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No. of Recommendations: 175
This is it!

Drumroll Please...

This is my 50,000th post since joining the Fool Community on December 29th, 1999.

My first post was on the Retirement Investing board back on June 7, 2001:

Of those 50,000 posts, approximately 11,703 of them started new conversations, though in full admission, some of them were simply correcting things I misspoke initially.

I have been deeply honored to have received 47,416 Recs on those 50,000 posts, for a 94.8% Rec to Post ratio. Out of 50,000 posts, 19,860 have received Recs (a batting average of .397). It means so much to me that 3,966 of you, my fellow Fools, have felt moved enough by my posts to grant me a Rec. That is 12.6 Recs received per Fool, on average, if you want to do the math. I am currently being followed by 885 Fools and rank 5th in the Top 100 Favorite Fools over the last 30 days. Truly with great respect comes great responsibility.

I have amassed numerous charms over the years, including winning the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge by throwing the names of companies on magnets against the refrigerator door and picking the first 5 that stuck(that's my story and I'm sticking to it), and then not trading them. Ever. Except when the company was sold out of the portfolio and had to be replaced. Of course, I haven't won since, but as a die hard long term buy-and-hold investor, I am sure everything old will be new again one day. I am also proud to have contributed to the MF Answers page and wear the badge of Old School Fool with pride.

I have also been granted the Taco charm. Fools keep asking me what this charm means, since it doesn't appear in the index of charms:

The answer is, I don't know. I don't know who granted it to me, how I earned it or what it means. I've been told it's just for fun, and that's good enough for me. If anything, it's been a great ice breaker for other Fools to reach out and engage me in conversation. In that sense, it's doing a great job and I'm glad to sport it on my profile.

There was a time when 50,000 seemed like a far off, unobtainable goal, not to be confused with unobtainium, which is the element of unrealized dreams. As I have drawn closer to the mark, the anticipation and what it means has moved to the frontal lobe and I would like to announce that I have achieved some newfound level of consciousness and understanding as a result.

I'd like to, but I haven't.

I was trying to figure out what this post should be about. Should I expound on my investing philosophy? Vent my frustrations at the social, economic and political crises of the times? Maybe make a philosophical connection between the stock market and why the sky is blue? Perhaps I should just describe in exquisite detail how beautiful it is sitting here on the back porch of the family home on Daufuskie Island as the sun ducks behind a cloud and the still ripples of the Atlantic Ocean make their way up the marsh lined May River, the dolphins feeding mere feet away during low tide.

But that would be cruel. Especially if you are stuck in some big city apartment full of cousins and extended family you only see once a year, thankfully.

Instead, in the spirit of the holiday, I decided to use my 50,000th post to say thanks.

Thank you to Tom and David Gardner, of course, for conceiving of The Motley Fool (thank you David, for coming up with the name, and to Tom for not arguing). I first met the Gardner Brothers during a Lunch & Learn while working at Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta, GA. They claim to remember the event, though I am sure it was just a blur among many during their Rule Makers/Rule Breakers book signing tour and they are just being polite.

But it was the start of my Foolish journey, first reading my autographed copy of The Motley Fool Investment Guide and learning about the Foolish 4 formula (may it rest in peace) which appealed to the engineering and mathematical side of me, then joining the TMF Community and finding there were others as odd as me (even odder at times), and then subscribing to the Foolish 8 newsletter, becoming an inaugural member of the new Hidden Gems service, being invited to join the Stock Advisor service as it migrated to the Foolish Community so I could encourage discussion of Time Warner (having purchased Turner Broadcasting a few years before), an active recommendation at that time. Eventually, I learned that investing is not a black box and there is no secret formula, but that you have to analyze and evaluate the business operations of companies, not merely crunch the numbers or read a screen.

From there, the Gardner Brothers' generosity helped me gain access and insight to the other advisory newsletters, Income Investor, Inside Value, Rule Breakers, and then I became a founding member of the MDP Historical Preservation Society in time for the Great Recession. This led to achieving orbital status with Supernova (Go Space Camp Red One!), becoming one of the early Ticker Guides (for The Walt Disney Company), and now as a Community Fool (CMF), serving as Ticker Guide for not only Disney, but Time Warner, Orbital ATK, Titan International and Global Payments (and formerly Intuit as it is transitioning to Maintenance Coverage), and as a Community Stroller, where I spread myself across the premium and public boards, helping out where I can.

The second thank you in this 50,000th post goes to all the TMFers I have encountered along the years. You have all been great examples of amusement, education and enrichment, and if I have been any success at all, it is from you being role models. I especially want to point out TMF1000, whose page posts not only help me understand my investments better but also reassure me that my own posts aren't too long. And TMFTortoise, whose patience is every bit as as big as his friendliness, though the same could (and should) be said for so many other Fools.

I also want to thank TMF2Aruba, whose recent promotion to lead the TMF Community Fools makes him my boss, but he's been a friend and mentor long before that. Tony probably lets me get away with more than I deserve, including opening new boards like the Blockchain/Crytocurrency Technologies board even as TMF is trying to clean up old boards with no activity.

And the OTT Television & Streaming Video board:

Over the years, I've opened a number of boards with varying degrees of traffic and success: Braves Fools, Diabetic Fools, Digital Video Fools, Fools of the Force, Fuskie's Town Hall Exposition (hello, board!), Getting A Child Into College, It's So Easy Living Green, Metro Atlanta Fools, Overseas Fools, The Art of Disney, The Foolish Consumer, and probably a couple that I forgot.

I also thank TMFArchitect (who is always ready with an answer), TMFCanuk (who is truly a Fool's Fool), TMFCochrane (whose posts should be savored, not gulped), TMFEdyBoom223 (intrepid and entertaining), TMFHumbleServent (whose Fool name says it all), TMFKaren (a calming influence of support), TMFLifeIsGood (who sets the standard of setting goals and achieving them), TMFOpie (whose advice I value greatly), TMFOtter (who sadly left but is now back, which makes me very happy), TMFPencils (who I have enjoyed watching grow on the boards from a preteen to a leader of Fools - well, maybe he always was), and TMFVenus (whose support is always appreciated).

And my fellow CMFs who serve as Ticker Guide role models, inspiring me to do better in my own role: CMFMonkey (who has never encountered a problem a banana wouldn't solve), CMF_muji (whose posts are must reads), CMFHuibs (whose thoughts for the weekend are always provoking), CMFSircc (keeper of the faith and leader of the MDP Historical Preservation Society), and CMF-mazske (whose service to his community and pride in his children are to be honored).

There are so many other TMFers and CMFers to thank, and please know I think no less for not mentioning you by name, whether you've answered a question, conversed with me offline, vomited in a Chipotle during a meet & greet, assisted me with a problem or helped me address another Fool's problem. You are all the best of the best.

I especially want to thank the Tech Fools who keep the Foolish Community up and running. Yours is a challenging job, with a database that must contain millions of posts over the last 18 years and an active user base that has grown far beyond the technology platform that supports it. You only come to the fore when there's a problem but I know how many hours of blood, sweat and tears go into keeping things running smoothly in between incidents. I tip my hat to you for your dedication, determination and technological talents.

Which brings me to thanking you, my fellow Fools. Early on in my Foolish existence, I was so dependent on you for everything - a new Fool with lots of questions, realizing I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did in my mid-adulthood. Now I am in a position of awesome responsibility, answering your questions with my own questionable and unprofessional advice. You place great faith in me to deliver quality responses and depend on me to lead constructive conversations, and I hope every day that I do not let you down.

Specifically, there are a couple of Fools I want to single out. First, Wildgirl, whose posts I once read on the Consumer Credit/Consumer Debt board. I learned to be free with my thoughts and stole what has become my trademark signature tags. As I have often said, feel free to steal them from me because I stole them from Wilgirl first. You can still keep up with her (I know I can't) on the Wild's Trailer Park Kingdom board.

I'll also mention AJ45 who always has the right answer no matter the question, JSergeant who is a leader of Fools (and a terrific fundraiser), 2001Cobra who is a lesson in patience (and learning from it), CABob (a voice of reason), chkNYC (a baseball fan, albeit for the wrong team), CromulentBrad (who reminds me about what's important in life), gordogato (who always gets my full attention), mrmolar119 (also a member of the MDP Historical Preservation Society), pauleckler (whose replies I always stop to read), shirehobbit (whose victory over trials and tribulations are inspiring), starrob (who often beats him to posting the same news), windowseat (whose posts I always looked forward to), and so many more.

If I did not thank you, please know that the oversight was due only to it getting close to dinner time and I have to sweep the floor first, and not because I do not greatly value your contributions to the Foolish to community or my own Foolish experience and success as I celebrate this milestone.

I have enjoyed conversing with you all via the TMF Community for the last 50,000 posts, but I have also had the privilege of meeting many of you at FoolFestâ„¢ (a 2 day gathering of MF One Fools and on the second day, the conference is opened to select members of MDP, MF Pro and Supernova) over the last few years. I remember attending my first FoolFest: Fools would come up to me excitedly and ask to have a selfie with me.

I really didn't know what to make of it - the experience was both discomforting and exhilarating as I had never been famous before, or was it infamous? Since then, I have embraced the opportunity to see Foolish friends each year, put faces to screen names, and become reenergized to continue contributing to the boards. Too all of you I have met in person as well as on the boards, thank you for your friendship and trust.

A few words on words (ugh, I know). If you've read any of my 50,000 posts, including this one, you'll know I have an affinity for alliteration, and despite rumors to the contrary, I do not get compensated by the word. I would like to think that my verbosity is readily readable (see what I did there?) and conversational, rooted in an easy to follow, common sense approach to Foolishness. My signatures often either convey whimsy or communicate material matters to the topic at hand. And yes, while my disclaimer and disclosure lines are auto-inserted into each post (thank you SigMF, the Chrome extension), each tag is original and sometimes labored.

I am also sometimes asked how it is I manage to patiently post the same responses to the same questions asked by Fools over and over. The answer is that I approach the Fool Community with the same dispassionance that I employ for investing - act rather than react. Like an actor in the theater, each performance is delivered as if it was the first time ever, because for the reader, it is.

Serving others is ingrained in my personality, but to be perfectly honest, my two secret weapons are plagiarism and cut-and-paste. I draw liberally from the better expressions of ideas of my fellow Fools (I usually ask permission) and maintain a lengthy library of responses to various questions in a notepad (notepad++ for anyone interested) which can be quickly copied and tailored to meet the needs of a particular reply. It's not magic - it's just preparation and repetition.

For those replies that do not magically materialize out of my treasure trove of topics, I have sometimes taken hours to compose the perfect response. And just like you, I have seen the boards distressingly eat the posts at the worst possible time and at the cost of my patience. I urge you to use the Preview Message button, but if a bad post gets by you, you can always self-report it and have it pulled.

But for all the faults with which the TMF Community discussion boards drag, the benefits they offer are as overwhelming as the number of boards from which to choose. I tell every Fool I can that the TMF Community is the best kept secret to the public side of TMF as well as the premium services. I learn from you every day and hopefully you feel the same. There can always be improvements and I know TMF has long range plans under development, but I've come to appreciate the character and temperament of the Boards as is.

And now, if you've read this far, please allow me to get more personal in my expressions of gratitude. I know for many, all this fuss about reaching 50,000 posts seems a bit much, but TMF has become a big part of my life, not including sleep, the second most significant draw on my time after my full time job for the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group (a nonprofit insurance company exclusively serving nonprofit organizations). Many other Fools whose contributions I value greatly have not reached this milestone, which only means they have done so much more with so much less than I.

I want to thank my parents, who nurtured my inquisitive and STEM oriented nature through my childhood, even as I neglected anything that came close to athletics or approached physical activity. They are going through a difficult period right now but I am grateful to be spending another Thanksgiving with them and two of my three brothers. My siblings will probably never say it, and I'm not even sure they quite understand my immersion in all things Foolish, but I would like to think they are proud of this accomplishment. I'm pretending so, in any case, despite their surface indifference.

My second online family (who probably will probably never read this) are the folks at Morty's TV, where we've been covering reality television since 2001, especially the CBS show Big Brother. As the Social media director, I manage our Facebook page, group and our Twitter stream, as well as serving as Chat Host and Forums Admin. You should check us out at and I am constantly talking about my Foolishness with my friends over there. I can picture them nodding their heads in politeness behind their keyboards, then moving on to something else.

When I was growing up, my "friends" teased that the point of the army was to win wars, so I shouldn't enlist. So I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the United States Military through the Atlanta USO, volunteering a half dozen times during the year at the Atlanta airport, including the upcoming Christmas Eve and Day, and being a flag bearer during the Atlanta Braves Military Appreciation Day last May at the new SunTrust Park (one of those outfield-sized flags - I was holding the bottom stripe - center).

I am grateful for my relatively good health, despite a sharp rise in my A1C over the last couple months. I have been managing my type 2 diabetes for almost as long as I've been a Fool, and if I die of anything other than a complication due to diabetes, I'll consider it a medical victory. Living with diabetes is a life-long battle but a cure may be right around the corner. I'll get my blood sugar back under control, and if you want to support my efforts to turn diabetes into type none, you can go here:

I'm also grateful for my GF (who also will never read this) for tolerating my telling of Foolish stories despite her decided disinterest. She's an impulse buyer rather than a saver, and would rather let an advisor (not me) manage her retirement savings, but she's also a lawyer so I don't worry about her too much. We both enjoy dining out, movies, Braves games and the occasional trip to Disney World, and anything else we have in common has no place in this post.

I will be coming up on 18 years a Fool come December 29th of this year, and will probably have more to say on that subject if I remember my balloon day, as if this post wasn't already long enough. It depends in part on whether enough coworkers go out of town that I can get away with not working too hard as the year winds down. Between now and then, I want to leave you with a Foolish thought for the holidays - doing good by enabling do gooders to do good for others.

I've never been someone who campaigned for Recs, though I've always had an unrealized goal of a 1:1 Rec to Post ratio (so close!), but in celebration of my 50,000th post, and with not just a little inspiration from JSergeant, I am offering a challenge between now and December 29th. For every Rec to this post, I will donate $1 to this year's Foolanthropy effort.

I don't yet know who the beneficiary is of this year's Foolanthropy effort, but whomever they are, I know they can use our support (and I could use the tax-deductible donation). So please, refer your Foolish friends to this post and ask them to Read it and Rec it. Together we can do good by enabling do gooders to do good for others.

I probably had more I wanted to say - I was writing this post in my head last night as I went to sleep and in my dreams it went a lot better than this. The first 50,000 posts have been a blast and the next 50,000 will be even better!

Lastly, from me and mine to you and yours, have a very Happy Thanksgiving and a merry holiday season. And I'll see all of you in Tomorrowland because the best is yet to come.

Who thought about just saying that I had reached 50,000 posts in the message body then including the rest of the post in my signature tag, but figured this was probably a more aesthetic approach...

Ticker Guide for The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Orbital ATK (OA), Titan International (TWI), Intuit (INTU), Time Warner (TWX), Global Payments (GPN)
Disclaimer: This post is non-professional and should not be construed as direct, individual or accurate advice
Disclosure: May own shares of some, many or all of the companies mentioned in this post (
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