All The News That Fits….

My Denver Post never made it to the doorstep this AM. I thought this could be the final death knell for print journalism. I hope it was just a glitch but who knows? There is a new editor and maybe he has gone totally electronic and decided not to tell anyone. I do miss it.

With nothing else to do but ponder, I reflected on all form of journalism. I decided to put my MacAir to good use and do some research. I was sure I would find that there were probably 1000 journalists in the entire country that could affect my everyday feelings on life. There are 645 of such at the Washington Post alone.

Let’s really open the doors. Count in the ranks of journalists not only writers but photographers, broadcast types like O’Reilly,Wolff and Brian, sports commentators etc and you have got one boatload of people affecting how you think. We have five local TV stations here in Denver and dozens of radio stations. Add in local rags and monthly magazines and can journalism be dead? I think not.

But as I thought more and more I got good and bad vibes. I love David Brooks, Tom Friedman and George Will to name a few. I am not a fan of Charles Krauthammer and find both he and Paul Krugman to be on a one track rail line touting their particular brand of gloom and doom. I can take bad news with the good but lighten up boys.

What gets dicey is when it is on the tube. Under the guise of broadcast news you see inflections of voice, a slant of the eyebrows or a soul searching glare when reporting this or that.The press has gone from reporting to punditry. Make whatever commentary you want but please just put the words EDITORIAL underneath your theatrics. The scary part is that for a good number of people this is the only news they get. 30 second sound bites from 6:30 to 7:00 PM.

I am not trying to be a snob. I am a news junky and try to take in all sides. It’s just that not all of you are as sick as I am nor do you have all my spare time. I get it. But to sit back in your comfy chair and tune in the right or left and feel smug that your favorite personality is singing to the choir I find a certain waste of time. What did you really learn? What did they teach?

I read a weekly aptly called The Week. They take a story, give you a synopsis and then the reactions of the press from all sides. Left. Right. In between. They have the best national and international columns highlighted. Yes it is their choice as to how they play it but they truly seem to have their rudder amidships. The point is there are nuggets of knowledge everywhere if you look to the Times, and Journal but also in hard to find spaces.

Life is going to get more interesting with the advent of Al Jazeera America. You all are familiar with the Arab version which seemed to be pretty favorable towards Osama Ben Laden after 9/11. The US version will have a lot of well known TV types as broadcasters. The most intriguing part is that this is the old Current TV that they paid Al Gore and friends $500 million for your viewing pleasure. What a country!

The thing I am trying to digest is what more do they have to offer? We have umpteen zillion channels filling the cable waves. This of course brings up the quality issue with so many outlets. There are good journalists but then again there are some really bad ones too. Can you have that much blank air time twenty four hours a day and not rely on questionable facts and half baked newspeople? Once again I am not trying to be stuck up but where are we going with this?

I read a statement the other day that “Media sets the tone for the nation.” I don’t know about you but that stopped me dead in my tracks. You take an event of any sort. Depending on how it is portrayed it can be run of the mill, sensational, maudlin, vile, happy and heartwarming or destructive in the blink of an eye.

Blacks can be victims or heroes above the fray.Immigrants as pawns or trespassers. Soldiers can be vicious or caring. A gangster portrayed as a celebrity or a ghoul. A politician…well let’s just say there is really only one way. But think about it. It all depends on the slant of the story and you have no control over it. You can start off your day with a spring in your step or feeling like you are in basement B. It all depends what filter you have on. That is a little startling.

Yes I know many of you believe the liberal bias and I don’t disagree with you on many levels. But the boys from Fox counterbalance rather than balance. The fascinating part is that Roger Ailes and crew outweigh the other guys by at least three to one. If that means there are more conservatives than liberals then how did Karl Rove miss the boat so badly in the last election? Just wondering.

Amidst all the furor about Wikileaks and Snowden, the scandals on Wall Street and Main Street as well as analysis of issues that have got to be important to us all we need journalism. It will be taken hostage and subverted like almost every other part of our society. That’s the American way. But to throw your hands up in disgust and refuse to engage in the process as a reader is even worse.

Watch Leno do “Jaywalking” where he quizzes the man or woman on the street about current events. A lot of people in this country don’t have a clue. It’s cute in one sense but so incredibly sad. People make voting decisions based on the cut of someone’s hair or clothes. We know every word to a new song but can’t recognize a decision maker or his or her beliefs. We shrug and say we are too busy. If you are one of these don’t bitch about where our country is. You helped make it that way.

As always
Ted The Great

The press is sometimes referred to as The Fourth Estate. This goes back to the French Revolution. The were three classes: nobility,religious, commoners. The press it would seem oversaw these and were to keep people in check. Their commentary could actually move governments and policy. Ergo freedom of the press.

There are currently 1382 daily newspapers, around 14,000 radio stations and 1774 TV stations. Cable itself depending on the locale can have up to 600 different outlets of a sort.

Classic Jaywalking:

What country is the Panama Canal in? …..dunno.
What separates your inner ear from your outer ear? …..your brain
What is the Gettysburg Address?…..I am not sure exactly where it is but I have heard of it. That was a college graduate in her cap and gown after commencement
Couldn’t identify pictures of Barbara Bush, Al Gore, the Dalai Lama,Colin Powell or the new pope. That last one who was stumped was a Catholic.
What countries border the US? …..Australia and Hawaii.
The best of all. Which president had the nickname Tricky Dick?…answer Bill Clinton

Singing In the Rain….

We went to the mountains to see friends and family this weekend. It has been a tough time here in the Rocky Mountains. It rained on and off for six days. 34 more and I would’ve had to get out the ark. The devastation is severe and the brunt of the pain falls on simple folk. Dozens of trailers pushed against each other like toy blocks. Houses and cars washed away. People’s lives and hopes crushed and mangled

I was trying to figure out if it would’ve been better to have a hurricane or tornado to do me in. One short blast and in a matter of hours it would be over. Or is it worse to pray for a break over 96 hours and then 120 and on and on. Saying God couldn’t be that cruel. When will it stop? And the water kept rising. A poor man’s water torture. In Boulder Canyon a dam of debris cut loose and a wall of water 20 feet high roared straight downhill without regard for man or beast

The people are amazing. They are tough and for the most part silent .They have lived through drought and blight and horrific snowstorms. They know how to hunker down and if need be bury their dead Edwin Markham’s profound line “stolid and stunned a brother to the ox” is incredibly apt. True Grit III should be filmed right here.

As we drove down to Denver early Monday we were treated to nature at its best after seeing the worst. This time of the year the summer folk have gone home and it is still too early to strap on the boards. The aspens are changing and the shadows lengthen. The hills and roadways are quiet except for local folk going to work. Pick up trucks and campers on the side of the road mark the trailhead to the altars for hunters performing their fall ritual

The sun began to peak through in spots and clouds or wisps of fog lay hazily on the ravines and vales. It was really a picture to behold. No entrance fee. Just realize the rhythm of life. As we sped we left the sunlight behind and descended through the foothills and met the floor of the land we call Denver. It was still raining. “Hang on, help is on the way,” I wanted to say. Little by little those rays caught up to us in our Mile High City.The healing was beginning.

Throughout the day the temperatures rose and with them the spirit of some beautiful people. Smiles broaden and bikes and carriages were taken out of hiding. With over 320 days of annual sunshine we do not do clouds well. That orange ball is part of our psyche and our spirit.It is also a tribute to the resilience of man.

We will rebuild as has Seaside Heights and New Orleans. We will pick through the rubbish to find some little trinket or photo that will be the link to the past and the hope for the future. In the grieving process acceptance follows soon on the heels of shock and denial. Probably no different than the poor souls in the Naval Shipyard or Damascus or the mom of a murdered child in Chicago. This is life…. and death.

Mondays are special to me lately. I take singing lessons from a marvelously spunky and talented 31-year-old. She has had her own set of things to overcome but the smile is ever present. She pounds the piano and TTG belts them out. All of a sudden sounds come out of my mouth and they don’t sound half bad. The world is my oyster. Maybe I can do happy hour at the Holiday Inn in Lakewood.

But the residue of my lesson is the best. I drive the car or walk around singing to myself and sometimes the windshield is my audience. I don’t worry about this or that. There’s a stupid feeling of euphoria or even better the realization that whatever life throws at me will just be fine. It is really cool to be alive. Ted’s Head has got to work on that more

Later on I go to choir practice. I am not a holy roller but this is a neat part of my life. There are some real pros. Our director works us hard and that is good. All told if everyone showed up there would be about 130 in the peanut gallery and they all give it their best. If someone is off key nobody winces but it’s corrected with tact and compassion. Now that is a unique concept.

Maybe this week’s chaos is unique to Colorado or DC but I’m finally understanding that this is life. Maybe a new normal but it is the hand we are all dealt. We could hand wring but what is that going to prove? Let’s take the foot off the Obama,Wall Street, global warming and celebrity gas pedal just for a bit. Set it aside and well….sing in the rain or the sunshine wherever you may be. It’s good for the soul and the last I checked that was our most vital organ.

As Always
Ted The Great

The annual rainfall in this part of the woods is 15″. Boulder got over that in five days and has 32″ for the year. If it had been snow it would have been over 20 feet!

As of press time we still have over 500 people unaccounted for. Over 1500 homes have been destroyed. 650 miles of road are either torn up or destroyed.

Besides our roads our rail lines have been weakened. Not only Amtrak but a good portion of your daily coal comes in and around Denver. Over 15,000 citizens have been evacuated. Many by Chinooks and Medevac choppers from Fort Carson. It’s a small world after all. Pax.

Notes From The Heart….

I have been with different groups of friends and probably a few enemies over the last few days. Of course the talk was of you know who and you know where. Our Executive Branch kind of reminds me of the old Abbott and Costello routine, Who’s On First. C’est la guerre.

I am not surprised we are in this mess. I actually thought it would come sooner. Not just for Obama but all of us. A few weeks ago CIA declassified documents said we engineered putting the old Shah of Iran back on the Peacock Throne in 1953 where he ruled until 1979. Not the people of Iran. US! So we could guarantee a supply of oil and in the name of stability.

I remember once sitting in my 1971 Volvo Station Wagon outside Gerallomon’s Mobil station on Main Street in Chatham New Jersey. It was 4:00 AM on a Saturday in 1973 and they didn’t open until seven. The Mideast Oil Embargo had made us beggars on a soup line. I was freezing my ass off and wondering how we got into this mess?

Iranian hostages, The Six Day War in 1967, The first Gulf War, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Hammas. PLO. Hezbollah. Al Quaeda Muslim Brotherhood. Do you really think we are going to bring democracy to this part of the world? Not our brand. But time after time and president after president we think we have it figured out. Forget it kids. Ain’t gonna happen.

The simplest reason is that this has been a religious war for centuries. Shias and Sunnis, the two main denominations of Muslims, started going after each other in 632 AD. They couldn’t figure out who was going to succeed the prophet Muhammed. And they still can’t. Sects break into tribes with warlords and turf and there is no love lost. It is like the Crypts and Kings, Hatfields and McCoys and Republicans and Democrats. The really crazy part is it probably takes a tyrant to keep them all in line.

The problem is there are 1.62 billion of these dudes(women don’t really count) and a good portion want to kill each other. Religion trumps sanity every time.

You know what? I think we ought to let them just have at each other. Why? The world doesn’t really care. We are nuts because Assad killed 1500 with poison gas. Nobody has even talked about the 100,000 dead in the last two years. Sadam Hussein gassed the Iranians in 1988 and we gave him the satellite photos to do it. The Iraq War killed anywhere from 150,000 to 1 million civilians. So many people have been brutally slaughtered, dismembered and violated in this part of the world without any outcry except towards US serviceman or drone strikes. We are the patsies.

Under factoids I will tell you how far Damascus is from various capitals around the globe. Surprise. We are the farthest away but the one everyone looks to solve this quagmire. There are countries ranging from 85 million in Egypt to 5 million in Lebanon. There are millions of refugees in neighboring states. Where the hell are the people that would be hurt the most by violence spilling over? Where are the oil sheikdoms and continental Europe? Have any of them rose up in retribution? If Iran has nukes who do you think they hit first?

Whether we lose credibility or not we have got to back off. Our volunteer force has taken in the shorts too many times only to be used once again as pawns. Military diplomacy serves only one group. The Military Industrial Complex. We keep writing checks and burying our boys and girls in the name of national security. I say bullshit.

I went to war once. So many of you have served your country too. But today 93% of Americans are not connected in any way to the Armed Forces. We are happy to salute at ball games and then get back to whatever else we do without giving a thought. War accomplishes little or nothing. How do you think I felt when everyone was hightailing it out of Saigon and they were tossing helicopters into the ocean because of the fleeing masses? How do you think a maimed or burned soldier feels when he sees people still being killed by the dozens every day in Iraq and soon in Afghanistan?

After 40 years in the Middle East we have accomplished zip. Sure we get to try out our flashy new weapons system or tactics designed by civilian desk jockeys. But in the long run we have pissed away so much money and worse so many wonderful lives.

Ladies and gentlemen I vote no. Call me a wimp but I think you know better. If they laugh at us, so be it. They were going to curse us even if we struck a blow with a Tomahawk for liberty. Either way we are not at the top of their Christmas card list. We are left out on a limb and everyone is doing the dance of derision or looking the other way.

Let’s figure out a way to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges. Some schools don’t even have book to start the year. We pay an admiral or a general $250,000 per year and a teacher $50k. We have so many pressing problems and we can’t even get Congress to come back early from a five week vacation.

I don’t want to see people die in any way shape or fashion but let’s have others do their turn. We are the greatest country militarily but we get out butts kicked in urban warfare by two faced warlords. I say we train 100,000 Seals and bring everyone else home. I guess that is too simple but I like the strategy.

As always
Ted The Great

Damascus to:
Moscow 1538 miles
Rome 1422 miles
Paris 2042
Mumbai 2461
London 3545
Beijing 4316
Washington DC 5875
San Francisco 7342

We are almost 70% energy self sufficient at this time. We could be 100% in a few short years. The feeling is that we should continue to use foreign oil to have a wedge to use against them. Not quite sure I get that.

Disclaimer: Regardless of what is said tonight by Obama the above treatise was written from the heart. It bears no resemblance to well thought out theory. Might even border on the irrational. Sorry but that is where Ted’s Head is right now.

Making Sense…..

You know this is not as easy at it looks. Ted’s Head is supposed to be a demonstration of my writing expertise while relating what is going on in this bald wonderland known as my brain. This week has provided many challenges. There is a real effort on the part of the world and its resident whackos to render me senseless. They are coming close.

Syria aside from any rational observation is a mess. We are up in arms(literally) over Assad’s use of chemical warfare. We should be. But where has everybody been for the last two years when 100,000 people have been murdered? There are two million people in refugee camps at the borders in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. If there was a red line I think we passed that about 100 miles ago.

Obama and Kerry and lest we forget Hilary have forged a foreign policy that is beyond foreign to me. This whole let’s “let them blow their brains out” philosophy is admirable to someone like myself. I have been to war and we sure as hell don’t need another one. I am mystified by John McCain and Lindsey Graham who seem hell bent on getting us in over our heads. Forget about Viet Nam. Isn’t ten years in Iraq fresh enough in their memory?

But then there is a sticky wicket called moral outrage. We tended to overlook that in Rhwanda and Kosovo but who is counting. The chorus rang loud in Britain, Canada et alia but when it was crunch time they decided to leave the driving to us. Go get them Uncle Sam and we will sit here in the bleachers and cheer you on but excuse us if we don’t suit up for this game.

This whole fiasco has convinced me more than ever that Obama and friends are in way over their head. It’s kind of like the Hokey Pokey. “You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out.” This is the Keystone Kops at work. But wait Congress is coming back to town. That should make everything better. I think we ought to install a giant weathervane on top of the Capitol dome so they can always figure out where the wind is blowing and vote accordingly. The Debt, Immigration, Healthcare and Jobs should be a walk in the park.

Half of the West is on fire but there is an ongoing discussion as to whether we should fight the flames or let them burn themselves out. I think that might be considered Nature taking its course. TTG, you heartless son of a bitch, there are people’s houses in those forests. That line of thinking resembles in many ways the populace building houses on East Coast beaches and then spending $30 billion to rebuild and transfer sand from one place to another. We need Chris Christie out here.

Want to know the real foolishness of our ways? Let’s assume we really want to fight these fires. Air Tankers can lay down fire retardant to slow things down. The fleet of a couple of dozen we have now is old and dwindling. We have numerous C130 aircraft in the National Guard that can be equipped to carry these tanks. We cannot get authorization to use them unless we go through a myriad of red tape.

There are hundreds of former jet transports in mothballs in the deserts of Arizona and California. We cannot come up with the money to refurbish these things but we are planning to launch 200-300 Tomahawk missiles as shots across the bow. At the cost of $1 mill per unit and then the support staff, well you do the math. We need psychiatrists in DC not Congress.

My good friend in Hawaii sent me a New Yorker article on forfeiture. It seems there is a law on the books that dates back to the early days of piracy. The good folk in Linden, Texas a small town near the Louisiana border have found this law to be the path to riches. You see if you are suspected of drug smuggling you can have your possessions seized without a hearing. If you get stopped in this burgh for doing 30 in a 25 MPH zone or traveling in the left lane you are a suspect. The friendly mirror sunglassed gendarme then thinks he smells pot. Bingo you go directly to jail and do not pass GO. That is unless you sign a waiver at curbside and then you are free to move on minus your belongings or kids. The loot is split between the cops, the DA and the town. And it is all lawful. And it is happening all over the U.S. of A. What a country.

Bringing this recap to a rapid close is not easy. You have a Montana judge sentencing a teacher to a suspended sentence after raping a 14 year old student. The magistrate said the girl was far more mature than her age. He apologized not about the sentence but his lack of sensitivity. Wonderful.

Then I did miss but have heard about Miley Cyrus bumping and grinding as a shy retiring 20 year old. She was tired of being known as a former Disney Girl. And yes ladies and gentlemen she will follow blithely in the footsteps of those other matrons of honor, Madonna and Lady Gaga. I am really not sure what that says about my fellow Americans when the Tweets were coming in at 300,000 per minute.

Gang, it is only 8:55 AM MDT here in Denver and I am seriously thinking about having a drink. Instead I am going to take a long run and muse about these and other things. Trying to make sense. I don’t carry an ID so if I get lost in thought and run too far I hope someone will give me a ride home. Going down life’s highway, bumps and all.

As Always
Ted The Great


A six year old boy in China was discovered by his parents with two bloody sockets instead of eyes. Seems someone who was into body part sales ripped them out and then discarded them after removing the corneas. Nice.

Switzerland now has drive in sex. You park your car in a stall and sprint undetected to a room with a bed and a friendly attendant. I guess you look at the menu and place your order. Wendy’s may take on a whole new meaning. Let’s go to Sexdonalds for a Happy Meal.

There was a study done to send kids to Finland, South Korea and Poland (Really?) to find out why they do so well at education. It seems they have a real dedication to learning. Finland pays the teachers very well and there are no team sports. South Korea is a little over the top(no wonder they don’t smile) but somewhere in here is a message. Where there is a will there is a way.

Please look at I know he is a lefty but the interview with Mark Leibovich is neither left nor right but compelling.

I have stolen some of these from The Week, a great publication that I devour Monday mornings. Me culpa.