Monday, February 23, 2015

Interview With Shakespeare

Tell us about your life. When were you born, and when?
-I was born April 26, 1564, in a place called Stratford Upon Avon. It's on the Avon River. It's a little over 100 miles west of London. I was third of eight children in my family.

                                  My childhood home

My dad was a leather worker, making gloves and such. He was a land owner and had a pretty good amount of power in the neighborhood. He was a Burgess, which is like a City Council member.

What was your schooling like?
My dad was able to get me into good schools in the area. I studied Latin and writing and stuff.

Did you go to college and study writing?
No....we had money, but not that much money. I had studied enough, I thought. I wanted to act and to write. You couldn't get a degree in that, at the time. Besides, education wasn't really the be all and end all that some people think it is today. But, now it's a brave new world.

And then..?
When I was 18, I married Anne Hathaway, who was 26. Don't confuse her with the Anne Hathaway that's what you call a film star today.....two completely different people.

And I'd like to clarify that, while I was accused of poaching (stealing) deer and rabbits off the land we lived on, I never did that. Well, not that much...And I moved to London because I wanted to, not to escape being punished for anything. In fact, I call that a barefaced lie.

              The Globe Theatre in London. I chipped in money to help build it, although we did "recycle" (not steal) timbres from another theatre being dismantled, to build the Globe in 1599. A lot of my plays are still performed here.

We had three children: Susannah,  and Hamnet and Judith, who were twins. Hamnet only lived to be 11. He died of (bubonic) plague.

What did you do, career-wise?
I started an actors group, we called ourselves Lord Chamberlain's Men. Later on we re-named ourselves The Kings' Men.

                       What do you think of the earring? I can't decide.

I continued to write and eventually, I wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 narrative poems, and miscellaneous verse here and there as inspiration struck me.

We heard rumors that you are not, in fact, the author of the work you have credit for. Would you care to comment on that?
Some of that balderdash was strictly that. I heard someone say that my friend and classmate, Edward deVere, (the 17th Earl of Oxford and a relative of Queen Elizabeth) was the one who actually wrote my stuff. My challenge to you? Prove it!

Anything else you'd like to share?
I'm quite proud of the fact that I was tall: 6'4" ! That's exceedingly tall, don't you think?

Sure, OK.
Most people weren't as tall as me. And since clothes make the man, it was a challenge to find things to fit and that made me look good.

Oh, and there's always been a big deal made of the fact that I left my "second best bed" to my wife in my will. You have to understand: Usually, the man of the house (me) would leave the best parts of his estate to his children, even if they were girls. The wife then got the second best of everything. What I left to her was not a snub. In fact, that was the bed we was a good bed. Don't be mad at me for that. This is one instance where you should not give the devil his due.

                                                 My Sonnet #116

Do you have any advice for those who might want to pursue a career in writing?
I suppose one of the best bits would be to remind that person: To thine own self be true. That is, don't do something you don't like just to fit in or to please someone. That kind of thinking is all greek to me. Don't be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve; that way there's no doubt as to how you feel about things. Oh, and don't try to accomplish everything in one fell swoop. Give it time.

A partial listing of works by William Shakespeare:





All's Well That Ends Well
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Love's Labours Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Merchant of Venice
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Winter's Tale
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
King John
Richard II
Richard III
Antony and Cleopatra
Julius Caesar
King Lear
Romeo and Juliet
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
The Sonnets
A Lover's Complaint
The Rape of Lucrece
Venus and Adonis
Funeral Elegy by W.S

*phrases in green are Things Shakespeare Said.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What's Cookin'? A Career as a Chef

Do you love to cook? Do you receive lots of compliments on the food you make? Do you want to learn more about the art of cooking? Maybe you should think about becoming a professional chef.

                                     This is a restaurant in Berlin, Germany

Several years' experience at cooking, obviously, will be needed to become a chef; but education at a college or vocational school of 2 to 4 years is commonly required. These degrees or certificates likely have courses including:

  • Chemistry: How do foods interact in a recipe, and what to avoid
  • Biology: This would cover nutrition, how the body uses food, healthy and unhealthy foods to eat,  and things like food allergies
  • Cultural Studies: Why is food prepared differently in other countries? What foods do they never serve? Why do some countries use very little meat, and others use a lot of meat? What are religious observances regarding cooking, such as Kosher in the Jewish culture? What about regions of the United States and their commonly eaten foods?
  • Math: How much food to serve how many people, and what will that cost?
  • Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Economics: Importing and exporting foods, supply and demand
  • Politics/Public Relations: How would you handle, for example, a wedding reception where the guests are mostly from India?
  • The Food & Drug Administration and Public Health Departments set rules as to which foods are approved for consumption. They also have strict rules of safety and cleanliness anywhere food is prepared or stored. You need to know these rules and enforce them.
  • Human Relations: A chef typically is in charge of staff and will need to manage them effectively, and of course, must be able to relate to the people he cooks for, the customers
  • Art: Learn how to present the food in an appetizing way.

                                Cream puff swans, lemon-raspberry sauce. Nice presentation!

From a practical/hands-on standpoint, you'll need to learn
  • How to use knives to cut properly: Everything from raw vegetables to meats to breads
  • How to operate machinery both safely and with good hygiene
  • First Aid (employees may be burned, cut with knives, hurt using a machine, or have a reaction to something used in cooking or cleaning)
  • General food safety
  • Public Health mandates--being sure your kitchen up to code
  • Planning your supplies
  • Organizing the kitchen
  • Using the right tools and machines for specific food prep
  • Managing people you are supervising, including scheduling of staff
  • Menu development: What to offer that is in demand, will still make a profit, and is not too time-intensive to prepare

                                  The proper way to cut an onion
Any kind of experience preparing and serving food can be helpful. Working at a fast-food restaurant or in another setting will show you the process of ordering, cooking, finishing, presenting, and serving the food. You will also be familiar with proper food handling practices, working with others, and appreciating the hard work it takes. Even working in a school cafeteria can show you the process  of serving large numbers of people, public health policies at work, and the clean-up afterwards.
If your family owns a restaurant, you are fortunate: you can have hands-on training early on and have a big advantage over someone who is going to 'start from scratch.' You may continue to become head of the family business eventually, if that's what you want to do.

     A  spotless commercial kitchen. How great to work with all this high-quality equipment!!

You may even find training as a chef while serving in the Armed Forces. This could be great training to learn how to cook large quantities of good-quality foods.

You might be able to serve an apprenticeship under an established chef for valuable hands-on training.

Here is an innovative way for new chefs to gain experience: "Pop Up" restaurants. They rent a small and inexpensive place for one night, have their customers come and eat at long tables set end to end which encourages conversation, and then move on to another location (also called a "venue"): This one is called Dinner Lab:

You may want to specialize and be strictly a pastry chef, vegetarian chef, dessert chef, salad chef.

Where would you work as a chef?

Your first reaction would probably be to work at a restaurant, and this is probably the most common place to find work as a chef. You might, however, be employed in:

  • A private household, where you make food for the family every day and for special occasions.
  • A hotel: they employ chefs to prepare and manage their food for their own restaurants and room service delivery
  • You may become a caterer, bringing your food to the customer such as at a wedding reception, awards dinner, party or dance, holiday or business event
  •  Occasionally, an institution such as a private school or residence for seniors will employ a chef
  • A cruise ship, being responsible for food for possibly thousands of people all day, every day
-Did you know that a cruise ship with 2600 passengers uses 14,000 pounds of beef, 4,000 pounds of fish, and 12,000 eggs in one day?

Chefs typically wear a white jacket, typically made of cotton or non-flammable fabric, white to show how clean the chef and the kitchen are. It is usually double-breasted; that is, it has two sets of buttons and wraps around the front of the chest. A scarf is sometimes worn around the neck. Both the jacket and scarf are meant to protect against food splatters and spray from boiling water or oil.

The chef's hat, called a 'toque blanche' meaning white hat, is also meant to keep the chef's hair out of his/her face and out of the food. Traditionally, the higher the hat, the higher the rank of the chef. The toque is sometimes pleated with 100 pleats or folds. This is traditionally thought to be for the 100 ways one can cook an egg.

The order of seniority usually goes by these names:

#1 Chef de Cuisine, sometimes called a Sous Chef (chef of cooking or chef of everything)
#2 Chef de Partie
#3 Demi Chef de Partie
#4 First Cook
#5 2nd, 3rd, and Prep Cook or Line Cook

Imagine working at the White House, being in charge of food for the President, state dinners, award-winning servicepeople, and world leaders: An interview with Executive Chef at the White House as she and her assistants prepare a 5 course meal for the Queen of England:

...and other facts about the history of cooking at the White House:

                        Pastry chefs 'composing' trays of treats for a White House event
What kind of person makes a good chef?

Keep in mind that often, a chef does not begin his or her workday until later in the day and will be making food until after midnight. After that, there is cleanup and prep for the next day to be done. It is true that if you are the chef or head cook, you may not have these responsibilities personally, but it will fall on your head if the cleanup is not adequate.

You should be healthy and have a lot of endurance. You will be on your feet your whole shift and probably longer, every day. Some equipment you need to work with will be physically demanding and might be dangers, such as a meat slicer, large mixers, or deep fryers.

Obviously, you should be aware of foods people will enjoy eating and like to work with people, both staff and customers. You need patience and diplomacy for both.

Income expectations for an experienced chef were about $43,000 in 2012, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plenty of chefs and head cooks make less, and a small number make more.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Have a Heart

Happy Valentine's Day on February 14!! What do you know about the heart?

  • The 'heart' shape we use now was probably an effort to draw the heart before people knew what it looked like inside the body. 

                Cross-section, human heart. All mammal hearts look very similar.... such as:

                                        This is a pig's heart

                                         This is the heart of a dog

  • A human heart beats about 70 times a minute in men, 78 times a minute in women
  • A transplanted heart beats about 100-110 times per minute
  • The left lung is a little smaller than the right so there is enough room for the heart
  • The heart weighs about 11 ounces and is about the size of your fist
  • Your heart beats 100,000 times a day and 2.5 billion times in a lifetime
  • It pumps 2000 gallons of blood every day
  • All mammal hearts have four chambers
  • That  'thump-thump' sound the heart makes is due to the four heart valves opening and closing
  • The only organs in your body that do not receive blood are the corneas in your eyes
  • Cocaine interferes with the heart's electrical activity and can stop the heart
  • 30% of people who die of heart disease are smokers; at least 20% of people die from smoking-related disease that may not be of the heart: Emphysema, for example.

  • In 2006, death rates due to heart disease were the worst in Mississippi and the fewest in Minnesota
  • Heart disease kills 500,000 women a year and 450,000 men a year
  • CT scans of ancient Egyptian mummies show that they had heart disease....and this was long before fast food diets and not enough activity, which is known to cause heart disease now
  • Women's heart attack symptoms are more likely to include a feeling of nausea, indigestion, and pain in the jaw or the shoulder
  • Men's heart attack symptoms are typically sweating, pain down the left arm, shortness of breath, and chest pain
Someone with an irregular heartbeat may be fitted with a pacemaker that will regulate his or her heart. Learn about pacemakers here:
If you are not too squeamish, here is a video of a heart beating and surgeons at work:
A good graphic of the heart as it beats, you can see the different chambers closing and opening:


Take Care Of Your Heart!! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Who Is That?

You know who this is...

And this....

And please tell me you know who this is....

But do you know these people??? What changes have they made in the world?



Are you interested in learning about kids who have accomplished things already in their lives? Check this out:

1.  Sonia Sotomayor, the first person of Hispanic descent to serve as an Associate Justice (judge) on the United States Supreme Court and the third female Associate Justice. She is originally from New York. The other 2 women? Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
2.  Malala Yousefzi. The youngest person to ever win a Nobel Prize at the age of 14. She is outspoken about women's rights, particularly to education. She was shot in the head for being so outspoken, survived, and continues to speak out for womens' rights.
Read about her: Triogenius, 1-6-2014: The Rebel.
3. Nelson Mandela. He is a South African man who spoke out against apartheid, and spent 27 years of his life in prison. Read about him here:
4. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft . Read about him at Triogenius, 9-1-2014.
5.  Mother Theresa, a highly regarded nun who was born in Albania and served in Calcutta, India, the founder of the Missions of Charity, serving the poorest people of the country and those suffering from AIDs, leprosy, and other diseases. She also was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
6. Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America. He was born in Pennsylvania, but his family moved to Delaware when he was 10. He played football in high school and earned a law degree. Mr. Biden served as a senator from Delaware starting in 1972, and eventually became the running mate of Barack Obama. Mr. Biden became Vice President in 2009.
7.  Stephen Hawking. Hawking is a physicist who studies things like how the universe began, black holes, and time: He wrote a book, "A Brief History of Time." He was born in 1942 and has 3 children. He suffers from motor neuron disease, but communicates using a computer that speaks words he chooses. 
*learn about the person who developed this sort of computer..beginning when she was 12 years old--Rachel Zimmerman:
8.  Sally Ride, the first female astronaut. Ms. Ride was born in 1951. She was the first American woman in space, flying twice on the space shuttle Challenger and spending over 14 days in space. . She was the youngest person at age 32 to orbit the Earth. After she retired from NASA, she was a physics professor. Ms. Ride died in 2012.
9. Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin. He did research on the staphylococcus germ, watching how it grew and behaved when invading healthy cells. He planned to go on a holiday and stacked his samples in a pile, and when he returned he noticed there was some other kind of mold in some of the staph samples that was consuming and destroying it. His remark was, "That's funny.." Penicillin in many forms is still used as the first antibiotic to fight infections. Fleming lived from 1881 to 1955. He was born in Scotland and lived in England.
10.  Jane Goodall, born 1934. She is an Englishwoman who has devoted her life to the study of chimpanzees, living among them and discovering that they use tools, for one thing. Currently, Ms. Goodall travels the world promoting the saving of the environment and especially that of
endangered species.
Now you know some important people...
Think of more that you can explore:
  • Who invented something you use every day, and when did that happen?
  • Who has achieved great success, and how did he or she do it?
  • Who would be a role model for you?
  • Who rose from humble beginnings to accomplish great things?