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The Empty Trashcan Rat Trap
|| 5/1/2011 || 2:21 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photograph of a gnawed hole in my trashcan

One night I was in my backyard and I heard the sound of a rat stuck inside one of the empty trashcans. Every few moments the poor rat would try to jump out of the trashcan, but it couldn’t grasp the small hole at the top of the trashcan, and would land back at the bottom of the trashcan. By morning it would die of exhaustion and/or starvation.

For a moment I thought this was the ultimate rat trap, but a week later I was saddened to see a different rat jump out of the can after some trash had been placed inside of it. The trap only worked if the trashcan was empty. To my dismay, a few nights later I a saw an even larger rat jump out of the empty trashcan and I realized that some type of cage would be needed to hold the rat within the trap.

Photograph of a gnawed hole in my trashcan with the chicken wire cage

Using some extra chicken wire and a little bit of string, I’ve caught 3 rats using this trap. The trick is to keep the trash can empty of waste (decoy!) and leave the caging on top of the trashcan near the hole. If I hear a rat inside the bin, I quickly put the cage on and tie it down. Oh, rats!



The Washington Minarat – A poorly designed public service advertisement currently on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority buses
|| 11/1/2008 || 5:06 pm || Comments Off on The Washington Minarat – A poorly designed public service advertisement currently on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority buses || ||

Friday afternoon I went with Liz Glover to the Huffington Post’s DC office to shoot a video with Jason Linkins. When we were done filming indoors, we went outside and shot some humorous man-on-the-street interviews around the White House. On the way back to the office, I spotted the advertisement above on the side of the WMATA bus and decided take a few photos.

Now I had read about a similar public awareness campaign related to rat abatement that compared DC to an unnamed metropolis, but this graphic takes the hilarity to a new level.

1) All praise the holy rat sun! After all, 2008 is the Year of the Rat! The rat is associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities. The rat’s sun will set January 25th, 2009, but I suspect they’ll stick around for the Ox.

2) Behold the Washington Minarat! Shaped similar to a campanile, there is a curious minaret to the left of the mighty sun rat. When did the Washington Monument transform itself into a part of a mosque? Did the graphic designer purposely exclude the Washington Monument? If the designer was trying to imitate the campanile at the Basilica Of The National Shrine Of The Immaculate Conception they did a very very poor job. Maybe they were mocking the war in Iraq? The first minaret was constructed in 665 in Basra, Iraq during the reign of the Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I.

3) Height restrictions are the answer! The reality is that the skyline of Wahsington, DC is mostly uniform without any building being taller the width of the street, plus twenty feet. This means that the varied skyline in the advertisement above does not represent Washington, DC, but most likely another unnamed metropolis.


Not photographed bonus advertisement on the back of the bus was a parody of the Got Milk? campaign, which asked the viewer “Got Syphilis?”



Later in the evening I went to a friend’s house who happened to have a fake rat. I decided to take a photo of the pointy kitty sitting on my leg. Some day I’d love to take that fake rat and add a small remote control car to the underside of it in order to create a rat than can “run” around.



Anyways, expect the interviews we filmed to be on-line shortly and in the meantime watch out for the rats.


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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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