The Educated Rodent

. . . or, at least, the cultured rodent.

Will Teach For Food

rat holding sign

Yes, OK, it’s predictable. They didn’t go into it for the money.

With that ᐱᑎᑭ (pitiki) in the background, this picture might have been a candidate for Northern Rats. But that’s secondary.

Matter of fact . . . When I first started putting syllabics in paintings, many people didn’t know it was a real script. They thought it was a made-up rat language. In some quarters, syllabics are now known and recognized as “Lucy’s little triangles”.

And then there was the period, not so many years back, when the Ottawa Senators were in dire financial straits. Sportswriters pictured them standing on street corners with signs saying “Will Play Hockey For Food”.

Class Picture

class picture with teacher

No matter how many shots you take, there will always be:

and so on.

Oh, and, ahem, the picture will always be off center.

See Cheese

rat teacher instructing rat students about cheese

In a roundabout way I got the idea from a B. Kliban drawing. His version is something like this:

On one side is a cow with a speech balloon showing a hunk of cheese. On the other side is a similar speech balloon showing some cheesoid product like the ones here shown with an X through them. The “speaker” is a carton of milk.

The “See Cheese” title was recycled from an earlier drawing. Sometimes I use that one as a smiley:

see cheese

Saying Red

we all say red

You say ἐρυθρόν, I say ᐊᐅᐸᖅᑐᖅ, he says लोहं. But so far we have managed to remain civil about it.

the same rats, naming fonts

Postscript: When the time came to illustrate a wholly different subject, why come up with a new picture when I could simply adapt this one? This time around, they’re naming fonts.

Deep Purple

beneath a purple sky

Hm, yeah, now that you mention it, I guess they are the same couple we saw looking at the North Star in Suqusuittuq. But it’s never the same sky.

A Taste for Art

a series of nibbled pictures

Once it has happened in real life, it can only be a matter of time before it turns into a picture. And once we’ve got the title, it’s only a short further step to:

Knusper, knusper, knäuschen

Wer knuspert an mein Häuschen?

Hm. Maybe I should have painted mice instead of rats.

The Artist’s Ultimate Horror

a blank canvas

Change a few details, and it can be any artist’s worst fear: the blank paper sitting in the typewriter, the empty computer screen with patiently blinking cursor, the pristine slab of marble.


rats climbing all over an AE ligature

When the studio director makes up a name for a painting, it is usually for one of two reasons. Either I couldn’t think of anything myself, or—ahem!—she forgot to make a note of the title (written on the back of the picture) before framing. But this time it just couldn’t be improved upon.

By Clicking this Link . . .

rat entering an Adults Only web site

. . . you certify that you are eighteen years old. If you are not eighteen, we will . . . Well, there’s not a whole lot we can do. Minors can’t make contracts, so you can’t be charged with breaking one. But, hey, it’s the thought that counts.

And don’t think I didn’t see you sneaking into that online forum several days before your 13th birthday.

Adrift on a Sea of Bogons

rat on a raft in a sea filled with holes

Q.: What’s a bogon?

A.: It’s an IP address that hasn’t been assigned to anyone, making it the Internet equivalent of a phone number that leads only to the “not in service at this time” recording.

It’s also a pretty cool word. In this picture, the bogons are represented by glory holes—another cool term. They’re just as scary in real life as in pictures.

Do Not Read This Sign

sign reading “nofollow”

The name of the picture is properly

<meta name = "robots" content = "nofollow">

. . . but you try making that not look like a technical error.

Q.: What, if anything, does it mean?

A.: It’s an instruction to search engines. You’ve never seen it in person—unless there really was a technical error—because it’s buried in the page’s HTML where no human will see it. Essentially it means “I may have no choice about linking to this page, but that doesn’t mean I’m lending them the weight of my own repu­tation”. Or, in short, “don’t tell them I sent you”.

Query String

one rat firing an incomprehensible question at another

Look up at your browser’s address bar. Not the one you see right now: pick one from some random other site. Forums and search engines are generally a good bet. All that stuff after the question mark is collectively called the query string. The individual sections, separated by ampersands, are parameters with values.

Q.: And your point is . . . ?

A.: Those bits and pieces of information are what lets the web page get built. A page generated by q=ᐊᐱᖅ and s=ᕿᓂᖅ might be quite different from one that says q=ἐρώτημα and s=ζήτει, or even q=frage and s=such.