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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.

July 24, 2006

Tombers Finds Mid-Summer Solace in the Ordinary!

Newspapers are having a tough time. They seem to be losing space and place to the digital media as print media appears to be having a tough time making the transition to the new media religion.

However, personally, there is a great comfort, particularly on Sundays, in having a real newspaper in my hands. So it was last Sunday, when, toward the end of a day when I had been working when I hadn't really meant to work, I decided to take a break and went down to the Dot, picking up the local newspaper, The Register Star, and sat in the pleasant back garden, sipping a diet soda while reading the paper.

This was on a day when CNN was reporting on the damage done to Beirut by Israeli planes, when rockets from Hizbullah were falling on Haifa and car bombs were going off with their clocklike regularity in Baghdad and its environs. So sitting in the garden, reading the Register-Star, was reassuring to me. The front page was full of news - there had been a successful reading of a play at a local synagogue which had been its most successful fundraiser to date. A local resident, who lost part of his leg in a bad motorcycle accident a year ago, was out campaigning for motorcycle safety. His last named matched the name of a road not far from my home and was named after a relative.

Beyond the front page, there was news of the air strikes and the kidnappings of the Olympic Committee in Iraq mixed in with all the other things that make up the fabric of life. There were pictures of pre-adolescents celebrating their birthdays and prominence given to those who had survived adolescence to the point they were celebrating their fiftieth or sixtieth wedding anniversaries - replete with photos that made me smile over the longevity of some couples.

It was full of all the things I like about living upstate, a bit away from the city. The world can be in crisis yet our local newspaper focuses often on the things which make us believe in a future, the celebrations that are the fabric of life. Those are the very things that seem, sometimes, threatened by all the chaos that surrounds us.

My Uncle Henry described Beirut in the 50's and 60's as one of the most beautiful places on earth; in the last years it has been recovering from two decades of mad civil war. I can only imagine the celebrations that have been interrupted by the recent round of bloody mayhem. While that violence goes on, so do all the other things in life, be it in Claverack or Beirut or Baghdad.

It is good to be reminded that sports is more than multi-million dollar players, that "sports" is perhaps better embodied by the All Star Softball Team and the Senior League Baseball folks than by Barry Bonds, living under his steroid cloud. I admire the Register Star for helping ground us in the present and the pleasant while also informing us of distant horrors; it is a complement to the New York Times, which often seems to give me too much to think about - and for which I am also grateful.

I appreciate OUR TOWN, a quarterly magazine devoted to the hamlet in which I live, Claverack, both highlighting the issues facing the town while at the same time celebrating the history of the community and its evolution as new citizens settle.

Fortunate to have traveled much, I think of myself as both a citizen of the United States and of the world. It is good to be reminded I am a member of a neighborhood and to have publications which anchor me to that neighborhood. It is the challenge facing all of us as we march inexorably into the future, to be both responsible to the world which we inhabit as well as the neighborhood in which we live.