The Rat
Monday, October 31, 2005
      ( 6:46 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:46 PM

      ( 12:01 PM ) The Rat  
WHICH DECADE OF THE 20TH CENTURY ARE YOU? Ratty was the 1980s: "You're the decade of conservative resurgence. You've gone back to old the morals after the crazy upheavels of the '60s and '70s, older and wiser. You're more religious and big on putting religion into play in the government. However, there are still some crazy fashion and pop culture movements out there you won't completely stomp out."

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:01 PM

      ( 7:56 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:56 AM

      ( 7:16 AM ) The Rat  
Umpteen parenting books and magazine articles tell us that babies are vulnerable and needy, requiring consistency and predictability. New parents fret about going out alone for a coffee date because the brief absence might upset the baby. They undertake decisions such as switching to a different brand of formula as if they were sending people up in the space shuttle.

But when our culture turns to children of divorce, everything people think about babies goes out the window. Babies need constant care from their mothers? Forget it. Babies who regularly go three days and nights without seeing their mothers do just fine! Babies need a predictable environment and love having the same routine? Forget it. They're happy to wake up anywhere! Households should be organized around the baby's needs? Forget it. Babies easily adapt to adult needs!

And babies are only the beginning. Our culture treats children of divorce who are beyond babyhood as if they are a separate species, more adaptable and resilient than other children. We routinely expect children of divorce to take in stride situations that children of married parents rarely, if ever, are expected to face....

Between Two Worlds

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:16 AM

Friday, October 28, 2005
      ( 7:38 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:38 PM

      ( 1:29 AM ) The Rat  
See, how the orient dew,
Shed from the bosom of the morn
Into the blowing roses,
(Yet careless of its mansion new,
For the clear region where 'twas born,)
Round in itself incloses;
And, in its little globe's extent,
Frames, as it can, its native element.
How it the purple flower does slight,
Scarce touching where it lies;
But gazing back upon the skies,
Shines with a mournful light,
Like its own tear,
Because so long divided from the sphere.
Restless it rolls, and unsecure,
Trembling, lest it grow impure;
Till the warm sun pity its pain,
And to the skies exhale it back again.
So the soul, that drop, that ray
Of the clear fountain of eternal day,
(Could it within the human flower be seen,)
Remembering still its former height,
Shuns the sweet leaves, and blossoms green,
And, recollecting its own light,
Does, in its pure and circling thoughts, express
The greater heaven in an heaven less.
In how coy a figure wound,
Every way it turns away;
So the world-excluding round,
Yet receiving in the day;
Dark beneath, but bright above,
Here disdaining, there in love.
How loose and easy hence to go;
How girt and ready to ascend;
Moving but on a point below,
It all about does upwards bend.
Such did the manna's sacred dew distil;
White and entire, though congealed and chill;
Congealed on earth; but does, dissolving, run
Into the glories of the almighty sun.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:29 AM

Thursday, October 27, 2005
      ( 10:06 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:06 PM

      ( 8:34 PM ) The Rat  
I REALLY HAVE no explanation for this.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:34 PM

      ( 2:30 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:30 AM

      ( 1:58 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:58 AM

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
      ( 6:49 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:49 PM

      ( 6:38 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:38 PM

Monday, October 24, 2005
      ( 8:08 PM ) The Rat  
"PEOPLE DO THINGS WITH FARM ANIMALS THAT THEY SHOULDN'T." Courtesy of the Dallas Morning News, a selection of actual one-star book reviews from Some of Ratty's favorites are below, but also be sure to check out the ones for A Clockwork Orange, The Lord of the Rings; Slaughterhouse-Five; The Sound and the Fury; and The Sun Also Rises.

Also, note that some of these do contain spoilers.

William Styron: "My great-great-grandfather is not gay! I don't know why this William Styron is trying to lie on my great-great-grandfather. Needless to say I am a descendant of Nat Turner and it bothers me that this author is trying to lie to make this book more interesting. I cannot say for certainty that my grandfather was not gay or that he didn't like white women and neither can this author but I can say that Nat Turner was married and had children and I am a descendant of that union! Other than that idiotic portrayal the book was good."

James Baldwin: "Go tell it on the mountain was an extremely frustrating book. While the themes and some of the events were good (i.e., racism, abuse, religion), the way it was written made the book unenjoyable for me. I found that the way the book was written made it this way for others as well. I don't think this is just a coincidence."

Steinbeck: "While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt."

C.S. Lewis: "I bought these books to have something nice to read to my grandkids. I had to stop, however, because the books are nothing more than advertisements for 'Turkish Delight,' a candy popular in the U.K. The whole point of buying books for my grandkids was to give them a break from advertising, and here (throughout) are ads for this 'Turkish Delight'! How much money is this Mr. Lewis getting from the Cadbury’s chocolate company anyway? This man must be laughing to the bank."

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:08 PM

      ( 9:59 AM ) The Rat  

Los Angeles-based psychologist Dr. William Hoppock said this issue comes up a lot in his sessions with female clients.

"I have some very high-powered, successful women in the entertainment business as clients. They’re strong in their work but—they want their man to come home to. We’re not talking about 'hey, get me a beer'—that’s not a man, that’s a boy man. We're talking about the man who takes responsibility—who makes them feel safe: he 'chops wood and carries water' and he's not pissed off at the woman for having to do that."

Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, a self-avowed "real woman," feels the same way.

"I think women are wanting to feel safe and taken care of more these days, and I don’t really know that that’s the sensation you get with a metrosexual"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:59 AM

Sunday, October 23, 2005
      ( 11:23 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:23 PM

      ( 7:30 PM ) The Rat  
"Do you know why I married her?" Henry suddenly said.

Ah, so that's who's boxed in and will never get out. Dear Son. Screwed down beneath the tonnage of those two little words.

"Why?" asked Zuckerman.

Henry closed his eyes. "You won't believe this."

"I'll believe anything," Zuckerman told him. "Professional deformity."

"I don't want to believe it myself." He sounded sick with self-recrimination, as though he were sorry now that he'd planted a bomb in his luggage. He was unhinged, all over again. He shouldn't be drinking, Zuckerman thought. There would be worse recriminations later, if he went ahead and spilled some humiliating secret. But Zuckerman made no attempt to save his brother from himself. He had a powerful taste for such secrets. Professional deformity.

"Know why I married Carol?" This time he used her name, as though deliberately to make what he was about to confess more brutishly indiscreet. But it wasn't Henry's savagery, really; it was the savagery of his conscience, overtaking him before he'd even begun to violate its tenets.

"No," replied Zuckerman, to whom Carol had always seemed pretty but dull, "not really."

"It wasn't because she cried. It wasn't because she'd been pinned with the pin and then engaged with the ring. It wasn't even everybody's parents expecting us to... I loaned her a book, and knew if I didn't marry her I'd never see it again."

"What book?"

"An Actor Prepares. A book by Stanislavsky."

"Couldn't you buy another?"

"My notes were in it—from when I was rehearsing the Ragpicker. Do you remember when I was in that play?"

"Oh, I remember it."

"You remember that weekend I came home?"

"I sure do, Henry. Why didn't you go and ask her for the book?"

"It was in her room in the women's dorm. I thought of getting her best friend to steal it for me. This is true. I thought of breaking in there and stealing it myself. I just couldn't bring myself to say that I wanted it back. I didn't want her to know that we were about to break up. I didn't want her to think afterward that all I could think about at a time like that was my book."

"Why did you give it to her in the first place?"

"I was a kid, Nate. She was my 'girl.' I loaned it to her after our first date. For her to see my notes. I was showing off, I suppose. Oh, you know how you loan somebody a book. It's the most natural thing in the world. You get excited and you loan it to them. I was full of a friend I'd made—"


"God, yes. Timmy. You remember. The Provincetown Players and Timmy. Not that I had an ounce of talent. I thought acting was seething and sobbing. No, nothing would have come of it. And it isn't that I don't love my own work. I do, and I'm goddamn good at it. But the book meant something to me. I wanted Carol to understand. 'Just read this,' I told her. And the next thing I knew, we were married."

"At least you got the book back."

He finished off the second drink. "A lot of good it did me."

Zuckerman Unbound

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:30 PM

Saturday, October 22, 2005
      ( 7:48 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:48 PM

Thursday, October 20, 2005
      ( 9:56 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:56 PM

      ( 7:41 PM ) The Rat  

Over 13 million viewers tuned in for the premiere, which saw Manhattan photographer Barry Peters pull to a strong early lead in overall points with his artful, complaint-free performance in the "Synchronized Cooking And Consolation" event, during which Peters prepared a near-flawless zucchini-pepper ratatouille while effortlessly lifting the spirits of his partner, the challenging and highly unpredictable Christy Ericsson, by convincing her that she was in fact better off without that long-anticipated promotion.

Other strong overall performances were turned in by Martin "There, There" Richards, a graphic designer who remembered to make his wife's beloved tapioca pudding on the anniversary—not of their marriage—but of their first date; Garth "The Embrace" Josephsen, who maintained some form of reassuring but undemanding physical contact with his fiancée for nine consecutive hours; and Ben "Soulmate" Siegel, who made his girlfriend laugh despite her belief that minor weight gain and childlessness were ruining her life.

"It was perfect, honestly," said tear-prone football coach and WESMC host Dick Vermeil, who taped the show's 13 episodes earlier this summer so that he would be free to lead the Kansas City Chiefs without any heart-rending distractions. "We couldn't have asked for a better debut. Even the guys who didn't do as well as they wanted did their honest best, and we had no breakups or severely hurt feelings, despite some relatively large missteps."

According to Vermeil, one competitor, Patrick "Gusher" Johnson, overcorrected a brief moment of thoughtlessness with a hasty and inappropriate marriage proposal, straining his trust almost to the breaking point. He also noted that "Magnanimous" Ver Magnusson, the lone Icelandic entrant, may have tripped himself up with his longtime companion Marta by compensating for his terse nature with an "almost creepy" overabundance of expensive gifts...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:41 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  

The irony is that we live in a time when medical advances are profoundly changing what it means to live with disabilities. Years ago, people with Down syndrome often were housed in institutions. Many were in poor health, had limited self-care and social skills, couldn't read, and died young. It was thought that all their problems were unavoidable, caused by their genetic anomaly.

Now it seems clear that these people were limited at least as much by institutionalization, low expectations, lack of education and poor health care as by their DNA. Today people with Down syndrome are living much longer and healthier lives than they did even 20 years ago. Buoyed by the educational reforms of the past quarter-century, they are increasingly finishing high school, living more independently and holding jobs.

That's the rational pitch; here's the emotional one. Margaret is a person and a member of our family. She has my husband's eyes, my hair and my mother-in-law's sense of humor. We love and admire her because of who she is—feisty and zesty and full of life—not in spite of it. She enriches our lives. If we might not have chosen to welcome her into our family, given the choice, then that is a statement more about our ignorance than about her inherent worth.

What I don't understand is how we as a society can tacitly write off a whole group of people as having no value. I'd like to think that it's time to put that particular piece of baggage on the table and talk about it, but I'm not optimistic. People want what they want: a perfect baby, a perfect life. To which I say: Good luck. Or maybe, dream on.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 2:22 AM ) The Rat  

It seemed like a good idea. Let a lone rat loose on a rodent-free island and then figure out how to kill it. That way, when other islands are invaded by rats, you'll know what to do.

Scientists figured they'd trap this foot-long varmint in no time.

Eighteen weeks later, they finally trapped it with some fresh penguin bait. On another island. [...]

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:22 AM

      ( 1:49 AM ) The Rat  
The door to the auditorium opened and a couple came through, leaving the show. The man was balancing a box full of plants on his hip. As they walked by he was saying, 'I am really not a cattleya person, Dee Dee!' and she was shaking her head and saying, 'Well, I am really not a paph person, Phil!'
The Orchid Thief

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:49 AM

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
      ( 4:55 PM ) The Rat  
A MOMA EXHIBITION for all you paranoiacs out there...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:55 PM

      ( 2:01 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:01 PM

Monday, October 17, 2005
      ( 9:27 AM ) The Rat  
L.A. TIMES PIECE on the priest sex-abuse scandal in the L.A. area.

Billy has a theory now about people who have been abused in childhood. Put an abused man at a bus stop with a stranger, and the stranger will come away thinking he is friendly, even charming. Put the same man in his own home with a loved one and he will retreat like a turtle tucked into its shell.

People often don't understand why victims of abuse don't speak out much sooner. The Hagenbach men don't understand completely either. But they say they know that from the first moment they were abused as boys, something inside them broke.

The men's lawsuits state that they have been "prevented from... obtaining the full enjoyment of life." This is what those words mean:

Cisco can't change his daughters' diapers. He's terrified to be around a naked child. He won't let anyone baby-sit his children. He can't hug his father because he can't bear a bristly male cheek against his own. In bed, if his wife reaches out to touch him, he flinches.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:27 AM

      ( 9:24 AM ) The Rat  

Scientists say they have created viable embryonic stem cell lines without destroying any embryos—a development that could clear ethical barriers that have sharply restricted federal funding for the controversial research.

Two separate techniques were demonstrated in mice, and researchers are optimistic the processes could be replicated with human cells. The new methods were published online Sunday by the journal Nature. [...]

But both methods still present some ethical hurdles.

Some scientists believe that a single human blastomere may be able to develop into an embryo, throwing Lanza's method into the same ethical terrain as conventional stem cell methods, said Daley, the Harvard professor.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:24 AM

      ( 9:10 AM ) The Rat  
As for Emma, she did not ask herself whether she loved him. Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings—a hurricane of the skies, which sweeps down on life, upsets everything, uproots the will like a leaf and carries away the heart as in an abyss. She did not know that on the terrace of houses the rain makes lakes when the pipes are choked...
Madame Bovary

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:10 AM

Saturday, October 08, 2005
      ( 10:15 PM ) The Rat  
HIGHLANDER AND THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, re-enacted by bunnies.

Also check out this... astonishing... recut of the trailer for The Shining—which I heard about from Eve, natch. (Recut was done for this competition.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:15 PM

Wednesday, October 05, 2005
      ( 10:48 PM ) The Rat  
THIS STORE SELLS RICE PUDDING—NOTHING ELSE. Too complicated to explain how Ratty found this...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:48 PM

      ( 11:04 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:04 AM

      ( 10:52 AM ) The Rat  
She kept telling herself: 'No, I can't think about it now; later, when I'm more calm.' But this calm for reflection never came; each time the thought occurred to her of what she had done, of what would become of her and what she ought to do, horror came over her, and she drove these thoughts away.

'Later, later,' she kept saying, 'when I'm more calm.'

But in sleep, when she had no power over her thoughts, her situation presented itself to her in all its ugly nakedness. One dream visited her almost every night. She dreamed that they were both her husbands, that they both lavished their caresses on her. Alexei Alexandrovich wept, kissing her hands and saying: 'It's so good now!' And Alexei Vronsky was right there, and he, too, was her husband. And, marvelling that it had once seemed impossible to her, she laughingly explained to them that this was much simpler and that now they were both content and happy. But this dream weighed on her like a nightmare, and she would wake up in horror.

Anna Karenina

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:52 AM

Tuesday, October 04, 2005
      ( 8:55 PM ) The Rat  
A PAGE ABOUT the Scoville heat scale. Cuz, you know, why not.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:55 PM

      ( 7:06 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:06 PM

Monday, October 03, 2005
      ( 11:35 PM ) The Rat  

Divorce was once a dreaded fate for women in China. Now, many younger urban women like Ms. Cai view it almost as a civil right, which has helped drive up divorce rates. One government study found that women had initiated 70 percent of divorce applications here in Guangdong Province, where the number of divorces increased by 52 percent last year.

For women, and for men as well, changing social mores have brought changing expectations of marriage. If Chinese couples once recited ancient vows "to remain loyal to each other even if the seas run dry and the rocks crumble," as scholars point out, these days bad food or bad sex is enough to end some marriages.

Here in coastal Guangdong Province, a densely populated manufacturing hub that is one of the wealthiest regions in China, a local newspaper recently carried an article suggesting that Sept. 30, the eve of the weeklong National Day holiday, would be a "lucky" day to get divorced. It was a twist on the Chinese tradition of getting married on fortuitous holidays. [...]

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:35 PM

Saturday, October 01, 2005
      ( 6:26 PM ) The Rat  
THIS is a pretty good movie; go see it. A review with which Ratty largely agrees, here; but really, just go see the movie.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:26 PM

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

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