Archive for the ‘Reptiles’ Category
Well, not really “gone”. I hadn’t been back to Ohio for nine years, and it amazed me somewhat both how much and how little has changed.
For example, there’s an entire grocery chain that I don’t remember from my last trip…that takes the Discover card and cash. No Visa/AmEx/MasterCard/Diner’s Club, not even debt cards with a PIN, just cash and Discover. Who came up with this idea?
On the other hand, the tractor tire store that was a landmark on the way to Grandma’s place is still there, after 40 something years. And Grandma’s place still feels remote from everything, even though there’s major strip centers at the end of her road, and even though much of the land was sold off over the past few years (and now has houses sitting on it).
And the old NASA hanger is still visible from the airport. That was another landmark for us kids. (My dad worked there, back when it was still the Lewis Research Center, before it was renamed “NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field“. Which is a mouthful. Not that I’m bitter or anything over the renaming; by gosh, if anyone deserved to have a NASA facility named after him, it was John Glenn.)
This is shaping up to be a long post, and sort of “stream of consciousness”, so I’m going to put the rest of it behind a jump. Before I do, here’s Grandma’s obituary, just for the record.
Winking Lizard, Macedonia, Ohio.
I’m going through a little bit of personal agita right now. The next few days leading up to, and during, the holiday, are shaping up to be kind of busy. Mostly the fun kind of busy (some of us are trying to plan a range trip; plus, fireworks), but with some work involved.
This coming Saturday, I will be flying out to Cleveland. My maternal grandmother passed away on Saturday, and her funeral is scheduled for a week from today. I plan to take a laptop with me and blog as much as I can from the road, but be prepared for a bit of a slowdown.
(I know there’s been a bit of a slowdown already. Mostly, that’s because there hasn’t been a lot going on that I’ve found worthy of blogging. I think we’re into the summer slowdown season; things are so hot that everyone is acting like giant lizards, conserving energy as much as they possibly can. Which is great for keeping cool, but not so great for providing blog fodder.)
(Is it just me, or is Houston experiencing a rash of motel fires?)
During the Celtic Tiger boom, snakes became a popular pet among the Irish nouveaux riches, status symbols in a country famous for its lack of indigenous serpents. But after the bubble burst, many snake owners could no longer afford the cost of food, heating and shelter, or they left the country for work elsewhere. Some left their snakes behind or turned them loose in the countryside, leading to some startling encounters.
Not much going on, but I rarely get a chance to use the “Snakes” and “Reptiles” tags. So:
Obit watch: Evan S. Connell, Jr., noted novelist and historian. (Son of the Morning Star: Custer and The Little Bighorn may be his best known work.). LAT. NYT.
Carry your damn guns, people.
(What gun for lizard?)
Looking at site stats this morning, I noticed that my ThinkPenguin endorsement seems to be getting some traffic. I thought I’d bop over to their site and check: yes, they have the new dual-band wireless N USB adapters available. And to tell the truth, I like the design of this adapter better than the one I have.
Earlier this week, I commented on the death of Mack Wolford. Lauren Pond, a photojournalist, had been working with Rev. Wolford for the past year as part of a documentary project on the Pentecostal snake-handling religion. Ms. Pond was at the service where Rev. Wolford was bitten, and sat with him and his family as he died. Some of her photos, and her thoughts about what happened and her obligations, are in the WP.
I don’t want to mock the death of Mack Wolford. I was not raised in the Pentecostal snake-handling tradition, nor does it fit in with my personal religious beliefs. (As I recall, there is a Bible verse that says something to the effect of “Don’t test God.”) But I do respect folks who have those beliefs and act on them; I don’t think they are crazy, but are trying to relate to God in their own way, and more power to them.
However, I do think his death is worth noting, not just for the odd factor, but also because it gives me a chance to talk about Jeremy Seal’s The Snakebite Survivors’ Club: Travels Among Serpents.
This had the potential to be an interesting book, and about half of it is. The chapters on snake hunting and snake bite survivor hunting in Africa and Australia are quite good. Unfortunately, his chapters set in India seem oddly disengaged from the rest of the book; I’m not sure why, but they don’t seem to fit.
And while he has an interesting story to tell as his through line through the chapters in America (backsliding snake-handling minister decides to end his marriage through rattlesnake; unfortunately, his wife survived her bites, and he’s doing time), he has a typically British condescending attitude towards America (and especially the American South) that I found annoying.
If you find a copy of this for $3 or less, I think you might get that much entertainment out of it. Otherwise, I’d suggest skipping it. I haven’t read it, but this Whit Gibbons book looks more entertaining and less dripping with scorn.
Edited to add: Added a link to a review of Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia which a) sounds like a better book about the snake-handling tradition, and b) summarizes the Glenn Summerford story.
People having too much fun with headlines:
(As everyone who has a senior citizen in the family knows, you try to get to the buffet around 3:30 so you can pay the lunch price, but still get the stuff they put out for dinner starting around 4 PM.)
We nearly wiped out the buffalo in this country because a bunch of guys made money off of buffalo hides. Thousands of years before that, mankind eradicated the woolly mammoth with spears. Spears! Give me five thousand Ted Nugent fans and all the weapons they can carry and the waters of the everglades will run red with Burmese snake blood.
A series of recent tests found that the Air Force’s 30,000-pound tool for penetrating 32 stories of reinforced concrete might not have enough penetrating power to take out Iran’s most heavily protected nuclear facilities, reports the WSJ.
Making it harder sounds like a good thing, but perhaps they also need to add more thrust. Maybe a rocket assist?
I didn’t have to use my AK. All in all, I’d have to say, it was a good
I got up bright and early (by Saturday standards) and staggered down to the Saxet Gun Show, where I met up with the legendary Borepatch and some other folks. (I am leaving their names out because I want to protect their privacy. Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket. It has nothing to do with me being a bad and evil person and forgetting their names. It is all about privacy protection. Just ask my wife, Morgan Fairchild.)
I don’t have much to add to Borepatch’s report. I only found one gun I really liked at the show (a Savage model 24, .22 LR over 20 gauge) and the owner was asking just $250, but I didn’t have that much cash on me, didn’t want to leave and find a bank, and…well, if it is there next month, maybe. This would be a good survival gun for the car.
Also, Borepatch is right about the number of approving comments that Sean Sorrentino’s Gunwalker t-shirt received. Borepatch and I discussed the idea of trying to sell them at gun shows, which is a very tempting idea indeed.
(While I was there, I met another gentleman who recognized me from my statement in Borepatch’s comments that I’d be wearing that shirt. It turns out he’s a regular reader of Borepatch’s blog, my blog, and the Saturday Dining Conspiracy pages. Personally, I thought reading both my blog and the SDC pages was an approved method of “enhanced interrogation” for prisoners at Gitmo, but hey, whatever gets you through the night. I was going to introduce him around, but I was on my way to see a man about a racehorse at the time, and when I came back, he was gone. Feel free to leave a comment, Mr. I’m Not Identifying You Here For “Privacy” Reasons.)
(I also saw one of the H&K .22 rimfire MP5 clones. It was going for around $600, as I predicted.)
After the gun show, I went down and paid off my layway at Tex-Guns, official purveyors of fine weapons to WCD. I now have a very nice Marlin 336 lever gun in .30-30: once I get some logistics worked out, and September 1st rolls around, this is going to sit in my car as my equivalent of a “patrol rifle”.
And then I went and had dinner with my mother and some friends at the Vivo on 620 at Lake Creek Parkway. The current chef, Paul Petersen, ran a place called the Little Texas Bistro in Buda; we ate there once, and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Then he moved out to Marathon and worked at the Gage Hotel there for a while. Now he’s working at that Vivo, and hasn’t lost his touch. I had the”surf and turf”: one crabmeat enchilada and one brisket enchilada. It was one of the best meals I’ve had this year, and very reasonably priced.
(I did have some problems with Vivo, but none of them were with the cooking. They all stem from the current management’s decision to encourage an active singles/pick-up scene at Vivo. We were in a semi-private room, and towards the end of the meal, the music was loud enough that some of our party had to leave. Also, I’m not a prude, but when you’re taking your mother someplace, and there’s paintings of topless women everywhere, and a photo collage on the wall of the semi-private room featuring butts and other body parts, that’s a bit disconcerting.)
Today, of course, was the long threatened trip to the Snake Farm. I’m happy to say that everyone who went also came back, they all enjoyed themselves (from what I hear), and everyone who wanted one got a t-shirt. Or, as we like to say around here…
And much progress has been made on getting the Saturday Dining Conspiracy logs up to date. Which is comforting.
And Lawrence has put up some good photos from Worldcon, including a few of friends of mine I haven’t seen in a long time.
So, yeah, it has been a good weekend. How was yours?
(For those of you who don’t understand the “didn’t have to use my AK” reference, which is probably 99+% of my audience because you’re not fans, I suggest you go to your refrigerator and look at some Ice Cubes. (Warning! Adult subject matter!) Actually, I’m not a huge fan, either, but “It Was a Good Day” tickles my funny bone for some odd reason.)