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- The inside scoop on future projects
- More Adventures in Space and Time in the Joe-ma-Tron
You're traveling through a wondrous dimension of humor and shadow, of imagination and mist. Welcome to my website! Wander around a bit and see what’s up. If the mists get too thick, well, some things look better in the fog anyway. So come back often to The Joe Zone – and bring your friends. That way, if you get lost, or marooned here, at least you’re together. Not that people get marooned here. Very often. For very long. Signpost up ahead, your next stop – The Joe Zone!
Social media internet sites can be invaluable to writers. Even dinosaurs like me realize this, and therefore plunge into the online tar pits in search of faithful readers. I am reasonably active on a popular social media site, less so on a business and career networking site. One of the reasons I belong to both of them is to promote my writing career. I should clarify that I don’t actually have a writing career, but it makes me feel good to refer to one. At my age, I need to do whatever I can to feel good.
My interest in a business-oriented site is limited. I’m retired from my career where I pretended to be an engineer, and my only purpose in being connected to the business site is to promote my new career where I pretend to be a writer. Actually, calling it a career is sort of gilding the lily. In fact, it’s more like lying than gilding. Fortunately, lying is in style these days, particularly in politics and on social media sites. Anyway, I would need to have significantly more success before I could say I have even a failed writing career.
Therefore, I fiddle around on the business site, which we shall refer to as WonkedIn, to promote my writing. I have far less guilt about that than I should. It’s a desperate attempt to lure victims to my website blog, and other sites where my written disasters are lurking. So far, that tactic is working as unsuccessfully as my other attempts at foisting off my work on an apathetic public.
You probably heard a lot of hullabaloo earlier this month about turning clocks back. Everyone’s debating whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous daylight saving time, or to take arms against a sea of clocks…
I’ve found no evidence that The Bard had any feelings one way or the other on this topic that divides our nation (everything divides us these days – why shouldn’t what time it is?). Anyway, I usually like hullabaloo as much as the next lunatic, and this certainly is some prime hullabaloo. If Americans are well-stocked with anything, it’s crankiness, and they certainly don’t hesitate to spew it at any available target, including daylight. Wait a minute – did that sound misanthropic? Good. Seems appropriate.
Proponents of Daylight Saving Time have long claimed that it benefits business, while others dispute the claim. However, most objections I hear have little to do with business, and everything to do with changing clocks twice a year. Evidently that has become a burden that many Americans are incapable of dealing with. They’d much rather deal with a preposition ending a sentence, so I just provided one, free of charge. I’m not sure how much the objection has to do with the physical task of adjusting clocks (many clocks do that on their own these days), or adjusting to a new sleep schedule. Personally, I have never found either issue to be overwhelming.
I have a lost and found department inside my mind. I imagine you have one, too. It’s a strange little corner of the mind that’s hard to find, but once you’re there, it’s a devil to get out of. The “escape rooms” that are so popular today at least give you clues. Not so the Mental Lost and Found. You’re on your own, and you must chart your own course, or you can spend the better part of the day sifting through thoughts, hopes, ill-formed ambitions, and the debris of crashed dreams. On rare occasion, though, you can mine gold. And that makes the perilous descent worthwhile.
A trip to the Mental Lost and Found can be triggered by rummaging through the physical lost and found in the house. Usually there are several of these in any home, and they often go by the more prosaic term of “closet” or “drawer.” Sometimes the entire attic, basement, or garage is a lost and found, particularly if you’ve lived in your home for more than twenty years. I can start sifting through the contents of one of those places, and before I know it, a long-vanished item surfaces. OOOOOOHHHHH! I had forgotten about this! This may be the coolest thing I’ve ever owned! How did it get stuck in here?
My new short fiction story “The Fourth Shop on the Right” is on WAOB Audio Theatre. It’s a full-cast production, with sound effects and music. It’s about eight minutes long.
When a man wanders through an unfamiliar neighborhood, people seem to know him, and have been expecting him. Here’s a link to the Audio Theatre’s YouTube channel. You can copy and paste it into your browser. I hope you like the story!
Language is constantly evolving. Words that once were common fall from grace. The accepted definition of a word can change over time. Words that once meant “up” might now mean “down,” and heaven only knows what “objective” means these days. New words enter the language every day, in many cases in a stealthy if not downright cunning manner. Lexicographers bemoan the swelling ranks of undocumented words.
Evolving language helps explain why, for example, to a baby boomer’s ears, a millennial can sound like a Martian. (I personally believe many of them came from the Andromeda galaxy.) Teenagers, of course, are another matter entirely, and in some cases, anti-matter entirely.
This evolution also readily explains why Shakespeare is Greek, or possibly Latin, or maybe Ye Olde English, to modern ears. People don’t talk the way Will did. I’m not convinced they ever did, but that was a long time ago, and in England to boot, so who knows? (England is well known for doing strange things to the English language, as well as breakfast.) Of course, one need not go back as far as Shakespeare to encounter befuddling language in literature. Defoe, Hawthorne, Dickens, and Melville can all be tough sledding (or Nantucket sleigh riding, in Melville’s case).
In unexpected bovine news, a wandering band of rogue cows has been sighted in various areas around Murrysville, PA, over the last few weeks. No farmer has come forward to admit his cows have become vagrants. Whether this means he hasn’t noticed, or he just never developed a deep relationship with his cows, is open to interpretation. Speculation is rampant as to their origin, including the possibility of aliens, at least in some circles (crop circles, I suppose). Aliens, as everyone knows, love to abduct cows. So maybe some poor, confused aliens returned the cows to the wrong coordinates.
Let me first admit that I know almost nothing about livestock. The local newspaper published photos of the cows, from which I have shrewdly deduced they are black. Therefore, I might jump to the conclusion they are of the Black Angus denomination, but I don’t really know that. It may be that not all black cows are Angus. It may be that they’re not Scottish at all – as far as I know, they haven’t played any golf in their travels, or even shown up on a putting green. I don’t know that all Angus are black, either. There might be white Angus or tan Angus or mottled Angus or salted caramel Angus, or other colors and flavors that I’m not aware of – grillmasters can chime in here.
My story “The Barking Cat” is the first episode of the new series “Zero Hour,” on WAOB Audio Theatre. Listen to this audio drama as performed and recorded at the Audio Theatre.
Here’s a link to WAOB Audio Theatre’s YouTube channel. You can copy and paste it into your browser.
Many Joe Zone readers already know that my fiction stories are available as audio recordings on WAOB Audio Theatre. A new series, entitled “Zero Hour,” is launching Wednesday on Audio Theatre, and my story “The Barking Cat” is the premiere episode.
The story will be performed by talented voice actors, and has been recorded binaurally, for a stereo effect. If you have headphones or earbuds, put them on, for the best listening experience.
The Zero Hour stories are reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone,” often having an element of science fiction or unusual or unexplainable happenings. It’s going to be a fun and interesting program, and I have more stories lined up for it. Also, more of my “Electron Jones” Teslatown stories are slated for the fall.
You can listen to any Audio Theatre recording at their website https://waobaudiotheatre.org/.
You can also listen on their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtbt17jL8wRu2eKFXbvcJpw.
#Twilightzone #zerohour #audiotheatre #electronjones
Everyone has deep-seated fears. Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said we have nothing to fear but fear itself. However, most of us have a list of fears that goes far beyond that. Some typical fears include heights, snakes, spiders, and having a water balloon explode on your head in the middle of the night. Public speaking is feared by many people. Fear of failure is rampant. So is fear of flying, and, as exploited by Hollywood, flying in a plane filled with snakes, which is more likely than the scenarios presented in most Hollywood movies.
Some people, like Charlie Brown, fear everything. I’m pretty close to that. I thought of something last week that I’m not afraid of, but I can’t remember what it is. I’m sure that’s just as well. If I thought about it long enough, I’d probably talk myself into being afraid of it, and that would ruin my day. And one of my biggest fears is having my day ruined, so you can see the dilemma.
It’s a tradition here in the Joe Zone to welcome the December solstice, when the winter invades the Northern Hemisphere. Yesterday, December 21, was that day. Excuse me while I cover my ears to protect me from the shrieking – mine, I mean.
Many people love to complain about the weather. I know I do; in fact, it’s one of my best talents. I could even say I’m gifted in the area of weather grumping. So let’s objectively examine the hated season of winter, that abysmal time of year when death would be welcome relief. I can feel myself curling up like one of the dry, lifeless leaves shriveling and shivering on my lawn, under six inches of ice.
Of course, winter isn’t all bad. Some people actually like winter, and in fact look forward to it. They enjoy the cold, the snow, the lack of light, the misery, the depression, the soul-sucking numbness that winter brings. It’s an acquired taste.
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