Thursday, June 30, 2005
( 4:46 PM ) The Rat
THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF COMPETITIVE EATING. Check out their seal! Thanks to SMD for the link.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:46 PM
( 4:43 PM ) The Rat
Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:43 PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
( 4:42 PM ) The Rat
GREAT HOROSCOPES this week.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:42 PM
Monday, June 27, 2005
( 2:47 PM ) The Rat
AND ON A LIGHTER NOTE, here are some photos from the Luling watermelon thump.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:47 PM
( 2:28 PM ) The Rat
BILL GERTZ on the coming war with China.
Asked about a possible Chinese attack on Taiwan, the official put it bluntly: "In the '07-'08 time frame, a capability will be there that a year ago we would have said was very, very unlikely. We now assess that as being very likely to be there."
Air Force Gen. Paul V. Hester, head of the Pacific Air Forces, said the U.S. military has been watching China's military buildup but has found it difficult to penetrate Beijing's "veil" of secrecy over it.
While military modernization itself is not a major worry, "what does provide you a pause for interest and concern is the amount of modernization, the kind of modernization and the size of the modernization," he said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:28 PM
( 2:26 PM ) The Rat
PAUL WATSON on the emerging narco-state in Afghanistan.
For decades, poor farmers trying to make a living in Afghanistan's mountain valleys have harvested the opium poppies that feed the world's drug pipeline. Now the trade is booming, partly the result of the U.S. strategy for overthrowing the Taliban and stabilizing the country after two decades of war.
U.S. troops forged alliances with warlords, who provided ground forces in the battle against the Taliban. Some of those allies are suspected of being among Afghanistan's biggest drug traffickers, controlling networks that include producers, criminal gangs and even members of the counter-narcotics police force. They are willing to make deals with remnants of the Taliban if the price is right.
"Drug money is absolutely supporting terrorist groups," said Alexandre Schmidt, deputy head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan. And regardless of their allegiance, Schmidt said, most suspects are released within 48 hours because of intervention by higher authorities.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:26 PM
( 2:24 PM ) The Rat
TOWN DRUNK TOUCHED HEARTS IN FLAGLER BEACH. This is so wrong... but so funny. Via a friend who comments, "I hope my obit is this good."
Jim McMonigle, whom many called Magoogle, may have been a homeless alcoholic. But for more than 30 years he was Flagler Beach's homeless alcoholic...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:24 PM
( 2:23 PM ) The Rat
Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters...
—Pride and Prejudice
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:23 PM
Sunday, June 26, 2005
( 10:34 PM ) The Rat
The poet's habit of living should be set on a key so low and plain, that the common influences should delight him. His cheerfulness should be the gift of the sunlight; the air should suffice for his inspiration, and he should be tipsy with water.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:34 PM
( 12:13 AM ) The Rat
CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT on Berlin's new Holocaust memorial.
Your mind knows that the place is supposed to confuse and disorient. It creates a theatrical sense of slowly enveloping claustrophobia and entrapment, meant to parallel the rising tide of Nazism 70 years ago. But you never feel it in your body. Walking among the tombstone-like shafts, there is no sense of threat. Menace is absent. Absurdity begins to loom.
The design might not employ figurative symbols and representation, but it is metaphoric. The problem with metaphor—a figure of speech—is that it doesn't inhabit your gut.
Instead, the memorial is marked by the disheartening sense of being engaged in a game. Children intuitively understand this. Games of hide-and-seek spontaneously erupt among the concrete slabs. Playful amusement is not what one wants at such a site—and surely not what was intended. At the gargantuan scale of this anonymous field of abstract forms, the metaphor becomes bombastic, the theater melodramatic...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:13 AM
Thursday, June 23, 2005
( 3:04 PM ) The Rat
WATERMELON THUMP, via a friend in Austin.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:04 PM
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
( 11:54 PM ) The Rat
NICE LITTLE FATHER'S DAY PIECE (okay, so I'm slow) by Michelle Feynman, daughter of Richard. From last Sunday's L.A. Times.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:54 PM
( 11:46 PM ) The Rat
A CASE MIGHT BE MADE that the Rat isn't quite the purebred Californian she'd like to believe herself... So the other day, Ratty was driving along and spotted a license plate that read "HANGLUIS." She had time to think both 1) "That's odd, they're supposed to be 7 characters," and 2) "And that's a little bloodthirsty for a vanity plate—what did Luis do, anyway?!" ...in the couple of seconds that passed before she realized that the actual lettering on the plate was "HANGLUS," i.e., hang loose.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:46 PM
( 11:44 PM ) The Rat
If you don't have clothes you can travel in, you're crippled, and if you can't travel you can't live.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:44 PM
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
( 9:03 PM ) The Rat
PUTTING OUR CULTURE ON TOP OF THEIR CULTURE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:03 PM
( 1:47 AM ) The Rat
FUN WITH COMICS. These (be sure and go through the whole series) are soooo funny. Link, again, via LT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:47 AM
Monday, June 20, 2005
( 12:31 AM ) The Rat
RAT BIRTHDAY CAKE. Link (unsurprisingly, somehow) via LT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:31 AM
Friday, June 17, 2005
( 11:33 PM ) The Rat
From the South Bay to the Valley
From the west side to the east side
Everybody’s very happy
’Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day
I love L.A....
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:33 PM
Sunday, June 12, 2005
( 11:20 PM ) The Rat
IF OTTO is reading this, the Rat advises him to click here. (They even have a retail location in CT.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:20 PM
( 11:17 PM ) The Rat
The liver is a very... forgiving organ.
—the Rat's brother, M.D.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:17 PM
Saturday, June 11, 2005
( 11:11 PM ) The Rat
ANNE BANCROFT has died. An astonishing actress—the Rat saw her in three different movies (this, this, and of course this) and thought she was three different actresses. Director Arthur Penn once remarked of Bancroft that "More happens in her face in 10 seconds than happens in most women's faces in 10 years." R.I.P.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:11 PM
( 11:00 PM ) The Rat
DOCTOR SAYS JESUS MAY HAVE DIED FROM BLOOD CLOT. The trippiest part of this story is that the doctor is reported to be "publicizing his theory to raise awareness of pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal disorder often associated with long-distance air travel."
"It is known that the common cause of death in the setting of multiple trauma, immobilization and dehydration is pulmonary embolism," wrote Brenner in Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. "This fits well with Jesus' condition and actually was in all likelihood the major cause of death of crucified victims."
A pulmonary embolism is caused when a blood clot travels to the lungs, usually from the leg, causing an acute shortness of breath and chest pains. It is frequently fatal.
Brenner based his understanding of Jesus' condition at the time of his death on a 1986 work based on the New Testament and contemporary religious sources that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:00 PM
( 9:52 PM ) The Rat
Advertisements have, from time to time, claimed that Temple Oranges were native to the Orient and sacred to a little-known sect of the Buddhist faith, and the seeds from which Florida's trees eventually sprang were stolen from a temple against the resistance of guardian priests. Temple Oranges are in fact named for William Chase Temple, who, long ago, was general manager of the Florida Citrus Exchange...
—John McPhee, Oranges
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:52 PM
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
( 7:17 PM ) The Rat
[A]fter our crudo lunch at Damir e Ornela, we visited two winemakers—now Joe would like to buy lands or vineyards in Istria—and then we were off to Slovenia, a sliver of which lies between Trieste and Croatia. In Slovenia we ate a highly illegal mollusk, of which I will reveal only that harvesting it requires dynamite...
—Jeffrey Steingarten in the June Vogue
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:17 PM
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
( 8:20 PM ) The Rat
THE RAT HAD NEARLY FORGOTTEN that the mascot of the University of California at Irvine is an anteater!
A student named Schuyler Hadley Basset III was concerned with the choice of the mascot. He wasn't too thrilled with the proposed Roadrunner, Unicorn, or Golden Bison... In a one-man political campaign, Basset employed all his promotional skills in a crusade to elect the Anteater. He blitzed the campus with pro-anteater literature and created the anteater logo that is still seen on anteater souvenirs to this day.
A water polo game against San Luis Obispo took place just before the mascot election. The first athletic event on the campus, 900 of the 1,500 students attended. The anteater-inspired water polo players brought their own cheerleaders, who passed roll-out party favors to the crowd and yelled 'Give 'em a tongue!'
For more unusual college mascots, click here, here, here, and here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:20 PM
( 5:23 PM ) The Rat
YET MORE PROOF THAT CHINESE PEOPLE ARE INSANE. Thanks to IKM for the link.
Competition for jobs and marriage partners has sparked a national height craze in China that has people lining up to be surgically stretched or to purchase torture rack-like stretching machines, according to a Local 6 News report.
A senior executive at one of China's largest job-search Internet sites admits that it's a commonly-held belief that "taller people will have more opportunity for promotion."
In recent months, advertisements on Chinese television are regularly promoting "stretching machines," which look like benches reminiscent of the medieval torture rack. Users are supposed to strap themselves in by head and foot and turn a crank to extend the bench beneath them. A voice-over on one of the TV advertisements claims that the "body stretch and exercise machine" can stretch human cartilage and "boost young people's height."
Also, a private hospital in Beijing has become famous for its height-extending practice which puts patients out of action for six months or more. [...]
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:23 PM
Monday, June 06, 2005
( 1:16 PM ) The Rat
REUSE-A-SHOE. Okay, the Rat is a bran flake. But she's also back in California, so it's OK.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:16 PM
Sunday, June 05, 2005
( 1:38 PM ) The Rat
A CAUTION on those Live Strong bracelets.
[A] Tampa area hospital has begun putting medical tape over patients' Live Strong bracelets, fearing the yellow wristbands might be mistaken for a "Do Not Resuscitate" bracelet, which is the exact same color yellow.
"Do Not Resuscitate" bracelets are placed on patients who do not wish to be revived should something go wrong during surgery.
Though there have been no fatal mix-ups yet, some doctors fear that the fast-paced hospital environment could lead to a deadly mistake, according to an ABC news station in Tampa...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:38 PM
( 1:36 PM ) The Rat
THE RAT HAS ONLY JUST SEEN this sperm-donor-reality-TV story from a few months back.
True Entertainment and Brighter Pictures, production companies owned by international reality giant Endemol ("Big Brother") in New York and London, respectively, are co-developing a reality series that would pit a group of male contestants against each other for the honor of serving as a sperm donor to a woman willing to be impregnated.
The twist—there's always a twist in reality land—is that the woman must choose between two finalists. One will be determined on the basis of biological compatibility, the other on personal grounds. Either science or love will prevail.
Talk about planting the seeds of discontent. When Endemol tried shopping the concept—dubbed "Make Me a Mum"—to European broadcasters, it went over about as well as mad cow disease. [...]
"Mum" isn't even the only virility-minded program gestating at Endemol; the company reportedly has talked to German broadcasters about a televised contest to find the most potent man, called "Sperm Race."
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:36 PM
( 1:22 PM ) The Rat
He hated 'scenes.' But it was true what she said. He hadn't thought of her, only of the job. It never crossed his mind that anybody really cared about him. A shake of the head from his friends when he went, a few careful lines in the obituary columns of The Times, a momentary pang in a few girls' hearts. But now, in three days' time, he would no longer be alone. He would be a half of two people...
—On Her Majesty's Secret Service
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:22 PM