Going Nuts In La La Land….

 

I successfully navigated my presentation on Global Migration last Monday. More than 100 denizens of Harbour Ridge politely listened to TTG and by all accounts I was a tad more than presentable. At least nobody threw anything.

images.jpegKathy asked me what was next and I have been cogitating about that all week. But there is nagging voice in my head. I started to recreate my talk for you but in truth it was far too wordy. I have been frustrated by my inability to come up with a pithy solution to migration. Maybe like many of you. 

Migration has gone on for millennia. It is a force of nature. A wall, short of putting out 10,000 volts upon touching, is not going to stop anyone. in my humble estimation, bringing new people to our shores should not be curtailed . It is what keeps us vibrant, creative and in may cases alive. God forbid that we admit we need help in everything from the sciences to cutting our lawns.

Yuval Harari in his book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” puts it best in his chapter on immigration. First we must decide are we going to let people in ? If we vote yes then is it a privilege we are bestowing or a moral right open to all? Antis will claim we are being invaded and we have worked hard to make our country what it is. You can’t just come in here and screw it up. 

Fair enough but are we all willing to look the other way when it comes to cleaning our houses, serving our restaurants and making construction projects more affordable? We want to have our cake and eat it too. Okay, you can bus tables but does that mean I have to educate you and take care of you if you are sick? Interesting question.

Secondly, if I do let you in, then you should have to play by my rules. You have a responsibility to assimilate. That is not as obsequious as it may sound. We have some sort of identity as Americans even though I am hard pressed to define what it is. imagesYou cannot have Sharia Law in your neighborhood. You should learn the language. You should work to fit in no matter how hard we make it. More on that later. 

Lastly we have to decide how long am I going to give you to meet some sort of standards? Five years? A generation? Please don’t forget the Little Italies, Germantowns and Chinatowns we have not only endured but embraced. They did not happen overnight. 

Living in Harbour Ridge or Palm Desert or Denver is not all that different. We as a nation have created habitats over many generations. Cities, neighborhoods and parishes. And the pure and simple truth is we don’t like outsiders and we don’t want change. We reminisce about the good old days and yearn for Ozzie and Harriet or some other look alike to move in next door. Sorry kids, those days are gone. 

Give me that old time religion? How many of us go to church? Muslims scare the crap out of us. Anyone named Muhammed has to be wearing a suicide belt. What is that lady under the hijab looking at? What really goes on inside those mosques? They eat funny food even though we wolf down sushi, Thai food and and Indian cuisine is not exactly from the Navajos. . 

We abhor new things but our world and our tastes have completely turned over since the sixties and seventies. We just have never paid attention to it. Remember when Swanson TV dinners were an acceptable cuisine? Point being? Change is good as long as it is gradual. If you don’t believe we have made changes for the better in food, medicine, transportation et al, then enjoy your own little part of the world. The rest of us have to move on in some sort of sane way. 

The point about transitions happening at a moderate pace should not be looked at askance. The left wants it tomorrow. The right never wants it. Their extreme positions although terribly popular today are untenable. We wind up getting nowhere. I don’t know about you but nowhere is not my desired destination. 

Migration is a microcosm of our world. To get it right we have to be deliberative, compromising and above all cognizant of our fellow man or woman. Yes, we should reach out to the people that need it but we can’t run over those that are already here. I guess this winner take all attitude or high ground positions are what is making me Nuts in La La Land.

What if these burrs in our saddles became itches we have to scratch? Not to be ignored but worthy of thought. Can’t we take entitlements, healthcare, infrastructure, and education in the same vein. Maybe that is naive on my part but I am not willing to let it go just yet. How about you? Have you quit in disgust or arrogance or is there room for negotiation somewhere? I hope so.

As always 

Ted The Great

Factoids:

We have 15 million illegals in the country. 3/4 of them are here by overstaying visas not sneaking across the border. A majority have been here over 10 years. Can we deport all of them or should we just look the other way?

The southern border is 2000 miles long.181026-border-wall-ew-212p_78529e537eb99a58988c3cce50f6ef97.fit-760w We have secured 650 miles of it. If you drew a straight line from San Diego to Cleveland, Ohio that would come in at 2000 miles. Should we build, man and maintain that distance for years to come?

People come here for a better life and  that translates into work. There is a system called EVerify which if used by companies in our country would make it impossible for an illegal to get a job. UnknownCorporate America loves the cheap labor to increase bottom lines. The ACLU thinks it is an invasion of privacy. Lovely!

As the result of a 1952 convention that we as a nation signed off on an asylum seeker has a RIGHT to come to our door and ask for refuge. We have the RIGHT to say no. They have the RIGHT to appeal.That is the law!  We have 825,000 asylum seekers waiting to be heard by 394 judges. Most of the people appearing at our southern border are seeking asylum. 

Immigrants of all sorts (non native born) number 45 million which is 15% of our population and they account for:

45% of our domestic work force

36% of manufacturing

33% of agricultural

32% hotel

 

 

Have We Lost It?

Have We Lost It ?

UnknownMass shootings. Rich people bribing their kid’s way into school. Stars of note staging their beating to acquire more fame and fortune. Woman being attacked by a Jaguar while trying to take a selfie…inside the jungle cat’s cage. All of the above and plenty more would attest to our sanity or lack thereof. Today I am thinking about something else.

I am going to do a presentation before our Foreign Policy group here at Harbour Ridge. My topic is Global Migration. I am sure several of you are asking what the hell does TTG know about wandering whomevers and you might be right. Many of the speakers throughout the season are learned. I am not. I have no alphabet soup behind my name. But of I do share a relentless desire for knowledge and I have done my homework. 

During the process I have been tossed hither and yon on the seas of public opinion. Today our news is not exactly factual or at least it only brings up the more salacious details. As a result one day I am for it and the next not quite so avid. You have to dig deep and although I have not looked at the 4 million responses  on Google in 3.9 seconds, I have delved below the surface. 

I don’t give my talk until next Monday and I don’t prerelease my speech to the press beforehand. Would probably ensure that no one but my beloved wife would show up. I will share with you the entire topic of migration and by extension immigration both legal and illegal tells one there is more than meets the eye.

Beyond the sensationalism of babies being torn from their mother’s breast or Eritreans drowning in the Mediterranean, there are several truths of our globalized world. Most importantly it brings to the fore our total inadequacy of handling 20th century problems with 19th century solutions. images-4

In the US, the bureaucratic nightmare for entry is a testament to our ability to make a relatively straightforward process immensely complex. We have 180 different types of visas. The asylum process involves two or three different agencies, each with their own particular needs and agendas. We have no real way to track and apprehend those who have overstayed. Yet combined we have over 100,000 government employees hard at work to fix things. With more money we could get it right. Sure.

When I was in the Navy I would see this rule, reg or requisition and be amazed at its innate insanity. I used to shake my head in disbelief and then realize I was on a ship among hundreds in the Navy, that was part of the Department of Defense, that was part of the U.S Government. Yikes, my one example of waste and inefficiency was everywhere. 

The immigration process in this country has been under consideration for over 33 years. The last time we overhauled it was back in the Reagan Era before many today were even born. We have had Republican and Democratic presidents. Each side has had majorities in the Senate and House and several times combined. Yet we get nowhere. 

Ditto our crumbling infrastructure. Ditto schools. Ditto entitlement reform. Ditto our deficit. The battle cry is “Wait until we have power!” And when they do they fritter away time on investigations, hearings and every bit of grandstanding available. That is both sides mind you. No one has a monopoly on idiocy. images-1

People decry the push to the extreme left and right. Marie La Pen or AOC? Take your pick. My God, democracy is crumbling. We are going to become a socialist or totalitarian state. We have lost our minds. Really? Maybe the solution is far simpler than that. 

I think we have lost it. The faith that government can run this company that keeps us alive, protected and fed. People aren’t flocking to radicals. They are embracing anything but what we have now because our status quo is incompetent. Joe six pack voted for Trump because he was a totally off the charts challenge to the establishment. The Warrens, Bookers and Sanders are the antidotes to the rich. It is not political ideology but crowd psychology. Voters don’t read party platforms. They read bios and watch sound bites. Perhaps it is not a swing to the left or right but merely to different. 

I think we have to boil so much down to yes and no answers. I think we have become infatuated by being all things to all people lest we offend. The subtleties get you those extra votes to get you reelected. Yes or no, are we going to let people immigrate to this country? Yes or no, are we going to let the illegals become legal? Have plebiscite and be done with it. Next?

Reading this you might be tempted to think I have lost it. No I haven’t and that is what is irksome. After doing my research, there are answers to immigration as there are to so many other of our burning questions. The answers require guts and political will. That’s what I think we have lost. 

As always

Ted the Great 

Factoids:

The 115th Congress ending 1/3/2019 enacted over 400 bills but many were ceremonial like naming post offices. The bills all told ran to almost 8,000 pages of blather. 

There are 248 million people on the go throughout the world. 59 million don’t want to be. The are “displaced” persons by war, persecution, famine and drought. They come from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. 

Unknown-1“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.   Winston Churchill

One of the closest issues where Republicans and Democrats place it as a top priority is immigration. By 75% to 14% Americans believe immigration is good for the country. 81% to 17% Americans favor figuring out a way for illegals to become legal.

Go figure!

Different Ain’t Bad…..

Am sitting here in LaLa Land with my feet up. Not planned. Broke my ankle last Friday and had surgery yesterday. On limited duty for next 6-8 weeks. Kathy is filing for divorce. Can you blame her?IMG_0002

I have been on crutches this last week and your perspective changes. You have to be aware of your surroundings and especially people around you.You are needy and for me that sucks.  Some are of immense help and others not so. The other day a woman slammed the door in my face as I was trying to go through. Probably didn’t like my bald head or something. Hellooooo!

A wonderful friend stopped by the other day to keep me company. It took us about fifteen seconds to discuss the weather and then we got down to the nitty gritty. This guy is as bad as me with meandering thoughts. In the first fifteen minutes we went down about nine dark alleys. One struck in my mind. 

It centered around the fact that we all look at things differently. I happen to like contrary thought and isms. Reductio ad absurdum, we should all live in 7 billion worlds. Yet we crave definition. I am liberal. I am conservative. I am from the North. I am from the South. I am white. I am black. I belong to this club. Is that inclusion or separation?Is this an integral part of our rancorous nature today? 

images-1The trend seems to be taking sides. To say we are going to extremes is not an exaggeration. We are setting more and more rules and if you don’t adhere, you are not one of us. Whatever club we are in we want the members to be pure. Elitism can be the gang at the country club or the gang in the hood. We hate whatever we ain’t. We want to be in this hermetically sealed room of conformity to our ideas. 

Sitting in a waiting room for a preop exam you look around at all types. This one is pleasant. That one is disgusting. Why? Because they either do or do not adhere to my standards. I gravitate towards the ones that are like me. I shun the others. Natural? Probably, but the thought occurs to me that I don’t even give them a chance. 

I am open to all sides. I didn’t say I agree but it is fascinating to hear other lines of thinking. Do I feel threatened? No. It is my way to reach out to others. I want to know and I guess I want to help. The young woman who took my blood told me she had been at this job since June. Doris went to school after 12 years in retail. She was so proud to be dong what she was doing. I told her what a great job she had done and thanked her. I could tell she felt good and so did I. What if I sat there placidly and never asked?. 

My buddy and I continued down the road and thought about this thing called “Do Unto Others”. Simple, but I hope not trite. He expressed it as just love for one another. He felt perhaps “Giving” best describe it. No, the anesthesia has not made me delirious but just think about it. We all want everyone to be just like us. Have we ever thought about being like them? Have we looked at life from their perspective? Beyond tough but really provocative and satisfying.

Every so oftenI have tried doing nothing but give for an entire day. I probably get through the first hour at best but at least I give it a try. Walk down the street or into a store and worry about that other person and not me. Say, How are you dong? And mean it. Have a conversation and elicit response. As an old friend said, hit the receive button and not transmit on your radio. 

We try to build ourselves up. We say we want to be better people but aren’t we in some way saying I just want to be better than you? I want to be richer, skinnier and a better golfer than you. The more exclusive I am the more in control of the situation. I can dictate rather than be subservient to outside influences. I am moved by a song or a movie but then I go back into my cocoon. My own gated community with my own gated thoughts. On either side of the tracks.

Well gang, so much for my reverie. UnknownI will go back to my reading and yes, probably do more writing. My world looks a little different right now and that is cool. I will let you know how I am doing. Most of all. I wonder about all of you and your lives. I hope they are different too. Come on in, the water is fine.

As always

Ted The Great

Factoids:

In a two hour out patient surgery yesterday I had contact with fifteen human beings I never met before. At our club for a dinner meal there are at least 30 servers, bussers, cooks and dishwashers that go to make my meal. Never thought of that before. 

A Cigna report stated:Only around half of Americans (53%) say they have meaningful, daily face-to-face social interactions, including an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family.images-2

Additionally, the survey found that younger American are hit harder by loneliness. The generation born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s especially

Ted Talks as a non profit began in 1984. There are over 93,000 Ted Talk videos. They are all by rule 18 minutes or less. Think of all the topics we can discover that present different ideas. In your own home and no one will ever know. 

A Touch of Class….

 

IMG_3565For these last few days my son Scott, came to Harbour Ridge to play in the Member/Guest golf tournament with me. He is a wonderful golfer and a great young man. Unfortunately his back is broken trying to carry me. With great pain and personal reassessment,  I accepted the fact that I stunk! 

Not to be thwarted I rallied to participate in more intellectual activities like smoking cigars. drinking whatever and feeding my face. I was at the gym this morning at 5:30 trying to shed the effects of my debauchery. Stay tuned. Results in a month. 

I drove my buddy to Fort Lauderdale at 6:30 yesterday morning. It is the only airport that has direct flights to Denver. During the hour plus ride we had a marvelous conversation as a son and dad are wont to do. We reminisced of the last few days and centered in not on golf but the participants. 

Harbour Ridge is beautiful and understated in so many ways. It is a gated community but that is a bit of a misnomer. Scott surmised that Mom and Dad had found what they had been looking for, for many years. There are no pretentious people although I am sure there is plenty of money. This is no recitation of previous glories because it just doesn’t matter. People are comfortable in their skin. It is a great place to live. 

We noted that several dads had brought their sons. To a man whether they were 30 or fifty, they were just genuine people. No attitudes. No arrogance. Maybe the old men were able to pass their modest ways down the food chain. 

Our conversation drifted to try to find that certain something that was there. Scott noted that since he no longer was a member of a club, in some ways HR made him feel a little privileged. He wasn’t sure he was comfortable with that. We didn’t want to call it elitism because it really wasn’t. People were too down to earth. Maybe extraordinary takes on a different meaning?

He queried what was special about the whole club scene? For me it is the ability to be yourself and to expect something of your cohorts. Simply put, it is the expectation that people will live up to standards. images-10Not of fame and wealth but of that little word called decency. You keep your shirt tucked in, you don’t wear your hat in the club house and you are respectful to members as well as staff. Act like a gentleman. 

That may sound prissy to some and snobby to others. To both of us it meant good manners and a rare word in today’s world called civility. Webster defines it as a formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech. Is that restricted to the upper crust or top 10 or 20%? I think not. It is applicable everywhere. 

Unless you live under a rock, you heard of the shenanigans of one Robert Kraft this weekend. We are treated to an endless barrage of tweets from His Hairness. “Me Too” has exposed the ugly underbelly of management throughout corporate America. There was the GM plant where racism is alive and well. Priests, doctors and coaches are molesting at will. The press hops on a story and then backtracks, sort of, when they realize they have it all wrong. Is this what we have become?

I have often talked about pushing boundaries. I love thinking outside of the box. But all that freedom has its casualties. We are no longer offended by the vulgar. It becomes common place. Crass is our new vernacular.  I laughed as I told my son of what constituted a lurid verse in a song or an X rated film in our day. You can catch that most nights on today’s sitcoms. The eternal question is, have we gone too far?

Those who know me, can vouch I am not a prude. All of us have done and said a variety of things we would not do in front of our mothers. But I think we have to revise the lines we cross to not give wider latitude but maybe pull in the reins a little bit. As we pulled up to the departure curb it struck us both the word we may have been looking for was CLASS. images

To our way of thinking  you can have it whether you are a plumber or a banker. It can be in the men’s grill or local bar. It’s an awareness of what is acceptable and what is not. We can all have that touch of class. It is not snooty but decent. Let’s give it a try. 

As Always

Ted The Great

Factoids:

Some of the most common Bad manners that are acceptable:

Cell phone conversations in public

Dressing inappropriately  

Hats on in a restaurant

Foul language in public places

Bad table manners in a restaurant

Rudeness to staff. Forgotten words of please and thank you

Letting children misbehave

Classy People :

My Wife and Kids

Henry Aaron, Joe Torre, Mariano Rivera

Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jordan Spieth

Audrey Hepburn, Sean Connery, Matt Damon

George H W Bush, Sorry could not come up with more.

 

 

Multitasking…

I am reading three or four books at this time, which for me is normal, whatever that is. “One Last Talk” asks what you would say and to whom, if you could have just one more audience before you die. “Oh Florida” is a wacky history of the Sunshine State. Then “American Titan” portrays the twenty something character who started the Silk Road which is where you can buy anything no matter how outlawed or depraved. 

images

But the one that has truly piqued my interest is “Brain Rules” by John Medina. I often wonder but have not a clue what really goes on in my head. Kathy wonders too. In parsing everything from the mechanical to the emotional, the author lets you delve deep inside your cranium. 

So much of what happens is automatic. Our heart beats, we walk, talk and even write without any difficulty. Yet grasping the incredible amounts of electrical energy and the complexity that goes into raising a glass to our lips or reading Aristotle is simply astounding. Neurons are firing at Mach III and somehow it all works out. 

Yet the simple thought or observance is so chock a block with a zillion factors that push us one way or another it really makes you wonder. 

We view, hear, touch or smell something and we immediately see if we have ever been there before. That’s memory. We decide if this thing is cool or lethal. That’s our survival instinct. And then we act on it for better or worse. If it’s pleasurable, we want to relish the moment. If it is scary, our adrenalin kicks in and we want to get the hell out of there. All in a nanosecond. 

images-3It seems if we are emotional our ganglia take on a whole new sense of attention. We listen closer. We peer with Sherlock intensity. The amazing thing is we do not readily remember detail but put all our brain power into getting the gist of something. And we make our decisions based on that emotion. It takes you down a distinct path that is hard to deviate from.

Fake news or not the media play with our heads. They want to punch our buttons. If you are liberal the sight of a child being wrenched from their parents at the border sends you through the ceiling with rage. If you are conservative you are shown immigration officials taking every effort to make sure we are respectful and understanding. Same sequence. Totally different conclusions for the same set of circumstances.  

Advertising plays us like an A Flat. We laugh, we cry, or we want to rise up at a relatively simple situation. It is in essence an occurrence or a setting that has no feeling on its own. But how it is viewed and analyzed by you and me gets to our innards. Man, if I can be like that person I am gong to go out and buy a lifetime supply. You thought dudes selling elixirs out of a suitcase were dead. They are alive and well. 

One part of the book was demoralizing. It blew up my favorite myth…the human brain can multitask. Not so, mes amis. In order to go through any thought, there are a set of sequences as I have described above. images-6You have to do them all. You may decide to put down one project or pick up another. You may think you have a million ideas going through your brain at once. It cannot happen. I am of course, biased and devastated.

Think about it. If you are driving and talking on the cell phone or God forbid texting, your hands may be on the wheel but you are far away on a call for business or pleasure. We say we lost concentration but we are just thinking of different things….one at a time. Remember that nanosecond shifting of gears we can do. 

Bottom line is that we have this wonderful thing called our mind and it is so complex but oh so beautiful. It is part of the greatest machine of all times, our bodies. The grey matter operates in world of its own. It is the director. The veins, arteries, pumps, muscles operate on cue. We think of artificial intelligence and we are awed by it. We ought to look in the mirror and be blown away. 

My final thought is simple. We think we have control over everything. Our ingenuity has helped us cross so many frontiers. Do you really think this marvel that is us, just happened by accident or a process of evolution? Doesn’t it appear be in the realm that we were created and not manufactured or grown in a lab? I don’t know about you but I am not ballsy enough to think there is not a higher Being. Makes one feel pretty grateful to Him, Her or It. . How about you?

As always

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

The brain continues to send out electric wave signals until approximately 37 hours after death.

images-2

Our Brain has over 100 billion nerve cells. Only four percent of the brains cells work and the remaining cells are kept in reserve.

Your bones, pound for pound, are 4 times stronger than concrete.

The muscles of the eye move more than 100,000 times a day.

It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. You use 200 muscles to take one step.

An average car being driven 15,000 miles per year eats through $8,469. How much do you spend taking care of  your brain and body?

A Kick In The Head….

 

unknownJust imagine you are standing there fat, dumb and happy and all of a sudden this roundhouse curve hits you square in the jaw. You are stunned and begin to stagger. As you regain your senses you assess what planet you are on and what is your next course of action. 

Reality sucks! No matter who you are or who your daddy is, you are going to find that bump in the road. Adversity is a part of life whether physical or emotional. You can lose your job or your shirt in some half assed scheme. Your spouse leaves you. You miss that clutch putt. You are a Bear’s fan and the ball bounces the wrong way. Even worse you are a Saint’s fan and you did nothing wrong. TS, mes amis. 

Now it is not that I am heartless. I have been there more times than I care to tell. You are battered and bruised. You are not sure which hurts more, your body or your ego? You feel stupid. You feel alone. How could it possibly be any worse?

Then deep down inside that little spark of a thing we call resilience seems to stir. You assess the situation. Are we talking a glancing or fatal blow? Is it as bad as it seems? Better yet can we somehow devise a plan B? And therein is the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. Glass half full or half empty. images-6

I am always amazed at human emotions. There are people today that wring their hands constantly. They moan and groan about everything large and small. They are convinced the world and humanity are in a nosedive that we won’t come out of. 

There is a pessimist philosophy which is not so much an emotional reaction but a way of looking at life. It feels that progress is irrational and our inability to achieve things with greater results just sets us up for failure and its ensuing discomfort. Yuck!

I do know some that set very low goals for themselves. They figure if they set the bar low enough they either can’t fail or the drop will be minimal. They see me in the gym and say they could never do that. Get up and sing? What are you nuts? They beg off discussions feeling their words and thoughts are rather insignificant. That is their prerogative but I can’t help but feel badly for them. 

Enter the optimist. Stage right. Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I am not sure that is completely true. One does not bounce up off the mat without a little cut that needs to be attended to. But after a little TLC, get over it and let’s move on.

I like to play, “What is the worse thing that could happen?” When you answer that, you ask it again and again until you should realize that things are not quite so desperate as we make them out to be. That is unless Kathy finally says,Adios Big Boy! Now that would be cause for serious concern. 

We look at sports stars like the hated Tom Brady. No?. OK, How about Patrick Mahomes ? The kid is a magician very much akin to Houdini. Politicians? How about Bill Clinton escaping  the Monica thing? I do want to watch carefully  to see how the Donald does in the next three weeks. But time after time people bend but don’t break. c46f09de-ffa0-4f33-888a-76a884d83c24

You can ask is it something special in them or the human spirit? I prefer the latter. Go back to our survival instincts. We fight back. We try harder. We dust ourselves off and get back in the fray.  It is not a super gene but rather an acquired talent. 

The last part is the best. When you look at life and especially here in these United States you can’t help but feel gratitude. When you are thankful you realize all we have. You look around and take everything in and then you laugh at yourself. My daughter Megan has a perfect saying when she encounters someone bitching. “Well that is really a third world problem isn’t it!” How right she is. 

I know people hurt from time to time and some bear more than others. I am not trying to be Pollyanna. But having been on the dark side I can’t tell you how much better it is to look on the bright side. If you are breathing you are ahead of the game. If you had at least one meal today you are better than lot of other people. If you are able swing a golf club who cares what your score is? 

As always

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Optimistic  people have less stress, better immune systems, live longer and of course are nicer to be around.Pessimism has been linked to mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression

Dr Martin Seligman has clinically proven that optimism can be taught and learned. He has written a book called Learned Optimism. Easy read and a number of pathways to getting you straight.images-8

There are no hard facts on percentages of people who feel optimistic. It depends on the topic. Also we feel more optimistic about our own personal future than about our country or the world. Lastly the people who are most optimistic are the Chinese.

Murders, car wrecks and threatening weather are what sells newspapers and air time on news channels. 

 

Play It Again Sam…

Last night Kathy and I went to the Lyric Theater in beautiful downtown Stuart.
The Lyric is about 100 years old and some of the patrons can attest to that. It is in a word _tws1919 edit (2)unique and the restoration bespeaks a labor of love.

Tonight’s show/concert  was one of many throughout the season. We usually sign up for four or five of them. The main event was a fellow by the name of Arthur Migliazza. Obviously not a stage name. His forte was boogie woogie / ragtime / eight to the bar, piano playing. Looking forward to being entertained I became entranced. 

Whether it is Scott Joplin, Fats Domino, Earl “Fatha” Hines or Jerry Lee Lewis we have all heard this toe tapping, foot stomping music at sometime in our lives. It evolved from negro blues bands in the late 1800’s and found its voice and acceptance in the Roaring 20’s. It gets to you and I think that is why the word “visceral” was invented. 

The man is a magician. His sleight of hand includes chords to the left and melody on the right while pounding the pedals with one foot and keeping time with the other. Oh, and of course he threw in soulful vocal renditions of some classics. Mind blowing. I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

As I listened, I slipped into a bit of reverie. I love music of all sorts. I started to go through the genres that I have experienced and they ran the gamut. My teens were in the

images Doo Wop era. You went from the frenetic twist to hand holding submarine watching slow dances. A girl asked me in the fifth grade if I wanted to participate in the latter sport and I didn’t have a clue. I learned fast.

College brought the Four Tops,Beatles, Stones and an introduction to dixieland jazz. Conden’s and Jimmy Ryan’s in NYC were the classrooms and at least I was a good student at something. Even a trip to DAR Hall in DC to hear Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite gave a little class to my repertoire. 

I won’t bore you with a recitation of the ensuing eras but it fascinates me how music has affected so much of my life. Invariably in the car or at home I tune into something and tune out our crazy world. While driving if I get Bob Seger and the Silver Band on, I hit max on my Bose car system until I see the side windows pulsate and the whompa, whompa of the bass as it gets to your innards. images-2 People might regard me at some kind of idiot from the hood. And for awhile I am.

I am a scientific type so I started researching why this feels so good. Seems our desire for food, sex and sleep is based on a survival thing. In your pursuit of the aforementioned your brain releases dopamine. A funny thing happened on the way to the concert hall. Music though not necessary to exist releases the same little hormone. It is called emotional arousal. And all this time you thought it was puberty. 

Scientists call this an abstract reward and not a tangible one. Music brings back memories both good and bad and that’s okay. If I listen to the Music of the Night from The Phantom or an aria from Pavarotti I know when the best part is coming and I love it. Ditto Hey Jude or Chicago doing Getting Stronger Every Day. How about Mick Fleetwood pounding away in Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow? All symptoms of a misspent youth but who cares?

For the most part all this good stuff costs nothing. Pandora is free and you only get one ad every fifteen minutes. Your car radio dial is chock a block with everything you need. The best part is no one telling you how to do it or about what you just heard. Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. 

a7241109aa606c9b9a236f164b301b5e--light-switches-music-is-lifeSo sometime today or tomorrow just sit back and listen. Get that dopamine going as if it was crack cocaine. Sing in the shower or even out the car window. Far from the madding crowd. It’s your own little world. Enjoy it!

As always 

Ted The Great

Factoids:

There are approximately 97 million songs in existence. Around 1 million new ones come out each year. Pandora is the result of a music genome project and categorizes them by style, musician, or era. I have a lot of listening to do. 

Singing in the shower works because the tiles do not absorb sound but reflect it. The notes bounce off the walls and you actually sound better. Kind of like the reverb button on your old car radio. 

 A new study from the University of London’s Institute of Education has found that exposing children to classical music can aid in developing better concentration levels, self-discipline and social skills.

The music business generated $43 billion in revenue in 2017. That could build the Wall. Sadly, the artists who wrote and performed the grist for that mill received only 12% of the take.