Opera’s rats steal the show from ‘Cinders’

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 20, 2018 in Rat News

La Cenerentola | New Theatre Oxford | Thursday, October 11

THE Welsh National Opera has a very high reputation for the excellence of its productions.

The director Jane Font’s treatment of Rossini’s opera La Cenerentola, assia La bontà in trionfo (Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant) is no exception.

La Cenerentola was first performed in 1817. Rossini composed it in only three weeks to a libretto supplied at equally short notice by Jacopo Ferretti.

It is an inspired masterpiece containing some of Rossini’s finest and most technically demanding writing for solo voice and ensemble.

The international soloists fielded by WNO were well equipped to meet this exceptional challenge and, remarkably, sounded and looked as fresh after almost three hours of demanding musical gymnastics as they had done at the outset.

The cast was supported by a well-drilled and magnificently attired male chorus together with WNO’s own excellent orchestra that didn’t miss a note under the lively baton of Tomàš Hanus.

The stage setting was ingenious and flexible. It is amazing what you can do with revolving mirrors and a bit of smoke! No expense was spared on the costumes. The use of very bright colours served well to emphasise the fairy tale context of the story.

Ferretti’s plot of the opera is broadly based on the old fairy tale of Cinderella:

Angelina, the step daughter of Don Magnifico, lives at the Don’s crumbling castle in the kitchen working as a slave to her two vain and cruel half-sisters Clorinda and Tisbe. In Ferretti’s version the traditional fairy godmother is replaced by Prince Ramiro’s tutor, Alidoro, disguised as a beggar. Angelina takes pity on the beggar who arranges for her to go to the prince’s ball in disguise. Cinderella’s famous glass slipper is replaced by a diamond bracelet; and there is no need for a shoe-fitting contest because the prince’s scheming valet, Dandini, has already pre-selected Angelina to be the bride!

The WNO version dumps the fairy tale mice that traditionally turn magically into white horses to take Cinderella to the ball. Instead, Cinderella has six pet rats that get up to all sorts of engaging antics as the plot develops. Typically, at one point, the prince’s coach breaks down outside Don Magnifico’s castle, whereupon the rats trundle a toy coach-and-four onto the stage, remove a wheel, carefully lay the coach on its side, give a “thumbs-up” and scuttle off. The audience loved it.

This was just one of many delightful, surreal touches to the evening’s entertainment. The audience took the rats to their hearts; the six dancers involved, in delightfully baggy costumes with conical noses and long tails, were given a roar of applause by the audience at the final curtain.

Underpinning all the laughter and intrigue, Rossini’s timeless and dazzling score was given sparkling treatment to bring the whole story to life. This was opera at its best and most accessible.

John Burleigh

Tags: , , , , ,

What Is Rat Disease? The World’s First Case Of This Condition In Humans Has Been Confirmed

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 19, 2018 in Rat News

If there’s one thing that paralyzes me with fear, it’s rats. While it was previously thought that rats couldn’t spread hepatitis to people, a case of rat disease has been found in humans. The New York Times reported that a Hong Kong man was diagnosed with rat hepatitis E. And, the case is serving as a wake-up call for city officials, Dr. Siddharth Sridhar, a clinical assistant professor from Hong Kong University’s department of microbiology who involved in studying the patient, said in a press conference, according to the South China Morning Post.

“These kinds of unusual infections, rare infections, first instances — even one case is enough to make public health authorities and researchers very alert about the implications.” If you live in a densely populated urban area, you’ve likely come across a rat. New York City even has its own rat mascot known as pizza rat who announces the beginning of summer by dragging a slice of pizza around city streets. While this is a cute anecdote, rats are a real problem. People on Twitter have reported being chased by rats, and one New York City-based Twitter user said he put his coat on and a live rat jumped out of his pocket.

I’ll give you a moment to stop screaming.

The South China Morning News noted that at the housing estate where the case of rat disease was found, rats “as big as kittens” roam the property unchecked. Officials have found hepatitis E in at least one rat, and during the news conference, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a top microbiologist at Hong Kong University, said the issues needs to be taken serious to avoid another situation like the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that plagued the area in 2003, and is thought to have originated in an animal that spread the disease to humans.

“We don’t know if in future there will be a serious outbreak of the rat hepatitis E virus in Hong Kong. We need to closely monitor this issue,” Yeun said. What’s more, a 2011 study published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases reported that the rat disease virus was found in Los Angeles, Calif. However, at the time of the study it was believed that the virus was “not transmissible to rhesus monkeys, suggesting that it is not a source of human infection.” With a human being infected in Hong Kong, officials at the news conference said there is no need to panic, but the case does warrant further investigation into the transmission of diseases from rodents to humans.

Because the man was under observation after a liver transplant, and the infection was identified right away, he made a full recovery after being treated with antiviral medication. Sridhar said the best defense against contracting a disease from rats is a good offense. This means making sure rats can’t enter your living space. “Ensure there is no food for the rats, which means there is no garbage lying around that the rats can feed on,” he advised.


While this is easier said than done if you live in an urban area, you can ensure your apartment is unattractive to rats. The website Pest Kill offers some all-natch remedies to repel rats such as peppermint oil, black pepper, bay leaves, sage, and more. “Using herbs — like black pepper, oregano, and cayenne — is another good alternative in repelling rats. You can sprinkle herbs on plants, soil, doorway crevices, and in entry points,” the website noted.

Additionally, studies have reported that rats don’t like the smell of cat pheromones, so it you’ve been wanting to get a cat anyway, this is just one more reason that cats are the best pets. I can personally attest that this is true. After I moved out of a house where we never had rats, my old roommate texted to tell me that rats came inside the house after me and my two cats moved out. If you are bitten by a rat, or your cat or dog catches a rat, take yourself to the doctor and your pet to the vet. Because, when it comes to rats, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Tags: , , , , ,

Canada’s Pied Piper Province — How Alberta Became Rat-less

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 18, 2018 in Rat News

Survey: Kids favor rats over other pets

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 17, 2018 in Rat News

‘Creepy cute’ animals that drive parents nuts appeal to young people.

Written by in October 2018

Survey: Kids favor rats over other pets

Who knew that rats were so popular with kids? The website RightPet says a survey of registered users found that children and teenagers get more satisfaction from owning a domesticated rat than they do from a cat or dog.

“Small pets like rats are often the first living creatures, not counting goldfish, a young person considers to be their very own, and successfully meeting the challenge of raising a pet can do wonders for self-esteem,” RightPet owner Brett Hodges said.

The independent pet and pet care review website based its findings on input from 2,867 members in 74 countries.

Among the reasons young people love rats are the rodents don’t cost a lot to keep, they are clean, and they freak out parents.

“They’re smart and affectionate little clowns who bond with their owners and thrive on social interaction,” Hodges said.

RightPet quoted Purdue University Professor Gail F. Melson, Ph.D., as saying kids are naturally attracted to rats.

“For pre-teens and teens, pet rats have an aura of creepy cute, and it can be appealing to have a pet that others find scary or strange,” said the professor emerita of human development and family studies. “Adults probably associate fancy rats with the stereotyped dirty and disease-spreading wild rat. The association is unwarranted, but if I were a teen, I might enjoy having a pet that freaks out my parents.”

Because rats live only two or three years, their special status can be short-lived, too.

“The appeal of rats … tends to wane in favor of cats, dogs and horses in the over-18 age group,” RightPet stated.

Tags: , , , , ,

RightPet Study Finds Kids Choose Rats Over Cats, Dogs

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 16, 2018 in Rat News

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Oct. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new international survey conducted by RightPet, children and teens say they get more satisfaction owning rats than any other pets. Not the wild rats seen around garbage dumpsters, but domesticated “fancy rats” which have different colors and fur types.

The RightPet Pet Ownership Study was conducted online between 2010-2018 and was designed and performed by researchers with Ph.D.s in psychology.


The study finding is based on 5,150 reviews from 2,867 members from 74 countries, who currently own, or have owned, pets when they were 17 years old or younger. Adults and kids who owned animals between the ages of 10-17 reported that pet rats gave them more satisfaction than any other types of pets, including cats and dogs.

Why rats? A close look at the user reviews reveals these reasons:

1)    Rats don’t cost a lot to keep 
2)    Owning a rat builds self-esteem 
3)    Rats are smart and loving
4)    Rats are sex (and death) educational 
5)    Rats are clean and won’t give people the plague 
6)    Rats freak parents out (which kids love)

“It’s easy to see why kids and teens love pet rats,” says Brett Hodges, owner/editor at RightPet. “They’re smart and affectionate little clowns who bond with their owners and thrive on social interaction. And perhaps the most intriguing explanation has to do with developmental psychology. Small pets like rats are often the first living creatures (not counting goldfish) a young person considers to be their very own, and successfully meeting the challenge of raising a pet can do wonders for self-esteem.”

It’s the pet/owner relationship that young rat fans love most, saying that female rats tend to be more outgoing, playful and hygienic, and that male rats are more loving and cuddly.

“My favorite thing to do after getting home from school would be to take her out and carry her on my shoulder; she would stay put there and nuzzle into my neck and hair. Owning a rat reminded me of having a miniature dog, as they can be just as loyal and loving,” shared RightPet member hayleaoryan.

Part of the appeal of pet rats to children and teens also seems to be the inevitable look of horror on their parents’ faces when they say they want a rat.

“For pre-teens and teens, pet rats have an aura of ‘creepy cute,’ and it can be appealing to have a pet that others find scary or strange,” says Gail F. Melson, Professor Emerita at the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. “Adults probably associate fancy rats with the stereotyped dirty and disease-spreading wild rat. The association is unwarranted, but if I were a teen, I might enjoy having a pet that freaks out my parents.”

Unfortunately, owning a pet rat does have a few drawbacks. Rats have short lifespans of only 2-3 years, and many kids say the death of their pet rat is their first experience with mortality. Rats can also be noisy at night, like to chew and need their cage cleaned at least several times a week to reduce urine smells.

The appeal of rats, according to the RightPet survey, tends to wane in favor of cats, dogs and horses in the over-18 age group, but rats still remain the No. 4 most satisfying pet until age 30.

About RightPet

RightPet is the world’s largest online pet healthcare rating and recommendation site. With over one million breed- and species-specific reviews by vets, trainers and pet owners, RightPet harnesses consumer and expert experiences and presents it in a user-friendly, digestible way so pet owners can find the most effective – and cost-effective – options for an encyclopedic list of pet health, wellness and training issues.

Media Contact:
Brett Hodges

SOURCE RightPet.com

Tags: , , , , ,

The Best Horror Movie Reboots of All Time — and a Few of the Very Worst

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 14, 2018 in Rat News

The original TV mini-series based on Stephen King’s novel had plenty to love, specifically Tim Curry’s Pennywise, but the 2017 big screen version wins out. The sequel coming in 2019 is shaping up to be just as impressive, if the cast (Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader) is any indication.

Tags: , , , , ,

I was obsessed with the Dolls’ House. The Smithsonian almost tossed it out.

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 13, 2018 in Rat News
Sarah L. Kaufman October 12 at 8:00 AM

One of the most popular exhibits in the Smithsonian American History Museum is a five-story dollhouse in a glass case. It was the creation of a librarian named Faith Bradford, a serious collector of miniatures. Take one look at this home and its breathtaking detail — linen towels, little pets nosing around their little food bowls, 23 rooms — and you’re drawn in by its sharp, condensed drama. 

It is darling. It is busy. It is a little overstuffed, as a house with children tends to be. Life in the early 1900s is beautifully captured here, in an immersive experience that rewards close attention. Each of the little inhabitants — Peter and Rose Doll, their 10 offspring, visiting grandparents and servants — is engaged in some telling activity. Pigtailed Alice Doll peers out her bedroom window, with her cat on the sill, suggesting thoughts of . . . escape? Poised to leave the children’s bathroom, the chambermaid nonchalantly holds her bucket and mop in one hand: a strong, efficient woman.

Wonderful as it is, the Dolls’ House has faced eviction. The Smithsonian has had it on view, off and on, since 1951. But the house nearly fell victim to sexism.

“Most of the male curators at the museum rolled their eyes at the idea of such a display (although they did not object to the also-popular and large collection of toy soldiers),” states a Smithsonian Web page on problematic donations, “and tried on a regular basis to remove the collection from exhibition.” 

When you place those objections alongside its value as folk art, as a cultural and historic artifact, and the extraordinary scope of it, there’s a righteousness about this dollhouse. 

That’s how I see it now, anyway. Years ago, as a child, I was simply obsessed with it. I stood before it on the step provided for short visitors, studying its wee striped mixing bowls, its rugs and candlesticks (one in Alice’s room is shaped like an angel). In my mind I pulled the little chairs out from the dining room table; I hung out with Peter, the eldest Doll child, up in his room with his pet rats; I put words into all of their silent mouths. 

Pigtailed Alice Doll peers out her bedroom window. (Hugh Talman/Smithsonian American History Museum)

A little girl in a flowered coverall is doing the same thing when I visit the Dolls’ House one recent morning. She alerts her mother to the dog and cat in the laundry room, she wonders aloud about the loaves of bread lined up on the kitchen table. This display is fertile ground for the imagination, and it is irresistible. 

“Uh-oh,” says a man, stopped in his tracks. “Now that’s a dollhouse.” He gives it a once-over, walks on. His female companion stays; she’s been pulled into a relationship with it. 

“No TV in this house, hon,” she calls after him, leaning in, examining each room. 

A photo of Bradford’s sister, Mary, hangs in the dining room, above the fireplace. Another reminder of Mary is in the attic: amid the jumbled-up castoffs is a lamp with a missing globe. It is the only surviving piece of a collection of dollhouse furniture the sisters had when they were young — a reminder of the fantasies from which the Dolls’ House grew, of the cherished sister Bradford lost, and of her own solitude. She never married; she had no children. This is why she gave the house away. 

Bradford’s longings animate this remarkable exhibit just as much as her taste and expertise. Judging it as improper for a national museum is unimaginable. It makes one think about what else we may be looking upon now, with unconscious bias, as unworthy.

The Nurse’s Room. (Hugh Talman/Smithsonian American History Museum)

Smithsonian American History Museum, 13th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. americanhistory.si.edu

Tags: , , , , ,

Rampant rats inside home lead Pueblo to consider pet limits

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 12, 2018 in Rat News

KOAA-TV providing News and Weather information for Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Woodland Park, Canon City and all of Southern Colorado.

5520 Tech Center Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

  • About us
  • Contact us

Tags: , , , , ,

Boy, seven, raises more than £200 for ill children through drawings

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 11, 2018 in Rat News

PUBLISHED: 12:37 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 11 October 2018

Seven-year-old Hayden Daly, who sells his drawings for charity. PHOTO: Kellyann Daly

Seven-year-old Hayden Daly, who sells his drawings for charity. PHOTO: Kellyann Daly


Hayden Daly, from Diss, has brought in £215 for East Anglian Children’s Hospices (EACH) in memory of his friend Maddison Turner who passed away aged two from cancer.

Hayden said: “I just want to help people. I want to make money because I want to help other poorly babies like Maddison”

EACH offers care and support for children and young people with life-threatening conditions and supports families across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.

Kellyann Daly, Hayden’s mum, said: “Hayden began drawing one evening and said that he would like to draw pictures to sell. He asked grandparents if they want to buy a picture each, which of course they did.

“I asked Hayden what he wants to make money for, thinking he was going to say he wanted money to buy some toys for his pet rats but he didn’t. He said ‘I just want to be kind to the charities so I want to give some to them but keep some for myself.’

“We had a talk about which different charities there are. I told him about EACH and how they helped Maddison and her family. He decided that he would like to give all of what he makes to EACH in memory of Maddison.”

Hayden has a Just Giving page where he takes commissions from as far away as Italy.

Past requests have included a sausage dog, flowers, and a picture of his ‘favourite thing’.

Mrs Daly said: “He is still working through his list!”

To request a picture or donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/haydensdrawings

Tags: , , , , ,

Teacher rips into $80k whingers

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 10, 2018 in Rat News

DESPITE living in one of Australia’s most expensive cities, Damien* says his $23,000 annual income is more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle.

Renting in the suburb of Albion, which sits just 12km from Melbourne’s CBD, Damien lives in a share house with two roommates, his cat and two pet rats.

The 45-year-old, who says he’s made upwards of $60,000 in other jobs, understands his low income may shock some people – but it’s a lifestyle he said he wouldn’t change.

“I haven’t always been on $23,000,” he told news.com.au.

“But my other job had much longer hours for a lifestyle that wasn’t that different to what I have now, except that I could save a lot more.”

Damien, who doesn’t have children and is single, is taking part in news.com.au’s Cash Confessions series, which looks at how Australians make and spend their annual income.

Previously in the series, we spoke with mother-of-two, Stef, who lives in Sydney’s west and earns 170,000 annually. But despite her income, she said that it wasn’t enough to sustain her family’s lifestyle.

“I’m in disbelief,” he said. “I can’t believe how it could be difficult to be living on $80,000-$100,000.”

While he understands his circumstances are unique, such as no mortgage or family, an inability to live on six figures is a predicament Damien, who brings in around $450 a week, cannot understand.

“People need to cut out the things they think they need, but really they don’t,” he said.

“What I’ve learnt is that you can live on a lot less.

“I appreciate I am single and don’t have kids or a family to look after, but I have chosen not to buy a house or get a mortgage or debts or commitments, so I can understand if you take on a lot of commitments it can add up.”

Damien works just 10 hours each week as an English language tutor, but says he enjoys having a lifestyle full of free time and without the stress of making a big pay packet.

Having completed a Bachelor of Arts and majoring in linguistics, Damien has finetuned his income to suit his “minimal” lifestyle.

Spending just $440 a month on rental repayments, $700 on groceries and just $20 on takeaway food – Damien says he lives within his means, but doesn’t feel like he’s penny pinching each month.

“It really isn’t hard,” he said. “I manage and I’m not short of money.

“I do spend carefully and really watch how I spend, but I have never been motivated by money or making a big income.

“I would rather have time to do what I want, and in an ideal world I would ditch money altogether.”

In January, a survey from global database Numbeo revealed Melbourne as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live.

According to Expatistan, which compares the cost of living from city to city, the average Melbourne resident will spend $143 a month for public transport, $2118 a month for a 45sq m furnished studio in an affluent city suburb, and around $294 for utilities for a single occupant. According to Budget Direct, the average net salary (before tax) for a Melbourne resident is $4277 – more than double Damien’s income.

“Groceries are my most expensive monthly spend, but I eat simple,” he said of his supermarket spending habits.

“I am never going down the aisle thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t afford that or this.’ I just don’t buy a lot of stuff, and I am only cooking for one.

Damien said his dinners are simple, consisting usually of rice, meat and some frozen vegetables, and he will treat himself to takeaway food once a fortnight, which “makes life cheaper”.

“If I do go out, I prefer to do free things,” he said. “Like go camping or go for a walk around the city or along the beach, which doesn’t cost much at all.

“I don’t have a car, so usually travel with mates or catch public transport.”

Damien says he isn’t able to save much money on his income, but tries to put away at least $50-$100 a month if he can. He said a way of doing this is to be vigilant when it comes to spending, and question the value of every item.

“I don’t know how people manage to spend so much,” he said.

“I always ask myself if I need or want something before paying for it, and whether I will need it in a month’s time. Around 80 per cent of the time the answer is no.

“Takeaway food, online shopping, coffee – it’s those little every day things that can drain your wallet.”

* Name has been changed.

Care to confess your monthly spending habits? Are you a savvy saver who knows how to spend smart? We’d love to hear from you. Email vanessa.brown@news.com.au

Tags: , , , , ,

Copyright © 2020 RatChatter All rights reserved.
RatChatter v1.0 theme from BuyNowShop.com.