- 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!
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.
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.
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