My Heart Was Smacked Around Tonight by Joni and Jane!

Note from Ben: I haven’t had a lot to say about music here on da bulldog blog in my first two years, but being a musician and a big-time music lover, it’s a huge thing in my life. So I’m going to have more to say about it moving forward. It’s all about enjoying yourself on your passage through life. And music can be a big part of that!

 

I love to dash off a quick posting when a song I’ve loved for a while crawls through the speakers in my laptop and into my ear and really moves me.

It happened again tonight. It was a Joni Mitchell song; what can I say?

I’ve loved singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell since Court and Spark came out. Yeah, a long time.

To me the J.M. song that’s the most distinctive is “A Case of You”. If you’re not familiar with it, there’s no way to describe it, really.

Here’s the funny thing: even though I practically worship the ground upon which Joni walks, it’s the Jane Monheit cover of this amazing song that moves me the most.

Well, Joni and Jane tag-teamed me tonight; my heart and brain both feel as though they’ve gone a few rounds in the ring with these two hard-hitting queens of jazz.

Last call! If you want to hear a song that captures perfectly the insane passion in a woman’s love for a man, click on this.

 

Blusician “Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

PS: I hasten to add that, though it’s not absolutely necessary, appreciation for this cool tune can be heightened considerably if you’re a beer lover. All the more if said beer lover has had a brew or two by the time the first notes emerge from the speaker…

Of Girls and Gulls

Of Girls and Gulls

When I get to the beach, taking photos is a big part of the day. For me, it’s quite possibly the biggest part of any trip to the shore.

When the camera comes out, there are usually plenty of possible subjects around.

Seagulls are photographic gold for me. I love watching them. And it’s just too much fun to capture their high jinks on film.

In this photo, it looks like I’m not the only beach-goer who likes to see what the gulls are up to. She doesn’t have a camera, but she’s capturing the moment on that cerebral film we all carry with us wherever we go.

Get outdoors. Get into the woods, go to the beach, just get out there! And when you go, capture some memories.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

So Where Did 2017 Go?

It’s a given that the farther we are along life’s path, the more time appears to accelerate. I’m thinking that most of this is a matter of perception. But it still comes as a bit of a shock that we’re in the waning moments of 2017.

How did we get here so fast? How is it that each year hurtles by at warp speed? Where does the time go? Where has my life gone?

I know I’m not the lone ranger here; lots of folks who, like me, have survived for six decades or better get into this psychological space regularly. But still, my head is whirling around and it truly seems like something is terribly wrong in the universe.

I’m in this space again as we have gotten so close to the end of the year. Now that those year-in-review things have begun, and folks are checking to be sure that they’ve booked a New Years Eve event, I feel like I’m on some inner precipice, staring into the abyss of time and feeling like I’ll fall over the edge at any moment.

I suppose one strategy to deal with this is to live one’s life in such a way as to make the most of each fleeting moment. And to prioritize our lives so that we spend the most of those finite moments doing the things that matter most. I get it. Doing that each day does not come easily for me, but that is the goal; that’s my New Years resolution. Again!

Meanwhile, I’d be so grateful if the gods of time would please, please, oh please just slow the whole damn thing down just a wee bit. Please!

A Christmas Morning Wish for Everyone

A Christmas Morning Wish for Everyone

Sending this out again exactly ten years from when I first wrote it! Merry Christmas, everybody!

About Photography, Outdoor Fun, Food, Music, and Other Stuff.

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”……

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Bulldog Is NOT On a Disney Cruise Line Ship, but He Just…

Bulldog Is NOT On a Disney Cruise Line Ship, but He Just…

He just caught one passing by on his latest beach outing! Full of happy cruisers of all ages, no doubt! Wonder where Mickey and Minnie’s cabin is on this one!

I have to be frank and say this outing was awful as far as pix are concerned, but I had fun. This is quite likely the only photo from this trip which will ever live off my hard drive… We don’t hit a home run every time we step up to the plate, do we?

Going to watch my Bucs on Monday Night Football from my fave beach hang-out before heading home. That would be Slow and Low Barbecue, of course!

I knew this trip would be a quickie, but I wanted to at least hear it and smell it. The sea, of course! I did. And after dinner and some football I’ll head the wrong way on the Beachline Expressway, get myself home and and try to get one or two light tasks done before the late news rolls around, signaling the start of the bedtime ritual. (Of which Stephen Colbert is an important part!)

And after my eyes fly open sometime around 6:15 tomorrow, I’ll go through another thoroughly mundane day, daydreaming of lazy days spent in the woods or at the shore, scheming some way to rearrange the hours and the dollars coming my way this week into some new configuration that just could result in another outdoor adventure!

When we get the chance to have one of those fabulous forays into the wild or over to the shore, it’s such a cool thing. The longer the stay, the better!

And those three or four hour excursions aren’t so bad. When that’s all I can do, I do it!

Get outdoors, friends! You won’t regret it!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Bulldog’s Christmas Wish Is a Return to Trimble Park

Bulldog’s Christmas Wish Is a Return to Trimble Park

Visiting parks and natural sites, with or without camping, is one way Americans like to spend the holidays. I throw my lot with my fellows who’re into such things.

I’m very much hoping to spend at least a part of the week between Christmas and New Years Day camping in Trimble Park, a fave spot of mine. It’s here in Orange County, but about a half hour away from me.

There are two complicating factors for me at this moment: the first is that I haven’t booked yet and the demand for camping spots around the holidays in very strong. Very, very strong, in fact.

The second potential issue is that I had a minor accident in my PT Cruiser on Monday evening and am not too sure at this point just how long it’ll take me to get my wheels back.

I’m going to do my dead-level best to solve these problems and get back to Trimble Park before the year’s end. For right now, I’ll be content to post a pic I especially like from a previous visit. It features some waterfowl specimen I find fascinating, though I can’t say for sure what it is!

If you can identify my fine feathered friend, a comment with a tip would be most welcome!

I hope the next few days go well for you as we get closer to Christmastime. And remember to get outdoors!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Is It Mandatory for Democrats with Money to be Selfish Pricks?

Another post about politics! Two things triggered Ol’ Bulldog on this one. The first was the passing of the Repug tax scam, oh I mean tax reform, of course, and the second was a comment on social media about how rich lawmakers who are Democrats don’t care at all about poor people. So here I go:

 

It often amuses me at how conservatives talk out of both sides of their mouths on the issue of wealthy people, lawmakers particularly, who aren’t on-board with the usual drastic Republican economic policies of slashing taxes to the bone, demonizing working and poor people, and generally acting as though accumulating money is the real purpose of life.

If an elected official is progressive, quite possibly a democrat, and he/she is not wealthy, many conservative folk will say that they have no place in the discussion as they haven’t demonstrated that they know how to succeed, don’t know how America works, how free enterprise works, blah, blah, blah

Donald tRump has spouted this crap repeatedly.

If a progressive elected official does have wealth, conservatives will still attack him or her, it’s just a different strategy. Many Democratic or progressive public servants are well-off. So the line of attack in that case is that he/she is a hypocrite, as though people with money somehow have to be selfish assholes and hate working people or anyone who doesn’t have enough dinero to get into the club!

So it’s the usual Rethuglican approach of attack everyone with whom you disagree, but the strategy and the talking points are different depending on who or what they’re attacking.

Meanwhile, there is no inconsistency when people with wealth say our economic policies need to take into account all Americans, not just large corporations and the 1% who have the means to hire lobbyists and buy off elected officials with campaign contributions.

There are plenty of people who have gobs and gobs of wealth but know American economic policy needs to take into account all Americans and the common good: Warren Buffett, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, and many, many others.

It’s insane to believe that having wealth automatically makes you selfish and fills your head with hatred and contempt for working people, the chronically poor, disabled people, etc. There’s nothing hypocritical in the least about having shitloads of money and believing that that everyone’s situation and everyone’s needs matter.

There’s nothing hypocritical about being wealthy and thinking that really wealthy people, including yourself, need to pay substantial taxes, that revenue can get too low and that something’s very wrong when the secretary pays a higher effective tax rate than the CEO for whom she works. (Something which, by the way, actually happened with Mitt Romney and his secretary when the subject of effective tax rates for different income brackets came up for discussion in the 2012 Presidential debates.)

Conservatives are not going to get progressive people and Democrats to give in to their extreme, Ayn Rand-type of economic selfishness by suggesting that Democratic lawmakers who very often are wealthy are somehow disqualified from caring about ordinary (meaning not wealthy) people or advocating for policies that are designed to benefit the 98% of Americans who work for a living.

 

Working guy “Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2017 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets Aside a New Conservation Area

Fish and Wildlife Commission Sets Aside a New Conservation Area

Our FWC here in Florida is always engaged in doing things to protect wildlife and make it easier for Floridians to learn about and enjoy it.

In fact, to me, our Fish and Wildlife Commission is just about the only arm of state government here that I have complete confidence in. They do a lot of good work.

The commission released a PR bulletin today to let the public know that they’ve created a new Critical Wildlife Area in Volusia County. It’s called the Port Orange Colony and though it’s not of considerable size–being a bit less than two acres–it is, nevertheless, a very important site for many bird species. An incomplete list includes the tricolored heron, great egrets, the American oystercatcher and the brown pelican.

It seems to this nature lover to be a very significant action by the commission and the FWC chairman has said as much. Here’s what chairman Brian Yablonski said in today’s release about the creation of our newest CWA here in the Sunshine State:

“Protecting Florida’s birds is what gave rise to the conservation movement in the United States. This is a legacy moment that we leave for the ages as a Commission.”

Kudos to Florida’s FWC for this and all the fine work they do. To read the complete press release all about the Port Orange Colony, our newest conservation area, follow this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

 

Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

I did enjoy my second outing to Turkey Lake Park. I returned from that relaxing two day visit last Tuesday.

By the way, there is no “Turkey Lake Park”, strictly speaking. The official name is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, but since I find that a bit cumbersome, the more concise descriptor works for me!

I’m preparing a thorough write-up of my visit, but posting that will have to wait for another day. For now, I’m content just to post a pic and go on the record as saying that I truly love this tranquil setting.

This photo is taken from close to where campers must park and points in the direction of the camping area; as you can see, it’s quite a hike to the actual site where one pitches his or her tent! A very nice spot, nevertheless!

The upside of this arrangement is that it does make your camp site a bit more peaceful and natural-looking; the downside is that it’s a looooooong way to haul your gear!

Another detail that may be of interest: that gentle slope from right to left in the photo leads right to the shore of said Turkey Lake, though that’s just out of the picture.

I will be following up with a more thorough account of this recent trip with more pix before long. In the meantime, let me implore you to put aside some of that stuff on your to-do list for a while and get outdoors!

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

The Logan Act and tRump Transition Team Treachery

In the aftermath of the Michael Flynn plea deal, there’s a lot of confusion out there about whether Flynn and other members of the tRump transition team violated any laws, the Logan Act specifically, if all their misdeeds with the Russians happened after the election.

I’ve contended that it was criminal whether done before or after the election and Seth Abramson’s excellent explanation of the Logan Act I’m including at the end of this post really speaks to that issue. tRumpists and Rethuglicans in general are misrepresenting what the Logan Act actually says in order to make all that tRump treachery seem harmless.

Abramson’s thorough treatment of the Logan Act shows that tRump apologists are dead wrong when they say none of the tRump team’s actions actually violated any laws; it was clearly criminal and treasonous whether done before or after the election!

By the way, I came across this very informative thread because I follow Abramson on twitter. I recommend it highly for anyone wanting to get a better grip on the matter of tRump transition team members doing treasonous stuff with Russians to undercut the Obama sanctions.

The sanctions imposed by the United States after the Russian assault on our election and our democracy.

Click here to read Seth Abramson’s excellent thread on The Logan Act and the criminal acts of the tRump transition team, Mike Flynn, especially.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile