The Rat
Sunday, July 31, 2011
      ( 7:38 PM ) The Rat  
You've gotta love livin', baby, because dyin' is a pain in the ass.
—attrib. Frank Sinatra

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:38 PM


      ( 10:08 AM ) The Rat  
"A remarkable woman," said the major, handing a glass to Luke. "She died over a year ago. I haven't been the same man since."

"No?" said Luke, a little at a loss to know what to say.

"Sit down," said the major, waving a hand towards one of the leather chairs.

He himself took the other one and sipping his whisky and soda, he went on.

"No, I haven't been the same man since."

"You must miss her," said Luke awkwardly.

Major Horton shook his head darkly.

"Fellow needs a wife to keep him up to scratch," he said. "Otherwise he gets slack—yes, slack. He lets himself go."

"But surely—"

"My boy, I know what I'm talking about. Mind you, I'm not saying marriage doesn't come hard on a fellow at first. It does. Fellow says to himself, he says, I can't call my soul my own! But he gets broken in. It's all discipline."

Luke thought that Major Horton's married life must have been more like a military campaign than an idyll of domestic bliss.

"Women," soliloquized the major, "are a rum lot. It seems sometimes that there's no pleasing them. But by Jove, they keep a man up to the mark."

Luke preserved a respectful silence.

"You married?" inquired the major.

"No."

"Ah, well, you'll come to it. And mind you, my boy, there's nothing like it."

"It's always cheering," said Luke, "to hear someone speak well of the marriage state. Especially in these days of easy divorce."

"Pah!" said the major. "Young people make me sick. No stamina—no endurance. They can't stand anything. No fortitude!"

Luke itched to ask why such exceptional fortitude should be needed, but he controlled himself.

"Mind you," said the major, "Lydia was a woman in a thousand—in a thousand! Everyone here respected and looked up to her."

"Yes?"

"She wouldn't stand any nonsense. She'd got a way of fixing a person with her eye—and the person wilted—just wilted. Some of these half-baked girls who call themselves servants nowadays. They think you'll put up with any insolence. Lydia soon showed them! Do you know we had fifteen cooks and house-parlourmaids in one year. Fifteen!"

Luke felt that this was hardly a tribute to Mrs. Horton's domestic management, but since it seemed to strike his host differently he merely murmured some vague remark...

Murder Is Easy

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:08 AM



Friday, July 29, 2011
      ( 7:17 PM ) The Rat  
"MY WIFE TOLD ME TO STAND HERE." I love this joke.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:17 PM


      ( 6:02 PM ) The Rat  
PORTRAITS OF DOGS AS THEY SHAKE OFF WATER, via PS.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:02 PM


      ( 5:27 PM ) The Rat  
"FILTHY SHOWER, MANAGER'S OFFICE SMELLS OF STUFFED BIRDS, NO WI-FI." The Movie Plots That Technology Killed, via WC.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:27 PM


      ( 5:13 PM ) The Rat  
WORKERS BUILD A FOOTPATH AROUND THE VERTIGINOUS SLOPES OF SHIFOU MOUNTAIN IN CHINA (a Telegraph slideshow from last month), via JM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:13 PM


      ( 9:44 AM ) The Rat  
In another month, he fancied, the image of Anna Sergeyevna would be shrouded in a mist in his memory, and only from time to time would visit him in his dreams with a touching smile as others did. But more than a month passed, real winter had come, and everything was still clear in his memory as though he had parted with Anna Sergeyevna only the day before. And his memories glowed more and more vividly. When in the evening stillness he heard from his study the voices of his children, preparing their lessons, or when he listened to a song or the organ at the restaurant, or the storm howled in the chimney, suddenly everything would rise up in his memory: what had happened on the groyne, and the early morning with the mist on the mountains, and the steamer coming from Theodosia, and the kisses. He would pace a long time about his room, remembering it all and smiling; then his memories passed into dreams, and in his fancy the past was mingled with what was to come. Anna Sergeyevna did not visit him in dreams, but followed him about everywhere like a shadow and haunted him. When he shut his eyes he saw her as though she were living before him, and she seemed to him lovelier, younger, tenderer than she was; and he imagined himself finer than he had been in Yalta. In the evenings she peeped out at him from the bookcase, from the fireplace, from the corner—he heard her breathing, the caressing rustle of her dress. In the street he watched the women, looking for some one like her.

He was tormented by an intense desire to confide his memories to some one. But in his home it was impossible to talk of his love, and he had no one outside; he could not talk to his tenants nor to any one at the bank. And what had he to talk of? Had he been in love, then? Had there been anything beautiful, poetical, or edifying or simply interesting in his relations with Anna Sergeyevna? And there was nothing for him but to talk vaguely of love, of woman, and no one guessed what it meant; only his wife twitched her black eyebrows, and said:

"The part of a lady-killer does not suit you at all, Dimitri."

One evening, coming out of the doctors' club with an official with whom he had been playing cards, he could not resist saying:

"If only you knew what a fascinating woman I made the acquaintance of in Yalta!"

The official got into his sledge and was driving away, but turned suddenly and shouted:

"Dmitri Dmitritch!"

"What?"

"You were right this evening: the sturgeon was a bit too strong!"

These words, so ordinary, for some reason moved Gurov to indignation, and struck him as degrading and unclean. What savage manners, what people! What senseless nights, what uninteresting, uneventful days! The rage for card-playing, the gluttony, the drunkenness, the continual talk always about the same thing. Useless pursuits and conversations always about the same things absorb the better part of one's time, the better part of one's strength, and in the end there is left a life grovelling and curtailed, worthless and trivial, and there is no escaping or getting away from it—just as though one were in a madhouse or a prison.

"The Lady with the Dog"

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:44 AM



Thursday, July 28, 2011
      ( 8:26 PM ) The Rat  
HOW HEAVY METAL IS KEEPING US SANE, via the Atlantic.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:26 PM


      ( 5:08 PM ) The Rat  
"DO YOU WANT THIS OCTOPUS TO HAVE FEWER LEGS?" The Most Brilliantly Pointless Street Flyers, via ET.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:08 PM


      ( 4:38 PM ) The Rat  
MAESTRO RICCARDO MUTI turns 70 years young today! Also, he's snubbing Salzburg.

Muti, who will turn 70 on Thursday, did not give any reasons for his decision to stop conducting opera at the prestigious Salzburg Festival, where he debuted in 1971 with Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," at the invitation of conductor Herbert von Karajan. Since then, he has conducted at every Salzburg festival except one for the last 40 years.

Muti has long been outspoken in his criticism of operatic stage directors whom he believes run roughshod over the composers' intentions. He cancelled his participation in a production of Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito" at Salzburg in 1992 over just such a disagreement. He also is known to have privately disparaged a staging of Verdi's "Otello" he conducted at the festival in 2008.

However, Muti has praised the new production of Verdi's "Macbeth," staged by the respected German director Peter Stein, that will mark Muti's operatic swan song in Salzburg, with eight performances beginning next week. And he vows to continue giving concerts at the festival with his beloved Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:38 PM


      ( 7:27 AM ) The Rat  
IT'S TERRY FOX'S BIRTHDAY. John Brant's profile of him is here.

"You might not be able to find many people who saw him," Darrell Fox warns me as he drops me off at my Toronto hotel. "Twenty-six years is a long time. People die; people move away."

Darrell has reason to be a bit skeptical. Where do you start to write a story about Terry Fox, to many the most influential distance runner of the last half century or, as 32 million Canadians politely but passionately maintain, of any era? How do you compete with the biographies, the feature films, the TV documentaries, the narratives in school textbooks? Highways and stadiums have been named after Terry Fox; in a 2004 poll among Canadians, he was voted the second greatest Canadian of all time in any field.

During the spring and summer of 1980, on one good leg and one prosthetic leg, Terry Fox ran more than halfway across Canada, a total of 3,339 miles, logging nearly a marathon a day over 143 days, and through his Marathon of Hope raised more than $23 million for cancer research. On the 143rd day, he was forced to stop; the cancer that took his leg had spread to his lungs and would kill him in the summer of 1981 at age 22. Each year since, on a Sunday in September, Terry Fox Runs have been held, growing to more than 4,000 venues in 56 nations. These noncompetitive 5-Ks and 10-Ks, along with other efforts by the Terry Fox Foundation, have raised close to $370 million...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:27 AM


      ( 7:24 AM ) The Rat  
HOW EXERCISE CAN KEEP THE BRAIN FIT.

Canadian researchers measured the energy expenditure and cognitive functioning of a large group of elderly adults over the course of two to five years. Most of the volunteers did not exercise, per se, and almost none worked out vigorously. Their activities generally consisted of "walking around the block, cooking, gardening, cleaning and that sort of thing," said Laura Middleton, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and lead author of the study, which was published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine.

But even so, the effects of this modest activity on the brain were remarkable, Dr. Middleton said. While the wholly sedentary volunteers, and there were many of these, scored significantly worse over the years on tests of cognitive function, the most active group showed little decline. About 90 percent of those with the greatest daily energy expenditure could think and remember just about as well, year after year.

"Our results indicate that vigorous exercise isn't necessary" to protect your mind, Dr. Middleton said. "I think that's exciting. It might inspire people who would be intimidated about the idea of quote-unquote exercising to just get up and move."

The same message emerged from another study published last week in the same journal. In it, women, most in their 70s, with vascular disease or multiple risk factors for developing that condition completed cognitive tests and surveys of their activities over a period of five years. Again, they were not spry. There were no marathon runners among them. The most active walked. But there was "a decreasing rate of cognitive decline" among the active group, the authors wrote. Their ability to remember and think did still diminish, but not as rapidly as among the sedentary...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:24 AM



Wednesday, July 27, 2011
      ( 11:45 AM ) The Rat  
ROSE-COLORED GLASSES MAY HELP LOVE LAST. This is news?! (No, really—snark aside, I thought this had already been established in much earlier research.)

The single funniest sentence in this article, IMO, in terms of the images it causes one to call up, is: "Researchers adjust for that in their studies."

A study published in May in the journal Psychological Science helps show how rosy-tinted views affect a relationship down the line. Researchers followed 222 newlyweds for three years—time enough, science has shown, for the marital blahs to set in. Everyone in the study started out relatively happy and then their satisfaction declined—except in one group.

"People who were the most idealistic about their partner in the beginning showed no decline at all in satisfaction over the first three years of marriage," says study lead author Sandra Murray, psychology professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

And the effect was contagious, she says: If your partner was idealistic about you, then no matter what your beliefs, you ended up happier too.

The mechanisms still aren't entirely clear, adds Murray, who was one of the first researchers to identify the effect. Perhaps thinking your partner is the absolute shizzle makes you more likely to be committed and more constructive in dealing with him or her. Or it could be the other way around. "We've found that being idealized by your partner changes the way you feel about yourself," Murray says. In this way, positive illusions might be a self-fulfilling prophecy: We unconsciously live up to our partner's rosy view of us...


# Posted by The Rat @ 11:45 AM


      ( 11:28 AM ) The Rat  
"THE RIGHT LEVEL OF SUCCESS."

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:28 AM


      ( 11:16 AM ) The Rat  
DRUMMING AND RUNNING, REVISITED. I think the article they're referring to is this.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:16 AM


      ( 8:42 AM ) The Rat  
THE 10-PERCENT THRESHOLD: WHEN IDEAS BECOME INFECTIOUS, via Josh Clark.

The 1989 James Woods/Robert Downey Jr. drama True Believer was tepid, scoring a 6.7 out of a possible 10 rating on IMDB. That makes it a slightly above-average movie, statistically speaking. But it's possible you or someone like you considers it one of the greatest legal dramas of the second half of the 20th century. And if you're enough of a true believer that you can infect 10 percent of the population with your belief, then that’s exactly what True Believer is.

So goes the reasoning in the findings in a study of the spread of ideas conducted by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute in Troy, New York. The research found that a reliable threshold of 10 percent exists in any of three types of social networks for an idea to thrive. When below 10 percent of a population holds a belief its spread is minimal, arrested. As one of the researchers put it: "It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority." At or over that 10 percent threshold, however, and the belief spreads like wildfire...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:42 AM


      ( 8:38 AM ) The Rat  
"I NEVER WAS WORSE THAN THIRD IN THE WORLD IN MY AGE GROUP." 90-year-old record-setter says triathlons keep him young, though I would think it might be the insanity that's keeping him young...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:38 AM



Tuesday, July 26, 2011
      ( 10:45 PM ) The Rat  
PAULA POUNDSTONE on Twitter: "There's an angry teenager, with a lot of body piercings in our tour group. That inflatable boat doesn't have a prayer."

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:45 PM


      ( 9:33 PM ) The Rat  
IT'S NOT THE SIZE—IT'S HOW YOU USE IT! Test Your Vocab, via TT, who had exactly the same score I did (though I bet ET will trump us both).

Based on over 200,000 participations so far, we've got some initial statistics already. Most Native English adult speakers who have taken the test fall in the range 20,000–35,000 words. For foreign learners of English, we've found that the most common vocabulary size is from 2,500–9,000 words...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:33 PM


      ( 9:22 PM ) The Rat  
EXPERIMENT SHOWS THAT TAE-BO EXERCISERS CAN SHAKE A SEOUL SKYSCRAPER, via Wait Wait.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:22 PM


      ( 8:40 PM ) The Rat  
"AS I STOOD AMONG THE RANSACKED RUIN THAT HAD BEEN MY HOME, SURVEYING THE AFTERMATH OF THE SENSELESS HORRORS AND ATROCITIES THAT HAD BEEN PERPETRATED ON MY FAMILY AND EVERYTHING I HOLD DEAR, I SWORE TO MYSELF THAT NO MATTER WHERE I HAD TO GO, NO MATTER WHAT I HAD TO DO OR ENDURE, I WOULD FIND THE MAN WHO DID THIS... AND WHEN I DID, WHEN I DID, OH, THERE WOULD BE WORDS." The winners of Bulwer-Lytton 2011 have been announced. (Via WC.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:40 PM


      ( 6:53 PM ) The Rat  
WHY HARRY POTTER'S LATEST TRICK IS TO SPEAK A SYRIAN DIALECT, via WC.

For years, few in the industry gave using classical a second thought—until a Turkish soap opera called "Noor" was broadcast in 2008.

Looking for something new, MBC Group, the region's biggest broadcaster, took a counterintuitive decision, especially for a Saudi Arabian-owned company: dub the series into vernacular Syrian Arabic, and yet still distribute it across the Middle East.

It was a megahit, despite the original having flopped in Turkey when it was launched, and its male co-star became a heartthrob for women across the region.

The dubbing industry took off. Today, more than 100,000 technicians, voice actors, script writers and executives work in Beirut, Damascus and Cairo to transform everything from "Ugly Betty" to "CSI" and "Star Trek" into convincing and compelling Arabic.

This isn't always easy. Big networks and boutique dubbing houses hire focus groups and tap family and friends for clues to the elusive, high-stakes choice of dialect.

"Sometimes we grab people off the street and say, 'Have a coffee. Watch. What do you think of that?'" says Mohamed Hammad, an Egyptian owner of a dubbing company based in Amman, Jordan.

The BBC once tried dubbing the popular British children's show "Teletubbies" into Syrian Arabic. Wrong choice. "Not even the kids enjoyed it," says Joseph Akiki, who owns a dubbing house in Beirut.

When it released the show in classical Arabic, the language most children's programs are in, it was a hit...

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:53 PM


      ( 2:57 PM ) The Rat  
BEFORE AND AFTER SHOTS OF JOGGERS. Two things: 1) I hate the term "jogger"; 2) but this does make me feel better about my race-day photographs.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:57 PM


      ( 8:20 AM ) The Rat  
HOLLYWOOD AUCTION ENDS MYTH OF ZAFTIG MARILYN. I assume everyone had already figured out the dress-size part, given what women's vanity sizing has been like for years now; still, it sounds like Marilyn was even tinier than one might imagine. (Scarlett O'Hara, fully laced and pre-childbirth, had a 19" waist.)

In fact, the average waist measurement of the four Monroe dresses was a mere 22 inches, according to Lisa Urban, the Hollywood consultant who dressed the mannequins and took measurements for me. Even Monroe's bust was a modest 34 inches.

The other actresses' costumes provided further context. "It's like half a person," marveled a visitor at the sight of Claudette Colbert's gold-lame "Cleopatra" gown (waist 18 inches). "That waist is the size of my thigh," said a tall, slim man, looking at Carole Lombard's dress from "No Man of Her Own" (a slight exaggeration—it was 21 inches). Approaching Katharine Hepburn's "Mary of Scotland" costumes, a plump woman declared with a mixture of envy and disgust, "Another skinny one."

The pattern she noticed was real. At my request, Urban took waist measurements on garments worn by 16 different stars, from Mary Pickford in 1929 (20 inches) to Barbra Streisand in 1969 (24 inches). The thickest waist she found was Mae West's 26 inches in "Myra Breckinridge," when the actress was 77 years old...


# Posted by The Rat @ 8:20 AM


      ( 8:17 AM ) The Rat  
"ENCASED MEAT ADVENTURES." There's a bad pickup line in there somewhere. Riding the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, via Serious Eats. (Don't miss the comment by "thingstea.")

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:17 AM


      ( 8:10 AM ) The Rat  
"GREAT IDEA BUT WOULDN'T WORK HERE, THE DUDE ON THE BIKE WOULD JUST STEAL YOUR STUFF." (Reader comment on the RW link to this story.) Home Run, a startup that transports your bag (by eco-friendly bike, even) so you can run home from the office, is just launching in London. I would totally have used this service back when I was still in 9-to-5 jobs (except maybe on the days it was more 10-to-midnight), if they'd had it in New York. (And if the dude on the bike wasn't going to just steal your stuff.)

That said, the idea of Londoners traveling anywhere in anything but dead silence is a bit hard to imagine. Maybe it'll mostly be used by chatty Amurricans? Also, much as I love this idea, if anybody ever tries to roll it out in Paris, they should be killed.

The runs are designed to be social, with runners encouraged to chat. "Lots have said that they don't even realise they are exercising," said Mr Loy. "They are so happy chatting away that they forget they are running a journey that would usually take them over half an hour by Tube and normally be completed in total silence."

Currently, runs go from Charing Cross to Clapham Common. The next routes to be launched will be Waterloo to Clapham Junction and Canary Wharf to Waterloo, with plans for more across the capital as demand grows.

"There are a lot of people who don't actually travel that far, perhaps four to five miles, to work," said Mr Loy...


# Posted by The Rat @ 8:10 AM



Monday, July 25, 2011
      ( 6:48 PM ) The Rat  
"IT'S LIKE IT SEALS YOUR MOUTH CLOSED AFTER IT ENTERS. IT'S A SANDWICH THAT NEVER WANTS YOU TO LOVE ANOTHER." The Wait Wait staff eat the Sticky Burger.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:48 PM


      ( 6:46 PM ) The Rat  
RUBIK'S BATTENBURG, via WC.

Battenberg cakes are constructed of rectangular pieces of alternatively coloured Victoria sponge cake, sandwiched together by jam and held together with walls of marzipan. We decided that the different pieces of cake could by dyed the traditional six colours of the Rubik's cube—white, red, blue, orange, green and yellow. Then to make the cake a little more Rubik's like, we decided to have each slice of the cake reveal a different combination of coloured squares, just like a Rubik's cube...

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:46 PM


      ( 3:18 PM ) The Rat  
ANIMALS DRAWN POORLY ON COCKTAIL NAPKINS WITH LASERS SHOOTING OUT OF THEIR EYES—SERIES TWO. Via (could you have guessed?) WC.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:18 PM


      ( 11:36 AM ) The Rat  
THEFT SUSPECT BIKES, RUNS, AND SWIMS FROM POLICE, via RW on Facebook.

A Wausau teen completed a mini-triathlon of sorts Friday morning that ended with him wearing handcuffs...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:36 AM


      ( 10:56 AM ) The Rat  
DOMESTIC CATS DO NOT SHOW CAUSAL UNDERSTANDING IN A STRING-PULLING TASK, via Discoblog.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:56 AM


      ( 10:52 AM ) The Rat  
"BEING KIND TO OTHERS FELL DRAMATICALLY IN IMPORTANCE OVER 10 YEARS." Onion-esque.

"I was shocked, especially by the dramatic changes in the last 10 years," said Yalda T. Uhls, a UCLA doctoral student in developmental psychology and the lead author of the study. "I thought fame would be important but did not expect this drastic an increase or such a dramatic decrease in other values, such as community feeling. If you believe that television reflects the culture, as I do, then American culture has changed drastically."

Community feeling (being part of a group) was the No. 1 value in 1967, 1977 and 1997, and it was the No. 2 value in 1987, the study found. By 2007, however, it had fallen out of the top 10, to 11th.

"The rise of fame in preteen television may be one influence in the documented rise of narcissism in our culture," said the study's senior author, Patricia M. Greenfield, a UCLA distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles. "Popular television shows are part of the environment that causes the increased narcissism, but they also reflect the culture. They both reflect it and serve as a powerful socialization force for the next generation"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:52 AM


      ( 10:38 AM ) The Rat  
WHY DOES MY CAR SMELL LIKE COOKIES? via WC.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:38 AM


      ( 10:35 AM ) The Rat  
KIDS LIVING IN THE CITY ARE AT HIGHER RISK FOR ALLERGIES AND ASTHMA.

If your child suffers with allergies and asthma, your family probably lives in a city, not on a farm. It's not the city pollution that's to blame either, in fact it's the cleanliness...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:35 AM


      ( 10:32 AM ) The Rat  
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ORDER EVERY MIX-IN AT COLD STONE CREAMERY? I would've thought the answer to that would be obvious...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:32 AM


      ( 10:26 AM ) The Rat  
LAST MALE HEIR TO BLOODLINE WATCHES MOVIE ALONE ON LAPTOP, via the Onion.

While claiming that watching a film in solitude without any female to fulfill his male biological imperative was a "pretty nice night," Brandten was momentarily deterred when his Internet connection slowed down significantly for a period of almost 10 minutes.

"This thing is buffering at a crawl tonight," said Brandten, whose 19th-century namesake Nathaniel Lee Brandten once led his kin across barren wilderness in a tragic half-decade trek from Boston to the Pacific Northwest. "I'm not even watching it in full-screen mode. Why is it so slow?"

"And you'd think a movie like this would be available in HD, too," added the great-great-grandson of wounded World War I flying ace Wilbur Brandten, who vowed to make it home from the war alive no matter what the cost so he could pass on the Brandten family name. "Not sure what that's all about"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:26 AM


      ( 9:45 AM ) The Rat  
"BUT IT IS ONLY THROUGH A WILLFUL MISUNDERSTANDING OF BROWN'S LIFE STORY, AND OF THE PREMISE OF THE BOOK THAT MADE HER FAMOUS, THAT ANYONE COULD PROMOTE THE NOTION THAT BROWN'S WORK HAS BEEN DEDICATED TO ANY CAUSE OTHER THAN HOW TO WIN A HUSBAND." Review of a new book about Helen Gurley Brown, via the Atlantic. A lot of striking passages in this; the sentence that most stops me in my tracks is the one beginning "In fact, I had never loved anyone yet..." I'm excerpting a different passage below that's more representative of the article as a whole.

And then, just as the clock was striking midnight, the hand of God. At 35, she met David Brown, a Hollywood producer nursing himself through a second divorce on a diet of starlets. Helen moved into an apartment near his house and waited him out. After two years, they married and fell into the kind of companionable, happy domestic partnership that a worldly man of 43—one whose pleasures have begun to center more on the Sunday walk through Will Rogers Park and the early dinner followed by a confection of No-Cal orange soda and ice milk for dessert than on the relentless pursuit of sexual innovation—can find in a woman a few years his junior and no longer hoping to have children.

One weekend when she was out of town visiting family in Arkansas, something happened that fell along almost mythic lines. Poking around in her papers, he came across a cache of love letters between Helen and a married man she had once met on an airplane. The letters excited David, who must have read them the way spouses always read such things: with guilt for prying into something private, a sense of betrayal at not really being the first—as one is always assured—to have tendered such deep emotions, and a new titillating regard for a person who can seem, at times, like a roommate.

When Helen came home, he had a plan: she would write a book, based on her days entertaining so many men, some married, some not. It was a project through which the aging lovers would excite one another...


# Posted by The Rat @ 9:45 AM



Sunday, July 24, 2011
      ( 8:10 PM ) The Rat  
WHOA. Rashomon is on Hulu! I couldn't bear to watch such a great film on a small screen, but that's still pretty sweet.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:10 PM


      ( 7:32 PM ) The Rat  
WEDNESDAY NIGHT IS ALL RIGHT FOR LOVING. I would've wanted to find out whether adventurousness tips the balance more than extroversion does, or vice versa.

Two measures he studied were explicitly concerned with sex: what percentage of singles out on a given evening listed casual sex as a "romantic priority" and what percentage was willing to sleep with someone on a first date. The other two measures were less sex-centric: what percentage described themselves as extroverted and what percentage fancied themselves as adventurous.

When he put all the numbers together, he got a curious result. Weekdays, not weekends, are better for singles on the prowl—and the mix of people out on Wednesday nights are the friskiest...


# Posted by The Rat @ 7:32 PM


      ( 6:39 PM ) The Rat  
"DORM CREW IS ACTUALLY A GOOD SHORTHAND FOR THE CLASS SITUATION AT HARVARD. TO SOME PEOPLE THE SERVICE IS TOTALLY INVISIBLE, AND TO MOST OF THE PEOPLE DOINT IT IT IS A WINDOW INTO A WORLD THAT IS EQUALLY INVISIBLE. A WORLD WHERE YOU'D ABANDON A BRAND NEW BURBERRY SCARF ($325)." What's Invisible at Harvard: A Conversation.

KW. There's this myth of self-sufficiency and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps that is cultivated obviously not only at Harvard, but Harvard is such a great way to hyperbolize it: You, Harvard Student, are no different from anyone else in this country. You could start with $0 in your pocket and through hard work and ability become the president one day. All you have to do is avoid the temptation of spending all your money on take-out. Feel great about the fact that you're here, because it means you're smart and not lazy like all those poor people out there who didn’t make it to Harvard. It definitely has nothing to do with privilege or social capital.

SJC. I believe you have my favorite Harvard story about secret wealth. Several of my favorites, but I'm talking about the car one.

KW. Wait, which car one? I've already forgotten it.

SJC. The one where the chick from your section had the secret Escalade? That her parents paid for her to park at the Charles Hotel all year? To me that was the epitome of Harvard class interactions: everyone seems relatively normal, then all of a sudden you find out the person next to you in lecture has a Cadillac they pay to park at a four-star hotel. [...] Once I had invited this professor (who shall remain unnamed, but who was, for the record, a genuinely smart and lovely person and a dedicated teacher who gave me the first A I ever got on a paper at Harvard), to a faculty dinner. We were making small talk. He asked me where I was from. He asked me what my parents did, and I said they were a nurse and a cop. This was, junior year? Now I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't get an A until junior year, but whatever—it was far enough in that I had figured out that lots of people in the Harvard community were weirded out by jobs like "cop" and "nurse" even though I had always thought those were really pretty middle-class jobs? Ah, naïveté. I still remember the look on this guy's face—and he said, in possibly the most weirdly condescending tone possible, "Oh, how interesting. So how do they feel about you being at Harvard?"

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:39 PM


      ( 5:55 PM ) The Rat  
BETTER BOOK TITLES on Measure for Measure.

Also see this, this, and this*.

*Ratty had not been aware that Rebecca was a WW2 code source?!

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:55 PM


      ( 5:49 PM ) The Rat  
"ITS NOT GAY IF ITS UNDER WATER," via Failbook.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:49 PM


      ( 5:26 PM ) The Rat  
WEEK IN PARIS AND SUPPORTING CHARACTER, via Postsecret.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:26 PM


      ( 5:19 PM ) The Rat  
WHEN MOM AND DAD SHARE IT ALL—ADVENTURES IN EQUAL PARENTING, from a 2008 NYTM.

[Deutsch] has a similar response to those who say that they would love to share equally but that one parent—almost always the wife—has parenting or housekeeping standards that the other cannot (or will not) meet. Dad dresses the children wrong and diapers them wrong and sends inadequate thank-you notes and leaves the house a mess. This may look like a cranky power struggle, Deutsch says, but the dynamic, which sociologists call "gatekeeping," also reflects social pressures.

Women, she says, know that the world is watching and judging. If the toddler's clothes don't match, if the thank-you notes don't get written, if the house is a shambles, it is seen as her fault, making her overly invested in the outcome. Many women will also admit to the frisson of superiority, of a particular form of gratification, when they are the more competent parent, the one who can better soothe the tears in the middle of the night.

Deutch says that equality in parenting should be every couple's goal. Yet, as we all know, the nuances of relationships are complicated, built on foundations that even we may not see until we try to alter them. If your partner's ambition is what attracted you in the first place and if his/her decision to dilute that ambition would make you think less of him/her, then this is not for you. If part of the security and warmth you feel from marriage is because of the familiarity and tradition of husband and wife roles, this won't work for you, either. And if one of you is dead set against it or if both of you think the required regimentation that comes with equal sharing just isn’t a way to live, then Deutsch probably won't persuade you. So go with your comfort level. But understand where that feeling of comfort comes from...

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:19 PM


      ( 3:12 PM ) The Rat  
HEH! Via IKM.

Scientists who asserted last year that they could predict with 77 percent accuracy who would live past 100 have retracted their report in the journal Science, yet say they are right anyway...

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:12 PM


      ( 1:59 AM ) The Rat  
Then I fell in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world.
We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other's eyes.
We were so very much in love.
Then one day, he went away. And I thought I'd die—but I didn't.
"Is That All There Is?"

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:59 AM



Saturday, July 23, 2011
      ( 10:41 PM ) The Rat  
CHINESE NEW YEAR, an online tour from the British Museum.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:41 PM


      ( 9:59 PM ) The Rat  
"I HONESTLY WASN'T TRYING TO COMPETE WITH GENOCIDE... BUT SHE SEEMED TO THINK THAT I WAS." The first video interview ever (from June 2010) with Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half.

Speaking of which, go here to see a cake someone made in homage to the one in "The God of Cake."

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:59 PM


      ( 8:51 PM ) The Rat  
"A guy brings his wife or his girl friend. A chick brings in her man. They have a few drinks. That's what we're selling, right? Lady comes on. Sure, she's beautiful. But I've had better looking chicks singing in here and they don't cause no trouble. Lady does her number. Sure she's sexy. But she don't work at it like some of them. I've seen girls throw themselves at two guys at a table, and their wives think it's cute as hell. Billie don't do nothing. She just sings 'Love for Sale.' Or anything. Follow me and climb the stairs. Some man at a table of four starts looking at her. His wife has had one drink too many and she starts looking at the way her husband is looking at Lady. Ice starts rattling and purses start banging and chairs start scraping and people start coming apart. Why, I've seen as many as twenty-seven fights start in one week while Lady's here..."
—I'm assuming exaggerated, but nonetheless impressive, account quoted in this

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:51 PM


      ( 8:43 PM ) The Rat  
"Most people build as they live—as a matter of routine and senseless accident. But a few understand that building is a great symbol. We live in our minds, and existence is the attempt to bring that life into physical reality, to state it in gesture and form. For the man who understands this, a house he owns is a statement of his life. If he doesn't build, when he has the means, it's because his life has not been what he wanted."
The Fountainhead

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:43 PM


      ( 8:12 PM ) The Rat  
ORGANISERS CRITICISED FOR ALLOWING RACES IN 'TOO HOT AND DANGEROUS' WATER.

Of 35 men entered in the race, only 19 finished, with 10 pulling out before the end. Six decided not to start...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:12 PM


      ( 8:11 PM ) The Rat  
DERRY POLICE IN 'SHAM WEDDING' ARREST BLUNDER.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:11 PM


      ( 7:53 PM ) The Rat  
"THERE'S ONLY TWO KINDS OF MUSIC—BLUES AND ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH." (Attrib. Townes Van Zandt.) Amy Winehouse, R.I.P.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:53 PM


      ( 7:37 PM ) The Rat  
STILL COUNTING CALORIES? YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS PLAN MAY BE OUTDATED, via SJ.

The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound)...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:37 PM


      ( 7:28 PM ) The Rat  
WHY ARE GREAT TEACHERS LEAVING THE CLASSROOM?

Making it simpler to remove bad teachers from the classroom has been a hot topic in education reform, but policy-makers might want to shift gears and spend more time ensuring effective teachers stick around. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of teachers leave after one year, and 46 percent leave the profession before their fifth year. However, in nations with the highest results on international tests, the teacher turnover rate is only 3 percent. So what's happening with American teachers that makes them leave the classroom in droves?

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:28 PM


      ( 7:23 PM ) The Rat  
BABY RACING IN LITHUANIA. Ratty's seen this once Stateside, with similar results in terms of the entrants showing a marked tendency to veer off-course...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:23 PM


      ( 6:35 PM ) The Rat  
"GOOD OLD SLAVOJ ZIZEK IS ALSO ON THE CASE. 'FOR ZIZEK,' THE EDITOR INFORMS US, 'THE MAN WHO TAKES VIAGRA HAS A PENIS, BUT NO PHALLUS.'" I get the sense the author thoroughly enjoyed writing this review of The Philosophy of Viagra: Bioethical Responses to the Viagrification of the Modern World.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:35 PM


      ( 5:34 PM ) The Rat  
DIOCESE OF ORANGE OFFERS $50 MILLION FOR THE CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL. Wacky.

Orange Bishop Tod Brown has said the diocese needs a worship space for the more than 1.2 million parishioners in the area and the 3,000-seat cathedral is a less expensive alternative to building a new cathedral. The diocese has considered a project in Santa Ana that would cost at least $100 million.

The Catholic Church would renovate portions of the cathedral to bring it in line with worship practices...

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:34 PM


      ( 3:34 PM ) The Rat  
MUSICIANS' BRAINS STAY SHARP AS THEY AGE.

Engaging in musical activity for most of one's lifetime significantly helps remember names, and enhances nonverbal memory, the ability to work based on what one sees, and mental agility during old age. The habit of physical exercise, in addition to musical involvement, further adds to mental lucidity in old age. Starting musical training early and continuing it for several years have a favorable effect on metal abilities during old age. Musical training also seems to enhance verbal prowess and the general IQ of a person, although it is possible that people with higher IQ tend to pursue music more seriously...

Recalls parts of Oliver Sacks's Musicophilia—don't have the book on me at the moment, but here's a relevant bit from the NYT review ("Music has been used successfully as a treatment for many kinds of mental suffering. Indeed the benefits of the singing cure are more evident than those of the talking one..."):

Thanks to the willingness of others to be scanned, though, we now know that musicians' brains are different. The corpus callosum, which connects the brain's two hemispheres, is bigger in professional musicians. And people with absolute pitch (that is, those who can immediately name a heard note) have an asymmetric enlargement in a part of the auditory cortex. Because of this, and because of other distinctive differences in the distribution of gray matter, Sacks says that anatomists now have no difficulty in spotting the brain of a professional musician. (They cannot yet do this for the brain of a writer or visual artist.) It is not clear to what extent such marks of a musical brain are innate and to what extent they are the result of musical training and practice. But according to Sacks, these markers are strongly correlated with the age at which musical training begins and with the intensity of practice...

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:34 PM


      ( 3:00 PM ) The Rat  
"IN THE SECOND MOVEMENT THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL PASSAGE... JUST BEAUTIFUL..." Go here and scroll to "2007-02-16" for a Peanuts strip I think of frequently when listening to the da Ponte operas.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:00 PM


      ( 10:52 AM ) The Rat  
CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL DEVELOPS 'SNORE ABSORPTION' ROOMS.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:52 AM



Friday, July 22, 2011
      ( 11:09 PM ) The Rat  
"A MAN IS ONLY AS FAITHFUL AS HIS OPTIONS," and other Chris Rock one-liners.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:09 PM


      ( 10:12 PM ) The Rat  
STUDY OF GAY MEN'S SEXUAL HEALTH CALLED WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY, BUT DIDN'T USE TAXPAYER MONEY, via IKM.

Emphasizing what they consider a waste of money that turned out not by be taxpayers', The Daily Caller said a key finding of the study was that men who felt they had larger penises were more likely to identify themselves as "tops," or anal insertive...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:12 PM


      ( 3:21 PM ) The Rat  
"I ADVISE AMERICANS TO HAVE ICE CREAM. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY."

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:21 PM


      ( 3:00 PM ) The Rat  
"PROJECT DELIRIUM"?

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:00 PM


      ( 2:47 PM ) The Rat  
"A CLEAN SHEET OF GLASS," via the Onion.

From the same RW blog post: World champion winds backward running event at Crystal Palace.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:47 PM


      ( 9:29 AM ) The Rat  
LUCIAN FREUD, R.I.P.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:29 AM


      ( 6:18 AM ) The Rat  
"THIS IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE FROM GEN X, WHO THRIVE ON COUNTER-CULTURE, I-DID-THIS-MYSELF DIATRIBES, AND FROM BABY BOOMERS, WHO MAKE ALL DECISIONS BASED ON HOW THEY CAN LOOK LIKE THEY ARE WINNING AGAINST EVERYONE ELSE."

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:18 AM


      ( 5:55 AM ) The Rat  
HEH! The Guardian visits Erica and Molly Jong.

In her memoir Girl [Maladjusted], published in 2006, Molly wrote about her "semi-celebrity childhood" with Erica, who divorced Jonathan Fast, her third husband, when their daughter was four. After that, Erica spent most of the 1980s dating, and this made it possible, wrote Molly, "for me to get married at a very young age and still know what's out there." The main lesson she learned during this period was never to date a man who "has more than one personality or is currently receiving electroshock treatment"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:55 AM



Thursday, July 21, 2011
      ( 9:21 PM ) The Rat  
PHYSIOLOGICAL FIND-A-WORD. If this works, presumably my fourth word should have been "delusional."

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:21 PM


      ( 7:28 PM ) The Rat  
MEALWORM-COVERED CARAMEL APPLES, CHOCOLATE-COVERED SCORPIONS, and other wacky fair foods.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:28 PM


      ( 6:34 PM ) The Rat  
"IT'S ALSO THE FIRST BIBLE TO USE CONTRACTIONS." Edited to add: JWB informs me that this is not, in fact, the first Bible to use contractions. Hey, I was too busy reading about python kebabs to fact-check.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:34 PM


      ( 6:27 PM ) The Rat  
MOBILE COMPANY OFFERS INSURANCE TO RUNNERS. "Injuries to others"?

Runner's Insurance enrollees pay ¥470 to ¥970 (roughly $6 to $12) per month through their mobile phone bill. The latter plan covers up to ¥100,000 for hospital stays over three days, and up to ¥10 million for injuries to others...

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:27 PM


      ( 8:18 AM ) The Rat  
"APPARENTLY LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CALLING AND ASKING ABOUT BIG METAL CHICKENS ALL OF A SUDDEN," via IKM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:18 AM



Wednesday, July 20, 2011
      ( 1:15 PM ) The Rat  
"IT'S EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, THIS ROUTE THROUGH CHINA—THE POLICE ARE WATCHING FOR YOU. SOME PEOPLE ARE SO DISTRAUGHT THEY CARRY POISON ON THEM, BECAUSE THEY'D RATHER KILL THEMSELVES THAN BE SENT BACK..." Korea's People Smugglers, via the BBC. There's a shorter, article version of the documentary here.

Mr Chon used to lead groups of defectors out himself—until China banned him, as part of a wider crackdown on missionary groups there. "The situation has become more difficult because China is barring missionaries from entering the country. And because of that, there are more private brokers working there now, doing it mostly for profit"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:15 PM


      ( 12:19 PM ) The Rat  
JEDI NEEDED TO INDUCE LABOR.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:19 PM


      ( 10:50 AM ) The Rat  
A SENSITIVITY TO THE SEASON: SUMMER AND AUTUMN IN JAPANESE ART. Nom!

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 AM


      ( 9:42 AM ) The Rat  
"IN THE MIDST OF THE CONTROVERSY, LEE'S WIFE GAVE BIRTH TO THEIR FIRST CHILD. IT WAS A MOMENT OF JOY, BUT AS LEE WALKED THE CORRIDORS OF THE HOSPITAL, HE SAW PEOPLE LOOKING AT HIM COLDLY AND HE PANICKED..." The Persecution of Daniel Lee, via IKM. Kafka-esque.

To many in Korea, TaJinYo's questions were legitimate. For instance, it usually takes four years to complete a bachelor's degree. A master's normally takes another two. Students typically also write a thesis to attain a master's and yet Lee said that he never wrote one.

Lee hesitated to respond. The whole thing was absurd to him. He was a musician. What did his degree matter?

To his detractors, it mattered a lot. "What is it good for in rapping? Nothing," says Hyungjin Ahn, a vocal critic. "But Koreans still said, 'Wow, he is great. If we listen to his rap, we could get in touch with something genius and holy.' Mothers in Korea worshipped him. He was a role model for every child in Korea at that time."

Entertainment gossip sites reported the existence of the anti-Tablo site and membership swelled to nearly 200,000, many of whom launched their own investigations into Lee's past. Tobias Wolff and Stanford registrar Thomas Black were barraged by emails from Koreans who questioned Lee's educational background. Black alone received 133 emails on the subject. Everybody wanted to know one thing: Was Lee lying?

When online hecklers started to criticize his wife for marrying him, Lee realized something had to be done to protect his family's reputation...


# Posted by The Rat @ 9:42 AM


      ( 9:35 AM ) The Rat  
ANIMEE IS THE NEW NAME AS BREWER TARGETS WOMEN. The only bottle I've ever owned that looked like that contained eau-de-cologne.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:35 AM


      ( 7:51 AM ) The Rat  
"THE TEMPERATURE IN HER PROSTHESIS REACHED 160 DEGREES."

Palmiero-Winters became the first female amputee to complete the 135-mile Death Valley to Mount Whitney race from the lowest point in the continental U.S. to the highest...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:51 AM



Tuesday, July 19, 2011
      ( 8:18 PM ) The Rat  
PERFUMER CHRISTOPHER BROSIUS'S QUEST TO CREATE AN INVISIBLE SCENT, from April.

The absurdist line reminded Brosius of studies he'd read detailing the mysteries of the human nose, and why some people can detect scents that others can’t—while some can lose the sense of smell altogether. Anosmia, the condition is called. Brosius's mental gears began to click. He thought, Wouldn't it be clever to create a perfume that only certain people can smell? Invisible perfume. Now, that would be an existential achievement: It smells so good you can't even smell it.

And yet the non-fragrant fragrance would do so much more. People often think of perfumes as aphrodisiacs that attract others. But in reality, the scents we buy attract us to ourselves. A dab of one fragrance can make us happy, the spray of another can inspire the kind of confidence that comes with wearing a favorite shirt or pair of shoes. And it's the projection of that inner happiness and confidence that really makes us more attractive to others. So as Brosius saw it, invisible perfume would be a psychological trick. He imagined two people meeting for the first time. Both of them would light up in euphoria at the smell of each other, and they wouldn't know why...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:18 PM


      ( 7:16 PM ) The Rat  
"I CANNOT TESTIFY TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE MOVIE, BUT..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:16 PM


      ( 1:30 PM ) The Rat  
HOW TO UNDRESS A VICTORIAN LADY IN YOUR NEXT NOVEL, via WC.

During Ms. Gist's recent workshop, attendees wanted to know everything from how many inches a corset would take off a woman's waist ("I can't tell you in inches, but this is not my waist," Ms. Gist replied) to why the bloomers were split in the middle. (That makes it easier to use the chamber pot). Ms. Gist struggled to speak at one point as an assistant yanked her corset tighter and tighter. Wheezing slightly, she emphasized the impossibility of ripping off and relacing a corset during a quickie in a carriage. "This is something you need to know, especially if you're writing some steamy stuff," she said.

A hand went up at the back of the room.

"Could the hero get his hand under the corset?" asked Ms. Guhrke, author of 17 historical romance novels.

"Yeah, it wouldn't be very titillating, though," Ms. Gist replied, reminding her that the hero would encounter a shirt.

Someone else wondered whether a heaving bosom could be lifted out of the corset. Ms. Gist moved on to crinolines...


# Posted by The Rat @ 1:30 PM


      ( 9:53 AM ) The Rat  
"NETFLIX FOR BABY CLOTHES" TO HELP PARENTS WASTE LESS.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:53 AM


      ( 9:51 AM ) The Rat  
WILLIAM SHATNER THOUGHT TO BE IMPERSONATING HIMSELF; TEMPORARILY KICKED OFF GOOGLE+.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 AM



Monday, July 18, 2011
      ( 7:00 PM ) The Rat  
"DOGS ARE SPECIALISTS IN LOVE..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:00 PM


      ( 6:45 PM ) The Rat  
BLACK MEN TWICE AS LIKELY TO DIE OUTSIDE PRISON.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:45 PM


      ( 6:00 PM ) The Rat  
MISS MANNERS really is ridiculously fun to read, as I've long known, but I hadn't really noticed till looking at a bunch of her columns at once what a range of topics she winds up covering—everything from "What's the best response to compliments on her looks?" and "Her step-daughter isn't so sweet at 16" to "Getting the engagement ring you really want" and "What's the proper way to sneeze?" (I also really loved the last point in "Why would an unmarried woman sport a wedding band?" and also the last paragraph of "Her date orders her dinner... then what?") Am adding a permalink to the blogroll.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:00 PM


      ( 3:04 PM ) The Rat  
"I KNOW THIS ISN'T TECHNICALLY A SANDWICH, BUT I'LL JUSTIFY IT BY SAYING THIS DISH IS BASICALLY CHICKEN SANDWICHED BETWEEN TWO LAYERS OF HATE." The Wait Wait crew eat Hot Chicken.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:04 PM


      ( 11:44 AM ) The Rat  
YARN BOMBING: THE KNIT GRAFFITI MOVEMENT.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:44 AM


      ( 8:51 AM ) The Rat  
"WE SAY, 'I COULDN'T GO ON,' INSTEAD OF SAYING WE HOPE WE WON'T HAVE TO." Heartbreaking letter from (and response to) a man whose only child was killed by a drunk driver. Via IKM.

Letting go of expectation when it comes to one's children is close to impossible. The entire premise of our love for them has to do with creating and fostering and nurturing people who will outlive us. To us, they are not so much who they are as who they will become...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:51 AM


      ( 12:12 AM ) The Rat  
FINALLY ACQUIRED A COPY of Scott Douglas's Little Red Book of Running, published earlier this year, and am absolutely loving it. One small thing, which I doubt has been mentioned in reviews: I love how Douglas keeps using the phrase "your outside life"—meaning, those aspects of your life that don't pertain to running. That would suggest, by extension, that running comprises one's "inside life"... which sounds about right to me.

Speaking of inside lives, Candace's Restorative Yoga class here is the bomb.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:12 AM


      ( 12:10 AM ) The Rat  
FOR RUNNERS, DISAPPEARING IS HARD TO DO. Noted and logged, in case I ever need to flee a spouse attempting to serve divorce papers. (I could presumably also be nailed via opera-house records.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:10 AM



Sunday, July 17, 2011
      ( 11:36 PM ) The Rat  
(UPDATED) UNINTENTIONALLY APPROPRIATE TEST RESPONSES FROM CHILDREN, via MM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:36 PM


      ( 11:25 PM ) The Rat  
EVEN THOUGH "Never again will I talk about my trust fund" is one of the most unintentionally hilarious resolutions I've heard in awhile, the response to "Full of Fail" here, and esp. the point about "negative pleasure," is super-useful.

A while ago, I was talking to a friend about very similar themes. (Oh, by the way—you're not that unique of a snowflake.) My friend is a physician's assistant, a doula, and full-time great. After listening to my self-critique, she said vaguely, "Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about negative pleasure. What kind of negative pleasure are you getting from this?"

I was taken aback. "Well, none. I'm failing, and I'm mad at myself." She just nodded sagely, then walked away to make tea. That conversation stuck in my brain like a thorn. The next time I found myself hate-eating a carton of Chicken McNuggets, I realized exactly what she was talking about. Failure sucks, and is frustrating. But really listen in: even when you're pissed at yourself, there is often some perverse pleasure in it...


# Posted by The Rat @ 11:25 PM


      ( 11:22 PM ) The Rat  
INTERNET USE AFFECTS MEMORY, STUDY FINDS.

Dr. Sparrow and her collaborators, Daniel M. Wegner of Harvard and Jenny Liu of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, staged four different memory experiments. In one, participants typed 40 bits of trivia—for example, "an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain"—into a computer. Half of the subjects believed the information would be saved in the computer; the other half believed the items they typed would be erased.

The subjects were significantly more likely to remember information if they thought they would not be able to find it later...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:22 PM


      ( 11:07 PM ) The Rat  
CARMAGEDDON has been survived!

Perhaps the biggest transportation drama on Saturday, the first full day of the closure, was a race between a group of bicyclists and JetBlue Airways, which offered $4 flights between Burbank and Long Beach as a special weekend promotion.

The cyclists made the one-way trip in less than an hour and a half. The JetBlue flight they were racing took just 12 minutes, but one airline passenger who left his home at the same time as the cyclists started their trip, arrived an hour later at the finish line, due to the added time of commuting to the airport, checking in, going through security and getting lost in a cab.

JetBlue called for a rematch...


# Posted by The Rat @ 11:07 PM


      ( 10:43 PM ) The Rat  
WOMEN'S SOCCER HAS MEN SO JAZZED THEY WANT TO BUY A JERSEY, via JWB. And here is a fun soccer-related headline, via IKM.

I've been trying to think of a way I could buy a jersey or something without looking like Freddie Mercury," says Mr. Bober, referring to the late lead singer of British rock band Queen, who wore a lot of tight clothing. "I generally dress with complete disregard of what people will think of me, but based on what's available I would get ridiculed right out of my town"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:43 PM


      ( 7:37 AM ) The Rat  
SIMON RUSSELL BEALE is appearing in a play I've never heard of next month, at the Atlantic Theater Company (Atlantic Stage 2 on West 16th St.). "The greatest stage actor of his generation" may not be hyperbole in this case, so if you're a theater-going type at all, I'd act fast—many performances are already sold out.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:37 AM



Saturday, July 16, 2011
      ( 12:05 PM ) The Rat  
"IF YOU'RE EVER WONDERING WHAT THE WAR ROOM OF 'DR. STRANGELOVE' WOULD LOOK LIKE IF THE MOVIE HAD BEEN DIRECTED BY PRINCE, HERE YOU GO." I've posted this tour of The Gobbler before (link originally via ET), but it's totally worth revisiting.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:05 PM



Friday, July 15, 2011
      ( 9:07 PM ) The Rat  
(FORK) SIZE MATTERS!

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:07 PM


      ( 5:58 PM ) The Rat  
VIRGIN AMERICA ROLLS OUT WATER-BOTTLE REFILL STATIONS. Finally! That said, until they do something about the water supply on airplanes (i.e., which is also used to make your coffee, tea, and ice cubes in-flight), I wouldn't be in a hurry to have these on the plane itself.

Call this common sense marketed well. Virgin America has installed "hydration stations" at San Francisco International Airport's "green" terminal. Normally, after the TSA pats you down, X-rays your undies, and confiscates your Poland Spring, you have to shell out $4 or so for monopoly-priced airport water. Not any more—well, not at SFO, anyway...

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:58 PM


      ( 11:23 AM ) The Rat  
TOSCA TRIVIA: REMEMBERING CALLAS.

Tito Gobbi recalls in his autobiography that Callas leant too close to the candle flame during the scene between herself and Tito as Scarpia. The wig she was wearing brushed the flame and started smouldering. As the lecherous Scarpia, Gobbi leant around and extinguished the flame with his bare hands, burning himself quite badly. Callas didn't miss a note however until the point at which Tosca has to stab Scarpia. She just lifted the blade and stabbed saying under her breath, 'Grazie Tito...'

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:23 AM


      ( 12:47 AM ) The Rat  
"THAT'S NOT WRITING, THAT'S WANKING." Rick Gekoski on reading and writing.

We believe it is good for us, it must be good for us, this force we attribute to the enterprise of reading and writing. A wide exposure to great literature, it is claimed, provides a basis upon which we may feel more deeply, understand more widely, become better.

If this is an empirical proposition, I rather doubt it, though I have no substantial evidence for my scepticism. I have not interviewed thousands of teachers, novelists and critics in order to quantify their goodness on some objective scale. Horrible thought. So I rely, here, on some degree of self-examination. I am pickled in the brine of literature, as an academic, critic, and writer. I have read pretty carefully and widely for 50 years. If there is something enhancing about such an exposure, I should be showing some signs of it by now.

Sometimes, for sure, I can feel the old Leavisite values kicking in, and am able to consult an inward panel of fine sensibilities, and to employ those voices in making my own judgments. The question "what would Jesus do?" is not entirely inane, and if you substitute Montaigne for Jesus, you have a useful tool at your disposal. (Not that he would do much, but he might have a lot to say.) But for every such benefit there has been, I am sure, a corresponding loss, as there must be in a class of persons who so widely, and often unreflectively, introject the voices of others, and psychically identify with those wiser than themselves. Jung calls this process psychic inflation, and you can see examples of it everywhere in literary life. I try to guard against it, but it recurs, like bouts of malaria.

I wonder, too, if this insistence on the improving qualities of our baptismal dips into the waters of literature does not blind us to the real thrill of reading; the recurrent reason why we come back for more, remember, quote, argue, share our experience of books? For me, reading needs to be justified not in terms of some notional moral benefit but—that more dangerous and enticing category—pleasure. I read because I love to read, because, in the company of a book, I am happy, engaged, and inexorable...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:47 AM



Thursday, July 14, 2011
      ( 11:17 PM ) The Rat  
A TUNISIAN PROTESTOR HOLDING A BAGUETTE TALKS TO RIOT POLICEMEN, indirectly via MM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:17 PM


      ( 10:33 PM ) The Rat  
EFFECTS OF MENSTRUAL CYCLE PHASE ON RATINGS OF IMPLICITLY EROTIC ART, via Discoblog.

A total of 83 women provided reactions to paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe in 6 day intervals over the course of 1 month...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:33 PM


      ( 10:25 PM ) The Rat  
10 PROPOSED SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNINGS, via ET. "The Sun Unexpectedly Beginning To Rise And You're Still Partying" is my favorite.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:25 PM


      ( 10:15 PM ) The Rat  
DELTA SKYMILES MEMBERS can get 1,000 bonus miles for using the Fly Delta app to check in for a flight (through Sept. 7).

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:15 PM


      ( 9:24 PM ) The Rat  
HMM. I thought I used to generally agree with Emily Yoffe ("Dear Prudence") at Slate—has she changed or have I? (Or am I just misremembering?) This response to a pregnant stepmother seems to me holier-than-thou and insensitive, for instance* (the comment by Elzabieta Kraszewski is much better; also see the longer of Genise Scott's two comments); and her advice to this bride-to-be strikes me as pretty idiotic too. This takes a whistling-in-the-dark attitude on what actually happens to a woman's value in the dating market when she's a single mother—which is not to say I think the letter-writer should abort, but it's stupid to pretend that a child from an earlier union won't be an issue, and probably more so to a prospective husband than to a prospective wife... and that's even before getting into the heightened risk of child abuse that comes with having a stepfather. (Yoffe would, no doubt, respond that the woman just needs to find a guy who's not abusive. Sure, the same way you can avoid adultery by only choosing a spouse you think is never going to cheat, right?) Also, is it really useful to tell couples who already have a child together and/or who are already married that they should have done XYZ before having said child or tying said knot—as she does, e.g., here and here? With this kind of competition, no wonder Dan Savage is our leading ethicist.

I'm returning to the perenially awesome Miss Manners. (Though I admit I do think Yoffe's right about the eventual behavior of the groom in this.)

*Yoffe is herself a second wife (her husband's first wife died of cancer), but there were no children from the prior marriage—the child she had with her husband was a first for them both. Perhaps if the first marriage hadn't been childless she'd have been less of a dick in this response.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:24 PM


      ( 8:39 PM ) The Rat  
NEW MILK CAMPAIGN HELPS MEN DEAL WITH PMS.

The spoof website, EverythingIDoIsWrong.org, includes a color-coded "current global PMS level," a "puppy dog-eye-zer" that supposedly gives a guy's face a look that's hard to stay mad at, and a "video apology enhancer"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:39 PM


      ( 8:37 PM ) The Rat  
'DEPRESSED' FERRET FLEES SIBERIAN CIRCUS, via IKM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:37 PM


      ( 7:00 PM ) The Rat  
GRAINS OF SAND MAGNIFIED TO 250 TIMES REAL SIZE.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:00 PM


      ( 4:25 PM ) The Rat  
"HAVING SHOWN IN THE LAB THAT POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE STYLES OF THINKING CAN BE INDUCED IN ADOLESCENTS WITHOUT ANY ANXIETY PROBLEMS..." Um, say what?

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:25 PM


      ( 2:49 PM ) The Rat  
"THE UNNAMED MAN SAID HE 'LIKE HOT WOMEN,' AND THOUGHT THE ASSAULT 'WAS GREAT.' HE WISHED HE HADN'T BEEN DRUGGED, HOWEVER," from 2009.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:49 PM


      ( 2:14 PM ) The Rat  
'A DAILY ATTEMPT TO BE THE BEST, WHICH IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA.' Here Is Everything I Learned in New York City, via WC.

I called my mother once from a stoop right outside a Starbucks in the East Village. I was having a hard time—missing home, unsure of my path, and wanting some boy who did not want me—and halfway through a walk, I had crumpled into sobs, and there was simply nowhere to hide so I just sat there, tears streaming down my face, as pedestrians passed me by. Sometimes they would look at me, and look away, the expression on their faces never changing.

"This is such a cold town," I said to my mother, in between blowing my nose. But it took me a while to learn their reaction wasn't a sign of disrespect or indifference, not the way I took it anyway. New Yorkers are unshockable, it's true, but they also know that no one gets private space, and the best they can do is to leave you alone and at least pretend you have privacy, even if the crowded sidewalk affords you none. When I see someone in tears on the sidewalk, my instinct is not to rush over and help them—what would I do, anyway?—it is to offer them the dignity of not staring...


# Posted by The Rat @ 2:14 PM


      ( 2:13 PM ) The Rat  
CARMAGEDDON is almost here!

As Hanks' tweet shows, Twitter is awash in punny names for Carmaggedon, which was coined by a radio personality—like "autodammerung" or "carpocalypse"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:13 PM


      ( 11:21 AM ) The Rat  
"EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, ONLY THOSE SHOES THAT ACCOMMODATE ALL FIVE TOES IN ONE COMPARTMENT ARE AUTHORIZED FOR WEAR." The Army has banned the use of Vibrams during official training exercises.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:21 AM


      ( 12:47 AM ) The Rat  
TOOTHPICK TREE HOUSE.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:47 AM


      ( 12:44 AM ) The Rat  
17.7 LBS. COW BRAINS and other competitive-eating records from the IFOCE.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:44 AM



Wednesday, July 13, 2011
      ( 4:42 PM ) The Rat  
WHY YOUR PARENTS' LOVE (OF VEGETABLES) MATTERS.

In order to train kids to develop healthier tastes, we'd have to start the process pretty early—even before our first taste of mother's milk. As sensory researcher Julie Mennella has found, we begin to develop preferences for certain flavors in utero. So changing a kid's diet in school can present some real challenges, she told me.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:42 PM


      ( 4:01 PM ) The Rat  
"AFTER I WAS NAMED A NOBEL PRIZE AWARDEE, MANY PEOPLE CAME TO VISIT, BRINGING LIQUOR." Heh! From this.

Feynman had looked forward to meeting Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, the Japanese physicist who shared the Nobel Prize with him. Tomonaga had independently made some of the same discoveries as Feynman, five years earlier, in the total isolation of wartime Japan. He shared with Feynman not only ideas about physics but also experiences of personal tragedy. In the spring of 1945, Feynman was nursing his beloved first wife, Arlene, through the last weeks of her life until he watched her die from tuberculosis. In the same spring, Tomonaga was helping a group of his students to survive in the ashes of Tokyo, after a firestorm devastated the city and killed an even greater number of people than the nuclear bomb would kill in Hiroshima four months later. Feynman and Tomonaga shared three outstanding qualities: emotional toughness, intellectual integrity, and a robust sense of humor.

To Feynman's dismay, Tomonaga failed to appear in Stockholm. The Ottaviani-Myrick book has Tomonaga explaining what happened:

Although I sent a letter saying that I would be 'pleased to attend,' I loathed the thought of going, thinking that the cold would be severe, as the ceremony was to be held in December, and that the inevitable formalities would be tiresome. After I was named a Nobel Prize awardee, many people came to visit, bringing liquor. I had barrels of it. One day, my father's younger brother, who loved whiskey, happened to stop by and we both began drinking gleefully. We drank a little too much, and then, seizing the opportunity that my wife had gone out shopping, I entered the bathroom to take a bath. There I slipped and fell down, breaking six of my ribs... It was a piece of good luck in that unhappy incident.


After Tomonaga recovered from his injuries, he was invited to England to receive another high honor requiring a formal meeting with royalty. This time he did not slip in the bathtub. He duly appeared at Buckingham Palace to shake hands with the English Queen. The Queen did not know that he had failed to travel to Stockholm. She innocently asked him whether he had enjoyed his meeting with the King of Sweden. Tomonaga was totally flummoxed. He could not bring himself to confess to the Queen that he had got drunk and broken his ribs. He said that he had enjoyed his conversation with the King very much. He remarked afterward that for the rest of his life he would be carrying a double burden of guilt, first for getting drunk, and second for telling a lie to the Queen of England...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:01 PM


      ( 3:05 PM ) The Rat  
IS IT WRONG that when I saw this headline, my immediate thought was, "Can I maybe get one of those and stick family members in it?"

It's no illusion: Science has found a way to make not just objects but entire events disappear, experts say...

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:05 PM


      ( 12:11 PM ) The Rat  
SEX POSITIONS FOR THE WEARY.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:11 PM


      ( 11:13 AM ) The Rat  
Our sport becomes not just what we do but an integral symbol—on all levels—of who we are.
—Gloria Averbuch, long-distance runner

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:13 AM


      ( 10:56 AM ) The Rat  
THE MENACE WITHIN, via WC. Forty years after the fact, participants look back on the Stanford Prison Experiment.

After the end of the first day, I said, "There's nothing here. Nothing's happening." The guards had this antiauthority mentality. They felt awkward in their uniforms. They didn't get into the guard mentality until the prisoners started to revolt. Throughout the experiment, there was this conspiracy of denial—everyone involved was in effect denying that this was an experiment and agreeing that this is a prison run by psychologists.

There was zero time for reflection. We had to feed the prisoners three meals a day, deal with the prisoner breakdowns, deal with their parents, run a parole board. By the third day I was sleeping in my office. I had become the superintendent of the Stanford county jail. That was who I was: I'm not the researcher at all. Even my posture changes—when I walk through the prison yard, I'm walking with my hands behind my back, which I never in my life do, the way generals walk when they're inspecting troops.

We had arranged for everyone involved—the prisoners, guards and staff—to be interviewed on Friday by other faculty members and graduate students who had not been involved in the study. Christina Maslach, who had just finished her PhD, came down the night before. She's standing outside the guard quarters and watches the guards line up the prisoners for the 10 o'clock toilet run. The prisoners come out, and the guards put bags over their heads, chain their feet together and make them put their hands on each other's shoulders, like a chain gang. They're yelling and cursing at them. Christina starts tearing up. She said, "I can't look at this."

I ran after her and we had this argument outside Jordan Hall. She said, "It's terrible what you're doing to these boys. How can you see what I saw and not care about the suffering?" But I didn't see what she saw...


# Posted by The Rat @ 10:56 AM


      ( 9:42 AM ) The Rat  
NO. 213 AT 1,000 AWESOME THINGS really is pretty awesome.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:42 AM


      ( 9:35 AM ) The Rat  
HELLO KITTY RIFLE. Hardly a "sniper rifle," of course; still, points for the extra Hello Kitty on the scope.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:35 AM


      ( 7:47 AM ) The Rat  
Physiological changes that occur during endurance training are not necessarily visible. Coach Megerle notes most changes he sees among the PMC runners are mental and psychological in nature...
this, about a training program at Tufts

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:47 AM


      ( 7:38 AM ) The Rat  
IN ONE YEAR FROM TODAY...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:38 AM


      ( 12:42 AM ) The Rat  
"SERIOUSLY, IT'S NO COINCIDENCE THAT COLERIDGE'S MARINER RANTED TO A WEDDING GUEST." The Eight Truths About Weddings (That No One Ever Tells You), a surprisingly thoughtful article from The Awl.

First, there's your family. Ahh, family. The one group with perma-instant access to every emotional trigger in your psyche ("Of course your mother knows how to push all your buttons!" a matriarch once told me. "She created them!!")...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:42 AM



Tuesday, July 12, 2011
      ( 9:57 PM ) The Rat  
ANGRY BIRDS MACCHIATO, indirectly via JWB.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:57 PM


      ( 9:15 PM ) The Rat  
A FUN METRO ARTICLE from a few years back.

The American Secret Service have launched an investigation into one of the candidates for the presidency in 2008—after he pledged that as President, one of his first acts would be to impale President George W. Bush.

The candidate in question is Jonathon 'The Impaler' Sharkey, and he is running as the only self-described satanic vampire candidate who has so far entered the 2008 race...


I also love the second-to-last line in this.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:15 PM


      ( 8:56 PM ) The Rat  
9 HOUSES YOU WON'T BELIEVE PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIVE IN. This seems like a personality test of sorts.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:56 PM


      ( 8:51 PM ) The Rat  
THE CAST FOR BOND 23 has been announced.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:51 PM


      ( 6:22 PM ) The Rat  
The same site also has 87 examples of Tetris fan fiction, which are a showcase for the resourcefulness of writers spinning stories from the thinnest of threads: "L-block has just found out that his life partner, Square block, was cheating on him with his brother, Inverse L-block..."
this article (via IKM)

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:22 PM


      ( 5:35 PM ) The Rat  
"BOYFRIEND ARMED WITH BROOM: ARE YOU READY TO DIE?" and other headlines from Florida.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:35 PM


      ( 4:40 PM ) The Rat  
THE 2011-12 NYCO SEASON is here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:40 PM


      ( 12:14 PM ) The Rat  
"THE WHOLE OF FRENCH HISTORY IS AN UNENDING STREAM OF BLOODSHED, GUILLOTINES, AND TORTURE. THAT THEY ARE NOW KNOWN FOR PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATION AND EATING WELL IS A GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS." Only two more days till Bastille day! The facts notwithstanding, btw, you have to grant that "singes capitulards et mangeurs de fromage" is a pretty funny phrase.

I imagine all of the recent French-bashing during the aughts—from Freedom Fries to Bill O'Reilly's feigned French product ban—must have come across as slightly incomprehensible to the Gallic sensibility. France has not spent the larger portion of its existence conquering and oppressing the world just to be considered
des singes capitulards.

After all, this is the selfsame empire that slaughtered its way through most of Europe under Napoleon and used its trans-national power to colonize Haiti, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Chad, Algiers, Tahiti, Polynesia, Togo, Madagascar, Mauritania, Benin, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Congo, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, French Guiana, Morocco, Quebec, Eastern Canada, the American Midwest, and Louisiana. From Charlemagne, Louis XIV, and Joan of Arc on down to de Gaulle, the French murdered Moors, Turks, and Jews, killed Spaniards, slaughtered Huguenots, battled Brits, and ran their own little-known Inquisition. There are the victories at the Battle of Normandy, Soissons, and Hastings, the Seige of Ceresole, Ardres, and Orleans, never mind the Hundred Years War and a seemingly unending stream of religious crusades against any heretic they could pinpoint.

The Knights Templar—that infamous secret society of religious crusaders and paladins who were bonded by vows of strict honor and chastity to supposedly protect the Holy Grail—they were eventually called sodomites by the French Catholic church and thrown in prison.

In the 1200s, when the Cathars thought they could preach a life of vegetarian, Christian dualism, aestheticism, and non-procreative sex, the French subsequently slaughtered them by the thousands and set their bodies on fire during the Albigensian Crusade...


# Posted by The Rat @ 12:14 PM


      ( 12:13 PM ) The Rat  
THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS.

Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support for "everyday people," not just individuals facing significant health challenges, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

And, the study found, pet owners were just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals, indicating no evidence that relationships with pets came at the expense of relationships with other people, or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poorer...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:13 PM


      ( 9:55 AM ) The Rat  
DRIVE-THRU DAIQUIRI JOINTS, a Guardian pc. from 2009 about a perk of life in Louisiana recently profiled on Americana.

"As long as the straw's not put in the lid you're fine," says Chase Bourgeois, the manager of a branch of New Orleans Original Daiquiris in the town of Lafayette...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:55 AM



Monday, July 11, 2011
      ( 9:34 AM ) The Rat  
CUPCAKE ASSASSIN NECKLACE.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:34 AM



Sunday, July 10, 2011
      ( 7:14 PM ) The Rat  
FIG-LEAF FOR MICHELANGELO'S DAVID. One of many awesome items in the V&A.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:14 PM


      ( 7:08 PM ) The Rat  
"SMALL DOGS ARE A WARNING SIGN," via Nerve.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:08 PM


      ( 6:35 PM ) The Rat  
HOW VIOLENT SEX HELPED EASE MY PTSD.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:35 PM


      ( 5:40 PM ) The Rat  
AN OLD FAVORITE from the "got milk?" series.

This one's good too.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:40 PM


      ( 3:47 PM ) The Rat  
I HAD NO IDEA yellow roses were so fraught.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:47 PM


      ( 3:37 PM ) The Rat  
STILL NOT REALLY CLEAR ON WHETHER THE MAKERS OF THIS were trying to insult Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, etc.?

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:37 PM


      ( 3:35 PM ) The Rat  
FOR ITS SHEER RANDOMNESS, this is my favorite Postsecret card in awhile.

I also am very sympathetic to the sentiment in this, though a bit puzzled by the image.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:35 PM


      ( 3:34 PM ) The Rat  
"THE HALF-CONSCIOUS 4 AM VERSION OF ME," via JF.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:34 PM


      ( 12:02 AM ) The Rat  
HAPPY PROUST'S BIRTHDAY! His 140th, to be exact. It's a few years since I was last able to do this, but he's the only writer at whose grave I've gone to the trouble to leave flowers. (Would cattleyas have been more appropriate? I've always left anemones.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:02 AM



Saturday, July 09, 2011
      ( 5:35 PM ) The Rat  
NEW AUTISM STUDY IMPLICATES ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS.

The study found that autism or autism spectrum disorders occurred in both children in 77 percent of the male identical twins and in 50 percent of the female identical twins. As expected, the rates among fraternal twins were lower: 31 percent of males and 36 percent of females.

But surprisingly, mathematical modeling suggested that only 38 percent of the cases could be attributed to genetic factors, compared with the 90 percent suggested by previous studies.

And more surprising still, shared environmental factors appeared to be at work in 58 percent of the cases.

"We, like everyone else, were very surprised because we didn't expect it to be that high," said a senior author of the study, Neil Risch, a geneticist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

The rate of autism occurring in two siblings who are not twins is much lower, suggesting that the conditions the twins shared in the womb, rather than what they were exposed to after birth, contributed to the development of autism...

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:35 PM


      ( 3:15 PM ) The Rat  
AMAZING ARIZONA LANDSCAPES, via IKM. Nom! I love no. 5. That said, these photographs would be more representative of Arizona if they'd included more giant billboards for adult stores. (This rule also applies to just about all the flyover states.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:15 PM


      ( 2:35 PM ) The Rat  
"Well?"

"The boy is suicidal, Harry. He's a walking dead man. Keeps going on about Hell and Purgatory."

"When I phoned you yesterday, did I ask you, 'Ken, will you do me a favor and become Ray's psychiatrist, please?' No. What I think I asked you was, 'Could you go blow his fucking head off for me?' 'He's suicidal'? I'm suicidal. You're suicidal. Everybody's fucking suicidal! We don't all keep going on about it!"

In Bruges

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:35 PM


      ( 9:49 AM ) The Rat  
SPEAKING OF THAT LAST LINK, I love that if you go to the Wiki page for "friend zone," you're greeted at the top of the page with "The neutrality of this article is disputed..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:49 AM


      ( 9:45 AM ) The Rat  
'MITES. WE GET LAID BEFORE WE'RE EVEN BORN.' The 7 Sleaziest Mating Rituals in the Animal Kingdom, via Cracked.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:45 AM


      ( 9:27 AM ) The Rat  
BLUES SINGER'S WOMAN PERMITTED TO TELL HER SIDE, an Onion classic.

In addition to denying Jackson's drawer-opening allegations, Dobbs disputed charges of unrestricted sweet-potato-pie distribution, insisting that her pie is available only to Jackson.

"I do not give out my sweet potato pie arbitrarily, as I am not the sort of no-good doney who engages in such objectionable behavior," Dobbs told reporters. "Only one man can taste my sweet potato pie, and I believe I have made it perfectly clear who that man is." Dobbs noted that the same policy applies to her biscuits, which may be buttered only by Jackson...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:27 AM


      ( 9:26 AM ) The Rat  
HOUSE OF SHELVES, via WC. You know I'm looking at this and thinking, "Hmm, still not enough space."

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:26 AM



Friday, July 08, 2011
      ( 11:23 PM ) The Rat  
"History—it's all just a load of stuff that's already happened."
In Bruges

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:23 PM


      ( 10:05 PM ) The Rat  
COLORADO DAY-CARE CENTER PROPOSAL: DOLLS MUST REPRESENT AT LEAST THREE DIFFERENT RACES, via IKM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:05 PM


      ( 9:19 PM ) The Rat  
I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom.
—Patton

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:19 PM


      ( 8:54 PM ) The Rat  
HOW 8 FAMOUS ACQUITTED DEFENDANTS SPENT THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:54 PM


      ( 8:49 PM ) The Rat  
THE TICKING MALE BIOLOGICAL CLOCK, from a June WSJ.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:49 PM


      ( 4:06 PM ) The Rat  
"3:30-5:30 is exactly what heaven must sound like!"
—not-implausible viewer comment on this YouTube clip

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:06 PM


      ( 3:47 PM ) The Rat  
TROLL TIP NO. 8623. Wow, this one's good.

Also see Skinny Asian Girls.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:47 PM


      ( 3:30 PM ) The Rat  
GIRL, 10, DOES A USAIN BOLT TO CATCH THIEVES.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:30 PM


      ( 2:20 PM ) The Rat  
TEMPEST-FROM-HELL SEEN ON SATURN. There's an angry-girlfriend joke in here somewhere...

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:20 PM


      ( 1:26 PM ) The Rat  
KUROSAWA RETROSPECTIVE at Symphony Space!!!

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:26 PM


      ( 1:04 PM ) The Rat  
WITH LOVE FROM THE ROYAL BALLET: POSTCARD FROM TAIPEI.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:04 PM


      ( 12:25 PM ) The Rat  
OFF-PUTTING BEHAVIOUR, again via A&LD. This is exactly how I am with my kettle too. And also all the tea/coffee cups, which btw can be made to look like new again using baking soda.

Having pretty much lost two months to illness, I am currently ignoring the board completely. I haven't allowed myself to approach it closely, never mind study its listed assignments, or consider how many others I am hiding from myself by simply keeping them in my head. Off the board and in my brain, I know they will come adrift from their deadlines and end up getting tangled in each other, but I don't care—a visible inventory would simply drive me back to the kitchen where I would end up giving the kettle abuse. And actually my kettle's very nice.

Why do I have such a deep and intimate relationship with my kettle? Because for 25 years, give or take, I have been a person who knows they have something to write. I have written when nobody wanted to hear from me, I have written when I could earn as much as £30 in year by my writing, I have written when I was tired from my day job, when I was filled with the terrifying elation of a new idea, when I was starting my first novel, when I was starting my sixth novel, when I was rewriting something apparently insoluble, when I was trying to prove myself employable and when I was just fooling about until I could see what might happen. In all of these circumstances and more, what was the common factor? The kettle. As soon it's inevitable that a writer must begin their first word, it becomes (almost) equally and conflictingly inevitable that the writer must do something else really quickly before scribbling breaks out. Hence the kettle. Tell you what, I'll just go and make a fresh beverage, then I'll get down to things properly. Absolutely. Of course I will...


# Posted by The Rat @ 12:25 PM


      ( 11:04 AM ) The Rat  
CARTOON RENDERING OF EVERY ROMANTIC MISTAKE YOU'VE EVER MADE, via Someecards.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:04 AM


      ( 10:55 AM ) The Rat  
No other fact is so fundamental to running: Done properly, running is fun. Even when you do it improperly, running is still inherently, liberatingly fun. If you doubt this, just spend a few minutes watching a child or a dog in any wide open space. Their glee is instinctual and undeniable. I believe it was Aristotle who said, "Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run." Enjoy it. After all, there aren't many animal impulses that we can act on in public without getting arrested.
—Mark Remy, "A Few Rules to Run By"

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:55 AM


      ( 10:36 AM ) The Rat  
LESSONS IN INTEGRITY WITH SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON'S TENNIS TEAM, via A&LD.

The most profound moment in my morning at San Quentin occurred during a sustained and heartfelt conversation with Raphael, who explained that the motto of the Inside Team is "integrity." "Most people are in prison because they made bad choices, not because they're bad people," he told me. The team's objective is to use tennis as a tool to be good people.

As I thought about his words, I looked up and realized that I hadn't seen a single argument over a line call, much less a temper tantrum or thrown racquet. That's not an easy feat in a sport known for turning even mild-mannered souls into wild beasts who momentarily lose their impulse-control. In my time around the sport, I have seen many people—whether male or female, young or old, American or French, white-collar or blue-collar—who have great integrity in their own personal and professional lives lose control on the court. (And I confess that I too have a few embarrassing memories I try to repress.) I have also seen countless terrible line calls and heated disputes about them.

Ironically, it was a group of convicted felons who were perhaps the best-behaved and most ethical group of competitors I have ever witnessed...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:36 AM




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


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