Why do people check the time on mobile phones instead of watches?

This entry is part 17 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

It was a week of system issues and exhaustion, but that is done and now it’s Myth Time again, and with a little luck we’ll be on the full on normal schedule again starting this week. Starting off, we’re going back to Banter Latte pal CrazyDave, who asks us:

Why have people stopped wearing watches and started dragging mobiles out of their pocket to check the time?

It’s something lots of people do. I do it myself. But it’s not ubiquitous. Lots of wristwatches are still out there and still being checked. Which makes it interesting, because it’s one of those rare things: a behavior in transition.

Which gives us something to talk about.

Continue reading →

Why are there Suburbs?

This entry is part 16 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

And good morning… to you.

Today’s myth comes to us from “zeruslord” (who, I am given to understand, is Lord of Zerus, and there is no doubt one does not want to be on the bad side of the Lord of Zerus, so you’ll understand if I answer the request, I trust. Mythologists have to err on the side of caution where Locii are involved). And zeruslord asks:

why do humans have cities and suburbs? I’m mostly talking about the outermost suburbs, like how all of New Jersey is a suburb of New York, and people are commuting from Front Royal into DC, and Los Angeles exists at all. Why are people willing to drive for hours to get to their job? why don’t the jobs move out faster?

It is a good question, really. After all, cities were meant to centralize humanity, giving them greater access to work, goods and services. So, why would men, women and families intentionally go farther afield, sacrificing convenience and adding hours to their workday in the form of “the commute?” Why would they restrict their potential mass transit options to what is in their suburb (or to their car), despite the price of gasoline and maintenance and the environmental impact and all the rest? What, in the end, is the deal?

Well, you probably shouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s all thanks to a jurisdictional dispute. So let’s leap right into it, shall we?

Continue reading →

Why is there a disconnect between Art and Industry?

This entry is part 15 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Man, I love autumn. I just do, and you can’t stop me. And hand in hand with loving autumn please enjoy this myth. It comes to us from reader teckstphyle, who asks:

Why is there a disconnect between Art and Industry? Why can art not be “useful?” Why can’t industry “inspire?”

More correctly, why are few cases where they overlap the exception and not the rule?

It’s a good question, and one I’m happy to answer. It also leads us to our first myth callback, because we actually touched on this, at least briefly, back on July 9, when we answered the question Why can we walk past beautiful artwork without noticing it?.

The answer, as you’ll recall, involved a union dispute.

And that brings us to today’s myth.

Continue reading →

The Princess and the Wyverns

This entry is part 13 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Many of you have read this before. It first appeared on Websnark, and while I considered it a part of the Mythology after starting it, it hadn’t explicitly been put here. And as I had no time to write a myth this past week, this is what we have for today. I figured you would all forgive me.

This story was written on IM, actually, and was written jointly by action fiancee Wednesday White and I. In fact, the conversation you’re reading here is almost verbatim what we actually IM’d to one another. Needless to say, this story means a lot to me.

And, like many good myths, it does answer a question:

Why are there thunderstorms? And dust bunnies to boot?

This one means a lot to me. And it was well received — as evidenced by the following children’s book cover a ‘Tayley-Chan’ designed for it. Click for full sized — and it’s totally worth it:

The Viscountess and the Wyverns

One last thing. This story was tweaked very slightly for this version. A good man and a good friend was legitimately hurt by a bit included to be a bit silly the last time, and that’s not what this is for. The curse should be off this one, so when he rereads it (and I hope he does — he reads Banter Latte), I hope he’ll find it less discordant.

For Weds, and her for me, and now we share it once more with you: The Princess and the Wyverns.

Continue reading →

What’s the real deal with gasoline prices?

This entry is part 6 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Today, we have a myth as suggested by a fellow who goes by Channing, who I know by a couple of other names but “Channing” works as well as any.

Channing asks:

What really is the deal with gasoline prices? Half the time there’s some kind of patent price-jacking going on to coincide with major travel weekends, but the other half it’s like they’ve got trained chickens selecting the price and then the media submits some kind of half-hearted unconvincing post hoc reason as to why they are what they are, either up or down. Who’s really at the switch? And what do they want?

Which is a pretty elaborate ‘question,’ but one I’m going to distill down to the following: what is the real deal with gasoline prices?

More as always after the break, but first, a note on the writing. The first couple of myths were fusions of essays (with digressions) and immediate stories (with digressions). These had their fans, but a number of people thought the combination made them too long and too uneven. And in the end, I am an entertainer, and if my spastic movements look more like a seizure than a dance, it’s time to go back to the soft shoe.

Last week’s myth was entirely story (with digressions), and it went over rather well indeed. This week’s is entirely essay (with digressions), and we’ll see how it does.

Please note, there will continue to be some essays and some fusions, as that’s how my brain works and some myths will require it.

Let me know what you think!

Continue reading →

Why is the sky over Los Angeles that particular color of yellowish grey?

This entry is part 5 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

And here we have the next of our little modern myths. This one is less digressive — it also ended up being longer than I had initially thought, but it’s shorter than the last and it’s a lot more story driven. It also has a few asides here and there, but they’re brief. Let me know if it worked a little better. Or if you preferred the old style. Or if, I dunno, you’re lonely.

This is the first of the myths being told “by request” from the What Myths Do You Want To Hear open weekend thread from a couple of weeks ago. Fade Manley asked the question. I humbly submit the answer.

Continue reading →

Why can we walk past beautiful artwork without noticing it?

This entry is part 3 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

This was one of those nice, simple myths that would be fun to write that turned into seventy five hundred words. Still, I had fun doing it, and that’s a cool thing. If nothing else, it proves that yes, I am still a writer, and that’s always good.

Wednesday, when I described the premise to her, said this might be one of the most elaborate and apocalyptic solicitations to donate to public television she’d ever heard. “The world could end tomorrow if you don’t pledge now — and you get this beautiful tote bag….”

Please enjoy.

Continue reading →

Why does Starbucks Coffee… um… maybe you should just read it.

This entry is part 2 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

It’s monday, so it’s time for our second myth of the modern world. I promise you they won’t all be about coffee. I’m not obsessed or anything.

Anyway, with a little luck I won’t be sued over this one….

Continue reading →