In My Humble Opinion..

 

It seems today everyone has an opinion about something. On etymological  matters such as these I go to Webster’s: Opinion, a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter. Sounds healthy enough. The key words to me are view and judgment. These are not incontrovertible facts but a reasoning or deduction of sorts.

 My first thought is to consider the source. Is this person considered an expert on that particular topic or are they just shooting from the hip?th-5.jpeg Did they derive their thesis from years of study or is it the diploma of the streets that gives them a sense of authenticity? You and I have all run into someone who spouts off with not a lot of know how. Such are our times.

I did a talk on Global Migration a few months ago. What gave me the right? First I used a well thought out syllabus from the Institute of Foreign Policy. I also spent a fair amount of time studying and reading. I was not an expert by any means but I had some chops. 

People asked me if I was nuts speaking on such a volatile subject but hopefully I took them on a journey through facts. What are the numbers? What is the law? What is the current state of our facilities? As I prepared and learned facts I found myself drifting from one side of the argument to the other. Maybe I could offer God forbid, an informed opinion? 

I will tell you today it is the law that if someone presents themselves at our doorstep requesting asylum they are heard by a border control officer. If they are denied they have a right to appeal and stay until they are heard. Now you may have an opinion for or against but that is the law.images-25.jpeg 

Now the numbers become startling. There are over 1 million people who have requested asylum. There are 394 judges who will hear those appeals. These people have to be processed properly and that takes time for an overwhelmed Border Patrol. The facilities were outposts to hold four or five people in detention not hundreds and thousands. You can have an opinion as to whether that is the proper way to do it but that is what we as a society have set up through our legislatures and bureaucracy. 

I think where we go astray is by considering our machinations to be without fault. We think our sources are irrefutable. Joe Jones told me this and of course he knows what he is talking about. Time after time I have questioned people’s logic and they cannot say with certainty the origin of their facts. 

It is rather bizarre in our info inflated world there are so many false accusations and assumptions on both sides of the fence. I think when you get right down to it, the hoi polloi and even the cognoscenti should really do more dumpster diving before they shoot their mouths off. Fuggedaboutit TTG ! Well we can always dream, can’t we?

In truth we all believe that our opinions are true and valid. They are part of our psyche. Some seem right. Some seem terribly wrong. They have been formed over years or etched because of certain event. We can vote them out of the mainstream but if we are to have any credence as a democracy we must at least allow them to think so. 

I am not a fan of Colin Kapernick nor Wayne Lapierre. I cringe at Hannity. I wince at Maddow. We can allow them soap boxes and even praise them. But we cannot accept what they say as fact driven truth. It is an opinion and they are entitled to it. 

The most interesting part of all this is that I probably agree on at least one tenet espoused by all of the above. Something in there makes sense when stripped of the dramatics and vitriol. I have this crazy thought that if we assembled a little from each we could find a workable solution to our knottiest of problems. But then again that is just my opinion. 

As always

 Ted The Great 

Factoids:

The difference between fact and opinion on the following grounds: The fact is described as the statement that can be verified or proved to be true. Opinion is an expression of judgment or belief about something. Fact relies on observation or research while opinion is based on assumption.

Types of Opinions:

Op Ed 

Legal Opinon

Financial  Opinion

Judicial Opinion: Majority, Concurring,Dissenting

Critical  Opinion in Art, Music, Golf Swings !!!!

And in al of them they are just opinions. 

IMHO: In my humble option. Are you kidding me? Who is humble?th-4.jpeg

Out Of This World…

 

We had our twelve year old grandson and eight year old granddaughter visiting us for a week. A trip to the Kennedy Space Center was in order. If you haven’t been, it is extraordinary. It is a microcosm of our ingenuity, steadfastness and yes, at times our arrogance. 

In 1962 when President John F. Kennedy made his pronouncement that we would get to the moon before the end of the decade we witnessed a shift of gears from low to high, that the world had never seen. In the Space Park you see the early versions of rocketry and are astounded how far we have become in both payloads and sophistication. th.jpeg

You keep saying to yourself that it was 50 years ago we went to the moon. There was a coordinated effort beyond imagination in that 400,000 people of all sorts were involved in the project. We were clever enough to assemble rockets, install tracking systems, plan for all sorts of catastrophes and above all, pull it off before the advent of cell phones and personal computers.  

When you look at the behemoth rockets and cargo bays of the shuttle you begin to fathom the complexity of millions of parts that are somehow strewn together and work in perfect harmony. Just one breakdown would spell doom as it did with Challenger and a faulty “O” ring. Yet fatalities over the time span of a more than ambitious program were relatively few. From 1981 to 2011 there were 185 missions flown. Astounding!

Now one can argue is it all worth it? Have the trillions of dollars spent worldwide really brought us a better planet. One can say surveillance in space has brought about world peace if for no other reason than keeping everyone honest. There have been all sorts of technological advancements from advanced alloys to toilets that are self sufficient. Yes we can even drink our own urine but let’s not go there. But that is not my takeaway. 

First is that we are just a dot in a myriad of galaxies. Who knows if there is life out there? Not quite sure if that really makes a difference to me. It is almost arrogant, and not surprisingly so, that we want to take our form of civilization somewhere else. This compulsion to colonize Mars seems somewhat absurd when we have so much to do here. 

The second and more important insight I derived is that when we put our mind to something and finance it properly we can achieve results that are beyond amazing and in a relatively short period of time. Why do we seem to be bogged down with the most elementary problems of our time when we have gone to the moon. 

“The future is plastics, my boy” as we were told in the Graduate. This fantastic polymer has been a Godsend to our lives for decades. I took a count of the number of times I encountered plastic everyday in my life and was blown away. From my Diet Coke bottle to my golf balls to the tube for my tooth paste, it habituates and at the same time destroys the marine environment I so treasure. th-3.jpeg

Let’s not get into the politics of petrochemicals but can you tell me that no one along the line has given a thought to the indestructibility of the coffee cup lids and disposable diapers until now? Were we asleep at the switch or just malfeasant. We put it in the environment. Can’t our highly creative minds figure out a way to get it out? And before 2025 or 2050 or whatever. . 

My two favorites are rust and asphalt. Think about rust for a minute. Our bridges, the undersides of our cars, our pipes, our ironwork succumb to this devilish little oxide. It still exists after centuries of destruction. No one has come up with a way to eliminate it. 

Ditto asphalt. Every year the northern climes breed millions of pot holes. They not only have to be repaired but the growth economy of  tire replacement and wheel realignment thrives as well. th-2.jpegCan’t we come up with some sort of resin or epoxy that is indestructible? Isn’t there some genius out there come up with these seemingly simple solutions? Probably not sexy enough to spend one’s time on. 

We have cancers of the body and cancers of the mind. We spend so much on tumors and growths but how much do we spend on brain research by comparison? We have every sort of treatment center for lungs and kidneys and livers but we look the other way on what is between our ears. Would a moon shot type effort bring a little more peace and quiet to our unsettled minds. 

The long and the short are simple. If Elon or Jeff wants to live on Mars let them…at their own cost. It almost seems their desire to go is the result of a world they helped create being less habitable than the Red Planet. Contrary to current thought, let’s assume the checkbook is limited. What are the problems in our society that if given the same set of coordinated effort and funding that Apollo had, could we solve once and for all.

We had a vision that was monumental and we succeeded. We have so many things on our “to do” lists as a nation and a world that rate that same type of attention. Poverty, food shortages, disease, education. Yikes. We have enough to keep us busy without leaving our Big Blue Marble.th-6.jpeg Maybe we should reestablish our priorities? Wouldn’t  that be out of this world?

 

As Always,

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy is where the Shuttles were blasted into orbit. The base of the pad has 100’s of thousands of gallons of water pumped to deaden the noise and impact. The white billow clouds are actually steam. If you were within 500 feet the concussion would kill you. If you were within 1000 feet the noise would kill you. 

There are 2.7 million miles of roads in the US. 94% of them are paved with asphalt. There are 3500 plants throughout the US putting out 400 million tons of the black stuff annually. 

Rust is formed on metal surfaces with the combination of water and air. Rust could cost the world well over $685 billion per annum.th-5.jpeg The cost to the US alone is pegged at over $300 billion.

We spend over $225 billion on mental health per annum. Approximately 15.7 million people are alcoholics and 15 million have some kind of drug dependency. We spend over $10,000 per capita or $3.5 trillion on healthcare as a whole.

Image Is Everything…

th-1.jpegA couple of month’s ago, when I saw Notre Dame burning it was quite startling. A few years ago Kathy and I visited this wonderful cathedral. As we walked around the interior perimeter I remember thinking of the history involved. Not so much the art work but how many people had come and prayed and gawked over those centuries. 

Churches represent so many facets of life. In their day they were built to provide a place of worship but also education. Not a lot of people read or wrote so the stained glass windows told a story to the peasants. Alas also a place to confess but also to be browbeaten by fire and brimstone sermons from the lofty pulpit. I personally like when the priest or minister has a mic and walks down the aisle to address the faithful. Almost like he or she is one of us. 

I have never quite understood the grandeur. Was it to pay homage to God or to back up the power of the church and government all in one swoop? Back then, popes had to approve of new monarchs so the concept of separation of church and state was a joke. Do the spires ascend to or taunt the Creator with a  “You think You are cool, wait til you see what we build next”? 

I understand the rebuild of Our Lady will run up to $8 billion which of course will balloon to $10-15 billion when all is said and done. The Yellow Vests are going nuts and maybe they should.They will have a pretty church but who really cares if no one attends. Maybe we should have naming rights? The Paribas Cathedral of Notre Dame. “Your money is in God’s hands.” How about The Total Petroleum Religious Gas Station? “Get fueled up for the after life.” 

Aside from churches we seem hell bent of reflecting our souls with our edifices. Skyscrapers now soar for work or residence. No longer a three room apartment but a three floor monument to me.cbe932a71d290225a8e51016e11f2edc.jpg There was a fellow down at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale who built a 10,000 square foot house with two bedrooms. Go ahead. You can spend your money any way you want, but isn’t that a tad gauche? 

Go into a law office, investment bank, or architectural firm. There are at least three forests worth of wood paneling in the lobby or should I say sanctuary. Wait until you see the place your meeting is in and if you are really lucky you get to see the board room sans the big wheels. Armani suits, limos and the like are part of the act. And with all that you are supposed to be dumbstruck and sign blindly on the dotted line. Might is right!

I always ask the question if these people really know what they are doing? The retort is a brusque snort as they display their diplomas from the Ivies or Wharton or Kellogg. People tell me that my alma mater, Georgetown is a fine school. My poly sci degree doesn’t mean diddly but some poor fool thinks I am smart anyway. 

We visualize cars, yachts, private jets and even exotic pets as the marks of truly remarkable men and women. We ooh and aah at the runways of Hollywood and Wall Street. The Hamptons and Malibus. We read Architectural Digest and gaze longingly at the Robb Report. With all the puff and pomp how do we know what is real? 

Maybe I am getting old but it really does not matter to me. I just threw away a golf shirt that my daughter gave me 15 years ago. We live in a “modest” home with three bedrooms and OMG only two baths! We drive decent cars and don’t have to spend $500 on dinner to feel good. We had lunch awhile back with an old friend from Swift Boat days. The four of us ate at a wonderful dockside restaurant that was overshadowed by double wides. Worked for us. 

It is very interesting and somewhat unusual where we live. There is never a conversation about curriculum vitae or net worths. There is plenty of money but it just does not matter. I have had some of the most marvelous conversations that could be, over a glass of scotch or a cup of coffee from a simple deck overlooking the water.  Nothing crazy but going deep into this or that. Great stuff.

th-6.jpegCut us open and we are all the same. We treasure our looks and our place in society. When it is over who really cares? Your clothes or cars or undrunk rare wines in your cellar are residue. Did you leave the world a better place or is the world better without you? Interesting question. 

I am not really sure if Notre Dame should be rebuilt? Is it emblematic of a time gone by? Maybe leave the walls and just put in a small chapel. Churches shouldn’t be points of interest on the Hop On Hop Off bus. Not a totem of a city or nation to be cashed in on. Pop in and say a prayer. Think a kind thought. Sweet and simple. I think that is an image I can live with.  How about you? 

As always

Ted The Great.

Factoids:

Tracy Morgan who almost died after a wreck on the NJ Turnpike years ago, was sideswiped a couple of miles from the dealership. He had just purchased a $2 million Bugatti and the woman was driving a Honda CRV. Priceless!0604-tracy-morgan-car-crash-bugatti-photos-launch-3.jpg

There is an extremely wealthy magnate that has five homes throughout the world. Everyday they are stocked with fresh flowers and provisions and fully staffed on the chance he may want to drop in.

A Stuart Hughes Diamond edition suit costs $892,500 Savile Row in London boasts suits for anywhere from $25-100,000. Shoes  can run $500-2,000 per pair. There is even a self tying pair of of Nike sneakers that go for $28,000. I wonder what the Odor Eaters cost?

Ringing in at $22,900, this Dubai suite from Burj Al Arab provides Hermes bath products and five-head rain showers to create the ultimate bathroom experience. The suite also features 17 types of pillows, a rotating four-posted bed, full-size Jacuzzis, a private butler and even the free use of a 24-carat gold-plated iPad. I wondered if sitting on the Jake feels any different?

Taking Pause….

th-6.jpegAfter reading a plethora of newspaper articles this weekend I decided to push back from the table of public affairs. It is not that I am giving up on our world but I need a break. Trade wars, impeachment, Brexit, Iran and North Korea will just have to wait. Time for some fun thinking. 

Several years back I happened upon a woman on a deck overlooking the Atlantic in Ponte Vedra. She was chatting with a friend and wore a red baseball cap. I apologized for smoking a cigar but was given absolution for it was my birthday. This cute damsel immediately threw a question at me. “Is your life a roller coaster or a merry go round?” What a fascinating  question.

In a dose of revery I am contemplating deeply on this beautiful Florida morning. We or at least I tend to look at things in an analytic terms. Is it this or that and then we apply some sort of standard to see if our theorem is valid.  When do we just stop and have fun? No right or wrongs, just letting it rip.

If you were a fish what type would you be? Would you sport dazzling colors or would want to blend in with reefs on the ocean floor? Do you travel in schools or pods or do you search the ocean like the Great White? Part of the food chain or king or queen of the undersea world? Me? I think I would like to be a porpoise.th-8.jpeg Cavorting with friends and sometimes veering off on my own. Chasing an ocean liner or freighter and having people look down and say, man I wish I could do that. Funny thing is they can.

Birds are interesting creatures. At our little refuge called Harbour Ridge there are thousands of them of all shapes and sizes. Some are delicate, some are brazen. They all patrol looking for their next meal. There is an osprey nest high above our seventh hole on one of our golf courses. It’s a par three and you usually wait for the green to clear. You get to know the family and the cycle of life as they grow from chicks to kids and rehearsing for their first solo flight. Real life.th-5.jpeg

Sand hill cranes are graceful and unruffled. Egrets soar and swoop. Cardinals shoot by and their color is surprising on the oh so green landscape. The ducks spawn their flocks and they parade through the ponds with Mom watching closely. Their numbers dwindle as they become breakfast or dinner for some gator but it is part of life. I think the osprey would be me. Observing my milieu from an aerie and hopefully raising a decent family. 

What if I was a car? Here the possibilities are endless. Are you functional and practical or are you gaudy and ostentatious?  Prius or Porsche? Ford or Ferrari? Is your top down and blaring some music that you sing along to or are you hermetically sealed and away from the outside world? 

You belong to a club and of course you must keep up with the Joneses as you make your grand entrance in the parking lot. BMW or Bentley? Maybe something more classic like a 65 Mustang or vintage Mercedes roadster. But then again maybe your club is not country but local. Perhaps we are taking about a big ass Ford F250 and everyone leers jealously as you pull into you local watering hole. th-10.jpegI would probably be an Audi. Q5 for some room but not too big. Dark green with tan interior. Neat but not gaudy. 

Clothes are fun. I laugh when I see the weekend segments of the New York Times or WSJ. There is some pain in the ass designer from Milan, Paris or New York who wants to tell me that I am dated. Maybe I am but I don’t want to hear it from him or her. My nephew tells me pleats are out. BFD. It is a metaphor of how you feel in your own skin. Constantly changing or comfortable with what you got. 

 Dress codes seem to be going by the wayside. We were in a very nice oceanfront restaurant the other night. It was special night and we tried to dress accordingly. Across the way were two couples and the guys were wearing tee shirts and ball caps. If clothes make the man I wonder what that meant? I guess for me my appearance is a thing of pride not haute couture. Do people not care how they look or is that their way of expressing themselves? Good question. 

All this meandering up and down the hallways of my mind is to me a lot of fun. Thinking outside the box. Trying to simplify the world not make it more complicated. Not trying to invent the latest and greatest but studying the present lineup of Mother Nature and our everyday lives. Taking all we have and making it relevant without yearning for this or that. We are indeed lucky no matter what our lot. 

Getting back to that cute girl in the ball cap. A gust blew up and knocked it off her head. Beneath she was as bald as I am. She was there for a month undergoing chemo at the Mayo Clinic. I don’t know if she made it but she really got me thinking. I thank her for that. It made me pause and I try to do so every day. I hope I got you trying to do the same

As always

Ted The Great  

Factoids:

In 2017 there were 237 existing car models on sale in the US with 38 new models introduced. There are 1.2 billion cars on the roads worldwide at the present time with 2 billion expected by 2035. 

th-1.jpegThere are a collection of 16 million colors a computer can generate. The question of what is your favorite is complicated. Add to that is the fact you and I see and comprehend colors differently. My favorite color is green. Look out your window and tell me how many shades of green you see.?

There are over 24,000 species of fish worldwide. There are at least 18,000 species of birds. Try to define yourself in that crowd. If you think about it their designer is not in Paris and most likely of another world. At least I think so. 

Leave Me Alone….

 

Fully 35% of the population of the United States over 40, considers themselves lonely. I don’t know what that adds up to in millions but let’s just say the number is daunting. Many of them do not have even one person they can go to in a jam. Were we always this solitary?th.jpeg

I am reading a book by David Brooks, “The Second Mountain”. Intriguingly I have asked several people what they think of this erudite columnist for the New York Times and I get strange responses. Arch conservatives consider him a sellout. Others reason he is just another talking head. I find his insights to be provocative regardless of philosophical bent. It dawned on me how much people just tune out parts of the world. 

In his book he discerns between community and tribalism. Community is a connection based on mutual affection. Tribalism is based on mutual hatred. In our efforts to stoke individualism we close doors not open them. Basically if we only surround ourselves with like minders we keep narrowing our spheres of influence and communication. Pretty soon we can’t find anyone of our ilk or if we do the conversation becomes so stale as to not even be worthwhile. 

I remember years ago when my mom was dying. I came in from Arizona to visit her. One afternoon while she was taking a nap, I took a walk in the little village where I grew up. Let’s say there were fifty or sixty homes in the vicinity. th-7.jpegAs I traversed the South Drives and Heights Roads, I could tell you the name of every person who had lived in each house. An anecdote about that family or a particular personality cropped up continually. Could anyone do that today? 

We no longer need to write hard copy with pen and ink. We can email or text and the better the shorthand, the faster I can get this over with. Thoughts are now in acronyms. LMAO. TTFN. WTF. Emoticons take the place of prose. Everything designed for sweet and simple. No sense in wasting all that emotion. We have streamlined society. 

Today, people go weeks and months without ever having contact with another human being. Order your coffee or lunch by phone. Swipe your card. Never look up. Eye contact verboten. Linger over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine? What are you nuts? I am a busy person and so much to do.  Why waste the time? 

We don’t go to the store. Amazon Prime will soon get it to you by this afternoon after your internet order. Probably by drone so you don’t have to see the delivery person.th-12.jpeg Your taxi or bus will soon be driverless. Golf courses will equip carts with music. Why? Who wants to waste time with meaningless conversation. I can listen to a podcast between shots. That sounds of nature bullshit is way overrated. I have to be more productive in my spare time.  

We play video games instead of Monopoly or Risk. I don’t want to go to exercise class. I will get my own personal trainer. Better yet I can hop on my Peloton and become wired to someone hundreds of miles away whom I have never met, much less had a meaningful conversation with. 

The most existential question in all of this, If I don’t have to care about anyone else but me who the hell is going to eventually worry about me when I can’t? Do I have any meaning or worth? Hmmm, if I don’t, why should I go on living? Suicides have jumped 35% since 2000. Any wonder?

We don’t trust our institutions. The Church, the government, and corporate America like Boeing? If there is no God why do we need ethics? If politicians are corrupt why obey the laws? If the bottom line is more important than integrity then I better change my ways before I get left behind.

This may sound hyperbolic. I think not. The more individual we become the more estranged we are from human emotion. Empathy, pathos, charity, brotherhood, motherhood, all become collateral damage. 

I can attest to Mr.Brooks poignant observation that there is no greater wellspring of joy than when one gives of themselves. th-13.jpegWhen you have made someone’s day better by smile or a helping hand you can’t help but feel good inside. Correction. Not good but fantastic. You have made them feel worthy of consideration in our thoughtless world. 

Recently I have had a long talk with a friend who tragically lost his brother. I also had a casual acquaintance break down when for some reason he decided to tell me of a horribly dysfunctional upbringing. I had a woman in hospice who finally sobbed after being a rock for her failing husband for 6 long years. 

There is nothing special about putting yourself out there for others. We are social beings and we all need a shoulder to cry on. Our loneliness is self imposed and so unnecessary. If you are particularly feeling bad, put down all the electronics and head for Starbucks. There is someone, somewhere that just needs a friendly face or a welcoming pose. Sorry about this falderal  but get used to it.  I am just not going to leave you alone.

As always

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

One third of those from the age of 45-63 are single. You can be lonely in groups if you are unable to feel worthwhile.th-3.jpeg

Cries for help. People who become more withdrawn and unwilling to go out socially are actually screaming for help. 

Loneliness affects our heart rate, immune system and overall longevity. Today’s living environments with large apartment buildings or tract housing contribute to a sense of isolation. 

There is a Jekyll and Hyde side to technology. It makes it easier for people to anonymously say pretty nasty things. On another note the spontaneity of reaching out to an old friend has its rewards. Go figure. 

Got A Minute?…..

th.jpegIn our frenetic world, time is of the essence whether you are running for a train, appointment or a date. “Gotta go” or “gotta jump” are the bywords of our generation. Way back when the wonderful world of microcomputers began, the greatest promise of the era was how much time we were going to save. How is that working out for you? 

Since we are so pressed, one becomes more and more aware of wasted time. The classic dilemma is meetings. To start the conversation, I abhor them. To me they are a combination of opining and cover your ass(CYA). How many times have you gone into a meeting where they are looking for input? They don’t want input but they feel they owe it to the masses to be heard. Kind of give them that warm fuzzy feeling all over and they will go home happy. 

As the meeting wears on there are new and different ideas expressed. The glares from the cognoscenti after any sort of contrary thoughts  is one of disdain or sheer impatience. God forbid you have something clever to add because that makes them look like idiots for not having thought of that in the first place. Name your poison but the statistics are startling. 

In corporate America it is estimated that people spend over 40% of their time in meetings. Horrendous duplication of efforts and inclusion. We bring staff and members of the lunatic fringe to make sure everyone is there. As my mind wanders the compass points to due North in Washington,DC

Look at what we have gone through with the Mueller Investigation. I am making no decision on the efficacy of the proceedings but after all those hours of research and testimony the gang of the Left want to start the program all over again. Mueller impressed me as a pretty straightforward and methodical guy even if he was an attorney. Compare that to the rambling showboating committee hearings. 

view-of-the-house-judiciary-committee-hearings-on-whether-impeachment-cx08df.jpgThe House version can have up to 30-40 representatives each receiving an allotted time to strut their stuff. The SLR’s are clicking at lightning speed and the live feeds are the things dreams are made of. Let’s just add on two or three in staff for both the solons and the committee itself and you see why things are so screwed up. Think of the man and woman hours that are wasted. The witnesses also  have their posses and it drones on for hours. 

What was I thinking? That only happens from late Monday to early Wednesday afternoon. Gotta press the flesh you know. And yet there are over 200 committees and subcommittees of our fair mothership. Oh yes I forgot to add all that goes on at the state, county and city levels also. How about schools, churches, clubs and societies? 

Meetings done right are great. You have a well thought out agenda, you get to the point and then move on. People have tried meetings where everyone has to stand. That gets it over in a hurry. Others try snacks and pastries. That just adds to the lethargy. The point is the vast majority of us really don’t like them but somehow like other things we just accept them as a part of life. 

All of this may sound silly but there are so many hours in the day but more importantly in our lives. People get caught up in the mundane. Imagine the incredible power we have to change things for the better. What if those politicos spent the same amount of time on immigration, or infrastructure or education rather than farting around looking for more skeletons? I am not a Trumper but can’t we have a few moments of sanity?

KIDquiettime1.jpgThere should be a time for each one of us to do some deep thinking. The Catholics have retreats but they aren’t particularly in vogue right now. If you are lucky you get a paid sabbatical but that is for the chosen few. Just some time in your day or week where you sit down and just think. The phone gets turned off and you look out over the city or water or mountains and just think. Most will shrug that off as lunacy or trivial. I get it. 

Just for a brief period of time think of who you are and where you are situated in these crazy times. Think of your life and question how satisfying it is? Not in monetary terms but in soulful ones. Think of your spouse and kids and grandkids. Close friends. Really meditate on why you are here and how can you in some small way make it a better place. Got a minute? I hope so.

As always 

Ted The Great

Factoids. 

Harvard Business Review interviewed:

We surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.That is truly sad. 

Saturday-Quiet-Time-Show-Image-Main_article_image.pngQuiet time does not necessarily demand meditation but if practiced, the end results are somewhat startling. Both physically and emotionally. 

You Owe Me…

It seems we have come to a watershed in many areas. The myriad of outcries about sex, race, creed, income, medical benefits, housing et al provide an interesting diorama of our society. We are not grateful. We are demanding.images-3.jpeg We all feel like somehow we are being screwed. Rich, poor, white, black and brown, gay, straight. We are equal opportunity whiners. 

Don’t get me wrong. There are injustices everywhere. Yet I hearken back to the simple words of our constitution: Life,Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sure the Statue of Liberty says give me your poor huddled masses but is that with carte blanche entitlements? Is the American Dream a fairy tale or reality. 

First off, we want people to come here and earn their citizenship. I concur. But what did you or I do to earn ours? Was there a litmus test of sorts when we were children that said okay you pass and can move on. I go back to the Lucky Sperm Club. For all we know we could be sitting around a campfire in Namibia having this conversation instead of in cyberspace lolling in a big easy chair.

We not only take things for granted, we ever presently say that is not enough. We deserve a roof over our head but it does not have to be a mega mansion with tv’s, en suite bathrooms and closets bursting with the latest of everything. We deserve a decent meal but that does not demand haute cuisine 24/7. Clothes on our back? Yes but not designer everything. 

We were having lunch with friends the other day. They decried the state of our politics. I asked several rhetorical questions. Only 50% vote in a good year.Did you?  Representatives are constantly reelected without as much as a concrete platform or grading system to see what they have really accomplished. We couldn’t be bothered. When was the last time you went to a town hall meeting and asked substantive questions? I thought so. 

People constantly tell me they don’t want to get involved. Go for it TTG but don’t ask me to stand up and speak with you. images-8.jpegYou don’t understand they say. I am terribly busy and have so much to do. Most of all I don’t want to look bad in front of my friends. We just sit there and mutter under our breath or with the certain few we know we can trust. 

Entitlements are just that. Not! Social Security was meant for widows and orphans. Medicare was an emergency program to prevent people from falling through the cracks. Colleges can work on the community level as well as the Ivies. Toll roads were everywhere and meant to be self supporting. We have grown inexorably as a country but have we grown up as citizens?

We have lotteries in all but 4 states. They are supposed to be good clean fun. Yet the market is the poor who see this as their only way to an impossible dream. Casinos proliferate and are patronized by the same downtrodden masses. We now have marijuana shops on every corner. Bitcoin? Another ruse akin to tulips. 

Our world is non stop fantasy. Clothes, cruises, cars, entertainment, booze and drugs are meant to take us away from our miserable existences. Not only does my life suck but you are to blame.You have made all these things unattainable unless I am rich. Ordinary just doesn’t cut it as a way of life. So what is the answer? Give me. Give me. Give me. 

You know the stupid part is that in so many ways we were more than comfortable before all this started. Homes, cars and clothes were functional and just a tad fashionable. We made up our own games as kids and did not need the latest game controller. We played pick up baseball and did not need uniforms and umpires. Dad drank Schaefer beer and ice cream was treat once a week rather than a nightly staple. 

I am not an old fart and I love nice things. But ask yourself a question.  If you didn’t have all this would you really die? Could you figure out a way to exist? How much is necessity and how much is pure fluff? Would your life be ruined and not as a teenager but as an adult? Is it really that bad? 

It seems to me that we as a country and a world have become spoiled brats.images.jpeg Think of true poverty and how bad off some people really are. It is blatantly obvious to me that you don’t owe me but I owe someone else in a very big way. Kind of interesting to think about that. Ya think?

As always

Ted The Great

Factoids:

Our basic instincts of survival cause us to want to stay alive and thrive. We are threatened and respond. We seek protection for our selves and our families. It’s natural.

We are all hypocrites. I feel your pain but I am really glad I don’t have any. Sorry you lost but then again I won. It’s natural. 

When faced with a choice, we immediately will choose the easy one. It’s naturally what we want to do. We always want everything to be easier in our life. Easy feels good. Easy feels relaxing. Easy is stress free. It’s natural

Life is not fair or unfair. We contrive a vision of what we think life should be and judge ourselves accordingly.  It’s natural. images-7.jpeg