The Road To Happiness…..

Kathy and I left Denver on Sunday in what is supposed to be Ted’s Magical Mystery Tour of Florida and environs. With a “rocket box” installed on the rooftop of the trusty Subaru Outback we set out against the elements. Yesterday morning in Columbia, MO brought with it sheets of ice and sleet. We like driving but this was a white knuckle job until we got south of St Louis. The car was covered with ice which with the turret up top looked like the war machine from Animal House. I am trying to figure out if I was “D Day” or Belushi at the wheel in search of the accursed Dean Wormer. I have been on double secret probation my whole life.

As we got under way there was an airing of “Ted” on NPR. They were discussing happiness and how to achieve it. If only it were so simple. But there were truisms and they didn’t revolve around things but rather a state of mind. The gist of the conversation revolved around outreach and a nice thing called gratitude. Not particularly looking for the next good hit but realizing how really fortunate we are. That’s a good concept. I’ll let you know if it works.

We like driving for a couple of  reasons. The first is that is really enjoyable to see and experience different people and their cultures. Wait TTG, you sound like you are visiting different countries. In a way we are. Sure we could fly and ship the car as someone suggested but the view from 30,000 is a bit jaded. The second part is the best. As you put things on cruise control you can really just sit back and think. You let your mind wander as long as you keep the wheels on the road. There is no CNN or FOX per se but rather a bit of reverie that is not only stimulating but refreshing.

I find myself looking at the dark and rich soil of Kansas and seeing just good people. A lot of our leaders past and present have grown up on those farms. I mean the good ones that remember where they came from. Eisenhower, Truman, and Dole to name a few. I see cities like Kansas City and St Louis and wonder how they will fare in the future. The brilliant skyscrapers last pushed to sky twenty years ago and they look a little dated. The glitz has gone elsewhere and now they have to get creative. I see the vast and remote fields of Arkansas and Mississippi and I wonder how we can possibly get education and healthcare to these people without even considering Obamacare.

I see the huge Burlington Northern and Santa Fe container handling yards  in Memphis and you have to marvel at our countrywide distribution system. Who knows where the goods in those boxes originated but you have to bet on the far east  or some other haven of cheap labor. Besides that as you pass this little town or that you are blown away at the number of ways people earn a living. Health care is big as are personal injury lawyers if the billboards are any indication. Widgets and whatchamacallits abound. And that also is a good thing. But there are so many fallen down shacks and deserted storage buildings you think of dreams that blew up in someone’s face. Then again that really is the beauty of the American landscape. No blame. No shame. Just get in and try it all over. Bully for you.

We spent last night in Birmingham, Alabama. The beauty of road travel allows you to mooch off some wonderful people. Ed and Kendrick are the best. Neat but not gaudy is a phrase designed for them. They have everything you could want in life but there is not a scintilla of over the top. They took us into their home and shared their life long city with us. There is a gentility and graciousness of the South that has been tarnished by a thing called prejudice and that is not altogether fair.

Ed and I spoke of this. We both agreed we could not look at another human being and hurl invective and rage but it was there. Ah, before ye judge think of your own little world. Tell me you are without this bias or that. Italians? Jews? Women? Not in my country club you say. Sometimes the bigotry in our heart far outweighs the race riots of long ago. That’s not absolving people but just don’t be so smug. I try not to be.

Even though it is February you can feel rivalries as you wander through. The Wildcats. The Jayhawks. Does Missouri as a whole really hate Kansas as a whole? Roll Tide. No way I am Auburn through and through. The Seminoles and Gators shine up their armor for next year’s war at opposite ends of the interstate. We drove through Nebraska one time in the middle of May. There was a woman in a red car with a red dress on and I am sure she was humming the Nebraska fight song. These are sicknesses for which there is no cure.

Our 2,000 miles are drawing to a close but there is a lot more ahead of us. I hope you don’t mind if I share thoughts with you from time to time. About people, places and most of all life. Get out of the road for an hour or two. Even if you are doing 80 things go slow. Turn on some good music and think about this world we live in. If we ever figure it out it is a pretty cool place to be. Road to happiness? I hope so for all of us and not just the few.

As always

Ted The Great.


Animal House was made in 1976 for $2.8 million and grossed(no play on words) $141 million at last call. I try to watch it and Fletch at least once a year.

Vestas is a wind turbine company with many installations in Kansas. There is a startling array of 111 of these monsters on Interstate 70. This one company has over 48,000 in operation worldwide providing power for some 25 million people. The height of each unit is over 300 feet and can rotate at a speed exceeding 150 miles per hour.

The Interstate system was championed by President Dwight D Eisenhower. Construction started in 1956 and now accounts for over 47,000 miles of interconnected highways. The highways are kept up by a 18.5 cent tax on gasoline. There is no new money for construction and the Highway Trust Fund is in trouble. Not enough money is causing the creation of toll toads which of course everyone is against. So let’s see. We don’t want to increase taxes and we don’t want to pay tolls. Sounds like gridlock to me except the roads need work.

With Division I, II, III  combined the total number of  college football teams comes to around 1000. There has to be somebody you can root for.

There are 23,000 inhabitants of Itwamba  County, Mississippi. Think of all the county services provided by this and thousands of other counties in the US. Then think of redundancies with adjoining small counties. Do you think there is a whole lot of waste.?  Sorry, I was just thinking.

Hold That Thought..

I was talking with a friend the other day. He has been grappling with a tough decision for a period of time. I came back to him with the burning oil rig scenario. You are out in the Gulf of Mexico on a rig and there is an out of control fire. You can either jump into the shark infested waters or you can stay on the platform and probably burn to death. What would you do? There is no correct answer. But you must make a decision.

I can procrastinate with the best of them. I have also seen the best of them. In the real estate business I would watch a client meditate over a shade of off white for two weeks. We have a friend who asks everyone in sight their thoughts on something with the result being more confusion and stalling than ever. I’m thinking. I’m thinking. Leave me alone.

Barry and John Kerry are in the midst of a beauty. The Keystone Pipeline. We have had studies. We have had false starts. We now have the latest environmental impact on the Nigerian Gerbil in the far reaches of Nebraska. We have Canada saying please. We have Republicans and Democrats alike saying please. John Kerry says we are in no rush. Would one of you please make a friggin’ decision one way or another and let us get on with life.

How about immigration? First you say you do and then you don’t. This baby has been on the table since Ronald Reagan. We have at least 11 million illegals in the country. That is the combined sizes of New York City and Los Angeles. That may be true in more ways than one. But please boys and girls make a decision. They are not going to go away anytime soon. Talk about an elephant in the room. But yet we tarry.

What causes this. The roots are many and varied. Part of it is because our lives have become so complex. The cave men didn’t really mess around. If he didn’t hunt, the family didn’t eat. If he didn’t pick up his spear when the wild boar was onrushing there would be nothing else to worry about. As time wore on in Greece and Rome and courts throughout the world the decisions were made for you. You could even go so far as to say fifty years ago all you had to figure out was what tv channel you were going to watch. You got a gold watch, the wife watched the kids and we all lived happily ever after. That’s changed.

Stability has gone the way of the VCR. Every day you have say yes or no but we seem to be getting worse at it. Deep down we delay because we don’t want to fail and ergo look stupid. Our world keeps score with a magnifying glass and your every move is judged..or so it would seem. We would like to make a move based on expected results but the times are changing so fast we aren’t sure what they are. We amp all this up to finally decide that if I am wrong I am an  imposter. A fraud. There is nothing worse. What will my wife and my kids and my beloved friends think? Okay I will just cogitate about it some more.

We have been taught that immediate gratification is the Holy Grail. If the end is not in sight then how will I know if I am right or wrong. Jeez Louise I have so many distractions. I want to feel the thrill of victory but only if it happens now. Not sure? Well it may be time to check emails or look at a magazine. This is heavy stuff I am working on. Need to think.

Then of course there is the thing we most hate to do. It is a decision that is looming up there in technicolor but is at the same time black and white. Oh boy if I do this you are going to despise me. You pace the floor. You vacillate. Maybe if you think harder there is a different solution. The cruel fact is until you finally do it you are not yourself. You are living a lie. You can come up with a lot more reasons why you shouldn’t but in the end you see the writing on the wall. Man the human condition is interesting isn’t it?

My wife is the most organized human being anywhere. If you ask her for something she can tell you not only the piece of furniture but what drawer and and what section of the drawer where it hides. But if she has to do something she doesn’t want she is totally out there. She forgets. She stutters. She stammers. She is in total denial. Finally after my nagging she flips me the international sign of distress and gets it done. And then of course she will tell you how easy it was. Nobody’s perfect but she is close.

I think we are all too hard on ourselves. Monumental things are like death or separation. The rest is not so important. Some of you are probably old enough to remember asking someone out for a date. One of life’s particularly trying moments in adolescence. Now whatever you have to decide in life could not be as heart wrenching as that.

We would do well not to worry about each other’s judgement. We should probably not set our expectations quite so high. That can be in losing weight, doing your taxes or taking a test. Just remember on anything thing you do there is probably a 50% chance you are doing the right thing. I think that is the thought you should hold and as for me I would jump in the water and take my chances.

As Always

Ted The Great.


People who procrastinate frequently may also have alcohol or drug dependency problems. Even if they don’t have a dependency issue, they might have trouble knowing when to say when.

Procrastination can stem from perfectionism. You keep going over and over something. You have to be perfect or you won’t be loved. This is sometimes brought on by parents where good isn’t good enough.

20% of the populace considers themselves serious procrastinators. They are late on everything including appointments and waiting until the last minute on paying bills, taxes etc. The even dawdle cashing paychecks. That was never my problem.

Reality Sucks….

In the final analysis there is no way to sugar coat. The Broncos and by association their fans got the crap kicked out of them. It has been a long time if ever that a group has failed so miserably on the field of battle in front of 111 million people. Damage control? Impossible. We got beat every which way but loose. We stink. There, I feel better already.

I was reading an article a friend sent me on vulnerability and life. This was days before the game so don’t think I am being cheesy. The bottom line was twofold. First off, life is a battle or conflict. The streets are mean and sooner or later you are going to hurt or be hurt. You are exposed to the elements of some sort. As parents or guardians we try to shield our loved ones from the harsh realities of life. But in essence that is the beauty of life. You are going to win and you are going to lose.

Secondly as we grow older and fend for ourselves we become less human. We try to fabricate some crazy facade either by conduct or trappings. We put on airs. We have bravado. We construct a plan of life that is neither worthwhile nor genuine. We hide the real us. We are so afraid to be the true McCoy. We do not think about who we really are but who we think we should be. We are petrified that if we are open and yes vulnerable then nobody would love us. Interesting stuff.

We just had new bookcases put in. We have to fill them with something so I have gone to the trophy locker. Okay Kath, both our trophy lockers. As I put them up I noticed there were some wins and also a number of runner up silver pieces. At the time I am sure I thought it was the end of the world that I had lost. Choke artist. Bum. Never once did I think that I had come a long way and beaten a lot of people just to get to the finals.

Just by entering the tourney I was making myself vulnerable. But in the end I worried about what people would think if I wound up a loser. The sun got in my eyes. Someone yelled at the top of my backswing. Otherwise of course I would have prevailed. Dream on TTG.

Recently I have been involved in a tough situation. A close friend asked me to help out a fellow in distress. Hopefully I am not Simon Lagree but I had been down this particular roadway more than once in the past. I said no and was emphatic. I felt and still do that the person had to learn to stand on their own two feet. Sure it was going to be tough going but if not now, when. As I said, reality sucks. I may have lost a friend but it had to be.

The ramifications are considerable. We have just had a scandal relating to Air Force personnel who man the missile silos that are the last stop between us and Armageddon. They cheated on proficiency exams. The reasoning went from everyone was doing it to it was a boring and tedious job with no clear path to advancement. Ergo I can cheat. Excuse me?

There was a young man in Texas who was drunk and killed four people with his pickup truck. He got off with probation and no jail time after pleading not guilty.  A psychologist called as an expert defense witness said the boy suffered from “affluenza,” growing up in a house where the parents were preoccupied with arguments that led to a divorce.The father “does not have relationships, he takes hostages,”  and the mother was indulgent. “Her mantra was that if it feels good, do it” . The upshot of it all was that of course he was unable to discern between right and wrong. The judge agreed and the young man is doing rehab at a posh recovery center in California. I can’t make this stuff up.

The saddest part of all this is that there is a certain nobility to striving. If you haven’t done it then you don’t know. There are a myriad of lessons to be learned in defeat. Most of all there is a crazy rush when you are authentic and vulnerable. I guess when I put stuff down on paper it is the case. I try not to take myself too seriously but I try my best to be real. I try to let it hang out because it feels good to be me.

A couple of weeks ago Robert Gates came out with his book detailing his time as Secretary of Defense. I watched an hour long interview with Charlie Rose and I would recommend you looking it up. This guy spoke from the heart and pulled no punches. He was both critical and laudatory. Someone claimed it was therapy for him to get things off his chest. Others bespoke his breaking the rules in a “tell all” book so soon after leaving his post. I saw someone incredibly human who did not measure his responses and spoke from the heart. His disdain for politics and love of the men who served under him bring praises not criticism from me.

Today the Broncos clean out their lockers. The memories of this season will be bittersweet. But it goes beyond a football game. On the front page of the Post this morning there was article and poignant picture of a funeral for a county patrolman. He was killed on his motorcycle by an 84 year old who was passing a car after crossing a double white line. That’s where reality really sucks. The Broncos and your life? Live it, get over it and move on.

As always

Ted The Great


Choking is a true psychological phenomenon. Professionals and amateurs alike have performed their golf swing thousands of time. But in competition the mind gets in overdrive. They miss a three foot putt. There are actual chemical reactions but the sum total is you think too much. You worry about the audience and how it will react. You worry about letting people down including yourself. You begin to have self doubt no matter how talented you are.

The sad and tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman points out an incredible divergence from who he was and who he thought he should be. This insistence on trying to supersede reality is soothed by drugs, sex, alcohol and food addictions. This is especially true among the young today. We accept and encourage this behavior although it truly is unreal.

Justice favors the wealthy and the famous. You see it time after time. Justin Bieber if he was Manuel Garcia would have been deported and put on the next flight to Honduras. If you can afford $600 an hour lawyers and expert testimony you can probably have your way in our courts system. This is not an indictment but an observation on our justice system. It is “blind” but in a different sense of the word.