Tuesday, June 5, 2007

In the Past Twenty Years...

An Abridged Version
By Andrew Schnorr

-The following men have been President of the United States of America:
Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush

-George H.W. Bush presided over a successful offensive against Iraq during the first Gulf War, driving Iraqi soldiers out of the neighboring nation of Kuwait.

-Bill Clinton was the second president in US History to be impeached for a scandal involving secretary Monica Lewinsky. He was acquitted, and many commented that it was just a partisan scam.

-During the Clinton Administration, the United States Experienced it's first Budget Surplus since 1969. Since the arrival of the second Bush Administration, the deficit has increased substantially.

-Additionally, the United States National Debt has increased from $2 trillion (which it took 196 year to accumulate) to $9 trillion (that's an additional $7 trillion in 20 years).

-The Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union fell, and Communism as a primary opponent of the US fell, putting an end to the Cold War which had lasted for 44 years.

-"Terrorism" has become the new "Communism."

-The World Trade Center in New York City was hit by two airplanes on September 11th, 2001. Additionally, a plane hit the US Pentagon, and another crashed in a field. This was the single most devastating terrorist attack on United States soil, and prompted George W. Bush to engage in the ongoing "War on Terrorism".

-Two wars have sprung from the War on Terror; one against Afghanistan and one against Iraq, both of which were suspecting of aiding terrorist group Al-Queda and their leader, Osama bin Laden. In both cases, the previous, totalitarian regimes (the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein in Iraq) were disposed and killed or executed for war crimes. American-appointed governments were set up in both nations. Violent military conflicts continue in both areas.

-Osama bin Laden is still considered at large.

-The Space Shuttle Columbia exploded upon reentry into the atmosphere, due to a small piece of foam damaging one of the wings. This was most devastating space disaster since the Challenger disaster, and causes people to value the worth of the Space Program.

-On December 26, 2004, a lethal tsunami hit the Indian Ocean, killing over 300,000 people, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

-The intensity of hurricanes in the Altlantic Ocean has increased, resulting in costlier and deadlier hurricanes, beginning (most prominently) with Hurricane Andrew. The deadliest and costliest of these hurricanes was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused $81 billion in damages and killed over 1,800 people.

-The use of Chlorofluorocarbons, which had shown to create holes in the ozone layer, was internationally banned and phased out. The depredation of the ozone layer has since decreased substantially. This is considered one of the greatest achievements in universal cooperation.

-Global warming has come to the forefront of environmental attention, particularly due to the work of former US Vice President Al Gore. Hotly debated in the past, most credible scientists now accept the existence of global warming, which threatens to melt the polar ice caps and flood a portion of the world (in addition to have severe effects on the weather). What has not been established, though, is how the problem should be dealt with.

-China has become a international superpower, and has become almost fully capitalist (while still claiming to be a communist nation).

-Pope John Paul II, in power for 26 years, dies after years of suffering Parkinson's Disease. His successor, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is chosen, and takes the name "Pope Benedict XVI".

-The world population hit 5 billion on July 11, 1987. It has since increased to 6.6 billion.

-The Internet has completely changed the face of the earth (not literally). What began as a place for MIT students to discuss whether Captain Kirk or Captain Picard is better (which is foolish, because nobody can match Picard) grew in the early 90s at a rate of over 100% a year. Currently, over a sixth of the worldwide population uses the Internet. There are more web pages in existence than the number of people who have ever lived. It has completely changed the structure of shopping, dating, communicating, school, crime, and leisure. For better or for worse, we may only know in time.

-Computers have become a common sight in every household. Of course, when they began, their specs (and price) were as follows:
They've since become much more powerful, and much cheaper.

-Computer graphics have changed the ways that movies are made. Stunt doubles are being replaced by Computer Graphic Images (CGI). Traditional cartooning has also been replaced with CGI cartoons, popularized by Pixar studios. My childhood dies a little.

-Disney Released the following (traditional), cartoons, ushering in what was known as the "Second Disney Golden Age":
The Little Mermaid
The Rescuers Down Under
Beauty and the Beast
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Lion King
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

-Animation in general has a renaissance in the early 90s, with such television hits as:
Darkwing Duck
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
Tiny Toons Adventures
Pinky & the Brain
Batman: The Animated Series
X-Men: The Animated Series

-Once computers started getting used to a greater extent, cartoons started sucking.

-An American Tale: Fivel Goes West is released. It seems to be the only one people remember.

-Trilogies become really, really popular:
The Lord of the Rings
The Matrix
Pirates of the Caribbean
Meet the Parents
The Mighty Ducks
Mission: Impossible
Ocean's Eleven
And a bunch of others...

-The television show The Simpsons, having gained notoriety on The Tracy Ulman Show since 1987, was released for broadcast television in 1989. It has continued since, becoming the longest-running American sitcom in TV history.

-There have been two major recessions, once in the early 90s and again in the early 2000s. This second recession is known as the "Dot-Com" burst, as it was primarily due to the rapid purchase and subsequent devaluation of stock in Internet companies.

-Bill Nye the Science Guy makes kids love science.

-Magic: The Gathering, the original trading card game, is released in 1993, and is currently still the most widely-played TCG, with over 6 million active players worldwide and over 9000 unique cards. The most valuable card, Black Lotus, is currently worth$1,340.

-We endured through the following fads:
Slap Bracelets
The Noid
(Which I still consider the greatest fad we've ever had)
Power Rangers
Magic Eye Puzzles
Where's Waldo?
Tickle Me Elmo
Mentos, the Freshmaker
Creepy Crawlers/Easy Bake Oven
Steve Urkel
The Hamster Dance
Y2K Whining
Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon Cards
And last but not least...the Macarena.

-The following movies won the Oscar for "Best Picture of the Year" (one of which happens to be my favorite movie ever):
The Last Emperor
Rain Man
Driving Miss Daisy
Dances With Wolves
The Silence of the Lambs
Schindler's List
Forrest Gump
The English Patient
Shakespeare in Love
American Beauty
A Beautiful Mind
The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King
Million Dollar Baby
The Departed

-Following the immense success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, video games had a surge in popularity, and have become one of the fastest growing (and most lucrative) entertainment mediums. The following gaming systems (both consoles and handheld) have been released. Some have been...more popular than others:
Mega Drive/Genesis
Neo Geo
Philips CD-i
Amiga CD32
Nintendo 64
PlayStation 2
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Game & Watch
Game Boy (Pocket | Light)
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Advance (SP | Micro)
Nintendo DS (Lite)
WonderSwan Color
XGP Mini
XGP Kids
Neo Geo Pocket
Neo Geo Pocket Color
Game Gear
Mega Jet
PlayStation Portable
Atari Lynx
Watara Supervision
Mega Duck
Pepper Pad
iRiver G10
OQO Model 2

-Countless people have died.

-Countless more have been born.

...All that, and I still haven't been able to get a girlfriend.

Well, here's to twenty years; through the good, through the bad, and through everything in between. And here's to the next twenty...let's see where we go. ^_^


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Andrew! Hahaha I'm first to wish you one on this page!

You know, whenever I feel down about being old, I know I can always count on you to make me feel not quite so old. Thanks.

Have a Happy and Blessed Birthday.

P.S. If you want I can make you a special Mii for the occasion...

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Andrew-kun!!! Taurus, huh? That explains it...haha..

You're both old, by the way.

And you left out the emo-movement. Stop the Emos!! They need to be stopped...*tear*

alright, i'm done. Happy Birthday!!

Anonymous said...

Well, comrade, congrats once more on your birthday. Good reflective post, maybe on my birthday, I'll do something on music or whatnot. In any case, I would just like to state my unhappiness that we had to live through Reagan and both Bushes, in addition to most of the fads you listed.

-Comrade Chavez

Anonymous said...

The most impactful day in the last 20 years was June 5th, 1987,
at 7: roughly 53 in the morning, when you changed my life.
My belief is that you shifted the entire balance of the universe in a most positive and unique way.
It's a vey happy birthday for me!
Love you, Mom