About ten years ago Jim Brumley's reptile collection "got too big for the house," as the south-county resident puts it, so he bought an old dry-cleaner's shop to lodge the pets. It wasn't long before friends badgered him to start selling the critters, and today the owner of Exotic ARC produces a good 3,000 reptiles a year. Hundreds of rodents, too.
On a recent sun-kissed Sunday, Brumley and a few breeder-seller pals filled a VFW Hall on Lemay Ferry Road with the wares of their dare we say dark pursuit. Stuffed into all manner of Tupperware-style containers were geckos and dragons (a.k.a. Australian lizards), gators and turtles, water monitors (a hideous lizard-snake hybrid with claws that resemble human hands) and, oh, the snakes.
"Well, if her grandfather is Argentine and her grandmother is Kenyan"
"Then she's at least a quarter of each," agreed two sellers engaged in an impassioned discussion of genealogy.
Brumley, who admits he's more partial to the new colors and skin patterns he can create through breeding than to the pets themselves, says genetics dictate the bottom line. "Sometimes the first albino of a boa or python will sell for twenty or thirty thousand dollars. There's definitely a market for that kind of thing.
"And then some people are into the more normal-looking kind, too."
It only takes one male to breed five or six females, all residing in the same cage kind of like Mormons. The snakes copulate spring through fall, laying two eggs every thirty days. The proven breeders are the most valuable.
Every few minutes someone approaches with a pet snake asking Brumley to sex it. This he accomplishes by pressing into its tail end with two thumbs (think zit popping). If nothing round emerges, the creature is probably female.
And the males?
"They have two penises."
Perhaps that explains the disproportionate number of male sellers and collectors in the VFW Hall.
Anything for a Laugh
Des Peres native Nikki Glaser may have been voted off NBC's Last Comic Standing 4 in last week's semifinals, but to hear her tell it, that only frees the already uncensored 22-year-old to unleash more of her alcoholism-and-pedophilia knee-slappers.
Unreal managed to get the erstwhile Stander to sit long enough to take our phone call.
Unreal: You're in LA right now opening for Pauly Shore. Any dirt you can dish on the Weasel?
Nikki Glaser: I don't feel right doing that. He does deserve it. When he would go up onstage, he wouldn't let me leave. He goes, "Oh, I just actually just ran into Nikki at the mall on Wednesday and she wanted to know if she could go up because she had just started stand-up, and I said, 'Sure man, if you blow me.' And she's here, isn't she?" The crowd is just like, "Whaaat?" and they all turn around to look at my shocked expression.
On nbc.com there's a video of [Celebrity Fit Club host and LCS Season 1, 2 and 3 contestant] Ant saying your material was inappropriate and not edgy. Your response?
I'm a big fan of Celebrity Fit Club. I don't think I'll watch that show anymore. And I'm going to refer to Ant as "Flea" from now on. It did hurt, but it probably hurt more for some exploited child to hear my joke about my dad's pornography collection.
You first performed at amateur nights at the Westport Funny Bone. What do you remember about the first time you went onstage?
My first joke was about "If Siskel and Ebert disagree about a movie, do they thumb wrestle?" It was something really cute and retarded, which is definitely not in my set now.
What are the best things to make fun of concerning St. Louis?
The obsession with high school is something you can always talk about in St. Louis. People always eat that up. I just talk about crazy crap that happens to me around that town, making it general enough and not too St. Louis-y.
If you had to give a comedian any advice other than always ask if you can tell one more joke, what would it be?
Stay on Ant's good side. And stay true to your material. If you don't think it's funny, don't do it. If you think it's funny, do it till other people think it's funny. And we need more chick comedians, so if you're funny, get out there. You've got nothing to lose.
LOCAL BLOG O' THE WEEK
"No Shoes On The Carpet!"
Author: Brandon Duke
About the blogger: Brandon is a single, 25-year-old Truman State grad who enjoys rock concerts, volleyball, baseball and bowling.
Recent Highlight (June 1): What an interesting night of league. The first game, only Bob decided to show up ready to bowl as Rushmore hands over the first game to the Pinkertons. I shot my worst game of the year, hell, maybe my worst game since I was 12. Maybe tonight was a bad night to stop drinking so much while bowling. Towards the end of the game, our lanes decided that would stop working and we were moved to a new set, which appeared to be the difference in the team's performance. I went on to shoot my best game of the night, of the season, and of my lifetime. Here is how game two looked (previous lifetime high 267):
X X 9/ X X X X X X X X X > That adds up to 279!
Of course, after shooting this, I was pissed. That third frame, the 9/, was a perfect strike shot that left the ten standing. One damn pin that seperated me from what could have been my first 300. Also, I still have not had a consistent week, always one shitty game. Oh well, there's always next week. Rushmore dominated games two and three and took 5 of 7 points, pulling to 17-18 overall. Good enough for second place. Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog? Send the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.