The Best Year in History ~ Really!


 Happy New Year my dear readers.


2016 2May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door.   ~ A traditional Irish toast ~

On the personal side last year was a wonderfully fantastic year for me.

However, on the national and world scene last year had some really serious and some times scary events.

So what was last year? Was it the best of times or the worst of times? Was our glass half empty or half full?

It seemed to me to be a bad year

Even though I do not consider myself a Pollyanna I do try to stay positive. Some days that is harder than others. Last year I had too many hard days.

So I went looking for some good news from last year. And believe it or not, I found good news in the December 2015 issue of The Atlantic, “The Best Year in History.”

The by-line says it all : “Violence dominated the headlines this year. But by many measures, humanity is in better shape than it’s ever been.”
usa* The United States of America is a safer place than in the past.

Hard to believe, I know.

However, violence in America continued to drop despite the mass shootings that get all of the 7 days a week ~ 24 hour media coverage.

There were 3000 fewer violent crimes in 2014 than the year before; and 600,000 fewer than in 1995 – a 35 percent decline.

* The world is a safer place too.

According to the United Nations world wide homicide rates dropped an estimated 6 percent between 2000 and 2012.

*Terrorism, war, and murder together remain “a minor cause of death worldwide.”

The truth is that rabies was responsible for three times as many deaths as terrorism in 2012.  And stomach cancer killed more people than murder, manslaughter, and wars combined in the same year.


* Disease and Pestilence Lower

We now have an Ebola vaccine that has prevented millions more deaths from this deadly disease.

Polio has been all but eradicated in most of the world, and cases of measles have dropped two-thirds due to vaccinations.

*Famine and Undernourished percents are dropping too.

The world’s population that is undernourished has dropped from 19% to 11% between 1999 and today.

“6.7 million fewer kids under the age of five are dying each year compared to 1990.”


3rd world


So there you have it.

Things are not as bad as we think. There are positive things happening in the world if we only look for them.

Happy New Year


Featured Recipe    Corn Chowder




This is a rich and hearty soup; perfect for a cold, snowy, (or rainy) and blustering January winter day. I use more corn than the average corn chowder. I like corn. What can I say?

I also use lots of real cream to make this chowder extra special.  Water is just not tasty or filling  enough for me! Neither is cream of corn which so many corn chowders are made. UGH!

The real cream makes the cost of this chowder a bit more expensive, but I am worth it! So are you!!!!

Last but not least I also use my Corn Chowder ‘now not so secret’ any more ingredient – pancetta.

Hope you like it.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

6 slices bacon

2 tablespoons pancetta

1 large shallot

¼ cup flour

3 cups chicken broth

2 – 8 ounce cans yellow corn drained

2 – 8 ounce cans white corn drained

2 small potatoes

1 cup half-and-half

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons butter

4 green onions or parsley for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste


Here is what you do:

Dice the bacon and the shallot.


Fry the bacon in a heavy bottomed pot until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.


Add the diced shallot and pancetta and sauté until the shallot is transparent. NOTE: If the bacon did not render enough fat to sauté, add a bit of olive oil to the pot.


Lower the heat and sprinkle in the flour and cook stirring constantly until the flour it is incorporated.



Slowly add the chicken broth stirring to incorporate the broth into the flour mixture to make a smooth sauce.



Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

While the broth simmers peel and dice the potatoes into small cubes.


Add the potatoes to the pot. Return heat to medium-high and bring the liquid back to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the chowder for 15 – 20 more minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.


When the potatoes are cooked through add the drained corn and cook till heated through, about 5 – 10 minutes.


In the mean time wash and slice the green onions. Set aside.


Add the creams and the butter and mix stirring constantly until the soup is hot.


Taste and add salt and pepper to taste to the soup.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the reserved bacon and green onions.


Serve with corn muffins.

Bon Appétite



6 slices bacon                      $3.24

2  tbspns pancetta                 $1.65

1 large shallot                      $0.32

¼ cup flour                          $0.16

3 cups chicken broth              $2.09

2 – 8 ounce cans yellow        $3.18

2 – 8 ounce cans white          $3.18

2 small potatoes                   $0.66

1 cup half-and-half               $0.90

1 cup whipping cream           $2.65

2 tablespoons butter             $0.20

4 green onions                     $0.86

Salt and pepper

Total cost = $19.09

Cost per person (4) = $4.77

Bon Appétite

Quote of the Day

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr



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15 comments to The Best Year in History ~ Really!

  • Carol Sternberg

    Happy New Year Roberta ! Thanks for filling the glass with what was good in 2015. I needed that along with the recipe. I love soup in January. Made vegetable bean yesterday.

    • Roberta

      I know what you mean, Carol. I needed some positive news too. Last year was a hard year. Glad you liked the news and the recipe. Thank you! Vegetable beans soup sounds Mmmmm Good. 🙂

  • Roberta

    Happy New Year! Cheers to a fantastic 2016!

  • A. LOVE corn chowder! Thanks for the recipe.
    B. Happy New Year! Wishing you a terrific 2016.
    C. I read that article! Very optimistic. Good news is always good news!

    • Roberta

      Welcome, Julia. Nice to read some good news after last year. 🙂

    • Roberta

      A. You are very welcome for the recipe, Julia. Hope you like it!
      C. Yes. Good news is always welcome. Wish more people looked for the positive.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more. With 24 hour news that has to capture our attention, it’s no wonder they focus on all the sensational or scary bits of the news. All the talk of terror and so little to show for it – we should keep living our lives and striving for happiness and joy…….

    …..and eating this corn chowder – it looks wonderful!

  • Roberta

    errrrrr I am contagious. LOL

  • Cindy

    Thanks for the good news Rah! The soup looks delicious. Happy New Year my friend!

  • I had an aversion to cream style soups as a child, but my husband adores corn chowder. So, I’ve made it from time to time. Since I love corn, and bacon, I’ve slowly gotten over my “cream of something” phobia. 😉 This recipe looks very tasty! I like the addition of pancetta; it has texture closer to ham than bacon, so it should add a meaty, hearty touch. Yum!

    • Roberta

      I hear you, Emmie. For a long time I did not care for cream style soups (except my mom’s Potato Soup) either. But as I got older I liked them more….especially my own. LOL I add pancetta to many things. I love that sweet warm taste.

  • Thank you for that welcoming news Roberta. As others have already commented, the media make the situation seem worse than it is. They have to keep telling us how awful the world is to justify their existence.