Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - What Worse Could Happen Next?

Its about 1125, as I write, and the wind outside is starting to howl and I mean that most literally. The trees are whipping frantically and I just heard what I suspect was the house creaking, only once so far but it is a brick house and isn't supposed to creak. Still, this is nothing compared to what they say is headed this way but of course, what is headed this way is nothing compared to what they get in places like Florida. I was there right after Hurricane Andrew and can attest to that. 

Yet, it is going to get worse, maybe much worse. I just read that they now expect/figure/guess that NYC and Long Island area will bear the brunt of the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. They are even talking about an 11 foot wall of water hitting us or at least areas along the shore. My sister-in-law lives in Freeport (which I believe was evacuated) and if that wall of water hits her house, well - all I can hope is that she has good insurance because she is only a few feet above sea level. We are inland but still on Long Island and only about 6 miles from the city border, if that far, so I expect it to be pretty bad here too but nowhere nearly as bad as on the coast. Still, it kind of makes me wish I had covered my windows. Oh well... 

In the not too distant future, like within an hour of two, I think I will hit the Vodka - just to keep up my courage - you understand. Right about that same time, I am going to start playing with knives in a carving kit that I have never before used. I am going to try to make something of a pumpkin for Halloween. If nothing else, I can make a Jack-o-lantern and put a candle in it that we can use if the power fails. Speaking of that, I am pretty amazed that it has not gone out already. My bet would be there are toppled trees somewhere nearby by this time. Sooner or later, one will take a fall and take out the power lines along with it. We lost power for a couple or few days last year after that Hurricane, what was it called, I think it was Hurricane Irene. I have already been unable to access my favorite firearms forum. It is local here on Long Island and I expect that the connection problems are due to the storm. Little things getting buggered up already, I imagine it will only get worse as the storm progresses.

Whoa! Rain just started pounding the east facing side of my house and I do mean pounding. Getting worse by the moment. Oh shit, now what? That was one heck of a loud thudding crashing noise and the house seemed o shake a little, the floor under me sure did anyway and the floor of which I write is the cement floor in the basement. What the heck was that, I can just see it through one of the basement windows if I crane my neck enough? It’s a , a, a – a friggin spaceship, like a flying saucer sort of, it's landed,, or crashed, in the back yard and some aliens are getting out with blasters in their hands and they are saying something. I can just make it out over the howling of the high and wild winds, it’s: “People of earth, we come in peace”.

Oh shit,  I had thought the hurricane was going to be today’s big problem…excuse while I grab my AK47 and my .45 to take care of pressing business…

Back to reality - air raid sirens are going off - I suppose they have nothing to do with an alien invasion  from outer space but they usually do mean impending imminent danger. There go the smaller sirens, sounds like fire trucks headed somewhere. This may prove to be a long day. Stay dry and out of the wind my friends and neighbors but most of all stay safe.

Later 4 U,
Glenn B.

Obama & Benghazi

Hat tip to Jim Mc for this one.

All the best,

Prepping Reassurance

I went to Costco and to Home Depot, yesterday, to do some shopping. Well maybe there was also another reason because I sure did that too. I watched the morons buying or trying to buy batteries, flashlights, duct tape, sand,  and whatever else they needed for an emergency caused by the coming hurricane here in my area. Of course, they were all doing this at just about the last possible moment. It was kind of fun watching the almost panic stricken hordes look for D-cell batteries when there were none in either store to be had. 

At least the brand of bier is right even if
I am not sure it is Oktoberfest bier!
I tried to buy a case of water because my wife said we needed one, they were sold out of that too. I only realized, after I got home, that she had probably wanted it because the storm was coming. I mean, when I saw she had two cases already, it made me think she wanted t be prepared like all those other folks at Home Depot and Costco, at the last minute. Besides that water though, I have about 3 other cases of it already in stock. So instead of buying more water, that Costco did not have anyway, I bought a case of diet Iced Tea and a case of H&B Oktoberfest bier.We are set on liquids for at least three to 5 days.  

It was also fun watching folks try to pick out flashlights from the measly selection at Home Depot. In two visits to HD, one yesterday and one today (yesterday, I forgot I needed a cement mixing basin - I will use it to house some tortoises - so I went back there today), I must have seen at least 50 people walking through the store with flashlights they were buying. Now I can understand maybe needing batteries because you are low or the ones you have are old and you just forgot to buy new ones but were those folks for real - they were buying flashlights! Many had two or three in tow to the checkout. That makes me think they didn't have any to begin with. Tell me, are people really that stupid and ill prepared when it comes to potential emergencies!

Well anyway, we should be pretty good. We don't have a generator, so if the power goes out we will make due somehow. Perhaps, cook all the food in the fridge first, then whatever is in the freezer, then go for the caned stuff and finally eat the tortoises and the dogs if it comes to that. Of course, I will have to drink all the bier before it gets warm, I suppose that would only be right.

My trips to Homer's and Costco turned out to be very reassuring to me in that I am more certain than ever, after watching those idiots in a battery and flashlight buying frenzy, that my having prepared ahead of time was a good thing and thus I will continue to prep as time goes by. I am a product of The Cold War in that regard.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Typical Liberal Dork Voters - And A Couple Who Exhibited Some Intelligence

Check out this video in which a Man On The Street type reporter/interviewer asks several Obama supporters what they think of several of Mitt Romney's policies. Of course, they hated them, thought they were terrible and that they were unconstitutional. The thing was though, they were actually Obama's policies - already put into action by the president. There sure are, in my opinion, a lot of assholes about to vote and some of them are seen in this video. 

Now, I am not calling them assholes because they believed the guy conducting the interviews, he deceived them and anyone can do that to someone. I think them to be assholes because not one of them was able to say outright "Hey, wait a minute, isn't that an Obama policy". Truthfully, I never heard of one of those policies, heard another three and pretty much had forgotten about them but knew right off, as soon as I heard them again, that they had been strongly pushed for by Obama. So, I guess I am calling them assholes because not one of them had even an inkling that any of the mentioned policies were those of the president when even a guy, with muddled middle aged memory, like me knew about them.  

Well, it is not just because of that. I am also only calling some of them assholes. I say only some of them because at least a couple of these Obama supporters said that they would have to think about it and reconsider their support for Obama once they had been told they were really Obama's policies and not those of Romney. (My hat goes off to them, imagine that someone going to actually think about for whom they should vote based on that candidate's record.) Yet, a few still insisted they would support Obama even though they, just moments before, had slammed the policies when they thought they were those of Romney! Watch for the responses of some of them once the truth is revealed - especially watch and listen to the blond who was standing next to the girl in the "bitch" shirt. Listen to how she reacts. It would be absolutely unbelievable except for one thing she says in there that explains it all: "I'm a liberal". She also said she could list a million reasons that she still will vote for Obama but note she only mentions one -Obamacare. I guess she is just another blood sucking leech who wants to gorge herself on the lifeblood of those who actually work for a living and who pay for their benefits and privileges but she wants it for free.  

As for those who still insisted on supporting Obama - I think they are liberals and that they are the scourge of the world. 

A hat tip to Peter Q for this one.

All the best,
Glenn B

Russian Tortoise News - Bad Or Good Depending On Your View

I attended the monthly meeting of the Long IslandHerpetological Society today. It was slated as a show n' tell for tortoises and turtles, so I brought in my Hermann's Tortoises (all 5 of them) and my lone Redfoot Tortoise. The club president, who is also a professional reptile breeder/dealer, brought in a couple of Russian Tortoises. Those available here, in the USA, are mainly wild caught in Uzbekistan although they are native to: Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, Northern and Eastern Iran, North Western China and the former Soviet territory Kazakhstan. They make great pets, as they are pretty small but hardy tortoises and are easy to keep. I have been thinking of getting myself a few of them, probably a sexed trio 1.2 (1 male and 2 females), with a breeding project in mind. They are also relatively inexpensive and can be found at prices under $100 each, some as low as $50 each and even some up for free adoption.

Well, Vin R told us, at the meeting, that the number of legal imports have been falling each year and are way down. This due to import regulations. He believes that the price on them (and most other tortoises and turtles) will probably rise markedly in the next year or two. That could be bad news for some – like exporters and importers,. It also could be good news for others – like captive breeders. I hope to have a trio before things get out of hand with pricing.

I have been actively searching for some of them just recently. I also have been thinking of getting a trio of captive bred Chinese Box Turtles and a captive bred adult male Hermann’s Tortoise (to replace mine that went missing this past spring). All of these species are very desirable to me because they are resilient chelonia (turtles and tortoises), are on the small side, and straightforward and fairly easy to keep and do not require a fortune to maintain but could potentially provide a small return on an investment in them. Hopefully enough to help support my hobby. I have already made an inquiry on a possible sexed trio, 1.2, of Russian Tortoises. I am pretty sure they are captive bred even without the seller mentioning that because their carapaces (upper shells) are in almost pristine condition which is very rare for a wild caught Russian Tortoise. In fact, I made an offer on them. Time, and an answer from the seller, will tell if I am soon to have three new residents in my herp collection.

All the best,
Glenn B

It's Pretty Windy Out There Already... I am guessing that they are right about this storm being a powerful one being that it is not supposed to be really bad until late tomorrow tonight or early Tuesday morning. Yikes!

As far as storm pep goes, I took in everything from my yard, that I think could possibly blow away, which was just about everything except my shed. As far as any other prepping goes, that already was done, and has been done for quite awhile now, not just for this storm but for any SHTF situation.

Hopefully, when I wake up Tuesday morning, we will still have power.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hey Hollywood - Get The Gun Thing Right In Those Zombie Flicks Already!

Yeah, I know, Zombie movies are works of science fiction.  Still though, you would think at least one screenwriter or on-set technical guy would try to get it right when it came to the firearms that the human wanna-be survivors use to try to fight off the always ravenous zombie hordes. They pretty much get other weapons right – it is just the guns and gun accessories on which they always seem to screw up.

The humans who are fighting for their lives usually use whatever they can lay their hands on for weaponry. So, in any really good zombies movies, you are apt to see people wielding rocks, clubs, bats, pipes, hammers, sledge hammers, hatchets, axes, knives, swords, machetes, spears, spear guns, bows and arrows, crossbows and bolts (they shoot bolts, an arrow specifically for a crossbow), power saws like chainsaws, revolvers, pistols, shotguns, rifles, machineguns, hand grenades, grenade launchers, rocket propelled grenades, mines, mortars, bombs all the way up to nuclear weapons. Heck they even use their cars and trucks as weapons. The most frequently used weapons in zombie movies seem to be firearms, bows and edged weapons. I would have to give the nod, as the most used weapon, to firearms.
In recent years (like the last 5 to 10 maybe even 15 years or so) zombies have been portrayed with attributes they never had early on in zombie stories and films. They used to move slowly and were clumsy. Now some of them move fast and are agile. They used to be mindless but now some seem to have vestigial intelligence. The used to wander aimlessly but now sometimes seem to group with purpose. They used to have very limited sensory perception but now too many of them can smell live humans and are attracted to the scent, hear gunshots and other noises, are attracted to those sounds, seemingly can live for extremely extended periods without eating, have super strength regardless of the fact that they are almost always presented as being partially rotted but never rot away to non-functionality, are often missing body parts but have super strength often have eaten in way too long to maintain an semblance of stamina yet, they seem to go on forever. I don’t have a bone to pick (no pun intended but it was funny) with any of that because I know they are works of science fiction. Yet, the screenwriters, technicians, special effects crews, costume designers, directors and all the rest of the crews go out of their way to make many of these movies look as real as they can get. They try to make the zombies themselves as real as real can be and that is some feat when dealing with what are supposed to be such a farfetched set of horrific characters as postmortem, living again, people munching, disease ridden, soulless, rotting remains of walking corpses!

If they can get them to be so convincingly realistic that ammunition manufacturers currently market real, shootable and lethal, anti-zombie ammunition, why is it that they cannot realistically do the same with the choice of weapons, chosen by those who are fighting these ultra-realistic sci-fi fantasyland reanimated dead sacks of pus? This applies to all weapons that the human characters choose to use, to combat these undead postmortem antagonists, but mostly to guns. Remember that gunshots supposedly attract zombies, shooting a gun is akin to ringing the dinner bell. They show up by the scores and every one of them is hungry. Now, the humans learn this quickly, at least that is so in most recently produced zombies movies and series. So they use other methods like crossbows, bows and arrows, edged weapons, clubs or whatever else does not make a loud noise to kill one of these heinous freaks of nature – that is when the script calls for using a quiet weapon to fit in with the gunshot equals dinner bell theme. Of course, there are exceptions. Whenever they, the screenwriters, story tellers, directors or whomever, want to use a gun because it looks cooler to do-in a zombie with by blasting its head, instead of using a another weapon, in any given they just go right ahead and do it and all of a sudden there must be no other zombies for miles because that gunshot dinner bell doesn’t attract them. In other words, bang, bang, bang and the zombie or three are dead and no other zombies come out of the woodwork looking as if they are in withdrawal since their last flesh fix. I guess what I am getting at is that one minute the gunshot is the dinner bell, the next minute the zombies seem to be totally deaf or not within miles; it just is not consistent.

Now, there would be a way to shoot all the zombies you wanted to shoot without ever attracting any due to the sound of gunfire and yes I do mean by shooting them with guns. Yet, I have never, not once, seen that method of shooting used in a zombie movie. Actually, it is not so much a method of shooting as it is the use of a firearms accessory. I simply do not understand, when these movies show almost every type of gun, known to mankind, being used as zombies stoppers, why are none of them ever suppressed (as in why do none of them have silencers on them)??? Are the movie making types so far removed from reality (yes I know this is science fiction) to not know about silencers. Perhaps that is it but I tend to doubt it, there are just too many spy movies, cop flicks, and other films out there portraying shooters whose guns wear silencers on their muzzles, for them not to know about them. So if they know about them, why not make use of them, in the movies. Are they just that friggin dumb or is there another reason? Maybe it would make too much sense, much more than some guy with a crossbow, who seems to have an endless supply of bolts that miraculously appear to almost always be in sufficient number every time they are needed. Bolts and larger arrows take up a lot of room and are heavier in comparison to bullets. Think you could carry a full complement of arrows in the quiver of your compound bow or crossbow and also have another 500 of them in your backpack? On the other hand, several fully loaded magazines, and a spare 500 rounds of subsonic .22LR rounds, could be carried easily on your person even if you were lugging other gear. A few more bricks (a 500 round box of 22LR ammo) could be left in your vehicle or stashed away.  A guy could even reasonably carry at least 10 to 20 fully loaded mags of 9mm ammo at all times with at least a couple hundred extra rounds of it in his pack or vehicle. Both of these calibers are easily suppressed. Silencers can be commercially manufactured, or high end homemade ones could easily be made in a do it yourselfer’s machine shop, and other less desirable but fully functional ones can be made, within an hour, from PVC pipe. Then there are the really improvised ones that you can make in only minutes from things like soda bottles or cans and duct tape.

How cool would it be to see a troop of survivors who have equipped there handguns with suppressors! Pretty cool, or so I think, but then I suppose we would miss all those arrows to the dome, swords hacking off heads, pokes into eyeballs with metal pipes or spears and all those other spectacularly gory ways to achieve zombicide that we see so often. Perhaps though, it would be pretty neat to show at least one character who is a firearms aficionado among the survivors. Not one who is a cop or correction officer or Marine or hunter but an out and out gun guru who knows his guns, how to accessorize them and how to shoot on target and tactically. What the heck is wrong with all of you Hollywood types that you have not gotten this figured out yet? Give us a character portrayed as an honest to goodness uber gun nut firearms enthusiast that actually knows something about guns, how to accessorize them to maximize their potential as a stealthy but lethal weapons, and who knows what he is doing when it comes to getting the lead downrange for the best desired effect without ringing that darned dinner bell! While you are at it, why not arm him with a suppressed Heckler &; Koch MP-5, with red-dot sight and a light and maybe a suppressed Beretta 92FS.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Once you get a real gun guy worked in, one who knows how to suppress his weapons; you may also want to think about optics. Something along the lines of a 4-12x44 variable power scope atop a bolt action rifle in .308 or maybe a big high end scope sitting atop a Barrett in .50 caliber. You know, something that can reach out and touch someone (or somezombie) from a distance - "because long distance is the next best thing"! Picture it like this, the group takes the high ground, scopes out an area they want to enter, see some flesh eating zomboids in the distance and have their sharpshooter take aim and whack a dozen of them, with his high power and scoped rifle, before they move into the area. Sure you are gonna make sure there are more zombie surprises waiting for them on which they can use swords, bats, axes, crossbows and close in guns - even silenced ones.

Accessorized and practical guns like that, in the hands of a character who portrays a firearms loving all American, NRA life member, who knows his or her guns and accessories in and out, would sure add some reality oriented zing to the shooting scenes and to zombie movies in general. Just think of  the counterbalance he would provide against the usual characters, portrayed as cops, correction officers, government agents, military types, security guards, and hunters, that are all too often portrayed as the ones who know guns and how to handle them in zombie flicks. In other words, for once, why not give us your average American gun owner and the guns and accessories he can and probably does own in a free state! 

Oh yeah, if you are in need of a firearms instructor and weapons consultant, I am available. 

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, October 26, 2012

Firearms Accessories - Lost And Found Again

I have a decent amount of guns, ammo and firearms accessories. Not all that many accessories, I am sort of  a purist when it comes to guns, I get them and usually shoot them as they are but I still have some firearms accessories. Mostly, I simply do not accessorize them - but in recent years, as age would have it, I have added glass optics to a couple of them. The old eyes are not what they once were - not terrible but certainly no longer 20/15 as they used to be.

Yet, I have had a number of firearms accessories over the years. Things like holsters, scopes and scope mounts, alternate grips, extra magazines, extra parts like extractors, ejectors, bolts, screws and springs, alternate stocks - and I'll just stop there. No need to go on, I hit the one I want to talk about. Before I talk about that one, let me say something about most of the firearms accessories I have on hand. I do not use them and wind up putting them away. Sometimes there are out of sight and out of mind for years.

The one I want to talk about is one of those out of sight for years ones. I uncovered it not too long ago from where it had been hidden from view and memory for way too long. Recently, I was cleaning up under a heavy, home made, wood shelving unit that I have in the back of my basement. I use that primarily for storage. It has three shelf levels and space under it on the floor, all suitable for storage. I have various items on the top shelf, from empty fish tanks (that I usually use for reptiles or amphibians) stuffed full of animal care accessories, to a decent sized cooler, to an incubator for eggs (normally for fowl eggs but I use it for tortoise eggs), to empty pistol cases, to some gun accessories in a couple of cardboard boxes, to whatever else fits up there. On the next level down, I have a 20 gallon tank that houses 4 juvenile Hermann's Tortoises, a 10 gallon tank that houses colonies of Blaptica dubia (a species of fairly big roaches used as food for reptiles) and crickets (yes they are sharing accommodations), and a tank with three Crested Geckos and a toad. There are some other things on that level, like a couple of jars of tortoise food pellets, some crested gecko diet powder (mix with water for a nutritious diet - and it works too), light bulbs for the tanks, and other stuff like that. On the next shelf down, I have some emergency food supplies, a small cooler, a few gallons beer jug in which to make beer (failed first attempt - probably poisonous by now), and some other stuff for my animals and assorted junk. On the floor, under those three levels, I have a few power tools and a few buckets of emergency food (like a 40 pound bucket of beans and a 20 pound bucket of oatmeal and others).  All around the outside of and inside of the unit, there are nails hammered into the wood but left protruding about 1.5 to 2 inches that I use as hooks on which to hang things, like fish nets for my aquarium, rolls of duct tape, tools and yada-yada. On one end of the shelving unit, I have a piece of peg board. I have several things hanging on that end such as cleaning rods for rifles, C-clamps, squares, battery operated air pumps (for minnow buckets or for my aquariums if the power goes out), bubble-packs of deer scent (for this upcoming season), and so on.

It is amazing the stuff that accumulates. More amazing is the stuff that gets stuck somewhere and is not seen for years, maybe even more than a decade. Such was the case recently, as I said above, when cleaning up the mess that the shelving unit had become. Before I had all the emergency food buckets and some cased power tools on the floor under the unit, I used to store wood down there. I had it raised up across some pieces of 2x4 that I laid directly on the floor so as to avoid the good wood from getting badly warped or moldy. Worked pretty good but it was time to put the wood that I still wanted out in the upper level of the garage (the wife had a second floor put in a few years back while I was out in AZ for work, for a few months - one of my better surprises upon return home from one of my many extended work details afar).

Well, it was in with and under much of the wood that I found something I had forgotten I owned. It was something that Pete G (the General) had given me years ago and that I had used for awhile until I realized it was fucking up my shoulder more than the standard one that was already on my gun. It was a, Remington manufactured, steel folding stock for a Remington 870 shotgun. I was sure surprised to see that again; it must have been under there for at least 5 years without even being thought of by me, maybe more like 10 or 15 years. I really don't remember when was the last time I had seen it.

Well, taking a good look at it made me think maybe I had seen it within 5 years or so. The reason I say so is because while it was rusted, it was not as rusted as I would expect if down there for more than 5 years. Then again, who can tell? My basement is pretty dry and that is the room in which we have the boiler and the furnace. Still though, I would have expected it to be completely covered  in rust had it been under there for, say, 10 years. That is, at least without me having pulled it out and cleaned it up a bit in the interim. As it stands now, it has a good share of surface rust but not too bad. I think it would clean up nicely and I suppose that is a project for me for the next couple of days, or next week, or month, or year. As I have said before, I am the great procrastinator. Actually though, when it comes to rust on gun parts or even on most firearms accessories, I usually act with haste to remove the rust and put a protective coating of Breakfree CLP on the piece. Since I am a bit snockered right now, I have had two large Zombies and am working on a Russian Zombie (just add 2 ounces of Potato Vodka to an already Rum filled Zombie), I think I will hold off on cleaning it up. I have work tomorrow and thus it will probably have to wait until Sunday or perhaps Monday.

One other thing I noted, a not so good thing, it is missing the screw to attach it to the stock. I vaguely recall finding a large screw on the basement floor not too long ago and being flabbergasted as to what it belonged. Wanna bet where that screw belonged. I hope I tossed it into a corner somewhere and not into the trash. If I threw it out, I am pretty sure I could find an exact replacement at Numrich Gun Parts or that I could find a suitable replacement at Home Depot.

There is one last bit of information about this stock. On one side of it, the metal has been stamped: "For Law Enforcement Only". Now, I have to wonder if this was put there by Remington when it was manufactured or if, perhaps, it was added later either by a law enforcement agency or a retailer who dealt with law enforcement. There are more than one reason to wonder who stamped that into the metal. First of all, even here, in the the semi-commie, totally anti-gun, state of New York - as far as I am aware there has never been a ban on folding stocks for pump action shotguns. So, the regular folks, those not in law enforcement, the We The People people should have been legally able to possess such a stock. Secondly, such stocks, for pump action shotguns, were never banned federally for the regular citizenry (therefore the reason they were never banned in NY since NY based its ban on the federal one, except for the sunset provision and thus we still have an assault weapons ban in NY state). So, one would have to wonder, why would Remington put that on the stock. I doubt very much that they did so for the reasons I just mentioned. Now, it may have been illegal in New York City for anyone but law enforcement but I still doubt that Remington stamped those words on the side of this stock and there is yet another reason that makes me doubtful. You see, if Remington had done it, I kind of figure they would have stamped it on there so you could easily read it when the stock was held upright. Upright for a folding stock would be when the stock was planted on your shoulder, the top of the stock being the part that was uppermost. If you look at the wording "For Law Enforcement Only" on this stock, it winds up being upside down when the stock is held upright. That just does not seem copacetic to me. I would tend to think Remington would put the wording there to be read easily when the stock was in an upright position. Maybe I can send an inquiry to Remington and see what they have to say about it.

Regardless of the stamped restriction, since it is not a legally based restriction (at least here in NY State), I am thinking of cleaning up this bad boy and putting it up for sale. Who knows, I might get more than just a few bucks for it. When is the last time you saw a Remington 870 with an original Remington manufactured, all steel, folding stock on it. I would bet it will bring a pretty penny even in its current condition. Otherwise, I may just give it away since I am not going to use it. (That is unless I decide to rob banks for a second career and who knows what the future holds - maybe I should clean it up and hold onto it in case times get really tough.) If I give it away though, it is going to have to be to a very good friend or to an exceptionally talented arse kisser.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Latest Firearms Related Acquisition... a rifle scope that I ordered a day or two ago. As you may remember, I have written about wanting a somewhat inexpensive bolt action rifle in a caliber like .308 or .30-06 but one that promises to shoot well. When it boiled down to it, that meant either a Remington 700 series rifle, a Savage 111 or a Marlin XS7 or XL7. I have been dreaming of getting one, and putting it off for one reason or another, for quite a while. When I look back, I see I wrote up the Marlin XS7 back on September 11, 2009. A day after that post, I wrote about looking for one at a gun show - here. Several months later, in February 2010, I mentioned it again, in another blogpost. While still wanting to buy one, I was considering picking up an AK instead. Was I wavering? Not really, I just had some priorities to work out and did wind up purchasing an AK. Then, yet once more and several more months down the road, back in October 2010, I heard the Siren's Song of either a Marlin XL7 or a Marlin XS7 calling me.

Then - a dry spell. I did not write about the Marlin XS-7 for two years. I did not think about it all that much either. I bought other guns, in that time period, that either caught my fancy or that filled a niche that needed filling in my firearms inventory. Maybe, just every now and then, I thought of one for a moment. I know I saw them at guns shows but always at inflated prices. So I bought other things like a Remington  1911 R1, a Browning Citori Lightning Shotgun and some others. How pleasantly surprised was I when I saw that there was one available at the Hessney Rod & Gun auction earlier this month in no way can even compare to how happy I was to have had the high bid on it. So yes, I finally bought one of them, a Marlin XS7 in .308 caliber! Yes, the hankering to own one has been with me awhile, over three years; I am the great procrastinator but usually accomplish my goals, often later than sooner, as I did this time.

I accomplished my goal of getting myself a Marlin XS7 but I surely have not completed the job of doing it properly. This rifle does not come with sights, instead it comes with a mounted scope mount rail. That left me with the need for some optics. Being this is a less than $400 rifle, I was not about to spend a lot on a scope for it. I did want something that would stand up to regular use, a variable power scope in about the 3 to 12 power range, that I could get at a decent price. I started to look online, for such a deal, last week. What I came up with was a choice between about a half dozen manufacturers' products. I looked at some from: Burris, Bushnell, Hawke Optics, Nikon, Pentax, Redfield, Tasco, and Vortex. I decided on going with Hawke Optics. The particular scope, that I chose, from them is the Hawke Varmint Side Focus (SF) 2.5-10x44. I ordered it from Optics Planet, they had one left in stock and had a price $20 lower than the one offered by the manufacturer. That $20 can go to buy the scope rings, which in the midst of a brain fart, I forgot to order at the time I placed the order for the scope.

I picked this scope primarily because I liked the power range and the price. It was only $169.99 with free shipping. As for that power range, the 2.5 magnification will be optimal for close in deer hunting here in the woods of New York State, or for longer distance shots on deer, or across a field at a Woodchuck, or down range at a target. The 44mm optics will let in plenty of light. In addition, the scope has finger adjustable turrets for windage and elevation. Not needing a tool to adjust the scope is a big plus for me. Speaking of adjustment, the windage and elevation can be adjusted in 1/4 M.O.A. clicks. The scope also has a fast focus eyepiece and has a parallax adjustment dial on the side of the scope. The eye relief is only 3.2 inches but I can live with that without giving myself a black eye. The scope body is a 1" mono tube. The lenses are fully multi-coated. Of course, the scope is waterproof, shockproof and fogproof. The box contains the scope, see through flip-up lens caps, a cleaning cloth and a instruction manual. Sadly there is no sunshade, that is an option that need be purchased separately. As for the brand, I had never before heard of Hawke Optics as far as I can recall but they got some good marks from people whom I asked about them.

Another major selling point, besides the power range, was that it has a mil dot reticle - well, an improved version or so I think. Hawke Optics calls it the 1/2 mil dot reticle. It has the regularly placed dots on the crosshairs as does a mil dot but also has an additional hash mark between each dot for more precise aiming adjustment. It sounds like a good idea. Hopefully, the image will not look too crowded. I think it will give a good sight picture after seeing the accompanying image of one, looks to be very nice.

The scope should arrive this coming week since it has already shipped. In the mean time I had best get out there to a local establishment and buy some scope rings. I have read that the bolt handle on the Marlin XS7 can be a bit problematic in that it hits scopes mounted too low. So, I would guess, a pair medium or high rings, as opposed to low rings, should do the trick of allowing the bolt enough room to be operated without it hitting the scope body.

I will do a review sometime after I have used it for awhile. More info, on this scope, can be seen at:

All the best,
Glenn B

Remington Store Offering 20% Off Prices, Even Sale Prices

They sent me a promo code to use RCUSA020. It said the code was one time use and I used it almost immediately (Christmas shopping). I am guessing though that by one tikme use they mean one time per customer. If interested - why not give it a try and see if it works. If you ever wanted to buy a Remington knife, gear or clothing, or if you need Remington gun parts or firearms accessories, this is a good deal (remember if the item is already on sale, this coupon gives an additional 20% off).

All the best,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

So My Son Sent Me A Text Message Today About Some Bearded Dragons...

...that someone asked him if we wanted. Brendan said the guy is giving away two bearded dragons, with all the care equipment. He also said they are big. I started to think since they are adults, chances are they are either both females or a sexed pair; males do not do well together in enclosures suitable for the average home. If they are a sexed pair, I envisioned a breeding project in the near future. I figured I can keep them but if they prove to be too much, I can always adopt them out at a Long Island Herpetological Society meeting or at our annual show - they should go 1, 2, 3 at our show. If those fail, there are always the New York Metro Reptile Expos, where the LIHS sometimes has a table, they would adopt out easily there too. Then I thought again that I could keep them for a breeding project and that was it. How could I say no.

So, tomorrow, at an as yet to be determined time, there will be a couple of adult Bearded Dragons arriving at our place with all the necessary care equipment (if anything is missing, I have what is needed anyway). Just what we needed, just like a hole in the head - as the old saying goes. We will then have 5 resident dogs, 2 visiting dogs (here at least half of their time), 6 tortoises, 1 turtle, 3 Crested Geckos, 2 Bearded Dragons (if all goes as planned), 1 toad, and several tropical fish. I should start charging admission to our zoo or at least take donations for their upkeep. Did I mention a possible breeding program with the Bearded Dragons, that might bring in some money. I could sell the babies for $15 to $50 apiece and up depending on their color. With my luck, they will both be males that have been fighting and that have bitten the heck out of each other and have scars and have tail tips or toes missing. Two females, though, would be good maybe even betterthan a sexed pair. I could either trade one for a male or buy a male to put in with both of them. One male with multiple females works fine with Bearded Dragons. What a life.

All the best,
Glenn B

NYPD Cop Shot - He Kills One Of The Alleged Bad Guys

This cop had balls. Not only did he attempt to thwart an armed robbery without backup, while off duty, and got shot in the chest for his efforts but he confronted the alleged robbers a second time while wounded and shot one of them dead.

It was reported that while driving, with his girlfriend, the girlfriend sees an armed robbery taking place and tells him. They stop, he tells her to call 911, he gets out of the car and approaches the bad guys while identifying himself. He is shot, in the chest, almost immediately. The bad guys flee, the cop's girlfriend tries to drive him to a hospital and they get stuck at a red light. The girlfriend starts to honk the horn and guess who was a few cars in front of them at that red light! Yep, it was the three thugs from the robbery  in the getaway car. Apparently the driver of the alleged getaway car was none to bright,  he reportedly pulled out into the intersection through the light and slams into a cab apparently disabling the getaway car. The three suspects fled afoot and the ballsy officer, putting pressure on his wound with one hand, gun in the other, chased them down. He apparently engages at least one of them in a gun fight (which may have been one sided since at least one report said a gun was found in the suspects' car - others say at the scene -and nothing was said about finding one on or near the dead suspect). A passerby said he heard at least 10 shots, and the cop reportedly shot one of the bad guys, in the head, fatally. One passerby, in one report I read, claimed to have heard two different guns being fired and that will bode well for the officer if upheld as true. Otherwise one has to wonder if it was a one sided gunfight since the .380 Semi-automatic pistol the thugs apparently used in the holdup was found in the car and there was no mention of a gun being found near the suspect who was killed but of course guns in the Bronx,at shooting scenes, have been known to quickly disappear because an opportunist criminal sees a chance to grab up a piece. The two other suspects got away in different directions but not before the cop tried to chase down one of them too. Luckily for the officer, an ambulance crew that was nearby, was able to transport him to a hospital. By the way, the officer is expected to make a full recovery.

Now while one has to wonder where all the bullets went, and hope that no innocents were wounded like at the Empire State building fiasco not long ago, and while one also has to wonder (just a teeny bit) if this was a good shoot (which I think it was but others will question since the guy he shot may have been unarmed), one can at least find some immediate satisfaction in knowing that an alleged piece of crap violent criminal has been wiped off the face of the earth. Let's hope it all turns out alright for the officer.

As for some of what Mayor Bloomberg had to say about this: “This is another case of guns in the wrong hands ending in violence,”  - I would have to say that I believe it another case of guns not being in the right hands for honest citizens to be able to  prevent crime and or protect themselves and of criminals not being in jail, or banished to a penal colony (Antarctica comes to mind) where they belong.

I see this as just another case of a cop being one of the only ones. I know not all cops are like this but  think most good ones would have done likewise and I believe most of them to be good. Be honest, how many of you, who are not in Law Enforcement, would have stopped your car, gotten out, and tried to defend the guy getting robbed. Not many, I am sure. Sadly, it is also a case of "no good deed goes unpunished".

My compliments to the officer for an apparently well done job of it and my wishes that he make a full and speedy recovery and that he gets a promotion to detective.

All the best,
Glenn B


Brand New Leather Jacket

My friend, Pat S., sent me this video. In his words: "If things don't change this will be us." The thing is, I think it is already us to a lessor degree. We do almost all of it just the same for illegal aliens while our own people are paying for it and some are suffering because of it. Yet; I agree with Pat, because while it is not as bad here as it is in England, that bad is soon to come to our shores. 

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Black Cloud Seems Inheritable

My son took the physical for the NYPD about 2 months or so ago. He failed because he is color blind. They said 100%, his eye doc said 50%, he was fighting it. The he went to another doc for a sore throat and got some antibiotics. Took them and got severe tendinitis from it. Then returned to his regular doc for that and the doc prescribed a steroid to help ease the pain from the tendinitis that was caused by the anti-biotic. Turns out that the particular steroid worsens the problem of the tendinitis as per the official website of that particular anti-biotic. I had been talking to him about maybe suing both the drug company that produced the anti-biotic and the doctor. Turns out, as per what I have read, that the lawyers are refusing additional clients in a major lawsuit against the drug company that makes the antibiotic as are other lawyers in smaller lawsuits against same. I am wondering if he can sue the doctor.

Do not get me wrong; I am not a law suit crazy kind of guy I have been involved in two law suits in my lifetime. One against someone who caused an auto accident I was in in which I was injured. I got a whopping $750 out of it. The other was one at work, when we sued over back overtime pay that was owed us. I got a good amount in that one, helped on the down payment on my house. I am not one to sue at the drop of a pin or when I fall over my own two feet trying to blame someone for a crack in their sidewalk. I do think though that, my son is owed something for his misery, especially since it is robbing him of employment opportunities and even a career in the military (they do not care about color blindness for most military jobs) and since there is no known cure, no known treatment to lessen it and it may be permanent.

I can only wish that my black cloud would stop raining down on him as if it has found a new guy to get wet. Well, I have one more wish, that Brendan never sings this regularly:

Well, I've had all that I wanted,
of a lot of things I had
and a lot more than I needed,
of some things that turned out bad.
(Wanted Man, written by: Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan)

 By the way, I meant I hope he does not get stuck singing that one verse over and over again as a repeating theme of his life, especially the last two lines. If he winds up being wanted by that many women as are in that song - well, that would be a good thing, don't ya think!

All the best,
Glenn B

Police Officer and Lone Driver Reportedly Both Shot Dead By Same Thug

A highly decorated Nassau County Police Department Officer was shot and killed during a car stop of what was believed to have been a vehicle that had been involved in a hit and run accident. Not many details out yet, even though this happened yesterday, but it seems the officer approached the bad guy's vehicle and spoke to the bad guy and a moment or two after that, the bad guy gets out of his car and blasts the officer in his chest (or from other reports: the bad guy charged at the officer, exchanged words the started firing).

The officer, who was not wearing body armor, was killed.

The alleged bad guy reportedly gets back in car and drives away. The officer's partner, who was later treated for shock, tried applying first aid to his/her downed partner. There was nothing mentioned, in the piece I read at the time I saw it, about the partner returning fire or taking any other action to stop the bad guy. Seems there was sufficient time to react/act with some sort of action against the shooter especially since the car he was driving was driving on its rims and they suspected it had been involved in a hit and run accident earlier. In other words, I would tend to think the officers should have expected anything. I am sure there will be a lot of questions about that but I am not about to Monday morning quarterback; I will just wonder what in hell happened on this one for now!

After the alleged bad guy reportedly fled the scene, of the cop shooting, according to at least two reports I saw, he reportedly somehow pulled another car over - a third report I saw said the driver of that car had pulled over to talk to his daughter on the phone. Whichever way it happened, the bad guy then reportedly dragged the driver of that car out of the vehicle and shot that man dead, and drove off in that man's car. What a sad state of affairs for a guy just driving along minding his own business and talking to his little girl (no matter how old she may be) on the phone.

These are truly senseless and sad losses. Senseless because had the officer been wearing his body armor, I think chances are he would have survived and maybe even stopped the bad guy. Senseless even more so because the bad guy probably did not have to shoot the other driver to take his car,. Pointing a gun at an average New Yorker, who would most probably be unarmed, would have been more than enough to have him give up his car in most cases. Sad because - well, that should be obvious to everyone.

The NCPD does not have a mandatory body armor policy. The young officer only had 8 years on the job. I wonder when they who bash cops, by way of their blogs, any time one has an accidental discharge of his or her firearm, will write a blog post about this officer, and others like him, being the only ones. Only ones - but in a positive light. You know, as being one of the only ones who would do a the job of trying to protect you and yours, from thugs, rapists, psycho-killers and the like, while putting their lives in potential jeopardy every day they go to work. (Yes I know we should all be armed to protect ourselves but there still would be a need for the police to protect us just as well.) This fallen officer was, in the way I just described, an only one, and he lost his life because of it. The other victim, he was an only one too of a sort - he was a loving father. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the fallen.

The alleged bad guy has been captured after an intensive manhunt but not really because of it. A call to 911 of "shots fired" in Queens, NY had the New York City Police department respond. An NYPD officer found the suspect, in a vehicle, with an apparently self inflicted gun shot wound to his shoulder. I can only hope it was not self inflicted but came from the gun of the fallen officer's partner during the initial confrontation. I imagine if he did shoot himself, either it was accidentally o a bad shot in a suicide attempt. Of course, maybe he did it to garner sympathy, thinking if he had been shot someone would feel sorry for him. How anyone could feel sorry for that guy, who in my opinion - if he is actually committed those killings - is a no good useless piece of shit, is beyond me.

Nassau is the western of two counties that make up Long Island (well actually there are sort of 4 counties on LI but no one here really admits that the western two - Brooklyn and Queens are really part of 'the island' with both of them being in NYC).

This was all too close to home, not because of the nearby location so much but because I am pretty sure I have met the officer before. That would either have been when I was on the job or maybe at a local pub or maybe just seeing him out in a patrol car. He sure looks familiar and I do not easily forget faces although I usually cannot recall where I saw a face before or the name that goes with it. It is even closer to home for my wife because she indeed did know him having met him at work, she works for the NCPD.

All the best,
Glenn B

If I Were Wishing For More Bullshit Claims of Racism...

... to be spread by the Mud Slinging Media, I would hope that the shooter, written about in the linked article, was white. Her alleged assailant was black. It just happened recently, so not much on it yet. You see, I imagine that if she, the shooter, is white, the news reports will soon be out about claims that the family believes she had enticed the man, likely to be described by them as their little angel (reportedly a convicted felon and registered sexual offender), into her home under the pretense of a good time just so that she could shoot. Why? My guess would be because they will say she is a racist - why else! You will probably also hear that stand your ground does not apply because she ran and was not standing her ground and she could have kept running (well maybe not but maybe so). We also are probably destined to see pictures of the alleged criminal looking like an altar boy, complete with a halo over his head and to see pictures of the shooter looking like a redneck. Bear in mind, all that applies only if she is white (or maybe of Asian decent).

I may wind up surprised - maybe the shooter will be white but the alleged criminal's family will be righteous and look beyond that to actually say something like they think he was a no good, low down, dirty rotten scoundrel who lived a life of crime and it would be good riddance if he dies from his wound. Somehow, I doubt it.

Hat tip to Sharp As A Marble and Corned Cat - Scratching Post.

All the best,
Glenn B

Cornered Cat - Scratching Post

The latest edition to my blog roll is the: Cornered Cat - Scratching Post over on the right under the header: TAKE A SHOT WITH THESE SHOOTIST BLOGGERS, Not At Them.

All the best,
Glenn B

Bernie Marcus Speaks Politics

Do you know the name Bernard 'Bernie' Marcus? Do you have any idea who he is? You should know who he is, and I should have known too. Heck, I shop at his stores more than often enough, in a business that he built (yes Obama, he had help, he was only the co-founder, but did a heck of a lot more than you ever did or will do to create jobs). He was a cofounder of Home Depot and was its CEO through 2002 when he retired. Yet, I had never heard of him until today as far as I can remember. Then a friend sent me an email with the following video in it. This man knows his subject matter. I highly recommend you watch, listen and vote for Romney:

A Hat tip to Pat S. for sending me the video.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, October 22, 2012

Are You Watching The Presidential Debate?

I am not watching it. I had better things to do than watch one guy for whom I am sure to vote and another for whom I would not vote if he was holding a gun to my head. It is not that I am not interested in politics - really, I think you all know I am a voter, and actively comment on politics frequently. It is just that I had my Glock 26 on the coffee table and was afraid if I saw that useless lying (not that I abhor liars, I have told my share of lies, I just cannot stand incessant liars) piece of peckerwood, I might shoot my television in a fit of Americanism. (No that was not a direct, nor even an indirect or veiled, threat against the president. It was just a threat against my TV should I watch the debate and hear him spewing lie after lie after lie and decide I can listen no more).

Instead of watching the debate, I have been smoking a pork tenderloin - actually 4 of them - on my BBQ grill. I have been at that for about 4 hours now, maybe another 1/2 hour or hour to go. In that time, I also had a salad. Merely some very plain green leaf lettuce, some grated Locatelli Romano cheese and Paul Newman's olive oil and vinegar dressing. I don't often use bottled stuff but had this on hand and since I had already had a cup of wine in me, and was on a second, I decided that I might not get the mixture quite right should I stir up my own. Funny though, imbibing the spirits did not deter me from smoking the pork. In fact, it inspired me to grill a can of spam (yes without the can and sliced into 6 or so pieces). Well, I guess the wne isnpired me some but so too did the aroma of the smoking pork. I think the wine just had me settle for Spam. I also toasted a sesame seed roll on the grill. Then I smooshed the spam in the left over salad dressing, sopped up whatever was left with the toasted roll, and wolfed it all down while on the 2nd and 3rd cups of wine.

The pork tenderloin is still out there smoking. I took it off the grill a little while ago and had a piece and realized it was not yet done quite enough. That was maybe 10 minutes ago. Back into the grill it went and I added more wet wood to the smoker box. I had been using Hickory but ran out; now I am about to begin using Cherry wood (it is soaking right now as the last of the hickory is going up in smoke).

A brief digression - but related : Next time I see a tree cut down and in pieces somewhere,  I am going to see if I can lift a good sized hunk of it into the tree trunk of my car. I cannot see paying $4.98 for small bag of wood chips when I can get wood for free. One piece of a tree trunk could last me at least a  season or maybe even a couple of years for smoking purposes.

It is past time to refill my cup with the last of that bottle of wine; I cannot remember the last time I drank a whole bottle of wine. It is Louis Jadot, Beaujolais-Villages, 2010 - one of the few products of France that I enjoy. Cheap stuff, table wine, but excellent as far as I am concerned. Probably what the people of France were drinking the night the revolution commenced. It is much better than most fairly expensive varieties of wine that I have ever tasted . Expensive wine is relative to one's income I suppose. For me, really expensive wine, that I would ever pay for, would be in the $75 to $125 per bottle range and this stuff was only $7.99 a bottle. I highly recommend it if  you like red wine.

More importantly, it is time to go and check the pork tenderloins again. I would hate to ruin them at this point, especially since I am looking forward to devouring half of one for breakfast tomorrow morning - probably one of the two really spicy ones I made with a dry rub of my own spur of the moment concoction and with a little BBQ sauce added the last time I checked them. The other two are virtually spiceless, a good amount of salt and that was it, that is until I rubbed the almost negligible leavings of the BBQ sauce from the brush onto them after I had slathered the other two pieces with some sauce. 

Gotta run.

All the best,
Glenn B

I Would Hvae Expected A Bigger Crowd... attend a speech by Sandra Fluke than the ten (10) people who showed up to listen to her in northern Nevada. Why? Because I would guess that there would have been a number of men hoping they could score with her but certainly not to actually listen to anything she had to say in her speech. As you may recall, she was the bimbo woman who supported handing out free contraceptive means under the Obamacare act. If you used her figures for the cost of one woman, in one year, needing so much money for contraception and then figured out how many condoms that money would buy, well let me just say the term that Rush Limbaugh used for her comes to my mind as maybe having nailed her it perfectly.

Regardless of only ten folks coming to see  her and listen to her, a Reno newspaper reportedly dedicated a 500 or so word article to her speech. (I actually think the article was more about Romney in a round about way.)


All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Today's Long Island Reptile Expo held its Long Island Reptile Expo today at the Hilton in Melville, NY. I volunteered to help out, at the Long Island Herpetological Society table. The table was graciously given (as in for free) to the LIHS by Bruce L., the event organizer. I got there somewhat later than I planned, maybe about 8:35 this morning instead of 8:00. Since the show opens its doors to the public, I like to be at this and similar events at least an hour early but it did not matter much. There was very little to set up for our society table, just the LIHS sign and frame on which to hang it and a bunch of fliers for the upcoming LIHS show, membership applications and info sheets on the herpetofauna of NY State.

When I got there the LIHS sign was already up and Rich M. and Ann were already there setting up the papers. Rich H. was also there along with John H (all board members with the exception of Ann and myself). Vin R. the LIHS president had the next table over for his business, Cutting Edge Herp. The animals he sells live up to the name, they are definitely ‘cutting edge’. He mostly sells high end boas and ball pythons and his leucistic Ball Pythons are exceptional!

The doors opened to the public at 9, or were supposed to have opened then. I am pretty sure they opened a bit earlier than that and the crowd started to make its way inside. Truthfully it was not all that crowded once the doors opened, it actually about a half hour or so for it to achieve a pretty full condition. Once it reached that stage, it did not begin to thin out until about 2:30 in the afternoon, about a half hour before the doors were scheduled to close. For most of the day the place was packed with buyers and gawkers. While most of the people who come to herp (reptile  amphibian) shows come to buy, there is always a good amount of folks who come just to look at all the critters for sale. There is almost always enough variety of scaled and slimy creatures to rival the reptile house at any zoo. Today’s offering were no exception. 
A Lot of Variety On One Table
There were snakes - a lot of scaly, squirming, super-cool snakes. They ranged in price anywhere from about $15 up t several thousand dollars depending on species and morph (genetic color variety). These included Boa Constrictors, Rainbow Boas,  Green Tree Boas, Ball Pythons, Womas Pythons, Children’s Pythons, Green Tree Pythons , Corn Snakes of virtually every variety (and there are a lot of them), other rat snakes, Mexican Milk Snakes, Gray Banded Kingsnakes, Florida Kingsnakes, Puget Sound Garter Snakes, Western Hognose Snakes, and on and on.

Crested Gecko (source Wikipedia)
Then there were the lizards from: the gecko Rhacodactylus leachianus (a few varieties) to: Crested Geckos, Giant Day Geckos, Leopard Geckos, Gargoyle Geckos to: Green Iguanas, Mali Uromastyx, Argentine Tegus, Bearded Dragons and on and on. Bearded dragons are one of the most popular pet lizards and actually make a good pet in the traditional sense of the word. They are almost always calm, can be handled with a fair amount of frequency and like to be petted. Crested Geckos make great lizards for the reptile fancier as well but are not as much a traditional pet in the sense they do not like to be handled. 
My Female Hermann's Tortoise
from a few years back.
Of course, there were the chelonians that rounded out the reptiles at the show. Among them were tortoises such as: Hermann’s Tortoises (one I was displaying and only one for sale and I waited too long; it was gone when I checked on it with an idea of buying it if a male), Asian Box Turtles, Hingeback Tortoises, Russian Tortoises, an Indian Star Tortoise, and Redfoot Tortoises. There were also turtles including an Alligator Snapping. I have to say, I do not recall seeing many water turtles there today. There were a few but I think not any Red Eared Sliders which are usually at these shows in good number.
Blue Poison Dart Frogs (source Wikipedia)
As far as amphibians went, there were an awful lot of frogs such as the Blue Poison Dart Frog, a large number of Red Eyed Tree Frogs , also a lot of Argentine Horned Frogs and quite a few others. Too bad, I did not see even one salamander or newt. For some reason, they are not all that common at herp shows in this area although they are interesting animals and many are easy to keep for the herp enthusiast.

Ann and Rich M. at the LIHS table.
I helped man the LIHS table but Rich M and Ann took over most of those duties . I made sure to do some good for the society too though - I proactively handed out LIHS Show fliers to folks who were passing by our table and to those who stopped there for information. As for those people who stop at the LIHS table, We always are happy to answer questions that attendees have about things like: how good a pet a certain reptile or amphibian might be, how easy or difficult to care for a certain animal will prove, care tips, and so on. We had a good number of folks visit the table seeking just that kind of info. As for the fliers, I am guessing I handed out a couple of hundred of them. I also went around to the vendor tables, concurrently with Rich M, to hand out vendor packets for the upcoming Long Island HerpetologicalSociety’s 23rd Annual Herp Show (we have been at it for a long time as a herp society). Rich started on one side of the room and I n the other. We got a lot of positive feedback from vendors, hopefully a good number of them will attend our show. We don’t hold a purely commercial herp expo. Our show is slowly changing to being geared more toward educational exhibits but it still includes a judged reptile/amphibian competition and vendor sales. It will be held on Saturday, November 10th, at SUNY Farmingdale in Roosevelt Hall just off of Route 110 in Melville, NY.

I did mention, didn't I, that I could not go to a herp show without buying something. I am pretty much well passed the stage of buying herps on impulse and did not buy any today. I did see that Hermann’s Tortoise, I mentioned above, in which I had an interest. Too bad I did not check to see if the dealer would offer me a dealer price (one advantage of volunteering is having a vendor badge to wear, the other is getting into the expo for free). I figured I would ask at the end of the show if he still had it but it was gone about an hour before then! I am not even sure I would have purchased it but when I arrived at the show I was sure I wanted to buy a male Hermann’s Tortoise to replace the one I had that disappeared from my yard this past June. While sitting at the LIHS table, I became somewhat uncertain as to whether or not I wanted to buy a male all that much. The Hermann’s Tortoise I had on display was always believed by me to very probably be a female since the egg from which it hatched was incubated at temperatures that should have virtually assured it to hatch out female (sex can be determined in tortoises by egg incubation temperatures). Well, while showing it off to folks at the LIHS table and allowing kids to pet it under its chin while Ann or I held it out to the kids, it apparently peed a few times. Normally tortoises do not pass much liquid urine, it is usually more of a white chalky clump. Today though, the little booger squirted out liquid about four or five times. Then it looked as if it was pooping. As I put it down, I noticed that it was not poop sticking out of its cloaca (the single opening shared for urination, emptying the bowels and for reproduction) but was its tally-whacker (yes, as in male sexual organ). I guess it wasn’t urine!

I had just mentioned to Ann, a bit earlier, that this tortoise seemed to have a pretty wide tail for one that  thought would turn out a female. It is only about 1 year and 4 months old and I would have thought it too young to be sexed but there is no doubt after seeing it’s wiener, females just don’t have em. I now have to wonder if the other one, incubated along with this one but from the second clutch of eggs that my adult female laid, is also a male when I thought for sure it would be a female. I will give a look at its tail. If as wide as the now proven male, I will assume it is also a male. If its tail is much narrower, there is a good chance it will be a female but it also still could be a male that is maturing slower. Time will tell. While the little newly realized male (only just over 4 inches long) will probably not be mature enough to breed by next spring, there is a chance it will be able to do so by Spring 2014. Missing a year of them breeding will not be a big deal for me. Thus I was not all that anxious about checking on the Hermann’s Tortoise that was for sale at the show.

As I said though, it being a herp show, I had to buy something. I got a bag of Keeper's Choice red cypress substrate (used for substrate in the tortoise enclosure) and some tortoise food pellets (used as a supplement for the Hermann’s Tortoises’ vegetarian diet and for my sole Redfoot Tortoise’s omnivorous diet). In addition I picked up a couple of Exo Terra, Solar Glo, mercury vapor bulbs which I use to assure the tortoises get UVA and UVB radiation in their lighting (necessary for their well-being) and enough heat in their enclosures. I also bought a piece of cork bark to add to my Crested Gecko enclosure. This one basically forms a snug (for a crested gecko) hollow tube and they will love using it as a hiding place during the daylight hours; there are nocturnal. Oh, I actually did buy some animals but not any herps. I picked up a box of 500 small crickets for the three crested geckos and one small toad that I keep. I had best attend to them now and get a tank set up for them. They should last me a month or more if care for them right. The lizards will each eat several a day. The toad will eat them while they stay fairly small and will gobble down as many or more, in a day, than each lizard will eat. All in all I spent about $110. Had I sold the Hermann’s Tortoise, and I had plenty of people asking if  would sell it, I would have wound up with a net profit of $15 to $40 for the day dependent on a sale price. As it was, I figured I would keep him for now and anyway, sales from the LIHS table are frowned upon, a bit, since it is a society table and not really a vendor table. If I do decide to sell it, I will offer it up at the LIHS show next month (that is if I can attend, right now I am scheduled to work that day but I am looking to trade days with someone).

Well, that was the Long Island Reptile Expo, October 2012, in a tortoise  shell.

 All the best,
Glenn B