The Future of Everything…..

I have just returned from Saratoga, Wyoming for the weekend. For those who are geographically challenged it is about 70 miles southwest of Laramie which surprisingly to many of you is in the United States of America. We played golf and stayed at the Old Baldy Club which we shall deem appropriate. The accommodations were dated but more than adequate and the food was plentiful. Other than that, you chill which I did with the Future of Everything supplement to the WSJ. And of course a glass of red and a cigar.

It seems somewhat incongruous to be reading of such futuristic things in Wyoming. On the way I had passed huge ranches and grimy little towns, spiffed up for the summer. As one espied a double wide on the horizon you couldn’t help but linger on what life might be like in those confines on a cold winter’s night. Do these people even know, much less care about ISIS, Brexit and the His Hairness? After these last few weeks’ fiascoes I hope the Donald is not the Future of Anything. But I digress.

The future is a bit crazy in many ways. It seems the genius millennials flock to a thing called The Burning Man in the desert outside of Las Vegas. As I understand it is sort of like a Woodstock for geeks. They drink, party and dance to rock bands literally until the sun rises. Then they speak of techno crafts and futuristic stuff, catch some well need zzz’s and do it all over again. Startups and dreamers mingle with the billionaires. Then when they leave it is with no sign they were ever there. Such is our times.

Upon return my good buddy in the now Chosen City of Cleveland in between victory parties sent me a website for a speech by the chairman of the FCC on the future 5G. It seems we are grasping at any amount of bandwidth today and they are created the true superhighway of data. Larger and faster than ever before. This really go my attention because the implications are startling.

Much of what we would like to do today is hampered by both speed and breadth. With 5G technology it would be possible for a world renowned surgeon to sit at a console at Johns Hopkins and perform intricate brain surgery robotically at the Cleveland Clinic. Then move to another and do the same at the Mayo Clinic. Ditto New York, San Fran etc. The speed required is a millisecond or 100 times faster than our speeds now. The conclusion was that there are things to be developed that have not even been imagined. Some of us might fear this capacity. I find it beyond intriguing for the hope of putting more of our brain power to good use. The talent is not in the machine but the human designing it. Fantastico.

Parsing thorough the unread newspapers I was hit by my usual overdose of our world. Startling was the time and space devoted to our election cycle, Orlando and Brexit. Page after page after page. Not that these are not news of a sort but how caught up in detail and slants can we get? Looking for that one story line or insightful bit of writing to captivate our already overly sated readerships. As the bungling and fighting and cheating and fraud unfolded in all parts of our world I couldn’t help but think that we have success in spite of ourself. We find more and more ways to get in our own way but somehow make this mess work.

Okay, this probably seems a far cry from Saratoga. I am constantly amazed by our potential and frustrated by our actuation. Before I left I had one of those truly hopeful and encouraging encounters.I was asked to be part of a volunteer program at one our local prep schools. They are in the midst of two week program for high school juniors from underprivileged families. They covered everything from picking a college to writing an essay to doing interviews. That latter is where yours truly came into play.

I had four students who were all young women. I interviewed them for fifteen minutes each but had sat in on their class prior to our meeting. People, I was simply blown away. The one young lady was from a broken home. Her mom had gone to NYU and was a translator at a local hotel and her dad lived in Texas. She wanted to go to Amherst and study political science. After that she wanted to go to law school and become an advocate for underprivileged people. Wow!

The next was born of biracial parents. She told me of the isolation that a kid like her endures. She wasn’t complaining or indignant. She was just relating to a fact of life she had to deal with. Her openness was incredible. She had two sibling brothers and the operative word was HAD. One had drowned two summers ago. She wanted to study psychology at the University of Denver and become a counselor to troubled kids. Wow again!

The other two were no less impressive. It called to mind my niece who lives in Vail. As part of a fellowship program she just returned from Morocco where they were helping out in schools. She and her cohorts had also been to Nicaragua on a similar trek. They all wrote blogs and they were nothing short of incredible. They put this writer to shame. They were open and listening and understanding. There were no prejudices to derail their altruistic thoughts. The Wows keep coming!

I guess where I come from on all this is that we tend to sensationalize and amp up the bad volume when there is so much good out there. People and especially kids have dreams that may be well beyond their reach but we can’t shoot them down. Hopefully the gains we have made in technology make this just a little more possible. The future of everything? It is right here in our minds if we decide to expand our horizons. Just like those broad vistas I saw in Wyoming. Not a bad thought

As always.
Ted The Great

Wyoming: 10 largest state land wise in the US. Main Industry: Energy 2015 resident population est.: 586,107 Largest cities (2010): Cheyenne, 59,011; Casper, 55,316; Laramie, 30,816;
Natives:Curt Gowdy, Harrison Ford,Jackson Pollock, Dick Cheney,Jim Savory, Alan Simson.

Mobile Generations
1G Voice 1982
2G Voice and Text 1992
3G 1998 Married Wireless and Digital
4G 2008 Completed the migration including video

Robotic surgery is best used in minimally invasive procedures. The cost of the machine is approximately $1.25 million. It is said to be more precise, less painful, quicker recovery and the doctor does not have to be on his feet for several hours. The technology is there to do remote surgery but the transmission speeds are not quick enough.

Colleges are less and less inclined to accept underprivileged kids. They have lower GPA and SAT scores thereby lowering the school’s ranking by US News and World Report. If financial aid is given it is to higher income students because the school is more assured they will stay the full four years. The situation becomes somewhat exacerbated by the malaise in the middle income bracket. More and more qualify because of low wages and that means there is less aid money to go around.

Electro Convulsive Therapy….

Electro Convulsive Therapy,(ECT) is a procedure where they attach electrodes to your head and let low voltage currents trigger brief seizures. These in turn cause a change in your brain chemistry that reverses certain mental illnesses. I think we are ready for it….as a nation.

Hopefully the outcome of this process is a return to normalcy and therein lies the true enigma. What is normal today? Who defines the standard? How do we know he or she has it right? We even have some outlying groups claiming that our definition of normal is just a ruse on our part to keep them from being part of society. I’d like to think a cottage by a babbling brook would suit most but I think somehow even that Elysian Field would come under fire from one flank or the other.

Don’t look back because the world is changing at warp speed. Common decency and good will towards men are in the rear view mirror. Just look at the news of the last week. Hulk Hogan sued Gawker for posting a sex video of he and his best friend’s wife. He was awarded $140 million. A young singer is gunned down as she is signing autographs after one of her first shows. A Stanford freshman is given six months for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The parents and judge say the kid’s life is ruined for twenty minutes of stupidity. We should feel sorry for him. Not a word about the young woman except by her incredible letter to the judge.

Back here in Colorado a mother is arrested for pimping her 14 year old daughter. Several people were killed by drunk drivers,many of whom were on the road despite four or five convictions. An 18 year old kills his 11 year old brother with a gun his father had stored on a top shelf. A man is arrested for possession of child porn. Another for soliciting an 11 year old girl.In Chicago over Memorial Day weekend 64 people were shot with six dead. And on Sunday morning 50 people were gunned down in a nightclub in Orlando.
The Broncos were sporting their gigantic Super Bowl rings with over 200 gems totaling five carats per while one of their stars was recovering from a shooting in which he was so drunk he couldn’t remember whether he was shot by someone else or himself. Mayor Di Blasio wants the biggest and best Gay Pride Parade ever but please do not tape the drag queens and erotica for general viewing. We don’t want people to get the wrong idea. Please tell me what if any of this is normal?

Some of us say amp it up. Don’t close the bars at two. Leave them open till 4:00AM Let’s try bigger and crazier drugs. We have Mexican cartels for a reason. Many of our fellow Americans can’t get enough. Push the envelope on everything from paying sports figures huge salaries to what we perceive in society as acceptable and decent. Moms are paying for their thirteen year old daughters to have boob jobs. Dads want to help their sons lose their virginity.

The masses have different answers to the problem. The first reaction is to bar the door. Security systems, gates, firearms and even body guards to protect. We cower. We worry. We hunker down. Others look to government as their security blanket. Gotta have more cops, more airport security, more jails and more laws. Don’t know how we are going to pay for it but let’s get it anyway.

Lastly we think the smartest course of action is to break into sects and groups. LGBT, Hispanics, Rich. Poor, Catholics, Protestants Jews and Muslims. Sorry, Atheists too. Feminists and Chauvinists. Can’t leave any one out. It is easier to band together for protection and to feign mistreatment. Those ‘bastards” can’t be one of us. It is always the other guy or gal. And each interest group has its own spokesperson and lobby. And it all works out to be what’s best for me not us.

We crave predictability and probability. We listen to gurus tell us about the market and our chances of success whether it be our portfolio or our life or even better our ability to be happy. Do this and you have it made. Deviate and you are screwed. We do not speak out. We do not rise up. We do not question. We either quietly bitch among ourselves or just snivel in a corner. We don’t say,”ENOUGH !” We started to do it after 9/11 but our passions dulled over time.

I think we have to redefine normal. We have to establish standards that are not archaic but more specifically practical and decent. We don’t need political platforms that swing to the far left or right. We cannot cater and carve out for special interests whether they be tycoons or perverts. We can’t keep pushing envelopes but rather understand the limitations that are appropriate for growth without a tawdry existence.

We are in a world of hurt if we don’t put on the brakes and just for one moment contemplate where we are in this off the chart world in which we live. Don’t just read this amateur blogger and say, “That’s nice Ted. You make great points and I‘ll see if I can do something in the next five years when I am not busy working or playing”. Or even better that Ted is just blowing off steam. He will get over his snarkiness and then all will be right with the world. Maybe the only way this will work is if we all have an ECT. I’ll be first in line. Just tell me what normal is when I come to.

As always
Ted The Great


Roughly 110 million Americans (33%) own approximately 300 million guns. 40% of those purchased last year were done without a background check. We have 35,000 gun related deaths per annum. We have 4.2 percent of the world’s population and 42% of the guns. In case you are wondering there is no convenient way we are going to stop this usage and carnage.

About 8% of our population (25 million) are drug users. That results in a little over 38,000 deaths per year. Usage is lowest in Iowa(4.2%) and highest in Rhode Island and Vermont (over 13%). Drug users spend about $100 billion a year on drugs. We spend as a government $31 billion fighting it. We are the largest illegal drug economy in the world accounting for 40% of the world’s use.

16.3 million adults (over 18) have an alcoholic disorder. 680,000 youths (12-17) suffer in the same way. Alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths per year. In 2010 alcohol misuse cost our country $248 billion. 75% of this is related to binge drinking.

In the US there are at least 100,000 children per year who are trafficked for sex. Child pornography is a $4 billion a year business. In 2014 at the Super Bowl held in New York 45 people were arrested and 16 kids rescued as a ring of child prostitution was broken.

On all of the above markets exist because there are buyers of all sorts. Innocent pastimes? Victimless crimes? This is meant to be sobering. It is what we have become. You be the judge if it is your definition of normal?

Process Report…A New Age

While on sabbatical from Hospice I have been researching a thing called old age. I am in it so I may as well understand it before I’m off in a corner in my wheelchair drooling all over myself. What are you looking at buddy? And that is my starting point. I mention 70 or 80 or 90 and each one of us conjures up some image from out of our personal Emoticons. Preconceived notions, hangups, stereotypes and prejudices. Aren’t we all the same? I hope not.

We are looking at this entirety of 75 million grey hairs and saying one size fits all. I think there are at least 3 or 4 vectors as I will call them. They are a combination of age, wellness,gender and economic status. To start there is perceived age and actual age. I am 71 but at least mentally I feel like I am in my early forties. Physically I will give you 50 and not a day more. I am not a monk but Kathy and I eat pretty well and our health is on the up side. Not bragging but rather saying how fortunate we are.

I was at a cocktail party and asked those around me how old they felt? Some came in the same as yours truly but a large number gave me their actual age or worse. Some people are fit as a fiddle and others are chronically ill. I guess we should figure out some sort of a scoring system so we can establish a proper methodology of care and feeding. But then again someone will say I am being judgmental. Well I am. Not to take away your benefits but to better address one’s needs.

In senior housing things are split into independent living, assisted care and critical care. I refer to that as GoGo,SloGo and NoGo. How insensitive of me. AARP wants you heading for the grave as you hit 50. What started out as an advocacy group has morphed into combination voting bloc and marketing behemoth. Little do you know but they are getting a pop on most things they endorse from insurance to consumer products. Prudent politicians have suggested the retirement age be extended to 70 by the year 2040 and no one currently covered would be affected. Not a chance per AARP, one of the largest voting blocs by their own estimation. But enough of politics.

Psychologically speaking, old age can be devastating. Going back to that perceived age we make a steep reversal from being independent to dependent on others for almost everything. For some this is not a weaning process but radical surgery. Don’t go out at night. Be careful lest you fall. Get thoroughly checked out by the latest medical this or that for the tiniest of malady. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Act your age. We become risk averse. That brings us to safe and predictable but our derring do has served many of us well for decades and now you want to take it away.

That caution affects one’s activity. You stay in more, limiting your landscapes and your relationships. Your new sedentary lifestyle creates tons of spare time. You watch TV or you watch for someone outside your home who is speeding down the street or kids who are cutting through your yard. For some reason you seek control by yelling out the window or calling the cops. People start to give you a wide berth as your cranky attitude becomes a way of life. Sad but true in oh so many cases. Your kids and your doctors make the decisions.

Older people move slower and take longer to do certain things whether it is getting dressed or hitting a golf ball. That breeds impatience from the kids and downright hostility from the outer world. So you go to a retirement community which on paper looks great. In actuality you now have a bunch of grouches living together and feeding off each other’s misery. Sounds depressing? It is.

We are all going to die whether you are eight or eighty. A great doc by the name of Bill Thomas has categorized us. There are Denialists. They are have facelifts and makeovers of every sort. They run marathons and climb mountains not for the fun of it but to prove the Grim Reaper will have to use his scythe elsewhere. The Fountain of Youth is out there. They just have to find it. Then there are the Realists who accept their lot however dire. As one of these cats said to me re Florida,”We just look at it as God’s waiting room.” Geez Louise.That is creepy.

Then there are the Enthusiasts. Sure we are going to die but if we look at the next twenty to thirty years as an opportunity to learn, grow and God forbid we might add something to the world. That in itself is a very exciting thing. There are no rules or timelines.Instead of being range bound we are as free as birds. You eat a blueberry because it tastes good not because it is good for you. You want a cigar or a martini? Go for it. Uh oh, I just shaved a year off my life. Big deal! Every day 15,000 people reach 65. 80% of them have some sort of chronic condition ranging from arthritis to type 2 diabetes. 50% have two. We cannot cure you of everything as modern medicine would have you believe. In other words deal with it but also make the most of it.

My work is leading me to a conclusion that we have to help people prepare for more than a nursing home or hospice. We have to show people how to retire from the get go. Help them write their business plan for the rest of their life. That is not just a hopeful concept but a complex and wonderful time to figure out what could be. It’s a lot more than playing golf or taking a cruise. It is learning how to live life all over again.

There may be a limited audience who want to hear what I have to say. If I hit even a small percentage of those 75 million how much better would they and our world be today? Are they an asset or a liability? Which way do you think I am voting?

As always
Ted The Great


Your personality does not change in old age. If you are a grouch you have always been prone to negative thinking. If you are a nervous Nellie or control freak that won’t change. You just have more time to practice it. If you are cool and serene there is nothing but more of the same.

The average lifespan in the US is 79 years of age. That is 53rd in the world.Male 76.59 Female 81.53. The average healthy life span is 72. The implications of this for quality of life and the cost of medical care going forward is mind boggling.

By the time your heart stops it will have beaten over three billion times. “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

Grey Thoughts

In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
Getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.
You wake up, looking like your driver’s license picture.
Your pacemaker raises the garage door when you see a pretty girl go by
Your try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.
You come to the conclusion that your worst enemy is gravity.
Remember …It all Depends

I would appreciate any thoughts you might have regardless of your age. This is not just a mental exercise. I think it is beyond interesting and maybe,just maybe, beneficial to all.