It’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.
Where is the utopian lifestyle of the Eloi (minus the Morlocks)? Why 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)?
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).
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.
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.
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.”
Most of you by now are familiar with the new “civilian” ride sharing services across the country, where average guys or gals come pick you up and drive you to your destination in their own personal car. The cost is less than a traditional taxi and is negotiated up front. Friends tell me they have been chauffeured in some very classy cars like BMW and Mercedes. This concept, however, goes against everything our mothers ever told us, “Never get in a car with a stranger.”
Nevertheless, the last time I had to schlep down to LAX, I called a new cut-rate ride service. In anticipation, I waited at the curb in front of my abode. Right on time, an unmarked white van pulled up. The muscular driver rolled down the passenger window and called out, “Get in the back.”
I hesitated when the side door slid open and a second man said, “if you come voluntarily, I won’t have to put on the blindfold.”
I replied, “I think I’ve changed my mind.”
The second man, the one wearing a ski mask, said, “I’ve got candy,”
I couldn’t help but notice as I climbed in and the door slammed shut that there was no window or door handle next to my seat. I tried to ignore my predicament while I unwrapped my chocolates as we sped away.
The driver barked out, “You are a rich American, yes?”
“No,” I replied, licking the candy wrappers. “In fact, I’m barely existing on social security.”
The van stopped so suddenly I almost got brained with an Uzi flying past me from the very back. The two men started arguing in a foreign language and slapping each other around. The argument stopped almost as suddenly as it started, and the driver once again headed the van down the road.
“Would you like some music,” the driver asked, turning on some high-pitched warbling. “Now, where did you wish to go?” He smiled at me in a creepy more than friendly way.
I replied, “How about the nearest police station.”
Minutes later I found myself on a street corner watching the van speed away after tossing out my luggage. My first ride-share experience now nothing but a bad memory.
Next time, I vowed, I would take the bus unless Sandra Bullock is driving.
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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, “DRAFTED,” and the soon to be published suspense thriller, “IDENTITY CHECK.”
A writer is suppose to write every day, right? But I have to be motivated by a topic to feel it is worth my time and yours. Do you care about which cereal I ate for breakfast this morning…I don’t and I was there. At the same time, I need to write on this blog more often to develop my writing skills, and give you, the readers, something interesting to peruse when the boss isn’t watching, or you are tired of looking at clips of cats doing silly things.
With that in mind, I’m sharing the headline from today’s paper where the L.A. City Council has passed a resolution to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by 2020. Some 80,000 worker are impacted by this decision.
This is amazing to me on several levels. First, that the minimum wage is only $10 now. That barely buys you a happy meal, even with an employee discount. Secondly, that 2020 is only five years away. Who knew that I would live that long…the 21st century…era of Buck Rogers…and where the hell are all the flying cars. And finally, when I was earning minimum wage, back in the 60’s, they paid me a whooping $1.25 hour.
But still…did I really work an eight-hour day and get paid only ten bucks…before deductions! Was I insane or just didn’t know any better? Some of my jobs were considered “fun” — like being a lifeguard or working as a DJ at a radio station, but seventy dollars for a seven-day week! …social security and medicare got more money a week than I did!
Back to our minimum wages in 2015…$400 bucks for a five-day week seems like a lot; but new cars cost $30,000; a hamburger at a west Hollywood restaurant runs $14 (with fries), although the ketchup is still free. These folks have to be thinking the same thing I did back in the 60s…am I insane? No wonder it is so hard to get people to drag themselves out of bed, face a hellish commute, and come home exhausted every night. Forget trying to save for retirement.
So, Mr. Government Official, I say get these cheap corporations to pony up a decent wage that keeps up with inflation…don’t wait another five years to make this right.
As for me, I’ve picked out my corner, got a nice tin cup, a set of slightly soiled rags to wear, and a legible sign that reads, “Alms for an ex-leper.”
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Rich Allan is the author of the comedy/adventure “Drafted” now available on kindle at amazon.com, as well as the soon to be released thriller, “Identity Check.”
Everyone knows you make and break New Year’s resolutions for several reasons: lazy, forgetful, impossible, what was I thinking, etc. Many people do not even bother because we are bad at follow-up, but very good at making excuses…i.e. You promised to clean out the garage two years ago, but still claim you can’t find a decent broom.
So I decided this year to make NY resolutions for other people…resolutions that they should make for themselves, but will never do so. Once I publish these, it will be up to you to see that the person (s) keep their resolution and do it in a timely manner. Okay? Here are my top ten:
1. The Kadashians are to enter a witness protection program and never be heard from again.
2. Democrats & Republican will merge and form the Unity Party saving billions of dollars in wasted time fighting each other and not getting anything done.
3. Following that merger, Rush Limbaugh will lose all sense of purpose, quit his radio show, and join an African tribe that only eat the droppings of wildebeests.
4. Kim Jong-un will realize he does have a sense of humor and will agree to appear in “The Interview” sequel, playing “Curly” from the Three Stooges.
5. Conversely, James Franco and Seth Rogen decide to stop making low-class, potty/drug-induced non-funny films, and announce they are producing a re-boot of “Gone With The Wind,” and they would be playing Scarlet O’Hara and her evil twin sister.
6. Fox News will be bought out by BET (Black Entertainment Network), everyone is fired, and the channel re-purposed to fictional stories about jazz and the blues.
7. The movie studios will decide that featured background actors have been grossly slighted over the years and they will now receive credit in the titles for their contribution, because they are just as important as the guy who cleans up after the horses & camels, the food truck driver, and the second hairbrush holder for the real actors. (Okay, this one, I admit, was for me)
8. The Golden Globes will change their current unknown selection process to a random drawing. Every producer or first cast actor who appeared in a film/TV show that year will put their name in a giant hopper and 50 names will be drawn at random. Show will still be televised because (much like previous shows) every time your name isn’t called, you have to do a shot. Everybody loves to see their favorite celebrity get smashed.
9. The United Nations will now recognize all legitimate countries, and introduce a new conflict resolution process where the leaders of the countries in conflict will arm wrestle or play beer pong to select a winner. Loser backs off or is forced to sit in the corner until he/she agree to do so.
10. Ford and Chevy vow to fight the new open relationship with Cuba, fearing that if consumers find out how to keep their car working for 50 years, they will go out of business.
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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, DRAFTED.
I just spotted the first sign of summer. No, not a robin (we don’t have them in California). It was a group of women all dressed in shorts, tank tops and wearing flops, the official uniform of warm weather.
When I was a kid, summer stood out as oasis from all the stress of being a teenager–school exams, homework, dating, pimples, trying to buy beer and get into clubs with a fake driver’s license, and hoping that Annette would answer my love letter soon.
Summer represented three months of uninterrupted bliss, hanging out with friends, sleeping late, working on my tan, rock concerts with music so loud your ears were still ringing a week later, summer romances, cruising Main Street, making out in the back row of the drive-in theater, scarfing down burgers and milk shakes brought to your car by cute girls on roller skates, throwing up in the bushes in front of your parent’s house, or working/goofing off at a meaningless job to get a store discount and enough money to take your girl out on Saturday night and maybe get to second base. This is what most mature adults today think about when they refer to the “good old days.”
Today, school administrators push for year-round school so students “won’t forget.” Kids go to school now through June and start back again in August. Really? July? That’s it? One of the big perks of summer was remaining uninformed for twelve straight weeks and destroying as many brain cells as possible. We wanted to forget the previous year of school–being turned down a record 24 times trying to get a date for the junior prom, and having your teacher scream at you in front of the entire class for having the math skills of a fence post.
We are also now deprived of a summer’s worth of TV reruns. Yes, the same shows with the same adverting you had already watched on the three TV networks the previous nine months. There were no DVRs. No 300 channels, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime to choose from. No video games either, unless you count “pong” — two straight line with a circle bouncing back & forth going “Ping” on one side of screen and “Pong” on the other. No wonder we spent so much time outdoors in the summer.
Now mass media offers us three “seasons” of new series & streaming movies that we can watch anywhere/anytime on our tablets or cell phones, but could never get to everything interesting, even if we watched 24 x 7 until our eyeballs fell out. I’m still trying to get through all the episodes of Gilligan’s Island (yeah, okay, I’m a little behind).
Kids don’t need fake driver’s licenses for beer anymore (“ugh, too fattening”), they just need a “condition” to get a medical marijuana card. (By the way, any of my readers have some helpful hints on doing that?)
And whatever happened to spending the summer at the beach–hanging out, surfing, ogling the women, wild night parties around the fire, with bongos & guitars, like in the movie “Bikini Beach.” Drive down to Santa Monica in the summer now and the beach is deserted, except for a few tourists. Not sure where all the students are (maybe cramming for their SATs). Of course, tanning is out now…something called skin cancer and premature aging.
(Old man talking to his grandson) “I remember in July 2014, where I spent the entire month binge watching all 202 episodes of “Game of Thrones,” while finishing up my masters degree in physics.”
Doesn’t quite cut it, does it? I’m sticking with my summer memories, thank you very much. Now excuse me, I want to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Maybe I’ll go make sand castles on the beach, or visit the mailbox to see if today is the day that return letter from Annette shows up…
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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, “Drafted,” available at #amazon.com, as well as the soon to be released new thriller novel, “Classified Connection.”