Curb Appeal….

When you are in the real estate business there is one sure fire attribute of any home whether you are buying or selling. It is curb appeal. Almost 2/3 of buyers will make up their mind about purchasing a house before they even get out of the car or view internet pictures as the case may be. Call it impulse or appealing to one’s innermost desires and fears, it is still a matter of human emotion and for the most part it runs on automatic

The metaphor is particularly apt as we look at our world today and its inhabitants as a house to be viewed. Does it turn us on or off? For me the curb appeal of Mumbai or Calcutta if only viewed online let’s me easily move on to somewhere else. Digging down I can’t see relating to their inhabitants also. As we have travelled the world I look back in reverie on some places and not exactly with a warm fuzzy on others.

I started thinking about this. How many times a day do I decide to take a deeper look at a place or person or do I just move on down life’s highway? Maybe even more how often am I repulsed? It can be the result of some sort of offense to my five senses.

You are not particularly attractive or may have some serious issues such a deep scar or defect that causes one to look away. If you haven’t bathed lately, adios. How about a whiny voice? And so on. For the most part I have given little thought to my biases. They just happen. I play a movie in my mind drawing on my vast stores and experience with the human race and proceed to blow them off. Sometimes gently and others without regard to feelings. Mea culpa.

Now that is my prerogative but also  extremely self centered. Did I ever really think how I hit people? I am bald as a billiard ball and maybe some my think me a punk terrorist. I hope I don’t smell bad but my voice can at times be rather strong and strident. I easily get wound up and perhaps others don’t quite share my enthusiasm….especially at 5:00 AM. Me? Not perfect? How could you think that without even spending the time to get to know me?

About 600 of you take the time to read my ravings on occasion. I thank you for that and it proves even the most vile can be appreciated even if it is out of sense of charity. Maybe I just amuse you or maybe you take something away to think about? Regardless you looked beyond the proverbial cover. Here is where it gets fascinating

I have been reading a book,”Conversational Intelligence”. It appears as a self improvement book for corporate execs but can be easily applied to all. That automatic response we shoot out when meeting someone or reacting in a forum is related to our fight or flight instinct. Is this person a danger either physically or more importantly psychologically? Then I want to know if they are a friend or foe. Then I make the decision to either engage or withdraw. All of this happens in milliseconds.

If I recoil my bod releases a hormone called cortisol, which is both harmful and beneficial to our overall health. It helps to heal wounds but many times creates others as it lowers our immune system and raises our blood pressure and heart rate. Kind of why, Stress Kills. If I smile and warm up to you, I release oxytocin which is known as the “cuddly” hormone. There is an overall sense of calmness and we open up more and more. Open is the operative word We feel safe, ergo we want to share more of ourself. On the corporate as well as the personal side it is tantamount to growth and profitability.

Now some of you are saying you are more than happy with who and what you are and don’t need any new encounters or personalities screwing up your lives. Good for you. For others it is not so much “finding ourselves” but seeing all the world has to offer. It is by definition diverse. There are a gazillion concepts out there. Some good, some bad, but I won’t know that until I explore. I guess the bigger question is, am I just being complacent or do I really fear the unknown so I will stay here safe and sound in my little universe?

I am not advocating for one side or the other. Some of you consider me bona fide crazy and you may have a point. I am also not going to tell you with a straight face that I don’t recoil from time to time. Just wave a picture of Mitch Mc Connell, Nancy Pelosi or the Donald in front of me and my fangs appear immediately. Used car salesmen and jaded celebrities also get their dose of my venom. But how many times a day do I blow off what could really be an interesting concept by shooting or at least not getting past the messenger?

In trying to understand how their persona affects their company’s performance, many suits have realized that rather than leading their enterprises they are often dragging them down by their imperious persona. With startling results they have found incredibly productive ideas right from within their ranks. When you give people a say and are willing to listen to it you empower them more. They are no longer a threat to you and you to them but they see a collaboration that is magical.

I hope you can see where I am going with this. In our world today whether it be in the nation, the village or our families, look around at what you have not been seeing or hearing. Think about how you affect people around you. It is my old pulling on the same oar concept. With all our collective curb appeal we could really go places.

As always
Ted The Great


Cooperation is lending a hand. Collaboration goes further not only helping but buying off and participating in a concept’s  success or failure. Indifference is just that. You are ambivalent and have no special preference. Sabotage is trying to actively destroy someone else’s idea or project.

Multitasking is actually impossible and you should probably stop trying to do it. Multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ (Bergman,2016)

20% of the average workday is spent on “crucial” and “important” things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have “little value” or “no value.

By taking 1 hour per day for independent study, 7 hours per week, 365 hours in a year, one can learn at the rate of a full-time student. In 3-5 years, the average person can become an expert in the topic of their choice, by spending only one hour per day.

It takes approximately 30 days to establish a new physical or emotional habit.


Asea, Adrift,Amok….

I love to do crosswords and manage to finish off at least one a day. Asea or adrift is a state of confusion in which the individual is completely confounded with no solution in sight. Amok means to lash out violently after a period of brooding. I am taking my meds but all of the above describe my mental state more than once in these past few weeks.

As is my want, I try to figure things out. Take a given set of circumstances and see if there is a way to make things better. Not merely for the sake of change or to be the savior of the world but more to be the arbiter between conflicting interests in the hope we can come up with something for all. Considering today’s world, I think I have met my match and I may just move to the sidelines and let the chips fall where they may.

We have just been through a pretty serious hurricane down here. As in Texas there is no escaping floods, winds and destruction. The irony is that you can dodge chaos by a few miles. Some make it and some don’t. The Keys might be 100 miles away but their devastation is humungous compared to our minor inconveniences. But in the end everyone pitches in and does whatever they can by opening their doors and their wallets to the less fotunate. The Cajun Navy from Louisiana came on their own to Houston and never once asked for a dime.

A week or so has passed since Irma. Even though Jose and who knows who else is looming out there, things are getting back to normal. The Kumbaya moments are passing as they have in previous disasters. Most notoriously with the horror of 9/11 shared by a country and not just a city or metropolitan area.Then civility ebbs. We soon get back to fighting, bickering and complaining. Translated, we get back into ourselves.

For a moment let us consider we are partners in one way or another in this thing called life. A lawyer friend once told me that partnerships were wonderful until one side or the other feels like they are being screwed. Then they should be disbanded because you will never get it right. I guess that is what happens in marriage, business, and even society. The whites hate the minorities though they will never tell you so. The blacks and hispanics feel a similar hatred that can only come from oppression in whatever form. The rich think they pay too much. The poor think they should have part of everything. Please define for me what is fair share for both? I don’t know the answer but it is in the middle and not on the extremes. But it is on those outer fringes that we live today.

Trump’s address to the UN brought several things to mind. In many ways it was a violation of what the United Nations was supposed to be. But then again playing nice really doesn’t work. Russia China and the US can make it their way or the highway by their veto power. Resolutions have no backbone. The Donald called a spade a spade which is forbidden in diplo speak. People mentally booed and hissed but the fact remains. years of dealing with North Korea has not changed them one bit. Neither side gets the other.

I am a centrist or moderate or whatever you care to call me. But that is not allowed. A conservative pundit in Denver said I was a copout. He is entitled to his position but basically he is saying there can be no compromise. Ditto progressives. With no exaggeration I see both sides and neither are completely right. What the hell am I thinking?

We have a winner take all society. Whacko fans scream into the TV camera their team is #1. I love it if at the same time they accept eventually accept winning or losing for what it is. Ain’t going to happen. People will argue their make of car or truck is superior to yours. My kid is smarter than yours and if he or she isn’t, I am going to pull out all the stops to make sure they are. Our country club is so much better than yours. Even in a community, our neighborhood is so much nicer or higher end than yours.In the hoods it is all about turf.  Capitalism and competition are great but we have taken it to extremes and that is now woven into the fabric of our society.

What is the solution? I hate to tell you but I don’t think there is one. That is the cause of my mental gyrations. It would take some level headed leaders and a patient populace. In an ideal world we would try one way and then understand it has to be tweaked. We might even try the other way and do the same. I think that is what the forefathers had in mind but that requires states-people and at the same time an inquisitive and informed populace.

It would be interesting to have a list of say, ten tenets of both the left and right. Then I would like to have the believers to mark them on a scale of one to ten how strongly they profess them and even something stupid like would you be willing to die for that particular ism? We say we are one side or the other but are we? Is the other side so hated that we feel that American urge to win at all cost and show no weakness? Or do we see some validity in their arguments but just can’t say, let’s talk about it.

Next time you go toe to toe with anyone give that some thought. It can be on anything no matter how minor. Just for one brief moment can you listen and say genuinely that he or she has a point? I am at sea and I really don’t want to go amok. Please help me.

As Always
Ted The Great


At the onset it was thought the desire to be number one was a matter of survival. In a psychological sense there is a debate whether it is the desire to win or the inability to taste defeat. Jimmy Connors of tennis fame for so many years said the latter was his motivation for excellence.

Statesman or states woman…a wise, skillful, and respected political leader…. Webster’s Dictionary.

The location of the United Nation’s headquarters in New York City was gifted to the organization by John D. Rockefeller. Real estate mogul William Zeckendorf bought the land with money donated by Rockefeller. The property was used to build the league’s international headquarters, which was designed and constructed with an interest-free loan from the United States. The whole area is considered international territory. In fact, the building doesn’t have to meet all of NYC’s fire and safety codes because of its status. UN diplomats owe $16 million in parking tickets.

When adjusted for inflation John D Rockefellers wealth surpasses Bill Gates by ten times. Not particularly pertinent but fascinating.



Stormy Weather

Writer’s Note.. I won’t be upset if you don’t read. It is really quite lengthy


Stormy Weather….. Friday Afternoon..3:30 EDT

This week’s post will be ongoing and yes, late. We are here in sunny south Florida about to get the crap kicked out of us by a nasty woman named Irma. I am going to try to relate thoughts and feelings which heretofore I have been relegated to as a spectator on the evening news. I am now a participant.

We have been casting a wary eye since Tuesday or Wednesday. It is a geography lesson on everything from the West coast of Africa to Barbuda, the Virgin Islands and finally the Bahamas before landfall in Florida. As she picks up speed and force it is almost unfair to give here a name to be hated. It is nature both at it worst and most beautiful.

The confluences of storm tracks and Bermuda highs as well as lows over the Gulf are almost alchemy. When we throw brickbats at the weather services for missing a forecast it is quite fascinating to see that the difference between a direct hit or a glancing blow can be a matter of hours. The Perfect Storm was an apt title of a thrilling movie and the ferocity is the same. Mother Nature does not like to be told what to do.

About 48 hours from touchdown it is a lovely day here. The sun is shining and we went out to lunch for the simple reason we may not poke our heads out for a few days. The food stores are still crowded but all will close today at 8:00 PM. The roads are pretty deserted and all the plywood and metal shutters everywhere are a tad disconcerting. I know it is serious but you still wonder if people are going over the top?

There is nothing else on the TV and you wind up shutting it off. Each station tries to whip their viewers into a frenzy and the public dutifully plays their part. Worried looks and wringing hands are everywhere. It may sell ad space but I am not sure how much of the public service there is. I have relaxation music on the Sonos. Appropriately it is the theme from “Out of Africa”.

As a lad on Long Island I got to see hurricanes but never quite so up close and personal as in the Navy. My first ship was experimental as a prototype of the Garcia Class destroyer escort. We tested everything from sonar to weapons systems to anemometers that would go on later ships. We encountered a Stage 3 off Puerto Rico but rather than dashing to a lee they wanted us to sit in the Southwest quadrant for awhile. Kind of put that baby through its paces.

Foolishly I went up to the flying bridge for a look see. Mind you this is five or six stories above sea level and even that high the waves crashing over the bow got this Ensign well doused. In Nam we transited the Gulf of Siam in a fifty foot Swift Boat during some sort of typhoon. 18-20 seas will get your attention when in the pilot house. At one moment you are staring at a wall of water in front of you and in the next you are surfing down the back side of a wave. In all honesty you don’t fear the sea and nature as much as respect it. That’s where Kathy and I are now. Electricity is on and I will check in later.


Saturday 4:00 PM

The lovely Irma has slowed down from a swift pace to a much more measured stride. She is hitting more populous areas south of us and almost wants to strut her stuff. The track is the most beguiling part of her route. The storm has moved slightly to the West which is more of opposing forces operating. The Bermuda high might be stronger or the Gulf of Mexico lower might be weaker and this determines the cone so to speak. Really fascinating stuff.

The data for all this is suppled by radar but moreso by the Hurricane Hunters. Several are Lockheed turbo props that go on six hour roller coaster rides. They are chock full of radar and instruments. They zig and zag in and out of the storm and its eye, dropping tubes to measure wind speed, temperature and barometric pressure. They are operated by NOAA and the Air Force. They operate out of Georgia because their old base in Georgia was destroyed by, you guessed it, a hurricane.

We won’t see huge winds until tomorrow but it is raining at a pretty good clip now punctuated by a bolt of lightening or a large clap of thunder here and there. As I look out over the lake in back of our house I can still see an egret across the way poking around and looking for food. Where does he or she and the other members of our ecosystem go when all hell breaks loose? Is their evacuation route I95 or the Turnpike? They have lasted through these things a lot longer than we have.

The lights are still on but that is probably just matter of time. I hope failure waits until after the Notre Dame game tonight. They say 5 million people could get their power cut off. Amazingly Florida Power and Light has brought in 13,000 personnel and their trucks from surrounding states. They are being strategically placed throughout the area to try to get things back up and running as soon as possible. What do you think the bill is on that?

The storm itself cuts a swath of almost 500 miles. The entire state of Colorado is 500 miles wide. Florida is only 135 miles in width.Quite an occurrence. A good portion of the state has elevations of less than 10 feet so when you see storm surges of 10-15 feet you get the picture. Unfortunately because of the climate and geography there are more than a few trailer parks. Nothing to do but hang on and hope.
We are in a voluntary evacuation mode which Kathy is dying to comply with so she is no longer trapped with yours truly. Fugeddaboutit! See you later.

Sunday 8:00 PM

The day dawned after several forays through the night to check and make sure there were no window or door leakages. I love my sleep and that was not my favorite chore.Earlier, I cursed the TV because hurricane coverage superseded football games. Glad I missed them. The Irish tanked. Funny how you take things for granted. This storm is off the charts. The winds extend out 250 miles on either side. As I mentioned that is the width of Colorado. We had 40-50 knots throughout the day and we just peaked at 80-90. Tornado warnings kept going off on our phones to a point where you wanted to disregard them. Then that dark cloud and an accompanying rain blew across the lake and you took heed.

Incredible on the TV were the idiots. There was a guy on a Jet Ski who was darting in and out of the inlet to the ocean. Of course the TVs were covering him. At Key West during Irma’s landfall there was a moron on a bicycle at the monument delineating the southern most point in the United States. Of course they were showing him. Countless people put themselves at risk and of course expecting someone to rescue them.These are our fellow travelers.

I take back what I said earlier about non stop TV coverage. These people were on all night giving info. To be in the path of a tornado is somewhat disconcerting.To at least be able to see its path is in a strange way reassuring. People called or texted all day because the eye had gone west. “Man you guys dodged a bullet.” Yes, we did but the shrapnel also got our attention. I keep going back to living an experience rather than watching it on the telly. Ever present was the thought that those people on the West coast were at ground zero.

I have to go back to preparedness.I am new here. There is a lot of protocol and practice in place. They don’t ask, they don’t plead, they lay it on the line. I understand this Governor Scott is under fire from many fronts. I have to tell you in watching him present and being present all over the state he wins points in my book. I am sure some will disagree.

The psychological aspect is intriguing. You encounter a burst of thunder, lightening, rain and wind and it abates. Ha, that is over. Then wham, that baby rears its ugly head all over again. You experience 50 knot winds and it grabs your attention. Then it becomes routine after an hour. Then it goes up to 65-70 and you go through the same drill. That’s got to be the crest and sure enough the next one tops that. When the crap will this slow down and head the other way? Then the total absurdity when 80 knots feels better than 90. You hear a noise. Is that normal like branch going scraping across your roof or is the that a tile cutting loose that provides a foothold for this bitch to rip your roof off? It is funny that you don’t worry about your house structurally but the idea of your roof flying off is real.

I won’t bore you any more with my incessant ruminating but as in all things we learn lessons. I have kept residents who are away from here updated as to conditions. I label myself the Hippy Dippy Weatherman. I have taken great license with both my boundaries and my text. I have had fun in the middle of a somewhat concerning event. I do so simply because it is one of those things in life that I have absolutely no control over. The storm zigs and zags as is its want. I can curse it and defy it but I can’t change it in any way. That is both frustrating and humanizing in this techno world.

This has sent me awareness and perhaps a touch of vulnerability. The world around is no longer just noticed but studied in all aspects. This causes this and that and then the result is something else entirely. Being is this community really brings people together, checking on one another. A nice feeling. Not just blithely going down life’s highway but being a part of it. Also no matter how big or how strong or smart, you are a poor competitor for Mother Nature. About all money can do is get you a plane out of here. Personal safety trumps possessions every time.

If you made it this far thanks for sharing the ride. Will get back to “Pondering the Imponderables” at the end of the week or maybe next. When the lights come on I may just make a cup of coffee, curl up and read a book. Sounds like a plan.

As always
Ted The Great


Ted The Great played golf by himself on Thursday. Couldn’t find anybody to go with me. As luck would have it on the fourth hole, a par three, I took out my seven iron and struck the ball. Into the cup for a hole in one with no witnesses! Sure, sure TTG   It’s a fact!

Hurricane Andrew (1992) ripped an 80-foot steel beam weighing several tons off a building and flung it more than a block away. With 210 mile-per-hour winds at landfall, Hurricane Camille (1969) is the strongest hurricane to strike land. Typhoon Tip (1979), which did not strike land, is considered to be the largest, with tropical storm-force winds 1,350 miles in diameter.

A single hurricane stirs up millions of miles of air and can dump more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9 trillion liters) of rain a day.Hurricanes produce enough energy in one day to run the lights of Las Vegas for many years.Earthquakes outnumber hurricanes. According to NASA, approximately 85 hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones occur worldwide each year. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year, with 100,000 strong enough to be felt and 100 of them strong enough to cause damage

Although hurricanes can cause terrible damage, they are an important part of Earth’s complicated weather system. Like giant fans, they take hot air from the tropics and move it toward the poles. They help balance temperatures and moisture around the Earth. Without hurricanes and other storms, vast areas of the planet would be too hot for animal and human life.