Child’s Play!

Hello All! We have been granted another Monday to do the work of our Creator, for we are His children … may we enjoy!

In looking at my life, I have occasion to remember things … yes and people and places, too, as the 12 Step Programs suggest to help rid oneself of addictions, in addition to developing a spiritual life. Last night, a friend from elementary school was on line via Face Book and commented she had been reading my posts and noticed I had developed a relationship with My Creator whom I chose to call God! Now, the interesting thing about the chat we had is that she had been watching Saturday Night Live and they did a spoof on the Wizard of Oz, which was a play we had done back at Rochambeau School in White Plains, NY. I had the role of the Tin Man and, needless to say, sang and danced and acted my heart out as a little boy! I remember they even spray painted me and my costume silver!!! So, Wendi saw the SNL spoof and said she immediately thought of me … being the Tin Man back in elementary school days! Wow! What an honor to have a place in someone’s memory like that!

Roy Ayers, a fine keyboardist from my Princeton days had a song called, “Life is Just a Moment!” … the lyrics continued, “Yea, yea … you better enjoy it!”

“All of my life I been like a doubled up fist . . . Poundin’, smashin, drivin, – now I’m going to loosen these doubled up hands and touch things easy with them.” – Tennessee Williams

Every man (and woman) has many sides. Some sides are highly developed and other sides aren’t at all. We need not fear turning to a new side and exploring it. TOUCHSTONES, Feb 28th

Interestingly enough, yesterday at Calvary Chapel, Pastor Bob addressed the issue of “fear” … the fear of success, the fear of failure … and the fear of not being pleasing to your fellow humans, which all block ones road to “success” … whatever that may be as he mentioned, that too, is relative for each of us! May we not be so concerned what one person’s life looks like and focus on that more than our own!

Yesterday afternoon after church, I spent lots of time cleaning my pad … floors, furniture, set up a new lamp and put some new “sky blue” sheets on the bed! After cruising to A-1-A and hangin’ at Beach Place a few hours, I headed home. I made some pasta with sausage and cheese sauce, sprinkled on some parmesan cheese with some corn on the side and watched the Heat vs the Knicks! What a game … what a rivalry. The nice thing, too, was listening to the Williams girl receive her award for working to get equal prizes for women tennis players, honorary membership with the Heat, and for being one of the first women co-owners of a sports team herself! Today is the last day of Black History Month … so look up this guy, Oscar Micheaux, the first African American to produce a feature-length film called “The Homesteader” in 1920!

Peace be with each of you … and with thy spirit!

John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence

Embracing Diversity

Happy Friday, All!

Now, of course … we mustn’t forget – T.G.I.F.!

Yet, one more thing to remember is the fact that it is the last Friday of Black History Month, while the coming Monday is the last day! So, I wanted to remind us of the importance of reaching out to others, too, as for me “diversity” is something that has helped me as an African American male to embrace this country and the world we live in. In my life so far, I have traveled to London, England; Madrid and points south in Spain; Nassau and Great Exuma, Bahamas; many cities and Cali in Colombia; and Montreal and Toronto, Canada. There are still some places I would like to visit including Cairo, Egypt and Rome, Italy! My mother brought back photos and tales of her journeys to both places circa 1970.

One of my early favorite writers from the Harlem Renaissance was a young gent named Countee Cullen. His story is almost as fascinating as his writing …. Enjoy a classic!


Once riding through old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and rather small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and, called me “Nigger”.

I saw the whole of Baltimore,
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there,
That’s all that I remember.

May we always remember the pioneers who brought this country to its feet, so to speak, and may we never forget the contributions of the African American, not to mention the Native Americans and all the other peoples, too.

Embrace Diversity … and Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Educational Excellence
Ps. – It’s about time I start working on my next book!

The Unlucky 7

Happy Hump Day, Y’All ….

But there is something heavy on my heart …. and it ain’t Mrs. Crabtree from “The Little Rascals”!

You know, it is Black History Month still …. and it is so hard to stomach the fact that the seventh “black male” was killed by a Miami police officer … in seven months! Okay, now I know Miami is a rough neighborhood … especially Overtown and Liberty City … but enough is enough! I mean, if you have to shoot someone, shouldn’t they be armed and at least posing a threat to you other than their skin color and gold teeth glistening in the rays of the flashlight?!

Now, the last two who were shot WERE UNARMED! One survived the police initiated shooting and the other died. The family of the one who died instantly last weekend held a vigil/protest last night. His son is left fatherless, his mother is sonless and the situation is “under investigation” like the six before … no resolution to ANY of them. Now I have been pushed around and shoved and called outside by thugs on a couple of occasions but I chose to diffuse the situation as best I could … I had no gun then and it was difficult though I did have a friend or two nearby as back up. So, I know the sensation of “fear”. Those of you who know me are aware of the fact that I have had my experiences with guns and the law, and, my father was in law enforcement in Westchester County.

At this time, the mayor and several other Miami-Dade politicians, not to mention the community and family members of the “Unlucky 7” are calling for Chief Miguel Exposito’s immediate resignation. He is already supposedly under the supervision of retired FBI leader, also African American, Paul Phillip, who has stated that he will not fire Exposito. Yet, the people want answers and results of these on-going investigations which are long overdue.

I also know the feeling of loss of a family member through violence. Do you? Nothing like this though … Someone who is supposed to protect and serve ends up killing and ignoring the citizens that they are supposed to protect and serve. Former Miami Police Chief Timoney took a Lexus and was forced to resign …. this Chief allows his officers to take “lives” and does not answer to the people at all!

May we continue to search for the truth …. here … and everywhere …


John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence


What once had begun as just a night, Prayer Watch, when thousands of freedmen prayed for the release of those still held in bondage, Black History was later celebrated as a week!  Once the consciousness was risen and people began to recognize the plethora of contributions of Negroes, later the term was changed to Black American or Afro-American, and has recently evolved into the term of African American, the celebration of Black History Month has earned its place amongst celebrated American holidays!  Words are just words … but they often can be the vehicle by which to raise self esteem, consciosness and ultimately the identity of a peoples!

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