Ben Murders a Haiku. The Tree’s Fine.

Ben Murders a Haiku. The Tree’s Fine.

I just love this gnarly ole tree.

It’s almost as twisted as me!

 

 

Yes, this noble tree was one of the cool sights I saw Saturday at the FWC’s open house event at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area. Had a great time and took about 200 shots. Including the header photo here that, sadly, had to be associated with my lame attempt at Haiku! I apologize to the tree, and to you, noble reader.

Much more about the open house will be coming in a new post later this week. No more bits of silly doggerel! I promise.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

About That Lifetime Pass to America’s National Parks!

About That Lifetime Pass to America’s National Parks!

Back on August 24th of last year, I mentioned that I had applied for that awesome Lifetime Senior Pass to our National Parks. The fee had been $20 for quite a few years, but someone made the decision to jack up the cost to $80!

This came to my attention about one week before the change went into effect, and I wanted to make sure I threw down my twenty bucks and got hooked up before the cost skyrocketed.

It did. I did! And about two weeks ago, I finally had my hands on my Lifetime Pass to the coolest parks on the planet. (Yeah, processing it took a long time!)

If you didn’t beat the deadline, let me encourage you to do it anyway. I think our parks are well worth the new and higher fee, but when I was given an opp to take advantage of that much lower rate, I jumped all over it!

If you want to get to the site where you can still get your pass, follow this link.

Hope you’re all doing well and that you’re taking advantage of your opportunities to bust out of that little box where you spend most of your time, and get out into the wild! Just do it!

 

 

Planning a trip to Canaveral National Seashore soon, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Happy Birthday to Mike Basile

Happy Birthday to Mike Basile

My big bro Mike would be turning 67 today, but liver disease claimed him back in 2007.

Mike was a very straight-up kind of guy. What you saw was what you got! Loved Jesus, loved his family and tried his dead-level best to keep his two kid brothers in line!

Yeah, that was a tough assignment at times. Especially with yours truly. What can I say?

In the header photo, you can see those three Basile brothers! This was at New Smyrna Beach back in ’64. Yeah, I was on his shoulders.

Makes for a pretty good photo. And it reflects the truth that Mike was as good a big brother as any man could hope for. Looked out for John and me with a steady eye. Whether we wanted him to or not! He loved us. We never doubted it.

He was all about faith and family; a proud veteran and steadfast patriot. My brother Michael Lee Basile.

Happy Birthday, bro! Love you!

 

 

Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Photo credit Basile Family Fotos

 

 

 

Fine Fotos: A Beautiful Nature Spot in the Middle of Orlando

Fine Fotos: A Beautiful Nature Spot in the Middle of Orlando

As you guys know, posting pix of some of the beautiful places I visit is one of my very favorite things to do on my blog! I’m a total outdoor nut and proud of it!

Well, I had to go to my pharmacy today and pick up scripts. I was struck at how beautiful the campus of Aspire Health Partners is on Mercy Drive in Orlando. Well, it’s not the first time I realized that, but it is the first time I whipped out a camera to record the moment.

I like the way these pix turned out. Didn’t take lots of ’em. But very happy I didn’t let the moment pass.

Always tickled when I find spots of bucolic beauty in the middle of the city. I’ll soon be back haunting some of our lovely state parks here in Florida to drink in nature’s beauty in places where we’re a bit more accustomed to seeing it!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Author Ursula K. Le Guin Has Passed

Author Ursula K. Le Guin Has Passed

As I read today’s news, I had to ask myself: was there a better American author in Fantasy or Science Fiction than Ursula K. Le Guin? With multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards and The Newbery Medal, what a literary legacy she left!

This giant of 20th Century American Literature passed away yesterday. She was 88.

Her Earthsea Trilogy is without question the fiction work I love best. I devoured those three delightful tomes in a very short span while in high school.

It’s no exaggeration to say that her writing helped shape my views of the world more than anything outside the Bible. And I’ve no cause now, these many years later, to call into question the things I came to believe about life and human existence from her remarkable work.

Only in silence, the word. Only in dark, the light. Only in dying, life: bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.   The Creation of Éa

Rest In Peace, Ursula. I’m sailing for #Earthsea at first light.

 

 

Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

The use of the map in the header photo is covered under the Fair Use doctrine

From the vault for National Squirrel Appreciation Day

From the vault for National Squirrel Appreciation Day

I’m thinkin’ not too many folks know that today is “National Squirrel Appreciation Day!” Yes, that’s for real!

In honor of the occasion, here’s a piece I wrote quite a long time ago for my first (now dormant) blog site; I ran it here in May of 2016.

Enjoy The Squirrel and the Spiritual Experience!

I had just dropped off a fare in my taxi and i decided to stop in at
a fast food place in Altamonte Springs for a quick bite. If you do
know the territory, Backyard Burgers is a better-than average
burger drive-through in an Old Checkers location. It’s quite popular
with the locals.

It’s pretty popular with some furry critters up there too! I got
my “Black and Bleu” burger, an extremely yummy burger featuring
black angus beef and bleu cheese, and proceeded to make short work
of it. It truly was as good a burger as this dog had ever put into
his jaws!

Just as I was about to toss the last morsel down, this very tame
squirrel began to make her way over to the patio table where I was
enjoying this late lunch. (At Backyard Burgers, there is no indoor
seating.)

As she got a little closer, I became transfixed at the sight of her
approach and could not eat that last bit until I knew what she was
up to. In pretty short order she hopped right up on the bench next
to me and reared up on her hind legs. By now she was only about six
inches from me–from me and the last few crumbs of what had been the
best lunch I’d had in quite a while…

As I extended my hand in her direction, she actually put her little
claws right on my first finger and clasped my hand very gently
with a measured and seemingly purposeful pressure. I was quite
surprised to say the least. What I had expected her to do was to
reach for the bite o’ burger and scamper away like a bandit.

For a moment or two she just stayed there clasping my hand and
looking me right in the eye. Then, with consummate timing, she took
the morsel in her mouth and ate it in two or three bites all while
maintaining her eye contact with me, her very flabbergasted
benefactor.

Then she turned away, paused for just a moment and scampered
away towards a towering oak on the edge of the patio.

I suppose it’s a routine she’s quite comfortable with. I have not
been back to Backyard Burgers since but I’m thinking that she
probably has a regular stable of folks who share the last bite of
their lunches with her. I’ve even wanted to get back up there to see
if she’s still around, looking for humans who want to share their
grub with her, but I don’t get that far away from downtown
Orlando in my cab very often.

As I cruised back towards my preferred territory a little closer to
home, I could not get the image of her pausing with her paws on my
hand out of my mind… She seemed to be saying, “Thanks for sharing
your lunch with me! I hope you’ll come back and see me again” or
some such thing in her non-verbal squirrel language which humans may
be graced to understand just once in a while…

The memory of my shared lunch with my furry mistress comes back to
me often; especially when I’m passing any burger joint or when I see
squirrels scampering up and down our majestic oaks and through our
many parks. I would surely love to have a “Black and Bleu” burger
again. And you know I’d save the last bite for my new lunch
companion!

 

Bulldog Ben, respecting all of my

furry friends today just a bit more…

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Headed Back to Tosohatchee Next Saturday

Headed Back to Tosohatchee Next Saturday

The Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area is, by far, the closest of Florida’s WMA’s to my neck of the woods. I loved the afternoon I spent there back on January 4th and so I was happy to see that our FWC is planning an event at Tosohatchee in about a week’s time to give the nature lovers among us a chance to see one of our WMA’s up close!

Hunting and fishing are two activities that happen a lot on our WMA’s here in the Sunshine State but hikers, campers and birders love them, too. And if you get a chance to come out next Saturday, the 27th, Rangers and other staff with the Fish and Wildlife Commission can get you up to speed on all the reasons to visit Tosohatchee or any one of Florida’s WMA’s.

To see the PR release from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission about this free and family-friendly event, just follow this handy link.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Bulldog Was So Happy When He Realized

Bulldog Was So Happy When He Realized

Well, you see, I was up a bit after midnight last night. Oops, that would be a bit after midnight this morning, to be more accurate. Up baking scratch cornbread muffins.

And it made me so frickin’ happy when I realized that the shoe box-size leftover container that I sometimes use to store cutlery is the perfect size for six muffins when you bust ’em out of the muffin pan!

Not at all sure what that means about my thoroughly mundane life, but it was just about two steps short of complete ecstasy when I realized that and starting tossing the still-warm muffins in, thereby fulfilling their obvious destiny!

Doesn’t take much to make me happy these days! I guess that’s not a bad thing…

 

Still smiling in Orlando, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Dreamers, the Federal Budget and the Goals of the GOP

A dear friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about how unfortunate it is that DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has not been renewed yet and how sad it is that families are continuing to be broken up as the result.

It got me to thinking about how the stalemate over renewing DACA relates to other larger issues and I wrote quite a tome about that. That is, about the larger issues and what’s really going on in Washington right now over DACA and passing a budget to keep the government operating. The budget part comes to a head on Friday. Yes, the day after tomorrow.

My piece is long. It’s strident. And it’s dead-on accurate. Bulldog is barking this afternoon. Here goes:

 

In response to my friend’s post about deportations of Dreamers, I wrote:

Sad to say, there is no resolution to be found. The #PoserPrez demands funding of his accursed and very expensive boarder wall before he’ll get on-board with a renewal of DACA. I’m proud to say that the leadership of the Democratic Party will not agree to this.

What you may not have known is that tRump and the Republicans are in perfect lock step that Democrats must agree to fund the border wall in order for them to negotiate about DACA but ALSO for them to talk about passing a budget.

So the government WILL shutdown on Friday because tRump demands everyone get on board with the border wall and authorize immediate funding to the tune of many billions of dollars before anything else can get done in Washington.

All of this is being done against the backdrop of our treasury being perpetually short of funds moving forward because of the just-passed tax cuts. (Well, it wasn’t actually just a matter of cutting taxes; the bill is a complete restructuring of America’s tax code. But I digress.)

Rethuglicans say we can’t renew CHIP and have health insurance for kids who otherwise would be going to America’s Emergency Rooms. We can’t afford Medicare and Medicaid as they exist now, because of the same tax cuts, so now they “have to” start cutting these vital programs but… wait for it… WE CAN AFFORD THIS ACCURSED WALL!

This is how the fight about renewing DACA fits into the larger picture. It’s NOT about any individual program, or passing a spending bill or any of that; it’s about conservatives finally having a chance to kill the Federal Government we’ve known since the New Deal was put in place after the Great Depression. They want to have a Federal government that can fund the military and pay the light bill for Federal buildings, a few salaries and other bare essentials and then let the rest of it, literally, just go away.

GOP thinker and shaker and mover Grover Norquist summed up this concept of how a government should function with his infamous remark that conservatives needed to cut the Federal government down to the size “where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub“. Maybe you guys missed that remark from many years ago or have forgotten it; I remember it very well. Republicans repeat it often.

This is NOT about fifty or sixty different issues or tasks that congress needs to get done in this session. It’s about Republicans and tRump enacting this extreme agenda and remaking the government in a way that makes Mr. Norquist and Steve Bannon smile. In a way that would make Ayn Rand proud.

This explains why tRump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan already have in place proposed legislation to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid even though all three of them said during the election that they’d NEVER TOUCH THOSE PROGRAMS! They were lying. They lie all the time. Drastic cuts to those programs have been a part of the conservative agenda for over 30 years and they’ve said so hundreds of times!

People who don’t understand the larger issues involved here can “both sides” this all day and all night, but this is really about the extreme tRump/Repug agenda to gut all programs that help individual Americans so rich people and corps can pay little or no taxes.

Trump and his trumper minions get an expanded military that was already way bigger and badder than what we actually need to defend us and our NATO allies, their fucking wall that’s mostly about symbolism, constant “incentives” and tax breaks (i.e. giveaways) for major corps that are already showing record profits, uber-low taxes for people in the upper brackets and NO FUNDING AT ALL for things that benefit ordinary Americans or people who are actually struggling.

So it’s about renewing DACA, funding the government and much, much more. If this wasn’t clear to you, you’ve bought all the Repug talking points and you have no idea what’s actually going on.

It’s urgent that Americans who care about the direction of our country see that each fight in Washington is not a separate “thing” but that there are big-picture reasons why these battles are going on right now in the age of tRump.

If you’d like to know more about DACA and why the Dreamers and so many other Americans want so urgently to have The Dream Act reauthorized, click here.

If Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going to be there for folks who’ll be needing them in the next 20 to 30 years, we’ve got to raise holy hell over Republican attempts to gut them. For more on how to safeguard these vital programs while the current regime is trying to drastically curtail or privatize them, follow this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

©2018 Benjamin Lawrence Basile