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Who Will Win This Race?

It wasn’t bad enough that we had Beyoncé faking singing the Star Spangled Banner at President Obama’s second inauguration. Her lip-syncing is the ultimate symbol for a failed and fake President and his administration as well as for the continuing decline of the United States of America.

1 AndersonCompare Beyoncé’s performance to a real singer – a heroine, a woman of substance,  and woman of real achievement who over came real adversity – Marian Anderson, who sang the Star Spangled Banner at John Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. And it was every bit as cold that day, if not colder, than it was in 2012 for the over praised and pampered Miss Beyoncé.

I did not think anything could top lip-syncing as a symbol of how far the United States of America has fallen in the last ten years or so.

Color me naive.

Now we have Beyoncé’s performance of soft porn at the Grammy’s this year.

Warning Sign

Is this a warning sign?  Is America truly in decline and has she reached the apogee of that decline with Beyonce’s shameful performance at the Grammys this week?

Decline or Just a Cycle???

1 A FlagIn his book, When Nations Die, Jim Nelson wrote the first symptom of national decay is the decline of art and entertainment. As Beyonce’s performance proved, too much of what I see on TV and in movies these days is just plain rude, crude, and vulgar.

Another symptom of decline according to Nelson is that rhetoric becomes combative and intolerant. I see that almost every day on comments on Twitter, Facebook, and especially in the Comments sections of many blogs. There is no tolerance for dissenting viewpoints any more, no politeness, no manners

The Roman poet Livy wrote that the citizens of the Roman Empire were self-indulgent and greedy which led to dangerous excesses. Today’s America is all about excess in every part of life.

Many religious leaders say the first symptom of a nation’s decline is the decline of the family. The number of children born out of wedlock increases every year in America.

Other signs of decline are an increase in violent crime by young people, a declining middle class, and a debt ridden government.

A Permissive Society

In short, we have become a more permissive society. Today America is characterized by greater tolerance and a more liberal attitude in areas such as sexuality, drug use, and obscenity.

Not all of that is bad. Some of the changes were long over due. But today I have to wonder if maybe we have gone too far.

I very sadly believe we are on the precipice of going the way of Greece, Rome, and Great Britain.

However, I keep reminding myself that America has redesigned herself many times during her history. America cycles and swings back and forth from liberal to conservative, from right to left, from excess to frugality with regularity. We adjust ourselves to the times.

Can we do it again? Or have we gone too far this time?

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1111 A Historian’s View

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In his magnificent history of the United States, America, Alistair Cooke wrote:

As for the rage to believe that we have found the secret of liberty in general permissiveness from the cradle on, this seems to me a disastrous sentimentality, which, whatever liberties it sets loose, loosens also the cement that alone can bind any society into a stable compound – a code of obeyed taboos. [Emphasis mine.]

I can only recall the saying of a wise Frenchman that, “liberty is the luxury of self-discipline.”

Historically those people that did not discipline themselves had discipline thrust on them from the outside.

That is why the normal cycle in the life and death of great nations has been first a powerful tyrant broken by revolt, the enjoyment of liberty, the abuse of liberty – and back to tyranny again.

As I see it, in this country – a land of the most persistent idealism and the blandest cynicism – the race is on between its decadence and its vitality.

Who will win this race?

 

1 A america divider

Featured Recipes 
Nutella Stuffed Strawberries and Strawberry Nutella Milkshake

I would be very remiss if I did not tell you that next Wednesday, February 5th is World Nutella Day.

I wanted to share this info and these recipes in time for you to enjoy the day as well as have a few quick and easy recipes to make for the day.

Both of these recipes  are incredibly decadently heavenly!

Plus for most of the world suffering under this year’s frigid weather we need something to make us feel good; something that is just pure pleasure to get us through this frigid winter. Nutella fills that bill and need perfectly. Don’t you agree?

Except for the Food Police, is there anyone who does not love Nutella? Yes, it has a fair amount of sugar in it. But it is just so divine! Sugar helps you stay warm longer! That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!!!

Did you know, it is a commandment of the Food Gods, who are higher than and rule over the Food Police that you must eat Nutella everyday.

You can find hundreds of recipes on the net from cakes to truffles and everything in-between.

For those not in the know, Nutella is the brand name of a hazelnut chocolate spread. Manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero, it was introduced to the market in 1964. [Source: Wikipedoa.]

According to the official website:

World Nutella Day was created in 2007 when Sara Rosso, an American blogger living in Italy, thought that there were many days in the year but no day set aside to appreciate Nutella. Why not?

And so World Nutella Day was born.

 

The Nutella web site also has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of recipes. I did not use any of those recipes.

I found two really easy recipes to share with you today. The first one is real simple and the other is easy too.

# 1 Nutella Stuffed Strawberries

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This recipe comes from food.com

I am doing double duty with this recipe, as these little morsels would make a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift too!

This is what you will need for 18 strawberries:

18 strawberries

18 teaspoons Nutella

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Here is what you do:

Wash strawberries and pat dry.

Remove caps and center ‘stem’ creating a small opening to stuff the Nutella into.

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Pipe 1 teaspoon of Nutella into each strawberry. I just use a baggie with a small cut in one corner.

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I also find that putting the strawberries in an egg  holder makes it  much easier to stuff the little devils without squashing them.

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Finished.

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Total cost = $4.09 for 18

                     $0.23 each

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# 2 Strawberry Nutella Milkshake

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This is one of the most delicious milk shakes I have ever had.

This recipe cones from two peas and their pod

This is what you will need for 1 milk shake

½  cup milk

½  cup strawberries  I slice them

2 big scoops of vanilla ice cream

¼  cup Nutella – 4 tablespoons

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Optional:  Whipped cream, sprinkles, and extra Nutella

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Here is what you do:

Add milk, strawberries, vanilla ice cream, and Nutella to a blender. Blend until smooth.

NOTES: I slice the strawberries because it is easier than having the blender have to cut them up. I also just use a tablespoon to get the Nutrlla out of the jar; much easier than trying to get the Nutella in and then out of the measuring cup – waste too much that way. And it is much harder to lick the excess out of a measuring cup than of a spoon.

Add a spoonful of Nutella to the bottom of a large glass. Pour the milkshake into the glass.

Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles. Serve immediately.

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Total cost = $3.42 without optionals

Quote of the Day

Of all the supervised conditions for life offered man, those under USA’s constitution have proved the best.  Wherefore, be sure when you start modifying, corrupting or abrogating it. 

Martin H. Fischer

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5 comments to Who Will Win This Race?

  • Excellent post Roberta. I share your concerns, I would enlarge the problem to include all the Western democracies in North America and Western Europe.

    It seems to be that the Ukraine is in the first stage of Alistair Cooke’s cycle – a powerful (Russian supported) tyrant being overthrown. The worry is that no matter how just the cause, horrific damage is being done to the infrastructure by the violence of mob rule.

    I suspect that part of the problem is that since WW2, there has been no major period of adversity affecting the vast majority of citizens in Western Europe or North America. It seems that Vietnam polarised rather than unified Americans and Canadians. Conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East did not materially affect the majority of the populations in the West.

    The recession from 2008 has been exploited by politicians and as a result polarised populations not unified them. Villifying the rich makes good publicity for electioneering but does not create harmony – or jobs.

    The one factor that gives me some re-assurance is that the human race has survived and continued to evolve for millions of years. I have to believe that it will continue to do so, the pendulum will swing back, even if the balance of power shifts eastwards.

  • Simple and delicious treat. I love it.

  • You are a brave woman, Roberta. Most of us are afraid to talk politics. Very polarizing. But the truth is we are all weary of the current administration. If we weren’t why would even the Dems, of which I am one, be trying to hurry the next election along? And you know the powers that be are for sure with Hillary as the anointed candidate. Heck, that’s why she resigned early after a less than glorious stint as Sec of State– to distance herself from the current administration and her own culpability.
    Yes, I’m worried. Guess I better eat a spoonful of Nutella. Nutella cures all.

  • Roberta, I had to let you know that I made your strawberries stuffed with Nutella for dinner on Saturday night that I made for friends. I also stuffed some strawberries with marscapone. The strawberries were a hit! I served them with homemade biscotti, dark coffee, and red wine for the perfect end to an Italian meal. Thanks for the inspiration. This idea is a keeper!

  • Roberta

    That sounds wonderful, Angie! The marscapone is inspired! Yes….perfect end to a wonderful dinner.

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