Saturday, February 28, 2009

Vipers, Space and the CIA

This week's blog is a hodge podge since I don't have anything in particular that I wanted to muse about.

I've been checking my sitemeter lately to find a lot of hits on my blog from folks in England. I thought it had to do with my recent trip to London but, no, they're finding my blog by typing in phrases like "why men need their space." Some time ago I did a blog on "Why Men Need Their Space." Apparently, this is an issue in Britain too.

One web surfer found my blog by typing "why do men need their space and for how long." Whoa. Men always need their space. It never ends. Heck, I even want my own space when I'm buried. Nobody's sharing my coffin.

Then another web surfer from Romania found my 'space blog' by Googling the phrase "Why do women need a separate room and money to write?" Well, he didn't find the answer on my blog. I have no clue. Maybe women are writing checks and need a separate room to keep track of all their financial paperwork.

I don't think I mentioned yet how I met a Central Intelligence Agency operative while I was in England. It's true. He was a bartender in central London, though I won't give his real name or where he worked. I don't want to end up on trial like Scooter Libby for outing a CIA agent.

"Harry" had a raft of pictures on the wall of his pub. One of them, from Hillary Clinton, said "Harry, Thanks for Everything, Hillary Clinton." My son Scott who was with me at the time disputes my recollection however. He said the sign said "Harry, Best Wishes, Hillary Clinton."

But Harry told me that he regularly briefed former CIA chief Robert Gates, who is now the Secretary of Defense. Harry told me about the DIA too, as well as the CIA. DIA stands for Defense Intelligence Agency and according to Harry was over the CIA. I don't think Harry has anything to do with the CIA any longer. He's just a bartender. But you never know, right?

Speaking of travel adventures, my nephew Gabe is headed to Costa Rica with his wife. Costa Rica is becoming a popular eco-tourist destination because of its variety of plant and wildlife. But that includes a variety of poisonous snakes as well, something that concerned my nephew somewhat.

He wrote to me "There are also a couple of snakes that are very lethal. The Fer de Land and the Eyelid Viper. If you are bitten by one of those, you're pretty much a goner."

So I looked up those snakes on the internet but had a hard time finding any information. Turns out that Gabe misspelled both snakes. It's the Fer De Lance and the Eyelash Viper. Gabe should be more careful. If he gets bitten by one, he wants to make sure he gets the name right so they give him the right antidote. The para-medics might think he got bitten by Ferdinand the bull instead of Fer-De-Lance the snake. Big difference.

I understand Gabe's concern. I detest snakes. During my bit of research I found out that there are no snakes in Ireland, New Zealand, Iceland and Greenland. I know where I'm going next on vacation. Definitely not Australia. They're home to the most toxic snakes anywhere.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave's Dad here. Dave this would of been a great place to put a picture of my space, bison skull hanging on the wall, indian artifacts,voo doo dolls, well maybe not real voodoo dolls, but you have to admit a lot of junk.

7:01 AM  
Blogger jan said...

Snakes are our friends. They eat harmful insects and rodents and can actually be trained to be most affectionate. A little snake PR here.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

I'm with Dave on this jan-I know they have their purpose on this earth, but I don't like them or bugs. And honestly-I'm not a bird person either.

Give me a good dog and a cat any day.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Guess Dave won't be visiting our house anytime soon ( Thanks Jan for defending snakes!

(Received your blog because of Google alert for eyelash vipers)


4:40 AM  
OpenID caroldee said...

ACkkkk someone metion snakes and I am outta here!! Most profoundly paranoid about those which I will not speak of again. I am with ya DAVE.. lets go to a place where they have been run out or its too cold for them. 17 here today just the right weather for them..LOL
You never know what people will google for as long as they don't try "snake lover from ANN ARBOR"
hehehh take care :)

10:27 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Hi Dave's dad, I have been wondering what happened to you....Good to see you again.....

Snakes are not my favorite thing either, I can't figure out which ones are dangerous and which ones aren't.....

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A CIA agent spilling his guts to the Blog. Now I have heard everything.

Or maybe, the truth is the Blog had one too many pints that night.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

DAD--I don't remember any voodoo doll. But maybe that's why you did better in our fantasy football league this year.

JAN--Snakes can be my friend as long as they stay away. That's why I like Michigan. The only poisonous snake is the rare Massasauga rattlesnake.

CARINE--I do like birds. I have a feeder outside my kitchen window. And it better remain a bird feeder and not a cat feeder. That's one reason I'm not too fond of cats. Sneaky little prowlers they are.

JIM--I saw your site. Lots of pretty snakes, all quite venomous I assume. And if you keep any at your house, yes, I won't be by.

CAROLDEE--I can't believe how cold it is here today. I thought they were predicting upper 20s but, as you said, it's more like upper teens with a wind chill in single digits. Enough!

LUCY--I understand what you mean about trying to recognize the non-poisonous variety of snakes. I read that a lot of non-poisonous snakes look just like their more lethal cousins. They're less likely to be bothered by predators then.

ANONYMOUS (Vic, I assume)--Yes, I was hobnobbing with a member of our intelligence-gathering community. Time to have a little more respect for your uncle, eh.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I'm no snake lover. When we lived in Charleston, our garden was in the back corner of our lot. There was many acres of wild territory behind us, and lots of snakes. I always made lots of noise going back to the garden, but don't know if it worked. I saw snakes occasionally, and on one occasion, a dangerous one.

Cas - and I think women need their space too.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Not too many of us like snakes, but you don't see them too often. It must be 10 years since I saw one, and they don't turn up in the cities. It is amazing when you look something up on Google, you find your own blog mentioned.
My back and leg are a little better. I am sorry your son suffers from a bad back, they are hard to keep pain free.The name of the Non Steroid anti-inflamatory I am taking is called Meloxican and
I am on the lowest dose, for various reasons. I take Panadol-Osteo daily and it usually
helps but not this time. Glad you liked the jokes and I remember seeing the one about Moses the parrot. Take care, Dave, Regards, Merle.

3:45 AM  
Anonymous Enforcer said...

You watch to many James Bond movies

9:30 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I knew I was missing some good posts while I was gone. I'm glad you mentioned London over at my place. I had to come over and read about it. Looks like you guys had a great time.

My club was Arsenal, too. I went to a few of their games and really enjoyed them. I went to a few cricket matches, too, but couldn't really grasp the game, in spite of someone trying to explain it to me

The picture of the fry-up reminds me of many breakfasts that our neighbor used to make for us. I'm not a big beans fan, but ate them anyway. I could never cook as good as them. I got used to pub food, too, although I enjoyed the warm, bitter beer better.

Did you get sick of hearing "Mind the Gap" on the tube?

I can hardly wait to go back. My plans are to retire here in 4-5 years, then try and get a teaching position at an American Community School in London for a few more.

Thanks for posting the pictures. Welcome back!

7:13 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CASSIE--That's one reason I don't think I could ever move south. I hear of snowbirds who come to Florida in the winter and find snakes in their trailer, though they're usually dead.

MERLE--Thanks for the names of those drugs. I guess my son is still bothered by his back this week.

ENFORCER--They're on our on-demand cable channel all the time. I didn't realize till recently that Robert Shaw, the boat captain from Jaws, was one of the early Bond villains. A good one too.

FRED--Not only did I get tired of hearing, "Mind the Gap", but it's also a slogan you see on a lot of the t-shirts and other touristy items they sell. I wanted to find a good pub t-shirt instead but those seem to be rare, at least where we shopped.

9:50 AM  
Blogger amarkonmywall said...

Virginia Woolf declared that every woman needs a little money and a room of her own- I know I do. If not to write, to hide new yarn I sneak into the house.

I love snakes. Snake handling has become my second career. This is a delightful well-written post. Keep it up. Since we have one less funny and wonderful blogger in the neighborhood today, we need all we can get.

Sigh. Makes me sad. You too, yes?

7:56 AM  
Blogger Babette said...

On her beautiful heels!

I like GREEN snakes. Their bite won't break the skin, but, if handled roughly enough, they will exude a foul substance from their anal glands.

Thinking of you as I read about Gene's passing. Vicki wrote a beautiful post, except for the shirt in the top photo.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

VICKIE--Yes, I am sad. I knew something was up when I went to Hoss's blog and saw that the number of comments on his latest blog had jumped about a dozen since I'd last checked. Then I went to your site and read the bad news.

Just remember, snake handlers get bitten too. So be careful.

BABETTE--No bragging about MSU's Big Ten basketball title, eh. Not sure why you would connect me with Gene's passing, though it was through Hoss's blog that I met up with characters like you and Vickie. Hoss always had a loyal, intelligent collection of fans. Just like a certain University here in Ann Arbor. No wonder Vickie picked that picture for her tribute.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:44 PM  

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