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The Inspiring Shoeshiner

Raoul’s Two Cents: March 18, 2022

As the World Turns

Let’s think of happy thoughts today.

I had a funny feedback from Lito (one of my subscribers). He said my TGIF emails remind him of a telenovela (television novel or soap opera) but he looks forward to it every week. We had a good laugh. Well, I can assure you that the stories I share are all real. I don’t make these things up.


Another subscriber asked me why I do this. I thought it was obvious. Mainly, this is my way of rewarding all you hard-working people out there who slave away from Monday to Friday. This email is a preview of the fun you should be having during the weekend.

Of course there are other motivations. I shared some of them before. Growing up, I was amazed at Charles Schulz (creator of Peanuts, Charlie Brown, Snoopy) who churned out a comic strip each day. I wanted to be like him. A consistent Friday email is a personal and I am proud to say that I have been sending my TGIF greetings since 2003. I may not be as successful as Schultz but I can think of the many happy friends I have made. That’s good enough for me.


Many sent me suggestions to name the music band I/we formed months ago and the most popular name was “The 5th Dementia” but we felt it might offend some people. We decided to go with the name “4Track” which is based on the antiquated 4 track recording technology. I have no aspirations of grandeur with this group. I do it for the fun of it. Our first official performance is happening this Sunday at the La Habra Art Gallery starting at 2 pm. Emceeing the event is world-famous (?), stand-up comedian (and my good friend) Amy Brick. You should come. It’s free. Earlier on that day there will be an Antique Car Show and we invite artists to come over and draw, paint and converse with the owners of these magnificent locomotives.


My daughter was among 530 other applicants vying for a job at one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. She was told she was an early favorite but, like everyone else, she still had to go through a battery of 4 different interviews. Let me tell you, before and after each interview, she was so nervous and the family had to keep her confidence up. Last Friday, they called and invited her to join the company. Choirs of angels and the Tournament of Roses marched down the street! Well … not really … but it felt like it. So many people were praying for her. My little girl trained her whole life for this job. She’s really good. God is good.


I am currently doing some research about a new business. I’m partnering up with a friend from Tanzania. We’re bringing in lots of goods from his country: Jewelry, leather goods, coffee, macadamia nuts, octopus, shrimp, fishes, a safari tour, etc. I know, I know, it sounds like a lot. It really is. But we’re two dreamers who enjoy a challenge. What I like about this partnership is we both agreed to give a tithe of our profits to charitable organizations. We’re going to start small to “test the waters.” I think we’ll start with selling tanzanite — some sort of bluish diamond which is only found in Tanzania . I think we’ve got all the connections needed (from the miners to the purchasers) except for the cutter (the artisan who cuts the stones). Please let me know if you have any leads or if you are interested in purchasing. Open to your advice.


In mid-May, I will be leaving for a little beach village in Southern Philippines to be with my Dad for a month and a half. He’s been isolated from the rest of the world long enough. I’ll see what I can do to start a Bible study group there. My one big problem? I can’t find my passport. Lord, help me remember!


To get in shape for my 24 hour flight (including a stop-over in Singapore) I decided to visit my local 24 Hour Fitness gym. Corey, a trainer, asked “How long was your last real exercise?” I said “My last basketball game was 10 years ago … and ever since my hernia operation, I couldn’t do stomach crunches anymore because of the mesh rubbing on my insides.” Being a good salesman, Corey jumped at the opportunity to sell a $300 training program and proceeded to give me a metabolism test. He took my height, weight, age hoping to find a reason for me to sign up. But when the results showed I was actually healthy, the sunshine on his face eclipsed. I felt sorry for the guy.
When he took samples of my fingerprint, I asked him why they didn’t have retina scans yet. He had no answer. So I suggested maybe it would be a problem for Asians like me. “Why?” he asked. I said, “imagine how difficult it would be: every time Asians would use the retina scan, you’d have to say ‘OPEN WIDE!’” Corey and I couldn’t stop laughing.


As you can see, life goes on. I guess Lito was right. My life IS a telenovela. But you know what? Everyone’s life is a telenovela. Some people just know how to tell better stories. And that’s why I enjoy listening to people’s stories. When I travel, I enjoy the scenery like everyone else; but more than nature, I look forward to watching, listening to people. I want to know how God is treating them and how they see God (if at all) in their lives. The ones who do seem to be happier than the ones who take things for granted.

Just think, when we reach the end of our worldly adventures, when we’re all in that great big pie up in the sky … think of all the telenovelas we will be able to share. Definitely something to look forward to.

TGIF people!


“In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be.” — John 14:2-3

Joke of the Week

Thanks to Peter Paul of S. Pasadena, CA. This is pretty long and subtle joke so you will either hate this or love it.

Video of the week

FUNNY: Thanks to Peter Paul of South Pasadena for these funny yearbook quotes. These kids are so self-aware they make fun of their own insecurities. I can imagine the teasing and bullying during their high school.

FUN MOVIE: In commemoration of Saint Patrick’s Day, here’s a classic 1968 musical: Finian’s Rainbow. A movie about leprechauns and racial discrimination starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark. Can’t believe they’re actually showing a full length movie for free. It’s one of Francis Ford Coppola’s early directorial jobs. Fair warning: It’s hosted by a Russian website that will constantly remind you to register with your phone number. You don’t need to register if you don’t mind clicking the CLOSE link every 3 minutes (which is what I did).

Parting Shots

Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA

Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre, CA

Thanks to Efren of Caloocan City, Philippines

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  1. Hilda

    March 18, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Congrats to your daughter!


  2. Heather

    March 18, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    Enjoyed your column today. See you Sunday.


    • Raoul

      March 28, 2022 at 10:35 am

      Nicely put Heather. Indeed, the package may be deceiving. That’s why we
      throw it out and keep what’s inside.




  3. Ed

    March 18, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    Good personal, (positive) Message.

    Boy, you are amazing with the advent of a new business. Each chapter was very illuminating…

    The long joke was worth the punch line!


  4. Dave

    March 18, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    Congrats that your daughter got the gig she wanted. That’s awesome.

    Yes, Pshyched for your daughter. She’s going to learn a ton.

    Corina’s in her senior year and continuing to a do a 5th year Masters in Marketing next year,

    She played Volleyball for most of her college career, except one year during Covid. No not married, not really dating.

    As far as me, hell there is no retirement for freelancers. I’ll keep working until no one calls me anymore, and that’s getting close.
    During the pandemic I got my real estate license in NH and ME, so if you know anyone moving east….

    If you are going to the Philippines to see your Dad, have a great time and be careful.

    Give my best to your family.

    Be well and keep writing

    Be well and talk soon.

    Best regards,



  5. Jennifer

    March 18, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    Congratulations to your daughter!! 🥳🍾


  6. Oscar

    March 18, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    TGIF 🎊🎉👍 the joke was inspiring 😂😂😂

    I would probably donate my inheritance especially if it came from a drug dealer, family or not 😂 that’s why I said inspiring because I’ve heard stories of poor people becoming rich from saving money and working hard . Then at the end of your joke, it turns out she just got money from her drug dealing brother and had nothing to do with her work ethic. Good one 😂😂😂


  7. Rick

    March 28, 2022 at 10:31 am

    Hi Bro,
    I loved all the wonderful news and the positive vibe of this TGIF. I am so happy for your daughter and her wonderful new opportunity. I’m also glad that you and Dad get to bond together back at his home. That sounds like a memorable time for both. Also, I hope you and the the rest of the band had a lot of fun performing today.
    Thank you for the many years of this Friday email. 2003 was a difficult year for me, but I am very thankful that your TGIF has kept us in contact over all of these years.
    Thank you brother and blessings to you and the entire family.


  8. Merwynn

    March 28, 2022 at 10:32 am

    Salamat po.


  9. Chuck

    March 28, 2022 at 10:37 am

    Hi Brother Raoul,

    Best to you and your band 4 Track today. We won’t be there but our prayers will be. Include a Christian song. The Dixieland Band we attended before the Pandemic shut them down, always closed with “Just a closer walk.” One of Dixie Land’s most played signature gospel hymns

    Today Greg Laurie (Watched online..) preached about Barnabas “The Encourager”. I knew the story but didn’t recall that his given name was Joseph (He will add). He was one of Paul’s encouragers. One never knows who they will encourage that it will make a difference not only to their life, but add to this old world as well! You are a “Barnabas my friend.


    Brother Chuck


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