Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Jerry Orbach - A Great New Yorker

"Law and Order" star Jerry Orbach passed away today, and of the same illness my stepfather is battling: prostate cancer. A real sad loss. When I think of "New York" I think of Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers, and Jerry Orbach, to name some New Yorkers...

Guys, make sure you get checked for this when you reach your 30s and on. It's all too common.

The Disaster

The Disaster

Tuesday, December 28th 2004, for me, was a weird mix of emotions. First, I was happy just to be with my Mom and Step dad here in Fayetteville, GA. (I’m also smiling over his feeling better during his battle with cancer.) Second, I did miss Oakland and the Bay Area (and wish my folks moved back). Third, I was very sad over the massive devastation caused by the dramatic post-earthquake swelling in the Indian Ocean.

The count of lost lives seems to increase with each hour, and with no end in site. (But there’s got to be one.) Television and the Internet, and their increasingly convergent use, keep us tied to the unfolding events thousands of miles away, almost as if we were just a few feet away.

Where am I going with this? Good question. Well, my primary interest is in just plain writing out the pain I feel over this massive loss of life. The problem with the rise in the number of deaths is that – to me – every one of the lives represent someone missed by someone else. That’s what’s so sad. It’s also what makes life so special: the bond formed by just plain caring for each other.

I hope that what comes from this, is a refocus on the use of technology for our global community and not for us. It seems the recent trend is to permit us to buy better anti-depressant pills rather than better ways to keep our communities healthy and alive. The chip and the computer have met the "Me Generation" and now serve our individual needs. Today, we turn around and realize we stopped trying to place humans on other planets, let alone predict tidal waves and earthquakes.

It’s not so much that we stopped, as we slowed down. I have a friend whom I’ve known since junior high school. For some time, he was working on the Hubble Space Telescope until the funding for it was cut back. That device, thousands of miles over the earth, helped us to gain a better view of the solar system around us. It permitted us to better map the planets, and such objects as asteroids -- which do run into planets. You see where I’m going with this, right?

We have to start reapplying our technology to the betterment of our understanding of the world and space around us, rather than just to making a better bionic boob. The immediate matter at hand is using our tools to locate missing people in the disaster area. All of us can help. If someone’s reading this, and knows of news of a missing person, or has information on a person they want communicated, post that information here in the comments page for others to see and pass on. Or go to our SBS site at and send me an e-mail to pass around (or start here: The point is that the Internet’s a great giant grapevine, if it’s used that way.

The other thought is that with so many Americans and others possibility over there, especially given that it’s college break, the chance is high that someone there may be connected to someone we know. For example, UC Berkeley has a large Asian immigrant student population, so the chance that people from our university are affected by the disaster is far greater than the American collegiate norm.

We’ve got to help. Someone may be seeking information now. Let’s pass it on. It may seem like a little, but really, it’s a lot.