Today’s the Day!

There is a Day to celebrate a thousand things around here and I’ve got to say that I’m not in the least impressed with most of them.

Among to ones that I do feel are worthwhile is today’s celebration. And I’m referring — of course — to National Drink Wine Day!

I enjoyed a crisp and delicious Sauvignon Blanc last night before bedtime. In addition to be a pretty damn good wine, it does help me slip off to Dreamland on nights when I could use a wee bit of help.

There are plenty of good reasons to enjoy the fruit of the vine when you’re so inclined.

Today, you have one more.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Benjamin Lawrence Basile
Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Yes, the Oceans are Warming

When the subject of climate change comes up, it’s natural to begin thinking about the places where you live, the places you know and whether they’re heating up, whether they’re changing. Or whether they’re experiencing unusual, bad or problematic weather.

This is a normal thing to do when we sift through the mountains of articles, studies and data focusing on the environment and the changes we see all around us.

Well, here’s something you may not have thought about: The changes in sea temperature are really a more accurate way to track the ways in which the Planet is warming. And how much she’s warming.

The Conversation is an Australia-based academic journal and it ran an article this week that helps to explain how this works. It can be a big help when laypeople like you or me are trying to wrap our minds around this phenomenon and what some of the consequences of rising sea temperatures are likely to be.

I recommend the informative and well-documented article highly; we are long-past the time when we can afford to ignore or downplay the signs of the catastrophic change happening all over the planet.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Today is National Bird Day

Did you wake up this morning with “Birds on the Brain?” I think I can explain why! This gem ran originally on Nat’l Bird Day, 2021.

Enjoy the Outdoors. Love the Planet.

It surely is and so I’m offering my favorite bird photo of the last ten years. I took the banner photo back in 2016 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

© 2021…

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In 2022, I’d like to…

In this New Year, I’d like to spend more time editing photos. And I will.

I’ve gotten a tad lazy with photos lately and I can and will step up my game.

It’s customary for us to take stock of our lives each year as we see the New Year approach. And although the term “New Year’s Resolutions” has become  cliché, most of us jump on-board each year.

I’m not getting a January gym membership — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but I will be making a concerted effort to flex my photographic muscle in 2022.

There are many reasons why I’ve identified this as a priority; The fact that it will help me in producing plenty of content for this blog is a big one, but there are others.

If you’ve given much thought to that sort of thing this year, let me encourage you to follow through. It doesn’t matter that we’re already a couple of days into the new year. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the kind of resolution we usually associate with the New Year.

If there’s anything you want to do more of, go for it!

If there’s anything you want to do less of, I’m with you!

If there’s something you want to throw overboard completely, there’s no time like right now.

For my part, I will be exploring the Great Outdoors and chronicling it all here, in pictures and in print.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2022 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Throw that Green Stuff in The Batter!

If you’ve been following the blog, you may remember that I do quite a lot of cooking and baking. Love to cook, whether I’m indoors or out; It keeps me fed and out of mischief as that saying goes.

For whatever reason, I haven’t baked much lately. Today I was in the mood to put a couple of hours of effort into kitchen stuff so I went with a combo I whip up pretty often: a yummy Tofu Chili with a pan of scratch Cornbread.

I’ve done that one about a thousand times and — like always — I was pleased with the result.

That said, I did things differently this time. Part of what was different today was not intentional at all; I couldn’t find my trusty 9×9 pan and so I opted for corn muffins this time. A “Plan B” kind of situation.

The other part of what I did differently was quite intentional: I wanted kick up the flavor a notch or two by baking my first pan of Jalapeno Cornbread. And so I did.

One of my Twitter friends who also likes to bake had tweeted a photo of a pan of Jalapeno cornbread he had whipped up on Tuesday to compliment his lunch for that day.

I realized that I had never done anything other than plain cornbread and decided to give it a try.

I didn’t bother to find a recipe or anything elaborate. I just made a batch just like I’ve done for the last five years but added 2 tsp of diced jalapenos to the batter just before pouring it into the muffin tin.

And — although I’m pleased with the result — I think I’ll go heavier with the diced jalapeno next time. I’ll kick it up a notch or two the next time around; I’m thinking about a third of a cup or so.

Like so many of us, I can get stuck in a rut pretty easily. And whether we’re talking about kitchen adventures or the way we live our lives in general, it’s a good thing to get out of that rut from time-to-time!

“Baker Ben” Basile

© 2021 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Merry Christmas to one and all

The Day has finally arrived! It’s Christmas morning and I’m feeling the Joy of the Season now as I put together these thoughts.

Throughout the Fall months we can see the whole Holiday Tableau laid out before us; We know that the crowning jewel of the Winter Holidays for so many — Christmas — is not so far away, but are still somehow taken by surprise once it’s actually here!

And it is here. And I’m delighted and just a tiny bit surprised that it’s here. Here in all its delightful splendor!

It’s true that I don’t go to a ton of trouble over Christmas these days. I think that there are so many of us who fall into that category. Haven’t put up a tree in a good many years. And presents… Well, gift cards are a godsend! And it’s not a very long list for this guy at this stage.

But I truly do love the season: the music, the Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men part, the Stars and Angels adorning the downtown light poles, all of it. And when I say I love the music, I mean the whole spectrum. Doesn’t matter if it’s Burl Ives and the Ray Coniff Singers or Andrea Bocelli and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I love all of it and have sung most of it with assorted Choruses and Choirs over the many years.

I don’t know what the Christmas Season means to you. But whether it’s a highlight of each year for you or something you would like to opt out of, I hope that this auspicious Day finds you well, surrounded by family and friends and filled with Serenity and Joy!

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2021 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Two Mountain Lion cubs get their shot

A litter of four Mountain Lion cubs was found under a picnic table in an office park outside of Thousand Oaks, California back on November 29th.

The four — all females — were estimated to have been about six weeks old and were on their own. Two of the four didn’t survive for the two days after officials from California’s Fish and Wildlife Commission tagged them and returned them to the site where they had been found on the 29th. The hope at that time was that the Mother might return.

After the deaths of the two weakest cubs, the staff at Fish & Wildlife determined that the Mother either couldn’t or wouldn’t come back. The two surviving cubs are now being cared for at the Orange County (California) Zoo until a suitable long-term home can be found.

If you’d like to know a bit more about this compelling story, the article here from the LA Times is an excellent place to begin.

Regardless of where you might be on this still-wild Planet, keep an eye out for wildlife. Because of habitat loss, human ignorance and malice and climate change — to name only a few issues — they can certainly use your watchful and caring eye.

Millions in the US and in every corner of the Planet are pulling for those two as yet-unnamed kittens. This sentimental ole dog is certainly one of them.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2021 Ben Lawrence Basile

The Silver Springs Monkeys and Monkey Day

Many Floridians have heard the story about how the area around what is now Silver Springs State Park here in Florida is practically overrun with Monkeys. They were brought in to be bit players in a 1930’s Tarzan Movie — so the story goes — and they’ve been monkeying around the Springs and parts of the Ocala National Forest ever since.

And because today is actually International Monkey Day, Bulldog decided to revisit the story and brush up on this fascinating thing we here in the Sunshine State have been hearing about for almost a hundred years.

One of the things I learned is that the Rhesus Macaques that can still be found in the area are not the only primates who’ve been ranging freely over this part of the heart of Florida. It is a fascinating and somewhat strange tale, as you’ll know if you take a moment to visit the link above.

If you’d like to know a little more about the celebration of International Monkey Day, here’s a good place to start.

Because of the hunger pangs which are now wracking my somewhat corpulent body at this moment, I’ve got to stop monkeying around on the internet, get into the kitchen and make lunch!

Hope it’s a fine day for you and all the other primates who may pass their eyes over this humble post.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2021 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Duke Today, Fair Use in effect

Of Love, Grief and Death–and of Constant Change

Here’s a post about changes. About changes, the passing of a friend in particular, and the way changes and endings come at you as long as your heart is beating.

Pebbles Bundy crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon. She was a few weeks short of her 12th birthday and had been suffering from a digestive condition for several months.

She was as sweet a cat as you could ever hope to meet. Gentle, sweet with a wonderful, mellow feline disposition. Food in her dish twice a day and some petting and stroking in the evening was all she ever asked of life.

When we went on our two day camping adventures she would watch us pack and go with an unruffled, mellow manner and greet us at the door when we came back home.

I helped Joan get her ready for her final trip to the vet as I was getting ready for work. Joan is a wonderful Cat Mom and it was her sad duty to take her to the good docs and staff at St Charles and be with her as she made that final journey.

I was relieved in a way that I had to get myself in to work while Joan made final arrangements. Being a part of that scenario would have added another layer of deep sadness to what has already been a challenging time for me.

I have been grieving the loss of another cherished relationship: Joan and I had come to a parting about three weeks before Pebble’s time with us came to its own end. I’m moving back to Orlando next week.

As I reflected on the last three or four weeks, and what happened today, it occurred to me that Pebble’s passing was — among other things — the last event where Joan and I would focus together on a matter of great and enduring significance to both of us; The final time we would be fully engaged in something that had the power to move us deeply and to touch a place in our hearts. The final time we would share deeply-felt emotions that no one else shared or could fully understand.

Changes and endings. They’re a huge part of life. They keep coming. It’s not going to stop. In fact, when we get to a certain stage of life, the changes accelerate, they fly by so quickly that we sometimes are hard-pressed to take in fully their true significance.

Some of those changes involve a death. A death of a friend, a family member. The death of a dream, of a cherished relationship.

It’s not going to stop.

Hold on tightly to your friends, your loved ones. The friends who walk on their hind legs and the fur-bearing ones who love you unconditionally, with great ardour and whose love has the power to touch us in the deepest places in our hearts.

Hold tightly to them when the fire of love burns brightest. Love them, return their love and release them to the love, care and wisdom of the Universe when a time of ending comes.

And trust that your love — mingled with theirs — and the memories of shared experiences, of your time together will sustain you.

Sustain you and offer a sweet note of consolation. Especially if you must walk life’s path alone for a time.

Healing Love to all of you. And all whom you love.

A loving, grieving and hopeful man, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile 

© 2021 Ben Lawrence Basile
Photo credit Joanie Bundy

Happy Labor Day 2021

I do want to wish a most happy Labor Day 2021 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 Labor Day history, 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

© 2021 Ben Lawrence Basile