Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rock On... Kony 2012

The main issue I have in watching Kony2012 is that Joseph Kony's actions have gone on for far too long to adequately condense in a 30 minute film without A) generalizing very complex issues and B) making the film more about the director's campaign than about what Kony has done.

For instance, in regards to point A, Russell refers to Kony's army as the LRA. What Russell doesn't say is that the LRA stands for the Lord's Resistance Army, a Christian fundamentalist group led by Kony to establish a theocracy and rule under the Ten Commandments. Russell completely leaves the religious aspect out of Kony's regime, and that concerns me because, while I don't condone Kony's actions with or without God's help, Kony believes he is doing the Lord's work. Whether one is religious or not, it's easy to excuse someone's behavior if they say it's all a part of God's will or whoever they believe in because it's something we can't fully judge without walking a mile in their shoes. Perhaps that is why Kony has gone under the radar for so long.

As for point B, thirty minutes is simply not enough time to fully understand who Joseph Kony is from an objective standpoint. This works to Russell's favor because not only can he cherry-pick what he wants his audience to see, but in how he wants to present these images. Kony2012 is not fully about Joseph Kony, as seen in the home movies of Russell, his son, and in other shots urging people to make Kony famous. In fact, as the film progresses, the fight to take down Kony becomes more of a social outpouring about awareness of who is Kony rather than what he's done. "Make him famous" is the mantra I recall. And if there's one thing to be said about making an impact, you can only talk for so long before action is demanded. Russell has done a lot of talking, and he's banking on millions of people making Kony famous. But unless they've research Kony's atrocities fairly well, all this film will be is an over-exploited attempt that's had it's thirty minutes of fame in March 2012 before dying out with all the other emotionally-charged causes urging to take a stand or else.

Picture of Kony 2012 poster courtesy of

The Dubious Nature of Timothy Treadwell

If you ever get a chance to watch Grizzly Man, see it if for any other reason because you will encounter one of the most polarizing central figures ever caught on film in Timothy Treadwell. After watching the film for a class earlier in the month, there is part of me that lauds Treadwell's efforts in making peace with the bears in the Alaskan wilderness. However, as the film progresses, I am equally disturbed by his anti-social behavior. His profanity laden tirades near the end practically negate all the good he thinks he's doing. It's one thing to care for certain animals and give them an opportunity to be seen from a more intimate angle, but to go out and blame other people (and God) for not caring enough defeats the purpose of his expeditions. Whether he likes it or not, he's still a human being who needs human interaction. And like the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, it surprises me none that he was mauled to death by a bear. I knew it the moment I saw his years of birth and death at the beginning of the movie. What does surprise me is that through it all, the service and the gradual loss of sanity, he lasted for thirteen summers of living amongst these bears. Just one summer is enough adventure for a lifetime. To go back twelve additional years speaks to the dedication of the human will when fully committed to a task.

Picture of Timothy Treadwell courtesy of MSNBC

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Method Behind My March Madness 2012

Due to my being away in Orlando for the past few days without an Internet connection, I'll keep my post about this year's March Madness tournament brief.

With the release of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament bracket this past Sunday, everyone's got their picks for who'll be the last ones dancing on the court April 2. From the experts at ESPN to practically any office pool, there are 147,573,952,589,676,412,928 possible combinations of filling out a unique bracket between 68 teams. Whether you play it competitively or just for kicks, there's bound to be some measure you take in deciding who'll advance how far, who'll be upset, who'll be this year's Cinderella story, and who'll cut down the nets in New Orleans at the end.

Last year, I gave a detailed account behind my picks and who I saw going where and how far. Obviously, picking against Butler and VCU in their first game of the NCAA Tournament didn't bode well for me. Heck, I didn't think VCU would get out of the play-in game, much less all the way to the Final Four. However, I at least had the foresight to see eventual champion UConn into the Final Four, and I correctly predicted a few upsets, including Richmond (12) over Vanderbilt (5) and Florida State (10) over Texas A&M (7) in the "second" round.

This year, I hope to improve upon my NCAA Tournament selections. My full bracket is available down below, and this year, in higher quality! Long story short, I pick Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri, and North Carolina to go to this year's Final Four. I like Kentucky and North Carolina to play in the championship game, and I see Kentucky winning it all 63-59, and finally giving head coach John Calipari his first Division I title.

Let's make it happen!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Beginning Of The End (Fiction)

The last meaningful baseball game I played was back in 2003. I was an 11-year old third baseman for my team, the Rangers, which compiled a 14-2-2 record throughout the regular season and cruised into the playoffs. After a dramatic semifinal victory over the Angels, we played against the Rockies in the championship game for my city's Little League organization. Had all gone according to plan, this game would've been the beginning of a bright future in baseball for me. In retrospect, it was the beginning of the end.

I was set to play the game of my life, but I couldn't even last a single inning. In my first at bat, I hit a screaming line drive over the center fielder's head for an easy stand-up double. As I was rounding first base, I twisted my right ankle. I hobbled back to first base after making the turn, even though the center fielder hadn't reached the ball. The pain was too much. Fortunately, I was stranded on first base when the top half of that inning ended, and I was swiftly replaced in the lineup.

For the rest of that game, I helplessly watched from the dugout as my team valiantly competed. Here I was, the team's best hitter, sitting on a wooden bench with an ice pack around my right ankle. Adrenaline helped to dull the pain, but I couldn't walk without limping, much less run. Still, I cheered my teammates on, knowing that it was all I could do. I stopped cheering in the final inning, when a teammate threw a wild pitch to score the winning run for the opposing team. Watching them celebrate and donning championship gear was like a dagger through my heart. I was able to keep my composure long enough to join in a post-game hand shake, but I bawled my eyes out when I got to my parents. When I returned home, I vowed never to like anything related to the Rockies, and I cried myself to sleep.

If I were a spectator watching that game, with a close eye on my younger self, I'd see a pudgy boy who inadvertently matured in front of a group of strangers. He initially was in over his head, trying to do too much in a game where team effort wins out in the end. Watching him at first base with his head down and hands on his knees, wincing in pain, served as an unfortunate reminder that the mind and the body don't always operate in synchronicity. But my perception of him would change as the game wore on. He didn't sulk, he didn't pout, and he didn't shut up. He encouraged his teammates to fight on, even when all hope seemed lost near the end. In a way, it's better than he lost because he showed a lot of character in a time of adversity. That deserves more recognition than any postseason banner.

As for the game itself, it was just a game my younger self believed was life or death. What I should've realized is that sports, much like life, can be real humbling real quick. The following year, I played my final season of Little League baseball. It was an ignominious ending as my team, the Cardinals, went a paltry 3-15. I converted into a pitcher, went 2-7 as the staff ace, and the only reason I had any success on the mound was because I intimidated most of the kids on the opposing teams with my size. My hitting statistics dropped substantially and, after a year of bench warming in junior varsity baseball as a high school freshman, I gave up my aspiration to be a professional athlete. That was in 2006, and the following year, I found myself cheering for the upstart Colorado Rockies in the World Series. It's been an interesting turnaround since that championship game, but looking back, I'm glad me and my team lost. It refocused my priorities, reminded me to be meek, and put others before self. Those principles I learned on that diamond many years ago have proven more valuable in my life than any natural diamond on Earth.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

What a peculiar day February 29 is. I mean, why is an extra day added to the end of February, and not in, say, April or September? It's just very arbitrary.

But I guess the more important question to ask is why is an extra day necessary? For that, the answer is pretty straight-forward. Over the course of four seasons (autumn, winter, spring, and summer), they last for 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds, which as you can infer, is a tad over one full calendar year. But if you pay attention, that extra time is enough to keep all the four seasons out of sync if something isn't done to rectify the situation. If a typical calendar year stays fixed at 365 days, then after 30 years, all the seasons would be a week off. And after 100 years, they'd all be off by a month. Can you just imagine if summer took place in October? Me neither.

So who proposed a 366th day as a quadrennial occurrence? Thank Sosigenes of Alexandria. In the first century B.C., Roman emperor Julius Caesar wanted to do away with multiple calendars that had little continuity. He enlisted Sosigenes, a Greek astronomer, to help devise the Julian calendar, a predecessor to the Gregorian calendar we use today. (In case you didn't notice, July was named after Caesar, as well.) It was Sosigenes who insisted that an extra day be added once every four years to keep the calendar in line with the seasons. Caesar obliged, the Julian calendar came into effect in 45 B.C., and the rest, as they say, is history.

February 29 is truly odd because of an uncertainty about how people born on that day celebrate their birthday. In non-leap years, those whose birthdays don't "exist" can choose to celebrate the day before, February 28, or the day after, March 1. It depends on where one lives, though.

But don't fret. Several famous people were also born on February 29. Among others, they include Pope Paul III, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, NHL goalie Cam Ward, and Philadelphian typesetter Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfe­schlegelstein­hausenberger­dorffvoraltern­waren­gewissenhaft­schaferswessen­schafewaren­wohlgepflege­und­sorgfaltigkeit­beschutzen­von­angreifen­durch­ihrraubgierigfeinde­welche­voraltern­zwolftausend­jahres­vorandieerscheinen­wander­ersteer­dem­enschderraumschiff­gebrauchlicht­als­sein­ursprung­von­kraftgestart­sein­lange­fahrt­hinzwischen­sternartigraum­auf­der­suchenach­diestern­welche­gehabt­bewohnbar­planeten­kreise­drehen­sich­und­wohin­der­neurasse­von­verstandigmen­schlichkeit­konnte­fortplanzen­und­sicher­freuen­anlebens­langlich­freude­und­ruhe­mit­nicht­ein­furcht­vor­angreifen­von­anderer­intelligent­geschopfs­von­hinzwischen­sternartigraum, Senior. Seriously. And it hasn't deterred them the least bit.

Well... unless you're a pirate apprentice.

Picture of leap frogs courtesy of

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Florida State Senator J.D. Alexander Doesn't Care About USF Polytechnic

When a term-limited politician known more for being a bully than an ambassador in the public eye steps up against higher education, it would seem reasonable that his fight is a ludicrous attempt to go out of office swinging.

But what if he hit for the fences and scored, too?

Such is the possibility surrounding J.D. Alexander (seen left), a Florida State Senator from Lake Wales in Polk County. The Republican's latest political move may be his boldest yet, in which he wants the University of South Florida's (USF) Polytechnic campus in Lakeland to split into it's own separate, accredited institution by as soon as July 1, 2012. Never mind that such a split would leave thousands of students and faculty out to dry, and that accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools normally takes anywhere from three to five years.

This is one man's vain vision to leave a lasting impression before he leaves office. And what better way to do that than by forming a new university that goes against everything his constituents want?

Initially, the issue was whether or not the Polytechnic campus should sever it's ties to USF so soon. USF Poly, as it's shorthanded in the media, was founded as the latest USF school in 1988. The school changed its name from USF Lakeland to reflect an adopted polytechnic model of education in 2008. Less than four years later, in November 2011, it was decided that while a split was a necessary step in the right direction to become Florida Polytechnic University in the future, several guidelines had to be achieved, which are expected to take several years. USF was also put in charge of guiding it's Polytechnic campus through the process of independence.

At best, the changes wouldn't take full effect until the current student body had a sufficient amount of time to graduate under USF Poly. At worst, those caught in-between the transition would be grandfathered into the USF system, ultimately allowing students to retain an alumni status with USF. Either way, it appeared to be a compromise worth agreeing upon.

But now, less than four months later, it's evidently clear Senator Alexander is using his political clout to get what he wants. And what does he want? To pull the rug out from underneath those whose future depends on USF Poly.

He blames USF for not doing enough to see this transition through, going so far as to say he's "lost confidence in USF's leadership." In retaliation, Senator Alexander, who's also the head of the Senate Budget Committee, proposed up to $108 million in cuts to USF which, among others, would eliminate all funding to USF Poly. The irony of it all is that he helped fund tens of millions of dollars to USF Poly for a new, high-tech campus alongside Interstate 4. But that was years ago. Today, he's taking a personal vendetta against a school he helped build.

What makes a split of USF Poly so acrimonious is that the institution serves a unique demographic. As of the 2010-2011 school year, the average student is 29 years old, and a majority (61%) go to the school part-time. One of the main reasons so many go to USF Poly in the first place is because the location is more convenient than driving to and from Tampa (where USF's flagship university is located) on a regular basis. The campus also has it's own unique program requirements, from majors in IT and industrial engineering to Bachelor of Science in Applied Science degrees, exclusive to USF Poly. If this school splits before the year is up, many students will face one of three options: stay with USF and either drive or relocate to Tampa, enroll at another university with no guarantee all their credits will be retained, or quit going to school altogether.

It's equally acrimonious because Senator Alexander's demand to split soon or else came so abruptly, it caught practically everyone involved off-guard. At the beginning of February 2012, there was no indication that the immediate fate of USF Poly would hang on the whim of a state Senator from a small town in central Florida. Students learned, professors taught, and administrators led under the assumption they still had time to acquiesce this transition.

But now more than ever, the people of USF Poly must object to Senator Alexander's plan and stand up to other influential leaders and politicians in the state of Florida as a united institution. Because if they don't, one man will get his way and leave thousands more disillusioned by the American higher educational system today.

Picture of JD Alexander courtesy of the Florida Senate
Picture of USF Poly campus courtesy of Rodda Construction, Inc.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reddit Does Not Care For Wilson Phillips: Inside The Cutthroat World Of A Social News Website

It's unequivocally clear in today's social media driven age, especially among the Millennial generation, that people can pick and choose the stories they want to see. No longer is it necessary to sift through a newspaper to find an article of interest or watch an hour long newscast just to find out what the big teaser was at the beginning of the show. Everything's only a click away, and this now includes the way people can judge what will be the top stories on the Internet.

So marks the intrigue behind social news websites, where an online community of members can upload their own content, whether original or shared, and rank it's position within the site. Good posts tend to get some positive feedback, great posts typically invite a lot of overall feedback, and bad posts are either ignored or given negative votes to bury it's lack of originality. Many times, the big "stories" of the day are either funny, outrageous, random, thought-provoking, or a combination thereof.

Several such websites exist, such as Digg, Slashdot, and Newsvine, but my focus today is on Reddit. For you noobs, Reddit (pronounced read-it) is known for it's slogan of being "the front page of the internet." Registered users are called redditors (with the average age surprisingly between 35-44), and different categories are known as subreddits. As a redditor myself, I primarily use Reddit to invite more traffic for my blog, though I have recently become more active by uploading other links of interest and commenting on others' posts.

Well, once upon a time, I uploaded a link through todayilearned, a subreddit where users can share interesting tidbits of information they recently found out. Long story, I was on the Wikipedia page for actor William Baldwin when I found out he married one of the singers from Wilson Phillips in the mid-1990s. That, believe it or not, was the first time I thought of Wilson Phillips as someone other than a male country singer. When I clicked on the corresponding page, lo and behold, I discovered Wilson Phillips was actually an American, all-female singing trio. And after listening to a snippet of their Billboard #1 hit single "Hold On", I decided to share my latest bit of newfound knowledge to the Reddit community.

And how did they respond? One person commented, "Ok. And what?," while another said, "Who did you think it was all this time?" Apparently, they must've had to endure Wilson Phillips on the radio to near-death in the early 1990s and are trying to keep them in the repressed memories category of their conscience. (Don't even think about looking, I've since deleted the link in all of it's notoriety.)

But the Wilson Phillips flop is but one of many daily examples of posts that flounder shortly after uploading. It's almost impossible to say what will make the front page of Reddit on any given day. The only hope of making it to the top is several hundred to a few thousand people liking what the original poster liked.

And that's another problem. I know when I upload something most of the time, it's either going to be read once at best or ignored altogether at worst because I don't think like most redditors out there. Ergo, the odds are stacked even more against me in my quest to deliver front page material. This is not to say it's an impossible task, but I think the Chicago Cubs have a better chance of winning the World Series over the next one hundred years than I ever will making the front page on Reddit in that same time. Microscopic odds, indeed.

Now, don't get me wrong. I also happen to think Reddit is the number one resource to stay current on news-worthy information today and for the future. And without it, I wouldn't have had a fraction of the page views to my blog already. So for what Reddit is worth, it's a double edged sword that can cut either way in the hopes of influencing a global audience with the next Internet sensation.

Just make sure to keep Wilson Phillips out of the conversation.

TL;DR - Uploading top-rated content on social news websites takes more luck than skill.

Original album cover courtesy of
Reddit logo courtesy of

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rock On... Tide Pods

Something that caught my eye as I was browsing the Internet, looking for inspiration to post on this blog, was a laundry product called Tide Pods from Proctor & Gamble (P&G). From what I've read, these Pods were expected to be released in September 2011, but was delayed to just this past month before being delayed again to later this month. But I'm getting slightly ahead of myself.

Pods, as the name implies, are little detergent tabs which also contains stain remover and brightener for a 3-in-1 washing machine clean. According to the company's product press release, these Pods have delivered a 97% customer satisfaction rate for cleaning clothes in excellent condition compared to the standard 68%. Pods are claimed to be "customer-inspired" and "technology-driven," as well as an American take on the rise and popularity of liquid detergent packets in Western Europe. Each Pod is measured to handle a medium-sized load of laundry, and I read somewhere a pack of 57 goes for $15.99.

Personally, I like this new/forthcoming product by Tide. I don't have to worry about measuring, nor if I added a right amount of detergent. They also come in three different scents that all smell enticing (spring meadow, ocean mist, mystic forest). And even though I'm one to wash my darks, lights, and whites separately, my doing so once a week, even with separate Pods, would deliver clean clothes for nearly five months with a pack of 57. Now that, to me, is $15.99 well spent.

And yet, I'm skeptical about it's longevity. Certainly, detergent packets look to be the way of the future for laundry, but previous attempts in the U.S. have failed to materialize, namely because past models couldn't dissolve fully in the wash. The big innovation in laundry the past few years has not been liquid tabs, but those Purex 3-in-1 sheets. Also suspicious, especially considering these Pods have had a $150,000,000(!) marketing budget, is that this product has been delayed not once, but twice. Now unless the people at Tide are hoping for a spring/summer smash hit when all those pesky stains just happen to pop up, multiple product delays usually mean there's something wrong in it's function, whatever it may be. Not only does it cost the company time and money, they're losing both new and loyal customers to competing brands. Ultimately, I like the concept, but I don't think the world is ready for these Pods just yet.

Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Prisoner Within My Own Walls, Part 1

Author's note: Some of the language in this post is vulgar and is not something I would ever say, whether in public or private. I only include these phrases because they were, at one point in time, direct quotes spoken about me. My apologies to young readers and/or those sensitive to such foul language. Please continue at your own discretion.

I am both free and captive. I'm allowed to speak up but I can't speak out. And every injustice thrown my way happens to be my own fault, as well.

Yep, this is what happens when a family member gets treated like nothing more than a stranger for a roommate who's worn out his welcome.

Now, some context for you to understand my plight, dear reader. As of this initial post, I live my father, sister, and another woman who acts as my father's caretaker. Long story short, my father divorced my mother, left her out to dry in California, and shacked up with the aforementioned woman a few years his senior. The main reason I'm with my father now is because I moved from West to East to attend a big-name university, and living with him is much cheaper than paying for room and board. My sister joined the fray within the past year and is attending a separate, nearby college.

So what's the big deal, you may ask. Everything would be normal, or at least moderately tolerable, except the only person in my current household not named Morea is a bad influence. Especially around me.

I guess you can say it all started shortly after I got off a cross-country flight from California to Florida three summers ago. Without any warning, my father tells me out of the blue he's been living with this woman and I've got to treat her like family, more or less. Naturally, I'm stunned. I mean, how else is a child to react upon hearing one of their divorced parents has had a domestic partner all these years and was never made aware of their existence until that moment? So right off the bat, I've got a bad feeling about this woman. But as my father told me shortly before meeting her, all he wanted me to do was be nice to her.

I did, and I have, for more than two and a half years. How have I been treated in return? Being called a "fucking asshole," a "low-life piece of shit," and a "god-damned son of a bitch," among other colorful terms.

Of course, having a sailor mouth is but one of her traits that only seems to rear it's ugly head around me. Occasionally when she walks past my room and I'm in it, she'll say aloud to no one in particular, "It stinks!" If I touch something and pass it to her, say a side dish during dinner, she hesitantly accepts as if I have AIDS, extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, or some other kind of deadly disease. Sometimes, I can be doing something as simple as boiling water for a Maruchan cup of noodles and if I'm in the kitchen for more than a minute, she'll come walking in, get within a few feet of me, and just stand there, ostensibly glaring at me as if to say, "How dare you boil water in my kitchen." This never happens around my father, and it certainly never happens around my sister, who's only a few years younger than me. In fact, the difference is like night and day.

To Be Continued...

Photo of prisoner's hands courtesy of

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rock On... Jim Rome Leaving ESPN For CBS

Welcome, what is up! Thanks for clicking onto Rock Talk! I've got a great Friday post for you. You'll get my take on the now defunct television show known as Jim Rome Is Burning (JRIB), how big of a guilty pleasure it was, how the show was Jim Rome's wet dream come true, and what walking away ESPN means for him going forward. Let's get burning!

Fire Extinguished
First of all, what an amazing run this show had. From May 6, 2003 until today, Jim Rome polluted the biggest sports network for thirty minutes with his cynical rants, condescending interviews, look-at-me forum segments, and cheesy correspondent pieces every Friday. Noxious gases were practically spewing from his mouth through the TV screen. Nauseating! Hey Jim, was having a three hour nationally syndicated program on the airwaves and being the 36th most influential radio host in 2011 not enough for your ego? Apparently not. You just had to see yourself on television, didn't you? Because here's the big deal, it's one thing to have a background working in television as a springboard for spawning your own TV show. It's a whole new ballgame when you're thrust into television because you happen to be a radio personality. And don't give me that rebuttal of being on TV all these years is a sign of viewer loyalty. It isn't, that's just what happens when your television show is on the sports conglomerate known as ESPN. You wouldn't have a fraction of that loyalty if you were on some little regional sports network somewhere in southern California where you reside. The people who've tuned into your afternoon TV show all these saw a man who wanted more and more attention than what was offered on the radio. And with your departure to CBS starting in April, you've just turned the audacity knob up another notch.

And yet, there was something about JRIB that kept me coming back for more year after year. Maybe it's because his show preceded my favorite ESPN show in Around The Horn. Maybe it's because he had a sharp wit to match his acerbic tongue. Maybe it's because he actually made a few valid points amidst his ramblings. Who knows? Either way, it extended my afternoons into an hour and a half block of must-see sports talk shows with JRIB at 4:30, Around The Horn at 5:00, and Pardon The Interruption at 5:30. That started probably around 2006. All of a sudden, Jim Rome went from some guy I never even knew to a guy whose show, dare I say it, I actually looked forward to when I came home from school every weekday. Talk about classical conditioning. It's like every day I went without watching his show, God killed a kitten somewhere. And I like cats. A lot. Ergo, I made a conscious effort to watch JRIB every day I could. So to that, I say thanks Jim for helping save the lives of hundreds of kittens. The world is a lot furrier thanks to you.

Some Like It Hot
Now don't think Jim Rome gets off that easily. He may have lived the dream of every sports fan in America by mouthing off his opinion and getting away with it on TV for nearly nine years, but he's a double-edged sword, to be sure. He's the kind of friend you want to punch in the face every time he talks smack about your favorite athletes and teams, but he's also the same guy you'd take a bullet for if he ever defends your favorite athletes and teams. He's as entertaining as a group of monkeys wearing propeller hats blowing on kazoos, and what he lacks in the entertainment department, he makes up for with his soundbites he'll drop ad nauseam on the radio. While their usage was thankfully curtailed on JRIB to an occasional cameo, it just meant more time for him to talk about how he's right, and how everything he says is gospel. And pray tell, is that goatee of his on purpose? Because nothing says antagonist greater than a goatee. And it would surprise me none if he knows all of this, too.

Fanning The Flames
The irony of it all is that Jim Rome's not going off the air anytime soon. It was reported earlier this month that his coverage with CBS will begin with the Final Four of the men's NCAA basketball tournament. Great. I've got one more reason not to tune into March Madness. First, CBS got rid of Gus Johnson (ha ha?), and they counter that by adding in Jim Rome. That's a lot like Fox replacing the legendary Pat Summerall and hiring Joe Buck as his successor back in 2002. And play-by-play commentary hasn't been the same on that network since. Even more daring is that Jim Rome will have a similarly formatted show to his old ESPN program simply called "Rome" on Showtime. Wow. On the originality scale, the score for his title would be in the red. Just when you thought he would simply stick to radio, he's taking his television act to an even bigger audience. I wonder if his head size will expand by a few eighths of an inch during this time. Guess I'll have to find out come April.

I wanna thank Jim Rome for being such a big target for me to aim at. Can't wait to see you on a big time network and your pompous attitude in all of it's glory. And thank you for reading my Jim Rome-esque burns. See you next time. I am out!

Jim Rome portrait courtesy of

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Proposed State Mottoes

What follows are original, proposed state mottoes for each state in America, from Alabama to Missouri to Wyoming. Some are funny, some are witty, some are lame, but all should be given a look-see if any one state should think about revising their motto to something more contemporary and accurate. (Here's looking at ya, New York state.) Enjoy.

Alabama: "At least we're not Mississippi!"
Alaska: "We're nothing like Sarah Palin!"
Arizona: "Just deserts!"
Arkansas: "If it weren't for us, people of Wal-Mart wouldn't exist!"
California: "We grow our own grass!"
Colorado: "Get closer to God here!"
Connecticut: "Home of ESPN!"
Delaware: "We're number one!"
Florida: "We're all about the 80s, from weather, to fashion, and even IQs!"
Georgia: "We're Coke addicts!"
Hawaii: "Everyone gets leid!"
Idaho: "No small potatoes here!"
Illinois: "Average, and proud of it!"
Indiana: "Hoosier Daddy!"
Iowa: "If you build it, you better have a permit!"
Kansas: "Welcome to the middle of nowhere, literally!"
Kentucky: "No nonsense, just horse sense!"
Louisiana: "Life's just one big party!"
Maine: "There's nothing fishy about us!"
Maryland: "Now entering the WASP's nest!"
Massachusetts: "Spreading the common wealth around!"
Michigan: "We auto catch a break real soon!"
Minnesota: "Home of green trees, blue skies, and purple rain!"
Mississippi: "At least we're not Alabama!"
Missouri: "Where West meets East!"
Montana: "Get in touch with your inner nature!"
Nebraska: "Leaders in cornography!"
Nevada: "Gamble your life away here!"
New Hampshire: "All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!"
New Jersey: "As seen on TV!"
New Mexico: "Just like old Mexico, only newer!"
New York: "You can never be too Jewish, liberal, or homosexual here!"
North Carolina: "We invented those flying machines!"
North Dakota: "Canada's the next stop over!"
Ohio: "We're so friendly, hello is our middle name!"
Oklahoma: "Everything's OK with us!"
Oregon: "With all these trees, who needs toilet paper!"
Pennsylvania: "Boo bird sightings all year 'round!"
Rhode Island: "We're only a stone's throw away from the other states!"
South Carolina: "We never surrendered to those damn Yankees!"
South Dakota: "We take our leaders for granite!"
Tennessee: "Full set of teeth optional!"
Texas: "We have the death penalty, and we use it!"
Utah: "We welcome you and your spouses!"
Vermont: "Ben and Jerry were the first gay couple to wed here!"
Virginia: "Older than the Queen of England!"
Washington: "Where the sun never shines!"
West Virginia: "We're all just one big, tight-knit family!"
Wisconsin: "We don't take too kindly to lactose intolerance!"
Wyoming: "Two cows for every person!"

And lastly...

Washington, D.C.: "First in war, first in peace, and last to know about struggling Americans!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Is David Glasper Doing In Southeast Asia?

Somewhere in southeast Asia, there is a man who can be found strumming his guitar in the afternoons, playing acoustic tunes only for a cameraman and the occasional small crowd who happen to be present at that time. But he's unlike your average street performer.

He's a middle-aged musician who once was a teen heartthrob in his native England. Along with two schoolmates, he formed a band and recorded three U.S. top-10 hits, two of which peaked inside the top-5. At one point in time, fellow Englishman George Michael rated his voice as one of the best he's ever heard.

So who is this fallen angel of a singer? His name is David Glasper, and his voice has gone unnoticed for far too long.

Glasper first achieved fame in the late 1980s as the frontman for Breathe, a British pop band. Their debut album, All That Jazz, was released in 1988, and three singles - "Don't Tell Me Lies" (#10 in U.S.), "Hands to Heaven" (#2), and "How Can I Fall?" (#3) - thrust the young man from Wales into the spotlight practically overnight. With his smooth vocals and heartfelt emotion, Glasper was poised to have a long, prosperous career. But after the release of his band's sophomore album, Peace of Mind, in 1990, contemporary tastes soon shifted from sophisticated pop to hard-rocking grunge and rap. While two singles - "Say a Prayer" (#21) and "Does She Love That Man?" (#34) - had moderate success in the U.S., it was evident Glasper's pop appeal was drawing its final breath by the early 1990s.

For well over a decade, up until the mid 2000s, Glasper remained out of the public eye. Aside from a single songwriting credit for Clay Crosse's debut CCM album My Place Is With You in 1993, it's unknown what Glasper was up to during this time, both professionally and personally. But by 2006, he resurfaced with a MySpace account, back when MySpace was still cool. He even released a few demos of original recordings for fans to hear, as if to say he hadn't fallen off the face of the Earth just yet.

But soon he did.

Somehow, someway, Glasper went from England to Thailand, had (or brought) a family there, and removed himself from all forms of global communication. Again, when exactly he did this is unknown. But what is known, albeit vaguely, is that he began having serious personal problems in the late 2000s. Among other troubling tidbits gathered throughout the World Wide Web is that Glasper's wife passed away, and this put him into a tailspin. He fled to neighboring Laos for three years, where he struggled to cope with said problems.

Then, on May 16, 2011, the first video of Glasper in twenty years surfaced on YouTube. The five minute clip featured him singing a rough demo of a song called "Soul Confidant" outdoors and shirtless. Not exactly the most flattering way to make a comeback after such a long hiatus, but it marked one of the few signs of his existence to a global audience since his singing days with Breathe. Later videos show him sporting a dragon tattoo over his right arm and ostensibly performing more demos before a small crowd.

So what exactly is he doing in southeast Asia? Depending on how you look at it, he's either at the end of his rope or grasping onto a stronger one. Like many other musicians whose success came primarily in the 1980s, his impact on pop culture has long since passed. But unlike many of those same musicians, Glasper has gone halfway around the world living in virtual obscurity, all the while dealing with his personal issues. Most would say from this that his troubles have gotten the best of him in spite of his success, even though he's still alive and only 46 years old (as of this post). But word on the web is that his experiences over these past several years have reinvigorated the songwriter within him to record a studio album's worth of new material. A forthcoming album, according to these posts, is expected sometime in 2012.

For longtime fans of Breathe and 1980s adult contemporary pop, this is a breath of fresh air from a voice whose presence has been sorely missed from the airwaves. It's not so much that David Glasper was an overlooked talent in a time dominated by fellow Brits, but in that he disappeared as quickly as when he first hit the charts with Breathe. To see him resurface, after a two decade hiatus and considering the circumstances he went through in recent years, is to see a man sharpened by adversity. It's a long-awaited redemption story finally coming full circle. All that's missing is the music to match the man's God-given talent.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ott

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Year of Rock Talk...

Hey, what do you know, it's 2012! And that means another year of Rock Talk is on the way!

With the new year upon us, I'd like to take these next several paragraphs to lay out three new "resolutions", per se, I plan to see put on my blog over this year.

The first goal I pledge to carry out is in writing shorter posts. There's two reasons for this purpose. First, I do it for your sake. The most humbling aspect of blogging is that I've got neither the reputation or the credentials to keep you hanging on to each and every word I write. Including this one. While I doubt you have a five second attention span, you may only have that much patience with me in deciding whether or not my work is worth further reading. Second, I do this for my sake. Don't get me wrong, I certainly enjoy writing long articles on topics I'm interested in, such as the man who chowed down more than 25,000 Big Macs, but it takes a lot of my time and concentration to write such pieces. And considering I'm a full-time college student, as of this post, my dedication is toward school, first and foremost. Maintaining a blog is fun and all, but it's not my primary focus.

Next, I'm gonna write more timeless articles. In other words, I'll devote more articles that can be read from it's upload date onward and still be relevant. If you peruse the 2011 archives, you'll see a large number of posts that focused on contemporary topics of the time. I did this to stay in the news and give a fresh take on what's happening in that time period, thus keeping me fresh and in the news. But in the days, weeks, and months afterwards, they all were relegated to the compressed timeline of my blog because its shelf life had expired. So I figure the best way to stay refreshed, and thus improve my blog's staying power, is by offering posts that know no boundaries of time.

Lastly, I'm gonna tackle some more international topics of interest. It's overwhelmingly evident based on my blog's statistics that my most popular post is on French pop singer Alizée. And after my home country of the United States, the countries which have clicked on my blog the most (in order) are Russia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, India, Australia, Singapore, France, and Hungary. I've also documented nearly fifty countries (at least) which have visited my blog, if only for a split second. That means I must be doing something right. And in return, I'll continue to expand my blog toward a more global audience. Because in reality, I want my work to reach all corners of the world, not just those here in the U.S.

Now, this isn't to say I won't write long articles, comment on contemporary topics, and highlight American stories of interest. And that isn't to say I haven't followed the above three guidelines I've laid out at all in 2011. Rather, I will do my very best to stay within these guidelines to assure that I maximize my appeal as a candid, well-written gentleman of the South.

With that said, have a healthy, happy new year, everyone!