You’ll Never Know…..

You’ll never know how much I hurt. My muscles, my bones ravaged by an unspeakable pain. It screams when I turn. It sends mind numbing shots even when I breathe. The cancer eats at every part of me with unrelenting vigor. How much longer? How much further? You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the loss of a child. The emptiness. The hopelessness. Dreams unfulfilled. People never met. Such a sweet young thing. So precious. So vulnerable. That bastard that started her down the road to ruin. Hell would be too good for him.

You’ll never know the abuse I endure. I answer your phone. I get your coffee. I smile for clients because I need this job so badly. Only to go home and face the gauntlet. The onslaught of brute strength that I used to crave. The vitriol of his drunken stupor has replaced words of love. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the ache in my heart as I drive down the street of dreams. That love nest that we worked so hard for. Room to grow. The papering. The painting. The place of joy. Now it is all gone as we look forward to nothing but despair and unknown. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know this stranglehold of depression. The world is so bright on the outside and bleak on the inside. I crave sleep to let this horror go. I just want so bad to be so normal. I want to stop crying. I want to be me again. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the vise of dependency. The booze. The drugs. The wandering of the streets looking for sex. The refrigerator and pantry that beckon like a siren. You call me weak. You tell me to shape up. You want to step on me when I need so much for you to just hold me. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know how cold it gets. The tricks of the trade. What keeps you warmer. Metal or cardboard. I can sleep with one eye open so I don’t get my last worldly possession ripped off. Alcohol can be found in everything from cough syrup to anti freeze. Tomorrow? Maybe. But if it never comes no one will ever know.

You are so flip. So glib. You have all the answers or so you think. You don’t know how to even ask the right questions. You have grown cold. Aloof. It’s all about you. You are right I need to get a life. My own. But maybe you need one too. You’ll never know .

You couldn’t know because you never look beyond your own world. It’s not about rich. It’s not about poor. No matter your lot in life. You are so brazen to think the world rises and sets on your doorstep. It’s so easy being you. So horrible to be me. You’ll never know.

Life is a spread sheet to you. An algorithm. Solve for X. Prove for Y. There are assets and liabilities. Return on investment and equity. There are no poets or musicians or teachers in your life. Just bottom lines and basis not basses and soulful lines. You think you have so much. You really have so little.

It’s a tough world you say and yes it is. You are quick to convict the murderer unless it’s your own son or daughter doing the crime. You curse the thief but are free to practice white collar crime. You want everyone to get a life but you have none. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps you say, although you know they are worn and frayed. No pity. No compassion. No soul. Just leave it and go to bed. The cleaning lady will be in here in the morning to clean up this mess.

But if I ever find an end, it will taste so good. I will drink from just the simplest of things. A warm bed. A tender touch. A meal so simple yet so exquisite. Maybe it is when God welcomes me home. The pain over. The joy eternal. I tell you of this though I think you will not hear it. You won’t realize that I will pray for you. You are too busy and I understand. You are so smart but then again you’ll never know.

As always
Ted The Great

Estimates are that 3-3.5 million people are homeless every night in our country. There could be up to 1.5 million of those who are children. Home might be a car or a tent but they are homeless.

There are currently 1.5 million homes in foreclosure as of this moment with millions already having been adjudicated. Many overstretched but so many lost their dream due to illness, loss of jobs or broken families.

Addiction definition: noun
The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Think hard. You may be addicted to something.

If you have gotten this far you do know. A little empathy could go a long way in this man’s world. I can’t hope to feel your pain but I am going to work on it. Hope you can too.
I have pushed a different envelope with this one. Let me know.

Georgia On My Mind…..

Writers Note: Georgia On My Mind was written about the Masters before the Boston Bombing. I thought we could use a little fun. Even more fun? See the Factoids

We traveled up I 75 somewhere south of Atlanta. It was Saturday and we were heading home to Colorado. A wonderful trip with many friends and family in Sawgrass was in the victory lap and the trees were bursting open and the grass a brilliant shade of green. Just ahead was the turnoff for Augusta and visions of azaleas in bloom danced in my head.

The Masters is like no other. Take all the glitz of the Pro Golf Tour and throw it out the window. This is golf’s temple and you can cheer but rowdy will get you a quick exit. The golfers are more than respectful and you have never heard “sir” uttered more times from so many tour hotshots. They know their place.

We had dinner with a friend who is both a wonderful golfer and gentleman. His 3 handicap earned him no more than a ticket to the practice round but you could see the gleam in his eye as he talked of not a blade of grass out of place. He noted the pitch of the greens and the grade of the hills. Far cry from Florida flatlands and Pebble’s Beaches. A little bit of Heaven.

There’s royalty but on the course it doesn’t matter. An eighth grader from China outshone last years winner. Unknowns poke in and out of the leader board and there is hope for even some old farts in the early going.

Kath and I planned each day’s move to arrive somewhere around 4 PM. Clarksville, Tennessee and Salina, Kansas have TV and that is all that matters. They didn’t even have to leave the light on for us. The wine was opened early and we had a front row seat. I thought of setting up ropes in the room.

The course is magnificent but the toll it takes is even more masterful. Tigers become pussycats and the big hitters shrivel and drop away. Finesse reigns in what has become a brassy world. The putt is the simplest stroke of all. It doesn’t require any amount of strength except in your heart. It brings grown men to tears.

It’s great to see them crack. I cheer when Rae’s Creek sucks up yet one more Pro V. Odd bounces go either way but most of the time “this can’t be good.” Yet it all comes down to the final nine on Sunday. You idiot! You know exactly where the pin is. They have had it in the same place year after year and you still miscalculate. Choking dog? You bet.

You don’t have to be a golf aficionado to enjoy the Masters. It is the greatest metaphor for stress and struggle there is. That is not hyperbole. Millions of people at home lean at every wayward drive. They put body English on every putt and have a sick feeling in their gut as it roars five to six feet by.

You pick your favorite as you would in any horse race. You go to the whip at the far turn and you pray your boy holds on till the finish. And just when you think you have it made that SOB comes from the outside and turns victory into defeat. Nothing like it. So close and yet so far.

This year’s finale was one of the best with two dark horses( Sorry couldn’t resist) showing their mettle at the end. For both warriors to birdie the 18th was something for the movies. The two playoff holes were the best you will ever see. For once, no one lost but one guy won and that was way cool.

Every one said that the old Angel Cabrera couldn’t withstand the pressure but they forgot his background. He quit school to become a caddie for what he thought was the rest of his life. He became a pro but didn’t forget his roots. He had a doctorate in caddie yard putting and chipping. Case closed.

Adam Scott hadn’t been able to find the hole all day with the proverbial two hands and a flashlight. Stevie was his caddie but I thought his last name was Wonder. And yet the Aussie came through for himself but even more for a proud sports nation.

Angel was agonizingly close and in the end beyond a gentleman. He hugged his son and then he did the same to his opponent as if he was his son. There was exhaustion and tears and most of all humility. There was a sense that this sport like so many others with egos and dollar signs had just a little bit of sanity and above all gentility. Wish we could bottle that. Maybe we can.

As always
Ted The Great


Unlike the three other major tournaments that define the golf season, the Masters is not run by a national governing body, either of the game or of its professionals. It is run by a private club, which sets the requirements for qualification. The prize is not a championship title but the club’s green blazer.

The tournament was not played during the years 1943, 1944 and 1945 because of World War II. To help with the war effort, turkey and cattle were raised on the Augusta National Grounds.

No amateur has ever won the Masters.

Sandwiches also still cost under $3 at concession stands at Augusta National

Have a Good Time Full moon over Wellington, NZ…….

Here is something a bit random, but none-the-less astounding. A work mate of mine who is also a photographer captured what is, to me, one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen filmed.

It is a 3 minute video clip of the full moon rising over Wellington. It was shot on Jan. 28, 2013, a calm summer evening, as people gathered on the Mt. Victoria Lookout point to watch the moon rise.

This stunning video is one single real-time shot, with no manipulation whatsoever. The camera was placed on a hillside over 2 kilometres from the Lookout point, and was shot with the equivalent of a 1300mm lens.

The amount of planning, trial and error, and luck that went into this are mind blowing. He has been trying to capture this for over a year with many failed attempts. But 2 nights ago it seems everything was on his side, and it all came together in a way even he couldn’t have hoped.

I honestly can’t say enough good things about this video – from the magnitude of the visuals, to the intimate stories playing out with the people, to the sheer humbling nature of seeing the awe-inspiring reality of this giant rock in the sky that we so often don’t stop to appreciate.

One thing I encourage you to do is watch this on the biggest screen you have – don’t waste it on an iphone screen.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?……..

I had to catch myself yesterday. I wanted to cry. At the gym and watching TV on the Stairmaster, I had quickly grown sick of the coverage. A day that had dawned so pure and innocent on the Great Plains was no longer. I didn’t want to see the endless reel of mutilations. I didn’t want to hear the overly emotive speculation of announcers.I shut it off and just climbed and climbed.

I was not trying to escape the harsh realities of life. I was just trying to make sense of it. We watch the TV in the hope that something will turn out differently. Maybe it is a dream or not as bad as we thought? Sorry. The script just doesn’t change.

We had started the day in Salina, Kansas. We had 450 miles to go on our cross country trek to Denver and we decided on Sunday to get a room for the night and watch the Masters. Monday the time zone was in our favor but we still opted to get an early start.

Early morning on the prairie can play tricks on your eyes and your mind. The sheer beauty of looking 100 miles away is something I hope you all will experience some day. Denver was expecting snow but here it was clear and spring like. That happens out here. You can see fronts as if the sky was a weather map. You watch weather change before your eyes.

We saw a Conga Line of lights off in the distance. Hard to tell if it was a convoy of semis or UFO’s. It turned out to be a work train for the Union Pacific and there were a dozen mechanized wonders that were replacing railroad ties. Not a few but hundreds at a time. Quietly but steadily going about their business. Spring cleaning.

I thought to myself. “I wonder what Mother Nature has up her sleeve today?” The beauty of the East Coast is watching the sun come up. The West is watching it go down. I just revel in both sides. As that big orange lollipop jumps up you wonder what the day will bring. If you love life you can’t predict doom. Things have to be good.

In retro I wonder about all those people that were pounding the pavement in Boston on Patriot’s Day. They had trained endlessly for this, The Boston Marathon. It wasn’t a race as much as a cult experience. Known worldwide, it didn’t get any better. Check your gear one last time and get ready to go.

Whether they are 10K’s, marathons, or triathlons these things are anonymous. That’s the cool part of it. Sure you start with a friend or workmate but miles start to separate people and new friendships are born. Runners reach out to help and to be helped. There are the pros and then there are the ordinary Joes and Janes. Those are the ones who come in around 4 hours and 09 minutes.

Those are the ones that draw the crowds. The elites are home and showered. You struggle and wheeze up Heartbreak Hill and know that somewhere ahead is family. Your quads scream and blisters have now taken a turn for the worse but there are two things that drive you. One is your inner reservoir and the other is the sheer joy of your gang sharing the triumph with you.

And then some bastard stole all that. For whatever God forsaken reason he had chosen in his or her sick mind that this was to be the cause celebre. Their way of shouting protest. Of gaining notoriety. Of showing how far off the rails our world has gotten.

So many times we look from afar and say thank you God it wasn’t me. I can’t. Kathy and I met just a few short blocks from Copley Square. She lived on Newberry Street. Dating on an Ensign’s salary wasn’t glamorous and we often just walked right by the Pru or Hotel Lenox. Right by the Finish Line. There was simplicity and innocence. No more.

The young man that was slaughtered by a savage could have been my Jack or Aiden or Anders. He would have been smiling and cheering. Ready to hug me and I him. I would have to carry his broken lifeless body. I can’t imagine the devastation his father feels.

I know there will be more Auroras, Bostons and Sandy Hooks.There will be more useless tragedy. We will keep on. We will survive somehow. It’s the new normal. And yet I wonder, Where Have All the Flower’s Gone? Gone to graveyards every one. When wil we ever learn?

As always,
Ted The Great

Three people were killed and over 180 injured. One of the dead Martin Richard was 8 years old. His sister Jane who is 6, lost her leg. His mom has suffered severe head trauma and is in critical condition after surgery. Enough said.

Woe Betide You

If money is the root of all evil I guess evil wins. In our travels as well as our own hometown there has never been more evidence of sheer wealth. We were Australia and New Zealand early on this year and saw upfront the boat shows. Place after place displayed this yacht or that. Arabian oil ministers. Dot com stars. Wall Street types. They know how to strut their stuff


I live in Colorado and am a frequent visitor and former resident of Vail.That’s the place that is neighbor to Aspen and Telluride. I have family in the Hamptons and Palm Beach. We have invaded the harbors of San Diego and San Francisco. Scottsdale. Palm Springs. This wealth is not spotty . It is everywhere. It is with neither a avaricious or resentful mind that I view all this. I am simply flabbergasted. 


Open the Friday edition of the WSJ. There is page after page of can you top this. We no longer review the VW bug but have in depth analysis of the latest Beemer, Mercedes or Lambourghini. We are a star crazed society. We love to hear that so and so got this much for making a movie and who designed their gown. Did you see that ball player that is being paid $25 million per year?


Like so many things we don’t realize how this impacts us. Just like we view Medicare as free we can’t quite fathom that it is us that are footing the bill. Why do you think we pay $150 per month for cable.  We are funding their cavorting through the pages of People or their latest stint in rehab. This isn’t moralistic. I  just really wonder if we get it?


Stocks go up. Stocks go down. It’s okay we pay that CEO mightily because there are so few amongst us that handle the job. Tell that to the stockholders of JC Penney this morning. As I have said before if you are risking your own money make as much as you want. If it’s mine we should have a talk.


I saw a friend yesterday afternoon and he suggested today’s topic. I was going to write something fun about Lilly Pulitzer. I watched the news and saw the death of Margaret Thatcher and got deep in thought about how it hit me and you. Then of course the worst news of all to any male teen in the fifties. Mouseketeer Annette and heartthrob of millions had died. 


But yesterday we drove through what can only be described a poorer part of town. I don’t consider myself one of the landed gentry but the residents of this burgh were hurting. There the class divide was like gleaming headlights. Unemployed and just wandering around. Street corners were the meeting spots and I am sure the drug trade was vibrant. 


But there really is a more subtle separation of rich and poor and it is getting wider. The middle class as we know it is really in trouble. As the top grows so does the bottom. We have a jobless rate that is stuck but I really fear it is becoming institutionalized. Those jobs just aren’t there any more. 


A colleague sent me a note of analysis that recreated his journey somewhere. He went to the airport with his boarding pass in hand. Going to a kiosk he put that into a machine. Go to the counter and it cost you extra. Food came in vending machines which ironically reminded one of Horn and Hardart automates. No people there. The food on the plane was non existent. A lot less catering.


Now you pump your own gas. You change your oil and get service a lot less. Good for you. Bad for mechanics and gas stations. Need a rental car go right to the aisle without even checking in. Call the 800 number and go through robo menus. Go to the bank. What bank?  You get what I mean. 


We have basically consolidated business of every sort. Walmart and Costco have put Main Street out of business. The butcher. The baker. The candlestick maker. Liquor stores. Garages. Clothiers. It is becoming more apparent that shopping malls themselves are no longer a good use of your time. Use the internet. 


Some of you say great. We cheer the earnings every quarter. We just cut costs and improved return. Some say we don’t need all that human interaction. But underlying the increase in your IRA is a creeping disease. We are making the middle class irrelevant. Screw them you say? Be careful.


These are the folks that buy things. They pay cable bills. They go to the movies. They pay college tuitions. They buy cars. You say let the market forces take hold and you are right. What if some day we put the last touch on this great temple of consumerism and no one comes to pay homage? 


We have become insular and just worried about our own butts. We look at our gated communities and high end neighborhoods and no further. We really aren’t  the United States but a lot of little kingdoms. One has guns. One has Ferraris. One is white. One is black. I got to worry about me. Why the hell would Appalachia and barrios have anything to do with me? Wait. Make that suburbia too.


Houston we do have a problem. It’s hard to see and even harder to fathom. People are starting to speak out. We want to break apart that cable bill and pay only for what we want. Joe Six Pack won’t pay $600-700 to go to a Yankee game with his family of four. 80% of the country wants some sort of gun control. 


Let’s for a moment assume most of us are in the haves rather than the have nots. We figure we have this figured out and our money will last. I also guess that many of those with what they thought were secure pensions thought the same. Maybe just maybe we are not as smart as we think.


As Always 

Ted The Great



The largest yacht in the world is(Eclipse) 533′ long.At press time hear there is one 590′, Size matters. Go to CSO Yachts for fun. There is a 70 meter yacht for sale called the Reverie that goes for a cool 38.5 euros. If that doesn’t work how about the Sycare V. Same size but 75,000,000 euros.


Median Housing prices: Nationally $173,ooo .NYC,$349,000. LA $455.000. Honolulu $479,000. Palatka Florida $79,000


Pensions in the US are underfunded by some 22% .That’s $1.56 trillion. Boeing is short $19.7 billion.


In the fourth grade Sister Rose of Lima told me “Woe betide you”. I should have listened.


Staff Infections…

The Sequester continues to capture my attention. I still haven’t seen a lot of catastrophic occurrences but then again they may be just around the corner. But for now the thing we call government continues to rumble forward or wallow as your interpretation may dictate.


During the Doomesday Defense I was particularly taken by the 800,000 citizens who as civilian workers for the Department of Defense would feel the wrath of the sword. 800,000! And that is on top of the actual standing armed force of some 1.5 million active and 850,000 reservists. Holy Shamoley.


Now being of small mind I couldn’t go too deep into that management structure so I decided on a more reasonable target, The Executive Office of the President or EOP. Even this was no small task.


The EOP is everything that goes into the day to day running of the White House. You know the West Wing and all that jazz. What I hope strikes you is that nothing is simple. Also bear in mind that Thomas Jefferson had a secretary and messenger in time of yore. The buildup didn’t really get into high gear until FDR. The New Deal had to put people to work and they did. 


Now we start with POTUS. He actually only has 5 directs. But the VEEP has 90. Advisors of all sorts. The First Lady has 24 including those in advance(trip scheduling) and correspondence. Don’t get your knickers in a knot. Laura Bush had 18 and Hilary had 19. I guess Michelle’s war on fat needs more fat.


Now the Chief of Staff needs 110 minions but the deputy Chief needs an additional 60. The press secretary has a staff of 20 but then there is an office of communication that needs 20 more. I would love to hear the justification of that. Wrapping up that crowd is cozy group of 40 that work on travel only.


The Chief Usher is in charge of the house itself and has a group of 90 that vacuum,do windows and serve meals. There are 2300 of our armed forces that make sure Camp David is on the ready or that the Helicopter Squadron is on the pad. There are various officer types that are escorts at state dinners but who is counting. They are all on the Defense budget. Rounding out is a corps of 2300 Secret Service but then again they work for Treasury. And we can’t have White House tours at Spring Break. It would cost too much.


There are policy advisors on everything from National Security to AIDS and of course healthcare. Each one has a boss(Czars) and deputies for this or that. Then they have secretaries,drivers and yadda yadda. You get what I mean. There are 30 players in the office of Counsel to the President. They get to decide if water boarding is legal. Wonder what they get an hour?


There are about 1850 total direct employees and with the 4600 military and bodyguards it takes about 6500 warm bodies to open the doors to the People’s House. There are five hundred volunteers and a group of 100 interns that rotate through every four months. Monica rotated through several times but that’s another story. 


Now many of you are shaking your fist and decrying that SOB Obama. Go for it but it really hasn’t changed over the years. If these were the only culpable characters I would feel much better. But this is just one branch. You forgot about those dudes and dudettes at the other end of the mall. 


The numbers are as of 2000 which is the last time Congress would fess up and  produce a budget in the same year. There is Personal staff of 11,700. Each Representative can hire 14 and the Senate has no limit but the average is 34. Gotta keep in touch with the electorate.


Then the committee staff came in at 2492. They have 20 or so standing or full time committees in each chamber but this can grow into the hundreds depending on what they are investigating. Each member has his own staff for that particular committee. I am not making this stuff up. 


 Leadership staff of 274 (Speaker etc.). Institutional (Capitol Police, mess etc) number 5034. At last but not least the Congressional Budget Office of 232 and the General Accounting Office of 3500. The first tells where to spend the money and the second says if they did it right. Notice the disparity in numbers. Overall it is just shy of 25,000 human beings to staff Congress. That’s okay that chamber is so productive.


I was going to go into the Pentagon but scotch doesn’t come in fifty gallon drums. Just think about the Secretary of Defense and then the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and then the branches, NATO and on and on. All of these people have to be officed. Those can be palatial or cubicles but they have to be heated, cooled, furnished  and cleaned. 


It would be comical if it weren’t so sad. Just getting a grasp on the numbers has been mind numbing. Who can even begin to understand this much less manage it. Does it surprise you we have cost overruns and gigantic deficits? Who by any measure of sanity could suggest we need our government to be more involved?


Is there a solution? A whole different Manhattan Project comes to mind but they would investigate me and then lock poor old TTG up.  Might be worth it.  How about three or four sequesters? Please my friends just contemplate the BS we have gone through over across the board cuts. Think how many fiefdoms are raising the drawbridges over their moats? Not in my house!


I would love to see the press go through just one department. I would pay big time to go through every nook and cranny and expose the waste and corruption. Then multiply that by the number of power centers and we as Americans could not possibly feign ignorance or indifference. I am a little blear eyed but I am also terribly pissed.

As Always

Ted The Great

Factoids: You have got to be kidding.