I love photographing animals. They almost always take a good picture, unlike a few humans I know…and they hardly ever sue you for an invasion of privacy. Anyway, since many of you enjoyed my blog & photos on Yellowstone, I thought I’d share some random favorites from over the years.

— Richard Allan Jones, traveler, actor, musician, & author of “Drafted” and “Identity Check.”




They start small then grow and grow until thousand of acres are consumed, homes and businesses threatened or destroyed, animals displaced, ash and smoke drift for miles coating everything in sight. The names change, #sand fire, #sage fire, and the latest in southern California, #blue cut fire, but the results are all the same.

Five years of severe drought, tinder like underbrush lie in wait for that unwanted spark that start the cycle all over again. Dry lightning, car accident, campfire not properly extinguished, and sadly, even arsonist can be the cause that send weary firefighters back into action, planes and helicopters, flying continuous overhead dropping water and fire retardants, trying to keep the blaze from consuming forest, property and even lives.

To most of my readers, the fires in the west are a mere blip on their radar, as most of the country deals with other problems like record rainfall and flooding. But here, when three of these wildfires fires happen within a month and come that close, the threat becomes oh, so real.

Living in Los Angeles County for the last eight years, the smart thing to do would be to prepare for wildfires or earthquakes or mudslides or other natural disasters that happen much more often than we would like. But we, like others I suspect, rationalize that it could never happen to us, so we let it go.


But this series of fires got my attention when I could see the flames in the hills behind our house, I could see the smoke so thick it turned day into night, and watch the ash from all those destroyed trees fall like dirty snowflakes on our roof. You keep the TV on 24 hours a day, watching the reports on how many more acres had burned, what percentage of the fire has been contained, what neighborhoods are being evacuated, how many MPH is the wind blowing and in what direction and wondering if the forecasted high temperature for the day will once again go over 100 degrees, making the forest even drier and conditions for the firefighters worse than Dante’s Inferno.

As the fire burns close by and the wind is blowing your direction, you suddenly realize that your family might be the next one requested to evacuate your home, having to abandon everything you can’t pack into your car (or two cars if you are lucky), with the very real possibility it might not be there when they let you come back. Prioritizing family and pets is easy, but 60 plus years of collecting things gets harder after that…what stuff can’t be replaced?

What about all those travel photos or shots of your mom and dad who are no longer around…paintings on the wall…important papers, like marriage license, birth certificate, adoption papers, passports….computers/phones…your favorite guitar…enough clothes & toiletries to last for 2, 3, 4, or 5 days…your DVD/Blu Ray collection…baby clothes you have saved…theater/movie programs…your original Star Wars collectibles…books…the list grows and you have already mentally filled both cars and three U-haul trucks.

Here’s the kicker, you may only get a few hours notice to gather all that stuff you want to try and save…likely even less if the flames leap the fire breaks. Some folks only had enough time to get out with family & pets and the clothes on their back.

Fortunately, the closest fire to us blew the other way. Others have not been so lucky. What’s the lesson? Keep a bag of clothes & small items packed & ready to go during fire season if you are in a frequent red zone area. Buy a fire proof safe for important papers. Watch the news for the next #fire…and pray for rain in southern California.

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Richard Allan Jones is an author, actor, musician living the dream in Los Angeles. His novels, Drafted and Identity Check, are available at amazon.com. His 60s classic rock band, Revolution Road.LA, and his acting career can be followed on Facebook.

Ten Reasons Hillary Clinton Is Qualified For President

Hillary Clinton
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As we head into the home stretch of the 2016 presidential election, I thought it important to take a close look at the two leading candidates and review their qualifications for the highest office in the good old U.S.A. Today let’s begin with the democratic nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

  1. She is already very aware of all the secrets of the White House, including the alarm code, the location of the kitchen, how to board up the Kennedy Room to keep Bill out, where they hide the official stationary, and how to plan the menus for State Dinners.
  2. She has eight years experience as a US Senator from New York, a state she knew little about before she moved there to get elected (knowing it could never happen in Illinois or Arkansas). She got three major bills passed that she sponsored — naming a historic site, a post office, and a road, proving she is very good at naming things.
  3. She has four years international experience as Secretary of State under Obama (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em). Continuing her hawkish ways in the Senate, where she voted to approve the war in Afganistan and for the Iraq resolution, she advocated the US military intervention in Libya, thereby achieving the trifecta of annoying most of the middle east. Adding to her international experience, Mrs. Clinton also has vacationed out of the US several times, called a friend in Rome once, and has a preference for French perfume.
  4. As First Lady in Arkansas, she learned all about southern cooking and can prepare homemade grits, roadkill, hog jowls, and collard greens without throwing up. If the presidential thing doesn’t work out she could open a restaurant in Hope called Monica’s Cafe.
  5. She is very smart about technology. As a Federal employee, she managed to set up private messaging system software and a private server that violated State Department protocols and procedures, and federal laws and regulations governing recordkeeping requirements and send unsecured secret messages for four years without getting caught. She also holds the Donkey Kong record score on the Secretary of State’s office PS-4.
  6. She is an author of five books and an experienced public speaker to corporations and Wall Street earning her thousands of dollars personally and in campaign funds (again she will be okay financially if the presidential and restaurant things don’t work out). A side benefit — as a writer she can compose her own acceptance speech, as well as her annual state of the union speeches, and fireside chats, thereby saving her and the taxpayer money, which can be applied to the increasing costs of Obama Care.
  7. She is a lawyer and will be able to represent herself in any future legal cases of violating Federal/state laws and or constitution issues, like abolishing the second amendment. Another cost savings for the taxpayer to counteract the millions of dollars going to fund liberal programs of supporting illegal immigrants with free education, medical care, welfare and 50% off coupons to Taco Bell.
  8. She is a “mature” woman, so taxpayers don’t have to worry about paying for six weeks of maternity leave (although she is already receiving social security payments, from a dwindling resource).
  9. She will get rid of Homeland Security so we can open up our borders to any and all people who want to come to this country without a passport or background check, giving them Federal jobs, a reasonable $100,000 stipend each to help them relocate, a get out of jail free card, and a lifetime subscription to the magazine, Terrorist International.
  10. Although claiming not to understand Bernie’s “socialism” or “religious” views, she still admires the man’s hippy protesting roots, because she and Bill were young and idealistic once in college. She plans to pardon Bernie if she is elected and not send him to Guantanamo to be with all his other comrades.bill and hillary

Please recognize the ten comments above are purely my personal opinion, are based on little to no facts, and do not reflect the opinions of management. They are presented in an attempt at humor and to bring a smile to your face if you are not a Democrat, any of the persons named, or a member of Congress. I plan to give equal time to lampooning Donald Trump…right after the election.

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the adventure/comedy novel Drafted which is available at amazon.com and the upcoming political thriller, Identity Check.

Oscars 2016

Oscars 2016
oscarOkay…prepare to disagree…but the #Oscars are designed to recognize the world’s best performances in the best films regardless of skin color, age, political leanings or religion. The process is far from perfect but it is supposed to be the opinions of a qualified group of people in the entertainment business. It is obvious that the Academy voters today are no longer proportionately representative of the entertainment community or the US at large.
For the record, the US population is roughly divided with 64% European-Americans; 16% Hispanic-Americans; 12% African-Americans; and 5% Asian-Americans.
There were only two Americans last night who won individual Oscars–Leo DiCaprio and Brie Larson. The other six individual Oscars went to Mexico (Alejandro and Emmanuel); Britain (Mark and Jenny); Sweden (Alicia); and Italy (Ennio). That seems pretty diverse to me, although African and Asian-Americans were not represented.
Oh, you meant only in the nominated actor categories?
Okay, here is the list (Note only 9 out of 20 are Americans):
Bryan Cranston–American
Matt Damon–American
Leo DiCaprio*–American
Michael Fassbender–German/Irish
Eddie Redmayne–British
Christian Bale–British
Tom Hardy–British
Mark Ruffalo–American
Mark Rylance*–British
Sly Stalone–American
Cate Blanchett–British
Brie Larson*–American
Jennifer Lawrence–American
Charlotte Rampling–British
Saoirse Ronan–Irish
Jennifer Jason Leigh–American
Rooney Mara–American
Rachel McAdams–Canadian
Alicia Vikander*–Swedish
Kate Winslet–British
I didn’t mind the upfront statements addressing the issue of minority representation, well justified. But when it continued the entire show, rather than highlight the issue it turned into more of an entitlement statement. We all have faced bias…wrong color, age, weight, speech, etc. but I would hate for us to return to the days of quotas where demographics outweigh qualifications in any field.
We will never all agree on the choices made by the Academy…like when will they pick performances and films that people have actually seen? Sorry if your favorites didn’t get nominated or win, but to steal a saying from the sports world…there’s always next year.
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Bus. Casual Web Head_MP_8831Richard Allan Jones is a frustrated actor, a member of the Screen Actors Guild and author of the comedy-adventure novel, DRAFTED.

Hillary Clinton’s Best Qualifications for President in 2016

bill and hillaryHillary Clinton, a liberal Democrat and Bill’s wife, was born in Chicago and raised a Methodist. She became the first First Lady in USA history to enter politics when she was elected as a Senator from New York, even though she had never lived there previously. She hopes to become the first woman president in our history and to coin the term “zillions” of dollars in national debt as she rolls out both new and old programs to redistribute this country’s net worth to everybody both here and abroad…at least until we are taken over by Russia or one of the many other aggressive world powers since our military will likely be broke and all our personal weapons removed so we have no way to defend ourselves.
Anyway, here are my suggestions on her best qualifications:
1. Yale Law Degree (like many of the other politicians running)
2. Eight Years in the White House (she already knows the alarm code & where the kitchen is located)
3. Eight Years in the US Senate where she co-sponsored all of three bills and had to rest after the effort.
4. Experience testifying in Washington about her e-mails, Benghazi, interns, super-PACs, wall street sponsored speeches, etc.
5. Loves to fly for free as the most-traveled Secretary of State in history visiting 112 countries during her four-year tenure, traversing 956,733 miles — enough to span the globe more than 38 times — and spending 401 total days on the road. (Not to mention all that tax-payer funded free food!)
6. She believes in same-sex marriage as long as it is between a man and a woman.
7. She believes in HUGE government, the more people on the dole, the better. Considering 100 cabinet positions and expanding the IRS to collect all the new taxes necessary to fund all the programs & support promised during the campaign.
8. Supports women’s rights including the right to wear pants suits for all occasions and having your partner carry your purse without making a face.
9. Supports your right to turn your recreational guns back into the government so they can redistribute to criminals & crazies who need them for work.
10. Loves Obamacare and supports every illegal alien’s right to free government health care as long as the rest of us pay for it.
11. Raised in a wealthy middle-class household, but served on the board of the corporation Wal-Mart, so she knows poor people, the downtrodden and poorly dressed.
12. Hates war but supported US invasions of Afganistan, Iraq, Lybia, Canada, and Colorado.
Don’t forget to VOTE!
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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy-adventure DRAFTED on amazon.com and former Washington DC lobbyist who also loves free travel & food.
New Year’s Eve 2015

baby03It’s hard to believe that we are are already 15 years into the 21st century. Where are the flying cars? And I’m not talking about drunk drivers on New Year’s Eve launching off bridges.flying car

Where is the utopian lifestyle of the Eloi (minus the Morlocks)? MorlocksWhy aren’t we vacationing on Mars this coming summer with the kids (I mean if Matt Damon can do it, why not the rest of us)?

martian_0 I realize most science fiction placed these changes as far in the future as 2525 (except for Kubrick who only stretched to 2001), but that is only 510 years away. Shouldn’t we be further along? What happened to our Star Wars future? No, wait…there’s the dark side, evil empire and Darth Vader…never mind. How about Tomorrowland? (Although even George Clooney couldn’t save that one). Star Wars cinematographer dies at 99

Instead, we seem to be trudging along with the same script of our father’s father’s father…War, hunger, poverty, disease, prejudice, crime, homelessness, political bickering, and so forth. The only difference is we do it faster today and it costs more.1951-xmas-ignorance-want

As 2015 comes slowly to a close, and we look forward (I think) to a new year and making personal resolutions that we won’t keep…lose weight, join a gym, read more books, not mention any members of the Kardashian family for six months…let’s try to put in a few for our fellow man (or woman), like the golden rule. For all of 2016, I will do unto others as I would have them do unto me. Or as Yoda would put it, “Unto others do I will as myself.”

I’m not a big fan of organized religion (look what that has done for us so far), but I am a huge supporter of a reasonable moral code. Most of us know how to tell right from wrong, so let’s all make an effort to put more checks in the “Right (Correct)” column  this next year and have a little better understanding about the other fellow’s situation. It’s individuals that make change, not organizations or governments. Circle-Of-People-Holding-Hands-Around-A-World-Flag-Globe

Now, let’s join hands in a really big circle and sing Kumbaya (no, seriously, take my hand and start singing!)

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comic adventure, “Drafted” and the upcoming political thriller, “Identity Check.”

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Road Trip 2015: Billings, Montana

Road Trip 2015: Billings, Montana

IMG_4683 (2)IMG_4682Next stop on our journey was Billings, Montana, the largest city in the state, and base camp for our visit to Little Big Horn (60 miles south). Montana was also a check on our bucket list to visit all 50 states (number 49 to be precise).

IMG_5001 (2)Montana is a lot of wide-open spaces and surprisingly lots of oil wells. The Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota holds one of the largest accumulations of crude oil in the United States; its Bakken and Three Forks formations are currently estimated to be capable of producing 7.4 billion barrels of oil.IMG_4690

Always fascinated by the story of Custer and the battle of Little Bighorn a critical point in the history of the west as the expansion of our young country ran headlong into the nomadic lifestyle of the Plains Indians.IMG_4691 (2)

Never realized that Custer’s troops were only one of three units in a planned attack that lasted several days. Several Indian tribes took part as they executed a perfect trap in a stand to preserve their lands and way of life.IMG_4743






The Famous Sitting Bull was one of the Indian leaders.DSC01779

The monument serves as a detailed remembrance of the event for both sides.DSC01782 (2)

We also visited the Moss Mansion in Billings that belonged to one of the founders of the town. It is very well preserved because it stayed in the family for more than 100 years.DSC01800 (2)

Just outside of Billings headed east is another national monument.IMG_4758 (2)

Most graffiti is unwelcomed, but the carvings of Lewis & Clark who stopped at this large sandstone rockIMG_4803 beside the Yellowstone River…well. that’s another story.IMG_4793

Lewis & Clark, along with Sacagawea, were the intrepid explorers, as you may remember, who first IMG_4780mapped the United States all the way to the Pacific Ocean (in Oregon).

As the sun set, we headed to the last state on our bucket list, North Dakota.IMG_4994 (2)


Next Up: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the novels “Drafted” and “Identity Check.”

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