My Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions For Other People

baby03Everyone 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.

My First Novel
My First Novel

Ode To Summer

828377_belly_buttonI  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.annette

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.” Drive-In_Theater

CAR_HOP_GIRLNow I ask you, where did the traditional summer go?

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.coupe

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.

gilligans-island-castjpg-36f949a7535dd51eNow 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?)marajuana

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.

bikini-beach-2Makes me wonder what will people in the future will refer to as the “good old days of summer?”

(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.”

 

Confessions of a Background Actor

bg5For the past five years, I have subjected myself to freezing temperatures, 100 degree plus heat, 5 am calls, and all night shoots, to provide background or human “atmosphere” for feature movies and television shows. Normally you are one of many in a scene, lost in a sea of faces and costumes that can only be identified as a smeary blur if you put the scene on pause. Is it “glamorous?”  Sort of…once and awhile, you get to see famous movie stars up close and occasionally share the same frame. Do you make a fortune and get invited to exclusive Hollywood parties? No. Is it “acting?” Sort of…

Behind The Candelabra 012

You can make a decent income if you work a lot. Not easy to do. There are at least 5000 applications for every acting job posted…even the free ones. If you do get a job, the average union wages (SAG (Screen Actors Guild)-AFTRA) are around $150 for an 8 hour day…better than a Wal-Mart greeter, but not as consistent. You are lucky if you can get three or four gigs a month…not enough normally to earn the $20k a year necessary to get benefits afforded almost every other worker in America. Occasionally you get into time and a half or double time if you work 8-13 hours. Double time is referred to by most actors as “golden time,” for obvious reasons. Wages can be supplemented by additional remuneration for mileage, working in smoke, meal penalties, clothing allowance, etc. But you will never get rich being a background actor.CU Me Jobs1

So if not for fame or fortune, why do we do it? As a retiree, I am lucky enough to not need the income. So for me, it’s just being part of the world of entertainment. It is always what I wanted to do with my life, but chose for my family the practical traditional job route to put a roof overhead, food on the table, and clothes on our back. I always loved telling stories, and making people laugh. I don’t expect to ever be a “big star” at my age, but I still dream about making it on TV or the silver screen. I love being on set if only in a minor role and hanging out with famous stars like Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, John Goodman, Ben Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix, Paul Dano, Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, and Ashton Kutcher.me2

But the biggest reason is the fantasy that you will be “discovered” like Lana Turner at the corner drug store. The term is “upgrade” where the director, or first AD (assistant director), suddenly spot your enormous potential and pulls you out of the masses to have a scene with dialogue. Being upgraded is an urban myth amongst background players, like the holy grail. It never happens to you, but to a friend of a friend of a friend.Cowboy HD

Proud to announce it finally happen to me on the feature film, Medicine Men. I got pulled out by the director to deliver lines I got to write for the final scene. My big moment…will it lead to fame and fortune or will I fade back into the background? Who knows…but, that’s entertainment. Regardless, I will keep going and for sure I will see you in the movies. I’ll be the third cowboy with a hopeful look standing to the left of the big star…cu hat

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, “Drafted,” now available on Kindle on amazon.com.

Confessions of a Binge TV Viewer

They say recognition of a problem is the first step in resolution. So right here in front of all of you readers and the FCC, I’m ready to admit that I am a binge TV viewer.

It’s not entirely my fault. In the old days, I waited like the other faithful fans for a full seven days to the next episode of my favorite show. Now with the advent of VOD (Video on Demand), DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), and Blu-ray sets of every episode of every show ever made…it is so easy to plop down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, cold beverage, and a bag of Twizzlers…and watch an entire season until your eyes glaze over and your significant other has to pry the remote from your hand.

old_set_cartoon_television_duck_drunken_styled_tv

Adding to the problem is the proliferation of shows because of  cable and satellite TV.  No longer only 3-5 networks to choose from, there are hundreds of channels and series to grab our attention and eat up the 24 hours in a day…Lost, Dr. Who, Walking Dead, Mad Men, Justified, White Collar, Chuck, Game of Thrones, Shameless, Two Broke Girls, Homeland, I Love Lucy, and Sons of Anarchy…get the picture?

You don’t even have to be at home or near a TV to get your fix. Shows live in the cloud and can be downloaded to your i-pad, computer, or cell phone, whenever you can’t wait another moment to find out what happened to the hero from last time.

Now producers are encouraging you to binge by releasing a whole season at once, like for the return of Arrested Development they put out 15 episodes at the same time. What is a binge TV viewer to do!

A recent medical journal has identified this phenomenon as a real addiction. Symptoms include stiff neck, blurred vision, curled fingers, lack of appetite, and the tendency to go “sshh” a lot. Clinics with no TV, cable, or satellite service…stocked with only books…have sprung up all over the country. Addicts check in and are forced to go cold turkey by reading at least one book a day. Doctors say it is too early to tell if this treatment will be successful.

I’d like to write more about this, but there is a Pleasantville Marathon about to start in five minutes…

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy adventure “Drafted” and the soon to be released political thriller, “Party Favors.”