What Do You Want?….

A group of people from all walks of life were asked a simple question, “All things being equal, what do you want?” I couldn’t help but think of this as I watched the events in Texas unfold this week. How about if the rain stopped? Perhaps a roof over one’s head? A hot meal and a dry set of clothes? Nothing crazy, just some basic things. When describing our wants we seem to overlook just what we have.

When you drive around these parts in south Florida there is a nautical presence everywhere. The self described Sailfish Capital of the US, has marinas and boatyards galore. In the St. Lucie River one could count hundreds of vessels from sailing prams to gigundo yachts. One particular emporium of the sea has no less than two dozen brand spanking new boats just waiting for their future skippers. The smallest coming in at $50,000 and ramping up to well over a million.

But this has nothing to do with cost but what I will call utilization of assets or lack thereof. We went down to the water one night and had a drink at a restaurant. Looking out over row after row of slips I wondered just how often these things got underway? A fella sat next to us at the bar and of of course you will be surprised to hear we struck up a conversation.


He had a 65’ power fishing boat nearby in Hobe Sound. He was a trauma surgeon from Miami so I surmised that money was not an issue. Sometimes he liked to fish and other days he just putzed around the Inland Waterway. I asked how many times he actually went out and he volunteered it was once or twice a month. After checking with others this might actually be high usage. So many of them just sat tied up, gathering dust and barnacles.

I did a little research and it turns out there are around 16 million pleasure craft in these United States with around 1 million in Florida alone. Quickly doing the math in my poor little brain, I came up with huge numbers for purchase and so many more for dock space and upkeep.It’s their money and they can do what they want but wow, does that seem like a lot of dough for a seldom used asset?

Recently I learned that we use our cars just 5% of the time. There are 265 million of them for our population of 320 million. There are 17 million new ones that roll off the assembly lines per annum. Say the average car is $20-30.0000 and multiply that and well I hope you catch my drift. New gizmos and soon to be self driving will only accelerate the cost and desire to have the latest and greatest.

We could look to stuff in our closets and garages that haven’t seen the light of day in a long time. We have 340 million TV’s for our populace. How many are on at once? Vacation homes are notoriously used just a few weeks or months out of the year. I am not by any means anti capitalist or anti consumption but does this seem to be a bit of a waste?

I ask this for a simple reason. Getting back to that focus group of individuals who were queried as to what they want? The answer by a resounding majority was,“MORE!” That is rich man and poor man alike. That is a startling but not exactly unexpected answer. We are consumers par excellence. Our economy is 75% based on this premise.

If we want more it means we always have a lack of something in our lives. Overall that unease is not a terribly comfortable feeling to go through the day. It is with you most of the time. We want to shop. We want to buy. We re constantly unfulfilled. The contrary is the Buddhist principle of living in the moment. Take what you have and just enjoy it. I think they have a point.

It’s Labor Day weekend. The end of summer and fall is on its way. It’s a beautiful time of the year and college and professional football teams will light up those many boob tubes. I will be right there with the rest of the world. Yet I do have one thought. If you asked people from all walks of life in Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, what they would want most, do you think it would be more? Interesting how tragedy makes us stop and think. It shouldn’t take that. Have a nice holiday.

As always
Ted The Great


The 50 inches of rain that has fallen in spots is equal to 65 feet of snow. (The blizzard of 2015 in the northeast had totals of 3-4 feet.) That is 25 trillion gallons of water came down. As an example New York City and its 9 million inhabitants use 365 billion gallons a year.

People have questioned whether Houston should have been evacuated prior or the storm. There is a population of over 4.5 million people. Imagine if they all hit the road and then got caught on the flooded highways when the rains came?

There are over 800,000 homes that were either destroyed or severely damaged. That would mean every home in the Denver metropolitan area would be uninhabitable for months if not years. Think cars, furniture, clothing, food et alia.

Word is that Hurricane Harvey will end up being the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. According to AccuWeather, the estimate for the full cost of the storm will approach $160 billion. To put this number in perspective, Harvey is expected to cost about the same as the combined costs of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

The Swamp….

Some of you think I am going to get down and dirty in this issue with the Donald in speaking of the confines of DC. Actually our nation’s capitol was not a swamp but the river was dredged to make the Potomac more navigable and the crud was placed in the ‘Flats” and presto we had several more acres of property where the Tidal Basin and the Lincoln Memorial now reside. But I digress. I wanted to talk to you about my new environs and the Central and South Florida Water District. You probably know it as the Everglades.

I have just read a fascinating book by Michael Grunwald titled “The Swamp.” I won’t get too technical but this chronicles south Florida’s history from the 1500’s on. I should say it immortalizes several centuries of man’s foolishness in messing with Mother Nature. We are always so damn sure that we know better. And then spend inordinate amounts of money trying to undo our madness. The villains are many from early discoverers to land barons to our beloved Army Corps of Engineers.

For centuries Florida lay at the tip of the Continental Unites States and depending on who was the flavor of the day, changed hands many times as sovereign land of somebody. Eventually it became a territory and then on a state of the US. The southern part was largely uninhabited but we felt this strong desire to root out those damn Indians. They provided a safe house for run away slaves and we could not have that. So we chased the Seminoles before there was a Bobby Bowden, clear down to this weird and unforgiving place called the Everglades.

Like the US in many other places our tactics and soldiers did not fit the local terrain. Brute force was constantly thwarted by the wily redskins, sorry native Americans, who knew the wetlands like the palm of their mud caked hands. If my memory serves me it was kind of like that when I was in Nam. Ditto Afghanistan and Iraq. You’d think we would learn our lessons.

But after conquering or at least coming to a stalemate with the tribe we wanted to open up southern Florida for development in the 1900’s. Henry Flagler had made his money in starting Standard Oil with John D Rockefeller. He envisioned bringing rail transport to the length of the Sunshine State and building hotels all along the way. To entice him the state gave him so much land for every mile of track he laid. But there was this mess of swamp land that kept getting in the way. It actually stretched from around modern day Orlando to Miami before there was a South Beach.

This stuff was pretty much primordial ooze. Good for the lawn but not for habitation. It seems it was all a terribly complex piece of ecosystem where the parts were inextricably connected. There was this very windy Kissimee River that we thought was totally impractical. We did the best thing and straightened it into a many miles long canal. Good for boating but bad for letting Nature do its thing. You see in all those curves there was a natural cleansing and dropping off of things key to life on each bend. When we eliminate the filtering system all the gunk gathered on the floor of the canal and you know the result.

All this had a terminus in Lake Okeechobeee. Born millions of year’s ago it encompasses about 750 square miles smack dab in the middle of the state. Only problem is it is only 12 feet deep. It should be part of a fresh water system but low and behold with all that crap coming down from up north, the bottom took on the look and feel of a cesspool. In our brilliance we also created an earthen damn to control flooding and also to create land to the south. Seems it was perfect for growing sugar cane. And what does that do? It provides ready cash for sleazy politicians from the coffers of King Sugar.

So now we have created a toilet so to speak. What else should we do but flush it when it becomes overloaded. So the Corps digs a canal to the Atlantic on the East and the Gulf on the West. When the hurricanes make their way inland they dump a lot of rain. We got to protect the sugar plantations so we pump it out. You might have seen the algae bloom on both coasts last summer. Now you know why. Meanwhile without the natural flow of aqua pura the Everglades are dying. Indigenous species can find their old food sources and they perish in fires or lack of food. The aquifers don’t get replenished.

I don’t have near enough space or knowledge to do the subject justice but it pointed out to me how incredibly stupid and greedy we can be. We make moves as a country in our government as well as our private industries that are without forethought. I am not up for unending environmental studies but this is a notorious example of getting something done and worrying about the long term results later.

Now when the loan comes due we have to go back and try to undo the wrong we have done with a disastrous loss of time and money. The book is biased to the green side but even if you take it to half of what they are saying is true it is a disgrace. Laws are constantly being proposed and both environmentalist and big business take issue dragging things out and forgoing any semblance of closure. And time marches on.

Unless I am terribly wrong this is not the only project in the US that is fraught with complexity and ineptitude. Bridges to nowhere. Unfinished uclear reactors. Uncompleted tunnels under the Hudson. A high speed rail line on the coast that will never make sense. Yet we continue on. I guess you can say we are mired in the mush of politics, scandal, and corruption. Maybe swamp is the right word.

As always
Ted The Great


Al Gore neglected to support environmentalists in trying secure a solution to the Everglades problems in early 2000. He lost Florida by 500 some odd votes. It is estimated that 10,000 Florida environmentalists voted for Ralph Nader. Kind of like Hilary not campaigning in Wisconsin.

They put the curves back in the Kissimmee River. Slowly but surely flora and fauna came back to life. Parts of the Everglades are now protected. There was a proposed airport seven miles from it but it was defeated. There is hope.

There is fresh water and there is salt water. When they combine naturally it is called brackish water and it is sustainable. When there is too much flow one way or the other there is destruction of habitats and plant life. I never thought of myself as a tree hugger but the stance does have its attributes.

Exotic animals are a big business…about $15 billion last year. Hurricane Andrew hit Miami in 1992. A warehouse contains 1000 Burmese pythons was destroyed and the reptiles made their way to the Everglades where they are devouring everything in sight. They have no known enemy and they can lay 100 eggs at a time. Snakes on the Plain.

15 Minutes To Live….

Duck and cover. Say the rosary and of course don’t forget to make a good Act of Contrition. That was the standard A bomb drill at St Mary’s Elementary School. As a mere lad of 7 or 8 like everything else, you did what you were told without any form of discussion. Today everything we do is fraught with hypothetical consequences and the possibility of being scarred for life. How could I ever have made it this far?

For the people of Guam the drills are for real. They have buried deep in their island paradise, the largest collection of munitions found in the free world. If the radiation doesn’t get you then the secondary explosions will. So your cogitation is not whether you will survive but what does the next life look like? Or at least how am I going to enjoy my last quarter of an hour on the planet. Probably I would find the best single malt I could, unzip a fresh pack of Marlboro Reds and have one last chat with my wife.

In fifteen minutes you can’t really accomplish a lot. What about fifteen hours or days or months? Now that is a little different proposition. You are in a little more control of your environment but what to do? I have often found the concept of a last meal for a person about to be executed a bit of a mystery. Probably more to assuage the guilt feelings of the warden and jailers. You know at least we were pleasant to him or her at the end even though we were pulling the switch.

I would have some decent food in my last months but more importantly who would I reach out to? Would I keep my group selective or would I try to touch every base in my social spectrum? The internet has made that a hell of a lot easier but I would also want to put something in writing. As in real writing on paper. So someone in the future could sit down in a quiet moment and see my script. I have a letter from my mom and my brother and it is wonderful just to read them every so often as if they were still here. I can still see their great smiles in that handwriting.

I would try to have one on ones with my kids and grandkids. Nothing maudlin but maybe some little cliche or bon mot that would stick with them as time goes by. Maybe a whiff of my cigar or a memory of a funny moment shared. Of course I would tell my fantastic wife thank you so many times and probably tell her much more than I do now how much I love her.

With my work in hospice I have often thought how I would I handle it if someone told me I had the big C. I would want to have a long talk with the docs and approach it from a business like point of view. I would want to know the odds but more importantly what would be my quality of life? I have had a marvelous run and it would be somewhat selfish to try to wring out more than I deserve.

I would probably still like to read and write and try to make a difference. I met yesterday with the director of education for the Florida Oceanographic Society. This PHD was more than approachable as I just wanted to know more about the ecosystem I was living in. We talked for an hour and a half. If I had only “x” number hours to go, what a marvelous way to have spent some of them. He was magical in his explanations and of course I debated about getting involved in one more thing. No matter how long you have, it is good to be engaged.

I am somewhat disgusted at the palp and intensity of our news today. People breathlessly want to analyze the Trumpster’s every word. Calling him out, egging him on or shouting hosanna to the highest. Do I really want to spend my last days listening to Wolf, Rachel or Sean? Is listening to panels of so called experts blathering and interrupting each other going to improve my so called quality of life. Do I need a breakdown of every play on the field of sport or will I just sit back and watch the game? Relying on what I saw as opposed to someone telling me what I should have.

You can probably see where this is going. In our frenetic world we rarely stop and just think. A brief respite to bring things back in alignment. The doc I mentioned above told a tale of equilibrium in the world of nature. Things happen for a reason and there is a beauty to that rhythm and predictability. It has served this place we call home for billions of years. Yet in our arrogance we claim to make it and our lives significantly better by our tinkering. Are we really accomplishing that or do we spend a good portion of our time correcting our mistakes? Are we taking a masterpiece and tagging it with graffiti of all sorts? Good question.

I guess I am trying to think about my life and all the little pieces. If I had a short time to go how many would I jettison and how many would I treasure? Most of all I am asking the question, if this is how I would like it to be, If so what am I waiting for? Maybe not the Marlboro Reds but having a good talk rather than a hit and run or savoring a peaty Scotch rather than swilling it down. Throwing out the stupid distractions and static while listening to the sweet symphony of life. Loving people and my God like I meant it. That to me would be a wonderful way to go.

As always
Ted The Great


About 10% of the people who die, do so suddenly. In the world today there about 360,000 births and 150,000 deaths each day. So about 15,000 never see it coming.

Through medical science we have extended the life expectancy to around 77 years for the United Staes. The average healthy life expectancy here is 71. Thought the world the life expectancy for Japan is 83 and Swaziland is 49.

We are a death denying society. There is a theory that we would be happier if we accepted death as a fact of life. Instead of doing all we can to avoid death and taking precautions for this and that, we might be more relaxed and ergo enjoy life more if we didn’t sweat it. Interesting.

We avoid terms like death or dying and instead call it “passing.” We ascribe to so and so that they have gone to a “better place.” I can’t wait because mine ain’t so bad here. We also use the following for death: “taking a dirt nap,” “wearing a pine overcoat(coffin)”,,”pushing up daisies”, “food for worms” and my favorite from the military: “Tango Uniform” which simply means Tits Up!

I Am An Alien….

Many of you would not find my title this week terribly shocking  when it comes to Ted The Great. Many of my friends swear there was a space ship that dropped me off a long time ago. Maybe like the Dork from Ork. But as we have transported ourselves from the confines of the Rockies to the shores of the Atlantic there are some transitions and acceptances that need to be navigated.

Looking at His Hairness’ latest proclamation, I seized upon the language, education and wealth requirements. I grew up in New York and one cannot help detect a certain dialect if not a totally different use of the King’s English from the inhabitants of the NY Metro area. Ditto Boston and points further South. One need not have grown up on Long Island to see that Locust Valley Lockjaw is in a class by itself. Or at least the swells hope it is. I never perfected the talent. I could not get into Georgetown today and there are a whole lot of people with more money than I have. Big deal.

Wandering as my mind does, I look at our new address in the Sunshine State which is replete with history that goes all the way back to the mid 1980’s. Much like Plymouth Rock the hardy warriors found this deserted spot and decided to build golf courses and docks. I wonder if the existing residents of the surrounding area were as fearful of the onslaught as we seem to be today of anyone not of our cloth?

I am not espousing open borders but I think we have become a tad over the top when it comes to practical thinking. Why is that? We are no different than the locals who freaked out at the hordes rushing  to Ellis Island in the early 1900’s. Back in colonial times the venerable Ben Franklin had an extreme dislike for the “tawny creatures” of a different shade of white and the Germans teutonic ways were seen to be just a touch above barbarian. So let’s just say it is nothing new.

The basic distrust of immigrants is quite simply born of fear. The first example goes back to the caveman where anything outside your cave was not good and probably dangerous to your health. The saber toothed tiger in the room. We have to be about protecting the motherland. Concurrent with that is the fear of there not being enough to go around. I have got mine and I ain’t sharing otherwise my family will starve or maybe we won’t be able to have six tv’s in the house. There is also the fear that the bloodline will be irretrievably mutilated. Mixed marriages whether in religion, color or sex have to lead to destruction of civilization as we know it.Don’t they?

But isn’t it just the fear of something new? We have always done it that way is more than an axiom. It is firewall protecting what we perceive to be right. This has served us for so long everything else has to be wrong. At the local Catholic church we are having more than a hard time because the place resembles the Dark Ages. How do you think they would respond if my old friend, Fr. Pat and his troubadours came through the doors singing up a storm? Excommunication for all you heathens. Next stop, Hell.

Fear is the strongest emotion of all. It is much more virulent than love. We get so crazy we can’t think straight. For politicians it is grist for the mill. Those hispanics are going to steal your job. The Muslims are going to blow up your town and take over. Any immigrant has evil on his or her mind. Any large group of people are going to have good apples and bad apples. Do you really think there are some of our fellow native born Americans who when put together won’t be prone to murder, rape and plunder? That is not the nature of immigrants but the nature of homo sapiens. Yet the office seekers will dredge up every bit of vitriol in our little bodies to secure their place in whatever assembly. It is just the way it works

America is the home of the free and the brave. We are the greatest country in the world. If we really believe that why do we have so much temerity about new arrivals? Want to take that to an extreme? Isn’t a new born baby an immigrant into this thing we call the planet earth. Shouldn’t we curtail or stop all childbirth until that infant can be properly vetted. He or she does not speak the language or have any visible mens of support. They may grow up to become a thief or a killer or rapist. Let’s not take that chance.

As Kathy and I get to know people in our development, golf club, bar or restaurant there are going to be some that are open and welcoming and some that are wary. That is beyond natural. But if we are going to grow there has to be new input and perhaps a revisiting of old ideas. We shouldn’t throw them out but rather be open to discussion. Perhaps a little from Column A and little from Column B. Maybe even column we have not even thought about yet. I understand the reluctance and more than a few times I have been reticent to greet with open arms. Doesn’t make it smart.

Assuming we have 11,000,000 undocumented who have made it to our shores, we need them. Otherwise you and I should break out our lawn mowers, vacuums and go for take out rather than  sit down restaurant dinners. There is a way and they put a great program on the table a few years ago in Congress that was never brought to a vote. Alien idea? Maybe, but not really as strange as it sounds. We should all get off our high horses of principle and do something that makes sense for all.

As always
Ted The Great


The idea that a baby is an alien person was not mine. I read it somewhere. As an open minded philosophical exercise I find it fascinating.

Verner Von Braun was a rocket scientist for the Nazis in WW II. If not for him our space program would have gone nowhere. Albert Einstein, John Muir, Elon Musk, Levi Strauss, Joseph Pulitzer are but a few notables. Steve Chen (Taiwan) and Jared Karim(East Germany) cofounded You Tube. Foreign nurses represent 15% of the total. If they were not here we would be forced to shut down entire hospital wings.

From 1995 to 2005, 52 percent of Silicon Valley’s technology and engineering companies were founded by immigrants. The majority came to the United States as students. They ended up staying after graduation and on average founded companies 13 years after their arrival. They also filed 25 percent of America’s global patents, significantly boosting U.S. competitiveness. Hmmm!

“Fear of an illegal immigrant crime wave is sparked by the fear that they are overwhelmingly murderers, rapists, and thieves. In reality, illegal immigrants have lower incarceration rates and live in places with lower crimes rates than native-born Americans” …Source:…Fox News


Addicted to……

I was amused this week to see the government wants to control the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. Bully for it and they even got the tobacco companies on board. Suspicious me says maybe the latter will be able to sell more because they are now “Low Nicotine.” There are still three hundred kids who start smoking every day. Be careful what you wish for.

It is actually part of a larger argument as to the scope of government regulations or lack thereof. Right now it is legal to buy alcoholic beverages without any warning labels except for pregnant women. Of course I love my red or scotch but binge drinking cost our country $250 BILLION last year in lost productivity, medical treatments, criminal justice and accidents. Binge drinking is over four drinks in one sitting for a woman and five for a man. 88,000 people die every year from its ill effects.It is the number one cause of domestic violence.But it is deemed okay. Drink responsibly.

States and municipalities are freaking out about the opioid crisis. EMT’s and emergency rooms are being pushed to the limit with overdosing. Sometimes they will revive a person five or six times over a short period of weeks and months. I think I have mentioned to you that three times in the last two years I have been “encouraged” to take oxycontin after a medical procedure. I appreciate they feel my pain but that was nuts. I could have filled the prescriptions and done who knows what with it. No one told me there was good chance I would become a zombie after a few weeks of ingesting.

Sexual addiction is what they call a process not a substance. It is incredible when they find teachers, coaches, business people et alia cruising the internet looking for porn of every type. At home or at work. Name your poison. Child pornography is beyond detestable but it all seems like our dirty little secret. Every second 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet. Every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography on the internet. 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites. 35% of all internet downloads are related to pornography. Come on TTG, boys will be boys.Oh yeah! One third of porn viewers are women!


Addiction is simply enjoying a substance or an activity that becomes so pleasurable that you can’t carry on your normal daily activities without it being constantly on your mind. It can be heroin, cocaine, alcohol, sex or even shopping. This can ruin jobs, families and do I dare say a country. I will not get into all the science because I am not qualified but there is a very distinct culture that is growing that revels in excess and sees no wrong in it. As it becomes more acceptable and mainstream I am probably a jerk for even bringing it to the fore. The Irish would say Uncle Joe is not a drunk even though you have never seen him sober. He just has the “weakness”.

There is a reason why we are so overweight as a country and the main culprit is sugar. Now if you want to be fat that is fine with me but the end result is that you will develop diabetes and a variety of other ailments that we, and I mean you and me, are going to be paying for throughout our lives. We average 19 teaspoons a day as a country. But this is not just going in your coffee. It is in almost in everything we eat. it is baked in with a wonderful ingredient called corn syrup. It goes in bread, beverages, yogurt, salad dressing, even nutrition bars.

Now for the good part. No, there are not warning labels on sugar or high fructose corn syrups. As a government we actually subsidize their production. Sugar has a guaranteed price level. Corn is similarly inflated by the Energy Act of 2005 stating that there will be ethanol added to gasoline. That ethanol is derived from that stuff that grows as high as an elephants eye. Instead of deterring its use we are encouraging it. Got to get those farm votes.

I am not a dry or a vegan but this is one of these things we really have to sit down and take a long look at for its far reaching implications. When we have a “can you top this ?“ society we are finding more and more ways to satisfy our pleasures without absolutely no regard the outcomes. We don’t know how to say no to ourselves and our kids. I want it and I want it now. Over time this attitude becomes part of our culture.

I guess I find it fascinating the we are such a reactive vs proactive society. Oh oh, we have got a problem. Then we put all we can into treatment when we could have avoided so much by addressing the problem itself. There are a lot of people addicted to credit cards and shopping. They pay anywhere from 15% to 25% in annual interest. Some never dig out of the rut yet our banks derive tremendous profits from peddling the plastic and the desperation. Shouldn’t there be someone saying NO.

Abstinence sucks. I am not advocating becoming a recluse or a monk donning a hair shirt. I am saying we have to learn a stupid thing called responsibility or better yet self control. In the guise of freedom we have told people they can do anything they want and we will pick up the pieces after them. This is not sustainable from a social as well as financial point of view. I really think we should put a warning on everything the government does. “Dealing With This Entity Could be Injurious to Your Mental and Physical Health” That would be great, but we all ignore most warnings anyway.

As always
Ted The Great


Overall spending on illegal substances remained consistent at roughly $100 billion per year over the decade from 200-2010 Over the same time period, the U.S. government spent between $40 billion and $50 billion each year fighting the war on drugs. Despite these efforts, Americans’ spending levels on illegal drugs stayed more or less the same.

Drug Food Chain: Doctors, pharmacies, patients on the legal side. Patients, dealers, pushers, users on the illegal side. Drug abuse cuts across every economic and social landscape. Some of the underlying reasons are boredom, unemployment and lack of supervision. The dealers know how to build markets and we have no real way to stop them if everyone is complicit.

The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to.”Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.Approximately 25 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. There are more alcoholics than drug addicts.

Inpatient addiction treatment facilities can cost between $15,000- $30,000 per month. The overall impact on our economic well being is $450 BILION per annum as a result of alcohol and drug abuse.