Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It all started with Deadwood

The Ahwahnee Hotel ~ Yosemite National Park
October 2012

The Basil Hayden Story

It was a rainy morning and rather than hunker down in our cabin, we decided to take a little walkit wasn’t raining very hard and we did have our jackets!

Yosemite Falls had water again. North Dome was shrouded in strips of puffy clouds. Rain drops danced in the puddles along the road. Soon, it was lunch time. We were near the Ahwahnee Hotel and decided to head on over.

We put our names in and were told it would be about 15 minutes. Charlie suggested that we wait in the bar. The dining room host handed Charlie one of those automated reservation pagers and we walked to the other side of the lobby.  The tables were full but there were several seats at the bar.

I had just decided on the house chardonnay (of course!). Suddenly, Charlie blurted out “Basil Hayden!” in a rather loud voice. I looked at him and said, “What?” “Basil Hayden!!” Charlie replied. “Who is Basil Hayden?” I asked. “Deadwood!!! It’s from the Deadwood series!” Still puzzled, I looked at him, waiting for more info. “They drank Basil Hayden in the series! I thought they made it up! But, it’s right there on the shelf!” he said, pointing to the bottle.  Well, now! He must order up a Basil Hayden on the rocks! (You think?). And he did.  Shortly after the drinks were served, our mystic pager went off and we left for the dining room.

We waited at the desk to be seated. Charlie was beside himself having found this new whiskey. He was so enjoying it. We were escorted to our table. We settled in after peeling off our soggy jackets. We had just finished our drinks when our server appeared. “Do you want another drink?” he asked, rather annoyed that he had to serve two slightly wet and messy guests. We looked at each other and I asked for another wine. “I’ll have a Basil Hayden on the rocks, please.” Charlie replied. A pregnant pause ensued ~ the server stared at Charlie in disbelief and then responded with a rambunctious (and an obvious shift in attitude). “Yes, sir! Another Basil Hayden on the rocks!!! Will this be a room charge, sir?” Charlie said no, that we would be paying cash. The server then scurried off to get our drinks.

And so began the exploration of whiskies and bourbons.....more to follow, 
I'm willing to bet!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


17 year old Harambe

Cincinnati zookeepers were forced to shoot and kill 17 year old Harambe, a silverback gorilla, after a three year old boy gave his parents the slip and fell into the animal's enclosure on Saturday. 

Cell phone video made it possible for the world at large to view the incident shortly after it happened.

Headlines and news reports were peppered with this story over the weekend and the public was quick to jump on the opinion band-wagon. Zoo Director, Thane Maynard, reported that the decision to shoot the gorilla was the only choice. Animal experts Jack Hanna and Jeff Corwin both concurred that there was no other decision to be made. Ron McGill, communication director of Zoo Miami (who loaned Harambe to the Cincinnati Zoo), said that this was a tragedy for all concerned; that killing the gorilla saved the child's life. Had a tranquilizer dart been used, it would not have been instantly effective but instead would have aggravated the animal and the child would have been the recipient of the gorilla's displaced aggression. 

This incident is tragic on all levels. After the child fell into the enclosure the chain of events could only be played out as they were. There is no room for should-a could-a would-a's. The child's life was in danger. Onlookers yelled and screamed, causing accelerated angst for the animal. Knowing that a tranquilizer dart would not immediately sedate him but would increase its anxiety (and possibly cause the child to be seriously injured or killed), the zookeepers had only one choice.

As a parent of a small child who once launched himself out of a shopping cart, landing on the store's cement floor in a matter of seconds, I can totally relate to the shock and judgmental reaction directed at the child's parents by onlookers. 

Looking to place blame is an all too common reaction these days. It somehow gives us a place to park our disbelief and outrage. Blaming the parents, the enclosure, the zoo personnel or questioning the choice of killing over tranquilizing will not change what happened on Saturday. This story has a sad and bittersweet ending...a magnificent animal was destroyed to save a child's life.