Jones of the Nile

Saturday, July 28, 2007 of my new favorite blogs

Time to promote a fun blog to my friends, family, and assorted random people who stop by this blog. I've been reading this for a few weeks now, and Girlspoke is really awesome. It's kind of a mix between Sex and the City and The Golden Girls and Charlie's Angels. Here's their catch line: "Girlspoke is an all female team blog written by some of the funniest smartest ladies on the web..."

Check it out. And my favorite writer over there is Adrie.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hanging with Mr. Cooper

Courtesy of Towleroad

Apparently Tom Ford is on the prowl for a new fragrance based on Anderson Cooper. Personally, I've never gotten the obsession with Anderson Cooper. Or maybe I'm just jealous, because he's trying to steal my claim to fame as being a young, hot guy with gray hair :)

Some of the favorite proposed names for said Anderson Cooper fragrance, per Towleroad's comments:

Au de Closet (you knew someone would have to include a closeted comment)

White Hot

FABULOUS! (that's my favorite...)

Katrina #5 (Ok, that's a funny one too, given all the Katrina stories he does)


And given that he's Gloria Vanderbilt's son....


Sunday, July 22, 2007


Another fine Keith Olbermann commentary. Not as good as some previous ones, but kudos to Keith for working in a reference to the Austra-Hungary invasion of Serbia, and French fighting against the Prussians in the 19th century!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In tomorrow's Minneapolis Star Tribune

Having worked against Sen. Norm Coleman in 2002, I'm beaming at the thought of this advertisement in tomorrow's Minneapolis Star Tribune, courtesy of Al Franken's campaign. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Around the world mishmash

So I've been trying to figure out something to write for about 50 minutes now, staring blankly at my computer screen while the energy slowly leaks out of my body (and out of my laptop's battery). I can't think of any unifying theme here, but three things caught my eye.

The first is a quote from Abraham Heschel, long one of my favorite spiritual thinkers, gurus, and cool happenin' guys. Especially for someone who died 35 years ago. Here's the quote: “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”

The second is a quote from Annie Dillard, long one of my favorite writers, eco-friendly thinkers, and all-around nice ladies. (I've never met her.) Here's the quote: "There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by."

The third is from Alice Walker, who tangentially just performed on my iPod a few moments ago. ('twas a song from The Color Purple on Broadway. Don't judge!) Here's her quote: "Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for?"

That last line particularly got me...If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for? I need to sleep on that quote, I think. I'm kind of a nerd like that. But Joan Didion once said that when she gets close to finishing a good book, she has to sleep alone in a room with it.

I like Joan Didion, but I hope I'm not that weird. Still, do you ever just read something and know it resonates, even if you can't articulate why?

OK, enough rambling thoughts for the night. All of the coffee I consumed today has seeped from my veins, so it's time to transition into crash mode. Have a great night!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

For those wondering...

Where all the reflective, serious posts have gone, they've been popping up on a new diary I started at Bring it On! You'll recognize the diary name. Here's my page:

Check out the other areas of BIO too. It's a good site, and it's recently redesigned.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Guilty pleasures

So in an email conversation the other day between three friends of mine from Grad school (one in the Bay Area, one in Maryland, and one in NYC), the conversation of guilty music pleasures came up. For example, did you know that Mags at You Forgot Poland has Hilary Duff's "Metamorphosis" on her i-pod?

Similarly, JR at JR the Otter has "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. And Sweet Machine? You wouldn't believe it, but she jams to "Waiting for a Star to Fall" by Boy Meets Girl. There's also Tumerica, who swoons to Anne Murray's "Shadows in the Moonlight." And then don't get me started on what The Mighty Red Pen listens to. Word has it that she has Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" on constant rotation on her i-tunes.

Kidding. I made all of those up. Or if I got any of them right, it was only by a matter of coincidence.

I'm also hardly one to judge, because I love guilty pleasures. I came across Run for Your Life! The 50-worst Songs of All-Time, from Blender. I'm almost embarrassed (read that as eccentrically proud!) that most of these songs I have on either tape, CD, as an i-tune, or all three. So of all the bad songs Blender lists, here are the ones that I've been known to jam to, dance in the shower to, or plan figure skating routines to (don't judge).

My Heart Will Go On, by Celine Dion

I'm Too Sexy, Right Said Fred

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, The Beatles

Hangin' Tough, New Kids on the Block

I'd Do Anything for Love, but I Won't Do That, Meatloaf (Side note: I'm particularly mortified of this one.)

We Didn't Start the Fire, Billy Joel

I Wanna Sex You Up, Color Me Badd

She Bangs, Ricky Martin

Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston (side note: I was in chorus in 5th and 6th Grade, and I actually had to sing Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time." Rarely does anything in my life match that high point.)

Your Body is a Wonderland, John Mayer

You're the Inspiration, Chicago

What's Up, 4-Non Blondes

From a Distance, Bette Midler

Invisible, Clay Aiken (Side note: OK, I guess if you have to top Meatloaf, Clay Aiken would be the next logical step. I'm starting to regret this post. Please don't abandon me as friends after reading this.)

Don't Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin

The Heart of Rock n Roll, Huey Lewis and the News (Side Note: Huey Lewis is not bad. Come on. Cut the guy some slack. There's nary an 80s song that can match their "Power of Love.")

Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice

And finally, the #1 worst song according to Blender, and also buried somewhere in a box of mix tapes I have lurking around my apartment....

We Built this City, Starship

I totally feel pretty uncool right now. I'll just keep telling myself to "Embrace the nerdiness,"....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I guess if you have nothing better to do for 11 days

I'm not a crazy Harry Potter fan. I like it. I also like soup. But I wouldn't wait outside for 11 days for soup. Unless it was really good soup. Squash bisque, maybe. I love that stuff, even though friends say it looks like...well, use your imagination.

But here's a story on two teens waiting 11 days in a bookstore in Fairbanks, Alaska for the last Harry Potter novel. An 11-day vigil, as the article calls it. From the Associated Press:

Chloe and Sydney Bostian started camping out Tuesday in front of Gulliver's Books in Fairbanks to be among the first Alaskans to find out their hero's fate in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

(Editor's Note: Well, at least they're waiting outside of a local, independent bookstore! Gulliver's Books. But take that praise with a grain of salt...I usually frequent Borders.)

They have reserved four copies of the book, but the wait isn't about that. They wanted to beat their friend, Graham Tordoff, 18, to the front of the line.

"He beat me once and I've been in line first ever since," Chloe said. "We're pretty die-hard."

(Editor's Note: Uh-huh, I bet Graham Tordoff is proud as hell with all this free publicity. Earned media, as they call it in our business. Of course, the downside is that now millions of people will probably take it upon themselves to refer to him as Turd-off, which I bet he's lived with for quite some time. Kids can be ruthless. Don't even get me started on the song Stacy Traylor made up about me in 7th grade. Grr.....)

Tordoff, who has known Chloe since they were toddlers, has pre-ordered two copies of the book. He got in line after the girls and plans to be there sporadically — he has a job — until the release.

"Chloe and her sister were first, I suppose. It's depressing," he said, laughing. "She earned it; she's good."

(Editor's Note: I hope this story ends with Graham and Chloe getting married. And then they can have a Harry Potter-themed wedding. But as an aside, how can you be in line sporadically? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of forming a line? Oh, and Graham, it's not really depressing being second in line. Malaria is depressing. Being second in line just means you have to work it a little harder.)

At Gulliver's, it's the festivities that are the main attraction, Chloe said. People show up in costume — Chloe's going as Mrs. Figg, the cat lady — and there are games, crafts, food and the occasional unicorn.

Chloe said she expected some company around the beginning of the week, and by the day before the release, the line should be wrapped around the building, judging from past releases.

"It's just so fun to stay in line 'cause everyone gets so into it," she said. "I'm just enjoying this because it's my last summer before I go to college."

(Editor's Note: Someone should tell this girl that she's probably going to have a lot more fun in college. But true that, there likely won't be any unicorns in college. Although for a Halloween party one time, a friend of mine dressed up as Pan. That might come close.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Best. Video. Ever.

My bladder started leaking. Watch now. (the video, not my bladder)

(courtesy of Lost Remote)

Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Do you know Dolores O'Riordan?

(Preparing to date myself...)

I don't know how many of you might remember the 1990s band, "The Cranberries". I hearted the Cranberries. I was sad that they didn't have more staying power. Phil Collins lasts twenty freakin' years, but The Cranberries go the way of The Proclaimers.

Well, I don't know if I'd walk 500 miles to go see the Cranberries, but I did take two trains to go catch Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of the Cranberries, perform at Boston's Avalon on Monday night. Nothing says, "Shit, this is going to be one crazy night where I drink lots of alcohol and punk out to 90s pop music and wake up the next morning not remembering who I went to see" like a concert on a Monday night.

But the concert was awesome. In Irish, that would be bloody awesome. Sure, the opening act was like mixing Emmylou Harris with Allison Kraus with Sugarland, and topping it off with a box of All-Bran (in other words, it was boring), but Dolores (to quote Randy Jackson) "blew it out the box." I love concerts where (1) the opening song is something that gets everyone fired up, (2) the songs that nobody knows sound good and fresh and somewhat familiar, even if you haven't heard them before, and (3) the concert ends with something classic that gets everyone riled up again.

Dolores hit all three. She opened up with "Zombie," which is like my favorite Cranberries song. I've always enjoyed the way she grunted "ZAWMBIE," and hundreds of people grunting in sync with her was cool. It was also a good song to get everyone pumped up. The rest of the night I just felt like grunting "ZOMBIE" at random people. I've also been on a zombie kick lately, but I digress.

The rest of her set was mostly stuff from her new album, "Are you Listening?", which I hadn't really heard before, except for a song called Ordinary Day that Dolores wrote for one of her daughters. I like the song, but subtract points for dedicating a song to your children. I find that hokey. But I'm a heartless bastard when it comes to kids. In a previous life I was probably some creature that ate its young.

But there was some good stuff from her new album that I'll be sure to check out. I particularly liked "When We Were Young" and "Loser."

The best was the end, which closed with three of my favorite Cranberries songs, "Just my Imagination" (sounds like an Irish 10,000 Maniacs song), "Linger," and "Dreams," which was especially good. It had the vibe of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts meets Blondie meets 4-Non Blondes. In other words, 90s ecstasy.

Anyway, for a review of the show from, click here. For Dolores' own Web site, click here. And for a recipe for Fried Bananas, click here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Mike Gravel will rock you

This has to be one of the most absurd political ads I've ever seen. Literally, it's former Senator and 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel (pronounced Gr-ahh-vell) staring at a camera for 72 seconds, then throwing a rock in a pond, and then walking away.

No words.

Barely any blinking.

Maybe my sense of metaphor has diminished as I near the end of my 20s. Instead it's been replaced by a need to share puns. So I went to a hardware store this weekend and ran into a jellyfish who was trying to buy ten drills.


Does Mike Gravel remind anyone of the grandfather from the Werther's Original commercial from the 1980s/90s? Maybe only grumpier?

Friday, July 06, 2007

If you needed further proof that Bill O'Reilly is a punk...

He offers us this nugget...

What, no mention of a loofah, Bill?

Seriously, I can't even say that I'm surprised anymore. But this homophobic rant about "lawless gay people," in particular "violent lesbians...recruiting gang members into their pink-pistol carrying band of sisters" is enough to make my bowels crunch. Oh, and the guy that O'Reilly interviews in this spot, Rod Wheeler, is about as qualified to talk about criminal justice in Washington, DC as I'm qualified to talk about quantum physics. Among the credentials listed on his Web site? Lifelong Christian and Corporate Security Manager for Boston Market Restaurants.

Fox. News. Sucks.

On the brighter side of life, I've got a new ring tone! Rihanna's "Umbrella." So, friends, call me. I won't pick up, but I promise to dance in my chair a bit while the phone rings.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I'm giving up my day job to write about hot dogs

As a follow-up to this post from last week, I can't help but share the news that Joey Chestnut is the new world hot dog eating champion, clocking in at 66 hot dogs in the course of 12 minutes.

First, the picture:

Joey Chestnut (I covet that name) beat six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi in a dog-eat-dog match, 66 hot dogs to 63 hot dogs. After this embarrassing Iraq war, I think it's safe to say that America has regained her stature in this world.

From the NY Times article:

"Like the 15-round epics between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, the outcome was unclear until the end. The rivals matched each other frank for frank. Mr. Chestnut, who has also won championships for eating grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken wings and deep-fried asparagus, jumped out to an early lead, but was never more than three hot dogs ahead."

(Editor's Note: Do you suppose "Eye of the Tiger" was the theme song for yesterday's event? And who knew that there were contests for eating deep fried asparagus. Hey, at least they're working vegetables into the world of competitive eating, even if they're deep fried.)

"Mr. Kobayashi, who wolfed down nearly 18 pounds of pan-seared cow brains to win the Glutton Bowl, made a push in the last several minutes to finish in a tie. The two men were eating so fast, stuffing several hot dogs in their mouth at once, that midway through the contest, several of the 15 other entrants had stopped eating and were watching the main event at center stage."

(Editor's Note: 18 pounds of pan-seared cow brains? I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. But I do love that last sentence. Like pornography or a head-on car collision, the other contestants just couldn't take their eyes off of the main event...)

"Since both leaders appeared to have consumed 63 hot dogs and buns at the finish, the judges spent several minutes in a somewhat bizarre recount. According to the rules, whatever is in contestants’ mouths when the buzzer rings counts toward their total, assuming they can swallow it."

(Editor's Note: "Whatever is in contestants' mouths when the buzzer rings." Given that the components of a hot dog are pretty suspicious to begin with, I'd venture to say that this is a question for the ages.)

"When Mr. Chestnut was announced as the winner with 66 hot dogs and buns eaten, Mr. Kobayashi slumped in his chair, draped in a silver-colored blanket typically used by marathon runners."

(Editor's Note: Because I know you were wondering...the average amount of calories in one hot dog is about 240. That would mean that Joey Chestnut consumed 15,840 calories. In 12 minutes. Or, in other words, 990 grams of fat. In 12 f*cking minutes! If I find out that this dude has a waist size less than 32, I'm going to scream.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Resign. Now.

I don't regularly get a chance to watch Keith Olbermann, but I almost had an orgasm after watching this. It's THAT good.

Amen, Keith. And Happy 4th, everyone!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Torture Awareness Month may end, but torture will not

The month of June comes with many designations. National Gay Pride Month. National Dairy Month. National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Even National Iced Tea Month.

Perhaps lost in the shuffle of recognizing persimmons, gorgonzola or Tetley is that June is also Torture Awareness Month. It marks the month where torture survivors from around the world renew their commitment to ending torture in the 150 countries where (we know) torture is practiced, including the United States. Sister Dianna Ortiz, the founder of the Torture Abolitionist and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC), is one of those torture survivors.

Sr. Dianna’s story is captured in her 2002 book “The Blindfold’s Eye,” including her kidnapping and torture at the hands of the Guatemalan government in the 1980s, and the complicity of the U.S. government in her torture. While in captivity, Sr. Dianna was burned with cigarettes on her breasts, forced to dance naked, raped by four men and impregnated.

The reason for rehashing her horrific story in a memoir? In Sr. Dianna’s words: “To fulfill a promise to speak for those who have no voice.”

Last week there was a vigil outside of the White House (the 10th annual vigil), at which Sr. Dianna and 75 other torture survivors participated to cry out against the practice of torture, and speak for those being tortured today who have no voice. This year the vigil had a specific focus: to demand the repeal of the Military Commissions Act that was signed by President Bush in October 2006. The Military Commission Act built procedures for conducting military investigations for suspected terrorists.

Of course, the Act also violates provisions of the Geneva Conventions on prisoner rights, and the 1996 U.S. War Crimes Act. Among those include the potential to authorize beatings severe enough to cause bruising, and the legal cover the Act provides for techniques such as water-boarding, which have long been considered in violation of international law.

Sixteen people were arrested for committing civil disobedience in front of the White House during the vigil – a nonviolent response to a potentially very violent piece of law. They were processed and released, the vigil ended, and sure enough, the next day was here before we knew it.

Now, as we move into the first week of July, Torture Awareness Month comes to an end. Sadly, thanks to the Military Commissions Act and the 149 other countries where torture is practiced (perhaps even reinforced by the United States’ willingness to condone torture), torture does not come to an end. The nightmare that Sr. Dianna went through is still recreating itself in the lives of thousands of “suspected terrorists,” each day creating more victims of torture.

This is no less recognized by thousands of activists, academics, lawyers and religious figures who make up the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT...which is tempting to pronounce as “NarCat,” but that sounds a little Battlestar Gallatica). Among the religious leaders quoted on NRCAT’s Web site include the rather conservative pastor of Saddleback Church in California, Pastor Rick Warren. Though I might not agree with Pastor Warren on many things, he’s spot on here:

“If we condone torture, we yield the moral high ground to our enemies and encourage anyone who hates us to stoop to using that subhuman level against us. We reap whatever we sow.”

That’s a lesson worth remembering 12 months a year.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Yippee-Ki-Yay, mother******

So (which was way better back in like 2004, in my opinion) has an article assessing some of the best one-liners in movie history. While they don't rank them, the article focuses pretty heavily on Bruce Willis' big line from the first Die Hard movie: Yippee-Ki-Yay, motherfucker! Ugh.

Here's the explanation of why this line is so important in film history...

When terrorist-slash-exceptional thief Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) taunts hero John McClane (Bruce Willis), "Who are you? Just another American who saw too many movies as a child?" and asks this "Mr. Cowboy" if he really thinks he stands a chance, McClane's answer—"Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker"—marks the moment that McClane, an everyman, assumes the mantle of America's archetypal heroes: Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Gunsmoke's Marshall Dillon, and others who have been so vital to American boyhood. Unlike the many action-movie one-liners that are rooted in the hero's narcissism, McClane's stems from our collective wish-fulfillment. He is not referring to himself, not suggesting an "I" or a "me" but an us. And considering the European Gruber's appreciation of fashion, finance, and the classics, McClane's comeback acquires an additional subtext: Our pop culture can beat up your high culture.

Wow...does anyone else get the feeling that George W. Bush's entire foreign policy is based on this line?

I digress...I wouldn't rank this up there with the best one-liners ever. Not that I have a "best week ever" list or anything. But off the top of my head I can think of a few that I like a lot more...

Blue Velvet: Heineken? Fuck that shit, Pabst Blue Ribbon! (Editor's Note: That's for Heather.)

A Few Good Men: You can't handle the truth!

They Live: I came here to chew bubble gum and kick ass - and I'm all out of bubble gum.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: I've said it before, and I'll say it again, no more fucking ABBA!

Anyway, a light posting to start the week off. Off to work.