I Write The Song


Some people ask why I write. There are a variety of reasons. I really do like to ponder. I like to look at possibilities. I like to have dreams. I like to cry. It helps me to feel human. Most of all I just love to communicate.

A golf pro once said it is not the outcome but the process. I guess that has been said a number of different ways. I have fallen in to the deep dark caves of the past and the future. I have rued misdeeds and wasted moments. Sometimes I have focused so much on the future, I have forgotten the present.

I try to make sense of our world. I try to understand people and situations. On my own little scoreboard I don’t look for genius or brilliance. I just look for those that are more often right than wrong. I treasure any one who can open up to me or others. I am constantly mystified by the potential of man…and woman.

I wish I knew how to play an instrument. Notes and chords get to my soul. I am tickled by a fabulous singer but sometimes more so by the arrangement of the conductor. I love a big band. A jazz piano. If I am in the car and hear Bob Seger or Fleetwood Mac, I turn it up so the windows vibrate.

I wish I knew how to paint. My daughter Lindsey is a marvelous painter. She sits down and just lets loose. Sometimes I say why don’t you paint this or that and she gives me the look…and it ain’t good.

I now have Buddha Board on my desk compliments of my daughter in law, Dionne. You have a brush and water and just paint. When the water evaporates you have a clean slate once again. It’s kind of like a Rorshach test that disappears. Good thing.

I wish I could tell you how I am going to spend my day. I envy my buddies that have so much to do that they plan weeks and months ahead. I plan by the hour. There is an air of adventure as I sometimes just take off without a clue where my wanderings will take me. Creative or clueless? Your choice.

I really enjoy cruising on a ship. When Kath and I took our first one the over/under on me lasting on the one week cruise was not good. Actually it was a pretty big ship and if you couldn’t keep your mind busy, you didn’t have one.

I like to take a problem and find a solution. I break things down into small parts. The dilemma is a lot easier to attack that way. I can usually come up with something, no matter how hairbrained it is. I write on the politics of our nation because the inanity is so evident.

My main problem is following through. I used to have a book, “50 Great Ideas I Haven’t Done Squat About”. I think I lost that too. Oh well, I must have some sort of strange disease I can blame it on.

I wish in some ways I had been a teacher. I love young people. I would probably be an easy A. There would be more BS than substance but then again isn’t that what life is all about. I would be asking more questions of them than they would of me.

I truly enjoy public speaking. If I am on my game I really get the crowd to listen. I try to show my emotion and soul to help them as they search for theirs. I have spoken on depression. I have spoken on God. I have spoken on life. On death. I am pretty good at eulogies, so feel free to sign me up.

When I write I like to tell you sometimes of my world as I have done above. I try to put a little bit of myself on my paper. Once again not to lecture but to share. I hope it hit’s a deep emotion or a random thought within you. I hope it is just like we are talking together.

Looking at the previous part of this message I guess I do fancy myself a musician. An artist. A teacher. A wanderer. Maybe an inventor. Maybe a philosopher. A singer of sorts. Maybe my way of song is writing.

Carpe Diem. Be in the moment. Build your Bucket List, no matter how young or old you are. Take a flyer. Just goof off. Act zany. Sing in the shower. Life’s too short. Maybe I will see you along the way. Talk to you soon.

As always

Ted The Great

XXX…..Adults Only


There. I got your attention. It’s Monday as of this writing and I have gone through the Sunday papers and viewed most of the Sunday panel shows. Some of my thoughts might be plagiarized because I found several pearls of wisdom regarding our financial mess. Mainly is the fact we are at least talking about it.

The answer is not totally Ryan. It is not totally Obama. If you think we can get through this without raising taxes you are naïve. If you feel that we should not touch Medicare and Social Security, you are drinking the Kool Aid. Both have to happen not ten or twenty years from now. We is here already.

The new game in DC is to explain the bad news in percentage of GDP rather than in trillions of dollars. We don’t want to scare people. So I will give it to you as such. We take in tax revenues of 15% of GDP. We spend 20% of GDP. The difference is 5% of GDP that we are down. For the less astute like me, that means we take in $4.5 trillion. We spend a little over $6 trillion. Ergo the deficit is approximately $1.5 trillion per year. Duh!

What Ryan did do was put a concept on the table. He wants us to rethink the government’s contract with America. Agree or disagree we have to have that conversation. The citizens of Rome want to have the government do everything but we don’t want to pay for it. A recent poll says 78% percent of us do not want us to touch Medicare to balance the budget. A rather bizarre response but so be it.

Medicare is the main culprit. It was a well meaning program at the start. But that was in 1965. Just for a moment consider the time when a lot of us were coming out of college or the service. Think about how the state of medicine has progressed since then…and of course the cost too. Diagnostics, surgery, heart transplants, knee and hip replacements. The specialties the docs are in today probably did not exist. We made a lot of promises we can’t keep.

With regard to Social Security System, first established in the thirties, our actuarial tables couldn’t have foreseen the post war baby boom much less advances in science. It was really a program for widows and orphans. There was no thought of means testing because prior to the nineties there were very few who were mega rich. We promised again.

The last piece to the puzzle was the prescription drug bill signed into law in 2003. Forget about the merits or execution. We have seen the use of prescription drugs jump almost 100% since then, There are three to four ads every hour plugging this or that. You go to the local practitioner demanding this brand or that and he doesn’t want to say no, even though an older, less expensive one would work just fine. Promises. Promises.

We need our president and members of Congress to get up and tell it like it is. Get Ross Perot to resurrect his charts. We need them not to worry about getting elected but to make business decisions. This cannot be a politics. This freshman class seems to have come from private business rather than the party ranks. We really should listen to what they have to say.

I watched the pundits from all sides. The Dems will trot out the poor and suffering of our country. Not because they feel that way but because it tugs at heartstrings. Who could be against motherhood and apple pie? The Republicans are rallying around Tea Party. Cut all taxes. Do away with every branch of the government. The country as a whole watches in disgust. 15% of Americans have a positive view of our legislative branch. 15%

The bottom line is this. If you want these programs such as Medicare and social Security, you have to pay for them . If you don’t, then take the medicine and pay for it yourselves. Either way we have to do away with the tax cuts for everyone. One reporter said at least we should start with the rich. I say everyone has to be in this. Denial is not a river in Egypt.

On either side please get off your high horse and think about it in an adult way. Not your best interests but the country’s. I say that in all sincerity. Politicians have got to shoot straight. Forget the platitudes and sound bites. Forget about all the backroom BS and come out and lay it on the line. If I hear one more posturing statement I am going to throw up.

A good friend considers my blog diatribes. I hope not because right now they are prayers. There was a highly informative 20 minute interview with former Secretaries of the Treasury, Bob Rubin and Paul O’Neill. Ostensibly a Democrat and a Republican. They should put the whole interview on the evening news rather than the “Wedding.” It was not combative but two guys who had been there, exchanging ideas…and yes agreeing on a lot of things. We need more.

Well I will sign off now. I hope this reaches the ears of Harry Reid and five other senators from both parties who saw fit to go to China on a ten day junket with one of the spots being Macao, the gambling capital of the world. I hope it gets to Congress who is on a two week Easter break. They need it because Congress has met 40 of the first 80 business days of the year. What a workload! Kind of like Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

As always

Ted The Great



Medical Costs

Heart Transplant..$790,000

Lung Transplant …one $450,000 two $655,000

Liver Transplant…$523,000


Knee Replacement…$40-50,000

Hip Replacement….$50-60,000

Dialysis….$90-100,000 per year

Stents…$15-20,000 per

Bypass Surgery…$125,000

Approximately 75 million Baby Boomers

Aesop’s Foibles


Once upon a time there was a faraway land named Plenty. The kingdom stretched far and wide from sea to sea. The inhabitants were hard working souls with a king named Sam. King Sam lived for many hundreds of years.

He was so old that he let others be king for awhile. Usually for four or eight years. He even hoped some day there would be a queen. He was there for PR only and posed for pictures and posters and walking in parades. Some temp kings were great and some were real bad. Some even forgot they were temporary and thought they really were the king.

The land was of particular beauty and diversity. There were shires and townships but everyone thought their future lay in being part of the kingdom. Even so, many of the local princes tried to strut their stuff in hopes that some day King Sam would pick them as temp king. No matter what, each one thought he could do a better job.

Everyone sent some of their wealth to the king and the king in return made sure the roads were in good shape and the people were defended from foreign powers. Actually it wasn’t that hard because Plenty was bounded on three sides by water. If they stayed home everything would be fine but they were adventurous and proud. Soon they strayed where they didn’t belong. Bravado overtook brains.

The real source of wealth was the golden goose they kept in a secret hiding place inside the palace walls. The goose was tended to by Sir Paul, Sir Alan and Sir Ben from time to time. They tried to make sure it was not starved or overfed. Many times it looked like a goner but was nursed back to health. It’s not doing too well right now.

The walls not only kept people out but the denizens in. It was actually quite wonderful because inside the walls every thing was hunky dory and you had no idea what was going on outside. There were all sorts of strange characters. Sometimes you really wondered how they became knights and ladies.

There was Sir John who always looked tan and never a hair out of place. Yet he didn’t come from a sunny part of the kingdom. There was Sir Mitch who did nothing but tell stories in the Ye Olde Cracker Barrel store. Sir Harry had an amusement park. One of the thrill centers was a roller coaster named Yucca Mountain. He took everyone for a ride on that one.

On occasion, Sir Harry, John and Mitch often did their best impersonation of the Three Stooges to the absolute delight of the courtesans. Lady Michelle of St Paul was locked in the tower several times for bouts of mania and delusion. She was always visited by Sheena Palin who really thought she was Queen of the Jungle.

There of course was an evil witch in the person of Lady Nancy. Her plastic smile was a thing to behold. She could sing the kingdom‘s anthem without ever moving a facial muscle. At one point, if the king and two knights died, she would have been queen. Mirror, mirror on the wall. Oh well, she is still plotting, although very much out of favor.

Sir Chuck of Shumer just babbles and no one listens. Sir Paul of Wisconsin is very smart…maybe too smart. He was always the kid who had all the answers in grammar school. Couldn’t tell him a thing.

One day greed and jealousy infected the kingdom.(Cue the creepy organ music)Enter the Lloyd of Blankfein. He was joined by Jamie of Morgan and Dick of Fuld. They had it in their mind to screw everyone one out of their money while using the golden goose to finance their every desire.

When it was all over only Lord Dick was beheaded. Jamie and Lloyd had pulled their caper. They split their spoils while claiming they had nothing to do with the disaster that struck the kingdom. But it was too late.

You see every one got too fat. They stopped working and relied on the king for everything. They bought many things and Jamie and friends were only too happy to take their money and even lend exorbitant amounts when these people had nothing. Eat. drink and be merry was the cry throughout the hills.

Now we had problems. Everyone forgot how to work. The old folks wanted everything at the expense of the youth. They were frail and moribund. They wanted to be saved at all cost. The golden goose was deathly ill. Worse yet the roads were in shambles. Bridges were out. The gate to the palace was in great disrepair. The moat stunk to high heaven. There was strife everywhere.

The wannabe temp king said “Let me in King Sam. I will change everything”. He was young and dashing. He had visions that turned out to be dark clouds. He let everyone down by just doing the same old things. Money couldn’t solve this mess. He and the palace had promised too much. The people stayed but the factories left. This has all the makings of a very sad ending.

King Sam got up from his bed and listened. He was disheartened to hear everyone fighting. He said, “This was not the way we started out. Where did we all go so wrong? Why do you fight like children?” Like many other fairy tales, people were killing the golden goose. They just thought of themselves. They wanted so much but were not of a mind to give anything back. Not even to give thanks.

Well, I have to stop now. We will have to finish this story another time. We’ll have to see how it ends. I wish I could do something to make it turn out right. It looks scary but maybe, just maybe it will have a happy ending. The kingdom has to get its act together. It’s up to them. We’ll have to wait and see. Tune in soon.

As always

Ted The Great

Factoid:  There are no such things as dragons and Camelot. Life is cruel but good judgment and fraternity(sorority too) will conquer all. Long live the king!

Am I a Bigot?

Kathy and I took our grandsons to a pirate exhibit at the Museum of Natural Science here in Denver. Although there was plenty of swashbuckling, this particular pirate ship had its origins in Africa. It was particularly active in the slave trade.
The exhibit was graphic and quite frankly captivating for all the wrong reasons. It showed a variety of shackles and no less elements of torture to keep these poor souls under control. What was most striking was a floor plan not of furniture but to figure out how to get as many bodies in the hold as possible. They were stacked like cords of wood.

For the moment let’s suspend any political overtones. I was beyond surprised how many black tribal lords were complicit. This was pure and simple the result of a lucrative trade in human flesh. Men, women, babies were all for sale to the highest bidder.

Men harnessed in metal cuffs jumped overboard rather than meeting the fate that lay ahead. The crossings without any sort of sanitation took from several weeks to several months depending on the port. One could not imagine the horror and the filth in that little section of hell. People died and no one cared.

I was trying to imagine what it would be like if in Denver, Scottsdale, the Hamptons, Vero or Palm Beach, someone just came in and started snatching our children and our wives. Some were educated. Some were religious. It didn’t matter. They were just whisked away and sometimes sat in pens for months waiting for the ship of doom.

I ask if I am a bigot because I guess deep down I have not looked down on blacks but past them. Their sale into slavery was just a footnote in my history book. When I look at a Hispanic who does not speak English. Or an Asian or Arab I feel they are different from me. Not lesser so much as different. I don’t truly understand them and they me. That is human nature but I still don‘t quite get it..

We have this ongoing dialogue in our country right now about Hispanics, Muslims, Arabs. You name it. Look at France’s edict today on burkhas. I go to Hawaii and I am a Howlie,,,,non Hawaiian. If I am in the South, I am a yankee. And they are rednecks in the North. In New York I am now from a cowtown. And it goes on. We can only see life through our glasses. And the lenses are so myopic.

The other night we had drinks at our good friends and neighbors next door. They had invited another couple. It was Richard and Vito. We had been to their house for New Year’s Eve. They are openly gay. They spoke to it in a very matter of fact way. It really got me to thinking.

There was a show on a couple of years ago where you had to spend time with a group of people you didn’t particularly care for. It could be religion, ethnicity or skin color that set off your bigot alarm. You had to see them for who they were and not what you wanted them to be.

The results were predictable. As you lost some of your biases and phobias you found they weren’t that bad after all. As a matter of fact you might actually grow to like them. If nothing more, you understood. We had a more than an enjoyable evening with that male couple. I have often chatted with them on the street. It was fun to go beyond just the niceties.

We are entering into an incredibly difficult time for our country. We have to make very tough decisions as a people and a nation. We can’t hate Democrats or Tea Partiers. Rich. Poor. We can’t vie for the wealthy, Hispanic or Black vote. We have to listen to all sides. We can’t play the game.

A bigot by definition is one who has extremely strong views and refuses to accept any opposing point of view. It grows to hate and disdain. Last week the fiasco that we call representative government was absolutely at its worst. As someone said if we are this divided on such small matters as the current budget, what does that say for our ability to do the heavy lifting ?

Maybe I mistook my fears of being a bigot for what I knew were the many times where I have been condescending and dismissive. I can’t say I am terribly proud of that.

I now have a little better appreciation for black history. Sure I knew about slaves but only in passing. You really do have to see and feel their pain. I can’t just say that’s history and let’s move on. It goes deeper than that.

I guess I have to learn the same about Hispanics in the Southwest who owned most of what we now know as Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. And Hawaiians. And Native Americans. The Asian populations of the west coast. Jews, Buddhists and yes even Muslims. I have a lot of work to do.

My biases and prejudices won’t go away overnight. Hell, I am Irish. What would life be like without the drama. I am also not going to beat myself about the head and shoulders. But I really think I am starting to get it. I hope you do too.

As always

Ted The Great

Factoid: The Pacific Trash Vortex sits somewhere between California and Japan. It is roughly twice the size of the state of Texas. It contains various concentrations of plastic, chemicals and sludge that are carried into this whirpool by ocean currents. 80% is from land based pollution and 20%from ships. Wait till Japan kicks in.



The Art of Giving


T’is the season. As April rolls around, one must always think of the taxman. The Beatles wrote about him. We abhor him. But there is a something that takes a little something out of his bite. Itemized deductions. And of course assuming you are charitable in some way, one of those deductions gets you a pretty good bang for your buck,

We can give in a number of ways: financially with money or goods, of our time or expertise, and in a totally different way of ourselves. Take money or things. At first it is relatively straightforward. You write a check or drop off clothes and food.

Depending on the size of the gift, deep down you would like some recognition. If it’s really big you would like your name on the door, wing or building. Otherwise a note from the donee is a nice touch. If you get a hand written one instead of the obligatory form missive, bully for you.

I will hold out to you unless it is the widow’s mite, giving money is the easiest thing in the world to do. Write a check, slap it in the envelope and say “see ya.” You really don’t have to get involved unless you give a lot and then they want you on a special council that hopefully gets you to give more. Or the opposite where you can really stiff this group or that. Nobody is going to pick up the phone and trash you for not giving enough.

Time gets a little more complicated. Now I have to have some level of involvement. I have to commit to some sort of time frame and God forbid they are depending on me. Keep it simple. Slide in. Slide out. Whew! Done for another week. But now you get to know people and they you. The cement begins to harden. You are now responsible.

Lastly is giving of yourself. By far the most difficult. You actually open up to another. This could be wife, lover or close friend, not that they need to be mutually exclusive. You are open to judgment. You are open to criticism. You are completely vulnerable. The proverbial “warts and all”.

Actors, artists, and writers all subject themselves to this type of scrutiny and I applaud them for it. They pour their guts out only to be told they are amateurish, trite or in some way or another completely off the mark. The same is true in relationships. Rejection sucks.

Pure giving is a totally different matter. One does so without any anticipation of reward or recognition. You just give. You spend your entire time worrying about someone else. It’s not altruism. It is an exercise in putting everyone but yourself first. You don’t give till it hurts because it really doesn’t. And you look for nothing else in return.

Imagine spending just one day trying to do something for others all day. You make breakfast, you smile and say hello on the street, you hold doors, you reach out to someone who is really hurting. Never once do you get a thank you, or a smile or any sign of acceptance. As a matter of fact you might get scorn or ridicule. But you get into bed that night and say I did some good for the world today even though no one noticed.

Have I tried? Of course. I have made it through a few hours and I guess that is a start. I always want to bring it back to me in some way or fashion. Ah, to look at the world completely from their eyes and not mine. That is a talent and an art.

I guess that is really “caritas” or pure love. Wait a minute. You mean pure giving is pure love? I thought love was feeling batso about a beautiful woman. I thought that was looking at my kids and grandkids and feeling gratified they are some sort of reflection of me. I thought it was a delusion in golf when I shoot 78. I love that game.

Today, tomorrow or soon my daughter will give birth to their second child. I have seen her and her husband and my other kids grow as a family. I have seen how they try to give everything to their children. It’s cool and the kids reflect that love.

More importantly I see that little babe as a blank slate. From the get go he or she is incredibly unique. But they are also open and free of prejudice. Yes they are all love and really can’t sense anything in return. They don’t see black or white or Catholic or Jew. They just see love.

I guess that is why Jesus said, “Do unto others” I don’t care if you are a Christian or an atheist. It is a good maxim to live by. Okay I am going to try it again today. I am going to forget about Ted. If I help someone I won’t even look for a smile or knowing glance in return.

Maybe I am starting right now. Maybe I am giving you something. I will never know. And that is good.

As always

Ted the Great

Factoid: Phebe Kathryn McKeever was born Tuesday morning at 5:30 to Lindsey and Chip McKeever. 7lbs 13 oz. 18” long. That’s a great factoid.