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January 20th, 2009

Samples of an unbroken string...

 January 20, 1961. Watching B&W television in our family room, and hearing words that stirred me, to "ask not..."

January 20, 1969. Home from school with the flu, I spent the morning cleaning my brother's aquarium tank (killing half the fish in the process), then watching Richard Nixon become president.

January 20, 1977. At a grad student's kitchen table where I was crashing in Honolulu, listening to Jimmy Carter over breakfast, before heading off to a scientific conference to hear the papers on the results of the Viking Landers.

January 20, 1993. Sitting in my friend Dan's office where he teaches at SUNY Stony Brook, feeling mildly disappointed at Clinton's remarks and Maya Anjelou's poetry.

Jaunary 20, 2001. Sitting in a car in a shopping mall in New York, with the engine and heat off but the radio on. I knew I was in for suffering, and wanted to be prepared.

January 20, 2009. In a Jesuit retreat house in Aix-en-Provence, France, the evening after giving a talk at the Marseille Observatory, watching the TV feed on the Washington Post site, with no sound, while listening to NPR over iTunes (a minute behind the picture): absurdly high expectations, satisfied.

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