A River runs Through It……

Kathy and I are house/dog sitting for some wonderful old friends here in Eagle, Colorado. Fleury, their wonder dog, is a16 year old Jack Russell that more often than not is lot more lively than us. Their home is right on the Eagle River and the word idyllic doesn’t do justice to the setting.

We need our water fix from time to time and if you sit on the patio a distant seashore back east or south doesn’t really seem too far away. My buddy Hawley used to say camping out for him was the Ramada Inn in Frisco just down the road. This is the amped up version.

You start to get why so many people crave the simple life. There is a village pathway in town. You see folks of all manner of economics just walking or riding a bike at a leisurely speed. They wave and say hello and it is not perfunctory but heartfelt. Eagle has been jazzed up and gotten a new face over the years but it has retained a charm and panache that we all knew when we moved to this glorious valley many years ago.

Back then Vail was a dopey mountain town where there was plenty of money but nobody really cared to show it off. Eagle is 30 miles from there in oh so many ways. Attitude hasn’t gotten this far west and one can only hope. There is an ornate playground that was crafted by the locals and my 7-11 year old granddaughters played there for almost two hours on Saturday while Padge read a book nearby. There were no IPhones or IPads but just little ones fabricating their own games and mysterious places.

As you sit outside you can see the sun start to stir on a mountain top nearby. It hits up high first and then snakes down the slope as that magnificent orb rises higher in the sky. It has done that every day for millennia and yet the process is still a sight to see. There is a nearby peak that is brick red just off the top. My geologist son says that was part of a shoreline many millennia ago as the Ice Age began to give way to verdant valleys. The waters ate their way through the granite century after century to come down to the floor a thousand feet below and ergo our wonderful stream. Talk about feeling insignificant.

There is an incredible sense of balance. Winter snows lay a snowpack for six months that spawn the rivulets and tributaries. The Eagle feeds into the Colorado and graces the states along its path with life giving aqua. The Western Slope to Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California and then if there is any left to Mexico. Each should take their allotment but the Imperial Valley screams and fights for more. Arizona has to grow cotton.Somewhere along the line someone is going to get screwed for the sake of the majority. Just doesn’t seem fair somehow.

The Eagle is renowned for its fishing. You see anglers plying their craft in waders with creel in hand hoping to bag the big one. But fame is fleeting as catch and release is the rule of the day. You then watch an eagle or red hawk circle looking for a late lunch or early dinner. Birds and bugs of all sorts abound and they are not pests but neighbors to respect. We all have our place in this chain.

The whole place is like a big leather easy chair. You squirm and fidget to find just the right spot or angle. When you get it just right you sit down with a good book or a glass of red and just veg. We had a beer at a place called the Dusty Boot on Saturday. We sat out on the deck where the rule on footwear was flip flops only. The chalk board said shots of Irish Whiskey were three dollars. Who knows what the brand was but it was a little too early to start. Some didn’t exhibit such patience.

They had a wine and mushroom festival last weekend. No, not the shrooms you are thinking of. A Baby Boomer with braided grey hair was the impresario. He laid out a blue tarp and every one displayed their best chanterelles. Over the years ball caps have replaced Stetsons but the Hispanics still wear straw. Everyone is welcome and part of the community. Any other place this would have seemed very strange and retro. Here it was modus operandi.

Now everyday we are here you seem to slow down just a bit more. Some of you might say this is LaLa and not real. On the other hand one is forced to wonder if this isn’t more real than any place on earth? The melodrama of the stock market is miles away and not just geographically. I peruse the Denver Post in a matter of moments. Mayhem on a bullet train in France. A trooper in Louisiana gunned down by a drunk he was trying to help. Pardon me while I switch over to the Vail Daily.

I have taken reams of notes on all sorts of topics. I hope I can impart some of those thoughts to you in future Ted’s Heads. They are in there. I just hope I can do them justice. It’s just good to come out of the fray and do some fun thinking. I hope this has caused you to do some too.

As Always
Ted The Great


Eagle County encompasses some 1900 square miles. The population is around 50,000. The US Government and I guess that means us owns about 80% of all the property. It is split into national forests and BLM(Bureau of Land Management) property.
The town of Eagle is the county seat and home to 6500 people.
Vail is home to around 5300 people.

It is also the third largest ski area in the United States. It opened in 1962 and the town was incorporated in 1966. Vail Mountain rises from 8,120 feet to 11,570 feet, giving a vertical height of 3,450 feet. It has a 5,289 acres skiable area, 33 ski lifts, 193 marked skiing trails on three faces: the front side, the back bowls, and Blue Sky Basin. If you are from the East don’t ever ski there because you will never go back to the blue ice of Vermont.

Hummingbirds….They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings which flap at high frequencies audible to humans. They hover in mid-air at rapid wing-flapping rates, typically around 50 times per second, allowing them also to fly at speeds exceeding 35 mph backwards.

The golf ball flies farther at high altitudes: The air is less dense, so there is less friction to slow the orb’s forward motion. The figure 10% is used as a differential although either they are mistaken or I am getting older.

Where The elite Meet….

As the would be King Donald reigns over his personal empire, Hairelot, one must delve into the realm of royalty and the whole notion of elite. This has been existent for centuries and probably could be traced millenia. In the Middle Ages sovereigns had their court and courtiers with the big castle and very large and grungy moat. Kind of reminds one of our nation’s capitol with the various drawbridges over the Potomac.

Now the king or queen decided who was in and who was out. Throw in an intellectual or starving artist here and there and you had the beginning of the “A List”. You had to socialize and marry from within but if you played your cards right you were set for life. This has continued on today with the anachronistic monarchies in England, Sweden, Japan and the like. Only time and a grumpy proletariat will determine how long this fairy tale endures or how it ends.

Don’t worry, we will find a new elite and we are well on our way. Gated communities are their own little fiefdoms with their own rules and regs on everything from dress to looking askance at marrying outsiders. Just look at the Times wedding announcements and the most important word in the paragraphs is “nee”. It carries over to country clubs and deb balls. They even have their own language that has dialects from Locust Valley to Grosse Pointe Lockjaw. There is nothing wrong with this as to each his own.

But I got to thinking it goes well beyond the ivy or palm strewn enclaves. There are elites everywhere. Just look at Hollywood. You are either in or out. Weddings and movie openings are the chance to flaunt just how important you are. Yet this crowd while long on ego is a little short on class. If Kim Kardashian and Kanye are your role models I really would not want any part.

Silicon Valley has created zillionaires and another type of upper crust. When you have money and brains to boot there is no telling where you can go and take the struggling masses and by their definition the illiterate with you. Larry Ellison of Oracle has said he and Steve Jobs walked for hours talking about what the world was going to look like and how they were gong to take it there. However prophetic they might have been it does seem just a tad egotistical.

I couldn’t let a discussion like this go on without bringing up our system of government. As I mentioned earlier DC has all the trappings of a regal swamp. It was built on the slimy marshes you know. Kings and queens and princes are dubbed by the party cognoscenti with candidates having passed rigorous lineage checks to make sure they are DEM or GOP through and through. Before you come before the court you have to bring gifts of all sorts to gain access. Your open invitation to an audience with an earl or lady keeps going as long as the goodies do.

All this power in very few places leads to several benefits or maladies as one might see them. You are not only arrogant, you have to be. The top is a tough place to get to and there are a lot of dudes and dudettes looking to dislodge you. You should be distant and aloof to all but the inner circle. How else is it going to be exclusive? Most of all you must project an aura of godliness. Words like genius and titan or maven seem to fit just right. There are so few of us. We must be selective.

This is all very cool if that’s what floats your boat. I have nothing against the concept. Do I wish I was one of these? Not really but that is just me. But I do wonder if the world can be so easily put off. The success of Bernie and the Donald show that the hoi poloi aren’t exactly thrilled. They want their piece of the action and now, not later. We say work your way up and your reward will be great. It ain’t exactly playing out that way.

The upper echelons are by nature impermeable and resistant to change. There is a lack of connectivity that separates the top from the bottom. I would like to call it insensitivity but it really is just ignorance of the situation. Whether you are walking a mile in someone’s shoes or getting firsthand knowledge by being on the front line the experience is invaluable. Very few get to have that moment whether you are a sports or movie star who forgot where you came from or a politician who thinks the Beltway and K Street are the real world. There is this disconnect that borders on fantasy. You can say that is good or bad but it could be disastrous if you are caught unawares.

The world is changing as it always has but now it is at warp speed. Everything is real time. People’s ideas and mores are up for grabs. I was playing golf the other day and was blown away by the number of young people in foursomes around me. They could care less about the old ways or traditions. It’s just not in their DNA. And in a strange way that is creating a whole new elite. There is nothing wrong with that unless you don’t see it coming.

Politics, sports, business, finance and our whole manner of communication will change in months, not years. I think it is beyond exciting and at the same time scary. The world is our oyster and our future will be determined by startups and innovation. Meet it and greet it or get run over or at least pushed aside. On consideration I think that’s an elite group I would love to be part of.

As always
Ted The Great.

Pay to play is the concept where one has to donate to politicians to get access. It is rumored that one notable was require to brandish a check for $75,000 just to gain an audience with John McCain’s chief of staff.

Zillow showed the top ten listings in Silicon Valley ranged form $15-40 million. The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, the only trailer park in affluent Palo Alto, is in danger of being shut down, thanks to rising real-estate prices. The 4.5-acre property is currently valued at as much as $55 million. They are trying to raise money from charitable sources as well as local monies earmarked for affordable housing to purchase the property to keep the trailer park.

Arrogance…making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud:

Snob…a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field

Empathy…the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

Elite….a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group:


Ah, the Donald ! Creating hysteria for some and heartburn for others. His Hairness has the voting public just where he wants them. On the edge of their seats and just waiting on his next utterances. Now some are outraged. Some are indignant. Some are downright giddy. And all of those are good things. I love a little turmoil here and there. It gets people thinking which is of course what I try to do.

It reveals so many things about all of us. First and foremost is our love of the sensational. Trump has been on no less than five national programs in the last few days. Everybody wants him as a guest in the hope that he will say something outrageous that will cause everyone to tune in. This is the car wreck or bloody carnage that our intellectual curiosity thrives on…sort of.
It shows how shallow we all can be. Fox is mortified by the treatment of their anchor, Megan Kelly until it makes sense for Roger Ailes to kiss and make up with DT and then invite him back. That’s a story in itself. Andrew Cuomo on CNN’s morning show is fawning all over him to thank him for coming on. Now either we are vapid or just starved for something to watch during the summer reruns? It beats tuning in the Kardashians but in some ways it is so similar.

The debates showed everyone with some sort of following whether it was prime time or the kid’s table version. Rather than being depressed I think it is kind of cool. Anyone can run. Political philosophies aren’t black or white. Take a little from the Column A playbook and mix it with some thing from Column B or C or D. There are no really pure conservatives or liberals except for maybe Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz. I dare any one of you to say you ascribe to every single tenet on either side of the spectrum. Gotta have a little wiggle room.Or should I say some original thought on our part.

To get attention lesser candidates bring up the unthinkable in debates. Immigration, entitlements, abortion,the NSA. On the trail everyone deftly avoids them. Hilary re the Pipeline or the Transpacific Trade Pact? “I’ll get back to you later” she says, “after I have had time to study it in more detail”. Social Security and Medicare changes get relegated to the back bench until Christie and Hukabee go at it. But these are the things we should be discussing and hearing where the speaker and not handlers stand under the pressure of live TV.

On a broader scale this just points up how incredibly diverse we are as a nation. I have often held if we weren’t the USA we could be up to 8 different countries. Yes, each with their own languages or dialects. Y’all and Fuggedaboutit are different parsings of this thing we call the English language. There is no way Los Angelinos can identify equally with the difficulties of the rural South. Cleveland is a long way from Santa Barbara except they are both on the water. And that is just who we are.

We want the candidate to play to the base and yet somehow be palatable to the middle, the independent and undecideds. I am not sure it can be done. You either stand up for what you believe in or whore it up and play to anyone who will listen. This is not arriving at a new conclusion. You still feel the same way you always did but you have to suck it up and be electable no matter how.

This in my mind is why Bernie and the Donald are selling. Sanders is a full bore Socialist. He is not hiding but rather bragging about it. Trump is crass and arrogant but he doesn’t mince words. As uncomfortable either one makes you the reality is that people want to hear what you think and not some speech writer or interest group. It would be incredible if this caught on. I watched Carly Fiorina on Morning Joe after the debate. She was engaging and straightforward. I hope she gets her day in the court of public opinion. Ditto so many others. I believe this could change the nature of politics but then again I am an incorrigible optimist.

I hate two things about the process. The evasive BS that gets put out by the office seekers and a commentator or pundit that wants to interpret for me what I just heard. In either case I am not as dumb as I look. I wish they would sit down and have a beer or take a long walk with us so we could find out what really makes them tick. We won’t need Bill O’Reilly or Wolf Blitzer to tell us how it really is.

As Churchill said, democracy is not perfect but given the alternatives it is the best system we can hope for. After all this only 50% of us will vote. That means whoever is elected will have around 25% of the populace in his or her camp. You can blame the Electoral College or gerrymandering or general disgust with the system. Or we can blame ourselves for not speaking up and asking the right questions and have us lay down the ground rules. Maybe the Donald is right. We should be abrasive and push back. We have a great country and maybe we should trumpet it.

As Always
Ted the Great

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following  symptoms:
▪ Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
▪ Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
▪ Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
▪ Requires excessive admiration
▪ Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
▪ Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
▪ Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
▪ Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
▪ Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
I will let you apply the above to any one in the candidate crowd where you think it is appropriate. Maybe many.

Obviously Napoleon or Henry VIII fit the mold. But what about FDR, Churchill, Gandhi and yes Bill Clinton?

For A Change….

For a Change….

I have been involved in several situations over the last month or so where I or someone I know has been confronted with change. I like to think of myself as open to new ideas or concepts but that is not always the case. Like you, I tend to look at the road not taken and for what ever reason think the one I am on is just fine. Then I get this crazy desire to explore new worlds and the wanderlust of my brain takes over. No, we are not moving again…at least not just yet.

Interestingly our brains are wired to fight change. We sense danger or its evil twin insecurity when confronted.This thing we call mindset or predisposition causes the grey matter to fight back. Our brain has to work harder.We have to grind through and fight it. For most it’s a lot easier to put life on automatic and sit back.
How often have you caught yourself on a long drive just going down the road without a great deal of thought? Not really firing many neurons. But what if as happened to us recently you are in a whacky place called England where they drive on the opposite side of the road. The steering wheel and the car’s processes don’t really change but you are on edge and have to relearn a task that you could do in your sleep. But are you really driving differently?

My good friend KC whose husband died a few weeks ago is facing change. Yes, she may have thought about it during Neal’s illness but right now there is a void she could not have imagined. A way of life they had together even when he was so sick is forever gone. That is beyond a natural reaction but how you handle it and move on determines your very survival.

Now she will grieve and maybe even bemoan her lot in life but I think I know her well enough to say she is taking small steps as we speak. She will look at things and say here are the cards (or tiles) that I have been dealt and now how do I play them? In a crazy moment she will look at this as an opportunity to not only move on but create a whole new way of looking at the world. Some will poo poo it as inappropriate to even think of these things so soon after a spouse’s death and good for them.I think she is great. Strikingly we are all so quick to cast a judgmental eye on anything different.

We establish a mindset… a way of looking at the world. We might be inquisitive and accepting or we may be stubborn and intolerant. The old half empty, half full is really our manner of facing the world. Now everyone is more than entitled to call their own shots. If your mantra is we have always done it that way and it’s good enough for me, then so be it. If you like jumping off cliffs or swimming with sharks, good for you. Yet I often wonder if either side of the spectrum really believes their way works.

We all have this voice inside of us. It sets the tone and filter of our lens. Some might say it is what side of sanity you fall on but I think that is a little too extreme. It is up to us to see if that whisper in your ear is valid and well formed or just an annoyance to prevent you from being better. Does it hold you back from using your talents or is it a bit of sound advice?

This is evident in all aspects of our lives today. Iran nuclear treaties, same sex marriage, climate, your marriage, your home. Do you do things the same or invite new arenas? I believe we become more staid as we get older because we are more insecure. We see a new and evolving world and it scares us to death to think we might become a part of all this lunacy. We don’t really know how we would fare financially, intellectually or just as people, so we stay in the background. We might sit quietly or worse throw brickbats to try to bring the adventurous down. How sad.

Going back to neuroscience you ask how can I break through be I young or old when my mind is wired to stay put? Therein lies the beauty of our intelligence. It seems when we perceive a breakthrough moment little chemicals get released. Whatever they are they whisper “go for it”. In my case I think they yell. But those Aha moments become easier to greet and the satisfaction of learning new things or meeting new people does wonders for the heart and soul. Young or old you feel empowered.

If you have ever played golf you have learned in some way how to hit the ball. Same holds true for tennis, baseball or whatever. You have repeated that swing over and over again. Of course you think it is a beautiful thing even though it may be atrocious to the camera’s critical eye. That repetition creates a thing called “muscle memory”. It is instinct. It is the way you have always done it. It is ingrained in you.

Now to break that pattern is extremely difficult. Whether you are taking it back or following through, you just do it. Your brain is the largest continuous muscle in your body. It contains the muscle memory in this thing we call life. To alter that will take a lot of practice and work. Now you can keep your crappy swing that just gets you by. Snuggle under your security blanket. Or you can CHANGE and really accomplish some wonderful things. I guess it comes down to how you want to live your life?
As always
Ted The Great.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. – Leo Tolstoy

“Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.” – M. Scott Peck, Author A Road Less Travelled.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Maya Angelou

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.
Margaret Mead

Wanna Change?
Breast Implant…$7,100
Breast Lift (Whatever that is)…$5,200
Breast Reduction…$7,200
Tummy Tuck….$7,000

People will change jobs 5-7 times over their career. Fully 1/3 of the workforce moves around every year. The major reasons are boredom,downsizing, money and their boss.

There are 876,000 divorces in the US per year. Ironically there are about the same number of widows/widowers created in any given year.