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Marvel & Netflix’s The Punisher Recaps by Penny – Episode 10; Virtue Of The Vicious

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 29, 2017 in Rat News
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We open with Louise for some reason killing some random guy by shooting him through his apartment door peephole. He then shoots the lock off the door and enters. He steps over the poor schlub’s body, presumably planning to make this his new base of operations. I guess he figures the cops will be looking for any known associates so they won’t find him at some random stranger’s house? Anyway, he spots the dead guy’s pet budgies, and proceeds to prove what a clueless idiot manchild he is by cracking a window and opening their cage to set them free, not understanding why they make ZERO attempt to flee.

You see the two ways this proves Louise doesn’t really understand how the world works in his violent delusional crusade is twofold. First, he clearly doesn’t understand why the birds won’t fly out the window even wen he puts their cage right up to it. They’re domesticated birds. They’re not stupid. They have a human who loves them and feeds them and keeps them safe from predators. I have two pet rats who can and often do easily squeeze between the bars of their cage, but they NEVER try to escape. They just sit on top of the cage to get my attention when they want cuddles. My babies know where the food comes from. They have no reason to WANT to escape. And secondly, Louise doesn’t seem to understand that if the birds DID flee, they’d be doomed. They’re small domesticated birds with no fear of humans and no survival skills. They’d be doomed if they left. Domesticated animals are not equipped to survive in the wild and usually get killed very quickly after release. We go to the opening credits with Louise looking utterly confused by this reality.

Billy is being questioned by a particularly smug and presumptuous NYPD cop at what is clearly a crime scene given the blood splattered all over the walls. Apparently Louise’s victim WASN’T some random guy but was one of Billy’s PMC employees assigned to the senator’s protection detail. The cop is grilling Billy about having almost hired Louise but Billy points out that he DIDN’T hire him and wrote him up as unfit during his evaluation. He points to the blood on the wall as proof he was correct. Apparently Louise made a run for the Senator offscreen, (Man I HATE Noodle Incidents), and killed 4 of Billy’s guys before being chased off. The cop arrogantly presumes being an American cop is even REMOTELY the same thing as serving in active combat in the military and Billy is understandably annoyed by this. He says arrest me or we’re done and gets up to leave. The cop asks him about Frank before he goes, because apparently despite having Curtis as a witness this idiot thinks Louise and Frank are in cahoots somehow and believes Frank was involved in this new shooting, which is clearly wrong, because as Billy pointed out, the senator is still alive, and we ALL know if killing him was FRANK’S mission the man would be stone cold DEAD.

We flash to 6 hours earlier and Billy and the Senator are discussing security arrangements for a press conference he wants to give that Billy is against because it leaves him exposed. Frank calls him to warn him Louise is coming for the Senator. Frank says set a trap for Louise and he’ll deal with it. Billy realizes Frank is on-site and worries. Frank warns him to just keep his guys out of Frank’s way. After Frank hangs up though, Billy smiles and clearly thinks he’s going to swing this to his asdvantage somehow, and then greets Karen at the elevator, as she’s arrived to interview the Senator.

We’re going to be skipping back and forth between right now and 6 hours ago for awhile it seems, as we’re back in the current timeframe with the douchey cop interviewing the Senator, who’s in mild shock and just slightly rambling about reassessing his life and what matters as he apparently had to pick up a gun himself during whatever just happened despite having never touched one til today, plus he’s feeling the stinging guilt of knowing men died protecting him. He asks the douchey cop if he’s ever been shot at and how it felt. He seems very close to going into full on shock and just starting to ramble.

Back to 6 hours ago, Karen and the Senator are starting their interview when the wall beside them explodes. All hell breaks loose as Louise tosses a smoke grenade, likely tear gas, into the room, then comes in shooting. The Senator hides behind a couch and in the heat of the moment survival instinct kicks in. He grabs a gun of one of Billy’s now dead PMC guys and fires a couple shots in Louise’s direction, giving him enough of a window to get out of the room. Frank arrives just in time for Louise to grab Karen and hold her at gunpoint.

Back to Now and it’s Karen’s turn to be interviewed by douchey cop. He’s hellbent on his theory that Frank is Louise’s partner and Karen is getting frustrated to all fuck by his refusal to listen or see the reality of the situation. Back to earlier we see Karen meeting Billy at the elevator again from her perspective. He chuckles at the irony of an anti-gun senator being interviewed by a reporter with a conceal-carry permit as he asks for her gun. She in turn points out the irony of that same senator being protected by a PMC. Meanwhile, Louise arrives at the hotel in the Anvil Security uniform he stole from the guy he killed, and makes his way upstairs after just barely dodging getting spotted by Billy himself in the lobby. And we see on his brief detour that for some reason Dinah is here too, sitting in the coffee lounge looking as if she’s waiting for something. Louise kills one of Billy’s guys in the stairwell and continues on. Karen and the Senator debate the differences between rhetoric and reality and it’s painfully clear how naive the Senator really is about guns. Back to Louise in the hallway, he kills another of Billy’s guys and then starts fiddling with the elevator, presumably to keep security from using it to get to him quickly. We catch up to the point in the interview where the bomb goes off and now we see it from Karen’s side.

To no one’s surprise, the Senator’s recollection of events is complete bullshit. He never TOUCHED a gun, he was on the floor begging for his life while Karen was trying to save his life and talk Louise down. Frank arrives just in time to knock Louise’s aim ff and prevent him shooting Karen or the Senator. Karen tries to lead the Senator out of the room but like a coward he shoves her straight into Louise’s arms and gets the fuck out of Dodge. Louise shows Frank he’s wired with a bomb vest and shows him a dead man switch in his hand as he holds Karen hostage. Frank follows them to the elevator trying to talk Louise into letting Karen go. Some of Billy’s men show up but hold their fire because of the dead man switch. Louise escapes in the elevator with Karen and Frank swears he’ll track him down. Soon as Louise is gone the PMC guys open fire on Frank and Frank is forced to use one of their own dead guys as a human shield as he escapes. And I’m not 100% sure but I think one of the PMC guys was Billy himself, nor dressed in full riot gear so Frank wouldn’t recognize him.

Now; Dinah’s turn to be interviewed by douchey cop, and she too tells him point blank he’s an idiot to believe Frank was in on this mess because if he was EVERYONE would be dead/ Douchey cop tries to pull a skeevy intimidation ploy on Dinah by pointing out he heard she was on Administrative leave until today and he wonders smugly why that might be, assuming it was a reprimand. She tells him it was bereavement leave because her partner was killed and died right in front of her. Douchecop looks sheepish and clearly realizes he done fucked up, and his remaining questions are a lot less douchey and much more “I’m an ass and I’m sorry” subdued.

Earlier; Dinah arrives back at Homeland for her first day back, getting sympathetic looks from her staff and staring at Sam’s now barren desk as she passes. She goes into her office to talk to her boss, who grills her about what the hell is going on, and why she filed false plans. She closes the door and immediately shows him the bug, says “Show’s over” to it and rips it out. With Rawlins’ bug disabled she fills her boss in on everything, from Rawlins’ illegal activities and his connection to Kandahar to knowing for weeks Frank was alive to how everyone higher up than them did everything they could to bury her Kandahar investigation. He finally realizes she’s been on the right track all this time and returns her badge, telling her she’ll need it to see this through, clearly still a bit freaked about the bug. He also gives her the reports on the blac ops squad that showed up at her trap, and she realizes every single one of them used to work for Billy. The gears start a-creakin’ and she leaves for the hotel.

We again see the scene of Louise slipping past Dinah in the lobby lounge to get out of Billy’s line of sight. Billy greets Dinah and welcomes her back to being an active agent. He asks why she’s here and she shows him the files on his black ops team. She plays it cool but the look in her eye at his initial reaction before HE regains his composure tells it all. He downplays their association with Avil, saying they worked for him months ago, and probably 20 other PMCs over the years, as the business has high employee turnover. These kinds of guys go where the money is. He plays like he hasn’t seen them in years and even offers to ask around about who the one who escaped might be. She asks him if thinks he could kill Frank and if Frank’s a terrorist, and he says he will if he has to. Dinah pulls away when he tries to kiss her goodbye before he has to get back to his client, and he realizes she suspects him. Before they can get into it any deeper though the hotel’s fire alarms go off and Billy realizes some of his men aren’t answering their comms. He leaves to check it out and Dinah starts to leave the hotel with everyone else evacuating the building because of the alarm, but thinks better of it and turns around.

Cut to about 20 minutes later and Frank is running down the stairs as Dinah is running up them. She spots him a couple flights up and exists the stairwell onto that floor and hides there until he catches up to her, then re-enters the stairwell and tells him to freeze. Frank stops and tells her he was NOT here working with Louise. She says she believes him but she needs him to stand up in court and testify against Rawlins and tell the world about Cerberus. She says they want the same things. Frank realizes she’s been talking to Micro and walks right up to her and puts his forehead against the muzzle f her gun. He tells her either shoot him or he’s walking away. He turns and does exactly that and gets shot in the back from above. Billy is there, and it was him shooting. Dinah holds her gun at HIM now, ordering him to drop his gun or be charged for obstruction. He tries to claim he’s protecting her from Frank but she points out Frank was walking away gun down and Billy is aiming at her now. Billy drops all pretense kind of abruptly. I guess he figures she didn;’t buy his shit about his “former” employees. He tells her this all ends with Frank dead and that she should walk away. He grins and says the only crime in war is losing, and Frank and Dinah simultaneously realize beyond any lingering doubt that Billy is in on it. Dinah and Billy are about to shoot each other when a bunch of cops burst into the stairwell and arrest them both. They try to arrest Frank too but he coldcocks two of them, grabs a firehose, and uses it to rappel down the stairwell.

Back in the now, douchecop wants to know WHY Dinah and Billy were holding guns on each other. She says it was a difference of opinion. He points out both their guns were fired. She says hers was a warning shot, Billy’s was trying to kill her prisoner. He saus well Frank just killed a bunch of his men can you blame him? She calls him on his bullshit posturing, pointing out there is ZERO way he could have ANY ballistic evidence of that at this point. She saus he knows Frank isn’t part of this and he needs to stop towing the company line. She goes to leave. He smugly says he hasn’t given her permission to leave yet. She deflates that bloated ego by simply saying she’s eaving anyway and does exactly that. In the hallways she intercepts a cop taking Karen to talk to Douchecop, and flashes her badge to get a minute alone with her first. She reminds Karen of their prior conversation about trust, and says Karen didn’t tell her Frank was alive that day. Karen counters that Dinah is guilty of that exact same lack of trust, and it confirms they both knew the other knew about Frank. Dinah asks Karen to try to help her get Frank safely because powerful people want him dead and sghe’s his best hope. They admit he’s saved both their lives and Karen agrees to trust her a bit more.

Back to hours ago, Louise exits the elevator with Karen in the basement, holds off a pair of cops with the bomb vest, and gets to the kitchen. He rambles incoherently and yells at Karen for not understanding his goals and being part of the problem and not the solution. That’s when Frank stumbles in, bleeding and wobbly from, at my best count, at least 5 bullet wounds. He tries to talk Louise down by telling him about how his actions will only punish his dad, how his dad will suffer with hatemail and graffiti and social ostracization for years to come because of what Louis is done. Louise continues to babble and Frank realizes he can’t save him, so he tries to get Louis to let Karen go and blow himself and Fran up. When that fails he goes back to trying to talk Louise down, but this time he’s codetalking, and his REAL message is to Karen. As he talks at Louise he slyly lets Karen know which wire to pull on the deadman switch and to get her hand into her bag and onto her gun, (which I thought Billy had confiscated), and gives her subtle headshakes to let her know when her hand is on the right wire. When it is she pulls the wire and shoots Louis in the foot. Frank pushes Louis into the walk-in freezer, and Louis rearms the vest and blows himself up in tears. She and Frank come to after a few minutes and Karen realizes there are likely a shit-ton of cops outside the kitchen ready to shoot. She lets Frabk hold her “hostage” until they get past the cops into the elevator, when Frank gives her back her gun and escapes.

Finally we end back in the now, with Douchecop questioning Karen about letting Frank take her hostage. He knows she helped him escape, and says he should arrest her. She counters if he’s a terrorist then she’s just a victim, hinting at the MASSIVE bad press that would get the NYPD. Douchecop FINALLY relents and smiles and admits yes, he knows Frank saved lives today and isn’t the bad guy. He asks if she knows where Frank is. She replies she doesn’t know but counters with a question of her own; would Frank EVER be the kind of guy who’d risk getting caught in a building he doesn’t know how to get out of? Cue Frank ziplining from the hotel to an adjacent building.

End of episode.

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Article source: http://insidepulse.com/2017/11/27/marvel-virtue-of-the-vicious/

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Dan Deacon on Music From Rats’ Brains, His Wild Aerosmith Mashup

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 28, 2017 in Rat News
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“Everywhere I go in the world, people are like, ‘Ohhhh, whoa, Baltimore. The Wire,'” Dan Deacon tells Rolling Stone from his house in Charm City. “I can’t imagine meeting someone from New York and being like, ‘Oh, New York? Friends. Seinfield. Preeeetty cool. How do you like it there?'” The 36-year-old electronic musician takes Baltimore’s reputation to heart, because while David Simon made the city a place people came to fear, Deacon made it a place people came to party.

Ever since Deacon’s 2007 breakout LP Spiderman of the Rings, his wild, late-night raves in decrepit Baltimore lofts have become the stuff of underground legend. Deacon plays right on the floor, standing over a thicket of cables, a laptop illuminating his owlish glasses. Atmospheric as a Rothko, insane as Looney Tunes, his music is an improbably danceable cacophony of synths, MIDI samples and more strung together by slivers of pop and noise. These days, in addition to his regular haunts, he brings his inventive compositions to esteemed venues like Carnegie Hall and the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Plus a few unlikely ones, like Miley Cyrus’ Dead Petz Tour. 

Deacon’s career has mirrored the eccentric turns of his music. This year, he created his first film score, for an indie documentary called Rat Film that’s a cerebral portrait of Baltimore’s socioeconomic problems told through its history of rat infestations. “I knew this film was going to be covering institutional racism and rampant, rampant – basically designed – poverty, but it wasn’t going to be sensationalized,” Deacon says. “That got me excited.” 

Though his creative stature continues to rise, Deacon remains deeply passionate about his home city, where he’s resided for 13 years. The first bit of money he ever made, he says, from Spiderman, went into renovating a derelict building near the center of the city to create a DIY space for artists to live and work. Last year, police evicted and closed the Bell Foundry after a city-wide crackdown of such spaces following the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland that killed 36 people. Deacon was then invited to join Baltimore’s new special task force for such spaces, like the one he founded.

One of the first pieces of yours I heard was this feedback-laden collage of Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation from around 2002. So, why that album?
[Laughs] Aerosmith was my first favorite band. What I loved was, you hear “Dream On” and then you hear another song and it’s like, “Who is this new singer?” And Permanent Vacation really embodies that. This is going back 15 years. I was listening to Stockhausen, John Cage, heady noise music like Prurient. And then I’d go back and listen to Aerosmith’s “Rag Doll.”

I was thinking about how insane it was – the pageantry, the fanfare of their shows, the scarves. Then I thought, “What if there were hundreds of Aerosmiths – playing all of Aerosmith’s music?” I understand “permanent vacation” is a prison reference, but I loved the concept of all Aerosmith, all the time, forever. So I layered the guitars and staggered their references – like putting all the middle points in the same spot.

A lot of people wouldn’t even admit to owning that CD.
Most people didn’t get down with Aerosmith the same way I did. My parents listened to classic rock, but not them. So Aerosmith became mine in a way.

Have you ever been to an Aerosmith concert?
They was my first concert! I was in junior high and it was the Jones Beach Amphitheater. Collective Soul opened. My dad got the tickets for my birthday. I remember we rushed down to get there because we thought our tickets were for the other night [laughs]. I can’t really relate to my youth mindset and I don’t know why I made that track. But I still love the way that it ends on that vamping vocal harmonica jam. Where they end is where they’re no longer present in the piece.

You seem to be drawn to creating unreal textures from ordinary sources, like with Rat Film, where you used the sounds of rats in the score. Where did you get that idea?
I had a teacher in college, Joel Thome, who did a piece where he put different bugs on an overhead projector. As the bugs swooped around, the performers would change what they were playing based on the coordinates of [his or her] assigned bug. That always resonated with me. I kept thinking, “What do rats do?” I have three theremins. When you put them close enough to each other, they interact on their own. So we decided to make this triangle enclosure out of my theremins for the rats.

Where did you get the rats?
My friend who lived down the street had two pet rats. They were the stars. As the rat moved from one theremin to the next, one would get higher in pitch and the other would get lower in pitch and the third would have this really odd wavering sound. We converted most of that voltage to MIDI – this arcane language I love that I pray to God they update (it’s been in version 1.0 since the Seventies). I came up with the piano sections, but the rhythmic content is devised by rats. And if you hear a pop, those pops are a rat’s hippocampus being triggered.

How did you get sound out of a rat’s brain?
[Rat Film director] Theo Anthony gave me a long recording of rat brain impulses from using electrodes and different stimuli to track rats’ behaviors, dreams and responses. The recording was converted to sound, slowed way down, like 1,000 percent. Then, I slowed it down an additional 1,000 percent to get less of a purr and more of the tickitoo tickitoo rhythms. Some of the haunting, airy sounds are a combination of the two.

What’s your opinion of rats in general?
They’re chill little creatures. I’m sure if one were in my house right now, I’d be like, “That is a huge animal and it doesn’t have logic and it’s hungry!” But right now, I’m staring at a bunch of bees inside my house. I’ve had bees for the past four years now and I love them [laughs]. I don’t want to disturb them. They’re like my little pets. I don’t know. Both my parents were exterminators.

I don’t have a problem with a company being large. But one acting like it’s the only thing here? It’s a wealth duel that the people are going to lose.

Did you ever go on any jobs with them as a kid?
Yeah, it was a small, two-person company they ran together called Deacon’s Professional Pest Management. They ran it out of the house. One of them was always on the phone talking to a customer saying things like, “A mouse can fit through any hole, even the size of a dime, the rat a quarter” [laughs]. My dad really cherished life and saw the absurd nature of life through his job. I remember going on jobs with him where he’d catch a squirrel or a raccoon – which, I believe, the state forces you to kill – and we would just go to the state parks and let them loose. It didn’t make any sense to kill this animal that hadn’t really done anything wrong. I often think about how we’re probably more a giant inconvenience for the rats than vice versa. The rats were probably like [mimics a rat voice], “This was a pretty chill, swampy marsh before someone brought all these rocks here and dried it out. What the hell is this?”

Rat Film uses the city’s rat infestation to touch on a number of the city’s deep-seated issues, from urban-planning failures to systemic racism. Are the rats symbolic of poverty in Baltimore?
I think Theo is trying to depict the opposite. I don’t think he is ever trying to use the rat as a metaphor for poverty or people. It’s easy to make that correlation because of the way history has trained us to. [Authorities] have done that for a very deliberate reason. It’s to dehumanize people.

That really comes across when present-day Baltimore is shown in warped Google Earth images. What did you want the score to reflect in those sections?
I wanted something that leaves you hanging, that never resolves. I thought about how there are so many details in Google Earth, but they’re all corrupted or odd and it’s moving at such an unnatural rate, so I thought a synthetic instrument like brass would work. Like, there’s no way those horns sound like real horns, just as there’s no way someone could see Google Earth and be like, “What a beautiful photograph. What camera did you take it with?”

The only actual song in the doc is Ed Schrader’s anthem “Rats,” which really hits home when you have a rodent problem.
[Laughs] Back then Ed lived with my girlfriend at the time in the Copycat [apartment building] and I lived in the unit across the hall. Ed would come in and drive me fucking crazy [laughs]. Anyway, I remember the first time he played [“Rats”] he used just a CD rack with contact mics. It had this really wild sound, because of all these different sheets of metal. He was just banging on them with scissors – like one half of a scissor in each hand. I remember thinking about those lyrics and he was like, “Yeah, I was just laying here on the floor and saw five rats going in and out of my kitchen and realized they’re probably crawling all over me when I’m sleeping.” And I was like, “Huh, I guess me too.”

After the Ghost Ship fire, Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh tapped you to serve on a new task force aimed at making DIY arts spaces safer. What’s been your experience so far?
On paper, [the task force] could have been amazing. I think it was a well-intentioned idea. But there was a lot more politics involved than concern [for safety] … if the city or fire department wants you out, you’re out. At one time, I thought I had a mind for politics. I tried to make the meetings as public as possible, and then eventually stopped getting emails about when they were.

I also don’t think DIY spaces are a topic for the press or for the boardroom. People who have never walked into a DIY space are now talking about the need to preserve them? What do they think they are trying to preserve?

What do you make of Under Armour’s multibillion-dollar real estate investment in downtown Baltimore that was announced this year?
Ever seen RoboCop? It’s like that scene where the seemingly well-meaning corporation wants to build a new city. Personally, I’m horrified of a “new Baltimore” and the insane compound city [Under Armour] is going to build. If it’s a success, then Baltimore will become like Portland and most of my friends won’t be able to afford to live here.

We’ve put all our chips in Under Armour – the largest sum of money the city has ever given to any project. But there’s still no infrastructure for it here; it’s all still post-industrial, so we’d need all new roads, street lights – those sort of things. That’s the part that shows the city’s true colors. I understand wanting to bring in new industry, new jobs – but the amount of attention this project gets in comparison to existing issues … I don’t have a problem with a company being large. But one company acting like it’s the only thing here? It’s a wealth duel that the people are going to lose.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/dan-deacon-on-rat-film-score-wild-aerosmith-mashup-w509235

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Yikes! ‘Biggest rat’ in Riverside is fancy and affectionate

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 27, 2017 in Rat News
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If you’re terrified of rats and mice, stay away from the Woodcrest Community Center in Riverside Saturday.

Thousands of the critters that people often find disgusting will be the center of beloved attention at the American Fancy Rat Mouse Association’s fall show.

“You will see rats and mice of many colors competing in many fun pet classes and fancy show classes,” according to the association. “Pet rats will compete for titles like Most Affectionate, Biggest, Most Laid Back and Most Unusual Markings.”

Pet mice may be a bit more cuddly as they vie for cutest, friendliest, most inquisitive and “Best Pet.”

Association officials said spectators can learn about rats and mice and find out “what makes them fancy.”

The association was founded in 1983 “to promote and encourage the breeding and exhibition of fancy rats and mice, to educate the public on their positive qualities as companion animals and to provide information on their proper care.”

The event is free to the public and judging starts at 11 a.m. at the community center at 17156 Krameria Ave. The rats and mice will wrap up everything by about 4 p.m.

–City News Service

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Article source: https://mynewsla.com/life/2017/11/03/yikes-biggest-rat-in-riverside-is-fancy-and-affectionate/

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Bamboozling and Warming the Heart of Downtown Tacoma in the 1970s

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 26, 2017 in Rat News
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It was a deathly quiet time in downtown Tacoma. There were more vacant lots than people. The Tacoma Mall had lured away most of the shops and those left were struggling. In 1969, the Downtown Tacoma Association was created to promote and develop retail trade in the City of Tacoma. During the same time I became a member of the Tacoma Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). It was a young man’s organization (21-35), but I actually joined for my wife. They had an auxiliary. Our second child was born in 1968 and we were pregnant with our third. We had just moved back into town from Long Lake. Peggy, my wife was looking for a life outside of mothering three children under the age of three.

It was a deathly quiet time in downtown Tacoma. There were more vacant lots than people.

When I told my supervisor at Boeing that I had joined the Jaycees, he responded with a “humph” and the put down “They don’t do anything but drink beer.” Boeing management wasn’t too enlightened at the time. I worked afternoon shifts so I could attend the University of Puget Sound. On New Year’s Day one year later Boeing freed me to explore other options. This was after they had also freed dozens of my friends. Peg had been enjoying her involvement in the Tacoma Jaycee-ettes, so I began attending Jaycee meetings. I took a leadership course and learned to set goals. I was introduced to the CPG (Chairman’s Planning Guide) a project management tool, took Speak-Up (public speaking) and financial management. “Leadership training through community involvement,” was our slogan. The most valuable training was learned by hosting a Wive’s Appreciation Night. Our Tacoma Jaycee president was Rohn Burgess. Tacoma is a small town. I remember as a child my parents shopping at Burgess Furniture on K Street. Rohn was the director of the Downtown Tacoma Association. Rohn was old school. Soon Rohn became more and more involved in the Downtown Association and phased out of Jaycees (age-wise too).

With other new Jaycee members along with their wives and girl friends, we did our best to stir things up. We sold roasted chestnuts on the Broadway Plaza (the street was closed to encourage people to walk around and shop) during the Christmas season. Roasted chestnuts are an acquired taste, by the way. They sold well, but nobody liked them. We played Donkey Baseball in Lincoln Bowl against the disc jockeys of radio station KTAC. We sponsored an uphill bicycle race and held a Big Wheel competition as well. We chose one of the many empty lots in the downtown core for a greased pig chase. The City of Tacoma and the Humane Society said, “No.” One of our members made up a sign that said, “The Humane Society Loves Pigs, Too.” We also ran the KTAC Haunted House for several years. The first one was in the closed Weisfields store on Commerce Street.

One of our members made up a sign that said, “The Humane Society Loves Pigs, Too.”

Weisfields had a display window. People lining up to enter the Haunted House would have to stand right by it. I thought we should entertain our guests. We left the display windows dirty and murky. We carved some evil looking Jack O’ Lanterns, hung some old railroad chip nets (they look like giant spider webs) from Burlington Northern, put some fake bones on the display surface and put in a couple of spot lights. Opening day I went to the B I Circus Store on South Tacoma Way and bought pet rats. Before people arrived I added the rats to the display.

As people lined up to buy tickets and enter, they peered into the display window. When a rat crawled out of the eye socket of one of the Jack O’ Lanterns a woman screeched, “Oh, my god, there’s live rats in there!” The next day the Humane Society called. We did really well, however . . . even without the rats.

The monies that we raised from our projects went back into the community of course. One of our favorite Christmas holiday projects involved taking children (waiting for Big Brothers and Big Sisters) to K-Mart on Sixth Avenue. The store would open early for us so each child could shop for presents, up to $5 worth. $5 was two hours wages at Boeing . . . if you still had a job there. Some children bought for themselves, but many bought for the their brothers and sisters and a few for their mothers.

Eventually, the Jaycees met up with a community group that wanted to do something similar at Christmas time, but much larger. We would need a location. I stuck my neck out and guaranteed a location so we could proceed. I talked to Gary Ellis, who ran Amtrak in Tacoma and Union Station. We would give away brand new toys and used clothing for children. The entity of Christmas House was born. We took over a large section of the middle floor. Union Station was decorated with banners hanging in every window and was absolutely beautiful. Thank god. My backup plan for the guarantee had been our KTAC Haunted House . . . without the rats of course. For our grand opening we had TV’s Brakeman Bill, Seafair Royalty, and a rotunda full of guests. Christmas House became it’s own 501 C-3 organization and provided toys and warm clothing for Pierce County children for over twenty-five years.

Union Station was decorated for Christmas House with banners hanging in every window and was absolutely beautiful.

My last involvement in Jaycees was the creation of the Tacoma/Seattle Bacon Bowl. This was run by the executive board of the Washington State Jaycees. We were top heavy with Tacoma Jaycees. The event involved members of the police departments, fire departments, and sheriff offices of both Seattle/King County and Tacoma/Pierce County in an annual football game. The first year the game was played at the King Dome (Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn signed fifty Nerf footballs which we threw into the stands. The second year the battle was fought in the Tacoma Dome. Over twenty years a quarter of a million dollars were raised for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and other children’s charities.

In the late 70s, a new club, the Tacoma Mall Jaycees was formed. Many of their members only used initials for their first and middle names. That was our way to bring in women (incognito) into the organization. Peg joined as M.H. Doman and became a Jaycee. Today there are only 15,500 members of Jaycees world-wide, but in the 70s we had around a quarter of that in Washington State alone. We did drink a little beer . . . and had a great time. I think we improved Tacoma and Pierce County. Many of my oldest friends were Jaycees. We don’t talk much about the old days, but we remember them. On the really bright side, now there is always something going on in downtown Tacoma.

Article source: https://thesubtimes.com/2017/11/25/bamboozling-and-warming-the-heart-of-downtown-tacoma-in-the-1970s/

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Two Decades On, Giant African Rats Still Making Impact in Detecting Landmines and Tuberculosis

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 22, 2017 in Rat News
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MOROGORO, Tanzania — The charity famed for its use of specially trained rats in landmine and tuberculosis detection celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.

Harnessing the highly attuned sense of smell in the African giant pouched rat, the international organization APOPO has spent the last two decades training these affectionate rodents in detecting two of the deadliest threats on the planet: landmines and tuberculosis. Each gives off its own unique smell, undetectable to humans, something which the rats are able to quickly sniff out.

“This is a case where mother nature has built a detection system that, coupled with modern technology, can save lives in places where cost-effective and efficient tools aren’t readily accessible,” says Bart Weetjens, founder of APOPO. “There’s a powerful and life-saving alert system in the little noses of these rats. Even after 20 years of working with them, I’m still in awe of what they can do.”

Two decades ago, Weetjens, a graduate in product design at Antwerp University in Belgium, called his friend Christophe Cox (now APOPO CEO) to tell him about an idea he’d had after watching a documentary about landmines. Weetjens, who as a teenager had trained his own pet rats to find hidden objects for treats, wondered if rats could be trained to find these insidious weapons and free communities from the terror and hardship they cause. Putting together a team of dedicated colleagues and friends at the University, Weetjens presented the project to the Belgian Government in November 1997 and won the organization’s first grant to test the idea. The APOPO project was born, later expanding into tuberculosis detection.

Twenty years later, APOPO (which stands for Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling in Dutch, or Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development) has now faced the landmine issue in seven countries, including Cambodia, Angola and, notably, Mozambique, where it played a key role in the country achieving ‘mine-free’ status in 2015.

The HeroRATs have helped clear over 106,000 landmines, identified over 12,000 TB-Positive patients who were missed by their clinics, and prevented almost 90,000 potential infections of tuberculosis – today’s biggest infectious disease global killer.

But APOPO has not stopped there. Last year, the organization began a pilot program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to tackle illegal wildlife and hardwood trafficking, specifically focusing on pangolins — one of the world’s most trafficked and endangered animals. A group of HeroRATs began training for this newest mission in Tanzania this month.

What’s Next? APOPO is now looking at opportunities to eliminate landmines in former FARC territories in Colombia, where minimal-metal mines aren’t easily detected by metal detectors, and in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park in Zimbabwe, where APOPO expects to soon begin work detecting mines along important migration routes for elephants, buffalo, lions and other protected wildlife. In addition, APOPO’s TB detection programs are expanding in Tanzania and Mozambique and will soon be operational in Ethiopia. APOPO is also exploring using rats for search and rescue operations, particularly in collapsed buildings, and even in sniffing out brain disease.

The Next 20 Years: Twenty years after the Ottawa landmine treaty was signed, there is still work to be done. To this day, 58 countries are still plagued by as many as 110 million landmines buried in the ground. However, global financial support for mine clearance is declining, necessitating a faster way to find the landmines. APOPO’s goal is to become the go-to resource in accelerating the pace of landmine clearance as the world races to accomplish the Ottawa Treaty target of eliminating all landmines by 2025. In order to do this, APOPO’s HeroRATs could be the key to speeding up the decades long process.

“When we launched APOPO, the common view was that it would take another 500 years to clear all landmines from the Earth’s surface,” APOPO CEO Christophe Cox said. “Twenty years later, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and if the international community fully supports the collaboration of all demining operators, we could clear the remaining minefields by the 2025 mine ban treaty deadline.”

At the same time, more than 1.5 million people die of tuberculosis each year. Over the next several years, APOPO wants to fight tuberculosis at source by launching TB-detection rat facilities in major cities of all 30 high TB-burden countries.

About APOPO
APOPO is an award winning, non-profit International NGO that has developed an innovative method deploying African giant pouched rats, nicknamed “HeroRATs”, to detect landmines and tuberculosis using their extraordinary sense of smell. APOPO’s headquarters, training and research center is based in Morogoro, Tanzania and the HeroRATs detect tuberculosis in Tanzania, Mozambique, and soon Ethiopia.

Article source: https://reliefweb.int/report/united-republic-tanzania/two-decades-giant-african-rats-still-making-impact-detecting

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Okanagan Pet Project: Noticing a need for ‘human training’

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 20, 2017 in Rat News
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I’ve been called many names in my life, but my favourite is crazy dog lady. It is a title I have happily claimed over the years as it has only become truer. I grew up with tons of animals: sheep, horses, chickens, dogs, guinea pigs, bunnies, even pet rats! I have always been known as a bit of an animal whisperer; nothing phases me (except spiders). It’s the dogs, however, that are my thing.

I moved to the Okanagan a few years ago, and my SPCA rescue dog, Hudson, wasn’t far behind. Last year, we added a rehome German Shepherd, Lucy, to our crew; two big dogs, one little me. The Okanagan is the perfect place to have pups, and there are lots of them around. However, it was as I encountered more of our four-legged friends that I started to notice a need for some “human training.”

I’ll give you my go-to example, as it has happened on multiple occasions: people allowing their dogs to run free where other dogs are leashed.

My dogs are incredibly friendly 90% of the time, but they are protective of me when they’re on leash. I know this is an issue a lot of dog owners struggle with. When my dogs see a fellow canine, their flight or fight instinct kicks in, and they’re attached to me so fight wins. We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we started in their leash training, but if another dog comes barreling towards them while they’re leashed? Watch out. It leaves me with a split second decision to either drop the leashes and pray no one runs or fights, or battle for control against two big dogs that outweigh me by about 30 lbs and keep a third at bay.

I praise every dog owner who looks at me with understanding eyes and passes calmly with their perfectly behaved pup. I will always tell people Hudson and Lucy are dog aggressive, we are training, apologize for the noise, and thank them over and over for continuing past us like nothing is happening. However, a few times there are owners who have paid no attention to my cautions.

Walking down the side of the road one evening, an off-leash dog began running towards us. I crossed the road and walked behind a row of parked cars while informing the other owner of my training issues. His response? “Don’t worry, my dog is friendly.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. The problem here is that it doesn’t matter. Your dog is about to cause a fight, no matter how blissfully unaware either of you are. I don’t want my dogs to attack your dog! It’s the point of training.

This was a launching point for The Okanagan Pet Project. It’s hard to stop a circus on the sidewalk to educate and explain to a fellow dog owner the ins and outs of why this is all happening. I want dog owners to understand the reasoning behind training obstacles and behaviours instead of growing increasingly frustrated with each other over similar issues.

You can find out more about the project at www.okpetproject.com and follow us on Instagram @okpetproject.

Article source: https://www.kelownanow.com/news/news/Lifestyle/Okanagan_Pet_Project_Noticing_a_need_for_human_training/

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Montana family enjoys having rats as pets

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 19, 2017 in Rat News
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(ARLEE) If you’re looking for a pet that’s clean, has a great personality, and can travel with you on road-trips, have we got a story for you: rats.

One house in Arlee is crawling with them — just the way they like it. “I snuggle with them all the time I like them so much,” Braxtyn said.

For this family, the rat race is a way of life.  “I like rats because they’re cuddly and they literally sit and watch TV with you. My mom at first said ‘No!’ And then we got one and here we are — with two full cages!” Casidy told us.

Sadi Chadwick and her family have dozens of pet rats, all lovingly cared for with their own names and personalities.

“They make wonderful pets. They are like little dogs. You can teach them tricks and potty train them. They can walk on leashes,” Said said. “We’ve taken them on road trips and to the lake and walked with a leash on. They make good pets and are misunderstood.”

But in some circles, rats rule!  They keep the boys and the girls apart, but when love happens, the results are often hard to resist.

“I can’t post a picture of a litter without Facebook going nuts. I have to educate and explain that they have to have a cage mate, they’re social, they cannot be alone, they can get depressed and die,” Sadi said.

There are no dirty rats in the house and you won’t smell a rat either – rats are quite clean. Even so, sometimes people misunderstand this family’s regard for rats.

“They think they’re sewer rats and stuff and that they’re dirty stuff and that they don’t live in good places, but they do,” Skylar said.

“Anytime I get a negative reaction, I invite people to see them. It’s not what you’re thinking, they are not disgusting sewer rats, they clean themselves like cats do,” Sadi said.

History has not always been kind to the rat. But Sadi’s family is – even taking in rescued rats.

One downside to rats: they only live for a few years, so you run the risk of having your heart broken.  

Sadi has a Facebook page called the Chadwick Rattery if you’d like to see more of the little critters.

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Article source: http://www.krtv.com/story/36872399/montana-family-enjoys-having-rats-as-pets

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Montana family enjoys having rats as pets – KRTV News in Great …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 18, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

(ARLEE) If you’re looking for a pet that’s clean, has a great personality, and can travel with you on road-trips, have we got a story for you: rats.

One house in Arlee is crawling with them — just the way they like it. “I snuggle with them all the time I like them so much,” Braxtyn said.

For this family, the rat race is a way of life.  “I like rats because they’re cuddly and they literally sit and watch TV with you. My mom at first said ‘No!’ And then we got one and here we are — with two full cages!” Casidy told us.

Sadi Chadwick and her family have dozens of pet rats, all lovingly cared for with their own names and personalities.

“They make wonderful pets. They are like little dogs. You can teach them tricks and potty train them. They can walk on leashes,” Said said. “We’ve taken them on road trips and to the lake and walked with a leash on. They make good pets and are misunderstood.”

But in some circles, rats rule!  They keep the boys and the girls apart, but when love happens, the results are often hard to resist.

“I can’t post a picture of a litter without Facebook going nuts. I have to educate and explain that they have to have a cage mate, they’re social, they cannot be alone, they can get depressed and die,” Sadi said.

There are no dirty rats in the house and you won’t smell a rat either – rats are quite clean. Even so, sometimes people misunderstand this family’s regard for rats.

“They think they’re sewer rats and stuff and that they’re dirty stuff and that they don’t live in good places, but they do,” Skylar said.

“Anytime I get a negative reaction, I invite people to see them. It’s not what you’re thinking, they are not disgusting sewer rats, they clean themselves like cats do,” Sadi said.

History has not always been kind to the rat. But Sadi’s family is – even taking in rescued rats.

One downside to rats: they only live for a few years, so you run the risk of having your heart broken.  

Sadi has a Facebook page called the Chadwick Rattery if you’d like to see more of the little critters.

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Article source: http://www.krtv.com/story/36872399/montana-family-enjoys-having-rats-as-pets

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Two Decades On, Giant African Rats Still Making Impact in Detecting …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 17, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

MOROGORO, Tanzania — The charity famed for its use of specially trained rats in landmine and tuberculosis detection celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.

Harnessing the highly attuned sense of smell in the African giant pouched rat, the international organization APOPO has spent the last two decades training these affectionate rodents in detecting two of the deadliest threats on the planet: landmines and tuberculosis. Each gives off its own unique smell, undetectable to humans, something which the rats are able to quickly sniff out.

“This is a case where mother nature has built a detection system that, coupled with modern technology, can save lives in places where cost-effective and efficient tools aren’t readily accessible,” says Bart Weetjens, founder of APOPO. “There’s a powerful and life-saving alert system in the little noses of these rats. Even after 20 years of working with them, I’m still in awe of what they can do.”

Two decades ago, Weetjens, a graduate in product design at Antwerp University in Belgium, called his friend Christophe Cox (now APOPO CEO) to tell him about an idea he’d had after watching a documentary about landmines. Weetjens, who as a teenager had trained his own pet rats to find hidden objects for treats, wondered if rats could be trained to find these insidious weapons and free communities from the terror and hardship they cause. Putting together a team of dedicated colleagues and friends at the University, Weetjens presented the project to the Belgian Government in November 1997 and won the organization’s first grant to test the idea. The APOPO project was born, later expanding into tuberculosis detection.

Twenty years later, APOPO (which stands for Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling in Dutch, or Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development) has now faced the landmine issue in seven countries, including Cambodia, Angola and, notably, Mozambique, where it played a key role in the country achieving ‘mine-free’ status in 2015.

The HeroRATs have helped clear over 106,000 landmines, identified over 12,000 TB-Positive patients who were missed by their clinics, and prevented almost 90,000 potential infections of tuberculosis – today’s biggest infectious disease global killer.

But APOPO has not stopped there. Last year, the organization began a pilot program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to tackle illegal wildlife and hardwood trafficking, specifically focusing on pangolins — one of the world’s most trafficked and endangered animals. A group of HeroRATs began training for this newest mission in Tanzania this month.

What’s Next? APOPO is now looking at opportunities to eliminate landmines in former FARC territories in Colombia, where minimal-metal mines aren’t easily detected by metal detectors, and in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park in Zimbabwe, where APOPO expects to soon begin work detecting mines along important migration routes for elephants, buffalo, lions and other protected wildlife. In addition, APOPO’s TB detection programs are expanding in Tanzania and Mozambique and will soon be operational in Ethiopia. APOPO is also exploring using rats for search and rescue operations, particularly in collapsed buildings, and even in sniffing out brain disease.

The Next 20 Years: Twenty years after the Ottawa landmine treaty was signed, there is still work to be done. To this day, 58 countries are still plagued by as many as 110 million landmines buried in the ground. However, global financial support for mine clearance is declining, necessitating a faster way to find the landmines. APOPO’s goal is to become the go-to resource in accelerating the pace of landmine clearance as the world races to accomplish the Ottawa Treaty target of eliminating all landmines by 2025. In order to do this, APOPO’s HeroRATs could be the key to speeding up the decades long process.

“When we launched APOPO, the common view was that it would take another 500 years to clear all landmines from the Earth’s surface,” APOPO CEO Christophe Cox said. “Twenty years later, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and if the international community fully supports the collaboration of all demining operators, we could clear the remaining minefields by the 2025 mine ban treaty deadline.”

At the same time, more than 1.5 million people die of tuberculosis each year. Over the next several years, APOPO wants to fight tuberculosis at source by launching TB-detection rat facilities in major cities of all 30 high TB-burden countries.

About APOPO
APOPO is an award winning, non-profit International NGO that has developed an innovative method deploying African giant pouched rats, nicknamed “HeroRATs”, to detect landmines and tuberculosis using their extraordinary sense of smell. APOPO’s headquarters, training and research center is based in Morogoro, Tanzania and the HeroRATs detect tuberculosis in Tanzania, Mozambique, and soon Ethiopia.

Article source: https://reliefweb.int/report/united-republic-tanzania/two-decades-giant-african-rats-still-making-impact-detecting

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It’s a crappy job but someone has to do it

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 14, 2017 in Rat News
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Photo by Dieter Zander

Photo by Dieter Zander




When my kids were little, they loved it when I read “Everyone Poops” to them, Taro Gomi’s classic book that, let’s face it, parents read in hopes that it will entice their little ones to finally start using the potty.

At some point, we’re so over having to clean them up and deal with diapers. But we do it for as long as we have to because, well, that’s just what we have to do. When you sign up to become a parent, poop’s part of the job.

Most of us seem to take poop in stride. We clean up after ourselves, our cats, our birds, our pet rats, maybe even an elderly parent in our care. That said, it seems that some people draw a line when it comes to poop. I’m not sure why but some of us just can’t deal with our own dog’s poop — especially on Marin’s trails.

No matter where you go, our beautiful open space is dotted with piles of poop or colorful little poop-filled bags. The bags are so ubiquitous that quirky San Anselmo artist Ralph Lazar even drew one into one of his Mount Tam black-and-white line drawings.

I guess the proliferation of bags means some of us actually do pick up our dog’s poop — sometimes — but that’s it; we just leave the bags on the side of the trail for someone else to throw away. I’m not sure whom we’re expecting to come along and do that, but I guess we have faith someone will.

And someone actually does. Earlier this month Marin supervisors approved a contract for a pet waste removal service they’ve used before to scour our open spaces twice a week to clean up after dog owners and walkers who can’t — dare I say won’t — pick up after their dogs. But, hey — it’s only costing the county $35,000 a year, a pittance in the county’s $555 million budget. I just can’t imagine what else the county could do with $35,000. It’s not like there are other, more pressing needs around here.

True, part of the job is essential — emptying and relining dog waste cans by the open space gates, and restocking the dispensers holding biodegradable pet waste bags. But, still.

You wouldn’t think it’s all that hard to do, pick up poop, but consider that there are thousands of dogs in Marin — 20,218 licensed, according to Marin Humane — and, as Gomi writes, every single one of them poops.

“It’s not an easy job,” Brian Sanford, Marin Open Space District superintendent, told the IJ.

Or pleasant, I suppose. But picking up your own dog’s poop and throwing it away isn’t all that hard. So what, exactly, is the problem?

Marin’s dog walkers “are getting more responsible” about picking up poop, Sanford said, but “we’re not quite there yet.”

No, we’re not.

And it’s not just on the trails because nowadays dogs are everywhere. In malls and stores and cafes — even supermarkets. Maybe some are service dogs and emotional support animals, but probably not all of them. The problem is that pretending your dog is a service dog so you can take them wherever you go puts people with actual disabilities and who really need them at risk. Plus, you know, poop.

I’m a dog lover. I adopted a sweet, shy rescue girl last December. She’s slowly coming out of her shell and learning to trust me. We spend a lot of time together, hanging at the dog park, taking walks, hiking the hills. And on those walks and hikes, she poops and — shocker — I clean it up. When you sign up to become a fur parent, that’s part of the job.

Really, it’s not that hard.

Vicki Larson’s So It Goes runs every other week. Contact her at vlarson@marinij.com and follow her on Twitter at OMG Chronicles.Nit, musquiu

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/article/NO/20171113/FEATURES/171119929

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