Letter From New York June 9, 2010

Or, as it seems to me

It’s been an enormously busy week with lots of pressures from the things I am working on – the mobile channel, the website rebuild, other client demands. My mind has been cluttered and I found myself at 5:15 this morning staring at my coffee maker having an intense conversation with myself about all the things needing to be done – and I doubt that is an unusual situation for many, if not most, Americans – that early, early morning internal conversation about what was ahead during the day.

However, when things grow quieter in my brain, I think about the variety of things that are happening outside of my particular universe.

I don’t follow baseball. I don’t follow any sport at all. But I was struck this past week by the story of the umpire who made the horrifically bad call that cost a player named Gallaraga a perfect game. Jim Joyce was the umpire who made the call, astoundingly bad, he admitted when he saw the replay. Joyce stood up, like a man, and apologized to Gallaraga. And what was even more astounding was that Gallaraga accepted the apology and the two of them stood together on the field and were cheered by the crowds for having acted like – good men. Instead of disintegrating into invective, which would have been easy in this fraught situation, two men accepted the flaws of the human condition and celebrated it in the best possible way. Bravo!

Down in the gulf, the oil kept spilling, if somewhat tempered by a containment dome placed on the wellhead. Better but still not good. I have been watching this story as carefully as I can. I have been astounded by the number of people on the street who have been talking about it and part of the reason there has been so much talk is because people have been riveted by the photographs of AP shooter Charlie Reidel. His photos of sludge-covered pelicans captured the horror of the oil spill in a way that nothing else quite has – it made this event palpably real. Spread across television networks and newspapers around the world the photos of Charlie Reidel proved a picture is worth a thousand words. BP is staging a $50 million advertising and public relations campaign but the money and the effort may be no match for these pictures. [See: http://www.aolnews.com/the-point/article/charlie-riedel-photos-of-dying-birds-put-new-focus-on-oil-spill/19503830?sms_ss=email%5D

Long ago I became a subscriber to the Maritime Executive Newsletter. I did it because they were following the pirate situation off the Horn of Africa and I thought there was a really good story there. Now they are providing some excellent analysis of the oil spill and I find their maritime perspective interesting.

Almost a century ago, the great shipping lines that plied the North Atlantic route between the US and Britain began to build really big ships. However, the laws that governed them did not keep up with the technology and the ravenous need of the companies to serve the demand for berths on the North Atlantic. Hence, when the White Star Line began building a trio of ships, the largest in the world, they were able to legally outfit them without enough lifeboats for everyone on board and that didn’t change until Titanic, the second of that trio of ships, struck an iceberg and went down with a horrific loss of life – then the laws were changed. The Maritime Executive Newsletter made a parallel to those events with this oil spill. No one was prepared for the worst possible case of Titanic hitting that iceberg and sinking and no one was prepared for the worst possible case of this oil spill. We will be playing technological and legal catch up for oilrigs just as the British Parliament and Congress did for lifeboats after the sinking of Titanic.

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2 Responses to “Letter From New York June 9, 2010”

  1. Erin Sim Says:

    How good to find your thoughtful words in this blog, and to see life has continued to shape you a creative and world-aware person. I’ll continue to follow.

    I sought your name on Google, as I was long ago a minor character in a couple of Tom Hart Players productions and have been trying to learn if Tom went on to become a Benedictine — the late Br. Dietrich of St. John’s? I met him at a St. John’s Bible event and never made the connection until his obituary had his name as Thomas.

    Thanks for any info you may have to share.

    • tombers Says:

      Thanks for the email and how good of you to look me up on Google. Yes, I am the Tom from Tom Hart Players and Tom Reinhart went on to become Br. Dietrich, and he did pass away last year from melanoma. I had only recently reconnected with him, shortly before he was diagnosed and so missed an opportunity to spend time with him.

      Thanks for reading the blog; I hope you do continue to follow and, again, thank you for looking me up…


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