Saturday, January 30, 2010
( 6:22 PM ) The Rat
BATHROOM GRAFFITI AT THE LANGSON LIBRARY, UC IRVINE.
I just wrote on the wall! Take THAT, society!
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:22 PM
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
( 11:53 PM ) The Rat
PREMIERE AT LAST FOR PROKOFIEV'S PRE-STALIN WAR AND PEACE OPERA.
The new version has been recreated by Prokofiev expert Dr Rita McAllister, a former vice principal at the Academy who spent two years visiting Russia where she was given unprecedented access to the manuscripts by the composer's family who are expected to attend the Scottish premiere.
'Prokofiev was a very patriotic composer and had been working on this since the mid 1930s. When war started you would have thought it was a recipe for success. But his changes could never keep up with the changes of policy and opera was seen by Stalin as incredibly powerful propaganda tool. After cinema it was what he really paid attention to and he knew the effect it could have on people,' said Dr McAllister...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:53 PM
Saturday, January 23, 2010
( 9:51 AM ) The Rat
WHERE IS YOUR BIRTHDAY IN PI?
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM
( 12:11 AM ) The Rat
Irony in this subdued sense, as a generous scepticism which can believe at once that people are and are not guilty, is a very normal and essential method; Portia's song is not more inconsistent than the sorrow of Helen that she has brought death to so many brave men, and the pride with which she is first found making tapestries of them; than the courage of Achilles, which none will question, 'in his impregnable armour with his invulnerable skin underneath it'; than the sleepers in Gethsemane, who, St. Luke says, were sleeping for sorrow; than the way Thesée (in Racine), by the use of a deity, at once kills and does not kill Hippolyte. This sort of contradiction is at once understood in literature, because the process of understanding one’s friends must always be riddled with such indecisions and the machinery of such hypocrisy; people, often, cannot have done both of two things, but they must have been in some way prepared to have done either; whichever they did, they will have still lingering in their minds the way they would have preserved their self-respect if they had acted differently; they are only to be understood by bearing both possibilities in mind.
—Seven Types of Ambiguity
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:11 AM
Friday, January 22, 2010
( 11:58 PM ) The Rat
IBID. My mom, while watching my dad eat: "Your dad is never full. He's like my wallet."
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:58 PM
( 11:55 PM ) The Rat
FOUND IN AN OLD E-MAIL from my November trip to Taiwan. This exchange happened right after the 'Ode to Joy' came on the radio.
Dad. Do you hear this all the time?
Dad. When I was in high school, we heard this all the time... [Pause; matter-of-factly:] It's not like we had television, you know.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 PM
( 10:14 PM ) The Rat
ESCAPED HIPPO RETURNS HOME TO MONTENEGRO ZOO.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:14 PM
Thursday, January 21, 2010
( 12:15 AM ) The Rat
THIS IS WHY I LISTEN TO THE BBC. From the 19 January "Newspod" podcast:
The Shadow Home Secretary thought the Crime and Security Bill was like a doggie bag. The Liberal Democrats' Home Affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said it was more like an omnibus.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:15 AM
( 12:01 AM ) The Rat
SCHOOLS STOP TEACHING FOREIGN LANGUAGES—EXCEPT CHINESE.
Thousands of public schools stopped teaching foreign languages in the last decade, according to a government-financed survey—dismal news for a nation that needs more linguists to conduct its global business and diplomacy.
But another contrary trend has educators and policy makers abuzz: a rush by schools in all parts of America to offer instruction in Chinese.
Some schools are paying for Chinese classes on their own, but hundreds are getting some help. The Chinese government is sending teachers from China to schools all over the world—and paying part of their salaries.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:01 AM
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
( 5:05 PM ) The Rat
BRITISH POLICE OFFICERS ADMONISHED FOR USING RIOT SHIELDS AS SLEDS. From last week.
During a recent cold snap that left several inches of snow in Oxford, bobbies who were seen zooming down hills on their shields have been reprimanded by their superiors...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:05 PM
( 3:44 PM ) The Rat
IMPROMPTU BILLBOARD PORN STOPS TRAFFIC.
An enormous television screen showing a pornographic film caused a midnight traffic jam in central Moscow Thursday as stunned motorists slammed on the brakes to gawk at the writhing naked bodies...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:44 PM
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
( 1:25 PM ) The Rat
JEALOUS, CONTROLLING 300GB HIGH-SPEED USB 2.0 HARD DISK, via Best of Craigslist.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:25 PM
Monday, January 18, 2010
( 9:28 PM ) The Rat
Jessie was a Philadelphia heiress, a finishing-school girl, who always during the day, and sometimes in the evening, wore her mud-spattered jodhpurs and who generally had her hair arranged in flossy flaxen braids. What with those braids and her pure, round, unblemished face—behind which, said Dawn, if you bit into it, you'd find not a brain but a McIntosh apple—she could have passed for a Minnesota farm girl well into her forties, except on those days when her hair was worn up and she could look as much like a young boy as like a young girl. The Swede would never have imagined that there was anything missing from Jessie's endowment to prevent her from sailing right on through into old age as the laudable mother and lively wife who could make a party for everyone's children out of raking the leaves and whose Fourth of July picnics, held on the lawn of the old Orcutt estate, were a treasured tradition among her friends and neighbors. Her character struck the Swede back then as a compound in which you'd find just about everything toxic to desperation and dread. At the core of her he could imagine a nucleus of confidence plaited just as neatly and tightly as her braided hair.
Yet hers was another life broken cleanly in two. Now the hair was a ganglion of iron-gray hemp always in need of brushing, and Jessie was a haggard old woman at fifty-four, an undernourished drunk hiding the bulge of a drunk's belly beneath her shapeless sack dresses. All she could ever find to talk about—on the occasions when she managed to leave the house and go out among people—was the 'fun' she'd had back before she'd ever had a drink, a husband, a child, or a single thought in her head, before she'd been enlivened (as she certainly had looked to him to be) by the stupendous satisfactions of being a dependable person.
That people were manifold creatures didn't come as a surprise to the Swede, even if it was a bit of a shock to realize it anew when someone let you down. What was astonishing to him was how people seemed to run out of their own being, run out of whatever the stuff was that made them who they were and, drained of themselves, turn into the sort of people they would once have felt sorry for. It was as though while their lives were rich and full they were secretly sick of themselves and couldn't wait to dispose of their sanity and their health and all sense of proportion so as to get down to that other self, the true self, who was a wholly deluded fuckup. It was as though being in tune with life was an accident that might sometimes befall the fortunate young but was otherwise something for which human beings lacked any real affinity. How odd. And how odd it made him seem to himself to think that he who had always felt blessed to be numbered among the countless unembattled normal ones might, in fact, be the abnormality, a stranger from real life because of his being so sturdily rooted.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:28 PM
( 3:14 PM ) The Rat
NEWTON'S APPLE STORY GOES ONLINE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:14 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2010
( 1:24 PM ) The Rat
EVEN SOME 20 MONTHS AFTER SWITCHING TO A MAC, I still can't catch a glimpse of anybody in front of an open Mac (including myself in a mirror) without having the thought flash through my head: There goes another d---head with a Mac.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:24 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
( 8:23 PM ) The Rat
MAN GETS LIFE IN ORDER FOR 36 MINUTES. Via Eve.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:23 PM
Monday, January 11, 2010
( 6:20 PM ) The Rat
At school he'd find himself thinking about which girl in each of his classes to marry and take to live with him in that house. After the ride with the team to Whippany, he had only to hear someone saying 'stone'—even saying 'west'—and he would imagine himself going home after work to that house back of the trees and seeing his daughter there, his little daughter high up in the air on the swing he'd build for her. Though he was only a high school sophomore, he could imagine a daughter of his own running to kiss him, see her flinging herself at him, see himself carrying her on his shoulders into that house and straight on through to the kitchen, where standing by the stove in her apron, preparing their dinner, would be the child's adoring mother, who would be whichever Weequahic girl had shimmied down in the seat in front of him at the Roosevelt movie theater just the Friday before, her hair hanging over the back of her chair, within stroking distance, had he dared. All of his life he had this ability to imagine himself completely. Everything always added up to something whole. How could it not when he felt himself to add up, add up exactly to one?
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:20 PM
Sunday, January 10, 2010
( 9:59 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:59 AM
( 8:51 AM ) The Rat
You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing force of misperception. And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another's interior workings and invisible aims? Is everyone to go off and lock the door and sit secluded like the lonely writers do, in a soundproof cell, summoning people out of words and then proposing that these word people are closer to the real thing than the real people that we mangle with our ignorance every day? The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that—well, lucky you.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:51 AM