Bulldog’s Fave Florida State Park Just Reopened!

Bulldog’s Fave Florida State Park Just Reopened!

As many of you may know, many of our state parks here in Florida were closed after Hurricane Irma passed through. The state has been reopening them a few at a time and I’m on the list of state park lovers to be notified about such things.

I was mostly watching to see if Wekiwa Springs State Park was on the “good list” but it wasn’t until today that the word went out that she’s ready for more visitors. I’m not sure if they’ve green-lighted camping again, I’m going to check on that today.

If you’d like to see the list of which parks are up-and-running again or get any kind of info relating to our truly amazing parks here in the Sunshine State, follow this link to the official site for parks on our peninsula!

I’m going to celebrate the reopening of our lovely parks with a trip to one of my faves before October arrives. Wekiwa Springs is at the very top of the list. So many great ones from which to choose!

That featured photo at the top is one I especially like from a trip about a year ago.

 

Planning a new camping adventure, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

One of the things you get used to pretty quickly around metro Orlando is that we have road construction going on constantly. The project to improve I-4 is the mac-daddy one happening now. I’m not going to whine about that one, not at all. You can actually see the progress when cruising along I-4.

The one that I’d nominate for Worst Road Project in Metro O’do would be the job to widen/improve the intersection of John Young Pkwy and Sand Lake Rd. (Yeah, there should be an award called “WRPiMO”, shouldn’t there?)

It’s a major snafu. It makes it nearly impossible to get in or out of a major shopping complex used by locals and visitors alike; and it’s been going on for way.too.long.

When you cruise around this accursed intersection, you might not see any work being done. When you see that happening–or NOT happening, I should say–it can be very vexing, to say the least. Orange County needs to light a fire under this contractor.

When you do see work, it’s just one or two crews, and never more than two or three front end loaders. I’ve never seen a project inching towards completion like this one. And I’m over it. Completely over it.

I’m not daft enough to think that my rant today on this obscure blog will change anything. But I do feel better for getting it out of my system. Until the next time I have to go that way, that is!

Wherever you’re heading today, I hope it’s all sunshine and green lights! Little-to-no traffic, happy police with no quotas to fill and NO effin road construction!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Irma Has Fallen Apart and Florida is Recovering

Irma Has Fallen Apart and Florida is Recovering

Hurricane Irma blew through my part of Florida in the wee hours of Monday morning. The peak winds for us in the Orlando area came around 1:20 AM. Yes, I was up and I couldn’t keep from watching my NE facing window since that was the main direction from which those vicious winds were coming.

No serious damage here, but we did have several smallish trees in large planters blown over and lost a large limb on the big oak in the back yard. (See photo above.) I say “large limb” and I mean about 10-12″ across; that’s a good-sized limb. Big enough that removing it is going to take a rope and a crew of two or three. It was right on the property line and will almost certainly fall into the adjoining neighbor’s back yard when cut free. (Its fall was arrested by other, lower limbs.)

On Thursday morning I’m going to remove another good-sized limb from the neighbor’s yard on the east side. My roomie and I estimate that it will take about two weeks to get all of the yard debris to the curb for collection. It’s not an afternoon or two of work. And this yard is not as big as some. But a lot of growth since the last big storm.

I’m the newest tenant here but because I have a lot of tree experience and love doing this kind of work, I’m in the middle of the clean up effort. The primary tenant has been here for 17 years so she’s definitely the committee chair; the owner is in Naples, which took the full effects of Irma’s wrath, so we’re going to do what’s got to be done without having to get him to redirect his attention from what is almost certainly a huge task as far as getting his own domicile squared away. The structure seems to have weathered all of this in fine form, but trees, shrubs and cacti are going to need considerable attention.

Because I’ve been in Florida since 1961, I have been through many, many hurricanes. Riding out a storm is not too big a deal, but I certainly will admit that I don’t sleep a wink if the damn thing happens to come through my part of the state in the wee hours. No doubt some folks can sleep just fine when storms blow through; I’m not one of them.

Let me point out that always “keeping one eye open” for the approach of danger is an example of an evolutionarily positive trait. Meaning that those who have that trait are more likely to reproduce and therefore pass along that trait. Being a light sleeper in hazardous conditions is a very good thing! Let the record show that Ol’ Bulldog does indeed possess that trait!

Damage to trees and shrubs was the worst for my house mates and me. But many in Florida were not so fortunate. Well over half of our state’s utility customers were left with no power; as of 11:00 PM today, Sept 12th, about a third of all Floridians are still toting flashlights and burning candles. Although cell service and internet connections were disrupted here, we kept our lights on throughout. Good to have fortune smile on us on that score, to be sure!

The death toll in the Sunshine State stands at 12 as I write this and will almost certainly go higher. Irma was no wimpy storm and we’re certainly relieved now that she’s gone up the road a ways and ultimately fallen apart. We know that some of her siblings will be heading this way; some, perhaps, before this year’s hurricane season wraps up.

We’re Floridians; we’ll be ready.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Irma and Rush Limpbag: The Two BIG Blowhards Plaguing Florida Right Now!

Just when you thought Ben was going to write up another cool camping trip or beach outing…

Sorry folks! Those cool, upbeat postings about trips to our amazing state parks in the Sunshine State are gonna have to wait! Right now as I’m sitting at my desk awaiting the extreme winds and rain we’re about to get from Hurricane Irma, this came to my attention through a friend’s Facebook posting.

The granddaddy of all right-wing nut-jobs,  #RushLimpbag, has said some really outrageous stuff lately. Blogger Joe Kloc distilled a boatload of it into a piece for Harper’s Magazine recently and it’s just breath-taking. And yes, it includes the well-circulated drivel about how Hurricanes aren’t as bad as forecasters and government officials say, blah, blah, blah…

No doubt you’ve heard how that part of the story ends; yeah, Rush evacuated his Palm Beach home yesterday. Guess he didn’t want to get washed into the sea by one of those fake waves!

But there’s so much more than just stuff about hoaxes and hurricanes! Wanna see just how big a nut-job Mr Limpbag truly is? Pass your eyes over this garbage!

To those of you who are also hunkered down in Florida: I hope you and yours ride out this nasty storm in fine fashion. Mother Nature is pissed. And I can’t say as I blame her. We’re just going to have to endure her wrath for the next few days and hope that we’ll see her smile on us again before too long.

Whoa! That last remark was probably not the smartest way to wrap up a blog posting! What with Cat 5 Hurricane Jose waiting in the on-deck circle and all of that…

 

Growing weary of the rushing winds from Limbaugh’s pie hole, I am,

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Very Good Article from David T.S. Jonas Here About Political Moderation

Trying to find some kind of middle ground between what are so often extreme positions is a very noble cause. It that sense, I’ve considered myself to be a moderate for many years.

On today’s political scene, however, the discussion has been moved so far to the right that staking out some kind of middle ground is all but impossible. You can’t compromise with politicians and pundits whose true goal is to dismantle the Federal government or who openly embrace White Supremacy, for instance.

Nevertheless, for most of our Nation’s 241 year existence, finding middle ground with others is far more likely to bring about a good result than employing the kind of scorched-earth tactics that have blown up political discourse in the few years. Yes, I know how very overly-idealistic this sounds, especially after witnessing eight years of Tea bagger hate and obstruction of President Obama and now having our #PoserPOTUS trying to enact a very extreme White Nationalist agenda. I certainly get that.

But there is still hope to be found in looking for a moderate path. In this piece from Politicalwire.com today, writer and political operative David T.S. Jonas lays out plainly and succinctly yet with great skill how political moderates have seceded a host of issues and elections to extremists on the right wing by withdrawing from public life. By failing to show up on election day, especially.

It’s a great article; I recommend it highly. If you’re wondering if there’s any cause for hope at all once we are successful at getting Mango Mussolini out of office, you should take the time to read this.

As I type this, Hurricane Irma is hurtling towards this peninsula where I and 21 million of my closest friends are hunkered down, hoping to not be blown away by what are the most powerful storm winds threatening Americans in many, many years.

But to me, the menace posed by the vicious, clueless and thoroughly incompetent wind bag currently living (part time) in the White House is far more serious. I hope you stay safe from the menace bearing down on us right now. And from that damn hurricane, too.

 

Hunkering down in O-town, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

What is Labor Day and Why Do Americans Celebrate It?

Monday, Sept 4, 2017

Ben writes: Let me wish all of you who work for a paycheck a happy–and very easy–Labor Day. Don’t forget that we stand on the shoulders of workers who fought–and sometimes died–to give us things like safe working conditions, a 40 hour work week and overtime pay. Our struggle is not over by any means. But for today–just take it easy!

We’ll be back at work soon enough. Working for our wages, but for other things, too; at the top of that list is respect. A living wage would be nice. A little gratitude, a little recognition, and little respect. These things are not too much to ask.

Accept the thanks of one worker to another. We do great things, don’t we? Yeah, we’re the ones who keep the wheels turning and the lights on and folks fed. And starting tomorrow, we get back to work. But for right now, take it easy and reflect on why there’s a day for workers like us.

Labor Day became a national holiday after a bloody strike by railroad workers in Chicago.

Source: What is Labor Day and Why Do Americans Celebrate It?

Camping World Did Just What They Said They’d Do for This Good Sam!

Camping World Did Just What They Said They’d Do for This Good Sam!

I purchased a good reclining camping chair from Camping World about a year and a half ago. There was a warranty available for it. The clerk told me that if I took the warranty that if I ever had any problem with the product they’d replace it immediately with a brand-new model at no cost. He further said that he’d seen the company already do exactly that in a couple of cases, even though the customer’s issues with the chair were not especially serious.

Well, I was sold. I ponied up the money and made a mental note of what the salesperson had said.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I loaded my faithful chair into the car, tied it down and headed for the Camping World location here in Winter Garden. That’s the location where I bought it. The chair looked a bit worn, but worked alright. The one problem was that it no longer held its reclining position all through the night as it did for well over a year.

I usually use that well-loved chair all through the night, whether I’m in a tent or at home two feet from the bed! Hard, hard use, I know, but a warranty is a warranty!

And before you snicker, yes my weight is within the chair’s stated capacity! With almost 20 lbs to spare!

At any rate, the crew member who listened to me explain the issue found the transaction through my Good Sam Club sales history in her register even though I could not find the actual sales receipt. And within five or six minutes, she brought out a brand-new chair, looking exactly like the one that had accompanied me to dozens of Florida’s best outdoor destinations for over a year. Same arty logo that made it look as good as it worked! In other words, the company stood by that warranty with a smile. They did exactly what the original sales person told me they would do!

One might say that it’s a sad commentary on the kind of service retail customers usually receive that a thoroughly GREAT experience like mine today seems almost miraculous. I’m not going to be cynical and say or imply anything like that. I’m a very satisfied customer of this well-known retail giant whose name is on Orlando’s storied stadium. You might say that Bulldog’s a happy camper! 

Bet you didn’t even see that coming, did you?

 

 

Satisfied customer “Bulldog Ben” writing from Orlando!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile