Gone Fishin”………..

Thursday dawned beautifully as always in our concrete aerie. The sun streams in from about five directions and yours truly had a busy day ahead. I took five flights in single bound(almost) and proceeded to hit the elliptical machine full bore. I was trying to fend off some of the ill effects I knew the weekend would bring. The International Brotherhood of Maniacs and Lost Souls was having its annual meeting. Attendance mandatory.

Now the enclave takes place in a magical place called Black Lake Ranch. Once you turn off the main highway a few miles north of Silverthorne, CO, the dusty road begins and for the next four days there is no contact with the outside world. That is for our benefit as well as the neighbors. One of which is the Master Bait and Tackle Shop. I kid you not. The dirt path takes you about five miles inland over cattle guards and busted gates. The scenery is magnificent but with no pretension. The heavy snowfalls of the Rockies give forth to rushing streams and a lake that shows well above F. Tastes good to be back home again.

The 12 Apostles as it were fill the unpaved parking lot with Mercedes, Beemers, Audis, pickups of all sorts and of course the Lesbaru. With a ton of dust all over them from the trek no one seems to care what you drive. The fishing gear is exotic and first class. Such a novice as me just tries to get the pole together in proper fashion and of course look cool. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

The screen door opens and Debbie and Jim and Carla and Taz greet us. These people are fabulous cooks and even better hosts. The dress is informal and the food hearty. The dining area and bar face the water in all directions. The furniture sturdy but simple. Neat but not gaudy. The den has the requisite stone fireplace. Make your way upstairs and find a room. Any room. Roommates are decided by who gets there first. Sleep is not the first priority.

We meet for drinks of all concoction. Roll your own and loosen up on the porch. Light a fat one and the session is called to order. There is no Speaker of the House and no decorum either. Get your barbs sharpened lest ye be attacked. The laughter and good will echo across the lake. Everyone is fair game. This is getting good.

What a wonderful mixture of old and not so old. Oil men, builders and bond types. People not speaking of accomplishments nor resumes but of life and all that it holds. Where are you from and what is your life like? Not let me tell you a thing or two. Almost like a Navy ward room without the stripes. Some are thoughtful and restrained. Others are outspoken and passionate. I bet you are wondering hole I fall into? So much insight into business. So much to learn about life.

The fishing was not great but it didn’t matter. My friend Jim and I spent a couple of hours just shooting the breeze occasionally casting but just taking it all in. He is a brute of a man and when he shakes your hand you know it and that smile is irrepressible. A Wyoming man in every sense of the word. He has been places and done things that bespeak his wisdom. He spoke to us one night at dinner about the Keystone Pipeline and you got a totally different viewpoint. That of the farmer and a common man. He told me he almost ran against Dick Chaney for Congress. I really wish he had.

It’s quiet there at the lake. I left my cell phone and iMac home. I took notes in the morning over a cup of Joe. I just look out over that water and watched osprey and eagles fish for life and not just for fun. Funny how they didn’t have much trouble snatching things. Sometimes you caught yourself thinking about absolutely nothing. Then on other tracks you are sure you have solved most of the problems of the world. Oh yeah that was when I and the Body Snatcher singlehandedly attacked Jim’s bottle of Jameson 12.

After four days of all this madness we bid adieu. Put the cards away and shook hands one last time. Kiss and hug the cooks and and a farewell that you know was more than perfunctory. Back to sanity but then again was I actually leaving it there in that verdant mountain pass? I wish I was a poet or a really good writer that could convey the beauty and the tranquility. I still hope you get the idea.

Back home I waded through a collection of the Denver Posts and WSJs. It was actually quite startling to read page after page of mayhem and human deceit. The IRS, GM and BNP were tied for first place among the deceitful. The Rockies were nowhere near first place. Sunnis were killing Shiites. Syrians were killing their countrymen. So were Americans killing there own in urban corridors. There was a gang shooting at Red Rocks, the most tranquil outdoor venue for music in these United States. But we have our rights you know.

It’s hard to come from the primeval balance of nature to our ordered chaos and think we really know what we are doing. Those birds were building their nest with well selected twigs. We feather ours with well selected stocks. I guess they fight over fish. We fight over road rage. And today they arrested 268 of our fellow citizens for child sex trafficking. You thought Boko Harem were beyond seemly.

I am not for a moment saying we all go back to nature. The mother earth couldn’t take it. I am not saying this hasn’t gone on for centuries. We are not the Edisons of crime and waste. But it does do one’s soul good to just step back and go fishing. To put away technology and pick up interaction. Hey, you can do it in a park or a Starbucks near you. Come on in. The water’s fine.

As always
Ted The Great.
There are over 3.5 million miles of rivers and streams in the US. There are 123,000 lakes that are 10 acres or more. Black Lake is close to 70 acres.

There are 376 National Parks covering some 83 million acres. The entry fee for 7 days is usually no more than $25. Senior citizens buy a lifetime pass for $10.

FBI: 25 child prostitutes rescued, 45 pimps arrested in Super Bowl sex trafficking offensive. 2/5/14



You’re So Vain……

Carly Simon couldn’t have said it any better. And by the way wouldn’t you feel the same way too? We have elevated every manner of celebrity to the pinnacle of all that is worldly and then some. Sports people, entertainers, newscasters and politicians alike. Who in their right mind would swoon adoringly at Bill, Hillary, or Bill O’Reilly? I gotta get a drink.

I would like to think we are in unusual times but I then hearken back to Grecian and Roman times. I can see Socrates as Time’s Man of the Year way back when. Cleopatra would be all over People magazine of the day. And what better on the cover of Men’s Health than Samson or Gluteus Firmus, the current gladiator rock star.

The Renaissance brought us a combo of artists, sculptors, royalty and Popes. Louis and Leo Umpteenth not only got adulation but if you weren’t singing with the choir there was a chance you would appear next minus your head or at least be condemned to hell. All the while people looked in and thought these characters had it made. They might have had it all wrong.

Now today we go the the far side. Lady Gaga at the recent musical extravaganza in Austin had a woman swallow something really foul and then throw up all over her spangled body. She called it art and I call it very strange. There was not a dry eye in the house…literally. We cheer and protest over murderers. We cheer for their lawyers. We cheer for the jury. Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. Does anyone think this has gone a little far?

This is not anti Clintons but would anyone in their right mind pay either one of them $200,000 to talk for 45 minutes? What could they possibly have to say that would be worth $3300 per minute? Lawyers don’t even make that much. Oh I forgot. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Now I can sleep much better knowing that my financial resources are secure in the hands of these rocket scientists. I think we should bring back TARP.

Let’s take it from the top. You are a wayward soul that gets a part, a show or elected. You were a nobody but somehow you are all of a sudden interesting although you grew up in Queens. People hang on your every word. You acquire a posse that tells you night and day how cool you are as long as you keep footing the bill. You make money big time and spend it on a house, several cars and clothes. Sooner or later you really start to believe this crap and then you want people to make an appointment to see you. You Vant to Be Alone. Can’t a guy or gal get a little privacy?

Now the diva or male counterpart kicks in . You want only red and green M and M’s in your office or dressing room. You have to have your water flown in from France. The finest antiques and granite from somewhere in Italy has to adorn your palace. And there is a couple of Italian guys laughing their asses off over how much you paid. But you didn’t really pay. The schmucks who pay $15 for a movie ticket, $5,000 for court side seats, $4,000 for a campaign fundraiser or $150 a month cable bill are the ones footing your luxury tab.

That to me is where it really gets weird. I haven’t figured out if it is idolatry of their achievements or just because they are famous? Deep down do we really want to be them? They have all the fame and the money and the stuff and somehow do we think that would really make us happy? Right now I have to ask how many happy people there are in Hollywood or your local arena? Do they really seem well adjusted? And as the icing on the cake how are those kids handling their parents fame and fortune? I know my answer.

It should be just an interesting sidebar to life but somehow I think we have really pushed the envelope. Especially among young people who view them as the end all and be all. It’s a free world but there was an article in the paper this AM about young girls having a cosmetics party akin to Tupperware or a trunk show. They were 11-13 years old! Kim Kardashian had liposuction on her toes so she fit into her shoes on her 10th or 11th wedding day. Teens today are getting plastic surgery for anything from boobs to hips. Come on TTG it’s just good clean fun. Right.

If it was just that I would laugh and say, Big Deal. We have amped up everything in our culture. Social networking adds an aura that you and I really can’t control. The impersonality and anonymity of it make it so easy to tease and torture. Today every kid is being held to social standards that are next to impossible to meet. Bullies and bitches can wipe out a whole lot of love you have worked so hard to nurture.

And their role models? Look around you and tell me whom you would like them to be like? Who makes your People magazine or cover of Time? Just leave it out there on the coffee table for you and your kids and grandkids to aspire to. But then again, you probably don’t think this song is about you.

As always
Ted The Great

Oprah Winfrey grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi.
Madonna worked at Dunkin’ Donuts when she first came to NYC
Sex guru Dr Ruth was a trained Israeli sniper. No kidding.
Donald Trump was paid $1.5 million for a speech at a real setae expo. There were 17 of them.
Rudy Giulliani get $270,000 per speech
Bill Clinton was paid $750,000 by Ericsson to give a speech in Hong Kong. He and Hilary were broke you know.

D Day….

If you didn’t catch the D Day commemorations this weekend you should go back on various network websites, pour a scotch or a glass of wine and just sit back. The memories were so clear, the emotions still so raw after 70 years that Kathy and I were rapt with interest and and an enormous sense of pride and humility. These guys were good.

Utah, Gold and Omaha beach were not sterile and abstract war games as the drones of today. There were no Stormin’ Normans displaying instant replays of bombs hitting their targets. No satellites to forecast the weather. Just blood and guts and a bunch of very courageous men.

We went to Normandy a few years ago and it is truly an experience you should not miss on so many different levels. The enormity defies description. There were over 11,000 planes and 700 ships that took part in the invasion. Rommel was convinced he had the fortresses that could not be scaled and you could see first hand what the phrase”war of attrition” meant.

Can you imagine being one of the 40 or so in each landing craft making its way towards shore. You took a long drag on your Camel or Lucky Strike and you looked around at your comrades in arms and wondered which one of you were at death’s door? Literally. The front bay door dropped and the incessant barrages of fire mowed and maimed one man in three in the first few seconds. . The waves and shoreline held schools of dead bodies from the first half hour of battle. The water was red with blood and those sons of bitches just kept on firing and picking off teenage soldiers like shooting galleries on a carnival midway.

The most striking thing to me was that this was a war of all the American people. Back home we were able to churn out ships and planes by the thousands in a frenzy of building. Rosey the Riveter had a lot of help. The country rationed gas, sugar and metal to aid the effort. People grew Victory Gardens not as a cute way to be patriotic but because that was the only way they were going to get fresh produce. Sure there was complaining but it was muted. This was not a vague far off concept but reality.

Almost coincidentally they opened the 9/11 museum at the former WTC a few weeks ago. After viewing the ceremony on TV I likened the surroundings to the visitor center at Omaha Beach. We didn’t breeze through on a schedule but spent hours watching and reading vignettes in little alcoves. All the while you saw the GI’s packs and supplies on display that almost seemed primitive. There was no Kevlar in the helmets. Just metal brain buckets. There were no medivac choppers just litters being passed by those who still had limbs that worked. Oh, we have become a lot better at war now. In Viet Nam we only lost 55,000. In Iraq and Afghanistan just a few thousand. Tell that to a wife or mom or dad.

After a long time in the center you take a purposeful walk to the cemetery. You have seen pictures before but you just don’t know how poignant the first few rows are. As you start to scan the manicured gravesites lined up in perfect symmetry you realize just how many men were gunned down in just one place. They have found their rest for these last 70 years overlooking a strikingly serene stretch of the French coast.

The PBS special was particular. There were four fellows from different branches in the service. There were coxswains and paratroopers. Grunts and airmen. They each told there story as if it were yesterday not 70 years prior. They laughed off the danger. They wept when they told of a buddy that was no longer. All this seared into their arthritic bones and wounded psyches. War is a horrible but somehow necessary part of life. We can’t resolve issues or tyrannies with words. Might is sadly right. And some can never forget it.

The French at least on the coast have been forever grateful. You can feel it as you see the Stars and Stripes right next to the Tricolor on towering flagpoles. I take President Hollande at his word when he conveys the thanks of a liberated nation. But I do question his resolve when he sells warships to boost his drooping economy to a Russia we are trying to coerce with sanctions. But I forgot. It’s just business. Frau Merkel wants everybody to play nice and not upset her economic juggernaut. And Obama and Putin pout like teenagers who have had an ugly breakup to a bumpy romance. Oi vey.

Therein lies my one big problem. I wish one of those old guys with the VFW piss cutters or the commemorative ball caps would just ask the suits to sit down and shut up. They could address the crowds in plain and simple talk that would be more than elegant and statesmanlike. I can always dream.

As I write this piece I can’t help but feel not only for the D Day guys but for all those who have fought forgotten wars. Korea and Viet Nam in particular. The Greatest Generation is more than an appropriate moniker for these bands of brothers. But there is a lot of other men and women who have given more than their fair share in the years since. Each and every one has played a part. They should have their day in the sun but unfortunately that ain’t going to happen. C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.

Someone said there will never be another assault like D Day in the history of the world. Given the state of warfare that is true. But then I wonder if we need a good kick in the pants every now and then. Not to beef up our fire power but to realize just how precious this thing is that we call our freedom. It’s so much more than a business. It is our life…and our future. Young and old should feel that deep down.

As always
Ted The Great.

U.S. casualties on D-Day: 2,499 dead, 3,184 wounded, 1,928 missing, 26 captured.
• Other Allied casualties on D-Day: approximately 2,700 British, 946 Canadians.
• German casualties: 4,000-9,000.
• Total killed, wounded or missing in the Battle of Normandy (June 6-25) for both sides: 425,000.
• French civilians killed in Normandy: 15,000-20,000, mainly from Allied bombing.

There were 156,000 troops that came ashore on D Day 73,000 Americans and 83,000 British and Canadian.

General Eisenhower had a letter of apology drawn up taking full blame for the failure of D Day if things did not go well.

The Germans flooded the fields where our paratroopers landed and many drowned to death.

OVER EIGHTY MILLION PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN WWII 2/1/2% of the world’s population.

Takes A Licking……

And Keeps On Ticking. Some of us old farts remember the old Timex commercial with John Cameron Swayzee. They would put this watch through all sorts of torture and and then hold it up to show it was still working. I had this same experience this week when I underwent certain tests for my not so annual physical. You see I still think I am bullet proof and only gentle prodding by my wife caused me to darken the doc’s doorway.

Sonograms are in a word amazing. They grease you up and then put this thing over various parts of your body and voila there you are in black and white on the big screen. Kidneys, liver, carotid arteries et al were interesting but when they got to the heart, that really caught my attention. Yes, despite current thinking I actually have one. They show you the aorta, ventricles etc. but what was really fascinating was some sort of valve. It opened and closed like a snare drum keeping the rhythm of the band. All in time and without any urging. How very cool.

As is my want I did some calculations and reasoned that this baby had done this same function 2,649,024,000 times during my 69 years. Without missing a beat as it were. Being an inquisitive sort I leapt to my iMac upon arrival home and started looking at all the things that go into TTG. Depending on who is counting there are anywhere from 7-11 major systems in your body. Skeletal, muscular, lymphatic, cardiovascular, nervous just to name a few. But just think about it. All these complex systems are whirring away 24/7 and for the most part all in perfect balance.

Some are voluntary and some are involuntary. One monitors temperature. One processes all the good and bad stuff we put in our body. One reacts to stimuli. One wards off intruders. We pump blood and oxygen to the far reaches of our corpus delectum and and then pick up the trash to be disposed at the recycling plant. That brain of ours is clicking away in a zillion directions, giving orders and processing information. Hormones are keeping balance or may be knocking you for a loop. But this all goes on day in, day out with not a lot of guidance from the outside world.

While perusing the net an ad popped up for of all things, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, probably in a totally nutritional sense one of the worst things you could ingest first thing in the morning. Now of course I treat my body as a temple but on the odd chance I might toss some scotch, ice cream or God forbid cigar smoke down my gullet I really thought what a good way to screw up a highly complex organism. Now it is too late to right some wrongs but I really do try to keep in decent shape at least to stay even. What about the dudes and dudettes that don’t even give pause while inhaling all manner of food and drink?

The technician noted that what we have today is simply a well oiled machine that has learned to adapt over the millennia to every sort of outside force and custom. She tiptoes to the edge of the concept of evolution but stopped short. I meditated on the question of could all this world of ours just happen as in a big bang or is there really some incredible genius that found a way to make these things work? I’ll let you decide if either approach should be doctrine. But perhaps perish the thought, the truth might lie somewhere in between.

One thing you can’t avoid is our similarities. If you strip away the dermis, shave off the hair(Right On!) and everyone’s eyes are the same color we all operate from the same set of plans. Black, white, gay or straight, the plumbing and superstructure are assembled in the same fashion. The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone. In essence at birth we are all identical in every way.

Here’s where I get a little crazy. I know it is not the first time. Thanks for pointing that out. But just imagine if we all progressed from birth in somewhat of a logical order. There are no politics or particular form of wealth. What if we are not producers or directors or divas but just bit players in this thing called life? What if we strived to just live rather than living to strive. What if we just thought life is good and we said just live it rather than trying to manipulate it? Is war, strife and the pursuit of excellence really essential to life or better yet a part of the plan? But then again is there a plan? Dunno. Maybe TTG is getting a little too spacey but it really does cause you to wonder. Some of you are saying what is this lunatic talking about? I know what I am trying to say. Just hope I get it across.

Okay back to the mothership and planet Earth. Back to DC and Putin and Snowden and Hilary. Stock markets, commodities markets and scandals. The VA, PTA, PETA, NATO, and SEATO. Actually I don’t think SEATO exists any more. But we really must get back to reality. This is the world we all have created for ourselves….for better or for worse. I’ll take a licking and keep on ticking. I will probably ponder if I am a Timex or a Rolex. But then again who cares? They both tell time the same way.

As always
Ted The Great

The aorta is about the same diameter as a garden hose. You have heard of a ruptured aorta….not good.There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in our bodies.
We shed 600,000 particles of skin every hour. The dust under your bed is probably not dust but a lot of you. Gross!
The bacteria present in our bodies weighs about four pounds. The largest part of your body is the small intestine. Go figure.
The higher your IQ the more you dream. Dream on TTG. Dream on.
If I do well on my tests I might go out and buy a carton of Marlboros and a gallon of scotch. On the other hand if I don’t come out aces I might make it with the Marlboros and two gallons of scotch.
Gas (flatus) is made in the stomach and intestines as your body breaks down food into energy. We pass gas an average of 14 times a day….and that’s the truth and THE END.