Traveling Monkbot Begins His Journey from Jackson, MS


Traveling Monkbot has been set loose into the big, open world…in search of other Monkbots…in search of THE Monkbot.

I’m sure he’ll meet with many good people. And I’m sure he’ll have many fine adventures. Though he may never reach the hands of Taylor Hicks…he’s at least gonna have fun trying.

The adventure begins in Jackson, MS…


Literary lovin’ Monkbot visits the Pinehurst Street home of the late Eudora Welty. This is where she wrote much of her fiction and many of her essays. I moved to the Metro Jackson area in 1998 and Ms. Welty passed away in 2001…so, for the briefest of time, we were sort of neighbors…and that makes me happy.


Political pundits beware of the mighty Monkbot. Here he visits the Mississippi Capitol Building. He is looking up 180 feet from rotunda area into Capitol’s dome. Sitting atop the dome outside the building is an 8-foot tall gilded eagle. With a wing span of 15 feet across, the fierce bird stares South…because, as the legend goes, he cannot bare to face North. (I know…corny…but whatever.) By the way…you don’t truly know fear until you’re standing in a metal detector, trying to explain to a security guard why you’re carrying a visor-wearing, antenna-clad, cymbal-wielding Monkbot into your state’s capitol building.


Sitting on the bar at Hal & Mal’s Restaurant and Brewery, Monkbot visits with Erin the waitress. Hal & Mal’s has been around for about 20 years. It’s a landmark in the city and has played host to countless well-known and up-and-coming singers and bands over the years. It’d be a great place for Taylor to perform once the new album comes out. Oh…and for anyone who has ever heard of the Sweet Potato Queens…they originated from Mal’s Annual St. Paddy’s Parade.


Every four years, the USA International Ballet Competition rotates between four host cities…Varna, Bulgaria; Moscow, Russia; Tokyo, Japan; and…Jackson, Mississippi. Yes, you read that right. The event, which brings competitors from around the world to Mississippi, is held at Thalia Mara Hall. Maybe Traveling Monkbot can perform there in 2010.


Honoring famous Mississippi athletes like Walter Payton, Dizzy Dean, and Archie Manning, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum opened 10 years ago. I’d write more…but I’ve never been in the place and really could care less. I put this up because I know Taylor’s such a big sports fan…and I wanted to impress him. (Taylor, if it worked…call me at 1-800-MS-HAWTY.)


There is no stretch of highway more beautiful in Mississippi than the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Parkway stretches 444 miles from Natchez, MS, through the state and the top west corner of Alabama and into Tennessee. If you ever get the chance to drive even a small part of the trace…do yourself a favor…drive the whole thing.


After taking Traveling Monkbot to see all he could see in Jackson, Shelley bids him adieu and sends him off for adventures unknown.

I’m sure y’all can’t wait to see where he lands next…right?

Interested in learning more about the Traveling Monkbot Project?

Click here.


32 Responses to “Traveling Monkbot Begins His Journey from Jackson, MS”

  1. Shrewspeaks Says:

    This is soooooo exciting! I can see why a beer was needed for you two after going through a security system.

    Which begs a question…when we receive our glorious turn are we given a radius? I could take the Ol’ MB to both NYC and Philly…but if another Botter has that in mind I certainly don’t want to do a repeat trip for the little guy.

  2. shelley Says:

    There is no radius set. You taken him wherever you darn well please. If he ends up two places twice…actually…I think that’s pretty cool. 😉

  3. double d Says:

    Nice way to start of the “Worldwide Tour” of the Monkbot. Can’t wait to see the next installment and have made big plans for the ‘Bot once he hits Mobile.

    Shelley, can we send you video?

  4. shelley Says:

    DD…video sounds TERRIFIC!

    Just upload your digital footage to YouTube (totally free) and send me the link to the page!

    I’ll be THRILLED to post the clip.

    What a great idea.

    (But take some still shots too, to send!)

  5. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I’m so excited for our little Monkbot! He’s going to be so cultured when he’s done traveling…I hope he still hangs with us little people…

    Your Jackson tour was very well rounded. Literature, ballet, politics, sports…beer and bar food. Sounds like my perfect vacation!

  6. bamaborntxbred Says:

    P.S. As a yung’n I traveled many a mile on the Natchez Trace…Beautiful! I definitely want to experience again as an adult. Maybe I’ll pack up the poopers and take them for a long, long drive….

  7. nolagirl Says:

    Love his adventure so far! Any hints on where he may pop up next???

  8. nolagirl Says:

    Oh, and Shrew, how did the home visit go last night?? (it was last night, wasn’t it?)

  9. suzi-q Says:

    I am so intrigued about the travels of the little fella, Monkbot. I enjoyed seeing the visits in Jackson and look so forward to having him “Take over, er, Tour the World” sorry, a bit of Pinky and The Brain invading the fun!!!! Shell the pic of you and Monkbot is the best and you look so pretty.

  10. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Thanks for asking Nola…it is tonight! I is so nervous! Thank goodness for the traveling escapades of the MonkBot!

  11. nolagirl Says:

    Oh ok, it’s tonight! I couldn’t remember! Can’t wait to hear a report. 🙂

  12. nolagirl Says:

    Ruh-roh. John Mayer/Jessica Simpson rumblings going on again …

    Read the Rumours

  13. bamaborntxbred Says:

    What a hooker! She does have a great booty though. I can see why he would be attracted to her….but wonder what they might talk about.

  14. double d Says:

    I thought John Mayer was sooo smart? UGH. I’m hoping it’s a publicity stunt. I mean, what DO they talk about?

    If Taylor starts dating Ashlee, I’m done. Done, I tell you.

  15. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Is there anyone in Hollywood you can see Taylor dating??

    How about Evangeline Lilly? She’s pretty and smart….

  16. double d Says:

    Natalie Portman? Anne Hathaway? Even Jessica Alba…my fondest hope is that Taylor finds him a nice Birmingham girl with NO “entertainment” ties and a “non-blonde”.

  17. double d Says:

    Of course, I’m still holding onto my wish for Taylor to rescue Norah Jones from her bass-player boyfriend, sweep her away on a big Harley to the South Alabama beaches and have lots of Soul Chirren.

  18. bamaborntxbred Says:

    My fondest hope is that he finds a nice girl that was born in a little town in Alabama who spent most of the rest of her life in Texas with NO entertainment ties who is a blonde that likes to experiment with alternate hair colors from time to time.

    Yeah. That’d be cool.

  19. nolagirl Says:

    And whose name is fancy … you forgot that, Bama. 😉

    Yeah, I don’t know about the JM/Jessica thing. Supposedely last time it was all rumour, so it could be the same now.

    It seems like she wouldn’t “get” his type of humor, but what do I know.

    DD: Soul Chirren is the funniest thing I’ve read today. Gracias, my friend. (are you still reeling from the “Cajun” mention??)

  20. shelley Says:

    Update on Jessica Simpson’s lovelife.

  21. Squeebee Says:

    Double to the D….you and your freaking SOul Chirren! It’ll nevah happen! Taylor is going to sweep one of our single MB’s off her feet, and they will have Monkbotbabies. The rest of us will be monkbridesmaids. And the wedding cake will be Monkey Bread.

    And for thinking all of this up, I get to be the Matron of Monkness.

  22. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Squeebee, for sure you can be my Matron of Monkness at mine and Taylors wedding!

    I’m going to have baby Monkbots running everywhere! Or, maybe just monkeys….

  23. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Shell- Tony Romo is a new hero ’round these parts. And quite a cutie. I’d love him and Jess to hit it off….what a cute pairing!

  24. Holeigh Says:

    Awesome tour with the Bot, Shelley! I love reading your descriptions and looking at the pictures, even if I don’t have a bunch of comments, haha. I can’t wait to see where he’s going to end up next. 🙂

  25. Libby Says:

    Shelley — it looks like Monkbot is enjoying his tour. Cannot wait for his visit!!

    Shrew – Good Luck on your interview tonight.

  26. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Beagle watch ’06 progresses: I passed inspection! Next step, the adoption lady is thinking about the perfect match and will be calling me over the weekend. Next step…”the introduction”.

    Many thanks to all My MonkBotBuddies for the support and well wishes through this.

    PS- Watching the AMAs, will someone please get Barry off my TV! I think I missed Taylor too. First sacrifice made for the doggy.

  27. nolagirl Says:

    Yay for Shrew and her beagle-to-be!!

    Taylor was darling, of course. But, these pics from the red carpet should make you feel better about missing it. (he was on for like 1 minute, co-presenting with Kirk Franklin)

  28. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Nola…you are so the PhotoSupplying MonkBot…Twice in as many days! You are da best! Thanks.

  29. nolagirl Says:

    You’re welcome. I am glad to share the goodness. 🙂

  30. Rowan Says:

    Wow! Shelley, your pictures are superb. Very impressed! Yes, the bar has been set verrrrrry high, as with the short story…

    Jackson looks a really beautiful place, and Monkbot is too cool for words. Great to see the project underway. Safe jourmey to your first port of call, liddle guy.

  31. Mind Doc Says:

    Shelley — great pictures! Monkbot looks very pleased with his new adventures. He adds a certain je ne sais quois to Mississippi. Did the Ballet Competition request that he accompany any of the performers? It might spice things up. Erin looks a bit smitten, but who can blame her?

  32. Photoholic Says:

    How do I get so far behind with trying to keep up with this blog? Especially with its more up-to-date-all-inclusive-monkbots-travels than found on CNN. Looks like the furry fellow is off to a wonderful start with you Shelley……interesting travels and great pictures. Can’t wait to see what happens next with his ongoing saga.

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