November 10, 2012

Goal Setting Tips

The following broad guidelines will help you to set effective goals:

State each goal as a positive statement: Express your goals positively – 'Execute this technique well' is a much better goal than 'Don't make this stupid mistake'

Be precise: Set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.

 Set priorities: When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.

Write goals down: This crystallizes them and gives them more force.

Keep operational goals small: Keep the low-level goals you are working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Derive today's goals from larger ones.

Set performance goals, not outcome goals: You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing more dispiriting than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control. These could be bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them.

Set realistic goals: It is important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (parents, media, society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. Alternatively you may be naïve in setting very high goals. You might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way, or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance.

Do not set goals too low: Just as it is important not to set goals unrealistically high, do not set them too low. People tend to do this where they are afraid of failure or where they are lazy! You should set goals so that they are slightly out of your immediate grasp, but not so far that there is no hope of achieving them. No one will put serious effort into achieving a goal that they believe is unrealistic. However, remember that your belief that a goal is unrealistic may be incorrect. If this could be the case, you can to change this belief by using imagery effectively.

Achieving Goals

When you have achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress you have made towards other goals. If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately.

With the experience of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans:

·       If you achieved the goal too easily, make your next goals harder
·       If the goal took a dispiriting length of time to achieve, make the next goals a little easier
·       If you learned something that would lead you to change other goals, do so
·      If while achieving the goal you noticed a deficit in your skills, decide whether to set goals to fix this.

Failure to meet goals does not matter as long as you learn from it. Feed lessons learned back into your goal-setting program. Remember too that your goals will change as you mature. Adjust them regularly to reflect this growth in your personality. If goals do not hold any attraction any longer, then let them go. Goal setting is your servant, not your master. It should bring you real pleasure, satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

November 9, 2012

A picturesque of virtue

When we start to think about virtue we may think first of obvious heroes, known for their noble deeds. But there are also less active dimensions of virtue, and they are important resources for living well the inevitably large parts of our lives in which we are relatively passive or even helpless.

Let us focus therefore on virtue as it may be manifested in someone whose hands cannot reach the levers of the world. Think of someone very aged and infirm, perhaps unable to move her own wheelchair, and perhaps suffering such memory loss that someone else has to be responsible for many of the decisions in her life. Such a person, I believe, can still be virtuous, and even an inspiration to others. She can still be considerate of those who see her and care for her, and thus need not be altogether without a decision-making dimension of virtue. But if we see notable virtue in her, much of it surely will be in her attitudes, and they may be attitudes to things that she cannot do much about.

Suppose she appreciates whatever good things she is still able to enjoy, is grateful to those who care for her, is delighted when she hears someone else’s good news, and never enjoys hearing of another person’s misfortune. I believe all of that is virtue—not because it shows a disposition to perform noble deeds, which may be mostly beyond her reach—but simply because those are ways of being for things that are importantly good.


Your brain is a novelty-seeking machine. It contains mechanisms that promote exploring the environment, learning new information, and synthesizing that new material into original ideas. There is no doubt about it: your brain is built for creativity.

Of course, that’s not all your brain is built for. Besides being a factory of creative ideas, your brain is charged with other tasks, such as keeping you alive. Your brain must monitor both the external environment (the world) and the internal environment (your body) for signs of threat and then respond appropriately when threat is detected. That involves interpreting the intentions of other people, recalling scenarios from your past to see if something that’s happening out there right now might follow a pattern that didn’t work out so well for you before, and figuring out what excuse you’re going to give your spouse this time for not getting the trash out soon enough for the weekly pickup. (However, note that this last aspect of insuring your survival—like so many others—also requires creativity.)

So when it’s not preoccupied with your survival, your brain can devote more of its resources to being creative. The way the brain is connected to itself is crucial to creativity. We’ve known for decades that some of the most creative ideas come from making associations between remote or seemingly disconnected ideas or concepts. New research is indicating that connections between disparate areas of the brain are also associated with measures of creative thinking. Indeed, creativity is all about making associations.

[Source: Your Creative Brain Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life]

Problem solving and Decision making [defined]

Problem solving can be defined as the process of identifying a difference between the actual and the desired state of affairs and then taking action to resolve the difference. For problems important enough to justify the time and effort of careful analysis, the problem solving process involves the following seven steps:

1. Identify and define the problem.
2. Determine the set of alternative solutions.
3. Determine the criterion or criteria that will be used to evaluate the alternatives.
4. Evaluate the alternatives.
5. Choose an alternative.
6. Implement the selected alternative.
7. Evaluate the results to determine whether a satisfactory solution has been obtained.

Decision making is the term generally associated with the first five steps of the problem solving process. Thus, the first step of decision making is to identify and define the problem. Decision making ends with the choosing of an alternative, which is the act of making the decision.

Creativity - for the gifted only?

How creativity can serve you in areas of your life that have nothing to do with art, music, or science.

First, in the domain of business, the economic downturn of the past several years has hit small businesses, large corporations, and individual contractors. If your business is going to fight the uphill battle of survival, you need to find creative ways to cut costs while maintaining quality, provide an innovative product or service rather than the same old product that your competitors are providing, and invent ways to create or maintain market share.

If your business has already succumbed to the economic downturn, you need to be creative in reinventing your professional life, whether it’s using skills you already possess to market yourself or developing a new set of skills to enter an entirely new business or profession. Reinventing your professional life takes creativity and courage. But it can be one of the most rewarding enterprises of your life.

Second, in the domain of family you may be one of millions of parents who are faced with the dilemma of how to pass on family values to children who live more harried lives than most adults did just a generation ago. How do you communicate with a child who, despite your best efforts, is wired 24/7 to an iPod, Facebook, IM, and Grand Theft Auto? How do you impart a sense of balance to a child who is constantly bombarded by media that equate self-worth with anorexic thinness, pleasing a man in bed, or having the athletic prowess of a superhero? You can do it—but as a parent, you need every ounce of creativity you can muster to compete with electronic gadgets and today’s sensationalized media agenda for your child’s attention and subsequent welfare.

Speaking of which, how do you keep yourself balanced when there are so many demands on your time and personal resources? To maintain your energy—and your sanity—you need to find creative ways to manage your time so that you can juggle the demands of modern existence while still ensuring that your hours and days remain rich and meaningful.

In short, creativity is important for artists, writers, musicians, and inventors; but it is also crucial for societies, businesses, and individuals who need to juggle fulfilment with the demands of the rapid-change culture. You not only need to be creative to enhance your life, you also need to be creative to survive.

[Source: Your Creative Brain Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life]

November 8, 2012

Finding a “creative problem”

How do you find a “creative problem”? Because this is a challenge when you’re first starting to think creatively, here are some tips for getting started.

Keep a list of things that bother you. Do you consistently get annoyed with something? Do you have pet peeves? Write them down. Periodically look over your list when you’re in the absorb brainset. Is there a pattern in these irritations that you could do something about? Are there procedures or changes in objects that would remove the source of annoyance? Think about the de Mestral and Alexander Fleming examples from the last chapter. Rather than letting small things like burrs or mold bother them, they became fascinated by them . . . and the rest is history.

When something goes wrong, brainstorm possible causes. Even minor things, such as breaking a glass, could have causes (for example, slippery floor, shape of glass, and so on) that might suggest a creative problem. When something goes wrong, rather than getting angry, slip into the connect brainset and generate a list of potential causes. Once you have a list of potential causes, you also have a list of creative dilemmas that could be worked on.

Think about what slows you down. Do unexpected things happen during your day that keeps you from being as productive or efficient as you might be? Those unexpected things could involve a creative problem that you could solve. Enter into the envision brainset and imagine what could be done differently to speed up whatever procedure was time-consuming.

Pay attention to your negative emotions. Are you experiencing anxiety, sadness, or frustration that others have faced? Can you express this in a creative manner—with paint, music, or pen? Don’t just be a victim of your negative moods; get into the transform brainset and use them to be creatively productive. Remember that you don’t have to have expertise to express your emotions in a way that will resonate with others.

Scan your environment regularly for things that could be changed and improved. Most of the time we are so busy in our daily tasks that we forget to problem find. Sometimes just remembering to take a few minutes and look for “problems” will yield a number of interesting possibilities. And remember that when you’re thinking creatively, “problems” are opportunities.

[Source: Your Creative Brain Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life]



Scientific naturalism?

Scientific naturalism includes:

1. Different aspects of a naturalist epistemic attitude (e.g. acceptance of naturalized epistemology, a rejection of so-called first philosophy along with an acceptance of either weak or strong scientism);

2. An etiological account of how all entities whatsoever have come to be, constituted by an event-causal story (especially the atomic theory of matter and evolutionary biology) described in natural scientific terms; and

3. A general ontology in which the only entities allowed are ones that bear a relevant similarity to those thought to characterize a completed form of physics. Whether or not this ontology should be expanded to include sui generis emergent properties, e.g. secondary qualities, normative or mental properties, will occupy our attention shortly.

[souce: Consciousness and the Existence of God: A theistic argument]

Getting ''Inked''

A few of the major styles of tattooing:


BIO-MECHANICAL: A style popularized by illustrator H.R. Giger, who designed the creature from the ‘’Alien’’ movies. Bio-mechanical work usually involves an anatomical flesh intertwined with some technical drawings of machines. A close relative of this style involves just the biological look of flesh without the mechanical parts.


BLACK & GREY: Refers to the colors used, this style requires the artist to have advanced shading techniques for subtlety.


CELTIC: Beautiful, intricate knotwork of the Celts (a hard “k”, NOT a soft “c” like the basketball team). These are much harder for artists to do, and is best done by someone who specializes in it. Also usually done in just black ink.


ORIENTAL: Big, bold pieces of Oriental images (carp, clouds, dragons, etc.) based on the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of 18th Century Edo-period Japan. Note: It is fine to call this “Oriental” and not “Asian,” because it references an object and not a person.


PORTRAIT: Images taken from photos, best done by someone who can render realistic photographic images. Usually done in black and grey ink.


SAILOR JERRY: Traditional sailor tattoo style made famous by Jerry Collins in Honolulu.


TRIBAL: Usually bold simple lines, simple patterns. Almost always done with just black ink.

[source: Got Inked]

November 7, 2012


Lying on the Caribbean Coast, Belize is both an old and a new country. Ancient ruins dot the landscape, reminders of its Mayan history, but the country itself only achieved full independence in 1981. For many years, Belize was a British colony, the only one in Central America. English is the official language, but Belizeans are descended from several ethnic groups – Caribs, Africans, Mayans, Asians, and Europeans – and many people speak a Creole or African dialect. Caribbean foods and music are popular, and the country is famous for its wildlife.


In 1961, a massive hurricane and tidal wave devastated the coastal capital, Belize City. In 1970, a new capital, Belmopan, was built 50 miles (80 km) inland to protect it from tropical storms. Although people and businesses are gradually moving to the new capital, Belize City remains the country’s most populated city.

Deep in the forest

Dense tropical rain forest covers half of Belize’s land area. Rosewood, and other products from the forest, such as chicle, used to make chewing gum, and kapok, a silky cotton from the giant Ceiba tree, are important to the economy. So, too, are the increasing number of citrus groves. But cultivation is limited. Much of the rain forest is protected and provides a rich habitat for plants and animals.

Forest Wildlife

The forests are filled with an amazing variety of wildlife. Jaguars, tapirs, howler monkeys, and coatimundi are just a few of the world’s endangered species still thriving in the forests of Belize. Butterflies and tropical birds fly through the trees. And there are 250 different types of orchid, including the black orchid, Belize’s national flower.

Coral Reef

A chain of coral reefs, dotted with small sandy islands called cayes, runs 180 miles (290 km) along the coastline of Belize. It is the world’s second largest barrier reef, after Australia’s, and is home to turtles, sea anemones, and spiny lobsters, as well as a wonderful array of tropical fish. The clear, warm water attracts divers from around the world.


From the ruined cities of the ancient Mayan Civilization to the Catholic churches of the Spanish, Guatemala represents a blend of Cultures. Today, more than half the people are direct descendants of the Mayan Indians and Live mainly in highland villages; the remainder of the population is part Indian and part Spanish. Many Mayans work for rich landowners who grow the coffee, sugar, and bananas that are the country’s main cash crops. Guatemala also exports fresh-cut flowers, mostly roses, which are grown in the valleys around Antigua.

Most Guatemalans are Roman Catholic, the religion the Spanish brought with them in the 16th century. However, many people are now becoming Protestant. Guatemalans also practice their own form of worship based on traditional beliefs. This procession in Antigua forms part of their celebration of Holy Week.


Markets such as this one in Chichicastenango, in the highlands near Lake Atitlán, are a feature of daily life. Many native Guatemalans farm small plots of land where they grow corn, beans, and squash, as well as fruit. They regularly walk long distances from outlying villages to a market to sell crops, flowers, and handcrafted goods such as pottery and baskets.


Tourism is one of Guatemala’s fastest growing industries. Each year almost one million tourists visit the country to see its ancient sites. Spectacular ruins mark the site of Tikal, one of the great Mayan cities. Tikal was mysteriously abandoned in about AD 900. Today its ruined temples lie in a huge area of tropical forest.

November 6, 2012


Sometimes called “the land of lakes and volcanoes,” Nicaragua is a beautiful country. It could also be one of the richest in Central America, but its recent history has been as violent as its earthquakes, and the economy has been thrown into chaos by past political events. The economy is mainly based on agriculture, with fishing along the coasts, but Nicaragua also has large deposits of minerals, including copper and gold, which are mined for export. The country has a young population, with more than half the people under the age of 15.


For over 40 years, the Somoza family ruled Nicaragua as a dictatorship. But in 1979, rebels took control and formed the leftwing Sandinista government. They provided better health care, and set up a program of taking land from the rich and giving it to peasants. However, they were opposed by the Contras, anti-Sandinista forces backed by the United States, and thousands lost their lives in fighting during the next decade. In 1990 the Sandinistas lost the elections, but have retained their popularity among the poor.


Extended families are common in Nicaragua. Parents and children often live with their grandparents under one roof. Until 1979, more than half the population could not read or write. Under the Sandinistas, a literacy campaign was set up, and newly trained teachers, many of them women, were sent into rural areas to teach reading and writing. Within just a few months, literacy levels rose to 87 percent. However, when the Sandinistas lost power, the campaign faded and reading levels dropped again.

November 5, 2012

Getting ''Inked'' [Tattoo/s]

Where on my body should I get a tattoo?

This may seem VERY trivial, since the answer can be “anywhere you please!” The ONLY places you cannot technically get permanent tattoos are your hair, teeth and nails (even the cornea used to be tattooed years ago for medical purposes). Interestingly, women and men tend to get tattoos in different locations. This, according to sociologist Clinton Sanders, is because men and women get tattoos for different reasons. Men, he says, get them to show others, while women get them for the sake of decorating their body--and often place them where they can’t normally be seen, so that it doesn’t prompt comments about her “reputation.” However for the sake of this FAQ, the following is a short list of areas to get inked.

Head: The “head” here refers mostly to the area where your hair grows. You’ll need to shave the area for the tat to be most visible. If you need to hide your tat, you can grow your hair out. Areas more commonly inked are the sides of the head (above the ears), and above the nape of the neck in the back. There are people who have their entire heads inked. I am told that the tattooing process vibrates your skull!

Back of neck: I’ve seen some tribal pieces, and bats done on the back of the neck. You’ll need to keep your hair short or tied up to keep it visible.

Face: Various areas possible. Facial tattoos could fall into the cosmetic or standard categories. Cosmetic would include darkening of eyebrows, eyelining, liplining, etc. Getting a tat on the face is serious business and crosses a portal because people will never look at you the same way.

Upper chest: One of the standard areas for tattoos for both men and women. Allows lots of flat area in which to get a fairly large piece. One of the areas where you can choose to get symmetrically inked on both sides. (Men: 5%, women: 35%--chest & breast combined)

Breasts (women): Used to be trendy to get a tiny tat on the breast. Women (particularly larger breasted ones) need to be careful about eventual sagging of the skin in the area. Don’t get a tat that will look silly when it starts to stretch (like a round smiley face that’ll turn into an oblong frown).

Nipples: Usually the artist leaves the nipples alone--the omission of ink tends not to be so noticeable. There has been work done with tattooing a facsimile of a nipple onto a breast in reconstructive surgery for those who have lost their nipples, tho--for aesthetic and self-esteem purposes.

Rib cage: Can be rather painful because of all the ribs you work over. However it offers a fairly large area, and can be incorporated into a major back piece, wrapping around toward the front.

Stomach/Abdomen: Some people choose not to get work done on their stomachs for a couple of reasons. Area is difficult to work on because there’s no solid backing to hold the skin down. It is a sensitive area that may feel uncomfortable. The tat may look horrible after your metabolism slows down and you develop a - er-- “beer gut.” (Men: Less
than 5%, women: 14% )

Genitals: Yes, some people do get inked in their genital area. The idea may sound very painful, but it’s really not all that bad. However, do consider that, due to the stretchiness of the skin and the amount of movement the area experiences, it’s not really possible to do anything with a lot of fine detail. And no, the penis does not  have to be erect during tattooing, although a tattoo artist I know who has done several penis tattoos said that he did have one customer who had a full erection the whole time. The only female genital tattoo I’ve seen (inner labia, I think) was in Modern Primitives, and it looked rather blurry. Note: Some artists refuse to do  genitals. (Men: 0%; women: 5 %)

Thighs/hips: A popular area for women to get larger pieces (often extending from the hip area). Shows well with a bathing suit but easily concealable in modest shorts. The entire area of skin around your thighs is bigger than your back, so you can get quite a bit of work done. (Men: 3%; women: 10%)

Calves: Nice area to get a standard size (2” x 2”). However if you have very hairy legs, it may cut down on the visibility somewhat. (Men: 7%; women: 8%. Category simply listed as leg/foot)

Ankles: Currently trendy. You can either get a spot piece on the inner or outer ankle, or get something that goes around in a band. Vines and other vegetation seem popular (pumpkins, anyone?)

Feet: I’ve seen some incredible footwork (pun intended) in some of the tat magazines. Concealable with shoes. Probably don’t have as much wear and tear as hands so you might get less blurring and color loss. This however, is the TOPS of your feet. You will have trouble retaining a tattoo on the bottom of your feet.

Armpits: Usually reserved for those who want to get full coverage around the arm and chest area, & need the armpits filled. Probably not strongly recommended for the highly ticklish.

Inner arms: A more unusual location than the outer upper arm area, this area is often not easily visible. Be careful if your genes are prone to “bat wing” flab, however.

Forearms: Popeye sported his anchor on his forearm. Probably not as popular as the upper arm but common just the same. You can have your upper arm “sleeve” extend down for a full sleeve. For an example, check out that heavy metal veejay on MTV (who has a nose pierce).

Wrists: Janis Joplin had a dainty tat on her wrist...easily concealable with a watch.

Hands (fingers and palms): Some artists don’t do hands because the ink will have a tendency to blur or fade easily. Consider that you probably move your hands the most out of your entire body. Some people want to substitute their wedding bands with tat bands. Your palm doesn’t retain ink well--if you can find an artist who will do it, you can expect it to be a rather basic line, and that it will not last too long. Perhaps just matching tats someplace else would be okay.

Shoulder blades: The back shoulder blade area is another popular spot for women, who can show off the work with a bathing suit or tank top, but cover it up with regular clothes. If this is the case, be particularly careful with sun because you’re not gonna be wearing that unless it’s warm & sunny. It’s a “safe” place--but may get in the way if you decide to commit yourself to a large back piece. (Men: 15%, women: 15%.

Back: You can get any part of your back done, or find yourself an artist you really like, and save your money for a “back piece” that encompasses your entire back. Expect to pay several thousand dollars for a full back piece (not to mention many tat sessions).

Buttocks: Again, beware of potential sagging in the area.

[source: Got Ink and Tattoo Bible II]


Climate is the average pattern of weather and temperature in a particular area over a long period of time. Similar types of climate are found in different places around the world. For example, there are regions of hot, dry desert in Africa and North America, as well as across central Australia. It is a region’s climate, together with its physical landscape, that determines the kind of vegetation, or plant life, that is usually found there. Cold areas near the poles and icy mountain peaks support little, or no, vegetation. Hot, wet rain forests near the equator, however, encourage the fast growth of a variety of plants


As the Earth travels around the Sun, the tilt on its axis means that each place leans gradually nearer the Sun, and then farther away from it. This causes the seasons. When the northern hemisphere leans toward the Sun it has summer. When it tilts away it has winter. In the southern hemisphere this is reversed. Between the warm days of summer and the cold days of winter come spring and fall. The Earth also spins on its axis, turning once every 24 hours to give us day and night. The side facing the Sun has day, while the other side has night.

Changes in world climate. The world’s climate can be changed by both natural as well as human events. When Mt. Pinatubo, a volcano in the Philippines, erupted in 1991, it threw ash and dust high into the atmosphere. Locally, this caused dark skies, heavy rainfall, and high winds. Equally, events such as the massive oil fires in Kuwait, started during the Gulf War, can have a damaging effect on climate.

Hypothetical Thinking

Hypothetical thinking is the foundation of your imagination. When you employ hypothetical or conjectural thinking, you are mentally imaging something that is not manifest in the world of reality (reality being the state of things as they objectively exist, not as we would have them exist). Your conjecture is not “true,” or at least it has not been shown to be true. You are thinking in “What ifs.” We’ve already discussed how “What if?” thinking can help you make decisions (such as whether to jump off a cliff and try to fly). However, hypothetical thinking is not limited by the constraints of current reality. You can use “What if?” or hypothetical thinking to speculate on situations that are not probable in the real world, as well as those that might actually be possible. What if people had three arms instead of two? What if you use red instead of green for the color of the grass in a watercolor painting? What if you replace the cinnamon in Aunt Millie’s pumpkin pie recipe with cayenne pepper? What if light is both a particle and a wave? What if Darth Vader turns out to be related to Luke Skywalker? What if you switch the melody from a major key to a minor key? What if you let the killer escape from the asylum in Chapter Twenty-Three? What if Chicago were overrun with Martians? What if I take the next exit and drive to Ohio instead of Florida?

There is an endless array of “What if?” scenarios we could visualize in just a single day. We have this elegant hardware that allows us to imagine, but how often do we use it? We have this sophisticated video game right inside our skull, there to be played at any hour of the day or night. How often do you play with it? Creative people play with mental imagery and hypothetical thinking a lot . . . and the results are not inconsequential.

Einstein claims to have used this power of hypothetical mental imaging to form his theory of relativity. He described his creative process as seeing “more or less clear images which can be ‘voluntarily’ reproduced and combined . . . this combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.” This is a good description of working within the envision brainset.

All right. I’m getting a mental image of those of you who prefer the evaluative brainset rolling your eyes. You may see the “What if?” games as silly or as a self-indulgent waste of time. But, as we’ve discussed, the ability to imagine is a survival tool. It has allowed us to adapt to and eventually control our surroundings by imagining new and novel resources for ourselves. By forming mental images of highly unlikely scenarios, you are training your brain to think outside the proverbial box. The more you practice “what if-ing,” the more easily you will be able to visualize unusual scenarios and the more likely you are to come up with ideas when you need to generate a novel solution to a problem.

[Source: Your Creative Brain Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life]

Skills required of food production personnel

Skills required of food production personnel vary not only with the job level but also with the establishment and the kind of food prepared. The director of a hospital kitchen and the head chef in a luxury restaurant need different skills. The skills needed by a short-order cook in a coffee shop are not exactly the same as those needed by a production worker in a school cafeteria. Nevertheless, we can group skills into three general categories:

1. Supervisory

The head of a food service kitchen, whether called executive chef, head chef, working chef, or dietary director, must have management and supervisory skills as well as a thorough knowledge of food production. Leadership positions require an individual who understands organizing and motivating people, planning menus and production procedures, controlling costs and managing budgets, and purchasing food supplies and equipment. Even if he or she does no cooking at all, the chef must be an experienced cook in order to schedule production, instruct workers, and control quality. Above all, the chef must be able to work well with people, even under extreme pressure.

2. Skilled and technical

While the chef is the head of an establishment, the cooks are the backbone. These workers carry out the actual food production. Thus, they must have knowledge of and experience in cooking techniques, at least for the dishes made in their own department. In addition, they must be able to function well with their fellow workers and to coordinate with other departments. Food production is a team activity.

3. Entry level

Entry-level jobs in food service usually require no particular skills or experience. Workers in these jobs are assigned such work as washing vegetables and preparing salad greens. As their knowledge and experience increase, they may be given more complex tasks and eventually become skilled cooks. Many executive chefs began their careers as pot washers who got a chance to peel potatoes when the pot sink was empty.  Beginning in an entry-level position and working one’s way up with experience is the traditional method of advancing in a food service career. Today, however, many cooks are graduates of culinary schools and programs. But even with such an education, many new graduates begin at entry-level positions. This is as it should be and certainly should not be seen as discouragement. Schools teach general cooking knowledge, while every food service establishment requires specific skills, according to its own menu and its own procedures.

Experience as well as theoretical knowledge is needed to be able to adapt to real-life working situations. However, students who have studied and learned well should be able to work their way up more rapidly than the beginners with no knowledge at all.

[source: professional cooking sixth edition]

November 4, 2012


At Harvard University, a famous defender of communitarianism, Michael Sandel of the Department of Government, has denounced competition and reportedly has insisted that his own kids play only non-competitive baseball. The reason? He believes that competition is too individualistic, supports a spirit of rivalry, and undermines the cooperative attitude that we should foster in ourselves.

At those times, when people are gearing up for the Olympic Games, we might as well pay some attention to Professor Sandel’s lament and ask ourselves whether competition is or is not a good thing. And, as with so many matters, it will come to light that no “one-size-fits-all” answer is available to us. Nor, however, will we find that competition is some kind of human evil that has managed to infiltrate the human situation just to corrupt us all. It will help to reflect for a moment on why some folks feel as Professor Sandel does. It comes from a view of human life that was nicely sketched by Karl Marx, namely, the belief that when humanity becomes fully mature, it will look something like a wonderful choir in which we all stand next to one another, wearing about the same outfit and harmonizing in a way that gives none of us a distinctive voice but merges all voices together into a single collective sound. It is this view that has excited the imagination of thousands of political thinkers, and it is one from which most have drawn their lesson of what is best for human beings as they try to flourish in their communities.

It has also led, tragically, to massive totalitarian experiments in which people are coerced into a single mold that does violence to their human nature in the name of a misconceived dream. A very pictorial illustration of this ideal comes to us from Communist China where, during Mao’s rule, it was customary for millions of Chinese to march through the country together, all wearing identical-looking blue pajamas. (Never mind that the fabric of these garments revealed a serious class differentiation – that could not be seen as the world witnessed the Chinese spectacle.)

Instead of this image of humanity as one big, identically populated choir, the real story is quite another matter. We are much more different from one another than we are alike, and that is not just some temporary stage but the permanent condition of our human lives. We are significantly different in our biological make-up, and our free will leads us to make different decisions as we face the diverse circumstances of our lives. Most importantly, even where we face common circumstances, we often exert different levels of attention and effort, leading to different outcomes in our diverse lives. As usual, there are symbolic ways that these basic facts are literally played out in human communities. The Olympic Games are the most visible and celebrated ways that we have come to register the spirit of competition in our lives.

This competition is not at all the disharmonizing, acrimonious, alienating and hostile affair that critics make it out to be; quite the contrary. If you watch carefully, you will notice that the bulk of the events, quite like much of competitive life, are peaceful and even friendly, but demonstrative of the fact that human living requires close attention and much effort so that we may flourish at it. It may not be for everyone, either, this spirit of competition. But where it exists, it can be a show of human beings making the effort to do their best at some task.

In fact, competition isn’t primarily a rivalry at all. That part of it may sometimes overshadow what is most important about it, namely, the mutual and harmonious effort to excel at something. Sure, the spectators and the promoters often stress the rivalry, but it would be a mistake to take that to be the essence of what is going on and what is being symbolically represented about human community life.

Competition is built into the fact of our individuality and mutual striving to make something of ourselves through the myriad of activities in which we take part. And apart from some cases of corruption – which, of course, can plague any aspect of human living – competition gives us a symbolic expression of one of life’s realities, namely, that there is no guarantee of success and that everyone needs to work hard to get ahead but can do this with mutual respect and even in friendship. Competition, of course, is also spurred on by the fact of scarcity, as many economists would argue, although that’s not sufficient for it to occur. After all, people are sometimes quite satisfied with exactly what they have and seek no more, certainly not necessarily something that is scarce (unless by ‘scarce’ is meant ‘not available at the lowest conceivable price’).

Sure, people often strive to obtain what others also want, and there may not be enough for all at a preferred price. In that case, they will need to engage in competitive bidding for it, so that someone can be selected as the winner. But this is not the most basic reason for competition, which is that people want to do well, including doing well at obtaining economic benefits, and this leads to seeking advancement as best as they can, compared to others.