When I Was Young….

My kids and grandkids are visiting this week and it is beyond a kick. Bodies are coming and going. One car heads to the beach. Another to the gym. Someone is jogging and another is vegging. Laughter and an occasional outburst rings throughout the air. All perfectly normal. 

As discussions go, I greet my daughter Megan at around 6:15 AM. It should be two freight trains going in opposite directions on the same track.  Au contraire mes amis. Wife Kathy shakes her head at the depth we get into at this ungodly hour. Homelessness, crime, equity, and guns were the topic this AM. 

Inevitably we go back to when I and they were young. This isn’t carping on new generations and bemoaning the good old days. It is trying to figure out what was wrong and right? What worked and what didn’t?  

Where we were placed on the socioeconomic scale obviously shaped our lives. The financial equity gap was there but not to the degree it is today. For both me and my kids we were okay financially but there weren’t any mega mansions in our neighborhoods. Your peers were one or two up or down on the scale but not fifty to one. For myself you never thought about being a snob because you never felt you were that far out in front. 

This played out in so many arenas. The local A and P supermarket or Bohacks were frequented by all. You had two or three choices of cereal producers not not twenty. You went to Jaffe’s department store to get new khakis for the school year and you had a choice of PF Flyers or Keds for sneakers.  The station wagons were Fords or Chevys. So point one is that there were not a boatload of choices. 

I asked my kids why they were so creative? We have a software developer, interior designer and artist at this point in their lives. It could have been years in Denver before cable TV. We had three channels and they came in poorly in the foothills. They wandered in the hills and built forts and ski jumps. They figured out how to entertain themselves. There was a lot of freedom of space and mind. They learned new colors and smells. 

They were challenged and learned some degree of self confidence. We were aware parents but not helicopters. They got into trouble but had to figure it out on their own. They were punished and after WWIII in the back seat one day, they were let out of the car to walk the last quarter of a mile to home. We would be arrested today! There were curfews and groundings. They survived. Point two is roots and wings.

I cut lawns and had a paper route. Kathy babysat. When your piggy bank went empty you could not go the parental  ATM. All my kids had jobs. Some of theirs do today. If you didn’t have the money you didn’t do it. Allowances were minimal and money management was introduced. I can just imagine asking my old man for $1000 to see Taylor Swift. 

The perception of money is beyond critical. I would pay $50 for a new tennis racket. If you wanted to buy one for $100 you made up the difference. My kids shared an old Ford Bronco II that we as a group negotiated to buy. They paid for the gas and washed it.  And most of their friends learned to drive a shift stick in that beauty. Point three is the value of money. Does it really grow on trees?

I could spend two or three blogs on our current media. This is not an old fuddy duddy but just a guy looking at things and saying “What have we wrought?”. Are we more creative or less? Is the access to so many things on line enlightening or overwhelming? We stream without any supervision. We don’t want our kids to miss out. So let me get this straight. Access to 100 channels, games that are mesmerizing, anonymous bullying, sexting, and constant contact night and day…..this is a good thing?

Do today’s kids have the ability to just grow up slowly and at their own pace? Does our overindulgence translate into the lack of desire for today’s generation to work no more than necessary? There are children everywhere that live at home with no visible means of support. Is this the new age or a recipe for disaster?  This is not to be judgmental but to seriously figure out if we are on the wrong or right path?

As old farts we can’t dismiss this whole genre as vapid and dispassionate. Kath and I raised our kids to live their lives not ours. It was a difficult day when we said we would love to be part of your life but we don’t have to be. That is where we are today. It is their world to mold and take forward. 

We had our chance and I have to be honest when I say I am not sure we always did the best of things. Sure there has been prosperity. We have made tremendous advancements in science.  But there is a little thing called the deficit and if we abhor social media we were the ones that got it started, fed it and have reaped so many financial benefits. We looked the other way and even sucked down opioids. 450 million guns did not happen overnight. 

Yes, we worked hard to provide. Yes, we hoped we did the right thing.  In many ways we did. I have to ask myself if I and we were responsible citizens of our world, why do we have such daunting problems today? Homelessness, drugs, the national debt, education, immigration, gun violence are part of our persona as a country.  

When I was young we had chance to shape policy and construct blueprints for our future. What mark would you give us? Hmmm. Interesting question.

As always

Ted The Great 


There are over 50 types of sneakers on the market today. That does not include variations of color and low tops, high tops etc. 

The number of available apps in the Google Play Store was most recently placed at 2.67 million apps, after surpassing 1 million apps in July 2013. 

Nearly a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 — part of what is collectively known as Gen Z — live at home with their parents or other relatives, according to a new study, and they considered it a long-term housing solution.

The concert business grossed over $7 billion last year.

US Debt:

1990.  $3.200 trillion

2000.  $5.674 trillion

2010.  $13.562 trillion

2020.  $27.748 trillion

2023.  $31.748 trillion

Why Isn’t Good Enough

A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Wall Street Journal as to why isn’t good, good enough? It was mainly in relation to various world powers but its application seems manyfold. 

It discussed China at the turn of  the 20th century. Things weren’t all bad. More and more people were moving to the cities. Housing and manufacturing were exploding and there was a vibrant trade with the rest of the world. Voila, we now have a middle class. But that was not enough. Chairman Xi decided to make up for all the disgrace and humility for the last 150 years and China would once again be the predominant superpower. 

Interestingly enough Putin is ruing  the dissolution of the motherland. In the early 1990’s USSR became a footnote in history books. That was beyond unacceptable. He became hellbent on having Russia right back up at the top with China and the US. Coincidentally the new Russia wasn’t doing badly either. At least by their standards. Rinse and repeat with Turkey, India et alia..  But in all cases good was not good enough. 

Okay, you say we are sitting here in the catbird seat and can afford to say everything is just fine. Maybe I have no right to offer commentary. I and many of us have it very good. It is easy for you TTG. Your criticism has weight but at least let me try. 

The idea of wants and needs pops up in my little brain. Whether you are poor or rich what do you need to live, survive and maybe have a “treat yourself”  now and then? The latter are needs to be satisfied but you ain’t going to die without them.  An interesting exercise is to see how low can you take your budget in hard times? Kathy and I got to that number back in 2008-2009. A good perspective. 

The crazy part is that it is up to us to define what is enough, whether a resident of the planet or nation state. If we don’t have our fill there is a discomfort  of sorts. That tension eats at us to work harder, save more, or perhaps put more on the credit card which is a whole other source of angina. Does this work out in the end?

The first question of course is this stress inherent in our lives? Is life supposed to be a struggle? I believe it is and dealing with it makes you stronger. If you never face adversity you have no idea how to handle it when our little bubble bursts. We are trying to create the opposite. You should never be hurt physically or emotionally. If you run up a tab in life you never have to pay it. You can always go home to mom or dad. Talk about escaping reality. 

The flip side is going too far off the wall. You are never happy with what you have or accomplish. You are a perfectionist that probably leads to procrastination. Or if you are a Putin or Xi you are unemotional and ruthless to the end. Think of Stalin, Lenin and Hitler. There is no middle ground. 

Realism is a distant concept. Do your talents and resources match your goals? Does our ego get in front of our common sense? We want social and economic equity. What does that mean? Does everyone deserve a four bedroom, three bath colonial in the burbs?Should everyone be entitled to a 6 figure plus income? I don’t think it  works this way. 

Are we there in government? Some dream of government curing every problem imaginable. We have a program for this and that. We always have your back no matter how badly you screw up. And of course we have created a bureaucracy so bloated you have no idea of effectiveness. There are 106 departments of government involved in affordable housing. To me that is beyond good enough. It is a runaway train. 

Think about your personal life. As I get older I find I want less. Not so with younger generations and that is more than understandable. They have dreams and aspirations but are they realistic? The youth of today are questioning  those very values. They were raised by moms and dads who worked their asses off and maybe were not around very much. Is that the way they want to live or even better is this the work ethic they want to pass on? Maybe they are asking how much good is enough? 

This all comes at time when there is a collision of cultures. People and nations are at each other’s throats. My idea of heaven is a lot different than yours.  Scarily that spills over into confusion and debate on morals, common law, gender identification, color, and national heritage. Is there a common good we can aspire to or are we so splintered that United States is just a term and every man or woman for themselves?

We all want to be happy. But understand happiness is a fleeting thing. It is the quick hit you get from a great meal, new car or new piece of furniture. Like every good addiction it wears off and you are looking for a new source of euphoria. There are plenty of dealers willing to provide for your satisfaction. Step right up. 

There is another concept I would like to throw out for your consideration. It is contentment. I looked up a lot of definitions and I like this one the best: “Contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction that can be seen as a mental state drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind. “ No matter what your lot in life you are accepting and embracing it. I could go on for pages but just dwell on that simplicity. For me that is more than good. 

As always 

Ted The Great

If you are a brain surgeon or employed by your local police bomb squad perfectionism is critical. Not so in golf, relationships or cooking. 

Procrastination  is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. You worry about not being good enough and ergo you do nothing. 

When achieving a goal we rarely stop and enjoy it. We are setting new goals at that very moment. 

Good enough, happiness ,contentment, setting unrealistic goals are tough to think about and even harder to write about. I probably didn’t get it right but I hope I got you to think   TTG