The Rat
Friday, February 28, 2003
      ( 4:55 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:55 PM

      ( 1:45 PM ) The Rat  
KEEP BROADWAY MUSIC LIVE. A no-brainer. Sign the petition.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:45 PM

      ( 12:45 PM ) The Rat  
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, check out parts 2 and 3 of the Izzle Pfaff! saga.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:45 PM

      ( 12:22 PM ) The Rat  
NEW ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION RULING IN ENGLAND. Now you don't even have to be alive to father a child! Oh, look, and the European Convention came to the party too.

A British woman who won the right to give birth using her dead husband's sperm was celebrating another court victory on Friday when her late partner was legally recognized as the children's father.

A judge at London's High Court ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights overrode British law in the case of Diane Blood, the mother of seven-month-old Joel and four-year-old Liam from her deceased husband's sperm.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:22 PM

      ( 12:20 PM ) The Rat  
THIS could almost have been a Far Side cartoon.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:20 PM

      ( 12:19 PM ) The Rat  
ALSO, someone came here looking for "nine + foot + phallus + at + harvard," which somehow reminds me of that joke, "What's twelve inches long and white? Nothing!"

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:19 PM

      ( 12:18 PM ) The Rat  

"pregnancy + fetish + California"
"covering + boobs + with + hands"
"how + to + tell + what + a + female + rat + looks + like"
"rat + in + a + cup + illustration"
"true + or + false + we + are + never + more"
"Commissar + Hieronymus"
"rat + tilting + and + rolling"
"rat + in + literature"
"asian + fetish + jew" (my page is the 16th result)

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:18 PM

      ( 12:16 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 12:02 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:02 PM

      ( 11:55 AM ) The Rat  
MAN COMPLAINS TO CONSUMER AUTHORITY after poor-quality rope foils his attempt at suicide. This is one of those stories that was bound to happen eventually.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:55 AM

      ( 11:36 AM ) The Rat  
CHARMING. Forbes estimates Arafat's net worth at $300 million, Castro's at $110 million. Both figures are asterisked "at least."

Depressingly, the world's tallest building is going up in Dubai. And hey, where does the prince of Lichtenstein get off having more money than the Queen? You would think it wouldn't be necessary to rent out your country when you're sitting on $2 billion.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:36 AM

      ( 11:19 AM ) The Rat  
DAMN! I was rooting for these guys.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:19 AM

      ( 11:18 AM ) The Rat  
ELIE WIESEL backs the war.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:18 AM

      ( 11:17 AM ) The Rat  
"Bill Buckley tells how he sent one of his books to Norman Mailer, writing in the index beside Mailer's name, 'Hi, Norman! I knew you would look here first. Bill.'"
—Fr. Neuhaus in the March 2003 First Things

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:17 AM

Thursday, February 27, 2003
      ( 12:15 PM ) The Rat  
TO THE GOOGLE SEARCHER who came here looking for "how rat fare in love in 2003": None of your $#@! business!

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:15 PM

      ( 12:11 PM ) The Rat  
CHECK OUT the new police-car decoys being installed in the Ukraine.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:11 PM

      ( 12:04 PM ) The Rat  
THE RAT is really wondering what will come of this.

Oprah Winfrey's book club is accepting new members. The talk-show megastar, whose endorsements have launched dozens of best sellers, said Wednesday that she is reviving the club after almost a year's hiatus. But this time, club members will read the classics.

Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Hemingway... The new round of reading tentatively is titled "Traveling with the Classics"; Winfrey will visit the settings of the authors' works.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 PM

      ( 12:02 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:02 PM

      ( 11:59 AM ) The Rat  
"I BELIEVE THE NEW YORK POST IS GAY." A well-deserved bitch-slap for the screwups, like this one, they've been pulling at the Post lately.

Of course Nevius's column is still nowhere near as fun as this, from Jonah's latest—I'm beginning to wish I'd interviewed at TNY when I had the chance:

Sidney Blumenthal, for example, wrote in The New Yorker that the "true legacy" of Whittaker Chambers was that "he helped to transmute an external threat into a moral panic, and to encourage a new generation of Cold War conservatives to do the same." For "a pantheon of anti-Communists... conservatism was the ultimate closet," a way of disguising their latent homosexuality. "Conservative anti-Communism," Sidney Blumenthal lamented, is "an anachronism. What endures is the fear of the enemy within: the homosexual menace."

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 AM

      ( 11:30 AM ) The Rat  
I'M SORRY, but Deepak Chopra's new plan sounds like the beginning of a joke. "The Pope, the Dalai Lama, and a guru walk into a bar..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:30 AM

      ( 11:29 AM ) The Rat  
HOLLYWOOD gets even weirder than it already was.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 AM

      ( 11:28 AM ) The Rat  
ANECDOTE told by a coworker some months ago about a recently deceased friend:

[...]'s lifelong interest in pretty girls outlasted his youth and, in fact, his eyesight. I remember toward the end, you know at that point he couldn’t really see anything, but he would still go with John to movie theaters. And though he couldn't see, anytime he heard an actress's voice when she came onscreen he would nudge John and ask him if she was pretty. And John would always say, 'Oh yes, [...], very pretty...'

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:28 AM

      ( 11:21 AM ) The Rat  
WILLARD. It would take too long to explain how I came to be at this page.

Life has become one big trap for Willard. Socially burdened and saddled with a miserable job, Willard seems stuck. Until he makes an eerie discovery: he shares a powerful bond with the rats who dwell in his basement. Suddenly, Willard has friends. Hundreds of them. Even the beautiful office temp who reaches out to Willard takes a backseat to Socrates, Ben and the rest of his rat legion. And when Willard's world is turned upside down by tragedy, those responsible must answer to his rapidly growing pack of ravenous, fearsome friends... Opening March 14.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:21 AM

      ( 11:20 AM ) The Rat  
"'April is the cruelest month.' Bullshit. What about February?"
—narrator in a Jay McInerney novel (I forget which)

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:20 AM

Wednesday, February 26, 2003
      ( 5:02 PM ) The Rat  
OUCH. I read that book, by the way—not a must-read, but interesting.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:02 PM

      ( 2:03 PM ) The Rat  
HOT GOVERNMENT SEX!!! (Headline and story from ex-blogger Shamed. The Rat is presuming actual "government sex" would, say, take forever, and cost five times as much, as the other kind.) The Arizona Republic reports:

Hazardous indeed. The Environmental Protection Agency listed its toll-free number for information on hazardous-substance releases in a press release Monday. But the number refers people to a talk line that might be hazardous in a different way.

Callers are welcomed "to an exciting new way to go live and one-on-one with hot... girls waiting right now to talk to you."

EPA spokeswoman Wendy Chavez was aghast when told the toll-free number refers callers to a chat line sponsored by Intimate Encounters...

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:03 PM

      ( 1:49 PM ) The Rat  
AFFIRMING THE RAT. About an hour after that friend's comment by phone (below), another friend writes of having had "intense, detailed, weird dreams, including one in which you were really, really late getting to a train station and so we missed our train, I think maybe you were drunk."

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:49 PM

      ( 12:48 PM ) The Rat  
THE RAT IS SURPRISED none of her friends were explicitly mentioned on this chart.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:48 PM

      ( 12:44 PM ) The Rat  
WE NEED MORE PRIESTS LIKE this one, who also has the coolest name ever.

Michael Fey, a clergyman from the western German town of Duisberg, uses his [top-loading washing machine] to produce up to 40 litres of beer a day.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:44 PM

      ( 12:32 PM ) The Rat  
NO FRIEND LIKE AN OLD FRIEND. On the phone just now:

Me. I think you have a mistaken idea about my life.
Best friend of 15-1/2 years. What, that you're a slut?

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:32 PM

      ( 12:17 PM ) The Rat  
ON TRAUMA AND POST-TRAUMA. I have to disagree with Austin, who suggested on Monday that the girl who wrote in to the Crimson about having destroyed the "snow phallus" was a psychological exhibitionist for self-identifying as a rape victim:

Does she really think that her impudicity will reduce violence against women? That which is private is either sacred or shameful, which is why the Israelites would not utter the Lord's name, and also why we do not defecate in public. Similarly, open discussion diminishes the horror of sex as much as its sanctity. I would say, in other words, that the girl who tore down the snow penis has more in common with its sculptors than one might have thought.

First, I disagree that sex is "diminished" by the frank discussion of rape—which, as the old saw has it, is far more about violence than it is about sex.

More importantly, however: No, talking about sexual assault, molestation, etc., isn't going to significantly reduce their incidence—since, as the Ubermensch succinctly put it: "People are a bad lot." But that was never the point. The point is to keep real the fact that these things don't only happen to poor people or to criminals (or their girlfriends). Not so very long ago, even the "experts" were claiming that the incidence of incest is one family per million. It's not. And before you decide that a victim is being self-indulgent by airing her status, keep in mind that there's still a tremendous stigma attached to words like "rape" and "incest," even in the context of phrases like "incest survivor"—and even among people who rationally know and accept that it's wrong to blame the victim. Many of these words are sufficiently loaded that we still have a visceral response of disgust at anything associated with them.

Moreover, for some people who have been assaulted, "talking it out" can be key to recovery: By acknowledging that a horrible thing happened to them but it's in the past, they're better able to get over it. It can also be easier to talk to a therapist/stranger than to a close friend (who you're likely to be dealing with for the rest of your life). I've noticed—and the midget heroine of this novel points this out too—that it can also be easier to talk to men about hard-to-deal-with things from the past, precisely because women are so empathetic: For many, the instinct to self-identify with the victim can be so strong that they 1) immediately imagine the same thing happening to them and 2) think, "Thank God that didn't happen to me!"—all, mind you, in a matter of seconds.

That said, it is obviously possible to over-talk—to become so inured to your victimhood that you begin to conceive of yourself as a victim and nothing else. Lauren Slater makes this point in her excellent piece in the current Times magazine, which I linked the other day. As one trauma expert she cites remarks: "Basically, all these therapists run down to the scene, and there's a lot of grunting and groaning and encouraging people to review what they saw, and then the survivors get worse. I've been saying for years, 'Is it any surprise that if you keep leading people to the edge of a cliff they eventually fall over?'" Our current culture can especially encourage this, simply because the line between facing up to tragedy and wallowing in it is perilously thin. But even so, it is really not the place of any of us to draw that line for others, particularly people we don't know. "Say, don't you think you're kind of using the fact that you were gang-raped at eleven…" No. Wrong.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:17 PM

      ( 10:41 AM ) The Rat  
A FRIEND SUGGESTS the following as an emoticon signifying "bitch-slap": :'-(\!

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:41 AM

      ( 10:39 AM ) The Rat  

"That's the smell of burning human flesh..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:39 AM

      ( 10:20 AM ) The Rat  

Germans will be allowed in if their country joins a war on Iraq, but the French will have to endure a lifetime ban.

Aage said: "Hadn't the United States helped Europe in defeating Germany, there would have been photos of Adolf Hitler hanging on the walls around here."

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:20 AM

      ( 10:19 AM ) The Rat  
Speaker #1. Was that your sister I saw you walking with yesterday?
Speaker #2. No, it was my dog.
—translation exercise in a friend's Russian textbook

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:19 AM

Tuesday, February 25, 2003
      ( 4:13 PM ) The Rat  
MAYBE IT'S TIME WE RECONSIDERED COMMUNISM. "Snow samples" from last week's blizzard are selling for as much as $77 on ebay.

Presumably the buyers would be sorry to hear that this ebay auction is only a parody.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:13 PM

      ( 3:13 PM ) The Rat  
"NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO BE SUBJECTED TO AN ERECT PENIS WITHOUT HIS OR HER EXPRESS PERMISSION OR CONSENT." A letter to the Harvard Crimson by one of the students who destroyed the nine-foot-tall snow phallus other students had erected (so to speak) in Harvard Yard.

Good thing nobody told these people about the penis shrine I blogged last month.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:13 PM

      ( 2:53 PM ) The Rat  
NAURU IN THE NEWS. A weird, weird story.

The tiny Pacific island of Nauru has spent weeks completely cut off from the outside world after its telecommunications network collapsed. Its isolation is so complete that no one is even sure who the country's president is any more.

Nauru, an isolated speck in the southwest Pacific with a population of 12,000, is in a "critical situation," according to the last message received by the outside world...

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:53 PM

      ( 2:48 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:48 PM

      ( 11:11 AM ) The Rat  
FURTHER EVIDENCE those co-op boards don't fuck around.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:11 AM

      ( 11:10 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:10 AM

      ( 11:08 AM ) The Rat  
THE RAT WANTS one of these.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:08 AM

      ( 11:07 AM ) The Rat  
LATEST JOHN CAGE NEWS. This wasn't a Monty Python sketch, but it should have been. (Actually it is reminiscent of "International Hide-and-Seek.")

The first notes in the longest and slowest piece of music in history, designed to go on for 639 years, are being played on a German church organ on Wednesday. The three notes, which will last for a year-and-a-half, are just the start of the piece, called As Slow As Possible...

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:07 AM

      ( 11:06 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:05 AM ) The Rat  

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      ( 11:04 AM ) The Rat  
"That's quite a dress you almost have on."
An American in Paris

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:04 AM

Monday, February 24, 2003
      ( 1:22 PM ) The Rat  
TO THE GOOGLE SEARCHER who came here looking for "until + I + discovered + Smirnoff": Welcome.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:22 PM

      ( 12:52 PM ) The Rat  
REPRESS FOR SUCCESS? Interesting piece on the uses and disadvantages of therapy in coping with trauma, from the NYTM.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:52 PM

      ( 12:44 PM ) The Rat  
"FEMINIST PIONEER OR WOMAN OF EVIL?" (Quoting the program at a screening of Triumph of the Willat the Museum of the Moving Image.) I haven't anything new to contribute to criticism/appreciation of the film, but I will note that it was absurd how hard the presenters tried to excuse Riefenstahl's collaborationism on "Well, but she was a woman" grounds. It isn't as though there weren't German women, even German women in film, who opposed the Nazis—this one for instance.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:44 PM

      ( 12:40 PM ) The Rat  

A police officer showed up at her apartment door minutes after she completed her work.

"He said that I should cut off her breasts, but I said no woman wants that," Lynn, 35, said.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:40 PM

      ( 12:29 PM ) The Rat  

Sherrin made a joke about the British [on BBC Radio 4] and sought to balance it with a series of jokes about the French, he reveals in a letter to The Times today.

He said the French would enjoy a joke about the British: “What do you call a pretty girl in London?” “A tourist.”

That made it on to the broadcast, but these jokes did not: “What do you call a Frenchman advancing on Baghdad?” “A salesman”; “What is the difference between a road accident involving a hedgehog and a Frenchman?” “There are skid marks before the hedgehog”; and “What do you call 20 French politicans face down in the English Channel?” “A start.”

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:29 PM

      ( 12:25 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:25 PM

      ( 12:11 PM ) The Rat  
FROM THE "HMM..." FILES: Anti-war German stabs pro-war American in brawl over Iraq.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:11 PM

      ( 12:08 PM ) The Rat  
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep:

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with false love or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


(Posted by the Rat, who found 7 grey hairs—a new record—last night.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:08 PM

Friday, February 21, 2003
      ( 6:48 PM ) The Rat  
Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.

—G. K. Chesterton

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:48 PM

      ( 3:46 PM ) The Rat  
IN ABOUT AN HOUR, as I noted yesterday on The Corner, some antiwar protestors in Chicago are marching from Clark and Randolph to the Leo Burnett building. Leo Burnett is one of the largest advertising agencies in the world; Students 4 Social Justice claims they're a "war profiteer" because they do the advertising for the U.S. Army.

Click here for some more intelligent (not that that's a high bar) criticism of Burnett's handling of that account.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:46 PM

      ( 3:28 PM ) The Rat  
"I don't remember what I majored in in college... I hate to guess, I'm gonna guess it was political science, but I'm not sure, it might have been history. I'll check, I hadn't thought of that one."
—Carol Mosley-Braun (ex-senator and, as of this quote, the Rat's new hero), answering a question on C-SPAN

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:28 PM

      ( 3:26 PM ) The Rat  
I SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED THIS in my list of paranoias.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:26 PM

      ( 3:18 PM ) The Rat  

In the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 1953, an amateur astronomer in Oklahoma photographed what he believed to be a massive, white-hot fireball of vaporized rock rising from the center of the Moon's face. If his theory was right, Dr. Leon Stuart would be the first and only human in history to witness and document the impact of an asteroid-sized body impacting the Moon's scarred exterior...

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:18 PM

      ( 3:10 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:10 PM

      ( 2:52 PM ) The Rat  

"commitmentphobic + men"
"voyeur + photos + parked + couples"
"lonely-hearts + column"
"donate + sperm"
"cycladic + sculpture"
"smirnoff + rat + ad"
"poisonous + rat"
"free + plump + boobs"

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:52 PM

      ( 12:14 PM ) The Rat  
THE RAT IS IN THE MOOD TO DEBUNK SOMETHING, so for an easy target she's going to take this "online mindreader," which a friend just sent. It (and another, more elaborate but also less foolproof one here) ultimately comes down to leading the reader to arrive at a multiple of nine. For instance, in the first page linked to above, you're told to choose any two-digit number, add the digits together, and subtract the total from your original number. No matter what two digits you choose, though, this will give you a multiple of nine (99 - 18 = 72; 62 - 8 = 54; etc.); and all the multiples of nine correspond to the same sign on the chart. (The page actually scrambles the symbols around each time you refresh, but the multiples of nine always share a symbol.)

Okay, I feel better.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:14 PM

      ( 12:03 PM ) The Rat  
HEADLINE OF THE DAY, courtesy of Shamed.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:03 PM

      ( 12:02 PM ) The Rat  
"Occasionally I always drink too much."
Cry Danger

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:02 PM

Thursday, February 20, 2003
      ( 4:37 PM ) The Rat  
MAGICIAN TO SPEND TWO DAYS ENCASED IN CHEDDAR. This will be the last cheese-themed item today. I hope.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:37 PM

      ( 3:08 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:08 PM

      ( 3:07 PM ) The Rat  
GRAB HOLD OF YOUR GOUDA. Thieves make off with $10,000 worth of cheese.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:07 PM

      ( 3:06 PM ) The Rat  
"IT IS CERTAINLY AGAINST ISLAM TO BEAT A GOOD WIFE." Saudi newspaper goes out on a limb. Via OpinionJournal.

An erring wife should be warned first and advised. If that does not work, then the husband could give her a light beating, the purpose of that being to embarrass rather than inflict pain.

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:06 PM

      ( 3:05 PM ) The Rat  
"You know, the law isn't for people like us."
"What is?"
"Well, that's another thing I've been trying to figure out for years."
—Lola Lane and Bette Davis, Marked Woman

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:05 PM

Wednesday, February 19, 2003
      ( 5:46 PM ) The Rat  
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS STORY is that it contains the phrase "lesbian Japanese monkeys."

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:46 PM

      ( 5:42 PM ) The Rat  
Coworker A. "This is [...], she's going to be interning with us."
Coworker B. "Have you shown her the haggis yet?"
—just overheard

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:42 PM

      ( 5:38 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:38 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
MEMBERS OF SWINGERS' CLUB SUE. "They believe their lives were put in disarray for no reason," an attorney explains.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
WANNA LIVE IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE? Try reading the Yale Daily News. Thanks to the now-defunct Widening Gyre for the link.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
SENATOR PROPOSES COMMISSION TO STUDY WHAT HAS GONE WRONG FOR THE AMERICAN MALE. Response of Sen. Mary Lundby (R.): "I think Senator Miller didn't get enough caffeine this morning."

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
AFFIRMATIVE-ACTION BAKE SALES at Berkeley and Michigan. Wish I'd thought of this back when I was at Northwestern and some idiots staged a hunger strike to demand an Asian-American Studies program. (I was accused of "proudly flaunting a badge of ignorance" for opposing the strike.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
WOMAN CHASED BY FAKE ALIEN SUES REALITY TV SHOW. Imagine the lawsuits if it had been a real alien!

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
CHECK OUT this new aquarium, and these bike-powered PCS.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  

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      ( 4:56 PM ) The Rat  
"That isn't the way to play it."
"Why not?"
"'Cause it isn't the way to win."
"Is there a way to win?"
"Well, there's a way to lose more slowly."
—Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, Out of the Past

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
      ( 8:44 PM ) The Rat  
"WHILE IT'S TRUE THAT LOVE MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE, YOU'LL BE SADDENED BY HOW MANY PEOPLE THINK IT INCLUDES SHINY OBJECTS." (This week's Onion horoscope for Capricorn.) The Oligarch has some comments on Elinor's and my diamond posts. Actually, mine was not so much a post, as an excuse to link to that De Beers parody. I wasn't trying to make any greater claim with it than that, hello, it's funny. But it is true that I'm a bitter enemy of the De Beers ads; so with that said, here are some thoughts on O.O.'s latest:

1) I'll concede that what the diamond ads are offering is understandably a hot commodity, since we have been, since time immemorial, the enigmatic sex. (Think Sam Malone: "Women! How many do you have to sleep with before you can understand just one!?") "How to make the woman happy is often a completely opaque mystery to men… [e]specially early in the relationship," O.O. writes. True enough. But how often do men buy diamonds early in the relationship? And if you know some, could you give them my number?

2) Validation-through-spending has its place. I'm not suggesting that diamonds/money should be traded for affection, love, and/or the exchange of bodily fluids; but one of the best bits of relationship advice I ever heard was to consider what and how a man spends money as one guide (one guide, I said) to what he is, and what you are to him. That is, if the guy tends to spend money only on things like dinners and dates, but never gives you things for yourself, you may need to think twice about whether he thinks of you more as an accessory or as a woman. I'm sorry to say that when I've tested this theory, it's been proved valid.

3) O.O. calls De Beers's commodity "the foolproof way to cut through all that feminine emotional complexity and wow her with an unambiguous display of your love." For me, the problem here is the word foolproof. Even if diamonds were foolproof (which they're not—quite), that seems to me demeaning to both parties. (If the point is just to blow a lot of money, after all, why not get her a nice Velazquez?) And this is why I like that De Beers parody—not because I think most men are trying to buy affection with diamonds, but because the ads imply a standardization of personality and desire for both sexes. This is not to imply I'm against a certain degree of uniformity: Wedding vows, and tradition in general, are a good idea, and self-penned wedding vows are almost always a flop. What I object to about the De Beers pitch is that it's drummed into our heads from birth onward that we aren't fully women until we've conned a man out of a diamond (which, by the way, is part of why women react to them so excitedly); and that the man isn't as worthwhile a man until he's forked over said diamond.

A lot of things are foolproof, but the gifts that are tend also to be the more impersonal ones. This is why I dislike giving or receiving gift certificates—even for books, the staff of life. They strip the transaction of a good deal of its thought, love, and originality. I'm also a longtime fan of Holly Golightly's verdict that only women over 40 should ever wear diamonds. (To my knowledge my parents never did the diamond thing, preferring other stones à la Elinor.)

4) As a footnote to no. 3. One De Beers ad comes to mind quickest, perhaps because I just saw it a couple of nights ago: a two-page spread, with, on the left, a diamond ring and the headline "Where'd you get that diamond?"—and, on the right, the same ring but with even larger diamonds, headlined: "Where'd you get that man?" Could the message here be any more demeaning—to both sexes?

5) Perhaps another reason for my annoyance on this issue is revealed in O.O.'s phrase "the V-day spate of DeBeer's diamond commercials." I am relieved to learn O.O. doesn't read fashion or health magazines; if he did, he would know that they're peppered with those fucking ads all year-round. Said ads are particularly irritating to women whose potential beaus have primarily been men they could, or do, outperform in the marketplace—and there are more of such women than most men seem to think.*

*I should add that I've known cases where the man had to scrimp and save in order to haul the rock home from the kill like in that Gary Larson cartoon: sometimes precisely for a woman who makes more, or manages it better, than he does. That is intensely romantic, and admirable—but, obviously, the romance and beauty of that gesture aren't a result of the diamond! Just as much effort, devotion, etc., could be channeled into something that does not possibly have a sketchy provenance.

6) All that said, the De Beers thing isn't going away anytime soon, which is why this isn't something I generally bother fighting over. Diamonds have taken their place along with "something old, something new," etc., and it would be a Herculean task to dislodge them now. It's also possible I'd have been less irked by all this just a few decades ago—"Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it!" and the bargaining, in early Ian Fleming, for clips from Van Cleef & Arpels and so on, seem to me more charming than anything else. (Which is, I know, a little ridiculous, since sexism was also more socially acceptable then.) But then I feel much the same about Mad. Ave. itself—clever and creative in the Sixties, but basically played today.

7) Here is an Atlantic article on how De Beers did it. And, details on a very cool heist somebody just managed to pull off. And, lyrics to a relevant song.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:44 PM

      ( 4:51 PM ) The Rat  

Billed as "The Godfather for a new generation," Oligarch is Vladimir's first Russian-language film since The Captain's Daughter.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:51 PM

      ( 4:34 PM ) The Rat  

Klein said that clothes-shopping, once considered a mundane act with few sociopolitical implications, is now a bold feminist statement.

"Shopping for shoes has emerged as a powerful means by which women assert their autonomy," Klein said. "Owning and wearing dozens of pairs of shoes is a compelling way for a woman to announce that she is strong and independent, and can shoe herself without the help of a man. She's saying, 'Look out, male-dominated world, here comes me and my shoes.'"

The study also cites the act of pumping one's raised fist in a gesture of female solidarity against the oppressive forces of air pressure...

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:34 PM

      ( 11:30 AM ) The Rat  
SPEED PUBLISHING. "Generally, people associate writing a book with years of brain-racking and reflection. We wanted to make the point that print literature can still hold its own in the age of the Internet."

Compare with Python's Novel Writing sketch.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:30 AM

      ( 11:29 AM ) The Rat  
CONVERSATION WITH A FRIEND YESTERDAY REMINDED ME of the lesbian cowboy joke, an old favorite.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:29 AM

      ( 11:17 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:17 AM

      ( 11:06 AM ) The Rat  

Venice mayor Paolo Costa and one of its most illustrious residents, designer Philippe Starck, launched the logo on Friday, urging fans of the famed canal city to seek a stamp of approval for everything from Italian restaurants to gift stores.

"This is not about selling more, it is a moral obligation," said Starck, a French architect and designer who has become a Venetian citizen and bought three houses there.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:06 AM

      ( 10:55 AM ) The Rat  
NEW RESEARCH on false memories.

Elizabeth Loftus, professor of psychology at the University of California, Irvine, described studies in which more than one-third of the subjects could be persuaded they had experiences that turned out to be demonstrably false.

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:55 AM

      ( 10:54 AM ) The Rat  
"They want you to talk on the crisis of faith."
"What's that?"
"Oh, I thought you'd know. You're the writer."
The Third Man

# Posted by The Rat @ 10:54 AM

Monday, February 17, 2003
      ( 2:40 PM ) The Rat  
BARBARA DAFOE WHITEHEAD: "Educated single women are less likely to cohabit than those with lower levels of educational attainment, a reversal of the pattern in the 1970s and 1980s. I expect this trend will continue and perhaps lead to a rejection of cohabitation among more educated women." Full story here.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:40 PM

      ( 2:37 PM ) The Rat  
LOONEY-TUNES-ESQUE. Via News of the Weird.

On Jan. 6, according to police in Prestonburg, Ky., Quinton G. Bailey, 20, was caught preparing to re-enter the apartment below his, by way of a hole in his floor (obscured by removable ceiling tile in that apartment); a box of that tenant's jewelry was found in Bailey's apartment. And on Jan. 27, according to police in Plainville, Conn., Jimmy Tran, 32, sawed through his own ceiling and the floor of the apartment above his and was caught by the female tenant after he had reached out and was dragging her purse along her floor toward the hole. [Floyd County Times, 1-8-02] [Hartford Courant-AP, 1-29-03]

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:37 PM

      ( 2:36 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:36 PM

      ( 2:32 PM ) The Rat  
"It's never easy making your own husband happy. It's much easier to make someone else's husband happy."
—attributed to Zsa Zsa Gabor

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:32 PM

Friday, February 14, 2003
      ( 5:41 PM ) The Rat  
WHAT COLOR IS YOUR RAT? From this page.

For that matter, every animal in the same species looks identical but has a slightly different color scheme. For example, the poisonous rat is green, the rock rat is grey, and the lust rat is red—the color of HOT STEAMY LOVE.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:41 PM

      ( 5:06 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:06 PM

      ( 12:11 PM ) The Rat  
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY FROM THE RAT! Here's something suitable from the New York Press.

Double Exposure. Picking up photos at Duane Reade, we couldn't help but be held prisoner to the counter girls' debate on post-partum scarring. 'My walls are tight,' one exclaimed. 'I didn't have sex for a whole year. I wanted it all to close up again.' Us: head down, praying for exact change. The other: 'Why'd you wait so long?' The first: 'I wasn't going to screw with my body. Now I'm good—on the outside and the inside.' We finally make it out the door and stumble upon a man crouched against a car facing us. In his hands, a half-mast, uncircumcised cock of significant size. Urinating. We reach our office and close the door, head filled with an uncharacteristic fear of both sexes.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:11 PM

      ( 12:04 PM ) The Rat  
ELINOR'S SEMI-ANNUAL DIAMOND RANT. And, here is a great parody of those De Beers ads, though those with finer sensibilities are cautioned not to click on it.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:04 PM

      ( 11:59 AM ) The Rat  

Sumo wrestlers will be enlisted to fight the growing crime rate by conducting a nighttime patrol of the area around their Edogawa-ku stable from this week. Officials from the Isenoumi Stable hope that their hefty help will not only thin out the ranks of criminals, but also swell the number of fans of the ancient sport.

"Anybody thinking of committing a crime would run away if they were confronted by a sumo wrestler," Isenoumi Stablemaster Fujinokawa said.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 AM

      ( 11:44 AM ) The Rat  
GOTTA LOVE THE FRONT COVER PHOTO on today's New York Post. And here is a pic of a chocolate-covered Volkswagen.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:44 AM

      ( 11:42 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:42 AM

      ( 11:41 AM ) The Rat  
BEST OF THIS WEEK'S SEARCH REQUESTS. I'm just going to start posting these every Friday.

"rat + in + pants"
"porn + rat" (yes, again—four times; also, "rat + porn")
"cambodian + rat"
"christianity + is + for + losers"
"kafka + cheese + rat"
"words + for + rat"
"skull + of + a + rat"
"rat + my + boobs"
"Kim + Cattrall + boobs"
"stares + and + stares"
"fighting + without + the + French + is" (The suspense is killing me on this one. —Ed.)
"jordanian + feet + fetish"

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:41 AM

      ( 11:38 AM ) The Rat  
CHEESE-EATING SURRENDER MONKEYS, CTD. Further proof the English language is superior to French. Via the Corner via Shamed.

The phrase, kept alive ever since by Internet bloggers and columnist Jonah Goldberg, has caused puzzlement in France. On Saturday, conservative newspaper Le Figaro translated it as "primates capitulards et toujours en quête de fromages," or, roughly, "capitulating primates always questing for cheeses."

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:38 AM

      ( 11:37 AM ) The Rat  
YESTERDAY'S NEW YORK SUN INCLUDED A FEATURE ON A COMPANY NOW OFFERING A $23,000 BED. For that kind of money shouldn't they be doing the sleeping for you, too?

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:37 AM

      ( 11:26 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:26 AM

      ( 11:25 AM ) The Rat  
Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty.
Love is a woman's moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten, and a man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?
—Dorothy Parker

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:25 AM

Thursday, February 13, 2003
      ( 7:01 PM ) The Rat  
ANOTHER GREAT CORRECTION from the New York Times. Wow. Courtesy of OpinionJournal.

Because of an editing error, a front-page article yesterday about diplomatic developments in the Iraq crisis misidentified the Bush administration official who said about the weapons inspectors in Iraq, "At some point it will become obvious that it's time for them to go." It was an administration official speaking on condition of anonymity, not Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser.

# Posted by The Rat @ 7:01 PM

      ( 6:30 PM ) The Rat  
"WHO WANTS TO MARRY MY MOM?" New NBC reality series. You'll pardon me while I throw up.

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:30 PM

      ( 12:26 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:26 PM

      ( 12:23 PM ) The Rat  
SLOW WAVE IS ONLINE. The quality of these is mixed, but they're sometimes pretty good. I like the last one (scroll down) here, for instance; the last one on this page is also a favorite.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:23 PM

      ( 12:21 PM ) The Rat  
SCIENTISTS ID GENETIC MARKER FOR LONGEVITY. Note that this means that if you're genetically predisposed to live a long time, your mom probably is too. Can't say God doesn't have a sense of humor.

In a study conducted at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, researchers found that centenarians were five times more likely than others to have the same mutation in their mitochrondrial DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA, the portion of DNA located in the mitochondria or "powerhouses" of the cell, passes only from the mother to offspring. The mitochondria capture the energy released from the oxidation of metabolites and convert it into energy.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:21 PM

      ( 12:16 PM ) The Rat  

In 1993, over a million saiga antelopes roamed the steppes of Russia and Kazakhstan. Today, fewer than 30,000 remain, most of them females. So many males have been shot for their horns, which are exported to China to be used in traditional fever cures, that the antelope may not be able to recover unaided.

The slaughter is embarrassing for conservationists. In the early 1990s, groups such as WWF actively encouraged the saiga hunt, promoting its horn as an alternative to the horn of the endangered rhino.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:16 PM

      ( 11:35 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:35 AM

      ( 11:34 AM ) The Rat  
TO PUT ON YOUR NEXT BIRTHDAY WISH-LIST: a ceremonial belly band.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:34 AM

      ( 11:33 AM ) The Rat  
EFFECTIVE 60 DAYS FROM NOW, THE USE OF CELL PHONES has been banned at New York City theatres, movie houses, concerts, museums, libraries, and galleries. Not that this will be very enforceable, but theoretically there's a $50 fine for violations.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:33 AM

      ( 11:28 AM ) The Rat  

But one thing lovers have little control over is how they'll turn their heads when they go in for the kiss. Chances are they'll turn their heads to the right, according to a German psychologist who observed the head-tilting preferences of 124 kissing couples.

The psychologist, Onur Güntürkün of Ruhr-Universität-Bochum, is not so much a voyeur as he is a scientist trying to figure out why humans have a preference for their right side, which from kissing a lover to kicking a soccer ball is twice as popular as the left.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:28 AM

      ( 11:22 AM ) The Rat  
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
'Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!'
Said the duck to the Kangaroo.

'Please give me a ride on your back!'
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
'I would sit quite still, and say nothing but "Quack,"
The whole of the long day through!
And we'd go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land and over the sea;—
Please take me a ride! O do!'
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
'This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you'll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!' said the Kangaroo.

Said the Duck, 'As I sate on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I've bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I'll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo!'

Said the Kangaroo,'I'm ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!'
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy,—O who,
As the Duck and the Kangaroo?

Edward Lear

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:22 AM

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
      ( 2:25 PM ) The Rat  

Fedulov accused Zyuganov of being Russia's "political prostitute number one."

"I'm giving you a warning, Aleksandr Mikhailovich [Fedulov]," Seleznev cautioned.

Fedulov went on, "I propose that the Ethics Commission end the practice of political prostitution in the Duma."

Seleznev countered: "I propose that deputies vote for barring Deputy Fedulov from commenting during today's session."

At this point, Shandybin rushed toward Fedulov, and a scuffle broke out. "Vassilii Ivanovich [Shandybin], Vassilii Ivanovich, you'll crush him. Don't touch him," Seleznev pleaded.

The scuffle occurred after the Duma had passed a bill barring officials from swearing and using insulting words, as well as slang and vulgar language...

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:25 PM

      ( 2:20 PM ) The Rat  

Scientists using a robotic NASA probe have determined with precision the age of the universe—13.7 billion years—and figured out when stars began to shine.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:20 PM

      ( 2:16 PM ) The Rat  
LOST YOUR TORTOISE? Try looking in Tokyo. (Or, consider getting a pet pig instead.)

Police collected nearly 1.72 million left-behind items last year, from mobile phones to wayward tortoises and nearly $20.33 million in stray cash. Umbrellas, however, topped most lost-and-found boxes across the nation's capital, with police reporting 332,579 left behind in 2002—an average of about 3,200 each rainy day...

Among other lost-and-found items were 84 pets, including 12 ferrets and an unspecified number of tortoises.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:16 PM

      ( 2:09 PM ) The Rat  
THANKS TO THE READER who directed me to this Fumento piece on the supposedly "new" findings about the Atkins diet. Personally I've always found Atkins too painful to follow, so hey.

But there were serious problems with this revolutionary argument about one of our nation's most serious health problems. For example, Taubes omitted any reference to hundreds of refereed scientific studies published during the last three decades that contradicted his position. Researchers from whom he could not pull even a single useful quote supportive of his thesis were banished from the piece, while many of those whom Taubes did end up quoting now complain that he twisted their words.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:09 PM

      ( 1:48 PM ) The Rat  
GUESS WHAT WORD has been banned from spelling tests at a Canadian public school? Via the Corner yesterday.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:48 PM

      ( 1:44 PM ) The Rat  
DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU but the Rat could sure hum a few bars o' this.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:44 PM

      ( 1:40 PM ) The Rat  
CLICK HERE FOR A HARD-CORE VOCAB TEST and you, too, can wipe the floor with Eve, who scored only 175. (I got 182, but then I've studied for the GRE more recently than she has.)

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:40 PM

      ( 12:39 PM ) The Rat  
Lepidus. What manner o' thing is your crocodile?
Mark Antony. It is shaped, sir, like itself; and it is as broad as it hath breadth: it is just so high as it is, and moves with its own organs: it lives by that which nourisheth it; and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.
Lepidus. What colour is it of?
Mark Antony. Of it own colour too.
Lepidus. 'Tis a strange serpent.
Mark Antony. 'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.
Antony and Cleopatra

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:39 PM

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
      ( 2:19 PM ) The Rat  
AM I THE ONLY ONE who thinks this year's Westminster Kennel Club winners look like they were drawn by Edward Gorey? Take a Peke (sorry) that looks just like the "Yawfle" that "stares, and stares, and stares, / And stares, and stares, and stares, and stares" (The Utter Zoo Alphabet). Or this Komondorok, which looks like the big dog in The Curious Sofa.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:19 PM

      ( 1:46 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:46 PM

      ( 1:29 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:29 PM

      ( 1:07 PM ) The Rat  
PELOSI, ABORTION, AND RACE. Link via ex-blogger Shamed.

Is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ripe for her own Trent Lott-like scandal?

In the 1990s, [ex-Congressman Bob] Dornan, the conservative attack dog who represented California's Orange County for nine terms, says he approached Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, at the door of the House chamber to appeal for her support on an anti-abortion bill.

Dornan tells us, "I said, 'Nancy, we're both Catholics with five children... Why would you advance abortion?'

"She turned to me with those big eyes of hers and said, 'Bob, what would you do if one of your daughters was raped by a black man? You would want an abortion.'"

A press aide for Pelosi said she had "no response" to the story.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:07 PM

      ( 12:54 PM ) The Rat  
SOPHIA LOREN will be teaming up with Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton to make a recording of "Peter and the Wolf."

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:54 PM

      ( 12:38 PM ) The Rat  
INTERESTING FINDINGS on depression and the sense of smell.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:38 PM

      ( 11:53 AM ) The Rat  
THE 96TH PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB was recently sworn in over a bowl of Florida oranges, which seems a bit Wallace Stevens-ey to me. Link via OpinionJournal.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:53 AM

      ( 11:51 AM ) The Rat  
It was an age when men honored the noble virtue of frivolity...
—Tanizaki, "The Tattooer"

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:51 AM

Monday, February 10, 2003
      ( 2:47 PM ) The Rat  

U.S.-based Chinese democracy activist Wang Bingzhang was sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment after being convicted of espionage and leading a terrorist group, sparking outrage from rights groups and relatives...

Friends and rights groups said he was kidnapped from Vietnam near the China border, possibly by Chinese agents, where he tried to meet with Chinese labour activists, and was brought into the country.

Wang has been a staunch overseas critic of Beijing's communist regime for almost 20 years.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:47 PM

      ( 2:40 PM ) The Rat  
ENAAM ARNAOUT has taken an eleventh-hour plea bargain.

Arnaout, 41, admitted in court papers that his Benevolence International Foundation had furnished funds to buy boots and uniforms for the Muslim fighting forces while claiming to aid only widows, orphans and the poor.

He did not acknowledge any relationship with bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist network. But federal prosecutors said ample evidence remains that Arnaout helped al-Qaida in several ways—including transferring funds around the world to finance its operations.

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:40 PM

      ( 2:29 PM ) The Rat  

Dr. Lyn Hinds, of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, told the conference: "Rats are a reservoir of disease, the sleeping giants of disease in the world."

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:29 PM

      ( 2:06 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 2:06 PM

      ( 1:59 PM ) The Rat  
THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE sometimes does good work, but it would be a lot better without crap like this new feature. Look people, if you're going to be a shallow "lifestyle" magazine, hire better photographers and be Vogue. This half-assed shit is just a cover for people who want the same kind of titillation and the right to pretend they're reading something serious.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:59 PM

      ( 1:45 PM ) The Rat  
PROFQUOTES. Link via Eve.

"The Yellow River is a very naughty river. Naughty, naughty."

"There are two things you need to be a really good English major. First, a good working knowledge of the Bible. And second, a really dirty mind."

"I'll just hand this out, and you can read it while I privately speculate on why there are so few of you here."

"I sold cars for 5 years. That was the only real job I've had. The rest of the time I've been doing academic stuff, teaching..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:45 PM

      ( 12:01 PM ) The Rat  
I had talked to her without being any more conscious of where my words were falling, of what became of them, than if I were dropping pebbles into a bottomless pit. That our words are, as a general rule, filled by the people to whom we address them with a meaning which those people derive from their own substance, a meaning widely different from that which we had put into the same words when we uttered them, is a fact which is perpetually demonstrated in daily life. But if in addition we find ourselves in the company of a person whose education (as Albertine's was to me) is inconceivable, her taste, her reading, her principles unknown to us, we cannot tell whether our words have aroused in her anything that resembles their meaning, any more than in an animal to which we had to make ourselves understood. So that trying to make friends with Albertine seemed to me like entering into contact with the unknown, if not the impossible, an occupation as arduous as breaking in a horse, as restful as keeping bees or growing roses.
Within a Budding Grove

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:01 PM

Friday, February 07, 2003
      ( 11:57 AM ) The Rat  
ON "HONOR KILLINGS" IN JORDAN. Just read Norma Khouri's book on the murder of her best friend by her family for being seen in public, unchaperoned, with (gasp!) a man—I'll be reviewing it for NRO, so stay tuned. Meanwhile check out this Times piece on Khouri, or better yet, read the book.

Lina, a twenty-year-old Jordanian girl, became pregnant after being raped by her neighbor. When her pregnancy became apparent to her family, they decided to kill her. On September 24, her brother drove her to a nearby football field owned by the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company, parked the car, and asked her to get out. He then repeatedly struck her on the head with a rock, drew a knife, slashed her throat and her stomach, left her by the side of the road, and went to turn himself in. His family treated him like a hero and later bailed him out, bringing a white stallion for him to ride home. He was sentenced to three months in jail, but was instantly released because he'd served that amount of time waiting for the trial, even though he was out on bail the entire time.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:57 AM

      ( 11:54 AM ) The Rat  
DON'T TRY AND TELL ME WE DON'T HAVE POETS IN THIS COUNTRY. Two recent quotes from the nation's capital:

The line that is now going around Washington is that of a former undersecretary of defence, who observed, "Going to war without the French is like going deerhunting without an accordion."
—reported on DavidWarrenOnline, link courtesy of ex-blogger Shamed

I’m going to support each and every tax cut that comes before the Senate. Like with my grandchildren, I love them all.
Sen. Zell Miller

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:54 AM

      ( 11:51 AM ) The Rat  
OPINIONJOURNAL notes that the maximum sentence Germany is considering for alleged 9/11 accessory Mounir Motassadeq works out to 1 day, 19 hours, and 48 minutes per murder.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:51 AM

      ( 11:50 AM ) The Rat  
PETA SENDS LETTER TO ARAFAT. As reported by the WaPo (scroll down).

Our friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have outdone themselves this time, sending a deferential letter to Yasser Arafat about a Jan. 26 Jerusalem bombing in which a donkey—but no human beings—died after being strapped with explosives and detonated.

"Your Excellency," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote in the note faxed on Monday to Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah. "We have received many calls and letters from people shocked at the bombing... All nations behave abominably in many ways when they are fighting their enemies, and animals are always caught in the crossfire. The U.S. Army abandoned thousands of loyal service dogs in Vietnam. Al-Qaeda and the British government have both used animals in hideously cruel biological weaponry tests. We watched on television as stray cats in your own compound fled as best they could from the Israeli bulldozers..."

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:50 AM

      ( 11:36 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:36 AM

      ( 11:32 AM ) The Rat  
RECENT SEARCH REQUESTS. In the past week alone, readers have come to in desperate search of information on:

"porn + rat" [4 searches, from different terminals]
"ballerina + feet + fetish"
"prison + poetry + losing + girlfriends"
"dead + rat + cartoon"
"penguins + with + boobs + cartoon"

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:32 AM

      ( 11:23 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:23 AM

      ( 11:21 AM ) The Rat  
FORGOT TO PUT THIS UP LAST WEEK—I hardly ever watch new movies, but if you do you might want to check out Rick Lyman's piece in last Thursday's Times, on how Hollywood studios go about deciding whether to position stars as candidates for "Best," or merely "Best Supporting," Actor or Actress. Unfortunately only an abstract is still available at their online site, but there is a slightly longer news-service version here.

And here are some unlikely Oscar candidates.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:21 AM

      ( 11:16 AM ) The Rat  
"She told me about the cop, and the cowboy, and the construction worker… You’re not having a life, Michael, you're fucking the Village People!”
Further Tales of the City

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:16 AM

Thursday, February 06, 2003
      ( 12:47 PM ) The Rat  
THE AD GRAVEYARD. "Ads that were too great to live, live on here." Good stuff.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:47 PM

      ( 12:35 PM ) The Rat  

The debate over a constitution for the European Union has hit a tough hurdle: Should the charter invoke the name of God?

The question of God and religion is highly contentious in Europe, where nations have very different histories of the relationship between government and religion.

The French Revolution turned on separating the church from state matters. In Spain, a reference to Catholicism evokes memories of the fascist dictator Francisco Franco, who stamped every Spanish coin with his profile and backed his grip on power "by the Grace of God." By contrast, in Poland—set to join the European Union in 2004—the Roman Catholic Church played a key role in guiding the country out of communism.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:35 PM

      ( 12:34 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:34 PM

      ( 12:28 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:28 PM

      ( 12:10 PM ) The Rat  
I sent a message to the fish:
I told them, "This is what I wish."

The little fishes of the sea,
They sent an answer back to me.

The little fishes' answer was
"We cannot do it, Sir, because—"

"I'm afraid I don't quite understand," said Alice.

"It gets easier further on," Humpty Dumpty replied.

I sent to them again to say,
"It will be better to obey."

The fishes answered with a grin,
"Why, what a temper you are in!"

I told them once, I told them twice:
They would not listen to advice.

I took a kettle large and new,
Fit for the deed I had to do.

My heart went hop, my heart went thump;
I filled the kettle at the pump.

Then some one came to me and said,
"The little fishes are in bed."

I said to him, I said it plain,
"Then you must wake them up again."

I said it very loud and clear;
I went and shouted in his ear.

But he was very stiff and proud;
He said, "You needn't shout so loud!"

And he was very proud and stiff;
He said "I'd go and wake them, if—"

I took a corkscrew from the shelf:
I went to wake them up myself.

And when I found the door was locked,
I pulled and pushed and knocked.

And when I found the door was shut,
I tried to turn the handle, but—

There was a long pause.

"Is that all?" Alice timidly asked.

"That's all," said Humpty Dumpty. "Good-bye."

Through the Looking-Glass

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:10 PM

Wednesday, February 05, 2003
      ( 5:11 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:11 PM

      ( 5:11 PM ) The Rat  

My wife and I saw a bumper sticker this morning on the way to Mass: "Bush and Ashcroft: Saving America, One Secret Trial at a Time." My first thought was, "Cool! Where can I get one?" Then I realized it wasn't supposed to be laudatory.

# Posted by The Rat @ 5:11 PM

      ( 12:51 PM ) The Rat  
"Y'KNOW, AFTER HE STOLE IT, THE GRINCH HID CHRISTMAS IN MY PANTS." A list of Dr. Seuss pick-up lines. No. 3 is the best.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:51 PM

      ( 12:18 PM ) The Rat  
BURMA-SHAVE TRIBUTE. Scroll down for more Burma-Shave rhymes than you can shake a stick at. There's some here too.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:18 PM

      ( 12:08 PM ) The Rat  
GUN-TO-YOUR-HEAD.COM. Extreme-situation poll (with results).

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:08 PM

      ( 11:59 AM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:59 AM

      ( 11:54 AM ) The Rat  

"They get hooked faster, they get hooked using lesser amounts of alcohol and drugs and cocaine, and they suffer the consequences faster and more severely," said Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, which conducted the survey of girls and young women over three years.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:54 AM

      ( 11:45 AM ) The Rat  

The State Duma lower house overwhelmingly approved a bill entrenching Russian as the "state language" and barring "offensive," "obscene" and "vulgar" words. Foreign words are also outlawed when Russian-language equivalents exist. The legislation provided no specific penalties for offenders and will probably have little effect on the tendency of public figures to use off-colour phrases, mostly to their advantage.

Putin launched a 1999 drive against Chechen rebels by vowing to "wipe them out in the shithouse." He then chose not to campaign in the 2000 election he easily won, saying he would not treat politics like trying to sell "Snickers and Tampax"... Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a deputy speaker of the Duma, also resorts to off-colour expressions and was seen on television last week denouncing U.S. policy in Iraq—with much of his remarks blotted out.

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:45 AM

      ( 11:24 AM ) The Rat  
Marx and Engels, [Peruvian economist Hernando] de Soto's pet dogs, were so named because "they are German, hairy and have no respect for property."
The Economist, Feb. 1

# Posted by The Rat @ 11:24 AM

Tuesday, February 04, 2003
      ( 8:01 PM ) The Rat  
GOOD NEWS FOR EEL ENTHUSIASTS: Aalfred isn't being evicted after all.

# Posted by The Rat @ 8:01 PM

      ( 6:47 PM ) The Rat  

Mr. Kennedy has also charged that Judge Pickering showed selective leniency toward this white cross-burner, while coming down hard on black defendants before him.

However, I have copies of the letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee from four lawyers in Hattiesburg, Miss., who represented black defendants before Judge Pickering. Each tells of cases in which Judge Pickering made significant downward departures from federal sentencing guidelines for these black defendants. Are these the actions of a racist?

In one of these cases, the client, "a first offender, did not have a high school degree and admitted to drug use since age 8." Judge Pickering went outside the guidelines recommended by the U.S. attorney, "thus enabling my client to qualify for several rehabilitative opportunities while incarcerated... I believe my client's sentencing experience with Pickering may have been a positive life-changing experience for the defendant."

# Posted by The Rat @ 6:47 PM

      ( 4:01 PM ) The Rat  
ANOTHER GREAT CORRECTION, courtesy of the Times.

The Age of Dissonance column last Sunday, about cozying up to celebrities, mentioned a report in The Daily News that guests at the Sundance film festival "had their shoes spattered" when the actor Tobey Maguire was taken ill. But the day the Times column appeared, The News quoted the actor's publicist as saying that although Mr. Maguire doubled over at one point, it was not he who vomited.

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:01 PM

      ( 4:00 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 4:00 PM

      ( 3:59 PM ) The Rat  

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:59 PM

      ( 3:58 PM ) The Rat  
She had been a foolish student then, imagining that these days spent with her classmates constituted some sort of 'youth.'
—Shusaku Endo, Deep River

# Posted by The Rat @ 3:58 PM

Monday, February 03, 2003
      ( 1:57 PM ) The Rat  

Doctors from across New Jersey walked off the job on Monday in the first statewide physicians' strike over rising medical malpractice insurance premiums, organizers said. The work stoppage, likely to be one of the largest ever by U.S. doctors, was intended to disrupt nonemergency medical care for patients who could be forced to visit hospital emergency rooms for routine medical complaints.

But the state's 22,000 doctors continued to perform emergency surgical operations and handle critical care procedures such as kidney dialysis and cancer treatments.

"The conservative estimates are that probably about half of the physicians in the state are participating in one form or another," said John Shaffer, spokesman for the Medical Society of New Jersey.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:57 PM

      ( 1:48 PM ) The Rat  
AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT, here's a good article on malpractice litigation.

# Posted by The Rat @ 1:48 PM

      ( 12:59 PM ) The Rat  

Pupils at Fairway Middle School, Norwich, have been told they will be punished if they launch surprise attacks... Only if their victims agree to be a target are they allowed to try to hit them.

# Posted by The Rat @ 12:59 PM

      ( 9:12 AM ) The Rat  
"Well, the Underground Man was really the original blogger..."
—overheard this weekend

# Posted by The Rat @ 9:12 AM

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

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