The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older…

Recently, on a relative whim, I decided to fly out to Ohio and visit where I attended college. I had noticed about halfway through March that the Bruins were playing in Pittsburgh on a Saturday afternoon (April 1) and I figured that might be fun to attend, so why not take a couple of days off from work and hit Kent for old times sake while I was at it? So the plan came together quickly. A few visits to and and I was all set. The itinerary was pretty basic:

  • Thursday: fly to Cleveland, visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the afternoon, drive to Kent afterwards (35 min drive)
  • Friday, walk around campus in the morning, have lunch, explore downtown in the afternoon
  • Saturday, get up, eat breakfast, drive to Pittsburgh for the 3pm game between the Penguins and Bruins (1 hr, 45 min drive)
  • Sunday, get up, fly home

Simple. I’ll break down the itinerary further here:

A completely uneventful flight had me touching down in Cleveland right around noon. Completely uneventful flights are my favorite kind of flights, by the way. I collected my rental car and proceeded directly to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Sidenote – I had been there once before, and believe it or not, it was actually before it even opened. In another one of those weird stories in my life where I end up somehow being involved in iconic moments, I had lucked out and snagged a freelance video production job with VH-1, who was covering the opening of the Hall of Fame and, specifically, the concert celebration as part of the grand opening. The concert was being held at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, so I was there for a few days at the end of August, 1995, before the grand opening on September 2. The concert was held on September 1st. Prior to the concert, all the VH-1 people got to tour the museum before it opened, myself included. Crazy! There are a lot of other stories and memorable experiences to talk about during that week, so I will save those for another blog post.

Anyway, it had been 28 years since I’d been to the rock hall. My expectations were low. I’m not totally a fan of the whole idea of a rock hall of fame, with new inductees every year. Save that for sports, I suppose. That whole part of it feels like an overly commercial, political money-grab to me. But upon visiting the hall last week, I had forgotten how much cool stuff they actually have in there, and not just from multi-gazillion selling bands and performers. But still, it was super-cool to see a guitar of Joe Strummer’s, an actual suit that Hank Williams wore, John Lennon’s rooftop concert guitar, an Elvis suit, Michael Jackson’s jacket from the Thriller video, Michael Anthony’s Jack Daniels bass, and one of Angus Young’s schoolboy outfits. All good. But I really loved seeing stuff from unheralded legends like a guitar from Robert Lockwood Jr, coats from Fats Domino, Cheap Trick’s Dream Police era tour costumes, a lot of other stuff from “deeper” blues legends, and some really cool handwritten lyrics from legendary songs. So while I’m still dubious about what a portion of the rock hall represents, I was still very glad to have dropped by.

Friday’s plan to get up early, walk the campus, and then check out downtown got off to a late start because of rain. Universities across the country are, of course, different sizes. Some campuses can be walked in less than hour. Kent is not one of them. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of around 22,000, spread out across 953 acres. Without being biased, it’s a beautiful campus. While I was a little bummed that it was a grey day, the rain did stop and I set out to explore the changes made to campus since I attended (1990-1994).

I won’t bore my reader(s) to tears with the details of this building or that building because most of you have no familiarity with the campus itself. But what I found most interesting about walking the campus was the unexpected emotions that it dredged up. Walking around the Radio/TV building, where I spent the most time in 93/94, was harder than I thought. Just peeking into the old college radio station, the old TV production studio, and some of my old classrooms just got me nostalgic and sad for a simpler time. Walking by my now torn-down freshman dorm was harder than I thought, as some incredible, specific and clear memories happened there. Just being around the Ice Arena again, where I did play-by-play for the Div 1 hockey team, walking around my first off-campus apartment building, exploring the student center…all harder than I thought.

What was so hard about this? I didn’t go there to be sad. It took me a while to figure it all out, but it comes back to a common theme for me. Sometimes when I’m trapped in my own head, I get sad about time passing. College, in particular, was a real novelty. It was my first exposure to freedom and liberation from living under my parent’s roof. It was all these new friends, being able to budget my own time, and make my own decisions. It was all intoxicating, and it’s all out of reach now. The whole era was like a beautiful comet on a clear night – there and gone. In walking around the campus, I found myself wanting more “there” and less “gone.” But it’s not coming back. And I know that. On top of that, the campus has undergone some pretty phenomenal changes which, for a fleeting second, had me a little bitter. Like why couldn’t I have had this when I was here? This emotion was all exacerbated by two things – I was alone and it was during spring break, so nobody was on campus. I resorted to sharing my feelings via text with my friends Dave and Leo. They helped me zoom out a little on it all.

All this to say it wasn’t all sadness and mild jealousy! And revisionist history was also very much in play, as I referred to in those texts. Yes, looking back on college 30 years out, one tends to remember the big fun stuff. Which is absolutely the way it should be. But there were plenty of times when finances were a real struggle. I had to have a job all four years I was there. Not every class was awesome. Not every moment was big fun. Remembering that end of it brought me back down to Earth. And I had to remember that I was walking the campus and the downtown as a far different person in terms of maturity and what I could afford. I realized I was placing my 2023 self into my 1992 self. My 1992 self could not enjoy Kent, Ohio in the same way as my 2023 self.

Anyway, these all were just emotions that I wasn’t expecting to pop-up and be in the mix. As I walked around, there were also plenty of things that brought big smiles and lovely memories to mind. The campus remains beautiful. The memories are intact, and they are great. Exploring downtown Kent was similar, but by the time I got there, my text exchange above had helped me to embrace the now and to appreciate the past for what it was – an immensely positive and pivotal time, but not all rainbows and unicorns.

The day got sunnier as it went on, both literally and metaphorically. By later afternoon, the sun was casting its brightest light of the day and I was marveling at the downtown and all the major improvements that have been done. Kent’s downtown is very similar to a town like Northampton, MA, for those of you that are familiar with Northampton. It is not infected by national chains for the most part, and it has retained its funk from when I was there, mixed in with some new life. It remains very much the liberal college town it has always been. The momentum increased for me when I met up with Jen, an old classmate (and her husband) at Ray’s for a beer. We were both in the same area of study, so we had some warm conversations about life today and life back then. I got a real kick out of Jen commenting on all the CD’s and long hair I had back then. True true! I was so happy to have caught up with her after so long.

And that was that. I’ve made a vow to get back there more often, and I will. I think I need to weave that area into my life more, as it was foundational for me and it’s just a picturesque, neat little corner of the Earth.

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I woke up in Kent on Saturday morning feeling very good about the prior day, after my initial, albeit minor spiral. My cup was full. My next step was overflow that cup with a drive to Pittsburgh, about an hour and 45 minutes east, for a Bruins-Penguins game with my old roommate and friend John Horton. Another person I hadn’t seen in forever. We first met in the autumn of 1990 in the now-demolished Terrace Hall during my first year at Kent, and we became roommates in my second year in an off-campus hole apartment with two other friends. We had so many hilarious moments and fun times during those two years and I was really looking forward to seeing John and having the Bruins beat the Penguins (which they did). John was the editor of the Daily Kent Stater – we had a daily college newspaper, yes – and I was the Technical Director of the TV2 news – we had a nightly newscast, yes – so we also frequented a lot of the same school buildings, though now that I think about it, I don’t think we ever had a single class together. Memory might be failing me though.

Memory failed me in a few other ways, too, as John reminded me of a few things I did (and said) back then that really made me laugh and really made me realize that I am now a very different person, but in some ways exactly the same person. But spending the day with him brought me right back to all of our old hangouts and laughs. He had never been to an NHL game before, so I was really happy to be the wingman for that. Unfortunately for him, we had 3rd row seats behind the net, so he’s spoiled for life. If he goes to any more NHL games, those seats will be the standard to compare against, and it’ll be hard to beat! After the game, we drove around a bit and I got to see some real beautiful views of Pittsburgh, a city I’ve always liked quite a bit, and we ended up at a brewery for a cold craft beverage and more talk of glory days – past and current. They’re all glory days.

Anyway, we both share very similar interests – ridiculous sports stories, weird or funny news events and pretty much anything else that can make us laugh out loud. I really enjoyed getting to spend some time with him, meet one of his kids and just chat about life with him and his wife Debbie for a bit. They graciously let me stay in their nice new house just outside of Pittsburgh. It was too short a stay and we both agree that we need to find ways to hang more often.

No more waiting for someone or something to show me the way.

Bullet the Blue Sky

Bullet the Blue Sky

A couple of marbles rolling around in my head lately that I need to staple into the motherboard for safe keeping:

This past weekend I did something that I probably haven’t done since college or maybe even before that. I wrote a handwritten letter. Remember the thrill of getting physical mail? I don’t mean crap, I mean cards from distant family members or letters from people or whatnot. Thrilling! I still get a touch of excitement when my two magazines show up on my doorstep. I love that a thrill from childhood remains with me like that.

Anyway, I wrote a letter to David McCullough. This was part of an exercise I did with my kids where we all decided to write a letter to someone who has influenced us in a positive way. I’ve read several of his books over the years, so I dropped him a line to tell him so. It ended up taking up almost an entire page and by the end of the letter, another memory from childhood came rushing back to me – that feeling I used to get in school when my hand hurt from writing too much.

Zachary decided he would write a letter to J.K. Rowling, and boy did he ever. He filled up a piece of paper, front AND back, telling her how much he loved the Harry Potter stories,Jk rowling how he wanted to be a writer and asking her all kinds of questions. Nathan wrote his letter to Wayne Gretzky. The admiration for Gretz is a recent one, as Nathan has been watching a lot of countdown shows on NHL Network and #99 was featured on one. His letter was wayne gretzkyshorter (part and parcel) but no less inquisitive and adorable. I hope they answer us. Law of averages says we’ll be lucky to receive even one response, but you never know.

Last week my employer sent myself and a co-worker off to Worcester for two full days to immerse ourselves in advanced techniques in Microsoft Excel. Now, I know my way around Excel pretty well and I thought I was in a for a real snoozefest during the first 2-3 hours of the class, but then shit started to get real. I learned way more than I expected and was really happy with what I got out of it. With a full time job, kids at home and a marriage to maintain, time for learning isn’t plentiful, so this was welcomed. I was really glad to add some advanced capabilities into my Excel arsenal. Always trying to build.

armsby abbeySome other highlights of the class happened outside the class. One was a terrific lunch at Armsby Abbey. This is a place I would totally hang out all the time if it were closer. Excellent local & organic menu and a very, very impressive beer list, backdropped by a cool wood/brick decor. My kind of place for sure. We struck up a fun conversation with the two barkeeps, too. Just a great vibe. Go there if you’re local.

I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention my co-worker Jeff Bercume, whom I attended the image001class with. Jeff and I see a lot of each other at work and I consider myself lucky, because I know a few people who don’t get to work closely with people they enjoy on both a personal and professional level. He’s a future leader, smart, well-spoken, a good person and we laugh a lot, not to mention play a fair amount of ping-pong. That’s a good dude to take a two day Excel class with. The ice cream Big Boppers were an added bonus….and added calories. I can’t remember if he’s holding both of them in the picture here.

One last thing. You may have noticed lately a few references to childhood and memories. My last post went into it a little more seriously, but today I’m keeping it light. I really, really want to work on bringing the word “der” back into heavy rotation. This was an ’80s staple and it’s so damn funny.

Night night.

Midlife Crisis

Midlife Crisis

Midlife crisis. This is one of those things that I never thought would happen to me and I’m actually not convinced it is happening, but hear me out.

When I think of a mid-life crisis, I think more of the version you see in movies or in the general media, where the balding and maybe slightly overweight guy goes and buys a Corvette or some other dumb, expensive toy, then gets divorced and starts acting like a 16 year old. That’s not me. At all. OK sometimes I act like a 12 year old, but I’ve been doing that since……12.

Wikipedia defines mid-life crisis pretty simply:

A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in early middle aged individuals.

Now this is a little closer, but even then……I don’t know. I think the transition of identity piece is spot on. Self-confidence? Not really. While I’m not pompous or over-confident, I know my strengths and weaknesses and have come to grips with them. So let’s focus on the transition of identity piece. I know my blog lately has been a lot of marketing and internet talk, but today I’m talking about me.

I think this may have begun when I accepted my current job. Headquarters for the company I work for is in Devens, MA and we also have another location in Sterling, MA. This is just 5 mins from places like Leominster and 10 or so minutes from Lancaster, the town where I grew up.

As a result, I’ve been eating lunches on High St. in Clinton and up at Meadowbrook Orchard in Lancaster/Sterling, which was almost literally my backyard. After spending so much time in Boston after college and then moving out to Maynard in 2003, I hadn’t really been to those parts anymore. My parents and sister moved out of the area in 2005-ish, so it had been 10+ years since I waltzed through.

food world blog

But now I drive through these places somewhat regularly and I remember so many things from childhood.

  • All up and down South Meadow Rd., where I grew up. So much running around in the woods there.
  • Excitedly ripping the plastic off new vinyl albums on my bedroom floor and hearing new music.
  • Beach Point Rd. Baseball in the circle w/ whiffle balls and tennis balls.
  • Intellivison at Stewarts. Crawling through a drain pipe all the way to a Sewer grate near Cassen’s.
  • Accidentally lighting the South Meadow woods on fire with my friend Keith.
  • My grandparents house in Clinton. Treasured memories there.
  • The X-Tra Mart, where I used to ride my bike so many times and steal milk crates to store my hockey cards. On the way, I used to pump my legs so hard they hurt on that bike, because I’d have to ride right by the “projects” on Fitch Rd.
  • My paper route. Such a clear memory of that maroon ten-speed with the fading tape on the handlebars, that one house that had parrots….and a few others that had mean dogs.
  • The Memorial School. The Middle School (felt sadness seeing the Memorial School today).
  • Bruce Kuehn’s house on 117, where I slept over a bunch and had a lot of laughs with him and his dad.
  • Sterling Ice Cream Bar.
  • Working at Shaws/Food World.
  • Walking through the orchards out back all the way up to Meadowbrook.
  • Walking and biking around the Wachusett Reservoir all the way to the Clinton Dam. By myself.

I know, I know. This is totally boring if you’re not from the area, so I will stop there. But you have these memories of your places, too. And don’t get me wrong, not all the memories are great. That’s life.

The key point is that some memories are so clear and….right there in the old style filmstrip clicking in my brain. The fabric that wove together the elements of that part of my life. Right there as I drive by now.

jeff - maybe 5th grade
So while I find myself smiling at some of the memories, it also kind of hurts. It hurts that those days of almost no responsibility are gone. The freedom and liberation of just running around with the breeze on either side of me.

That I can’t just rotary dial five numbers and call Bruce, Don, Neil, Jim, Gregg (or whomever) and just do something on a whim.

Oh, I know I can call friends today and do stuff. But it’s not even close to the same. Those of you my age know it. That feeling. That unstoppable, liberating feeling of no responsibility. I don’t want it again, because the stakes are higher now……and the rewards better. But it hangs there. That feeling.

The pot of memories are being stirred and it’s moving me somehow. Let me be clear – I don’t feel like I need to buy anything ridiculous or start partying like a teenager or whatever. But yeah, “transition of identity?” I think that’s happening, especially as I watch my kids growing, creating their own memories and I realize that I’m now the one who is forty-whatever and greying. The grown-up. The transition. All these memories have stamped it into place.

Is that a midlife crisis? Or just normal emotions of a guy who is experiencing his hometown a full generation later? I don’t know. But it’s meaningful. Interesting. Fun. And yeah, a little sad. Like life.

I love that this also gives me a chance to embed one of my favorite Faith No More songs, too. So let’s do that. For old times sake.

I Have Never Blacked Out

I Have Never Blacked Out

We’re blessed with excellent neighbors. This is not something to be taken for granted, nor overlooked. It’s also something you don’t realize until you’re older.

This past weekend we blocked off the street and all the immediate neighbors – and others – converged for a good little shindig. All the kids got to run around and take their bikes up and down the street. Good, down home American stuff. An opportunity to drink a few beers and chill out.

i have never blacked out

I ended up talking with one neighbor about drinking in college. Drinking happened for me. A lot. And I have a lot of great memories, some involve beer, some do not.

Anyway, we were talking about how some people could drink, have a blast, but stay in control and then there were others who always seemed to lose control – puke, black out, etc. I’ve always wondered if there’s a gene deep down in our wiring that controls this. Why do some people lose control and some don’t?

I’ve never taken alcohol lightly and this post isn’t about alcoholism or anything. It’s just about……control.

Me, I had a lot of drunken escapades and some of my college and maybe high school friends may very well fill in some blanks here (can’t wait to hear it), but I’ve never gotten to the point where I blacked out or can’t remember an entire evening or something. I’m not bragging, either. It just…

never blacked out

That’s me, far right.

Oh, there have been plenty of times where I woke up near sunrise on the floor of my college apartment living room, winter coat still on and a pair of headphones on my head. And there are three occasions from drinking when I did actually throw up.

Three is not a lot, though. Interestingly, the three times were NOT even at college. I simply never let myself get out of control. And I don’t know why. I probably had every reason to.

I ruminated to my neighbor that it could have been because I was allowed at a fairly young age to grab an occasional sip of beer from my dad’s bottle, even in my young teens. While my parents didn’t open the floodgates at home or anything, it just wasn’t a huge sticking point or something they were super harsh, overly threatening or militant about.

I remarked to my neighbor that maybe it was the kids who grew up in the super-militant, obnoxiously strict homes who couldn’t handle the sudden freedom and liberation and easy availability of drinking. They just let it loose. Just a guess, though. No data whatsoever to support any of it and no judgement.

Here it is, though. There was (and is) always some trigger inside me that knew when to stop and “enjoy the buzz,” as my neighbor so succinctly put it. My only guess is that for me, it’s fear. I have a lot of fear when it comes to some things.

Fear. It’s the only thing I can think of. I can’t think of a worse potential outcome, in fact, than being out of control with anything in my life. Always been that way.

What do you think? What’s the difference maker between the ones who could just enjoy the ride and the ones who always took it to the next level?

For the record, this is NOT in any way a criticism or judgement of the people who drank too much and blacked out or whatever. At all. And it’s not a discussion on alcoholism – that is a whole different side of alcohol.

It’s simply an observation and a question about why certain people rode it out and some always went the extra mile! I wonder.

Black Day, Stormy Night

Black Day, Stormy Night

The timing was impeccable. Purple Rain, the movie. Summer of 1984.

I was 13 and freshly liberated from the 7th grade. Looking back now and having just turned 45, it was such an interesting age. The complexities of life were far, far away, waiting for me in what felt like another galaxy, but in some ways I didn’t realize, or perhaps wasn’t fully comprehending, some complexities of life happening right there in the house I slept in every night.

Regardless, I can’t profess to remembering exactly what my day-to-day thoughts were, but by the time Purple Rain hit theaters, the Prince train was locked on the tracks and reaching maximum speed, right smack at the same time I was blissfully ignorant, riding my bike all over the place, trying to remove myself from things at home, discovering girls, trying beer, attempting to act older……and probably desperate to be perceived as way cooler than I was (haha, that part probably still hasn’t changed).

I have my doubts that anyone at the age of 13 has their shit together. All I cared about was fitting in, being liked. Being cool.

Music was always my constant. Plenty of vinyl records around the house in the ’70s. I had gotten my fill of Meat Loaf, Queen, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, AC/DC and others. Most of my music discovery was from the albums my parents had, then MTV and Casey Kasum’s American Top 40. Every week.  I’d listen to the countdown and write down the Top 10 and pin it on my corkboard above the desk in my room. God, I wish I had some pictures of this.

I was 11 the first time I heard Prince. It was “Little Red Corvette” and you know what? I remember not being blown away. I leaned toward the harder rock, but I do remember also not hating that song.

“1999,” though, was another story. Here was a song that was pretty much impossible not to like, with it’s dreamy synth, three singers, lyrics about judgement day, bombs, parties and much more. To this day, I love songs with multiple singers and this one had three. “1999” is a timeless classic that I put on and blast several times a year in the car.

But the song that still gets me to this day is “Delirious.” That funky, catchy synth line and the groove. Infectious. The baby at the end is a deft touch.

princePurple Rain, though. Goodness. I wonder how well Purple Rain would have done without the movie? MTV was arguably at their peak in 1984. They still played music and nothing else. I can leave it to better writers to explain the impact that MTV had. For me, it was capital H huge.

Image was everything and here we have Prince who, instead of just doing a single music video for 2 or 3 songs, essentially makes a 90 minute music video for the whole damn album! And he’s all frilly, almost feminine in voice at times, short, quiet, weird and….purple.

Yet, there was no question about the hetero thing with Prince. Dude clearly liked girls. Unlike Michael Jackson, whose voice was just a shade higher. That automatically put Jackson in the bucket of “hmmmm…..” amongst my friends and many others. Remember, we’re going into 8th grade, ok? That one octave of voice made it totally NOT cool among the boys to like Michael. Did I like it at home? Yep.

But Prince. Prince was all man.  Groove, guitars and sex. Even if he didn’t look like it.
princeMichael Jackson needed to bring in Eddie Van Halen for rock songs. Prince PLAYED guitar. SLAYED guitar! Jackson did the Thriller video with a clean cut, cute girl. Prince made Apollonia strip down and purify herself in Lake Minnetonka. And only after that happened did he tell her that the lake she happened to be standing in wasn’t actually Lake Minnetonka. Bad ass!

Michael Jackson was Lancaster MA. Prince was Worcester. You locals reading this totally get that, right?

purplerain_3As a 7th grader, I connected with it all – the music, the movie, the girls, the images and the hetero-ness of it all. Puberty! In full force. Guitars, strife at home, great songs, Morris Day as the bad guy, Prince at his apartment with all those weird figurines, candles and instruments everywhere. And being able to HOOK UP there! I specifically remember thinking that THAT was how I wanted my apartment to look when I was older. Hah! So young, so impressionable.

The years, as we know now, absolutely fly by. Prince became hit-or-miss. “Raspberry Beret” was sweet. “Kiss” was an anthem. “U Got the Look” was unbeatable. But one of my favorite songs was a song that never really hit airwaves. Listen to “The Cross” from Sign O’ The Times. This was Prince as he transitioned to an overly religious phase.  The Indian-tinged song was an emotional, beautiful song. It remains one of my favorites today. The NPG stuff was rock and roll. “Cream,” “Seven” and “Sexy Motherfucker” were all keepers. But this, you need to watch this. What else can be said? Nothing.

And so, much like a lot of the other stratosphere superstars, he got weird. The symbol thing. The Artist Formerly Known As. “Slave” on his face. The almost total opposition to streaming and the internet, and policing YouTube. Prince was not an internet guy, sadly. I hope that changes, because I need to build a long Spotify playlist. But I have plenty of his music digitally ripped from my own CD collection. So I’m good.

The one thing that remained consistent, even through the uneven weird years – there was always a good song coming out. Even 2013’s “Screwdriver” was a freaking jam! Go listen to it and tell me he wasn’t relevant musically.

4692157My last point. I ruminate sometimes about the bands I loved who I never got to see. Bands like REM. I didn’t miss the boat with Prince. I saw him at TD Garden in 2004, center stage, in the round. I’m not saying this because he’s dead now, I promise – it was easily one of the Top 3 shows I’ve ever seen. Just unreal. The complete showman. 33 songs. Covers. New songs. Classics. The works. The set list is right here.

His death was a little surprising. That it appears to be drug-related might end up being good, in an odd way. Do we need something like this to really drive home the point about how bad this opoid thing is getting? Maybe we do.

It’s kind of touching to see how emotional so many people were – and remain – about this. Even the blowback on Bowie’s death wasn’t this epic, this large. I believe it speaks to the respect that so many had for his all-around talent.

I still have his music, like I’ve always had. I will still play it a lot. I didn’t know him, so it’s hard to miss him, you know what I mean? It just feels like another small piece of the cement that’s been my life so far has been chipped away. Another reminder that time passes. But boy, do we have a wealth of goodies to hold onto.

The Sport of Politics

The Sport of Politics

I’m going to write about politics today, but I’m not going to be political. There’s more than enough out there to read about the all candidates – or whatever you want to call them. Today I’m just talking about the sport of politics.

I think ever since the ’80s I’ve heard politics occasionally referred to as a blood sport. Hell, it’s probably been described as such since the EIGHTEEN-80s. This election cycle, though, makes me laugh a little. Not because of the folly that surrounds people like Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, but because the major media websites are now literally making it look like sports.

I mean, look at CNN’s Election 2016 home page.I’m not trying to sound like an old curmudgeon, but that is ridiculous. Sports-like headshots with the eliminated “teams” greyed out? ESPN is probably jealous.

Did you notice that they now do the National Anthem before debates? And that the candidates are introduced over the PA? I don’t recall this ever happening until this election. It’s sports! Come on. It’s kind of hilarious.

One of my earliest memories is when I was five (almost six) and Jimmy Carter had just been elected president.  We had just moved to Lancaster, MA and maybe had been there for a year or so. It was March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, and Carter made one of his first public speeches since being elected – and it was about a mile from my house, over in Clinton, MA.

Unbelievably, there is no footage at all of this on YouTube.

I don’t remember a word of what was said, though it all appears to be here. I do remember being on someone’s shoulders. Likely my dad. I could have this wrong, too, but I think we were with my aunt and her family, though I may need to confirm that, because other times I think we were with our Lancaster friends the Lloyds.

Since then, each election cycle seems to have gotten more and more ridiculous, with each race an almost shameless sprint toward who can create the most buzz in the media. But I’m not going to bitch about that here today. I’m here to ask a simple question – where does it end?

I’m posting this almost 39 years to the day of Jimmy Carter’s speech in Clinton. Doesn’t matter whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or a member of whatever party Vermin Supreme is in, but there’s no denying that elections were not as much of a spectacle back then as they are now.

Which leads me to this question: 39 years from now in 2055 (gulp), I want to seriously know what you think elections will look like. What will all of our kids be witnessing? Do you think it’ll be the same slow, weird burn we’ve seen in the last 20, 30, 40 years? Or do you think it’ll be a drastically different landscape by then?

I’d love to hear some predictions!