Monday, June 30, 2003


The first time I met Maynard Jackson was through the pages of Ebony Magazine. As a young man growing up in the late seventies and the eighties, Ebony was my pipeline to the black world outside of my church and Jack & Jill. On the pages of Ebony I saw Maynard, big, light-skinned, straight hair, always impeccably attired and always smiling. He was important because he was a question in the Black History Quiz Bowl. "Who was the first black mayor of Atlanta?...Maynard Jackson!"

However, it wasn't until I was in the 12th grade, that I learned that Maynard was born in Dallas. His father had been the pastor of my church, New Hope Baptist Church, the oldest African witness in Dallas. Very old church members would regail me with stories about how a very young and precocious Maynard would crawl on the stage at church while his father was preaching. Later in my 12th grade year, I was practicing for the Jack & Jill Beautillion at none other than Maynard Jackson Elementary, a school named after his father, Maynard Sr. And in the lobby of that school was a big black and white picture of the dedication of the school, with Maynard Jr., once again impeccably attired, smiling.

Well, I went off to Howard University, and more and more, little by little we heard more about Maynard based on the fact that due to his leadership, Atlanta was granted the 1996 Olympics. Once again, images were everywhere of this well dressed, confident, assured man, smiling.

Eventually I left Howard and attended Maynard's alma mater, Morehouse College. And on an unseasonably cool October night, while in the bowels of Power Hall at Samuel Archer Hall at Morehouse, I came face to face with none other than the impeccably dressed, confident, assured, smiling man. He was there to make sure that students went out to vote not only for Bill Campbell in his re-election bid, but also he wanted to make sure that we voted for Roy Barnes who was running against the ultra conservative Guy Millner. Maynard was eloquent and sharp, smooth and yet to the point. After the meeting was over, a meeting that included several of his key lieutenants from his city hall days as well as Hank Aaron, I introduced myself, told him I was from Dallas, and we had a good conversation, laughed and he shook my hands with those behomothly soft hands he had. I was soaring.

I saw him a few more times after that, at major and minor Morehouse events. He was the true embodiement and true essence of what a Morehouse man is to me; dedicated, successful, warm, charitable, loving and a family man. He truly loved Morehouse, and one could tell by his actions, words and deeds when he was here and when he was not here. He never forgot where he came from, and no matter what, he made you feel like you were one of the closest people to him. I don't know how he did it, but he did it every time we met.

The outpouring of love and affection and more importantly appreciation that he has received is remarkable. I've never seen anything like it before. I worked as an usher at his Memorial service, and there were people from all walks of life there, just to say goodbye and thank you. I watched his funeral early Sunday morning on CSPAN, and wept because this hero of mine was gone. However I quickly thought how fortunate I was to have been able to live in a city that he transformed into an oasis of prosperity and good will. And how fortunate I was to attend an institution that he loved so dearly, thus inextricably linking us forever. You've never heard 'Dear Old Morehouse' until you've heard him sing it.

It is sad but true that we may never see another one like him, and the better we are all for it that he lived, and lived for us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

What emotions do these names evoke?

Harley Weewax
Elvin Tibbideaux
Dabnis Brickey
Walter Oakes

Hopefully good ones...

Thursday, June 12, 2003

In a perfect world...

Midnight Love would be the only show on BET.
Larry Sanders would come on in prime time.
A Different World would get the respect that it truly deserves.
I'd be where she is.
Tobe would give me an A.
Apex woulda worked.
Wing Zone would be right around the corner.
Outkast would do a homecoming concert for free.
Morehouse would go undefeated.
My Mavs would be in the NBA Finals.
90210 would be on somewhere in syndication.
I could repay my parents.
The Triplex would never be razed.
We could steal one of those Spelman flags to round out our collection.
Jamal would be up for an Oscar next year.
I would've IMed her sooner.
I could burn all of those Steve Harvey suits.
Emmitt would've never left Dallas.
I wouldn't have to mow the grass.
I could always make 'em smile.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003


WHEN YOU LOVE SOMEBODY, there's never enough that you can do for them. This has been personified by the relationship that my parents and I have. It seems that they can never do enough for me, and I don't think I'll ever be able to truly show how appreciative and thankful I am for EVERYTHING.

THE BEST ATHLETE I EVER SAW WAS Jason Kidd. During his second year in the league, I caught probably twenty or so games in person, and at least watched them all on television. J Kidd was amazing. His speed, ability and skill were unmatched then, and now he's stepped it up a great deal with a poise and maturity that have made him one of the true elder statesmen of the NBA.

MY FIRST CIGAR was a Macanudo. I went to a little smoke shop in Pentagon City and the man suggested the 'mild' taste of the Macanudo. The thing tasted horribly, and worse, I had the brilliant idea of smoking it in my room. I figured so many other people smoked a variety of things in their rooms that it shouldn't matter too much. Much to my chagrin, the smell stayed in my room and my clothes for nearly two weeks. Fortunately, I found the right brand for me Arturo Fuento maduros No. 8 and the rest is history.

AFTER COLLEGE wait, there's life after college? Just kiddin'. After college, hopefully life should be a breeze. I've done enough living for ten men pally. Can't wait for the after college life...courtside seats, premieres and good livin'.

THERE'S THIS WHOLE MYTH THAT each election I've won has had some foul play in it. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason we won our races (5 presidencies, 3 vice presidencies, 1 treasurer) is because not only were our ideas better, but because we worked harder. JC won his races because he gave a damn, and because we didn't rest. Randall won his race because he cared more (as evidenced by his presidency). An election at Morehouse is never worth cheating for. And Morehouse guys never, ever forget the cat that cheated.

SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS are Kappas. When I entered Morehouse there were no Alphas and no Kappas. And growing up in my household, my father didn't say much about greek life, but he did mention the fact that he looked down on the fellas who wore crimson and cream. Having said that, it's always interesting to him that I have so many friends, some of which, are Kappas.

CHILDREN? When it happens it happens. I'm not ready right now. I know on this very Blogger, at one point I thought I'd be married in two years, but gimme a break. I've got to get it together before I can even imagine bringing life into this world pally. And when I do, it'll be great, I've got award winning genes.

I HAVEN'T DECIDED YET where I want to live. In the last week, people have been asking me where it is I want to live in life. I think that the opportunity takes you where it is you're going to go. I really don't feel that you have much choice in the matter, and if you do, it's because you've cheated the system somehow. I wouldn't mind being in New York though, my brother's there and many writing opportunities are too. However, LA/Hollywood wouldn't be a bad stint either. But, Atlanta's fine for now.

WHY SHOULD Ido what everyone else does? There are people out there who I went to school with, who judge me on a consistent basis because I'm not doing what it is they feel I should do. I understand them, and I know it's from the heart, but I've gotten this far, and I'm gonna go farther, so relax pally, I got this.

THE PERFECT WOMAN? A writer who can drink a beer, or a whiskey, entertain those around her, be funny and informative, knows when I'm ready to go, will watch the game with me and who can laugh with me when I'm laughing at myself.

IF YOU'RE A ROMANTIC then you're just like me. I think I own more sappy love stories on DVD than most self-respecting men would admit to.

LIVING IN THE MOMENT has helped to shape me into a person who appreciates what it is I've got.

MY FAVORITE NIGHTCAP is Jack and Coke. Sinatra drank it. Hef drinks it. And so do I.

THE BEST PART of any relationship is the beginning.


What a difference a month makes? Last month I was speaking with the aforementioned friend of mine who the sun rises and sets on and she and I were discussing the downward spiral of the once proud Ebony Magazine.

Yesterday while at Publix in East Lake, I noticed the newest edition, and as I flipped through the pages, the editors have promised that this is indeed 'The New Face of Ebony.' Thank goodness. Perhaps they'll get back to what made them great; provactive stories, beautiful pictures, meaningful submissions, etc.

This edition opened up with Ebony On the Scene. This piece is like so many others now that include pics of stars at premieres and events. We've seen it from other mags, but never Ebony. Either way, this month's inclusion of the Super Single Sisters is an added bonus. Super Single Sister standouts (that's a mouthful) are: Meagan Good (of course), Danielle Slaton (my first love was soccer), Teri Woods (she's a writer) and Melissa D. Johnson (Ipso Facto).

The overall layout is different, very reminiscent of Essence, and even the ads look better. There's even an ad for Sex in the City's June 22nd premiere! There's a huge Health & Fitness section with topics ranging from Fitness to Vegan lifestyles to golfing, (which I'm doing today). Also, Ebony saluted outstanding women in marketing and communications, and provided a splashy spread to commemorate the fact, and while the pictures are great, we kinda wanna know why these women are so great at what it is they do.

Then they slid back to the old crazy ways...Who cares what cities are the best to "Say 'I Do' In"? I don't know, but obviously, Ebony thinks its readers do. I was shocked to find that Dallas nor Atlanta were on the list. Fortunately for all involved, they mention that the list of cities, including Roanake, VA, Charlotte, San Diego and Birmingham was done 'un'scientifically. A real surprise. The cover story on Russell and Kimoro Simmons was nice, but alas short and uninformative.

Despite the beginning of innovations for the magazine, the same type of stories still fill the pages. The single fathers/mothers dating stories, the advice stories, etc. And it's the same type of pictures as well; models who illustrate what the writing in the story should be telling us. I think they went with the, 'the bigger the picture, the bigger the story' train of thought. I can dig it man, but you gotta have some substance.

Bottom line...nice try Ebony, but Miles to Go...

I'm Joe and this is how I see it.

I was up late last night, as usual, and I decided to get some extra work done on my college memoirs. I named all of the chapters. For the 4 people that read this Blogger, this will be a unique insight. So, bear with me...

Chapter Titles
Fall 1993 – What Did I Get Myself Into?
Spring 1994 – 1.87 Skills
Summer 1994 – Repercussions
Fall 1994 – “It’s like on-campus, off-campus living!”
Spring 1995 – Boone’s Farm and Other Fine Wines
Summer 1995 – Lauren LaShawnn
Fall 1995 – Humility
Spring 1996 – Springtime in Dallas
Summer 1996 – In Love
Fall 1996 – Welcome to the House
Spring 1997 – Heartbreak and Heartache
Summer 1997 – Life Lessons Learned
Fall 1997 – Monogamy
Fall 1998 – Relationships Can Get Ill
Summer 1998 – The Summer of Joe
Fall 1998 – Decadence: The Days of the Modern Rat Pack
Spring 1999 – Missed Opportunities
Summer 1999 – The Bad Time
Fall 1999 – A Seat at the Table/The Cold War
Spring 2000 – A Place in History/Camelot
Summer 2000 – The Living Off the Land/Can I Live? Winning Summer
Fall 2000 – Monogamy Again
Spring 2001 – Bourbon
Summer 2001 – “Sitting in my room, listening to Sade, staring at the walls…”
Fall 2001 – We Do It For Our Culture/The Triplex Housing Association
Spring 2002 – Politics as Usual
Summer 2002 – Get It How You Live
Fall 2002 – The 145
Spring 2003 – Close But No Cigar
Summer 2003 – Real Life Situations
Fall 2003 – The End of an Era

Lazy Days of Summer...

Since 2000, each summer has been given a name. And if I look back, I can name summers before then, but I have yet to come up with one for this summer.

Summer 1998 was the Summer of Joe. That was the first summer I had an off-campus place, worked all day, drank at night, and had a great deal of fun.

Summer 1999 was the Bad Time. I was in a horrible relationship that fortunately came to an end in late July of that summer. Thank God for friends.

Summer 2000 was called the Living Off the Land Can I Live Winning Summer. We were so broke it wasn't even remotely funny, thus we were living off the land. The 'we' in question are my friends Seth Pickens, Faraji Whalen, Corey Richardson, Tash Moseley and cameos by Jamal Dedeaux, Johnny Moore and Kasi David. That was perhaps the best summer of my life because we worked together, played together and had an unbelievably enjoyable time. It was the last days of innocence that we could hang on to before the inevitable 'real life' would seperate us.

Summer 2001 was called 'Love is Stronger than Pride', because I must've played that damn song a trillion times while trying to heal the wounds of a broken heart. Without friends, it wouldn've been much more difficult.

Summer 2002 was A Wink and A Smile. Kicked out of the Triplex and the SGA, the life I'd known of comfort and convenience was quite over. If it weren't for the big hearted Resident Directors and the good people at Morehouse, I'd have been out in the cold. Fortunately, these bonds are for life.

Which leads me to Summer 2003. So far so good. I got a bump in the road yesterday from Mr. Stotts, but it'll be alright. Seth suggested that the summer be dubbed Real Life Situations. That has a connotation of danger or lack of safety. However, I think it too harsh for this summer. I'm going to call this one Gettin' Grown. A title like that is pretty self explanatory, but there are a number of adult responsibilities that I need to tackle that I can only do by being grown. So, the summer of 2003 is forever known as Gettin' Grown, and hopefully by the fall, everything will be in place to have made the title more useful than merely for experience.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I know I haven't written here in quite some time, but as I sit here in Agnes Scott College's lovely McCain Library, ironically my thoughts drift primarily to a friend in New York. Last week, after four days on the job, she emphatically and cathartically told me the things that she wanted to do with her life. She has no idea the affect that our conversation had on me. For before, I was merely a huge fan, now I believe in my heart that the sun rises and sets on her for a number of reasons, the least of which being her incomparable wit and candor and her continual drive. Much like me, she has been underestimated and she continues to defy odds. I rarely if ever show a personally vulnerable side here in my blogger, but I felt it absolutely fitting, since I'm thinking about her right now.

On a totally unrelated subject...

Not surprised by what Hillary said.
Could care less about the NBA Finals...I'm still hurting over the Mavs.
Summer school looms.
The grass has to be mowed again...
My book is fun to write.
Loving every minute of it.
Want to call her more, but don't want to annoy.
I can't ever, ever play enough Solitaire.