True Grit….

I must admit I am a little obsessed with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sheer brutality of the battle and the absurdity of the reasoning  has gotten to my soul. In an age of information overload there are still those who can censor what you hear and don’t hear. You don’t know what is happening.For all our intellectual growth we are taking inhumanity to a new and sinister level.

The Ukrainians are beyond heroic. Before the second day of the invasion was over, the U.S embassy in Kyiv was beating feet out of there and offering president Zelinsky a free ride to safety. He laughed us off as he should have and asked for help not a hitchhike. Yet all of the nations are calculating where they are in the geopolitical sphere and how far they are willing to go. 

The Ukrainians screwed us. We were waiting for the capitulation of some very brave souls. That would give us cover. We will accept their refugees and say what an evil person Putin is. Every move parsed for what it will look like to the enemy and making sure we don’t get our hands dirty. These peel have true grit. They have made this picture very complex.

I am sorry but my  mood is emotional and at times irrational. Collateral damage is not a concept I can live with when it comes to women and kids. I don’t cow tow to bullies. This slug has been playing games with us for 30 years and countless administrations. We have looked into his soul, tried to befriend him and played the game of sanctions. Maybe they will work and maybe they won’t. We have drawn red lines only to have them washed away by the tears of victims. 

But aside from all this is an incredible demonstration of defiance and belief by people in their homeland. We are talking about what was supposed to be one of the world’s great armies. Face to face the Russians have been beaten back. Their only counter is long range artillery as a scorched earth policy supposedly will bomb them back to the Stone Age. I think Putin already lives in one. 

Grit is an amazing resource. Call it guts, bravery or whatever it enables people to garner a whole new set of resources to access in order to survive. You throw caution to the wind and probably for the very first time in your life you are willing to die for a cause. I wonder what would happen to me or us?

It’s great to say I would stand up but I have watched with a curious eye our reaction to a thing called COVID. I am seeing universities trying to create “safe” spaces. Helicopter moms…and dads, want to create a bubble around their children that is sanitized and fool proof. I think the fools are inside. We all want an Eden like existence. 

I happened by the New York Times Magazine a few weeks ago and noted the cover teaser was “music to help us get through our difficult times”. Are you shitting me? On the front page were accounts of maternity hospitals and theaters being bombed, universities demolished and people without water, heat and food and these literati are teaching us to cope. Can we even relate? Reality and crises are out there but we have no idea. 

This is not said with Irish or Catholic guilt but with a desire to get my own head figured out. Volunteering will get you on a different trajectory. I have told you all of my gig at a homeless shelter in Denver. Hospice is a passion for me. Not because I dig watching people die but because it is as close to humanity and my fellow man as I can get. Not admirable or heroic in any way but to truly give back.

Let’s face it. Most of us live in Disneyworld. Too many have forgotten where they came from. Many are jaded and look upon their lifestyle as a reward for all their hard work. Did you every work in a factory or a meat packing plant? Go over and teach class five days a week and then come home and get dinner? Nursing, cops, EMT’s, a mother with three jobs?.

I am not saying we have to walk around in sackcloth and ashes. I hope I am getting this right by not necessarily being accusatory as I am trying to slap me and you both in the face and say do we have even the slightest idea how lucky we are? Yeah we can thank whatever God we worship but deep down do we feel it? Is it even possible to understand what Ukrainians, Uighurs, Syrians, and poor people of America go through?

This war has hit us right smack in our living rooms but it is quickly fading to page four of our newspaper and page ten of our minds. It’s natural. We think we have it down and since there is not quick resolution we are ready to move on and let the armies and diplomats divide up the spoils. It’s the way it has always been. 

It has been a beautiful day in Flalaland. I played golf and came home to hit the keyboard. My vitriol just started to rise and I decided to let it rip. Sorry about that. It’s what I do and this is really Ted’s Head right now. Old age is supposed to be some sort of freeway to wisdom. I must have taken the wrong exit. C’est la guerre! 

As always

Ted The Great


Just one. Below is a You Tube of a song we are singing for chorale. “Do You Hear the People Sing ?” From Les Miserables. Play it if you will. I wish it could be played from every radio and TV station in the free world.  It is 2 and 1/2 minutes. Let me know if you think it fits. 

New World Order….

The events of the last few weeks in Ukraine expose our soft underbelly on all sides of the world. Democracies and totalitarian regimes alike. We crave some sort of game plan and yet definition and acceptance is beyond elusive. 

We had a presentation yesterday from a fellow member here in Flalaland in a series we call Foreign Policy. This one happened to be on Biden’s Agenda as it relates to the world but it would be folly to ascribe it to one man. This evolved more into a discussion on how we see ourselves in this contrast between democracy and totalitarianism. Not only what works but who wins?

I have had my doubts about democracy and its utility for a while now. Not the basic tenets of course, but its application in real life. All men and of course women are created equal and are able to express their opinion via the ballot box or elsewhere. In the US we have legislative elections every two years and a presidential one every four. This should indicate slight movements either right or left of center. How is that working out for you these days?

The dictator approach is much cleaner and simpler. You do it my way or else. No discussion. I know what I am doing and even if you have a better idea it will never see the light of day. We don’t vote on infrastructure or arming to the teeth. We just do it. Environmental, economic or psychological concerns? You have got to be kidding me?

Putin’s war is as much about the conflict of ideologies as bombs bursting in air. It is not the fight for territory but for your soul. He has seriously mistaken the backbone of the Ukrainian people as well as the free world. Will he succeed? Dunno. It depends on how fervent we really are and how good our memory is. 

During the talk and my readings this week I find myself fascinated that one man can inflict all this carnage…in 2022. We are supposedly a more educated populace and yet we did not see this coming. Today we have Xi, Kim Jong Un, Maduro et alia looking to be not only a national but worldwide top dog. Have we forgotten about Hitler and Bonaparte, Stalin, the Csars and petty dictators throughout history? Our desire to play nice is admirable but look where it has gotten us? Look how we have fawned over these characters? Perhaps our desire for wealth has clouded our senses? In a lot of cases we have really given the store away. All in the name of diplomacy….and our own profit.

If you look at these dudes it is hubris, selfishness, arrogance, greed, and revenge all rolled into one. Maniacal or shrewd? Probably a little of both. Character flaws?

It depends on your beliefs. It sounds trite but we can look at them as villains or saviors and therein lies the struggle. 

At this time we go back to their childhoods and find a bad parent or experience. For Putin he was a KGB agent exiled to rural Russia in a ridiculous farmhouse headquarters. He was a nobody. In a leaderless Russia, post breakup of the USSR, he ascended without many obstacles other than a drunken Yeltsin. By making all his buddies and enemies rich on the way up, he guaranteed their obeisance. The downfall of the Soviet Union was the perfect ploy to get the people to rally. I feel his paranoia of a European invasion to be as absurd as his propaganda. But it worked. 

The bigger question in my mind is whether or not these guys are weird or is there a little something of them in many of us? Happy Days takes us back to a time of drive ins and neat lawns. People were well to do of a sort but not in the gaudy ostentatious realm of today. You had a nice house, got an education, a job and lived happily ever after. You might say there were standards of decency that covered a broad spectrum. What happened? Or better yet was that all just a facade?

Now some will say they never had it good and I understand and respect that. As some became more educated they became reluctant to accept their plight. They rose in stature, and wealth became a vague notion without limits. Now people of all walks of life wanted it all. Power was no longer in the hands of the few. And the few did not like it. They found their world order being turned upside down. 

With a new cognoscenti and glitterati, they weren’t subtle but bold and brassy. Thoughts that were crazy and revolutionary in the 70’s and 80’s turned mainstream at the turn of the century. 9/11 was as much a total devastation of our senses as a statement of what our world was going to look like. We had a brief and almost euphoric unity exemplified by American flags and the singing of anthems. Then we got back to our own business and it became about me once again. 

Instead of taking over countries we were taking over corporations. We were fortified by technology that grew exponentially, demonstrating incredible efficiency. The buck was beyond Almighty and we had new deity, We had our new commandments, We could claim to be in the best interest of our stockholders but if we are honest it was in the best interest of me. 

We can argue a rising tide floats all ships. Fair enough. And yet we have started creating the unattainable for most and the middle class is a vague notion. In our own politics and industry we have our own petty dictators. Scorched earth is for the everyman. Come one TTG, get on board or be left behind. Whether it is Trump or Pelosi, or Diamon or Bezos, are we all drinking the Kool Aid? Perhaps we are creating a new world order of our own. Is this after deep thought or are we just going along for the ride? Thnk about it! 

As always 

Ted The Great 


Greed.. intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

Revenge.,,The action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.

Narcissism…Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.

Selfish…lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

I know none of us exemplify even a speck of these attributes…

Amazon has acquired over 100 companies over the years. Imagine if they were countries?

The 2021 edition of Freedom in the World,  marked the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. Of the 195 independent countries assessed by the report, 73 experienced aggregate score declines and just 28 made gains, the widest margin of its kind during the 15-year period. There are now 54 Not Free countries, accounting for 38 percent of the world’s population, the highest share since the decline began.