Friday, August 22, 2008

The Box

The Sson arrived. And. He's wonderfully like his dad, my LH. Much of the afternoon we spent talking about what ... oh, something like shoes & ships & sealing wax. You get the drift. One subject that came up was the book that my SIL plopped in front of me while I was in Alaska. He had purchased it, based Amazon's recommendation specifically to him. It was called, simply, The Box. Less simple, the subtitle: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. The author: Marc Levinson.

These containers that I photographed on my way to the Anchorage airport (above) aren't really the Real Thing; after all, they're small enough for air transport. What Levinson talked about in his book was the super-sized, standardized sea-going container that brought about a mighty logistics revolution, behind my back and the backs of most American consumers. A stealth revolution that birthed WalMart, Costco and big box stores in general. Came close to destroying several unions as well as centuries-old ports around the world. Helped invent the Chinese economic miracle. Not to mention holding inflation at bay. Fascinating reading.

But the Sson, who had been well aware of these changing times, brought to my attention the further fate of the very same box -- as an architectural unit, for example. But then, he watches Home & Garden TV; I don't. And so I consulted The Google and found sites here, here and here among many others. He also talked about Pods, the new way to stash your stuff by bringing in a container which you fill & which the company then takes away to store Elsewhere until you're ready (if ever) to need your junque once again. Also, incidentally, an easier way to move your household by container train & truck from Town A in Maine to Suburb B in SoCal. (Reminding me, BTW, of the GrannyJ family move from Chicago to Arizona way back when. We had at least a small bookstore's worth of books, plus a personal machine shop as well as miscellaneous Science Stuff. The husband settled on hiring a semi trailer to be sent via piggy back. There was, after all, a railroad siding over in Kirkland.) Fascinating afternoon, wouldn't you say?


worldphotos4 said...

The book sounds like an interesting read. Contianers sure had a big impact on the transport industry. And the size of some of those container ships is amazing.

Granny J said...

steve -- a good read, indeed! I recommend it highly.

The Artful RV Adventurer said...

After starting out to be a "Model Society", we have instead become a "Module" society.

carlos said...

Granny J, it was wonderful meeting you this morning (for the photo walk). I'm going to have a good time looking over your archives (which looks pretty extensive!!). Looking forward to a blog entry for today....

Granny J said...

mark -- hence life in the cubicle.

carlos -- it was great to meet you and the many others who went walking Prescott yesterday...and please do visit again!

smilnsigh said...

Hmmm, guess I's say I see more on the 'bad' side of this 'box' issue. Than on the 'good' side.

One of my pet peeves is those "stuff pods," which they try to sell everyone. Eeeek! Unless necessary for special happenings, I'd much rather get rid of "stuff." Than store it. -sigh-

Hehhhh, sounding grumpy, aren't I?

Miss Mari-Nanci

Granny J said...

SnS -- I can understand your point of view. I think it's a condition of getting older, when you realize that all that Stuff you saved over the years is destined for the trash heap once we are gone.

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