September 10, 2007

The Giant Inflatable Rat.

So there was this Giant Inflatable Rat....

The Giant Inflatable Rat

... at the corner of Clinton and Remsen Montague Streets. So I grab a quick (and distorted) picture with my iPhone.

I arrive at my office and Google "giant inflatable rat" for all the Giant Inflatable Rat information I need (like what's that rash on his belly?). I see there's a Flickr group: "The Rat Patrol." I join the group, I upload the picture, etc. etc.

I hope you appreciate my efforts keeping you abreast of what going on here in Brooklyn. Seems to be some labor dispute.
You've seen it around: a giant creature with menacing buckteeth, long claws, and red, beady eyes. It's a regular at union protests and strikes, wherever there's labor tension. If the Rat could speak, it would get right to the point: "So I moved your #@!% cheese. You wanna do something about it?"...

Twelve years ago, Mike O'Connor, owner of Big Sky Balloons & Searchlights in Plainfield, Illinois, created the first rat at the request of a union member in nearby Chicago. Said the union man of O'Connor's first sketch: "It's not mean enough." O'Connor added bigger fangs and a pink belly with "festering nipples." "I love it," the man said. So did other unions. Today, Big Sky sells between 100 and 200 rats a year--even though it is a nonunion shop itself....

Does the Rat work? "Usually, employers go bonkers when they see it across from their property," says Randy Mayhew, organizing director of Laborers International Union of North America, which employs about 20 rats. "It's an effective piece of street theater," says Peter Jones, executive director of the Labor Heritage Foundation.

Festering nipples, eh? That's what it takes to make management cringe. Festering nipples.

28 comments:

Trooper York said...

I guess Maxine actually decided to come to Brooklyn to stalk you in person....Scary!

rhhardin said...

It's easily countered if management puts out an inflatable cheese on his side of the street.

I'm surprise the rat makers aren't offering them already.

smokeandashes said...

Ah, the rat. I was in New York on business several years ago for an extended period of time. They were outside the Hampton Inn I was staying at. The rat was not the biggest problem. The people with the drums and the megaphone were much worse. The hotel was in a residental area and I can imagine that the neighbors were none to pleased.

Synova said...

Love the rat!

The rat is the mascot of our local science fiction convention, Bubonicon.

Yes, the name refers to the Bubonic plague. SF geeks are *weird* and this *is* New Mexico, after all. ;-)

Ron said...

awwww...quit pickin' on Brittney!

Trooper York said...

No that's definitely Maxine...you can recognize her by her festering nipple

Joan said...

"Festering nipples?" No way, unless rats are unlike every other mammal on the planet.

It's more of a nasty ulcerating rash.

What a charming edition to any neighborhood. Makes me even more happy I don't live in a big city. I know, there are a lot of positives, having done the city life thing. But the negatives are so in-your-face that they are, like this giant rat, mostly unavoidable. If I were walking around with my kids, this rat is something I'd want to avoid.

jane said...

Guess it would be "insensitive" were Management to get a giant inflatable Terminix man.

jane said...

And then a giant inflatable crybaby--

Hoosier Daddy said...

About every week here in Indy the janitors union is picketing some business downtown and they sometimes bring thier blow up rat which sits in a pickup truck while they march and try to remember the words to thier picket songs.

Its not at big as this one but just as ugly.

AllenS said...

BB gun. Then listen to the Rat deflate.

peter hoh said...

I guess noone figured out how to make a giant, inflatable scab.

Pastor_Jeff said...

"Festering Nipples" would be great name for a punk band.

Also, a good title for a blog post to draw some traffic.

Maxine Weiss said...

Trooper: You're just upset that Althouse won't let you enter her abode and, I had the nerve to point that out.

My big sin of highlighting the fact that Althouse induces all these people to come to New York....to go to a "restaurant"...when what they really all want is to enter the inner sanctum....of Althouse.

Only the privileged few, who are allowed to go deeper within...the Althouse Sanctum-Sanctorum.

The pictures Althouse has been putting up of her exclusive pied-a-terre, yet nobody at the "Meet-up" is allowed entree....

Insult.

Trooper York said...

No Maxine...I am just upset that you parked yourself on Remsen St to cavalierly display your distended stomach and festering nipples...you know there was formerly a house of ill repute on Remsen St. across from where you are sitting...perhaps you were employed there in years gone by and are simply....nostalgic

John Foster said...

The Giant Rat is a pretty common sight in Manhattan. It seems to be used a lot by the SEIU when they are picketing a company, e.g., Citibank, that has switched to non-union cleaning crews.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry said...

The inflatable rat is a lot cheaper than having to hire pickets at the minimum wage.

Maxine Weiss said...

Trooper, I'm nowhere near that vicinity.

Actually, I'm inside of the Clark St. 'Gristedes' buying some Planters Nuts and Mixed Chews, after which I plan to hold court at a back booth at Tavern On The Green, contemplating how I was ever foolish enough to get roped into living in a place like Brooklyn.

jeff said...

I think I would prefer the rat to the jack-rocks, the insults, spitting and death threats, the broken windshield and slashed tire, I got from my last union encounter. And these from steelworkers who knew my job had nothing to do with theirs. Inflatable rat would be a step up from the real ones congregated at the gate.

Pogo said...

My son's school has a rat for their mascot. Not having a team to speak of, however, they make do with appearances at special events.

He looks like a guy with carpet on his head, not so much a rat, really. Not what you'd expect from an art school, is it?

Rick Lee said...

So that's what that is. I saw a medium-sized rat at a construction site on 21st St in Manhattan a few months ago.

titus20 said...

Festering nipples make me hard.

So do penetrating nipples.

I like the word nipples. It says so much in such a tidy little word.

nipples...nip.ples

Nipples-NIPPLES, nipplesnipples.

titus20 said...

I like curious nipples too.

What kind of nipples do you have?

Everyone should describe their nipples.

BlogDog said...

A phrase just for titus20: Nipples akimbo.

Cedarford said...

The Giant Rat starred in the Sopranos when they shut down the Esplanade on Carmine's orders.

It is amusing on one level, intimidating on another.

But the unions, particularly construction ones, have been clueless on the catastrophe of Open Borders and cheap illegals have been for the trades - not the Union bosses sucking up to Dem Party bosses obsessed with Iraq, Iraq, Iraq and "locking up the Hispanic demographic with free invasion granted".

Union bosses even willing to give Bush a pass because he is for Open Borders for different reasons - union-busting and working class wage suppression to further enrich the wealthy....
But they can't put their Giant Rat up in Lafayette Park to protest Bush's betrayal without questions arising about how they are protesting something Dem Party bosses also enthusiastically want - 100 million 3rd Worlders in the US by 2050 doing the jobs - like truck driving, carpentry, steelwork, infrastructure operators, highway construction - that no union man wants to do.

Steve Burri said...

I'm not sure that's not a real Brooklyn rat. I expect that, since it was the runt of the litter, it was booted out of their sewer society. The 'belly rash' is the result of rat raspberries from cruel siblings.

Kev said...

"Festering Nipples" would be great name for a punk band.

Pastor_Jeff, you beat me to the punch. I guess there are more than a few Dave Barry fans who read this site.

And the title of the linked story, "Inflatable Union Rat," would also be a good band name.