Melting Into Oblivion

I know I tend to keep the politics away from here, but it feels wrong not to say something. Not to say anything.

Today is July 4th, which should mean something more than just backyard BBQs, baseball, and fireworks. However, it seems odd to celebrate the birth of a nation when that nation is on fire and seems to be slowly melting into the oblivion of all former great empires.

We are watching the GOP—the Grand Old Party, the party of Lincoln, the party who loves to take the moral, god-fearing high road—literally destroy itself from within by refusing to rein in a man who couldn’t care less about the party and its platform any more than he cares about the American people and what they need. The only thing he cares about is himself. And if you think otherwise, you have not been paying attention.

Let me say that again: HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU. OR YOUR FAMILY.  OR YOUR BUSINESS.  OR YOUR HEALTH. OR YOUR DOG.  OR THE CONSTITUTION. OR THE BIBLE HE LIKES TO POSE SYMBOLICALLY WITH. None of it.  He only cares about what would bring him fame and fortune.

Oh, wait, I lied.  He also cares about tweeting and the Dow Jones Average.

Now, before you leave in a huff, I would like you to consider two things:

ONE My Granny always said everyone was entitled to their own wrong opinion. We live in America. We have freedom of speech. We are allowed free thought. If someone thinks differently than you, it’s OKAY! It is something I always try to remember when conversing with people (including friends and family), who have dramatically different opinions than me. That is getting harder, however, to continue with some people because of the lack of respect they give me in return.

It is possible some of this is due to the fact that I’m older and less likely to cajole them into talking. My internal conversation goes something like this: if you want to be an ignorant asshat, have a nice fucking day. My external conversation is to raise an eyebrow and stare at them blankly, blinking slowly. It’s not because I don’t want to hear what they have to say. However, there is this growing trend—not just in politics, but in a lot of different things—to not explain why you believe something. I know why I believe x. Why do you believe z? Instead of I believe z because [insert reason here], the response is more along the lines of: because I do and if you don’t agree, tough shit, you’re wrong.

I think a lot of it is laziness—and this is not directed at either party—it is rampant everywhere and I know that I’ve certainly done it. To clarify: by laziness, I mean that we the people like to believe whatever is spoon fed to us on the news, on social media, from the ladies we overhear at the bus stop. We tend to share information without checking sources or accuracy. It’s just so damn easy to click share or repost or retweet without thinking…click, click, click. It is equally as easy to believe what we hear on our favorite news station without bothering to check their facts or if the other stations are saying the same thing. And if they’re not, why not? It’s the news, it must be fair and impartial. Right? Right?

With the exception of the few on the very far left and very far right, we used to be able to talk about politics without hating the person who didn’t agree with us and I would really LOVE to bring that back. Desperately. I love hearing the other side. I love learning why people think the way they do. When you hear their why, you start to understand. When you start to understand, you can work together to fix things. If you disagree and tell me why I’m wrong, GREAT! But bring your reasons and let’s have an open and honest and respectful conversation.

TWO Please don’t think I’m saying in any way, shape, or form that the Democratic Party is perfect or even good. They’re not. There is a lot of in-fighting about what the party should look like and believe in. Honestly, it was very disappointing to see that the party that touts themselves as celebrating diversity nominate an old white man (sorry no offense, VP Biden) because they think it is the only way to beat Trump, since Hilary couldn’t beat him. Newsflash: it wasn’t that Hilary is woman that led to Trump’s win. It was that Hilary was Hilary and the DNC ran a very sloppy campaign because they seemed to be completely oblivious to the political climate that was desperately searching for change from the political dynasties of the Bushes and Clintons. The masses (at least the masses in a few key electoral college states) wanted something different and, quite frankly, the DNC refused to support that ideal. They felt they owed the nomination to Hilary and thus did everything in their power to help her get that nomination. Once that happened, they then sat back on their laurels and watched Trump promise the people the change they thought they wanted—to drain the swamp of corruption, stagnate elected officials, and pork barrel politics. And people who were sick of all it, went out en masse and voted for change.

I understand why people wanted change and I understand why they might think that Trump could bring it. I think everyone hoped he would walk around screaming vociferously at Congress and lobbyists and DC in general “You’re fired!” But alas, no.

What I truly do not understand is how no one seems to want to hold him accountable for anything (US Senators and Department of Justice, I’m looking at you). It is as if the Republican Party has completely checked-out and are just holding their breath until he is gone. You know, like you used to do when your mom served those nasty, over boiled, lifeless brussel sprouts and wouldn’t let you leave the table until you ate 6 of them? Actually, no. It’s worse than that. It’s an abusive relationship, where they tiptoe around him, fearful of his reaction, and accept the consequences of whatever he does because in their minds it’s easier than dealing with the aftermath of confronting him and the invariable Twitter barrage that follows. They’re just closing their eyes and praying it will be over quickly.

Except that it won’t be over quickly. And you’re sacrificing our country in the interim.

The Republican-led Senate had the opportunity to take back the train-wreck of their party with Trump at the helm and restore it to some semblance of normalcy to their ideals, but they didn’t take it. They said there was no solid proof. But how can there be if you’re not allowing witnesses and holding other people accountable for what they are claiming? Senator Graham announced at the beginning of the process that he would, of course, support the president because—even though he hasn’t heard all the evidence—he didn’t think that an actual crime had been committed. This is the same Senator Graham who railed on and on and on during the Clinton impeachment trial that an actual crime didn’t need to be committed; the only consideration for removing an impeached President from office is the President using his Office to hurt people. If that’s the case, we should have impeached Trump the moment he took office.

We the nation seem to have lost count of all the times that Trump has defiled the Office of the Presidency. On the record. For the whole world to view. Each more egregious than the last. Too many for me to fully list because honestly, I can’t remember them all.

I mean, you certainly have to give him credit: he never lets one story blow up too much before creating a new cycle of stories to tell. And the old stuff? Well, it’s just gets lost in the shuffle. So let me remind you of but a sampling of the things in my humble opinion that Trump has done in the last 3.5 years to, as Senator Graham said, hurt the people:

  1. It’s okay to assault women.
  2. It’s okay to separate children and babies from their parents and put them in cages on display until other countries expressed concerns about the cruel and unjust ways of our immigration system.
  3. It’s okay to practice nepotism.
  4. The KKK is A-OK!
  5. It’s okay to tell United States Citizens and members of Congress to go back to their own countries, never mind the fact that if you’re not 100% Native American, you’re from a lineage of immigrants.
  6. It’s okay to ask other countries for help in your reelection campaign (ohhhh…Nixon must be rolling in his grave).
  7. It’s okay to use the Department of Justice to give all your cronies a free pass for their felonies.
  8. It’s okay to politicize a pandemic and allow hundreds of thousands of people to die because you don’t know how to handle a crisis—or at the very least listen to people around you who DO know how handle a crisis.
  9. It’s okay to not wear a mask and potentially give a deadly disease to someone else.
  10. It’s okay to encourage your supporters to protest wearing masks and social distancing because it infringes on their person freedom, but discourage people from protesting the racial inequalities and police brutality that is systemic throughout the country.
  11. It’s okay to force people to chose between voting in person and their health, even though you vote by mail.
  12. It’s okay to use tear gas and flash bang grenades to clear out a peaceful protest for a photo op at a church, where it’s okay to pose with the Bible upside down.
  13. It’s okay to threaten to use the military on American citizens on US soil because they oppose you.
  14. It’s okay for your friends to put bounties on lives brave military men and women who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation and it’s okay for you not to do anything about it.
  15. It’s okay to label anything you don’t like to be a hoax or fake news.

Colluding with other countries? Threatening to use the troops on Americans? And then not doing anything about reports that Russia is paying the Taliban to kill our troops? This is nothing NOTHING short of treason. If any other president—Democrat or Republican—would have done half these things, he would have been pressured to resign. And he would have done so out of respect for the country and the office of the Presidency (read up on Richard Nixon if you don’t think this is true).

Calling out your President does not make you a bad American. Holding the President accountable and at a higher standard does not make you a bad American. Channel your inner John McCain because, honestly, I can’t think of anyone who embodies the spirit of being a proud American and serving his country the way that he did.

The only reason to continue to support Trump is because you condone his behavior. This is not one single oh shit moment that he could walk back with some smooth talking and a bit of eating crow. We are way beyond that. The country is at a breaking point and instead of giving it a lifeline—which is what a good President would do—Trump is adding fuel to the fire and clapping while it burns. This is a shit show. This is deplorable. And this is treason.

Is all hope lost? No. Millions of people are fighting to change the system, to change what is acceptable, to change what it means to have justice and equality. True justice and true equality for every American, not just a select few.

Look, I’m not here to tell you how to vote. I’m just reminding you not to be a robot—you have a brain, you have a voice. Use them. You don’t have to cross party lines and vote for Biden. Hell, write in a vote for George W Bush and let him be President again. I did not agree with many of his policies, but never once—NOT ONE SINGLE SOLITARY TIME—did I ever question his loyalty to the citizens of The United States of America. I may not have liked what he did, but I knew that he did it because he truly believed that it was the best thing for America. That is what you do as President—you put the country and its citizens—ALL OF ITS CITIZENS, not just its rich, white, male citizens—first.

Our founding fathers were far from perfect. Their beautifully worded documents declaring that “all men are created equally” did not apply to women or people of color. But I believe the country they envisioned and wanted to create was one that was ever evolving into something better than the one they left behind. A country of the people, by the people, and for the people is going to be messy because people are messy. But we should never stop striving for equality, liberty, and justice—not for a select few—but for all.

Crossing the Delaware

Happy 4th of July!

I think one of the coolest things about living in New York City is the close proximity of everything you’ve ever learned about in early American history.

For example: Ann heard about a great flea market in Lambertville about a 1.5 hour drive from NYC, so one weekend we rented a car to go check it out.  It was a beautiful drive.  In fact if you drive about about 40 minutes west out of the nasty, industrialized, polluted parts of New Jersey directly across from NYC, you can actually see why New Jersey is the Garden State (and I always thought they were just being sarcastic!).

As we are getting close to the market, we noticed that we were driving parallel to a rather large river.  We pondered briefly what it might be, but being from Texas and California neither of us knew and service was sketchy at best so we couldn’t look it up.

As we’re walking around the stalls, curiosity got the better of me and I asked one of the locals.

The Delaware River.

THE Delaware River?!?!?

She looked at me like I was crazy….yes, Pennsylvania’s right over there.

I mean, we knew we weren’t far as we were heading to Philly after the flea market (which is the Golden Nugget if you’re wondering), we just didn’t realize it was so close.  As we departed the Golden Nugget and continued to follow the Delaware River en route to Philly, we see a sign: Washington’s Crossing.

THE Washington’s Crossing?!?!?  The one immortalized by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze and is considered to be a pivotal turning point in the American Revolution?  Surely not.  But yes, indeed, Siri confirmed it (once we got to the interstate and had better service).

In case you’re a bit fuzzy on the details of The Christmas Night Crossing, Mount Vernon has a lot of information on it, like:

  • Washington’s aim was to conduct a surprise attack upon a Hessian garrison of roughly 1,400 soldiers located in and around Trenton, New Jersey.
  • Washington hoped that a quick victory at Trenton would bolster sagging morale in his army and encourage more men to join the ranks of the Continentals come the new year–and it worked.  The stunning victory served to rebuild American morale after a summer of defeats and setbacks.
  • After several councils of war, General George Washington set the date for the river crossing for Christmas night 1776.
  • The Delaware River is less than 300 yards (268m) wide at the point where Washington’s army crossed
  • It took the American army roughly 4 hours to march from the river crossing site to the outskirts of Trenton
  • Temperatures for the crossing ranged from 29 degrees to 33 degrees, with brisk winds coming out of the north east.
  • Future US President James Monroe crossed with the American forces and was wounded at the Battle of Trenton.
  • Washington’s attack mortally wounded Col. Johann Rall, the Hessian commander, killed 22, wounded another 83, and led to the capture of more than 890 Hessian soldiers.

If you’re interested, the Washington Crossing Historical Park does a Christmas Day reenactment of Washington’s Crossing.  And if you can’t/don’t want to make it, but do want to watch, they have kindly posted the entire ceremony on YouTube (please note, it is the FULL ceremony, not a 3 minute video highlight reel…)

Originally, that was going to be my post, however, since it IS July 4th and we did go to Philadelphia, I feel like I need to include some pictures of Philly as well.  I mean, it was the location of the First and Second Continental Congresses, the Liberty Bell, and where the Declaration of Independence was penned (along with a whole lot of other stuff not mentioned)!

On a side note, Philly is a very dog friendly place–even to the Darling Princess Adelaide, whom most New Yorkers find scary–so we stopped a lot on our walk through downtown Philly so people could say hi and pet them!

Unfortunately, we were too late to get tickets for the tour and Liberty Bell–so we just wandered around for awhile, just taking in the history of the place!

Happy 4th!

 

More Than One Way To Devil An Egg

I don’t know about you, but there are a handful of required food items at any given social gathering in my family.  Vying for the most important are: queso and deviled eggs.  Since tomorrow is a holiday and I haven’t shared any recipes in awhile, I thought now might be a good time–you know, in case you’re stymied for ideas of what to take to the obligatory July 4th BBQ you’re invited to attend.

In trying to pick which of the two VIP food items I wanted to talk about, I decided to go with deviled eggs because I was chatting with Christi the other day about side dishes for her July 4th BBQ and since then I’ve been pondering all the ways you can make them.  If you google “deviled eggs,” Google will kindly return with “about 3,460,000 results” in 0.42 seconds (Google is a bit of a show-off) and if you search for “deviled eggs” on Pinterest, you could scroll down for 3 days and not run out of pins from which to choose!

I know that I’ve already shared my recipe for deviled eggs with you.

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But as both Google and Pinterest show, there is more than one way to devil an egg.  Probably the only thing harder than keeping your self control in check, is picking a recipe.  I mean, do you want classic or something more creamy or something with a kick or something eye-catching and holiday-themed?  The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few that caught my eye (note: few is a relative term, as you’re about to see):

Since tomorrow is the 4th of July, I feel like I should definitely start with these Fourth of July Deviled Eggs from Kathryn at Singing Through The Rain.

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The recipe that sounds the best to me are the Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs from Aubrey at Real Housemoms.  Hellllllo bacon + jalapeño!  In fact, they sounded so good to me, I actually pinned them twice!! 🙈

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Another recipe that sounds tasty are the Chorizo Deviled Eggs from Kevin at Kevin Is Cooking.  Like the bacon in the recipe above, the chorizo adds a nice bit of crunch.

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Of course, if you want reeeeeeeeeally creamy eggs, add avocado–like Gina at Skinny Taste in her Guacamole Deviled Eggs.

If you really haaaate cilantro, I guess you can leave it out…. 😉

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Looking for a good brunch deviled egg?  McCormick has a recipe for Spicy Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs!

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If you wanna be extra faaancy with your deviled eggs, how about these Uptown Caviar Deviled Eggs from Chef Kenny Giambalvo at the Bluehour Restaurant in Portland, OR?  Shared by What’s Cooking America

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If you’re looking for a completely different flavor profile, perhaps you might like these Deviled Eggs with Beets and Smoked Salmon from Katya at Little Broken?

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If salmon/beets/dill aren’t you thing, how about Mexican street corn? Melanie at Melanie Makes combines the fun of Mexican street corn with the deliciousness of deviled eggs in her Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs.

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And finally–while it’s still 4 months away–it’s never to soon to be planning your Halloween party food with the Deliciously Rotten Deviled Eggs from Stephanie at Parenting Chaos.

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Any pique your interest?  Honesty I could probably spend another 4 hours sharing deviled eggs recipes, but I’m starting to get hungry and for some strange reason, eggs sound good 😉

But before I leave, I want to hear from you.  Which recipe sounds the best?  Vote below!  And if you can’t decide between two, I’ve left you the option to pick’em both! 😉

Happy deviling!

Independence For All Sunday Comics

On this day a long time ago (241 years to be exact) the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence of the Thirteen Colonies from the Kingdom of Britain.  The vote passed unanimously and two days later the Declaration of Independence was approved.

In an effort to find something humorous to post today honoring our founding fathers I found this: Which Founding Father Is Your Soulmate by Buzzfeed and took it because, well, procrastination.

Apparently my Founding Father Soulmate is Benjamin Franklin.  Not that I’m complaining, I mean, I’m all for seeing a nice bundle of his faces in my wallet 😉  But it did have me wondering about the validity of this quiz when I came across this:

ben franklin

As such, I must concede–without further ado or argument–that Ben Franklin is definitely my Founding Father Soulmate!

Should you be in the procrastinating mood and take the quiz, I’d LOOOOVE to hear who your FFS is 🙂

One last note of irony about today: the day after the vote was approved, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of America.”  Alas, poor Yorick John…

July 4, 1776

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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for a full transcript of The Declaration of Independence, go to The National Archives

Independence.

A few days ago there was a spectacular storm that swept through New York City.  Naturally, social media of every shape and form was quickly filled with stunning pictures, like the one below.  If you’d like to see more of this storm, click on the photo and you’ll get to see a lot of amazing photos.  But this one–this is my favorite.

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Photo credit: @albapro/Instagram

It is no big secret that seeing Lady Liberty is my favorite thing about living in New York City.  Some days, it is the only thing I like about it.  She serves as a reminder of the freedom, the liberty and the hope of all who call America home.  I am lucky in that I am reminded twice a day of the struggles that we as a country had to overcome; it is not something I take for granted.  Sure we have a lot of issues and an entirely new set of struggles that we face, but we face them together.

The poignancy of this photo is especially symbolic today.  On July 2, 1776 our Congress approved a resolution that would grant us independence from British rule.  Two days later, our Declaration of Independence was signed, proclaiming our sovereignty to the world.

Engraved onto a plaque in The Statue’s pedestal is the sonnet The New Colossus, written by Emma Lazarus (as you will remember from an earlier post, the original Colossus was in Rhodes).  So before I go enjoy my beer, brats, and watermelon while waiting for the fireworks to start, I thought I’d leave you with this powerful sonnet:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”