Why Not Just Be Honest … At First?!?

Happy Friday, Y’all!  It’s that time of the week again!!  How are you holding up?  Well, I hope!!  So, spread some goodness with a confident TGIF!!  Coolness!

In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a world contaminated with deceit and deception, often just plain old lies!!  Some folks never grow out of it … lying!  It has become a viable political tool as well as a true destroyer of even the best of people.  Some folks have no shame and will spin one right in your face (or cyberspace) and damn near dare you to challenge their lie(s). Wow!  What a waste of a human life!!

Each time I even THINK about what happened at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, my heart re-bleeds for the horrors of those families who lost precious cargo in that horrific massacre.  The law enforcement agencies immediately spun lies to the community, even as the demented gunman entered the school.  One opportunity after another was missed to stop the assassin.  Then, lies were spun by law enforcement as their failures were compounded and visible for all to SEE!!  What a shame!!  What a disgrace!!  And then to continue to lie about it too and through one investigation after another!!?  Why not just be honest … at first?!?  Is there some shame in being honest nowadays?!  Some folks act like it.  That’s the main reason that I try to keep my circle of friends small and close!!  It’s hard to trust people … even one’s own family members!!

Last night I took in another one of the January 6th Committee Hearings.  It is incredible to see how many lies came (and continue to come) out of the former president’s mouth.  So many phrases come to mind whenever he moves his mouth!!!  The sad thing is that now … more than ever … people embrace these lies … ANY LIE!  It’s like people want to be lied to for some reason.  These circles of “liars” are intolerable and of course, should be ashamed of themselves.  But they are not!!  This habit of lying and then trying to one-up “your neighbor” is completely classless!  Nobody knows what anybody really means and everyone’s mouth is just moving … it’s not even important to some people!  They just keep going even though it has been brought to “their” attention that it is not true!!  What can one hope to accomplish with a person who doesn’t even care if what they are saying about YOU (or another) is true?!?

Some folks swear that they know everything about everybody and the truth is that they know nothing about themselves … in particular why they lie so much!  For some, it seems like a disease!  Then, of course, we have the “know-it-alls” who haven’t done any research … not one photo nor video to support their deceit!  And then that same “Jane” turns around and repeats the same lie!  As one witness commented on the Insurrectionists: “They got out there and defaced the Capitol … all because of a lie!”

Clean up your act … then clean up your life!  Don’t ruin other people’s lives with your lies!  Keep it classy!!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

I Guess … I Really Had It Good!!

Happy Friday … Is it safe to say that nowadays?!?  Some folks are skilled at twisting stuff and just distorting the TRUTH.  So, I’m going to state it, “TGIF”!  Well done!  Thanks!

Life is a precious gift.  As I continue to enjoy my first five years of retirement, I’ve managed to stay clear of that “hardcore” drama!  You know, that DUMB stuff that even you know deep down inside was the WRONG thing to be involved in!!  Shame on you … once or maybe twice!  But after that, one (you) is putting oneself out to maybe second or third place?!  Not me … anymore!  I’ve done it … regretfully once too many times.  As time goes on, we learn that if “it” puts one out just one place, maybe we should re-analyze “it” and determine if “it” is helping us in the long run.  It might be a trap that desperate emotions propel us toward!!  My Dad was tough and my Mom was sweet.  I had a great balance as a result.  They remained married and worked together for 50 years!  I reaped the benefits.

So far, I’ve completed two of the concrete projects that I came here to the Caribbean to complete … for now.  My third book was finished a year ago.  Mostly autobiographic and also self-published, “Cookin’ With Life!: CookBook III” was a work “in progress” even as I traveled Western Europe in search of a place to finish it.  Secondly, I had a “family” member finally come and visit me here in the Caribbean.  I had initially invited Caleb and his Mom, my daughter, to come to visit.  I had even rented a few houses with two bedrooms all furnished and prepared for the TWO of them to come for a week.  But, after being told over and over that “they” were coming (“sooner than you think”, I was once told), I realized it would never happen.  So, I sent my daughter money for a passport for Caleb and prepared to host him by himself … alone!!  He and I had a great week all things considered.  I took lots of photographs and made a few videos for memories to reflect upon from time to time!  I remember showing him how to kill a mosquito using the two-hand “clap”!  We even had a few Spanish classes right here on my yoga mat in the bungalow!!  We have a/c, color tv, WiFi, hot water, and cleaning service once or twice a week as needed.

As I am often careful to include, throughout my life I have had multiple missteps if you will.  But, I had two loving parents to use their skills and love for me to nurture (or tough love me) until I came around.  Now, I’ve been called a lot of things!  But, I KNOW myself … better than anybody else.  It’s always been my priority … to know myself.  So when some “armchair” psychiatrist attempts to “judge” or evaluate me, I find it comical!  I lost two siblings along the way and two of us remain.  I am sure things will be okay for me …  While it disappointed me to see my only Child once again “choose” to sever communications with me, I am not surprised.  I was hoping that after several years of me trying to mend our relationship, things between us would get better.  I know how difficult it may be for her to go between two parents … I had plenty of experience with preschool children as I worked with the White Plains Child Day Care Center for a few summers while I attended Princeton.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to choose to please one or the other parent.  That’s not cool.  Parents often split up and don’t consider what their child(ren) may experience as a result.  Other parents stay together and treat each other horribly in front of their children.  Sometimes, the kids think that their parents’ behavior is normal and carry it with them.  Imagine disrespecting your father because you saw your mother disrespect him …  toxic pathological behavior for sure.  Nobody wins …

My senior thesis to graduate from Princeton was a book entitled: “A Critique of Studies on The Black Family”.  It was close to my heart as I tried to expose the FACT that the Black Family is not dead nor has been destroyed through racist practices in the USA.  The Black Family had to morph, so to speak, to maintain the functions of child-rearing and socialization into American society.  Many studies concluded that the Black man had been marginalized so much that he was no longer effective and the family unit(s) had been destroyed, a la Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  I have chosen to “be the best that I can be” and dispel that hurtful sociological suggestion.  When I recall my youth as the youngest in the family, Big Ike remained my hero.  That will never change!

So, as we continue our lives wherever we find ourselves, represent the truth and who you really are.  As an African American male, I will ALWAYS represent!!

Thanks for reading!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Sometimes, I Can Make It Look Easy … It’s Not!

If you can fix your lips to at least mouth Happy Friday or TGIF, I can understand that and appreciate your positive vibrations.  So, do what you do … as for me … TGIF!

We can take a deep breath and say, “We have to make sure this doesn’t happen again!”.  But the truth of the matter is that the nation is doomed to ” … live by the gun and die by the gun…”.  That’s all that is happening now!  Again, I remind you of how the land was taken from a very noble people, Amerinds or Native Americans, by force … of course … the gun!!  What goes around comes around, my Friends.  And if one thinks that one is so “slick” and able to outwit karma and the natural law of the universe, you’ve got to be kidding me!!  A mass shooting of Americans by a misguided American on the day of this nation’s celebration of independence and freedom?!?  Imagine: We are now so free that we can kill ourselves or a fellow American … for any reason we want!!  Sickness indeed!  It’s still so hard for me to fathom living in the States again … unless I really have to!

I had the pleasure of spending a good week – three meals a day, allergy medicine, and CBD in the morning along with vitamins – with my grandson Caleb Isaac.  If I told you it was easy, I’d be lying.  It was tough at points.  He is a beautiful little guy with immensely high levels of energy and curiosity!!  At 6 years of age, it was a bit more than I had anticipated.  I was planning for a month’s stay …  I mean, how was I supposed to predict the exact day and time that I should arrange for a return ticket to the States for him?!?  I didn’t even try … I booked tickets for a month out being ready and willing to change it if necessary.  It became necessary mainly due to adult egos … not his!  But anyway, we bonded and I had a chance to SHOW him how much I cared.  I gave him the opportunity to make his own sun butter and jam sandwich as he is allergic to nuts PERIOD!  He even helped me put down the kickstand on my electric bicycle whenever we stopped.  He even unlocked the front door to the bungalow when we came back or went out.  I yelled at him a few times when he wasn’t paying attention to a glass mug of hot tea … sometimes he liked it … other times he didn’t like it when I yelled.  But he paid attention to what he was doing!  It never got physical – there was no need for spankings nor whippings like I remember I got from my Dad during my childhood!  Do you have the courage to take care of a six or seven-year-old grandchild … alone?!  I’m retired and living in a bungalow … but WE made it work!!  He had his iPad from his grandmother who lives in Connecticut that was pre-programmed with his Mom’s number, grandma’s number, his mom’s partner’s number, and his mom’s partner’s daughter’s number, too!!  At one point when they had a “group call” going on managed by Caleb, I actually had to leave my own bungalow because it had gotten so loud!!  Peace be still …  So, after a situation when I had yelled at Caleb for something he wasn’t guilty of, “the adults” began to plan for his return flight and shuttle from Puerto Viejo to the airport in San Jose.  I sat cool, calm, collected, and ready to collaborate with whatever his mother and his grandma wanted!  While it may not have been long enough for “others”, it was fine for him and me.  I reminded him that we were making memories so he could remember his grandpa after grandpa is gone …  I never met EITHER of my grandfathers, but had the pleasure of being spoiled by BOTH grandmothers!  

While it was not exactly what we had planned, I feel like it was a fantastic experience for both Caleb Isaac and me!  We sped around carefully on my electric bicycle while he wore my adjustable goggles, we ate at some of the coolest restaurants out here, and even swam in the pool here on our second day!  We both got a little cough and congestion because it was cloudy and cool the day we swam!  I nursed him back with my famous homemade ginger/lemon/honey tea and some cold tablets and syrup.  My daughter said that he was good Thursday when I messaged her.  Now, I don’t give up too easily but having my own voice level restricted as I tried to communicate several times without yelling or raising my voice was too much for me!!  Caleb and I had a fun-filled time on our 7-hour shuttle ride from the bungalow to the Best Western in San Jose where his mother was waiting after taking several flights from the States to get here!  You know, it all worked out … better than I expected.  In fact, it was perfect timing.  I had had enough of convincing him to lay down and listen to some classical music on his iPad until he fell asleep around 7-8 pm each night!  And though we had made up a game when I wanted him to stop talking so much which he liked, he became very rebellious at times when I would ask him to do something like put lotion on his own body or brush his teeth.  It often became a challenge as I offered my services that he constantly compared to what he was accustomed to doing at home with his Mom or grandma.  I felt it was unfair to him so I “gave up” and agreed to meet Ayanna in San Jose as she had requested.  We spent the 4th of July morning together and later that afternoon I shuttled back 7 hours from San Jose to Cocles.  The “universe” had spoken and I listened!  It’s much easier that way!  THAT’s how I make it look easier, “broke” financially and all!

In living my precious life along this journey, I find ways to spin good karma and positive vibrations and I refuse to get caught up in these “negativity contests” and putting each other down!!  Who does that and expects to have a good life!!?  Practice makes one better.  Be the BEST that you can be … ALL of the time … at least make an effort ALL of the time.

Thanks for reading!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Happy Birthday, “Big Ike” …

Happy Friday, World …  I know that it’s hard out there, but TGIF anyways!!!  Thanks again!!

Well, it is also “The 4th of July (Independence Day) Weekend” in the States!  Yet, I always acknowledge my Dad’s birthday about this time every year!!  Join me in sending a spiritual message to Mr. Isaac Henry Cook for his birthday, July 4th, 1907 … or maybe 1910.  The exact year is something that I was unable to ascertain since after Big Ike had passed, my Mother had been suffering from Alzheimer’s until she fell, bumped her head on the floor, and struggled with a brain contusion … until The End!  Isaac Henry was the third son of a manumitted slave named Robert Cook and a purported Seminole woman, Mattie Yhuman … according to some oral family history.

This guy taught me by example how to do some incredible stuff!!  The main lesson … “Believe in Yourself”.  You can imagine how proud he was to witness his baby boy, John Isaac, as he received his diploma in 1976, from Princeton University that at one time refused admission to African Americans. I had no idea that I was zooming across like three generations to rise as high as I could in American society.  Big Ike never graduated high school because there was none in the area where he grew up on the farmlands of North/Central Florida.  So for him and Mary to see their youngest child accomplish this feat was absolutely incredible … perhaps unimaginable!  Now, trust me on this one … I still had my ups and downs but I always remembered something he would say to me to encourage me to believe in myself and never doubt myself nor look (fall) backward. “Once you get it in your head, nobody can take it away from you.”

So, my only grandson from my ONLY daughter has been with me pret’ near a week now in Costa Rica since we met up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL last Friday at an AirBnB that my daughter had arranged and paid for so that we could meet and exchange the “precious cargo”.  We had been talking and planning for him to stay with me in Cocles near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, for a month.  We’ve had our moments of tension, the most recent one on deciding to wear newer cleaner underwear or wear the same ones he had on after he showered the night before.  As we both toyed with what was “right”, he decided that he was going to follow the way things were done at his home with his Mom in Connecticut.  After a brief struggle with me as I tried to remove the underwear, I realized how important THIS was for him and decided to call his Mom.  She wasn’t too happy with me as she confirmed that he was “right”.  Caleb Isaac is only 6 so this was a challenge for him to handle, not to mention how interestingly challenging for me as I did my best to “stand my ground” while I humbly accepted the FACT that I was wrong …  After some back and forth with his Mom, her Mom, and a family friend of theirs, “he” decided that he wanted to go back to Florida.  My daughter and I agreed to let him sleep on it and see what comes next!!  I had to get up early to write my blog post and organize my thoughts … and emotions.  One lesson I learned through my journey is: “Take NO hostages!”  Again, I credit Big Ike for showing me this personality trait … “Let Go!”

Here’s another tidbit of a true story which involved the utilization of my enlightened intelligence!  Yep!  There … I said it!!  So, I was invited to listen to a friend and an acquaintance from the States who, last year or so, decided to call me “boy” as I sat with a female friend from Croatia.  She and I were having a conversation and this character approached!  I was like … “What did you call me?!?”  He quickly replied, “Okay … man!”  I grabbed a chair and offered it to him to which he replied negatively.  I tried to limit contact with this expat.  So, as I listened to this jazz improvisational duo, I heard someone faintly saying, “Hey boy!”  I wasn’t sure if the WAITER was calling me that, so I kind of ignored it, choosing to enjoy the moments of music.  A week or so later, I returned to the same restaurant to get one of their delicious croissants-to-go as the co-“owner” is French and his lovely new wife is from Italy.  They both were on their honeymoon for a few weeks.  As I entered the restaurant, I heard a familiar voice … It said, “Hey Boy!”  It was the table cleaner/waiter AGAIN.  I looked at him, clearly from some Central American country, if not … Costa Rica.  I said, “Hey Man!” which is my usual response to social ignorance.  I smiled and extended my hand and said, “My name is John!  What’s your name again?”  He said his name as he looked at me with a mild expression of contempt coupled with non-enlightenment.  I might add here that it is customary for the locals of this Jamaican influenced culture to call each other, “my boy”.  But “boy” was unacceptable!  I told him, “My father would be upset if he heard you call his son “boy”.  I followed up with a well-known quote: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”  He thought that was funny as did some of the local males who also worked at the establishment.  I went on to tell him that the only reason he said that to me is because I am an African American male.  I continued by suggesting that he would NEVER say that to a white male patron so why me?!?  He and a friend of his, also a local Central American male, tried to convince me that they say that to white men, too!  Realizing that I was up against “complete and total ignorance” not to mention lies, I retreated … as would “Big Ike”.  I promised not to return until the newly happily married couple returned.  When they did, and I was approached by the new wife who asked me if I wanted to talk about it, I agreed and we walked a bit closer to the ocean and away from the restaurant.  Soon after, her young husband approached us and the whirlwind began.  After all was said and done, the male had said that he didn’t like diplomats anyway and his wife had accused me of being belligerent.  They asked me if the waiter had apologized, which he didn’t (why would he if he hadn’t done anything wrong!) and I told them so.  The young gent said that the other employees had told him that this table cleaner had apologized to me.  The young man asked me if I wanted to have a drink as the employee who had called me “boy” approached the restaurant for his shift at work.  I declined … and took my talents elsewhere for the moment.  I thought, “Big Ike would be proud of me!”  What thinketh you?!?  No worries … I don’t need anyone to agree with me as I count my blessings and MY birthday rapidly approaches … July 13th!!  That’s my story and I am sticking to it!!

In closing, I just want to restate that one should believe in oneself, especially if you’ve worked so very hard on yourself as I have and will continue to do!  #HatersSuck

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Believe In The Process …

Happy Friday, All!  Hit me with a TGIF, if you’ll be so kind!  Boom!!

It’s a very special weekend for me … and my daughter … and my grandson!  We are meeting up in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl … so that my grandson Caleb Isaac and I can spend some time together … in Costa Rica!  So, join me in a TGIF, please!  “Dale!”  “Gracias!”

Life has a way of teaching each of us things we really need to learn … if you want to be a good person or even a better person.  I mean, we all think that we are “unique” in our own way … which is cool.  Everybody is different and if we each try our best to “be the best that we can be”, things usually turn out alright.  If not, there is a lesson to be learned.  It is a process … this thing called life!  I’ve encountered many different types of people in my life and each person is not only unique but is also playing a “role” in this drama of life.  I can’t wrap my head around any “satanic cult-like organization” because I believe in the “power of love”.  As I observe our World today, we can see an awful lot of destruction.  I hope that humanity can LEARN that this planet is our “home”.  I mean, would you drop bombs on ANY part of your own home?!?  Most people I’ve met in my life seem to have some degree of self-worth.  In other words, they are not intentionally sabotaging their own lives …  Now, they may not have all of the “t’s crossed” and “i’s dotted” but there is usually something inside of them that they are proud of …  like compassion or cooperation, art even.  We have to try to bring “the best” out in each other while protecting our own “personal space”.  Yes, there are “invaders” out there who unfortunately have not learned to respect each other’s talents and skills.  You may remember that I had referred to the concept of “4 ages” and we are in the last … the age of corruption.  People actually think that corruption is cool … it’s not.  In fact, it is very destructive as anyone interested in “world affairs” can see.  So, try not to nurture the concept of corruption, nor include it in “our” lives.  I am no better than anyone.  But after living more than fifty years on this planet, I have seen the deleterious effects of corruption on ANYTHING.  Yet people ranging from personal associates to a few world so-called leaders seek to implement the use of corruption in their affairs.

So, I believed that my daughter and I could pull this off for her little Sun, “Caleb Isaac” and my new grandSun!  I am excited to have the privilege of spending time with him sharing our lives and learning a few things as he seems to have an interest in Spanish.  I prepared some flip charts with the days of the week, and numbers, and I “plan” to implement the use and conjugation of a few basic verbs in Spanish, depending on his level of interest.  I have had people tell me that they want to learn English and they even go as far as to get my attention.  The “classes” seldom take place but the interest is there.  Perhaps it is not the right time in their personal lives to spend time and energy learning a second language … or whatever!  I don’t take offense nor feel disrespected if their lives or lifestyles don’t permit them the opportunity.  Some people actually don’t have the skills to learn another language, perhaps, or another discipline like engineering, science, mathematics, etcetera.

Right now, I am going to close this message as this part of my journey unfolds.  Here I am in Ft. Lauderdale, my second home in the States, in a hotel looking out at the pool and jacuzzi, which I will enter before checking out, hanging out with the same buddy who picked me up at the airport when I flew in Wednesday.  Joel Valencia, aka “Colombia”, is at an important meeting this morning where he is helping a friend.  Then he will come back and we’ll hang out a bit before he will transport me to an AirBnB that my daughter has arranged for me and Caleb to stay until we fly out to Costa Rica early Monday morning.  We have been planning and talking early in the morning, later in the day, and sometimes late into the night for the past three months.  She and Caleb flew into Orlando from Connecticutt yesterday and she and her partner are planning to come to Ft. Lauderdale, meet up with me at the AirBnB and deliver the “precious cargo” to me!!

Wish us luck in continuing our individual processes together and nurturing the life of a new human being.  I am so proud but more grateful!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“And If You Don’t Know, Now You Know!!”

Happy Friday, World!!

While the madness continues in the States (Summer Camp Shooter in Texas), things look a bit hectic worldwide, too!  I can’t believe the seemingly medieval images of war being shown from Kyiv and Ukraine!  OMG!  I can’t even talk about the “war crimes” ranging from the sexual battery by Russian soldiers on civilian women to stealing grain from Ukraine and the world!!  TGIF, right quick, okay?!?  Thank you!!

This weekend holds the celebrations of “Juneteenth” where participants embrace the concept of “freedom” as well as “Father’s Day”, so take your pick … or do BOTH!  A royal shout out to my Dad, “BIG Ike” r.i.p. who got me started with just a glint in his eyes!!  Most of my pieces entertain some ideas of spirituality as well as “history” since I do still hold a Master of Science Degree in Education, with a specialization in American History.  Life is interesting from my perspective because I can’t seem to get away from it … that history stuff! But, we have to be careful, of course, if we bother to care at all!  There are some characters who try to rewrite history.  Others go as far as to claim that none of it matters anyway!  Picture that ostrich with its head buried in the sand!!  I don’t even think the ostriches really do that … but anyway!!

After watching some of the January 6th Special Committee segments, I was kind of shocked … but not really.  #45 is a bully of the worst type.  Those kinds of people are extremely dangerous! Direct Quotes: “I’m telling you … if Pence caved, “mofos” are gonna be drug through the streets!”  “Hang Mike Pence!”  That’s when a bully HAS to be checked!!  Former VP Pence and his family members’ lives were physically at stake!  One of the Proud Boys said, “If we had the chance, we would have killed Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, too!”  Meanwhile, the classlessness of #45 propelled him to call his VP on January 6th, who had praised him when no one else would, a “wimp” and “the p-word”!  So, even after 4 years of being the president, this is the best he could do!?!  Attempt to re-write American History and kill a few citizens while he was at it, heh!!!  Damn shame!!!  VOTE WISELY!!  Hopefully, Pence NEVER communicates with that mofo again!  Talk about throwing someone under the bus!?!  Damn disgrace!!

Personally, I prefer NOT to deal with liars and bullies and I don’t want to wrestle with any “pigs”!  All of these types of behavior are toxic!!  Keep in mind now that some folks prefer not to live WITHOUT toxicity!  These people are so toxic that they will never be able to see the errors of their ways.  They would rather heap all of that “bs” toxicity on others than try to “be the best that they can be!” These people should never be trusted with any kind of leadership position.  Followers of these fools are more dangerous than their “lying leaders”!!  One of the reasons I wrote three books is not only to share my journey of overcoming obstacles but to set the record straight.  Thanks to my Creator and my parents’ insistence that I “be the best that I can be”, I don’t NEED to lie.  Overcomers don’t lie to themselves as that would thwart the process of overcoming obstacles!  As my Father used to say, “Use your common sense, Son!”  Unfortunately, too many people don’t care about their own “truth” and lack common sense.  Thusly, they become stuck, unhappy, and lash out at others!  Be aware of your surroundings and the people you are around.  Toxicity is contagious unless you really “know thyself”.  Don’t trash your own life, please!  I definitely won’t let you trash mine.

Have a great day, enjoy your weekends, hug your “Dads”, and celebrate the freedom of “Juneteenth”!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Get a copy of any of the three books by visiting the “Publications” section of excelwitheducationalexcellence.com

An “Emmet Till” Moment …

Happy Friday, “cruel world” … in my Bugs Bunny voice …  It seems that way more often than not … so … TGIF!!  Get with it, eh?!?  Thanks!!

Just a reminder to the readers and followers on Word Press of Educational Excellence that I say things that most people are even afraid to discuss!  After years of being a “learning manager” in schools both public and private as well as in corporations like American Express, I am not afraid to state something controversial like racism is a mental illness.  I mean I have been called stuff that was mean and nasty, even hurtful.  But if I do the same thing, people’s feelings get hurt!  Shucks!  They might even feel uncomfortable!  I say “GOOD!”.  And that’s just a smidgen of what many people have been referred to for one reason or another, not to mention the inhumane treatment of some Americans to other Americans!

As I watched the “January 6th Hearings” coupled with the horrifying inadequacies of the police representatives from various law enforcement agencies in Uvalde, TX, I could see that America is in trouble!  The country lacks professional leadership on all levels from local representatives, to state and federal representatives.  If you will, “America” is catching up during this age of corruption.  While the country and its experimental constitution are still “intact”, parents, doctors, actors, and even children have to literally beg these elected officials to do something other than to permit police to stand outside of a classroom door while innocent children were being decapitated by a “lone loser” with an AR-15!  They (police) were afraid for THEIR lives but not too concerned for those helpless innocent children.  Then, the police spin lies like the door was blocked or all of the children … damn … have been killed!! WTF!!!!  Enter the pediatrician of Uvalde, TX who described in detail the injuries inflicted on these innocent children.  Can you see the dearth of humanity that allowed a complete inhuman to mercilessly kill OTHER PEOPLE’S children while they were sitting ducks ….  Peace be still …  Do Americans NEED another Emmet Till Moment?  Have we become so numb to such violence?!?

Many Americans feel that there is no reason to be concerned anymore … just grin and bear it!!  NOT I!!  I am one of those who are intelligent enough to want to save one of the last bastions of democracy on Earth.  I don’t want to live in a country with a dictator or anyone who is not concerned with the civil rights of ALL!!  Selfishness permeates the attitudes of politicians who have lost track of the FACT that they represent “the people”!  Please … don’t vote for these self-styled autocrats who can’t lead sh@t!!  It makes me feel so disappointed in America …  Some people don’t even know how to recognize a “leader” …  Others don’t recognize that the democratic experiment can survive in America when we elect quality leaders!  That’s our job as voters …  We can SEE that “others” are NOT doing their jobs!  Don’t emulate them!!

Enjoy your day, your weekend, and your LIFE!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading!!

I Am Mystified!

Hello Friday … Glad you came to see us today!!  So, I will complete the ritual of gratitude and TGIF for ALL the WORLD!  DONE!

I know that I am not alone on this one … if you’re living, breathing, and able to think.  You DO realize the state of the world today …  Nobody has any answers that “others” will accept without a debate, a “new theory of some sort”, or just a plain old LIE!  The truth seems to be a concept that we humans can no longer fathom nor agree on.  It seems that we each want to be the author of our lives … as we enthrall, defame, corrupt, or just kill “others” in our “constructs of reality”!  Far OUT, right?!?  That’s what I’m saying!  I can’t believe the level of depravity (showing a lack of civility) to which humankind has fallen!  No matter where we observe human life on the globe, there is tremendous drama, a dearth of spirituality, decadence, and decay!  I heard one law enforcement official in the United States after the latest spree of mass murders call the state that these “shooters” are in as I eluded to before … a state of depravity, a la Professor Leonard!

When I hear arguments supporting the sale of AR-15s to 18-year-olds because they are drafted at 18 years of age anyway, I see the “loopholes” and excuses building up to illuminate this decayed state of humanity.  Finally, we have the true morons who have forgotten that we ALL are humans and have the right to our God-given lives who say, “No!  It’s NOT the AR-15s fault… it’s that we need better programs to treat poor mental health in the citizenry!  Protect the 2nd Amendment!”  My jaw drops … and I wonder … who is going to protect the children … humanity’s future?!  Or do we think the 2nd Amendment deserves our unconditional love instead?!?  Don’t make me say it!!

Yeah, I am mystified at the level of ignorance that many so-called leaders and their followers display to cover up OBVIOUS wounds in our social organizations, our economic systems based on capitalism and greed, and our physical planet – Earth!  I don’t know how much more oil drilling, fracking, earthquakes, coal excavation, diamond and gold mining Mother Earth can withstand!  Has someone studied THAT?!?  I mean we only LIVE here?!?  Depravity at its worst!  I find it difficult to sleep at night, too, as some of the Ukrainian survivors of the Russian invasion of their land have stated.  How about the eerie silences in the homes of those 19 children lost at the hands of yet another depraved individual who fell through the cracks until … The End …

Well, I recall a course I took with a Sister Ganga from The Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University some 10-15 years ago at her home near Pembroke Pines, FL.  I had attended a few of Brahma Kumaris’s “Peace in the Park” gatherings held in Young’s Circle in Hollywood, FL every third Sunday.  I found the “singing bowls”, reiki activities, group meditations led by the Organization’s experienced meditators, and fabulous gatherings of folks at Ganga’s house for guest speakers followed by a vegan lunch quite uplifting!  In fact, The Brahma Kumaris of Miami gave me an opportunity to do a book presentation and signing of my first manuscript, “From the Projects to Princeton”!  The organization whose headquarters are in Mount Abu, India, also has spiritual centers worldwide including a lovely retreat location in Upstate New York as well as in places like Costa Rica.

Their belief system focuses on spirituality and meditation.  We are spiritual beings who have become so enveloped in our own physical trappings that we have lost contact with our spiritual selves.  That’s more my interpretation of things rather than what someone told me to think!  I don’t do “group think” which is why I was attracted to this group.  Basically, the workshop I took with Ganga explained that humanity basically has four ages, if you will.  The first is the Golden Age (Spring Time) followed by the Silver Age, Summer Time where life is less pure.  Next, we experienced the Copper Age (Autumn), when the “God” if you will, sent prophets to help end idol worship and answer humanity’s calls (prayers) for direction in the midst of extreme human suffering, negative personality traits, and perhaps depravity on that level.  My studies illustrated that we Humans are in the Iron Age (winter), the age of corruption.  Yet, before this age blossoms into the Golden Age again, the Universe permitting, there is a special time of “confluence” when the Iron Age gives way to a rebirth, perhaps, of humanity.  It was at this time that I embraced whole-heartedly and passionately the practice of yoga as well as meditation.  They bring me to focus on my “peace” which I in turn get to disperse to interested souls!  I hope to be an integral part of aiding in this rebirth!  And you?!?  Any thoughts or paradigms??

Okay, so when you’ve time and perhaps a notion of how “you” might aid in this experience, give it a whirl.  “Know Thyself!”

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

ps – Thank you for reading!

One Doesn’t Have to Feel Bad … Accept the Reality … Change It!!

Happy Friday … wow … another mass shooting in Texas … another 18-year-old … this time at an elementary school!  Help me out here with a TGIF for those traumatized in Uvalde, TX at Robb Elementary School, please …  Thank you, kindly!!

Where do we begin?  Who do “we the people” blame?!  Do we blame our “leaders” … the ones we put into office so that they can protect “our”/THEIR second amendment right which has been taken COMPLETELY out of context and inflated enough to dwarf the rest of the constitutional amendments!!?  Or do “we” blame ourselves for allowing “bullying” and disrespect to become the new normal?!?  It has already become the rule of thumb in autocratic nations!!!  Doggone “Pewtin” has young Russians going to a war that they were lied to about, even as far as who started the “war”!!  The Russian soldiers are like the psychopaths “we” the people let loose in a “land of the free, home of the brave” because “we” want more guns than people in the States!  And then we blame the 2nd amendment which was originally designed to give young colonists the right to “form militia” (bear arms) … in the face of the occupation of the colonies (stolen from Native Americans) by British troops!  The gun manufacturers have figured out a way to make money selling AR-15s, etcetera, which is then used to buy off greedy, avaricious, selfish, lying members of the legislative body that “we” have allowed to foster fake fears amongst the population like “White Replacement Theory”, general racism, hatred of Jewish people and other religious groups, and the “politicians” can’t tell the difference between their arses and their mouths!! THIS is why regular “Dick and Janes” in the USA have learned NOT to trust the politicians!!  There must be a restoration of humanity to America and its “leaders” …  And please try to teach the youth of the country the truth by admitting that racism allowed early American “leaders” to stratify the population based on wealth and skin color … (it may become illegal to teach what “critical race theory” actually is!)  As a result, we get these misdirected, predominantly young white males who conjure up these bizarre notions that their low self-esteem can be replaced by bullying and ultimately killing a classroom full (or supermarket, movie theater, discotheque, etc.) of innocent unarmed, helpless humans …  There you have it … Uvalde, TX!  Next!!

The majority of American citizens don’t want AR-15s to be sold to stupid kids with no idea of who they are, what they are doing, and whom they are about to kill.  You see, Americans are being conditioned to accept monetary rewards for ignoring the right to life as the new normal!!  I looked at Ted Cruz’s face as he stood on a stage while the news was being relayed by dishonest law enforcement officials about the horrific massacre in a classroom full of 3rd & 4th graders (who does that – a bully with NO self-esteem!!) …  His face was expressionless as he clasped his hand in front of himself looking like “scrump’s” altar boy!!  You are witnessing with your OWN EYES (and ears) how these law school graduates don’t have enough human decency to stop peddling hateful lies in attempts to secure fictitious “power” (which is actually demonic and evil!) and money. 

Okay, right about now, I would like to address this bs that we Americans can’t intellectually discuss the truth about how things were started in the country so that we can straighten it out!!  Should I repeat … INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE BEING KILLED BY OTHER STUPID AMERICANS!!  The last bastion of democracy although only an experiment has succumbed to authoritarian bullying and greed as a way of life …  The children can’t even go to learn to read and write, add and subtract, or even hold honor roll and awards ceremonies without one of these “side-winding morons” on the loose.  As I see the learning process from an educator’s point of view, one must be able to separate their feelings and examine the morality behind the behavior being examined, challenged, and ultimately changed!  Racism is immoral … the country was stolen from one group, built by enslaved or denigrated immigrants from still other groups, and run by joint-stock companies which later became colonies, then states … and now there is a country!!  When the experiment starts going wrong, one must change those elements causing the implosion of American society …  Don’t sit back and watch … VOTE those cowards OUT of office!  They’ve already shown that they don’t care about anyone’s race, religion, age, and the horrible list goes on!!!  EVERYBODY is screaming “ENOUGH ALREADY”!  So, now they got me tearing up, too!  I write about it seeking to spread enlightenment because nobody wants to actually talk sensible.  There’s always polarized positioning and then the mental bullying starts! I can’t stand a stupid bully!!!  Damn!!

I was chatting with the groundskeeper where I stay who informed me that BEFORE you can buy a gun LEGALLY in Costa Rica, one must pass a mental exam as well as a police/criminal background check.  The kids had already informed those who would listen that “Ramon” was a bully!  He posted videos of himself repeatedly punching another youth! While he is responsible for his behavior, he obviously got “dropped on his head” (figuratively speaking, not literally) by his parents since he had dropped out of school and was living with grandma and grandpa for 3 months …  But, damn, don’t make it so easy to act out one’s misfortune and hurt on innocent others!!  Picture this … an 18-year-old high school dropout bully leaving a store with TWO AR-15s … That’s horrific … as we have seen over and over … and will continue to see until fears and greed are replaced with morality and responsibility all the way around.  Sad story … freakin’ non-stop dumb drama!

When I was attending Princeton University (’72-’76), many of us curious students had the pleasure of being entertained (and educated!) by a musical group called “Funkadelic” whose hit album at the time was “America Eats Its Young”.  They landed “The Mothership” at Rutgers University in New Jersey and proceeded to “jam”!  At that time, I began to pay attention to “the message in their music”!  Find YOUR way peacefully, if possible.  One doesn’t have to feel bad … change the situation in the direction of humanitarianism.  Make your leaders stop lying to you … like the Texas law enforcement agency that let another monster kill … as they fearfully watched … waiting for backup.  If people vote for the same avaricious, heartless, misguided leaders … THIS is what we will continue to get!!  From Buffalo, NY to Uvalde, TX … where next?!?

Peace,

John I. Cook

Thank you for reading!

“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!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading!

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