Grand Funk AND The Doobies? Oh, my!

It was late August in that eventful year of 1972 when I arrived at a little-known University in Oklahoma for my Freshman college orientation.

Because of my background as a good little church boy and my pretty tightly-controlled upbringing, I hadn’t seen many rock concerts.

The Association, at the Bob Carr Auditorium in Orlando, was about as wild as it got for me.

And that’s not a knock on that fine band, not at all.

It’s just a way of saying that, although I spent a very considerable chunk of my time listening to Rock and Top 40–especially over WLOF, our legendary Channel 95–I had experienced few Rock concerts.

Especially compared to most of my boomer buds in those heady days of the ’70s, when Rock ‘n Roll was in its heyday.

So when my college bestie and I heard on the radio that Grand Funk Railroad was coming to Skelly Stadium on Tulsa’s north side, we put it on our calendar.

Grand Funk and Sugarloaf. Yeah, the “Green Eyed Lady” group.

The opening act was some other band we didn’t know so well, The Doobie Brothers.

There was not a shadow of a doubt that we’d make the show come hell or high water, but there was one little problem: we knew that Public transit would get us there–it was eight miles to the site–we had no idea how we’d get back to campus.

As you might imagine, the show was awesome! I’m still a Grand Funk fan and think that Mark, Don and Mel made up one of the very best bands from the late ’60s and ’70s.

Jerry Corbetta and Sugarloaf impressed.

And the Doobies absolutely tore my 18 year-old head off! I damn sure knew who they were after that show!

We didn’t mind the insanely-long walk back all the way to 71st Street and Lewis.

Even though Tulsa received its first snow fall for the year on that October night and we were only wearing light jackets.

We two hard-core Rock lovers trudged all the way back, knowing that that sojourn southward was but a small price to be paid to see a show like that.

The memory of that night is still fresh in my mind.

Like so many of us, I’m now a total Rock ‘n Roll wimp and am not willing to go to any more effort to hear the good stuff than to start one of the playlists on my trusty laptop.

But in the Fall of ’72, I was more-than-willing to go to great lengths to be there in the middle of it.

Hell, yeah! Those were the days!

Still a Rock child at heart, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Overuse of plastics: the French are getting serious

It’s undeniable that the use of plastics for practically everything is terribly convenient.

It’s also undeniable that this convenience has a huge downside; the Planet is becoming a trash heap and it’s having a devastating impact on wildlife everywhere.

It’s imperative that we get serious about this and make some real changes.

Yes, I know this will not be easy.

A tiny bit of good news: the French are getting serious about weaning themselves off of the use of  plastic for everything. And it’s having an impact.

Of course, it would have an even greater impact if we in the U.S. were to follow their lead.

But it’s virtually certain that our resistance to change, coupled with the determination of the Fossil Fuel industry to prioritize its profitability over the welfare of the environment, will mean that we will never actually rise to meet the challenge.

This is regrettable, to say the very least.

And it’s just one more reason–and there are so many–that the outlook for our Planet is very bleak.

We had better wake up.

Not only about our use of plastics, but about a whole range of issues that are contributing to this horrible degradation of the Earth.

Will we ever rise to meet the challenge?

I wouldn’t say there’s no chance.

But I wouldn’t  bet the rent that we will.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

My traveling companion and I had a marvelous time at Blanchard Park on the east side of Orange County recently.

That outing was about ten days ago and it was a great morning in a wonderful and somewhat under-appreciated spot in the Orange County Parks system.

The banner photo was taken from the picnic area. We had staked out a good spot with a truly fabulous view of the “Little Econ” River.

By the way, the river’s full name is the Econlockhatchee River and it flows into the St John’s River, the longest in the Sunshine State.

Folks around here just call it the “Little Econ”, as you might imagine. A good part of its 54 mile length winds its way through eastern Orange County and there are several parks dotting its path.

Here’s a view of the river looking straight across the bank from our prime spot where we’d set up our camp stove and started to take photos.

I didn’t get too carried away with my camera that morning. But I did get a dozen or so shots worth keeping. Here’s one similar to the banner photo but not zoomed so tightly.

As most of my readers know, I usually take plenty o’ pix each time I get out into Nature’s Den. But the other reason we went to Blanchard Park that fine Tuesday morning was that it was a perfect opportunity to fire up that two-burner camp stove I love so well and make some pancakes and vegan sausage.

We enjoyed our late breakfast that morning and then moved on to another outdoor adventure. That was a trip about ten more miles out East Hwy 50 to the tiny town of Christmas, Florida.

Fort Christmas Park is another choice spot for Central Florida outdoor enthusiasts. But that will be material for another post on another day.

I just want to note as I’m closing that while we were making breakfast, there were two incidents where joggers who were zipping through the park stopped to tell us how awesome the smell of our pancakes were!

That and everything else about the morning was pretty cool. We’re most definitely going to make another trip to Blanchard Park in the near future.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile