Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THE INSIDER WEBSITE offered an interesting example of time warp: “Cleopatra lived closer in time to the building of the first Pizza Hut than to the building of the pyramids.” 

Image from Insider, October 23, 2019.

Insider noted that “Construction on the pyramids of Giza took place roughly from 2550 BC to 2490 BC, while Cleopatra, the last active Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, was born in 69 BC and died in 30 BC. The first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita, Kansas, on June 15, 1958.”

Thus, Insider concluded, “That means that the chain’s opening is about 500 years closer to Cleopatra’s lifetime than the construction of the Giza pyramids.”

A Great Pyramid Tidbit: According to, “At 481 feet tall, the Great Pyramid eclipsed every structure ever built until the completion of the Lincoln Cathedral in 1311 CE. The Cathedral topped out around 525 feet before the collapse of its central spire in 1548. Today, the Great Pyramid stands only about 455 feet tall, as four millennia of erosion has sliced 25 feet of stone from the structure.”

Image from Mental Floss.

Cleo’s Bad Rap. The Shakespeare & Beyond website, October 20, 2017, described how Roman historians made Cleopatra “a foreign woman without morals who possessed a sexual allure so powerful as to corrupt even a Roman soldier as honorable as Antony.”

Florence Stone portraying Cleopatra, c. 1908. Image from Shakespeare & Beyond.

The website continues, “The glamour of this story was, and still is, worthy of a Hollywood movie and a Shakespeare play. However, we must ask ourselves if we can find the historic Cleopatra in all this salacious drama…. The Roman distaste of powerful women, their misunderstanding of the Egyptian way of life, and Octavian’s political need to consolidate his rise to dictator created our image of Cleopatra today.”

The 1963 movie Cleopatra rectified this to some extent. At least I recall Octavius as being a real jerk. On the other hand, I thought Elizabeth Taylor looked plenty sexy. 

A Motorsports Time Warp. Awhile back at R&T, I came upon another time warp in discussing American race driver/R&T contributor Phil Hill: His Formula I World Championship came in 1961. Thus, in a sense opposite to Cleopatra’s, Phil’s championship was closer to Barney Oldfield’s contesting the 1914 Championship of the Universe (47 years) than today (55 years).

Other Time Warps.  William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, c. 1600, is a lot closer to Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, c. 1400, than to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, 2015. This is despite Elizabethan English being intelligible to us, whereas Chaucer’ Middle English is quite a different language. 

And speaking of Founding Fathers, I sense another time warp of sorts in the fact that our Declaration of Independence is as far in time from today as it is from England’s King Henry VIII. The difference is slight: Henry severed ties with Rome in 1529, 247 years before 1776; 2022-1776= 246 years.

Above, our Declaration of Independence, 1776. Below, England’s King Henry VIII, c. 1536. 

A Technical Time Warp. The first moon landing was 53 years ago. This was only 66 years after Orville traveled 120 ft. in 12 seconds with The Wright Flyer. Somehow, it seems that a lot more occurred in that 66 years than since then. 

Oops. But what about computers in the past 50 years?

It seems that timelines need not depict linear progress. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022 

6 comments on “TIME WARPS

  1. Bob Storck
    January 6, 2022

    As usual, great food for thought, Dennis.
    I will enlarge and throw some contrary observations into your Wright/Armstrong/today warp analysis.
    Sure, the early years are full of rapid developments, and far more spectacular dead ends than successes. But just as the initial aerospace period built on the oft demonized industrial revolution advances, the second period has not only that early half century foundation of lessons, but the steps beyond our atmosphere and the advent of computing power. We just have to open our eyes to the advances since ’69 that are so blithely overlooked by our also exploding media and staid historians.

    The Boeing 707, Cessna 172 and F-4 Phantom then defined aviation and low orbit communications and weather satellites defined space. All aviation has since had a total revolution with composites, glass cockpits, ultralights and over 50% better fuel efficiency. We have since visited EVERY planet, and even landed on asteroids and comets. Voyager is far outside our solar system, still communicating; Hubble has opened the door to beyond the universe; Webb is set to look beyond the limits of time.
    I’ve been raptly following with difficulty the successful launch and amazingly complex automated deployment/assembly of the Webb, while the media has us focused on Kanye West’s dating, Antonio Brown’s public mental breakdown, and 5 year old mean tweets.

    • simanaitissays
      January 6, 2022

      Thanks, Bob, for broadening my aero appreciation of the past 50 years. I note as well that computers are at the core of many of these changes.

      • Bob Storck
        January 6, 2022

        Computers are making possible the forward thinking of Wrights and Ley; MacCready and Verne; Doolittle and Clarke; Johnson and Tsiolkovsky. So many of today’s amazing scientists and engineers grew up with the challenge of actualizing those dreams.

  2. sabresoftware
    January 7, 2022

    Cleopatra was actually Greek, not Egyptian.

    • simanaitissays
      January 9, 2022

      Agreed, as noted in my Cleo item. By the way, Elizabeth Taylor had dual British-American citizenship. She was born in England of American parents.

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