Tuesday, September 04, 2018

This used to mean more

Having a show on network television

Being on television


Having a hit song

Being an NFL team in Los Angeles

The Rose Bowl

The Polo Lounge

Airline travel

Library card

The Universal Tour

Movie premiers

Owning your own business

Being a folk singer

People Magazine


The All-Star Game

Date for the prom

Taxi cab medallion

Atlantic City

News bureaus

The World Series

Reservation at Spago’s

A first edition

An Emmy

Tickets for a Broadway show

Color TV


Job on Wall Street

Playing Vegas

Being president of the United States


Mike Barer said...

Movie Premier, Saturday Night At The Movies, Game Of The Week, Wide World Of Sports

Glenn said...

If anything, "having a date for the prom" means *too* much these days... kids stage these elaborate, expensive scenes to ask the girl to the prom (or maybe some celebrity). That's overboard for marriage proposals, let alone a high school prom.

Anonymous said...

As a librarian, I take exception. A library card never meant more than it does now. I don't know your local library, but I live in small community in Florida, and my library card gives me rapid access to the collections of over 100 libraries statewide, immediate access to over 1000 newspapers and magazines, online lessons in over 40 languages, the equivalent of a free CD every month, and... well I'm on vacation and tired of talking about work.

But the rest of it I get.

Steve Bailey said...

Being a published author. (Sorry, Ken.)

Fred Vogel said...

Great list, Ken.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Hey, being a folksinger is the same as it ever was. It was the brief period at end 1960s - which people on the folk scene call the "folk scare" - that was anomalous.


VincentS said...

Does this mean I could actually get a reservation at Spagos?

Janet Ybarra said...

Sadly, it's a reflection of our priorities as a society having become way out of whack over the last 40 years or so.

Jabbawookie said...

And, beginning next year, particularly if you’re awarded a creative arts nomination (music score, art direction, cinematography, etc) an Academy Award. Actually the expanding to up to ten Best Pictures started, I believe, the downward spiral.

Jabbawookie said...

Ken, I would add dining out to the list. When I was a kid, McDonalds and Sizzler you only went to on special occasions.

RF Burns said...

+1 on the library card importance. I go to our county libraries every time I get a chance and check out a stack of books, have done so every place I have lived in the last 30+ years.

Frank Beans said...

How about this one: Turning 40 (sorry, everybody).

When I was younger, 40 years old meant middle-aged dignity (or so it seemed). I'm just over 40 and society still treats me like a kid. I don't know whether to feel grateful or insulted.

Anonymous said...


As per usual, well done.

Will you be doing a "This used to mean less"?

I'd like to see that.



Anonymous said...


Network news anchor

The LA Times

Newspaper reporter/editor/columnist anywhere (ex NY Times or Washinton Post political writer)

The Oscars and the Emmys

Rock 'n' roll


The Kentucky Derby and the Indy 500

Being a millionaire.


Janet Ybarra said...

Thanks for adding Newspaper reporter. I can tell you, especially as a local reporter, it is many hours for not huge pay... and often it is only because of your local reporters that you know what your school board is up to or what is going on with local businesses and a lot more.

DBenson said...

I was going to say "Being Cited as an Expert", but that sort of folds into your list.

JR Smith said...

Real television show openings with music and lyrics, waiting in anticipation for a roll of film to come back so you could see your vacation pictures, a half hour network news program with just the news and no opinions, AM radio worth listening to (or even FM radio worth listening to),operator-assisted phone calls, the NBC Peacock (the following program is brought to you in living color on NBC), unwrapping a new vinyl LP...I'm old.

John Nixon said...

Thank you for writing "a date for THE prom". The word 'the' seems to have been dropped from 'the prom' for some reason and now I only hear it said as 'a date for prom', as if it was written by Tonto. Can dropping the word 'the' from 'the hospital' be far behind like they do in England?

Peter said...

Ken, if you have time, check out The Happytime Murders. It's hilarious and there's even a Zamboni joke which I'm certain is a homage to Cheers.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Smada Raj is right. We have a similar system in Georgia where I can get a book from anywhere in the state, along with DVDs, CDs, etc. Librarians rule!

therealshell said...

The TV Guide Fall Preview issue.

Janet Ybarra said...

It's great to hear physical libraries flourishing even in the the age of e readers and all digital publications.

Anonymous said...

If autographs really do mean less, how when and why has this happened? 1. Does Gresham's law ("bad money drives out good") apply to philography: a.) Has, perhaps, a flood of Fyvush Finkel forgeries driven genuine Garbo signatures into hiding? b.) Are there too many “celebrities” today, producing too many indecipherable inscriptions ? c. Has an abundance of Ken Levine autographs in the marketplace- due, in part, to your higher public profile and book writing career- increased the value of a David Isaacs signature? 2. Did you ever have a team publicity photo that you and Mr Isaacs would jointly sign for your fan base ?

Roger Owen Green said...

Yup, we librarians, and members of Friends of Libraries, know how many people, especially without Internet access use the library. And for some people, using the library happen without even physically there!

JED said...

This used to mean more:

Being honest
Being kind
Sacrificing for others

I guess you could go down the whole list of the twelve Scouts Laws.

Kenn said...

What's with the library card dig?

Library cards rule. Libraries are awesome. People who use library services are an elite breed of superior beings who bestride the earth like demigods, and may crush you if you don't humbly explain your remark!

On the other hand, you're right about the rest of it. So maybe we'll hold off on the crushing thing ... for now.

Andy Rose said...

@John Nixon: I've noticed a lot more Britishisms like "going to hospital" and "standing in the queue" cropping up into American writing. I think Wikipedia may be partially to blame. A mix of Americans and Brits contribute to the site (among many others). It doesn't have any rules about which English-language idioms and grammar rules are preferred, so you get a weird mix of trans-Atlantic spellings, phraseology, and subject-verb agreement that is filtering into common usage.

TimWarp said...

I believe libraries are more important than ever. But I agree with Ken that having the physical card used to mean more than it does now. As a kid in the 60's, it was my first official document, and I carried it with me to the library with pride. They still have cards nowadays (although most of the people I know just enter their library number in on their computer, or give their phone number to the checkout clerk who gives them the books) but I suspect that piece of plastic doesn't carry nearly the thrill that my hand-typed piece of paperboard used to.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Frank Beans wrote:
How about this one: Turning 40 (sorry, everybody).

I'm just over 40 and society still treats me like a kid. I don't know whether to feel grateful or insulted.

I'm 59. Since I officially became an "adult", I've noticed how once-ordinary adult autonomy has been abridged - mostly justified by the misbehavior of the 1%-2% of bottom-feeders in our society.

The assumption seems to be that we are all infants who require nannies with guns.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Curious, I checked the Beverly Hills Spago California Tasting Menu. It looks fabulous and not so unreasonable at $145 for 14 courses and no fine print ($270 with "wine pairing").


Dinner and Lunch Menus leave you guessing as to the prices. Tuna and Shashimi Salad (Lunch) and Caviar with Egg Yolk "Jam" (1st Dinner Course) have the usual lawyer-induced innoculation for the immune-impaired:

Consuming raw or undercooked foods may increase risk of food borne illness

The pub menu ("Bar Bites") looks good, too.

The Wine List is relatively "scary" but if you want to settle for your own wine, they will open bottles for a "fee".

Damn, I'd be ravenous, if I hadn't just had lunch.

Jeff Boice said...

Cable Television Networks. Discovery used to air science and nature documentaries. Now they air reality shows. TLC was The Learning Channel. Now they air reality shows. A&E stood for the Arts and Entertainment Network . Now they air reality shows. It's as if cable TV was left out in the sun, and it all melted together into an unappetizing goo.

D McEwan said...

OK, I like Big Brother. Sue me. In July of this summer, I was even in the studio audience for a live eviction show (Insane Kaitlyn voted out before my very eyes.) I can name everyone in that photo with Julie Chen,without recourse to the internet.

Jillian, Elena, Jason, Alex (Yes, she's a girl), Kevin (What a bore he was), Dominique, Jessica (Sociopath), Cody (A humorless psychopath who does not play well with others. He and Jessica, two prize sicko psychos, began a showmance last summer that is still on as they do other reality shows with low psyche-standards for contestants, probably because no one else is insane enough to get emotionally involved with these two deeply emotionally ill people), Ramsey (He gave his job as "Professional Cosplay Player." so he has no job), Matthew, Cameron, Josh (A likable savage. Needs to become civilized, utterly lacking in emotional maturity, but kinda sweet), Raven, Christmas (Actually her name), Mark (Big, beautiful, sweet, not very bright), and unmemorable Megan.

Lawman592 said...

More things that used to mean more:

Being Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World (or any weight class for that matter)

The new fall car models

World's Fairs