You know, the "future" is a funny thing. It's this nebulous concept, and it never quite turns out the way we think or hope or fear it will. In 1949, George Orwell wrote 1984, a dystopian novel set in the title year. Say what you will about the Ronald Reagan era, but things still aren't as bleak as Orwell suggested (though the past decade has brought some stunning breaches of civil liberties). In 1968, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick concurrently developed the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey; by the time the new millennium rolled around, NASA seemed to be scaling back instead of charging forward. The Jetsons, premiering in 1962, was set 100 years into the future. We're almost halfway there, and we sure don't seem any closer to talking dogs and flying cars (though, to be fair, robotics and moving sidewalks are now a reality, if not a ubiquity).
Meanwhile, fifteen years ago some foolhardy fellow at Topps pegged Paul "Ace" Carey, older brother of former Washington Capitals goalie Jim Carey, as a "Future Star". It was a reach even at the time, as he was already 25 and hadn't set the American League on fire in a brief 1993 trial in Baltimore (.213 with 1 extra-base hit in 47 at-bats). Indeed, he would not play another game in the majors. By 1996, he was in independent ball, and by 1998, he was back in the minors as a manager for the Rangers organization. So much for the future.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that we're in 2009. It seems hard to believe, but the first decade of the Third Millennium (and the 21st Century) is almost over. The 2000's were a big, round number that served as inspiration for sci-fi writers and dreamers of all stripes. Still, in 2009, I find myself at the mercy of poorly-timed subway cars at rush hour and terribly maintained MARC passenger trains that can't get between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore without breaking down and causing an hourlong backup. We are officially in the future, and we need to bloody well start acting like it. It's Two Thousand and Nine, and today it took me three hours and ten minutes to travel sixty miles from office to doorstep. Where are the flying cars? Where are the transporters? Get cracking, science guys!