The Age Of Disruption….

Age of Disruption…..

Last Friday night Kathy and I attended a performance of “The Age of Disruption” tour given by a Dr.Bill Thomas. He is a gerontologist who is trying to change the nation’s attitude on aging. It was simple but at the same time deceivingly complex show that consisted of just him and a very talented musician. Sadly there were far too few attendees but undaunted he displayed incredible enthusiasm and most of all honesty.

The gist of his proposal is that TRUTH begets happiness. Sounds simple but the subtleties are profound. Through a series of pictures he demonstrated how we kid ourselves in an effort to forestall reality. We are in essence embarrassed by who we are rather than reveling in it. On the purely physical side we dye, tuck, nip, Botox and implant our way into who we think we should be or at least what our culture thinks we should be.

For instance he showed a female teenager with acne. Then he showed a beautifully adorned and made up model. The most startling contrast was their smiles. The young girl had a sparkle and hope for the future. For the model there was a far off disengaged look that seems to say there is no tomorrow. He then displayed picture after picture of young and old in their natural unmade up state. There were blemishes and wrinkles but one slowly became aware of their true beauty.

The message was striking but more the thought it provoked over several days. I have gone from the simple act of looking in the mirror and saying,”This is what we got”, to pondering about this whole concept of truth in our society today.

In the last week we have seen deceit and deception at Wells Fargo. Think of how far we have come from a simple and trusted place to put your money or start your Christmas Club to behemoths that try to extract every last cent out of a consumer. Not a place to borrow for a house or a car but a clearinghouse for monetizing thousands of those lendings to provide investment vehicles for unsuspecting marks. A far cry from Dick Deatly and the Chatham Trust. We used to play tennis together and were great friends. Now the mega bank exec departs with a $200 million Golden Parachute for his misdeeds or at least lack of leadership.

The national stage has brought the farce of “The Donald and Hilary” to the Broadways of our lives. Show after show they bring standing ovations as they parade each other’s dalliances and underhandedness before our very eyes. We are either numb or complicit in our acceptance. Maybe because they are not alone.

Now this is not a treatise on sin and shame. I am guilty as all of you are but I want you to consider for a moment the breadth of our decline. Lying whether large or small is taken for granted. We fabricate and embellish to make ourselves more important. We have plastic surgery on our bodies and our minds. We say we owe it to ourselves and somehow the real us takes a further and further back seat on the bus.

How about the victim? By changing the scenario ever so slightly we become the unsuspecting prey, the screwee so to speak. We twist details to fit our narrative and the more we retell the details the more we are convinced we are right. Fascinating stuff.

We put on acts. We pretend to be who we are not. Whether we are flashy or downtrodden we take on the persona. Fraud is a nasty word but in so many ways is apt. We become legends in our own minds. Deep down we know who we are but that someone becomes more and more submerged. In some crazy notion we think we feel better, but how can you portray x,y or z on the outside if you are suspect to your self?

This all sounds heavy duty and somewhat distasteful but it is not. Going back to that TRUTH thing, just think about it for a minute. It really is freedom and happiness if we use it as a maxim. When we carry the baggage of living a lie it is tough to keep your story straight. You are always concentrating on being who you are not. That ain’t no fun.

Years ago in fighting depression, I had to take that long look at who I was. I had to take inventory and thank God my assets outweighed my liabilities. Not by much but it was step in the right direction. I said to myself,”You know you are really not a bad guy,warts and all”. It set me on a way to be me and quite frankly have a shitload of fun. I am not perfect by any means but I hope you will agree I am real. Beyond happiness it is a sense of freedom and that is very cool.

I spent last evening with a friend who has incurable cancer. He had gotten the word that morning that time was very short. It was beyond poignant at we sat in his hospital room and just talked for a couple of hours. Actually he talked and I just listened. I don’t know if it was unburdening for him but when I left and waved good bye at the door I think he was content, maybe even happy. In a terribly selfish way I drove home feeling very real.

Whether you are getting older or just getting on, I hope you can experience a bit of TRUTH. I hope you can look at your lot whether good or bad and see it just as life and something to be embraced. Look at the world around you as something to be lived and relished not scorned. Not what the world thinks you should be but who really are deep down inside…for better or worse. And when you look deep I hope you can smile. I do…and that is MY Age Of Disruption.

As always
Ted The Great


Bill Thomas uses the acronym MESH. Make sure you MOVE and are up and about mentally as well as physically. EAT well. Have fun but don’t be unreasonable. SLEEP both at night and during the day. Give your body and your psyche a rest. And HEAL.Doctors and drugs don’t heal us. We HEAL ourselves. Not bad.

In 2014 there were 16 million cosmetic procedures performed at a cost of $13 billion dollars. 92% of this was for women, with breast augmentation being the top expenditure. 224,000 of the surgeries were performed on teenagers. 200,000 men had rhinoplasty.

Simply and broadly put, lying occurs when a communicator seeks knowingly and intentionally to mislead others. There is no scientific data on the prevalence of lying. When asked what do people do? They lie of course. Makes perfect sense.

Bill Thomas has coined a phrase, “Eldertopia” which is a stage beyond adulthood.”. Stop pining for what is already gone.
2. Start searching for the person you are meant to become” I like it.

The Complexity of Hate….

I had taped quite a few shows on 9/11 and spent Monday looking at some of them. For so many the emotions are still raw. I knew 21 who perished and for many of you there were a lot more. As I saw the tranquil setting of the twin pools it still could not hide the carnage wrought by these 27 madmen. What caused this incredible hate and how much hate did the victims’ families still have for the hijackers and their beliefs? I can only guess.

Hate is a visceral emotion that is played out in its descriptive words: abhorrence loathing, detestation, abomination, hostility, enmity, animosity, revulsion, disgust, contempt. Man I can get pissed off just mouthing the words. But what is behind it and our reactions? Somehow, some way we have felt injured by another. It could be bodily, monetarily or culturally to name a few. Whether you know it or not you have hurt me deeply. I could feel threatened. I might feel victimized.

Our initial reactions are stoked by rumor,innuendo and ignorance or misinterpretation of the facts. A friend and I were chatting and it seems if we just stopped to consider things it would be so much better but when the accelerator of vitriol is stomped on, the brake of sanity is no where in sight. Seeing red begets irrationality and road rage or any other type of preposterous behavior kicks in.

We as a society hate nationalities, religions, genders and colors with equality but the economic basis can’t be overlooked. Whether we are a billionaire or a pauper we feel we are owed. One side wants to keep and the other wants to get at all cost. We are judged by what we have and this becomes envy on one hand and disdain on the other. We would hope human empathy would even this out but that seems to have failed. The lesser look to government as the solution to their ills and the greater think it is the source of our discontent.

We hate because of our fears. We don’t know or want to grasp another point of view. It is a threat to our way of life. It shakes or Sea of Tranquility. We are afraid of outsiders and that is indigenous. There is security in the herd whether it is in a gated community or a ghetto gang. If we don’t interact we will never know what it feels like to be on the other side. The rich feel they are under siege and the poor feel nothing but hopelessness because there is no practical way out. Newcomers either way are distrusted….and the beat goes on.

There is a lot of hurt in this world. In a purely practical sense there is no way to alleviate everybody’s pain. You would go nuts if you tried to solve each and every problem. I have given up trying to save the world. I have decided to just do small parts of it. But even then, there are roadblocks in the way.

As is exemplified in our current political process we can use hate to our advantage. The cognoscenti of politics understand the process very well. Short on facts and knowing just what buttons to push, they know the emotion of a rally or a well constructed ad will get people whipped up to rival any lynch mob. Casual and not so casual comments by the opponent are taken out of context and spun to their dismay. We wonder why there are no spontaneous moments? Everything is orchestrated and every one stays on message.

Hate sells air time. Whether it is the highly partisan FOX or CNBC or the more subtle and in some ways more insidious bias of CNN you want to watch or listen to YOUR station. Everyone is fair and balanced! Right, and I have some swamp land to sell you. Are we naive by not realizing we are so manipulated? I guess it is easier not to delve and that is the most discouraging part. The only way we can make any progress is to question and contemplate alternatives. Yet we have built walls so thick I really don’t know if they are penetrable.

Look at our world today. Syria is a insult to our humanity. Cities are blown up, people are gassed, and we vow to eradicate one side or the other. Ditto so many other places both here and abroad. Then after the annihilation we vow to rebuild. I guess their reconstruction comes under infrastructure spending and of course that will be great for their and our economy. Your and my emails are littered with pithy comments from one side or the other. They are trying to get me pissed off and of course to hate. When you hate you send money or listen to your own choir. And that drives movements and ratings. Isn’t that special?

I hate and I hate myself for it. Sometimes I am not big enough to let it die. I have had petty spats or long held grudges. I take cheap shots and push buttons. I have been bullied and have probably bullied too. I guess I am alone. Not a one of you has had the same churning in your gut when you recall a raw deal or catch sight of someone that is not exactly near and dear to your heart. You are peace on earth personified. I only wish I had your virtue.

9/11 was the result of some people who had it in for the United States…. Jews, Christians, blacks and whites. They were equal opportunity terrorists. That in turn spurred us to invade Afghanistan and of course Iraq because of WMDs. Since we were there, might as well get them all. That ignited the Arab Spring and Syria. Libya? Yemen? Why not? There is enough hate in everyone’s heart to keep this going for a long time. Can someone please tell me if we accomplished anything except to boost defense stocks.

This has got to stop. As I spent the last few days studying hate in depth I realized its absolute lunacy and futility. Kumbaya is a long way off but we better start taking steps in the right direction. Start in our homes, our churches, our clubs, our businesses.Next time someone tries to bait you just tell them to shut up. Hate is terribly complex but it is cancerous too. I don’t want to die just yet.

As always
Ted the Great


Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Don Imus and Howard Stern to name a few have made a living by riling up the troops. News as such is no longer reporting but chock a block with editorial comment going one side or the other.

Babies do not have prejudice and hate. It is taught around the dinner table and among friends, business associates or our mode of information. How much of your feelings are the result of first hand interaction or was it passed down? Have you engaged blacks, Muslims, Jews, whites, feminists, Democrats, Republicans, or illegals firsthand or just what you have heard?

Hate and love are the two strongest emotions humans can experience. Scientists have discovered that the hate circuit includes parts of the brain called the putamen and the insula, found in the sub-cortex. These same neural pathways are used in the feelings of love and affection. Imagine if you saw someone you loved madly right next to someone you abhorred. Oi Vey!

God is Irrelevant

The lines have been drawn. Symptomatic of our worldwide effort to be one up on any being or credo, we see the groundswell of secularism rising up against those that perpetuate a fools theory of religion. Doesn’t matter if you are Christian or Jew,Muslim or Hindu, you are by your actions an idiot. Creationism vs evolutionary theory is not even a contest in the Super Bowl of thought. They may be right and then again they might be wrong.

Religion has been a part of our collective society for millenia. Whether it was golden calves, the God of Abraham or Allah we have been soothed and sometimes chastened by the thought of a Superior Being. It has been debated and studied by the likes of Socrates, Plato, Thomas Acquinas, Karl Marx et alia. There is not enough space nor talent for this writer to engage in deep discussion other than my observation of current events and an attempt to find meaning.

Pew Research is hot on the trail of polling and finding what seems to be a lessening of the desire of the populace to flock to cathedrals and chapels of any sort. “Nones” are those that ascribe to no particular affiliation but still believe. The atheists and agnostics seem to be increasing at a steady pace. I have often wondered if their “coming out” is the result of a new way of thinking or something they have really thought all along but were afraid to speak about? Anti establishment thinking has taken hold in so many venues that traditional thinking is becoming passe everywhere.

I personally believe in God  although I don’t quite have that Trinity down pat so  I am willing to engage in a totally frivolous exercise called faith. I like going to mass not because I have to but it is really quite enjoyable to spend an hour or so singing and praying with a bunch of like minded people. We happened to have a vibrant community and some pretty neat clergy who give you something to think about. The fire and brimstone gig has left the building if you haven’t been there in awhile. At least at our house of worship. I can’t speak for the others.

The thought of a God and a Judgement Day does keep me in line.But to be honest on the surface hedonism and materialism sounds great. Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. You mean as long as I do this stuff and don’t get caught I can put my head on the pillow at night without any guilt? Not exactly. You can dull your conscience but it is always there lurking in the background. But what is that thing?

If you look at the legal system worldwide most laws have seven of the Ten Commandments as their basis. Pondering as I do does this mean the world was profligate before Moses went up on the mountain to get his first lesson in religion and got a couple of tablets to boot? Was that the beginning of morality or is it ingrained in us? Now we get into the dicey part about Adam and Eve and original sin and I have probably lost most of you in my delving. But I do think ethics is part of our makeup no matter how hard we try to deny it.

I was on a long drive yesterday and I listened to a program on transplants. Not the immigrants wending their way to pot friendly  Colorado but the organ type. We have graduated from hearts to lungs to hands to penises. Praise Jesus, there is still hope. As I listened there seems to be no boundaries and the fervor of the surgeon was dare I say religious. Now one can ask if he was truly out to help his fellow man or if perhaps his ego was so driven that he now approached being godlike? Interesting question.

This was right alongside another broadcast where a highly successful Hollywood producer was expounding on the value of money. He blithely stated that a bunch of shekels made it possible for him to not have to do anything distasteful for the rest of his life. He didn’t have to talk to anyone, go anywhere or participate in society in any way unless it was in his best interest to do so. He was set or so he thought.

Getting back to God thing, Karl Marx considered religion to be “the opiate of the masses”. That may have validity as we wander through life as the more we have the less we worship. We are too busy and things are going so well what the hell would I ask for in my prayers? A family tragedy or a 9/11 might spark my interest but I can wait until that happens. People in Damascus or in a refugee camp in Turkey? Now they have a reason to pray. I don’t want to jam up the communication portal to God with my trivial pleadings. Let the others do that.

By my own admission I am a lousy prayer. I do not study the Bible at length even though it is the best selling book throughout the world year after year. I have this ridiculously simple view of “Do Unto Others.” My Faith is in God. My Hope is that I can make the world a better place. My Charity is that I am going to help you if you are down. I am not trying to convert anyone to religion per se but maybe a thing called spirituality. Go somewhere out of the ordinary for an hour once a week and think about something other than ourselves. Get really whacko and bring the ones you love with you. Come on in the water is fine.

Artificial Intelligence and breakthroughs in medicine and whiz bang theory may refute all I believe in. That’s fine. I have a pluralist rather than homogenous mentality. You do your thing and I will do mine. Is God irrelevant? What would our world be like without order and morality? Whether God is a being or just a concept I think we would be in trouble without. As a matter of fact I think we are getting our first glimpses and I can’t say  I like what I see.

As always
Ted The Great

In Catholicism there are patron saints for nearly everything including beekeepers (Saint Ambrose), headaches (Saint Bibiana), coffee (Saint Drogo) and hopeless cases(Saint Jude).That last one is mine.

About 50 Bibles are sold every minute. It is the world’s best-selling book. Some 1 billion copies of Bibles have been sold.It is also the most shoplifted book. Go figure.

We meditate, do Yoga, consult Gurus and seek Nirvana. I wonder if there is simpler way to accomplish that?