The Future That Never Was

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georgejetson I live in the future, and things are not as I was promised.

Back in the 1960’s, when I was Space Cadet Jimmie Joe, there were certain things that we simply knew would exist, off in the far distant future of the 21st Century. The big one, of course, was the flying car. The Jetsons‘ of 1962 got that wrong. Back To The Future of 1985 got it wrong, too. Space Cadet Jimmie Joe has never quite forgiven any of them for that.

The Jetsons‘ had big screen televisions and video phones, which we’ve pretty well matched. We get our dinners from a magic box we call a microwave oven, which is a pretty good substitute for dinner sliding out of the wall on a conveyor belt. And, of course, the Internet. Of all the future tech people wrote about in my childhood, nobody really thought of that one. So much for prognostication.

The future I live in has interesting quirks, some rather depressing. We have 400 channels of television, and nothing much worth watching. We have satellite radio, also with hundreds of channels.  The FM and AM radio bands are filled with screaming DJs, or drivel-filled talk shows that cater to conspiracy theories and “fake news”.

While the future is not quite Blade Runner, neither is it Star Trek.

I ran into one quirk this morning. It turns out that in the 21st century, if the computer goes down the fast food joint can’t serve anything. Nobody knows how to do anything without the computer adjudicating it first.

The grill was still hot. The french fryer still bubbling. The soda machine could still dispense a Coke. But without the computer, nothing happens.

Nobody knows how to take an order, write it down, add up the price, figure out the sales tax, and make a sale. Business comes to a screeching halt, all because the computer crashed.

I suppose that’s all so very futuristic of them, but it sure seems like we missed the boat (flying car) somewhere.

Oh. And my Congressman is suing a cow. A fake cow. For being mean to him.

Welcome to the 21st Century, Space Cadet Jimmie Joe.


My Facebook “Look Back”

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I’m about to do something I really, really don’t care for…

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Mow the lawn.

At least afterwards I get to go to Fresno for dinner and a movie!

He Came Back For A Short Visit

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Yep, Space Cadet Jimmie Joe popped up for a quick visit this morning.  At 4:50 am, to be exact.

That’s when the International Space Station was visible gliding across the sky from my driveway again.  Nothing more than a bright star, moving across the heavens.  But I know what it is, and so does Space Cadet Jimmie Joe.  When the ISS makes it’s appearance, you can be sure he will, too.

Science fiction novels, movies, the Jetsons, Star Trek, Johnny Quest.  Isaac Assimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Orson Scott Card, Carl Sagan.  Jimmie Joe is from a certain time, the 60’s and 70’s.  Things sometimes looked bleak back then, but they also held potential.  The Moon.  A Space Station.  Mars.

In 50 years we’ve gone from the first human in outer space, six manned expeditions to the Moon, and now a permanent presence in an orbiting laboratory above the Earth.  In 65 years we went from the first airplane to landing men on the Moon!

Space Cadet Jimmie Joe pops in from time to time to see how things are progressing.  He’s excited about the internet, my iPhone, the laptop I’m writing this blog post on, and all the cool futuristic stuff he sees, but he’s really disappointed that the flying cars haven’t made their appearance yet.   I am too. After all, promises were made.  To both of us.

I hope Space Cadet Jimmie Joe never gets so disappointed that he stops making his visits.

I’d really miss him.


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