Take Care….

I am putting together a program to help people understand Hospice better. I want to be able to talk about it in a coherent way so of course I go through the various aspects. There are the physical surroundings, the ethics, the philosophy but I found myself drawn to the intangible…a thing called care.

The nurses and the aides at Porter Hospice are incredible. There is a sign over the entrance to the nurse’s station that says, “Angels Live Here”. They got that right. This isn’t a job to most but some sort of superhuman calling.

There is a woman by the name of Margie. She gets into this zone where she is going through check lists of the eight or nine people on her watch. It’s her brood. She juggles a myriad of details about each patient from meds to dietary concerns. From family to where they want their remains sent. One day when I was on duty she called four hours after her shift to check on a patient’s well being. This is more than a job.

The incredible part is that they do this day in, day out. I spend four hours a week. I started to look around my mundane world. I began to notice a lot of heroes and heroines. I saw a woman in church with here husband by her side in a wheelchair. He had suffered some sort of a paralyzing blow and was motionless. He could maneuver his chariot with the joystick on the armrest but who got him in and out of the car? Who fed him? Who cleaned his soiled body?

With my eyes getting wider and wider by the day I saw parents with spastic children. I thought of the poor babes stricken from birth. They didn’t institutionalize them but took on a superhuman task of taking care of the child 24/7. There really aren’t quiet moments. Romantic dinners. A getaway to the islands and idyllic beaches. Forget it.  Their life is their child.

There are husbands and wives devoted  in sickness and in health. There are sons and daughters who forsake time alone for a parent lost in the fog of Alzheimers. We have a friend whose wife visited her mom everyday for almost ten years. Long past any sort of recognition it was not an act of duty. It was pure love.

There are young wives and families dealing with a husband or dad who had his limbs or his brains brutalized by war. They are scarred by burned flesh and seared minds. Imagine seeing that hunk of a guy going off to faraway places only to come home a mere shadow of a man. You talk about love.

I also thought about those special ed teachers. Their students are not overachievers breathlessly waiting to be called on as they raised their hands frantically. They work for days just trying to elicit a tiny response. Progress is measured in year not days Patience, love and understanding far beyond anything I am capable of.

Many of you have gone through some of these ordeals. I can only sympathize not empathize. I have seen members of my family dealing with ALS and the ravages of cancer. To each and everyone of you I tip my hat and can’t say enough.

I don’t write this to sooth my own pangs of conscience. I have been beyond lucky. If hit with it I hope I will be able to cope. I wrote a few months ago a piece called, “You’ll Never Know.” I evoked some interesting responses as I tried to speak of catastrophes in life that we can’t even imagine. And that is the point. This our world not yours or mine. We are part of it and really can’t look away if we are to be part of it.

I am constantly amazed by the plethora of people today who dwell on bitching. My marriage sucks. I lost money in the market. I am going to give up golf I am so bad. This wine is dishwater.  Really?

There was a study done and released last week that said that the rich are not uncaring but just have no idea. You can’t understand what life in the projects or on the streets if you haven’t been there. You have no idea the ignominy of standing in line with food stamps unless you have felt the glare of your fellow shoppers as you dole out the chits. Ditto for all for all of us and  what I am speaking of here.

Look it takes an incredible person to really devote their lives to caring for others whether it is by choice or circumstance. There are very few Father Damiens or Mother Theresas. Saints they are or should be. We are not them but we should at least appreciate what drives them and what they mean to all of us. .

I guess I hope when I get my presentation ready I can give it with a lot of soul and passion. Not for me but for all the incredible people out there that spend most of their time in the service of others. I hope I do them proud. Most of all I hope they realize with every encounter that change my life for the better.

That’s it for now and please take care.

As always

Ted The Great


The estimated value of volunteer time for 2012 is $22.14 per hour.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 64.3 million Americans, or 26.8 percent gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $171 billion in 2011.

65.7 million caregivers make up 29% of the U.S. adult population providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. A caregiver is an unpaid individual (a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks.


MySalary.com reports that in 2011 the national median annual income for hospice staff nurses is $65,829. Entry-level hospice nurses, in the lowest 10 percent of wage earners, receive an annual average income of $54,736. Hospice staff nurses with extensive experience and academic achievements, fall in the top 10 percent of earners and receive an annual median income of $77,179. They are worth every penny.


Reverie,Resumes and Roadkill…..

Yours truly has just descended from 8,000 feet to 5280 in his snappy new Lesbaru. That politically incorrect appellation for my vehicle of choice is the result of the penchant of women in Colorado who like women for driving an Outback. I also like women so I can’t be far off. Pass the granola while I put on my Birkenstocks.

I was in Vail to visit my crazy nephew and his family. We played golf with a gentleman from Florida. That is the only time “gentleman” has been mentioned in the same sentence with Paul and me. It takes a Flatlander to remind us of just how gorgeous our mountains are. We too often take the vistas for granted. Not today.

I have made the Vail drive hundreds of times and every bend and yaw is second nature. For two hours each way it is just a time to sit back and let a thing called reverie take over. I actually listened to NPR on the way up and as usual I learned plenty from this sick bastion of liberalism! Not! Sorry kids. This is a rarity of tax dollars well spent.

They played a repeat of an interview with Charlie Rose and Sir Ken Robinson. They discussed creativity and the good possibility our educational system is stifling it to death. We have placed a premium on being correct as opposed to taking chances. Testing ad nauseam, we gauge knowledge on percentages and not expanded brainpower. Point being if you don’t experiment you don’t learn.
More fascinating was a comment the guest made about how improbable resumes are. He wanted to be a soccer player in college. As I wended my way through the vast landscapes of the Gore Range I dwelled on who would have thunk this kid from Long Island would be here today. The twists and turns of Cripple Creek were truly a metaphor. Flowing smoothly in spots and hung up on rapids and rock crags in others they aptly describe my curriculum vitae. I hope yours has been as intriguing.

I have had a marvelous few days. I have not read a newspaper or tuned in Fox or CNN. Eavesdropping and Syria have taken a back seat. Saturday I sang in the choir with a might of a man named Kevin. His basso profundo dwarfed my baritone but he was an incredibly gentle man. We talked of fatherhood and simplicity. I am new at this joint sing performance and I make mistakes. But like any other good family they pick me up, dust me off and say hang in there. Good stuff.

Father’s Day started with breakfast shared with my daughter Lindsey where we just spent time together in a world caught up by kids and errands. The food and the commentary were smooth and sweet. Golf with my son soon followed. His once or twice yearly outing to the links yielded a smooth 78 proving once again heredity plays no part in his wonderful skills. A drink with Megan and a family dinner just validated what a lucky person I am.

I have done my “Hi, how are you?” gig today. I chatted with the barristas at Starbucks in Vail. I went beyond a hit and run meeting with a convenience store clerk in Frisco. Turns out he was from Uzbekhistan. Talk about an improbable resume? I just want to take a little time to tell people they are an important part of the world we live in and mine in particular. I counted up all the encounters today and you know it wasted a grand total of 9 minutes of my incredibly valuable time. What the hell was I thinking?

The only negative of my wandering has been an inordinate amount of roadkill. It’s spring and I guess the leaves on the trees mark the time when love is in the air. Why else would a buck or elk take on a 40 foot semi? I guess love is blind. Actually a momma goose was herding her flock across the interstate. By some stroke of luck or timing the cars and Winnebagos slowed down enough to ensure a safe passage. I wonder if that would have happened on the Long Island Expressway?

I have to go. I am spending my afternoon with two of my grandsons. They want Padge to do a cannon ball off the diving board and I may just be mellow enough to do it. Kathy and I are going the Denver Botanical Gardens tonight to watch Tony Bennett in a small outdoor amphitheater. I will raise a glass of red to all of you. You are so good to be close and take a few moments to read my musings. Luck plays such an important part in our lives but let’s hope a little goodness has something to do with it. Pax.

As always
Ted the Great
Sunrises and sunsets in the mountains take place in stages. First there is the wisp of sunlight on distant peaks that gradually broadens as the minutes pass eventually engulfing the entire hillside. Replay that same scenario in reverse in the evening until the last shaft of light hits the top of that hill.

Mountains and rivers actually laugh. They have seen man’s act over thousands of years and are constantly amazed we haven’t learned more in all these millennia.

The winter snow of Vail melts and feeds the Colorado River which in turn feeds millions in Nevada, Utah and California on its trip to Mexico.

According to Department of Labor statistics the average American will totally change careers 4- 5 times but 7 is not out of the question. For once I am above average.

In 1970 Kathy Williamson and Ted Kenny, then engaged stood on a hill in San Francisco the night before we said good bye before my time in Viet Nam. After far too many drinks we sang I Am Coming Home to You San Francisco. We did and sang it again tonight 43 years later.

Trust In Me…..

You’ve heard it hundreds of times. Sometimes from a friend or parent figure. Sometimes from a con man who has some sort of stupid enticing siren call. As a babe you have to trust. As a teen you want to trust or maybe that is the beginning of mistrust. You know anyone over 25 is suspect. As you get older you just shake your head.

I am a trusting soul and more than once it has proven my downfall. I am not by nature paranoid. I think all people are basically good. It is not naivete but rather a way I choose to live my life. I don’t often lock doors. I don’t like looking over my shoulder. Sometimes I just don’t see it coming.

I am wary of government. Not in a Big Brother sort of way but just seeing the comedy of errors or malfeasance that tells me it is too big for anyone to tame. When the Department of Defense says they could have anywhere between 1-5 million subcontractors and not be sure, my eyes roll. When the IRS spends $40 million on meetings during a disastrous few years in our economic history faith goes out the window. Forget about targeting the Tea Party. These people are idiots.Can’t trust them.

But even further we had Clinton who didn’t have sex. Rummy and Cheney swore there were WMD’s and they even knew where they were hidden. PAC man. PAC money. The fact they gave $1mill to my campaign has no bearing whatsoever on my vote. JFK’s morals. Nixon’s tirades. FDR’s IRS targeting. J Edgar Hoover. Need I say more. Can’t trust this crowd either.

Let’s talk money. Dick Dietz was the president of the Chatham Trust back in New Jersey. We played tennis together and he held my mortgage as well as my savings. Now the banks collude to fix the Libor rate. JP Morgan Chase gets nailed and pays a fine for rigging bids. HSBC launders money and says with a straight face when a used car salesman deposits $25 million in sequential travelers checks in a small branch that they had no idea. They almost bankrupted the country but nobody pays with their freedom. Still no trust.

Doctors? They bill Medicare for services unrendered. Watch the HMA on 60 Minutes. Emergency medics are given percentage quotas to hit for admissions, necessary or not. Gotta keep those beds full. Pill mills? Why not. It makes perfect sense to have 25 specialists seeing a 93 year old woman with stage IV cancer. Ugh! Still looking.

There is $80 billion in Medicare fraud annually. Millions in Social Security checks to people already dead and buried. Disability claims are paid after a doc says that person can’t do their old job. Not a new one just the old one. And the game is played by pros and Joe Average Americans alike. The guy next door taking cash or paying it.
All part of the game.

Enough of this I am just going to watch a baseball game or maybe a bicycle race. Lance Armstrong beat cancer and all his competitors. What? You mean he had help. He swore for ten years he had nothing to do with it. Ditto McGwire, Sosa, ARod, Bonds et alia. Scratch the national pastime.

I’ll just pay attention to today’s youth and their schooling. Wait. You mean they graduate from class to class not knowing how to read at grade level? How does that happen? Don’t they leave anybody back? Oh yeah, now I remember the teachers in Atlanta got together over pizza and beer and changed test results. Man I feel better already. Where do I turn?

Now I am sorry but I have a few questions for all of us. As a country and as a world are we seeing the graying of the lines of morality? C’mon TTG don’t be such a party pooper. You know everyone is doing it. You have to in order to remain competitive. What’s a little cash or fooling around between friends. Don’t be so hard on the kids. They are just finding their way in the world in their teens, well maybe twenties. Thirties? Forties? I guess it depends on what the definition of “Is is.”

My main question is do we give passes because it is just easier to wink and look the other way? Or maybe it just makes us feel less guilty of our own transgressions. I know I have enough of my own and a pass here or there is just what the doctor ordered. Or in the long run are we just kidding ourselves?

I get the sneaky suspicion that somewhere along the line we are really going to have to pay the piper. Fess up and pay up. Sooner or later trust erodes to the point where you really don’t know who to place our hopes and dreams in. My apologies to you secularists and atheists but I have a feeling In God We Trust is the only option we may have. Not a bad one after all.

As always
Ted The Great

The government has revoked the ability of 14,663 providers and suppliers to bill Medicare over the past two years focused on providers in areas that have historically high levels of fraud, such as durable medical equipment, home health care and ambulance services.

California resident Rand Washburn was charged by the San Diego County district attorney with cashing in on more than $300,000 in Social Security checks that were sent to his mother for about 15 years after she died. After burying her body in the backyard, he failed to report her death to authorities, according to the DA’s office.

The term white-collar crime was coined in 1939 by Edwin Sutherland, who defined it as a “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”. White-collar crime is similar to corporate crime as white-collar employees are more likely to commit fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, embezzlement, cybercrime, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft, and forgery.

As of 2010, undergound economy in the United States alone was estimated to account for over $2 trillion US Dollars (USD) per year in unreported cash holdings.That’s right your taking or paying cash is just part of it. It has also been estimated that up to 80% of all US $100 dollar bills printed every year end up overseas within weeks of their circulation. The underground economy supports any number of overseas operations, including covert wars, raw drug production, and human slavery rings. All of these illegal activities require an abundant amount of untraceable cash, preferably from a strong government with a stable legitimate economy. Money laundering? Just our biggest banks filling a void in services.

The number of deaths annually from medical errors could be as high as 100,000. These errors probably cost in excess of $35 billion annually. As many as 50 million prescriptions annually may be improperly filled. I think I am going holistic or was it ballistic?

Trust in me.

I Have a Right……

Right: noun…“a just claim whether legal, prescriptive or moral.” You know me when I need clarity I go to the dictionary. Definition by itself gives one a sense of understanding and empowerment. I need both. But then lo and behold I have opened Pandora’s Box because you can have a noun, verb, adjective or adverb.

Wait a minute TTG, that’s confusing. Not only that but the word can have so many different meanings. I am caught by the notion that we flip around terms without really knowing the intricacies and subtleties of language. Don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story.

I have opined before on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness but as I go through my notes I did not see anywhere that I owed you a good life or a prosperous life. I don’t owe you an education. But as a practical matter we should at least provide people with basics but then they should choose what is right for them.

But the word utilitarian now creeps in. Sure it would be wonderful if everyone had a college degree but who will take care of cars and plumbing and electricity? But then again that guy makes $80 an hour and I have been waiting for three days for him to call me back for a broken pipe. At this point I have to ask what is WRONG with this picture.

Now I also don’t owe you the latest and greatest in healthcare. It’s nice that we have surgeries that can replace most any old body part that failed due to misuse or old age but is that a right? We bring you in after a drinking binge or jumping off a cliff because you thought it was cool. It costs a lot of money to get you right but is that right?

You have the right to an attorney if you rob a bank or blow up a marathon. If you can’t afford one we will pay for it. And for any ensuing discovery or appeals that may go on we will pick up the tab. If you go to jail we will make sure you are comfortable with a TV, three squares and a place to worship no matter who or what that god is. Many people worship the god of material things so I guess we should have a Walmart annex in every jail. It’s their right.

I elect you whether you are right or left. Wait a minute I object to this left business. I am left handed and in tennis my style is called the Sinister Game. Is that right? But I digress. I know some will say the appellation of Republicans as “The Right” is God given but I think then you are downright out of your mind.

If I put you in power I should also have the right to oust you. I usually can wait until the next voting cycle but sometimes I want you out pronto. I can impeach you but that just bogs down the wheels of government more than ever. Besides who is the final arbiter of right and wrong? The Congress? That is downright foolhardy.

Okay before I let your and my head spin out of control let’s cut to the chase. I believe that you are entitled(watch that word) to have a roof over your head in the name of shelter. But it is not mandatory that it be 2000SF plus or that everyone room have a bathroom. I think no one in this country should go to bed or get up hungry. Of course for a lot of us hungry has a wide definition. If we provide these two we have done our institutional part.

That’s it? Look if a town decides it is in the best interest of the evirons to build a school and staff it that is good. If it wants to build a medical center or hospital to care for its citizens it should do so. If it wants to widen a highway or build an interchange for the interstate they should do so. Yes, we need police and fire protection as well as a standing army or navy but we don’t have to inflate those numbers through redundancy and unnecessary staff. We can’t mandate that every story has a happy ending.

The real crux to me is that every right has a responsibility. If you are a parent you need to teach your children well. If you are a boss you can’t take every last nickel for your self and fire with impunity. If you write you must be sure you have your facts straight. If you drive roads, drink water and flush your toilet you must pay for that.

If you are elected to office you must put the best interests of the country before your own career path. If you are trusted as a healer of body or a healer of soul you must safeguard that belief in you. I guess what it comes down to is it really isn’t about my rights but what is right for all of us.

We are all in the same boat and I only hope we have the decency to hold out an oar to a drowning person. A doctor should heal before checking your pay stub. I pray that we really figure out that we should make the pie bigger rather than our own particular piece of it. But if you don’t and choose to feather your own nest then that is also your right however wrong that may seem to me.

The neatest definition of right I found was as a verb “to restore to an orderly healthy state or condition.” No matter how far off course our ship gets we can always change that course to the right direction. If it capsizes it can still be righted. But it does require all hands on deck. Ok. Enough of this righteousness. I’m outta of here and I just hope I make the right decision on what‘s next.

As always
Ted The Great


There are ten articles in the Bill of Rights with seventeen amendments thereafter. They really set the tone of our personality as a country. Freedom.

Synonyms for right: equitable, fair, honest, accurate, integrity, appropriate.
Antonyms…just one. WRONG

Right between the eyes
Your heart is in the right place
Turn out all right
Head screwed on right.

An entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits based on established rights or by legislation. A “right” is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle, such that an “entitlement” is a provision made in accordance with legal framework of a society. I could spend a couple “Heads” on that note. I’ll spare you for now but do think about it.