Down the Ballot

Friday, January 30, 2015

You'll know it

When you see it.

Justice Potter Stewart
Some folks know instantly what they'll be remembered for after they leave us. Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart knew exactly what he'd be remembered for, and he wasn't all the time thrilled about it. This adventure in 1985 allows us to honor and remember Stewart. He passed away in December of that year.

Anyone who has ever studied the First Amendment has probably read the phrase in conjunction with the decision rendered in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964). Jacobellis was a theater manager and was convicted of airing the french film The Lovers at his theater. The state claimed the film was obscene. Of course, Jacobellis took the state to court. He won the case and Stewart became, shall we say, infamous for his concurrence. This statement is famous that it even has its own Wikipedia page.

Here is the full statement

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nintendo Power Comes to North America

The back of the box of my NES
1985 was a big year for gamers in North America. For the last few years things had not been so good for the industry. The 1983 video game crash (Atari Shock) had sucked the market dry. It was the dark ages of video gamers. The golden age of the arcades was coming to an end. It could have all ended for video game enthusiasts, but Nintendo helped turn around the entire industry.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hey, mister? Are you hungry? I got a Baby Ruth.

Ruth! Ruth! Baby! Ruth! 

Growing up in Oregon there are just films that YOU HAVE to see at least once. If you don't instantly love these films, then there isn't anything wrong with you per se, but you should seek some sort of professional help from a doctor or film buff. 

1985 brought some great films to theaters; Back to the Future was the biggest hit of the year. There was both a Rambo film and Rocky film released, several quality Chevy Chase films (how many years can you say that about since?) and a favorite of this Oregonian: The Goonies

Yes, as I turn 30, so does The Goonies. It was released on June 7, 1985 to nearly 2000 theaters nationwide. What's not to love about this film? It has adventure, pirates, mystery, treasure, a little romance and probably most often overlooked are the class struggle elements of the film.

One of my favorite moments is when Chunk is being interrogated by the Fratellis.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Something Sweet and Bad for you from 1985

The first adventure in 1985 takes us to not a great revolution or amazing feat of human ingenuity, but
of a simple creation made for convenience and easy profit. Yes. Cherry Coke. Every soda shop, cafe, restaurant and even homemakers had been making their own unofficial cherry flavored Coca-Cola for decades before 1985. All it required was either cherry syrup or actual cherries. In 1985 that changed forever. Coca-Cola, one of the largest soda manufactures in the world released two new drinks. The classic coke was given a formula makeover and a snazzy ad campaign featuring Bill Cosby. Cherry Coke was unleashed at the same time. New Coke failed to win over consumers and loyal coke-a-holics, while you can still find Cherry Coke on store shelves all over the world today.

Of all the days they had to choose to make the biggest blunder of their company's history, it just had to be on my birthday. Even Bill Cosby couldn't hawk New Coke fast enough to make it popular. It is hard to gauge what Coca-Cola would like you to forget more now: New Coke or Bill Cosby. While New Coke barely lasted three months, Cherry Coke caught on with consumers. And why wouldn't it? People had been drinking it for years. Most of us, when we think long and hard about it wonder: 'WHY DIDN'T THEY DO THIS DECADES AGO??'

They marketed Cherry Coke as 'outrageous' and 'wild' to appeal to young people. One of the first commercials was based partly on Back to the Future.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 is Really Here

 Meanwhile Back in 1985...
Doc: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 2015?
Marty: Barack Obama.
Doc: Who??
[with a blank look on his face]

2015 certainly isn't what Robert Zemeckis envisioned in Back to the Future II. No commercially available, built for the masses flying or hovering cars yet. The year just started so who knows? 2015 is something of an interesting milestone for me. I will turn 30 this year. Yes, I was born in 1985. I decided that for 2015, will spend some time on this blog this year discussing 1985 and some interesting or important events of the year. While my birth is very important to me, it was just one of many events that year.