Golf Legend Arnold Palmer Has Passed

Golf Legend Arnold Palmer Has Passed

It’s quite possible that Arnold Palmer was the best-known golfer of all time. He had a home here in Orlando for a very long time and he was well-loved in this part of the world.

Although he was a true legend in the game of golf, he was just as well-known for being a wonderful human being and giving away vast sums of money. The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children here in Orlando is such a part of our community. I had so many fares to or from that place in my taxi driving years. And The Bay Hill Invitational is a huge event in Central Florida. Arnie, as his friends and fans often called him, just might have been our most beloved celebrity around here; God knows we have plenty. Especially in the world of sports.

I haven’t played golf in over 30 years, but it’s such a fine sport. It’s lots of fun to watch. (I enjoy living on the seventh fairway of one of our many, many country clubs in Florida, but that’s as close as I get to the action.) Now that he’s passed, many will point out that Mr. Palmer had thousands of admirers who have no connection to the game of golf. That’s his greatest legacy. Rest in Peace, Arnie.

By the time you’ve read this, there will be hundreds of obituaries on Mr. Palmer. Here’s one that came out right away, as Golfweek pretty much scooped the rest of the world.


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile



Fave Fotos: Made It Back to the Beach on Sunday

Fave Fotos: Made It Back to the Beach on Sunday

I did get back to the beach yesterday, it had been way too long. It’s still summer down here in the Sunshine State. Although the too-hot temps were no fun, I had a good time.

This would be my fave foto from this outing. I call it Cocoa Boat Man.

Hope your work week is off to a good start. I’d rather be on the beach, truth be told, but having a paycheck is how I can afford a little fun on the weekends. I think that’s how it works…

Bulldog Ben, nose to the grindstone in Orlando

The Other Shoe Drops In North Carolina

In a previous posting about North Carolina’s discriminatory House Bill 2, I wrote about the NBA’s decision to move the 2017 All Star Game out of North Carolina because of the newly-enacted law that removed local protections for LGBT people. That posting hit da bulldog blog on July 22nd. HB2 also mandated that transgendered people use the bathroom corresponding with the gender listed on their birth certificate rather than the one with which they identify.

The back story here is that the city of Charlotte had just passed an ordinance giving specific protections to LGBT citizens; this sent conservative people and legislators into a state of virtual panic. HB2, aka the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, was their strategy to make sure that no city in North Carolina could get away with the horrible crime of offering protections to LGBT citizens or allowing transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender to which they had or were in the process of transitioning.

When the NBA made the decision to take away the All Star Game, North Carolina was put on notice that the NCAA was also taking a hard look at the NCAA events which had been scheduled for the up-coming year in the state. Well, the proverbial “other shoe” just dropped; the price paid by a state for openly discriminating against some of its citizens just went up. Went up quite a bit.

To read an in-depth article about the latest economic hit North Carolina is taking because of its elected officials carrying on this guerrilla campaign against civil rights for gay and transgender people, follow this link.

Governor Pat McCrory played a major role in bringing into being this hated law. The good governor and his cronies are not going to reconsider this very, very ill-advised piece of legislation. Their position is that the God-fearing citizens of North Carolina must be protected from crafty, skirt-wearing male predators hell-bent on committing  unspeakable crimes in the locker rooms and bathrooms of their state. Protected at all costs. Even if it puts at risk the safety of transgender people; even if it causes very, very serious economic damage to their state. They will not back down.

People who are very upset that the country at large has made a conscious decision to stop treating LGBT people as second-class citizens will go on passing laws that allow them to keep up the discrimination. The justification may be the safety of the (straight) citizens of the state; the justification may be the preservation of religious freedom. The bottom line is that they’re not going to stop. And people and institutions — such as the NBA and the NCAA — are going to go on letting North Carolina know that that is not acceptable. Watch this space…



An Ibis and a Splash of Color

An Ibis and a Splash of Color

I love the Ibis. Fascinating bird. You see them everywhere you go in Florida. I love zoos. Here is a photo of an Ibis at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida. It features an Ibis with unusual color seeming to be trying to adjust the Christmas lights. Well, that’s the way it looks to me…

Regardless of what this bird might be doing — or not be doing — I think it’s a pretty good photo. Hope you like it.

© 2016 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Another Look at North Carolina’s Voter Suppression Bill

Rethuglican legislators in many red states have been trying hard to keep the “wrong kind” of voters from the polls ever since the SCOTUS gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act; that unfortunate decision, Shelby County v. Holder, came down in June of 2013.

There have been so many regressive laws passed since that decision which were calculated to keep the a large segment of Democratic base from participating in elections — Presidential elections — in particular. One of the most notorious and far-reaching of those bills came out North Carolina in July of 2013. HB 589 was hastily passed with very little public comment and was immediately challenged. Although it was originally upheld on appeal, last month the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit struck down HB 589 saying — among other things — that it was crafted “with surgical precision” to keep African Americans from voting in North Carolina.

I first blogged about the decision striking down this accursed bill on July 29th. That posting was entitled Strict Voter ID Law Overturned by Appeals Court; you can view it by clicking on the category American Life and Politics without having to scroll back through four months’ worth of posts.

This is really a follow-up to highlight an excellent WaPo article by William Wan which lays out the larger story about how this hellish bill came to be; I found it to be a very good and detailed piece and recommend to anyone who has an interest in North Carolina’s Voter ID law or voter suppression techniques in general. You can read it by following this link.

Now that we’re a mere 62 days away from a truly monumental Presidential election we need to remain on-guard. The Republican Party knows that a huge chunk of the American electorate — and the courts — are onto their game. We can’t afford to sit idly by while they do their damnedest to disenfranchise voters they don’t like on election day.


Florida: The Punchline State – WSJ

Bulldog barks: I love Dave Barry. Read one his columns for the first time at least 30 years ago and I swear he’s even funnier these days. If you spend three minutes reading Dave’s explanation about why the Sunshine State is so damn weird–funny weird–you’ll have put your three minutes to very good use. Over to you, Mr. Barry:


It has more than its share of craziness, but it’s never boring—and it’s still the best place in the country to live, says longtime Floridian Dave Barry

Source: Florida: The Punchline State – WSJ

Taco Trucks on Twitter!

Taco Trucks on Twitter!

The Twitterverse is all abuzz today! And it’s all about tacos! Taco trucks to be more precise!

While being interviewed by Joy-Ann Reid yesterday on MSNBC, Donald Trump supporter Marco Gutierrez said this:

“My culture is a very dominant culture and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”

Joy-Ann, who was sitting in for host Chris Hayes, was not quite sure what she had just heard. But honestly, the remark stands on its own.

Mr. Gutierrez was born in Mexico and is the founder of Latinos for Trump. The interview pretty much stalled at that point; it’s pretty hard to go on from there. Ol’ Bulldog here is not going to make any additional attempt to comment on this memorable exchange except to note that Napoleon once said “never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake!” I’m all good.

One final note: I truly do love food trucks, taco trucks in particular. My absolute fave is Cameltow Tacos, a truck you’ll see at different events all around Central Florida. The photo featured here is from when I caught Cameltow at the 3rd annual Metro West Jazz Fest here in Orlando back on May 1st. It was my second time to have their yummy offerings and I can recommend them without reservation. I especially love their fish tacos.

To see a more complete story from the New York Times about this unbelievable turn of events in the 2016 election campaign, follow this link.

© 2016 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Second Trip to Achilles Art Cafe in Orlando

Second Trip to Achilles Art Cafe in Orlando

Achilles-2good-coffee-sign-out-front-3vAchilles-Art-Cafe-in-orlando-march2016-coffeeArea-9235873nI made it back to Achilles Art Cafe today and the good service and truly unique atmosphere have not changed at all. That’s a good thing. The hours have changed, however; they no longer open one Saturday per month.

If you’d like to read my detailed review from the first visit, go to my posting Review of Achilles Art Cafe, a Coffee Shop which I published on March 26th of this year.

I received very good service and my Latte was fine. Hearty and frothy, the way a Latte should be. Could have been a trifle hotter, but I didn’t ask for that, so I’m not going to whine about it. They were quite busy on this overcast Central Florida day, but that’s nothing unusual.

I am bummed that their Saturday hours have gone the way of the buffalo, but since a huge chunk their patronage consists of VCC students, I understand. The new hours for Achilles are 10 AM to 10 PM Monday through Thursday and 10 AM until Midnight on Friday.

Achilles A.C. features a good and diverse menu, a cheerful, well-trained staff, Wifi, a couple of TV’s, a smoking-permitted patio and hookah supplies. Of course, they’ve got just about any coffee-related thing you can think of. Last but not least, this place has a unique and very cool ambience. Check it out!

To visit their very good home on the world-wide web, follow this link.

Achilles Art Cafe ~ Metro West Community ~ 2869 Wilshire Blvd ~ Orlando 32835 ~ 407 704 7860

It’s September 1st and I’m Thinking About…

It’s September 1st and I’m Thinking About…

It’s the first of September and I have some pleasant thoughts associated with this particular milestone in our annual journey. It means college football is about to start. That’s a marvelous thing. I look forward to it each year.

It means that Labor Day and cooler temps are right around the corner. Love both of those things, bring it on!

But it’s also true that when I see the first of September roll around, I think of Hitler invading Poland. Yeah, I do that. That reveals two very significant things about me: the first, that I’m a boomer and so many of us had Dads who served in WW II. So that whole “Nazis streaming over the border” thing isn’t as bizarre as it may seem.

Well, that and the fact that I minored in history and have studied that conflict and our Civil War in a serious way; those things factor in, too.

So the second thing that pervasive thought reveals about me is that I do worry about stuff more than most folks and more than I should, truth be told. Not in the sense that I think we’re about to be invaded, but just that I often see the darker side of things in general; I’m more inclined to see the potential for trouble, drama and disappointment rather than the “good stuff” which may happen as I navigate some new juncture on life’s path.

It would have been much better for me if Hitler had chosen the 2nd of September to send his Panzer divisions and Storm Troopers across the Polish frontier; that date would not have bored its way so deeply into my grey matter!

Two things I’m going to do today to get past this less-than-rosy recollection: get focused back on the arrival of those crisp Autumn days, and reach for a beer! That’ll work!


The last bulwark against the Nazi Apocalypse, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Fave Fotos: My Star Spangled Futon

Fave Fotos: My Star Spangled Futon

Several months ago I found this amazing specimen of patriotic folk art at a discount store and brought it home. I’ve still not found a suitable place to hang it on the wall so it’s living against one wall of the dining room.

I haven’t hung it, but I sure did snap it! Truth be told, taking shots of it was my aim from the beginning. It may never adorn my wall but I’ve made it into four or five photos that occupy a special place within my patriotic heart. For this one, I laid the flag on my futon while the light was streaming in from the bedroom window.

One of the more clean, simple results of that shoot has been featured here on my blog before this; that post is called You’re a Grand Old Flag and was posted on July 4th of this year. This shot is just a bit more artsy; I thought the way the shadows lay across Old Glory made for a good photo. The shoot produced more than those two pics but I’ll stick with these two for now.

I hope you’re doing well today as we reach the 1st of September. Labor Day is right around the corner. It’s not autumn yet, but we’re awfully close. It is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. A lot of photo opportunities and a lot of good sports going on. Ah, but those are topics for other posts on other days.

I hope you like this flag-futon foto. The American flag wall hanging, residing on my futon with beams of light from the bedroom window cascading over its surface.