In “How Steam and Chips Remade the World” (op-ed, Oct. 19), John Steele Gordon remarks that “a man from half a century ago would surely regard the . . . smartphone as magic.” As one of those men, who keeps his phone more off than on, I disagree. Driving cross country as a 19-year-old in a beat-up car with only $50 cash and a gas-station map, without interstates, was a magical experience. Magic today would be a young person doing the same, or finding a parent who would let them.

~ Stephen Borkowski (Pittsburg, Texas). In letters to the Editor. (, October 24, 2019)

Photo: Ansel Adams, Desert Road, NV 1960 (via Newthom)


  1. the difference is night and day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with Merlin – far more magic can be had with a stick and wish…😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. interesting view, interesting letter, and – for me – a memory to driving through Canada & America, a LONG time ago, in a beat-up VW Camper, on roads just like that one….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d say there’s magic in both…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Different doesn’t mean there’s less magic. It just means there’s different ways for magic to appear.

    My stepson and his girlfriend are currently on a tour of the US sharing their music, surviving on the ‘take’ from each night’s concert. They’re travelling in a big blue van, filled with their musical instruments, and a whole bunch of technology including a big box they call, “The Kerry” The Kerry is the electronic synchronization (or something technical like that) of a third young woman who travelled with them as part of the band for the first 6 months of their tour and has taken time out to ‘find herself’ during this final leg of their year long journey. They were here for a week recently and as I listened to them talk about ‘their music’ and what they needed to do to keep the sound real without their third member (thus the reason my stepson created The Kerry – which seemed like magic to me!), and to the stories of their travels, the adventures they’ve had and the funny, sad, scary things they’ve experienced I was struck by how much magic there is in simply taking to the road and doing what you love with little more than your wits, talent and passion.

    So, while they rely on technology to make the magic of their music happen, they are also immersed in the magic of being on the road, experiencing life in every fascinating moment. How the magic happens may be different, but the magic itself, it never changes. It always creates moments to remember.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So wonderful. Thanks for sharing Louise.


    • Louise, I’d like to get to know you, I so often very much like what you contribute! As a humble choir singer and eternal beginner cello player, I very much agree with your observations. I feel sorry for the nowaday’s lack of music teaching at schools and to me, music in any form is a great ‘instrument’ to survival in these often dreadful times.


  6. Except for the hills, it could be that straight road through the Montana or Washington prairie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Valerie Meluskey says:

    …maybe a metaphor for life…reminds me of the Academy Award winner, “The Green Book.” …then, all the people who sign up to join the military…. And, last night saw the movie, “The Current War” [Thomas Alva Edison vs Westinghouse]…they increased the magic of light in this world….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a clear difference

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, for the good old days of two cans and a string. Unfortunately Gates and Jobs had an imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes more creativity and magic and less technology.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: