September, 2009 - The Bell Band (www.bellband.org) performed for the Greater Dallas Handbell
Association's Fall Workshop in Richardson.  I was a little concerned about this program for an
audience of about 100 handbell directors, because what they do and what we do are quite different.  
As it turned out they were most gracious and very receptive of what we had to offer.  
In a letter following our appearance they expressed their feelings in this way:  "We are so pleased
that you were able to attend and we thoroughly enjoyed your performance as well as the opportunity
to meet the ringers and chaperones.  It was a very enjoyable and moving experience to see and hear
the Denton Bell Band.  And a whole lot of fun, too!"
In mid-summer I requested a new office at the University in a space that had become vacant.  The
request was finally approved in mid-August.  I began the process of sifting through a large collection
of books, papers, recordings, etc.  By the last day of the first week of September (when classes
began) my computer was in one room, my "junk" was in a second room, and my new office was
developing gradually in the new space.  This is not a good way to begin a semester.  It was a
challenge, but like many challenges that I have faced through the years, I was able to make the most
of it.  In the process I discarded a lot of things that I didn't need, discovered several things that I had
forgotten, and organized the new space into a more efficient (but still less than perfect) operation.
We have the largest beginning class in our history (36 students), and there are five men in the
group.  Unlike many other professions, music therapy is dominated by women.  I don't think this is by
design.  It is just a field, like elementary education, that attracts more women than men.  Based upon
my own experience I think it is a field that will eventually attract more men.  I entered the field
reluctantly, but I can honestly say that it has offered me more than I could ever have dreamed.
 During our orientation a spokeswoman from SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and
Schools) spoke to us about their mission of accreditation.  Considering the subject matter, it was a
very good lecture.  Her presentation gave a big boost to my opinion of such organizations.  She
closed with an acronym:  
Students Are Critical to Success.   I very much took this to heart with my
advanced practicum class by turning most of the class presentations to the more experienced
students.  I have been very pleased with initial responses and intend to continue the practice for the
rest of the semester.  The idea of "I teach; you learn" is very outmoded nowadays.  Students have
access to volumes of information via the world wide web, and to let them organize and present some
of this to the class is a great learning experience for everyone.

September, 1979  - The Lawn Doctor came down our street the other day.  After a brief inspection
of our front yard, all he could offer was to perform an autopsy.
 I find it extremely interesting that Madalyn Murray O'Hair has filed suit against Pope John II.  
Evidently her sense of logic is beginning to fail; for if God does not exist, as she claims, then the
Pope does not exist either, and she is therefore trying to sue someone who doesn't exist - amusing
to say the least.  (
Editorial note:  Madalyn is gone now, and my understanding of existence has
taken a giant leap forward since then
.)  Someone has said that the agony of the atheist is the
uncomfortable feeling that there's no one out there who cares what he or she thinks or does.
 
RHYME FOR OUR TIME:  Cars are big business.  Government is big business.  Why shouldn't they
be partners?  They've been holding hands and playing footsie under the table for quite some time
now.

Plymouth is a symbol of national pride - a very historic rock,
but the tide of inflation has covered it up.  It can't be seen from the dock.

A cry goes out from Chrysler that's heard throughout the land:
"Help us save the Plymouth rock, and pull us out of the sand.

We're just a poor conglomerate - used to living high and dry.
Help us now, Great Uncle.  Don't let our dream world die.

It's taken years to get on top.  For mistakes we ask your forgiving.
If we lay off our union force, they might have to work for a living.

We're not trying to DODGE our debts.  Just give us time to pay.
We only need two billion or so.  You could print it in less than a day."

Will Jimmy and his cocaine cohorts respond to the Chrysler cry?
Will they revive the dying giant, or simply let it die?

The answer to this riddle is written in the stars:
It's obvious that
all this nation needs is more cats and dogs and cars.