Theater of The Absurd

“All the world is a stage” sayeth the bard extraordinaire and “men and women are merely players.” There are so many examples of two bit players in the world today that one does not know where to start. It is almost as if we are reaching out to anyone who will give it a try.

We could work the international scene for our first casting call. Eight European leaders have been tossed in the economic turmoil with each one claiming to have the right answers. Buffoons like Berlusconi and Sarkozy prance and dance for the part of court jesters. Merkel say let them eat cake and the Greeks don’t care who it is as long as they don’t have to pay for it.

Greece leads the way with paying non jobs. They assign 8-10 people to ride the state railway with only one or two collecting tickets. They are notorious for not paying their taxes. In Athens, they take to the air to find houses with swimming pools hidden from view showing wealth tucked away quietly. Spain, Portugal and Italy are not far behind. Look out below!

President Assad of Syria mows down people with lawn mower like precision and says the devil made him do it. The UN, after lengthy discussions says he is the one who made him do it. Nothing changes. First you say you do and then you don’t Iran, says there is nothing wrong with enriched uranium. Come on in and have a look see but on second thought maybe we shouldn’t open the kimono too far..

Karzai looks at us with a straight face saying, “Get out” but don’t forget to keep the checks in the mail. Thanks for nothing. By the way whatever happened to us being paid back in oil from our close friends in Iraq? South Korea buys Iranian oil but says it doesn’t count because Seoul demands the money be spent on South Korean goods. Gets to your Soul doesn’t it. We forgot Uncle Sam. Thanks again for your support and assistance for the last 60 years. And in return they gave us Rev Sung Yung Moon.

Moving right along to the good old U S of A, we are all getting in place for our quadrennial fiasco. Mitt will tell you how he is a turnaround specialist. He’s right. I have seen him turn around with the greatest of ease. Barack  aka Barry The Crooner will tell or sing to you what you want to hear. It is always Bush’s fault. But wasn’t that four years ago? He ran on a transparency agenda. It is transparent all right and it ain‘t good..

Desperate Housewives, America’s Got Talent, The Biggest Loser, Mike and Molly, Two and A Half Men put us all right up there in the running for extras in Ben Hur, Conan the Barbarian and Planet of the Apes. Your are what you watch. This ladies and gentleman is why negative political advertising works. We don’t have to dumb down on things. We are already there.

But when we come down to the finalists I say pack your bags if you are not dressed in red. Not the Lady in Red. I am talking about the guys in the funny hats, obis and lace sleeve ornaments. That’s right, none other than the College of Cardinals. They cut their teeth on “Grumpy Old Men” and now with their talents refined are bringing down the house in Rome. Literally.

I am a Catholic but probably not for long. I really don’t want to go as I have told you often of our great parish here in Denver with marvelous singing and a fantastic young priest.  I will be drummed out for raising my voice in dissension and criticism. How dare you, TTG?  Don’t you know we speak infallibly?

Guys and Dolls,this is really the theater of the absurd. You take a deeply moral but basic principle of “Do unto others” and then have as your mission to spread that word throughout the world. Sit people down in simple surroundings and show by example that material possessions don’t really matter. Feed the hungry and help the poor. I don’t know what drives me crazier, the glitz and glitter of the Vatican Museums or the picture of the Pope being served the finest wine from crystal carafes by his butler.

Let me be clear on one thing, the message was never more pertinent than it is now. It is the messengers that have gone severely astray. Funny how that happens in religion, politics, business ethics and the like.

The problem is now that we have lost our way who can we call on to lead us back? Maybe a hidden star or starlet waiting in the wings to be discovered. My quandary in our little theater of life is whether it is a comedy or tragedy? Probably a little of both.

As always

Ted The Great.


Greece’s top tax scofflaws number 4,152 and owe 14.88 billion Euros. On the other hand Christine La Garde whom I consider to be a very savvy and sharp head of the IMF  who recently chastised the Greeks, pays no taxes of her own because the IMF is an international  institution.

Iraq now has the largest pool of proven oil reserves at 350 billion barrels.

South Korea upped its imports of Iranian oil by 42% in the month of April and records are not available yet for May but it may top that increase. Shanks for nothing.

The Vatican beyond priceless art treasures has billions upon billions in solid gold ingots. They are stored securely in vaults  at the Fed, England and Switzerland. Remember those starving children in Africa.








I Assume……

You know the old adage, the first three letters of assume are ASS. But I will assume you are all reasonably intelligent despite your current penchant for reading material. Most of you have been exposed to business in one shape or fashion so I hope the following makes sense.

The most critical aspect of our financial futures as individuals and a country is tied up in a broad subject called medicine. Some facts and figures for the uninitiated. Medicine in the early nineties was as was defense and education 5-6% of GDP. It is currently 17% and if estimates hold true that will be 25% by 2020.

I watched a segment on TV this week that spoke of the work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There is a doctor and small staff that studies and tries to diagnose several hundred diseases we don’t even have names for. Literally symptoms and outcomes that we don’t know where they came from. They might affect only 100-200 people.

There was an article in our local paper about a Bubble Boy who has no immune system. Another woman is now able to move her paralyzed body by literally willing it to do so. It seems they have hooked electrodes to her brain and those impulses are relayed to a computer allowing artificial limbs to move. That’s the great part.

The bad part is that in all good things, they cost money. And I stand here unabashedly telling you there is a finite amount of money in this man’s world. It has to be allocated  to where it will do the most good for the common cause. That is not morality. It is reality.

We have promised the impossible. We have shown that we can keep people alive indefinitely. We have implanted limbs and vital organs in ways we could never dream. We have instilled hope through medical breakthroughs that help people just hang on hoping for a cure. We are rocked head on by a medical community and a public fervor that says heal at any cost. As is usual we’ll put it on the tab and worry about it later.

I know I sound like Simon Legree but I would really like one of you very sharp business types to tell me how to do this and not go broke. Let’s not forget we have 50 million Baby Boomers who are going to die no matter what we develop. Just put a number of $100,000 per person on end of life medical costs. Don’t worry it is trillions over the next 30-40 years. In today’s numbers.

Man what a bummer you are TTG! Guilty as charged. Wait a minute. You are talking about rationing, you say. Call Congress. Call the AARP. Call the VFW. Call the ACLU. Lock that crazy son of a bitch up. He is a dissident. A terrorist. How dare you bring the realities of monetary policy into life and death? Again. Guilty to the core.

Now I know what you are thinking. If you are young you want those resources for you and your children. If you are old you will get on some high horse about how you have worked hard and deserve every last nickel. If you are smart you will figure out a way to deal with it.

I really believe every man woman and child is entitled to basic medical care. If you have pneumonia, break a limb, suffer a heart attack or stroke you are more than deserving of immediate medical treatment. Beyond that it gets dicey.

You know I work with the dying through my work in hospice. Maybe I have a different view but it is not maudlin. I see nature take its course. I quite frankly find it more macabre to see someone laying there with tubes and ventilators hanging from every orifice trying to wring just a  few more breaths out of a broken body. Frantic resuscitations to live another day. There is a strange thing called quality of life.

As I write these words I guess whom I am really addressing is my generation and those that caregive. As we move later and later into life we have to have directives for what is reasonable and what is not. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon. Sorry Kath. But if and when I get some bad news I hope I will be realistic. Not heroic. Just letting nature take its course. Spend the money on my grandkids.

I have given a great deal of thought to this burden thing. Not only financial but psychological. There is a wonderful couple of whom the wife is in hospice. She has end stage whatever and every night she and her husband have martini together. She is beyond understanding of her plight. It really is a beautiful thing.

So I assume that many of you will disagree. That’s fair. I assume that you will go along that there is a lot of ass in me. Point taken. But I also assume that one or all of you will be able to come up with an alternative. Not a delaying tactic. No more we’ll deal with it after the election. I assume you feel this is all more important a campaign issue than the Rev. Wright and Bain Capital. Am I assuming too much?

As always

Ted the Great


Medical research contends that no disease is ever eradicated.

The current Health Care Initiative(Obamacare ) is not revenue neutral. The House version adds $239 billion over 10 years. The Senate version $597 billion.

We spend more per capita on healthcare than countries with universal healthcare but we only hit a fraction of our population.

We spend 1/3 of our healthcare resources in the last year of life.

Approximately 80% of elderly patients are hospitalized in the last six months of their lives.

Cosmic Thoughts……

I was doing my usual exploring of all things cosmic and stumbled upon a PBS joint presentation of NOVA and National Geographic. Now you have to understand that I have a BA in Poli Sci from Georgetown. I haven’t had much science even though a lot of people think I am rather full of BS. But I digress.

The program was about the sun and its potential danger in the form of solar storms. The incredibly interesting part was the analysis of the makeup of the sun. It is 93 million miles away. It is the size of 1,000,000 earths. It is not really a solid or gas because the heat of it is somewhere around 27 million degrees. It is made up of four distinct parts or areas. How do they figure this stuff out?

It is basically in a form of constant nuclear fusion. Hydrogen to helium. It translates 4 million tons of mass into energy that is the equivalent of 10 million H bombs every second. And we are worried about Iran?

It takes a ray of sunlight about 8 minutes to get to our little blue marble. But it takes the original unit of power millions of years to get to the surface of the sun to be radiated. In other words the sunlight we see today started on its journey to maturity way back in the Ice Age.

Now some of you probably knew this but TTG is dumbfounded. It was almost comical as the solar physicists plotted the solar eruptions or storms. Kind of like a red hot tornado. It seems that if we had the perfect storm it could wipe out all of our electricity on earth Huh? A mini version actually hit Quebec back in 1989. And here we thought they were just whacky on their own.

The point being is that these scientists are watching the solar weather every day. They actually issue forecasts. But the thought comes to this poor little mind, “What the hell do they think they are going to do about it?” Maybe we can develop a missile to thwart it? I don’t think so. I think I would rather not know it was coming.

The thing that kept ruminating in my mind was twofold. First is that this galaxy we live in is really a balancing act. The fact that the sun is this rather amorphous blob is really a miracle. It explodes and goes nuts but somehow still keeps on generating energy just like clockwork while maintaining its cute orblike figure.

By sheer happenstance we are lucky enough to have just the right set of circumstances that create life. Certain gasses, water, soil, protoplasm and add the right amount of sunlight and voila we have fish, fauna, flora and man. The fact this all works is dare I say a miracle.

The second piece is that homo sapiens is smart enough to devise ways to study all this. But rather than living in awe, we are of course convinced that we can do better. We are now in a mad race to find the God particle. When we find that then we will know the origins of life. We will be able to replicate this in a lab and boy won’t we be smart.

Well let’s not go that far. But let’s cure all disease. Body parts? No problem. We’ll learn how to grow them. Death? We can put it off for at least a few dozen years. Pollutants? That global warming stuff is just a bunch of crap.

It seems to me we should recognize that everything we have is a gift. The sun hurts us but only because we don’t respect its power. The earth feeds us but we think of that as a right not a privilege. Resources. Fresh air. Water. We want to chew them up insatiably to fuel progress and growth.

After watching this  show I realized that we are just pieces in the puzzle. The sun has existed for 4 billion years and will last long after any of our useful lives. The planets will orbit long into the future. We tend to think of ourselves masters of the universe.  Let’s just consider ourselves lucky. God forbid we are just mere mortals. Oh yeah, I forgot about that GOD part. Is He still around?

As always

Ted The Great.


Gasoline is actually a product of the sun or lack thereof. When the sun was blocked, huge numbers of living creatures died and there decomposition created what are now our fossil fuels.

The sun destroys or mutates skin cells to create skin cancers. Looking directly at the sun can blind you.  Solar power is our most abundant but still untapped source of energy. The good and the bad.

The sun doesn’t rise or set even though some of us may have a different view relative to our own importance. We are just a satellite orbiting the sun. It makes up 98% of the mass of our solar system.

If you weigh 100 lbs on earth you would weigh 2707 lbs on the sun. Aaargh!

Sun spots are the result of varying degrees of temperature. They can become the size of the state of Texas.


Leader or Lemming…

I am sitting here thinking about a whole bunch of things but yesterday’s news of a bomb plot got me going in a direction. It has to do with the ability of one or a few people to change the world. For better or worse.

Al Queda is at most 10-15,000 whatevers. They are hell bent on creating tension via terrorism for hundreds of millions of people. They are succeeding. Look at what the free world has to do to try and thwart their every move. Now we have to go back over the security apparatus of our airports to see if they are capable of detecting the latest and greatest son of C4.

There are groups of all kinds all over the world where people are oh so willing to be led. What makes a leader? I think it is a combination of a lot of things but mainly it is being perceptive. Seeing a situation or a resentment that needs to be fixed. Showing a better way or at least an alternative. Are they fixing society’s ills or fanning the flames? Good question.

Why do we have so few leaders? Is it because there are so few people who are exceptional or just so few people even though they have the brains and talent who dare step out of the crowd. What is it that prevents someone from speaking up when they see a wrong? Even better why do we take so little time to investigate our beliefs and mindsets?

The standard today is are you a conservative or a liberal? Progressive or reactive? Spiritual or secular? What does that mean? I think in some ways we don’t want to go through the thought process that is entailed when you go deep. You question the very tenets you have held for so long. Not to throw them out but at least to make sure they are relative to your time and state.

I guess we just get comfortable. Why question when you can follow blindly? Someone criticizes me for questioning my religion, my political philosophies, my positions on marriage, or democracy. They say that we all know how we should think. Huh? How the hell do you know how I think? But Ted it is so much easier to just go along with the flow.

If you go along with the crowd you just sit there and nod approvingly. You resist every urge or recoil in your body when something rubs you the wrong way. Don’t make waves. Why not?

I think we all want to be loved or at least liked sooner or later. Acceptance is paramount. Confrontation sucks because Jeez Louise that person may not like me if I speak out. Even worse the crowd being who they are will follow each other rather than joining me. Do you walk around with that pebble in your shoe and just grin and bear it? Hmmm.

We are entering a political season when everyone will stick to their scripts. We will establish party platforms that will do their best to not piss anyone off or at least appeal to the base no matter what conglomeration that is. Political consultants will direct the chorus and we will all sing out of the same hymnal.

Joe Biden didn’t stick to the script and the world is coming to an end. Mitt Romney shoots himself in the foot for this sound byte or that which will of course be taken totally out of context. Just tell them what they want to hear until after the election. And we will suck it down hook, line and sinker.

It goes beyond politics. Right now we have got to as citizens, consumers and investors think out side of the box. We marvel at how fast the world is changing but we sit there dumbfounded and hope we can go back in time. The way things used to be. Happy Days. We are lemmings who are more than happy to be led. Just let me have my little life the way it is. Leave all the heavy lifting to activists and commentators. I’ll just sit here quietly and hope no one notices no matter how badly I feel inside.

Of course if we do that we will leave ourselves more than vulnerable to the whackos and demagogues of the world. We have well over three hundred million voices that could be deafening to the world. Think if all those minds were put in gear to thinking and solving problems instead of listening to the pablum of hate and fear and doom and gloom.

I am going to be a terrorist to complacency. 10 or 15,000 of us could rock the world. Want to join? Better yet. Want to lead?

As Always

Ted The Great


Lemming: small mouse like rodent who mass migrate.

Leader:One who can enlist the aid and support of  others to willingly accomplish a task.

Leaders allow people to try new things, embrace change, overcome fear and get out side their comfort zone.

Great leadership traits are communication, integrity, humility, openness, creativity, fairness, assertiveness and sense of humor.

Great leaders: Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Gandhi, Mandela, FDR, Reagan, MLK, Churchill. How do they stack up?

In The Mood……

We traveled a good bit recently. 5000 or so miles to be sort of exact. We met people from all areas of the country and all walks of life. How you felt definitely depended on where you lived and where you were from.

The nicest and most easy going people were from the hinterlands, so to speak. Columbia, Missouri, Hays, Kansas Paducah, Kentucky, Cape Haze Florida. I asked one and all how life was treating them? How was business? Things were just fine by them. Were they unaffected by all the goings on or were they just figuring out how to deal with it and go about their ways? I think I know that answer.

Some would say time is passing them by. Others might say time just doesn’t bother them that much. We drove the Toyota to the levee and it wasn’t dry in Paducah. Even though it was April people had already settled into summer like evenings. Just get the kids and let’s go down and watch the Ohio. Maybe fish or just listen to a little bluegrass someone was plunking on the five string. Don’t they know what they are missing?

We spent our last night on the road in Hays, Kansas. A ride downtown passed guys drinking beer on a porch overlooking the grain elevator complex. Seemed odd until someone reminded that I sit on my front porch too. A young woman who served us, spoke of going on to college. A psychology major she thought. Should be plenty of customers in the rest of the world.

Cape Haze was interesting or maybe not because everyone human being visiting there was from Ohio. They were quick with a shake of their hand and fast with a sincere hello. Minutes not hours got into great conversation. There was no sizing things up. Just straightforward camaraderie around the community grills. If you needed a refill you didn’t have to go back to the condo. It was already there. Feel free.

There was a distinct air about the Palm Beach area. Not snooty just really angry about things. They would flatten you with their cart in the supermarket. They would cut your eyes out trying to get a drink in a crowded bar. Was this New York south or just people in very bad moods? I had the feeling they had participated in a huge ride up and weren’t very happy with the abrupt stop and downward spiral.

Maybe everyday America never enjoyed the meteoric soaring and so the fall wasn’t nearly as steep or gut wrenching? Or maybe, just maybe they were accepting life and dealing with it? I am not looking for villains. I am really trying to get a handle on these multiple personalities.

I am struck once again by reality in politics. I have to repeat that in November no matter who wins, 50% of the country is going to hate him. They will then spend the next four years trying to bring whatever bastard is in there down. Is it me or is this really a weird way to live? I am not trying to spend a Kumbaya moment but just trying to make some sense.

Spring has come to Williams Street. Everything is in full bloom and the Goose has her spring finery on. If I can get electronically clever I will send some pix in future missives. I will hold court with my Denver Post and coffee and of course an occasional glass of red and a cigar in the afternoon. I will have stogie with my buddy Dick. Maybe Bill and I will enjoy a Rockies game.

If I sound a little tranquil I am. Life is good. Not great but good. I am going to join my cornhusker friends and just deal with it. I got new irons and I am positive I will break 80. Well at least 90 on a regular basis. I am still shopping for cars. One of my favorite things to do and pretty much guaranteed to drive my poor wife nuts. That’s okay one of them is for her. In the mood? You bet. And a good one to boot. If I am bipolar it’s just the mania I am dealing with right now. Hope it stays that way. Here’s to you.

As Always

Ted The Great


Mood: a long lasting emotional state…..a feeling at a certain time…a state of mind….they can last hours days or even longer.

They have a positive or negative valence.

They are not the result of a particular event but how you react. You alone can control them.

Accepted, accomplished, aggravated, amused, anxious, alone, ashamed, apathetic. Wow. That’s just the A’s. Nuff said.