National Read A Book Day

National Read A Book Day

Yes, that is what day it is today!

I’m going through two tomes at this moment.

The first is Hunter Killer by Lt Col T. Mark McCurley. It’s all about the use of drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you like books that shed light on newer developments in weapons technology or just like Military History in general, it’s a good read.

The author and his colleagues in the USAF were pioneers in the employment of RPA’s and their use is only going to become more important in the conflicts of the future.

The second book I’m reading right now is Incredible Pirate Tales, edited by Tom McCarthy and it’s a real page-turner.

I’m going through The Ghost of Captain Brand at this moment and am enjoying it immensely!

If you’re not already immersed in a good book, it’s time you were. And what better time to recover your love of reading than on National Read A Book Day?

“Bookdog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

Bulldog Really, Really Loves the Brevard Zoo

Bulldog Really, Really Loves the Brevard Zoo

I really love going to the zoo. I’ve been to four zoological parks in the last couple of years. And even though I can say I liked them all, I must add that the Brevard Zoo in Melboure is definitely my favorite.

One advantage they have over some other parks is that it was well-planned right from the very beginning. Some parks expand gradually and that’s a whole ‘nother thing, as the saying goes. So the B.Z. offers more than many of the others and each area or attraction flows naturally into the next one.

There are two different boat rides where visitors can get a different perspective on each area and the featured critters. Many zoos have one, having two here is very cool. And the train ride is lots of fun. Below is the rider’s view from the front train car. Because this visit was in late October of 2015, close to Halloween, they called it “the boo-choo train!” How cute is that?!


A highlight at any zoo is seeing the primates; the monkeys, orang-utans, chimps and so forth; the Brevard Zoo is the only one I’ve visited that features the Siamang. This species looks to this layman something like a scaled down gorilla and I find them terribly interesting. They’re a type of gibbon and are native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra. They’re deathly afraid of water and can’t swim at all, so in that particular exhibit, zoo-goers are pretty close to the animals as the not-so-large moat is all that separates you from a siamang; there is no high fence.

There is an exhibit that features animals — and even botanical specimens — from the Caribbean and it’s no surprise that the zoo folk who designed this part of the park chose to wrap a pirate theme around it. I can’t remember any of the critters feature there, but here’s a couple of shots of mine that I like especially from the part of the park.


If you have small children, there is a splash pad here, right behind the pizza place. All zoos seem to have these, and it’s something parents of small kids like. They have a challenge course with very good and very high zip lines; that’s a fine addition, I must say. It is a separate business with a separate admission charge. You can do the zoo and not the zip lines or vice-versa. It’s a very full day if you or the kids opt for both. I did the zips and lived to tell the tale! They are NOT for the faint of heart! I just had to buy the tee shirt that says I got through the course!

One thing to add: I’m an annual pass holder and think it’s a very good value. If you’ve never gone that route, please know this: if you hold an annual pass to any accredited zoo, you receive half off when you visit any other one! I love that; it’s just one more reason to patronize a zoo in your neck of the woods.


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile