More signs of trouble

Here in the US, most of us are very much focused on the upcoming election and all the unprecedented, insane drama coming from Washington.

It’s hard to imagine it being any other way.

But while we’re dealing with a never-ending stream of outrages and crises, all that other stuff that was going on in our world is still going on.

One of those things is the welfare of our Earth. There are so many indicators that our planet is in a bad way. Well, that’s putting it mildly.

One of those signs is that it’s been unusually warm in Siberia this year. Scientists are now seeing temperatures that have never before been recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

It’s just one more piece of evidence. As though more were needed.

Stay engaged. Don’t let yourself slip into hopelessness and despair.

We’ve got to keep shining a bright light on the crises we’re facing on the environmental front.

We’ve got to learn all we can, stay engaged and put our hands to the work.

There are so many on the front lines–volunteers, laymen and professionals–engaged in this work, giving their all to make a difference.

We can support them by contributing our time, contributing financially and by refusing to let other priorities–as urgent as they are–keep us from addressing the singular problem that can render all of the others insignificant.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Something tells me…

Something tells me…

…it’s all happening at the zoo! And our visit last week confirmed how true that is.

Had a chance to visit The Brevard Zoo again just a few days ago. This fine Central Florida zoo–like most in the country–closed back in March. It reopened about six weeks ago but zoo-lovers must book well in advance and will not be admitted until the time of the reservation comes around.

The few guests that are admitted each half hour can take in some fine sights and see plenty of critters. It was reassuring that with the admission policies and the rules about the wearing of masks and social distancing, the zoo is as safe as any public place can be.

Enjoyed seeing many of the “usual suspects” on this visit. Below is one of the jaguars that call this zoo home. He was just chillin’ and though we only saw him from the neck up, it was pretty cool!

We stayed around to get another shot or two. But Jerry Jaguar soon got bored with our feeble efforts to immortalize him digitally and he went back to what he had been doing before we showed up. Napping, of course!

Because the Brevard Zoo is here in the East Central Florida region, it must have a gator or two. So here are a couple of photos featuring one of the reptilian superstars that were checking us out while I was angling for a good spot to catch him for posterity.

Mike Macaw was enjoying the pleasant mid-afternoon slice of a fine Thursday. As usual, he wasn’t doing much besides just looking authentic and colorful.

The Brevard Zoo has a large and colorful aquarium and it kept me entertained for quite a while. Here’s one photo that’s ready for prime-time.

Our piscine friends seemed to be enjoying their their afternoon cruising all about. I understand they sometimes travel in schools of three…

One of my favorite things to do at the zoo is to get photos of some of the vistas that don’t actually feature a creature at all. The beautiful landscapes at this–or any zoo–can keep a shutterbug like me entralled for hours.

Zoos are the one place where ordinary people can observe an assortment of animals, learn something about them and their habitats, and how they’re faring in the natural world.

The girl in this picture is enjoying a rare opportunity to observe a wild primate up close; this encounter was fun for all but–sad to say–involved neither a real girl nor an actually monkey.

The Brevard Zoo offers something you won’t find in most zoos: a chance to go on a guided kayak tour around a good portion of the park.

We arrived too late to take advantage of the tour but found that the view from the pavilion where guest wait until their tours begin, was splendid, indeed. Have a look, I think you’d agree.

Being annual passholders for this fine zoological park, located in Melbourne, Florida, is something we feel very good about. I’ve taken many trips to plenty of zoos; more than I can count, truth be told.

And I’ll take many more.

A proud, card-carrying lover of zoos, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Benjamin 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 Camera Day

National Camera Day

Photography is a very big deal to me and today is a day I wanted to get a photo or two up on the blog.

It’s true that there’s not a lot left of this auspicious day, but here we go…

We did have a fabulous trip to Silver Springs State Park about ten days ago. It was my third trip to the Park all total. The weather was ideal, the camping was top-shelf and there were lots of good photo ops, of course.

There’s a lot to the park besides the well-known springs. I’ll have more about that coming in another post. But today’s post is a quick look into the springs part of Silver Springs.

The glass bottom boat tour is always a treat. But there were plenty of kayakers and boaters out that day as well as the conditions for an outdoor excursion were as good as it gets.

Here are a couple of outdoor lovers paddling about on that lovely summer afternoon.

Boaters were well-represented too. The couple here seemed to be having a good outing. That old saying “a bad day on the water is better than your best day at the office” comes to mind.

An outing as good as this one certainly deserves more than just one quick post. I’ll have more to say about the visit and more photos in the near future.

Happy explorations to everyone. If you get outdoors soon, social distancing is the order of the day.

Enjoy yourselves and stay safe.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

From the Eco File: Yes, 100° in Siberia

From the Eco File: Yes, 100° in Siberia

You know I keep a close eye on what’s happening with our Planet. Doing so can be really draining, as many of you no doubt know.

The latest distressing but very important news to land in my inbox: the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk recorded a high temperature of 100 degrees this last Saturday.

Yes, our planet’s in really big trouble. There are so many indicators pointing in that tragic direction. This is just one more.

Don’t look away.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

banner photo is from NASA

Fave Fotos: A Florida Beach in May

Fave Fotos: A Florida Beach in May

Sometimes I take a photo I like so well that it can be good material for a post all by itself.

The banner photo is one of those. It’s from a trip we made about two weeks ago. It was just when beaches became available again.

We didn’t have to get very close to anyone, so be were able to get in a bit of fun in the outdoors without being stressed about our safety. Or anyone’s for that matter.

Cocoa Beach was lovely that day. No surprise there, of course.

Heading back that way soon. With camera in hand…

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence 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

Strolling Down Blue Jay Way

Strolling Down Blue Jay Way

One of the better things that have come out of the COVID-19 crisis for me is that my girlfriend and I have definitely gotten to know our neighborhood much better. We take our evening stroll about 4-5 times per week and have come to enjoy it quite a bit.

One of the neighborhood streets where we often walk is Blue Jay Way and the catchy name got stuck in my head quite a long while ago.

We truly enjoy our times to go strolling on Blue Jay Way; or anywhere else in the neighborhood where our wandering feet are inclined to go.

Get outdoors, friends!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Green Energy Up, Nuclear Down

Green Energy Up, Nuclear Down

The trend of renewable energy accounting for an ever-increasing share among the many ways we get power has been going on for years.

And now we see that this process of green energy displacing other forms of power generation — nuclear, in particular — is picking up speed because of the drop in consumption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This afternoon I came across a story from Yahoo Finance that delves deeper into this trend. I recommend it highly for anyone who’s environmentally conscious and/or is trying to pay attention to some of the larger trends happening in the US and on the Planet in general.

Hope you’re all doing well and staying safe as we go through this ordeal. I’m still on furlough and somewhat stressed about how all of this will work out.

One silver lining in the cloud is that I do have more time for blogging. More content is coming soon; most of which will be right down the middle of our theme of outdoor fun.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit ssuaphotos/shutterstock