Congress and the president may have resolved the debt crisis but to me it’s the same old, same old, only worse. I shouldn’t be so cynical, but, as Popeye used to say, “I y’am what I y’am.” (Please, no spinach jokes.)
Among the more repugnant particulars of the new agreement are the continued oil industry subsidies. (Record profits and they get subsidies?) Then again, maybe you’re thinking of buying a corporate jet. Well, rest easy because they won’t be hit with new taxes. In fact, there won’t be any new revenues until 2013. (Where exactly is the compromise?)
It was in 2009, when Obama sent 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan, that it dawned on me that while the White House was under new management, it was the same old business. (That said, I’ll probably vote for Obama in 2012, so go figure.)
Disillusioned with politics, I stopped watching MSNBC and listening to Air America. (I had to as they went out of business.) For a distraction I began tuning in to sports talk radio. (Three wars and a recession, necessitates a little distraction.) I’ve concluded that my favorite show is JT the Brick, with Tomm Looney on Fox Sports Radio.
JT is bombastic and opinionated but passionate about sports. John Tournour got his unusual nickname as a Knicks fan who frequently called the Jim Rome Show. The Knicks were so bad that Rome labeled them “the Bricks,” hence JT the Brick.
A stockbroker from 1987 through 1995, JT got his own show in 1996 and today he’s the highest rated overnight sports talk program in the country. (JT is based in Las Vegas while Looney is in L.A., but you’d swear the two were in the same booth.)
The program is highly interactive, fast paced and confrontational. JT challenges callers to bring the same high energy that he does. If they don’t, he’s been known to unceremoniously hang up on them. (They’re allowed to call back another night but only if they’re ready to “bring it.”)
Unfortunately, JT is a Red State guy. One night he was in the middle of a rant (“Pour the concrete and build more prisons”) when co-host, Tomm Looney, saved the day, for me at least. I was about to switch stations when Looney pointed out to flag-waving JT that per capita the U.S. is the most incarcerated country in the world. (We’re No. 1!)
To his credit, JT possesses a sense of humor. He often responds to the antics of the Tea Baggers with the plea, “What’s happened to my party?”
Indicative of the show’s interactive nature is “Music Mondays,” which features music sent in by aspiring musicians. I learned about it as my friend Shauna was recording her debut CD. So it was, that with Looney’s help, a few of Shauna’s songs were aired on 250 stations nationwide! To say she was thrilled is an understatement.
Another popular feature is Military Night Thursdays when JT takes calls from members of the American military stationed around the world. (And vets who have returned home.) Like any regular sports fan, the soldiers talk about their favorite team or players while JT asks about the GI’s background and service. A sweet touch, a recording of the show is sent to the soldier’s family.
“Speed Brick” comes during the last 10 minutes of the show when JT squeezes in 10 callers with rapid fire commentaries. But my favorite segment is “Pop Looney,” an entertaining, sound effects enhanced, summary of the latest in pop culture. I always go to Tomm Looney if I want to know about A-Rod playing in underground poker games, Tiger Woods’ returning to golf, (yesterday) or Redmond O’Neal (Ryan’s son) getting arrested here in Santa Monica for possession of heroin. Yikes!
Like any hardcore fan, JT lives and dies with his teams: the Giants, Knicks and Yankees. (Clearly, he does a lot of living and dying.) The only teams he despises are in Philadelphia. (A philosophy similarly held by W.C. Fields.)
The antipathy originated in 1985 when JT was wearing a Giants jersey in the upper deck of the old Veterans Stadium. Drunken Eagle fans swarmed, a fight ensued and, as JT puts it, “I could have easily fallen to my death.”
Speaking of falling … “the sky is falling talk radio” is Looney’s lampooning of right wing talk shows that predict the “end of the world” because of illegal immigrants, gay marriage or the NFL lockout. (Actually, the latter was potentially serious.)
On a positive note, graying President Obama, who turned 50 yesterday and received his AARP card, just orchestrated through Congress the most stringent CAFÉ mileage standards in history. By 2025, all cars in the U.S. will get nearly 55 miles to the gallon. But I’ll have to find out more details later because I don’t want to miss “Pop Looney.”
JT the Brick with Tomm Looney can be heard on AM 570 KLAC, Sundays through Thursday, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. or online at www.JTthebrick.com. Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.