Have You Seen THIS Video?!?

 

Happy Hump Day … I am not sure how some folks feel after that verdict in St. Anthony, MN … but I am disappointed …

How much does a “black man” have to do to save his own life?  Is it possible??  The double-standard never ceases to amaze me!  It’s like, some Americans in all walks of life STILL have this notion that THEY must define “us” … and it is seldom good!  I often adopt the attitude of “teacher” when I encounter folks who may mean well, but refuse to see things through MY eyes … I am a “black man” aka African American male!  I have seen and heard things that people of another race will NEVER have to experience … and can NEVER understand!  For example, I have tried to teach about the use of the “n-word”.  There was a white guy whom I befriended who wanted to use the “n-word” with me … because “Tupac” used it!!  He wanted to sing “Tupac” songs around me with the n-word in them! I tried to explain to that person, after a heated argument or two, that he is not “Tupac”, he is not a rapper and he is not an African American … So, I told him, don’t use that word around me.  Most people don’t understand how the use of that word is perceived by people of different races … those who are NOT African American.  It is a very sensitive subject … In fact, a book was written about the word “Nigger”.  It is entitled: “Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word” (2002), by Randal Kennedy, a professor at Harvard University.  Read it!

What do YOU think of when you see an African American man … ?  Does it depend on how he is dressed or whom he is with … or if he is legally carrying a firearm?  What do you think Jeronimo Yanez was thinking when he pulled over Philando Castile’s girlfriend, Ms. Reynolds who had her daughter in the back seat, and her boyfriend on the passengers side?  Did you see this video??  It is quite alarming … to say the least.  The jury acquitted the officer of “2nd degree manslaughter”.  Many people, especially those of color and NRA affiliates, filled the streets of St. Paul in protest of this travesty of justice.  You see, it is hard to tell what is in a person’s mind when they see a “black male”, even though recently, we have had several situations where African American women/girls have been abused while in the custody of law enforcement.  I was sent a video yesterday on social media, I don’t know how authentic it is, of an officer handcuffing a young girl in a jailhouse (I don’t know where) and forcing his genital inside of her while fully clothed and on camera, punching the girl that was apparently an African American teenager, until she allowed him to rape her!

What do you think that jury was thinking when they acquitted Yanez?  Why do you think that the police department is separating themselves from Yanez?  As I tell most people, you don’t have to agree with me, but hopefully you can be enlightened and learn something that you think you already know … even if you are well meaning.  For example, I am an educator … I talk about my personal health issues in hopes that someone can learn from mine … to get checked for prostate cancer.  Quite often, I get feedback from folks who share their personal experiences and encourage ME, perhaps, to change my mind on some things that I think are correct.  We are never too old, nor too educated, to learn.  I really hope some positive things come out of the “murder of Philando Castile” as ex-officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed him within 40 seconds of the stop, while shooting him OVER Castile’s girlfriend who also had her daughter in the back seat.  I won’t try to explain more … but … Have you seen THIS video?!?

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Happy Father’s Day Weekend, Dads!

Happy Friday, All!

I am certainly prepared to give a hearty T.G.I.F. today … as I am everyday!  How about you?

This year’s Father’s Day has a special meaning for me for a variety of reasons.  Not only am I fortunate enough to be a grandfather, I am experiencing a greater love for my own Father – Isaac Henry Cook (RIP).  I confess that I do not remember the date that my father passed away, but I do remember the day vividly though it was over 25 years ago.  Many of us were able to grow up with both parents raising the children in our families while others have not been so fortunate.  I think about little episodes when my Dad was extremely kind to me though the overall picture I had of him while growing up was that he was a “no nonsense” kind of guy.  It is true that I went off to boarding school for my high school years and didn’t have the constant contact with my mother or father during those formative years.  The next thing I knew, I was going off to college, fortunately again, and a pretty decent one at that!  It was like a whirl wind for  me and I was able to maintain enough of a balance to graduate from both St. Paul’s School as well as Princeton University.  I had my “ups and downs” and give tremendous credit to my parents for supporting me emotionally through what was a very “tender” time of my life.  I will always remember the very first “Parent’s Day Weekend” at St. Paul’s when we had a football game.  I was playing for Coach Maurice Blake and the “Paulies” football team and just happened to look up in the stands and saw BOTH of my parents!!!  “Mary” and “Big Ike” surprised me because I wasn’t sure that they were coming all the way from White Plains, NY to Concord, NH, nor when they were coming.  I can only say that I was extremely grateful for their continued support throughout my journey.  Now, I don’t know if I lived up to their expectations … but I did my best … and continue to do so, to the best of my ability.  Even now, as I plan to take a trip to Europe starting with Spain for my birthday in July, I keep them both very close and have their teachings and love deep within my heart.  I hope that I can be a decent father myself to my only child, Ayanna Lynne.

So, to my Father, I want to wish him “all the way up” there in Heaven … a loving, respectful heart-wrenching Father’s Day.  As well, I want to wish all of my friends all over the world … and “Dads” in general … a Happy Father’s Day!  We all know that each of us got here because someone … somewhere … fathered us!

Have a great Father’s Day Weekend … and do something nice, say something regal … for your fathers!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Who Do You Work For??!

 

Happy Hump Day, Y’all!

I just want to thank those of you who take a minute to write back … just to give me your thoughts as well as pertinent information that I can use.  Thank you … Gary Hodder, Esq.; Dr. Karen Hurley; and Kathleen Bowie as well as Linda Fairchild!  You folks keep my heart beating …

My most recent e-mails/blog posts have been about me with a touch of what’s going on in the world today, as I weave that into my quirky style of writing.  The friends I have made over the years never cease to amaze me.  This entire e-mail “family” consists of exactly that – folks I have met over the years!  Some of us “stay in touch” while others prefer not to, which is fine with me.  Yet, the most recent developments in our nation’s capitol continues to baffle me and continues to make me wonder, “How do we repair a broken government, shell-shocked with representatives that WE the people voted for who seem to think that their self interests are more important than those interests of the people of this nation?”

I was at the gym yesterday, finishing up my workout and we got to chatting in the jacuzzi about if “Jeff Sessions” testimony was being aired today.  I thought that it had already been “aired” until one good friend said, “No, I think it is today!”  So after swimming a few laps with my German friend Hans who likes to use his lane for snorkel swimming, I shaved and showered and as I was getting dressed where we have 3 televisions in between the rows of locker, I watched some of the live presentation.  When I got back to the hostel, I watched it in its entirety as we have this “Dish” system that repeats the main news stories over and over.  All I could say was “Wow, Jeff Sessions!”  Here is a man who jailed African Americans in Alabama who fought for their right to vote … and he is touting his “over 30 years of loyal service to America in Congress”.  Here is a man who said, “I never had any conversations with any Russians at any time before, during or after the presidential election” … until he was shown pictures of himself at those very meetings he attended with Russian diplomats.  I listened to him talk about “executive privilege” which he doesn’t have but kept referring to in defense of himself and the president so that he would NOT have to disclose to the Congressional session exactly what he said to the president regarding “Russian interference” in the USA’s presidential election.

A few of the members of Congress, jumped in with both feet into Session’s phony charade of loyalty to the nation, asking him to provide documentation of these things that “he couldn’t remember”!  One representative grilled him over and over, it was an African American woman (I didn’t write her name down) asking what this “privacy clause” was that he kept citing as to why he couldn’t repeat what was said between he and the president regarding what “the people” also have the right to know!  The same people who voted these characters … well some who voted for these self-serving egomaniacs … have the right to know EXACTLY WHAT “you” are doing with our country!  It is like a few of these political representatives have become tyrants in their own right!  Meanwhile, the story unfolds regarding both Maryland and Washington, DC suing the current president for mixing his profits in the luxurious hotels and resorts in those areas with his personal brand while he “serves” … and I use that term loosely … as the nation’s 45th president!  I think many of us, who know what it means, have had enough of this “stonewalling” when asking our representatives what they are actually doing with our country!

Carry on!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

The Story Continues to Unravel . . .

 

Yes, I know … it’s Monday!

Let’s get going!  I know some of you are surprised because I stopped doing Monday e-mails/blog posts.  Friday, I had one of those mornings … my first e-mail didn’t “save” and I had to restart the computer and didn’t check it before sending it … only half of it had saved … the first half!  Always hit “save”, I am saying to myself again though that doesn’t usually happen to me!!

So, the second half of the e-mail that no one saw talked about how I had gotten a lot of information from the guys at the gym … Shucks, even one older woman who does pool work when I am in the jacuzzi and swimming told me that she got both hips replaced … and glad that she had the surgery!  In so far as my urologist goes, I am sensing some inconsistency.  When I got to his office Friday, it turned out that I was supposed to go somewhere else to get the CAT scan and that I had already had the bone scan done when they x-rayed my hips for the pains I have had, which turned out to be degenerative osteoarthritis.  So, they had to reschedule me and I am glad that they did.  The urologist needs the CAT scan and bone scan before he sees me.  The secretary scheduled me for the CAT scan at another location on June 23rd.  She kept mentioning some test that I never heard of … When I asked what it was, she said it is a camera going into my penis to look for tumors!!!  I was like … glad it is NOT today …. I don’t think I will have that done.  Sounds like an insurance money making procedure rather than something I need done!!  Very intrusive, too!  Last time any doctor did anything like this was to check me for STDs … and that was with a cue tip!  Just the thought of a camera being inserted in my private doesn’t sit well at all with me.  I think I’ll pass unless someone can give me a good reason for it … I also wanted to give a quick shout out to Susie Q. Wood who gifted me an incredible book entitled, “Cancer Report”: The Latest Research How Thousands are Achieving Permanent Recoveries.  It is, in essence, An Instruction Manual Including: Patients Personal Recovery Guide, Comprehensive Support & Resource Directory, Inspirational Success Stories, Worksheet Pages for Personal Notes.  The authors are John R. Voell and Cynthia A. Chatfield with numerous contributions from other doctors and institutes.  Thank you, “Susie Q”!

The weekend was rather fun as a college chum and long time friend came into town for a friend of his who got married.  We hung out at my favorite spot – Capone’s – watched the NBA Playoff Final’s game and had a few adult beverages!  Vetalle Fusilier and I have been in touch through cyberspace and mail, as he sent me a sample of an oil to help me sleep.  He also gave me the idea for my third book … which I need to work on again in the near future.  My plan is to stay at this hostel until I depart for Barcelona next month on or around the 19th of July.  It’s not really like home and something is always going on!  I stick to my routine with the gym for yoga and water stuff so I am out a lot.  One day, I came back and a guy had left … He took my cologne with him as well as the other 4 or 5 people’s food stuff from the refrigerator.  Just yesterday, I went to grab some dress pants from the closet … and they were gone, too!!  Crazy, right?!!  So much for hostel living here in the USA.  I hope it doesn’t turn out to be like this in Europe!!

So former FBI Director James Comey spoke about our current president and their relationship!  I can’t believe that this type of stuff is happening in the American government.  It is ridiculous … I have an adjective that I was going to use before the word “ridiculous” but I think most of you can guess what that word would be …. or insert your own!!  It might be the same one I was thinking of!!

Enjoy your week!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“To Be .. or Not To Be?!?”

 

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

The world continues to spin … nearly out of control!  When was the last time we had a president come in to office and have so much “drama” taking place … over and over each day?!  I really don’t remember but at the same time, I doubt that this is “healthy” for our country, our world … our children and your children’s children.  There are more questions … than answers!!!

So, tomorrow, fired FBI chief James Comey will speak to Congress regarding the relationship that he had with the current president.  The word on “The Hill” is that the current president and Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, are not on good terms!  We have numerous issues on Capitol Hill, not to mention a great number of issues spinning world-wide with the current president’s latest tweet attack on London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, where he mis-interprets what the mayor actually said!!  His game playing “politicking” comments in response to many events like this is making him look more and more ignorant as he can’t even get what he hears correct!!  He is now forcing his “alternate reality” on the words of other people, leaders of other cities and countries … and they are not very happy and are commenting back, casting a not so favorable light on the current US president.  Can you say, “drama, on top of drama … on top of drama”?  Now if we begin to include the multiple events of Trump charities and the channeling of funds BACK to Trump businesses, as well as nearly $300,000.00 in monies given to a Trump business from a source in Saudi Arabia, we find even more smoke.

The latest event focusing on “leaks” from National Security Agency worker, Reality Winner, has become even more controversial than the events surrounding Edward Snowden, who now has asylum in Russia!  Winner is purportedly going to claim that she is “not guilty” because the information that she leaked SHOULD be information available to the American citizenry.  Donald Trump, Jr. is now in defense mode of his father as his hands are involved in the Trump brand businesses as well as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the “secret communications system” with Russia purportedly proposed by Kushner.  Can you see the drama yet?!  Have you become accustomed to all of this drama … in our nation’s federal government?!?  I am sure that this has never occurred before in our nation’s history and undoubtedly will hopefully … never occur again.  At some point, just because of the incredible amounts of drama, conflict of interests, lies and deceit, the nation’s Congress MUST entertain impeachment.  We have already become a scary laughing stock internationally as this character continues spinning imbalanced programs, ie. infrastructure repairs, privatizing of security agencies …  How much more are we willing to endure?  Have we become captive citizens in a democracy that is being bent in unfathomable shapes by this “non-stop talking” family of business persons?!?

Is it pretty clear who these people are … what they want … and how they are doing it?!?  We must each ask ourselves, “To be … or not to be?”  What is your answer?

Have a great Hump Day …

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Wait for It . . .

 

Happy Friday, All!

Once again, I have to put my two cents in to T.G.I.F.!

You know, the more I live … the more I learn!  How about you?  Or are you one of those people who knows everything about everything?  Don’t get me wrong because I believe that confidence in oneself is very important.  Yet, I also believe that we live in a world today full of deception where everyone … well … let me stop there … where many people think they know the answer to everything.  Case in point: climate control.  I actually had to look up the general ideas contained within the Paris Agreement … simply because … I only know or knew that it was an agreement between the major nations of the world to attempt to curtail, limit or control the elements that atmospherically threaten the Earth’s continued existence for our safe survival as a species.

After my brief research, I discovered that the core of the “Agreement” is to encourage and hold accountable major industrial nations to charge companies with building clean energy techniques and for countries to develop climate resilient economies that will not threaten the longevity of the human species.  Feel free to write me back and correct if I am way off base.  I usually understand stuff but sometimes I cannot explain it as well as the authors who wrote the articles I read!  Do you think that the United States should be concerned with and/or held responsible to limit the emissions of “green house gases” like carbon/carbon dioxide?  It seems that the goal of the “Agreement” is multi-fold, focusing on raising 100 billion dollars and creating a forum for scientists and researchers to brainstorm ways to curtail the “green house” effect that is apparently threatening the balance of life on the planet, including crops and air, as well as strange climate trends like “El Nino” which directly threaten humanity.

I mean, if we withdraw from the “Paris Agreement” as a nation, what does that say for America’s concern with the aforementioned?  Yet, it is true that if the current president is NOT re-elected, the then newly elected president of 2020 has the option of re-instating our involvement in the program.  I mean, and I won’t say it again, what are we waiting for?!?

Again, as we all know, no one is perfect but if we “wait for it …”, we are only awaiting our own demise.  “Just Do It”!  Enjoy your weekend!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Say Something Nice!

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

Yes, it is the middle of the week and the last day of May!!  How has it all been treating each of you?!?  How have you all been treating EACH OTHER?!?

The common phrase today, especially when something horrific happens, is “Life Goes On!”  Is it really that easy to pass off something that is not so good?  Have you lost a loved one lately?  Maybe a job … How about your home?  It is kind of hard to say, “Life goes on!” when one is homeless … no food … no clean clothing … no shelter … no income … or don’t you agree?!?  You don’t have to, of course.

I have just recently been embracing my retirement, challenges included, as I am still preparing to take an European trip to Barcelona for my birthday, saving every penny and budgeting like a “miser” … needless to say … and getting help from multiple unanticipated sources!  I like to travel … so, I embraced all of life’s challenges, still went to the gym and practiced yoga, working through my physical challenges of “bone on bone” discomfort in my hips as well as the issues with my prostate … so I can at LEAST treat myself to a trip to Barcelona!!  I want to visit a few more countries over a 2 to 3 month period of time and then figure out where I want to retire permanently.  I have even considered Ecuador, since I have been there before and am fluent in Spanish.  At the same time, I have a dear friend in Germany who will meet me in Barcelona once I arrive, if plans go well, around the 19th or 20th of July!  I still have that adventurous spirit although I am getting up in age.

Of course, there are folks who think, probably, that I am not going to achieve my goal(s), which is common in today’s world.  We call them “haters” or “naysayers”.  Yet, if I had ever played into their hands in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today … retired and receiving a modest pension, still able to teach English internationally and willing to take a chance, a risk to try something different!  Still, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for dear friends and associates who have said and DONE so many kind things for me as they see me moving towards my goals in my early retirement.  One good friend’s daughter is even arranging an opportunity for me to procure round trip tickets to Barcelona at an incredible price!  I have good friends who are encouraging me to “follow my dreams”, saying nice things to me and even paving the way for me!  What is the lesson for me .. maybe even you, should you decide to accept it?  It is to be nice, say something nice and do something nice for others.

See what you can do with it!  Thanks for reading, too!  And, thanks for your continued support!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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