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the learning laboratory at the end of the universe...

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Born in 1946 in Mayfield, Pennsylvania, I attended Catholic schools, wore a cassock and surplice, lit candles, sang in Latin, and had various mystical experiences until the age of 18 when I first began seriously considering the effect of women on my life.  By then, it was 1964, my father had died, Kennedy had been assassinated and things were happening in Viet-Nam.  I had applied to various universities but realized it wasn't going to happen financially.  The decision to join the military was a common one in my family and easy enough to make.  

It was in the Air Force that I learned to speak Russian, love Europe, and smoke  cigarettes. These couple of years centered around Indiana University and Hof/Saale, Germany have influenced my thinking and meandering greatly.  I learned new political systems, languages, and cultures, and fell in love with academia, the way of the Beat Generation, literature, cafés, and my constantly changing idea of intellectuality.

The years between my military service and my return to Europe were full of academic and business successes of nothing more than average variety. Highlights in my life were the birth of my son and twenty years later, that of my daughter.  Fathering is interesting, and again, I was probably average at it, but partnering with children in learning and play is exciting and really joyful, and at that, I excelled.

Happenings were a BA and MA from Penn State in Linguistics, a doctoral dissertiation on the associative principle in linguistic analysis which was finished (I think it was finished, at least in the sense of finishing that I normally use, which means, set aside in case some more ideas come along) but never submitted for approval.  I like to blame that on finances, but it really had more to do with boredom.  I was done with the idea, why defend it.....

A little teaching after that in universities and a Russian Orthodox seminary, then a "real" job as a technical writer which was supposed to be able to both support me and keep me on the creative edge. It eventually turned me into a Quality Engineer, Quality Manager, and finally a Lean/Six Sigma Champion, training, coaching, selecting projects, doing financial analysis, etc.  until getting caught in a fourth quarter crunch and the ensuing layoffs. All in all, not a bad run.  The work took me all over Europe and North America, with some exceptionally good experiences in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Mexico, and Europe.  I eventually resettled myself in Germany, in the middle of the Teutoburger Wald  which is central to some of the plans I've made in line with the associative thinking principle and some dreams, ancient and contemporary which provide the basis for an interesting tale I'd like to be able to tell.

Schildesche, Germany
December 2007

copyright 2007: john zavacki (the elder)