The Rat
Thursday, February 28, 2008
      ( 12:00 PM ) The Rat  
THE CHAMPAGNE CHAIRS are coming to my idea of Hell town tonight! Go here to see if they're stopping somewhere near you.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:00 PM

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
      ( 9:48 PM ) The Rat  

After eating and drinking at a casino restaurant, [Jorgensen] returned to his hotel room about midnight and later called hotel managers about hiring a prostitute. When managers refused to help him, he made a call to the adjacent resort and made the same request.

"The advertisement is that it's just like Las Vegas, so I thought I was in Las Vegas," Jorgensen testified at a hearing regarding his request for unemployment benefits.

Hotel workers were sent to Jorgensen's room to ask him to stop demanding prostitutes. When they arrived at his room, Jorgensen answered the door in the nude, human resources director Tim Donovan said...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:48 PM

Monday, February 25, 2008
      ( 11:32 PM ) The Rat  

Also, the 30-Second Theatre Bunnies have a Twitter account!

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:32 PM

      ( 11:26 PM ) The Rat  
Remember elementary school, when all the kids were talking about a TV show they saw the previous night and you couldn't participate in the conversation because your parents made you go to bed before it was on? The dynamics of news 'buzz' are like that. If everyone is standing around the water cooler talking about the shifting incarnations of the latest buzz—a shrink said Don Imus was a sociopath on Larry King! Imus's lawyer said at a news conference that he was going into therapy, it was on CNN! MSNBC has pictures of Imus looking silly on the street!—and you're still on last month's buzz—Obama went to an Islamic school!—you're going to feel like you're still listening to a Walkman instead of an iPod. You're going to feel like 'history,' or like a 'dinosaur,' or 'old.'

By possessing the latest news, the most recent buzz, we feel younger than the suddenly old news, than the superseded last buzz. The manic news cycle, in which the hottest, newest stories immediately give way to hotter, newer stories, gives its audience the illusion that they and the world they live in are ageless. Information has become fashion cycles for the mind.

Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:26 PM

Sunday, February 24, 2008
      ( 9:31 PM ) The Rat  

There are so many people with ideas about umbrellas that the Patent Office has four full-time examiners assessing their claims. Totes Isotoner, which is the largest umbrella company in the country, stopped accepting unsolicited proposals several years ago. One of the problems, according to Ann Headley, the director of rain-product development for Totes, is that umbrellas are so ordinary that everyone thinks about them, and, because they’re relatively simple, you don't need an advanced degree to imagine a way to redesign them, but it's difficult to come up with an umbrella idea that hasn't already been done. The three-section folding umbrella, for instance, which seemed so novel when it was first manufactured, in the nineteen eighties, was actually patented almost a hundred years ago. Nevertheless, last year the Patent Office approved a hundred and sixty applications for Class 135 inventions; this is about the number approved for inventions in Class 43—Fishing, Trapping, and Vermin Destroying—which includes sharper harpoons, stickier flypaper, and better mousetraps.

And still umbrellas are seriously flawed. They drip, they flip inside out, they snap in half, they poke bystanders in the eye. Their usable life span is sometimes as short as one big downpour, and then they transmogrify into unwieldy non-recyclable trash. In 2006, the design magazine I.D., the Web site Treehugger, and the Sustainable Style Foundation sponsored a contest to address what they termed 'the umbrella problem,' which encompassed both the poor performance of umbrellas and the issue of their afterlife. In announcing the contest, I.D.'s editor-in-chief, Julie Lasky, noted, 'Umbrellas suffer from design flaws that often lead to their premature and messy deaths and unwelcome burials in landfills.' The finalists in the better-umbrella category were the Pollinate Umbrella (made of recycled materials and entirely biodegradable); the Penta, which collects rain so that it can be used later to water garden plants; and the Crayella (the eventual winner), which featured easy-to-repair ribs. The second category called for 'a couture garment constructed from former umbrellas.' The winning entry was an evening gown made of salvaged umbrella canopies, with a fauxcorset made of discarded umbrella ribs...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:31 PM

Saturday, February 23, 2008
      ( 10:40 PM ) The Rat  
KENGO KUMA'S inflatable tea house. They should set it up opposite the inflatable church!

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:40 PM

      ( 10:22 PM ) The Rat  
Joel told me about a man who showed up at the farm one Saturday morning to have a look. When Joel noticed a PETA bumper sticker on the man's car he figured he was in for some unpleasantness. But the man had a different agenda. He explained that after being a vegetarian for sixteen years he had decided that the only way he could ever eat meat again was if he killed the animal himself. So Joel grabbed a chicken and took the man into the processing shed.

'He slit the bird's throat and watched it die,' Joel recalled. 'He saw that the animal did not look at him accusingly, did not do a Disney double take. He saw that the animal had been treated with respect while it was alive and that it could have a respectful death—that it wasn't being treated like a pile of protoplasm.' I realized I'd seen this, too, which perhaps explains why I was able to kill a chicken one day and eat it the next. Though the story did make me wish I had killed and eaten mine with as much consciousness and attention as that man; perhaps hunting would give me a second chance.

Sometimes I think that all it would take to clarify our feelings about eating meat, and in the process begin to redeem animal agriculture, would be to simply pass a law requiring all the sheet-metal walls of all the CAFOs, and even the concrete walls of the slaughterhouses, to be replaced with glass. If there's any new right we need to establish, maybe this is the one: the right, I mean, to look. No doubt the sight of some of these places would turn many people into vegetarians. Many others would look elsewhere for their meat, to farmers willing to raise and kill their animals transparently. Such farms exist; so do a handful of small processing plants willing to let customers onto the kill floor, including one—Lorentz Meats, in Cannon Falls, Minnesota—that is so confident of their treatment of animals that they have walled their abattoir in glass.

The industrialization—and brutalization—of animals in America is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: No other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. No other people in history has lived at quite so great a remove from the animals they eat. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do. Tail docking and sow slaughtering and beak clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering four hundred head of cattle an hour would promptly come to an end—for who could stand the sight? Yes, meat would get more expensive. We'd probably eat a lot less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals we'd eat them with the consciousness, ceremony, and respect they deserve.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:22 PM

Friday, February 22, 2008
      ( 1:21 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:21 AM

Sunday, February 17, 2008
      ( 12:14 AM ) The Rat  

Getting high on great literature is taking on a whole new meaning.

It turns out that, if you spend enough time around old books and decaying manuscripts in dank archives, you can start to hallucinate...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:14 AM

Saturday, February 16, 2008
      ( 4:25 PM ) The Rat  
Madame. Eric, I'm worried about you.
Eric. Worried?
Madame. You are at the point of falling for her.
Eric. What makes you say that?
Madame. Whenever you look at her, you appear less intelligent.
And God Created Woman

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:25 PM

Friday, February 15, 2008
      ( 6:25 PM ) The Rat  
IF YOU'RE A BOY, don't read past this line (look, don't say I didn't warn you). But if you're a girl, you should really check this out.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:25 PM

      ( 12:00 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:00 AM

Thursday, February 14, 2008
      ( 11:55 PM ) The Rat  
'MY LOVE IS A...' Answers with more than one listing in the top 100 Google results for 'My love is a...'

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 PM

Sunday, February 10, 2008
      ( 3:50 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:50 PM

Saturday, February 09, 2008
      ( 2:10 PM ) The Rat  
ONE OF MY FAVORITE SCENES—I've always thought of it as "the manic-depressive jukebox"—from Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (the jukebox scene starts about one minute in).

This clip is also terrific, just beautifully shot.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:10 PM

      ( 11:26 AM ) The Rat  
CHAMPAGNE CHAIR CONTEST. And a few more champagne chairs here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:26 AM

Friday, February 08, 2008
      ( 3:25 PM ) The Rat  
James Goodwin, a geriatrician at the University of Texas Medical Branch, argues that when it comes to aging patients, treating risk factors with invasive procedures like carotid endarterectomy borders on assault. In an eloquent and disturbing essay published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Goodwin writes about the medicalization of aging, the tendency for doctors and patients to see the inevitable breakdown of the body as a series of treatable diseases.

'So little of what is done for old people seems aimed in any direct way at making the patient feel better. With medicalization, the role of physicians has become so expanded and technologized that we fail at our most important task—providing relief from suffering. Medical care of the elderly is particularly distorted by this new focus. Medicalization externalizes experience, whereas the major tasks of aging are internal. Every clinician has witnessed the medicalized 80-year-old obsessed with arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and serum cholesterol levels. Contrast this patient with someone else in the same physical condition, who admits that her knees are bad and that she has trouble remembering things. Which patient is better off? Attention to some proto-illnesses arguably could benefit 80- and 90-year-olds: certainly osteoporosis, probably also high blood pressure. But 80-year-olds can ill afford the ceding of responsibility and loss of control inherent in medicalization. The challenges of very old age are spiritual, not medical. The appropriate role of the physician is as counselor or helper, not as scientific expert.' [...]

By extending the notion of prevention to imply that we can stop illnesses in their tracks before they even begin, both practitioners and the health care system's recipients have come to perceive medicine as possessing even the power to deny death. Or as breast cancer specialist Susan Love once put it, 'We like to think death is optional.' We want doctors to do everything and try everything, and we think that failing to do so is tantamount to killing the patient. When you couple this attitude with what we learned in chapter 4—that the supply of medical resources can drive what kind of care patients receive, and how much of it—it's easy to see how we've arrived at a place where some hospitals can spend, on average, one hundred thousand dollars per Medicare recipient in the last two years of his life. Mr. S., tied down to a bed in a hospital he didn't want to be in, serves as a vivid reminder of what happens to too many Americans as they near the end of life, and it happens not because doctors or families wish them harm but because everybody is stuck in a system where all the forces point in the same direction, toward more medicine, rather than compassionate, appropriate care.

Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:25 PM

      ( 1:56 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:56 AM

Thursday, February 07, 2008
      ( 9:23 PM ) The Rat  
Thompson. Well, Mr. Bernstein, we thought maybe if we could find out what he meant by his last words, as he was dying—

Bernstein. That 'Rosebud,' huh? Maybe—some girl? There were a lot of them, back in the early days.

Thompson. It's hardly likely, Mr. Bernstein, that Mr. Kane could have met some girl casually and then, fifty years later on his deathbed, he'd remember—

Bernstein. Well, you're pretty young, Mr.—Mr. Thompson. A fellow can remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. You take me. One day back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry. And as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in. And on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on, and she was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn't see me at all. But I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl...

Citizen Kane

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:23 PM

Monday, February 04, 2008
      ( 11:43 PM ) The Rat  

Last summer, a couple celebrating their 60th anniversary checked into the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver with a Reed & Barton silver teapot and a note saying they had used it for six decades as a chocolate pot. The manager of the Peabody received a $30 check and a heartfelt note signed "An Anonymous War Bride of 1943" from an 81-year-old making amends for a bath mat taken as a honeymoon souvenir...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:43 PM

Friday, February 01, 2008
      ( 12:57 AM ) The Rat  
PAINTING THE WORLD. This sounds pretty awesome.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:57 AM

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

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