Although Black prefers to look forward (but work backward – but that's a video), in creating this site we decided to post videos created years ago. And they bring back fond memories about how a high school senior ended up creating eight Red & Black videos that have had over 800,000 views!

It all beganin 2012, when the seniors at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston were reading What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!, and invited us to be the keynote speakers at their Senior Summit. The theme of the Summit was perfect for us, "Life Is A Journey". We used not only our own personal journeys, but also the story of how "Red & Black" started, to talk about many important life lessons. Of course, this also gave Black the perfect opportunity to use lots of car and racing analogies, which audiences of all ages always love.

YES Prep asked permission to video our presentation, and Black gave her typical reply, "Sure, not a problem." Shortly after the presentation one of the seniors, who wanted to pursue a career in media production, learned it had been videoed and asked our permission to create an assortment of YouTube videos based on what he thought were key messages.

After getting over our shock that he thought our comments were YouTube-worthy, we told him we were flattered and would be more than happy to provide him with copies of our PowerPoint slides or anything else he might need. We were thrilled with the results, but never expected them to be so popular.

Thank you, Aurelio – for your vision … and for producing such great videos!

To view Aurelio's eight Red & Black videos (listed below) just go to our Video Section or click on the titles below:

So, when Black mentions Redhead Appreciation Day, I know it’s related to Red & Black and not her being “nice” and giving me a day off (or telling me that she appreciates me). And when she asks, “What is it like to be a redhead, Red?” part of me wants to reply, “What’s it like not to be a redhead?” because, for my entire life, I’ve been “Red.” (There’s a story there, but I’ll get to it later.) The honest answer is, well, I never thought about it, until now …

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Photograph of Jackie Aguilera courtesy of Jackie Aguilera


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I have a confession to make, which I’m sure will make you roll your eyes.


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Interesting caveat and probably true.


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Every time we meet with Jackie (Aguilera) from the Mayor’s Office of Adult Literacy and hear what she’s doing in the world of adult education, I feel like I’m back in school and having to take copious notes.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

I am more than happy to send you “homework assignments” as I come across relevant articles and research.


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Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick to taking notes. But that does explain why you’re so knowledgeable about literacy.


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But, reading information is very different from being at the forefront of literacy innovation. And, if we had never met Jackie, I never would have realized how literacy is more than the dictionary definition, and encompasses more than just reading and writing.
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Photo by Lynda Sanchez on Unsplash

As Black knows, going to the movies is my escape (and even sends me research about it), but she also knows that it’s all about the popcorn. So, it should come as no surprise that’s how I like to celebrate my birthday. And even though she’s not one to “celebrate” birthdays, she does indulge (or maybe the word is “tolerate”) people who do, and whenever my birthday falls on a workday, she gives me “permission” to escape to the movies.

Which is what I’m doing today on my milestone birthday, and although the “rerun” part of this post (below the line) was from last November, some things never change. Except … this year, as I’ll be waiting for the movie to start (and waiting to start eating my popcorn as I refuse to eat even a single kernel beforehand), I know I’ll be wondering, “How did I get to be 60 years old?!”

It's a running joke in my family that the only reason I go to the movies is for the popcorn. And while that isn't 100% true, it's probably close as I can't remember a time when popcorn wasn't an essential part of the experience. (I'll admit I couldn't believe it when I recently read that South Korea's banning movie popcorn in the theater!)

I can still remember seeing "Young Frankenstein" when it was first released (in 1974) at the Massapequa movie theater, which was literally at one end of an old strip shopping center. It bore no resemblance to the multiplex cinemas of today, and the concession stand offerings were very limited. It was dark and a bit dingy, and the seats were old and uncomfortable. But I didn't care because the popcorn made up for it. And while I sat through multiple showings of the movie (hey, it's still one of my favorites), I was grateful that my dad had given me enough money to get multiple popcorns as in those days, there was no such thing as the big bucket, let alone free refills.

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