From Tranquility Base…

Posted from St Ives,Cornwall, UK

I am sitting in an alcove with huge windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean below. Our hotel is a Victorian built in 18 0r 19 something and I see why people seek respite here. It is early morning and I can espy small craft bobbing on their tethers and the plaintiff cry of the gulls provides a gentle wake up to the day.

We have been visiting my son and his family in Wimbledon which beyond grass courts is a suburb of London so to speak. They have made quite a transition since moving there nine months ago. Scott has business trips to Amsterdam and Copenhagen this week and the boys speak of the Czech Republic, Germany and France as if they were neighboring states and not sovereign nations. Dionne is trying to figure out how to make the sun shine more than a few days a week. All is well.

As they say about fish and family they begin to smell after three days so we made a side trip to Cornwall. We survived my driving from the right side and found our way out of London. We made a wrong turn right out of the rental agency and after wandering about we passed the same enterprise we had just pulled out of. Kathy told me she hated me and let out a raft of expletives as I begged for directions. I told her if it suited here she could reside in the trunk for the duration. The view wouldn’t be quite so expansive but she could be spared my driving idiosyncrasies. After 44 years of marriage we have been through worse.

Driving along the A3 you want to compare the terrain to ones you know better. We noted at various points we could have been in New Hampshire, Long Island, Ireland and France. We made our way through dual carriageways, roundabouts and narrow country lanes to reach our haven. It really is a little bit of heaven. We had travelled about 250 miles and you can see why people make the trek.

Dinner was lovely as they say but the couple next to us found solace in their cell phones rather than each other’s company. It was quite startling form both a technological as well as personal view. Has it really come to this? Kathy and I talked for who knows how long in front of the fire after dinner. About kids, us, life et al. Nice way to spend a day especially since she was talking to me once again.

I was up early as is my want. French pressed coffee was served by a wonderful chap named Mark. I finally found somebody else I the world who was as wound up at 6:00 AM as yours truly. He spoke and as he tested the waters with each sentence he unraveled more and more of his life. A bit of a vagabond he loved the hotel business. He knew it was low pay and long hours but it was his calling.

He was divorced with a six year old son who lived with his mum just across the bay. He had decent relationship with his former spouse and he got his son every other weekend. They camped on the beach and fell asleep in arctic sleeping bags listening to the rolling surf. He said he had found tranquility in the simple life by the sea and you knew he was speaking from the heart. It was the way he should be and I wished I could bottle what he had and give it to the world.

We signed up for a walking tour of this seaside hamlet and Tony Farrell appeared in front of the Guild Hall at 11:00 AM sharp.
A retired professor of archaeology, his family had settled here over 150 years ago. He was a wealth of knowledge as well as perspective. It was just Kathy and I and he quickly departed from script and went into far more detail than the average excursion. This was not only his home but his heritage. We went to a fish lodge with aged and curling photographs that showed the tranquil bay in all its fury. As we passed the volunteer lifeboat rescue group he told of friends who had been lost trying to save a drowning sailor. They had sung in the choir next to him and now they were gone. It wasn’t a sadness but an acceptance of life as it is. Wow.

We drifted to politics which was appropriate in that the Brits are electing a new Parliament in ten days. He was as liberal as can be but not because of academia. For centuries this area had been a center for mining tin and fishing. These were people who worked with their hands and not necessarily their heads. They had given their lives to support family in a basic way in their small homes by the sea. Everyone supported each other and it was community in every sense of the word. He was a Labourite.

As time marched on, the trip from London took a few hours and not the several days of old. The wealthy had come and seen a chance for profit in the land. They bought up the structures that housed the help and made them grand. Prices shot up and the next generation of miners and seafarers were locked out. He rued the fact that his kids couldn’t afford to live here. He was put out that the mining and fishing had long gone and hospitality with its low wages was all that was left. He seemed to bristle at the fact these second homes were inhabited only three or four weeks of the year. He dreamed of a new Cornwall that could attract R and D or technology but he and I knew that probably could never be.

Now I do not deny my capitalist roots but it does give one pause. I am sitting here peering out at the land across the bay which is verdant and simple. I know someday it will be dotted with condos of all sorts of modernistic interpretation. Perhaps the wonderful Victorians that occupy the palisade behind me will be too dated for salvation. It cost a lot less to scrape and build anew you know. For now I will revel in finding this wonderful place and meeting the Marks and Tony’s of the world. I need that grounding. I hope they can stay.

As always
Ted The Great.


Wimbeldon started in the late 1800’s as a croquet club. There are 375 full time members and the only way you get in is to be invited. Of course someone has to die to move up on the list.

You get a ticket by lottery. All tickets cost the same and you could get a courtside seat or one up in nose bleed country. It is the luck of the draw. The winner of the Gentlemen’s singles at The Championships receives a gold trophy inscribed with the words: “The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World”.

Off the Cornwall coast there are some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. During WWII, U Boat#48 sank over forty ships in these waters. Incredibly it was sunk by its own designs. After torpedoing a freighter there were steam engines being transported on the deck of the prey. One blew into the air and landing on the conning tower sending the sub to the bottom of the sea with all hands aboard being lost. At least that is how the story goes according to local lore.

What’s On Your Mind?…..

I had a conversation with my eight year old grandson, Anders. He is the most easy going kid imaginable. He seemed to be deep in thought and I asked him what he was thinking about? “Life “ was his reply. Getting ready for some deep conversation, I asked, “What about life?” He said,”playing and stuff.” His answer so honest, simplistic but most of all positive was beyond refreshing.

I like to think. I enjoy just taking a concept and letting it rip so to speak. I do research to get my juices flowing and then try to make sense of it all. Many of you might see this as foolish or even worse the mark of a rapidly aging man. Others will just brush it aside and say you have more important things to do. I am just too busy. Good for you.

But we all think thousands of times a day. Unfortunately a lot of it is negative or stressful. Kathy and I are flying to London on Wednesday to see our son Scott and his family. Some of you might point out the possibility of a bomb or terrorism of some sort on our sojourn. Could be on the plane or in the heart of Piccadilly. Ted, did you see what happened on that flight from Barcelona? Who knows who is behind the wheel?

Parents get whacko about their kids. Will my three year old get into Harvard? How can I best prepare him or her in these formative years? I guess the only way they are going to make it to the varsity sports team is if we send them to two week summer camp and then intensive personal training when they get home. Are they pretty or handsome enough? Got to restrict their diet and maybe even a nose job. Walk home from school or the store alone? Are you nuts? Think of all the BAD things that can happen?

I know a bunch of parents who obsess about their older kids. Sure I love my offspring but it is their life to succeed or fail and it doesn’t require my worrying during every waking hour. Are they a happy couple? Do they have enough money? Do they want a bigger house? Maybe I should help them. The apron strings get longer and longer instead of shorter as time marches on. How could they ever survive on their own?

The market, our health, our retirement accounts, our legacy to pass on, occupy an inordinate amount of that oh so precious time every day. The Greek debt, easing in Europe and the impending rise of China both financially and militarily? How can you just sit there TTG, our preeminent position in the world is crumbling. This is getting depressing….and yet we do it.

We seem to obsess on things gone wrong in the past. I am reading a book on our mini depression of 2008. It wants to let Wall Street off the hook and lay blame on Barney and Bill or HUD.They might be right. Last night there was a news segment on the BP spill five years later replaying the ecological disasters. Did any of us forget about either of these events? Sure there is a ton of blame to go around and yes as in any debacle some will get away scott free but do we have to regurgitate and relive them again? It is almost like we keep replaying these disasters time and again hoping the result will turn out differently.

Sure things bother and maybe even scare me but those are emotions I can control. There are very few cases where I really can have any control over an event. What I have tried to do is concentrate and take ownership of just those things around me where I can have an effect. The nuclear pact with Iran. The price of oil. The stock markets. Do you think little old me or you can really change the course of events? Look at poverty or waste in your town or city not the 50 states. Improve your neighborhood not the whole state. Make it manageable but do it.

David Brooks has a new book out, “The Road to Character”. It’s not so much the writing of the book as his thought processes that intrigue me. He and Charlie Rose had the quintessential interview. They both fed off one another and in the end it was a big name personality laid bare. No teleprompter or script. Just a young man in the process of sorting out so many things and letting us watch. Can you imagine if this were the norm rather than the rarity? Where politicians, corporate giants, big name doctors and lawyers just let us see who they really are? Fascinating stuff.

To get into this yourself you have to take a time out. Not so easy in today’s world. Separate yourself from the day to day to just take stock and get inside you. You look at morality in your life and the world around you. You get spiritual in not so much a religious sense but more of a divorce from that which is physical.How do you really view your life and that around you? Its sheer ambiguity should keep you on the edge of your seat.

I am not Pollyanna. I would like to describe myself as a pragmatic optimist. I know what is good and bad. Right and wrong. I actually am egotistical enough to think I have solutions to many of the problems that plague us. I am sure you do too but what are the chances of you and I having any impact on immigration, farm subsidies or the deficit in the short run.

Right now I could not be in a better place. No I did not win the lottery but I have decent idea what makes my world tick. I have enough savvy to accent the positive and eliminate the negative. Not rocket science. That’s what’s on my mind. What’s on yours?

As always
Ted the Great


The interview with David and Charlie can be found on Go to the April 13th show and look under David Brooks, the 33 minute interview.

In the political arena over 30 million Americans are unhappy with the outcome every four years. They will obsess and get nuts for four years seizing every opportunity at the club,local bar and business meetings to express their ill will. How much of their precious time is wasted on talk, emails and cursing the TV. What if all that energy was put to use for something good? Just 30 minutes a day bitching comes out to 43,800 hours until the next election cycle. Okay you only do it 10 minutes per day. That’s only 14,600 hours!

Bad Feeling….hatred, resentment, bad vibes, repugnance, choler
Anxiety…angst,dread,uncertainty, the creeps, foreboding

70 and Picking Up Speed….

Last Friday I turned 70. My daughter Lindsey was kind enough to put a picture of me celebrating on Facebook and many of you responded. Thank you for the fact there were more thumbs up than down. I have discovered than it is almost impossible to look forward and backward in the same breath without tripping over yourself. Advanced age brings great wisdom.

We went to the Broadmoor with two of three offspring families for the weekend. We will do an encore in London with son Scott and company in 10 days. My mom used to say when we all got together, “Can you imagine that JJ and I started all this?” I think I get it now.

The kids were beyond funny staying at a big hotel for the first time. Sorry. For those who do not know, the Broadmoor in Colrado Springs is a beautifully updated version of a bygone era of luxury and class. A large lake with bridges and geese provided plenty of entertainment for 4-10 year olds. You couldn’t help but think of what this all must look like to these young wide eyes. They found hidden spots and nooks and crannies throughout. There was a library that could belong in any baronial manor and the oldest found their way up the book stacks on a movable ladder.

Daughter Lindsey gave me a digital picture frame loaded with pictures that really did go back 70 big ones. I don’t know where she found them but they were beyond fun. A lot of streams and bridges. I hope I didn’t burn too many of the latter. There were friends past and present. Some had died . Some had just faded away. The grandkids all marveled at the sight of Padge when he had hair. So did I.

As the pictures passed in the slide show you could almost feel the emotions of particular times. The security of a big house as a five year old. The uncertainty of a prep school in New York City or a college in DC. Be cool TTG. The world is your oyster but don’t blow it. The Navy provided a whole different sense. Sitting on a Swift Boat late at night in some God forsaken place 10,000 miles from home was not one’s idea of a road trip.

Then a new chapter with a wonderful wife and the tiny beginnings of a family. Careers, houses, station wagons and clubs. What more could you want? But then the wanderlust and adventure kicked in and we were off for the West. Seemed to suit us just fine and always called us back.

Time doesn’t tarry but roars as the years roll by. You look at your peers and say there is no way I look that old and gray. I put 19,000 steps on my Fitbit on Saturday as I tried to prove once again that I was Superman.Working out, golf, tennis and of course the victory cigar. I did this for my kids, grandkids and wife but most of all for me. Not to show off but to set the tone for the who knows how many years to come.

We drove back north to Denver on Sunday morning. It was a sparkling day and lot to think about. I25 may seem boring to some but to me it was a panoply of sights and thoughts. The Air Force Academy was a symbol of youth and leadership and at the same the war machine I have learned to detest. Mesa and buttes under Monument Hill hid farms and those anonymous families that ply the land. A huge Burlington Northern train hauled gigantic vanes for wind farms, Dozens and dozens of them. Ironic these are the same rails that carry the coal trains out of Wyoming. To each his own.

Beyond birthdays I have had some truly touching and difficult meetings this week. At hospice yesterday I sat with a woman for almost three hours as she lay dying. I was incredulous at the human spirit as she fought to live and yet knowing the inevitable. Later I talked with a great friend who is battling cancer. Nothing special. Just talk. I heard from someone who has been estranged for over five years. We talked for an hour. Some things change and others never do. I had to put distance with another. I wish I was more tolerant.

I lit into our local bishop over what I considered to be some serious insensitivity and ignorance. Predictably he told me to buzz off with a “Sincerely yours in Christ.” C’est la guerre. I am working with some incredibly civic and energetic people who want to try to make Denver a better place to live. They amaze me. All in all, situation normal.

Strangely enough this curtain came down on Sunday while watching the Masters. Jordan Speith is one hell of a golfer but an even better human being at the ripe old age of 21. Must be his Jesuit training. I didn’t marvel at his score as much as his grace and maturity, His posse was his family. The groupies and pariahs could wait and maybe never appear. He was decent and wholesome in a world where every one wants to get a piece of you.Just a nice way to end things.

I am going to use that as my plan for the future. In spite of all the mayhem abroad and nominations at home there is a beautiful world out there. So much to do and see and most of to all learn. Thanks for reading and for your friendship one and all. It’s what keeps me going.

As always
Ted The Great

I have been alive during the terms of 13 presidents and 7 popes. A half a dozen major wars and countless skirmishes. A good friend, Sue Rush told me at a cocktail party many years ago if I had married any other woman I would have burned through three wives by now. No doubt.
Our first house in 1972 cost $42,500. I went to bed the night before closing convinced no one would ever pay more for a house ever again. My dad bought a house from Bill Levitt himself in a luxury neighborhood in Manhasset , Long island in 1937 for $9,000. Levitt went on to build hundreds if not thousands of homes for GI’s coming home from the war in the late 1940’s.

Jordan Speith in not even three years on the tour has earned over $13,000,000. He will be 22 in July. His caddy has earned $375,000 in the last four weeks alone. Where did I go wrong?

The Broadmoor sits on 5,000 acres 60 miles south of Denver. It has over 800 rooms consisting of bedrooms, suites. brownstones, cottages, and ranch accommodations. The height above sea level is 6230 compared to 5280 for Denver. We always say going down to Colorado Springs but in actuality it is up.


I took a long walk this AM and before I left I looked up the definition of guilt. That’s not to say I am still in my Lenten/Passover mode but it was just a fun concept to roll around in Ted’s Head during my trek.By definition it is taking responsibility for a crime or malfeasance where you have done harm to someone. You have violated some sort of personal or societal maxim. 

There are serious guilts.You have killed someone. Perhaps a Ponzi scheme has been your life’s work for several years. Rape, pillage, embezzlement and drug running are what I would call big time. Then there is a lighter note.

I love to give the guilts to my kids. The best defense is a good offense. Nothing penal just being my usual smart ass self and having fun. A good deal of guilt is ethnic. Irish guilt is “I’m fine don’t worry about me. Saints preserve us and praise God.Now run along.” Jewish guilt is much more direct. An orthodox grandmother can cut you in two with her whining and lamentations. Ah but Italian guilt is the worst…the long cold silent stare. Al Capone in heels. Then when they call a conclave of the paisan sisterhood at your niece’s First Communion you are screwed. 

In guilt a manifestation of your plight can be pacing the floor going over your transgressions in minute detail. It can be trying to figure out if they are just tired or never going to talk to you again? How about the sinking feeling as they stare at you and all you can do is keep saying “What?” over and over again. Usually the biggest problem is getting them to verbalize the reason for their venom. Is that all? I thought it was something serious. Uh oh. 

We let’s go beyond family. I am supposed to feel badly because I have too much money in the eyes of the world or then again maybe not enough. My house is too big to you and too small to my wife and kids. Gays tell me I am not showing them proper respect and the conservative right says you are sacrificing your morals by being nice. Blacks say they have been oppressed for centuries and I owe them. The flip side says I am too liberal and it’s every man for himself. For just about everyone I do too much or don’t do enough. What’s a guy to do?

 “Collective Guilt” is a concept in which individuals are responsible for other people’s actions by tolerating, ignoring, or harboring them, without actively collaborating in these actions. You could be a German in WWII and no matter what your personal ethics you were deemed a monster. Every one on Wall Street is a greedy bastard. The Jews? Of course they all killed Jesus. Every one of them.

Where does this all come from? I think it is mostly a convenient or ignorant way to confront a problem. Why screw up a good line of thinking with facts? You are gay and I am macho.It’s weird and deviant for you to love one another. Case closed. I am white and you are black. You are all crooks, pimps and murderers. There can’t be a decent one among you. Can’t we even talk?

No we cannot because no matter what I say it is going to be politically incorrect. I have to be careful not to offend someone who is perceived to have a disadvantage. This is getting fun but terribly whacky. Okay you want to have a dialogue. But I cannot express my true feelings because you will be hurt. Then again you don’t mind inflicting pain on me. Is this just me?

I wonder if this makes democracy impossible? We have all these diverse groups running around with their own idea of heaven. With over 300 million participants there are going to be a whole bunch of different points of view. When we try to distill it into six or seven major subheadings someone if not all are going to start to scream. How do we get consensus?

The first and most important thing to do is take a Bromo and chill out a little. Let’s not try to read into every word I say or facial expression evidence of this nuance or that. We are not negotiating nuclear weapons. We are trying to achieve some sort of common ground.But it is that insistence on every syllable being perfect that cuts off any discussion. “Just what did you mean by that?” Maybe the downtrodden want it that way? If I keep you back on your heels I have the upper hand for a change. Fascinating.

Wedding cakes seem to be the cause celebre. You want a seven tier special for you and your spouse to be who happens to be of the same sex. The baker is just to the right of John Birch. He’ll bake the cake but won’t put the icing on it. You want to make a stand and so does he. Personally I think you should both get over it. On either side we are talking about a tying of the knot which is usually not a life and death situation. And yet we ALL want to amp it up and the rite of joining takes the second or third spot in importance.

“Don’t be so sensitive.” How many times have we heard that? It is actually quite apt. Don’t take yourself to be center of the universe. Gays, straights, blacks, whites, females, males all have their right to do whatever they want but don’t continually jam it down our collective throats. Don’t give me the guilts because I ain’t going to buy it.

I am as compassionate as the next guy. I try to make the world a better place but let me work with you. Paint me in a corner and my reaction will be predictable. This goes for the disadvantaged and well as the elite. It has to start now and not when the other side gives in. Take a step, get a life and grow up. We have a lot of work to do. Me? Guilty as charged.

As always
Ted The Great

Ted The Great has uttered somewhere in his life the Chinks, Spics, Guineas, Hebes, Polaks and probably the N word. I don’t consider myself racist or homophobic but I have spoken of these in jokes, anger or just common talk. It was and is wrong. Mea Culpa. As a matter of fact mea maxima culpa. That’s just in case I run for President

When I hit a putt short I will more often than not utter to myself “Hit it you fag”. This is not in any way associated with gays but rather as a boy you were a fag if you were anything less than the Incredible Hulk. Nothing to do with sexuality.

I have been called on occasion(too many) an a__hole. I have chastised my compadres who hurl this invective at me for their utter degradation of the species known as a__holes by including me in their ranks. Then again I shouldn’t worry because in most cases today a__holes are a majority not a minority.

We protest discrimination, animal rights, civil liberties, the environment et alia but there is no hue and cry against the trafficking in human beings. To wit the fact that several people were indicted for importing over 15 girls 10-16 years of age for the 2013 Super Bowl in New York so high rollers could have their fun. Do you have a 10 year old niece, daughter or granddaughter?