Saturday, July 30, 2005
( 3:53 PM ) The Rat
WORRY GROWS AS FOREIGNERS FLOCK TO IRAQ'S RISKY JOBS. Interesting.
For hire: more than 1,000 U.S.-trained former soldiers and police officers from Colombia. Combat-hardened, experienced in fighting insurgents and ready for duty in Iraq.
This eye-popping advertisement recently appeared on an Iraq jobs website, posted by an American entrepreneur who hopes to supply security forces for U.S. contractors in Iraq and elsewhere.
If hired, the Colombians would join a swelling population of heavily armed private military forces working in Iraq and other global hot spots. They also would join a growing corps of workers from the developing world who are seeking higher wages in dangerous jobs, what some critics say is a troubling result of efforts by the U.S. to "outsource" its operations in Iraq and other countries...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:53 PM
( 3:50 PM ) The Rat
THERE IS SOMETHING rather Lewis Carroll-ish about the first paragraph of this article.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:50 PM
( 2:13 PM ) The Rat
Alexei Alexandrovich was not a jealous man. Jealousy, in his opinion, was insulting to a wife, and a man ought to have trust in his wife. Why he ought to have trust—that is, complete assurance that his young wife would always love him—he never asked himself; but he felt no distrust, because he had trust and told himself that he had to have it. But now, though his conviction that jealousy was a shameful feeling and that one ought to have trust was not destroyed, he felt that he stood face to face with something illogical and senseless, and he did not know what to do. Alexei Alexandrovich stood face to face with life, confronting the possibility of his wife loving someone else besides him, and it was this that seemed so senseless and incomprehensible to him, because it was life itself. All his life Alexei Alexandrovich had lived and worked in spheres of service that dealt with reflections of life. And each time he had encountered life itself, he had drawn back from it. Now he experienced a feeling similar to what a man would feel who was calmly walking across a bridge over an abyss and suddenly saw that the bridge had been taken down and below him was the bottomless deep. This bottomless deep was life itself, the bridge the artificial life that Alexei Alexandrovich had lived. For the first time questions came to him about the possibility of his wife falling in love with someone, and he was horrified at them.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:13 PM
Friday, July 29, 2005
( 4:41 PM ) The Rat
AS THE DEATH TELLER, HE TOO BECAME A CASUALTY.
I can see the man in full-dress Marine Corps uniform walking down a pathway from his car toward the house in a suburban Idaho neighborhood. The house is built of brick and has a look of permanence about it, structured to withstand the erosions of time and harsh weather. The garden is neatly cultured. The pathway is concrete.
He remembers these details years later, in his nightmares and in sudden flashes of retention and, most important, he remembers the face of the thin, middle-aged woman, a banker's wife, who sees him coming and is waiting on the porch to greet him. She turns toward the front door and calls, "Oh, Bill, a friend of Jimmy's has come to see us."
A moment after those words are spoken, she looks back at the man walking toward her. She sees his grim expression, and she knows. She gasps and says, "Oh, no...." And after a pause that will last a lifetime, he tells her that her son is dead...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:41 PM
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
( 8:18 PM ) The Rat
"No sight so sad as that of a naughty child," he began, "especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?"
"They go to hell," was my ready and orthodox answer.
"And what is hell? Can you tell me that?"
"A pit full of fire."
"And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?"
"What must you do to avoid it?"
I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: "I must keep in good health, and not die."
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:18 PM
Saturday, July 23, 2005
( 3:11 AM ) The Rat
"YOUR WIFE'S CHEATING ON YOU, YOU KNOW SHE'S BEEN SPENDING ALL YOUR MONEY THE ENTIRE TIME, AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. YOU THINK ABOUT THAT MORE THAN YOU DO A BOMB ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD." Excellent, sobering L.A. Times piece on military divorce, which is up 80 percent since 9/11.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:11 AM
( 3:11 AM ) The Rat
I used to feel bad for guys because our culture expects them to pay for dates. But after I looked at what I spent on clothes and makeup and having my hair done before going out, I realized that a guy didn't just owe me dinner. He owed me a down payment on a condominium.
—Amy Borkowsky, Statements: True Tales of Life, Love and Credit Card Bills
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:11 AM
Friday, July 22, 2005
( 2:16 PM ) The Rat
RATTY NOTES that not one, but two, of its Amazon reviewers say this is what they would choose if they could take only one album to a desert island. They're right... Wow. It's like eating chocolate.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:16 PM
( 1:05 PM ) The Rat
INTRIGUING POST on women, men, and war. Many thanks to Eve for sending this to me.
Maxim is a gloomy, mysterious man who won't talk about his past, won't explain to his young wife what is going on, won't level with her about Rebecca. In short, he's like most men of his generation.
Written in 1938, I think Rebecca reflects the feelings of many British and American women about men at the time. Most men have mysterious, horrible things in their past that they won't talk about. They have strange moods and odd reactions. They have secrets that their wives don't know and that are unknowable. For most of them, it's not a wife killed in mysterious circumstances, it's World War I.
(I am speaking to British and American women here: women on the continent have a quite different experience.) The experiences that shaped men of the Lost Generation are so traumatic, and so different from the experiences of their wives, that these experiences are literally unimaginable. And young wives of this generation do not expect to understand. Looking at Tolkien, who is a contemporary of Rebecca's author, Daphne du Maurier, women in the Lord of the Rings have no clue about men's lives, and don't expect to. Can Rosie Cotton ever understand the events that have shaped Sam the way that Frodo can? Can she understand what it was like, going to Mt. Doom? Should she, in fact, even try? Or is that part of Sam forever something that comes on a rainy night in October, with a muttered farewell and a trip down to the Green Dragon for a pint with Merry and Pippin? With bad dreams that he says are nothing? With "strange turns" that come over him sometimes, an otherwise ordinary man?
That the Second Mrs. de Winter is confused and frustrated is to be expected—that's what being a wife is...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:05 PM
( 11:55 AM ) The Rat
"Music," he said.
"Pardon me?" I asked.
"That's why she married him. She said his mind was tuned to the biggest music there was, the music of the stars." He shook his head. "Crap."
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 AM
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
( 3:54 PM ) The Rat
Old age was no concern to the Japanese. Matrons, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers endured repeated sexual assaults. A Japanese soldier who raped a woman of sixty was ordered to "clean the penis by her mouth." When a woman of sixty-two protested to soldiers that she was too old for sex, they "rammed a stick up her instead." Many women in their eighties were raped to death, and at least one woman in that age group was shot and killed because she refused a Japanese soldier's advances.
If the Japanese treatment of old women was terrible, their treatment of young children was unthinkable. Little girls were raped so brutally that some could not walk for weeks afterwards. Many required surgery; others died. Chinese witnesses saw Japanese rape girls under ten years of age in the streets and then slash them in half by sword. In some cases, the Japanese sliced open the vaginas of preteen girls in order to ravish them more effectively.
Even advanced stages of pregnancy did not render women immune to assault. The Japanese violated many who were about to go into labor, were in labor, or who had given birth only a few days earlier. One victim who was nine months pregnant when raped suffered not only stillbirth but a complete mental collapse. At least one pregnant woman was kicked to death. Still more gruesome was the treatment allotted to some of the unborn children of these women. After gang rape, Japanese soldiers sometimes slashed open the bellies of pregnant women and ripped out the fetuses for amusement...
—The Rape of Nanking
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:54 PM
Friday, July 15, 2005
( 7:03 PM ) The Rat
"Women! How many do you have to sleep with before you can understand just one?!"
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:03 PM
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
( 4:02 PM ) The Rat
"If you would be guided by me—" he said, hesitating.
"I don't expect I shall be," I answered candidly. "But there's no harm in hearing."
"Do you always do what you like, Miss Beddingfeld?"
"Usually," I replied cautiously. To any one else I would have said "Always."
"I pity your husband," he said unexpectedly.
"You needn't," I retorted. "I shouldn't dream of marrying any one unless I was madly in love with them. And of course there is really nothing a woman enjoys so much as doing all the things she doesn't like for the sake of someone she does like. And the more self-willed she is, the more she likes it."
"I'm afraid I disagree with you. The boot is on the other leg as a rule." He spoke with a slight sneer.
"Exactly," I cried eagerly. "And that's why there are so many unhappy marriages. It's all the fault of the men. Either they give way to their women—and then the women despise them, or else they are utterly selfish, insist on their own way and never say 'thank you.' Successful husbands make their wives do just what they want, and then make a frightful fuss of them for doing it. Women like to be mastered, but they hate not to have their sacrifices appreciated. On the other hand, men don't really appreciate women who are nice to them all the time. When I am married, I shall be a devil most of the time, but every now and then, when my husband least expects it, I shall show him what a perfect angel I can be!"
Harry laughed outright.
"What a cat and dog life you will lead."
"Lovers always fight," I assured him. "Because they don't understand each other. And by the time they do understand each other they aren't in love any more..."
—The Man in the Brown Suit
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:02 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
( 3:05 PM ) The Rat
TORTURE VICTIM GAO RONGRONG REARRESTED AND MURDERED. Article includes photographs of Ms. Gao before and after her torture and disfigurement by the CCP.
On the afternoon of May 7, 2004 at 3:00 p.m., Gao was taken to the office by two men, camp Ward Leader Tang Yubao and Jiang Zhaohua. These men shocked her for about seven hours with electric batons. Ms. Gao’s face was severely deformed and covered with blisters. Her burned skin was matted with her hair and blood, and her eyes were barely visible due to the intense swelling of her face. Her mouth was so severely swollen that the prisoners in the same cell could hardly recognize her when she was returned there...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:05 PM
( 3:07 AM ) The Rat
King of Navarre. Now, at the latest minute of the hour,
Grant us your loves.
Princess of France. A time, methinks, too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in.
—Love's Labour's Lost V.ii
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:07 AM
Monday, July 11, 2005
( 5:29 PM ) The Rat
OIL FOR BLOOD! The Rat, who is giving blood on Wednesday, notes that her area Red Cross is inviting donors to enter a raffle for a $500 gas gift card.
OK, I'm a dork, but that did make me giggle. Click here to schedule an appointment.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:29 PM
( 4:02 PM ) The Rat
TIME TO move to Missouri! Thanks to SMD for the link.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:02 PM
( 3:08 PM ) The Rat
A FRIEND SENDS THE FOLLOWING:
How To Impress a Woman:
Wine her, dine her, call her, hug her, support her, hold her, surprise her, compliment her, smile at her, listen to her, laugh with her, cry with her, romance her, encourage her, believe in her, pray with her, pray for her, cuddle with her, shop with her, give her jewelry, buy her flowers, hold her hand, write love letters to her, go to the ends of the Earth and back again for her.
How To Impress a Man:
Show up naked...
Bring chicken wings...
Don't block the TV.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:08 PM
Friday, July 08, 2005
( 9:48 PM ) The Rat
ON BEHALF OF WOMEN EVERYWHERE, may I just say: Ouch.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:48 PM
( 9:29 PM ) The Rat
AIRLINES AND TOUR OPERATORS REPORT NEAR-NORMAL OPERATIONS for services in London and elsewhere.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:29 PM
( 9:22 PM ) The Rat
MAN SUES FOR RIGHT TO BE DRUNK. Thanks to SMD for sending.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 PM
( 9:18 PM ) The Rat
A FACIAL SCRUB AIMS TO REJUVENATE MT. RUSHMORE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:18 PM
( 2:32 PM ) The Rat
450 SHEEP JUMP TO THEIR DEATHS IN TURKEY. Link via Eve.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:32 PM
Thursday, July 07, 2005
( 1:48 PM ) The Rat
We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...
—Churchill, June 4, 1940
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:48 PM
( 12:50 AM ) The Rat
He was evidently a young man of considerable taste in reading, though principally in poetry; and besides the persuasion of having given him at least an evening's indulgence in the discussion of subjects, which his usual companions had probably no concern in, she had the hope of being of real use to him in some suggestions as to the duty and benefit of struggling against affliction, which had naturally grown out of their conversation. For, though shy, he did not seem reserved; it had rather the appearance of feelings glad to burst their usual restraints; and having talked of poetry, the richness of the present age, and gone through a brief comparison of opinion as to the first-rate poets, trying to ascertain whether Marmion or The Lady of the Lake were to be preferred, and how ranked the Giaour and The Bride of Abydos; and moreover, how the Giaour was to be pronounced, he showed himself so intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of the one poet, and all the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of the other; he repeated, with such tremulous feeling, the various lines which imaged a broken heart, or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he did not always read only poetry, and to say that she thought it was the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:50 AM
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
( 4:25 PM ) The Rat
"It's a nice pot," said Owl, looking at it all round. "Couldn't I give it too? From both of us?"
"No," said Pooh. "That would not be a good plan."
—"In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents"
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:25 PM
Saturday, July 02, 2005
( 4:10 PM ) The Rat
UNCANNILY APPROPRIATE DEEP THOUGHT for the day (or for Ratty's day, at least):
The other day I got out my can opener and was opening a can of worms when I thought, "What am I doing?!"
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:10 PM
( 3:43 PM ) The Rat
STELLA'S GROOVE IS LONG GONE. Holy cow.
That groove that Terry McMillan got back on her tropical vacation, when she met the hot young Jamaican stud Jonathan Plummer, who rearranged all her atoms into a new transcendental orbit? Who inspired the bestseller "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"? Which became the box-office sensation with Angela Bassett and a torso-writhing Taye Diggs?
Worse, gone down low.
In a pending California divorce that is getting uglier by the hour, McMillan, 53, claims that Plummer, 30, is gay and manipulated her into marriage to become a U.S. citizen...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:43 PM
( 3:38 PM ) The Rat
THE LAND OF GIANT VEGETABLES.
Evans certainly knows how to pick 'em—the man holds 14 all-time records at the fair, and he's been in the Heaviest Fruit and Vegetables category in the Guinness World Records book seven times. Guinness still lists the crowning achievement of Evans' career: No one on record has ever grown a larger carrot.
"You wouldn't believe what a fantastic feeling that was," Evans said of his 1998 feat. "It's the biggest high you could imagine, to pull a 19-pound carrot out of the ground."
So perhaps he exaggerates—Guinness lists his carrot as 18 pounds, 13 ounces. It's a Bunyanesque stretch of a core truth that belies Alaska's frozen-north image: Alaska's an ideal place to grow really, really big vegetables.
As in, a 75.75-pound rutabaga. A 63.3-pound celery. A 39.2-pound turnip...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:38 PM
( 8:06 AM ) The Rat
COURTSHIP LENGTH AND DIVORCE RATES. Eeenteresting. (Which is an adjective I seldom apply to Redbook—Ratty is a Vogue girl.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:06 AM
Friday, July 01, 2005
( 11:06 AM ) The Rat
O'CONNOR TO RETIRE FROM SUPREME COURT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:06 AM