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03/03/2006

How Old are YOU?

   Ten years ago, Monica Lewinsky was an unknown. Hillary Clinton made 100K from a $1000.00 bet. Vince Foster was alive. So was Ron Brown. Muslims were being slaughtered in Serbia. Osama Bin Laden was in Sudan. Gasoline cost almost 2 bucks. There were no HumVees on the highway, Paris Hilton was still a teenager and Google had yet to be invented. Almost half of those online were using AOL. A house in any city cost $150.000.00. Bill Clinton was 'black'.

   Twenty years ago, Ronald Reagan watched a wall fall. Manuel Noriega was being brought to justice in Miami, Oliver North was lying to the Congress, some old bat was asking 'Where's the beef?' The space shuttle blew up, Britney Spears was born and Eddie Murphy was funny. The Dow Jones was at 6500, nobody owned a computer, cell phones hadn't been invented and a house in any city cost less than $70,000.00. Gasoline was a buck and change.

   Thirty years ago, a peanut farmer was President, our embassy staff in Iran had been captive for almost a year, the Shah of Iraq was a sick puppy and Bo Derek was on every teenaged boy's bedroom wall. Inflation was at 12%,  mortages hit 25% and gold cost 800 bucks. The most important question on everyone's mind was 'who shot JR'? Gasoline? Why you had to wait in line.

   Forty years ago, 500 died monthly in Vietnam. BBQ was a meal served on the Whitehouse lawn. You could buy a house in any town for $30,000.00. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones vied for the charts. Muscle cars ruled, barbers were starving and women piled their hair on top of their heads. Mini skirts, Andy Warhol, pizza and PEACE were in vogue. Gas was half a buck and there was still a lot of roads unpaved. People still used party lines. B&W TVs outnumbered color sets. Only the rich could afford 'stereo'. Most were happy with 'hi-fi'. FM radio was an aberation.

   Fifty years ago, the biggest story was how much golf the President played. Cars were as big as boats. Hamburger cost 19 cents on sale. Houses? Less than 10 grand. Disneyland had just opened, McDonald's, KFC and the 'bikini' were just discovered. The 'Frisbee' had not been invented yet. The 'Hula Hoop' was around everyone's waist. Lassie was trying to tell Timmy something, Rt. 66 was the major highway across this country and gas cost 15 cents a gallon. All TVs were B&W, there was no FM radio and the only computer in the world was contained in a building the size of a city block.

   If there is one single thing I have learned in the last half century, it is this.

   While we are going through life, through all that change, one thing remains constant.

   The certainty that things will change. Some changes we have to be dragged kicking and screaming through. Some are so natural, we wonder what took so long.

   But because we are us, a free people, we can always count on 'change' to mean a progression. We have yet to see a retreat from it all. Not us. Others have. The 'old world' can only tag along, lamenting times past. And that includes all the old world.

   Europe? The last few centuries have not been kind. The Middle East? Well, their time goes back even further and they are that much more morose in reflection. The Orient? Hmmm, time doesn't work that way for them. Africa? Hasn't had a chance yet. That will come. South America? That's a wild card. 

   I used to ride motorcycles. I found out quick that the only way to stay alive in traffic, is to stay out in front. Nobody can get ya if they're behind ya.

   That is all. 

(Thanks to Greyhawk for the Open Post.)

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» Change is inevitable from Forward Biased
Steel has posted an incredible essay about the inevitability of change in our lives over at The Steel Deal. It's a web classic if I ever read one, folks.Ten years ago, Monica Lewinsky was an unknown. Hillary Clinton made 100K [Read More]

Comments

The best line in this is "found out quick that the only way to stay alive in traffic, is to stay out in front. Nobody can get ya if they're behind ya." T

This is a clear metaphor for the United States of America's technological, societal, and general dominance. Lets hope that it continues.

By technological dominance, I mean the technology of war.

Will, war is merely the ultimate expression of technology.

Stop and think about it.

Any emerging technology must, MUST, be tested to determine its viabiity.

Gunpowder is a good example.

The Chinese used it as a toy. A play thing.

It wasn't until Marco Polo saw it, that it was used to its full potential.

And again, kites. The Chinese saw them as mere toys.

Kites were used in WWI as observational tools.

Or balloons. Invented in India and only toys.

Until Montgolfier sailed over Paris.

It is said that the Inca never discovered the 'wheel'.

Wrong.

They had the wheel. It was used to pull toys behind small children.

All the time, the loads that were carried up to Machu Pichu were on the backs of slaves or dragged on sledges.

War brings out the best and worst of us Will.

As long as we are free to consider the consequence of 'war', we will tend to employ technology to 'win'.

When we stop seeing 'war' as a real threat - then we will have lost it all.

It is a great comfort to know there are young humans who can see that we must fight, and fight like hell, to keep our freedom.

Everything else be damned.

Without freedom ... we are as the animals.

With freedom ... we are human.


My God, Steel. Did you write that yourself?

That essay, not to mention much of the above comment, has all it takes to be a web classic if enough of the right people see it.

Truly a gem. I didn't know you had it in ya. ;o)

Thank you Obi.

I have my moments.

Just not often enough.

I have to agree with the Jedi. This essay knocks it out of the Park. The memories give us the contact, but it's the hog-riding analogy at the end that provides the velocity...

Keep these coming, Amigo...

Cheers,

>war is merely the ultimate expression of technology<


Benefit to mankind is the ultimate expression of technology.

Anything else is secondary to that end. The irony is that 'progress' is often what causes war.

Nice piece, Steel.

>war is merely the ultimate expression of technology<

Phoenix, that sounds ominous to me and I don't believe the Book of Revelations!

Nice article Steel! I have always thought that my grandmother, 1892 to 1987, saw great change in her lifetime. As I live in mine, I did not realize the fullness of the changes in my own world. Thank-you.

Mouse,

Steel said war was the ultimate expression of technology. I said benefit to mankind is the ultimate expression of technology.

Either way, seems as if most progress comes with a few side-effects we didn't count on. Think of antibiotics and superbugs. Talk about an act of Revelations...

Right again Phoenix, but just as ominous! So we keep on keepin' on as we adopt, adapt and improve. Tis the way of life. As in the Possum Lodge motto: I'm a man, I can change, if I have to, I guess.

I love that, Mouse: The Possum Lodge motto: I'm a man, I can change, if I have to, I guess, or I can freeze and play dead.


They left that last part out. har har..... Those who freeze and play dead get run over, that's for sure.

Especially in Ohio, the road-kill capital state!

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