“The Gift of Life!”

Good Day good people …  and TGIF to you, too!  I got this one … TGIF!  Prayers for Buffalo!!  (I could see my neighborhood in the faces of the slain!)

First of all, I want to wish my mother a Happy Heavenly Birthday!  Marietta Dolores Watkins was born on May 20th, 1917 in a small town in North Central Florida near Tampa.  My third book, “Cooking With Life!: CookBook III” was written in honor of her and her unconditional love for me alongside the endless discipline of my Dad, Isaac Henry.  When I started the manuscript perhaps close to 10 years ago, I was living in the States and realized that I had to retire abroad.  Yet, while my original outline served me well, I found that I had to include my travels in Western Europe as I sought a place to retire, or at least finish the book.  I found that “place” in Costa Rica … Cocles, which is just outside of Puerto Viejo, to be exact!  The dedication which appears at the end of the book says it all!  Thanks, Mom!  Happy Birthday!!  Get a copy if you haven’t already, and if you like!  https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Life-Cookbook-John-Cook-ebook/dp/B08Z7FRKCX/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=cooking+with+life+cook+book+iii&qid=1621607433&sr=8-6

Not only am I glad to be out of the States for the time I have been, but I am also so very sad, hurt even, to see the continuance of the outbursts from people suffering from the mental illness of racism.  While one person interviewed says “the system failed him”, that person fails to realize that the father of this teenager purchased a gun for him as a present.  I would agree that another racist fell through the cracks while crying out for help … perhaps when he announced that he wanted to do a “special project” at school focusing on a “murder/suicide”.  But we ALL know that if that had been a non-white teenager proposing such a project, more serious attention would have been paid to the young monster!  Now, here is a young person bright or intelligent enough to figure out how to live stream an event … which was, unfortunately, the ignorant, callous, hate-filled, misdirected murder of innocent people who had done NOTHING to him … but he fails to realize the horror of his thinking!!  The words carved on one of his weapons say it all:  “Kill All Blacks!” and “White Lives Matter” …

As I watched a newscast Wednesday night that highlighted the people whose lives were senselessly taken from THEIR loved ones in Buffalo, NY, one interview of the son of the ex-cop/slain security guard at Tops Market brought tears to my eyes.  The interview was conducted by Don Lemon who just let the young man laud his Father with praises as well as comments from many many people who had never met him … but who also lauded the kindness, courtesy, and professionalism of his Father whom they had each met at “Tops” …  Doesn’t anyone wonder what “right” a teenager has to take the life of this young man’s Father?!?  Something is strangely sick about the repetition of this effin bs in the States!!  It is extremely difficult for me to even fathom living in my home country if you will.  Economically, I would HAVE to work while receiving my pension … at least one full-time job plus a part-time one … I’m still single.  I’m not interested in doing that in “my condition” of a no-nonsense attitude and recovering my nerves and health from the “hamster wheel lifestyle” in the States.  Shucks, I’m tired of all of that drama and toxic people whom I just might encounter … by misfortune!  No thanks!  I wonder if I’m alone in feeling heartbroken for “The United States of America”.  If you know “American History”, you KNOW that Africans (Crispus Attucks) are and have been an integral part of the success of this “business”.  As I used to inform my students and asked them to contemplate it, too … that “America” was started as a business run by joint-stock companies based in Western Europe …  As the fledging “company” prospered, the leaders became aware of the fact that violations of human rights, including rights of Native Americans and Africans, were ultimately the cornerstones of America.

You see, I still have some more “good” to do in this world to honor both my Mother and my Father … may they rest in eternal peace.  I know that they fought hard for ALL of their children … all four of us now only 2 … but I am the last of these guys’ children.  I plan to go out representing the values that they instilled in me …  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”  Simple, right?!?  So, I wonder frequently what is the problem on Earth!!!

Care about each other, no matter the color if they’ll let you.  Spread peace, love, harmony … and sincere communications.  Enough of spreading hurtful hate-filled nonsense that causes the loss of precious innocent lives …  Of course, I don’t have ALL of the answers, but I’d be willing to bet that the course that this world is on has got to change … or else!


John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading!

Am I Missing Something?!?

Happy Friday … from here in the Caribbean … anyway … so far!!  I mean, what are you REALLY thinking?  Are you numb?  (Don’t be dumb!)  Help me “jump start” our day with a TGIF, would youse?!?  Bueno, pues!  TGIF!!

My daughter reminded me that today is Friday the 13th!!!  She said that it was her favorite day!  My birthday is July 13th and occasionally lands on a Friday!  It’s my favorite day, too!  Some of youse had better straighten up before it’s too late!!  Are you the kind of person that wished that a “friend” didn’t perform BETTER than you on an assignment in school?  Or, are you one of those people who is envious of a person who has overcome tremendous odds to have a “decent life”?!  Perhaps though I doubt it, you were one of those creatures who came right out of the womb … walking and talking tough!!  Maybe you were one of those kids who were “taught” that you are privileged.  How do you “teach” privilege without indicating exactly why one has this “privilege”?!?  Are you teaching your children that they are privileged to have the opportunity to look down on someone who has less opportunity than they do?  I know … these are tough questions that some folks don’t want to answer for themselves, not to mention for our “world” … what’s left of it!!

It concerns me that as so many innocent children, women, and Ukrainian men are being slaughtered, the guys in their suits (or ladies in dresses) at international organizations have time to gather information to determine if “Pewtin” is committing “war crimes” …  I mean, can’t we SEE!?!  It’s like a racist person or sexist person who makes comments that are not only negative but often untrue and hurtful, and tries to “walk around the truth”.  You see, it’s interesting to hear people complain about “learning” something that makes them uncomfortable while they are simultaneously behaving in a manner that makes someone ELSE feel uncomfortable every freaking day!  As the older African Americans who traveled North from the South post World War II to escape the horrors of racism used to say, “it’s like the pot calling the kettle black!”  This evil cartoon character has been committing war crimes since Russia’s (Pewtin’s) annexation of Crimea!!!

Okay, so let’s call a “spade a spade” and stop playing games with people and their lives.  One is only “privileged” if one has someone or something “under” or “beneath” them.  After we play that “game” let’s play trading places where we spend 400 years of Africans selling and trading Europeans or non-Africans?!  You’d probably say “That’s ridiculous!”  African Americans (most of them) find that “walk around the truth” ridiculous, too!!  Again, I remind folks that I am an anti-racist, a social scientist, a learning facilitator, and a social activist … and I am not against ANYONE  who is not against me and my loved ones!  Straight talk that I try to keep in my actions every day!  “Be the change that you want to see!”  It’s a damn sure tough job, but somebody has got to DO IT!  Or do “we” really like living like this!?!  WAKE UP!


John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading!!

Oh … PLEASE Don’t Disturb My Peace!!

Happy Friday, Y’all!

You bet, I’m chirping my same song about peace, harmony, and how we can get along!!  Then, TGIF right about now!  Thank youse very kindly!

Happy belated “Cinco de Mayo”!  Perhaps you might ask what is that?  Nothing serious … just Mexico’s Independence Day … from France … at the Battle of Puebla it was determined in 1862 … led by Gen. Zaragoza.  So, there was a nice gathering of “jazz” aficionados at my fav “natural foods” restaurant called “Grow” last night.  I passed by there after having some coconut fried shrimp with my favorite beverage the Howler Monkey at Puerto Pirata.  It was cool, you dig!?

Have you ever felt that someone intentionally disturbed (or tried to) YOUR peace?  How did you handle that?  Nothing annoys me more than when people say or do “stupid stuff” and then look at you as if you are supposed to not only accept their ignorance but that you LIKE it, too!!  Aww, hell no!  I used to be a young “Mr. Nice Guy” in elementary school in White Plains, NY.  It’s not a “tough” town but quite the contrary.  I not only wore glasses because I ALWAYS sat too close to the TV, but my Dad – Big Ike – used to cut my hair … damn near bald but stylish and trimmed ever so evenly.  I always got teased by the kids, I was tall, skinny, and not the cutest guy in the Projects.  I ate a lot of humble pie but I had a great relationship with myself!  Sounds crazy, right?  So, I know how to eat humble pie, but when I’ve had enough, one had better stay clear!  The whole time that I am working on my patience and being calm, I try to figure out a way to retain my peace.  It usually turns out okay even though I have to remind people that I’d like to be known as “PeaceBoy”!  I didn’t say “boy” … I said PEACE BOY … so don’t get it twisted!

On the international scene, I have never seen so much human suffering!  A young Ukrainian woman who was scheduled to be married got BOTH of her legs blown off in an attack on her city in Ukraine …  Afterwards, the groom still wanted to marry her … and did!  One story that I didn’t mention in my pieces is the story of how Africans and other “people of color”, mostly foreign students in Ukraine, were forced to relinquish their places on the lines to trains (and other vehicles) … at GUNPOINT!!  Now, the “story” came up a few times during the initial evacuation of Kyiv but has not come up since!  Can you say depraved with me?!?  That’s just one OTHER example of the impact of war, of people struggling to escape, and our final loss of humanity to the point where one is willing to kill a fellow human being so one can escape death first!!!  Hmmm …

I work to keep peace at the front and at the center of my life as I live each day!  Shucks, it makes ME feel better when I have kind, loving, even peaceful thoughts in my mind, which undoubtedly affects my behavior.  I know there are others who may not have been as fortunate or lucky as I was with both parents always trying to protect their last hope – little Johnny!  I mean, my Dad was so protective of me, I felt sorry for anyone who messed with ANY one of his four children, not to mention his wife.  I have inherited that “protector” characteristic from him as I participated in and observed how this non-high school graduate handled his family in Harlem, NY once escaping the horrors of racism in “The Dirty South”.   At some point, if one is astute enough, one can see that “peace is power” if only over ONESELF!  This warrants respect, which is also at the front and center of my life.  If a human can’t respect me, what should I have to do with such a heap of unhappiness?!?  Why, get rid of it!  Discard it!  Don’t let it steal your peace.  This is where the REAL inside work comes when one has to make ONESELF peaceful in the face of “Tomfoolery”!  Needless to say that your friend selection is very important as one matures, the economic competition gets tighter, and people sometimes make hasty choices.  Please, try to “think it through” before you act …

May is an important month for me … not only because it contains Mother’s Day, but it also contains my Mother’s birthday!  Hey, thanks for reading  It really means a lot to me, if you catch my drift!  Tally – Ho!


John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thank you for reading!

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