Well I'll be damned...

Go to Google and type the word 'failure'. Then, click the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button and see what pops up in front of your eyes. I know that the current administration is pretty much one giant SNAFU, but I really don't know what to make of this. On the other hand, I don't know why part of me finds it somewhat shocking. Getting sympathetic? Hope not. Guess it's time to go back and re-read Shrub...



The Red Hot Chili Peppers! In order to complete the triad of one of the best shows on the road from the early 1990s, the Chili Peppers will now be honored. If you'll think back to last week, you may remember that I chatted about the Smashing Pumpkins for NRT. Well, that same day, over at the NRT Annex, Dwardisimo Rex gave homage to another one of my favorite bands - Pearl Jam. In the early 1990s, the Chili Peppers headlined a show that traveled around this great nation and introduced us to both the Pumpkins and Pearl Jam - little known bands at the time. Most of us who went to the show were there for the Chili Peppers; but came away with so much more.

Now, before I get into their first new album in four years (!) I would like to give you a little back history. I was introduced to the Chili Peppers in early 1990. My friend Meghan decided that I needed more to my musical catalog than REM and Metallica, so she gave me a mixed tape full of the newly crazed 'alternative' music. On it was a copy of Catholic School Girls Rule from the 1985 album Freaky Styley. That's when my love affair with the Chili Peppers began. For all practical purposes, this band and I grew up together. I was in high school, they wore only tube socks on stage. I went to college, they still wore only tube socks on stage. I went to grad school, and they began to don tighty whities. I went into the real world, and they all discovered pants. Now I'm a full fledged 'adult' and they dress in full. As time went by, we all gained some new friends, lost some old ones, grew up, cleaned up, and discovered that there was just a little bit more to life than sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. Their music has changed some, but still has that funky groove feeling of the older stuff - with just a little more maturity.

So now, I present, Stadium Arcadium!

Released back in early May, this double disc is 122 minutes of pure joy. Sure, they're singing about California again; but it's deeper this time, more intense. These guys are no longer just a band; they have officially become musicians. Anthony Kiedis's voice remains smooth as silk while his vocal croonings trade banter with Flea's bass. They've given John Frusciante more opportunity to strut his stuff, and if you didn't know already, you now know that this guy is DAMN good with his six string. And last, but certainly not least, drummer Chad Smith, as always, continues to perfect what he does so very very well - combine high powered rock rhythms with blistering funk grooves. Chad, my man, you ROCK.

You'll find the first single - the very catchy Dani California - under the ear candy link; but I would also like you to delight in the title track, Stadium Arcadium. It's a lovely ballad that displays the talents of all the band's members. And if you listen closely, you'll find that they have layered the track to perfection. Sit back, relax, and let the Chili Peppers take you to the moon...


Why I Always Have My Camera

I left work, as usual, really late this evening - around 7:30pm. I was there for almost 13 hours and was somewhat grumbly on the way to my car. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, this precious little creature came along and made me smile wider than I have in some time. Simply put, baby animals ROCK! If you click on the picture(s), you can get a closer look at the little darling. Enjoy!!


It took a few days, but I think that I'm finally cooled off enough to discuss the stupidity that is OGL's veto of the stem cell bill. What this man has done has not only put another speed bump into medical progress, but has possibly put many of my colleagues' research projects at risk. Yes, that's right - my colleagues. I guess it's time the cat comes out of the bag. I am, by education, a behavioral neuroscientist and my passion is the study of neurodegenerative disease. I am, by trade, a biomedical researcher and I once studied these diseases in animal models. I have seen stem cells work miracles like nothing else. I have seen mice grow new brain cells after developing symptoms of Huntington's disease and I have seen rats walk again after developing the muscle freezing from Parkinson's. I have worked (albeit briefly) with the great Dr. James Thomson (the godfather of stem cell research) and he is truly a genius. The sad part is that even back in 2001 we knew that there would be trouble in the budding paradise that was the promise of stem cell research. Behold! Time magazine - August 20, 2001:

We were PROUD dammit! And how could we not be? We were on an amazing path of discovery with Jaime Thomson at the helm. Then the dark days came when OGL announced that we could not produce any more stem cell lines and that funding would be limited for those lines we already had. At that time there were only 60 in the entire research nation; a majority of which were not usable for human research trails because they were grown on animal tissues. With this latest blow, OGL continues to put medical advancement at risk. For the last few years, biomedical research dollars have been more difficult to obtain (unless you're willing to study anthrax and/or bioterrorism) and the National Institutes of Health's budget has taken a hit year after year because it has been placed on the DEFENSE bill. That's right boys and girls - the heart and soul of the USA's medical research has to sit fourth fiddle to Georgey boy's war games. For instance, a technician in Dr. Thomson's laboratory makes a whopping $26,000 [gross] a year because that's all the FOUNDER of stem cell research can afford to shell out of his budget. And people wonder why I want to toss it all and go to veterinary school. Well, there you have it - I fear that there may come a time when what I do will no longer be valid because the 'high and mighty' will have come to save we sinners from the fire. What do I want to say to these people? I say this: If you ever have the opportunity to feel the pain of a debilitating disease such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or ALS, then I do wonder if you'll think that those 'precious' cells are better off in the trash than in the safe hands of our nation's highest minds.


The Idiot Box

So there I was, parked in my lazy boy, eating ice cream for dinner (yeah, healthy, I know), and flipping through the channels, when I came upon a Ron White special on Comedy Central. I adore Ron White - he's funny as hell, he's real, and to top it all off, he smokes and drinks on stage. Really, it's impossible not to like this guy. The best part is that Ron doesn't tell 'jokes' per se. Rather, he tells stories and makes you laugh your ass off in the process. Tonight, I was pleased as proverbial punch to hear him tell one of my all time favorite stories about him getting thrown out of a bar in NYC. If you need to have your funny bone tickled, click here for a replay of this classic.

In addition to Ron, Comedy Central is also now airing one of my favorite parts of the World Cup half times - Red Stripe commercials (I personally think the stuff tastes like ass, but these commercials are fun-nee). If you were watching the World Cup, and didn't need the whole half time to pee, you saw one of these. If you think you may have missed them, allow me to jog your memory -
Hooray Beer!

In conclusion:
Hooray Beer!
Hooray Ron White!
Hooray idiot box!


Happy FREAKING Thursday!

You ever have one of those weeks when you finally just reach a point where you say 'I could really give a shit."? Well, I'm at that point now. Falling into that comfortably numb state that I like to call apathy. I have officially run out of energy to care. Highlights from the week: The world is exploding; my GI doc thinks that yes, a colonoscopy would be a SPLENDID idea; OGL proclaims that god forbid we take cells from cells; I finally have the chance to enter the road to veterinary school but have to DEFER due to time, money and said rear-end troubles; and I have a stress test at the age of 31 because my bp is WAY up. Really? No kidding. Let the good times roll!!!!

But rather than that, let's discuss the picks for NRT. The primate this week is actually a relative of the mongoose! Check out the link for this lovely creature, and click
HERE to hear its call!

Now, on to this week's ear candy pick - the Smashing Pumpkins! And in particular, their album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I thought that after Tuesday I would be listening to harder rock, but what I was really seeking was angst riddled with bitterness. Seriously, who better than the Pumpkins? Corgan is one of the kings of angst. I initially had out Gish, then moved onto Rotten Apples (greatest hits comp.), but went with MCIS after I found myself listening to Zero on repeat. You'll find even more 'happiness' when you click on the 'ear candy' link.


My Head's Gonna Explode!

And that's why I'm going to take a brief hiatus until Thursday when I will no doubt present a review of some really nasty hard-ass rock album. Either that, or it will be something so nutty that even I won't understand why I chose it!


Bonus Track!

He's ba-ack....

Yes, that's 'Weird Al' Yankovic, and he's done it again.

There I was leafing through a back issue of Rolling Stone when I come upon a random picture of James Blunt - former Captain of the British Army turned pop star - sitting on a beach somewhere with a way too damn thin model. But I digress. The significance to all of this is that under the picture they say that Weird Al has parodied Blunt's mega hit, You're Beautiful, calling it You're Pitiful. This, ladies and gents, has the making of a Weird Al classic. It's up there with Like a Surgeon and Fat. Plain and simple, it's good stuff!

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't want to like James Blunt. He's kinda whiney, and his voice can be quite feminine. However, after a while, I broke down and bought his album Back to Bedlam and for some strange reason can listen to it on repeat. I find it soothing and think the songs are beautifully written.

Anyway, back to our main event - Al. His parody is a must hear. But first, if you're not familiar with the work of Mr. Blunt (and if you're not, you've been living in a cave as You're Beautiful has been in heavy radio rotation for at least 15 weeks) click
here to check out the video stream and hear the tune (also, check out the nifty monkey on the page!!). Then, listen to Al here and enjoy!!


And yesterday continues into today...

It seems that when I was honoring Bill Cosby yesterday, I managed to leave out his other great piece of children's programming. I apologize. My friend Ourika (see my blog links for a further glimpse into her psyche) reminded me about Picture Pages! Originally created by Captain Kangaroo(!), Bill came on in the late 70s to host the shorts. How the hell could I forget Picture Pages? "Open up your Picture Pages..." Mortimer Marker? Come on!! Best part of this whole thing? When I went in search of footage (and sadly only found some bizarre re-done theme from the early 90s - BAH) I found this!! . Enjoy, gen x'ers, enjoy... Next up? "I'm just a bill..." But I'll save that for another day. Why? Well, because it's NEW RELEASE THURSDAY!!!!

However, first, I should probably give a glimpse into as to why I'm typing like I've been eating too much paste. Well, I've had quite the crappy week and when I got home, dinner consisted of two beers and 1/2 a pita while I watched the cartoon network (not that you really give a shit). That, combined with the fact that I've gotten minimal sleep this week, means that I'm just a tad giddy. Anywho, on with New Release Thursday. There is of course a new monkey to view, and it's in honor of this week's
Get Fuzzy cartoon strips. Thank you Darby Conley!

To keep you in suspense for just one more minute, thanks are also in order for my blogging buddy, Dwardisimo Rex, for adding to the musical fun on his blog: I Don't Remember Eating That (again, see the blog links for a glimpse into his psyche). Seriously, you should go to check out the very cool band he's posted - Super Black Market. Pretty good stuff - even for 6am in my opinion. And while you're there, see what DR has to say about this crazy world as well.

OK then, enough already!!!

This week's album is Interpol's Antics. Originally, I was going to put out some much harder, angrier stuff (remember, I've had a crappy week), but then I did my weekly check of CMJ. I'm sad to report that Weezer is on hiatus - again, but delighted to report that Interpol is working on a third album. I am SOOO happy to hear this. And you'll be happy to hear and see them do their thing by clicking on the 'ear candy' link to the right. Antics is catchy and original with just a smidge of Joy Division thrown in around the edges. The key track in my opinion is Evil, but the whole damn thing is good from top to bottom. Now, be warned that the 'ear candy' link is to Yahoo! music as I'm trying to provide posts where you'll be able to hear the band if you've never heard them before. You may need a Yahoo! login ID to get access. If you ain't got one, make one; or you'll be SOL...



Hey Hey Hey!

Happy 69th birthday to Mr. Bill Cosby! Lots of people love Mr. Cosby for many reasons - mainly his stand up comedy and general sense of humor. However, I'm going to pay homage in a completely different way by honoring one of the all time GREAT Saturday morning cartoons.

Hey, Hey Hey! It's Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat Albert!!!

This cartoon ROCKED the house and was conveniently placed in the CBS Saturday morning lineup near reruns of Land of the Lost and good golly did I LOVE it. Fat Albert, Mushmouth, Dumb Donald, Weird Harold, and all the junkyard band gang wholesomely providing us with life's lessons at the very end of each show. The cool part was that Bill himself would pop in from time to time to talk about what the kids were doing and how it was all going in the 'wrong direction'. They would always turn in around in the end, though.

So happy birthday Mr. Cosby, and thanks for making my Saturday mornings in the late 70s and early 80s some of the best ever.

Na Na Na, gonna have a good time... :)


Syd Barrett, 1946-2006

Pink Floyd founding member, Syd Barrett, has died at the age of 60.
RIP, Syd - Wish You Were Here.

OGL strikes again!

You're intelligent people, I'm sure. However, I'm willing to bet that you may not see beyond the obvious in the above picture. Sure, the smiles on the faces are similar (not to degrade the chimpanzee in any way) but do you know what else they have in common? Come on; think hard. Give up? Aside from getting a little cranky when they don't get their afternoon nap, both are good at fooling with numbers! Chimps will hide pieces of fruit behind their backs, or in their mouths, and pretend they don't have any just to get more. Mr. Bush predicted at the beginning of the year that the national deficit would be well over $400 billion and then he so happens to have a mid-year report showing that they can slash their prediction to a little less than $300 billion. And do you know why they're all so excited? It's because 300 is LESS than 400. Well, DUH!! Bully for us! A balanced budget to $300 billion dollars in debt in less than six years. Yay us! We done good.

So as we all sit back and watch yet another myriad of funding for good causes such as schools and public libraries get cut, we can rejoice in the fact that Our Glorious Leader (henceforth to be known as OGL {pronounced "ogle" as in 'Stop ogling my boobs!'} on this blog) understands that less is good.


Riddle me this

Why exactly is it that the days I look OK, have my hair in place and all, I have zero to do; and the days that I look like hell, I have a series of household 'crises' and end up having to leave the house multiple times?!? Today, sadly, was one of those days. Now, I consider myself to be of average looks - I'm not stopping traffic or clocks any time soon - and most days, I'm at least semi put together. However, today, I had 'bed head' and was wearing a pair of scrub pants and my 'Got Monkey?' t-shirt thinking that all I was going to do was sit on my ass and watch sports finals. Oh no, that would have been too simple. The dryer crisis cleared itself up, which allowed me to watch Wimbeldon in it's entirety (congrats to Roger!!) but the overhead kitchen lamp is a different story. It burnt out (or at least I thought it did) and I hauled myself up to the ceiling to find that the damn thing takes those round fluorescent bulbs (two different sizes just to add to the fun). Since I don't naturally keep any of these in my apartment (really, who needs a frisbee made of glass?), I was forced out onto the streets of suburban Maryland - on a Sunday. This alone is a deathwish all in itself, because everyone and their mother has to hit the highways with their worst possible driving skills. Also, trying to get a parking spot in any business establishment requires great maneuvering and 'sign language' skills. The initial trip to Target wasn't too bad. I was pissed because the World Cup Final was set to kick off in moments and they only had one size bulb. I figure what the hell, grab it, pay, and make it home just in time for the opening minute of play. I then look on the back of the bulb box and there's this precautionary paragraph regarding the dangers of only replacing one bulb. Crap. So, back out I go - to the Home Depot. Help us all! Sunday afternoon in the DC Metro area and there isn't a place to park. Seriously, who the hell is going to start a home improvement project tomorrow morning? I circle, jockey, and narrowly miss taking out an older gentleman who appeared from behind a van. Finally, I nab myself a spot in the back corner of the lot - no biggie, the walk will do me good. I head in to find that they have the larger bulbs - goodie! - and I pick up one. I head to the 'self' check out and find that I have run out of hands. So, after some thought, I place the old bulb (took it along for sizing) around my neck. The lady next to me just stares. I look at her for a moment and reply with 'Well, it fits'. She looks at me again and says something to the effect of 'That's clever' with that 'Thank goodness I left the children at home, the loons have escaped the institution again' look. Whatever. Head home, put both new bulbs into the fixture and TA DA - I have light.
I figure I'm allowed to watch soccer now. I sit, watch some of the second half and then decide to get up to get a drink. I flip on the kitchen light and it just fizzles. GOODIE. I haul myself back up the ceiling to check the connections and all looks good. I check the bulbs, etc... All continues to look good. I wiggle the lights a bit - TA DA - I have light again. I repeat this ritual three times while France and Italy end up deciding their winner with PKs (Congrats to Italy - though not my pick they played a good game {at least what I saw}). Then the whole thing just decides it doesn't want to work. At this point, I'm done. Thankfully, I rent. Tomorrow, when the poor land lady gets back to me about having the dryer fixed, we can talk electrician. I see good times in my future...
OK, I'm done bitching now.


Wildlife geek alert!!

Here it is, Friday night, in our Nation's Capital. What have I accomplished? Well, I had dinner with my sister, had a beer; then ran home, grabbed another beer, and watched the latest episode of Meerkat Manor! Have you seen this? It's the work of the Kalahari Meerkat Project (a long term field study done by Cambridge University near the Botswana border). Interested? Animal Planet. Fridays. 8pm (EST). Hop on the Meerkat train folks! If my excitement doesn't sell you, maybe this will: try to imagine what would happen if Days of Our Lives cross-pollinated with Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom - all narrated by Sean Astin (for those lesser geeks out there - he played the Hobbit, Samwise Gamgee {aka - Frodo's faithful friend and sidekick; guy ROBBED of an Oscar}, in the LOTR movies). And if that STILL doesn't get you to tune in, or at least TIVO, this should:


New Release Thursday!

Greetings! That's right - it's Thursday, and I have chosen to make this day of the week my 'new release' day for the ear candy pick as well as Primate of the week. Why Thursdays? Well...

1. I abhor Mondays.
2. New record albums are released on Tuesdays.
3. New comic books are released on Wednesdays.
4. New movies are released, usually, on Fridays.
5. Weekends tend to be hit and miss.
6. Why the hell not?

So, without further ado, this week's album is... Ring of Fire: The Legend of Johnny Cash. Told you my taste was eclectic, didn't I? I LOVE this album because it runs the entire career of Cash from Big River to his version of U2's One. If you do nothing else, download his haunting cover of NIN's Hurt. The 'Man In Black' made the recording shortly after his wife, June Carter Cash, died in May of 2003. I promise, Cash's pain will tear you up even deeper than Trent's did.

Now, to catch up on a few things. The first being that I LOVE New Yorkers. Not because mom is a native Manhattener, or because I grew up in Jersey not too far away, but because they have the balls to publish headlines like this:

God bless the Post! And not just for Page Six either. My sis and I had a conversation about this particular headline and have decided that they're going to have to lay the SOB in state just so we can all make sure that he gave up the ghost rather than go to hide in the 'bunker'.

In other news, VIVA LA FRANCE! Although the German's lost their match (talk about heartbreaking - 119th minute?!?), France prevailed over Portugal thanks to a PK in the first half. But can they outrun Italy on Sunday? Only time will tell. My pick? As I would like to see Henry go out on top - France 1 Italy 0, with one overtime.

Speaking of the French - they are in their glory in the sports world right now - wow! Not only do they have the World Cup in their grasp, but the cyclists are touring the country side (Viva La Tour!) and their tennis mavin, Amelie Mauresmo, is headed to Saturday's ladies' Wimbeldon final. However, I'm more looking forward to the Wimbeldon gentlemen's final. Can Swiss sweetheart, Roger Federer, fourpeat? He's going to have to get through the semis and the Swede first. And once all this craziness is over, I can finally get back to that good ole' American pastime, baseball. That is until NFL preseason starts!!!


The cold, icy hand of death reaches for...

Yes, ladies and gents, that's correct. Ken 'Kenny Boy' Lay, the corrupt former CEO of Enron, and major supporter of the Bush administration (does anyone see a pattern there?), died of a massive MI in Aspen, Colorado early this morning. This news was apparently brought to the attention of the media by Mr. Lay's pastor - Dr. Steve Wendt. Yes, his PASTOR, the 'doctor'. And I'm thinking that 'Dr.' ain't no MD, DO, PhD or anything that would qualify him to ascertain the condition of the body of Mr. Lay. Hello? The real doctors have performed an autopsy and the results are out - they're calling it 'coronary artery disease with no foul play seen'. I'm personally going to hold out for the tox reports and see what his blood stream has to say about all this. Somehow I'm not buying that 'The Foreman of Fraud' just up and bought the farm conveniently two months shy of his sentencing. However, if he was thinking about the possibility of becoming somebody's bitch, that just may have done his candy-ass in.

That being said, we should all remember that Mr. Lay had a family. For their loss, I have sympathy.


Happy 4th!

'Rhythm and Booms' (2005) - Madison, Wisconsin


Restoring my faith in humanity

So as the blog evolves, so does my way of thinking. I was all set to sit down and type out my rant on how the drivers in the greater DC Metro area seem to have gotten their licenses from Cracker Jack boxes; but instead I found another post from my unknown, who will now be known as 'rex'. Anywho, it seems that 'rex' believed I was offended by his/her group's use of the word 'Monkeyshines' to describe yucky tasting beer and was kind enough to offer to remove the use of said word from the group's vocabulary. Just to clarify, I was not offended in any way - just disappointed that two things I appreciate so much were put together in a way I never thought possible. To be honest, I found your usage quite amusing - very clever in fact. Beer made of monkeys? HA! However, your gesture tells me that there are good people left on this Earth; and for that, I thank you. In honor of this greatness, I have placed several links to some of my favorite charities under the 'Improve your Karma!' heading in the sidebar. So have at it people! Let's try to make this world a better place.

And now for something completely different...
Still somewhat sad that England lost yesterday in World Cup play. Seems that 100 rounds of 'God Save the Queen' couldn't save the boys, but what a match! When it comes down to PKs you know you've seen something special. And way to go France! Seems that age and wisdom can conquer (this is of course if you consider 30 to be old!). An all European final? When was the last time we saw this?! 1982 to be exact (yes, I'm a sports geek). Personally, I'm a bit surprised (as is probably most of the South American continent) but am enjoying it nonetheless. I would LOVE to see a Germany/France final. But first, I will plan to sit on my keister for the Germany/Italy semi on Tuesday and route heavily for Deutschland! Log on for all the mayhem -