Liberté Egalité Sororité

My apologies to Robespierre but after this weekend the femmes take top billing. I almost didn’t write this week. Inaugurations, marches, playoff games. What’s a guy to think? Even good old Fr. Pat tossed a grenade into my poor little brain on Sunday but here I am for better or worse.

At first, the Women’s March was startling. Not for the incredible attendance throughout the world but for the tenor of the rhetoric. As Madonna et alia F Bombed their way through their cheerleading, the vitriol was beyond evident. I understand the problem and have been beyond supportive of women in all walks but this seemed over the top. Are things really that bad? I mused throughout the day at what I had seen.

Then we went out to dinner Saturday night with some great friends. The wife had gone to the march of some 200,000 here in Denver and her husband was the driver for several of her compatriots. I got a different story. There was grace and civility and a sense of the original purpose to seek equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation, color, religion or whatever. They really were one and I had my faith restored not so much in women or gays or blacks but in some sense of sane discourse.

Enter Fr. Pat stage right. In his homily he proposed that equality can’t be reached because it is not in our nature to do so. Huh? Now my favorite Irish prelate is not a puppet for the conservative wing of Catholicism so I took notice. He reasoned that we want to help the poor so long as they stay in their place. The way we judge ourselves and society is by some sort of pecking order. He did not say it was right but it is so. That really got me  pondering.

There are rungs in all parts of our populace. I just read The Hillbilly Elegy and it was enlightening. Poverty isn’s confined to the inner city or blacks but is evident throughout our nation and world. The hollers of Kentucky and West Virginia can be just as desperate as the south side of Chicago or the bowels of Baltimore. Yes, there are a chosen few that escape and even some come back to resurrect but as a whole these people are devoid of hope. The haves and the have nots have become institutionalized.

And now we are eating our way into middle class America. The Donald can preach about the resurgence of the Rust and Bible Belt but there are just too many people who will not know life as it once was. In a sadistic turn these are the people that advertising is aimed at. They are the ones that religiously watch soaps, game shows and football because quite simply they have nothing else to do. They are told they need a new pickup, that Bud is the only way to get loaded and Duluth undershorts will soothe their chafing bottoms. It is almost like consumerism is the salve that will make it all go away.

If you think I am just being stereotypical, think again. Even in the upper echelons there are judgement calls which you cannot deny. Everyone wants to drive the latest symbol. It used to be a forest green Eddie Bauer Explorer but we shifted to BMW’s and Mercedes. Then that not being good enough we now seek Teslas and Bentleys. What is going to happen to us when we have driverless cars and all that horsepower and luxury will appear mundane?

Ok TTG, we can still look to our domiciles can’t we?.Not exactly.  Of course we have  to live in a gated community but even that alone may seem passé. Now we have to be in a gated part of the gated community. That is where the really rich and famous live. Imagine spending a couple of mill on your house and feeling like a low life? Where do your kids go to school and where do you vacation? Some of life’s burning questions.

Getting back to the Reverend Dolan’s premise that we all can’t be equal, one is struck by a further element of his oration. What is your vocation or better yet your lot in life? This not a grin and bear it situation but what do you think you are here for? If it is wealth and fame you probably won’t find what you re looking for. You will always need just a little more to make you happy. Just doesn’t happen.

Maybe I am getting old but this stuff just does not matter like it used to. I will not make any more money or achieve fame in the years to come . There is a finite nature to that and I sometimes wish I had learned it sooner. That doesn’t mean I am going to assume the fetal position for the rest of my life but my lot is cast and indeed I am more than fortunate to have a  comfortable one. Not particularly in an economic sense but maybe in my soul. I think I finally figured out where I am in the pecking order and that is just fine.

I look at the Women’s March and say good for you. Not in a condescending tone but  I really hope you can find what you are looking for. But I also would caution that this is not a perfect world. Maybe over time with prodding here and there, the battleship will slowly turn but the progress depends on an open and accepting world. We are far from it. Equality would be a great thing but men and women would have to forsake some things they are sure bring them happiness. On every rung of the ladder. We are just not there but it doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying.

As always
Ted The Great


Just eight families in the world control more wealth than poorest 3.6 billion people on this planet. Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. That is pretty scary no matter how skewed the numbers.

In 2015, 43.1 million people lived in Poverty USA. That means the poverty rate for 2015 was 13.5%. The threshold for a family of four is less than $24,000 per year. You would have to make at least $12 per hour in a 40 hour work week to make $24k

The U.S. rates 28th out of 145 countries in an annual world ranking of equality for women.The World Economic Forum “Global Gender Gap Report 2015” bases its equality ranking on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.

Amazon recently announced that of their employees, women receive 99.9% of the pay that is earned by men. Minorities receive 101.1% of that number.

Shooting Straight…

I was going to go quietly into the night on inauguration eve. Might have had a glass of wine or scotch and watched the news on PBS.I also watched NBC news the other night. More a force habit than a rational decision. Lester Holt is the anchor of the day at least until something drastic arises from his past. Then he can join Brian Williams in that high priced Siberia of MSNBC.

My final AAARGH moment occurred when his much ballyhooed Trek Across America started in Sacramento. He claimed to be gaining deep insights in cities from west to east. This group of five citizens of the Golden State were each given 10-15 seconds to spill their guts as part of a grand total of 2 1/2 minute segment of the news. Why bother?

Wolf Blitzer of course has his hourly “Breaking News” segments which are more mundane than sensational. Fox News has their “Fox Alert”. Fox seems to be the operative word as everyone from Roger Ailes to Bill O’Reilly are paying out of court millions for trying to bed down the staff. The thought of Roger trying to sidle up to Megan Kelly is beyond disgusting. As I move on remember these are the clowns that are supposed to get the stories right.

This whole Russia thing gets more bizarre by the day. Now let me get this straight. We are ticked off because Russia hacked us. Now can you tell me we don’t hack Russia or China or Germany and in turn no one hacks anyone else? Interfering in our elections? Do you think over the last several decades we have not tried through the CIA et alia to have an effect on elections everywhere from South Viet Nam to Israel to Venezuela to Cuba? Everyone howls in mock horror.

The point I have asked over and over is if we weren’t doing anything wrong then who would really care if our emails were hacked? Debby Wasserman Shultz and the Democratic National Committee was colluding with Hillary’s campaign to bring down Bernie. Donna Brazile was feeding questions to Hillary’s confidantes before the debate. I am sure the Republicans were guilty of the same missteps. Puuuhleaze, do not tell me you think someone is getting a raw deal. John Lewis is a great guy. Just look at what happened to him and what an effect he has had on the civil rights movement. But John, please don’t tell Meet The Press you think this is a vast right wing conspiracy and you cannot accept the outcome. Didn’t look good.

I have told you time and again that Washington is a cesspool. Look at how long pols reside in DC. They all come hoping to change the climate. Many leave in disgust but many find that the forecast of hot and steamy is to their liking. The place oozes influence peddling and hands extended for their largesse. It is slimy to the core. Why else would you pay an average of $11.5 mill to obtain a Senate seat that pays $175,000 per annum? The way they perpetuate their status and wealth is by creating more and more programs that require constant funding and contracting.

About 35 out of 435 congressional seats were considered competitive in the last election. Less than 10%. I have railed on about how long they stay. How can you possibly have creative ideas and be open to reducing government if you have been in office for 20, 30, or 40 years? And yet I watch them as they have their day in the sun taking prospective cabinet members to task for this or that. I am by no means an apologist for Trump but rather a critic of our manner of governing.

For example Sen Bob Melendez, who is the senior senator from the great state of New Jersey was grilling Rex Tillerson who would like to be Secretary of State. Now Bobbo has a close personal friend who is an eye doctor in Miami who out of the goodness of his heart gave him at least $750,000 in campaign funds. He also entertained him at his little hacienda in the Dominican Republic. I know you will be shocked but there was ample booze and ample women. No play on words. How would you like to have your sense of right and wrong questioned by this guy?

I derive a great deal of amusement in the goings on. Hollywood is boycotting the festivities as a matter of conscience. People everywhere are snorting their snuff and harrumphing in self righteous indignation. They are offended. Don’t worry, we go through the same soap operas at every swearing in. You didn’t like Obama or Bush or Clinton et al going back 20-30 years.You cry in mock protest. And then we fall back on this crazy sense of ritual and dignity and honor and to that I say, BULL SHIT! I hope you are not taping this.

The message is the same as it was in 2008 and 2012. The public is fed up. They don’t want to be lectured and dismissed. They are tired of being run over by the governmental, financial and academic cognescenti. When it comes to haves and have nots we want to measure by wallets but could just as much turn to grey matter as the standard. Just shut up and do what you are told. We know what we are doing. Unfortunately we are being exposed from Oval offices to Board Rooms to Faculty Lounges.

America has relied on leaders for centuries. Right now they don’t feel there are any. If electing The Donald was grasping at straws so be it. In this election we did not provide any viable candidates. If you are upset at the results look in the mirror. We have not encouraged leadership but prolonged mediocrity by our own neglect. We and I mean all of us are the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight. By the above I am trying in a small way to start here.

As always
Ted The Great


114th Congress The Senate had 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 2 Independents, who both caucused with the Democrats. The average age of Members of the House at the beginning of the 114th Congress was 57.0 years; of Senators, 61.0 years. 79 have been in office at least 20 years.

Winston Churchill through the SIS, their intelligence agency worked for 18 months to ensure the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was believed that only FDR would send supplies and eventually enter WWII.
The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000. That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile.

The United States Intelligence Community is a federation of 16 separate United States government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence for the country. In 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that are working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence.The intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances. I am sure there is no eavesdropping or hacking going on here.

Tradition and Change…

When one thinks of tradition our minds wander to scrapbooks and photo albums or old 45’s. It is the glue that gives us comfort in the midst of chaos. It is the security of knowing somehow it worked in the past and it will get us through. It is also a symbol of each generation’s work to sustain the lineage as we pass it on to the next whether they be Xers or millenials. If they accept it we have somehow succeeded. If they toss it back at us it is the ultimate rejection and no one likes that.

We are binge watching The Crown and nothing could be more appropriate as we near inauguration day. Brits are justifiably proud of their heritage but as we watch Elizabeth’s reign unfold post WWII, one can see how their intransigence to pomp and ritual might foretell their descent into comparative irrelevance. They all portray painful intellectual snobbery. It is only “They” who can deliver the unwashed masses from desperation. No one else has a clue. Pardon me but didn’t we just see this happen on this side of the pond.


As for us Yanks we have chosen a new course….at least some have. As we watch the stuffy and moldy Cabinet room at #10 Downing are not our Congressional halls and Cloak rooms similar? I watch the tottering and unstable Winston and the Ancients of the Senate and House come to mind. As I shout “Get with it, you old fool” at the Netflix, couldn’t that be at C Span as well?


His Hairness is shaking things up in lots of ways. I watched parts of the news conference yesterday. I have had just short of contempt for the Fourth Estate lately. With the multiplicity of cable channels it is obvious the true grit reporting has taken a back seat to Nielsen and bottom lines. The fact there is an unwritten code of how the Oval Office is to treat the press is comical. It was raucous, bawdy and probably a symbol of who we are. But have no doubts, things will not settle down quickly. Fasten your seat belts!

That is beyond disconcerting to many. Times have been crazy over the last few years. Bubbles have burst starting with the Second Great Depression.Banks and brokerages were the bastions of security and wealth. Now they must humbly submit to “stress tests”.Culturally we are now inclusive of LGBT sexual orientation. Technology has soared at warp speed and left many far behind. We crave consistency and civility but the genie is long out of the bottle.

And in the midst of all this mayhem fear has grown from an occasional thought to foremost in our minds.We worry about our health, global warming, our financial future, kidnapping, murder, molestations, and most importantly will the brass ring be ours whatever our age be? Whoever thought Clemson would beat Bama? The Donald as President Elect? George Soros is rumored to have lost over a billion dollars on that losing bet. Will things ever get back to the way they were? Don’t bet on it


Before we become apoplectic at the thought, let’s consider some of the plusses to change. By sheer evolution our world and its inhabitants have adjusted to change. Animals grow wings or gills to obtain food and survive. Cities have grown and provided for their inhabitants both spiritually and monetarily because of new ideas and infrastructure. Robert Moses was a pain in the ass and wild eyed to many but his creation of highways, bridges and parks in the New York metropolitan area was prescient if not brilliant.


The Edisons, Bells, Salks, Gates and Jobs were considered out of the mainstreams of science. If someone had not sought the secrets of the genome or the marvelous complexity of fiber optic cable where would we be? Tennis rackets, golf clubs, composite materials for planes and cars would never have occurred in a pleasant but dowdy existence.

Sure there are downsides. People used the marvel of the atom to create death and destructive capabilities. The internet has become a vehicle for theft, terrorism and malice. Institutions like banks and religion have become suspect. We have made a business out of making people well. Cures benefit the stock price. Oh yeah as a by product they help people too. But all this is maybe because we have been all to happy to derive the benefits with personal regard rather than seeing the ultimate outcomes for mankind.

I think a huge part of the problem is that we think tradition and change exist separate from one another. If you believe in one you are an old fart and if you want to blow things up intellectually of course that means you are a radical or terrorist. We need both. We seem unable to accept that.

I really chuckle when I think of where we are today. The right has taken to Trump. His unorthodoxy is playing well at the country clubs and the cooth squads are conveniently looking the other way. The progressives are trying to retain the status quo and the elements of creativity and innovation at least in government are looked askance. Fascinating isn’t it?

In golf they say every shot makes someone happy. So goes our body politic. Our country is in a bit of a maelstrom right now and that is okay. I am not an anarchist but I really do believe we have to shake things up. We might be greatly surprised or sadly disappointed but rather than cataclysmic it is a thing called life.Somehow we will make it. We always have and that is our tradition. On the other hand change is what has made us what we are as a dynamic and incredible nation. The new show is about to start. I am going to get a big bag of popcorn and watch. Care to join me?

As always
Ted The Great


Change Is Hard Because People Crave What They Already Like. People as whole are reluctant to try new things be they food, books or travel.

Nearly 60 percent of projects aimed at achieving business change do not fully meet their objectives. Harvard Business Review … The brutal fact is that about 70% of all change initiatives fail. Doesn’t mean we can’t try.

It is our country’s tradition to have tail gate parties, watch Super Bowl commercials, give Presidential Turkey pardons, have Black Friday and Ground Hog days. In the South we give people crazy names. In the Northeast there are about 60 different dialects. In the West there are fruits and nuts. It is us. Maybe the Donald will give himself a Turkey Pardon.

Prince Charles’ personal valet, Michael Fawcett, used to squeeze his toothpaste onto his toothbrush for him.He is definitely the most high-maintenance of the royals: he employs well over 100 staff including chefs, cooks, footmen, housemaids, gardeners, chauffeurs, cleaners, and not one, not two, but three personal valets whose sole responsibility is the care of their royal master’s extensive wardrobe. A serving soldier polishes the prince’s boots and shoes every day, and Charles’s valets iron the laces of his shoes whenever they are taken off. Probably not tradition but I couldn’t resist.

Opiates Of All Sorts…

From the great state of Marijuana I can report that things are gong swimmingly. I am probably naive but a couple of years of legality doesn’t seem to have much effect on the everyday workings of Denver. They are finding teenagers are turning more to alcohol than to the weed. Probably easier to raid the parents’ liquor cabinet than to break into their stash of hash.

The rise of heroin as a cost effective alternative to Oxycodone and Vicadin bespeaks a pain prescription dispensery run amok. One of the more curious aspects is its e proportions in rural America. Does that mean there is more initial pain there or is boredom and lack of “other” diversions contributing to the malaise?

That being said I heard a startling statistic in passing that caused me to perk up. Apple logged $28 billion in app sales in 2016, including $3 billion in December alone. Incredibly the sales for just New Year’s Day were $240 million. Currently they offer 2.2 million apps in the AppStore. Numbers can be boring but these are astounding for their implications.

25% of them are games, followed by business, education, lifestyle and entertainment making up 60% as a total. If you take out business and education it means there are almost 900,000 downloads for leisure time. I see my grandkids logging a lot of screen time and the latest edition of Super Mario should keep them entertained for some time to come. Today’s youth spend about 7-8 hours per week playing all sorts of strange stuff. Habits at this age are tough to break. We not only use them as babysitters but perchance should I bring up the word “addiction” of a sort. No TTG, it can’t be that bad. Sorry mes amis, tis true.

Getting back to dollars and sense to play on words, where does one get the money to buy all these things? Some are free but others cost x initially and y over a period of time. There is a thing called Clash of Clans that grosses $12 million per month in user fees.The answer to everyone’s prayers? A little drum roll please. Enter King Visa and Queen MasterCard and various other royalty. 80% of all purchases are put on plastic and that number grows exponentially each year. Convenience is wonderful but does it forestall reality?

It seems the average American(whoever that is) maintains a balance from month to month of $16,061. The average interest rate is 15.36% You can go from a low of 12% to 23% for the worst credit. That is $747 billion on loan with an annual interest payment of $111 billion. I have not mentioned, mortgage, autos, student loans et al but suffice to say that all comes to $132,529 per household or a grand total of $12.35 TRILLION in consumer debt. Should that be listed in the opiate or hallucinogenic form of treatment?

Another dirty little secret is the porn industry. Worldwide it is a $97 billion industry with $12 billon from the US alone.In America, the Beautiful, child pornography is tagged at $3 billion per annum and growing steadily. People spend more time on porn sites than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. 30% of all data transferred across the Internet is porn related. No deviance here just people having some good clean fun.

Sorry if I have bored or boggled with the above numbers but I think it tells a lot about ourselves. Whether it is booze, boobs or gaming we have a variety of ways to while away our hours of leisure. I don’t say this so much in a moralistic way as much as reflective. You can do whatever floats your boat. You can also say it is the other guy or gal and not you. That might be very true. But in essence if we base our standards and expectations on who we are and how we act as a people doesn’t this become part of our national persona?

We constantly complain there are not enough hours in the day. We don’t have time to read, become educated on current events, volunteer, exercise, vote, pay attention to our kids or our spouses. Yadda Yadda Yadda. Really? Come on man I just want to kick back and relax. You are no fun at all. For instance,Children aged 2-11 watch over 24 hours of TV per week, while adults aged 35-49 watch more than 33 hours, according to data from Nielsen that suggests TV time increases the older we get. The average American watches more than five hours of live television every day. I am so sorry for interrupting your free time.

Trust me I am as bad as you are. I get borderline comatose on New Year’s Day watching bowl games or on Sunday watching my Broncos. I love playing solitaire or just beating golf balls until my hands bleed. In a big golf tournament on TV I can watch every shot. Do I feel guilty? Probably not but I do often admit to a tremendous waste of time. I guess what I am trying to say is no one should get nuts in overindulging in anything but when it becomes a regular occurrence we should have a talk with ourselves.

People who are alcoholics, drug addicts, overeaters or over spenders do so because it takes them into another world. They are not very happy with theirs. Whether it is poverty in a monetary or spiritual sense it feels good to get away. The only way to overcome that is having that heart to heart talk with one’s self. You deal with reality and embrace it, not run away from it. I am not sure we personally or as a country are very good at that. Probably time for an intervention.

As always
Ted the Great

I have already given you too many.