Context is Important

Context is important, but we rarely seem to consider it. This is what’s wrong with how we teach History and tell stories, for the most part. We may do a good enough job of explaining what happened and who did it, but rarely spend many calories discussing the world around an event, or the people surrounding a conflict, or the various alternatives and what each might have offered and so on. The Civil War blah-blah-blah… and President Kennedy blah-blah-blah and by the third year of production, Ford decided to blah-blah-blah and on and on. So often the details of everything else going on around an event or a person are abbreviated or are just left out completely. Most of the time this is okay. Most of the time there’s no harm. It’s expedient. Hell, if you had to back up, and back up and back up again to tell a story probably nothing would ever get passed along, I realize that. “Okay, I told you that story so I could tell you this one…” Over time, especially, a lot of those little details can probably fade some. In an age when anything can be looked up, it’s maybe not so important to know the names of all of the Abraham Lincoln conspirators, today. Maybe it’s enough to only know that […]


Ah, the GT

I love cars that should have died fifty years ago. The marketplace is cruel. When a technology obsoletes a need for something, or when even mere fashion moves from phony wood clad station wagons to SUVs and minivans, very few people are around to cry about it. When was the last time you heard someone say “Man, I sure do miss our old Vista Cruiser?” or “Boy, I wish they still made Country Squire wagons like I grew up in?” But I still love the GT; the Grand Tourer. And even though the need is gone (if there ever was one), they are still making them. The GT’s time had barely come when it was already done. The GT was born of the first evidence of prosperity, of young men with more money than sense in Europe after World War II, when what came to be known as playboys decided what they needed was a fast, efficient and semi-luxurious way to comport themselves and a paramour to the south of France in as little time as possible from some place in northern Europe. By the time the recipe was perfected the personal jet had come along and obviated the need such a carriage but since then, they have sold quite well on their styling, performance and charisma. You see, nobody […]


The Elasticity of Time

I’ve always been impressed with the elasticity of Time. You’ve probably seen a few examples of it yourself—how a moment doing this passes longer than an hour doing that. How you stumble upon a movie that you haven’t thought of in quite a while and suddenly realize you can’t quite place it in time. That last one happened to me just this last week, as I was scrolling through the TV listings and happened upon Tom Hanks in Castaway. It turns out that film came out in the year 2000, which means it can drive now and it’ll be old enough buy a drink next year. How can that be? Really? We measure time in a way we have found to be convenient and not really by any specific events. In other cultures, in other eras, they tried systems where every day had 24hrs, and the hours themselves grew or shrunk depending upon the season. That must have been a handful, huh? Then again, maybe one day another culture will wonder about our having so many time zones and then still using concepts like Daylight Savings. I don’t know. But what we call a day doesn’t begin at sunrise or end at sunset. And we have ordered our weeks and months and years accordingly, too. It doesn’t really matter anymore when the planting […]