October, 2007

This was a great month for Mister Joe - celebrating my 70th birthday with a big party at BANTER.  At
least 50 (and maybe even 70) friends came out for the evening.  My wife Sara, my son Joe III, my
daughter Marti, and Sara's mother Ann were on hand to help me celebrate.  We had entertainment by
Strictly Dixie, Karen Foster's Sweet Harmony, and, of course, Mister Joe (with Andy Cooper, George
Merritt, Les Huey, and Jim Staercke).  Christine "Chris" McAdams, the woman who cared for my parents
in their last years, read a proclamation of love and respect.
I will take this opportunity to tell you about Christine.  She is a very intelligent woman.  In the nineteen
forties she was valedictorian at Fred Moore High School, which was at that time the all-black high school
in Denton.  When she graduated, her formal education stopped, because neither of the local state
universities would admit a person of color.  That, my friends, is a
crime - committed by a racist
government through selfish ignorance.  It was a crime that I, as a young man, was not aware of - but my
father was.  He and Christine bonded, because he understood her situation.  His own dreams of higher
education had been dashed because of economic reasons.  He never made a lot of money, but he was
careful to set aside enough to insure that I would not be denied this privilege.
During October I received the ASCAP Plus award - a small recognition of my continuing work as a
composer.  Have been a member of the organization since 1983 but only started getting this award  
after I became university faculty.  When I made the career change, I notified ASCAP, because through
the years I had noticed that the composers at the local universities (whose musical output was not
always that significant) were receiving the annual awards.  A friendly gentleman called from NYC to
assure me that university status had nothing to do with receiving the award.  I thanked him for his call.  
The next year (2000) I received the award and have received it every year since.  Isn't life grand?  
Doesn't politics stink?

October, 1979

Our policemen are a definite asset to the community, and without them we would all sleep less soundly,
drive less carefully, and have less to write about.  Did you ever notice that you can drive to work for
fourteen days in a row and never see a single patrol car; and then, on the one morning when you are
running late and are tempted to be heavy on the accelerator, you will see at least five of them on your
route.  In the back of my mind I can hear the radio message going out from the dispatcher:  "Calling all
cars.  He's late today.  All available units report to Bell Avenue and points north."


The pen is mightier than the sword and certainly much more fun.
Of all the tricks that writers use, my favorite is the pun.

It comes in many different flavors - good, bad, little, big.
A tubular hot dog is a "hollow weinie".  An oversize branch is a "porky twig".

If you have no sense of humor, a pun can be a curse -
like the case of the vampire writing poems: things go from "bat to verse".

If the set-up is complicated, the punch line is usually bliss.
"Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear."  "Wouldn't take a knight out on a dog like this."

When a clever word makes my day and saves me from being bored.
I know that what they say is true: The pun is mightier than the sword.