Friday, May 31, 2013
( 12:01 PM ) The Rat
He decided the best place to start would be Kenya. If they were so good at running, he thought, then perhaps they would be good at cycling, too. […]
"In the past, people have looked at African cycling and said, 'The big problem is that they don't have the right bikes.' Nicholas has the harassed look of a prospector, as though he's in a race to find the golden formula that will produce Kenyan cyclists on a par with Kenyan runners. "There are so few things from Africa that generate such genuine awe, fear, unreserved respect, like a Kenyan runner on the start line of a marathon," he says. "It is such an achievement. We need to tap into that."
But instead of tapping into it, of empowering them, giving them brand-new bikes makes them helpless, he says. "Here we have guys straight from the shamba who can hit 5.8 watts per kilo. That's cycling talk, but trust me, that's good. That's the same power as a top cyclist. Yet you give them a new bike, and they don't know what to do with it. They don't know how to use it, so they feel helpless. You're imposing a European system on them. You're saying, right, now you should do what we say. And it simply doesn't work." It's like giving them shoes to run in, he says.
In the short time I've been in Kenya, I've been frequently taken aback by the levels of respect we've been afforded simply because of the color of our skin. At every event we've been to we've been immediately afforded VIP status and given the best seats. Sitting in the sun in the Run Fast camp that afternoon, one of the athletes told me that Kenyans needed European coaches and managers "because you have more brains than us. We need to learn from you." At one school I visited, the head teacher started telling the children about all the great things the British had done, and about how the British had brought civilization to Kenya. It's a view I hear frequently, when I was expecting the opposite, that the British had stolen their lands and destroyed their cultures...
—Running With the Kenyans
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:01 PM
Thursday, May 30, 2013
( 7:48 PM ) The Rat
33 TEACHERS WHO GOT THE LAST LAUGH, via MM. Several really great ones in here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:48 PM
( 7:38 PM ) The Rat
THE ART OF INFLUENCE: ASIAN PROPAGANDA
opened at the British Museum today.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:38 PM
( 7:30 PM ) The Rat
THE THAMES ESTUARY, via Londonist.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:30 PM
( 6:03 PM ) The Rat
HEH! via JM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:03 PM
( 6:02 PM ) The Rat
SAW A LADY ON THE TRAIN TODAY who was so thin, I actually caught myself thinking while looking at her legs, "How do you fit arteries in there...?"
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:02 PM
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
( 9:00 PM ) The Rat
"IN ONE TRULY HORRIFYING SCENARIO, A WOMAN WHO HAS SPLIT UP WTH HER BEST FRIEND WRITES ABOUT CONTINUING TO LIVE IN THE APARTMENT NEXT DOOR TO HER..." The myth of the BFF and the end of female friendships. Some interesting comments as well.
The myth of the BFF can be difficult to live up to. In film and television, we often see female friendships portrayed in a highly romanticised and unrealistic manner; uncomplicated and lasting forever despite the differences of the women involved. When women's relationships are at the centre of the narrative—Sex and the City being the most obvious example—it seems that best friendship somehow transcends all else. Lena Dunham's Girls offers us a recent rare example of female friendship as many of us live it: close friendships beginning to crumble and to peter out, slowly but surely. It's sometimes painful to watch because it's so familiar.
My best friend and I had been friends for 20 years, and then, one day, nothing. She stopped returning my calls; she ignored my messages. She was living in another country so I had no way of reaching her, no way to confront her. Months passed and I realised that my best friend had stopped being my best friend. Had, in fact, stopped being my friend altogether. And I didn't know why.
One of the things that bothered me most was the silence; not only my former best friend's silence towards me, but also the fact that I felt that I couldn't speak of what had happened between us to anyone else. It felt almost too trivial to mention...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:00 PM
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
( 9:58 PM ) The Rat
"SEE THESE FLOWERS? THESE ARE POPPIES. THERE'S A LEGEND THAT SAYS WHERE BATTLES WERE FOUGHT, THESE WHITE FLOWERS ALL TURNED RED AND IN THE CENTER OF EACH FLOWER, THERE WAS A CROSS..." In this degenerate age, I'm going to venture a guess that Memorial Day no longer comes with reruns of What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? which debuted on CBS in 1983. I got to thinking about it after attending a parade yesterday at which a little girl characterized the holiday as being about "saluting the country." Actually, no—but I don't blame her for getting it wrong, I blame her teachers. Do we have anything today that speaks as well to children of war and sacrifice, and of what the point of the holiday is in the first place?
Runtime of What Have We Learned? is about 22 mins.; watch it online here. There are also some old VHS copies still knocking around on Amazon and eBay. Review/synopsis from a few years ago here.
Linus wakes earliest and wanders the beach. He wonders why the location seems so familiar. We see the peaceful beach. The vision changes to scenes of war: bombers in the sky, battleships firing their massive guns, fortifications on the beach.
This, Linus realizes, is Omaha Beach. He wakes the others. From the kids on the beach we return to black-and-white film footage—German machine gunners, barbed wire and pillboxes, GIs piling out of landing craft—set against an animated background of changing colors, murky purples and oranges and yellows, as Linus tells what happened on this very spot. The color makes this more than an educational program, more than a "Peanuts Visit Normandy," with cuts to archival footage; it ties the show together, connecting the world of the children and the world of war.
And yet, because the swathes of color differ so markedly from the animation we're used to in a Peanuts special, the images of war passing before us transcend not only the world of the cartoon, but our day-to-day world as viewers. We sense the world-altering implications of D-Day and that history was made by real men, in a real place, with real death-dealing costs...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:58 PM
( 1:38 PM ) The Rat
DAMMIT, I hate when the Onion writes about me.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:38 PM
( 9:02 AM ) The Rat
3 YPSILANTI COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSTAIN FROM VOTE ON ABSTAINING.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:02 AM
Monday, May 27, 2013
( 5:24 PM ) The Rat
SILENCE AND RESPECT. TT on Arlington.
Most tourists go out of their way to visit the graves of John and Jackie Kennedy. I did, too, but once I'd paid my respects, I wandered down the hill where the Kennedys lie, looking for a white headstone that says HOLMES. It's not hard to find, though I doubt that many people seek it out, the name of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., now being known for the most part only to students of American constitutional law. Once upon a time, though, Mr. Justice Holmes was famous enough that Hollywood made a movie about him, a foolish film about a remarkable man. A friend of Henry and William James, Holmes fought for the Union in the Civil War, was wounded in battle three times, became a lawyer and then a judge, was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, and served as an associate justice for nearly three decades, retiring in 1932 at the age of ninety-one, three years before his death.
An eminent Victorian who lived long enough to read and comment on Proust and Hemingway, Holmes looked upon the world with an ice-cold eye, unconsoled by faith and certain only that "[o]ur business is to commit ourselves to life, to accept at once our functions and our ignorance and to offer our heart to fate"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:24 PM
Sunday, May 26, 2013
( 6:13 PM ) The Rat
PRODUCT AWARENESS INCREASED WITH 'ADVERTISEMENT.' Zing!
Consumer-advocacy groups are hailing the creation of advertisements as a "huge step forward for consumers everywhere."
"The introduction of advertisements represents a revolutionary shift, in which product manufacturing is based on the wants and needs of the purchasers," said Dianne Lake, director of the D.C.-based Consumers Helping Others with Informed Choices Everywhere (CHOICE). "Consumers will be able to make informed decisions about what they buy, and manufacturers will have no option but to respond with the best possible product at the best possible price. If a product does not deliver on the promises made, consumers simply will not buy that product again"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:13 PM
( 12:43 PM ) The Rat
25 SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 HIDDEN FEATURES.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:43 PM
( 10:33 AM ) The Rat
Sister Claire. Some day
We shall convert him.
The nuns. Yes—yes!
Mother Marguerite. Let him be;
I forbid you to worry him. Perhaps
He might stop coming here.
Sister Marthe. But... God?
Mother Marguerite. You need not
Be afraid. God knows all about him.
Sister Marthe. Yes...
But every Saturday he says to me,
Just as if he were proud of it: 'Well, Sister,
I ate meat yesterday!'
Mother Marguerite. He tells you so?
The last time he said that, he had not eaten
Anything, for two days.
—Cyrano de Bergerac (Hooker translation)
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:33 AM
Saturday, May 25, 2013
( 7:41 AM ) The Rat
FRENCH EX-PRESIDENT GISCARD D'ESTAING REVEALS PANDA ATTACK.
He said he had been visiting Vincennes Zoo in Paris, where his daughter was on work experience, when he decided to test his "presidential courage"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:41 AM
( 7:40 AM ) The Rat
FOUR CONFIRMED DEAD IN TWO DAYS ON EVEREST AND LHOTSE.
Inevitably, these deaths will draw comparisons to the disaster in 1996, which claimed eight lives and led to Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air and Anatoli Boukreev's The Climb. But this event is different—mostly because there's no freak storm upon which to blame the deaths. The forecast from Swiss meteorology service Meteotest predicted winds of 10–30km/hr on the 18th, rising to 40km/h on the 20th—by all accounts mild enough weather to try and take clients to the top. On the morning of the 19th, as I was heading back to Base Camp, I passed Rainier Mountaineering guide and 13-time summiter Dave Hahn, who was bristling at a recent New York Times editorial by professional climber, mountain guide, and author Freddie Wilkinson that suggested that, given the rising number of people on the mountain and the fact many of them "are increasingly estranged from the decision-making process," going home was the smartest thing to do. "These are normal summit conditions," said Hahn. At the time, we were both unaware of the events unfolding higher up.
Over the course of the following days, several experienced guides I spoke with all agreed that the recent deaths resulted from simple, collective disorganization and maybe a little bit of bad luck. The summit window was good—though winds were stronger than 40km/h on the 20th—but it was small. And lots of climbers, some 300 or so, who had been anxiously waiting for such a window, rushed in...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:40 AM
( 12:20 AM ) The Rat
MICK JAGGER'S NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN SHOULDERSTAND, via AB. A damn sight better than Ratty's shoulderstand, though that's to be expected...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:20 AM
( 12:19 AM ) The Rat
MOTION QUOTIENT: I.Q. PREDICTED BY ABILITY TO FILTER VISUAL MOTION, via WKO. Fascinating stuff.
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on standard measures of intelligence. The test is the first purely sensory assessment to be strongly correlated with IQ and may provide a non-verbal and culturally unbiased tool for scientists seeking to understand neural processes associated with general intelligence...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:19 AM
Friday, May 24, 2013
( 3:03 PM ) The Rat
OUCH. Below the belt, Onion.
Potentially offering hope to millions of Americans struggling with psychological and emotional problems, a study published this week in The New England Journal Of Medicine found that test subjects were capable of fully resolving their anxiety by thinking about it very intensely...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:03 PM
Thursday, May 23, 2013
( 12:23 PM ) The Rat
"I AM PLEASED TO BE GETTING AN AWARD TODAY THAT UNTIL 1935 WAS CALLED 'THE MEDAL FOR GOOD DICTION'..." Ira Glass thanks the American Academy of Arts and Letters upon receiving the Medal for Spoken Language.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:23 PM
( 10:07 AM ) The Rat
IT'S WORLD TURTLE DAY! You know what to do.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:07 AM
( 1:37 AM ) The Rat
LADIES: BEWARE 'PHOENIX MEN.'
A recent survey of over 35,500 single ladies in China offers some insight into Chinese women's attitudes towards men and marriage. The survey, which included questions such as "Why are you still single?" and "What kind of man do you hope to marry?" shed light on the types of men that single Chinese women prefer, with some surprising results.
While 51.13 percent of the women surveyed regarded "getting married" as their goal, they reported that the top three male traits that made them prefer single-hood were men's constant involvement in "ambiguous" love affairs, their tendency to talk a lot but accomplish little, and their stinginess. While these feelings may resonate globally, what set the Chinese marriage market apart were respondents' attitudes towards men, as well as their expectations and standards for their potential future husbands.
When asked "What kind of men are you willing to marry?" the most popular response was "a divorced man who owns a house and car," followed by "a successful 40-something man who has gone on a lot of blind dates but is still single." Interestingly—and even a bit surprisingly—the least popular kind of man, coming in behind even "an unassuming computer programmer," and "a handsome freelancer," was the so-called "phoenix man," a high-level corporate manager with a lot of relatives. More broadly defined, a "phoenix man" is someone who came from humble beginnings, made his way through school, exhausted resources of his family in the process, and was expected to change the fate of the family when he eventually succeeded...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:37 AM
( 12:53 AM ) The Rat
WOMAN WHO CRACKED 3 SEPARATE IPHONE SCREENS EXPECTING BABY BOY THIS AUGUST.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:53 AM
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
( 10:10 PM ) The Rat
"'I WAS FASCINATED BY THE MIX OF KITSCH AND PROFESSIONALISM,' HERBAUT SAID." OK, I'm seeing the kitsch. Where's the professionalism? Fantasy photos for Chinese weddings, via IKM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:10 PM
( 8:07 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:07 PM
( 1:00 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:00 PM
( 10:39 AM ) The Rat
TEACHER GRADING PAPERS NEXT TO YOU ON PLANE NOT PULLING ANY PUNCHES.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:39 AM
( 10:38 AM ) The Rat
Dear Miss Manners: I am a divorced male whose fiancée is also divorced and marrying for the second time. What is the currently accepted protocol for engagement rings in second marriages? Also, must my fiancée's ring necessarily be larger than the one given by her ex-husband to his current fiancée?
Gentle Reader: The correct formula is to multiply the size of the lady's first engagement ring by the size of the one you gave your first wife and add it to the size of the ring her former husband gave his fiancée. With any luck, you will soon reach a stalemate, with the gentlemen no longer able to afford to raise the stakes and the ladies no longer able to lift their hands, and Miss Manners will be able to turn her attention to suitable questions.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:38 AM
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
( 9:03 PM ) The Rat
But good sense does not often apply when many couples assemble their wedding party. Gender is considered to be such a defining characteristic of giving the bride away, or serving as maid of honor, best man, bridesmaid, or groomsman that most weddings maintain the division to the exclusion of other qualifications.
Some of the questions that keep arising are:
—Why are the bride's parents' names, but not the bridegroom's parents, on the invitations?
—Why do the bride's parents get to have the wedding in their hometown? (That question from bridegroom's parents.)
—Why do we get to pay for everything? (That question from bride's parents.)
—Why is it the bride's previous marital history, not the bridegroom's, that determines whether it is classified as a first wedding?
—Why are there domestic showers for brides and hilarious drinking parties for bridegrooms?
—Why is she given away, while he just donates himself?
—Why do the attendants of each have to be the same gender as they are?
—Why does everyone look at her and no one at him?
—Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:03 PM
( 10:58 AM ) The Rat
LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF A SEGREGATED WORLD, via AT.
I'm not used to seeing segregated America in pretty pastels. Typically, the civil rights photography we look at is in black & white and instantly disturbing...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:58 AM
( 10:18 AM ) The Rat
"AN UNEXPECTED GIFT OF ABSURDITY."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:18 AM
( 1:15 AM ) The Rat
THIS actually kinda is why I like baking.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:15 AM
( 1:13 AM ) The Rat
DUCK NECKLACE, via MC.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:13 AM
Friday, May 17, 2013
( 12:39 PM ) The Rat
THIS YEAR'S NATIONAL COUNCIL FINALS will be broadcast on WQXR tomorrow at 12:30 PM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:39 PM
( 10:30 AM ) The Rat
"IF WE COULD SEE INSIDE OTHER PEOPLE'S HEARTS," via JM. Manipulative, but it works anyway...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:30 AM
( 1:21 AM ) The Rat
PSYCHEDELIC PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR PHOTOS PROVE GOD IS A STONER, via WKO.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:21 AM
Thursday, May 16, 2013
( 9:31 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:31 PM
( 8:31 PM ) The Rat
GEOGUESSR, via IKM. Not quite as addictive as Know Your World, but perhaps that's just as well.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:31 PM
( 1:55 PM ) The Rat
SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR THE 2013-14 SEASON are now available at City Opera, and include productions of Anna Nicole, J.C. Bach's Endimione, Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, and Figaro.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:55 PM
( 1:52 PM ) The Rat
COUGARLIFE.COM'S 'OFFENSIVE' BREASTFEEDING BILLBOARD TO BE REMOVED.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:52 PM
( 1:51 PM ) The Rat
THE SCIENCE OF LONELINESS: HOW ISOLATION CAN KILL YOU. Includes notes on research by the always fascinating Steve Suomi.
In a way, these discoveries are as consequential as the germ theory of disease. Just as we once knew that infectious diseases killed, but didn't know that germs spread them, we've known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how. Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:51 PM
( 12:29 AM ) The Rat
CORMAC MCCARTHY FLAUNTS SEXY NEW BEACH BODY.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:29 AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
( 9:03 AM ) The Rat
LOUVRE ABU DHABI GIVES PEEK AT COLLECTION. Hmm.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:03 AM
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
( 10:41 PM ) The Rat
"ALL THE WAY, HE LEARNED LATER, GERMAN SNIPERS HAD HAD HIM IN THEIR SIGHTS BUT, OUT OF PITY FOR THIS MADMAN, HAD NOT FIRED..." Blurb on Bill Millin, from around the time of his death in 2010.
Any reasonable observer might have thought Bill Millin was unarmed as he jumped off the landing ramp at Sword Beach, in Normandy, on June 6th 1944. Unlike his colleagues, the pale 21-year-old held no rifle in his hands. Of course, in full Highland rig as he was, he had his trusty skean dhu, his little dirk, tucked in his right sock. But that was soon under three feet of water as he waded ashore, a weary soldier still smelling his own vomit from a night in a close boat on a choppy sea, and whose kilt in the freezing water was floating prettily round him like a ballerina's skirt.
But Mr. Millin was not unarmed; far from it. He held his pipes, high over his head at first to keep them from the wet (for while whisky was said to be good for the bag, salt water wasn't), then cradled in his arms to play. And bagpipes, by long tradition, counted as instruments of war. An English judge had said so after the Scots' great defeat at Culloden in 1746; a piper was a fighter like the rest, and his music was his weapon...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:41 PM
( 8:12 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:12 PM
( 1:49 PM ) The Rat
"KAUFMAN THINKS RUSSIAN LITERATURE IS A PARTICULARLY GOOD FIT FOR PRISONERS. THE AUTHORS OFTEN ASKED WHAT THEY CALLED 'THE ACCURSED QUESTIONS,' KAUFMAN SAID: 'WHO AM I? WHY AM I HERE? GIVEN I'M GOING TO DIE, HOW SHOULD I LIVE?'" Juvenile offenders study Russian literature, via the WaPo.
When another inmate was hassling Justice Green recently, Green didn’t hit him. Instead, he tossed him the 19th-century Russian literature story he was reading at the time and said: Come back to me in a week after you’ve read this.
Something strange is happening at Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center. Residents are so eager to get into a Russian literature class led by the University of Virginia that prison officials use it as a reward. The youths are clamoring to read weighty books such as "War and Peace" even after the class is over. And someone like Green, an 18-year-old from Northern Virginia who said he's there "for grand theft autos," knew he could walk away from a fight certain he had won.
The idea of bringing Tolstoy to juvenile offenders is flat ridiculous to some, who think they need a tough wake-up call and practical job skills, not what they consider literary fluff.
But the commonwealth spends nearly $80 million a year on juvenile correctional centers, and in recent years more than a third of the people released from those centers were convicted of another crime within a year.
No one's predicting a miracle cure for recidivism, a national problem. But there's no cost to the Department of Juvenile Justice for the class. And staff members at Beaumont see a marked change in students’ behavior and goals with the class, said Michael Hall, the principal of the high school there. Some have gone on to college.
Researchers have documented positive changes in behavior, decision-making, social skills, educational goals and civic engagement, according to a study by U-Va.'s Curry School of Education. The study also points to benefits for the undergraduates who study alongside incarcerated youths...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:49 PM
( 12:33 PM ) The Rat
WORLD'S TALLEST PREFAB, SKY CITY, IS BREAKING GROUND IN JUNE. Yipes.
The numbers continue to stagger. In one building, there will be accommodation for 4450 families in apartments ranging from 645 SF to 5,000 SF, 250 hotel rooms, 100,000 SF of school, hospital and office space, totalling over eleven million square feet...
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:33 PM
( 12:32 PM ) The Rat
"WE HAVE A CHORE WHEEL FOR A REASON." If Congress Got Stuff Done Like Roommates, via CO.
# Posted by The Rat @ 12:32 PM
( 11:52 AM ) The Rat
PIC of the Jet Star Roller Coaster in Seaside Heights, post-Sandy.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:52 AM
( 9:46 AM ) The Rat
"OFFICERS KNEW THE 45-YEAR-OLD COLE FROM PREVIOUS ARRESTS AND REALIZED HIS BRIDE HAD AN ORDER OF PROTECTION AGAINST HIM..." 16 hilariously disastrous weddings we wish we'd been invited to.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:46 AM
( 9:05 AM ) The Rat
GERBILS STRUT THEIR STUFF AT NEW ENGLAND PAGEANT.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah Kaden from Bordentown, N.J., thinks gerbils have great personalities.
"Even though they are so little, they are very different from each other and they smell a lot less than my brother's hamsters," she said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:05 AM
( 9:04 AM ) The Rat
PRICE PER MILE BREAKDOWNS of some of the more popular races.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:04 AM
( 9:00 AM ) The Rat
NAZI-THEMED TANNHAUSER CREATES SCANDAL IN GERMANY.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:00 AM
Monday, May 13, 2013
( 11:56 PM ) The Rat
We'll never have enough time to use up all the love we have.
—Arline Feynman to Richard Feynman, January 31, 1945
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:56 PM
( 10:06 PM ) The Rat
"CHERYL, PLEASE. I'M SORRY."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:06 PM
( 10:02 PM ) The Rat
Others experience tensions even greater than Angela's. These young people have experienced so much loss, they're unable to find meaning in a faith that does not recognize it. For them, the faith itself evokes the losses they felt in their families so many years ago.
Melissa's parents divorced when she was five years old. Her father left for the West Coast to find a job and never moved back, though she continued to see him occasionally. Melissa considers herself only slightly religious today, though she does believe "there's something out there—I usually call it God." Yet her lack of interest arose in part from the way in which religious faith painfully revived her sense of loss.
"When I was really little, my mom was fairly active in the Episcopalian church," Melissa recalled. "They always teach you prayers... So when stuff was happening that I didn't understand, I'd be like, 'Maybe I should pray.'" She remembered, "I'd sit down and go, 'Okay, now how do I pray?' You'd usually start it as a letter, 'Dear God, how are you? I'm fine. Today was warm. I was hoping that you could help me.'" She paused and laughed. "But then you kind of wonder about it because they never answer. So that made me wonder, 'Well, I wrote to him. I didn't get a letter back. That sounds like Dad!'"
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:02 PM
( 7:21 PM ) The Rat
There's a vivid scene in the film that does the book's text (above) justice. In it, Gatsby, his long lost love, Daisy Buchanan and (her cousin, Gatsby's neighbor, and the book's narrator) Nick Carraway are splashing orange juice all about, as a futuristic, gilded machine slices and presses hundreds of orange halves. The trio drink golden, sun-soaked orange juice all afternoon while dancing and laughing and forgetting their worries. They drink the juice out of the machine, martini glasses, and champagne flutes. It's a rare scene in which there's not a bottle of champagne in sight...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:21 PM
( 7:18 PM ) The Rat
THEN THEY CAME FOR THE LATTES... But I didn't speak out because I couldn't stop twitching.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:18 PM
( 5:40 PM ) The Rat
A FIRST JOB IS LIKE A FIRST DATE, AND OTHER ADVICE FOR GRADUATION DAY.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:40 PM
( 5:38 PM ) The Rat
INSIDE THE PARIS APARTMENT UNTOUCHED FOR 70 YEARS, via MM.
The woman who owned the flat, a Mrs. De Florian, had fled for the south of France before the outbreak of the Second World War.
She never returned and in the 70 years since, it looks like no one had set foot inside...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:38 PM
Sunday, May 12, 2013
( 11:10 AM ) The Rat
INTRODUCING THE CRONUT, A DOUGHNUT-CROISSANT HYBRID THAT MAY VERY WELL CHANGE YOUR LIFE, via MC.
Each one of these puppies is made from pastry dough that's been sheeted, laminated, proofed, then fried like a doughnut and rolled in flavored sugar. But that's not all: Cronuts-to-be are also filled with a not-so-sweet Tahitian vanilla cream, given a fresh coat of rose glaze, and bedazzled with rose sugar...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:10 AM
( 11:08 AM ) The Rat
FOR THOSE WHO HATE MOTHER'S DAY AS WE APPROACH IT YET AGAIN. This is also useful, and powerful, for those (like me) who are merely ambivalent about Mother's Day.
I remember, with crystalline clarity, the way she hit me when I failed to learn how to tie my shoes. Was that the first time it happened? I can pretend it was. It's as good as any other moment.
Once upon a time, for a surreal stretch of years, we didn't speak at all. We were estranged and I was untethered, cut free from all familial ties—they thought I should just accept that was her way, they thought I should just nod and smile and keep the peace.
But there was never, in my mind, peace between us. There was a confused sort of love, wrapped up and tangled around the spokes of the way she protected me from others in order to hurt me herself. And when she rejected me and it didn't kill me, I could not fathom biting it all back, burying it in the back yard or under the porch so we could all pretend it didn't happen.
I laid in my isolated bed, that first year we didn't speak, and I hid away from Mother's Day. No one understood why Hallmark commercials about it, restaurant commercials about it, florist commercials about it made me cry...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:08 AM
Friday, May 10, 2013
( 10:35 PM ) The Rat
OOH! Here's why it was in the news, though.
Taking inspiration from the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, as well as Wright’s Prairie School of architecture emphasizing bringing the outdoors inside, its 425 windows and 48-foot-height pull in the light through 6,000 square feet of glass...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:35 PM
( 7:18 PM ) The Rat
"I HATE THE WAY THE HOLIDAY MAKES ALL NON-MOTHERS, AND THE DAUGHTERS OF DEAD MOTHERS, AND THE MOTHERS OF DEAD OR SEVERELY DAMAGED CHILDREN, FEEL THE DEEPEST KIND OF GRIEF AND FAILURE. THE NON-MOTHERS MUST SIT IN THEIR CHURCHES, TEMPLES, MOSQUES, RECOVERY ROOMS AND PRETEND TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE DAY WHILE THEY ARE EXCLUDED FROM A HOLIDAY THAT BENEFITS NO ONE BUT HALLMARK AND SEE'S..." Why I Hate Mother's Day, via AB.
Don't get me wrong: There were times I could have literally died of love for my son, and I've felt stoned on his rich, desperate love for me. But I bristle at the whispered lie that you can know this level of love and self-sacrifice only if you are a parent. We talk about "loving one's child" as if a child were a mystical unicorn. Ninety-eight percent of American parents secretly feel that if you have not had and raised a child, your capacity for love is somehow diminished. Ninety-eight percent of American parents secretly believe that non-parents cannot possibly know what it is to love unconditionally, to be selfless, to put yourself at risk for the gravest loss. But in my experience, it's parents who are prone to exhibit terrible self-satisfaction and selfishness, who can raise children as adjuncts, like rooms added on in a remodel. Their children's value and achievements in the world are reflected glory, necessary for these parents' self-esteem, and sometimes, for the family's survival. This is how children's souls are destroyed.
But my main gripe about Mother's Day is that it feels incomplete and imprecise. The main thing that ever helped mothers was other people mothering them; a chain of mothering that keeps the whole shebang afloat. I am the woman I grew to be partly in spite of my mother, and partly because of the extraordinary love of her best friends, and my own best friends' mothers, and from surrogates, many of whom were not women at all but gay men. I have loved them my entire life, even after their passing.
No one is more sentimentalized in America than mothers on Mother's Day, but no one is more often blamed for the culture's bad people and behavior. You want to give me chocolate and flowers? That would be great. I love them both. I just don't want them out of guilt, and I don't want them if you're not going to give them to all the people who helped mother our children...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:18 PM
( 6:28 PM ) The Rat
THE RUNNING RACKET: WHY MARATHONS ARE SO EXPENSIVE.
The average entry fee for the top 25 U.S. marathons has gone up 35 percent since 2007, to $112—three and a half times faster than inflation—according to the industry association RunningUSA. For the top 25 half marathons, which have become hugely popular, the average price has more than doubled, to $94. And while (today's) Boston Marathon cost a comparatively cheap $150, the New York Marathon rose from $80 in 2004 to $255 last year, a 219 percent increase. This year's price has not been set.
That marathon blames higher charges from the police and other municipal departments for services the city used to provide for free. But the main reason prices are rising so quickly is that the number of runners is rising even faster.
Running "has become a victim of its own success," says Larry DeGaris, director of the sports marketing program at the University of Indianapolis. "It's a community movement that's grown into a business."
The number of marathon finishers broke half a million last year, up 47 percent since just 2000, RunningUSA says. The number of half-marathon finishers more than tripled, to 1.6 million. In all, 14 million runners finished road races last year, three times as many as 20 years ago. Some events now fill to capacity in minutes.
Numbers like those have drawn investors who see vast profits in a sport once dominated by nonprofit organizations like New York Road Runners, which organizes the New York Marathon, and Boston Marathon parent the Boston Athletic Association...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:28 PM
( 6:00 PM ) The Rat
30 MOMS BEING HORRIBLY EMBARRASSING ON FACEBOOK, for any out there gearing up for Mother's Day... (There are terrific ones on all three pages of this, so don't just read the first.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:00 PM
( 5:46 PM ) The Rat
LOL! Via JWB.
Think you've heard of every way possible to quit smoking? Etta Mae Lopez came up with a new one: slap a cop so you'll go to jail, where smoking isn't allowed.
Lopez smacked Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Matt Campoy in the face Tuesday as he left the main jail at the end of his shift. He grabbed her and took her inside the jail, where she slapped his arm as soon as he turned her loose.
Once she was handcuffed, the 5-foot 1-inch Lopez told Campoy she picked him because he was in uniform and she wanted to make sure she struck a law enforcement officer.
"She waited all day for a deputy to come out because she knew if she assaulted a deputy she would go to jail and be inside long enough to quit her smoking habit," Campoy told The Sacramento Bee...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:46 PM
( 3:13 PM ) The Rat
KEYNES WAS, INCREDIBLY, RIGHT ABOUT THE FUTURE. HE WAS WRONG ABOUT HOW WE'D BE SPENDING IT, indirectly via MR.
In the United States, the economic problem that organizes many of our lives is not that we don't have enough. It's that we don't have quite as much as those who have more. That's an economic problem that, almost by definition, can never be solved. It's an economic problem that assures we will never lose our purpose...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:13 PM
( 2:38 PM ) The Rat
The concept of being asked to, or feeling the need to, keep secrets was foreign to most young people from intact families. Of course, very troubled intact families harbor damaging secrets as well. One young man from an intact family had a father who was an alcoholic. He said frankly, "Yeah, growing up and my dad's drinking, you wouldn't want to tell Mom that something happened or that he had a beer, because she would just flip out."
Others who rew up in intact families said there might have been a few secrets, but they were typically mild—and, curiously, they often seem to involve what the mother spent while shpping. "It would be some stupid minor thing,' said one woman. "'Don't tell your father I bought this pair of shoes.' Otherwise, they're together a lot, and neither of them traveled for work, so I don't think there were secrets."
Another woman said lightly, "Yeah, shopping. My mom and I would go shopping and she'd say, 'Don't tell your dad about this,' or 'Don't tell your dad you need money, just call me.' Nothing major."
The other young people from intact families said that there was no information they kept secret or guarded for one parent about the other. They said things like "No, they didn't make stuff public," or "They kind of had their own thing going." Some, though, would break into broad grins as they admitted that they'd had plenty of secrets of their own when they were growing up. Interestingly, no one from divorced families ever used this question to launch into a discussion of their own secret lives as children or teenagers, nor did this question ever make them smile.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:38 PM
Thursday, May 09, 2013
( 11:00 PM ) The Rat
AN UNUSUAL HEADLINE...
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:00 PM
( 5:17 PM ) The Rat
Young adults from intact families might not have known everything about their parents' values. They probably did not believe that their parents were faultless. But on the whole they saw those values as either unified or complementary.
By contrast, young adults from divorced families rarely perceived their parents' values as unified or complementary. They were much more likely to portray those values as in conflict or even as opposites. Kyle told me that his mom was open and accepting of all people, while his dad was class-conscious and given to stereotyping. Daniel said his immigrant father's most important goal was to make his family blend in as Americans, while his mother despised that idea. He also said that his father wanted his sons to excel at sports, while his mother was overprotective, fearing that the boys would get hurt. I heard that one parent valued hard work while the other parent had no work ethic and even that one parent valued commitment while the other did not.
This sense that our parents' values were in stark conflict influenced our feelings about them. It can be said that in life there are a few core beliefs we all need to have in order to feel good about ourselves and the world. One is that our mothers and fathers are good people. In our national survey, virtually all young adults from intact families strongly agreed with the statement "My mother is a good person." Most children of divorce thought so too—but they were less likely to agree strongly. This weakened sense of a parent's goodness is even more pronounced with fathers. Almost everyone from intact families strongly agrees that their father is a good person, but just over two-thirds of children of divorce feel the same way.
The differences are even greater when it comes to respect and forgiveness. Almost one-fifth of today's young adult children of divorce agree with the statement "I love my mother but I don't respect her." That's a threefold difference compared to their peers from intact families. One-quarter agree with the statement "I love my father but I don't respect him"—an almost fourfold difference.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:17 PM
( 2:00 PM ) The Rat
OBAMA SPEECHWRITERS UNSURE HOW THEY'D PRAISE FORT LAUDERDALE IN EVENT OF TRAGEDY. For some reason my first thought, after laughing out loud at the headline, was of Colorado Springs. And then Atlanta. And then...
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:00 PM
( 11:30 AM ) The Rat
"I'M DOING THE WRONG FACE. I'M SURE OF IT." Depression: Part Two, from Hyperbole and a Half.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:30 AM
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
( 6:47 PM ) The Rat
CAN FACEBOOK LEAD TO PSYCHOSIS?
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:47 PM
( 2:50 PM ) The Rat
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:50 PM
( 2:32 PM ) The Rat
"FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW, THERE WAS EVEN AN ADVENTURE IN BEING STOOD UP AT THE CRYPTOLOGY CONFERENCE. INVITED, ALL EXPENSES PAID, TO COME THREE THOUSAND MILES ONLY TO FIND NOBODY WHO GIVES A DAMN WHETHER YOU CAME OR NOT. NO EXPLANATION, NO APOLOGY. NOT EVEN A NOTE AT THE HOTEL DESK. THIS COULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED IN HICK TOWNS LIKE LONDON, PARIS, ROME, BERLIN, AND TOKYO. THAT WAS WHAT MADE NEW YORK GREAT. NOBODY GAVE A SHIT ABOUT ANYBODY." "Cryptology," by Leonard Michaels. For best results, listen to David Rakoff's terrific reading of this story here.
# Posted by The Rat @ 2:32 PM
( 1:12 PM ) The Rat
'TIGER MOM' STUDY SHOWS THE PARENTING METHOD DOESN'T WORK, via IKM. But that doesn't mean I can't be grateful to Amy Chua for the fact that half the white people who get into conversation with me about parenting—and this includes extremely well-educated, otherwise intelligent white people—now inevitably want to know what I think of Chua's methods, and clearly assume that I must be on board with her, since I'm Asian and "high-achieving."
In the end, then, Kim finds that Chinese immigrant moms and dads are not that different from American parents with European ancestry: three of Kim's types correspond to the parenting styles in the prior literature derived from studies of whites (supportive/authoritative, easygoing/permissive, harsh/authoritarian). What's different is the emergence of the 'tiger' profile. Since 'tigers' in Kim's study scored highly on the shaming practice believed more common among Asian-Americans, it seems that, pre-Chua at least, tiger parenting would be less common among whites. (The moms rated themselves more highly on shaming than even their kids, suggesting tiger moms—like Chua, who recounted such instances in her best-seller—feel no shame in their shaming)...
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:12 PM
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
( 11:58 PM ) The Rat
"I CONTEMPLATE ITS MEANING LIKE A ZEN HAIKU," via Passive-Aggressive Notes.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:58 PM
Monday, May 06, 2013
( 10:54 PM ) The Rat
BEER DRONES TO DELIVER BREW TO CONCERTGOERS. Look, I'm as surprised as you are that this didn't start in a classical-music venue.
During August's OppiKoppi Music Festival, attendees can order beers from their phones to be delivered the event's District 9 campsite. The beer-equipped drones will swoop down and deliver beer via parachute to the appropriate customer. The organizers say the beer drones are now hand-guided, but in the future they'll fly on a GPS grid.
But this 21st-century service might not fly without its share of turbulence: Targeting the right customer amongst the crowds at OppiKoppi will be an interesting challenge to overcome. And festival attendees might not have the greatest sense of motor control for catching their drink order, after having one too many...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:54 PM
( 10:51 PM ) The Rat
LINGUISTS IDENTIFY 15,000-YEAR-OLD 'ULTRACONSERVED WORDS,' via TT.
The traditional view is that words can't survive for more than 8,000 to 9,000 years. Evolution, linguistic 'weathering' and the adoption of replacements from other languages eventually drive ancient words to extinction, just like the dinosaurs of the Jurassic era.
A new study, however, suggests that's not always true.
A team of researchers has come up with a list of two dozen “ultraconserved words” that have survived 150 centuries. It includes some predictable entries: 'mother,' 'not,' 'what,' 'to hear' and 'man.' It also contains surprises: 'to flow,' 'ashes' and 'worm.'
The existence of the long-lived words suggests there was a 'proto-Eurasiatic' language that was the common ancestor to about 700 contemporary languages that are the native tongues of more than half the world's people...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:51 PM
( 10:49 PM ) The Rat
The results indicated that men were more trusting of women that they found attractive. But men who took the Minocycline were less likely to trust attractive women and less likely to give them money, meaning that the femme fatale effect is dissipated and men are less likely to be "seduced"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:49 PM
( 3:56 PM ) The Rat
THIS AD HAS A SECRET ANTI-ABUSE MESSAGE THAT ONLY KIDS CAN SEE. Kind of a neat idea, though perhaps a bit too self-consciously "conceptual."
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:56 PM
Friday, May 03, 2013
( 10:47 PM ) The Rat
"GROOM'S MOTHER SHOULD BE SEATED AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE FROM GROOM'S NEW 24-YEAR-OLD STEPMOTHER." What the Seating Chart Looks Like at Every Wedding Reception, via HappyPlace.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:47 PM
( 9:47 PM ) The Rat
"LET'S JUST SAY MEN AND WOMEN WORRY ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS." Dove 'Real Beauty' Parody Ad 'Balls' Features Men Instead of Women. NSFW, of course.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:47 PM
( 4:48 PM ) The Rat
"ICONIC 2012 CONGA LINE." Ugh.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:48 PM
( 4:43 PM ) The Rat
3D PRINTER SPITS OUT CYBORG EAR... BUT WHERE WILL YOU PUT IT? via JM.
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:43 PM
( 10:11 AM ) The Rat
"MEN SHOULD PAUSE FOR ONE MOMENT AND TAKE ANOTHER LONG HARD LOOK AT THE VERY THING THAT BRINGS MEANING TO THEIR MEANINGLESS LIVES..."
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:11 AM
Thursday, May 02, 2013
( 9:32 PM ) The Rat
RAPID DIAGNOSTIC TEST PROMISES END TO LEPROSY TORMENT. Vov.
As most of the infections happen in poor and often remote areas, the task of spotting and treating the disease early becomes even harder.
But now there's new hope for diagnosing leprosy before it infects others and causes physical damage.
A laboratory in Rio, OrangeLife, has just introduced a test—similar to a pregnancy test—that uses a drop of blood to diagnose leprosy in around 10 minutes.
Marco Collovati, president of OrangeLife, says each test will cost less than a dollar—"just the cost of one ice-cream.
"The rapid test allows us to detect the disease early, before the patient has lesions to the nerves and deformations," he says. "This is a real revolution after more than 3,000 years of a disease which has caused so much stigma, suffering and prejudice"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:32 PM
( 8:37 PM ) The Rat
JUST STUMBLED UPON, in this otherwise mostly standard-issue tribute to From the Mixed-Up Files and its author:
It's an unabashed glorification of nerdiness, an ode to the kick of discovery, and it never apologizes for being enthusiastic about learning. You begin to suspect that, to E.L. Konigsburg, the height of human flourishing is learning in the company of people you care about...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:37 PM
( 8:24 PM ) The Rat
RASHOMON ON EVEREST, CTD. I'm not even going to try to link to all the different accounts that have emerged, but there's a roundup of several here. Don't miss the fifth report, by Garrett Madison.
As this story has emerged in the media it has become clear that the Sherpas have not been given a voice. The press releases, the blogging, and reports from the European climbers have dominated the headlines. Meanwhile, the Sherpa are quietly continuing to fix the rope and continue their work at nearly 8,000 meters on Everest. These Sherpa help realize the dream of many western climbers and will continue to be honored and respected by the foreign climbers who climb with them on Everest.
I have pieced together an objective version of events different from what is currently in the media headlines. These details are directly from what I heard on the radio on April 27, my discussions with many people in base camp over the last two days including expedition leaders, western guides, and clients who were at Camp 2 during this incident, and Sirdars (head Sherpa) who directly supervise the fixing team...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:24 PM
( 8:01 PM ) The Rat
GIANT RUBBER DUCK SAILS INTO HONG KONG HARBOR, via MM. Had already seen an image or two back when the duck was wandering around parts of Europe, but it's actually cooler seeing it in places I've actually been to. (Pretty sure I've been on the junk in this pic, for instance.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:01 PM
( 7:05 PM ) The Rat
A passive verb is when the subject is the sufferer, as in 'I am loved.'
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:05 PM
( 3:30 PM ) The Rat
"NEWLY PUBLISHED RESEARCH SUGGESTS THEY COULD ALSO BE CALLED THE GENERATION WITH UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS." "A new car every two or three years"? Where are these kids getting this from, parents who drive their cell phones?!
Twenge and Kasser analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked the views of a representative sample of 17- and 18-year-old Americans since 1976. They compared the answers to key questions given by high school seniors in 2005-2007 to those provided by previous generations.
To measure materialism, the youngsters were asked to rate on a one-to-four ("not important" to "extremely important") scale how vital they felt it was to own certain expensive items: "a new car every two to three years," "a house of my own (instead of an apartment or condominium)," "a vacation house," and "a motor-powered recreational vehicle." They were also asked straightforwardly how important they felt it was to "have a lot of money."
To measure their attitudes toward work, the seniors rated on a one-to-five scale the extent to which they agreed with a series of statements, including "I expect my work to be a very central part of my life," and "I want to do my best in my job, even if this sometimes means working overtime"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:30 PM
( 9:53 AM ) The Rat
THE REAL ME, via WC. Reminiscent of the more substantive The Web Means the End of Forgetting, from 2010.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:53 AM
( 9:40 AM ) The Rat
ACCUSED OF SPANKING CLIENT FOR SAYING 'UH HUH,' SUSPENDED LAWYER FACES CRIMINAL CASE, via SV.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:40 AM