- Holiday fun and tasty fare, served up Joe Zone style
- More Adventures in Space and Time in the Joe-ma-Tron
- More Bite-Size Joe-Pourri Morsels
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!
My family recently went on our annual catastrophic vacation to Presque Isle on Lake Erie. Our usual practice is to wait till the end of the season, when our shattered nerves are just about to shove us off the precipice into an abyss of despair. The purpose of the vacation is to vanquish the summer blahs, or at least exchange them for a different set of blahs. However, on our trips, disasters customarily abound.
This year’s excursion was better than most – disasters were held at bay, or at least at Misery Bay, with only a few calamities ambushing us. Other years have featured opening ceremonies involving thunderstorms, gale-force winds, and 62 degree afternoons. In a particularly memorable breezy year, the youngest curly-haired granddaughter gleefully tossed sand in the air, directly into her eyes. As it turns out, that’s the perfect beach buzzkill.
Ma Nature was agreeable this year, with warm temps and partly sunny skies. It was one of those rare lulls this season between stifling humidity and flooding downpours, which are the only two phrases modern meteorologists need.
With the country in such a state of crankiness and tension that it seems ready to spontaneously combust, we must beware of adding any further incendiary material. In fact, we all should be trying, as some are encouraging, to emulate the amiable, if unfortunately late, Fred Rogers. We certainly wouldn’t want to use harsh, condemning language of the type used by so many politicians, and even some segments of the news/opinion media.
Our National Crabby Quotient is at too high a level to condone such irresponsible tirades and harangues. (By the way, does the word “harangue” make you hungry? It always reminds me of “meringue,” and then I think of lemon meringue pie, and the thought of the tart lemon starts my mouth watering.) We don’t want to abrogate our duty to make the world a Fredlier place, but I’m afraid there’s a topic that’s too important to leave unsaid. So I’m going to say it. We must unite, and let the world know that we will no longer put up with, tolerate, or otherwise stand for, the behavior so often exhibited by restaurant hostesses.
I’m referring, of course, to the hostess seating you, or me, or anyone, right next to the only other dining party within a quarter mile. Yes, the room is almost empty. Space abounds. Empty tables as far as my admittedly nearsighted eyes can see. You could detonate a paint bomb and not hit anyone, although that goes against emulating Fred Rogers. But if you did it anyway, just in your mind, or maybe on the Enterprise holodeck, you wouldn’t hit anyone, because almost all of the tables are empty. And yet THE HOSTESS STILL SEATS YOU NEXT TO THE TABLE WITH FOUR LOUD ADULTS, THREE WHINING KIDS, TWO CRYING BABIES, AND A BARKING DOG.
Creedence Clearwater asked who’ll stop the rain, several decades ago. I’ve never heard the answer to that question, but I sure wish I knew. Somebody needs to step up and stop this nonsense of constant precipitation.
The problem is, the weather has been squirrely the last few years. Some people attribute that to global warming, which I suppose may or may not be the case. I can encapsulate my feelings on the matter succinctly: Mother Nature is off her meds.
Old Ma Nature doesn’t know how to do anything in moderation anymore. Take rainfall, for example. Most people consider it to be beneficial, at least in reasonable amounts. The rain we get in the Joe Zone is no longer reasonable. I remember when, in the weather forecast, the word “rain” wasn’t always preceded by “heavy,” “flooding,” or “Biblical.” I think this is partly due to the “Whether-casters” (they don’t know whether it’s going to do this or do that) being melodramatic to boost ratings, but weather psychosis is definitely on the rise.
When I was twelve, my Christmas present was a brand-new J. C. Higgins 26” Flightliner bicycle. I was probably more surprised than Ralphie was when he got his Red Ryder BB gun. Money was not abundant growing up, and we kids didn’t expect lavish gifts. But Christmas morning, there it was in the downstairs hallway, shining brighter than the tinsel on the tree. It was a present far better than anything Santa had ever brought down the chimney.
It was the most gorgeous bicycle ever made. All red, white, and chrome, sleek as a Corvette, with whitewalls, tailfins and dual headlights. Just standing in the hallway on its kickstand, it looked like it was speeding, and I was sure it was faster than anything around, except maybe an F-104 Starfighter. Even the name “Flightliner” conjured images of jets coursing through the sky, as I would soon be coursing through the streets of Mt. Washington.
Ah, Thanksgiving! A time to be grateful for many things, including the abilities we were given. Everyone on this Earth has some areas in which they have natural talent. Most of us learn at a young age that Mother Nature or Father Time or the Fairy Godmother, or whoever is in charge of such things, doesn’t deal a fair hand to everyone. Some fortunates receive a bountiful bouquet of talents, while others get a wilted bunch of thorny stems. We must then play the hand we’ve been dealt. One of my talents would seem to be mixing metaphors.
My wife and I complement each other in this regard, as we each have abilities that the other utterly lacks. We also compliment each other on these talents, which makes for a happier home. My wife is extremely organized and neat. I was off lollygagging when those gifts were dispersed. Left to my own devices, I would end up living in a hovel and being featured on a ghastly segment of the six o’clock news. I often seek her inspiration for how I should organize my things of this or that ilk. I have any number of ilks that consume vast hours of my life. My tombstone could read, “He frittered away too much time on ilks. But he amazed us with his untidiness.”
Regular Zoners know that we usually celebrate the arrival of each new season. So once again we unholster the Joe Zone nuclear-powered microscope, and examine the season of autumn, which sneaked in on tiny little fall-feet in the northern hemisphere yesterday afternoon. Did you hear it? Me, neither. I think it’s hiding in my basement.
Ah, autumn! It’s often the fairest of times, with mild breezes and pleasant temperatures. This year, in my neck of the woods, it’s very hot and dry. (In the spirit of transparency, I should point out that I don’t live in the woods, or in any kind of neck for that matter. I don’t even know what that means. If any of you are neck-dwellers, please let me know.) That’s fine with me, as I had grown weary of seeing the rabbits and squirrels being swept down the stream in my backyard from the flooding rains this summer.
Autumn is sometimes referred to as “fall.” This is because come September and October, so many things are falling – leaves, temperatures, raindrops, hems, footballs, meteors… Also falling is the number of daylight hours, which of course means that the number of nightlight hours is increasing.
My wife showed me a photograph of an attractive model and announced that she wanted to look like her. This is dangerous ground for a husband. Walking through quicksand, then leaping into a viper pit seems a safer alternative. I deftly spluttered my way through a response. We both agreed the model was flawless, though I’m sure she’s insecure about her looks, and approaches each modeling session with sufficient angst to fill a boxcar.
Our American culture certainly encourages us to emulate the famous, the wealthy, the stars. Who doesn’t want to live the lives we see glamorized on the screens, small and large. After all, our lives are crushingly monotonous compared to theirs, or so we are told. Just look at the fun and good times the celebrities are having. Who wouldn’t want that?
I remember as an adolescent seeing Cary Grant in the movies, and thinking, surely, here is the epitome of suave and class. I want to be like him. I want to BE him. But how can Mortimer Snerd become Cary Grant?
After I ate lunch like a boss, I was drowsy. I did the only thing that made sense – I took a nap like a boss. Then I sat down at the keyboard and pounded out this blog like a boss.
Popular expressions come and go. Some of them are thunderstorms that pop up suddenly, engulf a region, then disappear. Many of those expressions deserve to disappear. Those that stay are often like mosquito swarms that annoy everyone and refuse to go away. Nobody really likes them, but you don’t want to be the only one not swatting the mosquito.
Cleverness or charm has nothing to do with an idiom’s shelf life. Dreadful little word clumps sometimes last for generations, outliving the originators, inflicting pain on millions of innocents. The origin and meaning of the phrase are lost or twisted beyond recognition, but still it refuses to die, and there’s no lifeline to unplug.
Today in the Joe Zone’s Reflections in a Misty Mirror blogspot we present, for the first time, the ever-popular question and answer forum. Questions for future sessions may be submitted by blog comment, email, or Pony Express, which stops at the Joe Zone thrice per fortnight. In the meantime, we begin with questions that Joe Zone readers previously submitted by mental telepathy. At least, I imagine that’s how these questions got in my head.
And a special JZ shout-out and thank you to Little Zone, for suggesting this format.
Q: We hear so much about fake news these days. Is the Joe Zone blog fake news?
A: We can guarantee that, unlike much of what is on the Internet, the Joe Zone is 100% bogus, including this statement. JZ readers can rest easy and not waste one second worrying about whether they’re reading fake content, knowing it’s all quality, fabricated original news, sourced exclusively in the Zone.
Q: Do you have a goal for your blog?
A: Yes. Just to spread a little laugh and make people feel happy for some part of their day. And galactic domination. I want to have the first blog with more readers off-Earth than on. It’s a process; right now, my interim goal is for my blog to reach more people than I can by reading it door-to-door.
Q: Is the world a different place because of your blog?
A: You know, it’s a very stressful world we live in. We have so much to worry about – terrorism, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Kathy Griffin.. How can we find relief? I like to think the Joe Zone helps by making the world a more boring place.
Q: Is there a particular time of day you like to blog?
A. Well, blog me down! Any time is the right time for blog-a-licious meanderings in the Joe Zone. We usually try not to interfere with critical world events, though, such as The Price is Right, afternoon naps, or kitten treat time.
Q: Is the blog actually written by you? Do you employ ghost writers?
A: All of my blog is 100% homegrown homogeneous simulacrum, augmented with pasteurized semolina bull durham sorghum, with a trace of radioactive additives to give it, and you, that healthy glow.
Unlike many other blogs, no part of my blog is out-sourced to China for the purpose of keeping down costs and quality. I’m perfectly capable of that myself. We use 100% American-sourced words, grammar, and sentence structure, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I do occasionally doze off at the keyboard, and one of my cats may finish and post the blog. Usually, those are the most popular ones. But I don’t tell them that, as they already have an inflated opinion of their literary prowess.
As for ghost writers, they are so passé. All the top bloggers these days use zombie writers, which are cheap and plentiful. I imagine they leave the keyboard a mess, though.
Q: What future blog topics can we look forward to?
A: Not very many of them, I think.
Q: How old is the Joe Zone blog? And when can we look forward to its demise?
A: Funny you should ask. The JZ’s fifth birthday is coming up this October, and we’re planning special events, that may or may not include cake, Frisbees, light saber duels, and ginger ale balloons. Bookmark this site, or better yet, buy another device to leave constantly on our blog page.
Q: Are we through?
A: I certainly hope so.
As you may have noticed, my blog is called “Reflections in a Misty Mirror.” Today, let’s reflect on mirrors.
Mirrors are wonderful devices, and have a smidgeon of magic in them. The mirror reflects back to us an amalgam of what we see, what we want to see, and a strange, unverified concept called reality. I mean all mirrors, not just the “mirror, mirror, on the wall” kind. There may be the occasional bad actor mirror, such as at an arcade, but for the most part, they do us quite a service.
I began to notice this when I reached the age when sags and bags and wrinkles and kinks began to distort my once-youthful face. Come to think of it, Saggs, Baggs, Wrinkles and Kinks sounds like a law firm in a decrepit part of town. But I digress. Not that digressing’s a bad thing. In fact, some of my best thoughts occur during digressions. Such detours also distract the reader from the fact that I have nothing interesting to say.
Digressing from my digression, I had noticed that photographs of me seemed to indicate that I had recently passed away. As time went on, photographs seemed to indicate that I had passed away, been buried for three weeks, and exhumed. But I still looked great in the mirror. Maybe rather gray, and a little tired, but certainly decades younger than that stiff in the photos.
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