"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)

"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
September 19 is the last post for this blog. Thanks to all my readers!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

19 June 2013

Paul Dano b. 1984 (Looper, Cowboys and Aliens)
Aidan Turner b. 1983 (Kili in The Hobbit)
Zoe Saldana b. 1978 (Avatar, Star Trek)

Is there any chance Mr. Dano or Mr. Turner will get a shot at the Picture Slot the next time June 19th rolls around?

No. Not one chance in Hell. Many happy returns of the day to all three of these actors.


Movies released
Jason and the Argonauts released, 1963

Fifty years ago, I saw this movie on the big screen at the Grand Lake theater in Oakland, California. It is still one of the most memorable movie going experiences of my life. By today's special effects standards, it doesn't look real, but to my mind that is actually the point. It looks magical. Lots of scenes of giant gods and puny mortals, battles with a giant bronze statue, the skeleton army and several other magical beasts.

Great pacing, great visuals and wonderful music by Bernard Herrmann are just a few of the treats in this movie. Fifty years ago, this was a movie "made for kids" and Serious Film People wouldn't even consider discussing it as they would A Serious Film.

Simply put, they are wrong. Jason and the Argonauts was an important step forward in the history of cinema and still a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Here's to Ray Harryhausen, who died earlier this year. He will never be forgotten.

In the year 2000!

Prediction:Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today. They will purchase materials in tremendous wholesale quantities and sell the cooked foods at a price much lower than the cost of individual cooking. Food will be served hot or cold to private houses in pneumatic tubes or automobile wagons. The meal being over, the dishes used will be packed and returned to the cooking establishments where they will be washed. Such wholesale cookery will be done in electric laboratories rather than in kitchens. These laboratories will be equipped with electric stoves, and all sorts of electric devices, such as coffee-grinders, egg-beaters, stirrers, shakers, parers, meat-choppers, meat-saws, potato-mashers, lemon-squeezers, dish-washers, dish-dryers and the like. All such utensils will be washed in chemicals fatal to disease microbes. Having one’s own cook and purchasing one’s own food will be an extravagance.

Predictor: John Elfreth Watkins in a 1900 issue of The Ladies' Home Journal

Reality: Watkins loses a point or two, but he gets a lot right as well. His love for pneumatic tubes can be compared to the Hard SF's love for space travel, but the basic idea of delivery food is exactly true and the size of the kitchens is at least somewhat true. Having a cook is an extravagance, purchasing one's own food isn't. You can't eat out every night.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

It's H.G. Wells' turn at bat tomorrow, predicting the future of gambling.

I've got five bucks that says he's wrong. (Add General Ackbar's favorite line here.)

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!


  1. pneumatic tubes aside, that is remarkable.

    Are we sure an iPhone didn't slip through a wormhole or something in John's hands?

    1. In some ways, I think John Elfreth has an unfair advantage over the people making predictions in 1950 or later. He would have to be a fiction writer to think "Space travel! We'll be on Pluto!"

      While he was predicting the year 2000, think about how much of the stuff he got right actually came to pass by 1950 or earlier. Some of it got even bigger, some of it just embedded into the fabric of society.

      He's good, don't get me wrong. But he's actually on the conservative side, while guys like Clarke and Heinlein and even Wells are trying to stretch, showing reach that exceeds their grasp. John Elfreth Watkins has a WAY better batting average than his more famous competitors (and let's face it, he's way prettier, too), but I don't think he had a window into future worlds, just a logical mind working with the patterns of 1900, which were not as mind boggling as 1950 or later.

      (Geez, this is a long comment.Maybe it should be a post.)

    2. I definitely see your point. Also, the pace of change pre-1950 was less rapid and less helter-skelter, so extrapolation was maybe less difficult.

      Starting in the 50s, the acceleration of change becomes so difficult to wrap your head around. Heck, in some ways it is difficult to just LIVE through. Imagine in the 40s/50s, prop planes were the standard, and it had only been one generation, really, since people started flying. And by 1970, men had landed on the moon.

      I remember reading about the production of the original Star Trek, when they were trying to be as futuristic as they could while still remaining in familiar territory, and they constantly had problems outpacing things that were actually happening. So many of the things they showed have happened. Heck, I keep laughing at TNG, when they keep throwing iPads around. TOS, they said that more than once, they received calls from NASA or the Rand corp, asking how they obtained the specs of things they were developing.

    3. I still think one of your readers, inspired by this blog, is going to develop a time machine and go back to give old John Elfreth all this information. Thus bringing everything full circle.

      Odd, though, that Watkins seemed to have totally missed the boat on the zompocalypse. I guess it's not me that's going to come up with the time machine.

      Speaking of which, have you seen "Safety Not Guaranteed"? Amusing little character study/ sci-fi.

  2. ummm...if I had said INTO John's hands, that comment would have been more clear.


Traveler! Have you news... FROM THE FUTURE?