An exhaustive article about the “Brass Rat” – MIT class ring featuring the school’s mascot, a rat-looking beaver:
“The Brass Rat is traditionally worn with the Beaver “sitting” or “shitting” on the wearer until graduation. This represents the hardships imposed on students at MIT. In addition, the skyline of Boston is facing the student, representing the outside world awaiting. After graduation, the ring is turned around, and the Cambridge skyline is visible to the graduate, as a reminder of times spent at MIT.”
Fans of Harry Harrison can choose to order the Brass Rat in stainless steel instead.
This must be the ugliest class and overstated ring in existence. The Canadian engineer’s iron ring, by comparison is a marvel of good taste (even though technically it’s a pinky ring).
My favorite part of this trivia was the hack of welding the Brass Rat to the finger of the Statue of the Three Lies (as the model for the statue supposedly went to MIT).
Unions in New York City are masters of psychological warfare. When they set up a giant blow-up rat (seasonally decked in Christmas tree lights) in front of your business and start singing union songs and chanting chants, well, it’s not a pleasant experience.
The chants are catchy. Here’s my favorite one:
We are the Union, we are the Union
Mighty, mighty Union – mighty mighty Union
Everywhere we go – everywhere we go,
People want to know – people want to know
Who we are – who we are
So we tell them – so we tell them
I culled this great quote from an article at Fastcompany.com:
“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.”
Bigger fangs. Check.
“Festering nipples.” Check.
The rat is all over the city. Sean of Dust and Rust blog caught one in front of a Duane Reade.
If you decide to organize, I guess you can buy your own over here.
NYC Unions are rather well equipped. For instance they have this gigantic blowup rat that they use in demonstrations. It’s blue, it looks more like King Kong, but it’s a rat. It has a tail. Judging by it’s looks it gets a lot of use.
The strikers usually stand near the rat, dance, sing songs and chant “Scab! Scab!” at people who enter the building. When the morning rush is over they probably head to a coffee and donut place leaving a few people to guard the rat.