Monday, April 30, 2012
( 4:33 PM ) The Rat
"HIS TWO SONS ALREADY WERE COMING TO UNDERSTAND HIS INJURIES; HE WOULD THREATEN TO 'WHIP THEIR BUTTS' AND HIS 3-YEAR-OLD SAID, 'HOW YOU GONNA CATCH ME WHEN YOU GOT NO LEGS,' AND HE SAID, 'I GUESS YOU GOT ME THERE.'" Peter Sagal on visiting Walter Reed.
I swear to you: I didn't intend to write or talk about this in public. I didn't want to be one of those guys who starts talking about the Wounded Warriors with the subtext of how wonderful I am for going to see them. But as will be evident, talking and writing about what I saw became very quickly both important for them and necessary for my own mental health.
While The Good Soldiers is a superb work of reporting and non-fiction writing, what really struck me—more than the heartbreaking stories of soldiers working, suffering and dying, and then trying to adjust to life afterwards—was the dates. The regiment that Finkel followed to Iraq was sent there as part of the "surge," and stayed there from April 2007 to July 2008. I don't know about you, but I remember those years really well. I published my first book, I travelled all over the country with my show, including to New York City to accept a Peabody Award, I attended a lot of fun parties, I shared a lot of good times with my wife and kids. I had a grand time. And all during that period, I can't say I spared more than a passing thought for the men sent into the meat grinder of the Iraq War. As Finkel notes, we were told the surge worked. We were told violence was down. And it was. Fewer Americans died during those months than in the terrible days of 2003 and 2004. But some did die, and more were gravely wounded, and I wasn't paying attention...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:33 PM
( 4:19 PM ) The Rat
THE CASE AGAINST BREASTFEEDING. Interesting pc. by Hanna Rosin, from 2009.
In her critique of the awareness campaign, Joan Wolf, a women's-studies professor at Texas A&M University, chalks up the overzealous ads to a new ethic of "total motherhood." Mothers these days are expected to "optimize every dimension of children's lives," she writes. Choices are often presented as the mother's selfish desires versus the baby's needs. As an example, Wolf quotes What to Expect When You're Expecting, from a section called the "Best-Odds Diet," which I remember quite well: "Every bite counts. You've got only nine months of meals and snacks with which to give your baby the best possible start in life... Before you close your mouth on a forkful of food, consider, 'Is this the best bite I can give my baby?' If it will benefit your baby, chew away. If it'll only benefit your sweet tooth or appease your appetite put your fork down." To which any self-respecting pregnant woman should respond: "I am carrying 35 extra pounds and my ankles have swelled to the size of a life raft, and now I would like to eat some coconut-cream pie. So you know what you can do with this damned fork."
About seven years ago, I met a woman from Montreal, the sister-in-law of a friend, who was young and healthy and normal in every way, except that she refused to breast-feed her children. She wasn't working at the time. She just felt that breast-feeding would set up an unequal dynamic in her marriage—one in which the mother, who was responsible for the very sustenance of the infant, would naturally become responsible for everything else as well. At the time, I had only one young child, so I thought she was a kooky Canadian—and selfish and irresponsible. But of course now I know she was right. I recalled her with sisterly love a few months ago, at three in the morning, when I was propped up in bed for the second time that night with my new baby (note the my). My husband acknowledged the ripple in the nighttime peace with a grunt, and that's about it. And why should he do more? There's no use in both of us being a wreck in the morning. Nonetheless, it's hard not to seethe.
The Bitch in the House, published in 2002, reframed The Feminine Mystique for my generation of mothers. We were raised to expect that co-parenting was an attainable goal. But who were we kidding? Even in the best of marriages, the domestic burden shifts, in incremental, mostly unacknowledged ways, onto the woman. Breast-feeding plays a central role in the shift. In my set, no husband tells his wife that it is her womanly duty to stay home and nurse the child. Instead, both parents together weigh the evidence and then make a rational, informed decision that she should do so. Then other, logical decisions follow: she alone fed the child, so she naturally knows better how to comfort the child, so she is the better judge to pick a school for the child and the better nurse when the child is sick, and so on. Recently, my husband and I noticed that we had reached the age at which friends from high school and college now hold positions of serious power. When we went down the list, we had to work hard to find any women. Where had all our female friends strayed? Why had they disappeared during the years they'd had small children?
In his study on breast-feeding and cognitive development, Michael Kramer mentions research on the long-term effects of mother rats' licking and grooming their pups. Maybe, he writes, it’s "the physical and/or emotional act of breastfeeding" that might lead to benefits. This is the theory he prefers, he told me, because "it would suggest something the formula companies can't reproduce." No offense to Kramer, who seems like a great guy, but this gets under my skin. If the researchers just want us to lick and groom our pups, why don't they say so? We can find our own way to do that. In fact, by insisting that milk is some kind of vaccine, they make it less likely that we'll experience nursing primarily as a loving maternal act—"pleasant and relaxing," in the words of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and more likely that we'll view it as, well, dispensing medicine...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:19 PM
( 2:13 PM ) The Rat
THINKING IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE HELPS ECONOMIC DECISION-MAKING.
In one of the most telling experiments, they tested native English speakers at the University of Chicago who gained Spanish proficiency in the classroom, in order to see how loss aversion influenced their decision-making. The experiment explored how likely the students were to take attractive bets depending on the language in which they considered their options.
Each participant received $15 in dollar bills, from which they took $1 for each bet. They could either keep the dollar or risk it for the possibility of getting an extra $1.50 if they won a coin toss. So in each round, they could net $2.50 if they won the toss, or get nothing if they lost. The bets were attractive because statistically, the students stood to come out ahead if they took all 15 bets.
When given the experiment in English, the students thought myopically, researchers found. The students who considered the problem in English focused on their fear of losing each bet, and took the bet only 54 percent of the time. In contrast, students who did the experiment in Spanish took the bet 71 percent of the time.
"Perhaps the most important mechanism for the effect is that a foreign language has less emotional resonance than a native tongue," co-author Hayakawa said. "An emotional reaction could lead to decisions that are motivated more by fear than by hope, even when the odds are highly favorable."
The team also tested asymmetry in decision-making, which happens when the same choice is framed either as a gain or a loss. In general, people avoid risk when the question is framed in terms of gains, but they seek risk when the question is framed in terms of losses. This behavior runs counter to economic theory, which states that risk evaluation should be independent of how a situation is described.
Through a series of experiments in Korea, France and the United States, the team showed that asymmetry disappears when a person makes decisions in a foreign language. The students were able to evaluate the choices based on expected outcomes, rather than having their decisions influenced by the different presentation of the problems...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:13 PM
( 1:56 PM ) The Rat
"ALL YOU DO IS BRING US DOWN," via EG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:56 PM
( 1:54 PM ) The Rat
"THE FLORIDA SWAMP SECTION OF THE LANDSCAPE," via the British Museum.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:54 PM
( 1:35 PM ) The Rat
PROFESSOR DEEPLY HURT BY STUDENT'S EVALUATION, from 1996.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:35 PM
Sunday, April 29, 2012
( 8:05 PM ) The Rat
WHAT SIZE AM I? Hmm.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:05 PM
Saturday, April 28, 2012
( 5:43 PM ) The Rat
"AND I CAN FINALLY LEARN TO PLAY GUITAR," via ATIAC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:43 PM
Thursday, April 26, 2012
( 9:25 PM ) The Rat
GREENHOUSE TO GO LETS PLANTS ESCAPE THE APOCALYPSE WITH YOU. I want to just mock this, but to be fair, I did once take an orchid along on a weeklong visit I was paying 200 miles from home.
Mobile gardening is becoming quite trendy; it seems that people just can't bear to be separated from their plants. This is one easy way to keep your greens with you at all times: the Greenhouse to Go, from German design firm Studio Besau Marguerre.
Marcel Besau and Eva Marguerre, in collaboration with Adrien Petrucci, created the suitcase-like greenhouse for Milan Design Week 2012, following the theme "Home Away from Home." The idea is not just to have your plant with you, but to be able to take it with you if you ever need to colonize a foreign planet...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:25 PM
( 3:31 PM ) The Rat
I REFUSE TO BE SPECIAL BECAUSE I CHOSE TO BE A MOTHER, via TG.
Motherhood is hard in all the best ways any vocation or avocation (depending on one's point of view) can be, but calling it the hardest job in the world is making me more than I am and in reality, making my parenting worse...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:31 PM
Monday, April 23, 2012
( 9:44 PM ) The Rat
THE MERCURIAL LIFE AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF SAMMY WANJIRU. So sad.
The tale of the inner-city basketball player climbing from public housing to public figure is familiar to those who follow U.S. sports. Along the altitudinous ledges of the Rift Valley, a similar narrative increasingly plays out among marathon runners, but on a scale even more dizzying and dangerous. "You [Americans] run for glory," says Harun Ngatia, a physiotherapist who works with top runners and treated Wanjiru. "Here the financial interest comes first."
As the monetary rewards of running have increasingly migrated from track events to marathons on streets in Europe and the U.S., Kenyans have followed in astonishing numbers. A single podium finish at a major marathon can earn life-altering money for a rural Kenyan. In Nyahururu, the major shopping mall is the Olympia Centre, which borrows the name of a skyscraper in Chicago and is owned by Daniel Njenga, whose money comes from second- and third-place finishes in that city's marathon.
The result of this concentration of prize money in the marathon has been a dominance unparalleled in modern international sports. Though a power in distance running since the 1960s, Kenyan men have made the marathon their own since Wanjiru's bold example in Beijing. It's the kind of supremacy that usually exists when just one country truly values a sport: Japan in sumo, Canada in curling. Between April and November 2011, Kenyan men broke course records in the five most prominent marathons—Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London and New York City—by a collective sum of six minutes and 22 seconds. It's hard to come up with any measure sufficient to characterize the strength of the Kenyan marathon army, but try this: Sixteen American men in history have run faster than 2:10 (a 4:58 per mile pace); 38 Kenyan men did it in October.
[A] typical Nyahururu household, one that owns a few head of cattle and grows maize or potatoes, might make $1,000 in a year. And consider that Wanjiru earned up to $10 million, according to his lawyer, not only in prize money but also from endorsements with Nike and a Japanese dietary supplement line. In relative terms there might never have been a more dramatic rags-to-riches ascent in sports than Sammy Wanjiru's.
There were multiple robbery attempts on Wanjiru's house in Nyahururu. Francis Kamau says that armed thieves once stopped Wanjiru's car and held him until the police came and killed one of the assailants. Ibrahim Kinuthia, a former international runner and coach who worked with Wanjiru, says that some people thought Wanjiru's Olympic medal was made of solid gold...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:44 PM
( 8:45 PM ) The Rat
ELIMINATING WORDS FROM THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, via WC.
Words came in, marked for death. Popular objects of dissatisfaction included "awesome" and "epic" (pointlessly inflationary), "phlegm" and "fecund" (pointedly ugly), "bling" and "swag" (self-conscious slanguage), "impacted" and "efforting" (boardroom blather), "like" and "but" (only ever taking up space), and "irregardless" and "inflammable" (are they even words?). That was how the pack travelled, in the main.
Other readers struck out on their own. A defense lawyer wanted "guilty" gone. One man wanted to get rid of "deceptively" because, he said, "it lacks meaning." (Really? But it has, like, a definition.) A few people nominated "the f-word," though we were uncertain if they meant the word "fuck" (unacceptable: you need it if you stub a toe, not to mention for other anatomical purposes) or the euphemism (in which case we're O.K. with ditching it: we prefer "eff"). The sportswriter Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) spread the word to his Twitter followers, several of whom wished to scrub "Tebowing" from the language. Those people will have to hold their horses; if we can't eliminate the person a word is based on, we're not going to eliminate the word (cf. "Kardashian"). The comedian Todd Barry (@toddbarry) had the idea to do away with one of mainstay of language: "Not a big 'the' fan." The axe also came down on "trendy" and "stupid," "pretentious" and "phenomenology," "new" and "right" and "nice." It seemed as though if we lined up all the words people hated, there might be no words left.
In the end, there was a runaway un-favorite...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:45 PM
( 4:09 PM ) The Rat
MAGNIFY THE UNIVERSE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:09 PM
( 11:53 AM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:53 AM
( 11:37 AM ) The Rat
[Dominique] also started to notice the way kids are treated in the United States. At a big Thanksgiving with her husband's family, she was astonished to see that when a three-year-old girl arrived, all twenty adults at the table stopped talking and focused on the child.
"I thought, oh, this is incredible, this culture. It's like the kid is a God, it's really amazing. I'm like, no wonder Americans are so confident and so happy, and the French are so depressed. Here we are—just look at the attention."
But over time Dominique started to view this type of attention differently. She noticed that the same three-year-old girl who'd stopped conversation at Thanksgiving was developing an oversized sense of entitlement.
"I was like, 'that's it, this kid really annoys me.' She's coming and she's thinking that because she's here, everyone has to stop their life and pay attention."
Dominique, whose own kids are eleven, eight, and two, says her doubts grew when she overheard students at her children's preschool responding to teachers' instructions with, "You are not the boss of me." ("You would never see that in France, never," she says.) When she and her husband were invited for dinner at the homes of American friends with young kids, she often ended up doing most of the cooking, because the hosts were busy trying to make their children stay in bed.
"Instead of just being firm and saying, 'No more of that, I'm not giving you more attention, this is bedtime, and this is parents' time, now it's my time as an adult with my friends, you've had your time, this is our time. And go to bed, that's it,'—well, they don't do that. I don't know why they don't do that, but they don't do that. They can't do it. They keep just serving the kids. And I see that and I'm just blown away."
Dominique still adores New York and much prefers American schools to French ones. But in matters of parenting, she has increasingly reverted to French habits, with their clear rules and boundaries.
"The French way sometimes is too harsh. They could be a little more gentle and friendly with kids, I think," she says. "But I think the American way takes it way to the extreme, of raising kids as if they are ruling the world."
I find it hard to argue with my would-be doppelgänger. I can picture those dinner parties she's describing. American parents—myself included—are often deeply ambivalent about being in charge. In theory, we believe that kids need limits. This is a truism of American parenting. However, in practice, we're often unsure where these limits should be or we're uncomfortable policing them.
"I feel more guilty for getting angry than I feel angry," is how a college friend of Simon's justifies his three-year-old daughter's bad behavior. A girlfriend of mine says her three-year-old son bit her. But she "felt bad" yelling at him because she knew that it would make him cry. So she let it go.
Anglophone parents worry that being too strict will break their kids' creative spirits. A visiting American mother was shocked when she saw a playpen in our apartment in Paris. Apparently, back home, even playpens are now seen as too confining. (We didn’t know. In Paris they're de rigueur.)
A mother from Long Island tells me about her badly behaved nephew, whose parents were—in her view—alarmingly permissive. But she says the nephew has since grown up to become head of oncology at a major American medical center, vindicating the fact that he was an unbearable child. "I think kids who are very intelligent and not much disciplined are insufferable when they're kids. But I think they are less stifled creatively when they're older," she says.
It's very hard to know where the correct limits lie. By forcing Leo to stay in a playpen or in the sandbox, am I preventing him from one day curing cancer? Where does his free expression end and pointless bad behavior begin? When I let my kids stop and study every manhole cover we pass on the sidewalk, are they following their bliss, or turning into brats?
A lot of Anglophone parents I know find themselves in an awkward in-between zone, where they're trying to be both dictator and muse to their children. The result is that they end up constantly negotiating...
—Bringing Up Bébé
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:37 AM
( 10:31 AM ) The Rat
FEMALE COCKROACHES AVOID SLUTTY MALES, via Discoblog.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:31 AM
( 1:55 AM ) The Rat
One phase of his life, however, was little known and never mentioned. The top floor of the building under his penthouse was his private art gallery. It was locked. He had never admitted anyone, except the caretaker. A few people knew about it. Once a French ambassador asked him for permission to visit it. Wynand refused. Occasionally, not often, he would descend to his gallery and remain there for hours. The things he collected were chosen by standards of his own. He had famous masterpieces; he had canvases by unknown artists; he rejected the works of immortal names for which he did not care. The estimates set by collectors and the matter of great signatures were of no concern to him. The art dealers whom he patronized reported that his judgment was that of a master.
One night his valet saw Wynand returning from the art gallery below and was shocked by the expression of his face; it was a look of suffering, yet the face seemed ten years younger. "Are you ill, sir?" he asked. Wynand looked at him indifferently and said: "Go to bed."
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:55 AM
Sunday, April 22, 2012
( 8:19 PM ) The Rat
HOW EXERCISE COULD LEAD TO A BETTER BRAIN.
The value of mental-training games may be speculative, as Dan Hurley writes in his article on the quest to make ourselves smarter, but there is another, easy-to-achieve, scientifically proven way to make yourself smarter. Go for a walk or a swim. For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn't just a relationship; it is the relationship. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons—and the makeup of brain matter itself—scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:19 PM
Saturday, April 21, 2012
( 3:06 PM ) The Rat
WHY WOMEN CAN'T FIND A GOOD MAN, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:06 PM
Thursday, April 19, 2012
( 2:59 PM ) The Rat
LIFE EXPECTANCY CALENDAR. Non-Canadians, just use the postal code given in the template.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:59 PM
( 7:21 AM ) The Rat
A SELECTION OF FOOD FROM FALSTAFF.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:21 AM
( 7:12 AM ) The Rat
AN ENTIRE DAY REPRESENTED IN ONE 360° PANORAMA PHOTO.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:12 AM
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
( 10:45 PM ) The Rat
IN 1950, AN ELEPHANT FELL OUT OF A MONORAIL IN GERMANY. That headline totally sounds like it's in code.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:45 PM
( 10:02 PM ) The Rat
AN UNCONVENTIONAL PAIRING: WINE AND 'SLIDERS' AT THE CASTLE, via Wait Wait.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:02 PM
( 6:07 PM ) The Rat
Occasionally a die-hard spectator would cheer outrageously for us, and this would shake me out of my reverie. Very occasionally it would be a woman, screaming, "C'mon, honey, do it for all of us!" Most often though, the women who saw me looked stunned; they didn't know how to react. Almost always the men they were standing with would cheer heartily, but the women would stand there, hands suspended in mid clap as if they were afraid to voice an opinion. I wanted to say, "Yes, it's eighteen miles and I've run that far, and yes, I will go twenty-six. Women can do this." But why weren't they here running, too? Those women's faces covered a sweep of emotions—fear, anger, propriety, disbelief, joy, inspiration, hope—and I got lots of messages. A light went on. Those women weren't in the race because they actually believed all those myths about women's fragility and limitation, and the reason they believed them is because they had no opportunity to experience something else. That is why I seem like a creature from outer space to them; I represent something unimagined. And yet, I look just like they do!
Gosh, I wasn't special! How stupid of me to ever think that, how totally, utterly stupid. I was just lucky! I was lucky I lived in America and not some place where women have to cover their faces and bodies! I was lucky that my dad encouraged me to run and my mother had a career. I was lucky that my high school had a girl's field hockey team. I was lucky to be asked to run the mile in Lynchburg. And boy, was I lucky to find Arnie. When most girls got to be twenty years old, it would never occur to them to do something so physically challenging, because when they were eight, they were told not to climb trees anymore, and when they were twelve, somebody would whisper stuff about how they'd get damaged if they exercised, and then somebody else would tell them it was more cool to fawn over the guys than do something for themselves. All they needed was an opportunity to actually do it. To understand this freedom and power, they had to feel it, they had to feel the Secret Weapon, it doesn't work just talking about it, you can talk until you are blue in the face but you can only feel this kind of victory.
—Kathrine Switzer, "Get the Hell Out of My Race and Give Me Those Numbers!"
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:07 PM
( 3:12 PM ) The Rat
GIRLS WHO PLAY IN DIRT GROW UP HEALTHIER.
Playing house, collecting Barbie dolls, and wearing dresses are common acts of raising a young girl in our society. But according to a recent study, it could be detrimental to their health.
Sharyn Clough, a researcher at Oregon State University, has discovered that women who have higher rates of allergies, and other autoimmune disorders are a result of being too clean. In other words, parents who let their children run amok in dirt or mud tend to have healthier kids...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:12 PM
( 12:34 PM ) The Rat
SIX WORDS YOU SHOULD SAY TODAY, via TG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:34 PM
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
( 9:45 PM ) The Rat
In April, when Ralph wrote to tell me that Jake Hadgemat died, he didn't go into detail about how. And when I wrote back, I didn't go into detail about painting Easter eggs with the kids. In July, when the 216 was being attacked several times a day, I didn't dwell on my own drama, that the kids and I were driving home from out of state and the car died. And in September, I didn't tell him much about the Colonel's wife who'd approached me and asked: "How are you doing?" "I'm doing OK." "Are you sure?" "Yes." "Are you sure?" "Yes. I'm doing OK." "No you're not. You're not doing OK."
It would have been an uncomfortable conversation any time. But making it worse was the setting. The memorial service for the three soldiers. And what am I supposed to say? I'm sick of being a single parent? I'm sick of not having sex? Is that when I say? That life sucks? Instead I keep anything like that to myself. I wasn't going to tell a colonel's wife that. And I'm not going to tell Ralph, who I'm sure needs me to be nothing other than upbeat. Just like there's no way I'm going to tell him how much work these videos are. That the boys prefer to be watching TV or playing with friends. That no one would say anything and I had to prompt them with whispered commands. I won't tell him about the branch that just missed the car or the way I attack the ice on the sidewalk with a hammer and a knife because I couldn't find the melter. I won't tell him that before I could find a moment to write him the night had been a parade of footsteps and flushing toilets and coughs. And me, trying to soothe our little anxious boys by saying, "Good night my handsome men."
I hate this war and what it has done to my life. I won't tell him that either. Instead, at 12:44 A.M., exhausted, I write, "Hi love. Well guess who loves you? Me and A, J and G. I hope you enjoyed the pictures I sent earlier. Quite a remarkable storm." He'll be home in January. He's due to leave Baghdad in 16 days. I'm worried about January. Who will he be?
"I'm proud of you," I write him. Your wife, Stephanie.
—from David Finkel's The Good Soldiers, excerpted here
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:45 PM
( 8:02 AM ) The Rat
11 WAYS TO CHEAT WHILE RUNNING A MARATHON.
For non-runners, 26.2 miles may seem like an unreasonable distance. These 11 runners agreed...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:02 AM
( 12:36 AM ) The Rat
LOTS OF NIFTY STATS over at Operabase.
Measured by the number of opera performances in the 2009/10 season, the most operatic cities were Wien (with 617 performances), Berlin, London, Moscow, and Hamburg (in position 5), followed by New York, Paris and Prague.
Of the top 100 most operatic cities,
—no fewer than 47 (!) are in Germany
—7 in Austria
—5 each in Switzerland and in Poland
—4 in Italy
—3 in the U.S., in the Czech Republic and in Russia
—2 in France, in Spain, in the U.K. and in Australia
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:36 AM
( 12:15 AM ) The Rat
One of my favorite contemporary hymns is 'The Word of God,' by Delores Dufner, a Benedictine nun. The last verse reads: 'So dare to be as once he was, who came to live, and love, and die.' She is speaking about Jesus Christ, but in the broadest context; any of us might look to him to learn how to live and love and die. These strike me as the great human tasks, and perhaps to take on one is to take on all three. They are, of course, the classic challenges of human psychological development. And it may be that growing to mature adulthood requires us to reject the popular mythology—that life is simply handed to us; that love is easy, quick, fated, and romantic; that death is a subject to be avoided altogether.
—Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (via AP)
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:15 AM
Monday, April 16, 2012
( 11:15 PM ) The Rat
TYPES OF WOMEN MEN LIKE BETTER THAN ME, via SG.
It is an extremely 'fun time' to be a woman. Catalyzed by the instantaneous access to information and social support provided by the modern internet, plus the fact women's health issues have become a charged pivot point in the American political climate, people are more interested in revolutionizing defined gender roles than ever.
It actually isn't very 'fun.' Facebook and Twitter enable the rapid circulation of and probably hundreds and thousands of 'likes' and 'RTs' for a very rational and empowering article about not judging women by their appearance by a woman who has made a living mostly by being beautiful. We are supposed to take an algal bloom of sitcoms and films starring 'funny, quirky' female stars as a positive sign, but Bridesmaids and New Girl and 2 Broke Girls are still pretty much about weddings or girls or earning money and getting a boyfriend and fitting in and everyone wants them to be harbingers of success so badly that no one really admits they're anemic and dumb, or that it's weird to have a rash of programming about women that is all called '[something] girl(s),' or that it's not that exciting for The Hunger Games to have a female heroine because ultimately the story is about which guy she likes and ends up having babies with.
All of this stuff is sort of confusing/upsetting if you are intellectual, independently successful, curvaceous or overweight, unconventional looking, outspoken, aggressive or any other of the traits that women have pretty much historically not been allowed to be, hence all of the explosion of writing and blogging and tailored advertising fervently focused on letting you know that HECK YEAH YOU CAN and enforcing to the point of tooth rot how it's all so super okay that you are all of these things...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:15 PM
( 8:16 PM ) The Rat
"NEXT TIME SOMEBODY THINKS THEY'VE HIT BOTTOM, THEY SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES, 'SURE, I'VE LOST MY JOB AND MY SPOUSE, BUT AM I EATING A DORITO SUPREME? NO? THEN PARTY ON.'"
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:16 PM
( 6:03 PM ) The Rat
MANY U.S. IMMIGRANTS' CHILDREN SEEK AMERICAN DREAM ABROAD.
In growing numbers, experts say, highly educated children of immigrants to the United States are uprooting themselves and moving to their ancestral countries. They are embracing homelands that their parents once spurned but that are now economic powers...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:03 PM
( 6:02 PM ) The Rat
100 YEARS FROM NOW WE WILL ALL BE FORGOTTEN, via AB.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:02 PM
( 5:27 PM ) The Rat
KORIR PREVAILS IN HEAT AT BOSTON MARATHON.
Knowing that hydration was key in today's heat, the leaders repeatedly crossed the double yellow lines painted in the middle of the roads heading into Boston, grabbing multiple cups of water and Gatorade at each mile's aid stations, in addition to their specialty fluids located every 5 km.
"I knew it was going to be hot, and I had to really take care of my fluids today," said Korir. "My biology degree (from the University of Louisville) came into use! I knew I had to hydrate to survive. I was more concerned about my hydration than my positioning."
Here is where Korir, 29, gained extra motivational strength. On each of his specialty hydration bottles was written the name of his wife, Tarah, and daughter, McKayLA, both of whom he said had given him strength throughout his marathon buildup.
"Every time I drank it, I looked at it and thanked them for their support," he said. "They were in my mind with every step."
Also see this graphic showing the role weather has played at Boston in recent years.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:27 PM
Friday, April 13, 2012
( 3:12 PM ) The Rat
UNIVERSITY RUNNERS DRESS UP AS A CAMEL TO BREAK WORLD RECORD.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:12 PM
Saturday, April 07, 2012
( 3:40 PM ) The Rat
COLLEGE APPLICATION FORM LISTS 'CHINESE' AS SEXUAL ORIENTATION, via WC. Wait, what's weird about that? (The comment by "derpderpastan" is my favorite.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:40 PM
Friday, April 06, 2012
( 10:23 PM ) The Rat
I RE-WATCHED TITANIC SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO. YOU'RE WELCOME. Via AB.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 PM
( 2:00 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:00 PM
( 12:37 PM ) The Rat
THE END OF FRANCE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:37 PM
( 12:36 PM ) The Rat
IS THAT IT? via Texts from Hillary.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:36 PM
( 12:31 PM ) The Rat
THE NEW YORK COMMUTE: A LAMENT, IN PHOTOS, via MR.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:31 PM
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
( 11:59 PM ) The Rat
SNOPES ON THAT PHOTO that's been going viral of the disfigured Marine groom.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 PM
( 2:29 AM ) The Rat
AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILDREN MORE OPTIMISTIC ON RACE THAN WHITES, via IKM. Interesting stuff in this.
CNN hired renowned child psychologist and University of Maryland professor Dr. Melanie Killen as a consultant to design and implement this study. She says the divide often begins with the different ways parents talk to their kids about race.
"African American parents... are very early on preparing their children for the world of diversity and also for the world of potential discrimination," said Killen, adding, "they're certainly talking about issues of race and what it means to be a different race and when it matters and when it doesn't matter."
In contrast, the negativity for white children could be more of a result of what parents are not saying to their children than what they are saying. Dr. Killen contends that white parents often believe their children are socially colorblind and race is not an issue necessary to address. "They sort of have this view that if you talk about race, you are creating a problem and what we're finding is that children are aware of race very early," said Killen...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:29 AM
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
( 11:59 PM ) The Rat
MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER, MAKE ME... A NOSE JOB APPOINTMENT? via IKM.
The problem for Orthodox Jewish singles, when it comes to meeting "the one," might be right in front of them. Literally, as in staring them in the mirror.
So says a Miami plastic surgeon who recently announced surgery "scholarships" for single men and women in the Orthodox Jewish community...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 PM
( 11:59 PM ) The Rat
"SHE BROKE THE SILENCE SAYING, 'I'M GOING TO FINISH THIS RACE ON MY HANDS AND KNEES IF I HAVE TO, BECAUSE NOBODY BELIEVES THAT I CAN DO THIS.'" Not exactly new, but here are some stills of the kerfuffle over Kathrine Switzer's running of the Boston Marathon in 1967.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 PM
( 7:40 PM ) The Rat
A LESSON FROM MICAH TRUE.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:40 PM
( 3:33 PM ) The Rat
2011 WINNERS, WINDLAND SMITH RICE INTERNATIONAL AWARDS. Caught this gorgeous show at the Natural History Museum with ET yesterday (on view through January 6, 2013). Definitely worth an in-person visit—the computer images don't come anywhere near to doing these photographs justice.
ET, of course, was more of a Titanoboa fan...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:33 PM
( 3:13 PM ) The Rat
MAN FINDS PICASSO ORIGINAL IN THRIFT STORE, via IKM. Don't miss the last line!
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:13 PM
Monday, April 02, 2012
( 11:50 AM ) The Rat
THE GRILLED CHEESE INVITATIONAL is coming up on Saturday, April 28!
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:50 AM
( 9:18 AM ) The Rat
IT'S NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY DAY! You know what to do.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:18 AM
Sunday, April 01, 2012
( 10:09 PM ) The Rat
[Squires] believed that speed came first, and the high-mileage endurance training could come later. It was necessary to amass a base of high mileage if you were going to succeed at the marathon, but high mileage could also be a source of misery, frequently yielding injury and burnout. Moreover, the window for running first-rate marathons was very small. The distance tore you up so much that you might be able to run just a few at your peak (athletes like Rodgers and the late Grete Waitz, who won nine editions of the New York City Marathon, were exceptions proving the rule). So Squires preached patience. Extreme patience. He recognized that I possessed the basic ingredient of a good marathoner: the willingness and capacity to suffer.
—Alberto Salazar, "The Rookie" (adapted from this for the April 2012 RW)
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:09 PM
( 5:34 PM ) The Rat
IMAGES ON FLICKR from X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out, at the Smithsonian till August 5.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:34 PM
( 5:18 PM ) The Rat
SLOW PARENTING: 5 WAYS TO RAISE ACTIVE KIDS WITHOUT THE RUSH.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:18 PM
( 5:14 PM ) The Rat
"...EVEN THOUGH YOU KNOW YOU COULD SLAUGHTER HIM." The Peanuts Gang Defines Love, via WC. The last line of the inscription's also nice.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:14 PM
( 4:40 AM ) The Rat
MICAH TRUE ("Caballo Blanco" in Born to Run) has been found dead in New Mexico.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:40 AM