Posts Tagged ‘TLC’

Letter From New York 07 16 15 Observations as I have wandered the town…

July 16, 2015

It has been a lovely day in New York City. The day dawned warm, sunny and not humid. As I walked up 93rd Street to the subway, I cherished every moment, looking up at the trees, moving slightly in the wind. People were out walking their dogs, chatting with them as they did morning duty. There is a bulldog I see occasionally; he has a face only a father could love. He walks sprightly with him on many a morning as I am making my way to Broadway and the subway.

As I took the 1 train to 28th, my car had scattered bunches of tourists. There was a young French couple, a small group of Germans; some folks with mid-western twangs. It is the fabric of the city this time of year. Later in the day there was a group of older tourists from Italy on Fifth Avenue, getting their bearings before strolling down the block.

Today, having only had a light dinner, I was hungry and stopped at the little Greek diner on the corner of 28th and 7th, appropriately called The Greek Corner. The menu has Santorini splashed across its cover. Once I asked the waitress if the owner came from Santorini. She shrugged and said: no, he’s from Sparta. I suspect he thought Santorini more beautiful than Sparta.

She is from Spain and was not terribly friendly at first but now she smiles a little when I come in. She now expects me not to need a menu though, like today, I sometimes ask for one. She always tries to serve me coffee even though I have never had a cup there.

Places like The Greek Corner are disappearing from New York City. There are articles in The Times chronicling their vanishing in all the boroughs.

As I was eating my food, another aspect of New York shuffled through the door, a homeless man, looking for water, smelling of dirt and urine. He was being respectful and the Spanish girl filled a cup for him with water and he shuffled away. It breaks my heart to see men and women like this, scattered all over the city.

As I walked down 7th Avenue to 30th, there is a woman who is there everyday, selling fruit. Yesterday, I wanted to ask her about her story, how she came to be selling fruit on 7th Avenue in New York, far from her homeland.

Since my last letter, a deal has been announced with Iran on its nuclear program. I am not sure how I feel about it, good or bad it is a path that is being played out. The Republicans and some Democrats have vowed to scuttle it and Obama says he will veto any legislation that will stop it. Rouhani of Iran is attempting to sell it through to his people and the all-powerful Ayatollah Khamenei. Neither of the men have an easy job.

The Iran drama has just reached a new stage and for some reason elicits a sense of exhaustion from me for reasons I can’t quite name. Despite the agreement, there is the reality of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US all vying for position in the Middle East.

The Great Game continues, I guess.

TLC has cancelled, officially, the suspended “19 Kids and Counting” after the oldest son admitted abusing five underage girls, including two of his sisters. There was a celebration on Twitter that was quite amazing, I’m told.

In Chattanooga, TN, a shooter was killed after he had killed four others. The man identified as the shooter has an Arabic sounding name and one official, at least, has said it probably is a case of domestic terrorism. It happened at a military facility. The young man was born in 1990, which would make him twenty-five. He was so young to choose a path of violence. What rage burned in him? In any of these young men and women who seem to find killing so easy?

To no one’s great surprise, Dylann Roof, accused in the Charleston killing of nine churchgoers, had a troubled childhood. He grew more silent and withdrawn as time went on, using drugs and having non-violent run-ins with the law.

Tomorrow, North American Muslims will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims. There will be gifts given and much family time enjoyed.

The potential for hate crimes makes it hard for some to enjoy. Recently, a man in New York fractured the jaw of a 19-year-old Muslim woman, while spewing anti-Muslim remarks.

As I write this, the world is waiting for the verdict in the case of James Holmes, who killed twelve and injured seventy in a shooting in a theater showing “Batman” in Aurora, Colorado. Before I post this, we should know.

Tomorrow is the year anniversary of the downing of MH17, brought to earth over Ukraine. There are at least two investigations going on. One has indicated it believes the most likely scenario is that Ukrainian separatists brought down the plane. There is talk of a UN Tribunal. Mr. Putin thinks it “premature.”

Lest we forget, Emmy nominations were announced today. Streaming services rise and broadcast slips in numbers of nominations.

The phone has buzzed three times. The verdict is in for James Holmes; he is guilty of murder and faces the death penalty.

Letter From New York September 3, 2010

September 3, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

On Wednesday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk, plunging through the mountainous amounts of email that had collected while I had taken a few days off. I was attempting to decipher from a long string of messages whether or not we were about to send a team to Nigeria. Then a new email popped in from a colleague: Have you seen this?

It was a link to a breaking story posted by the Washington Post. A gunman had gone into Discovery Communications, potentially with explosives strapped to his chest, and had taken hostages. I immediately felt shocked. Once upon a time, I worked for Discovery and still have many, many friends there both from when I worked there and ones made in years when I was producing some programs for various of their networks. I am on the Board of CINE and my friend Rita Mullin, the current President, works for TLC, a Discovery Network. I know someone on every floor in that building, I would guess.

What I did next surprised me. I immediately left the Washington Post site and went to Twitter, put Discovery in the search bar and started scanning the posts, and long before it was announced on any news organization I had found out the gunman’s name was James Lee, that he had posted a rambling, bizarre, disturbing manifesto online about his grievances with Discovery and their programming. He, for example, wanted no more celebration of births on Discovery Health [soon to be the Oprah Winfrey Network] because children were, I think he said, vermin that consumed the earth. I found a picture of him entering the building, taken by a Discovery employee who sent it to another employee, who then tweeted it.

I found links to the video feed from the helicopter flying over the building. There were poignant messages from friends of people in the building wishing them well and saying prayers for them. I looked for tweets from people I knew but found none. I knew from Twitter that people had gotten out of the building safely before it was on the general news sites. Heck, I knew a lot about what was going on before I got my first email alert from CNN.

I learned, rather quickly, that the hostages were taken in the lobby area. That particularly engaged me and I became incredibly concerned. There is a wonderful woman named Rosa who mans the front desk in the lobby of Discovery. She is a magnificent human being who is the perfect first person for a visitor to meet. She is warm, she is respectful, she is organized and she is engaging. I have visited there for years and when I arrive she jumps up and comes out from behind her desk and gives me the biggest mama hug I get in my life these days.

The thought she might be a hostage caused me great distress. When I heard the hostages had been taken in the lobby, I thought of Rosa. A well of tears came to my eyes and I sat at my desk and prayed, prayed for all of them but particularly prayed for my Rosa, the woman who always makes me feel more than special when I arrive at Discovery. She doesn’t hug everyone who comes there. I have followed dignitaries into the Discovery lobby. I got hugged; they didn’t. I have been with important people who found themselves thinking I must be important because of the way Rosa greeted me.

To think she was a hostage tormented me. I rested when I found out that the hostages were all men, enormously relieved Rosa was not one of them. I breathed more freely when I found out, through Twitter, that the building had been successfully evacuated, that the children in the Day Care Center were safe at McDonald’s. I was grateful when it ended. Though it ended with the death of James Lee, a tormented soul who wanted to save the planet, a good thing, but who chose a desperately sick way of doing it.