Thursday, October 11, 2012

1972 – PONG is Released, Sealing my Doom

Jane Ann McLachlan had this great idea for a blog challenge for the month of October to do one day for each of the first 25 years of your life.  This is the 9th installment. 


In 1972 the Dow closes at 1020, 1st time over 1000  
Inflation was at 3.27%
Average cost of a new house: $27,550
Average income: $11,800
Gasoline: $0.55 a gallon, up fifteen cents, 3 times larger increase than last year
Movie ticket: $1.50



The Hugo for best SF Novel goes to Philip José Farmer for To Your Scattered Bodies Go

Nixon orders up the Space Shuttle Program.

Bloody Sunday happens in Northern Ireland. 14 unarmed protesters killed by the British Army.  The British Embassy in Dublin is burned to the ground in retaliation, along with several businesses.

Nixon visits China.

Watergate burglars are arrested, but nothing tied to White House yet.  It will be in courts and under investigation for more than a year before the crap hits the fan.

The International Time Bureau adds the first Leap Second to Coordinated Universal Time.  
Wil Wheaton is born.  Coincidence?

George Carlin is arrested for saying the “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” at Summerfest in Milwaukee.  I guess you couldn't say them anywhere.

Huge solar flare knocks out cable lines for 6 days in the U.S.

U.S. withdraws last ground troops from Vietnam.

Munich Massacre, 11 Israeli athletes are killed by an Arab terrorist group at the Olympic Games.

Modern Molecular Biology is born with publication reporting the production of a recombinant DNA molecule.

Nixon is re-elected in a landslide.

Home Box Office is launched as the first subscription cable service, but we won’t have cable for a few more years.  I didn’t realize this at the time, but HBO only broadcast nine hours a day for the first nine years.

Atari releases the first video game, PONG.  We actually had this one.  Just the first of what would become an obsession for me.

Apollo 17, last manned moon mission, launches.

I distinctly remember watching the World Series with my paternal Grandfather. It was the beloved Cincinnati Reds vs. the hated Oakland A's. My Dad's family lived in Ohio. I remember Grandpa Moody chanting, "Come on Rudi, strike out for Moody." I have been a Reds fan ever since, and even though they lost that series, good times were ahead for the Big Red Machine.

This was the start of 3rd Grade for me and Mrs. Curry was my teacher.  I struggled learning my multiplication tables.  I like math, enough to go a lot farther than 3rd grade would have suggested.  I actually kept going all the way past all the Calculus classes and into Advanced Differential Equations.  That is where it starts to get weird, with imaginary numbers and triple integrals.  I was going to be an Engineer, but life has a funny way of changing course sometimes.  I ended up switching my major to Economics. 

I can’t undo those decisions now, and knowing I was going to Undergraduate Pilot Training afterwards may have influenced my decision, since being an Air Force Pilot was going to be my trade.  It has served me well enough, but one wonders how things might have gone differently if I had stayed the path and finished my degree in Engineering Sciences, and learned to build computers instead.  Maybe nothing, maybe a lot.  Don’t get me wrong, I like where I am now, and I love my family.  I wouldn’t want to change anything that would jeopardize that.

The rest of 1972, I’m sure, was all about adjusting to life without my Dad in the house.  My Mom’s boyfriend is being extra nice to us, but his ex-wife took my best friend, Lee, to Florida. 

Clear Ether!

3 comments:

  1. Ha ha! We had Pong, too. We also had cable. In Santa Barbara, without cable (or a really, really tall antenna) you only got two stations. I remember Channel 100, too, which was the precursor to HBO (or maybe that's what HBO was called first, don't know) as they showed movies without commercials. Don't know how many times I watched "Play it Again, Sam" just because I COULD!

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  2. Nice! It's always funny to think what we wanted to do as children and see the course our decisions have taken us. My friend had a video game system... he let me watch him play. A lot. So I went and played with my action figures. ;)

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  3. We didn't have Pong or cable for many years to come. I like the Wil Wheaton / leap second association. Interesting...

    That last sentence looks like it has a story that wants to burst out.

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