The Source's Exciting Redskins Rx

* After the Redskins' disgraceful loss to the second-rate Philadelphia Eagles, we hereby make an emergency referral to sports psychologist Jerry Lynch. "I think they're in spiritual crisis," the 57-year-old motivational guru told us yesterday from Santa Cruz, Calif. "The Redskins are not playing with heart." Lynch, who works with pro athletes as well as four of the University of Maryland's women's teams, has doctorates in psychology and comparative religion. "Right now, the Redskins are tense," he said. "I would never even talk about 'winning' with them. Winning would be the byproduct of focusing in on the victories within--over self-doubt, lack of courage, selfishness, ego."

He suggested that Daniel Snyder may be part of the problem. "The old owner mentality--that 'Listen, I'm paying you big salaries, you'd better win'--it's not that way. The bull's-eye is the heart. It's not outside. It's not the scoreboard."

The prescription: "The team should come together before each practice and each game and do a meditation, a clearing of the mind" after "deep yoga breathing," Lynch told us. "Then they'd visualize the task that's right before them and then affirm the four or five things that they commit to doing while they're on the field." It will take "hours of deep penetrating work."

Nerd Alert?

* We were dubious about that earth-toned suit at the New Hampshire debate, and now we're starting to wonder about the Palm Pilot Vice President Gore insists on clipping to his belt. Does he think he can plug into a special port and synchronize himself with the electorate? "Al Gore is armed with both the tools and the vision for the 21st century," explains his press secretary, Chris Lehane. What's next--a plastic pocket protector?


* Weird one Michael Jackson, trying his hand at feature films, is slated to play the title role in "The Nightmare of Edgar Allan Poe," Reuters reports. That's Poe, not the nightmare.

* Distancing? What distancing? A White House press officer called yesterday to say that Vice President Gore and President Clinton are so friendly these days that they bet a rack of ribs on the outcome of Saturday's Arkansas-Tennessee game. The Razorbacks won 28-24, so Clinton is awaiting a feast from Memphis's Rendezvous rib joint.

* It's lucky for George W. Bush that no one has given him a pop quiz on his life. Sharing an anecdote from "A Charge to Keep," his ghostwritten autobiography, Bush told us last week that he worked for Sears, Roebuck in Houston between his junior and senior years at Yale. But documents from Bush's National Guard service indicate that he held the summer job in 1966--between his sophomore and junior years.

Issue One: 'Dear Dr. McLaughlin'

Shouting head John McLaughlin--the former Jesuit priest whose fame from television's "McLaughlin Group" is nearly equaled by his reputation as one of Washington's more intimidating bosses--has met his match in former employee Shane Ham. When the 27-year-old segment producer walked out on his $52,000-a-year job on Oct. 29, he left behind a remarkable resignation letter.

"I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to work on a television show," wrote Ham, a University of Arizona political science graduate who joined McLaughlin's Oliver Productions at the beginning of the year. "It's unlikely that any legitimate news organization would hire someone with no experience, basing the decision only on a shared passion for dirty jokes about President Clinton. . . . But you also did so much more than that. You allowed me to finally test my limits. Like the heroes of folklore who went on a difficult journey to face down a foul and evil monster, I have stretched my capacity for abuse and denigration as far as I can go. . . .

"You are truly a giant among men, combining the language and temper of Richard Nixon in his prime with the mental capacity of Ronald Reagan in his current state. I am absolutely certain that I will never again meet a grown man who behaves as you do, and I'm grateful for that. In ten long months you and your lovely young wife"--Oliver Productions vice president Cristina Vidal McLaughlin-- "have given me many years' worth of anecdotes with which to amaze and amuse my friends."

Yesterday Ham, who's looking for a less stressful job, acknowledged that he'd heard plenty of stories about the TV host before going on his payroll. But "the difference between hearing stories about John McLaughlin and actually working for him is the difference between watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and landing on D-Day."

McLaughlin told us: "I regret that he doesn't regard his stay with us as a happy one. But I am not about to say, 'Come back, Shane!' "