Am I Relevant?….

As I approach my 73 birthday, this little query popped up on my radar screen. It seems appropriate but before you all answer for me I thought I would wrestle with the concept for a bit. Now it seems the term can be used in science, economics and law but I am going to tend towards the most simplistic. Definition: appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest.Unknown

What does all that mean? On a product level you have something that meets the needs of the moment. Whale oil worked back when as a source of energy but today it is forgotten. We used to have Boom Boxes but now we have IPhones. Cars used to have fins and hood ornaments but now are sleek and aerodynamic. Houses even ten years old now seem “dated.” Tastes change and we are susceptible to the search for better and better stuff even if the old ones are more than adequate.

On the world front, nations drift in and out of relevancy. Russia is a great example. From a Cold War superpower to a breakup and now trying once again to be part of the discussion. The British Empire is no longer supreme after it had ruled the world for so long. China, Greece, Spain, Israel, Palestine, South America, all long for prominence and seek their place in the world order. Ergo being relevant.

On the personal front this becomes intriguing. For instance sports or entertainment stars all have their moment in the sun. Is this a brief stint or a lasting legacy? They become our heroes or heroines to be adulated and then tossed aside as yesterday’s news. Some just grow old and others mange to create their own self destruction. The public is fickle and harsh.

My relevance as a human being might relate to my color, race, creed, status or sexual orientation. Blacks, white supremacists, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Serbs, Somalis, Vietnamese all drift in and out of our collective consciousness.Unknown-1 Gays were lepers and transgenders not even defined a decade or so ago. CEO’s one day had everyone fawning at their every move and now are relegated to relative obscurity.

People don’t go down easy as they seek their former notoriety. We are chock a block with comebacks and reincarnations. It seems the limelight is seductive and heady stuff. You now sit on boards or become a spokesperson. Chair of this fundraiser or that. Don’t get excited. It just means your are writing a bigger check. Wait! Do you know who I am? Sorry Charlie, you are no longer a Star Kist Tuna.

I believe we all desire to be worth something in someone’s eyes. It is a combination of wanting to belong and wanting to contribute in some way. It is that crazy thing called ego by which we define ourselves. We strive. We compare. Everyone keeps score and don’t for a second try to deny it. It makes us complete and yet can lead to our downfall.

The spate of shootings and bombings are more than weird people doing crazy things. I am not condoning their mayhem but for a moment think of their circumstance. Let’s say you were born to someone who really didn’t want you or didn’t have the ability to take care of you. Your early years weren’t filled with cuddles but rather you were beaten or just plain old neglected in front of the TV. No guidance, no role models, no love. You are not relevant to anyone.

Now you say that is the problem with blacks and Hispanics today. They don’t have a family structure. Beware of casting stones. Look around you and see screwed up rich kids as well. Single parents cross economic lines. Psychological problems among our higher echelons of society are in a way more perverse. It comes back to all of us wanting to be relevant and worthy. Or even worse the judge of that.

images-1The crowd is cruel. They make anonymous judgements. They could care less of their outcomes. That taunt and they bully. Some of us have the wherewithal and internal gumption to either fight back or take solace in our own self assessment. Some are scarred for life and decide to take their own lives and others as well to give a final up yours to society. It is at once almost Inevitable and yet so incredibly sad.

When I look at myself I am no longer relevant in many situations. I worked hard on my Creek in Denver but who remembers that guy. Wall Street? Vail? Arizona? A long long time ago. I love young people but I am not sure I am in their purview. That’s not a tragedy but how life goes.

I take great joy in my wife and my wonderful family. I have great friends and am more than fortunate to live where I do and the way I do. But something else has happened.I really don’t take myself too seriously.images-19 I have concentrated on other people’s relevance and probably put my own on a back burner. It’s not so much about me(well maybe a little) but more about them.

I take great delight in reaching out to people. I will say hello to anyone and everyone, much to my family’s chagrin. You can be the biggest celebrity or the checkout person at Publix.You are all the same. I want to make your day. I want to let you know you matter. It is not a put on. You do! If I can get a smile out of some sourpuss or see a glance of recognition from a waiter or store clerk it makes my day. It just what I do and I hope it makes me slightly relevant.

If this sounds like palp you are welcome to your own judgement call. But just think how simple it is. It costs nothing to reach out. Be understanding and welcoming. Don’t try to gauge someone’s relevance to your life. Just think about theirs. Works for me.

As always
Ted The Great


As I have traveled the world I also ask the baristas at Starbucks what percentage of people say please and how many say thank you. The best was Aukland NZ….about 75%. The worst? Vail,CO 0% I said no way but that night we went to a high end bar. I asked the bartender the same. He replied, “They don’t even know I exist.”images-18

Bullying is a complex social phenomena. 28% of kids grades 6-12 report instances. Parents are aware of the bullying about 50% of the time and teachers only about 10%. Suicidal ideation is already present in many that are bullied. It just adds to the problem. Bullies have a higher social status and use it to enforce their will and overcome any objections from observers. Girls are more likely to be verbally abused and boys physically.

There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employees — and half of CEOs — report feeling lonely in their roles.




images-7Benefits of Smiling:
• Improved Mood. Smiling can boost your mood when you’re feeling blue, and may be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety and depression. …
• Lower Blood Pressure. …
• Stress Relief. …
• Better Relationships. …
• Stronger Immune Function. …
• Pain Relief. …
• Longer Life.

Need I say more.



You’ll Never Know…

A wonderful old friend of many years is visiting. At lunch yesterday we discussed how we have gotten to this state which on the one hand seems so wonderful and on the other is such an incredible mess. For my part in the conversation I said we have lost touch with one another. Not just by our dependence on the electronic world to entertain and teach us but by our inability or desire to recognize we are in this together.

Our dependence on wealth for efficacy or our disdain for the anything contrary to our beliefs has led to a selfish space where no one else matters. The “Income Gap” is not just for the rich but all of us. I would call it the “Compassion Gap”images-1 and it has so many
implications. It goes to foster gated communities of a different sort. There are really gated minds.  We don’t interact with any one but our kind. We don’t have to take responsibility for anyone but ourselves. Survival of the fittest? Maybe. But as we create winners and losers and we become judge and jury we fail to realize that someday we too could be on the wrong end of the gavel.


I dug back in the archives to something I wrote a few years back. It was during our mini Crash. Some of it might be dated. Among the shootings, the firings of decent people and the unending acrimony, it just seemed apropos. Hope you enjoy.

As always
Ted The Great

You’ll Never Know…..

You’ll never know how much I hurt. My muscles, my bones ravaged by an unspeakable pain. It screams when I turn. It sends mind numbing shots even when I breathe. The cancer eats at every part of me with unrelenting vigor. How much longer? How much further? You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the loss of a child. The emptiness. The hopelessness. Dreams unfulfilled. People never met. Such a sweet young thing. So precious. So vulnerable. That bastard that started her down the road to ruin. Hell would be too good for him.

You’ll never know the abuse I endure. I answer your phone. I get your coffee. I smile for clients because I need this job so badly. Only to go home and face the gauntlet. The onslaught of brute strength that I used to crave. The vitriol of his drunken stupor has replaced words of love. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the ache in my heart as I drive down the street of dreams. That love nest that we worked so hard for. Room to grow. The papering. The painting. The place of joy. Now it is all gone as we look forward to nothing but despair and unknown. You’ll never know.Unknown

You’ll never know this stranglehold of depression. The world is so bright on the outside and bleak on the inside. I crave sleep to let this horror go. I just want so bad to be so normal. I want to stop crying. I want to be me again. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the vise of dependency. The booze. The drugs. The wandering of the streets looking for sex. The refrigerator and pantry that beckon like a siren. You call me weak. You tell me to shape up. You want to step on me when I need so much for you to just hold me. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know how cold it gets. The tricks of the trade. What keeps you warmer. Metal or cardboard. I can sleep with one eye open so I don’t get my last worldly possession ripped off. images-3Alcohol can be found in everything from cough syrup to anti freeze. Tomorrow? Maybe. But if it never comes, no one will ever know.

You are so flip. So glib. You have all the answers or so you think. You don’t know how to even ask the right questions. You have grown cold. Aloof. It’s all about you. You are right I need to get a life. My own. But maybe you need one too. You’ll never know .

You couldn’t know because you never look beyond your own world. It’s not about rich. It’s not about poor. No matter your lot in life. You are so brazen to think the world rises and sets on your doorstep. It’s so easy being you. So horrible to be me. You’ll never know.

Life is a spread sheet to you. An algorithm. Solve for X. Prove for Y. There are assets and liabilities. Return on investment and equity. There are no poets or musicians or teachers in your life. Just bottom lines and basis not basses and soulful lines. You think you have so much. You really have so little.

It’s a tough world you say and yes it is. You are quick to convict the murderer unless it’s your own son or daughter doing the crime. You curse the thief but are free to practice white collar crime. You want everyone to get a life but you have none. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps you say, although you know they are worn and frayed. No pity. No compassion. No soul. Just leave it and go to bed. The cleaning lady will be in here in the morning to clean up this mess.

But if I ever find an end, it will taste so good. I will drink from just the simplest of things. A warm bed. A tender touch. A meal so simple yet so exquisite. Maybe it is when God welcomes me home. The pain over. The joy eternal. I tell you of this though I think you will not hear it. You won’t realize that I will pray for you. You are too busy and I understand. You are so smart but then again you’ll never know.

As always
Ted The Great

Estimates are that 3-3.5 million people are homeless every night in our country. There could be up to 1.5 million of those who are children.images-2 Home might be a car or a tent but they are homeless.

There are currently 1.5 million homes in foreclosure as of this moment with millions already having been adjudicated. Many overstretched but so many lost their dream due to illness, loss of jobs or broken families.

Addiction definition: noun
The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Think hard. You may be addicted to something.

If you have gotten this far you do know. A little empathy could go a long way in this man’s world. I can’t hope to feel your pain but I am going to work on it. Hope you can too.
I have pushed a different envelope with this one. Let me know.


As I was Saying…

As I Was Saying…

Dementia has set in. I finished my blog last week and then hit delete instead of copy. No doubt it was a masterpiece but I could not recreate it, so it is lost forever in the abyss of cyberspace. It had to do with a wonderful conversation I had with one of my hospice patients. Nothing deep but an education on fruit picking. This wonderful man of 93 had been at work for too many years in the citrus groves of southeast Florida.

He explained the process in great detail including his role at driving the “goat” which is a vehicle that wound its way up and down the rows of fruit trees hauling buckets to be filled. The real gist of the story was you could not pick the bounty until the dew dried. 131a86d920277d4fef31a55d71597842The packing center would not accept it otherwise. It amazed me the wheels of progress had to come to a halt awaiting the vagaries of Mother Nature. Doesn’t happen too often these days unless you happen to be in the path of a Nor’easter.

Conversations in hospice take on many forms from the casual banter to deeply philosophical ones. You never know what is going to happen. It got me thinking as to the whole manner that interaction takes in our lives. The many lines of communication from the spoken to the tacit. From oral to written they shape our beliefs or challenge them if we let them. They set the tone for our days and our future.

Today we all think in terms of hits and likes or dislikes. Face to face is more of a rarity. We get our news in bytes and don’t often take time to digest, savor and deem it worthwhile or not. You get up in the morning and the barrage begins. It is amazing how whatever you hear sets the tone. North Korea launches missiles. Shootings in a Florida school. Trump is on a rampage. Stock market is plunging. Hmm,I guess life is going to suck today.

Going to the gym someone is bitching about this ailment or that. You are on a treadmill and the local sage wants to convince of his political point of view and you are held captive. Then out of the clear blue, you have an unexpected and highly interesting chat about something you have never even heard much less thought of. You are keenly aware and all ears as you learn and a stupid little thing inside of you says this is cool. Your mind gratefully acknowledges the new

Maybe all of this is just me. Maybe my porous cranium is too open to suggestion. Fun for the feeble minded. Maybe I just realized I can have some control over my frequencies and all this chatter is good. I guess when I am bombarded with dire consequences I literally want to change the conversation. Take a different tack. Not always easy.

Now you say just walk on the sunny side of the street. Avoid the gloom and doomers. I think that is admirable but copping out to a degree. I watch the news and have settled on PBS as my option. I tried to watch CNN but the top ten stories are about Trump. Is anything else going on in the world? FOX is FOX. Fair and Balanced is not exactly how I would describe the fare. I am taken by the demeanor of both networks which is a cross between petulant and piercing. My reaction seems to be preordained.

Let’s forget about the Blitzers and Hannitys. Let’s just get a few people together for a cup of Joe or perhaps a nice red. We will keep it light and varied. Not long into it someone throws a topic on the table beyond golf or March Madness. You have an opinion but wait to see what the groupspeak is. Invariably someone takes center stage. You can be sure it is not middle of the road. Do you dare voice a counter? What are you nuts? Dilly, dilly and all that. Cheers!

I profess to be middle of the road with neither side particularly appealing to me. Still I do have my inclinations and truly find it difficult at times to give objective study a try. I think that is more than human. th-20I am a Catholic or at least a Christian. Can I really absorb and analyze an atheist viewpoint? Good question. I am against government largesse and involvement in everything but can I not reach out a helping hand to a poor person or see the good in the hard work of an illegal immigrant?

Everything is not black and white but our methodology says otherwise. It’s my way or the highway. You are with us or agin us. This seems boring and totally uncreative to me. Can you really feel self satisfied in your own thinking if you don’t at least consider an alternative? Here is La La land as we go down life’s highway we seem to be more entrenched and stubborn than ever. Is it because we are wiser or all the more stupid?

I don’t know about you but I feel I have so much to learn. A friend is visiting and she brought a new type of technology for aching bones. No, it is not single malt! I am not a believer yet but I am more than willing to hear her out and even try it. Have you ever been a doubting Thomas to the point you can’t even see a glimmer of discovery in our world ?th-17

Let’s retake the conversation. Not to our own likings but to a mix of ideas and cultures. This is not a Kumbaya moment but let’s not let ourselves being overrun by “the current line of thinking”. If you feel like you are stifling you probably are. Open the windows but don’t jump.


As always
Ted The Great.



Oranges are mostly picked in March and April. A semi trailer can hold approximately 60,000 lbs. Willie and his crews could load up to three trailers a day. He got $100 per trailer. He told me he had whites, blacks and Latinos working on his line. The Latinos were the hardest working by far. Willie was black.

As of 2017 38% of Americans consider themselves consider themselves conservative in their ideology and 38% are liberal. That leaves 24% in the middle or moderate as the case might be. I have searched for tests to say which I am. They are on the internet under “Tests for Liberal or Conservative” Have scored all over the place which means they are invalid or I cannot be defined. Take your pick.

Idealism is the belief that we should adopt moral principles, even if they have negative effects on our lives. The idealist is willing to suffer in order to do what she thinks is right. Pragmatism, on the other hand, is a rejection of idealism. If the Idealist’s principles get in the way, the Pragmatist does whatever is deemed as practical, with no concerns for morality. Now that is something to chew onth-14

Question Marks….

Question Marks….

Question pexels-photo-356079.jpegmarks are the bane of my existence and at the same time the fire in my belly. I guess feel if I ain’t searching then I am not really alive. This week has been fraught with them. The woulda’s, coulda’s and shouldas that permeate our psyches after such an incredibly senseless tragedy.

Whether you are a student at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School or a parent you play the tape over and over, hitting rewind again and again. We hope and pray the results will come out differently until we finally accept the harsh realities of life. Then we have investigations and studies. I think in some way to soothe our consciences. You know, at least we tried to be better. We still don’t know why?spillednews-00-Parkland-school-shooting-in-Florida 2

9/11,Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Vegas. We could have just cued up the “Never Again” tapes from all of them. Have we made any progress? In a manner of speaking. Airports, ball parks, office buildings, places of government are all hermitically sealed from the bad guys. I guess that is an improvement to some but it feels like a regression to me. We have not eliminated the disease but just learned how to live with it.

I have thought a lot about the gun thing. Several friends of mine have guns for hunting and protection. That’s fine but to a man they could not find any valid reason for an assault rifle or high capacity magazines. I could get crazy about it but to what avail? We have well over 300 million guns in our country. At least 2% are high capacity weaponry. That’s over 6 million. Even if you banned them now there would still be that many out there. How can we create any sort of sense of ease in our schools, malls or homes?

I got to thinking about the NRA. They are no different from Congress when it comes to their estimation of the will of the people or their members. Screw’em, they don’t understand. A majority of NRA members are for tighter gun control legislation. That’s not the message I am getting from the top. We have taken the second amendment that was enacted when we had muskets and morphed that into the right to conceal carry 45’s or open carry AR15’s. Really?

Moving down my list is my total disbelief at the senator from my new state of Florida, Marco Rubio. Don’t worry he is one of many that will look you straight in the eye and say the fact that he has received over $3.5 million from the NRA has absolutely no effect on how he votes? I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer but please don’t try my patience on this one. As it relates to our elected representatives they are complicit. If not on guns then on banking or oil and gas or whatever.lobbyist 2

One of the big takeoffs after our latest tragedy has been the swing to mental health as the culprit. Yes, this young man has had a very dysfunctional life over the last few years. But so have a lot of other people. Let’s assume for a moment that everyone who has issues could be a potential killer. Stats will tell you at any given point in time there are 10% of our population, or about 35 million of our fellow Americans who suffer some sort of mental illness. Forget about the cost, how in God’s name can we find facilities and staff to man them for those types of numbers? And then how can we instill in these tainted ones the gumption to continue treatment?

As in everything else we want someone somehow to provide the magic bullet. We will find a drug that cures all. Perhaps Virtual Reality to Artificial Intelligence is the way to Nirvana. I’ve got it! We will just find everyone who is not right and bring them in. Then we can find the most well adjusted person in the world if there is one. We can clone them or better yet use 3D printing to replicate the perfect brain and install it in our troubled brethren. We can do it laparoscopically on an out patient basis. Man, am I good or what?

This is not reductio ad absurdum. Crisis rears its ugly head every day of our lives. It is not the bane but the nature of our existence. From the shooter to the student to the teacher to the parent to security guard to the FBI, life in a way is not pretty. Or at least not without its ups and downs. I happen to believe it is the nature of man or woman as imperfect beings.That neither dooms us to a life of despair nor guarantees success.

And that is my final question to myself and to you. Parkland is a high end town. If not the top 1% at least the top 3 or 4% hang put there. So money didn’t really provide security. Our whole ethos is under question. What are our supposed values and do we really have the interest and the guts to live up to them? That school is about 50 miles south of us but it feels beyond close to me.

I am blown away by the kids not only here but throughout America. There is an inkling of a sea change. Do they have the wherewithal and persistence to carry on? I really hope so. They have caused me to question a lot of things How about you?th-6

As always
Ted The Great


Investigations (asking questions)are part of our national canvas from train wrecks, to 9/11. Some are useful (Watergate) and some are just fishing expeditions. Some are window dressing. The results are many times critical and therefore watered down. Over the Congressional history there have been over 1500 committees to provide the structure. Unfortunately there are too many overlaps to arrive at useful conclusions and if they are there they are rarely acted upon.

There are over 13,000 lobbyists in DC. There is upwards of $4 billion currently being spread over 535 members of Congress. Unless I missed my math that is about $7.5 million per. Now of course that money has nothing to do with the way they voteth-4

The NRA has around 5 million members. It holds safety and gun education thought the country. With approximately 1.4% of the population of America it is considered one of the top 3 most influential lobbying groups. As far as money spent the top five are the US Chamber of Commerce,National Association of Realtors American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.

A study was done by professors from Princeton and Northwestern after accumulating some 20 years of data. The opinions of the lower 90% of wage earners have little or no effect on the decision makers.

Where Do I Go?…..

I did not post a blog last week. I wasn’t goofing off. I just couldn’t get it to work. Truth be told I wrote two and they both stunk in my book. All of you reading would probably say what makes you think the others have been any good? Point taken. This week’s events make originality and appropriate commentary even more difficult.

thWe got the news about Fort Lauderdale at 4:00 mass for Ash Wednesday. We had been playing golf that morning and Kathy and I looked at each other with a strange unknowing grimace. When we got home it played out in breathless attempts by the media to beat each other to the punch with information on the shooter or sticking a mic in front of a mom or dad who knew their child would not be coming home.

This was repulsive and we turned it off not out of disrespect but because we had been here so many times before since Columbine in 1999. There have been six shootings at schools already this year. There have been rapes, murders, beatings and hit and runs in the thousands in 2018 throughout our land and yet we claim violent crime is on the downswing. From what to what?

I can’t tell you why but a vision popped into my head of Viet Nam too many years ago. Our Swift Boat base was a series of barges lashed together in the middle of the river. A Vietnamese gun boat had been anchored in the same waterway about one click upstream from us. A sapper had floated down and blown up the vessel and himself resulting in 7 deaths. The drab olive green body bags were set in a row on our helo pad awaiting transport to wherever.

Seaflt5They stayed there In the hot steaming sun for days and days. They reeked and body fluids seeped from one or two ripped ones. I thought to myself, these people have no respect for their own. They failed to recognize the essence of human life. How can anyone who considers themselves to be human beings stoop to such levels of disinterest and nonchalance? They were so attuned to death that this might be might be the end of their society.

Fast forward almost fifty years. The bodies are lined up not on a God forsaken outpost in Nam but in a well to do neighborhood in South Florida. The coroner was going to be at the school performing his grim task until all hours of the morning. School was closed…until Monday. Time marches on.

I picked up my Wall Street Journal and Palm beach Post from the driveway at first light. I glanced at our local paper knowing it would be chock a block with interviews with a rather provincial but justifiable slant. After a brief perusal I moved to the Journal. There sandwiched between stories on the front page was a short three column article headlined by the picture of a mom who was crying with the ashes from church still fresh on her head.

The competing headlines dealt with inflation, Jacob Zuma’s resignation, the VIX and ice dancing. The ensuing pages featured, scandals here and abroad, military parades, editorials and, oh yes the finish of the front page story on the shootings. This is not blasting Newscorp or Dow Jones but was the minimal coverage reflective of our own thoughts? Really sorry for those poor people but what are we having for breakfast?

I am not calling you out any more than I do myself. I think part of it is that we OD on disaster. There is such a clamor for the inside story the news organizations pump out matter 24/7. The part that gives me the creeps is that throughout our fifty states there are some very sick people who are watching the non stop notoriety and fantasizing about how they would look and be perceived.

I keep going back to the respect for life. It is not just in killing but in every form of abuse. Women are beaten by their husbands on a regular basis. We recoil at parents chaining their kids to beds for years but how many youths are kept at bay psychologically by domineering parents. We had a friend who was a counselor in the well to do Bainbridge Island schools in Washington. She said the stories of sexual abuse by parents and siblings would curl your

The Weinstein’s and the Allens and the Lauers are not anomalies. Bernie Madoff? He got caught. There are thousands of cases of fraud and robbery of the elderly and the rich and famous in every state and county. One of our biggest untold crimes is sex trafficking….of teen and preteen girls and boys. The biggest events up the ante. World Series and Super Bowls and even the NCAA’s are prime time for these slime. Yet we overlook them as victimless crimes. Really?

Now TTG don’t get your knickers in a knot. That happens in Vegas and other big cities. Not in our little burghs. Think again kids. You have either seen it or heard it and looked the other way. This may all seem a far cry from a school shooting but is it? Bad things happen in fertile fields. Down here, Martin County Florida seems like a quiet friendly place. They just busted several dozen people in a massive drug raid.

I don’t expect you or me to dwell forever on this tragedy or that. But maybe we should all take a long look at our environs. If something seems bad maybe it is. When we see the bad things happen is it just an aberration or a symptom that has been just below the surface for a long time. Maybe is time to look around and under the hood? No play on words of course.

As always
Ted The Great


On exchanges in the price US gun manufacturers’ jumped 5-10% after the word on the Fort Lauderdale shootings got out. Gotta make a buck, don’t we?

In 2016, there were more than 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico and Tennessee. By contrast, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont had rates below 200 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Rest easy that means there were only 13,000 murders and around 100,000 rapes in the US. It is also noted that only 46% of violent crime gets reported to police.

th-3• Human trafficking earns profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers throughout the world The following is a breakdown of profits, by sector:
◦ $99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation
◦ $34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities
◦ $9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing
◦ $8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers under conditions of forced labor
• While only 19% of victims are trafficked for sex, sexual exploitation earns 66% of the global profits of human trafficking.


• According to the FBI, a woman is battered every 15 seconds.
• Louisiana ranks 2nd in the nation for homicides related to domestic abuse.
• 2-4 million American women are abused each year.
• White, Black, Hispanic & Non-Hispanic women have equivalent rates of violence committed by intimate partners.
• Nearly 1/2 of men who abuse their female partners, also abuse their children.


Brain Crossings…..

e867ebfb3798fe91c7feb95e999977e3In these parts there is a new train in town. It is a privately owned railroad called Brightline. A few weeks ago it began high speed rail service from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach. This is more of a demo run as they hope to provide a high speed link several times a day from Miami to Orlando and the wonderful world of Disney in the years to come. As if South Beach wasn’t already an amusement park?

Like anything new it is not with controversy and this became exacerbated when a car, a pedestrian and a bike rider were killed by the aforementioned super liner in the first week of service. Your heart goes out to those left behind but the ensuing outcry leaves one scratching his or her head.

In all of the accidents the gates were down and the red lights flashing and bells ringing to sound the alarm. In each case the victim chose to try to beat the train against all odds. It does not take a huge bit of brain power to say they were incredibly wrong.Yet the c


larion call for investigations is afoot. Public outrage demands the whole project be reconsidered.Have we all taken leave of our senses? Is this the time where we are willing to take anything with the smallest possibility for danger and try to “people proof” it? A fool’s errand.

I really had to think about this one. In trying to figure it out I am going to consider mental incompetence, ignorance or pure folly. If someone is not in complete control of their senses I get it and feel horrible for him or her. The ignorance part is problematic. Does someone not know what a railroad crossing looks like and especially when it is giving at least three different signals to stop? Lastly the folly is just that. Tempting fate and the laws of physics, we know one of the people tried to dash across in some sort of weird challenge. All incredibly sad.

It brings a number of concepts to mind. Stupidity, common sense, intelligence et al. What does it tell us about ourselves? We are now placing a premium on learning and in specific, the fields of technology and engineering. Our best and brightest might be brilliant in one area but not in others. You can be a savant in quantum physics and not have a clue about the normal vagaries of life. I wonder if we should now have in addition to the standard IQ, a practical IQ or an emotional IQ. What are you crazy, TTG?

th-5We are fond of using catchy phrases like “a few cards short of a deck” or “not the sharpest pencil in the drawer” to describe our fellow travelers. That guy is “dumb as a stone”. Whatever works but perhaps we are a bit too full of ourselves. How many times have you asked yourself what on earth was that high profile person or institution thinking? I am not talking train tracks but public pronouncements that bear no resemblance to reason. You see a product or a TV show and and you think who was the idiot that dreamed this one up?

There are two sides to this. The first is the high and mighty exec or committee that preaches from Olympus. They have been working on this or that for so long they have effectively shielded themselves from the outside world. The are beyond confident and th-35ergo do not take input much less criticism very well. They know what is right for the unwashed masses and their arrogance loses elections or billion of dollars on an ill fated

The other part is how much real thought goes into things. As mere mortals we don’t really like to think too deeply. We want everything encapsulated from philosophy to theology. We really dislike tough questions that can’t be answered yes or no. We want to be entertained and occupied from outside. To many the thought of spending quiet time is the epitome of boredom.

The kids of today are the leaders of tomorrow. It is a known that they are severely lacking in critical thinking….the ability to think clearly and reason about what to do and to believe. They are lacking common sense because they have rarely failed. When hit with intangibles or a theorem without definitions they are stumped. They lack the ability to problem solve and perform life’s skills. It has all been done FOR them and not BY them. That have never had the chance to make a mistake and learn from it.

It is also said the youth of today are becoming more detached. They can communicate electronically which negates the need for social skills. Why read a book when you have YouTube or Facebook? You ask them a question and they want to Google the answer. If it gets at all sticky they can give you a “Dunno” or just say they are too busy to spend their time so foolishly. They view you impatiently and say how is that going to make them money in the real world? They are right. What was I thinking?

Now this seems a long way from somebody getting blasted to smithereens by a Bullet train. Then again maybe we are seeing the red lights and crossing gates and paying them no heed ourselves. I guess I am strange bird that goes deep into thought. I should probably just plod mindlessly forward. Doubtless it be a lot more fun and I could spare myself the angst. Let me get back to you. I really have to think about that. I hope you do too.

As always
Ted The Great


Every two hours a train slams into a car at a crossing in these United States. 20% of those crashes are into the sides of trains that have already partially gone through the crossing.

Brilliant projects beyond the Edsel: Brown University received $5,000,000 to research whether or not being a member of sorority or fraternity would lead a student to drink more. The National science Foundation received several hundred thousand dollars to see if we were being stressed by politics today.

Intelligence…the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

Stupidity…behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment.
Common sense.. sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts

faviconI.Q Intelligence quotient…in general, an assessment of your ability to think and reason. You IQ score is a standardized way of comparing this ability with the majority of people the same age as you are.

Go To and see how you fare. You tell me yours and I will tell you mine.



Kathy and I took our boat for ride yesterday. We became part owners with a bunch of other sometime sailors and it fits just fine. As we ambled here and there she took the wheel for the first time. She could not understand why she had to keep adjusting the heading. For sure Cap’n Ted seized the opportunity began a discourse on set and drift. It is the action of the current that pushes you off course so to speak. Kathy began to doze at the wheel

th-25Now crosscurrents are quite interesting. Some are visible to the naked eye and others, specifically thermal ones are the ones that catch you off guard. There is an amazing confluence of them underneath the Triboro Bridge in Manhattan and the passage is aptly named Hell Gate. The severity of  this maelstrom can be such that boats from small to large are sent to the depths of the East River. .

For a moment take that concept to our lives. We would like to believe it is a reasonably straight path with few turns or obstacles. Mind your own business, keep your nose clean and you will arrive safely on the other side whatever that is for you. Just doesn’t happen that way. We can be beset by good fortune as well as tragedy. Bad things happen to good people or something like that. Rather than bemoaning this I wonder if it is better to embrace it?

Going further, what about our whole way of thinking? My precepts whether they deal with politics, religion or me fellow man have taken some incredible twists and turns over 72 years. I guess in college I was a borderline liberal that grew to a conservative and now I am a miss mash of beliefs. One can consider whether those foundations were on shaky ground to start or perhaps that was the way we were meant to be?

This week was MLK’s birthday. The plight of the black person in this country is well th-26chronicled. If you watch the newsreels of Little Rock and Selma I wonder if you can still maintain white supremacist or just anti black feelings as  you watch our fellow Americans spitting and screaming at what is just a bunch of kids trying to get an equal education? The snarling German Shephards and cops toting rifles reflected In their mirror sunglasses makes me cringe with guilt. This was after the fact. I wonder what I really thought then.

As I grow older I find friends and family sometimes becoming more set in their ways. We read and watch what confirms our beliefs sometimes never thinking through their implications. I think a good example is the whole DACA issue.

There are those who believe we should deport everyone who is here illegally. Send them som’  bitches back. There are others who say we should give entry to anyone who wants it. Where is your heart TTG ? To me you have to have laws but you also have to have th-31

common sense. Some kids have been here since they were two or three. The parents are in many cases true pillars to the community through their work or volunteer efforts. Where do you draw the line? How far do we let our little ship go off course either one way or the other?

We went to see a troupe of Irish Dancers the other night in beautiful downtown Stuart. The music and the dancing were both lively and melancholy. The plot if you will was a young lass leaving Erin for the States. My grandmother and her sister walked down that road In the Town of Boyle in County Roscommon at the ages of 14 and 16. They made lives and families that were nothing short of exemplary. Would I tell them today, “Tough luck, you have to go back”? Can I feel the same way whether you be Rumanian or Ethiopian?th-30

It seems whatever the issue I can’t definitively say I am one side or the other. Social Security, Medicare, Education, foreign policy, you name it, I can give you cogent arguments for both sides. Even if I choose one corner or the other deep down I have to believe at least parts of the contra argument. Does that make me a waffler or realist?

I will tell you one thing and that is knowledge is dangerous. If I sit in my own little world and do not poke my head out, my ideals are intact. Don’t say anything. Just shut up and leave me alone. When you read study and start to dig deeper you really get confused. Hmm, maybe this or that makes sense. That’s okay I will just take that article or book and hide out out of sight. That is the devil just tempting me with sinful thoughts. Infidels can be Republican, Democratic, white, black, Catholic,Jewish, heretic, atheist. Death to them all!

As we brought the Good Ship Lollipop back to port we thought of new places we had seen. Wandering down this estuary or creek was fun. We saw black men fishing off a pier and people just waving to us from a passing boat. We went off course and the beaten path. The currents pushed us this way and that and we were the better for it. As we tied up all was well because nothing had changed…or had it?th-32




As always
Ted The Great


None this week. Just thinking.