Fave Fotos – Pete the Pelican Makes a Star Appearance at Melbourne Beach Wednesday

Fave Fotos – Pete the Pelican Makes a Star Appearance at Melbourne Beach Wednesday

Had a very nice time at Long Point Camp down at the very southern tip of Brevard County. Great campground, I’ll be headed back that way before too long.

The only thing I did off the site was hang out for a while at one of the nearby beach access points. Got some photos I really like. This one is my fave. Pete was in rare form.

I may post a few others, but here’s one for you nature lovers.

I  hope your week is going well.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

A Christmas Morning Wish for Everyone

I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas. This piece of mine was originally posted on Christmas Day, 2007 on another site. 

A Christmas wish for everyone today…

This has been a challenging year for me in a lot of ways, yet I find myself feeling even more than the usual holiday spirit right now as I sit at the keyboard, waiting for Santa to come down my chimney. Wait! I don’t have a chimney! Oh well, I still believe! Well, the part about Santa, who can say? The rest of it, I’m still pretty big on all the good stuff that we think about when the holidays roll around each year. No doubt a lot of you feel the same.

I’m real grateful for friends and family this year. I take a lot of that for granted a lot of the time, but right now I absolutely “get it”… Some of you know some of the background as i make that statement. It’s all about community, being “plugged in” or connected. It’s not a happy, festive time if you’re in this life all on your own. I do know some folks who are in that kind of a situation now, and it’s not a good thing. They’re not feeling particularly joyful right now, as you might imagine.

The Christmas story does hold a lot of meaning for me. I’m not quite sure if I still believe all of it, all the nuances and consequences and so on; not quite like one “believes it” when the assembled faithful say the Apostles Creed together at Midnight Mass. Some will be doing exactly that in just a few hours, perhaps some of you.

Yet it doesn’t seem at all “funny” to me that God comes to us whenever it suits his/her purpose. Not entirely sure if “he” did in that particular, historical way. Being raised in a Christian family and having gone part-way through seminary a few years ago, I do lean in that direction. But I’ve come to see some things in a different light now that I’ve spent a little better than a half-century on this planet. This planet where almost a billion people believe that God became incarnate, was born of a young woman who had never “known” her betrothed. And that his coming among us in that way was the beginning of a Divine plan to make it possible for all of his creatures to enjoy unending fellowship with him and with one another! In this life and in the next! Now that’s a story! One we humans have been telling one another for a very long time, and I’m quite sure we’ll be telling it for a long time to come!

I’ve been struggling for so many years now about exactly how much of the story still “works” for me and all of that. But what I’ve never doubted is that God, or the Divine, does come to us and among us all the time. And I’m finally in that phase of life where I’ve learned to look for it, to expect it and to embrace it. And I know that the other really big thing about Christmastime is to get a bit closer to my brothers and sisters who also bear the image of the Divine One in their souls and on their beaming faces. Some of them were raised on the same stories I was; this one about God being born of a virgin, and many others.

Some, of course, have heard and embraced and celebrated different stories. I’m not very inclined to quibble about the particulars at this point in my life. I’m quite sure that God would love to see us move a little closer together at this time of year, and to go on telling those stories; especially that one about God robed in human flesh, living and dying as one of us. And I’m quite sure that the heart of the Divine is pleased when we carry forward “his” mission to strip away that illusion that our sins, imperfections, and much less, our differences, should separate us from one another or from his Divine Heart.

Well, Christmas Eve has progressed, as it will, into Christmas morning as I’m wrapping up this little holiday message. And I’m sitting here, luminous and expectant, like a six year old waiting for Santa to appear. Like Simeon in the temple, waiting to bless the infant Jesus, knowing then that he has seen and embraced, quite literally, the Divine plan to end our sinful and deadly illusions of separateness. I’m expectant, waiting in earnest to see and to embrace the next manifestation of the Divine. In you, in her, in us. Perhaps–and wouldn’t this be a great story–perhaps in and across many countries and cultures, in four billion human hearts at once!

A wish, a dream, a fervent hope… Perhaps that’s all it is. But a hope to hold close to one’s heart on Christmas morning. God bless each of you today and throughout the year to come. May you be blessed to see the image of the Divine, of the Christ-child in yourself–and in one another.

Ben Lawrence Basile
Christmas morning, 2007

© 2007 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Fave Fotos: Wekiva Springs State Park is So Beautiful

Fave Fotos: Wekiva Springs State Park is So Beautiful

Enjoyed camping at Wekiva Springs State Park for two nights this week. Had a very good time. Would have been even better had Mother Nature not soaked us pretty good the first day. The first night, actually. Oh well.

This is my fave foto from the outing. This place is so beautiful.

I hope your week is going well and that you’ve had a chance at some time lately to admire the wonders of nature.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Damn! The Bucs Lost! But This Could Be the Cowboy’s Year!

Last night’s contest between the Bucs and the Boys was well worth watching. You saw two QB’s who are going to have very impressive, if not Hall of Fame, careers. The Buc’s Jameis Winston had a good outing but Dallas rookie QB Dak Prescott was on fire! He set a new Cowboy’s season record for TD’s by a Quarterback with six and couldn’t miss his receivers; he went 32 of 36 for a stunning 88.9 percent. And it still was a very competitive game that wasn’t decided until the final 25 seconds.

This one made me proud to be an NFL fan! This season has been a damn good one and there’s still a lot of unknowns as far as the playoffs. I believe only three teams have punched their ticket so far, so there’s plenty of suspense here in the last two weeks of the regular season.

Hope you guys had a fine weekend. My vacation begins today, I’ll be cooking my eggs and grits on a Coleman stove at a state park for the next few days. Looking forward to that! And, yes, I’ll be watching Monday Night Football in my tent tonight as I’ve got a power pack with AC capability! See ya when I’ve had enough tromping around in the woods!

The Tampa Bay Bucs Are Still in the Chase!

The Tampa Bay Bucs Are Still in the Chase!

The Bucs are still in the chase for the NFC South Championship! As of this writing, the Bucs have won five straight and are tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the lead in the NFC South; both clubs have 8-5 records with three games left in the regular season.

If you weren’t tuned in for yesterday’s 16-11 thriller over Drew Brees and the Saints, it’s your loss! I enjoyed every minute of this one. Jameis, Doug Martin and wide-out Cameron Brate sparked the offense and the Buc’s D shined brightly, as it so often does; three interceptions of Drew Brees is a BFD and it really sealed the win on Sunday.

The three teams the Bucs will face in the closing weeks of the 2016 season are the NFC East leading Cowboys, then the Saints again and finally the always-dangerous Panthers.

Ol’ Bulldog is not going to say the division is a lock, but it’s great to see that they’ve got an excellent shot. Jameis Winston is all that and a bag of frickin’ chips and I’m quite sure the Bucs organization is still thinking that taking Jameis no. 1 overall two years ago was a damn good pick! He shone brightly in his rookie season and is doing quite well now in his sophomore outing. It does this long-time fan’s heart good and it’s just one more reason why the 2016 NFL season has been a good one.

The overall playoff picture will look much clearer after next week’s contests; for now I’m content that those of us who’ve followed the Bucs from  Day One are feeling good as we get into the last few weeks of the season.

And, if you also follow FSU, it’s very cool to note that place kicker Roberto Aguayo — another illustrious former Nole — has pretty much broken out of that freshman slump. Some fans have soured on Aguayo, as the organization used their 2nd round pick to get him, but I’m quite sure Roberto will have a long and good career in the NFL. Good to see these two FSU alumni tearing it up on the gridiron right here in the Sunshine State!

If you’re a Bucs fan too, and you missed it yesterday, here’s a link to the highlights. Well worth a look even if you did catch it in real time.

My recipe for a damn good Autumn Sunday afternoon: Bulldog, burgers, Bucs and Beer!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Slow and Low-The Best Damn Barbecue in Cocoa Beach

Slow and Low-The Best Damn Barbecue in Cocoa Beach
Note: this review of mine is taken from a visit in April of 2015 and originally appeared on a well-known travel site. My latest visit to this island of barbecue perfection was five days ago, and they’re still the best on the beach! 

This top-shelf barbecue joint in Cocoa Beach has become my go-to spot when I want to get out-of-town for the weekend. If you’ve ever been to Slow ‘n Low, you know why.

I had the pulled-pork sandwich this time. On their delicious garlic bread, of course. I started with an order of the fried okra for an appetizer, as I often do. It was perfect and their mild horseradish sauce is just the right accent to compliment this often under-appreciated member of the vegetable family. Okra is often over-breaded or under-cooked, but they got it just right.

The green beans and garlic mashed potatoes make great sides with their tasty pork sandwich. I believe I’ve had all their sides over the years, and this is one of the things they do very well. Many barbecue joints have only three or four sides and tiny portions, but you won’t find that sort of thing at Slow ‘n Low.

I rarely get dessert here, as I almost never have room, but I enjoyed their Chocolate Peanut Butter pie on my last visit and went for it again. Yeah, it was scrumptious! My server brewed a fresh pot of coffee to go with this fine concoction; what more could a diner ask for?

Slow ‘n Low has a good variety of beers on tap, way more selection than most barbecue establishments, and a staff that consistently delivers good service. I’ve had their Combo Plate and the Blackened Prime Rib Sandwich many times and can recommend it all. Their patio is jammed with patrons most of the time, though there is also inside seating available. They usually feature live acoustic music on the patio Friday through Sunday nights. Tee shirts and ball caps are also on sale and yes, they do catering. They are also family-friendly and a thirty second drive away from the beach. Check out Slow ‘n Low the next time you’re in Brevard County.

 

One additional note from December 2016 visit: they’ve recently upgraded the TV’s in the bar, making their patio an excellent choice for sports fans who also like great chow!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

John Glenn, Space Pioneer, Has Passed at 95

John Glenn, Space Pioneer, Has  Passed at 95

I did take note when Arnold Palmer passed back in September. Today the news is of another towering American icon: fighter pilot, Astronaut and former Senator John Glenn.

We boomers who came of age in the ’60s followed his every exploit and idolized this pioneering space traveler as much — quite possibly more — than any other American from that time in our history. My idols from boyhood were Mickey Mantle, Ethan Allen and John Glenn. That was my “holy trinity” of American heroes! And I stand by those choices today, though we’re many moons past the Friendship 7 mission…

John was 95 and saw — and created — so much amazing American history in his long and wonder-filled life. To read a good and thorough obit from Mr. Glenn’s hometown paper, The Columbus Dispatch, follow this link.

His wikipedia entry is also a good read for those of us who remember and loved this giant. That can be read here.

Godspeed, John Glenn.