How I’ll Be Spending My Shelter-in-Place

By Sarah Yule 

How to Build the Ultimate Blanket Fort in 2020 | Blanket fort, Sleepover  room, Tent kids room

If you had the sense to mute your Outlook notifications this past Monday, you may have missed the news that we Pitt students are “strongly encouraged” to shelter in place about two weeks prior to going home for Thanksgiving. As can be said for many aspects of this Flex@Pitt dystopia, this recommendation can feel a tad yucky. Who wants to spend the last fourteen days of living under the rule of the benevolent and all-powerful Kenny BonBon and Pitt’s very own Galligator within the four walls of their teeny dwelling? We should be out and about, sowing our wild oats from one dirty South O basement to the next. But alas, we find ourselves here, and I have taken up the task of gifting you some advice on what you can do to make your shelter-in-place less depressing. 

1. For all my freshman, maybe you took the Freshman-15 as an obligatory sprint instead of a lightly suggested marathon. Maybe you, say, blew all of your dining dollars on pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Market to Go and have resorted to using your debit card these past weeks. Maybe, just maybe, the workers in said Market to Go know you and give you the same sad look when you check out with said Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pint on a near-daily basis. All of this is hypothetical, and I am totally not speaking from experience. So, now is the time to turn it around. Okay, I know, it is not possible nor healthy to embark on a total weight loss overhaul with mere days left in the semester. But, if you get off at the Gain Train’s next stop, you can ensure that this Thanksgiving of comments like “Wow, you really grew up!” is the last of its kind. 

2. Read that book that you told yourself you were going to read. It’s been sitting on your desk as a reminder of your failure to stick to anything and to leave it there would be letting that book win. What’s my shame book, you may ask? It’s a self-help read sent to me by my father following my first tearful phone call home in August when I couldn’t figure out how to get the dryer to start. While the book doesn’t directly deal with the function of laundry apparatuses, I’d assume it must have something useful to offer me. So, I will be delving into that sucker come November 12th. 

3. Call your friends from your hometown and prepare to make all of this shelter-in-placing for naught. You’ve been away from these people for months, so logically that extra week before Thanksgiving has to include a large gathering with half of your graduating class. Sure, it’ll put everyone around you in danger, but a life not lived on the edge is hardly worth living. 

4. Walk (six feet away from all human life forms) around campus and say a quick goodbye to all of your favorite spots. Much to my chagrin, I do have to advise you not to actually kiss the structures you’re bidding adieu to; I love a good building as much as the next guy, but these are unprecedented times, folks. I plan on washing my hands one last time in the definitely-haunted bathroom on the third floor of Cathy. I’ll get my last large iced coffee with almond milk and pumpkin swirl from the Forbes Ave Dunkin. Lastly, I will eat my last order of Sarah’s signature shame lo mein from Schenley Plaza’s Asia Tea House. That goodbye will undoubtedly be the most heartbreaking.

Once you’ve done all of these things, you’ll be perfectly ready to go back to your hometown. I wish you luck, and look forward to seeing you crying as I pass you on your very own farewell tour of Pitt’s campus over the coming weeks.

An Exclusive Interview With the Rats of Lothrop Hall

By Ella Mizera

As a human resident of 190 Lothrop Street, I too often make the mistake of only paying attention to residents of my own species. It’s a species-wide blind spot that I believe stems from a societal impulse to declare ourselves superior to other animals, our level of technology, our height, and (loath though I am to say it) plain old species-ism.

For too long, the Pittiful News has been dominated by the affairs of humans. It’s time to give a voice to our fellow residents who live, work, and play just as we do– yet so often go unnoticed.

These are the rats of Lothrop Hall.

Interviewer (Ella Mizera): Could you please introduce yourself?

Reginald Rattington III: Most certainly, my dear. My name is Reginald Rattington III, freelance omnivore, part-time de facto resident of Lothrop Hall, citizen of the world, statesman, and lover of life. My hobbies include calligraphy, golf, and enjoying the Pittsburgh nightlife, if you know what I mean. 

EM: (cautious) I’m not sure I do.

RR: Rats are nocturnal. It’s– that was a joke.

EM: Oh! Yes. (forced laughter) Anything else you enjoy, Mr. Rattington?

RR: I enjoy long walks on the beach, and my favorite show is the Office.

EM: How–

RR: US version.

EM: … Obviously.

RR: Obviously.

(There is a pause as the interviewer struggles for words.)

EM: So, er, Reginald–

RR: Oh, please do call me Reggie. Reginald was my father. 

EM: Reggie. Let me just say, it’s great to see you again. You’re looking well.

RR: Thank you so much. And thank you for having me, truly. It’s really quite refreshing, you know, to be welcomed with open arms by the University of Pittsburgh’s most popular and engaging paper.

EM: Not a problem.

RR: I mean, it really beats being chased from room to room with a rolled-up magazine right on my tail, scurrying for my life between dorm furniture.

EM: I said I was sorry about that before we started recording.

RR: No hard feelings, darling. The Rattingtons are a sturdy clan. You probably didn’t notice it was me–

EM: No, of course not.

RR: –Perhaps you mistook me for Ralph, or God forbid, Randy.

EM: I’m sorry, who are they?

RR: Whom, Ralph and Randy? Oh, no, don’t put them on the record. Nothing to worry about, not in the slightest. They’re simply my no-good cousins from Towers. 

EM: I see.

RR: They keep insisting they’ll move out and find their own place. Well, it’s been years, and they still show no signs of budging. Not a centimeter*. At least the overflowing trashcans at the Towers are supplying them well, so I won’t have to wire them money this month.

(*A centimeter is a small unit of length equal to approximately 0.4 inches, for those of you who are humanities majors. –Ed.)

EM: Hold up, rats can wire money?

RR: We’re not animals, you know. (scoffs) Really, the rudeness of it all!

EM: I’m very sorry to offend, but would you mind telling us what rats use money for?

RR: I say! We use money for the same things you do– paying bills, buying groceries, getting fur cuts, going to nail salons.

(He shows off his very well-done nails and I have no choice but to marvel at them.)

RR: Really, I might ask of you “what do you humans use those freakishly large brains for?” Obviously not critical thinking, or you’d have already grasped the basics of rat society.

EM: Well, we mostly use it to “forget” that the mask goes over your nose.

RR: Hm? Oh, that plague I keep hearing about. Horrendous, horrendous mess you’ve made. Makes me glad I’m a rat, to be honest. 

EM: I suppose you rats don’t have a pandemic to deal with?

RR: To think! No, we learned proper hygiene the hard way in the 40s and haven’t looked back since. 

EM: Excuse me, the 40s?

RR: 1340s, darling, do try to keep up. I find it quite remarkable, actually: you lot are spreading this one all by yourselves! 

(We share a laugh that reflects the pleasure of bonding with another soul in these plague-ridden times as well as the deep and unending bitterness at the state of the world.)

EM: Now tell me, Reggie, what projects are you working on right now?

RR: Well as you know, I’ve always been a spokesperson for the Lothrop rat community. Ever since I was a little ratling! 

EM: I’m sure.

RR: And now! To be interviewed by the Pitt News! Why, my mother always told me, “Reggie, I know times are hard for us rats right now. But one day, I know it, you’ll be famous as any human, getting photographed, making headlines, giving interviews. That’s the day rats start being respected around here.” That’s what my mother told me (may she rest in cheese) and I’ll be damned if it didn’t just come true. The Pitt News… (he sighs dreamily)

EM: Um, Mr. Rattington, I think there’s been a mistake. I’m here with the Pittiful News, not the Pitt News. 

(There is a long pause. Finally, Reggie sighs in disappointment.)

EM: (clearly dejected that she does not write for the rat’s preferred news source) Thank you for your time.

How the Pittiful News writes a Group Article

By The writers of The Pittiful News


  1. Learn how to write
  2. Acquire a group

    1. it is fine if you have to kidnap people
    2. groups can be made up of:

      1. Stuffed animals

      2. Real animals

  • Imaginary friends

  1. Manifestations of your exponentially increasing loneliness

  2. People! (Minus babies. Abolish babies)

    1. agreed
  3. Make sure the other group members know how to write
  4. (Very hard) Come up with an idea for a group article.

    • For example: an article about how to write a group article
  5. Always find a way to incorporate a dick joke. They just elevate
    the entire thing.
  6. Overshare about your long and hard life story
  7. Cry a little bit.
  8. Control + Shift + 7
  9. Make sure your glasses are clean. You need to be able to see the
    group article!
  10. Make sure the camera on your laptop is clean. The group article
    needs to be able to see you!
  11. Question your entire worth and ability to be funny. Have a crisis
    about the fact that you will be unemployed after college because you decided to
    major in English. You stupid piece of shit. Your sister goes to Johns Hopkins
    for chemical engineering. You’re paying thousands of dollars to analyze the
    green light in Great Gatsby. Who is gonna hire you for that? Nobody, you idiot.
  12. Cry a little bit more.
  13. Buy graph paper, you will need this later
  14. Make a bunch of matching shirts for you and your group to
    establish to onlookers that you are all a part of the same group who is writing
    an article together.
  15. Check twitter 13 times for inspiration
  16. Challenge other members of your group to a joust and see who comes
    out victorious, this is how the Pittiful News does elections
  17. Watch the entirety of the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Cinematic
    Universe to put yourself in the mood to write some jokes.
  18. Drunk call someone you’re secretly in love with just to feel
    It’s great for inspiration.
  19. Sleep with at least two people in said group to create some drama.

    • Write about said drama.
  1. This is a real occurrence, it happened 3 years ago
  1. Read some of your favorite articles to remind yourself that you will never create anything as good and you will amount to nothing.
  2. Eat lunch
  3. Eat breakfast
  4. Eat dinner

    • Please follow steps 21-23 in that exact order, otherwise there may
      be ill effects
  5. Get baptized
  6. Get circumsized
  7. Get bar mitzvahed
  8. Meet a nice Jewish boy, or nice Jewish girl, or nice Jewish enby.
  9. Dump their ass
  10. Leave town. Buy a new passport with a fake name from a man in a
    dark alleyway. Pack nothing but a cigarette and a pack of gum. Move to a remote
    island somewhere in vague Europe. You’re a new person now. Start over. Create a
    Fall in love with the store owner across the street but never reveal
    who you really are until it’s been 50 years and you’re on your deathbed. Make
    sure to take notes on what you observe during this to use for your article!
    Send the notes to your group. Die.
  11. Buy a ticket for Israel, 2 bottles of water for the way, and you
    sure do have some sweet company oh were leaving next week what do you say, when
    we’re gone when we’re gone, your gonna miss us when we’re gone, you’re gonna
    miss us by our smiles you’re gonna every mile oh your gonna miss us when we’re
  12. One hop this time, 2 hop this time, hands on ya knees hand on ya
    knees etc.
  13. Cry for the last time before you actually start writing something.
  14. Actually start writing the group article.

How to make friends

By The Writers of the Pittiful news

  1. Pizza
  2. Steal cats
    1. Not from them
    2. Just bribe them with other people’s cats
  3. Buy a plant, that is now your “friend”
  4. Be the only girl in a men’s wrestling club
  5. Write an ad on craigslist “man seeking man for a fun time” and meet a new buddy!
  6. Pay them, because nobody would willingly spend time with you without gaining something in return. You absolute coffee filter of a man. 
  7. Buy animal crossing and talk to your animated animal villagers. Trust me, it kind of feels like you’re talking to real people. It’s basically the same thing, right? 
  8. Don’t. They are useless. You cannot take them with you to the beyond. 
    1. Well you can but that is frowned upon in most cultures
  9. Profess your undying love to the person you made eye contact with on the bus
  10. Just talk to people. Duh. 
  11. Have a car.
  12. Stop making jokes about your dad leaving when you were seven as an icebreaker. Try asking for their name first. 
  13. Say “do you get any of this?” to the guy next to you in class, even though it actually makes perfect sense to you, but you know the guy next to you has been asleep for the past ten minutes. Score.
  14. Ask the cute girl in your accounting class what her fursona is, rwar XD! *nuzzles* ensues 
  15. Kidnap them beauty and the beast style, Stockholm syndrome creates the strongest of bonds!
  16. Get pregnant and when you give birth boom instant friend. 
    1. First problem, i am boy
    2. A rebuttal: Society has progressed past the need for boys. Sucks to suck. 
  17. Water (35 L), Carbon (20 kg), Ammonia (4 L), Lime (1.5 kg), Phosphorous (800 g), Salt (250 g), Saltpeter (100 g), Sulfur (80 g), Fluorine (7.5 g), Iron (5 g), Silicon (3 g) and trace amounts fifteen other elements.
  18. When Heinz was younger, he performed magic tricks for the local kids. Heinz performed the pull-the-rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick, and instead of pulling out his rabbit companion, Bobo, he pulled out a skunk, which sprayed him. Next, he performed a card trick. A girl volunteered to pick one of Heinz’s cards, while he blindfolded himself. When Heinz uncovered his blindfold, he appeared to be holding the same skunk, who sprayed him again. Yet again, another trick went wrong, and while Heinz shouted for someone to help him get out of some chains, the skunk came along and sprayed him once more. 
  19. Date a bunch of people then stick them all in the friendzone and never talk about it again
  20. Come to a Pittiful News meeting. Please, dear god, we are so lonely. 
  21. Have your boyband adopt a troubled orphan named Y/N with a heart of gold and wavy brown hair from her abusive alcoholic mother.
  22. Leave the door to your shower stall open when you wash your hair in the dorm bathrooms
  23. Make a fake twitter account and dox yourself. Lots of people will come over to hang!
  24. Sit in the elevator for a few hours and ask people where they are headed 
  25. Join a sorority/frat and pay $3000/semester to develop imposter syndrome and body image issues. 
  26. OCxzDJK;HJLKAEWRFHJLKwfhjlkasfdhjlkasfdhjkl cult
  27. Tell your RA that you and your roommate are having an existential disagreement
  28. Whenever you find a person passed out drunk, sleep next to them. Automatic soul mates <3
  29. Walk the streets of South Oakland and ask passersby if they have a light 
  30. Eat them. Then you guys are forever connected.
  31. Join volleyball games on the Pete lawn, and spike the ball onto the roof. That’ll be cool.  
  32. Get really dressed up and go out to a quiet street at night. Stick your foot out to signal cars to come over to you. They will even offer you money for your company.  
  33. Wear a fascinator to go out and use the ATM
  34. Start singing Alexander Hamilton in the dining hall and see who joins in
  35. Do your math homework in the bathtub
  36. Challenge people to a duel, once you set a time and place, swap out the dueling portion with a friendly discussion about normal friend things, such as: favorite color, favorite shape, second favorite dinosaur, how to demolish capitalism, and most importantly favorite desserts. 
  37. Talk about your cats a lot. It will NOT make people uncomfortable if you speak about them like they are your biological children. Being a crazy cat person is cool i promise.(see Sikov, Tyler)
  38. Maybe try being likeable?
  39. Join a group therapy session 
  40. MagiKarp use drown, then save them, boom friends for life until you must betray the for they have stolen the love of your life, Maria
  41. Ask if they want to go penguin sledding 
  42. Anti-Antidisestablishmentarianism       
  43. Wave someone over to sit next to you in a crowded cafe. When they do sit, introduce yourself and engage in some small talk. Then, when things are going good, look them right in the eyes for just a second. Slowly open your mouth and scream at the top of your lungs.   
  44. Just kiss your Starbucks barista, or if you are the starbucks barista kiss clients until one of them kisses back    
  45. Fall in love in a hopeless place
  46. Listen to this article
  47. Go to a bar on saturday at 9 oclock, when the usual crowd shuffles in, be an old man sitting next to the piano just sipping on tonic and gin.
  48. Press the blue light emergency buttons you find around campus. They deploy a helpful security friend directly to your location! 
  49. Knock on your ra’s door at 2am to talk about how much you miss your mommy. 
  50. Ggrgrgrgrgrgrgrgrgrgrgrgr 
  51. Yeah we should use the air ducts 

Books that should be made into Movies and Movies that should be made into books

By Tyler Sikov, Sonya Acharya, Abby Stoudt


BOOKS that should be made into movies

  1. Percy Jackson
  2. The Communist Manifesto
  3. The instruction manual for my cappuccino machine
  4. The Bible?
  5. Cheesecake Factory Menu
  6. Guinness book of world records
  7. Star Wars
  8. Frog and Toad (whole literary universe)
  9. The Adventure Zone: Book Three: Petals to the Metal. Only the third one, not the first two or any future volumes.
  10. A screenplay of The Cask of Amontillado that my friend and I wrote senior year of high school

Honorable mention: Any textbook on molecular biology. I mean have you seen those diagrams? Those in animation would be *chef’s kiss*


MOVIES that should be made into books

  1. Avatar the last Airbender
  2. Lord Of The Rings
  3. Harry Potter
  4. The Panera Bread barista training video
  5. Shrek (the whole cinematic universe)
  6. That Vine of the guy who is disgusted, and revolted, and who dedicated his entire life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and this is the thanks he gets? While getting into a dryer.
  7. Grand Theft Auto
  8. The Baby Shark music video
  9. The ‘British lads hit each other with chair YouTube video
  10. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Honorable mention: Inside Out, Up, and Big Hero 6, because crying at books hits different


How many bricks does it take to build a wall?

By Sonya Acharya


When I set out to answer this question, I hadn’t a fucking clue how many bricks it would take. Like not even a ballpark answer. So I decided to go hands on and start laying bricks and walk you through the process so we can figure it out together. Walls are good for enforcing social distance, and if you don’t have bricks, you can just use those extra-crusty-and-now-also-stale loaves of bread from when you goofed your quarantine baking. If you don’t even have those, then maybe you shouldn’t be building a wall in the first place, did you consider that?

Brick 1: That’s not a wall, that’s a singular brick. But it’s a great start! Let’s keep going.

Brick 2: Too small for wall. Need to add more bricks.

Brick 3: There’s a tiny wall! Let’s keep going! And make it bigger!

Brick 4: Yesss. Just like that.

Brick 5: OK, that’s long enough for a wall, let’s make it taller.

Brick 6: Slap this baby on top of the other bricks! That’s right folks, we got a second row! This wall’s gonna be so tall, I can’t wait!

Brick 7: Keep going with that second row! My mom’s going to be so happy when she sees this. #MakeMomProud

Brick 8: Tap him into place, make sure he’s nice and comfy.

Wait how many are we at?

… 5, 6, 7, 8 *jazz number begins*

Brick 9: Whew, it’s getting hot in here. Putting bricks down is kind of sexy. *jazz intensifies*

Brick 10: Row three, you guys! Brick 10’s a lucky guy to start the third row. Look at how tall the wall’s getting, you can trip over it now!

Brick 11: Brick. Bread. Wall.

Brick 12: Oh gosh, I’m so sorry sweetie, Brick 11 is just a rebellious teenager who’s upset about this sick jazz number, the ungrateful punk. I think you’re beautiful.

Brick 13: Row four, WOO!!! Get out your ladders fellas, we’re touching the sky for this one!

Brick 14: OK, we’re done. Look, there it is, we’ve built a wall.