It's all a bit confusing, which brings us back to Doc Brown's anachronistic advice in the DirecTV ad. The commercial's real take-home message is that, 22 years later, Christopher Lloyd looks great. Which just goes to show that, for now, a time traveler is only as good as his make-up artist.
The real Wishful Thinker behind this column was theoretical physicist Ronald L. Mallett of the University of Connecticut, who predicts we'll have a time machine by the end of the century. His book Time Traveler came out last fall.