Thursday, February 10, 2005

Dreams about snakes

"Dean dreams about snakes all the time. Sometimes they are good dreams: that he discovers he owns snakes he didn't know about, that aliens abduct him and take him to a secret part of North Carolina that was incompletely glaciated (there is always a scientific explanation in Dean's dreams), revealing a colony of rare snakes. He also has nightmares that his snakes are dying, that they're eating one another, that he forgot to feed them, that he must protect them from some unseen danger. He almost never dreams that his snakes bite or kill him: it is always the snakes that are in jeodardy, that he must save."

Wendy Brenner writes about Dean Ripa, owner of the Cape Fear Serpentarium in downtown Wilmington, in the winter issue of Oxford American (remember, I mentioned weeks ago it was back). A lifelong collector of exotic snakes, a performer of Frank Sinatra songs, a writer and an artist, a friend of William Burroughs (quoted often and extensively in the article), Dean is an all-around fascinating individual. He's been bitten by potentially lethal snakes a total of 11 times. Did you know antivenom is practically as deadly as snakebite itself?

Lots of discussion of art and philosophy and literature and religion (he won't sell to snake handlers, incidentally--"They don't have enought faith for my snakes, believe me") in the article, but for those only interested in snakes you can cut to the chase and learn about the Serpentarium here, or Dean's snake collection here.

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