Sunday, January 7, 2018

Odds 'n' Ends

The old year ends, the new year begins, and another piece of what I once regarded as "the future" is chipped away. I think about this a lot, but especially in January, going all the way back to January 1981, seven months after I graduated from high school, or, as I use to think of it, the center of time. However, I no longer consider the years leading up to high school graduation that way. No, thanks to everything from 20th century science fiction books and movies to a popular Prince song to biblical timekeeping, I now see the center of time as extending all the way to December 31, 1999. The future began the very next day. Of course that was quite some time ago. To a boy or girl born that next day, whose high school graduation is now a mere five months away, the present day may not seem very much like the future at all. Well, that's their loss. Not every generation has an end of a millennium to either look forward to or dread.

So, is this future living up to expectations? Well, if it's not quite the future of Star Trek or The Jetsons, neither is it Mad Max or Rollerball. So to make sense of it all, I'd like to give you good people a little quiz, one that requires from you extreme honesty and a good memory of what exactly your mind set and expectations were at any given point in time. Let's begin:

1. In 1969, if you were asked which technological feat would most likely have already occurred 49 years in the future, would you have said:

A.) Colonization of the moon.

 B.) Pagers in restaurants that light up, beep, vibrate, etc, when your food is ready.

 2. In 1974, if you were asked which of these two mechanical devices would still be in widespread use 44 years in the future, would you have said:

 A.) Electric typewriter

 B.) Gasoline-powered automobile

 3. In 1985, if you were asked which of these two types of businesses would still be operating 33 years in the future, would you have said:

 A.) Video stores

B.) Television networks

4. In 1970, if you were asked which of these would be the greater threat 48 years in the future, would you have said:

A.) Computers taking over the world

B.) Spam taking over computers

5. In 1987, if you were asked which of these would be more controversial 31 years in the future, would you say:

A.) Marijuana

B.) The casting couch

 6. In 1974, if you were asked which of these pop stars were more likely to still be alive 44 years in the future, would you have said:

 A.) Michael Jackson

B.) Brian Wilson

7. In 1999, if you were asked what name 20th Century Fox  would go by 19 years in the future, would you have said:

A.) 21st Century Fox

 B.) The Walt Disney Company

8. In the last few months of 2001, if you were asked which of these two men had a more promising political future, would you have said:

A.) Rudy Giuliani

B.) Donald Trump

9. In the last few weeks of 2016, if you were asked which of these two individuals had a more promising career in government, would you have said:

A.) Steve Bannon

B.) Danica Roem

10. In 1976, if you were asked which would be more likely 43 years in the future, would you say:

A.) Jesus Christ's return to Earth

B.) Saturday Night Live still on the air

OK, that's the test. So how did you do? If you answered B.) on all 10 questions, what the hell are sitting at home and staring at a computer screen for?

This is the place you ought to be!


  1. I was watching MRS DOUBTFIRE the other day ...only 1990s but mrs Doughtfire at the end made a speech about " all sorts of families make up the word" step dads, single moms , divorced parents etc.... no mention of gay things have changed .......gladdens the heart

  2. That's one I couldn't have predicted. Thanks for commenting, John.

    1. It gladdens my heart, too, John.

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  3. Rudy Giuliani went nuts and lost a lot of respect

    Trump went even more nuts and became president

  4. Can't change it now as I only have access to a cell phone, but question number 9 should read "In 2016..." Bannon was already out of government in the final weeks of 2017.

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  7. Ha ha, that's a great test! Just goes to show how weirdly unpredictable the future is. Good thing too. Last night I went to a double-header showing of "Blade Runner -- The Director's Cut" and "Blade Runner 2049." Not the cheeriest movies about the future . . . .

  8. Your are quite something Kirk!!!!! Luckily after all the partying of the late 90's and early 2000's I remember some of these. Meanwhile If you'd told me Trump would have been president, Id said your were nuts. Never liked him, but who'd thought he sucked this bad. He uses deodorant in 68 places and he still stinks.

    1. Ha! That comment is quite something, Maddie!

      There will eventually be a Trumpless future. I just hope it's sooner than later.

  9. 1. A; 2. B; 3. B; 4. A; 5. A; 6. A; 7. A; 8. A; 9. B; 10. A

    1. Hmm...Not Las Vegas, Mitchell, but if they bring back LET'S MAKE A DEAL.

  10. Hi, Kirk!

    I enjoyed taking your clever quiz and right now I am laughing to keep from crying, not because I flunked it, but because "someone left the cake out in the rain" (dated reference) "and I'll never have that recipe again" (dated reference). TV network news was in capable hands when guys like Walter Cronkite (dated reference) sat in the anchor chair. As it stands today, Pee Wee Herman (dated reference) would have more credibility as an anchor than some of the sketchy characters that bring us the news. Moreover Pee Wee has a cleaner sex abuse record. He merely molested HIMSELF in that movie theater (dated reference).

    Yep, I still remember that night when Americans gathered around their television sets and awaited the exclamation "Man on the moon!" (dated reference). I thought for sure the next big thing would be Golden Arches across the lunar landscape. I was wrong. Turns out the moon is fake and so are the news media.

    It is alarming to realize how many 20th century "Facts of Life" (dated reference) have been forgotten by those of us who were alive at the time and how many are not being taught and learned by post millennials. Someday, perhaps sooner than we think, most people will go through life never having heard of the Beatles (dated reference), Elvis Presley (dated reference), Milli Vanilli (dated reference) and Menudo (dated reference). They would need to "let their fingers do the walking" (dated reference) to Google and look them up.

    "The times they are a changin'" (dated reference), "and you tell me over and over and over again, my friend, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction" (dated reference).

    Tonight, when you go to bed, hug your Jane Fonda Workout tape (dated reference) and give thanks there are still remnants, albeit "Precious and Few" (dated reference) of "The Way We Were" (dated reference).

    Thanks, good buddy Kirk!

  11. If it makes you feel any better, Shady, I recognized every one of your dated references, but then I'm old enough to remember when Matt Dillon was a character on Gunsmoke.

  12. Gosh I remember Shadys references too !
    I miss the cars that fly is the future is very iffy. I was sure I would live next door to the Jetsons.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

  13. Well, parsnip, you can always argue that airplanes and helicopters are flying cars. Or at least flying machines. But the reason we don't have flying cars is because they're impractical. An air machine can cover a vast difference in a short amount of time, but it can't cover a short distance, or as short a distance as an automobile, in a short amount of time. Suppose you lived next door to a McDonald's (and pretend you wouldn't mind that.) Would you then drive across town to buy yourself an egg mcmuffin? Of course not, but you wouldn't drive next door either. You'd walk. Now suppose you don't live next door to a McDonald's, but there's one on the next block. Would you then take a flying car to a McDonald's in the next county? Probably, not, but it also would be impracticable to take a flying car to that next block. Too much fuel for such a short trip. You end up driving a road-based car (or just ride a bike or walk) See what I'm saying?

    On the Jetsons nothing was on ground level. Everything, even a city park, was sky-high. Why? Isn't there such a thing as solid earth in the future? Of course there is, but the animators needed to justify and rationalize the existence of flying cars (which everyone expects to see in the future.)

  14. But I love flying cars !
    Woe oh woe is me woe woe woe !