So, this is just a personal page to write down comments, explanations, create a repository for my psychic waste, and generally tell you informally who I am and what I believe.
First, this is my Universal Deluxe Disclaimer: “I hate websites.” They always seem to me to be an exercise in self-indulgent, self-gratification, wherein the subject attempts to be the cyberspace cynosure.
...Even those sites that make the tenuous claim to be “for business purposes” ...bleh... antithetical to what I believe in and how I was taught. I finally succumbed to nagging from various quarters and wrote this site: “so, don’t hate me, it wasn’t my idea.” So much for disclaimers.
Next, I want to tell you about my family. My wife, Helen Chu Cook, RN, BSN and I have been together for 31+ years. The woman is a Saint. She was born in British Hong Kong (she was a UK citizen before becoming an American) and is of Cantonese, Tai Shan, and Eurasian descent. She calls the two of us “French Fries and an Eggroll.” Only now, she says I’m the eggroll...and it's true...
We have three beautiful and accomplished daughters:
Cyana Michelle Paolantonio (née Cook), is a Triple Threat actress who has already developed an impressive and substantial list of accomplishments.
Her Husband, Michael is a wonderful young man, everything a Father could hope for his Daughter. He is a Graphic Designer and Program Director for the Children's Hospital Foundation.
In 2014, Cyana gave birth to our Grandson, Luca Paolantonio, who is my best friend!
Ariana Elizabeth, who is a polymath, received her undergraduate training in the Honors Program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She received her Masters in Clinical Counseling from the Johns Hopkins University in a newly established degree and certification program in Psychology and Counseling.
Fully licensed, she does remarkable work with young people who have chemical dependencies. She is also an extraordinarily talented artist and writer.
Elizabeth Anne has a remarkable gift for languages (those latent Welsh genes take the strangest turns...). Attending James Madison University, she double-majored in French and Cultural Anthropology, minored in Italian and Chinese (“Business” Mandarin) and is conversant in Cantonese, Italian and Spanish.
After graduation, she taught English in a French school on the island of Martinique.
She received her Masters in European Socio-political studies in a unique program administered through the European Union. Her studies began in Istanbul, then Nice, then culminated in Berlin. During her course of study, she had many expeditions to Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg and other centers of the EU.
After teaching for two years in the "Three Cities," Wuhan, PRC, she now resides and teaches in Hong Kong, SAR. She also sings in an Ex-Pat's and Hong Konger's Rock Band.
And now, “Esse quam videri.” You cannot possibly imagine how much grief I have had to endure about this from the smug, the ignorant, the boorish, and the barbarous. This Latin apothegm, from Cicero’s “De amicita,” is the ascribed family motto for the name “Cook,” dating to late-Middle Age usage. The origins of the rather prosaic last name of “Cook” actually equates to the term “Chef” as we would understand and employ the word. (This is very cool, since that is the “nickname” I have acquired among certain very fine musicians, the moniker invented by David Marsh and Ronnie Shaw.)
The fact that it is the North Carolina State Motto is of no concern to me: we had it first.
Transliterated, it means, “To Be, Rather Than To Seem.” This is a powerful sentiment for me, one that I try to live by, especially in our current Age wherein “manner” seems to have triumphed over “substance.” I suppose I could bring the motto up to date by converting it into the caveat, “Stop being a Bullshit Artist,” but then I would offend many people that I know by striking a nerve...
Esse Quam Videri