What a Turkey…..

The leaves have now fallen. The sweet smells of crackling oak logs emanate from chimneys through the neighborhood as we take that brisk walk before the feast. Everybody is too old or too cool for touch football. Besides now that we live in the city one must sport their tweeds and scarves to match the moth-eaten but very camp corduroys that still fit. Let the games begin.

We along with 46 million other households in America will soon lay eyes on that succulent bird festooned with stuffing and cranberries of all sort. His or her well tanned skin looks like they just came back from two weeks poolside at the Fontanblue in Miami Beach. Of course there are idiots everywhere for whom the oven is not good enough and they will attempt once again to deep fry that Tom without setting themselves and their house on fire. There’s a 50/50 chance they will spend the evening in the Emergency Room or the psychiatric ward. Stay tuned. Live updates at 10:00.

Now this plump creature is actually native to North America but has undergone several changes from the wild to domestication. Like most of us it has grown large by overeating and lack of physical exercise. The average used to be 18 pounds in the 60’s and now comes close to 30. Steroids and breeding have given these babies enormous boobs. Turkey breast. Get it? They are so top heavy they have bad knees and weak legs to the point that they fall over when they walk. Sound familiar?

The males are the all stars of plume. The “Toms” flap their 5000 multicolored feathers to the “hens”. That red fleshy thing hanging off his nose is called a snood. It fills with blood and droops down when mating. I kid you not. I can’t make this up. It’s where “strutting your stuff” came from.

They all have wattles. These are the multi level folds around the neck where they can pass for either Churchill, Alfred Hitchcock or Mitch McConnell in a look alike contest. The ones that are warehoused have 1/3 the sized brain of the wild ones. As I grow older sometimes I feel that way.

They gobble, cluck, purr and yelp. Now you would think this is talking turkey but that would be too easy. That phrase is really derived from pleasant talk around the dinner table. They haven’t seen some favorite repasts where Uncle Joe gets smashed and Aunt Sarah starts lighting into him. The kids start a food fight and the dog hurls from eating too many table scraps. Aah. Home for the holidays.

Makes you want to go cold turkey on this whole festive thing. The nearest we can figure this out is that when one is weaned from booze or drugs it resembles a cold plate of turkey. No frills and Elmer Gantry is hanging on your slurred speech to do some straight talking. Another variation is that a person in withdrawal looks the carcass of a cold turkey. Nice visual, TTG

All this anatomy brings us to the wonderful world of giblets. In the old days there was a bag of goodies stuck in the avian from the butcher that contained the heart, liver, neck and other visceral organs. My grandmother actually cooked the heart and then asked me if I wanted some. “It’s good for you. It”ll put hair on your chest” she said. What are you nuts? Good thing she didn’t give it to my sister. They now sell those tender goodies to pet food companies for gourmet cat food. A sucker born every minute.

Speaking of marketing. The wild turkey is capable of flying and reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour. I know a lot of my low life friends who can do 110 when they have a bunch of Wild Turkey in them. In its early days these prized spirits were somewhere between anti freeze and moonshine. The boys would take it hunting and at the start of every trip they would say,”Let’s bring some of that Turkey stuff.” Some enterprising redneck put label on it and sold it to gullible Yankees with a 12 on it. They thought it was years old and of course it was days.

While we are in the South one of my Savannah savants is claiming Turkey is a state. Not on the Eurasian border but because it borders on Georgia. They actually think it is right next door to Grease. I was going to bring up the Black Sea but that would open a whole new can of worms. Like Old Rufus, we will let sleeping dogs lie.

Okay I give up. I could go on but you and I have a meal to eat. I could flip you the Bird but you would  probably  cancel your subscription. Like the infamous “Balls” treatise I decided to sit down and put the feisty TTG away. For the day let’s forget about ISIS and immigration and yes even Ferguson.  It is amazing what this sick mind can come up with when I am allowed to just let it fly. It’s great fun. You should try it some time. Say a prayer for those who are not home and those that have no home. We are bunch of lucky dudes and dudettes. Give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

As always
Ted The Great


In lieu of useless information, here below for your review is a reprint of “Balls.” Merci for your patience.

“Balls”, said the queen. “If I had them I’d be king.” What an interesting word. Without getting into anatomy 101 let’s contemplate spheroids.

The obvious are sports objects. But when we think of a football it is oblong and not circular. Cogitating even  further you forget whether you could be talking about soccer or the USA brand. They all seem to have seams and some even have laces. They spiral. They rotate.

Now baseballs are great but we always want to improve them fresh out of the box. There is some kind of river mud that umpires apply to every shiny new one to make them appear dirty. I’ll accept that but who decides when the ball is too dirty to be used in the game? The same guy who soiled them in the first place. Sounds like job security.

Awhile back Mr Doubleday said they had to be so wide and the seams just so but who had any sort of measuring device to make sure they were all perfect in the early 1900’s? Some clever guys discovered if you loaded them up with saliva they did some strange things and prolonged the pitcher’s career. They banned that idea soon thereafter. Purity of the game.

Then they tried Vaseline which was also the hair tonic that cool guys doused themselves with back in the day. How were they  to know that rubbing their hair and  balls ( remember we are talking baseballs) at the same time would do anything? Ditto gaping holes created by belt buckles and sand paper. You thought they were all dumb jocks.

In the wonderful world of golf before Bubba Watson, the objet d’art was a thing called a featherie. It was a bunch of feathers sewn into a wad of leather. Next there was the gutta percha which was just a ball of rubber they painted. Then some savant decided there could be a good use for rubber bands and he wound the longest rubber band into the middle of the little white capsule. Of course we as kids could not wait to perform surgery on the good old Spalding Dot and unwind that baby from end to end.

Now tennis balls were a whole other matter. They were white as the driven snow and the country club tennis ensemble. No colors allowed which of course had a lot of connotations in the days of white shoe WASP establishments. Then Jimmy Connors et al decided to shake up the high brow set and we went to orange and the effervescent yellow of today.

One time in a fit of cosmic thinking I tried to imagine how many balls were in the air throughout the world? Just think of all these things defying gravity? Of course they all fell back to earth at some point. This was both in a literal and figurative way. But I digress.

Now we also have balls as in parties. Many are debutante soirees where a young lady is introduced to society. The lovely lass is escorted by her dad usually and a host of whackadoo collegians. The latter’s sole purpose was to drink heavily and be available to dance with some stuffy old lady or the deb herself if they were still able to stand.

I actually attended one of these fetes at the Garden City Hotel. White tie and tail. A couple of my father’s buddies, Art Florence and Bill Dailey, decided I should juice up my act. Bill had a top hat and cape that he added to the pot. Artie wanted me to wear a ribbon sash with a few old war medals but I begged off on that affectation. I do have my standards. Any way I was a big hit with the guy at the Greenvale Diner at 6:00 AM while I was trying to sit steady on the stool all the while popping the top hat in his face.

Now you could say from time to time I am on the ball. Where the hell did this come from? Some people think it refers to being on the ball of your feet. That is the large protuberance from your foot just aft of your big toe and forward of your instep. It’s supposed to give you get up and go power. Not the right answer.

It actually comes from keeping your eye on the ball. In most sports it is a must. You can’t not look at a baseball coming at you at 100 miles per hour. In golf your best excuse for screwing up a shot is “I looked up” thereby avoiding the reality you have a lousy swing.

I was playing tennis one time with former Aussie pro Colin Dibley. We had a great game and then your favorite smart ass here started chiding him about his serve. You see he held the world record for fastest serve of 134 mph and he had not displayed it in our match. He told me to stand back in the return court and if I could get a racket on any of the three he whistled at me, he would buy dinner. After the second one I was just standing with my Wilson T whatever protecting my you know whats.

Well I guess if you have gotten this far you realize that I am now balls up. That is really any disastrous situation. The balls referred to are NOT testicles. The term dates from the days of wooden sailing ships when the existence of a shipboard disaster, such as plague, lack of food or water, mutiny, etc. was communicated to the outside world by hoisting largish, brightly painted wooden balls up into the rigging. Balls of different colors represented different disasters and therefore served as either requests for assistance or warnings to stay clear. How do I get out of here?

Now before you start bawling I will go. But just think all of you slugs with minds in the gutter way back in the beginning when I just said the word “balls”. We all let our mind wander this way or that. And honestly it is a good thing. No politics or angst this week. Just fun.  I hope Ted’s Head  got you into just a little bit of crazy thinking. We need it every now and then.

As always
Ted The Great
Ted’s Head was viewed over 5500 times last year. There are some 300 lost souls that read it from time to time. They actually come from 40 countries and I am sure many are involved in Al Quaeda, Hammas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Tea Party. This is #148 and counting. The post, “Would You Date An Undertaker?” received the most comments.
I would ask you to take your email list and just once send them either a copy of Ted’s Head or just the address:


I would love to add to our bunch of loonies. Not for self-aggrandisement but just to try to get more people thinking. On second thought maybe you should wait a week.

Who Are These People?….

It’s been a wonderful week for human interaction. ISIS is slashing throats. The Israelis and Arabs are killing each other. We have the myriad of serial killers, hostage takers and lone wolves. If you watch the news blood and gore sells and we are going down the toilet. Even Charles Manson is taking out a wedding license. Geez Louise.

Excuse me while I go to the other end of the spectrum. There was a surgeon who died of Ebola. Doctors Without Borders volunteer not hours but months in a hard hit area. There are religious of all sorts who are not hell bent on killing people but saving them in hospitals, orphanages and schools. People here man food banks and banks of rivers to keep them from flooding their neighbors.

While I was giving platelets last week I was thumbing through the Robb Report. It thrives on the materialistic life style and ostentatious. Store after store has been announcing an earlier than ever opening on Thanksgiving to give you a leg up on buying crap for Christmas. But then the likes of Bill Gates and Bono give like there is no tomorrow. Are we all cut from the same cloth or did one of us get saint dust and the other an evil serum to determine how we would look at life?

I am leaving deviant behavior on its own. I want to understand altruism, charity and empathy. I want to understand how people can go beyond a few hours a week and sometimes volunteer for their entire lives. Not with a sense of duty but true joy at helping their fellow man.

It must take a wonderful person to be altruistic. It is the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.Sounds lofty enough but think about it. You are putting someone else’s needs completely ahead of yours. It is the opposite of selfish and says somehow I am going to make your day better. I don’t matter. You do. You spend your whole day where your radar is pointing outward and not within. Is it just me or is that incredible stuff. I am not sure I can even come close.

Easy TTG, these people are of a special breed. Must have been their upbringing. Probably had very special parents. Maybe there was some particular moment where they got struck by a bolt of lightening. Maybe there is a different way to look at this than holier than thou art. Perhaps we can adjust our sights.

I get worried about our world today. Cell phones, internet, cyber cafes, all claim to help make us more connected. Do they? You hear stories of guys spending hours on end on their computers without ever seeing the light of day or a breath of fresh air. I can shop online. Don’t have to talk to a salesperson. No bank tellers. We will soon be to a point where we won’t have to see a doctor. Just put your IPhone next to your epidermis and we will have it all figured out. We will send you your meds and voila you are healed.

Now if I don’t know what you look like or sound like then you are just bits and bytes to me. You are no longer a person. I don’t care what happens to you because you never physically invade my world. The anonymity of all this says the only person I really have to be worried about is me. No feeling. No emotion. No empathy. Just keystrokes on my IMac.

I have a bad habit of asking when I go to Starbucks if people say please or thank you. The highest percentage I got was in Madison, NJ at 30% and the worse was Edwards.CO where it was 0%. Now if I feel for you and understand who you are and that you matter in the world how can I do that? I was in Sienna Italy and Kathy and I were checking out. The girl behind the desk thanked me. I said for what? She had been in a bad mood all morning and when I came up to the desk with a big smile on my face she said she really felt better. She was cute and Kathy belted me. Told me charity begins at home. Just kidding.

So what I am really saying is we all can’t go to Angola or join the Peace Corps even if we wanted to. The Mormons take a year off to proselytize. That’s a stretch. But how many of us who are retired could spend some time somewhere helpful. Writing checks is wonderful but how about getting our hands dirty? Could a mom or a dad help out at an inner city school ? Could you just rake some little old lady’s leaves? Over 60 million people volunteered last year. Big number but still just 20% of the population.

Busy? Giving blood takes about a half an hour. You couldn’t possibly spend and hour or two at a food bank could you? Maybe your local park or river could use some TLC. This thing called charity can wear a lot of faces. How about just holding a door for someone. Instead of yelling at a service tech or waiter what about saying I feel your pain. Corny? Deep down do you really think so?

Generosity, forgiveness and unlimited love are probably the antithesis of laissez faire and caveat emptor. Prosocial sounds a hell of a lot better than antisocial. Am I in the spirit this season? Not quite but at least I think I am pointed in the right direction. Who are these people? No different than you and me.

As always
Ted The Great LOFO


There have been 215,000 volunteers in the Peace Corps in its 50 years of service spanning 139 countries.
Doctors Without Borders sign up for a tour lasting from 3 months to a year. They performed of 77,000 surgical interventions, helped birth thousands of babies, manned a burn center in Haiti, worked in the war of Syria and inoculated millions.

Americans give an average of $2974 per family per annum and that amounts to 2% of our GDP. $335 billion. 2/3 is given by individuals, 5% by corporation and 15% by foundations. The rate of giving is actually a horseshoe with the very poor and very rich giving 4% of their income and the middle around 2 1/2%.

40% of Americans are capable of giving blood but only 10% do so. It’s amazing how that 20-25% participation in these things keeps cropping up.

Thank You For Your Service….

Veterans Day always seemed like a holiday for old farts. When you were young and invincible the flag waving was nice but I wasn’t about to go to the American Legion hall or join the VFW. Now when I visit the VA I see guys in the lobby, hunched over and beaten up and a lot of them wearing “Viet Nam Veteran” ball caps. Am I that old?

I joined the Navy in the late 60’s. Nam was ever-present and the draft was in all ahead full mode. There were guys that got a deferment for this or that but most of us joined something. It was a sense of duty because quite frankly everyone was doing it. If it was all volunteer I can’t say one way or another whether I would have joined.

That being said I really treasured my years spent with Uncle Sam as my boss. I was 22, fresh out of Georgetown and we didn’t really take career paths too seriously at that time. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life so why not see the world.
My first ship was a prototype of a new Garcia class Destroyer Escort out of Newport,RI. About 420’ long and with a ships compliment of about 250 including 13 officers. The Navy sent me to communications school and of course when I came on board was made First Lieutenant which is about as far from electronics as you can get. Made perfect sense.

This was the deck crew and was for the most part the repository for every raw recruit and misfit in the service. You chipped paint and heaved lines. Bosun mates had a rep for hard drinking, cussing and fisticuffs. I knew the Uniformed Code of Military Justice by heart. I would go to quarters in the morning and from the look at bloodshot eyes or big shiners knew part of my day would be spent writing guys up. C’est la guerre.

As an officer you stood watch on the bridge. There were four hour increments and that is where you started to grow up. On the Mid Watch (12:00-4:00 AM) you were in command as officer of the deck. Everyone else was sleeping. There is a ceremonial tradition in the Navy where you say “I relieve you” and the off going Ltjg or whatever salutes and says “I stand relieved”. You are now in charge both under Navy regs and maritime law. Pretty heady stuff for a young turk. Light up a Marlboro Red under the Southern Cross and you were king of the world.

Well of course my big mouth and bravado had me on my second tour in Viet Nam as skipper of Swift Boat. It was a 50’ gun boat with a crew of 5. The next step in my maturation process. I was still calling the shots but now on a 24/7 basis. A little older and I hope a little wiser. You developed your leadership style that would probably carry on in years to come. For better or worse you came into your own.

I won’t bore you with war stories because that would take too much time and too many scotches. But I will tell you that if I didn’t want to get married and have kids there is a good possibility I would have stayed in. There was an exhilaration of going to sea and feeling the gentle roll of the hull as we picked up speed. It was exciting to tail a hurricane to see what the big ship could take. It was bone jarring to transit the Gulf of Siam in 20 foot seas in a 50’ beer can. And then who can beat Navy Whites on liberty. All part of the job.

When I got out, there was a petty officer who looked over my papers and very unceremoniously said,”You can go now.” No thanks. No good luck. Just see ya’. That was a little deflating. But it was the way I came in. In OCS there first thing they do is shave your head. Everyone looks alike and they don’t really care who your daddy is. A newbie chirped up and asked when he would see his wife. The chief growled back,”If the Navy wanted you to have a wife it would have issued you one.” When status and background don’t mean a thing it is good. We should all have to go through that for some period of time in our lives.

Today among contemporaries if I run into people who haven’t been in service I sense a sense of unease. They will say they did this or that and that is why they couldn’t serve. It really makes no matter to me. They don’t know what they missed. Over the years I have formed close friendships with many of those with whom I served. These are wonderful men and very decent people. I am so glad I have them.

When I see these guys in Iraq and Afghanistan I am in awe. Some of them have not put in three years but 8-10 tours over 10 long years. When I go to Normandy I look at battlefields that raged for days on end. Their three to four years were a lot different than mine. But then again today we are still a Band of Brothers and Sisters. I take my hat off to all of them.

A couple of years ago a close friend had a retreat in the mountains near Vail. He set it up so that injured warriors from Walter Read could come out and have a little time off. The airlines were more than generous. There were cabins and fishing for them and their families. He asked me to come out. I donned a Navy sweatshirt and tooled down country roads with not too many cares.

When I got out of the car I was floored. A I met these fine young men and their cute wives and kids. I was in awe. Their broken and missing limbs and wounded psyches were hard to fathom but even more their spirit. They were upbeat and even more than humble. Each man came up to me and said, “Sir, Thank you for your Service”.To each one I choked back emotion and said,” No son, thank you for yours.” Happy Veterans Day and God Bless to one and all.

As always
Ted The Great

1. 30 of the 43 Presidents served in the Army, 24 during time of war, two earned the rank of 5-star General (President Washington and President Eisenhower) and one earned the Medal of Honor (President Theodore Roosevelt)

2. Less 28% of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are qualified for military service, that’s only about 1-in-4. Drugs,obesity and education are the main disqualifiers

3. The Department of Defense employs about 1.8 million people on active duty. It is the single largest employer in the United States, with more employees than Exxon, Mobil, Ford, General Motors, and GE combined.

4.There were 400,000 military deaths in the Civil War, 458,00 in WWII, 58,000 in Viet Nam, 2,229 in Afghanistan and 4,488 in Iraq.

5.Non-lubricated condoms are distributed among the armed forces not just for safe sex, but as an emergency water canteen. A non-lubricated condom is part of the United States Military Standard Issue Parachute Pack Survival Kit (SRU-16) and can carry a liter of water..and that’s the truth.

Democracy and Heroes….

Here we are on election day, ready to put x, y or z into office or continue the same. High school civics tells us that a democracy is a form of government by the people wherein we elect representatives to do our bidding. Everyone should know that.

We each have a philosophy of what government should be and the majority rules. Smart democracies don’t make it a winner take all but try to provide for input from all sources. For so many years in our country the middle was where the business got done and the lunatic fringe just swayed us a little to the right or left depending who had the reins. That was then.

I have pointed out in the past that with few exceptions no one gets all the votes. We consider a landslide to be 55-45 but that still leaves a lot of people who did not see quite eye to eye with the winner. Mandates are few and far between but we just can’t seem to wear victory nor defeat very gracefully. Up yours now substitutes for a hand shake and the whole prospect of “we will get them next time” sets a stage for contention and not compromise.

Now you will say it is politics as usual. I say it is politics getting worse. Incredibly we are wusses. It is so easy to throw up your hands and pout. My vote counts for nothing. In the last presidential election 90 MILLION people didn’t vote. Good for you. You exercised your right not to participate. Bad for us.

Unfortunately this turnout leaves the whole process in the hands of very few. An average person can’t get nominated but if they do they don’t have the wherewithal financially to get elected. There are party machines to make sure their select ones get the nod. Then the money machines further winnow the field and then they set about getting payback for their largesse and we all sit here cursing the system while doing absolutely zip about it. The entire process from nomination to election is dependent on one thing…money.

The estimates on expenditures for this election come in around for $4 billion. Most of this has gone into negative advertising. The most bizarre part is that it works. Time after time you can see a race mosaic change colors depending on the amount of mud slung. People are actually swayed. Guess that says something about all of us.

But if we stood up and demanded they talk about issues and not berate their opponent the money would have no effect. Is it just me or is this patently obvious? But as dutiful robots we take what they feed us. I actually think this relates to not only politics but life in general when we accept crummy service or bad attitudes. But that is a whole other story for a different blog.

Enter the hero or heroine. Webster tells us they are someone to be greatly admired for their fine qualities or exceptional deeds.They are willing to make sacrifices and take a risk. Hold that thought.

We have a bad habit of hero worship today whether it be in academia or rap music. We have a great desire or need to look up to people for the slightest bit of excellence. Is it because they are so good or because we are so ordinary or wanting? LeBron, Peyton (maybe not this week), Lady GaGa, Hilary Clinton, Oprah…all bathe in the adulation.

To me the closest thing to a hero is the Sergeant at Arms in Parliament in Ottawa or that female teacher in state of Washington who confronted the student gunman. But in a very practical way they were just doing their jobs. Instead of calling them out for attention I wonder if we should just simply say that’s how we should all be? Is it a sign of our complacency when we call someone out for just being ordinary. I remember after 9/11 the NYSE gave Dick Grasso, the boss, $5 million for just just getting the Big Board open after several days of being down. Wasn’t that his job?

Point being? We are at a critical point in our relatively young democracy where we have to make a decision. First is are we really going to get involved or let the monied and power brokers call the tune? Leave it there and we get what we paid for or should I say what they paid for.

Secondly and more paramount is what are you going to demand? Are we going to meekly let them sling crud and dodge any culpability or are we going to develop a fourth estate of our own? Money talks but so do the people. Look at the umbrella revolt in Hong Kong. Everybody thinks they are gong to burn out but it doesn’t quite look as if the revolt has run its course. Catalonia? Arab Spring? Why not us?

Right now I would demand action on three things. I would say I want a bill on tax reform, immigration and trade. On taxes I would throw out every loophole except for mortgages and charitable contributions..Lower rates and simplify both personal and corporate.   Any other break or deduction would have to be brought up and voted on in a specific bill not a hidden line in a defense appropriation. It would also be a roll call vote.Everything out i nthe open.  Having trouble compromising? You work 10 hours a day, seven days a week and no adjournment until it is done. Handle them all the same way.

Yes, we need heroes and heroines. We need as described above people of exceptional character who are willing to sacrifice and take a risk. But it’s not just the politicos and bureaucrats. It’s us too. That’s right. You and me. Averages Janes and Joes. If this thing is really worth it and even more so what will ensure a prosperous future for us and our kids then it is time to stand up and be counted. A good friend told me he was just too busy to worry about it. Maybe he was being blatantly honest but how incredibly sad.

As always,

Ted The Great


The $4 billion spent on the elections is obscene but even worse when you consider there were only ten Senate and 50 House races that were considered competitive.

In 2010 the financing of congressional elections was as follows:
11% Candidate’s personal or family funds
48% large donors..up to $2500
23% PACS Political Action Committees
13% Small donors…up to $200
5% other

change.org is a site where one can start a petition drive. It outlines every step in the process.

Both Harry Reid and John Boehner have incredible power in what gets to the floor for a vote. I would propose a website of all bills and amendments to current bills be posted on a website, tell where they are in the queue and why they are not moving forward. I would also post how long the houses are in session for that week and what they accomplished from the week before.Lastly both leaders would have to hold a press conference twice a month with unlimited questions from the press.

The 113th Congress was in session 133 days or an average of 2.6 days a week. They spend 40 weekends a year at home. They have 110 days of recess ,travel and state work. The average American works 240 days a year. Kathy and I went on vacation 9/15/14 and Congress was already out of session and they still are out. I am going to have a very tall scotch.