I’ve always been intrigued by band names. From goofy to clever to politically incorrect to that thin, we-know-it-when-we-see-it line between way cool and too crude. Just noticed who was playing this week at Jannus Live in St. Pete. It’s the lead guitarist with Anthrax who will perform with Killswitch Engage. No, I’ve never heard of either group, but, yes, it did lead to this retrospective.

My short list of favorites for various reasons: The Rolling Stones, The Loving Spoonful, Peaches and Herb, the Sex Pistols, Hootie and the Blowfish, Led Zeppelin, Limp Bizkit, Smashing Pumpkins, Spinal Tap, Blue Oyster Cult, the Dropkick Murphys and Rage Against the Machine. Lynyrd Skynyrd makes it because it was a riff on a high school P.E. teacher named Leonard Skinner. The Dead Kennedys doesn’t make it for unconscionably obvious, disgusting reasons.

And this postscript. Back when I was a rookie, secondary English teacher in Bristol Township, Pa., I made an early mark in the Delhaas H.S. faculty lounge. My planning period coincided with those who passed part of the time with a wickedly funny, creative exercise in making up names for rock ‘n roll bands. I fit in. All too well. To wit: Napalm Sunday, Tit Offensive, Fellatio Alger and The Gaza Strippers.

Halloween Tradition

It’s now a routine Halloween inquiry. Just how old is too old to go trick or treating?

Here’s a take. It’s not so much the age as it is the spirit.

We’ve had University of Tampa students in topical costumes collecting for charities. We’ve had neighbors in costumes funnier and more creative than the ones worn by their little kids. And we’ve seen trick or treaters, sans any semblance of dress-up, who have appropriately prompted: “So, what’s your (non) ‘costume,’ young man? Classic entitled teen? Indifferent, punk-slouch Snickers panhandler? Well done. Sorry, we just ran out.”

Drink Up

A shout out to Tampa and Hillsborough County for getting pragmatically creative about using reclaimed water–highly treated wastewater–to supplement the drinking water supply. It’s done in other places. But there would be added costs, and there are skeptics.

One suggestion: Ditch the “Tampa Augmentation Project” label. Too bureaucratically boring. And by all means, avoid all “toilet-to-tap” references, which are accurate and alliterative, but a bit too literal and visceral. How about “Go with the Flow”?

Musings & More

* Ever notice the “I-love-children-but” look of anxious airline passengers as a couple with a small, crying child heads down the aisle? Have video handy.

* It still seems dated to see those double-truck, color ads for Rooms To Go that employ fetching babes in loud colors and flatter-me, spiked heels as come-hither bookends for furniture displays? These are sofas and chairs, not muscle cars and motorcycles.

* Nobody, but nobody, looks good with a nose ring.

* Among the more un-nuanced signs: “Gratuities accepted.”

* Among the best pizza ads: “90% of people prefer pizza over kale.”

More Musings

*You get to a certain point in your life, and you prefer that time would slow down, as in delaying any more ravages. Mortality, no longer the abstraction of youth, flat out beckons. We ponder; enjoy it while you have it. Right now. Savor the moment. But then comes hurricane season. Hurry the hell up and get through October.

* I love creative names for businesses. Four favorites: Edifice Wrecks, Plant Parenthood, The Sod Father, The Mattress Firm.

Odds & Ends

*There ought to be a law: No leaf-blowing before 8 a.m.

* Truth in advertising, sort of. Ever find yourself reading a label of, say, yogurt and noting how it makes a big deal of having, say, “20% fewer calories”? And then, upon opening it, seeing that there is probably 20% less content?

* When you’ve reached a certain age–and you know it when you’ve reached it–you can feel like an alien in your own culture. Like when you wince when ultra loud movie trailers–featuring the latest comic book sequel or video game hybrid–commence. Or you keep noticing the use of “awesome” to describe the mundane. Or you haven’t watched an NBA game in decades. Or you don’t get the ambient allure of flat-screen TV sports and fine dining. Or that rappers can be icons. Or even seen “Game of Thrones.”

Now add this: Try belonging to a fitness club, those workout venues formerly known as “gyms.” Try being, on a given day, the only guy without tattoos, leotards, a man-bun, shorts that aren’t short, a backwards baseball cap or a playlist that seemingly cancels the outside world.

Speaking of a certain age, nothing like unsolicited mailings from the Neptune Society or a local funeral parlor offering a free meal over burial-needs chit chat to make your day.

* If you voted for Trump, whatever the rationale, I don’t like you. I wish I felt differently. But I can’t like those I don’t respect. And I don’t respect those who helped enable Trump to do this to our country. Sorry about that.

No, I’m not.

Name Game Satire

As we know, Robert E. Lee Elementary School may be getting a new name. As we also know, we can make too big a deal out of appellation updates to reconcile history with contemporary connotations. Given that the Ybor City school often references itself as the “Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies and Technology” and that “Lee” is such a familiar, contextual-diverse name, why not just officially eliminate the “Robert E.” part?  Take it off the front of the Columbus Drive building and, by so doing, obviate the need of grads to have to reference that they went to a “what used to be called” school.

If the formal name is simply “Lee Elementary,” then everybody can ascribe whatever “Lee” identity they want. And not even be restricted by first, middle or surname designation.

*For example, for those still clinging to Southern heritage, it could, in effect, be “Lee Greenwood,” “Jerry Lee Lewis” or “Brenda Lee Elementary.”

* For literal old schoolers, it could be “Gypsy Rose Lee,” “Peggy Lee” or “Harper Lee Elementary.”

* For movie fans, it could be “Spike Lee,” “Bruce Lee” or “Ang Lee Elementary.”

And so on. What a rare opportunity to be all things to all people.