Find Your Own Rhythm

Charlie Watts passed away Tuesday, at the age of 80. For nearly 59 years, he was the drummer for the Rolling Stones… “the greatest rock and roll band in the world” according to none other than Bob Dylan.

On stage, while Mick was strutting around like a peacock and Keith was firing off those classic guitar riffs — usually while a cigarette dangled from his mouth — Charlie was the quiet guy in the back, just doing his job, keeping time.

Off stage, while Mick was hanging out with Andy Warhol at Studio 54, and impregnating Brazilian models… while Keith was ingesting every drug under the sun, Charlie was hanging out with his wife Shirley. They got married in 1964 and remained married until the day he died.

Picture: Getty/ SWNS

In Robert Greenfield’s STP: A Journey Through America with The Rolling Stones, a documentary of their 1972 American Tour, it is noted that when the group was invited to the Playboy Mansion, Watts took advantage of Hugh Hefner’s game room instead of frolicking with the women.

From this article about Charlie Watts in the Independent

Rock and roll drummers are supposed to be the crazy ones. Keith Moon of The Who practically invented the port of trashing hotel rooms. John “Bonzo” Bonham played 20 minute drum solos during Led Zeppelin concerts, and rode a motorcycle through the lobby of a Hollywood hotel. Actually, he rode one through the lobby of three different hotels.

(It’s also worth noting that Keith Moon died of a drug overdose at age 32, and John Bonham also was 32 when he drank so heavily (the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka in a 24-hour period) that he choked on his own vomit and died.)

At some point in our lives, most of us want to be the rock star or the the guitar hero. But maybe it’s better to be in the background, keep a steady rhythm, and stay true to the beat of your own heart.

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.

The Write Stuff

Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, had to psyche himself up about writing .

“Writing isn’t so bad really when you get through the worry. Forget about the worry, just press on. Don’t be embarrassed about the bad bits. Don’t strain at them… Writing can be good. You attack it, don’t let it attack you. You can get pleasure out of it. You can certainly do very well for yourself with it!”

Douglas Adams

It’s great advice for any writer. This blog may be 99% “bad bits” but still we press on.

The note above and other Douglas Adams archival content will be published in a forthcoming book called 42. Read more in this article from The Guardian.

Don’t Peel Back The Onion

March Madness begins in earnest today. I took the day off from work to turn on (multiple TVs), tune in (CBS, TNT, TruTV and TBS) and drop out (of the Bracket Challenge).

It’s always fun to watch the games. But try not to think about how the players – who are the “content” for the $900 million that the NCAA will rake in during the tourney – aren’t getting a nickel.

According to the reports coming out of the Indianapolis area this week, players are being fed fast food, given free deodorant as a perk, provided with puzzles in the rooms they must isolate, and, on occasion, being given warm breakfast foods that have long since gone cold and no utensils to eat that with. In essence, college age kids are being shut in a hotel and given conditions that would make the average middle aged traveler lodge an endless series of complaints and demands to talk to the manager.

From this post on Banners on the Parkway

“It’s become clear to even the biggest NCAA apologist that we are playing this tournament primarily to deliver content to media rights partners,” said ESPN’s Jay Bilas, a former Duke player. “That’s what this season was about.“

Source: Indianapolis Star article

Enjoy the “redemption” story of Rick Pitino, who has taken his fifth team to the tournament. Pay no attention to the facts about why he left his previous coaching gig at the University of Louisville.

In June 2017, the NCAA suspended Pitino for five games of the 2017–18 season for his lack of oversight in an escort sex scandal at the University of Louisville involving recruits. Louisville’s national championship from 2013 was eventually vacated as well. In September, Pitino was implicated in a federal investigation involving bribes to recruits, which resulted in Louisville firing him for cause.


Watch #8 seed LSU take to the court tomorrow afternoon, led by guard Ja’Vonte Smart. Don’t think about how LSU Head Coach Will Wade was recorded on a wiretap, talking about making payments to Smart.

I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade said. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m [expletive] tired of dealing with the thing. Like I’m just [expletive] sick of dealing with the [expletive]. Like, this should not be that [expletive] complicated.”

ESPN had reported Dawkins had at least three calls with a number belong to Wade between June 19, 2017, and June 30, 2017. Smart announced his commitment on June 30.

“Dude. I went to him with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong,” he said. “The problem was, I know why he didn’t take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit. It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn’t explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn’t get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal.”


Enjoy the games. But don’t peel back too many layers of the NCAA onion, because it’ll make you cry.

Royal Flush

I’ve never understood the fascination with the British royal family. The only Queen from England that I’ve ever been even mildly interested in was the one that played “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

I take great pride in NOT knowing the names of the babies that have been born into “The Firm.” Honestly, I still get William and Harry mixed up, because I really could not care less.

Part of it is my lifelong aversion to pomp. And the Royal Family is all about that pomp. They have different giant, garish hats for every day of the year.

Whereas I’m more in this hat camp:

But I just don’t get why one family that inherited a bunch of real estate gets to rule the entire country… then again, I suppose we just went through four years of that in the U.S. of A. too, with King Donald.

Whereas I’m more in this King Don camp:

Mmm, rich chocolate and creamy filling… where was I? Oh, yeah, bitching about the British folks with the wacky hats. This article from the Irish Times really hits the nail on the head. I love the lede:

Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.

Beyond this, it’s the stuff of children’s stories. Having a queen as head of state is like having a pirate or a mermaid or Ewok as head of state. What’s the logic?

Funny… and true. But these two sentences cut to the heart of my issues with the entire concept of a “royal family”:

The contemporary royals have no real power. They serve entirely to enshrine classism in the British nonconstitution. 

That’s it – enshrining classism. Sorry, if you’re trying to sell me a fairytale that says you’re better than me, and you get to reign over me because your great-great-grandpappy was a bigwig back in the day, I ain’t buying it. And I’m sure as heck not bowing down in front of you, or forking over my hard-earned cash to pay for your Disney-fied wedding. Go find a sorcerer to transform a pumpkin like everyone else does!

The Royal Family is a concept that’s played out. Time to shut down the circus and send the clowns away.

Emotional Transportation

Peter Guber is a movie producer. He’s produced many memorable flicks such as Rain ManBatmanThe Color PurpleMidnight ExpressGorillas in the Mist, and Flashdance. He’s also produced some clunkers, but he’s got a nice batting average. All told, the films he’s produced have grossed over $3 billion worldwide and received 50 Academy Award nominations. 

Oh, he also co-owns the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Football Club of the MLS.

By the way, he’s also a bestselling author. His most recent book is titled Tell to Win.

Peter was a guest recently on Rob Lowe’s podcast, Literally! and had a lot to say about the power of storytelling. Check out this excerpt.

I love that term, emotional transportation. (Clearly this blog is like a Yugo Taxi that’s running low on fuel, but still…)

“Resonant, memorable, actionable.” Yeah, that’s the ticket!

The full podcast episode is here. And Peter Guber’s article for the Harvard Business Review, The Four Truths of the Storyteller, is here.

Keep sharing your stories!

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