“We Are One!” – L A Clippers

We Are One Clippers

Happy Hump Day, All!

Yes, yes, y’all! The middle of the week is upon us again!! Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and the festivities will be live for sure! Where will you be for “Cinco de Mayo” festivities?!

I have always enjoyed sports, I like to run around a field … either hitting a ball first or kicking a ball from one end of a field to the other. But, I have always had a special affiliation, love for, if you will … the game of basketball! I am not sure exactly where it comes from … perhaps a dormant gene from my Inca ancestry!!! lol! Ever since my brother Hank, RIP, taught me the fundamentals, I have always enjoyed the game. The male bonding (females, too!) on a court, in the locker room, in the hotel, on the airplane or bus, that occurs between team members is tremendous. Most sports involve the same thing but my “chosen sport” is basketball. My first hero was Walt “Clyde” Frazier of the New York Knicks. He was the smoothest ball handler on the court and the most avid and classy dresser off the court. Who would have ever thought that basketball would be the forum for re-defining “post racial” America?!

Who would have guessed that someone would attack the image, reputation or persona of someone like “Magic” Johnson in an obviously jealous racial rant to a purported “girlfriend” by a married owner of an NBA team? And, that team would be coached by an intelligent “no nonsense” type of guy like Doc Rivers … with a team that included Blake Griffin and Chris Paul … Who could imagine that a team owner … would take a chance and say something so stupid like: “It bothers me that you want to be seen with blacks!… Just don’t bring them to my games and don’t come to my games!” He does know that the woman he is referring to is half black and half Mexican, doesn’t he?! He should have known that his “stinking thinking” would get exposed … just because … and that someone like Magic Johnson would seek to remove his “professional” NBA head!! He should have known that NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, would take a “no nonsense” approach to punishing him … since the NBA has a majority of its players who are African American … MEN!!! What did he think was going to happen? All his money can’t take those ignorant, racist, stupid and hurtful words back once they were said!!! Obviously, he was given too much credit … this Sterling character. The life time ban and push to force him to sell the team is a great punishment for a man who’s made millions from “black players” talents.

Hopefully, this lesson will have a ripple effect from the seats at the Staple Center during Clipper’s games to the conversations in the locker rooms from Miami to Seattle … and abroad. I am glad he said these things … so that the truth can be known. Yet, I am a bit disheartened at how far “backwards” some have been willing to travel with a wag of their tongues!

Have a great Hump Day and don’t let nobody put you down! “Stay Up!”


John I. Cook, Director

“Are You . . . Kidding Me?!”


Monday, Monday …

You’ve come to meet us again!! How kind of you, my Friend!! I welcome each day, y’all, as if it were my last!

Last week on the 23rd of April, my late friend and confidante, Peter Zachary, had a birthday . . . Peace be still! The weekend came so quietly, following a week of challenge and intrigue in my professional AND personal life. Quiet as kept, I got through it!! Divine energy reigns supreme!!!

So, are some of us living in an alternate reality? I mean, back to back ignorant comments from well established (financially) people?? Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, obviously attempted to ridicule the government under the Obama Administration with his ignorant utterances regarding ” . . . how Black people are better off as slaves … than … under government subsidy!” Does he know that there are more “white people” living under government subsidy in the United States of America than there are “black people”? Or, is this living proof that because one has lots of money they are Definitely NOT more intelligent than those with less!!??

Okay, how about the “owner” of the Los Angeles Clippers team who told his girlfriend NOT to bring black people to his games … To remove all of the pictures from Instagram with she and Magic Johnson … Are you *%#?ng kidding me?!? How many African Americans play NBA basketball and have earned very decent monies playing and making people like Donald Sterling filthy rich??! And … this is the “thanks” they get?! I mean, his “new” coach Doc Rivers is probably one of the best known coaches in the game!! And this is the thanks that “Doc” Rivers and all his African American players get??!! Of course, as of yet, he has no replied to the multiple recordings, apparently in his own voice, where he makes statements alluding to the fact that he has no love nor respect for Magic Johnson … or any other African American basketball players at that. Sounds like the old chattel property attitude of “I own you, you make money for me … but that’s about as far as the respect goes!!” Wt@$%!!!

I am interested to see what responses come from these two “brilliantly” stupid men who have chosen to make such comments in what some folks have dared to call a “post racial America!” May we ALL rise above this archaic dinosaur’s head of extremely ugliness and embrace each other … diversity … and try to regulate this type of stupidity … from the top down!!

Peace be with each of you!


John I. Cook, Director

Enjoy The Journey!!!

Enjoy the Journey

Happy Friday, All!

And as if it would take your breath away … say … “T.G.I.F.!!!!”

What a week, heh?! Trials and shootings, speeches and insults, stock market insecurities and divorce … and the beat goes on!! Which beat are you “bouncing” to?! Have you ever thought about that?? It does make a difference … incase you haven’t noticed! Now, I know I can get a little “uncanny” from time to time, and, jump way outside the box with my thoughts … and comments. I really do appreciate those of you who take a moment out of your day to read these works of art, if I dare say so myself!!

We often get caught up in doing things a certain way. Have you ever wondered where that “way” came from? I mean, who thought it up and who gave “them” the privilege of setting YOUR path in life?! Too much to handle early in the morning, right?! I’ve had multiple challenges and changes come at me through out my life, and they continue. Yet, as in my writings, I try to put my own “spin” on stuff!! Wherever I work, I try to be myself … cordial, happy, saying good morning and “hi” multiple times a day!! I have even had some people wonder why I “appear” so darn happy!! We all have our moments of sadness in life, there’s plenty of time for that. Some of us may enjoy being sarcastic . . . I can handle that, too! Usually with a happy sarcastic response. Yet, I do remember the days of “one upmanship” where one person tries to out do the other with each and every comment in a conversation …. almost like a battle or something!

As I have learned from moments and people in life that a smile can change your inner being, I try to smile more often. Have you tried it?! Can you feel it?! I have also learned that deep breathing … like in yoga … enhances your self control. Now this works for me … have you tried it?! Some of the greatest writers and philosophs, if you will, have often encouraged people to “enjoy the journey, not just the destination” in their works, be it a painting or a poem. Where are we going? Where are YOU going? Are you enjoying the travel time, smelling flowers, tasting fruits and vegetables, feeling the wind blow over your skin as you emerge from the ocean? How about sharing kind and uplifting words with each other, doing and saying things in a positive manner? Okay, I am sure by now you know where I am going with this. As I hear of friends and foes along the way who have made tremendous contributions to the longevity of mankind, and, even some, the longevity of our environment . . . I am encouraged to make my contribution of love and peace, humility and harmony, yet peace and power of thought and prosperity of attitude (could there be such a thing) are included!!

How many times have you heard, “Don’t forget to smell the flowers along the way!”? Not only in your garden, as you term it, which will still be here when “we” are dead and gone, but in each others lives!! We too are gardens, if you will, things growing and blossoming inside each of us every second of every minute of every day!!! Nurture ourselves … and each other … with things that make the journey enjoyable … peaceful … and prosperous. Have a great weekend, folks, as you can see, I am in one of those moods!

Peace and namaste,

John I. Cook, Director

Don’t Let It Be A Fleeting Thought . . .

help the earth

“Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hump Day has arrived!”

It is the mid-point of another week … in April!! Like nearly the last week in April, too!! Where did the New Year go, already?! We often get lulled into a false sense of security as things continue to happen around us. I mean, two men … one in South Africa and one here in Florida … kill women whom they claimed to once love! How do you do that?! Is it a sign of the times??? The reason I mention these killings is because they are high profile trials that EVERYONE was watching. Most people believe that “Blade Runner” did indeed murder his model girlfriend out of jealousy. Reports had it that their relationship wasn’t that strong anyway! In fact, it was in trouble. The other character who married a lovely young woman … to kill her for insurance money … and tried to defend himself, clearly seems troubled and guilty. The verdict is in on him and others anxiously await “Blade Runner’s” fate. The whole world is watching . . .

Yesterday was Earth Day and it, too, seems to come and go quickly … like Easter/Resurrection Day! There are those of us who support certain activities or movements, like yoga or ballet, and these “things” become a part of our life styles. Imagine how the Earth must feel nowadays … Picture yourself as the Earth … with tunnels dug all through you, structures (the largest in the world!) being built on top of you, substances being removed from your body and placed in vehicles or homes for fuel or heating! Have you ever considered those images?! How do you think the Earth responds?? Maybe sink holes and earthquakes, tsunamis and relentless storms causing the erosion of beaches and the destruction of these aforementioned structures are the Earth’s answer to our negligence! Are we too far gone now?! Have I said enough??

Well, just yesterday, a friend and I were checking the statistics of readers (from my Facebook links) that click on the link to Educational Excellence. I noticed that the greatest number of readers viewed the stories about Zimmerman and Trayvon, Jordan Davis and his killer, even one on “forgiveness”! I know we humans like “sensationalism” and prefer drama to peace and tranquility! Why is that?? One can get more readership on a “smut” driven website as compared to a “peace and love” driven one because that’s what “sells” today, right?! Now, I know that I have no control over where the “world” is going and most of us probably don’t even care right now. We’ve got so many other “concerns” even! Are we thinking about the Earth that we are leaving to our children? Do we care what we do to it while our children are “growing up”? Have we thought about what the Earth will be like when we are dead and gone??? Or … are we too selfish?

“Whatever!!!” is the coined phrase, if you will, that has become so popular!!! Well … please don’t “whatever” the Earth and not expect consequences, y’all! Many of us do have children … or want children!! Do we really want to leave the Earth like THIS for them??!! I think we need a newer “Earth Day” movement like the one that developed in 1970 when millions of inhabitants of the Earth rallied to clean up, recycle and join forces to “help the Earth!” What about you? Is it a fleeting thought in your mind, too???!

Have a good Hump Day and … “help the Earth”! Thanks so much for reading, folks!


John I. Cook, Director

“That’s What I’ve Been Trying To Tell You!”

Paul Tudor Jones

Yes, yes, y’all! It is Mondaaayyyy, All Day!

How do you feel about that?! I hope you are feeling good about another opportunity to “be the best that you can be!” It’s a gift … that’s why it is called “the present!” Okay, I guess I am a bit too jovial this morning … feeling renewed, refreshed, resurrected even! I spent Easter/Resurrection Day pretty much at home, though I did make a run to Whole Foods to get some spinach to go with my “Bandeja Paisa” meal of brown rice covered with a fried egg and two strips of bacon … with avocado on the side, too! (I also picked up some fruit pops there for dessert.) I used to eat this in Sylvia, Colombia, South America on the weekends when we went horseback riding there. Taking showers by pouring buckets of water over your body, no heat either and then coming to the table where a delicious home-made meal was waiting!!! Que bueno!

Have you ever experienced talking with someone who thinks “I have it all”?! I mean, there are folks who do … but you might never know it from listening to them as they are usually not braggarts. There are those who have an exalted level of existence to go along with the billions they have made … like Paul Tudor Jones!! I couldn’t help but be absorbed by the “60 Minutes” show last night with Mr. Jones’s “Robin Hood Foundation” being highlighted! What a story! Here is a very successful “hedge fund” executive who acquired billions through trading and investment. He once said his parents thought he would either be a preacher or a millionaire . . . believe it . . . or not! The story intrigued me because this guy was motivated to help inner city kids from New York by imitating a news story covered by “60 Minutes” in 1986 where a wealthy gent gave scholarships to every graduating student at a particular school in Harlem, New York! So in 1988, Tudor Jones started “The Robin Hood Foundation” to generate funds for his many philanthropic projects, be it a charter school, a job training program or food programs in New York City. Some have said that his foundation reflects the “1% of the 1%” and includes billionaires, athletes, movie stars, and others. What a “foundation” he’s built … and at first, it failed!

“You can not have significance in this life if it is all about you. You get your significance, you find your joy in life through service and sacrifice.” Now tell me if that doesn’t sound like something “Jesus” would say! Yet, it was Paul Tudor Jones who said this … not one word of bragging in this quote. This organization had generated over 57 million dollars a few years back but last year, the total of money brought in by the Robin Hood Foundation was over 120 million dollars. This appears to be a person who has it all, including the spirit of service and sacrifice … not just billions of dollars! So in case you think you have it all, do a personal inventory to see what might be missing. This is what I did on Resurrection Day … a lot of reflection on what I am doing with my life.

Today is also the 118th running of the “Boston Marathon” in Massachusetts with security at an unbelievable level. Be strong in your convictions, be humble in your convictions … and don’t let the negativity of others turn you away from your life’s goals. Have a great week!


John I. Cook, Director

HAPPY EASTER . . . Anyway!!!

Easter Two

It’s Friday, y’all!

I’ve got to do this … T.G.I.F.!!! And, I’ve got to share this next thing, too. It had me cracking up for about 15 minutes. A social media friend, and better yet – I went to college with him, posted this: “RELAX. . . nothing is under control!” I commented: “Thanks for that one, Vee!”

I mean, how accurate it seems!! Most “stuff” IS out of control!! So, why am I talking like this?! There I was sitting at the computer and watching the news at the same time. On comes a story about the Jews in the Ukraine who are over 16 years of age being asked … er uh … told to “register” there!! There were leaflets passed out at synagogues in a city after a service with such instructions, which also included the fact that if one did NOT register, they would be fined and … possibly deported!! I was like … “Wait … that’s backwards in history!” Then, I looked at the computer seconds later and saw a post by another friend, “Enlighten Up”, with an article detailing the horrors of this new development in the Ukraine!!! My first thought was, “What a way to taunt the USA?!! So far, no component of government in the Ukraine is enforcing this decree!!

Now, things seem to be spinning further and further out of control … during this era of Passover … for the Jews, too! I may not “like” everybody either, for one reason or another. Yet, I try to reduce contact with such persons if not eliminate contact with said individuals or groups all together. U. S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, stated that this type of action is not only wrong, but it is disgusting (grotesque was the word he actually used!). Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) here in So. Florida stated that she is in disbelief of such a request.

So, anyway … I am wishing everyone a Happy Easter, Peaceful Passover … if possible … and celebrate and embrace diversity. No time to join the forces of evil.


John I. Cook, Director

Anti-Semitism on the Rise, Too!?


It’s Hump Day, y’all!

Another week and we’ve made it to the half-way point. Sometimes, I admire some people’s use of time, namely Native Americans who had no watches to look at to tell what time it was. I think about distance runners who can go 7 miles and still come out alive … walking and talking normal! I watch the NBA games and notice the level of physical presence many of the players display as they work hard to help their teams win, and, look good at playing the game themselves.

I don’t plan to start preaching here but I am certainly in a bit of shock to see someone like the “jerk” in Kansas who shot and killed three people … three innocent people who didn’t know him and whom he didn’t know either. When asked in a “loaded” question by an interviewer who learned that he was a former Ku Klux Klan official if he hated blacks more than Jews, he replied: “I hate the Jews more. They are trying to take over America!” Now, I’ve always suspected that it takes a certain LACK of intelligence by people of the Klan and other such hate-filled organizations, but this is a perfect (yet unfortunate) display of the level of ignorance that such people live in. A 73 year old man, Frazier Glenn Cross of Missouri, is accused of fatally shooting a man and his grandson and a third person, a white woman, at a second Jewish facility. It is even said that the victims are not Jewish … Whether they are or not shouldn’t matter but his comments made it clear that he was looking for Jewish people to shoot on the eve of Passover. I mean, talking about ignorance?! He ignored everything, Cross that is, even his own livelihood … what may be left of it.

One of the other premises that Educational Excellence is based on is “embracing diversity” as well as other basic truths for a healthy spiritual sense of well being in this modern day world! One thing I want to say before I close is that if this woman with the Southern Poverty Law Center who described Cross as a long time hater of Jewish people demonstrated by leading rallies and posting hateful comments on social networks knew of his ignorance, why didn’t they follow him??? Instead, certain branches and components of the federal government would rather follow people like Dr. King who never threatened anyone’s life and preached of peace … believe it … or not!

Have a great Hump Day, “stay up”, and cherish the moments we have to spend with one another!


John I. Cook, Director

True Riches Can Not Be Stolen!

Peace Fruit

It’s Monday, All!

And life’s cycle continues. Everything seems to be “conducted” or run in cycles, just saying! Twenty four hours in each day, 7 days in a week, 4 weeks to a month and 12 months to a year … and so on and so on … and so on! Here’s to hoping your weekends went well, and that you each are ready to seize the moment. Carpe diem, y’all!

I like honest people … and that’s not to say that I never get tripped up with a partial truth or two myself sometimes. But, in last Friday’s e-mail, I had mentioned that Diane Tillman of “Living Values” was “Dr. Tillman”! She wrote me back to clarify that she had not procured her doctorate as she was “too busy”! I know how that is, since several years ago I had applied to a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program at UCLA … and was accepted … but couldn’t find the funding. Yet, Diane wrote me back to tell me that, plus that she’d accept the “shout out!” Thanks, Diane … but you need to know that you conduct yourself the way a person with a bona fide doctorate would! Still . . . just saying!

Saturday morning’s yoga class was superb. I mention our awesome instructor, Maria, often because of her humility as well as her great intentions … not to mention her leadership and guidance in her yoga instruction. Our group, she says, is full of energy … positive energy, that is. We all know each other, say hello, work very hard together during class, and bid each other a good day at the end of class. Maria usually reads an anecdote or quote at the end of class during corpse pose much like my Thursday yoga instructor, Xiomar, does. The quote she read Saturday was, “Riches are often defined differently by many of us. But know that true riches can never be stolen.”

Now this is not to say that no one needs “riches” as traditionally defined, ie. – large amounts of money. Yet, it is an axiom stating that the most precious things are those that no one … not anyone … can take from you … or anybody else for that matter. I work each day and try to do things that make my life meaningful to me, and hopefully, to others. There are certain personality traits along with honesty, like hard work, perseverance, kindness, even love that are unique to each of us. Once we accepted our society’s form of socialization, we agreed to follow a certain pattern of behaviour to move ahead, be mobile and even successful, as defined in our society. In the exchange of goods and services, capital (money) is the median for that level of bartering, if you will. As we pursue our dreams, conform to society’s norms and values, we can lose ourselves … our true selves. In other words, as I believe the quote that Maria read to our yoga class alludes to, one can be “rich” in character and thusly, have no reason to consider oneself “worthless,” as some of us have been called … and have called others.

Never forget that your self worth can not be purchased … unless you allow it. Conversely, it can never be stolen … again … unless you allow it. Have a great day, a wonderful week, and cherish the fruits of the spirit. Happy Passover!


John I. Cook, Director

Where Have All The Children Gone!?

Wonder Girls

Happy Friday, Folks!

And if you leave it up to me, we’re going to all join in with a hearty T.G.I.F.!! Do as you wish, though!

I know many of us have childhood stories … some more different than others … depending on where you grew up … and WHEN! Many of us have seen the stories, social media posts even, mentioning how ” … kids grew up drinking water from the same hose used to water the lawn; kids went biking without helmets (not recommending this!); how kids made go-carts from shopping cart wheels, etcetera; kids fell off of said bicycle or go-cart with scraped knees and elbows, brushed it off and kept on riding!” It’s all relative.

For me, I grew up cherishing the opportunity to play outside. My biggest punishment was that I could NOT go outside until I finished my homework. We played marbles in the dirt, swung on swings, had relay races around “The Big Circle” of the Winbrook Housing Project in White Plains between the three buildings – 11 Fisher … 135 South Lex … and 33 Fisher, and even had tackle football games with no equipment on!! How many times did kids hit that tree trying to tackle me!!

“What brought this on?” you may ask!? Well, the story of the kid near Pittsburgh going to school with two kitchen knives to cut people up. I mean, we had switch blades and hunting knives but I never used one on any of my peers. My dad even had a .22 calibre rifle for me … bolt action … but I never got it out of the LOCKED closet in the living room where he kept his other rifles … and never ever wanted to take it to school!! 22 kids were injured before several people, including one student, a security guard and the assistant principal tackled (also getting sliced or stabbed!) and disarmed the seemingly regular teen-ager. They said he had no arrest record, no drug abuse incidents and no issues with mental illness … so what went wrong? The investigation into motive continues.

How about the former youth pastor here in Broward County that like 10 boys accused of sexually molesting them?! Now, even I … when I heard the number “10” assumed when there are “10 smoking guns” there must be some truth to it! Yet, the jurors … and I mean more than one … said that they could see through the young boys theatrics, conflicting and changed stories. The pastor was found “not guilty” by the jury though there remains the other half of that “terrible 10” who have also accused the pastor of sexual abuse. The pastor’s family was elated, they screamed in the courthouse hallways, he wept and stated that these boys were all thrown out of his residence around the same time!!! This sounds similar to the “Salem Witch Hunt” type stories or even “Lord of the Flies” where kids stranded on a remote island began behaving with a group mentality, seeking to attack and punish the weakest member(s)of their group! Well … I hope it remains true that the pastor is indeed innocent of the pending sexual abuse charges by the remaining 5 young men!! Believe it … or not!

This is why I make sure at some point during each week or every couple of days that I have some fun, and, as a yoga teacher Marya often says, “Smile while you’re doing the asanas! It makes them easier … and … it keeps you young!” Try some “smile therapy!”

Have a great Friday, and a wonderful weekend. I may be joining the Brahma Kumaris World Peace Meditation in Hollywood’s Arts Park on Sunday evening! A special shout out and thanks to Dr. Diane Tillman of “Living Values” for your feedback on my “Peace Post” last week; a fond “hola” to my ACORN organizer brother “Don Rafa” Raphael Ventura Rosa who often replies; and to Roz Reich of the Hollywood Brahma Kumaris group! Y’all keep me writing! Thanks for reading, too.

What will you do to keep yourself happy?! Smile while you’re doing it, okay?! Namaste


John I. Cook, Director

Admit It . . . Or Not!!


Happy Hump Daaaaay!!!

It is Wednesday already, right?! It seems the week is going by smoothly … so far!!! How’s your week moving along? I hope each of you are well … and blessed today.

How often do people just “come clean” and say what they did without the song and the dance? Can people just admit they were wrong, repent or apologize, make the necessary changes … and move on? Most humans in the lime light today find it hard to first admit that they were wrong, accept it themselves and then make those necessary changes. Some of you may remember that in Monday’s post, the ego was mentioned as often being the “blocking element” to true forgiveness. We all know how forgiveness works … and most of us want no part of it!!! It really is an ego thing . . . “Me? Wrong? How could that be? Well, let me tell you what happened . . . ” And the story, and the saga … and oftentimes the lies roll on!!

The newly appointed Republican Congressman, Vance McAllister of Louisiana, was caught on video!! So, how much can you say when the evidence is on film? Can he now say, “Well, I lied when I said I was running on a Christian family based platform for my constituents. I had no intentions of upholding any family values, let alone those that were Christian!” He’ll never admit that. Only, “I made a big mistake . . . and I am sorry. I promise to uphold my duties and maintain responsible behavior from here on out!” NOW . . . do you believe him? Ask the husband of McAllister’s political aid who was in the video kissing Congressman Vance!! He said, “You don’t know the real Vance McAllister! He is no good. He can apologize all he wants, I don’t care! He just thinks he’s untouchable!!!”

Yet, I still have a lump in my throat about whatever “immoral act” was committed by former Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale. He, too, simply apologized via a letter read by the “new” pastor. But, he stepped down!!! Do you think some of these politicians when caught on camera need to simply step down, too? Or do we leave them in office, no treatment, families broken (as Mr. Peacock wants a divorce from his wife after he saw the video of them kissing) and a fresh opportunity to begin misbehaving, looking for excuses, repeating the same thing and lying about again? I mean, this, too, is the taxpayer’s monies!!! Here is a lesson in “Know Thyself” and how to avoid being caught up in a tangled web! Some of us humans like to blow this “I am so pure!” horn and everything I do is perfect! Are they trying to convince someone other than themselves that they are “pure and perfect?” There is nothing wrong with being wrong … just admit it, stop lying, get some help . . . and step down! That’s when the ego gets bruised and requires a transformation, which most purported “big whigs” are not willing to do!! Again, I ask, “What about me and you?”

Have a great Hump Day, and . . . to thine own self . . . be true!


John I. Cook, Director

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