Sunday, October 31, 2010
( 6:29 PM ) The Rat
CAT IN A BANANA SPLIT COSTUME EATING A BANANA.
Also see: Halloween costumes for pets. I would call the SPCA on most of these owners, but no. 3 is kind of awesome.
The Humane Society has some Halloween tips for pet owners here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:29 PM
( 5:50 PM ) The Rat
THE 25 WORST HALLOWEEN CANDIES.
Next to Coke, these peanut butter and molasses taffies are the most fraudulent junk food ever. We've never been high on them.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:50 PM
( 12:24 PM ) The Rat
IT'S NEVER A QUANDARY FOR SOME OF US. Porcelain pistols, via WKO.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:24 PM
( 10:53 AM ) The Rat
"IT'S A KIND OF FRUIT." You Really Shouldn't Be on the Internet, via Failbook. This is also worth a giggle.
And, finally, a worthwhile Canadian initiative.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:53 AM
Saturday, October 30, 2010
( 7:59 PM ) The Rat
26 SEXY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES THAT SHOULDN'T EXIST, also via Cracked. (My favorite comment is probably the one on no. 16.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:59 PM
( 7:49 PM ) The Rat
"ALL WOMEN ARE WELL-VERSED IN CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY." The 6 (Wrong) Questions Men Love to Ask About Women, via Cracked.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:49 PM
( 6:41 PM ) The Rat
HIROSHIMA 64 YEARS LATER, via JM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:41 PM
( 6:12 PM ) The Rat
ECUADOREAN SUPER-SNORER WINS SIESTA CONTEST IN SPAIN, ibid. I coulda taken this guy...
[The contest] was part of a campaign to revive the Spanish power-napping tradition, which is seen as threatened by the fast pace of modern life.
Judges awarded points for the speed with which participants fell asleep, the volume of their snoring, the most original sleeping position and the best-dressed sleeper...
And, final item from this source for the week: Grimm, on stage for congressional debate, comes face-to-face with his ex-wife—wearing a McMahon button.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:12 PM
( 6:06 PM ) The Rat
WOULD YOU LIKE FRIES WITH THAT LAWSUIT? via this week's Wait Wait.
Clients of a personal injury law firm in Connecticut can drop off and pick up documents at its new drive-thru window...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:06 PM
( 11:50 AM ) The Rat
"AND THIS OFTEN REPEATED." Another terrific episode from A History of the World in 100 Objects: Miniature of a Mughal Prince. If, being a Communist, you don't like radio, there's also a transcript here.
In India, the notion of a powerful ruler humbling himself before the wisdom of a holy man has a very long history. It's part of a tradition of religious tolerance that was a legacy of the Mughals' great ancestors, Genghis Khan and Tamerlaine. It was one of the distinctive features of their great conquests, and it differentiated the Mughal Empire from other Islamic states. In the opening section of his autobiography, Jahangir celebrates the tolerance of his father Akbar, in contrast to his contemporaries in Turkey and Iran. In Akbar's India, Jahangir writes:
"...there was room for the professors of opposite religions, and for beliefs, good and bad, and the road to altercation was closed. Sunnis and Shias met in one mosque, Christians and Jews in one church, and observed their form of worship."
Britain's first ambassador to the Mughal court, who arrived in 1617, memorably recorded Jahangir's own affirmation of religious tolerance, voiced during what was clearly a not unusual drunken evening:
"The good king fell to dispute the laws of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. And in drink was so kind that he turned to me, and said: 'Am I a king? You shall be welcome.' Christians, Moors, Jews, he meddled not with their faith. They came all in love, and he would protect them from wrong. They lived under his safety and none should oppress them. And this often repeated. But in extreme drunkenness he fell to weeping and to divers passions, and so kept us till midnight."
Drunk or sober, Jahangir was a strikingly tolerant ruler. As he travelled through his Empire, thousands would have been present to watch the Emperor's visits to holy men and to their shrines, and to witness his public demonstration of a multi-faith society in action. But Jahangir also seems to have been driven by his own, personal desire to explore the spiritual truths of other religious traditions...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:50 AM
Friday, October 29, 2010
( 9:46 PM ) The Rat
ATTACK ADS, CA. 1800, via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:46 PM
( 4:19 PM ) The Rat
HAPPY NATIONAL OPERA WEEK! But don't get arrested.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:19 PM
( 12:26 PM ) The Rat
101 THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK CITY IN THE FALL, via Time Out. Ratty has it on good authority that no. 3 (seeing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloons inflated) is actually way more fun than the parade itself—and perh. especially handy for those with small children, as it's less crowded.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 PM
( 12:13 PM ) The Rat
VENDING MACHINE SELLS LIVE CRABS. For days when you're abstaining from meat.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:13 PM
( 11:46 AM ) The Rat
ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE PACK ESSENTIALS, a one-stop-shopping guide from REI.
Just because it's the zombie apocalypse doesn't mean it's the end of the world. Have an ice cream bar and turn that frown upside down...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:46 AM
( 11:20 AM ) The Rat
SUTHERLAND AND PAVAROTTI SING "LIBIAMO NE' LIETI CALICI" (translation here)... because it's never too early in the day for a good brindisi.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:20 AM
( 9:34 AM ) The Rat
YES, IT WAS AWFUL—NOW PLEASE SHUT UP.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:34 AM
( 9:22 AM ) The Rat
WIRED YOUTH FORGET HOW TO WRITE IN CHINA AND JAPAN, from August.
Like every Chinese child, Li Hanwei spent her schooldays memorising thousands of the intricate characters that make up the Chinese writing system.
Yet aged just 21 and now a university student in Hong Kong, Li already finds that when she picks up a pen to write, the characters for words as simple as "embarrassed" have slipped from her mind.
"I can remember the shape, but I can't remember the strokes that you need to write it," she says. "It's a bit of a problem."
Surveys indicate the phenomenon, dubbed "character amnesia," is widespread across China, causing young Chinese to fear for the future of their ancient writing system.
Young Japanese people also report the problem, which is caused by the constant use of computers and mobile phones with alphabet-based input systems...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 AM
( 8:09 AM ) The Rat
THERE'S A LIVE WEB STREAM OF TONIGHT'S DON PASQUALE... er, tonight.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:09 AM
( 7:37 AM ) The Rat
POLITICALLY CORRECT EATING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, via IKM.
[O]pportunities for food faux pas are everywhere. Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, but months before that vote, the future president's attempt to relate to the state's farmers fell flat. "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and seen what they charge for arugula?" Obama asked the baffled Iowa farmers, many of whom were unfamiliar with the leafy salad green. Whole Foods had no stores in the state.
And Meg Whitman, the former eBay chief executive who is seeking to become California's next governor, was served a chili dog during a campaign stop and may have missed a chance to connect with ordinary voters. The Los Angeles Times explained how Whitman "cut a chili dog into quarters with a plastic knife and took a bite, pinky finger extended"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:37 AM
Thursday, October 28, 2010
( 9:39 PM ) The Rat
1,000 THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT WOMEN, via Esquire.
No. 564: Puppy eyes will get you just about everything. Actual puppies will get you even more. —Carly Hansen, 22, Santa Barbara, California
No. 763: When we run into an ex, we always play "Who Won?" And in our minds, we always won. —Aminata Dia, 22, San Jose, California
No. 400: Pay attention to the sides. The sides of her face. The sides of her breasts. The sides of her torso. The sides of her hips. The sides of her thighs. A woman's body is not a set of three or four important dots connected by unimportant skin. —Elspeth Golden, 44, San Francisco
No. 820: If the world were a beach, we would want you to throw us in the ocean and then protect us from the waves. —Krista Iovino, 32, New York
No. 63: The most chivalrous thing a man can do is let you have the last piece of bacon. —Sung-Hee Park, 30, New York
No. 23 We want you to never stop hunting us. Even if we married you. Remember why you got the gig. Don't make the trailer the only fun in the whole production. That's misleading. —Avril Dell, 46, Toronto
No. 40: We think you're high maintenance, too. —Naomi Pabon-Figueroa, 25, Pittsburgh
No. 330: Take us to Florence. But not in the summer. Too many tourists. —Rhiannon Falzone, 26, Chicago
No. 431: There is nothing sexier than following through. If you say you're going to do something, please do it. —Brittany Brundage, 21, Orem, Utah
No. 566: More dirt bikes, fewer manicures. And we're talking about us. —Kelly McEtchin, 21, Pleasanton, California
No. 333: A man who's afraid of dogs is a man we don't trust. —Juliet Garlow, 20, Silver Spring, Maryland
No. 519: When we cry and you don't know why, just know this: We'll be back shortly. —Rachel Crader, 23, Leopold, Missouri
No. 149: We will love you more if you deny the fact that we are crazy. —Michelle Dalpont, 22, Costa Mesa, California
No. 613: As men, you tend to forget things. As women, it takes us twice as many good thoughts to get rid of bad thoughts. —Lan Nguyen, 24, Huntington Beach, California
No. 895: We just really, really like frozen yogurt, okay? Have you even tried it? —Joanna Borns, 25, Lafayette, Indiana
No. 878: Our fantasy is better than yours. No really, it is. We are just too lady-like to say. —Erica Anderson, 30, St. Louis
No. 840: We need to adjust our bits, too. We just don't do it like a piece of performance art. —Kt McBratney, 27, Omaha
No. 643: Never hang up first. —Renee Taylor, 22, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
No. 235: If I see you treat waitstaff or cashiers poorly, I will probably never touch your penis. —Rachel Giuliani, 27, Brooklyn
No. 929: You should be more concerned when I stop thinking your jokes are funny than with how often I want to have sex. —Elizabeth Oporto, 26, Merrick, New York
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:39 PM
( 5:06 PM ) The Rat
PICTURES from the 16th Salon du Chocolat. If you missed this year's Paris event, no worries—you're still well in time for New York (November 11-14), Marseilles (February 10-13), and/or Cairo (April 1-4).
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:06 PM
( 5:05 PM ) The Rat
THREE GIANT PUMPKINS TO BE CARVED at the NYBG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:05 PM
( 5:04 PM ) The Rat
SPANISH PROSTITUTES ORDERED TO WEAR REFLECTIVE VESTS FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY. Not to be confused with Italy, where they just put up a sign.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:04 PM
( 4:46 PM ) The Rat
DEAN GENTRY REMINDS YALE STUDENTS THAT 'CONSENSUAL SEX CAN BE GLORIOUS.'
And, for comparison...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:46 PM
( 12:25 PM ) The Rat
ELEPHANT VS. CROCODILE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:25 PM
( 12:13 PM ) The Rat
RICHARD T. GILL, MET OPERA SINGER AND ECONOMIST, DIES. Via JWB.
A basso profundo, Mr. Gill began performing featured roles with the New York City Opera in the early 1970s. Soon afterward he joined the Met, where between 1973 and 1976 he sang alongside luminaries like Plácido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Kiri Te Kanawa and Shirley Verrett.
At the Met, Mr. Gill's roles included Panthus in "Les Troyens," by Berlioz; Frère Laurent in Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette"; the Commendatore in Mozart’s "Don Giovanni"; and the King in Verdi's "Aida."
This was new and dazzling terrain for the author of "Economics and the Private Interest: An Introduction to Microeconomics."
Reviewing a 1975 Met "Boris Godunov" in which Mr. Gill sang the role of Pimen, John Rockwell wrote in The New York Times, "Mr. Gill can be a bit stiff and awkward, dramatically." But, he added, "he has one of the most beautiful, focused lyric basses around, mellow yet with a really black quality, and his shaping of this noble music was most persuasive."
Reviewing Mr. Gill’s "Economic Development: Past and Present" (Prentice-Hall, 1963), Industrial and Labor Relations Review found the author "lucid, objective, and eminently readable"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:13 PM
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
( 9:33 PM ) The Rat
ISTANBUL EATS. Nom! Found via "Uncovering Hidden Istanbul, Page by Page."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:33 PM
( 9:11 PM ) The Rat
JAMES BOND'S GADGET-FILLED ASTON MARTIN SOLD. Looks like Ratty's going to have to revise her Christmas wish list...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:11 PM
( 8:34 PM ) The Rat
BATTLING NATURE IN THE SCULPTURE GARDEN. Old NYT piece on maintaining the objects in the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden (more pics here), at the PepsiCo world headquarters in Purchase, which JWB took Ratty to today.
With horror [Popeson] recalled the day the carpenter bees tried to make Swiss cheese out of "Totems," a 45-foot Western red cedar sculpture by Robert Davidson, a Haida Indian from British Columbia.
"And we're always fighting the guano wars," she said, noting that a flock of Canada geese and other water birds live quite comfortably around the corporate pond, and that the huge model statue of a bear was a favorite target for some of them.
Trees also deposit their litter on the art works in the courtyard—sap, leaves, branches, blossoms and berries, each have their season.
Braving the arctic weather of January, the conservator dusted the snow from "Eve," a bronze nude figure cast by Auguste Rodin in 1881 for his unfinished ensemble "The Gates of Hell." Brushing the snow from Eve's toes and with a silk cloth polishing the wax coating that protects it, Ms. Popeson said, "I love this piece." She conceded that she talked to some of the statues on her rounds. "Not the abstract pieces," she added...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:34 PM
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
( 8:08 PM ) The Rat
FALLING IN LOVE ONLY TAKES ABOUT A FIFTH OF A SECOND, RESEARCH REVEALS.
Other researchers also found blood levels of nerve growth factor, or NGF, also increased. Those levels were significantly higher in couples who had just fallen in love. This molecule involved plays an important role in the social chemistry of humans, or the phenomenon 'love at first sight.' 'These results confirm love has a scientific basis,' says Ortigue...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:08 PM
( 8:05 PM ) The Rat
PUTTING ICE ON INJURIES COULD SLOW HEALING.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:05 PM
( 5:49 PM ) The Rat
OPERA SINGERS ON SESAME STREET. Some of the links still work...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:49 PM
( 1:35 PM ) The Rat
FOOD FOR A DOLLAR. This, the bonuts, and the kitchen-inspection article have all been via CNN's Eatocracy blog.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:35 PM
( 1:34 PM ) The Rat
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU MAY NOW KISS YOURSELF.
Only 40 percent of women surveyed earlier this year by [Taiwan's] education ministry said they imagined married people could live better than singles, local media said.
"I was just hoping that more people would love themselves," said Chen, who will go on a solo honeymoon to Australia.
Chen said her mother had insisted on a groom at first but later jumped aboard the solo marriage plan.
But as Chen cannot officially register a marriage to herself, if she finds a man later she will wed again.
"If I had a steady boyfriend, I wouldn't do this," Chen said. "It would be offensive to him, anyway."
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:34 PM
( 9:07 AM ) The Rat
EARLY WRITING TABLET RECORDING THE ALLOCATION OF BEER.
Edited to add: You can listen to the History of the World in 100 Objects episode on the tablet here (or read the transcript here).
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:07 AM
( 6:17 AM ) The Rat
MMM, BONUTS. That said: "An ingenious and possibly wrong use for leftover doughnuts"? What kind of Communist ever has leftover doughnuts?
I decided to go seasonal, with pumpkin and ginger Bostock, and local, with Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. You know what I'm talking about—the ones in the box that scream "eat me!" I took a day-old doughnut, split it, soaked it in coffee, heated it and topped it with sweetened whipped cream and christened the top with crunchy bacon bits.
If you're counting calories and carbs, allow me to outline the recipe in a useful way:
1. Deep fried fat and sugar dipped in
2. Sugared caffeine covered with
3. Dairy fat and sugar topped with
4. Fried, nitrate- and nitrite-enhanced pork fat. Mmmmm. Kinda makes me wonder what Junior Samples ate for breakfast.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:17 AM
( 6:14 AM ) The Rat
WOULD YOUR KITCHEN PASS INSPECTION? a fun piece (did I just say that?!) from last month's NYT.
Simultaneously, I was whipping up two corn soufflés. The trifecta of guest arrival, soufflé preparation and government-backed humiliation was, for this host, a lake of fire. Imagine that your war crimes tribunal is being filmed while you broil scallops. As guests spilled in and egg whites were whipped, Ms. Torin continued zealously snooping around the kitchen, brandishing a tiny flashlight to look for rodent excreta, and telling me that I should sand down my aged cutting boards and retrieve ice from my freezer with a scoop. I grimace-smiled like a polar bear at a world climate summit.
Ms. Torin totted up my violations on a worksheet: 77. Flunkadelic. She offered some faint praise, including the heart-warmers "Your covered garbage can is great" and "You didn’t obstruct me"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:14 AM
Monday, October 25, 2010
( 8:07 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:07 PM
( 7:50 PM ) The Rat
"IT'S HARD TO DO THE RIGHT THING WHEN THERE IS SYRUP INVOLVED." So true.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:50 PM
( 7:38 PM ) The Rat
GOT BEDBUGS? NEW YORKERS MAY SCRATCH THAT RELATIONSHIP. I thought the fourth paragraph from the end was the funniest, but that was before I read the last paragraph...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:38 PM
( 6:43 PM ) The Rat
CREATE BASKIN-ROBBINS'S NEXT FAVORITE FLAVOR CONTEST.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:43 PM
( 5:26 PM ) The Rat
100 BEST DISHES AND DRINKS via Time Out New York.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:26 PM
( 4:57 PM ) The Rat
"SO YES, THE PIRATE STRUMPET LOOK IS AU COURANT." Manolo on the thigh-high boot trend, which Ratty never thought was going to last as long as it has. Btw those Louboutins he also links to seem not so much pirate strumpet as, er, something else.
Trust the Manolo, unless you can find the good bargain on the quality boots, you should not be buying the thigh-high boots that cost less than this.
Such cheap boots are most often made of synthetic materials by infant labor in the foreign gulag, all things which will bring down upon you bad karma in the form of difficult to eradicate toenail fungus and potential reincarnation as Russell Brand...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:57 PM
( 4:25 PM ) The Rat
"I THINK IT ONLY COMES OUT ONCE A YEAR BECAUSE YOU NEED THAT LONG TO FORGET IT. LIKE CHILDBIRTH." The Wait Wait staff eats the McRib, which I had no idea was seasonal?!
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:25 PM
( 11:28 AM ) The Rat
IT IS USUALLY better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, but when "darkness" refers metaphorically to the awe-inspiring ignorance of one's community-college students, it would be best of all if one were permitted to use said candle to set them on fire.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:28 AM
( 4:14 AM ) The Rat
A MERE TWO YEARS, THREE MONTHS, AND CHANGE since that life-altering night at Covent Garden, Ratty notes that she's now seen 14 of the items on this list of 20, five of them (Butterfly, La bohème, Figaro, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute—and, soon, also Così) multiple times. Good to know my thirties haven't been entirely wasted...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:14 AM
Sunday, October 24, 2010
( 6:54 PM ) The Rat
35 FUNNY GRAPHS AND CHARTS. Not consistently funny, but at least don't miss: 17, 24, 25, and 29.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:54 PM
( 6:45 PM ) The Rat
LADY GAGA'S MEAT DRESS IS MOST SOUGHT AFTER HALLOWEEN OUTFIT.
New Yorkers are clamouring to dress up as a dog's dinner on October 31, with butchers in the city being 'inundated' with requests to make versions.
Ben Turley, the owner of NYC's Brooklyn Kitchen, says a piece of meat couture would cost up to $2,000 and should be made from the leanest cuts of meat.
It's estimated that 15 lb. of flesh is needed to protect a lady's modesty...
DIY-minded? Check out Hats of Meat.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:45 PM
( 10:30 AM ) The Rat
30 CLEVER LOGOS. Ratty loves this kind of thing. Southern California Edison also used to have a cool logo (designed by a friend's sister, I subsequently learned), with the "S" forming part of a cord that attached to the plug made by the joined "CE."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM
( 10:30 AM ) The Rat
HELLO KITTY WEAPONS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM
( 1:06 AM ) The Rat
IT'S NOT OFTEN THAT Ratty wishes she were in Sweden, but...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:06 AM
( 1:05 AM ) The Rat
AUSTEN'S 'POLISHED PROSE' NOT SO POLISHED.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:05 AM
( 12:59 AM ) The Rat
MOTHERHOOD GENERATES TALK IN OKLA. GOVERNOR'S RACE. Pretty rich coming from such a model of American family values.
At the first televised debate last week in Edmond, Askins at one point suggested Fallin was a "show horse," rather than a workhorse, provoking a reaction.
And, when asked at the debate what defines her as a candidate and distinguishes her from opponent, Fallin responded: "I think my experience is one of the things that sets me apart as a candidate for governor. First of all, being a mother, having children, raising a family."
Afterward, Fallin said she saw nothing wrong with her remark. "I was just explaining that these things give me a good perspective on the challenges Oklahomans face, and hopefully voters can relate to that," she said.
Askins declined to say if she felt Fallin's comment suggested she lacked an important credential for a woman. She said she never planned on being single.
"I always expected to be married and have a passel full of kids," Askins said. "But none of that ever happened. Rather than sit back and worry about it, I devoted my life to trying to serve all the children of Oklahoma."
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:59 AM
( 12:58 AM ) The Rat
MUCH OF THE TEXT (but without drawings, alas) of Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book appears to be online here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:58 AM
Saturday, October 23, 2010
( 6:19 PM ) The Rat
"IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE LONG STORY OF ART AND, INDEED, OF ART BEING PRESSED INTO THE SERVICE OF POWER?" Another awesome episode from A History of the World in 100 Objects, this time on the Olduvai handaxe. (Full transcript of the episode available here.)
Note that this series is so awesome, and I'm such a colossal dork, that I actually dreamed about the British Museum (for atmosphere, probably my favorite museum in the world; for content, that honor might go to this) last night.
Neil MacGregor. The stone handaxe was made essentially in the same way, and in the same shape, for over a million years, and it must be the most successful piece of human technology in history. But is there one last secret in the stone? Our handaxe is just a bit too large to use easily. Why would you make it like that? I showed it to an expert in ergonomic design—the inventor, Sir James Dyson.
Sir James. What interests me about this is that it's not really very practical. It's double-sided—it has a sharp edge both sides—and it's symmetrical. It's almost as though it's an object of beauty, rather than a practical object. So I wonder, actually, if it's a decorative thing, or even something—you know, like a ceremonial sword, to make you look brave, powerful, and maybe to pull women...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:19 PM
( 5:09 PM ) The Rat
TODAY was the first day of the world by the Ussher chronology, and Google hasn't even dedicated a special design to it. Communists.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:09 PM
( 4:44 PM ) The Rat
THE KEY TO CLEANING UP AT POKER? QUANTUM PHYSICS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:44 PM
( 3:53 PM ) The Rat
ENGINE NOISE ON PLANES DIMINISHES OUR SENSE OF TASTE, ibid.
To test the theory, 48 diners were blindfolded and fed sweet foods such as biscuits or salty ones such as crisps, while listening to silence or noise through headphones...
Also see: Would you like a wife with that? McDonald's offers weddings.
The package has all the details to attract a wedding banquet cynic or a Golden Arches obsessive: a baked apple pie wedding cake, dress made out of party balloons, kiddie party favors for guests, and of course, catering by McDonald's.
Alcohol is banned to make sure there won’t be drunk party guests acting inappropriately at the family venue, so newly weds will have to toast their union with soft drinks instead.
The idea came about when one couple who met and dated at McDonald's held their wedding party at the Admiralty branch this year, according to McDonald's Hong Kong director of corporate communications and relations Helen Cheung.
Cheung tells the South China Morning Post that the chain has been getting 10 calls a month from people who wanted to throw their wedding bash at McDonald's joints...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:53 PM
( 3:48 PM ) The Rat
DOGS CAN BE OPTIMISTS OR PESSIMISTS, via Wait Wait.
[N]ew research indicates that the emotional states of dogs can be as varied as the moods of their owners.
Dogs can see their food bowls as half empty rather than half full, just as human pessimists see a glass of water as half empty instead of half full.
British researchers who tested separation reactions of dogs say they found that some dogs are more likely than others to become depressed and anxious when left alone, causing them to bark, scratch at doors, chew on furniture, and generally misbehave.
On the other hand, optimistic dogs are more likely to behave better and become more relaxed when left alone...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:48 PM
( 1:20 PM ) The Rat
FINALLY, somebody's thinking about ice-cream sundaes at the proper scale.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:20 PM
( 12:52 PM ) The Rat
FACEBOOK NEWS FEED SETTINGS: RANDOM OR NOT, BIGGEST SECRETS REVEALED, via WO.
Maybe you've fretted about it while poring over photos of an old flame or estranged friend on Facebook—or maybe you've diligently worked to get on someone's radar by clicking all over their page. Do Facebook's mysterious algorithms factor your stealthy interest in another person into that person's news feed?
To find out, our test subject spent several days obsessively checking out the posts and photos of some volunteers who had yet to spy him in their feeds...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:52 PM
( 8:30 AM ) The Rat
EUROPE AS SEEN BY..., via JWB.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:30 AM
Friday, October 22, 2010
( 12:51 PM ) The Rat
EARLY VICTORIAN TEA SET. My favorite episode thus far (I'm not listening to them in order, though) in the BBC/British Museum series A History of the World in 100 Objects (more on which, here). Episode is available online, or can be downloaded at the link above, or via iTunes. Much as Ratty loves tea, note that this isn't really about a tea set—it's a whirlwind tour through 19th-century Britain (and a few of its colonies), all wrapped up in a tidy, barely-14-min. package.
If, in the 19th century, you are sitting at a mahogany table drinking tea with sugar, you are linked to virtually every continent on the globe; you are linked with the Royal Navy, which is guarding the sea routes between these continents; you are linked with this great, tentacular capital machinery through which the British control so many of the parts, and ransacked them for commodities...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:51 PM
Thursday, October 21, 2010
( 8:02 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:02 PM
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
( 10:19 PM ) The Rat
HUMOROUS UNITS OF MEASUREMENT. Ratty is rather partial to the Sheppey.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:19 PM
( 8:56 PM ) The Rat
STUDY: WOMEN ALWAYS ANSWER THEIR PHONES UNLESS THEY'RE HAVING GREAT SEX WITH SOMEONE ELSE.
The study revealed that 80 percent of the time, women who declined to answer their phones were, at that very moment, being sexually pleasured by a man superior to the caller in terms of looks, genital endowment, and stamina. Researchers also found that a majority of women picked up the phone, examined the caller ID, and told their male lover "It's nobody" before continuing with sexual intercourse.
In another 15 percent of cases, female research subjects had just journeyed to a land of pure sexual delight with another man and were, at the time the phone rang, smoking a cigarette while letting their fingertips graze over the unusually thick penis that had just brought them to, on average, four orgasms. The remaining 5 percent of non-answerers consisted of women who were stimulating their own genitals, either while talking on the phone to another man, instant-messaging another man, or simply imagining another man who had sexually turned them inside out on a recent occasion.
"It's true that in a negligible number of cases, women did not answer because their cell battery had legitimately died," Berger said. "But in each instance, they had either failed to charge their phone because they'd spent the night in someone else's apartment, or had used up their battery's power sending pictures of their naked body to another man."
The study emphasized that while women who failed to answer the phone were almost unquestionably with someone else enjoying the most volcanic sensual escapade they'd ever had, there was also the possibility that they were busy gazing deeply into another man's eyes, knowing and feeling a type of love they had never known or felt before...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:56 PM
( 8:34 PM ) The Rat
AMERICAN PUBLIC ACTUALLY KIND OF ENDEARING IN SOME WAYS.
Anthropologist Loren Martinez, who analyzed the eating habits of Americans, said she was dismayed by early evidence suggesting the study's participants completely avoided food with any nutritional value, but was quickly won over after witnessing their enthusiasm for cookies.
"The way they had chocolate chips and crumbs smeared all over their faces as they wolfed down plate after plate of cookies kind of made me smile," Martinez said. "Because it was just so them, you know? You just have to love anyone who feels no shame about stuffing a second cookie into their mouth while they're still chewing on the first."
According to field data, individual Americans also possess a winning ability to ignore the problems plaguing the nation and content themselves with sitting down in front of a television and drinking an entire six-pack of Coors Light while watching people dance.
Joel Anderson, a research assistant on the project, said the study changed his own preconceived notions about Americans.
"Sure they were loud and obnoxious and pathetic, but they were basically harmless, and we kind of liked having them around," he said. "Even when they smashed our lab equipment you couldn't really stay mad at them for long. I mean, c'mon, look at them."
"The way they waddle around in their little fat pants?" Anderson added. "Tell me that's not adorable."
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:34 PM
( 6:02 PM ) The Rat
THE GEOGRAPHY OF A RECESSION, via JM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:02 PM
( 12:56 PM ) The Rat
RUSSIAN SPY ANNA CHAPMAN POSES ARMED, IN LINGERIE. Via IKM, who is always on the lookout for alternative careers for me...
According to Russia's state-run RIA Novosti, Chapman will appear on the magazine’s cover armed with a revolver and wearing nylon and lace. A photo on the Russian Maxim website shows her sitting on a red couch with two shooting targets in the background.
A trailer for the issue comes off like an ad for a cheesy James Bond action flick, except with more exposed breast and buttock—if you can imagine.
"Anna has done more to excite patriotism in Russians than our football team and the Bulava missile put together," RIA Novosti quoted the magazine as saying.
Some things may be lost in translation here. The Bulava missile has suffered failure in more than half of its 13 tests, and the Russian soccer squad never even took the pitch in the World Cup after being dispatched by Slovenia in qualifying.
Details, schmeetails, right? All they really needed to say was, "Anna Chapman in lingerie"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:56 PM
( 12:41 PM ) The Rat
ACHIEVE HARTFORD! COMMUNITY SPELLING BEE. Never heard of one of these for grown-ups before... I wonder if it attracts those same people who suddenly become insanely cutthroat over Scrabble (*cough* MLY *cough*)? Also, shouldn't they have a separate league for a version of this event that's not alcohol-free?
The Community Spelling Bee is a fun-filled, family-friendly event that is designed to celebrate learning while raising awareness and support for Achieve Hartford! programs and initiatives. It is an evening of lively and exciting competition amongst friends, family and neighbors! Do join us to have a honey of a time this year on Friday, October 22nd, 7-9 pm at the Theater of the Performing Arts, at the Learning Corridor, 359 Washington Street, Hartford.
Up to forty teams of three people each (high school age and older) compete in a bustling and spirited competition to spell increasingly difficult words. Teams are encouraged to create a team name; wear unique team T-shirts or costumes, and to bring a cheering section. We make available the word list from which team members can study. The words used in the Bee are drawn from this list. The registration fee to participate is $500; however, there is no charge to cheer from the audience. The evening also includes complementary refreshments (this is an alcohol-free event)...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:41 PM
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
( 3:56 PM ) The Rat
THE BENEFITS OF MULTILINGUALISM. Just heard an interesting BBC interview with this guy (also author of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies)—Science in Action is available as a podcast. Full text of the Science article is subscriber-only, but there's more on Prof. Diamond's research here.
In an interview with the BBC World Service radio progamme Science in Action, Professor Diamond said the study suggested that individuals reared bilingually were better able to focus in confusing situations.
"A baby that has been reared bilingually has learned from the age of three months to pay attention to the sounds of Italian and to ignore mummy who speaks Chinese," he says by way of example. "But if mummy starts speaking, the baby will start paying attention to Chinese sounds and ignore Italian."
"An infant reared bilingually has to practice at paying attention which the rest of us don't"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:56 PM
Monday, October 18, 2010
( 3:33 PM ) The Rat
"EITHER A SANDWICH, OR 33 MINERS, ARE TRAPPED UNDER THERE." The Wait Wait staff take on the Horseshoe Sandwich.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:33 PM
( 3:30 PM ) The Rat
"THIS MORNING, THERE WAS THE MEMO FROM THE HIGH MANAGEMENT COMMANDING EVERYONE TO WEAR THE COSTUMES NEXT FRIDAY (ACCOMPANIED BY THE LONG LIST OF INAPPROPRIATE COSTUMES, INCLUDING THE FRITO BANDITO, CHARLIE CHAN, STEPIN FETCHIT, KLANSMAN, CRACK HO, AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER)..." Thigh-high wedge-heeled boots from Camilla Skovgaard, via Manolo.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:30 PM
( 12:09 PM ) The Rat
CHIPOTLE ANNOUNCES BIZARRE HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST. Have to love the part about "excessive portion sizes." Pot calling kettle? Hellooo, kettle?
In its latest costume contest, Chipotle is encouraging you to dress up as the "most horrifying processed-food product" you can think of, or you can take one of their suggestions: chicken nuggets, canned pasta, frozen pizzas, hot dogs or lunch meats. (Good luck finding a bologna costume at your local costume shop.)
And what do you get for dressing up like a weenie? Essentially, about $4 off any Chipotle menu item.
The contest is ostensibly about highlighting the "horrors of processed foods," which, according to the chain's website, "fail to provide key nutrients that are important to overall nutrition and, along with excessive portion sizes, are often related to the increased incidence of obesity and diabetes in America"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:09 PM
Sunday, October 17, 2010
( 11:59 PM ) The Rat
SELF-PREDICATING SENTENCE FROM ONE OF MY STUDENTS' PAPERS.
Others, however, believe that censorship is better than no censorship, seeing as they believe that there are things that shouldn't be seen.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 PM
( 9:15 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:15 AM
( 9:08 AM ) The Rat
U.K. 'SUNFLOWER SEED' EXHIBIT CLOSED AS HEALTH RISK.
The commissions in the huge Turbine Hall have become one of the most popular attractions at Tate Modern, a former power station that opened as a gallery in 2000 and draws 4 million visitors a year.
It is not the first time an exhibition there has caused mishaps. In 2007 three visitors tumbled into Doris Salcedo's 'Shibboleth,' a jagged crack running the length of the room. Several people suffered bumps and bruises on Carsten Holler's twisting slide in 2006.
Last year a man was injured in Polish artist Miroslaw Balka's 'How It Is,' which invited visitors into a pitch-black room.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:08 AM
Saturday, October 16, 2010
( 11:34 AM ) The Rat
CAKE, FASHION, AND HYDROCOLLOIDS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:34 AM
Friday, October 15, 2010
( 4:48 PM ) The Rat
"PEANUT BUTTER + CHOCOLATE + BACON + DEEP-FRIED. THE FOUR FOOD GROUPS."
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:48 PM
( 4:13 PM ) The Rat
EARTHWORM SALAD SERVED AT KREMLIN DINNER, via IKM.
Sergei Prikhodko, an aide to President Medvedev, called for Zelenin to be sacked. It should be possible by law to fire a governor because of "imbecility," he said.
"Fortunately, I'm responsible for foreign policy questions, but I should probably suggest to my colleagues who are dealing with the law to introduce to the criteria for evaluating governors a line on 'termination for imbecility,'" said Prikhodko, according to The Moscow Times...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:13 PM
( 3:51 PM ) The Rat
THE CASE FOR AN OLDER WOMAN. Some interesting stuff in this.
Either something very sad happens to a woman at 40, or something incredibly awesome happens at 39...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:51 PM
( 1:19 AM ) The Rat
THIRTEEN CHEFS REVEAL THE CULINARY BATTLE SCARS THEY'VE RECEIVED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:19 AM
( 1:16 AM ) The Rat
LOVE CAN RELIEVE PAIN. I love that the subjects were "eight women and seven men"... one unrequited case, perhaps?
Looking at a picture of a loved one reduced moderate pain by about 40 percent and eased severe pain by about 10 to 15 percent, compared to viewing the picture of an acquaintance. The distraction task also provided similar levels of pain relief, but researchers noted that the analgesic effects of love and distraction occurred in different pathways of the brain. Love-induced analgesia was associated with the brain’s reward centers, while the pain relief resulting from distraction occurred mostly along cognitive pathways, the researchers said. The findings were published online in the journal PLoS ONE.
Other studies have shown that romantic love activates the brain's dopamine system, much as addictive behaviors like gambling or drug use do. Researchers speculate that looking at a photo of a romantic partner prompts the dopamine system to interact with other brain systems that release natural opioids, or painkillers, in the body, similar to those credited with the "runner's high" that can occur with exercise...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:16 AM
Thursday, October 14, 2010
( 7:44 PM ) The Rat
RATTY IS JUST 15 MINS. AWAY from finally, finally, finally hearing Christine Schäfer live. EPIC NOM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:44 PM
( 11:29 AM ) The Rat
HOW HANDWRITING BOOSTS THE BRAIN. Via A&LD.
Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.
It's not just children who benefit. Adults studying new symbols, such as Chinese characters, might enhance recognition by writing the characters by hand, researchers say. Some physicians say handwriting could be a good cognitive exercise for baby boomers working to keep their minds sharp as they age...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 AM
( 11:27 AM ) The Rat
RADIOACTIVE BOARS RAMPAGING THROUGH GERMANY. From August, but I can't remember if I posted it at the time.
Though the Chernobyl explosion happened a quarter century ago, high levels of radiation remain in the region’s vegetation. And wild boars are especially susceptible because of their proclivity for mushrooms and truffles, which are especially efficient at absorbing radiation...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:27 AM
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
( 8:11 PM ) The Rat
BEST FIRST READER COMMENT EVER.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:11 PM
( 6:53 PM ) The Rat
THE A TO Z OF THE SHORTEST BOOK TITLES.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:53 PM
( 4:59 PM ) The Rat
ONLY 1,203 MORE HOURS + 1 MINUTE (at most) till Ratty's next Così!
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:59 PM
( 4:39 PM ) The Rat
ADDENDUM TO PREVIOUS. Also on my mind this afternoon, a line from Caddyshack: "Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too."
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:39 PM
( 2:59 PM ) The Rat
RATTY HAS—purely coincidentally, and not at all as a result of the student papers she's grading—just been recalling those lines Tammam ibn Ghalib al-Farazdaq addressed to an inferior poet (and which she's blogged once before, here): "Poetry was once a magnificent camel. Then, one day, it was slaughtered. So Imr'ul Qays came and took his head, 'Amr ibn Kulthum took his hump, Zuhayr the shoulders, al-A'sha and Nabigha the thighs, and Tarafa and Labid the stomach. There remained only the forearms and the offal, which we split among ourselves. The butcher then said, 'Hey you, there remains only the blood and impurities. See that I get them.' 'They are yours,' we replied. So we took the stuff, cooked it, ate it and excreted it. Your verses are from the excrement of that butcher."
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:59 PM
( 2:09 PM ) The Rat
ADULTS-ONLY HALLOWEEN, in case you weren't sure where to wear your Sexy Muppet costume.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:09 PM
( 1:54 PM ) The Rat
A 30 HOUR CAROUSEL RIDE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:54 PM
( 1:16 PM ) The Rat
HOW FRIENDS MATTER TO YOUR BRAIN.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:16 PM
( 1:06 PM ) The Rat
From the moment he'd met them he'd been completely won over by Sheila and Phyllis, their vivacity, their intelligence, their intensity, even by the ungainliness that had begun to overtake them. I am going to know these two for the rest of my life, he thought, and the prospect filled him with enormous pleasure. We will all be part of the same family. And then, all at once, he was thinking of Herbie and Alan, who had died because they'd spent the summer in Newark, and of Sheila and Phyllis, kids almost the same age who were flourishing because they were spending the summer at Indian Hill. And then there were Jake and Dave, fighting the Germans somewhere in France while he was ensconced in this noisy funhouse of a summer camp with all these exuberant kids. He was struck by how lives diverge and by how powerless each of us is up against the force of circumstance. And where does God figure in this? Why does He set one person down in Nazi-occupied Europe with a rifle in his hands and the other in the Indian Hill dining lodge in front of a plate of macaroni and cheese? Why does He place one Weequahic child in polio-ridden Newark for the summer and another in the splended sanctuary of the Poconos? For someone who had previously found in diligence and hard work the solution to all his problems, there was now much that was inexplicable to him about why what happens, happens as it does.
—Nemesis, which, while not one of the top five of his three zillion books or anything, nevertheless is def. worth your time
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:06 PM
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
( 12:14 PM ) The Rat
TACKY TACKY TACKY... Liked this one even more than I like most of the stuff at Catalog Living, which is already pretty good...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:14 PM
( 10:12 AM ) The Rat
FREUD COMING INTO FASHION IN CHINA.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:12 AM
( 9:12 AM ) The Rat
"HAPPINESS PREACHER COMMITS SUICIDE" is kind of the quintessential headline for me and IKM...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:12 AM
( 9:04 AM ) The Rat
Such notions, in France today, are almost unthinkable. It is a country overtaken with what Ms. Maier calls "baby mania."
There's a loud and expensive national crusade to have as many children as possible and valorize motherhood. It is a nation where the winner of the President's motherhood medal (what other country has those?) makes the cover of Paris-Match, a place where people follow the fertility rate the way Americans follow the Dow Jones Industrial Average and where a national celebration with distinctly racist overtones erupted last year when that fertility rate reached the stable-population point of 2.1 children per mother, making France the continental European leader in fecundity. Upon the loins of the Frenchwoman, the weight of a nation.
To counter this, Ms. Maier has used her little book to place a new word in the French vocabulary, a word that has entered the popular lingo in much the same way that "soccer mom" entered North American English in 1993—and for the same reason, because it defines a new category of person who is instantly identifiable.
The word is merdeuf. French speakers recognize it instantly as a contraction of mère de famille, the traditional phrase for a full-time mother, a housewife, a woman who makes mothering her career. But the contraction turns it into something that sounds like a combination of merde and oeuf, carrying the implication that these patriotic mega-moms are "egg-shitters"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:04 AM
( 9:02 AM ) The Rat
WOMAN, 101, TO BECOME U.S. CITIZEN WITH HELP OF 69-YEAR-OLD DOCUMENT, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:02 AM
Monday, October 11, 2010
( 8:21 PM ) The Rat
LA STUPENDA, R.I.P.
Other sopranos may have been more musically probing and dramatically vivid. But few were such glorious vocalists. After hearing her New York debut in "Beatrice di Tenda" at Town Hall, the renowned Brazilian soprano Bidú Sayão, herself beloved for the sheer beauty of her voice, said, "If there is perfection in singing, this is it."
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:21 PM
( 8:20 PM ) The Rat
PRINCESS LEIA DID COCAINE ON 'EMPIRE' SET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:20 PM
( 8:19 PM ) The Rat
My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:19 PM
Sunday, October 10, 2010
( 5:58 AM ) The Rat
ADULT SESAME STREET HALLOWEEN COSTUMES, via Wait Wait.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:58 AM
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
( 7:11 PM ) The Rat
"LIKE BEING WATERBOARDED WITH TRUFFLE OIL." Review of Saveur co-founder Colman Andrews's new book about Ferran Adrià, via MC.
The quotations provided from other sources are no less amusing, mostly unintentionally so. "To follow the gaze of Ferran requires the training of a triathlete," a journalist declared in the newspaper El Mundo. A critic in The Times of London emoted: "Ferran Adrià did not feed us. He deflowered us." There is a Will Ferrell movie lurking in here somewhere.
Then there are Mr. Adrià's own comments, as recorded by the author. As an example of Mr. Adrià's profundity, Mr. Andrews quotes him thusly: "Why do we have coffee and then an egg at breakfast, while at lunch we eat the egg and then have the coffee? If you understand that, you can do avant-garde cooking."
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:11 PM
( 4:46 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:46 PM
( 4:29 PM ) The Rat
DUUUUUUDE RELAX, via Failbook. This, this, and esp. this are also not bad.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:29 PM
( 1:47 PM ) The Rat
ELDERLY COUPLE OF 62 YEARS. Ridiculously adorable.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:47 PM
( 1:30 PM ) The Rat
100,000 BONUS AMERICAN MILES FOR NEW AADVANTAGE CREDIT CARDHOLDERS. Ratty has had an AAdvantage card for years now, otherwise she'd be on this like white on rice... 100,000 miles will take you to Europe, round-trip, 2-1/2 times (or e.g. from North America to Japan twice); and this is far more useful than the British Airways promotion that offered the same number of miles last year, as AA miles are actually worth something and are among the easiest to redeem. (This offer is multi-step, though, whereas the 100K on BA could be had in just a couple of steps, and without charging as much as 10K in a year. Still, even if you do just the first step below you're effectively getting 50K miles—enough to, for instance, go to India and back and still have some miles left over—for free.)
Earning the full complement of bonus miles is a three-step affair:
—Earn 50,000 bonus miles after charging $2,000 during the first four months.
—Earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after charging $10,000 during the first year.
—And earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after charging at least $10,000 during the second year.
There are two versions of the card. The consumer card has an $85 annual fee, waived the first year; the business card fee is $75, also waived the first year.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:30 PM
( 4:31 AM ) The Rat
EARTH FROM ABOVE, via MM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:31 AM
( 4:30 AM ) The Rat
It was the crimson velvet curtains. The crimson was yet deeper in the dim light. It was as if a thin layer of light hovered before the curtains, as if he were stepping into a phantasm. There were curtains over the four walls. The door was curtained too, but the edge had been tied back. He locked the door, drew the curtain, and looked down at the girl. She was not pretending. Her breathing was of the deepest sleep. He caught his breath. She was more beautiful than he had expected. And her beauty was not the only surprise. She was young too. She lay on her left side, her face toward him. He could not see her body—but she would not yet be twenty. It was as if another heart beat its wings in old Eguchi's chest.
Her right hand and wrist were at the edge of the quilt. Her left arm seemed to stretch diagonally under the quilt. Her right thumb was half hidden under her cheek. The fingers on the pillow beside her face were slightly curved in the softness of sleep, though not enough to erase the delicate hollows where they joined the hand. The warm redness was gradually richer from the palm to the fingertips. It was a smooth, glowing white hand.
—The House of the Sleeping Beauties
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:30 AM
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
( 3:41 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:41 PM
( 2:43 PM ) The Rat
AMERICA'S 10 MOST CONFUSING TRAFFIC SIGNS, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:43 PM
( 4:55 AM ) The Rat
"We were just kidding, you know. I think it's great you haven't been with a lot of guys. When someone asks you how many people you've slept with, you don't even have to divide by three! Now, isn't that nice? To not have to lie?"
—Chasing Harry Winston
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:55 AM
Monday, October 04, 2010
( 8:46 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:46 PM
( 8:30 PM ) The Rat
TEEN WITH CANCER VOWS IT WON'T KEEP HER FROM BEING MEAN, MOODY LITTLE SHIT.
Even better (indeed, probably my favorite thing the Onion has run in years): 97-Year-Old Dies Unaware of Being Violin Prodigy.
[Hollander] is survived by two daughters, a son, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, all of whom will forever remain oblivious to the national treasure Hollander would have become had she just picked up a violin even once.
"Nancy was the most gracious person I ever met," said retired coworker Geraldine Hunter, 82, echoing nearly verbatim what Pope John Paul II would have said after inviting Hollander to play at the Vatican in 1989. "She really lived every day to its fullest, and I don't think she could have been blessed with a better life."
Hunter also recalled Hollander's humility when being promoted to manager—the highlight of Hollander's professional life, as opposed to playing the Franck Sonata at Carnegie Hall accompanied by world-renowned pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy as Itzhak Perlman wept openly with sheer joy from the front row.
According to sources, Hollander was very active in her church. Pastor Frank Davis said that she took the most joy in singing with the choir during holiday masses, an experience she would have found a hellish, atonal cacophony had she completed the highest level of ear-training at The Juilliard School, where she could have received a full scholarship based entirely on the strength of her student audition.
"To be honest, she didn't have the best singing voice in the world," Davis said. "But she really put her heart and soul into it, and she had an uncanny ability to sing any hymn all the way through perfectly after hearing it just once."
Davis also praised the potato salad Hollander brought to church picnics, heartbreakingly referring to it as "world famous"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:30 PM
( 8:29 PM ) The Rat
CHICAGO CLAIMS MOST DANGEROUS U.S. NEIGHBORHOOD, via IKM. There's also a more extensive list here.
According to the info, anyone walking down Lake Street between Damen and Western has a 1 in 4 chance of being a victim of a crime...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:29 PM
( 7:27 PM ) The Rat
COUPLES SHARE A 'SIXTH SENSE.' I did like the Wait Wait crew's take on this...
Peter. We've long been aware of that annoying thing couples do where they finish each other's sentences and predict each other's bad stories at dinner parties. But new research from Sydney University this time actually confirms that some couples have a sort of sixth sense, whereby their brains work in a shared, quote, 'altered state.' Now this would be awesome in a sci-fi movie, but chances are real-life couples are just using this amazing power to bicker more efficiently. It's like—'Does this dress make me look... You bastard! How could you say that?!' 'I didn't say—' 'You were going to!'
Tom. So what you're saying is that... a woman can get mad at a man before he's done anything—
Amy. That's right.
Peter. Exactly right.
Tom. And yet scientists needed money to study this—?
Peter. Apparently, apparently.
Tom. They couldn't just open a door and ask, 'Hey, buddy—'
Peter. Guy comes home, wife slaps him, he says, 'Yeah—you know, I was going to deserve that...'
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 PM
( 7:26 PM ) The Rat
Mrs. Eisner clasped Leigh's left hand and pulled it directly under the table lamp. "My, my, he certainly did his homework, didn't he? And of course, so did you. Russell will make such a wonderful husband. You must be so pleased."
Leigh paused for a moment, uncertain of what she meant. It was implied that Leigh had been poised and ready for this moment her entire life, that this ring signified success in a way that valedictorian, Cornell, or becoming a star editor at Brook Harris never could. She loved Russell—really, she did—but it rankled that her own mother considered him Leigh's greatest achievement to date.
—Chasing Harry Winston
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:26 PM
Sunday, October 03, 2010
( 1:09 PM ) The Rat
POST PUNK CUPCAKES. The bakery has a rather impressive photostream here as well; don't miss the fortune cookie cake, the psychedelic hookah cake, the mango tattoo cake, the Hellmann's mayo cake, the leather daddy cake, the zombie wedding cake (though personally Ratty might find the velvet revolver cake more romantic...), and of course the awesomely named wrath truffle. Also check out their donuts vs. cupcakes street fight cards.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:09 PM
( 12:52 PM ) The Rat
CHINESE AND CHINA 100 YEARS AGO (AS PERCEIVED BY EUROPEANS), via IKM.
Also cf. "A Heathen Chinese," which Ratty came upon in the 1898 issue of Blackwood's in which Conrad's "Youth" first appeared:
During the war with Japan I had the opportunity of seeing some Chinese troops embarking for Formosa [Taiwan], and greatly admired the soldierly compactness of their kit; for they carried neither arms nor baggage other than a fan and a slice of water-melon...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:52 PM
( 12:30 PM ) The Rat
IF YOU WANT TO PERSUADE A WOMAN, LOOK STRAIGHT AT HER. From 2007; found by chance last night. Ratty should try incorporating some of these findings into her teaching. (Alternatively, she could just rip a phone book in half.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:30 PM
( 10:00 AM ) The Rat
"I wouldn't be caught dead marrying a woman old enough to be my wife."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:00 AM
Saturday, October 02, 2010
( 8:15 PM ) The Rat
MUCH AS I LOVE THIS TFLN, even funnier than the line itself may be that, as of this posting, the response "what in the world does that mean?" has 37 thumbs-up votes and 0 thumbs-down votes...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:15 PM
( 8:01 PM ) The Rat
BRITAIN RECOGNIZES DRUIDRY AS RELIGION FOR FIRST TIME, GIVES IT CHARITABLE STATUS. Via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:01 PM
( 4:56 PM ) The Rat
MIDNIGHT SHOPPING ON THE BRINK OF POVERTY.
Wal-Mart noticed that sales were spiking on the first of every month. In a recent conference call with investment analysts, Wal-Mart executive Bill Simon said these midnight shoppers provide a snapshot of the American economy today.
"And if you really think about it," Simon said, "the only reason somebody gets out and buys baby formula is they need it and they've been waiting for it. Otherwise, we're open 24 hours, come at 5 a.m., come at 7 a.m., come at 10 a.m. But if you're there at midnight you're there for a reason."
And so Wal-Mart has changed its stocking pattern. It brings out larger packs of items in the beginning of the month, and smaller sizes toward the end. It makes sure shelves have plenty of diapers and formula.
"It's definitely an indicator in terms of people who are struggling," says Charles Fishman, journalist and author of The Wal-Mart Effect. "That tells you there's a large swath of America that is still very carefully calculating how much money is available and how they're spending it on even the most basic things like diapers and milk and bread. That's not the sign of an economy that's shaken off the recession"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM
( 10:23 AM ) The Rat
ROBERT MUGABE'S DARKEST SECRET: AN £800BN BLOOD DIAMOND MINE HE'S RUNNING WITH CHINA'S RED ARMY. More on conflict diamonds here and here.
Soldiers set their dogs on one girl, who was mauled and killed in front of her parents. The military said this was a warning to others to keep away from the fields; at least seven people caught near the fields were killed by the military in the last month alone and their bodies dumped.
Lucky Sibanda, a local man, showed me the wounds on his back where he was attacked by dogs after the military caught him by the fields. 'These Chinese men have hard hearts,' he said. 'They are taking away diamonds that could save this country. I hate them.'
The disclosures make a mockery of the decision by the Kimberley Process—the diamond watchdog set up in the wake of the diamond war in Sierra Leone—to allow Mugabe to sell gems from Marange—which is in the remotest, most inaccessible part of his impoverished nation...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 AM
( 7:10 AM ) The Rat
BLACK AND SINGLE IN NEW YORK. For the full, intensely depressing radio documentary, go here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:10 AM
( 7:09 AM ) The Rat
"Okay, girls, why don't we just get it out of the way so we can all enjoy our meals?" Emmy asked the moment Nicholas delivered their drinks.
Adriana returned her attention to her tablemates. "Get what out of the way?"
Emmy raised her glass. "The toast one of you will inevitably make that's intended to remind me how much better off I am without Duncan. Something about how single is fabulous. Or how I'm young and beautiful and men will be beating down my door. Come on, let's just do it and move on."
"I don't think there's anything so great about being single," Leigh said.
"And while you most certainly are beautiful, querida, I wouldn't say almost thirty is all that young," Adriana smiled.
"I'm sure you'll eventually meet someone wonderful, but men don't seem to beat down anyone's doors these days," Leigh added.
"At least not the unmarried ones," Adriana said.
—Chasing Harry Winston
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:09 AM
Friday, October 01, 2010
( 8:21 PM ) The Rat
DEBORAH VOIGT INTERVIEWS PATTI SMITH at this year's Opening Night.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:21 PM
( 8:20 PM ) The Rat
WAY TO RUB IT IN, MATES, via Passive-Aggressive Notes.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:20 PM
( 8:18 PM ) The Rat
FAKE AP STYLEBOOK. "Don't worry if you put an exclamation point before the end of a sentence. It happens to every man sooner or later." You can get on their Facebook feed here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:18 PM
( 8:12 PM ) The Rat
THIS YEAR'S IG NOBEL WINNERS have been announced! I love what an enormous team seems to have been involved in the winning project in biology... Via IKM.
Peace Prize: Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.
Management Prize: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.
Biology Prize: Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, and Shuyi Zhang of China, and Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol, UK, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:12 PM
( 2:21 AM ) The Rat
SNIF! Tony Curtis, R.I.P. Don't miss the quotes section toward the end.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:21 AM