Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bullies: They're the Real Weirdos

I remember as a kid a derogatory slang word used to describe people who just didn't fit your idea of coolness was the word "weirdo." Do you remember that? Kids who dressed in styles different from the norm were weirdos. Kids who wore brush cuts while most their classmates wore their hair long were weirdos. Kids who chose not to conform to the social mores of school life were weirdos. Kids who perhaps were unfortunate enough to be blessed with some noticeable physical deformity were weirdos. What a horrible time it was if you were on the receiving end of the jokes of others.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Today we call such derogatory behaviour "bullying." Kids still suffer the same abuse at the hands of their peers, and while society is right in condemning bullying, I would like to suggest that it has not yet gone anywhere near far enough in dealing with bullies.

How many more victims of bullying will finally snap under the abuse and retaliate creating another Columbine? How many more of our children will suffer such intense internal turmoil that they see no option other than taking their own lives, all the while society continues to sit there and wonder how that could happen? Consider this:
"An analysis by officials at the US Secret Service of 37 premeditated school shootings found that bullying, which some of the shooters described 'in terms that approached torment,' played the major role in more than two-thirds of the attacks. A similar theory was expounded by Brooks Brown in his book on the massacre; he noted that teachers commonly looked the other way when confronted with bullying." (Wikipedia article on the Columbine Massacre)
I don't know what the answer is, but whatever it is, it is not what we're doing now. Despite all the education to bring awareness to the issue of bullying, almost any cursory glance through any major newspaper reveals that the problem persists.

Maybe it is time that lawmakers declared and punished bullying like the major crime it is. Maybe it is time that parents be held more accountable for the actions of their minor children. Maybe it is time school boards supported their teachers, unlike one teacher friend of mine who was actually chastised by his school board for standing up to schoolyard bullies. Maybe it is time to finally begin standing up for the rights of the victims, instead of always being so concerned about the perpetrator's rights and freedoms. Maybe laws need to be changed to say that, if you've been proven guilty of a crime, you have NO rights until you've paid your debt to society. Maybe it is time that we finally take a much tougher stand against bullies at all levels of society.

After all, they're the real weirdos.

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Apple & Bacon Grilled Cheddar

Do you like grilled cheese sandwiches? I do and I don't. I'm not a fan when it's made with boring white or whole wheat bread with a slice of equally boring processed cheese slices. Yuck! I am a fan, however, when we take that popular sandwich up to the next level.

Meet the Apple & Bacon Grilled Cheddar on Pumpernickel! Now that's what I'm talking about!

Begin by frying up at least 1/2 pound of bacon. (I'll bet that got your attention). While the bacon is doing its thing, start thinly slicing a block of cheddar cheese. I prefer Armstrong Old Cheddar. Slice enough cheddar to cover the inside of your sandwich twice, and then set it aside. Wash an apple and cut it into thin slices, keeping the skin on but discarding the core and any seeds. Set your apple slices aside as well. Once the bacon is cooked, taking care not to overcook it, drain off the excess grease on paper towel and set it aside.

Now it's time to create the masterpiece. While preheating your frying pan, slice your pumpernickel bread to the desired thickness and butter (key word is: "butter," not margarine) one side only of each piece of bread. Once your frying pan is hot it's time to build the sandwich.

Place one slice of pumpernickel buttered side down on your hot frying pan. Cover it with one layer of the cheddar. Next add a layer of the sliced apple, followed by a layer of bacon, and then another layer of cheddar. Finally top the creation off with the other slice of pumpernickel, making sure that its buttered side is also on the outside of the sandwich.

Once the underside is a golden brown, carefully turn the sandwich over, ensuring that none of the yummy insides fall out. This part of the process can be a bit tricky.

Once all the cheddar is melted and your sandwich is a nice golden brown on both sides, remove from the pan, slice in half, and immediately begin to enjoy. Now isn't that better than the run-of-the-mill boring grilled cheese? Yes, I think so too.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Turkey Surprise

So you're in charge of supper and the pantry is pretty bare.  All you've got to work with is a little leftover wild rice, a little turkey, some frozen corn and a lonely can of cranberries. What can you possibly do with that?

Here's a quick and easy idea.

Mix everything together except the cranberries. Plate the mixture into personal-sized oven friendly serving dishes. Take your cranberries and put them into a sauce pan, stirring constantly over a low-medium heat for a few moments. Then pour the cranberry sauce over the mixture in your now plated dishes. Place dishes in medium heat oven until whole dish is warmed through. Serve and enjoy.

Once again proving that dinner doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Happy eating.