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

Quick Trip Back to the Beach

Quick Trip Back to the Beach

It had been about three months since I had made a beach visit. And that’s way too long.

Because it’s been difficult — as well as risky, of course — to get to the shore, I’ve been eager to get some sand in my shoes again. And to get some good photos as well.

We got back Wednesday evening. The “explosion” of beach-goers we had been worrying about turned out not to be a thing at all. Well, especially since we timed our arrival for about 7 pm. Not too much danger of being being pressed together with a gaggle of other nature-lovers when the parking area was only about 1/3 full.

We knew that because Memorial Day was right around corner that if we wanted to get to the beach, our window of opportunity would not be open for very long.

So we arrived fashionably late, stayed for a bit less than an hour and had a good time.

Something that we did not expect: we saw first-hand how cruise ships are handling being idle while we’re all dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. We saw six cruise ships trolling around three or four miles offshore, basically just marking time.

Here’s a visual about that, though this photo caught only two of the six:

This seemed a bit odd at first but then I realized that I had actually read about how this is working out in the cruise industry. Because there are no cruises happening — and I mean none at all — there isn’t room in port for all of them at any one time. So we witnessed what must now be business as usual; six cruise ships a few miles out, doing absolutely nothing.

We were perfectly happy after and about an hour or so. I got a few decent pics, we both had some sand in our shoes and we were content to find some hot coffee and begin to head for home.

We will not be venturing out at all in the next three days or so. We’re certain that the Memorial Day weekend will have everything — including pretty much all of our favorite outdoor spots — completely covered up with visitors.

I’m not passing judgement on folks who may be crowding together in a thousand different spaces and places over the Memorial Day weekend. I just don’t feel comfortable being among them.

Best wishes to you and yours over the holiday weekend. I hope you have some memorable and life-enriching times.

And — above all — I hope you stay safe.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

National Arbor Day 2020

National Arbor Day 2020

Yes, it’s National Arbor Day today. But with most of America — and the world, for that matter — staying close to home, celebrating this auspicious day is just a bit different this time.

My celebration of the day this year includes two things. Small things, but things which nevertheless help the cause.

I just made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation. This is something I look forward to doing each year.

If you would like to do that today, follow this link.

I’m also going to use today’s hashtag from the A.D.F. on my twitter account. And that is: #ArborDayAtHome. When you use that tag, the Foundation will plant a tree for your gesture of support and good will. Up to 50,000 trees.

That’s a wonderful thing.

One more thought: if you’d like to take a look at the blog for the A.D. Foundation, go right here.

A certified, hard-core tree-hugger, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Happy New Year to YOU!

Happy New Year to YOU!

We stand on the threshold of a new year.

And my wish for you is that 2020 will be a splendid year, indeed.

I have to say that 2019 was an awful year in some ways.

I have been–and continue to be–greatly alarmed to see our National nightmare unfolding.

And, yes, I most certainly hope to see a lot of that turmoil and tragedy be resolved in this year which is just around the corner as I write this.

For me personally, 2019 was a mixed bag, you might say.

The first half had some challenges and plenty of ups-and-downs.

The second half could be described as 99% bliss.

And I’m grateful.

I’m thinking that for many of you, 2019 may have been something like that. After all, life’s experiences are often a strange mixture of good stuff and the stuff you fervently hope you’ll never have to go through again.

So I wish for you a 2020 with more–way more–of the good stuff.

May it be so!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Mr Basile is not the owner of the banner photo and believes it to be covered under Fair Use.

A Christmas Wish for Everyone

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”… Some of you know some of the background as i make that statement. It’s all about community, being “plugged in” or connected. It’s not a happy, festive time if you’re in this life all on your own. I do know some folks who are in that kind of a situation now, and it’s not a good thing. They’re not feeling particularly joyful right now, as you might imagine.

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