Let’s Talk God…..

Let’s Talk God…

Well let’s see. We have Muslim extremists. Pedophilia among Catholic priests(plenty of others too but we seem to be fixated on priests). The Jewish orthodoxy are throwing women off busses for wearing skirts. The Protestants have gay bishops. And atheists are growing in numbers. The latter to the point they were a topic of discussion on the Sunday soap, “The Good Wife.” All in the name of God.

Now some of you might think God is sitting with His head in his hands. He’s up there in heaven, wherever that is, saying “Woe is me”. I think not. Or maybe He is shaking his fist. “You ingrates. Just you wait til judgment day!” Hardly. That’s not really His style.

I actually think He is shaking His head saying, ”Oy Vey.” That’s the Jewish version of God but you Gentiles get it.

Now it is easy to say there is no God. You can curse, swear, cheat, fool around and have absolutely no reason to worry. You can stay in bed on Sunday, go skiing or play golf. After life. Schmafter life. Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. You hope.

Even better you can have a part time or Rent A God. This is probably the best. You call up and order Him for weddings, funerals, Christmas, Easter or  if you get in a serous jam. You know, “God if you get me out of this, I will never do it again.” But we are not talking about a true livein God. One night stand. Only when you need Him.

Now most of us call on God several times a day. We ask him to damn several things or people in our way. We even go so far as to call on His Son. You know “Jesus f….g Christ”. That f….g’ is a relatively new accolade that was born in the later part of the twentieth century. And you thought you didn’t believe.

Our country was founded on a compact with God or so we thought. “In God We Trust” is written everywhere. It’s on our money. Maybe that is why we hold the Almighty dollar so sacred. It’s etched in stone in many of our public buildings. We came here to escape religious oppression. We wanted to pray openly. At the time it seemed like a good idea.

You see back then the USA was a beautiful but somewhat hostile place. There was the unknown of the wilds and there were dudes called Indians (nee Native Americans) who weren’t always happy to see us. We were of course above board in all our dealings and even gave them trinkets and beads for what would become one day the most expensive real estate on earth. All in the name of God and country.

After a period of time we decided that these people were savages. All they did was hunt and fish and live in tepees. They worshipped the land and their bounty, giving thanks for it. There were spirits in the mountains and the streams. What were they thinking? They had a lousy life and didn’t even realize it. Let’s teach them to smoke and drink. Buy  mortgage backed securities. Now that is what I am talkin’ about. But I digress.

As we got smarter we could find a reason for everything. We could unlock the secrets of the atom and other sciences. We invented. We created machines that can think faster than us. We started tearing apart our bodies. First to heal and then to create. Holy Shiite, if we can create then we don’t need God because….well, then we are god. What a country!

Now we are getting to the good stuff. If we are god we can control the country and the world. Let’s create a new Jerusalem or Vatican. Let’s call it Washington, DC. We have decisions to make. Where will we worship? The Capitol, White House or the Supreme Court? I like that Supreme part. It has a nice ring to it. We won’t go with a person to adore. They are too transient. Let’s just go with gold. Naw, that is too bulky. Let’s just worship the Almighty Dollar. That’s perfect.

Sorry I can’t go along with the game. I am not a holy roller but I think I have figured my place in the world. There is this dude called God and I think he is pretty cool. He is not only a person but a concept. He is not a basher or judge but a symbol of hope. He represents decency to ourselves and others.

He has this place called heaven. It’s better than Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and Pebble Beach combined. He’s promised me a spot if I at least try to be a contributing member of the world. I don’t have to be perfect but at least put in a good effort. That seems more than reasonable.

It really doesn’t matter if I am a Christian or Jew. Muslim or Buddhist. You leave all that at the door. You just have to believe in one thing and that is love. Of God and your fellow man. Hmm.. I think I get it. I hope there is room for me….and you too. God bless.

As always

Ted The Great.


Pew Research:

49% men are religious

63% women

71% in US believe in God..not necessarily religious.


33% Christian..declining

20% Muslim..growing

13% Hindu..stable

13% Non adherents..declining

2.5% atheist

Under 1% Jewish

There are 19 major religions in the world. In the US 75% of formal religious groups are Christian. Over a thousand of them feel they are the one true church.


Follow Dosage…Could Be Addictive

As I was working out yesterday I watched various airings of the inauguration. People who braved freezing temps and a long day were obvious supporters. Those who sat at home throwing things at the TV and kicking the dog were on the other end of the spectrum. For both a dose of reality….for better or worse.


I have spoken before of cognitive therapy. It basically says you are acting in an abnormal way. Forget about whether you were toilet trained properly, this is life. Now let’s deal with it. Let’s substitute rational thinking for the aberrant. Takes a lot less time and gets to the point. I could set up shop in a lot of places.


The incredible demonstration of Lance Armstrong was a good case in point. I heard the words. The fact he doth protested too much for the last ten years notwithstanding I still had this strange feeling he was a long way to dealing with reality. He didn’t consider it cheating. He did it because everyone else does. Ditto Barry Bonds, Marc McGuire et al. 


When we were away and especially in New Zealand you had the overpowering feeling  that the Down Unders really took life as it came. Sure they had hopes and dreams but they were not obsessive. They didn’t dress hiply or drive fancy cars but they really seemed to be having a good time.


I have been constantly amazed at Koreans and Vietnamese who have come to this country to make a new life. You know the ones that have built businesses through hard work and putting money away. Many left degrees and assets at home to forge their and their children’s future. They work their asses off and become successful in their ventures. No whining aloud.


Many of us have been hit by the recession, yours truly not withstanding. These shots have been both corporate and personal. People have lost homes, fortunes, farms and businesses. Let’s just get it straight. Congress, finical institutions, Clinton, appraisers and yes the buying public are all to blame. Unfortunately the consumer was the only group to pay the piper. Sucks, but that is life. 


Some have moved on and moved. Some have cut their losses and tried to find a new way. Some have stayed on the dole for two years. Others have financed that dole. A lot of people don’t seem to get it. Easy for you to say TTG. you just got from being away for a month. The only way that worked was for a cruise line facing reality of empty cabins made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. 


The Congress and yes the President, don’t seem to be able to accept what is really going on. For that reason we are $16 trillion in debt. I find it repulsive that we have have put off decision making for another three months. How can you negotiate for months on end and not be able to come up with a solution? Are ideologues on both sides so drunk with their own self importance and principle to not be able to see the writing on the wall?


Clinton, Frank, and …got the ball rolling by putting everyone in a house. Bush exacerbated things by waging two wars and cutting taxes at the same time. Pelosi and Reid got every pet project funded. McConnell and Cantor played to their base. And all the while the bills kept piling up and accusations and gridlock ensued. 


I read with great interest with an article about how the Vatican is trying to silence an Irish priest because of all the heinous things that have transpired in the church he is advocating woman priests. Yet at the same time the former archbishop of LA was complicit for years in transferring abusive priests. The church in Rome is infallible in one respect. They don’t have any sense of reality.


The rich have got to realize this disconnect of well being has got to be addressed. You cannot and I repeat cannot have execs compensated at 400 times the average salary. That is not so much an injustice(which it really is and you know it) but economic insanity. Sooner or later those hefty profits are going to be drastically affected in our consumer led society. The middle and lower class ain’t going to have any money to spend.


The poor at the same time have to come to grips with the fact Daddy Warbucks is hemmorhaging from every vein in his body. There is no free lunch. No you are not owed. You are not entitled. We will help but not support you in the way you are accustomed. Everyone has to take a hit. Ask yourself, “How did those Koreans and Vietnamese et al make it without the proverbial pot or even knowing the language?” 


We are slowly coming back to life. Our life before was a bit of a fantasy and if you were lucky enough to take part, good for you. If you never made it, no one ever promised you a rose garden. That may seem cold but it is true. 


If there is anything you take away form this I hope you realize reality doesn’t suck. I know it is trite but just look around you. There is a thing called the greater good. Unfortunately we are far from it. Rich,poor. Gay, straight. Black,white. Conservative, liberal. We all have to give up something. Reality is like that….and hopefully addictive.


As always

Ted The Great.


Lance Armstrong is worth $125 million. There is a more than good chance he could lose all of it in settlements. 


Phil Mickelson made $48 million  in 2012. He is thinking of moving because his taxes are too high. After taxes he probably only made $20 million. And he is whining.Tell that to the weekend duffer.


The US Senate has not approved a budget for four years. They get an automatic pay raise every Jan 1. They have refused pay cuts saying it would have no effect on the economy. They have a three day work week and ample adjournments throughout the year. They are not in Social Security. They have their own retirement system with a full pension.  Need I say more.


The US pays approximately $800 billion per year in welfare benefits of all sorts. That is $168 per day to families below the poverty line. That’s $40,000 plus per annum.


Departing Shots…..

One of our last days on this wild and wooly trip was in Queenstown, a beautiful city on Lake Wakatipu in southern New Zealand.There was a mysterious mist as the clouds lay softly in the valley between soaring mountains. They hung there like a down duvet keeping the residents below tucked in their beds. The Kiwis are either lazy or sane. They wait till 7:30 or 8:00 AM to rise and shine.

We had started our week in Wellington. We left the mothership and took the ferry across the Cook Straits. The clear blue water dropped straight down to depths of many hundred meters. We came into the harbor of Picton within just a few yards of the shore. Not like that crazy Italian captain.

We stopped that night in a simple B and B in Nelson after touring a few too many wineries. At breakfast we met an unassuming couple who turned out to be anything but. He was a pediatrician and she was a neonatal cardiac surgeon at the only major children’s hospital in NZ. This was intentional to give the best of care in the most expeditious way and children came from far and wide.

Not only NZ, but Tonga, Fiji and Samoa were under their wing. It’s just the way they do things here. She told of a problem figuring out how they could have a surgery date for a newborn prior to the birth date. That dateline thing you know.

They also told of their teenage child who was severely autistic. How difficult. They spent their days assuaging fears and conquering turmoil in young parents only to go home to face their own.

As we drove down the coast Kathy and I marveled about how dedicated and soft-spoken these people were. No egos. Just serving mankind in their own special way. They drove a not so late model Subaru wagon.

The major highway is two lane. There is a particular quirk of one lane bridges. One side or the other has the right of way. You wait for the all clear. No rush. There is too much to absorb. The speed limit is 100 KM(60mph). Cops will fine you, take your license and impound the car on the spot for heavy infractions. Funny, not many people break the law here….in any way.

The scenery is breathtaking. Much like the Big Sur in spots except more dramatic and lush. You weave in and around several microclimates descending the west coast for several hundred miles. From the sea to the rain forests. From 10-15 foot ferns to the edge of a glacier. We pass a rusted out road grader in a field. Don’t worry big fella.I am sure they are stopping at two lanes.

We became stranded in the outpost of Haast. The road ahead was blocked by three landslides that might take awhile to clear. No worries. We holed up in a motel without clocks and mini bars. They couldn’t depend on the electrical supply.

We met a couple from the Netherlands. He had done work with AT&T and knew of our former homestead in NJ. One of several three degrees of separation we had on our trip. The next day we sprinted while viewing the washouts along the way. Natures fury is fascinating.

These people are green but in a particular way. Some are tree huggers but most just understand nature and live within it. It brought us to just sitting back for a moment and enjoying life. Take what the world gives you and work with it. It wasn’t so much striving but doing the best they could with what they had. Very cool.

The Maori people discovered NZ over a thousand years ago. They now number only 15% of the population. Both the colonists and originals have intermingled. There are no reservations to defend but the comfortable melding of two distinct groups. The Kiwis are one. They maintain the culture but move forward. On the way back from a trip to Milford Sound we watched “Whale Rider”. It put a lot into perspective.

It is with a touch of sadness we leave this part of the world. As we go through security at the airport there are smiles and graciousness from their TSA. You feel you are friends and not just beef on the hoof. There is a better way and it costs nothing.

Kathy has done a fabulous job of organizing us to a tee on very short notice. I managed to drop off the car without killing us after driving on the left for some 1200 kilometers. Let me get this straight. Driving on the left is right. Too complex for this simple mind.

We have met literally hundreds people from big deals to small. The captain of the ship.The captain in the restaurant. The barrista at the coffee shop.A barrister on his way to work. Tour drivers. Waiters and waitresses. Widows and couples. A bellman named Kevin.They have all affected our lives for the better. I wish I could have told that to all of them. I wish I was more talented at relating it to you.

It’s not a grass is greener thing. We have had a great time learning another part of life. We are looking forward to being home. It is where we should be. As they say here “Good on ya”. Have a great day. Thanks for bearing with me and tagging along. I ‘ll probably be back to my feisty self after a few brief encounters with US media of all kinds. Such is life.

As always
Ted The Great

Tall Black….a large coffee.
Goods Inward….service entrance
Tag In Tag Out……swiping your ID card on a reader.
Slow Vehicle Bay…….passing lane
Gated Community….prison( Now think about that one.)