Fountain of Youth Discovered…

Fountain of Youth (200px)I’ve done it. I’ve discovered the fountain of youth. I have succeeded where Ponce de Leon failed.The fountain is in southern California. But, there are no sacred waters to drink; no special potions to swallow. All you have to do is move here.

Don’t believe me? Ask anybody out here who is not a native. When did you arrive in Los Angeles? They will likely say…”Oh, I haven’t been here that long. I think it was around 1989.”  And you will say, “Dude, that was 26 years ago.” And they will say, “But I look and feel the same as the day I arrived.”

There are several reasons I think L.A. is the fountain of youth: everybody exercises, lots of sunshine, emphasis on healthy eating habits, nobody smokes cigarettes, or lays in the sun, plastic surgery, liposuction, and the number one reason…no seasons.

That’s right, you may celebrate your birthday every year, but without any seasons, there is no sense of time passing. No changing of the leaves on a palm tree. No cancelled school days from snow. No cold winter’s nights in front of a fire. No spring awakening with plants and grass sprouting from the ground, Every day is the same!

I’ll use myself as an example. I moved here in 2008 and took this picture. Here is a picture I posted in 2015. Exactly the same!  CU Me Jobs1me2

So if you want to live forever and never change, come to L.A. or San Diego. Give me a call, I can recommend some nice neighborhoods.

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comic/adventure novel, “DRAFTED” and the soon to be released thriller, “Identity Check.”

My Dad, the President

Every time I write about something “political,” somebody gets upset. But my new novel, “Identity Check,” has politics as a central theme, so I might as well get use to it.

Pollsters predict that after all the smoke clears that the 2016 presidential election will likely offer Clinton vs Bush. Sound familiar? That would mean our latest series of presidents would be Bush (41st), Clinton (42nd), Bush (43rd), Obama (44th)….and then Bush or Clinton…again.

It got me to thinking about families in politics. Was George Bush and G.W. the first father/son in the White House? Nope…it was John Adams (2nd president) and his son, John Quincy Adams (6th president). john quincy adams

Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president, was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the 9th. Teddy Roosevelt (26th) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd) were distant cousins. William Howard Taft (27th) had a son and grandson who were both U.S. Senators. And then there’s the Kennedy clan.

Having a recognizable name (or being related to one) has always helped in politics, as well as business or entertainment. Could a Diane Rodham (with Republican parents) get the Democratic presidential nomination? Maybe, but she has a much better chance as Hillary Diane Rodham-Clinton.Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Jeb-BushYou need to remember the name to vote, but before you decide which box to check, look at the person behind the name and what they stand for. Don’t judge Jeb Bush on what his brother did, or Hilary Clinton based on her husband Bill’s popularity and accomplishments.

Most importantly, register, cast your opinion, and be part of the process. Who knows, it may be the start of your own political dynasty.

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richallan-300dpi-3125x4167 - CopyRichard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure, Drafted, and the upcoming political thriller, “Identity Check.”

 

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

50-Year High School Reunion

I got a letter in the mail recently inviting me to attend my 50-year high school reunion. Can this be possible? Where did the time go ? Have I somehow violated the time space continuum? Who are all these old people in the 40th reunion photo?  I barely recognize anyone anymore. They likely say the same of me.  graduation_cap

Questions flood my brain. How did I manage to survive the birth of rock and roll, the cold war, Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy assassinations, Vietnam, Watergate, and the Kardashians? I have become a walking, talking, living source of history.

Fifty years…turtles don’t live that long. It’s 50% of the 100-year war. It’s half of a century. It’s the length of time you have to live before you can join AARP.

1964 marked the Beatles British invasion, smoking declared bad for your health, Dr. Strangelove premiered, Sean Connery started filming Goldfinger, the Kennedy half-dollar, Arnold Palmer winning the Masters, Tom Jones getting the best picture Academy Award, Barry Goldwater becoming the Republican Presidential Candidate, Martin Luther King winning the Nobel Peace Prize and shooting began on the Star Trek TV pilot. What a year! Oh, and 180 of us graduated from Tecumseh High School.

We put so much emphasis on high school memories.  Why?  At best it consists of four years as a burgeoning teenager, trying to fit in with the top cliques, exploring our sexuality, fretting about college and leaving the safety of the parental nest, embarrassing yearbook photos, fake IDs, 3.2% beer, flat tops, sock hops, dating, and grappling in the back seat at the drive-in, sometimes with a partner.

One faces a high school reunion with trepidation to say the least. Will the ones who ruled the school still set the pace, or will the former diamonds in the rough lead the parade?  Does it even matter anymore? We are no longer teenagers. Some of our classmates are great grandparents with metal hips. We knew these people for a short time 50 years ago. Are they really long-lost friends or are we merely hoping to recapture our youth (along with uncontrollable acne, wet dreams, 25 cent gasoline, clunky eyeglasses, and black & white TV).

Too deep for me. High school was a mostly pleasant, but distant memory that for me will stay in the past. You can go home, but likely everyone else has already moved to the 21st century. I wonder who will make it to our 60-year reunion? I hope they keep the food and the music soft and let me out of the home for two days straight. I can’t wait to take off my shoes and dance on the gym floor just once more.

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of Drafted, a comedy/adventure novel available at amazon.com.

Drafted Book Cover
Drafted Book Cover

 

The Lord is Calling

I know you should never blog about sex, politics, or religion, especially when they all happen at the same time, but when I got a phone call this morning from Jesus Christ, I couldn’t resist telling you about it.

I’m sitting on the couch, doing my mental exercises, thinking up ways to get into trouble, when the phone rings. We get a lot of telemarketer calls (see some of my earlier blogs), so I always check the caller ID before I bother to answer.

JesusThere in block letters was the name, “Jesus Christ,” calling from area code 669. The phone rings a second time. Does Heaven have an area code?

What to do? There’s no time to look it up because after four rings, our phone goes to voice mail. What if it’s really Him? It would be very rude not to answer. But if it is Him, what does he want with me? I believe in God, but have my doubts about heaven, and haven’t been in church in several years (except for a horror film I did).  Maybe that was it…He was calling to chastise me for not doing better.

I had read about priests who joined the priesthood after receiving “the calling,” but I never imagined it would come over a land line from Time Warner. No, that can’t be it, I’m not even an ex-Catholic. The phone rings a third time.

I’m not a young man any more, so maybe it was my calling home…time to go up to the pearly gates, and account for my deeds when I was alive. No that can’t be it either…I just had a physical and the doctor said I was fine. But what did a mere doctor know compared to Him?

I started writing down all the good deeds I could remember, so I didn’t forget anything when face-to-face with Saint Peter. My list was pretty short – once shared my cookie with a pretty girl in kindergarten, helped a little old lady across the street and onto a bus (how did I know she had just escaped from a nearby nursing home), and ….can I get extra credit for good intentions?

I took a deep breath and answered the phone. A disembodied voice spoke to me, “…We welcome you to join the Body of Christ. If interested call this number.”  I hung up and looked up area code 669. It’s not heaven, it’s a new area code near San Francisco. (could it be a local branch office?)

Now I’m really confused. Was this a “moment” or just a church outreach program using new technology? If it was a religious group, how in heaven’s name did they get Jesus Christ’s caller ID?

I’m not taking any chances…the rest of this week, every old person I find is getting my help whether they need it or not.

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy/adventure novel, “DRAFTED,” (amazon.com) and the soon to be released thriller, “Confidential Contact.”

 

 

Letters To Father

Dear Dad:

Today is Fathers Day 2014, so I thought it appropriate I write you a short note to let you know I still think about you and the influence you had on my life. You were a gentle soul. I don’t think I ever saw you lose your temper. If there were ever a family conflict, you were always the voice of reason. You taught me that compromise is not a bad thing.

Family Pictures 005

What do I remember most? So many things, but probably all our family vacations, camping up and down the east coast in the pop up trailer you designed and built, using your aeronautical engineering skills. I can picture the pride you had showing off your family at those work visitation days at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. How many kids had a dad who: designed a test plane that saved the government billions of dollars? Or received a letter from President Carter thanking you for your military and civilian service? Or attended every appearance or performance I ever did? Or encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be?

I hated that phone call when you had the stroke at work, providing for your family right up to the last moment, never getting the chance to do something just for you. Too brief a time to hold your hand for one final time, like we used to when I was little, before the two final strokes that took you into a coma from which there was no return.Family Pictures 008

Thirty-six years have passed since you had to leave. You missed out on a lot of happy events, like my college masters graduation, our two kids, and the rest of your grandchildren, my first novel. Did you know my boss, the Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, came to your funeral? 58 is way to soon to be taken away.

But maybe you didn’t miss anything. I can still feel your presence when I start to get angry and hear you telling me to count to ten first.Arthur George Jones, Jr.

So why don’t you come to dinner with us today and bring mother. It’s been a long time since we sat down together for a meal. I might even buy you a tie, but act surprised when you open it, so the others don’t know I told you.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad, Arthur George Jones, Jr., 1919-1978.

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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the novel “Drafted” and the upcoming thriller, “Confidential 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.