The Rat
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
      ( 8:39 PM ) The Rat  
FINALLY, SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS RATTY'S KIND OF RAGE! From a review (of the new Showtime series Brotherhood) in the June Vogue:

"The show exhibits a verve for violence: Michael not only tears off a man's ear, he later tears off the same man's prosthetic ear..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:39 PM


      ( 8:38 PM ) The Rat  
BATWOMAN HERO RETURNS AS LESBIAN. Don't we all? Via LT.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:38 PM



Friday, May 26, 2006
      ( 9:57 PM ) The Rat  
NATIONAL DOG BITE PREVENTION WEEK IS NEARLY OVER!

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:57 PM



Tuesday, May 23, 2006
      ( 9:17 PM ) The Rat  
PREGNANT WOMAN GLOWS WITH RAGE, via the Onion.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:17 PM


      ( 7:38 PM ) The Rat  
ROCKY AND CADDYSHACK are both now available at the 30-Second Bunnies Theatre.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:38 PM


      ( 4:47 PM ) The Rat  
SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE, CTD. Ratty only heard about this concept a few weeks ago...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:47 PM


      ( 4:45 PM ) The Rat  
COMBINING TWO OF TCB'S FAVORITE THINGS.

Workers at a British factory making French fries were evacuated two days running last week after bomb parts turned up in potatoes imported from France and Belgium...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:45 PM


      ( 4:02 PM ) The Rat  
A VEGETARIAN REFUGE FOR AYN RAND FANS. Oh my. Also via ET.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:02 PM


      ( 4:01 PM ) The Rat  
INTERESTING. Via ET.

First, some facts. On average, women must have two children for a society to replace itself. The actual number of children per woman is called the "total fertility rate," or TFR. Here are the 2005 TFRs for some major countries: Germany, 1.4; Greece, 1.3; Italy, 1.3; Japan, 1.4; Poland, 1.2; and Russia, 1.3. Low fertility rates don't instantly lead to population declines. They can be offset by immigration, longer life expectancies and greater numbers of young mothers. But ultimately, low fertility rates suggest falling populations. [...]

American fertility is roughly at the replacement rate, 2.1 children per woman. Nor does the U.S. rate merely reflect, as some think, a higher rate among Hispanic Americans. The fertility rate is 1.9 for non-Hispanic whites and about 2 for African-Americans, reports demographer Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute. What explains the American exception? Eberstadt cites three differences with Europe and most other advanced countries: greater optimism, greater patriotism and stronger religious values. There's some supporting evidence. A survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago asked respondents in 33 countries to react to this statement: "I would rather be a citizen of [my country] than of any other." Among Americans, 75 percent "strongly" agreed; among Germans, the French and Spanish, comparable responses were 21 percent, 34 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:01 PM


      ( 3:55 PM ) The Rat  
WHY A BROKEN LEG IS BAD NEWS FOR A HORSE.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:55 PM



Monday, May 22, 2006
      ( 9:16 PM ) The Rat  
WINNER OF TODAY'S 'HMM...' PRIZE. I showed this to ET just now and she immediately ordered me to blog it. From Blake Allmendinger's The Cowboy: Representations of Labor in an American Work Culture (Oxford University Press, 1992):

"Bluntly equating literary discourse with sexual intercourse, Wister indicates [in the novel The Virginian] that a cowboy can make love to a woman only by first gaining intellectual access to her through an acquaintance with canonical fiction."

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:16 PM



Sunday, May 21, 2006
      ( 12:55 AM ) The Rat  
SLEDGEHAMMERONLINE.COM!

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:55 AM



Saturday, May 20, 2006
      ( 7:38 PM ) The Rat  
MAYBE IT'S TIME WE RECONSIDERED COMMUNISM. So Ratty's just back in from a run to Barnes & Noble for what the kind of people who read them call, "shelter magazines." I don't typically linger at new bookstores, but just in the course of locating these magazines (two of them—and both, incidentally, are devoted not only to interior design, but specifically to interior design in the D.C./No. Virginia area) I spotted:

—an ad for DNA11.com, a company that "creates abstract art from a sample of your DNA" (Not into cloning? They'll also make things based on samples of your DNA combined—randomly, I guess—with that of a significant other. No word on whether they'll do any scanning for Junior's genetic flaws.)

—the latest issue of 2nd Home Journal, a magazine devoted specifically to issues that might arise involving your second home (Given that there is, or at least used to be, a magazine for second-time brides, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised by this one.)

—not one, but two magazines to help you deal with the vicissitudes of living near seawater: Coastal Living and Coast: Living by the Sea

And then, the pièce de resistance, an ad in Time headlined, "Who'd have ever thought you'd rather play in the sand than be buried in a book?" The copy continues: "Sleeping in until noon, reading until dinner, dancing until dawn. Life was fun before your kids came along and then, overnight, you couldn't picture a second without them. A Sunday morning without cartoons? A book without pop-up pictures? Impossible to imagine and luckily you don't have to. Having a baby changes everything (SM)." The ad, in case you wondered, is for Johnson & Johnson, and directs you to the website baby.com.

I used to work in advertising, and I do realize copywriters and art directors don't get to choose their projects, but still, I had to laugh at the implicit—no, the explicit—message of this ad: "Make more babies! And buy our toiletries to rub into their tender baby flesh!"

After managing to bypass a copy of the Dupont Registry, I left the shop.

**Addendum**—In defense of the whole free-enterprise thing, I should mention an ad TCB just found in one of the aforementioned shelter magazines, for a company called Mastercraft Interiors. Photo is of an inlaid (possibly lacquer?), very-expensive-looking table; and the headline runs: "Last year, my wife caught me standing on her little table to change a light bulb. ...I'm told her new husband is very tall."

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:38 PM



Friday, May 19, 2006
      ( 9:18 PM ) The Rat  
GORE'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, via SNL.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:18 PM



Thursday, May 18, 2006
      ( 11:25 PM ) The Rat  
A ROUGH YEAR FOR COLLEGE PRESIDENTS. Some interesting stuff here. (Meant to post this a few days ago.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:25 PM


      ( 11:03 PM ) The Rat  
HMM...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:03 PM


      ( 12:23 AM ) The Rat  
CASABLANCA is now available at the 30-Second Bunnies Theatre!

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:23 AM



Wednesday, May 17, 2006
      ( 10:57 PM ) The Rat  
N.J. JUST SAYS NO TO PUMPING GAS. Grr.

In New Jersey, motorists who need to fill 'er up haven't pumped their own gas in 57 years. But in the face of soaring gas prices, Gov. Jon Corzine came up with a novel plan last month to try to ease the pain: allow self-service at some stations along the New Jersey Turnpike and see if prices dip. He believed prices could drop 5 to 7 cents a gallon.

Corzine retreated after about 1,400 e-mails and calls poured in from a mostly outraged public. Concern about other state issues paled in comparison...

Bill Dressler, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline Retailers Association and Allied Trades, says there are safety concerns. While attendants are trained, many motorists would be novices. "It could be put in the wrong container," says Dressler, whose group represents about 2,200 of the state's 3,800 gas stations. There could be "somebody getting out and smoking and they didn't turn the engine off."

One morning this week, the price for regular at the Sunoco Station at the Thomas A. Edison Service Area, was $2.87 a gallon. Even so, Amanda Darian, 18, didn't think it would be worth pumping her own gas, even if it saved her 5 cents a gallon.

"A nickel? Nah," says Darian, a student at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

Even though she's going to have to work more this summer to pay her gas tab, she says, "I just don't want to get out" of the car. She has been to other states, and when it came time to fill up, "I didn't even know how."

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:57 PM


      ( 10:40 PM ) The Rat  
WORLD'S 200 TALLEST BUILDINGS. Starring the Taipei 101, which hadn't even been built the last time Ratty was there.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:40 PM



Tuesday, May 16, 2006
      ( 10:30 PM ) The Rat  
ELEPHANT NOT INTERESTED IN USING TREADMILL.

The treadmill, made with the help of a Boise, Idaho-based company that designs heavy-duty conveyor systems used in mining, was delivered to the zoo in September. Lampi said they had hoped to have Maggie taking walks on it by Thanksgiving.

"We knew this was going to possibly take a long time," Lampi said. "We were hoping she would take right to it."

Maggie has been asked to make a lot of adjustments lately, said Mike Keele, deputy director of the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Ore., and chairman of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' species survival program for elephants.

"I think probably there is a lot going on in Maggie's mind right now," Keele said. "I think she is probably trying to build a level of confidence. I think in time she will use it."

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 PM


      ( 10:26 PM ) The Rat  
SOME SCHOOLS ARE LEAVING RECESS BEHIND. Ick.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:26 PM


      ( 8:48 PM ) The Rat  
HEROIC COMPUTER DIES TO SAVE WORLD FROM MASTER'S THESIS.

"This fearless little machine saved me from unspoken hours of exasperated head-scratching and eyestrain, as well as years of agonizing self-doubt over my decision to devote my life to teaching," said professor John Rebson, who had already read through three drafts of Samoskevich's sprawling, 38,000-word dissertation, titled A Hermeneutical Exploration Of Onomatopoeia In The Works Of William Carlos Williams As It May Or May Not Relate To Post-Agrarian Appalachia...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:48 PM


      ( 1:23 AM ) The Rat  
MENTALLY UNFIT, FORCED TO FIGHT.

Despite a congressional order that the military assess the mental health of all deploying troops, fewer than 1 in 300 service members see a mental health professional before shipping out.

Once at war, some unstable troops are kept on the front lines while on potent antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, with little or no counseling or medical monitoring.

And some troops who developed post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq are being sent back to the war zone, increasing the risk to their mental health.

These practices, which have received little public scrutiny and in some cases violate the military's own policies, have helped to fuel an increase in the suicide rate among troops serving in Iraq, which reached an all-time high in 2005 when 22 soldiers killed themselves—accounting for nearly one in five of all Army non-combat deaths.

The Courant's investigation found that at least 11 service members who committed suicide in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite exhibiting signs of significant psychological distress. In at least seven of the cases, superiors were aware of the problems, military investigative records and interviews with families indicate...

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:23 AM



Saturday, May 13, 2006
      ( 9:55 PM ) The Rat  
HOW DADDY AFFECTS YOUR JOB. Interesting.

Successes or failures of employees in the workplace can be traced to what kind of father they had, a psychologist argues in a new book.

In "The Father Factor," Stephan Poulter lists five styles of fathers—super-achieving, time bomb, passive, absent and compassionate/mentor—who have powerful influences on the careers of their sons and daughters...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:55 PM



Monday, May 08, 2006
      ( 8:10 PM ) The Rat  
IRAN SAYS NO TO GIRLY SPORTSMEN.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:10 PM


      ( 9:47 AM ) The Rat  
CHINESE TOWN HAS 98 PERCENT DIVORCE RATE. This is seriously trippy.

When divorce fever hit Renhe, life changed utterly. Mah-jongg games and family meals were interrupted by couples running off to break up or meet up with new mates. Conversations centered on one topic.

Even greetings were to the point. Instead of the typical Chinese phrase, chi le ma? "Have you eaten?" In Renhe, it became li le ma? "Have you divorced?"

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:47 AM



Sunday, May 07, 2006
      ( 10:53 PM ) The Rat  
"It does make you want to do a few sit-ups."
—KD after today's NYCB matinee performance of In Vento

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:53 PM



Saturday, May 06, 2006
      ( 12:50 AM ) The Rat  
HEH.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:50 AM



Friday, May 05, 2006
      ( 9:27 PM ) The Rat  
PUG IS THE NEW BLACK.

Simon Doonan, Barneys creative director, says pugs are "very jolie-laide." And though pugs aren't whippet thin or greyhound graceful, they have an appealing look that has landed them high-profile ad campaigns for HSBC Bank and Lee Jeans, as well as Barneys. The boutique soap maker Gianna Rose Atelier offers a petite pug-shaped soap that, thankfully, is scented with floral-wood notes, not pug aromas.

Pugs seem to pose naturally for the paparazzi, who have captured many pug-owning celebrities with their pets, including Jenna Elfman, Paula Abdul, Mickey Rourke, Billy Joel and Chris Kirkpatrick of 'N Sync.

When she's filming, Alba takes her pugs, Sid and Nancy, with her. She also posed with them for the cover of Animal Fair magazine. Italian couturier Valentino is such a fan that he's had more than a dozen pugs in his lifetime, as many as seven at one point...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:27 PM


      ( 6:35 PM ) The Rat  
SO MUCH FOR 'YOU HOLD NO MYSTERY FOR ME, AMANDA': So Ratty's oldest friend is visiting this week. Excerpt, from a conversation earlier today:

Rat. I never thought you could still surprise me, even after 19 years... I never knew you didn't like going to the bathroom!
JS. Yeah? Well, I never knew you were a kleptomaniac!

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:35 PM


      ( 12:04 AM ) The Rat  
MOST EXTENDED VERSION I HAVE YET SEEN of the Hedgehog Song.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 AM



Thursday, May 04, 2006
      ( 10:50 PM ) The Rat  
FORBES'S 2006 FORTUNES OF KINGS, QUEENS, AND DICTATORS LIST. Yeah, but when are they going to start listing phone numbers??

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 PM


      ( 3:02 PM ) The Rat  
U.S. SHOWS ZARQAWI PROPAGANDA VIDEO OUTTAKES. Heh.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, spokesman for U.S.-led forces in Iraq, said Zarqawi's bloopers were discovered in a raid on an alleged Al Qaeda safe house in Yousseifia, a village south of the capital in an area U.S. military planners say is being used as a staging ground for insurgent operations in Baghdad.

In another scene shown to reporters by the U.S. military today, Zarqawi's deputy scalds his hand by grabbing the burning-hot metal barrel of a just-fired machine-gun in a classic military no-no that was edited out of the 34-minute propaganda video that found its way onto the Internet and Arab-language television last week. .

"What you saw on the Internet is what he wanted the world to see: 'Look at me, I'm a capable leader of a capable organization,'" Lynch, spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, said to reporters today. "Here's Zarqawi, the ultimate warrior, trying to shoot off his machine gun. It's supposed to be automatic fire; he's shooting single shots."

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:02 PM


      ( 1:49 PM ) The Rat  
HERE COMES THE BRIDE, THERE GOES THEIR MONEY. Inspiring. Link via IKM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:49 PM



Wednesday, May 03, 2006
      ( 9:02 AM ) The Rat  
HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES. From the May Vogue:

"In 1975 the Mexican actress María Félix walked into Cartier in Paris carrying a baby crocodile swimming in a glass bowl and asked to have a necklace fashioned in the likeness of the tiny reptile..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:02 AM


      ( 1:44 AM ) The Rat  
TALIBAN THREAT IS SAID TO GROW IN AFGHAN SOUTH.

The Bush administration is alarmed, according to a Western intelligence official close to the administration. He said that while senior members of the administration consider the situation in Iraq to be not as bad as portrayed in the press, in Afghanistan the situation is worse than it has been generally portrayed...

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:44 AM



Monday, May 01, 2006
      ( 10:57 PM ) The Rat  
NO ONE HAS A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY. Interesting. (Incidentally, note who wrote it.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:57 PM


      ( 10:47 PM ) The Rat  
FART JOKES' ANCIENT ORIGINS REVEALED!

Humankind's most ancient ancestors had the same lowbrow sense of humor as many of us still have today.

According to a study to be published in the Quarterly Review of Biology, early man laughed at three things: falling down, farting, and bottom-pinching...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:47 PM


      ( 8:48 PM ) The Rat  
FORGOT TO POST THIS when I first found it, back in March.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:48 PM


      ( 11:07 AM ) The Rat  
PESTICIDES MAY AFFECT PENIS SIZE. You know you want to click on this.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:07 AM


      ( 12:26 AM ) The Rat  
MIT PULLS COURSE WEB PAGE AFTER COMPLAINTS, via IKM. Can't wait till somebody tries to teach these guys about the Holocaust.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology took down a history course Web page after Chinese students complained about a 19th century wood-print image of Japanese soldiers beheading Chinese prisoners.

The complaints led to an apology from one of the professors teaching "Visualizing Cultures," which uses images from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895.

The course was created by Pulitzer Prize-winning history professor John Dower and linguistics professor Shigeru Miyagawa, who posted an apology on his Web page...

Calls to the offices of Miyagawa and Dower were redirected to the MIT president's office. MIT spokeswoman Pam Dumas said no disciplinary action against them is planned.

"They have MIT's strongest support," she said. "The use of the images as part of the course is not an endorsement of the events. This is a scholarly course. It's the free exploration of ideas."

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 AM




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


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