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Introductions thread
Who are we? To start it off:

I'm a baby-boomer, born when my father came back from WWII after liberating some German concentration camps and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. I remember the photos of the ovens and the open graves with thousands of emaciated bodies that were in his Army yearbook chronicaling the carnage there. I grew up as TV was introduced, and before it was perceived as possible that a reporter or the media could lie or misconstrue facts to push an agenda.

I graduated from High School in 1967 after having lead a pro-active demonstration in my Senior Year during the first ever Teacher's strike. (Yes, my school started the whole thing. My French Teacher, Mr. Kowalczyk, was one of the instigators.) Our demonstration was to get the School Board to send some official to allow our football team to practice and get ready for the coming season - Our First game was against Cousino, and they were ranked as one of the best teams in the state of Michigan practicing WITH their coaches from the same school district as our school WITHOUT our coaches who were honoring the strike. I remember my picture on the front page of the Royal Oak Tribune explaining our position, while a sheriff deputy in the background was threatening to "fill my backside full of buckshot." We got the Athletic Director, Bob James, to come open our locker room, and enable our insurance. The strike eventually ended. Our coaches returned just before the big game. And we won it.

I had been elected captain of the football team and president of the Senior class, so it seemed like my resonsibility to seek justice at the time. Partially on the basis of that event and a few other extracurricular activities and grade point average, I received a Regents grant to attend the University of Michigan during the buildup of the Vietnam War. (Don't ever let anyone tell you serendipity doesn't drive the world.) UM wanted a proactive reputation and went out looking for student leaders willing to stir the pot. Every single kid in my preterm indoctrination group of over a hundred kids was both a student council or class president as well as captain of a major athletic team or award winner of some kind. It was a strange and overwhelming group of Type-A+ personalities. Sorta like OSC's Battle School.

I saw the major protests of the sixties and seventies - the Kent State Massacre, the burning of the ROTC building in Ann Arbor, the March on the Pentagon. and all the other mind-altering events of the times. Kerry's Winter Soldiers Investigation was right here. Most of the rabid agitators that made the front pages of the papers were outsiders and not from that proactive group of leaders that UofM brought together.

I majored in Advertising Design and minored in Philosophy and Logic. Since the Advertising Design program consisted of an undergrad AD team leader in charge of grad students from every college in the University - my counselor would approve any class I wanted to take sans required prerequisites. Did you know there are Econ classes taught by Nobel Laureates that are not taught until fifth & sixth year Econ students are so confused they need an overall class to explain how everything really works? As long as the profs didn't complain, I could take the classes. I was never driven by the need to do homework and get all A's. A minuses and B's were fine by me. The curriculum was never the end-all and be-all to me anyway, learning was - and there was so much I wanted to learn.

When I graduated, I became an Animation-Director/Producer for 17 years (Except for a short period when I went to the Criminal Justice Institute as the Senior Art Director making training tapes and videos, research, and educational programs for all areas of the Criminal Justice genré.) Then the advertising agency decided to get rid of our group - at the same time that all of the Detroit agencies divested themselves of most Art Directors older than 40 who made more than $40K. Hard times in the industry. I worked at Kmart headquarters as a Creative Designer until being hired as Creative Director for a job shop doing creative work for GM and other clients. They were closed by the IRS and I ended up at DCX under contract from an Advanced Technical Training group making computer graphics.

They got rid of anybody over 50, so now I'm looking for work again. Maybe I'll eventually end up as a speed-bump at Walmart.

My life is my family - and my wife and I brought up three great boys. Electrician, Building Construction Manager, and Automotive Design Engineer. They are all married now, and we have two little grandkids so far with two more on the way. Growing up, the boys were good students and athletic. One was all-state in both Soccer and Track, and all were captains and stars of their respective teams. One won the National SAE drafting competition. I coached them as they grew up, and was convinced to take over the High School soccer team as head coach. My wife and I were both volunteers of the year for our local school district (My wife won twice.)

I grew up while the Republicans were fighting to create the Civil Rights Movement inspite of resistance from the Democrats, and have watched as the years passed and the Democrats tried to rewrite history and claim civil rights was their doing, and that it was the GOP who were bigots instead of the other way around. I saw politics as it happened. Ann-Margaret will always be my hero - and not Barbarella. I saw the honor and brilliance of people like Senator Philip A. Hart and Reagan, and the ineptitude of people like Johnson and Carter.

I generally look for a thread that catches my eye. Anything Tesla. Disiniformation galls me no end, and I'm a sucker to respond in order to lend sanity when possible. Any questions about coaching soccer?
MOD notice: I've made this thread Sticky so we don't have to bump it up all the time.--Graff
OK, a little about me to establish perspective. I have printed it elsewhere and liked it enough to kind of keep it rather than re-invent the wheel.

My Life, a synopsis

My early life was one of privilege. I born in Berlin Germany in a very well to do family and was extremely comfortable physically. My father was always elsewhere working in Asia mostly, so most of younger years were spent with my mother and grandmother in our home in Berlin. To me Berlin is one of those great and tragic cities in the world that held a greatness that still echoes today. It was the cultural center of Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and I would hear my grandfather (grandmothers second husband) tell me all of the stories about cultural life and the influences of artists and writers that preferred Germany’s open culture to some of the more stodgy cities (including Paris). I went to a private school that was specifically for the well off and had the best of a multicultural upbringing. The school was a boarding school for the upper class in which roommates rotated and I had Arabic, French, and American companions that were counted as my friends (some I still keep in touch with). My father was mostly in Asia working for the state department. He spoke and I believe wrote several Asian dialects and spoke them fluently. I do know he spoke Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese. He learned German in roughly 30 days to date my mother, he was smitten. I wish I had my fathers proclivity for languages, it certainly would have made for a more interesting life with different opportunities.

A bit about my father, who I did not know well at all until my 12th birthday. He was born of poorer stock than my mothers family (that will be the greatest understatement of this thread). In the Appalachian hills, he was the seventh son of the seventh son in a family that bore two sets of twins, eleven children total. In that region there were two options, the military, or the coal mine. At 15 he lied about his age to get into the military and out of the coal mine because his official learning stopped at 15 so he could bring in income to his family. He joined just in time for the Korean conflict and was actually part of the battalion that had made it to the Yalu river before hundreds of thousands of Chinese crossed that frozen river causing the largest retreat in the history of the US. One thing he did do during those years was pick up Korean, and quickly. To such an extent that he was quickly pulled from the normal ranks and given “different” responsibilities. He was sent to a special school in California during those years for intense learning in languages and excelled at these. Later he became one of the original Vietnam advisors before the army began moving in after the Tet offensive. Later he worked with Kissinger on the China talks, still in the military but assigned to assist the diplomatic corps. I bring this up for two reasons, I am incredibly proud of my father, and it would also cause a schism in the family.

By the way, dad was a died in the wool communist, loyal to his country but sure that workers would one day tire of oppression and rise up to kick the bastards out. He had good reason for feeling that way. Unions allowed a jump in pay in that region of VA. Pay was approximately ten cents an acre of coal dug, and not just dug, but useable coal. Unions raised that to a ton of mined coal. Coal companies were very hard on families, they stole the land (some of which has been tied up in litigation for almost 100 years), they oppressed the attempts at collective bargaining and company stores kept a certain level of servitude and indebtedness that created a type of serfdom for the area. My mothers family never knew that part of him, it was not politic to speak of such things in mixed company.

Anyway upon my 11th birthday my father decided it was time for us to go to America next year (I had been there before but only for a short time and never to meet my fathers family). In that year I ran away from home with my cousin to Morocco which actually got Interpol involved because at that time Germany suffered from the Baadar Meinhof gang and other East German sponsored terrorist groups. I don’t think I was ever in worse trouble with my father then than ever before or after, he actually flew back from Asia.

So here goes this city boy, who also wore leather britches as an optional fashion statement, among what could only be called the cast of “Deliverance”. My first month there I was beat up too many times, for making a better grade in school, for talking funny (I had an accent then), for looking funny, for being a momma’s boy, and so on. I was taken “snipe” hunting where I did not get back for well over a day, and I was beaten up because I thought I was better than they were (that part was true). Finally I toughened up, lost my accent, and learned how to be “one of the guys”. I learned to hunt, shoot, make moonshine, listen and appreciate old time bluegrass and our Sunday mornings were spent listening to Gospel Sing on a TV that got one channel if we were lucky. Gospel Sing was a variety show for blue grass music that was sponsored by the “Huff Cook” funeral home which wanted to put the fun back in funeral (that was a slogan they did use, especially for those partial to Irish wakes).

Dad went back to the mines, but this time with an eye for representing the unions. I learned more about reading and analyzing union contracts at that time than I dare say most negotiators knew. Certainly more than the Union President at the time. Sam Church was a tobacco chewing good old boy that wore bib overalls but couldn’t negotiate himself out of a traffic ticket much less a strike, I think that was a low point for the UMWA. Years later my father was one of the key supporters for Trumka. He regrets the UMWA joining with the AFL CIO though because he considers the organization corrupt, and with reason.

Dinner at our house was always cold. Physically and emotionally. My father always maintained we could say anything we wanted to, but we had better damn well back it up with some facts. Our mother was of the same nature, though her method was infinitely more manipulative. So we kept an updated set of the encyclopedia Brittanica next to the dinner table ready for a quick reference. I wanted to beat my father so badly that I began reading the entire set of secondary encyclopedias we kept upstairs for our homework, to this day I remember it, World Scope encyclopedia. Not of the level Brittanica had but still a good read for a little kid of 13. Surprisingly enough I learned that Bill and Hillary Clinton raised their child in much the same way.

At sixteen my parents divorced. The difference between an aristocratic (and manipulative mother) and an intelligent but cold and distant father was too wide for them to work out. The divorce was acrimonious with my father yelling and stern and my mother manipulating us children with both guilt and anger. My brothers were really too young to do anything about it, but I wasn’t. I went to court to become an emancipated youth. Both my parents thought I would soon see how “tough” the world was and return to them. They felt that when I returned humbled I would be more “pliable” to one or the other. As an emancipated youth I had no rights to support from either parent and the judge stated that he would watch both my well being and grades (a small VA town the judge knew both my parents). I never looked back, got an apartment, barely made enough to live on, and more than once skipped a few meals to make ends meet. The rent had to be paid and I would turn off the electricity so that I could cover that. It was tough but doable.

Ideologically I was a dyed in the wool true blue socialist, an acceptable word in Germany and the US, Keynes was the god of all that was good in economics and that is what I felt at the time. The University of VA was an excellent starting place for me, and one in which my father suffered his greatest disappointment. He wanted me to apply at West Point, he certainly had the connections and it was all arranged (pretty much without my knowledge) including the signatures of two US senators. I turned it down and went my own way again. He didn’t talk to me for about three years after that. We have long since reconciled, however I think it was a personal embarrassment to him that I turned it down. Whenever I want his silence I would bring up the incident and he would storm out to leave me alone.

Side bar: My brothers and I were built and raised understanding the military. In our youth my father played war games with me and my brothers, not army, that’s too simple (he did track us through the woods though for picnics, I only lost him once in about four years of these games). Our war games were strategic, he would posit a brushfire, which at that time was a term for limited military engagement between US and Soviet satellites. Then, he would escalate and we would have to respond, that included how, and with what forces. We had a ping table sized relief map of the world and we were expected to know the rough political and economic situation of most of the countries, it’s a habit three of us brothers still keep up (the youngest was too young to play) and never really caught up.

I later dropped out of college for a while and ended up in South America. I worked, among other things as a professional guide for archeologists and geologists. I have seen pirates try to steal containers from river boats, seen a few shrunken heads, traveled across passes that were at 19,000 and 20,000 feet, seen ruins and hung out at “Vic’s American Bar” in Cuzco to get jobs (Vic has an interesting story). The Amazonian and Andean regions of that area were incredible to view, but I quickly went from being a wide eyed American to becoming a somewhat cynical and scarred (not literally, just sometimes) man who looked at life with a somewhat less than savory view. Part of my time down there was during the Falklands (Malvinas if you were anywhere other than Chile) War. More than once I was arrested on a pretext, or attacked because simultaneously the Sendero Luminoso was powerful and considered unstoppable. It is there that I also began questioning the ability of socialism to truly meet the needs of the people. They weren’t being met and I helped bury more than one child that died due to some bureaucratic stupidity. It is something I will share some other day.

Upon returning to the United States I was older, bolder and somewhat colder. I think at that time I had been in the full fledge of my father’s strong personality but also my mothers ability to manipulate. In a way it is sad because guilt is the first emotion that is thrown upon the wayside when you are that way. Right and wrong cease to be the real issues, rather what the outcome is what the means are based upon. I used that ability surprisingly well to get a scholarship to finish my education and also develop a more comfortable life in California. Not well off but comfortable. I finished my degree in International Business and Finance with a minor in Spanish. I then continued my education and produced a thesis on Chilean economics which was the final denoumont of Socialism for me. After reading Milton Freidman and Hayek, and comparing their outlooks to Marx and Keynes I truly feel the economic systems are better left less tampered with, and Chile is a great example of that position. During my college years I met my wife who kindled in me a remembrance of what I had hoped for when I was younger. She could have had a number of people who to this I believe were more desireable than I was, but I think she saw me as a charity case for this life. Everyday I look forward to not disappointing her, she and my children are the light of my life.

I rose fairly rapidly in corporate America using both my international connections and education to rise from manager of an import export firm, to general manager of in trading company to international controller to CFO specializing in mergers and acquisitions. I made enough off stock options and investments that I could retire by 39. Which I did. I then obtained a masters in education and became credentialed and now I teach in an inner city high school. I work with the mock trial students and the academic decathlon. I say with pride that our mock trial students made it to the top 16 schools in orange county, and we did it by having a good time too.

One wonderful wife 40 this Saturday (I will buy her a cane)
A beautiful daughter 11
A handsome son 7
And a younger daughter 3

Life is good.

Selected scene from my life’s DVD (a bonus feature)

It was 3 AM and my friends and I had just left the English pub and were making our way back to our pension. As we passed the Guatemalan embassy I commented “You know they never take that flag down. Rain or shine, its pretty disrespectful.”

Swantee (from the Netherlands) said “Why don’t you just do something about it”.

I smiled, “I was hoping you’d say that. Whats the bet?”

“Lets bet big, two dollars you can’t get the flag”

“A big bet, but I will want cooperation”

“What do you want done?”

“Distraction in the front”.


I said “You know they might shoot you”.

“Oh they’d shoot you first. You’re the one going after the flag” and he trotted off around the front.

So he threw one of the beer bottles we were carrying home against the wall of the embassy and shouted obscenities in Flemish, French and Spanish (should we call it affirmative action?). The dogs were barking at the fence and the guards came to the front, all of them.

I climbed the fence and was almost to the pole when I set off a censor. Lights came on in back, I had the time to pull the flag down (a good 8+ feet long) cut the rope and run just as the dobermans rounded the corner. As I pulled myself over the fence one dog grabbed my pant leg and ripped it.


“See” Swantee said “they didn’t shoot me. But now I owe you two dollars.”

“Yeah,” I smiled “those two dollars should just about cover a pair of jeans”.

A motto I have always tried to live for in the first half of my life:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win great triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.


Theodore Roosevelt

One thing I really hate is false and weak attempts at emotional manipulation instead of trying to clearly look at what is best. I do not suffer fools lightly, seen too many of them screwing up the world.
"I detest the man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart and speaks forth another"
Baldar, your autobiography would be a best seller!
Pshaw! I know people whose lives were much bigger than mine, but who chose anonymity over the fame that could have been theirs. That includes a CMH holder. Those are the truly great men, I am just a shadow next to them.
"I detest the man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart and speaks forth another"
Should we call you "Bean?"
Only if you mean "bean there" done that.
"I detest the man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart and speaks forth another"
Ater reading Balder's introduction, my life (well, I'm not yet an adult, so I have not yet begun to live, to paraphrase a famous quote) seems just... kinda boring.

Anyway, my first name is Anthony, though my last name shall not be spoken here. I was born near Washington D.C., to my mother ( a house cleaner, who nonetheless makes good money) and my father (a housebuilder). We moved around from place to place as my father went from job to job, and due both to this and our travels across country when he was dying of cancer, I have seen most of the United States. I am sixteen now, and when you ask my hometown, I honestly cannot answer, since I never 'grew up' in any one place.

However, the majority of my life has been spent here in Spokane, Washington. While living here, I have gone to school, and in the fall I shall be attendting college (instead of Junior year high school). That is a good choice for me, since being seperated from the other students I have known these last two years ( I went to a private Catholic school until high school... now I go to public high school) . I've never been close to the other students. In fact, never, not in grade school either. For all of my life, I've always been ahead of them. In language, in thoughts, in ideas, and those things of the mind... so much so in the early years that I could barely communicate... even to this day, in high school, the other children and I barely speak the same language some of the time! Most of them don't understand me, and I don't slur or stutter at all. From my early years I've never liked those my age, never felt them my peers... and my hope has always been to become an adult as soon as possible, to become mature, and to, when we all finally grow up, find those that I can relate to. As time goes on I realize more and more that that hope will never come to pass, and I'll never be good with people. I've been told already that I speak and act for the most part like an adult... the only thing missing is emotional maturity and experience... mainly experience now, to tell the truth.

Anyway, I have my share of faults. As I've always been, bluntly, smarter than all the other kids I knew, I have by now acquired a large bit of arrogance. I'm proud, and ambitious. I get bored easily with things that do not interest me, or that are too far below my level. (such as the books most of my acquaintances read, or... most TV). When I don't like something that I am suppossed to do, I simply don't do it. I have a temper, and when I become really angry, my maturity decreases inversly with how hot my head becomes. I am moody, and am generally not nice to talk to. However, my good qualities would be my intellect and love of learning... I am not yet to the level of all of you, but in a few years I shall be there, for instance. I am not a selfish person... if someone needs something, I'll help them out, grumpily, if only in the form of a loan, with dire threats if they do not give my money back when they can. I am talkitive and a great conversationalist, if you get past the fact that I do not talk to most people, and I do not show initiative in relationships.

Anyway... I'll continue later... sorry that most of my stuff was about my personality, and my pride. I haven't lived much yet... which shall change, since my ambition drives me to as soon as possible get into politics. Good night!
aka 0Megabyte (of

"You were almost a Jill sandwhich" -Barry Burton, from Resident Evil

"What does THAT mean?" -myself
Your at the beginning, don't worry about adventures, they happen for the strangest reasons.
"I detest the man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart and speaks forth another"
Whiterose, Anthony, I'll tell you a secret that will pump up your maturation process enormously if you'd like. The secret to maturity is to be a catalyst - to be transparent in your own actions but influence the people around you to become better people for you being there.

Its like when I coach soccer. I cut a kid off the High school varsity squad who was an Olympic Development regional player. If you know how soccer works you'll understand that the kid had talent. However, he was a negative influence on the team and make it less than it could have been without him. For instance - the other kids went through rote "touch" drills to develop the coordination and ball-control necessary to perform the skills demanded of them. This kid would be sure to Lord it over the others and to goof off and disrupt rather than encourage them. One of my own sons, on the other hand, was far more highly talented than this disruptive player (too bad they weren't on the same team so the bad seed would've had a better player to model himself after) but he was totally transparent. His passes would have the perfect weight and location and spin on them so that even a Klutzy kid making a run up the sideline would get the perfect ball to kick in the goal for a score! It wasn't just that he could run faster and shoot harder and do all the things really good players can do, he could use that reputation to pull the best opponents toward him and then dish off that killer pass that allows a teammate to be the hero.

The funny thing is, because his teammates were better when he was around, he was more respected by them than others who were great players but didn't show the same respect back to them. When he was selected for the MSU varsity squad the college coach marvelled at his grace and speed - the normal stuff that's easy to see, but what got him special notice over all the others good players was just how well whatever group he was in played.

You know the adage of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts? That's so true yet so little striven for. Many of the greatest people I've ever known have aspects of this catalystic ability in them without conciouosly being aware of it. They listen when other people speak and actually hear what is being said. They bring out the best in others and don't really work hard doing it.

My avatar is Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo from Southpark who always eases the pressure that holds so much within!
I'm Zyne and many of you know me from some other place. I just finally noticed this thread and, since politics can perhaps make us one-dimensional to each other, I thought I'd throw out some random things here.

I was born in Dallas, Texas, on the day that Nolan Ryan pitched his first no-hitter.

Zyne is a made up name. I made it up, all by myself!

I do not have a penis.

I live in inner-loop Houston, Houston Heights to be precise, in an old house with two dogs, two cats and one man. We're all mutts here, and every soul in this house has been homeless.

I self-identify as a fiscal conservative, but few would agree with that assessment (stop laughing, you'll choke). I am pretty clearly socially liberal.

I started work at 12 as a pianist (child labor laws don't tend to apply to performers). After doing music for a while, and going to college, I went to law school and got my law license. I did tax law for a while, but then some tall buildings fell down, the economy crashed, and I got laid off. I currently do environmental litigation, which, lemme tell you, is a hell of alot more fun than tax (what _was_ I thinking). If I could go to court against the IRS (come on, they're the ultimate bad guys!) every day I probably would, but that is just not possible these days.

I like to sing and be sung to, especially if it's opera.

I think Aaron Copland is the greatest American artist who ever lived. (I don't think people who immigrate to America as adults count as "American" artists.)

I'm randomly read. Current selections include _He Died With a Felafel in his Hand_ and _Emma_.

The longest I've ever lived in one city in my adult life is Houston and now, and it's two years four months and counting. This is my second stint in Houston, and this city is the one where I've lived the longest total, four years and six months and counting. Denton is runner up for the latter, with two stints totaling 2 years and 10 months.

Speaking of Denton, I cannot believe that the Polyphonic Spree is getting popular. What are _you_ thinking!

When I first joined some other board, I lived in Florida. There is one city in between then and now.

I've been listening to Jeff Buckley lately.

I think Prague is the coolest city on earth. If I could, I'd immigrate in a second. And defenestrate every Bushie I could find.

The first two inches of my head, beginning at the back of my neck, is shaved to the scalp. The remainder is shoulder length.

I have no tattoos.

I'm not a big teevee person, except I'm quite addicted to _Last Comic Standing_. NBC, Tuesday nights, check it out.

I heard that there's a new South Park movie coming out. Check it out.

And finally, I heard that _The Passion of the Clerks_ is coming. Check that out, too.

Zyne Wrote:I think Prague is the coolest city on earth. If I could, I'd immigrate in a second.

Hey, we do have something in common.

The two coolest cities in my Universe are Vienna and Tallinn. Prague is a part of the same pattern and theoretically the place where you get the best of these two...been on my to-visit list for years, still is...
Government is necessary because people left unchecked will do evil.

The government is composed of people left unchecked

I have never been in Tallinn, and haven't spent nearly enough time in Vienna... From what I can tell, they are old cities reinventing themselves (Prague, at least, seems to be in a constant state). Opportunities.
Hi, I am a 46 year old German, but have lived in England, the Philippines and have settled in Bangkok 6 years ago with my Thai partner and her daughter.
I don't follow any particular party, I like European style social-democracy (I grew up with it and appreciated it) when it works out, but tend to take a left-turn when it doesn't.

My father served in the German army in WW2 as a young man, and passed on his resulting dislike of all things military to me. Ironically, I had a short spell of being a member of what was described at the time as a 'revolutionary cell', and friends were instrumental in helping a member of the Baader/Meinhof group go into hiding outside Germany, but I quickly grew up and disapproved of the narrow mindedness and the violent edge the thing had.

I am a goldsmith and studied Fine Art, and have worked as a teacher and consultant for jewelry making for government and private companies (UK, Philippines, India, Indonesia) alongside developing my own small business as a craft person. I also trained as a psychotherapist, but choose not to pursue this as a career. I have been insomniac most of my adult life, which is why I am in front of the computer typing right now.
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
I am also a baby boomer. My father flew piloted a B24 bomber during WWII. He was German born and immigrated to this country with his parents after WWI where my grandfather fought for the German army. I am married and have three children, 12,11, and 8. My mother's parents were immigrants from Norway and Sweden. I live in a suburb of Buffalo, NY. I was born, raised and educated in Buffalo except for college which was at a college near Chicago.

I am a dentist. I got my degree at the SUNY here in Buffalo, and have a good sized general practice two miles from my house. After dental school, I spent three years as a dentist with the Air Force in Mississippi, and after that I stayed in the New York National Guard, both Air and Army. My family background is frugal conservative, and I am also.

I got a laugh about the Viet Nam thing because I had student deferments all the way through school, and when I did join the military, they did not need any more people in Viet Nam, and I got to go to Mississippi.

I have enjoyed reading these little bios. There seems to be some very accomplished people who frequent these boards. I found the political boards by accident through which is a freeware site. They have a member section which I joined for the mp3 audiobooks, and to my surprise they had a political forum. It is very small and liberal. I still can not figure why it is that such a site should have so many liberals. It is also self limiting, because you have to pay to join, and you have to be a member to use it.

The last movie I saw was I Robot. It is a sci fi future tech movie. I like action adventure.
Hi Guys,

Hopefully I can get some advice from you, as thinking of a life altering decision.

I was born in LA, but have lived all over the US, France, and Africa. Not a army brat, but a restless youth.

I graduated with my MBA in '97, and moved (from Alabama) back to LA. Went into international freight forwarding as a sales rep making a measly 25k/yr. At the end of four years I was VP for another firm. Earlier this year I went to work for a huge Chinese multi-conglomerate as a Regional VP of their shipping arm, and make over 6 figures (not important except in my question.)

Lately I have had some doubt about this move. The company does not know how to build, only acquire, and I was brought on to build. Really having a hard time finding my place. I have my frustration here, and I am 34 dreading that the rest of my life I will be a VP of XYZ freight company. Some would be perfectly content, but I by nature thrive on achieving things.

I am considering starting law school next year (pt/night) as a means of enhancing my career. This however is a huge sacrifice in terms of money, time (4yrs), and possibly losing my job (contract expires 04/06.)

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice?

Outside of that, I live on a boat with my ex-girlfriend's cat. Love anything to do with the ocean. Also love Thailand, where I usually break away while overseas on business for a couple of days a couple of times a year. A friend introduced me to a Vietnamese girl that I now write, and hope to go see in Jan.

Such is my life in a nut shell.

Formerly- KFS

Up front, I must tell you that I am contemptuous of attorneys. The very thought of you being ruined by the legal system fills me with forboding as to your turn in life.

However, if you are a builder, it may be to your advantage to understand how to build something and at the same time enable youself to steer clear of the pitfalls of the litigation industry. Just be aware of this.

Being the consumate individualist that you are, you are probably considering building your own little empire, and this is what I would recommend. Remember the old saying, "Ahh, tis better to be the littlist star than the biggest planet."

What little I know of you, I can still assume that this is what you are really considering. S6
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
H. L. Mencken
Acquiring does not automatically mean a lack of building. Rome "acquired" Greek culture (through the Etruscans) and built on it. Innovation is almost always built on what has been precedent. Now I am just a hair biased. I was a regional Latin American controller for my firm before I moved on, and our strength was in the M&A work. We didn't simply acquire. The due diligence on that is fairly straight forward with some exceptions. But we did do an awesome job on the merger side, which was reflected in our ability to turn companies around and make them profitable. Usually without touching the front line employees who handled the manufacturing.

Have you thought or looked at perhaps angling for a position in the firm that you could be more suited for? The difficulty you may face is more along the lines of working for a Chinese firm that may or may not give you a fair shake depending on your ethnicity. Plumb jobs (ie not easy one, but those that challenge us to do better) may be going to those on the upper management fast track and those individuals may be Chinese.

Have you gotten together with your senior management group and expressed a desire for a pathway within the company? Consider it an internal trade lane in which you can excel and receive the commensurate reward.

If you have your heart set on law school then be aware that you will be rolling back down to the bottom of the heap again, especially with the present glut of lawyers. You might want to consider a JP instead.

I started out in the imp ex business with Fritz International and moved on quickly from there. So I know where you are coming from.

Have you thought about getting an imp/ex brokers license and start your own firm? If you have a good business model and have maintained good contacts in the industry, you might be able to carve a good niche for yourself and grow it.

Life has a number of possibilities.

So far mine have been fairly fruitful.
"I detest the man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart and speaks forth another"
John & Baldar,

Thanks for your replies.

Like I say, just feel in a mid-life crisis kind of mode, and telling myself that I do not want to be doing the same thing, no matter what it pays, for the next 20 years.

Don't worry John, a litigator I will not be. Unless I can somehow build an anti-ACLU. :lol: I would certainly consider being an attorney for a firm like Baker McKenzie, but you need not be an attorney just because you have a law degree, but the law degree may be your access to these other positions. Make sense? For instance, it might be the difference between being a VP and a President of a company. I think it could open a lot of roads outside of law, especially with my background.

The Chinese company was probably a bad idea as well. My first company was Chinese, and I swore never again. It's just a club that I can never join.

Baldar- not diminishing acquisition, but it holds a lot more interest in those "that be", than building something from scratch. IE- My company just bought another freight forwarder in PRC for 50 million USD. This holds more interest to them than signing contracts, building consolidation, etc. PS- I interned with Fritz while getting my MBA. It was a good company in it's prime, nose dived, and now of course is UPS. PSS- At one point had the backing for my own company, but doing that to the world would be like having another attorney. :o

As I say, it is a huge cost, and I have plenty of doubt, but I also have plenty of interest, and guess I have made up my mind.

Thanks guys. Guess I am just trying to bounce the idea, and also get reassurance.

Formerly- KFS
I don't know about the "those that be". Our small company at the time was not a "those that be". Our CEO took over a bankrupt company and turned it around. I came on board when we were at 50 million a year in sales. Now that was slightly less than Schwarzenegger was paid for Terminator II. I remember the CFO smiling about that. He said to me, "You mean Schwarzenegger made more money on his one movie than our year in sales?"

We were going up against the big boys, French firms that were subsidized by their government and considered bribes to obtain contracts to be a tax deductible event.

Strategic mergers and acquisitions can help you grow quickly, especially if you have the management team that can pull it off and quickly integrate the new firm (not an easy task).

Two years later we were at 4 billion a year in sales and we purchased Culligan. If you know how, it makes it a good decision.
"I detest the man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart and speaks forth another"

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