Heresy at Christmas….

Posted from Orlando Interntional Airport

I am writing a little early this week. I have a lot to do. No, I don’t shop anymore but the divine Miss K and I are on the go for the foreseeable future. The first part of our trek will take us to Denver and the Kenny clan as well as some old friends.Unknown-2.jpeg People cringe at the thought of traveling. Me? I am looking forward to all that brings with chance meetings and new friendships. It’s good for the soul.

I have been cogitating over a Christmas message for the past week or so. To get me in the mood, I asked Alexa for some music the other day and all she gave me was Brenda Lee and Rocking Around The Christmas Tree. Not doing it for me. I am looking for something spiritual, not holy roller but contemplative. And that of course brings the yearly clash of what this holiday really means. 

There was an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal about secular versus saintly holidays. For me I think we keep drifting further away from the original meaning of Christmas. That is not judgmental but observational. Just for a moment I would like us all to take off our body armor and think about a concept. 

A couple of a thousand years ago there was a baby born. To avoid controversy let’s not call him Jesus or God or whatever but just a child of Joseph and Mary Ginsburg, a nice Jewish couple from Nazareth. They raised him well and he turned out not to be a lawyer or doctor but a preacher. He was really good at it. Now some thought he was the long awaited Messiah. True to form in society we identified with the person and not the message. 

As he grew older he took his show on the road, walking from town to town, city to city. At that time there were a scant few paying attention to religion because the high priests were like they are today….. egotistical and out of touch with the real people. But this guy had a different message. images-5.jpegHe would sit on a rock or a hill, not a pulpit. Love one another. Help the poor. Visit and heal the sick. The feeling resonated. Damn, it felt pretty good to be nice.  

True to form the cognoscenti began to feel uncomfortable. All those centuries of ritual and fire and brimstone were being threatened. If this guy is right, then how are we going to keep people in line? They will no longer need us but will be able to seek salvation and personal peace on their own. They had to eliminate him which is exactly what they did. 

Fast forward through history and a lot of people like Muhammed, Pope Leo whatever his number, Luther, and now Bezos and Muskimages-3.jpeg say they have the secret potion to bring us heaven on earth. Let’s not get hung up on theories but go back to that iconic gentleman who was beyond profound when he set down the basic rule of life: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. 

How simple is that? I am going to treat you the way I would like to be treated.. What if we applied it to every aspect of our lives? If you were on the other side of the equation would you want someone lying, raping, cheating, killing or just leaving you by the wayside? Would we really hate, slander, or fling brickbats?  Would we wave nuclear warheads or imprison and torture if it was you or even worse your spouse or kids on the receiving end? 

 Back to Christmas. We all ooh and aah at the colored lights. There are a number of vignettes on the nightly news about this touching story or that. That stuff is at the same time tragic and salubrious. Oh man, just be happy it doesn’t happen to you. We love having family nearby and call friends we haven’t talked to since the previous year. Why don’t we do that all the time? Be thoughtful and sentimental and even caring throughout the year. Why do we wait for December or at least the last week on October? Good question, don’t you think?

On the gift thing it started out just doing something nice for someone. As in everything we have amped this up, pushed on by non stop advertising and guilt trips. We want a lot and we want it fast. Two day delivery? That will never work. This afternoon or nothing. What do you mean your drones aren’t flying? A parent says I only have 13 presents for Julie and I have 15 for Zach. Better go out and get some more. Unknown-3.jpegIs it me or is this really incredibly sick? Sorry, maybe this killjoy is ruining the vibe.

Okay all you secularists have a valid gripe. I am imposing my beliefs of decency on you under the guise of spirituality. You are right. We should have a separation of religion and the state as well as Macy’s.

 But just think about it for a moment.  Aren’t we actually creating a new god and the religion of consumption? All bow down to the altar at the mall or internet. It can be said we are chanting Alleluia on Black Friday as we go prostrate at the doors. In coming years will  I be able to take you to task about your religion and how you are ruining my experience ? Hmm….I think we should all think about that or would it be heresy?.

Merry Christmas, Hannukah, Quansa and of course Target to all.

As always 

Ted The Great 


The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion !!!   If that money was spent entirely on US made products it would create 4.6 million jobs. Just imagine if we spent that money on just fixing things that are broken? 

In ancient Rome and early Christendom (200AD), December 25 was pagan celebration fo the birth of the Sun. No pun intended of  course.

The Nativity Scene wasn’t invented until the 1400’s by St Francis. He had an amazing control over animals which of course is why we have cows and lambs in the picture. Go with your strengths.images-1.jpeg

Santa Claus is actually based on the early Church Bishop Saint Nicholas. He was born during the third century (around 270 AD), in the village of Patara in Turkey, and was known for secretly giving gifts of money to the poor. Don’t let that get out 

How’s this for romantic? Mistletoe — that special sprig we all swap smooches under — is actually a parasite, sucking nutrients from its host tree in order to stay festively green all winter long. If enough mistletoe attaches to a tree, it will eventually kill it.images-7.jpeg

There may be a message here!

Rudolph the Reindeer was created by the U.S. department store Montgomery Ward to get children to buy Christmas coloring books, however, his nose was not red as they did not want him to appear as a chronic alcoholic.

Got a little crazy on Factoids. There were a bunch.  TTG

In A Relationship….

It seems today we feel driven  to describe our feelings in abstract or subtle ways. We used to be dating, going steady, or just in love. That would be far too obvious today. I am just seeing someone. Romantic, huh? Significant other? I guess so but just how significant?  It seems we want to take our interactions on a scale from one to ten to see how real they are. Okay Kath, I feel 9.999 for you. 

Rather than trying to quantify I want to just take the concept for a moment. Webster tells us the definition or relationship: the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected. Objects? You mean I can have a thing for my car?920x920.jpg Some people do. Many of us feel strongly about our ideologies or political bents. I guess the description is apt but are we giving short shrift to our humanity. 

As you may realize I am finally coming out of my shell and reaching out here and there. The last few days are somewhat typical. On Sunday we played golf with a very nice couple whom we had never met before. You spend four hours on a golf course and you start to get to know them. A really pleasant afternoon. Winning second place in the tournament doesn’t hurt the rapport either. Chalk up one for the good guys. 

Yesterday I started off at hospice. I met four entirely different sets of patients and their families. I am always somewhat astounded when in the final hours of someone’s life you take it from zero to sixty in a matter of moments. You surmise the situation and try to figure out the best way to play it. In the end you are as sincere and open as possible and miraculously you watch shades of doubt or mistrust disappear. Good stuff.

Later on in the day I got into it with a provider who in my mind had screwed up. Rash assumptions, and of course my Irish, amped the situation intolerably. Slammed phones, veiled threats and of course the walking away, wiped out  all the good points I had accumulated from my morning toils. Worse was the regret and angst over what was said. About .0005 on the relationship  scale. images-3.jpeg

But I have to ponder further. I have a lot of meeting opportunities from friends, and colleagues to a woman at the gas station counter. I try to make the most of each one. I think the first key is openness. You can be aloof or private if it is your thing. I like to see how many times I can interact if in just the briefest way. I am not trying to invade your space but maybe just tell you it nice to have you around on this big blue marble. 

The more you get into it, the more complex. Let’s say you and I are just shooting the breeze. We do small talk. Then at some point a topic pops up that is of mutual interest. You take one track and moi either agrees or perhaps has different point of view. You can slam the door right there and move on. Or you can see if there is common ground to see if you can move this thing forward. 

Things start to get dicey. If I show my true colors will they be scorned or God forbid totally ignored? This relationship thing is really a matter of trust! As you feel more comfortable you reveal more about you and your beliefs. Any strong tie will have opposing forces. Can you accept that or is it your way or the highway? Make or break time, dead ahead. 

Every day whether it is at work, church or the local gin mill you run into people you have seen and possibly met before. You don’t remember their name so you say, “Hey buddy how is it going?” ( Please note big guy, my man or good looking can be interchanged here). Unknown-2.jpeg 

Why do I reach out and want to find out more? Am I just plain nosy or inclusive? Excellent question. I guess I enjoy all different types of people. My friendship palate is not terribly discerning. I am an equal opportunity glad hander. In my mind the more open I am to possibilities the more interesting and fulfilling my life will be. Selfish isn’t it?

I went to church with a friend one Sunday and afterwards we went to Publix to get some bagels  for breakfast. I proceeded to say hello to workers at the floral, deli and meat counter. My buddy looked at me incredulously as if I was embarrassing him. He wanted to put distance between him and this lunatic. Even as I explained why, he wasn’t buying it. Interestingly this friend doesn’t  let you get past the surface. In conversation when you approach dangerous territory his arms get folded and the body language of “Don’t go there!” gets exhibited. Or he just changes the conversation. I get it.

I am not trying to criticize or put down anyone who does not share my enthusiasm for pressing the flesh. I guess I just want to let you know of all the fun I have with people. When you put on a big smile or unabashedly give a compliment, or even better yet get into a deep conversation there is just this stupid thing that makes you feel very much alive. My tragic flaw.

Simply put, I am in a relationship with everything and everyone  I see. I hope that does not sound too haughty or outlandish. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I screw up beyond compare.That’s what happens.  But at least I am trying and that’s the fun part. Hope you do too.  

As always

Ted The Great 


Hugging is inappropriate today but it is a proven stress reliever. How’s that for conflicting sides?

Intelligent people have fewer friends than an average person. Not because they are repulsive to anyone but because smart persons are very picky when it comes to friends. Uh Oh! Not good for TTG.Unknown-3.jpeg

Those women who spend more of their time with male friends than they do with female friends are generally more often in a good mood.

Being alone for a long time is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day

We’re losing friends at an alarming rate. The average number of confidants in the average person’s life has fallen by a third in the past 20 years. Now, twice as many people have no confidants at all!