12 March 2022
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The Halfarat Tragedy

Perhaps I exaggerate. "Tragedy" makes a good headline, but even I have to admit that only a few of my millireaders will view this, at worst, as halfatrragedy. I believe that the vast majority, including one who could possibly kill me in my sleep, will view it as a boon*. Nonetheless, I proceed with this sad tale of neglect, degradation, and oxidation.

It Began With the Archie McPhee Catalog

This catalog, at least a few decades ago, sported a unique item among what can only be characterized as "novelties**." It was a half a rat. But not just a biological rat like those found in random sewers! This one was made from a rubbery material and had an extension lever so you could wiggle its tail with your tongue.


Yes. You would insert the missing front half in your mouth with its hindquarters and hideous tail protruding from your mouth. People with normal anatomy could then wiggle the tail with their tongue, giving the appearance that the "rat" was animated.


While I pretended to clean up another area, the remnants of the now-unrepairable Halfarat were revealed.

Alas, the lever is broken, and digitally wiggling the nub of the lever results at best in an anemic tail response.

The cracks in the rubbery material imply decades of irreversable oxidation. Even the color has degraded, although the greenish tinge does add to the effect and may be an improvement.


I demonstrated the Halfarat to a waitron in some random restaurant in, as I recall, the late '90s. It functioned, but I think she eventually recovered.

The Tragedy?

I would argue that it's the demise of the only exemplar of this product I own, and I can't replace it.

Others might argue that it's that I embody the tragedy in my person. What alleged grown-up wants to demo such a product in a restaurant? But I would suggest: "Remember the allegedly."


* If I fail to wake up one day, suspect that she read this blogitem.

**Currently, its headline promotions include finger owls and axolotls.

Richard Factor


"Ritual #1"

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band



One of my ham radio T-shirts. Uncharactistically, I remember when/where/why. VP8SSI was the call sign of a "DXpedition" to the South Sandwich Islands so that we ham people could check off another box on the way to working them all. I bought the shirt to contribute in a small way to the cost of the trip.

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