Friday, November 30, 2007
( 2:30 AM ) The Rat
MORE PASTA SHAPES.
The name means 'priest strangler' in Italian, and it refers to a pasta shape that resembles a rolled towel...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:30 AM
Thursday, November 29, 2007
( 10:05 PM ) The Rat
THE PEANUT HOTLINE. A website directory service with referrals to the nearest locations that accept styrofoam packing peanuts for reuse. Use the search engine to find the nearest of their 1,500 collection sites.
You can also use their 24-hour hotline: (800) 828-2214.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:05 PM
( 6:25 PM ) The Rat
INSPIRED COVER-ILLUSTRATION PICK.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:25 PM
( 3:20 AM ) The Rat
BEST GIFT IDEA EVER.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:20 AM
( 2:52 AM ) The Rat
"SUDDENLY YOU ARE ALL, 'AYYYY! UTILITARIANISM BE DAMNED!'" An excellent post (read the reader comments, too) by Manolo.
[This] argument posits that items of high fashion are not 'worth the cost,' and that because the utilitarian value of the object cannot match the exorbitant price, this makes the purchase of such objects morally suspect.
Yes, it is true that that one may not be able to justify the purchase of the $1000 Christian Louboutin Goya booties on practical grounds, for after all, would not stout, waterproof, leathern boxes stuffed with meadow grasses be just as useful?
And, yet, even as we seek practicality, we are ever mindful of artistic value, so that one day you are clomping through the plaza with in your stout leathern boxes (retail cost $29.95) when you see the young woman wearing leathern boxes with the delicate painted stripe down the side, and you become envious, because its looks pretty, and the beauty of this decoration imparts something of its superior nature to the wearer.
Suddenly you are all, 'Ayyyy! Utilitarianism be damned!' Who cares if the leather boxes with the stripe cost $1.29 more, you must have the leathern boxes with the stripes!
This reaction is natural, indeed, it transcends the human, so that even animals recognize and respond to beauty, how else to explain the peacock? And like the peacocks and the peahens, humans respond to beauty, and seek to acquire beauty, even when the cost of beautiful objects grossly exceeds their utilitarian value...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:52 AM
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
( 4:50 AM ) The Rat
THE PROCRASTINATION FLOW CHART. Actually, this needs to have waaay more branches than it does...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:50 AM
( 1:55 AM ) The Rat
A ROUNDUP OF RESPONSES to Saletan's race-I.Q. series for Slate, via ET. (Apologies for the delay, Ratty was out of town.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:55 AM
( 1:54 AM ) The Rat
CELEBRITIES' REAL NAMES. Via Ayyyy.com. Lots of winners in the name-changing sweepstakes, here... but a shortlist of the most-dramatically-improved names would at least have to include Elle MacPherson, Walter Matthau, and John Wayne.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:54 AM
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
( 5:20 PM ) The Rat
EVEN RATTY DIDN'T KNOW about the relatively recently-launched Vayama.com till today (then again, thanks to her OCD, the last time she paid for a flight at all was five trips back), but it comfortably beat Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak, and all the other usual suspects on some transatlantic trips she just had to book. Take a look the next time you need to fly internationally.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:20 PM
( 1:52 PM ) The Rat
CUZ AMAZON IS FOR SUCKERS. Ratty just discovered MagazinePriceSearch.com, a handy clearinghouse-type engine that sifts through other sites to find the best deals (like Kayak, but for magazines). Shaved a good 40 percent off the cost of the thing I was looking for, so it's definitely worth a browse.
Incidentally, both DeepDiscount.com and Overstock.com often offer better prices than Amazon for new books, DVDs, and the like. Shipping is free at DeepDiscount.com (i.e., without the $25 minimum required by Amazon); at Overstock.com, it's $2.95 per order, but you can score some extra miles if you know where to look. (Many of the ratios on the Frequent Flier page are outdated, but if you click through you'll see the rate currently being offered. Be sure and click through from that airline's page, though, or you won't be eligible for the bonus.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:52 PM
( 1:32 PM ) The Rat
ATLAS OF THE PLANET EARTH.
The semi-tropical nation of Suriname is hardly even worth your time.
Bhutan, a mystical land nestled in the Himalayan mountains, is a Buddhist Shangri-la that features enough breathtaking vistas, exotic wildlife, and magical inner peace to out-serene the crap out of Tibet.
The people of France are extremely proud of their cultural achievements, and offer no apologies for giving the world such things as self-indulgent cinema, the awkward ménage à trois, and the Frenchman.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:32 PM
Monday, November 26, 2007
( 10:45 PM ) The Rat
BECAUSE TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH. A roundup of variations on the turducken.
The largest recorded nested bird roast is 17 birds, attributed to a royal feast in France in the 19th century: a bustergophechiduckneaealcockidgeoverwingailusharkolanbler (originally called a Rôti Sans Pareil, or 'Roast without equal')—a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an Ortolan Bunting and a Garden Warbler. The final bird is small enough that it can be stuffed with a single olive; it also suggests that, unlike modern multi-bird roasts, there was no stuffing or other packing placed in between the birds. This dish probably could not be recreated in the modern era as many of the listed birds are now protected species...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:45 PM
( 10:44 PM ) The Rat
THE DEMETER FRAGRANCE LIBRARY (use the drop-down lists).
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:44 PM
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
( 6:28 PM ) The Rat
WHOA. Look what's at the Met!
After more than 25 years, the conservation of Lorenzo Ghiberti's doors for the Baptistery in Florence—called the Gates of Paradise—now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, is nearing completion. This exhibition provides the American public with an unprecedented opportunity to see three of the doors' famous narrative reliefs, with their masterful retelling of Old Testament subjects, as well as four figural sections from their opulent surrounding frames, before they are permanently installed in the museum...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:28 PM
( 6:27 PM ) The Rat
'I'M A CEPHALOPOD... I'M ALMOST ALL HEAD.' Seemed as good a way as any to lead in to William Saletan's interesting series in Slate—here, here, and here—on race and I.Q. Ratty especially loved the part about head size!
How could genes cause an IQ advantage? The simplest pathway is head size. I thought head measurement had been discredited as Eurocentric pseudoscience. I was wrong. In fact, it's been bolstered by MRI. On average, Asian-American kids have bigger brains than white American kids, who in turn have bigger brains than black American kids. This is true even though the order of body size and weight runs in the other direction. The pattern holds true throughout the world and persists at death, as measured by brain weight...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:27 PM
( 3:26 AM ) The Rat
SO RATTY FINALLY GOT TO SEE RATATOUILLE tonight, and as MLY had promised, it's totally fun. Since everyone has no doubt already seen it at this point (except for ET, ahem), in this space I'll content myself with noting that the rat-holocaust store window depicted in the movie is real! (The apartment I rented in the 4ème in 2004 was very near Les Halles, so it'd have taken an effort to not walk by Aurouze's shop a few times a day... and it's the sort of thing you'd remember even if you only saw it once.) More info, and pictures, here. P.S. If you do watch Ratatouille on DVD, don't miss the mini-documentary, "Your Friend the Rat" (as I write, it's also up on YouTube).
[In the film] Remy is shown a pest-control shop by his father, who tells him that humans can't be trusted and do nasty things to rodents.
To eerie background music and in the light of a street lamp on a wet night, the father points to the scores of dead rats hanging by strings in the window. The store's shelves have medieval-looking traps and boxes of rat poison.
'Ratatouille' has made Aurouze, the real-life rat-trap shop in central Paris, something of a tourist attraction. Rabie Cheklat, a 20-year-old student from the Paris suburbs, made a detour on a recent trip to the city to visit the shop.
'I vaguely remember seeing the shop as a kid and when I saw the film I said "I know that place,"' he said. 'I wanted to come have another look.'
Aurouze has been killing rats for 135 years. In its window hang 21 dead rats, their necks crushed by steel traps. They've been there since 1925.
'We'll never take them down,' says Cecile Aurouze, 34, who along with her brother Julien, 30, runs the business founded by their grandfather in 1872. 'They are the emblem of the store'...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:26 AM
Monday, November 19, 2007
( 11:21 PM ) The Rat
THE MALTESE COUCH, via WaiterRant.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:21 PM
( 3:57 AM ) The Rat
WEB GUIDES TO PROSTITUTION. (From 2006.)
"I know from an escort's point of view the review boards really, really help a lot, because everyone always asks, 'Well, do you have reviews?'" said Billie, an escort in a Midwestern state whose name, like those of all other escorts cited in this report, has been changed. "If they're bad, that's not good, but when they're good ones, it really helps an escort get established when she's just starting out."
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:57 AM
Saturday, November 17, 2007
( 8:03 PM ) The Rat
THANK DENG XIAOPING FOR LITTLE GIRLS. Via ET.
[T]he truth about Chinese adoption is more complicated than the conventional story about Westerners who magnanimously take in China's unwanted girls. It's not much of an exaggeration to say these girls are "unwanted" only because the Chinese government has made them so. [...]
Contrary to the impression that abandoned Chinese girls are unwanted, many of them are adopted domestically. Johnson notes that adoption—of girls as well as boys—is firmly rooted in Chinese tradition. Indeed, historically it was more accepted in China than it was until recently in the U.S.
Given the barriers to adoption in China, its frequency, once informal adoptions are taken into account, is impressive evidence that, far from being unwanted in the country of their birth, China's daughters are highly valued. It's true that China's strong patriarchal traditions, according to which sons carry on the family line while daughters become members of other families when they marry, mean parents are anxious to have at least one boy. Especially in rural areas, parents value a boy's superior strength and expect sons, more so than daughters, to support them in their old age. These longstanding attitudes explain why boys are rarely abandoned in China and rarely end up in orphanages. But the surveys Johnson and her colleagues have conducted in rural China indicate that parents already believe girls are nice too, as the government's heavy-handed propaganda aims to convince them. The idea that a complete family requires at least one boy and one girl is quite common, Johnson says, and many rural parents perceive daughters as more caring and attentive than sons.
Even couples who give up daughters, leaving them in hospitals, in busy markets, at police stations, or literally on the doorstep of orphanages (as our daughter Mei was left when she was about 10 days old), may not be eschewing girls so much as trying to complete their families within the restrictions established by the government. Because of the one-son/two-child rule, Johnson reports, the typical abandoned girl is a second daughter...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:03 PM
( 5:00 AM ) The Rat
WINNING READER-COMMENT SNARK for this, and any foreseeable, week (from here):
Candace Bushnell is to women as Norman Mailer was to, well, women.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:00 AM
( 4:41 AM ) The Rat
SEARCH REQUESTS that brought readers here between 5 AM and 1 PM yesterday:
—hairless rats that won't eat
—stores selling Blow Up dolls in Middletown, New York
—hillary clinton erotic cartoons
—Commentaries on Raskolnikov's Maternal relationship
—sale of epilated woman slaves
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:41 AM
( 4:36 AM ) The Rat
Early advertising was relatively straightforward, emphasising the qualities of the product, its potential health-giving properties, and even the grandeur and beauty of the modern factory where it was made. A particularly fruitful approach was urging the male customer to use sweets as a way of controlling wayward, reluctant or sulky women. A 1910 advertisement in Confectionery Journal noted: 'If he understands women he will take her to the confectioner's and when she is chock full of candy she will be a very agreeable young woman'...
—Sweets: A History of Candy
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:36 AM
Thursday, November 15, 2007
( 2:03 PM ) The Rat
SHADES OF GRAY IN FICTION.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:03 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
( 9:17 PM ) The Rat
THE ULTIMATE LIEUTENANT COLUMBO SITE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:17 PM
( 12:35 AM ) The Rat
WHEN CAPTION-WRITERS ATTACK! In sequence, look at each of these photos and read the captions in their entirety:
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:35 AM
Monday, November 12, 2007
( 4:25 PM ) The Rat
A SIMPLIFIED MAP OF LONDON.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:25 PM
Sunday, November 11, 2007
( 12:01 PM ) The Rat
THE MARLBORO MARINE.
Once our story identified him, the national fascination grew stronger. People shipped care packages, making sure Miller had more than enough smokes. President Bush sent cigars, candy and memorabilia from the White House. Then Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, head of the 1st Marine Division, made a special trip to see the Marlboro Marine.
I was in the forward command center, which by then featured a large blowup of the photo. "You might want to see this," an officer said, nudging me to follow.
To talk to Miller, Natonski had to weave between earthen berms, run through bombed-out buildings and make a mad sprint across a wide street to avoid sniper fire before diving into a shattered storefront. "Miller, get your ass up here," a first sergeant barked on the radio.
Miller had no idea what was going on as he ran through the rubble. He snapped to attention when he saw the general.
Natonski shook Miller's hand. Americans had "connected" with his photo, the general said, and nobody wanted to see him wounded or dead. "We can have you home tomorrow," he said.
Miller hesitated, then shook his head. He did not want to leave his buddies behind. "It just wasn't right," he told me later.
The tall, lanky general towered over the grunt. "Your father raised one hell of a young man," he said, looking Miller in the eye. They said goodbye, and Natonski scrambled back to the command post.
For his loyalty, Miller was rewarded with horror. The assault on Fallouja raged on, leaving nearly 100 Americans dead and 450 wounded. The bodies of some 1,200 insurgents littered the streets. As the fighting dragged on for a month, the story fell off the front page. I joined the exodus of journalists heading home or moving to the next story.
In January 2006, I was on assignment along the U.S.-Mexico border when my wife called. "Your boy is on TV. He has PTSD," she said. "They kicked him out of the Marines"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:01 PM
( 11:47 AM ) The Rat
HEROES ARE HEROIC, STUDY FINDS. Seriously, was there someone out there who didn't know this?
In a paper to be published in the management-oriented journal The Leadership Quarterly, researchers asked 526 World War II veterans who experienced "heavy and frequent combat" to evaluate themselves on qualities such as leadership, loyalty, spontaneity and selflessness. There were 83 men in the group who received a medal for meritorious service or valor—either a Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross or Medal of Honor.
Unsurprisingly, veterans who had been awarded medals tended to rate themselves higher for qualities like leadership, adventurousness and adaptability. Results became more intriguing when researchers divided medal earners into two groups: those who enlisted ("eager heroes") and those who were drafted ("reluctant heroes"). The reluctant heroes scored higher than any other group in selflessness and working well with others.
The study suggests that quiet heroes rely on a deep sense of duty and esprit de corps as opposed to derring-do. That sentiment was echoed by several of the medal-earning veterans interviewed separately for this story.
To a man, they downplayed any notion of heroism...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:47 AM
( 11:35 AM ) The Rat
SMITTEN KITCHEN on taking pictures.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:35 AM
( 2:55 AM ) The Rat
DEPT. OF WTF.
Eight Victorian teenage boys who took part in the filming of a sexual assault on a 17-year-old girl have avoided youth detention.
The girl was filmed performing oral sex on two boys, had her hair set alight, was spat at and urinated on during the incident at a park at Werribee, in Melbourne's outer-west, in June last year.
At a Children's Court on Monday, a judge told the boys they treated the victim in a cruel and callous manner and described their behaviour as cowardly and brutal. "It was a sustained attack by a pack of young men upon a vulnerable young woman," he said.
He ordered all the boys—aged between 15 and 17 at the time of offending—to participate in a rehabilitation program for male adolescents about positive sexuality. [...]
The judge said he also took into account they had no prior convictions and their youth.
A DVD of the attack—which was titled 'C**t the Movie'—was distributed throughout the community, the court heard.
The judge said the victim had organised to meet two of the boys at a Werribee train station on the day of the attack and had no idea a group of at least 11 boys was meeting her there...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:55 AM
Saturday, November 10, 2007
( 6:00 PM ) The Rat
SOME AMONG US had already noticed this phenomenon.
Having spent the better part of the last fourteen years studying economics, I have become so thoroughly brainwashed I tend to apply economic principles to all aspect of my life. This includes dating. Microeconomic theory often assumes a property of non-satiation. There are diminishing returns to consuming more of a good, but you can never consume so much of it that having more incurs a disutility. Thus when it comes to romantic partners, I have always believed more is better. By more I am not referring to quantity of partners, but rather their individual qualities. For example, when selecting a partner, you should never rule someone out because they are too attractive, smart, or ambitious.
However, according to Ray Fisman, while this may be true of women, men often do not have this preference. He found that men always desire attractive women and do prefer smart and ambitious women, but only if they are less so then themselves (I am not certain if the constraint is binding). For many men there exists a satiation point of some desirable attributes in their choice of romantic partner. The satiation point is determined by how the man perceives his own characteristics...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:00 PM
( 4:51 PM ) The Rat
...YEAH, NO COMMENT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:51 PM
( 4:10 PM ) The Rat
Each 3-1/2" long, 100 gram hunk of brownish Gummy Haggis looks disturbingly realistic and has the unmistakable flavor of butterscotch...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:10 PM
( 2:20 PM ) The Rat
COMBAT WOUND AFFECTS A LIFE'S JOURNEY. Damn.
The telegram that arrived on Nov. 15, 1969, was not pessimistic: "Private First Class Johnny O Brooks was slightly wounded in action."
It gave 20-year-old Flora Brooks, recently married, no hint of how much her life was about to change. "Since he is not, repeat not seriously injured, no further reports will be furnished," the telegram concluded.
Today, they are growing old together, but not in the way either had envisioned. There were no children, no exotic vacations, not even any more of the simple fishing trips they had enjoyed before Johnny Brooks was drafted into the Army—three weeks after their wedding—and sent to Vietnam.
He returned home without a leg and soon lost the other, along with his ability to speak and the use of his arms.
Today, Flora Brooks continues to serve as nursemaid and constant companion to a husband who is confined to a bed, unable to talk or move on his own.
She never imagined any other way: "I'm so thankful that we were married," she said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:20 PM
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
( 6:13 PM ) The Rat
BRITAIN'S MOST STUPID LAWS. Via one of Ratty's brothers. The most poetic among these seem to me to be:
3. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store
7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the king, and the tail of the queen
8. It is illegal to avoid telling the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:13 PM
( 10:01 AM ) The Rat
YOU'RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE. Why no, it doesn't make me paranoid at all that this ran the same week I became ABD! (Any talk of impostor syndrome is always reminiscent of this quote.) Via ET.
On a recent evening, Columbia University held a well-attended workshop for young academics who feel like frauds.
These were duly vetted, highly successful scholars who nonetheless live in creeping fear of being found out. Exposed. Sent packing.
If that sounds familiar, you may have the impostor syndrome. In psychological terms, that's a cognitive distortion that prevents a person from internalizing any sense of accomplishment.
"It's like we have this trick scale," says Valerie Young, a traveling expert on the syndrome who gave the workshop at Columbia. Here's how that scale works: Self-doubt and negative feedback weigh heavily on the mind, but praise barely registers. You attribute your failures to a stable, inner core of ineptness. Meanwhile, you discount your successes as accidental or, worse, as just so many confidence jobs. Every positive is a false positive.
By many accounts, academics—graduate students, junior professors, and even some full professors—relate to this only a little less than they relate to eye strain...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:01 AM
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
( 12:13 PM ) The Rat
FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS, Ratty thought she knew what it was like to really, really, really want a drink. But she in fact didn't until 11.30 AM today, when she passed her orals.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:13 PM
Monday, November 05, 2007
( 12:59 AM ) The Rat
YIKES. The Idiot is one of Ratty's all-time favorite novels, but even she wouldn't actually PLAY that game! From Time archives (May 31, 1954).
Handsome young Dennis Wepman moved to Manhattan from his home in Florida in 1951 with plans to write a novel. Inspiration was lacking until a friend, Harlow Fraden, confided that he planned to poison his parents. To Wepman this sounded like fine material for a book. While Fraden tricked his parents into gulping cyanide-spiked champagne last August, Wepman lurked in the corridor, taking notes. They framed the murder as a suicide pact.
For four months the deaths remained on record as suicide. Then, one night, Wepman and a literary-minded girl friend began playing the game suggested by [the n]ovelist Dostoevsky [in The Idiot]. Wepman told her about the murder. Horrified, she passed it on to the police...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:59 AM
Sunday, November 04, 2007
( 7:27 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 PM
( 4:49 PM ) The Rat
'IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE THAT'S PROBABLY WHAT SHARKS SAY.' This may be the single funniest thing I've seen all year.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:49 PM
( 3:25 AM ) The Rat
It is also relevant that Terry Gilliam is a migrant. 'America bombards you with dreams and deprives you of your own,' he says, and Brazil is about that, too: the struggle between private, personal dreams (flying, love) and the great mass-produced fantasies, eternal youth, material wealth, power. But Gilliam's migrant status is not important just because of his alienation from the American consumer society. Brazil is the product of that odd thing, the migrant sensibility, whose development I believe to be one of the central themes of this century of displaced persons. To be a migrant is, perhaps, to be the only species of human being free of the shackles of nationalism (to say nothing of its ugly sister, patriotism). It is a burdensome freedom.
The effect of mass migrations has been the creation of radically new types of human being: people who root themselves in ideas rather than places, in memories as much as in material things; people who have been obliged to define themselves—because they are so defined by others—by their otherness; people in whose deepest selves strange fusions occur, unprecedented unions between what they were and where they find themselves. The migrant suspects reality: having experienced several ways of being, he understands their illustory nature. To see things plainly, you have to cross a frontier.
—Rushdie, 'The Location of Brazil'
Cf., however, Bakhtin (posted here before, about four years back): Dostoevsky's hero is the intellectual—raznochinec, cut off from the cultural tradition, the soil and the land—the representative of an 'accidental tribe.' Such a man enters into a special relationship with the idea: he is defenseless before it and its power, for he is not firmly rooted in life and has been robbed of his cultural tradition. He becomes the 'man of an idea,' a man possessed by an idea. The idea becomes in him an 'idea-force' which omnipotently defines and distorts his consciousness and his life.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:25 AM
( 12:19 AM ) The Rat
BREATH POWERED USB CHARGER.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:19 AM
Saturday, November 03, 2007
( 3:57 PM ) The Rat
'I ALSO LIKE THE TIME-STAMP. YOU KNOW THAT CRAP LIKE THIS HAPPENS AT 2:09 AM.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:57 PM
( 1:40 PM ) The Rat
'Tell me now...' he said. So they argued about politics, and Lily looked at the leaf on the table-cloth; and Mrs Ramsay, leaving the argument entirely in the hands of the two men, wondered why she was so bored by this talk, and wished, looking at her husband at the other end of the table, that he would say something. One word, she said to herself. For if he said a thing, it would make all the difference. He went to the heart of things. He cared about fishermen and their wages. He could not sleep for thinking of them. It was altogether different when he spoke; one did not feel then, pray heaven you don't see how little I care, because one did care. Then, realizing that it was because she admired him so much that she was waiting for him to speak, she felt as if somebody had been praising her husband to her and their marriage, and she glowed all over without realizing that it was she herself who had praised him.
—To the Lighthouse
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:40 PM
Friday, November 02, 2007
( 2:29 AM ) The Rat
THIRD-PERSON LIMITED OMNISCIENT NARRATOR BLOWN AWAY BY SURPRISE ENDING.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:29 AM
( 1:09 AM ) The Rat
SHATTERING. Ratty neglected to mention before that you need to go to Patisserie Claude, where, about a month ago, and at long last, Ratty finally and completely understood what's meant by the "shatter effect." (I'd heard of it, and even experienced pale versions of it, but this was the full-blown, with-every-cell-in-your-body kind of understanding something.) Simply the best plain (or otherwise) croissant I've yet had on either side of the Atlantic, hands down. As this is a tricky week, I can't write Claude the full encomium he deserves, but there are many good, beautifully illustrated reviews online: here, here, here, etc.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:09 AM
( 1:08 AM ) The Rat
He had stopped having lifeless ones like anchors and crossed rifles. He had a tiger and a panther on each shoulder, a cobra coiled about a torch on his chest, hawks on his thighs, Elizabeth II and Philip over where his stomach and liver were respectively. He did not care much what the subject was so long as it was colorful; on his abdomen he had a few obscenities but only because that seemed the proper place for them. Parker would be satisfied with each tattoo about a month, then something about it that had attracted him would wear off. Whenever a decent-sized mirror was available, he would get in front of it and study his overall look. The effect was not of one intricate arabesque of colors but of something haphazard and botched. A huge dissatisfaction would come over him and he would go off and find another tattooist and have another space filled up. The front of Parker was almost completely covered but there were no tattoos on his back. He had no desire for one anywhere he could not readily see it himself. As the space on the front of him for tattoos decreased, his dissatisfaction grew and became general.
After one of his furloughs, he didn't go back to the navy but remained away without official leave, drunk, in a rooming house in a city he did not know. His dissatisfaction, from being chronic and latent, had suddenly become acute and raged in him. It was as if the panther and the lion and the serpents and the eagles and the hawks had penetrated his skin and lived inside him in a raging warfare.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:08 AM
Thursday, November 01, 2007
( 8:58 PM ) The Rat
'THE MOST PSYCHOTIC GRAPH EVER CREATED.' Well, not really, but still fun.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:58 PM
( 2:14 PM ) The Rat
Much of the exile's life is taken up with compensating for disorienting loss by creating a new world to rule. It is not surprising that so many exiles seem to be novelists, chess players, political activists, and intellectuals. Each of these occupations requires a minimal investment in objects and places a great premium in mobility and skill. The exile's new world, logically enough, is unnatural and its unreality resembles fiction. Georg Lukács, in Theory of the Novel, argued with compelling force that the novel, a literary form created out of the unreality of ambition and fantasy, is the form of 'transcendental homelessness.' Classical epics, Lukács wrote, emanate from settled cultures in which values are clear, identities stable, life unchanging. The European novel is grounded in precisely the opposite experience, that of a changing society in which an itinerant and disinherited middle-class hero or heroine seeks to construct a new world that somewhat resembles an old one left behind for over. In the epic there is no other world, only the finality of this one. Odysseus returns to Ithaca after years of wandering; Achilles will die because he cannot escape his fate. The novel, however, exists because other worlds may exist, alternatives for bourgeois speculators, wanderers, exiles.
—Said, "Reflections on Exile," Granta, Autumn 1984
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:14 PM
( 1:32 PM ) The Rat
HISTORIC TEXAS TOWN FOR SALE (on eBay). Note that it's already more than doubled its asking price.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:32 PM