Becoming a man with Pearl Jam

By Tim Benjamin (11-17-09)

Pearl Jam's 1991 debut album Ten

Pearl Jam's 1991 debut album Ten

Growing up in the nineties as a teenager with no real moral compass to direct me I did have a few in the music world.  After my father left three days before Christmas of 1991, the following Christmas was a cold bitter after glow of the shattering of my family and what I had thought to be normal.  The following Christmas of 1992, my brother gave me the cassette of Pearl Jam’s debut album Ten.  This gritty and studio based beat rumble and rattle album shot through my ears as I drove the dark streets with my brother to and from my father’s homes.  Forever, Ten will be the soundtrack album of my family’s destruction.  The aftermath of my father leaving left my mother forever damaged and the track “Why Go” was in my mind the song of my mother battling the world. It was later revealed that Vedder’s lyrics were inspired by his long-held hurt in discovering at age 17 that the man he thought was his father was not, and that his real father had already died.  I had another male leave me in 1993 and that left me with Kurt Cobain who died the following year.  The absence of a male role model and the vacuum of how to feel or how to deal were left to what was left of the grunge movement.

"Kurt Cobain's Primal Scream"

"Kurt Cobain's Primal Scream"

The importance of the influence of Kurt Cobain’s primal scream of anguish cannot be under or over stated as my loyalty to him.  Thus, the dilemma of the death of the last of the men of my early teenage years.  Cobain’s and his widow’s criticism of Pearl Jam did not help matters in what I should do with myself. .  Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain angrily attacked Pearl Jam, claiming the band were commercial sellouts, and argued Ten was not a true alternative album because it had so many prominent guitar leads. The collaboration of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament and Soundgarden’s singer Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron in the formation of Temple of the Dog in 1990 would of proved that since Chris Cornell, a mentor to Cobain of Vedder’s promise and worth.  Cobain later reconciled with Vedder, and they reportedly were on amicable terms before Cobain’s death in 1994.  At a concert following Cobain’s death, Vedder stated that he and his band would not be here if not for Kurt.

"Not For You" CD single art

"Not For You" CD single art

As my personal heartbreak in my freshmen year around Christmas of 1993 took affect, the Pearl Jam album Vitalogy (1994) was released and the track “Not for You” was a secret yell at the person that broke my heart.  The song with or with out its true meaning were both wrong with what I felt but I had something to scream with.   Many evening I spent running in the cold night air listening to the album as loud as possible as my breath was seen in the streetlights.

1996's No Code

1996's No Code

As my senior year rolled around, I had my brother leaving to join the Coast Guard.  As friends went, I had a good friend in my older brother.  Always busy and had great friends that took me in as one of their own, and in the end I had another male leave me.  The same year Pearl Jam released my personal favorite album of theirs, No Code.  Poignantly was the track “Off He Goes” in which Vedder wrote about himself “being a shit friend. I’ll show up and everything’s great and then all of the sudden I’m outta there…”

"Off He Goes" CD-Single art

"Off He Goes" CD-Single art

This fleeting relationship more than a shit friend is how I felt about my brother and many other men in my life that I feel I scare away or they have better things to do than hang out with me.  The double side is those that I wish to be better acquainted with some but I can only muster enough courage to talk briefly talk with them than I have to run away.

A Vedder Jam

eddie_vedder_vedder_jam-IMG_2437-thumbA Vedder Jam

Color Pencil on Strathmore 11” x 14”

November 11, 2009 – 12 hours

The name of the alternative rock group Pearl Jam came from the introduction of their new singer.  After the original singer of the Sub Pop band Mother Love Bone died of a drug overdose, the bassist and founder recruited a San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder.  After Vedder had covered the final formulation of the band and all original planned tracks for Mother Love Bone, he wrote a couple new songs as well.  This plus a few other factors gave Vedder the ability to add his input into a new name for the group.  The name was conceived as a band decision however it was fettered through Vader’s family.  Vedder said that the name “Pearl Jam” was a reference to his great-grandmother Pearl, who was married to a Native American and had a special recipe for peyote-laced jam. (1) – Tim Benjam

(1) ^ a b Neely, Kim. “Right Here, Right Now”. Rolling Stone. October 31, 1991.

"Eddie Vedder" 1996

“Eddie Vedder” 1996

It should be noted that the color version of this portrait of Eddie Vedder was done 0n November 11 – 17, 2009 which are important dates both in the country of America and in my life span.  The original sketch was done in 1996 and has spent close to to fifteen years in my portfolio.  The revision came as I had grown uncomfortable with the light sketching style that was the norm of my life in the late nineties.

After stubbornness and the love of color in my art urged me to do a really refined portrait of Mr. Vedder.  After smoothing out his hair and trying my best to recreate that slightly stained and faded coloring to his grunge style shirt, I started on the background of Red and maroon.  Somehow Eddie Vedder will for ever be in a marron coloring in my mind.  Blue and purple blotches began to arise and the idea of jam came to mind.  In all it was a stones throw away from Pearl Jam’s name.  Also Vedder in the place of Better stated that I felt this Eddie portrait was “A Vedder Jam.”

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

by Tim Benjamin and input by family members

George Washington Santee attended school and graduated with a degree as an educator.   He was a teacher, principle and later the superintendent of Nash county Enid Oklahoma.

Marriage and family

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

George Washington meet and married his wife Mary Bell Higginbotham.  For money reasons the couple did live in Kansas for a brief period.  Their children were Mary Margaret (adams)Santee (m. Erle W. Adams), Harold Santee, John Wesly Santee (m. Flossy), George Winston Santee and Nelly Elizabeth (Lee, Barber) Santee (m. Keith Barber, m. Harold Lee).

“Brothers:Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy”

Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician. He was a younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and acted as one of his advisers during his presidency. From 1961 to 1964, he was the U.S. Attorney General.
John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.
Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt – White House Press Office (WHPO)
After his election into presidency, his father, Joe Kennedy Sr., asked John F. Kennedy only one thing of his second oldest son and that was to have his third oldest son, Robert F. Kennedy be his Attorney General. Part of this request was to keep Joe Kennedy’s family in power as his youngest son, Ted Kennedy was to hold Jack’s Senate as soon as he was old enough and the second part of this thought was to keep F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover in check.
Robert F. Kennedy had a reputation to put up a good fight as he had in his experience as the chief counsel of the 1957–59 Senate Labor Rackets Committee under chairman John L. McClellan. In a dramatic scene, Kennedy squared off with Teamsters union President Jimmy Hoffa during the antagonistic argument that marked Hoffa’s testimony.[6] Kennedy left the Rackets Committee in late 1959 in order to run his brother John’s successful presidential campaign. In fact when Robert started helping his brother, many had a sense that Robert would appear to be ready for a brawl.
When acting as Attorney General, Robert Kennedy quickly proved himself by using his past experience handling organized crime.
Robert Kennedy’s tenure as Attorney General was easily the period of greatest power for the office; no previous United States Attorney General had enjoyed such clear influence on all areas of policy during an administration. Yet to a greater extent, it was President Kennedy who sought the advice and counsel of his younger brother, and it is to this extent that Robert Kennedy remained the President’s closest political advisor. Kennedy was relied upon as both the President’s primary source of administrative information and as a general counsel with whom trust was implicit, given the familial ties of the two men.
President Kennedy once remarked about his brother that, “If I want something done and done immediately I rely on the Attorney General. He is very much the doer in this administration, and has an organizational gift I have rarely if ever seen surpassed.”
Brothers: Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy

Brothers: Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy

Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician. He was a younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and acted as one of his advisers during his presidency. From 1961 to 1964, he was the U.S. Attorney General.

John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.
Robert F. Kennedy at the White House, 1964

Robert F. Kennedy at the White House, 1964

After his election into presidency, his father, Joe Kennedy Sr., asked John F. Kennedy only one thing of his second oldest son and that was to have his third oldest son, Robert F. Kennedy be his Attorney General. Part of this request was to keep Joe Kennedy’s family in power as his youngest son, Ted Kennedy was to hold Jack’s Senate as soon as he was old enough and the second part of this thought was to keep F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover in check.

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt - White House Press Office (WHPO)

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt - White House Press Office (WHPO)

Robert F. Kennedy had a reputation to put up a good fight as he had in his experience as the chief counsel of the 1957–59 Senate Labor Rackets Committee under chairman John L. McClellan. In a dramatic scene, Kennedy squared off with Teamsters union President Jimmy Hoffa during the antagonistic argument that marked Hoffa’s testimony.[6] Kennedy left the Rackets Committee in late 1959 in order to run his brother John’s successful presidential campaign. In fact when Robert started helping his brother, many had a sense that Robert would appear to be ready for a brawl.

999p. Senator John F. Kennedy (And Bobby Kennedy)When acting as Attorney General, Robert Kennedy quickly proved himself by using his past experience handling organized crime.
Robert Kennedy’s tenure as Attorney General was easily the period of greatest power for the office; no previous United States Attorney General had enjoyed such clear influence on all areas of policy during an administration. Yet to a greater extent, it was President Kennedy who sought the advice and counsel of his younger brother, and it is to this extent that Robert Kennedy remained the President’s closest political advisor. Kennedy was relied upon as both the President’s primary source of administrative information and as a general counsel with whom trust was implicit, given the familial ties of the two men.
brothers_1President Kennedy once remarked about his brother that, “If I want something done and done immediately I rely on the Attorney General. He is very much the doer in this administration, and has an organizational gift I have rarely if ever seen surpassed.”

The Third Guy

by Tim Benjamin

a11portraitOn the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing, a question came to mind as I watched the coverage of the historical event on the news and the History Channel: “Who is the third guy?”

The History Channel had a special entitled “Live from 1969: News coverage of the moon landing” in which I had roamed across a few minutes into it as I heard the news commentator speaking live over video transmissions from the moon in 1969.

apollo11footage The special had the live feed from a mounted TV cam off a leg of the Lunar Module showing Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong stepping down the ladder and was just bouncing off his first step on the moon surface and the news anchor had said as I just turned the sound on, “-what was that he  said?  I didn’t hear the second part to his statement.  I am sure it was important so I’ll have to hear that part again later.”

hasselbladThe History Channel Special continued as Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr.stepped down and was told by Armstrong to watch that last step.

371479main_image_1422_946-710During the days of the Lunar Landing Anniversary, the news showed President Barack Obama chats with Apollo 11 astronauts, from left, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong, Monday, July 20, 2009, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. (2) While watching this coverage, I thought of two things.

340x_snoopandbuzzThe first is that Buzz Aldrin stated once in jest that he will forever be remembered as the second guy to walk on the moon.  Not so well known about Aldrin is that he collaborated with singer Snoop Dogg on his second love, hip hop (3).

The second thought was, “WHo is the third guy?”  In the history of mankind, we will forever remember the first man on the moon was Niel Armstrong and the second guy on the moon was “Buzz” Aldrin, but how many of us can remember who the third guy was.

200px-Michael_collinsWell, I will state that I will try to remember that there was a third man that helped the two famous guys be the first on the moon.  Michael Collins was the man and went into space twice. Two more than I and Walter Cronkite.  His first spaceflight was Gemini 10, when he and command pilot John W. Young performed two rendezvous with different spacecraft and Collins undertook two EVAs.  His second spaceflight was Apollo 11 where he served as the command module pilot. While he orbited the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin performed the first manned landing on the lunar surface. He is one of only 24 humans to have flown to the Moon (1).

(1) Wikapedia Page on the Landing

(2) Official Nasa Web Page

(3) io9.com

Undiagnosing Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was also the author of the Declaration of Independence. His other accomplishments include diplomate, lawyer, scientist, farmer, architect. He was thought by many to be one of the most brilliant men to ever occupy the White House. Could he have been on the autistic spectrum? Norm Ledgin, author of Diagnosing Jefferson states that this was absolutely the case. Ledgin provides what he believes is unequivocal evidence that Jefferson had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism and in his book he openly challenges anyone to refute his proof. I have decided to accept that challenge. His book was also endorsed by Temple Grandin who wrote a postscript to Ledgin’s book, stating she was totally convinced that Jefferson was on the spectrum.
Ledgin documents instances showing that Jefferson was shy, had an inability to relate to people, was a poor public speaker and was sensitive to loud noises. He attempts to show that the explanation for these is Asperger’s syndrome, claiming that it cannot be coincidence that Jefferson had so many supposedly Asperger’s traits that have been documented by various historians and biographers.
Ledgin also claims that it is because of Asperger’s that Jefferson had the habit of recording all of his financial transactions yet died in debt. Also, his obsession with remodeling his mansion, Monticello, for many decades can be attributed to Asperger’s. Jefferson also had eccentricities such has having a pet mocking bird always on his shoulder. He also often dressed casually and would wear slippers at important meetings.

excerpt from “Undiagnosing Gates, Jefferson and Einstein

An article by Jonathan Mitchell

thomas-jefferson-picture Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was also the author of the Declaration of Independence. His other accomplishments include diplomate, lawyer, scientist, farmer, architect. He was thought by many to be one of the most brilliant men to ever occupy the White House. Could he have been on the autistic spectrum? Norm Ledgin, author of Diagnosing Jefferson states that this was absolutely the case. Ledgin provides what he believes is unequivocal evidence that Jefferson had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism and in his book he openly challenges anyone to refute his proof. I have decided to accept that challenge. His book was also endorsed by Temple Grandin who wrote a postscript to Ledgin’s book, stating she was totally convinced that Jefferson was on the spectrum.

1885477600.01.MZZZZZZZLedgin documents instances showing that Jefferson was shy, had an inability to relate to people, was a poor public speaker and was sensitive to loud noises. He attempts to show that the explanation for these is Asperger’s syndrome, claiming that it cannot be coincidence that Jefferson had so many supposedly Asperger’s traits that have been documented by various historians and biographers.

Ledgin also claims that it is because of Asperger’s that Jefferson had the habit of recording all of his financial transactions yet died in debt. Also, his obsession with remodeling his mansion, Monticello, for many decades can be attributed to Asperger’s. Jefferson also had eccentricities such has having a pet mocking bird always on his shoulder. He also often dressed casually and would wear slippers at important meetings.