Keep the Focus on Yourself

Happy Friday, Comrades!

It feels like a war sometimes as I travel the roads of my life!  Always having to look over my shoulders is something I don’t have to do here in Puerto Viejo.  So, let me lend a TGIF for us ALL today!  T.G.I.F.!  BOOM!

Now, I know I touch on many different topics here.  Yet, refresh yourself, if you will, that the mission of Educational Excellence is to illustrate how to take charge of your own education.  Now, I am not suggesting eliminating all of the components in our current Western concept of education.  The youth and current generation are being groomed to “fit in to” our current social organization(s), polity (-ies), and economic goals of amassing wealth at any cost while maintaining military power.  Besides, we can pass and implement laws but it takes more to change a person’s moral judgment lacking wisdom and clarity.  I learned critical thinking, logic, discipline, concept development/abstract thinking, theoretical and organizational skills as well as communication skills in most of my classes in public, private, and university schooling.  I still use many of them but they were each an integral part of a network of “learned survival skills”.  These skills are not taught in any webinar, seminar, or course.  It’s essentially that “self-education” concept that I emphasize through Educational Excellence.  Find out who you are.  Then, discover what you need to learn to make YOURSELF and the world we live in better.  THEN, learn those things “by any means necessary”, a la Malcolm X!  Easier said than done.  Stay focused!!

I want to paint this picture real quick about what I’ve learned about MYSELF since being able to slow down in my retirement over the past four years.  First of all, my spiritual life needed a jump start.  I had tried to develop it before but it’s hard to do while on the financial “monkey-go-round”.  I took yoga classes, meditated, and prayed.  I joined meditation groups and attended some spiritual activities in South Florida. But my breakthrough came when I retired here … on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.  I was able to make my own schedule and get things done in my own time like completing my third book.  Soon after the federal student loan finished subtracting money from my pension checks each month, things got even better.  I was able to get my horrid teeth fixed because I could afford to do so “out of pocket” here in Puerto Viejo.  Most recently, after walking with a “baston” (cane) from Valencia, Spain for three to four years, I no longer need it.  It’s not pretty but I motivate myself.  When I got the electric bike, riding it was a bit cumbersome with the cane not to mention dangerous.  As well, when I got the wheels, I was given an opportunity to use a friend’s Jiu-Jitsu gym across town from where I reside.  I work on my quads, my calves, and the hamstrings not to mention toning up the upper body.  My legs and back are slowly getting stronger as I dedicate 3 mornings a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) to my hour-long routine … and I stick to it.  Can you say, “No hip replacements!”

There are things going on for me now that are “works in progress” regarding my short-term goals.  Some are financial (nothing serious, just a final arrangement plan), a few trips, and maybe … just maybe another manuscript!  Don’t hold me to that last one because I’m experiencing too much growth and enjoyment focusing on myself!!  Besides, the blog is attracting more than 50 people to receive notices when I post each Friday. Shucks, I even put back on a few pounds!  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  

In closing, in my last piece, I had some grammatical fun with the words “deprived” vs “depraved”.  The interpretations can be hair-thin.  Spell check gave me a recommendation which I used.  A good friend made another suggestion.  I went back and moved things around.  Feel free to give me yours … anytime!  And don’t forget to keep the focus on yourself!!  At least, you can make yourself a better person.  Enjoy the journey!


John I. Cook, Director

Pray Tell … What EXACTLY Is the Goal of This Destruction?

Happy Friday, Y’all!

As I try to stay true to my “form” so to speak, I’d like to recommend a TGIF, okay?  TGIF, then!  Well done!!

Are you one of those people with no concrete goals for oneself OR the world you/we live in?  Do you go “home” after a “workday” and tear up everything in YOUR home?!?  Maybe, fight with your partner or neighbor just trying to cook up a disagreement or get in one of your weak-ass bully lines?  Some folks like to sugar coat bullsh@t, some like to eat the same while still others go around spreading that sugar-coated sh-t everywhere!!  Can’t one see the negativity in that bs?  Or, don’t they care?!?  Is there something leading these people away from the truth other than their own fears and stupidity?  Is it money or power, both man-made drugs?  Can you see the truth through your own eyes?  Do you actually NEED someone to tell you what you see with your own eyes?

I remember when I was completing my studies for the Master of Science Degree in Education (Specialization in Am Hist) at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, I had a professor who stood out from the others.  Professor Leonard finished almost every important class emphasizing how depravity seemed to be the end result (not the goal) of an avaricious Western Civilization.  I always wondered why he liked that word …  I think he was trying to warn his students about becoming depraved from his tiny platform.

If one wants to see what depravity really is, one should visualize images like “Pew Tin” or #45!  When you look at the visuals of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, you see a clear picture of depravity.  Imagine what the Russian invasion of Ukraine looks like to the Ukrainians?!  Can you see the fall of human civilization being caused by a depraved demon who wants to control the world?!  Okay, so say we humor the fool … give “it” Ukraine (hypothetical situation) and the rest of the world … what would that creature do with controlling the entire world?  What in the hell is this fool looking for?  I don’t think that he would know how to lead the rebuilding of all the “property” (another dangerous man-made concept) because he … er uh … “it” has become so accustomed to lying, stealing, controlling, and destroying things.  Is this the kind of world leader one wants?!?  Former President Obama is warning us as Professor Leonard did that the concept of democratic government and democracy (rule by the people) is at stake WORLDWIDE!!  Our world has tiny monsters like Kim Jong-un just licking their lips for “the spoils of war”.  Even in the USA, we have monsters like DeSantis who would also like to control the world!!  (These mofo’s can’t even control THEMSELVES!)

As I climb down from my soapbox of a platform, be wise … not acting depraved in your thoughts and behavior.  If we continue the depraved behavior, humanity is at stake.  I’ve always been kind of a grassroots organizer.  If we all don’t get on board soon, it might be that “the last train has left the station”.  Pray that it hasn’t … and vote for leaders … not losers!


John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading!

Makes Me Wanna Holler … Throw Up BOTH My Hands!

Happy Friday … yeah … there I said it.  I’m trying to mean it but I need a little help … perhaps … from my “friends”.  Now, don’t take it wrong ’cause I’m not possessive.  Yet, if you are a friend of the “universe”, you’re a friend of mine!!  So, TGIF … Y’All!

When I came up with the title for this piece, I had been focused on the horrific situation in Ukraine and Putin’s sickness of his need to exact dearth and death on innocent women, children … and senior citizens.  Surely there is a place in hell for this demonic rogue!  Then … BAM!!!  Right out of Michigan … again … this time in Grand Rapids … an unarmed African man seeking asylum from his wartorn country is executed.  Patrick Lyoya, 26 a Congolese refugee living with his parents in Grand Rapids experienced a fatal traffic stop after being accosted, tackled face down, and shot in the back of the head …by a police officer!!  Why?!  Because he ran away from the officer and had the officer’s taser which had been fired twice by the officer and missed the mark!!  You might remember a situation in which an African American man was shot in the back of the head while shopping in a Krugers with a young boy …  Now we have a freakin’ cop losing control because a man would not drop a freakin’ taser (and he wasn’t strong enough to take it away!) as he lay face down on the ground … who then removed his weapon and shot this man in the BACK of the head “execution-style”!  Of course, the police department didn’t want to release his name … hmmm … (Can you say “de-escalate” officer “no-name”??!)

I’m sure many of us may remember Marvin Gaye and his famous hit “Make Me Wanna Holla … Throw Up Both My Hands …”.  Well, he was ahead of his time with the lyrics … and we can see all of the destruction and death, dishonesty and hatred, jealousy and envy traveling around the world!!  (Oh … yeah … I forgot to mention GREED!) It might be just that … we ALL need to holler … throw up our hands …. then get back to work saving our Planet!  Do you have something more important to do?!?  It definitely does look like a “ball of confusion” and some folks, unfortunately, like to contribute to mass hysteria and chaos.  Yet, from this, WE positive energy and vibration spirits must recover …  Yes, it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it!  I’d rather go down “fighting” against evil than join those forces.  Be a positive influence in somebody’s life today!  Maybe even start with your own life!  “Free your mind … and your ass will follow!”  – Geo. Clinton


John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading!!

You Didn’t See That Coming?!?

Happy Friday, Y’all …

And … I say this with a lot of gratitude … that I’m here … The horror being spread in Ukraine should wake a lot of people up!! (Don’t you just love the “little leaders” who preach anti-wokeness to their sleeping flock!!) So, I’m ready to do a heart-felt TGIF for all breathing … Done!

Now, the United Nations has suspended Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council.  Hmmm …  Is it because Russian soldiers have reduced themselves … again … to medieval monsters that use rape, pillage, and destruction of civilian homes as weapons of war?  Or, perhaps because as Ukraine’s government seeks to recover their soldiers’ bodies, the Russian military has made no effort to recover their soldiers’ bodies that remain strewn across the city streets and roads in multiple locations where bombing and fighting took place in Ukraine?  I don’t know about you but it shouldn’t even be any question about if rape, pillage, and other war crimes are being committed by Putin’s barbaric puppet soldiers!!  Horrifying!!  Methinks that he and several other autocrats have no interest in nor respect for democracy!!  They prefer to rule with an “iron fist”.

The concept of democratically formed government, which was an experiment in the USA in 1776, is being directly challenged BOTH in the States and abroad.  You see, democracy only works with populations of people with shared values, mutual goals, and basic human respect.  As I watched footage of the death and destruction, barbarism, and incivility employed by the so-called “Russian soldiers” who were often asking locals for food and toilet paper, there was one scene that stood out!  A news reporter was able to interview a small group of senior citizen Ukrainian women in a neighborhood that had just been shelled by the Russian military.  The journalist asked one woman what she thought.  She cut to the chase with: “F@ck his mother, Putin.  Has he gone mad?  Shooting children!”  The world watches as a “mad man” unleashes his wildest nightmares on humanity.  As the Ukrainian people, who are VERY human too, stand up and fight against all odds for “freedom and democracy”, there are little punks in Congress like Matt Gaetz who took his opportunity to address a distinguished general in the United States Military, Defense Secretary Austin.  He took time out from a House Armed Services Committee budget meeting to address “woke-ism” as he accused Pres. Biden of “starving the US military”.  You see, some “little men” take every opportunity to display their racism and contempt for “people of color” who have risen above ALL odds to acquire their professional positions which happen to be way more important than a big-mouthed, lying, fool who duped people (?) into voting for him.  More dog whistles!  So, let’s be clear, while little old ladies are fighting for the last remnants of democracy in Ukraine, rich little “white men” continue to sling racial hatred in the legislative branch in what was once considered “the home of democracy”, the shining city on the hill …” 

 Do you mean that we didn’t see any of this coming?!?  Of course, we did!  It’s just that the so-called “leaders” were too busy taking sides against accomplished African Americans … and this one happens to be a woman … than to pay attention to “the preservation of democracy”.  Are the US government AND people falling prey to the cataclysm of fascist, authoritarian, dictatorships while squabbling over “the spoils of capitalism” and this fictitious concept of “power”?  It’s like that in real life, too, not just in “politics” …  Be aware of the people around you who question your existence and your own hard-work ethic.  If you really want to be a “good person” and/or citizen of the universe (there I go again!), pay attention to the warning signs … like death and destruction!  “Positive Vibration”!

Thanks for reading!


John I. Cook, Director

People Say The Darndest Things . . .

Happy  Friday, Y’all!

A quick shout out to the Ukrainian people … Blessings!  Fight On!!  Right On!!!

And if you want to join me for a TGIF, I’d appreciate it … for them, too!  “There but for the grace of God go I!”  You see … people are people wherever we go.  Deep down inside, we are part of the human race!!  Bones, flesh, and skin … filled with a holy spirit …

So, many people have stated their view on the “slap heard ’round the world”.  Yet, I wonder how many people have done ANY research on the constantly bubbling professional relationship between Mr. Rock and Mr. Smith.  It’s been more than tumultuous!  In fact, after complaining about how many movie roles that Will and his children MAY have taken away from Chris and his kids, it had become, in many ways, the “elephant in the room” whenever these two actors were in the same vicinity.  It ain’t easy being “Will Smith” from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to “Gettin’ Jiggy With It!”  It’s also not easy being “Chris Rock” who has often been considered one of the funniest comedians going due to his “rough-edged” style.  Sometimes, it’s a fine line between “funny” and “offensive” language from ANYone.  Choose wisely!

As the world watches the utter display of mental illness by Vladimir Putin while he continues to try and wage war on a nation of people who are determined to be free of Russian rule, one can only shudder at the horrific displays of violence inflicted on these innocent people.  As the Ukrainian soldiers have stated multiple times, “The Russian Army is good a killing defenseless civilians … NOT Ukrainian soldiers!”  As was once speculated about #45’s mental state during the Capitol Insurrection, Mr. Putin’s mental state is also in question as the army of uninterested Russian soldiers continues to follow his insane orders …

Have you ever come out of your mouth with some hurtful messages for someone … perhaps someone already writhing in some form of pain from “life’s challenges”?  How does it make YOU feel when you do that to someone else?  How does it make you feel when the same thing is done to YOU?!?  Ahhhh, a little different I presume!  In my work as an author, a motivational speaker/writer, a social activist, a sociologist with “the world as my laboratory”, and a learning facilitator, I often step out into the line of fire, so to speak.  I try to be courteous in whatever I say about anybody, but I stick to the truth … my gut feeling coupled with what I can plainly see.  I work hard not to be against anyone who respects my right to exist.  And of course, if “you” have a problem with that, then YOU have a problem, not me!!  Get some help even though “self-help” is readily available.  In a small town like Puerto Viejo, some folks come out with “stories” about each other … and even ME!  Now, I try to be cool, calm, and calculated while some people display little to NO class in their behavior.  A few days ago, I was sitting at one of my favorite chill spots in Puerto snacking and watching the waves and the people during Sunset when a young lady whom I know but have kept a respectful distance walked past me.  She had a “new” friend with her who glanced up at me dressed in my usual French beret and a pink shirt with a pair of wide-legged multi-colored Caribbean-style blue jeans made in India, and my favorite black loafers that I bought in Barcelona.  I smiled and waved.  As they looked at me, I think I heard her whisper, “He’s gay …”  I wondered why she said that to her “new” friend. I am definitely not a desperate dog, so … I guess I’ll have to be gay for her!

In closing, I want to ask that we remember that kindness goes a long way.  It creates a good vibration between humans that if we employ this behavior often enough, can change our whole outlook on life, not to mention the wonderful opportunities created by such an environment.  Be aware of what we say to people.  Show respect for each other rather than trying to get a hostile laugh out of someone.  We all have our tipping points …  Yet, I never wanted to see two professional African American men pitted against each other on a worldwide international stage either.   Namaste


John I. Cook. Director

Thanks for reading …

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