Friday, September 02, 2016

Adventure changes

I love steam trains, there is something about the exposed mechanical parts, moving back and forth to go around and around, that I find endlessly fascinating.  Modern trains are comfortable and can be a wonderful way to explore, but they never have the same alive feeling of steam.  And yet, steam trains seldom appear on my blog, because there are few of them left.  They are a novelty item, a throwback to a bygone era.  I find them and ride them when I can.  I will write one day soon, about riding the Cog-Railway up Mt Washington in New Hampshire during the last season of coal fired steam - it was breathtaking. 

As technology changes, so does the adventure.  I can remember sitting in a hotel bar in Paris in January of 1991, reading, or at least trying to read the local newspaper - in French.  Interesting the obituaries were listed by the oldest person first and in descending order by age at the time of death,  in the USA obituaries were always listed alphabetically.  What does that difference tell us about the culture we are exploring?  Travel and adventure change our understanding of what it is to be human. 

Today, most likely I wouldn't be reading a print newspaper.  I can see print newspapers becoming as novel as steam trains in the next 25 years.  There will be a few hold outs, but technology has written the obituary of print newspapers.  Why should I wait until tomorrow morning for already out of date "news" when I can go online and read it instantaneously. 

The unanswered question, is how will news be collected and stories written?  How will we know we are reading a reliable source and not just one person's observation and rantings (like this blog)?  The news industry is being turned inside out, wire services have collapsed, merged and morphed.  Newspaper newsrooms have a tiny fraction of the staff they once did, instead relying on an army of independent writers to create content.  Curators like the Huffington Post (and I know HP is liberal and somewhat reactionary) have developed relationships with trusted sources and consolidate content, are replacing the traditional newsroom.  I think we will continue to see fundamental change in news publishing.  And print magazines, and newspapers will be as novel of an adventure as a steam train.  


  1. Well, I agree with your concern about the veracity of news sources.

    How can you not be concerned when the MSM is in the hands of just a few corporations? Their chief order of business seems to be the dumbing down of the proletariat. They're succeeding, too! How else can you explain the 'Trump Phenomenon?'



  2. I love trains but know little about them. I didn't even know that some steam trains still existed.

    I truly miss the glorious era of newspapers, magazines, and real books. The Internet had certainly put an end to that....and I'm suddenly feeling archaic...

  3. Born n raised in Roanoke VA I am quite familiar with the steam engines of the past. One of, if not the, last one was manufactured there and taken out of commercial service there by Norfolk and Western. They are majestic. The O. Winston Link museum is there in Roanoke. Link foresaw the demise of steam and documented the life surrounding the last of the great steam engines before it disappeared. He not only did it through his still photography but through audio recordings as well. Give him a Google, his work is genius.

  4. Reminds me of casey jones!

  5. one of my maternal grandmother's brothers worked for baldwin steam locomotives in philly. I often wonder if any of his work survives.

    this is a FABU place to visit:

    1. That is a nice collection, they were running a short steam excursion the time I was there.

  6. My father loves trains too - the old types. He is happy to be on them whenever he finds one.