Not that we’re not amidst a pretty tragic month already, but something about this story is just so sad. Dumping domesticated animals is bad enough — trust me, folks, if they come from a long line of indoor-dwelling creatures, they don’t suddenly recollect their natural instincts when you let them out, any more than you’d suddenly remember how to make arrowheads and bring down wild game.

But it had to be rats? People will rescue kittens and puppies. They’re cute. Poor frightened rats were, as the article puts it, hopeless. It might not rise to the level of decapitations or of Beslan, but this is a kind of karma-screwing wrongness as well. (And no, don’t blame Alberta’s ratlessness. The poor creatures wouldn’t have been clubbed in NYC; they’d have been eaten alive by those big Norway bastards we have.)

Amidst a research project, found this — anyone who remembers the first time they saw it is exceedingly old in Net years (remember Net time?), but it was fun then and it is now.

Moment of joy from SI‘s Rick Reilly, all by himself worth more than I paid for that last ESPN The Magazine subscription: ‘So Phelps, a little dingy himself, hollered, ‘I’ll get it!’ and tore off like an overcaffeinated tuna.” He surely wrote that, sat back, grinned. I read it, sat back, grinned too. Nothing like doing one’s column from the zone.

Ooh! Check out the Kirsten Dunst item (scroll down). Can I just mention that I totally called this at the time? I was reading Variety and they had a casting call for the little girl in Interview with the Vampire, and I said that any parent that would expose their kid to a project like that should have had its various tubes tied. Even though Miss Dunst is a fine actor and doing great stuff still, I apparently was not wrong.

Life’s Delicious Little Ironies Dept.: Thanks to the miracle of Netflix, my current favorite cable show (non-Sopranos division) is Dead Like Me. If you watch it, you know that it has not only a female lead that doesn’t dress in Britneywear but two well-written 30something/40something female supporting characters (Joy, the lead’s mother, and Dolores, her office manager — yeah, their names are joy and sorrow and this is a show about the afterlife, not to mention that the female lead works for the Happy Land Temp Agency, which is just too damn bardo-fabulous to contemplate). The irony? The wellspring of the series was Piers Anthony’s On A Pale Horse — book I loved very much as a kid, but from an author that couldn’t write plausible female characters to save his life. The world may be falling apart, but there are pockets of improvement here and there.