Today is National Bird Day

Today is National Bird Day

It surely is and so I’m offering my favorite bird photo of the last ten years. I took the banner photo back in 2011 at Trimble Park in Orange County, Florida. It was a keeper and I’ve featured it before. A long time ago, I hasten to add.

And in 2012 my camera caught Peter Pelican at an opportune moment. I don’t think he was too eager to have his picture taken; he was flying away at warp speed, in fact.

But I got him! This was at Cocoa Beach on a cloudy October afternoon just eight years ago. My, the time passes so quickly…

Enjoy the beauty and majesty of nature. If a part of the beauty you take in today includes some choice winged and feathered specimens, it would be so appropriate.

Not that you can’t the other 364 days of the year!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Reflections on the New Year

December 31, 2020

I think there is nearly universal agreement, here in the US and everywhere, that 2020 was — on the whole — a very challenging year.

As we sit perched on the threshold of a new year, I am hopeful that 2021 will be better. Much better. It could scarcely be worse.

Exactly how things go from here… well, we just can’t say. If I may be allowed to prognosticate just a bit, I’m thinking that the first half of this nascent year will be rough. Very rough, in all likelihood. And then, it will get better.

How’s that for a prophetic look into our shared future?

Well, Nostradamus I am not. But I am a hopeful human, a hopeful citizen and I stand ready to do what I can to pull in the same direction as my fellows who want to help. To help to get us pointed in a positive direction and to begin to make some progress.

I am hopeful — cautiously hopeful — that we’ll be in a better place 12 months from now as we compose our thoughts about what kind of year 2021 will have been.

And I’m content with being able to “say” that tonight.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

A Christmas Morning Wish for Everyone Today

A Christmas Morning Wish for Everyone Today

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.

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

Ben is not the owner of this photo and believes it to be covered under Fair Use

It’s National Brownie Day

It’s National Brownie Day

Yes, today is National Brownie Day! So I’ll bet you know what I was doing at 1 a.m. this morning… Yeah, you’re right. And it helped to warm up a pretty cold house, too.

I haven’t baked brownies a good long while but considering what day it is, what choice did I have?

Let me know if you’re celebrating the day appropriately, too. I seriously doubt that I’m the only one!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Is Whiskers purring today?

Is Whiskers purring today?

Well, if he’s not, he should be!

Today’s National Cat Day and it’s definitely a day to spoil your precious ball of fur.

Our cat’s name is Peebles. She’s a senior cat with a sweet disposition. Her one character flaw is that she hates posing for pictures.

What can I say?

My banner photo is from a five years ago. That’s Riley and he was also a fine specimen of fabulous feline felicity!

Be nice to your kitty today. If you don’t have one, think of the last cat you knew and loved. And send him or her your best wishes for a delightful day!

An ardent lover of cats as well as dogs, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Happy Labor Day 2020

Happy Labor Day 2020

I do want to wish a most happy Labor Day 2020 to all of you who work for a paycheck.

I’m happy to say that I’m in that proud group of people and I always look forward to this day as it comes around each year. I’m a proud member of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and have been a Teamster as well.

The UFCW represents workers in retail, breweries and restaurants. Folks in the budding cannabis industry, too. The UFCW also rep’s many of the workers in the meat packing plants that were on the front lines when COVID-19 was devastating that industry back in the Spring.

It’s a very good thing, indeed, to be represented by a union and bargain collectively.

If you’d like to brush up on your history of this auspicious day, just follow this link.

Working folks, thanks for all you do. I wish all of you a happy–and relaxed–Labor Day.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

(c) 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Clem Onojeghuo via unsplash.com

Another Camping reservation

Another Camping reservation

We do have another camping reservation coming up in about ten days.

I am off today on this fine Labor Day and my thoughts are turning to hiking trails and propane-fired camp stoves as I get ready to fire up our grill here at home.

By the way, I truly am happy that I’m not working today and I’ll have more to say about Labor Day in the next post.

The banner photo is from a camping adventure not very long ago. I’m not in the woods today, but I won’t have to wait much longer…

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Today is National Beach Day

Today is National Beach Day

It is National Beach Day today and I’m heading out in a few hours to get in on the party!

If you’re anywhere near the coast–any coast–I hope you’ll get some sand in your shoes today.

That’s my plan exactly!

The banner photo is of a recent trip to Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville here in the Sunshine State. That’s the closest National Park to me; we never miss a chance to take in its unspoiled beauty.

The photo below was taken at Cocoa Beach, just a bit to the south of Canaveral. I took it about three years ago. When I view this one, I can almost hear the waves lapping at my feet and smell the sea air.

Enjoy your Sunday whether you make it to the shore or not! If you’re only just now hearing about how special this day is, I’ll give you a pass. Just this once.

And if you don’t make it, remember this: you certainly don’t have to wait ’til NBD next year!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Happy 4th of July to all

Happy 4th of July to all

There’s no way I would pass on an opportunity to observe a 4th of July. No way.

But it’s also true that it feels different this year.

It’s felt different for me and a whole lot of other patriots for the last three times the 4th has come around. And it certainly does now in 2020.

It’s not the same joyful celebration while our president is working as hard as he can to strangle Lady Liberty.

And that’s made worse by the fact that he’s been engaged in this hateful and dark undertaking for almost four years now. And our democracy is hanging by a thread.

I am hopeful that our Republic will see better days. I’m cautiously optimistic that the pall that has been cast over our Country will be lifted by the next time we celebrate.

I’m praying and working and contributing to increase the chances that it will.

Happy 4th to everyone.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile


Photo credit Benjamin Basile

National Trails Day

National Trails Day

Now, that’s one of my fave days, to be sure!

We do observe this auspicious day each year and I’m thinking of some of the trails I have known and loved.

The banner photo is of one tiny stretch of the Florida Trail. This was taken in the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area three years ago.

Planning a trip back to that WMA before this year is over. Have covered many a mile and there are many, many yet to traverse.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile