One Doped Up Monkey Is Much Less Fun Than A Barrel Full Of Sober Ones

February 21, 2009

Amongst the rubble of headlines about global economic collapse, global social collapse, and the world in general losing its mind, there’s been the ongoing saga the past several days of that berserk chimpanzee.

You’ve possibly heard of the domesticated monkey – former star of commercials – who went mental and mauled a friend of its owner. It was sobering.

I realized that this chimp had achieved a level of notoriety that most people never will (one of most people being me which made it sobering). Of course, I think that notoriety would clash with my reclusive nature.

It’s undeniably a sad, ghastly incident, but, apparently, the police report that was filed had the monkey’s owner admitting to spiking the simian’s tea with anti-anxiety medication.

It’s true that most of the population has been conditioned to believe that there’s a pill to remedy any issue, real or imagined. But, if the report is true, what would make someone think it might be a good idea to give prescription drugs to a creature that, while “domesticated,” is best suited to be roaming around in the wild?

If ever in such a situation and I reach the same conclusion, I do hope a little voice inside my head suggests I reconsider.

There’s something strange about this human/monkey mishap coming so close on the heels of the recent anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. I can’t help but wonder what he would have made of these recent turn of events.

Peter Gabriel – Shock The Monkey
In the fall of ’82, I was still sticking to a musical diet of whatever was on Top 40 radio. Shock The Monkey was certainly one of the most unusual songs that I had heard within that limited format and was my first exposure to Mr. Gabriel.

I was fortunate enough to see him live on his tour for Us in ’93 – incredible band, amazing music, and certainly one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

The Pixies – Monkey Gone To Heaven
Paloma and I caught The Pixies on their reunion tour several years ago. It was her birthday present that year. Personally, they were a bit hit and miss for me during their late ’80s heyday, but Monkey Gone To Heaven is an odd, little gem that was all over college radio (at least where I was).

Gorillaz – Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head
You know, since the turn of the century, I really have had less and less sense of what is popular in music, so I was a bit surprised that, commercially speaking, Gorillaz have had considerable success here in the States. I’d have bet anything that the animated band from England would be one those acts that had failed to attract the same widespread audience as in their homeland.

Good for us. Gorillaz are more fun than killing strangers.

Aldo Nova – Monkey On Your Back
Hard rock was something else that I really didn’t hear much until I ventured outside the world of Top 40 music. But Aldo Nova was one of the first pop-metal acts to make it onto pop playlists with his song Fantasy during the summer of 1982.

By the time his second album came out in the fall of 1983, I had branched out and was mostly listening to album rock stations and, when I could get reception, alternative rock station 97X. Monkey On Your Back was massive on the former.

Joe Satriani – Psycho Monkey
I’m not overly familiar with guitarist Joe Satriani, but I’ve found what I have heard of his music to be clean and melodic. Psycho Monkey has a bit more grit to me (though I much prefer the stellar Ceremony from the same album, Crystal Planet).

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An Open Letter To Joe The Plumber

October 20, 2008

Hi, Joe. In an early article which I read about you, you expressed the hope that someone would let you know if you were making a fool of yourself. Nudge, nudge – you are.

See Joe, I work with small businesses every day and, based on what I’ve read about you and how the actual tax plans about which you are so concerned would affect you, I question your abilities to actually run a business. I doubt that a business with you at the helm would be a going concern long enough for this matter to be anything more than a hypothetical in your world. So, relax.

Furthermore, Joe, as someone that has actually paid my taxes for the twenty-five years since I started working, the fact that you owe back taxes makes you less than credible. Or, perhaps your refusal to pay your taxes is some heroic protest against our country’s slide into socialism.

But those quibbles are business. May I get personal for a moment, Joe? Should you acquire this business and should you gross a quarter million dollars, I’ve read that you’d stand to pay roughly $900 in additional taxes (provided that, you know, you actually paid your taxes). At this theoretical level of income, would such an amount truly cause your quality of life to be shattered beyond repair?

See, Joe, I don’t gross a quarter million dollars a year – not even close – so I do understand the value of a dollar or two. I would guess that a few of the estimated 750,000 people who have lost jobs this year do as well.

Instead of looking at potentially paying a bit more in taxes as socialism, try thinking of it as generosity, compassion or, dare I suggest, karma. If you consider yourself to be a Christian, Joe – and I’d wager that you do – file it under being your brother’s keeper. See, Joe, it’s a good thing to help others. Someday, you yourself might just need a hand.

Oh, and as I now read you’re getting prickly about all of the media scrutiny, I have a suggestion there as well. Turn down the interviews, don’t appear with John McCain at a rally (as I read you might), and pass on the inevitable offers for book deals, commercial endorsements, reality shows, and whatnot.

To be folksy – and you do strike me as a folksy fellow, Joe – I offer you the words I often heard from my grandfather and father…

…if you don’t want to get stepped on by the elephants, don’t go where the elephants are.

So, Joe, while you sort it all out, maybe you’ll console yourself with these songs by more noteworthy Joes.

Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good

Joe Jackson – I’m The Man

Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers – American Babylon

Joe Satriani – Ceremony