Thursday, December 29, 2011
( 2:32 AM ) The Rat
REMAKE/SUBMISSIONS, via IKM. Mostly kind of a letdown after the first one, though I do like how the failure of similarity in the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818 ones helps spotlight how fucked up the Romantics were. Also, it's interesting how Van Gogh seems to work better/more consistently for this kind of thing than just about any other artist—I wouldn't have predicted that (despite having inhabited, for two months, a bedroom that looked eerily like the one in Arles).
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:32 AM
( 2:07 AM ) The Rat
"THE RICHEST SINGLE SOURCE OF GOOD RW DAILY MATERIAL AWARD GOES TO THE U.K." I'm particularly fond of this item in the roundup.
Paolo di Canio unwittingly completed the town's half marathon after losing his bearings on the fun run course...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:07 AM
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
( 12:20 PM ) The Rat
"WHEN I FIRST STARTED RUNNING MY BODY HATED IT. IT WAS AS IF AFTER I WAS DONE RUNNING, MY BODY WOULD KIND OF SAY TO ME, 'WHAT ARE WE DOING?! I THOUGHT WE HAD A DEAL HERE...'" I'm a Runner: Ben Gibbard. I get that RW likes to run musicians in this series, but dude, if this trend had started earlier the music scene of the '60s and '70s would've been FUBAR.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:20 PM
( 9:32 AM ) The Rat
CAPITALIZATION IN TITLES. OK, my public schooling really fell down on teaching me these rules properly...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:32 AM
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
( 2:53 PM ) The Rat
LEGO PARTICLE COLLIDER LOOKS AWESOME, WON'T FIND HIGGS BOSON ANYTIME SOON, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:53 PM
( 2:24 PM ) The Rat
"IT'S NOT HOW FAST YOU ARE. IT'S HOW FAST YOU ARE AFTER 20 MILES." The Road to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
Btw, via Hal Higdon on Facebook:
The producers of Spirit of the Marathon II—the sequel to the critically acclaimed Spirit of the Marathon (www.marathonmovie.com)—are in search of runners' stories to feature in the film. Candidates must be planning to run the 2012 Maratona di Roma and have an interesting story to tell. Specifically we are interested in finding runners, who match one of the following profiles:
—Women and men (all ages) who will be running their first marathon
—Individuals recovering from illness or personal challenges, loss or tragedy
—Experienced runners training to set a fast personal best (such as breaking 3 hours)
English speaking individuals are a plus but this is not mandatory. Interested runners may contact us at: email@example.com. Please include a brief introduction.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:24 PM
( 1:47 PM ) The Rat
TRAILER for the new Don Giovanni at La Scala. The actual stabbings and things look rather hilariously comic-opera, but the cast ain't half bad.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:47 PM
( 9:28 AM ) The Rat
"YOU GOT YOUR TENTACLE IN FRONT OF THE LENS. YOU GOT ALL EIGHT TENTACLES IN FRONT OF THE LENS. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?" Via (who else?) ET, Texts from Cephalopods. Truly amazing.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:28 AM
( 3:16 AM ) The Rat
Grieving the losses of early childhood is the heart of the healing work we must do. The beginning stages of this process are undeniably the most difficult. When we first begin to feel some of the intense feelings we have repressed from childhood, we feel a natural fear that somehow our pain will be limitless.
—The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:16 AM
( 2:03 AM ) The Rat
COMING FROM DYSFUNCTION. Is there a special prize for having every symptom?
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:03 AM
( 1:55 AM ) The Rat
He did not lift her, he let her cry, with his arm tight about her. She felt his hand on her head, on her shoulder, she felt the protection of his firmness, a firmness which seemed to tell her that as her tears were for both of them, so was his knowledge, that he knew her pain and felt it and understood, yet was able to witness it calmly—and his calm seemed to lift her burden, by granting her the right to break, here, at his feet, by telling her that he was able to carry what she could not carry any longer. She knew dimly that this was the real Hank Rearden, and no matter what form of insulting cruelty he had once given to their first nights together, no matter how often she had seemed as the stronger of the two, this had always been within him and at the root of their bond—this strength of his which would protect her if ever hers were gone.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:55 AM
( 12:27 AM ) The Rat
THE 14 MOST BRILLIANT PORN PARODIES OF ALL TIME.
Besides the genre's obvious comedic potential, Thomas thinks it may also have the unique ability to unite. "Porn parodies have a lot more possibilities because they might be based on a couple's favorite show—like Jersey Shore," says Thomas, "and maybe the guy wants to watch porn with his girlfriend, but he doesn't know how to break the ice. He can bring this home and they can watch it together"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:27 AM
Monday, December 26, 2011
( 11:00 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:00 PM
( 10:39 PM ) The Rat
THE FIRST PARAGRAPH ALONE, in the Telegraph's obit for Swiss spymaster Col. Albert Bachmann, makes it abundantly clear you're in for a heck of a good time. Via ET.
Mustachioed, pipe-smoking and blessed with an ability to wreak havoc within his own organisation, Bachmann's resemblance to Inspector Clouseau was striking; by the time his plots and schemes were uncovered by an astonished commission of inquiry, he had reduced the Swiss military intelligence agency, in which he had mysteriously managed to rise to a senior role, to a state bordering on chaos, not to mention bankruptcy. So catastrophic was his impact that, when he was finally unmasked, many assumed he must be a double agent. He was not.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:39 PM
( 10:37 PM ) The Rat
"'I DON'T WANT TO COME OFF LIKE I CURSE ALL THE TIME,' HE TOLD REPORTERS AT THE DETROIT FREE PRESS, ADDING THAT NEW YORKERS 'USE CURSE WORDS JUST LIKE ADJECTIVES.'" The Year in Getting Kicked Off Airplanes, again via IKM (also don't miss August).
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:37 PM
( 10:33 PM ) The Rat
VOLKSWAGEN TURNS OFF BLACKBERRY EMAIL AFTER WORK HOURS, via IKM.
The carmaker confirmed it made the move earlier this year following complaints that staff's work and home lives were becoming blurred...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:33 PM
( 10:32 PM ) The Rat
YOUR WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT MOMENT FOR TODAY, via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:32 PM
( 10:31 PM ) The Rat
LAWMAKERS PROPOSE 'WARNING' SIGNS NEAR MASS. BORDER, via IKM. Heh!
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:31 PM
( 9:51 PM ) The Rat
"BY THE WAY, 29 IS A PRIME NUMBER..." Stuyvesant High School's Mr. Geller's speech to the graduating class of 2011, part of the "The Lives They Lived" issue of the NYTM, guest-edited this year by the producers of TAL. Mike DeStefano's retelling of the Harley ride he gave his dying wife (a story that was also featured on The Moth in '09) is also here. Ira Glass's prologue is here.
We decided to try something that's not so different from what we do each week on the radio. For each person, rather than the soup-to-nuts sweep of a typical obituary, we chose only one story from his or her life. An excerpt. As much as possible, we tried to get these stories in their own words, or in the words of people close to them. Our hope was that the immediacy and intimacy of this approach would bring us close to these people, and help us hear their voices, get a feeling for who they were.
Many of the people we've chosen have done nothing that would normally get them into a magazine. If the premise of this issue is to tell stories about who has died this year, well, everyone dies. It's the most democratic experience of all, the one that, unhappily, we'll all take part in, sooner or later...
Also don't miss A First Time for Everything and A Man Walks Up to a Bar.
While poring over the Web site Legacy.com to prepare this issue, we noticed a trend. A search of the site's database—which includes obituaries from more than 750 newspapers across the country—turned up hundreds of obits published in 2011 with one phrase in common.
A single thread appears and reappears, as a headline or an afterthought, in the final words written by the families of more than 300 people who departed this earth in the past year. In each of these obituaries was a phrase that read something like this: "The first black American to..." or "The first African-American."
Eugene King was the first African-American milk-delivery man in the Gary, Ind., area. Eddie Koger was the first black bus driver in the state of South Carolina. Camillus Wilson was the first African-American meter reader for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company. Nancy Hodge-Snyder was said to have "had the distinction of being the first black registered nurse in Kalamazoo."
I scan the list, a spreadsheet of names and obituary excerpts, and cannot stop reading. How mundane the positions were, how modest the dreams had been. Added together, they somehow bear witness to how far the country has come and how it got to where it is. They speak to how many individual decisions had to be made, how many chances taken, the anxiety and second-guessing at the precise instant that each of these people was hired for whatever humble or lofty position they sought...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:51 PM
( 3:04 PM ) The Rat
THE GOLDILOCKS PRINCIPLE OF STRESS: TOO LITTLE IS ALMOST AS BAD AS TOO MUCH, via IKM.
A life free of stress and adversity sounds blissful. But, in fact, the happiest and healthiest people are those who have had at least some early exposure to negative experiences, according to a new research review.
Despite the popular notion, stress isn't all bad. In fact, low to moderate amounts of stress are necessary for healthy growth. What's harmful is large doses of uncontrollable stress—experiencing a natural disaster, for instance, or living in extreme poverty—particularly in early life. Also harmful, it turns out, is having experienced no stress at all.
The new review adds weight to a growing body of evidence that most brain systems function like muscles: they are strengthened through exposure to gradually increasing loads at the appropriate stages of development, but they will wither without exercise and get injured if they are suddenly overloaded without prior training. The stress system is a prime example...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:04 PM
( 12:27 PM ) The Rat
"...AND THE BASS RESPONSE IS INSANE."
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:27 PM
Friday, December 23, 2011
( 9:01 AM ) The Rat
"'TRACTORS!' HE BELLOWED."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:01 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
( 10:55 AM ) The Rat
"OUR GOAL HERE IS TO INSPIRE AND/OR MILDLY CONFUSE AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:55 AM
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
( 9:09 AM ) The Rat
"AND IT WAS PRETTY MISERABLE, BECAUSE IT'S TWO HOURS LONG. AND IT HAS NO RIGHT TO BE TWO HOURS LONG... IT'S JUST A REALLY LONG MOVIE." Lawrence Of "The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project" Reflects On 365 Viewings, via ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:09 AM
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
( 12:08 PM ) The Rat
HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE THE WORLD? via Failbook.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:08 PM
( 5:12 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:12 AM
Sunday, December 18, 2011
( 10:03 PM ) The Rat
THE CHALLENGING CHILD. I can think of a child or two who qualify as at least three out of four of these simultaneously. Also, "—or even politicians," seriously? Ouch, man.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:03 PM
( 12:28 PM ) The Rat
"HE DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEM, BUT HE SAID THAT THEY'D ONLY SOLD ONE AND IT WAS TO A REALLY DRUNK LADY..." And That's Why You Should Learn to Pick Your Battles, via IKM.
Victor was surprisingly pissed that I'd "wasted money" on an enormous chicken, because apparently he couldn't appreciate the hysterical value of a 5 foot chicken ringing the doorbell. Then I said, "Well, at least it's not towels" and apparently that was the wrong thing to say because that's when Victor screamed and stormed off, but I knew he was locked in his office because I could hear him punching things in there. Then I yelled through his door, "It's an anniversary gift for you, asshole. Two whole weeks early. 15 YEARS IS BIG METAL CHICKENS."
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:28 PM
( 12:04 PM ) The Rat
"AFTER FINISHING THE MEDICAL CLINIC, ACHON SAYS, HE WOULD LIKE TO RAISE MONEY TO BUILD A VILLAGE SCHOOL, AND ALSO WANTS TO DEVELOP A SPORTS PROGRAM TO HELP CHILDREN WHO REMAIN TRAUMATIZED BY THE WAR. 'WHEN YOU RUN,' HE SAID, IT HELPS YOU FORGET.'" Profile of the extraordinary Julius Achon.
Over breakfast, he recalled how, as a young student at George Mason, his naive observations—he initially called snow "white rice"—entertained his teammates. Despite having spent the past eight years living in Portland, he remains ebullient about the small joys of first-world living. "Having tea in the house! Having bread in the house!" he exclaimed at one point. "If I want tea—anytime!—I can have it."
Recalling his decision to shelter the orphans [at a time when he was himself near-homeless in the West], he was pragmatic. In Uganda, he observed dryly, housing standards were not the same as in the United States—or as he put it: "If you are poor in Uganda, you just sleep on the ground like the cows." Childcare was also no problem, since children contributed to household chores and tended to be well-behaved. "As long as there is enough food, they are easy to mind," he said. And while accepting responsibility had been daunting, he admitted, his time in the United States and Portugal had cast the financial obligation in sharp relief. "I calculated: If these 11 kids stay, for $100 a month I could feed all of them," he said with a shrug. "When I realized that, there was no other decision."
Driving to meet the orphans later that day, I repeated this explanation to Jim Fee, who laughed. "When all this started, I asked my wife: 'Can you imagine what it would be like if I brought home 11 kids from the Portland bus station?'"
Also, don't try this part at home:
A year after making his way home [from conscription into the Lord's Resistance Army], Achon entered his first official footrace, a county meet that he won. The race qualified him for the district championships in Lira, 42 miles away, but the county had no money to pay for transportation. When he got the news, Achon took one of the family's chickens to the home of a wealthy man who owned a car, and begged for a ride.
The man refused. Incensed, Achon ditched the chicken and started running. He reached the stadium in Lira six hours later. The next day, Achon ran the 800 meters, which he won, and the 1500 meters, which he won in the final sprint. After a lunch of sugarcane, he raced the 3000 meters, and won easily.
The victories earned Achon, then 13, a berth at the national championships...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 PM
Saturday, December 17, 2011
( 5:42 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:42 PM
Friday, December 16, 2011
( 8:10 PM ) The Rat
SUDANESE 'LOST BOY' TURNED OLYMPIAN LOPEZ LOMONG graduates from college today.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:10 PM
( 7:44 PM ) The Rat
"SOMETIMES WHEN I SLEEP I DREAM OF THOSE FIELDS." Just published today, and instantly became quite possibly my favorite ATIAC ever.
Seriously, I feel/am exactly like this turtle in my interactions with the world.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:44 PM
( 10:36 AM ) The Rat
"WHEN HE HEARD THAT ANOTHER FRIEND, A PROFESSOR, HAD A HABIT OF SEDUCING FEMALE STUDENTS IN HIS WRITING SEMINARS, HE SHOOK HIS HEAD PITYINGLY. 'IT'S NOT WORTH IT. AFTERWARD, YOU HAVE TO READ THEIR SHORT STORIES.'"" Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P.
Danielle mobilized Christopher to write for a magazine she then edited, the Women's Quarterly. For the very uncharacteristic fee of $200, he and David Brooks divided a page to settle the question, who were sexier: left-wing women or right-wing women? Christopher championed right-wing women, and told the story of the erotic thrill he had experienced when Margaret Thatcher had slapped him on the bottom with a rolled-up newspaper...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:36 AM
Thursday, December 15, 2011
( 10:43 PM ) The Rat
LISTENING TO MUSIC LIGHTS UP THE WHOLE BRAIN. Like you didn't already know that.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:43 PM
( 10:17 PM ) The Rat
THE PARADOX OF GIFT GIVING. Sucks, no?
Suppose you're trying to impress a loved one with a generous gift this holiday season, says Kimberlee Weaver, assistant professor of marketing in the Pamplin College of Business. One option is to buy them a luxury cashmere sweater. A second option is to add in a $10 gift card.
If their budget allows, most gift givers would choose the second option, as it comprises two gifts—one big, one small, Weaver says. Ironically, however, the gift recipient is likely to perceive the cashmere sweater alone as more generous than the combination of the same sweater and gift card. "The gift giver or presenter does not anticipate this difference in perspectives and has just cheapened the gift package by spending an extra $10 on it."
Weaver is part of a research team that recently discovered, through a series of studies, what the team has called the "Presenter's Paradox." The paradox arises because gift givers and gift recipients have different perspectives, Weaver says. Gift givers follow a "more-is-better" logic; recipients evaluate the overall package...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:17 PM
( 9:50 PM ) The Rat
"VERDI, DECLARED A DEPUTY IN THE ITALIAN PARLIAMENT, PERSONIFIED HIS CENTURY. BUT SO ALSO DID WAGNER." Ouch?
Although they might have reached a consensus about capitalism, Verdi and Wagner disagreed on nearly every musical and aesthetic issue they confronted. They seemed, indeed, to represent a choice not only between opposing conceptions of opera, but between ways of life, philosophies of existence. Conrad brings this out well, though in the end his seemingly endless cornucopia of contrasts becomes somewhat tiresome.
What is so frustrating is that amid this plenitude he fails to emphasise what seems to me the absolutely crucial difference between the two composers. It is that, as Bryan Magee pointed out in Wagner and Philosophy (by far the best book of Wagner criticism in recent years), Wagner was an intellectual, while Verdi was not.
Wagner thought long and hard about the purpose of music and the role of opera. His later operas, and especially Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal, are deeply influenced by the philosophy of Schopenhauer, and it is hardly possible to understand them without some grounding in 19th-century German philosophy.
German philosophy and German art of the 19th century had in common a certain obsessiveness, and it was this that made Nietzsche believe that Wagner's music was diseased, "bad for young men and fatal to women," since "the problems he sets on the stage are all concerned with hysteria." It therefore appealed to feelings which were not, at bottom, musical. "Just look at these youths—all benumbed, pale, breathless!" Nietzsche writes in Der Fall Wagner ("The Case of Wagner"), "They are Wagnerites: they know nothing about music—and yet Wagner gets the mastery of them!" Nietzsche was, I suspect, wrong on this point. The disease afflicts the highly musical not the unmusical.
By contrast with Wagner, Verdi can be seen, so Isaiah Berlin argued in his brilliant essay "The Naivete of Verdi," as "a symptom of sanity in our time." He was a "naive" artist, in Schiller's sense, at ease with his art; not, like Wagner, a composer who believed that music was the new religion...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:50 PM
( 7:53 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:53 PM
( 1:12 AM ) The Rat
"JEALOUSY IS THE ART OF COUNTING SOMEONE ELSE'S BLESSINGS INSTEAD OF YOUR OWN," and 29 other things to stop doing to yourself.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:12 AM
( 1:07 AM ) The Rat
KLM AIRLINES PASSENGERS CAN PICK THEIR SEATMATE USING FACEBOOK, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:07 AM
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
( 10:52 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:52 PM
( 10:51 PM ) The Rat
7 FOODS EVEN FOOD SAFETY EXPERTS WON'T EAT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:51 PM
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
( 11:01 PM ) The Rat
THE PROS AND CONS OF MAKING A PROS AND CONS LIST. This explains so much about the trajectory of my life!
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:01 PM
( 4:47 PM ) The Rat
OCD CUTTING BOARD. Man, JS and I would be all over that.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:47 PM
( 10:06 AM ) The Rat
SANTAS MOB NYC, via IKM. The pics taken inside GCT are intense.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:06 AM
( 10:00 AM ) The Rat
MICHIGAN AND WISCONSIN TRADE BLOWS OVER WHICH STATE LOOKS MORE LIKE A MITTEN.
Lyons formerly worked in Door County—Wisconsin's thumb—and said he often holds up his left hand when locating state places for others.
'We complement each other and it's not our fault that their thumb is smaller,' he said, getting in a jab at his neighbor across Lake Michigan...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:00 AM
( 9:42 AM ) The Rat
ANATOMY OF A BAD CONFESSION.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:42 AM
( 9:37 AM ) The Rat
THE GENEROUS MARRIAGE.
While sexual intimacy, commitment and communication are important, the focus on generosity adds a new dimension to our understanding of marital success. Though this conclusion may seem fairly self-evident, it's not always easy to be generous to a romantic partner. The noted marriage researcher John Gottman has found that successful couples say or do at least five positive things for each negative interaction with their partner—not an easy feat.
"In marriage we are expected to do our fair share when it comes to housework, child care and being faithful, but generosity is going above and beyond the ordinary expectations with small acts of service and making an extra effort to be affectionate," explains the University of Virginia's W. Bradford Wilcox, who led the research. "Living that spirit of generosity in a marriage does foster a virtuous cycle that leads to both spouses on average being happier in the marriage."
Social scientists are now wondering if this virtuous cycle extends to children too. In a study of 3-year-old twins, Israeli researchers have identified a genetic predisposition toward generosity that may be further influenced by a parent's behavior. Preliminary findings suggest that children with more-engaged parents are more likely to be generous toward others, which may bode well for their future relationships—and their parents' too.
"We see meaningful differences in parents' behaviors," said Ariel Knafo, the principal investigator and a psychologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "In the long run we'd like to be able to see whether it’s children's generosity that also makes parents more kind or the other way around. Probably it's both."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:37 AM
( 9:18 AM ) The Rat
23-1/2 HOURS: WHAT IS THE SINGLE BEST THING WE CAN DO FOR OUR HEALTH?
You might be very busy with work, or kids, or both—or you may be in pain or have other priorities. But my question to you is, can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23-1/2 hours a day?
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:18 AM
Monday, December 12, 2011
( 11:06 PM ) The Rat
BEDAZZLED DUKEMINIER ON PROPERTY, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:06 PM
( 5:56 PM ) The Rat
"THE CRUCIFIX OF BACON IS THE LEAST JEWISH THING I HAVE EVER SEEN."
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:56 PM
( 5:49 PM ) The Rat
MATT LONG got hitched! His excellent memoir is a good read, and was among the things that got me hooked on distance running.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:49 PM
( 10:00 AM ) The Rat
CABLE CAR MAKES DEBUT ON TUBE MAP.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:00 AM
Sunday, December 11, 2011
( 6:26 PM ) The Rat
HAPPY 69-YEAR-OLD LADY HAS NOT USED MONEY FOR 15 YEARS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:26 PM
( 9:42 AM ) The Rat
THE WINNER OF THE STILETTO DASH at last weekend's Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:42 AM
( 9:26 AM ) The Rat
WORST LONG RUN EVER. Heh! Sort of a new spin on the longstanding tradition of joggers occurring in news stories primarily as finders of corpses.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:26 AM
Saturday, December 10, 2011
( 11:04 PM ) The Rat
HOW DOCTORS DIE. The author doesn't mention this, but I'm betting another reason most laypeople don't understand the limits of modern medicine is that most laypeople watch too many movies and TV shows.
Of course, doctors don't want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone. They've talked about this with their families. They want to be sure, when the time comes, that no heroic measures will happen—that they will never experience, during their last moments on earth, someone breaking their ribs in an attempt to resuscitate them with CPR (that's what happens if CPR is done right).
Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call "futile care" being performed on people. That's when doctors bring the cutting edge of technology to bear on a grievously ill person near the end of life. The patient will get cut open, perforated with tubes, hooked up to machines, and assaulted with drugs. All of this occurs in the Intensive Care Unit at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a day. What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist. I cannot count the number of times fellow physicians have told me, in words that vary only slightly, "Promise me if you find me like this that you'll kill me." They mean it. Some medical personnel wear medallions stamped "NO CODE" to tell physicians not to perform CPR on them. I have even seen it as a tattoo.
To administer medical care that makes people suffer is anguishing. Physicians are trained to gather information without revealing any of their own feelings, but in private, among fellow doctors, they'll vent. "How can anyone do that to their family members?" they'll ask. I suspect it's one reason physicians have higher rates of alcohol abuse and depression than professionals in most other fields...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:04 PM
( 3:04 PM ) The Rat
"SHE MOVED TOWARD HIM IN HER OLD SLIPPERS. HE THOUGHT THEY LOOKED LIKE RABBITS." Excerpts from Steamy Romance Novels for Parents of Young Children, via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:04 PM
( 3:19 AM ) The Rat
LUNAR ECLIPSE in just a few hours!
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:19 AM
( 3:18 AM ) The Rat
STORM TROOPER MOTORCYCLE SUIT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:18 AM
( 2:29 AM ) The Rat
"AND THAT'S A STORY THAT YOU DON'T TELL IN PUBLIC, BECAUSE NO ONE EVER ASKS, HOW DID YOU TWO STAY TOGETHER? EVERYONE ALWAYS ASKS, HOW DID YOU TWO MEET?" Act One in this is lovely.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:29 AM
Thursday, December 08, 2011
( 8:08 PM ) The Rat
ABUSED CHILDREN'S BRAINS WORK LIKE SOLDIERS' DO. Yikes.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:08 PM
( 7:31 PM ) The Rat
A BETTER-THAN-I-EXPECTED "TRUE STORIES," via Nerve.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:31 PM
( 7:25 PM ) The Rat
CHEERLEADER HELMET CAM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:25 PM
( 7:18 PM ) The Rat
STRESS EARLY IN PREGNANCY LINKED TO FEWER BABY BOYS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:18 PM
( 6:57 PM ) The Rat
"I'LL DELETE YOUR BROWSER HISTORY, THOUGH."
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:57 PM
( 11:10 AM ) The Rat
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED ABOARD AIR FRANCE 447, via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:10 AM
( 8:58 AM ) The Rat
The idea that the adversity we experience as children will go on to wound us forever riles me as being particularly unjust.
But that's exactly what Dr. Rajita Sinha, director of the Yale Stress Center, explained a few weeks ago, when we spoke by phone about her research on stress, anxiety and addiction.
'The stress and motivational systems in the brain are really susceptible to learning and adaptation,' said Sinha. 'As children we begin to adapt to our environment and learn things from it. If a child has a pervasive sense of adversity in his or her childhood for whatever reason, the brain responds to that kind of hardship by becoming more sensitized to stress. It gets hard-wired to react much more strongly than someone else who didn’t experience a lot of turmoil. So, to some extent, you will always have an elevated level of stress.'
'Fascinating.' I replied calmly, when what I was really thinking was: 'That is so bloody unfair!'
I was nine when I fled the Iranian revolution and it would be another four years of going from country to country before I would see my immediate family again. Am I really doomed to lifelong vulnerability to stress, depression and possibly addiction over something I had no power to change? How many people have any control over their fractured childhoods? It is exactly when we are all at our most helpless and vulnerable...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:58 AM
( 2:49 AM ) The Rat
Eleanor. I believe it; you do feel for me. To be a prisoner, to be bricked in when you've known the world—I'll never know how I've survived. These ten years, Henry, have been unimaginable. And you can offer me the only thing I want if I give up the only thing I treasure, and still feel for me. You give your falcons more affection than I get.
Henry. My falcons treat me better.
Eleanor. Handle me with iron gloves, then.
—The Lion in Winter
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:49 AM
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
( 9:47 PM ) The Rat
THANKS TO THE 'AUTOMATIC EVENT RECOGNITION' FEATURE IN GMAIL, I was typing along in an IM box and suddenly realized that, in the sidebar, an "Add to calendar" icon had popped up along with the lines:
meet a nice guy
Wed Dec 7, 2011 10pm — add
And with only 15 minutes' notice, too! Overambitious much, Gmail??
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:47 PM
( 8:26 PM ) The Rat
BAM AND THEN IT HITS YOU. Saw this campaign for the first time yesterday; love the concept.
Story told by Peter Sagal at the end of The Moth's 2011 Chicago GrandSLAM (Part 2 of which is this week's featured podcast, available here):
[I]t's a story that happened to a friend of mine named Morgan Jenness. When she told me the story she was a dramaturg—that's somebody, if you don't know... it's sort of like an editor of plays, somebody who works with the playwright; now she's a literary agent in New York City. And the story was that when Morgan was a young woman, living in New York City, she was—had trouble... she came from a difficult background, and had trouble finding herself and was very uncertain of herself. And for whatever reason, she had become obsessed with Mother Teresa. For some reason—in her young mind, at the time (this was around 1980, '81)—Mother Teresa was the epitome of human beings... the best kind of human there was. And Morgan so much wanted to be like or with Mother Teresa—and one day she found out, she read in the paper, that Mother Teresa was coming to New York City, to visit the U.N., or testify about something or other. And Morgan was such a Mother Teresa fan that she found out what hotel Mother Teresa was staying at. And stalked Mother Teresa.
So she's there—a curb outside the hotel—and a car pulls up... and Mother Teresa gets out. I remember one detail of the story that Morgan told me was that first, all these little nuns got out, this little row of penguin-like nun getting out... and then finally, here comes Mother Teresa.
And Morgan runs up to Mother Teresa, who was an old woman even at that time, and says, 'Oh, Mother Teresa, I'm so glad to meet you, Mother Teresa... The work you do is so wonderful!' And Mother Teresa was very nice, and took her hand and listened to her, and Morgan said, 'The work you do is so important, and it's so wonderful, and I so much—I just want to come to Calcutta, and do that work with you, because I just think it's so wonderful.'
And Mother Teresa kind of shook her head, and said, 'No, no—you don't do this work because you think it's good... You do this work because you so love the people, the poor people of Calcutta, with whom I work, that you can't be away from them. That's when you come, and you do this work.'
And Morgan kind of realized that... she had been busted a little bit, in a nice way, and kind of nodded and understood—and Mother Teresa said, 'Well, what do you do?'
And Morgan said, 'Well—what I do isn't important. What I do is I work in a theater, and help put on plays... I mean what use is that?'
And Mother Teresa said to Morgan—who then told me the same story about ten years later—Mother Teresa said, 'There are so many different kinds of famine in this world. In my country there is a famine of the body. In this country there is a famine of the spirit. Stay here and feed your people.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:26 PM
( 7:57 PM ) The Rat
TIME-LAPSE VIDEO OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST. Gorgeous, even on my 11" screen.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:57 PM
( 7:45 PM ) The Rat
10 MORE REASONS YOU'RE NOT MARRIED, via Jezebel. Really good, though it flags just at the end.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:45 PM
( 7:40 PM ) The Rat
LOS ANGELES VS. NEW YORK, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:40 PM
( 3:12 PM ) The Rat
"COME ON, THAT'S THE PORNIEST PORN TITLE SINCE DICK DICKLONGER THE VICEDICK OF DICKINGTON INVADES PUSSYTOWN (WITH HIS DICK)."
It's important to remember that the process most of these stories went through was the painting first, and then the text. So at some point, a roomful of writers were faced with an editor standing in front of this very picture, likely having the following exchange:
Editor: All right, ladies, who's got a headline for this mean son of a whore right here?
Writer 1: Jesus, what even is this?
Writer 2: I've got nothing for this. This is ridiculous. Nobody is going to believe this ever happened.
Editor: Fifty bucks in it for the best story.
Writer 1: Killer bats plague countryside!
Writer 2: Plague bats kill countryside!
Writer 1: You motherf— "I was a teenage bat-king."
Writer 2: "Bats stole my shirt!"
Writer 1: "I. FIGHT. BATS."
Writer 2: "VAMPIRES RIPPED MY FLESH!"
Writer 1: I ...shit, that's really good. You have bested me, sir. I look forward to perusing your work. I will retreat to the area beneath the bleachers of the local baseball stadium, where I shall search for fallen hot dog bits.
And that is how we get art.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:12 PM
( 2:29 PM ) The Rat
"NOBODY WANTS PEACH SAUCE ON, SAY, SCAMPI." The Awl has a look at the 1972 Joy of Sex.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:29 PM
( 1:47 PM ) The Rat
'MYTHBUSTERS' MISFIRE SENDS CANNONBALL THROUGH NEIGHBORHOOD.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:47 PM
( 12:50 PM ) The Rat
15 THINGS WHITE GIRLS LOVE TO DO ON FACEBOOK. I can't post this on Facebook because I'm linked to some white girls who actually do several of these things. Also, re no. 7: Zing!
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:50 PM
( 8:50 AM ) The Rat
"THAT BURNED DOWN, FELL OVER, THEN SANK INTO THE SWAMP..." Happy 279th birthday to the Royal Opera House!
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:50 AM
( 1:29 AM ) The Rat
"GOOD MORNING." Also check out the interview with Justin Valmassoi here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:29 AM
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
( 10:51 PM ) The Rat
YOU CAME HERE TO WIN, DIDN'T YOU? Nifty Opera News article about how to pick your competition arias. Fwiw, while I totally get why 'O mio babbino caro' deserves snark, the one live performance I saw of it played up its subtext hilariously and beautifully.
Be able to do what the aria does. Simply by placing certain arias on your list, you are making a statement. If you offer Sesto's 'Parto, parto,' or the Count's aria, your statement is, 'I can sing rapid triplets very clearly.' If you offer 'Una voce poco fa,' your statement is, 'I do not run out of breath on downward runs.' If you offer 'Steal Me, Sweet Thief,' you are saying, 'I can correctly count a measure of seven beats.' If these statements are not true, sing something else. It is a never-ending source of amazement to me when a young woman announces 'Stride la vampa,' gets to the fifth measure and can't sing a trill. That faint rustling you hear is your jury scratching their heads.
Know the subtext, play the subtext. 'Glitter and Be Gay' and the gavotte from Manon are fine pieces, but they are not about the things on the surface. In fact, they are pretty much about everything except what is on the surface, and if they are played literally, they become insufferable. Ditto Hamlet's drinking song and Lakmé's bell song. Even 'O mio babbino caro,' God help us, has subtext. (We are only going to ask for 'O mio babbino caro' if the competition is running very late because... oh, please.) Show us what is really going on...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:51 PM
( 8:46 AM ) The Rat
ILLEGAL FARM WORKER BECOMES BRAIN SURGEON. Damn.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:46 AM
( 7:11 AM ) The Rat
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( 12:56 AM ) The Rat
THE 45 MOST POWERFUL IMAGES OF 2011.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:56 AM
( 12:04 AM ) The Rat
HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE ADVENT CALENDAR.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 AM
Monday, December 05, 2011
( 8:32 PM ) The Rat
SCIENTISTS '5 YEARS' FROM CLONED MAMMOTH.
Researchers from Japan's Kinki University and a mammoth museum in Russia plan to use marrow from a thigh bone to create a viable mammoth embryo...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:32 PM
( 8:31 PM ) The Rat
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( 4:24 PM ) The Rat
HORRIBLE CARDS, via The Oatmeal. Too rich for my blood, but undeniably awesome. ("Angry badger" is probably my favorite.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:24 PM
( 4:18 PM ) The Rat
"IT TASTES OF THE FIRES OF HELL FROM WHICH IT CAME." The Wait Wait crew eat the Marmite sandwich.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:18 PM
( 4:15 PM ) The Rat
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( 12:53 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:53 PM
( 11:13 AM ) The Rat
THE LIFE OF A ROYAL BALLET DANCER.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:13 AM
Sunday, December 04, 2011
( 2:36 PM ) The Rat
"…DON'T GIVE ME THAT LOOK. YOU'VE WONDERED. WE'VE ALL WONDERED." Recalling this earlier, priceless, and also Jon Hamm-themed ATIAC, which wouldn't be anywhere near as funny with either any other animal or any other celebrity.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:36 PM
( 12:58 PM ) The Rat
POSTAL CUTS TO SLOW DELIVERY OF FIRST-CLASS MAIL. Grr.
Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.
The estimated $3 billion in reductions, to be announced in broader detail on Monday, are part of a wide-ranging effort by the cash-strapped Postal Service to quickly trim costs, seeing no immediate help from Congress.
The changes would provide short-term relief, but ultimately could prove counterproductive, pushing more of America's business onto the Internet. They could slow everything from check payments to Netflix's DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities.
That birthday card mailed first-class to Mom also could arrive a day or two late, if people don't plan ahead...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:58 PM
( 12:56 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:56 PM
( 12:26 PM ) The Rat
THERE MAY BE A REASON FOR THIS...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 PM
( 11:06 AM ) The Rat
"YOU'RE AT DINNER, AND HE'S EATING AND BASICALLY HANGING OUT WITH YOUR BOOBS." But any literary guy who isn't like that, is gay. True fact.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:06 AM
Saturday, December 03, 2011
( 8:55 PM ) The Rat
"IT MUST BE PERVERSE AND OFTEN BAFFLING. IT MUST OSCILLATE BETWEEN THE STATE OF BAFFLEMENT AND TRANSPARENCY, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY REMAINING PERVERSE." Scroll to Act Four, "Tough News Room," a very funny story by Malcolm Gladwell about his first job in journalism. (The audio version, which is even better, is here.) Someone actually bet me a beer, back in the day, that I wouldn't be able to work the words "kumquat," "duodenum," and "Malverde" into a fellowship interview. Alas, I lost the bet (though I won the fellowship).
And people were looking at me and wondering about me, and finally the business editor took pity on me, and he gave me an earnings story to do. It was about a local company named Maryland Biosciences, and I just had to write up their earnings. And so I wrote it up, like three paragraphs long, it took me like five hours, and that was my first story in the Washington Post.
But unfortunately, I wrote that the Maryland Biosciences had lost $5 million in the previous quarter, and they in fact had made $5 million in the previous quarter. And on the morning the story ran, the stock dropped 10 points. And the CEO called Ben Bradlee on the phone and just chewed him out. And I got in all kinds of trouble, and I was put on probation. And if I had doubts about journalism before, they were redoubled now. And I was wondering, what am I doing? I can't even read a balance sheet properly. And I really was despairing, and I was turning over this story again and again. How did I do it? Where did I go wrong?
And then I had a kind of epiphany, which I really credit for why I stayed in journalism, and didn't go selling real estate, or whatever the other things I was thinking of doing in that moment. I realized first of all that I had made up this story, but I'd gotten into the paper, and no one had stopped me. And secondly, I'd moved the stock 10 points. And it was a kind of Jayson Blair moment. And all of a sudden, there's a little glimmer, and I can begin to see that there's some hope in this profession. This thing that didn't make sense to me is now kind of making sense...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:55 PM
( 11:28 AM ) The Rat
Sam. I got you a very, very special gift, my friend.
Norm. More special than a free beer?
Sam. Yeah, come here.
Norm. Is it a keg and a snorkel?
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:28 AM
Friday, December 02, 2011
( 10:57 PM ) The Rat
"THERE ARE MANY WAYS OF HONORING SOMEONE'S DREAM." Interesting interview with John Gottman.
RW. You brought up the need to compromise. Dan Wile suggested that sometimes people compromise too soon even when they feel strongly about an issue. By the time they talk, neither one of them will compromise anymore. Each person has already compromised once, though their partner does not know that or appreciate it. And then both people come across as more stubborn then they actually are.
JG. Right, I think that's a very good point. I think Dan Wile is a very wise person, a wonderful therapist, and most of his insights are supported by the research I do. We have him come up to Washington every year and do a workshop for our therapists at our marriage clinic. I think one of the great things that Dan Wile said is people shouldn't compromise so much.
RW. Yes, that sometimes compromise is a solution that becomes a new problem.
JG. A lot of times they're giving up their ideals, they're giving up the romance and passion of their selves. They've giving up something really essential. That's what the secret is to ending the gridlock in these perpetual problems; to realize that there's a reason why people can't compromise. They have a personal philosophical ideal that they're holding on to and it's very essential to who they are as a person.
And if you can make the marriage safe enough, you can take those fists and really open them up, and there's a dream inside of each fist, there's a life dream. When people see what the dream is and what the narrative story is, what Michael White would call the narrative behind it, the history of this life dream, usually both people want to honor their partner's dream.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:57 PM
( 9:26 PM ) The Rat
"AN UNATTRACTIVE ADULT EPISODE," via Coach Jenny.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:26 PM
( 12:36 PM ) The Rat
TOP FIVE REGRETS OF THE DYING, via RH.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:36 PM
( 9:33 AM ) The Rat
A MESSAGE TO WOMEN FROM A MAN: YOU ARE NOT 'CRAZY.' Interesting, as are the comments.
The form of gaslighting I'm addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.
Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction—whether it's anger, frustration, sadness—in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren't rational or normal.
My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, "You're so sensitive. I'm just joking."
My friend Abbie works for a man who finds a way, almost daily, to unnecessarily to unnecessarily shoot down her performance and her work product. Comments like, "Can't you do something right?" or "Why did I hire you?" are regular occurrences for her. Her boss has no problem firing people (he does it regularly), so you wouldn't know that based on these comments, Abbie has worked for him for six years. But every time she stands up for herself and says, "It doesn’t help me when you say these things," she gets the same reaction: "Relax; you're overreacting."
Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it's exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.
But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, "You're so sensitive," to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.
While dealing with gaslighting isn't a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.
And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.
Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.
It's a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don't refuse our burdens as easily...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:33 AM
Thursday, December 01, 2011
( 9:37 PM ) The Rat
"CHEESE LOWERS LDL CHOLESTEROL WHEN COMPARED TO AN EQUAL INTAKE OF BUTTER..." I only wish I could weigh every dietary decision I make against "an equal intake of butter."
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:37 PM
( 9:28 PM ) The Rat
BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTO RETOUCHING.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:28 PM
( 8:35 PM ) The Rat
DIVORCE RESEARCH 2011: TOP 11 FINDINGS OF THE YEAR. No. 1 ("Infidelity May Cause Penile Fracture") is the funniest, but the study mentioned in no. 2 may be the most interesting.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:35 PM
( 7:57 PM ) The Rat
IF YOU LIKE HIM, PUT A RING ON IT. I wonder what Margaret Brinig has to say about this?
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:57 PM
( 2:30 PM ) The Rat
Bikila, who was no political animal, had just been told the story of Pheidippides and at first was more concerned with the possibility that he would die in the effort if he won. Niskanen calmed him by putting the race in perspective. "It is not like other races. The distance runner is not like other runners. He can't see the finish line. When he begins the race, he doesn't even know if he is going to reach the end."
—The Lure of Long Distances
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:30 PM
( 12:37 PM ) The Rat
NASA COMMISSIONS A LAUNDRY MACHINE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:37 PM
( 10:43 AM ) The Rat
"SOMETIMES, MY FEET ARE TOO WARM IN MY UGGS, BUT TOO COLD IN MY SOCKS" and other of Mommy's First World problems, via TG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:43 AM