Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., (www.intermat.tv)
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.
August 19, 2007
Reviewing the news
I have been so distracted this by events such as the bridge
collapse in Minneapolis, the floods in Southeast Asia, the
bombings in Iraq, the disintegration of that countrys
government, miners trapped deep underground in Utah, etc.
that I apparently had completely missed a major event: Brad
Pitt and Angelina Jolie had broken up! Waiting for my train
one day at least two of the popular celeb magazines had covers
splattered with pictures of the couple, split apart, with
headlines wondering: WHO would get custody of Shiloh.
So astounded was I that I had missed this major news item
that I asked one of my train companions for confirmation.
His wide eyed look told me that he, too, had missed
this event. We both immediately logged onto pittwatch.com
to find out how we had missed this earthshaking event. Ah,
relief. There we saw photos from the day before of Brad and
Angelina arriving in Chicago by private jet for filming Angelinas
The relief I felt! I cannot tell you. All was right with the
Which, of course, is nonsense. However, it reminded me once
again of my ongoing sense of ennui about the status of our
culture, fixated on celebrities and anything lacking real
substance. There are times, I find, when ennui lifts, when
we focus on what is really important like a bridge
collapse. Post catastrophe there is a moment of consideration
being given to re-building the American infrastructure, as
we finally realize that everything we built isnt going
to last the same way the pyramids did.
And speaking of infrastructure, my train into New York was
very, very late getting into Penn Station on the 8th of August
an hour and fifteen minutes late. What none of us knew
was that the entire public transport system of the city of
New York, the capital of the world, had just succumbed
to torrential downpours a few hours earlier that flooded the
subway system while a rare tornado tore apart part of Brooklyn.
Once I reached Penn Station, clueless, and made my way through
unusually maddening crowds, I realized something was wrong.
Fearing the worst, I stood still and assessed the situation.
Folks were grim faced but no one was crying. Grim without
tears meant nothing TERRIBLE had happened. Grim meant something
like what it was the breakdown of the mass transit
capabilities of one of the major cities in the world, for
the third time in seven months. [Pesky infrastructure.]
Grim meant New York went about its business, best it could
with its unique stoicism. There were a few reports of ragged
tempers [I didnt mention that this happened on a day
when the temperature was in the 90s with matching humidity?]
but for the most part everyone just did their best, kept going,
finding ways to get to work or get back home.
What everyone realized was that this was, yes, a MAJOR inconvenience.
It was not a tragedy.
It was an amazing sight to stand in Penn Station at the bottom
of the 7th Avenue entrance looking at all the people exiting
the station, determinedly going out there to figure it out
and get on with it the best they could. I may well remember
that moment the rest of my life. Everyone looked frustrated
but no one looked frightened. What stays with me is the determination
I saw in those faces.
And speaking of determination, Barry Bonds surpassed Hank
Aarons record. Among my rather macho train crowd, I
heard derision of this achievement. It was sullied for them
by the taint of steroid use on the way to this record.
Which brings me to my closing thought: in Barry Bonds there
may be a lesson. If he did use steroids [and I have no idea
if he did] then he was trying to take the easy way to get
to the goal. Which seems very American; we seem to want to
take the easy way to the goal. And thats one reason
I like New York and New Yorkers many just accept a
difficulty and get on with it without a huge amount of whining.