Happy Birthday, An Ordinary Joe’s Soapbox!
An important milestone occurs this week — this blog is celebrating its first birthday!
An Ordinary Joe’s Soapbox was not created not to give the point of view of a millionaire, a powerful politician or a superstar athlete. Instead, it was designed to give someone else who has not had many opportunities in the past to get on a soapbox and express his opinions to a worldwide audience (i.e., the ordinary Joe who lives in an ordinary neighborhood in an ordinary city).
To make this blog unique, I have made it so that I can comment on a potpourri of subjects I find to be interesting. Sometimes, I have focused upon hot-button topics like politics, the Little Depression (mistakenly called the Great Recession by the media), and the rise of Occupy Wall Street. On other days, I have given my opinions on Lost in Space, the Monkees, Jerry Springer, Bewitched, soccer, the Three Stooges, city traffic, Muhammad Ali, and Monty Python. Every now and then, I have described events that have been occurring in my life like the day I turned 50 and the time our dog ran away from home.
And once in a while I have created posts that have been totally goofy, such as my favorite yuletide guilty pleasures and possible pick-up lines for lovelorn men when they visit single bars on lesser holidays like Columbus Day and Presidents’ Day.
Like every newborn, this blog has had its growing pains. I have more or less discarded would-be regular features like my pet peeves and my memories of the 1980s, and I have been adding more photos to make it more visually attractive to my readers. There have been posts I wished I had done differently like the one on the 2011 World Series, for it turned out to be a true fall classic, and not a snoozeathon between two small market teams (the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers), which no one really cared about in the hinterlands.
And there have been topics I have regretted I did not have a chance to write about during the past year. For instance, I did not create a tribute to bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs when he died in March. Despite playing in a genre of music often looked down upon by cultural highbrows, Scruggs undoubtedly was as much a musical virtuoso as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz, Pablo Casals, Les Paul, and Gene Krupa. His banjo picking on the instrumental “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” (which was used as background music for the groundbreaking movie Bonnie and Clyde) was nothing short of astonishing. And he had a warm, folksy sense of humor during his cameo appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies. If it wasn’t for Scruggs, I probably would never have been a big fan of bluegrass music.
But although I am a person who does not like to toot his own horn very often, I have to admit I have had a wondrous time creating and writing this blog. I enjoy the challenge of writing a 500-1,000 word post or two every week. To me, it is the literary equivalent of creating a curvaceous woman out of moist clay. And I have been amazed about the variety of topics that have already appeared on my blog. If anyone told me a year ago that I can write anything on Steve Jobs, Dick Clark, Black Friday, the latest remake of the Planet of the Apes, royal weddings, space, tornadoes and tattoos, then I probably would had shook my head in disbelief for a couple of hours and screamed to the highest heavens, “You’re totally crazy!”
Like all writers worth their salt, I get exhilarated seeing my words in print. And I am equally exhilarated to have a forum in which I am able to write unabashedly and honestly with virtually no interference from editors and publishers. Ultimately, to paraphrase the quip from Flip Wilson, what you see in this blog is pretty much what has just gotten out of my head.
Even though I have so far been extremely pleased with the progress of An Ordinary Joe’s Soapbox, I am always on the lookout to make it better. I have taken writing and editing courses during the past year to improve my literary skills. And I hope sometime in the near future to introduce more features and better graphics.
Happy 1st Birthday, An Ordinary Joe’s Soapbox! (Too bad Marilyn Monroe is not alive to sing “Happy Birthday” like she did to John F. Kennedy 50 years ago.) I hope there will be many, many more to come.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
“A birthday without a cake is like a Playboy magazine without a centerfold.”