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!