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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

About Us

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There's A Lot A Certain School Could Learn From Watching Alabama

You could tell by the end of Alabama’s first touchdown-scoring offensive series, Ohio State was in trouble last night.

Alabama is going to lay 50 on these guys, I told my faithful dog Maggie, the WonderBeagle.

Since she had chosen to take Ohio State and the points, she immediately got down from my lap, and as you see in the picture to the right, kneeled down and prayed I was wrong.

Her prayers - and Ohio State’s -  were not answered.

Part of it was certainly the tremendous athletes Alabama has, but Ohio State had great athletes too. Yes, the Buckeyes also were missing a key player in injured running back Trey Sermon, but he wasn’t playing defense.

The part that caught my attention, however, was how Ohio State approached playing defense against this powerful offense. It looked pretty predictable, and made Alabama’s drives look relatively easy. ESPN, as it does in national championship games, provides multiple feeds for the game, including a “film room” with coaches, and they did not appear impressed.

Former Auburn coach and UNC defensive coordinator Gene Chizik noted Ohio State was playing so much one-high safety, Alabama’s offense could pretty much pick what they wanted to do. Liberty Coach Hugh Freeze, who knows a thing or two about offense and has actually beaten Alabama as a head coach, echoed that by saying you could see clearly what Ohio State’s defense was going to do when you came to the line of scrimmage.

Alabama’s hard enough to beat when you DO confuse the quarterback; letting him easily see what he’s facing is just inviting a boat race. It creates a situation where I kind of thought Alabama QB Mac Jones was just having a ho-hum night, making throws that were good, but nothing spectacular. Then you realize he threw for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 80 percent (36 of 45) of his passes.

Ho hum, indeed.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Jack Slovic

Hello

Dave On point analysis- communication growth and stability critical to success Look forward to getting your long form commentary ... Read More
Tuesday, 12 January 2021 19:33
Dave Scarangella

Thanks, Jack!

Welcome to the site!
Tuesday, 12 January 2021 19:44
0

I Found The Problem. It Was ME

Hopefully this will be the last of these kinds of posts. But after sending out a bunch of emails to tell everyone of a new post today, I started getting emails saying when they tried to respond, they got an error.

So for the last hour or so I’ve been checking everything from the email template to the control panel. I finally found the problem, and it wasn’t coding, it wasn’t the programming, it wasn’t anything technical.

It was my big fat fingers that when I set the site up years ago, added a “j” to the system’s return email address. So if you hit “reply” to the email, it didn’t work.

It was set up that way many years ago and I never knew, so thank you to those who let me know. It’s now been fixed and if you try to reply to this, or any other future emails from the site, it should work.

You may now go back to watching Alabama and Ohio State….

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What's Another Email In Your Inbox Going To Matter?

As a bit of housekeeping, let me explain a few changes going on with the site.

As I alluded to last week, I have finally given up being on any form of social media. Twitter was the biggest of them, and it was where many of you saw I had posted something new. Since Christmas I’ve been keeping to a resolution to write something every day, and to the shock of everyone in my house, I’ve actually kept it.

I suspected when I deleted my Twitter account last week that the numbers on the site would drop to zero. I mean, just like the question about a tree falling in the forest and it making any noise, if you post something on your website, how is anyone going to know? Only reason I could think of was you’d written something every day for months and people just developed a habit of checking on your site regularly.

I certainly haven’t done THAT.

But the numbers haven’t really changed at all. Yeah, there aren’t any huge spikes that usually come when I write something suggesting coaching changes at Virginia Tech, but take them out and everything looks kind of normal when I write about Maggie, food, or life in general.

So I looked at where some of this traffic was coming from, learned my site has a module that captures subscriptions, and some 20-plus people have been getting an email every time I post something. After getting over the thought of “wow, I’ve been annoying over 20 people for quite some time,” I realized there could be a good use for this.

I hate bothering people. I don’t do mailing lists, I don’t do mass emails and I only text people I’ve known for a long time when it regards stuff I’ve posted on the site. But over the weekend I got several very nice emails from people I used to talk with regularly via Twitter, and it occurred to me adding their names – and a few others who seem to like stories about Maggie, my crazy family and sports – probably wouldn’t mind.

I have, and if you’re on that list, you’re getting notice of this post via email. If I’ve made a mistake, please let me know immediately and I will remove you. The email gives you a real email address that I will see replies to (vs. going into some administrator bulk mail account) so I’ll take care of it immediately. The subscription module also gives the option of subscribing by author (I write everyone so that’s not going to do anyone any good) or by category.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Johnny Hurst

Posts

I enjoy reading your posts and keeping up with Maggie's adventures so I'm glad to get an email. I'd been meaning to check and see ... Read More
Monday, 11 January 2021 14:37
Dave Scarangella

Great To Hear From You!

Your comment must mean the email thing I checked on the control panel worked ... Read More
Monday, 11 January 2021 15:00
Guest — Sandi

Another Twitter refugee

Hi Dave- I too deleted Twitter... still want to hear your take on sports, food, puppies- all the important things in life... was h... Read More
Monday, 11 January 2021 16:05
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The Little Trash Can Who Could, Actually Did....

One of my many flaws over the years involves becoming sentimental about inanimate objects. If something I’ve had for many years stops working, my first instinct is to figure out how to fix it so it can remain a part of the family.

The fact that my skill set does not even remotely involve using tools or fixing anything poses a significant obstacle to this, and more than likely, ends up with the item in question being dumped down in the basement. It is then my strategy turns to finding a friend who does know how to fix things and getting them to pay me a visit.

When all else fails, I then admit defeat and go buy a new one.

Such was the case with this trash can you see in the picture to the right. It’s a trash can with an automatic lid that opens when your hand goes over the sensor, then goes back down a few seconds later. We’ve had both it and its little brother – which resides in an upstairs bathroom – for nearly 20 years.

But three weeks ago, the lid stopped opening. My first inclination was it was time to change the batteries, so I put in 4 fresh “C” batteries. Nothing changed. I tried manually lifting the lid and closing it rapidly several times. Nothing. I even got out some paper towels and cleaner and scrubbed all of it, thinking maybe the area over the sensor had gotten dirty, or perhaps something had built up in the hinges, stopping everything from working.

Nothing.

Immediately my wife – who is known as Dr. Death by all our appliances – started searching for a new one. She ignored my resolution to repair the trash can much the same way a person might raise their eyebrows when you told them you had ordered a unicorn on Amazon. In her mind, the trash can had failed at its duties and now must be replaced. Immediately.

She quickly found one at Home Depot that seemed an exact replica of what we had, although it seemed a little pricey. I vaguely remember buying both the big and little trash can for $59 at Costco, and this one was close to $100. This brought on comments about it’s not 20 years ago, they don’t sell cell phones for $200 anymore, your hair isn’t black any more, and other rather mean statements to indicate the world might have changed since we last made such a purchase.

All also ended in “and I’m buying a new one.”

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It's Good To Be Maggie...

I just walked into the den and saw this.

If I didn't know better, I'd think this was a teenager, watching television and looking out the window on a sunny Sunday.

It's no teenager. It's Maggie The WonderBeagle.

Tell me again that story about being treated like a dog? :)

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I Don't Know The Future, But Last Night Heinicke Had "It"

It may have been the last time we will see the team with no name for many months, but the Washington Football team did accomplish something significant last night.

They were fun to watch. They gave us hope. They might have even found a quarterback.

If so, it will mark an important step for the team, as it has been a constant weakness for this franchise for decades. I don’t care who your favorite team is, if they don’t have a quarterback with “it”, that ability to get in the huddle and against all odds, come to the line of scrimmage and make a big throw when you need it most, your team isn’t going anywhere.

Look back to the glory years of the team called the Washington Redskins. For 8 straight years, it was Joe Theismann. Jay Schroeder held the job for two years with a major Super Bowl assist from Doug Williams, then it was 5 straight years of Mark Rypien. They had stability at the position, so there were guys who knew the offense, inspired confidence the plays would work, and more often than not, got it done.

Last night, they were facing the king of longevity and consistency at QB in Tampa’s Tom Brady. He’s played so long, a graphic during the game informed that he was now older than George Blanda, the previous king of playing forever. The major difference, however, is Tom still looks young enough to play. George always looked like he was in his 80s, had just finished smoking a pack of Lucky Strikes and drinking a 6-pack of Carling Black Label, all while yelling in a raspy voice “come on, let’s line up, I’ve got somewhere to be tonight.”

Because of Brady, I didn’t expect Washington to win, which they didn’t. But I also wasn’t expecting to see Taylor Heinicke shine so bright on the big stage.

He didn’t disappoint. In fact, I might even go as far as to say he convinced me he has “it.”

He reminded everyone that it’s not how strong your arm is or how high you are taken in the draft, it’s your ability to process information, see what you’re facing, and quickly decide where to go with the ball. It has been Alex Smith’s strength, and it’s why even with a beaten and battered body, he still performed better this season than the other QBs on the roster. Knowing where to go with the ball on one leg still trumps having no clue with two.

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I Will Wager You Did Not Know This

File this away under “things I learned that I did not know while watching the Colts play the Bills:”

CBS seems to really be pushing an original show they’ve come up with called Clarice, as I’ve seen multiple commercials for it before we’ve even reached halftime of the Colts-Bills game. The show is supposed to be the story of FBI agent Clarice Starling who was played by Jodie Foster in “Silence Of The Lambs.”

The movie always reminds of one particular line Hannibal Lecter – played  by Anthony Hopkins - says to Clarice about a census taker who once tried to test him:  “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

The line was sufficiently creepy for me to remember, but what I didn’t know is it was an inside medical joke. I looked up the line to make sure I quoted it accurately, and came across this explanation: Lecter was probably being treated with drugs, which I certainly hope a maniac like him was. The drugs were probably called monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs.  Since Lecter is a psychiatrist, he knows this. Which means he also knows this:

The three things you can’t eat with MAOIs are liver, beans or wine. So he’s telling a joke by saying he ate some guy's liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti to indicate he’s not taking his meds. And creep everyone out.

Learning this has been the highlight of an otherwise less than exciting game so far….

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At Least One Of Us Came Out A Winner Yesterday

­Yesterday had all the makings for a very peaceful day: Cold and gray outside, a 9-pound pork shoulder cooking in the oven, a few good books to be read. And for the most part, it was.

Well, until my oldest friend Doug decided he wanted his own Navy.

I was in the middle of reading two books: Was finishing up James Patterson’s Deadly Cross, and by mid-afternoon would finish that and then start James Grisham’s A Time For Mercy. Patterson’s book was good rather than great, and after a few hundred pages of Grisham’s book, it seems to be the superior story. Part of that is Patterson seems to write an Alex Cross book about every 3 weeks, so his stories start to feel like a formula. Figure out a fast-paced story line, then plug in the cast of familiar characters.

But this latest one had its moments, particularly if you live here in the DC/Northern Virginia area, as he name-drops a lot of places throughout the region. You can tell he wrote the book more than a year ago because he talks about watching a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins, not calling them the Washington Football team. He even mentions the Washington Nationals.

What made it cozy finishing the book yesterday was I had a pork shoulder cooking all day for last night’s dinner of barbecue and cole slaw. It went in at 5:15 AM for a 10-hour slow roast, and by about 11 AM, there was an aroma throughout the house that had my detective WonderBeagle Maggie hot on the trail to discovering its origins. Patterson has a recurring character that is Alex Cross’s grandmother, and about every 50 pages she’s cooking something similar, with detailed descriptions of how good the house smells.

It is in the midst of this peaceful reading I get a text from my old friend Doug. Apparently, the amounts you can win for both Powerball and MegaMillions were over $400 million. He thought I should know, leading to this conversation:

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3

Whoever Sold This Idea Should Be In The Hall Of Fame

If you’ve spent any time in marketing – and I spent the better part of three decades doing so – you’ve probably been in a meeting like this.

It’s where an idea is being pitched and your own feelings of common-sense kick in and tells you it’s not that great of a proposal. But if you object, particularly if you’re an older executive – you will be shamed into not being “with it”, not looking at things in a new modern way, and are too focused on old school metrics like wondering if all this is going to result in your company actually selling more stuff.

Happens frequently, and if you sell hard enough, you’ll sometimes get approval for something that, in truth, isn’t that great a proposal.

Which brings me to the new Burger King rebrand.

Whoever sold that logo needs to be in the selling hall of fame. They somehow convinced Burger King to give them millions of dollars in return for the agency giving them their old logo back from the 60s. To complete the package, they even took the font you saw every Monday night at 8 PM on NBC’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and are slapping it on burger and burrito wrappers.

I’m guessing Goldie Hawn will next be invited to be a company spokesman.

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Recent Comments
Doug Johnson

Dick Martin Wisdom

Apparently these new ad people learned the old adage of "Blow in my ear, and I will follow you anywhere." Say good night, Dick.... Read More
Friday, 08 January 2021 13:06
Dave Scarangella

For them to have seen that ske...

...so old that I don't want to talk about it
Friday, 08 January 2021 13:14
Tony Banks

Ah yes, the 60s...

Back when kids got burgered in by the king along Little Creek Rd all the way thru Turner St (alas, now a Zaxby's?), except for a b... Read More
Saturday, 09 January 2021 11:12
2

Today Is A Day Of Pondering For Maggie And Me

Today for me and Maggie, is a day of pondering.

A week ago, I wrote about getting back into a routine and made some resolutions regarding writing every day, exercising just about every day and getting back to reading. A week later, I’ve kept them, and have noticed a nice mental benefit. Instead of hitting a certain time of the day and thinking “I don’t have anything to do,” I go down the checklist of writing, reading and exercise.

I will say, it does leave you in a better mental state than taking a nap or wasting brain cells on Twitter.

But any positive contribution all this does to your mental state is immediately washed away by a few minutes of scrolling through Twitter. Yesterday was a rough day for this country, but if you wanted to feel even worse, all you had to do was read through Twitter. It is something so toxic I often wonder why I even have the app on any of my devices.

So I’m once again pondering how to leave the last vestige of social media I’ve been involved with behind. I’ve dropped Instagram and Facebook in past years, but I’ve held on to Twitter for two reasons: One is there are a few really good people who are nice to talk to on the app, and the other is when you write something, it’s the best way to let those few good people know you’ve posted something new.

The second one isn’t all that important because I don’t write for any metrics like hits, likes, etc. I’m not a for profit operation and I budget a thousand dollars a year for websites, software and any other electronic toys like mics or cables associated with the hobby. It’s no different than a golfer putting aside money every year to buy golf balls, gloves and pay for greens fees.

The first one is. Yesterday I took my mind off everything by doing some voice over work for a guy named Rick Snider. He’s a well-known sports writer in the area over the last 30 years and we became friends over Twitter. Rick is just the kind of interesting person I enjoy meeting, because he’s not just a one-dimensional sports guy. He’s written several E-Books that come at life from a spiritual angle, and he’s asked me to play a character in both.

On the first one, we all got together at a location where all the sound equipment was set up and we recorded our parts. With the pandemic, however, we decided that wasn’t a wise decision on the second book, so we’re recording our parts individually and the producer will put it all together. I had some old sound equipment that in its day was state of the art, so I spent the last few weeks dusting it off and getting it usable. Its biggest issue is the sound card only works with Windows XP, so I can’t connect it to the internet. It’s no longer supported and would be too great a security risk.

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Recent Comments
Kim

Nala and Tabasco are glad

Nala and Tabasco are glad to find Maggie on here! We all like your writing so we'll make sure to visit here more often 😊
Saturday, 09 January 2021 13:08
Dave Scarangella

Maggie asks about Nala all the...

If you've noticed, many of the stories are just an excuse to work a picture of WonderBeagle into the site ... Read More
Saturday, 09 January 2021 13:29
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There's Only One Thing I Know That Can Ease The Heartache...

Maybe it’s just the time of the year. Or with social media, people are more inclined to share such news. But it sure seems like a lot of people in the last two weeks have had to deal with the heart-wrenching experience of losing a pet over the holidays.

If you’re not a dog person, it probably doesn’t seem like all that big a deal. But if you are, then every time you read of someone wishing their beloved animal goodbye, it reminds you of the last time you had to go through it.

I am a dog person, and have had at least one animal just about all of my adult life. I describe owning a pet to many as “12 years of happiness followed by six months of heartache.” People joke about it, but it really is true that if you bond to a dog and have one for a long time, you find you like that dog much more than many people you know. You certainly miss the dog a lot more than some of these people when both are gone.

I’m reminded of all this today because I got a DM from another fellow dog lover who just lost hers. The day your dog travels over the Rainbow Bridge is a bad one. But the next day, I’ve found, is even worse.

You don’t realize it in the years you own a pet, but at least for dogs, they become the heartbeat of the house. You come to know every sound, creak and crack in the house, mainly because just about all of them are related to that hound, and usually mischief is associated with them.

That next day’s silence is awful. When you do hear a sound elsewhere in the house, your mind immediately thinks it’s the dog, possibly chewing on a bone or sniffing around the kitchen for snacks. Walking out to see and realizing it was only the heat coming on just reminds you again of the void your dog has left.

I wish there were words you could say to comfort someone when they’ve lost a pet, but I know that saying “I just lost one too” doesn’t really help. The only solution I’ve found to getting over the heartache, unfortunately, actually sounds heartless when you say it: go get another dog.

But it works. We had lost the second of our two dogs in the summer of 2019. I was determined we weren’t going to go through all the pain again and didn’t want another dog. But my wife insisted, and a tiny little beagle/hound mix who was sitting in a kill shelter in South Carolina ended up weeks later in our house.

We named her Maggie. She took one look at my heart, and said “I can fix that.”

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They Finally Did It...

They Did It

After a long and bumpy road, The Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. And made an old man in Ashburn cry...

Never Grow Old...

Never Grow Old

A trip to Spring Training reminded me we're all still kids at heart, and no matter how old, you keep playing until they get you out.

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