I Have A Dream……

This is the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial almost 50 years ago. It was beyond eloquent and no matter what your political persuasion I encourage you to Google it and listen to it.

The times then were downright scary. For the young ones in our audience there was a struggle in the South and elsewhere for blacks to be considered equal. They had been slaves by heritage. I was reading that some 500,000 had been ripped from their homes in Africa. They were sold as a piece of merchandise to the highest bidder. By pieces of silver or gold you now belonged to the man or Massa.

Throughout our early history these people were nobodies. In the modern era if it can be considered as such they were not allowed to ride but in the back of the bus. They could not sit with whites at a lunch counter. There were separate water fountains and lavatories. They were labeled COLORED and WHITE. They were considered the lowest of the low. In trying to figure out their status someone actually tried to equate them as equal to 2/3 of a white person. Wonder why they didn’t pick themselves up and make something of themselves?

Of course there were black schools. Money and good teachers didn’t go there. Couldn’t blame them. The whites that is. And they faltered and failed and took flunky jobs. They talked jive because that was like talking a secret language. It sounded cool somehow and Lord knows they wanted to be cool in some way. 

If you saw 42 you get a little idea. I was a  kid of seven or eight when Jackie Robinson came up. I didn’t really know racial whatevers. He was one hell of a ball player. You didn’t know bupkus until you watched Jackie or Willy Mays run the bases. You cheered like hell but don’t get too carried away. He ain’t coming for dinner or even for a game of golf at the club.

Jimmy Brown grew up in our town. I would watch him at Manhasset High playing football but even better at lacrosse. But he lived in the Valley at the bottom of Spinney Hill. You passed the Dew Drop Inn and prayed you wouldn’t get a flat tire. Don’t stop for red lights. You might not get home. The homes were run down and rancid. Stabbings and drunks were commonplace. We have really come a long way haven’t we? Did I mention that was in New York on Long Island? Not the Deep South.

Sure we have had desegregation. Yes we have had Head Starts and all of that. We have had public housing that has been trashed and burned by the residents. They killed and raped each other. They sold drugs to one and all. The good side of the tracks called them savages and some of them probably were. But so are we but just in white collars and the crimes are less violent like fraud and embezzlement.  I wonder how most of us would have fared?

I watched John Lewis, a congressman from Georgia this weekend. This man walks the walk and talks the talk. He was beaten, brutalized and arrested over 60 times. Yet he didn’t raise a finger in retaliation. He walked alongside MLK and Ralph Abernathy in lockstep. Show them we are bigger than cursing and spitting and screaming in rage. They say N____er go home but to where. Once again the haunting question. What would I have done in the face of all that vitriol and hatred?

Fifty years have come and gone. We have a black president to the chagrin of many. Let’s face it some of us are pissed because he is an uppity black not a Democrat. We have watched the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who seem to be in it for the money and the message is secondary. I am so turned off  by the fact that Jesse Jackson got the blacks to boycott Budweiser and was rewarded with a distributorship for Budweiser for he and his sons. Sharpton blatantly lied about Tawanna Brawley and got a radio/tv show for his efforts. But then again I guess no white man has ever committed a crime. Sure he did  but just dressed a little differently and working out of a gated community instead of a ghetto storefront. That makes it alright.

Now except for this week the blacks have been in the background. The Latinos are now front and center. We want to deport them. We want to cleanse our land to make it right. Get them sons of bitches out of here so honest Americans can get a job. Really? Okay I will play your game. Just let me know in a year or so how you like making your own bed or cutting your own lawn. Or if you have help what is it really going to cost you to attract the “right” kind of person.

I am not a cross burner nor am I a cross waver.I am not apologizing for who I am or what I have. But to say I got here completely on my own is BS. There is a thing called the Lucky Sperm Club and I am a member.I could have been black or Latino or poor and destitute living in Somalia. I am not the cat’s meow.And neither are you.

The black community like the Latinos have to take responsibility for themselves. The rappers and movie moguls as well as sports stars and reverends have to stand up and take their own to task along with white America. But we as everything sane can’t keep coming up with vapid excuses to justify our right to throw stones and plain ignore the problem.

I have a dream. That I will be a better person and not be patronizing to less fortunate people but really try to get my ass in gear to help them. That when I see a young black or Hispanic I won’t say isn’t he or she cute but look and see a human being with incredible potential with as much right on the planet and in this country as I do. As I look at my kids and grandkids. That’s a dream and I have along way to go but I have to start somewhere. Care to join me?

As always

Ted The Great


The slave trade in Africa was set up and maintained by blacks. You had to get the poor devils from the inland regions to the coast and waiting ships. Millions went to Europe, South America and the US. They were stacked like cord wood and on the overall journey throughout all corners of the globe a vast majority of them died. Made the “survivors” all the more valuable.

Gospel music as well as the blues are an outgrowth of slavery. At night they would sing to soothe the soul and pray to God. The blues were just that and a tribute to the poor times.

72% of African American babies are born out of wedlock. 90% of blacks killed are at the hands of other blacks. Now you can view this as a cancer or a pimple. Cancers kill if left untreated. Pimples can kill also if left untreated. Just takes longer. Name your poison.

Gangs are the new black and Hispanic “family”.

Who Are You?…….

Cue the music. Pete Townsend and the Who are on full volume as I ponder the question and yes maybe it is CSI. Let’s look for clues and let the evidence not emotion lead us. The boys and girls in DC are on summer break and it is a great time to think of your political bent without the normal barrage of left and right.

I really would like to know what it is I am? I could take a test on the internet which is actually quite fun if you are honest with yourself. But I really hate to be defined. Time to go to Merriam just one more time.


is a political and

social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions. A person who follows the philosophies of conservatism is referred to as a traditionalist or conservative. Okay I get that. You really like the status quo. Don’t mess with Texas and if you are rich and famous you like that just fine. Who wouldn’t? If you are really conservative then you are a reactionary. You want to really roll back the clock to colonial times or cavemen depending on your fervor.

Liberalism is

a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties. Wow!  That was a mouthful. I think they are saying that you want to tinker with society to make it work better.

On the surface I don’t really have a problem with either side. But as always the devil is in the details and the energy. You can take a workable philosophy and have extremists. This is the take no prisoners philosophy. I can’t back down one bit because to show weakness is to predict my demise.

Branding is a concept that is very much in vogue today. In commercial applications, Coke, Nike, BMW, Kraft Foods et alia push their brand in print as well as electronic media. You want to use or be a part of their family because it implies quality, hipness or a certain joi de vivre that you want to be part of. You know someone says they wear Armani suits because it makes a statement about who they are. A little shallow but true.

We have this irrepressible urge to categorize and label. I’ve talked about neat little stacks because then I can decide if you are in or out and do I really want to have something to do with you. Can I trust you? I think I am saying if I listen to you and hear your point of view then I might catch a disease and then what will people think of me? Politically we have to define you as left or right and then form our message to attract as many as possible to our side.

If you are liberal you want to cure society’s ills through government intervention. You believe in equality and if it doesn’t exist you can create it. Now I feel for my fellow man. I give to charity and volunteer my time. Interestingly rich liberals give less to charity than rich conservatives. Why? They think the government should provide not the individual. I am not sure that makes sense in a philosophical or practical sense.

The error of the liberal way is that taken to the extreme you rob the individual of any sense of self determination. I guess at its real extreme it is socialism. I want to help a bit not give away the ranch. But let’s not get quite so smug oh ye of the right.

Conservatism says we should all do it on our own. No help. Let the chips fall where they may. I got mine. You get yours. I am a pretty self reliant person so I can agree. Sort of. If I am a conservative from the Midwest why am I taking a subsidy for my farm? If I lean right in New York then I should not have flood insurance or any help from the government when my house in the Hamptons or Mantaloken blows out to sea.

If I really cut out the entitlements then no one can get high end surgeries or hip replacements to pay for those houses. Government  grants keep the hospitals and universities that I like on an even keel. I could put in tolls everywhere to pay for the bridges and highways but then the less fortunate won’t be able to get to the malls to buy the stuff  that keep the stock prices up. Hmm. Maybe we ought to help a little. Especially when it benefits me.

Enter the independent. Now he or she says I really can’t buy either of your acts in entirety. They are the bane of politics because no one really understands what they want. A little from Column A and a little from Column B. Playing coy. Not committing but saying you have a chance for my vote. Let me hear your pitch. It really is in pure election parlance the swing vote. How cool.

The only real problem is the institution at the present time does not allow for independents. The true power in Washington is reflected by the committees of Congress. If you want to get the plum assignment you have to be a big cheese in the party. If you want to get money from the lobbyist you have to have seniority. There is not a lot of swagger or influence for the chairperson of the Postal committee.

For this reason there is an incredible need but almost an impossibility for a third party. If there was another side we would have the powers that be making deals and forming coalitions. Not trading tit for tat but forming legislation that was really in the best interest of all and not just doling out hidden percs for support. If you vote for my subsidies then I will give your constituent a tax break. What  a crock. But as long as we let them play the games it will be our ruin. If we let money and power prevail we are screwed. If you think the current situation is sustainable I have some oceanfront property in Arizona I would like to sell you.

Who am I? Government is not the solution to everything. We should be out of education nationally and leave it to the locals. We should wipe out every single tax loophole and start over. Any new levy should stand on its own and not as part of a hidden rider. We should gear our expenditures toward infrastructure and less for defense. Not only roads and bridges but a broadband system second to none. We should say if you have a great idea there is no better place on earth to see it to fruition. We have got to help the poor as civil people. If we have poverty you can’t have a sustainable economy. We have to root out the bloated bureaucracy and corruption. That means attacking power at its roots.

This is not campaign rhetoric for the TTG party. It is just a common sense approach. I don’t want to be labeled left or right. I want to tell you what I believe in and respect your ability to do the same. I want to meet you half way and sing somehow out of the same hymnal. You sing tenor, I will sing bass. But we will sing together. A loft expectation? Of course. If you are Conservative come down off your high horse. If you are liberal don’t expect the world. Those are the real facts of who we are.

As Always

Ted The Great


There are 26 national parties in the United States. Among them are the Communist Party, the Modern Whig Party, Socialist Worker Party, the Christian Life Party, the US Marijuana Party and the US Pirate Party????. Something for everyone.

Up until the 1820’s nominating the people to run for President was really an inside job. The Congress got together and decided who should run. This became so outlandish in 1824 that the individual parties did their own picking and Andrew Jackson, hero of the War of 1812 was the “People’s” pick in 1828.

Our current primary system is both good and bad. Ideally we would have an open primary where the two top vote getters regardless of party would square off  in the general election. Good for us. Bad for the parties.

Good Examples of Positions:


Liberal;Support legal immigration. Support amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally (undocumented immigrants). Also believe that undocumented immigrants have a right to: all educational and health benefits that citizens receive (financial aid, welfare, social security and medicaid), regardless of legal status.  It is unfair to arrest millions of undocumented immigrants.

Conservative;Support legal immigration only. Oppose amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally (illegal immigrants). Those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally do not have the same rights as those who obey the law and enter legally.



Liberal:A woman has the right to decide what happens with her body. A fetus is not a human life, so it does not have separate individual rights.

Conservative:Human life begins at conception. Abortion is the murder of a human being. An unborn baby, as a living human being, has separate rights from those of the mother

You wonder why we can’t agree?


Fantasyland and Pragmatism…..

I am always continually amazed by our ability to dream. Yesterday I was surrounded by munchkins in the person of four of my seven grandchildren. Padge refused to let them watch TV so they played, dreaming up this scenario or that. Climbing trees or making a box of simple things come alive with meaning that could not have been in the mind of the creators. Very cool.

I am always torn by the concepts of dreaming and pragmatism. I love to think about possibilities of all sorts giving full vent to ideas without the strong arm of the law saying you can or cannot do that. But then the conservative in me says we have to have limits or even better yet it’s okay to cook up this or that but not all the time.

I guess I really wonder if our world is in any way realistic. We keep pushing envelopes with regard to housing, cars, medicine and entertainment. We had friends visiting who live in a three bedroom two bath house. It’s just them and an occasional visitor. They said they really want to add a third bath and I said why? Well because every bedroom should have its own bath, dummy.

I am always on my medical kick. I work in hospice as you know and every time I go there the moment of passing for some soul is imminent. As I walked by a room last week I joined the nurse for the last few moments of this woman’s life. She passed at 3:33 PM with no incident.

I couldn’t help but think of ICU’s and operating rooms everywhere trying to save this person or that at all cost. Pull out this part and put in a new one. Let’s try one more ultra blast of radiation or chemo to rid you of that cancer only to die from something else because your body is so beat up. Why would you ever want to go without a fight? Maybe because it is time.
Movies, games, resorts and wedding have all taken on this air of “Can you top this?” We are totally absorbed by the concept of I am just going to sit here and you must entertain me. I don’t think this is old fart as much as saying when is enough, enough. Sooner or later you can’t go bigger, better, faster or can you?

There was a bride to be who lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Santa Barbara, CA. They had the bachelorette party in Vegas, the bachelor party in New Orleans and the wedding in Mexico. Of course there was a luncheon for the bridesmaids, a rehearsal dinner, and an after wedding brunch tacked on. Partay on but to what end. I would hate to be the poor schlep who had to follow that act. Now is all of this looking at reality or just going farther and farther into make believe? Don’t be a Scrooge TTG.

For a moment think that our nation is reflected by its politics. Forget about left or right. We have become a nation that is putting off hard decisions. We can’t solve, immigration, infrastructure, tax reform, and medical coverage because we “kick the can down the road”(I really hate that phrase). Is this the deliberative process or a bunch of men and women who can’t seem to face up to what’s happening now?

I know it is the dog days of summer. August is when most people take off and all of this will probably fall on deaf ears. I am not opting for a puritan society but shouldn’t there be some limits? And that’s where I have my problem. I am incredibly optimistic and positive. I truly feel like I am in my early forties as far as mental acuity and even physically somewhat. Actually I was more of mess when I was forty. But that nagging voice in me says let’s look at things in black and white. Have fun but also get the joke.

Maybe it is generational? Not in the way you think. The 50-60 million Boomers who are on the back nine grew up in a crazy time, the 70’s. Make peace not war. Free love. Let’s do a few doobies and life will be grand. Enter Timothy Leary and the wonders of LSD. Woodstock was the birthplace of more than one thing. The whole gig was drugs, sex and rock and roll. Don’t worry. Be happy. Life will work out somehow.

Today we have a whole strata of retirees who have amassed an average of $25,000 in their nest egg. They have beat up their bodies pretty well and now are demanding we fix them. The other day I read with medical advances people might be able to live until they are 120. Now that is an exciting prospect. We are looking for Mommy and Daddy to rescue us and they are personified in a guy called Uncle Sam. Bad news for the next generations.

I guess my whole point is we need a little sobriety. I know some of you have been hurt by the downturn but for the most part we as a country want to keep rolling with the next frontier being an outpost on the moon or Mars. Great. Dream the dream but also figure out how we are going to pay for it. Wait a minute. Why can’t that be our new fantasy? Now that’s a clever idea TTG but let’s not get carried away.

As always
Ted The Great

The average wedding today costs about $30,000. The most expensive one was $78 million and the lovely Vanisha Mittal of India. Don’t know her but she invited 1,000 guests for 5 days. The Donald only spent $1 million. He didn’t want to do anything over the top.

The 70’s brought protest, disdain for authority, wild clothes, crazy hairdos, streaking, lava lamps, Pet Rocks, environmentalism, women’s liberation, the civil rights movement and the early advent of microcomputers.

For the next twenty years there will be 10,000 people each and every day who reach the age of 65. There will be a significant drop in the number of working people (16-64 years of age) to support what will grow to be a population of 85 million retirees.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46% of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement and 29% of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

The life expectancy in the US is 78.3 years young. The HEALTHY life expectancy is around 71 years.

Would You Date An Undertaker?….

Just imagine for a moment that you are having a drink in a bar with a beautiful woman or handsome man. In my case of course this is just in the realm of fantasy. Honest Kath.  You are deep in conversation and this person is WOW. Intelligent. Witty. Sophisticated. You are so enthralled you don’t even ask what they do until the second drink.You are an undertaker? Excuse me I have to feed the meter and then it is adios.

I arrived at this train of thought through two books I am reading on bias and imagination. I know my brain goes into strange and mysterious places but please hear me out. This whole bias thing was of course kicked off by the Zimmerman trial. Which way would I have seen it if I was a juror? Not as easy as it sounds.

Of course I don’t have a biased bone in my body. When I see a person of color all I see is the human being. If I see a grossly overweight person I don’t see an overeating slug. How about if you have nose ring? Loaded with tattoos? What if your head is misshapen by a gross scar or acne? I stand accused and convicted. C’mon TTG that is not really bias. Oh really?

We all have what might be called automatic biases which are both innate and sometimes acquired. We tend to categorize people at first blush. We take them and put them in this box or that. You’re Jewish? I’ve got one for that. Muslim? Asian? And then we begin this process of going from one sorting technique after another until we have everyone in neat little piles that we have personally  designed. All without uttering a word.

We use all these floors, closets and drawers because we crave order and predictability. We like our view of the world just the way it is. A comfort zone. A warm fuzzy. Why would I ever want to screw that up?

These forces are personal, familial, cultural, religious, race, gender and societal class all rolled into one. Boy do I feel good! I have it all figured out. Except there is one small problem. Our world and especially today is not static. We are taking on one tradition after another and seeing whether it is really appropriate in the new normal.

This isn’t a gradual evolution but an earthquake of cataclysmic proportions. Sure it is bothersome and I will do everything I can to shape it for what I believe in. But I also can’t stand in the middle of the street and say STOP. Even worse I can’t star in “Back To The Past” and tell you about the good old days.

And now enter imagination. I got to thinking if I shoot down every new and crazy idea then I am both a wet blanket and doomed to obsolescence. Let’s face it. Older people are probably the worst. Some are lazy. You know they want to stand up for their rights but it is really a way of saying don’t bother me my shows are on. I think most are scared. A lot of us got to where we are by being cock sure we were the cat’s meow. Admit that I might be wrong? No way.

Imagination is exciting and fun. You come at something from a totally different angle. You blow up your mindset and then start from scratch. You might arrive in the same spot but the sheer exercise of your brain is exhilarating. People my age say they can’t believe the energy I have. When you are having a good time you can’t help but be excited about life. I hope I am this whacky if I am in a wheelchair.

More importantly is sitting down with someone who has a totally new idea. Don’t throw stones but feed their enthusiasm. As some profound individual once said. “Don’t ask why, but why not?” I had the absolute joy of having lunch with a bunch of young people. They had ideas, dreams and reality all rolled into one. I put away my sifter and prejudgment mechanism and just listened or at least encouraged where I could. I learned so much.

If you think of an insect is it a mosquito or butterfly? When a person is a lawyer or surgeon are they a male or a female in your mind? If a person makes an incredible scientific discovery does the vision of a white or brown person conjure up in your brain? If a black man is walking down the street in a hoody do you say hello or cross to the other side. Think how all these automatic responses cut us off from any new discovery about both people and things.

Look we are all biased for good and for bad. Like all other learned traits they can be changed. And to me that will result in growth both personally and as a country and a world. We will find solutions as opposed to going to our respective corners to wait the next round. Life is too short and if we use our imaginations we can really picture just about anything. Even dating an undertaker.

As Always

Ted The Great


A funeral director does embalming, burial and cremation. The industry employs over 30,000 people. More woman are currently enrolled in mortuary science programs than men. They are fun. My favorite body snatcher, John Horan, TC and I are going to have a glass of red and a cigar at Churchills Thursday afternoon.

Your biases can be set off by words alone. Orchid, tulip, lily vomit, poison, evil, gnat, wasp, roach, steak, liver, corn, brussel sprouts. See what I mean?

How components of the U.S. population are projected to change by 2050:

Racial/ethnic groups









































The times they are a changing.

Zimmerman got away with murder. Forget about Florida law you can’t just tail a guy, be told to stop, continue on and confront that guy, get into a fight and kill him. I don’t care if Martin was white black or pink.