Help for the Eastern Indigo Snake

Help for the Eastern Indigo Snake

One of Florida’s iconic snakes, the Eastern Indigo has been having a tough time in the last little while. The problems are familiar and are not so easily remedied in a time where it seems like every square inch of habitat in Florida has a strip mall or three either being built on it or in the planning stage.

But the good guys are doing what they can to keep our native species from fading to black. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has a comprehensive plan to address this unhappy situation and the state expends a lot of resources to work that plan.

One of the many actions taken recently to help the Eastern Indigo Snake in particular was the release of 20 captive-bred specimens into the wild at the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve in Liberty County. That’s in the panhandle region of Florida.

Just how much help this will be to the Eastern Indigo is impossible to tell, but it certainly can’t hurt. The loss of habitat is problem no. 1 facing all of our native wildlife here in the Sunshine State, and though it seems cliché, it’s nevertheless true that the problem is only going to get worse before it gets better.

Well, human nature being what it is, I don’t think it will ever get better, but that’s fodder for a different posting.

For now, I’m glad to see that our FWC is doing fine work, helping to give our native species a fighting chance.

To read the entire press release about today’s very cool event, just follow this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Happy Moon Day 2018, Folks!

Happy Moon Day 2018, Folks!

Yes, it is National Moon Day today. We observe it on July 20th each year because Neil Armstrong first walk on the Moon’s surface on this date back in 1969.

And, yes, I do remember exactly what I was doing on the day! I was touring the U.S. with a high school choral group called the Young Floridians in Concert. We were sponsored by Central Florida YFC and were travelling through upstate New York on that day, heading for our next show.

To help in some small way to mark this auspicious day, I’m contributing one of my own Moon shots I like the best.

You’re welcome!

If you’d like to leave a comment, especially if you have a story to share about what you were doing on that day, please feel free!

 

“Moondog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Quick beach trip, two photos

Quick beach trip, two photos

I did make a quick beach excursion yesterday and took about 60 shots. It was cloudy and rained intermittently.

That was good in that it kept the crowds from getting out of hand, which is a thing here in Florida all throughout the summer.

But, of course, it made for a less-than-optimal picture day!

I came away with two I’d like to share. Yes, the first one is the banner pic you’ve already seen. And yes, the one below is the other!

CB-LWP-wrkd-Top3-pic-3c (2)

If the conditions had been more ideal, there’s no doubt at all that I would have been fighting tourists for space as I  went on my quest for the perfect shot! There are trade-offs in everything we do in life, and it is what it is.

It was another one of those less-than-perfect but  totally-worthwhile excursions! I’ll take ’em every chance I get!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

The weather here in Orlando the day after getting back home and unpacking is simply awful! What’s a poor puppy to do?

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Trey Gowdy changes his tune

Just moments ago, I saw a snippet of Face The Nation on CBS. Margaret Brennan’s guest was none other than Trey Gowdy, the father of the Benghazi investigation and the poster boy for outrageous GOP obstructionist behavior with respect to the Mueller investigation.

The main thrust of her final question was basically to get his take on the fact that the new indictments reveal that at least one, and most likely two people involved or formerly associated with the tRump campaign, passed those stolen emails back to the campaign.

The indictments do not reveal the identities of that person or persons, but most folks who follow such things believe that Roger Stone is one and that a hitherto little-known Florida political operative named Aaron Nevins is the other.

So Brennan wanted to get Gowdy’s take on the new revelations.

I was shocked when I heard his response. He said, in a manner both plain and robust, that the Special Counsel should figure out exactly who those people were and take appropriate action!

Now, he could have been full of shit while saying that, but that’s not the important part; at least it’s not for me.

What was shocking to me was that his reply wasn’t just more dissembling, deflecting, minimizing and obfuscation at which Gowdy excels and which has been the order of the day for Rethuglicans in the matter of Mueller’s probe right from day one!

I could be reading too much into his remarks, but I believe it’s another early sign that Repugs believe they’ve come to the end of their long-held, seemingly iron-clad strategy of uttering lie after lie in all press appearances to keep the truth about the tRump-Russia matter from coming to light.

I’m convinced that they’ve known that the investigation–and what is known about the investigation–would eventually reach the point where so much rot and corruption would be revealed that the public would stop believing their spin, deflection and lies; and that from that time on, they’d have to start distancing from Fearless Leader in order to prevent the whole party from going down with him.

Now, I don’t think it’s going to help. I think they’re all going down anyway. But I’m now convinced that Gowdy and some others do, in fact, see the handwriting on the wall, and that their PR strategy is starting to change.

I’m happy to say that I believe we’re at the tipping point.

And I believe that Bob Mueller’s just getting started.

To read a very thorough delineation of the whole matter of how, allegedly, Stone and Nevins fed the content of those notorious stolen DNC emails back to the campaign, or–to be more precise–to tRump himself, check out this unrolled twitter thread from investigator Seth Abramson.

For more of a big picture look at Friday’s very important indictments of 12 Russian GRU operatives and what the repercussions might be, follow this link.

 

 

Bulldog Ben, barkin’ again!

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

France defeats Croatia 4-2 in World Cup Final

France defeats Croatia 4-2 in World Cup Final

If you’re a soccer fan, you just may have heard, but the French bested Croatia 4-2 this afternoon and are the new World Champs!

Il n’y a aucune plus grande gloire dans le monde sportif! Vive La France!

I’m not a fanatical soccer fan, but I’m glad to see the world’s most beloved sport become hugely popular here in the states. And the World Cup is a monster story every year, of course.

Orlando is trying to get a piece of the World Cup again for 2026. The bid is being taken seriously; folks who follow such things say the Florida’s effort has a sporting chance. Having an MLS franchise here now certainly doesn’t hurt!

It was awesome back in 1994 when Orlando hosted three or four prelim matches. (There were several other sites in the U.S., as well.) And I’d love to see us land it again for the big festivities eight years from now!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Ben is not the owner of this awesome photo and thinks it’s covered by Fair Use.

 

Family on My Mind. Love you, Dad.

Family on My Mind. Love you, Dad.

Cancer is a terrible disease. Today is the day my Dad, Joe Basile, would be turning 95 if cancer had not struck him down in 2007.

As all sons do, I think about Dad a lot. He’s always on my mind especially when July rolls around each year and I think of how old he is. Or would be.

This year is no exception. So as a tribute to him, I’m posting his obituary which I lovingly composed when our family was making our preparations.

Dad was a good man. A very good man.

 

BASILE, JOSEPH NINO, age 84 of Orlando, passed on to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Sunday evening, Sept 9, 2007 after a 2 1/2 year battle with lung and brain cancer.

Mr. Basile was born in the Bronx, New York on July 12, 1923 and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force for 22 years. He saw duty with the first wave of Allied occupation troops in Japan, something which he often described as a life-changing experience. His state-side duty stations included Korean and Viet Nam era service at Travis A.F.B. California, Biggs A.F.B. El Paso, Patrick A.F.B. Florida, Otis A.F.B. Cape Cod, and finally McCoy A.F.B. Orlando where he served from 1961 until retirement in 1968 as a MSGT.

While stationed in Denver in 1949, Joe met the love of his life, the former Lois Marie Workman; she served him lunch at the Walgreens and stole his heart. They were married in December of ’49 and shared life and love for more than 57 years.

Following his active duty days, Mr. Basile carried the mail for 19 years, most of that at Dixie Village in South Orlando. His column “Dixie Village Blues” ran regularly in the NALC newsletter; its humor, satire and oblique references to current events at the Branch made it a hit with his fellow letter carriers. Joe was known in the community as an avid bowler, a coin collector and an excellent cook.

Most of all, he was a very active and devoted member of Blessed Trinity CC in Orlando serving as an usher for close to 40 years. He was active in the Karios Movement as well and worked tirelessly in Prison Ministry at Orange County, Lake County and Volusia County jails for many years.

Mr. Basile was preceded in death by his parents, Santo and Maria Basile, brother Frank Basile, sisters Gaetana and Marion as well as his son Michael Lee Basile. He is survived by his loving wife Lois, sister Corrine Fetonti of New Rochelle, NY, sons Benjamin Lawrence and John Joseph of Orlando, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Joe was loved by many, especially his extended family and his fellow parishioners. His gentle spirit, great sense of humor and tireless service to his family and church will long be remembered.

There will be a viewing at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, 4545 East Anderson Road, Orlando, from 6:30-8:30PM, Thursday, Sept. 13th. Mass of Christian Burial at Blessed Trinity at 10:30AM on Friday, Sept. 14th with Fr. Roland Nadeau officiating. Burial will follow at All Faiths Cemetery in Casselberry.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made in his name to the MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando (407-648-3800) or to the Hospice of the Comforter (407-682-0808).

Published in the Orlando Sentinel on Sept. 13, 2007

National Fried Chicken Day is…

National Fried Chicken Day is…

This auspicious day is the perfect occasion for me to reflect on the importance of regularly consuming vast quantities of… well, of fried chicken, of course!

One of life’s mysteries which I cannot explain is that I’ve loved fried chicken for as long as I can remember even though it was never served a home.

That is just a bit weird, isn’t it?

And even though I eat if frequently, I don’t make it at home, either.

I know my way around the kitchen and make all kinds of other stuff. But not this life-giving delicacy.

As great as it is, it’s certainly true that frying this fowl at home is no light undertaking.

You need a Dutch oven, or at least a skillet with some serious depth to it.

And getting a good result means giving up a very considerable quantity of high-quality cooking oil, and not one of the cheaper ones. Peanut oil or coconut oil are preferred.

And then you’re left with a vast quantity of used oil. Yes, it’s not too different from the situation we shade-tree mechanics face when we’re thinking of changing our car’s oil in the driveway. And what to do with it after… yeah, that can be an issue.

So maybe I’m not the only one; maybe lots of lovers of what just might be America’s favorite dish head to KFC or Popeye’s in huge numbers but eschew tossing chicken pieces n’ parts in their skillets at home!

This wonderful feeling of relief, of knowing I’m not so different from my chicken-lovin’ friends, will buoy my spirits 30 minutes from now when I’m standing in that long line of hungry guests at that KFC right around the corner from me!

I wonder if they know what day it is?

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile