TRUTH Be Told!!

Happy Friday, Y’all!  I’m coming from all different places today as I continue to spread some love and hone my craft!  So, TGIF with me if you will!  I am sure you can find at least ONE good reason to be grateful today!  Just Do It!

Welp, this is a tough topic for me because I see people who I considered close to me suffer from an inability to identify, accept, and finally embrace the truth.  They would rather “live a lie” while continuing to spread more since this has become part of their personal “narrative” style.  Now, as humble as my Dad was, he didn’t deal with any lies let alone liars.  I could see as the youngest of four children that truth and excellence meant a lot to him.  He had been deprived of opportunities like mine, so …  As I’ve often said, he was and will always be my FIRST and “bestest” hero … you dig?!

By now, I’m sure that the readers realize that writing is not only therapeutic for me, but I also seek to heighten the readers’ awareness of how many of my experiences may be similar to “your” experiences.  If not now, perhaps one may find some solace in these messages in the future.  I have my anti-racist passion as I don my social scientist status among other titles such as learning manager, teacher, coach, “father”, and now grandpa … believe it or not!  A recent “project” of mine in my retirement had become to re-establish a relationship with my daughter and only child, and perhaps get familiar with her son.  That was the main reason I sent his mother a couple of hundred dollars to cover the cost of a passport for him.  This was my birthday present to him for his sixth birthday which was last October 19th.  In the week that he was with me and in the midst of a “fact-finding” session, I learned that his mother NEVER told him that I had sent the money for HIS passport as a birthday present!!  Who does that?!?  Then, in the next breath, THIS person calls me a “deadbeat dad”!!  I’m like WTF?!?  Y’all remember this?!?  “That smarts!”  I have sent my grandson shorts and shirts from Barcelona and Costa Rica over the past three years!!  You see, for me, it was okay that we spent a week together … 24 hours of EACH day just me and him!!  But TRY to tell the TRUTH.  He was “having a blast”, to use his OWN mother’s first comments when I sent her the video of him in the pool here at Bambutel.  Now, I know what happened after that … enter her mom … the woman who changed “our” daughter’s last name from “Cook” to “Belton” which was her stepdad’s last name … RIP …  This was done after a trip that 8-year-old Ayanna had taken from New York (I paid for that, too!) to visit me and my Mom in Ft. Lauderdale after her mom and I had gone our separate ways. I had verbally reprimanded her for some uncool behavior in a friend’s restaurant and told her that “Cooks don’t act like this!”  After the trip and our daughter was back “home” I was informed of the name change done and paid for by her mother …  I was in shock!!  Not anymore!!  I have learned not to expect much in terms of civility from this “cast of characters”!

Now, we can take a macro-level view of this same toxic type of behavior in our society.   We have a “fake” former president who wants to keep confidential government documents in his personal collection for only God and the devil knows what!!  “We the people …” allow our leaders to coddle this criminal mofo!  If that were former Pres. Obama, the white supremacists and other “frightened” Americans would have had his head!!  I’m sure “they” tried multiple times.  So, “people”, MAGA-mites, and other misguided folks, are trying to IGNORE the fact that the National Archives, the rightful “owners” with “the people’s” constitutional agreement, don’t need to BEG a former president to give back the documents that he STOLE from the Federal Government!!  Who does THAT?!?  Can you say “TOXIC”?!?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  The National Archives has been “asking” #45 to return the documents one month BEFORE he left the White House!  He had packed and shipped these documents to chosen locations outside of the government facility!  So many “sheeple” follow this pret’ near mentally challenged alternate reality mofo even with FACTS and timelines that show his deliberate “obstruction of justice”.  He acts as if it is a freakin’ game!!  It’s a shame to see so-called adults play these childish games with other people’s lives … especially defenseless children.

On either level, though national leaders’ behavior may be a little more important than that of somebody’s misguided daughter, the balance of “yin and yang” is interrupted and the acceptance of negative, hurtful, and dishonest behavior is replacing the “value system” based on agreed upon “truths”.  The social contract even with all of its faults includes:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men (and women, modified) are created equal, that they are endowed by THEIR creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness …”.  No matter how we slice it, micro- or meso-level, we MUST abide by the same “truth” … or … live a LIE!  The choice is yours!


John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading! 😉

Trust The Process: Part 2

Good Day, probably the morning for most of y’all …  So, TGI Saturday with me?!?  Crazy, right?  Adjust and Trust!!  I know it’s Saturday and the e-mail message/blog post that I usually send on Friday didn’t get out.  But here it is!!  I was in a Denny’s all night in San Jose close to the airport where I flew in Thursday afternoon from Mexico City … from 5-6 pm Thursday until the Caribe Shuttle I had reserved for my return trip from the airport to Cocles was scheduled to depart at 5:30 am Friday!!  Magically … it all worked out!!  There are only two shuttles per day from the airport – 5:30 am and 2 pm.  Caleb and I took the trip when his mom came to San Jose to pick him up on the 4th of July.  The last bus that I could have caught left the nearby Marco Polo (MePe) Bus Terminal at 4 pm and the last time I tried that I got there late, missed the last bus at 4 pm and I ended up spending $175 for a taxi to take me from there in San Jose to Puerto Viejo!!  Live and learn, right?

It was a great week in Mexico City … ALL unplanned!  Let me begin with the fact that I had started planning the trip two months or more ago in an effort to get to see a dear friend before she left Oaxaca (6 hours from CDMX by bus).  I had wanted to rent a hotel there but decided it may be better to just stay in Mexico City for a week instead.  I had always wanted to visit places like Puerto Rico and Mexico since I was a child learning Spanish in public school.  So here was my chance.  When I realized that my friend in Oaxaca didn’t like me as much as I had liked her, I shifted gears and reserved a fancy hotel – Hotel Parque de Espana – in a luxury area where I planned to hang out and “lick my wounds” over the rough time that my daughter and her cohorts had given me regarding Caleb’s visit with me!  I found out some interesting facts during that “2-hour conference call” held by my daughter and her cohorts to convince Caleb to say that he wanted to leave me and Costa Rica and to see his “mommy”.  Now, Caleb is only 6 and was so excited to be able to locate Costa Rica on a globe with his “mommy” in preparation for the trip.  He just didn’t realize that it was three flights and a long shuttle ride to get to the place I am renting in Cocles.  In other words, he thought he would just act up enough so his “mommy” would come and get him, and maybe he would come back the next day if she let him …  He even told me, “Grandpa when I get mad, I always say I’m leaving …”  I understood what he meant but he didn’t know that his “mommy’s” plan was to win a bet with her mom his grandma who has been trying to destroy MY life since I kicked her to the curb when Ayanna was just a baby.  We had our ups and downs … but this shit got to be every day … 4 times a day.  I couldn’t take the lying and cheating and finally lost my patience one day … we had a fight that got physical … and she left our apartment with our daughter!  Her mother got involved and the toxicity began to flow from one generation to the next!  When Caleb was on that call, I overheard my ex-wife say unbeknownst to her that she “had won the bet and wanted her beer!”  I was like WTF??!!?  I didn’t want to get Caleb involved in this adult drama so when “they” bought our daughter’s airline tickets and return tickets for Caleb, I complied.  I could have been a nasty mofo several times but I am above that trifling shit!!  As one of my favorite childhood cartoon characters “Quick Draw McGraw” (a superhero fighting/talking horse!) used to say, “That smarts!!”

Once that episode of the drama ended, I changed my booking at Hotel Parque de Espana to a more center Mexico City location and see the town … as much of it as I could walking and taking tours.  I trusted the process … and it ALL worked out.  I got to stay in the Historic District.  I had no idea that the less expensive hotel was smack dab in the middle of that district!!  Do you see what I’m saying yet?!?  And it was at THAT hotel that I booked an all-day group tour to see the pyramids, have lunch, visit the Basilica de Guadalupe, and be driven back to the door of the hotel!  Now all of this came about on Monday, the day after which I had the opportunity to visit the location of the personal baths of “Aguas Medicinales del Penon” AND get an hour massage afterward!  Okay, now with me say “Trust the Process”!  I did!!  I love the process though it gets bumpy sometimes!  As Woody Allen once said, “Ride loosely in the saddle of life!”

My last two days there in Mexico City were incredible since I had learned my way around walking (I never took a city/public bus or subway/train while there!) and even frequented a few local stores, picked up a few gifts for myself and literally had a blast!!  I ate a few times at “Pirate Burger” which is way better than McDonald’s and/or Wendy’s and within walking distance of the hotel, as well as once at “Danubio”, where I had Lobster Thermador, a fancy restaurant in the same district !!  I know you see what I’m saying now about “trusting the process”.  Several times, including this morning, I felt the “love” of the universe holding me and directing my life … healing my wounds!

So yesterday, after picking up my electric scooter at the shop where the Caribe Shuttle was kind enough to drop me off (they usually take you to the door of your hotel/residence) I got unpacked, cleaned up a bit, shaved, and showered, went for a couple of slices of pizza and a ginger ale, got home … treated myself royally … and dozed off up until waking up to write THIS!

Have a great day and weekend!


John I. Cook, Director

When A Person SHOWS You Who They Are … Believe Them!!

Happy Friday from on “high”!  If y’all get this e-mail, I should be close to Mexico City!!  So, TGIF with me … I can’t hear you!?  Okay, that’s better, thanks!

Have you ever given someone too much credit?  I don’t mean financial or monetary credit!  I mean, perhaps one thought a potential friend was better than “they” turned out, unfortunately.  It happens to me more often than I’d like (though not too much nowadays!) and then I have to backtrack or “take back” some of my friendly thoughts and gestures toward this person(s).  That’s usually because I try to see the best in people first.  I am hoping that the person that I happen to find myself talking with is not trying to use me or set me up.  Some folks get a thrill when they tell you a lie and not only hope that you believe it but wait patiently for you to act on their LIE!  A strange kind of gratification, methinks!!

Yeah, I am taking a six-day siesta to Mexico City to take in as many sights as I can using a “Hop On, Hop Off!” bus that travels throughout the city showing venues that are tourist attractions.  I want some tasty Mexican food, too!  I have done some research on a location that has “aguas medicinales” like the water of the warm springs I experienced in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.  It’s more of a natural jacuzzi with mineral water … hopefully warm!  I’d like that!  I’m interested in seeing some pyramids since I heard that one if not the tallest pyramid is in Mexico … I don’t know where, but anyway …

I was going to just jump on the bus early enough to get to San Jose for my midday flight to Mexico City and postpone the blog post … but I can’t …  I said the same thing to myself when #45 was allowed to assume the office of the president.  After all of his braggadocio and lies, not to mention his pure ignorance about government and logic, some folks still thought that he would make a good president …  Then, of course with professional clowns like Jim Jordan who cheerlead this criminal on and criticize other people like Mr. Garland who actually knows what his job is and actually believes in a democratic government where the people vote for their representatives, it gets even more complicated.  Even Lovely Lindsey Graham chimed in to criticize Mr. Garland’s professionalism!!  Mr. Garland requested the search warrant because he had already tried everything else … and … of course … he KNOWS that #45 is the most dishonest person that he will probably ever meet!  Some complete fools actually want to start a “World War III” ( or Civil War II! ) over this garbage receptacle who managed to fool so many people with his con artist skills into believing the biggest LIAR ever!!  More than 30,000 lies were told by HIM during his presidency!!  It’s disappointing … but hopefully not surprising that he “took the 5th” during his deposition by the New York State agency investigating his over-valuing of his property when applying for yet another loan … more than 400 times!!!  Can we say “WTF” together yet?!?  Okay, I got this …. WTF!!??

When people SHOW you who they are … you’ve GOT to believe them.  While the feeling of realizing that you trusted someone and believed in them is extremely disheartening, remember that you NOW KNOW!!  Don’t be fooled by the same culprit over and over and over again!!  I’m happy about #45’s current situation because I can’t stand a liar.  The only people I can’t stand more are the people who believe and circulate the liar’s lies!!  Unless it’s a child, the person circulating and believing such lies are … sorry … less than complete idiots!!  I say that because they KNEW that the liar was lying!!  It hurts more when the people you trusted and tried to be close with chose to tell you a freaking lie!  To me, that’s some disrespectful crap … to stand in my face, using my time … to LIE!!!

I will take this little time as a vacation from my retirement residence that I am renting right now.  It’s good for me to “air my head out” sometimes when I’ve gone through some unanticipated drama!!  I owe it to MYSELF!  I remind me that my happiness is MY responsibility … not yours!!  So don’t worry!!  Still, I trust people … and people trust me.  I consider myself extremely trustworthy … that’s the way my Father wanted it and I carry that honesty with me today!!  Yet, I know how to put that sh@t in reverse and drop a “mofo” like a hot potato once I see that they like to lie!!  In short, I don’t care if I never see them again!!  

Be a good person … I know that there are a lot of us out there.  We have to hold each other accountable though and not let people in our circle(s) jerk everybody around with their lies … unless … you like that kind of thing!! NEVER settle for less than you deserve!

So wish me well in Mexico City as I do my “lone traveler” thing out here!!


John I. Cook, Director

Let Them Kick Rocks!!

Happy Friday, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahhh!!  I’m feeling rather chipper if you will!  So, shall we TGIF?!  Radical, Y’all!!  Thanks!

One of the primary lessons identified by Educational Excellence is to “Be the best that YOU can be!”  Does that make sense?  For me, this approach to life eliminates the necessity for a competition which can often get out of control.  Our (each of us) only competition should FIRST be “ourselves”.  Should one decide to choose a role model, be sure to carry the respect due to the person(s) you are choosing to emulate.  From time to time, I view things from a social scientist’s perspective.  Yet, I try to balance the conclusions from my observations without much of my personal bias that is based on my experiences.  So, I try to keep in mind that people may have a different, if not more difficult set of circumstances to deal with than I do!  In other words, I try to be kind even when defending “myself” and/or my behavior.  And … even when the “other” person is a tragedy in motion, it’s best for me to stay cool.  We never know what someone’s behavior (as crazy as it may be!) is being conceived or caused by … so I have learned to keep that in mind!

Of course on the flip side of being empathetic, one has to represent “truth” though it is constantly under attack nowadays!!  #TruthHaters SUCK! Yet, it is important for me to let “nature take its course”.  Some of us believe in karma, like me.  If anyone has “done you wrong” or maybe even stolen something from you, you don’t have to get in their face!  You may not be there when their “slap in the face” comes back to them but trust the process.  Stay your peaceful self and know that “they will get theirs” … if they haven’t already.  Don’t let “the monsters” steal YOUR peace …  It should be obvious that they have none … peace that is!  They may be jealous of your state of mind, and your life, and don’t want to see you happy!!  Can you say “toxic” with me?!?

There are times when I embrace the character of my Dad “Big Ike”.  He didn’t get all up in other people’s faces or business.  He stayed clear of the drama.  Big Ike didn’t have a college degree yet did his best to raise 4 children in the same household with the SAME wife … in The Projects!!  My, my, my how things have changed just in my lifetime.  Stay YOUR course or “stay in your lane”, as I sometimes like to suggest to people.  Remember, there IS a difference between leaders, like Bill Russell (RIP, Sir) and Michelle (and Barak) Obama, and regular followers.  Michelle depicts it best when she says, “When they go low, we go high!”

After having accomplished a few important things for me, I am nearly full focused on my health now. It is coming around as I continue to try more things like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds blended with flax seeds, and honey each morning with my curcuma/ginger tea!  I stick to my three-day-a-week workout routine at a local gym.  I’ve also started taking a supplement called “MSM” which is a natural plant-based supplement designed to treat osteoarthritis.  If I told you that I don’t have to walk with my cane anymore AND that I’m taking my happy a$$ to Mexico City next Friday, you might not believe me!  “I am responsible for my OWN happiness!”  I unapologetically choose ME!  How about you?

Thanks for reading and enjoy your day and weekend.


John I. Cook, Director

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