Tuesday, July 31, 2012
( 1:37 AM ) The Rat
There are also simple sex differences in the effects of death anxiety. I mentioned earlier that making people aware of their own mortality tends to increase their desire to have children. It turns out, however, that this effect is clearest in men. The mortality salience prompt's influence on women's desire for children depended on the extent to which they were concerned about career success. Women who had more pronounced career goals were less likely to desire children regardless of whether they were reminded of their own mortality. However, in another study, women who were shown a fake newspaper article that touted the benefits of children for career success responded to the mortality salience prompt with a greater desire for children.
—The Other Side of Sadness
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:37 AM
Monday, July 30, 2012
( 11:58 AM ) The Rat
Now, a reminder. Please keep your questions coming in for TV's Yan Wong. As you'll know if you were listening last week, Yan has promised to put his capacious brain in your service. He will work out the answer to any question you can throw at him. Our job is to choose the best question. So far, the leading contender is a question from Richard Ashton-Poole, who asks, "What is the average circumference of a moose?"
—this is why I listen to More or Less (from the 20 July episode)
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:58 AM
( 2:23 AM ) The Rat
BEER BY IKEA, via Wait Wait.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:23 AM
( 2:21 AM ) The Rat
Heather Lindquist's relationship with her husband John was also far from simple. Heather admired John: "He was a good man. I think that's the truth of it. John was a generous soul, a good, solid husband, and a loving father." When I asked her about disagreements, Heather had a hard time coming up with examples: "I won't say we never had problems, but our life together was pretty good. We didn't fight much. Never had those knockdown arguments."
But Heather also had doubts at times. She wondered if they had become too independent of each other: "Every so often it occurred to me that maybe we were living together apart, if you know what I mean, like we were just passing time in the same relationship." She thought for a minute and then grew pensive. "The independence seemed like a good thing, because we could develop—we could become different people. I always thought it one of the main reasons we got along so well. But I wonder now if maybe there was something missing. I don't know exactly what that would be—maybe a spark. We had been a couple for so long that I can't, I couldn't, remember what it was like to be alone," she explained. "It doesn't make sense to worry about it, but I find myself asking: Did we really have such a good relationship? Did we love each other? We cared deeply for each other, and I think we were a good, solid couple, but I wonder sometimes if we might have been living out the relationship everyone expected of us—you know, the happy couple. I don't know what the past was anymore. I wish I could see John's face again, how he would react when I talk with him."
I have interviewed more bereaved people than I can count. Most coped extremely well with the pain of grief. Yet there seemed to be no clear pattern, no emergent theme in the way they described the past, that might account for their resilience. Very few of the relationships seemed superficial or shallow, as the traditional theories would lead us to expect, but by the same token, the stories did not seem to describe uniformly healthy relationships, either.
If there is one constant, it is that most bereaved people idealize the lost loved one. This is only natural. The pain of grief serves as a constant reminder of what lost loved ones meant to us and what their presence brought to our lives. Their gifts, whatever they may have been, loom larger because we can no longer have them. Studies have consistently documented this kind of veneration, and it turns out that it is not unique to resilience. Almost all of us remember those we have lost with at least a little bit of a positive spin.
What, then, can the quality of the lost relationship tell us about successfully coping with loss? A few years ago, I had a chance to find out. I was invited by Camille Wortman and her colleagues at the University of Michigan to help them understand the results of a one-of-a-kind long-term research project. The project was called the Changing Lives of Older Couples study, or CLOC for short. What Camille and her colleagues did was interview about 1,500 married people and then follow them for close to a decade. Along the way, the spouses of some of the people died, and Camille and her colleagues interviewed the bereaved survivor at regular intervals afterward. These interviews gave them a snapshot of the person's life at multiple points in time, both before and after the loss.
When I joined the CLOC team, my first goal was to identify the bereaved people who were resilient, that is, those who had no signs of depression at any point before or after the spouse's death and almost no grief at any point during bereavement. As should not be surprising by now, a lot of bereaved people in this study fit the bill, in fact, close to half. What about their marriages? What had they been like? Just as I had seen in interviews with other bereaved persons, the quality of the marriages of the resilient people were not much different from anybody else's. In other words, the relationship itself was simply not a factor in determining who would cope well after the loss.
The quality of the relationship is less important than expected in a grief reaction because we don't grieve the facts...
—The Other Side of Sadness
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:21 AM
Sunday, July 29, 2012
( 6:57 PM ) The Rat
As is almost always the case, children were ready and willing to make a game of it all. The Nakamura family had two children, both of whom suffered from what appeared to be radiation poisoning. Yet they remained fascinated by all that was happening around them and were "delighted when one of the gas-storage tanks went up in a tremendous burst of flame. Toshio, the boy, shouted to the others to look at the reflection in the river." Not long after the event, Toshio "talked freely, even gaily about the experience." Months later he remembered the disaster as if it were a kind of "exhilarating adventure."
Adults also found moments of relief. Father Kleinsorge, a German priest living in Hiroshima, was wounded in the attack but capable of dragging himself around the city to care for others. At a park designated for evacuees, he made repeated excursions to bring water to throngs of badly burned survivors. Amid this appalling scene, "he saw a young woman with a needle and thread mending her kimono, which had been slightly torn. 'My but you're a dandy!' he said. And in response, she laughed."
In a memoir of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, the only other city to suffer atomic attack (on August 9, 1945), Dr. Takashi Nagai described an arduous trek he had shared with a small group of colleagues as they went from village to village tending the wounded. "Exhausted, overcome with pain, and ready to collapse," they nonetheless found humor in their own behavior "and then with a laugh, and without even noticing the distance," continued on their way. Dr. Nagai related the story of a nurse who made repeated trips to carry the wounded to safety after the attack. The task filled her "with a deep joy such as she had never experienced before. It was a noble joy accompanied by profound happiness." She had realized that if the people she helped survived, they would never know that she had saved their lives, "and as she reflected on this, a smile vibrated through her cheeks"...
—The Other Side of Sadness
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:57 PM
Saturday, July 28, 2012
( 3:24 PM ) The Rat
JOHN MCWHORTER REVIEWS Geoffrey Nunberg's Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years.
Nunberg argues that asshole became a true part of the language after the 1960s, as class identification came to focus less on economics than culture. When even the affluent came to reject elite manners and diction as antithetical to authenticity, it became a signature societal gaffe to imply that one was more entitled than others were. The very essence of the asshole is his implication that one is allowed to break the rules despite inconveniencing others. Nunberg uses new text-searching technology to show that the term sense of entitlement exploded in usage just as asshole did, in the 1970s...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:24 PM
( 12:01 AM ) The Rat
"BECAUSE GOD LOVES THEM RIDICULOUSLY MUCH." Lol!
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:01 AM
Friday, July 27, 2012
( 5:59 PM ) The Rat
THIS AFTERNOON AT THE BOOKMAN, Orange County's best (read: Orange County's only) used-book shop—which already delights in such shelving subheadings as "Disasters," "CIA," and "Quilting"—I spotted easily the best category I've yet encountered in any bookstore, new or used: "Elvis."
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:59 PM
( 2:36 PM ) The Rat
When I was in college, a world-renowned psychologist named Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from Claremont Graduate College visited a class I was taking and talked about a theory called flow, which he had developed. Flow, he said, is a state of total absorption in a challenging activity—an enjoyable but serious state of absolute immersion in some goal-oriented task. It's usually experienced when you're testing your limits in a favorite skill, which could be anything—delivering a speech, making a sales pitch, playing a video game, cooking, you name it. Flow is what athletes are referring to when they talk about being in the zone. It's somewhat different from fun, in most cases, because it entails hard work. In lots of ways, it's better than fun.
At the time I heard this lecture, I wasn't running, but this concept of flow resonated with my experiences in other activities, such as surfing. When I started running several years later, I began to experience flow at a whole new level, however. Surfing felt great, but it was also fun. Running was not fun, yet on my best days, it felt perfect.
One of these days was the day I ran the 2006 Vermont Trail 100. Everything about it was wrong. I flew in from California the day before and was already fatigued and jet-lagged from the trip when the starting gun went off. The weather was hot and humid, the trail a muddy stew from recent rain. Horseflies ate me alive the whole way through. I should have had a terrible day, but instead it was magical. My body felt infused with superhuman endurance. One hundred miles was not far enough. I wanted to continue around the entire earth. After ninety miles of running I actually increased my pace, because I had so much left in the tank. I made a wrong turn and had to backtrack at one point, which is usually a spirit-killing disaster in an ultramarathon, but I couldn't have cared less. I won the race by nearly half an hour. I had won other grueling competitions before, but never with such an effortless feeling.
Running teaches you that there's a difference between working hard and feeling bad. Consumer culture tries to teach us otherwise. How many television commercials talk about 'making life easier'? If everything you knew about life came from TV, your goal would be to live the easiest, most comfortable and unchallenging life you possibly could. You would believe that the only good feelings are sensual pleasures such as the taste of a good soft drink and the fun of driving an expensive car and lying on the beach...
—Dean Karnazes, 50/50
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:36 PM
( 1:43 PM ) The Rat
"'I COULD'VE GONE PIGEON,' SHE ALLOWED." Rat, Prepared Many Ways, via IKM and ET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:43 PM
Thursday, July 26, 2012
( 1:18 AM ) The Rat
MARTA MINUJIN BUILDS A SPIRALING TOWER MADE FROM THOUSANDS OF BOOKS IN BUENOS AIRES, from last year.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:18 AM
( 1:11 AM ) The Rat
'DARK KNIGHT' MASSACRE SUSPECT WANTS TO KNOW HOW THE MOVIE ENDED, via IKM. Damn. I don't think even the Onion would've gone there.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:11 AM
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
( 10:32 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:32 PM
( 12:51 PM ) The Rat
Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa, has not smiled with some gentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth one morning hand-in-hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors? Out they toddled from rugged Avila, wide-eyed and helpless-looking as two fawns, but with human hearts, already beating to a national idea; until domestic reality met them in the shape of uncles, and turned them back from their great resolve. That child-pilgrimage was a fit beginning. Theresa's passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life: what were many-volumed romances of chivalry and the social conquests of a brilliant girl to her? Her flame quickly burned up that light fuel; and, fed from within, soared after some illimitable satisfaction, some object which would never justify weariness, which would reconcile self-despair with the rapturous consciousness of life beyond self...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:51 PM
( 10:23 AM ) The Rat
"I WAS THINKING ORIGINALLY OF PUTTING IN A BOOK BY AYN RAND—'ATLAS SHRUGGED' WAS MY FIRST THOUGHT." Hotel replaces Bibles with Fifty Shades of Grey.
"It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel," [Rev. Michael] Woodcock told the Westmorland Gazette. "The Bible remains a source of comfort and inspiration that many people do find helpful."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 AM
( 10:20 AM ) The Rat
BEAR CUB WANDERS INTO PITTSBURGH MALL, SENDS SHOPPERS RUNNING. An adolescent—go figure.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:20 AM
Saturday, July 21, 2012
( 10:11 AM ) The Rat
EN ROUTE TO JFK. Even 16 years after I first read it, I remain incapable of making this journey without thinking about one of my favorite Dahl stories for grown-ups, "The Way Up to Heaven."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:11 AM
( 1:10 AM ) The Rat
TOUR ANTARCTICA USING GOOGLE STREET VIEW.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:10 AM
Friday, July 20, 2012
( 7:24 PM ) The Rat
PACIFIC OCEAN SITES CALLED 'CAFFEINATED.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:24 PM
( 12:34 PM ) The Rat
"THE LITTLE PRINCE," via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:34 PM
Thursday, July 19, 2012
( 10:56 PM ) The Rat
THE SIX ENEMIES OF GREATNESS (AND HAPPINESS). Not bad, though anyone who's ever scrolled through some Internet personals ads is likely to take issue with no. 1.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:56 PM
( 10:52 AM ) The Rat
"AFTERNOON RUN." Cute.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:52 AM
( 10:49 AM ) The Rat
THIS CHILD'S VIEW OF SINGLE MOTHERHOOD.
In any case, I don't think either the Times in its obsession with socio-economic status, or Roiphe in her rearguard defense of the sexual revolution grasp with the subject at hand. And I can't pretend to write the whole book on it here, but there are some things only a child of a single-mother could tell you about single motherhood.
I don't think my behavior that one night was the sole cause, but some time after that my mother really stopped having a life outside the home. She stayed in and conducted no romances of significance. Judging from her diaries and letters, the few men she engaged in even a passing interest were not all that good to her. As a single mother, helping to take care of her parents and her son, she wasn't in a position to make men be courtly with her. So she stopped trying. That was the sexual revolution for her. Men willing to sleep with her, but not willing to build a family.
By financial and emotional necessity, she became wrapped in a co-dependent relationship with her parents, who relied on her in their last years. And after they died and I became a teenager, our relationship in turn became more co-dependent as well. She tried being my friend as a teenager. But as I went on to college and beyond I was her entire immediate family. And as I was trying to fly the nest, she needed my presence more than I could give it. I thought she might die when I told her I was moving to Washington D.C. and she would have to make do without me, at least during the work-week.
Obviously all the social science the Times presents in its article point to a basic truth: broken homes divide and scatter resources. My father, not a U.S. citizen, sent over some money when I was a child, but it didn't seem like much. They were never married and eventually he had his own household to look after, so there were no obligations to her specifically. He started sending money to me directly when I was a teenager.
Not having a father around meant I took on more student debt than I would have otherwise. It meant I would be recalled from college to do things around the house on the weekend, or I would come home just to make sure she was alright and make sure she spent time with someone. Instead of her helping me start life financially, I was helping her manage her mortgage payment, or paying for a new water-heater. I was happy to do so when I could. Though I often wondered where her actual inabilities were real, or when they were manufactured (even unconsciously) to bond me with her, even in hardships. In other single-mother households I knew, things functioned much less smoothly.
Helping her meant diminished resources for starting my own family when it came time. It also meant that there was no one else to manage things when she became sick and died last year.
My young childhood and adolescence (maybe my whole life) was wrapped up in searching for substitute father figures: uncles, neighbors, teachers, professors, priests, even God. I know I'm not alone in this. This state of life makes one especially vulnerable to peers and to predators. I survived just fine, others in similar situations don't...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:49 AM
( 10:41 AM ) The Rat
PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSTANTLY ONLINE CAN DEVELOP MENTAL DISORDERS. No comment.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:41 AM
( 10:40 AM ) The Rat
11 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PHANTOM VIBRATIONS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:40 AM
( 10:32 AM ) The Rat
TWELVE SOUTH BOOKBOOK CASE. Drat, my birthday's already past...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:32 AM
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
( 9:29 AM ) The Rat
LIMITED COLLECTION LONDON SKYLINE MOCK STOCKING TIGHTS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:29 AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
( 2:58 PM ) The Rat
SOPRANOS BUT NOT TENORS LIVE LONGER, via IKM.
On average, the women outlived the men by 1.5 years, but that difference wasn't statistically significant. However, controlling for birth year (people born in 1850 were at a disadvantage!), sopranos lived about five years longer than the lower-voiced female singers. The differences among male singers were not significant...
That said, your best bet for longevity remains being a conductor.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:58 PM
( 11:50 AM ) The Rat
BILL PLYMPTON'S ANIMATED GUIDES TO KISSING AND MAKING LOVE.
In 1995, Plympton upped the ante with the equally quirky and much more NSFW How to Make Love to a Woman, an animated guide to "the slippery and challenging path to true [heterosexual] romance"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:50 AM
( 11:35 AM ) The Rat
"THEY GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT A HORDE OF ALIENS LANDED IN THE POWDER THE NIGHT BEFORE FOR A LITTLE SNOW-STOMPING DEBAUCHERY." The Amazing Snow Art of Simon Beck, via Outside. Whoa.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:35 AM
( 11:17 AM ) The Rat
JONAH FALCON, MAN WITH WORLD'S LARGEST PENIS, FRISKED BY TSA AT CALIFORNIA AIRPORT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:17 AM
( 3:26 AM ) The Rat
THE TERRIBLE PRICE OF A KOREAN DEFECTION, via IKM.
In 1985, North Korean agents approached Oh Kil-nam and suggested he defect.
The agents offered him an important job working as an economist for the North Korean government and promised to provide free treatment for his wife's hepatitis.
Oh took the offer seriously. He had just completed his PhD in Germany on a Marxist economist. Back at home in South Korea, he had been active in left-wing groups opposed to the country's authoritarian regime.
His wife Shin Suk-ja was horrified by the idea of going to the North and opposed it from the start. "Do you know what kind of place it is?" she asked. "You have not even been there once. How can you make such a reckless decision?"
But Oh replied that the Northerners were Koreans too—they "cannot be that brutal," he told her...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:26 AM
Sunday, July 15, 2012
( 11:20 PM ) The Rat
"YOU TEXT HIM, HE DOESN'T TEXT BACK..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:20 PM
( 11:18 PM ) The Rat
10 THINGS MOST AMERICANS DON'T KNOW ABOUT AMERICA.
5. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great. If you're extremely talented or intelligent, the U.S. is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.
The problem with the U.S. is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that "they don't believe they're poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires." It's this culture of self-delusion that allows America to continue to innovate and churn out new industry more than anyone else in the world. But this shared delusion also unfortunately keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries. It's the price we pay to maintain our growth and economic dominance.
In my Guide to Wealth, I defined being wealthy as, "Having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences." In those terms, despite the average American having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), their overall quality of life suffers in my opinion. American people on average work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That's a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities or new experiences...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:18 PM
( 9:42 PM ) The Rat
WEATHER CUTS SHORT TRIP OF U.S., IRAQI 'LAWN CHAIR' BALLOONISTS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:42 PM
( 6:07 PM ) The Rat
"'IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME.' WHY DON'T GIRLS UNDERSTAND THIS? THEY ARE TOO SILLY!" Viewer comment on this, heh!
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:07 PM
( 3:32 PM ) The Rat
KATE MIDDLETON'S WEDDING GOWN AND WIKIPEDIA'S GENDER GAP, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:32 PM
( 2:44 PM ) The Rat
THE PROMS started on Friday btw. You can listen to every prom live on BBC 3.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:44 PM
( 2:24 PM ) The Rat
"WHAT ARE WE TO MAKE OF THIS IMAGE THAT CAN NEVER ANSWER BACK?" Not fade away: on living, dying, and the digital afterlife, via AB.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:24 PM
( 1:19 PM ) The Rat
"TODAY, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT INDICATORS OF A CHILD'S PROSPECTS IN LIFE IS WHAT MR. PUTNAM CALLS GOODNIGHT MOON TIME. AS IN: HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND READING GOODNIGHT MOON TO YOUR KIDS?" The Globe and Mail's review of Robert Putnam's new book, via AB. Also see Two Classes in America, Divided by "I Do," via IKM.
Robert Putnam is not a happy man. He's been reading the tea leaves and he doesn't like what they are telling him. "We're about to go over a cliff when it comes to social mobility," he says. "Social mobility and opportunity [for kids who grow up in the bottom third of society] are going to plummet."
Mr. Putnam is a leading political scientist who is best known for Bowling Alone, a book that explores the decline of social capital in American life. Two weeks ago, he discussed his latest findings at the Aspen Ideas Institute, a thinkfest for wonks from all walks of life. His remarks are drawing wide attention because they raise new questions about one of the biggest issues of our time: inequality.
In fact, he argues, poverty and inequality are not the real issues. The real issue is equality of opportunity—the ability of people in the lower class to move up the ladder. Equality of opportunity is what we care about the most. We want to believe that we live in a meritocratic society where everyone has an equal chance to succeed. But that is less and less the case. And the remedies are not at all obvious...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:19 PM
Saturday, July 14, 2012
( 11:59 PM ) The Rat
Lillian. I realized this is the last time I'm going to be here, in this apartment. With that couch. And this bed. And take a bath in my bathtub, 'cause you... you know how much I love my bathtub.
Annie. It's a good tub. I slept in there on my thirtieth birthday.
*Has this subject—the reluctance a woman feels about the end of her time being single, even if she wants to marry—been addressed or even acknowledged in any other movie about marriage, like, ever?
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 PM
( 6:40 AM ) The Rat
BECHDEL TEST MOVIE LIST.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:40 AM
Friday, July 13, 2012
( 6:57 PM ) The Rat
PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS AND CAREERS: DON'T HATE ME BECAUSE I'M BEAUTIFUL, via SV.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:57 PM
( 10:40 AM ) The Rat
"You read my—you read my journal?"
"At first I did not know that it was your diary. I thought it was a very sad, handwritten book."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:40 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2012
( 7:31 PM ) The Rat
"I DON'T WEAR A CAPE YO THAT SHIT IS FOR PIMPS." Is This the Best Cover Letter of All Time?, via DF.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:31 PM
( 7:20 PM ) The Rat
FOUR DAYS TILL BADWATER. Check out the current temps...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:20 PM
( 6:35 PM ) The Rat
THE 10 GREATEST PIANISTS OF ALL TIME, via WC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:35 PM
( 4:16 PM ) The Rat
"DAVID MCCULLOUGH OUGHT TO HAVE GIVEN THAT SPEECH NOT TO THE GRADUATES, BUT TO THEIR PARENTS." Open Letter from a Millennial: Quit Telling Us We're Not Special. I must say, if my parents had named me Sierra I'd hate their generation's guts too...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:16 PM
( 12:08 PM ) The Rat
"SHE HAS A LOT OF IMPORTANT STUFF TO SAY THAT NOBODY'S EVER SAID ABOUT LOVE BEFORE." A Disturbingly Accurate Portrayal of What Happens Every Time 'That Gotye Song' Starts Playing in the Car. First half or so is funnier than the rest.
ATIAC also covered this topic some while back, with uncanny accuracy...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:08 PM
( 12:50 AM ) The Rat
SWIMMING BETWEEN MILLIONS OF MIGRATING JELLYFISH.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:50 AM
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
( 10:50 PM ) The Rat
MYERS-BRIGGS PRAYERS, via WO. No comment.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 PM
( 9:50 PM ) The Rat
WHY IVY LEAGUE GRADS AREN'T ALL PRETENTIOUS DOUCHEBAGS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:50 PM
( 8:44 AM ) The Rat
TEXTS FROM SCARLETT O'HARA. Not quite as well done as Texts from Jane Eyre (via ET), but parts of it are great.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:44 AM
( 8:33 AM ) The Rat
SHHH: THE BEST PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUG IS LEGAL AND FREE.
I'm walking slowly through a bucolic farming village in the French countryside, gawking at a cluster of 100-year-old stone houses with blue shutters and window boxes spilling over with orange geraniums. It's nearly 10:30 p.m. on the summer solstice, the sun has just set, and a farmer, finished cutting his hay for the day, is driving his tractor down the middle of the road. The magenta hollyhocks are in full bloom, and in this golden light, even the cows—the fattest, healthiest I've ever seen, with cinnamon hides and newborn calves—are exquisite. I've left my own little ones at home for 10 days, the longest and farthest I've been away since they were born. I should be relaxed, but I'm not. All I want to do is write, run, walk, and swim. I'm hungry all the time, and buzzing with so much energy I can barely sleep.
Is it jet lag or insomnia? Separation anxiety? Nope...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:33 AM
( 8:30 AM ) The Rat
THE AIR CONDITIONING QUANDARY. Wimp.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:30 AM
( 8:26 AM ) The Rat
A SIMPLE STRATEGY FOR NEUTRALIZING STRESS. I was about to say, Well, but don't most people sort of learn this anyway just as a side effect of getting older, but then I remembered those people who really would flip out like the guy described on the plane...
If changing your expectations proves too hard, your next best move is to get some perspective.
Imagine a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the worst reality you can imagine. Like living in a war zone or being in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Maybe 9 is a serious illness that most probably will result in death. Perhaps 8 is something that will forever alter your life, like going to jail or an accident that puts you in a wheelchair. Let's say 7 is something that temporarily alters your life like losing your job or having to move out of a home you can no longer afford.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Almost everything we freak out about is somewhere in the 1-2 range of dashed expectations. In other words, our moods and our stress levels are determined by events that actually matter remarkably little...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:26 AM
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
( 10:27 PM ) The Rat
"O'TOOLE GRACIOUSLY ACCEPTED THE HONORARY AWARD, QUIPPING, 'ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE, MY FOOT.'" Peter O'Toole retires with 'dry-eyed farewell.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:27 PM
Monday, July 09, 2012
( 12:12 PM ) The Rat
ADOLESCENT ANGST: 5 FACTS ABOUT THE TEEN BRAIN.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:12 PM
Sunday, July 08, 2012
( 7:22 PM ) The Rat
THE FIRST ELECTION IN 80 YEARS WITH NO MILITARY SERVICE ON EITHER TICKET.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:22 PM
( 4:21 PM ) The Rat
RESTAURANT UNVEILS 100 PERCENT GROUND BACON BURGER. The bun appears to still be made out of bread, which I can only assume was an oversight.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:21 PM
( 10:26 AM ) The Rat
"ZELDA FITZGERALD WAS A CHAOS MUPPET. SO, I MUST TELL YOU, IS JUSTICE STEPHEN BREYER." A Unified Theory of Muppet Types, via SJ.
It's hard to be ruthlessly honest when evaluating one's own Muppet classification. As is the case when going shopping for white pants, your best bet is probably just to trust a friend. It's not enough to judge by career choice or pastimes. For instance: Order Muppets are musical. So are Chaos Muppets. Some initial clues can be garnered by scrutinizing your CD storage system and spice racks. Chaos Muppets may well be able to recite the alphabet, but they don't alphabetize anything willingly and usually only do so in exchange for cookies. If your house catches on fire, as you practice a death-defying leap through a flaming hoop while reciting Hamlet, you're most probably a Chaos Muppet anyhow. But if your house catches on fire and you know precisely how to rescue your Schumann CDs in under 15 seconds, you're an Order Muppet.
Perhaps the best determinant of your Muppet Classification however, is your partner: Order Muppets tend to pick Chaos Muppets for their life partners, cookies notwithstanding. Thus, if you're in a long-term relationship with a Chaos Muppet, there's a pretty good chance you’re Bert. If you're married to an Order Muppet, you may well be the Swedish Chef. And by all that is holy, don't marry your same type if you can help it. That's where Baby Elmos come from...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:26 AM
( 10:21 AM ) The Rat
"I HATED RUNNING FOR OVER A YEAR. I KNOW, HATE IS A STRONG WORD. YOU KNOW WHAT A STRONGER WORD IS? SUPERHATE." Marc Parent's "Why Run?" from the July RW.
In my first year and a half, I superhated running every time I went out. Those days are mostly behind me now, but there are still times when I super-don't-want-to-get-out-there-and-do-it-at-all. I'm not one of those people who can't wait to run. I've given up on the hope that I'll ever become the person who's pacing like an animal until he gets a run in. What I've become is the person who will never quit running no matter how bad it sometimes feels. I've become the person who has finally accepted the fundamental truth that although you can have the occasional tremendous run, even the best time out is nowhere near as tremendous as coffee and cold pizza.
How do you keep from quitting despite this stark reality? How does a rational person choose discomfort over comfort, time and again? In other words, how do you stay crazy? There are many compelling reasons to run—some universal, some personal, some obvious, some obscure. The trick is to keep those reasons at the front of your mind. You make a list of these reasons—a convincing list of arguments for why you run. You refer to the list when you are weak and the cake is strong. The word fun is not on this list. If running is fun for you, you don't need a list. The rest of us do. We need reasons to run. Really good reasons. Mine are these:
Running makes you beautiful. Look around and you'll see unattractive people on every corner. I used to see one when I looked in the mirror. Pick out a random unattractive person and imagine what they'd look like running. I've never seen an ugly runner. Running changes everything. I know, never is a strong word—you know what a stronger word is? Supernever.
Gear. You get to wear it and not look like an idiot because running is hard and you've earned it. Some people look fantastic in cutoffs and T-shirts—those are the people who say gear and running don't mix. What do they know? They look good in cutoffs and T-shirts. Let them run naked in the forest. The rest of us will shallowly compensate for our shortcomings with gear—bright orange shoes to fix pokey, neon green jackets to fix old, big black watches to fix slow, compression tops with racing stripes to fix flabby.
Weight. You lose it. Don't listen to those who say you can't drop pounds running. You will. Sure, a three-mile run only burns a single cream-filled doughnut, but hey, that's a cream-filled doughnut down the hatch and you're still even (my list favors motivational strength over complete accuracy, if it isn't already obvious). Show me an overweight, longtime runner, and I'll show you an aardvark. Both are hard to find...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:21 AM
Saturday, July 07, 2012
( 7:36 PM ) The Rat
"GIVE ME SUCCESS OR TAKE THIS DESIRE AWAY FROM ME. ONE OF THE TWO." The Audition, via WC.
Tetreault has been working and practicing for this audition ever since Facebook, the online message boards, and the trade magazines began buzzing a year ago about two BSO spots opening up at the same time, one because of a retirement and one because a percussionist had been denied tenure, a polite way of saying he'd been shown the door. Tetreault knew all about this second opening, because the guy who'd gotten the ax was actually his former schoolmate. Now, in his friend's misfortune, he saw the opportunity he'd been working for his entire career.
At 33, Tetreault was putting in 100-hour weeks on a patchwork of gigs he'd pieced together—simultaneously serving as the music director at the Galilee Baptist Church in Denver; teaching at the University of Colorado; and working various gigs with the Boulder Philharmonic, the Fort Collins Symphony, the Colorado Ballet, the Colorado Symphony, and Opera Colorado. Yes, he was doing what he loved for a living, but when he added it all up, it was barely a living at all. He'd made $55,000 the previous year, pretty good—until you factored in all the hours, and the fact that the salary had to support two since his wife, Rachel, had been laid off in 2010 from a communications job with the Colorado Symphony. The couple was living in a 625-square-foot one-bedroom apartment.
Waiting for his practice room in Symphony Hall, Tetreault reminds himself that if he can win a spot with the BSO, his very existence will be transformed. He's aware of the challenges—the selection process is brutal, and even if he lands a job, there's no guarantee he'll keep it (as his former schoolmate learned). But the orchestra is a godsend for the very few who make it. The positions pay more than $100,000 a year. You get health benefits. You get vacation. You get to lead a normal life. Which is why the BSO is one of the handful of orchestras for which musicians the world over will drop everything to scramble for a job. Like Tetreault, they'll practice endlessly for months, sacrificing family and personal time. They have to.
The classical audition ranks among the world's toughest job interviews. Each applicant has 10 minutes at most to play in a way so memorable that he stands out among a lineup of other world-class musicians. Tetreault has prestigious degrees from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London, and he's studied under the world-renowned performer Christopher Lamb, but at his audition, the only thing that will matter is how he performs in the most pressure-packed few minutes of his life. If he squeezes his glockenspiel mallet too hard, choking the sound, or if he overthinks the dotted rhythm or fails to adjust to the BSO's oddly scaled xylophone bars and misses a few notes, the whole thing will be over. Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony, sums up the audition process this way: "I want someone to be so brilliant that there's no question"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:36 PM
( 6:17 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:17 PM
Friday, July 06, 2012
( 11:10 PM ) The Rat
SEMICOLONS: A LOVE STORY.
Many times a week I'd been experiencing a mental event like this: I'd be reading an article about a flood in Mexico, which would lead me to thinking about a wedding I once went to in Cancún, which would lead me to thinking about marriage, which would lead to gay marriage, which would lead to the presidential election, which would lead to swing states, which would lead to a fascinatingly terrible country song called "Swing"—and I'd be three songs into a Trace Adkins YouTube marathon before I'd glance back down at the newspaper on the table.
It's in honoring this movement of mind, this tendency of thoughts to proliferate like yeast, that I find semicolons so useful. Their textbook function—to separate parts of a sentence "that need a more distinct break than a comma can signal, but that are too closely connected to be made into separate sentences"—has come to seem like a dryly beautiful little piece of psychological insight. No other piece of punctuation so compactly captures the way in which our thoughts are both liquid and solid, wave and particle.
And so, far from being pretentious, semicolons can be positively democratic. To use a semicolon properly can be an act of faith. It's a way of saying to the reader, who is already holding one bag of groceries, here, I know it's a lot, but can you take another? And then (in the case of William James) another? And another? And one more? Which sounds, of course, dreadful, and like just the sort of discourtesy a writer ought strenuously to avoid. But the truth is that there can be something wonderful in being festooned in carefully balanced bags; there's a kind of exquisite tension, a feeling of delicious responsibility, in being so loaded up that you seem to have half a grocery store suspended from your body...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:10 PM
( 2:52 PM ) The Rat
WORTH DRINKING: BADCOCK HORSERADISH VODKA.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:52 PM
( 12:04 PM ) The Rat
TRIBUNE WATCHDOG: PLAYING WITH FIRE, via SG.
'When we're eating organic, we're avoiding very small amounts of pesticides,' said Arlene Blum, a California chemist who has fought to limit flame retardants in household products. 'Then we sit on our couch that can contain a pound of chemicals that's from the same family as banned pesticides like DDT'...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 PM
( 12:03 PM ) The Rat
ITALIAN ART HISTORIANS FIND 100 CARAVAGGIO PAINTINGS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:03 PM
( 11:50 AM ) The Rat
A FAREWELL TO ARMS WITH HEMINGWAY'S ALTERNATE ENDINGS.
Bernard S. Oldsey, a Hemingway scholar, listed 41 endings in his book Hemingway's Hidden Craft, but Seán Hemingway found 47 variations in manuscripts preserved at the Kennedy Library...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:50 AM
( 11:38 AM ) The Rat
During the two years that I spent in Africa, I crossed the Sahara five to six times by car, from north to south. I wanted to cross the Sahara alone. It was something completely spontaneous. I remember it very well, because once I had gone back to France, I did not have an apartment anymore—I was back living with my parents, and also my brother had come back from a trip, so I found myself back with my brother in our childhood bedroom. I woke up one morning and said to my brother, "I'm going to cross the Sahara on foot." And he replied, "Okay, okay—go back to sleep. You've just had a nightmare." "I said no, no, no. No nightmare. I'm going to cross the Sahara on foot." —Talk Ultra interview with MDS founder Patrick Bauer
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:38 AM
Thursday, July 05, 2012
( 10:47 PM ) The Rat
SAN DIEGO ACCIDENTALLY SET OFF ALL ITS FIREWORKS AT THE SAME TIME, via IKM. Some of us have had relationships like this...
The annual Big Bay Boom celebration began and ended in spectacular fashion when an inadvertent signal set off the explosion about five minutes early and caused the entire 18 minute show to take place in about 15 seconds...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:47 PM
( 10:38 PM ) The Rat
FLORIDA LIFEGUARD SAYS HE'S BEEN OFFERED HIS JOB BACK.
The south Florida lifeguard fired for leaving his post so he could save a swimmer outside his coverage zone said Thursday he has been offered his job back...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:38 PM
( 6:43 PM ) The Rat
DESIGNING 007: FIFTY YEARS OF BOND STYLE opened today at the Barbican, and moves to Toronto in the fall.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:43 PM
( 4:01 PM ) The Rat
PIE-A-DAY IS BACK.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:01 PM
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
( 10:43 PM ) The Rat
MY SISTER'S PERFECT LIFE. Via AB, who notes: "I wonder how her sister's version would read." I wonder too. (Before you click through, be forewarned that the self-pity in this is so thick it may possibly ooze right through your screen and melt both your computer and your desk, and on through the floor into the basement.) Far more striking to me than the author's enviousness is how little of a sense we ever get of the sister actually being a real person rather than a glyph.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:43 PM
( 10:23 PM ) The Rat
SHOULD YOU RAISE A SUGAR-FREE BABY? via SG.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:23 PM
( 7:24 PM ) The Rat
THE HIGH LINE: NEW YORK'S MONUMENT TO GENTRIFICATION, via WC. Not without precedent, of course.
But, really, what got the High Line built was a shift in how Americans, particularly younger Americans, view city life. Forty years ago, when men like Hammond and David were children, America's big cities, abandoned by the manufacturing and shipping industries that had built them, were seen as crime-ridden cauldrons of poverty and ethnic conflict, and the middle class was doing everything it could to escape to the suburbs. Today, that migration has reversed, and the children of the suburbs are returning in droves to the inner cities, drawn not only to the night life and good restaurants, but to high-wage jobs in finance, media, and technology.
Just as the escape to the suburbs was abetted by a mythology of the inner city, exemplified by movies like Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, as a savage land of violence and moral rot, the return to the city has spawned its own mythology of the suburbs as plastic and unreal, with cities standing for authenticity and grassroots truth. White kids in the suburbs grow up listening to hip-hop with its roots in New York's South Bronx projects, and twentysomething hipsters affect urban slang and spend thousands on clothes skillfully designed to look like they were found in a dumpster.
When today's urban sophicates aren't harkening back to a bygone industrial age, they're dreaming of an agricultural Eden full of strapping yeoman farmers in overalls and small town folk gossiping around the wood-burning stove at the general store. Check out the names of the shops in Chelsea Market: Ronnybrook Dairy (ice cream), Dickson’s Farmstand Meats (butcher shop), Friedman's Lunch (restaurant), Lucy's Whey (cheeses), and The Filling Station (olive oil, vinegar, and craft beer—don't ask). Everything is everywhere declared "artisanal," "farm-grown," or "handcrafted," all of it no doubt marketed by college-educated children of the American suburbs who wouldn't know how to milk a cow if the directions were printed on the udder...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:24 PM
( 12:30 PM ) The Rat
ROCK PTARMIGANS STAY FIT WHEN FAT. They're not fat, they're just big-feathered!
"They're natural born athletes," Mr Lees told BBC Nature. "As soon as you put them on the treadmill, they start to run"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:30 PM
( 12:26 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 PM
( 11:42 AM ) The Rat
TARMOH: "MY HEART WASN'T IN IT."
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:42 AM
( 10:33 AM ) The Rat
NEW YORK INTRODUCES ITS FIRST ADULT PLAYGROUND, via IKM. (Hey—minds out of the gutter, people.) This seems like a good idea, since treadmills certainly aren't going to work on most people.
The adult playground concept is borrowed from China and parts of Europe, where outdoor fitness areas for adults have become as routine as high-fiber diets or vitamin D supplements in preventive care, particularly for older people.
Now a growing number of city and park officials, health experts and community leaders throughout the country are praising the health and social benefits of adult playgrounds. They say that the playgrounds will succeed where treadmills have failed in combating rising rates of obesity and related illnesses by enticing the grown-ups out for play dates...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:33 AM
( 10:30 AM ) The Rat
NY PHILHARMONIC GETS $1M GIFT FROM ALEC BALDWIN. He was two rows ahead of me and JN for Don Pasquale, during the 2010-11 Met season, and applauded in the wrong places, which was actually really endearing.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM
( 12:03 AM ) The Rat
AS THE PARIS RITZ SHUTTERS, REMEMBERING ITS MYSTERIES, MISBEHAVIORS, AND UNHURRIED LUXURIES. I've never seen Love in the Afternoon, but surely the most glamourous hotel in a movie is the Grand Hotel in Grand Hotel?
The Ritz has a romantic aura that appeals particularly to women, enhanced, no doubt, by the 1957 romantic romp Love in the Afternoon, starring Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn, which was partly filmed there. The actress Margaux Hemingway, Ernest's granddaughter, had her wedding party in the hotel, with white doves cooing in wicker cages. Sophia Loren has said, "The Ritz is the most romantic hotel in the world, because a woman really feels a man loves her if he takes her there." The romance novelist Barbara Cartland agreed: "When I was young, the Ritz in Paris stood for everything that was deluxe, chic, and swell. It was then the most admired, important, and best hotel in the world. I went there on my honeymoon, and every year, except during the war, my husband and I went back for second honeymoons. I believe this helped to keep my marriage romantic and rapturously happy for 27 years, until my husband died."
Some women who come to the Ritz, however, are not romantically inclined. When Evita Perón went there, it was to select a wardrobe from the new collections, but she considered going to the viewings beneath her. She demanded that the important couturiers bring their creations to her at the hotel, where she kept them waiting interminably in the hall outside her suite. Madame Spanier, of Balmain, however, refused to play the game; she bundled up her clothes, flipped her derrière at Evita, and left in disgust...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:03 AM
Monday, July 02, 2012
( 10:55 PM ) The Rat
CHICAGO CABBIES TO CHARGE FOR PUKING, via GF. Heh!
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:55 PM
( 6:34 PM ) The Rat
JAPAN HAS A DEER PROBLEM THAT SURPASSES OURS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:34 PM
( 6:32 PM ) The Rat
THE 50 GNARLIEST PICTURES IN SPORTS.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:32 PM
( 4:08 PM ) The Rat
THE STRONGEST WOMAN IN AMERICA LIVES IN POVERTY, via SG.
Weightlifter Sarah Robles is an incredible athlete, but outside the world of squats and snatches, barely anyone knows her name. And even though she's the U.S.'s best chance at an Olympic medal, she'll never get the fame or fortune that come so easily to her fellow athletes—in part because, at 5 feet, 10.5 inches and 275 pounds, she doesn't fit the ideal of thin, toned athletic beauty.
"You can get that sponsorship if you're a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini. But not if you're a girl who's built like a guy," she says. The 23-year-old from California became the highest ranked weightlifter in the country last year after placing 11th at the world championships, beating out every male and female American on the roster. On her best day, she can lift more than 568 pounds—that's roughly five IKEA couches, 65 gallons of milk, or one large adult male lion.
But that doesn't mean much when it comes to signing the endorsement deals that could pay the bills. Track star Lolo Jones, 29, soccer player Alex Morgan, 22, and swimmer Natalie Coughlin, 29, are natural television stars with camera-friendly good looks and slim, muscular figures. But women weightlifters aren't go-tos when Sports Illustrated is looking for athletes to model body paint in the swimsuit issue. They don't collaborate with Cole Haan on accessories lines and sit next to Anna Wintour at Fashion Week, like tennis beauty Maria Sharapova. And male weightlifters often get their sponsorships from supplements or diet pills, because their buff, ripped bodies align with male beauty ideals. Men on diet pills want to look like weightlifters—most women would rather not...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:08 PM
( 9:00 AM ) The Rat
"IF YOUR JOB WASN'T PERFORMED BY A CAT OR A BOA CONSTRICTOR IN A RICHARD SCARRY BOOK I'M NOT SURE I BELIEVE IT'S NECESSARY." The 'Busy' Trap, via MM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:00 AM