Monday, December 10, 2012

Cute New Member of the Family; Python Regius

Velvet just "hanging out"
On Wednesday I received a new baby Ball Python. She's a little 6 month old female Butter Black Pewter (a morph made up of several co-dominant genes; Butter, Plack Pastel, and Cinnamon). See many of the different color and pattern mutations these beautiful snakes come in here at the World of Ball Pythons where you can learn just about everything you want to know about these wonderful creatures.
I don't have a video camera or a cell phone to take videos with but did manage to put together a slideshow type video to post on Youtube;
I named her Velvet because she has such a soft gradient look to her. My favorite Ball Python morphs are ones such as Soulsuckers, Mystic Potions, Purple Passions, Super Phantoms, (all very expensive) but she has that look, so when I saw her back in July I just had to have her!
I did a payment arrangement with the breeder, and 5 months later and after alot of saving and sacrifice my little bundle of joy was delivered via Fed Ex! I was so excited. It was the perfect start to the holiday season.
I had her cage all ready and waiting for her, complete with heating pad, a branch I had attached some fake foliage around, a natural-looking rock style water dish, thermometer, and hygrometer to monitor temperature and humidity, and a red plastic folgers coffee container used as a hide so that she can curl up in a nice secure space when she wants some privacy.
When I first opened up the little bag she came in I was surprised at just how petite she was; her neck only about as big around as a pencil and her head the width of my thumb!
Ball Pythons when full grown reach about 3-5 feet in length, and can get pretty thick in proportion to their length.
She currently eats rat pups (baby rats with fur already but only about 2.5 inches in length). With her tiny little neck she would not physically be able to swallow anything bigger than that. Velvet ate her first meal on Friday since she arrived here with no problems. Here she resembles a stuffed tube sock as she stretches to fit her food down her throat.
Over the next year I think her growth will probably increase quite a bit.
She's still a little shy but overall is pretty active considering she hasn't fully gotten used to me yet.
The day I got her she climbed on my arm, and after awhile she went up my sleeve and curled up under my arm in my shirt.
If you look closely you can see that she has unusual eyes that seem to match the stripes on the sides of her face. The top part of her eyes is sort of a light blue, and then it gradually fades to brown as it goes toward the bottom. My theory about why this is, is that it could be a form of camouflage. These snakes in the wild would be more protected from predators if their eyes blended in to their surroundings as much as possible. This is why Albinos are pretty rare among wild populations of most animals. They stand out too much thus making them easy prey.
In captivity though, selective breeding has produced a number of Albino and other recessive hypomelanistic forms of Ball Pythons.
Generally Ball Pythons of breeding age and size breed just once a year, but some lay eggs and hatch them in Spring or Summer and others in Fall and Winter. It is always exciting to watch these little snakes being born.
If you're considering a pet snake, a Ball Python is a very good choice. Other than some minor particulars such as going off food for periods (they store nutrients so healthy snakes can live this way for a number of weeks or months without suffering malnutrition), and the need for heat in their enclosure to ensure proper digestion, these snakes are relatively low maintenence, and they are easy to tame; most having a very mild temperament.
Contrary to the stereotype (that they just sit there and have very little going on upstairs), Ball Pythons are quite intelligent and aware of their surroundings. They do hear you talking to them, know when you enter the room, and can track movement on the TV screen or computer monitor. If you don't believe this take a look at some videos by this woman on Youtube whose username is 1softkiss;
Her videos act as observational studies on snake behavior and I believe have made a significant contribution to improved understanding of the capacity of these animals, not only among those who do not have snakes as pets, but within the snake/reptile community as well.
There is mounting documentation that snakes are not the one dimensional limited "primitive brain" animals that they were once believed to be, that they perceive alot more about the world than most give them credit for, that they can bond with their owners, and with other species, and that they are capable of showing affection!
Just as cats and dogs do, snakes have a "language" all their own, a form of communication that is species specific. Up until recently we humans have not generally paid as close attention to the meaning behind their behavior, as we have with other animals comminly kept as pets, and I believe this is in large part because so many are afraid of them and prefer to avoid them. With the recent legislation connected with the Lacey Act, humans are now more interested in more thoroughly understanding them, partly out of necessity, and partly out of curiosity.
Understanding snakes' communication is important for a number of reasons. It allows us to predict their actions, thus preventing a bite, it lets us know whether they're happy and healthy, and it allows us not merely to view them from a "cautious" distance, but to enriches their lives, and ours too through more meaningful interaction with them! 
The one positive outcome resulting from all the knee-jerk legislation recently covered in the media is that snakes are no longer relegated to the darkest corners of our minds, tucked away and not thought about, mired in superstition and forboding. Instead they are out in the light, and more people than ever before now want to make their peace with them, even make friends with them, and take them into their homes as a loved part of the family.
No longer is the paradigm of cuteness restricted to animals with fuzzy fur and warm bodies. As we become more accepting as a society towards diversity in humans, we also begin to think about parallel diplomatic relationships between ourselves and other animals with whom we share the earth.
I have always loved snakes and wanted one, so all this new information wasn't a stretch for me, but for many, meeting the snake face to face is a form of healing and catharsis, and on an even deeper sociological anthropological level, it is the beginning of very important work in healing that larger intergenerationally fractured relationship between man and snake, and coming out with a more reality-based interpretation of how we define that relationship in the here and now.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A GiftbearerSupply Customer Helps The Sudan With Quartz Crystals and Jewelry Rich in Spirit


Gentry Gorg from Hawaaii set out in search of just the right crystals for a special piece of jewelry he had in mind and got so inspired by all the possibilities he ordered several of these natural drilled beauties from my Etsy supply shop GiftbearerSupply and made two wonderful amulet necklaces with them! His style is a fusion between New Age and Tribal Boho, and is inspired by nature. If these pieces inspire you just imagine all the unique uses for these natural drilled Quartz crystals. There is just something enchanting about a piece of stone that comes out of the ground with such a pretty shape and clarity, and to be awed by the fact that man did not create it; nature did! This raw magnificence is a large part of these natural stones' appeal and why they are so sought-after by makers of jewelry who seek to tame them only in as much as they will fit into a piece of wearable art that honors and celebrates that either by chance or by grand design they appeared here on our wonderous planet serendipitously for us to find and enjoy.
Gentry built his own website Designs by Gentry where he sells the necklaces shown above and others, and is also donating some of the proceeds of his sales to a human service organization called Water for South Sudan 
It's great to know that supplies from my shop are being used to create such cool designer jewelry, and to know that the finished product is doing double-duty to help those in need.
I always find the backstory behind my customers and their creations interesting.
If you create something with supplies from my shop send me pictures and any other information you think might be of interest to readers and you might be the next to be featured on my blog. Send me the link to where you sell your work either on Etsy or a free-standing website and lets do some cross promotion in preparation for the upcoming holiday gift season.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Last Call for Democracy; Why You Should Vote for Obama

On the eve of the US Presidential election the country is poised with anticipation for tomorrow's results at the polls.

Much mud has been slung and there have been no shortage of political ploys and dirty tricks. Political maneuvering and mudslinging is nothing new, but what is new is the level to which former Governor Mitt Romney and his campaign has sunk to, and no time in my life have I encountered an election in which one candidate wanted to set us back more than 50 years, with an intent to repeal some of the most hard-won liberties in history.

I never imagined that we'd be facing the possibility of losing our right to determine our own reproductive decisions and those of our daughters, that "Big Brother" would come to mean huge mega-corporations reaching into every aspect of our private lives, and that our employers would be allowed to tell us how to vote (under penalty of firing if we chose not to vote the way the CEOs decreed). These types of issues are issues I would have expected from a developing country; a dictatorship; not something I ever thought I would see here in the US.

Living in a "right to work" state (which should really aptly be called a "right to fire" state), I know just how catastrophic it would be if lexisting labor protections afforded to more progressive states were stripped from every state in the union from the federal level. Such an environment only benefits those in top brass positions. What about the vast majority of Americans working hard in the trenches, trying their best to make the money they need for their families, and trying to improve their station in life? In such an oppressive environment upward mobility would be next to impossible, relegating the American worker to eternal indentured servitude.

Big corporations are already out of control enough, taking advantage of those whose backs they bend to the point of breaking just to put more money into the pockets of those at the top. If you have been leaning toward voting for Romney and you buy into his rhetoric that plumping up these CEOs further will result in more job creation then read this independant study issued by the Congressional Research Service which shows otherwise;

The following summary of conclusions drawn in the study; excerpt printed in the Huff Post;
"The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.

However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities."

In a nutshell; given the choice to put that extra money the top 1% might save due to tax cuts or breaks into hiring more employees, or to keep it for themselves, these fat cats will likely choose to keep it and not hire more employees. If you were counting on that stimulating the economy you'll be sorely dissapointed when that does not happen. Unless you are in that top 1% of the very rich and highly powerful you will never reap the benefits of such action.

Read the whole report details here;

It should be deeply disturbing to all Americans that the GOP has been brushing these facts under the rug because they don't support their points, that key officials have been creating obstructions to early voting in Florida and certain other states (6-11 hour waits just to vote are ludicrous), and that Mitt Romney is so slippery one can never be sure what he'll actually do if inducted into office. He has changed his story about his stand on many issues, and the ones he has been consistant on should scare you; i.e, opposing the Lilly Ledbetter Act, wanting to repeal Roe vs Wade, his obvious mysogyny and belief that women are not entitled to the same rights afforded to men (economically or otherwise), his thinly vieled racism against blacks and hispanics, and his calelier lack of concern and empathy for the poor, sick, disabled, and elderly (as evidenced by his own statements and preference to cut programs that help those populations).

Romney's statement behind closed doors to a group of his contemporaries deriding (as he calls them) "the 47%" is about as candid a moment as you're going to see reflecting his true heart-of-hearts views and biases and quite frankly, contempt for such populations.

The most obvious parallel to this sort of elitist view held by a politician/leader when taken to it's natural conclusion and put into policy is that of Adolf Hitler. In Nazi Germany during WW2 Hitler spoke of what he termed  "Untermenschen" which translates to "under-man" or "sub-human" . It was just this mind-set that he used as justification for murdering 6 million jews and numerous others he viewed as worthless to his country. From that era came an admonition by more rational people "never again"; that is to say we must not ever allow history to repeat itself, and once identified we must recognize it when we see this particular type of predatory trait in a potential leader, and thus not allow him into a position where he can abuse his power. This is exactly one of those instances. I believe this man has all the makings of a sociopathic dictator, who if allowed into power would wreak havok upon this country and many unsuspecting Americans. Worse yet, he is so beguiling that he could convince others to carry out his dirty work (and in some respects already has). Take for instance that meeting of the minds he had last summer with other CEOs telling them "it would not be illegal" for them to write their employees and tell them their jobs could be in jeapardy if Barack Obama wins a second term. I mean, who does that! At the beginning of the campaigne I thought Mitt Romney was merely a buffoon, but as time went on I could see that was just one of his many acts in hopes his opposition would underestimate him. In my opinion he's dangerous!

He is playing upon the frustration of Americans who want the economy to recover faster than it has, but don't fall into that trap. Just as former President Bill Clinton has said, no president could have fixed the economy in just 4 years. It took way longer than that to be in shambles, and now unemployment is significantly better than it was. It will take at least 4 more years to be where it should be.

Barack Obama isn't perfect, but consider the fact that in many instances his hands have been tied because of the opposition from a majority Republican Congress. If anything I think he has maybe reached across the isle too much for most of his first term, but I must say that lately he has really grown a pair such that I haven't seen before! I think it became clear at some point that the most conservative in Congress weren't interested in compromise; they would not be satisfied until they had their way 100%, and  Obama finally realized that there is only so much one can compromise before compromising yourself and your own values. He came to the realization that he was trying to reason with people who were unreasonable and at some point a leader just has to make a decision, plot a course, and then be willing to stand firm because it's the right thing to do. Barack Obama has really begun to come into his own and he knows now where to draw the line and when not to compromise. He knows whom he's fighting for, and has a clear vision to level the playing field for everybody; not just the richest, or the most powerful; not just the "haves" but also the "have nots", as the average American and the poor American is a human being just as worthy of respect and of our empathy as one who is wealthy and powerful. This is a man who understands that a person's true worth is not measured in how much money he makes. He's honest, and earnest.

That clip that was shown on TV of Obama hugging the woman from New Jersey who had lost everything in hurricaine Sandy was not merely a photo op. His genuine caring was palpable, and for a second he forgot he was the President of the United States, and was just another human being providing comfort and solace to another American. Now this is the kind of man you want to have your back! Not somebody unaffected and disconnected. Not somebody who believes "those people" are of no concern to him. But by the Grace of God any of us could be "one of those people". Hurricane Sandy has shown us that lesson. America is about inclusion, not exclusion, and the American Dream should be attainable for all. Obama wants all of us to have that opportunity.

Now go to the polls (if you haven't already) and let nothing stand in your way :-)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Thinking Outside The Box; Reaching New Markets and Stimulating the US Economy
Starting today; November 1st, I am trying something new as a means to bring in business from countries outside the US. Each month over the next several months I will feature a different country in each of my Etsy shops to offer that country a special deal.
This month in my finished jewelry shop; Giftbearer, I am offering Chinese buyers 20% off on a purchase of $65.00 or more (total can be one item, or several less expensive items which add up to at least $65.00 in the same order). Please enter the coupon code; CHINA65 while checking out in the box allowed for special discounts.
Canadian buyers are offered the same deal but in my supply shop; GiftbearerSupply. Please enter the coupon code; CANDO65 in checkout.
I welcome my fellow Chinese and Canadians throughout November to see what wonderful things can be obtained here. Purchase something very special for yourself or for your friends or family. Feel free to use this offer as many times as you'd like during the month of November and send people you know who also live in your country.
Not only will you discover some great treasures, but you'll also help stimulate the US economy in the process! What better way to spread the love!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

 This necklace Champaigne and Roses Romance and Roses Romance is in EtsyContest's current contest! Please vote for this piece by going to the link above the photo! One of my goals is to enter more contests this year! With the holidays coming I am trying some creative new strategies to get my work in front of people who want and treasure it. This necklace is one of many unique and exciting pieces of jewelry I have available for purchase on Etsy
 This necklace measures 16" long in a Y-necklace style, incorporating copper, bronze pearls, genuine red coral carved roses and round and elongated oval beads, and a bright candy apple red Vintage glass heart! It will make a gorgeous gift for someone you love! It is an intriguing fusion of Victorian and modern, both minimalism and complexity of pattern.

In addition I'd like to mention that from now through the holidays I welcome custmers' photos as material for my blog! If you buy something from me send me photos of what you made with supplies bought from me, or if you are a jewelry customer, send me a photo of you or someone wearing the piece and any links if you have an online store, or if you don't sell a product just tell me some interesting aspect about you that you would like people to know!

I will also be doing some customer appreciation treasuries on Etsy, so stay tuned, and be sure to do your holiday shopping for jewelry and or supplies in my Etsy shops! You'll be happy you did :-)


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Giftbearer's Volcanic Heart Center Necklace is a Finalist in the Beadaholique "Autumn Colors" Contest
18 1/2" long not counting the focal segment (which measures 2 3/16").

Public voting closes at 4PM PT (7PM ET) on Tuesday, October 2, so make sure to ask all of your Facebook friends to go and "like" this entry! Each "like" on the individual photo in Beadaholique's photo album counts as one vote for that entry.
This is one I am especially proud of, but if you'd like to purchase it I won't stop you, LOL.
Click on the picture or click here Volcanic Heart Center Necklace to read more about it and/or to own it! It is one of a kind and incorporates some cool Vintage parts!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Backstory on Ohio's SB 310 - Legislature's Rush To Judgment. Not So Fast; Watch This!

I've learned even more over the past few days about the impetus for Ohio's bill SB 310. There were facts the Ohio legislature failed to take into account; very disturbing questions still unanswered, things about this case that just don't add up.

Please watch this video filmed and produced by Joe Schreibvogel, a former police chief himself who now manages a similar exotic animal park. The evidence he's unearthed about the suspicious death of Terry Thompson points to some major and organized corruption the depths of which is still unknown.

Watch and evaluate for yourself...and share this around;

Joe himself has been targetted by some of the same tactics.

I wonder how many others around the country have as well.

The FBI has launched a full, ongoing investigation of these events.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Outcome of SB 310; "Dangerous Animals and Restricted Snakes" Bill

Tuesday, May 22nd Ohio state legislators convened to decide the fate of "exotic" animals and it passed 87-9.

There were three speakers for the bill and only one speaking against.

Rep. Terry Boose (R) District 58-Norwalk (Opposed);
1) Pointed out that the bill discriminates against the poor

2) Encourages a black market

3) Not enough teeth in the bill to really be effective anyway

Rep. Brian Hill (D) District 94-Zanesville (In Favor);
1) Stated that the bill would include an "Animal Emergency Team"

2) Will promote proper caging requirements

Rep. Tracey Heard (D) District 26-Columbus (In Favor);
1) Stated that she had a pet monkey as a child and supported exempting those from the bill's scrutiny because they "make good pets, and serice animals" (side note: Opinions are like ***holes, everybody has one. So where's the research sources proving monkeys are better and safer pets than snakes???)

2) Stated that the bill "makes provisions" for those who can't afford the various fees and must "relinquish" those animals. Feels they are "reasonable". (side note: How big of her. Is she offering to adopt all these displaced pets, and cover the costs of their care? No detail given on just exactly how much these fees are, and where this money for their future care is supposed to come from. Are the people who can afford those fees supposed to foot the bill for all those people giving their pets up who can't?)

Rep. Andy hompson (R) District 93-Marietta (In Favor);
1) Stated that the "First Responders" for animal emergencies proposed by the bill is an important feature.

Well, I must say that the impression I was left with after watching this session was that the whole hearing was merely a formality.

There are so many constitutional issues here that this is bound to end up at the Supreme Court level. Perhaps animal-lovers have lost this battle, but we will win the war.

History has borne out again and again that prohibition doesn't work; not in a country that was built on acceptance of individual choices. The original settlers left Europe because they didn't want every aspect of their private lives dictated to them by their government and wanted to be free to pursue what made them happy.

Sure, there are instances when government needs to step in and intervene to level the playing field, prevent people from killing each other, or to make sure society has what it needs to serve everyone in it, there are times when that's appropriate, but not in telling people what pets they can keep.

USARK offered reasonable alternatives, and who better to be involved in the writing of standards for and about snakes than people who have been doing it for years? Who better to write the standards for large cats than people who have made a career doing that.

Society recognizes this in fields such as medicine in which boards are formed to set the standards for their peers, and in fields like medicine government hesitates to let state or Federal legislators decide what is best for doctors and their patients. The reason? Because they recognize that legislators (and along with them, other special interest groups) lack the knowledge, experience, and expertise to dictate "best practices" to doctors, tell them how they should do their surgeries, what drugs to prescribe and not prescribe, and what tests they can and can't do on their patients. (Private insurance companies try to do that, but at least the government in this instance, takes a pretty much hands-off approach).

Life is full of both risks and benefits. There are people who have died from working with animals, but in the grand scheme of things the number of people who have died does not reach the level that requires government intervention. Overall the joys of working with animals far outweighs the risks, and as we become more familiar with a whole range of different species we come to understand them better (just as different races and nationalities of people get better at relating as they are allowed to communicate and meet in the middle). All of these individual differences take time to work out.

Just like people who speak different languages, animals have their own "languages"; different ways of communicating, and different ways of interpreting the actions of species outside their own.

If people are restricted from keeping certain species they will never have the opportunity to get to know them at close range and to work through those language and cultural barriers. That in itself will keep whatever dangers there are ever-present and unpredictable. Wouldn't it be better to be able to predict and prevent those incidents and move past them than to merely table the interactions that will reduce those risks?

Just as in any relationship, humans and other animals need to meet in the middle and learn from one another so that they can successfully achieve a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both species. Money should have no place in such relationships. It is a matter to be worked out between each particular animal and each particular human.

I know that with each dog I have had the relationship and what defines it is unique. We learn along the way how to treat each other, we have special routines between us that are specific to just that relationship, certain special ways of relating that don't necessarily apply to all dogs and all humans. Relationships, whether they are human to human or human to other animal involve compromise, respect, trust, regard for the other, kindness, and most of all, the willingness to work on that relationship to make it better and richer with time. Those objectives cannot be achieved by distance. Those principles are universal and can be applied across the board, regardless of species.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Update on Snake Bans

Things have been heating up in Ohio, and we in the hobby are on the cusp of another bout of knee-jerk legislation as follow-up to the Lacey Act. The outcome of that original act amendment was that at least there was going to be a 2 year maratorium on adding any more than the 4 species of snake that were proposed. Now comes an amended version on the state level that seeks to undermine those few protections put in place and threatens to open it wide up and without a vote!

This new piece of legislation in Ohio; called SB 310 in its current version would be one of the most restrictive on reptile keeping of any in existance Nationwide.

Representative Jim Buchy proposed some changes recommended by USARK (United States Association of Reptile Keepers) which were rejected by Governor Kasich, Senator Balderson, and others. These changes included a proposed $25.00 registration fee instead of permitting of animal facilities, would institute safety and secure housing protocols instead of requiring cost prohibitive surety bonds and liability insurance.

Although the conterproposal was supported by several in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, it was rejected by the above mentioned leaders.

HSUS, the Columbus Zoo, and Jack Hannah oppose USARKs suggested alternatives, and with elections coming up in November for all House Committee Members, alot of them are under pressure to hurry this bill on through just so that it doesn't interfere with their campaigne plans.

This comes down to a vote today! Please write one of these people in the Ohio legislature and ask them to vote no on SB 310 .

We need to nip this in the bud before this type of extreme restriction comes rolling into all our towns, States, and cities.

I wrote Representative Debbie Phillips and asked that she write back to keep me informed on the vote. She has a background in mediation, so I figured that she would be more likely than some of the others to see the logic in working with USARK and the alternate solutions they proposed instead of the current version.

If this does not work, and the opposition gets its way, many people would be financially unable to keep their beloved pets due to inordinate fee requirements, (and that seems to be the bill writers' objective in adding the requirements). This would be a real shame.

Imagine a child crying because he had to give up his favorite snake he has had for years. And imagine there is no shelter that can take this snake that up until now has been loved and cared for, safe and secure, and a part of the family just like the dog and cat that share the home with it. It gets shuttled around from one temporary place to another where nobody really has experiece with snakes, it gets stressed out, stops eating, and tragically dies.

All this unecessary turmoil would be because of some bureaucrats who are trying to get re-elected, because of political power games between people fighting over money, many of whom have no idea what kind of added problms this legislation will cause snakes like this, little children, and taxpayers, and worse, they could care less! These are people who see snakes as nothing more than vermin to be reviled and driven out of our communities and the eco-system. They are ignorant people who insist on keeping their ignorance; sucking on it like a mother's teat.

Earlier I saw a video on Youtube that really took the cake showing to what lengths HSUS and PETA will go to further their anti-animal agenda. From all the warm and fuzzy TV commercials the general public would never guess that these "animal rights" organizations resort to such militant and unethical tactics. It has truly reached a new low and has gotten way out of control! It is long but please watch the whole thing. It is done in several segments put together;

Save animals by protesting this travesty!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Southwestern Style and Popular Culture

I can remember back in 2005 there weren't alot of Southwestern style items represented on Etsy. That has changed in recent years. With more and more sellers joining Etsy and a broader customer base to match, the number of Southwestern style items has grown exponentially! Once considered to be somewhat on the periphery of Etsy's "in" styles, it has since earned a significant portion of the market share and garnered a respectable position in the Etsy marketplace.

With its rich cultural mix of Native American, Mexican, and Cowboy/Cowgirl the style is really coming into its own.

I have seen alot more Treasury lists dedicated to the Southwestern way, for the most part very uplifting. As of this writing I pulled up 2,183 search results with the search term "Southwest". I have included a few such treasuries below;

As those of you who read my blog regularly probably know I have recently been very involved in the plight of snakes villified by the Lacey Act because of constrictors found loose in the Florida everglades.

All this turned the Herp Community's consciousness toward yet more atrocities against snakes, also born of ignorance, prejudice, and irrational fear.

This got me thinking about how culture and tradition intermingle and what that means. Sometimes culture has a darker side.

The Rattlesnake Round-up, an annual festival held in Sweetwater, Texas, organized and run by the Jaycees gives a view into this seemier side. According to an article on similar events are held in about 6 US states, but the one in Sweetwater is the biggest and most well-known.

Nearly 20,000 Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes are collected for the Sweetwater event, the rationale being that people don't want them around, and that the venom can be used for potential cures for cancer and other diseases, but these stated reasons are suspect because as  Carl Franklin, a herpatologist says, "Venom collected at the round-ups is not collected in a sterile environment".

In addition, at the 2006 round-up revenues were projected in excess of 5 Million dollars! States use these events to draw in tourists and tourist money.

Snakes are often not collected in areas where they'd pose real danger to humans; instead they're extracted from deep rocky dens in remote areas that really take some effort and time to get to. It is a real shame that such beautiful animals are hounded and hunted so intrusively when all they're doing is trying to raise their young in peace. These animals are not going out to bite humans. All they want is to be left alone, minding their own business.

Once taken from their dens (in some cases by putting gas fumes down a hole), many of these unlucky snakes are stored in inhumane conditions before being exploited before crowds of attendees, milked of their venom (for shock value), used in dare-devil type freak shows, and finally, as if that weren't traumatic enough, beheaded,  skinned, cooked, and some of them served to the blood-thirsty crowds alongside french fries.

Not only does one have to wonder about the morality of what this does to the Rattlesnakes, but what kind of message such displays send to children who are in attendance with their families, who really should be taught to preserve and respect wildlife, not revel in killing it.

Sure, it's a tradition, but not a very nice one. The Southwest has so many wholesome and beautiful attractions to offer. Why should this kind of cruelty become one of the attractions that tourists associate with the Southwest?

At the rate these round-ups are going we could see Diamondback Rattlesnakes, and other native rattlers in various Southern and Southwestern States reach endangered species proportions in our lifetime.

Like the Seguaro Cactus, the lizard, and the Coyote, these beautiful and powerful symbols of strength are an important part of what makes the Southwest special.

Watch this video made by National geographic with real footage of the Rattlesnake Round-up;

and thisone shows footage of two representatives of Urban Jungle Radio being served a restraining order preventing them from entering the round-up, although it is publicised as being open to the public. This goes to show just how entrenched the local police department is in seeing the event continue.

You can protest this barberic practice by going to the Jaycees Facebook page and asking politely that they change the format to one of public education about these animals; one which teaches humane respect and appreciation of these reptiles instead of the gratuitous slaughter that currently goes on. Many thanks to the Herp Center Network for the link.

My beadwoven bracelet, Diamondback pays tribute to this beautiful and majestic snake of the Southwest. I fashioned it after the intricate pattern on the skin.

Purchase this bracelet or anything in my store with a price of $65.00 or more (not including shipping), and the first few customers will receive a really nice genuine leather zippered pouch free with your jewelry. I have one that I use as a coin purse, but it can just as easily be used as a little travel case to put some of your jewelry in when you go on trips or even to keep in your purse or in the car's glove box. The picture below shows the same pouch but different views. Yours may be black (like this one) or dark brown depending on which remains at the time of purchase. Supply is extremely limited, so don't delay. The first buyers to meet the criteria get one!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Customer Feature; Terryfic Arts; Using Silver in Unexpected Ways

Terry Wilson of Ojai, California makes jewelry for an untapped niche market; musicians, especially oboe and bassoon players! An Oboist herself, and realizing that there was no fine jewelry made with these musicians in mind, she decided to fill this need with her own line of specialized Sterling and Fine Silver jewelry carved from wax and cast from her own mold. Most of these are reeds strung on satin cord, some wrapped in colored thread, or earrings on sterling silver earhooks.

In addition to this line of jewelry, Terry has an assortment of other pieces in her Etsy shop, Terryfic Arts including this Bass Clef;

Terry recently bought some beads from my supply shop and sent me some pictures of her finished piece and the Peppercorn tree that was her inspiration. The likeness is quite close and I just had to share this with my readers!


If you have a shop on Etsy and you purchase supplies or jewelry from me, send me a picture of your finished product (or you wearing my finished jewelry if you bought that from me), and you just might get a feature here in my blog!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Free Bead Contest
Just a short break from the snake news to let you know that I'm entering a bead giveaway called "Blog Buddies" sponsored by Magpie beads. She will be giving away some beads to a lucky winner each month, who will then show what was made with them or do a review on the beads after placing the banner above with a link back to her website. I look forward to seeing how this goes. It could be alot of fun! 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Update on "Python Ban"

Reposted (so as not to rewrite) from what I wrote on the Diane Rehm radio show site; I am saddened by just how out of control this mass banning has become. What kicked this off was an issue taking place in the Everglades and it has now been totally blown out of proportion to involve the entire country, and drawn into it way more animals than its original intended target.

If people are concerned about giant feral pythons in the Everglades those individual snakes should be contained/removed; not the snakes kept in captivity that are not hurting anyone, are happy and healthy.

I don't know where people are coming up with this "animal abuse" angle from this. What abuse? Breeding? Keeping in captivity? Is that what is being considered "abuse"? If so, then that's really stretching it.

The fact of the matter is that for many years non-native animals have come to the United States and have assimilated to life here either in captivity or in the wild. Are we to start exporting all those animals that originated from other countries? And if so, then from how many years ago? What should be considered native species? Animals have been brought over with settlers, shipped in, etc ever since this country began, even domestic breeds of cat or dog, but they're here now and we can't put Pandora back in the box. It's done.

I received an e-mail today about legislation being proposed currently which takes all this "animal control" even further. It said that there are restrictions being proposed against adding to the endangered species list even when it would be warranted. What ever happened to animal rights groups promotion of conservation? That seems to have gone out the window in a matter of weeks or months.

Looking at the big picture it sure appears as if there are those who would like to see animals become extinct because they really just consider them pests and believe they interfere with their lifestyle, as if they were competing with man's very existance. That is not a solution.

If Florida wants to get big snakes out of the Everglades and prevent more from getting loose there are more effective ways to do that intead of a Federal and then state by state ban. Why not for instance Spay and Neuter the feral ones.

HSUS would make better use of its time and resources doing that than in waging this nationwide war and dragging every species into it that resides in this country.

If Florida wants to restrict or limit the number of big species of snakes going into that state, that's one thing, but the whole country should not be penalized, when these snakes cannot live in the wild in cooler climates anyhow.

Yesterday while reading on one of the snake forums, I found yet another disturbing piece of legislation; this one introduced by the state of Rhode Island, and this one includes Ball Pythons, these very gentle and often shy snakes who aren't even capable of delivering more than a few small superficial puncture wounds (in the worst case scenario); certainly not vicious man-eaters by any definition!

Here is a link to the bill below;

To oppose S2033 go here:

I recieved a few responses to letters I wrote to legislators asking that they oppose this ban and overturn it. Senator Saxby Chambliss told me he'd pass on my thoughts to Fish and Wildlife and keep me posted on their response, and the Senator V. Susan Sosnowski of District 37 said my comments were very interesting and that she'd remember them when she addressed the issue in Environment and Agriculture Committee for a hearing. I read that as positive but I wish she'd told me where she stands on the issue so I'd know for sure.

Keep reading, everyone, please leave comments, and follow if you aren't already. I'm sure this topic will be interesting to alot of people, and there will be lots of new developments to come. Together we can make a difference so that people can continue to enjoy these beautiful and graceful animals.

In honor of the Python I'm offering a special deal for 20% off on finished jewelry purchases $60.00 and up for a limited time only. To get this price reduction you must enter the coupon code PYTHONDEAL during checkout and the amount of purchase must be at least $60.00 not including shipping. I don't do this very often, so I hope lots of you readers will make use of it while it lasts. Here's your chance to get some of my more substantial pieces for a great price!

And yes, this lovely snake bracelet with emerald eyes is still available.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mass Hysteria; Stop the Bans...Virginia Follows Florida's Lead

As if the Python Ban in Florida isn't bad enough now Virginia has followed suit! HB 1242 Takes SB 477 even further and bans a whole laudry list of animals considered "exotics", and it strictly regulates even the temporary moving of animals through the state.

The forum lists the legislators who are introducing this bill and those on the committee it is slated to be heard in; Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources.

In addition to many types of snakes, this list includes, primates (except for humans, LOL), wolves, african wild dogs, elephants, bears, Aligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials, all cats except domestic and hybrid domestic.

If it weren't so crazy I'd think it was a joke! Now come on; how many people are really going to keep most of those animals in a state like Virginia!

I think this was probably done because the state doesn't think the Federal ban coming from the situation in Florida is going to get shot down eventually.

I watched President Obama's State of The Union Address tonight and from what I could glean it doesn't look like he supports such bans. In his speech tonight he clearly stated that there are some things government should not regulate (those issues citizens can handle themselves), and he made a point of saying that he did not support standing in the way of "American ingenuity". I certainly interpret that to mean that he would not go along with these kinds of blanket bans.

He clearly is in favor of businesses that provide jobs, income, and bring money into the US from other countries, and the reptile industry does bring in alot of revenue.

For the most part breeders in this industry aren't in it purely for profit. They do care about preventing these animals from escaping, and they do alot of education on how to take proper care of them.

Prohibition never works, and it is not a solution to the world's problems.

Even if you don't have pet reptiles this trend to ban more and more species should bother you if you own any pets because then where does it end? Where will they draw the line if legislators begin to see this as the way to handle animals they fear and don't identify with.

It seems a mass panic is sweeping the country. Please pass this information on and get involved by writing, calling, and speaking to elected officials.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Follow-up Letter To Legislators Opposing Python Ban

The other day I wrote my legislators about SOPA and PIPA, and tonight I sent a letter to President Obama and my Representative and Senators and signed a petition to oppose the Python ban. This is my letter;

January 21, 2012

Dear President Obama:

Dear Representative Johnson:

Dear Senator Chambliss:

Dear Senator Isakson:

I am an animal lover and it has long been a dream of mine since I was a child to have pet snakes. Finally after doing alot of reading up and talking to experts I am ready to realize that dream and now I find out that it may just be a matter of time before I lose that opportunity because several of the constrictors are being legislated against, and I hear that still others (including the one I want) are on the chopping block yet to come.

The reptile industry is a needed American Industry for which there is a huge market. It has developed and grown exponentially over the past two decades and most breeders promote responsible pet ownership through public education and one-on-one support. There are many working in that field who depend on it to feed their families. Restricting interstate stransport of their "product" will only result in putting these people out of business and placing them in debt as well as ultimately adding to the National debt.

The reptile industry creates jobs and employs and provides the necessary income to many people by serving people like me, and it contributes to our national economy, important functions which are about to be put in jeopardy. I want you to be aware of the potential impact this bad precedent will have because it strikes at the ability of Americans to maintain their jobs, family life, and this industry's contributions to our American education, enjoyment, and work ethic.

I suspect you have been approached by special interest groups that would like to end animal ownership and kill the industry that supports it by pushing enactment of the Constrictor Rule as proposed by US Fish & Wildlife Service. This rule making has failed at every turn to make the case that 9 constricting snakes should be added to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. The science is questionable and Fish & Wildlife has failed to do a cost benefit analysis. The rule has been pushed along by mid level bureaucrats with no regard for information quality or due process. If enacted this rule would put more than 1 million Americans in jeopardy of becoming Lacey Act felons.

The Constrictor Rule, if passed will be the beginning of the end of such industry. This rule will not solve the problem that is its purported purpose (protecting the Everglades from Invasive snakes). It will hurt American business and my family. The alleged science being used to justify the rule has been called out as biased and fatally flawed by scientists from around the country, including; University of Florida, Texas A&M and the National Geographic Society. The rule was so poorly constructed that it was recently the subject of a hearing conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee examining this rule as an extreme example of government overreach negatively impacting a $1.4 billion cottage industry.

It looks very suspicious that the rule says it prohibits importing but not exporting. That tells me what's really behind it is more about the fear of breeders outsourcing to obtain their breeding stock thus sending American money overseas to the snakes' countries of origin. The initiators of this rule clearly have a hidden agenda. Any such fear is an overreaction because enough of these snakes exist in the US for breeders to obtain them from other breeders here (if allowed to ship across state lines), but such a rule would make doing so difficult if not impossible. In addition, people wanting a pet snake may not be able to obtain them in our own state, so would be unable to get one. I live in Georgia and do not know of any local snake breeders, for instance.

You yourself own a pet and I'm sure you believe vehemently in your right to keep it, so I hope you will instantly identify with my position. In these uncertain times pets of many kinds bring many of us comfort when little else does. Please make certain that I and millions of Americans can get back to work free from fear of the consequences of the Constrictor Rule.

I know that you will want to do the right thing not wasting government time and money on unecessary new laws that only restrict Americans' persuit of happiness so that our government can attend to more pressing national and international matters.

President Obama please ask the Office of Management & Budget to reverse this rule due to the failure of Fish & Wildlife to adhere to mandated guidelines and procedures required for a rule making. Policy should be based on facts and science, not opinion or partiality. This rule is in violation of at least three of your own executive orders. It is inappropriate on many levels and if passed it will reflect badly on you and your administration. Hold the writers of the rule to their stated agenda of sound science and be the voice of fairness and reason. Please stand up and refuse to let such bad decision-making stand.

The Constrictor Rule is a prejudicial, economically damaging, and ineffective. It is very similar to the bans proposed by certain states and other municipalities targeting Pit Bulls "breed-specific legislation".

This is not the way to solve the problem in the Everglades. Thousands of innocent snakes and those who keep them should not be penalized for a few errant ones that are on the loose.

Instead of making this a Federal rule/law this should be treated as a Florida problem and remedies designed only for those particular problem animals such as spaying and neutering those feral snakes to prevent their reproduction/any risk of overpopulation. This should not involve restricting the whole country from breeding, shipping, or owning these species as pets.

In addition, all stakeholders should be included in designing the solution to the problem in the Everglades; not just those who drafted this legislation. Thank you for your consideration.


Pippit Carlington

If you are an animal lover please let your voice be heard, sign the petition, and send a letter of your own by clicking on the badge in the sidebar of this blog. That will take you directly to the site through which you can contact your political officials.

You can also sign this Whitehouse petition;

 25,000 signatures are needed by February 17th  in order to get the job done!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Extreme Legislation Threatens Individual Freedoms

This week has been one of great uncertainty with 3 new bills looming which would significantly limit some of the freedoms US citizens have enjoyed for a long time.

In the misguided knee-jerk attempt to prevent the perceived peril to human life and liberty these 3 bills actually cause or worsen that which they seek to prevent.

The first two are SOPA; the Stop Online Piracy Act (House Bill 326) introduced on October 26, 2011 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and PIPA; Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (Senate Bill 968) introduced on May 12, 2011 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), proposed to address internet piracy and intellectual property violations, the driving force coming from the film industry, led by 20th Century Fox's Rupert Murdoch, The Motion Picture Association of America and NBC Universal. Edward Sheperd, a guest writer for points out that the intended target of these was originally overseas sites making a profit from US copyrighted merchandise, but that the impications could even impact bloggers in that it could require them to adhere to impossible requirements.

Unfortunately the nebulous wording of the bill draws in alot more than just those committing true internet piracy and copyright infringement. It could block customer access to selling sites such as Etsy, Ebay, and others if the government even suspects anything of that sort is going on, and umbrella sites which house alot of small businesses could be unfairly targetted without due process or recourse. The effect on the small business/microbusiness owner such as an artist could be catastrophic if he or she relys on that income for a necessary part of their income with which to make ends meet.

Such websites should be doing everything they can on their end to get rid of those businesses from their website who are infringing on intellectual property, but on a large umbrella site it is virtually impossible to clean that up completely, and it wouldn't be fair to the rest of us honest proprietors creating original works for the government to come in and restrict customer traffic to us via a large umbrella site like Etsy because of the rogue actions of a few.

What is particulary concerning here aside from the obvious risk of lost future income is that although public protest may have slowed these bills down, it seems the proponants have not given up, that they come armed with bigger bazookas than all of the big internet players combined and that they are more united in their beliefs than are those on the side of internet commerce.

Microsoft for instance may have competing interests although it does tend to fall into the same category with Google and the rest of those who generally oppose these bills. It is just this lack of unified voice which is often the fatal flaw in any movement.

Says David Tere Schchuk of the Huffington Press "The digitally-based newcomers can no longer be seen as strangers to the lobbying game, especially not now with Facebook's most recent hires, Joel Kaplan and Myriah Jordan, both previously in George W. Bush's White House. And Facebook is joined by Google, Yahoo and Amazon in a representative grouping called NetCoalition, which has dug itself in well, now moving from North Capitol Street to the heart of lobbyville, K Street. Google itself is spending $6 million a year, now to be rocketing higher, we can be sure, on D.C. lobbying efforts in its own interests.

But all this pales compared with the amassed forces and sheer weight of dollar numbers brought into play when Hollywood, network television and the recoding industry all join forces, as they have over this issue.

Among the bills' industry supporters there's greater unity (and even richer lobbying clout) born out of having an overriding common interest -- i.e. profits -- to defend."

According to Adam Dachis of Lifehacker, President Obama has apparently tabled SOPA indefinitely, but January 24th is the date PIPA comes up for a Senate vote and so appears for at least the forseeable future to be the bigger imminent threat.

The internet blicking clauses were removed from both of the bills because a number of sites have workarounds to render such blocks useless, but "The other, still-active measure present in the SOPA and PIPA bills would allow rights holders to cut of the source of funding of any potentially infringing web site. This means any other companies doing business with this site would have to stop. Whether that means advertising, links in search engines, or any other listings would have to be removed."

According to Mercurious blog this funding clause would include restricting payment processing systems such as Paypal to any site the deem as being in violation (a vital service many artists rely on to recieve most online payments through as well as purchases made online).

That would in effect render any business (and and businesses it houses) defunct at least as far as their internet presences are concerned. Even though many artists also earn income from shows and brick and mortar stores, finding enough stores/galleries to replace the internet profitshare is not always feasible and shows' entry fees can be prohibitive for alot of artists.

One could theoretically start one's own website, but again, the cost of creating one and its ongoing maintenance is not always a realistic option for many artists.

It is anybody's guess how all this will turn out once details are reviewed and adjusted or thrown out, but it is not something to assume others will handle. Every voice counts. I contacted my Representative at the Federal level yesterday in opposition of these bills and hope every one of you will do the same. (I'll leave a link at the end of this post so that you can easily contact the powers that be).

As this these two assaults on our personal freedom aren't enough, now there is a snake ban; a re-make of (Senate Bill 373) originally sponsored by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). It has failed to be passed for the past 3 years but has now been re-worked and presented again, much to the dismay of many who love these species. If you would like to tell him how you feel on this issue here is where you can call.

Phone: 202-224-5274

Fax: 202-228-2183

(Source; Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society ) regarding the banning several types of Pythons from crossing state lines (those of you who have kept informed on all the breed specific legislations levied against Pit Bulls will be painfully familiar with this sort of thing already).

The current version is HR2811 is referred to as the Lacey Act, and the Committee on the Judiciary, The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security claim they have "research" proving that these 9 constrictors; pythons, boas, and anacondas pose a danger to humans and to the ecosystem.

Posted on the above herpetological forum is a letter written by several experts disputing the legitimacy of the research on which the act is based. Apparently the study was not peer reviewed and departs from a number of best practices required in good sound research. They make some very good points that should really make people think twice about whether this is such a good move!

I am primarily a dog person but have always had a special place in my heart for reptiles and have in recent months been gaining an increasing interest in snakes. I would like to get a pair of Ball Pythons and have been liesurely looking around planning to take my time and really do my homework in choosing just the right ones, but this bill is disturbing in that its introducers appear to be starting with just a few species as a means to gain a foothold in order to ban more and more species in the future. I may have to get my Ball Pythons alot sooner (while I still can), as I do not know of any breeders in the Atlanta area or even anywhere in Georgia.

I don't like the precedent this bill is setting because its stated purpose (to address the growing problem of non-native species loose in the everglades) is not the only affect it would have and there looks to be deeper hidden agendas inherent in its inception that will only hurt related industry jobs and the enjoyment of these beautiful animals. I can't help but think that some of these hidden agendas are connected to the panic about outsourcing and money leaving the US (because Pythons generally originate from other countries) because the wording prohibits interstate transfer, breeding, and "importing" but not "exporting". It could be that some in Congress feel that American snake breeders are draining American money by purchasing breeding stock from these originating countries. Even so, such worries are probably unfounded because these species have been here in captivity long enough that there are plenty of US sources now from which breeders can obtain their breeding stock.

Apparently Interior Secretary Ken Salizar achieved this ban in sort of a backdoor way bypassing the need for the usual due legislative process;

"By enacting a rule and declaring the snakes “injurious,” Salazar bypassed the need for congressional approval of a ban. It goes into effect in 60 days and does not affect current snake owners.

Read more:

CNN U.S Kim Segal reports that the species currently covered by the ban are the following species;

Burmese Python
Northern Python
Southern Python
Yellow Anaconda

While some Parks and Wildlife people are in favor of this ban, I think they fail to see that it misses the mark and is based on alot of faulty assumptions.

A much better approach to the problems in the Everglades would be for everyone to work together to solve those specific issues (in Florida). Breeders and snake enthusiasts should not be left out of the decision-making process. This is not a Federal problem and should not be treated as such, yet since those who have introduced this ban have now "gone there" it has pulled the rest of the country into it and made it our business.

The focus should be on capturing the loose snakes in the Everglades and/or possibly spaying/neutering them to prevent them from reproducing out of control. That would be a much better solution than resorting to this buckshot approach of an overall ban on those species, because the problem is not with the ones in captivity.

As a pet owner I see the far reaching ramifications of this type of extreme legislation. It is like using a sledgehammer when a scalpel would do and it causes way too much collateral damage.

Even if you don't like snakes or are disinterested in them people should have the right to keep them responsibly just as they would other animals. We cannot allow fear to dictate laws in this country. If we do then we run the risk that any of our favorite pets might one day be deemed illegal and that would be a tragic day in America.

To write your Representative in Congress about either or both of these issues go here;