Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich departs his Chicago home for Littleton, Colo., to begin his 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges Thursday, March 15, 2012. The 55-year-old Democrat becomes the second Illinois governor in a row to go to prison for corruption. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
To give you an idea of how long Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence will be, and how much the world will have changed by the time he gets out, Ward Room takes you on a journey back to the world of 1998.
- Only salesmen, contractors and physicians had cell phones, which they carried in holsters on their belts.
- Cell phones didn’t take photographs or surf the Internet; they made phone calls. If you wanted a baseball score, you had to watch the ESPN crawl or log on to the Internet. As a result, people didn't walk around staring at small hand-held devices.
- You logged on to the Internet through your phone line and heard the dial-up tone.
- Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest did not exist.
- At 7-Eleven, everyone paid in cash.
- A news story wasn’t considered “out there” until it appeared on paper.
- Barack Obama was a first-term state senator; Rod Blagojevich was a first-term congressman.
- The #1 song was “Getting Jiggy Wit It,” by Will Smith.
- Seinfeld was the #1 show on television. Reality TV did not exist.
- If you saw a suit with narrow lapels, you were probably watching a Dragnet re-run.
- If you saw a skinny tie, you were probably watching a Tommy Tutone video on VH1.
- Kevin Costner got top billing.
- Tracy Morgan didn’t play an actor on a late-night sketch comedy show, he was an actor on a late-night sketch comedy show.
- Your friends returned phone calls by calling you back, not by texting you.
- Smoking in bars was legal.
- Michael Jordan played for the Bulls.
- Caller ID cost $5.95 a month.
- Steve Harvey wore a hairpiece.
- Starbucks was considered a sign of gentrification.
- Gentrification had only reached as far west as Wicker Park. Humboldt Park and Logan Square were the barrio.
- Gentrification, not foreclosure, was the most pressing real estate issue.
- People thought of their condominiums as investments, expecting to double their money in five years.
- The Chicago Reader came in four sections, and young women in Lake View referred to it as "my Bible."
- It was cool to wear a baseball cap backwards, instead of forward, with the sticker showing.
- Portable music players required cassettes or compact discs.
- WXRT played the Dave Matthews Band, the Beatles, John Prine, Patti Smith, the Rolling Stones, R.E.M., the Clash and The Smashing Pumpkins.
- (O.K., some things haven’t changed.)
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