Change you Can Believe In…

It’s been tough writing this week. Not for a lack of material but too much. I could have taken you to the campuses of major universities. Pakistan. The EU. The Broncos. But I really had to get to first things first.

I have to admit I am still riled by the impasse provided by the Six Stooges. Twice the bang for the buck. I am blown away that half of our elected representatives are being held hostage by a promise they made to a dude named Grover Norquist. Then the other half is shaking in their boots by an ad from the AARP claiming 55 million senior citizens will nail them if the touch the golden trough of Medicare and Social Security. They don’t speak for me.

But I took a deep breadth and just started thinking. The bottom line of our problems seems to come in two colors: Money and Longevity. The Supercommittee itself was lobbied ad nauseam. Millions upon millions have been tossed around pushing this plank or that. The politicians need that money to ensure their reelection and assuage their egos. There are currently 11,140 registered lobbyists and they have doled out this year so far $2.5 billion.

On the matter of longevity the average term for both sides of Congress is about 12 years. 6 House and 2 Senate terms. You say great but that is the average. The devil is in the details. On the powerful subcommittees high rank is by years in service and loyalty to the party. And of course the higher the rank the more money pouring in from K Street.

Untold members have come to Washington with every bit of reform vigor they could muster. And every one has succumbed to the siren’s call of the Beltway. The rules are also jiggered, so you are immune from every crime just short of treason. You can trade stocks on insider knowledge. And the power of an incumbent to hold his or her seat is absurd. Throw in a little thing called gerrymandering and it’s a lead pipe cinch.

So if you are following me, longevity is power and that is where you follow the money. How do we get rid of it? Take longevity out of the equation. Here in my best Herman Cain look alike (please I hope not) is TTG’s 666. That numbered is feared by many and Congress as well as the President better beware.

I propose that no one be in office longer than 6 years. One term in the Senate, one six year term for the President and two three year terms for a congressman. As an added attraction, no member of the Executive Branch, Congress or the military above O5 shall be able to do business with the government for five years after their departure.

They all worry about reelection from the day they are sworn in. They get pushed and pulled and vote with their war chest in mind. They claim they have to spend so much time on fundraising they can’t do their job properly. So with my 666 they don’t have to worry about it.

The lobbyists are now stymied. This guy doesn’t need their money. He really can’t use it. Tromp down really hard on boondoggles and junkets and legislating might be just a job after all. The only one running again is a congressman and that is only once.

With 666 the career politicians are now gone. When was the last time Barney Frank, who has been there thirty years had a creative thought? Robert Byrd died after 57 years in the Senate. Strom Thurmond was 100 and they had to prop him up to make votes. Some claimed he was already dead.

Think that is crazy. It is estimated that only 10-15% of the upcoming House seats are in play. Sure the demagoguery and partisan bickering may make this better, but why not take it out of the equation completely?

We have got to take the money out of the system. We know they are not going to legislate it out with so many nests to feather. Let’s propose our own. Now the president won’t be a lame duck in a second term. There can be continuity and the ability to govern with God forbid, a longer term perspective. If you can’t get it done in six years you sure as hell can’t get it done in eight.

Well I promised to be creative and come up with answers and not just more questions. I promise to work out harder and stop pounding my head against the wall. My fellow Americans I come to you with a heavy heart. (Only you old farts will remember that.)

Have a good week and come back at me if you think differently.

As always

Ted The Great


11,140 lobbyists = 20.7 per representative.

The $2.5 billion they have shelled out so far this year is $4,646,840 per representative. That is through October 31,2011.

Old Timers:

John Dingle. Mich 55 years

Daniel Inouye Hawaii 52 years

John Conyers  Mich      46 years

Ted Kennedy  Mass 46 years when he died.

Charlie Rangel New York 40 years

6 Senators 36 years

Congress is usually in session 100 days a year.

They get paid $174,000 plus staff, plus expensesThey oversee spending $3.5 trillionWe take in $2.3 trillion

Approximately 22.5 million Americans work for some form of government entity. About 2.8 work for the Federal Government but in the numbers there were 236,000 they couldn’t allocate properly.I rest my case.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

It is a gorgeous day in Denver. I have taken my meds, sucked down sufficient amounts of coffee and prattled on with a good friend about the state of our country. That requiem will be printed under a separate cover. Read at your own risk.

I am going to work the evening shift at Porter Hospice this PM. There will be 14-18 people on a road that to all is inevitable. They are brave. They are proud. Some might die this evening. Some maybe tomorrow. All in due time. They are very special people.

I just dropped my daughter and son in law off at the airport with their two young ones in tow. They really represent the other end of the spectrum with dreams and hopes for a bright world to come. As I drove home it felt good. This is a very positive side of life.

Many around the world do not celebrate Thanksgiving. The 900 million in China who will make no more than $1500 this year don‘t. The starving 12 million people in Africa don‘t. They will bind their stomachs to reduce the pain. They are dropping dead on 50 mile treks to refugee camps.

The Syrians, the Libyans, the Egyptians, the Somalians, and the North Koreans don’t. Not the Japanese who were devastated by earthquakes and tsunamis. Not the Turks who have been digging out of a catastrophe for a month. Funny how you can forget when the news stories die out.

Three billion people or half the world’s population live on less than $2 a day. 1.6 billion have no electricity. 2.6 billion have no access to fresh water and sanitation facilities. 3900 kids die every day from some sort of waterborne illness.

15,000 people are homeless in Denver tonight. The weather is temperate and they should be fine for the next few days. In my house the lights are on. The temperature is subject to my comfort levels. I am cutting down on my eating so I can lose a little weight. I am going to the Fridge to get a glass of ice cold water.

This isn’t an ad for CARE or Feed The Children. Some may say if those Africans and Chinese and Indians would stop having babies, then there wouldn’t be all this hunger and strife. Those people act like savages and just rape and kill each other. And you know in a lot of ways they are probably right. But at least in my heart I can’t write them off.

I took a long walk yesterday and passed a school yard of kids, probably ages 4-7. As I groused to myself about the Super Committee, I thought these kids have no idea. They are just playing and laughing and enjoying life. It is not complicated. They love one another whether white, black, brown or yellow. There no Republicans or Democrats. Conservatives or Liberals…Yet.

Maybe sometimes I think too much. People say why do you want to bring that crap up for anyway? After all the traveling we have done, I guess I really feel like a citizen of the world, the United States, the state of Colorado, and the city of Denver. I feel a compulsive urge to try in any way I can to solve problems, not create them. For me. For my kids. For my grandkids. For you.

Sometime today, tomorrow or at least over the weekend I am going really say thanks. I might sit in a chair or kneel down. I am going to try to make sense of things. I really am lucky and it is not just an idle thought that looks good on paper. I feel it inside.

I am going to think of those that have passed on. I will thank them for all they taught me. I will worry about friends and family who are having a hard time. Some have broken hearts. Others broken dreams. Others just can’t get it right with life. It’s so hard but also very doable. I hope they make it.

That’s it. Enough philosophizing. I am going to take another walk today and will think of all of you. I will make believe we are all playing on that playground. Young. Without a care. Hey! I can dream can’t I?

As always

Ted The Great


-The first Thanksgiving in 1621 lasted for three days…until they ran  out of Alka Seltzer. There wasn’t a second one.

-Mashed Sweet Potato is the most popular side dish.

-Turkeys have been around this earth for ten million years. And we thought Congress started the breeding cycle.

-In an adult turkey there are over 3500 feathers

-Americans eat 535 million pounds of turkey.

-In the beginning many states fought Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday because they felt the government was exercising too much influence on their lives.

-Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul want to outlaw it. Perry says please repeat the question. Romney isn’t sure yet. And Cain says is the turkey male or female?

-The Democrats want a turkey in every pot. That’s after a week in Cabo as guests of the turkey lobby. Same old, Same old.

Beauty Is In The Eye…..

As many of you know Kathy and I just returned from a fabulous trip to Italy and parts of the northern Mediterranean. It was notable by its breadth. We covered so much ground. So many experiences. Of course people ask what did we like best? I like to ask what did I learn?

In Rome we went to the Vatican Museum which was off the charts. Tapestries, statues and paintings as far as the eye could see. But a more important thing to me was a concept presented by our guide, Antonio. He put forth that we do not see things as an inert process but as a series of refracted light beams that are then focused by the cornea and transmitted to our optical nerves.

Forget about the science. What it really says is your and my view of things are in many ways totally different. They are our brain’s interpretations of light. My view of green and red and brilliance and darkness are a result of how my cerebellum processes it. So too the metaphor of life and moods. In a world that tries desperately to compartmentalize, each one of us are beyond different. Don’t get nervous. Celebrate.

I guess the sophisticated part of my retinal structure was malformed. I enjoy going to museums but I don’t have the true eye for fine art. I thought the Mona Lisa was too small. Ditto the Sistine Chapel. Especially with three hundred people in the room. I would have loved more to talk to the artist than to meditate over his or her works.

For me the real beauty of travel is the people, vistas and yes in a tacky way the ambience. You know how I feel about rhythms of a city. How about a country? There is a way of life that is just Italian. Nuts? You bet. The language has a romantic lilt and you feel like a Guillermo or Theo when you let Gratzie, Bonjourno or Ciao/ Prego roll off  your tongue. It was great.

I was not looking for the celebs. I wanted to talk to the hotel clerk, a waiter or just someone sitting next to you sipping cappuccino. I am not wowed by the fast and famous. I am humbled by the ordinary.

There was a woman, Gabriela, that served the dining room for breakfast in Rome. She and her husband were from Rumania. The population there was down from a peak of 25 million to the current 8. The young people had to go somewhere else to find work. She had a three year old daughter. They saw her once a year. They had to leave her behind in Rumania with her mother so they could work. Now that is something to meditate over.

Incredibly there were few fast food outlets in the cities as well as the towns. Cafes, bodegas, small shops were in. Big boxes and malls were not in evidence. There was an interdependency of life. Someone brought the vegetables. Another the fish. Flowers were fresh picked. Hand gesticulations and shouts abounded. There was élan. There was a stupid thing called communication and camraderie.

If I was an oncologist I would set up shop in Rome. There is smoking everywhere. Iran wouldn’t need nukes. Just send more cigarettes. If cell phones cause cancer this whole population is being wiped out. They take their time doing everything except driving. In all our meals only once did they bring a check without my asking for it. I don’t know if the Med is an anachronism in real time or if these people really do have the secret to a long life.

Whether  it was Italy, Monaco, Spain or Portugal, the views of the countryside and water were magnificent. I think I understand why the Renaissance exploded with emotion. You just want to paint, write or compose to try in some way to portray the emotions in your psyche. To have that scorned and locked in for so many centuries must have been devastating.

Men built statuaries, castles, fortresses and monuments to themselves. In churches it seemed to praise God but  it was more important to praise themselves and become noteworthy. I saw mega yachts lying at anchor or moored with no owners in sight. There were big and fast cars everywhere. But there were little ones too. Funny, they all got to the same point somehow.

I will remember the feel of  Rome with narrow streets and small bistros. I will remember the shorelines of Amalfi rather than a particular edifice. I reminisce about a bike tour of Barcelona. A small wine shop that our guide took us to. I will constantly wonder how 125,000 people live 550 miles off the coast on an island called Madeira? I will think of Annabelle, Massimo, David and Paolo.

Yes, I am unsophisticated in so many ways and that’s just fine. I am an incurable romantic. Now I will only eat my pasta al dente. Cheap red wine works fine. Am I happy to be home? Sure. But more importantly I am beyond happy to feel alive. Life is good.

Ciao Bela    As Always

Ted The Great


Kathy and Ted traveled approximately 15,000 miles on this little junket with over 11 stops.

Ted gained 3 lbs and Kathy none.(I think she cheated.)


Population: 60million

Land: 116,000 sq miles (Colorado, New Mexico or Arizona)

Government: 946 seat holders get paid 140,000 euros per annum.(Highest in Europe) You only have to be present 30% of the time to get paid.

Unemployment: 8.5%


Population: 40 million

Land: 195,000 sq miles (Larger than California)

Unemployment 25%


Population: 10 million

Land: 35,000 Sq Miles (Maine, Indiana or South Carolina)

Unemployment 11%

I Am So Uncool

It’s the first vestiges of moving on. They don’t ask for your ID when you get a senior’s movie ticket. The younger half start calling you sir. I have spoken before of the pretty girls smiling at you when you are running. No TTG, they are not flirting. Yes, they do think “Isn’t it cute that old fart can still run”.

It is being felt in so many other ways. I no longer worry about how I dress. I want to look presentable but the latest and greatest isn’t of much importance. My closet is full of golf shirts, sweaters and slacks that are pushing ten years or longer. Kathy complains. My girls hoot. Guess what? They still feel great.

One of the best things is acting crazy. I do what I want. If I feel like hollering about nothing in particular I go for it. Singing at the drop of a hat? You bet. My grandkids are still young enough where they don’t get embarrassed. They actually encourage me. I think there is a fine line between whacky and eccentric and I love walking it.

Cars? They are transportation and nothing more. The garage fits only one, so mine stays on the street. Leaf strewn and needing a wash, who cares? It has to get me to the club, Starbucks, and my grandkids and that is it. How many 66 year olds have two booster seats omnipresent on the rear bench?

I have threatened to get an old VW Microbus when my lease runs out. I thought maybe I would draw a huge peace symbol on the front panel. An air horn would chime out “Dixie” or “Here Comes The Bride”. I think we would call it the “Padgemobile.” My kids are running the other way.

Ah! My office. That is where it gets dicey. I don’t know if you can pick up ADD in later years but I could be part of a study. I have a big old leather chair. There are currently four books open and half read. There is the morning paper in various parts. A nest of tables holds my coffee, an old clock and half of what I ate for breakfast.
Life is good.

Kathy and I have lived in a variety of domiciles over 40 some odd years. Including investments we have had 29 real estate closings. A pompous ass, from New York no less, told me at a dinner in the mountains that I didn’t really understand the essence of resort real estate. He has one home and rents the rest of the time. Oh well.

Our houses have ranged from our first coming in at 1,100 square feet to a lovely 6,000 in Vail many years ago. We live in an old house built in 1895 that is 2,500 sf or so with a lot of nooks and crannies. It’s comfortable. It’s peaceful. It’s a grandparent’s house. And it is just right. Nothing fancy. I hope Kathy and I go out of here feet first.

I went down to the Wall Street protest in Denver yesterday. I will blog more at another point on that subject but it was capricious and fun. I talked to several of the protesters. People honked as they went by. I wasn’t particularly worried about who saw me or what I was doing. No agenda. Just information gathering. I can just do that now.

I am not one for kissing up or down to anyone. I am getting worse. Kathy and I are going to Rome. My priest buddy, Msgr. Jack Carroll, asked me if I wanted an audience with the Pope. I said no. Not being disrespectful. I just want an audience with God at the end. I just hope He is in a good mood.

Denver and Colorado are very accessible. By that I mean personalities and politicos are most places. The street. Church.(some do go). Health clubs. A local talk show hosts sees me at the gym. Just two dumb Irishmen shooting the breeze. Our US senator and former governor live down the street. We see them out walking sometimes.

Lastly is the club we belong to. Wonderful Donald Ross design. New club house. And one of the greatest collection of whack jobs since Animal House. Leave your ego at the door. Everyone is fair game. If you want two Margueritas and a cheeseburger while you are out on the course, just call the kitchen. My kind of place.

Well I have to go. I know it is very uncool to go on and on. I am supposed to keep it short and sweet. In abbreviated format. Well I know you will all find it very surprising but frankly Charlotte, I don’t give a damn. Loving life and living large.

As always
Ted The Great


Over the past few weeks I have been called a great guy. A jerk. A good person. A pompous ass. A snob. A slob. An a..hole. A true friend. Aloof. Caring. Padge. Dad. Honey. As I think about it they are probably all correct to some degree.

By The Beautiful Sea

There is something so fascinating about coastal waters. There is a vastness that can’t be described as they are viewed from horizon to horizon. They are an enigma. Their blue reflection hides the mysterious and glorious wonders beneath. There is the feeling of glass. Of comfort. Of change. Of constancy.

She is a fickle one, this lady we call mer. She can go from a gentle mother to a raging hag in a matter of moments. Calm Ripples to thirty foot cascades of thunder and violence. Do not take me for granted. Do not try to tame me. Use me but keep your respect.

As one travels beyond the sight of land there is a loneness that is comforting. Away from everyday life there is a serenity unmatched. The occasional fellow traveler happened upon, nods and moves on by. Silently going about their particular business. None of yours.

The abyss takes on form. There is a rhythm to the waves. They are gatekeepers to more. Looking down there is all manner of life from minute to brazen. You are on their turf now. Superman you are not. There is a different pecking order here and you are not on top.

As land masses draw near there are sights and sounds. Too far to have substance but it is a new part of the story. The sands are the same whether Hawaii, the Hamptons or Madagascar. They draw people and life to their borders.

Melancholy brings special trips back to life. A crowded beach as a boy. Digging to China wherever that was. The oncoming tide provided water for the tunnels. Destruction for the castles. It let you know that life and possessions are transient. It reminded you to be creative and able to start over again.

Long walks with special friends. The breeze and the pounding surf seemed to open your mind while cleansing it. You looked out over the vast expanse. You shared innermost thoughts. The time seemed right for a first kiss. It was just the two of you.

There is such an escape at the beach. There are no cars. No busses. No trains. A lone piston fired plane tows a well worked message. “Happy Hour at The Barge”. Come on down. A dune provides a perch. The cranes and crabs perform daily. No Cover. Stay as long as you want.

I have often wondered just how many millions of miles of beaches there are. Some warm and basking. Some chilled by a North wind.

There are bathers. There are fisherman. There are soldiers on sentry. The sands are pristine. They are polluted. A microcosm of our world.

Back on the sea there is commerce. Bringing goods. Fuel for thirsty nations. Contraband of all sorts. Deadly arms. Piracy. Humanitarian cargoes. Human cargoes too. I wonder if she shakes her head. Furrows her brow. So much good. So much bad. She looks wistfully afar at her domain.

I love the sea although I am landlocked. I nurture the memory. I welcome the return. There is a siren’s call. A fragrance so sweet. She shakes her tousled hair. She gives you a wink. A welcome back smile that says she has missed you. A comfort you cannot compare.

As always

Ted The Great


The oceans are 71% of our earth. 140million square miles.

The average depth is 12,200 feet. The ocean ridges are part of a chain that is 40,000 mile long. Highest peak is Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It is 33,474 feet off the ocean floor. 13,000 above water.

We have explored only 10% of the ocean. The oceans contain 20 million tons of gold. 80% of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of an ocean.

The Monterey Canyon off California is deeper and larger than the Grand Canyon.