The 21st Century? Really?

There are 4 things I have always loved; music, food, hot babes, and science fiction. I also love having a good laugh, so I guess a plate of manicotti made and served by Elisha Cuthbert aboard the Enterprise NCC 1701 – E while listening to the Four Freshman’s heads (in their Futurama Jars) sing “Graduation Day’ while Bender slips a whoopee cushion onto Capt. Picard’s chair would be my ideal way to spend a night out. Truth of the matter is, here we are in the 21st Century and I don’t even have a flying car….

Growing up when I did (post second world war, pre Kennedy) I came to expect a lot of miracles by the year 2000. An era, we learned from reading comic books, and sci-fi digests and watching movies and television shows as kids, that would be defined by personal jet-packs and pills that had a steak dinner crammed into them, or alien overlords that had tentacles and threatened us with whips and ray guns if we didn’t toe the alien line. I don’t have to tell you how badly we were misled.

Mostly, we were always told how much better things would be in the future, but now that the future is here, I have to point out that pretty much nothing is better.

Let’s see…do we have a city on the moon? Nope. Do we control the weather? Nope. Have we cured any disease since polio? Nope. Moving sidewalks? Ocean based hydroponic farms? Have we put an end to war? Are you kidding me? 3D television? Hooray!

Do we broadcast energy and power? No. We broadcast Tweets and TMZ. Do we have Universal Health Care and Universal Translators? No. We have Universal Studios and Universal Music. And what of my four favourite things? How is that going?


I can still taste the food from my youth. I can close my eyes and remember my mom’s cioppino, breaded veal cutlets (try and find one of those these days) chicken cacciatore and apple and banana fritters. Then there were the enchiladas at Costanza’s, the steaks at the 276 Club, the Chinese food at On Lock Sam’s, and Wilson’s cheeseburgers and fried ham sandwiches. Not only was all of this food made fresh, none of it was irradiated, pumped full of vitamins, frozen, canned, processed, or altered in any way. On top of that, the 16 oz. rib steaks and T-bones at Club 276 were under 4 dollars and perfectly cooked every time. Even McDonald’s original hamburger (only 15 cents) was fresh and tasty.

To find a steak as good and well prepared as the ones at the 276 Club these days will cost you around 40 dollars. God only knows what’s in it. Also, food should not be stacked up on top of itself…it’s just wrong. There is plenty of room on the plate to put the mashed potatoes and asparagus NEXT to the meat.


I was originally going to name-check radio as one of my loves, but radio as I know it doesn’t exist in the 21st Century. Any radio that exists here in the future that bears a resemblance to the radio I grew up on is (as Data always loved to point out) an anomaly. Fascinating. Hot Babes, on the other hand, exist in droves here in the future.

When I was 9, I shook hands with Sophia Loren in front of Graumann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. She was part of some ceremony there and I was in Los Angeles because my mom was taking me to Disneyland (which had opened the month before) for my 10th birthday. Ms. Loren was even more stunning in person than in films, but I didn’t come to realize that for several years. In the ‘60s the hot babes wore mini skirts, so by the 21st Century, I figured they would all be dressing like Alta Morbius in Forbidden Planet, complete with robot servants (who could also become a still and make bottles of bourbon on demand). But no such luck. During the summer, future Hot Babes do dress like Alta did, but the sweet disposition and ultra cool house on a distant planet has been replaced by tipsy texting on a licensed patio and crantini/Jager breath. The only robot servants we have are those little round vacuum cleaners.


Sci-Fi used to be a lot of fun. Here in the future it has taken a turn for the worse. Most of it seems to be very pessimistic and sad, ‘edgy’ for ‘edgy’s’ sake, and full of doom and gloom. We had some stuff like that when I was a kid, When Worlds Collide, to name one, but the heroes always survived, got the girl, and lived happily ever after. Now, we’re lucky of the girl lives and the hero (if there is one) doesn’t end up pancaked under a giant robot foot. In the ‘50s, television filled my head with all sorts of promissory notes I expected to collect here in the 21st Century. Tom Corbett Space Cadet said I could be a Space Cadet when I grew up. In a way, I did become one for a while in the 1980s, but not the way I wanted to. Tales of Tomorrow told of time travel and world peace.Commando Cody promised personal jet packs and a privately owned space faring ship you could keep in the desert by some Paper Mache rocks. Oh, the dreams I had.

The internet is about the coolest thing here in the future. Still, most people use it to access porn or look at cats playing the piano, but it IS a pretty neat piece of technology. Ditto the smart phone, but I have to ask…does anybody REALLY want to watch a 100 million dollar movie on a 2×4 inch screen with a pair of ear buds crammed into their ears like a couple of pencils? The iPad and similar tablet devices do live up to at least one of Star Trek’s promises, but I thought by now we would have cured cancer, figured out a way to make nicotine harmless, and formed a beneficent world government that would be hard at work ending poverty and hunger. On those fronts, the future is just like the past.


Here in the 21st Century it is on the internet and in the clubs. Tell your friends.


Being able to find stuff like this at home…in my underwear.

The Students pay homage to the Teachers: Graduation Day

And the Teachers pay homage to the Students: Surfer Girl

The entire run will follow the first episode automatically. Two heroes as 3 year old kids. Charming and infinitely funny: Baman Piderman

Sci-Fi done right: Super 8, The Event, Falling Skies, Captain America: First Avenger, and Green Lantern.

Food done right: Harbour Sixty, Bar Italia, and Rancho Relaxo (300 College Street Toronto ON)

Music done right: All over the internet and in your local clubs. Tell us what you like…spread the word. Try these on for size: Rival Sons, Gloryhound, and Stacey Kaniuk

Those of you who wish to continue to receive the Don’t Believe a Word I Say columns, The Monday Morning MailbagThe Rock Files, and The Weekend Roundup, can email me at to let me know, and I will email the columns new URL directly to you.

3 Responses to “The 21st Century? Really?”

  1. The reason we didn’t get all the groovy stuff in the future as envisioned by the creative folks in the path is that everyone was busy dreaming stuff up, but no one was busy building any of it. We were all waiting for someone else to do it. Oh, and the flying car guy is still 46 years in development. He’s already perfected it…but bureaucrats won’t give him airspace to fly it.

  2. Jim Chisholm in Campbell River Says:

    This was a column that had to be written. I want my jet pack and i wanted to live and breathe under water.

  3. The future did seem very postitive when we were growing up in the 1950’s & 1960’s. During the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair, I talked to a kid on the east coast somewhere on a video phone! That part is coming true on the net & probably soon on yer Dick Tracey wrist iphone.

    But this is the one that still gets me to this day. About 1968 or 69 I went on a tour of some computer complex downtown with the Boy Scouts that my dad had arranged. As we looked at these hermetically sealed, climate controlled, noisy reel to reel magnectic tape machines & punch card machines crunching zeroes & ones, my dad said, “Some day people will have these in their homes.” For the life of me, I could not figure out why anyone would want one of these large noisy damn things in their homes…& here I sit with my laptop…

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