Writing is an Itch. This is a place to scratch.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tea Party Candidate

By Ruben Rivera, Art by Anita Rivera
Rattus Scribus blog©
31 December 2011 

Rattus Scribus, Moderator: Candidate Big Pig, in the spirit of New Years can you tell us what resolutions you will make to the people?

Big Pig: That's an excellent question, Rattus. You know, I was born in a humble fifteen bedroom manor in the Hamptons without so much as an indoor swimming pool, so believe you me, I grew up knowing the value of a dollar. 

Rattus: But you didn't answer the question. 

Big Pig: Well let me put it as straight as I can, so that I'm not misquoted by my opponents later. You, me, everyone here, and everyone within the sound of my voice. I mean we're talking everyone. That's about as plain as I can say it. 

Rattus: What in the name of Tartarus are you talking about? OK, forget about New Year's resolutions. Can you give us just one good reason why we should vote for you? 

Big Pig: Look, everything that's wrong today is because of that other party, which must not be named. I mean, where is the rain when you need it? And who was responsible for leaving out the cream in my coffee? I didn't flip-flop all over the place on that one. I think the people know what's really going on.

Rattus: Sweet Saint Rodentia! 

Big Pig: I know! Right?

Rattus: Tea Rat, can you PLEASE tell us why you are running for office? 

Tea Rat: Me? Oh, I'm not running for office. I heard something about a "Tea Party". I'm here for the Tea Party. But so far I don't see any tea.

Happy New Year
From Rattus & Tea 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

By Ruben Rivera. Art by Anita Rivera

Tea Rat: Rattus?

Rattus: Yes?

Tea Rat: Do you think we'll have snow for Christmas? Christmas is not Christmas without snow. 

Rattus: You know there are many places in the world where it doesn't snow, and the people in those places still celebrate Christmas. So in fact, Christmas can be Christmas without snow.

Tea Rat: Rattus? 

Rattus: Yes? 

Tea Rat: Does it snow here?

Rattus: Of course.

Tea Rat: Rattus? 

Rattus: What is it?

Tea Rat: Do you think we'll have snow for Christmas? Christmas is not Christmas without snow. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

He Was A Good Rat.

Ruben Rivera's Rattus Scribus Blog©

Rattus: Tea Rat, what are you doing?

Tea Rat: I'm writing my obituary. I was reading the newspaper obituaries and they're not very exciting. No plot. No foreshadowing. No hero's quest. No rising action, climax, or falling action, no conflict or resolution. When I die, I want to make sure the newspapers get my obituary right.

Rattus: You just mentioned parts of fictional literature. An obituary is a simple public notice of someone's death with a few factual highlights of their life.

Tea Rat: It doesn't have to be boring does it? It's not enough that I'll be dead, the summation of my life has to be dead too? We want meaning, drama, characters that a reader cares about, irony, literary panache. The reader should be in tears when they're done, emotionally spent, unable to take any more.

Reepicheep, Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader

Rattus: Alright. Let's hear the obituary you have created for yourself.

Tea Rat: "He was a good rat."

Rattus: That's it?

Tea Rat: What do you think? Why, Rattus, you're crying.

Rattus: I'm emotionally spent. 

Tea Rat: Well, whaddaya know. It worked.

"Blessed are the cheese-makers."
Rattus: Please stop. I can't take any more. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy Goosegiving

 Ruben Rivera©

Rattus: Hoy, Tea Rat. What's that you're hiding behind you?

Tea Rat: Hiding? Me? I'm not hiding anyth...

Rattus: Is that a turkey? Why are you hiding a turkey behind your back?

Tea Rat: It's not a turkey. He's uh, Mr. G-Gobble. Y-Yeah, that's it. Mr. Gobble from way out in Left Field, come to visit us here in Nowhere for Thanksgiving. He's a second cousin twice removed on my father's side.

Rattus: You're a rat. He's a turkey. That's not quite right...

Tea Rat: Well, you know my old da. Quite the ladies rat.

Rattus: It's not a question of your da's tastes. How can I put this? "Turkey and rat cannot begat." What's really going on here?

Tea Rat: Oh, alright. I met ol' Goose here...

Rattus: A turkey named Goose?

Tea Rat: Yeah. You see, I met ol' Goose here in a store window. He looked so friendly that I went in to say hello. Then that's when he told me.

Rattus: Told you what?

Tea Rat: That he was going to be someone's dinner. That he was going to the feather factory, the last round up, toe-tag-town...

Rattus: Toe-tag-town?

Tea Rat: You know, that his goose was cooked.

Rattus: Ah, hence the name Goose.

Tea Rat: No. that just happens to be his real name.

Rattus: Go on. Did you ask the store owner to set him free?

Tea Rat: Not really, no.

Rattus: Then you paid for him and brought him home?

Tea Rat: Not exactly.

Rattus: Oh, sweet Saint Rodentia. Don't tell me...

Tea Rat: I couldn't just stand by and watch Goose get gobbled. So naturally I grabbed him and ran. Rattus, uh, one more thing...


Rattus: Let me guess?

NPD: This is the Nowhere Police Department. We're going around the area looking for a fugitive turkey and his rat accomplice. Is there a turkey in there?

Rattus: No, sir. We only have a goose.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Knock, Knock

Knock, Knock!

Tea Rat: Who's there?

Rattus: It's me, Rattus.

Tea Rat: Rattus who?

Rattus: You know, Rattus. Live here. You're oldest and dearest friend. Rattus.

Tea Rat: If it's Rattus, why are you knocking to get into your own house?

Rattus: Because some boob -- who for the moment shall remain nameless -- locked me out while I was taking a morning walk.

Tea Rat: Prove that you're really Rattus.

Rattus: Let's try this again.


Tea Rat: Who's there?

Rattus: ♪ ♫ It's me-ee. ♪ ♫ Rattus ♪ ♫ 

Tea Rat: Rattus who?

Rattus: Rattus - I'm-going-to #^@* kick-you-so-hard-you'll-be-wearing-your-arse-for-a-hat-if-you-don't #^@* let-me-in-this-minute - that's #^@* who.


Tea Rat: ♪ ♫ Come in. ♪ ♫ 
Art by Anita Rivera© Text by Ruben Rivera© 6 Oct 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Such a Deal!

Text by Ruben Rivera. Art by Anita Rivera.

Tea Rat: Someone tried to cheat me at the market today, but I showed them.

Rattus: What do you mean?

Tea Rat: Well, I wanted to buy a box of tea, so I asked: How much is this tea? The grocer responded: Two boxes for 5 bucks.

Rattus: Yeah, and then what?

Tea Rat: Then I held a box in each hand and showed him the left one and asked: How much for this one? He answered: 3 bucks. So I said: I'll take other one.

Rattus: Such a deal!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

True Riches.

Rattus & Tea Rat's Witsend Cottage
by Anita Rivera©

Rattus: What did you do this week?

Tea Rat: Well after I worked selling some of my tea to make a living, I read, wrote poetry, did some gardening, did volunteer work, got together with friends, and went on walks.

Rattus: Sounds nice.

Tea Rat: I also met this rich person. He told me that I was wasting my time and that I should take my little tea business and turn it into a global enterprise.

Rattus: Why?

Tea Rat: Because then I could expand and open up tea shops everywhere.

Rattus: Why?

Tea Rat: Then I could beat my competitors by cutting out the tea growers and have my own tea farms, and manufacturing plants, and distribution centers, and franchise stores and go straight to tea consumers myself.

Rattus: Why?

Tea Rat: Because then I could offer an IPO and the stock proceeds will make me rich beyond my wildest dreams.

Ratttus: Why?

Tea Rat: Because then I can retire.

Rattus: Why?

Tea Rat: Because then I can read, write poetry, do some gardening, do volunteer work, get together with friends, and go on walks.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Truth in Advertising, Pt 2: A Pictorial

"Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life. That we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals. That we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption." (Victor Lebow)

Tar and nicotine smoke is
good for anything that ails you.

Above: Rice Krispies, Activia yogurt, Mini Wheats, and POM:
The FTC exposed these companies for making unproven claims that their products help prevent cancer, lower blood-pressure, improve your attention span, strengthen your immune system, and add years to your life.

They should call these cookies, "Mrs. Cheaply's"

Doesn't the above transformation require the reorganization of matter
at the sub-atomic level?

A little Dermitage creme and the laying on of hands
in the name of the Lord goes a long way.

Oops, we mean May 21, 2012

"My what big pockets you have."

Reality TV? Plato is turning over in his grave.

Keep believing.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Truth in Advertising

By Ruben Rivera©

OK, I know that advertisers are known for stretching the truth. But surely we can agree that the above skincare ad goes way beyond that to criminally lying?

I've heard of cremes that promise to "smooth and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles". But are we really expected to believe that woman on the right side of the picture was once the Melting Maniac on the left.

Look at her. She looks like the Wicked Witch of the West AFTER Dorothy threw water on her. Doesn't this kind of transformation require, like, the reorganization of matter at the sub-atomic level?

And give me a break. Are they really claiming that their creme can heal blindness too. Look at the side-by-side picture of her eyes! Wouldn't that require, you know, God?

Hey, I just thought of something. We should rub some of this creme on the creators of this ad. Maybe they'll be cured of blindness too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oy, 'da pain.

Tea Rat: Hey Rattus, I just picked up a couple of books on Jewish jokes. Want to hear one.

Rattus: A book?

Tea Rat: Har, har, har. No, a joke.

Rattus: Sure.

Tea Rat: A man goes to his rabbi.
Very distraught he says, "Rabbi, my wife is trying to poison me."
The rabbi says, "I know your wife."
"And?" asks the man.
"Take the poison."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Shake(speare), rattle and roll

From the ancient mists of time
where dwelt the sages way,

the bard of all bards plied his rhymes
that took our breath away.

His words the brush on paper canvas
painted tales in august hues:

of Eden's sweet green innocence, alas
with blood-red guilt we came to lose.

But heaven intervened and sure
with message from above,

 that deep within us lies the cure,
in faith and hope and love.

Rattus! Oh, Rattus! Humm, he left his desk.
Now what has he been up to? Hmmm. 

♪ ♫ From the ancient mists of time
where dwelt the sages way ♪ ♫

♪ ♫ the bard of all bards plied his rhymes
that took our breath away ♪ ♫....

Text by Ruben Rivera©
Art by Anita Rivera©

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nearer My God To Thee


Rattus: Ugh! My knee is acting up again. I can hardly climb the steps to our cottage. My back's a misery too. On top of that, I think I need stronger spectacles. I'm getting old, dear friend.

Tea Rat: My old da, Teadore Rat, used to say, "You know you're getting old when you used to dream about being able to fly, and now you dream about being able to walk." You know what else he used to say?

Rattus: I can't wait.

Tea Rat: You know you're getting old when your bark is worse than your bite because you have no teeth.

Rattus: Very funny.

Tea Rat: I'm joking. You're not getting old. You're getting ripe.

Rattus: That's disgusting. 

Tea Rat: What I mean is, you're maturing...like a venerable old wine.

Rattus: Stop talking.

Tea Rat: I thought you were a religious fellow. Remember the hymn, "Redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am."

Rattus: Right now the only hymn that comes to mind is "Nearer My God to Thee." No doubt about it, my friend, I'm headed for the long goodnight, the big sleep, the light in the tunnel, the fertilizer factory, toe-tag town, I've got one foot in the grave, I bought the farm, I'm circling the drain, pushing up daisies, checking out...

Tea Rat: ...Alright, alright. I'll take out the garbage.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Hate the Beach

Tea Rat: Oh boy! There's going to be a beach party! I better brush up on my 1960s surfer lingo. Twitchin, dude.

Rattus: Why are you twitching dear fellow? Are you ill?

Tea Rat: Twitchin! You know, as in great, superb, cool, boss, wicked. Now come on, let's book for the beach.

Rattus: Beaches are public. Why do we need a reservation?

Tea Rat: No, not book as in reservation. Book as in to depart post haste. It's gonna be far out.

Rattus: Oh dear, I trust not too far.

Tea Rat: No dude, that's bogus. I mean far out, as in cool, twitchin. Now come on, and can you bring that cherry umbrella of mine?

Rattus: "Cherry?"

Tea Rat: Yeah, you know, pristine, perfect.

Rattus: It is a nice umbrella, but it's mine.

Tea Rat: Woah, dude. Don't try to boggart my stuff.

Rattus: "Boggart your stuff? What in the world are you babbling about?

Tea Rat: I'm babbling? Dude, you don't even know what boggart means. What a burn. What a chop.

Rattus: I think I'm going to lie down.

Tea Rat: Don't get groady on me. Don't shine me on. Aren't we goin' to shag it to the beach?

Rattus: Going to the beach just sounds like too much work.

Tea Rat: But I was so stoked to dig up some scratch for some scarfs and split to shore. We were going to have a primo, righteous time.

Rattus: I hate the beach.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oh Ye Of Little Faith!

(Continued from Nowhere. Click here.)

Tea Rat:
Goody, goody, goody. Penny's birthday's almost here.
Cakes and pies and puddings to celebrate good cheer.

You know I'm on a diet, and that I'm most sincere,
to drop an inch or two or three, here and here and here.

Tea Rat:
Oh don't be such a party poop. Don't give me that sneer.
Eat to your heart's content. This comes but once a year.

You cruel tempting rat. Have you no feeling dear?
To eat my heart's content is precisely what I fear.

Tea Rat:
Oh Ye of Little Faith! Oh faithless without peer.
I said I have a secret. Have you no ears to hear?

You'll never understand, you'll never shed a tear.
Just standing near such calories will go straight to my rear.

Tea Rat:
Stand back thou faithless wretch, for soon it shall be clear. 

I say thee calories out. Go on away from here! 

Happy Birthday, Penny!

Drawings by Anita Rivera© 2011.
Text by Ruben Rivera© 2011.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rattus's Word of the Week: Twitter

Twitter (noun):
1. a succession of chirping or other tremulous sounds, as that made by birds
2. similar tremulous sounds in human communication, as in chattering, giggling or other expletives
3. the typed micromessages sent and received on an electronic device (cell phone or computer) via the social networking service provider by the same name
4. a descriptive for the current culture (as in "Twitter Culture") of ceaseless, fragmented transmissions via one of countless communication methods
5. the final tremulous sounds or gasps upon the death of the remaining 3 seconds of uninterrupted time in the day

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rattus's Word of the Week: Respect

"Respect your neighbor,
then do as you please."
Rattus Scribus©

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pur Frivolité

"La Gastronomie de Paris"
Affectionately authored by Rattus Scribus
Performed with peerless pulse-pounding passionate pageantry by Tea Rat

Shall I compare thee to Marron glacé?
Thou art more gooey and affectionate.

Rough winds do shake the cafe's cheese-fill'd tray,
But naught can shake my love for thee to date.

Thou didst gift me my first crêpe brimmed with nutella,
And with enraptured tongue sang acappella.

Off cobbled streets I met Turkish delight,
Which in America one must chew for a fortnight.

Accras de Poisson, mayhap doth take the crown,
Cod fish fritters? I know how that mayest sound.

But if on barren island I was forever doom'd to be,
A heaven this: Anita, cod fish fritters, and me.

La gastronomie. Like nowhere else, la gastronomie
de Paris.

"Tea Rat in Paris," By Anita Rivera
Marrons Glacés, by Artisian Chocolatier
Fromages, found on Tumbler
Nutella Crepe, by oli-and-mel.blogspot.com
Turkish Delight, by All of Our Fingers blog
Ruben -- Accras de Poisson in hand -- in nirvana, by Anita Rivera

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rattus's Back. Rumors and Other Follies.

Dear friends,

I cannot here go into where I have been and why I was gone these many months. That is a tale for another time. But, like the phoenix from the ashes, Rattus is back.

I thought that I would celebrate this most auspicious revivification with a true story about the folly of rumors as instanced in my own life. I shall title it:

"Rumors and Other Follies"

We've all had false rumors spread about us. I am certainly no stranger to false rumors spread about me. The first one I can remember was when I was in the 5th grade.

That year I was so sick that I missed 2 weeks of school. When I got back (and despite a letter from my mom informing the school I was sick), everyone looked at me differently, like I'd walked onto the set of some B-grade horror film. Some kids feared me. Others thought I was cool.

Why? Because the rumor had spread that I had been sent to juvenile hall. My teacher even pulled me aside, got down on one knee, looked at me with the comical seriousness of hound dog, and asked: "Ruben are you square with the law now?"

Am I square with the law?

"Mr. D'amico, the whole thing is a rumor. I was home sick."

Ironically, I think I disappointed him -- I mean, after his groveling humanitarian reaching out to the most troubled youth in the black board jungle and all.

I don't think we ever spoke again after that. But maybe it wasn't him. Maybe it was me. Maybe because even then, at 11 years of age, I knew that the teacher, everybody, had accepted the premise of the rumor. And I think that bothered me; for it said something about the way people saw me. (Maybe it said more about them than me. But an 11 year old can hardly be expected to accept such things with the zen-like tranquility of a cow.)

But alas, for the next few years my nick name was "Juvy Ruby."

No denials or explanations of mine were remotely sufficient to quell the rumor, because of course that's what criminals do: lie.

The truth of it is that not all rumors are deliberate attempts at coercion (call these rumors of propaganda; and some can be malicious and destructive indeed). Some rumors are a kind of spice that we all seem to need from time to time to enliven the ordinary and the dull (call these rumors of entertainment). A 5th grader being sick is simply not in the same league, interest-wise, as a 5th grader going to jail.

But, what is true of spice is also true of some forms of entertainment: too much can give you heartburn. So please, don't just swallow the premise of a rumor. Find out if it's true. And even then, take no joy in the folly and misfortune of others.

Yours truly,
Juvy Ruby