Tonawanda News

Columns

October 11, 2013

ADAMCZYK: Packing a sunset into a mailing tube

Tonawanda News — Years ago, 1970 maybe, I bought an artwork, poster-sized and on paper. It arrived in a tube, in the mail. 

I found the tube the other day, a sturdy and heavy rolled piece of cardboard with reinforced metal plates on the ends. Waterproof, dent-proof. You could use this thing at batting practice. You could fill it with concrete and build a bridge support. You could spend all the money in your wallet on postage alone.

Compare it to the container of some historical maps I recently received: a single piece of light corrugated cardboard, bent into the shape of a narrow prism (triangular, so it won’t roll away), the ends tucked in with cardboard tabs, a one-piece protective system that won’t last forever and wasn’t meant to. A printed notation suggests it’s recyclable. 

(Here comes the rueful comment from the wizened, elderly gentleman on how things have changed, and not for the better, as witnessed in his observations about mailing tubes, their past and their future.)

The old one was a product of a society that knew how to make things, yessir. The newer one is by people who know how to use things. No reason in the world a mailing tube needs to be reinforced the way that older one was (still is, actually). Oh, you could reuse it, over and over, and it would have likely acquired identifying stickers in the manner of those old valises of well-traveled people you see on Turner Classic Movies, but its working life has had nothing to do with shipping art objects around the world more than once.

The methodology these days is to buy an item, use it, then toss it and see it mashed into something else. Thus does nothing overstay its welcome or go-out-of-style date, jobs are available at each step in the circle of manufacturing life and everyone has some access to the best available product. (Be honest, what’s more valuable to you, the perfume for sale on the back cover of a fashion magazine, or the magician’s aid known as the Samsung Galaxy cellphone on the back cover of Time?)

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo