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In This Issue:

From the Editor

On Top of His Game

Kellogg Elementary

10 Best Dressed

 Last Laugh

Millennium Moment

I am writing this column on a very momentous day. Oh, maybe not momentous for you, unless you happen to be actress Rosanna Arquette, heart-throb Antonio Banderas, sausage king Jimmy Dean, or Noah Beery Jr., who was best known for playing James Garner’s dad on "The Rockford Files." Of course if you are Noah Beery Jr., then you must have really wanted to read this magazine since you died in 1994.

As you might have guessed, all of those people (along with yours truly) celebrate this day as their birthday. I turned 45 years old today, which makes this even more momentous because of the year.

When I was 10 years old, sitting in math class at Ortona Elementary School, I stopped staring at Cindy Kimmerman long enough to do a little arithmetic of my own. I realized that I would turn 45 in the year 2000, and for some reason, that struck a chord in me. It was going to be a great year…the dawn of a new millennium, and I was going to be at the mid-point of my life (hopefully). So now, the moment has arrived and I have one question: Where’s my stinking rocket-pack?

Yeah, you heard me. Where’s my rocket-pack? Where is my flying car? Where are the moving sidewalks, the underwater restaurants, and my two-way wrist video communicator?

These were supposed to exist by now. I know that because when I was a kid, I was a huge reader of Tom Swift Jr. I read a lot when I was a kid, and very early on fell into consuming book series. I started off with "The Happy Hollisters" which was a sort of watered down version of the Bobbsey Twins. I read 36 of those and in each one they moved to a brand new city. I figured Mr. Hollister was either in the military or on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List.

I devoured the Hardy Boys series. Frank and Joe were my best buds, until I started figuring out the pattern of "The - seemingly - innocent - person - you - meet - in - chapter - two - is - the - crook" (a pattern shamelessly stolen by Scooby Doo and his pals). I tried the sports series about Chip Hilton, but found it a bit hard to believe that the same guy hit the game-winning homerun, or scored the championship-clenching touchdown. Nancy Drew? Trixie Belden? Please. Those were girl books. But then came Tom Swift Jr.

Tom was the son of super-genius Tom Swift Sr. (funny how that works), the star of his own series of books in earlier times. But Tom Jr. was for my generation. He and his best bud — named Bud, of course — came up with an amazing array of inventions: the Atomic Earth Blaster, the Electronic Hydrolung, the Megascope Space Prober, the Polar-Ray Dynasphere, and my own personal favorite…the Triphibian Atomicar, an atom-powered vehicle that traveled on land, water and through the air.

Tom was smart and brave and could come up with a gadget to solve any problem. And there were no girls anywhere to be seen. That was a very important factor to a 10 year old boy. Of course, by the time I became a 16 year old boy, those tastes in literature had changed drastically (thank you Ian Fleming).

But Tom, my buddy, compadre, mi amigo -— it’s the year 2000, I’m 45, and we don’t have any of that cool stuff. Oh, I hear you — we have the Internet, and personal computers, and cellular phones, but I’d trade them all for one Subocean Geotron or a Deep-Sea Hydrodome.

I shared these woes with my wife as we were getting ready to go out for my birthday. I had to cut it short because our reservation was in 15 minutes and it was a 15 minute drive.

Of course, I could have had us there in two minutes….if I had a rocket-pack.



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