I wish I hadn’t Gone There

Note: I wrote this after “Sidewalks.” I wanted to release both.
It is a beautiful Saturday morning here in Denver. I settled down with my jug of coffee and was going to spend the day writing in creative seclusion. Scanning the papers as I do, I came across a disturbing article. My beloved Jesuits were settling a sexual abuse suit for $166 million.
I don’t know why but I thought it would never happen. I went to Jebbie schools for eight years. They as many other priests are great friends. I have never experienced even a hint of impropriety over my 66 years. On the other hand I know those that have been abused and my heart goes out to them. It is a detestable problem.
Last Sunday, I was struck by a piece on “60 Minutes” on Archbishop Tim Dolan of New York. Conservative as can be, he still struck a note in my mind. He did not appear holier than thou. He was not a relic. He seemed like a decent guy.
I went to his website and found a recent column he had written on sexual abuse. He stated that the church was being somewhat unilaterally singled out for how they handled things. He admitted and I agree that they blew it. But he went on to state the instances of abuse throughout our society.
So keyboard in hand, I naively went about doing some research to see if his claim held water. I was soon submerged into cyberspace that I really found quite creepy. Both for content and the amount of information that is out there.


A couple of years ago I was enjoying a dinner party when the subject of priests came up. This one guy wanted to ping non stop on the Catholic Church. He was on a mission. I wanted to broaden the discussion to sexual abuse in general. I didn’t realize how prophetic my story line was.

For the record, it is assumed that 2-5% of some 60,000 priests have been involved in some form of sexual abuse. Depending on the research the instances are slightly less for ministers. The stats for rabbis are lower but the conclusions generally supported that the ability to hush things up are rigid. The now defunct Jewish Awareness Center estimates there were over a million phone calls and emails over a several year period requesting help after being abused by religious. No one is immune

It doesn’t end there. The Baylor School of Social Research did an extensive study of sexual abuse. The instances of over 1,000,000 abuse cases per annum result in a sexual assault every 2 minutes in the US. Mostly female, 80% are being attacked by family or close acquaintances.

They were brutalized by mothers, fathers, coaches, teachers, cousins, aunts, uncles, psychologists and yes clergy. The clergy of all types were actually the lowest incidence with a graduation in number to teachers, coaches and finally family or known to the family as the highest incidence. I just couldn’t fathom these results. I had never heard of this magnitude.

It is noted that 15% of school children from grades 1-12 experience some sort of inappropriate behavior. 6,000 coaches of all types have been convicted of some sort of illegal contact with their charges. Just for a moment let’s assume all these figures are 50% off, which I don’t believe they are. But using the lower number completely blows my mind.

Look, I am not in any way condoning the action of the Catholic Church. They were wrong and even after extensive law suits there are some of the Old Guard that just don’t get it. I do believe the Church is a monolithic entity that is a little easier to attack on both a procedural and economic front. They deserve the castigation but so do a lot of others.

After doing this sordid research, I keep going back to young kids to young adults who have been victims. I keep thinking about the really sick people from all walks of life. I am not sure if we have really become more perverse as a people or if that evil seed has always been there. It doesn’t matter.

Sadly the odds say that some of my readers have been affected….either personally or by association. Maybe it is happening either psychologically or physically right now. That’s heavy duty but I had to say it. We have got to take the lid off. If you are there, I hope this helps. If you are not there, thank God.

In our liberal society I can’t fathom any defense of this heinous scar on our humanity. To defile our young and defenseless by all types of offenders leaves me with a horrible taste in my mouth. I am not a rookie. I have seen good and bad but none quite like this.

To see that the info is there and for whatever reason we have only exposed it with regard to religion stumps me. I can only hope this will get some sort of traction that goes beyond this poor man’s epistle.

I will keep at it and try to be more upbeat. For now I am doing some tough pondering and saying some prayers for those poor young people.

As always

Ted The Great

Factoid: Abuse spans all economic and ethnic genres. There was a young girl in an upscale Seattle suburb who was repeatedly raped over several months  by her father and two brothers. Mom stood by.


I speak of running in different places near and far. The routes I take combine exploration and adventure. My magic carpet is a sidewalk. It can be hard and unforgiving. It can welcome me home.
There are no tolls. There are no barriers. Just long ribbons of concrete. They can trip you up if you are old and infirm. They can transport you to faraway lands just few blocks away if you are young and adventuresome.
They are the red carpet when a newborn is brought home. They are the silent sentry when you are carried on your final journey. A scrape has you leaving part of your DNA. A piece of chalk has you pouring out your heart.
It is the place for a stolen kiss. It’s a cheap date. It gets shoveled and swept. It gets washed by the rain. Buried under snow. It bears great weight in so many ways. It is an easel for a mason with his metal stamp signature. I would love to meet Robert Sandoval who has signed his masterpieces all over our neighborhood. Who is this guy named Portland Cement?

I sometimes just laze and think of sidewalks I have been on. New York City, Istanbul, Paris and Saigon. Manhasset and Genesee. Vail and Phoenix. There is a lot of my shoe leather hanging out there. A lot of my soul.

You don’t have to tell anyone who you are. You cross social climbs and no one cares. Rich. Poor. No Dun and Bradstreets here. You can dress with abandon. You can play the role. You can take a chance. There are no judges.

In the barrios and ghettos they are turf that’s defended. There is bloodshed over so little. But to them it is so much. So often, you can only live if you escape. But to leave is to die in a totally different way.

They are a tour bus without wheels. You can breeze by with casual glances. You can stop and study each storefront. You can go in to secret troves of all types of treasure. Can I help you? No, just bumming around.

They are really the aortas, veins and arteries of our cities and towns. They connect young with old. They take you places. They define your space. They tell a magnificent story of now and then. They fight demolition. They welcome the modern.

As I plod through endless corridors, I meet friends almost forgotten. I meet new ones who are going my way or maybe just stopped to rest. I share joy and heartbreak. I soothe the bearer of a tale of woe. I smile at the pretty girls and even a few smile back. Isn’t that old geezer cute? Dream on TTG.

The saddest is the homeless who now reside on corners and steam vents. The sidewalk is their dresser or den. They arrange and rearrange their stuff trying to make some sense of life. Cops move them on, only to have them sneak back so they don’t lose their prime begging location. How did it come to this?

Oh, if only these sidewalks could talk ? They would tell of power and fame. Do you know who walked here every day? They would be a witness to a crime scene. A drug bust. A prostitute’s store front. Yet like the mountains and rivers, they bear witness and want to tell mankind of the folly so oft repeated. Don’t worry, we wouldn’t listen anyway.

Well I have to go. A new adventure awaits. I think I will pack an egg salad sandwich. Maybe splurge on an oatmeal raisin cookie. What the heck. I will walk down the Cherry Creek, carrying me from suburbia to the shiny spires of downtown.

I am aiming for the Confluence Park where the Creek and the Platte River meet. There’s a little sandy beach. It’s a vacation and I don’t have to pay for gas or reserve my seat. There will be wonderfully different people of all ages and races. The swirling vortexes will set me off on a totally different type of pondering. I will get back to you then.


As always

Ted The Great

Factoid: There are 2700 miles of sidewalks in Denver. I have a long way to go. 





Arrogance:noun .Offensive display of superiority or self importance.

 Arrogance is one of my most hated traits in an individual especially myself. Sure the world is full of it but I really don’t get the need for it. Being a student and deeply involved in the psychology of man, I find it beyond intriguing.

 One only has to look at the world of politics, religion, business, sports, clubs. You name it. It is there. Surprisingly it is really a manifestation of insecurity. The classic question of “Do you know who I am?” bespeaks one who has an inordinate need for validation.

I have really tried to live my life by Ted’s Golden Rule. No one is any better or any worse than I am. Sure I am imperfect at it but I don’t really live in awe of anyone. I am fascinated by groupies of all realms. I love it when someone wants their picture taken with someone. The ultimate idiot act is getting an autograph. I just don’t get it.
How is arrogance manifested? Let’s take politicians. Someone recently went to various offices “of the people”. He went with the simple request for an meeting with his local political hack. Just an ordinary American. Sorry you lose. Not one would respond.
Then he took the trouble to register as a lobbyist. Nothing particular in his title except that he might have favor to curry. Low and behold he was granted an audience with 47% of the congress people. He was now acceptable because he had something worthwhile for these pompous asses.
High flyers in the world of commerce and finance fly in private jets, get picked up in limousines, have private washrooms and sumptuous offices because it is in keeping with their position in life.
 They belong to super private clubs, don’t want to see anyone else on their golf course, and above all keep everything at the ready. One multibillionaire keeps all of his many houses stocked with flowers, food and staff year round on the slim chance he will drop in for a day or two.
One of my favorites is the world of religion. Whether you are the Archbishop of Canterbury, Grand Poobah or the Pope there is glitz and pomp the likes of which no one has ever seen. Imagine the vicar of Christ dressed in ermine and Gucci shoes, living on palatial grounds and palaces and granting a private audience if you have influence. Beats me how this relates to the son of a carpenter.


Think it is just the big timers. Think again. Look at your local club and fellow golfer. He takes as much time as he wants. Shows up late. Lines up every shot perfectly and then could care less if he steps in your line. Yells at the caddy, ignores the shoe shine guy, and talks of incompetence in the staff.
Airports, stores, sidewalks. So many people are saying get out of my way. I am more important than you. I am late because it makes a statement. My time is more important than yours. No, I don’t know who you are and I could care less.
Humility n. modesty. An uninflated opinion of one’s self and worth.
As I look at the definition the words truthful or reality come to mind. If you are comfortable in your own skin why do you need someone to be at your beck and call? Why the need to put people down? Do you really have to have people cowtow to you? Does that really make you feel better?
Look, everyone likes to be recognized or to feel like they matter in the world. That is human nature. But try to visualize yourself as an entity without all the accoutrements. Strip away your wealth, your power, your staff and just stand on your own.
 Don’t ask if you know who I am? Ask if you are deserving of respect as a person. Imagine people don’t know who you are. That is the true test of a man or woman.

 The nature of the Franciscan friar is one that does not call attention to himself. His poverty is not a hair shirt but a gift. The abbeys of old were places to work and pray for the common good. Oh yeah, they got together at meals to sing and enjoy each other’s company. What a horrible way to live.

 I am not perfect nor do I purport to be. Yes I know it is hard to believe but there are times when I am a true pain in the ass just like the rest of you. But I also know which way I am aiming. Who’s your role model? Donald Trump?  Your big time sports star? How about Fr. Michael of the Samaritan Shelter?


My grandkids call me Padge which is short for Padre. It’s got a nice ring to it. I only hope I can even come close to living  up to all that it entails.

As Always

Ted The Great


 Factoid: Each one of these Tomahawk missiles we are flinging around cost $1.4 million. By my count we have fired off 118 so far. Someone said we should take all of Gaddafhi funds we have locked up and use them to pay for them. Good Idea

This and That

Earthquake; The sheer force of nature was never more evident than last week and even continuing now in Japan. As has been written by many, Japan is one of the most technically advanced countries in the world. Their foresight and training for just such an event probably saved hundreds of thousands of people.


Yet the startling fact to me is that against forces of nature, even the most brilliant minds are no match. The sheer power of the Pacific Plates is both wondrous and scary. The thought of that occurring 15 miles below the surface of the water is mind blowing. That is 75,000 feet  into the earth’s crust

Almost simultaneously, the shuttle Discovery was setting down from another and final trip into space. The program is shutting down after several decades. There are going to be scientists and support staff out of work. Why don’t we explore the oceans?

Compared to outer space we have spent nothing in finding out what goes on thousands of feet below the surface. Approach this frontier the way we have the heavens. Think of it. It is a source of food, water, oil and who knows what minerals. How many other problems can we solve here without going to war. Just another pearl of wisdom from a dumb civilian.

The Japanese people are incredible in their demeanor and outlook. There isn’t a hint of ill will or looting or despair. I am sure it is somewhat religious and cultural but everyone treats each other as family watching out and being one. There is no pushing in line. Share and share alike. Neat concept.

Most of all is their resolve to rebuild and literally start over again. They are assessing the damage and going back to the drawing board in spite of constant aftershocks and threats of new Tsunamis. Can you imagine the fear and anxiety that must happen when they hear the dreaded air raid sirens again and again? Talk about resilience.

I watched a two hour show on the prophecies of Nostradamus. Like everything else you can read into it anything you want. But it was eerie that I watched this ten days ago. It speculates that the world will end on December 21,2012. This was all written several centuries ago. Very interesting. If you are the faint of heart, make sure it doesn’t hit your must see TV in the coming days

Church: Kathy and I tried a new church this week. We were welcomed openly by a wonderful young priest and very enrgetic congregation. His homily struck an interesting similarity to my blog last week. He must have copied it. The real gist was our preoccupation with things that go wrong. Charlie Sheen. The earthquake.The nightly news always features the latest murders, rapes and car crashes.

I have often wondered about our obsession with all things disastrous. Do we revel in gore and disease as long as it isn’t happening to us? Do we feel lucky or smug? When we say I am so sorry for this or that I wonder if we really mean it? Does misery love company or do we just move on? Thank God it wasn’t me. How many people checked the site where we feed the poor or tend to the sick.

There was  a four month old found in Japan yesterday. She had been torn from her parents arms by the Tsunami. She will be just fine. How many of you heard this heartwarming story?

Football: Maybe it is posturing for negotiation but this thing really gives me a bad taste. We are talking about two sets of spoiled brats trying to figure out how they are going to split $9 billion. The worst part is that the seats aren’t filled by corporate execs but Joe Six Packs. It’s this guy’s country club and they just closed it down.

Fines: For some reason after seeing the report on the financial crisis that absolved everyone, I got to thinking about my old stomping ground of Wall Street. I tried to quantify how many fines they and corporate America have shelled out.

$550mill for Goldman. $400 mill by Fannie Mae and $1.45 billion for Eli Lilly.Leo Mazillo of Countrywide fame paid $47 milllion personally. No one went to jail. Everybody is still in business. And they all paid without admitting any wrongdoing. Just their largesse. What a country! Tell that to some dude that got sent up the river for robbing a bank.

Conclusion: Well, Kathy and I are on the road to visit several old friends in Phoenix. She is playing in a member guest. I really enjoy driving. Sounds corny but you have no idea how big our country is until you travel it. Talk about diversity of people and ideas. If we were any other country we would 6-8 different nations. It really is a miracle it works.

 Sorry it’s a mishmash of ideas but there is so much happening. A lot to process. Of course a lot to ponder. I hope I listen. I hope I learn. I hope you all stay safe. Say Amen.

As Always

Ted The Great

Mouths of Babes:  My five year old grandson Jack Kenny, told his mother that “smooching” was kissing longly. May you all smooch sometime today.

Now Anders Mc Keever, my 4 year grandson, went for a ski weekend with his father. His mother is about to give birth to #2 child in 3-4 weeks. He gave his mother a kiss and ran out the door only to return. “Hey Mom if you have the baby while we are gone make sure you get in touch with us.” Enough said.



I Am Not As Dumb As I Look


As I may have told you, in the car I spend one week listening to conservative radio and one week listening to liberal. I am not a glutton for punishment but it just makes sense…listening that is.

As is appropriate, one is in attack mode all the time and the other plays defense. But you do get glimmers of sanity here and there. With the true exception of Olbermann and Beck. They are certifiable.

I also scour the various newspapers for editorials and columns. I hope others do too. I took note of how the papers played the employment report last Friday. They said it wasn’t bad but the gains might be weather related. They want to see 4-6 months of the same before we are declared cured. Can we please get positive?

This has nothing to do with politics or Obama. It has to do with feeling better about things. Is it me or do we see one crisis after another ? I have been five down on the golf course more than once…and come back. Not because I am good but because I always try to think on the up side.

Having been involved in depression in both an academic and personal sense, I can tell you it is not so much the facts of life but how you view them. Cognitive psychologists will speak of erroneous thinking. Basically you read things wrongly and draw the darker conclusions.

If I let out a loud yell, someone might think I am upset. Another might think I hurt myself. A third might think I am nuts. Maybe I am calling the dog. Same action. Different responses. You have the power to think positively or negatively about anything. Half empty or half full. It is really your choice.

I guess it is the plight of man, but it still fascinates me that we can get so down as a city, a certain demographic, a country. Elizabeth Edwards wrote a book on resilience. Now if that isn’t a poor woman that should have been depressed. Sure there is bad in the world but there is a hell of a lot of good.

I watched a segment on 60 Minutes last night. It had to do with impoverished kids in the county which encompasses Disney World in Florida. Over one thousand children in the school district are homeless. Incredibly sad and sobering as I sheepishly sat down with my dinner and glass of wine.

But the real truth was the families that were hell bent on making it. By hook or by crook. I have seen people in a homeless shelter that are determined to get out. What separates them from some one who has given up or wants to wallow in self pity? A little thing called soul. They reach down, look life in the eye and say let’s get on with it.

Johnnie Miller was announcing the Honda Classic last weekend. I was astounded how many times before the player hit a shot he pointed out what could go wrong. The water. The sand. Out of Bounds. Is this the way the guy naturally thinks? Do we?

Let’s take something near and dear. The Boomers. We are all talking about this group as a boat anchor. How about the potential for good? Schools are hurting. Can’t they be volunteer teacher aids? How about CFO’s helping out school districts and non profits?

A good buddy of mine drives a bus for senior citizens. These are not just nice to do things but the difference between a program continuing or being dropped. Yeah, I am trying to get your butt off the couch but I am also trying to demonstrate how you can look at a generation differently. Goes for all of them. The X’s, the Y’s, the Me’s.

Think about all the negative energy we expend by bitching and moaning. And in true Irish fashion the bad feelings stay with you a lot longer than the good times.

Imagine if the pundits and lawmakers spent their time coming up with positive solutions rather than calling press conferences to put something down. How about the daily emails you get? What if instead of taking shots, those fertile brains came up with solutions ?

I am “pondering” over Social Security and Healthcare. I am wracking my meager brain to come up with a good course of action. Not because I am bored but I think that I as a citizen have to do so. It’s okay, we are padding the walls to my office.

We all have so much talent, both young and old. If we ever harnessed that power in a positive way instead of all the hand wringing, we could be scary good…or at least scary happy.

Yes, I am not as dumb as I look. Neither are you!

As always

Ted The Great


Factoid: They estimate over 200,000,000 golf balls are lost in the US every year.

Prayer: Lord, let me be one half the person my dog thinks I am. (Sorry, I forgot it last week)

Broader Meaning

I’ve moved..and moved..and moved. And I can’t tell you why. Call it wanderlust. Call it escape. I am really not quite sure. I have never been forced to move. I just have done it a number of times with my wife and family. Somehow it seems to have worked out pretty well for all concerned.
Some call me crazy. I have given up promising careers and beautiful places. That is not so all important. People, life, excitement and fabulous experiences are my just rewards. I have had plenty.
When we go on vacation somewhere I immediately start looking at the glossy real estate brochures. Whether it is in the frozen tundra or tropical isles. Am I running or searching? Or just an adventuresome sort who gets bored quickly? I can’t say I have a good answer.
It is not really in my genes. Very few of my family have gone far, if at all. It’s not in Kathy’s genes either. Her dad lived on the same street for 89 years in only two houses. The rest of her family lives in that same town. Where did I get this?
 As a youngster I loved going to camp. In those days it wasn’t for one or two weeks but for the entire summer. It was a marvelous adventure on a most beautiful lake in the mountains of New Hampshire.
I never got homesick but it wasn‘t because I didn‘t love my home and family. But what an adventure living in cabins, swimming in the lake, going on hikes. Just the train and bus ride from Grand Central to Lake Ossipee was the best journey an eight or nine year old could have!
In high school I commuted to school in New York City. The Long Island Railroad and three subways made up a 90 minute trip. I knew my way around New York better than most. The MOMA and Guggenheim were just around the corner. Jazz and theater became second nature to a high school senior. I wasn’t fazed or star struck. It all seemed quite natural.
College was in Washington DC at Georgetown University. Strangely, I never felt at home in college and had trouble applying myself. I didn’t want to breeze through a syllabus. I would have much rather spent time on one subject. Alas, sometimes that was partying.
The Navy followed soon thereafter and I was off to sail the seven seas. There was an excitement coincidental in getting underway. The soft rolling of a 450 foot ship gave way to severe storms and thrashing seas and it was all quite exhilarating. Viet Nam had a little different type of emotional rush.
In the end my wanderings were not so much a distaste for home as much as it was an inquiring heart. I say heart instead of mind because I am an incurable romantic. I have always fallen in love easily with both people and places. I find everything very interesting and life a thing to be savored.
I love to run when I get somewhere. The pounding of the pavement throughout neighborhoods and byways give you a feel you can’t get from a car. I ask residents about their hometowns and friends about their soul. I hold court in Starbucks. I love to hear.
I relish getting deep into conversation as if I am unlocking someone’s secret thought they may never have told anyone. The fact I do so is not so much devilish (well maybe a little) as enabling. Yes it is OK to think that. You are not weird, although I do get strange looks from time to time. Well, lots of the time.
Maybe it is hard to commit to one thing or place but I have been married to the same neat lady for some 40 years. My poor wife has seen the good the bad and the ugly.
I don’t have a problem opening up and that is probably a fault. You tend to get to know people well but you can wind up getting burned. Such is life.
I love to ponder the imponderables. And this is a big one. My writing has given me a lot more latitude. You can read it or not. I can be open without fear of rejection. I can really have thoughts and dreams and express heartache and love without looking for something in return.
You ask about broader meaning? I don’t have a clue. Or if I do, I am still not ready to admit it!
As Always
Ted The Great