Three Quarters of a Century

If I had not been born on this day in 1943, I might have had a different title today, maybe “Waiting for the Accident”, as the current political scene seems to be setting up for something, although not today as the players seem exhausted and the stock market generally tries to rally when there is not much happening.

But anyway, I am as surprised as much as anybody to still be around in that I loved and still love cars and always drove to fast (between 1959 and 1970 I had a 1955 Mercury with a 1957 Thunderbird engine, a 1965 “289” Mustang Fastback, and a 1966 “427” Corvette).  As a farm boy who was the first in an extended family to go to college, life has generally been good, I have a loving wife, 4 kids, and six grandchildren. As anyone who lives this long can expect I had a few major setbacks, my first wife died of breast cancer and the AI research and trading project eventually ran out of development funding.  In looking back I probably was naïve on the AI development project considering the billions IBM invested in Watson, but it was an exciting time and for a while we posted the top risk adjusted fund performance in the Barclays Hedge Fund Ratings.

For me this market direction started with trading cattle futures in 1968 in my first job out of college as manager of a cattle operation for a meat packing company (using the prior days WSJ for data) and then moving  to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 1970 as a cattle trader.

Computers intrigued me early on, I ran my Masters thesis through an IBM mainframe and bought my first real computer, what they called a Cromemco Min-Computer in 1976 and eventually set up a research company which developed the first real commercially used AI system in trading in 1985 (even rated a story in the WSJ).

Politics have always intrigued me and in my first voting election I was a Goldwater supporter (still have his book “Conscience of a Conservative”).  That all continued until 2003 when Powell lied at the UN on Irag and WMD.  From then forward I have been kind of a conscience of a conservative liberal with the first shot being work in the Howard Dean effort. Today I see a Republican party without a conscience and a Democratic party without a plan (they are just angry), so it is anybody’s guess what happens from here.

It could be that we will go back to somewhere early in our history and elect Pocahontas (Elizabeth Warren) as President in 2020, but only if she becomes less angry and gets a plan together.

And then there are the sheep. I got my first sheep in 1953 and except for the college and early family years, 1962 to 1976, I have had an interest in a Purebred Sheep Flock, currently located in Illinois, Kansas, and Wyoming. More on that sometime later.

So today, we are going into Chicago and will have some great Italian food at my favoarite neighborhood restaurant, and celebrate this milestone.

Sometime in the coming year I plan to elaborate on all the history in the About section of this website.




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