My brother Alan sent this old picture of our dad as a young newspaper reporter for the Chicago Times
(he later became a City Editor for the paper which ultimately became The Chicago Sun Times).
Amazingly in this picture, he is interviewing none other than Al Capone, shown on the right.
One of the other events in his reporting career was that he was the first reporter on the scene of the famous Chicago Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. He went on to become the Director of Welfare for the city of Chicago, and then Executive Director of the Chicago Housing Authority before retiring in 1967 to Oceanside, CA.
As a kid, I had the opportuinity to begin sailing out of the
Columbia Yacht Club
on our 12' Penguin class
racing dingy at the age of seven. This was my real introduction to the sea and boats. My dad and I shared many good times in our boat, Ding Ho. My love of the sea, boats, and sailing continue to this day, though work gets in the way of this pursuit...
My dad and I had many wonderful experiences together sailing in Chicago's Monroe Harbor in Ding Ho. It was our form of communication. These times in our boat formed memories that I have always remembered and always will. The picture shown was taken of us one cold winter day in Monroe Harbor when I was about 10. In the distance to the right, you can see Chicago's Adler Planetarium.
I can remember having to shovel a path through the snow to get to the boat where we pulled it up onto the dingy floaters by the Columbia Yacht Club. We would sail around ice ringed bouys. We sailed in snow and sleet storms. As long as the wind wasn't too strong to create danger, we would sail. In fact, I stronly suspect there isn't a month of the year that I didn't sail Ding Ho in. And Chicago winters are something to behold!
No matter how hot or how cold... my dad and I would be out in Ding Ho. We considered our lunacy a badge of honor, much to the dismay of my mother. Mom just shrugged it off with a smile when we would come home with tales of the day's adventure.
And what a great place to sail Monroe Harbor was! In the summer, the harbor was packed with boats of all types and sizes. The members of the Penguin fleet were all well known. We should be: we dodged among the moored boats with rather wild — but controlled — abandon.
Our race course took us through the fleet as well! Lake Michigan can be pretty tough outside the breakwater - a place we didn't venture too many times. The harbor was so large that you could spend well over an hour just sailing from one end to the other. And there was always the quick and daring dart just outside the breakwater when we would pass the mouth of the harbor.
Dad was extremely competitive as a person in general. But in Ding Ho he was possessed! You could see his jaw tighten as we would approach another sailboat leisurely coasting along. His grip would tighten on the tiller, and his eyes would sort of glaze over. He would start quietly giving weight distribution or sail trim commands through clenched teeth. He was racing! Didn't matter that the other guy had no clue. Dad was racing! He was always racing. In fact, much to my amazement and humor, I crewed with him to victory over a gaggle of swimming geese; that's how competitive he was. And this is the guy that taught me to play chess and poker!
You know, I never flipped Ding Ho. I'd run the gunwales til they buried in the water, but I never flipped that boat, and I had her out in some really good blows for a boat that size....
The story is that I was out in her one day with a friend when it was blowing a shit. My dad was out on the back deck of the yacht club with the club's Commodore sweating it every time I came screaming past. I'd wave like crazy, tack, and storm back out. The Commodore, Fran Burn - a really experienced sailor - asked me after I got back in if my dad had kept his promise. And he had. He had told Fran that if I brought that boat back in without dumping her, he'd give her to me. I was like 14 at the time. I didn't dump it, and he gave the boat to me.
Shortly after moving into my home on the water in Dover, NH in 1984, I purchased an old 18' beat up '72 O'Day day sailor.
I love it. I do not, however, love working on boats. I enjoy sailing them, but I don't do maintenance. That is why I bought this boat: it's a wreck! But I spend all my time sailing and none in maintenance. And, I don't ever have to worry about scuffing up the bottom or scratching the deck. I can just sail! I know you're envious, and well you should be because no one can possibly be having more fun than I am!
I used to try to get out as much as I can, but it's never enough! In fact, I wrote "A Rant Concerning Going Sailing" web page about this. Sailing has been a big part of my life. When I am not doing something technical, I am doing/reading/dreaming sailing! Like the guy walking across the street said at the end of the movie Pretty Woman, "Everybody's gotta have a dream!"
The whole seafaring atmosphere that the Seacoast has to offer just can't be matched. I suppose that the sea runs deep in my veins. My great-grandfather was a whaler out of New Bedford, MA under our original Portuguese name of Rosa. My father was a Lt. Cmdr. in the Navy and has been on the water most of his life. And my brother Alan was a Yeoman during his term in the Navy, then going on to teach English at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
Anyway, I've always been attracted to the sea and enjoyed sailing. On Christmas of 2000, my son Colin and daughter Marissa were really instrumental in arranging a surprise purchase of a 1975 23' South Coast Alberg sloop, Linnet's Wings. At 51 years of age, I was more than ready to trade up from my open 18' O'Day daysailor that I had bought in the mid '80's. Having a boat this size had been a dream of mine since I started sailing with my dad in Chicago, Illinois when I was around 10. Though we had a 12' Penguin class racing dingy, I always fancied myself at the helm of a boat large enough to venture safely outside the harbor breakwater. The illusion had become reality- it just took awhile! Unfortunately, after moving off the water and becoming way too busy with other things, I had to sell Linnet's Wings in the summer of 2006.
I have been involved in karate since 1968 and, as an 9th Degree Black Belt,
am the Senior Grandmaster and President of the
C&S Self Defense Association
Portsmouth, NH where I have my own karate school, the Rose School of Karate. I have written two books, Theoretical and Applied Karate, and A Master Speaks which are used extensively by members of our association during their advanced studies.
I have been fooling around with computers since 1970. Back then (way back then), we used punch cards to enter our programs into an IBM 360. Ever hear of doing that before?! If not, then you have missed one of the true joys of programming! For all of you GUI/drag-'n-drop kids, you just haven't been around the corner unless you can brag like this!
Anyway, I started out programming in FORTRAN IV and BASIC for some of the physics and math studies I was doing at the time. After graduating in 1972, I enrolled as a physics graduate student at the
University of New Hampshire
in Durham, NH. My goal was to get a Ph.D. and teach and do research in space physics at some small quaint college. My brother Alan (19 years my senior) did that- except in English literature. It looked like just the sort of life I was geared for. But, my studies lasted all of about a blink when I realized that I would have to spend the next two years messing with pure math before I could get back into the physics. And pure math was/is not my strong suite.
My idea of fun...
So, I opened my own business, the Rose School of Karate in Portsmouth, NH, as the only means of gainfull employment available to me other than going out to live with my folks in Oceanside, CA where they had moved after retiring.
The very real possibility of ending up out there pumping gas and learning the fine art of saying, "Will that be one scoop or two?" until I could determine whether it was time to grow up and figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life was not appealing to me at all. I made my living for over 12 years operating my school.
But I made more use of my time than just hanging out at the karate club all day for 12 years. I studied. I studied a lot. I mean, I studied everything. The history of Western civilization. Western and Eastern philosophy. Chess, craps, backgammon, and poker-lots of poker... Almost 3 years of classical guitar lessons with Walter Spalding. Extensive business and ecconomics study. I learned hard asset management studying the gold, silver, and precious stones markets as well as taking a course on diamonds. I also became very interested in the stock market. I subscribed to The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, and BusinessWeek. Must have bought every book you could imagine on stocks, investing, business practices. Heck, I read everything from Keynes, to Security Analysis by Graham and Dodd, Random Character of Stock Market Prices and Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Crane, Tobias, Dreman, Dewey, Gann, and countless others. I became my brokers largest options trader for awhile. I was in all the way...
I was also reading everything in the world about real estate. I began investing and managing properties in 1973, and became a licensed NH Real Estate Broker in 1978. I made a lot of money doing that and had a quite a bit of fun in the process! Of course, making money is always fun. But then, I've lost my share of it as well, and that's not so much fun. But as Amarillo "Slim" Preston, the famous high stakes poker player said, "The next best thing to winning at poker is losing". I understand both sides of that fence! Janis Joplin said, "I've been rich and I've been poor, but I like rich better." I think that about sums up my feelings as well...
In 1981 I cut back on my karate business, and took months of training to become a tax and estate planning consultant. The thrust of that job was cold calling. Well, I found out really quickly that I absolutly hate cold calling! And thus, that was the end of that career path. Come to think of it, I did an awful lot of stuff during those 12 years!
In 1979 I bought an Apple II+ computer. That baby was loaded. It had 64k of RAM (not 64meg!) with double 170k floppy drives. I taught myself Pascal, and began to regularly (about 10 times a day) blow the stack on that Apple. I had rewritten some of my old FORTRAN programs from EIU into Pascal, and it proved to be just a little too much for that poor old Apple II!
Into the real world...
By 1981, I was deep into technical analysis and price movement simulation of stocks and commodities (an interest that remains to this day) writing thousands of lines of Pascal. In mid '82, a guy wandered into my karate school inquiring about classes but had to pass because of the business he owned. "What sorta business do you have?", I casually asked. Turns out, it was a software development company! I mentioned my current work to him, and invited myself over to see what they were doing. He offered me a job. "Can't pay you much, but we'll teach you C and you can get paid for programming instead of doing it just for s&g." It took me all of 1 minute to accept!
Their "teaching" me C consisted of a very worn copy of
Kernighan and Ritchie
being tossed onto my desk. Two weeks later I was into the depths of applications programming in C and dBase II (which I also had to teach myself, along with cEnglish, dBase III+, and some UNIX!). I stayed with them for several years ending up as the Director of Production and Shipping. The company closed, and I was on the street again. I picked right back up where I left off with my Pascal analysis of commodity price movement. From this analysis, I began to paper trade futures and summarizing my thoughts in a still as yet unfinished/unpublished book on commodity trading.
I did a non-technical stint as a New Hampshire and Maine licensed mortgage broker with a private mortgage banking company ending up as its Vice President of Brokerage Operations (very lofty title for a small shop) when that company closed in the recession (depression for me!) of 1990. From there, I fanagled my way sort of back into the technical arena in 1992 first as a technical recruiter and then as a software engineer developing business applications in FoxPro (again, self taught) for the agency. I moved on to a short stint with another local software development company doing FoxPro. Short because after a year there, they decided they were no longer interested in developing applications, and so I went on board with NECX in September of 1995.
Starting as a Programmer/Analyst, I quickly moved up to Senior Programmer/Analyst, Senior Developer, Senior Technical Business Analyst, and then as a Project Leader doing analysis, design, and technical management of many of NECX's web based E-Commerce projects. In 1998, I was made a Senior Technical Business Analyst and transfered back to NECX Exchange.
You can see some pictures by clicking on the left hand image of me in my cube at NECX. I learned PowerBuilder 5.0, Java, HTML, and all sorts of neat new things along the way. I even wrote a book, "Applied Object Oriented Analysis, Design, and Programming With Java".
After spending four and a half years with NECX, in January of 2000 I was offered the position of Head of Technical Operations at ProfitTools in Newmarket, NH. ProfitTools builds dispatch and operations software for the trucking industry. Until the company ran into financial problems in Augest of 2000 when I got "two weeks check and a road map", I was in charge of organizing and managing all technical aspects of the company's software development efforts. In January of 2001, I joined SITA Advanced Travel Solutions (formerly Equant Application Services) in Burlington, MA as a Senior Software Engineer doing Java development for reservations and booking systems for the travel industry. Unfortunately, SITA closed the Burlington office in April of 2003 and I was on the bricks again until March of 2004 when I went to work as a Senior Programmer/Analyst at L.L. Bean in Freeport, ME. And so it goes after leaving Bean continuing developing web based business applications. Great fun! Keeps me sharp and allows me to express myself creatively other than through the martial arts, my writing, and all the other things I am involved with.
But without my kids Colin and Marissa to keep me grounded, I think I'd just buy a 35' sailboat, head off into the sunset, and call it a day... This picture was taken at the base of Wildcat Mountain Ski Area looking out across toward Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt. Washington in Augest of 1999. I've been going up to the Mount Washington Valley area since 1973. I's really great to be able to share this area with them. We even bought a condo in Conway back in '88, and used to be able to go up quite a bit.