He Got To Me….

He Got To Me…

There is a wily Irishman who pops up every now and then in my subconscious. He is Fr Pat Dolan, our pastor at Most Precious Blood. This young guy is talented in a bunch of ways. He sings like a lark, plays the piano, writes a lot of the music for our masses and most importantly always gives homily that leaves you thinking. This week he really got to me.

He spoke of prayer and what it should or should not be. On the surface it is a way to communicate with some higher being or in my case God. In your case that might be Wall Street or Neiman Marcus but let’s just say it is a way of asking for something or saying thanks. Of course we have Hail Mary plays and we all have said,”God if you get me out of this I will never do it again!” The word prayer comes from the Latin, precari which is to beg or entreat.

The most interesting aspect is if you pray you express humility. I don’t have all the answers and I need help. In my case God doesn’t especially need me but I need him. In Pat’s homily he ended with the idea that maybe we should pray not so much for ourselves but for each other. There is a novel thought in today’s world. For the first time in recorded history of the Catholic Church the assembly gave our beloved preacher a hearty round of applause as he finished. Well deserved.

His words resonated more than usual. He touched something in me and I reacted. But what was that mysterious force? We call it emotion and it got me to thinking and I started doing research. It seems emotion has been a source of conjecture going back to Aristotle. What causes those deep feelings that can be pure joy or absolute anger or fear? It is instinctual.

Over the course of our lives we develop pattern recognition. We can’t treat every instance as new and so we delve into our memories, belief systems and biases to net a response to an event. It may glance off of us as irrelevant or it may smack you right in the face. When it hits us we have a physiological reaction. We frown or smile, wince or welcome and it happens without us thinking about it. Where do you think Emoticons came from? We take some sort of action by seeking avoidance or saying we want more. This in turn generates a feeling of displeasure or pleasure. Over time those feelings may create a mood and some may call it our disposition or even personality.

We all react to the same exact situation in different ways. You see love and I see fear in handling a rattlesnake. I like public speaking and it may petrify you. Because of our survival mode, the feelings of joy and laughter are the hardest to get to. We throw up road blocks of panic and loathing just to make sure it is not an adverse occurrence. Over time that may be dangerous to us both physically and mentally. Buddhists will tell you if you can shut out all negative thinking and let the good times roll that is the essence of life.

Some of us repress emotions as a standard of behavior generated by our family or religion or nationality. The Chinese over millennia have felt that excessive emotion causes damage to our body parts. Man, am I in trouble! Given a severe trauma our bodies shut down and emotional response and that is what we call shock. That is healthy and a way of dealing with things. But if we shut down too long we lose contact with the real world. People do that by overeating, by being overly obsessive or having nothing but superficial conversations. If we strangle and recess our emotions we are putting down life itself.

Finally we have to take ownership of our emotions. We are the ones doing the driving. Other people don’t piss you off. You let the situation piss you off. This or that person or situation has ruined my life. No, you have ruined your life. For the umpteenth time you hear me saying that the only one to blame for their lot in life is you. You bought the bad investment. You married your unbearable spouse. Every thing good or bad in your life is the result of decision you made. Nobody can force you to do anything.

Advertising today is meant to hit your emotions in the sweet spot. They know just what it takes to move you from disinterested to insatiably desirous of the last gimmick or fad. The political contests have focus groups and all sorts of psychological studies to tell them what works and what doesn’t. With the hyper development of the internet, ads can be tailored to you specifically. It is what helped Obama win reelection. Romney’s Republicans did not have a clue. Unfortunately for them they still don’t.

Whether it is some pol making a speech or your favorite sibling get your goat, they know how to push your buttons. They can create a siren’t call in an inviting ad or they can rile you up to the point of incoherence in your penultimate outburst. Cranial veins bulging and fists clenched they have you right where they want you. At least until you figure out the ruse and get control of yourself. Sounds simple on paper but it doesn’t always work that way.

People, in the coming months in addition to our normal panoply of everyday messages we are going to be barraged by every element of marketing. The candidates which I think both are incredibly suspect will be presented as the second coming. I hope you are strong enough and individualistic enough to shun convention and avoid an emotional response. And in the words of Fr Pat I think we ought pray for all of us.

As always
Ted The Great


Emotions typically occur in social settings and during interpersonal transactions. Thus, in many cases emotions may be best understood as interactions between people, rather than simply as one individual’s response to a particular stimulus

Thoughts and behavior come from either a place of love, or a place of fear.  Anxiety, anger, control, sadness, depression, inadequacy, confusion, hurt, lonely, guilt, shame, these are all fear-based emotions.  Emotions such as joy, happiness, caring, trust, compassion, truth, contentment, satisfaction, these are love-based emotions.

Fr. Pat had to perform a wedding last Friday afternoon and then conduct a memorial service that night for a 14 year old boy who was killed on his bike by an 81 year old woman. On Saturday was the young man’s funeral followed by another wedding. What do you think were his range of emotions?

License Plates and Racism…

License Plates and Racism…

Racism is one of those words that can be defined in any number of different ways. No matter how we always decide that we are not a racist. Everyone else is. Even if you are not you might want to read on. Not being trivial or insensitive, but I thought I would take TTG Airlines up to 30,000 feet for a look.

The crazy part is that this little thorn in our side has been around for millennia. Man(and woman to a lesser degree) have always tried to compartmentalize things and people. As the world has grown, those silos have become larger in size and more numerous. In Biblical times there were the real Jews and the fakes. Pharisees, gentiles, goyems, you name it. And they despised each other looking around the temple square in disgust at the unwashed masses and shrugging their prayer shawls in contempt.

We have always strove to make ourselves the higher caste in wealth and intelligence. Enter the Dark Ages when monarchies and the Catholic Church vied to be king of the hill. While the bishops and Popes were claiming to be anointed by God, the royalty was establishing bloodlines to make sure there was no spoiling of the family tree with illegitimates. Muslims had the Shiites who claimed a pure birthright and the Sunnis who were the unworthies.

The Baltic states thought less of the Mediterraneans and the Iberian peninsula was beyond inferior.Hitler proved that the concept of the super race was still alive and well and killed six million Jews to make sure things stayed intact. I am not being frivolous or disrespectful but left to his own designs man has always come up with some conflated theory on why he or his own are superior.

We have continually labeled people white, yellow, red and brown but the one that really sticks out literally is a black person.Now when we picked sides there was little if any doubt who the bad guys were.Blacks won every time. We even go so far as to ascribe blackness to evil,satanic rituals, the underworld and the beta noire in filmdom. We have developed a culture of blackness that encompasses slavery, brute force, criminals and diminished mental capacity. All because they are black and that is wrong. I am not saying we are all not guilty to some extent but it still doesn’t make it right.

When a child is born it does not know color. Racism is not inherent. It is a learned habit from one’s environment and most of all from our parents and family. We hear appellations and attitudes. We look up to kin folk for guidance. We idolize them and look for attribution. If they say it is so, it has to be the truth. And we continue this through life because we want to be accepted and thought well of.We are followers not free thinkers. Sooner or later it makes perfect sense no matter what and please don’t confuse my beliefs with facts.

We keep score. We rank things and people as inferior or superior. The Catholic Church and many others are racist because the hierarchy are holy and chosen by God and you are the lowly. If you are in my group I love you and if you are counter then I hate you. It is as simple as that. It is said if you lived with the enemy for 30 days you might get to like him and understand his or her point of view. That enemy could be a black or a transgender or a Muslim or a Jew from New York City. God forbid we might learn something or render one of our long held tenets fallacious or at least on shaky ground.

We have a lot of foreigners here in Colorado. You can tell by their license plates. Arkansas has to be the land of Rubes and hicks. Texans are obnoxious because all they do is brag. California? Got to be a weirdo of some sort. Isn’t it the land of fruits and nuts? Florida guarantees you are old. New York or New Jersey? Need I say more. Just listen to me with my stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination. And I consider myself a thinking man. My hair shirt is still in the closet but I am starting to feel uncomfortable in my ivory tower.

There was a PBS special, America in Black and Blue. It portrayed an eloquent young black man who said he didn’t choose to be black. He was born that way. He said right from the get go he was held to a different standard. He had to be twice as smart to just get in the door.He didn’t feel it was fair and I think he is right. He was not shaking his fist in rage but pleading his case in incredible poignancy. It really slapped me in the face. Not unlike hearing from a cop who comes upon a crime scene and is scared shitless because he does not know what he is up against. Man, do I have to rethink this.

Going back to that baby thing we should look at our fellow inhabitants of the world with a bit of childlike innocence. Don’t pick someone out with preconceived notions but with a sense of who are you and what do we have in common? Racism like so many other things is not inherited trait but a learned behavior. As such it can be unlearned or are we so stubborn as to not even give it a chance? Like alcoholism or drug abuse it takes a depth of despair and a long look in the mirror to finally admit we have a problem. Are we there yet?

As always
Ted The Great.


Crime statistics are really baffling. Of cop killings 50% of the victims are white and 26% are black. Black and Hispanic officers are are three times more likely to shoot a perp than white officers are. The rate of violent crime in black areas is much higher than in black areas so one would think the opposite would be true.

Since the War on Drugs has zeroed in on use, the stats show black and white usage of all sorts to be equal at around 28% combining all types of drugs. Yet the blacks are arrested at three times the rate of whites and represent 59% of those in prison on drug offenses. One must wonder if every man or woman were stopped on a given evening if those arrest rates might be skewed entirely differently?

In my research I stumbled upon some quotes by Edward R Murrow. Somehow they just seemed appropriate.

“Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices–just recognize them.”

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.”

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”

“When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.”

PAX until next time.

Emotional Quotient,EQ….

We all know the intelligence quotient,IQ of a person assesses their intellectual capacities. In a perfect world it tells your ability to reason, solve problems, retain facts and correlate them. You can take the test online for free if you dare. But the Lord knows we don’t want to quantify ourselves as stupid. Let people form opinions on their own.

Emotional intelligence, EQ, is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions. Some might say it is more important than IQ and can detect the success or failure of achieving one’s goals. You not only know what is going on in your psyche but you can tell pretty much tell how someone else is receiving your message at any given time. You sense the mood of the crowd and act accordingly.

This is all very key to cognitive psychology which relies on your ability to look at your thoughts and decipher which ones are appropriate and which are the result of you distorting reality. I have been playing this game lately as that little thing in me called depression has reared its ugly head. Nothing drastic but the beginnings I know so well. Hopefully I am smart enough to nip it in the bud. Been there. Done that.

If you haven’t been there it is hard to understand. People will have pity as in feeling sorry at another’s plight but then they move on. It is the least amount of feeling you can have towards your fellow man or woman but at least it is a start. Once you have turned a caring eye you may feel sympathy for a person. Now we are getting below the surface of both you and the victim which is a good stopping off point.

A victim is a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action. I would add this can be actual or perceived. Some people have been hit between the eyes with injury or tragedy. Take this week. There are victims on all sides of the equation. But some are quick to take on the mantle of strife in the hope of getting benefits which may or may not deserved. Sometimes whole sections of a population or interest group describe themselves as victims. Seeing if they warrant the appellation makes grist for the mill of lawsuits and firebrands. But I digress.

The next step is compassion. You not only see a hurt but you want to do anything you can to help that person alleviate the problem. Whether financial or emotional you are willing to give of yourself and your time. Sooner or later that closeness gives way to empathy which is the highest form of connection. I really do feel your pain as I walk in your shoes and understand the consequences of your dire straits.

I was hit over the head this morning by an email from an old friend in Arizona. It seems a former golfing buddy of ours was shot and killed in an incident in western Arkansas on Saturday. He was going to the aid of his relative and was mowed down as she had been. A kind and gentle man is now gone. What do I feel? Shock and sadness but most of all sympathy for his lovely wife and their kids. They had worked hard and built a beautiful home in Desert Mountain. I had never heard of Horatio, Arkansas before but I have now. In a very strange way I now have a connection with violence in America. I didn’t think that would happen.

As I watched events unfold this week I really didn’t think I could see anything worse but I did the next day. And then the next. And the next. In an off the wall way you can almost understand the rage of a jilted lover or fired employee. But to fire point blank into a car or pick off cops one by one requires a certain type of callousness that is hard to comprehend. It is a detachment from any semblance of human emotion or feeling that hopefully we all should have in our hearts. Again I wonder if that is the case?

I received other emails this morning from here and there. Some were screaming that black lives matter and others were touting that all blacks were culpable for the problems of America. I guess in all the rubble I was looking for some voice of sanity and reason that could help me make sense of so much. You see the emotional quotient EQ of the best leaders in business and politics are defined by their compassion. It is the one who can appeal to all sides and truly feel people’s pain. They are in a word empathetic.

We see very little if any empathy amongst our politicians.Obama could have had it but he became professorial. The Donald is too egotistical. Hilary is too cold and scripted. The Pope has got it and that is why people love him.He touches you right in your gut. He makes you want to be a better person. You don’t have to live in a poor neighborhood but at least understand what it means. Some of us have never seen the tough side of life. Many today have never worked with their hands.We have to engage in more than a patronizing or perfunctory way.

I can’t help but feel we have to take the gloves off. We have to meet the problem of discrimination head on. We have to understand what it is like to be an honest black person who is painted with the same brush as thugs and gang members. We can’t look with pity but with empathy. We have to roll up our sleeves and roll down our rancor and one mindedness. We have to sit in a squad car and feel what it is like to not know whether you are going to live or die on the next 911 call. It is just not enough to send condolences. I don’t quite know how but in some way have to look inside our hearts and know we have not done even close to enough. We just can’t go on this way. What is our national emotional quotient,our EQ? You tell me.

As always
Ted The Great


My golfing buddy was a black man who was killed by another black man. Don had been a very successful businessman with Coors and Kraft Foods. He was visiting family in Arkansas for the summer.

A black Dallas police lieutenant was on the news tonight. He spoke of his being stopped almost a dozen times over a 4 year period for either a minor infraction or a traffic check. His blackness transcended his unfailing duty as a policeman.

On TV I was watching the forest fires running rampant through the west. It seemed an apt metaphor for what is happening in our country today.

I played golf with a friend the other day. As we sat having a drink after our game I stated the I thought this was the worst week for our country since 9/11. He looked at me with a bewildered frown. He’s good guy but incredibly I don’t he had any idea of what was going on in the world.

Defining Space….Ungrateful Bastards

Writer’s Note: I wrote a blog last week but never sent it. Thought it was just one more voice. Rethought my plan and “Ungrateful Bastards” is at the end of “Defining Space” if you dare. Take two,drink heavily and call me in the morning. TTG

It is intriguing that we all go to enormous lengths to protect our own space but as a civilization we want to go to Mars and Jupiter as if it is ours to take. Before going lunar I have to cogitate on how we have become so rabid about space and turf and walls. Be careful who you let in, either physically or emotionally.

These barriers are quite fascinating. Animals have them. One would only have to happen upon a bee hive or bear’s den to understand the concept very quickly. Some might say it harkens back to our survival instinct. Get’em before they get you. No crossbreeding lest the species be vulnerable to a fatal mutant something. In so doing, we say we are doing just what comes naturally.

Are we beings that are just meant to merely coexist or is interaction really the ultimate goal of a good life? I got to thinking about this on the Fourth. It is good to note that the forefathers were perfectly happy to be independent as long as you were white,male,heterosexual, Protestant and of means. Not trying to be unpatriotic just stating the facts maa’m.

Evolution is the growth and adaptation to one’s environment. Times change and so do we. In the early years we made blacks 2/3 of a person and then a whole human being, eventually gave women suffrage, accepted Mediterraneans and even made it okay to be Asian after World War II. Some might consider that flexibility over time and others may think we are control freaks. We give in but only under duress.

As a whole we crave constancy. Unpredictability or ambiguity are really disconcerting. They make us feel uncomfortable and cranky. I like my eggs done a certain way every day at the appointed hour. Routines and my type of people make the world a comfortable warm and fuzzy place. Inherent in this is you better see things my way. Diversity? Not in my world. One side says Kumbaya and the other says f__k ‘em. Tough finding middle ground there.

Our sentiment seems to be towards the abrasive. Not everyone is a Trumper but think about it. We protect our homes with fences and locks. We don’t want our schools test scores to be brought down by admitting dumb kids because you will then find only dumb teachers that want to be employed there. We want to gentrify poor neighborhoods because that’s where there is money to be made but please don’t ruin our neighborhood by moving here. Why should I pay for screwups like floods, hurricanes and forest fires? Do what you want but leave me alone.

We want state’s rights and for the most part abhor the federal government but when it comes to the USA,we are of course #1. China wants to build Battery Park Cities in the South China Sea and Putin thinks Europe should have SSR after every nation. We have Brexit, Fraxit, and Italexit. I think we should make public urination lawful because after all that is how all animals stake out their territory.

Maybe competition is the real villain? We embrace the soccer match, bull fight or Daytona 400. There has to be winners and losers. I understand. The CAV’s have reincarnated a whole city and made Cleveland worthy again.Was that tantamount to their existence? Aah, the fighting spirit. It’s beyond “mine is bigger than yours”. People can seek improvement for a variety of reasons. But when we take it to the extremes with makeovers and facelifts and we are defined by what we have and not who we are have we really lost it?

In 71years I have seen arms races and space races. The US was in a state of depression when the Russian Sputnik was the first thing in space in 1957. That spurred us to hit the gas and we surpassed the Hammer and Sickle over time. That created incredible breakthroughs in technology. Unfortunately it also gave us rocket capability to launch ICBMs with doomsday results. There were offsetting balances then but not now the North Koreans and whom knows who has the keys to the kingdom. Competition can be great if it is healthy but we don’t always have the luxury of sanity.

Getting back to that unease thing if we are constantly keeping score there is always going to be someone with more or less. Why does it matter? If we are comfortable in our own skin we don’t have to prove anything to anybody. That goes for the rich as well as the poor. I want to get better but I also have a pretty good idea of what my limitations are. Hubris and egotism sour the broth.

I think it comes down to not your or my space but OUR space. If we are so wrought up in our own designs we will never find a way out. Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Brits, Africans, Asians, Whites, Blacks Hispanics, North and South. We all feel that we are not respected unless we shake a fist or cut each other off in cultural and global road rage. Think about the incidents that go on every day? I am not sure if people want clout or just an equal seat at the table. I guess we perceive that one must precede the other and therein lies the rub. Might is right.

We can say this whole space thing comes back to survival. Maybe it does in more ways than one. Let’s try this. We should do what’s necessary for us and our own. Ownership not stewardship will be our creed. It is a lot simpler if I don’t have to reach out to you. We will never understand each other. Good luck with whatever happens to you. I can see your pain but I don’t have to feel it. Sorry. It’s just the way the ball bounces. That’s fine but it doesn’t sound like a plan for survival but rather one for extinction.

As always
Ted The Great


Multiculturalism definition. The view that the various cultures in a society merit equal respect and scholarly interest. It became a significant force in American society in the 1970s and 1980s as African-Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic groups explored their own history.

Nationalism definition is the belief that your own country is better than all others. Sometimes nationalism makes people not want to work with other countries to solve shared problems.Patriotism is a healthy love of country

Largest Homes in United States:
Asheville NC 175,000 sf George W Vanderbilt
Sagaponack,NY 110,000 sf Ira Rennet
Sands Point,NY 100,000 sf Jay Gould
Windermere, FL 88,198 sf David Siegel (Under Construction)

The smallest house on the San Francisco market, coming in at 363 square feet in the Mission District, sold recently for over its asking price.Landing on the market in March at $495,000, the hidden home at 444 14th Street sold for $550,000.

Small House you can order Escape Traveler
Size: 269 square feet (160-square-foot and 319-square-foot models are also available)
Cost: $66,600 (base price)

Guttenburg NJ .densest city in the US 57,116. people per sq mile

Least dense states…Alaska 1.3 people per sq mile, Wyoming 6 per and Montana 7.1 Now that is space.

Ungrateful Bastards….

The unpredictable cobra of democracy has recoiled its ugly head. The Brits left their future up to their fellow countrymen last week and it was not a pretty sight. Amazing what happens when you have an “either or” referendum. There is no such thing as a win win situation. The victor in this case takes all. In the aftermath invective is hurled and everyone has a reason why it happened and why they missed all the warning signs.

Our world is chock a block with theories and their attendant “experts.”
We crave predicability and prognosticating. It seems no matter the analyst or chartist whatever is happening in our world has been seen dozens if not hundreds of times before and we know just how to make it work. Being a practitioner of off the wall thinking I take offense to two things. The mere possibility of someone exercising their free will which may run counter to mine is exciting in a purely intellectual way. The second is the concept of elitism.

With reference to the latter I am not talking the 1% financially but rather a cadre of the cognoscenti that says just shut up and let me do the thinking. I was watching an interview with writer/psychologist Andrew Solomon and he said in a most arrogant way he liked talking to articulate people. Bully for you but the implication was that he had no use whatsoever for the unwashed masses. Here is a man who admits his bouts with depression. I think I can give him some causality.

Economics is a wonderful field of study. Sooner or later the practitioners turn out to be right. It may be a matter of years or decades but they are quick to point out we don’t look enough at the broader term and bigger picture.

My former classmate Roger Altman took them to task in the WSJ this week. At this point all the sages said we would be at an interest rate of 3-4% Oil would have a range of somewhere between $150 as a high and the absolute floor would be $85-90 per barrel. The IMF predicted a 3% growth rate worldwide. Brazil and Russia would be the leading economies in this decade. Never have so many been so wrong. He ascribed the complexity to money looking for a home. There is currently $75 trillion under management looking for the next latest and greatest investment. They love’em and leave’em. And for the most part you and I are left holding the bag for money on the move.

Now you will say this is capitalism at its best and you may be right. Reenter the 1%. We have to look for efficiencies and profit margins. The obligation to give our investors ROI can heal a multitude of guilt for laying waste to burghs and nations that are no longer profitable. Find the cheapest place to get things done and tell the governments they better pony up the incentives to keep you there…until the next political group opens the kimono a little further. Nice knowing you.

Jilted lovers feel the burn…no play on words. The town of Boston, England is one of the most vivid examples. This seaside center of shipping has existed for centuries, both physically and culturally. It also has become home to Poles, Latvians and Lithuanians who have immigrated to GB. There was a promise to the locals that they would see increased commerce and prosperity by opening their arms.

They came in droves but rather than assimilating they kept to themselves. They opened food stores that were ethnic in nature and entire neighborhoods were taken over. The foreign population is at about 15%. I am not saying that immigration is not healthy for a rapidly aging demographic. They will provide the taxes to support the pensioners and welfare states but that logic does not always get through. How do you think they voted?

It is actually one of the real paradoxes of Britain but it can be applicable in our own U S of A. The city of London has for centuries been a melting pot as those in the far flung British Empire have come to work there from India, South Africa and the like. They never ventured forth to the countryside because there was no real work there. Today overcrowding and overpricing in the urban core has caused the newcomers to seek their fortunes in the rural regions. Ergo, the rub.

Jump across the pond and the same drama is being played out on Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut in the New York metropolitan area. Go to Miami, Phoenix and even Alabama and Tennessee. They are carpetbaggers and interlopers to the locals. Economics be damned. They sense they have not gained ground but lost it. And they are probably right.

Last week a good friend chastised me for presenting problems but not solutions. Guilty as charged. Simply put, we don’t have the ability to find solutions. Those would require us not dealing in our own self interest but in the common good from our politicians to the titans of industry to the common man. Sound too lofty? Think about it.

In DC the politicians know we need tax reform, heavy lifting on our infrastructure and deep cuts to our entitlement programs. Tough decisions aren’t going to sit well with the electorate and it would probably cost them their jobs. They look at politics as a growth industry not a time of service.

On the corporate side the pay for the top is obscene. I am not opting for a redistribution of wealth or socialism but a little discretion. What I am saying is a common sense approach to compensation at higher levels and a “sharing of the wealth.” Do you see this happening?

On the worker bee side there has to be dose of reality. Much of the economic woe is a result of downsizing and relocation. But also a great part of it is in what one considers a decent life. Housing, transportation and over all cost of living can be looked at as a necessity or as a symbol of success that one has made it.

All of the above require realism and a dedication to our fellow man and woman. Think not me, but us. To my friend I say therein lies the solution. For now we are all Ungrateful Bastards and that is our Achilles Heel and ultimate downfall. Too bad.

As always
Ted The Great

There are no facts just theory.