Demographics

I have been reading and listening to a guy named Peter Zeihan who spends a lot of time looking for trends and eventual outcomes. A great number of his premises are based on data accumulated on everything from gigawatts of power to bushels of wheat. He reaches conclusions that are compelling if not controversial. Fun to spend time on. 

One of his priorities has been the study of our populations and their effect on food, consumption and even global warming. Birth rate is the key number here in that we have x number of people being born per person and the corollary is y number of people dying. Sounds simple enough but not really. 

The numbers become very interesting when one looks into how many people are in each generation ranging from the current Gen Z to Baby Boomers and beyond. Simply put people are not having as many babies as before. In olden days with an agricultural economy you had a bunch of kids because they were cheap labor. Now with a more urban emphasis, kids are kind of expensive. 

Now when those Boomer families were young and growing we had a lot of jobs to fill with a lot of people. Now with less kids we are scrambling and it will only get tougher. Ah you say that is good for the economy. Yes and no. Sure wages will go up but you don’t have as many people paying taxes and contributions to Social Security. And as more and more people retire there will be an outsized hit on the existing and dare I say failing Social Security vault. 

Things are not as dire here as they are in older countries like Japan,Russia, Italy and even good old China. The latter’s recent drop in population was stunning in principle if not numbers. Their population went down by a million people. That is only going to accelerate, due to the long time one child policy. Big deal, why would I worry about China?

This little blue marble is powered not by oil/gas or alternative energy but rather the desire of people to have stuff. Our current economy is 75% consumer spending. People wanna have and gotta have, which is great as long as you are young and handsome. As you age you are not quite as worried about whether you are up to date. Sensibility overtakes lust. That old shirt or car works just fine. China’s burgeoning economy is starting to falter. Not only do they make a lot of goods, they are new to the scene and want a lot of the world’s hot shot goods from cars to jeans. 

This is both scary and interesting. Let’s for a moment thing about Russia and China with older populations. There is never going to be a better time to make your moves militarily because I don’t care how many tanks or ships you have built if you don’t have people to man them then what good are they? Now this is not just science fiction. You can’t create people out of nowhere. Wait, maybe you can.

We look at our border crisis as an ugly mess and it is. But think about the lack of labor in this country. These immigrants make money, pay taxes and yes, buy things. Our medical system right now is greatly understaffed because of COVID and retirement. There are a bunch of people sitting on that border with medical experience. The underlying premise that people want to come here is overshadowed by politics. 

You think they are all thieves and drug smugglers? Think again. They want to fill jobs that nobody wants. 

The older generations, Baby Boomers et al don’t contribute in a meaningful way. That is not dumping on my brethren but stating reality. Sorry about that. Financially we don’t really invest but rely on pensions and benefits to live. We eat up a whole lot of monies in healthcare. In the final stages of life it only goes up not down. We need a younger generation to support the older ones. We might might eke out a victory in the US but a big portion of the rest of the world ain’t so lucky. 

There is a move afoot to try to cut the costs of medicines by negotiation of Medicare pricing. Heretical you say. How can drug companies  do research and market? We are doing everything to prolong lives but at what cost and quality of life. Yep,I just ripped the band aid off that one. Should we spend money on old people’s diseases or on young ones? Personally I don’t want be 90 and bedridden or drooling. Holy shit, did I just say that?

I know some of you are here because of modern medicine and I applaud you and wish you nothing but well. I will bring up an ugly word called sustainability. I think we have done a rally bad job of utilizing our resources both in the ground and in our bodies. We consume so much without thinking about the damage we are doing. Not just the climate but for generations to come. 

Maybe I just see things in a different prism. We spend billions on octogenarians and yet stand by as we kill 10 or 15 younger people  at a clip. We shell out thousands for a concert ticket but do nothing about the homeless. We pay $100,000 for an EV and want a tax break. 

What has my study of demographics taught me? To look at things in a totally different way. The numbers and graphs are compelling. I can reset my priories and try to shape up my act but that is just me. We have to do it first and foremost  as a country and then as a planet. Numbers don’t lie unless we let them.

As always 

Ted The great 

Factoids:

Baby Boomers. 1946-1964. 72 million. Retired

Gen X. 1965-1980. 65.2 million. Soon to Be retired

Gen Y 1981-1996. 72 million

Gen Z 1997-2012 68 million

Gen A 2013 to now 48 million. This is our future suppliers of capital. 

Marriage rates are falling 

A couple of factors are behind this trend. When men’s economic prospects aren’t promising, their wages fall. With lower chances of marrying and supporting a family, men tend to work less. For women, access to a college degree allowed them to enter the workforce. As a result, women put off parenthood to tend to their careers. In addition, access to birth control puts them in charge of their fertility. With the ability to earn for themselves, women did not need to be married for economic survival.

Demographics can include any statistical factors that influence population growth or decline, but several parameters are particularly important: population size, density, age structure, fecundity (birth rates), mortality (death rates), and sex ratio

, https://zeihan.com. Interesting dude. You don’t have t believe everything

I Wish…

Happy New Year to all. I sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” several times over the holiday. A wish can be an outcome  we hope for even though  many times it is an unattainable goal.  Stupid of course but it still feels good. We can also wish for some evil to befall our worst enemies. Revenge is so sweet. We are an equal opportunity donor for both good and bad. 

Sometimes we wish we hadn’t done something. A particular act or deed that didn’t turn out too well. A bad trade or a not so nice relationship. How many times do you ask yourself,”What the hell was I thinking?”. Or, “I wish I was dead?”  Really? Actually when you do something really stupid or find yourself in an impossible situation, death might be the more attractive alternative. Not really. 

Wishes have either future or past attributes. Real time is far too sobering. They are fantasies in a way and as such unrealistic. We spend a lot of time in the past. “If only” can rule our world. Second guessing becomes a way of life for some. Every now and then is fine but we tend to be somewhat obsessive. If I rethought every idiot move I have made overt he years I would never get any sleep. Possibly an early trip to the funny farm. 

This of course breeds victimhood or self pity.” I coulda been a contender” bemoans Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. His brother screwed him. The world screwed him. How many Terry Malloys have you met over the years?  

The other side is always thinking forward. We wait for a positive outcome. Good if you work your ass off to attain but bad if you lay back and wait for the lottery of fame, fortune or even golf to visit your domain. I would never want to rule out hope for any situation. But hope requires an honest evaluation of who and what you are to define achievable. That is elusive. 

Some of us are Pollyannas or partake in the Peter Pan complex. “I won’t grow up, no never not me.” Take yours truly. I like to have fun and joke around. Revelry could be my middle name. But when the rubber meets the road I tend to get very pragmatic and see the writing on the wall. Nothing heavy duty but realistic. And perhaps that is the crux of our problems today. 

At press time I am witnessing a come to Jesus moment in the House of Representatives. Kevin McCarthy is scrambling to find more pro votes. Doesn’t look like it is going to happen. Does he wish he had done this or that? Of course. Will he accept defeat? We will soon find out. 

The extremists on the left and right are dug in to the point of no return. They and in their person, we are dreaming the unreachable. We have to pay taxes but it is not a bottomless pit. We need to provide services but we have our limits. I would love to provide every citizen the most incredible healthcare but we can’t in a practical way do so. Money, facilities and medicine are finite. People have to be proactive in their own welfare. I don’t see that happening. Oh,I forgot we are going to have a special pill to cure all. 

We are witnessing the life and death situation of a young professional football player. In the worst of all worlds he was in the the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet nothing is spared to try to make it all good. We could not have responded and more quickly or competently. Can we do that for the rest of us? We can hope and wish but I think we know the answer. 

Putin wants Ukraine. China wants to rule the world. Musk and Bezos want to go to Mars. We have Republican and Democratic agendas. This area wants development while the locals want a quiet hometown. The military wants more and more weaponry. The progressives want peace not war. Parents want to have their children learn but on their terms. We want to end homelessness but not in my back yard. It almost seems the more we wish for the harder and harder it is to find agreement. 

I am going to hope, wish, dream or whatever you want to call it in 2023 that somehow some way we come to our senses. If we all took a long look at our lives, our relationships, our ethos, our position in our country and our world and were brutally honest how would things look? Not just it is wonderful thought Ted but really sat down and took stock. Parse out what is real and what is bullshit.

 Give up some of those sacred cows or at least question them thoroughly. Understand you cannot be 100% right all of the time. Bend no matter how bad it feels.  Forget about the past unless you are willing to learn from it. Look to the future after you have thrown away your rose colored glasses. That’s hope with a purpose. Thanks for listening to this poor schmuck for trying to make sense of this. 

As Always

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

“Unlike other animals, humans spend a lot of time thinking about what isn’t going on around them: contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or may never happen at all. Indeed, mind-wandering appears to be the human brain’s default mode of operation.”  Harvard Research Gazette

Humans think about other than the present about 50% of the time.

Conspiracy theories, wokeism, victimhood, extremism are part and parcel of our attempt to frame our world. The world is neither fair nor perfect. Wish it was but it ain’t.

Politicians will tell you how they can fix their opponents wrongs. They will weave dreams of the future. They take all the credit and admit no wrong. They rarely deal with reality and give you a candid analysis of the present. A vote you can believe in. 

The Gift Of Giving

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I just took a long walk the other day in Flalaland. It was a balmy south Florida day. That will not endear me with all you who are freezing your butts off somewhere but tis the season to be jolly. 

I was thinking about the 70 some odd Christmases I can remember. A lot of different places. A lot of wonderful times. The ones is Colorado were particularly memorable. In the mountains there was always snow and in those days no one frowned upon your yule log in the fireplace. 

We used to go to Mass in the chapel at Beaver Creek and I was the lector and plate passer rolled into one. I would get bugged and curse under my breath when the grand dames dripping in mink would put a couple of bucks in the basket. Coincidentally I would think of what their room cost or even better the Xmas dinner for  8 at one of the very expensive emporiums of culinary excellence. Mea maxima culpa. 

Now I am not a got rocks but I try to help out our local charities and church. I want to give back. Is that trite or heartfelt? Is that a gift or the result of Irish Catholic guilt? Good question. Works the same for Jews and Italians.

I know giving is a very personal thing. But I thought about all the different ways one can give. Is there not at least a piece of caritas in every one of us? The most obvious is cash, credit card or check.Maybe even bitcoin if it is worth anything.  I used to give to a lot of national things but felt I had no idea where it was going. I decided to stay local with church, schools and of course hospice. 

Now when you give unless it is in person it is somewhat abstract. You stuff the ever present prepaid envelope and voila! you are the patron of something. You feel good but it is not always euphoric. You hope for some sort of acknowledgment, not necessarily with huzzahs and genuflections but at least a word of thanks. We are all human.

At St Patrick’s church in Vail we used to collect money in the month of March for needy souls. One day a woman came into the sacristy(where they suit up) after mass and gave my buddy Fr.Tom a check. It was nice but not off the charts. The lady left and when Tom was about to leave he noticed there was another check underneath. It was for several hundred thousand dollars! Talk about an anonymous donor!

I sometimes wonder if giving time is harder than writing a check. I do my hospice gig every Monday morning from 8-12. After you do it long enough they begin to rely on you. You are part of the team. That is good and can be bad on a morning when you really don’t feel like getting out of bed. Sorry TTG, you can’t mail it in !

People tell me how wonderful it is what I do and I really feel uncomfortable about that.  I always manage to meet someone who does a lot more both in time and effort. I am not anything special and neither are you. We all live on this  planet and it is not only nice to reach out, but I think the only way we are going to make sense of all this mess. 

Aha! There is another way we can give. A smile. A gesture. A hug. These days be careful on that last one. Look the counter person, check-out  cashier or the loading dock employee, right in the eye and say please and thank you. Do you have any idea how it makes that person feel? And very selfishly you won’t believe how good it feels when you get that smile of gratitude back. 

Why is it so difficult for some? One of my buddies said I could talk to a tree. Point taken. Another calls me Smiley because I always seem to have an ever present grin. One of my fellow inmates here has never smiled in the going on six years of our stay. I thought it was just me but others have certified my observations as true. I just can’t do that. 

We will keep it simple. You can give your money, your time or just a little bit of you. Put your attitude away, lower your defenses and just greet the world with an open gesture. Don’t think of how am I going to get screwed but what can I add to another human being’s life?

Is this all BS and Kumbaya? I think not. We are growing further and further from each other. We are all caught up in our own lives. But Ted it has been a bad year in the market. There is no loose change anywhere? But Ted I am a very busy person. There is no time in your life for watching football, working out or hitting golf balls? But Ted I am an intense person and besides half of those people don’t really need it. Don’t worry, I know all the off ramps. 

Beware! Once you get into it, it becomes contagious. Can you imagine how great it would be if we reached out in the most simple way to just one stranger a day? Tell him or her to do the same. Is it crazy? Of course it is but come on in, the water is fine. The gift of giving YOU is the greatest gift of all. 

As always 

Ted The Great.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all you crazy people who read Ted’s Head. In a way it is my gift to you. 

Factoids:

Americans gave $471.44 billion to charities in 2020

Matures:  born before 1946, 78% (that’s 23.5 million people) of this generation gave to charities.  The most generous of the five generations, they gave, on average, $1,235 per person to 6.3 charities

Boomers:  born between 1947 and 1964, remain the largest of the five generations.  Three quarters (75%, or 55.3 million people) of this generation donated an average of $1,061 last year

Generation X:  the generation that has been overshadowed by Boomers and Millennials, was born between 1965 and 1980.  Over half (55%, or 35.8 million people) of this generation gave an average of $921 

Millennials:  in case you don’t know this, this generation was born between 1981 and 1995.  Just over half of Millennials (51%, or 34.1 donors) gave an average of $591 a year

Generation Z:  born from 1996 and after, this generation has just begun to enter the workforce and has already started giving.  Forty-four percent of them (representing 9.3 million people) gave an average of $341 

Corporations account for 5% of charitable giving

25% of Americans volunteer

Women are more likely than men.

11% of volunteer organizations ceased to exist because of COVID

Volunteer efforts are valued at $200 billion per annum 

Changing Times

Epiphanies, upheaval, chaos, revolution, sacred traditions under fire ….our world both near and far is reacting normally or erratically depending on your point of view. Without getting particular I have been studying just the process these last few weeks. Some can’t wait for it and others abhor it. Regardless, change is a fact of life. 

Here in Flalaland, as we all grow older our ideas become more entrenched. We have broken in the shoes of life and they feel pretty comfy. We embrace the good old days in song, dress and behavior. We reveled the other night that we never wore helmets biking, stood on the arm rest while driving with our parents and walked just about everywhere without fear of a pervert or stray bullet. All wonderful.

But change is evident everywhere. We are able to fly anywhere. Our world population has grown from 3.7 billion to over 8 billion in 50 years. Companies and countries have come and gone. In America we have gone from cute Cape Cods to mega mansions. The information age is forty years old and we have seen the unimaginable. When you put a bunch of smart entrepreneurial people together you see a new version in every walk of life. 

The New World is gut wrenching for some more than others. Why? It is more likely than not hard wired into us. Our bodies and brains have worked out a system to survive. It is called homeostasis that keeps everything in balance. Anything alien is considered a threat. We also are tribal whether it be family or nationality. We are wary of new arrivals and how they might alter our pecking order.  What does it do to our self esteem ? Crazy? I am not sure it is. 

There is a fascinating concept of inertia. Let’s say you smoke, drink or are overweight. You have become very used to living that

way. You know it probably is not good for you but you keep at it. To do something different is going to take a lot of work. You might even say you like your life. Nobody is going to tell me what to do. It has worked for me for a long long time. I am doing fine. Are you?

Many of us feel we are not doing fine. Self help books have tripled in numbers annually for the last 5 years. So we have the enigma of despising change and yet embracing it a the same time. We want to be open and welcoming but it scares the crap out of us. Hmmm.

I wonder about myself. Here in Flalaland we have been treated to new arrivals on pretty much a non stop basis for the last couple of years. Our club is collegial and really not that stuffy. It has an air of gentility as contrary to snobbishness. People are decent types and not gaudy. But the new folk? 

There is a silly thing called a dress code. Collared shirts tucked in and no hats in the clubhouse for the guys. No jeans in dining rooms and flip flops are frowned upon. Some of you might take this as typical of old fart fuddy duddies. I look at it as a tradition of sorts. You say what is wrong with a tee shirt or dress shirts hanging out? You want to bring us into the 21st century. I am trying real hard but it ain’t easy. 

I only bring this all up to demonstrate the theory. First is we are tribal. Those interlopers might ruin the place. The second is wondering if I and others are being unreasonable. Geez Louise I have worn the same type of clothes for a long time. Am I suffering from inertia or do I have a just argument? Dunno.

You could take the same overlay of thought as it relates to politics, religion, feminism, chauvinism, immigration, and even family life. I have changed my stripes on so many things over my lifetime I wonder if I am a revolutionary or just someone who can’t make up his mind? When I pose an alternate solution people recoil. And here is where it gets good. 

If I come to you with a new idea or method aren’t I really telling you that you are wrong? This totally new way of doings things says for all these years you have been at fault. I am threatening your authenticity or competency. The only way you can comply is by changing or eating crow. Yikes, that sounds heavy duty. Can a stupid thing called compromise heal that wound of defeat?

My argument about term limits is simple. If you have been in the same spot in government for 30-50 years is it possible to have an original thought? When we construct the bastions of partisanship doesn’t it become solely a fight of egos rather than ideology. The old story of the work of Congress should get done in the center doesn’t work today. Our country is and has changed drastically in so many ways. Probably a lot more for the better than the worse but no one will admit that. Have we adapted or dare I use the word “change” one more time?

Look at the things we have to fix. Immigration and education to name two. On face value both are a mess. It would require sea changes to solve either one. Inertia? You bet. Threats to reputations, expertise, and status? Ha! Is it all so simple or irretrievably complex?

Disney just replaced their CEO with a retread who had actually recommended him in the first place. Meta and Zuckerberg are incredibly off message. Amazon overbuilt. Boeing is almost FUBAR. 

The stockholders are demanding change. Whether it is a corporation or a country or even a church aren’t we all owners of a sort. Changing Times? You bet. Are we keeping up? You tell me.

 

As always

Ted The Great.

Factoids:

Change done right gives people hope. It creates opportunity. Most of all there is a growth in us that is hard to imagine. It’s the best drug of all.

Change means coming out of your cocoon. It is scary. First steps are the hardest. Vulnerability How did you or do you feel about the following?

1.       Starting a new fantastic job

2.       Getting married

3.       Buying a house/relocating

4.       Becoming a parent

Stressful but cool!  The fine line between scary and exciting is palpable.

The starting point of change is admitting or defining the problem. A gradual, well structured plan will win out over the sledge hammer approach every time.

Off The Wall…

I am an oddball. I am ADHD. I am a right winger. I am a lefty. I am crazy. I am raw. I am caring. I am tough. I am honest. I am old fashioned. I am the consummate thinker. I am a slob. I march to my own drummer. I am a doer. I am not a team player. All of this is not my act of contrition. It’s what various people have said about me over time. Probably all somewhat true. 

All this begs the question how would you really like to be remembered? Come on, you know you think about that. Do you want to be loved or just relevant? I have often asked, do you want to be a merry go round or a roller coaster? Can we be so many things? Why not?

I think a lot. Kathy gets crazy when I am behind the wheel, going down life’s highway and gesturing to myself. She knows I am off somewhere in space. It can be my surroundings, my encounters with my fellow man or woman, or just a concept that I haven’t given full attention to. To me it is just plain old fun.

As many of you know my most despised trait is arrogance. You have it all and know it all and couldn’t give a shit about anyone else. You live in a gilded cage that could be physical or psychological. Why should I worry about anyone. I don’t need a thing. 

Whiners need not enter here. Even the worst off of us have something to be thankful for. Someone out there is having a worse time of it than you. I guess the antonym is gratitude. Not just saying grace every now and then but getting down on your knees to pray to whatever God you want. We all have it so good. 

I love deep discussions. Not a self analysis of me but the world we live in. With a great friend, man or woman. Just letting it rip without the worry of disclosure or embarrassment of what you are thinking. There is a freedom of expression but more a trust of that other person. You are both vulnerable and that is okay. It’s just between us. 

Most of you know my affinity towards hospice. I guess it does not get any more down or dirty than that. I work in an inpatient unit. The stay is not long and you don’t have time to beat around the bush. In a personal relationship I go from zero to sixty in about five minutes. It is the one time in my life when it is nothing at all about me. You listen, you care and you love. Patient, family, and staff are alI in this together. I am in awe that they are so open and trusting with me. 

I like to fix things that are broken. I have this weird sense of what is wrong and how we might change things for the better. I wish I were a better politician because I am sure I piss a lot of people off. I try to figure out  if a new approach is needed that says the old way was wrong or at lest outdated. I am impatient and that probably borders on arrogance. Yikes! Mea Culpa!

I have a good amount of energy and tend to put too much on my plate. I am a pretty good dreamer and a horrible administrator. That’s probably why some think I have ADHD and maybe I do? C’est la guerre.

I have several close friends and for this I am truly thankful. I probably have lot of serious enemies and I wish that were not so. Over 30 years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I was a hot shot on the outside and a hot mess on the inside. What really brought me back was the realization that I cannot please everyone. I learned to love me and in turn the people around me. I think the phrase is comfortable in one’s own skin. 

As for religion I am having a hard time. Church is boring and the homilies not original. The ritual is fine but it leads me to just going through the paces. I believe there is a God but I am not sure if it is a being or concept. To look around my world and see flora, fauna and mankind and not think there has to be some sort of Superior Being is beyond the realm of my small brain. 

The love of my life is Kathy. That is not mush but saying she is an amazing person and the most patient being alive. We have had an enormous amount of fun. My kids and grandkids are beyond original, fascinating and loving. All doing their own thing in divergent strata. This is not braggadocio but the observations of a very lucky guy. 

Why am I writing all of this? You are kind enough to read me every now and then. You have a right to know where this whack job is coming from. I have written Ted’s Head for over 13 years. My style is simple. I want to have a conversation with you. You do not have to agree with me and I am sure you don’t. All I can hope for is that I made you think. Thank you for being part of this off the wall dude. 

As always 

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Born April 10 ,1945. Manhasset,NY

St Mary’s Grammar School

Loyola School NYC

Georgetown University. C’67 Poli Sci Major 

US Navy. USS Glover and then PCF (Swift Boat) in country Viet Nam

Wall Street, Post and Beam home builder, computer company owner, developer, real estate broker Yada Yada Yada Jack of all trades ,master of none. 

Lived on Long Island, New York City, Newport RI,  Boston MA, An Thoi, Viet Nam,  Denver CO, Vail CO, Scottsdale Arizona, Palm City Fl.

Wife Kathy of going on 52 years.

Son Scott and Wife Dionne. Two wonderful boys, Jack and Aiden

Daughter Megan and Husband Austin  Three beautiful girls Harper, Ryan,Quincy

Daughter Lindsey and Husband Chip. Great teen age son Anders and beautiful Phebe who is a sixth grader going on 21. 

That’s All Folks!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thinking About Democracy.

Of, For and By the people

Democracy as we know it is a compilation of principles and subtleties. Our forefathers put a lot of thought into what we should look and act like as a nation. Equality, the rule of law and a representative government looked good on paper. The application process has become muddled. 

The soup de jour for political scientists is more often that not is as a strict interpretation of the constitution or as a living document that must be amended to fit our contemporary society ? You might be tempted to say that conservatives want the old time religion and the liberals want the church of what’s happening now. You are probably not far from the truth. 

Right now let’s just chat about what is going down in just a few short days. We have all had to endure the idiocy of mudslinging and wild accusations. Truth either way is out the window. Negative ads supposedly do the trick. Like the Buffalo Bills and Kansa City Chiefs it comes down to who has the ball last. Then judgement day. 

Let’s get crazy for a moment and assume we will all accept the outcome. Counts and recounts really do expose the flaws but we actually come as close as one can to getting it right. The underlying message is what gets to me. If I win, you hate me. If you prevail, I will do my best to have you fail over the next two to four years. 

Think about that for a second. 51% are going to say we won. 49% say we lost. 154.6 million people voted 2020. 78 million were happy and 76 million were really pissed off. Even worse well over 50% on the short end believe the election was stolen. 40million plus! To have functioning democracy we have to have faith that the system works. That is a lot of people who are either delusional or refuse to accept that fact, even after some 45 cases before many Republican appointed judges. 

When all the players become seated in the legislative chambers, you have another foil for the people’s will. The system was invented to give fair voice to all sides. No one should prevail in a dictatorial way but we have figured a way around that. Forget about your constituents you are first and foremost a Democrat or Republican. You hear cogent arguments for and against but leave your brain or conscience at the shit can at the door and vote in lockstep with the bosses. 

The Manchins, Romneys and Cheneys are labeled traitors. You want to overhaul the system. You want to cross the aisles because their side makes sense but don’t you dare. “We have our ways to convince you” just like the interrogation room in an old war movie. There is no negotiating or attempt at consensus. You are with us or agin us. 

Another little game is the introduction of bills. Everyone has a right to put something forward that would hopefully further the cause of all sorts of people in these United States.  As soon as a bill is introduced it is assigned to a committee or subcommittee for analysis and polishing. The bill has to be reported out of committee for consideration by the Congress as a whole. 

I will share with you that I have been researching this process for several days as to how many bills have been introduced and how many have come to fruition. The answers are vague and contradictory at best. As of March it seems over 10,000 bills were introduced in this session and 85 were passed into law. 

Sorry, I gave you Factoids early but this is mind boggling!  Schumer, McConnell and Pelosi constantly say that don’t have time to get to a bunch of pressing issues. Is this the best we got?

Numbers don’t lie. 

Let’s not spare the Executive branch. Presidents of all stripes have taken to Executive orders. Uncle Joe’s forgiving of college debt and Trump’s border regs are just the tip of the iceberg. Some say they had to because to the gridlock in Congress. Some say they are violating the Constitution. Where do we go next? The Supreme Court of course.Yikes!

I would hope the highest court in the land is of good intentions  and impartial as Solomon would be. I have a hard time when various members go out and lecture as to this or that fine point of law or even worse the social construct. Stick to what you do best. Maybe our investigative world requires constant dialogue but Supreme Courts and Grand Juries have to have some sort of non disclosure. 

People, I am trying to be positive and optimistic. I believe that vast majority of all of us are both decent and true of heart. I despise the politician in the global sense. The con, the maneuverer, the underhanded and the slime. That’s not being moralistic but stating the case for a group of us that hope that truth, honor and the American Way will win out. Sounds like an old Superman lead in. It is! I plagiarized! String me up!

How can we bring us back to a point that is not decrepit and broken? How can we make our voices heard? Not so long ago a guy vowed to clean up the swamp. I think he made it worse. I don’t see anybody out there that is our hope…at the moment!

My kids are somewhat disillusioned. They have brought up more than once we need a third party.

Not spoilers but a real choice. The wags say no way. Maybe that is why we are in this predicament? They have called the shots. Are we that impotent? I hope not?

As always 

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Researchers have found that anger motivates people to engage more than any other emotion, and candidates have found over the years that if they’re willing to sling mud in ads, their supporters are more willing to show up at the polls.

The House of Representatives has averaged 146.7 “legislative days” a year since 2001, according to records kept. That’s about one day of work every two and a half days. The Senate, on the other hand, was in session an average of 165 days a year over the same time period

There are 20 standing committees in the House and 16 in the Senate. There are five special committees in each chamber. These can have 50 or more in committee staff. And they didn’t want the Donald to build a wall. Yikes!

Chasing Dreams.

We all have dreams or at least I hope we do. Aspirations, fantasies, imaginations..something that takes us out of our everyday life. We all want to do better and for some to be a better person. A better golfer, parent, spouse or maybe just a better citizen of this big blue orb we live on. 

If I dream I have optimism. There can be a new and improved TTG out there somewhere, I just have to find it. It’s odd because I have a pretty good life. I don’t really want for anything. Am I being a pig at the table of life? I guess the answer to that is what you wish for?

Looking at the material side, the divine Miss K and my life has really changed. Over time we have had some pretty nice houses. I imagine it was somewhat important what car we drove, what club we belonged to and what booze we served.( I still like Johnnie Walker Black.)  Now my golf shirts are old and my blue blazer has seen better days but it doesn’t rise to the definition of crisis. 

That is not true for others and I get it. I hope couples still want to get married, have kids and move into bigger digs.If you live in public housing project, or in a run down part of town you want to get out not only for a better life but maybe just life itself. Defining those parameters are the most important part. 

I have always believed if you aim high, you hit high. Yet today for many this is all so out of reach. And for many the lure of lotteries or on line betting becomes a bottomless hole that you cannot get out of. And of course  as businesses and even  government we play to that weakness in so many ways. It is not only tragic but sick. Would that it were not.  

Getting to the personal side I am intrigued by so much in our world today. We have in so many ways an unachievable existence although we try and try. Role models are the rich and famous. Look at the Kardashians. They created this highly lucrative persona out of nothing. It is smoke and mirrors. Hell man,I could do that! Or so they think. 

Young people are making it big. Whether it is high tech, financial markets, entertainment or some other fast growing industry they are succeeding to unfathomable degrees.

This is not to throw cold water on that, but to add some degree of practicality. This joy ride is unsustainable or unachievable for the masses. We have created such unreal expectations that you feel like a loser if you don’t hit it that big.   This creates a dilemma for me to ponder and try to solve. Believe me I am not even close. 

There is another side to this whole line of thinking. The difference between optimism and stupidity. We adopt a sense of the Lord will provide or don’t worry things will work out for the best. That is admirable but it doesn’t pay the bills. A smart person enjoys the good times but plans for the downside. What is your plan B ? Many dreamers don’t think that far. The crash hurts more than ever. 

The line between success and failure is often a fine one. Are we equipped to handle it? Our educational system has made its intent to be a safe and nurturing place. I guess you could broaden that to include adolescence and young adulthood. There was a well respected chemistry professor at NYU who was fired after complaints from 85 of 350 students about the class being too hard. In their petition, students said that “a class with such a high percentage of withdrawals and low grades has failed to make students’ learning and well-being a priority.” Yikes!

Some dream of stability and others of revolution. That clash spells polarization. The common thread of democracy, civility and yes morality of a sort is under fire. One man’s fantasy is another one’s nightmare. Change is part of life but it seems a portion of our society wants to throw everything out and start over. Every last vestige of the country’s history and methodology is suspect. Others want to be back in time. The good old days.  These dreams are clashing and clashing big time. 

My kids have been very much involved in their schools through various forms of PTA groups. The common thread is the teachers having to wade through countless complaints and accusations from parents that their son or daughter is going to be a total failure if they don’t get B or better. How will these kids handle any bit of criticism or downside in the game of life? This is indeed a dream that probably won’t come true. 

My dream is that we survive and I believe we will. My dream is we all come to our senses. We are torn between so many countermeasures and basic philosophies. We want a forward thinking world but it can’t be based on fantasies. We want to foster creativity but we can’t have a society that caters to every need and whim. 

I believe it starts with education both at home and in our schools. Basic discipline and decency towards one another. Puberty demands structure but not a stifling of the spirit. Experiments are part of life but taken too far you find a wandering and chaotic mosaic. Look at your life and do you find excesses of all sorts to be your paradigm? BOTH LEFT AND RGHT!!

I dream that each and everyone of us take a long look in the mirror. No smug looks. No vitriol unleashed. Just a honest look at ourselves and where we ought to be in a communal and interdependent world. I know I have lot of work to do. I only hope that dream I am chasing is not sheer fantasy. 

As always 

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Dream:noun

1.a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.

2.a state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings.

3.a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.

4.an unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy.

5.a person or thing perceived as wonderful or perfect.

I think Webster hit the nail on the head

People ages 65 to 74 spent the most on lottery tickets and pari-mutuels (betting pools), spending an average of $132.43. This is almost twice as much, or even more, than the amount spent by any of the other age groups.

Households with incomes in the fourth 20 percent spent the most on lottery tickets and pooled betting, spending an average of $94.72  per quarterThe next big spenders were households with incomes in the second 20 percent spending an average of $81.98.

Way back when I attended 8th grade at St Mary’s, class was held in the basement of the church and we totaled 54 students. We had one nun and rolling green blackboard. We all passed our NY State Regents exams in English,Math and History. How the hell did that happen?

Pure Genius…

They are giving out the Noble Prizes this week. TTG’s presence has not been requested in Oslo so I guess I didn’t make the cut in literature. Peace? Physics? I don’t think so. Bottom line is they pick the best in each field. The ones that have had great breakthroughs in their particular disciplines. They might even be called genius although I abhor that word. 

In our crazy world we are constantly looking for answers. I am not sure if we are seeking solutions on the past or a crystal ball into the future. Probably a bit of both. Where do we go? To the experts! Gurus and fortune tellers abound but do we rely on them too much?

Finance and economics are on everybody’s minds these day. Jobs, retirement, wealth, recessions, interest rates. The “Fed” is at the heart of defining our monetary policy. When we are down, they prime the pump and when we are getting too crazy, they slam on the brakes. When and if they do that, markets react in both directions. 

I can only imagine how many dudes and dudettes in the Fed are poring over thousands of numbers from millions of input points to figure out where we go from here. Yet despite all that talent and computing power they get it wrong. We keep rates too long or don’t raise them fast enough. We are all human and Monday morning quarterbacking is great, but this is what they are paid to do. 

Hurricane IAN kicked the crap out of those poor devils on the southwest coast of Florida. There were “spaghetti lines” of storm tracks that were the result of a lot of professionals looking at data. FEMA has to plan and place resources at various points. Florida Power and Light has trucks on the ready. Yet nobody in their right mind could have predicted the ferocity and destruction that took place. 

When you are messing with Mother Nature she often flips the bird to weather”geniuses”. This is not calling them to task in any way. In the end it is an inexact science. Many made decisions to evacuate or stay based on the hourly reports. Some got it right and some perished. In this arena, a difference or 10-20 miles spelled disaster or escape. That turn of the storm’s eye can occur in a matter of hours. The results might last forever. 

Corporate America and even countries are  prone to relying on consultants. Where do we go, what do we do in solving this or that challenge? There have been wonderful success stories and absolute disasters as a result. The famed McKinsey in the year 2000 told AT&T cell phones would be a niche market of only 900,000 users. I often wonder if hiring consultants is the ultimate CYA? The devil told me to do it. 

The US government is teed up in so many situations for a lot more than bad reviews. I am pretty sure in years to come, history will take a hard look at our response to COVID on so many levels. The excuse is we weren’t prepared for something this broad and deadly. My question is what are all the pandemic specialists at NIH and CDC doing? They were supposed ot be preparing for just this very thing. 

Bay of Pigs, Viet Nam, Mission Accomplished, Afghanistan, China, North Korea. How could we have gotten these things so wrong for so long? Nobody predicted Ukraine’s ability to fight back and succeed to this extent. We have the CIA, DIA, FBI,NSA et al sizing up situation after situation. The billions if not trillions we have spent on expert advisers, faulty weapons systems, computer systems that had no chance of being functional. The billions of aid to here and there of which there is no accountability. How does that happen? Does, “we are just mere mortals” cut the ice? 

I could go on and on but the point of the matter is that in every walk of life we strive to be successful and efficient with our resources. In planning our attack we rely on information in pure data and even more the interpretation by experts.  I am really torn by how much I can rely on that? More importantly who do I trust?

I am inquisitive and questioning by nature. I do not accept something because the writer or speaker is supposedly really smart.  Not to be a pain in the ass but to be sure in my mind I am getting the best information. Do I screw up? Of course I do. My biggest errors have occurred by not digging deep enough or questioning that which did not seem quite right. My bad! Yes, one can have “analysis paralysis” but we can also be lazy in not looking more intensely at something we know is not quite right. 

There are those that are really smart and some that think they are.  There are those that are more puff than substance. We tend to think that because someone makes a lot of money they know all the answers to business, life  and whatever. Because of title or place in society they are to be admired and believed. Many times the simplest person is the most wise. I guess the real genius is the one that figures that out. 

As always 

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

To err is human, to forgive is divine. Maybe….

We spend as a government almost $100 billion on intelligence gathering and analysis. 

$132 billion was spent worldwide on consultants in 2020. $65 billion was spent in the US alone. 

We spend 3-5 hours a day on electronic media. We read an average of one book every three months. 

Highly Intelligent People :

 Disorganized, adaptable, foul mouthed, understand limits, love learning, intuitive, know there is no such thing as luck, curious, night owls, risk takers, procrastinate, open minded, good instincts, oldest child, introverted and non aggressive. How  did you score?

Supply And Demand

I must be a very simple minded dude. I look at our world and it does not seem overly complex. Whether it is food, energy, transportation, housing, clothes, or technology, we create stuff. 

People buy that stuff. If there isn’t enough we either create more or charge more for what we have. If there is too much we lower the price to where it becomes attractive. Man, am I a rocket scientist! Nobel prize here we come. 

The Federal Reserve wants to micromanage this. We can’t have inflation or at least it can’t be above 2.5%. Wall Street wants to analyze this ad nauseam. If you miss their interpretation of  your earnings by a few cents the the stock gets pummeled. No demand. If you beat it by ten cents it is off to the races. 

I am trying to dissect this further. You and I are integral parts of this whole production process. We create the demand side. We want to update, rehabilitate or just buy something for the fun of it. We need to eat and put petrol in our soon to be outmoded internal combustion car. We want to watch sports, news and the latest idiot show on network TV. We gotta have it.

The first question I ask myself is what if I did not buy anything? Not because I am unAmerican but because I just don’t need anything else. Okay, I will give you food but do we have to do everything in such ginormous portions. 24 ounce T Bones, Big Gulps, Obscene Chocolate bars. Do we really need all of this or is it just filling our desire to be entertained in some way? Life is so boring otherwise.

We all buy cars. These are modes of transportation. So are bikes and motor scooters but I digress. Whether it is gas or electric we use these puppies about 5% of the time unless you are a traveling salesman or long haul trucker. Think about it. We insure it, maintain it, wash it, coo over it and this ungrateful bastard depreciates faster than your stock portfolio in a Monday crash. 

Yet when we get bored with it or feel the urge for a new gizmo or power source and dump it every 2-3 years. It is perfectly good but we have to keep up with the Jones. Wait TTG, it is out of warranty. It will cost a fortune to fix. Correct me if I am wrong. You shell out X amount to upgrade and that tidy sum would more than cover a complete engine overhaul. I guess I am stupid. How about boats or vacation homes?

When was the last time you went out on your yacht or spent time in Vail or Alta? At Desert Mountain we could calculate the length of time you stayed as a correlative to the size of the house. The bigger the mansion the more you had other places to go.

Moving right along to clothing. The shirts, shorts, dresses, shoes, baubles and bangles…the whole shebang. I not asking you to wear hair shirts and sackcloths, but go into your closet right now and tell me how much is necessary for you to appear in public? I know you would not be seen in that. 

Last but not least is electronics…computers,TV’s, sound systems, phones, earbuds…shall I go on? I look at my five year old TV and think there has to be something on the market with a sharper picture because of a gazillion pixels. Of course there is and I will put the old one out at the curb. 

People, I am not a Scrooge. I love the good stuff just the same as you but what are the ramifications? We are all in the “end of the world as we know it” syndrome. Global warming, pollution, nuclear threats all wrapped into one. Yet we party on and want more and more. It is the American and probably the world way. 

If I did not want so much would there be food to spare on the planet. How much do I need to survive and even have a dessert every now and then? 38% of the world’s surface is used for food. How much energy, water and chemicals do we need to produce to feed our faces. 

We recently went to the Ford F 150 factory in Dearborn, Michigan. It was an incredible display of our ingenuity to create something. One of these beauties rolls off the line every 54 seconds. For a moment think of what went into that truck from frame, to windows, to seats, to tires etc. How much energy did it take to create just one with thousands of parts, whether it be gas or electric? 

Where am I going? Let’s try for a moment to look at our lives as a pleasant meal rather than an all you can eat Smorgasbord.

What if we took it down just a couple of notches? I get this horrible feeling we have gone way over the top. Our lives are fantasy rather than reality. We are obsessed with this Eden like dream that we will do anything and everything to make come true. 

Please don’t take this as a downer but maybe just a minor pause to look around at what we have all created. Is there a basic plan or are we just plowing willy nilly into the future without a care of what possible disaster we are creating? We have a vast supply of some very smart people. Let’s create the demand for some critical and strategic thinking. It might work!

As always 

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Standard of living refers to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods, and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class or geographic area. Quality of life, on the other hand, is a subjective term that can measure happiness.   Objective and subjective measurements. 

A need is an essential requirement or a necessity whereas a want is a desire.

The fulfillment of needs is essential for one’s survival whereas fulfillment of wants is not essential for one’s survival.

The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average carbon footprint is closer to 4 tons.

Burning fossil fuels emits CO2, with coal releasing twice as much of the gas as petroleum. Worldwide, fossil fuels generate 85 percent of electricity.

Transportation: Whether for business or pleasure, locomotion is the second largest source of U.S. CO2 emissions. International travel is also a factor. A study of cruise ships found that vacationing at sea emits 12 times more CO2 than vacationing on land.

Building: Industrial manufacturing emits lots of CO2, but it only accounts for 2 percent of U.S. emissions. Iron and steel manufacturing and cement production are the biggest offenders.

Trees are potent organisms for absorbing and removing CO2 emissions from the air.Loss of forestlands account for 20 percent of global CO2 emissions.

Not sure how this all adds up but it was interesting to this inquisitive mind. 

Reach Out And Touch Someone

Writer’s Note: This a blog I wrote over ten years ago. I thought it would be fun to go back.Some things never change. TTG

Reach Out And Touch Someone June 22, 2011 5:37 am MDT

Life is full of incredible possibilities. I have had one of those fabulous weeks of interacting with people. I have met dozens of new faces, given 5 attaboys, had in depth talks with four great friends, given two talks and hugged and kissed ad nauseam. I’m in seventh heaven.

I love to hug and kiss everyone. In today’s society that may get me in trouble but TS. I hug men. I hug women. Especially young women. I tell my kids, I love them every chance I get. I say “Hi Beautiful” to my granddaughter, Harper. She says “Hi Handsome” right back.

 

The Irish are a wonderful lot. I had tears in my eyes on Sunday watching Rory McElroy come up the 18th at Congressional. He was hugged by his fellow countryman, Graheme Mcdowell. He was hugged by his wonderfully understated dad. He was loved by all. It was a sight to behold. Life is good.

But hugging is an art. You have to be careful because some people are reticent. Especially guys. They give you a funny look. A real funny look. They sometimes even give you a strong pushback even on handshakes. I want to give everyone a bear hug. It’s just my style.

Now kissing is a whole other gig. I kiss my wife, my daughters and sons. Not all in the same way. Guys really don’t like kissing. I kissed my homophobic brother as he lay dying and I knew it would be our last meeting. His eyes got as big as golf balls. It shook him up so much he rallied for two or three days.

My daughters think kissing me on the lips is gross. They at least do cheeks. Women for the most part just give air kisses.

That’s okay. They don’t know what they are missing.

As you can probably gather I am slowly coming out of my shell. I have decided from this point forward not to take myself so seriously. Sure the market stinks. Real estate is down. I shot 100 on Saturday but came back with an 85 on Sunday. I love you man!

A young man came to wash the windows on our house the other day. His name was Brendan. Scruffy in a friendly way, he had found his way to Denver six months ago. It turns out he has been everywhere from Louisiana to Haiti to Peru and Iowa. He had simply been helping out people struck by disaster with no remuneration. No complexity and no ego. Just a very decent person. I wanted to hug him but we had just met.

I love to tell women they are pretty, when they are. My daughters think it is creepy. My wife thinks I am a flirt. She said I may get picked up….by the police. I am just having fun.

There was an octogenarian woman in church who was dressed to the nines. She had a big red hat and looked like a million. I went over and told her how great she looked. I asked if all the guys in Denver were chasing her ? She asked me if I had any older brothers?

I sit on the front porch and will engage anyone who cares. I have taken to writing a mini blog and hanging it on the fence right next to our cement goose. I leave a pen and people respond. Some neighbors. Some strangers. Just people reaching out.

We are going to San Diego this week to see great friends we haven’t seen in a couple of years. They are nuts and we love it. I also hope to meet up with an old Swift Boat buddy I haven’t seen in 40 years. Please accept a collect phone call if we all wind up in jail.

Why am I carrying on like this? Just a silly Monday morning. I played golf with my son Scott yesterday. We had dinner with him, my lovely daughter in law and their kids. I had breakfast of sorts with my two daughters. Great memories. Sappy? You bet.

In this crazy world we live in, it is sometimes just goofy fun to be a little crazy.

As I said last week, life is too short. Go ahead and just hug someone. Catch them by surprise. Plant a big smacker right on their lips. If you get slapped consider it your red badge of courage. If they smile or wink at you, all the better.

As Always,

Ted The Great

Factoids for Weird Wednesday:

There are more people alive today than have ever lived……          Children laugh sometimes 100 times a day. Adults 15 times……       Women blink twice as much as men…my little chikadee ….. Finally, sneezes usually exceed 100 miles per hour