The Rat
Friday, July 26, 2002
      ( 12:43 PM ) The Rat  
AND SINCE I WON'T BE HERE to update this absurd site (wow, you'll click on anything won't you?), why don't you read this anthology? I selected 31 of the 43 stories, meaning some 72 percent of the prose section is very very good. Regrettably I can't likewise vouch for the quality of the poems—the fellow who picked those is a bit of an amateur.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:43 PM

      ( 12:37 PM ) The Rat  
LOOKS LIKE I PICKED THE WRONG WEEK TO GIVE UP AMPHETAMINES. Eve and I leave for London in under 7 hours!

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:37 PM

      ( 12:36 PM ) The Rat  
OOH, the huge-ass pack of Motrin I bought yesterday comes in a non-childproof bottle. How about a relevant link?

I never used to buy ibuprofen in such big sizes, but then I never used to live in New York. But there they are, 100 little orange (why orange?) caplets for the dozens of headaches- and traumas-in-waiting... Maybe I'll give them pet names.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:36 PM

Thursday, July 25, 2002
      ( 3:05 PM ) The Rat  
UNMARRIED MARRIAGE COUNSELOR, PT. 3. From the Rutgers study that started this thread:

The vast majority of young women today hope to marry and have a family. Men also share this aspiration for marriage and family. However, unlike women, they can postpone marriage for a longer time without losing the chance to have a biological child. Consequently, men's reluctance to marry makes it harder for peer women who are in their prime marrying years to achieve their desired life goal. As one man put it, "That's their issue."

This was the main point of my post: this is the problem that can't be gotten around—unless, perhaps, all thirtysomething women are to marry sixtysomething men. Asked recently by an interviewer how it had come about that she became the first model with an exclusive contract (in 1974), Lauren Hutton answered:

I saw a story on the front page of the New York Times about a baseball player, Catfish Hunter. He was the first player to get a sports contract. I remember his quote: 'I've got to have a contract because I'm in a youth-oriented business.' I thought, I'm in a youth-oriented business too…

Ultimately, every woman who wants children is in a youth-oriented business. (Unless she's okay with single motherhood, and the vastly increased risks of poverty, child abuse, and allied fun that come with it.) There's a reason Saul Bellow and George Plimpton don't have female counterparts. When the science has been developed that can allow women to attract mates and bear children well into their 50s or whatnot, we can if you like talk about a sexual economics based on parity. But until then there is no getting around the fact that women simply don't have as much time to waste if they want to bear their own kids, as—however cute those Cambodian orphans may be—most of us do.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:05 PM

      ( 2:56 PM ) The Rat  
UNMARRIED MARRIAGE COUNSELOR, PT. 2. A mutual reader asked me last night if Blogadder had yet responded to my post on late marriages and I had, of course, to reply that he has not. I have a few addenda of my own though, while we're waiting.

I think I can exonerate myself of the "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" charge by pointing out, to begin with, that I'm 26, female, not sufficiently hideous to scare children and dogs, and still single—even though I probably could have entered into an arranged marriage by now had I so chosen. Moreover Meatloaf is barely even the tip of the literature-of-marital-unhappiness iceberg: I should know, because I keep an informal collection on the subject. Some recommendations:

—Philip Roth's Letting Go, which, while over-earnest qua novel (it was his first attempt), will make you feel as though, at about 28, you've been stuck in an unhappy marriage for nearly a decade

—Chekhov's short story "The Russian Master" (in some translations, "The Teacher of Literature"), which achieves the same effect in under 20 pages

—George Meredith's long poem Modern Love, the last stanza of which contains the lines (quoted to me once by a very unhappily married friend):

Ah, what a dusty answer gets the soul
When hot for certainties in this our life!

—John Cheever's "The Season of Divorce" (not as good as the other three, but I figure there must be somebody out there who likes Cheever)

So yes, I am very definitely of the school best characterized by a magnet I once saw on sale at the 42nd Street Library shop: "It is better to have loved and lost… than to live with the psycho the rest of your life." And Ted is quite right that people who marry older divorce less often than those who marry younger (hell, someone's written a book on "starter marriages").

When I was in Seattle for Michael's wedding, a friend—who is considering taking the veil—kept remarking that she finds the marriage vows "insane." I couldn't agree more. I have once in my life known someone to whom I would willingly have pledged the rest of my days while considering it a sane thing to do—and the someone was a she, and we're both straight. I also disagree adamantly with Chesterton's remarks on rash vows: I've seen unhappy marriages very close up; they suck. I've known cohabiting couples of whom I would consider it a terrible thing if they decided to get married (at least, if they did so without growing up first). Marriages can obviously be rushed into, and can be stupidly contracted, when they shouldn't have been. And there is an unbelievable amount of imbecile thinking surrounding the subject today—at or near the top of the list, the notion that any of us can (or should) "make" another person happy.

But none of that is what I was getting at. My point is that a dramatic devaluation of women has accompanied the sexual revolution. In the case of the knocked-up female (and Ted and I have both known cases of these, whether they kept the baby or aborted), I wouldn't by any means claim she should always marry the father—Frederica Mathewes-Green covers this really well: obviously if the guy is a drug addict and will beat the crap out of the woman (and the baby), marriage isn't the best solution; but quite often a new and unexpectedly-made father will discover he is willing to reform himself for the sake of the child. This doesn't always happen, and will always be a judgment call; but it does happen [scroll down to "Morin"]. The current view of marriage allows very little room for such marriages of convenience (nowadays we typically don't even bother asking), which (like arranged marriages) often turn out at least as happily as the fairy-tale kind.

Besides being tailored to meet the sexual needs of a 14-year-old boy, contemporary courtship is also leading to a lot of wistful single women sitting at home with Sex and the City, and a lot of single men moving back in with their mothers. Plus, with the couple who cohabit for seven years, quite often by the end of it many women (I'm told, by a friend who researches the subject) will confess they weren't totally sure about marrying, but felt so overwhelmed by the thought of having to "start all over again" that they went through with it anyway. That can't be helping the divorce rate either.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:56 PM

      ( 12:21 PM ) The Rat  
If I was going to write a book about sex I would call it: Ow, You're On My Hair.
—Richard Lewis

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:21 PM

      ( 12:11 PM ) The Rat  
QUALIFICATION. In fairness I have to admit I couldn't be entirely like Nell Gwyn—Shamed having years ago given me the best advice I may ever have had: "Just stay away from men with the names of kings of England." This wisdom was proffered just after I'd finished detailing the heartaches occasioned from the first grade onward by Richard H., Charles Y., Stephen F., et alia. I, being a doofus, hadn't even noticed the theme.

But, I've learned my lesson, and when Sven Forkbeard comes calling, this girl is just saying no. (To judge by recent history I seem to be moving into the Apostles anyway.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:11 PM

      ( 11:59 AM ) The Rat  
I WANT TO BE LIKE THIS CHICK IF I GROW UP. Except for the Protestant part. Quoting, again, Benedict le Vay's book—which is quite good, despite his use of the word "enthused":

Salisbury Hall between Hatfield and St Albans in Hertfordshire, is where Nell 'buy my lovely oranges' Gwyn and [Charles II] would spend naughty weekends together. She gave birth to their bastard son in this house, and as the baby took its first breath and yelled, Nell asked the king to give him a title. He refused, so Nell hung the mewling infant outside the bedroom window, threatening to dash his brains out in the courtyard below if he wasn't worthy of a title.

The panic-stricken king looked past her at the mighty St Albans Abbey on the sky-line, and blurted out 'Someone catch the Duke of St Albans!' Feisty girl... but a risky way to start a dukedom. [...]

She had started as an orange-seller but soon became a great hit on the stage, as Pepys records several times. 'Pretty, witty Nell,' he enthused in his diary. She was also popular with Londoners, partly because she was 'one of us' and partly because she was not French and not Catholic, unlike Charles's other main mistress, Louise de Keroualle, a voluptuous woman who was placed in Charles's gaze by the French government.

This led to an amusing Nellism at Oxford in 1681 when, during the anti-Catholic unrest known as the Popish Terror, she sought to reassure the mob who stopped her coach of her good character: 'Pray, good people, be civil. I am the Protestant whore.' A huge cheer went up.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 AM

      ( 11:48 AM ) The Rat  
THAT NICE MAN at the little bookshop in East Falmouth, Mass.—one of only a half-dozen places with a copy of this book, which I desperately want to read, in stock—really did put it in the mail even though all he had was my word that I'd be sending a check simultaneously: Book was on my desk this morning, despite the vagaries of the USPS. It's because of stuff like this that I link to over there in the corner—haven't had a single bad experience with any of their booksellers, knock wood.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:48 AM

      ( 11:44 AM ) The Rat  
QUICK: How many people were hanged at Tyburn before they took down the gallows in 1783? Hundreds, would you guess—thousands? ...Wrong, according to this useful little book I've been reading preparatory to trip no. 3 to London: the accepted estimate is 40,000.

I have a tree, which grows here in my close,
That mine own use invites me to cut down,
And shortly must I fell it: tell my friends,
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree
From high to low throughout, that whoso please
To stop affliction, let him take his haste,
Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe,
And hang himself.

Timon of Athens

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:44 AM

      ( 11:09 AM ) The Rat  
IT'S NEVER BEEN AN OBSTACLE FOR ME. A friend sends the following nomination for "headline of the day," courtesy of a Catholic news service:

Death of Children an Obstacle to Peace, Says Paper
L'Osservatore Romano Laments Attack on Gaza Neighborhood

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:09 AM

      ( 10:58 AM ) The Rat  
SO, I STOPPED BY BLOOMINGDALE'S EN ROUTE TO WORK this morning (yes, Virginia, there are compensations for living in New York) to find a replacement pair of sunglasses, but not a single pair they had in stock made me look like Max Zorin. My faith in capitalism has been deeply shaken and it's not even noon.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:58 AM

Wednesday, July 24, 2002
      ( 12:05 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:05 PM

      ( 12:00 PM ) The Rat  
KILLER chocolate.

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      ( 11:57 AM ) The Rat  
IN FRANCE, even the sheep commit suicide.

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      ( 11:55 AM ) The Rat  
'How fond she is of finding morals in things!' Alice thought to herself.
Alice in Wonderland

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 AM

Tuesday, July 23, 2002
      ( 6:51 PM ) The Rat  
YES, HONEY, WE DID FILM YOUR BIRTH BUT YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED IN THE THEATER TILL YOU'RE OVER 18. And the floors are kinda sticky, too. Porn movie in the works in New Zealand to include live childbirth.

And while we're on the subject, some good fiction about pornographers: Terry Southern's Blue Movie (not his best work, but often very funny) and Graham Greene's terrific story "The Blue Film."

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:51 PM

      ( 6:47 PM ) The Rat  
WHO TURNED IN THE FRANKS? Interesting article, courtesy one of my innumerable kike friends.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:47 PM

      ( 2:02 PM ) The Rat  
NOTHIN' SAYS LOVIN' like a buildup of scar tissue in the Fallopian tubes.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:02 PM

      ( 12:48 PM ) The Rat  
I played a transvestite in 'Dressed to Kill.' It was hard being a woman. High heels are difficult. I had to put on this one-piece-bathing-suit-like thing with breasts and hips, and I looked terrible. That was upsetting. I realized I wouldn't have gone out with me.
—Michael Caine in the NYTM, July 21, 2002

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:48 PM

      ( 12:47 PM ) The Rat  
DON'T BE SILLY, EVE, I haven't watched Cheers for years—was little need to once I'd committed all the Kirstie Alley-season scripts to memory in '93. But here's a fun site.

Sam. Hey, how's life treating you, Norm?
Norm. Beats me. ...Then it kicks me and leaves me for dead.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:47 PM

Monday, July 22, 2002
      ( 7:39 PM ) The Rat  
TAIWAN MAY GRANT longer stays to pregnant Chinese wives of Taiwanese men to help them escape mandatory abortions under Communist rule.

China's "one-child" policy was introduced in 1979; as of 2001, the mainland government claimed to have successfully prevented 250 million births through forced abortion and forced sterilization.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:39 PM

      ( 12:59 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 12:26 PM ) The Rat  
JOHN CAGE SUES FOR INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT ON 4'33". Ya can't make stuff like this up:

"Wombles creator Mike Batt has been accused of infringing the copyright of American minimalist composer John Cage, after placing a one-minute silence on his latest CD—and saying it was a Mike Batt composition.

"On Wednesday morning Batt's A Minute's Silence was played alongside Cage's famous 1952 work 4'33", which consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of silence, at Baden Powell House in central London.

"Cage's publisher Peters Edition and Batt hoped it would clarify the differences between the works..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 PM

      ( 12:22 PM ) The Rat  
THE ENGLISH are different.

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      ( 11:28 AM ) The Rat  
THIS IS MY UMPTEENTH APPEARANCE in a New York Post hed since the war began. And their circulation figures are up. Coincidence? I think not.

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      ( 11:24 AM ) The Rat  
—And yet this great wink of eternity...

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Sunday, July 21, 2002
      ( 6:40 PM ) The Rat  
EVE: We leave in five days. Buy some flats!!!

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Friday, July 19, 2002
      ( 1:27 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 1:16 PM ) The Rat  
JAPAN DEBATES reparations for WWII comfort women.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:16 PM

      ( 11:57 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:53 AM ) The Rat  
In best-sellerdom we frequently find the hero coming to terms and settling down in Scarsdale, or wherever, knowing himself. And on Broadway, in the third act, someone says, "Look, why don't you just love each other?" and the protagonist, throwing his hand to his forehead, cries, "God, why didn't I think of that!" and before the bulldozing action of love, all else collapses—verisimilitude, truth, and interest. It is like "Dover Beach" ending happily for Matthew Arnold, and for us, because the poet is standing at the window with a woman who understands him. If the literary investigation of our era were to become solely the property of Wouk, Weidman, Sloan Wilson, Cameron Hawley, and Broadway's amor-vincit-omnia boys it would be unfortunate indeed—like leaving sex to the pornographers.
Reading Myself and Others

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:53 AM

      ( 11:50 AM ) The Rat  
UNLIKE LAZIER WEB SURFERS, I have taken care to find a version of this story with a photograph, saving you the effort.

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      ( 11:48 AM ) The Rat  
I WONDER IF this stuff works.

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      ( 11:43 AM ) The Rat  

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Thursday, July 18, 2002
      ( 6:17 PM ) The Rat  
INTERESTING REVIEW of The Sexual Life of Catherine M. (though I can't say if she's right; haven't had time to read it).

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:17 PM

      ( 12:04 PM ) The Rat  
AND SPEAKING OF Mickey Sabbath, informs me an unabridged reading of the novel is now available. As the country song put it, I don't know whether to kill myself or go bowling.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 PM

      ( 12:00 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:52 AM ) The Rat  
I KNOW DIDDLY-SQUAT ABOUT LAW, of course (and care only slightly more), but abolishing double jeopardy seems way sketch to me. Oh well, with any luck they'll at least wait until Eve and I are done terrorizing London before enacting it.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM

      ( 11:36 AM ) The Rat  
BLOW DART ATTACKS IN D.C. Interesting—though no mention is made of any kind of poison, let alone the venom of the boomslang as in Christie. A far more interesting case happened in 1977, when a reader was able to identify the cause of a dying girl's illness because her symptoms matched those of the victims in The Pale Horse (which is also my favorite Christie). Christie worked as a dispenser during WWI and was later to comment of the critical reception to her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, that the highest praise had come from scientists who acknowledged that she knew her stuff when it came to poisons.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:36 AM

      ( 11:26 AM ) The Rat  
EXECUTION, TEHRAN-STYLE. Now that's what I call thorough.

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      ( 11:16 AM ) The Rat  
"Despite all my troubles, I continue to know what matters in life: profound hatred."
Sabbath's Theater

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:16 AM

Wednesday, July 17, 2002
      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
PICTURE IT: SICILY, 2002... Civic authorities in Catania, Sicily, bolted iron underwear onto a statue of a horse for the duration of a religious celebration. And since no one seems to have asked, I will: If they really had to bolt iron underwear onto something wouldn't it have been far more to the point to nail some of our friskier politicians?

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:55 PM ) The Rat  
IT'S RAINING RATS. And speaking of which... no idea of the date, but I just found this listing off a random site.

SICILY—Horrified citizens of Sicily had enough of one overly enthusiastic animal lover and called city officials to exterminate a dwelling filled with—rats. It seems that an elderly woman was fond of rats and bred them for pleasure, feeding them until they could barely walk. Exterminators called in said that there were thousands of rats in one apartment and when they began the extermination, rats fled in droves, jumping out of the sixth story window and landing on people taking a mid-afternoon stroll.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:55 PM

      ( 2:48 PM ) The Rat  
"LAP DANCING AND OTHER FORMS OF ENTERTAINMENT." GAO releases report of purchases made by Army personnel using government charge cards. Geez, it's like these people were in Congress or something.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:48 PM

      ( 1:02 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:12 AM ) The Rat  
YIKES. Martha Stewart is launching an Oprah-style book club.

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      ( 10:54 AM ) The Rat  
THIS IS REALLY FUNNY. Camille Paglia's greatest hits. Link sent by Eve.

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      ( 10:50 AM ) The Rat  
A JOB YOU WISH YOU HAD. A picture of that guy who reads buttocks for a living.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 AM

      ( 10:36 AM ) The Rat  
SOME INTERESTING COVERAGE of possible plans for the World Trade Center site. More models here and here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:36 AM

      ( 10:34 AM ) The Rat  
All the new thinking is about loss. In this it resembles all the old thinking.
—Robert Hass, "Meditation at Lagunitas"

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:34 AM

Tuesday, July 16, 2002
      ( 1:12 PM ) The Rat  
"I think a lot of those women who seem bright also seem ferocious. What you like is that I seem bright without being ferocious, somebody who is really rather ordinary and is not determined to kick you in the teeth. But why carry it further—why marry me and have a child and settle down like everybody else to an impostor’s life?" "Because I've decided to give up the artificial fiction of being myself for the genuine, satisfying falseness of being somebody else. Marry me."
The Counterlife

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:12 PM

      ( 1:10 PM ) The Rat  
WINNERS OF THE 2002 BULWER-LYTTON CONTEST for the worst opening sentence to a hypothetical bad novel. Sample entries from 2001:

As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the sound chamber he would never hear the end of it.

The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, "You lied!"

Also just found an unofficial "Bulwer-Lytton Erotica Contest"—for which, go here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:10 PM

      ( 12:20 PM ) The Rat  

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Sunday, July 14, 2002
      ( 9:50 AM ) The Rat  
Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.
—Emo Phillips

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      ( 9:44 AM ) The Rat  
HAPPY CHEESE-EATING SURRENDER MONKEY DAY! Ah, Bastille Day... what better time to revisit this column?

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:44 AM

Saturday, July 13, 2002
      ( 1:26 AM ) The Rat  
There are five reasons for drinking: the visit of a friend, present thirst, future thirst, the goodness of the wine, or any other reason.
—attributed to Père Sirmond, 16th century

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:26 AM

Thursday, July 11, 2002
      ( 11:52 AM ) The Rat  
CANDICE BERGEN ADMITS DAN QUAYLE WAS RIGHT. Gee, it's a good thing she didn't wait ten years to go public. (Thanks to Shamed for the link.) For Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's eponymous 1993 Atlantic piece, go here. For Jonah Goldberg's trenchant analysis of why Hollywood has its head up its ass, go here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM

      ( 11:50 AM ) The Rat  
JOHN FRANKENHEIMER died on Saturday. He was best-known as the director of The Manchurian Candidate, the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful film I have ever seen in my life. A great loss to Hollywood, and the rest of us. Mr. Frankenheimer is survived by his wife of 41 years, Evans Frankenheimer; two daughters; and a grandson. R.I.P.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:50 AM

      ( 11:22 AM ) The Rat  
FOUND last night at East Village Books (a fabulous little place on St. Marks off Ave. A; open till 11 on weeknights, and midnight Friday/Saturday): a book on the history of drinking containing facsimile of an old ad headlined, "I was the mainstay of the Public Library until I discovered Smirnoff." As a former copywriter, I'd date it at about early '70s, maybe late '60s—it has that sort of Ogilvy glow. Of course, the writer's mistake was to assume that starting reading has to entail stopping drinking. I became hard-core at both more or less simultaneously.

Also last night at EVB, ditzy guy with equally ditzy chick yanked a gorgeous anthology of Yiddish stories off the shelf exactly one second before I could reach it. I had the typical crazed-female-at-shoe-sale reaction, naturally (which I also have at shoe sales). Time to go retake that likelihood-of-committing-murder test.

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      ( 11:20 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:18 AM ) The Rat  
It's not true I had nothing on. I had the radio on.
—Marilyn Monroe

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002
      ( 6:30 PM ) The Rat  
EVE: Yeah, it's Pascal. And P.S. Fix your permalinks!

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:30 PM

      ( 8:46 AM ) The Rat  
One dances for the pleasure of the movement, and it is not necessary that one should wish to go to bed with one's partner; but it is a pleasant exercise only if to do so would not be disgusting.
—W. Somerset Maugham

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:46 AM

Tuesday, July 09, 2002
      ( 9:46 PM ) The Rat  
PERUSE THE WINNING ENTRIES IN THE GOLDEN JUBILEE POETRY CONTEST. Scroll down for Alexander Pirrie's "Boogie in the Garden." I would have thought "trumpet" cried out to be rhymed with "strumpet"—but then, I'm not English.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:46 PM

      ( 7:21 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 3:47 PM ) The Rat  
I'M THE EVIL QUEEN! Take the Disney villains test.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:47 PM

      ( 3:33 PM ) The Rat  
MY LIKELIHOOD OF COMMITTING MURDER IS 35 PERCENT, according to this test. Seems a conservative estimate to me.

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      ( 10:42 AM ) The Rat  
EVE IS RIGHT about Mathewes-Greene, of course, but she also still hasn't read this story—as everyone should, pro-choice or pro-life.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:42 AM

      ( 10:40 AM ) The Rat  
TODAY THROUGH THURSDAY, goods and services purchased below Houston St. will again be exempt from the sales tax. Does not apply to purchases over $500, gasoline, or (no shit!) tobacco.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:40 AM

      ( 10:34 AM ) The Rat  
THE CITY POLICE OF WINNIPEG clearly failed to heed the warnings of this Monty Python sketch.

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      ( 10:24 AM ) The Rat  
Madame. The old man has sent her dozens—no, hundreds—of letters.
Toyama. If he sent out all his letters to different women, one of them might have been successful.
The Damask Drum

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:24 AM

Monday, July 08, 2002
      ( 2:54 PM ) The Rat  
WIN YOUR WIFE'S WEIGHT IN BEER and other Finnish pastimes.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:54 PM

      ( 11:46 AM ) The Rat  
[The Baltimore Sun's] Susan Reimer believes that "sexual liberation... [was not] a bad idea," yet sees the need for abstinence education, since "sex education is not enough... providing information on contraceptives does not increase the likelihood that [teens] will use them." Unwilling to ask anyone to "renounce pleasure," she suggests that girls be told instead to wait and grow up because older men are "better lovers" (an idea that falls under the category of "not completely thought through").
—Frederica Mathewes-Green, Real Choices: Listening to Women, Looking for Alternatives to Abortion

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:46 AM

      ( 11:43 AM ) The Rat  
THOUGH I AM, AS FRIENDS KNOW, A SWORN ENEMY OF HUMAN HAPPINESS, even I had to admit that the wedding, this Saturday in Seattle, of my friend Michael to his fiancée Monica was quite beautiful. So many couples have fled their church, which is being renovated, that the next wedding to be held there isn't until February. The priest explained that each time yet another of the church's splendors was taken away—from the swathing of the interior in white plastic ("Great acoustics!" as optimistic choir members pointed out; it really felt like attending a wedding inside a wedding dress) to the closing of the center aisle and removal of the organ—he would ask again if they wouldn't prefer to go elsewhere; but they held firm: this was their church, this was where they would marry. They also spent the wedding night at their new digs rather than at a hotel (though there is to be a honeymoon). In a world of ever-more-elaborate weddings, and a bridal market so lucrative there is now a magazine published specifically for second- and third-time brides, you have to admire a couple able to view the wedding as not a vacation from a marriage but the beginning of one.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:43 AM

      ( 11:23 AM ) The Rat  
Me. Shamed just asked me whether I, or [Mutual Friend X], hates the world more.
Chris. I think I'd have to go with him. I can spend an entire evening with you without necessarily wanting to commit suicide at the end of it.
—overheard last week

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:23 AM

Wednesday, July 03, 2002
      ( 1:17 PM ) The Rat  
SO I TOOK the personality disorder test Zorak linked to, and evidently I'm totally nuts. Like, seriously. And for further Kermit-the-Frog news flashes, watch this space.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:17 PM

      ( 12:59 PM ) The Rat  
PICTURES of my home town! (Yes, it really looks like that.) Somebody remind me why I'm living in a prime East-Coast military target when I could be living in a prime West-Coast military target?

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:59 PM

      ( 12:18 PM ) The Rat  
AFTER THE FIREWORKS TOMORROW (and here's hoping our technicians do a better job of it than Hong Kong's did), be sure and catch Rick Brookhiser's documentary Rediscovering George Washington, to air on PBS at 9:30 PM. I saw a preview at the Historical Society a couple months back, but since I'm too lazy to explain why it rocked will just quote the official description:

"[Rediscovering George Washington] features a fresh approach to American biographical documentary—getting the camera off old prints, out of the offices of talking heads, and away from stock footage of marching feet. The show offers modern analogs for the events and dilemmas it describes. How should a president deal with the Whiskey Rebellion? A seminar of colonels at the Army War College discuss the problem. Did Washington throw a stone across the Rappahannock? Five local high school pitchers go to the spot and try. Whenever experts are used, they talk on the spot. Richard Brookhiser, the writer and host, is not an off-camera narrator, but a passionate and involved presence, in the tradition of David Attenborough (Life on Earth) or Kenneth Clarke (Civilization)."

Rick is the man. So tune in.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:18 PM

      ( 12:08 PM ) The Rat  
I BET JOHN HOLLANDER GOT BEATEN UP A LOT AS A KID. Quoting Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse:

Finally, a recent offshoot of the clerihew, invented by Anthony Hecht and first published by him in collaboration with this author: the double-dactyl is a pair of quatrains of two accentual dactylic feet, with the following conditions placed on it:

Starting with nonsense words
Then comes a name
(Making line number two);

Somewhere along in the
Terminal quatrain, a
Word, and we're through.

Or, in a perfect instance,

Schoolteacher Hollanders
Mutter and grumble and
Cavil and curse,

Hunting long words for the
Line of this light-weight but
Intricate verse.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:08 PM

      ( 11:52 AM ) The Rat  
MMMM, vodka.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM

      ( 11:43 AM ) The Rat  
I wish you read books (you know those things that look like bricks but come open on one side).
—F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to Zelda

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:43 AM

Tuesday, July 02, 2002
      ( 5:05 PM ) The Rat  
We were fashioned to live in Paradise, and Paradise was destined to serve us. Our destiny has been altered; that this has also happened with the destiny of Paradise is not stated.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:05 PM

      ( 11:35 AM ) The Rat  
HEATHER MAC DONALD, intrepid reporter for City Journal, will be the keynote speaker at the Fabiani Society TONIGHT, 6 to 8 at the Princeton Club, 15 West 43rd St. (between Fifth and Sixth). For her terrific article on the Cincinnati riots, go here.

Fabiani sucks, as I've said before in this space, but Mac Donald is one of the best reporters working today, so even if the price is being surrounded by a bunch of political hangers-on, drop on by. (And remember to leave the tattoos at home—this is the Princeton Club.) There's lots of free cheese, always dear to a Rat's heart.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:35 AM

      ( 11:31 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:31 AM

      ( 11:29 AM ) The Rat  
RODENTIA IN THE NEWS. Vampire rats have been attacking livestock in Argentina. Hey, wasn't me.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 AM

Monday, July 01, 2002
      ( 5:36 PM ) The Rat  
IF THEY WON'T LET YOU VERIFY YOUR GENDER THE TRADITIONAL WAY at work, or if you were just traumatized by the Gay Pride Parade, go here. (No. 23: "Does Canada suck or what? A) Yes. B) Yeah.") I scored, as it were, as a man, "86% confidence": "How do we know? Well, deep down, your gender affects everything about you, from your favorite number to your views on Canada. Many men who took the test think and act just like you, as you can see from the clusters above."

I assume this is the effect of growing up with two older brothers (or else of the testosterone shots?). Back in '96 a (male) friend told me he was convinced I was a man trapped in a woman's body. Another (male) friend's comment, on hearing the story: "I don't understand, if you were a man trapped in a woman's body, why you would ever want to get out!?"

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:36 PM

      ( 9:58 AM ) The Rat  
Your actions are my dreams...
—Leontes, The Winter's Tale III.ii

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:58 AM

      ( 9:51 AM ) The Rat  
SLOW MONDAY AT THE OFFICE? Take a virtual tour of MoMA Queens.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM

      ( 9:51 AM ) The Rat  
REALLY SLOW MONDAY AT THE OFFICE? Why not re-read this, or this?

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM

A page I'm starting to get the overlords at to stop $#@! bugging me

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