He Got To Me….

He Got To Me…

There is a wily Irishman who pops up every now and then in my subconscious. He is Fr Pat Dolan, our pastor at Most Precious Blood. This young guy is talented in a bunch of ways. He sings like a lark, plays the piano, writes a lot of the music for our masses and most importantly always gives homily that leaves you thinking. This week he really got to me.

He spoke of prayer and what it should or should not be. On the surface it is a way to communicate with some higher being or in my case God. In your case that might be Wall Street or Neiman Marcus but let’s just say it is a way of asking for something or saying thanks. Of course we have Hail Mary plays and we all have said,”God if you get me out of this I will never do it again!” The word prayer comes from the Latin, precari which is to beg or entreat.

The most interesting aspect is if you pray you express humility. I don’t have all the answers and I need help. In my case God doesn’t especially need me but I need him. In Pat’s homily he ended with the idea that maybe we should pray not so much for ourselves but for each other. There is a novel thought in today’s world. For the first time in recorded history of the Catholic Church the assembly gave our beloved preacher a hearty round of applause as he finished. Well deserved.

His words resonated more than usual. He touched something in me and I reacted. But what was that mysterious force? We call it emotion and it got me to thinking and I started doing research. It seems emotion has been a source of conjecture going back to Aristotle. What causes those deep feelings that can be pure joy or absolute anger or fear? It is instinctual.

Over the course of our lives we develop pattern recognition. We can’t treat every instance as new and so we delve into our memories, belief systems and biases to net a response to an event. It may glance off of us as irrelevant or it may smack you right in the face. When it hits us we have a physiological reaction. We frown or smile, wince or welcome and it happens without us thinking about it. Where do you think Emoticons came from? We take some sort of action by seeking avoidance or saying we want more. This in turn generates a feeling of displeasure or pleasure. Over time those feelings may create a mood and some may call it our disposition or even personality.

We all react to the same exact situation in different ways. You see love and I see fear in handling a rattlesnake. I like public speaking and it may petrify you. Because of our survival mode, the feelings of joy and laughter are the hardest to get to. We throw up road blocks of panic and loathing just to make sure it is not an adverse occurrence. Over time that may be dangerous to us both physically and mentally. Buddhists will tell you if you can shut out all negative thinking and let the good times roll that is the essence of life.

Some of us repress emotions as a standard of behavior generated by our family or religion or nationality. The Chinese over millennia have felt that excessive emotion causes damage to our body parts. Man, am I in trouble! Given a severe trauma our bodies shut down and emotional response and that is what we call shock. That is healthy and a way of dealing with things. But if we shut down too long we lose contact with the real world. People do that by overeating, by being overly obsessive or having nothing but superficial conversations. If we strangle and recess our emotions we are putting down life itself.

Finally we have to take ownership of our emotions. We are the ones doing the driving. Other people don’t piss you off. You let the situation piss you off. This or that person or situation has ruined my life. No, you have ruined your life. For the umpteenth time you hear me saying that the only one to blame for their lot in life is you. You bought the bad investment. You married your unbearable spouse. Every thing good or bad in your life is the result of decision you made. Nobody can force you to do anything.

Advertising today is meant to hit your emotions in the sweet spot. They know just what it takes to move you from disinterested to insatiably desirous of the last gimmick or fad. The political contests have focus groups and all sorts of psychological studies to tell them what works and what doesn’t. With the hyper development of the internet, ads can be tailored to you specifically. It is what helped Obama win reelection. Romney’s Republicans did not have a clue. Unfortunately for them they still don’t.

Whether it is some pol making a speech or your favorite sibling get your goat, they know how to push your buttons. They can create a siren’t call in an inviting ad or they can rile you up to the point of incoherence in your penultimate outburst. Cranial veins bulging and fists clenched they have you right where they want you. At least until you figure out the ruse and get control of yourself. Sounds simple on paper but it doesn’t always work that way.

People, in the coming months in addition to our normal panoply of everyday messages we are going to be barraged by every element of marketing. The candidates which I think both are incredibly suspect will be presented as the second coming. I hope you are strong enough and individualistic enough to shun convention and avoid an emotional response. And in the words of Fr Pat I think we ought pray for all of us.

As always
Ted The Great


Emotions typically occur in social settings and during interpersonal transactions. Thus, in many cases emotions may be best understood as interactions between people, rather than simply as one individual’s response to a particular stimulus

Thoughts and behavior come from either a place of love, or a place of fear.  Anxiety, anger, control, sadness, depression, inadequacy, confusion, hurt, lonely, guilt, shame, these are all fear-based emotions.  Emotions such as joy, happiness, caring, trust, compassion, truth, contentment, satisfaction, these are love-based emotions.

Fr. Pat had to perform a wedding last Friday afternoon and then conduct a memorial service that night for a 14 year old boy who was killed on his bike by an 81 year old woman. On Saturday was the young man’s funeral followed by another wedding. What do you think were his range of emotions?

Theoretically Speaking….

Wandering through the chasms of unending chaos that are my mind I am constantly in search of the reasons for things and just maybe a hint of the meaning of life. That’s in between my new workout regimen and redesigning my golf swing for the 439th time. Now don’t laugh. There is method to my madness. You see all of the above and more rely heavily on theories. A theory is simply an idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain facts or events. Simple enough.

As I think of my life and yours we are chock a block with these little nuggets that someone has dreamed up. We have black hole theories to explain our universe, evolution to justify our existence and climate change to demonstrate how we have supposedly screwed everything up. There are whacky conspiracy theories to fill the pages of the Enquirer and highly respected ones found in a scientific journal. The latter are above my pay grade.

It is mystifying how we rely on these to dictate our day and manner of dealing with society. From the get go as infants we were subjected to either Watson or Sock as a way to be reared. Watson had little or no regard for one’s psychological well being, as kids were subjected to a very strict routine with no room for any sort of emotion. Benjamin Spock was more of a free spirit where one relied on their gut instincts and natural parenting tendencies to make Johnnie or Sue a contributing member of society.

Education is fraught with theories.Some good.Some bad but either way having an enormous effect on our lives. I have told you all of my experience as an eighth grader in the basement of Saint Mary’s church with 53 kids and Sister Mary Tabernacle to whatever. Point being we all graduated and passed the New York State Regents exams in English, Math and Social Studies.According to current theory that shouldn’t have happened.

When in New Jersey I worked with the Tri County Scholarship program in Paterson, NJ. The city was a stone’s throw from Newark and shared the same failures in public education. At Paterson Catholic we had kids with no entrance exam who excelled. At the time Paterson was spending $11,000 per kid and we were spending $2500. Their success rate was 35% and ours was !00%. I am not so much an apologist for Catholic education as saying there is a different way to achieve success in teaching that transcends religion.

The charter school is emblematic of a way to work within the system but comes under fire for a variety of reasons. If theory is based on fact then the results speak for themselves. They work. Phonics as a concept of educating can be deemed a success or failure but the future of millions of kids based on one mode of teaching or another places the responsibility of the process clearly at the feet of the proponents. The jury is still out.

We as a country and a world serve as lab rats of a sort. Socialism, capitalism, public housing projects of Jacob Riis. Social Security, welfare, desegregation, zero interest rates, the domino theory of Communism and nuclear detente are all theories of one sort or another. Vaccinations cause autism. Quackery or fact? Each of us has an opinion and its probity is often based on our credentials and authenticity. Whether it is the gravitas of the source or just a convincing and thoughtful presentation we are open to be won over or seduced as the case may be. Hey, the Rockies or Cubbies might be contenders this year.

This greatly affects our power to question and discuss. An opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Unless you are Einstein, St Thomas Aquinas or Leonardo I will doubt the veracity of your argument. Nothing personal but I do have my standards. However I will listen. I will absorb as long as we both agree there is something to be sorted as opposed to your unconditional fiat.

Interestingly we have grown up as a highly egalitarian but more importantly independent country. We to this point have craved our individualism and creativity. Entrepreneurship and arrogance of a sort have been our bellwether. And yet today we look to everyone for help. There are coaching, meditating and self improvement gurus. The biggest selling books on Amazon are self help ones. We have consultants of every sort to tell us where we are going wrong instead of capitalizing on what we have done right. We have in essence ceded every part of our persona to someone else to tell me how I should look, dress, act and perform. I am totally subservient to their theories and not my own gut. Is this where you want to be? I don’t.

I have theories and I espouse them to you all the time. That doesn’t mean they are gospel or even coherent. It is just some schmuck throwing out his view of the world. It is neither valid nor to be ignored. It is to be considered in the overall thing we call life. The goal I most desire is to be part of your conversation not the center of it. You have so much much knowledge and wisdom in your soul that I would hope you would shout it to the rooftops and maybe somebody, somewhere will find small piece to call their own. That’s all any of us should ask.

Theories are wonderful but until they have seen the proof of time they are just conjecture. Don’t put them down but don’t blindly obey. Question everything for therein is where we will all find knowledge. You know my Jesuit training. Be wary of everything because it is when we ponder and meditate that we can really see something as worthy to be part of our lives or just another crazy theory.

As always
Ted The Great

Crazy Theories.
The world is flat.
The Donald is Presidential

Conspiracy Theories
Elvis is still alive.
Area 51 was invaded by ETS and an autopsy was done on one of the crew.
We did not land on the moon. It was all put contrived on a movie set.
The real killers of JFK got away.
Jane Fonda is the empress of an evil empire…I believe that one

Life’s enigmas
What is life?
What is happiness?
Why do we have evil?
Are things inherently evil?
Is a fetus living being
What’s your theory?
Does Trickle Down Economics Work?


I was going to be clever and frivolous this week…until Friday night. Kathy and I went to see Spotlight and all I can say is the Academy in Follywood for all its faults and foibles got it right. For the uninitiated it is a film about an investigative group at the Boston Globe called Spotlight and its dogged pursuit of the Catholic diocese of Boston and its horrible handling of pedophilia among several of its priests. This is not going to be a movie review but musings from a long time Catholic who loves great journalism.

At its best it shows what a principled group of reporters can do. They pursued the story for over one year and by all signs got it right. At its worst it shows what it takes to get a story out as editorial boards decide sometimes arbitrarily what gets through and what doesn’t from both a worthiness as well as political perspective. Good ideas sometimes find the circular file because one doesn’t want to make waves or enemies. You have the feeling it is not only the Fourth Estate that exercises the prerogative.

As portrayed and I believe in reality there were no superstars but a group of people who received a tip and delved to find its veracity.They literally turned over every rock and pursued every lead. If you are looking for salacious details they are not there but the underlying misery and guilt of those preyed upon lets the story unfold. It is an indictment of the Catholic Church for sure but it also affects society as a whole. While watching, you can’t help but let your mind drift to every seat of power and apart from the specifics of this particular situation see them every bit as culpable.

I have locked horns with our former bishop about the Church’s response or lack thereof. It wasn’t naivete but an assault on their power base that caused them to cover up and subject those poor bastard victims to intimidation and guilt. We are sacrosanct and holier than thou and don’t you dare challenge us or our decisions. Our failures and perversions are not to be displayed lest one shake the foundations of the Holy Mother Church. By the way our bare knuckled exercise of ordained powers have kept us in the driver’s seat all these centuries. We have history and God on our side. What incredible arrogance!

For those that shout foul please consider there were 87 priests in the Boston diocese that were guilty of the most heinous crimes perpetrated on young people. Let’s take your cries of unfairness and reduce that number by a half. But then multiply that by hundreds of dioceses throughout the US and sadly the world. For a moment let’s even give the offending clerics a pass and say they were sick, sick people. I lay the blame at the feet of the hierarchy. The wealth and power of the Church is over the top and that has been passed on to its district managers everywhere. Now this is the point where I think of the Congress and board rooms and say the religious are not alone.

Think about Watergate, Clinton, GM,Volkswagen, JP Morgan, Bear Sterns, Lehman, Enron, BP, Madoff to name a few before you cast the first stone. It is considered dangerous to your career if you don’t  look the other way. At the same time we see every type of transgression and dismiss it saying we are just following orders or even worse using it as get out of jail free card. 50 shades of gray is not a tacky novel but a way our consciences and outrage shift and bend to make every situation different and somehow palatable.

I am not a boy scout or trying to adopt some sense of righteousness but I can’t help but think our keen sense of right and wrong becomes duller over time. One of the most telling lines in the movie is a Lebanese lawyer named Garabedian who states in a very Irish Catholic town that,” It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to abuse one”. We don’t worry about political correctness but how we will look to our fellow man or woman. Hey, we have to work together or see each other at the club. Don’t want to get the evil eye you know.

I came away feeling incredibly sorry for the poor parishes of North and South Boston, Revere and the Elmhursts and Woodsides of New York. These places grew up as places of solace for poor immigrants. You were known not by where you lived but what parish you belonged to. It wasn’t a Sunday go meeting place but in many cases the center of your life. You went to school there, were an altar boy and your mom and grandparents made novenas for those who had gone to war or a dad who had lost his way. The titular heads of this family were the pastor and his curates. It was a place of trust and unfortunately who one trusts one becomes vulnerable. Kind of like when one puts faith in a company where they work, a boss they loved to work for or even a company they invested in for a better life later on. Not so simple to just say one of the oldest and most revered pillars of decency is besmirched. They, my friends are not alone.

This is a far cry from the pithy piece I wanted to write but I hope you understand that after seeing the movie and cogitating for many hours I had to open up and maybe yes for once not look the other way. Those shades of gray become a lot more black and white when one puts a Spotlight on them. I felt deep down a bunch of emotions and I just wanted to share that with someone. I guess that was you.

As always
Ted The Great

Newspapers today have for the most part forgone investigative journalism. It is too time consuming and expensive. People want headlines not deeply involved analysis. Too bad.

It is estimated that some 5,000 priests are guilty of sexual predation in the US which is about 5% of the clergy. Of those that have come to light it appears that 80% of worldwide offenses have been here in the US but the factors enabling people to come forward are incredibly difficult to quantify.

If there are 5,000 rogue priests that means there are 95,000 out there who are for the most part wonderful and decent people. The Catholic Church has led all other charitable organizations in the help of the sick and the poor. I have known priests and religious my entire life. Many of them are close friends whom Kathy and I treasure. In all those encounters over 65 plus years I have never encountered even a scintilla of impropriety.

Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. IRE was formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the world could help each other by sharing story ideas, newsgathering techniques and news sources.


True Grit….

In a big country like ours, life is full of contrasts. We go from the canyons of New York City to the Grand Canyon of Arizona. We celebrate Senior Chief Edward Byers and give him the Congressional Medal of Honor for shooting the enemy and showing incredible bravery in the retrieval of a hostage. We wonder in disbelief how another human being could go into a lawn mower parts factory, take people hostage and cut them down indiscriminately? We admire people with plenty in our land and then we look askance at people with plenty of nothing. Amazing place.

We are known for our pluckiness and resolve. I wonder not at what makes people successful but what keeps them coming back for more when they are knocked down. You read of every manner of being who has put up with failure only to try for that brass ring or a new start time and time again. How about people who have overcome handicaps of every sort both physical, mental and financial? What is it that makes them hang in there in the face of unbelievable odds?

This is not just a romantic concept that finds its outlet in “chick” flicks. There is something going on here that demands study by all of us. Warren Buffett took many economists and pundits to task in his annual letter this weekend. He said we can figure out how to live on 2 1/2% growth rate and have a good life. But if you listen to the Donald, our country sucks and if you harken to Bernie and at times Hilary our good times are behind us unless of course you elect one of them. Maybe it is time for America to rebel not only against politicians but all the bad news we have been hit with.

We all have something that has gone wrong in our lives. We have lost jobs and loved ones. A child has been gravely ill or diagnosed with a horrible malady. Maybe we have lost our faith. Maybe we have lost our face. Anyone who tells you they have not been through a crisis of one sort has somehow missed out on life. Of course we all know one or two braggarts who have never lost money in the stock market or on a business deal. Their marriage and kids are perfect. Good for them in their fantasies. Don’t dare look below the surface.

Psychology Today tells us “Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes” Fair enough, but do we all have the capability? Strangely enough we all do but some just don’t want to listen to their internal “Knute Rockne” speech. You know that they take some sick pleasure in wallowing in self pity and the idea the world is against them.

There was an interesting study at the University of Michigan into bouncing back from adversity. It seems that those that recover have the ability to understand the gravity or sorrow in situation and deal with it while others keep reliving the vile experience over and over again. They can’t neutralize their emotions. “Get over it” is not in their lexicon. Yes, the sensitive are more prone to getting stuck. So are those that do not plan well or who are reticent to make decisions. Yet those traits are acquired not inherited.

As I think back on my life I can’t count the times I have been knocked down. Some incidental bumps and others head on collisions that have taken their toll. Some are self inflicted. I have a tendency to speak my mind which I know will shock all of you. That doesn’t always work well. I also am prone to taking chances and thank God I have a wife who is a good sport or at least she says she is. But I do have the ability to look myself in the eye and admit I have screwed up. There are two keys hidden here. A good support system and the ability to call a spade a spade.

But the rebound is not automatic. It takes work and that is where people flater. You mean there is no pill for this or that? Sorry,but no. I am too old, too tired,too busy, too stressed to deal with it right now is the common litany of excuses. I went back to weight training this week and of course overdid it. Walking like an invalid has me questioning a second day of madness. Something inside says forget it but there is another that says get off your ass and do it. Guess which one won out?

That was a frivolous example and many of you are facing much more trauma than a sore butt. There was a couple in church on Sunday with their severely palsied boy of 18 or 19. I know many of you who have lost loved ones and yet have faced things full frontal. If I were a 55-60 year old today who had lost his job I don’t think I would be up for TTG’s message of hope. But then again somehow we survive. Somehow we make sense of all this.

As I work in hospice I have been involved in many final hour situations. The human body no matter how diseased or broken is an amazing thing. There are telltale signs the end is near. One of the most dramatic is that the patient’s extremities get cold. The blood is no longer pumping there. The body knows it is in trouble and tries at all cost to protect the torso and use whatever it has to preserve the strength in its most vital organs. When you would almost expect a person to totally acquiesce they are fighting with all they know. That is true grit. Let’s hope we can fight as hard for our world that we so cherish.

As always
Ted The Great.


SEAL training is over 50 weeks long. The recruits are constantly pushed physically and mentally with each week getting worse not easier.Hell week has you sleeping no more than four hours a day and under incredible pressure for the remaining 20. Around 1000 start out and about 200 make it to receive their SEAL trident. During training they can opt out by taking their helmet off and ringing a brass bell three times. I imagine it would kill me to have to do that. Here’s to those that make it.

The Donald called out Sen. John McCain for not being a war hero. He flippantly said heroes don’t get captured. McCain broke a leg and both arms upon ejection from his plane and lasted over five years in the Hanoi Hilton. I call that resolve and a healthy pair of you know whats.

Special Note from my nephew :
Some of you probably know Glen Doherty passed away during the 9/11/12 attacks in Benghazi. Glen was a good friend of mine who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting his fellow Americans. In order to remember and honor Glen, his family set up the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation to celebrate Glen’s life and his passion for igniting the human spirit through adventure and education.
The best way I can honor my friend is by asking for your help in locating Veterans that may qualify for one of the scholarships offered by the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation. Additionally, I am looking for members of your community to donate to this worthy cause. Donations can be made directly at http://www.glendohertyfoundation.org/.

This fund provides scholarships, subsidies, and gifts to current and former special operations professionals in one of four ways:

•Scholarships for current or former Special Operation Professionals used for traditional education
•Scholarships for current or former Special Operations Professionals used for vocational and non-traditional training
•Subsidies and grants for the children of Special Operations Professionals to attend camps that build leadership
•Gifts for the families of Special Operations Professionals and Foreign Service Officers, where a loss or life-changing debilitating injury has been suffered, to be used for recreation as a way of supporting the family unit through positive outdoor activities

Any donations or recommendations for scholarship recipients would be greatly appreciated!


Posted from Wimbledon, England

Monday was a Bank Holiday here in England and together with my son and his boys we visited the Hampton Court Palace of Henry VIII. It is a pastoral residence of sorts on the Thames in Richmond. After visiting other monarchical haunts in Russia and France this was somewhat tame.Gaudy Gold is not a primary color in GB and the brick and stone compliment each other beautifully.

Make no mistake it is huge but one gets the feeling of flow and utility. Successive monarchs have added their own touch but you could not help but have the sense they got most things right. The sculpted gardens and hedges were just as they seemed five hundred years ago. But nothing lasts forever. Just ask the Tsars, Marie Antoinette and of course Anne Boleyn.

I got to thinking of life in general and how over the centuries we have gone from one extreme to another. The explosion of the Renaissance must have knocked people off their chairs and out of the Dark Ages. The British Empire? Prognosticators of all sorts lay out the blueprint of life as we will know it. But just when we think we have it figured out, life throws us curveball.

Pendulums can be cultural. Today is emblematic of the evolution or revolution if you will from Victorian puritanism to what some might consider today’s hedonism. I laugh to think of the shock of parents in my adolescence to what is considered childhood entertainment of today. A song called “Short Shorts” was banned from the airwaves because of its suggestive lyrics in the 1950’s. How retro we were and yet we thought we were the cat’s meow.

The world of business has had its array of successes and failures from tulips to Edsels. Companies like Sony and Motorola ruled the tech world for a time and today they struggle for relevance. Railroads and ships lost sight of the fact they were in the transportation business and gave away their dominant position to the airlines. Who knows where we will be 50 years from now?
Some want to retain our way of life just as it is or even better go back to the good old days. Freeze the moment in time but it doesn’t quite work that way. There are two forces at work here, ourselves and the world. We constantly strive to accomplish. We want a better life in the form of money and material things. Look at the houses of just 40-50 years ago. Four bedrooms and two and a half baths were the ultimate. Formica was the counter of choice and bell bottoms or madras made us worthy of any social scene.

Fast forward and now our much larger homes need a bath in every bedroom along with family rooms, home theaters, saunas and hot tubs. Our wardrobes are no longer adequate when they fit into a normal size closet. We need walk in caverns to house the arsenal. Granite counter tops are close to being passe`and who would be seen with a three year old American made car. It’s partially our desire for bigger better faster but also a world that says if you fall behind you are an abject failure.

But as we think we are getting nearer and nearer to Nirvana there is something amiss. Instead of feeling the euphoria on a long gradual climb there seems to be some element of emptiness that the good life can’t fill. Maybe I will build a bigger monument to me? Hmm, I might find that elusive perfect bottle of wine or savor a meal by the world’s most celebrated chef? Perhaps it is my Ford 350 or a week at the Fat Farm at Canyon Ranch or front row seats to Kenny Chesney?

You mean there are other things? I believe there are. The reason the pendulum goes from one extreme to the other is because no matter what we have, life is a struggle. Not always in an onerous sense but more of a pulled muscle that won’t heal. An itch you can’t scratch. An enigma you can’t solve. Not fatal but chronic. As I travel down life’s highway there are certain things I can’t put to rest. I can work on them but it’s downright impossible to get it perfect. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a celebration of our humanity but also our frailty.

I have just read David Brooks’, “The Road to Character”. Probably what I write is at least subliminally what I read in his piece. He does a masterful job of describing the Resume Virtue and the Eulogy Virtue. On the one hand what I have accomplished in life and on the other how I would like to be remembered. Sure I was the CEO of a billion dollar company but will I be regarded as a decent person after I am gone? Was I kind and caring or ruthless and overbearing? How would YOU like to be remembered?

The struggle gets deep at this point. To see the “eulogy you” it is necessary to divorce yourself from everyday life. Scores are kept on a totally different spreadsheet. You start digging down and the floor opens up. Instead of finding the answer another level is revealed and you are forced to dig deeper and deeper. Aha, I have found my soul! Sorry Charlie, you are just getting started.

Enter self improvement books of all sorts. Shrinks, gurus and swamis will show you the way. Travel to buddhist temples burn incense and play funny music. Probably helpful but this is a trip you have to make for yourself. Now some will think I am crazy. So be it. Some will get tired and depressed and say it is not for them. But some will say this is kind of cool.

At least for me I don’t think for a moment I will ever get it figured out. When I get to the point I do, something will happen that will put me back to square one or at least three or four. If one of the books espousing the ultimate answer were true do you think we will still have title after title being published?

Like David Brooks I am writing because I am verbalizing my own part in the puzzle of life. Going back to that whole idea of pendulum I don’t see quandary but energy. The arcing motion gives its share of twists and turns but also new insights. If the weight at the end of the line should come to rest I don’t think it would be triumphant but tragic. It would mean that life, at least intellectually is over. I’m not ready for that yet.

As always
Ted The Great


Hampton Court Palace was considered modern and sophisticated when it was built in Tudor times. It had bowling greens, a 36,000 square foot kitchen and a toilet area that could seat 30 people.

There are thousands of palaces throughout the world in over 90 countries. There 16 in Mexico and over 50 in Italy. Amazingly there are even larger numbers in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil. When a new monarch assumed the throne in various countries predictably the new BMOC had to add onto an existing palace or build a new one that was bigger and better than the old one. Good for employment in the region.

Of the hundreds upon hundreds of self help books of the top ten in 2014, 9 were spiritual in nature and the top one was financial by Tony Robbins.

Google Ngrams measure the usage of certain words in the media. Over the past few decades references to self and I have soared and community, share and united have fallen drastically. Economics and business up and morality and character building down. Bravery, humbleness, and gratitude are down over 50%.

Leonardo DaVinci

Leonardo DaVinci was probably one of the greatest minds to come down the pike. I really don’t care for the word genius but I think it is apt. Maybe a better way to put it is that I think we all have great minds. He just knew how to use his a lot better than most.
I have talked before about a book by Michael Gelb, “How to Think Like Leonardo”. I will admit to plagiarism beforehand. I highly recommend it and will make a feeble attempt to describe a few of the “Principles of Thought” that make up DaVinci‘s genius.
Leonardo was a guy that ran full bore all the time. He was constantly thinking, questioning and absorbing. He would look at problems or disputes from three entirely different angles, often spending days or weeks on each side.
He developed detailed drawings many centuries ago of helicopters and submarines. He was at the same time a procrastinator and perfectionist which actually aren’t mutually exclusive. He was in great physical shape and a vegan. Trust me. I am not going that far.
Some Principles



Curiositae is his unending pursuit of how things work. He would look at both science and nature to see what made them tick. He never took anybody’s word on anything. It wasn’t arrogance but a real desire to internalize something once it was understood. Some things he could never figure out. That didn’t matter. The fun was in the pursuit.

Sensazione is the desire to use all the senses. This heightened awareness actually got his and should get our minds ticking. I listen to classical music when I write. In repacking my bags, I have repainted my office. I love the smell of flowers, garlic. Many times in the summer I like to see how many different shades of green there are in the landscape. Right now, unfortunately it is all white.

They took a group of students who had to learn a complex procedure. It took place over a month. They split in to two groups. One was in a modern classroom with neutral colors and adequate but bland lighting.

The others were in a class painted vibrant colors. There were flowers and classical music. There were textures and carpeting. I don’t have to tell you the results. Not only did the latter learn more quickly but had a retention rate that far surpassed the “ordinary” group. Maybe that’s where we should spend our money on education

Sfumato is the last one of the seven I will mention. It is really thinking at its utmost. It takes a problem without an obvious solution. Paradoxes, enigmas and ambiguities are the bedrock of this way of thinking. You treasure their complexity and rejoice in even a small piece of solving.

He would cringe at our current form of education. He would argue that there are no right answers to tests. Not to be a pain in the ass but to say that if we accept everything as fact, there will never be creativity or a totally unique way of looking at things.

This all really begs the question of heightened consciousness. Being aware of where we are in time and of those around you. We can view ourselves as part of a world or one of several billion pieces of random drift. Call it living life to its fullest. Not spending any day on automatic. Realizing that time and life is indeed precious.

To me these are really cool thoughts. If I am aware of my world, I can’t in any sense of good conscience be bad to you. I have got to realize that I have to take care of my surroundings. I can’t be self absorbed. There is an innate beauty in every person and thing around us. I think in our hectic world we are really losing that.

As I travel I have made a habit over the years of asking in Starbucks and restaurants how many people say please and thank you. The results have been notoriously bad. The worst was in of all places, Vail. It is not just a demonstration of courtesy but recognizing that there is another human being on the end of your “gimmee a latte !”.

It really takes a step towards religion. Do unto others. Realize how lucky we are. In this highly scientific world we tend towards narcissism. We can fabricate body parts. We can create life in a test tube. All in the name of science. I think that is dangerous ground. We get to the point of believing we are God no matter who your god is. I ain’t going there.

I guess you can probably figure out why I like Leonardo so much. It really has inspired me to “ponder”. He forces me to think….to be alive.

It is a dangerous thing to espouse my theories for fear of proselytizing. I hope I am not doing so. I am just telling you each time a little more about me. I just hope it gets you to think. Just writing to all of you gets me pumped. Thank you so much for that.

As always

Ted The Great


The U.S. ranks #1 in the world in obesity, teen birth rate and personal spending as percentage of GDP….. USA!USA!USA!

We spend 4.08% of GDP on defense. Russia..3.74%, Korea…2.58% , China..1.98%, Germany…1.35%, Japan…0.97%