Who the fuck crossed Godzilla with a chicken and calleed it food?

6 Jun

OK, so let me get something straight here… I am not a healthfood nut – nor do I buy into any strict food philosophy be it vegan, vegetarian, raw, or whatever.

Chickens

Do these look like monster chickens to you? (Photo credit: Allie’s.Dad)

What I am is a woman who grew up eating natural, fresh, farm-raised foods, and who prefers those things. I’ve actually gone back and forth over the years – sometimes economics or convenience still wins out over farm-raised and organic. I have a preference, but not an insistence.

However…

Chicken is kid of an odd duck, so to speak. Generally, I buy a whole chicken and disassemble it into it’s various parts. The times I’ll buy pieces, I’m usually opting for higher-quality, organic, farm-raised, whatever because I dislike the extremely bland flavor of most supermarket birds.

Every now and then, I wind up buying a plain ole boneless, skinless chicken breast at the regular market. And every time I think, “Holy fuck! What did they feed this bird?!?”

Yeah, I know hormones are illegal. As are steroids. Yeah, I know it’s selective breeding and all that happy crappy.

But seriously. Really? Have you seen chicken breasts lately? They’re gigantic! I swear they weigh 10 to 12 ounces per half breast.

Please tell me people aren’t serving an entire half to one person! That’s a ton of meat! (yeah, I know… people do… it’s “one” breast)

I’m really surprised that the average consumer actually seems to prefer these gigantic, and comparatively bland, hunks of meat over things that taste better, are easier to work with (because they’re smaller, they’re the size most recipes are calling for), etc.

Seriously, next time you wonder why Americans are getting so fat take a look at serving sizes. Betcha the average eater isn’t looking at the Godzilla chicken boob and thinking, “hey, maybe I’d best cut that in half.”

Know what I mean?

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Teen suicide…

6 Jun

I’m about to be really, truly, horribly politically incorrect and insensitive. Seriously. This is not a humorous rant… In fact, it’s rather serious.

During my time as editor of a couple of small, local papers, I saw more funeral notices due to teen suicide than I care to think about. That charming little town had an amazingly high number of teen suicides. And I mean amazingly high. It was actually creepy.

Like most small town newspapers, we didn’t announce that a child had committed suicide. We danced around the subject in order to be sensitive to the parents and loved ones. Every now and then, parents would request the information be public – to help spread the word, or raise awareness, to attempt to reach other kids before they made such a horrible and final choice.

In the wake of any suicide came vigils, prayer meetings, etc – essentially, it amounted to a lot of post humus attention.

Bear with me, here’s where I get insensitive…

While I understand the need for closure and healing, and I understand the need to provide an outlet to other teens and grieving family members, is that amount of public attention really a good thing?

A hurting teen, one who is in so much pain that they are considering taking their own life, is going through hell and often feeling unloved, underappreciated and even ignored. To a hurting teen, all of those things can seem attractive, desirable.

There is a strange, macabre glamorization going on after a teenager commits suicide. They become the center of attention, lavished with love and affection, remembered with fondness and talked about incessantly. Add in that many teens romanticize death and you have a potent combination.

To a hurting teen, none of this is a bad thing. The fact that they will not be here to receive the accolades doesn’t make an impact.

Am I suggesting that suicide should return to being some shameful thing that is spoken of only in hushed tones? Of course not! Suicide is a terrible, permanent solution to a temporary problem. It hurts everyone. It’s never the right answer.

What I am suggesting is that perhaps, instead of hosting community-wide candlelight vigils where everyone is invited to share their memories of the deceased, schools, churches, families, whatever, make an effort to keep memorial services small and restricted to family and close friends.

I am suggesting that schools provide counseling services (which I know they already do) and keep their “celebration of life” restrained.

While I understand and respect the need to mourn and celebrate the life of a lost teen, I truly believe that providing a community-wide event, inviting anyone and everyone to share their fond memories of the departed child creates an atmosphere that is attractive to some hurting teens.

By all means, provide counseling and help with grief management and a safe environment for friends and family to mourn. They will find strength and healing in each other. But is it really necessary to open these things up to the entire community? Is it really wise?

Perhaps the real lesson we need to learn is that we should never miss an opportunity to share with those we love – tell them how much we love them, appreciate them, respect them.