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Northern Exposure
by Jim Rink

It's the New Year-time to reflect on the people, places and things that I miss the most:

Sonny Bono. The entertainer. I know, his singing voice would make any one of us look good on "open mike night," but the joke was on us. Through sheer determination and show business smarts, he hurled himself and wife Cher into the spotlight during the mid-Seventies. Then, he went on to tackle a highly successful career in politics. Just goes to prove "not all that is gold does glitter."

Northern Exposure. The TV show. I miss the Chris commentary on KBHR-AM; Ruth Ann's geriatric wisdom; Maurice and his barbaric yawp; Shelley and her bartender boyfriend. I don't miss Fleischman-he was a bit too whiny, which was the whole point, but...I get enough of that when I visit my in-laws. Actually, Northern Exposure reminds me of some of the little towns in Northern Michigan with their cast of highly eccentric characters.

Beetles. The car. Volkswagen has come out with a sleek 90s version of its best-selling "Love Bug," first introduced back in the 60s. For right around $15,000, it can be yours, complete with trademark bud vase on the dash. Unfortunately, the new version is a little too slick for me-I miss the bulging fenders and chrome bumpers.

Carl Sagan The astronomer. I was surprised to see that a well-known Sunday morning TV show, broadcast nationally, failed to remember Carl Sagan in its annual mass celebrity eulogy. Maybe because he died in 1996? I don't remember. Alert readers are encouraged to set me straight. Sagan's Cosmos series brought us closer to the stars.

Macintosh The computer. Despite a resurgence in Macintosh stock, I pronounce this platform officially dead, unless you're a graphic designer or desktop publisher. Seems like the only thing Macs are good for nowadays is as set pieces in high-tech Hollywood thrillers. It's sad really...I owned a Mac for many years and it provided user-friendly, reliable service, which is much more than I can say for PCs and Microsoft. Things I won't miss:

Beanie babies. This requires no further explanation.

Beavis and Butthead. Ditto.

The O.J. Simpson trial. This requires no further explanation, although O.J. admitted in a recent interview that if he did kill his wife, it would have been "because he loved her very much, right?"

Captain James T. Kirk. OK, enough is enough. I'm a die-hard Trekker, but let me just say that, as far as I'm concerned, Captain Kirk of the original Enterprise was officially killed off in Generations, filmed at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada in 1994. My guess is that William Shatner will pen Trek books resurrecting the character. I say, go gracefully. You're dead, Jim.

America Online. I quit this poor excuse for an online service years ago. So should you.

Bell bottoms. The clothing item. Seems like these fashion flashbacks refuse to die, flooding the market with bigger and baggier jeans. Soon, the shopping malls will not have to contract for cleaning services. There are enough bell bottoms sweeping the hallways to make mops obsolete.

Anthologies. The Beatles anthology was mildly interesting. I even got a kick out of the Monkees latest "best of" release. But come on...the Stones are going back on tour; the Beach Boys are touring with few or none of the original members; the Kingston Trio has released a compilation album. Bob Dylan is back with a vengeance and Jerry Garcia fans have a new tie collection to wear. Step outside of yourself for a moment-this is the equivalent of today's teens ordering Slim Whitman albums from the Home Shopping Network.

Remakes. George of the Jungle? Mr. Magoo? The Beverly Hillbillies? The Brady Bunch? What's next? Underdog? Scooby Doo? Space Ghost? Give me a break.

Seinfeld. Thank God.

To nominate your own "best of" or "worst of" for 1997, contact Jim Rink at userg@jimrink.com He may, or may not, write back.
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