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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