] there are actually so many good dramas on television today that we might, in the future, call this a “golden age.” Look at this list: DAMAGES, GRACE UNDER FIRE, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, MONK, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, MAD MEN, the ending of THE SOPRANOS, BIG LOVE, ARMY WIVES, NIP/TUCK, and RESCUE ME not to mention such mini-series as OUT OF THE WEST.

As such an evening can, this will linger in my memory for a long time – a delightful mixture of people and wonderful food [by the way, if you find yourself in the Hudson Valley, stop at Dick and Dena’s shop, OLDE HUDSON, on Warren Street in Hudson – they have the very best cheeses, meats and other sundries]. These are the things that make life special.

Along with our dinner conversation, there have been other interesting events this week to note. AOL is moving its executives to New York to be more in tune with the beat of the media world.

And as AOL is moving to New York, Blackwater is being asked to leave Iraq. Don’t know Blackwater? It’s a private company that has been supplying “security” in Iraq. It flies as much as possible under the radar but if you believe some reports it has as many men in Iraq as the U.S. Army. There was a shoot out last week near Baghdad; civilians were killed. The Iraqi government is not amused and is asking them to leave and the shooters to be judged by Iraqi courts. That is not amusing to the U.S. government who, I think, has guaranteed Blackwater that that wouldn’t happen.

The news is full of things that can, and probably should, be gist for dinner conversation. Put together some good food with good people and let the events of the day be verbally bounced around. We learn things that way.