Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

GUEST POST: Things That Have Jumped The Shark Since the 90's, Part 3

Burry Katz is a blogger from the pre-blog days currently making a comeback. A lot has changed since his first go-round, and, appropriately enough, he's decided to add to the list of things that have fallen off since the 90's. And yeah, check out his blog; it's one of my favorites.

I am deeply humbled and honored to give you Part Three of this truly original series. So without further ado, here goes:

(1) Essex on Coney - To borrow a late '90s phrase, this used to be "The Place." Where did the yeshiva guys go before Dougies? Essex ! Aside from the Pepsi cans on the ceiling, it had the early 1900s mystique with the nostalgic murals and the poster of baseball's 500 homer club. It seemed like some guys went there every freakin' night! In the early 2000s they tried to make the place upscale, but it never regained its luster. Sure it's still kicking, but it ain't what it used to be.

(2) AOL - Before anyone knew what a DSL was, there were only a few ways to access the web. Sure, the computer nerds knew about modems back in the '80's, but for the rest of us idiots, AOL was THE way to get online. I remember when my friend Nick and I visited our buddy Billy in Queens . This was shortly after AOL allowed unlimited access and the lines were always busy. Nick picked up the phone and Billy's roommate busted a gut. "It took me 15 minutes to get online! And now I lost it" Nick almost broke down and cried. But once cable modems and DSL made dial-up a thing of the past, AOL had to scramble to come up with a reason you should pay 27 bucks a month for something that's essentially free.

(3) Video Stores - Along the same lines, video stores were big, but then came Netflix and goodbye Blockbuster. Sure, you find one here and there, but who'd pay 5 bucks to rent a DVD when you can pay $17 a month and get however many you want? Blockbuster responded with a mail-order business of their own, but too little too late.

(4) Collarless Shirts - This was such a fad that David Schwimmer even wore one on an early Friends episode. My friend Chris loves to dress fashionable, so he picked up about 15 of these, and hasn't worn one in about, oh, 10 years.

(5) Dress-Down Fridays - When the dot coms were hitting it big, it became a cool thing to go to work in casual clothes. After all, if you're sitting in front of the computer all day, who needs to wear a suit? So all the guys with their hot stuff attitudes showed up to work on Fridays with a loose-fitting button-down shirt and khaki pants. And they thought they were sooooooo cool. How cool did they think they were when they were collecting unemployment three months later?

(6) Starbucks Imitators - My friend Floyd wasn't a big Starbucks fan, and not because he refused to pay three bucks for a cappuccino. Rather, he preferred Timothy's. Poor guy. Once the recession hit in the early 2000s and people didn't have as much money to burn, the Starbucks competitors went bye-bye.

(7) Secaucus, NJ - When you wanted good clothes at an affordable price, you went to the Secaucus outlets. I remember going there with my brother and circling for a spot. The place was packed! Revisited in 2004, and it was a ghost town. I'm talking grass growing in the street cracks. The fact that all the stores were spread over many blocks and you needed a road map to get around was always retarded, but once Jersey Gardens opened and you had a choice, you had to be a nut to shop in Secaucus.

(8) Boy Bands- Backstreet Boys, N Sync, 98 Degrees… Huge. Now? They're in the bargain bin along with New Kids on the Block. Damn, I was so jealous of those guys! Little did the girls know how uninterested these boys were in them.

(9) Connie Chung - In 1993 co-anchored the evening news with Dan Rather on CBS. Now, she's lucky she's married to Maury Povich or she'd be completely forgotten. Last seen on a Saturday night show on MSNBC (which is the graveyard as far as TV ratings are concerned) and cancelled after about a month. How the mighty have fallen!

(10) Dr. Laura - Cultural icon ala Dr. Phil, she had it all - a hot radio show, bestselling books, a TV program - and then she offended the homos and she was gone so fast it made my head spin. Leaving Judaism didn't win her any points, and yes, she's still on in some parts of the country, but she's become an afterthought.

(11) Dot Bombs - In late '99 when the dot coms started failing, people got all horny and it became a huge thing to make fun of these defunct companies. Books and websites popped up all over mocking the founders of,,, and asking, what the hell were they thinking? "This company wasted $50 million. That company blew through $70 million." And so on. When a dot com folds now, nobody sneezes.

(12) Fetish for One-Hit Wonders - I remember shows and albums dedicated to One-Hit Wonders. Aha's Take on Me, Toni Basil's Mickey, Chumba Wumba, et cetera. People loved it. Now? Ah. (Hand wave.)

(13) Chicago Bulls - Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright - the names roll off the tongue. Those guys were unbeatable. And just when you thought they might get beaten, Jordan would hit a shot at the last second and win the game. The Knicks could never overcome them, and neither could the six teams they faced in the finals during the '90s. Once MJ left and they dismantled the team, they disappeared off the face of the earth. Granted they've made the playoffs a couple of times lately, but nobody pays attention to them. They might as well have gone the way of baseball's Montreal Expos.

(14) Rabbeim Without Beards - Unless you're a Modern Orthodox school, forget it. No beard, no job. It's that simple.

(15) Using the Word "Phat" to Describe Something Cool - Who doesn't remember saying that you went to a phat concert last night? Ah, the bad old days.


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