I’ve Got This….

We are are mere mortals. We are up against the worst of our fears. There is this creepy virus that you can’t, see, smell or hear. The streets become quieter everyday. Days meld into other days without a TGIF or Sunday mass to differentiate. No closing days or opening days. Each one is the same. 

I got to thinking of the most insidious part to this whole mess and the best I came up with is uncertainty. If you understand a problem you can outline the obstacles and knock them off one by one. Unknown-3.jpegIf you are in the midst of a hurricane who know where the eyewall or southeast quadrant is located. It may be 24 or 48 hours but you know when it will end. 

Embattled citizenry in the middle of a blitzkrieg in WW II knew somehow, some way the All Clear would sound. 9/11 was horrific but we could look at the carnage and know where and how to rebuild. For the COVID 19 we read anything, anywhere looking for some sign of hope for a cure or at least a respite. There is none right now. 

In this age of information I wonder if our cyber connection is a friend or foe? Our phones ping constantly with updates or new revelations. Your governor, senator, president, local guru, or friend has this idea or has heard this rumor and passes it on. Each one has the gravitas of impending doom. No one is really explaining anything but adding  to the confusion. 

We all run into people who know everything. No matter what you say they are here to do you one better. That’s okay if you are talking sports or gossip but this has gone beyond the pale. “I heard” or “I read” makes everyone a noted specialist. It seems the longer the alphabet soup they have behind their name the more credible they and we think they are. I just don’t know. 

There has been a case made for quarantine or at least social distance and we abide by it. photo-1568302627345-86af56967a4b.jpegBut nobody can quite explain how South Korea has foregone this and seems to have matters under control. Ditto Singapore and Taiwan. We have shut down cities and nations on a wing and a prayer. With the billions we have spent on intelligence, pharmaceutical industries, think tanks and public health can’t we expect and even demand something a little more? Are we as a world this inept?

We or at least most of us have been nailed pretty hard on our investments. Buy and hold seems to suck pretty bad right now. Long term investors are defined by forty years instead of the usual ten or more. Not privy to what senators and congressmen or corporate bigwigs knew a while back we have seen losses in a day that might have taken months a few years ago. 


Who do you trust? Who has it right? The sheer insanity of quant or machine trading can cost us thousands in minutes of trading. There is some guy in a suit who will tell you that utility adds liquidity to the market.
Somebody has to explain to me where a marketplace that is 85% machine driven with no human intervention is good for my financial health. TTG, you just don’t understand. 

If you are following me there seems to be a common thread throughout. How can we seek out  facts and come up with some sort of rational game plan? I have heard talks and read research and think I have a small handle on things. But then again a new day brings a new theory and I feel I am back at Ground Zero. Literally. 

I like to do my own thinking. That is not an ego thing but a product of my eight years of Jesuit education. Be the questioner and cynic. Look for flaws in facts and thinking. Not a chronic naysayer or doubting Thomas but one who can analyze and draw their own conclusions. I keep coming back to that desire for practical and unemotional information. Don’t sugarcoat it but don’t try to scare the crap out of me either. In sheer insanity we can’t find it in our info heavy world. 

032020_fauci1.jpgSomeone said they thought Anthony Fauci who is the head of our Center for Disease Control should run for president. I am pretty sure I would vote for him. He is forthcoming and concise. He has the guts to stand up and say when a politician or corporate bigwig is wrong. He has the brains to say when he does not have an answer. Of course he went to Regis High School in New York and the College of Holy Cross…fine Jesuit institutions. But I digress. 

All I can say in this maelstrom is to take a deep breath. Of course not too close to the person next to you. One of us or even most of us might contract this thing. A vaccine barring a miracle is 12-18 months off. But of all those that contract the virus, 80% will be no worse off than the ordinary flu. Many of us may have already had it. The spread is a product of our connected world. We, and I mean all of us have created it and thrived as a result of our globalization. 

We find it so hard to accept it. There has got to be some person, machine, chemical compound that can put an end to our misery. Right now there really isn’t and that is beyond disconcerting but it is also life. No, we don’t have all the answers despite our indefatigable  hubris. We would love to have someone stand up and say. “I’ve Got This! “  Unfortunately the only one that can, is staring at you in the mirror. 

As always 

Ted The Great 


As of last week the nation of Taiwan(pop 24 million) had recorded 100 cases of Covid-19, a remarkably low number given the island’s proximity to China. Some 2.71 million mainland Chinese visited Taiwan in 2019, and as recently as January there were a dozen round trip flights between Wuhan and Taipei every week. Taiwan has managed, so far, to keep well ahead of the infectious curve through a combination of early response, pervasive screening, contact tracing and comprehensive testing.  Hmmm!

Deaths Worldwide Per Year

Suicide over 1 million

Car Accident 1.25 million

. 225,000

Hep C 400,000

Homicide 400,000

Corona Virus 18,000 in three months..this has ramped up considerably and will go much higher 

Most infections occur in families where people live in close quarters

The mortality rate seems to be less than 1% 

It is difficult for medical personnel to tell the difference between regular flu and COVID 19

Widespread Panic….

The Coronavirus has instilled abject fear in the populus. Facts and figures be damned, this is the Big One. I am not denigrating the seriousness of the situation but marveling at our immediate submission to the direst of forecasts. Is this just our nature or a fool’s journey?

One immediately goes to the flight or fight response. images.jpegHearkening back to the caveman we have an instinctive desire to survive. We size up the situation and figure if we want to slay this beast for dinner or become his. If we are the hunter gatherer we have to worry about the wife and kids also. The majority of the time we probably run. But why?

As in the above situation we have to assess it and take action in a relatively short period of time or face some dire consequences. There is not a lot of leeway. I have to swerve my car or crash. I can’t go through the snake pit but go around it. But there a number of times where you have to just sit down and take measure. 

Covid 19 started rearing its ugly head two months ago. Our first reaction is,well China is a long ways away. Then it starts crawling or running as the case may be, closer and closer to us. Now we have cases in the US. Yikes! I thought we were invulnerable. Now the mad dash for masks and foods etc. Are we being foolhardy or prudent?

We get ourselves pretty worked up. The government should be doing something. Shut down the schools. Cancel air travel.5bf9c21a114143b0922141dc19437948_8.jpg It might be a human response but is it rational? Last year there were 5 million cases of flu throughout the world and approximately 600,000 died from it. We have known about this for years. Is that a cause for denial of the threat or is this different? 

Inherent in all of this is information to make some sort of rational decision. If you look around there is a fair amount of doom and gloom. Our Information Age has made us privy to the latest but I daresay susceptible to half truths, rumors and innuendo. All to get the story out there first. Fear is such a visceral response, it is easy to get people going. 

Ebola was going to wipe out entire nations. We couldn’t  imagine anything more contagious. Yet all of our preparations had a twofold effect. It scared the crap out of people but it also made us vigilant. We took necessary steps to create isolation and a vaccine. Isn’t that what we are doing now? Sorry TTG, this time is different. What about SARS and hurricanes and stock markets? Let’s face it. Fears sells. It is a fine line between warning people and paralyzing them.

 It got me thinking about the whole fear thing itself. It is intrinsic to our nature so as to keep us safe. It is in a way healthy. But when it turns to sheer panic it becomes obsessive and irrational. Basic to all this is the right info. What is the source? Are they reputable? Odds, forecasts and projections are at best educated guesses. 

Take the stock market. Unknown.jpegThe Dow plunges 5% in one fell swoop. You get that pit in your stomach as you watch it dive. Not just one day but several days. You search in vain for rationale. Turn on CNBC. Let’s listen to the latest  pundits. Does this dude know what he is talking about when he says don’t panic? Or how about the guy that says the sky is falling? What is a guy to do?

I am afraid of heights. About five years ago I jumped out of an airplane. Huh? My daughter gave me  the ride  for my 70th birthday. I checked out the provider of said insanity. I knew the odds. I also took great comfort in the fact that a lot of other people were doing it that day. Ship of fools? I watched the preparation which I thought more than adequate. Let’s go.

As we soared to 17,000 feet into the clear Colorado sky, I had a strange sense of tranquility. I was joined at the hip with Sean who was my tandem partner. It felt good to know that he had already jumped five times that day. We stood in the open door and then we were off. It was a feeling of euphoria and resignation because there was nothing I could possibly do to turn back. I just enjoyed the ride. IMG_1441.jpeg

It taught me a lot about fears. I learned all I could and set things in motion. As far as Covid 19 I am assessing it as a danger but not insurmountable. The chances of catching it are remote and by whatever I steps I take I can improve my chances of dodging the bullet. Sure things might get out of hand but there are certain things I cannot control. Ditto hurricanes, tsunamis and locusts. Do your best and live your life. 

It brings me to simple conclusion. No matter what goes on in my life it has nothing to do with the occurrence itself but how I react to it. The world hasn’t changed. The sun comes up and goes down. The world can be incredibly beautiful or a torture chamber. You are the one that controls that. No one else. Don’t worry. Be Happy! 

As Always 

Ted The Great 


Most Common Fears: Acrophobia(heights, Claustrophobia( small confined spaces) ddfd-photo-u1.jpegAracnophobia(spiders), Ophidiophobia(snakes),Agoraphobia(fear of being alone. 

Two of the great fears of achieving our goals are fear of failure and ironically fear of succeeding. Both lead to procrastination.

A phobia is an overwhelming, irrational, and persistent fear that leads to avoiding the object or situation. It can be a fear of a specific thing or of a social setting. These lead to anxiety disorders which affect around 40 million Americans. 

We love forecasts, predictions, forewarnings, fortunetelling et al. We want to know what is coming but there is very little chance of that.