The Rat
Sunday, March 31, 2013
      ( 11:17 PM ) The Rat  
You know what they say: 'It takes nine months to create a man, and only a single day to destroy him.' We both of us have known the truth of this as well as any one could ever know it. Listen, May: It does not take nine months to make a man, it takes fifty years—fifty years of sacrifice, of determination, of—so many things! And when that man has been achieved, when there is no childishness left in him, nor any adolescence, when he is truly, utterly, a man—the only thing he is good for is to die...
—Malraux, La condition humaine; first related to me years ago by HB

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:17 PM

      ( 3:52 PM ) The Rat  
"THE STORY HAS SINCE BEEN EDITED TO REMOVE REFERENCES OF BEEF STROGANOFF..." New York Times obit for rocket scientist introduces her as mom and cook first, via IKM. I will say in their defense that it's not hard to see how this could have happened without any intended sexism involved, just as a result of an obit writer trying to humanize a subject by making the story folksy and "relatable." I'm still pointing and laughing anyway though, because, you know, LOL NYT.

Mahatma Gandhi made a great frittata, ironed some shirts, and took eight years off to catch up on Hardy Boys books...

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:52 PM

      ( 1:28 PM ) The Rat  
Nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense.
—Joseph Addison

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:28 PM

Saturday, March 30, 2013
      ( 11:39 PM ) The Rat  
THAT OTHER SCHOOL SHOOTING. Powerful; worth reading in its entirety.

Nobody in Temescal's Koreatown wanted to talk about Koreanness and One Goh. The head of the Korean Community Center of the East Bay gave me a lecture on how the subprime-mortgage crisis crippled the Korean community, and she implied that the problem with Korean rage lay in socioeconomic factors. I was politely escorted out of two separate Korean churches after I asked some members of the congregations if they had any concerns about the perceptions of the larger public. Overwhelmingly, the sentiment among the older Korean people I talked to was this: The shooting was a shameful act that would bring trouble on the community if publicized and discussed. For now, nobody in the mainstream media was drawing the link between One Goh and Seung-Hui Cho, and although all the Koreans I spoke with were well aware that two of the six bloodiest school shootings in American history were carried out by Korean gunmen, most of the people here were hoping to bury that fact. [...]

Chung's interest in One Goh and Seung-Hui Cho comes from a lifelong, personal investigation into han and hwabyung, two Korean cultural concepts that have no equivalent in the English language. By Western standards, the two words are remarkably similar. Both describe a state of hopeless, crippling sadness combined with anger at an unjust world. And both suggest entrapment by suppressed emotions. Both words have been a part of the Korean lexicon for as long as anyone can remember, their roots in the country's history of occupation, war and poverty. Perhaps the best way to distinguish between the two words would be to say that han is the existential condition of immutable sadness, whereas hwabyung is its physical manifestation. Those afflicted with hwabyung describe a dense helplessness and despair that always feels on the verge of erupting into acts of self-destruction.

Chung grew up in Naperville, Ill., a large, wealthy suburb of Chicago. He described his family as 'typically Korean,' which to Chung meant that his parents attended a Korean church, suppressed traumatic events and rarely showed emotion, save the occasional angry, even violent outburst. He told me the story of a Korean woman his family knew, who, without any warning, burned herself alive in her car. The refusal of anyone within the small Korean community of Naperville to discuss the suicide or to offer any sort of consolation to the woman's three daughters stuck with Chung throughout his life. 'It was like it never happened,' Chung said as he inspected the school's windows for bullet holes. 'Everyone just went silent'...

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      ( 10:41 PM ) The Rat  
THE ONION ARTICLE I MOST IDENTIFY WITH, of everything they've ever published that I've read.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:41 PM

      ( 10:08 PM ) The Rat  
"WE SUFFER AS MUCH AS WE CAN." From John C. Friel's list of characteristics of Adult Children (scroll to Chapter 3, "Who Are We? What Are Our Symptoms?").

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:08 PM

      ( 8:48 PM ) The Rat  
The Idiot is Dostoevsky's most autobiographical novel. He gave Prince Myshkin many details of his own childhood and youth, his epilepsy, his separation from life and Russia (the author's years of hard labor and 'exile' in Siberia corresponding to the prince's treatment in Switzerland), his return with a new sense of mission. More specifically, in Myshkin's story of the mock execution of an 'acquaintance,' Dostoevsky gives a detailed account of his own experience on the scaffold in the Semyonovsky parade ground, at the age of twenty-eight, when he thought he had only three more minutes to live. According to a memoir by another of the condemned men, Fyodor Lvov, Dostoevsky turned to their comrade Speshnyov and said: 'We will be together with Christ.' And Speshnyov, with a wry smile, replied: 'A handful of ashes.' As Myshkin puts it: 'now he exists and lives, and in three minutes there would be something, some person or thing—but who? and where?' The Idiot is built on that eschatological sense of time. It is the desolate time of Holy Saturday, when Christ is buried, the disciples are scattered and—worse than that—abandoned. 'Who could believe that this sufferer would resurrect?' As it turned out, Dostoevsky had not three minutes but thirty-two years to think over Speshnyov's words and his own response to them. The Idiot marks an important step on that way.
—Richard Pevear, introduction to this edition

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:48 PM

      ( 8:38 PM ) The Rat  
One could say that life is at least 50 percent pain. If we do not relate to pain, we are not relating to half our life.
Running with the Mind of Meditation

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:38 PM

      ( 6:14 PM ) The Rat  
MY FAVORITE LINE from that NYT piece on the Barkley: "Cantrell said most Barkley finishers had a background in science or engineering and all but one had an advanced degree."

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:14 PM

      ( 4:18 PM ) The Rat  

The New York Times even noted the practice as long ago as 1877, with a short item about the popularity of "professional weepers" in Asia. The author envisioned that one day mechanical grievers could replace humans at American funerals: "Probably we shall use steam mourners at no distant day, for it is the firm conviction of the average American that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing by steam."

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:18 PM

      ( 1:33 PM ) The Rat  
AS NOT-A-FAN AS I AM OF DEAR PRUDENCE, she gets some real pieces of work writing in, too (scroll to "Strained Relationship with Adult Stepkids"). Via AB.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:33 PM

      ( 10:25 AM ) The Rat  
TODAY'S MATINEE BROADCAST, La traviata, begins at 12:30 PM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:25 AM

      ( 10:24 AM ) The Rat  
"TWITTER USERS ARE NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PUBLIC." The Internet: It's Like Never Leaving Junior High, via IKM.

If life is just like high school, then the Internet might be an age group lower...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:24 AM

      ( 10:19 AM ) The Rat  
SUSPENDED COFFEE. Not the worst idea. Of course, a cynic might note that there are already donation boxes for the needy at many counters (to say nothing of charitable giving now being just a few clicks away 24/7, via websites or text-messaging)—but it's hard not to like the implicit connecting of donor and recipient here: less "For every bottle of overpriced South Pacific island-sourced water I buy, a child in sub-Saharan Africa will be given a liter that's Guinea worm-free" and more, The difference between my lot in life and yours is in significant part a measure of my having had better luck.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:19 AM

      ( 9:55 AM ) The Rat  
THINK YOU'RE HAVING A HARD DAY? Suck it up: You're not running the Barkley Marathons—ultrarunning's answer to Apocalypse Now—which begins sometime today. An NYT story about the race ran earlier this week, which I haven't gotten to yet; I meanwhile highly recommend this account by the sister of one of the '11 entrants.

Carl tells me that he's got an ax to grind this time around. He's got a strong history at Barkley—one of the few runners who has finished a Fun Run under official time—but his performance last year was dismal. 'I barely left camp,' he says. Translated, this means he ran only thirty-five miles. But it was genuinely disappointing: he didn't even finish a second loop. He tells me he was dead-tired and heartbroken. He'd just gone through a nasty breakup.

But now he's back. He looks pumped. I ask him who he thinks the major contenders are to complete a hundred.

'Well,' he says, 'there's always Blake and A.T.'

He means two of the 'alumni' (former finishers) who are running this year: Blake Wood, class of 2001, and 'A.T.,' Andrew Thompson, class of 2009. Finishing the hundred twice would make history. Two years in a row is the stuff of fantasy.

Blake is a nuclear engineer at Los Alamos with a doctorate from Berkeley and an incredible Barkley record: six for six Fun Run completions, one finish, another near finish that was blocked only by a flooded creek. In person, he's just a friendly middle-aged dad with a salt-and-pepper mustache, eager to talk about his daughter’s bid to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, and about the new pair of checkered clown pants he'll wear this year to boost his spirits on the trail...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:55 AM

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
      ( 3:01 AM ) The Rat  
Alfredo. Ah, in cotal guisa v'ucciderete aver v'e' d'uopo cura dell'esser vostro.
Violetta. E lo potrei?
Alfredo. Se mia foste, custode io veglierei pe' vostri soavi di'...
La traviata

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:01 AM

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
      ( 8:00 PM ) The Rat  
IF, when Ratty first discovered opera nearly five years ago, you had asked: "Quick—five-dollar bet: The first time you go into a ladies' room at a major opera house and there's an elderly lady carefully brushing her teeth at one of the sinks, will it be here or in Europe?"—I would unhesitatingly have said, Europe. Turns out I'd have been out $5...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:00 PM

      ( 10:54 AM ) The Rat  
LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE THAT THERAPY WORKS. Interesting. (The only dialogue I remember from Annie Hall: "Oh, you see an analyst?" "Yeah, just for fifteen years." "Fifteen years?" "Yeah, I'm gonna give him one more year, and then I'm goin' to Lourdes.")

Mental-health care has come a long way since the remedy of choice was trepanation—drilling holes into the skull to release "evil spirits." Over the last 30 years, treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and family-based treatment have been shown effective for ailments ranging from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.

The trouble is, surprisingly few patients actually get these kinds of evidence-based treatments once they land on the couch—especially not cognitive behavioral therapy. In 2009, a meta-analysis conducted by leading mental-health researchers found that psychiatric patients in the United States and Britain rarely receive C.B.T., despite numerous trials demonstrating its effectiveness in treating common disorders. One survey of nearly 2,300 psychologists in the United States found that 69 percent used C.B.T. only part time or in combination with other therapies to treat depression and anxiety.

C.B.T. refers to a number of structured, directive types of psychotherapy that focus on the thoughts behind a patient's feelings and that often include exposure therapy and other activities.

Instead, many patients are subjected to a kind of dim-sum approach—a little of this, a little of that, much of it derived more from the therapist's biases and training than from the latest research findings. And even professionals who claim to use evidence-based treatments rarely do. The problem is called "therapist drift."

"A large number of people with mental health problems that could be straightforwardly addressed are getting therapies that have very little chance of being effective," said Glenn Waller, chairman of the psychology department at the University of Sheffield and one of the authors of the meta-analysis...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:54 AM

      ( 10:50 AM ) The Rat  

Can you remember the last time you were in a public space in America and didn’t notice that half the people around you were bent over a digital screen, thumbing a connection to somewhere else?

Most of us are well aware of the convenience that instant electronic access provides. Less has been said about the costs. Research that my colleagues and I have just completed, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, suggests that one measurable toll may be on our biological capacity to connect with other people.

Our ingrained habits change us. Neurons that fire together, wire together, neuroscientists like to say, reflecting the increasing evidence that experiences leave imprints on our neural pathways, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. Any habit molds the very structure of your brain in ways that strengthen your proclivity for that habit...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 AM

      ( 9:25 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 8:49 AM ) The Rat  
PARIS 1900-2013 IN PHOTOS, via WC. Sigh.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:49 AM

      ( 8:37 AM ) The Rat  
"THESE SONS OF BITCHES RIGHT HERE WILL LOWER THE EVER LIVING FUCK OUT OF YOUR CHOLESTEROL," and other PSAs from Thug Kitchen. The author does his own photography and is trying to get a book deal, though I would much rather have these as posters and postcards.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:37 AM

Monday, March 25, 2013
      ( 11:25 PM ) The Rat  
IF ONLY WE COULD TALK ABOUT ABUSING WOMEN LIKE WE DO ABUSING CATS, via BH. I thought this was going to be the predictable I'm-so-outraged boilerplate, but the para. below, in particular, is really spot-on.

No one suggests that we're somehow robbing animals of their autonomy by noting that they were cornered and tortured. On the contrary, Jackson the cat is granted more autonomy in these stories about his rescue than your typical rape victim is in mainstream media coverage. Jackson can't even talk, but his feelings about being tortured and rescued are central to the story, which is evidenced by Jackson being given camera time to rub on Wendell, communicating gratitude in the way that cats can. Unlike many rape victims who are painted as somehow permanently destroyed by their experiences, Jackson is granted the right to a story of survivorship...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:25 PM

      ( 8:27 PM ) The Rat  
SURPRISINGLY NON-SILLY ANSWERS to Why Does Love Lose Its Intensity With Time? over at Slate.

But I can see another reason why some relationships fail at this stage is due to our cultural perceptions that infatuation love is true love and it should remain consistent throughout the relationship. That if infatuation love ever wanes then it is an indicator that true love is waning, and therefore the relationship is failing.

In the media, we constantly associate love with infatuation love, since most movies and stories really only cover the beginning of relationships, but when they look at older relationships where the couples are still in love, it seems to imply that it is the same exact infatuation love just diminished in intensity...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:27 PM

      ( 7:49 PM ) The Rat  
NEARING THE END OF RUNNING WITH THE MIND OF MEDITATION, which I highly recommend whether or not you have a prior interest in either running or meditation. I had never heard of this book till stumbling across it at the Strand last year—I dismissed it at the time as New Age-ey hand-waving and likely gimmicky to boot (A Tibetan monk who runs marathons! Between the crowd that's into running and the crowd that'll go for anything exotically Eastern and 'mystical,' we'll make a mint!), but returned to it some months later on account of the Amazon reviews. The book is short—just 200 pp.—but Sakyong Mipham is remarkably engaging, wise company... and if I once thought the book would just be vapid, touchy-feely generalizations, I was dead wrong: Not only does the author know whereof he speaks, he has his head screwed on far better than most of us. The paragraph below is characteristic—in which everything he says is true and probably stuff you already know, but then the last sentence is so deeply true and pointed that its impact can be close to devastating; and yet if you were reading inattentively you might not even notice it. And the book as a whole is like that, over and over again.

A softcover edition is being released April 9.

As you contemplate your good fortune, you might find yourself having thoughts like "I live in America, but I'd rather live in Canada," "I make good money, but I'm not as wealthy as so-and-so," or "I'm healthy, but I wish I were ten years younger." When this occurs, be aware that you've stopped contemplating your good fortune and started contemplating regret. Try to stay in the present. You are training and developing your mind. Contemplating your good fortune, you feel delighted and special. This feeling makes you want to use your life wisely. As a result, after doing this contemplation, you tend to be more appreciative of what you do have, and to spend less time wishing things were another way. Therefore you waste less time...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:49 PM

      ( 7:35 PM ) The Rat  
"THE MUSIC LITERALLY INDUCES VERTIGO: IT FINDS NO ACCEPTABLE TONAL RESOLUTION AND SPIRALS BACK ON ITSELF..." Terrific Alex Ross analysis of Bernard Herrmann's score for Vertigo. Contains spoilers, obviously, though I've removed ditto from the excerpt below.

The scenario has resonances with any number of doom-drenched Romantic and Symbolist dramas. It also closely resembles an operatic model: ironically, Korngold's youthful masterpiece, 'Die Tote Stadt.' [...]

Right from the famous title sequence of Vertigo, we are in the presence of something marvelous. Saul Bass created a hypnotic design of spirals rotating in space, overlaid with a few uncanny shots of Kim Novak's eyes. The music rotates in tandem: endless circles of thirds, major and minor, interspersed with shuddering dissonances. Herrmann did not invent this off-center tonality; it was used often by Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy and Ravel. But the relentlessness is all Herrmann's...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:35 PM

      ( 3:30 PM ) The Rat  
I ONLY FEEL THIS PROUD OF MY COUNTRY ONCE EVERY 17 YEARS. Earlier this afternoon, found myself paused next to a car at a red light, and momentarily confused as to where a low, carefully enunciated voice was coming from. Then I realized it was coming from the car—and that the driver was listening to an audiobook, but at such high volume that you could actually hear it outside the car, even with all the windows rolled up. I was only able to make out one phrase before the signal changed: "—the author of Poor Richard's Almanack—."

If this had been one of those too-good-to-fact-check anecdotes, I'd have gone ahead and said, "This car drove by me today blasting an audiobook of Franklin's An Autobiography—it was still right at the intro—as loudly as if it had been rap music." In the interest of accuracy, though, I'm just going to say: This car drove by me today blasting an audiobook of what probably was Franklin's Autobiography—it was still right at the intro—as loudly as if it had been rap music.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:30 PM

      ( 3:17 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:17 PM

      ( 12:35 PM ) The Rat  
HOW TO TELL WHEN THE QUEEN IS OVER YOU. Ratty heard rumors of this years ago, but never thought to check for more details... here they are, at least if you trust People's fact-checkers.

In the course of royal affairs, the Queen, along with others in the family, use some little-known secret cues in their social dealings. First and foremost, when Her Majesty is ready to wrap up a conversation or social event, she switches her handbag from one arm to another, signaling her handlers to move in and usher her away.

"It would be very worrying if you were talking to the Queen and saw the handbag move from one hand to the other," royal historian Hugo Vickers tells
People. Luckily, they'd let you down easy.

"It would be done very nicely," he says. "Someone would come along and say, 'Sir, the Archbishop of Canterbury would very much like to meet you'"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:35 PM

      ( 10:24 AM ) The Rat  
WHY ARE SO MANY TWENTYSOMETHINGS HAVING CHILDREN BEFORE GETTING MARRIED? via AB. I find the "the new teen moms" thing a bit silly, but the rest of this is interesting.

Two cultural factors are also in play here. The rise of the "capstone" model of marriage is one such factor, as Cherlin has noted. All Americans, not just the college educated—watch the same TV shows and movies and pick up the idea that adults have to have all their ducks in a row—a middle-class lifestyle, a soul mate relationship—before they settle down. This model sets a high bar for marriage and minimizes marriage's classic connection to parenthood. So large numbers of less-educated twentysomethings who view the capstone model as unattainable end up having the child before the marriage.

Second, as Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas point out in Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage, many young adults have been scarred by the divorce revolution—which hit poor and middle American communities harder than upper- and middle-class communities—and have become gun-shy about marriage. They have seen too many friends and family divorce to have the trust required to move forward with a wedding. So, living amid a climate characterized by a trust deficit, they often choose, or drift "unintentionally" into, parenthood with partners who are not marriageable or who seem good but to whom they are not yet ready to marry.

Melissa, a 31-year-old single mother, had this to say about why she has never married any of her boyfriends: "I just never felt that anyone's as loyal to me as I am to them," she said. "Even when I feel like I'm in a good relationship, there'll be little things that they'll do that will make me start wondering, 'Do they really have my back?'" according to the Love and Marriage in Middle America project, a study of Middle American relationships in a small town in Ohio. What's striking about Melissa’s comment—which is all too representative—is that it's not just the bad guys who give her pause about marriage; it's also the good guys. She just seems to harbor a general suspicion about the possibility of lifelong love and the whole institution of marriage...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:24 AM

Sunday, March 24, 2013
      ( 11:34 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:34 PM

      ( 5:46 PM ) The Rat  
We are unhappy because we do not see how our unhappiness can end; whereas what we really fail to see is that unhappiness cannot last, since even a continuance of the same condition will bring about a change of mood. For the same reason happiness does not last.
—William Gerhardie, Of Mortal Love

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:46 PM

      ( 3:29 PM ) The Rat  
CREEPY WHITE GUYS, via MC, is, of course, a Tumblr.

Every Asian girl who has ever tried online dating, whether on POF, OKCupid, or Match has experienced it: messages from Creepy White Guys with Asian fetishes. I just got back into the dating scene and am already being bombarded with some absolutely horrifying messages...

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:29 PM

      ( 12:57 PM ) The Rat  

Once I had gathered the courage, I felt an urgency to begin and mixed up the lemonade from ingredients we often have at home—organic lemons from Whole Foods, excellent maple syrup from the Union Square Greenmarket, and an old bottle of cayenne pepper from the pantry. With great relief I discovered that it tasted just fine. Before long I was concentrating on gastronomic refinement: I put a new filter into the water purifier, researched the availability of alternative lemons, and conferred with Lior Lev Sercarz, an expert at finding and mixing spices at his shop, La Boîte, on Eleventh Avenue, who was happy to create an elite blend of Aleppo pepper from Syria, bergamot from California, and predominantly cayenne chilis, which grow all around the world. These came from New Mexico, Lior told me, and combine a mild degree of heat, a round taste with a slight acidity, and a warm sun-dried note...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:57 PM

Saturday, March 23, 2013
      ( 10:48 PM ) The Rat  

A high humidity level 'enhances taste perception' and more crucially, will make you drunk...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:48 PM

      ( 7:03 PM ) The Rat  
SCIENTISTS SAY A DUCK HAS FATHERED A CHICKEN. Are we sure this isn't just a case of a really gullible duck with a slutty wife?

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:03 PM

      ( 6:04 PM ) The Rat  
Mother is our first environment, and how we experience her has great impact on how we subsequently experience the world and what we expect from it. If Mother was not responsive to our early needs, we generally don't expect the world to be; if Mother was not welcoming, we don't perceive the world as welcoming. In fact, a major part of healing is seeing that the world is not the same as Mother, changing both our perceptions and our relationship with it.

I have found many who were undernurtured as children to have what might be called deprivation consciousness. It is a sense of lack that is carried within and becomes the unconscious filter through which we receive experience. We might go so far as to say some of us create a 'deprivation story' that becomes the repeating theme of our life. A deprivation story is filled with thoughts such as 'There's never enough for me' or 'I'll never get what I want.' Often this will be in contrast with how you see others. It's as if you're the last baby in the row at the orphanage, and they always run out before they get to you.

The Emotionally Absent Mother

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:04 PM

      ( 2:43 PM ) The Rat  

"But disability has also become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills. But it wasn't supposed to serve this purpose; it's not a retraining program designed to get people back onto their feet. Once people go onto disability, they almost never go back to work. Fewer than 1 percent of those who were on the federal program for disabled workers at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce since then, one economist told me.

"People who leave the workforce and go on disability qualify for Medicare, the government health care program that also covers the elderly. They also get disability payments from the government of about $13,000 a year. This isn't great. But if your alternative is a minimum wage job that will pay you at most $15,000 a year, and probably does not include health insurance, disability may be a better option.

"But going on disability means you will not work, you will not get a raise, you will not get whatever meaning people get from work. Going on disability means, assuming you rely only on those disability payments, you will be poor for the rest of your life. That's the deal. And it's a deal 14 million Americans have chosen for themselves"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:43 PM

Friday, March 22, 2013
      ( 8:47 PM ) The Rat  
HEH. From "What If We Fall in Love in the Future," a BBC documentary from (of course) February:

Louise Hidalgo. And we should also be more confident about finding love. According to evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, it isn't actually that hard.

Robin Dunbar. Real life is a compromise, because somewhere out there—I guess it's 3 billion men or 3 billion women on the earth today—there must be Mr. Perfect or Miss Perfect for you. But it's going to take you forever to find them. So what you seem to do is, you search through a certain number—and the magic number seems to be about 12 or 13. Then you make a decision, and kind of take the best—or at least what economists refer to as some satisficing solution. And so, in reality, almost anybody will do... you can actually probably fall in love with almost anybody—our hormonal machine is designed to sort of create this sense of attachment to the person, almost irrespective of who they are. At that point you've just got to go completely hell for leather for that person, and decide they are perfection—otherwise you would keep sitting on the fence and going, 'Oh, maybe not, maybe not'—and nothing would ever happen.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:47 PM

      ( 10:34 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 10:30 AM ) The Rat  
In his selfish days he had been as familiar to tabloid readers as Tommy Manville, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Barbara Hutton. His fame had rested on lechery, alcoholism, reckless driving, and draft evasion. He had had a dazzling talent for spending millions without increasing mankind's stores of anything but chagrin.
Cat's Cradle

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM

      ( 12:25 AM ) The Rat  

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Thursday, March 21, 2013
      ( 5:32 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:32 PM

      ( 2:21 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 10:33 AM ) The Rat  
BECOMING THE ALL-TERRAIN HUMAN. Marvelous profile of Kilian in this week's NYTM.

And this gets to the heart of Jornet's talent. Observers and competitors describe him as someone who draws endurance and vitality, Samson-like, from being among high peaks. Runners who have served as pacesetters for him have told me with amazement how, when he was midrace at Lake Tahoe, Jornet didn't run with his head down in focused misery but instead brushed the hairgrass and corn lily that grew along the trail with his fingertips and brought the smell to his nose, as if he were feeding off the scenery. Sometimes in his all-day solitary runs, stopping only to eat berries, he can seem half-feral, more mountain goat than human. He likes to move fast and touch rock and feel wild, he told me; he feels most at ease and performs best when wrapped by the silence and beauty of the mountains. He can't abide cities for more than a few hours. The sea—its unrelenting horizontality—scares him. Leading long races like Western States, he's been known to stop and exclaim at a sunrise, or wait for friends to catch up so he can enjoy the mountains with them instead of furthering his lead. "It's almost insulting," Krupicka told me. But it's just Kilian being Kilian, Krupicka said. He's not rubbing it in anyone's face. He's truly enjoying being out there in the mountains, and he's expressing that."

I particularly loved this bit, which does rather put the complaints of parents of ordinary toddlers in persepctive:

Jornet was raised in the Cap del Rec regional park, where his father was a hut keeper and mountain guide and his mother a schoolteacher who liked to run and ski. "Mountains were his playground," his mother, Núria Burgada Burón, told me. When Jornet was 18 months old, she took him on a seven-hour hike in the Pyrenees, and he never cried or fussed. Seven hours? She laughed. "Kilian is not normal." At 3, she says, he completed a 7.5-mile cross-country ski race. "My mission is to make Kilian tired. Always, I was tired. But Kilian? No"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:33 AM

      ( 9:30 AM ) The Rat  

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
      ( 9:29 PM ) The Rat  
IN COUNTRY, IN CITY. A set piece, and as such somewhat predictable, but still powerful. From the TAL "Doppelgängers," Act II of which looked at the similarities between the PTSD symptoms in, respectively, a veteran of the Afghan war and a young man who grew up in inner-city Philly.

Alex Kotlowitz. Here's the first similarity. For Curtis on the street and for Brandon in Afghanistan, they could never let their guard down.

During his tour, Brandon was charged with training Afghan soldiers. And in May, 2007, he heard about Afghan soldiers who attacked their American trainers.

Brandon Caro. They had weapons around us all the time. On convoys, we would have to line them up in the morning and collect their cell phones because we couldn't trust them not to inform on us to Taliban fighters. It was exhausting, trying to keep an eye on the Afghan soldiers and look out for IEDs or snipers.

Curtis Jefferson. Because you trying to just focus on one thing, trying to get money, they're the same thing, eventually somebody is going to come up and test you. Somebody is going to test you. There's either somebody who's going to rob you, somebody going to send something to your boys', they're going to get robbed, someone is going to send shots through your way, or something.

Brandon Caro. It felt like a piano could fall on you at any time, you know? That's what it felt like to be on patrol, and especially to be on patrol with the Afghans.

Curtis Jefferson. Because if you were out there, you noticed different things. For one, people with their hands in their pockets.

Brandon Caro. You're looking for someone that doesn't look right, that doesn't feel right.

Curtis Jefferson. Another thing, people got hoodies on, especially black. There's a certain look. They put the hoodie on their face, you can't even see their eyeballs. Like, come on. It's daytime. I can't see your face. Let me see your eyes or something.

Brandon Caro. I would watch the way they looked at me. You know, if they would stare back at me, if they would smile at me...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:29 PM

      ( 9:21 PM ) The Rat  

The job of parenting toddlers ain't easy. Consider the 2-year-old to-do list: Get tantrums under control. Potty train. Transition from whole milk to low-fat milk.

Speaking from experience, only one of these things was easy.

As my daughter turned 2 in January, we made the simple switch to reduced-fat milk. Done. Don't need to overthink this one, right?

After all, I'm following the evidence-based advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The guidance is based on studies that found children who consumed low-fat milk as part of a reduced-saturated-fat diet had lower concentrations of LDL cholesterol. Given the body of evidence in adults linking high cholesterol to increased risk of heart disease, it makes sense to keep an eye on cholesterol, beginning in childhood.

And if you take fat out of milk, you've also reduced calories, which should help protect kids against becoming overweight. At least, that's been the assumption.

So here's where things gets confusing. A new study of preschool-aged children published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, finds that low-fat milk was associated with higher weight...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:21 PM

      ( 12:53 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:53 PM

      ( 12:09 PM ) The Rat  
NEW RESEARCH ON OLDER RUNNERS. I was just going to stick with my "Ed Whitlock was dropped off here by aliens" theory, but apparently that wasn't enough for some people...

Competitive sport for the older age-groups is new. Never before has such incentive existed for people over 70 to develop and demonstrate their physical ability in a measurable context. A Whitlock marathon is way beyond line dancing. Every time he steps on the road or track, he lays down a completely new body of potential evidence about the human aging process. If we knew how he functions, we could surely understand better what aspects of senescence can be resisted or delayed. It's a magnificent opportunity for someone to research a vital but neglected field.

That opportunity is now being taken. It started when Dr. Tanja Taivassalo, a research kinesiologist at McGill University, traveled from Montreal to Finland to watch her father Keijo Taivassalo run the 70-plus marathon in the world masters championships. A specialist in genetic mitochondrial disease (cellular debilitation), she was fascinated by the extraordinary performances she saw by athletes as old as the Vancouver all-rounder Olga Kotelko. At 92, Kotelko still includes triple jump, javelin, shot, and 400m in her repertoire, and set eight world records at Helsinki.

Taivassalo and her McGill colleague Dr. Russell Hepple won research funding[i] for a project to study the factors behind the performances of Kotelko and others, who include the 80+ hurdler and middle distance runner Earl Fee, and distance runners Whitlock and Betty (BJ) McHugh, also of Vancouver. McHugh's latest world record was a 5:12:03 at the Honolulu Marathon at age 85, running with her son and adult grand-daughter...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:09 PM

      ( 11:48 AM ) The Rat  
FROM OCTOBER, BUT THIS is a ridiculously feel-good story. Via EP.

A 6ft 4ins thug who attacked a man more than twice his age was left with a dislocated shoulder after the pensioner floored him with two right hooks...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:48 AM

      ( 10:47 AM ) The Rat  

The baffling man has also reportedly read a newspaper before, interacted with coworkers, knows how economies and political systems work, and is undergoing the process of aging, yet has made no effort to revise his original assumption...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:47 AM

      ( 10:18 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:18 AM

      ( 3:28 AM ) The Rat  
Nonetheless, although the literature is by now rich and persuasive in conceptualizing the relationship between traumatic loss and disrupted attachment, relatively little has been detailed about the losses that do not involve actual death, but that do represent extraordinary loss for adults who were mistreated as children. These "little" losses occur in the context of a long-standing pattern characterized by the absence of sustaining and loving caregiver behavior. As children, our patients often had parents who were physically present, but the nature of their parenting was so abusive and/or neglectful that their losses are not even seen as losses at all, but a way of life...

Victims' grief is delayed because most abused children learn how to adapt to even astonishingly difficult circumstances in order to survive, but they do pay a price. A later crisis or loss in adult life may unmask an underlying vulnerability that has been lurking beneath the apparently normal surface of their lives for years. The losses they sustain are unresolved because for most survivors of childhood abuse, there is no clearly established and socially acceptable pathway for grief resolution if actual physical death has not been involved. Their losses cannot even be acknowledged as loss. Their grief is stigmatized because it is seen as a "blemish of individual character" (Goffman, 1963). The losses associated with childhood maltreatment that are only recognized or surfaced in adulthood are not considered legitimate reasons for grief, by the larger society. They are not "legitimate" mourners.

According to Doka (1989), who has written about "disenfranchised" grief, there are three general types: those individuals whose relationships are socially unrecognized, illegitimate, or in other ways unsanctioned; those persons whose loss does not fit the typical norms of appropriateness; and those people whose ability to grieve is in question or who are not considered to be legitimate grievers. Victims of child maltreatment experience many losses that carry with them no social legitimacy. In the cases of victims of sexual abuse, the losses they sustain are often not only unrecognized but are denied by the perpetrator and by other family members. Victims of other forms of maltreatment are frequently labeled as "whiners" or "complainers" who manipulate others with their "victim mentality." As for normative appropriateness, the society at large barely is willing to deal with death as a legitimate cause for bereavement behavior. The social attitude toward most other losses is generally, "get over it." And even among therapists and otherwise supportive others, there may be great resistance to empathizing with the grief that victims feel at finally having to give up a relationship with someone who has been abusive, dangerous and cruel or letting go of a behavior that has helped them cope and feel in control, even if that behavior appears "crazy." They are not legitimate grievers because the losses they experience are usually not considered appropriate causes for grief. After all, they survived, didn't they?

Sandra L. Bloom

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:28 AM

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
      ( 9:09 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:09 PM

      ( 8:08 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:08 PM

      ( 12:42 AM ) The Rat  
HEE! via TG.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:42 AM

Monday, March 18, 2013
      ( 8:21 PM ) The Rat  
SYSK ANIMATED: HOW TO START A COUNTRY. OK—I was skeptical, but these are actually pretty great. (Plus I love how animated Chuck looks a bit like Jay Sherman on The Critic.)

"The Digestive System" is here, and "Duels" is here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:21 PM

      ( 7:31 PM ) The Rat  
DAMN. Go big or go home, as they say. (Don't miss the part about Pascal Payet!)

Two men posing as tourists reportedly commandeered a helicopter from a Canadian tour company, ordered the pilot to fly over a detention center near Montreal, hoisted two inmates using cables or ropes into the hovering aircraft—and zipped away.

All in broad daylight. All in full view of incredulous witnesses.

It was a real "James Bond moment," witness Francis Emond told CNN affiliate CTV about Sunday's escape from the correctional facility in Saint -Jerome, about half-hour northwest of Montreal...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:31 PM

      ( 2:26 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:26 PM

      ( 2:23 PM ) The Rat  
"SURPRISE, GENERATED USING A JACK-IN-THE-BOX, CAUSED THE DOG TO WRINKLE THE TOP OF ITS HEAD INTO SOMETHING AKIN TO A FROWN..." Scientists prove you really can tell what your dog is feeling by looking at its face, via MR.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:23 PM

Sunday, March 17, 2013
      ( 6:21 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:21 PM

      ( 5:09 PM ) The Rat  
A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand.
—Dorothy L. Sayers, 1947

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:09 PM

Saturday, March 16, 2013
      ( 10:53 AM ) The Rat  
TODAY'S TOLL BROS. MATINEE BROADCAST is Francesca da Rimini, starting at noon.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:53 AM

Friday, March 15, 2013
      ( 11:57 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:57 PM

      ( 11:55 PM ) The Rat  
WORLD'S MOST TERRIFYING BRIDGES. All my best dreams in childhood seem to have involved bridges.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 PM

      ( 11:29 PM ) The Rat  
ANIMAL CARE WISH LIST, a new thingey at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 PM

      ( 11:27 PM ) The Rat  
WAS REMINDED TONIGHT that I would never have made it as a spy or prisoner of war: All they'd need to do is take books out of my library and start breaking the spines one by one, and I'd spill the beans immediately.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:27 PM

Thursday, March 14, 2013
      ( 8:55 PM ) The Rat  
LISTENING TO VIOLETTA/GERMONT IN ACT II, I keep thinking of this Peanuts where—I think it's Lucy, is asking Charlie Brown if he doesn't agree that there must be one day in one's life that's the happiest, happier than all the others. After a line or two of dialogue (which I don't recall verbatim) he agrees that yes, that must be so—and she says: "What if it's already happened?"

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:55 PM

      ( 7:43 PM ) The Rat  
THIS WEEK'S LIVE-STREAM IS LA TRAVIATA—Diana Damrau's debut as Violetta—and it's happening, um, now.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:43 PM

      ( 3:36 PM ) The Rat  
I was at a book signing for The Many Faces of PTSD and a man picked up the book and took it over to the cafe in the bookstore and looked at it for about 45 minutes. Then he brought it back and handed it to me saying, 'I can't read about these things.' I just nodded, but what I was thinking was, 'Someone had to live these things, and you, sitting in a nice, warm, safe bookstore can't read about them! The least we can do is read about them.'
The Many Faces of Anxiety

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:36 PM

      ( 1:15 PM ) The Rat  
SOMEDAY, SOMEBODY WILL EXPLAIN TO ME why Emily Yoffe hasn't been fired yet.

I have this problem I'm hoping you can help me with. I'm a 22-year-old feminist blogger and sometimes I read this Slate advice column by Emily Yoffe—you, actually—who just wrote yet another column dismissing a woman’s alleged rape because of her drinking. What should I do?

Last week, you published a letter from a young woman whose roommate was "very upset" upon waking up, after a night out drinking, with one of the writer's coworkers and no memory of the encounter. The friend seeking your advice seems skeptical and unsupportive; given her relationship with both parties, she would find herself in a much more comfortable position if the whole event were forgotten. Yet her ultimate question is still one of concern for her roommate: how can she suggest that her friend see a therapist?

For some reason, however, you decided that your role was not to suggest ways to talk about mental health support as requested but to judge, unsollicited, whether or not the young woman was raped. Unsurprisingly, given your record, you don't think she was...

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:15 PM

      ( 10:50 AM ) The Rat  
"...PROMPTED IN PART BY THE IMMEDIATE REGION'S LACK OF VERTICAL SURFACES." Old 8-storey tall grain silos re-adapted for ice climbing, via Treehugger.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 AM

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
      ( 8:44 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:44 PM

      ( 10:02 AM ) The Rat  
COVENT GARDEN'S 2013-14 SEASON is here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:02 AM

      ( 12:13 AM ) The Rat  

Three days after Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democratic candidate to challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel in elections this autumn, referred to Italian political leaders Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo as "clowns," the head of Germany's most famous circus has expressed his displeasure at being compared to the former Italian prime minister.

"A circus clown is no fool who can be placed on the same level as Berlusconi," Bernhard Paul, director of Circus Roncalli, told the German news agency DPA. "Being a clown is an honorable, very difficult, sensitive and artistic occupation," he said. "How can you compare that with bunga bunga?" he added, in reference to Berlusconi's infamous frolicking with women a fraction of his age...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:13 AM

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
      ( 8:05 PM ) The Rat  
INTERESTING SLATE THINGEY about Bob Woodward's biography of John Belushi.

John Belushi was a recreational drug user for roughly one-third of his 33 years, and he was a hard-core addict for the last five or six, from which you can subtract one solid year of sobriety. Yet in Wired, which has 403 pages of narrative text, the total number of pages that make some reference to drugs is something like 295, or nearly 75 percent. Belushi's drug use is surely a key part of his life—drugs are what ended it, after all—but shouldn't a writer also be interested in what led his subject to this substance abuse in the first place? If you want to know why someone was a cocaine addict for the last six years of his life, the answer is probably hiding somewhere in the first 27 years. But Woodward chooses to largely ignore that period, and in doing so he again misses the point. In terms of illuminating its subject, Wired is about as useful as a biography of Buddy Holly that only covers time he spent on airplanes.

Of all the people I interviewed, SNL writer and current Sen. Al Franken, referencing his late comedy partner Tom Davis, offered the most apt description of Woodward's one-sided approach to the drug use in Belushi's story: "Tom Davis said the best thing about Wired," Franken told me. "He said it's as if someone wrote a book about your college years and called it Puked. And all it was about was who puked, when they puked, what they ate before they puked and what they puked up. No one read Dostoevsky, no one studied math, no one fell in love, and nothing happened but people puking"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:05 PM

      ( 5:44 PM ) The Rat  
FACEBOOK USERS UNWITTINGLY REVEAL INTIMATE SECRETS, STUDY FINDS. Heh. The items that correlate with "Parents separated at 21" ought to be all the incentive you need to not divorce till your kids are at least 21!

The research into 58,000 Facebook users in the U.S. found that sensitive personal characteristics about people can be accurately inferred from information in the public domain.

Researchers were able to accurately infer a Facebook user's race, IQ, sexuality, substance use, personality or political views using only a record of the subjects and items they had "liked" on Facebook—even if users had chosen not to reveal that information...

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:44 PM

      ( 2:18 PM ) The Rat  
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:18 PM

      ( 12:24 PM ) The Rat  

These days, I am okay with dinner parties because I know to steer away from the things that I regularly fuck up. There will be no poached eggs, fried chicken, or Chinese food at my dinner parties. Nor will there be birthday cake. Still, like anyone who cooks regularly, I am still dreading that telephone call: "We're afraid there was nothing we could do to save her. No, she was perfectly healthy. The last time we talked, she said she was going jogging and then going to have dinner at your house"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:24 PM

      ( 10:09 AM ) The Rat  

Pavel Dmitrichenko, who is known for his powerful performance in the role of Ivan the Terrible, admitted arranging the January 17 assault on Sergei Filin, who was left with severely damaged eyes and chemical burns after a jar of sulphuric acid was tossed in his face...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:09 AM

Monday, March 11, 2013
      ( 10:54 PM ) The Rat  
PORN STARS WITHOUT MAKEUP ON WILL FORCE YOU TO REALIZE YOU'RE MASTURBATING TO NORMAL PEOPLE. As I've long maintained, if straight men really understood about makeup, there'd only be gay men left.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:54 PM

      ( 10:53 PM ) The Rat  
THIS reminded me of my Squid!

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:53 PM

      ( 8:40 PM ) The Rat  
"HE WAS ULTIMATELY CAUGHT BY A GOALIE..." Soccer match interrupted by wild marten, via Outside.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:40 PM

      ( 10:50 AM ) The Rat  

He looked closer at the tail gunner. He was still, his white fleece collar soaked with blood. Stigler craned his neck to examine the rest of the bomber. Its skin had been peeled away by shells, its guns knocked out. He could see men huddled inside the plane tending the wounds of other crewmen.

Then he nudged his plane alongside the bomber's wings and locked eyes with the pilot whose eyes were wide with shock and horror.

Stigler pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn't shoot. It would be murder.

Stigler wasn't just motivated by vengeance that day. He also lived by a code. He could trace his family's ancestry to knights in 16th century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest.

A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany. If someone reported him, he would be executed.

Yet Stigler could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him:

"You follow the rules of war for you—not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:50 AM

      ( 10:18 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:18 AM

Sunday, March 10, 2013
      ( 11:44 PM ) The Rat  
THIS YEAR'S NATIONAL COUNCIL AUDITION WINNERS are here; there's a WQXR webcast tomorrow.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:44 PM

Friday, March 08, 2013
      ( 12:55 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:55 PM

      ( 10:06 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:06 AM

Thursday, March 07, 2013
      ( 4:49 PM ) The Rat  
I started to ask Devonte a bit about his brother and about the accident. But he told me that he didn't really want to talk about it—which, you know, fair enough. He told me that he hates memories.
"Harper High School, Part Two," TAL

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:49 PM

      ( 3:22 PM ) The Rat  
WHEW! One less thing for Ratty to feel guilty about.

Ed Orcutt, a ranking Republican member of the state House of Representatives Transportation committee, said in an email exchange with a bike shop owner that drivers and bicyclists should both share the burden of preserving the roads they use.

"You claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike," Orcutt wrote to Dale Carlson, the owner of three bicycle shops in the Tacoma and Olympia areas who voiced concern that a proposed $25 fee on bicycle sales of $500 or more could hurt his business.

"But if I am not mistaken, a cyclists has an increased heart rate and respiration... Since CO2 is deemed a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclist are actually polluting when they ride," Orcutt wrote late last month...

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:22 PM

      ( 12:53 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:53 PM

      ( 12:23 PM ) The Rat  
AVERAGE COMMUTE TIMES, a nifty interactive map from WNYC.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:23 PM

      ( 12:18 PM ) The Rat  
THE 90-SECOND PAUSE. On managing amygdala hijacks.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:18 PM

      ( 11:47 AM ) The Rat  

Acevedo told the Daily News that he was fleeing a gunman who was trying to shoot at him when his borrowed BMW slammed into a hired car carrying the couple. He told the newspaper he fled because he was worried he'd be killed. But police said there were no reports of shots fired in the area at the time of the wreck...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:47 AM

      ( 11:14 AM ) The Rat  
PAINFUL VS. HILARIOUS. The original post—and the third comment—are two of the better explanations I've seen of how it feels to be a child of a narcissistic parent. The first comment, if you're anything like me, may make you do a spit take.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:14 AM

      ( 11:07 AM ) The Rat  

My mother loved looking good. She had her hair blown out weekly. She wore makeup. She had a closet filled with Prada and Armani. When she realized that she might be too old to wear a very expensive dress by Azzedine Alaïa that she bought in Paris, it was like a little arrow to the heart.

She had fallen in love with and married a man who was as fastidious about presentation as she was. Even in the hospital, day after day, Nick arrived looking impeccable in his fancy slacks and his beautiful loafers, because getting dressed up was a way to say to her that things were still normal, that he hadn’t lost hope. All sorts of men had rejected her when she was younger as cute but not beautiful. She wrote about it, turned it into a comic riff—everything is copy—but privately, it was heartbreaking for her until this noble man came along and made her feel that she was as fabulous to look at as she was to talk to.

And now, here she was without her hair, confined to a bed, using a nurse to help her go to the bathroom. It was the beginning of her losing her dignity. It was the beginning of a bad death.

In the days that followed, conversation became harder, and the silences grew longer. People who live thousands of miles from their parents often express regret at not being able to say goodbye, or about having spent too little time with them during their final days. But being there every day, as I was, produced its own kind of sorrow. It wasn't just the big things we were avoiding saying (although there were certainly some of those). It was the sadness of having run out of news to deliver, gossip to report, new books and movies to discuss. I actually believe that had Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their separation a week earlier, we might have kept her smiling one more night...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:07 AM

      ( 11:02 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:02 AM

Wednesday, March 06, 2013
      ( 11:02 PM ) The Rat  

More recently I think about how this experience [of having a narcissistic parent or parents] has affected my development of creative talents, and perhaps that was part of the point. N's don't have an inner life of imagination and dreams, but the non-n children of n's often do have a rich inner life. Often, our imaginations are the only place in which we receive nurturing...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:02 PM

      ( 10:22 PM ) The Rat  
He had come to see me on the pretext of donating sperm to a sperm bank run by one of his colleagues. Over the next few years, we met on every sort of pretext, his and mine. "Permit me to arrange it," he would say. And so I did, charmed to have the details of deception lifted so easily from my shoulders. (Some years later, sitting around a table with a group of women friends, I asked if anyone could suggest what a man could say to make himself irresistible. Everyone had something to offer, mostly predictable things—protestations of love, promises of money. And then one woman sat forward and said, "'Leave it to me.' All he needs to say is that and I'd follow him anywhere.")
—Lynn Freed, "Running the Smalls Through"

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:22 PM

      ( 7:44 PM ) The Rat  
that pretty thoroughly illustrates this effect.

A 2009 study demonstrated that after a short interaction with an attractive woman, men experienced a decline in mental performance. A more recent study suggests that this cognitive impairment takes hold even w hen men simply anticipate interacting with a woman who they know very little about...

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:44 PM

      ( 7:23 PM ) The Rat  
"MAY GOD CLICK LIKE ON HIM AS FREQUENTLY AS HE CLICKED LIKE ON OUR BIKINI PHOTOS." If Tombstones Accurately Reflected People's Online Personas, via HappyPlace.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:23 PM

      ( 4:52 PM ) The Rat  

Several of Canfield's closer friends acknowledged that, because of her steady attainment of noteworthy milestones, catching up with Canfield has become incredibly trying.

"Even when Ashley’s father died last summer, it was really obnoxious," said longtime friend Deanna Light, who claimed that Canfield was at least five life-defining moments ahead of her. "I guess I can't blame her for being the first to lose a parent, but I'm beginning to wonder if she ever doesn't have some major life event happening, you know?"

"I'd just like to go a few months without being reminded about how much she has going on," continued Light. "But I guess that'll have to wait until after her baby shower this weekend."

At press time, sources simultaneously threw up their hands in exasperation upon learning that Canfield had slid into an acute depression as she entered the early throes of a midlife crisis.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:52 PM

      ( 4:48 PM ) The Rat  
PRETTY CUTE WATCHING BOSTON RESIDNTS PLAY DAILY GAME OF 'BIG CITY.' This is exactly my reaction whenever I'm in Boston.

"I like it when they really get into their roles as residents of an actual city and complain about traffic and subways not coming on time," Chicago native James Camden said. "Oh, and when the local news anchors talk about Boston politics like it's really important, as if the goings-on in Boston could possibly have some sort of national implication even though nobody outside of Boston even cares? It's so much fun to watch that I can only imagine how much fun it is to actually play."

"I mean, we play Big City here in Chicago, too," he continued, "But we're nowhere near as good at it as the people in Boston"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:48 PM

      ( 3:50 PM ) The Rat  
THIS is amazing.

(This isn't bad either.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:50 PM

      ( 12:24 PM ) The Rat  

We bided our downtime—and there was a lot of it—with conversation. I learned that one of my roommates, Mohamed Fadil, had recently beaten Ryan Hall in a half marathon, and that another, Girma Tolla, had run in the 2000 Olympics for Ethiopia, finishing 11th in the 10,000m. I learned that Julius Keter was Kip Keino's grandson. And I learned that all of the men had run half marathons in 61 or 62 minutes; my PR was then 1:18:39.

But they treated me as an equal. We discussed training, diet, and their lives in cities across the U.S. and Mexico, where they lived on athletic visas. One had a 2-month-old daughter in Ethiopia he had yet to see. Another said that if she won enough races that year, she'd be able to go home to Kenya and see her family; if not, she'd be stuck in Mexico until she could raise enough prize money for a plane ticket...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:24 PM

Tuesday, March 05, 2013
      ( 9:37 AM ) The Rat  

"I've been working on this for months," Johnson told Daily Intelligencer...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:37 AM

      ( 9:17 AM ) The Rat  

Android smartphone owner (as viewed by an iPhone fanboy):
—Resembles Dr. Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory
—Installed Linux on the PS3
—Fashionably nerdy
—Becomes aroused when seeing a DOS command field
—Views the phone as a purely utilitarian device
—Chooses his phone based on carrier

iPhone owner (as viewed by an Android fanboy):
—Resembles Ross from Friends
—Superficial, insecure douchebag with metrosexual tendencies
—Drives a BMW or Prius
—Enters a hypnotic state when seeing the Great Steve
—Favorite phrase: "You still there? Hello?"
—Doesn't actually know how to work a real phone

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:17 AM

Monday, March 04, 2013
      ( 8:29 PM ) The Rat  

"It's only a balloon, honey," said Tremont's mother, unaware that the dismissive response only served to compound the anxieties forming in her young son's mind. "Come on, let's go and see the animals."

Tremont, whose sadness will swell over the course of years into what seems like an infinite, gaping dark void that neither monoamine oxidase inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors nor dietary changes will be able to close completely, was reportedly uninterested in seeing the animals.

"I didn't mean to let the balloon fly away," said the person who, while undergoing extensive psychotherapy in his mid-30s, will sometimes recall his childhood and try in vain to pinpoint some particular event that may have triggered the depression. "I didn't mean to. I want the balloon back"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:29 PM

      ( 2:01 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:01 PM

      ( 2:00 PM ) The Rat  
MARK REMY on National Grammar Day.

First person: "I ran my first marathon yesterday." Second person: "You ran your first marathon yesterday." Third person: "She ran her first marathon yesterday. Or he. I'm not sure. He or she has long hair and androgynous features."

Wrong: "I bought a pair of them toe shoes, but you have to transition gradually else you get hurt."
Right: "I bought a pair of them toe shoes, but I have to transition gradually elseI get hurt."
Better yet: "I bought a pair of them toe shoes, and now I go around calling regular running shoes 'coffins for your feet' and as a result no one talks to me at parties."

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:00 PM

      ( 12:00 PM ) The Rat  
FIRE PIT ART. I wonder what happens if you write in suggesting that they add a model in the shape of a cross...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:00 PM

      ( 8:49 AM ) The Rat  
"I had been glad to live and I was glad to die. Before I stepped aboard, I joyfully flung away my wretched load of ammunition, my knapsack, my hunting rifle that I had always been proud to carry, and I slipped into my winding sheet like a girl into her marriage dress. I lay and waited. Then came the mishap."

"A terrible fate," said the Burgomaster, raising his hand defensively. "And you bear no blame for it?"

"None," said the hunter. "I was a hunter; was there any sin in that? I followed my calling as a hunter in the Black Forest, where there were still wolves in those days. I lay in ambush, shot, hit my mark, flayed the skins from my victims: was there any sin in that? My labors were blessed. 'The great hunter of the Black Forest' was the name I was given. Was there any sin in that?"

"I am not called upon to decide that," said the Burgomaster, "but to me also there seems to be no sin in such things. But, then whose is the guilt?"

"The boatman's," said the hunter. "Nobody will read what I say here, no one will come to help me; even if all the people were commanded to help me, every door and window would remain shut, everybody would take to bed and draw the bedclothes over his head, the whole earth would become an inn for the night. And there is sense in that, for nobody knows of me, and if anyone knew he would not know where I could be found, and if he knew where I could be found, he would not know how to deal with me, he would not know how to help me. The thought of helping me is an illness that has to be cured by taking to one's bed. "I know that, and so I do not shout to summon help, even though at moments—when I lose control over myself, as I have done just now, for instance—I think seriously of it. But to drive out such thoughts I need only look round me and verify where I am, and—I can safely assert—have been for hundreds of years."

"Extraordinary," said the Burgomaster, "extraordinary. —And now do you think of staying here in Riva with us?"

"I think not," said the hunter with a smile, and, to excuse himself, he laid his hand on the Burgomaster's knee. "I am here, more than that I do not know, further than that I cannot go. My ship has no rudder, and it is driven by the wind that blows in the undermost regions of death."

"The Hunter Gracchus"

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:49 AM

      ( 8:06 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:06 AM

      ( 7:33 AM ) The Rat  
MORE THAN ANY OF THE MORE OBVIOUS CANDIDATES, this passage is, for me, what GWTW is "about," and why I sometimes think, in passing it on to me when I was 9, my mother told me more about me, about herself, and about what it means to be a woman than she did at any other time.

Scarlett began haltingly with the siege and Melanie's condition, but as her story progressed beneath the sharp old eyes which never faltered in their gaze, she found words, words of power and horror. It all came back to her, the sickeningly hot day of the baby's birth, the agony of fear, the flight and Rhett's desertion. She spoke of the wild darkness of the night, the blazing camp fires which might be friends or foes, the gaunt chimneys which met her gaze in the morning sun, the dead men and horses along the road, the hunger, the desolation, the fear that Tara had been burned.

"I thought if I could just get home to Mother, she could manage everything and I could lay down the weary load. On the way home I thought the worst had already happened to me, but when I knew she was dead I knew what the worst really was."

She dropped her eyes to the ground and waited for Grandma to speak. The silence was so prolonged she wondered if Grandma could have failed to comprehend her desperate plight. Finally the old voice spoke and her tones were kind, kinder than Scarlett had ever heard her use in addressing anyone.

"Child, it's a very bad thing for a woman to face the worst that can happen to her, because after she's faced the worst she can't ever really fear anything again. And it's very bad for a woman not to be afraid of something. You think I don't understand what you've told me—what you've been through? Well, I understand very well. When I was about your age I was in the Creek uprising, right after the Fort Mims massacre—yes," she said in a far-away voice, "just about your age for that was fifty-odd years ago. And I managed to get into the bushes and hide and I lay there and saw our house burn and I saw the Indians scalp my brothers and sisters. And I could only lie there and pray that the light of the flames wouldn't show up my hiding place. And they dragged Mother out and killed her about twenty feet from where I was lying. And scalped her too. And ever so often one Indian would go back to her and sink his tommyhawk into her skull again. I—I was my mother's pet and I lay there and saw it all. And in the morning I set out for the nearest settlement and it was thirty miles away. It took me three days to get there, through the swamps and the Indians, and afterward they thought I'd lose my mind.... That's where I met Dr. Fontaine. He looked after me.... Ah, well, that's been fifty years ago, as I said, and since that time I've never been afraid of anything or anybody because I'd known the worst that could happen to me. And that lack of fear has gotten me into a lot of trouble and cost me a lot of happiness. God intended women to be timid frightened creatures and there's something unnatural about a woman who isn't afraid.... Scarlett, always save something to fear—even as you save something to love...."

Her voice trailed off and she stood silent with eyes looking back over half a century to the day when she had been afraid. Scarlett moved impatiently. She had thought Grandma was going to understand and perhaps show her some way to solve her problems. But like all old people she'd gotten to talking about things that happened before anyone was born, things no one was interested in.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:33 AM

Sunday, March 03, 2013
      ( 4:40 PM ) The Rat  
40 YEARS AFTER AN ACID ATTACK, A LIFE WELL LIVED, via MM. The rest of us may have just lost our right-to-complain-about-anything cards.

He remembers his time at Brooke as a horror show: he never knew when a new soldier would be moved into the cot next to him because the last one had died. And he remembers those days when it was just he and Julia ranging around Park Slope, a little amazed, as she was, that they had so much freedom.

His perception of himself as being blind shifted over the years, from not identifying with those who had no sight to becoming aggressively proud of his blindness. He tried to bring his family on this journey, with mixed success. "In those early days of being overly cool with being blind, I said to my father: 'Dad, c'mon, when are you going to get over it? I am who I am.' He was surprised, and he said, 'You know, I'm never going to get over it.'"

It was only when he had his own children that he realized what this experience must have been like for his parents. He better appreciates his father's never-wavering optimism, his sister and brother's protectiveness, and how his mother told him again and again how he could do anything a sighted person could, even some things that they couldn't, like touching priceless art in museums.

"I never doubted that it was all going to work out," he said. "It was a foregone conclusion that it was going to be O.K."...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:40 PM

      ( 11:56 AM ) The Rat  
FAIRNESS FOR LEWINSKY, from 2007. Heartbreaking.

She is a branded woman, not an adulterer but something even worse—a girl toy, a trivial thing, a punch line. Yet she did what so many women at that age would do. She seduced (or so she thought) an older man. She fantasized that he would leave his wife for her. Here was her crime: She was a girl besotted. It happens even to Republicans.

But she is now a woman with a master's degree from a prestigious school and is going to be 34 come July. Her clock ticks, her life ebbs. Where is the man for her? Where is the guy brave enough, strong enough, admirable enough to take her as his wife, to suffer the slings and arrows of her outrageous fortune—to say to the world (for it would be the entire world) that he loves this woman who will always be an asterisk in American history. I hope there is such a guy out there. It would be nice. It would be fair...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:56 AM

      ( 11:07 AM ) The Rat  
There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously.
—Thomas Sowell

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:07 AM

      ( 10:43 AM ) The Rat  

With a child's logic, I figured the boys thought I wasn't a virgin because of my sexy shirt. Too ashamed to confide in my parents or older sisters, I tried to tell a teacher after class one day. I stood by her desk shifting my weight from one foot to the other. But I was afraid of being shunned at school if I reported it, so all I said was "See you tomorrow."

From those early teen years until my mid-20s, I let boyfriends come and go like subway cars, certain that they would trick and humiliate me. If they liked me too much it scared me away. Loneliness plagued me. When I saw happy couples I wondered, How do they do that? I drank heavily, hoping to forget what had happened. But I couldn't forget.

Thirty-eight years later, I browsed through the Facebook friends of the boy who was the first to rape me, noticing names I remembered from high school. In his recent photos were snapshots of a boy with his nose and a pretty teenage girl with long silky hair parted in the middle. He gripped a beer while his belly drooped over his jeans. I found some older photos of his wedding, him with a pretty young bride.

The first time I talked about the rape I was 26 and in a therapist's office. "I can help you," she said, but it wasn't a quick fix. I was in my 40s when I met Steve. He had a troubled past too, so we fit. When I buried my face in his hair, the smell, the closeness, made me feel safe. It still does.

Now I clicked back to my rapist's wall for a link to his wife's profile and sent her a friend request...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:43 AM

      ( 10:18 AM ) The Rat  
MANUSCRIPT PAGES from Du côté de chez Swann, via TT.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:18 AM

      ( 9:35 AM ) The Rat  
POLAR BEAR LURKING UNDER WATER. Probably the most unnerving (and my favorite) from this slideshow of Paul Souders's nature photography.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:35 AM

      ( 9:33 AM ) The Rat  
It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful.

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:33 AM

Saturday, March 02, 2013
      ( 10:06 AM ) The Rat  

"The sad truth is we have to keep track of every single penny if we want to be able to spend money on shit we don't even remotely need," said Nebraska resident Dennis Schmeltzer, 42. "What am I supposed to do? I've got three kids. This family buys a lot of dumb crap, and suddenly we don't have so much wiggle room when it comes to wasting our money like assholes."

"On the one hand, it kills me to go another month without winged-skull seat covers for our Suburban, but on the other, I can't bear the thought of my kids opening the kitchen cupboard and finding only three or four different kinds of Doritos," Schmeltzer added. "But right now we just can't have both. It's a nightmare"...

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:06 AM

      ( 12:40 AM ) The Rat  
RAISING CRANE, a particularly haunting Radiolab short from December.

Seabrook. French says that, in most cases, the breeding pairs that are formed in the wild will lay eggs. They will sit on the eggs, and do all the things that wild cranes are supposed to do... And then, one day, they—they get up, and walk away.

Abumrad. Without the baby?

Seabrook. Without the egg ever hatching.

French. These birds seem to abandon their eggs before them hatching, for some reason. It's puzzling.

Abumrad. They just leave it?

Seabrook. They just—they just walk away...

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:40 AM

Friday, March 01, 2013
      ( 10:15 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:15 PM

      ( 10:12 PM ) The Rat  
17 LOLITA BOOK COVERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. The Dutch appear to have thought she was about 17, which would in fact make the story completely non-shocking.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:12 PM

      ( 12:26 PM ) The Rat  
TOMORROW'S TOLL BROS. MATINEE BROADCAST (begins at noon) will be of Parsifal. Thought I'd mention it a day in advance so you can start stocking up on water, C-rations, etc....

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 PM

      ( 9:53 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:53 AM

      ( 9:24 AM ) The Rat  

Chinese media report that North Korea has developed its own scoring system for the game: three points for a dunk, four points for a three pointer that doesn't touch the rim, and eight points for a basket scored in the final three seconds. (This rule is... intriguing? The endings of North Korean basketball games must be cutthroat!) A missed free throw means minus-one point...

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:24 AM

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

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