Benazir Bhutto 1953 - 2007

I wasn't sure that I wanted to 'blog' this particular topic as each time I think about it, I get quite emotional one way or another. Mostly angry, but I am also quite sad about this. So, rather than sit here and ravage my opinion on the Pakistani government and all of the horrors that could be, I have decided instead to pay my respects to former Prime Minister Bhutto by paying tribute to her legacy - not only as a politician, but a woman of power in an Islamic state who spoke the true beliefs of Islam - peace, good and equality for all.

I myself am one-half Middle Eastern. You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I am. Due to this, I had what most consider to be a unique upbringing and can guarantee that my household was the only one in our middle class NJ neighborhood tuned into late night world news so my father could keep up with the happenings in the Middle East. Thus, we were front and center in 1988 when Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister. My father, of course, had his opinions on the situation; but I was completely mesmerized by the fact that this strikingly beautiful, incredibly intelligent woman was being sworn in to lead an Islamic nation even though I know I was too young to understand the brevity of the situation.

I was saddened, and angered, to see her dismissed from power in 1990 due to corruption charges; and when she was re-elected in 1993 I hoped things would be different. Sadly though she was once again dismissed and then fled into self-imposed exile in 1998. When she announced she would return to Pakistan this past summer I had mixed feelings about it. I was of course elated that she was going to return to Pakistan, but feared that she would encounter violence that even she could not have imagined given the sweeping changes in view point that have taken place during the last five years in the Middle East. But, when she knelt down to kiss the ground upon arriving back in Pakistan, I knew that she would either change the world, or die trying. Sadly, it is now the latter. I commend her bravery and hope that her supporters continue to fight for her beliefs in her honor. May every man, woman and child around this Earth take a page from her book and come to understand that all persons, no matter sex, color, religion or economic status, are equal. Finally, may Allah keep Bhutto by his side and keep all she loved from harm.


Exit, Stage Left...

I guess it's time that I just suck it up, face the music, and make it official...

Last week, I made the decision to withdraw from my graduate program and did so on Friday after several meetings and obtaining umpteen signatures (yes, I realize that I will not be receiving a tuition refund). It's a decision I had been struggling with for a while, and just finally concluded that the path I was on wasn't the right one for me. It's not that I couldn't handle the work, it's just that I wasn't really all that happy; and finally saw the light on a dream that I've been chasing for seven years now. I guess it comes down to that you can want something so badly that you block out everything else. Then, once you get it, your eyes are able to see the other things you've been missing. I think this is what happened to me; and now I've got a world of possibility ahead of me. In all honesty, I'm excited and scared to death all at the same time.


Should I Even Bother?

'Cause you know if I post this, then it's only going to change. Oh well, here goes nothing...

I was burning the late night oil (HUGE midterm today - over now - phew!!) and had ESPN on for background noise. Well, after the highlight reel from yet another Brett Favre history making moment (Go PACK!!), 'As the NY Yankees Turns' proceeded to have diarrhea of the mouth so to speak. Highlights:

Girardi coming in as Skipper.

Works for me.

A-Rod leaving.

I say good riddens. I can't wait to see what we can stock the bullpen with now that his over-inflated salary will need to be put to good use elsewhere.

Donnie Baseball says bye-bye.

Say WHA?!?!?!

Joe Torre may go to the Dodgers and take Don with him.

I'll wait for the next conflicting report to emerge on this one given that the Dodgers need to buy out Grady Little first.

Now, as thinking too far into this will most likely result in giving me a brain cramp, I think I'll just leave it at that. I need to retain the few neurons that I have left in order to make it through class later anyway...


Yup, It's Baseball - AGAIN...

Hi all. First, my sincere apologies to Ourika and those of you who have messaged me in disappointment of seeing the musical reference only to discover that the post was about Baseball. However, that's just the way it is right now. I'm finding that when I have a bit of time away from school, work, and life in general that the only thing that is making me truly happy is Baseball. I've always been a rabid fan, but this season I found myself more in tune with the game than the last five years. I think it's because when I'm taking a break (whether it be at 8pm or 2am) that I can turn on the tube or hop on the net and find it. Also, I don't have to feel bad 'hanging up' on a game when I have to get back to work. So, please forgive me, but chances are that Baseball is going to be the topic 'round these parts for a while.

OK then, on with the show...

Turns out that we still don't have an answer from Steinbrenner, Inc and won't have one until the end of the World Series. Thank you Bud Selig who seems to believe that if the Yankees announce who the new manager will be that it will distract from the Series. Hello? The only thing distracting (or perhaps I should say repelling??) people from the Series right now is the fact that Boston is up by 2 games. Blech. So, as I wait patiently to see who will be leading my boys next season, I will do what all Yankee fans are bred to do: ROUTE AGAINST BOSTON! Although I was big time apathetic during the NLCS after Philly got knocked out, I am now riding the Rockies band wagon...



The Latest Chapter...

As the soap opera that is the New York Yankees continues to spin along its merry-go-round, enter Don Mattingly - Donnie Baseball; Number 23; Mr. Eight Time Gold Glove Winner; Mr. .407 Career Slugging Percentage; whatever you would like to call him... will head to Tampa this coming week to meet with the Steinbrenner, Inc. regarding the open manager's position.

I know I should be excited; but, instead, I'm somewhat torn about this. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE the man (sat along the first base line many a time during the late eighties and early nineties just to watch him in action); and believe that he will make an excellent manager. But, I'm not sure that this is the 'right' time to do it. I always knew that he would be a Yankee forever and would ultimately rise to the position of skipper; and was totally delighted when he moved from hitting coach to bench coach this last season. However, I'm fearing that the front office is looking to perhaps take advantage of the vulnerability of the team and may look to hire Don under some sort of 'situational contract' that could ultimately cause all kinds of turmoil. What will Steinbrenner do if he hires Don and the 2008 team fails to make it to the Series, or even to the playoffs? Could Don sadly turn into the next Billy Martin? OK, not that bad, but you know what I'm trying to say. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this pans out...

So, as the interviewees (former catcher Joe Girardi and current first base coach Tony Pena are also scheduled) descend upon Tampa, I will hope that Steinbrenner, Inc. pulls their collective head out of it's ass and does this in a decent and professional manner. After all, we ALL only want what's best for the Bombers.

Ah yes, some final words before I get back to work...



Oh Joe, Say It Ain't So...

This is yet another one of those times that proves that all good things must come to an end. Yes, boys and girls, the news is true... After 12 years as skipper of the Bronx Bombers, Joe Torre is leaving. And as sad as I am, I really cannot blame him. What Steinbrenner, Inc. did to this man was not only incorrigible, but down right insulting. Seriously, who looks to give a manager who lead a team to 12 straight post season births a one year deal with incentives for going to the postseason along with a clause that says that the position will only be tenured if the team makes it to the Series? Talk about sad. Sad for the whole Yankee family - except for those who planned this perfectly; and who were no doubt clanking their champagne glasses together after Torre's news conference earlier today.

Oh yes, George, Hal, Hank, this means you. For 10 days you sat around and tried to figure out a way to get this to work in your favor without actually having to fire the man. Well, you may have gotten your way, but you're all still looking like the southern end of the north bound horse thanks to this little stunt.

Joe, I'll miss you - deeply. I will also miss those players who will no doubt now take leave of the team as you will no longer be there to guide them. However, please know that I do not, and will not, think any less of any of you; but rather, will continue to hold the memories that you have given me over the last decade. My twenties were, thanks to you and your players, the best of my 'baseball years'; but I know that there will be more to come.

Best wishes to you Joe. You will certainly be missed...


Some End Of Season Parting Words...

To my boys:

I LOVE you no matter what and always will.


To Steinbrenner (aka - the jackass of the front office):

For you, whom I do not care for one iota; I have an all together different message:

If you fire Joe Torre, I will personally come to NY and stage a one woman riot in right field. I have been a Yankee fan since I found out what the word 'baseball' meant nearly 30 years ago; and can say with all honesty that firing Joe would be the STUPIDEST move you have EVER made. And you sir, have made more than a few stupid moves...


Wanna Know What Turns Me On??

Many thanks to Vemrion over at Electric Monkey Pants for the introduction. I'm drooling like Homer Simpson over this puppy and am fantasizing about the amazing things I could build. Yes, I'm a geek, but you already knew that. Just imagine 3D models of brain regions in full color detail...

Watch this baby in action!!


Puppets Rock!

Confession time...

This summer I watched reality TV. WTF?!?! Yes, apparently, even I am capable of sucomming to the horrors that cable brings us in the off season. How did this happen you ask? Well, there I was, flipping around, when I came across NBC's America's Got Talent. There was this dude with a giant puppet wearing a feather boa on his arm. I thought to myself 'Oh goodie. Yet another douche bag who thinks he's capable of getting a couple of yucks from bantering with a puppet. Here's hoping I don't see his lips move.' I settled in with every intention of making a full on negative commentary. Then, the son-of-a-bitch made me eat my words. I was captivated and he totally blew me away!! Shit, I started to tune in just to see him. And then, when it came to down to the final, I freely admit that I voted - multiple times! Yes, I got on my phone and then proceeded to use up my votes on TX ventriloquist Terry Fator.

Needless to say, I'm delighted that he won. I wasn't able to catch Tuesday's finale due to class, but give thanks for the internet. And now for those of you who may not have been sucked into the AGT abyss (or perhaps were spending your evenings on some other guilty pleasure), I give you the amazing Terry Fator and his friends. ENJOY!!!

My first encounter

Simply brilliant (my personal favorite)

The big winner (the final four performance)

The show stopper (too brilliant for words!!)


Holy Cow...

I lost a hero today. Well, yesterday. But thanks to microbiology, etc... I didn't find out until just now. Phil "The Scooter" Rizzuto died yesterday at the ripe old age of 89. He was one of the greatest shortstops ever to bless the diamond; and he was the best damn sports broadcaster ever. Because of the Scooter, I wanted to be a shortstop and I wanted to be on the radio. Thankfully, I managed both. The first not as well as I would have liked; but with the second I pretty much cleaned up. I honestly believe that I have him to thank for my radio success as he showed me at the tender age of three what could be accomplished by a voice across the airwaves with his unmatched ability to call the game while adding endless color commentary. In addition, this October marks the 29th anniversary of when I hid under my blankets with my portable radio listening to the Scooter call the 1978 series into the wee hours (well, at least for a four-year-old). I gave thanks for my carpet square and made good use of my nap time at preschool just so I could hold out long enough; but I never did make it to a game end. My mom or dad would always have to come in to turn off the radio and my mom recalls finding me more than once hugging it in my sleep. Thus, I can pretty much say without a doubt that the Phil Rizzuto was my first 'real' hero. I will never forget those nights as they are some of my fondest childhood memories; and I will never EVER forget the Scooter.

I never thought I would ever do this, but to quote Steinbrenner:

"I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop,"

And so, in honor of #10, I close with this:
(thanks to Steve Berry's website)

And This...

The Scooter At His Best (Audio)


Don Herbert July 10, 1917 - June 12, 2007

We have lost yet another great mind of our times. Don 'Mr. Wizard' Herbert sadly lost his battle with cancer this past Tuesday. I have nothing to say other than thank you for turning multiple generations of kids onto science. We love you; and we're still playing with fire...

Anyone care for a tornado in a glass??


And Now Back to the Music...

Back in the fall of 1995 I drove from central PA to Camden, NJ to catch a stop on the David Bowie/NIN tour. I had my old, yet reliable, truck as my rocket that day; and the tape player had given up the ghost about 10 days earlier. Thus, I was subjected to the radio for the entire 4 1/2 hour ride. However, it turned out to be a good thing. Why? Well, as I sitting waiting for my companion to emerge from the local mini-mart with a necessary caffeine buzz, the local college station put on a new single from "that new really angry chick out of Canada". Needless to say that with an intro like that, I turned up the volume slightly and was intrigued when I heard who I would later learn was Alanis Morissette singing about having one hand in her pocket and doing something obscure with the other. Not to mention that the 'I'm brave but I'm chicken shit' line really sold me.

Then, like every other female between the ages of 18 and 25 that year, went and bought my copy of Jagged Little Pill. Had it been a cassette I would have warped it beyond recognition because I played it so damn much
All I Really Want, Ironic, You Oughta Know, and my most favoritest 'girl' song ever - Head Over Feet,- kept that puppy in my CD player for months. I waited ever so patiently for album number two, but instead was given a soundtrack song that was so good it just made me want a second album more. And then came...

Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie and I said 'eh'. Now don't get me wrong, the album has a few good tunes.
Thank You, Unsent, and That I Would be Good (props to my fellow flautist!) are all moving, well written songs; but the album just didn't suck me in the way Pill did. A part of me firmly believes that Alanis felt the same way because it took her four years to release Under Rug Swept which brought back some of the 'punch' that was missing from Junkie with songs like Hands Clean and Precious Illusions. However, as I was older and wiser (much like Alanis who's got about 8 weeks on me) I enjoyed the maturity of 21 Things I Want in a Lover and Surrendering.

So in 2003 when I finally got the chance to see her live in Milwaukee I was a bit surprised by her new found sound when she played a brand new tune called
Eight Easy Steps. Whoa - dancy! But when So-Called Chaos was released, it showed that Alanis was finally at peace with herself with songs like Excuses and Everything.

And now, since just about everything has been purged from her system, she's decided to poke a little fun at Fergie's rear end. Alains's version of My Humps is genius in every way imaginable and thus, has been crowned this week's Ear Candy. Enjoy!!


All in the Name of Conservation

I've given it loads of thought and have decided that yes, I will indeed share the latest of my goofy escapades. Long story short, I 'won' a coconut monkey pair and with that had to take them on an adventure. Well, we did Philly and had one hell of a good time...


Tennis Anyone?

The height of Grand Slam season has arrived, so let the games begin! Roland Garros (for those of you not in the 'know', that's the French Open) is underway in lovely, yet rainy, Paris France; and here's my question for the season: Can he do it??? Roger Federer won the Australian back in January, but can he take the French, Wimbeldon, and the US Open? He won all three last year; but can he repeat?? As the only man to win three of the four majors twice (he won all three of the aforementioned tourneys in 2004 as well) I figure that there is only one thing that stands in his way...

Yes, that smiling handsome Spaniard on the right could be his undoing. Twenty-year-old Rafael Nadal, (aka 'The King of Clay'), beat Federer in the last two French Opens (the semis in '05 and the finals in '06) and could do it again if Federer allows himself to get wound up in the psychology of the whole thing. Like the greats Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, and Pete Sampras, The French Open is the only Grand Slam that Federer has never won. However, a win at the French this year would give him a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam as well as put him on a path for a possible Calendar Year Grand Slam. No, no pressure.

Here's something to think about though. During the last year, Federer and Nadal have competed on clay three times with the following results: The Masters Series Monte Carlo - Nadal beat Federer in the finals; Internazionali d'Italia - Nadal wins while Federer is knocked out in the third round; The Masters Series Hamburg - Federer beat Nadal in the finals. So, does the fresh win keep Federer's head above water, or does the pain of the last two years drown him in a sea of psychological angst? Looks like we'll have to wait and see; but my money's on Roger...


A Stroke of Genius

So there I was clicking around last night when I came across the Colbert Report from Wednesday night (Comedy Central has the good sense to repeat the previous evening’s broadcasts for those of us who just can’t make it until 11:30 on weeknights). Anyway, I stopped to check it out and proceeded to see one of the cleverest five-minute interviews I’ve seen in ages! The guest was Salman Rushdie – Booker Prize winning author and Iranian fatwa recipient. He was brilliant to say the least!!

The topic was that newspapers are starting to ‘remove’ literary critics from their staffs. Many people are finding this absurd while others simply do not know or care. It seems that Mr. Colbert resides in the former and asked Mr. Rushdie (who does critique from time to time for papers such as the New York Times) to commiserate with him. Although this isn’t word for word, this was the highlight of the interview:

Colbert: ‘Why exactly do we need literary critiques?’

Rushdie: ‘Without them we wouldn’t know what to read, much less what’s out there to read. For instance, you wouldn’t know about Paris Hilton’s memoirs.’

Colbert: ‘Paris Hilton reads?’

Rushdie: ‘Well, she has people that can read for her…’

This leads me to giving my ‘two cents’ towards this latest chapter in the Paris Hilton ‘saga’. Paris is off to prison – whoopee. Yeah know, I’m really sick and tired of hearing about her. She’s only 26, doesn’t seem to have more than a reptilian brain, and the only reason anyone gives a damn is because she was stupid enough to let somebody video tape her while she spread her legs for the ‘flavor of the week’. It truly saddens and angers me that she equals big news and that if you Google the word ‘Paris’ with the Google quick search on your toolbar ‘Paris Hilton’ is displayed at the top with ‘Paris FRANCE’ a distant third. What has this world come to? There are people on the streets of our nation and many others in great need of help due to war, illness, etc… But rather than pay attention to things like this, the vast majority of this nation would rather watch what this nitwit is going to do next. Maybe the Red Hot Chili Peppers were onto something when they told us to throw away our televisions...


Kermit's Empire of Dirt

My latest issue of Rolling Stone arrived today and of course I turned to the first section to which I always do - the new releases. The cover story is the new Nine Inch Nails album (!!!) (Year Zero) and the first paragraph of the review pays literary homage to a video that hit YouTube not too long ago - Sad Kermit singing Reznor's anthem Hurt from Pretty Hate Machine. Several folks have covered this tune; but my personal favorite is Johnny Cash. He recorded it shortly after his wife, June Carter Cash, past away and takes the song to a deeper place than even Reznor was capable. RIP Johnny.

However, a new twist has been taken by the king Muppet himself and let's just say that this ain't for the short set. My apologies to the late, great Mr. Jim Henson (whom we lost much too soon) who is no doubt spinning ever so slightly in his grave; but this really is a work of creative genius. So, go ahead and click below to view. Then, if the guilt you feel is just a bit overwhelming (as it was for me), click for therapy and sing along. It'll bring a smile to your face - promise.

Sad Kermit
Therapy :)


Me Peepers

So, the eye doctor told me that I should try not to 'strain' my eyes so much or I'm going to end up back in bifocals (bad enough that my contacts are now two different scripts). Suggestions included things such as less time at the computer, less time performing 'close' tasks at work, getting some reading glasses, etc... As I really don't feel like going back to 'geek city' (I've got enough trouble without the bifocal stigma), I think the first thing I'll do is enlarge the font here on **Monkeyshines**. Gotta start someplace, right?


My sincere apologies for the lack of posts as of recently. Things have just gotten nutty again. I have the second PJ post nearly done, so I'm hoping to get that out next week. Planned it for this week, but my computer decided to have a small fit and froze up earlier this week which caused me to lose 1/2. However, I figured I should get out something; so why not fill everyone in on my fun times with the pet food recall??

So, as you've all probably heard, there has been a major recall of pet food in this country by Menu Foods, Inc. (and other producers of popular pet products) due to a contamination of the wheat gluten that is used in some products like gravy bases and treat fillings. I'm still wondering how enough melamine (a plastic for those of you who may not know) got into the pet food supply to cause toxicity. Seriously, I would have figured that an animal would have to ingest a whole hell of a lot of something for it to cause renal failure. And now, of course, China is saying that they have no record of anything in the wheat gluten that they shipped. All 792 metric tons of it!

In addition to this horror, United Foods Inc (as well as a few others) has found salmonella poisoning in some of their pet food products. The list is just getting longer; and if you add it up, it's getting to the point where not all that much that's left on the market is safe right now.

So, really, why am I whining? Well, my fuzzy child may be a victim here. When the recall was initially announced in March, I thought nothing of it. There was NBC stating that the tainted food was sold under names such as Safeway brand, Authority, and 'Ole Roy. Kudos to animals that can digest the stuff, but I pay for the 'good' stuff due to my kitty's chancy tummy. Are we safe though? Oh hell no! I come to find out that just about everything she's been eating for years is on this recall list - Neutro, Natural Choice, Science Diet, and Iams just to name a few. This brought two things to the forefront of my frontal lobe:

1. I'm paying double/triple for the same crap that's sitting in the store brand.
2. Kitty has probably been barfing for a reason.

So, like a good pet parent I switch foods immediately. Even went to the local vet to get some prescription diet to be really safe. A week goes by and she starts acting squirrely - lost interest in eating the way she once did and started drinking water like it's going out of style. Granted, these symptoms can be caused by a countless number of issues (diabetes and intestinal inflammation are just two of the possible choices). So, today, we were off to the vet.

I got the 'look' (you know the one: not overly concerned, yet somewhat grave all at the same time) from the good doctor who announces that they should get a full profile on her. So, back she went for a full blood workup and a urine culture. Now I get to sit around until next week to see if her kidneys are failing. And boy won't I be pissed if they are.

Long story short, if you even THINK that your pet has ingested any of these products you should get him/her to the vet pronto. I say this because the symptoms of renal failure can be undetectable at first, especially in felines. In many cases, by the time the symptoms are showing up consistently, it can be too late. So, here are the links to ALL of the companies involved. Each link will take you to the list showing ALL the recalled pet products from that particular company. Please, if you have a pet, (or even if you just know someone who does and may not have full access to info) read this and read it carefully. Then, even if you think that your pet may have eaten any of the listed products, call your vet for an appointment. Believe me, you'll sleep better; and your furry friend will thank you.

Menu Foods - CATS
Menu Foods - DOGS
Del Monte Foods
Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc
Nestle Purina PetCare Company
Sunshine Mills
United Foods/Eight in One Inc


Science is FUN!

Being that I've been quite behind on postings lately (and may be for a while still), I thought I would tide you all over with a catchy little tune that is quite educational. So, gather the kiddies and click below to learn all about our favorite star. Enjoy! :)


Stepping Out Onto The Porch

Greetings! Sorry this wasn’t posted on Thursday. Life got just a little wacky and I didn’t have a chance to finish (let's just say that I got a little tired of seeing 'This video is no longer available due to...' on YouTube). But rather than belly ache, we're just going to get into it. For those of you who don’t quite ‘get’ the post title, here it is in plain language: I'm finally going to devote a NRT of one of my all time favorite bands - Pearl Jam. My love affair with them began in 1992 and has been holding steady for the past 14 plus years. Hell, I still hold a glimmer of hope that Eddie will some day leave his wife to be with me. Until that happens, I will continue to feed my passion with late night listenings and many an hour of video viewing. However, we must all remember that before this great band could be created, the stars had to correctly align themselves. With that, I give you the first of a two part series on the MIGHTY Pearl Jam

In the mid 1980s, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were making music with their new band Mother Love Bone. Their first band, Green River, considered a Godfather to the Grunge movement in the Pacific Northwest, received only local success before disbanding in 1987. Following Green River's breakup, Gossard and Ament took up with their guitarist Bruce Fairweather' Malfunkshun's front man Andrew Wood, and Skin Yard drummer Greg Gilmore to form
Mother Love Bone. Side note: the other two members of Green River [Mark Arm and Steve Turner (who was replaced by Fairweather)] went on to form Mudhoney. Anyway, Mother Love Bone was very well received and was signed to a major label in 1989. Sadly, just a mere six months before the release of their first album, Wood died of a heroin overdose - yet another great talent to leave us before his prime. However, this tragedy lead to one of the greatest Grunge gatherings of all time. You see, Chris Cornell had shared an apartment and a close friendship with Wood for many years. After Wood’s death, Cornell dealt with his grief by writing Say Hello 2 Heaven. He then approached Gossard and Ament and spoke about recording the song as a single to honor Wood. They rounded out their group (Temple of the Dog) with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, and guitarist Mike McCready who was kicking around things with Gossard and Ament in hopes of creating a new band.

Now, about this time, Eddie Vedder was living in San Diego and working part time at a gas station in between his gigs with funk-rock band, Bad Radio. Knowing he was looking for something a bit more stable, his buddy, and former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons, gave him a demo tape that he had received from Gossard (Gossard had high hopes of getting Irons to sign on for drummer). Irons never did sign on, but Vedder high tailed it to Seattle to audition for the vocalist slot. While in Seattle, Vedder made one hell of a splash. He nailed his audition and then sat in while Temple of the Dog worked on Say Hello 2 Heaven and a few others. During a practice session, Vedder chimed in on the vocals to
Hunger Strike and history was made. With the final edition of drummer Dave Krusen, a new band was formed: Mookie Blaylock (named after the NBA great). Mookie Blaylock made their appearance in Seattle in October of 1990 and were later signed to Epic records in March of 1991 where they changed their name to Pearl Jam in order to avoid any kind of trademark issues.

TEN (Blaylock’s jersey number when he played for the NJ Nets) was released in late August of 1991 and the rest is pretty much history. With songs like Even Flow, Alive, Black, and Porch, Pearl Jam began to gain both a following and critical acclaim. But, when Jeremy was released into heavy rotation on MTV, the dam burst. Their interpretation of a newspaper article they read about a high school student shooting himself in front of his English class in Texas brought Pearl Jam to the forefront of the Grunge movement. They were showered with Grammy nominations, MTV awards, and countless requests for interviews.

Then, on October 19, 1993, I stood in the cold waiting for my local college record store to open their doors at midnight so I could be one of the first to own Pearl Jam’s sophomore release: VS. Originally titled ‘Five Against One’, and then a self titled disc, the band changed the title to Vs. shortly before its release to describe the theme of conflict the album presents. Songs such as
Animal, Daughter, Rearviewmirror, and Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town are just some of the highlights of one of the strongest sophomore albums ever recorded.

And that ends the MIGHTY Pearl Jam Part I. Next time, we’ll continue by delving deeper into the evolution of this band (read: Soundgarden breaks up and Pearl Jam reaps the benefits!) as well as take a musical tour. Perhaps not so much the albums, but rather, what these guys do best – LIVE performances and B-sides. And speaking of B-sides, check out this week’s ear candy. As I don’t know when I’m going to be able to get back for part II (my work schedule is in the process of changing and this is going to mean MANY days in sequence), I’m giving you double the pleasure: The flip sides to both Even Flow and Jeremy. Finally, check out the updated Primate of the Week - this species was chosen due to its vocalizations. They 'hoo' just like Eddie. Maybe that's why I love them as much as I do????


Hooray for Procrastination!

OK, so I'm supposed to be out in my living room breaking down cardboard boxes and whatnot, but I'm having a hard time getting my ass out of my desk chair to do so. After spending the morning penning a 'not so nice' note to my sister's bridal party (they speak of periodically, but let me tell ya, a couple of these girls are in the running for BridesMAIDzilla - seesh), I opted to just sit here a while and catch up on stuff. This included finally reading the comments some of you left in my absence in full. Within those, there was one a gem from Dward and I think that it should be shared with the masses. You see, while I was gone, Dward thought it would be good to have a little music to go round, and he did a hell of a job by leaving a link in the comments section. So, given that it's a football free Sunday, Click Here, and enjoy...


Holy Crap! She's Back!

OK, so I admit it. I've been kind of lazy when it comes to ye olde blog. Things were a bit nutty there for a while, but I'm finally settled into my new job; my apartment is coming along (insider tip: invest in Ikea now! I think I alone have been raising their stock value); and I'm pleased as proverbial punch to be back in Philly. For those of you who have hung in there and checked in from time to time (kudos to those of you who tried to 'shock' me back) - you shall now be rewarded...

As 'NRT' is the conerstone of this little site, I am opting to come back into the blogosphere with a newish album as well as a trip back in time. You see, as I was unpacking my somewhat massive CD collection (seriously - it takes up a wall), I had the chance to get close with some of my discs once again. Nothing is quite like pulling things out of boxes and going 'Man, I love this record!' and popping it into the player for the first time in a while. With that I present...

Beck - The Information
Plain and simple - I LOVE Mr. Hansen and his groovy beats. Have since the beginning when he declared that he was a Loser. But I went WILD when, in 1996, the man released Odelay and brought us such genius as New Pollution and Devil's Haircut. Since, there have been others:

Midnight Vultures - the album that I refer to as the 'alter ego record' as it's just a touch hokey in parts; but it did bring us such gems as
Sexx Laws.

The critically acclaimed and heartbreakingly beautiful Sea Change. Just take a listen to Golden Age and your sure to agree.

And then came Guero, which brought back the true Beck sound (with a little help from the Dust Brothers) and gave us the catchy
E-Pro and one my all time Beck favs - Girl.

But lemme tell ya, The Information is a gem and half! Hell, the man provided a piece of graph paper and stickers so you could make your own album cover! How freaking cool is that?!?! But I digress... I really don't have much to say except for 'go out and get yourself a copy of this!'. Then, you can sit and play with the stickers while you get your groove on. I'll just let the tracks speak for themselves...

Hell Yes
Think I'm In Love

OK, that does it for new. Now, we'll move on to old. And you just might want to be sitting down for this one...
Soul Coughing's Irresistible Bliss

Yup, you read that correctly. And you remember it - you know you do. If not, let's refresh, shall we?

The opener
Super Bon Bon let's you know that you're in for a wild ride as Mike Doughty and the boys take you through the next 12 tracks. The stops along the way include Soft Serv, Disseminated, and The Idiot Kings. I'm sad to say that I can't find any kind of link to my favorite song on the album Soundtrack To Mary; but if you can find it, you should take a listen.

And that, ladies and gents, concludes my return to Monkeyshines. With any luck, I'll keep it up. However, just in case my road to good intentions happens to lead me into you-know-where, know that I've adjusted the 'ear candy' link to something new that is sure to entertain; and there's a new monkey for you to take a look at. This one was chosen in honor of my friend Ourika who just recently discovered the cute little buggers.