Jerry Brown, who is being inaugurated today as California's 39th governor (he was also the state's 34th governor), joked recently that he felt like Rip van Winkle, the man who went up into the hills and fell asleep for 20 years in the famous Washington Irving story.
It's been 36 years since Brown first took office as governor, in January 1975. What was going on then?
-Gerald Ford was in the White House.
-The California legislature was such a revered institution that a book would call it a "school for politics."
-The cover of the magazine Popular Electronics featured the first publicly avaiable micro-computer, a forerunner of the personal computer.
-Your blogger, a few months short of his second birthday, was still in diapers. Today your blogger's son has just turned 2 and is still in diapers.
-The number one film in America was The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, about a man exiled to a (non-political) universe.
-Elvis Presley's "Promised Land" was the number one hit in America. It was about a guy who is traveling from his home in Virginia to a new life in California. The song ends:
Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia
Tidewater four ten o nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land calling
And the poor boy is on the line