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recently sold METEORS TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael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
Southern California is burning.
It is impossible to turn on the television without seeing
pictures of fire.
For anyone who has a connection with southern California it
is the topic of conversation.
I know what it is like to stand in Los Angeles and witness
the hills ringed with fire I used to live there, after
all, and to live in L.A. is to live with fire and earthquake,
both of which I have experienced.
While many Americans think of Los Angeles and Southern California
as that far away, exotic place, almost another country within
this country, soft, sun-drenched, sybaritic, it is also one
of the great centers of the world and the fires are wrecking
some havoc on the country, even if were not aware of
The football game was moved to Tempe, Arizona from San Diego
and flights are being re-directed. Off shore, freighters are
beginning to pile up, their goods being delayed in landing
and then in deploying. A photo shoot I had scheduled in Malibu
was cancelled on Saturday; everyone was off fighting fires
or standing guard against the fires at their homes.
While southern California battles fires, defending the hills
between Simi Valley and Malibu from the enemy flames, the
American Occupation of Iraq becomes daily more a war again
than an occupation. It seems every morning begins with a new
list of American and Iraqi dead.
My friend Peter has been in Iraq, one of many American and
British businessmen there, working to build businesses creating
infrastructure in that tattered country. Peter is an expert
at these things, having spent much of his career discovering
ways to give third world countries telecommunications infrastructure.
I made sure he was not at the Rashid Hotel when it was hit
by rockets. He was not, thankfully, having just returned to
In the meantime, I am sure there is something profound happening
in Iraq a future we can not predict is being formed
and I wish I understood better what was happening there. Not
just on the intellectual level but from the visceral level.
In an interesting way, I am envious of Peter for having been
there, for having seen with his own eyes and for having felt
with his own emotions what is going on, in the streets. It
is a different perspective than one can get in any other way.
It is why my friend Joe lingered in Iraq when the rest of
his unit was deployed back to the States.
It will be interesting to see what happens.
The occupation of Iraq, suicide bombers and an increasingly
bitter dispute over the future of the WTC site are direct
results of 9/11.
It was fascinating to me that at a weekend dinner in a house
high over the Hudson in northern Columbia Country, a group
joined together for dinner and before long, those who didnt
know one another, began to ask each other where they had been
that day. I turned to the man seated next to me and expressed
my surprise that this still happened. But it does.
One woman admitted it was the reason she lived in Columbia
County, to be out of the line of fire. Another became a full
time resident because the economic downturn following had
booted him out of two successive jobs.
While Iraq and California burn, each for different reasons,
a bit of sports history was made as the Marlins defeated the
Yankees and New York turned to sports mourning as a pastime.
The leaves continue to turn gold and fall, the world revolves
on its axis, and the sounds of gunfire are increasing again.
All of this makes for interesting thinking and frightening