The Rat
Friday, June 30, 2006
      ( 5:40 PM ) The Rat  
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS AND YOU LONG TO BE SOMETHING BETTER THAN YOU ARE TODAY... Contrary to most expectations, Ratty actually really enjoyed the new film of The Devil Wears Prada, at least till about the final 15 minutes. (DWP is Ratty's single favorite chick-lit novel, of the half-dozen or so she's ever read, so naturally she was expecting the movie to suck.) The casting is impeccable, the clothes (of course) are gorgeous, the soundtrack's good—and besides, by the time you've gotten Meryl Streep to be in your movie you're already halfway there. Ratty regrets to note that parts of this movie—particularly in the first half—pretty adequately explain about 40 percent of her personality; but that is the fault of her mother, who, among other things, took her on her inaugural trip to Leonard's Paris boutique—the couture part, that you have to ring a bell to get into—at the tender age of 16. (Those less close to her would never guess, but Ratty's Vogue subscription is paid in full through February 2009. It and Proust are the two things she's reasonably sure she won't stop reading till they're pried out of her cold dead hands.)

The major characters are all well done, and even the decision to make co-assistant Emily English in the movie, works extremely well. There are also snippets (mostly indirect, but still there) concerning what it's like to try to both be a woman and have professional ambitions, that I think a lot of women could relate to. A good deal of the pleasure of the original book is that of recognition: If you've ever worked at an office, any office, you'll find something to relate to. But if you've ever tried to work at an office while living alone and broke in New York City—then you'll really get it.

The biggest flaw of the movie flows directly out of its not following the original plot. Not that I believe it should have—stage and film adaptations probably never should (Agatha Christie has given a very good explanation of why this is so, but unfortunately I don't recall where). The trouble with the DWP screenplay, though, is that it abbreviates Lauren Weisberger's original story to such an extent that the Faustian bargain around which the novel is constructed is almost completely obliterated. By the time the heroine makes her final "choice" in the moral dilemma she's supposedly confronting, I couldn't help thinking that, had I not known the original story, I wouldn't have had a clue as to why it was important, or if it was. The movie's version of what's at stake is unanchored, and ultimately a bit slight. (Also, I would think that, to anyone who sees the movie without having read the book, the title must be pretty opaque.)

(Spoiler alert:) The final quarter-hour or so of the movie also failed simply by ending too happily. Everything works out so ideally that there are not really any villains any more and, by extension, not really any heroes either. Still, all that said, this was certainly some of the most enjoyable movie-watching I've done in awhile.

Ratty's overall recommendation: Don't see the movie first—and don't even read the novel. Instead, get hold of Bernadette Dunne's unabridged reading—the one on 11 CDs (difficult or impossible to purchase, but available at many public libraries)—and listen to that first; it's really good. See the movie afterwards, ideally on a big screen—not only for the performances (which really are quite good) but also because the shots of both New York and Paris are just delicious.

Here is a bit on Streep's interpretation of the Anna Wintour character (which she notes was based primarily on men she knows, not women).

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      ( 1:29 PM ) The Rat  

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Thursday, June 29, 2006
      ( 11:27 PM ) The Rat  

Police officers end their lives more often than those in other professions, right? Or is it dentists? Or psychologists?

Assertions about which occupational group has the most suicides float around like urban myths. Various occupational groups have called the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), each to confirm that their occupation has the highest rates of suicide, says Jim Weed, NCHS analyst.

But experts on suicide say that statistics on its relation to occupation are not clear. There is no national data set on occupation and suicide. Local studies indicate elevated rates in different occupations, but the data usually "turn out to be frail," says prominent suicide researcher David Clark, Ph.D....

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      ( 3:18 PM ) The Rat  

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
      ( 2:24 AM ) The Rat  

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning on the pimp tax. If passed, the provision will authorize at least $2 million toward the establishment of an office in the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation unit to prosecute unlawful sex workers for violations of tax laws...

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
      ( 10:56 PM ) The Rat  
"IT'S VERY HUMANE, LIKE AN AMBULANCE." USA Today reports on China's mobile execution chambers.

The exact number of convicts put to death is a state secret. Amnesty International estimates there were at least 1,770 executions in China in 2005—vs. 60 in the United States, but the group says on its website that the toll could be as high as 8,000 prisoners.

The "majority are still by gunshot," says Liu Renwen, death penalty researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a think tank in Beijing. "But the use of injections has grown in recent years, and may have reached 40%."

China's critics contend that the transition from firing squads to injections in death vans facilitates an illegal trade in prisoners' organs.

Injections leave the whole body intact and require participation of doctors. Organs can "be extracted in a speedier and more effective way than if the prisoner is shot," says Mark Allison, East Asia researcher at Amnesty International in Hong Kong. "We have gathered strong evidence suggesting the involvement of (Chinese) police, courts and hospitals in the organ trade."

China's refusal to give outsiders access to the bodies of executed prisoners has added to suspicions about what happens afterward: Corpses are typically driven to a crematorium and burned before relatives or independent witnesses can view them...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:56 PM

      ( 12:15 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 7:34 AM ) The Rat  

Four pelicans suspected of being drunk on sea algae were being tested at a Southern California wildlife center Saturday after one of them crashed headlong into a car.

Officials at the Wildlife Care Center said the seabirds may have been under the influence of algae in the ocean that can produce domoic acid poisoning when eaten.

Shellfish tainted with domoic acid was thought to be the culprit behind a 1961 attack of seabirds on people and cars in the oceanside California town of Capitola that inspired Alfred Hitchcock's horror movie "The Birds."

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      ( 7:24 AM ) The Rat  
RATTY WOULDN'T SIGN ON TO everything in this post, but she does appreciate the coinage of the term "wifework." There are some good points made about gender roles in general, in the comments.

The first thing [Susan Maushart] did in the book was treat every marriage as three separate marriages: His Marriage, Her Marriage, and the Kids' Marriage. Then she divided the tasks that women are expected to do, into housework, childcare and what she called 'wifework.' Wifework was defined as the emotional work a woman does to maintain relationships. Work like stroking her husband's ego, remembering birthdays of his relatives so he doesn't have to, having sex when he wants to, serving the food he wants, etc. She concludes that even men who think they agree to equality in their marriage feel entitled to a high level of emotional maintenance from their wives...

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      ( 7:18 AM ) The Rat  
[T]hough many an arraigned mortal has in hopes of mitigated penalty pleaded guilty to horrible actions, did ever anybody seriously confess to envy? Something there is in it universally felt to be more shameful than even felonious crime. And not only does everybody disown it, but the better sort are inclined to incredulity when it is in earnest imputed to an intelligent man. But since its lodgement is in the heart not the brain, no degree of intellect supplies a guarantee against it...
Billy Budd

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:18 AM

Monday, June 26, 2006
      ( 8:00 AM ) The Rat  
The clearest explanation for the failure of any marriage is that the two people are incompatible; that is, one is male and the other female.
—Anna Quindlen

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:00 AM

      ( 12:23 AM ) The Rat  
Herr Pauli heard about an order issued to retreating German soldiers to leave all liquor stores intact for the advancing enemy—experience shows that alcohol impairs the enemy's strength to fight and slows their advance. Now that's something only men could cook up for other men. If they just thought about it for two minutes they'd realize that liquor greatly intensifies the sexual urge. I'm convinced that if the Russians hadn't found so much alcohol all over, half as many rapes would have taken place. These men aren't natural Casanovas. They had to goad themselves on to such brazen acts, had to drown their inhibitions. And they knew it, too, or at least suspected as much, otherwise they wouldn't have been so desperate for alcohol...
A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:23 AM

Saturday, June 24, 2006
      ( 1:44 PM ) The Rat  
NEW YORK'S POSTERITATI GALLERY is hosting an exhibition of vintage James Bond movie posters through July 12 (it's also viewable online).

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:44 PM

Friday, June 23, 2006
      ( 9:36 PM ) The Rat  

Beijing has banned disco and other dance music in private rooms of nightclubs and karaoke bars to curb the flood of illegal drugs into the capital's entertainment venues, Chinese newspapers reported Friday.

"Because many drug takers regularly dance and go crazy to upbeat 'disco' music in private rooms, police have specially requested karaoke machines not have this music," the Beijing Times newspaper said.

Club owners were now expected to delete disco and "other forms of vulgar entertainment" from karaoke machines in private rooms, the Beijing News said, as part of a "responsibility agreement" written up by police...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:36 PM

      ( 9:29 PM ) The Rat  
STUDY: AMERICANS' SOCIAL CONTACTS SLIPPING. Gee, this can only go somewhere good.

Nearly one in every four Americans has no close confidant, according to a study that found that the average person's circle of close friends has shrunk considerably in the last two decades.

The study, published Friday in the American Sociological Review, found that Americans' social contacts are focusing less on neighbors and more "on the very strong bonds of the nuclear family." [...]

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      ( 9:22 PM ) The Rat  

More sex. That's what one expert says is needed to solve Japan's baby shortage.

"Japanese people simply aren't having sex," Dr. Kunio Kitamura, director of the Japan Family Planning Association, was quoted as saying by the Japan Times, an English language daily. [...]

Japan came last among 41 nations in a poll last year by condom manufacturer Durex, with lovers there having sex just 45 times a year compared with a global average of 103 times a year.

Kitamura said that while many men in workaholic Japan are simply too "stressed out" from their jobs to have enough energy for sex, many other couples simply do not have sex regularly.

In the association's survey, 44 percent of the people who said they weren't having much sex felt that having a relationship with the opposite sex was "very tiresome" or "tiresome."

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 PM

      ( 9:16 PM ) The Rat  
MAN WITH FAULTY PENILE IMPLANT GETS $400K. I am a terrible, terrible, terrible person for finding this story hilarious. However, so are you.

A former handyman has won more than $400,000 in a lawsuit over a penile implant that gave him a 10-year erection.

Charles "Chick" Lennon, 68, received the steel and plastic implant in 1996, about two years before Viagra went on the market. The Dura-II is designed to allow impotent men to position the penis upward for sex, then lower it.

But Lennon could not position his penis downward. He said he could no longer hug people, ride a bike, swim or wear bathing trunks because of the pain and embarrassment...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:16 PM

      ( 9:15 PM ) The Rat  
CALIF. RING ALLEGEDLY STAGED AUTO CRASHES. This does seem like it took a lot more effort than just making money the traditional way...

Twenty-three people have been arrested in what authorities claim is a ring that staged more than 125 auto collisions and scammed about $4 million from insurers and drivers. [...]

No one was seriously injured in the collisions, which targeted commercial vehicles, sport utility vehicles and elderly drivers, Garamendi said.

Ramon Zanoletti, who worked in an attorney's office, allegedly paid people to stage the collisions, then obtained legal representation for people claiming injuries from the accidents.

Ramon Zanoletti would refer them to Franklin Chiropractic, where his wife worked as a clinic administrator, Garamendi said.

Franklin would allegedly sign off on bogus medical reports generated by Magdalena Zanoletti, who is accused of instructing patients to sign in for medical treatments that were never received. The reports were submitted to the patients' attorneys for the purpose of filing and settling fake insurance claims, Garamendi said.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:15 PM

      ( 9:09 PM ) The Rat  
"That's my sullen 20-year-old. Everyone should have one!"
—former professor of Ratty's, while showing her over the house this afternoon (Blogging will be light as I house-dog-fish-hedgehog-and-plant-sit over the next week and a half.)

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      ( 7:48 PM ) The Rat  

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Thursday, June 22, 2006
      ( 4:52 PM ) The Rat  

Singapore, famous for its spotless streets, is stepping up its campaign against filth in the restroom with a training program to boost the status and skills of the city-state's toilet cleaners, a newspaper reported Thursday.

More than 50 toilet cleaners will be promoted to "restroom specialist" upon completing the three-day pilot course taught by Japanese experts in the latest toilet technology, The Straits Times reported.

The program—sponsored by the city-state's National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore-based World Toilet College—aims to boost the image and wages of professional toilet cleaners by training them to do more on the job, The Straits Times reported.

The college has flown in three top Japanese trainers to conduct the course on improving cleaning techniques and technical expertise to the initial group of 51 cleaners...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:52 PM

      ( 4:51 PM ) The Rat  

Then there is Clyde Lott, a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher. He is trying to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers: the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah.

So far, only one of his cows has been verified by rabbis as worthy, meaning they failed to turn up even three white or black hairs on the animal's body.

Linking these efforts is a belief that modern technologies and global communications have made it possible to induce completion of God's plan within this generation...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:51 PM

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
      ( 8:21 PM ) The Rat  
NUTRIA MEAT FAQ. "Q. Aren't nutria dirty animals? A. NO! Quite the contrary. Nutria occurring in the wild are clean animals. Contrary to their look-alikes, rats, which are omnivores, nutria consume exclusively plant life..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:21 PM

      ( 8:18 PM ) The Rat  

Ratty was French food: "Snobby yet ubiquitous. People act like they understand you more than they actually do."

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      ( 8:12 PM ) The Rat  

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006
      ( 8:50 PM ) The Rat  
FLUFFERNUTTER KERFUFFLE, via Ratty's sources in Boston. Also see the related article, "Intellectual Property Law Meets Fluff."

Barrios decided to take action after his third-grade son Nathaniel was given a peanut butter and Fluff sandwich at the King Open School in Cambridge. Barrios acknowledged that while "it seems a little silly to have an amendment on Fluff" the issue of school nutrition is serious.

Barrios' amendment seemed anything but silly to Democratic state Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, D-Revere, whose district is near Lynn, home of Durkee-Mower Inc., the local company that has produced the marshmallow concoction for more than 80 years.

The day after Barrios announced his amendment, Reinstein fired off an e-mail announcing her own legislation designating the Fluffernutter the "official sandwich of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

"I believe we need to preserve the legacy of this local delicacy," Reinstein wrote in the letter to fellow lawmakers. She noted Fluff is free of artificial preservatives or colorings...

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      ( 7:40 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 7:23 PM ) The Rat  
THE FATHER'S-DAY-THEMED CARDS CURRENTLY UP AT POSTSECRET are nearly as fraught as the Mother's Day ones were (unfortunately the latter are no longer linked).

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:23 PM

      ( 2:58 PM ) The Rat  
CONGRATS TO KD, who's getting hitched next month!!

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:58 PM

Monday, June 19, 2006
      ( 9:59 PM ) The Rat  

Okay, so what have we learned here?

1) Men: kiss, lik and curris us all over, including (but definitely not limited to) our nipables.

2) Ladies: ask for what you need.

and finally,

3) Don't be stupid enough to leave sexually explicit letters at your place of employment. If you do, you're just
begging for it to be found by an asshole like me.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:59 PM

      ( 9:54 PM ) The Rat  

The Zhengzhou riots appeared to reflect the massive pressure Chinese students face in an increasingly competitive job market.

Many families go into massive debt to send children to a university, and a huge expansion in higher education has led to white-hot competition for jobs, making a degree's prestige ever more important.

Students said they entered Shengda, a private college, after recruiters promised they would get diplomas from the better-known Zhengzhou University, which Shengda is affiliated with. However, while students graduating this year will receive Zhengzhou degrees, those graduating next year will only receive Shengda degrees...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:54 PM

      ( 4:09 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 1:31 AM ) The Rat  
WHAT HAPPENS TO A COUNTRY WHEN ITS ELITE WON'T SERVE IN THE MILITARY? Review of AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From Military Service—and How It Hurts Our Country. Via ET.

In 1956, 400 of Princeton's 750 graduates served in uniform. By 2004, only nine members of the university's graduating class entered the military. Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia and many other schools do not even allow ROTC on their campuses. The gulf is growing in Congress, too. In 1971, three-quarters of our representatives had military experience. Now, fewer than a third do, and that number drops with each passing year. [...]

[A] schism between the military and the rest of us weakens the armed forces. Absent broad and deep ties throughout society, the military becomes "them" instead of "us." Roth-Douquet and Schaeffer fear that such a force "will be overused and underled and that support will run out fast for any project that becomes a political liability." Consider that Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, unlike most political leaders today, both had children in uniform in the Second World War. Whether such personal connections actually affect policy is almost impossible to say, but common sense supports the authors' assertion that "the grunt on the ground is best equipped, best trained, and best served when the opinion makers have a personal stake in his or her well-being."

The greatest problem with an isolated military, however, is even less tangible. "When those who benefit most from living in a country contribute the least to its defense and those who benefit least are asked to pay the ultimate price, something happens to the soul of that country," write the authors. That argument makes for the most powerful reading in the book: "We are shortchanging a generation of smart, motivated Americans who have been prejudiced against service by parents and teachers. Their parents may think they are protecting their children. Their teachers may think they are enlightening them. But perhaps what these young people are being protected from is maturity, selflessness, and the kind of ownership of their country that can give it a better future."

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      ( 1:15 AM ) The Rat  
QUI S'EXCUSE S'ACCUSE. From an e-mail to IKM.

"My English teacher sent me a bottle of champagne and an ice bucket for [my birthday], btw, and I picked them up from Fedex on my way down to Virginia. Later that day I was on the phone with Eve and said, '[JT] sent me some champagne and a bucket!' It was only after it was out of my mouth that I realized Eve would probably interpret that incorrectly, as she in fact proceeded to do: 'A bucket?—you mean, like, to vomit in?'"

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:15 AM

      ( 12:36 AM ) The Rat  
LYRICS TO the funniest song in Spamalot, which TCB took Ratty to see yesterday.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:36 AM

Friday, June 16, 2006
      ( 10:59 PM ) The Rat  
EEK! Via ET.

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      ( 7:15 AM ) The Rat  

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Thursday, June 15, 2006
      ( 8:05 AM ) The Rat  
CUSTOM PRINTED M&MS. However, they appear to be available only in plain, not peanut. Also note the "printing do's and don'ts."

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:05 AM

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
      ( 9:24 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:24 PM

      ( 8:07 PM ) The Rat  
BIZARRE FOOD HOLIDAYS (scroll down). Further proof Americans have too much time—and food—on their hands. Incidentally, note that July has somehow gotten dedicated to both blueberries and horseradish.

And here is a list of some of the health-awareness-themed months.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:07 PM

      ( 5:40 PM ) The Rat  
TAKE THE LATTE CHALLENGE. Somebody mentioned this article in my Latin class this morning... Of course, if you are currently buying multiple lattes daily, retail, odds are you're either not in a position to have to worry about retirement, or else, let's face it—you're so colossally stupid you probably don't deserve to retire, ever.

If you are happy to give up your daily buzz then you could potentially save hundreds of thousand of dollars by retirement, says online superannuation company

In a recent online survey found that if the average 30-year-old took up the Latte Challenge, and cut out a few coffees a day and put the funds into a low-fees super account, they could end up with $162,000 or more at retirement...

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:40 PM

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
      ( 2:45 PM ) The Rat  
I WAS A DATE RAPE BABY. Luridly written, but still quite a story. Link via IKM.

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Monday, June 12, 2006
      ( 7:34 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 6:14 AM ) The Rat  

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Sunday, June 11, 2006
      ( 3:08 PM ) The Rat  
"THE WORST THEME PARK IN THE WORLD?" And, a site that sells prewritten eulogies. Both links via Cruel Site of the Day.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:08 PM

      ( 1:19 PM ) The Rat  
RATTY CAN'T HELP FINDING these new stamps a bit disingenuous. If what was being feted was, e.g., the deepest lake, tallest waterfall, or rainiest spot in the world, and those things happened to be in this country, that would be one thing. But, by definition, somewhere in the United States there's going to be a deepest lake, tallest waterfall, and rainiest spot in the country (which is what these superlatives are referring to)—so what's the point?!

Anyway, if you're bored, you can go find the real record-holders in like categories, here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:19 PM

      ( 12:23 PM ) The Rat  

One international newsmagazine proclaimed Eurasians "the poster children for 21st century globalization" a few years ago, touting their ability to bridge cultures in marketing, advertising and entertainment.

And, turning racist ideas of "hybrid degeneracy" on their head, Psychology Today magazine earlier this year featured studies finding that Eurasians were regarded as more attractive than whites or Asians and healthier because of their genetic diversity, associated with a lower incidence of some diseases.

All of which makes Fulbeck squirm just a bit. It's bad enough that hapas share the common stereotypes of Asian Americans as "model minorities" who are expected to be smart, diligent and well-behaved, he said. "Now we're expected to be superior genetically too?" asks Fulbeck, chairman of UC Santa Barbara's art department.

Although most hapas tell him they're proud of their mixed-race heritage, Fulbeck said, he still gets e-mails from those who write despairingly of rejection and angst...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:23 PM

      ( 9:51 AM ) The Rat  
This must seem paradoxical, since in my last chapter I suggested that women represented society and society was never very convincingly affirmed in Hollywood movies. The contradiction, however, is only apparent. Society rarely comes off as very attractive, simply because the movies throw most of their weight behind a variety of escapes from it. But the activity of women—wrecking homes, making homes, saving heroes, murdering husbands, and double-crossing partners—is so omnipresent in the American cinema that it brings to mind that old joke about the division of labor in a marriage: The husband decides all the big things, like whether the country should declare war or not and who is to be president; and the wife decides the little things, like where they should live, when the husband should change jobs, and how many kids to have...

—Michael Wood, America in the Movies

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM

Friday, June 09, 2006
      ( 12:42 PM ) The Rat  
A NEW TAKE on the Dead Parrot Sketch. Link via IKM.

A woman angry that her new puppy had died pushed her way into a dog breeder's home and repeatedly hit her on the head with the dead Chihuahua, authorities said...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:42 PM

Thursday, June 08, 2006
      ( 11:45 PM ) The Rat  

Scientists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and the University of Adelaide are looking for sheep with 'unusual wool', saying they hold the key to improving the genetic quality of merino wool.

Professor Phil Hynd from the University of Adelaide says lambs are usually culled because they have uneven wool, no crimp or bare patches. He says studying the lambs will help them identify genes which affect wool production.

"We've already got about half a dozen animals that producers provided us with and man, they're the weirdest looking mob of sheep that you've ever seen in your life," he said.

"They're quite embarrassing really, even the sheep look embarrassed." [...]

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:45 PM

      ( 11:44 PM ) The Rat  

It's a revamped school bus that runs on vegetable oil, and it can fuel up at any place that fries food. A group of students from Dartmouth College will take the bus for a nationwide tour starting Wednesday, stopping in nearly 50 cities to raise awareness about alternative fuels. More information on the bus can be found at

"It's a flavor-of-the-week kind of deal," says Andrew Zabel, a sophomore in the group of about a dozen students who will continue a veggie vehicle campaign started by other Dartmouth students last summer. "It could smell like fries, burgers, Mexican, Chinese," depending on where they refuel, Zabel says...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:44 PM

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
      ( 11:10 PM ) The Rat  

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
      ( 12:24 AM ) The Rat  

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Monday, June 05, 2006
      ( 9:36 PM ) The Rat  
WENDY MCCLURE HAS PUBLISHED a whole book of those scary recipe cards (complete with snarky comments, natch)!

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:36 PM

Sunday, June 04, 2006
      ( 1:04 AM ) The Rat  

Zhang Xueling, a Beijing woman whose son was shot dead by the army on June 4, 1989, and would now have been 36, planned to go to the Wan'an Cemetery in the west of the capital.

"Every year on June 4, relatives of the victims gather together at the cemetery," she told AFP by telephone.

"We all feel very sad and try to comfort each other. Of course, the police are always there."

She said police behavior at the cemetery has become more brazen in recent years, as plain-clothes officers had been replaced with officers in full uniform, often openly filming the memorial ceremonies. [...]

The government has insisted to this day that the response to quell what it called "the counter-revolutionary rebellion" paved the way for 17 years of robust economic growth.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:04 AM

Saturday, June 03, 2006
      ( 4:17 PM ) The Rat  
There was a click and then Michael said, 'You still there?'

'Sure am. Do you want to call me or should I call you?' We'd all learned early on that you couldn't trust that the third line had disconnected and therefore always took the precaution of starting a new call before talking shit about the person who'd hung up first.

Everyone Worth Knowing

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:17 PM

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

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