Edge of Reason

Empiricism over Ideology

21 June
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David Shelton was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and to this day retains a keen disinterest in University of Alabama football. At the age of six, he moved to the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, partially in recognition of his remarkable intellectual development and partially because his dad got a job there, teaching Graphics, Printmaking, and Film. He attended a local private school through the sixth grade and then auditioned for the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where he was accepted into the Creative Writing program.

During his high school years, he developed a strong interest in international relations, particularly with regard to the United States and the Soviet Union. This led him to pursue languages and political science in college. He graduated from Birmingham-Southern with a degree in French, then transferred all of his Russian credits to Norwich University, in Vermont, where he completed his undergraduate degree and then entered the graduate program. His plan was to become a crack intelligence analyst for the United States government and preciptiate the collapse of the communist regime in the Soviet Union.

He accomplished this goal a little ahead of schedule. In fact, he had not quite completed his degree in Russian Linguistics and Sovietology when the USSR very quietly went out of business. Sovietology was no longer a growth industry. Somewhat chagrined, David turned to teaching.

Over the course of the next several years, he managed to teach every age group from 3-year-old kindergarten to adult studies. He spent the first several years teaching French to kindergarten through sixth grade and Russian to seventh through twelfth grade. In his spare time, he taught homeschool groups and private tutorials, ran an after school program for elementary school kids, and a summer program for four-, five-, and six-year-olds. All of this experience produced some very definite opinions with regard to children (they're great) and American education (help us, dear L-rd). In 1992, his first Russian professor at Birmingham-Southern College retired and handed the reins of the Russian program over to him. He ran that program for three years before being plucked out of academia to the less idealistic and far more lucrative world of international business.

For the past nine years, David has worked with a company that has wide-ranging interests in heavy industry, mining, and property development. These interests give him the opportunity to travel widely throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, and Southeast Asia. He thinks he has been to Russia about fourteen times, the first two trips occuring in the exciting pre-Soviet era when the KGB still confiscated Time magazine at the border and bugged the hotel rooms. He has also traveled to Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (both of them), Poland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Switzerland, Great Britain, Egypt, Canada (woo hoo), the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Singapore. There may have been a few other incidental countries along the way, but he mostly slept through them.

David's father continues to teach at Birmingham-Southern, though he regularly threatens to semi-retire. He has a wonderful sister who is an attorney in New York City. He is not married, but is open to any reasonable offer. Aside from work, he fills his days with various writing projects, as much tennis as he can work in (not much), and a rich social life with good friends, many of whom have been bugging him for months and months to finally give in and get a live journal. They have no one to blame but themselves.