Silly Us…..

I know in my last, I espoused living in the present.What was I thinking? With all that is going on, I decided to look into my crystal ball and try to figure out where we are going. I am keying in on one area, technology. 


As you are all well aware I am not a rocket scientist. At the same time I have watched over the last forty years as we have progressed from Apple II’s to the latest iPhones and Apple watches becoming part of the vernacular. The power of an IBM 360 in my meaty little hand.  

We take all this for granted which is dangerous. We blithe fully use our apps to play games, communicate, manage our health, finances and soon our cars. The four pages of legalese before usage are never read and a sheer nuisance in the way of our self gratification and we push “Agree” to any terms they are putting out there. 

We are without exaggeration ceding control of US to a tech or a bot of some form of AI that can be beyond helpful or at the same time destructive. I am not paranoid about my personal data because it is rather boring but when it is used to constantly sell me on a product, a politician or a principle or even an ethic then I am getting concerned. 

Every keystroke says something about you and that is more than valuable to a whole lot of people. Just try to read any sort of article on line and you are asked to sign up for the newsletter all the while being bombarded with pop up ads for a variety of everything. You may be amused or annoyed by this but the thing is you can’t avoid it. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is both fascinating and terrifying. It helps a medical doctor scan thousand of articles for insights into a diagnosis while at the same time analyzing the success or failure rate of certain treatments. It takes testimony and evidence in a criminal proceeding and determines with uncanny accuracy the guilt or innocence of the accused. 

In our present day stock market there are high speed trading units that can buy or sell millions of shares in nanoseconds without any human intervention whatsoever. If there is weakness in a stock or bond it perceives it and starts selling, even more drastically increasing the downward plunge. Ditto when it is going up and euphoria sets in to the viewing public and some poor bastard gets caught in between. The exchanges explain this provides great liquidity to the market which is a bunch of BS. It’s all there just to make money. Caveat emptor.

We all use Amazon. What could be easier. I think it is one of the most dynamic and at the same time scariest companies around. They want to own every piece of the supply chain down to the product itself. They take the order and fulfill it while gathering enormous amounts of data as to buying trends and delivery methods. If a product is hot they develop their own as competition. Merchandisers have to use them to gain market share and before you know your pocket has been picked by Mr. Bezos and Co. 

Now you cry out, let’s investigate. They appear before Congress and run circles around the pols while feigning cooperation. By the time any legislation or oversight is completed, they are well on to the next generation of this or that and could care less. 

The most insidious part to me is when it comes to education on all levels. Students no longer research and consider. They don’t memorize but just look up. When you read you get sense of things and that in turn forms your opinion. If it is all laid out for you, there is not that critical area of judging whether something is right or wrong. You take it as the new gospel and move on the next assignment.  

This brings me to the most unpalatable aspect of our information age. How do I know what is true? Visually we can create anything we want. Photoshops of all sorts can create images that look as real as original. Subjects can be mouthing words even though they were never spoken. Only the most sophisticated sleuths can discover the fraudulence and by then the image is set and the damage done. 

I can take any instance today and create an event and a narrative. I can specifically target you as a liberal or conservative to play to your bias. Everyone speaks of fact checking but it becomes more and more difficult. A friend sent me a picture of the rioters defacing the Viet Nam Memorial in DC just recently in a BLM protest. I was appalled but upon checking, it was a demonstration five years ago on a replica in California. Now some will say it doesn’t make any difference it is still an insult to our fallen heroes and I agree, but talk about being out of context. 

I am not anti tech by any means. There has been so much good accomplished. But as with any new and evolving science a lot of people are going to figure out a way to subvert it. Hacking emails, stealing personal information, dark webs and the like have almost made us numb to the downsides. We figure someone will fix it somehow. Maybe, but before how much damage is done?

I am not trying to be a downer but I am a realist and that alarm is rising in me and getting louder. You and me and others say we are doing fine. Why rock the boat? Let’s ride those tech stocks and not think ill of the masterminds. The only really scary part is when the future becomes now and we don’t understand just how left out we really are. Silly me? Silly Us!

As always

Ted The Great 

Factoids: is a very useful website devoted to debunking rumors or clarifying accuracy. Some claim it is a liberal website but it has provided a number of real answers for me. 

Telemedicine is amazing. Doctors now have the ability to diagnose you from afar and monitor your vital signs remotely. During treatment for prostate cancer I was operated on robotically. With 5G, a surgeon may be able to simultaneously perform surgery in multiple cities from a single console in say New York.

By 2021 there will as many personal assistant bots (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant etc) as there are people on this planet. Are they there to serve us or listen to us. They provide an entry for their provider into every aspect of your home. 

Over 70% of US Americans are worried about having their personal data stolen from their computers and online networks. To put that in perspective, only 24% are worried about terrorism and 17% are worried about being murdered. Approximately 30,000 websites are hacked daily. 

Rearview Mirrors….

On a pretty Florida day I was traveling down life’s highway.  I happened to glance in my rearview mirrors. I don’t do it that often. What interesting devices these things are. Metaphorically speaking they can prevent serious injury or dredge up happy or sad thoughts, all in the same motion. 

To start, they prevent you from getting hit from behind. Or if you are going to get rear ended, at least you can take your foot off the brake to soften the blow. After you’ve robbed a bank they can keep you keenly aware of were the cops are, in their pursuit. Perhaps you are Dustin Johnson in the Fedex Cup. You know where the contenders are and in this case you just step on the gas a little harder. 

It amazes me how often we look at the rearview mirror of our lives. The romantic in all of us thinks back to when times were simple. The maelstrom of our modern times creates a yearning for much more laid back years of adolescence and early adulthood. You can be 38 or 78 and you still feel that way. Probably wasn’t quite as good as we remembered but who is counting? Besides as you get older there fewer and fewer who can call you out. 

The ego in us recalls triumphs and achievements. It could be something small or big but man you were a legend in your own mind. Of course you ran the company and they couldn’t do without you. Golf? Tennis? Basketball? Football?. You coulda been a contender ! The big time was at your doorstep. If only. 

There are also the memories of lost opportunities. Why didn’t I go for it? Raise my hand? Take a chance? I knew I was right but never spoke up. Not just woulda’s coulda’s and shoulda’s but a deep sense of regret that I should have done better. The boulevard of broken dreams and busted taillights. Have you been there?

We seem to be hellbent on changing the past. There is an absurdity in that. I can’t take back what I said 5 seconds ago. It might have been hurtful or snide or just stupid but it is gone except in our minds. The palm smash on your forehead or that sick feeling in your gut when you say, Uh Oh!  I can’t believe I just said this or did that. 

We look at the news of a tragedy, 9/11, a forest fire, or a senseless killing with a whole lot of sorrow and also a sense of the irrational. Maybe if I watch it enough times it won’t be real or the ending will turn out differently? Maybe this is just a dream and I will wake up soon. Reality is just that and fairy tales don’t come true. 

Today we have the COVID. We want to hold a post mortem while we don’t even know if the catastrophe is half way through.  Historians opine a lot more clearly in decades than in weeks. We of course want to convene a court now. There has to be someone we can blame. Of course none of the culpability is ours. Ha !

Therein lies one of the rubs. Every single thing in our life is the result of a decision we have made. Where did we go to school? What job did we take? Did you ask out a particular girl or guy and then marry them?  Great successes. Dismal failures. The buck stops here on every one of them. Many of us can’t seem to accept that. We want to blame. We want to make excuses. It has to be someone else’s fault.

The other significant part is change. We can look back and think of this or that time. Leave things just as they are and we will be just fine. That is unless someone brings up a quote or bad act from my past and then we are front and center saying we don’t think like that anymore. Funny how that works

If you have a good life you don’t want anything to change. If your life sucks you can’t wait for it. Neither is a panacea. We have problems on a number of fronts. We have to deal with them and if we are smart, no one will be happy with the solution because it means that each side had to give. 

My last thought is a simple one. I can’t change the past and I have no idea what the future will bring. I could literally get hit by a car tomorrow. I can plan but it doesn’t  mean all my variables are right. Crystal balls and OIJA boards are BS and we know it. 

Right now I am thoroughly enjoying myself by writing to friends. I am not thinking yesterday or tomorrow. I am living in the present. Sounds weird or some sort of psychobabble but it is really pretty cool. For a few moments or even a few hours you just exist without anything heavy duty. Going forward, I am going to concentrate on the road just far enough ahead so I don’t run into anything. As for the rear view mirrors? Who needs them?. I think I am taking mine off. How about you?

As always 

Ted The Great 


According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions.

At the Indy 500,Tony Stewart set the pole mark of 233.100 mph in 2006 on a track that had been just resurfaced, while Arie Luyendyk eclipsed him with the fastest single lap in speedway history with a mark of 236.986 miles per hour (381.39 kilometres per hour) the following day. Do you think they look back?

The shape of the mirror makes a difference in our perception. In the U.S., passenger-side mirrors are convex (curved slightly outward), whereas driver-side mirrors are flat. A convex mirror placed on the passenger side reduces the driver’s blind spots on that side of the vehicle by presenting a wider field of view, but it also makes other cars appear farther away due to a slight distortion caused by the shape. The flatter mirror on the driver’s side produces a more accurate depiction of what’s behind the car with a more narrow field of view, since light bounces off in the same direction that it hits the mirror and doesn’t distort the reflection of the object.

The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment This is a very interesting article. You might like it.  BTW, I won’t tell anyone you read it.