Young People


I love young people. I love to talk with them and hear of their exploits. Their dreams. Their frustrations. I try not to get “well in my day” with them. Their day and my day are not the same.

This older generation has done well. We have made money and built empires to be admired…sort of. Some of us are retiring with grace and new ambitions. Some are just retiring.

The “Royal Marriage” was really enjoyable in spots. I had the feeling they were really quite normal in their own way. Or as much as they could be. I couldn’t help but compare them to Charles, Camilla and the Queen Bee. The younger set was relaxed, open and not too staged. Not full of themselves.

The young people of today seem somewhat determined to do it their way. Maybe not 80 hour weeks. Maybe not time away from the family. Maybe not the big house and fast cars. Maybe, just maybe, it is for the better.

Kathy and I went to a couple of cocktail parties over Christmas. Just neighbors. But what a treasure trove of young people and ideas.

There was a young man who was getting his doctorate in biomedical engineering from MIT. We had a lot in common. Right! Then there was a young lady who was working for a non profit in DC trying to foster woman’s entrepenuership in Africa.

There was a student at Oxford studying journalism, who had recently attended the London School of Economics and wrote for the Economist. How about a lad attending the War College who hoped to go on to either the Navy or FBI ? His sister was doing a semester in Kenya and Tanzania while studying Swahili.

Just local folk. Yes, most of the time I just asked questions and listened. None of them talked of the stock market. Somehow their golf game was never part of the equation. They were on fire and I loved it.

My daughter Lindsey gave birth to her second child a short while ago. All of the grandkids came over for Padge’s birthday. You wonder what the world will be like for them? At first I was concerned my kids would not have the wealth and lifestyle we enjoy. Then I thought, maybe they don’t want it.

Denver is sheltered nicely in the Rockies just far enough away from the East and Left Coast. An old friend and I were talking at lunch a few weeks ago. The nice part of our fair city is you don’t need a pedigree. Who cares where you went to school? Just put your nose to the grind stone. Then we will find out who you are.

I think that is the great part of today. Kids are asking why rather than falling into lockstep on the path to success. Are they futzing with a time honored formula? You bet they are. They are even inventing new ones.

I enjoy the “Young Guns” in Congress. Ryan, Cantor, McCarthy. I don’t care about their ideology. They are at least willing to try to get things done. At this point in our history we need statespeople. We need leaders to make tough decisions. We need to meet our problems head on. Us old farts aren’t very good at that. We study it and will get back to you later.

Look at Libya, Egypt, Baharain, Syria. Sure it is economic at its base. But it is also the next generation saying “we are not going along with the old way of thinking.” There has got to be a better way. They are willing to die for it. I couldn’t agree more.

As a junior at Georgetown I was working for the summer at the Hotel Corp. Of America. They owned the Plaza and it was headquarters for sales and reservations. After answering phones for a week, my boss and great friend Jack Neumann called from Boston. He asked how things were going? Okay, I said but I thought there could be changes for the better in reservations.

He had me fly to Boston that weekend with my ideas. On Sunday afternoon he put me on the plane and said “Do it!” Flabbergasted and an little unsure, I did. And it worked out great. He gave me enough rope to hang myself or make myself. I will never forget that.

As we celebrate OSL moving on, I have to think again of young people. I lost relatives, friends and business associates in 9/11. Twenty one in all. I had given three of them their first hires on Wall Street. Most of them were just young aspiring traders, dads and husbands. It is not only a tragedy of life but also the world. Lives simply unfulfilled.

To the young of our fair nation and globe, I say Go for it! To the powers that be I say, move over. You’ve done your thing. Give them a chance. It is time for some fresh ideas. They will do just fine.

As always,

Ted The Great

Factoid: Women are 49.76% of the world population. There are 250,000,000 more men in China than women. Women are almost 60% of the current college ranks. I will let you form your own conclusions.



There’s Still Time Brother….



Well Saturday is the day. The end of the world as we know it. The will be a massive earthquake and that is it. Or so they say. There is another theory that there will be the Rapture and only the good guys and gals will be taken up to heaven. I wonder if Usama and all those virgins will be there.

For those of us either left behind or doomed, I want to raise a bit of uncertainty. Let’s climb aboard your space shuttle or late model UFO and take a look at this blue marble from afar. My question is one of sustainability.

It is not hidden in a gospel verse, Nostradamus or the stars. It is called plain old pragmatism. Not tree hugging nor fire and brimstone. Just reality. To sustain life as we know it we need water, food and energy. There is just one tiny little problem. It’s us.

Right now give or take a few million we have 6.5 billion members of the little club we call civilization. By the year 2050 we will have 10 billion. To put that in perspective it is like we are adding the total population of Europe, North and South America combined to this place we call home.

This isn’t Al Gore speaking but a naturalist by the name of David Attenborough. He seems like a sensible chap and did not come across as an alarmist but a scientist. We will have an additional 100 million in the US of A alone. Russia and parts of Europe will actually lose people. The greatest growth will come from undeveloped countries.

How to feed them ? Right now probably a third of the planet is hurting for nourishment. Up to now we have made a lot out of a relatively small amount of arable land. Crop management and fertilizers have done a great deal for our productivity. However what if all the 1.5 billion Chinese decided to have an egg tomorrow morning? Buy futures.

The real problem is water which of course is the building block of food and life. Of all the water in the world only 2 1/2% is potable. Of that we only have access to about one percent with the rest being at the poles and in glaciers. The devil is in the details.

You see it takes 120 liters of water to create one cup of coffee. 150 for a glass of beer. A hamburger comes in at a whopping 8000 liters when it gets to your plate and a cotton shirt 3000. I am not suggesting we swear off booze or red meat but we really do have to realize the consequences of our actions. I think about your and my lawn, golf course, natural gas wells, manufacturing etc. Extra long showers? Hard to think of this with the Mississippi raging.

By 2050 our energy needs will grow by 40%. Right now the world consumes 85 million barrels per day. We can drill, baby drill but something has got to give. Let’s face it. We are living beyond the means of our environment. Again this is not global warming but just the way we are devouring our resources.

Guess who is leading the parade? They did a study of consumption of food, water and fuel the world over. Let’s try to figure out how many people we can sustain on our planet? If we all lived like sub Saharan Africa we could support the ten billion ahead with no problem. If we consumed at the rate of the United States does today we could handle 1.5 billion. Oops.

Okay you say, the hell with the rest of the world. Nice thought but it really doesn’t work. At the face of things, as human beings we are the only phylum of living things that can really affect our destiny and that of all the others.

Boy, TTG you are really a bummer. Sorry about that. Not just the US but the rest of the world seems to lack strategic planning. Tactical yes to get through the next ten- twenty years or the next raise of the debt ceiling. But taking a look at all we have and managing it properly is going to take a lot of serious thought and symbiosis.

We need to reduce consumption of foodstuffs and energy. We have to throw all the technical know how we have into sustaining our planet and not worry about the latest download. We have to get great minds addressing this rather than the next LBO or quarterly report. We really do have to stop the rate of population growth. Yes, Catholics worldwide, that means us too.

Once again this is not the fervor of this or that crusader. It is one who is looking at the numbers and they don’t lie. What it is going to take is people, towns, states and countries really coming together. I am fascinated that in watching this special on PBS, TTG (who reads a lot) has never seen this problem presented in such a forthright fashion. Maybe you already knew.

Believe me I would love to hear some thoughts to the contrary. Please tell me I am wrong. Let’s stop patting ourselves on the back and saying how great we are. As a planet we may someday be looking back and saying what could have been. There is still time brother and sister, but it really is running out.

See you next week if we are all still here.

As Always

Ted The Great


Las Vegas uses approx. 7,000 megawatts of electricity on an average summer day. The “Strip” uses 20% of that or approx. 1,400 megawatts. That is the output of a large coal fired or medium sized nuclear power plant. Turn out the lights after you flush.

We have had the same amount of water on earth since the start. From condensation to evaporation the total stays constant.

Roughly 30% of food produced in the US is thrown away as waste or spoilage.

Depression…Bump in the Road or Sinkhole?


As many of you know I have battled depression for over twenty years. I have written about it. I have made speeches on it. I have even gone on TV and radio. Can you imagine someone sticking a mike in front of me to talk about something I am passionate about? We have all survived.

I am in great company. Mike Wallace. Dick Cavett. Winston Churchill. Abraham Lincoln. Catherine Zeta Jones. Olivia Newton John, J.K. Rowling. Buzz Aldrin. Harrison Ford. Princess Diana. Billy Joel. Feel better?

If you haven’t had it, it is extremely difficult to imagine. It’s a feeling that sneaks up on you and takes hold. It’s a darkness. It is a freefalling. It is a hole that you can’t see your way out of.

I was extremely fortunate. As bad as I felt, I knew I needed help. I met with a cognitive therapist. You don’t tear apart your past but figure out where the hell you are right now. You realize your erroneous thinking and correct it. You don’t wallow in self pity. You work harder than you ever have before.

Depression is caused by one of four things. 1.)A particular situation or event like the death of a loved one or loss of a job. 2.)Your environment which may consist of abuse or untenable situations. 3.)A chemical imbalance. 4.)Lastly is heredity.

Depression’s main symptom is a lack of self esteem. It manifests itself in many ways. You may overachieve. Perfectionism is right up there. You can never be lovable. You may procrastinate because you are so afraid of failing. You may not want to participate. You brag. You lie. You live in a fantasy world of sorts. Whatever happens, it is someone else’s fault.

You try to escape reality, because reality sucks. You drink. You do drugs. You overeat. You are promiscuous. You look for a place or a moment where you can feel good about your self. You try anything you can to look self important from yelling at a waiter to pronouncing, “Do you know who I am? It doesn’t work. And all the time you sink lower and lower.

Roughly 35 million Americans are afflicted with depression. It is called the common cold of mental health. Sadly only 15-20% of those people seek help. We could help 90% of them. Why? That crazy thing called self esteem again. I don’t want to be called weird. I don’t want to be labeled crazy. (At least not all the time.)

As I said, I have been beyond fortunate. I have a wife who really doesn’t understand it but accepts me for it. She’s there to gently chide me if I get out of whack. It has happened but not often. I know how to get it right. My kids and friends have shown me no ill. It is part of who I am.

The reason why I have spoken out in the past and I am now, is to let a lot of you out there know that it is okay. You are simply not alone. You know if I had cancer, you would reach out and say how can I help? If I had diabetes you would say make sure you take your insulin. This shouldn’t be any different. I hope if you have heard this before, you realize it is a never ending battle I wage to have this disease gain some sort of acceptance.

There is this thing called stigma. If I am a husband, a dad, a senior VP, a club member, how can I ever own up to this blot on my persona? If I am a mom, a teen or just a friend, I can never let anyone know my dark secret. My self esteem you know.

Think about our world today. We are bombarded non stop with who you should be. Internet, TV, Twitter and Facebook set up unrealistic images of the world as a fantasy that can‘t come true. I truly fear that in years to come we will see an epidemic of depression, especially among our young people.

Now for the good part. I am an absolute believer in the resilience of man….and of course woman. In all my years of talking and dealing with depression I have never seen a hopeless case. Have there been tragedies? Of course. There are obstacles. But they mainly deal within the individual and their willingness to accept the situation and move forward.

I hope you don’t mind the soapbox here. I wrote this to open discussion if needed. With me, a loved one, a doc. Anyone. If nothing more just be aware of depression and those around you. Life is good and you deserve your share of it.

As always

Ted the Great


Deaths by Murder. 14,000…How much do we spend on preventing it?

Deaths by car accidents. 34,000…How much do we spend on safety?

Deaths by suicide. 35,000… 500,000 attempts. We don’t spend much at all.


Bless Them All


I received a phone call from my nephew last night. I was in a training class so he left a message. He just wanted to see what I was thinking with the announcement of OSL? If it brought back memories? It did. Good ones.

We used to operate our Swift Boats on a pretty regular basis in the rivers of South Viet Nam with the USN SEALS. They were in a word, NUTS and you had to love them for it. They would dream up some crazy scheme and we were crazy enough to go along with it.

One night we took one of the boys as far down the canal as we could get without totally running out of room for a quick turnaround. He was suited up in black pajamas and makeup so he looked just like one of the enemy. We pushed his sampan over the side and off he went into the night.

He floated further down the canal and got out at a village. He sat around the campfire and spoke fluent Vietnamese until he determined which one of the gang was his target. After a time the party broke up. He went about the business of eliminating said target with piano wire. Finis!

An hour later he returned to the boat. The dawn was just breaking on a Sunday morning. We were scooting across a placid calm bay on our way back to Sea Float. The Seal took a swig of something more than orange juice. He offered me a shot from his flask and I passed.“No thanks Chief. I’m driving.”

Two thoughts ran through my mind. One is that he had just greased some unsuspecting dude. Second was what in God’s name was the civilian outlet for this guy? I didn’t quite see him as an investment banker but then again maybe his training would come in handy on Wall Street today.

The funny side of SEALS was always evident. I went over to have a beer with them one time and they told me I should really see this guy’s wine cellar. When a SEAL suggested something you usually did it if nothing more than to humor them. A wine cellar seemed a little far fetched.

So I entered what was really a small closet. I heard the door slam behind me. They told me to check the merlots on the second shelf. They happened to be right next to a coiled up boa constrictor. You see they used to keep the snake in a 30 foot long cage outside the SEAL hootch. Along with a duck at one end. Whenever they heard the duck quacking a lot, they knew the snake was hungry. They would feed him a couple of rats. Elementary, my dear Watson.

After announcing that if they didn’t open the door I was coming through it, they relented. First mistake was going in the closet. Second mistake was drinking with them. No chance.

The SEALS were just part of our riverine forces. There were some other guys that drove Zippos. They were an armor clad long range cigarette lighter that floated. One blast from the turret and the countryside took on a distinctly burnt umber hue. You think I am the crazy one?

I am not trying to get into war stories. But I do want to tell you a little of these marvelous warriors that have been looking out for us all these years. Memories get hazy but we were just a small part of such a bigger force. I am not a hawk and would rather none of our sons and daughters had to carry arms in war.

I really feel anything we did, paled not only to the current special forces but ditto for the marines, blackshoes and groundpounders of today. What they did on Sunday was beyond phenomenal. What these poor devils have had to put up with for the last ten years is beyond the call of duty.

A few years ago a friend had a group of injured vets out to his farm for a weekend. They were straight from Walter Reed. Broken in oh so many ways. They were missing arms and legs. Parts of their brains and psyche had been left on foreign soil. Some had their wives and kids.

I went to as many as I could, to just ask them if they needed anything. I was wearing a Navy sweatshirt. They asked if I had been in the service and what I had done. Then each one floored me. To a man they thanked me for my service. I was speechless.

These men and women are so special and have given so much. Just think about that before we growl so quickly “let’s get them suckers” and “F___ Osama”. I love to wave the flag but I am also so cognizant about what incredible labors we ask these people to do.

Next time you are at a game and the jets scream over or the honor guard brings out the colors, for a moment just salute and say a prayer. God Bless Them All. Every last one of them. Thanks for listening. Thanks Jimmy…. for asking.

As Always

Ted The Great


US Dead

Civil War…625,000




Viet Nam..58,209