Empathy for illiteracy

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), 21 percent of adults in the United States (about 43 million) fall into the illiterate/functionally illiterate category.

Have another sip of coffee, refocus your eyes, now read that again.

43,000,000 adult Americans – cnanto drea.

I’ve often wondered how it feels to not know how to read, what is that like?

I really wish I could play the piano and regret not being more receptive to my mother’s instruction when I was a child; she’s a former piano instructor. Pianos are like books or any other written piece you might want to read. The beauty locked in a piano is endless, just like the beauty living in the written word. But only if you know how to play the piano. It stinks not to be able to unlock that beauty. And I’m jealous of those who can. Thank goodness playing the piano is not the most important skill required to be a contributing member of society. A skill required to learn other skills. A skill required to get a good education. A skill required to learn new things. A skill required to be an informed voter. A skill required to learn about other people. A skill to understand history. You get the picture.

Now picture this…

43 million pianos,

43 million people seated in front of those pianos,

staring at the piano, yearning to play.


Let’s celebrate some things which “clap”

Last week, our word of the week was “claps”.

To review, If something is “great”, it “claps”.

I’m pretty sure we’re all a bit fatigued on news which highlights negativity.

It seems to be constant and the only news worth of reporting.

If you ask most people, they agree and will tell you they’re tired of negative news.

However, negative news is still what sells, so that’s what we’re served.

So, let’s highlight some recent positive news which “claps”.


  • We have our FIRST Black female High Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson
  • Owners of a nature resort in British Colombia have put renovations on hold to open up the stunning 81-acre property exclusively for housing Ukrainian refugees.
  • Video game, Fortnite, recently raised $144 MILLION in relief for Ukraine
  • Vanderbilt University recently announced a bonus for 9,000 employees as a thank you for their service during COVID.
  • Head of physics department at Harlem’s City College of New York campus recently received an anonymous package with $180,000, a donation aimed to assist cash-strapped students looking to pursue physics and other sciences.
  • Teenagers in Rhode Island, yes teenagers, built a shelter for a five-year old boy who uses a wheelchair after noticing he got wet while waiting for the school bus in winter.

More news which “claps” to come!


Just hit “it” back

Close your eyes, picture two people playing ping pong, two people who are really good at ping pong.

Imagine it’s a long rally, can you hear the sound? “Da dink, da dink…da dink, da dink”

And it goes on, and on, and on.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m in an endless game of ping pong, but digitally.

Sometimes I’m serving, and sometimes I’m returning, “da dink, da dink…da dink, da dink”.

To make matters more “interesting”, it’s not one game going on at once, it’s hundreds.

I feel like I run from one table to the next, just hitting “it” back, again & again.

But though it feels like ping pong, it’s not, it’s email, electronic mail, “da dink, da dink…da dink, da dink”.

Some rallies are real short. Some, I serve, with no return.

And, some, some rallies are really, really long…phew, give me a towel & some water.

What’s the score? I don’t even know if I’m winning or losing for crying out loud.

You ever feel this way?

“da dink, da dink…da dink, da dink”


“Wonder” facts | EARTH

As Earth Day approaches, I thought it would be fun to share facts which are “out of this world”.

  • Earth used to be purple (how? Look it up. 😊 )
  • One million earths would fit inside the sun
  • 60 tons of cosmic dust fall to earth every day
  • Our oceans hold $771 TRILLION in gold (I need to learn how to scuba)
  • Earth once had two moons
  • Earth is 4.54 billion years old (and, how do we know this?)
  • There are places on earth with less gravity than others


Don’t point the finger at social media

Social media this, social media that.

It’s corrupting our children, it’s corrupting us, right?

Seems to be a hot topic these days, well, “according to social media”, anyway.

But wait just one minute.

Blaming social media for “our problems” is like blaming a hammer when you decide to hit yourself or someone else with it. Like most things, a hammer can be both bad and good. If used for good, it’s pretty darn handy. But, if used for bad, well, it can be a pretty dangerous weapon.

But whether the hammer is “good” or “bad” is the choice of the user, it’s not the hammer’s fault.

I can tell you this, if it wasn’t for social media, there would be no Bernie’s Book Bank, currently assuring 300,000 under-resourced Chicagoland children have quality books for a better life, annually. Without social media, there would be no Freadom, investing 100% of profits back into bold literacy initiatives across America.

The problem isn’t hammers, it’s not social media, it’s US.

Can we please start teaching personal responsibility again in America?


Word of the week

So, you might think I’d reserve this section for really sophisticated words, right?

Maybe introduce you to a new word, that would make the most sense.

I’m sure we’ll do that eventually, but there’s plenty of time for that.

Until then, when you have a 7-year-old boy who loves to communicate, it’s a little easier and definitely more fun to work with the content provided by him every day. My son, Ziggy, is one of those boys.

Just last night, our family briefly discussed the upcoming wedding.

To which Ziggy stated, “I’m going to where a tux right? I want to look like a gentleman”.

What? Where does he come up with this stuff?

Which made me think, what defines a gentleman?

And, does how they dress have anything to do with it?

Personally, I’d rather have him act like a gentleman over look like one.

Now, I guess he could do both. BUT, still, how is a gentleman like Ziggy “suppose” to dress?

Feel free to email me directly with suggestions.


P.S. For context, this wedding is going to be super chill, it will definitely clap for sure and the ceremony will be held on a dock in July.

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