Is Being Muslim Inconsistent with the Principles of the United States?

ben carson muslim president comment graphic

There seems to be so much to discuss with regards to the Presidential Race 2016 that I find myself writing about it again, this time not about Donald Trump and his Trumpisms, but Ben Carson and his comment about the possibility of a Muslim becoming President of the United States.

For those of you living under a rock, Ben Carson (Republican candidate) was asked by Fox News’ Sean Hannity if faith should matter to voters. This was his response:

If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem.

Ben Carson Fox News Interview Sept 20th 2015

On the face of it this seems to be a reasonable response as no country would want someone in office who did not have the interests of the people and principles of that country (the Constitution – in the case of the U.S.) at the core of why they are running or wish to lead. However, the last time I checked, this country is made up of all manner of religious beliefs and faiths, and under the constitutionally protected First Amendment, are you not free to practise any such religion as you choose? Therefore a President, in theory, could belong to any faith and have the right to do so and run the country?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

First Amendment of the United States

The next question Sean Hannity asked, and the one that has the webbage world in a wobble, was did he [Ben Carson] believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution? The answer that Mr. Carson gave made something very clear – I think he may be confused as to what the Constitution entails …

No, I don’t, I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

Ben Carson Fox News Interview Sept 20th 2015

The U.S. Constitution, Article VI very clearly states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust … “  so I am pretty sure that becoming the President is covered by this. Maybe Ben Carson needs to check what it is he is principled about and wanting to uphold before he discounts an entire religious faith as unfit to do so.

He did later elaborate that it would be a Muslim who follows Islamic Law, citing the killing of homosexuals and anyone following other religions, and the subservience of woman as being inconsistent with the principles of the United States. While I would not advocate any of these tenets myself from anybody no matter what you believe in and practise, under the Constitution, you have the right to run for President even if you do.

I will not deny that the practises of killing people for their sexuality or alternate faith, the denial or restrictions placed on women in some countries and the various punishments meted out to people is something that I would never condone – but I am pretty sure that there are very few American Muslims who do follow these rules in this country.

Various groups have come out and asked for Ben Carson to step out of the Presidential race as his comments were unconstitutional, often citing Article VI, but I am curious as to what you think about the whole situation.

Do you think there is a misunderstanding about what being a Muslim in America means? Do you think Ben Carson has a valid point? Do you think what he said was un-Constitutional? Should anyone, of any faith, be denied the right to run or become President?

Presidential Race 2016: Trumpisms

presidential race 2016 trumpisms graphic

I thought I would do an update on the post I wrote a while back about Donald Trump running in the Presidential Race of 2016 and his comments about Mexican immigrants, and a rather wonderful butt plug response from the hideously talented artist Fernando Sosa – to read it, click here

I have watched the debates and interviews of various candidates, and have to say that Trump has been so very entertaining, something that may be a contributory factor in his seemingly never ending lead in various polls.


Debates alone rarely move poll numbers in big ways, and Trump continues to lead the crowded field with 29 percent of Republican and independent voters who lean Republican saying they would cast their vote for him. NBC News Online Sept 20 2015


I do not support the man at all, but I can see how his rhetoric and bullish bravado can be appealing to the many voters who are just plain sick of the soft lined, merky truth telling professional politicians that seem to infest many political systems here and around the world.

His honesty, albeit rather cringe making, must seem like a breath of fresh air … until you really start to listen to what he is saying. Which is really a whole lot of nothing.

I was watching an interview about the wall he is proposing to build on the border to keep illegal immigrants from crossing over to the United States from Mexico, and while his comment about the Great Wall of China (basically, if the Chinese could build a wall – then so could he) produced some laughs and whooping from those listening … when I asked those people who were excitedly agreeing with him what he actually had said, it all fell silent. How was he going to do it? Why does he never really give any details? Can he really run on non-specifics? Can you really want to vote for someone who has yet to really share how he is going to do anything?


CNN tonight cut away from Donald Trump‘s big foreign policy speech tonight, and not because there was breaking news or anything. Anderson Cooper explained it was because he wasn’t giving any specifics. Sept 15 2015


This is where the fun of listening to him say the things that many Americans seem to support – as various polls seem to suggest – begins to come unstuck. While the results may not reflect it yet, I get the feeling that this is the beginning of the end for Trump as the circus around him dies down, and the American people want the details of how he is going to do what he says he is going to do. It has been amusing to hear him say that everything is going to be great, he is just going to get it done, and it is just going to happen because he is just going to do it … now is the time to get the meat on the bones of the policies he is running under, and I think that many of his supporters will be left hungry.

What has been particularly interesting, is that while some of the people he is in the race with may not have taken him seriously at first, when the polls keep showing him in the lead, it is difficult not to. I am sure it could be argued to the contrary, but I have seen a shift in the other candidates to have a more Trump like tone of their own. The American people want to get things done. They want to have the key issues discussed and policies they can get behind created. They want politicians to maybe not talk in such side-stepping, BS ridden schmaltz – which I understand.

So maybe, even though I do not think Trump is the man for the job, he has shown the rest of the political arena what the American people want?

What are your thoughts on Donald Trump and this election race so far?

Slice of Americana: Slim Jim

Welcome to my food review blog series Slice of Americana, where I get to try different iconic American foods!

I will be tasting most things for the first time, and will give an honest opinion of all that I consume – it is important to note that, unless stated,  I am not receiving any payment or endorsements of any kind.

With that said, on with my review of . . . Slim Jim

taste test slim jim graphic

The Information

A Slim Jim is a beef, pork and chicken jerky style dried sausage snack that can be found in quite a few countries and seems to be very popular here. I have seen many people tucking in to them enthusiastically and had it recommend to me on a few occasions so thought I would finally give it a try.

General Mills now make it but it all began back in 1928 as the brainchild of Adolph Levis, a businessman and all round snack-tastic gentleman.

There are a few varieties to be found but I went with the mild Slim Jim.

The Taste Test

The idea of eating this jerky type snack was not on the top of my list of things to try, especially since I read the chicken is mechanically separated (I always think pink goop) but as I am not adverse to occasionally chowing down on some truly fake food (waistline agrees) I was happy to try it as I assumed it would be much like pepperoni. It isn’t.

It has a really pleasant snap to it when you bite into it thanks to the casing but after that, the texture all became a bit … well, odd. It was a tiny bit moister than I had anticipated but it all seemed to end up feeling like I was chewing on tissue paper.

I waited for a nice meaty taste to hit my taste buds – but it never happened. I got a salty, slightly nondescript spice like hint. I really cannot think of any way to describe the flavour, other than it was not good.

- the Slim Jim -

– the Slim Jim –

- the inside/texture -

– the inside/texture –

The Verdict

Sorry, Slim Jim aficionados … this American classic snack is just not for me! The snap you get as you bite into it is a plus but the texture and taste are not … sorry.

Have you tried a Slm Jim? Are you a Slim Jim aficionado – think I am missing out on a variety of it that is good? If you have not had one before, do you think you would like it?

What would you like to see me try next?

a slice of americana

Wild Ohio: Insects of Summer

I have been out exploring again, and even though my lovely little digital camera is now on its last lense, I have managed to get some photographs that I am really happy with. I love to just wander around and enjoy looking at a place, and if I can get some great nature shots as a result, all the better!

Fall is very much making an appearance and the pumpkin themed take over has started, so I just had to join in and try a new sample of some pumpkin spiced ale that I think is new to the shelves (review coming soon) …

Enjoy the photographs I have, and if you have any advice about my future camera purchase, leave a comment!

- wasp & pollen -

– wasp & pollen –

- unripened berries -

– unripened berries –

- grasshopper -

– grasshopper –

- beetle and berries -

– beetle and berries –


What wildlife do you like to spot where you live?


Home Decor: A Corner That Is Forever England

expat life home decor graphic

As any expat knows, having things around you from home helps you make your mark on your surroundings. It is a way of saying you are here, you celebrate where you came from and the people or places that have influenced your life thus far.

Home decor should be a collection of things that give a nod to where you were and a look to where you are now … I am not looking to smother my house with British themed items or wrap myself in the Union Jack and regularly burst in to a chorus of ‘Rule Britannia’, but I am trying to create a place that is meaningful to me and something I can share. I like to be able to look at things that trigger a good memory and bring forth a feeling of positivity and happiness.

If you are looking for ideas on what little touches you can make to your own home, this may serve as some kind of inspiration (it is very much work in progress) … or if you may be interested in having your expat home decor featured (with links to your blog if you have one) in a future post on this theme, contact me!

The items I have photographed are just a little look at how I am using home decor to create a little corner of England … a reminder of home as I continue to create a new one.

- apron made by Newlyn Harbour Design Company - full English postcard - Cornish mine clock -

apron from Newlyn Harbour Design Centre || English breakfast postcard || Cornish mine clock

Ok, so I admit there is a bit of a Union Jack attack in my house ...

Union Jack tin by Emma Bridgewater || Best of British detail || Union Jack egg cups

Union Jack Mini with books that belonged to my grandparents || posters of Penzance & London || my handmade bag with a crocheted rose from a dear friend || a bag from Bill Brown London

What decor do you have that is a reminder of home? What little touches do you like to add to a place to make it a home? If you have multi or cross-cultural influences in your life, how do you celebrate them on your home?

Life Lately | Flowers of Ohio

life through a lens

Life Lately has been quite busy with starting (and trying to finish) various projects and ideas and just getting out and about again in the good weather before it turns to autumn/fall, to photograph some of the flowers Ohio has to offer.

The colours of the leaves on some trees has already started to turn and pumpkin spice is already making an appearance in coffees, cakes and anything else you can think of. Something I am very happy about!

What have you been up to lately?

Click on the photographs below for a closer look …

flowers of ohio 1

flowers of ohio 2

flowers of ohio 3


My American Kitchen: Philly Cheese Steak

philly cheese steak graphic


4 tbsp olive oil

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 tsp garlic, minced

generous pinch of salt and pepper

1 lb shaved beef

4 sub rolls

4 slices of provolone cheese (use Cheez Whiz for an alternative more modern day recipe)

the ingredients

– the ingredients –


Pre heat oven to 425°F

Cover bottom of large frying pan with the olive oil and make hot over a medium-high heat

Add the green bell pepper and onion and cook until soft and starting to caramelise

- onions & bell pepper, thinly sliced -

– onions & bell pepper, thinly sliced –

Add the garlic, salt and pepper and stir in for a few more minutes until onions have caramelised nicely

Set aside the onion and bell pepper mix on a plate – then add the shaved beef to the frying pan

Pull apart and continuously stir until the beef is fully cooked through (this will not take long)

- onion/pepper mix & beef waiting to be combined -

– onion/pepper mix & beef waiting to be combined –

Mix together the beef and onion/pepper mixture and combine well

Divide mixture between the sub rolls and add a slice of cheese to the top

Place in the oven on a baking sheet for a few minutes until the cheese has melted


- served with garlic & pepper steak fries -

– served with garlic & pepper steak fries –

What do you think? If you have a go at this recipe, let me know how it turns out!

Slice of Americana: Pepsi & Peanuts

Welcome to my food review blog series Slice of Americana, where I get to try different iconic American foods!

I will be tasting most things for the first time, and will give an honest opinion of all that I consume – it is important to note that, unless stated,  I am not receiving any payment or endorsements of any kind.

With that said, on with my review of . . . Pepsi & Peanuts

pepsi & peanuts food review graphic

The Information

I saw an episode of ‘A Chef’s Life’ which follows the amazingly talented Vivian Howard, a chef based in North Carolina, who uses her Southern food traditions and roots as inspiration for the dishes she creates for her restaurants.

One particular episode showed an old Southern tradition of putting peanuts in a glass bottle of Pepsi, something the Hubby grew up with as a child in West Virginia. I was really curious about it and decided to give it a try.

The history of it seems to come from the 1920s and farmers/farm workers being able to easily carry around some food to keep them going through the day. It became a bit of a tradition in the South, particularly among agricultural regions, but is not widely known outside of the Southern states.

The Taste Test

I got a small packet of salted peanuts, dusted off the salt a bit and made sure I did not tip all the loose salt that is left in the bottom, drank some of the Pepsi to make room, and poured the peanuts into the glass bottle.

I left it for a bit, then gave it a try … The saltiness is a little odd but not entirely unpleasant and the taste of the peanuts does not alter really at all – so really it is more a textural combination rather than a flavour enhancer/changer.

pepsi & peanuts 1

pepsi & peanuts 2

pepsi & peanuts 3

The Verdict

It did have a slightly odd flavour, but not unpleasant, and I actually really liked the texture of crunching and chewing a peanut through the fizzy Pepsi. It was particularly nice drinking/snacking all in one while sitting on my porch watching the world go by. I will be having it again I think!

Have you tried Pepsi and Peanuts? Is there something similar to this that you have tried or grown up with? If you have not had one before, do you think you would like it?

What would you like to see me try next?

a slice of americana

Life Lately | Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

life through a lens

Life Lately has involved spending more time wandering around the local metroparks and admiring the nature and wildlife in this bustling area of Ohio.

I have also been going through the many, many photographs I have taken each time but thought I would share more photographs of the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly that I encountered on a previous walk. I really was so happy I could get so close to this handsome fellow (he was not bothered by me in the slightest – there was an angry bee that kept dive bombing me as I was in the way) and I think I managed to get some great shots. What do you think?

What have you been up to lately?

Click on the photographs below for a closer look …



Expat Life: Adopting Americanisms

As expected, after being here for a little while, I have found myself starting to use some American words instead of the British ones I have used for most of my life. I would even say that I am using them with more ease than before – and shock, horror – may now even be starting to forget what the British equivalent is.

Could it be I am going ‘native’ and becoming an Ohioan?

Essentially, the answer to that is a resounding no, but I must admit that certain words and terms are creeping in.

Here are the Americanisms that I seem to have adopted:


Everything is decidedly not awesome, and I do not use the word too much, but my usage of this has increased … I may even have been heard to utter excitedly that something is “so freaking awesome” – Oh, sweet marmalade!


It now seems normal to say trash, trash can and the like. I still use the term ‘rubbish’ as it is also commonly used here, but I never used the t-word until I got here!

keep calm and british on


I got laughed at one too many times when I would say ‘fizzy drink’ so it just saves my own embarrassment to say pop or soda.


I thought it would never happen, but it has. I now find it easier to say the letter ‘z’ as the Americans do. I always thought this would never happen, but zed is dead.

Have you noticed yourself adopting new words or interesting phrases? Have you gone ‘native’?