PC….Sort Of

Now you know that I am PC at all times…sort of. Supreme Court decisions, Confederate flags, religious ed,ISIS et alia have this poor old bald guy scratching his shiny pate. Let’s make it clear from the start that I believe we have gone over the top. I will also add that there are no easy answers but sides in the game Battleship America have been drawn so we should all get ready for torpedoes and salvoes from all angles.

We had a cocktail party in our building a few weeks ago. Just a get together to meet and greet. There were two new residents of #105 and they happen to be Mrs. and Mrs. .There was nothing dramatic or uncomfortable about their presence except for the fact when I first met them I was clueless about the situation.

As I chatted with both young ladies, I being fleet of mind surmised somehow this was out of the ordinary. Then putting two and two together and actually coming out with four I had an aha moment. Rather than being cute about it I asked them straight on. They have been married for almost three years. I said ,”What should I call your partner?” One replied, “My wife and vice versa.” Then she said something surprising, “Thank you for asking.” Wow.

I thought about that for a moment and all of a sudden it dawned on me how uncomfortable it must be for them. They love each and maybe a hell of a lot moreso than some straight couples I know. They were beyond pleasant and engaging. Yet for so long they have had to tiptoe around the subject and walk on eggs. The Supreme Court decision made them legal everywhere. They no longer had to hide. I don’t care whether you are for or against same sex marriage. As a human being you can’t help but be touched.

I let my mind wander to Indians, Redskins, and various other grievances. I have really been trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. What is the deciding factor that fine line separates one from free speech and denigration? Have I hurt you viciously or have I just caused you a minor irritation? Not easy to decide.

For my Southern Rednecks, sorry Southern Gentlemen(Redneck is not PC) there is a lot of hue and cry about the Stars and Bars. If I am black I hate it. If I am white I look at it like a college mascot. Adorning hot rods to barns is it really a vestige of white supremacy or is it nothing more than continuance of some sort of crazy history? I had a whacko roommate in OCS who after a few beers would get this fire in his eye and through gritting teeth declare vehemently,”The South shall rise agin.” Him I worried about. Do I really get crazy when I see Bubba Watson driving the Dukes of Hazard limo with the rebel flag on top? Not really

I had a wonderful discussion with my shift mate at hospice yesterday. We have had a controversy regarding school vouchers here in Colorado. The state Supreme Court ruled you couldn’t use them for religious schools. Others disagree. Was it because they were religious or because the public school advocates felt threatened? Was it a real issue or fabricated? Interesting to ponder.

I have been involved in inner city schools and they have been parochial. At first when discussing this with someone I have to wade through stories about how they were beaten by nuns or abused by priests. I don’t deny it is a problem but is this the crux of the issue? We take underprivileged kids of all beliefs and academic ability. There are no entrance tests and quite frankly there are very few religious in evidence. Sure there are crucifixes but theology is not jammed down anyone’s throats. But you wouldn’t know that.

The real rubber meeting the road is a thing called graduation rates. We had a school in Paterson New Jersey that graduated 100% of its students and 80% went on to some form of higher education. The public school figures were 55% and 30%. The public school at the time cost over $10,000 per student and we needed to raise $2500 per. Point being because of prejudice and narrow mindedness some real good never gets accomplished. Is it part of a discussion on political correctness? I think it is.

Every time we try to restrict or rule out we limit possibilities. We have preconceived notions about this or that and are so afraid of offending someone else that we inhibit creativity and innovation. How can I be spontaneous if I have to measure every word or thought? How can I let it rip as I do if I take every possible consequence into consideration.

Look at politics. How can someone really speak their mind if they are castigated for something they wrote 40 years ago? When you re in a news conference God forbid you give an unrehearsed and not fully vetted answer. The absurdity of this is that the true you can’t possibly come out and your life is defined by handlers and speech writers. Some might get crazy about the Donald and they probably should but at least His Hairness is letting it all hang out and we can judge accordingly.

Long story short there are no easy answers. There is no committee of judges to say what is wrong and right. I would not and hope I have never hurt anyone’s feelings on purpose. I hope you wouldn’t either. The anonymity of the internet and web sites have made us a nation of gotchas. Instead of hearing what people have to say as a whole we look for a word or phrase to set us off in a totally wrong direction.

I am working overtime on listening for heartfelt emotion and passion. If it rubs me the wrong way I am trying not to dwell on it. I take as the beauty of our individuality that you are entitled to whatever you want to say. I will try to do my best to find out what’s in your heart and forget the particulars. It’s going to take awhile but that’s how I want to be correct in my thinking

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Political correctness may have given birth to our “Victim” society or vice versa. I claim to be wronged by every aspect of society and its vocabulary. Therefore I am not responsible for my actions, you are.

A professor at Ball State University was recently banned from even mentioning the concept of intelligent design because it would supposedly “violate the academic integrity” of the course that he was teaching.
In 2007, Santa Clauses in Sydney, Australia, were forced to revolt for the right to say “Ho Ho Ho”, the traditional laugh of jolly old St. Nick. It turns out that their employer, the recruitment firm Westaff (that supplies hundreds of Santas across Australia), told all trainees that “ho ho ho” could frighten children and be derogatory to women. Why?  Because it was too close to the American (not Australian, mind you) slang for prostitute.

Administrators at a California high school sent five students home after they refused to remove their American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican Day of Independence. That’s right, kids, you can’t wear your country’s flag in your country, lest it offend someone celebrating the holiday of a different country.

Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Larry The Cable Guy do not do college performances any more due to the PC of today’s higher education audiences. I think the intelligentsia are missing out on a lot of fun and will probably watch it on Facebook or Netflix when no one is watching.

Long Winding Roads….

Posted from Alexandria, Virginia
I am sitting here in a beautiful apartment overlooking the Potomac in the DC area. I made a quick dash here yesterday and will go home tonight.I am not taking in the sights or bugging my local politicians. Georgetown’s 1789 will have to wait for another trip for me to down a few. I am visiting friends and one of them for the last time. My buddy Neal is in the final stages of his battle with brain cancer. I owe him and his great wife, KC this sojourn.

As I left for the airport yesterday I said to Kathy,”I have to find a different pastime than dealing with dying people.” It’s been an interesting few weeks. Don’t ask me why but I seem to have this stupid ability to talk with people who are dealing with death. Both patient and family. A stop like this covers both sides of the fence. Both are equally important. A survey of dying people has shown they are nervous about how it will all happen but their biggest concern is about those they leave behind.

During the night I have held Neal’s hand,hugged him and told him I loved him. Wait! Guys don’t do that. Yes, they do. KC and I stayed up too late last night and drank too many glasses of wine but there were no regrets this AM. This too shall pass. As we talk I try to help her make sense of something that seems so irrational. It’s really isn’t. It’s a part of this crazy thing we call life.

Last week at our hospice residence in Denver I spent a fair amount of time with a 42 year old patient who was dying of colon cancer. He and his wife had nine children from the ages of 2 to 18. He was the same age as our son Scott and emotions ran high. On various days I met most of the children and I became “Coach” because of the way I helped their dad. I was a bit humbled by the fact they let me into their lives. Kind of like Neal and KC. It is an honor I do not take lightly.

I met Neal on a cruise to Australia and New Zealand a few years ago. We started having a cigar and a scotch every evening about five. He appeared from the get go as a totally real and decent guy. Soon the group grew to a half dozen and we solved most problems of the world in the course of our opining. Until yesterday we had not seen each other face to face since the voyage but our friendship and those of our wives has grown strong through phone and the magic of email. We have shared so much of life and ourselves. Very cool.

Now some of you might find this depressing but au contraire. It is marvelous. In my work if you can call it that, it is quite meaningful when a person opens up. I think because they trust me and know time is short they are able to say things that some would find so difficult. I probe gently but never invade. I never bang on a door that doesn’t want to be opened but I always stand ready with a key. It’s what I do.

I think that always mystifies me in a way. I was up in Wyoming last weekend with the Colorado Senior Golf Association. That is any old fart that is over 60 and knows how to swing a golf club for better or worse. Let’s say there were around 45 of us. As we sat at dinner with no seating arrangement your lot was cast in any number of personalities and age brackets. Some were facile in conversation and others guarded. Some expressed opinions in an open way and others let you know it was their way or the highway. But guess what TTG? It is what makes a horse race on this planet called Earth.

I guess in some strange way I am opening up to you. As I look back on this epistle I hope they don’t come across as random thoughts. They are just a summation of a few weeks of some serious interaction with my fellow man. It is strangely invigorating and cathartic. It says it is great to be alive and feel like a human being.

I am going to cut it short. I have to say good bye to my buddy one last time, hug his cute wife and wend my way back westward. I am so glad I came…that I reached out. Life is a long winding road. You need to stop and smell the roses. More importantly you have to stop and talk to your fellow travelers. Listen and you will learn volumes.

As always
Ted the Great

Factoids:
I wouldn’t know where to start.

Have Faith…..

I recently read that Pew Research has determined  the number of us who identify with religion has taken a fair downturn lately. While atheists do not yet outnumber the believing crowd, there are chinks in the armor. Some of you might say the masses are beginning to see the light. No, I am not going to take the holy roller position but I would like to explore faith in several different ways.

If you have faith it means you have a belief or confidence in some person, object, idea or view. By whatever means you arrived at that conclusion and you are behind “it” whatever “it” is. That faith can be blind or you could have extensive knowledge of the matter at hand thereby intensifying your belief .

I think one of the greatest examples of this is when you get on an airplane. Now I do not have an aeronautical degree and when it comes to engineering I have trouble putting a plug in a socket. So for me to take aerodynamics into consideration every time I cavort through the skies would spoil all the fun and cause me to have more than two scotches in flight.

It is not just the plane but the pilots, air traffic controllers, ramp personnel and maintenance people whose wagon I must hitch to in order to get where I am going. Ditto trains, buses and automobiles. After you have put the pedal to the metal you expect the engine to roar and like wise to decelerate when you spot that trooper just over the hill.

I went to the dermatologist today for my semi annual inspection and requisite freezing. I can’t see on top of my head or my posterior so I hope skin doc knows what she is looking at and acts accordingly. I told you all of my meeting with Da Vinci for my prostate cancer a few months ago and I definitely had to look young Dr. Paul Maronie in the eye and say I am with you. You gotta believe.

Food gets perplexing. I love chicken but a Frontline expose on the fowl industry definitely put me on the defensive. Seems these guys knew there was salmonella in their plants but it was at acceptable levels. Just who is defining “acceptable”? Was the milk pasteurized and the butter fresh? Did every employee wash their hands before returning to work?

There are two things at work in all of the above: machines or processes and people that carry them out. You can have the greatest widget or sanitary procedure but if the people don’t give a crap the reliability factor just dropped to basement B. Up to this point I have been very cool about all of this. I am not paranoid or a worrywart of any sort. Probably I am too far the other way and take life as it goes but I am beginning to wonder.

Faith is a trust in my fellow man. But today as we get more and more robotic in our every day dealings does this take some of the culpability out of it? Don’t worry big guy, no one will ever know. When I hand you something and have to look you in the eye and tell you how good it is there is a connection or a bond. When I receive your order by email and then tell the machine to pick it from the bin and automatically throw in the box with a preprinted sticker and have that package dropped by our local Amazon drone perchance the responsibility gets taken out of it by some margin. Maybe but just maybe I lose a little faith.

Faith is indeed a trust. I am incredibly believing to a fault. It has caused me angst and heartbreak from time to time but it is how I choose to spend my life. I am a cheerleader not an undertaker. (Sorry Body Snatcher). An outcome of this irrational exuberance is if you let me down I am crestfallen. I will look askance for a long time and you have to earn your stripes all over again whether you are a priest, politician or HP printer.
This has happened to me on several levels not the least of which is government. Under domes in DC and capitals throughout our fair nation we are being let down. Funds are squandered and promises broken. They hem and haw and fail to make decisions that are so necessary. We gave them the keys to the car and even the gas to run it and they drive it into a wall. We get our hopes up for change and that continually falls flat to personal greed and opportunism. Interestingly it is not our constitution that has failed but the people administering it.

Another good example is religion. Is God dead or just the hierarchy of churches be they Catholic or Islamic? It seems we take something that is inherently good and subvert it to our own ends. That is human frailty I know but when your actions affect so many people we will indeed hold you to a higher standard. I think we can all feel that as citizens of the US and the world. Oh my God, I think that means we are all dependent on one another to do the right thing. I am not sure our compasses are exactly heading in that direction at the moment.

The opposite of faith or hope is distrust and despair. You just can’t depend on anyone or anything. The world is against you and in turn you are against it. Your days are spent criticizing cheap goods or incompetent management. “I told you so” is a mantra and life as a whole sucks.

What a horrible way to live…at least for me. I have faith in our ability to eventually see things for what they are and to figure out a way to make them better. I have faith that quality not quantity will be the norm some time in the future. I have faith that it all works out for the better in the end and man is not inherently evil. If that is blind faith, so be it.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

There are in excess of 4200 religions throughout the world. They can monotheistic as in Abrahamic. Indian such as Buddhism and Hinduism. East Asian such as Confucianism, Shinto or Taoism. They cross cultures and countries. Unfortunately almost every one thinks they are the one true faith.

For the most part quality standards have increased not decreased. Computers modeling and robotics have led to more precise specifications and end results. This reliance has led to more human error situations.

Food quality in the US is determined by the Food Quality Act of 1990. The sheer magnitude of some processing facilities and their country wide distribution can cause huge recalls to occur. An outbreak in Oregon might be traced back to Tennessee as its point of origin.

60 million cars were recalled in the United States last year for anywhere from minor defects to serious problems. There were 89 million cars built worldwide. Detroit, we have a problem.

Guilt…..

I took a long walk this AM and before I left I looked up the definition of guilt. That’s not to say I am still in my Lenten/Passover mode but it was just a fun concept to roll around in Ted’s Head during my trek.By definition it is taking responsibility for a crime or malfeasance where you have done harm to someone. You have violated some sort of personal or societal maxim. 

There are serious guilts.You have killed someone. Perhaps a Ponzi scheme has been your life’s work for several years. Rape, pillage, embezzlement and drug running are what I would call big time. Then there is a lighter note.

I love to give the guilts to my kids. The best defense is a good offense. Nothing penal just being my usual smart ass self and having fun. A good deal of guilt is ethnic. Irish guilt is “I’m fine don’t worry about me. Saints preserve us and praise God.Now run along.” Jewish guilt is much more direct. An orthodox grandmother can cut you in two with her whining and lamentations. Ah but Italian guilt is the worst…the long cold silent stare. Al Capone in heels. Then when they call a conclave of the paisan sisterhood at your niece’s First Communion you are screwed. 

In guilt a manifestation of your plight can be pacing the floor going over your transgressions in minute detail. It can be trying to figure out if they are just tired or never going to talk to you again? How about the sinking feeling as they stare at you and all you can do is keep saying “What?” over and over again. Usually the biggest problem is getting them to verbalize the reason for their venom. Is that all? I thought it was something serious. Uh oh. 

We let’s go beyond family. I am supposed to feel badly because I have too much money in the eyes of the world or then again maybe not enough. My house is too big to you and too small to my wife and kids. Gays tell me I am not showing them proper respect and the conservative right says you are sacrificing your morals by being nice. Blacks say they have been oppressed for centuries and I owe them. The flip side says I am too liberal and it’s every man for himself. For just about everyone I do too much or don’t do enough. What’s a guy to do?

 “Collective Guilt” is a concept in which individuals are responsible for other people’s actions by tolerating, ignoring, or harboring them, without actively collaborating in these actions. You could be a German in WWII and no matter what your personal ethics you were deemed a monster. Every one on Wall Street is a greedy bastard. The Jews? Of course they all killed Jesus. Every one of them.

Where does this all come from? I think it is mostly a convenient or ignorant way to confront a problem. Why screw up a good line of thinking with facts? You are gay and I am macho.It’s weird and deviant for you to love one another. Case closed. I am white and you are black. You are all crooks, pimps and murderers. There can’t be a decent one among you. Can’t we even talk?

No we cannot because no matter what I say it is going to be politically incorrect. I have to be careful not to offend someone who is perceived to have a disadvantage. This is getting fun but terribly whacky. Okay you want to have a dialogue. But I cannot express my true feelings because you will be hurt. Then again you don’t mind inflicting pain on me. Is this just me?

I wonder if this makes democracy impossible? We have all these diverse groups running around with their own idea of heaven. With over 300 million participants there are going to be a whole bunch of different points of view. When we try to distill it into six or seven major subheadings someone if not all are going to start to scream. How do we get consensus?

The first and most important thing to do is take a Bromo and chill out a little. Let’s not try to read into every word I say or facial expression evidence of this nuance or that. We are not negotiating nuclear weapons. We are trying to achieve some sort of common ground.But it is that insistence on every syllable being perfect that cuts off any discussion. “Just what did you mean by that?” Maybe the downtrodden want it that way? If I keep you back on your heels I have the upper hand for a change. Fascinating.

Wedding cakes seem to be the cause celebre. You want a seven tier special for you and your spouse to be who happens to be of the same sex. The baker is just to the right of John Birch. He’ll bake the cake but won’t put the icing on it. You want to make a stand and so does he. Personally I think you should both get over it. On either side we are talking about a tying of the knot which is usually not a life and death situation. And yet we ALL want to amp it up and the rite of joining takes the second or third spot in importance.

“Don’t be so sensitive.” How many times have we heard that? It is actually quite apt. Don’t take yourself to be center of the universe. Gays, straights, blacks, whites, females, males all have their right to do whatever they want but don’t continually jam it down our collective throats. Don’t give me the guilts because I ain’t going to buy it.

I am as compassionate as the next guy. I try to make the world a better place but let me work with you. Paint me in a corner and my reaction will be predictable. This goes for the disadvantaged and well as the elite. It has to start now and not when the other side gives in. Take a step, get a life and grow up. We have a lot of work to do. Me? Guilty as charged.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:
Ted The Great has uttered somewhere in his life the Chinks, Spics, Guineas, Hebes, Polaks and probably the N word. I don’t consider myself racist or homophobic but I have spoken of these in jokes, anger or just common talk. It was and is wrong. Mea Culpa. As a matter of fact mea maxima culpa. That’s just in case I run for President

When I hit a putt short I will more often than not utter to myself “Hit it you fag”. This is not in any way associated with gays but rather as a boy you were a fag if you were anything less than the Incredible Hulk. Nothing to do with sexuality.

I have been called on occasion(too many) an a__hole. I have chastised my compadres who hurl this invective at me for their utter degradation of the species known as a__holes by including me in their ranks. Then again I shouldn’t worry because in most cases today a__holes are a majority not a minority.

We protest discrimination, animal rights, civil liberties, the environment et alia but there is no hue and cry against the trafficking in human beings. To wit the fact that several people were indicted for importing over 15 girls 10-16 years of age for the 2013 Super Bowl in New York so high rollers could have their fun. Do you have a 10 year old niece, daughter or granddaughter?