November 9, 1997: Something for the People

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(Pictured: Leann Rimes performs in 1997.)

November 9, 1997, was a Sunday. It is cold and/or wet over much of the northern half of the United States today, although the southeast and southwest are sunny. Headlines on the morning newspapers include President Clinton’s address at a dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign honoring Ellen DeGeneres. It’s big news for a president to speak to the nation’s largest gay and lesbian group, but Clinton does not follow Vice-President Gore’s lead in praising the newly-out DeGeneres for getting Americans to “look at sexual orientation in a more open light.” Press Secretary Mike McCurry says, “That’s not an area he [Clinton] wants to particularly highlight.” The Sunday newspapers also preview the trial of accused Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, whose trial will begin this week. Today, Clinton speaks with Tim Russert on the 50th anniversary broadcast of Meet the Press. Also today, Hurricane Rick strikes southwestern Mexico; it’s the second hurricane to hit the region in a month, following the more powerful Hurricane Pauline.

Many Wisconsin football fans are hung over. The Badgers beat Iowa 13-10 yesterday, Wisconsin’s first win over the Hawkeyes since 1976. Today, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers beat the St. Louis Rams 17-7; the 8-and-2 Packers are tied for first in the NFC Central Division with the Minnesota Vikings, who beat the last-place Chicago Bears 29-22. The Indianapolis Colts drop to 0-and-10 after losing to the similarly wobegone Cincinnati Bengals; the Colts will get their first win of the season next week—over Green Bay.

At Office Max, you can get an IBM Aptiva or Compaq multimedia computer for $999, monitor not included. Each has a 2.1 gigabyte hard drive and 16MB of RAM. Each comes with a fax modem and runs Windows 95. If you need a new car, Ahrens Cadillac Oldsmobile in Madison, Wisconsin, will put you behind the wheel of a new 1998 Cutlass for $18,900.

The top movie at the box office is the sci-fi adventure Starship Troopers, which easily outdistances the rest of the competition on its first weekend. On TV tonight, CBS has the two highest-rated shows, 60 Minutes and  Touched by An Angel, which are followed by Ken Follett’s The Third Twin, the first part of a two-part TV movie. Fox comes in second for the night with King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and The X-Files. ABC has two movies back to back: Angels in the Endzone and Into Thin Air: Death on Everest. NBC primetime includes Dateline NBC, the sitcom Men Behaving Badly, and the 1995 theatrical movie Outbreak.

On the Billboard Hot 100, the top seven songs hold their positions from the previous week: Elton John’s double-sided “Candle in the Wind 1997” and “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” is #1 for a fifth straight week. (It will stay in the #1 spot for nine more weeks, until mid-January.) Elton is followed in order by “You Make Me Wanna” by Usher, “How Do I Live” by 15-year-old country star Leann Rimes, “Four Seasons of Loneliness” by Boyz II Men, “All Cried Out” by Allure Featuring 112, “My Love Is the Shhh!” by Somethin’ for the People Featuring Trina and Tamara, and the double-sided “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games” by Jewel. The biggest mover in the Top 40 is “Feel So Good” by Mase, up from #29 to #14; the highest debut is “Spice Up Your Life” by the Spice Girls, in its first week on the Hot 100 at #32. Number one on the Billboard 200 album chart is The Firm: the Album by the hip-hop group The Firm. The top song on the country chart is “Love Gets Me Every Time” by Shania Twain. “How Do I Live” is in its 10th straight week at #1 on Billboard‘s adult-contemporary chart.

Perspective From the Present: I took a publishing job in Iowa City during the summer of 1997, and we lived in a four-plex in a small town nearby. One neighbor did a lot of hunting and fishing, seemingly to feed his family; we were periodically graced with the sight of animals and fish being dressed out on the patio deck adjacent to ours. Our landlords were an ineffectual woman and her belligerent husband, whom we eventually nicknamed “Dumb and Dumber.” They were the last landlords we ever had to deal with; we would buy our first house, in Iowa City, a year later.

This post is by reader request. If there’s a date you’d like to read about, send me an private message (and some advance warning). I’ll be happy to have the assignment. 

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