It was announced last week that the Sears Tower is no more.
Well, that's not completely accurate. The physical structure is still there, but the company that owns the building has sold the naming-rights for the property to one of its bigger tenants, Willis Group Holdings, a London-based insurance broker.
Yes, another great name bites the dust.
The name Sears Tower was -- and still is -- appropriate. It was named after the company that envisioned and initiated the building's creation 40 years ago.
When I reflect on the Sears Tower, I think of visiting its observation deck during a trip to Chicago in 1991. It also reminds me of the thick Christmas catalogs we would get in the mail from the retailer every fall when I was a kid.
Some youngsters who may have stumbled across this blog might not be able to relate. That was back in the dark old days, long before Amazon.com and email and the Internet and -- dare I say it -- even cell phones. God knows how we survived, but somehow we did.
I guess the name Willis does remind me a little of my childhood. Growing up I did occasionally watch the TV show Diff'rent Strokes and Willis was the name of the older brother played by actor Todd Bridges.
Perhaps, the Willis Group's ad agency will glom on to this similarity and hire Gary Coleman who played little brother Arnold on that show to refresh his sitcom catch phrase with "How tall is your tower, Willis?"
Apparently all you need in this day and age to change the name of anything is a check with plenty of zeroes.
Look at Riverport in St. Louis.
Or at least that's what I still call the concert venue close to Harrah's Casino right off I-70. Riverport was -- and still is -- a cool and quite memorable name. And it sits on Riverport Drive. Its name was appropriate.
However, the naming rights to that location were sold in 2002 when it became the UMB Bank Pavilion and currently it is called the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Not to me though. I like the moniker Riverport and that's what I'm going to keep calling it no matter what corporation buys the naming rights.
It is funny how people from the area still know that venue as Riverport even though it hasn't been named that in 7 years.
That's probably the same way locals were in San Francisco when Candlestick Park was renamed 3Com Park in 1995. After that deal lapsed, the park was renamed San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point until a new naming rights arrangement was brokered with Monster Cable in 2004.
I guess the Bay Area locals were fed up by then since they passed a ballot measure shortly after the deal was inked with Monster stipulating that the stadium permanently be named Candlestick after the contract with them expired.
It would even appear that our own SEMO has jumped on this name-changing bandwagon and even sold out its moniker.
Yes, I know the University does not care for the short nickname SEMO. The administration prefers the more impressive-sounding "Southeast."
You can call it what you want, but SEMO was what everyone I knew called it when I attended in the 1980's and that's what I will continue calling it.
Heck, I still call their sports teams the Indians and not the Redhawks. I'm certainly not the first person to point out that there is no actual species of bird called the Red Hawk. There is the Red-Tailed Hawk that is commonly found throughout North America.
However, a mascot named "Rowdy the Red-Tailed Hawk" is not quite as lyrical as "Rowdy the Redhawk." And the University probably didn't want to even consider the other name that the Red-Tailed Hawk is often called.
Personally, I think Charlie the Chickenhawk would be a catchy mascot name.
But while the University years ago retired it's old athletic team nicknames and mascots -- the Indians and the Otahkians as represented by Chief Sagamore and Princess Otahki, respectively -- in an effort to be "politically-correct," they at least didn't sell-out to a corporation.
Or, at least, not until now.
Last week, the University announced the hiring of new basketball coach Dickey Nutt. The press conference was held in front of a banner emblazoned with logos for both the Redhawks and local golf course and housing development Dalhousie.
One would think from the photo below that SEMO is now somehow named after the golf course. Could that be the case? I wonder when that announcement will be made?
Actually, Dalhousie University does sound rather impressive and that's important in higher-education. It has a European Ivy League ambiance about it, way cooler sounding than Truman State or Missouri State or possibly even Mizzou.
If SEMO has actually sold the naming-rights to the entire University, I don't think they could have made a better choice.
I like the sound of that.
It's almost as good as Charlie the Chickenhawk.
Dickey Nutt speaking at last Thursday's press conference.