- 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!
The 2015 baseball season is off and running, as today we have the Boston Beaneaters taking on the St. Louis Maroons, and later the Worcester Ruby Legs try to derail the Brooklyn Superbas.
At least, that’s the scenario that could have taken place in the 1800’s, when team names were apparently much more imaginative. Those are actual names of professional ball teams of yore. St. Louis also had the Perfectos. Imagine a contest between the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and the Philadelphia Quakers. And what more deserving name can there be for a Cleveland team than the Spiders? I wonder if the Spider uniform had hairy legs. Or a venom sac.
While watching a vocabulary-building cartoon show with my grandson, I was fascinated by a segment where they asked kids for their favorite word. (These were real children, not the cartoon variety.) They all instantly fired back a favorite word. No hesitation. Ah, to be young, and live in an uncomplicated world, and not over-think everything.
Do you have a favorite word? Or is that like trying to pick a favorite child? I can’t choose a favorite word, any more than I can choose a favorite song or book or movie. There is a word, though, that I love, and quite a forlorn little vagabond it is. It mostly sits abandoned in a seldom-trod corner of the dictionary, where respectable people no longer wander. I’m taking this word by the hand now, dusting it off, scrubbing its face, putting fresh clothes on it, and presenting it to you for your edification and consideration. Submitted for your approval and adoption: rebuke.
I’m not sure why this word has fallen into disuse, though I have some theories. It’s not because there isn’t an abundant supply of idiots who desperately need a good rebuking. I know quite a collection of them myself; I’m sure you do, too. Right off the top of my head, I can think of 535 of them that go by the collective name of Congress. Why aren’t we rebuking those ne’er-do-wells, who so abundantly deserve it?
Getting a colonoscopy is a simple way to head off colon cancer at the pass, or possibly at the bend before the pass. Why aren’t they more popular, then? Why do people hesitate? I suppose colonoscopies have a bad reputation, but is that reputation worse than colon cancer’s?
I recently decided to forego a vacation to a soothing warm climate, and have a colonoscopy instead. Seemed like a no-brainer. A cost/benefit analysis revealed the truth: a colonoscopy’s potential benefits are much greater, and it’s a lot cheaper than a vacation, if you have medical insurance, and possibly if you don’t. Some may argue that it’s not as much fun. I say it depends on the vacation. I have had some miserable vacations that I gladly would have traded for a colonoscopy.
It would be interesting to ask the people on one of the recent “revolting stomach virus” cruises if, in retrospect, they would take what’s behind door number two instead. And I have no doubt that the Costa Concordia passengers would prefer many medical procedures to their ship hitting a reef, capsizing, and sinking.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the Joe Zone is taking the plunge into the treacherous but vital subject of male-female communication.
One of the most difficult and dangerous tasks in life is traversing the minefield of communication with members of the opposite sex. Given that the same language is being spoken, that there is a shared cultural environment, and the joint objective is clarification rather than obfuscation, one might think it would be as easy as falling off a cliff. Unfortunately, it is not, but the results are often the same.
My wife and I have worked at it for some years. Granted, for me it’s more work, since women are by nature the better communicators. And therein lies the heart of the problem. Women are so adept are packing dense meanings into compact phrases that the male often is in the dark as to the meaning of the conversation in which he has just participated. This female skill extends to wresting every color of meaning from the most brief and apparently simple male response. As an example, consider the following recent exchange:
We all have times when we begin to lose faith in our fellow man, and even in our felonious women. In my experience, though, whenever I’m about to give up on mankind, my opinion is changed by the act of a single individual. When my outlook is most dismal, someone will always step up and prove that I have not set the bar low enough.
An obliging boob made himself known the other day at a large multi-pump gas station. Let’s call him Clem.
The pumps all had cars waiting in line, and additional vehicles were buzzing around like 747’s stacked up waiting to land at Atlanta. So when I saw Clem move up to the pump as I drove into the station, I figured, “Great!” I pulled in behind him and thought I was one lucky jasper.
Clem’s car sat there for several minutes with no activity. I got a little worried. What if Clem was having a cardiac event? Would anyone notice? I was to eventually realize that your average person having a cardiac event moves much faster than Clem.
Phone: Ring! Ring!
Unfortunate Caller “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…”
Joe: “Geeeeez!! My boring greeting put someone to sleep again.”
Phone: Ring! Ring!
Thrilled Caller “I’m tingling all over! Thank you!”
Joe: “All part of the service.”
Which scenario is more pulse-pounding? Do we need to change the way we answer the phone? And why do we answer with “hello” in the first place?
In 1877, inventor extraordinaire Thomas Edison wrote to the president of the Central District and Printing Telegraph Company in Pittsburgh. The CDPTC (in P) was preparing to introduce telephone service to the city. In his letter, Edison expressed the opinion that the word “hello” would be a more appropriate greeting than “ahoy” when answering the telephone. Evidently Thomas had some street cred, because the Telegraph Company president took his advice, Pittsburghers answered the phone with “hello,” and people have been following that lead ever since.
The world has changed in many ways over the last few generations. Some of those changes are good, such as smartphones, and some are bad, such as smartphones with annoying ringtones in public places. One of the negative differences is the decline of civility in our society. We see evidence in the news almost daily of people who don’t know the proper way to conduct themselves during a simple road rage incident, much less a drive-by shooting or bomb threat evacuation.
Etiquette is nearly a relic of the past. A recent survey of millennials, conducted in my head, revealed that 85% of them think Emily Post was the inventor of Post Raisin Bran. All of Emily’s wisdom and practical tips, so valuable to previous generations, are now dust in the wind, and we wayward sons and daughters must carry on as best we can, and hold on before we reach the point of no return.
Have you noticed that in smartphone commercials, everything performs perfectly and with lightning speed? No device ever freezes, is maddeningly slow, or explodes in your hand. Then you buy the product, and it’s as if the phone is immersed in a bucket of molasses. You could get faster results using a toy phone with painted-on keys. It’s a classic case of the tortoise lapping the napping hare.
Internet service providers are just as guilty, with their 3G or 4G or 44G cell phone service ads. Their networks are always available, incredibly fast, and capable of instantaneous downloads. Somehow these companies never got the word on “truth in advertising.” A special “exaggeration in advertising” law must apply to high-tech items.
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.
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