- English as a First Language – Further Exciting Episodes
- More Adventures in Space and Time in the Joe-ma-Tron
- More News thru a Misty Lens
- Joe Interviews and Mesmerizes Charlize Theron – wait, that was just a dream.
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!
Americans crave new sports. I came to this conclusion recently when it became apparent some people were actually excited about soccer.
Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf – all fine sports. Americans have become a bit jaded about them, however. The bloom is off the rose (if we can talk about roses in connection with any sport except horse racing.) America is ripe to be taken by storm by something new.
Not mixed martial arts, which isn’t much more than the boxing pig with lipstick. And I’m certainly not talking about that snooze-a-lose we call soccer (and the rest of the world calls football, except for those who call it futbol).
History, literature, and the daily headlines are filled with examples of noble people being corrupted by power. Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Moe Howard – the list is long and depressing. Recently, many voices have expressed concern over a perceived tipping of the scales of power, over one entity acting unilaterally to achieve controversial objectives, over a dangerous concentration of authority where it was never meant to be. I am referring, of course, to the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Several years ago, the IAU reclassified the once proud planet of Pluto as a dwarf planet. Every citizen of planet Earth should be concerned. If they can demote Pluto out of its planethood, what else can they do? Deciding the fate of astronomical bodies smacks of tyranny and megalomania. Do these despots reside on Mt. Olympus? Do they hang out with IRS commissioners?
Prior to the IAU’s action in 2006, the only known way of removing a planet from the universe was by using the Death Star. The IAU is, therefore, the only known superpower to have Death Star capability, surpassing the destructive capability of the U.S., Russia, China, and Godzilla combined, and with no radioactivity.
A quick follow-up on the recent “blog hop” that brought a number of fresh, uninitiated tourists to the Joe Zone. At times, a new visitor was spotted browsing around a bit, then wandering off shaking their head and muttering, “Some kind of gibberish is being spoken here.”
Gibberish? Harrumph! Gibberish, sir? We don’t speak gibberish around here. No, this is the Joe Zone, and we speak Joeberish. That’s right, 100% pure Joeberish.
This special edition of the Joe Zone comes courtesy of author Karen Malena (more on her later). Karen graciously asked me to be part of a “blog hop,” which helps readers hop from blog to blog, and discover new writers. Blog hops can have different formats, and in this one, you will find out a bit about me as I answer specific questions. Welcome, blog hoppers!
Joe’s in the hot seat – let’s get started!
Some Joe Bio Info:
Hello, my name is Joe Potts, and I am the proprietor of the Joe Zone.
I was born and raised in the previous millennium in Pittsburgh, primarily on Mt. Washington. I am a Carnegie Mellon University graduate, with a degree in mechanical engineering (I know, I’m surprised, too), and an “unofficial” minor in English. It gives me great joy to say I am semi-retired. I have lived in Westmoreland County, Pa., for most of my adult life. I’m now in Harrison City with my young wife of forty years, Susan.
I am an animal lover, and Susan and I have had cats most of our lives, but not at the moment (and, no, you can’t dump off a kitten on my doorstep). In fact, my first published piece was about the disintegrating social structure of our five cats.
I enjoy playing guitar at church for our Praise Team. I also like to read, including archaic media such as newspapers and magazines. I especially enjoy biographies. I am a fan of James Thurber, James Bond, Perry Mason, Dave Mason, Mason Williams, William Shatner, Sherlock Holmes, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Floyd the barber, Chet Atkins, Les Paul, and William Shakespeare’s contribution to American cinema, Forbidden Planet. Wyatt Earp was OK, too.
I began writing while in the fifth grade, when I composed a parody of Longfellow’s “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” which featured the first appearance in history of a Corvette. I’ve dabbled a bit in science fiction, and occasionally write a serious (harrumph!) piece, but I mostly hang with the humor crowd these days.
And now, a mysterious disembodied voice will ask me four questions about my writing:
Someone told me recently that I had done an unexpected remarkable thing in a dream of theirs, and it got me to thinking about dreams. We appear in our own dreams, of course, but we also play a part in the dreams of others.
Most people would consider my life to be rather ordinary. In fact, the people who know me best think my life would need a major upgrade to be ordinary. I may be the quintessential “ordinary Joe.” Yet who would dare to guess that last night I slew a dragon, captained a starship, flew like an eagle, or won the World Series and the Super Bowl on the same day? But I may have done all of those things, and more, in the dream world.
The Golf Channel recently aired a three part special on Arnold Palmer, titled simply, “Arnie.” That alone speaks volumes. When you say, “Arnie,” everyone – and I mean everyone – knows who you mean.
Latrobe native Arnold Palmer cut a swath through professional golf, and life, such as is rarely seen. Combining a fearless, “charging” style of playing the game, with a powerfully magnetic personality, he was the perfect working class hero. He also had great timing, arriving on the golf scene at the advent of live televised golf tournaments.
It was the perfect match for both golf and Arnie. He shot a bolt of electricity into the sport that caused the game to explode in popularity, and the man to become a beloved icon. It has been observed that he may not be the best golfer who ever lived, but he is the most important. Huge throngs of supporters, who came to be known as Arnie’s Army, would gravitate to wherever he was on the golf course. Arnold’s impact on golf’s popularity is unparalleled in any sport. But beyond that, the true measure of the man is the love that his fans have bestowed on him. If ever hero worship rose to more than just a phrase, it is with Arnold. Arnie possesses a special quality that goes beyond being charismatic.
How cool is it to find out that the hero of your hero is another of your heroes?
Mrs. Zone and I had the privilege of seeing Vince Gill in concert recently. We’ve seen him three times now, and twice had the privilege of meeting with him afterwards. Mr. Gill is a fabulous musician and entertainer, blessed with a wonderful voice and killer guitar chops. But beyond that, he’s a class act, and I don’t mean just his performance. He’s humble, down-to-earth, and genuine. He takes time at the end of a long evening of performing to chat, pose, and sign autographs with fans, including awkward dullards like Joe.
I don’t just look up to and admire the performer, I look up to and admire to the man.
Mountains of hype and hyperbole have been heaped by the media on 3D printers lately. Of course, we expect that type of behavior from the media, because it draws our attention, which increases sales or ratings, which results in more money. (For them, not us.) Perhaps in this case it’s warranted, because 3D printers appear poised to be the Next Big Thing. At least, that’s what the media is telling us.
First, let’s understand and agree that “3D printer” is a horrible name for these devices. It’s not accurate, and is in fact actively misleading. The name probably came from the Society for the Creation of Ridiculous Names (SCORN), which provided such celebrity baby names as Pilot Inspektor , Kal-El, and Moon Unit. The 3D printer is not a printer at all. It doesn’t make copies of letters, family trees, or your grocery list. Rather, it’s a manufacturing device that makes objects from a computer model by layering material successively. Traditional manufacturing machines remove material from a blank.
Most of us have experienced awkward social situations, like realizing you have coleslaw on your shirt after you’ve been talking to someone you’re trying to impress. The particulars may vary, but I think many will be able to relate to the following story. (This is an abridged version of an article of mine that appeared in a local magazine a few years ago).
One look in the mirror confirmed my worst fears: a poppy seed the size of the Hope Diamond was stuck between my front teeth. Except this diamond was still a black lump of coal. Why had I given in to temptation, knowing the potential consequences? Because the poppy roll had looked so scrumptious, that’s why! And the aroma of fresh baked goods – am I some superhuman who can resist the Siren call of momentary pleasure? I had known it would be dangerous, and now I was paying the price for my weakness. So there I was at work, in the men’s room, unfit for social interaction.
I took some hot water in my mouth, and vigorously swished it around. Swisha, swisha, swisha. I spit it out through the front teeth, like we used to as kids, then checked my teeth again. I can’t believe it! It’s still there!
The Games of the 2014 Winter Olympics are now underway in Sushi, Russia, or some similar place, and appear to be off to a flying start, at least for the ski jumpers. After tense moments when some bad press was being generated due to unfinished hotels, and an apparent mixup between drinking water and urine samples, the games seem to be running smoothly now. (I have just been handed a bulletin stating that the games are actually in Sochi. Who knew?)
The USA team got off to a fast start when Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal, for falling off a cliff on a snowboard while twisting his body into a pretzel and spinning at 33 1/3 rpm, before regaining consciousness and landing on his feet. Afterward, he commented, “Cowabunga, dude! You should see the dream I just had!” Many other competitors also gave awesome impressions of skydivers who forgot their parachutes, but in the end, the gold went to Sage. When asked if he had ever attempted that particular maneuver before, he replied, “Not while I was awake.”
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