Graduation day…

We have just returned from a brief trip to Colorado for our grandson’s graduation from high school. Jack attended Centaurus High School. It is one of many in the Boulder Valley School District. The campus of most of them have the Flatiron foothills as a backdrop. They eventually give way to the still snowcapped Rockies. Not a bad place to go to school. Daydreaming and looking out the window takes on a whole new significance.  

The senior class of about four hundred marched into the Coors Event Center on the campus of the University of Colorado. The event recognized many cum laude and summa cum laude students. There was a hoorah for 38 who had taken engineering classes since their freshman year and Jack was one of them. During the proceedings there were thoughts galore in my poor little brain.

I glowed with as much pride as the several thousand who were attending. There were whites, blacks, hispanics, Asians and who knows what else? For some of them they were the first in the family to even get this far. For others it was just the first step in what will become many degrees and diplomas. Remarkably they were one and each seemed to revel in the success of the other. 

After the entrance to Pomp and Circumstance, we faced a large American flag at the end of the arena. A more than good percentage held their hands over their hearts during the Star Spangled Banner, that was played by a very credible school band. I thought about all the promise in that arena and as I pondered, arenas all over America.  Campus shootings, school board strife and book banning seemed to be very far away. Why can’t it just be that way all the time?

We walked through metal detectors coming in. Kathy’s small purse had to be returned to the car.It was too big and a gun could have been hidden in it!  It seemed so incompatible with the joy of the occasion. I am not sure if I was shocked at the gravitas or just really pissed off at the loss of innocence. 

The principal was an impressive figure and speaker. His enthusiasm was not feigned. Several kids got up to give thanks and hijinks. It had a lot of good vibes. The class voted the head security guard as the their favorite staff member. He took the plaque with humility and tears from the heart. Was it like this everywhere in hometown America? I hope so.

The next day we went to a graduation party for Jack and three of his buddies at a local sports bar. A lot of grinning. A lot of joy. Corn hole on the patio. Wings and biscuits and gravy. Doesn’t get too much better than that. 

A smoky haze was very evident. This was from the brush fires in Canada some 850 miles away. Gives you some sort of clue to the size of our country. That would be the same as smoke from the Maine/ Canadian border to Washington DC.  The Denver environs were inundated. We really are connected. 

The graduate is always invited to lunch or dinner with Kathy and me. They pick the place. Jack opted for Mexican food on Main Street. As we chatted I began firing questions of all sorts. Not to put him under the gun but because we wanted to learn so much about him. He answered with candor and enthusiasm. His parents said he might be on the quiet side. Au contraire, mes amis.

He leans somewhat left but not to the extent of his older brother’s progressiveness. He noted that the left was more prone to discussion and compromise than the right. He felt the age of our government’s elite on both sides were just too old. Too stuck in their ways. There was frustration at the inability to get things done. Time wasted. Opportunities lost.  The sheer absurdity of a $31 trillion debt that they were going to have to get payed off. 

As we talked about his aspirations we discussed money. He would like to be self sufficient in short order. Within ten years he wanted to own a house. Nothing fancy but something he could call his own. He was not anti capitalist but was put off with what we all called obscene wealth. Investment bankers, sport stars, entertainers et al were just making too much money.  The wealth gap is only going to get worse. It really didn’t make much sense to him. Kathy and I nodded clumsily. 

A lot of this was on our generation. 

One of the more interesting thoughts was with regard to media. He and his friends do not read newspapers nor do they watch TV. They get synopses here and there but don’t really believe anyone is reporting factually. He has shut down a lot of his apps for being a waste of time. That was it.  We thanked him for being with us and being such a great guy. We all hugged.

I hope this has not been too sappy or too full of braggadocio? Seeing my three kids families in action had a real sense of normalcy. Talks with all of them gave me a strange feeling of hope. They are dealing with the world but there were snippets of laughter and good old fashioned clowning around that had me feeling pretty good. This was not just a visit but an enlightenment. 

In all those chats like we had with Jack, there was a sense of openness and not any real hint of complacency. The coolest part was that there was a strict disciplinary style but also a lot of love and understanding. Nobody is perfect and that includes them.

 I have graduated with a new degree. I learned about my kids and grandkids in a different way. I think I might turn off the TV and my apps just like Jack. Most importantly I am looking at my world in a more positive and hopeful way. If it is okay with you I am going to keep my cap and gown on a little longer here in Flalaland. 

As always 

Ted The Great 


There are a little over 15 million kids in high school today. About 10% go to private schools of some sort. 3,250,000 graduated in 2020.

  • The graduation rate is at an all-time high of 85.3%.
  • The dropout rate is at an all-time low of 6% compared to the 15% college drop out rate.

There are 26,727 high schools in the US and approximately 1 million teachers. 


My good friend Oliver Halle pointed out an error in my last post regarding health and retirement programs in Congress.

“Members of congress do not have their own retirement and healthcare system. They are under the FERS retirement as are all federal employees. Their healthcare is more complicated and less than federal employees because they took themselves out of Obamacare.”

 I stand corrected. Thank you.

I Feel Your Pain…

I am struck by the sheer numbers of bad situations going on around me and us. Shootings, wars, the pandemic, debt ceilings, poverty…shall I go on? Most of these I view from afar. I feel bad about the Ukraine but I don’t live there. Can I really relate to my apartment being blown to smithereens? Not in any way. 

I can enumerate at least a hundred things that are really crappy happening to my fellow American and yes all those other 8 billion earthlings out there. I am really at sea as to whether I should even give these a thought  or just go on with my blissful life in Flalaland. I tend to be a sentimental or even an empathetic lug. Why? Let me try to explain. 

Empathy is understanding and experiencing emotions from the perspective of another, a partial blurring of lines between self and other. We put ourselves in the shoes of others with the intention of understanding what they are going through, we employ empathy to make sense of their experiences. (Psychology Today)

There are a couple of characteristics. If the victim is a relative or close friend we are all over it. We rush to their aid in any way. If they are in our town or burgh we still feel a closeness. The farther away and the bigger the numbers we tend to look and quickly forget. 

We are tribal. We protect our own. We also have a feeling of helplessness. I recently did a presentation here on Worldwide Famine. There are 39 million food insecure people in these United States. That is around 8% of our population. There are 830 million of the same throughout the world. Nice, TTG but what the hell can I do? If I show you one kid who is on the verge of death you want to reach out. If there are 5,000 you say that is sad but nothing I can do. 

We actually become numb to situations. People knew about the Holocaust but looked away. Because they were insensitive brutes or because there was nothing they could do about it? Really interesting and complex question. If you are a Jew and more specifically a European Jew you scream for the world to do something. If you are not can you still look the other way? Yikes TTG, what are you asking me that for?

Enter media for better or worse. It has been proven that people that obsess about a tragedy by watching  the outcomes over and over again, becoming so involved that it affects their lives. Other have a cursory glance and dismiss it for some predefined reason. It might be cultural, racial or ideological. Those people are illegal. George Floyd was high on something. January 6th was inevitable. Trump had some really good policies. There is rationalization on both sides. 

I think we are sometimes afraid of our feelings. We set up that wall. This is what I believe and have always believed. It has gotten me this far and I am sticking with it. Yet something breaks through our veneer. My cool exterior says that is not right. It is a picture or word or a situation from which we can’t disengage. It is unique and unsettling. Maybe we are being human. Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone. 

Somewhere in our brains there is this thought that could happen to me. If I get involved too much then I have a responsibility for that situation or person. Too many years ago in NYC, I happened upon a poor soul at the base of a staircase in the World Trade Center leading to the PATH to go home to New Jersey. He had slit his wrists and person after person just walked on by. I had to stop. I had to help. Not as hero but as a fellow human being. After I wrapped a handkerchief around his wrists and got a cop, I continued on. Was our world this bad? Are we that insensitive and uncaring? I am not sure. I fear it has only gotten worse.

If I only can feel for people close to me we are getting further and father away. Cities are getting bigger as people abandon rural America. We build higher skyscrapers and higher fences. Yet there is the rotting underbelly of poverty and homelessness. Yes, there are bums and nee’r do wells out there but there are also decent people who just want a life. 

As part of my research for famine I looked locally. In our nice part of the world there are over 50% of our kids on a free lunch and breakfast program. I called one of the  school district’s food program managers to question the veracity of the qualifications. She said we have no idea of the poverty, right here in River City. A family of four at $26,172 income is at or below poverty level. If you are a bus driver for the district you make $15 per hour which comes to $31,200 per year. Their kids go to those schools. There is not enough to buy food after all other expenses. Never thought of it that way. 

A fellow who attended my lecture said, “Ted if you keep this up you are going to become a left wing extremist.” I thought about the comment and did not in any way resent it. I was dumb enough to do my research and look beneath the covers. I wanted to dispel the concept of food insecurity at least in these United States. Numbers bore and sometimes numb people. I get that. But numbers don’t lie. I always take a number like 39 million food insecure and reduce it by a third or a half. It is still a really big number. 

I can probably never feel the pain of my fellow planet dwellers. But it sure has got me thinking. I hope it got you too. 

As always 

Ted The great 


Globally 3.9% of all children die before reaching the age of five, which means that on average 15,000 children die every day.

As a nation we spend $13,187 per student per annum

Florida $10k

NY $25k

AZ $8.7

In 2022, proficiency in math for eighth graders was 26.5%.Proficiency in reading in 8th grade was 32%

There were 44,000 firearm deaths in 2021. 24,000 suicides 20,000 homicides.   That’a lot of pain. 

A family threw a six figure birthday party for a one year old in Washington DC. Isn’t that painful ?

Members of Congress have their own healthcare and retirement system as opposed ot Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security

How much pain do you think they feel?

Sorry, if you did not feel any pain in my factoids




I have been away from Ted’s Head. Not intentionally, but but the result of a whole bunch of things happening lately. We had most of our kids and grandkids over a period of two and a half weeks. Not only fun but stimulating. We get kind of set in our ways in Flalaland. Everyone grows and changes from the last visit in so many ways. OMG, you mean they look at things differently than yours truly and the divine Mrs K? 

I had a birthday and that is always a time for reflection. All those years, places and people give one pause. For the first time ever I mused as to how many more I will have. Not maudlin but pragmatic. You hope to leave a legacy of some sort. A belief system or ethic if you will, that will be emblematic of what you stand for. Perhaps your brood will take at least a few pieces of your morality  but you never know. 

A question always arises when their and your ideas differ greatly. It could be liberal or conservative. Religious or atheistic. No sex or free sex. There is a lot to consider. What do you stand by and what do you adapt to? Does standing up for what you truly believe in make you a cantankerous old fart? Come on TTG, keep up with the times. 

Going beyond family I look at our world. Man, there are a bunch of things out there I am odds with. Yet no matter how vehemently I oppose I also have to realize that people have a different point of view. Of course that is our problem today. What is the true tenor of our convictions as a country or civilization? Can we coexist? Good question.

Let’s start withe something easy. GUNS. Ha! I think everyone has a right to own a gun. Even several guns if you are a hunter etc. But assault rifles? There are 30 million assault rifles in existence today. Why? Please give me a reason you should own one? My NRA buddies give me the line that if we give in on a ban then what will they take next? Can you even fathom the fact that even if you have the right to own one, why don’t I have the right to live in peace? There are 300 million plus guns in circulation. To me that is 300 million chances my or my kids and grandkids asses will be blown away. 

Gays and transexuals are another point. A few years ago while traveling cross-country Kathy and were listening to a segment on NPR. The topic was the whole idea of gender. The participants thought we would do away with sexual distinctions. You could be whatever you wanted both socially and physically. What? That could never happen. 

Before you read on, I am not an anti. I believe some people are homosexual. Is transgender the logical extension? I have no idea. But to take a kid anywhere from five to eighteen and earmark them one way or another is wrong. Young minds are formative. Young people are hit from all sides with sexual messages. Hormones rage. This is a not a time for lifelong decisions. At ten you don’t decide you are going to be a doctor or teacher and be cast in that light forever. 

We know several parents with gay children. We know a few whose kids are transgender. That was the result of a lot of thought and dare I say prayers. In a crazy way they adapted over time to what they thought once was unthinkable. That seems pretty rational to me. 

Since I am on a roll let’s talk minorities. Hispanics and blacks especially do not have it easy. I want to help them in any way. At the same time I am not color blind but I am not racist either. We are all different in a bunch of ways but as I told my grandson we all bleed red. I care for my fellow man but that does mean I am going to self flagellate for what happened centuries ago? 

There are class distinctions unless we want communism. Yes people are oppressed and we should stop it. Yes minorities get crappy medicine and less than adequate education. People are going hungry everyday in these United States. It is part and parcel of society. Should we do everything possible to ameliorate it? You bet. But you can’t legislate success and we can’t give you a pill to make it all better. 

There is a thing called victimhood. The world and all its industry is out to get you. You didn’t fail. Society failed you. It feels so good to feel revenge. I could have been great. I should have been discovered. Life is unfair. This is the bitch. There are people who have been wronged as an individual. They should be helped in many ways but that doesn’t mean everyone else can ride their coattails. 

We think in such broad and general strokes. All blacks are bad. All whites suck. We go to help and we are considered condescending. We don’t open the kimono all the way and we are considered stingy. On the other hand we think  it’s every man or woman for the themselves. I came up the hard way, so should you. Our world has become so much more complex. There are challenges at every turn. It is not my or my father’s Oldsmobile.

We have to adapt plain and simple. Bend but don’t break. That is both sides. The radical left and right are pushing us into this interminable strife and hateful abyss. I for one am tired of it. Whether it is daily shootings or the idiots you and I have elected, I really want to give up on the news.

This debt limit BS has been going on for months. Let’s have another investigation or hearing. Those clowns are too busy doing nothing. Aaaargh!

Okay I feel better now!

As always 

Ted The Great 


40 million American men, women and children are nutritionally at risk. Every county in the US faces this problem. Yet 35% of all food produced goes uneaten. 

Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can raise questions of independence and identity; as adolescents cultivate their sense of self, they may face difficult choices about academics, friendship, sexuality, gender identity, drugs, and alcohol.  Not a place to make lifelong decisions.

Attitude is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as “a relatively enduring and general evaluation of an object, person, group, issue, or concept on a dimension.” It comes from your beliefs, emotions, and past experiences and behaviors.

We adapt as the result of new information that we deem to be valid. We look at people and things differently if we explore and venture into the unknown. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse. 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change,” Charles Darwin

When I Was Young….

My kids and grandkids are visiting this week and it is beyond a kick. Bodies are coming and going. One car heads to the beach. Another to the gym. Someone is jogging and another is vegging. Laughter and an occasional outburst rings throughout the air. All perfectly normal. 

As discussions go, I greet my daughter Megan at around 6:15 AM. It should be two freight trains going in opposite directions on the same track.  Au contraire mes amis. Wife Kathy shakes her head at the depth we get into at this ungodly hour. Homelessness, crime, equity, and guns were the topic this AM. 

Inevitably we go back to when I and they were young. This isn’t carping on new generations and bemoaning the good old days. It is trying to figure out what was wrong and right? What worked and what didn’t?  

Where we were placed on the socioeconomic scale obviously shaped our lives. The financial equity gap was there but not to the degree it is today. For both me and my kids we were okay financially but there weren’t any mega mansions in our neighborhoods. Your peers were one or two up or down on the scale but not fifty to one. For myself you never thought about being a snob because you never felt you were that far out in front. 

This played out in so many arenas. The local A and P supermarket or Bohacks were frequented by all. You had two or three choices of cereal producers not not twenty. You went to Jaffe’s department store to get new khakis for the school year and you had a choice of PF Flyers or Keds for sneakers.  The station wagons were Fords or Chevys. So point one is that there were not a boatload of choices. 

I asked my kids why they were so creative? We have a software developer, interior designer and artist at this point in their lives. It could have been years in Denver before cable TV. We had three channels and they came in poorly in the foothills. They wandered in the hills and built forts and ski jumps. They figured out how to entertain themselves. There was a lot of freedom of space and mind. They learned new colors and smells. 

They were challenged and learned some degree of self confidence. We were aware parents but not helicopters. They got into trouble but had to figure it out on their own. They were punished and after WWIII in the back seat one day, they were let out of the car to walk the last quarter of a mile to home. We would be arrested today! There were curfews and groundings. They survived. Point two is roots and wings.

I cut lawns and had a paper route. Kathy babysat. When your piggy bank went empty you could not go the parental  ATM. All my kids had jobs. Some of theirs do today. If you didn’t have the money you didn’t do it. Allowances were minimal and money management was introduced. I can just imagine asking my old man for $1000 to see Taylor Swift. 

The perception of money is beyond critical. I would pay $50 for a new tennis racket. If you wanted to buy one for $100 you made up the difference. My kids shared an old Ford Bronco II that we as a group negotiated to buy. They paid for the gas and washed it.  And most of their friends learned to drive a shift stick in that beauty. Point three is the value of money. Does it really grow on trees?

I could spend two or three blogs on our current media. This is not an old fuddy duddy but just a guy looking at things and saying “What have we wrought?”. Are we more creative or less? Is the access to so many things on line enlightening or overwhelming? We stream without any supervision. We don’t want our kids to miss out. So let me get this straight. Access to 100 channels, games that are mesmerizing, anonymous bullying, sexting, and constant contact night and day…..this is a good thing?

Do today’s kids have the ability to just grow up slowly and at their own pace? Does our overindulgence translate into the lack of desire for today’s generation to work no more than necessary? There are children everywhere that live at home with no visible means of support. Is this the new age or a recipe for disaster?  This is not to be judgmental but to seriously figure out if we are on the wrong or right path?

As old farts we can’t dismiss this whole genre as vapid and dispassionate. Kath and I raised our kids to live their lives not ours. It was a difficult day when we said we would love to be part of your life but we don’t have to be. That is where we are today. It is their world to mold and take forward. 

We had our chance and I have to be honest when I say I am not sure we always did the best of things. Sure there has been prosperity. We have made tremendous advancements in science.  But there is a little thing called the deficit and if we abhor social media we were the ones that got it started, fed it and have reaped so many financial benefits. We looked the other way and even sucked down opioids. 450 million guns did not happen overnight. 

Yes, we worked hard to provide. Yes, we hoped we did the right thing.  In many ways we did. I have to ask myself if I and we were responsible citizens of our world, why do we have such daunting problems today? Homelessness, drugs, the national debt, education, immigration, gun violence are part of our persona as a country.  

When I was young we had chance to shape policy and construct blueprints for our future. What mark would you give us? Hmmm. Interesting question.

As always

Ted The Great 


There are over 50 types of sneakers on the market today. That does not include variations of color and low tops, high tops etc. 

The number of available apps in the Google Play Store was most recently placed at 2.67 million apps, after surpassing 1 million apps in July 2013. 

Nearly a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 — part of what is collectively known as Gen Z — live at home with their parents or other relatives, according to a new study, and they considered it a long-term housing solution.

The concert business grossed over $7 billion last year.

US Debt:

1990.  $3.200 trillion

2000.  $5.674 trillion

2010.  $13.562 trillion

2020.  $27.748 trillion

2023.  $31.748 trillion

Why Isn’t Good Enough

A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Wall Street Journal as to why isn’t good, good enough? It was mainly in relation to various world powers but its application seems manyfold. 

It discussed China at the turn of  the 20th century. Things weren’t all bad. More and more people were moving to the cities. Housing and manufacturing were exploding and there was a vibrant trade with the rest of the world. Voila, we now have a middle class. But that was not enough. Chairman Xi decided to make up for all the disgrace and humility for the last 150 years and China would once again be the predominant superpower. 

Interestingly enough Putin is ruing  the dissolution of the motherland. In the early 1990’s USSR became a footnote in history books. That was beyond unacceptable. He became hellbent on having Russia right back up at the top with China and the US. Coincidentally the new Russia wasn’t doing badly either. At least by their standards. Rinse and repeat with Turkey, India et alia..  But in all cases good was not good enough. 

Okay, you say we are sitting here in the catbird seat and can afford to say everything is just fine. Maybe I have no right to offer commentary. I and many of us have it very good. It is easy for you TTG. Your criticism has weight but at least let me try. 

The idea of wants and needs pops up in my little brain. Whether you are poor or rich what do you need to live, survive and maybe have a “treat yourself”  now and then? The latter are needs to be satisfied but you ain’t going to die without them.  An interesting exercise is to see how low can you take your budget in hard times? Kathy and I got to that number back in 2008-2009. A good perspective. 

The crazy part is that it is up to us to define what is enough, whether a resident of the planet or nation state. If we don’t have our fill there is a discomfort  of sorts. That tension eats at us to work harder, save more, or perhaps put more on the credit card which is a whole other source of angina. Does this work out in the end?

The first question of course is this stress inherent in our lives? Is life supposed to be a struggle? I believe it is and dealing with it makes you stronger. If you never face adversity you have no idea how to handle it when our little bubble bursts. We are trying to create the opposite. You should never be hurt physically or emotionally. If you run up a tab in life you never have to pay it. You can always go home to mom or dad. Talk about escaping reality. 

The flip side is going too far off the wall. You are never happy with what you have or accomplish. You are a perfectionist that probably leads to procrastination. Or if you are a Putin or Xi you are unemotional and ruthless to the end. Think of Stalin, Lenin and Hitler. There is no middle ground. 

Realism is a distant concept. Do your talents and resources match your goals? Does our ego get in front of our common sense? We want social and economic equity. What does that mean? Does everyone deserve a four bedroom, three bath colonial in the burbs?Should everyone be entitled to a 6 figure plus income? I don’t think it  works this way. 

Are we there in government? Some dream of government curing every problem imaginable. We have a program for this and that. We always have your back no matter how badly you screw up. And of course we have created a bureaucracy so bloated you have no idea of effectiveness. There are 106 departments of government involved in affordable housing. To me that is beyond good enough. It is a runaway train. 

Think about your personal life. As I get older I find I want less. Not so with younger generations and that is more than understandable. They have dreams and aspirations but are they realistic? The youth of today are questioning  those very values. They were raised by moms and dads who worked their asses off and maybe were not around very much. Is that the way they want to live or even better is this the work ethic they want to pass on? Maybe they are asking how much good is enough? 

This all comes at time when there is a collision of cultures. People and nations are at each other’s throats. My idea of heaven is a lot different than yours.  Scarily that spills over into confusion and debate on morals, common law, gender identification, color, and national heritage. Is there a common good we can aspire to or are we so splintered that United States is just a term and every man or woman for themselves?

We all want to be happy. But understand happiness is a fleeting thing. It is the quick hit you get from a great meal, new car or new piece of furniture. Like every good addiction it wears off and you are looking for a new source of euphoria. There are plenty of dealers willing to provide for your satisfaction. Step right up. 

There is another concept I would like to throw out for your consideration. It is contentment. I looked up a lot of definitions and I like this one the best: “Contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction that can be seen as a mental state drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind. “ No matter what your lot in life you are accepting and embracing it. I could go on for pages but just dwell on that simplicity. For me that is more than good. 

As always 

Ted The Great

If you are a brain surgeon or employed by your local police bomb squad perfectionism is critical. Not so in golf, relationships or cooking. 

Procrastination  is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. You worry about not being good enough and ergo you do nothing. 

When achieving a goal we rarely stop and enjoy it. We are setting new goals at that very moment. 

Good enough, happiness ,contentment, setting unrealistic goals are tough to think about and even harder to write about. I probably didn’t get it right but I hope I got you to think   TTG 

Understanding Trillions

Raising the deficit is rearing its ugly head once again. Forget about the points made by either side on this, yours truly is trying to wrap his head around the whole mess without the theatrics. One side wants to open the spigot wider and the other says every man and women or whatever for themselves. 

In my wanderings I found and interesting breakdown of what we spend as a country. It delineates those numbers in a per person presentation. Kind of cool.

The United States spent $6.48 trillion in 2022 which is down about $920 billon from the previous year. Not because we are getting thrifty. COVID et al weren’t quite so gluttonous at our national trough. 

Here we go:

The country spent a total of $19,434 for every human being in the USA. Kids and all.

Defense: $2282

Veterans: $812

Social Security $3657

Medicare $2269

Disadvantaged $1858

Interest on debt $1451

Grants to states $3707

Public Health  $3400

Total $!9,434

We had a budget surplus from 1998 to 2001.Our National Debt which we all pay interest on is now $31.4 trillion. This is the tab we have run up over the last 20 years due to social spending and yes, tax cuts. 

The proportion of federal spending per person has changed over the past 40 years away from national defense and toward social programs.

There is no doubt the seeds of these deficits were sown in the 60’s and 70’s with social programs enacted by Johnson and Nixon including Medicare and Medicaid. No one had a clue it would grow by these proportions. The Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, financial downturns in 2009 and 2020 and tax cuts have only exacerbated the problem. 

It is important to note: Social Security, Medicare,Medicaid et al were originally enacted as a fail safe, lest underprivileged people fall through the cracks. A social safety net of sorts. These have all grown into “entitlements” where everyone wants their fair share whether they need it or not. I often question whether we old farts would opt for every procedure, replacement or diagnostic test if we had to pay for them?

The US government has a mandatory and discretionary budget. Mandatory is locked in by law or circumstance. These include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the debt. This accounts for 2/3 of our annual spending. It is the law. It would be political suicide to change any of this and most of it requires a 60% vote. Fugeddaboutit!

The discretionary budget is what is up for grabs. All of these require appropriations. These are defense, the FBI, education and whole slew of other social needs, research, and plain old pork barrel. This is where the negotiations take place. 

These all require appropriation bills. This is the so-called sausage making in Congress. In the times of mere mortals each side would give a little and voila we moved forward. Not so today where each vote is a litmus test or an infantile challenge to your manhood or womanhood. This is the process we support through or voting on election day. If you think it is screwed up we only have ourselves to blame. 

The biggest discretionary allocation is the the US military. This includes operation and maintenance, personnel, weapons development and testing and procurement. It is the likeliest place where people try to increase or decrease. Including veterans it is over half of discretionary spending. The other percentage is taken up by education, health, transpiration, housing and foreign aid. 

Strangely enough the discretionary does not bother me as much as the mandatory. Spending on Medicare and Medicaid has not just ballooned (Ha Ha!) but is exploding. I am going to go into in greater detail in another missive but suffice to say we ain’t getting any younger and for sure we are not getting healthier. Here in Flalaland just look around you at your next doctor’s appointment. That is our future. 

Trust me I am beyond torn by this whole mess. I hate debt and always have. We spend close to $500 billion on just interest alone and that is sickening. And we want to add to it by raising the debt ceiling. 

I am all for social services but the waste and misallocation are gigantic.There are people on the dole that have no business being there. You and I see them every day.  Fraud is rampant in the healthcare community. We have made healthcare and yes even hospice a money making venture for private equity. Details, details you say? These people aren’t altruistically giving money away. There is gold in them thar hills!

When you see the economy teetering on the brink come June over the debt crisis just remember these numbers. Know that the business decisions are being made not by clear thinking businessmen and women but by dudes and dudettes who rely not on rational  thinking but whether or not this is going to sell back home. In the land of plenty we have very tough decisions to make.Either cut benefits or raise taxes or both. If you have a better idea please tell me. I am stumped, but we have to do something. Or shall we just sit there?

As always

Ted The Great


I have given you too many already but I do have one. When I got into my schtick over coffee with a friend he asked me why I get so worked up? He said he just wanted to put his life on automatic. I just can’t do that. I wish I could. 


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 


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

, 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 


“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


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. 


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.


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.