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recently sold METEORS TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael
ORourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television
movie. Visit his
web site at http://www.intermat.tv
Being really challenged today
It is Thursday evening in New York, the moment when I sit
down and take my collected thoughts from the week and turn
them into my column. Outside, today, it has been gray with
rain always about to but never quite coming down. It is chilly
and I hear people around me complain as I am: I have the aches,
a low fever, Im run down and just a little cranky.
And as I write this I am listening to the news on NPR and
it is as gray as this day. At this moment, there is a warning
that Al Qaida is preparing another attack on the country.
Within a ten mile radius of the largest nuclear plant in New
York State, pamphlets are being sent out with new, revised
evacuation plans and rescue details.
Because I both live and work in lower Manhattan [and I enrolled
in it] I am on the e-mail list for the Downtown Alliance.
The day started with an e-mail alert from the Downtown Alliance
letting us know that: In an overall effort to prepare
for any eventuality The Chief of Department of The NYPD has
directed mock mobilization drills . These preparedness protocols
will take place city wide and involve terrorist sensitive
locations. We have been assured that there are no specific
threats and that these exercises are necessary for training
and evaluation. Further information will be provides as it
I used to live in Washington, D.C. and work in Bethesda,
Maryland. Thats in Montgomery County. Thats the
county where the Maryland/Virginia/D.C. sniper has been most
at work. My friends who live there have their
adolescent children locked down and locked in, hoping to lock
out the danger. And while I know weve had serial killers
before I mean, isnt serial murder a kind of American
tradition? This Capital Region Killer seems particularly awful.
Why? Because its there -- there where a plane hit on
September 11th. It just doesnt seem right. There is
a pain and an anger that I feel about all of it that has surfaced
with this random murderer in a place that I think should be
given some peace. I know it doesn't make much sense, this
feeling that I have, but its there. Perhaps because
I am feeling under the weather, I feel I am swimming through
a lake of existential despair, in a world that hammers me
on every side with its madness.
That oil tanker that blew up? Looks like a terrorist attack.
That soldier that died in Kuwait? Looks like it might have
been Al Qaida.
Were on higher alert because one of the main leaders
in Osama Bin Ladens inner group, Ayman al-Zawahiri has
had a tape broadcast on Al-Jazeera, promising attacks that
will disrupt the American economy. [Anyone think there is
a link with an oil tanker?]
So this is the world I/we live in:
A sniper is picking off people at random in the area of the
Al Qaida is planning another attack to disrupt our economy.
A tanker has been attacked.
The House [and now the Senate] has authorized Bush to attack
Iraq at will.
Were having any eventuality simulations
all around New York City.
Were stocking up on smallpox vaccine.
I keep an evacuation backpack under my desk.
The most liberal person I know in the world is now afraid
of anyone of Middle Eastern heritage.
Mosquito bites can now kill us.
Oh my goodness.
It seems like I should go to bed and not leave it. I cant
do that, of course.
But it seems tempting just this moment.
There are some balancing moments:
Madonnas SWEPT AWAY is getting dreadful reviews.
The market went up today [a nice counterpoint to an article
I read this morning saying that this bear market is the worst
since the 1930s (Wasnt that the Great Depression?)].
We need to be careful of fish, especially smoked fish, smoked
salmon in particular [a personal favorite], as it has a great
chance to make us sick.
Mayor Bloomberg has told the Italian-American community to
get over The Sopranos.
American Honda and Mercedes are bringing out experimental
versions of hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Lemon juice might be an effective contraceptive and an HIV
Orangutans are in danger of extinction but a hundred new kinds
of frogs have been found in Sri Lanka.
Martha Stewart is in even more trouble today.
Oh my goodness.
Its really a bitter kind of day but despite the bitter
taste in my mouth I keep finding things to smile about
I have, I suspect, a generally sunny disposition. It is just
that the world is really challenging it these days.