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

We Could Bearly Stand It!

Joan and I have annual passes for the Brevard Zoo. We really like being supporters and go when we can.

We never fail to stop by and see their resident Black Bear, Cheyenne. An orphaned cub, she was adopted at about four months as she had to be removed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission; people had been feeding her and she had lost her fear of humans.

That is, indeed, Cheyenne in the banner photo. Here’s one more pose, taken as she began to climb the tree in her enclosure. She easily made it up to about four feet from the top.

Back to my main point, we get quite a bit of mail from the zoo, and I’ve always loved bears. So in response to one mailing a couple of months ago, I took the plunge and “adopted” Cheyenne.

Of course, I’m very well aware that probably a couple of hundred other Zoo lovers got out their checkbooks and “adopted” her as well.

I couldn’t resist making a joke out of the whole situation. I mentioned to one of the zoo volunteers who was with us at the exhibit that I had “adopted” her. And then I just let it lay there for a moment…

Then I looked at her with a completely straight face and asked “now do I have to get her braces and show up at all her soccer games?”

Yeah, she laughed pretty damn hard! 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

A Major Change of Course

The call came from the AP and NBC News this morning that the Biden/Harris ticket did prevail in Tuesday’s election. In spite of the plainly-excessive caution with which the networks had handled the 2020 election results, the time had come to state the obvious.

I know that many Americans see the election very differently, but I’m feeling a lot of relief today. Relief and joy. The last four years under the “leadership” of donald trump have resulted in a thousand disasters, large and small. It’s pure joy to know that we won’t have to endure four more years of trump’s venality, incompetence and crass, hateful behavior.

There are, without a doubt, many daunting challenges ahead for Joe Biden and his nascent administration. I don’t have the slightest doubt that trump, McConnell and the GOP will do everything they can to undercut team Biden and thwart their efforts to move us past the myriad of trump-induced woes that have afflicted our beloved country for the last four years.

But I’m still hopeful that we’ll make progress and move — if even at a painfully slow pace — toward better times for all Americans.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

P.S.: The primary focus of this blog is outdoor activities and the like. That’s not changing. But the just-concluded election is a very big deal, of course, and I couldn’t not give it some treatment. This post bookends the whole tragedy of trump’s Presidency; the post on the front end, so to speak, was published here on Dec. 8, 2016.

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin L. Basile

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

Deer and Springs at Kelly Park

We had occasion to camp at Kelly Park in Orange County (Florida) not very long ago and had a terrific time.

We were stunned at how tame the deer were. They came around–and in considerable numbers–every evening and night.

Having said that, I must add that I have no photographic proof. At the times they’d drop by to say hello, the light was already too low for my low tech skills to document the fun.

I took several videos with my cell phone but the light is so low that using the delete feature to put them out of their misery was my only real option.

The banner photo is of one stretch of woods not far from our campsite where we first saw them appear. That was about 45 minutes before sundown on our first day.

This scene is no more than 150 feet from the site where the banner photo was taken and showcases another spot where we saw deer looking for dinner on many occasions.

Kelly Park is known for its abundant wildlife. But the world-famous Rocks Springs which are found there also bring around the crowds all year long. The crowds have subsided of late, as the pandemic has forced Orange County to close the springs for swimming but it’s still well worth your time and a modest admission to see the Springs up close.

We dedicated a pretty good chunk of day two’s time to wander about at Rocks Springs and had a great time doing so. Below is one more photo from those lovely Springs.

I heartily recommend Kelly Park to any of you who are close to Central Florida or who might be visiting in the near future. The plentiful wildlife, the iconic and beautiful springs and the general allure of the Sunshine State beckon nature lovers from anywhere to head this way and stay awhile.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

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

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

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

Remembering Stevie Ray

How incredible was Stevie Ray anyway?

It does get me to thinking each year when the anniversary date
of Stevie’s passing rolls around again…

He was such a Monster of a player, and such a wonderful human
being as well. I suppose that’s why his fans thought so highly of him,
both before and after his tragic passing.

There will never be another like SRV. Many have copped his style
and that’s cool. But he was somebody very, very special and so many
still feel that way about him even though it’s been 14 years since
Alpine Valley.

Jimmie and the family and others have asked his legion of fans to
remember him on his birthday — it falls in early October — rather
than today. Stevie would be turning 50 on the third of October if
things had gone differently. But his fans — and you can certainly put
this puppy in that category — just can’t help but think of him each
year when this sad date rolls around again.

God bless Stevie Ray. And each of us who remember him each year.
And all of those who love good music and try to love one another.
And who are trying to keep the music alive.

Now if you were to compare this dog to Stevie, I’m not much of a musician, nor, perhaps, all that much of a man. But as with many other “saints”
and just good folk, we do try to emulate the really good ones! And Mister
Vaughan was as good as a man or a musician as one could possibly be.

We love you Stevie. And forgive us if we remember you each year
at this time. We just have some sense of what we all lost on one
dark and desolate morning those 14 years ago…

Bulldog Ben, remembering

Stevie from here in Orlando…

A note from Bulldog: this was first published in August of 2004 in one of my yahoo groups and that’s why the dates are off. It was exactly 30 years ago today that we lost one of the greatest musicians of our time.

© 2004 Ben Lawrence Basile

Time to go visit your Mother

Joan and I spent two lovely days at Trimble Park back in January. It’s one of our favorite camping spots in Central Florida.

It was about two months before so many things–including parks and outdoor venues of many kinds–began to close down because of the coronavirus.

As I write this, many if not most parks and spots where outdoor-lovers like to go are open again. In fact, we’ve been on four camping excursions since many places began to reopen.

It’s easy to practice social distancing in parks and camping spots, as you might imagine. The fact that we’ve been able to do a lot of the things we really enjoy is such a good thing.

Many things that folks find enjoyable are difficult–and sometimes impossible–to do right now and I’m happy to be able to engage in the outdoor activities I enjoy so much.

I will have postings about those aforementioned trips in the near future. Today I merely wanted to share one photo from that delightful excursion to Orange County’s Trimble Park seven months ago and feel a little gratitude that Mother Nature is still receiving visitors as we go through some disquieting changes.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

(c) 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile