Friday, November 9, 2012

The Strangest Things Wind Up Following Me Home...

...or so I would like to get my wife to believe but she, like my mother years before, knows that such is not the case. Well, that is in most cases anyway. Some of the things she does not mind, like the flower that bloomed within a day or two of Super Storm Sandy, last week. I went out back and there it was staring me in the face, more or less. Of course, my wife had seen it a day before me because most of my staring had been up at my missing roof shingles. The flower must have just about bloomed on Wednesday, the day after the so called hurricane (that changed into a tropical storm that was then called a super storm).

That was also the same day that I hopped in the Toyota and drove into Harlem / Morningside Heights to pick up my latest reptilian acquisition. A nice couple was adopting out a red eared slider and were in need of a taker without delay as they were leaving for employment in East Africa the very next day. Being that the Long Island Herpetological Society (LIHS) was to be having its 23rd annual reptile expo this coming weekend, I figured what the heck. I braved the roads the day after the big storm which was not much of a feat since there was very little traffic and went to pick it up. I thought I would keep it briefly and adopt it out at the show. The thing is, the show has been cancelled since I picked up the turtle and now I am turtle siting until I can adopt it out to a knowledgeable turtle keeper.

Even before I had considered getting that turtle, my son Brendan told me he had a friend who wanted to give away two bearded dragons. He said they were big, came with a big tank and some accessories. I had some thoughts on the matter but not for long and almost immediately agreed he should take them in. It did not happen, at least right away. As I said, the offer came before the storm, maybe a week ahead of it. It did happen though, that the two bearded dragons, a large tank of maybe 55 gallon size, and a bunch of BD care equipment showed up in my basement - today! I am guessing it is either a sexed pair or maybe more likely two females. I am almost positive they are not two males because they are not killing one another. They look healthy and if they are a pair, I may hold onto them and try to breed them. If two females, I may seek out a male to mate with them. Baby bearded dragons can go for up to about $75 apiece easily depending on color and at least for $25 apiece even if nothing special. That is if you have an outlet for them and I do have just that. I fed them tonight and they gobbled up several crickets each and each of them also chomped down on 3 large roaches of the species Blabica dubia. Yes, I have them in a tank in my house too, that is the roaches. I had been feeding the smaller adults of them to my Crested Geckos. They, the roaches, share accommodations with a few hundred crickets. The crested geckos share an enclosure with a toad.
Yesterday, I also received a shipment of Blue Tailed Fire Bellied Newts (Cynops cyanurus). I had a small colony of hem before I got ill last year but had to give them to a friend to care for while I was sick. Sadly, most of them died while in his care, probably due to contaminated food they ate. I think the new group of five of them that I just got will do much better. They will soon be sharing an aquarium with my tropical fish. I do not heat the fish tank and they will do just fine in with the fish as the others did before their untimely demise last year. I actually paid for the newts. I had been thinking of selling two or three of the five with the idea of getting enough for them to pa for the remaining ones that I would keep. Since that was also going to be at the LIHS show, tomorrow, and since the show has been cancelled, I guess I am stuck with all five of them.
Then there was the bird earlier today. I was sitting at my computer desk, in the basement this afternoon, and thought I saw something fly by out of the corner of my eye in the back room. Then, I saw it again and heard a chirp. I got up, in seer disbelief, to take a look to see if I was going crazy. There it was though, a sparrow and it was flying around in the boiler room. I tried to catch it and it flew upstairs to the first floor. Then it flew up to the top floor. It went into my daughter's room and got lost either under a dresser or the bed or behind some junk. I figured I would give it a break. When I went to go back upstairs, my wife told me that she and my daughter got it to fly out of the window that they had opened for it. Good for them because that meant they had to clean the bird doody off of the window where it had slammed itself once or twice as I tried to catch it and evidently knocked the shit out of itself. I am guessing it came down one of the chimneys because both are missing chimney caps after the storm.
Wow, the house is once again turning into a zoo but then again, it has always been a zoo of sorts!
All the best,
Glenn B

I Am Selling Some Guns (what on earth is wrong with me!)

I hate selling guns but the truth of the matter is that I cannot keep every gun I own, otherwise I would go broke after some recent purchases at a couple of auctions over the past several months. So I decided to sell a couple to a few of what I own. I just sold the Browning Citori Lightning, that I bought in the spring, by way of I am going to ship it out today via UPS to a FFL holder in Illinois. I think I may also sell one of my pistols, a High Standard pistol in .22LR. I am thinking of bringing it to the gun show in White Plains tomorrow to see if I can sell it there, either to a dealer or to a pistol license holder who has the proper paperwork with him. I'll see how it works out and let you know later.

I did not fire the Browning shotgun since I purchased it and it was sold to me as unfired. It is probably the nicest gun I have ever owned. I would have given it to my son had he shown an interest in shooting it but he did not. So, I decided to sell it. The money will probably go toward another firearms purchase or maybe, better yet, into the bank from whence it came out of my savings account. Collecting and shooting guns can be a lot of fun so long as it does not bankrupt you.

As for the High Standard Dura-matic pistol, I have fired it but not much. I think I brought it to the range once. It is a nice gun too, pretty old and yet in excellent shape (and not with the addition of me having to say "excellent for its age", it is simply in excellent condition). I likely will not regret selling the Browning shotgun but I may come to regret selling the High Standard pistol one of these days. Then again, whom am I trying to kid , I think I have come to regret selling any of the firearms I have ever sold. Oh well, if I sell the pistol tomorrow, I may have enough cash to buy a case of 5.56x45mm, 62 grain, ammo. That would be a good trade off. Then again, there is no guarantee that I will sell it tomorrow or ever; we will see, i will depend on my mood tomorrow.

I may also try to sell a NEF Pardner 12 gauge single shot shotgun that I have on hand. I recently picked up a single shot Winchester shotgun and right now, as in this very moment, I am thinking I would prefer to keep that one. Of course, that could change at the drop of a hat and maybe I will sell it instead of the Pardner. The Pardner would probably be a better knock around gun than the older Winchester and the Winchester could bring...I will keep mum on what it could bring.

Once again, decisions - decisions - decisions!

All the best,
Glenn B

The 12 Days Of Sandy In A Third World Nation

So far it has been 12 days. The storm began on Monday October 29th and today is Friday November 9th. The roads are not blocked by downed trees, there was no major long lasting flooding that forced rescue crews to go through entire neighborhoods by boat, both as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The major highways are all passable as are the local streets and that despite the fact that a second major storm downed hundreds more trees and dumped a few inches of snow on the ground just two days ago. The airports were not, as they were during Katrina, totally flooded and partially destroyed and thus are all operational.

So why is it that FEMA is only just beginning to get temporary housing, in the way of trailers to NY? Why is it that people on Staten Island have reported, as recently as a day ago, that there is no organized relief effort to dole out aid to those stricken by the storm and things like food, water and clothing are being left on street corners by well meaning folks, who have driven there to help but have not found any organized relief stations? Why is it that the Long Island Power Authority has run out of electric poles? Hell, they run virtually all of their power wires on poles just like is done in any other third world nation. So, you would think they would have had the foresight to have enough on hand or would have ordered more as the storm was hitting. They apparently did not have that foresight.  What happened to the 12 million gallons of FREE gasoline that the government promised to the disaster stricken public? Oh, that's right they are giving it to first responders who are working disaster relief. Not totally true based on what has been told to me by a reliable source. I have heard of plenty of federal agents going to the distribution centers and getting it for free for their government cars and they are not assigned in any way, shape or form to the disaster relief. In addition, now, NY State is following the lead of NJ and is going to a system of forcing gas stations to dole out gasoline using odd/even license plate numbers; cars with plates ending in odd numbers get it one day and those ending in even numbers the next. This is supposed to shorten the lines at gas stations but someone please explain just how that will accomplish that goal. It is going to create confusion and prevent people who really need gas from getting it when needed, like someone traveling through NY from another state who runs low of gas on his or her off day to buy gas. Yes, out of state residents are included in the rationing. It makes one wonder, 'Hey this is day 12, why the fuck is there a shortage of gasoline in the first place at this late stage'. All the excuses of the gas companies are a lot of bullshit in my opinion. They say terminals are not operational. They could be trucking it in from terminals afar with their fleets of gasoline tanker trucks; apparently they are not, at least not by way of major effort. Then again, the people who drive in NY could be trying to conserve fuel by using mass transit whenever possible. Oh yeah, that's right, the Long Island Rail Road and the NYC Transit Authority lines are still not running at full service, at least not as of yesterday morning. Oh, one more thing on the so called gasoline shortage - how is it that Westchester County supposedly uses the same gasoline delivery terminals as do NYC and Western Long Island, yet there is a shortage in NYC and LI and not in Westchester? By the way, how is it that the EPA, a mere one day after the election, decided to change how it polls whether or not gas stations are open and there was a sudden overnight post election day 12% increase in the amount of stations they were reporting closed. It reportedly took them 10 days, and a completed presidential election, before they determined that stations that did not answer their phones, over several days, to take he open or closed poll, were closed! Yet, before the election, they were evidently unable to figure that out and thus reported a much smaller percentage of gas stations being closed than were actually closed. No way that could have had anything to do with election day coming up could it?  Of course, the president made sure to fly into NJ, just a day or two after Sandy, for a photo op right before the election but nah that must just have been coincidence, right!

I am pretty bitter about all of this. Now please note, I am not bitter about the outcome of the election because my choice of candidates did not win. I am bitter though about seeing all of these storm victims suffering without relief in sight. I am bitter that the largest urban population of federal agents within the USA is pretty much sitting on its collective duff and doing little to help. I am bitter because, some federal agents, who work in NYC volunteered to help but were told to stay home and conserve gas; yet not too long ago those same agents were forced to car pool with their government cars - so why not have them car pool to volunteer sites! I am bitter because it has become painfully obvious that the USA has failed its people.

Let's face it folks, the reason for all of the above is obvious: We are living in a third wold nation, a banana republic at best. Then again, there could be another reason, at least in the eyes of those with a different perspective. We could do like them and just blame it all on George W. Bush and get on with life. After all, none of this could have anything to do with any imagined failings of the current administration - could it!

All the best,
Glenn B