Outside Of The Box…..

The times they are a changin’. I am going back to my 50th reunion at Georgetown next week. I have not been back in forty years. Probably a combination of things but I tend not to revisit the past. My rear view mirror is broken and I see no real reason to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, nostalgia and tradition are fun but I think we try too hard to bring back the old days. Things like they used to be. That just ain’t going to happen.

When we lived in Vail, the local school district was having a hard time keeping young teachers. The cost of residing in the Eagle Valley was not commensurate with their salary. I met with the superintendent to float a different look. The major cost of building is roads and utilities. Every school site already had water and electric and the easy access was a given. Every school has more than enough land, especially in the mountains.

I was also talking with modular home builders in Phoenix. They could do anything from condos to town homes to full fledged residences. What if we had just that? Apartments for the young scholars, townhouses for the intermediates and by jove a house for the principal a la prep schools back East. Everyone was psyched and yet I heard nothing. Then I got word they had taken down some beautiful trees by the river, leveled the lot and put in trailers. Not exactly what I had in mind but at least they were thinking.

We have western states with anywhere from 700,000 to a couple of million people. They adjoin each other. They all have state departments for highways etc. Every county has its own government, police, fire etc. Couldn’t there be some economies of scale? From planning to law enforcement to medicine isn’t there a more efficient way to accomplish things? Maintain the boundaries and of course representation but just lay out as if we were starting from scratch.

Our country is being ravaged by forest fires of all sorts. Jefferson County here in Colorado was particularly struck a few years back. The area lost over 350 homes. This week they signed a contract with a company that uses a converted 747 that can drop 19,000 pounds of fire retardant or water. If it works out shouldn’t we convert dozens of such planes from the boneyard in Arizona where a plethora of these behemoths are baking in the desert sun? Probably couldn’t meet government specs or something. I understand the FAA gave them an incredibly hard time in approving this one.

It’s not just gizmos and business ideas that should face the scrutiny of our national Shark Tank. Our approach to tax reform is archaic. We have been talking about this for decades. Education fits neatly into a discipline first used in the early 1900’s. We are in such a maelstrom of technological innovation and yet we are so woefully deficient in providing adequate employees for this culture.
Illegal immigration may be an ugly concept but it is what is keeping our country going in so many ways. Our birth rate will render the economy of the future listless and recessionary. We are getting older and yet we are not replenishing our workforce. I know it is against the law but maybe, just maybe the law has to be changed. We can stand on principle and get blown away in the process.

I don’t think we have this incarceration thing down pat by any stretch. People commit crimes. I get it. But is locking them away for ten, twenty, thirty years really productive? When they get out they can’t vote, drive a car or many other things we take for granted. Recidivism is at a high percentage. Do you think if we put a guy on the streets with twenty bucks and a bus ticket that he is going to make it?

Part of the problem with innovation is seeing a problem as a problem and not just business as usual. Sure we can find a new app to download tunes or play games but what about improving our everyday life? We have to say this or that doesn’t work as opposed to just shrugging our shoulders and saying, “It is what it is.” It doesn’t have to be that way. What does it take for us to get involved as opposed to closing our eyes in the hope that things will just go away?
Biases, prejudices and ingrained cultures are hard to break through. People get stuck in their ways. It is a comfort zone that feels like an old pair of slippers that we slide into every day. If it was good enough for our parents then it still has to be relevant and efficient. If we leave new ideas to the few we do so at our own peril. They become the dictators of our future. If you say let it be, then don’t bitch about it when it becomes fact. I just don’t understand why we all sit idly by.

I am going to go back and see a campus that is physically foreign to my memories. I will walk the lettered streets and decry the change as I am sure it will have become more effete.The studies more liberal and students more disaffected. That’s okay, I get it. But in many ways my lack of involvement should not retard my amazement but demonstrate to me that I could have had a say but chose not to.

And that is really my final thought. If you don’t like what you see, do something about it. It can be your neighborhood, school, church or current employer. To be meaningful change should arise from a consensus and we are currently not very good at that. Thinking outside of the box is both stimulating and beneficial. You might just have something cooking in that brain of yours whether young or old that can make the world a better place. I am going to do it myself. I hope you join me.

As always
Ted The Great


Think outside the box’ originated in the USA in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The “box” is considered rigid and forbidding for anyone to be outside of it. Inside is protection and outside is peril.

Change: Verb Make or become different. Synonyms: growing, dynamic, unstable Antonyms: stable, steady, fixed.

Creativity is intelligence having fun….Albert Einstein

Every child is an artist. The problem is how do we remain an artist when we grow up….Pablo Picasso

When nothing goes right, go left….Unknown

I have never let my schooling get in the way of my education…

I Love….

If we were in Latin 101 we would conjugate the verb amo,amas, amat. I love, you love, he or she loves. Fair enough. Love is a word that is bantered around for a variety of circumstances. I love my wife Kathy but I also love to play golf. Please don’t make me choose. I love ice cream but I also love being in shape. It can denote passion or just a warm feeling towards a person or inanimate object like the water or Denver.

From songs to poetry to plays and movies it is present everywhere in our society. Of course there is the antonym in hatred which is also pretty evident today. For the moment let’s get back to the good stuff. Contrary to the Puritans it is perfectly alright to have fun. It does one good to have feelings of pleasure. Lust is fine but it is somewhat fleeting. It takes more than that to keep a relationship going. There is that dirty word of commitment and lastly intimacy. Wow, we are talking serious stuff !

I think it is the most wonderful and yet petrifying emotion in the world. There is an attraction of some sort and then we slowly but surely expose ourselves. Not that way, you slugs. Little by little you open up and are of course vulnerable. It goes beyond physical in that you find some really neat qualities in the other person. A conversation goes deeper as you blurt out some things that not many if anybody knows about you. You trust and you hope they are trusting as well.

Here’s the tough part. Inherent in this journey are the secrets of your inside and in many cases, warts. Do I draw back or throw caution to the wind? If they find this or that out then there is no chance this relationship or friendship is going forward. But then again I could live a lie until I get caught further down the road. Decisions, decisions.

You not only love but you have to be open to love. Idiosyncracies and more appropriately annoying behavior have to be not only tolerated but embraced. Too many rely on their ability or desire to change the other person. Fuggedaboutit! What you see is what you get and that is the beauty of it. You give as well as you take. You are not only accepting but welcoming.

Don’t for a minute think I have this down. Kathy is a saint and I know it. But as we progress down life’s highway we are in many ways more outspoken and honest with one another and that’s okay because we get it. We are embarking on this whole new journey but make no bones about it, this is a joint decision. WE think it is good for US.

I have been beyond fortunate to have a fairly good number of close friends. Not just acquaintances but true amigos. Men as well as women. Sure I like to talk about this or that but more importantly I want to find out where they are coming from. What’s inside their gut? Are they on a good or less than memorable path in their lives. Just by listening is there some way I can help them out. I don’t have all the answers but at least they know they have kindred spirt.

Coincidental with that is sticking your neck out and getting burned. I am sure I have done so and it has been done to me. That ain’t no fun. As a matter of fact it is downright the worst feeling you can have. Some have done it intentionally and some without knowing. Either way it hurts. And then that dirty little emotion called hate creeps in.

Hate, revenge, loathing, resentment and detestation are some pretty ugly words all on their own. Your bile gets going and there is no uglier dude than TTG scorned. It sticks with you and does not want to let go. Love and hate are visceral. Look at today. You either can’t stand or cheer for the Donald. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Shumer, Mitch McConnell?
You either sing Hosanna or throw pipe bombs. Polarization is simply the result of all this and no number of Kumbaya recitations are going to calm the waters.

My solution? Work with what I can. Our technologically amped world does not afford face to face meetings and the language itself lacks any emotion. Short, quick hits and then move on. Maybe a metaphor for one nighters that have us at a low for committed relationships. I simply try to make each meeting or conversation as meaningful as possible. I love to smile and cause them in return. I treasure moments and hopefully my actions prove that. I reach out and some might consider that ostentatious. So be it. I take risks knowing that it can go one way or the other. That’s life but think how many fun encounters I would have missed if I stayed back?

I say “I love you” a lot. I say it to my wife every day and amongst my kids and grandkids it is part of my Padge repertoire. I say it to friends, both men and women. Sometimes they look a little shocked. It is just a symbol that you have entered my space and I think you are special. It’s funny because I never grew up that way. We were a loving family but hugs and “I love you” did not abound. I like it better my way.

All I can say is being a lover of people and to be open to love is a very cool thing in my book. Some will laugh and that is okay. Some will harrumph, fold their arms and turn away. They don’t know what they are missing. Most of all in parting I will say, “I love you” to all of you because you read my musings and in some way I hope they stir something in you.

As always
Ted The Great

This is the You Tube for Van Morrison’s “Have I told you lately that I love you?” A marvelous song . Take four minutes out of your crazy life and just listen and think about someone special. It is rumored Van thinks that someone is God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J789GId1kaY
When a person falls in love, the ventral tegmental area in the brain floods the caudate nucleus with dopamine. The caudate then signals for more dopamine; the more dopamine, the higher a person feels. The same system becomes activated when someone takes cocaine. Now that is a nice hit.

Scientists suggest that most people will fall in love approximately seven times before marriage

A meta-analysis of the best long-term studies of loving relationships highlight some behavior patterns that couples with lasting love share: Partners think of each other positively when they are not together; they support each other’s personal growth and development; and they undertake shared experiences in which they can learn and expand themselves.

Logically Speaking…

Amidst our crazy world I decided to look into the concept of logic, what it is and how can we bring into our body politic. It is the study of correct reasoning. In order to derive a conclusion one must go through a series of statements or premises. At each step of the way those must be examined and held to be true or false. This could be a newly introduced concept or a long held truth. Simply stated, does it hold water?

Unfortunately today we arrive conclusions by a variety of means which are not particularly scientific.Experience can give us insight but it is tinged with a crazy thing called emotion. How you remember is not exactly how it might have happened. We love to rely on our inner being or “gut” to make decisions. I guess you might call this jumping to conclusions. Lastly we take as gospel truth the testimony of others. So and so said it, ergo it has to be true.

We should not aspire to be Doubting Thomases but there is a little thing called critical thinking that enters the fray. In our pablum covered news feeds, we nod approvingly as we absorb this headline or that without even questioning its veracity. This whole Comey thing will provide fodder for our endeavor. Right at the center of it is Trump whose love of facts is not evident in his rhetoric. He might be right on but heretofore has been nothing but suspect. The flip flops on both sides of the aisle as to, he loves me, he loves me not, gets us into the realm of the absurd.

Getting our news in sound bytes is dangerous in many ways. How many of us question what we read or a theory espoused? Do we hear what we want to hear or use this as a stepping off point for further research? In this theater we are subject to the biases and proclivities of even highly regarded newscasters. Pure factual posts that used to go without any innuendo or subtleties are a thing of the past. The first one to go astray was John Chancellor of NBC I was watching him one evening dozens of years ago. He tinged his story with personal feelings and I only wish “Editorial” was flashed across the screen. Not to be and the others soon followed suit.

As our poles drift further and further apart I thought about narrow mindedness. Interestingly enough the definition states you see things in a certain way and you are never open to looking at things in a different point of view. You have your own set of values and will defend them to the death. One of the synonyms was conservative which didn’t seem odd at first until I read an article in Politico.We deal from such chasms across ideologies that it seems liberals are just as narrow-minded as conservatives. There is no way they are being budged from their positions either. Yikes! “What we have here is failure to communicate.”
If I am open minded I am supposed to be liberal, tolerant and progressive. Do you think that is where we are today? Our factions or sects on both sides of the spectrum can’t even imagine the other having any sort of validity or standing. Abortion, healthcare, education, immigration, education have no middle ground whatsoever and therefore no solutions.

I find it interesting the last election was portrayed as a bout between the intelligentsia of the East and Left Coast against the unwashed and illiterates masses of our inner states. Now did we tolerate their supposed narrow mindedness or were there a new set of elite haves and have nots determined by IQ? If I read just one side of the op eds aren’t I just as guilty?

This whole logic thing and critical thinking take work. It has to be a desirable end in itself. It takes time to analyze both sides of the equation. It does take an educated person but that means simply they are willing to learn and be open to new ideas. Are we too busy or too lazy to try to find the truth? By request of certain readers I am go to try to keep it short and sweet. Chew on that for a hour or two and I will hopefully see you next week. Seems logical doesn’t it?
As always
Ted The Great


“CRITICAL THINKING is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture.” – Francis Bacon (1605) That was over 500 years ago.

On Seinfeld we were witness to female logic as defined by Elaine and male logic, if it existed, in Jerry and even more profoundly in George or Kramer. Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus by John Gray further expounded on the thought women and men have a different way of looking at things.

A total lack of logical thinking is evident in rationalization. We create a whole set of premises that are totally untrue to explain our aberrant behavior. After a while we begin to believe it and so in our minds we are faultless. Almost like the devil made me do it.

Water,Water, Everywhere….

Kathy and I were sitting on a dock last night here in Harbor Ridge having one more vodka and tonic before we set sail for Denver on Saturday. I refrained from doing my Otis Redding thing but we were watching “time drift away”. We have decided to call this place home and one of the major reasons was right in front of us. Water is magical, serene, tempestuous and soul replenishing, all rolled into one.

We have been on oceans, rivers, lakes, streams and ponds all over these United States and for that matter the world. H2o makes up around 70% of the Big Blue Marble’s surface. Oceans are the grist for cruise ship and battleships. They connect our countries and our peoples as massive Panamex freighters carry 5,000 containers with newer ones going up to 13,000. Cruise lines have exploded with up to 5,000 passengers on some vessels. The whimsical tramp steamer is probably still in existence but the public has demanded and gotten more.

The sunrises over the Atlantic are bookended by sunsets in Hawaii. I used to love the 4-8 watch while in the Navy. Slowly you see the distant rays of light creeping across a blackened sky and you watch the miracle of the day coming to life. A new day and a new beginning for all of us even though this light show has taken place without fail for billions of years. The sea is a canvas on which that golden orb paints her masterpiece with a palate of colors man cannot duplicate.

Water can be your friend providing the essence of life. We are elated by the possibility of it being on Mars and yet we do such a lousy job sometimes of protecting it here on earth. New York City has three “honey boats” that used to take sludge from wastewater treatment plants and dump it at sea 24/7 until the early 90’s. Public furor and environmentalists put an end to that but the remnants of decades still exist in the briny deep just off the Jersey Shore.

We have dumped chemicals and raw sewage into streams and rivulets world wide. The discarded waste of manufacturing and the tailings of mines throughout the West have invaded our wells and aquifers. Why does it take the outcry of environmentalists to bring these cities and companies to task for their totally irresponsible behavior? You cannot pour arsenic and sewage into your local stream without knowing it while fending off criticism by saying it is the only way. The Hooker Chemical Company did just that at the Love Canal in upstate New York. This was the beginning of Superfund sites that are now throughout our land and yes which you and I are picking up the tab for.
On land we have water parks and water features. Our beaches can be on coastlines or inland at large ponds and lakes. Waterfalls can be majestic like Niagara or just the melting snow coming off a rock crag in the Vail corridor. There are man made reservoirs aplenty to try and capture it for later use. The newly minted lakes are places of recreation for boaters and fishermen. The dams that hold back the rising tides also provide a cheap and incredibly sustainable form of energy but are not without controversy. As with all of man’s actions they have unexpected results. Dikes break after 500 year storms drench the area. Salmon can’t run upstream. Droughts occur and we pray to our God for rain. If you do this Lord it will never happen again.Of course it will.

As with most things we don’t realize how great it is until it is in short supply. We brush our teeth or shave with the faucet running full bore. 15 minute showers are something we are owed after a good workout or hard day’s work. Gotta keep the lawn green or build another golf course in the desert. I am not exactly saying that is wrong but do we ever stop and think of the consequences. A friend got back from his winter in the desert and told me how perfect it was. Not a drop of rain for four months. Played golf every day. See what I mean?

I constantly wonder why we don’t establish water management and storage as a priority? Why don’t we explore our oceans instead of outer space? Malaysia flight 370 was lost somewhere with 240 people aboard. One of the major problems in the search for the plane was a lack of knowledge of the seabed over a vast ocean. In the Pacific there are trenches that are up to 35,000 feet deep. THAT IS THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND! We really have very little knowledge of what is down there and yet we seek new frontiers. I guess it is that focus and priorities thing again.

Water creates ecosystems which are exceptionally complex and diverse. There is a logic to them as one part begets the other. For millennia survival has depended on that grid working efficiently. This isn’t tree hugging. It is a fact of life. Dunes and foliage protect our shores. Rain forests clean our atmosphere. Swamps and bayous are nature’s vacuum cleaners. Yet in the name of progress we say to hell with nature. I am not saying stop but should we really be saying, just stop for a moment?

It is hard to figure whether man has said to hell with it or just didn’t know better? Probably a little of both. We have overfished our seas to the point of extinction in the name of feeding a burgeoning planet. Yet at the same time there is a surplus of wheat or milk or beef here in the US. We have people catching sharks and killing them for one small part…fins for shark fin soup. Ditto turtles and dolphins and Ahi tuna. Will we ever learn?

Yes, our reverie on the water causes me to think about all of this. We look forward to even more of it when we move. Many days and nights with new ventures. I will try to keep you up to date from time to time. In the meantime there is a lot around you that is beyond simple and doesn’t cost a dime to enjoy. Don’t take it for granted.

As always
Ted The Great

Fresh water(non salinated and drinkable) is only 3% of the world’s water. By glaciers and polar ice melt some of the water we drink could be from the time of the dinosaurs. There is the same amount of water today as there was a million years ago.

The average faucet flows at two gallons per minute. Think of that when you are brushing. At one drop per second a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons per year. Household leaks of water total over a trillion gallons per year nationwide.

70% of our bodies are made up of water. 75% of our brains are water. 75% of living trees are made up water. I am not sure what conclusions to derive but i thought it was a cool fact.
A good friend,Kathy Heskin wrote to tell me of water walkers. These are Anishinaabe tribal women who are walking day and night along the US/Canadian to make people aware of water and just how precious it is. They are having a call in on May 20 to connect people throughout the world. Contact her by emailing knheskin@gmail.com