- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Colorful mouse
"Kids aren't the only ones who take joy in the color of movies: I know lots of grown-up moviegoers who swoon over the polychrome pleasures of movies.
"But movies that revel in color are few and far between these days, and they're not usually aimed at adults. And aren't grown-ups, most of whom work all day and worry plenty at night, more in need of color than anyone? 'Stuart Little 2,' just like its predecessor, the marvelous 'Stuart Little,' is a movie that invites you to sink into its vivid look. From the marigold, saffron and crimson wardrobe of Geena Davis to the Jolly Rancher-red of Stuart Little's convertible roadster, 'Stuart Little 2' hits every color note just right. It's a visual antidepressant.
"The color sense of 'Stuart Little 2' is its most immediate and most obvious pleasure, but it would count for very little if the movie weren't as beautifully shaped and as delicately calibrated in tone as it is.
"'Stuart Little 2' has a number of suitably encouraging themes for kids ('You're as big as you feel' is one of them), but they're played lightly enough so we don't feel weighed down by them. But its chief value is the way it transports us into a fantasy world of family warmth and adventure."
Stephanie Zacharek, writing on "Stuart Little 2" on Friday in Salon at www.salon.com

The cat's meow
"A scientist studying how humans respond to feline vocalizations has found that cats can communicate with people, and perhaps even manipulate them. Nichola Nicastro, a graduate student in psychology at Cornell University (and owner of two cats), tape-recorded 100 different vocalizations. He then played the sounds to 26 volunteers and asked them to rate each sound for pleasantness.
"When he had 28 other volunteers rate each sound for urgency, Mr. Nicastro discovered that the most pleasant sounds seemed the least urgent and the least pleasant sounded most urgent. He presented his work at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America this month.
"The most urgent calls had 'more energy in the lower frequencies, along the lines of mee-o-o-o-o-o-w!' he said in a statement. The most pleasant 'tended to be shorter. These sounds started high and went low, like MEE-ow.'
"'Though they lack language, cats have become very skilled at managing humans to get what they want basically, food, shelter and a little human affection,' he said. He posited that cats might mew in an appealing way when they are in an animal shelter waiting to be adopted, but will sound much more demanding if dinner is late."
From "Cats are in charge, after all" in the July 5 Chronicle of Higher Education

Erstwhile sisters
"Academic feminists have yet to adequately address the issue implicitly raised by the millions of women how to reach the politically conservative yet 'liberated' women, many of whom testify, 'I'm not a feminist, but ' They will never take a women's studies course or read a feminist book or magazine. If asked why, they will assure you it's because feminism has nothing to say to them. More often than not, they are right.
"Why are there no conservatives among us? Or why is it that as soon as an erstwhile sister adopts a conservative perspective Elizabeth Fox-Genovese comes to mind she is summarily shunned? Consider the careers of Naomi Wolfe and Susan Faludi, whose feminist credentials periodically have been questioned over their apparent agreement with the 'other side' on some issues. And then there's Camille Paglia what exactly is she anyway?
"Can one be conservative and a feminist? I honestly don't know. To bring more women into the conversation, we professional feminists need to learn to speak and to hear another language ."
Skidmore College professor Mary Zeiss Stange, writing on "The Political Intolerance of Academic Feminism," in the June 21 Chronicle of Higher Education

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