It’s International Blues Day

It’s International Blues Day

It’s a good thing to see this day come around each year.

I love the Blues. I play the Blues. I enthusiastically promote the Blues.

If you’d like to have a look at the site to promote this auspicious day, just follow this link.

If you love the Blues like I do, today would be a good time to listen to some Muddy Waters, Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon or Sonny Boy Williamson II, aka Rice Miller.

If you’re into the contemporary stuff–artists who are still working in the genre–why not check out some Kenny Neal, Tab Benoit or Shemekia Copeland?

It was important to me to get this post out today. And I did.

And now I can log off and listen to some Coco Montoya and Sugar Blue!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo of Bulldog Ben and the OBBS All Stars in 2005 is from a now-unknown friend and fellow Blues lover. If that’s you, please message me.

Herman Cain dead at 78

Former Presidential candidate and conservative icon Herman Cain has passed.

He died today after battling COVID-19 for the last month.

If Mr Cain and I had ever had a chance to talk about this pandemic and the way it’s taken so many lives, I’m quite sure the discussion would reveal that we were seeing things very differently.

Having said that, it’s a tragedy that Mr Cain has passed from the scene too soon. It’s tragic when anyone is laid low by this horrible disease. Anyone here in the US–anyone, anywhere.

But it’s also true that Herman was in firmly, clearly in the denialist camp. When he attended Donald trump’s Tulsa rally, he and his party sat proudly in the Bank of Oklahoma Center with no masks.

I certainly understand that it’s possible that Mr Cain became infected in some other way. That’s certainly true.

Nevertheless, I seriously doubt whether he and his family did anything that would put them at greater risk than attending that rally in Tulsa back on June 20th.

There have been many large gatherings in the last few months that have put people at great risk. And many Americans are paying a steep price for their apparent rejection of the facts about this pandemic. About the pandemic and ways to lower your risk.

It’s not too late to put the politics around all of this aside, embrace the science and protect yourself.

Do it for your loved ones. Do it because you have something to live for.

Do it even if your family and everyone around you might think you’re stupid. Or that you’re a snowflake.

So many have died because of this accursed virus. Please take the precautions you can to make it less likely that you’ll be one of them.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile 

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Follow this link to see guidance from the CDC on ways to lower your risk.

Some Good news for Grizzlies

Some Good news for Grizzlies

Grizzly bears have been off limits to hunters for a while. But–sad to say–that changed recently and there were three seasons scheduled where these marvelous animals could be hunted down.

They now have a reprieve and that’s a wonderful thing.

It’s quite possible that due to pressure from hunters and others that grizzlies may be back in the cross hairs soon. But this is, nevertheless, a very good thing indeed.

If you’d like to have a closer look at this bit of good news, just follow this link.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Banner photo from TheConversation.com

More signs of trouble

Here in the US, most of us are very much focused on the upcoming election and all the unprecedented, insane drama coming from Washington.

It’s hard to imagine it being any other way.

But while we’re dealing with a never-ending stream of outrages and crises, all that other stuff that was going on in our world is still going on.

One of those things is the welfare of our Earth. There are so many indicators that our planet is in a bad way. Well, that’s putting it mildly.

One of those signs is that it’s been unusually warm in Siberia this year. Scientists are now seeing temperatures that have never before been recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

It’s just one more piece of evidence. As though more were needed.

Stay engaged. Don’t let yourself slip into hopelessness and despair.

We’ve got to keep shining a bright light on the crises we’re facing on the environmental front.

We’ve got to learn all we can, stay engaged and put our hands to the work.

There are so many on the front lines–volunteers, laymen and professionals–engaged in this work, giving their all to make a difference.

We can support them by contributing our time, contributing financially and by refusing to let other priorities–as urgent as they are–keep us from addressing the singular problem that can render all of the others insignificant.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Something tells me…

Something tells me…

…it’s all happening at the zoo! And our visit last week confirmed how true that is.

Had a chance to visit The Brevard Zoo again just a few days ago. This fine Central Florida zoo–like most in the country–closed back in March. It reopened about six weeks ago but zoo-lovers must book well in advance and will not be admitted until the time of the reservation comes around.

The few guests that are admitted each half hour can take in some fine sights and see plenty of critters. It was reassuring that with the admission policies and the rules about the wearing of masks and social distancing, the zoo is as safe as any public place can be.

Enjoyed seeing many of the “usual suspects” on this visit. Below is one of the jaguars that call this zoo home. He was just chillin’ and though we only saw him from the neck up, it was pretty cool!

We stayed around to get another shot or two. But Jerry Jaguar soon got bored with our feeble efforts to immortalize him digitally and he went back to what he had been doing before we showed up. Napping, of course!

Because the Brevard Zoo is here in the East Central Florida region, it must have a gator or two. So here are a couple of photos featuring one of the reptilian superstars that were checking us out while I was angling for a good spot to catch him for posterity.

Mike Macaw was enjoying the pleasant mid-afternoon slice of a fine Thursday. As usual, he wasn’t doing much besides just looking authentic and colorful.

The Brevard Zoo has a large and colorful aquarium and it kept me entertained for quite a while. Here’s one photo that’s ready for prime-time.

Our piscine friends seemed to be enjoying their their afternoon cruising all about. I understand they sometimes travel in schools of three…

One of my favorite things to do at the zoo is to get photos of some of the vistas that don’t actually feature a creature at all. The beautiful landscapes at this–or any zoo–can keep a shutterbug like me entralled for hours.

Zoos are the one place where ordinary people can observe an assortment of animals, learn something about them and their habitats, and how they’re faring in the natural world.

The girl in this picture is enjoying a rare opportunity to observe a wild primate up close; this encounter was fun for all but–sad to say–involved neither a real girl nor an actually monkey.

The Brevard Zoo offers something you won’t find in most zoos: a chance to go on a guided kayak tour around a good portion of the park.

We arrived too late to take advantage of the tour but found that the view from the pavilion where guest wait until their tours begin, was splendid, indeed. Have a look, I think you’d agree.

Being annual passholders for this fine zoological park, located in Melbourne, Florida, is something we feel very good about. I’ve taken many trips to plenty of zoos; more than I can count, truth be told.

And I’ll take many more.

A proud, card-carrying lover of zoos, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Benjamin Basile

Happy 4th of July to all

Happy 4th of July to all

There’s no way I would pass on an opportunity to observe a 4th of July. No way.

But it’s also true that it feels different this year.

It’s felt different for me and a whole lot of other patriots for the last three times the 4th has come around. And it certainly does now in 2020.

It’s not the same joyful celebration while our president is working as hard as he can to strangle Lady Liberty.

And that’s made worse by the fact that he’s been engaged in this hateful and dark undertaking for almost four years now. And our democracy is hanging by a thread.

I am hopeful that our Republic will see better days. I’m cautiously optimistic that the pall that has been cast over our Country will be lifted by the next time we celebrate.

I’m praying and working and contributing to increase the chances that it will.

Happy 4th to everyone.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile


Photo credit Benjamin Basile

National Camera Day

National Camera Day

Photography is a very big deal to me and today is a day I wanted to get a photo or two up on the blog.

It’s true that there’s not a lot left of this auspicious day, but here we go…

We did have a fabulous trip to Silver Springs State Park about ten days ago. It was my third trip to the Park all total. The weather was ideal, the camping was top-shelf and there were lots of good photo ops, of course.

There’s a lot to the park besides the well-known springs. I’ll have more about that coming in another post. But today’s post is a quick look into the springs part of Silver Springs.

The glass bottom boat tour is always a treat. But there were plenty of kayakers and boaters out that day as well as the conditions for an outdoor excursion were as good as it gets.

Here are a couple of outdoor lovers paddling about on that lovely summer afternoon.

Boaters were well-represented too. The couple here seemed to be having a good outing. That old saying “a bad day on the water is better than your best day at the office” comes to mind.

An outing as good as this one certainly deserves more than just one quick post. I’ll have more to say about the visit and more photos in the near future.

Happy explorations to everyone. If you get outdoors soon, social distancing is the order of the day.

Enjoy yourselves and stay safe.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

From the Eco File: Yes, 100° in Siberia

From the Eco File: Yes, 100° in Siberia

You know I keep a close eye on what’s happening with our Planet. Doing so can be really draining, as many of you no doubt know.

The latest distressing but very important news to land in my inbox: the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk recorded a high temperature of 100 degrees this last Saturday.

Yes, our planet’s in really big trouble. There are so many indicators pointing in that tragic direction. This is just one more.

Don’t look away.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

banner photo is from NASA

Fave Fotos: A Florida Beach in May

Fave Fotos: A Florida Beach in May

Sometimes I take a photo I like so well that it can be good material for a post all by itself.

The banner photo is one of those. It’s from a trip we made about two weeks ago. It was just when beaches became available again.

We didn’t have to get very close to anyone, so be were able to get in a bit of fun in the outdoors without being stressed about our safety. Or anyone’s for that matter.

Cocoa Beach was lovely that day. No surprise there, of course.

Heading back that way soon. With camera in hand…

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

National Trails Day

National Trails Day

Now, that’s one of my fave days, to be sure!

We do observe this auspicious day each year and I’m thinking of some of the trails I have known and loved.

The banner photo is of one tiny stretch of the Florida Trail. This was taken in the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area three years ago.

Planning a trip back to that WMA before this year is over. Have covered many a mile and there are many, many yet to traverse.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile