Inside Ted’s Head…

We are now into the fifth year of Ted’s Head. We have made new friends and we have lost some others over the years. Some have passed on and others have passed out from this insanity that I put out most weeks. Our numbers range from 200-500 per week depending on how bored people are. I am grateful for every one of them .

The plot line is simple. As my poor wife will attest my mind idles at about 75-80 MPH most of the time and when I get really wound up, look out. I hope I can be considered observant of people and events. It’s not ESP but just a fascination and wonderment at life and all the crazy things it throws at us. Rather than knowledgeable I would rather be considered intuitive or my old favorite, pragmatic. There is only so much we can control.

Most weeks I start thinking about what interests me most around Saturday or Sunday. I am a bit of a news wonk, reading at least two newspapers a day and spending a fair amount of time on line and making PBS news somewhat mandatory. I just like the fact that their news stories are 10-15 minutes in length rather than a 60 second sound byte. I love the WEEK because it takes a news piece and gives you contrary viewpoints. At no time are you told it has to be this way or that. And then I just put thoughts on paper and somehow they seem to make sense….or at least I hope they do.

I am always asked if I am conservative or liberal? Or should I say someone will say, “Oh yeah, I know the way you feel about this or that.” You probably don’t. I have worked with the homeless and in hospice so I am going to try to help my fellow man. Yet the easiest way to get me going is to say,”You owe me.” I will help, but you better be putting in the effort.

Government is a necessary evil…to print money and safeguard the populace.I think we have gone way too far in its involvement in our lives. People were never meant to be lifetime politicians. They were supposed to come, serve their time and then go back home to their livelihoods. I think the whole idea of civil service exemptions from punishment and firing are an absurd overreach of a concept that started out one way by the founding fathers and now has taken on a wholly different life of its own. The government itself has grown so bloated and out of control there is no way to trace money and programs. But it is the grist for the politician’s mill and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I am not anti capitalist nor anti rich which from time to time some of you have suggested. I find “obscene” wealth to be tawdry. Conspicuous consumption and a desire for things are just childish to me. Those are personal feelings but not a cause celebre. Do what floats your boat! At the same time my most detested trait is arrogance. To act in a way that refuses to take into consideration your fellow man just goes against my grain. I have never felt above or below anyone. My archbishop told me once he thought I had a problem with authority. I probably do, but it is a healthy irreverence for titles and supposed superiority. I always call priests by their first name. Not to be disrespectful but to say we are all in the same boat. Otherwise, Father you can call me Mr. Kenny.

I am not a tree hugger per se but I do think we are screwing up this blue marble we live on. If you study the planet and its systems you realize very quickly this is a well oiled machine. Everything whether it is a food chain or the Gulf Stream makes sense and is part of a process. In the Industrial Revolution we were eager and avaricious but weren’t privy to the data and science that we have today. Today as rational people we have to take steps to change. I guess it comes back the that old hubris thing that I hate so much where we say up yours, we are going to do what we want, no matter what.

As far as the world I don’t think we can or should be the world’s policeman. I think our allies have been playing us like an A Flat wherein we are the beef in any alliance and they pay little more than lip service. For the last decade and a half we have spent over 2 trillion dollars and have very little to show for it. The rest of the world was doing its thing while we were jackassing around in the Middle East. Brings back memories of Viet Nam. It actually is a self fulfilling prophecy because contrary to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warnings we have a marriage made in heaven with defense contractors and our government living up to the specter of the “military industrial complex.”

I hope you all don’t agree with me. We all have disparate opinions. But and it is a huge BUT that we should have to ability to discuss it rather than immediately drawing sides. People are petrified of discourse because they fear if they listen they might find out they agree with some thought or ideation that is contrary to what they have put stock in for so many years. If they are iron clad stubborn they don’t have to worry about it. “That’s my story and I am sticking with it. End of discussion.” We will never grow as people or a country if we adapt that position.

All I can really hope for is that I get you to think. My buddy,Leonardo Da Vinci would think about a problem for several days. On one hand he might look at it this way. That afternoon, a totally different perspective. And then another. More often than not his solution was an amalgam of thoughts over the several days. I guess this is why he is one of the few people in history that I would attribute word “Genius” to. He was.

Lastly everyone asks what is this whole thing with Ted The Great? Very simply, I grew up on Wall Street with many buddies.They went on to become mucky mucks in high places. I called a glitterati one afternoon and his rather officious secretary answered with all the stuffiness she could muster. When I attempted to engage her in light banter she demanded,”Who is this?” I calmly said,”Ted” Really irritated, she sneered, “Ted who?” I just blurted out,”Ted The Great” and the rest is history. It’s a total spoof.

Thanks so much for listening today and as often as you can.

As always
Ted The Great


I figure I have written around 250,000 words of blather over these years. The are all included in the archives of the website, I hope you would think enough of this lunacy to pass the web address to some fiends or mailing lists you may have . Always fire back at me when you think I am out of line or God forbid you might agree.

Sea Changes….

Sea Changes….

I have always been a proponent of the pendulum theory. Call me a student of history or just a cockeyed optimist. It always seems that no matter how crazy things get, there occurs a righting moment. That’s a nautical term where the ship can list over only so far. If it goes beyond it, the mighty vessel capsizes. If it holds there is soon a return to equilibrium or and even keel as it were.

Last Saturday morning as I opened the Wall Street Journal’s Review section I was hit right between the eyes by Charles Murray’s discussion of “Trump’s America” which I think was poorly titled. I passed the article on to a few of you stating it was not political and I don’t think it was. It defined an anger and frustration that could have been amped up by either The Donald or Bernie. A frustration that can only be described as an alienation from what has made America great.

Let’s say the American tradition or creed as Murray puts it has been egalitarianism, liberty and individualism. Fair enough. Point being that the  middle class doesn’t feel the love and are backing the two outsiders. They feel and its true that over the last few decades that have at best been treading water financially. The old formula of work hard, raise a family and do your best has produced a bitter taste rather than the sweet nectar of accomplishment.

They want to lash out at Wall Street but that is just an address. There is an elite of the media, legal fields, finance and technology that embodies raw power and separation from their lesser brethren. When I was growing up I guess you could say we had money and many of those around us did also. But we never knew it or even more importantly betray any sense of elitism. We were part of the town, church and school in every sense of the word. If you got on a high horse there was mom or dad more than willing to knock you off it.

Egalitarianism was alive and well in Manhasset, NY. You played ball with every ethnic and racial group. Yes, there were plenty of blacks. It seems the affluent, whatever that means, were neat but not gaudy. We lived in nice homes but if I were to go there today I would not describe them as opulent. If people had wealth they did not flaunt it. They wanted to fit in rather than stand out. Their weal was not hidden as much as worn well. Then things changed.

Probably the seeds were sprouting some twenty five years ago. A lot was not enough. Some wanted it all. Everywhere we became driven by ROI. Find the fastest,cheapest way to deliver product and mom and pop did not enter the discussion. This is not a diatribe against capitalism a much as a description of what happened to a whole lot of people as a result. Wealth no longer described a nice lifestyle but a race to have it all and fast. And there were casualties. Those were not bums but nice guys who saw their way of life and dreams shattered. And they are fodder for our opportunistic politicians.

Establishment is not selling. Each party is wringing their hands trying to find the right message but the natives are restless. They are galled and they are impatient. They have been buying the Kool Aid for too long. It no longer slakes their thirst. As we grow larger and larger we have to deal with the masses. Treat people as groups not individuals. Gotta have a rule for this and that and the government becomes stifling rather than empowering.

Add them up and our American creed as we knew it seems to be fraying at the edges if not completely threadbare. We lash out at the immigrants and if we send them all back home everything will be all right again. Really? A lot of these people are more than hard working and resourceful. Family and religion for all it defines are terribly important to them. We started off for the most part as Anglo Protestants. Gradually that morphed into Catholic, Judaeo Christian and yes a melange of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and whatever. Pardon me but I think that is what makes us great….or at least did.

This election cycle as obnoxious as it is becomes defining. There is a considerable part of our populace that are pissed off for one reason or another. I happen to believe that the middle class have a case to make. They are not on the dole as so many of our lower class are. They see the poor as living off the fruit of their efforts and the dependency is not easing. Men don’t work and fewer and fewer are married. Numbers of unwed mothers are soaring and the resources to sustain them are incomprehensible. They have also been outed by the upper class. The rich and famous like things just fine but a lot of what they have has to a large degree been on the back of productivity and cost cutting. Trickle down is exactly working out as planned.

Somebody or some party might figure this out. We can’t have healthcare and free tuition for all. At the same time we can’t be insular and pay lip service to the shills of conservatism. It’s ironic that Nino Scalia died this week. He was a strict wordsmith when it came to the Constitution. It’s not today that set the end lines but what was happening in the 1700’s. The founding fathers laid down the rules and we agreed to live by them. But once again those were based on egalitarianism, liberty and individualism. Do we still believe it?

I am not sure if the ship is going to right itself or if it should? I just hope we put some real thought into our collective cultural future as well as our economic one. I would hope the WSJ and other media outlets would put in as many articles as this one as they do on the IMF, The Middle East, the price of oil  and the Fed. That would really be a sea change…and for the better.

As always
Ted The Great


None to speak of.


Dream the Impossible Dream….

I am not sure which was more fun,Sunday or yesterday here in the foothills of the Rockies. The boys in blue and orange came through big time in the Hyper Bowl and the victory parade that ambled down 17th Street was typical of our ways. Simple and by most accounts somewhat homespun.

I went with my 9 year old grandson and we staked out our spot about two hours prior to the start of the celebration. Little by little others streamed in and soon we were seven deep up and down the avenue. Then there they were, riding on fire trucks from the city and neighboring municipalities. No one was left out of this party. Some of the players were wearing their game jerseys and other were definitely Casual Friday. Anders noted that Aquib Talib was drinking a beer and another Bronco was smoking a cigar. At least no one was smoking pot that we noticed or smelled.

Now please understand there were one million in attendance. No big deal for the east and left coasts but our metro area has a population of only 2.5 million. The state comes in at 5.3. No one was minding the store and no one really cared. The fascinating part was that everyone dispersed within 45 minutes of the end of the ceremony and there was only one arrest. We then came home and watched “Martian” and then my man had hockey practice at 6:00 PM. We didn’t pull up the sidewalks but things got back to normal without an abundance of debauchery.

What struck me most about the game was that no one was giving us a chance. Hey, the spread was 5, not 25 points but no-one cared. Superman was going to run over us until we found some kryptonite and a has been but brilliant defensive coach in Wade Philips. Sunday and yesterday I started thinking about this thing called Hope. Not Clinton’s Arkansas or Obama’s punch line but that little nugget that resides in all of us.

Sorry to be somewhat redundant on the psychological vein but it bears repeating. Our world is full of terror and turmoil. We have naysayers like the sportscasters that say no way. Fear and cynicism have turned a lot of us into a rather jaded lot. Listen to me son, I know what I am talking about and you don’t have a chance. That idea! How stupid and we can all go back to our cocoons of stability and yes mediocrity to exert our smugness once again. Not me. I can dream with the best of them.

The real distinction is the one between fantasy and possibility. I was one of the millions of whackos who bought a Powerball ticket but I really didn’t think I was going to win. There were some that were betting their life on it and therein lies the tragedy. I cogitated more about what makes something happen.

A business plan is essential, not only for some crazy new idea but perhaps for life. Whenever I start a project I try to clearly state what my objective or goal is…that is beyond saving the entire world. Is it achievable and worthwhile? One or two sentences at most. Then you look at the ways or steps you are going to employ to get it accomplished.If I am going to make something, how do I get the necessary manufacturing capability, capital, distribution etc.

Lastly do I have the requisite knowledge or talent to pull it off? Believe it or not that last piece is the biggest stumbling block. Very little beyond nuclear physics is beyond our purview and yet day after day people do not dare to dream the impossible dream. Quixote and Sancho tilting at windmills? Our landscapes are littered with good intentions and great ideas. I wonder why people fall short? Is it the inherent nature of man to fail or quit?

What is that thing that says, step out on a limb? I think it resides in dog headedness or determination. The eye on the prize. It is tough to run the gauntlet of doubt and criticism. Only the foolhardy or incredibly tenuous survive against all odds. It isn’t a win one for the Gipper speech but rather a real belief in what you are doing that propels one beyond the realm of concept. But what teaches that?

I think we here in the free world and especially the United States don’t know. We are soft and supplicant. We would rather have things done for us than do them for ourselves. Whether call it the Nanny or Welfare State we constantly have our hand out both financially and psychologically. Tell me what to do and you can also do it for me if you like. Seems that when things get tough we sit on our collective asses and wait for someone to bail us out. Who or what is this savior? Is this why we look to Bernie or Donald? I think we have to look within ourselves.

Success does not come in a pill. There is no You Tube for striving and resourcefulness. Everything good or bad in our lives is the result of a decision we made. On the other hand all this does not mean we cannot have a soul. People need a hand from time to time but should not seek help forever. How can we preach responsibility and compassion at the same time? We have to figure that one out to go forward.

In the current election cycle we are told the people are mad as hell and maybe they are? But what are they really mad at? Life is pretty damn good whatever your echelon. Surely the system is screwed up almost beyond repair, but who put these people in office? Is a country that lives on revolving credit with 16-20% interest rates really ready to come to grips with $19 trillion in long term debt? Doubtful.

Is the dream impossible? Only if we look at it as fantasy. The goals are achievable and yes we can create systems to fix the deficiencies. The two key ingredients are grit and a person or persons to enact the plan. Unfortunately I don’t see either just yet. Let’s just keep hoping. Go Broncos!

As always
Ted The Great


World wide, there are about 300 million persons trying to start about  150 million businesses. About one third will be launched, so you can  assume 50 million new firm births per year. Or about 137,000 per day. As  firm birth and death rates are about equal, the same number of active  firms, say 120,000 probably terminate trading each day–world wide. Were there that many bad ideas?

The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.
Mark Twain

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
J. K. Rowling

You have to have hope. The opposite is despair and that ain’t no life at all.

In La La Land…

The Magical Mystery Tour is wrapping up another segment. Due to my medical hiccup last year we didn’t go anywhere. Kathy of course has accepted this as a challenge for this winter and it is almost like the bags are never unpacked. Considering the fact Denver is knee deep in snow I think I like her style. We are spending our children’s inheritance.

As I sit looking out over the water I do wonder if I was meant to be a beach bum for the rest of my life. This thing called happiness comes to mind and you contemplate on what it really is. I went to the net for guidance and as one might imagine there are anywhere from 6 to 100 rules to define happiness. I will try to distill them down to a manageable few.

When I started my topic sheet for the week it was going to be “Compared to What?” For most of us we define our lives by comparing it to someone else’s. At the beach, am I shorter, taller, fatter, thinner, tanner or as in shape as this guy or that? Walking down the shore you see this or that mansion. You wonder who the hell can afford a pad worth $7 or 8 million that they only go to two or three times a year? Maybe they need a house sitter? I think we will send Kathy instead of me with that proposal.

This brought me to the concept of positive psychology as espoused by a very cool doc by the name of Martin Seligman. We are not going to delve deeply into your toilet habits as a kid to figure out why you are unhappy. We are just going to change your way of thinking. Sounds simple and some ways it is. We are defined as a person by 50% genes and about 10% environment. That leaves you with 40% you can work on. It defines the concept of working with the hand you are dealt. You are defined by you.

That is the first and foremost premise. Love yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. This is not an egotistical, narcissistic brand. It is being honest with yourself and realistic in your expectations. You can dream big and you should but don’t make it so absurd you will never realize your goals. I am not going to shoot 65, dunk a basketball or have a billon dollars. But I can work out, work on my golf game and try to manage my resources in a meaningful way. You are in a word honest with yourself.

If you are authentic then should not feel uncomfortable with letting others in. Happy people are social and outgoing and at the same time genuine. They don’t hold back. They smile like they mean it and it comes from the soul. They have an ability to get below the surface of you and life. They don’t wear their heart on their sleeve but are not afraid to bare their innermost feelings. They will expect the same of you. They will listen and respect what you have to say rather than jumping on you for your beliefs or background.

They surround themselves with positive people. How many times do you get sucked into a conversation with a bunch of grumpy old men or women? The conversation turns to politics, religion or the economy. You can feel the temperature rising and the venom gets more unbridled. Let’s really get things cooking with Obama, Hilary, Cruz, abortion, Muslims, Jews and throw in your favorite sports team for good measure. People love to sing from the same hymnal and everyone storms out the door feeling much better for having vented their spleen. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Huh? To what end?
Happy people listen. They don’t fight for the conversation to show their brilliance but want to learn from you. Let me sit down and consider an alternate point of view. Your problems or accomplishments do not have to take center stage. I really blew this one earlier this week. A friend was going through a tough time and I couldn’t wait to tell him about my latest insights into that end of life thing. What a jerk I was. But on another note here I am admitting it. I screwed up and as friends I hope he will forgive me.

Ah, but the unhappy people want to take on that grudge forever. It gets deep in their gut and they will never let you up for air. Somehow bile is not in that recipe for happiness. Resilience is such a part of life. Live in the now not yesterday. I have often said I can’t take back what I said five seconds ago regardless of how I might try. Move on mes amis.

Most of all you have to work at it. I took a variety of tests at Go ahead, try them. They are free and no one will ever know the results. It puts you somewhere on a chart of others your age and lot in life. I found that I need work on a lot of things which is fine. I consider myself a pretty happy guy but there is plenty of room for improvement.

Doc Seligman says there are three types of happiness. One is purely pleasurable. That ice cream, fast car or big house. Feels least for the moment. Then there is an enjoyment that comes from being engaged in life. You are working hard, winning small victories every day, taking pleasure in simple things and this is usually more than enough for all of us. Lastly there is the joy of fulfillment. You really get that you are doing what you are put on this earth for. You are using your talents to the best of your ability and maybe just making this world a little better place to live.

All of this is highly subjective. We are all so incredibly different. You don’t see the same hues that I do and we hear a musical note oh so differently. We can make generalizations but must realize the answer lies within and for us alone. La La land is good for the soul. It doesn’t have to be at the beach. It can be in a set of headphones at your home or office or just a walk in the park I hope you will join me in trying harder. It should be fun.

As always
Ted The Great


Happiness..noun “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” As good as any.

“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”
Chinese Proverb

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
Groucho Marx

When I was in grade school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I wrote down happy.
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment,
I told them they didn’t understand life…Unknown

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”
Herm Albright (1876 – 1944)

Some of you might think this is all a bunch of crap. That is your prerogative I feel for you because you have never experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows. You have never understood the euphoria of success and the nobility of defeat. You have never smiled and seen a face light up.  Ted The Great