The NFL team based in the Washington, D.C. area shed their old (and pejorative/racist) nickname prior to last season.

But they’ve yet to come up with a new moniker. They’ve been known as the “Washington Football Team” for nearly a season and a half.

Quite a few teams in the NFL have names that are linked to their city, whether by geography or history. Baltimore, where Edgar Allan Poe launched his literary career, chose the name “Ravens” as a nod to Poe’s most famous poem. Miami has dolphins, so they also have the Dolphins. The Saints go marching in down in New Orleans, and Cowboys live in Dallas.

So, here are some name suggestions that seem fitting for a team based in the seat of our federal government:

  • The Washington Gridlocks – instead of playing other NFL teams, they’ll just battle to a standstill against their own teammates.
  • The D.C. Lobbyists – each player will be funded by a large corporation, and will rewrite the game’s rules to benefit themselves.
  • The Filibusters – if you think NFL games take too long now, just you wait…
  • The Beltway Bubbles – they’ll only play home games, and won’t care what happens outside their stadium.
  • The Checks ‘n Balances – scores will only count if approved by a 2/3 majority of the team and signed into law by the coach.
  • The Pork Barrels – the field will feature two four-lane highways, situated just beyond each end zone. Each highway, built at a cost of $329 billion, will only be 53 yards long, and will be named after the head of the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Budget Committee, respectively.
  • The WTFs – self-explanatory.

Thunder Island is in Scranton!

I’m drawn to music trivia like moths to a flame. My puny brain cannot retain any useful information, but it does know that Jim Peterik of Survivor (the “Eye of the Tiger” folks) also wrote and sang “Vehicle” by The Ides of March.

However, one juicy nugget of music trivia had escaped me until this week: The theme music for the American version of “The Office” was composed by one James Ferguson. I know him better as Jay Ferguson. Yes, the dude who was a one-hit wonder with “Thunder Island” back in 1978.

Joe Walsh played guitar on the tune, btw. He was a Kent State classmate of the members of Devo. And Jay Ferguson was in the band Spirit. But I digress.

How did I miss that? I mean, who doesn’t love “Thunder Island”? And that album cover is pure 70s yacht rock gold:

The hair, the unbuttoned shirt… the mandals!

A quick search of the google machine reveals that James (a.k.a. Jay) Ferguson has carved out a nice little niche doing music for Hollywood:

His resumé is rather impressive since he has worked on music for episodes of shows such as NCIS: Los Angeles, Women’s Murder Club, Tales From The Crypt, Going To Extremes, Melrose Place, and Eerie, Indiana. Ferguson has also composed music for popular films as well. Throughout his career, he has worked on music for The Terminator, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and This Is 40.

From this article about The Office theme song
The “Thunder Island”/”The Office” connection should be enough to satisfy my music trivia fix. But Jon Wurster (drummer for Superchunk… and the Mountain Goats… and Bob Mould) sent me even further down the rabbit hole with this little post on Instagram:

Sooooo, not only does Jay Ferguson have a hit single in the 70s and a hit TV theme song from the 2000s… but the Rolling Stones sorta/kinda ripped him off.

I’ll have to make room in my puny brain for this… guess I’ll have to forget my wedding anniversary to clear some space.

I’m kind of a Big Dill

My wife and I play pickleball on Tuesday nights, in a couples league. No, we’re not 80 years old, we just like to act like it.

There’s another league that plays on the courts next to us, and one of the guys in that league heads up the Cincinnati Pickleball Club (yes, such a thing exists). A few weeks ago, he gave us some promo swag (carabiners to hang our pickleball bags on the fence… now if only we had pickleball bags). The carabiners had the CPC website listed, so I checked it out and decided to join. It’s a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the sport in this area, and I’m all about groups that promote positive activities (hence my 20 year membership in the Arbor Day Foundation… and my decades-long love affair with Up with People).

Smells Like Teen Spirit… the good kind

Unbeknownst to me, my $20 annual fee made me Member #700 in the CPC. And that’s the only 700 Club I want to be a member of.

They’d never play pickleball… it even sounds sinful.

In Cincinnati Pickleball circles, I’m kind of a big deal.

I didn’t get a tickertape parade, but I did get a Q&A slot in the weekly email newsletter.

Free publicity in a newsletter that goes out to at least 699 other members. It’s almost as good as being in the new phone book!

Autograph line forms on the left. One item per customer…

Publish or Perish

“Shoot for the moon,” they say. “Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Well, sure, but then there’s also this:

Sign up to receive a weekly dose of Bizarro cartoons here:

Heck, I’m too ADHD to even put together the basis for a lackluster novel. But I’m OK with that. Lackluster blog posts are right in my wheelhouse. And there’s something to be said for that. Putting pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard to the ether — is worthwhile to exercise those writing muscles. Even when the end result is lackluster.

Step into my office

I’m know I’m one of the lucky ones – I managed to remain gainfully employed during the pandemic (much to the astonishment of my co-workers). And I’m luckier still to be able to work from home. But after a full year of toiling away in my basement, it was time for a change of scenery.

Yes, Peter Brady taught all of us that when it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange. And I went for a major change of venue. Now that Spring has sprung and the weather is warmer, I’ve set up camp on an outdoor, second floor deck at our house. It’s covered, so rain isn’t an issue.

Far left: watchdog. Left screen: a picture of my blog on my blog (it’s very Escher). Right screen: trying to add to my collection of George “Goober” Lindsey memorabilia.

It’s amazing what a difference it makes being surrounded by nature. Watching the peach tree blossoms come in. Checking out the birds as they chow down on the bird seed that my wife puts in the feeders… and watching those sneaky squirrels always manage to get into the feeders, so matter how “squirrel-proof” they claim to be.

I even enjoy listening to my neighbors chickens. (Yep, she’s got about 12 hens… makes me feel like I’m back in rural Arkansas.)

According to the eyeball experts, one of the best ways to prevent digital eyestrain is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. That was really tough to do when I was stuck starting a a basement wall. It’s super-easy to do now. And the fresh air is working wonders for my brain. I’m no longer a half-wit, I’m now easily a 55% wit.

Even when I’m in, I’m out.

Now if only I could get the solar panels on our roof to power my laptop…

I’m Sincerely Flattered

If Oscar Wilde was correct:

I should be feeling very flattered right now. And pretty great too.

Three weeks ago, I wrote a post about the mental health perils of the coronavirus lockdown, and encouraged you (and by “you” I mean the four readers of this blog… Hi Steve! Hi Jeanne! Hi Jacqui! Hi Tim!) to reach out to four acquaintances just to say ‘hi.’

The mental health crisis is the silent pandemic. What can we do when we’re still in lockdown? We can’t hang out with a bunch of strangers in a bar (unless you’re in Sturgis for the Harley Rally – anything goes!) But we can at least reach out to a few of our casual acquaintances. Whip out that smart phone, scroll through your contacts to find four folks with whom you haven’t connected in a while, and shoot each of them a quick text. Just to say howdy.

A really smart guy, three weeks ago

OK, now let’s fast-forward to yesterday (seems oxymoronic, but just stay with me here). Ryan Estis is one of the many “achieve your dreams” gurus making fat bank off corporate speaking and consulting gigs. (His website sayeth: Ryan Estis is a sales and leadership expert preparing companies and individual contributors to embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance.) And guess what he talked about in his weekly “Prepare for Impact” email newsletter yesterday? Pretty much the same damn things I covered three weeks ago:

  1. How the pandemic was creating a loneliness epidemic.
  2. Encouraging his readers to reach out to three people via text.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Son of a biscuit-eater… Ryan Estis stole my idea!

Ryan Estis using his talons to grab the ideas of bloggers…

I’m not upset. I’m flattered… and now I realize I’m just a sport coat, a checkered shirt and a wireless mic away from being a “leadership expert.”

(I actually do like Ryan Estis’ stuff. Obvi – I subscribe to his newsletter. His most famous presentation is at the bottom of this post. )

Hey Ryan, hit me up in the comments, and I’ll let you know my home address so you can start sending royalties my way.

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