Going The Distance

Hello All!

Yes, and a happy Monday to each of you! You folks must keep in mind that if all this “happy stuff” and even the not so happy stuff is too much for you, please, let me know. I will be sure to eliminate you from this e-mail list. You know, I get this whenever I do the marketing for the EDU program at work. People say, “Uh, I don’t remember signing up for this so could you please take me off your “DO NOT CALL” list?” So, I have to remind them that what they want is to be ADDED to my DO NOT CALL list! lol!

Okay, so after a somewhat successful week, I decided to “take care of the home front” Sunday. You know, staying close to home and doing my spiritual Spring Cleaning. But after sleeping in just a bit, I went to the mid-day service at Calvary. Pastor Bob was in stellar form as he talked about Habakkuk’s confusion of what is God’s job. You know, the “why do they have this or that” and the “why don’t I have this or that!” He joked about how some people were given “good looks” dust upon creation and others were given “make money” dust, and, some people weren’t provided with a similar jump start! “Why?” was the question he posed in conveying the message that no one knows the “Big Picture”, so to speak. The overall theme was to trust your Creator and know that this is your role to play, so stand up and be counted.

Last night, after cooking and washing clothes, I sat back to eat and watch the Heat. The half-time show was great because instead of dancing and stuff, The Miami Heat coupled with Carnival Cruise Lines and Hewlett Packard to give full four year scholarships AND a laptop to about fourteen high school youth graduating from Miami-Dade Public Schools! Now, there was Micky Arison, General Manager for the Miami Heat; several representatives from Carnival Cruise Lines and Hewlett Packard; and even Alonzo Mourning, Director of Programs for the Miami Heat Organization. It was so nice to see those young people walk in front of a cheering crowd and receive their rewards for their hard work …. and …. to help them go the distance into their university education. It brought back memories for me when I graduated from St. Paul’s and later earned a “work-study/scholarship” package at Princeton! My, my, my how times flies . . .

So, this is our last week in March 2011 and I hope each of us is prepared to go the distance. None of us know when “our number is up”, so keep loving, living and learning and continue going the distance.

May you have a wonderful day and a great week!


John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence

Mishka … Here Comes That J Again!

So … I went to see Mishka last night after receiving two complimentary tickets from Brian at Capone’s last Friday … I went by myself and kept one ticket as a souvenir … not because I am selfish but nobody could get free … After a day at a telemarketing office where confusion reigns supreme, it was just what I needed!

I got there a little early ’cause I left work a little early since my cue had crap in it, if you know what I mean. It was at “Revolution”, a trendy Bohemian club in downtown FTL that used to be a large complex hosting “rave” parties. The opening band was a local one, with trombone, two guitarist a drummer and a beer drinking lead singer with a cast on her leg, as well as a bass player. Now they were pretty good, as the band’s leader who wore shorts jumped all over the stage and sang and screamed, and they didn’t take up too much time.

When the curtains opened for Mishka, and I didn’t really know what to expect, there was a nappy bearded fair-skinned thin man with no shoes on and jeans, a Bohemian styled jacket and a Jamaican styled head piece. He was holding an acoustic guitar. Next to him sat a man with an old styled Afro clad in all black holding an electric guitar. While I could tell he was a man, he had glimpses of a woman in his face … like my mom … peaceful looking and stuff … By now, the club had begun to fill up and people were in the former “mosh pit” coupled up with beers and drinks in their hands. I sat on the right hand side of the stage at a “box table” by myself, since a woman who’s man was in a wheel chair asked for the other chair at my stage-side table.

The sounds were quiet, his voice was radiant and well trained as he hit every note in his slow ballad style accompanied gently by the electric guitarist who plucked intermittently as was designed. Quite a contrast to the opening band but my ears, my spirit and my heart welcomed the peace that prevailed. He had just come from Mexico, so he said, and arrived in Miami the day before and tarried on up to Fort Lauderdale for this show. He dedicated a song to the Japanese victims and reminded us that man can build everything as big and as strong as we know how but that “Jah” could tear it all down in a matter of seconds.

Another song he did was about the ocean, though many people think it is about a woman, he said …. since they behave the same sometimes …. ” … raising him high and shining in the sun, carrying him out and filling him with love ….”. After several songs and applause, he did a final song which had the verse ” Here comes that J again ….” over and over until I thought I heard Jimi Hendrix in the house. Yes, I am dating myself but what else is new! Soon, he broke into “All Along the Watchtower” … ” … two riders were approaching, and the wind began to howl!” The show finished to much applause, and I walked slowly over to Capone’s where I have my VIP parking space behind the club ( lol!). I jumped on the NightHawk, hit I-95 North and didn’t stop until I made it home …

Peace be with each of you …

John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence
Ps -In case a tsunami hits me and the NightHawk … ’cause I’m gonna be riding her, y’all just remember how much I love you …

Let God Be God …

Hello Crew, yes … and as always for me … T.G.I.F.!

Right off the top, I want to thank each of you for being a part of this e-mail family! Those of you who know me best are aware of how it was born in conjunction with Educational Excellence. It originally started as a marketing tool for my motivational talks and two books … Then it progressed to a group of people I have kept in the loop of my own situations as well as a marketing tool for EE … And now it has expanded to become like a newsletter, probably like none you’ve ever received before … with that touch of “home”, so to speak. One of my good friends that I met since living here in South Florida “schooled me” on how to set up the blog. And … after years of teaching and traveling … and coupled with trials and tribulations, failures and successes … it has become a vehicle dedicated to spirituality, peace, love and anti-violence! Peace be still …

Well, Spring is in the air … and it is now cold in South Florida this morning! Imagine that! This weekend is the world renown “Calle Ocho” festival, which for me is comparable to “La Feria de Cali” that is held around Christmas time and includes a city-wide “horse parade” known as “La Cabalgata” in Cali, Colombia, South America. Both are festivals honoring the contributions of the hispanic community but “Calle Ocho” is in the USA – the melting pot of many many cultures, and people come from all over the world to celebrate. The food, the music, the dancing and singing … oh yeah … and drinking, consume the people in a barrio in Miami where resides one of the largest Latin American communities in this country. So, while an earthquake in Japan has caused a tsunami, a volcano erupts on one of the beautiful Hawaiian islands, and the celebration of Calle Ocho hits South Florida, let God be God … and embrace another season we observe called Spring!

“One must not hold one’s self so divine as to be unwilling occasionally to make improvements in one’s creations.” – Ludwig von Beethoven

“I will be content to let God be God and accept my life with all its need for improvements.” (TOUCHSTONES, March 11)


John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence

%d bloggers like this: