“I Hope You Learned Your Lesson, Son!”

failure to listen - Obama

It’s Friday, y’all!! I’ve gotten to see another one! So, T.G.I.F.!! What about you?!

Today is also the last day of Black History Month 2014. Have you gotten anything out of it?! It is important not to just go through life following everyone else’s definition of “life” and who “you” are! Over the years of modern history in this country, we have witnessed how the circumstances and challenges faced by individuals propelled them to take on the patterns of society, and challenge them. In some cases, as the protagonists challenged the “norm” of behavior (racism), changes occurred that benefited the populace in general.

Growing up with a father like mine was very interesting for me. The main reason is that he did not experience the kinds of things that he literally pushed me towards. While in many ways, he was my role model, I knew he had never been to places that he encouraged me to go to … like a boarding school, and an ivy league university. As Black History Month 2014 comes to an end, I can hear my father saying to me, “I hope you got your lesson done, boy!” He was referring to my homework for that night. My sister, Edna, was often responsible for sitting with me until I got my “lesson done,” so to speak. In my personal life today, I try to be sure that I get my lesson done … and develop a deeper understanding of things going down around me. That way, my personal and moral compass can be adjusted as need be to allow me to live a life of loving, listening and learning … and of course, sharing.

I think that America, these United States of America, to be exact, has learned some valuable lessons with our present POTUS and his wife doing some things that literally “shook up” the status quo and the way things had been done by presidents and first ladies up until the Obama years at the White House. Healthy eating as proposed by Michelle as well as an expansion of civil rights as fought for “tooth and nail” by President Obama are just a couple of initiatives they put into motion. In looking at “Black History”, it is clear that there were many people of color, including Native Americans whose stories intertwined with “negroes” until they (we), too, became known as African Americans. The list of such persons begins somewhere during the revolts against slavery in this country and abroad (ie. Toussaint L’ Overture), which wasn’t that long ago, and continues up to the era of Rosa Parks and MLK, Jr. which further manifests itself in the fact that we’ve had an African American president for two terms. In my Bernie Mack voice, “America, did you learn your lesson?”

May we take each day as if it is our last, enter into an agreement with our Creator and promise to do our best to move humankind forward. “I have a dream!”

Peace be with you,

John I. Cook, Director

What I Like About You!!!

What I Like About You!

Hey now, y’all! Yep, it’s Happy Hump Day again!!

What does the forecast look like for you amongst the things that you like?! Isn’t it nice when one can find things to actually “like” about another person or situation even?! It is the positivity of thought that often keeps the negative from taking over ones stream of consciousness. I remember some years back during my young adulthood, I grappled with the fact that “bad things happen to good people, too!” What a paradox, heh??!!

Some folks might deduce from that simple teaching something completely the opposite. For example, if bad things happen to good people, too . . . then why be good?! You do know that there are people who think that way, right?! I know a few, in case all of your friends seem so perfect to you. Well, here’s my take on why being good is better than being “bad” even if bad things happen to good people, too. I personally feel better when I try to do good things. Of course, one of my favorite historical figures who characterizes this thought better than most is Jesus . . . yep, the man who was crucified because of his beliefs in human-kind’s ability to be good.

About a week or so ago, I was in Publix supermarket in Ft. Lauderdale and a young lady approached me and asked me if I wanted to taste the wine. This was one of those promotional persons who sets up a table in front of an aisle and offer samples of white wine or red wine from some particular companies whose products are being marketed for promotion. So, I looked at her as our eyes met for a moment, and I said “No thanks!” But I felt a bit of a “flow” of positive energy coming from her. Yet, I continued on to the ice cream coolers to get some of my favorite fruit health pops made by Whole Fruit. I checked out, looked for the young woman again who was also rather attractive and tall and told her that now I would taste the wine. I am not a big wine drinker, nor a big drinker at all. But I went back and tasted the two. I noted an accent in her voice and asked where she was from. Colombia. That was the beginning of a new friendship for me, so far. A woman was seated next to her whom she introduced as her mother who was visiting from a small town called Malaga in the region of Santander, Colombia. She told me she was a singer and a model and was looking for some contacts. I immediately thought of my buddy that I call “Big Bro'”, Mr. Robbie Williams. So we exchanged business cards and I promised to get back to her soon.

After calling Robbie, he told me about a gentleman who was the bassist in a group that was performing at Blue Jean Blues, a fairly new live jazz club in Ft. Lauderdale, on Monday night. I picked up my friend and her mother and we went to meet this guy. The show was fantastic and he was “our” first contact. While it didn’t pan out as of yet, we also exchanged numbers. As we were leaving Blue Jean Blues, my new friend noticed a couple of other “clubs” that had live entertainment on the same street and she entered and expressed her interest in singing at the establishments. Before we had left the street, she noticed a karaoke event taking place at a corner bar called “The Dive”. She entered the establishment, spoke to a few people and before we knew it, she was performing some of her favorite karaoke tunes by “Shakira” … on stage!!! Clearly, she was the best of all of the “entertainers” that night. Last night, Robbie mentioned that he knew of another karaoke event at an establishment in Boca Raton called “Platforms”. I picked Angela and her mom up, as they are not staying more than 15 minutes from me, and took them to Platforms. She was invited to perform without hesitation. There was a friend of Robbie’s named “Hal” who was playing guitar, had a female drummer and another young lady singing back up for the karaoke performers. Angela did well, bonded with the band leader, met the owner of Platforms, and exchanged numbers with quite a few people as they were extremely impressed with her “show-womanship” as she sang in both English and Spanish and danced to the “kumbia” in the presentation of her third and final song of the night! I liked that!

So, while we may think from time to time that our acts of kindness in our most challenging times may not matter; but quite often . . . they do! I am hoping that some of the contacts that “Angela” made will come to fruition so that she can perform in other places with her own live band, perhaps!

Keep a positive attitude about life and always try to do your best. For me, that is in my heart . . . to be of service to others! “What’s in your heart?!”


John I. Cook, Director

“When One Door Closes . . .”

Rising Sun

Good Monday morning, All!

I am sure that by now, most of “us” have had that first cup of coffee or water or juice or … all three! Isn’t it nice to be alive today?! The weekend for me was great. Anytime I can have a new experience and learn something new, it has been a great day!

One of my former students, yet continual friend, “Corn Bread” as he likes to be called, just surprised me with a phone call that he was in “Ft. Ladi Dadi!” like Thursday evening or so. He was in the midst of organizing the coverage of the event in Miami Gardens, FL know as “SoulFrito.” It is an annual “urban Latin American” musical event which often combines hip hop and rap either in Spanish or using the unifying “rhythm and blues” backgrounds established by African Americans in modern music genres. Corn Bread invited me to tag along with he and the video photographer, “Matt” aka “Matlock”, with hopes of me being able to interview some of the artists. While that never happened, the experience was chock full of new learning for me.

How many times have we heard the expression, “when one door closes, another one opens?” It is like folklore for more spiritual people. Sometimes, we react harshly when that “door” or opportunity closes down and prohibits us from entering. Yet, I can tell you from experience, that sometimes the “other” door takes a while to appear, or, for us to realize that it is actually there – and open. Then of course, as the saying by Alexander Graham Bell (the inventor) clearly states, ” . . . we may be so focused on the closed door and the grief it causes that we don’t notice the other door opening!” My most recent employment experience with the marketing group I’d been with for nearly 5 years was the “closing of one door.” Now, my professional background is in education: teaching, tutoring, reading and writing! Yet, I never had the opportunity to experience the use of those skills with the marketing company. Now, as you all also know, I have been working hard at keeping Educational Excellence afloat in addition to my regular “9 to 5” jobs. So, for me, this door has always been open for me simultaneous to the routine “jobs” I’ve held. Now, I have a chance … an opportunity … to get into the things that really make me happy – helping people through community service and/or teaching and educating others!

While many of us still have the opportunity to experience this gift of life, I suggest we take the opportunities EACH DAY with as much vigor and excitement as we possibly can. As seen with the disappearance of a South Florida FSU (Florida State University) graduate who was scheduled to begin law school and an internship in the State’s capitol, we have each witnessed over and over how “life is just a moment.” He was found in an abandoned building in Tallahassee. In streaming and viewing programs by Joel Osteen and Bob Coy this past Sunday, the theme reverberated consistently that, “Whenever you have good times, remember . . . all is well. Even when times get more difficult, challenging and even overbearing, never forget that Our Creator has It’s hand in this, too . . . and that again, all is well!”

Have a great Monday, All! Thanks for reading!


John I. Cook, Director

Stress Release

Yogi Music

Happy Friday, All! And if you don’t mind, I’d like to thank God it’s Friday!!

Things for me are taking an interesting turn as I try to put the individual events I am experiencing together like connecting the dots. That takes a lot of time, so, I am just learning to trust and have faith in the process. All I can say is that I am very thankful for all the love and support that has come my way during this transition period, and that I am grateful to have people like many of you in my life. Thank you!

So this weekend South of here . . . South Beach (SoBe), to be exact . . . there are a couple of star studded events, so I’ve heard! The Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Party celebrates the calendar models’ fiftieth anniversary! I remember when I was in boarding school in New Hampshire “many moons” ago how we used to cherish those photographs of the SI Swim Suit Calendars … at the then all boys prep school! What a match! Sports and beauty. Now, also, with some of the best weather probably on the planet, the Sobe Wine and Food Festival is rocking South Beach with culinary delights, some of the best chefs world-wide as well as the finest wines and beverages to accompany the 13th Annual Festival! Could this be how you spell “stress relief?” I mean, ain’t nothing wrong with that as long as you can handle the fanfare, the fun and the finances! Yet, for those of us who may not be able to partake in such events regularly, we may need to choose alternate ways to enjoy this gift called life! How do you spell “stress relief?!”

For me, as you probably know by now, I utilize meditation, prayer and yoga. Just yesterday, as I continue to adjust my schedule to move along from a somewhat steady situation work-wise, our yoga instructor, Xiomar, offered us the opportunity to focus on stress relief during our practice. There are certain areas, like the hips, which are said to hold human stress. So we engage in hip opening asanas. As well, humans find that the longer we live, the more challenges we have “naturally” in our backs, shoulders and neck. So, it would only make sense to nurture those areas of our body as well as seek to stretch and breathe into the more taunt areas, when possible. After class yesterday, Xiomar jovially chatted about the “yoga high” that one can experience while in the final relaxation pose known as corpse pose! Then, thanks to our Creators, we roll over on the right side into the fetal position, sit up slowly and flow into the lotus pose and bid each other “namaste!” That’s how I do it . . . for now, folks!

Have a great weekend, and wherever you are, release stress from your body which naturally accumulates and often affects the human body in negative ways, not to mention aging faster! Choose a healthy spiritual life and keep the faith.


John I. Cook, Director

Through Spiritual Eyes . . .

spiritual eyes

It’s Wednesday, folks! So, you don’t have to ask what day it is . . . ’cause it’s Hump Day!

Feeling a little bit “chipper” today as things in my personal life continue developing. I often pray that I have made the right choices nowadays. There was a time when I didn’t care as much as I do now only because I didn’t see the spiritual side of things in life. Last weekend, my youngest nephew proudly presented his first son to Pastor Ferguson at Kingdom of God Ministries International to be christened. It was a big moment for he and the son’s mother, Selena. We all rallied around them to show support and to illustrate that “it takes a village to raise a child.” While some folks may not embrace religion, to each his own, I was proud to see that my nephew embraces something OTHER than what many youngsters his age embrace. He is seeking to develop a relationship with his Creator and was asking for guidance in raising his newborn son! I was proud to be there.

Over the years, I have sought to develop a more spiritual approach to life because it allows me the freedom to be peaceful in the midst of a storm. It reminds me of the story from the Bible when Jesus slept and the disciples in the tiny boat with him watched the storm gain momentum to dangerous proportions. The disciples worried so much, the story goes, that they woke Jesus up to tell him that the waters had gotten extremely turbulent. Jesus used this as a teaching lesson as he quieted the storm by commanding the elements to be at peace! Can we do the same? Isn’t that a valuable lesson, whether you believe the “story” or not? Recently, I have come into some stormy situations and I watch myself carefully and quietly so as NOT to over react; in fact, to call upon that peace-filled realm within. This is the goal for my practicing yoga as well as learning to be more diligent in my meditation. I seek opportunities to utilize the “third eye”, which allows me to absorb spiritual energy and see life through less harsh material eyes! Do you know what I mean?!

As we just witnessed the closing of the trial of The State of Florida vs. Dunn, the white American male who fired ten shots into an SUV occupied by four African American teenaged boys, it seems that the jury got this one “mo’ better” than the Zimmerman jury did! As I chatted with a good friend about this, we both came to the conclusion that there must’ve been someone on that jury who felt that those teen boys’ lives were just as if not MORE important than vigilante Dunn’s life is. I had many readers when I followed the Zimmerman trial with Educational Excellence and the blog. In fact, as I viewed the statistics of how many people read the blog pieces, there were days when it had tripled! In following some of the interview with Zimmerman these past few days, it is clear that his remorse is “showmanship” and that something is still bothering him deeply. Yet, he refuses to embrace the spiritual imbalance in his OWN behaviour when he attacked Trayvon. He still says Trayvon attacked him in spite of the fact that he followed, got out of his vehicle and pursued this young teen. He still refuses to see what he meant when he said, “They always get away!” There are people, even in materialistic America, where spirituality is becoming more and more important, and, who can see our world and our behaviour . . . through spiritual eyes! How about you!?

Take time each day to reflect on those spiritual values, if you will, that will enable you to see the loving, peaceful more spiritual elements of our lives!


John I. Cook, Director

Love Is The Language of the Heart!

Ocean heart

Happy Valentine’s Day, All!

Yes, of course I know it is Friday … so … T.G.I.F.!!

Life really is just a moment … and, as xylophonists Roy Ayers says in his song, “You better enjoy it!” Even in circumstances that appear rather challenging … even difficult sometimes … one can find “the love” in ourselves and in others! One thing I don’t like to do is complain. My father never took too kindly to that during our formative years there in the Winbrook Projects in White Plains, NY where I grew up. I always admired how much he and my mother displayed love for each other … and themselves. Now, I know they had some tough times that I may not have even felt or noticed, let alone understood. But it is in times like these for me, that memories and thoughts, even gestures of “love” keep me going. Valentine’s Day like most days celebrated in this country has become commercialized. In other words, people have figured out how to market this celebration.

Yesterday, I had several acts of kindness shown to me by people whom I know well, and by people I don’t know so well. Before my yoga class, the body works instructor, Tammy, took a minute to tell me that she has always noticed and admired the positivity in my attitude, in my e-mails as well as posts on my blog and Facebook. She told me, “John, you are always trying to lift people up spiritually … I see that in you! Yet, now, you have to employ some of those same techniques, practices and attitudes in order to deal with your present circumstances!” Thanks Tammy. Later in the day, I spoke with a friend who used to work for the same marketing company that I worked for recently. He gave me a tip on how to get “foodstuffs” of a high and decent quality from a local community outreach sponsored by Faith Center here in Ft. Lauderdale! Thanks James. Still, another friend whom I have “spoken” about in these pieces, Bobby Schulman, has assisted me with some important finances including gym membership and help with rent until I can balance the unemployment compensation with some side hustles … legal, of course! Another good friend, Burke Wortman, has invited me over for dinner. A long time work/”family” member, Marie Achille, has been relentless in her efforts to help me with odd jobs and legal hustles, too! One thing about me that I’ve learned over the years is that I am never too proud to ask and receive help from caring others, whether they are in similar circumstances as I may be facing or in better circumstances. Thank you, thank you, thank you … ALL!

“Though I speak with the tongues of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal, 2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing. 3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing. 4) Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth … 13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” – I Corinthians 13

So, as I hear multiple stories of “charity” also known as love, including a Habitat for Humanity story here in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where a charitable organization donated all the furnishings for a new single parent family of females, including food in the cabinets and refrigerator, I encourage us to not forget the meaning of “charity”, which is love! If I may, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Remember the true message of “love”!

Peace and Love,

John I. Cook, Director

Is Your Child Next?!

Jordan Davis

Yes, folks! It’s Wednesday, it’s Hump Day!

So much for me to contemplate . . . Yet, I continue being positive and putting my best foot forward each day, and today! While it is not easy, I can’t think of anything else I’d like to do that indicates that I am being the best that I can be. After all, this gift of life I’ve been given shall not be wasted. The moon is getting fuller each night as I look up into the star-lit skies of South Florida and I have to count my blessings . . . of freedom, of life, with the many friends and associates made along the way! I remember when I was 17 . . .

This trial of Michael Dunn, 42, in the accused murder of yet another black teen boy, and apparently attempted murder of 3 others, is coming to a close. You know, as a man – an African American one at that, I have to count my blessings each day that I live that my life has been blessed enough to allow me to wake up another morning. The killing of Jordan Davis, then 17, with probably the first bullet that entered the vehicle, has once again ignited the controversy of concealed weapons and a racially motivated shooting. It is always the same “card” that people play anytime “they” lose control and ultimately attack and/or murder a black man! “He said he was going to kill this mother “effing” cracker, and then he pointed a gun at me from inside the truck!” That’s what Jordan Davis is reported to have said and done by Dunn during the trial. Now, if you decide to buy this “cock and bull” story, you can understand why Dunn fired 10 shots, 9 of them entering the Durango that the teens sat in . . . and no gun was found inside.

So, by painting a picture of Jordan Davis and his friends who sat in the vehicle outside of a convenience store in Jacksonville, FL as cursing, threatening and loud music playing “black teen boys”, we can understand why Dunn tried to kill all of them! Really?!? Even Nancy Grace stated that Dunn should be found guilty on all charges without a hitch! Why is it necessary for people to invent stories to justify their behavior?! Why do young black boys have to worry about having fun together, no drugs no weapons, just some funky music playing in their vehicle on the streets of America?! I only hope that THIS time, justice is served! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of these lying so-called “adults” blaming their violent, hostile … even racist behavior on youngsters who haven’t even had a chance at life yet!

Stay calm in stressful moments. And, if you have your gun, don’t take it out. Just drive away.

Thanks for your continued reading and support, folks!


John I. Cook, Director

Embracing Diversity in People

Trayvon Peace Walk 2014

It’s Monday, and a start to a brand new week!

Now, about a week ago, I was still licking my wounds, so to speak, from being laid off and the financial turmoil that follows, especially with NO severance package … just good bye. Feeling much better about myself and my situation for various reasons. You know, the lack of money in this capitalistic society can really make a person lose it. Thank God and my parents for instilling in me a great work ethic coupled with a variety of talents and interests. Imagine that … “Imagine” … sang the Beatles.

It is still Black History Month, y’all. There are a few things I want to write about but before I begin, I wanted to thank each of you for your continued reading and occasional replies to these e-mails. I also have over 400 blog entries on Word Press for Educational Excellence. I was telling my daughter the other day, since she has relocated to Florida, that I seem to always make a mistake either in spelling or syntax or even sentence structure in these e-mails! I had one person remark on the blog that there were too many. I am sure he wasn’t looking for the message anyway. Yet, I do take into account my imperfections and wanted to say thanks for reading in spite of my imperfections. My daughter replied, “Well, if I was up at 6:00 am writing, I would probably make some mistakes, too!”

Have you ever had someone tell you that you should be doing “this” or should be looking into “that” rather than asking what your interests are, in my case traditional options of employment? Now, sometimes, I would get a bit edgy because if someone wants to have a supportive conversation with you, it (the conversation) would be an interactive one, not one of directives on what you should or should not be doing … methinks! Yet, the diversity in personalities of people is something that we can certainly learn to embrace, rather than being offended and ending a possible friendship or relationship, perhaps even before it can begin.

This past weekend on Saturday, a Peace Walk was held in Miami Gardens to honor the second anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s birthday, suggested Sabryna Fulton, which is February 5th, 1995. While we watched the squeaky wheels of injustice roll backwards, others like Martin’s parents and the more spiritual people in the community decided to continue to move forward. The event had very touching speeches from both of Trayvon’s parents, and also included a message from Jamie Foxx. If you have children who are teens or younger, teach them well, love them a lot. If you have black sons, teach them the extra etiquette needed to survive and excel in a country that once considered their ancestry fit to be slaves. Even George Washington, the first president of the United States, had an abundance of slaves who waited on he and his family on his plantation in Mt. Vernon! There is more that they need to be taught so that they can prepare themselves for such injustices as Trayvon’s murder and Zimmerman’s walk to “freedom” after such a murder. It takes all kinds of people to start non-profits to provide a support net for the less fortunate as well as people to rise to heights of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. (RIP, Sir!) to Thurgood Marshall (RIP Esquire), the first African American Supreme Court Justice.

Mr. Marshall was actually denied entry into the law school at the University of Maryland … because he was black!!! Clearly, his goal was to rise to the top of this nation’s judicial system and do some awesome work. It is in descriptions like this that I use the word “awesome” to describe such a person like Mr. Marshall whose youthful past time was to listen to court cases at the local courthouse and then discuss them with his family once at home! His life is what awesome really means …. not your favorite snack or outfit, if you will. Now here’s the element of diversity that I wanted to share with you about Thurgood’s rise to national prominence as he literally won the Brown vs. Board of Education Case in 1954, which deemed the segregation of public schools in this country illegal. Thurgood attended a prestigious all black university called Lincoln University where amongst his classmates were jazz musician Cab Calloway; the future president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah; and poet extraordinaire, Langston Hughes! These men paved the way for many African American men today. May we give them their rightful places in our history and in our hearts, in African American History as well as American History if people are spiritual and real enough to accept such facts. Thank you ALL!

Here’s a good reason to do what you do best, and, thanks for your support in helping me do what I do love, too! There’s room for all of us in Our Creator’s universe. Dare to be different, you dig?! Be yourself because you ARE YOU!

As I continue to get back on track with work options, please feel free to use the Pay Pal account in the signature section of this e-mail to make even the smallest of donations. I am anticipating doing something like a local poetry reading this year to aid in fundraising for Educational Excellence’s 501(c)3 status. Correct, I am not giving up just like Thurgood didn’t give up when he was denied entrance into The University of Maryland’s Law School, which is in the same country that he rose to become the very first African American Supreme Court Justice, and soon after, won the Brown vs. Board of Education case!


John I. Cook, Director

Much Ado About EVERYTHING!!

USA 2014

Happy Friday, All!

And as if you didn’t know, T.G.I.F.! I always try to give credit where credit is due … do you?!

This is still Black History Month and it makes me proud to see how far “many” Americans have come. Now, there are still others whom I wonder about … not that it makes much difference to those folks!! For example, I was on the popular social network, Facebook, the other day and noticed a few comments about “killing the POTUS!” So, I went to the page where people were posting these horrifically stupid comments. It was a page with the American flag waving on it and it was entitled something like “the New American”. There were like over 100 comments saying that “we” should impeach Obama, fire Obama, and then several went on saying that he should be assassinated!!! There were people living in this country who had obviously taken the concept of “freedom of speech” to the absurd!! So called, “NEW Americans” …. So I commented, “To all you cowards writing this crap, why don’t you just do it and stop talking so much! Are you afraid of something?!?” I didn’t wait to see any responses but over the past few days, I didn’t see anyone had replied to my comment … though I didn’t look too hard … because I don’t care what they might respond!!

So, here we are preparing for the Winter Olympics 2014 being held in Sochi, Russia. We all know that Putin has given Snowden, the American who “exposed” the USA’s spying tactics on its very own citizens, asylum there. He is running Russia, of course, very much like a dictator might. Now, there are multiple reports of terrorists plots to disrupt the Winter Olympics there ranging from a female suicide bomber who is on the loose to forbidding people to bring things like toothpaste tubes onto an “unchecked” bag on flights traveling there! I wonder, don’t people have anything better to do with themselves? I mean, get a life!!!

I don’t think we’ve experienced anything like this since the Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany with Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler at the helm of that sinking ship!! Correct me if I am wrong. It was said that Hitler “snubbed” Jessie Owens who won multiple medals, including the cherished Gold medal. Yet, after a bit of research, I discovered that perhaps that hype was over-played a bit, too, because Hitler didn’t “shake hands” with ANY of the athletes who won, but did take the opportunity to acknowledge them, which he didn’t do regarding Mr. Owens. Furthermore, it was said that each time Jessie entered the Olympic stadium to participate in an event, the crowd went “wild”!! I wasn’t there but I did watch some of the clips and could hear the thunderous cheering when Owens procured the Gold medal for one or two events. But today, during Black History Month, we’ve got so-called “Americans” posting stuff IN this country about doing away with our first African American president!! Some folks seem to live to find fault with others rather than taking care of their own issues.

In conclusion, I’d like to suggest that with the threats of terrorists attacks that we still support ALL of our athletes participating there as we do not want to give too much power to those who issued such threats. As well, I think that the POTUS is doing some excellent things to assure the safe removal of our athletes should they come into danger at this 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi! Besides, Russian authorities, officials and Putin need to keep things “ship shape” for athletes much like was expected of Hitler during the Summer Olympics held in Berlin!


John I. Cook, Director

Do What You Have To Do … With Peace and Love!

A walk in my shoes

What day is it?! It’s Hump Day, y’all!!!

Whatever you do, just make it “funky”!! Lyrics from James Brown following the infamous “Hump Day” Camel’s quote! What do you have going on today? Is it positive? Is it drama free? Does it include peace and love?! Well, of course, to each his own. Since this is my life, bestowed upon me by My Creator via my parents … who did a great job of raising me, I am going to make it as positive and peaceful as possible!

Have you ever wondered why one sibling might view a parent one way, while the other sibling views a parent a different way? Does a parent’s behaviour determine who the child will be? Now, I am taking some of you back to the “nature vs. nurture” dichotomy commonly used in social science to describe why children turn out to be a specific type of adult. For example, I am sure that many of you may have heard about the POTUS’s half brother (same father, the Kenyan, different mothers) and his journey as he is set to release his semi-autobiography this Black History Month. Let me fill in the blanks.

Mark Ndesandjo Obama, though he has decided to drop the last name, has not only moved to China to live, and done rather well for himself … as we say, also has written a book which has been termed a semi-autobiography! It seems that both boys were born around the same time, but Barack’s mother stayed in the USA, Hawaii and even Indonesia, while Mark’s mother re-married after divorcing Barack Obama, Sr. The fact that Mark lived with his father and mother during his youth in Kenya has given him an entirely different take on the same man, as compared to what Mark speculates to be Barack’s idolization of the same father. Problem is, according to Mark, that he witnessed his Kenyan father getting drunk and abusing his Jewish Massachusetts born American school teacher wife during the wee hours of the night and morning! He was so moved by the difference in the two boys’ description of the same man that he decided to write a book. In fact, according to Mark, Barack was sometimes very cold. He said at one point, that Barack told him to go off and do what he had to do because he (Barack) would be alright. So, again, according to Mark, that is exactly what he is doing!

Have you ever experienced such a situation as a sibling or even as the “parent” that one kid loves and the other one could easily do without?! Very interesting situation to be in which requires a lot of self analysis and self love … maybe even self talk … and a semi-autobiography. I know that in my own family, each of the four are pretty unique and different in our own ways. While two of us have expired rather violently, if you will, two of us – one boy and one girl – remain to carry on the Cook family name. My take on this is in the title: “Do what you have to do . . . with peace and love!” The choice is yours, choose wisely!

Have a great day, namaste!


John I. Cook, Director

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