Happy Halloween!


I enjoy Christmas carolers as much as anyone.  What the fall season needs is Halloween carolers. Imagine being summoned to your front porch one dark, chilly October evening only to find a dozen or so youngsters dressed in black, carrying torches to light their way, staring blankly at you, and humming in unison seasonal tunes like the theme to “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th” or “Children of the Corn” or maybe singing that “1…2…Freddy’s coming for you…” song from the Elm street films. Wouldn’t that be adorable?


My New Out of Office E-Mail Reply

Below is my out of office e-mail reply for the week of Fall Break.



I will be out of the office October 12-16 and will have limited internet connectivity during this time.

Students: I know you miss me and that life is hard without your writing class. Stay strong. Though fall break is upon us, I am still here to calm your nerves in the face of any grammar related emergencies that should arise.  I will reply to these as soon as possible.

Seriously, I hope you have a wonderful week off. You’ve earned it. Relax a little. I plan to enjoy the early autumnal slumber as I always do, by drinking wine from a box and reading the MLA Handbook late into the night.

Colleagues: If this is a meeting related emergency, you can probably find me porchsitting or relaxing in the hot tub at the Y. If you are unable to locate me there, I can likely be found happily dining at the Shoney’s breakfast buffet and will be delighted to address any class or administrative ideas/concerns over some cheesy scrambled eggs.

I hope everyone has a happy, productive week.  Grades for your second major essay of the term will be loaded into Bb soon, for I am not completely without responsibility this week.  See you soon!


Professor Joy

To my 9 year old self

Based on an in-class journal writing assignment, here are my top ten things I would write in a letter to my nine year old self.

10. At 40, you still sing and dance to Footloose.

9. You never get too old for coloring books or toy cars.

8. You do not grow up to move to Hazard and “get those Duke boys.”

7. In the future, there is such a thing as “too many Star Wars movies.”

6. Maybe don’t write all of the girls in your third class the exact same love note.  Girls talk and compare notes.  You will get busted.

5. Pez dispensers are neat now, I know.  Just wait ’til you’re 40.  You’ll have a collection of hundreds, and you’ll get to go to something called Pezamania.

4. I know you think McDonald’s is the greatest place on Earth, and it is pretty awesome.  However, in about nine years you are going to get a job there.  It will get much less awesome.

3. Put some of that money you’re making with the Sunshine Sales Club aside and tell your parents to invest it in Ford.

2.  That Spiderman and His Amazing Friends cartoon is still top notch.

1.  Gray hair is super cool in the future.

If I was President of the United States…

wrestling pic

This list is meant to be specific enough to show you how I feel on certain issues, yet vague enough to let you know that I will not actually do anything significant as President.

Top 10 things I would do as POTUS:

10.  Executive order #1:  No more Daylight Savings Time.  Bring it on, Big DST lobby.  I’m ready for you.

9.  Same goes for the Electoral College.  Ba-bye.

8.  Forget universal health care.  How about universal light beer and popcorn?

7.  I’d have three Vice Presidents:  Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and Vince McMahon.  (I can’t really fully explain the how and why here.  You’re just going to have to go with me on this.)

6.  Heads up.  You’re going to be hearing me say, “You’re just going to have to go with me on this.” an awful lot.

5.  Halloween will be an officially recognized national holiday.  No school and all that jazz.

4.  I will enter every arena and cross to every podium with Black Sabbath’s Iron Man as my background music.

3.  National Footloose Day?

2.  We’d have an ongoing conversation about income inequality in America, how it became a real problem in the 1970’s, how the greed of the 80’s perpetuated it, and how very little has been done to stem the destruction of the middle class over the past forty years.  No one will listen to this ongoing conversation.  It will be mostly me and a half a dozen folks CNN will deem “unbalanced” and “extremist,” but it will happen.

1.  I will challenge student loan debt, the single greatest threat to the American economy, to a Hell in the Cell match at next year’s WrestleMania.  I will win.  That may or may not help you in some way.  It doesn’t matter.  We’ve reached the extreme hyperbole portion of this list.

Vote for me next year, folks.  Or don’t.  I rather enjoy my current job.  Whatevs.  Follow your heart.

A Trip to Downtown Huntington…in the mid 80s

If I had a blog as a pre-teen, I’m pretty sure it would read something like this:

I’m going to go to downtown this weekend. So excited! My parents are going to drop me off at Bowincal’s for a hot dog and nachos and then I’m going to go to the Keith Albee and see a movie…or maybe to the Camelot…oh, I hope it’s in that cool upstairs balcony theatre.  After, I’ll hit up the Peanut Shop for some maple nut goodies, and take a walk.  I’ll probably stop by Davidson’s music store for a while.  I doubt I will buy any new cassettes (I’m saving for a new wrestling figure next time we hit up KB Toys at the mall), but I’ll look around.  I might run in Glenn’s, as well, and look at some shoes.  Then, I’ll head across the street to the Burger King on 10th Street and get a burger.  I want to eat in their second floor section, but it’s always blocked off.  After that I’ll take a walk past Oliver’s and Chi-Chi’s, and the big, empty “Superblock.”  (Soon I’ll be able to drive and go to Cruise Avenue here.)  Gotta stop by the Huntington Store for a new pack of baseball cards and then over to Nick’s News to see if the new Fangoria magazine is out yet.  I hope I have time to fit all this in before my mom picks me up in front of the video store next to Stone and Thomas (she’ll want to do some clothes shopping, I’m sure.)  I never give myself enough time.  If only there was some way I could send her a message instantly and say, “I need a little longer, so I can run down to Ward’s Donuts.”  Oh, well.  Maybe I’ll be able to talk her into letting me rent WrestleMania again and get some popcorn, too.  Or maybe dad will pick me up.  If so, I bet he stops by Jim’s to get some spaghetti sauce to go.  Man, it’s going to be awesome.  Have a great weekend, everybody!


2016 Republican Nominee for President Bracket

16 potential presidents

Click picture to enlarge.

It may not be March, but it’s definitely madness.  The seedings are in.  Place your bets.

I once wrote a political comedy titled Senate Idol that basically had an important Senate race decided via an American Idol type television show.

It’s available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Rough-Tumble-Jonathan-Joy/dp/1480003476/ref=la_B00AAUWL6Q_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435286247&sr=1-5

Perhaps it wasn’t the most original idea, but it was fun and the folks at Marshall University’s New Works Fest did a great job of bringing it to life.  Anyway, I figured the next, most logical extension of that most illogical idea was to create a Sweet 16 bracket of the many, many Republicans running for our nation’s highest office.  I don’t know if they should duke it out or play basketball or engage in a debate.  Perhaps they should have to complete difficult tasks, like balancing quarters on their noses, and then have the audience vote on the winners.  It doesn’t matter.  This isn’t intended to be in depth political analysis.  It’s just something that I spent fifteen or twenty minutes crafting because I thought it would be fun.

Enjoy it.  Make your picks.  Personally, I have Paul upsetting Bush on the left side and being slaughtered by the winner of Walker/Rubio on the right.  (I have Walker as the eventual winner.)

I’ll try to come up with something interesting for the Democrats, as well, though that seems like a straight up Hillary vs. Bernie battle at this point.  The more fun fight will be found in my upcoming Super 8 Third Party Candidates bracket.

Imagination Knows No Rules


We could all have the imagination of a five year old.  The Incredible Mighty Morphin Batman Ninja Turtle pictured above shows how my son chose to prepare himself for our most recent Wal-mart trip.  He was back to being Levi by the time we arrived, but he promised to be on the lookout for bad guys as we shopped.  Fortunately, we made it out of the store unharmed.

A couple days later, he was preparing to teach an imaginary class to babies.  He’s often mentioned that he wants to be a teacher.  My wife asked him what he was going to teach the babies, and he responded with a list of three things.  His lesson plan included 1) how to dress up for Halloween, 2) how to use their superpowers, and 3) how to walk.  Now, if these aren’t important life lessons, I don’t know what is.

For nearly a dozen years, in theatre classes I taught for kids in Columbus, Ashland, and Huntington, I stressed imagination as one of the five tools of the actor.  Now it comes up often in my college writing classes.  At home, the words Imagination Knows No Rules are etched into a wall in our living room.  So, our son gets it honest.

Be it confronting pretend bad guys, reading the latest Dolly Parton Imagination Library delivery, composing our own books, or preparing imaginary meals in the play kitchen in Levi’s room, or literally dozens of other examples, imagination is encouraged daily.

As we grow, our imagination gets put on the back burner.  Creating your own Spiderman villains comes second to paying the utility bills, of course.  But like cardio exercises work our heart, we need to work our imagination, as well.  Be you 5 or 95, there’s real value and strength in getting involved in a good book, drawing, going to see a play, shopping at Sheetz with your face painted, playing with Hot Wheels cars, or simply sitting and staring at the stars daydreaming of worlds beyond our grasp.  Imagination knows no rules.  Use it or lose it.