Chinks In The Armor…

Well the boys in Rome are at it again. I thought Catholics of every age were taught by nuns. Even cardinals and popes. You don’t mess with the good sisters. They can get back at you in strange and mysterious ways. And still the Curia says do it my way or the highway. It’s our ball and you play by our rules. No exceptions.

Fair enough. But you also seem like a bunch of old men trying to keep the status quo. I locked horns with a higher up whom I believe was a decent person. He simply stated that I could think whatever way I wanted, but in the end I had to step back in line and obey. You can probably imagine how that sat with TTG.

I was challenged last week by a good friend and reader to talk about things like women, religion and other tough subjects. Once again she hit the right buttons and Ted’s Head has been ruminating ever since. Here goes.

Status quo is so comfy. Play by the rules and don’t rock the boat. Agnosticism is not saying I don’t believe per se but that what you are professing just doesn’t make sense given reality and the current data available. To that person it is unknown or unknowable. Why does that scare us? Why do we want to rip that person to shreds in the court or dare I say church of public opinion.

It gets better as you surround yourself with believers. You all agree this or that person is a jerk. You can recite the catechism but do you really know what the Our Father is saying? You put some money in the plate but are you really charitable? This isn’t just religion but democracy, capitalism and a dozen other principles by which we lead our lives.

The gang in Rome, Washington and Wall Street all sing from the hymnal. A few are off key but you know the tune. Don’t you dare introduce something new. Even worse don’t introduce a new instrument. We know and you follow. They have this incredible ability to assume that they are right and ergo everyone else is wrong.

I have at various points in time doubted my faith. As you can probably tell I am doubting my religion right now. That to me is not a bad thing. Unless you really think about what you believe and doubt it to its core, it really is nothing more than rote.

And yet Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims fear agnostics and atheists. Liberals fear libertarians. Democrats and Republicans vote in lockstep. Gays. Straights. Whites. Blacks. Is it that we know we are right or do we really fear that we might be wrong that makes us so pigheaded? Are we coming from a position of strength or are we professing symptoms of fear.

I watched a fascinating interview between Charlie Rose and the neuroscientist, Jonah Lehrer. He has just written a book entitled “Imagine How Creativity Works.” He made a rather startling statement that K-12 does more to squelch creativity than any other period in our lives. Kids are unruly. Teach them to behave not explore. It is the only way we are going to get through this lesson plan. Gotta keep up.

As I thought more and more about life I realized it is probably a lot more than K-12. Do large corporations or our government embrace new thoughts? What about that partisan that really believes this or that law is wrong but has to vote for it? My God, why on heaven’s green earth would Augusta let women into their hallowed fairways?

Yes I crave a little chaos and change. If the dam springs a leak here and there it might get a little scary but then again it might irrigate some fallow ground. I should just ride off into the sunset. I should have all the answers. I should say the world will somehow make it. But there is this gnawing urge in my poor little brain to try and find a better way. Explore more. Challenge myself. Not exactly blowing things up but for sure spending time tinkering with the engine.

Bless me Father I have doubted you. I hold these truths to be self evident….sorta. I think instead of preaching to you I am just going to try to be a better person. Maybe something stupid like doing unto others. Maybe taking a little from Column A and Column B as opposed to being one dimensioned. You know when you have a chink in the armor and it is old, most of the time you fix it with a new and improved metal. I am no metalurgist but if  I am not mistaken that makes it stronger not weaker.

As always

Ted The Great


The human brain weighs approx 3lbs.It is a muscle and like all good muscles must be exercised or it atrophies.

We have 100 billion neurons in our brain or about the same number of stars in our galaxy. We have on the order of 70,000 thoughts per day. Some good. Some bad

The brain is 2% of our weight but uses 20% of the energy consumed by our bodies.

Juggling can change our brain significantly in just 7 days. Learning new things can change our brain dramatically. Imagine that.

Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Galileo, Da Vinci, Einstein et alia accomplished all they did without computers.





Merry Go Round or Roller Coaster ?

I spent some time this morning just thinking and jotting notes. We were about 300 miles from Denver and Kathy was doing the anchor leg. We had gotten to mile 1500 leaving Jacksonville on early Sunday. Rather than doing our usual run for home we decided to stop in beautiful Hays, Kansas. We gained an hour in time zones, so we left in the dark at 5:45 AM.

A cup of coffee and some great music had me drifting off into reverie as the sun’s first rays were caught by the newly greened plains. I love this time of the morning and it was great to just let go. I thought of our trip and friends far and wide, new and old. I thought of places and scenes and conversations that I only wish I could put into words better.

There were a few that stood out. One was a friend whose husband had died four years earlier. We had lost track over the years, so there was no way I could have known of his passing but I couldn’t help but feel a deep pang of guilt. She was gracious and welcoming and we spoke of fun times as she took us through the house and we stopped at this picture or that. A wonderful afternoon.

Another was an evening we spent with a couple we hadn’t seen in thirty years. I called their number and when my buddy answered I pretended to be an insurance salesman. He hung up. Then as I kept calling, he kept hanging up. I used to sit next to him on Wall Street  so I was having a good laugh as I knew each call would get him more and more pissed off. You see when you work on a trading desk the thing you can’t stand is a ringing phone.

When his wife finally answered I managed to blurt out my name before I was clicked into oblivion. We went out to dinner and wound up talking for three and a half hours. It was amazing that after so long we were able to melt away the years. We spoke of nothing but good times.

The most poignant meeting I had was brief but startling. I was over at the beach smoking my birthday cigar with a healthy vodka and diet tonic. I chatted briefly with a fellow who was taking a break from a long bike ride. Feeling a little self conscious about my stogie, I quickly pronounced the significance of the date and that I had run 5 miles that morning. He seemed nonplussed.

We were soon joined by a very attractive young woman. God is good sometimes to TTG. She was in beach togs and a ball cap pulled down low and had an infectious smile. She was from L.A. A graphic designer in movie land. She was staying in Ponte Vedra for a couple of months. As she was talking excitedly, she knocked her hat off. She was as bald as yours truly.

Mayo Clinic was nearby. She was undergoing chemo and radiation for breast cancer. I didn’t ask how advanced but I knew it was not a walk in the park. We spoke of my work in hospice in a very matter of fact way. She came down to the beach every day after treatment. It was her reward for getting through the day. This very cool lady had her stuff together….at least on the outside.

All of us shared something of ourselves. She finally asked me if I was a merry go round or a roller coaster. Stumped, I asked for clarification. She stated a merry go round is very happy to go in circles. The ups and downs are more than predictable and appear on cue. A roller coaster is full of wild turns casting one’s self and anyone in the car on a dizzying ride. Both fun but in different ways. You’ll never guess which one I picked?

We chatted a while longer and then I left. A short talk. A lifetime of lessons. I was definitely taken by the siren’s song. No, not the pretty woman but the life by the sea. A day filled with what time I would play golf or have cocktails on the beach does have its allure.  Don’t worry Kath. It could be in Florida or Denver. That’s not the point. For all these miles I keep going over in my mind whether both rides can fit in the same amusement park. Will I ever know? Will you?

As always

Ted The Great


Crazy Things:

People in Missouri and Kansas are separated by one river, the Missouri. But they really hate each other. I thought it was a joke until I started asking around.Florida and FSU is the same but they are in the same state

There was a flashing sign in Colby Kansas…pop 5,000. “Golf Cart Replacement Batteries are In”. What? We didn’t even see a golf course.

Signs on trucks: Jones Septic Repair and Removal “We Suck”

Ace Electric Company…”We Can’t Wait to Get Into Your Shorts”

Crop Duster at 4:00…not a bogie but the time they do their work. When the winds die down.

Going through Kansas and Colorado there were oil wells and huge wind farms. In Florida we never saw wind turbines or solar arrays….anywhere.

We went through seven states coming and going. Signs everywhere….Help Wanted ?????? Also we saw a never ending line of big ass pick up trucks. All cruising and burning high priced gas. Business must be good.


Ted’s Commandment….


I write this on the first day of my 67th year. Like the screwball I am, I went out and ran 7 ½ miles on Saturday and then another 5 today. We all have our own definition of running, so stick it. I made it. That is all that counts.

When you run a fair distance you get into what is called a runner’s high. After a while you don’t keep track of the miles. They just keep going by. It is a great time to think. The only real bad part is that at my age I can’t remember how to get home. That only gets compounded when you are in a strange place. Kathy keeps hoping a large hungry gator will get me.

I decided to put on paper my commandments. These are for me and the rest of my life. I call them commandments because nothing is more motivating than Irish Catholic guilt. If you like them feel free to borrow. Add to or subtract.

I: No one is any better or worse than myself. I have learned on my trip that everyone has their slice of heaven. It would be arrogant to criticize. Hard as it may be I will try to love everyone…especially me.

II: I am trying the best I can. I may screw up but I am human. I may think I am real cool but I am not. Just don’t yell at me because I have a loud voice or that I clown around. That’s me.

III: Everything that happens in my life, good or bad, is the result of a decision I make. I cannot and will not be a victim. If I don’t like the outcome I only have myself to blame and should rely on me to get me out of it.

IV: I will apply the worst of what if to everything. Okay you screwed up. What is the worst thing that can happen. Keep applying “reductio ad absurdum.” Thing really aren’t that hopeless. I will survive.

V: Thou shalt not rue the day. I can’t take back what I wrote 5 seconds ago. I haven’t a real clue what will happen tomorrow. I will try to live in the here and now. It is really the only absolute.

VI: Thou shalt not kill….ideas, hopes, dreams, love. I will try to bring out the best in people and not put them down. My way is not the highway. Nurture discovery and creativity. Don’t be a cold wash cloth or downer. The world is your oyster….and everyone else’s.

VII: Always be different. Sing at the top of your lungs. Enjoy a good cigar or Middletons. Enjoy a great wine even if it is just by the glass. Show your kids and grandkids you have a whole lot of crazy in you. Listen to Rock and Roll, classical or jazz and turn the volume up real high. Air guitars and beer bottle mikes are allowed. Wear crazy shoes. A bow tie. It really feels good.

VIII: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods. Sure he may have more than you but does he really have as much fun? The grass is not always greener. If you had it all what would you have to look forward to. I guess I have a lot to anticipate. As for coveting your neighbor’s spouse we will have to discuss that dilemma in another forum.

IX: Do not waste time. Live every moment as if it was your last. It might be. Have a bucket list. You know the game where you are asked what you would do if you had a month to live? Why not do it right now.

X: Have fun each and every day. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It cost nothing to find some bay or stream or mountain and just look out at it. Hug your wife, your kids, your grandkids or whoever you are hanging around with. Scare the crap out of someone by coming out of nowhere and telling them you love them. Make someone’s day besides your own.

That’s it. I have a full day ahead of me. So much to do. So little time. Have a great day. I really do LOVE you all!

As Always

Ted The Great

The human heart only weighs around 10 ounces. They break. They soar. They finally give out. But what a run.

Actually the heart beats 2.5 billion times during a lifetime. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

The average worker wastes 2 hours a day at work. That adds up to $759 billon per annum.

The average lifetime in the U.S. is 78.3. The average healthy age is a little over 71 years. The highest average lifetime is 82 in Japan and Switzerland.

7 of the 10 Commandments are the basis of law in most Western countries.






A Book by Its Cover…

I used to be one of the worst about first impressions and still falter significantly. As the song goes, “Just one look”. Not only on the personal side but of different regions of the country. I think that goes back to my days as a New Yorker. Of course there was nothing worthwhile west of the Hudson. Then I moved to New Jersey.

The old joke about what exit do you live on the New Jersey Turnpike has run its course. We lived in Morris County that was dotted with well to do estates and a park system second to none. I was actually quite happy more people were unaware of its beauty.

Then we moved to Colorado. Incredibly there are over 310 days of sunshine per year. Probably more with global warming creeping up. People used to ask what we did in the summer. Ski? Don’t you miss New York? Not exactly.

We have now crisscrossed the Sunshine state. Most do it by air. We are on the road. As we went from the east to the west coast there were miles and miles of farm land. (Actually the distance as the crow flies is about 140 miles.) Acres upon acres of citrus orchards. Towns like DeSoto, Okeechobee, and Arcadia. Who ever heard of these places? And yet like all the other states with burghs and villages, there are people that call it home and it is the source of their livelihood.

Forget about geography. How many people live in Florida? What is the percentage of those that are over 65? Over 45? How many miles of coastline? You can actually come up with 16 metropolitan regions. From the elite of Palm Beach, Vero and Naples to the urban venues of Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville. Gainesville, Tallahassee and the Redneck Riviera of Destin and Panama City. A lot more than meets the eye. By the way 18.8 million human beings call this home. 15% over 65. Believe it! And the population over 45 years of age does not equal the half way mark.

Megan and I were walking down the beach and there were kids celebrating spring break replete with kegs and music. Next door was an elderly couple on the beach. He was wrapped from head to toe in towels to avoid the sun. She was sunning by his side. Kind of just enjoying each other. Somehow this patchwork quilt works.

You have got to gravitate towards judging people. It is so easy to quickly categorize into groups of this educational achievement or economic strata. You see an old black man or woman and you automatically think poor and uneducated. You see a pickup truck and presto you have a redneck. You see an old Buick and of course they are old farts going to dinner at 4:30. It’s probably the way George Zimmerman looked at Treyvon Martin. Never asked. How sad.

New York City cops believe all Muslims are evil. The 95% are sure the 5% are out to screw them. The 5% believes the 95% are lazy pariahs. So many feel they are owed…entitled. So many are entitled by birth and feel they owe nothing. Have you ever gotten to know an Hispanic, an African American, a gay or lesbian? Our paintbrushes have such a wide stripe and see so little detail.

I don’t understand the plight of Israel. Afghanis, Iranians, Indonesians, and Afrikaners. I just don’t get how people could be such brutal segregationists? How you could own slaves? How you could have an abortion? How you could take joy in watching someone be executed? Are they just really lousy at explaining themselves or am I so stupid, I don’t know how to shut up and listen?

I have lost over 15 pounds. Of course I am smug about fat people. I can write a line or two and look askance because you can’t even finish high school. I am pompous about being a moderate. I have money and you are struggling to just get by. I wonder who is really ignorant here?

I just hope you don’t judge this book by its cover. I have got a lot to tell. I think I will rework the jacket. Maybe a new picture. I’ll do the same for you. Then with a little luck we won’t be put in the “Bargain Bin” at Barnes and Noble…. just yet.

As always

Ted the Great



1200 miles of coastline. Over 11,000 miles of rivers and canals.

The Everglades is made up of over 10,000 islands. The area has been inhabited for over 15,000 years. In the 1800’s John Audubon noted the sky would sometimes grow black with birds. 93% of the wading bird population has vanished.

Population 18.8 million. Over 65.. 3.2 million roughly 15%. 45-64…5.079 million roughly 27%. 25-44 ….4.7 million roughly 25%

At 38,000 square miles the state is roughly the size of England and Wales combined.

There are over 1000 golf courses in Florida