Quick hits…

TTG’s Head is on the go this week. Many points to ponder….so little time.

An author appeared on PBS News the other night discussing liberal and conservative. The overall gist was that liberals want everyone to come together and share. Kumbaya. The conservatives want to keep things as they are or were. The gap is wide. If push comes to shove the conservatives will fight to the death because it is in fact about their possessions and lifestyle. The liberals aren’t quite so passionate. Doesn’t sound good either way.

Every man is an island. In discussing the whole rich man poor man thing with a friend, he had concluded it wasn’t worth the discussion. Basically our world and politics is every man for himself. They are going to do what works for them. No one else matters.  Rather than fight it he is just going to figure out how to live in it. I felt sad at that thought but on the other hand admired his pragmatism.

I saw an old clip of a golf tourney of long ago. Plaid slacks were the norm. Of course we all emulated the pros. Some of those were a cross between butt ugly and ridiculous. What were we thinking? On the other hand if we wait long enough they may come back. Width of ties and designs. Shirt collars. Tabs, collar pins, button down, flare, no collar at all. Is this an expression of individuality or slavery to some strange fashion god ? Dunno.

Other than the “candidates” there are some very cool people running around DC et al. Leon Panetta. Alan Simpson. Erskine Bowles. Mitch Daniels. Corey Booker. Booker is mayor of Newark and an African American. He went to Stamford, Oxford and Yale Law. Instead of cashing in, he became mayor. Alan is Alan. Forthright and straight shooting. Not worrying about taking whomever to task. Mitch Daniel is governor of Indiana. Practical thinker. Rides around the state on his Harley but looks like an accountant. Stays in the homes of fellow Hoosiers along the way. Wish he hadn’t gotten out of the race for president.

Walking miles in your shoes. I think before you vote for war or bombing some place back to the Stone Age you should either have participated in combat or have your kid in the Armed Forces. Likewise before you formulate your illegal policy you should be required to drive a deported family to the border and make them get out of the car. You should also go to the hospital on a Friday or Saturday and tell someone without insurance that you can’t help them even though their baby is in distress. Lastly if you are President, your kids should have to go to DC public schools. Makes you stop and think.

Labeling. Ever notice even after they retire, people still call them Mr. President or Senator or Governor or Mr. Speaker. Not really sure why that is? But then again we always call people excons, felons, rapists and sexual predators for life. Okay I get that line of thinking and  I am also realizing the similarities of the two groups. Wonder what they will call me?

I think we all get the idea that we need jobs in this country. Now let me get this straight. If we don’t have any rules we will have prosperity. Everyone is waiting for a moratorium on laws. Then we will fly. If we tax the rich, then a chicken in every pot. Or if we take away all taxes then the economy will hum. Is it me or has no one actually come up with specifics on how we are going to come up with 18 million jobs? Oh yeah, we are going to build a colony on the moon for 18,000 people in eight years. What was I thinking?

Our priest brought up an interesting concept. The Muslim etymology actually refers to a submission to God. I am going to believe because Allah said so. The Judaeo Christian is more about struggling. You are always grappling with this concept of God. What does faith mean? Instead of taking in on face value they always want to discuss and is rife with different religions.Just a little food for thought.

Lastly I had an idea when I saw various politicos standing behind their front man or woman. You know how they line up. Now they could be a glee club. But then aren’t they just singing to the choir?

They could be the Marx Brothers but wasn’t Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo et al  a little more clever. They could be the Three Stooges but they are usually more than a trio. I think I will go with proud parents who are fawning over their new born(in this case a new speaker or piece of legislation). They look at it and think how wonderful they are for having brought it into this world.  Then ten years later they watch in horror at what a monster they have created. But then like parents of brats put on a happy face and look the other way.

As always

Ted The Great

Fun Factoids:

The Bible is the most shoplifted book in the world. Thou shalt not steal.

All eyes are blue at birth. Light changes the colors. The eye stays the same size throughout your life. A sight for sore eyes.

The Interstate system was formed for national defense in the 1950‘s. One mile out of five has to be straight so it can be used as an emergency landing field. Duck and cover.

If Barbie was life sized she would have measurements of 39-23-33 and I would change my name to Ken and play with dolls.

The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

Trust Me….

You know the routine. Good looking guy meets baby blue eyes. He will tell you anything you want to hear. You are the most important thing in my life. Is it love? Well sort of. Will you respect me in the morning? Well sort of. This is not a lover‘s tryst. It’s a political campaign.

If you are in the Bible Belt, you love Jesus. If you are in New York or San Fran, you are suave and sophisticated. If you are on Wall Street, you love money. If you are in the Midwest, you eat corn dogs. The South, ribs and plenty of them. Don’t forget your drawl. Left. Right. Who cares? What do you want to hear?

Of course, you know me. I have only heard of this woman chasing thing but I can see living proof of the tawdry lineup of unabashed political solicitations every day and night. They ought to bathe everything in a red glow. Hey sailor going my way? Sorry Kath, that was when I was single. Actually the thought of Newt putting moves on someone is kind of disturbing. That’s just me.

Trust is simply defined. I have confidence in you to get the job done. I am going to rely on you. You have character, strength and ability. Fade to black. Who if anyone comes to mind? How has this little institution called government done on any of those counts?

You start with party platforms. Details matter. Talk to the candidate about specifics and you get a W.C. Fields, “Go away kid, you bother me.” Look on our website. We are just talking concept here. I dare anyone to take any part platform of elected presidents or majority parties in the last few years and tell me anyone that has accomplished anything of significance. Trust me.

Let’s take Barak on just some key points. Transparency was the byword and then he goes out and hires Rahm Emanuel. Great. We are going to have policies on energy, the deficit and education. I am going to nail immigration he says. What we have gotten is a collection of incompetent do gooders that were  going to conquer Washington and got run over by the train. Kind of like going from college to the NFL. Different game.

But let’s not forget good old “W”. He started off with a surplus and left the place in shambles. His Republican cronies amped up spending(when they said they were going to cut) to the point where even McCain said they were spending like drunken sailors. I know about those kind of guys. Rummy, Cheney and Rove pulled the strings of a nice guy who was just a puppet. Another guy in over his head.

So let’s look what we have coming up. We have Romney who has filliped flopped extraordinare. He tells people he can feel their pain after earning $20 mill last year. Make all the money you want, just don’t tell middle class America that you are one of them. It doesn’t play in Peoria.

Now  Newt is a wonderful guy. He was thrown out by his own party as Speaker. Went before an ethics committee and coughed up $300,000. He is on his third wife. Canned one in the hospital when she was suffering from cancer. X’ed the next one after fooling around with one of his aides. Now says he is a changed man and found religion. Where do I sign up to back this guy? Or his religion.

And it goes on. The lobbying and hush money. The back door deals when you leave the government. Plenty of perks. Plenty of partying. Plenty of just knowing what strings to pull.

We had dinner last week with a lobbyist and former senatorial staff member for Barry Goldwater. I asked if  there is any way this mess can work? They both said only if you get rid of the money. And the ultra Conservative added that the worst of the bunch was Wall Street. As long as there is chaos and indecision, Wall Street thrives. Their money is everywhere.  His words not mine.

I have always felt trust is something that is earned over time not bestowed by title. Sit back for a moment. Close your eyes. Tell me if you would trust your favorite politician with your husband or wife? How about a guy like Anthony Weiner with your daughter as an intern? How about Charlie Rangel, Mitch McConnell or Nancy Pelosi with your investments?

How about the management of your affairs with any of them. You know we are doing just that. And I don’t trust a one. You want my vote? Earn my trust. You have a long way to go.

As always

Ted the Great


The governor of North Dakota reported on FOX News that the State Department could not rule on the Keystone. All the states had submitted permits with the exception of Nebraska. Nebraska couldn’t get it done with their legislature objecting. It wasn’t going to happen. Did any one hear about that? Either Republicans or Obama pulled a “wink wink”. Maybe both. Trust me.

Congress is immune or exempted from “insider trading” statutes.

The so called STOCK bill to end this is littered with loopholes. For one you can’t act as a congressman but it is okay if you pass that information onto your spouse. Trust me.

Go up and down K Street and you will find untold numbers of former government officials and congressman on the building rosters. This is while they are collecting congressional pensions.

Generals and Admirals are hired immediately upon retirement by contractors they did business with for years. Wish I could say the same about the poor  bastard grunts and sailors that got them there. Trust me.

PS: So you don’t think I am a total grouch. I go to Hopsice on Mondays. I have a special buddy there who is 94 and failing. He was in the US Navy and I always ask for permission to come aboard before I enter the room. We just talk. I didn’t think he would be there yesterday when I came. He was but very weak. I said I thought the two of  us should go on liberty and drink beer and chase women. His weary eyes lit up and we laughed. He said,”We’re not going to tell the wives are we?” I said your secret is safe.Don’t tell anyone. Life is good. Request permission to go ashore?

I’ve Been Rich….

You know the two Jewish maxims. “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor…rich is better” and “You can never be too rich or too skinny”. I think I agree with both. Now the question becomes rich in what?

Lately the rich are under attack. Big time. People even accuse me of being against the rich. Au contraire, mon ami. I love rich people and just hope they keep inviting me and Kathy places. I am not talking about pseudos. I want the crème de la crème. Actually the diatribes are somewhat absurd. I know some very nice well heeled people.

The Sunday NY Times had a fascinating article as to what it takes to be in the top 1%. I guess it really depends on where you are living. Stamford is a lot different than Abilene. Let’s just say there are a boatload of people that make a lot of money and let’s get over it. And let’s just say we would all love to be there. Why else would we buy LOTTO tickets?

Growing up, I guess we were well to do but I never felt particularly wealthy. On the North Shore of Long Island there were some seriously rich people. The Whitneys, Huttons, Phipps et al were quietly interspersed in Manhasset, Brookville Sands Point, and Lloyds Harbor.

I actually used to take tennis lessons at Alistair Martin’s (of Martin Marietta fame) estate. My teacher had a deal with him to use the indoor court that looked like mansion in its own right. I played one Sunday at Sherman Fairchild’s (of Fairchild Electronics) estate. On weekends, Shermy had a jazz combo playing in the living room for no other reason than he liked to listen to music. No big deal.

I think where this thing goes awry is how the elite handle it. Do you flaunt it or take it in stride. My dad and mom used to have the heads of the bond departments of Citibank, JP Morgan and Marine Midland over on a Saturday night. All brought their wives and my mother cooked. No it wasn’t fancy restaurants or high priced bottles of wine or limos. It’s just the way it was. Times have changed.

I think the internet and 24 hour news has a lot to do with it. That and I guess  the ones I will call the nouveaus. In today’s world people love to tell you how much this or that cost. How big their house is and how many they have. Forbes 100 Wealthiest. Old line rich wore their Izod shirts forever and faded. They had long driveways for the most part to shun publicity not to have people ooh and aah.

Beyonce just had a baby at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. They had bullet proof glass installed in the maternity ward. No one could go out of their room while she was out of her’s. Are you friggin’ kidding me? Ellen Nordgren is tearing down a $17 million house in Jupiter because of termites. And will build an even bigger one will replace it. Maybe with a high wall to keep Tigers out.

Larry Ellison of Oracle has a 474 foot yacht which is only the second largest in the world. The Rising Sun has one distinction and an important one. It is larger than Microsoft Paul Allen’s. He is actually building a new one. And you thought size didn’t matter.

Now look, if you have tons of money I could care less. You earned it somehow and how you spend it is none of my business. But do you really get how this looks to the rest of the world? You say mind your own business. But I am here to tell you that unfortunately it’s in everyone’s craw today.

Years ago before the media and the incorporating of wealth, no one knew how wealthy people were. They just guessed. Now Wall Street is publicly held. Entertainment, the Internet, and biotech have created wunderkinds in both mind and salary. Subtlety and understated are not part of the vernacular today.

To the ultra rich I say, just get a little class. Understand that the world is not an easy place. It’s not so much empathy as it is brains. Or as I say, “Neat but not gaudy”. Enjoy it but don’t shove it down people’s throats. Larry Ellison actually made that new yacht smaller when he realized there were not “intimate” spaces on the old one. Whatever!

To the not so rich I say, get over it. They really don’t have to share a thing.They should to some degree but don’t bet on it. But there are also many ways to measure wealth and success. The grass looks greener but in many ways it is not all it is cranked up to be. There are a number of happy swells but then again there really are some things money can’t buy. Just ask them.

As always

Ted The Great


The largest private yacht in the world is 538 feet long and has 15 staterooms and a crew of 70. There are six onboard tenders and room for three helicopters.  It is owned by a Russian billionaire.

The largest private home under construction in the US is a 90,000 square foot cottage being built by Hollywood mogul David Segal in Windermere. Fl.

The highest paid exec in the land is McKesson’s John Hammergren who weighs in at $131 million last year. Jamie Dimon only came in 12th at $42 million. Piker

The highest paid athlete is still Tiger at $75 mill. Kobe and Lebron are around $50 million. $50 million is the equivalent of earning $500,000 for 100 years.

Why are they occupying Wall Street and not movie theaters, sports arenas, Oracle and Facebook?

Have I Told You Lately…….

If you have never heard Van Morrison’s, “Have I told You Lately That I love You” or if you haven’t heard it in awhile, Google it.It’s great to listen to or to sing in the car or whatever strange people like me do. It let’s your mind wander and then come back to the marvelous lilt of the chorus. Good stuff.

The fun part of the song is that it could be to God(which many people believe it is), to your lover, child or maybe even your self. Not narcissism in the last sense but a little pat on the back that maybe no one else is giving you. Go ahead. I won’t tell.

It is interesting to watch someone like Morrison evolve. He was born in Northern Ireland and he and I have punished 66 years. He probably has an ego but his compositions don’t expose that. He is soulful and open. He writes in a train of thought. Wonder why I love it?

I am working with a friend on a project that delves into human emotion and how we translate that into communication of sorts. As poor old Ted’s Head goes poring through my ups and downs of life, I see the human condition craves for honesty and openness and yet we are so afraid to do so.

We harbor fears and guilt. Some merited. Some just stupid things locked up for days, months and years. We think no one will ever love me if they know this or that. We opine that no one has ever gone through this before and yet we are all prisoners of the same trepidations.

We pay psycho docs hundreds of dollars per hour just to spill our guts. But that is just because he won’t tell anyone. We get a trainer at the gym and spend most of the time talking about ourselves inside and not our bodies. I used to hit balls at the back end of the driving range at Desert Mountain. A golf teacher used  to give his lessons there. I asked this guy if he was a psychologist or teacher. He said, “Both. But don’t tell anyone, okay?”

Guys don’t talk openly. “What do I want to talk about that touchy feely shit for?” It really makes them uneasy. They cop out and call it weak. It takes more strength than they know. Women talk but only to other women. They feel persecuted. Both feel their side is more than willing to talk. The marriage ends because “He or she doesn’t understand me”. No kidding.

This thing called love is most of all trust. I may have said this before. My Alzheimer’s can’t go back through 60 blogs and not repeat myself.  When we meet someone we like, we spend hours talking and getting to know each other. We look for common interests. Can’t get enough. Then we  get married and move about our business. Sorry. Too busy. Catch you later honey. Gotta go.  I think we are exhibiting a little cold feet here. Don’t want them to get too close.  Jeez, he or she may not love me.

Love says here I am warts and all. I will give but expect nothing in return. I trust you will not burn me or reject me for my failings. But most of all I will ACCEPT you for who you are. You are not a work in progress, I do not love you because if I can just change two or three things you will be perfect. I love You because you are You.Not in spite of you.

Give without holding back. Take that concept and apply it to God. Very cool.  How about friends? Country? It’s getting better.  What about your spouse or significant other? Not just a peck on the cheek but a good long kiss. Look in their eye and say “I love you.” Wow TTG! You are losing it.

Look I am not saying I have it down pat. Kathy will be the first of many to tell you how badly I fall short. But at least I have a target and I have a saying, “If you don’t aim high, you don’t hit high.” I guess what I am really saying is don’t sell yourself short. Don’t lose great opportunities for love and friendship because you are afraid to go outside the lines. Be open not closed. Sure you have a lot of crap in there. Don’t we all?

I was about to say I am sorry for being such a cornball. But no, that is me. I have had a great week of human interaction. I hope people have opened a little to me and I to them. I am learning from Tebow. Say what you want, the kid is real…and refreshing. He is honest to a fault. Not just in football but in life.

We here inhabitants of Denver are a mile high right now. The pulse of this city is vibrant and carefree. “Let’s just have fun and maybe prove them wrong. But enjoy the ride.” Around here it is not only football but a way of life. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.  And that feels pretty good.

Have I told you lately that I love you? Probably not but I am now.

As always

Ted The Great


Have I Told You Lately  Partial Lyrics

——Van Morrison

Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there’s no one above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles, that’s what you do

How many different applications could you have?

I just looked up “self help” books on Amazon. There were 138,549 results. There’s  even a website to help pick the right one.

Secret. Adjective:

1.Kept hidden from knowledge or view; concealed.

2.Dependably discreet.

3.Operating in a hidden or confidential manner: a secret agent.

4.Not expressed; inward: their secret thoughts.

We spent $7.17 billion on psychotherapy last year. We spent overall $2.3 trillion on medicine. I am not sure what the hell this factoid means but I thought it was interesting. Pax.

The New Normal

With all due credit to Muhamed  ElArian of PIMCO, the New Normal is upon us. We see it in the markets, in our technology, in our everyday lives, in our politics and most of all in our world. This is not a slow moving local. It is a high speed train that you either get on or get run over by.

Now some will espouse the theory of singularity. It is the time when man feels he can create a machine that is smarter than a human brain. Some put that time at somewhere in the 2030’s. If they were comparing it to mine, it might be a lot sooner. A little out there. I think I can wait.

That’s not what I am talking about. It’s more about a breakaway from the past. Of course we all long for the good old days of Leave It to Beaver, the Fonz and live TV. Sorry gang. Ain’t gonna happen. Politicians crave for a more simplistic world with no regulations. The way they get things done I would not hold my breath there either.

I think most of us really understand the meaning of progress as well as regression. We ride this fad or good time and then can pretty much figure out the bubble. Usually a little too late but we still get it.

Take markets. Buy and hold really isn’t appropriate any more. Not so much that companies don’t work as much as when you buy them. Supercomputers have the edge and you can be up or down 2-5% in a matter of moments. If it is the darling you are in clover. If you are being shorted, you are dead.

Housing is another good example. Being a market, it tends like all others to exaggerate swings for better or worse. Did you really think you could not lose money on real estate? Probably in the 60’s to early 2000’s you couldn’t go down but all good things must come to an end….or a least a pause. How incredibly naïve we can be.

High school diplomas don’t amount to much and unfortunately doing a cost analysis on that college sheepskin is not going to guarantee untold riches. They are now telling us, thank God, that we have too many lawyers. Sorry Dick. And MBA’s. But we are missing scientists, math doctors, and engineers. My how the pendulum swings.

Cars last ten years. You don’t buy one every two or three years unless you are my daughter Megan. You can’t put too many more bells and whistles on the flat screen TVs. The world seems to have drawn a line at 3D. You really look like a dork wearing those glasses.

We are in a global world. The internet has enabled the masses to make themselves heard. And whether they are in Egypt, Libya, Syria, or Greece,  it throws economies and markets into turmoil. We have an amazing clash of cultures and moralities. Religion? I wouldn’t dare touch it with only a passing reference.

And all the while people will clamor for peace and quiet. Their lives are a blur. I love solitude but it is pretty nigh impossible to find. Six days at sea was a dream if you left the internet alone. But I think we are hooked.

The pundits will tell you that a third party does not have a chance because of boots on the ground and support from big money. Tell that to Mubarak, Quadaffi, and maybe even Putin. Cyberspace does not cost anything except for content. Money? With the right message you can raise million in a matter of hours.

I watched fiasco after fiasco in Washington. Eric Cantor calls it just part of the political process. I call it a lot of jaded men and women that don’t seem to get it. They won’t know what hit them.

In sum I am expectant and intrigued. I really believe that a lot of us have gotten that New Normal. We have made adjustments financially as well as to our principles. Doesn’t mean we have given them up but we have reexamined them and found out what works and what doesn’t. At least we are giving it a try.

The Jesuits have an education philosophy that teaches you to question everything. It is throwing old hat and conviction by osmosis aside. It is only by casting doubt on a principle that you can really understand what it is you believe.

Look. I love Oldies but Goodies. Would I love to put my life on automatic for the next 20-30 years? It is a nice thought. But I am a citizen of the world. It is throwing new challenges at me that textbooks don’t always solve. I want to be aware and ready. That train is not going to get by me. I’ll get used to the modern interior and besides  I like the view.

As always

Ted The Great


We all worry about us or our kids getting a job. A plumber, mechanic or electrician will charge $75 and up to come to our house. And if you don’t think he has work, how long does it take him to respond to your phone call?

More Americans approve of polygamy, pornography, Nixon and even Obama more than they do the Congress.

High frequency trading is highly quantitative using complex algorithms to analyze data and automatically buy or sell huge amounts of stock.  These trades now account for 75% of the volume of stock trading on any given day

Internet Usage

Africa 1billion pop. 4.5 mill users(2000) 118 million(2011)                                                            Asia 3.9 billion pop.114 million users(2000) 922 million(2011)                                            Europe 816 million pop. 105 mill users(2000) 476 million(2011)                                              Mideast 216 million pop.  3.2 million users(2000) 68.5million(2011)                           N.Amer.    347 million pop. 108 million users(2000) 273 mill (2011)                                       Lat Amer. 597 million  pop.18 million users(2000) 215 mill (2011)                                    Oceania 35 million pop.  7 million users (2000) 21 million (2011)

World Tot  6.93 billion pop.  360 mill users(2000) 2.1 bill (2011)