Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Graveside Service


As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the backcountry. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw that the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

Apparently, I’m still lost… It’s a man thing.

Photo & Story Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Rogue Bear Shot

After eluding wildlife officials for several days, the bear that has been terrorizing residents in a northern Alberta community has finally met the business end of a hunter's rifle.

The hunter spotted the bear hanging around outside a local fast food restaurant, and fearing for the safety of the patrons, he took matters into his own hands to end the carnage once and for all.

"There were children playing nearby," said hunter Bill Razzlekopf. "I just couldn't sit back and do nothing!"

Animal rights activists were quick to condemn Razzlekopf's actions. Authorities are investigating.

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)
A Caveat: Name is fictitious. Any resemblance to a real person is purely coincidental.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

As my dear wife will no doubt attest, an overused joke of mine is, "Some foods go to 'waste' if you don't eat them, and go to 'waist' if you do." (Yuk, Yuk). I'm sure this is one of those.

I found this recipe on Facebook, and so as not to lose it, I thought I would repost it here. Doesn't it look absolutely decadent?

I'm sure that it must cover all the essential food groups (grin, grin).

I was thinking that the only thing missing is a little bit of drizzled chocolate or perhaps some Baileys or other coffee liqueur. While I haven't tried it yet, it did cause some serious drooling on my part.

So if you end up trying this recipe, please do send me a comment on your thoughts. Like me, I'm sure that other foodie's would also like to hear a testimony or two.

Happy eating. (You can diet later).

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

New and Improved Customer Service?

Have you ever gone to a store somewhere and not been able to get any help? You wander through the aisles and there never seems to be a store clerk anywhere to help. Frustrating, isn't it?

I know of at least one person who has actually been so frustrated by the lack of customer service that she actually stood in the middle of the store and yelled out at the top of her voice, "DOES ANYONE WORK HERE?"

Why is this seemingly more and more common today? Is it simply a growing lack of work ethic by younger generations? Is it caused by poor and minimum wages which ultimately demoralize the worker and creates a "who cares" type of attitude? Are there other factors for the poor customer service that many of us have had the misfortune of experiencing?

There is good news. This trend may be beginning to turn around. It seems that some stores are listening to the complaints of consumers. It seems that some corporations may have actually pulled themselves up by the shorts and taken notice of the "We're not taking this s**t any longer" cry of their would-be customers.

Anonymous sources tell us that least one major store chain seems to have developed a new and improved level of customer service, as depicted by the picture above. Talk about going the extra mile for the customer!

It remains to be seen, though, how receptive the customer will be to these new changes. One lady we spoke to about these new measures said, "I appreciate the offer, but I can do it myself." Apparently not everyone wants help from the store clerks.

Well there you have it. New and improved customer service? You decide.

Photo Source: Unknown

Monday, 11 February 2013

Single Awareness Day

Because I care ...

Just a friendly reminder for you single folks out there. February 14th is just around the corner, so this year, be sure to get out there and treat yourself to something special.

Happy Single Awareness Day





Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, 8 February 2013

Will's Yummy Yam Soup

I have been experimenting with soups lately. While this recipe uses yams, I have tried similar creations using rutabagas instead. The yam soup is a little sweeter than the rutabaga soup, but both turned out good.

Ingredients:

1 - large yam (sweet potato)
1 - pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 - medium sized onion
1/2 - teaspoon prepared fresh garlic
1/2 - pound bacon
1 - can cream of mushroom soup
3 - (soup cans) 1% milk
1- tablespoon cayenne pepper
Grated old cheddar cheese (for garnish)
Sour cream (for garnish)

Directions:

  • Peel yam and cut up into smaller size. Put into pot of water and let boil until soft.
  • Dice onion and saute with fresh garlic. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Cross-cut bacon into smaller pieces and cook to crispy and well done. Bacon will soften up later in the soup. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
  • Once yam is cooked, drain and put yam into blender. Add can of cream of mushroom soup and 1/3 of the milk. Puree.
  • Remove puree mixture from blender, put back into large pot, add remaining 2/3 of milk, stir, and bring to a soft boil. 
  • Stir in cayenne pepper. I enjoy my spices, but if you're not a spice fan, you may want to reduce the amount of cayenne.
  • Once at a soft boil, stir in hamburger mixture and bacon for a few moments until meat is warmed through by the soup.
  • Ladle into bowls, garnish with grated old cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.
  • Enjoy

If you chose to try this recipe, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

Happy eating.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Flying Off On A Tangent?

Just when you thought it was safe to fly again ...

A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

'Al-Gebra is a problem for us', the Attorney General said. 'They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.' They use secret code names like "X" and "Y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns" but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philosopher Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle."

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Obama said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Story Source: unknown (via an email)

Monday, 4 February 2013

Playing with the Restaurant Bill

I love fiddling with the bill in restaurants.

I'm not as creative as some people who make all those fancy origami creations. Mine is just plain fiddling, and it almost always comes out looking more or less the same.

It's interesting to see the reactions from restaurant staff when I go to pay the bill. Some are indifferent and just quickly unfold it with no apparent appreciation for my creativity. Party poopers!

But the vast majority thus far seem to look at it with great interest and almost reverently unfold it, and only as much as is necessary in order to process the payment. On more than one occasion I've even been asked to take a moment to show them how it's done.

Well there you have it. While it may not be polite to play with your food, no one says you can't play with the bill afterwards.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Joy of Global Warming

"Don't like the weather? Wait an hour." Living here in southern Alberta, I can relate to that old saying.

I love the concept of "Global Warming." Oh, I know there has been a lot of rhetoric on how horrible it is, but the fact remains, I like snow-less and cold-less winters. Maybe this comes from living most of my life with Canadian winters that have been known to last half a year or longer. When the snow you receive in October sticks around until the following May, as I have experienced many times over the years, "Global Warming" sounds like a really good thing.

Today, the 3rd of February, a date in which many times over the years I have been knee-deep in snow and in miserably cold weather, I have actually sat on my deck with a book enjoying some awesome spring-like and double-digit degree weather. How awesome is that?

While to some of my southern friends this might seem like no big deal, for other Canadian friends who are used to our Canadian winters, this most certainly is an anomaly. Global Warming? Thank you, I'll take it.

Well there you have it. I think I will log off now and go fire up the old motorcycle. Looks like a good day for a ride.

PS - I don't remember exactly what dates I took these pictures, but regardless what they were, they do illustrate our temperature extremes here in southern Alberta. They represent a 71.5 degree Celsius difference in temperature.

Don't like the weather? Wait an hour or so.

A Feast for the Eyes

As you may or may not be aware, one of my hobbies is tinkering in the kitchen. Yes, I consider myself a bit of a hobby cook. I get great pleasure in spending a weekend afternoon trying to create something that not only tastes good, but looks good as well. Often this is done along side a glass or two of home-made wine, which happens to be another of my hobbies and which has often been dubbed as Will's Hootch.

For me this is not just a weekend activity either. During the week I am usually home from work before my wife, and so it is often up to me to come up with something for dinner; a role, I might add, that I do not mind in the least. I have sometimes quipped that she is my "guinea pig," in that I do a lot of meal experimenting on her.  I know that she doesn't mind, but actually rather enjoys it.

I believe the feast should be for the eyes as much as it is for the belly. What you're looking at in this picture is a sliced roast turkey breast. I surrounded the turkey with brown rice, a medley of beans and carrots, and finished it off with some whole cranberry sauce. Looks pretty good, doesn't it?

So what I've decided to do is to add a food and wine component to The Other Side of Will as well. Besides my usual twisted humour that this blog was built on, from time to time I will also share a blog post on what's been happening in my kitchen. Probably the best way to keep "abreast" (pun fully intended) of new posts would be to do so by signing up to the Networked Blogs on the left margin of this blog. In that way you don't always have to keep coming back to this page just to see if there is anything new from Will's Kitchen; you will be notified automatically of new posts. As usual, you will also be able to find a link to these posts on this blog's Facebook page. While you're there, don't forget to click on the "Like" button.

As always, you're welcome to share a comment or two. I would especially like to hear from you if you've tried duplicating one of my food experiments, or if you have some helpful hints for me to try.

Happy eating. Peace.