Happy 4th of July Weekend/Happy Birthday “Big Ike” (RIP)

 

Happy Friday, All!

It is in order indeed that I give a hearty “T.G.I.F.”!

So much going on as I sit here listening to Kelly Anne Conway defending the president’s comments of the two journalists that he tweeted with several  horribly derogatory remarks.  I really can’t believe that this is actually happening … it is like a plot to humiliate the United States of America …

Well, I am going to keep this message short and sweet!  As I sit watching the news and the warnings of being careful and avoiding “road rage” this 4th of July Weekend, I am wondering what Western civilization has come to!  The 4th of July is also my father’s birthday, RIP, and I want to wish him the Happiest of Birthdays … in Heaven!  I also want to take a moment to wish my college chum’s mother a Happy Birthday.  Happy Birthday Mrs. Fusilier … and may you have many many more!

Enjoy your 4th of July!  Celebrate safely!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Do You Really Need Your Health Insurance?!?

It’s Hump Day again, y’all!

I hope all is going well for you … (Hint, hint, hint …)  I hope your health is good, ’cause if it ain’t … and this “health care bill” gets passed before you die (Trumpcare) … you stand a better chance of dying than getting healthy … unless you are very very wealthy!

Now, I just said it straight out … This is what “we” are faced with now that this guy is in office.  In other words, one of the most savvy and corrupt businessmen in this country just “baited and switched” on your arses!  That is of course, if you voted for him!  Is this how you “Make America great Again”?  We had an honorable president … the first of its kind … in office before this character … for two terms.  We the people … (some of us, at least) criticized him and his family, took every opportunity to attempt to defame him while the Republicans “blocked” every legislation that they could to make his presidency as difficult as possible … for TWO terms!!!  Why was that?  Was (is) he really as bad as “people” say?!?  Our current president, who has up until now, denied that Russia did any “meddling” in our election in 2016, is now blaming Obama for not having done enough to “punish” the Russian president (though he doesn’t know what Obama did!) after denying over and over that Russia had any involvement in cyber attacks on the parties’s data bases so he could scream like a baby that “the Dems just lost the election … the cyber attacks didn’t change the outcome of the election”!  Okay, given that “he” did NOT win the popular vote and he “won” the electoral college votes, after screaming over and over that the system was “rigged” because even HE thought that Hillary would win … wtf are you going to do NOW?!?  How about “sell” our health care system to the highest bidder!!?

Now, we have another very serious controversy where hundreds of millions of “needy” Americans stand to lose their health care under this character’s current proposal.  Now that he got “your” vote, he’s trying to make sure that you and your family suffer while not being able to afford the speculated costs of health insurance under his bill.  Now we get to see the “people” who voted for him squirm like the rest of us who had some idea that he was “up to no good”, as my parents used to say, as they BETTER hope and pray that their health insurance is not taken away if this horrible plan (Trumpcare) is put into effect.  I mean, this plan was put together in “secret sessions” and even some of the Republicans that previously supported Scrump can now see that their constituents will loose their health insurance, suffer … and die!!  Do you still believe that this how we “Make America Great Again”?!?  Get a grip on reality, please.

As we awaken each day to more and more of this character’s drama, I am hoping that some people wake up from their state of denial and realize that he is in it for the money …. his own money, which he has made more of through his resorts, restaurants and golf courses since becoming president … and his billionaire friends, one of which I heard was invited to one of the meetings yesterday after deciding to delay the vote.  Maybe … just maybe … there is a “God” … who is testing us to see if we realize … I use that term “we” loosely … that “we” have been “baited and switched” upon!!

Let’s “get over da hump” … together!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

Home Grown Terrorist – The Police

Yeah … It’s Monday … and I know how most people feel about Mondays … So do I!  But … we’ve got work to do!

Last Friday, I didn’t submit an e-mail/blog post because I went for a CT scan and bone scan … It took all day, yet … I got ‘er done!  I became a bit emotional because I remembered that my Dad, “Big Ike”, had refused any treatment for cancer when he had it … I wondered why … So many appointments, so much money … But I decided that I am worth ALL that … and some!!  When I first got to the office, a young lady … black woman named “Sheena” … started telling me a few things as she led up to how much I must pay.  I didn’t reply.  Finally she said, “I don’t know if they told you but your part of these two exams is going to be … let me see … $950.00.  How much of that can you pay now?”  I looked at her and smiled, “Well I guess I will see y’all later ’cause I can’t pay anything right now!”  I had just filled out the “new patient” information pages and was handing her the clipboard back.  “I guess we’ll have to do this another time!” I headed straight for the door.  Quickly, she chimed in, “Well let me speak with the manager to see if we can still see you today.  We already have all of the medicine ordered and here, so …”  I said, “Go ahead and check and let me know.  Otherwise … I’ll see y’all later.”

I sat down and looked up at the sky (ceiling) and said, “I wonder why nobody told me how much this visit was going to be?”  … The office worker heard me and said, “It’s your insurance.”  I said, “Okay …”  Little did she know that I was fortunate enough to have ANY insurance at the ripe old age of 62 … And it is “Obamacare” as the haters call it!  If I didn’t have “Obamacare”, I wouldn’t know any of this stuff …. especially since I can’t afford a monthly premium of $620, which is what I was quoted unless I earned less than $16,000.00 per year.  I stopped working and am collecting only my social security pension and a small bit from New York State United Teachers.  It is not worth me working for one of these “hokie” poorly run call centers with “children” for managers who repeatedly tried to lower my self esteem because they didn’t go to or graduate from college …. and it damn sure wasn’t Princeton, Baby.  Damn right I am proud … Should I be ashamed?  No need to answer, I got the right one!  Finally Sheena said, “Okay, we are going to accept you today and give you the tests.  We will bill you for the amount owed.”  I did a double take … thought of “Big Ike” … took a seat and waited to be called.

After hearing that yet another law enforcement officer after Jeronimo Yanez who murdered Philando Castille last year was found not guilty by a jury … of … I don’t know what, I was once again disappointed … and reminded of the history of “some” law enforcement organizations.  When I wrote my first book, I did some research on the early corruption in police departments in major cities like Philadelphia and New York … even Boston!  There was segregation in the departments and the areas where merchant “pay offs” were highest for local police (yep, there were payoffs to local cops … just like today!) were “given” to white cops!  You don’t have to believe me … educate yourself and read it with your own two eyes, like I did!  America has entered a harsh “level” of denial of the inherent institutional racism and the growth of white supremacy as well as continued dismissal of charges against law enforcement officers who have killed multiple African American men … and women … many of them unarmed.  The latest was a dismissal of charges/mistrial for the armed security guard at the University of Cincinnati who shot an unarmed African American man, Mr. DuBose, in the HEAD after failing to take his keys from the ignition of DuBose’s car as he attempted to drive away from the overbearing officer who was wearing a t-shirt with the Confederate flag underneath his uniform that same day!!!  Wtf!!!  Tensing was an officer who had reportedly had “more” stops than any other officer working in the same capacity.  In other words, he was LOOKING for reasons to do … exactly what he did that day …. shoot a black man in the head … and kill him!  Our current president does NOT address ANY of these cases …. as President Obama did!

One observation … Driving While Black is extremely dangerous.  My Dad used to tell me stories of the police stopping the cars of black people in the racist “dirty south” and actually break their tail lights once the vehicle stopped!!!  The vehicles become traps and the officers become “armed terrorists” who feel that they have unlimited power to abuse whomever is in the vehicle that they stop!!!  Like I mentioned in a previous e-mail where I tried to elucidate the challenges in using the n-word, you really have to take it from me … a man who has lived in an African American body … for more than 60 years.  I’ve seen and heard it all.  Now that I am NOT driving “while black”, I feel more safe … though I know that they … these homegrown terrorists … are looking for excuses to detain me.  I try to give them NONE!

Have a great day, and a wonderful week.

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

 

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

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