Sunday, March 30, 2008
( 3:56 PM ) The Rat
IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S YOUR BOOKS. Genius. Also note the "literary dealbreakers" discussion board here. (On being forwarded this article, Ratty's beloved former prof, CS, immediately sent her back a reply that begins, "I actually thought of you immediately when I read this...")
James Collins, whose new novel, "Beginner's Greek," is about a man who falls for a woman he sees reading "The Magic Mountain" on a plane, recalled that after college, he was "infatuated" with a woman who had a copy of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" on her bedside table. "I basically knew nothing about Kundera, but I remember thinking, 'Uh-oh; trendy, bogus metaphysics, sex involving a bowler hat,' and I never did think about the person the same way (and nothing ever happened)," he wrote in an e-mail message. "I know there were occasions when I just wrote people off completely because of what they were reading long before it ever got near the point of falling in or out of love: Baudrillard (way too pretentious), John Irving (way too middlebrow), Virginia Woolf (way too Virginia Woolf)." Come to think of it, Collins added, "I do know people who almost broke up" over "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen: "'Overrated!' 'Brilliant!' 'Overrated!' 'Brilliant!'"
Naming a favorite book or author can be fraught. Go too low, and you risk looking dumb. Go too high, and you risk looking like a bore—or a phony. "Manhattan dating is a highly competitive, ruthlessly selective sport," Augusten Burroughs, the author of "Running With Scissors" and other vivid memoirs, said. "Generally, if a guy had read a book in the last year, or ever, that was good enough." The author recalled a date with one Michael, a "robust blond from Germany." As he walked to meet him outside Dean & DeLuca, "I saw, to my horror, an artfully worn, older-than-me copy of 'Proust' by Samuel Beckett." That, Burroughs claims, was a deal breaker. "If there existed a more hackneyed, achingly obvious method of telegraphing one's education, literary standards and general intelligence, I couldn't imagine it."
But how much of all this agonizing is really about the books? Often, divergent literary taste is a shorthand for other problems or defenses. "I had a boyfriend I was crazy about, and it didn't work out," Nora Ephron said. "Twenty-five years later he accused me of not having laughed while reading 'Candy' by Terry Southern. This was not the reason it didn't work out, I promise you..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:56 PM
( 12:28 PM ) The Rat
Psychologist Geoffrey Miller and colleagues tapped the talent at local gentlemen's clubs and counted tips made on lap dances. Dancers made about $70 an hour during their peak period of fertility, versus about $35 while menstruating and $50 in between.
Miller links the wage fluctuations to changes in body odor, waist-to-hip ratio, and facial features. Despite operating at the upper limits of flirtatiousness already, he says there may also be subtle shifts in their behavior—"how they talk and move when enticing a customer to buy a dance, and how they perform the dance itself."
Women on the pill averaged $37 (and had no performance peak) versus $53 for women off-pill. The contraceptive produces hormonal cues indicating early pregnancy, not an enticing target for a would-be suitor. Birth control could lead to many thousands of dollars lost every year...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:28 PM
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
( 9:31 PM ) The Rat
LEARN THE SECRETS OF FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY, via Consumerist.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:31 PM
Friday, March 21, 2008
( 1:02 AM ) The Rat
RECENTLY ON STRANGEMAPS... Ludacris's Rap Map of U.S. Area Codes:
"In this song, Ludacris brags about the area codes where he knows women, whom he refers to as 'hoes,'" says Ms Gray, who plotted out all the area codes mentioned in this song on a map of the United States. She arrived at some interesting conclusions as to the locations of this rapper's preferred female companionship:
—"Ludacris heavily favors the East Coast to the West, save for Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Las Vegas."
—"Ludacris travels frequently along the Boswash corridor."
—"There is a 'ho belt' phenomenon nearly synonymous with the Bible Belt."
—"Ludacris has hoes in the entire state of Maryland."
—"Ludacris has a disproportionate ho-zone in rural Nebraska. He might favor white women as much as he does black women, or perhaps, girls who farm."
—"Ludacris's ideal 'ho-highway' would be I-95."
—"Ludacris has hoes in the Midway and Wake Islands. Only scientists are allowed to inhabit the Midway Islands, and only military personnel may inhabit the Wake Islands. Draw your own conclusion..."
Also don't miss The Surrealist Map of the World.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:02 AM
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
( 8:03 PM ) The Rat
HEE! Via GV.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:03 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
( 9:33 PM ) The Rat
GENE MAY HELP EXPLAIN STRESS DISORDER.
Researchers found that specific variations in a stress-related gene appeared to be influenced by trauma at a young age—in this case child abuse. That interaction strongly increased the chances for adult survivors of abuse to develop signs of PTSD.
Among adult survivors of severe child abuse, those with the specific gene variations scored more than twice as high (31) on a scale of post-traumatic stress, compared with those without the variations (13). The worse the abuse, the stronger the risk in people with those gene variations.
The study of 900 adults is among the first to show that genes can be influenced by outside, nongenetic factors to trigger signs of PTSD. It is the largest of just two reports to show molecular evidence of a genetic influence on PTSD...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:33 PM
( 12:24 PM ) The Rat
MORE SEARCH REQUESTS.
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# Posted by The Rat @ 12:24 PM
Saturday, March 15, 2008
( 9:23 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:23 PM
( 9:22 PM ) The Rat
'And don't bury me. Just—uh—scatter my ashes in a whorehouse or something.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 PM
Thursday, March 13, 2008
( 8:29 PM ) The Rat
RECENT SEARCH REQUESTS.
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# Posted by The Rat @ 8:29 PM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
( 1:47 PM ) The Rat
STOP TORTURING THE WIFE.
I don't have a lot of hope for the public morality. I don't suspect this is the last time a man entrusted with high office will descend into a sex scandal, or even break the law (as Eliot Spitzer did) to get what he wants. (And in his former role as the "Sheriff of Wall Street"—i.e., a white-collar crime specialist—Gov. Spitzer was unusually well-versed in the laws that he was breaking: laws against prostitution, against transporting a prostitute across state lines, against "structuring" or moving money to avoid federal reporting requirements, to name just three.)
But can we at least end this barbaric practice of dragging your wife before the cameras while you confess your shameful guilt? If she wasn't there in the hotel room when you did your crime, don't ask her to do your time.
The practice began relatively innocently as something an accused man might do when he denied the allegations. A man's wife at his side showed that she, at least, believed the guy when he said he did not do it.
It was former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, I believe, who began the modern practice (Can we ban it along with waterboarding?) of parading the little wife before the cameras to hold your hand as you confess your guilt. The goal is to get the shell-shocked wife to demonstrate to the public that the offense is forgiveable. If his wife forgives him, how mad can you be?
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:47 PM
Friday, March 07, 2008
( 12:06 PM ) The Rat
SQUIRREL OBSTACLE COURSE, via JM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:06 PM
Thursday, March 06, 2008
( 8:57 AM ) The Rat
TONY BLAIR, THE RAT, LAUNCHES ARTISTIC CAREER, via IKM.
Tony Blair has launched a career as an artist, causing a stir in art circles with his latest masterpiece sculpted entirely out of avocado.
That's Tony Blair the pet rat, not his more famous Downing Street namesake.
Owner Helena Seget, who runs an art studio, said she had watched Tony's creative talent blossom in recent months.
"I first noticed his creative potential when he walked across some clay tiles and left his paw prints and it went from there," she said.
"I have heard of other people using rats in their art, but not a rat who produces his own art. I think he is definitely unique."
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:57 AM
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
( 9:45 PM ) The Rat
THE QUEEN OF THE ABYSS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:45 PM
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
( 9:59 PM ) The Rat
DUTCH TOWN OF VENLO GOES CRADLE TO CRADLE. (!) More on C2C here and, of course, here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:59 PM
( 9:27 PM ) The Rat
RECENT SEARCH REQUESTS.
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# Posted by The Rat @ 9:27 PM
( 8:22 PM ) The Rat
For I feel that, broadly and essentially, the striking feature of modern art is that it has ceased to recognize the categories of tragic and comic, or the dramatic classifications, tragedy and comedy. It sees life as tragicomedy, with the result that the grotesque is its most genuine style—to the extent, indeed, that today that is the only guise in which the sublime may appear. For, if I may say so, the grotesque is the genuine anti-bourgeois style; and however bourgeois Anglo-Saxendom may otherwise be or appear, it is a fact that in art the comic-grotesque has always been its strong point.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:22 PM
Saturday, March 01, 2008
( 3:28 AM ) The Rat
DUSTCOVERS OF BOOKS BY CONRAD.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:28 AM