“If the Shoe Fits, Wear It!”

Good Day, y’all. “Hey ya, hey ya, hey ya, hey yaaaa!”  Let’s do the TGIF thing, okay?! TGIF!

I hope that your weeks and days are flowing smoothly.  I was pleasantly surprised when I called the self-publishing company I used for my first two books yesterday.  I had “promised” myself to use the “stimulus check” to publish my third book.  It is dedicated to my Mother with a short “shout out” to a couple of people who helped out while and when I experienced successes and challenges as well as those who helped in putting the finished product together.  During my call yesterday, the representative I spoke with offered me a discount as a repeat author as well as to provide the option of perhaps two or three payments. THIS, too, is “how I roll” in my dedication to “give back” to the Universe that nourishes and guides me.  I fell into deep thought yesterday morning about my brother “Hank” aka Henry Charles Cook (RIP).  In talking with a friend yesterday, I realized how much my Father had endured and why he was so strict on me to “make” me internalize that “work ethic” and self-discipline.  Of course, I make it a point to “represent” the best of “my” people … the best of ALL people … in whatever I do!

My only grandchild – the Son of my only Child, Ayanna Lynne – will be 5 years of age in October.  I promised myself that I would fund a passport for him on his birthday.  I’m still on it!!  As I spend my last couple of weeks in “Casita Azul” with the kitchen roof still under repair, I am pulling together the energies of the Universe to “be the best that I can be”!  I am excited to be moving! I often stress how important it is to “know thyself” and to “be yourself”.  Of course, improvements are permitted!!  I write about things that I “see” in the world today and give an honest view of things, whether they involve me or “others”.  I simply offer MY perspective which “you” can disagree with or “grow” from, if interested.  Some folks don’t “like” that while others take the discussion as an opportunity to improve oneself and the “world” we live in!  Choose wisely . . .

In the meantime … enjoy the day and your weekends!  Follow the scientists, not the “fools”!  Stay safe in peace, respect, and love!


John I. Cook, Director


Happy Friday, All!

Can we skip the “small talk” and cut to the chase?!?  TGIF, then, y’all!

Do you think that “your creator”, name it what you will, is happy with “us” Earthlings?!?  There is so much going on in the world today … from deceitful leaders to “wildfires” and even arson type fires in Europe’s largest refugee camp … not to mention basic human discontent … worldwide, y’all!  I don’t do the “drama” thing or the “discontent” state … so … I MOVE ON!

It’s interesting how life can teach you things if you are smart enough … and concerned enough … to check it out!  You see, for me, if I sense that a person is “offending” me … and “they” won’t stop … I leave!  I ONLY owe my life to My Creator and to those who demonstrate and seek respect, peace, and love!!  Trust me … I KNOW it’s a tall order … but “that’s how I roll”!  I have been living in this 3-story old-style Caribbean house for a year and a half now.  It came complete with “geckos”, bats, termites, spiders, and a variety of insects, especially ants.  My rent has been $600 USD/month.  The landlady first wanted a “month’s” security, which I refused to pay to a “near-stranger” in another country without a contract.  I told her I couldn’t afford it but that I would be the best tenant she ever had!  The roof in the kitchen over the stove has cracked pieces of a “covering” which holds and stores … gecko and bat poop. Over the past 4 months, the roof has been releasing this “mixture” into the kitchen through the cracks!!  I have had to sweep EVERY morning and several times a day.  After multiple requests … and seeing the landlady’s roof being repaired in plain sight … but not mine … I decided to “move on”!  As is “suggested” in yoga, “when something/one no longer serves you, as you are serving others”, it’s time to release “that” from your energies!!

It seems that I have found a nice outdoor 1 bedroom apartment/home set up and have plans to move in October first in a few weeks.  Needless to say, I have been “hosting” and working with the “Caribbean style roofers” who are here already and downstairs cutting wood now to finish the job today!!  It’s 7:35 am here!  So remember, when the time comes … “keep movin’ on” … preferably forward!

Have a great weekend!


John I. Cook, Director

Connecting to Your “True Self”

Happy Friday, All!

Whether you say it with me or not, it’s going DOWN!!  So, TGIF!  Make it a good one!!

Through my last years in the States before retiring abroad, I noticed that as long as I kept a positive attitude things would go well.  There was a pattern that I observed when challenges or obstacles would appear from nowhere!  If I kept a positive attitude with peace, love and respect in my approach to things, a positive result would be “created”.  Sometimes, I would be pleasantly surprised by the manner in which “The Universe” would unfold and provide me with the things I needed!  Sometimes, it was like magic!!

Since I have been living here in Puerto Viejo, I have experienced the “pros and cons” of being an “outsider” though I look like I am from here, so I have been told!!  A few nights ago … it was the full moon … I was at a gathering of friends and a guy approached me and had nothing but kind things to say.  Now we had spoken before and I am closer with his lady friend, but he caught me off guard in a most uplifting way!!  He complimented me on my kindness and genuine effort to meet and interact with “good people” here as well as telling me what a gentleman I have been with both he and his girlfriend. Shortly after that, another young gent approached me and asked me where I was from.  I told him and he said that his father was from the Bronx, NY and lives here now.  They are looking to do some filming and video shooting …  So he kind of repeated what my other friend, “Paolo” had said:  “You look like you are from here but when you speak and the manner in which you carry yourself, it’s clear that you are not from here!  I like the way you represent yourself …”  I smiled and thanked him and we exchanged numbers for only “The Universe” knows why!!

A friend and former colleague at a college I taught for in Ft. Lauderdale – City College – had some nice things to say to me on social media.  I was happily surprised as well!  She had worked in admissions before the school shut down for various reasons.  She had mentioned recently on social media that she had just gotten a new position in admissions for another university in Florida.  In her response to my well wishes in obtaining her new position, she said something like this:  “Thanks, John!  You have always inspired me and were a role model for me in working with and motivating the students!”  My jaw dropped as I pushed one tear back …  “Wow!”, I thought to myself.  “What a compliment!”

So, just remember this … “When they go low, we go high!”  – Michelle Obama

Connect with your true self!!


John I. Cook

There’s A Bug In Your Eye!!

It’s Friday, Y’all!  We have another opportunity to be grateful … ALL DAY!  Get with it … TGIF!!

Welp, I’ve seen pretty much ALL of the “reality tv show” starring the scrumps that I need to see!!  Do you remember this: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive …”?  This is a classic with origins back to Shakespeare, they say.  But that’s been proven to be untrue, too!  The actual author was Sir Walter Scott (1808), a Scottish gent who wrote poems, novels, and plays.  I wonder how many “people” enjoyed that “play” last night from the lawn of the White House, which was built by slaves.  Of course, the reality tv show star never mentioned that while he praised where “he” lives …  As well, this same person never mentioned the shooting of an unarmed African American man in the back, father of three, by the police in Wisconsin.  Jacob Blake is now handcuffed to his bed, his father said.

A 17-year-old white kid from Illinois showed up on the streets of Kenosha, WI driven there by his mother!!  He shot and killed 2 protesters and walked right to the Kenosha police, strapped with a long gun, who later gave bottled water to “militia styled” white men!!!  The Kenosha Police drove past him, telling him to get out of the street!  Once again, this president never mentioned either FACT but continued to tout more than 20 blatant lies to his receptive non-mask wearing, no social distancing audience who clapped like parrots chirp after every one of his lies!

So, this is what those united states of america have become!!  I don’t trust nor particularly like braggarts who base their whole tale on lies!!  Some folks, like at the rally last night, embrace or simply ignore the fact that this person is telling lie after lie while they sit there and clap!!  So many people world-wide witnessed this joke while his family members filled the stage set up in the White House!!  THIS has never been done before!  Now it should be clear why so many countries prefer NOT to be involved with this culprit presenting his “theater of lies”!  Now, you know how stupid those people are who clapped like robots after EACH lie.

Okay, okay … so I am done venting.  I noticed posts on social media from a few friends and former “now grown-up” students of mine.  They are commenting that the racism and dishonesty in the States’ leadership are extremely toxic, evil, and debilitating for a once “functioning” country that now seems to be ready to accept a dictatorship!!  I got one thing to say … “I can’t …”  Stay close to your loved ones, seek the truth, and pray that this evilness and wickedness in the States doesn’t spread to a majority of these pawns of people …


John I. Cook, Director

Can You Do “The Damn” Job?!?

Happy Friday, right?!  RIGHT?!?  Sometimes we have to convince OURSELVES, RIGHT?!?  So, “Just Do It!”.  TGIF!

This week in “world news” has been pretty interesting, to say the least!  Does it look like “things” are ready to implode around here?!  Have you ever been given a “job” that you actually couldn’t do?  How did you handle that?  Did you ask for help … or did you just resign or refuse to accept the position?  … or did you just do a “poor job” until things got so bad that it was clear that you … “couldn’t do the damn job”!??  What a fiasco, heh?!

While I have never felt a “part” of the American Dream, especially when it turns into another “nightmare”, it is sad to see so many folks following or supporting a pure “figment of their imagination” …  Can’t they SEE stuff?!  Are these folks really that blind … or are they just stupid?!  I had this conversation with a friend yesterday as I worked on editing my manuscript.  He agreed:  The people who support a “lying bully” are the same people who were bullied in their youth and have learned to accept that as “power” and “leadership”.  Sad story when a buffoon “looks” like a leader to some because they like being bullied …   Or is it that these folks like seeing people that they don’t LIKE be bullied by someone else … because it makes them feel better?!  Can you see the acceptance of the decline in “humanity”!?  We humans have been using “war” as a “cure-all” for situations that require intelligence, sensitivity … perhaps communication even!!

As I hone in on a bird’s eye view of American Politics today, I see folks literally scrambling to pick a side!  Does it look like “we” humans need to start looking for more peaceful and more plausible answers to our questions and conflicts on Earth?  It looks like that to me!  As the next “party’s” convention shapes up and gets started in the States, get prepared for a huge “sh@t show”, as one friend accurately described a troublesome situation!!  Understand, folks, that “leadership” is a unique quality that not everyone seems to care about … or accept, let alone actually possess!  PLEASE … don’t let the States become just another “banana republic” dictatorship!!  “We ARE better than that!”  – John Robert Lewis


John I. Cook, Director

Do You Need A “Reality Check”?

Happy Friday, Y’all!

Come on, things can’t be THAT bad … unless “we” let them, so be grateful … TGIF!

It can be hard to see “clearly” in certain circumstances!  I am sometimes not so “clear” on what is clear!!  Have you ever felt “over-cautious” or had some strange feeling … and “you” didn’t know why?  It could be considered a “premonition”, maybe even a warning of sorts!!  Nowadays, I try to notice the “signs” or messages, if you will, that may steer me “right” or towards my goals …  I try to listen to the soft voice of confidence mixed with peace to determine the best way to handle a given situation.

Well, confidence is important; but confidence based on things that are “good” and work for ALL is paramount.  The interesting phenomenon about the States is that “we” have had opportunities to improve things and now, the new generation of young leaders has the Earth’s future in mind.  If you don’t care about “yourselves”, at least care about your Children and your Children’s children.  We all make mistakes …  Some folks say they are sorry while others would never let those words pass their lips no matter how true they would be!!  Couple that personality trait with dishonesty … and … we have a problem.  Communications couldn’t be worse when dealing with people like this!  It seems that the White House is full of them, spewing lies with no care about who is being deceived and whose lives are being destroyed.

Personally, I try to stay “open for options” at this point in my life.  I feel pretty good because I don’t have to do “anything” except take care of myself!  I don’t have to believe lies, I don’t have to “suck up” to unworthy people … so to speak.  Most of the time, I can call my own “shots” …. coupled with humility and confidence.  “I don’t want to hurt nobody … and I don’t want nobody hurting me and my loved ones!”  Life should be so simple … but it’s not!  We have many choices to make.  I find when I meditate that I can sometimes “choose” what runs through my mind and seek to heal myself both physically and spiritually.  Other times, I’ve got to allow those “not so good thoughts” to travel around my mind until I feel comfortable “letting go” of them, so to speak.

For those in the States, voting in this election will be a “game-changer” for REAL, as the current occupant likes to say when he touts “fake remedies” for an ailing nation.  I’ve come to view myself as I heard in the lyrics of a Santana composition called “Give and Take”.  He says, “Talk about your country … there’s really no such thing for me!  The whole world … THE WHOLE WORLD … is ONE big FAMILY!”  I like this … I embrace this!  Not such a “bad deal”, heh?!?  I write to stay sane and not get sucked into some incredible “drama”.  I try to clarify some thoughts “on paper” that are important to me … and our offspring.  What a concept?!!!  Perhaps, there are some things that “you” can contemplate …

“WE ARE ONE!”  Act like it!!


John I. Cook, Director

“You Don’t Say?!?”

Happy Friday, All!

It’s a “tough job” but someone’s got to do it, so … TGIF with me!!  BOOM!

Yesterday was the birthday of my Coach for football and basketball at St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH. He was also the athletic director.  I’m thinking 96-ish, right “Coach” … pret’ near a century, Man!!  He’s been a friend since I left boarding school in New Hampshire, though we lost contact for a while, and he had been a part of the US Navy … if I’m not mistaken … in the defeat of the Nazis in WWII!  This is the importance of learning about “American History” and how these “men” in particular overlooked or accepted cultural differences to actually win a “war” … together!!

We are in a time when many people say many things … “just to throw a wrench into the engine” with these hilarious “suggestions” like COVID 19 isn’t real!  I always want to ask these people, “Do you think all of these people are really dead?”  Then wait for it … ’cause it’s coming!!  I played “team sports” most of my young adult life.  “Sports” teach and demonstrate the need to cooperate as a “winning team” … not a boisterous, big-mouthed individual sowing fear and hatred between the citizens of the SAME “team”.  Shucks, “we” could even spread the concepts to the world that the USA once held dear!  When I communicate with Coach Blake, he is sometimes a bit sorrowful for the depths the country has fallen to in four excruciating years … world-wide, and since he fought valiantly for the nation!

So, last week, I realized again how important “communication and cooperation” are between just two people for their success as a unit.  In my days playing “organized sports” and playing a leadership role in various organizations, I learned to “work together” with people.  I had gone to a “beach party” (social distancing is possible on beaches in Costa Rica!) last Thursday night with a cool new friend, “Magdalena”.  On our way back to her car in the dark, we had to cross a tributary flowing into the ocean.  Magda had her cellphone light on leading the way until I felt BOTH of my feet get stuck in the sand below in waist-deep water that caused me to fall into the water, bags and all!!  My friend simultaneously held the light above the water, extended her hand to me so I could pull my feet out of the sand … and get out of that little tributary that had swollen under the light of the Full Moon!

So, here’s a hopefully heartwarming message … “be a team player, not an idiot isolationist”.  I think that “we” will come out better!  Have a wonderful weekend!


John I. Cook. Director

Conscious Bias, Unconscious Bias and Racism

Happy Friday … Yay!

It’s TGIF time, right?!  You should join me to boost the positive vibrations!!!  There is enough negativity going around and we’ve got to keep it positive. So, TGIF!

One lesson I hope that we are learning from “the current state of world affairs” is that … ” … we ain’t fooling nobody … except ourselves …”.  It seems that “the Universe” is challenging “humanity” and our so-called “world leaders” and values to a showdown.  The Universe is cautioning each and every one of us … fools included …  “Get all your tanks and missiles, money and material wealth as we call it, lies and cheating, hatred and racism, greed and plain old egotistical stupidity … and you will meet a “virus” to bring you down …  The Universe will not tolerate the divisiveness and destruction of a once beautiful Planet … so … die and kill yourselves off with greed and illusions and games of destruction … ”  Are we listening?  ALL of “us”?!  Do we understand?!  I hope enough of us do!!

And all of that is just the bottom line.  Those of us who were raised around a “racist dinner table” where conversations often sought to elevate the race of that family were simply lied to and misled.  And, those members who allowed themselves to be brainwashed were literally “taught” to dislike others who are NOT the same color as them!  How primitive a level of existence to choose for your family!  How ignorant a concept to choose to make friends (or enemies …)  … while ignoring the many more positive characteristics of humanity!  We are supposed to be “the human race” … or is that too difficult an idea for many of us to fathom?  Why not??  Is racism the mental illness you seek to raise your family on?  What happens when they find out “y’all” were wrong!!?  Some people are too ignorant of obvious truths and want to “train” others to do the same … thusly, the foundation is laid for “institutional/systemic racism”!

Keep in mind, humanity’s elements have more in common than is different.  Don’t be a fool.  If you’ve been miseducated about the evils of racism, “you” will be the one bringing it to your institutions … wherever you work.  Now the challenge is to “re-educate” YOURSELF away from that ignorance for in fact, you have allowed your humanity to become diseased … on purpose.  Great diagnosis, right?!? NOPE!  “Get well soon!”  Now, there are some people raised around that “racist dinner table” and racist homes who were conditioned to be … stupid and ignorant!  Is that you?!?  Do you like being stupid and ignoring the facts that all humans are created “equal” in the eyes of their Creator … who ain’t you!?  So, get with the program.

It’s a tough job to figure out “who you are” as we ALL are doing so don’t mess up my progress with your “stupidity”.  We here at Educational Excellence advocate that you “Be the BEST that you can be!”  Don’t settle for less …. none of us should be doing that!  “Know Thyself!” … that’s enough to get started!  One could write another book on this topic but this is just a “word to the wise”.  Besides, we should be able to figure it out from here!


John I. Cook, Director

Is THIS What You Signed Up For?

Yes, my Friends … It’s Friday again!  So, uh … lets TGIF, then!! Everything is alright, right?!  Nope!?!  Imagine …

A US Navy veteran felt he had the right to peacefully protest in Portland.  He wasn’t touching a Federal building, was unarmed AND big … and “white” by the way.  Upon asking a federal “soldier” if he felt that he (the soldier) was following the constitution regarding “peaceful protesters” … he was struck multiple times across his body by the soldier with a baton!!!  In shock, the Navy veteran didn’t respond … until he was pepper-sprayed DIRECTLY in his face … and finally retreated with his hands up!  Oh yeah, he was initially presented with an automatic weapon in his chest and face by one of the “soldiers” which he said was another reason he froze initially!!  He lived to tell the “story”.

Educator Wendy Sherman, director, at the Harvard Kennedy School for Public Leadership has some interesting observations of the current administration’s ability to handle challenges using a successful “leadership style”.  She is also the author of the book entitled, “Not For The Faint of Heart”.  She addressed the inconsistencies in leadership regarding when a city in the States has asked for help from the Federal Government.  Once, she mentions, a city did ask for Federal “investigative” help in Kansas City where the “black on black” crime rates was too high.  The local leadership wanted the Federal government to help find out WHERE ALL THE GUNS WERE COMING FROM!  What a concept!!!  Of course, the “ball was dropped” by the Feds and the crime sprees continued in cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia … all the places where guns are manufactured, right?!?  Nope!  I said this a hundred years ago:  someone … with strings … has been allowing … I said ALLOWING GUNS to enter these major cities!  Where else are impoverished “black youth” with few or no options in “the City” going to find such an array and supply of weapons on their streets?!!  Kansas City got NO HELP from the Feds.

In these “pieces”, I simply try to illuminate certain situations that are taking place in the States and the rest of the civilized (?) world.  I am not an anarchist nor a fool!  So when you come at me, come straight, ’cause that’s how I’m going to send you home … STRAIGHT!  I don’t like nor “tolerate” racism nor racists … I remove myself from “their” presence and hope that they don’t follow me.  I taught “history” for many years in New York and saw some incredible textbooks that left out half of the real history of the North American continent and how “the United States of America” plowed its way from “sea to shining sea” acting as if the original inhabitants were NOT there.  Who does that?!  Maybe … greedy, insensitive and barbaric people disguised as “humans”?!?  How does the world view the manner in which “45” is “draining the swamp”?!?  This mofo IS “the swamp” … and everybody and everything he touches becomes part of his freaking cesspool!! 

Does anyone have any idea how much money “45’s” family has made in his three to four “lost years” with no salary?!?  They are “winning” … with additional new patents from China, new hopes for the Trump Towers in Moscow, use of “45’s” country clubs and resorts … WORLDWIDE!?!  Maybe I should ask how much YOUR family “made” during the same time period.  Now, I am sure many folks have “excuses” for a grown a$$ man who lies through his teeth every chance he gets just to see how many of “the lost” will follow him … into the cesspool of history!

In my writings, I present a case for humanity … not one race, no particular income bracket … but for EVERYBODY!  “We could ALL be having so much fun!” like the lyrics in the song by Frankie Beverly and Maze, “We Are ONE”, proudly states!  Leadership should UNITE people … not divide and incite hatred amongst the people of the same nation … and ultimately … the same PLANET!  Now if you find something wrong with my passion to spread spiritual love and intelligence and to uproot evil wherever it comes from, so be it!  You do you … and I’ll do me … hopefully, we can meet somewhere in a peaceful place!

Both teams’ players in the first Major League Baseball game showed a lot of support for the “injustices” in the “land of the free, home of the brave”!  Each player from the “Nationals” and the “Yankees” took a knee as the National Anthem played …  I am sure that some people still have problems with a “person” doing what he feels is right … as long as “the person” is not hurting anyone else.  What a concept!!!


John I. Cook, Director

Where Do We Go From Here?!?

Happy Friday, Folks!

Let’s do this … together, okay … TGIF!  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!

Well, first off, I want to thank my only child – Ayanna Lynne; and my only grandson – Caleb Isaac .. for one of the best birthday video calls a Man could have.  He’s 4 going on 14 and she’s 38!  They even sent me a nice photo of the two of them on Monday!  Nice touch, “Kid”!  Thank you Both!

It’s nice and important to see corporations like Nike and Starbucks “picking up the slack” and contributing to programs to enhance opportunities for people of color!  Come on!  It’s overdue.  To me, it’s a great form of reparations.  It’s clear that the Black Lives Movement does indeed have a point!  For example, when did you ever hear of an Italian or catholic church being blown up while children were playing inside in an effort to frighten Italian Americans from voting?!?  When was the last time you saw a say Polish woman being followed around a store as soon as she entered?!?  NEVER!  The stigma associated with skin color helps identify a target.  It’s clear that sports teams both here, like in Washington DC to change the team’s long time racist inspired mascot … ” a redskin …”; or the European futbol teams support by wearing the logo “BLM” on their jerseys as well as “End Racism” – pick one – get the message!  There was even one European futbol coach who SAID: (paraphrased) “We should be embarrassed about the way we have treated black people in the world for the past 400 years.  We should say we are sorry …”

It is a turning point in American and World history, folks.  While many “whites” have benefited from the imaginary “white privilege”, I am sure less of them would be willing to say “I’m sorry …” because THEY personally did not do anything to hurt “people of color”.  This is where a willingness, maturity and a general desire to do “good” come into play.  Is that in the hearts of the multi-racial groups of young people standing side by side and often leading the peaceful protests?!?  You bet it is!!

I wanted to end this rather long and poignant “message” by reminding “folks” not to “blame the victim”!!  This, too, requires maturity, a desire for unity and peace, and a review of the real history of slavery and racism in the world!  It is WRONG and of course “all lives matter”!  So stop instigating the killing of “blacks” because of their skin color. Once again, the States has the opportunity to lead the way in a long-needed radical change.  END RACISM!!  Once the nation’s capitol gets cleaned of the lying filth that occupies so many “positions”, we will have a better chance!  Choose wisely – chaos or community?!?


John I. Cook, Director

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