By Eric Paulsen Special to Published Dec 26, 2009 at 4:06 PM

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -- Ferris Bueller,  American philosopher living in 1980s existential suburban America

Ever reminisce about the old days?

It's amazing how fast the world changes. I remember back to when I was one year younger in age -- prior to my birthday way, way back on the 10th of November. Like almost six weeks ago; a simpler, more innocent time.

Take a walk down memory lane with me and let's look back at early November 2009 and before.

Remember when "above normal" meant 70 degrees, not 40? Seems like only 6-7 weeks ago I was running around in shorts and a T-shirt under sunny, blue skies. Nowadays, we get Arctic blasts and our heavy coats are getting a stronger workout than Britney Spears' PR agent. Yet, it's still a lot more mild than the previous two winters, so no complaints.

Remember crowding around the black and white TV, Graf's soda in hand, watching Tiger Woods work his golfing magic? Back then, we viewed Woods as not only the world's greatest golfer, but also a "squeaky clean," upstanding individual basking in a healthy, monogamous marriage with his beautiful model wife, Elin, and two adorable kids, with nary a hint of trouble. And no one had ever heard of Jaime Grubbs or any of the other 13 women and counting, who now stand to make a small fortune from the interest in Tiger.

Meanwhile, six weeks ago, Adam Lambert wasn't talked about much, wasn't considered all that controversial, and beneath the radar. Somebody apparently suggested he think about "spicing up" his performance in time for the American Music Awards.

Remember when the global warming crowd had all of this data that was so real, so air-tight, that the "debate was over"? Since then, we've had "Climategate," e-mails that apparently reveal some of this data used by scientists has been selectively included in computer models or that "tricks" were used in some way.

While it doesn't necessarily expose global warming (or climate change, or whatever the convenient phrase is now), it created more doubts about those predictions of imminent polar ice disappearing and sea levels rising to overwhelm all of us, as evidenced by that same 20-plus-year-old clip of the stranded polar bear on an ice floe. As a Milwaukeean, I'm not really against global warming; it'll counter this global cooling thing we've had since 1998. Ah, but six weeks ago, there was no such thing as "Climategate." It was much more simple.

Ivy League colleges were in a classy league of their own back in the old days of six weeks ago or more. What do we have now? Dartmouth has had to apologize to Harvard after taunts during a squash match. Heavens to Murgatroyd! What's next? Will they be giving each other "Wet Williams," like the poor lad in this Onion article?

I tell ya, kids have gotten crazy, too, over the last six weeks. They used to be so innocent. Now we have stories like the 4-year-old boy in Tennessee who got drunk, sneaked out of his home, stole some neighbors' Christmas presents after breaking into their house and then donned a girl's dress -- one of the presents -- before going out to find his dad, who is in jail. Hmmm ... he seems like chip off the old block.

Some things have improved since Nov. 10. The Packers went from 4-4 after an embarrassing loss to Tampa Bay to almost being assured of a wild card playoff spot -- and a possible third showdown with Brent Farve and the Vikings. The Bucks, picked to finish last at the start of the NBA season, show playoff possibilities themselves, and the ounce of gold I think I own in some account somewhere is worth a record amount of money -- equal to about 120 martinis at Blu.

We've seen the power of Lake Michigan to keep Downtown Milwaukee practically snow-free while the suburbs get deluged with over a foot. The economy seems to be stabilizing and Soulja Boy hasn't released a song in months. These trends are not bad.

Time marches on, but it's always good to take a look back and marvel at the world's changes since that time way back when.

Now let's look forward to Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  After all, who knows what we'll be talking about by early February?

Eric Paulsen Special to
Eric Paulsen is a Milwaukee native but also grew up in Chicago, Detroit and Dallas, which means he’s never lived in a decent climate. Paulsen works as the Communications Officer for the Greater Milwaukee Committee, serves as a writer and contributor for commercials and a national TV show and pops up on 103.7 Kiss FM on weekends, doing his share of overplaying Top 40 hits. Previously, he was a business partner and director in a start-up online research company that began in 1998 and reached the Inc. 500 list by 2005. He was an early contributing writer for, dating back to 1999. He got his MBA from UW-Milwaukee in 2007 and also holds a BS in Consumer Science (a degree he can’t explain, either) from UW-Madison and thus cheers on the Badgers with reckless abandon. Eric is a graduate of the Future Milwaukee Leadership Program and participates in many community-minded events and initiatives, invited or not. When he’s not working, Paulsen enjoys running, road trips and practicing for a future career as a beer connoisseur.