Dorian is coming, we’re getting ready

Dorian is coming, we’re getting ready

Hurricane Dorian is a fierce storm. I thought using the camp stove for our morning coffee would be a wise thing to do.

So I set it up on the pool deck and we enjoyed a really tasty and robust cup o’ Joe this morning, compliments of my two-burner camp stove.

Based on the latest forecasts, it sounds less and less likely that my trusty stove will be necessary after Dorian has passed by.

But I love any reason to use that tried-and-true piece of camping gear. And this morning’s reason was as good as any.

I hope you’re enjoying this Saturday morning and that there are no storms bearing down on you today.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben 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

Hurricane Harvey Hits Houston and It’s Not Over Yet!

Hurricane Harvey Hits Houston and It’s Not Over Yet!

As all of you know, the metro Houston area and a large chunk of East Texas is in very bad shape after being laid low by Harvey. This storm has poured a truly biblical amount of rain on east Texas and–incredibly, now three days down the road–more rain is on the way.

This is the worst damage to a major U.S. city since Katrina walloped New Orleans exactly 12 years ago today. I’m sure I’m not the only American having “Katrina flashbacks” today; it all seems a bit surreal.

The irony in this situation is that many who fled Katrina went to the Houston area. So quite a few folks are really in “full flashback mode” as I write this; I have no idea how many, but Houston did receive a lot of “weather refugees” after Katrina barreled through.

It’s natural to wonder how you might be able to help people who go through disasters like Harvey. If you’d like to be of assistance to the victims of Nature’s fury this time, just follow this link.

I have many family members in the East Texas Region. I’m happy to say that they’re all a bit further inland where it’s merely high water and localized flooding, but not the displacement of thousands like the citizens of Houston have seen. But it’s one reason why I’ve kept an eye on what’s going on out there. And it’s a big deal for the country in general; Houston is the fourth-largest city in the U.S., after all.

Hope you’re high and dry as I write this. Check in with you later.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo of Hurricane Katrina from NOAA now in the Public Domain

Hurricane Matthew: I’m Not Your BFF!

I’m doing what all Floridians are doing today: hunkering down in my apartment, waiting for Hurricane Matthew to pass.

I starting preparing a few weeks ago. I’ve always stashed batteries, candles and that sort of thing; I’ve got battery-powered lanterns aplenty, a good digital radio and something most folks here never get: battery-powered fans.

And food. I’ve got lots of canned food. And plenty of bread, buns and bagels, all of them whole grain. Butter, jams, cream cheese. Pre-cooked sausage, a fair amount of lunch meat and cheese and ten day’s worth of brown rice cooked and ready to eat. (I love my version of vegetable fried rice; believe it or not, it works quite well with brown rice.)

I’m certainly not going to starve! Did I forget to mention peanut butter? No pantry is complete without some!

We’ve lost power five times so far but got it back within four or five minutes. And even though I’m about as well-prepared as one can be, I am hoping we’ll dodge the bullet and not end up using all that battery-powered stuff we’ve stashed away! I guess we’ll see…

I lost power for three days when Charley came calling twelve years ago. Didn’t lose it with Frances or Jeanne. Whoa! Just lost it again! Okay, it’s back on now. That was for 30 seconds or so…

I think I better publish this post, as my laptop will be fine for a few hours if we lose the juice and don’t get it back, but I’d have no internet connection, of course! I’ll do that in just a moment.

If you’re here  in the Sunshine State, too, I hope you’re riding out this storm in fine style. If you’re in Brevard County or the other parts of our Peninsula where folks were told to evacuate, I know this sucks even worse for you and yours. Here in Orange County, we’re not doing too badly.

Stay safe! And remember, another calamity will strike the citizens of our fine state in about 72 hours from now: we’ll all have to show up at work on Monday morning! Yikes!

Battening down the hatches in Orlando, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile